Saturday, 28 May 2016

EgaFem Analysis: Evaluation Criteria

Author: Blaise Wilson

As part of the EgaFem Analysis series we want to help improve the quality of debates by understanding not only how to judge evidence, but also how to write academic style reports.

The aim of a report is to persuade the reader.

A report is made of two elements, the facts/evidence and the way the report is written. The report could be amazing but based on faulty facts, or the facts could be perfect but the report could be badly presented. And every variant in between.

One way to learn is to study other examples to learn what to and not to do. This will help you learn what needs improving in your own writing, or spot other good and bad examples. In the future we may use this evaluation criteria to mark other reports, and compare them. To do this we need a standard to mark against.

Our first example will be an example of what not to do. The Cyberviolance Report [6] was so bad it has been retracted by the Broadband Commission. However it is still available on the UN Women’s website.

It is worth reading this article to know what ‘good’ looks like, then read the Cyberviolence report with those in mind. If you score each element out of 10 it will be fun to see where we agree and where we differ – and please leave a comment on this website, or tweet us @EgaFem, or contact us on facebook [7] with your own score for comparison.

We’ll be analysing the reports though reasoned, unbiased clear and fair repeatable criteria, judgement, and evidence. This is called an Evaluation Essay [1]. This is basically how you are marked at university.

The criteria is based off the marking scheme of my own university uses, tailored for this application and mixed with a few other sources. We will use a marking scheme so that future reports can also be judged and compared.

We’ll break down how the report will be analysed, then crack on with its application to the UN report.

Concise, logical and clearly laid out structure


A good report should be easy to read, follow through logically without jumping about and have a clearly laid out structure. The standard for this structure in academia is: Abstract, Introduction, Main Body (separated into smaller parts if needed), Discussion, Conclusions, References and Appendix. Not all reports have to prescribe to this template, but if they deviate it still needs to flow and makes sense.

Being concise is using as few words as you can possibly get away with in order to get a point across without having superfluous wording making the sentence long, boring and hard to read.

Conciseness is being economical with words.

Clear aims and boundary


A report needs to have clearly stated goals and scope, ideally very early on in the report. This orientates the reader and helps them understand what will and won’t be covered. This will also help identify out of scope or irrelevant topics. This is key to drawing conclusions and discussing how well the report achieves its goals.

Clearly defined terms


Jargon and specialised terminology needs to be clearly defined. As should any term that is open to interpretation or not be clearly bounded. This ensures the reader understands how the report interprets the wording. Failure to do this could result in miss-understanding and assumptions being made by all, which may not agree. The reader does not need to agree with the definition, simply understand how the report is using certain words.

The definition needs to remain consistent throughout the report.

Wider topics and contextual understanding


Orientating the reader and making it clear how the report fits into the bigger picture is very important. This is highly linked to the aims, scope and boundary of the report. It should be clear how the report is dependent on outside influences, and how the wider context and linked topics could be impacted by the report.

Any recommendations and solutions should discuss the impact on the wider context using both positive and negative perspectives.

Critical analysis of data


Critical analysis of data is a key point in academia. Without this the report may be accused of being biased and having an agenda. This puts the report at risk of being labelled propaganda [3].

Evidence needs to be provided. Without a provided citation the statement is an assumption or assertion. Statements without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. In this kind of analysis the quality of the evidence is not in question, simply if evidence is or is not provided.

Another important part of academic writing is to provide a counter-argument to the premise and explore alternative views. If this is not done then the report could be biased.

This is particularly evident if the views put forward are not analysed in terms of positives and negatives. If only positives points or no analysis is done at all the report is being biased.

Using words like ‘clearly’ and ‘obviously’ are good indicators of poor analysis.

Other symptoms of bias are [4]:
  • Extreme language; statements have all or nothing connotations.
  • The argument appeals more to the emotions than to logic.
  • Things are worded with the intent to oversimplify or over generalize.
  • A limited view of the topic.
A presumption of a solutions, without seeking alternatives or even analysing the effectiveness of the solution is also biased. A solution should be found after identifying what it is trying to achieve and then analysis if this solutions will achieve those aims. Ideally discussing multiple solutions and picking the best from the analysis.

These solutions should also be analysed by the impact and implications on the wider context.

Logical fallacies can also mire a report. There are many of these fallacies, the most common ones are highlighted at: https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com [2]. A collection of logical fallacies linked to spotting propaganda can be found here: http://www.cuesta.edu/student/servs_classes/ssc/study_guides/critical_thinking/103_think_logic_errors.html [5]

Discussion


The report should analysis itself, discussing assumptions and judgements made during the report. This should include highlighting the fidelity of any conclusions and discussing problems with the methodology. It should also suggest further work that needs to be done to improve the results.


Draw Appropriate Conclusions


The report needs to draw appropriate conclusions, based on the arguments put forth within the report. It should not pull in additional supporting evidence, but be based on the information previously analysed. It should be support by the raw data and analysis.

A Good Report with Marking Scheme


In summary a good report should:
  • Be concise, logical and be clearly laid out
  • Have clear aims and boundary
  • Have clearly defined consistent terms
  • Link to wider topics and context
  • Provide evidence
  • Provide a counter-argument to premise and explore alternative views
  • Link arguments and solutions to wider context, including implications
  • Avoid logical fallacies
  • Have a discussion
  • Draw appropriate, supported conclusions
Each element will be marked out of 10, making a total of 100 marks.

Marks will be awarded from a bottom up approach. In other words start at zero and the report will have to earn the points.

Evaluation Essay Marking Scheme
Criteria
Mark
Max Mark
Have clear aims and boundary

10
Have clearly defined consistent terms, tone and use of language

10
Providing evidence

10
Avoiding logical fallacies

10
Link main premise to wider topics and context

10
Providing a counter-argument to premise and explore alternative views

10
Linking arguments and solutions to wider context, including implications

10
Have a discussion

10
Draw appropriate, supported conclusions

10
Be concise, logical and be clearly laid out

10


Total
100

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Opinionated Post: Why Men Need A New Feminism

by Thomas Cookson

This is going to be about male feminists.

Some 12 years ago, I tried my hand at being a male feminist myself, so I understand the appeal of feminism to men. I was part of an online feminist community that was were very kind to me and gave me much emotional support.

Since then mainstream feminism has changed for the worse into something hostile I don’t recognise anymore and now wouldn’t go anywhere near. Feminism today is one of homicidal hashtags, anti-manspreading legislations and abusive twitter campaigns.

Perhaps unsurprisingly the number of people willing to call themselves feminists today has shrunken. Many believe gender equality has been more or less achieved, and they’re starting to see modern feminism turn frankly into an embarrassment and are now losing patience with their insane antics.

But it can be quite uncomfortable watching emasculated male youtubers who still maintain their zealotry to feminism and insist we should too. These men seem so consumed with male guilt and self-hatred, seeming almost brainwashed. It seems no-one can or will tell them that maybe the movement they’re in isn’t that healthy.

So why do men become drawn to feminism, and why are many of them still staying with a poisoned chalice?

Well I can only speak to my experience and the factors that drew me to feminism.
  • I didn’t want to conform to a masculine macho role, and felt that joining feminism represented the best way to challenge and overcome that conformity.
  • Since I’d experienced bullying and gang harassment from male peers, I could more readily buy the idea of ‘toxic masculinity’ and see other males as rampantly violent, predatory and evil.
  • I felt I was failing to come across positively to women, believing that I’d present a better aura if I had a worthy womanist cause to follow and understood women better. I felt it was actually traditionalism and patriarchy that was the societal force keeping the genders segregated, dysfunctional and uncomfortable around each other, and that feminism understood the worst consequences of this and how to stop it.
  • I believed feminism would in the long run teach me to be a better, more understanding boyfriend.
  • I believed in honouring the women in my life, and working to help improve their lives.
  • Acceptance. Feminists can be very welcoming to men who join their movement. Many feminist communities are inevitably man deserts, but we’re only human and there’ll be women who miss and welcome male company, especially if it comes with the promise of being understood (However in recent times male feminists have grown prominent enough that their presence is clearly becoming an annoyance, hence feminist blogs devoted to bashing them and reminding them of their subordination in their mean girls clique)
  • I held the idea that feminism provided a road to self-improvement and becoming a better person, like pursuing sports, fitness regimes, religion or academia. Sometimes even when it was painful and defeating, it still appealed to that masochistic instinct.
But Feminism was, in the main, far from good for me. Even whilst being lucky enough to find a good accepting camp, being careful of the allies I chose, these feminist women are still likely to seek solace in articles and writings that are quite hostile and detrimental to men.

Here’s what I think are the main problems of feminism for men.
  • It rarely encourages men’s personal growth
  • Your voice is inherently an inferior one. There’s less good you can advance and more unspoken minefields you have to watch for. You learn to measure your words rather than expand your philosophy.
  • Good intentions are not taken for granted. You may think you’d fit easily into feminism. You’re clearly a decent person with a progressive outlook and believe that’s a good starting point. Sadly you might find feminism already considers you a bad apple until you prove otherwise. That’s your starting point. Female blunt honesty about men may seem refreshing, but really their view of men is usually one of distorted bigotry and not giving men a chance. Since they see sexism and bad intentions in everything, you might find it uphill work to convince them and even yourself that you aren’t sexist, or hope you can learn how to know and renounce your own unconscious sexism. 
  • There’s one prominent male feminist youtuber who introduced his wife in one video, and even after years’ marriage she still refuses to give him the benefit of the doubt that he’s not sexist. If he still hasn’t earned the benefit of the doubt, he never will.
  • Transparency is impossible. As you can imagine, presenting your best self in feminism is almost impossible. Your best self is almost never good enough. So you likely crumble into a grovelling state. 
  • But there’s a more sinister transformation that sometimes takes place. It’s not really a coincidence that some feminist women’s worst dating/relationship experiences were with self-proclaimed male feminists who turned out to be quite slimy, cavalier, controlling monsters. If speaking and behaving with transparency within the feminist movement is frowned upon, then you’re likely to think the best way to present well is to become a rather steely, manipulative, devious control freak. 
  • If you’re trying to rationalize the idea that feminism means equality, and you’re exposed to the cultish way feminism actually venerates women for being self-serving, impolite, unaccommodating and petty as empowering behaviour, then a downtrodden feminist man who’s wondering what’s in it for him might assume he needs to be equally inconsiderate and petty in order to get his.
  • I could never escape a feeling with feminism that I was actually being drawn back to the Victorian era, with their tyranny of etiquette, repression of male sexuality. It all seemed about ensuring men know their place and speak when spoken to, and don’t speak to a female stranger they haven’t already been formerly introduced to. Perhaps feminism hasn’t really moved on from its Victorian era beginnings.
  • Safe spaces and moral confusion. Feminism strongly caters to the view that the world’s a dangerous hostile place of violent, predatory men and harmful ideas and norms. But as with all safe spaces and fortresses, sometimes what you keep in is worse than what you keep out. Feminist ‘safe space’ don’t keep out ideas that are harmful to men. Infact it accumulates them. As a young man in feminism I quickly needed my own safe space within the safe space, but there wasn’t one.
  • If Valerie Solanas’ misandrist ideas and murderous actions (she wrote The Scum Manifesto and tried to assassinate Any Warhol) are revered and considered a ‘safe’ part of a dangerous world, and if that kind of violent expression of rage and hate is acceptable, downplayed, and empathised with, then you’re getting into dangerously morally confused ideas about the world and people and what represents ‘safe’ people.
  • Feminism has become an uncontrollable juggernaut with a never-ending goal to find sexism in everything. You may have noticed how feminist protests against the MRA are notoriously angry and belligerent. 
But I know first-hand that anger of being desperate for a righteous cause to fight, to right wrongs. The frustration of chasing shadows. I’ve absolutely wanted to kick something when that chance to get riled up and make protests was denied when a story about an unemployed German woman who’d been threatened with losing her benefits if she didn’t accept a job as a sex-worker, turned out to be a hoax.

After that I learned there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.

So how can we make a better feminism for men?


Well, let’s get away from the idea that gender is the overriding factor that determines who you are, whether your intentions are good, what you’re allowed to say. Perhaps our feminism should begin with men’s good intentions already written into it. Society overall needs to get away from harmful, detrimental ideas that make men see themselves as potentially dangerous or threatening to women.

Feminism needs to lose its filters, its skewed gendered lense, safe spaces, its rose-tinted view of its own shady history of bullying behaviour, and to finally understand the real world with clarity. Realities about our real world need to be spoken of, even if they might offend.

Opportunity Feminism by nature presents opportunities for men. Outcome feminism only offers them conclusive negative labels and dead ends.

Feminism’s always perhaps been a movement of ideologues who were useful for bringing about important changes, but always needed carefully watching to ensure they don’t become too powerful. Sadly no-one seems able to stop them enforcing their authoritarian madness anymore, yet simultaneously woman’s advocacy is still needed in areas where UK austerity cuts are now badly affecting availability of battered woman’s shelters and resources.

The main reason I want a better feminism is I still feel that I’ve got an old promise to keep to the feminist allies I’d once formed. I still want their suffered injustices to be righted. Egalitarian Feminism offers me a new chance to get back into the fight.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Blaise's Opinion: Where is the MRA support for the petition to get victims of female perpetrators equally recognised by UK Law?

Update 28/09/2016: new petition has been launched - let's get this one debated in parliament!
Caveat: These are the thoughts and ramblings of Blaise Wilson, they do not represent the EgaFem Community as a whole. They are often poorly researched and highly biased. They are useful to start a discussion on a topic. Comments, debate, evidence for and against, and feedback are welcome.

This wasn’t meant to be a feminist putting down the MRAs, but started life as a genuine question from an individual who has personally invested a lot of time and effort into something and questioning where else I can get ideas from, provide support too, and maybe provide a few links to those who wish to avoid something tainted with ‘feminism’.

But I got a bit frustrated when I started researching and asked twitter “Where is the MRA support for this petition? https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/124524” - NEW PETITION! https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/167582 - hopefully the MRA community will show more support this time round!



https://twitter.com/DisTurqLlama/status/728922062744653825

You see, when I was asked by Dan Stretton, the writer of the petition, if EgaFem would support it I said ‘yes.’ I expected EgaFem to bring a Feminist twist on how this impacts women to the large body of MRA voices I expected to be trumpeting this petition, with videos and articles and well rounded arguments! After all it is the first petition on this topic I’ve seen get more than 300 signatures.

But after a whole series of article and a video, totalling over 100 hours of my own hard work I was left wondering – where is this huge MRA voice I was meant to be joining?

I was supposed to add my little voice and help bring a few feminists with me. For a petition asking for genuine equality and giving women equal responsibility to men I wasn’t expecting many, if any, feminists other than EgaFem to support this petition. But I was really counting on the MRA’s to really push this.

The last thing I expected was to be the only one putting in any time and effort into promoting this petition!

So I did some digging and as of the end of April 2016 I found two confirmed MRA articles/videos. One is a short article by Justice for Men and Boys (J4MB): https://j4mb.wordpress.com/2016/03/21/daniel-strettons-petition-to-hm-government-change-the-legal-definition-of-rape-in-the-uk-to-include-female-on-male-rape/

And the other, an off the cuff video by DrRanodmerCam of the Honey Badgers called ‘The Long Hall’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kwqlzo2efmk

I am grateful they supported and took the time to share this petition. And to everyone who has tweeted or retweeted the petition - Thank you!

But… still… after all the time and effort I’d invested I was still very disappointed by the lack of effort MRAs had put in. J4MB's short article was a whole TWO paragraphs long with no arguments, citations or reasoning to why this is important.

I figured I must have missed something, so I sent out my tweet.

And was I got back was laughably terrible.

I received a few moans that feminism hasn’t pulled its weight – as if that’s some kind of excuse for MRA’s not making much effort. Especially as demanding equal responsibility to men isn’t really a traditional feminist call (EgaFem aren’t traditional feminists) but protecting male victims of female perpetrators certainly lands clearly within the MRA remit.



https://twitter.com/BlackBeard20096/status/729657901409808384

Then they tried showing examples of a few comments. One in the comments of A Voice For Men – not in the article itself but in the comments! And Lauren Southern’s comment on a closed Facebook group was used as an example of MRA support despite the fact that Lauren Southern is not a self-identified MRA, and a comment is great – better than nothing! But I was looking for a bit of time, effort and exploring the topic. Explaining why the petition is important and addressing some of the myths about it. You know, kinda like the articles I’ve written.

I was told I should have ‘looked harder’… in a closed Facebook group that I can’t use google to search through. The point of advertising and spreading a message is to get as many people to access it as possible, not hide it away.



Tweet: https://twitter.com/BlackBeard20096/status/729662540754649088

Also, Lauren points out that feminists aren’t supporting this petition. I don’t really expect her to have seen EgaFem, we’re new and small – but we seem to have put the most effort into supporting this so far!

The final hilarious farce of this whole endeavour I had TWO different people quote EgaFem to me as ‘evidence’ of MRA support!! Seriously?! Firstly I WROTE those articles (hence my moaning that no one else seems to be writing much!), secondly how is that evidence of MRA support when EgaFem is clearly a feminist website! That actually demonstrates the opposite!



https://twitter.com/BlackBeard20096/status/729653689342951424

The sad thing is this isn’t the only time I’ve seen MRA’s claim others, including feminist, work as their own. In trying to prove me ‘wrong’ and provide evidence of MRA support, they actually demonstrated just how little time and effort MRA bodies, especially the large sites such as A Voice for Men, have put into this petition. And it is heartbreaking.

This all ended with being told I should have asked them to do their job of supporting men!



https://twitter.com/BlackBeard20096/status/729768734349471745

The saddest thing of all was the two people (one on facebook) who said that MRAs are small and weak and shouldn’t bother trying to help men, before going on to blame feminism for oppressing the MRAs and bullying them.

Now this isn’t from a self-identified MRA, but an Anti-Feminist. But actions like this certainly aren’t helping get the message out there and helping real victims.

This is my original advert for the petition. I’m not very good with Inkscape, but I spent a few hours yelling at the programme and putting it together and I was very pleased with it. I made this.



And someone took the time and effort to deface it and removed the link to the petition that could actually raise awareness and make a difference!



https://twitter.com/BillColeman106/status/715934180916535296

So with so much of my personal time and effort invested into the petition, the perceived lack of MRA support, and the defacing of my picture is it any wonder I’m getting a bit emotional and frustrated!

Hope I was wrong, I hope I just didn’t spot things. If anyone sees anything, please share it with me!

Did I mention I’ve put a lot of time and effort into this petition? Did I? Well I don’t want it wasted. Regardless of your ideology be it MRA or other, please feel free to cannibalize the articles I’ve written, edit them to your perspective (e.g. make it more MRA friendly rather than the feminist lens), use the references and reuse anything you need, including the picture.

Here is a really handy one page summary I wrote, not linked to the EgaFem website to spread about if you don’t feel comfortable linking to a Feminist website. Again, please edit it and repost as you see fit.

http://problematicpeople.com/rape-female-perpetrator-victims-please-mirror

I look forward to seeing my work remastered on AVFM and other MRA websites - will be fun for me to spot my wording and see what edits they make.

As for the suggestion MRAs concentrate more on bashing feminism than helping men, I need to do more research to say one way or another. I will state my bias now though – I have defended MRAs from other feminists asserting this several times. But in light of the evidence I’ve seen and the quick glance at some MRA websites now I’m not so sure. I really want that assertion to be unfounded but I will go where the evidence leads.

This whole fiasco has sparked something new though. I always intended EgaFem to be part of a bigger Egalitarian community and work with MRAs. After this disappointment, and having been attacked several times and seen the hate some MRAs have towards Feminists, and vice versa, I worry there is too much of a gulf between the two side, and definitely not enough trust.

So, I would like to introduce EgaFem’s brother – EgaMRA: http://egamenrightsactivist.blogspot.co.uk/

Links to the rest of the articles on the petition:
Gendered Equality of Opportunity: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/gender-equality-of-opportunity.html
Definition of UK rape law: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/rape-definition-and-nounswap-test.html
Campaign Info: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/campaign-rape-recognising-womens-impact.html
Impact on Reports: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/rape-impact-on-reports.html
Denial of Women’s Impact and Agency: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/rape-denial-of-womens-impact-and-agency.html
Response to the GovUK Reply: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/rape-uk-governments-response.html

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Rape: UK Governments Response

Update 28/09/2016: new petition has been launched - let's get this one debated in parliament!


The Ministry of Justice doesn't think that victims of female perpetrators deserve equal justice to victims of male perpetrators. This means how the data is collected will continue to exclude victims, and society's attitude towards the Rape Culture dismissing victims of female perpetrators will not be addressed.

See the petition and their response here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/124524
[There is a NEW petition https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/167582 Please sign and share this one!]

THIS IS DISGUSTING and dismissing women's impact and agency equally to men, and allows female sexual predators to continue - they are rape apologists. The UK Government is supporting rape myths against victims of female perpetrators.

If you are a UK citizen,please write to your local MP and tell them this is NOT acceptable.

How to conatact your MP: http://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/contact-your-mp/

Quoted from the UK Government's response:

"The Government has responded to the petition you signed – “change the legal definition of rape in the uk to include female on male rape”.

Government responded:
The Sexual Offences Act 2003 protects both men and women from serious sexual offending. We are committed to tackling sexual offending in all its forms.

All non-consensual sexual penetration is dealt with by specific serious offences, including those that can be committed by a man or a woman. For example, the offence of assault by penetration carries the same maximum penalty as rape.

The sentences available under the Act for all sexual offences are significant and reflect the seriousness of the offending. 

Issues surrounding the definition of rape were considered both in the “Setting the Boundaries” consultation published prior to the introduction of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and, during the passage of that legislation through Parliament. In the consultation there was a considerable amount of agreement that rape should remain an offence of penile penetration, but that the definition be extended to include penile penetration of the mouth.

It is true that “rape” under Section 1 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 is, in the majority of cases, committed by a man, but there are some rare exceptions for example, when a woman is actively involved in the commission of a gang rape.

We therefore have no plans to amend the legal definition of rape in the Sexual Offences Act 2003 as suggested by this e-petition.
Ministry of Justice"

Further Reading

Definition of Gendered Equality of Opportunity: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/gender-equality-of-opportunity.html

Definition of UK rape law: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/rape-definition-and-nounswap-test.html

Friday, 6 May 2016

Rape: Denial of Women’s Impact and Agency

Author: Blaise Wilson
Update 28/09/2016: new petition has been launched - let's get this one debated in parliament!
Articles in this series:
Gendered Equality of Opportunity: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/gender-equality-of-opportunity.html
Definition of UK rape law: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/rape-definition-and-nounswap-test.html
Campaign Info: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/campaign-rape-recognising-womens-impact.html
Impact on Reports: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/rape-impact-on-reports.html
Denial of Women’s Impact and Agency: This Article
Reponse the the GovUK Reply: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/rape-uk-governments-response.html

Introduction

In this series we are looking at the legal UK definition of rape and the effect it has on society. We are concentrating on a feminist perspective by looking at how the definition recognises women’s impact and agency.

Although binary language has been used, it is assumed these findings are relevant to all self-identified genders.

This is in support of a UK Petition the Government campaign: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/167582
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/124524

If you are a UK citizen, please sign and share it. If you are not, please share it with your UK followers and raise awareness.

Women’s Agency

The legal UK definition of rape excludes female perpetrators, leaving their male and female victims incapable of getting justice [6].

Women can, and do, force oral sex, sexual touching, and sexual intercourse onto both men and women using threats of physical violence, including threatening their victims lives, sometimes with a weapon, physical and emotional domination, abuse and aggression, restraints, and either use or take advantage of intoxication by drugs or alcohol to victimise others [2] .

Both men and women with high impulsivity, hostile attributional bias, poor emotional regulation, and callousness coupled with neurological and psychological factors increase motivation and willingness to use aggression, including sexual aggression [3].

Women’s Impact

Although victims of female violence can be both male and female, male victims suffer some unique challenges due to the intersexual consequences of being both a male victim and of a female perpetrator.

Male and female victims can be physically sexually aroused without mental consent. Women self-lubricate and men have an erection, or even climaxing with victims reporting orgasming during violent and traumatic rape [2]. An erection is not consent, but can occur during heightened emotional states such as fear and anger [2].

Both female and male victims, even those with combat or martial arts training, have a tendency to freeze up with helplessness, especially if their life has been threatened [2].

Victims of either gender can suffer from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) such as flashbacks, insomnia, isolation and feelings of guilt [10]. It also impacts their social life, emotional state, and sexual functions including impacting their quality of life and future relationships by being averse to sex [2].

When the perpetrator was a women, all victims suffer from disbelief, negative stereotypes, rape myths, and a focus on physical harm by society. However, men potentially suffer additional challenges as a result of their perceived masculinity [2].

Stereotyping and Myths

Rape Myths have been strongly linked to victim blaming and vindication of the perpetrator [2].

Kassing, Beesley, and Frey (2005) listed six categories which classify male rape myths:
  1. men’s physical strength and size mean that they are incapable of being overpowered and forced into sexual activity
  2. men instigate sexual intercourse and consequently would not be targets for rape
  3. men who are victims of rape lose their masculinity
  4. that the rape of men is rare
  5. men are emotionally and physically strong enough to cope with being raped
  6. male rape only occurs in prison [2]

Gendered Language and the Feminist Influence

Sexual victims of female perpetrators see it as an act of aggression, rather than a sexual act [2]. This is in line with the Feminist assertion that rape is an act of domination rather than sexual fulfilment [2]. However, as a feminist it is my utter shame to admit that feminists are some of the worst offenders of gendered language and the denial of female perpetrators and their victims, especially if those victims are male.

Feminists are well aware of the influence of gendered language on society with their fight to change terms like policeMAN, postMAN, and spaceMAN to more gender neutral terms [2, 3]. Many Feminists view women as victims and men as perpetrators, encouraging empathy and tenderness towards women and denying it to men [2, 3]. An example of this is the Duluth Model [5]. Feminists generally only apply Rape Culture and Rape Myths to female victims of male perpetrators [2, 3].

Gendered languages has huge ramification on the methods of data gathering as already discussed in the previous article [8], effectively silencing victims within research and official statistics. Suitable measures must be adopted that take biological differences into account. For example a study by Susan Wachob and Rick Nizzardin “Male Survivors” hypothesised that because male survives describe their victimisation in graphic detail and often with great anger, it makes the trauma they suffered seem not only less believable, but could be taken as a crank call, glorification his own sexual gratification, or even motivated by harassing the person taking the call [1].

By concentrating on men as only perpetrators and women only as victims society is not equipped to conceive or comprehend victims of female violence [2].

Belief of Society

Due to the rape myths and the gendered language, victims of female perpetrators are not believed. Women’s agency and impact is denied and victims suffer as a direct result.

Belief is the foundation stone of supporting victims. This is not an avocation that all reports be believed without question, but every report should be investigated and not dismissed on the bases of rape myths. A balance must be struck, however when a false allegation can be categorically proven the full force of the law should bear down to discourage such behaviours. False rape allegations by any gender reduces the belief in genuine rape cases and promotes a rape culture of disbelief, in addition to creating a legal and social victim in the falsely accused.

The attitudes of the legal system, from the initial reporting to the courts creates further demonstration of the harm the rape culture against victims of female perpetrators creates.

A 2005 article by Walker et al. found that only 5 of 40 males reported their rape to the police, 4 of those 5 regretted it due to the insensitively and negative victim blaming they received [2]. If it manages to get to court the victim can be further traumatised by ‘secondary victimisation’ that can be worse than the rape itself as law enforcement, attorneys, the jury, support networks, friends, family, and the wider community act with disbelief and victim blaming [2].

This lack of belief even penetrates victim support groups and therapists, some of whom do not believe it is possible to be victimised by a women. Not only refusing to offer support but further harming the victim [2]. “The website of the Canadian Children’s Rights Council quotes the statistic that 86% of victims of female sexual predators aren’t believed.” [1, p4]

Researchers fair little better. There is a massive lack of academic research into the victims of female violence [2]. Even when unbiased raw data is collected and demonstrates similar victimisation and perpetration of the genders, it is often reported as a biased gendered issue, ignoring female perpetrators and male victims [1].

The legal UK definition of rape is often used within UK academic and official reporting, and is the root cause of excluding female perpetrators [2].

Underreporting

With statistics of only 5 – 25% of female victims of male rape being officially report to the police [2] it could easily be hypothesised that male victims of female perpetrators is significantly lower due to “failure to identify what happened to them as sexual assault, because sexual assault is widely viewed as something men do to women, not something that can even happen to a man; fear of being disbelieved; fear that because of the widely-known “intergenerational cycle of violence,” being identified as a sexual assault survivor may mean being also seen as a (at least potential) perpetrator; and fear that since men aren’t supposed to be sexual assault victims, admitting to such will tarnish others’ view of their masculinity. Men who were assaulted by other men may fear they will be viewed as “gay” if they report” [1, p4]

Conclusion

“Female abusers must do something severe and obvious before they will be held accountable as perpetrators. Males must be abused in more severe and obvious ways before we will take them seriously as victims.” -- Health Canada (1996) [1, p4]

“A 1994 article by Lisa Lipshires, “Female Perpetration of Child Sexual Abuse: An Overview of the Problem,” relates many stories of district attorneys and judges dismissing cases against women because “women don’t do things like this”” [1, p1]

“The 2007 report by The Center for Sex Offender Management, “Female Sex Offenders,” plays out some of the practical implications of these myths: research on law enforcement officers has found they, “reacted with disbelief to allegations involving women, minimized the seriousness of the reports, viewed the female suspects as less dangerous and harmful, and were prone toward labeling the cases as ‘unfounded.’”” [1, p2]

Denying female perpetrators, and thus their victims, due to depictions of women as submissive, passive, and without sexual agency is hugely damaging to women being taken seriously in society, including in the workplace. But it is even more harmful to their victims, both male and female. It is time women’s impact and agency was recognised and take its place in society’s consciousness equally to men’s.

Unfortunately feminists are often some of the worst offenders of deny women their impact and agency. As a feminist, I hope to contribute to correcting that.

“The Home Office (2007) stated that victims ‘deserve to be supported, to be treated with dignity and respect, and to see their offenders brought to justice’ (pi). In order to give male victims the support, treatment, and respect they deserve it is essential that rape myths, gender stereotypes, and just world beliefs are dispelled and that there is a policy change so that the legal definition includes the rape of a man by a woman.” [2, p25]

If the UK legal definition of rape is changed, there could be a significant increase in reporting of female perpetrators by their victims [2], however this will change society’s perception of a victim and allow all victims to not only get the support they need, but equal justice.

If you are a UK citizen, please sign and share this petition. If you are not, please share it with your UK followers and raise awareness: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/167582
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/124524

References

[1] Loree Cook-Daniels, Female Perpetrators and Male Victims of Sexual Assault: Why They are so Invisible, undated. Available at: http://forge-forward.org/wp-content/docs/Female-perpetrators-and-male-victims-why-they-are-invisible_mjw.pdf
[2] Nicola L. Fisher, Afroditi Pina, An overview of the research literature on male sexual victimization, undated. Available at: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/33378/3/Fisher%20%2526%20Pina%20REVISED%20FV%20AVB%2010-05R.pdf
[3] Nicola Graham-Kevan, The Re-Emergence of Male Victims, 2014. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/244941105_The_Re-Emergence_of_Male_Victims
[4] CSEW questionnaire: www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/method-quality/specific/crime-statistics-methodology/crime-survey-for-england-and-wales-2011-12-adult-questionnaire.pdf
[5] EgaFem’s Duluth Analysis: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/taking-in-depth-look-into-domestic.html
[6]Definition of UK rape law: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/rape-impact-on-reports.html
[7] Black, M.C., Basile, K.C., Breiding, M.J., Smith, S.G., Walters, M.L., Merrick, M.T., Chen, J., & Stevens, M.R. (2011). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Summary Report. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/nisvs_report2010-a.pdf
[8] Impact on Reports: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/rape-impact-on-reports.html
[9] Petition the Government: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/167582
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/124524
[10] NHS PTSD symptoms: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Post-traumatic-stress-disorder/Pages/Introduction.aspx

Previous Article: Impact on Reports: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/rape-impact-on-reports.html

Next Article: Reponse the the GovUK Reply: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/rape-uk-governments-response.html

Further Reading

A 1996 Health Canada study, “The Invisible Boy: Revisioning the Victimization of Male Children and Teens,” found that “female [childhood sexual assault] victims were twice as likely to report their sexual abuse experiences.” [1, p4]
The final paper, by Tewksbury, discusses the emerging literature on adult male sexual victimization and the consequences such experiences have upon men’s physical and psychological health, and their sexual behavior. [3, p5]
David Lisak, The Psychological Impact of Sexual Abuse: Content Analysis of Interview with Male Survivors. Journal of Traumatic Stress, Vol 7. No.4, 1994. Available at: http://www.jimhopper.com/pdfs/Lisak_%281994%29_Male_Survivor_Interviews.pdf

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Rape: Impact on Reports

Author: Blaise Wilson
Articles in this series:
Gendered Equality of Opportunity: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/gender-equality-of-opportunity.html
Definition of UK rape law: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/rape-definition-and-nounswap-test.html
Campaign Info: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/campaign-rape-recognising-womens-impact.html
Impact on Reports: This article
Denial of Women’s Impact and Agency: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/rape-denial-of-womens-impact-and-agency.html
Reponse the the GovUK Reply: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/rape-uk-governments-response.html

The impact of the UK legal definition of rape

As highlighted in the previous article (see links above) the legal UK definition of rape requires penetration by a penis without consent. This excludes envelopment of the vagina, which is the female equivalent action. Penetration by an object is covered under a different law.

Why should this matter?


In this article we will delve into how this definition impacts the research that informs the UK Government. This has a direct link with the information the UK Government is provided to make decisions and changes to the system.

The UK Government uses data from the Crime Survey England and Wales (CSEW) [1] and compares the data to police records. This helps them determine what crimes are officially reported, and provides an estimate of a more realistic assessment of crime in England and Wales [4].

Using surveys is not perfect, but it is the best we have at getting a more reliable and accurate picture of crime.

The CSEW Definition

The CSEW uses a questionnaire [2]. The questions ask about a range of crimes, including sexual and domestic violence. Here is an example question:

“Since you were 16, has anyone ever forced you to have sexual intercourse or take part in some other sexual act, when you were not capable of consent or when you made it clear you did not want to? By sexual intercourse we mean vaginal, anal or oral penetration.” [2, p 259] Emphasis mine.

If you say ‘yes’, the follow up question and response options are:

“You said that someone has forced you to have sexual intercourse or take part in some other sexual act when you were not capable of consent or when you made it clear you did not want to. What did they do to you?”

1. Penetrated your [vagina or anus/anus] with their penis

2. Penetrated your [vagina or anus/anus] with an object (including fingers)

3. Penetrated your mouth with their penis

4. Did some other sex act not described above

5. Don’t know

6. Don’t want to answer” [2, p259]

If a women forces a man to have sex with her without consent the only option of reporting it is ‘did some other sex act not described above’. Because according to the CSEW, women cannot even have sexual intercourse because it is defined as penetration and women can’t penetrate. A women has no agency to have sex, they cannot act – by this definition they can only be acted upon. This definition reduces women to objects that have no agency.

This is demonstrably sexist against both women, by denying them equal agency to men, and to the male victims of women by denying them equal justice.

Do women ‘rape’?

It doesn’t matter if women force themselves onto men, it doesn’t matter how many, it doesn’t matter if even ONE women has sex with a man without his consent. The numbers do not matter when it comes to equality of the law.

For there to be equality the law must equally recognise women’s agency equally to men.

However, what happens when you allow men to report being forced to have sex without consent?

The US CDC’s The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Summary Report [3] asked:

“When you were drunk, high, drugged, or passed out and unable to consent, how many people ever…

had vaginal sex with you? By vaginal sex, we mean that {if female: a man or boy put his penis in your vagina} {if male: a woman or girl made you put your penis in her vagina}?

{if male} made you perform anal sex, meaning that they made you put your penis into their anus?

made you receive anal sex, meaning they put their penis into your anus?

made you perform oral sex, meaning that they put their penis in your mouth or made you penetrate their vagina or anus with your mouth?

made you receive oral sex, meaning that they put their mouth on your {if male: penis} {if female: vagina} or anus?” [3, p106] Emphasis mine.

They define ‘rape’ and ‘made to penetrate’ as:

“Rape is defined as any completed or attempted unwanted vaginal (for women), oral, or anal penetration through the use of physical force (such as being pinned or held down, or by the use of violence) or threats to physically harm and includes times when the victim was drunk, high, drugged, or passed out and unable to consent. Rape is separated into three types, completed forced penetration, attempted forced penetration, and completed alcohol or drug facilitated penetration…

“Being made to penetrate someone else includes times when the victim was made to, or there was an attempt to make them, sexually penetrate someone without the victim’s consent because the victim was physically forced (such as being pinned or held down, or by the use of violence) or threatened with physical harm, or when the victim was drunk, high, drugged, or passed out and unable to consent.” [3, p17]

As shown, these definitions allow a much wider range of situations to be reported as ‘rape’ and ‘made to penetrate’, purposely inflating the statistics by include sex while drunk or high on drugs without making it clear if they were still had the capacity to consent or not. However, as they define them both equally a comparison of the male and female data within the CDC report is appropriate, but cannot be compared to the UK statistics as they have a different boundary on their definition of rape.

Remembering that the numbers don’t matter, the root cause problem is the legal definition of rape. However, out of pure curiosity what was the CDC’s results?


Women
(Est. Number)
Men
(Est. Number)
Rape & Made to Penetrate in the last 12 months
1,270,000
1,267,000
Rape & Made to Penetrate LIFETIME
21,840,000
7,032,000
1,581,000 (Rape)
5,451,000 (Made to Penetrate
[3] From page 17-18 tables 1.2 and 2.2

However, ‘made to penetrate’ includes men being forced into other men. The CDC provides data on the gender of the perpetrator:


Female Victim of Rape
Male Victim of Made to Penetrate
Male Victim of Rape
Female Perpetrator
1.9%
79.2%
6.7%
Male Perpetrator
98.1%
20.8%
93.3%
[3] LIFETIME data, taken from paragraph on page 24.

And the final piece of this puzzle, the relationships of the perpetrators to the victims.

LIFETIME perpetrator relationship
Female
(Rape)
Male
(Made to Penetrate)
Current/Former Interment Partner
51.1%
44.8%
Family Member
12.5%
-
Person of Authority
2.5%
-
Acquaintance
40.8%
44.7%
Stranger
13.8%
8.2%
[3]LIFETIME Data from pages 22 - 23 table 2.5 and 2.6 

NB: Relationship is based on respondents’ reports of their relationship at the time the perpetrator first committed any violence against them. Due to the possibility of multiple perpetrators, combined row percentages may exceed 100%.

The CDC did not report data that was too unreliable, hence why some of the information on male rape victims is missing.

What can be done?

The root cause problem is the UK legal definition of rape. By including envelopment/ made to penetrate within the definition women’s agency to force men into sex will be legally recognised, and the victims can start to get the help and support they need.

To help correct this injustice, please join the campaign to petition the UK Government to change the law: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/124524

If you live in the UK please sign and share the petition. If you don’t live in the UK, please promote the petition to your UK followers, spread the message. If the UK changes the law it will put pressure on other countries to follow suit.

For some useful downloadable images and further information on the campaign goto Campaign Info: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/campaign-rape-recognising-womens-impact.html

References

[1] CSEW website: http://www.crimesurvey.co.uk
[2] CSEW questionnaire: www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/method-quality/specific/crime-statistics-methodology/crime-survey-for-england-and-wales-2011-12-adult-questionnaire.pdf
[3] Black, M.C., Basile, K.C., Breiding, M.J., Smith, S.G., Walters, M.L., Merrick, M.T., Chen, J., & Stevens, M.R. (2011). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Summary Report. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/nisvs_report2010-a.pdf
[4] An Overview of Sexual Offending in England and Wales by Ministry of Justice, Home Office & the Office for National Statistics, January 2013 - https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/an-overview-of-sexual-offending-in-england-and-wales
[5] Petition the UK Government: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/124524