I’ll begin by stating that my conversation with Katie Hanna started within the context of the Steubenville, Ohio rape case, but it is not limited to the details or genders of that particular rape case. Katie Hanna, statewide director of the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence (OAESV), pointed out that DUI education had been effective with one of the Steubenville kids, but sex & consent education had not:
Something has gotten in there that said, ‘OK, we need to prevent drinking and driving,’ ” Hanna said. “We need to take it to that level with preventing sexual assault.” – Yahoo Sports interview with Dan Wetzel (accessed 3/20/2013)
That hit me as a fundamental insight: Consent Education may not be getting through, but something (intoxication & driving) is getting through. We should understand why there’s a difference here in order to close that difference. We should increase and target antirape messaging as we have done for DUI and Distracted Driving messages.
Here’s where I’d lose a lot of mainstream readers: We must do it in a gender neutral way. Typhon Blue , Stefan Friedrich and many commenters at their blogs and at Reddit 1,2 have cited the problems with the NISVS definition of rape. We’ve also noticed the old FBI definition of rape, as well as the new one, and argued that the new one is still insufficient.
These erroneous definitions are used by advocacy organizations to request funding and make personnel decisions, and to justify their existence in the first place. I tried to relate these facts to Ms. Hanna in the first message I sent to her. To their credit, OAESV and National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) both hate rape. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to think that rape can happen to men – at least not by nonconsensually enveloping the penis with a mouth, vagina, or anus. That does count as sexual assault, but when you hear stats like this:
they exclude any reference to the many men forced or coerced to penetrate without their own consent.
Using Steubenville as a springboard, I tried to open a dialogue with OAESV. OAESV, NSVRC, and I argued at impasse for a day, and then they censored me. I did include @FBI and @DOJ at points in the exchange, but neither of those agencies responded at all. What follows is the dialogue between myself, OAESV and NSVRC, with an illustrative side conversation from a self-identified rape victim.
I used twitlonger; the link underlined in red works and the text is still available. Noting the NISVS report, and the FBI’s rape definition, I argued that the sex and consent education should be done in a gender neutral way, and pointed out that the NISVS and FBI definitions of rape are not gender neutral.
The next morning, it looked like we might find agreement:
GREAT! So how far did this agreement go?
Here we met an impasse: a flat refusal, which I did not overcome.
Apparently, Sexual violence is bad. Rape is bad. But men aren’t raped if they aren’t penetrated. Coerced or forced envelopment of the penis is not-rape, confirming again the findings of Typhonblue.
@NSVRC piped in: No one deserves to be raped ever.
However, we don’t know what “rape” is.
@funnyfaceking called his rape a rape. @NSVRC said again that rape is bad. But they did not call @funnyfaceking’s rape a rape.
What they repeatedly avoid saying is that some sexual violence is classified as not-rape because of the gender of the victim. I tried to help them state the message that they send elsewhere, but don’t want to admit that they say.
I tried to show why it’s problematic for advocacy:
This 30 second vid was from a debate held at University College London on 28th February 2012, featuring a few women interrupting a speaker and asserting that it’s impossible for a woman to rape a man – because there’s no penetration of the victim.
I referred here to Heather Hayes of Lansford, PA who, having bitten and chased her hopefully-now-ex-boyfriend and twisting his testicles for refusing to have sex with her, was charged with indecent exposure and open lewdness but not with sexual assault.
I left to run errands, and returned to discover that my account had been blocked:
As an aside, I see that this image puts the time at 5:29 and the previous one, containing the same text, puts it at 3:29. I can’t explain this except to say that twitter time may be localized in some fashion. (btw, funnyfaceking, as far as I can tell, is not one of the taxpayer funded agencies that censored my account.)
I logged out to see if I could determine what happened and found this:
It is my firm belief that @OhioAllianceESV and @nsvrc “blocked” or “spam blocked” my twitter account, prompting Twitter to take (albeit temporary) adverse action against me. This is oppressive censorship of political speech by organizations that accept tax-deductible contributions. I encourage people to print this article and send it, anonymously if you wish, as a complaint to your congressional representatives and TLAs as you see fit.