Who defines rape?

Twenty years ago Nara Shoenberg and Sam Roe challenged feminist myth making about rape. Let’s take a look at what they had to say in their article, The Making of an Epidemic.

The article shows the connection between Koss, Steinem, and the 1 in 4 myth. It’s on page 8 of the newspaper, page 5 of the archive.

She was a little-known Professor at Kent State University when a male coleague proposed a subject for study: Do college men view women with large breasts as likely rape victims? Women in the study would wear padded bras.

Dr. Koss thought studying students was promising, but “the padded bra study had to go.”

Eventually, she conducted a study of her own: She surveyed Kent State students and found 1 in 8 women had been raped.

There was little media attention, and Dr. Koss, who just had her first child, was considering cutting back on her research.

Then the phone call came.

“I’m calling from Ms. magazine,” the voice said, “and Gloria would like you to come to New York and have lunch with us.”

“My God,” Dr. Koss said to herself. “I’ve just been invited to go to New York and have lunch with Gloria Steinem!”

Ms. wanted to sponsor a national campus rape survey, and Dr. Koss agreed to do one.

The article is an early articulation of many of the same points we see discussed here regarding the surveys feminists have used to make claims of widespread sexual assault against women. Among the things it points out:

  • Researchers were pressured for results showing a high prevalence of rape. Margaret Gordon (University of Washington) told the article’s writers “There was some pressure – at least I felt pressure – to have rape be as prevalent as possible. I’m a pretty strong feminist, but one of the things I was fighting was that the really avid feminists were trying to get me to say that things were worse than they really are.” Her study found a rate of 1 in 50.
  • Scientists responsible for the highest numbers were passionate advocates whose findings may reflect more bias than fact. Diana Russel, whose 1982 study found that 1 in 3 women are victims of rape or attempted rape, went into that work with the attitude that for the most part, male sexuality is predatory.
  • Researchers manipulated the statistics by manipulating the definition of the term “rape” and using ambiguous questions.
  • The numbers were doubted by other feminists, including other feminist researchers.

BUT

  • People were afraid to question the numbers, and those who did were demonized.
  • These studies were largely ignored until Ms. promoted Mary Koss’s study. The writers credit feminists’ push for public attention to their claims about acquaintance rape for the increased interest. According to the article, “Dr. Koss’s numbers were reported in magazines, newspapers, a national public awareness campaign, and even a book. Colleges featured them in educational workshops.”
  • Researchers’ claim to legitimacy? Their studies are published in scientific journals funded by the federal government. (Appeal to authority.)

The article mentions that the Violence Against Women act (the original) was then-senator Joe Biden’s baby, and that the inflated rape stats from a Cleveland study by Mary Koss that she stated shouldn’t be applied nationally were used to promote it.

At the same time as Koss did her study, there was another study by Dr. Linda George at Duke university with different results. A random survey of 1000 women, which used a broad definition that included cases of having felt pressured into sex, found only 1 in 17 had been victims. Numbers from other studies done on sexual assault (a more broad category) in the 80s and 90s include 1 in 50 urban women, 1 in 20 pregnant, low-income women, and according to the U.S. Justice department at the time, 1 in 820 women. At the time of publication, the justice department’s numbers had been stable for 20 years.

In 1993 feminist researchers knew there was reason to doubt claims based on numbers obtained by asking a lot of research subjects ambiguous questions and interpreting the responses, especially given that the subjects often didn’t agree with the researchers’ interpretations. Awareness of that issue led to an effort by researchers to reduce the appearance of ambiguity, but not to actually address the underlying problem: Feminists and the general public just do not have the same criteria for calling a sex act “rape.”

That should have led to a re-examination of the intent behind the manipulation of that research. Feminists should have considered whether they were actually measuring criminal behavior, or attempting to criminalize the acts of half of the participants in mutual behaviors they personally disapproved. Instead of accepting conclusions that so dramatically differed from all other research on sexual violence, they should have been considering the possibility that those conclusions weren’t accurate representations of the experiences of the subjects.

Instead, other research has since been buried under an avalanche of feminist propaganda promoting the 1 in 4 myth, the myth that all men are potential rapists (and most rapists are men), and that society is in the midst of an epidemic of sexual violence against women perpetrated by men. That propaganda has been used to lobby for legal changes like updates to the legal definition of rape, updates to VAWA dedicating grant money to feminist-created and run initiatives, and passing the Campus SaVE act. Feminists have spent the last quarter-century trying to force the public to accept their narrative on sexual violence. They have demonized men as natural sexual predators. They’ve exploited female proxy victim status for power and profit, capitalizing on society’s tendency to protect women. When they found that women disagreed, they brushed that disagreement aside as irrelevant, because… well, who cares what women think when there’s a sexual violence epidemic to create?

Hannah Wallen

Hannah Wallen

Hannah has witnessed women's use of criminal and family courts to abuse men in five different counties, and began writing after she saw one man's ordeal drag on for seven years, continuing even when authorities had substantial evidence that the accuser was gaming the system. She is the author of Breaking the Glasses, written from an anti-feminist perspective, with a focus on men's rights and sometimes social issues. Breaking the Glasses refers to breaking down the "ism" filters through which people view the world, replacing thought in terms of political rhetoric with an exploration of the human condition and human interactions without regard to dogmatic belief systems. She has a youtube channel (also called Breaking the Glasses), and has also written for A Voice For Men and Genderratic. Hannah's work can be supported at https://www.patreon.com/HannahWallen.
Hannah Wallen

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Hannah Wallen

Hannah has witnessed women's use of criminal and family courts to abuse men in five different counties, and began writing after she saw one man's ordeal drag on for seven years, continuing even when authorities had substantial evidence that the accuser was gaming the system. She is the author of Breaking the Glasses, written from an anti-feminist perspective, with a focus on men's rights and sometimes social issues. Breaking the Glasses refers to breaking down the "ism" filters through which people view the world, replacing thought in terms of political rhetoric with an exploration of the human condition and human interactions without regard to dogmatic belief systems. She has a youtube channel (also called Breaking the Glasses), and has also written for A Voice For Men and Genderratic. Hannah's work can be supported at https://www.patreon.com/HannahWallen.

  • Robert Crayle

    One thing I’ve always wondered about these particular surveys is to do with sample sizes. Do any of them contain enough participants to be statistically significant? Right off the bat, the Mary Koss survey doesn’t seem to, even for college-age women. Another problem I found with the Koss survey was the quite notable difference between the numbers of men and women surveyed. The inferences made for men in that sample is a) not enough even for the university she did the survey at and b) gives me doubts as to whether she did survey equal numbers of men and women and just decided to drop a large number of male participants who had ‘problematic’ responses to her questions ie. victimisation sans perpetration.

    As a personal aside, this women presents herself as a twisted and loathsome sicko. She personally creates serious misinformation purely for personal advancement and aggrandisement. Is there any other examples of academics today inflicting this much damage to the societal body simply because it serves them personally?

  • Paul

    GWW and Paul Elam was recently interviewed by the National Review or something like that. Maybe you could try to get this text to the attention of the journalist.

  • Snake Oil Baron

    Excellent piece.

    I don’t know which is more disheartening, the damage done or the ease with which it was accomplished. Or maybe it’s the knowledge that it doesn’t look like any serious repair to this damage will be accomplished in the near term.

    And wasn’t it a treat to read Joe Biden’s name in connection with this. What a waste of atoms that particular organism is.

  • Me

    Soon, America will be the first nation in the world where hetero-relationships are a legal liability for guys.

  • http://thedamnedoldeman.com TDOM

    @Robert Crayle

    The problem in the Koss study was not the sample size. It was more than large enough to be representative (3187 women, 2972 men). But that is not to say that there weren’t problems with the sampling. 93 institutions were contacted, but only 32 were willing to allow their students to participate in the study. Among the reasons for not participating were concerns over the ethics of the use of human subjects, anonymity of participants, religious objections, and concerns regarding the sensationalism of the results.

    Possible ethical concerns might have included (Koss doesn’t specify) that the male students were being asked to admit to committing possibly criminal acts, the survey was administered to entire classes at once. While it was stated that a student could opt out, they were required to remain in the classroom while the others took the survey which may be considered coercive. Further students were told not to sign the consent forms they were given (supposedly to ensure anonymity, but this would be considered unethical today). While the consent form is said to have contained “all the elements of informed consent,” Koss indicates that the purpose of the study was explained in a “printed debriefing statement” handed out after the survey was completed. This indicates that a level of deception was used in the study. Research ethics permit deception to be used only in studies where knowing the purpose of the study might effect the outcome. Koss was clearly trying to hide her intent from her participants (This conclusion is supported in the reasons Koss gives for the ambiguous questions as well).

    One interesting statistic Koss reported that I have not seen anyone else comment about, but which is an indicator that the women did not interpret the survey questions as Koss suggests, is her report that 41% of those women she records as rape victims reported that they had been virgins at the time the “rape” occurred. This could indicate that these participants were attempting to rationalize the decision to finally “go all the way” thinking they didn’t really plan the behavior, or didn’t intend to have intercourse, and answered affirmatively because she really “didn’t want to” have sex, but not actually meaning that the sex occurred without consent. This could also explain the discrepancy between Koss interpretation of the survey answers and the face-to-face denial by the women that they had been sexually assaulted. Koss dismissed this discrepancy stating that these women simply did not know the meaning of sexual assault or rape. She presented no evidence from the interviews to support this conclusion. Nor did she present evidence that refutes alternate explanations.

  • Chris Deslone

    quote:

    In the past, Dr. Koss has repeatedly stated that her study used the legal definition of rape.

    But one of the questions she used to detect rape was, “Have you had sexual intercourse when you didn’t want to because a man gave you alcohol or drugs?”

    Dr. Koss now acknowledges that question is flawed.

    “At the time, I viewed the question as legal,” she says. “I now conceded that it’s ambiguous.”

    Page 9, column b

    The Blade: Toledo, Ohio Sunday October 10, 1993 Section A

  • Adiabat

    I sometimes think that we need a national blacklist for researchers who are shown to behave dishonestly. Several times now I’ve researched a subject only to find the same names pop up in dubious papers supporting a particular view. Their contributions do nothing but cloud the issue.

  • Paul

    Here is another example of feminist “research”/misrepresentation of research:

    http://www.mindingthecampus.com/originals/2013/05/a_classic_text_on_genderand_it.html

  • Schala

    Is there any other examples of academics today inflicting this much damage to the societal body simply because it serves them personally?

    Ray Blanchard and Kurt Freund (his mentor) about trans women, since 1985 and until recently.

  • Robert Crayle

    Thanks TDOM.

    And Schala, the sheer superstition around transfolk is one of the few great remaining points of magical thinking affecting science and honest doubting thought. Scientists are being quite cowardly about this, avoiding taking on bigots with the cowardly out of

  • Robert Crayle

    (cont) including different voices in the name of the godly enemy of all evil, postmodernism. It’s time they FUCKING TOOK THE RESPONSIBILITY.

  • Ginkgo

    Adiabat,
    “I sometimes think that we need a national blacklist for researchers who are shown to behave dishonestly. Several times now I’ve researched a subject only to find the same names pop up in dubious papers supporting a particular view. Their contributions do nothing but cloud the issue.”

    Registerher.com

  • http://tamenwrote.wordpress.com/ Tamen

    I thought it might be of interest that the complete questionaire for NISVS 2010 is available here: http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/DownloadDocument?documentID=212535&version=1

    One think one can deduce from the questionaire is that CDC does have the data on the gender distribution of perpertrators reported by victims of “made to penetrate” in the last 12 months. Essentially they first ask for initials and genders of all perpetrators for lifetime. Then they ask the respondents to list all the perpetrators who had victimized them in the last 12 months (paraphrasing by me). Since the last 12 months perpetrators is a subset of the lifetime perpetrators and CDC knows the gender of the lifetime perpetrators they also know the genders of the last 12 months perpetrators.

    The pertinent question that pops to mind is; why did CDC not use that knowledge to refute typhonblue’s 60-40 calculation as that is the only piece missing? Could it be because the gender ratio for perpetrators of MTP the last 12 months is close enough to the 79.2% it was for lifetime numbers making it unsuitable as an instrument in making such a refutation?

  • typhonblue

    @ Tamen

    Well that’s a smoking gun.

    If they knew the numbers were significantly different(presumably lower) they could have easily said the lower number to refute my point and the info graphic’s point.

    One of two things comes to mind. 1) The number wasn’t significantly lower. 2) The CDC’s letter was a fabrication.

    “The pertinent question that pops to mind is; why did CDC not use that knowledge to refute typhonblue’s 60-40 calculation as that is the only piece missing? Could it be because the gender ratio for perpetrators of MTP the last 12 months is close enough to the 79.2% it was for lifetime numbers making it unsuitable as an instrument in making such a refutation?”

    Alternatively the twelve month female perp numbers are higher. In fact I would stake money on this.

    All of this reeks to high heaven.