NCFM PR Director Steven Svoboda Book Review, When Women Sexually Abuse Men: The Hidden Side of Rape, Stalking, Harassment, and Sexual Assault.

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When Women Sexually Abuse Men: The Hidden Side of Rape, Stalking, Harassment, and Sexual Assault. By Philip W. Cook with Tammy L. Hodo, Ph.D. Santa Barbara, California: Praeger 2013. 193 pages. No price information on book; Amazon gives price as $41.00. Review by J. Steven Svoboda.

Philip W. Cook’s 1997 masterwork, Abused Men: The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence appeared soon after I started reviewing books about true gender equality. Cook has now teamed with Tammy L. Hodo to produce a second book about men sexually victimized by women. Not a popular topic in some quarters but an important one.

This book is a little unusual in a couple ways. First, major publishing house Praeger saw fit to release it. Secondly, When Women Sexually Abuse Men is highly fact-driven. Cook and Hodo are not tendentious authors but rather make their points simply and dispassionately. No drama, no invective. Just the facts ma’am. Men are sexually victimized by women, and not necessarily even with less frequency than women are victimized by men.

The many personal stories included help to bring the facts home. The book opens with the truly shocking story of a man who was enslaved by his wife and some assistants, kept in chains, and brutalized until he came close to dying. Not uplifting for sure but it is important to know that these things do happen. Sadly, we learn, often psychologists and counselors fail to help either female sexual abusers or male victims.

And the facts are indeed highly surprising, such as that stalking by women of men now exceeds the reverse phenomenon. A second startling truth is that most studies find roughly equal numbers of men and women feeling pressured into having undesired sex. The authors explode various myths, such that men always want sex and also that men cannot have erections without being aroused and desiring sex.

The US Department of Education’s 2011 directive to all universities receiving federal funds to use a preponderance of the evidence standard for cases of alleged sexual misconduct is a clear violation of the US Constitution! Equally shockingly, in 2011 the federal government broadened its definition of rape to include acts not normally considered to fit this crime, such as intercourse facilitated by alcohol or drugs.

The authors make some excellent points, observing for example regarding inflated federal redefinitions of rape to include attempted rape, “We know of no area of criminal law where an attempt is afforded the same legal status as the actual crime.” Rape victims are being overcounted and the real losers are those who actually suffer a sexual attack in the dark by a stranger. Camille Paglia is right on point: “Even the most morbid of the rape ranters have a childlike faith in the perfectibility of the universe, which they see as blighted solely by nasty men… A sense of privilege and entitlement, as well as ignorance of the dangers of life, has been institutionalized.”

So it is that we have this odd world in which, “Campus rape ideology holds that inebriation strips women of responsibility for their actions but preserves male responsibility not only for their own actions but for their partners’ as well… [The new campus sexual assault rules] position women as helpless victims who require bureaucratic protection from those males—victims with no responsibility for their own behavior. Heaven help those women when they graduate.”

Cook and Hodo address many important and often neglected aspects of these topics, noting for example that the international human rights community almost exclusively focuses on female sexual victimization and female rape with no evident concern for male victims. An unpleasant but important topic is the number of Lorena Bobbitt-like cases of women attacking their husband’s genitalia, sometimes with laughter at the men’s plight by talk show hosts such as Sharon Osbourne. Can we even imagine the gender-reversed scenario of attacks on female genitalia being found amusing?

Another disturbing topic is Canada’s law that forbids legal consent to sex with someone “in a position of trust, power or authority over you, for example, a minister, coach, employer, teacher, police officer.” The authors sensibly ask if police officers can now only marry other police officers of the same rank? They also point out that relationships happen in life, and life for example involves teacher-student marriages.

Astonishingly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports statistics on female sexual victimization and omits to mention the more or less equivalent numbers for men! In another example of an organization providing a skewed interpretation of the facts, the American Association of University Women’s (AAUW’s) Hostile Hallways study of high school harassment of girls, which has been flogged by feminists as supposedly support female victimization in grades 8-11,  in fact found that “girls are doing almost as much harassing as the boys…. The majority of both genders described themselves as having been both victim and perpetrator of harassment—that is, most students had been harassed and had harassed others.”

The authors also delve into the odd fact that sexual harassment laws focus on whether there has been gender discrimination. There have been cases of bosses who harassed males and females equally and thus were not liable under the law! Cook and Hodo add, “Current sexual harassment law… is creating the very hostility between the sexes that it purports to correct… Not only should government not be relied on in social situations, it cannot be relied on.”

The authors also address issues at the core of general men’s rights. Men, as it was usefully summarized, are “a national afterthought” in a country in which we have a federal Violence Against Women Act despite men suffering more violence. Nearly as many men die at work each as were killed in a typical day of the Vietnam War! Men aren’t even allowed to form men’s centers at universities!

Cook and Hodo address false sexual abuse allegations and sensibly ask if they should also be considered a form of sexual abuse. The authors explode the myth of a two percent false accusation rate, showing that in fact the numbers are up around fifty percent.

The authors have put together a succinct yet far-reaching survey of the important and neglected topic of sexual victimization of men by women. While it may not be the sort of book you would want to take to the beach, please do yourself a favor and pick up a copy and read it soon! Highly recommended.

NCFM PR Director Steven Svoboda Book Review, When Women Sexually Abuse Men: The Hidden Side of Rape, Stalking, Harassment, and Sexual Assault.