According to some Human Rights Watch headlines last month:
Soaring rates of rape and violence against women
More Accurate Methodology Shows Urgent Need for Preventive
(New York, December 18, 2008) — A new government report showing huge increases in the incidences of domestic violence, rape, and sexual assault over a two-year period in the United States deserves immediate attention from lawmakers and the incoming administration, Human Rights Watch said today. The statistics show a 42-percent increase in reported domestic violence and a 25-percent increase in the reported incidence of rape and sexual assault.
The National Crime Victimization Survey, based on projections from a national sample survey, says that at least 248,300 individuals were raped or sexually assaulted in 2007, up from 190,600 in 2005, the last year the survey was conducted. The study surveyed 73,600 individuals in 41,500 households. Among all violent crimes, domestic violence, rape, and sexual assault showed the largest increases. Except for simple assault, which increased by 3 percent, the incidence of every other crime surveyed decreased.
“The numbers in this survey show an alarmingly high rate of sexual violence in this country,” said Sarah Tofte, researcher for the US Program at Human Rights Watch. “This should serve as a wake-up call that more must be done to address the problem in the US.”
The projected number of violent crimes committed by intimate partners against women increased from 389,100 in 2005 to 554,260 in the 2007 report. By comparison, the number of violent crimes against men by intimate partners went down.
Now, first of all, this is very upsetting, disheartening, worrying and yet not surprising, considering the fact that we live everyday in a woman-hating, male-supremacist culture. And this is real grim…
Second, porn apologists can carry on with their “cathartic effect” propaganda; it has not been proven to be true. These figures remind me of how much pornified culture and rape culture are one and the same thing, especially considering that the pornography industry makes $13 million in the US alone every year, remember? Which means there is a huge amount of male demand for an industry that relies on beliefs that “women enjoy being hurt, being demeaned,” etc and thus that endlessly perpetuates female suffering for the sadistic pleasure of its males consumers and, often, yes, rapists.
Pornographic culture relentlessly invades malestream media with its fragmentations of women into body parts, its portrayal of female humans as “worthless sex-objects that ‘ask for it’ or that deserve what happens to them”, and its glamorization of sexual violence, etc; see, for example, this YouTube video for a NOW campaign.
Finally, can women really feel safe with the vast majority of men in a patriarchy, i.e. the ones who were born in male privilege and who were taught to benefit from masculine socialization and domination?…
You know, I watched “The Accused” again on new year’s eve. It’s a film (with Jodie Foster) that was made in 1988. It is an amazing movie that highlighted a topic that is usually so rare in Hollywood. I hadn’t seen it in years. Watching it again made me cry over a simple fact: the very real, cruel and sinister attitudes that encourage, condone and attempt to justify rape have not changed one bit in 21 years (unless they actually have gotten worse). I was observing the woman-hating and victim-blaming that many of the men in that movie were praising through sentences such as “she was begging for it,” “it’s her fault,” “she put on a sex show,” or “she wasn’t even raped,” etc. And I remember thinking “That is all very real. That’s very much similar attitudes to so many men’s who live in a patriarchal pornified culture,” and I couldn’t stop crying, especially during the rape scene. These things are not just fiction. Rape keeps happening, in real life, thousands and thousands of times everyday. All the underpinning behaviors that support sexual violence and the root causes of rape haven’t changed. Not one bit. If they have, they have merely gotten worse…