Military Sexual Assault Statistics Represent Actual Assault Intent

I’ve always felt, from my own observations, that about 5-15% of men would do something sexually violent or harmful even if there were a strong chance of facing consequences, about a third would do something sexually harmful if there were a moderate chance of facing consequences, 60-75% would do it if there were a low chance of facing consequences, and nearly everyone takes part in things that have basically no consequences like making misogynistic comments or jokes, or taking pleasure in seeing women subjected to misogynistic or harmful statements or actions.*  Maybe about 5% of heterosexual men can actually claim to be genuinely non-misogynistic, to have no ill intentions toward women and to truly not enjoy hearing negative talk or negative ideas about women; I estimate that many of those have a low sex drive or don’t like sex that much, or, maybe, have been raised in an all-female environment so that they couldn’t imagine being so cruel to the people they’ve spent years humanizing (I’m not sure I’ve ever knowingly observed that kind of guy, though–I invite girls with male siblings or male significant others who are products of all-female households to share their observations).

Let me be clear that when I say consequences, I mean legal and other policy consequences (like getting fired from a job), but I also mean social consequences.  Because rampant sexual assault would do serious harm to the female half of society, even men have a biological interest in preventing it, in order to preserve the order and reasonable success of their community.  Maybe my guy friends would shun a member of our crew if he turned out to have an attitude of sexual entitlement to the females in the group, but that doesn’t mean that these guys wouldn’t themselves do something sexually unwelcome–it just means that they recognize that upheaval will tear the whole group apart (which has the underlying threat of possibly denying them stable mating and reproduction opportunities).

The following statistic proves my estimates; although it’s hard to extrapolate the number of perpetrators from the number of victims, it becomes clear from reading the article and its links (like this one) that at least a significant minority of men in a military environment commit sexual assault, and nearly all think it’s laughable and entertaining:

The department of veterans affairs…released an independent study estimating that one in three women had experience of military sexual trauma while on active service. That is double the rate for civilians, which is one in six, according to the US department of justice.

I have never been in the military.  But, I do know that it makes sense that the rate of sexual assault in an environment that has virtually no consequences for sexual assault would be indicative of the actual number of assaults that men wish to commit in civilian life, but do not, because of possible consequences.

The lesson here is that they mean to harm you and people who tell you otherwise are either living in a fantasy world, or are lying because they don’t feel like dealing with you and your need to be treated as an equal party in sexual relationships.

The solution is whoring.  Make sex transactional in every instance that you possibly can.  Instead of waiting for people to take your safety seriously–which nearly everyone concludes is extremely difficult to do, and I personally conclude will probably never happen, considering how many failed solutions humans have made–instead, raise your status in society by providing a sexual counterpart for every bit of capital and livelihood a man has.  Once women have an equal amount of wealth and social capital** they will have enough clout in society to turn all sex in to a contract and prosecute people who violate the contract, or who think they can take it without making a contract in the first place.


*Whether or not a person will end up committing a certain act is a combination of how much he wants to do that thing and how worthwhile the risks are; my own gut feeling is that, if there were no consequences at all, about 1/5 of men would regularly seek very violent and/or emotionally disturbing sex, and nearly all of the rest of them would seek moderately harmful or unpleasant sex.

I personally conclude that there is currently a moderate consequence environment in the place I live (civilian mid-Atlantic metropolitan region suburbs): along with the biological impulse not to harm one’s community, there is some chance of the type of half-ass stigma-within-peer-group that I mention above, and there is a small chance of legal consequence, however since sex crime sentences are severe (they involve jail time, rather than just a fine or requirement of monetary retribution, and might have some life-long consequences like a permanent record), even this low chance acts as a decent deterrent.  (See: my experience living in a low-consequence environment, in a so-called conservative foreign country, in which I experienced street harassment nearly every day; believing that cat-calls are merely that and not an implication of more sinister intentions feels a lot like believing rape is about power only, as if sexual things can be separated from sex itself.)

**Credit Catherine Hakim for the term.

  1. James England said:

    When I was in the Marines the common ratio was 1 in 3. I served in a battalion that had a high number of female Marines so I could literally count down the line and count “one, two, three”. And because I had a lot of female Marine friends, I quickly found out that this seemingly arbitrary and random method wasn’t too far off.

    The military promotes an alpha male culture where men believe they are the masters of their universe and if they aren’t, they know exactly who to look to in order to find out. So when a woman got raped or sexually assaulted or even the weird, awkward middle “not quite forced sex/not quite not” that should probably be brought to someone’s attention… It rarely ever was. School house instructors were the worst about it because they felt their rank and being surrounded by a whole bunch of low ranking, unquestioning Marines seemed to give them carte blanc to do whatever with whomever. It almost never backfired – unless you counted the divorce rate but no one ever did.

    If I wasn’t inclined to warrant human emotions and simply take my observations into account, I would have spent my early adult years thinking sexual assault was simply another method for approaching sex with the female agent. My first wife, when I was twenty, literally prostituted herself to me in exchange for getting married so she could get out of the barracks because she feared she would be sexually assaulted by other Marines (again). Being twenty, I was happy for the attention but I never really understood the gravity until much later. She eventually succumbed to schizophrenia and I had to take her to her step mother in Kentucky to be cared for. We had become really good friends over the course of pretending to be husband and wife and I was preparing for my first of many deployments and I knew I couldn’t take care of her. Another Marine from my battalion was possibly raped (never reported, so never truly clear) and ended up giving birth at a combat outpost in Afghanistan because she was a team leader and didn’t want to abandon her team. The kid turned out alright, surprisingly.

    But, yeah, the post struck a cord. I’m not sure if the Marines were more or less sexually abusive towards women than the rest of the culture because I didn’t have a standard of comparison. I’d like to think it was more and that it was simply a sign of the institutional thinking but I’m not entirely sure. As a former intelligence analyst, reporting and statistics is sometimes all we have to go off of to determine whether something is getting bad or worse and the reporting, in this instance, is atrocious.

    • I would do the same thing your first wife did. I sometimes wonder if having a committed partner could protect me in a situation where even though I were married I still had to be around many men–like, what if you two were married and everyone knew you (and that she wasn’t lying about being married), but she still had to be in close quarters with men? Do you think that could offer her any protection at all, not only in that they might be afraid you’d beat them up if they raped your wife, but, maybe, there is some sort of inherent respect of the fact that another man has a woman taken? Or do you think the protection was solely that you got her out of the barracks?

      The schizophrenia thing really scares me. Even in the civilian world there is the idea that a woman who doesn’t respond to you sexually is sick, and that mental health issues after an assault are proof that she was probably crazy anyway, but this is made more complicated when women who report sexual assault are given mental health diagnoses and dismissed from their service. (Although I recognize that your wife herself may have been schizophrenic for unrelated reasons.) Part of the reason I started this blog is because I’m very tired of trying to work out that complicated dynamic, and I am relieved to see that this may be going so far as to provide for its own discrediting; I think there’s an element of crazy-if-you-do, crazy-if-you-don’t, especially with what you mentioned in one of your previous posts about being expected to abstain from sex, etc.

      I can see how you might be right that it’s a cultural issue but also sometimes I think that’s bullshit. It’s like the way Woodstock ’99 said all those sexual assaults happened because it was hot outside. If the special conditions of military service make people more stressed (or, more aggressive) than their civilian counterparts, shouldn’t there also be the (positive) special conditions of loyalty to your fellow soldier to make up for that?

      But let’s just say that men really are more likely to assault me because the weather is hot or because they’re upset: I think that totally proves my theory right.

  2. James England said:

    In hindsight, I think it was for a number of factors that you brought up. No one in our unit knew it was a sham marriage except for us (which we agreed to ahead of time), thus they treated her like they would have treated me. She still got hit on continuously but it was left at a certain level, whereas before it wasn’t. She used to tell me about how uncomfortable it would be to have men approaching her and soliciting her for sex right out of the blue. She never did say if she was raped or not but I knew she had been assaulted. She absolutely hated the concept of sex, which I initially, my twenty-year old and sheltered mind being like “why would you find something like that loathsome?” But it’s the sexual experiences we have that form our opinions of sex, itself, regardless of partners or conditions. At least I suspect so. I’ll never be sure for everyone. I know my views on sex from nineteen to twenty nine have surely changed greatly over that decade. I can only imagine what it must be for others.

    Honestly, one of the things that drew me to your blog is you have an interesting perspective on sexual relations and dynamics, especially regarding multiple partners. It’s refreshing. Where do you normally draw the line between advancing and sexual predation? What do you normally see as the major difference in perception between your male partners and yourself?

    Is it all men, as a gender or a temperament? Have you visited other cultures and examined male sexuality and mating rituals and can give an analysis? God, that sounds like I’m asking you to write a term paper. But it’s interesting because I think men, often times, are bolstered in certain beliefs and ideas which are almost encouraged and amplified by their culture’s “loudspeakers”. Their = perhaps mine. It’s hard to tell where the line in the sand is. I could have the firm belief certain things are acceptable when, in fact, they are not.

  3. Figuring out exactly where (and how) to draw the line is one of the goals of this blog. What are you counting as drawing the line, though? Is it making a mental note not to talk to a guy anymore, or is it being with a man and thinking about how to make a run for it out of the room? Knowing how to implement my own standards can be very difficult for me because as much as I know I have a right to be pissed off if someone threatens my physical health and safety, it’s hard for me to know if I’ve been unfair or led someone on by speaking to him or engaging with him without the intention of fucking him. (Not that I never get mad when someone acts inappropriately.) I mean, is it unfair of me to leave the house with my hair (or face) uncovered? I’m never sure. (Whether or not “fair” is the real issue here, the fact is that that is how men approach it.)

    I’m not sure what you mean by a difference in “perception” specifically–perception of what?–but I think the main difference between me and my male partners is that I want a relationship with the person I sleep with and they do not. Not that I have to long-term date every single person I have sex with, but I expect to at least be given the chance at that and I think it is not right when they take sex from me knowing full well that they would never date me. It is especially bothersome when they say they “like” me and that they think all kinds of nice things about me–I would rather that they didn’t, at least then they would have a good reason not to want to date me.

    I do think it’s all men that are like this because even at times when I expected people to be smart enough, respectful enough, aware enough, “feminist” enough, “punk” enough to recognize that my desires are as valid as theirs, they still don’t. And even sometimes they find a way to prove to me that I’m hysterical for thinking about it this way, or they might even tell me that their attitude toward me is a feminist attitude.

    Yes, I can say that it’s worse in other cultures. I feel that American men have taken the tendencies that men in most other countries have and they’ve tried to suppress those things in the interest of seeming feminist/modern/liberal/hip/cool, but they have caused those tendencies to turn into a hideous mutation of their true nature and it makes them manipulative and awful. And although I guess I’d take their awful ideas over a higher likelihood of serious physical or lifestyle damage (like being heavily pressured into marriage), I can’t feel that good about that choice because I think they are teetering on the edge of reverting back to what they used to be.

    What does that mean, “certain beliefs”? If men are given certain beliefs then so am I and it cancels out. (Unless you’re saying that society only cares about giving men its loudspeaker and does not care about women.) How is the idea that someone indoctrinated men to behave in a way that I dislike supposed to do anything to make me feel better about that behavior? Anyway, isn’t it men who are doing the indoctrinating? Let’s say the supposed loudspeaker has some effect on men but they still have free will–then aren’t they choosing to abide by the loudspeaker because it fits with the desires they already had, because it’s entertaining, maybe just because it’s easier than having to treat women like people? Let’s say the loudspeaker convinces them entirely–I still have to deal with the way they act.

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