Friday, November 7, 2014

Facts over "interpretations" under attack in complaints about military sexual assault survey

A week ago there was a report that U.S. service members were “shocked” over some of the questions in the “comprehensive” sexual assault survey demanded by the media, politicians and advocacy groups. Although the quest for information is being driven by gender activists, the original survey suggested that half the real and self-described victims were male. The Rand Corporation was commissioned by the Defense Department to compile the questions for the new survey, and it seems to be too “specific” for some—especially by gender victim activists who rely on extremely vague definitions subject to “interpretation”  to inflate sexual assault numbers.'

Some service members apparently complained that the questions were “intrusive” and “invasive.” While the survey includes “innocuous” questions about sexual “jokes,” “sexual gestures or sexual body movements,” invitations to “sexually suggestive pictures and videos” and requests to “establish an unwanted romantic or sexual relationship,” according to the Associated Press it followed up with questions like “Before 9/18/201, had anyone made you insert an object or body part into someone’s mouth, vagina or anus when you did not want to and did not consent?”

We can see that there are considerable differences between what the questions are asking, and how “sexual harassment” has become more about gender politics than actual illumination; all too often, accusations of sexual infractions can be the result of simple vindictiveness, self-pity—or in the case of the military, a response stemming from dislike of the requirements of military duty (in no way an uncommon occurrence). 

For example, a “request” for an “unwanted romantic or sexual relationship” can in fact have been an invitation for a simple “date,” but depends largely on how a woman chooses to interpret it; a male’s intentions or “seriousness” may be entirely or deliberately misinterpreted. A proper follow-up question would be if the person who made the “request” continued to other the “victim” after the first rejection. One should also take into account that some women want to impress a certain kind of male (say, a minority female trying to snag a white male), but instead their behavior attracts the attention of less “preferable” suitors—and thus they are easily “offended.” Others have “victim complexes” with ideas of the opposite sex in which almost any action can be seen as negatively affecting them.'

However, people who “interpret” the data for such studies may have a political agenda and “interpret” it as it applies to their own personal preference, rather than reality. Furthermore, to ask someone more specific questions about what actually took place during a sexual encounter may have the opposite effect of what gender activists would like to see. It is too easy to claim a “sexual harassment” and sexual assault “epidemic” when wording is vague and easily subject to third-party “interpretation.” The more specific questions might potentially reduce the de facto incidents of sexual assault and rape than has been claimed, because they are less subject to “interpretation”—and cannot be “conjectured” and “assumed.”

This is what opponents of the survey, like Jill Loftus of the Navy’s sexual assault prevention program, are afraid of. They say that more specific questions “re-victimize” the victims of sexual assault, for self-serving reasons. Yet it would only do so if the person making the charge is afraid of admitting to a false or exaggerated claim, or have difficulty in creating a believable scenario or context in which they claim to have suffered sexual harassment. 

The survey questions may, of course, embarrass some test-takers who are angry that they even have to take such a survey—as if it is “insinuating” something too personal. However, those who are victims of a horrible crime should presumably want people to know what exactly happened to them—especially if they had previously not reported it. Too often the media has sensationalized from anecdotal evidence that is usually not specific in detail or context, but the public is to presume the “worst.” The truth is what we are owed—not claims of “epidemics” that may be exaggerated to advance a gender victim agenda.

Of course, the results will likely be “cherry-picked” even if they are “comprehensive”; after all, the media and gender victim advocates ignored the parts of the 2011 CDC survey on intimate partner violence which they didn’t like—such as the suggestion that not only was there nearly as many men as women who claimed to be the victim of domestic violence, but men are now increasingly more often the victims.

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