Total Drek

Or, the thoughts of several frustrated intellectuals on Sociology, Gaming, Science, Politics, Science Fiction, Religion, and whatever the hell else strikes their fancy. There is absolutely no reason why you should read this blog. None. Seriously. Go hit your back button. It's up in the upper left-hand corner of your browser... it says "Back." Don't say we didn't warn you.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Weekend Update!

Not paying attention to Pub Sociology over the weekend? Too bad- it's been hopping. The following is how I got involved in this particular circus. Because we all know I just can't keep my trap shut.


First and foremost I want to thank you for offering your perspective on this issue. Science proceeds through lively discussion and disagreement and this is no exception. It is also the case that you have a very good point above. Specifically, you argue that:

When women attack men, men are less likely to call the police. And when they do, the woman is less likely to be charged. Frequently, a woman will attack a man, the someone will call the cops, and the man will be arrested (this is because feminists have convinced many police departments that they should almost always arrest the man). Why would a man call the police if they think they'll be the one who gets arrested? This skews the statistics.

You are absolutely correct- this is a very good argument for why police reports may not accurately reflect the true incidence of a particular type of offense. By bringing up the above you do display some familiarity with issues in social science and should be commended for it.


However, the report that Tina cites is not based on police reports. She cites information drawn from the National Crime Victimization Survey or NCVS. As is described on the NCVS site:

The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) series, previously called the National Crime Survey (NCS), has been collecting data on personal and household victimization since 1973. An ongoing survey of a nationally representative sample of residential addresses, the NCVS is the primary source of information on the characteristics of criminal victimization and on the number and types of crimes not reported to law enforcement authorities. It provides the largest national forum for victims to describe the impact of crime and characteristics of violent offenders. Twice each year, data are obtained from a nationally representative sample of roughly 49,000 households comprising about 100,000 persons on the frequency, characteristics, and consequences of criminal victimization in the United States. The survey is administered by the U.S. Census Bureau (under the U.S. Department of Commerce) on behalf of the Bureau of Justice Statistics (under the U.S. Department of Justice).

The NCVS was designed with four primary objectives: (1) to develop detailed information about the victims and consequences of crime, (2) to estimate the number and types of crimes not reported to the police, (3) to provide uniform measures of selected types of crimes, and (4) to permit comparisons over time and types of areas. The survey categorizes crimes as "personal" or "property." Personal crimes cover rape and sexual attack, robbery, aggravated and simple assault, and purse-snatching/pocket-picking, while property crimes cover burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft, and vandalism. The data from the NCVS survey are particularly useful for calculating crime rates, both aggregated and disaggregated, and for determining changes in crime rates from year to year. (Emphasis added)

In other words, she cited a data source that is constructed specifically to correct for the issue you bring up, namely that victimization may be underestimated from police reports. It is worth mentioning, while we're on the subject, that victimization of females is also chronically underestimated using police reports, and so we should expect to make adjustments for both sexes when we move away from police report data. For more on the accuracy of the NCVS as an estimate of crime, please see the very clearly marked report provided on the NCVS site.

In any case, given the above you have not, as you claim, proven Tina wrong. The outside sources you bring up are certainly worth considering, but Tina's data source remains a valid one for the current argument.

I would like to respectfully suggest, as well, that you are making an error by dismissing Brayden's remarks on Professor Fiebert's bibliography. You state:

There were a lot of studies listed (over 100 I think), so it's not surprising that some of them support feminist lies...

Brayden's point was not that one or two studies contradict the rest, but rather that a more nuanced stance may be necessary to capture reality. As one example, the second study he refers to finds that,

...women receive more violence than men while dating, in contrast to the maritial violence research which shows that men receive violence as frequently as women.

If this is correct than, necessarily, your earlier claim that "...women attack their partners as often as the reverse," must be incorrect. If women and men assault each other equally during marriage, but men victimize women more than vice versa before marriage, then women as a group receive more abuse from their male partners than males do from their female partners. If you restrict the term "partner" to "legal spouse" then your assertion may be more reasonable, but such a scope condition is not clearly stated in your argument at present.

I think you are also unwise to so casually dismiss Brayden's remark that, "on average, the amount of physical harm that men cause women is much greater than the harm women cause men." You state that, "I admit that when men attack women, it causes more severe injuries (I never said otherwise)," however you do not recognize this as a potential source of data error like the one you object to in police report-based statistics. To understand what I mean, consider an example. I weigh approximately 160 pounds. The last woman I dated, by contrast, weighed approximately 120 pounds. That forty pound difference means that an equal amount of force delivered to me, say from a friend giving me a playful punch in the chest during a football game, will have less of an effect on me than it would my 120 pound counterpart. As such, the same violent action committed against both of us (i.e. a punch to the chest of X force) might be reported as a violent action by my female counterpart, for whom it was a significant event, but not as such by myself, for whom it was largely inconsequential. So, if we define violent actions in terms of punches of force X, my counterpart and I might be equally victimized, but if we define violence in terms of the actual harm caused, my counterpart was subject to violence while I was not.

Again, this is not to refute the studies of Professor Fiebert, but rather to suggest that greater complexity is needed in this argument.

Finally, I would caution you against accusing Tina of making ad hominem attacks. While she was sarcastic in some of her responses, she was no more inflammatory than you were in your repeated assertions about "feminist lies." Overall, Tina responded to your comments with dignity, and no small amount of respect, and you should have the courtesy to acknowledge such.


So how did Adam respond to all this? Well, go over to Pub Sociology and see for yourself. It's pretty special. Comments are closed now, but I'm sure most of you can figure out how I would have responded.

So is today's post just an excuse to use up a day without having to write anything new?

Um.... No?

Does this have anything to do with our current Total Drek homework assignment?

Could be.


Blogger tina said...


That comment was a thing of beauty. I'm tearing up just thinking about it. I'm so glad you posted it here for a wider audience to enjoy.

Between Adam and the Sconnies, we're up to our ankles in sheep dip over at the Pub. Seems like a perfect environment for someone named Drek. Any time you want to post with us, just let me know and I'll drop you an invite.

Monday, January 31, 2005 6:01:00 PM  
Blogger Drek said...

Wow, Tina, I'm flattered!

On the one hand I'm very tempted- I've grown quite fond of Pub Sociology, after all. On the other hand, I have the distinct sense that if I accepted your gracious offer people might start thinking of me as... respectable.


So, for now, I think I'll decline, but if you ever need a guest poster with a penchant for ass-jokes, you know where to find me!

Thanks. Really.

Monday, January 31, 2005 11:14:00 PM  
Blogger tina said...

Maybe you could post under a more respectable pseudonym, like Half Drek.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Drek said...

Yeah, I could, but then I'd sound like a villain from Batman.

"Curses! You may have stopped me this time, Bat-buffoon, but next time Gotham will belong to me!""Gotham will never be yours, Half-Drek, so long as justive lives."

Tuesday, February 01, 2005 11:00:00 AM  

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