Confession: I regularly tweet at work. And not just because I manage all the social media for my company. I work for a start-up company, which means my job description includes the ability to “hurry up and wait.” In-between actual job tasks, I read the latest on Jezebel, stalk my new favorite blogs, and tweet about sexual assault.
Today, as I was getting ready to leave work, I tweeted two things.
The response to the first was typical.
The response to the second is the most number of retweets and favorites I have ever received. By far.
Not surprisingly, I also received a small number of hostile replies to the suggestion that men shouldn’t be nearly as worried about being falsely accused of rape as they should about being victims of rape. Maybe because it’s easier to think women are more likely to lie than men are to be violent? I don’t know.
In light of the recent Steubenville case, and the disgusting amount of victim-blaming on the Internet, and the fight I had with my twin brother (the rape apologist) last week, and the replies I received to this tweet… I give you…
A post on men and sexual violence.
I looked at three numbers when I tweeted earlier. (I am using statistics from the U.K. only because of the recent study on false accusations. At the end of this post, I will also include some U.S. details with links).
One, the number of rapists who get away with it. (In the U.K., the conviction rate for reported rapes is only 5%, and the majority of rapes are not reported at all).
Two, the number of men who are rape victims. (In the U.K., 8% of reported rape victims are men, but one expert estimates 3 in 20 men have been raped).
Three, the number of men who are falsely accused of rape. (A recent study in the U.K. of a 17-month period shows only 38 prosecutions for false accusations of rape and 5,651 prosecutions for rape. In other words, .7% of rape allegations were false).
Based on the Internet and real-life interactions (so anecdata here), most men are primarily concerned with being falsely accused of rape.
Before I go any further, let me state this, in bold, so the people who are skimming this before they YELL AT ME LIKE THIS, will still read it. Falsely accusing a man of rape is absolutely despicable. Women (and men, and parents of children) should absolutely be prosecuted and punished for this crime. It makes me sick to my stomach to think of this happening. It is WRONG, period.
The problem with our society is not that we think lightly of false accusations—the problem is that we fear them to an illogical degree, to the point that we prioritize protecting men from false rape accusations over protecting women (and men) from actual rape.
When I started writing this, I asked Beau a question. I prefaced my question with an assurance of the seriousness of my question and my genuine desire to understand his answer, along with the caveat that he’s probably not representative of most men in their 20s.
Before we started dating, did you ever worry about being falsely accused of rape?
“No,” he replied. Why? He knows a “million” people who could attest to his character and integrity, who would stand up for him and swear he’s always respectful of women.
I commented that maybe it’s different for him, since he’s saving sex for marriage. He explained it was more than that because abstaining from sex doesn’t prevent women from falsely accusing you of rape. He noted that the men who seem most worried about being falsely accused of rape are the ones who already disrespect women and treat them badly.
Again, anecdata. We’re two people, not a scientific study.
But the most vocal men on the Interwebz crying about false rape accusations express their fears in one of several worrisome ways.
Women are liars and sluts: Whores just sleep around, and then when they regret it in the morning, they call rape so no one will know they’re eager little sluts.
Your dozen studies aren’t good enough: Feminists are crazy with this whole “1 in 5” bullshit number. How many rapes are reported to the police? I don’t see one in five women filing police reports. It’s just a bunch of lies feminists created so women think all men are rapists.
I reject your definition of rape: What, so now you can’t have sex with a woman if she’s been drinking? That’s rape now? I guess I’m a rapist then, and so are all my friends!
|From the "Don't Be That Guy" campaign in Canada.|
Which brings us back to the Steubenville case. Testimonyfrom other boys at the party revealed what feminists have been saying for years: we need to teach men not to rape. They already know not to jump out from the bushes and attack a woman with a knife. They do NOT know not to digitally penetrate a passed out teenage girl. They do NOT know that trying to force an unresponsive teenage girl to perform oral sex is attempted rape.
We need to talk about enthusiastic consent. Because here’s a little secret on how not to get falsely accused of rape: respect all women, and always obtain clear, enthusiastic consent before commencing any sexual activity.
For a longer list on how to avoid false rape accusations, from a fairly anti-feminist site, read this article here.
For more information on sexual assault statistics in the U.S., along with where to seek treatment or assistance, see the resources I have listed in my library.
Also this Wikipedia article, and this list of reports/studies from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and this pdf from the U.S. Census.
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