Jill at Feministe links to yet another article talking about how rape statistics are exaggerated and proceeds to painstakingly take apart its logical flaws and rape apologetics. There are so damn many of these articles, however, and many of them include the notion that feminists are constantly inflating the proportion of women who have been raped. And as Jill points out, these kinds of arguments require all forms of mental gymnastics and contortions of reason in order to fit the statistics into the theory.
But beyond that, I really want to know what these people think are feminists’ motivations for inflating these statistics. This article is more straightforward about it than most, in that it explicitly spells out the claim that feminists are inventing rape where none happened. Feminists, apparently, are so desperate to believe that a crisis of violence against women exists, that rape is altogether too common, and that we need to work and work hard to stop it, that they will search for any means possible of making people believe that. When someone gets all anti-feminist about equal pay, or men’s rights activists start spouting off about how divorce/child support issues always benefit women, or anti-choice crusaders try to push through bills like the “Unborn Victims of Crime Act”, and they include statements about how the selfish, selfish feminists just want everything their way all the time, at least I can make sense of their arguments. They think women are asking for more money or unfair amounts of freedom or an unequal redistribution of wealth. They’re wrong, but I can see why they could imagine this cabal of feminists sitting in their ivory towers drumming their fingers and developing ways to strengthen the matriarchal stronghold on society, and I can respect that this feminist conspiracy at least appears to be made up of humans with standard human desires for power and money.
But those of us who apparently spend all our time inventing rape statistics and surveying women in order to convince them that they’ve been raped stand to gain…what exactly? I realize that people who write articles like this have never spoken to a flesh-and-blood feminist in their lives, but I’m beginning to wonder if they’ve ever even had a real conversation with a human being.
Betacandy was writing an article a while ago that included a reference to rape statistics and chose to use a conservative 1 in 8 estimate, rather than the oft-cited 1 in 4, which is a number that was reached independently by several reputable agencies, feminist and non-feminist alike (including Statistics Canada). Her strategy was to avoid getting sidetracked onto an argument about the statistical accuracy of the numbers when regardless of which is closer to the truth, those numbers are absolutely unacceptable. I’ve heard far too many women tell me their stories of rape and sexual abuse, not to mention the stories I have myself, and I never want to hear another one. Ever. I never want to have to. It does me absolutely no good to drum up statistics that only make the problem seem bigger and more hopeless and more universal and less worth fighting against.
Do they think feminists get paid on commission for the number of women we can get to disclose rape to us? What the hell kind of sense does any of this make?
If any one can provide an actual answer for what it is we are supposed to gain with this strategy, I’m all ears.