Exactly what is inappropriate?

This is a comment I wrote on Genderratic in January this year where I wrote about the definition of rape advocated by well-known academic and feminist Mary P. Koss. Ginkgo made it into a post which was also submitted to Reddit.

When I wrote the comment the paper was available in full on the Journal of Interpersonal Violence website, but currently only the abstract is available. The quotes are real though, and I have a scanned copy of the physical paper to prove it if necessary.

Here is the comment:

I did know that the often quoted study by Mary P. Koss didn’t count male victims of female perpetrators, but I always assumed this was incidental by her focusing on female victims or by the authors inability to conceptualize that men can be forced to penetrate a women without his consent.

However, Victory_Disease on Reddit made me aware of this paper by Mary P Koss: Detecting the Scope of Rape : A Review of Prevalence Research Methods which show that it’s not simply a matter of focusing on female victims, but rather a conscious effort to exclude male victims of rape from the term rape.

I’ll quote some pertinent sections:

Although consideration of male victims is within the scope of the legal statutes, it is important to restrict the term rape to instances where male victims were penetrated by offenders. It is inappropriate to consider as a rape victim a man who engages in unwanted sexual intercourse with a woman.

p. 206

Note how she uses the word “engage”. A man being made to penetrate a woman either by force, threats or coercion is engaging in sex with her? He is the actor.

On screening for rape using adopted colloquial or euphemistic language (like “Has anyone ever tried to make you have sexual relations with them against your will”):

Among men, the terms “sex” and “sexual relations” may activate schemas for situations where they penetrated women. Clarification is necessary to ensure that male respondents realize that the situations of interest are those in which they were penetrated forcibly and against their will by another person, and not situations where they felt pressure or coercion to have sexual relations with a woman partner.

p. 208

Note how she uses terms like “forcibly” and “against their will” when talking about the men being penetrated while when she talks about men penetrating women she uses terms like “felt pressure” and “coercion”.

She concludes with a set of recommendations, here is one of them:

2. If men and boys are to be included, care must be taken to ensure that their data are accurate counterparts of rape prevalence among women. This means that men must be reporting instances where they experienced penetration of their own bodies (or attempts).

p. 218

I see.

Since the original link goes to the full article I’ll provide a direct link to the abstract for convenience.

4 thoughts on “Exactly what is inappropriate?

  1. Pingback: Koss again | Tamen's writings
  2. Pingback: White House Mandated Campus Climate Surveys Likely To Ignore Male Victims | Tamen's writings
  3. Pingback: White House Mandated Campus Climate Surveys Likely To Ignore Male Victims | Feminist Critics
  4. Pingback: White House–mandated campus climate surveys likely to ignore male victims

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