This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
April 2005 Written by Jack C. Straton, Nadia Telsey, and Deborah Holton for the Prevention and Education Committee of the Oregon Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force Please send comments to Jack C. Straton University Studies Portland State University Portland, OR 97210-0751 email@example.com 503-725-5844
This handout is an introductory overview of sexual assault and its prevention. It was created by the Prevention and Education Committee to help bring new and continuing members of the Task Force to a common understanding. The reader will likely come upon ideas that are not obvious on their surface and phrases that seem like (and are) shorthand for a more complex discourse. Please bring these up with Prevention and Education Committee members and other trainers in informal or workshop settings. We deal here with Sexual Assault — any nonconsensual sexual act — and focus in large part on rape. A sexual act is nonconsensual if it is inflicted upon a person unable to grant consent OR is unwanted and compelled through the use of physical force, manipulation, coercion, threats or intimidation. In order to make change, it is important that we understand the functions of this complex of harassment and violence. Rape is part of a continuum of expressions of power that affect almost every woman in some form during her life. Some men also are also targets of acts along the continuum. Perhaps as important, the whole complex of assaults maintains power relations in the society, in particular the power that men have over women. This is done through restricting the space of women, who narrow their activities out of fear of possible assault, who become dependent upon men for protection, and who learn early that there is usually little recourse open to them in the event they are victimized (owing in part to the widespread propensity to focus on the victim’s behavior rather than the perpetrators’).
We are writing here primarily of violence done by one gender to another. There is a similar continuum of violence done to people on the basis of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity and other forms of power differential. In some cases, it may be difficult to separate out the primary type of oppression that is being reinforced through a particular act. Because rape is a crime that is primarily committed by men (98% of convicted rapists ) against women (90%), we will consistently use female pronouns when referring to victims (survivors) and male pronouns when referring to perpetrators. We do so for three reasons. This choice reflects the bulk of the problem and the consequent responsibility for ending it. Rapes of males will diminish as the attitudes that reinforce male supremacy diminish. Finally, to artificially impose a gloss of gender balance on a reality that is decidedly unbalanced undermines critical thinking.
This paper primarily addresses rape. However, rape is but one form of sexual assault and gender violence that includes domestic violence and sexual harassment, and that exist on a continuum of behaviors ranging from irritating to life-threatening. These vary in the degree of harm caused and fear instilled. Some of these assaults are hands-on assaults, such as rape and fondling. Others are hands-off assaults, such as staring, flashing, obscene phone calls, stalking. These can be simply irritating or much more damaging. It is critical to keep in mind that people may react very differently to the same assault based on past experience or current situation (e.g., an obscene phone call late at night may be more threatening for a woman who is home alone, has just watched a stalking movie, or is an assault survivor) Thus, it is important that we not tell women how they should feel about a particular experience. Some of the assaults are committed by the use or threat of force, either explicit or implied. Many more are committed by the use of manipulation, drugs and alcohol, or through the fact that the assailant has power over the life of the victim. Examples of the latter are assaults by teachers, employers, immigration officials, and the popular boy at school. All can gain compliance through threats of negative consequences to the intended victim.
Scope of the Problem
Diana Russell has performed the most methodologically and statistically sound survey of rape to date, using 930 females from the natural population of females in San Francisco. Findings offered a lifetime probability of a female being a victim of completed rape of 25.57 percent, and
Matthew R. Durose, David J. Levin, and Patrick A. Langan, Felony Sentences in State Courts, 1998 (U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Bulletin NCJ 190103, October 2001), p. 6. Callie Rennison, Criminal Victimization 2001 Changes 2000-01 with Trends 1993-2001 (U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics National Crime Victimization Survey, NCJ 194610, September 2002), p. 11.
a 46.34 percent lifetime probability of a woman experiencing attempted or completed rape. She found that rape crosses all social, economic and racial categories.
According to the National Victims Center, 683,000 adult women were raped in 1990, or 1.3 each minute. That is 0.7 percent of the 96.3 million women estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau. Their national sample of 4,008 adult women gave a probability of completed rape of 12.6 percent after 18 years of age. When rapes of females “under the age of 18 — which comprised more than six out of ten of all rapes occurring over women’s lifetimes” are factored in, the lifetime completed rape rate is 31.5 percent. Has the rape rate really been increasing over the last century or have reports just been increasing? Russell’s survey shows that the incidence has actually increasing into the 1980s. Of women born in 1918 or earlier, 21.5% had suffered a rape or attempt; of women born in the 1920’s, 33.9% ; of women born in the 1930’s, 46.2% ; of the women born in the 1940’s, 58.7% ; and of those born in the 50’s the majority, 53.2%, had already experienced a rape or attempt by the time they had reached their teens and twenties in 1978.
Fifteen percent of college women experience rape, another 12% attempted rape, 12% sexual coercion, and 14% unwanted sexual contact, according to the 1987 survey of 6,159 students on 32 college campuses by Mary P. Koss. In a 2000 survey, 13.3% of college women indicated they had been forced to have sex in a dating situation.
Approximately 17.5% of adult women in Oregon have been victims of one or more completed forcible rapes during their lifetime, . . . [or] nearly 230,000 [adult women]. This estimate of the magnitude of Oregon's rape problem is conservative because it does not include women who have never been forcibly raped but who have experienced attempted rapes, alcohol or drug facilitated rapes, incapacitation rapes, or statutory rapes (i.e., rapes in which no force or threat of force was used but the perpetrator had sex with an underage child or young adolescent). Nor
5 6 7 8 9
Diana E. H. Russell and Nancy Howell, “The Prevalence of Rape in the United States Revisited,” Signs 8, 688695 (1983). Diana E. H. Russell, Sexual Exploitation: Rape, child abuse, and workplace harassment (Sage, Beverly Hills, 1984), p. 84, found that 55% of Native American women had experienced a rape or attempt, as had 50% of Jewish women, 45% or non-Jewish “White” women, 44% of “Black” women, 17% of Asian and Filipina women, and 28% of “others.” The National Women's Study, National Victim Center, Arlington, VA, and the Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, Med. U So. Carolina, April 23, 1992, p. i,7. The National Women's Study, National Victim Center, Arlington, VA, and the Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, Med. U So. Carolina, April 23, 1992, p. 2. Diana E. H. Russell, Sexual Exploitation: Rape, child abuse, and workplace harassment (Sage, Beverly Hills, 1984), pp. 53-56. Mary P. Koss, Christine A. Gidycz, and Nadine Wisniewski, “The Scope of Rape,” J. of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 53, 442-443 (1987). I. Johnson and R. Sigler, "Forced Sexual Intercourse among Intimates," Journal of Interpersonal Violence 15 (1).(2000).
does this estimate include any types of rape that have been experienced by female residents of Oregon who are currently under the age of 18. . . . Our estimate . . . in Oregon was somewhat higher than the estimate for the nation as a whole . . . 13.4%.
While all females are targets of sexual assault, particular groups are especially targeted. Among developmentally disabled adults, as many as 83% of the females and 32% of the males are victims of sexual assault. Forty-nine percent of people with developmental disabilities who are victims of sexual violence will experience 10 or more abusive incidents. Only 3% of sexual abuse cases involving people with developmental disabilities are ever reported.
Russell found that 88% of rapes (84% when attempted rapes were included) were committed by men known to the victim. This was confirmed among college-age women by Koss and coworkers (who gave a value of 89%).
The History of Rape Laws
A large part of our confusion when we discuss rape and sexual assault rests on the fact that until the mid-20th century, rape was defined as a crime of sexual theft committed against a woman’s owner — usually her husband or father. In many societies, the punishment for a man raping an unmarried woman was that he had to marry her to compensate the father for the loss of his asset, his daughter’s virginity. Most laws were written to recognize and reduce the damage suffered by a man as a result of his property being used without his permission. That is why all American states recognized the marital rape exemption until 1977, when Oregon became the first state to eliminate it. The exemption recognized the principle that a man cannot be charged with stealing his own property. Social and religious beliefs, including many current myths and misunderstandings about sexual assault, reflect the 5,000 year history of viewing rape as a property crime and not a crime of personal assault committed against the (usually female) victim’s body and free will. For instance, the scrutiny and blame applied to assault victims who live and act independently, who travel alone, enter bars alone or socialize with men they don’t know well reflects the longstanding belief that a woman who is not publicly claimed as one man’s property becomes the sexual property of all men.
Common Reactions To Sexual Assault
11 12 13 14
D. G. Kilpatrick and K. J. Ruggiero, Rape in Oregon: A Report to the State (National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, 2003), p. 6. <www.ocadsv.com/PDF/Oregon1in6.pdf>. L. Stevenson and M.C. Best, “Courage Above All,” Sexual Assault Against Women With Disabilities. (Disabled Women’s Network, Toronto, Canada, 1991). D. Valenti-Hein and L. Schwartz, The Sexual Abuse Interview For Those With Developmental Disabilities (James Stanfield Company, Santa Barbara, 1995). Diana E. H. Russell, Rape in Marriage (Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1990), p. 65-7. Mary P. Koss, Thomas E. Dinero, and Cynthia A. Seibel, “Stranger and Acquaintance Rape: Are There Differences in the Victim’s Experience?” Psychology of Women Quarterly 12, 1-24 (1988).
Most sexual assault survivors, even those who don’t define their experience as sexual assault, experience some or all of the following reactions in the days, weeks and months following an assault. Serious, long-term reactions, such as depression or the symptoms associated with PostTraumatic Stress Disorder, are not discussed here. • • Guilt. Many survivors feel they could or should have done something to prevent the assault and assume responsibility for not controlling their assailant’s actions. Fear. Most sexual assaults evoke extreme terror in victims. The assault is terrifying in itself but the fact that most assailants are known to, and often trusted by, their victims means the victims begin to fear both their judgment and everyone they know. Denial. Survivors of many types of trauma, including sexual assault victims, initially respond by minimizing or blocking the experience from their consciousness. They may refuse to discuss the assault or acknowledge its ramifications. Grief. Sexual assault is felt as a loss. Victims often feel their belief in themselves and others has been destroyed, a realization accompanied by profound sadness. Humiliation. Forcing unwanted sexual contact is often intended as a deliberate humiliation. The humiliation is often heightened by the reactions of those close to the victim. Shame and Self-Blame. Sometimes in an effort to assert control over a situation in which they found themselves powerless, victims may blame themselves for the circumstances of the assault. They may feel dirty or deliberately shamed.
• Concern about the rapist. Victims who know or are dependent on the assailant may worry about the consequences of reporting or otherwise addressing the assault. They may face pressure from their family, community or social affiliations to protect their attacker. They may fear, rightfully so, that they will be accused of ruining the life of the assailant, especially an assailant known and liked by her community. If the assailant is a member of a minority community, the victim may hesitate to come forth because of reluctance to “air dirty laundry” in public or because of concern about the racism/homophobia etc. of the larger community. • Anger. This is an appropriate response to sexual violence. It may also be directed at family, friends and advocates, sometimes appropriately and sometimes not.
Barriers To Reporting
Understanding the most common reactions to sexual assault explains many of the barriers victims confront when they consider reporting their assaults or seeking support from their community, whether individuals or agencies such as crisis lines. 5
A survivor who is protecting mind and spirit by denying the experience of serious trauma rarely seeks out authorities, or anyone else, for support or assistance. A survivor who blames herself, especially if she believes or knows that her parents, school or community also blame her, is less likely to seek public exposure as a sexual assault victim. Already feeling privately humiliated, a victim may be reluctant to turn her body and story over to strangers or those she knows. But these are just the internal barriers survivors contend with. Family, friends and community may disbelieve or blame the victim and/or defend and protect the assailant. Public and private authorities, such as police, doctors, advocates and prosecutors, may be hostile, ill-informed, disorganized or unavailable in a timely manner. Survivors may fear that if they were engaged in illegal behavior, such as prostitution or drug use, investigators’ focus will turn there. Even in victim-centered systems, survivors still have to steel themselves for public exposure and multiple demands to tell their story. Sexual assault is the only crime where evidence gathering includes focusing on the most private areas of a living victim’s body. Survivors and the communities they live in often have little or no information about options for reporting or what to expect if they do report. They may not know if, or where, support services are available. They may know that services in their community are inadequate or unavailable. Survivors often fear retaliation from their attackers, particularly when they know them. This fear is intensified if no one acknowledges the fear or acts on it. Victims of sexual assault face multiple barriers, internal and external, which effectively shut them off from the information and support they need to make thoughtful choices about reporting, as well as seeking the medical, emotional and community support they need. Victim-centered services that understand and offer assistance for those challenges, and widespread public knowledge of their existence, begin to bridge those barriers.
Who Are the Rapists?
The prevailing notion is that rape is a matter of deranged individuals suddenly and violently assaulting unknown victims in public areas. A clearer picture is now emerging about both the nature and extent of the problem. Recent news reveals that assailants are not just the stereotyped individuals, but can be politicians, religious figures and police officers, among others. There is evidence that the mistaken picture results from the fact that research has been done primarily on incarcerated rapists, and those rapists do in fact tend to follow the stereotyped pattern mentioned above. Researchers like David Lisak are beginning to investigate rapists who are not incarcerated. And their findings are consistent with the results of other studies. For example,
See, for instance, Lisak, D. (1997). Male Gender Socialization and the Perpetration of Sexual Abuse. In: R.L. Levant and G.R. Brooks (Eds.) Men and the Problems of Non-Relational Sex. New York: Wiley; Lisak, D., Hopper, J. & Song, P. (1996). Factors in the cycle of violence: Gender rigidity and emotional constriction. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 9, 721-743; and Lisak, D. & Ivan, C. (1995). Deficits in intimacy and empathy in sexually aggressive men. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 10, 296-308.
studies show that most rapists are average physically, sexually, and psychologically. Investigators attempting to identify differences between convicted rapists and control groups, using the full range of standard psychological tests, from Inkblots to Hostility Inventories, have failed to show reliable differences between rapists and non-rapists. Twenty-two percent of imprisoned rapists were married. In a 1985 survey of 7000 students on 35 campuses, 89% of the women knew the rapist. In the same study, 1 in 13 men admitted to forcing (or attempting to force) a woman to have sex against her will, but virtually none of these men considered themselves to be rapists. These men who rape, in other words, consider themselves normal compared to their peers. They see their behavior as excusable, expected, and acceptable. A study of Japanese males found the same correlations between rape proclivity and acceptance of rape myths found in Western men. ,
17 18 19 20 21 22
So 1 in 13 men view their rape behavior as normal. Do the other 12 agree with them? In another series of studies, Malamuth found that 1 in 3 men indicated some likelihood of raping if they thought they could get away with it. Furthermore, Giarusso et al. report that over half of the male high school students they interviewed believe that it is acceptable “...for a guy to hold a girl down and force her to have sexual intercourse” in various situations such as “when she gets him excited” or when “she says she’s going to have sex with him and then changes her mind.” For readers who find these reports incredible, remember that these are statements by the men about their own attitudes. Such a statement is not even subject to the perceptual bias of an eyewitness of an event; the statement is the event itself.
That 1 in 13 men have raped, 1 in 3 men would rape, and 1 in 2 men approve of rape means that it is mostly “normal” men who rape, behavior often supported by their peers. If those peers instead disparaged rape, they could have a large impact in stopping it. Clearly sexual assault is not a matter of a few misguided or unstable individuals but is a widespread part of the fabric of society. In order to make change it is important to understand the functions of the complex of harassment and violence and the ways our society supports it.
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
Neil M. Malamuth, “Rape Proclivity Among Males,” Journal of Social Issues 37, 138-157 (1981). Lawrence A. Greenfeld, Sex Offenses and Offenders: An Analysis of Data on Rape and Sexual Assault (U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistic, NCJ-163392, February 1997), p. 21. Dr. Mary P. Koss, first published in MS. October 1985. Final version in Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, March 1987. Mary P. Koss, Christine A. Gidycz, and Nadine Wisniewski, “The Scope of Rape,” J. of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 53, 442-443 (1987). Ken-ichi Ohbuchi, Tatsuhiko Ikeda, and Goya Takeuchi, “Effects Of Violent Pornography Upon Viewer’s Rape Myth Beliefs: A Study Of Japanese Males,” Psychology, Crime & Law 1, 71-81 (1994). M. R. Burt, “Cultural Myths and Support for Rape,” J. Personality and Social Psychology 38, 217-230 (1980). T. Tieger, “Self-Reported Likelihood Of Raping And The Social Perception Of Rape,” J. of Research in Personality 15, 147-158 (1981). Neil M. Malamuth, “Rape Proclivity Among Males,” Journal of Social Issues 37, 138-157 (1981). R. Giarusso, P. Johnson, J. Goodchilds, and G. Zellman, “Adolescents’ Cues and Signals: Sex and Assault,” paper presented at the Annual Meetings of the Western Psychological Association, San Diego, CA, April, 1979.
Our society supports rape
• • • • • through our cultural ideology; through our institutions. through our norms of human interaction. through the situations it creates. through gender socialization.
Cultural Causes A Social Ideology of Male Dominance In a study of 95 tribal societies, Peggy Reeves Sanday found that 47 were rape-free and only 18 rape-prone. Clearly then, rape is not “natural.” We live in a rape-prone society and if men are to stop rape, we must learn the ways in which we foster and support rape.
Correlations in her study also provide “considerable evidence supporting the notion that rape is an expression of a social ideology of male dominance. Female power and authority is lower in rape-prone societies . . . and males express contempt for women as decision makers. . . . The correlates . . . strongly suggest that rape is the playing out of a socio-cultural script in which the expression of personhood for males is directed by, among other things, interpersonal violence and an ideology of toughness.” Cultural information about sexual assault that is incorrect, misleading, and that perpetuates the problem. Myth #1, Rape Is Not A Big Problem (See “Scope of the problem,” above.) Despite statistics that reveal that rape alone is of epidemic proportions, there continues to be a denial of the problem. Anti-rape educators are often told, “we don’t have that problem here,” and those who bring up the subject are frequently accused of being anti-male and of exaggerating. Victims’ experiences are routinely minimized and invalidated. Moreover, many acts of boys that are predatory are excused as “boys will be boys,” with the result that they get a message that those behaviors are acceptable. Myth #2, Rapists Are Different From People I Know (See “Who Are the Rapists?” above.)
Peggy Reeves Sanday, “The Socio-Cultural Context of Rape: A Cross-Cultural Study,” Journal of Social Issues 37, 4-27 (1981).
It becomes much easier to recognize rape when committed by an “other” – a person of a different race or sub-group in society. In this way rape charges are also used as a means of oppressing less-powerful groups. Thus, many more African-American men are in prison for rape than are white men, even though there is no evidence that they commit more rapes. Myth #3, Rape Usually Happens in Dark Alleys. In fact, they are more likely to be committed in a home. Myth #4, Most People Are Raped by Strangers (See “Who Are the Rapists?” above.) Myth #5, A Sexual Act Must Include a Weapon to be Defined as Rape. (See “Scope of the problem,” above for above three.) As a result, those convicted of rape tend to be stranger-rapists who used weapons or at least overt violence. As David Lisak notes, research has been done on incarcerated rapists, a very small percentage of the actual population.
Myth #6, Rape is an Impulsive Act. • Rape is the abuse of power and control in a sexual context. • Rape is a conscious choice. Convicted rapists tell us that they plan their offense in advance. In recent years, rapists have turned to drugging their targets with substances that leave her with no memory of the rape. • Penetration with a foreign object is one form of sexual assault. Clearly, such assaults are not physically gratifying (not in the usual sense at any rate). • Men CAN control themselves.
Myth #7, Only Young, “Pretty” Women Get Raped Offenders do not want to be caught and they are looking for people to target whom they perceive as vulnerable, accessible, and less credible. A Los Angeles Times national survey of 1,481 adult women found that 27% were survivors of childhood sexual abuse before age 18. The mean age of the abuse was 9.6 years. Likewise, women as old as 101 have been raped. Women of all sizes and descriptions are assaulted.
From a speech entitled, "On Campus," Sexual Violence on Campus Conference, Eugene, Oregon, June 3, 2004. Dean G. Kilpatrick, Anna Whalley, and Christine Edmunds, Chapter 10 Sexual Assault, in National Victim Assistance Academy Textbook, Anne Seymour, Morna Murray, Jane Sigmon, Melissa Hook, Christine Edmunds, Mario Gaboury, and Grace Coleman (eds) http://www.ojp.gov/ovc//assist/nvaa2001/chapter10.html>, at p. 18. David Finkelhor, Gerald Hotaling, I. A. Lewis, and Christine Smith, “Sexual Abuse in a National Survey of Adult Men and Women: Prevalence, Characteristics, and Risk Factors,” Child Abuse and Neglect 14, 19-28 (1990).
Myth #8, Women Ask For It The society that blames survivors for the way they dress or behave is the same society that pushes women to dress and behave in those ways, the same society that markets sexually suggestive clothing to children as young as toddlers. A woman who is raped at a party went there because she wanted to be social, or she wanted to escape from her feelings, or she wanted to get high, or she wanted to be with certain people, or she wanted to get away from certain people, but she was not at that party because she wanted to be raped. No one asks to be humiliated and violated in such a deeply personal way. It is not only men who blame women in this way. One of the reasons some women blame other women for their rape, for instance by commenting on the way they dress or behave, is that this is a means to distance themselves from the possibility of becoming a target themselves. If “I would never do such and such,” then “rape could never happen to me.” We also need to acknowledge the double standard that exists around intoxication, which is indicative of a broader double standard. Victims who were intoxicated at the time of a rape are generally held more accountable, while perpetrators who were intoxicated at the time of an assault are held less so. Koss and Gaines found a significant correlation between sexual aggression and drinking intensity. They likewise found a correlation between sexual aggression and participation in organized athletics.
A woman may act in some way that she later deems “unwise,” but that does not mean that she causes a rape. A man could interpret anything a woman does or does not do as “asking for it.” The bottom line is, without a rapist, there is no rape. The body-language by which he concludes that she is consenting is, after all, a language he made up himself, often based on “insights” passed on to him by adolescent males. When men are asked how they know a woman wants sex, they will often say, “You just know.” Note: Use of the term “unwise,” as above, is a contentious issue. In part this is because women who are raped doing everyday activities — inviting a friend to dinner, walking to the store, going camping — may second-guess even those activities. Also, naming the behavior as “unwise” focuses attention on the woman rather than on the perpetrator and the culture that supports his actions. To say that, for instance, “It is unwise for a woman to walk alone at night” is really to say, “Women are not allowed to believe themselves to
Holly Ramsey-Klawsnik, "Elder Sexual Abuse: Preliminary Findings," Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect 3(3), 73-90 (1991). Mary P. Koss and John A. Gaines, “The Prediction of Sexual Aggression by Alcohol Use, Athletic Participation, and Fraternity Affiliation,” J. Interpersonal Violence 8 (1), 94-108 (1993).
be free.” This assertion also flies in the face of the fact that many women do walk alone at night without incident. On the other hand, flashing a wad of dollar bills at a public ticket office could be deemed “unwise” in a sense that does not blame the unaware, lone man who is doing this. It is likewise possible to deem that a lone woman getting drunk at a party is acting “unwisely” in this same non-blaming sense. Indeed, if you object to a woman’s assertion that her getting drunk at a party was “unwise” (perhaps saying, “You have a right to be free, and you did not force the man to take advantage of that state”) she may feel like you are undermining her process of reality checking. If she names an action as “unwise,” you can perhaps simply affirm that “unwise actions don’t cause rape.” Myth #9, Women Enjoy Rape Men in our culture teach each other that women secretly enjoy being raped. If you are male, imagine yourself stepping into your prison cell for the first time and encountering a man who is half a foot taller than you and 50 pounds heavier who is interested in controlling you and humiliating you using your body. Would you enjoy this? No, you would fear for your life, just as women fear for theirs. Victims of rape suffer not only physical violence, but humiliation, degradation, and a loss of control over their lives and bodies. Fear of death is very common. Rape seriously changes women’s lives, including a sense that they have lost control over their lives; a feeling of powerlessness; loss of sense of security; and a loss of trust in men. Although some women report to have rape fantasies, fantasies by their very nature are very unreal situations that the woman is completely in control of. Indeed, the myth that women transfer such fantasies to the enjoyment of actual rapes is a profound gender reversal. Sociologists Malamuth and Check presented men with audio tape-recordings of a “MaleFantasy” Rape story, in which the man hit the woman and threatened her with a knife but the woman was described as getting aroused by the rape (“...you can tell she likes it...You can tell she’s getting really excited now. She’s really aroused.”). They followed this with a tape of a “Violent” Rape story displaying the same level of force but with a realistic reaction in the woman. This group of men rated the victim in the second rape story as experiencing less trauma than did men who heard the violent story first. These results show that the idea that “women can enjoy being raped” had transferred from the malefantasy story to a new rape, in which there was no evidence at all of victim enjoyment.
N. M. Malamuth & J. V. P. Check, “Penile tumescence and perceptual responses to rape as a function of victim's perceived reactions,” Journal of Applied Social Psychology 10(6), 528-547 (1980).
Each new generation of men receives messages in support of this myth from the pornography industry, where women are routinely portrayed as desiring at least sexual domination and too often rape. Though not every depiction of rape is a recording of an actual rape, consumers of pornography have no way of determining which is which. A man who attempts to judge this depiction as “fantasy” and that one as a “real rape” is learning a skill too easily applied to women in his community, as is the man who assumes that all rape-depictions in pornography are fantasy. The message they don’t learn is that the fantasy is that women want to be abused.”
Myth #10, Rape Is Just Unwanted Sex “I mean, you’ve had sex before. So you had sex with someone who wasn’t so nice.”
Fear of death is a common experience of victims of rape. For women who know their rapists, there is an additional violation of trust. Here is someone who you trusted violating your boundaries in unexpected ways; he could do ANYTHING. A woman raped by an acquaintance may begin to doubt her ability to trust and her judgment of people. Rapes by acquaintances are also the most under-reported because of fear of blame, fear of not being believed, confusion because of myths, and denial. Myth #11, White Women should Watch Out for Black Men According to the U.S. Department of Justice 1987-91 surveys, 78% of single-offender rapists of white women were perceived as white by the women, slightly above their representation in the population, which was 76% that year. Likewise, 15% of the rapists of white women were perceived as black, slightly above their representation in the population (12%). Four percent were perceived as “other,” and 2% were categorized as “not known or ascertained.”
This myth has been used to support racism in our society, with black men being lynched for rape if they got “uppity.” Historically the opposite was the case: the rape of black women by the white men who held them in bondage was commonplace. The rape of black women by the white men was excluded from rape laws of the time. Women of color have been traditionally seen as licentious, sexualized beings who seek out sex with anyone so that, like prostitutes, nonconsensual sex with them is not deemed rape. Myth #12, Women Falsely Accuse Men of Rape
32 33 34
Andrea Dworkin, Letters From A War Zone: Writings 1976-1989 (E. P. Dutton, New York, 1988) p. 11 (italics in original). This phrase is borrowed from Dr. Mary P. Koss in the movie Someone YouKnow: Acquaintance Rape (MTI Film & Video, Deerfield, IL, 1986, 30 min.). Ronet Bachman, “Violence Against Women: A National Crime Victimization Survey Report,” (U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Special Report NCJ-145325 March 1994), p. 6. http://www.census.gov/population/estimates/nation/intfile3-1.txt
The rate of “false reports” of rape (fabricated stories) is 2% to 3%, no different from the false report rates for other crimes. The category of “unfounded,” sometimes confused with the issue of false reporting, refers to a much broader group of cases that police and prosecutors have deemed or judged not prosecutable or verifiable for any of a large number of reasons. When the FBI Crime Index Report of 1995 states that 8% of rape reports were unfounded while the average of unfounded reports for all of the crimes was 2%, they are referring to these “unfounded” reports, not “false reports.”
This myth is pervasive in our society and it is vital to examine why it is - so that truthful victims will be believed and those who are guilty will be prosecuted. There are three main reasons that this myth persists: a lack of understanding what sexual assault is, inconclusive record-keeping, and a lack of understanding around why people might choose to change their report. Women are often accused of lying because as a society we still do not understand exactly what constitutes sexual assault. A lot of our confusion revolves around the definition of consent. Many believe that even if a woman does not want to have sex but eventually appears to “give in” that consent has been given. Men must learn that psychological pressure is as coercive as physical constraints. They must learn to hear lack of “Yes” as “No.” A new clarity on this will also helpful for law enforcement, juries, and even for the victim and the victim’s family. In this case the myth is fed not by women who are actually lying about being assaulted but by people who don’t believe women because they simply don’t understand the definition of sexual assault. Unfortunately, it is true that a small number of women lie about being sexually assaulted. However, most often these women tend to lie within their peer groups rather than to the police. Nevertheless, because this happens, many people are falsely led to believe that it is common and that the lies are being brought to law enforcement as well. The chance of someone being convicted on a false claim is next to nil unless the motivation for the rape charge is racism or other forms of oppression. Those who rape have much more incentive to lie. And their lies are often believed because they are consistent with these myths about sexual assault. Moreover, they are more often believed because believing an offender requires no action, whereas believing a survivor does. In point of fact, the probability of incarceration if rape is reported to police, 19.1%, may be found by multiplying the probability of arrest if rape reported to police (50.8%) by the probability of prosecution if arrested (80.0%) by the probability of felony conviction
37 38 39
36 37 38 39
Lynn Hecht Schafran, “Writing And Reading About Rape: A Primer.” St. John’s Law Review, 66 (4), 9791045 (1993). 16.3% if one restricts the form of incarceration to prison, as does The National Center For Policy Analysis Policy (Report No. 229, October 1999 Table I, <http://www.ncpa.org/studies/s229/s229t1.gif>). Uniform Crime Reports for the United State,s 1997 (Federal Bureau of Investigation), p. 213. Tracking offenders (U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1990, NCJ 148200), p. 2.
if prosecuted (58.0%) by the probability of incarceration if convicted of felony (81%). When you consider that only 1 in 10 are reported, 98% of rape victims will never see their attacker apprehended, convicted, and incarcerated.
40 41 42 43
Finally, this myth is also perpetuated by women who report the crime and then come back a day or so later and claim that it was a lie. It is crucial for the police, and society as a whole, to understand that women may choose to reverse their stories not because they are guilty of lying but because it is difficult working with the criminal justice system or due to pressure from family, peer groups, and community, or to keep themselves safe from the perpetrator. These cases are mistakenly recorded as “false reports” even though they are only “false reports” because the survivor made that choice to protect herself. Myth #13, A Woman Owes A Man Sex If .… One of the most pervasive and damaging myths that men in our culture teach each other is the belief that a woman owes a man sex if... • • ...if he spends money on her or does a favor for her ...if they are married
The first of these is a common attitude of men in our society. It expresses the idea that a woman is a commodity to be bought at the price of anything from a hamburger, to a dinner and concert, to an automobile repair. She thinks he is being nice by doing things for her. He thinks she owes him sex if he does those things. Too many men act as if what they think is all that counts. The second attitude is supported, as of 1998 by 33 states that retain the marital rape exemption to varying degrees: some states eliminate it only when physical force is used; others when couples are separated or living apart; and others after a legal separation is filed. Clearly, this barbaric situation has to be changed. Women are not property.
This myth also extends to “A woman owes a man sex... • • •
40 41 42 43 44
...if he is sexually excited ...if they are kissing or touching each other ...if they are in the middle of intercourse.”
Brian A. Reaves, Felony Defendants in Large Urban Counties, 1994 (Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs NCJ-164616, January 1998) p. 24. Brian A. Reaves, Felony Defendants in Large Urban Counties, 1994 (Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs NCJ-164616, January 1998) p. 30. Diana E. H. Russell, Sexual Exploitation: Rape, child abuse, and workplace harassment (Sage, Beverly Hills, 1984), p. 96. She notes on p. 91 that just 20% of these resulted in arrests. The Response To Rape: Detours On The Road Equal Justice. U.S. Congress. Report prepared by the Majority Staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee, 1993. Report of the National Clearinghouse on Marital & Date Rape, 1998.
The idea here is that if a woman gives a man pleasure then she owes him more pleasure. This is nonsense. In no other human interaction does a gift obligate the giver. Yes there are women who tease men sexually, and men have a right to criticize this behavior. However, men can and do construe anything as teasing. In any case, neither teasing nor any perceived misbehavior by women is an offense that is one justly punishable by a man acting as prosecutor, judge, jury, and rapist/executioner. Men may defend this myth by saying that men cannot control their behavior past a certain point of sexual excitation. This is false. There are men who will not control themselves, but none who cannot control themselves. Finally, some men claim that a man needs release if he is excited (“Blue Balls”). Stopping intercourse prior to orgasm is neither painful nor is it damaging. If a man wants an orgasm, he has the option of masturbating. A woman has a fundamental right to terminate sexual behavior at any point of her choosing, just as a man has this right. These 13 myths are just one way in which our culture fosters and supports rape. Taken as a whole, they place blame on victims, and absolve perpetrators of responsibility or make them either invisible or “other.” Society relies upon these myths to control women’s behavior, and though many men do not rape, in some spheres they gain advantages from women’s restrictions (though men in business or personal relationships with women are also often negatively impacted by the restrictions on women’s freedom). A look at the ways men are taught to treat women shows that rape is only an extreme example of a whole range of behaviors that must stop. The Sexual Assault Continuum: Linking all behaviors Consider the range of behaviors that express male domination, humiliation, and control in a sexual context, with those usually deemed milder on the left:
We are all going to be talking with young men in our lives and might want to discuss the sexual assault continuum in a manner something like the following: Where do you draw the line at what is acceptable and what is too much? (One common dividing line is shown above, between pornography and racially-loaded sexual put-downs.) When some men see others engaging in behaviors to the left of a given line, this fosters and supports their behaviors on the right side of the line. This means that there is no safe side to any line. Put another way, the left and right sides of the continuum are connected to each other (around the lower arc) so that what looks like the left and the right sides of one’s arbitrary line are actually on the same segment.
Socialization When you think about the characteristics of an “ideal” man or boy — in control, rational, aggressive, strong, sexual, firm, not emotional, angry, powerful — many of them are characteristics of rapists, differing only in degree. Males are often raised to believe that they are entitled to have their needs met. When you think about the characteristics of an “ideal” woman or girl — passive, pretty, intuitive, nurturing, homemaker, obedient, non-aggressive, emotional, does not get angry, submissive, selfless, dresses to please men —many are the characteristics of the “ideal” victim. Sexually, “real men” are studs; “ladies” are virginal (while simultaneously sexy). The set-up is clear. If we are to end rape, we need to rethink teaching these ideals.
Institutional Causes Our legal system, many religious ideologies and practices, family systems, the media, and our educational systems all contribute to rape. Although in some institutions “cause” may be too strong a claim, many of these institutions at least perpetuate attitudes that rapists can and do interpret as permission to rape, and others maintain situations that undermine women’s safety. Four examples should illustrate this general point: First of all, there are few or no consequences 16
for most acquaintance rapists. The Excellent Wife: A Biblical Perspective issues a blanket decree that by definition includes spousal rape: “there is nothing the husband has done that you cannot forgive.” The Rebuilder’s Guide declares that a wife destroys “her husband’s manliness . . . by resisting his physical affection.” “Friendly Parent” provisions of child custody laws (e.g., Or. Rev. Stat. §107.137(1)(f) (1999)) award sole custody to the father if the mother balks at frequent and ongoing contact between the children and him because of suspicions of sexual abuse that have not been proven beyond reasonable doubt in a court. Colleges are often more concerned with suppressing stories about rapes on campus than they are with utilizing those stories to promote student safety.
Situational Causes The monetary imbalance, part of our society’s superstructure in which men in general make more money than women, is also an example of situational support for rape in our culture. Women are less likely to be able to pay for the expenses of dating, leading to situations in which men expect sex because they paid. Class issues and immigration status also set some women up to be more vulnerable to rape. For instance, poor women are less likely to have reliable cars for transportation through dangerous times and places and may be forced to live in dangerous housing and work dangerous jobs.
Self Protection for Women
When the subjects of sexual assault and domestic violence come up, self-defense is often mentioned as a means of prevention. It is not a means of primary prevention (as that involves preventing the assaults from ever happening), but can be an effective tool for risk reduction, as well as a means of healing from past experiences of harassment, assault or abuse. Even if never assaulted, women gain from self-defense a sense of themselves as active agents in the world, a sense of having rights that is missing from gender-role training.
Moreover, because the threat of sexual assault controls women as much as its actuality, selfdefense can lessen fear, boost confidence and gain women an increased measure of freedom. Self-defense is often seen as synonymous with karate, judo or another art. Although the martial arts can indeed be confidence-boosters and provide some skills for defense, the most useful selfdefense classes are designed around the particular threats women face and around their particular needs. In fact, because acquaintances and people with relative power commit so many assaults,
45 46 47 48
Martha Peace, The Excellent Wife: A Biblical Perspective, Revised Edition, (Focus Publishing, Bemidji, MN, 1977) Ch. 9 Love, Principle #3. Bill Gothard, Rebuilder’s Guide (Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts, Oak Brook, Ill., 1982), pp. 128-9. Much of this section is from Nadia Telsey, Executive Director, Breaking Free, Eugene, Oregon (personal communication, 2002). There are many other kinds of risk-reducing measures of the “locks and lights” variety one may find in law enforcement agency brochures.
physical skills may not even be the most useful. Some workshops and classes, such as Breaking Free’s Self Defense from the Inside Out, concentrate almost exclusively on non-physical skills.
Self-defense classes vary widely. They may involve padded attackers or not. They may be quite short or may be as long as 30 hours. A good class reveals understanding of a set-up women face that can make use of self-protective skills difficult. On the one hand, women are taught to be nice, kind, forgiving, understanding, friendly and helpful and to seek approval of others. But then if we act that way and are assaulted, we are frequently asked why we were so trusting, friendly, etc. The resulting self-blame is one of the most devastating aspects of assault. On the other hand, if we don’t act as our socialization teaches, we are told we are rude, unfriendly or worse. Self-defense often entails stepping out of our gender socialization and facing being called a bitch (which is redefined as a woman “Being In Total Charge of Herself”!). So self-defense must not only include skills for safety, but must address the barriers to women using those skills. Longer classes might include examining and transforming socialized attitudes. For example, you can transform passivity (“What will he do to me?”) into action (“What will I do?”); transform denial (“That doesn’t bother me” or “He didn’t mean to touch me that way.”) into trusting your intuition (“I’m uncomfortable because of what he is doing. I have a right to be treated with respect.”); transform self-blame (“I shouldn’t have…,” “I’m so stupid.”) into anger (“How dare he!”, “I have the right to….”); transform feelings of self-deprecation (“other’s needs are more important than mine”) into self-worth (“I am worth defending,” “I have a right to be safe.” Effective classes address most, if not all, of the following: • Information about how assailants operate, how they often select victims, the ploys they use and the stages of many assaults. For example, many assailants first approach with an innocent ploy, such as asking for help or offering assistance. They do this to get close and to move their intended victim to a more isolated place. During this approach, they test the potential victim by doing or saying something inappropriate and watching to see how she responds. (This is no way implies that she is at fault if she doesn’t respond assertively.) If a woman tends to her own need for safety and listens to any uncomfortable messages coming from her intuition by speaking up, she is more likely to get away than the woman who is worried about seeming rude. Changing this conditioning takes time and patience.
Nadia Telsey, Self-defense From the Inside Out—A Women's Workbook for Developing Self Esteem and Assertiveness Skills For Safety (SDIO, Eugene, OR, 1988). Available through Breaking Free, PO Box 1023, Eugene, OR 97440. firstname.lastname@example.org, www. breaking-free.net, 541 343-5513. Suggestion: If uncertain about the truth of the need, a woman can get assistance FOR the person without personally getting more involved (e.g. making a phone call FOR someone who asks to come in to use a phone). Jennie J. McIntyre ("Victim Response to Rape: Alternative Outcomes," Final Report, NIMH, 1979, Question 12, p. 6) found that taking quick action means being willing to risk embarrassment and drawing attention to oneself.
• Skills to avoid assaults and to interrupt them in their early stages. This includes assertiveness skills, trust in intuition and a sense of one’s rights. • Simple physical skills that are effective and easy to remember. Strikes to the major target areas – eyes, nose, throat, solar plexus, groin and knees – are generally taught, along with some blocks and escapes from various holds • Skills that are useful for a wide range of assaults. Some harassment may not even involve touching but be frightening, humiliating or both. In many cases, physical skills would not be appropriate, either because of the nature of the offense or because of the identity of the offender. Some classes include verbal and body language exercises and role-playing of possible situations. Some classes include verbal and body language exercises and role-playing of possible situations. Women need to be reminded that the perpetrators are to blame, whether or not they are able to use self-defense skills to stop the action. Some of the possible self-defense strategies : Fleeing or otherwise getting away Yelling – especially early in an assault Strong statements – such as “back off” Assertiveness Negotiation (“I’ll do what you want. Just please put down the knife.”), which may either minimize the damage of an assault or be used to escape. Lying Making a scene Naming the behavior (“If you continue to do this you are a rapist.”) Playing along until a better time to resist or until someone intervenes Distraction Being directive Creating a safety plan – to escape from abuse Strategic compliance, an important strategy for survival. Submission does not mean consent.
In a situation with the possibility of death, anything a woman did or did not do to survive was the correct thing. There is no one right way and no one has the right to judge. • Skills that are useful against acquaintances as well as strangers (such as yelling and running away) and against those using manipulation, drugs and alcohol, as well as
We are indebted to One With Heart, Portland, OR for some of these. See also Pauline Bart and Patricia O'Brian, Stopping Rape: Successful Survival Strategies (Pergamon, New York, 1985), Chapter 4.
force or threatened force. Differences in tactics suggested for dealing with abusers and assailants on drugs may also be included. An increasing number of assaults are committed with the use of drugs put into drinks. They are odorless and colorless and not only render the recipient unconscious, but also can block her memory. Self-defense classes need to include information about such assaults. Acquaintances are not only dates. They can be virtually anyone we know and in fact, can even be people we don’t know but who are connected in some way to people we do (e.g., the friend of a son or brother, a friend’s husband). Acquaintances often have our trust, have more access to us without arousing suspicion, and may have power over us, such as a teacher or employer. It’s important to be aware of ploys they use, trust your intuition, and be willing to put your safety first if they ask you to do something that causes you to feel uneasy. • An emphasis on the value of intuition, which is a wonderful tool for defense as long as we are able to listen to it. At the same time, intuitive flashes are not always present.
• After-care. Because the reaction of friends, the police and the society-at-large can be victim-blaming, women often suffer as much after an assault as during it. It is useful to employ assertiveness and other self-defense tactics to protect oneself from the blaming comments of others and to let them know what you need. Women can also warn each other about assailants or confront an assailant through a letter or with the support of friends as a part of healing. Further: • It is important that a self-defense class present the skills taught as options and that the class respects whatever a woman chooses to do to survive an assault, including going along with the attacker. There is no evidence that any one thing always or never works. There are simply no guarantees in self-defense, since every assailant and every potential victim is different. • The focus must always be on the perpetrator as far as blame is concerned. Self-defense classes are damaging if they imply that a woman has a duty to physically resist and is a failure if she does not. They also are damaging if they only focus on ways women should restrict their lives in order to be safe, as though the perpetrators are invisible and the responsibility for stopping assaults rests with those victimized by them. Ideally, women leave self-defense classes with more freedom, rather than less.
Mary P. Koss, Thomas E. Dinero, and Cynthia A. Seibel, “Stranger and Acquaintance Rape: Are There Differences in the Victim’s Experience?” Psychology of Women Quarterly 12, 1-24 (1988), at 21. See Mary Koss’ examples in the video Someone YouKnow: Acquaintance Rape (MTI Film & Video, Deerfield, IL, 1986, 30 min.).
• The needs of survivors must be addressed during class, including an option to sit out any given exercise or portion of a class. Women who have taken self-defense classes frequently talk about how life-changing the experience is. This is true both for women who have experienced assault and who now are reclaiming their own bodies, and for all women who are experiencing in a visceral way their power and strengths. To find out more about self-defense for women, the following books are recommended: Beauty Bites Beast. Ellen Snortland. Trilogy Books, Pasadena, 1998. Real Knockouts, The Physical Feminism of Women’s Self-Defense. Martha McCaughey, New York University Press, 1997. Self-Defense: The Womanly Art of Self-Care, Intuition and Choice Debbie Leung. R and M Press, Tacoma, WA. 1991. Available through her website. The Gift of Fear. Gavin De Becker. Dell Publishing, New York, 1998. Self Defense from the Inside Out, a workbook for women, By Nadia Telsey. Available through Breaking Free, PO Box 1023, Eugene, OR 97440; <www. breaking-free.net> ; 541 343-5513. Marcia E. Hall, Lifelines: Women, Male Violence, and Personal Safety (Publisher: America House Book Publishers, 2004)
Promising Interventions for Men
Mary Koss and coworkers found in their national study that 1 in 13 college men admitted to forcing (or attempting to force) a woman to have sex against her will, but virtually none of these men considered themselves to be rapists. These men who rape clearly consider themselves normal compared to their peers, many of whom don’t rape. So if we are to prevent rape, we must find better ways for peers to help men to see their rape behavior as inappropriate, better ways to convince men who abhor rape to become actively involved in this endeavor, and better ways to communicate successes in this project on a national and global scale.
Although antirape education for high school and college men has been done in some communities for over 20 years, studies demonstrating the effectiveness of various strategies have only recently been providing any reliable feedback. Furthermore, Mary Heppner et al. note that investigations of rape prevention education have focused almost exclusively on
Mary P. Koss, Christine A. Gidycz, and Nadine Wisniewski, “The Scope of Rape,” J. of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 53, 442-443 (1987).
attitude change as the outcome. Those that use behavioral change as their outcomes are rare. Furthermore, long-term assessments are important because many studies that found a significant rebound effect in attitudes for both men and women at a 2-month follow-up, with men rebounding to levels worse than before the intervention. However, by using the more sophisticated analysis in a later study, Heppner and coworkers were able to identify conceptually significant profiles of men's change, or lack [thereof], after participating in a rape prevention intervention. . . . As predicted, we uncovered a group of men whose rape supportive attitudes significantly decreased immediately following the intervention, and this change was present at a 5-month follow-up. This was one of the first investigations to support the long-term effectiveness of rape education programming, at least for a portion of the sample.
As predicted, we also found a group of men who reported a significant decrease in rape supportive attitudes immediately following the intervention, but whose attitudes rebounded to pre-intervention levels by the 5-month follow-up assessment. . . . Another unique contribution of this study was its inclusion of race and cultural issues. Our findings support the utility of examining culturally relevant programs, especially for racial and ethnic minority populations. Specifically, we found that Black men in the culturally relevant group self-reported more engagement in the intervention than the Black men in the colorblind intervention. This finding has several important implications. For example, this result suggests the need to examine carefully the relevance of rape education intervention programs across the nation for racial and ethnic minority individuals and groups. If one of the goals of rape intervention programming is to design personally relevant interventions for all participants so that they feel more motivated to listen to and cognitively engage in the message, then attending to the unique context of the participants' lives seems warranted. Some people may express concern that infusion of racial and cultural material may alienate the majority of White participants that typically attend college rape education workshops. Our findings indicate that the White men who participated in the culturally relevant condition were not adversely affected by the information. Unfortunately, because of . . . attrition, we were unable to test whether the Black participants in the culturally relevant treatment condition were more likely to be in the “improving” cluster compared to their peers in the colorblind treatment condition.
Where we have found that some preliminary conclusions may be made on either scale, we have noted this below. We also present some of the more promising ways antirape educators seek to change male attitudes towards rape and male behaviors even though they have not been scientifically tested for efficacy.
Mary J. Heppner, Carolyn F. Humphrey, Theresa L. Hillenbrand-Gunn, and Kurt A. DeBord, “The differential effects of rape prevention programming on attitudes, behavior and knowledge,” Journal of Counseling Psychology 42, 508- 518 (1995) Mary J. Heppner, Helen A. Neville, Kendra Smith, Dennis M. Kivlighan Jr, and Beth S. Gershuny, “Examining Immediate and Long-Term Efficacy of Rape Prevention Programming With Racially Diverse College Men,” Journal of Counseling Psychology 46(1), 16–26 (1999).
Communication Paul Schewe notes that
Miscommunication has been implicated as a cause of date rape for many years. Results of one study involving prison inmates suggested that rapists are particularly poor at interpreting negative cues from women on first dates when compared to violence nonrapists and nonviolent nonrapists. Men may interpret women’s behavior more sexually than do women, and this misunderstanding can lead to sexual offending in several ways. For example, a man is more likely to interpret behaviors such as kissing and cuddling as preliminaries to intercourse. If the woman resists the man’s advances, he might assume that she really wants sex but is merely offering token resistance so as not to appear promiscuous.
59 60 61
A typical education program might discuss these issues in a manner akin to the following: The next time you are in a group of men and women talking, listen to how statements made by women are treated by the men. Often a woman will be given the same treatment as a child. She will be condescended to, ignored or her statement may be translated — “What she really means is...” This pattern carries over into situations where a woman says “No” to sex and the man thinks, “What she really means is....”
What are the consequences of hearing “no” when a woman says “no”? You might not get what you wanted. What are the consequences of not hearing “no” when a woman says “no”? You are committing a class A felony. You are subjecting a woman to a horrible experience that will remain with her for the rest of her life. You might go to jail.
Men must learn to take a woman’s words at face value. If she changes her mind, she can tell you “yes.”
59 60 61 62 63
Paul A. Schewe, “Guidelines for developing rape prevention and risk reduction interventions: Lessons from evaluation research,” in Paul A. Schewe (Ed.), Preventing Violence In Relationships: Interventions Across The Life Span (American Psychological Association, Washington, DC, 2002), p. 114. D.N. Lipton, E.C. McDonel, and R.M. McFall, “Heterosocial perceptions in rapists,” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 55(1), 17-21 (1987). C. L. Muehlenhard and M. A. Linton, “Date rape and sexual agression in dating situations: Incidence and risk factors,” Journal of Counselling and Psychology 14, 186-196 (1987). J. Check and N. Malamuth, “Sex role stereotyping and reactions to depictions of strangers versus acquaintance rape, “ Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 45(5), 344-356 (1983). From Gloria Steinem, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions (Signet, New York 1986). Also, a primary source of sexual socialization in men are the letters in Playboy and Penthouse. In these everyone is having sex ten times a day with total strangers. The implication is that "every woman should want to have sex with me." Remember, "No" means "No." From So What's it to Me? Sexual Assault Information for Guys, King County Rape Relief, 1025 S. 3rd St., Renton, WA 98055, 1988.
If a woman is drunk or high, her ability to consent may be impaired. If she is too intoxicated to understand what is happening or to communicate what she really wants, you could be charged with rape. It’s better to be cautious in these situations. If you want to be sexual with someone, wait until she is sober. If she is too intoxicated to give consent, it is rape. Many education programs specifically ask males to go further than just hearing “No,” to seeking explicit verbal consent to sexual behavior (which should be explicitly stated as different than badgering her into saying “yes.”). For most men the idea that one can one can talk about sex outside of the locker room is eye-opening. Typical language might include the following: Human beings are considered unique in our ability to use language. Yet people talk about abstractions and trivialities like the weather but not about important things like thoughts, needs, and feelings. We have a gift in the possibility of sharing minds — a wasted gift if never used. It is possible to tell someone that you are sexually attracted to him or her or that you are feeling too rushed — the sky doesn’t fall in. We use body language to say these things without embarrassment, but often there are mixed messages. To those who worry that talking about sex destroys spontaneity, one can respond that the freedom and peace of mind that comes with a sharing of minds, together with creativity and passion, go far to unleash the possibilities of a sexual relationship. If a man is not comfortable sharing his innermost thoughts and feelings with a woman as a friend, then he has no business PRETENDING to be intimate with her sexually. We seldom have sexual assertiveness and negotiation modeled for us, i.e. being clear about what you want and what your partner wants. These issues are probably best broached for the first time in non-dating situations and venues, and revisited periodically. But don’t assume that if she is generally interested in sex with you sometime, that you need not seek a “yes” this time. Mary Heppner et al. have found interactive drama to be particularly helpful in addressing consent: The interactional drama is an intervention conducted by a male and female team of facilitators who invite the audience to experience two dating situations via improvisational theater. In brief, the first scene portrays a date between a male and a female actor that ends in rape. Participants then have the chance to ask questions of the actors, who remain in character. After the dynamics of the scene are analyzed, the audience rewrites the script by giving suggestions as to how the actors may change the situation. In the second scene, the actors incorporate audience suggestions to avoid the occurrence of rape. . . .
D. B. Gibson and C. F. Humphrey, “Educating in regards to sexual violence: An interactional dramatic acquaintance rape intervention,” (Unpublished manuscript, University of Minnesota, Sexual Violence Program, Minneapolis, 1993).
When a measure of knowledge was used that assessed participants’ ability to discriminate between consensual and coercive sexual behaviors, the interactive drama participants were significantly better able to make the appropriate differentiation than were participants in the didactic-video or the control groups. This assessment seems particularly useful, as previous research has indicated that men who commit rape and other forms of sexual assault do not define what they are doing as rape or even as coercion. . . . Moreover, participants from the interactive drama condition also were significantly more likely to report in a 4-month, supposedly unrelated investigation a greater likelihood to volunteer for a rape prevention project. In addition, when asked about their behaviors following the intervention, the interactive drama participants indicated that they thought, talked about, and told more people about the presentation.
The last note is particularly important in our goal to create a set of norms among men akin to the cultural transformation of mainstream attitudes toward drunk driving from acceptance or indifference to condemnation over the past 30 years. Unfortunately, even after using interventions that are carefully designed and embedded in a theoretical framework of attitude change, with employed actors and trained facilitators, our ability to produce lasting attitude change on [the Rape Myth Acceptance Scale appears ineffective over time]. In some respects this finding should not be surprising, as the rape culture that surrounds students on many college campuses may be considerably more potent than any brief intervention designed to alter such attitudes. The pressure from the college environment for men and women to have sex in order to be popular has been demonstrated in investigations in which almost two-thirds of college men surveyed reported engaging in unwanted sexual intercourse because of peer pressure. Writers in the area of sexual assault have suggested that the sociocultural environment of many college campuses is one that promotes rape-supportive attitudes and socializes men to adhere to them. It is clear that when viewed in this context, the power of a 1- or 2-hour intervention, no matter how sophisticated and well planned, may have limited lasting effect.
67 68 69 70
One answer to the last issue is a semester long course, such as the [Campus Acquaintance Rape Education (CARE)] program, a comprehensive University course that trained undergrads to
67 68 69 70
Mary J. Heppner, Carolyn F.Humphrey, Theresa L. Hillenbrand-Gunn, and Kurt A. DeBord, “The differential effects of rape prevention programming on attitudes, behavior and knowledge,” Journal of Counseling Psychology 42, 508- 518 (1995) A. D. Berkowitz, Men and rape: Theory research and prevention programs in higher education (Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, 1994).. C. L. Muehlenhard and S. W. Coo, “Men's reports of unwanted sexual activity,” Journal of Sex Research 24, 58–72 (1988). A. D. Berkowitz, Men and rape: Theory research and prevention programs in higher education (Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, 1994).. Mary J. Heppner, Carolyn F. Humphrey, Theresa L. Hillenbrand-Gunn, and Kurt A. DeBord, “The differential effects of rape prevention programming on attitudes, behavior and knowledge,” Journal of Counseling Psychology 42, 508- 518 (1995)
facilitate peer workshops on rape education. CARE students were less accepting of cultural rape myths than the control group at a two-year follow-up. These were, however, an extremely specialized group of students. However, a study of the outcomes of the 2-hour workshops that these students subsequently facilitated addresses the effectiveness of the alternate tack of multiple, perhaps unrelated, short-term exposures to sexual assault information:
Perhaps the most intriguing finding in the present context was that students who participated in [First Year Campus Acquaintance Rape Education (FYCARE)] as well as some other rape education program demonstrated outcomes that were superior to those of students who participated only in FYCARE. This effect was seen both in judgments of the hypothetical campus rape as well as indicated support for rape prevention efforts, and it was observed not only 4 to 6 months after participating in FYCARE but often years after the additional education program (the vast majority of students described their other educational intervention as occurring during high school). This striking result suggests that cumulative participation in rape education might either increase the likelihood of positive change or at least forestall the deterioration of positive change observed both in the present study and other recent research. In support of such an idea, students who reported personal acquaintance with a rape survivor perceived the hypothetical case scenario as more serious and criminal than did other students without such personal acquaintance. Moreover, respondents who participated in some rape education program other than FYCARE also reported greater rejection of cultural rape myths, and they were more likely to view the hypothetical acquaintance rape case in ways that were favorable to the victim. Taken in combination, these findings attest to the importance of multiple . . .  rape education [programs conducted in many different formats, so that participants are exposed to the same message presented as many different times and as many different ways as possible ]. What remains unclear, however, is whether this incremental benefit is the direct result of increased educational intervention or whether it is the more indirect result of a general climate that rejects sexual violence. This question thus remains for future research: whether increased awareness and mandated programming are effective primarily through direct educational intervention or also through communication of the message that sexual aggression will not be tolerated.
There is at least anecdotal evidence that even workshops exposing students to information on other oppressions, and intervention strategies, may lead to positive attitudinal and behavioral changes around sexual assault issues. One of the authors (Straton) has brought antirape buttons
71 72 73 74 75
Kimberly A. Lonsway (private communication 2004). Kimberly A. Lonsway and Chevon Kothari, “First year campus acquaintance rape education - Evaluating the impact of a mandatory intervention,” Psychol Women Quart 24(3): 220-232 (2000). Kimberly A. Lonsway and Chevon Kothari, “First year campus acquaintance rape education - Evaluating the impact of a mandatory intervention,” Psychol Women Quart 24(3): 220-232 (2000). Kimberly A. Lonsway and Chevon Kothari, “First year campus acquaintance rape education - Evaluating the impact of a mandatory intervention,” Psychol Women Quart 24(3): 220-232 (2000). “Beyond Guilt: How to Deal with Societal Racism,” by Lauren N. Nile and Jack C. Straton, Multicultural Education 10 (4), 2-6 (Summer, 2003).
into class two months after taking his students through a 30-hour antiracist workshop. The first time was in a college class for high school seniors and the second in a freshman college class. Each male and female high school student in turn took a button out of the bag and immediately put it on, until the last few cried out in dismay that the bag was empty. They reported talking to their peers about the buttons over the next week with no prompting from any of the instructors. The college class followed a similar pattern.
Toward a Comprehensive Change in World View In the field of domestic violence prevention, the Duluth model has come to be widely replicated because it centers on a Coordinated Community Response to hold perpetrators accountable and protect battered women. Ideally, every institution and individual in the community would seek to hold batterers accountable for their choices. So, too, should be the response to sexual assault. If every man that boys spoke to as they grew up routinely condemned sexual predation — if every man adult males spoke to at work or in school did likewise — we would begin to radically shift our society. But effecting such a comprehensive change in male-male fostering requires a re-examination of the underlying assumptions of what matters in being male.
Perhaps no intervention will stop every class of rapist, but there are men who may respond to education. Like batterers, some men rape simply because they have a sense of entitlement by virtue of their gender and power position. Changing this world view is the key to changing these behaviors. And even men who don’t feel powerful by virtue of their position may share this worldview of male entitlement and seek to act out domination and humiliation to gain a sense of being powerful. Perhaps they can be taught to seek sources of holistic power. In speaking to high school classes, one may address these issues in the following manner: Men as a group have enormous power over women, and individual men (often-unknowingly) benefit from that group power. But as individuals, many of us feel powerless. Some of us feel oppressed on our jobs, or by virtue of our ethnicity, or looks, or ability to communicate effectively, and we seldom imagine how it would feel to add the burden of gender oppression on top of that. Yet the message we hear is that “as men we are entitled to power,” and indeed some of us will attempt to grab power from others. The question is, “Can we address these real feelings of inadequacy by seeking empowerment of an alternative kind?” Current lessons in the meaning or “power” are seen in High School peer groups where young men learn that the way to elevate your own standing is to put others down. Men are socialized to strive for “the top,” but if you notice the shape of a pyramid, there can be only one man at the top of a given hierarchy. Men frustrated in this striving may seek other ways to feel powerful, such as dominating, abusing, or raping their wives and children. What we see here is that a display of “power” is really a display of “weakness.”
Ellen Pence and Michael Paymar, Education Groups for Men Who Batter: The Duluth Model (Springer Publishing Co., New York, 1993) From a speech by Sonia Johnson.
What we have to understand is that a sense of strength comes not from “power” over others, but as a result of power from within. Oppressive, exploitative power may provide things but it will not fill one’s life nor fulfill one’s dreams. One cannot take real power, nor is it granted by authority. Each of us has power unless we give it away or are subjugated. True power is rooted in centeredness, compassion, and in a loving self-image. It includes the grace to accept the right of others to work their will, to accept that we sometimes lose, and to know that we become more powerful as we help to empower others. Let us focus the traditional definition, “power over...,” to powerfully take charge of our lives. Let us enlarge the traditional definition to include “the power to...” —to embrace personal integrity, courage and wholeness. We can see the workings of the expanded definition, “power in the interests of...,” in the men and women marching with Dr. Martin Luther King who succeeded in moving our society closer in line with our ideal of equality.
These sorts of pitches to the humanity of male students play a positive part in helping them feel less defensive about the overall presentation, thereby lowering their resistance to earlier portions of the information that may have made them feel guilty. Much of the research has been done on college campuses. We also need both research, and interventions, that reach the non-student population as well as students in much younger grades. Engaging The Support of Natural Leaders Another way to counter men’s defensiveness and hostility when attending rape prevention interventions — particularly the perception that the intervention is targeting fraternity men (or athletes) as perpetrators of rape — is to adopt ‘the philosophy that fraternity men are campus leaders and that by educating themselves about rape and learning about how they can be most helpful to a friend who has been raped, they can more effectively use their leadership role to promote a healthy sexual environment. We also used only male facilitators, and they talked to participants using inclusive personal pronouns (“we,” “us”).’
Jackson Katz co-created the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) Program at Northeastern University's Center for the Study of Sport in Society in 1993 for this purpose. The multi-racial, mixed gender MVP Program is the first large-scale attempt to enlist high school, collegiate and professional athletes in the fight against all forms of men's violence against women. MVP has worked with more than 20,000 high school students, as well as 2,500 student-athletes at 35 colleges nationally. Katz and other MVP staff have trained coaches, players and front office personnel of the New England Patriots Football Club. Katz is the primary author of the program's innovative teaching materials.
78 79 80
Starhawk, in her book The Spiral Dance set the tone for these phrases. T. L. Hillenbrand-Gunn, An examination of rape preventive interventions (Unpublished master's thesis, University of Missouri—Columbia, 1995).. Mary J. Heppner, Helen A. Neville, Kendra Smith, Dennis M. Kivlighan Jr, and Beth S. Gershuny, “Examining Immediate and Long-Term Efficacy of Rape Prevention Programming With Racially Diverse College Men,” Journal of Counseling Psychology 46(1), 16–26 (1999).
Since 1996, he has been directing the first worldwide gender violence prevention program in the history of the United States Marine Corps. He and his colleagues have trained thousands of Marines on a dozen bases in the U.S. and Japan. The United States Navy is currently piloting his program aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson. He is a member of the U.S. Secretary of Defense's Task Force on Domestic Violence in the military.
The Support Continuum
Providing practical advice on how they can make a difference as an individual may also lift the spirits of male students during presentations. They may feel relief if they understand that they don’t need to end all of Sexism, just the instances of it that pass before their eyes. One tool that is often used is to put up on the board a support continuum of concrete actions men can take to end rape. Typically included are; speak out against rape jokes and sexist beliefs; listen to women; “no” means “no,” play, respect, communication, feeling, listening, yielding, supporting, affirming women’s power, sexuality as a celebration in which communicating partners have a common interest, for otherwise you are just masturbating with someone else’s body. Of course, just as women must confront their gender role conditioning to speak up, so must men. Men are taught to care greatly about the opinions of other men, and so interrupting sexism can result in charges of their being traitors, “wusses” or “pussy-whipped”. Interrupting takes courage, courage that is sorely needed if we are to have change. Given that courage is one of the hallmarks of what it means in our society to be a male, it is helpful to explore with male students why courage is so seldom employed in challenging sexism. The discussion usually will address how males should respond when hearing about a rape of a peer. One can encourage students to shift from our conventional focus on “Why did she X? to “Why did he rape her?” What people say following an assault is very important. It not only affects the known survivor, but her family, friends, and other unknown survivors within hearing. Of course, it also affects the actions of potential rapists within hearing. Intervention Strategies With Peers. Most of us have had little practice intervening, so some very basic instruction is in order: So what are some other specific actions men can take to end rape? When you hear a sexist joke, and are feeling uncomfortable about confrontation, you can at least refrain from laughing. The speaker will notice. As you become more courageous, you can tell the speaker how you feel when he degrades women. This is generally more effective than simply labeling the action as “sexist” because you can’t be wrong about your own feelings. On the other hand, sometimes calling a comment self-evidently sexist and then shifting the conversation to a neutral topic, conveys a sufficient “stop that” message without making you
<http://www.lordly.com/talent/lordly/KatzJackson.html> downloaded February 21, 2004. From an idea by Men Stopping Rape in Madison.
seem to put on airs. You can, as Phyllis Frank says, acknowledge that the comment is an example of how sexism works, a system in which all men participate and from which they gain privileges.
Another effective response is to say, “That’s unacceptable.” When he comes back with another line directed at women or at you say, “That’s unacceptable.” If you keep on like a stuck record, you will eventually wear him down. If it is a person that you want to invest some time in you can respond with “That’s a very interesting statement. Tell me more” and calmly let the speaker talk himself into ridiculousness. If you can’t get anything else out of your mouth, just say “Ouch!”
The Next Generation Being of service to boys is also an essential tool for positive social change. Given the Los Angeles Times national survey of 1,145 adult men that found that 16% were survivors of childhood sexual abuse, it is also important to help young men and boys come to terms with the effects of that abuse on their own lives and on the lives of one in six of their male friends. Helping boys and men work through their betrayal and pain and grief to center themselves will produce a new generation of more productive allies to girls and women. We can also speculate on the possibility that giving men and boys the opportunity to deal with this might also have a direct effect on assault rates in society.
Addressing the negative effects of conventional socialization on boys is eye opening for many of them. Paul Kivel notes that we teach boys to get ahead, get by, get over, get out, get back (Columbine), but we seldom help them get together. We need to help them discover and express feelings, verbalize, and get into music, art, and movement. We need to teach them to listen and nurture, e.g., baby sit, with pets, plants, mentor and tutor other kids. We need to talk about how their socialization boxes them in to narrowly define roles and teach them the tools they need to resist and understand it, and so that they don’t think they are the only one who is dealing with it.
In a school or family setting, it is up to adults to intervene when others bully those who do not act according to gender-role demands. It is unfair to expect children to carry the weight of social change without the aid of adults. The only successful anti-bullying efforts are those that involve everyone: teachers, parents, custodians, and community members.
For an more complete example of this see http://rise.pdx.edu/accept.html. Director, VCS Community Change Project, 77 South Main Street, New City, New York 10956 (personal communication 2002). 85 From Gerry Sütter. 86 David Finkelhor, Gerald Hotaling, I. A. Lewis, and Christine Smith, “Sexual Abuse in a National Survey of Adult Men and Women: Prevalence, Characteristics, and Risk Factors,” Child Abuse and Neglect 14, 19-28 (1990). 87 Paraphrased from Paul Kivel, 4/17/01, Portland Community College, Sylvania Campus.
Kivel also suggests that we Give them the history of how people have challenged those in power. There have always been men who have been allies to women;
Help boys and young men to get involved in community service, to feel like part of a community, part of making a difference. When feeding the hungry they ask “why are so many hungry,” which leads to a discussion of power; Help them think about whether there is safety in moving away from male gender role expectations with a group of other boys? Strategize with them how to create safety for themselves and their friends. These strategies need to change as they grow. Ask them to “think about a time when a man came through for you. What qualities did he express or exhibit? What about a time a boy or young man inspired you?”
The Way Out
This is an emotionally difficult subject, and many of us begin to feel despair as we face the realities of rape. As with most of society’s problems, this one has both political and personal solutions. In our work situations, and as a citizen, we have the capacity to create change. Change must also occur at the institutional and societal levels. Public and private institutions can be expected to address sexual violence in their expectations and policies. For example, businesses can develop policies that both strive to change the attitudes that support sexual assault as well as establish clear guidelines that prohibit the full spectrum of sexually inappropriate behaviors in the work place. Widespread attitudes that support sexual violence need to be reversed. Those attitudes, as expressed in popular media, sports, and youth culture, encourage institutions and communities to ignore the impact of sexual violence. Changes in individual and community’s attitudes can, in turn, positively influence institutional policies and procedures. For instance, the more willing juries are to convict acquaintance rapists, the greater the likelihood that district attorneys will prosecute them. Many of us are also parents, siblings, and mentors to boys and young men and thus have an opportunity to teach them about genuine human relationships, most often by example. Let us help females and males in the next generation to talk to each other about what’s going on in their lives, to reach out of the isolation that helps neither them nor a friend who also is struggling with how to be and grow into adulthood. Model this by reaching out and talking to them about what is difficult to talk about in your own lives; about love, about hope, about despair. By working
See Michael S. Kimmel and Thomas E. Mosmiller, Against the Tide: Profeminist Men In America, 1776-1990, A Documentary History (Beacon Press, Boston : 1992)
together, we can transform our society toward a future filled with all the peace, rich friendship, and the love we deserve.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.