Enabling violence

What you've said, litbrit, can't be said enough. Until it finally some day ends.

You mention that rape is the most underreported crime, but don't mention the likely incidence, since there's no way to be certain.

Actually, it's possible to get rather close to certainty because there are two independent measures. One is the common estimate pulled from crisis lines, emergency records, studies that interview many people, and so on. They point to a figure of somewhere between one in ten and one in three, depending on the specific population of women involved. That's every year.

The less well known estimate comes from the number of pregnancies due to rape. Figures from 2004 (Census Bureau and other gov. agencies) say 25,000 to 32,000 per year. Given the usual fertility window each month and assuming rape, unlike consensual sex, occurs at random during that time, given the likelihood of a pregnancy resulting if both egg and sperm are available (one in three at most), it's simple to figure out how many rapes are involved. Around 3,700,000. In 2004, there were about 38,000,000 women aged 14 to 35. Do the math. It's in the same general magnitude as the first set of estimates.

There's also a third estimate from an organization with the ability to monitor its members' private lives. The US military estimates a 15% incidence of rape. I. e. men rape about one in six soldiers every year.

Go with the "low" number. One in ten. Every year. It's not always the same women, every year. What do you think that means a woman's chances are in her lifetime to suffer this soul-destroying hate crime?

The reported rapes for 2004 were 200,700. Half of one percent (0.5%) were reported. Prosecuted ones, less than that. Convictions, lower yet.

What about the invisible other half? How many men are committing these crimes? The statistics from counseling agencies and sociological research suggest it's about 5%. Five percent. Very repetitive offenders. If guys bothered to get a clue how much that 5% affects their lives, maybe they'd start to realize that hate crime is not a "women's" issue.

I've seen statistics on pedophiles saying that between 60 to 140 separate pedophilic acts are committed by one criminal before he even gets reported to anyone (ie to an adult relative, a teacher, etc.). (And I do mean "he." Female pedophiles are extremely rare.) Again, a very few men are ruining the lives of hundreds.

Given the low numbers of perps, it's an interesting question why we, as a society, coddle them. Why do we avert our eyes, both our real ones and those of our cameras? Why do we give more time to dogs than people? Why do we tell the victims to "ignore" it? How can Putin's comment about the Israeli politician's arrest on rape charges be, "I'm sure we all envy him"? Why do we consistently allow rape trials to be about the victim, as if this was normal?

The point librit raises is really about the issues in the last paragraph. It's not about the specific crimes. It's about what's wrong with us that we're blind to these hate crimes. By being blind to them, we enable them. They'd stop if we all stopped tolerating them.


I'll fill in the links for the various references when my hair isn't quite as on fire as it is now.

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