With their own economies in such difficult shape, I doubt a European government would pass up the easy political advantages to be gained from distracting their populations with what really amounts to a lottery whereby you can soothe your financial anxieties by coming up with a workable story, putting your name on some enterprising tort attorney's list, and waiting to be notified of your share.
Monday, December 26, 2011
THE NATIONAL INTIMATE PARTNER AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE SURVEY
There is a new Study out (such as these things are in a time of government-enabled Mania).
I want to say a bit about the article and then take a look at the Study itself.
The article is by one David Rosen, who – by amazing coincidence – is in the plumping process for a new book that's coming out, to which he is a contributing author, entitled “Hopeless: Barrack Obama and the Politics of Illusion”. It appears on the usually respectably-handled Counterpunch site.
The book, as best can be inferred by the title, is more of a political work than an SO (more accurately: SO/SV/SA, as I mentioned in a recent Post) book. But it imparts some new twists which are good to know about.
He begins with the observation that “many sex-related stories captured popular attention in 2011”, and “most upsetting, many of the incidents involved sexual violence”. And he quickly sketches an obligatory horror story or two. Once you factor in and make subtractions for the weasel-terms like “many” and the whole definitional problem with “sexual violence”, he seems not to be making much of a point.
But he does have a ‘new’ take on matters.
Rosen seems to be writing from the Left. There is a “sexual politics” problem – again, nothing new there. Unless, I initially thought, he might be working toward an analysis of how old Marxist, Leninist, and Gramscian thought and practice had been imported into the American Universe specifically to ‘justify’ radical-feminism’s war on men (and their sex-offending natures).
But no. He’s up to something else here. “The Republican Congress and many Republican-controlled state legislatures continued their culture-wars campaign to end Roe, to restrict sex education and to cut funding for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment”.
Which, while actual issues in national politics, don’t really connect with SO-matters, although that’s where he’s going with all of this.
Obama, he thinks, is “tilting to the right in anticipation of the 2012 campaign”.
So Rosen has written a book and here he is going to load into the blunderbuss whatever is hanging around the shop that has anything to do with sex. While the book isn’t out yet, I am going to imagine that the only “illusions” that concern him are the ones that interfere with the dampdreams and agendas of the far Left ‘bases’ who are getting worried not only about him, but about the continued pork-feeding of their numerous enterprises set up during the past decades, back in the days when the government had lotsa public monies to redistribute and when far too many people in the country couldn’t imagine an American government drinking vat-fulls of the red-tinted Kool-Aid proferred to it by the radical-feminists.
He observes that the killing of prostitutes on Long Island clearly raises questions about “law enforcement’s ability to solve horrendous sex crimes”. Because the “justice” system (scare-quotes his), he claims, must be “either clueless ... or complicit (like so many police and prosecutor [sic] per DNA exonerations)”.
I’m not sure just what thoughts are compressed in that rather too-compressed statement. But let it be for now.
He also then tosses in a mention of the Penn State sex-abuse scandal, tying it into the institutional cover-ups there.
But that’s all prelude. For him, what is really “more troubling” are “the findings of a recently released report from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), documenting the alarmingly high level of sexual violence against intimate partners, violence most often perpetrated by men against women” which, according to a CDC honchette, estimates as “almost one in five women have been raped in their lifetime”. A ‘fact’ which, Rosen blurbily blurbs, she considers to be “very striking and, I think, will be surprising to a lot of people”.
You will notice that this is a Study put out by a government agency – most of which can reliably counted upon to put the Correct ‘facts’ out there.
Also that this is about “sexual violence” so you wonder just how far from the path of Correctness this thing could conceivably dare to veer.
Also that the doughty and helpful Center for Disease Control has somehow morphed into the far more ominous Center for Disease Control and Prevention (italics mine). The SO community is well and long familiar with the dangers of a government that has suddenly decided to go into the ‘prevention’ business, to ‘go preventive’ in matters foreign and domestic.
Also that the honchette seems to be a phantasm materialized from some long-distant earlier age, a revenant still shrieking out a (highly dubious and fraught) assertion from decades ago – that almost a fifth of women are raped (however defined) – as if the public hasn’t already been sweating along in the addled scrum of that particular stampede for 20 or 30 years now.
Such are the scripting dynamics of government or government-funded ‘Studies’ that need to justify their own existence as well as blast a ‘factual’ path for the follow-on wagon train of ‘experts’, advocates, ‘scholars’, ‘thinkers, ‘therapists’, bureaucrats, and assorted remora-like entrepreneurs who are trekking along in a hardy professional quest to stake some claims in the last remaining gold-fields.
And such are the dynamics of authors who are trying to whomp up some interest in a new book they’ve got coming out.
But he then immediately goes on to cut the rug out from under the honchette’s assertion by blurbing that “this is an invaluable study that confirms what many have known for years”, which is perhaps more true than he cares to imagine. “America”, he does declare, “is a terrain of widespread sexual conflict”.
Considering that the radical-feminist and victimist advocacies have been busily helping to resurrect Leviathan (Leviatha … ?) in order to assault and deconstruct the ‘hegemonic white male culture’ in all of its oppressive manifestations (mostly having to do with sweeping into the dustbin of history all the perpetrations, presumptions, and attitudes of the entire male sex), there has indeed been – I would put it – widespread “conflict about sex”. To the great political benefit of the sitting political class and the return of Leviathan (which had been banished through the Framing Vision and the Constitutional machinery designed to sustain that Vision through the ages).
But Rosen is not simply a mindless supporter. Indeed, he sniffs about the Study that “as a government document, it reflects a disturbing lack of intellectual boldness”. Marvelous. He is multi-axially and bipolar-ly alarmed and upset.
And he himself clearly does not understand that beneath the occasional and tactical focus on ‘outrages’, the Gramscian cadres are dedicated to a long and quiet war of infiltrating government and its bureaucracies with ‘respectable’ scholars and their deceptively-phrased and constructed bland ‘Studies’. Rosen is a man who would have missed the true (if evil) genius of Hitler, who decided in the late 1920s that the only path to real power was by taking over the government through seemingly legitimate processes (the late Fuhrer was legitimately appointed Chancellor by the doddering President von Hindenburg, whose inevitable and imminent death then cleared the last constitutional obstruction to Hitler’s declaring himself head of state and head of government).
So, for example, the deceptively bland assertion the honchette then makes that “collective action is needed to implement prevention approaches, ensure appropriate responses, and support these efforts based on strong data and research”. Within those poly-syllabic and vague abstractions are existing or potential programs, laws, policies, and assorted sly deceptions that – with a few minutes’ thought – you might list for yourself. Hint: “collective action” doesn’t mean commonly-agreed upon action by members of the public, but rather actions quietly (and increasingly secretly) decided upon by the assorted advocacy interests and their political panderers, to be imposed slyly but forthwith.
Rosen himself wants to see more attention paid to the effects on sexual-violence intensified by the declining economic situation – he calls it “the Great Recession” – and feels the Study pulled punches when it did not “ask respondents if violence has increased over the last 4 to 5 years, due to financial hardship”.
That timeframe seems odd, given the decades-long agitations and excitements of the Mania Regime(s), but I imagine he’s looking to tie it all into a charge against the Republicans, who of course are the sole perpetrators of the economic catastrophe (since Democrats only screwed with the economy with the best of intentions, while the Republicans did it out of pure oppressive greed). Which strikes me as a pretty good example of an illusion itself.
He wants to make the case that “the study is a testament to one of the hidden costs associated with the mounting economic, social and political crisis”. When you’re looking to sell a book or flog an idea and agenda, it’s always wise to make as many topical connections as you can. The “political’ crisis he sees is merely a tactical and topical one; the profound corrosions to the Framing Vision and the Constitution wrought over the past decades don’t appear to engage him at all. The “crisis” he sees is merely the increasing difficulty created by the ship’s engines having stopped and the inconveniences of water all over the place; the fact that Titanic has been run into a berg, ripped open like a tuna-can below the waterline, and is in great danger of sinking outright is not his concern here.
His article goes on for a while longer, picking the most useful stuff out of the Study, but I’ll proceed now directly to the text of the Study itself.
As with almost all Adobe-formatted documents, there are two systems of numbering pages: the page number assigned by the Adobe system, and the page number assigned in the original text. Thus I will use a dual system: page 1/11, for example, will refer to the same page: page 1 in the Adobe numbering and page 11 in the original document’s numbering.
This is the “National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey” of 2010 (they’re hoping for a long series of them).
It was conducted by “The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention”. I had mentioned above that this is a government agency and that the wise Citizen (borrowing from the mental stance of those truly oppressed citizens of the old USSR) will presume a certain government Thumb of Correctness to have weighed heavily on the material presented. It’s just good mental prophylaxis (preventive procedure) when you’re wading into one of these things.
The most essential point to make right off the bat is that this is a survey, and the Study is studying the results of the survey that it itself conducted.
The survey gambit has played a huge role in SO matters as also in many many other agendas over the past 40 years. As such, from the get-go and at its very core, it is a highly dubious method of getting actual facts.*
You train your interviewers to ask certain questions (while also gently reminding them that they are being hired to help a certain cause and further ‘knowledge’ that will enable a certain objective). And, by the by, the bosses and bossettes of the Survey decided, for reasons purported to be insightfully psychological, that only females would be hired to do the actual interviewing.
Then you select a group to be interviewed. Then you ask them the questions, either in person or by mail or (as in this case) by telephone. (And don’t be distracted by the solemn and scientific distinctions that this Survey makes between cell-phones and landlines).
BUT the problem with the reliability and accuracy and veracity of the whole thing is thus undermined from the get-go: because there is utterly no way that you can corroborate the ‘stories’ told in response to whatever questions you have carefully decided to ask.
Which means that the interviewee or respondent knows pretty much that no matter what s/he says in response to the questions, there is no way of anybody ever trying to find out if the story is true or not. If you think ‘victim-friendly’ investigation procedures are kinda almost guaranteed not to provide reliable facts on their own, then the survey method increases that lethal problem exponentially. And this is probably even more so when you are doing telephone interviews where the story-teller doesn’t even have to look you in the eye.
So then no matter how many bells-and-whistles and various bits of the machinery of a genuine scientific and scholarly Study are stuffed into the document (and this one is loaded with charts, graphs, percentages and estimates and numbers and lists) the whole thing is nothing more than a precariously balanced upside-down pyramid, resting completely on the highly questionable veracity of the stories you have initially collected by just asking people to go on and on.
No effort was made to corroborate or ‘question’ the stories that were collected. (And if you put yourself through the experience of reading books from the ‘outrage’ Era of the 1970s or the self-help for victimization Era of the later 1970s and 1980s, or any of the quickie ‘advocacy’ books of any phase of the overall Advocacy Age … then you realize how much government action was based, actually, in ‘stories’ that were never checked out in depth and with care.)
(This is a stunning bit of reality that radical-feminism proved particularly sly in masking: women – as the term is used in these matters – have a different way of ‘knowing’, and it comes not from macho ‘abstractions’ and the insensitive insistence on ‘facts’, but rather on ‘experiences’, usually as remembered or discovered or shared in consciousness-raising sessions among a ‘supportive’ group of the like-minded who could reliably counted on not to be so insensitive and oppressive as to ‘doubt’ or ‘question’ your story and your pain and thus re-victimize you all over again.)
The Survey lists the National Institute of Justice as one of its main associates in compiling the facts. This is the research branch of the Department of Justice – which should also tell you something. (And you might recall that the FBI, a noted division of the Department of Justice, has just recently decided to ‘re-define ‘rape’ according – to use law professor Catherine MacKinnon’s long-held insistence – from the female point of view, in which penile penetration is merely a stodgy and self-serving ‘male’ definition. She prefers the ‘female’ point of view that just about any sexual experience can ‘feel like rape’ to a female, and the law should reflect that.)
The Survey also lists the Department of Defense Family Advocacy division as another associate in the project. (And you might recall that the DOD’s military justice system has now shifted the burden of proof in sex-cases to the accused, and is probably going to be literally enacting MacKinnon’s theory into applicable military sex-offense law.)
The Survey also lists the Research Triangle Institute International, a research company founded in 1958 that is heavily involved in, to use a general term, ‘government work’.
The DOJ and DOD are also thanked (p.vii/9) for financial support as well as collaboration.
The Survey also admits, buried deep in the text (p.8/18), that it was “deeply influenced by the National Violence Against Women Survey”, so the specter of VAWA hovers above and behind the whole thing as well.
The Executive Summary begins on p.1/11.
The opening line says much: “Sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence are major public health problems in the United States”. (p.1/11) So there is a significant shift now, from crime to public-health. And, of course, to the prevention of said public health problems.
As you may well imagine, ‘sexual violence’, ‘stalking’ and ‘intimate partner violence’ are verrry broadly defined, and if you have had even one instance of being touched or name-called or importuned without violence into having sex, then your story qualifies for the Survey’s ‘factual’ base.
This definitional problem, however, is not one of continually screwing with the definitions in order to keep the ball rolling. No, rather, “our understanding of these forms of violence has grown substantially over the years”. (p.1/11) And we know this from all the stories we have been hearing and how they keep getting worse even as more and more government money is poured out, and the Mania Regime(s) continue to expand, and the integrity of the legislative and public deliberative political processes continues to be eroded and corroded or is simply sidestepped altogether.
This telephone Survey was also looking to find out about and include “types of sexual violence other than rape; expressive psychological aggression and coercive control, and control of reproductive or sexual health”. (p.1/11)
That “expressive psychological aggression” includes being called names and that “control of reproductive or sexual health” includes being asked not to require a condom.
About 16,000 adults (over 18) were interviewed, breaking down into roughly 9,000 women and 7,000 men.
Among the Key Findings (pp.1/11-3/13): “Nearly 1 in 5 women (18.3pct) and 1 in 71 men (1.4pct) have been raped at some time in their lives”. Decently, the Survey limits this definition of rape to some form of achieved or attempted penetration (actually, this may be a strategic slyness: the ‘new’ definition of rape might well provide number’s so astronomically high as to invite public ridicule).
More than half of the females (51.1pct) reported being raped by “an intimate partner” and a further 40.8pct by “an acquaintance”, for a total of over 90pct who were not raped by the classic ‘stranger’. The shift seems to be toward intensifying government intrusion into and regulation of personal (rather than ‘stranger-initiated’) sexual relationships.
It seems to me that you are going to need a police state far far surpassing the days of the Stasi and the KGB to police this realm.
It also seems to me that having a) removed all the ‘moral’ constraints from ‘liberated’ sexual habits and then b) discovering that females thus liberated were in need of awesome amounts of government police support to ‘protect’ them (let alone ‘prevent’ the ‘pain’ of all this), then the entire combined weight of Boomer sexual liberation and radical-feminist ‘women’s sexual liberation’ were almost tailor-made to undermine the Framing Vision. And turn the country into a police-state.
This is especially so because the thought comes that perhaps the experience of such a large group simultaneously being ‘liberated’ and almost immediately demonstrating so urgent and thorough a need for police protection at such intimate levels of personal and social life might indicate that the ‘old’ and ‘oppressive’ sexual morality practices of a prior age in history might not have been such a bad idea after all.
And surely, the Framing Vision and the entire American Experiment in democracy were predicated upon the presumption that Citizens were at least modestly responsible, mature, and competent adults who were capable of mastering and conducting their own personal and social lives. Indeed, that such competence thus fitted them for exercising their role as Citizens and collectively as The People as ‘governors of the government’.
Instead, what we have now seen and continue to ‘discover’ with exponentially intensifying and expanding urgency is that Citizens can neither be presumed nor expected to govern themselves and thus require the governance of the government in all aspects of their lives. (And what lies hidden just behind that is the ‘new’ presumption that such thorough dependents of the government can clearly not be fitted to govern the government … which truly is a profoundly alarming thought.)
“Stalking” stories qualify so long as the respondent “felt very fearful or believed that” s/he was the subject of a stalker or that somebody near them would be “harmed or killed” (however ‘harm’ is defined here).
“Intimate partner violence”, causing – it is asserted – PTSD symptoms, headaches, and even the “missing of at least one day of work or school” is reported by 30pct of women and 10pct of men.
And thoughtfully – especially in the run-up to a major election cycle – minorities are afflicted at even higher rates, although (as the Study will venture to assert a bit later on) this is no doubt caused by declining economic conditions.
More interesting is that “across all types of violence, the majority of both male and female victims reported experiencing violence from one perpetrator”. And that the majority of females reported that the perpetrators were male. And that males also reported predominantly male perpetrators for “unwanted sexual advances” and “stalking” (perhaps reflecting some inconvenient consequences of yet other types of recent ‘liberation’).
But also that for other types of sexual violence the males reported mostly female perpetrators. (Raising, with a surprising clarity, the female-perpetration side of all these sexual-violence and partner-violence episodes.)
Among its proposals for prevention, the CDC here recommends better training “in families”, (p.4.14) although how such an exhortation can possibly square with other advocacy interests’ declared hostility to family and parental authority is a question not dealt with here. Perhaps huge numbers of jobs might be created by a government bureaucracy assigned and authorized to make parents (however defined) take official classes in how to handle their families.
At any rate, the Survey insists that the problem requires much much more “data-driven and collective action” (p.4/14) although a Survey hardly provides reliable “data” and “collective action” is a code for something else altogether.
We learn that “psychological aggression” includes “expressive aggression” (name-calling, for example) and “may be even more harmful than physical violence” (p.9/19) So in addition to the obviously harmful physical violence, it is now asserted that non-physical violence is even more harmful, neatly boxing the compass and leaving the reader with the conclusion that the only options are clear-violence and even-worse unclear violence. This ice-cream cone was designed from the get-go to lick itself.
In many of the definitions, a spectrum is implied, ranging from obviously harmful (and criminal) violence to single-instances of such quotidian realities as name-calling and even imagining that you are the sustained object of somebody else’s attentions. Yet within any such broad spectrum, the Survey slyly neglects to say what percentages reported the most outrageous experiences and what percentages reported the quotidian experiences.
“Most victims of rape knew their perpetrators”, is one highlighted quotation from the text. (p.21/31) This at first might seem a hopeful indicator that the awful SO Mania SORNA laws might thus be justifiably abandoned, but my guess is that what they’re going for here is not an attempt to temper the Mania Regime(s) but rather to expand and intensify the public anxiety about any and all “sexual violence”.
The list of “stalking tactics” (p.29/39) includes any instance of unwanted emails or texts, or the unwanted receipt of a gift, as well as the more commonly-accepted signs of actual (and truly sad and creepy) stalking. Again, no effort is made to distinguish percentages here, along the spectrum.
However females reported only 13pct of their stalkers were strangers, and males reported 19pct were strangers (curiously, I thought).
Also males reported so low a number of ‘persons in authority’ stalking them (p.33-43) that the Survey declines to report any percentage at all (although the category would, the Survey indicates, include ‘clergy’ and ‘coaches’). While females reported for this category a number of only 2.5pct.
Oddly, 6.8pct of females’ stalkers and 5.3pct of males’ stalkers are categorized as “family members”, which almost brings a bemused furrow of the brow: given the stalking-parameters, how can a family member not stalk another family member?
Among “lifetime reports” of psychological or non-physical “aggression”, females reported that the largest incidence groups were being called names and being continually asked where you were and what you were doing. (p.47/57). Among males, the highest categories of incidence were precisely the same types. So apparently then any ‘Whatcha doing?’ or any ‘You dope!’ qualifies for the stats.
You can go on to see exhaustive break-downs by States and by this and that, but you can be assured that the numbers (estimated, of course) always rise to the many thousands and many hundreds of thousands, which probably all add up to millions if you take out your pencil or calculator and do the math.
But by the time you make subtractions for a) fuzzy definitions that are slyly arranged along a spectrum such that you cannot distinguish the (few) outrages of the higher end from the (many) downticks of the lower end and b) the ‘estimating’ or extrapolating of huge numbers from so few incidences; and c) the whole game based on anecdotal information from persons who know they will never be held to account for the truthfulness or otherwise of their ‘reports’ and ‘stories’ … well, what’s left really?
But this is a snazzy production with all the costuming proper to a major Study.
It is no doubt going to be printed up and dropped with a thump on the desk of any office whose owner might be able to further the gambit, through funding especially.
And snippets from its text will be larded thickly into sound-bites, officious agreements and statements of support, and – but of course – will spawn an echo chamber effect whereby platoons of already-implanted cadres throughout the academic establishment will churn out variations on the theme. And of course, the overly-accepting mainstream media will be blast-faxed with memos containing select snippets. And the Thing will probably be read into the Congressional Record by some eagerly pandering pol.
The whole thing is intended for the purpose of pressuring the pols (who don’t really need more than a well-printed and hefty tome like this as ‘cover’ and excuse for pandering) and hoodwinking the many people who still assume that if the government and the academy both come up with a plan then it is necessary for the common-weal, and it will work, and it will work without serious cost or consequence.
How the now-established Beltway ballet will work with the utterly indispensable cash running out is a good question.
And in regard to what I have been saying about the deliberate and intensified migration of the SO Mania and all its wagon-train of advocates, enablers, practitioners, and their own trains of assistant assistant demons into the military under the auspices of the Pentagon, the situation of the Mania’s losing steam in the civilian world has ignited a lethal if desperate strategy: the military budget will be the last to go, yes – and that plays no small role in the calculations of the assorted Maniacs.
But the country has also been sliding toward a militarization – especially since 9/11 – that is by its very nature the antithesis of the independent civil society envisioned by the Framers as the true heart and soul of their Great Experiment. Once upon a time war was an occasional state of affairs and limited in large part to the soldiery; the robustness of the Citizenry and the strength of the Constitutional machinery were considered more than adequate for preventing serious permanent derangement.
But war has now become a continuous national condition, and not simply by accident but through government intention and deliberate manipulation.
And if the National Security State slide toward military rule (as in the new military budget bill) connects deeply and extensively with the National Nanny State’s presumption that the Citizenry is merely a mindless, helplessly incapable herd of potential or probable victims – who may not even yet ‘know’ that they are victims – then I think the Framing Vision is in terrible danger.
You cannot maintain a nation based on the Framing Vision while simultaneously limning and rendering huge swaths of the Citizenry as helpless and hapless victims of another huge swath of the Citizenry.
This is the truly fatal Consequence that has always dwelt in the abyss at the heart of all radical-feminist and victimist agitation. And to lure that closer to the surface through the most surely anti-American gambit of giving it a home in an increasingly militarized law and polity is to work – however good the intentions you claim – for the utter corruption of the American political and cultural Universe.
These are the stakes here.
*So for example, earlier this month in Holland the priest-abuse civil-tort piñata was set up by the loudly publicized issue of a ‘Report’ that insisted up to 20,000 Dutch children had been abused by priests in the period 1945-2010. While it seems that the actual text of the Report is nowhere to be found online, this much is certain: the ‘Report’ is based on a survey; 34,000 people were interviewed (unknown through what modality); from the stories they got the Report-writers simply extrapolated-estimated the number of 20,000; there is some sort of a ‘spectrum’ created by worst-case to least-case types of targeted action but no news report bothers to examine that; there are also no questions as to the definitions of such key terms as ‘unwanted sexual advances’ or (especially with the new rape-is-what-I-feel-it-is definitions now floating around) ‘rape’. And of the 800 or so priests ‘reported’ in these stories to be guilty, over 700 are dead (and conveniently cannot defend themselves).
Also, while the text appears nowhere on line, it is an 1100 page thing. Large enough to a) impress merely by its weight while b) too large to discourage any close reading by any but the most intrepid (which does not, alas, include much of the media). And the fellow who headed up the commission that put it together was a former Minister or Ministry-official in the government.
I had mentioned the possibility of this new start-up of the priest-abuse sue-for-money Phase (initiated here in January 2002 in Boston) in my recent Post on the Vatican and the International Criminal Court lawsuit brought by the queasy S.N.A.P.organization (now facing its own legal troubles, ironically).