Dickwolves ‘Kerfuffle’

Trigger Warning, Trigger Warning, Trigger Warning: May trigger people who find taking the piss out of trigger warnings offensive.
Trigger Warning, Trigger Warning: Contains trigger warnings that may trigger people who find trigger warnings ludicrous.
Trigger Warning: Opinions you may not agree with, discussion of storms in teacups, extreme sarcasm.

Full Disclosure:I am a caucasion, ‘cisgendered’ male and, therefore, many people will discount absolutely anything I say even before I say it on account of alleged priviledge that I have simply by being born with a melanin deficiency and a length of floppy meat between my legs. Fuck those people who, ironically, often witter on and on about prejudice themselves.

Original Cartoon
Here’s the original cartoon as it appeared in Penny Arcade. Is it offensive? No, not really. Is it even about rape? No, not really. Is it excusing or encouraging rape? No. So what’s set anyone off? Apparently just the use of the word ‘rape’.

In panel one we have the set-up:
A noncholant hero who has just completed his quest is striding off to go and collect his reward. As he does so he is called out to by one of the slaves remaining in the mine who would also quite like to be rescued.

In panel two:
The poor slave attempts to elicit sympathy from the hero by describing the terrible hardships that he undergoes. He is beaten and, yes, raped. This is presented as a ‘bad thing’. This is to emphasise the fact that this guy needs rescuing. It is not – in any way – presented as something excusable or good. The infamous dickwolves are also mentioned here – after all what else would you use to rape slaves? The joke there is, in part, the stupidity of many fantasy creatures which don’t have a great deal of thought put into them and are inherently nonsensical. A dickwolf is extra funny because it’s a nob gag but essentially the flumph is the same thing.

In panel three:
The hero, not being a hero at all but rather an MMO player, disdains the pleas of the slave since he’s already ‘completed’ his quest. His motivation – as an MMO player – is loot and experience points and the slave can figuratively and literally get fucked.

So. What’s the joke?:
The joke is the disconnect between heroic behaviour and the nature of quests, levelling etc in these games. The plight of the slave is meaningless in that game context. There’s no emotional connection, the story doesn’t matter, the player probably hasn’t even read the quest text. That’s the gag, that in an MMO you’re called a hero, but you’re not. A hero would try to rescue everyone. A hero would care about the poor rape victim.

If it’s saying anything at all about rape it is that it’s callous, unacceptable and wrong that these concerns don’t ave any impact on the actions of the ‘hero’.

Follow-Up Cartoon
So, the guys at Penny Arcade put that cartoon out and for some reason, some bizarre alignment of the planets, some strange confluence of events, they get some strident, demanding and outraged e-mails about it. Histrionic, overblown, hyperbolic e-mails accusing them of all sorts of things, many of which are flat out, on their face ridiculous. That they’re somehow condoning or excusing rape, tacitly approving of it by making jokes that include references to it. This isn’t the first time they’ve made jokes about it, or even more ‘unacceptable’ things. They have the ‘fruit fucker’ for example, a little juicing device that literally rapes fruit. Why the relatively inoccuous dickwolf would attract so much ire is inexplicable.

Anyway, I’ve been on the recieving end of such nonsense myself from people so I sympathise with the guys very much on this score. I am 100% certain that they’re not in favour of rape, wouldn’t seek to excuse it, don’t accept it and think it’s a bad thing. That anyone would even suggest that they would is both utterly fucking ridiculous and deeply insulting. Here they reply to that hysterical stupidity in good form – with ridicule. After all, as Jefferson said:

“Ridicule is the only weapon that may be used against unintelligable propositions.”

However, this got leapt on again by the same sort of mob using the kind of dismissive nonsense that I’ll talk about in a little bit. They branded it a strawman argument but without knowing what other people were saying to the PA guys that strikes me as a little bit pre-emptive. I guarantee you that some people were saying such ludicrous things as I’ve been on the recieving end myself over some of my materials. Never understimate people’s capacity for stupidity or taking offence to a whole new level.

“Srsly, we think rape is bad.” Would have been a shorter way of saying exactly the same thing, but not half as amusing. Sometimes all you can return to such overblown ‘criticism’ is withering sarcasm because, honestly, that’s all it deserves.

Dickwolves Shirt
One thing that people need to learn, and please take this to heart, the more fuss you make about something the more attention it gets. Especially given the nature of the internet. Rumour flies fast, controversy flies even faster and people making a fuss about – essentially nothing – is a freakshow that attracts a hell of a lot of attention. The controversy – such as it was – made the original cartoons hugely popular and so little wonder that some merchandising came up around it. Plus of course, the bonus points of being a ‘fuck you’ to humourless asshats. Was that the main thrust of the point? I doubt it. ‘Dickwolves’ are just funny (nob gag, remember?) and coupling the stupidity of a Dickwolf monster with the stupid mascots of many sports teams is just a no-brainer really… WOLVERINES! Of course, this just agitated people all the more but… I refer you back to the start of this paragraph.

In fact, the only misstep I think PA have made in this whole affair is in taking down the Dickwolf material at all. It’s shown weakness, put blood in the water and increased the boldness of people who should know better to try and censor with social pressure. It has sweet fuck all to do with rape and in removing it all they did was give credence to those ridiculous and insulting assumptions. Let’s not forget that the dickwolf is fictional, as was the slave, as was the imaginary version of Warcraft in which the whole imaginary event took place.

How this should have played out:
This should have just gone:
“I don’t find that funny.”
“You don’t have to. If you don’t like it, don’t read it.”

Internet Tribalism
I think part of the problem here is down to internet tribalism, which is something I’ve banged on about before, the nature of internet tribalism. It takes a lot of effort to expose yourself to other points of view and it’s all too easy to shut them off, block them, cut them out so that you’re not challenged and don’t have to be exposed to alternate viewpoints. It’s all too easy to surround yourself only with people who agree with you and, unfortunately, that means you end up with a positive feedback loop where everyone within the clique trends towards the most extreme point of view. This is the same psychology and situation that leads to religious extremism.

Feminist Culture
One example of this is a whole raft of peculiar terminology that the ‘prosecution’ in this case has been using. ‘Rape culture’, ‘cisgender’, ‘privilige’, ‘trigger words’ and a bunch of other stuff which either only has meaning within these closed, insular communities or which have different meanings outside that culture than they do inside. Despite this fact there seems to be a strange expectation that all this terminology should be known and respected outside that micro-culture. Unsurprisingly that’s not the case. Insulation from the real world can create expectations that don’t match up with reality and an encounter with something that doesn’t play into that clique’s abnormal expectations can seem like a slap in the face, even when it’s anything but.

Geek Culture
On the flipside of this within geek culture there are different terminologies and norms as well as an instinctual loathing for censorship and a siege mentality given how geek culture and gaming culture has been ludicrously attacked in the past. Some remember the ‘Dungeons and Dragons is satanic’ nonsense of the 1980s, others remember the nonsense of Jack Thompson trying to start frivolous lawsuits against various game companies, censorship of games in various countries and how public pressure and campaigns, based on nothing, have caused problems getting certain games sold. Remember games being called murder simulators? When people start accusing games, nonsensically, of perpetuating misogyny or excusing rape it’s a ‘trigger’ if you will, to a whole community of ‘here we go again’.

Consider also that ‘rape’, like ‘gay’, has a bit of a different and less charged meaning in these contexts. People might disapprove but just because someone uses the word ‘gay’ to mean ‘bad’ or the word ‘rape’ to mean something bad has happened to them (which rape is y’know, it’s bad) doesn’t mean that they’re belittling rape or that they hate gay people, they’re not using the words in that way. In the case of ‘rape’ for something bad it’s hardly the only example of using exaggeration, ‘This assignment is killing me’ doesn’t mean the assignment is literally killing someone and doesn’t lessen the impact of murder or excuse it and this is the same.

Confirmation of Stereotypes

Part of the problem here is that behaviour on both ‘sides’ is only confirming stereotypes. With an apparently unnuanced view of geek culture on some parts, the actions of the troll legions are being seen as support for PA rather than what they actually are, which is people who sense an easy mark that can be wound up. The sad part is that the victims of this trolling don’t seem to understand that the more drama they create, the more trolls they’re going to attract and the worse it’s going to get. The trolls are confirming the existing stereotypes of geek culture by playing up to it, they’re not representative and odds are that, while somewhat sociopathic, they don’t actually hold the views that they’re pretending to. They’re just confirming Gabriel’s Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory.

On the flipside, the people complaining – essentially just about the use of the word rape – are confirming every stereotype of the humourless feminist and, in so doing, are alienating a group and a site that, if anything, are very much on the side of women in gaming. They’ve made fun of the ridiculousness of female costumes in games, they’ve included cool female characters – consider Anne-Claire in Rainslick Precipice and they want to create inclusive events where everyone’s treated the same. That means no special considerations. That means being treated as ‘of the boys’. It means everyone is the same. It doesn’t mean everyone with an axe to grind or something that freaks them out gets to dictate terms to everyone else.

Nature of Comedy
Comedy is, often by nature, shocking and offensive in some way. That’s a big part of what makes it funny. It can also disarm and make approachable topics we otherwise wouldn’t broach. Consider ‘Paedogeddon’ on The Day Today as another example of a wickedly observant comedic piece that caused a huge fuss and a sense of humour failure with similar irony surrounding it. Nothing is off-limits to comedy, cancer, rape, death, bestiality, paedophilia, you name it. Some of the greatest comedians ever are those who have challenged people’s sense of propriety. Bill Hicks, Dennis Leary, Frankie Boyle, George Carlin. I’m not saying PA is a work of sublime genius – though sometimes it can be really good – just that comedy, inherently, has no respect for anything and that’s a huge part of the point. If you have a sense of humour failure you’re just destined to end up the butt of the joke.

Is the original comic offensive? Only if you choose it to be. What about the follow-up? Only if you were making those kind of ridiculous assertions that they’re responding to. Is the dickwolf shirt inherently offensive? Again, no, unless you take sports mascots too seriously.

If you have a ‘trigger’ it’s your responsibility to watch out for it much as it’s the responsibility of someone with a nut allergy to make sure they don’t eat anything that can hurt them. You can’t expect the whole universe to walk on eggshells just because something might upset you. Something will offend everyone. I can’t stand pumpkins, squash, courgettes or cucumbers but I don’t kick up a stink when they turn up in my salad and I don’t insist that nobody else have them. I recognise that this is my issue and nobody else’s. Yes that’s a trite comparison with rape but keep in mind nobody – nobody – is saying rape is a good thing, is excusable or anything else of that nature. It’s just foolish to presume or expect everyone else, all the time, to be aware of your particular issues and to conform their lives to your concerns.

You don’t have a right to not be offended.

‘Team Rape’
Some of these people are legitimately upset. It may be irrational, they may be reacting to nothing but this is an emotional issue for them. Calmly explaining that this had nothing to do with them, isn’t a crack against them, that you’re not condoning rape. If that doesn’t work then there isn’t much you can fo and it’s probably best to just ignore it from that point on or else it’s a one-way trip to crazytown. Speak out against the trolls if you don’t want them to gain all the attention and appear to represent gamers.

‘Team Breasts’
Yeah, guys are on side too, but this is the way it seems to have shaken down so far. If you’re serious about not liking what’s going on, let it go. Ask them to put the Dickwolves back up. Understand the culture you’re criticising and decide if you want to be considered equal or if you want to be patronised and wrapped in cotton wool. Understand that you’re coming across like Jack Thompson and if you want to object or criticise do it in a calmer fashion and make sense. It’s not that you’re not welcome at PAX but rather that you’ve made yourselves unwelcome by the way you have acted. You’re doing a hell of a lot more harm than good, especially when you dismiss queries or counterarguments as ‘derailing’, which is as lame as ‘it takes faith’ in an argument about religion. If you’ve got a legitimate beef then you don’t need hate campaigns or emotional blackmail to get it across.

Now go to your respective corners, get some fucking perspective, a sense of humour, then kiss and make up.

Damn kids…

When you’re done, maybe we can all gang up in THESE arseholes, who deserve a slap.

14 responses to “Dickwolves ‘Kerfuffle’

  1. Well said
    Its nice to see civil discourse is still alive out there. And you’re right, its time to discuss more important matters, like that Republican bill.

  2. As a former Penny Arcade fan, I can agree that the original comic ain’t THAT big a deal, but you aren’t being “civil” if you don’t consider that PA’s handling of this situation has been at least something less than perfect. You also aren’t being “civil” when you call PA’s opposition “crazy” and “stupid” at every opportunity. Taking the piss out of your critics, whether it’s deserved or not, somehow doesn’t seem as “funny” to me when your critics are a marginalized group that has been emotionally traumatized.
    “It takes a lot of effort to expose yourself to other points of view and it’s all too easy to shut them off, block them, cut them out so that you’re not challenged and don’t have to be exposed to alternate viewpoints.”
    I understand what you’re trying to say here, but the tone of your entire article flatly contradicts this message. Your logic in attributing the anti-PA group’s behavior to “Internet Tribalism” shows a profound lack of self-reflection, especially given that PA–and Mike in particular–has remained utterly closed-off to the viewpoints of their critics.
    “Consider also that ‘rape’, like ‘gay’, has a bit of a different and less charged meaning in these contexts.”
    This is just the kind of problematic behavior Penny Arcade’s detractors take issue with. Words mean things, and even though those meanings can be variable “geek culture” constantly using these extremely loaded words still hurts the people they’re supposed to target; it normalizes their use as derogatory expressions and it isn’t hard to interpret that as coming from a background of systemic prejudice.
    And, though Mike himself got this logic started and you’re far from the only person to employ it, it’s just ludicrous to compare Fruit Fucker “raping” fruit to the rape of an actual individual, fictional or otherwise. I’ll admit that this is a minor issue, but fruit cannot “literally” be raped because fruit is fucking inanimate and is thus incapable of providing or denying consent. This is such an absolutely broken comparison that it’s absurd, and it’s an incredibly powerful expression of your lack of understanding in this issue.

    • IMO their handling of it should have been to completely ignore it. I may not be being civil when I call the opposition those terms, but I am being accurate. Being a marginalised, traumatised group doesn’t render that group immune to being crazy, stupid, hypersensitive or arseholes of the first water themselves. The way they have acted is like a primary school bully who happens to be a girl, beating up kids for their lunch money and then screaming ‘you can’t hit girls!’ if someone goes to fight back.
      I attribute both groups problems here in part to internet tribalism. There’s ways in which groups close themselves off on the internet by censorsing out and isolating themselves and limiting themselves to only supportive POVs. This is more stark in the anti community because they’re smaller and less likely to encounter challenging POVs in the first place. Hence the culture shock.
      I don’t consider the redefinition or creation of words to be necessarily problematic. While I DO object to the deliberate manipulation of language to try and make a point or promote a particular POV these are organically emerged redefinitions which in the case of ‘gay’ have nothing really to do with the homosexual meaning and in the case of rape is actually much closer to its original meaning.
      While it might not be hard to interpret these things as coming from a background of systemic prejudice, that – to me – suggests heavy cognitive bias on the part of the person being offended.
      None of the participants are real, they’re all fictional. Comparison valid. That you can’t appreciate that everything involved here is fictional is a powerful expression of your lack of understanding of the difference between fiction and reality.

      • I won’t completely deny that a better course of action would have been to ignore–at least publicly–the initial wave of complaints. The original comic wasn’t too much worse than “not cool”. Every move they’ve made after that, though, has been pretty close to the absolute wrong one, and treating a bunch of insulted rape survivors like they were just another Jack Thompson trying to “take away their rights” was one of the first. But we disagree.
        I guess I understand more what you’re trying to say with your Internet Tribalism deal, it’s at least reasonable to attribute it to both “sides” in this issue. That said, the “anti community” IS smaller because they’re in opposition to a hegemonic force of majority. That they’re “less likely to encounter challenging POVs” just is not true. The people we’re talking about–feminists–are in the “clique” that they’re in exactly because they encounter challenging POVs all the fucking time.
        I and many other people believe you are wrong about the “redefinition” of words. But we disagree.
        Your statement regarding the cognitive bias involved in interpreting this kind of behavior as prejudiced isn’t an unreasonable one; that same cognitive bias may be what got this whole thing started in the first place. I’d wager, though, that a lot of the anger in the “anti community” is based on PA and their fans’ apparent inability and flat-out refusal to observe the reasoning behind that bias. If you recognize the bias of the other side exists but refuse to engage with it then there is no point in discussing it further.
        And that “fiction vs. reality” crap is such a miserably tired old argument that it should be put out to pasture. Again, maybe it would be a reasonable (but still totally callous) response to the naysayers to the original comic, but the scope of this thing has gone far, far beyond that. Fruit Fucker, the Sixth Slave, the Hero, and the Dickwolf are all obviously fictional and I don’t think any of the “opposition” has some cognitive disconnect preventing them from seeing that. The problem isn’t (necessarily) the comic–the problem is that Mike and Jerry have acted like a couple of real assholes.
        Because of this exchange, I’m beginning to see what Jerry meant about the two “sides” lacking a “common language”. It may just be that the pro-PA “side” uses a language so devoid of empathy that I find it almost impossible to respect. I realize that this is going nowhere and I’m not trying to troll you, so I apologize if I have wasted your time.

      • You’re more than welcome to continue discussion with me precisely because you’re not trolling and are presenting reasoned arguments. We simply disagree.
        The original comic was pretty cool, it brought up something stupid about MMO quest set ups and players and handled it very amusingly. They’ve handled feminist-friendly topics such as the ridiculous attributes/clothing of female characters in games in a similar way.
        The anti-community is smaller because the victims of such actions are a minority (despite some wild, unfounded claims that run to the contrary). The pro community is larger because geek culture has become mainstream culture but that doesn’t mean that geek culture doesn’t have its own hot-button issues, chief amongst those being censorship which the anti-lobby have hit hard. Geek culture also likes to think of itself as permissive and inclusive and being accused, unjustly, of supporting the very things that they hate and often work against is a deep, deep insult. Especially to PA who work hard through their charities etc to counter these sorts of accusations.
        I’m more of a TT gamer than a CGer, but I lived through the satanic panic of the 80s. Then it was mothers of suicidal teens wanting something to blame, then we move forward to Columbine and DOOM and later still to accusations surrounding Vampire. In geek culture this crying wolf and seeking something to blame is all too familiar and so it garners a robust defence and often that comes in the form of scathing sarcasm because there’s seemingly no logical, rational, reasonable or evidenced back up to these sorts of accusations.
        It’s impossible, thus far, to see ANY reasoning behind the reaction of the anti-party. I’d love to see something concrete behind it that I can get my argumentative teeth into but it also seems to be emotive and centring on shifting goalposts. Arguing with it is like trying to punch jelly.
        The anti-party has acted like arseholes and have caused a perfectly understandable ‘immune reaction’ from a community that, while large, has also been under siege. That’s the irony here, the victims have become victimisers.
        Please keep trying to get your point across, I’m sure we actually agree on a lot of points but you’re going to have to switch to plain English rather than using loaded terms like ‘rape culture’ or apologist etc.

  3. 1/2
    I must admit that while I always wince at the mention of rape in the context of a joke, I begrudgingly agree when people say that the comic’s central narrative was not a “rape joke”. I wasn’t offended when I read it the day they put it up (I didn’t find it funny either, but I’ve been losing interest in PA for years,) but I don’t doubt that Jerry and Mike still expected guffaws at the mention of a rape monster, even if that was not “the joke”. I fully understood the intended narrative of the strip from the moment I read it, and I suppose I’ll admit again that there are people in the “anti-PA” community who reacted in a way that people could easily misconstrue as their being “hypersensitive” or that they were somehow “trying” to be offended.
    But nobody tried to be offended; no matter how you choose to gauge their responses (and no doubt, as internet communication goes, there were some that expected unreasonable things from Penny Arcade,) they reacted the way they did based on an emotional response largely brought on by post-traumatic stress. Again, these people weren’t some awful Jack Thompson figure trying to bring Mike and Jerry to their knees, they were Penny Arcade readers (and probably fans) who were actually hurt by the content of the comic.
    I don’t know the exact text of the emails they received that or any other day, but none of the loudest public voices advocate censorship of the original strip or even of the shitty, conniving strip that followed (not even the blogger who runs fucknopennyarcade.) They just expect some decency, as they have all along, and while you and I both know there are extremists in both “camps”, I know that some amount of communication (not even an apology) would have kept this controversy below the boil it’s reached. But the PA boys have treated the “anti” crowd like another Jack Thompson, another American Greetings, another force against which to rally, and as a result they were utterly stonewalled by Jerry, shut off and mocked by Mike, and in extreme cases deeply, painfully harassed by Penny Arcade “loyalists”.
    Of course, I don’t mean to indict PA for the behavior of their fans, and neither does anyone else. As we know and have observed, people with the opposite viewpoint can be just as extreme. However, it’s plain old bizarre that they chose to keep their hands clean of the matter, knowing at least in part that this kind of abuse was going on, and hardly taking any steps to correct it. If they had maintained their ground on the initial matter but taken any action at all to publicly distance themselves from people like @teamrape, I’m sure that even then this issue wouldn’t be nearly as big as it is now. But they let it happen for months, with Mike even pitching in every now and again. It was only when Mike received his own, equally reprehensible harassment that they decided it was time for the controversy to “end”.
    The threatening message targeted at Mike was definitely awful and totally unacceptable. Still, the “opposing” camp has, from the beginning, received scores of messages of that kind and worse. I find it hard to ignore the fact that the “opposition” are a group that is marginalized by society at large, and that PA themselves are two rich, geek-powerful white dudes. But I suppose that’s neither here nor there.

    • 2/2
      I appreciate the consideration you have shown me, and I mean you no offense in presenting these opinions here, but this has never been an “attack” on geek culture. Many people (myself included) would argue that geek culture is not as inclusive or accepting as you think it is, but that’s beside the point. Though Penny Arcade themselves have almost always remained a positive force, they have carried themselves in a way that some feel is indicative of much broader negative attitudes than those held merely by geeks; regardless of whether anyone agrees or disagrees, they wanted to be shown some respect and were denied that. That closed-off, end-of-discussion attitude is why people accuse Penny Arcade of being participants in a culture that perpetuates harmful attitudes and assumptions about the acceptability of rape, whether they mean to or not. In any case, if you haven’t seen any logic in the counter-arguments that have been presented on blogs and in comments, then I don’t expect that I would be able to convince you. That logic has been obvious to me from the beginning, and I’m inclined to assume that we’ll simply continue to disagree.

      • Re: 2/2
        No offence taken, unlike people on the other post (the D&D Dickwolf stats) you’re actually engaging in debate and I’m always up for that.
        Could you explain the terms ‘rape culture’ and ‘rape apologist’ as they’ve been used by the anti crowd in the context of this debate because I’m sure that’s a big part of the harsh counter-reaction.
        I’m afraid that no, I haven’t seen any logic in the anti side’s arguments. ‘This hurt my feelings’ or ‘this offended me’ aren’t logical objections, they’re emotional objections and while it sucks for the person who was hurt or offended, unless it’s active hate speech, incitement to violence etc, I don’t see any actual issue with it. Being hurt or offended is a matter for the person who is hurt or offended save in those cases I’ve already outlined.
        I don’t buy into the idea that jokes about rape somehow condone rape or make it more acceptable any more than I think Paedogeddon excused or condoned paedophilia or Tom and Jerry condones or makes acceptable cruelty to animals.
        Humour often comes from the ‘shock’ of what it’s about.

    • Re: 1/2
      The ‘trying to be offended’ at least the impression I have gotten, comes later on after grievances have been addressed and yet things continue to be pressed on and people appear to be looking for other reasons to get upset. Emotion WILL trump reason, happens to the best of us, but after a time – usually – we calm down and come back to things with a more objective eye.
      Given the nature of the original joke you would have to try pretty hard to be offended by it and doing so, especially in such a strident and militant manner suggests an axe to grind. I’ve been on the receiving end of such stupidity myself in my work and that’s why I tend to empathise with the PA guys. I’ve seen the extreme nonsense that can come out when someone’s decided to be offended, even when it’s by something that actually would support them if they read it properly and appreciated subtext.
      Even the public voices aren’t that great, Shakesville et al have been extremely hostile since the get go and for reasons that are impenetrably mystifying to someone who isn’t part of their cliqueish subculture and expressed in terms that are outrageous such as ‘rape apologist’ and talk about perpetuating a ‘rape culture’.
      The anti crowd has made themselves into another Jack Thompson and only more so as time has gone on since they’ve been unwilling to climbdown on the rhetoric or explain themselves. IMO the way they’ve presented themselves they ARE a force to rally against and unlike hierarchical censorship, censorship stemming from social pressure and emotional blackmail is more insidious and dangerous in many ways.
      At least one of them did tweet against teamrape and some of the others, but you can’t expect them to take responsibility for a legion of trolls, many of whom simply smell blood in the water and a self-indentified group of people who are easy to wind up.

  4. Re: Rape culture
    Aha, found the data I was looking for.
    The British Crime Survey – which is an independent statistical source that has reason to be trusted, often conflicting with official statistics – has it at 3% experiencing some form of sexual assault and less than 1% – both genders – experiencing a serious sexual assault (rape).
    Then again, perhaps Americans are ‘extra-rapey’. I’m actually being vaguely serious there, American society is much more socially conservative and has a lot more macho/gang culture. Even so I’d be very surprised if the differences took it as high as 14%.

    • Re: Rape culture
      It’s not… or probably isn’t.
      When people cite the 1 in 6 stat, the study in which it is based off of takes into assumption that a vast majority of victims of sexual assault don’t report it.
      While this is likely true, the American media simply ran with the 1 in 6 number and gave no context to it. I’m not entirely sure what the critera of “non-reported” sexual assault was, but the end “result” was 1 in 6, and the media ate it up.
      If there’s one thing that American media is famous for it’s not letting the details get in the way of a ratings blockbuster story.

      • Re: Rape culture
        Oh, another thing that the 1 in 6 study did (that I personally find intentionally misleading) is that they tallied up all “statutory rape” cases as rape for their study.
        The problem there is that many of those cases are “rape” in name only; the women in those cases often gave their consent, but were deemed under age of majority and therefore could not legally do so, thus they were raped regardless of what they say.
        That’s not to say that rape isn’t a serious issue, and that there isn’t a culture that is dismissive of it (it is and there is), but that the numbers that are often thrown about were constructed to be sensationalist, and may not accurately reflect the true numbers.

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