further reading homophobia MRA rape violence against men/women

Further Reading: Prison Rape

From Stop Prisoner Rape (now Just Detention)

Rape in US prisons, jails and other detention facilities is a serious problem, and a disgrace to our country.

Men’s Rights Activists often complain, quite justifiably, about prison rape jokes. Typically, they attribute the double standard towards prison rape jokes as an indication that, as one MRA put it in a recent discussion, “nobody gives a shit about men.” As I’ve pointed out, this explanation doesn’t take us very far, given that women are also raped in prison, and that people make jokes about that too. (Indeed, there is an entire genre of “women in prison” exploitation films that sexualizes this abuse.)

More to the point, most MRAs don’t seem terribly interested in actually attempting to do much about prison rape beyond complaining about obnoxious rape jokes or making rhetorical points about the “disposability” of men. (See below for the few examples of MR blogs I could find that have addressed the issue as more than a bullet point in a laundry list of complaints; I’ve found much more serious discussion of prison rape on feminist blogs.) Anyone who is interested in doing something about it should consider getting in touch with Just Detention, a human rights advocacy group working to stop sexual abuse in detention facilities.

Some basic information about prison rape. I’ve bolded the crucial information.

Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails Reported by Inmates, 2008-09, by Allen J. Beck, Ph.D., Paige M. Harrison

An estimated 4.4% of prison inmates and 3.1% of jail inmates reported experiencing one or more incidents of sexual victimization by another inmate or facility staff in the past 12 months or since admission to the facility, if less than 12 months. Nationwide, these percentages suggest that approximately 88,500 adults held in prisons and jails at the time of the survey had been sexually victimized.

Female inmates in prison (4.7%) or jail (3.1%) were more than twice as likely as male inmates in prison (1.9%) or jail (1.3%) to report experiencing inmate-on-inmate sexual victimization. … Most victims of staff sexual misconduct were males; most perpetrators were females.

Note: Men make up the overwhelming majority of rape victims in prison — 90 percent — largely because the overwhelming majority of inmates are male. While the number of men raped in prison is appalling, I would like to clear up one Men’s Rights Myth: that the number of men raped inside prison is greater than the number of women raped outside of prison. This is simply false; the numbers aren’t even close: again, while the estimate of the total number of people (male and female) currently being held in prison who have been raped there in the past year is 88,500, estimates of the total number of those raped per year (outside of prison) range from about 200,000 to more than a million (the real number is probably closer to the latter); estimates suggest that anywhere from 86% to 94% of rape victims are female, and that males may make up to 99% of the perpetrators. See here (doc format) for a look at various estimates, and here (pdf) for more details from a large scale survey. As is the case with rapes in general, the vast majority of prison rapes go unreported.

EDITED TO ADD: The information in the previous paragraph is outdated. The Department of Justice has revised upwards its estimate of the number of prisoners (male and female) who are sexually assaulted each year to 216,000. Which means that considerably more men are raped per year than previously thought. There is still no clean and direct way to directly compare rapes of men and women, in prison and out, because the various studies out there use different methodologies and different definitions of sexual assault. Stephanie Zvan drills into the numbers in great detail here; anyone seriously interested in this issue should read her post carefully.


Information from Just Detention:


Sexual abuse behind bars is a widespread human rights crisis in prisons and jails across the US. Aaccording to the best available research, 20 percent of inmates in men’s prisons are sexually abused at some point during their incarceration. The rate for women’s facilities varies dramatically from one prison to another, with one in four inmates being victimized at the worst institutions.

In a 2007 survey of prisoners across the country, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) found that 4.5 percent (or 60,500) of the more than 1.3 million inmates held in federal and state prisons had been sexually abused in the previous year alone. A BJS survey in county jails was just as troubling; nearly 25,000 jail detainees reported having been sexually abused in the past six months.

Unfortunately, the data provided by the still represent only a fraction of the true number of detainees who are victimized, especially of those held in county jails. The number of admissions to local jails over the course of a year is approximately 17 times higher than the nation’s jail population … .

(Source pdf)

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer inmates are the chief target of sexual abuse in prison

Sexual abuse of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) inmates constitutes one of the most rampant and ignored human rights violations in the US today. In a 2007 academic study, funded by the California Department of Corrections and rehabilitation and conducted at six California men’s prisons, 67 percent of inmates who identified as LGBTQ reported having been sexually assaulted by another inmate during their incarceration, a rate that was 15 times higher than for the inmate population overall.

(Source pdf)

Sexual Abuse and STDs:

Sexual violence in detention spreads disease. Prisoner rape victims are highly vulnerable to contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. … In 2004, the HIV prevalence rate inside US prisons was more than four times higher than in society overall. Hepatitis C rates are 8 to 20 times higher in prisons than on the outside … The rates of infection for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are likewise significantly higher among inmates than in the population at-large.

(Source pdf)

For more information from Just Detention, see here for fact sheets, and here for links to useful articles and studies. 

Human Rights Watch Report: No Escape, Human Rights Watch, 2001.

Prison Rape: A Critical Review of the Literature, National Institute of Justice, 2004.

Cindy Struckman-Johnson and David Struckman-Johnson, Comparison of Sexual Coercion Experiences Reported by Men and Women in Prison, 21 Journal of Interpersonal Violence 1591 (2006)

Cathy Young: Assault Behind Bars

Interesting discussion of prison rape jokes on Reddit.

Some useful blog posts about prison rape, and prison rape jokes:

The Curvature: Prison rape and complacency

Feministe: Prison Rape: Assault shouldn’t be part of the sentence

Sex abuse rampant at youth prisons around the country

An old story: the cruel and unusual punishment of prison rape

Rape isn’t hilarious

Ms Magazine blog: Prison rape: Can it be stopped? 

Equal Writes: Rape in prison is still rape

Stop the prison rape jokes

Alas, a blog: Ezra Klein on Prison Rape

Feminist Critics: Discussion of the Alas, a blog post linked above

Alas, a blog: More on prison rape

Alas, a blog: Blog post round-up: Prison rape (Extensive list of links)

Reason Hit and Run: Mocking prison rape for fun and profit

Men’s Rights blogs on prison rape: 

Human Stupidity: Stop Prison Rape! Legalize Corporal Punishment (Whipping)

Female Offenders: Prison Rape Report

Toy Soldiers: Cost of Prison Rape

Menstuff: Prison Rape Prison Rape: the challenge of prevention and enforcement (Note that this cut-and-pasted post is illustrated by an animated gif of a pair of boots with the caption: “These boots were made for kicking feminists in the cunt.”)

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David Futrelle
11 years ago

>Eoghan — How am I suppressing toy soldiers? I link to it in the post above. It's not on my enemies list because, despite the disagreements I have with much of what is posted there, it seems to be sincerely trying to help male victims.

11 years ago

>The Kibbutz experiment aspired to be a gender neutral regime, but those who initially and later joined (as opposed to those born into the community) still brought with them internalized traditional modes of the larger world in which they had resided. The "service" areas were still seen as "female work" and was deemed as non-productive since it didn't contribute to the economy of the community.The cooperative child care "experiment" compelled women to work in the service and child care areas moreso than in the agricultural areas, it didn't change the fact that child care was primarily seen as "female work" and non-productive. "The success of familism in kibbutzim reduced women's participation in Community life, pushing their struggle for equality into the background. Collective education failed to free kibbutz women from child care as their primary responsibility, or from leading a dual-career life in which motherhood and work are combined. Frustrated by their work options, many kibbutz women invested in motherhood, and were the leading proponents for changing the practice of collective sleeping for children. Thus, along with the men, rather than attempting to change the sex-typed occupational structure of kibbutzim, they instead helped to preserve it. For example, men are almost absent in the role of metapelet or Professional Caregiver." Sources for above (some of it paraphrased):Attachment in context. Kibbutz child-rearing äs a historical experimentKibbutz Ha-Dati Movement (1929-1948)Of the many reasons why women tended and still do tend to be the main care givers doesn't change the fact that, be it in the larger modern communities or the smaller communities of the Kibbutz experiment, care giving/service is seen as non-productive work and the persons who engage in it are stigmatized and treated as being non-productive. Many MRA voices have echoed that, and I have stated more than once on this blog that that is one of the biggest mistakes that feminism made, upholding the "non-productive work" meme instead of opposing it.So, what does that all have to do with the prevalence of child abuse by the main caregiver? Possibly the pain and frustration of being stigmatized and treated as a non-productive element…..a parasite, even…….. is taken out on the ones whom the main caregiver spends the most time around and who don't have the ability to fight back. By no means am I saying that child abuse is justified and shouldn't be punished, I'm just offering a possible explanation for it, and that also does not mean that there are not other factors involved. Your saying, " if it was genuinely about ending violence instead of advancing a political ideology. The focus would be where the majority of people first and most commonly experience violence, at the hand of the main care giver" doesn't help the matter if you want to keep thinking that taking societal factors into account, rather than looking for some kind of innate deficiency, is politicizing.And, seriously, if the majority first and most commonly experience violence at the hand of the main caregiver (typically, "Mom"), why are we all, women AND men, still content with having the default caregiving role default to "Mom"?

11 years ago

>I've posted at Toy Soldier (just the other day actually), I was going to link it up when you were asking for those sources…but then I assumed it would receive the same treatment as other sources that didn't fit the mold here. It seems futile to post up things that are legitimate David because the trend seems to be that if any source presents things from a non fem POV, then you (et al) dismiss it out of hand saying "Oh its one of *those* sites…NOT CREDIBLE!"Anyway, on topic…Christina–Im trying to imagine why this came out of your keyboard–"The thing is, why compare the number of men who get raped in prison to the number of women who get raped outside prison in the first place? Why compare the number of men who get raped to the number of women who get raped at all? This isn't a competition. We can work together to end abuse without arguing who gets victimized more."That isn't what is happening. Name ONE place where there is a statistically significant population of men who have been raped.Just one.One place.No?Just prison? Yeah, exactly.Maybe when talking about rape we should eliminate all mention of environment. Actually, that's not a bad idea. We can level the playing field a bit then. If you are addressing prison rape as a social issue rather than a gender issue, then it makes even MORE sense to compare and contrast a man's experience to that of a woman.The only place where anyone can point to a group of men and say "Look! The sexual abuse of men is real!" Seems to be, sadly, in prison. The general population of the world does not believe that men can be raped, but prison rape seems to be something that most people understand…it introduces the idea that this is a problem.

Clarisse Thorn
11 years ago

>Thomas at Yes Means Yes had a good post on this recently too:

David Futrelle
11 years ago

>Cat, Pam and Clarisse — thanks for the comments and the links.

11 years ago

>You're welcome, David, although the links that I provided aren't directly related to the original topic.

11 years ago

>DarkSideCatIn a humanitarian system the status of the victim wouldnt change depending on the sex of the perp.You seem to be under the illusion that sexual violence is gendered, this is feminist hate propaganda that is easily debunked."According to the National Clearinghouse on Family Violence in Canada:Self-report studies provide a very different view of sexual abuse perpetration and substantially increase the number of female perpetrators. In a retrospective study of male victims, 60% reported being abused by females (Johnson and Shrier, 1987). The same rate was found in a sample of college students (Fritz et al., l 981). In other studies of male university and college students, rates of female perpetration were found at levels as high as 72% to 82% (Fromuth and Burkhart, 1987, 1989; Seidner and Calhoun, 1984). Bell et al. (1981) found that 27% of males were abused by females. In some of these types of studies, females represent as much as 50% of sexual abusers (Risin and Koss, 1987). Knopp and Lackey (1987) found that 51% of victims of female sexual abusers were male."You see DarkSideCat, people like you that protect female predators and suppress their victims are not very nice people, you think that you are but when you spread your abuse is gendered ideology you are spreading hatred and oppression.David, you put Toy Soldiers in your list of "not useful" sources, for all to see.

11 years ago

>As to the abstract which you are citing in general, the paper contains the disclaimer "The opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views of Health Canada." "According to the National Clearinghouse on Family Violence in Canada" This is a false statement, as Health Canada specifically says that these are not their words. and Shrier's study was of a grand total of 25 abuse victims. We call these results 'not statistically significant'. With a sample size so low, and with the increased inaccuracy of self report vs other types of data, the risk of skewed and innacurate data is so high as to render these results meaningless (in a statistical or general sense, not in a personal sense for the victims involved). I could not find an explanation of the metholdology of Fritz's study beyond sample size and the fact that it only dealt with child sexual abuse I could only find an abstract, a link would be appreciated if someone has it.Knopp and Lackey's 1987 study was not an actual study at all, but a questionare about the opinions and/or experiences of 44 therapists who treated sex offenders, primarily those who treated juvenile sex offenders. Knopp and Lackey also noted, even in their sample, strong discrepancies in types of abuse. Exhibitionism or abuse with no physical contact were counted in these cases and these were the types of abuse reported as the primary types commited by females. While exhibitionism or showing porn with children is abusive and wrong, it is severely different in degree than what is generally discussed in studies about rape or sexual assault, such as penetration, fondling of genitals, removal of child's clothing, etc.While Risin and Koss did find a high rate of female abusers, they have been criticized for including consensual activity between adolescents in their abuse statistics (under the auspices of the notion that two disabled teens or children could not non-abusively consent to sex with each other). Risin and Koss's subjects were all in hospital situations. Disabled children in residential facilities have high rates of molestation and have different patterns of victimization in general. Fromuth and Burkhart found that 60% of the people they were classifying as victims reported a pleasurable experience. Related studies found that many boys under these criteria reported initiating the sexual contact. 5/6ths of their subjects were either not under the age of thirteen, had not had sexual contact with someone five years or more older, or had not viewed the experience negatively. It appears that statutory rape is extremely overrepresented in this sample, due to both the lower rate of sexual abuse of boys in general and the criteria used in this research. The Seidner and Calhoun study has similar issues with defining abuse and with wildly differing rates of abuse and sex of perpetrator depending upon definition. If you are talking non-coercive statutory rape of a child over thirteen, females are the primary perpetrators for male victims, if you are talking coercive cases and/or case involving a child under thirteen, males are the primary perpetrators by far. While statutory rape is a genuine problem to be addressed, the fact is that most discussions of child rape and abuse distinguish non-coervice statutory rape of a child over thirteen from 'child rape' in these discussions, including when citing statistics of child rape of females. Not seperating these results can result in potentially misleading reports, which appears to be the case here.Checking and analyzing sources, you can do it too!

11 years ago

>DarkSideCatThe same critisims can be made of feminist research. For example 79% of those that Koss recorded as raped, didn't consider themselves to have been raped and continued seeing their "rapist". Feminists want to bury politically incorrect victims, because politically incorrect victims debunk their ideology. Thats why you want to brush male victims and female abusers under the carpet and keep it a taboo.Four more on female perpsRaupp & Eggers (1993) – German Study – 25%Risin & Koss (1987) – American Study – 47% / surprised by that finding, they narrowed down the definitions and still got 35% (Enders 2008)"Predictors of Sexual Coercion Against Women and Men: A Multilevel, Multinational Study of University Students3% of men reported forced sex (of which 2.1% was forced vaginal sex… this is in fact men reporting victimization by women)22% of men reported verbal sexual coercionBy comparison, in the same study it was found that:2.3% of women reported forced sex (don't ignore the decimal point)25% of women reported verbal sexual coercion"I have worked in the field of sexual abuse for the past 18 years and average about 350 interviews per year. […] In the early 1980s, when I first began this work, female offenders only accounted for approximately one and a half to three percent of my total case load. During the past three years [the article is from 1998] that percentage has risen to a level of about 35%. In the past six months, I would estimate that at least 40% of my cases have involved juvenile offenders and of that about 50% have been females. […] In looking at the limited information and research available on female offenders, it would appear that based on what information is slowly surfacing on the subject, approximately one third or 33% of sexual offences are committed by females". like you DarkSideCat, bury sex abuse victims and exclude them from services.See here for feminists disrupting and heckling at a meeting for victims of CSA

11 years ago

>Women's Sexual Aggression Against Men: Prevalence and PredictorsDepartment of Psychology, University of Potsdam, Germany – 2003In this study, we investigated the prevalence of women's sexual aggression against men and examined predictors of sexual aggression in a sample of 248 women. Respondents reported their use of aggressive strategies (physical force, exploitation of a man's incapacitated state, and verbal pressure) to make a man engage in sexual touch, sexual intercourse, or oral sex against his will. Childhood abuse, gender role orientation, ambiguous communication of sexual intentions, level of sexual activity, and peer pressure were included as predictors of sexual aggression. Almost 1 in 10 respondents (9.3%) reported having used aggressive strategies to coerce a man into sexual activities. Exploitation of the man's incapacitated state was used most frequently (5.6%), followed by verbal pressure (3.2%) and physical force (2%). An additional 5.4% reported attempted acts of sexual aggression. Sexual abuse in childhood, ambiguous communication of sexual intentions, high levels of sexual activity, and peer pressure toward sexual activity were linked to an increased likelihood of sexual aggression.

11 years ago

>Eoghan: If something or someone is 'politically incorrect', that doesn't automatically make it/them right. Just saying.

11 years ago

>Head's up: According to Amanda Hess the DOJ has (finally) gotten around to releasing its draft regulations for corrections facilities to end prison rape.They appear to have been very little input from Men's Rights groups, which is sort of a shame. The Prison Elimination Act was passed in 2003 and they're just now getting around to it issuing guidelines. And it's not like this was bleeding-heart legislation. Yes, Ted Kennedy was one of its prime sponsors but the other was the decidedly conservative Alabama Senator Jeff

10 years ago

what the heck was up with that “Human Stupidity” post you linked to? that has to be satire right?

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