National Sexual Violence Resource Center Director, Karen Baker published
a response to Washington Post editorial written by Christina Hoff
Sommers, wherein Ms. Baker succinctly refuted Ms. Sommers' claims
concerning definition of 'sexual violence' and accusing The Center for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of supposedly 'overstating' the
prevalence of (male) sexual violence findings in their latest National
Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey.
Ms. Sommers' claims are not isolated ones but endlessly
repeated/parroted by men and their female allies who refuse to accept
and hold men accountable for their violence committed against women.
Denying the reality of how male violence against women operates to
maintain not only the male supremacist system but also enforcing
supposedly 'natural' male domination and control over all women is
essential. Since if these individuals were to accept reality this would
shake the very foundations of how our male supremacist systems operate.
This is why male supremacist system has to keep repeating the lie that
each case of intimate male violence against a female is either 'another
isolated incident' or 'male perpetrator is a deviant monster' - never
the respectable boy next door or the respectable family man who used
violence to enforce his pseudo male right to dominate and control
women's and girls' lives.
Feminists have always stated females do inflict sexual violence against
other females and boys, but women's sexual violence is never comparable
with men's violence against women or even equivalent to the number of
males continuing to perpetrate sexual violence against women and girls.
The issue has never been one of symmetry but rather of asymmetry.
New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault ~ February 22, 2012
NSVRC�s Karen Baker responds to NISVS criticism
National Sexual Violence Resource Center Director Karen Baker �one of our distinguished panel speakers at James X� published a response to a Washington Post editorial by Christina Hoff Sommers, who accused the CDC of overstating the prevalence of sexual violence in the recent NISVS findings. Sommers called the study �careless advocacy research.�
Author of Who Stole Feminism?: How Women Have Betrayed Women, and The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism is Harming Our Young Men, Sommers challenges the CDC�s methodology and �advocacy agenda,� criticizing the 2010 NISVS report�s �inflated statistics and sensationalism.� In a sensational turn of her own, Sommers offers her own interpretation of the striking findings on the scope of victimization: She writes, �the CDC effectively set a stage where each step of physical intimacy required a notarized testament of sober consent.�
Karen Baker�s response, issued in a press release titled, �I wish it were true that sexual violence is being overstated,� very thoughtfully addresses each of Sommers� criticisms, including deviations from previous national estimates and law enforcement data, and complaints with the study�s survey instrument. Where Sommers accuses the CDC of carelessness and ambiguity in their definition of sexual violence, Baker underscores the strengths of the methodology when it comes to allowing participants to define their own experiences of victimization to accurately measure a range of sexually violent behaviors. She writes, �I really wish that Christina Hoff Sommers� assessment was correct and that the problem is not really that big; unfortunately the facts don�t seem to be pointing in that direction.� Baker concludes, �the sooner we get our heads out of the sand and accept that reality, the sooner we can begin working together to find effective solutions.�
Sommers views NISVS as an attempt to steer �scarce resources in the wrong direction,� and challenges the SV prevention field�s emphasis on programs that address �sexism, stereotypes and social structures.� I believe that Karen Baker and the NSVRC�s response to Sommers� assessment is a perfect example of the way we can hold journalists and the media accountable for their role in reinforcing harmful notions of power and dangerous norms about societal tolerance of violence.