Sexism & Sexual Abuse
Sexism & sexual abuse is pervasive in various forms & degrees, but it's not an escalating crisis
Looking beyond physical violence & emotional abuse, there seems little doubt that women suffer more from sexual assault or threats, which it's claimed are experienced by 1-in-5 Australian women over age 15, vs 1-in-20 men, but there is some indication of deliberate ABS gender bias in these surveys, which could, for example, exaggerate measures of "threats", which are strongly affected by the recipient's subjective perception and may include what might be better described as merely clumsy, unwanted advances (see further discussion below about exaggerating risks from surveys). AIHW's reporting of similar "sexual violence" statistics covers anything "of a sexual nature carried out against a person's will", including unwanted advances, being made to watch pornography and "having sex because you are afraid of what your partner might do" (apparently regardless of whether this fear is reasonably justified). In the UK, it's estimated as many as one in six men have been sexually abused or assaulted.
The wording of surveys can significantly affect results; for example, survey data from the US CDC shows that as many men as women have been subjected to "forced non-consensual sex" (rather than "rape") - with about 80% of perpetrators against men being female - and there's reason to believe sexual abuse by female perpetrators is under-reported. Here's a video of several women openly saying that if they want sex they won't accept "no" from the man. Also, although the majority of all rapes may be perpetrated by men, US CDC research suggests lesbians could be responsible for the highest rates (relative to the size of their population cohort - see the following text graphic) - especially in prisons.
Rape and sexual assault has declined massively in recent decades
In the USA, Bureau of Justice statistics show rape rates fell by more than a factor of 3.5 from about 2 per 1000 people (0.2%) over 1980-1990, to less than 0.05% by 2003, despite, or rather - the evidence indicates - because of the massive explosion in the availability and viewing of on-line pornography (e.g. half of UK adults watched porn in 2020, and even more so amongst younger people, with about a third of all porn users being women). Over the period this rapid change occurred - from 1995 to 2009 - U.S. "sexual assault" rates also fell 44%, with comparable improvements occurring after the liberalisation of porn in many other countries. Similarly (though less conclusively), some research has found substantial reductions in sex crime (13% in one week) in areas around new strip clubs & escort services. However, this is not to deny that porn can have negative influences on sexual behaviour, such as the disturbing rise in "choking". Generally though, academic "pornography research is contradictory, incomplete and often biased".
By 2010, reported US rape rates had fallen further to 27 per 100,000 (0.03%), which is still several times higher than many other countries, but this may be due to different definitions and/or a higher tendency to report cases in the US. US Bureau of Justice Statistics indicate 91% of rape victims are female (where rape is defined as forced penetration by the offender) and up to 66.1% of rapes go unreported (i.e. over 34% are reported). Including "sexual assaults", which may be less serious and less likely to be reported than rape, between 16% and 35% of sexual assaults may be reported in the US. In about half of rapes, both the victim and the perpetrator had been drinking, and such cases are much less likely to be reported. However, two US surveys from 1998 and 2007 give annual rape rates that are an order of magnitude higher, with corresponding lifetime rape prevalence of 15-20% and implied reporting rates of only about 10-20%. It's not clear whether this is due to a more liberal definition of rape. The former paper also claims that of those raped, 22% were under 12 and 32% were 12 to 17 years old when first raped. Other research claims 22% of American rapes of female victims are gang rapes. Such claimed rates, if true, would be horrific, but they need to be robustly scrutinised.
Reported rape rates also declined dramatically in Australia from about 0.1% of the population in 2003 to about 0.03% in 2010 (the same as the US), with 30% of sexual assaults being reported to the police. Assuming around 30-40% of rape cases are reported, this implies a roughly 2-3% chance of any woman being raped over a 30-40 year at-risk period of life (though with significant uncertainty), which is vastly lower than the 1-in-5 (20%) said to experience "sexual assault or threats" and therefore indicates a need to reconcile these data differences and determine the extent to which rape fears may be magnified by exaggerated measures from distorted survey techniques as described here (which notes a 1.4% lifetime rape rate found in a Spanish study, excluding that by a spouse). Given the prevalence of repeat offenders - with more than half of all alleged rapists having at least one prior conviction and a fifth having more than 5 convictions (but note other research suggests conviction reduces the chances of re-offending) - this suggests less than 1% of men ever commit rape (although it's impossible to accurately quantify this fraction).
The 2016 ABS Personal Safety Survey indicates a third of Australian women who experienced "sexual assault" did not report it as they did not consider it a serious offence, and another third did not report it as they felt they could deal with it themselves. Further analysis by AIHW indicates 42% of women perceived the incident as wrong, but not as a crime. Even so, Australia has relatively high rates of reported sexual assault, but only about 10% of sexual assaults reported to NSW police result in conviction (12.7% in 2020, not the false figures of 1% or 2% to 3% widely used to justify affirmative consent laws - see below), which is about half of the roughly 20% who are charged (implying 80% of sexual assaults reported are either minor or lack enough evidence to justify laying charges). But for those NSW cases that actually go to trial, two thirds are found guilty. This seems to be a somewhat higher conviction rate than in the UK, where half of older men but only about a third of young men tried for rape were convicted over the 5 years to 2017-18, and the proportion of suspects summonsed or charged fell from 4,908 or 14% of reported cases in 2015-16 to just 886 or 1.5% of reported cases in 2018-19, possibly due to court delays but mostly it appears due to the burden on Police dealing with a large 61% increase in rape claims over the 4 years to 2019, which is attributed to the "#MeToo" movement, with more of these cases lacking sufficient evidence and/or requiring more evidence gathering whilst Police struggle with a 15% cut in force numbers over the 8 years to 2018 as a result of budget austerity measures.
Judging sexual assault
Low rates of reporting & conviction for rape at least partly reflect the high legal/evidentiary, financial & emotional obstacles in our archaic, dysfunctional & needlessly confrontational justice systems to proving a crime "beyond reasonable doubt", especially as sexual assaults often lack witnesses or other compelling evidence. As Steve Biddulph argues, we need a much more sensitive & compassionate, non-adversarial, investigative approach, which a more accountable reformed court system could promote. Current obstacles to achieving justice through the courts have contributed to the #MeToo movement, but this has in turn shown the dangers of "trial by media" or "the mob" (enabled by feminists' opposition to anonymity for defendants). It has also led to political pressure for more convictions on police and prosecutors, who are withholding or deleting phone evidence that could be used to exonerate accused men. To address this tension, we clearly need to improve the way the legal system manages sexual assault cases.
A particular barrier to justice has been the ancient "mens rea" legal requirement that an alleged perpetrator knew that there was not consent, and therefore intended to commit an assault/rape (see also here) - which may complicate trials by requiring juries to judge the parties' states of mind & intentions (possibly based only on body language), and thus seems to mainly serve the make-work legal industry by increasing the complexity, uncertainty, duration, cost & trauma of trials. Although judging the participants state of mind during sex (i.e. consent or not) is an obvious requirement for many sexual assault cases, it is also a problem in cases where a victim "freezes" in fear and feels unable to speak or act in a way that indicates a lack of consent. New "affirmative consent" laws aim to address this problem, but I'm not sure they will really change much in reality, since there will still be the fundamental problem of "he said, she said" court arguments, where the defendant can argue that the mutual body language indicated the seeking & gaining of consent. Moreover, such laws have been labelled "dangerous" for potentially wrongly regulating & criminalising many consensual activities, and the NSW Bar took the view that the affirmative consent model was "misguided" as it would “significantly diminish the status” of the crime because sexual assault would be reduced to include negligence. It would seem better to instead have varying "degrees of culpability" (& corresponding degrees of punishment) to address ambiguous cases, rather than making wholesale changes to what defines the serious crime of rape.
With these complexities creating a barrier to justice, it's tempting to think that it might be better to make rape laws simply and clearly based only on the actions of each party - thus placing an obligation on the accuser to have either said "no" (where "no always means no", so the accused can't argue they thought it didn't) or acted in a way that unambiguously means no - but this would obviously disadvantage victims who can't act thus, e.g. if not fully conscious, or if prevented from doing so by force or threat (covering those who "freeze"). It seems possible that many cases may currently suffer excessive legal complexity and evidence standards, in order to accommodate perhaps a minority of cases that are more complex. Fundamentally, the problem seems to be that there is only one law, with one process and set of evidence standards for a wide range of different kinds of sexual assault cases. So rather than trying to perfect the laws governing one particular crime, we should instead create multiple categories of crime to be each dealt with in the most appropriate way for the type of circumstances involved.
Rape cases are also complicated by the fact that rape most often involves a former or even currently-loved partner who the victim often doesn't actually want to suffer a potentially hefty prison sentence (especially when the offence is just being “lazy, careless and insensitive”, as Germaine Greer has noted). So this again raises the question of whether we should establish lower categories of "non-violent" or "civil rape" (as in civil law) crimes that can be more easily convicted with less evidence, but incur a lesser punishment.
However, we mustn't convict people of anything based only on accusations, which are said to be false in some 2-10% of rape cases, although the lower bound of 2% is said to be "fraudulent" (see also here) and the true rate could well be higher but is impossible to determine with confidence. In the 1990s the FBI found 8% of accusations were dismissed as false by Police before trial, whilst in some studies over 40% of complainants eventually admitted no rape had occurred. As schools have gone overboard in reaction to normal adolescent flirting (e.g. suspending a boy for touching girls' knees), "empowered" girls – “whipped into a frenzy by the 'MeToo' movement” – are controlling boys with the threat, “I’ll say you raped me!” (& often actually making such false accusations, as they claim "all men are rapists"), resulting in boys being bullied out of school as they conclude, "it’s safer to stay at home". Meanwhile in workplaces it seems the perceived risk of being subjected to false accusations may have caused men to significantly reduce their interactions with women co-workers - thus increasing division & distrust, rather than promoting gender harmony.
Obviously the chances of any accusation being false will vary strongly with circumstances (e.g. for revenge or gain, especially in family law cases, and more likely against the rich, famous & politically powerful) as well as with culture, jurisdiction/law and how this changes over time, depending on how false allegations are looked down on and punished (e.g. jailed), or not. The policy conundrum is that high standards of evidence will inevitably result in a failure to prosecute or deter many guilty incidents, but low standards will inevitably convict some innocent people. And regardless of whether the concern is one of an overly onerous court process and evidence standards, or a large number of less severe (or possibly unwarranted) cases that don't justify conviction, it seems again that the problem is that there is currently only one kind of criminal court process available to deal with the huge range of different types of cases.
So given the obstacles to achieving "justice" (& deterring other assaults) - or at least a substantive investigation and resolution of many genuine cases of sexual assault - we could consider having modest penalties such as mandatory psychological assessment & therapy (and maybe also fines, which could escalate for repeat offenders) for a judgment that no-consent was clearly more likely than not. For clarity, I would define the "clear and convincing" evidence required for such a judgement to indicate a more than 3-in-4 (75%) chance of the allegation being true, although any judgement on this will clearly be subjective. This is a materially lower threshold than "beyond reasonable doubt" (which I interpret as roughly over 95% confidence, even though lawyers seem to be statistical ignoramuses who are unable or unwilling to quantify their own terms), but would still leave quite a high chance (up to 1 in 4) of someone being wrongly convicted, which reinforces the need for careful legal controls to ensure relatively light punishment - not the uncontrolled "believe the accuser" kangaroo courts that have been established in many Australian and American universities, despite over half of such cases judged by US universities now considered to be unfounded (as you might expect when they at best only apply the "preponderance of evidence" or “more likely than not” standard of evidence, requiring a probability of guilt of only 51%!). These "courts", which lack proper protection for defendants, were initially declared unconstitutional in Australia, but this was overturned on appeal, although only after an offence is proven in criminal court and with the warning that their decisions may be subjected to judicial scrutiny if they fail to follow “principles of procedural fairness”.
Accordingly, I suggest that sexual assault cases not suited to criminal courts should be managed by new, properly regulated bodies, which would basically mean refining, regulating and mandating existing private-sector practices - since the approach to justice shouldn't depend on what job you have or where an assault happens. Such "civil rape" cases would be heard in confidential proceedings - for the benefit of both parties, but with appeal rights & other mechanisms to protect against abuse of secret proceedings. Preferably they would also be preceded by less adversarial, more conciliatory efforts for restorative justice (see also here). Even so, given the risks of wrong judgments, I am not sure about this proposal, but I think it's worth exploring further. It could potentially reduce the incentive for trial-by-media, especially if a deliberate public accusation (other than through a court case) resulted in forfeiting the right to be heard through a "civil rape" process. Another issue to consider would be whether otherwise-confidential civil-rape judgments could be submitted to future criminal-rape trials as evidence of a pattern of behaviour.
I haven't done extensive research on the contributing factors or underlying causes of rape, but it seems most implausible that inherent masculinity (which is more inclined to protect women - see here) could be the cause of something that less than 1% of men are guilty of (and I'm quite sure that this sort of simplistic stuff or these dangerously naïve messages to young girls will do nothing to help reduce it and rather - through shrieks of "victim blaming!" - discourages the research needed to understand perpetrators and address the problem). Nor, contrary to repeated feminist claims, is there any evidence that sexist jokes and “everyday sexism” amongst men in general creates a culture supporting rape & violence against women; in fact Scandinavian countries, which have higher gender equality, actually exhibit higher rates of DV.
More likely causes of sexual abuse, as with other types of abuse, are probably at least partly a perpetrator's disturbed & abusive childhood and mental illness - as indicated by this article reporting that over 58% of boys who commit sexual assaults have been exposed to violence at home. Other US research finds 60% of rapists grew up without fathers (partly because of widespread "parental alienation", which feminists deny exists). Moreover, the chances of a random male encountered by a woman going out in the evening being a potential rapist of that woman are vastly less than 1%, given 80% of rapes are committed by someone known to the victim. So the true risks of random rape events should be better communicated by authorities, in order to reduce excessive anxiety amongst women, which can in turn cause them to unnecessarily restrict their lifestyle choices (I estimate the chance is in the order of 3 in a million in an evening, assuming women go out at night once a week on average, although obviously the risk for any specific outing will vary hugely with the circumstances).
Nevertheless, an increasingly pervasive "raunch culture" seems likely to exacerbate risks, where slutty dressing & degrading behaviour by young women, which might be OK in restricted premises, has become strangely immune from "cancel culture" and so widespread across mainstream media and in public that it may be a constant taunt for susceptible men (yet feminists discourage research on this) and can also influence court judgements (to be clear, the noble reason for modest dressing is to avoid such unkind taunting, rather than because immodesty invites sexual assault).
Ironically, it seems some of the extremists that dominate feminism probably only reinforce this sexualised culture of brazen female nudity, and those feminist attempts to combat it are not helped by the rise of fatherless households (see "parental alienation" here) – losing the traditional source of caring paternal guidance from men with respected authority (besides the church, which has also lost influence), who girls otherwise subconsciously look to for affirmation that influences their dress & behaviour when competing with each other for boys (in contrast, young girls focussed on getting a boyfriend are less likely to take directions on modesty from women, and especially not from older & extreme feminists that they don't relate to because "feminism is perceived as something that is unfeminine, asexual and assigned to women who are aggressive, ugly and definitely single").
It also doesn't help that while primal (& possibly subconscious) instincts cause women to show off their bodies to attract male attention, feminist lobbying has created the situation where if a man they're not attracted to looks at her in a way that she interprets negatively, then that's a crime – even asserting ,"I know the way I dress is kind of provocative, but it doesn't mean that I should have to deal with it." This lack of responsibility or accountability, and absurd conflation of men looking at women (or, heaven forbid, talking to and showing women the attention they want) with criminal assault serves no-one. It damages clarity about what is really inappropriate and makes men confused, wary and give up.
Exaggerating sexual assault and harassment statistics
Of course it's important that we continually work on reducing sexual offences and other crimes, but it's not helpful when the media, politicians or other groups wage dishonest fear campaigns suggesting, for example, that community/gang violence is growing out of control, or that there's an "epidemic" of violence against women, or a "rape crisis" in Australian universities - based on questionable interpretations & misleading presentation of survey results (see the following column) that conflict with NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics & Research findings that universities are about 100 times safer for women than the general community.
As in America, "sexual assault" statistics are inflated by biased samples and broad definitions of "sexual assault" that include things like mutually-agreed sex when even mildly intoxicated, or unwanted attempts to kiss or touch someone, even on their clothes, whilst "sexual harassment" statistics are similarly magnified by including things like unwanted advances, staring or comments. For example, consider this European "YouGov" survey, which defines sexual harassment to include telling a woman she looks attractive, winking at her, placing a guiding hand on her lower back, or simply asking her out for a drink (and, sorry, but looking at breasts is also hard not to do when women show them off).
In the contradictory, reality-denying nonsense of feminism, the "male gaze" is opposed as an indication of controlling, patriarchal power, and yet, when it suits them, if women use their sexual power that depends on this gaze (e.g. through burlesque or otherwise), this is conveniently overlooked or even celebrated.
To maximise the opportunity for grievance, male guilt is determined not by specific actions, but by the perceptions of the female recipient – if looks or advances are unwelcome, or leave them offended, humiliated or intimated, or if someone seems to be loitering, "invading personal space" or “making comments or asking intrusive questions about your private life, body or physical appearance”. Statistics for students are further boosted by capturing all events, anytime, anywhere, including hearsay about incidents experienced by third parties.
Yet while it seems that making requests for sex or repeated invitations to go out on a date are now considered harassment, new laws – "justified" by false claims of sexual assault conviction rates – now require explicit requests and "affirmative consent" at every step, which seems more likely to kill complex, romantic subtlety and spontaneous passion than to significantly change the nature of sexual assault court cases (see further discussion above).
In one US study of "The Sexual Victimization of College Women", of the undergraduate women who reported experiencing an act that met the researchers' definition of rape, half said they didn't consider the incident to be a rape. Often "casual sex" encounters involve subtle nuances that make it impossible to judge without being there - consider this discussion about campaigns teaching girls to treat "regret sex" as rape. Ironically, Bettina Arndt's efforts to critique the exaggerated claims of sexual violence in universities were met with intolerant & aggressive attempts to deny her and her audience's right to free speech.
This is basically the work of terrorists - creating fear within a population that far exceeds the actual risks, supposedly in the name of a cause, but perhaps in reality out of self-interest. In fact, Australia has been declared the world’s safest country for women to live in (in 2018 & 2019) but thanks to all the fear-mongering, women feel less safe than in any other OECD country. Furthermore, most violence in society is reducing - from 2008 to 2016, NSW recorded a significant decline in ABS-surveyed domestic violence and Police-recorded assault (of which over 11% is against children), with DV GBH incidents falling 15% and also homicide rates (DV & non-DV) halving over the last decade or so to 2020 (see next page).
Also the ABS' 2016 Personal Safety Survey showed big drops in physical violence since the 2005 survey, with victim rates almost halved to 5.4% of men and down a quarter to 3.5% of women. This good news was reported appropriately by news.com.au, whilst astonishingly (or maybe not), ABC News managed to run totally opposite headlines with the same data, by leading with statistics for very broadly defined "sexual harassment" (that may well be impacted by increased reporting rather than increased incidence) and then reporting "increased DV" which includes (& is increased by) sexual harassment, and only finally at the end noting the fall in physical violence to men but completely failing to mention the same for women (or anything about emotional abuse, which women perpetrate as often or more often than men).
The “Fake Rape Crisis”
Bettina Arndt has been touring Australian universities to tell students about the exaggerated risk of rape that’s being conveyed to them by the “End Rape on Campus” campaign led by journalist and survivor of a brutal sexual assault, Nina Funnell. Ms Funnell has responded with a series of articles and TV programmes that misrepresent and denigrate Ms Arndt, whilst presenting misleading claims about the prevalence of rape. These attacks are often personal and do not address the substance of Arndt’s criticisms.
In the 2-8/2/19 edition of The Saturday Paper, Funnell used the rape and murder of the La Trobe University student, Aya Maarsarwe, to denigrate Arndt and her “Fake Rape Crisis” campus tour, through misleading statistics and commentary. Arndt’s subsequent critique revealed the following:
Funnell’s article used data from the 2017 Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) study to claim there was, “increasing prevalence of sexual assaults on international students”, despite this data – from an isolated survey – not providing any time series that may or may not demonstrate an “increasing” trend.
In further support of her claim of “how common sexual assault has become for international students studying in Australia” and her “End Rape on Campus” campaign for “firm disciplinary actions” by universities (i.e. through unconstitutional kangaroo courts), Funnell went on to assert, without qualification, that:
“NATIONALLY, THE AHRC FOUND ONE IN EVERY 20 INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS STUDYING AT AN AUSTRALIAN UNIVERSITY WAS RAPED OR SEXUALLY ASSAULTED IN 2015 AND/OR 2016.”
However, the article failed to acknowledge the following:
a. The “1-in-20” (5%) measure includes incidents on or off campus over a 2-year period. The same data suggests only about 0.7 % of international students experience “on-campus sexual assault” each year, including any incidents on public transport to & from university.
b. The survey bias would preferentially encourage responses from those who considered themselves to be victims, thus overstating actual prevalence (i.e. perhaps significantly less than 0.7%).
c. Funnell’s commentary conflated the broadly-defined "sexual assault” statistics she quoted with “rape” (for which prevalence is a lot lower), thus exaggerating the seriousness of any problem. She failed to note that of those reporting an experience of “sexual assault”, 40% said they did not report the incident because they did not think it was serious enough and 40% did not feel that they needed help. Hence even if these two 40% categories completely overlap, then only about 60% of 0.7% of respondents or less than 1-in-200 students actually experienced serious sexual assault on campus in a year – 10 times less than the “1-in-20” headline.
d. The student was raped and murdered off campus by an indigenous perpetrator who apparently had no relationship to the university, and was thus an inappropriate example with which to demonstrate any problems that may exist more generally with sexual assaults on campus.
In response to Arndt’s published critique, she was threatened by Funnell with defamation action.
The entertaining response from Arndt’s barrister brushed this threat off.
Funnell responded again in January 2020, after Bettina Arndt was made a Member of the Order of Australia for her “services to gender equity” (especially her support for men & boys), with a frivolous attack on Arndt's credentials along with several misrepresentations of her work. Funnel failed to get Arndt's Order rescinded, but the next year, the 2021 Australian of the Year was awarded to Grace Tame - the victim at the centre of Funnel's award-winning "Let Her Speak" campaign. Grace herself however, does not seem to support dishonest fear campaigns against men by extreme feminists.
It may be true that there's a broader level of general sexism and discrimination against women in many ways (though it's improving in many areas), with some men showing an appalling lack of respect for women, especially through impersonal communication channels like social media, including violent &/or sexual abuse sent by 'trolls' (which I wouldn't call a "low level of emotional violence", nor "micro-aggression"!) and threats to politicians, or disrespectful behaviour even on Australian mainstream TV, along with denial of the disrespect shown and the sexism often experienced by women. However, the self-described anarcho-communist-feminist who experienced this on TV (Van Badham) can be pretty disrespectful herself on other occasions and unwilling to listen to alternative views or acknowledge men's issues either - as seen here, here & here.
Indeed, she provides a classic example of feminist dishonesty, especially in this Guardian article in which she claims there's "decades of research to draw on, like that mentioned here, here, here, here, here and here [to demonstrate that] the persistency of unequal gender roles are overwhelmingly the conditioning factor for gender-based violence". Yet if you actually follow her links (which of course most readers don't) you'll find that they're all by her and not one of them provides the evidence claimed, and actually, her first linked article makes an unfounded assertion that Australia has "one of the highest reported number of rapes per capita in the world", when in fact the spreadsheet this links to shows Australia is unusual for not providing a transparent disaggregation of rape from broader "sexual violence" statistics (the problem I refer to above), and even the latter is actually quite low relative to comparable countries.
Her sixth referenced article again makes the claim that, "Decades of interrogated research show the cause of male violence against women with the highest level of supporting evidence is the persistent cultural belief in gender roles that men should dominate relationships", with this linking to survey results that provide no such evidence - only another unsupported assertion by VicHealth that "inequality between the sexes and an adherence to rigid gender roles are more significant causes" of DV. The survey also shows the public are increasingly recognising the falsity of feminist claims that DV is "perpetrated mainly by men" (which of course is presented as a bad thing because the feminist narrative is assumed to be true).
So whilst there's been a lot of publicity lately through the #MeToo movement about men sexually assaulting & harassing women, it's not the worsening crisis it's claimed to be, and moreover, there's also a lot of "toxic females" who lie and abuse men & children, or behave passive-aggressively to ostracise and covertly or overtly bully other women - for example, UK police reports show that the vast majority of "revenge porn" bullying is perpetrated by girls and young women against other females, and a UK study found that half of abusive tweets using misogynistic words were sent by females. This article also notes online bullying happens equally to boy & girl teens and that research shows men and women are equally likely to be victims of image based abuse, whilst studies in USA, Norway and Australia indicate men are more likely than women to be victims of online harassment (equally so for "severe" incidents in the US, but more women than men find it "very upsetting" and consider it a major/serious problem that occurs because of their gender). Yet Australia's women-led, government-funded "eSafety" regulators claim, “victims of image-based abuse were predominantly (75%) female”, by excluding sexual extortion from their data - which accounts for 57% of the total “image-based” online abuse problem, and for which 70% of victims are male. Why? Did they think the male victims deserved it?
In the context of all this distortion and misrepresentation of statistics & evidence, it becomes difficult to have faith in headlines claiming, "sexual offences double on NSW school grounds over decade", which is likely to be affected by more false accusations and a greater willingness to report, as well as increasingly broad & unclear definitions of "sexual offences", including genuine additional offences likely to have arisen from the new pervasiveness of camera phones and "sexting" amongst students.
But in any case, this isn't, or shouldn't be a "winner-takes-all" competition! The point is that disrespectful & abusive behaviour is rife amongst both sexes, and all victims deserve empathy and support. Moreover, there isn't a simple, single-answer explanation for all abuse & violence, whether that be a feminist narrative of the sexist "patriarchy" or otherwise. The reality is that there's usually (though not always) at least partial truth in all perspectives. However it seems there are many people on both “sides” (there doesn’t have to be sides!) stuck in extreme attitudes that “the problem” is caused in almost all cases by the other sex (who are treated like an apparent enemy) - perhaps in reaction to their own experiences (extreme injustices lead to extreme judgments and positions)? Anecdotally, it appears that many extreme feminists have been abused (by their own admission), and as research on relationships & DV shows, sadly someone's "schema" or childhood "baggage" can make them repeatedly subconsciously attracted to abusive partners, until they conclude that all men/women must be like this (unless they have sufficient self-awareness and objectivity, as Sydney Watson indicates here). No doubt the same applies for many extreme MRAs.
As usual, the extremists push their way into dominating the media (which benefits from simple, polarised conflict), so broader public & political views on gender issues become adversely influenced by these most prominent commentators, who show a real lack of balance and critical thinking or willingness to acknowledge any validity in other perspectives.
At this point - if you're feeling overwhelmed by too much text and numbers - you might want to take a light-hearted and possibly inappropriate/non-PC video break with the truth about "mansplaining" from the deliberately offensive but very funny & often insightful Jonathon Pie, before moving on to the not-so-amusing subject coming up: