Recently social media has reverberated with comment about a graphic from the Enliven Project, accusing the Project of presenting "false", "misleading" or simply "wrong" information. Far from it. The Project is merely attempting to show visually information that is available readily and publicly about a problem that is real and documented. As one commentator noted, "It's not that the infographic is 'wrong'. Rather it's how the data was interpreted...blame it on statistics for allowing for variance in data interpretation." Absolutely.
What this matter highlights is that the standard for gathering information for this kind of study is less than perfect.
In 2007 in the US a report entitled "Drug-facilitated, Incapacitated, and Forcible Rape: A National Study" documented that "...about 20 million out of 112 million women (18.0%) in the U.S. have ever been raped during their lifetime. This includes an estimated 18 million women who have been forcibly raped, nearly 3 million women who have experienced drug-facilitated rape, and 3 million women who have experienced incapacitated rape. During the past year alone, over 1 million women in the U.S. have been raped..."
One million? In a so-called advanced society such as US? I find that absolutely atrocious!
It is estimated that a rapist may have six victims, on average. In the US that's 167,000 rapists for one million women. If 167,000 people with guns each shot 6 people in a one year long killing spree would there be a hue and cry? Damned right there would be. So why do we let these perpetrators get away with this crime? What makes rape "different"?
The answer, in part, is to be found in comments such as those made by a California judge, who said "if someone doesn't want sexual intercourse, the body 'will not permit that to happen.' " Really?
Or words spoken by an Indian religious "leader" after the death of a young woman raped and horrendously violated: "She should have called the culprits brothers and begged before them to stop. ... This could have saved her dignity and life." Her dignity?
Or the extremely offensive comments from an Australian Muslim leader, comparing women to uncovered meat and suggesting women were the weapons of Satan "used to control men". Meat?
When people in these kind of influential positions within their respective communities have such twisted and archaic beliefs, those beliefs will filter down and find a willing ear somewhere.
We have such a long way to go to counter these beliefs, so we should completely support organisations such as V-Day and Destroy the Joint and Collective Shout which are striving to turn them around.
Are you rising on 14 February?