In the Ball Park: Victims of Sexual Violence in Perspective
Graph from The Enliven Project, cached on-site as a bandwidth-saving courtesy.
The gender distribution of sexual violence isn't as black and white as Patriarchal ideology would have us believe. A post and accompanying graphic by Sarah Beaulieu called "The Super Bowl statistic we aren’t talking about" really puts it in perspective.
We are all talking about the Super Bowl. We are ranting and raving about the Ravens and the 49ers and the fact that their coaches are brothers. Every imaginable statistic about the teams, the players, and the coaches is available on every major news site. We are eagerly anticipating the commercials, planning our menus for the Super Bowl parties, and placing bets on who will win and what the final score might be.
But there is one thing that we aren’t talking about this week.
It’s that 1 out of 6 men on the field next Sunday could be survivors of sexual violence.
That’s right, 1 out of 6.
While this puts the canonical statistic about 1 out of 4 women in better perspective, what I think is even more important is that it helps unify the methodology:
Just to be clear, we don’t know whether specific players have had specific experiences. We simply want to you to look at the men in your class, the men in your family, and the men on your favorite sports team with this statistic in mind.
Yes, someone can attempt to deny or dismiss the statistic about men as "fuzzy," but by doing so they inescapably deny or dismiss the corresponding statistic for women. Similarly, those who dispute how the statistics about female victims are collected and compiled are inextricably throwing male victims under the bus.
Here's a point that really matters to me (emphasis mine.)
Too much shame and stigma exists for all victims of sexual violence.
And a point that's too-often overlooked both by patriarchists and doctrinaire/conservative feminists alike:
But the stigma is even greater for men, many of whom believe they should have been able to protect themselves or fear that friends and family members will think less of them if they come forward.
There have been a handful of brave and courageous men – R.A. Dickey, Tyler Perry, Scott Brown, and Keyon Dooling to name a few – who have stepped forward and are generous in sharing their stories and experiences so that others can be less afraid to break silence. But these men are not the exception. And their stories are more common than you think.
She ends her post with a welcome and heartfelt reminder
When you are watching the Super Bowl next weekend, begin the conversation by sharing this graphic. Ask yourself whether you are open to the truth in your own life and in the lives of the men you love.
I'll just say again, as I've said in the past, that the closer we get to acknowledging this as a universal issue the further we get from dismissing this large fraction or that, the closer we get to managing, mitigating, reducing, and (why not aim high?) someday eliminating sexual violence. All of it.