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.