Men’s rights activists (MRAs) were abound in the comment’s section of my post, “Men are NOT raped more than women.” They ignored all the statistics I posted and made up their own conclusions using incorrect analyses of the data.
So here’s my long-awaited, follow-up post, with yet more proof and numbers.
The original link to a DOJ study, cited by Feministe, is now down. Here’s what I found on the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) government website that I believe was the same study.
The NIS-3 was conducted in 233 state and federal prisons, 358 local jails, and 15 special confinement facilities operated by ICE, the U.S. military, and correctional authorities in Indian country. A total of 92,449 inmates age 18 or older participated in the survey, including 38,251 prison inmates, 52,926 jail inmates, 573 ICE detainees, 539 inmates in military facilities, and 160 inmates in Indian country facilities. The survey was also administered to 527 youth ages 16 to 17 held in state prisons and 1,211 youth ages 16 to 17 in local jails.
So in the 2011-2012 National Inmate Survey (NIS), which is the updated version of the one my post originally talked about, they had a sample of 92,449 inmates age 18 or older and 1,738 inmates ages 16 to 17.
Among the 91,177 adult prison and jail inmates participating in the NIS-3 sexual victimization survey, 3,381 reported experiencing one or more incidents of sexual victimization in the past 12 months or since admission to the facility, if less than 12 months. Since the NIS-3 is a sample survey, weights were applied for sampled facilities and inmates within facilities to produce national-level and facility-level estimates. The estimated number of prison and jail inmates experiencing sexual victimization totaled 80,600 (or 4.0% of all prison inmates and 3.2% of jail inmates nationwide).
I’m not sure what happened to a couple of the adult inmates; maybe their surveys were unacceptable for some reason. But keep in mind that this is men and women. Here’s another PDF about the same study:
The reported number of victims for lifetime sexual victimization in the survey is 8,763. The reported number in the 12 months in 2011 is 3,381. There were reported 31,110 surveys from men’s facilities and 7,141 from women’s facilities. So it turns out that 80,600 total victims is just an estimate, extrapolating from the survey.
Between 2009 and 2011, females represented about 7% of all state and federal prison inmates, but accounted for 22% of inmate-on-inmate victims and 33% of staff-on-inmate victims.
I think we can safely say that more total men are “sexually victimized” in prison than women, but this is mostly explained by the much higher percentage of men being in prison.
Meanwhile, let’s look at numbers for estimated sexual assaults for 2011, the same year the NIS-3 was conducted. First, I tried to find a study from the BJS so my numbers for prison abuse came from the same place. BJS referred me to the “National Crime Victimization Survey” (NCSV).
So here are the results from 2011 NCVS. 143,120 persons age 12 or older from 79,800 households across the country were interviewed during the year. The estimated total number of rapes/sexual assaults reported in 2011 was 243,800. This PDF did not break this total down by men and women. I had to look at some other method that did.
12,727 telephone interviews were completed in the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 2011. This was conducted by the CDC.
In the United States, an estimated 19.3% of women and 1.7% of men have been raped during their lifetimes; an estimated 1.6% of women reported that they were raped in the 12 months preceding the survey.
1.6% of women raped in the 12 months before taking the survey is 1.9 million women.
The case count for men reporting rape in the preceding 12 months was too small to produce a statistically reliable prevalence estimate.
Men weren’t even statistically significant enough to be counted for 2011.
Estimated number of all “sexual victimization” victims in prison/jail in 2011: 80,600 (BJS)
Estimated number of all rapes/sexual assaults reported in 2011: 243,800 (BJS)
Estimated number of women raped in 2011: 1.9 million (CDC)
There probably is a way, somehow-through bullshit polls-to conclude that men are raped more than women. But the amount of cherry-picking and statistical juggling it takes to reach that conclusion is beyond the scope of reasonable facts. I used the very best (in terms of sample size) and most reliable available statistics for the same year. I believe that, even if you adjust the methodologies of the studies to include different definitions of “rape” and “sexual assault,” the gap between the numbers for men and women remains huge. I don’t see how the data can be any more clear that men are NOT raped more than women.
[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.
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