Search Results for "just detention"
As everyone reading this blog no doubt already knows, feminists have hailed the Pentagon’s decision to open combat jobs to women, which will allow women the same opportunities to serve as men. The decision is also a backhanded acknowledgement that, for all intents and purposes, women are serving in combat today already. (Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth lost both of her legs in combat in Iraq – but officially, what she was engaged in wasn’t combat.)
There is good news, and bad news, and completely predictable news in the fight against prison rape. The good news: the Justice Department last week announced a major new initiative designed to fight against prison rape. The bad news: it’s being opposed by right-wing ideologues. As Think Progress explains:
This week, the Department of Justice published new standards addressing the epidemic of rape and sexual abuse in our nation’s prisons. The guidelines, which apply immediately to federal prisons and give financial incentives for states to comply, are a laudable, widely praised, and long overdue step in combating rape in the United States.
The American Action Forum, a Wall Street-funded group whose C(4) runs millions of dollars in attack ads against Democrats, responded by lambasting the move as too “costly” and “complicated.” …
The Weekly Standard echoed AAF’s response, bemoaning the cost of preventing people from being raped in prison. The total expected cost is less than 1 percent of the overall cost of our prison system and ultimately “end up saving money — for example, by avoiding the medical costs of injuries suffered by rape victims,” according to the New York Times.
The completely predictable news? Men’s Rights Activists are completely oblivious to all this.
If the Men’s Rights movement were truly concerned with helping men, rather than playing “oppression Olympics” and complaining about feminists and women in general, they would be all over this issue. But I have seen nothing about this on any site in the manosphere, aside from one post on the Men’s Rights subreddit that drew all of six (mostly ignorant) comments. (Looking through one large thread on the subject of prison rape that was recently on r/mensrights’ front page, I found zero references to the Justice Department’s new initiative.)
What accounts for this obliviousness? It could be because MRAs tend to regard the Obama administration as a tool of our (imaginary) feminazi over
lordsladies. Or because they would have to acknowledge that women are also raped in prison. But I think the real reason is that MRAs are so disconnected from real activists working in the real world to combat prison rape that they are completely unaware of any of this.
If you are interested in getting involved, or just learning more about the issue, I’d suggest checking out the website of the group Just Detention International, which campaigns against prison rape.
For more links, see this post of mine.
So you may have seen the story yesterday about the University of Vermont fraternity that was suspended for sending out a charming little survey that allegedly asked, among other things, “If you could rape someone, who would it be?” (FWIW, the frat now says it was the work of an individual frat member, not the chapter.)
Reading about this incident, I’m guessing that you probably didn’t ask yourself: “I wonder how the guys at the False Rape Society will use this news to push their own agenda?” Heck, I didn’t even think to ask myself that question. But while doing the rounds of the MRA blogs I’ve discovered the answer to that question, and here it is: FRS head honcho Pierce Harlan described the survey as “perhaps a poke at feminism’s fascination with rape,” then denounced it as “indefensible,” then ranted about the evils of false rape accusations. I guess that isn’t really shocking at all.
First, Harlan offered this take on the “who would you rape” question:
I assume the survey was sick humor, a crude satire of the fratboy culture, and perhaps a poke at feminism’s fascination with rape.
Yes, because any time men make rape jokes it’s probably because, you know, feminism, and its wacky obsession with rape.
Then Harlan went on to suggest that rape was no laughing matter – especially when it comes to rape that doesn’t happen:
Whatever it was intended to be, ultimately it is indefensible, because trivializing the word “rape” is no laughing matter, whether it’s a joke about the rape of male prisoners, or the fantasy “rape” of women, or a false rape claim intended to get a guy in, or a woman out of, trouble.
Well, that was quick. Let’s not talk about the trivialization of real rape. Let’s talk about the epidemic of “false rape accusations” that Harlan has convinced himself is the real problem here.
With nary a pause, Harlan moved on to complain about hypothetical feminists making a big deal out of this survey instead of joining him on his crusade:
There most certainly will be an outcry in the feminist blogosphere over this isolated incident
This what incident?
and it will be cited as proof positive to support the myth that ours is a “rape culture.”
Yeah, I wonder why casual jokes about rape would possibly be considered as part of “rape culture.”
A “rape culture,” of course, not only would tolerate but would condone such a puerile survey. Our society does neither. The only “rape” jokes our society condones concerns prison rape — and that’s because society actually encourages prison rape as a sort of “added bonus” punishment for any hapless male who lands in prison. It is ironic that actual prison rape does not garner the outrage that this this sick fratboy humor is generating. Go figure.
This from a guy who doesn’t seem to have ever even bothered to mention the leading anti-prison rape organization, Just Detention, on his web site. (See here for more on the issue on Man Boobz.) Though he does offer three links on his main page to information about the statute of limitation for rape charges, in case anyone reading is worried about
getting caught being falsely accused for something they did didn’t do a long time ago.
Meanwhile,rape jokes — and not just prison rape jokes — are everywhere. Harlan, I assume you are at least somewhat familiar with a little site called Reddit, where people not only laugh at rape jokes – they laugh at actual rape!
Meanwhile, in the comments on Harlan’s article, some False Rape Society readers don’t even bother to pretend that the “rape survey” bothers them. According to the commenter called “bad,”
We should be celebrating young men who stand up against misandry. We should be celebrating the frat that said “no means yes” and we should be celebrating the frat that created this survey, if it’s a real story.
An anonymous commenter takes it a step further:
I do not condemn this action,
in fact, I wish I’d thought of it.
It is a brilliant and very appropriate response to the way young men are being treated by college campuses.
When the answer to “who would you like to treat like a rapist” is “all college men”, I think that asking them who they’d like to rape is more than fair.
But it is Harlan’s response to these comments that is the most revealing:
By the way, I read the reaction of Bad and others as a natural backlash … against the unconscionable PC culture of misandry on campus. I happen to disagree with those who suggest this was acceptable, but their remarks should not be construed as evidence that we live in a “rape culture.” Like Steve, I read their comments more as an affirmation that we live in a false rape culture–a culture that more and more men are finding intolerable.
I, on the other hand, doubt that these young men have the first clue about misandry, feminism, or how colleges run roughshod over the rights of young men. I am always amazed when we hear from falsely accused people who “had not idea this goes on.” My guess is they were just being being “funny.” I would, frankly, love to find out I am wrong, and that not only would they never call for a woman to be actually raped, but that this was a protest against the pendulum swinging too far. In that case, I am still not sure I could find it acceptable but it would initiate an entirely different dialogue.
So the survey is “indefensible,” yet a totally understandable reaction to, and protest against, an “unconscionable PC culture of misandry.”
EDITED TO ADD: Harlan has written a response, of sorts, to this post. It is a bit — what’s the word I’m looking for here? – zany.
As I’ve pointed out before, the vast majority of Men’s Rights Activists aren’t really activists at all, if by “activists” you mean people who occasionally get off their asses and try to engage in political activity in the real world. As I put in in my piece for the Good Men Project on misogyny in the Men’s Rights movement,
Men’s rights activists aren’t much like any other activists I’ve ever run across. For one thing, for supposed activists they are almost completely inactive. Sure, they complain endlessly about things they see as terrible injustices against men. They just don’t do anything about them. While some of those who consider themselves fathers’ rights activists—a slightly different breed from your garden-variety MRAs—try to influence laws and legislatures, MRAs do little more than cultivate their resentments.
MRAs seem to be good at one thing, and one thing only: posting angry comments on websites, whether their own or on those of their many enemies – whether that’s on blogs like this one or in the comments section on various mainstream media sites they consider “misandrist.” (Actually: that’s not entirely fair – on a few occasions, MRAs have been moved to make threatening phone calls as well.) They don’t raise money for anything but their own web sites and their pet projects. They don’t organize demonstrations that involve more than a tiny handful of people. Like, for example, this one, involving one dude dressed like Batman who climbed up onto a highway sign:
Or this one, which involved a dude dressed up as Batman and a dude dressed up as Robin, climbing up on a bridge.
If your protests typically involve fewer people than, say, the line of people waiting to use the Redbox video rental kiosk outside your local supermarket on a Friday night, I think it’s safe to say that yours is not a mass movement, at least not yet.
Am I being unfair in demanding MRAs actually, literally,get off their asses before I consider them to be activists? Perhaps.
But, as it turns out, MRAs aren’t much good at sitting-on-your-ass activism either. Case in point: For quite some time – weeks? months? — MRA elder Paul Elam has been urging readers of his blog A Voice For Men to sign a petition to disbar a District Attorney he and other MRAs have decided is corrupt. But despite his repeated pleas to his readers to sign the thing, it has not yet garnered the required 1000 signatures, even though at least a few of his readers have talked about signing it more than once. [Edited to add: it has now gotten more than 1000 signaturesd.]
Today, this particular example of internet inactivism prompted Elam to lash out at his non-signing readers. Declaring himself “tired and frustrated” and “sick of this shit,” he once again begged his readers to sign. Then he went a step further, suggesting that he might limit commenting on his site to “activists that are contributing to this site in one way or another” as a way of encouraging activism and discouraging those who are “sucking up air and doing little else.”
I don’t think further exhortation on his part – or limiting the comments there to “real” activists only – is likely to make much difference. [Edited to add: Nagging a few more people to spend two minutes signing an online petition is one thing. Actually transforming them into real activists is another.] Elam is running up against the inherent paradox of Men’s Rights “activism” – the fact that most of those complaining the most about alleged injustices against men are not in fact interested in changing anything. Their “activism,” as it were, is little more than an excuse to wallow in their own bitterness, and to blame others for their own problems.
If MRAs really cared about domestic violence against men – as opposed to using the issue as a rhetorical weapon against feminists – they would be raising money and devoting their time to actually building shelters, like the (mostly) women who built the first shelters decades ago, and the (mostly) women who keep these shelters going today. If MRAs were really interested in stopping prison rape, instead of simply complaining about it, they’d be donating money to or working with the advocacy group Just Detention or other groups concerned about the treatment of prisoners. If they were really interested in helping those falsely accused of rape or other crimes, they’d be working with The Innocence Project or some other group fighting for the falsely accused or convicted. Or they would be starting real organizations of their own.
But that’s not, at heart, what the MRM is about. For all but a tiny handful of real activists, it’s not about changing the world. It’s about creating a space where men can kvetch and blame and cultivate their own sense of martyrdom. Actually trying to change the real world would involve , well, going out into the real world, a place where their assertions about the alleged oppression of men are seen as the nonsense they are, a place where their bitterness and hatred of women is seen as bitterness and hatred rather than the righteous anger they like to imagine that it is.
When MRAs do venture out of their self-created bubble they tend to either make fools of themselves – like Batman on the highway sign in the video above – or to reveal themselves to be the angry fanatics they are. Elam, for his part, sometimes even has trouble making his case in the relatively sympathetic environment of the Men’s Rights subreddit on Reddit, and is quickly reduced to sputtering rage when anyone disagrees with him. In the end, sputtering rage seems to be what the MRM is really all about.
|From Stop Prisoner Rape (now Just Detention)|
Rape in US prisons, jails and other detention facilities is a serious problem, and a disgrace to our country.
Men’s Rights Activists often complain, quite justifiably, about prison rape jokes. Typically, they attribute the double standard towards prison rape jokes as an indication that, as one MRA put it in a recent discussion, “nobody gives a shit about men.” As I’ve pointed out, this explanation doesn’t take us very far, given that women are also raped in prison, and that people make jokes about that too. (Indeed, there is an entire genre of “women in prison” exploitation films that sexualizes this abuse.)
More to the point, most MRAs don’t seem terribly interested in actually attempting to do much about prison rape beyond complaining about obnoxious rape jokes or making rhetorical points about the “disposability” of men. (See below for the few examples of MR blogs I could find that have addressed the issue as more than a bullet point in a laundry list of complaints; I’ve found much more serious discussion of prison rape on feminist blogs.) Anyone who is interested in doing something about it should consider getting in touch with Just Detention, a human rights advocacy group working to stop sexual abuse in detention facilities.
Some basic information about prison rape. I’ve bolded the crucial information.
Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails Reported by Inmates, 2008-09, by Allen J. Beck, Ph.D., Paige M. Harrison
An estimated 4.4% of prison inmates and 3.1% of jail inmates reported experiencing one or more incidents of sexual victimization by another inmate or facility staff in the past 12 months or since admission to the facility, if less than 12 months. Nationwide, these percentages suggest that approximately 88,500 adults held in prisons and jails at the time of the survey had been sexually victimized.
Female inmates in prison (4.7%) or jail (3.1%) were more than twice as likely as male inmates in prison (1.9%) or jail (1.3%) to report experiencing inmate-on-inmate sexual victimization. … Most victims of staff sexual misconduct were males; most perpetrators were females.
Note: Men make up the overwhelming majority of rape victims in prison — 90 percent — largely because the overwhelming majority of inmates are male. While the number of men raped in prison is appalling, I would like to clear up one Men’s Rights Myth: that the number of men raped inside prison is greater than the number of women raped outside of prison. This is simply false; the numbers aren’t even close: again, while the estimate of the total number of people (male and female) currently being held in prison who have been raped there in the past year is 88,500, estimates of the total number of those raped per year (outside of prison) range from about 200,000 to more than a million (the real number is probably closer to the latter); estimates suggest that anywhere from 86% to 94% of rape victims are female, and that males may make up to 99% of the perpetrators. See here (doc format) for a look at various estimates, and here (pdf) for more details from a large scale survey. As is the case with rapes in general, the vast majority of prison rapes go unreported.
EDITED TO ADD: The information in the previous paragraph is outdated. The Department of Justice has revised upwards its estimate of the number of prisoners (male and female) who are sexually assaulted each year to 216,000. Which means that considerably more men are raped per year than previously thought. There is still no clean and direct way to directly compare rapes of men and women, in prison and out, because the various studies out there use different methodologies and different definitions of sexual assault. Stephanie Zvan drills into the numbers in great detail here; anyone seriously interested in this issue should read her post carefully.
Information from Just Detention:
Sexual abuse behind bars is a widespread human rights crisis in prisons and jails across the US. Aaccording to the best available research, 20 percent of inmates in men’s prisons are sexually abused at some point during their incarceration. The rate for women’s facilities varies dramatically from one prison to another, with one in four inmates being victimized at the worst institutions.
In a 2007 survey of prisoners across the country, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) found that 4.5 percent (or 60,500) of the more than 1.3 million inmates held in federal and state prisons had been sexually abused in the previous year alone. A BJS survey in county jails was just as troubling; nearly 25,000 jail detainees reported having been sexually abused in the past six months.
Unfortunately, the data provided by the still represent only a fraction of the true number of detainees who are victimized, especially of those held in county jails. The number of admissions to local jails over the course of a year is approximately 17 times higher than the nation’s jail population … .
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer inmates are the chief target of sexual abuse in prison
Sexual abuse of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) inmates constitutes one of the most rampant and ignored human rights violations in the US today. In a 2007 academic study, funded by the California Department of Corrections and rehabilitation and conducted at six California men’s prisons, 67 percent of inmates who identified as LGBTQ reported having been sexually assaulted by another inmate during their incarceration, a rate that was 15 times higher than for the inmate population overall.
Sexual Abuse and STDs:
Sexual violence in detention spreads disease. Prisoner rape victims are highly vulnerable to contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. … In 2004, the HIV prevalence rate inside US prisons was more than four times higher than in society overall. Hepatitis C rates are 8 to 20 times higher in prisons than on the outside … The rates of infection for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are likewise significantly higher among inmates than in the population at-large.
Human Rights Watch Report: No Escape, Human Rights Watch, 2001.
Prison Rape: A Critical Review of the Literature, National Institute of Justice, 2004.
Cindy Struckman-Johnson and David Struckman-Johnson, Comparison of Sexual Coercion Experiences Reported by Men and Women in Prison, 21 Journal of Interpersonal Violence 1591 (2006)
Cathy Young: Assault Behind Bars
Interesting discussion of prison rape jokes on Reddit.
Some useful blog posts about prison rape, and prison rape jokes:
The Curvature: Prison rape and complacency
Ms Magazine blog: Prison rape: Can it be stopped?
Equal Writes: Rape in prison is still rape
Alas, a blog: Ezra Klein on Prison Rape
Feminist Critics: Discussion of the Alas, a blog post linked above
Alas, a blog: More on prison rape
Alas, a blog: Blog post round-up: Prison rape (Extensive list of links)
Reason Hit and Run: Mocking prison rape for fun and profit
Men’s Rights blogs on prison rape:
Human Stupidity: Stop Prison Rape! Legalize Corporal Punishment (Whipping)
Female Offenders: Prison Rape Report
Toy Soldiers: Cost of Prison Rape
Menstuff: Prison Rape
Mens-rights.net: Prison Rape: the challenge of prevention and enforcement (Note that this cut-and-pasted post is illustrated by an animated gif of a pair of boots with the caption: “These boots were made for kicking feminists in the cunt.”)
Looking back through older posts on the OneY subreddit on Reddit, a relatively new and very promising subreddit devoted to men’s issues, I ran across a surprisingly civil and illuminating discussion of prison rape jokes. “Scarletbanner” opened the discussion by asking why there is a double standard with regard to these jokes:
As someone [who's] majoring in Criminal Justice, I hear comments when the topic of women being raped that it’s “fucked up shit”, yet when the subject turns to prison rape, it’s a massive joke… from derogatory comments regarding sexual preference to “don’t drop the soap”. Between 43,000-140,000+ are raped each year ffs, with men (especially homosexuals) as the largest targeted group…
The typical Men’s Rights take on this is that there’s a double standard “because nobody gives a shit about men,” as EddieVanHelsing put it in a comment there. This explanation doesn’t take us very far, given that women are also raped in prison, and that people make jokes about that too.
Others in the discussion offered more incisive takes on the issue. puffinmuffin pointed out that
the problem is NO ONE CARES about people in jail. No one gives a shit about prisoner’s rights. It really isn’t an issue about raping, it’s an issue about the fucked up system that no one cares enough to fix. Conditions in a lot of jails are downright abhorrent. Unsanitary environments, abuse, horrid bureaucracy … But no one cares. They think, “Oh, well, they’re criminals so they deserve whatever.”
Archythearchivist, a self-described “XX, card carrying, baby eatin’ feminist” suggested that the double standard
is perhaps more indicative of the way that masculinity is viewed. Male rape is funny (to some) because it subverts common narratives of male virility and roles. It’s a “joke” where the main idea is that the world is a certain way, and only certain less masculine men would be raped. … It bases itself on a world that supposedly does not exist, at least not for “real” men. … These jokes should be considered as tasteless and hateful as any other rape joke.
But perhaps the most thoughtful comment came from AlphaCygni, who noted that there had recently been a post on Reddit
from a guy who had been sexually abused in a juvenile detention facility. Apparently there was systematic abuse and rape of young boys within this facility. What struck me the most about the [discussion of this on Reddit] was the number of individuals asking the victim why he didn’t just bite the dicks of his attackers. It was a situation so far out of their mindset, they couldn’t imagine how a person can be made to feel so powerless and scared that their primary focus is on staying alive rather than avoiding emasculation. Rape as a real possibility is something that just never seriously occurs to most men and, since they never think about, they can’t place themselves in the victim’s shoes. …
All that being said, I do know some women who joke about rape. I know a rape victim who makes rape jokes. I know other rape victims who can’t stand them. I think if more people could experience what it’s like to be the object of unwanted, intense, sexual attraction by someone who is more powerful than you, there would be less rape jokes overall except by those who enjoy gallows humor. I think that if more men were allowed to openly share their rape experiences and men were to listen to these poor individuals and try to put themselves in their shoes instead of asking how they could allow such a thing to happen, or discounting their masculinity, prison rape jokes wouldn’t be seen widely as funny.
The whole comment is worth reading; this is only an excerpt.
Prison rape is a disgrace, and jokes about it don’t help. Because most of those in prison are male, it primarily affects men. But women in prison are more than twice as likely to be raped or abused by other inmates than men. And, as Scarletbanner alluded to in the comment that started off the discussion, gays (and transsexuals) face a much higher risk of rape in prison.
I’m preparing a “further reading” post on prison rape, but in the meantime if you’re looking for more information on the subject, I suggest you start with the fact sheets on the web site of Just Detention International, a human rights advocacy group working to stop sexual abuse in detention facilities worldwide; the pictures I used to illustrate this post come from a media campaign by the group.