Response to #MeToo. Sexual Abuse is Not a Gendered Issue

in women •  2 years ago  (edited)

Hello Steemians,
@daniphotography produced this video for my YouTube channel. Trying to push back against the false narrative betting presented by the dying mainstream media. Enjoy and share!

Response to #MeToo: Sexual Abuse Is Not A Gendered Issue

Hello internet, Dani here. No doubt you’ve seen the latest hashtag campaign making its way around social media, #MeToo. Sunday afternoon, a handful of my friends posted the status “Me too” with the supporting text “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote "Me too" as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”

As it says, the campaign is designed to raise awareness of sexual harassment and assault.

Let me clarify… sexual harassment and assault of women. By men.

I feel compelled to add my voice to the conversation. Over the course of my childhood and teen years, I was sexually abused by a woman seven years my senior. The abuse included a range of offenses up to and including sexual coercion and forced sex, which left me with long-term psychological effects that I’m still working to overcome today.

I am a woman who was sexually abused by a woman. #MeToo...?

My personal experience of sexual abuse, along with countless others, goes against the socially accepted narrative. Victims of female sexual perpetrators, sexual abusers, and sexual predators, are often overlooked, dismissed, ignored, or even ridiculed. The #MeToo campaign excludes women who have been sexually abused by women, as well as men who have been sexually abused by anyone, men or women.

My issues with the #MeToo campaign are three-fold:

1: By implicitly stating that only women can be victims, it’s dismissing all male sexual abuse victims.

2: By implicitly stating that only men can be perpetrators, it’s dismissing all victims sexually abused by women.

3: It’s lumping sexual harassment together with sexual assault, which are two very different things.

From Huffington Post: “The social media campaign is, of course, intended as a wake-up call for men. If every woman you know has been harassed or assaulted, then every man you know has likely made a woman feel unsafe.” I’ll say that again: “If every woman you know has been harassed or assaulted, then every man you know has likely made a woman feel unsafe.” Think about that. Do you really think every man you know has likely made a woman feel unsafe? The article continues: “But while posting “Me too” on Facebook may be cathartic for women seeking solace in the wake of yet another news story involving a powerful predator, it will do little to change the male behavior that leads to these accusations. Men don’t need to understand that every woman has been sexually demeaned or violated. They need to acknowledge something much more basic: that women are the victims of these stories.

Let’s look at that last sentence: “Men need to acknowledge that women are the victims of these stories.” Women are sending the message loud and clear that men cannot be victims.

Only women can be victims. And only men can be perpetrators.

Also, women can only be victims. And men can only be perpetrators.

Think about that.

Here are a few paragraphs from Scientific American’s article, ‘Sexual Victimization By Women Is More Common Than Previously Known’: “The common one-dimensional portrayal of women as harmless victims reinforces outdated gender stereotypes. This keeps us from seeing women as complex human beings, able to wield power, even in misguided or violent ways. And, the assumption that men are always perpetrators and never victims reinforces unhealthy ideas about men and their supposed invincibility. These hyper-masculine ideals can...callously stereotype male victims of sexual abuse as “failed men”...Aware of the popular misconception that, for men, all sex is welcome, male victims often feel too embarrassed to report sexual victimization. If they do report it, they are frequently met with a response that assumes no real harm was done.”

First, we’ll discuss male victims of sexual abuse. Picture your son, your nephew, your brother, your friends. Picture the boys and men that you know and love. Now imagine behind their sparkling eyes, they hide a dark secret of having been sexually abused, by a man or a woman. Oh, the fear, pain, and confusion they must face: being young boys, being young men, and even being adult men. Their whole lives, they’re fed the feminist narrative that they are the perpetrators, they are the abusers, they are the patriarchy. Certainly they will bottle up their depression and hide their tears, because boys and men aren’t allowed to be weak. They don’t speak up and they don’t seek help because they’re embarrassed. Perhaps they’re in denial they’re a victim at all, because they’re taught women can’t hurt them.

From Houston Chronical, a liberal-leaning publication out of Texas: “Many men never report assault. Often, when the perpetrator is a woman, men aren't even aware that what happened to them was assault at all. You have only to look at the hypocritical way that media report or depict instances of female teachers sexually assaulting their male students to see why.” End quote. Personally, when I notice an article about a young boy sexually abused by a female teacher, I make it a point to look at the comments section. It never fails that the overwhelming majority of comments are joking, are implying there were no damages to the boy, and are something along the lines of, “damn, what a lucky kid.” Should the gender roles be reversed, the commenter would find themselves with an angry mob of torches and pitchforks outside their door, or more likely, a police car.

It’s important to note that our society is so biased against the idea of men being victims of sexual abuse, that up until January 1, 2013, the definition of rape, as defined by the Federal Bureau of Investigations was: The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will. Thankfully, that has been updated to: 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. This was only updated less than four years ago, my friends. From Slate in it’s article, ‘When Men Are Raped’, written shortly after the FBI updated the definition: “We might assume that if a man has an erection he must want sex. But imagine if the same were said about women.” End quote. However, for both men and women, sexual abuse does not always involve penetration, and can be just as psychologically damaging.

Here are a few statistics.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18, and 27.8% were age 10 or younger at the time of their first rape or victimization.
A 2008 study found 46% of male victims of rape and sexual assault reported female perpetrators.
According to The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 68.6% of men reporting sexual assault reported female perpetrators, and 79.2% of men reporting non-consensual sex and being forced to penetrate reported female perpetrators.
A 2014 study found sexual victimization among men is “in many circumstances similar to the prevalence found among women.”
In “a 2014 study of 18,030 high school students, there was no statistically significant difference between males and females” reporting being raped.
A study of juveniles in correctional facilities reporting staff sexual misconduct: 89.3% of boys reported abuse by female staff members.

Another startling fact: Juvenile boys who are raped by adult women can be made to pay child support. I’ll say that again: Boys who are raped by adult women… forced to pay child support! WHAT! There are dozens of examples of this, which you can look up for yourselves. From USA Today: "The idea that a woman would have to send money to a man who raped her is absolutely off-the-charts ridiculous. It wouldn't be tolerated, and it shouldn't be tolerated."

Sadly, for the victims of female sexual abusers, they may not get the help they seek, even if they try, simply because they don’t fit the stereotype. The sexual abuse (and relatedly, the domestic abuse) support network is focused almost exclusively on female victims of male perpetrators. As I mentioned earlier, both women and men abused by women are often overlooked, dismissed, ignored, or ridiculed.

From Houston Chronicle’s article ‘Why #Metoo Can Be For Men Too’: What has been surprising to many, confounding to some and frustrating to a few is how many men are using the hashtag, too. Men have been accused of attempting to "co-opt" a movement in which a marginalized and vulnerable group of people are using their own voices.” End quote. While researching, I read some comments on various forums. I’m paraphrasing here, but a number of men shared that, when they posted #MeToo, because they too are sexual abuse victims, they were openly scolded and ridiculed by women. The women’s responses varied in language and levels of outrage, but the message was clear: #MeToo was not for them.

Moving on, let’s take a look at female victims of sexual abuse by other women. Again, from the Scientific American article (It’s a really well-researched article, and I’m happy to see a mainstream publication with the balls to publish something counter-narrative): “Professionals in mental health, social work, public health, and criminal justice often downplay female perpetration. But in fact, victims of female-perpetrated sexual violence suffer emotional and psychological harm, just like victims of male-perpetrated abuse. And when professionals fail to take victimization by women seriously, this only compounds victims’ suffering by minimizing the harm they experience...Women abused by other women are...an overlooked group; these victims discover that most services are designed for women victimized by men.”

Here are a few statistics:
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in four girls will be sexually abused before they turn 18 – and 12.3% were age 10 or younger at the time of their first rape or victimization.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics under the Prison Rape Elimination Act, women are “much more likely to be abused” by other women inmates than by male staff. While it is often assumed that inmate-on-inmate sexual assault comprises men victimizing men, the survey found that female state prisoners were more than three times as likely to experience sexual assault perpetrated by female inmates than were males to be victimized by other male inmates.

From The Atlantic: “Stereotypes about women include the notion that women are nurturing, submissive helpmates to men. The idea that women can be sexually manipulative, dominant, and even violent runs counter to these stereotypes. Yet studies have documented female-perpetrated acts that span a wide spectrum of sexual abuse...When female abusers are reported, they are less likely to be investigated, arrested, or punished compared to male perpetrators, who are regarded as more harmful...To date, no existing clinical studies examine large numbers of female sexual perpetrators. As a result, we understand less than we might of a category of sexual perpetrator that, while not the most common, will still victimize many thousands each year.”

Lastly, let’s take a look at the combination of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the #MeToo campaign. Sexual harassment involves the making of unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks, in a workplace, or other professional or social situation. Sexual assault is a sexual act in which a person is coerced or physically forced to engage against their will, or non-consensual sexual touching of a person, including rape, groping, and sexual abuse.

I’ll turn to an article from The Spectator: “The #MeToo social media revelations blur the boundary between sexual assault and sexual harassment. 140 character reports of having been raped are placed on a par with tweets about name calling, whistling, and groping. The #MeToo process helps create a false impression that all men are sexually abusive and simply waiting for an opportunity to assault innocent and defenceless women.”

The article continues, “Worse and serious crimes are trivialised as the #MeToo tweeters who recount some relatively minor (albeit discomforting) experience are equally blessed with retweets, likes and public endorsements praising their bravery. Blurring the boundaries between rape and ever-broader definitions of sexual harassment doesn’t just trivialise serious offences, it further inflames a climate of hysteria in which the sexual harassment of women comes to be presented as a routine part of life. Life for women is presented as a battleground where we are all only one bad joke, one wolf whistle, or one stare, away from being assaulted.”

Feminist activist groups have an obvious incentive to inflate the number of rapes. One way is to conflate sexual harassment such as catcalling with actual rape, as is being done in the #MeToo campaign. More insidiously, they put cases of attempted rape and actual rape in the same category, thus producing false statistics which can be disseminated on social media and websites such as Wikipedia and even used as a pseudo-scientific basis for new laws.

From Slate: “The avalanche of responses has proved a powerful testament to the sheer scope of women’s negative experiences at the hands of men.” End quote. By combining sexual harassment with sexual assault and sexual abuse, naturally, there is going to be a larger outpouring of #MeToo from the population. Imagine asking a room full of people, with a show of hands, “How many of you have tripped on stairs or fallen out of a third story window?” Most likely, everybody in the room will raise their hands. Based on the sea of raised hands, one conclusion would be that we need to install bars on every third story window! Counterpoint from the conservative National Review: “It is irresponsible for news outlets to extrapolate how “commonplace” sexual abuse is based on hashtag trends spread by celebrities, anonymous claimants, and bots. The role of the press should be verification, not validation.”

In summary, I’ll state again my issues with the #MeToo campaign:

1: By implicitly stating that only women can be victims, it’s dismissing all male sexual abuse victims.

2: By implicitly stating that only men can be perpetrators, it’s dismissing all victims sexually abused by women.

3: It’s lumping sexual harassment together with sexual assault, which are two very different things.

In conclusion, by focusing on female victims of male perpetrators, the #MeToo campaign is ignoring the statistical majority of sexual abuse victims, and ignoring the prevalence of female perpetrators altogether.

Men, women, boys, and girls can be sexually abused by men, women, boys, or girls.

Sexual abuse perpetrators are men, women, boys, and girls.

Sexual abuse victims are men, women, boys, and girls.

Sexual abuse is not a gendered issue.

#MeToo should speak for men, women, boys, and girls.

Thank you for listening.


REFERENCED ARTICLES:

'The Understudied Female Sexual Predator' https://www.theatlantic.com/science/a...

'When Females Rape Males' https://blogs.psychcentral.com/full-h...

'Sexual Victimization By Women Is More Common Than Previously Known' https://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...

'The MeToo Movement Reveals Feminism's Obsession With Victimhood' https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2017/10...

'MeToo May Exaggerate Prevalence of Sex Crimes' http://www.nationalreview.com/article...

'Male Rape In America' http://www.slate.com/articles/double_...

'Why MeToo Can Be For Men Too' http://www.houstonchronicle.com/local...


ADDITIONAL REFERENCES:

Gender Symmetry in Sexual Assault: http://www.femalesexoffenders.org/201...
https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.ed...

Male victims: http://www.ncdsv.org/publications_mal...

Sexual Abuse of Boys By Mothers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/...

Approximately 65% of prison inmates that reported staff sexual misconduct reported a female aggressor:
http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/sv... - 2009
http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/sv... - 2012

50% of homeless youth reported being sexually abused by a female: http://www.nursing.ubc.ca/PDFs/ItsNot...

Long-term effects of child sexual abuse by female perpetrators: http://jiv.sagepub.com/content/19/10/...


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