The decline of rape aka feel free to walk on my lawn
February 22, 2007 2:36 PM   Subscribe

The three-decade decline in teenage and young-adult rape accompanies huge drops in all crimes -- murder, assault, drug abuse and property -- committed by youth... Women's rapidly rising status and economic independence in the larger society fostered new attitudes and laws that rejected violence against women. That younger people growing up in this environment of greater gender equality should show the biggest decreases in rape, while older generations lag behind, is consistent with this explanation... Over the last 30 years, rape arrest rates have fallen by 80% among Californians under age 15, much larger than the 25% drop among residents age 40 and older.
The decline of rape
So, kids today are different.
posted by y2karl (93 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow. Good news.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:40 PM on February 22, 2007


This really is encouraging. Activists have been at work on this for years now - rape crisis centers, marches, educational efforts, advertising, pretty much every strategy possible to reduce the incidence of rape. It's heartening to see these efforts paying off.
posted by serazin at 2:41 PM on February 22, 2007


That's some surprisingly good news. Just another point to show that the "good old days" weren't necessarily that great.
posted by arcticwoman at 2:41 PM on February 22, 2007


Or it could be that Internet porn reduces rape.
posted by shivohum at 2:43 PM on February 22, 2007


But can we trust these statistics? Rape is an underreported crime: Only four in 10 victims told the National Crime Victimization Survey that they had reported their rapes to police.

Right.

But rape is less hidden than before. Thanks to feminist campaigns, laws have been extended to criminalize nonconsensual sex with intoxicated, disabled, same-sex and acquaintance victims and other offenses that narrower rape laws excluded.

These two things are not related, although they were put in the same paragraph as though they are.

The piece is sloppy. I'm not convinced, though I hope it's true.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:45 PM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Growing up I read a lot of science fiction. One of the central ideas of the genre is that things are getting better, and that they will continue to get better. In my later years that particular belief of mine has come under heavy attack, but this, by itself, has done a lot to buttress my belief in the progression of humanity. It's hard to remember that cynicism is the flipside of naiveté.
posted by Kattullus at 2:47 PM on February 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'm glad to hear this, but I feel like it might not be true, due to all the stats I hear about how unreported the crime is, and how much more underreported the crime probably used to be.
posted by magikker at 2:48 PM on February 22, 2007


I blame video games.
posted by b1tr0t at 2:50 PM on February 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


In the same way that many women who are pro-life do not report they've had abortions, many women (and quite a few men) don't report their rapes. I have been in several relationships where this was the case and met many women who never went to the police.
posted by parmanparman at 2:53 PM on February 22, 2007


Growing up I read a lot of science fiction. One of the central ideas of the genre is that things are getting better, and that they will continue to get better.

Except for, you know, the large number of dystopian sci-fi novels.
posted by mikeh at 2:53 PM on February 22, 2007


It's hard to remember that cynicism is the flipside of naiveté.

I think of this as: you're only a dilettante halfass wannabe cynic until you become cynical about Cynicism. Then it really gets good.

These are astoundingly encouraging numbers and I desperately want to believe.
posted by freebird at 2:55 PM on February 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Well yeah, mikeh, that's why I included the words "one of the" in my sentence.
posted by Kattullus at 2:56 PM on February 22, 2007


That's encouraging news for girls. I find other changes pretty worrisome, though.

Yes, the second article did quote a woman with the last name of Manlove. I'm sure that's been fun for her.
posted by miss lynnster at 2:59 PM on February 22, 2007


Over the last 30 years, rape arrest rates have fallen by 80% among Californians under age 15

This is probably because they are all having consensual sex instead these days.

*gets popcorn, waits for jonmc*
posted by public at 2:59 PM on February 22, 2007


Unsurprising -- modern women are sluts, leading to a reduced need for rape.
posted by Krrrlson at 2:59 PM on February 22, 2007 [6 favorites]


And to think, we owe it all to abortion. Yay.
posted by Methylviolet at 2:59 PM on February 22, 2007


Unsurprising -- modern women are sluts, leading to a reduced need for rape.

Haaaaaaaa. The winner! We can close this thread down now.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:02 PM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


ThePinkSuperhero writes "These two things are not related, although they were put in the same paragraph as though they are. "

They're related in that they would both be expected to increase the number of reported rapes and rape arrests, right? They were included together to indicate that although rape is underreported, the long-term trend is towards more reporting, so the long-term decrease cannot be attributed to underreporting. Or are you getting at something else?
posted by mr_roboto at 3:03 PM on February 22, 2007


yet, to listen to a pro-choicer, there's a veritable epidemic births due to gang-rape and incest. strange, that.
posted by quonsar at 3:06 PM on February 22, 2007


epidemic "of" births...
posted by quonsar at 3:07 PM on February 22, 2007


This is not a compelling enough reason to remain on my lawn.
posted by jimmythefish at 3:08 PM on February 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


quonsar writes "yet, to listen to a pro-choicer, there's a veritable epidemic births due to gang-rape and incest. strange, that."

Ha, ha.

Is this the flamebait thread?
posted by mr_roboto at 3:08 PM on February 22, 2007


...ah shit, didn't read the title...
posted by jimmythefish at 3:09 PM on February 22, 2007


Unsurprising -- modern women are sluts, leading to a reduced need for rape.

Yes, nowadays they just don't know they're being raped
posted by Flashman at 3:10 PM on February 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


You last joke was a little over my head, Quonsar. It almost sounded like a real comment.
posted by Methylviolet at 3:11 PM on February 22, 2007


serazin: This really is encouraging. Activists have been at work on this for years now - rape crisis centers, marches, educational efforts, advertising, pretty much every strategy possible to reduce the incidence of rape. It's heartening to see these efforts paying off.

If the drop in rape "accompanies huge drops in all crimes -- murder, assault, drug abuse and property", I don't know how much credit those efforts should get. Correlation and causation and all that.
posted by spaltavian at 3:14 PM on February 22, 2007



More than changing attitudes about women, I think it's because kids have access to porn. I'm still fairly young, 22, and kids in Texas were openly having sexual relationships as soon as 8th grade.
posted by bukharin at 3:15 PM on February 22, 2007


Methylviolet: That's the great thing about satire -- if you get community support, you run with it. If you don't, you go "ahhhh, just kidding!!!".
posted by LordSludge at 3:21 PM on February 22, 2007


Underreporting is only at issue in questioning the decline if underreporting is thought to be going up, which is hopefully not the case.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:23 PM on February 22, 2007


! <-- Moment of surprised and pleased silence.
posted by anotherpanacea at 3:28 PM on February 22, 2007


the real question: Is porn itself violence against men, women and children.
posted by parmanparman at 3:32 PM on February 22, 2007


maybe today's kids were just brought up a bit better, by their parents and the community at large ... perhaps they weren't as neglected ... perhaps they were more sheltered

neil howe and william strauss have an explanation for this ... and it is a data point that confirms their theory
posted by pyramid termite at 3:32 PM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm glad to hear this, but I feel like it might not be true, due to all the stats I hear about how unreported the crime is, and how much more underreported the crime probably used to be.
posted by magikker


It might not be true, but not for anything contained in your reasoning.
posted by justgary at 3:33 PM on February 22, 2007


many women (and quite a few men) don't report their rapes

But they were even more reluctant to do so before rape became a frequently prosecuted crime instead of an unspeakable event that was almost inevitably taken as a sign that the raped woman was "asking for it" in some way. I don't see how there's any real way to see this as anything but good news.
posted by languagehat at 3:35 PM on February 22, 2007


I just thought I'd point out that surely rape isn't any more underreported now than it was in the past right? So the fact that it's an underreported crime can't have an effect on the trend, can it? Or is there reason to think that it's less likely to be reported?
posted by Squid Voltaire at 3:35 PM on February 22, 2007


I'm not following the whole "I don't know if I believe it, because rape used to be more underreported than now". If that's true, wouldn't it tend to point to an expected increase in reported rapes recently? That is, if there were 5 rapes last year, and 4 rapes today, but people tended to report rapes less in the olden days, wouldn't that mean that the actual numbers are 7 rapes last year and 5 rapes today? That is, wouldn't that make the decrease in actual rapes apparently greater, and not lesser?
posted by Bugbread at 3:37 PM on February 22, 2007


Shoulda previewed...now we're all saying the same thing ;_;
posted by Bugbread at 3:38 PM on February 22, 2007


Wait, wouldn't the underreporting contribute to - heh, just kidding!

Nice to see some good news.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 3:43 PM on February 22, 2007


parmanparman writes "Is porn itself violence against men, women and children."

I don't think you know what one (or more) of these words means.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:45 PM on February 22, 2007


JINX to all ya'll with your fancy sta-tistics.

These two things are not related, although they were put in the same paragraph as though they are.

Pink, (to drive the point even MORE home) statistically the two are related (even though perhaps by verbal logic they may not be). You would assume at worst that reporting can't go down. (Does it make sense that there is more of a taboo on rape than there was 20 or 30 years ago?). If anything you can healthily assume that reporting can only go up because of education campaigns.

So the whole underreporting is a non-issue because you're looking at the trends of reported rape which is correlated to (ie lets you know about) the trends of actual rape.

Reported rape is statistically trends down, therefore you can conclude that real rape is down as well.

Carry on with flame-baits
posted by stratastar at 3:48 PM on February 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


the real question: Is porn itself violence against men, women and children.
I think most rape victims would be happier if their experiences of objectification did not personally involve them, so no, that is not the real question.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:56 PM on February 22, 2007


I've got a question. I see this all the time when people talk about rape statistics. This article says:

But can we trust these statistics? Rape is an underreported crime: Only four in 10 victims told the National Crime Victimization Survey that they had reported their rapes to police. But rape is less hidden than before.

That second statistic, the rate of reporting the crime, seems completely useless. How do they know that 4/10 victims reported their crime? If somebody didn't report their rape to the police, how can we assume they will later acknowledge it in a survey? It seems to me like this survey would have indicated 4 people that reported their rapes to the police, 6 people who didn't report their rape to the police but later told a survey that they hadn't, and n people who may have been raped but didn't tell the police or the survey conductors. How do they go about estimating and/or accounting for n?
posted by SBMike at 3:59 PM on February 22, 2007


I blame video games.

You damn kids! Get outside and get some sunshine!
posted by dhartung at 4:03 PM on February 22, 2007


Levitt's The Impact of Legalised Abortion on Crime is very much worth reading.
posted by matthewr at 4:11 PM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Donohue & Levitt's The Impact of Legalised Abortion on Crime is very much worth reading.
posted by matthewr at 4:12 PM on February 22, 2007


Has anyone studied the ubiquity of cell phones on reduction of rape/assaults against women? I realize there are plenty of situations where a phone is useless, but it has to have had an effect.
posted by tula at 4:16 PM on February 22, 2007


tula, the effective use of cell phones peaked around 1994. These days they come right apart after the first bludgeon.
posted by jimmythefish at 4:34 PM on February 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


They're related in that they would both be expected to increase the number of reported rapes and rape arrests, right? They were included together to indicate that although rape is underreported, the long-term trend is towards more reporting, so the long-term decrease cannot be attributed to underreporting. Or are you getting at something else?

Read the second part I quoted again- it summarizes that the legal definition of rape is now broader than it once was. As though that has an effect on whether women chose to report it to the police when they've been raped. And I don't think it does. And the article doesn't try to convince me, either; it just states it as fact and moves on.

If anything you can healthily assume that reporting can only go up because of education campaigns.

That section says nothing about education campaigns, just about how activism has changed the way rape is legally defined. If there has been some huge push to get this information to the general public to encourage women to report these type of crimes, I'm not feeling it (and like most Mefites, I consume a lot of media, including a lot of womens magazine, so I think I would feel it).

I hope that what the article says is true, and there are things in the article that suggest it might be true, but I don't think the author proved anything; I think overall the article is pretty weak in that it makes a lot of assumptions that it doesn't bother to prove.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:34 PM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I wonder what effect the advances in forensics have had on the rape rate? Are more repeat rapists being caught sooner now?
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 4:47 PM on February 22, 2007


Of course this is good news!

And clearly the explanation is that we have more men out there like Mr. Van Iveren.
posted by inconsequentialist at 4:50 PM on February 22, 2007


ThePinkSuperhero writes "Read the second part I quoted again- it summarizes that the legal definition of rape is now broader than it once was. As though that has an effect on whether women chose to report it to the police when they've been raped. And I don't think it does."

Ahh. I see what you mean. I think you're right; that second point--the broadening of the definition of rape--is not related to reporting statistics. The point the article is trying to make, however, is that, all other things being equal, when the definition of rape is broadened, you would expect the number of reported rapes to increase. The fact that this number has decreased during a time when the definition has broadened suggests that the decrease is even more extreme than the raw numbers reveal.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:57 PM on February 22, 2007


Is porn itself violence against men, women and children.

No.

Honestly, how could it be? Violence is violence. Porn may be distasteful to you, but if there's no cooercion going on, it's in not criminal.
posted by Fenriss at 5:06 PM on February 22, 2007


I wonder what effect the advances in forensics have had on the rape rate?

Well, most rape is acquaintance rape where sex is not disputed, only the lack of consent. So forensics don't help you very much in those cases.
posted by grouse at 5:14 PM on February 22, 2007


Well, most rape is acquaintance rape where sex is not disputed, only the lack of consent. So forensics don't help you very much in those cases.

So the decline is just a matter of people having fewer friends...stupid internet
posted by kigpig at 5:21 PM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, most rape is acquaintance rape where sex is not disputed, only the lack of consent. So forensics don't help you very much in those cases.
I thought (IANAL) forensics can determine at the least that vaginal tearing occurred, or other evidence of trauma. The defense can turn around and argue "rough sex", but the jury is at least going to be somewhat influenced, especially if the defense has trouble successfully painting the victim as a tramp.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:41 PM on February 22, 2007


Wait I'm confused. Are we pro-rape, or anti-rape here?
posted by aubilenon at 5:43 PM on February 22, 2007


Is porn itself violence against men, women and children.?


I would rather be in a Porn than be raped. I dare say almost all men, women, and children would agree if they were given a choice of the two.
posted by Megafly at 5:45 PM on February 22, 2007


BrotherCaine: yeah, but I figured by "advances in forensics," Green Eyed Monster meant things like DNA fingerprinting.
posted by grouse at 5:53 PM on February 22, 2007


"Is porn itself violence against men, women and children"

Only if it costs more than $5 or exposes you to pop up advertisements.
posted by drstein at 6:09 PM on February 22, 2007


That's a cool tangent, actually.
Would you rather be in a porno movie than be raped?

If you get to choose, obviously that muddies the consent issue, and if you have to choose, both are rape. But if you want, we can presume violence in the second case and simple coercion in the first. Then the question is, do you want the world to watch your rape, or would you rather be beaten up? And obviously, men, in either case you will have to be sodomized (on camera or not) by another man -- this isn't Penthouse Letters.

I don't think it is so obvious, Megafly, what someone would choose. Maybe let's ask Jenna Jameson and Mukhtar Mai what they think. I get to ask Jenna.
posted by Methylviolet at 6:23 PM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


St. Louis' police department discovered a new way to hide the rape problem: trash the reports. St. Louis shredded whatever paperwork they did write up, usually memos, and then waited until the statute of limitations ran out. Prostitutes who were raped were ignored, and in several cases, the rapist moved onto other victims. St. Louis: system abuse.

Statistics lie.
posted by FunkyHelix at 6:32 PM on February 22, 2007


This is really encouraging. Thanks for posting the article, Karl.
posted by LarryC at 6:39 PM on February 22, 2007


Statistics lie.

Statistics don't lie, people do.

In this case some of the statistics come very same survey used to make the claim that most sexual assaults are unreported.
posted by grouse at 6:46 PM on February 22, 2007


Actually, the cell phone factor is intriguing. Maybe folks are harder targets because the perp can pretty much assume they have a cell phone.
posted by frecklefaerie at 7:04 PM on February 22, 2007


parmanparman: the real question: Is porn itself violence against men, women and children.

I'm pretty sure this isn't the real question at all. And the answer is no.
posted by spaltavian at 7:30 PM on February 22, 2007


I don't believe it.
posted by tkchrist at 7:53 PM on February 22, 2007


Who gets the credit, Mormons or Scientologists?
posted by NortonDC at 7:58 PM on February 22, 2007


Is porn itself violence against men, women and children.

Seriously, what the heck have you been watching to give yourself that impression? Dare I ask?
posted by kid ichorous at 8:13 PM on February 22, 2007


Well, porn is the leading cause of self-abuse.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:25 PM on February 22, 2007


Why rape the cow when you can get the milk for free?
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:29 PM on February 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Actually while the forensic angle to solving more rape cases better is really exciting potentially, the reality of the situation is that human factors still keep things from happening smoothly, sometimes in truly depressing ways. Read A Backlog Story: Part 1 and Part 2 about the Mass State Crime Lab.
Then on January 12, reports of an announcement from the State Police sent another kind of shock wave through Massachusetts: Robert E. Pino, a civilian administrator, was accused of delaying reports of matches in the state's CODIS system with evidence tested in eleven Massachusetts "cold case" rape cases. These delays meant the cases could not be prosecuted, because while delayed, the Massachusetts 15-year statute of limitations expired. Also, according to the Boston Globe,

...In four cases, Pino prepared reports to police saying that tests linked DNA recovered at crime scenes to suspects, when, in fact, they had not. Pino did not mail all four reports, and no one was arrested because other officials discovered Pino's mistake....
Note: my sister works in that lab and she generally concurs with what has been reported, it's not a lot of histrionic handwaving.
posted by jessamyn at 8:32 PM on February 22, 2007


Additional statistics sources that support this op-ed include data on declining rates of rape from the National Crime Victimization Survey and evidence that the California juvenile crime rate for violent crimes has dropped to its lowest levels since 1960, at the same time that the adult violent crime rate has increased. If reporting rates were an issue, rape rates would not be declining in the National Crime Victimization Survey, which is based on anonymous self-reports of crime victimization derived from a survey of the general population and not from official police reports. In addition, rapes go unreported in the 21st century, but they were even more likely to go unreported in a more pre-feminist era. For this reason, official statistics actually underestimate how much things have improved for young women (in terms of being free from sexual assault) since the 1960s.
posted by jonp72 at 9:11 PM on February 22, 2007


the real question: Is porn itself violence against men, women and children.

That's not even a question! Questions have question marks!
posted by thirteenkiller at 9:22 PM on February 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


By the way, Mike Males, the author of this op-ed, has written several books on juvenile justice issues and how the media peddles exaggerated scare stories about youth crime and deviance. His writing can be scattershot and polemical sometimes, but nobody does a better job of debunking media moral panics about youth with the actual data. By the way, take a look at his Amazon.com reviews if you want to see how polemical he can be in shredding the conventional wisdom of "youth out of control."
posted by jonp72 at 9:22 PM on February 22, 2007


Wait I'm confused. Are we pro-rape, or anti-rape here?

I can see why you're confused, as we're anti-rape and pro-rapier (wit.)

the real question: Is porn itself violence against men, women and children.

Well, it's certainly caused me to beat myself on many an occasion...
posted by davejay at 11:53 PM on February 22, 2007


This report sounds like great news, but I suspect there is something wrong with it. I doubt rape can be reduced so drastically over so short a time by raising children in the "environment of greater gender equality" that the authors credit with the changes they report.

If the stats are so convincing, where are other reports on them? Or does the LA Times have the only people in America smart enough to spot the trend? Is the US the only country showing this trend? How are things going in the UK and Germany, for example, where I presume they are enjoying an "environment of greater gender equality" that can be compared to that of the US?
posted by pracowity at 12:41 AM on February 23, 2007


I find this very encouraging.

I also think that we can underestimate the effects of equality on relations between the sexes. The men and women I grew up with in a strongly-feminist and urban environment had friends of both sexes (and multiple orientations), and understood each other as people. Both equality and mixed society led us to have close, non-sexual relationships with men and women, and I think that has changed the way we understand the sexes. My husband and I, for instance, talk about the differences in male and female sex drives and arousal, rather than about women "teasing" men.

When I meet people from other, more traditional environments, I am sometimes shocked at how much men and women don't really see the other as like themselves. Most of the time this is no where near as extreme as the scary men at NoMarriage.com (which my husband and I read to each other sometimes for laughs/frights), but (pop-psychologizing) I do find it a convincing argument that one of the steps to not justifying violence against another person is to understand them as someone very like yourself. When girls are your friends, not strange, un-understandable beings who torment you, it's a lot harder to ever imagine yourself assaulting them.
posted by jb at 1:32 AM on February 23, 2007


I doubt cell phones would have much impact on acquaintance rape, which the majority of rape cases are. Besides, if you start punching someone, they probably are going to fight, collapse or run, not go for their cell phone.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:32 AM on February 23, 2007


From RAINN:

* Every two and a half minutes, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted.
* One in six American women are victims of sexual assault, and one in 33 men.
* In 2004-2005, there were an average annual 200,780 victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault.
* About 44% of rape victims are under age 18, and 80% are under age 30.
* Since 1993, rape/sexual assault has fallen by over 69%.


I am highly suspicious of such a trend as well, I must say. It just doesn't sound right. Did misogyny disappear because boys are taught that girls are their equals?

Either way RAINN goes on to say:

Is the incidence of rape and sexual assault increasing or decreasing in America?
Have you heard about crime declining? It is true (as best we can tell). While figures for any single year are considered somewhat unreliable because they are based on a small sample size, the more-reliable longterm trend looks extremely good. Since 1993, rape/sexual assault has fallen by more than half. Read a two page summary of major statistics (pdf).

posted by Sijeka at 4:01 AM on February 23, 2007


If the stats are so convincing, where are other reports on them? Or does the LA Times have the only people in America smart enough to spot the trend?

Mike Males is not a reporter for the LA Times.

The Department of Justice issues reports that indicate that rape has decreased significantly since 1993. It says nothing about whether the difference between this and other sorts of violent crimes are significant in this time span, and I'm not so sure it is obvious for 1993-2005.

Unfortunately, in 1992, the DoJ made methodological changes in the survey and especially the way that rape and sexual assault questions were asked, so it is harder to draw conclusions across these time periods. But their analysis reveals that, if anything, the new questions engendered higher reported rates of sexual assault by a factor of 2.57. The DoJ adjusts data produced for the whole timescale such as this graph of rape rates 1973-2005 in order to eliminate this effect.

Is the US the only country showing this trend? How are things going in the UK and Germany, for example, where I presume they are enjoying an "environment of greater gender equality"

I think your presumption is wrong regarding the UK. There are some pretty backwards ideas about women here amongst some people.
posted by grouse at 4:12 AM on February 23, 2007


I am highly suspicious of such a trend as well, I must say. It just doesn't sound right.

"It just doesn't sound right" is more indicative of prejudices than persuasive argument. How is it that you believe that rape rates have not decreased? What information do you rely on to form this belief? Unless you spend a lot of time reading government crime statistics, it is probably from the media. I would suggest that the media sensationalizes violent crime, and especially sexual crime.
posted by grouse at 4:45 AM on February 23, 2007


I think your presumption is wrong regarding the UK. There are some pretty backwards ideas about women here amongst some people.

And that is not the case in the US?
posted by pracowity at 5:40 AM on February 23, 2007


grouse writes "'It just doesn't sound right' is more indicative of prejudices than persuasive argument."

Well, you know, some people groove on that whole "faith-based, not reality-based" stuff.
posted by Bugbread at 5:41 AM on February 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


There are some pretty backwards ideas about women here amongst some people.
And that is not the case in the US?


It certainly is, but I'm not claiming that the U.S. has a markedly increased environment of "gender equality." Just that your presumption that it is increased in the UK seems baseless to this person who has lived in both countries for years.
posted by grouse at 6:07 AM on February 23, 2007


Even though the article is an op-ed, I'm surprised that a senior research from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice would make such sloppy assertions.

I have a massively hard time accepting the reasoning of this article at face value when all other societal trends point towards "consent" as being the variable most uniquely subject to change.

The 90's saw the development of the "tween" market group:
They act and behave as aspiring teenagers buying tweenie targeted cosmetics, music, magazines, clothes and fripperies under parental guidance with an average of £6 pocket money a week. They make up an impressive 2 billion pound annual market in the UK. (Source)

The rise of thongs as public, sexualized items:
"One example of music that popularized this undergarment is the "Thong Song" by Sisqó, which was released in 2000. G-strings have become icons of pop culture, often with pop female artists wearing clothing that is so revealing that their wearing of a thong is obvious. Many younger American females have followed suit, increasing the popularity of thong underwear.

G-string underwear is not without its own controversies. In 2002 American clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch, known for their racy catalogues, launched a line of G-string underwear marketed specifically at girls aged 13 to 16 years. Several consumer advocacy groups objected to marketing of the G-string, claiming they are too sexually suggestive. In April 2002, G-string underwear was at the center of a media uproar after a female vice-principal Rita Wilson at Rancho Bernardo High School in southern California forced female students to lift their skirts before entering a school dance, in a so-called crackdown on G-string underwear. Many U.S. public schools have banned thongs at cheerleading practices."
(Source)

Youth behavior is getting "worse" due to these factors:
Parents are now working longer hours and are less available to monitor and engage in their children's lives;

Schools and neighbourhoods are no longer offering the strong community and social control they once did;

There is less emphasis on religion in the home and in society as a whole;

There is a rise in the number of single-parent homes, especially those living in poverty;

Youth are now spending unparalleled amounts of time accessing media, through television, music videos, the Internet and video games.
(Source)

===

It may be non-consent that has declined rather than rape.
posted by VulcanMike at 6:08 AM on February 23, 2007


VulcanMike writes "It may be non-consent that has declined rather than rape."

Er, rape is sex without consent. If consent is given more freely, and non-consensual sex decreases, that's the very definition of "rape is declining". What you've said is basically like saying "The sun isn't gradually cooling down, instead it's becoming progressively more un-hot."
posted by Bugbread at 6:26 AM on February 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


Essentially VulcanMike is saying the same thing as Krrrlson, but less vulgarly and less succinctly.
posted by grouse at 7:48 AM on February 23, 2007


I doubt cell phones would have much impact on acquaintance rape, which the majority of rape cases are. Besides, if you start punching someone, they probably are going to fight, collapse or run, not go for their cell phone.

Sure they could--cops and other protectors get calls from women who've grabbed a cell phone and locked themselves in a bathroom or back bedroom after the flatmate's ex or brother's buddy got too aggressive and started grabbing and making demands. And acquaintance rape doesn't always mean an at home dating situation--it could be a liquored up ex coworker waiting for you in the parking garage just saying he wants to talk, or your new date follows you out of a club and insists on walking you to your car. Either way a woman grabs the phone and threaten to call 911 if he doesn't back way off. Or even more indirectly--just having the phone when you get in a jam when you might otherwise take a foolish risk alone--call a friend for a ride because your car conked out on the highway at night, or you realize you're too drunk at a bar to make your way home safely, or your date at a party is acting creepy.

I'm not saying that a cell phone is going to make a damn bit of difference if the rapist is punching you or threatening you with a gun, I just wonder how many woman have used one or threatened to use one to put lid on a situation that otherwise might have gotten very ugly very quickly. It's a way of staying constantly connected, when a rapist needs you to be alone and feeling isolated.
posted by tula at 8:41 AM on February 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm gonna rape qounsar for his comment and he's gonna like it.
posted by nofundy at 12:22 PM on February 23, 2007


nofundy writes "I'm gonna rape qounsar for his comment and he's gonna like it."

You mean you're going to lend him a porno?
posted by Bugbread at 12:30 PM on February 23, 2007


no, bugbread, he's going to make him a fish sandwich
posted by pyramid termite at 2:26 PM on February 23, 2007


Tula, your point about isolation is a good one. After reading that, I guess I feel like cell phones might reduce opportunities for rape to occur, but not actually deter an intent rapist.

On another note, is youth drinking declining? Unlikely, but that would definitely account for a decrease in rape.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:26 PM on February 23, 2007


I'm not convinced by the mobile phone argument—remember that this is a 30-year trend.
posted by grouse at 3:32 AM on February 24, 2007


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