Home > Social commentary > Men are NOT Raped More than Women in the US

Men are NOT Raped More than Women in the US

[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“]

Since I’ve been criticizing people that shit-talk men in my Cosmo post and my defense of DSK. I feel like I have to prove my gender egalitarianism now.

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.

  1. Political Cynic
    July 11, 2012 at 12:47 am

    Actually the statistics you are relying on in continuing the myth of “it’s only women” do NOT include sexual assaults on men IN PRISON. Those are expressly EXCLUDED from the Justice Deparmtent numbers and ignored.

    And until we admit that rape is a PEOPLE issue about HUMAN rights and not just WOMEN’S rights we will never solve the problem.

    • July 11, 2012 at 12:49 am

      Did you read my post at all? Or the Justice Dept. report I linked titled, “Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails Reported by Inmates, 2008-09.”

      • March 20, 2013 at 1:12 am

        And their numbers appear to exceed the number of victims on the “outside,” thus the conclusion that there are likely more total male victims:

        “In January, prodded in part by outrage over a series of articles in the New York Review of Books, the Justice Department finally released an estimate of the prevalence of sexual abuse in penitentiaries. The reliance on filed complaints appeared to understate the problem. For 2008, for example, the government had previously tallied 935 confirmed instances of sexual abuse. After asking around, and performing some calculations, the Justice Department came up with a new number: 216,000. That’s 216,000 victims, not instances. These victims are often assaulted multiple times over the course of the year. The Justice Department now seems to be saying that prison rape accounted for the majority of all rapes committed in the US in 2008, likely making the United States the first country in the history of the world to count more rapes for men than for women.”

  2. Egalitarian
    July 21, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    The “1 in 71” stat from the CDC survey doesn’t tell the whole story. It defines “rape” as the attacker penetrating the victim, which excludes women who use their vagina to rape a man (rape by envelopment) which is counted as “made to penetrate”. The very same survey says “1 in 21 men (4.8%) reported that they were made to penetrate someone else.” Therefore, if you properly include men who are forced to engage in PIV sex against their will, from 1 in 16 to 1 in 21 men are raped, using the numbers in the CDC study you cited.

    Also, the study says that 79.2% of male victims of “made to penetrate” reported only female perpetrators, meaning they were raped by a woman.

    • July 21, 2012 at 7:44 pm

      Ah, you ignored talking about the Justice Dept. survey the post was primarily about, and then the rest of the post which analyzed the CDC numbers more thoroughly to include sexual violence. How Egalitarian of you.

      • December 16, 2013 at 3:42 am

        First of all let me just say that I’m firmly on the side of shining a light on the facts like you are doing here, and i agree that you cannot conclude the justice dpt. survey differentiates between rape and sexual abuse.
        That being said though, I’m fairly certain that “made to penetrate” I.E. knife to the throat, forced to have sex with someone is concidered rape, and not “sexual violence”. If it isn’t, then there is something seriously wrong in the justice system (obviously there is anyway ofc:P)

        But I would like to point out that while the on average 3,75% (approx) of prison/jail inmates (216.000) have experienced some sort of sexual abuse, the numbers for actualy rapes are still 1.25% (approx).
        So that is still around 70.000 rape victims left out of many surveys.

        I still agree that this number does most likely not make men “the most raped sex in the US”.

        The amount of victim blaming in prison rapes is astounding/disturbing though.

    • October 27, 2016 at 6:09 pm

      The numbers for those included under “made to penetrate” for the last 12 months were found statistically insignificant by the CDC.

  3. Egalitarian
    July 21, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    What? You said “1 in 71” men are raped to try to imply that it is rare. This is misleading, because if you use a proper definition of rape that includes envelopment, the number of raped men is far higher. Therefore, men are raped far often than you imply.

    Your “1 in 71” number only makes sense if “made to penetrate” should not be counted as rape. Examples of “made to penetrate” are: a woman who has sex with a man who is passed-out drunk, or a woman who forces a man to have sex with her against his will through blackmail or physical force. Can you justify why these should not be considered rape?

    • July 21, 2012 at 11:29 pm

      Sure. I never said they were raped more or less than reported. But at equal or greater levels than women, which is what TYT was saying, probably not.

  4. Clark
    July 13, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Yet you have admitted to being guilty of the same thing you accuse TYT and Cenk of. You have not provided the numbers to back up your claims.

    • July 13, 2013 at 6:41 pm

      Yes, that’s why I put the edit note at the top. There is a CDC study that I can cite that Ozy Frantz (former editor of NSWATM) said was good, but want to analyze it further before just shitting out numbers I haven’t fact-checked.

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  6. Andrew
    May 6, 2014 at 3:31 am

    You’re wrong. Flat out wrong.

    Oh and that CDC report? They don’t count being forced to penetrate as rape. If you do, women are raping men at roughly equal rates as men are raping women. You should read ALL of a study instead of cherry picking what you like.

    “…Centers for Disease Control invented a category of sexual violence called “being made to penetrate.” This definition includes victims who were forced to penetrate someone else with their own body parts, either by physical force or coercion, or when the victim was drunk or high or otherwise unable to consent. When those cases were taken into account, the rates of nonconsensual sexual contact basically equalized, with 1.270 million women and 1.267 million men claiming to be victims of sexual violence.”

    So yes, let’s have an honest discussion about how men are being victimized all over the country and they’re being all but completely ignored.

    • October 27, 2016 at 5:41 pm

      The only way to get those numbers is if you compare lifetime rape for men with raped in the last 12 months for women. Which is completely wrong. The person writing that article would understand that if they actually read the CDC study.

  7. JohnDoe
    August 9, 2014 at 10:59 am

    So your argument that more men are not raped when prison is included is to look at stats… that exclude rapes committed inside prison, bringing us right back to the original statistics that are being rejected because they don’t factor in all rapes that occur?

    This is such a horrible argument, I really don’t understand how someone of reasonable intelligence could even think this is a good way to refute the argument that’s based on including rapes inside prisons.

  8. Jerica
    October 27, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    You do realize that all those national statistics are still screwed up because it wasn’t until 2012 that the FBI, Justice department, CDC, ect. even included men at all–penetrated by other men–as being able to be raped in their definition of rape? And now, still the definition still concludes that only a penis can be a weapon of rape, not the vagina.

    • October 27, 2016 at 5:32 pm

      Even when you include “made to penetrate” as well as other forms of sexual violence against men, the numbers of lifetime violence for women compared to men aren’t even close.

      • Milton
        November 8, 2016 at 4:39 am

        No, that isn’t true. When the same standards are used for both genders, we get a victimization rate of 1 in 4 for womenand 1 in 6 for men, which isn’t too far off.

        And now we still have the problem of these surveys not including the overwhelmingly male prison pipulation where rape is far more common than in the general population to factor in as well.

  1. November 3, 2015 at 11:15 am
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