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.
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RAINN Goes Against The Grain

This post was also published on Feminist Critics.


On February 28th RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) published their recommendations for the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, which President Obama has charged with creating a plan to reduce rape on college campuses.

RAINN is the United States’ largest anti-sexual violence organization and is generally well-respected. They run the DoD Safe Helpline on behalf of the Department of Defense. So I think we can safely assume that RAINN does have some lobbying clout on this issue.

RAINN really went against many of the more common feminist talking points/strategies against rape in their recommendation. This hasn’t gone completely unnoticed among feminists as can be seen in this post on Feministing and in some of the comments on RAINN’s Facebook post about their recommendations to the White House Task Force. But I have to say I expected a bit more discussion of this in feminist circles, all things considered. So let’s look at what RAINN wrote which I think will be viewed as problematic by some feminists.

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America (and Salon) still doesn’t know how to talk about rape

The title isn’t mine, I’ve shamelessly stolen it from this article on Salon written by Mary Elizabeth Williams.

It’s quite astounding that an article titled in such a way by Williams is so full of fail.

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South Africa: Rape and partner violence among youths

South Africa is said to be the worlds rape capital according to a report published in 2012 by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) think-tank. That report only looked at female victims of rape. Searching Google News one quickly sees that sexual violence and rape in South Africa is prevalent and has been for quite some time. One also note that women and girls are the most common victims mentioned – although rape against young male children are also mentioned. Perpetrators are always male. So the impression one is left with is: Women and girls (but also some boys) are raped by male perpetrators in disturbingly high numbers.

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Thugs raping thugs?

This is a comment I wrote on Alas, a blog in January 2012. It was a rebuttal to the claim that most sexual assaults on male victims in the US occur in prison in light of the recently published NISVS 2010 Report. I have added links to the BJS papers on prison rape.


Alon Levy:

…most sexual assaults on male victims in the US occur in prison.

That is just not true.

Approximately 1% of the US population is incarcerated (2009 numbers from Wikipedia article on Prison Rates). The statistics you referred to shows that appr. 1 in 20 (4.4%) prisoners reported sexual victimization in the last 12 months.
BJS states that this amounts to a total of 88.500 prisoners who were sexually abused in a year.


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New study: Prevalence Rates of Male and Female Sexual Violence Perpetrators

UPDATE: I’ve become aware that the complete article I linked to isn’t available for free for everyone. Apparently a publicly funded organization in Norway called Helsebiblioteket (Health Library) have bought access to JAMA for everyone who has an IP adress that’s physically located in Norway. All the quoted text in the post below are from the actual paper and NOT from the National Geographic article I also linked to.

Michele L. Ybarra, MPH; Kimberly J. Mitchell, PhD Prevalence Rates of Male and Female Sexual Violence Perpetrators in a National Sample of Adolescents JAMA Pediatr. Published online October 07, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.2629 available here:

This study found that females and males have carried out sexual violence at nearly equal levels by the age of 18 — 48 percent on the female side, 52 percent on the male side. 4% (10 females and 39 males) reported attempted or completed rape.

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