Pilot White House Mandated Campus Climate Survey Did End Up Ignoring Male Victims

Almost a year ago I wrote a post about the correspondence I had with the pilot survey project which the White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault tasked Rutgers University to do. I expressed my concern with the methodology suggested by the White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault in their recommendations published in April 2014.

My impression from the email exchange I had with the project team leader at Rutgers University were that they took my concerns about male victims not being measured by some of the recommended methodologies seriously and they assured me that they would be using gender neutral questions.They also said they would include my concerns in the pilot project’s feedback to the White House and the Office on Violence against Women.

The 2nd of September Rutgers University published a report with the findings from their Campus Climate survey. Which is an opportunity for me to examine to what extent my concerns were considered.

Continue reading

Crime Survey of England and Wales – Made To Penetrate Questions Confirmed

This is just a quick update and some comment on the changes to the CSEW questionnaire the Office of National Statistics earlier have promised to make. Daran brought to my attention that ONS had released their latest questionnaire earlier this year and that it indeed included “made to penetrate” questions.

I’ve spent some time reading the new questionnaire and although I am pleased that they did include questions about being made to penetrate I have to wonder why they treated it so differently than the other questions for severe sexual violence. The differences are (as Daran pointed out in his comment):

Made to penetrate questions do not ask about attempts. The Sexual Offences Act Section 4 covering made to penetrate does not include attempts, but neither does Section 1 about rape. This is disappointing.

Made to penetrate questions do not ask about who the perpetrator is. The other severe sexual violence questions differentiate between perpetrators who are partners/ex-partners, family members and anyone.

Given that it doesn’t include attempts and considering findings like the ones from the STIRitUP project I wrote about in another blogpost1 I suspect that we won’t see such a startling number for male victimization as we did in the NISVS reports where just as many men reported having been made to penetrate in the last 12 months as women reported having been raped in the last 12 months (both including attempts).

1. STIRitUP found that UK had the highest rate of sexual violence against teenaged girls from their partner and the lowest rate of sexual violence against teenaged boys from their partners compared to four other european countries.

An update on FBI’s definition of rape

A while back I wrote about a spokesperson clarifying that FBI’s new definition of rape would include male victims being made to penetrate the perpetrator. /u/Femmecheng (a feminist and at that time a regular at /r/Femradebates) and I have tried to see if FBI at some point did carry out the suggested changes to the guidelines for the reporting agencies. We didn’t have much luck.

Continue reading

Bias And Unasked Questions

STIRitUP is a 24 month collaborative research project looking at interpersonal violence and abuse in young people’s relationships. The project is based in five European countries: England, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Italy and Norway. STIR is short for Safeguarding Teenage Intimate Relationships.

The project has conducted a survey among 4,500 pupils in these five countries. STIRitUp has published the results of that survey in the Briefing paper 2. This paper presents the survey’s main findings in table 2 — here is an excerpt of that table (only looking at physical and sexual violence):

Gender and incidence rates for experiencing IPVA

Country Gender Physical % Sexual %
Bulgaria Female 11 21
Male 15 25
Cyprus Female 10 17
Male 9 19
England Female 22 41
Male 12 14
Italy Female 9 35
Male 13 39
Norway Female 18 28
Male 8 9


First I’ll just point out the discrepancies between the findings presented in the table and how they’re presented in the text.
Continue reading

A Short Status Update From ONS Regarding CSEW

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) released the latest Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) on the 12th of February 2015. Ally Fogg has a blogpost on it describing how the fact that CSEW 2014 showed the lowest rate of sexual violence since the records began in 1981 isn’t reported by the media.

Some may recall that I’ve previously written about how I asked the ONS why CSEW doesn’t include victims of being made to penetrate — even though that crime is punishable with up to life in prison according to the Sexual Offences Act of 2003 Section 4 subsection 4c and d. The ONS wrote back stating that they would look into adding questions to capture these victims in the CSEW.

A while back I decided it was time to ask for a status update on this matter from the ONS. I wrote them an email asking them how the work with looking into this issue is going and if there is an estimate on which future CSEW will include questions designed to capture victims of SOA 2003 Section 4.4 (c-d). I got a reply the same day stating:

Dear XYZ,

Thank you for getting back in touch with us.

We are now undergoing our annual survey development that Laura mentioned, for which we are agreeing the questions that will be asked in the 2015/16 survey – this is a long process that involves working with our stakeholders and managing the priorities for information gathered by the survey.  Capturing victims of those sexual offences of Section 4.4 is part of this process – the process is obviously not yet complete, but at the moment it is our intention that the changes can be made for the 2015/16 survey such that respondents will be asked about these offences with effect from next April.

Although one could’ve wished for these questions to be included sooner this is still a confirmation that they indeed will include them and that we can expect that the 2015/16 CSEW will count victims of being made to penetrate. The CSEW 2015/16 will be likely be published somewhere around February 2017.


This post has also been published on FeministCritics

White House Mandated Campus Climate Surveys Likely To Ignore Male Victims

Update: Rutgers University has confirmed that they will not be using the SES.

This post has also been published on Feminist Critics.


After I wrote this post I sent a mail to the leader of the pilot survey project at Rutgers University expressing my concern for the recommendation of SES as a possible instrument and explained how SES exclude a subset of male victims of rape. I also outlined Mary P Koss’ stance that it’s not appropriate to call it rape if a man is made to penetrate a woman without his consent.

I got a reply within the same day stating that the pilot project at Rutgers would not use the SES, but rather the questionnaire used by CSA – The Campus Sexual Assault (CSA) study by Krebs, Lindquist, Warner, Fisher and Martin.
She went on to write that The Rutgers’ pilot survey will use the following language: “Sexual assault” and “sexual violence” refer to a range of behaviors that are unwanted by the recipient and include remarks about physical appearance, persistent sexual advances that are undesired by the recipient, threats of force to get someone to engage in sexual behavior, as well as unwanted touching and unwanted oral, anal or vaginal penetration or attempted penetration. These behaviors could be initiated by someone known or unknown to the recipient, including someone they are in a relationship with.

She stated that:

While we do not distinguish between being made to penetrate someone versus being penetrated against one’s wishes, these are both included in the broader definition we use.

I wrote back that even though I was relieved they weren’t going to use Koss’ SES I feared that the stereotype of the penetrator being the perpetrator and the one being penetrated being the victim might skew their results.

She wrote back again thanking me for the input, saying that my concerns were appreciated and valid. She also asked my permission to include my messages in their feedback about the pilot study to the White house and the Office on Violence against Women (OVW). I gave permission to do so.

My impression is that she took my comments and criticism very seriously.

When time permits I’ll put up a post with screenshots of the mails.

My original post follows below:


Recently someone on my feed retweeted a reference to a study by Jennifer Freyd on sexual violence at the University of Oregon. I decided to spend some time looking into it and what I found deeply disturbed me.

I’ll start from the beginning:

Continue reading

NISVS 2011 Released – Increased Male Victimization And Rape Is Still Not Rape

This post has also been published on Feminist Critics.


On Friday 5th of September CDC released a report which summarizes data from the second year of data collection from the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. They’ve also released a fact sheet for the NISVS 2011 data. The NISVS 2010 Report, which I’ve written several blog posts about, reported on data collected during 2010 while this one reports on data collected in 2011.

Continue reading