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: