Here's the thing — the guys in this study were normal guys. And if you asked them if they were rapists or if what they did was rape, they'd say no. But when you rephrase the question like this, you get a whole different and horrifyingly eye-opening set of answers. And the scariest thing? They never got caught.
Yes means yes, no means no. Why is that so hard for some people to understand?
Trigger warning: Rape and sexual assault.
* The exact questions asked in the study were:
- Have you ever been in a situation where you tried, but for various reasons did not succeed, in having sexual intercourse with an adult by using or threatening to use physical force (twisting their arm, holding them down, etc.) if they did not cooperate?
- Have you ever had sexual intercourse with someone, even though they did not want to, because they were too intoxicated (on alcohol or drugs) to resist your sexual advances (e.g., removing their clothes)?
- Have you ever had sexual intercourse with an adult when they didn’t want to because you used or threatened to use physical force (twisting their arm; holding them down, etc.) if they didn’t cooperate?
- Have you ever had oral sex with an adult when they didn’t want to because you used or threatened to use physical force (twisting their arm; holding them down, etc.) if they didn’t cooperate?
FACT CHECK TIME! The data were pulled from two different studies. The first was a 2002 study done by David Lisak and Paul M. Miller titled "College Men: Repeat Rape and Multiple Offenders Among Undetected Rapists" [PDF]. The second was a 2009 study by Stephanie K. McWhorter et al. in which the results of the L&M study were duplicated on a larger scale, titled "Reports of Rape Reperpetration by Newly Enlisted Male Navy Personnel" [PDF].
NOTE: Unfortunately, these studies focused solely on men as perpetrators of rape and didn't get into the sex, orientation, or gender identity of the victims. I had trouble finding up-to-date, accurate, and trustworthy statistics on perpetrators of rape because this kind of research is still in its infancy. But if you know where I can find that data, please tweet me a link.