The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey ‘17

Earlier this week saw the release of the latest National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NIPSVS) from the Centre for Disease Control (CDC).

If I am going to be totally honest, I’m really annoyed this managed to blindside me. I’ve cited the previous releases of the NIPSVS so many times in debates/arguments and to think the latest release managed to slip by and it took me nearly a whole week to realise it. Disgraceful. At least with the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey, I was on that pretty much as soon as it came out and WHEW! That was a blast of a report!

Anyway, exposition aside, this latest release is jam-packed with a lot of information that I find to be very useful and I am very glad to be able to sit down and chew my way through it. Whilst this data is US-only, I would argue that it is applicable to many Western countries such as the UK and Australia because we all share similar cultures, values and laws. There are, of course, discrepancies and differences but, ultimately, I would argue the data is still applicable.

The newest NIPSVS is based on the same interviews conducted for the widely used NIPSVS 2010 Summary Report but, the main difference is the 2010 Summary Report only uses the data between January 2010 and December 2010 whereas the 2017 release uses data collected between January 2010 and December 2012. Ergo, it gives a fuller, more accurate picture. This also means it would be inappropriate to compare and contrast the two reports and their findings as they both use the same source material, albeit one study uses more.

The study comprises a total of 41,174 completed interviews, a total of 22,590 women and 18,584 men completed the survey. Approximately 43.3% of completed interviews were conducted by landline, and 56.7% by cell phone. From it I will pick out notable statistics and discuss their ramifications. The questions used to find their statistics for sexual violence can be found in Appendix C of the 2010 Summary Report, for your leisure they have been reproduced below:

Sexual Violence Questions - 2010.png

Sexual Violence Questions - 2011-2012.png

Note how it says “did not want to happen” rather than “refused/did not provide consent”

One thing I find to be very dangerous about this set-up and the statistics it yields, especially when considering the incendiary outcome, is how the very simple question “Do you consider yourself to be a victim of rape?” appears to be absent. Here, participants are provided with scenarios in which they answer yes or no and the study authors (or some other person of authority involved in the running of the study) decides on behalf of the participant whether they are a victim of rape or not.

This can certainly be considered in the vague wording of the Drug and Alcohol question as the element pertaining inability to provide consent due to being passed out appears to be an element in its own right. Ergo, if I were to be an American citizen and were to receive a call requesting my involvement in this study then, when they arrive at the Drug and Alcohol question, I would answer “yes” to having partaken in sexual intercourse whilst under the influence of Drugs and/or Alcohol. I have not been in a position where I have been unable to consent because of Drugs and/or Alcohol yet because I have engaged in sexual intercourse whilst under the influence of Drugs and/or Alcohol, I would be counted as a victim of rape according to this study. This leads me to question their statistic claiming 1 in 5 women will be raped during her lifetime.

[It is probably worth noting the FBI defines rape as “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim“. As this definition does not include made to penetrate and because I suspect the CDC would follow the FBI’s direction if I were to be contacted per the hypothetical situation detailed above, I most likely would not have been counted as a victim of rape.]

The data derived from these questions can be found below:

NISVS Sexual Victimization Women.png

NISVS Sexual Victimization Men.png

Two things immediately caught my eye when first observing this data:

1 – The estimated number of victims in past 12 months for all contact sexual violence for both men and women are very close (47% of victims in past 12 months were men).

2 – The massive difference in lifetime victims of all contact sexual violence.

This heavily shows how the current paradigm of sexual violence is gender symmetrical. To argue that today’s current sexual violence problem is in any way gendered (specifically pertaining victims) is wrong. To argue that it primarily inflicts women, as anti-rape and anti-sexual violence advocates often do, is wrong. In fact, in the past 12 months, there were more male Made to penetrate victims than there were female Rape victims (1.7m vs 1.5m respectively – 242,000 more male victims).

[Made To Penetrate is considered by many, including myself, as a legitimate form of rape whereby a man is either manipulated, coerced or physically forced into penetrating someone against the man’s will or without his consent. Alas, the law does not recognise it as such, which is a fucking disgrace.]

Additionally, in the past 12 months, 39.6% of victims of sexual coercion were men, 43.4% of victims of unwanted sexual contact were men and 43.5% of non-contact unwanted sexual experiences were men. This, yet again, destroys the narrative that sexual violence is patriarchal or that it, in any way, primarily targets women. It’s almost as if both men and women can be victims of sexual violence. Who would’ve known!?

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Next, I wish to consider perpetrators.

NISVS Perpetrators Among Female Victims Sexual Violence.png

NISVS Perpetrators Among Male Victims Sexual Violence.png

Unfortunately, the data presented above is for lifetime rather than in the past 12 months, I would have preferred the latter as it would have given a more modern picture of sexual assault. Nonetheless, we can see that for victims of contact sexual violence, 45.1% of women and 41% of men were victimised by a current or former partner. In all victims of contact sexual violence at the hands of a current or former partner, 28.9% were men. I highly suspect that if we were to look at data for past 12 months, the numbers would be more egalitarian. Irrespective, this data shows that three out of every ten lifetime reports of contact sexual violence at the hands of current or former partners are men, smashing the narrative that sexual violence in relationships is male perpetrated against female victims – the Duluth Model is woefully inadequate in tackling Intimate Partner Sexual Violence (IPSV).

Regarding non-contact unwanted sexual experiences from strangers, in other words: street harassment, we find 21.7% of lifetime reports are men. Feminists and social-justice-wankers alike love to peddle the myth that the streets are unsafe for women, leading activists to host these retarded “Reclaim the Night” protests.  However, 1 in 5 victims of non-contact unwanted sexual experiences are men.

If we look at stranger rape (for males, I am including both rape and made to penetrate) we find that 23.9% of lifetime reports of stranger rape are male. Approximately, one in four lifetime victims of stranger rape are male. Again, this flies in the face of feminist theory.

In fact, for women stranger rape is just as likely as familial rape yet, I do not hear feminists claiming that living with family is too dangerous for women. What’s this, can I hear a Reclaim the Family Home movement organising itself in the distance!?

There is just one more thing, Lieutenant. Feminists love spinning the yarn that the home is a dangerous place for a woman (because, y’know, inherent male violence and all that) yet, women are more likely to be raped by acquaintances than they are by a current or former partner! If the home is too dangerous for women, is outside just as bad!? What are women to do!?

I would also like to point out that, except for family members, the percentage points for perpetrators is near the same for both men and women. Whilst, in terms of absolute numbers, there are more female victims, the ratio of who is perpetrating these crimes is near similar for men and women. *Cough*, gender symmetry in sexual violence, *cough*.

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In my mind’s eye I can imagine ardent feminists sitting at the back heckling “but it’s teh menz who is doing all teh raping” so, naturally, I shall assess crimes by those who perpetrate them.

Sex of Perpetrator - WOMEN.png

Sex of Perpetrator - MEN.png

I struggle to believe that they recorded no incidents of female perpetrated rape or made to penetrate against other females (or recorded so few the relative standard error cancelled them out). I outright deny they find none simply because they have previously stated that approximately 1 in 8 lesbians (13.1%), nearly half of bisexual women (46.1%), and 1 in 6 heterosexual women (17.4%) have been raped in their lifetime. This translates to an estimated 214,000 lesbians, 1.5 million bisexual women, and 19 million heterosexual women. And it would be wrong to attempt to argue that all those 214,000 lesbians were raped by men when 67.4% of self-identified lesbians who reported rape, physical violence and/or stalking in the context of an intimate relationship reported only female perpetrators. There is very little research that exists in the fields of homosexual Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and IPSV, I cannot possibly think why. There is also very little research into female perpetrated sex abuse, especially Child Sex Abuse. Again, I cannot think why.

Irrespective, I am here to analyse their data and what is presented does suggest that it is “teh mez” who are doing the raping but, they only do so against women. Whilst the data shows that women occasionally target other women, they are vastly outnumbered by male perpetrators.

The reverse, however, is mostly true for male victims (except for rape as their definition does not include made to penetrate). Comparing male-against-female with female-against-male, we find that for every one female-against-male rape (including made to penetrate) there were four male-against-female rapes (5,471,000 and 22,913,000 respectively) – I have not included the male and female perpetrator category in these numbers. Of all these attacks, males were the victims in 19.3% of cases. It is worth noting that these numbers are based on lifetime reports, as we have seen previously, reports of attacks in the past 12 months present more egalitarian data. It would be interesting to see said data.

What intrigues me though, is the high amount of same-sex attacks that occur, most notably amongst men. Approximately 3.4% of the US population identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, according to a 2012 survey of 121,290 participants. So, if such a small percentage of the population identifies as LGBT then why is there such an overwhelming amount of same-sex sexual abuse (especially for men)? 15.8% of made to penetrate, 14.5% of sexual coercion, 36.7% of unwanted sexual contact and 48.3% of non-contact unwanted sexual experiences perpetrated against men were perpetrated … by other men (I have again ignored the numbers for male and female perpetrators). I assume that either the incidents perpetrated by women are being under-reported or the incidents perpetrated by men against men are more common than I previously thought.

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I was also intrigued to look at child sexual abuse, to see if similar trends could be found there.

NISVS Prevalence under 18 First Victimization Women.png

NISVS Prevalence under 18 First Victimization Men.png

For all victimization types, 35.7% of victims who were first victimized before age 18 were men. I find the absence of male victims of completed rape to be intriguing, considering the massive sexual abuse of young boys. It is understandable why female victims of made to penetrate does not appear as number of incidents would be so low the category would not have been included. However, I am disinclined to believe this is true for completed rape against boys. Also, for both sexes, neither attempts without completion, sexual abuse (fondling, groping, etc) nor repeat attempts are discussed, I am of the mind that if they were, numbers would be considerably higher.

I would also be interested to know the statistics for perpetrators of this abuse, previous research from the CDC shows that 54.1% of child maltreatment offenders are women. However, that statistic does not break down what type of maltreatment these women caused.

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Whilst there is a swathe of data pertaining IPV in Section 5 of the report, the only data I care to consider for this article is in the sub-section titled Control of reproductive or sexual health. I am focusing on this simply because of the recent furore surrounding Stealthing, an act in which a man removes a condom before or during sex, without informing his partner.

Many call for this to be considered (and criminalised) as rape however, there is no similar cacophony regarding criminalising women who trick men by lying about being on the pill. This must be that male privilege thing I keep hearing about. However, the only data published by the NIPSVS on Control of reproductive or sexual health featured in the 2010 release.

Approximately 8.6% (or an estimated 10.3 million) of women reported ever having an intimate partner who tried to get them pregnant when they did not want to, or refused to use a condom, with 4.8% having had an intimate partner who tried to get them pregnant when they did not want to, and 6.7% having had an intimate partner who refused to wear a condom.

Similarly, approximately 10.4% (or an estimated 11.7 million) of men in the United States reported ever having an intimate partner who tried to get pregnant when they did not want to or tried to stop them from using birth control, with 8.7% having had an intimate partner who tried to get pregnant when they did not want to or tried to stop them from using birth control and 3.8% having had an intimate partner who refused to wear a condom.

There are many problems with the above data:

  1. It’s self-reported from the victim’s perspective.
  2. Does not include surreptitious attempts (how could it!?).
  3. Only refers to condoms.
  4. Doesn’t include when the partner refused to use their own birth control.
  5. Doesn’t include sabotage (e.g. when condom is used but has holes put in it).

The current discussion of Stealthing portrays it, like all other sex crimes are portrayed as in the media, as a male perpetrated offence yet, as we can see above, more men seem to suffer from this phenomenon.

It would be interesting to know how many women became pregnant by deception, be it through birth control sabotage or a partner outright lying about being on birth control. However, I cannot imagine statistics coming out anytime soon as pregnancy-by-deception can only be achieved via rape-by-fraud, which is illegal and so participants won’t admit to breaking to law to a random person over the phone. Unless if the participant is either moronic or narcissistic enough that they outright blurt it out. Hm.

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Overall, we see that in the past 12 months, there were just as many male victims of contact sexual violence as there were female. We also see that men are not a minority when it comes to victims of sexual abuse. The current narrative of men as perpetrators, women as victims is utter bunk. It would also have been very interesting to see the differences in statistics if the question “do you see yourself as a victim” was included.

One comment

  1. Interesting. Do you know which questions contribute to the reported statistics on rape? For example, if the answer to the question “when you were drunk how many people ever had vaginal sex with you” the answer was 5 – would that be 5 counts of rape? Specifically, how did the survey analysis identify “consent”?

    Similarly, if the answer to the question “how many people have you had vaginal sex with after they told you lies” was 10 – is that 10 counts of rape?

    Does the survey give any guidance on ‘made to penetrate’ which is comparable? For example, “has anyone persuaded you to penetrate them whilst you were drunk (or after telling you lies)”?

    There is a glaring inconsistency between the ‘last year’ data and the ‘lifetime’ data. This is familiar from DV surveys, which show the same phenomenon. It is almost certainly a gendered psychology issue – mainly due to men’s memory fading because they attribute less significance to the events in question.

    The absence of male rape from Table 6.2 is indeed odd. In England & Wales in 2013/14 there were 2,197 recorded cases of male rape (but only 84 convictions) compared with 18,528 recorded cases of female rape (1,080 convictions). So the number of male rapes is sufficient to register in Table 6.2 (pro-rata I’d expect about 0.8%).

    I expect that ex-cons, or indeed current prisoners, would have a far higher incidence of male-on-male rape. But I guess this did not feature in the survey, other than by random chance.

    We probably need to exert some pressure on the CSEW to ask questions more relevant to male victimisation, e.g., made to penetrate. There’s a job to be done.

    Like

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