[2013 edit: I realize that this post isn’t as clear in re: statistical analysis as I would like it to be. I doubt the premise will change, but I will do a more thorough data combing in a later post and link to it here in a edit when I do.]
[2016 edit: Here you go. “Men are NOT Raped More than Women in the US pt 2“]
Progressive Current TV newscasters The Young Turks were straight up wrong about something last week. They called it a “fact.” I sent them an e-mail, but they never responded, so in my truth-crusading the need to bitch on my blog kicked in.
Dear Young Turks,
I’m writing in regards to your video “Men Raped More Than Women in US?” To your eponymous question, Cenk answered “yes” to men are raped more than women. This notion is simply wrong.
Cenk didn’t cite a statistic in the video, (which he should, if only to pass off blame in case the source is wrong) but the video comments cites Justice Department guidelines (but has no link).
You need to learn how to read and interpret primary sources before passing them off to your anchors as facts. Just because there are more men in prison than women, and there are prison rape epidemics, it does not immediately statistically necessitate that men are raped more than women.
Here is an excellent blog post from Feministe, which cites the Justice Dept. survey about prison sexual assault released in 2012:
The Justice Department survey is linked here. And… yeah. Those numbers are not quite correct, but they are nonetheless horrifying. First of all, “sexual assault” is not always the same as “rape,” and includes a variety of behavior that wouldn’t meet the legal standard for rape. So it’s not clear that there are actually more rapes of men than women, or more rapes of prisoners than non-prisoners…
According to RAINN, there are 213,000 victims of sexual assault in the United States every year.More than 9/10ths of those victims are women and girls. The numbers RAINN uses come from the Department of Justice National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). The NCVS, though, is clear that its methodology for gathering sexual assault stats is pretty limited, and probably doesn’t present a 100% accurate picture of what victims experience. The NCVS also doesn’t seem to include prisoners (at least as far as I can tell), but would include people who were sexually assaulted in prison within the past year, but were out of prison at the time the NCVS was taken.
You had better be careful in the future with your fact-checking or risk alienating your women viewers.
People on youtube tried to be all snarky and present other studies with incompatible sampling techniques to prove the amount of men that underreport rape make up the difference. They failed and then I got downvoted for simply citing statistics from the same studies they were supposedly getting their information from.
One such study is the The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey on the CDC website, which still says, “Nearly 1 in 5 women (18.3%) and 1 in 71 men (1.4%) in the United States have been raped at some time in their lives.”
Including stalking and other forms of violence bring the stats up to “More than 1 in 3 women (35.6%) and more than 1 in 4 men (28.5%) in the United States.” I still think it’s a good idea to include different forms of sexual violence, but if they broaden the definition too wide, example “stalking,” the statistics are going to include a bunch of unrelated experiences.
Prison rape is still a problem. Male and female rape are still problems. But we need to have honest conversations about the data and where it’s coming from if we’re going to fix it.
For more information on modern masculinity check out The Good Men Project.