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Quiz: How did Reddit’s atheist community respond to a woman’s account of rape?

Here’s a little one-question quiz to see how much you know about Reddit’s Atheism subreddit.

QUESTION ONE: A woman describes being raped by a “friend” while both were intoxicated (though she doesn’t call it rape). Do the r/atheism regulars:

a) Respond with sympathy and support

b) Attack her and furiously downvote her posts, with the assistance of one of the moderators of r/mensrights, then return to posting and upvoting rape jokes

BONUS QUESTION: True or False: Someone on r/menrights links to her comment as “an example of how and why many people believe that rape is everywhere… because their definition of rape includes every sexual misadventure.” The most heavily upvoted comment in the r/mensrights thread declares that the woman who was raped “sounds like a delusional sheltered teen.”

Yes, the correct answers here are the ones you assumed were correct.

Here’s the woman’s post describing what happened to her.

She gives more details on what happened in other, also-highly-downvoted comments.

One highly upvoted rape joke from elsewhere in the thread:

Hilarious!

Amazingly, despite all the jokes and the victim blaming/attacking going on, the thread also contains some highly upvoted comments lamenting the tendency of people to blame the victim in rape cases. Apparently, when a rape victim is drunk, it’s not rape, even when she repeatedly says “no” and gives in because she’s scared, so it’s fine to attack away, and even to accuse the victim of being a rapist too.

This enables Reddit Atheists not only to blame the victim of rape without feeling guilty, or admitting that this is what they’re doing, while simultaneously feeling self-righteous in their condemnation of religious people doing the exact same thing.

And because their rape jokes are also couched as jokes about religious people’s views on rape, they can feel self-righteous while making them too.

Sometimes the actions of Reddit Atheists cause me to begin to doubt just a teensy weensey bit that “atheists are a community that’s pre-selected for clear thinking and empiricism,” as one commenter in r/mensrights put it not that long ago.

EDITED TO ADD: Thanks again to ShitRedditSays for highlighting this awful thread.

EDITED TO ADD 2: More SRS discussion, courtesy of Holly.

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Xanthe
Xanthe
8 years ago

[meta]

JoanofArt, I think some of the problem here is:
1. These stats from the 2010 NISVS report have been discussed on this website before, and some of those commenters in those previous discussions were proven to be incapable of maintaining a good-faith dialogue;
2. Tamen is choosing to highlight some of the problematic statistics in the NISVS report without indicating the exact rationale or objective in doing so, raising suspicions related to whether this actually is a good-faith argument;
3. Tamen seems to have stopped posting, and you have taken up where zie left off;
4. As you also seem to be new to this website, some recent history (e.g. “Ashley”) is being chucked at you to see if this reveals an inconsistency in your position which might be telling.

In short, I can see some minor, but not show-stopping, problems in the responses to Tamen; but of much greater note is the general thrust of why Tamen is concerned, and whether Tamen is in fact concern trolling.

[/meta]

Snowy
Snowy
8 years ago

Oh no! Our troll truce has been broken! I guess I’ll just have to respond then. *sigh*

1 A and B are being compared as being used for C
2 It is stated that B can not be used for C
3 It is never stated or implied that A can not be used for C
4 A is praised a good thing

(And one can certainly calculate a lifetime rate from a yearly rate – similar calculations are done all the time in research on FGC – they look at yearly rates (or even lower!) and calculate estimates over much longer than a year – so I guess I’m not sure what your point is there?)

I assume by A B and C you mean the lifetime numbers from the study, the year long time period numbers from the same study, and by C you mean an estimate of the possibility in a specific person’s lifetime of being raped?

1 – Where did Pecunium do this?
2 – True.
3 – True.
4 – Again, where did Pecunium do this?

The fact that the data can be used absent other data is not really the issue here. The fact that Tamen was cherrypicking the 12 month data white ignoring the lifetime data from the same study in order to try to prove some point about rape of men by women and women by men being some kind of 50/50 occurrence is what Pecunium and others took issue with.

Xanthe
Xanthe
8 years ago

JoanofArt, in reply to your 10:10 pm comment, I noted your references on the last page, and would be interested to follow them up, but really don’t have a huge amount of time to do so at the present. As I pointed out in my earlier (8:49 pm) comment, the lack of an age-related breakdown of male victimisation is a notable drawback of the NISVS study, but the one statistic we do have is somewhat telling, that 27.8% of male rape victims versus 12.3% of female rape victims were raped at the age of 10 or under, which may support an inference that in older age brackets the risk of victimisation is greater for women (since these are a breakdown for all victims in a gender). The peak age for first-time victimisation of women is 11 to 24 years of age (just over two of every three women).

Xanthe
Xanthe
8 years ago

Sorry JoanofArt, if I haven’t gone looking for that extra reading; since this thread has been controversial in and of itself I wanted to examine what has been said here rather than finding more wood to stoke the fire with.

I went back a couple of pages in the thread, and noticed it was good ol’ Anthony Zarat* who had brought up the 2010 NISVS report in the first place (* values of “good” and “old” may vary substantially). This report was based on completed interviews with 9,086 women and 7,421 men, and the data he was citing are numbers which have extrapolated from that sample of interviewees to the U.S. population, then rounded to the nearest thousand.

Now the prevalence figures which provide those extrapolated numbers are weighted percentages; in other words, they are not the actual direct percentages of women and men interviewed, but they have been adjusted to reflect the U.S. population demographics. So some interviewees’ weighting may have been considerably greater than 1 (because their demographic was under-represented in the survey compared to census figures); other interviewees may have been weighted as less than 1 (because their demographic was correspondingly over-represented).

But let’s say all of the weightings have also been normalised so that the survey still adds up to 9,086 “women” and 7421 “men”. Taking those 1.1% figures for 12 Month Prevalence (of rape of women in one instance, men made to penetrate being the other), it works out to 100 “women” and 82 “men”, weighted. Even if many of the relative weightings are less than 1, that’s still a relatively small number of cases to be extrapolated out to over one million men and one million women out of a total population of three hundred million. Conversely, we can be sure that those statistics exceeded the minimum of 20 cases (see the Executive Summary, page 1, right hand column), so those numbers are not the result of a mere handful of cases given overly high weighting.

This is why the lifetime stats are being viewed as the more reliable indicator, because when you consider weighting percentages like 18.3% of women and 4.8% of men, this corresponds to normalised weighting (as before) of about 1660 women and 360 men; if the 12 month prevalence data are based on a small enough group to have problems, then the same problems may also affect in the lifetime prevalence data, but the larger group is more likely to minimise the effect.

The next thing that happened on page 2 was a comment by pillowinhell to suggest gender parity in rapists – about 3% to 4% of men and the same for women – which was immediately criticised for being uncited. The NISVS survey casts considerable doubt owing to the bulk of sexual violence against women being perpetrated by men in every category; whereas violence against men differs substantially in that male on male rape dominates cases of rape; but reports of men being made to penetrate and being sexually coerced tend to only involve female perpetrators. Thus only high levels of re-offence by male perpetrators would reduce numbers to parity (and do female offenders never re-offend either?). That citation by pillowinhell still seems needed.

Onto page 3, and Tamen immediately used Zarat’s quotation of figures from the 2010 NISVS report to suggest the parity argument uncited by pillowinhell. However, Tamen also misreads page 24 of the report (emphasis added):

darksidecat: Of the 1.270.000 women raped the last 12 months(2010) ( including attempts) 98% reported male perpetrators.
Of the 1.267.000 men “made to penetrate” the last 12 months(2010) (including attempts) 79% reported female perpetrators. (NISVS 2010 Report from CDC p.17-19 and 24). (Go read the report yourself if you doubt this numbers. The definition used for rape and “being made to penetrate someone else” is on page 17.)

Not quite parity, but a lot closer than many women like to consider. Yet they should.

That is not what the NISVS report says. Under the heading “Sex of Perpetrator in Lifetime Reports of Sexual Violence” (again my emphasis; note, Lifetime), quote:

Most perpetrators of all forms of sexual violence against women were male. For female rape victims, 98.1% reported only male perpetrators. Additionally, 92.5% of female victims of sexual violence other than rape reported only male perpetrators. For male victims, the sex of the perpetrator varied by the type of sexual violence experienced. The majority of male rape victims (93.3%) reported only male perpetrators. For three of the other forms of sexual violence, a majority of male victims reported only
female perpetrators: being made to sexual violence against women
penetrate (79.2%), sexual coercion (83.6%), and unwanted sexual contact (53.1%).

So Tamen is not only using figures based on a relatively small group in the survey (probably less than a hundred each of men and women), but is also confusing the 12 month prevalence statistics with the lifetime reports of rape and sexual violence.

DSC then addressed the twelve month data by showing that the lifetime data from the same report paint a very different picture – which they do, and quoted inter alia the exact same part of the report I just did above, which illustrates Tamen’s conflation of 12 Month Prevalence and Lifetime Reports.

Tamen responded with “I specifically talked about the “last 12 months” prevalency figures of the NISVS 2010 report. It is bordering on dishonest to “disprove” my quotations from the report (tables on page 18 an 19) by referring to the “Lifetime” prevalency numbers.” (And which has precisely nothing to do with pillowinhell’s claim.) However, if the claim is that the 12 months prevalency figures are truly representative, then anomalies against the lifetime prevalence do become relevant, especially as the statistics of small numbers come into play.

Xanthe
Xanthe
8 years ago

Errata: because the PDF of the NISVS refuses to copy and paste neatly from each column, I mangled the quote slightly. The last sentence should have read: “For three of the other forms of sexual violence, a majority of male victims reported only female perpetrators: being made to penetrate (79.2%), sexual coercion (83.6%), and unwanted sexual contact (53.1%).”

What happened thereafter was some back and forth about which statistics DSC and Tamen each failed to get right: DSC added some statistics from different categories which is a no-no, since these sometime overlap; and a little bit later, Tamen committed exactly the same infraction by adding the numbers in the “rape” and “other sexual violence” categories together – these categories are not necessarily disjunct.

In the exact same post where he makes that mistake, Tamen also did his best to poison the well with comments like, “Incapable as I am of reading a report I at least did not pull any numbers out of my ass and presented them as findings of the report” (except he did) and “For someone claiming to be able to read the report it must be embarrasing that you made a mistake in the very first sentence in your comment…” (let him who doesn’t make mistakes cast the first stone). All in all, the discussion flails around, and then Tamen suddenly claims out of nowhere, “As I said earlier; not quite gender parity in victimization for the last 12 months (2010), but a lot closer than most people would believe.”

Again, the 2010 numbers are extrapolated to the US population and correspond to sexual violence against about 6.6 million women and 6.0 million men, but no reason is cited why the lifetime prevalence differs: the 2010 numbers are of a similar size between genders, the lifetime prevalence is about double or more women to men on almost every statistic. The underlying weightings are indicative of a more significant portion of the sample: a bit over 500 women by weighting, and a touch under 400 men. Nonetheless: what explanation is there for the notable gender difference in lifetime and 12 month prevalence?

Tamen
Tamen
8 years ago

Darksidecat: You asked about the age distribution of the respondents. Or more precisely you asked how many of the respondents were 18-21 or younger. I can point out that the best answer to that question is in the NISVS 2010 report on page 102. 13.8% of the male respondents is aged 18-25. There one can also see that the age distribution of respondents matches the age demographics of the US pretty closely (according to CDC since they didn’t specify from where they got the US demographic data from). There were no respondent under the age of 18.

You keep saying that I’ve said that rape victims routinely forgets their rape. I’ve tried to state earlier that I didn’t say that, yet you still maintain I did. Can you provide a quote from me where I said rape victims routinely forgets their rape? I did say It happpens and to quote Jim Hopper, PhD: “Amnesia for childhood sexual abuse is a condition.The existence of this condition is beyond dispute.”. If you want to dispute it then you can perhaps show some studies or other evidence to support your stance as I am more likely to take the word of peer reviewed studies than a random person on the internet.

All:
There has been many questions about me not answering and I am sorry for the delay, but I have a life I need to prioritize at times. It is good to see that the discussion have continued without me. However, that means that I probably are going to miss some questions aimed at me. Feel free to ask again if you miss an answer from me. Better to ask me than to assume.

I will be off skiing for the weekend and will be offline the whole weekend, though, so I can’t promise I’ll reply to all.

As for complaints of wall of texts, yes, I am guilty of that. I feel I have to be very specific to avoid having my comment being twisted into meanings and motives I haven’t stated. For instance the accusation that I asked people here whether I shouldn’t compare rape and being made to penetrate someone else after they had stated that they thought it was the same when the fact was that the comment where they stated that was after the one where I put forward the question.

Xanthe:
You accuse me of poisoning the well with rethoric like “Incapable as I am of reading a report I at least did not pull any numbers out of my ass and presented them as findings of the report”. I’ll readily admit that this was a ill-conceived and inflammatory statement which I should have been cool-headed enough to refrain from writing, but I feel I must point out that this was in a response to a comment from Darksidecat which started with: “@Tamen, unlike you, I am capable of actually reading reports” as an explaination to why I was less than polite in my formulations in that reply. I think I’ve been much more civil in subsequent comments. Sometimes we miss things coming out of our own assholes and I shouldn’t have added the rape and “Other sexual violence” numbers in my reply to Darksidecat even though he did add categories.

You said that I suddenly claimed out of nowhere: As I said earlier; not quite gender parity in victimization for the last 12 months (2010), but a lot closer than most people would believe.”. This was in reference to my first comment and I probably should’ve qualified that I was talking about rape and “being made to penetrate someone else” – here is the relevant part of my first comment on this thread:

Of the 1.270.000 women raped the last 12 months(2010) ( including attempts) 98% reported male perpetrators.
Of the 1.267.000 men “made to penetrate” the last 12 months(2010) (including attempts) 79% reported female perpetrators. (NISVS 2010 Report from CDC p.17-19 and 24). (Go read the report yourself if you doubt this numbers. The definition used for rape and “being made to penetrate someone else” is on page 17.)

Not quite parity, but a lot closer than many women like to consider. Yet they should.

I could’ve explicitly stated that the numbers are estimates given in the NISVS report, but I provided the source where they are from and it’s stated there.
I still maintain that this is quite close to parity (at least compared to what the average person would think is the distribution of rape) for the last 12 months period as reported by CDC.

I did make the mistake that the gender distribution of the perpetrators reported by men who reported “being made to penetrate someone else” as reported on page 24 in NISVS 2010 is for lifetime. I was wrong about that. I still suspect that the distribution for the last 12 months would be very similar, but I’ll hear out any arguments from anybody who thinks otherwise.

As for the weighting, the table on page 102 seem to indicate that there wasn’t that much difference between the age distribution of the repsondents and the US demographis. Am I reading this table wrong?

I don’t know what the explanation for the gender difference in lifetime and 12 month prevalence is, but I’ve seen studies that suggest that men underreport to a larger degree than women: Holmes, G.R., Offen, L., & Waller, G. (1997). See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil: Why do relatively few male victims of childhood sexual abuse receive help for abuse-related issues in adulthood? Clinical Psychology Review, 17, 69–88. As well as studies which indicates that men underreport childhood sexual abuse (CSA) to a larger degree than women: http://www.jimhopper.com/memory/ (Jim Hopper is linked to by 1.in6.org) where he reports that a study called:
Widom, C. S. & Morris, S. (1997). Accuracy of adult recollections of childhood victimization: Part 2. Childhood sexual abuse. Psychological Assessment, 8, 412-421.
found that 32% of women with known/documented history of CSA had a period or possible amnesia or delayed recall (they didn’t report the CSA whan asked as adults), 58% of men with documented history of CSA had a period or possible amnesia or delayed recall (they didn’t report the CSA whan asked as adults). Jim Hopper notes: “…some percentage did not report prior abuse for other reasons – including unwillingness to disclose the information to researchers, current interpretations of those experiences as not abusive, etc. – and it appears these influences are greater for males than females.”. If this result is valid then that supports a hypothesis that men underreport lifetime incidents and that they do so at a higher rate than women. I haven’t seen any research offering an alternative reason for the difference.

Pecunia:
I’ve statet my intention. Awareness that male victimization rates is higher than most people think they are and that the gender distribution of perpetrators of sexual violence against men is different than most people believe will in my opinion help reduce the incidents of male victimization. The last 12 months prevalency numbers were indeed much higher than most people thought they’d be. Over lifetime (as corrected by Xanthe) men who reported being made to penetrate someone else reported 79.2% female perpetrators. A rate which I believe is higher than most people would believe. I believe that “being made to penetrate someone else” is rape.

Based on that I believe that rape prevention programs should put more focus on male victims and female perpetrators than they do today. Rape prevention programs have mostly been very gendered. As exemplified by names as “Men can stop rape”. This has been justified by saying that “the overwhelmingly majority of rape victims are women”.
The last 12 months prevalency numbers from CDC at least to me indicate that even if that is somewhat true for lifetime prevalency we are at a situation where it wasn’t true in 2010 and I believe that both men and women are being done a disservice by the rape prevention programs being so gendered. I think that most women who end up making their partner penetrate them wouldn’t do so if they had been better educated about the fact that men can be victims and men are not always up for sex. I think the way rape prevention programs men attend are gendered can reduce the effect on the rate of male perpetrators. If men are told that women have the right to say no regardless while not (or only as a secondary sidenote) being told that they themselves as men have the right to say no (to women AND men) while the men notice that they in a quite large degree don’t get to exercise that right (as 1.1% of men reported in the last 12 months) then I think that may reduce the willingness men have to extend that right to others. Injustice against oneself (or one’s group) can be a factor in rationalization of injustice against others.
Rape prevention programs would benefit from having at least some realistic examples of female on male rape. If women and men are only told about male perpetrators (and only of the extreme cases of female perpetrators) then women are less equipped to recognize situations where they are in danger of becoming perpetrators. The same type of argument has been said about only focusing on stranger-rape (male on female) – this one-sidedness does nothing to prevent men from date-raping their dates, but can in fact increase the risk as they may think (“I’m not a stranger that jumped her from behind a bush so this isn’t rape”).

I fear that delaying such changes in lieu of more longitudal data will put future male victims at more risk than necessary. And since I don’t think rape prevention is a zero-sum game I don’t see any harm in less gendered rape prevention programs. When I say gendered I mean skewed towards one gender in case that is unclear.

If the last 12 months prevalency numbers really turn out to be a blip then I’ll be glad since that would mean fewer male rape victims the next years than I feared.

Kendra, the bionic mommy
Kendra, the bionic mommy
8 years ago

Tamen, you said

There were no respondent under the age of 18.

and

As for the weighting, the table on page 102 seem to indicate that there wasn’t that much difference between the age distribution of the repsondents and the US demographis. Am I reading this table wrong?

The prevalency numbers from the last 12 months excluded rape victims under the age of 18. That is not an accurate picture of the demographics of the US, especially since a disproportionate number of rape victims are children. The data from RAINN show that 44% of rape victims are age 18 or under.

Children

15% of sexual assault and rape victims are under age 12.3

29% are age 12-17.
44% are under age 18.3
80% are under age 30.3
12-34 are the highest risk years.
Girls ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.

source

The lifetime numbers include child victims because people are able to report what happened to them many years ago instead of just what happened in the last year. I think that’s important to note. Darksidecat already brought up this point, but I want to reiterate that.

Pecunium
8 years ago

Tamen: If you intend to keep talking to me, get my name right. Pecunium. There is only one of my.

As far as this last repetition goes, see the discussion above, which should answer all your questions.

Good day.

Pecunium
8 years ago

Only one of me. I think I need breakfast and coffee.

Tamen
Tamen
8 years ago

First off, Pecunium, I apologize for getting your name wrong.

Kendra: I could’ve specified that it seemed to match the demographics in the US for people over the age of 18. I thought that would be clear from the table I referred to in the NISVS 2010 Report which listed the age demographic of the respondents next to the age demographic of the US (and the qualification where I stated that I used seemed since I don’t know where NISVS/CDC got their demographic data from).
You are of course right that the last 12 months figure does not include the childhood sexual abuse (with the small exception of people who were 18 and reported abuse from when they were 17). I’ve seen (and I have linked to in earlier commens) research which indicate that both men and women underreport childhood sexual abuse when asked as adults. Given that I don’t see how one can manage to safely interview underaged people in well sampled survey (most are abused by close relatives) I unfortunately believe that it’ll be difficult to get a real understanding of exactly how many children are being sexually abused.

Erik
Erik
8 years ago

The irony is that TJ is a victim of abuse as well and was provoked into making his ill advised statements.

Kyrie
Kyrie
8 years ago

What?

Xanthe
Xanthe
8 years ago

Yes, Erik, because when I’m provoked, it’s just a natural reaction for me to snap and threaten someone with rape… except, no, I don’t do that, even though I too have been raped; and decent human beings don’t respond to provocation with rape threats either, as a general rule. So that justification for his bad behaviour is piss poor.

(Kyrie, Erik posted in the wrong thread.)

Shadow
Shadow
8 years ago

The irony is that TJ is a victim of abuse as well and was provoked into making his ill advised statements.

*doffs his best cockney accent*

That’s not irony!! That’s bullshit that is!!!

(the “provoked” and “ill advised”, not the abused)

Kyrie
Kyrie
8 years ago

I thought so, Xanthe, but it made no sense for so many different reasons, which is what I expressing. Also wanted to draw a bit of attention on it, I guess.

asdfghjkl
asdfghjkl
7 years ago

I can see a bunch of sexist feminist scum with a huge butthurt that are plain idiots too stupid to grasp the fact that about 50% of raped are men and about 40% of rapists are women. And unfortunatelly for you, to add to your humilation, there were 2 or 3 other studies that confirm it’s not an anomaly but simply a fact that (using your foul feminist words) all women are disgusting creatures and rapists deserving to be put to trial after even a smallest accusation.

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