Sunday, January 29, 2012

Defining sexual violence in impossibly elastic ways and letting the surveyors, rather than subjects, determine what counted as an assault

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius hailed [the CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey] for giving “a clear picture of the devastating impact these violent acts have on the lives of millions of Americans”
writes Christina Hoff Sommers in the Washington Post (thanks to Instapundit).
In fact, what the study reveals is the devastating impact that careless advocacy research can have on truth.

The FBI found that 84,767 rapes were reported to law enforcement authorities in 2010. … where did the CDC find 13.7 million victims of sexual crimes that the professional criminologists had overlooked?

It found them by defining sexual violence in impossibly elastic ways and then letting the surveyors, rather than subjects, determine what counted as an assault.

… [This] shows how the study fits into the administration’s effort to apply the advocacy agenda of the women’s lobby to rape research.
In addition, I added the following to the comments section, responding to an outraged feminist:
Notice the precise — and misleading — wording in the outraged question asked by sammy328:

"Are you implying that if a girl is drunk it is acceptable for someone to rape her?"

That is what noone, that is PRECISELY what noone, is saying, yet alone implying.

What the point is, is that if a girl has sex while tipsy or drunk, and this holds true whoever initiated it (she or the man), one should not — automatically — assume afterwards, like the CDC seems to be doing, that she was incontrovertibly raped.

Let's turn the question on sammy328:

Are you implying that if a girl is tipsy or drunk (probably like the other girls and guys in her presence) it is unacceptable for her (for them) to be in the mood or for anyone to else to be in the mood (for sex with her)? Lest whatever happens afterwards be described indubitably as rape?!

sammy328's outrage is a deliberate attempt, whether she recognizes it consciously or not, to prevent people from thinking this issue through thoroughly.

Pretty much any time you read something to the effect that "This comment is incredibly insensitive, ignorant, and offensive", you can be pretty sure that the underlying motif is to prevent rational thought (not to mention "thought-provoking, timely comments on politics, national and international affairs"), and, in this case, to prevent readers (and voters!) from putting the feminists' (self-serving) victimhood status into doubt.

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