[LCA2011-Chat] Some Anti-Harassment Policies considered harmful

From: Theodore Tso <tytso>
Date: Tue, 1 Feb 2011 02:17:14 -0500

If people want facts, perhaps they read some of these URL's and then come to their own conclusion:

      This appears to be the source of the 1 in 6 figure (17.6%). But it's worth going deeper. If you look at percentage of women reporting rape since age 18 (taking out the child abuse and statutory rape cases, which they also treat in detail), it becomes 1 in 10 (9.6%), and of those over 61.9% were at the hands of their intimate partner, as opposed to an acquaintance or stranger. Also in the survey, in the rapes that were reported via a randomized telephone survey, in 66.9% of those cases, the perpetrator did not threaten to harm or kill the victim. (Which makes it no less a crime, of course, but people may have images of rape which involves a other physical injuries, by a stranger, in some dark and deserted place. The statistics simply don't bear that out.)

       This one does a pretty good job of taking apart the Koss / Ms. Magazine study, which is the source for the "1 in 4" number. For example, it points out that over half of those cases were ones where undergraduates were plied with alcohol, and did not otherwise involve using physical force or other forms of coercion. And if you asked the women involved, only 27% of the people categorized by Koss as being raped called it rape themselves. Also found in the Koss study, although not widely reported, was the statistic that of the women whom she classified as being raped (although 73% refused to self-classify the event as rape), 46% of them had subsequent sex with the reported assailant.

      This is a more popularized treatment of the issue. There is quite a bit of anti-feminist ranting in the article, which you should try to ignore while looking at the arguments, which is that some of these rape statistics don't seem to hold much in the way of water.

Please note, I am not diminishing what rape is, and or any particular person's experience. However, I *am* challenging the use of statistics that may be hyperbolic and misleading, and ultimately may be very counterproductive if it causes people to become afraid when the reality might not be as horrible as the "1 in 4" numbers might at first sound. Just as it was wrong for George Bush to inspire fear in the population so he could push his War Against Iraq agenda through congress, it's also wrong for people who, out of good intentions, inspire fear in others or themselves of being raped if the statistics used are misleading and manipulated.

-- Ted
Received on Tue Feb 01 2011 - 02:17:14 GMT

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