Monday, February 20, 2012

A closer look at crime surveys

I did take part in some discussions on DV on r/SRSDiscussion out of all places and wanted to collect some of the data I was posting. We start with the recent US Crime Survey:

NCVS 2010 Violent victimizations, by type of crime
and victim-offender relationship, 2010 (Table 5 / Intimates)

                            Women      Men   Men%
All Crime                 407,700  101,530   20 about 1/5
Rape/Sexual Assault        29,010       --   --
Robbery                    36,540   22,110   38 about 1/3
Aggravated Assault         71,640   29,290   29 about 1/3
Simple Assault            270,510   50,140   19 about 1/5

A closer look at the items of that table.

Simple vs aggravated assault, or why 1/5 of all simple assault victims and 1/3 of all aggravated assault victims are men. Simply put, men do underreport more than women do. Crime surveys frame the survey questions in a "have you been victim of a crime" kind of way. Victims of DV do not necessarily see themselves as a victim of crime which means we get more serious cases, because it is more likely to be seen as a crime when one gut hurt. This is not always the case with simple assault. As to why we see more women reporting, we have a higher acceptance of minor violence against men:

just over half of U.S. male and female students agreed that there are circumstances where they could approve of a wife slapping her husband, compared to 18% of males and 16% of females who approved of a husband slapping his wife. The much smaller percent approving slapping by a husband than by a wife may reflect the long standing norm about “never hitting a girl,” or an understanding that the consequences of male violence are often more severe than those of female violence (Greenblat, 1983). It may also reflect efforts by the battered women’s movement to stop male partner violence. However, that 18% of male students continue to think that slapping a wife may be justified is one of many indicators that feminist effort to end violence against women is not yet completed. Moreover, the 52% of U.S. students who agreed that they could think of a situation when they would approve of a wife slapping her husband suggests the need to expand the effort to end domestic violence to perpetration by women, not only because it is wrong, but also because women’s own violence increases her risk of victimization by a partner (Feld & Straus, 1989; Straus, 2005, 2007a; Straus & Scott, In press). - Future Research on Gender Symmetry in Physical Assaults on Partners -
Murray A. Straus - 2006

And women also do report more minor violent cases:

Women are more likely to report minor cases to officials: Only 25% of all cases reported by women were severe cases compared to 86% of cases reported by men. Men were injured in most of this cases and most of this cases also involved weapons (most often knives) (McLeod - Women against men: An examination of domestic violence based on an analysis of official data and national victimization data - 1984)

Which kind of explains the higher aggravated assault rate. She hurt me, so it was a crime. Same is true with robbery where we see an even higher rate "do not steal my stuff!".

As for rape/sexual assault, again those reflect the most serious cases as many victims do not label their experience as rape, especially when the perpetrator is your current partner. This is even more true for men especially with female perpetrators. I wrote a lot about this in the recent CDC study. In short, an almost equal amount of men report being raped / being made to penetrate (both items include attempts and drug induced cases).

Here is what I found about male rape myths:

College students (157 men and 158 women; predominantly white middle class) from psychology courses at a midwestern university rated their agreement with statements reflecting myths that male rape cannot happen, involves victim blame, and is not traumatic to men. Statements varied by whether the rape perpetrator was a man or woman. Results showed that a majority of subjects disagreed with all myth statements, but most strongly with trauma myths. Percentages of disagreement with myths for subject groups ranged from 51% to 98%. Women were significantly more rejecting of rape myths than were men. Subjects were more likely to accept myths in which the rape perpetrator was female rather than male. Subjects' past victim experience with sexual coercion was not related to rape myth acceptance. Results are discussed in terms of societal attitudes toward rape and sex role stereotypes. - Acceptance of male rape myths among college men and women by Cindy Struckman-Johnson and David Struckman-Johnson

The above study cited here:
Struckman-Johnson and Struckman-Johnson (1992) reported that approximately 18% of women and 22% of men believed that it is impossible to rape a man - regardless of perpetrator sex. The authors also reported that some subjects believed that men did not experience trauma due to a sexual assault by a woman (35% of men and 22% of women). The authors concluded that male rape myths were more likely to be accepted if the perpetrator was a woman. Thus, the use of pressure tactics or force by a woman could be seen as a method of foreplay and not aggression. From Deviance to Normalcy: Women as Sexual Aggressors - Anderson, Melson - 2002

we found sizable proportions of men and women who agreed with the myths. Most notably, 26% of men and 16% of women agreed that a man would not be very upset after being raped by a woman, and 25% of men and nearly 10% of women agreed that a man is blameworthy for not escaping a woman.Male Rape Myths - The Role of Gender, Violence, and Sexism - Chapleau, Oswald, Russell - 2008

I have reported the injury rate several times by now. Straus usually says that about 33% of injured DV victims are men, Archers meta analysis pointed to 38% so we are not that far off with the 1/3 for aggravated assault here, as the crime surveys often represent the more severe cases.

Some more infos here. What I found interesting is the difference in numbers for assaults by ex-partners. Straus explains that here:

Another similar process probably accounts for the extremely high rate of assaults by former partners in crime studies. That is, one of the circumstance leading a respondent in crime studies to report an assault by a partner is if the attack is by a former spouse. That makes it a "real crime" because a former spouse "has no right to do that." Even with the revisions intended to avoid this problem, the NCVS found 25 times more assaults by former partners in the previous 12-month period than by current partners (Bachman & Saltzman, 1995). Given the vastly greater time exposure to current spouses during the 12-month referent period, that ratio does not seem plausible. In summary, assaults by a partner are most likely to be experienced as a crime if the attacks result in injury or if it is an attack by a former partner. To the extent that this is correct, it helps explain the drastically lower prevalence rate for intimate partner assaults in crime studies because those circumstances are relatively rare. - The Controversy over DV by women - Straus - 1999

And while we are at it, for those that do not believe that men can be raped:

The belief that it is impossible for males to respond sexually when subjected to sexual molestation by women is contradicted. Previous research indicating that male sex response can occur in a variety of emotional states, including anger and terror, are corroborated. Eleven cases of male sexual molestation by females are classified and described. A post-trauma reaction occurs in which sexual function and psychological state are affected. The men were all personally interviewed. Recognition of this phenomenon should lead to increased identification of male victims as well as to better medical, psychological, and legal services for them. - Sexual molestation of men by women. -
Sarrel PM, Masters WH. - 1982

Slight physical stimulation of the genitals, a general in-crease in stress and body tension and generalised emotional situations can create erections even though nospeciļ¬c sexual stimulation is present. There is a long list of stimuli that can bring about erections in pre-adoles-cent boys including punishment, fear of punishment,boxing and wrestling, being scared, anger, harsh words,being yelled at and fear of big boys. Because of the extensive stimuli that could cause erections in young males Kinsey et al.'s interpretation was that pre adolescent boys erect indiscriminately to a whole array of emotional response (anger, fright, pain, etc.) but that by their late teens they have normally become conditioned by experience to respond only to direct physical genital stimulation or to psychic stimulation of sexual content.Thus boys subjected to enforced or non-consensual sexual stimuli either because of force or fear will become erect especially if they are frightened by the scenario. Sarrel and Masters collected a case series where adult males molested by women who used forced assaults, physical restraint or believable threats of physical violence, responded sexually with an erection and were forced to undertake coital activity. More recently Struckman-Johnson and Struckman-Johnson gave a questionnaire to 204 college men who were predominantly heterosexual asking about pressured or forced sexual touch or intercourse since age 16. Some 34% had experienced coercive sexual contact, 24% from women and 4% from men. This was achieved in 88% of the reported incidents either by persuasion, bribery, intoxication, threat of love withdrawal or by force (12%). Interviews with 10 of the respondents revealed that the fear of telling others about the event was a problem. A laboratory study showed that anxiety-inducing threats of an electric shock actually enhanced erectile responses to erotic stimuli. It is clear that both young and adult males can have maintained erections not only to non-consensual sexual stimulation but even to such stimulation when they are exposed to fearsome scenarios - Sexual arousal and orgasm in subjects who experience forced or non-consensual sexual stimulation – a review - Roy J. Levin, Willy van Berlo - 2003

1 comment:

  1. "Previous research indicating that male sex response can occur in a variety of emotional states, including anger and terror, are corroborated."

    Toy Soldiers ( wrote something about this. I believe he has personal experience of involuntary erections.