Jessica Valenti asks important questions about men’s violence against women: “[I]t’s hard to look at the continued violence and violent speech directed at women by men and not wonder: what is it about women that makes some men so angry?”
Corey Rayburn Yung (Kansas) has an important new article in the Iowa Law Review: “How to Lie with Rape Statistics: America’s Hidden Rape Crisis.” As a starting point, his research uses media investigations in several cities revealing that police systematically eliminated rape complaints from their official reported statistics. Police officers and departments in those cities used “three difficult-to-detect methods” to avoid counting and reporting rapes: “designating a complaint as ‘unfounded’ with little or no investigation; classifying an incident as a lesser offense; and failing to create a written report that a victim made a rape complaint.”
The study presented in the article identifies undercounting jurisdictions by determining whether their pattern of reporting crime is highly unusual. Specifically, the study uses the rate of murders as a baseline. This is a sound choice because murder is not susceptible to undercounting: it’s difficult to undercount a crime that results in a body. And, nationwide, the rate of murder and the rate of rape is highly correlated. Continue reading
As of last Thursday, Colorado has a new law criminalizing “revenge porn,” or, as it is more accurately called, non-consensual pornography. My University of Denver colleagues Ian Farrell and Justin Pidot and I have written an op-ed explaining why we think the statute is both good law (that is, it survives First Amendment scrutiny) and good policy (it’s a reasonable measure to address serious harm). Here is a link to our piece, which appeared in the Huffington Post today. Colorado is the twelfth state to criminalize non-consensual pornography in some form.
A complex and important dialogue has emerged in the wake of the UCSB shootings, including the #YesAllWomen hashtag on Twitter. I have many thoughts on the hashtag and the issues to which it gives voice. Today I wanted to focus briefly on a narrow issue: why I think that men who speak out against sexism and misogyny are valuable and important allies, and why men who sit silent are part of the problem.
Men who speak out on these issues deserve credit for their willingness to stand up for something that they haven’t directly experienced and that doesn’t directly benefit them. (I say not directly because I believe that a society in which men and women are equal is a better society for everyone, but that benefit is not an immediate one.) My point isn’t that men deserve special praise for vocally supporting gender equality. Everyone should support gender equality as a matter of principle. My point is a somewhat different one: that empathy is difficult no matter who you are and with whom you’re empathizing. It’s hard to understand what it’s like to be a woman if you’re not a woman. It’s hard to understand what it’s like to be gay if you’re not gay. It’s hard to understand what it’s like to have a particular disability if you don’t have that disability. Empathy is hard work, and men who undertake that work — and then undertake the further work of speaking out against sexism and misogyny — should be commended. Continue reading