In reaction to the myth of a college rape problem, and the spread of consent policies and laws, Glenn Reynolds has been focusing on stories of women sexually assaulting men and boys recently and a surprising fact has appeared--when you consider sexual assault as whole, women are as likely to sexually assault men as vice versa. Consider these comments from Janet Bloomfield:
When Lara Stemple, a researcher at UCLA looked at the latest National Crime Victimization Survey, she was shocked to see that men experienced rape and sexual assault almost as frequently as women, and that women were often the perpetrators. Once the definition of rape was expanded to include more than just penetration, it became clear that men and women were equally likely to be raped, and more importantly, equally likely to be rapists. Researchers from the University of Missouri got the same results, finding that “43% of high school boys and young college men reported they had an unwanted sexual experience and of those, 95% said a female acquaintance was the aggressor.”Digging into the CDC's statistics, Cathy Young wrote at Time Magazine:
For many feminists, questioning claims of rampant sexual violence in our society amounts to misogynist “rape denial.” However, if the CDC figures are to be taken at face value, then we must also conclude that, far from being a product of patriarchal violence against women, “rape culture” is a two-way street, with plenty of female perpetrators and male victims.
How could that be? After all, very few men in the CDC study were classified as victims of rape: 1.7 percent in their lifetime, and too few for a reliable estimate in the past year. But these numbers refer only to men who have been forced into anal sex or made to perform oral sex on another male. Nearly 7 percent of men, however, reported that at some point in their lives, they were “made to penetrate” another person—usually in reference to vaginal intercourse, receiving oral sex, or performing oral sex on a woman. This was not classified as rape, but as “other sexual violence.”
And now the real surprise: when asked about experiences in the last 12 months, men reported being “made to penetrate”—either by physical force or due to intoxication—at virtually the same rates as women reported rape (both 1.1 percent in 2010, and 1.7 and 1.6 respectively in 2011).
In other words, if being made to penetrate someone was counted as rape—and why shouldn’t it be?—then the headlines could have focused on a truly sensational CDC finding: that women rape men as often as men rape women.Or this, from Livia Gershon at the Pacific Standard:
Women do sexually assault men on college campuses, on a regular basis. Each year, according to an estimate in a literature review, roughly 19 to 31 percent of male college students experience some kind of unwanted sexual contact, and researchers say the vast majority of that is perpetrated by women.
... Men who experience sexual assault or other violence by intimate partners are less likely than women to report the incidents to the police. They frequently think no one will believe a woman sexually assaulted them, are embarrassed at not being able to fend off an attack by a woman, or harbor fears of being perceived as “gay” or not masculine for not wanting to have sex, Struckman-Johnson suggests.
... there’s also evidence that men may not always give accurate accounts of the impact of sexual coercion on their lives. Particularly when women are the perpetrators, assumptions about appropriate gender roles may make them less likely to acknowledge lasting effects.The article indicates that 1 in 5 of men may suffer long-term effects from coerced sex.
What is surprising, though, looking through the articles that Reynolds has collected (and I've noticed over the years reading the Daily Mail) are the significant number of incidents of female teachers raping their male students--kids of junior high and high school age.
None of the articles above mention female-on-female sexual assault. But this article from Time Magazine discusses what is calls an epidemic of female-on-female rape in the Congo. From the article:
In 2010, Harvard academic Lynn Lawry and a team of researchers conducted a survey of human-rights abuses in over 1,000 households in conflict-ridden eastern Congo. It was the same year that Margot Wallstrom, the U.N. special representative on sexual violence in conflict, dubbed Congo “the rape capital of the world.” Lawry’s study asked victims of sexual violence to specify their assailant’s gender. It found that 40% of the women — and 10% of the men — who said they were subjected to sexual violence were assaulted by a woman.And after the initial sexual assault, the law allows women to continue to "rape" men in a metaphorical sense. From Ms. Bloomfield's article cited above:
Given my previous column about men’s reproductive rights and the fact that they effectively do not have any, and can be forced into parenthood, it seems particularly compelling that we teach men to understand unwanted sexual behaviors from women as rape and assault because a rape that ends in a pregnancy can mean a lifetime of consequences for the man who was raped. He will still be liable for any child that results from the encounter, whether he participated willingly or not. Think that is a joke? It’s happening already. Women who become pregnant after statutory rape can and do sue the boys they raped for child support. When Jane Crane raped a 15 year old boy in Ohio, she was charged with a felony and awarded child support. From her victim. Even when the rape is more physically aggressive, the woman will still be awarded child support from the man she raped. Jessica Fuller aggressively raped Kris Bucher and was awarded support for the child that resulted.