Maltby: Not a joking matter

The Shrew's Tale

“Did you know that nine out of 10 people enjoy gang rape?” That’s what one of my male friends gleefully told me over dinner last night. It’s an old joke — too old to score many shock points — because I’ve heard it five times this semester. At least.

Gang rape was the jocular subject of the night, because we’d just heard an athlete greet his friends at the table behind: “Hey, how are my gangbangers?” Now, I know from experience that not all athletes conform to the hard-drinking, wife-beating, gang-rapist stereotype. But if we accept that most athletes really want to dispense with this image, then these guys were definitely letting their side down.

When people joke about rape, they’re trying to be transgressive — so part of me is a little relieved that the friend who tried to shock me recognized that rape isn’t something most people want to laugh about. That’s why he thought he’d have some fun and stir up drama with a rape joke. It’s up there with a dead baby joke, one might think — tacky, but not a Trojan horse for advocating mass infanticide.

But those who think that rape jokes poke healthy fun at an establishment sensitivity about rape miss the point — we sure as hell should be sensitive about rape. The more rape jokes we tell, the more get used the idea that rape should be something light, casual, even quotidian.

And on college campuses today, rape is indeed quotidian. According to several surveys between 20 and 25 percent of women experience rape or attempted rape in their college careers. Those are statistics based on independent interviews of women by women about their sexual experiences because that’s the only way to get a clear picture. Police statistics won’t help us much — according the Center for Public Integrity, 95 percent of campus rapes are unreported.

It’s not surprising that women don’t feel comfortable reporting rape. Campus culture is not sympathetic to women who accuse its members of rape. On Monday, a sophomore at American University claimed that going to a frat parties and drinking alcohol is the same as consenting to sex. It followed a similar article in The Daily Princetonian three weeks ago. Accordingly, women who cry rape after student parties are just making it up.

It is horrifically difficult to pursue a charge of rape. No one who believes it’s fun to make a malicious accusation has ever read the report of a rape trial, tried to discuss female sexuality with the average police officer or had a conversation with a bunch of college students about whether the length of someone’s skirt means she’s a slut. Under American law, the sexual history of a woman alleging rape is considered relevant evidence. In the eyes of a jury, any indication that she and the accused had a previous relationship (social, not merely sexual) or any indication of moral flaws makes her a culpable victim. Consequently, rape victims who face their accusers in court also face relentless grilling from defense attorneys — not only on the event in question but on their entire lives. Anything is fair game.

In my native UK, a 16-year-old girl was raped in a park by a fellow teenager who approached her as she sat on a bench. When she brought the case to trial last fall, the defense attorney forced her to hold up the pair of knickers she was wearing on the day in question and discuss whether she thought they were slutty. She hanged herself a few days later. None of the reports I have read suggest that American courts are different. Last year, a woman in Pennsylvania killed herself in remarkably similar circumstances.

Rape on college campuses is particularly hard to prosecute because most victims already know their attackers. Courts tend to assume that rape between acquaintances isn’t “real” rape — when in fact, being raped by an acquaintance can be more traumatic in some senses than “stranger rape” because it involves a breach of trust.

At the heart of this assumption that acquaintance rape isn’t “real rape” is an even uglier assumption: that “everyone is up for it, all the time.” In a world of Girls Gone Wild, where the Ying Yang Twins are invited for Spring Fling, it’s not hard to see why. The average guy at a party may well think that most girls at the party are there for sex — this doesn’t mean that he has the right to enforce intimacy when a girl is too drunk to consent.

In one of my favorite musicals, “Guys and Dolls,” the straightlaced Salvation Army officer, Sarah, is taken to Cuba by the racy gambler, Sky, and — of course — ends up drunk and singing into a bottle. Sky has a reputation as a lothario, but against the audience’s expectations, he does the gentlemanly thing and tucks her up asleep for the night without taking advantage of her. The incident is key to making us, and Sarah, realize that Sky really is a romantic hero fit for her dreams.

The cultural and legal shifts required to reduce the rate of rape would take far more than a News column to scrutinize. But certainly, the high rate of rape on campus is related to the fact that many perpetrators (male and female) don’t view their actions as rape. So they don’t understand why their victims feel violated. If more men on campus understood that sexual culture on campus leaves women feeling so threatened, maybe they wouldn’t try to tell me rape jokes quite so often. Sky Masterson was a real man — and Sky Masterson didn’t tell rape jokes.

Kate Maltby is a senior in Saybrook College.

Comments

  • Verging on Vestigial

    This is an excellent article, certifying my theory that in a world where there is no longer any culturally agreed upon definition of manhood, things get out of control.
    Arthur Miller’s 1949 Death of a Salesman has no fewer than 12 definitions of a man in the short space of 100 pages. It was written 5 years after Hiroshima, when a single finger in the Enola Gay forever abolished previous culturally accepted definitions of manhood based on one-to-one combat, definitions which had been eroding since the invention of aircraft–(although fighter-plane to fighter-plane still managed to squeeze into one-to-one combat definition). Note: that finger over Hiroshima could just as easily have belonged to a woman or a transgendered person as to a man.

    We have entered a confusing epoch for men.

    And an understandably frustrating and angry one for women, as this article demonstrates.

    And the unacknowledged about-to-become-vestigial Old Boy’s Club which still tries to run the world, doesn’t help things much either, verging on vestigial or not.

    I wish I had answers. Only apprehensions.

    PK

  • Equality?

    Thanks for the article. The veneer of equality on campus most certainly permits ongoing (criminal) sexual exploitation by the predators among us. This then carries over to civil society empowering the most brutal serial rapists who always seem to be caught long after they should have been.

  • Charlie

    I’m not going to take too much offense at the petty jab at yale athletes, although I find it worthwhile to say that by making your second paragraph all about how athletes are gang-banging, swinging wife beaters (how many are married? oh, that was a JOKE? I see…) you lose a lot of my interest in the rest of what you have to say. The reason I don’t take too much offense at the athlete jab is because I know what you are trying to say, I know what general sort of person you are condemning, and so I know that you simply made an error in applying the term ‘athlete’ to that sort of person. What I don’t know, however, is what is meant by rape. Honest as Abe is Lincoln, I do not know what this term means, legally or culturally, and find it incredible that an article dealing with rape, and discussing how our conception and awareness and comfort discussing it needs to change, would not go to any length to describe or define what constitutes rape. So, I am asking, please someone tell me what rape is. I am usually quite cynical and am not willing to jump to the defense of the rapist or the victim under most of these drunken-night-date-rape type scenarios, without knowing what really happened. And not to be a Protestant prude, but if you’re a lady wearing a mini skirt, heels and baring nearly all up top you ARE putting yourself out there as a visual object, and an object of visual sexuality, and you should know this before choosing your outfit for the night. Most of these rape cases are not cut and dry scenarios, and in most cases I would reckon both parties were being unresponsible. But, really all I want is a clearer sense of what we mean when we call something rape.

  • y10

    This issue came up in the aftermath of the Princeton article, and I’m curious to know what you think. Is “real” consent EVER possible in the presence of alcohol? For example, if a girl gives consent while drunk when she would definitely not have sober, and has sex with someone, then wakes up the next morning and either can’t remember it or thinks she was taken advantage of and calls rape… then what?

  • Too narrow?

    Of coures it is more likely that “gangbanger” refered to a fellow street gang member who fights with other oppossing gang members which is common use of the term and is in no way related to sexual assult. Recognition of this would require a broader experience base than the article writer has acuired, yet it is so easy to jump to her own predjudice and assume that the atheletes were making light of sexual assult, because of the pervasive demonization of segments of the Yale community which has little or no impirical support for the widely and wrongly held veiw of its actual beleifs or behaviors. Perpetuating wrongly held stereo types is always wrong no matter the “correctness” of your intended message.

  • Anonymous

    I second the thanks. According to the Yale Health Plan page on sexual assault, 30 percent of women who are victims of date/acquaintance rape contemplate suicide. Heartbreaking.

    I was a date rape victim several years ago and only reported it after I learned the perpetrator assaulted another woman. I have to say that the women of the Special Investigations unit of the New Haven Police Department were wonderful. For the reasons mentioned in the article, though, I didn’t follow through with pressing charges and I still don’t feel comfortable to sign my real name here.

  • Hieronymus

    I was not going to post, really. But I just can’t help it — the value (and there IS value here) of the overall article is undermined by certain items. To wit:

    “And on college campuses today, rape is indeed quotidian.”

    QUOTIDIAN?! Everyday? Routine? Occurring…DAILY? Surely the author is being a bit…hyperbolic? But that is nothing compared with the follow-on monstrosity of a disingenuosity:

    “According to several surveys, between 20 and 25 percent of women experience rape or attempted rape in their college careers.”

    Dear G-d, please please PLEASE stop trotting out this DEMONSTRABLY false statistic, this LIE that will not die. Victimologists love love LOVE this stat–and it is so blatantly false, false on its face, that citing it allows the reader to entirely discount the real message.

    If there were REALLY “one in four, maybe more,” then campus rape represents a crime wave of unprecedented proportions. No crime, much less one as serious as rape, has a victimization rate remotely approaching 20 or 25 percent, even over many years.

    “The 2006 violent crime rate in Detroit, one of the most violent cities in America, was 2,400 murders, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults per 100,000 inhabitants—a rate of ** 2.4 percent **.

    The one-in-four statistic would mean that every year, millions of young women graduate who have suffered the most terrifying assault, short of murder, that a woman can experience. Such a crime wave would require nothing less than a state of emergency—-Take Back the Night rallies and 24-hour hotlines would hardly be adequate to counter this tsunami of sexual violence. Admissions policies letting in tens of thousands of vicious criminals would require a complete revision, perhaps banning boys entirely.”

    None of this crisis response occurs, of course—because the crisis doesn’t exist

    Google “rape myth” for your own research (to include the passage above).

    Feel free to disbelieve me, but I *agree* that campus rape is a serious issue, but hysteria, hysterical accusations, and outright falsehoods are NOT the way to attack the problem.

    I will cease my critique of the article (although I feel bad about how quickly “male” becomes “athlete” becomes “rapist”); the central meme is its central weakness.

    Engage your brain. Were your stats true, then Yale should be shut down immediately and the National Guard be brought in…

    ‘Nuff.

  • Hieronymus

    And to get out ahead of the outcry: I am in no way impugning or doubting actual rape victims; indeed, I am trying to *help* them by ending the undermining of *actual* victims by “right thinking” and “helpful” alarmists.

    Articles to help one think about the “one in four” statistic and/or to help understand where this “statistic” came from (Hint: Ms. magazine, “back in the day”):

    http://www.leaderu.com/real/ri9502/sommers.html

    http://deltabravo.net/custody/tenmyths.php

    Here is a good discussion, if you would like to understand the argument from the OTHER side (i.e., a male point of view):

    http://antimisandry.com/abuse-dv/one-four-abused-mary-koss-study-update-24633.html

  • Alcohol

    I’m not sure how exactly someone can be accused of rape when a woman consents when under the influence of alchol. If both are drunk, and the woman goes along with it without any sort of attempt at deterrance, then I do not see any justification for any cries of ‘Rape!’ Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems to be a theme that, no matter what, the guy is at fault if the woman cries rape afterwards. Unfair, unjust, and just plain arrogant in its perpetuation of the idea of women as victims. (I am only referring to the cases in which a woman has sex consensually while drunk and then accuses her partner of rape.)
    If no means no, and maybe means no, how in the hell does yes mean no?

  • Fact Check

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Gangbanger

    “Gangbanger” means gang member, not person who engages in a gangbang. Get your mind out of the gutter, Ms. Maltby.

  • ibenmeir

    I think this is an excellent piece, and a necessary one (judging from the comments thus far). While I agree that the author might have done better not to make generalizations about “athletes,” it seems like a minor point in the context of her argument that rape remains a huge problem, and the way we talk about it has direct consequences for actual lives. I understand the uncertainty about drunken consent; it terrifies me to think that I could spend the night with someone, only to be told in the morning that I’m now a rapist (although I do think that potential partners bear the responsibility of figuring out if he other is able to give real consent, even/especially if it means a missed encounter). But this is exactly what the author is getting at: If we only talk about rape in hushed tones or as fodder for jokes, it becomes impossible to have a conversation that actually enhances our understanding.

    It’s sad that the first column in a long time to ask us to talk thoughtfully about rape is getting such thoughtless replies. If a single sexual assault is deterred by this column, it will have done more good than most of what is published in the YDN in a year.

  • Tim

    @10… You “fact check” from “urban dictionary?” Give me a break – gangbang most certainly refers to rape.

  • bk11

    well said! i enjoyed the article

  • Yale 08

    gangbanger = a gang member

    not a gang rapist.

    Street Cred FAIL

  • Branford ’10

    In response to the people wondering what rape is, I just want to give my explanation of the difference between consensual and non-consensual sex. Consent is not given merely by the absence of a “no”, it is given when someone expresses an enthusiastic “yes” and is clearly gaining pleasure from the act. Having sex with someone who says “no” is rape. Having sex with someone who is too drunk to even be fully aware of what is happening is rape. Having sex with someone who reluctantly gives in after relentless pressure or threats is rape. Mutually pleasurable and consensual sex does not involve pressuring and pestering someone until they reluctantly give in, or using alcohol or drugs to lower their judgment/awareness.

    One thing to always ask yourself if your sexual partner has had anything to drink: would this person consent to do this with me if they were totally sober? If the answer is “no” or “I don’t know” then just don’t do it.

    It baffles me that people have such warped ideas about sex that they don’t understand that both partner’s should be enthusiastic, aware, and excited.

  • @PK

    To bring up the Enola Gay seems wildly off mark, and yet, as usual PK, you have used your eclectic knowledge to enlighten us. However,I do not believe the act of dropping that particular bomb changed manhood, any more than thousands of US firebombs (which had more casualties) or the german V -2′s which reigned down on London. I think what has changed “manhood” has been progress. We have striven to make women equal, homosexuality accepted, and tolerance the norm. Before, if you couldnt chop wood, grow a beard and yet still lay down your coat and hold open the door for a lady you were not a real man. However, now ladies don’t want the door held open and the only one wearing the lumberjack’s flannel are hipsters. Great progress has been made, but to be a man is to be chart a course between redneckdom and metrosexuality with no compass. It’s just hard! We men in a society need to bring back some of the old morals without the stuffy old intolerance just as women have collectively stepped up to become better educated, better employed and all around closer to their potential in recent decades.

  • anonymous

    If urbandictionary.com isn’t a good enough source, one might note that Merriam-Webster also defines “gangbanger” as “a member of a street gang.” It’s a term that well predates the contemporary sexual meaning of “gangbang.”

    Furthermore, if we want to get technical, the primary meaning of “gangbang” itself, as evidenced by both urbandictionary.com and “real” dictionaries (though, as language is defined by the usage patterns of the community, one might argue that urbandictionary.com is actually a better source than the individual judgments of dictionary editors), more commonly refers to consensual group sex and not gang rape.

    Terminology aside, though no one could reasonably argue with the author’s central thesis of “rape is bad,” the article does a pretty amazing job of undermining its own point about taking things more seriously. This article would be much easier to take seriously if it focused on facts and (sourced, validated) statistics, and did not veer off into ad hominem attacks on athletes, random jibes towards the Ying Yang Twins, and meaningless digressions about musical theater.

  • Y12

    Three of my closest friends here at Yale have been date-raped. Don’t know about statistics, but it seems pretty endemic to me. We just don’t talk about it.

  • excellent

    thank you.

  • Anonymous

    “According to several surveys between 20 and 25 percent of women experience rape or attempted rape in their college careers”

    No no no no no. No.

  • Y12

    Brilliant article, Kate, keep ‘em coming!

  • Y12

    Well said. Last year, one of my suite mates came home in tears. She’d ended up in a guy’s room cos she was willing to “play around” a bit and maybe try out oral sex. He forced her to do way, way more.

    @10 – you’re a tool, gangbang obviously has overtones of sexual violence. If gang members use it to refer to each other, that just tells us about their criminal ideas of masculinity.

  • BK 12

    Hieronymous – of course no one’s saying this applies only to Yale. In fact, one might even suspect that when a practice becomes thoroughly regular, and yet incredibly difficult to actually talk about, people (specifically women) are bound to suffer in silence, and no one will see it as a “crime wave” or bother to ask themselves whether that night of forward, drunken sex might actually have been rape.

    One might even think that it would become so regular that people could make jokes about it among their friends without any reservations other than a feeling of mild naughtiness.

    Someone should really write a column about that. Wait a moment…

  • don’t drink and….

    fact: in the state of Connecticut, an individual CANNOT legally consent to sex while under the influence of alcohol.

    Yes, it is rape. I see it just like drinking and driving. Can you drive after one or two drinks and be OK? Probably. But, why take the risk? It makes no sense to try and assess one’s sobriety while under the influence.

    Does the other person who is drunk want to have sex? Probably. But, why take the risk? Sleep over and wait until the next morning. If he/she won’t have sex with you then it probably wouldn’t have been truly consentual the night before.

  • @17

    The bit about musical theater isn’t a digression. It’s a timely reminder that 50 years ago, it was totally expected that a gentleman wouldn’t ‘take advantage’ of a drunk girl. There are plenty of iconic cultural moments that should remind us of this. The Philadelphia story has a similar moment, I think.

  • Egalitarian

    I strongly agree with the crux of this article, that rape is a highly serious matter, that no one should be trivializing it or cracking jokes about it, and that we all should be doing our part to discourage such behavior. However, I question whether the author’s description of a rape trial is descriptive of all such trials. I’d like to make note of a case that occurred this past September at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. At the time, a female student accused four male students of gang rape. The police proceeded to arrest the students and throw them in jail without even requiring the accuser to testify under oath that the rape occurred, much less ask invasive or irrelevant questions about her personal life. Several days later, a cell phone video surfaced, showing that the orgy in which the five students had engaged was done with the consent of all persons involved.

    One might expect that someone who attempted to have four innocent people imprisoned for many years and had them actually imprisoned for a shorter period of time would be severely punished for such a serious abuse of the justice system. In reality, she was offered a plea bargain in which she agreed to perform community service and see a psychiatrist. She didn’t get one millisecond of jail time, even though her victims were imprisoned. Kathleen Rice, the district attorney who made this call can look forward to not receiving my vote in the next election.

    I believe that this case sets a horrible precedent. It says that if a woman makes false allegations that lead to the wrongful imprisonment of an innocent man, she can expect almost no consequences for her crime and her victim can expect to have no legal recourse in the criminal justice system.

    The bottom line is that, whether or not the author of this column admits it, false allegations of rape can and do happen. I agree with the author that it’s wrong for attorneys to ask irrelevant questions about an alleged rape victim’s personal life and would hope that a reasonable judge would not considered such questions to be admissible. However, it should never be acceptable to throw people in jail without appropriate evidence, which should be sworn testimony that will lead to charges of perjury if proven to be false. When Annie Le was murdered, the police had to go to a judge to obtain a warrant to arrest Raymond Clark. Why should this be any different?

  • Brodhead, Dick

    and let us not forget about Duke and the travesty heaped upon the INNOCENT Duke LaX players…

  • Yale 08

    I love watching Yale kids struggle to find the words to justify drunken hook ups and yet still condemn date rape.

  • question

    If both parties are equally drunk and consenting, do they rape each other?

  • @26

    So do think the default should be that women who lose their case in court are locked up? Because then you get situations like this charming example of a pregnant woman thrown in jail and charged with false report… until someone arrested on DNA evidence for another rape admitted to her rape as well. Charming how this world treats women, isn’t it?
    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09093/960350-100.stm

  • Redmasktotheright

    While we can argue about statistics or what is to be said about athletic stereotypes, the primary assertion of this article is still a vital one. The atmosphere on college campuses cannot be allowed to be cavalier in regards to a crime that, even if it perhaps does not affect 25% of female students by the time they graduate, remains far more prevalent on college campuses than within society at large (or Detroit for that matter). Alcohol and social gatherings do complicate the issue, but we cannot allow a pervading skepticism make coming forward after a violent assault more traumatic than the initial transgression.
    After freshman orientation, it’s all too easy return to an insolated understanding of our social environment, forget the danger, and brush-off the realities of a crime that remains tragically common. This article is an important step in bringing us back.

  • Gangbanging is nasty whoever says it

    Maybe aggressive, violent criminal gang members do call each other “gangbanger” as a term of endearment. If so, that carries connotations of a really toxic cultural idea of manhood. “Gangbang” OBVIOUSLY has sexual overtones – just think of the number of porn films released in the 90s that had the word gangbang in their titles. (If you want to claim innocence of this phenomenon, try http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annabel_Chong for starters)

    Yale students shouldn’t be modelling their male-male friendships on violent gang dynamics. And I used to expect more from Yalies than facetious claims not to understand the obvious etymology of their own language. Think critically about the terms you use – that’s we do at decent universities. Jeez.

  • @#29

    Good question. I cannot count the number of times that, despite my protestations, I was hustled, pressured, and/or cajoled into bed, only to wake up with gross regret, sometimes wondering what the heck her name was.

    I have never filed a complaint though.

  • Egalitarian

    To #28: The fact that I think that the students deserve justice doesn’t mean that I approve of their behavior. To the contrary, I have very little respect for people who engage in orgies or make these types of videotapes. However, I also recognize that society shouldn’t be arbitrarily regulating what people do in private. Indeed, the Supreme Court has ruled that a private sexual act in which all parties are consenting is protected by the Constitution (Lawrence v. Texas, 2003).

  • Matt M

    Cracking article. Incredibly depressing to watch the aggressive defence led by a series of commenters; one rather questions whether they would use the same arguments in person. If they would, then I’m rather glad that I’m reading their pretty repulsive views from the safety of a computer screen, rather than seeing them being put into practice at a party.

  • Anon

    “Mutually pleasurable and consensual sex does not involve pressuring and pestering someone until they reluctantly give in.”

    Obviously you’ve never been married. But your other points are well-taken.

  • Egalitarian

    To #30: You’re putting words in my mouth that I didn’t say. Rape is a crime. Perjury is a crime. People accused of either one are constitutionally entitled to due process. The victim in your example was wrongfully imprisoned. So were the victims in my example. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    Just to make it crystal clear: I’m not saying that making an accusation against someone when there isn’t evidence to find the accused guilty should be a basis to jail the accuser. I’m saying that when there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the accuser willingly and deliberately made an accusation against someone who they knew hadn’t done anything, then there should be severe consequences for the accuser, especially when the accusation is of a crime that carries a sentence of many years.

  • Y10

    #33– I take it since you did not say “forced” that you still felt you had control over the situation. It’s rape if the other person does not have control over the situation–which is why it’s rape when someone is so intoxicated as to not have full control over their behavior. Nevertheless, what you’re putting yourself through by not saying no to these women is horrible–stick up for yourself, and don’t have sex when sex isn’t what you want. If you WERE somehow unable to say no in those situations, then the law considers it rape whether you think so or not.

    Egalitarian, Hieronymus and others: You’re all taking pains to point out that false accusations are sometimes made–which happens, and is harmful. But how many examples have you offered? Two? No matter how you try to spin it, the number of actual rapes by far exceeds the number of false reports–that is, if 2.4% (your number) of the population is raped in a year, what percent of the population makes a false report of rape in a year? I imagine it’s far less than 1. And considering REAL FEDERAL SURVEYS with replicated results suggest that a very large percentage of rapes (numbers range from 40-95%) are never reported, I bet the ratio of false reports to real reports is tiny. Rape victims–both women AND men (especially gay men)–face a LOT of stigma, something which is not true for victims of any other crime. The fact that you go out of your way to widely publicize a very small sample of false reports makes me seriously doubt that your intentions in terms of protecting the rights of rape victims are all that pure. Hieronymus, if you really want to take up the cause for protecting men, here’s something for you to mull over: most people think that female-male rape is not worth worrying about, but research suggests that it is far more common than people think. So while most rapists are men and most victims are women, the stigma against rape victims is hurting straight men as well. If you want to take up the cause of men who are being treated unfairly, I urge you to take up advocating for male rape victims, rather than against female ones.

    Another thought to mull over: a woman faces the highest probability of being raped during her first semester of college, the first two weeks in particular. What a horrible introduction to independent womanhood that would be.

    Thanks to Ms. Maltby for the article. I was raped when I was in high school. He didn’t use physical force, but I told him to stop, cried during, and had a panic attack after. He never spoke to me again. I was too afraid of losing my friends to tell anyone. More voices like Ms. Maltby’s will ensure that no other 18-year-old will have to experience what I did.

  • Hieronymus

    @#38

    How terrible–I hope you have recovered. BTW: You can still make the (legal) accusation, you know.

    My “cause” is for clarity in thinking and the re-lighting of preconceptions and cherished–but false–stereotypes.

    A few points:
    1)I made no suggestion with regard to “false accusation.” Please do not put my proffered debunking of the 20-25% in that red herring category. I was presenting logic and evidence that the study from which the false stat was derived was flawed and false.

    2)Minor point, but the 2.4% figure was not for rape, but for murders, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults in Detroit, arguably America’s most violent city.

    The stats for rape according to the National Crime Victimization Survey: the adjusted per-capita victimization rate of rape has declined from about 2.4 per 1000 people (age 12 and above) in 1980 to about 0.4 per 1000 people in 2005, a decline of about 85%.

    I do not dispute that rape too often goes unreported (one general stat, which seems low, is that only 16% of rapes and sexual assaults are reported to the police. However, one cannot deny also the steady, unrelenting, and precipitous trend DOWNWARD in the occurrence of this terrible crime.

    I, too, look forward to the number being zero. I also look forward to a time when men–and women–take responsibility for their own actions, behavior, situational awareness, alcohol and drug consumption, etc.

    Good luck, #38; Godspeed.

  • Egalitarian

    To #38: I don’t question that the majority of reports of rape or any other violent crime are probably accurate. I simply felt that the author’s portrayal of how prosecutions take place was not an accurate description of all cases and should be augmented to cover other circumstances that have occurred. We can bring the guilty to justice without needing to compromise the rights of the innocent.

    I agree completely with your arguments concerning female-on-male rape. The same goes for men with breast cancer, men killed in witch hunts, or men victimized in any other manner where the majority of the victims are women. I just read a statistic in Scientific American that there are just as many acts of domestic violence committed by women against their husbands as by men against their wives. You’d scarcely know it from the fact that our nation’s major anti-domestic violence law is entitled the Violence Against Women Act. We ought to be aiming to end all violent crime, regardless of the gender of the victim or the criminal.

  • Angela Omiyi

    @Egalitarian and Hieronymus

    I had you written off as douchebags. thanks for proving me wrong. maybe there’s hope for rape victims yet.

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