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Marcus_N comments on An Exploration of Sexual Violence Reduction for Effective Altruism Potential - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Marcus_N 21 November 2017 03:39:14AM *  -1 points [-]

Nearly everyone studying sexual assault in academia, regardless of their purported field, are feminists, are heavily influenced by feminist ideas, or are heavily citing researchers who are feminists or influenced by feminist ideas. Specifically, a focus on "gender-based violence" or "violence against women" is nearly always associated with acceptance of feminist ideology about a high rate of female victimization and male perpetration, and beliefs about "patriarchy" and male dominance or control.

The notion that Mary Koss and Catharine MacKinnon's positions are nothing to do with feminism is untenable. MacKinnon is considered to be one of the most famous and influential feminists of all time, for creating sexual harassment law and driving anti-porn ordinances.

As for Koss, I've found a history of her ideas and work.

BEFORE 1985, when Koss published the initial findings from her survey, there was a general consensus among scholars that the best way to measure rape was to ask about it directly, like any other illegal act: Have you ever been raped? But outside the ivory tower, feminists had begun to argue that rape was not analogous to a crime like, say, robbery; it was a crime of power, used by men to keep women in a state of fear. In her 1975 book, Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape, the journalist Susan Brownmiller argued that women tended to blame themselves for instigating rape—and as a result, they often did not conceptualize what had happened to them as a crime...

Koss had read Brownmiller's book, and as she was constructing the survey, she realized that women might be reluctant to label their unwanted sexual experiences as rape. So instead of straightforward questions about whether women had been raped, Koss developed a series of behavioral queries about specific acts, such as: "Have you been forced to have sex without saying yes?"

So, Koss reads Brownmiller's Against Our Will (a one-sided portrayal of female victimization), which leads her to believe that there is a hidden epidemic of rape. Then she comes up with a new methodology—different from the accepted methodology of her field at the time—and "discovers" a much higher rate of rate. She then works with Gloria Steinem (another of the most famous feminist activists of all time) who helps her seek funding. Koss is a feminist through and through, and her ideas about rape came from feminism (via Brownmiller) prior to her doing research.

Next, Koss' research greatly influences other fields, and is heavily cited. Her methodology comes to look like normal social science, because typical social science is so heavy on badly designed self-report studies. Then they fuel badly-design public policy and laws which are applied top-down.

As for top-down application, you can look at university sexual assault policy and kangaroo courts, and sexual assault policies in the workplace. These are all top-down and involve ridiculous overbroad definitions and miscarriages of justice. For an excellent example, look at the Orwellian persecution of Laura Kipnis where she was accused of sexual harassment for criticizing college harassment policy.

People in the professions or academia are subject to an intellectual monoculture about rape, sexual harassment, and sexual assault—at least for what can be expressed in public. I believe that this leads to a false consensus emerging, where people are biased towards feminist views of those subjects, and any other views are persecuted, leading to the perception that any other views cannot be valid and must be held by horrible people.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 21 November 2017 07:13:31AM *  2 points [-]

Nearly everyone studying sexual assault in academia, regardless of their purported field, are feminists, are heavily influenced by feminist ideas, or are heavily citing researchers who are feminists or influenced by feminist ideas.

Specifically, a focus on "gender-based violence" or "violence against women" is nearly always associated with acceptance of feminist ideology about a high rate of female victimization and male perpetration,

But that doesn't say anything about their research methodology. That just says they are pro-feminist. I thought you were here to say that the methodology itself was problematic, right? Or is it true that you just object to the mere fact that the research doesn't come to the conclusions that you want it to?

and beliefs about "patriarchy" and male dominance or control.

Could you point out where in Lisak and Miller's study they do this? I must have missed that part.

The notion that Mary Koss and Catharine MacKinnon's positions are nothing to do with feminism is untenable. MacKinnon is considered to be one of the most famous and influential feminists of all time, for creating sexual harassment law and driving anti-porn ordinances.

So, Koss reads Brownmiller's Against Our Will (a one-sided portrayal of female victimization), which leads her to believe that there is a hidden epidemic of rape. Then she comes up with a new methodology—different from the accepted methodology of her field at the time—and "discovers" a much higher rate of rate.

Seems pretty straightforward to me. The reason this stuff is widely accepted in academia is that it's obvious in retrospect. Victims are reluctant to label their own experiences as rape. Since being forced to have sex without saying yes is rape, and response rates differ, it is empirically proven.

People in the professions or academia are subject to an intellectual monoculture about rape, sexual harassment, and sexual assault—at least for what can be expressed in public

It's true that hardly anyone in the relevant areas of academia believe in right wing counternarratives about sexual violence, but it's false that there is a monoculture - there is plenty of variation among different approaches to gender studies and deep disagreement among different feminist theories.

I believe that this leads to a false consensus emerging, where people are biased towards feminist views of those subjects, and any other views are persecuted, leading to the perception that any other views cannot be valid and must be held by horrible people.

Oh no! What could give them the impression that other views are held by horrible people? Is it the fact that they engage in rape apologia and weasel their way around having to admit that forcibly penetrating someone who doesn't want to have sex is in fact rape? No, surely it can't be that.