I'm a woman. I was physically and sexually abused by my father as a child. The impact it's had on me is painful to describe. I was working as a software engineer in the tech industry and was constantly experiencing PTSD symptoms being surrounded by men -- though by no fault of their own, it was totally because of what my father did to me.
It's been a frustrating journey. The sexual abuse happened to me at such a young age that I didn't realize until now, in my 30s, that I was molested. I feel completely robbed of my life -- to feel constant panic, anxiety, and depression for no fault of my own. It's been an expensive journey of therapy and various treatments to try to reach a stabilizing baseline. It's been an embarrassing journey -- as a software engineer, I am extremely competent. I just cannot work with men, apparently..
I'm glad studies like this are coming out to validate experiences of fellow incest survivors. A book instrumental in my understanding and healing also: The Body Keeps Score.
Thanks to whomever read this. I wrote it mostly to experience sharing my story publicly, and reducing to myself the shame that exists of being a child abuse survivor.
Honestly, my suggestion would be to be open about your own experiences and the impact they've had on you. (Not necessarily abuse, but just offhand comments like 'oh, it's silly but I can't stand yelling because my dad yelled a lot' or 'I don't drink because my family's had issues with it', etc.) Be open and clear that a.) you don't judge people for being 'weird' and b.) you accept things other people need even if you don't need them.
Don't be overly emotional about it. Just accept their human needs in the same way you would if a coworker had a disability. Oh, that person needs more space between us? Alright. Not any different than a hard of hearing coworker who needs me to speak up a bit, or a visually impaired coworker who uses zoom on their computer.
My saying, "Hey, I have a bit of anxiety so I'm going to gather myself for a moment; do you think you could step back and give me some space and we could try to pitch this conversation a bit quieter?" shouldn't be much different than my needing a stepstool. I'm short. It happens.
If you treat the people around you as individuals, then people understand they can ask you for what they need.
I'd imagine that many people would disagree with this. Dwelling on people's supposed 'weirdness' is not a healthy attitude (least of all when the 'weirdness' is our own) and would not be seen as "open" or "accepting" by many, but more of a signal of entitlement. If you think that the other person would benefit from something, just behave accordingly without dwelling on it, and people will hopefully realize that they can ask you for these things with no fuss.
Not only does it help prevent things from happening that could be a problem later, it helps prevent even accusations of such, if it's well known that the person involved holds to this rule and expects others to hold them to it as well. Say what you will about Pence, love him or hate him, nobody is accusing him of sexual misconduct - and that's the point of the rule.
It doesn't prevent abuse by a close family member though.
You can leave the door to the office open at all times. Or use a glass wall or door so people can see in, but maybe not overhear.
In practice that's likely quite difficult.
The only way to treat this as gospel is to never be present with another woman alone.
That the tech industry is so inept with opposite gender interactions that they have adopted tactics from religious zealot evangelicals is APALLING.
Treat people as humans. Regardless of gender or sexuality.
Sex is one of the most essentially human things. "Professional" behaviour excludes sex.
So "treat people as humans" is decisively not clear advice for cases like this.
Humans are not automata, and I don't aspire to be one, not even for "just" 8 hours a day.
We're not having orgies in the street. In modern society you are expected to treat humans in the vast majority of situations without "sex" being relevant to the topic of discussion, whether it's on the street, in the grocery store, on the tram, or in the library.
Acting like this is not clear feels like an exercise in pedantic loophole seeking to justify sexual harassment. ("How are people even supposed to meet each other if I'm not allowed to <blank> to women in <blank>?")
First of all, the "VAST MAJORITY" of human interactions are irrelevant (cashier, bank clerk, passing people on the street). Given how much time you spend with coworkers, they'd qualify as friends, or acquaintances at least.
Also, there's a large gap between "professional behaviour" and "orgies in the street" or "sexual harassment". For example, I don't mind talking about menstruation or condoms with friends (who I'm not having sex with, nor have/would I ever try) but I don't think those would be appropriate topics for most workplace situations.
The amount of sex related conversation in my friend group is, from my perspective, normal but entirely inappropriate for work. Even my female barber talks about her sex life during haircuts.
At work I keep my sarcasm set to near zero, avoid politics, religion, and sex, and generally keep a narrow focus. Work is an artificial environment, but my coworkers don't get to choose me. It is on me to behave in a way that is beyond reproach.
Yes, I have conversation with friends that are not work-appropriate.
And I also have conversations with coworkers that are casual and work-appropriate. Yet they can be friendly and reference current events (which are inherently political), religion (e.g. acknowledging ramadan fasting), sexuality (gender of partner), or the existence of sex (parenting). OK that last one is a stretch.
But still, you can do all this without needing to firewall your entire personality.
I might find the intentions dubious, but I can't argue with the results.
Being the sole woman in a company of men when means your superiors are men, your peers are men, and the only recourse you may have if any of them act inappropriately towards you is to report it to another man.
Edit: respect boundaries and consistently remind that if they have a boundary they are free to enforce and you will respect that. Boundaries come in the form of more than “please don’t x”. They are also “I prefer x” or “can we y”.
The clearest and most effective way of doing this is to proactively establish and propose safe boundaries for the other person's benefit. This is the underlying dynamic behind many rules-of-thumb of ordinary courtesy and politeness (often wrongly dismissed as some sort of useless, obsolete 'traditionalism'). Not everyone is so assertive and comfortable with themselves that they should be expected to verbalize their boundaries to you, or even to understand them proactively.
Learning to be open and friendly, and developing a sense for when someone doesn't want to talk to me has been an important part of growing up. I try to identify signals that a person wants to end their interaction with me, and respect their wishes immediately and in a friendly way.
The quick rule-of-thumb is to be courteous and respectful but also establish very firm physical boundaries, even erring towards being less friendly as opposed to more. You also need to proactively signal that you will stop interacting with them at the slightest sign of their discomfort; keeping interactions short and to the point is an obvious way to do this, even though this outwardly looks "rude" and "unfriendly"!
For instance, those of us with developmentally-caused trauma often view every person as a threat, because we were abused by our caregivers. (In my case, my mother.) This is because we need our abusers to survive, so we're used to abuse being a necessary part of life and something that can happen at any time/during mundane interactions. We don't feel like anyone is safe. The only person my nervous system trusts is my baby sister. Trying to get me to recognize you as safe isn't going to work, because nobody is safe to me.
I realize that not everybody is a danger and my feelings are the result of my failing the parental lottery and not a commentary on every person I meet, which means it's my responsibility/job to retrain/calibrate my 'who is safe' sensors. It just takes practice and some patience sometimes.
People refusing to interact with me because they have different genitals than me isn't going to help, especially when most of my hobbies are male-dominated. It just conveys 'Ha, you're not a proper girl, so you don't deserve friends. Go learn to like clothes and boys if you want to hang out with people'.
Now, if you've been burned in the past by people using their mental illnesses to blame you for not understanding social cues, or had that used against you in the past, and you don't feel comfortable in mixed-sex interactions, that's fine, but that's a need of YOURS, not the women.
This makes plenty of sense, but then I'm not sure why you're expecting others to be physically friendly with you. Having a "friendly" interaction with someone generally presupposes some degree of physical quasi-intimacy that would seem to be quite incompatible with "not feeling like anyone is safe" to be around. This doesn't mean you can't be friendly in many other ways of course, but these interactions will nonetheless be quite different from what folks might otherwise expect.
There's a couple of reasons for this:
1.) If you're a young, small, female, people will be in your space whether you want them there or not. Keeping it "friendly" makes sure that it doesn't turn violent. (Note: This isn't just from men: My go to example of a person disrespecting my space was a woman in undergrad who, upon meeting me for the first time, picked me up because I was so small and 'cute' to her.) Luckily, I'm over 30 and an old hag now! 10/10 do recommend. V. helpful!
2.) As a female, I'm expected/allowed to offer comfort to people, and that includes physically, so I'll do things like hug my friends when they're sad if they like hugs because I still want to support them even if I have PTSD. Or I hug and take care of my little sister because I know touch is important for her mental health and I value that. I also occasionally offer childcare/ have nieces and nephews or am in gatherings with children, and they touch.
I generally let people, and people know that I/Aunt Mezzie needs some quiet sometimes.
I also have MS and malfunctioning nerves; I view them similarly. "Wow, my brain has a lesion and now I can't feel my feet what." and "Wow, I'm traumatized and now I can't relax around people I like what."
It's precisely when you're "young, small" etc. that this is not OK. These people are not being "friendly" to you, they should know better. And you're quite free to remove yourself physically from the interaction if they keep invading your boundaries.
> so I'll do things like hug my friends when they're sad
At least then you're initiating and thus controlling the interaction, with an acquaintance who's OK with it. It's not anything that you should be forced to do, but having one's boundaries be actively transgressed upon would likely be more stressful.
My PTSD isn't sexually related (I was neglected + emotionally/physically abused, but not sexually), but working was so difficult for me until I got my current, WFH job. I didn't realize how much being in a state of constant physical distress was taking a toll on my wellbeing. It's exhausting, and I wish you all the best.
I had used MDMA recreationally years later and I knew that had helped my PTSD some, but it was only when I did a session years later in a therapeutic setting, just myself and the facilitator, was I able to fully connect to, sit with, and process what happened to me; literally the stimuli of what I would/should have felt then was able to process - as if it was stuck, once processed allowing my body to no longer think it was in that situation (so heightened stress state, heightened baseline stress reduced greatly).
MAPS.org (Multi-Disciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies) relatively recently did clinical trials with 100 treatment resistant participants, to treat veterans with MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. They had an average of 17.5 years of treatment resistant PTSD. After 1 year, 80% of the placebo group had no improvement, 20% had some. With just 2-3 sessions where MDMA was given, after just 1 year, 80% of participants no longer qualified for PTSD diagnoses - and 20% had some or none - a complete reversal. From my experience it's true - it just allows you to connect to overwhelming/overriding stress that short-circuits your system, allows it to flow and essentially melt away - though it can take talking about it to put the experience into words, to process it, to help by breathing through it, etc.
All this to say that even if you have ever done MDMA recreationally, e.g. gone out dancing with a partner or friends, I'd recommend anyone who hasn't done it in a different context, a "safer" or quieter/therapeutic environment, where you're not using music and other people to distract from yourself - then I'd recommend people look into doing it; there will slowly be legal clinics opening up, though I've not kept track of who's leading that at the moment or where the progress is. E.g. there may be more depth to the experiences that you'll be able to process with the help of MDMA causing more serotonin to release at once than it can on its own, and the only way to know is to try.
Basically MDMA and/or psilocybin allow you to essentially disassociate from the the emotions of the event. You're able to talk about and work through the events without also being overwhelmed by the emotions of the event.
But yeah, it's not just popping shrooms or pills and you're magically healed. It's about being in that setting with someone who can therapeutically work you through the trauma. You still need to do the work, but MDMA and/or psilocybin can greatly facilitate the process.
Most people's guess as to the rate of occurrence of this kind of abuse would be off by an order of magnitude or more.
In the past 5 years I've become privy to so many dark experiences of close female friends and family. What used to be an outlier experience is now almost.. common? More than one woman I've dated has had to preface intimacy with a harrowing experience. It's been hard for me to deal with this knowledge about people I love, but nevertheless is the truth and must be told.
Take care. I hope the remote work world has helped.
And for what it's worth, I also am a SWE, and I also struggle working around men. 90% of the time, the men I work with are awesome, supportive, nice, etc. But the trauma informs that 10% where I feel invalid, not seen, objectified... all that fun stuff. It's challenging and I don't think trauma has ever been brought up as a challenge in the workplace when there's no trauma directly in the workplace, if that makes sense. I certainly haven't directly connected it before this.
"In a few cases (N < 5) families were dropped from the comparison group because some history of sexual abuse was ascertained."
So roughly 5% (<5 of 84) of the control group were discovered to have themselves been abused and needed to be dropped from the study. I was once in a law lecture on medical ethics. We were discussing genetic testing of newborns and how this could detect incest/abuse. A medical doctor in the class was dead against such testing. In his experience, amongst pregnant teenagers (17 and younger) about 10% were pregnant by their own fathers/brothers. His opinion was that our society is not ready to deal with this, that such abuse is far more common than anyone is willing to admit. He actually said: You better build some more prisons before you start testing babies for this. The OP study seems in line with his numbers.
Out of a few dozen people, seven women left the room to explain why they could not be impartial, some of them returning in tears. They weren't gone for a short while, either, many of them took 20 or 30 minutes before returning to the court room. One of them was called back out of the room at the very end, and my wife suspects that she was actively being abused and this was an opportunity to seek help without the abuser being present.
This isn't something that I have to personally worry about if I'm by myself, but it's something that so many women do have to worry about all the time. I can't even imagine the burden that women must carry.
Not just women, but children. I was aware that I could be sexually assaulted/harrassed and what to do about it by the time I was 5, and I started getting uncomfortable comments in person around age 11. I'm also exceptionally lucky and have never actually been assaulted.
Not particularly relevant to most people here, but some of you will have daughters, so.
Edit: Also relevant potentially to your colleagues and co-workers, since one reason I stopped participating in tech spaces while I was a teenager (I still coded, just only alone or anonymously) was because I felt unsafe being a 13-14 year old girl who was the only female in a room/space with dozens of men, some of whom were 2-3 times my age. I don't think I can overstate the danger alarm bells, especially given how rampant homophobia was back then and I was also gay.
At an early age, about 5 or so I was exposed to sex, with peers, male/female. Later I was raped through coercion by two older children at 10-ish, male/female. Additionally none of this was ever reported until adulthood.
As a male I've repeatedly been put in positions that I could describe as uncomfortable (though I don't, usually), pressured intimacy, catcalling, sexually forward girls/men...
Having gotten feedback from female peers in adulthood, I've gotten to wondering about the way that society tends to articulate sex and rape to women. The summary of framing that I've gotten from one of my intimates, is that at an early age women are given the impression that sex is their single lever in a relationship or socially. Sex is the only way which a woman can gain approval. Which, to me, seems like it would drastically amplify the experience of rape. There's also the puritanical considerations of virginity and slut shaming, etc... But I don't know that it's really a running theme in individual women.
And then there's the proactive modality. At the time of my rapes, I was not informed on rape or consent, and so the context wasn't that of violence, but simply commonplace arm twisting, and because it was as such I only ever saw that it could be framed as a traumatic episode much later. On the obverse, having been informed of such things as detestable, as violent, as traumatic and serious and driven to reporting it, I could imagine that it would escalate my feelings, and I suspect so would dealing with it externally with strangers and institutions and perhaps having some artificial narrative constructed by interlopers either directly or indirectly. I mean, consider having to talk to parents, police, social workers and so on it's implies a considerable escalation from the day-to-day. Especially as a child. Of course this seldom happens. I wonder if it's a sort of funeral psychology where you feel compelled to cry and mourn because that's what's implied, even if you don't feel the need.
But as a male having gone through these situations, without the framework being described, but rather having the privilege to describe it myself, it simply never evolved into a trauma. And I think this might be borne out by the statistics wherein boys/men simply do not report rape, just beyond the fact that it may happen less frequently. But having direct perspective on it, I wonder if I'm an oddball, or if trauma resulting from female rape is sort of amplified by the way women are socialized and informed.
quite a few times I have experienced unwanted sexual advances/touching/groping in public spaces from women I considered friends, in front of our other friends. I don't consider those events traumatic, but certainly uncomfortable at the time. I never knew what to do, so I would just freeze and pretend it wasn't happening. once I actually went through with it and had sex with the person because I felt I had led her on by allowing her initial advances (dumb of me in hindsight).
perhaps one important difference is that I was physically stronger than every one of those people. I could have resisted, but didn't due to (possibly imagined) social pressure. like I said, I don't think there is any lasting trauma over these events; I think of them more as misunderstandings than assaults. but at the same time, all of these women were otherwise quite vocal about feminism, consent, etc. I wonder what they would have called it if I'd done the same things to them.
Only because of the context.
If this were a conversation behind closed doors you could say what you wanted, people could disagree and eventually mutual understanding of people's opinions could be reached despite initial clumsy or imprecise wording.
But this is an internet conversation where if you pick the wrong words, speak too broadly or fail carpet bomb every sentence with carve outs for exceptions and special cases some jerk will swoop in and post a low effort rebuttal for the easy karma and off the rails it goes from there.
I can't speak for all eras and populations, but I suspect that that anecdote is an outlier.
> I wonder if I'm an oddball
If I may be so bold, you seem emotionally detached from the incident. That itself might be a response to the trauma.
EDIT: Also, many comments testify to it in this discussion.
It's a hypothetical, I'm not intent on stating anything as fact.
>Look at the victims of the Catholic Church and other well-known situations.
Part of what I conjectured was that the system itself is potentially traumatic. And that (naive) interventions might hypothetically be damaging. Again, one is potentially braving a number of institutions, not just family, but police, case workers, mental health professionals. Not to mention in the case of familial abuse considerable transitions, up to foster care, itself from what I've heard is frequented by pederasts. Perhaps a window for a form of gaslighting, wherein the victim is induced to believe they're traumatized.
That is to say, that any well-known case, perhaps especially well-known cases would be outside the scope.
I'm both homosexual and visually impaired (I was legally blind until I was four years old), which overrode a lot of female/sex-specific messages. Women who are attracted to men may have received that message, but that's not the message as I interpreted it. As a young, conventionally-attractive (at the time, I'm old now) lesbian woman, sex was framed to me as something that men were always going to want from me and that I:
a.) could do nothing about this and
b.) got nothing from it; the most I could hope for was that it would be limited to comments
On the other hand, I was online as a kid and both age and sex/gender presentation were pretty fluid and what you're suggesting does track with how people approached sexual topics with me when they knew I was female versus when I was assumed to be a young male person (there are no girls on the Internet, remember).
One thing I find interesting in how male versus female victims discuss their assaults is that both focus on how traumatizing it is to be helpless, but the women who are traumatized usually focus more on the physical helplessness, while men who are traumatized usually focus more on the social helplessness. Neither is to be dismissed.
As to the long-range effects, I don't really have a high resolution reference point pre- and post-incident, and history being what it is I've no control to compare against so I don't know how, if at all my behaviors are and were adjusted.
Since you mentioned you were aware of the danger when you were as young as 5 - when and how would you suggest one could help let their daughter know about these risks without inducing some much fear and anxiety that will end up making her avoid too many positive experiences?
I'm assuming you have a neurotypical, potty-trained 3 year old; it's more complex when things like toilet-help are involved, I know.
Perhaps reach out to Darkness to Light or your local (regional) children's advocacy center. Many states have more than one. Not sure about the status internationally, but in the US, I know this is the case.
In my 20+ years doing public policy advocacy on a number of issues related to children, I came across too many organizations that had the potential to harm children and families, through using poor prevention models, infidelity to the model, not understanding issues, thinking that doing something was enough. While I'm generally a fan of doing something is better than doing nothing, that is absolutely not the case with this topic.
And we back that up, forcefully. If my kid doesn't want a hug, they will not be getting a hug. If they don't want to share, they won't.
My kid's autonomy is worth way more than those relationships. Period.
And it's worth it. Your kids will naturally share when they feel comfortable doing so. They'll share affection when they feel comfortable. And longer term this extends into topics they're not mature enough to tackle at 3
Agreed with this, I (woman) started getting regularly cat-called on the street every time I left my house around 12-13.
I was a young looking child to boot.
The jury has to judge how a reasonable person would act in a certain situation, who is lying and who is telling the truth.
Off one end, we have victim blamind and rapists walking free, off another end, uk had "serial liar" who invented false rape allegations and sent 9 innocent people to jail.
Which I consider a larger problem. Since so much abuse is hidden, the perpetrators also can sit on juries related to sexual assault cases. Delightful.
And they should do this by weighing the evidence impartially, not emotionally.
I don't know if we should (or even can) aim to have a victim included on any set of jurors, but removing them altogether seems like a very bad strategy.
The jury has to have basic grasp of the situation so that they can decide who is lying and who is telling the truth (and witnesses called by prosecution do lie).
Imagine being tried on sex abuse by people who never had a relationship, or an employment dispute judged by people who never had a job. It would be disaster.
Why? my professor asked.
Because you don't listen to the lawyers or the judge, he was told. "Big brain" people try to play Matlock and solve the case themselves, or invent theories in their imagination, or get into absurd arguments in the jury room. They screw up the whole process that's designed to bring a high level of rigour and fairness to the situation--what should and shouldn't be considered, how the law applies, etc. They're wild cards that turn trials into a game of chance instead of an orderly adversarial confrontation that's heavily regulated.
People mock jurors routinely, especially the ones who explain their reasoning in interviews afterwards. But studies routinely find that judges agree with the jury's verdict about 80% of the time.
But here's the thing: their decisions, ideally, should be made on the basis of the evidence presented to them, their judgement of the credibility of the witnesses, and the instructions of the judge in how to map the facts as they determine them, to the law as described to them.
We shouldn't be okay with a juror voting guilty because of the defendent's race; we shouldn't be okay with someone who says "I'm just going to flip a coin"; I'm not sure it's a bad thing to exclude people who, in the experience of the lawyers trying the case, don't pay attention and invent their own rationales out of whole cloth and make an irrational decision by the standards of the legal reasoning the trial is supposed to provide.
Except for cops. Cops certainly like to have fellow cops on their juries. There is an old joke about removing Manhattan jury cases to Staten Island. All the NYPD cops seem to retire there. So if the case involves potential police wrongdoing or even just police testimony, one side wants a Staten Island jury as many jurors will have at least some familial connection to the police.
With a jury of only lets say strong white males that have never been abused or abuse adjacent, but have had several experience where they felt woman didn't give them enough respect are we that would seem a lot worse to me. Obviously this sounds like an extreme example, but the reality is that such a large part of the population has been the victim in abuse situations that you are going to disqualify into a situation similar to this.
This, and being more objective / less emotional (due to not seeing it personally) would probably make me a better juror in such a case than someone who's personally experienced it.
Jurors should be professionals who are trained in being jurors: who, for one thing, thoroughly understand topics in critical reasoning such as fallacies, and cognitive biases.
They should be properly paid, and so are not sitting there on a Saturday morning, socking it to the defendant out of spite for being dragged out of their regular lives without adequate compensation.
Only if the defendant is a fool. People being the way people are, are just as likely to resent the defendant as the root cause of why they have to be there at all as the are to resent the system (and side with the defendant out of spite for the system).
The latter will likely only happen in a trial that is between the defendant and the system (i.e. the state).
In, say, a criminal trial in which the victim isn't the state, reluctant, resentful jurors will sock it to the defendant. If there is any uncertainty in the decision, that sentiment may sway it.
Resentment of the jury duty concept will predispose jurors to cave in to their social prejudices. Oh, he must have done it; he's a tattoo-covered, prematurely-aged chain smoker with three gold teeth. Everything about this guy says "criminal". Fuck this asshole for making me be here on a Saturday.
Time is an issue. People who are impatient and just want something to be over will not do a good job of sifting through things to get to the truth, which takes time and patience.
Maybe someday we can simulate human brains well enough to run the markovs on governance ideas to see if it's worth it.
Wouldn't the same logic reject professional judges and attorneys?
We can't choose our laws, but we can choose when and how our peers are punished under them. Participating in a jury is the one place in the system where regular citizens have direct influence in the process. It means we can refuse to convict people under laws which are unjust. It means we can hold members of our communities accountable to laws we consent to live under.
I wouldn't be so eager to give that power up.
Of course judges are not always good as well. In the US they are often elected by a blood thirsty population. If they are not elected that has other issues in that the will of the people is not held by the judges.
In the US, juries typically decide questions of _fact_ that are not already agreed upon by both parties (i.e. are in dispute). Judges handle questions of law.
If a fact is not known, how can some random person produce it? Out of what.
E.g. in the situation of a crime: only activities like crime scene investigation, and interviewing of witnesses can produce anything that can be called a fact.
Now so from all that have some collection of real facts from the investigation which do not add up to an absolute proof that some particular defendant "dun it".
The next best thing you could do is use some sort of probabilistic reasoning.
Well, what training in probabilistic reasoning do the these random people off the street have?
Probabilities should be quantified in concrete numbers. Instead of some flaky "shadow of a doubt" nonsense, there should be some 99.99% (or whatever standard level) confidence which is somehow calculated.
Yes, it might be better if jurors were all acquainted with Bayesian reasoning and it would definitely be better if things like expert testimony and so forth came with confidence estimates.
And yes, "beyond a reasonable doubt" is pretty qualitative.
My point was that if you are expecting your jurors to have a deep understanding of the law, you are definitely doing it wrong.
Not true, since no abusers came back in tears and were removed from the jury.
Or do you consider abusers impartial but abuse victims biased?
Are these not to be a jury of my "peers". Are not all humans biased in one way or another. If being abused creates bias, why wouldn't NOT being abused also not create bias. We don't have perfect access to information. Sometimes in order to be considered impartial, jurors are basically expected to have no familiarity with basic fundamental news stories. Are people so disconnected from reality really "peers"?
Ultimately, I guess, it's the best we can do.
Put another way: there wouldn't be a point in deliberation if we didn't have biases. Our justice system trusts and (weakly) attempts to enforce the gap between those biases and prejudices that would actually interfere with the court's duty.
Vulcans might not have a problem with this, but humans so obviously do that pretending otherwise is impractical.
Sure, we can't get a perfectly impartial jury. But someone with a past trauma probably won't be able to judge the case for its merits.
This appears to be binary thinking. There are nearly infinite degrees of bias. Strong emotions are one way to ensure that someone is heavily biased. That's what the jury system is trying to avoid.
So someone who has never been abused can still be biased in literally any way. But the presumption is that without having such an emotional personal experience with it means they are less likely to be heavily biased. They'll be more likely to be swayed by the testimony in court rather than their experience outside of the court room.
The jury selection was completed without ever calling those people in for private explanations. No one who had raised their hand for that question was selected.
As far as impartiality goes, I certainly felt some bias against the accused just based on the nature of the crime and his courtroom demeanor. But I was resolved that I would keep that in mind if I was selected and treat him as fairly as possible despite that. Impartiality is the ideal, and you usually have to make the effort to make it happen. In some circumstances where you have personal experience with similar crimes, that may be too much to ask.
Every one of them had a personal tale of assault to tell. It was as tense in the deliberations as you can imagine... like 12 Angry Men  but even more harrowing.
I am convinced that the only reason we were able to arrive at a just verdict is because one of these jurors also had the courage to discuss the case of her beloved relative who was falsely accused of rape and was exonerated only many years later, after his life had been destroyed.
We were able to focus on the evidence. But it was not an easy deliberation.
They also don't mess around with jury duty... one of our jurors went missing on the walk from the jury gathering spot to the courtroom, and the judge was PISSED. Sent the bailiff looking for them to hold them in contempt.
I've been called for jury duty any number of times. Not once has anyone ever called me, personally, out of one room and into another - always as part of a group of selectees heading to a courtroom or voir dire or whatever. Between that and everything else, it doesn't seem like a leap at all.
Not really. In abusive relationships, the abuser often controls every aspect of the abused person's life and there are not opportunities to seek help without the abuser knowing. It's why there are sometimes signs in the bathrooms of women's health clinics informing the patient to initial their sample cup in red marker if they are being abused or have something that they wish to discuss in private. This may well have been one of her only chances to speak with someone without an abuser knowing.
She was the only one called back when the selection was complete. I've been called for jury duty several times and this has never happened while I was there.
This happened in a courthouse, not a hospital. I think the context of the discussion behind closed doors could have just as easily been "that is so bad you really need to consider reporting it" or even something more mundane. In any case, seems a little farcical to assume that meant she was actively being abused though it certainly seems like a decent one of many possibilities.
I'm not saying your theory isn't plausible. I'm saying you're getting tunnel vision on the first plausible thing you came across.
I hear hoofbeats and I don't think that it's zebras.
Especially given how little interest court personnel typically take in individual panelists, why assume everyone with whom you're putting so much effort into arguing is so probably wrong in our analysis of what this interaction likely was?
(Yes it's reddit, but it's Ask Historians. Responses tend to be high-quality because their moderation policy embraces Sturgeon's Law.)
That said, animal abuse is correlated with human abuse
If you want to know what cruelties humans are truly capable off I suggest you look at how we treat animals. As long as we declare a certain subgroup of humans "inhuman" we will treat them the same way.
Sigmund Freud famously changed his mind at some point: he had so many young female patients with stories of sexual abuse that he decided it must be a rather common fetish among young girls to make up these stories. He just couldn't believe that a third or so of Vienna's upper crust would rape their daughters.
Well that's why they were his patients. Duh. OTOH he wrote a lot about his weird ideas around sex, much of it projection - he apparently was the one with erotic feeling toward his mother. The only things Freud wrote that I agree with turns out were first theorized by someone else.
As an aside, obstetricians often notice nonpaternity because of the child having an impossible blood type for the putative father. The ones I've spoken to prefer to stay silent when they notice it.
Extremely Misleading, from the studies I've seen these high numbers are percentage of people seeking paternity tests, not from the general public as a whole. If you're seeking a paternity test you already are suspecting infidelity.
The number I've heard from people who quote it is all over the map, sometimes it's 10%, or 20%, even as high as 50%, but I've not once seen a citation of any of them. So I'm inclined to treat that statistic as BS unless proven otherwise. But as you say, even a legit number is probably misleading due to the circumstances surrounding the data gathering.
I have, which is why I brought it up. Any time people throw out such absurdly high numbers and provide "evidence" there always is "...seeking paternity testing..." in the methodology. Always.
It's absurd how people could overlook this, it's like if you counted the times Maury Povich says "you are not the father" and used it to say anything about the general population.
Assuming we're talking about a happy family with two eager parents, what is helped by investigating the child's genetic "paternity," when the father is right there holding the baby?
Because the actual biological father may want a role in his childs life?
Because the state has a bit of interest in accuracy in its medical / birth certificate and other records?
Because many births are to single mothers and the absent father may have certain financial and other responsibilities for the child?
We’re implicitly dealing with two senses of the word “father” in this context which makes most of your sentences seem both commonsensical and ambigious.
Because the real father did not get to enjoy his rights as a parent? Because the child did not get to enjoy their rights with their biological parent?
Seriously, paternity fraud has three victims: The unknowing father, the biological father and the child.
Asking to keep the crime secret because the perpetrator might get uncomfortable questions is not reasonable when their are multiple victims plus the potential for medical mishaps for one of the victims.
Kids are more than a financial responsibility.
We don't force foster kids on people without their informed consent. This is no different.
Edit: We agree to disagree. I fall firmly in the mandatory testing camp for accuracy of paternity for all involved parties. Trust but verify.
The question is — should it be mandatory for all pregnancies? Willing participant or otherwise. I’m not saying no one should have paternity testing. It should certainly be available. I just don’t think you should mandate it.
...a mandatory test puts serious amounts of potential harm in the hands of a field that historically (and as demonstrated by some of the regrettable opinions expressed in this conversation thread), completely ignores the rights and consent of a woman and child while discussing how men might feel or believe about said topics.
Relationships are complex things, and blanket legislation will never respect the full consent of the individuals involved. Give the mother freedom to request a pre-birth paternity test, and the child to request the results once they hit their teens, with confidential results.
Anything past that is a relationship issue (does your spouse / child feel safe telling you the truth?), and any form of mandatory testing pre-birth would very much violate the bodily consent of the mother. Post-birth, if it's not a medically necessary operation, which paternity is not, it waits for when the kid is old enough to understand consent.
Consent is not a debate.
Consent is about functional boundary.
In this case, it is simple:
Not your body? Not your choice.
Enable (their) choice instead of trying to control women and children's bodies, please.
This is very obvious, completely unaddressed in your comment, and the rest of your argument is probably in bad faith.
You mean when the parental relationship is compatible with the wishes of the potential step father. Knowing that the child isn't yours can be useful in either direction. Either you know it from the start and accept it from the start, or you refuse it from the start. This idea that we shouldn't bear bad news and hide them, hoping to profit off the confusion, is a horrible way to run a society. Learn to deal with the bad news. (ignoring them is how situations escalate and get way worse than they should be)
If we determine that children are better of having such rights then the wishes of the parents tend to be disregarded, with some exceptions to religion which still supersede such ethical considerations.
If you've got wrong dad in the picture, at birth is a good time to chase down the right father! Get him paying child support if needed. Non-bio dad could still decide to stay around if desired - but transparency / honesty on the table.
This means in cases of incest it is impossible to report the incest element because it is too easy to identify the victim if you say "x raped his daughter". So it appears in the press as though attacks are random, when actually a shocking number (10% seems conservative) are in the family.
As a sibling comment says, it is chilling.
I hope this is accidental bias, or a statistical anomaly. It could be for example that this is overrepresented from the pooled community. I think it would also be important to somehow scale/categorize the level of abuse (physical vs non-physical, penetrative vs non-penetrative, etc).
If it really is 5% (1 in 20 girls) then this would outrank something like COVID in terms of importance.
> The comparison sample (n = 82) was recruited via advertisements in community newspapers and posters in welfare, daycare, and community facilities in the same neighborhoods in which the abused participants lived. Comparison families contacted study personnel and were screened for eligibility, which included having no prior contact with protective service agencies and being demographically similar to a same-aged abused participant. At the time of study entry, comparison families were not informed that the study involved sexually abused females; rather, they were told that the study was of “female growth and development.”
I wonder whether this still ended up being a self-selecting group. I can imagine a scenario where a young girl has an awful experience growing up, wants to see change in the upbringing of females and becomes somewhat engaged in related activities.
> He actually said: You better build some more prisons before you start testing babies for this.
I don't think a lack of facilities to deal with a problem is a good reason for not addressing it. At the very least we need to understand the scale of the problem, even if the problem remains unaddressed for the time being.
From 2020 Statistics Canada study of university students:
>> One in ten (11%) women students experienced a sexual assault in a postsecondary setting during the previous year. About one in five (19%) women who were sexually assaulted said that the assault took the form of a sexual activity to which they did not consent after they had agreed to another form of sexual activity—for example, agreeing to have protected sex and then learning it had been unprotected sex.
>> Less than one in ten women (8%) and men (6%) who experienced sexual assault, and less than one in ten women (9%) and men (4%) who had experienced unwanted sexualized behaviours spoke about what happened
Given that last stat, we should take whatever number we have for reported assaults' and multiply it by at least ten to cover all the unreported events.
Here is from that report, things that constitute "sexual assault":
"Sexual attack: Forcing or attempted forcing into any unwanted sexual activity, by threatening, holding down, or hurting in some way;
Unwanted sexual touching: Touching against a person’s will in any sexual way, including unwanted touching or grabbing, kissing, or fondling;
Sexual activity where unable to consent: Subjecting to a sexual activity to which a person was not able to consent, including being intoxicated, drugged, manipulated, or forced in ways other than physically;
Sexual activity to which a person did not consent, after they consented to another form of sexual activity (for example, agreeing to protected sex and then learning it had been unprotected sex)."
Don't take this to trivialize bad experiences people have had, take it as an attack on shoddy methods that are clearly designed to stoke fires of indignation rather than shed light on a prickly topic.
>Given that last stat...
I don't think you're interpreting this correctly.
Is there a baseline for what constitutes sexual assault? Or is it entirely subjective?
They say in that report you linked in the OP that they include "behaviours such as unwelcome sexual comments, actions or advances" which are entirely subjective.
If you want more information on this, Besser van der Kolk's The Body Keeps the Score, considered to be one of the definitive books on the study of psychological trauma, discusses this in Chapter 10, "Developmental Trauma: The Hidden Epidemic".
While I don't have the book in front of me to quote explicit statistics, the chapter references a number of research studies backing up the conclusion of the doctor in sandworm101's comment.
Typically (though you can probably find exceptions to either or both), modern low or no limits for child marriage systems feature:
1. Parental consent laws for marriage below a certain age, and
2. Marital exceptions to age of consent laws for sex.
I think you are misinterpreting. First, they say:
"...information was obtained about any possible unwanted sexual experiences of the comparison females or other family members"
So interpreting it as 5 of 84 women is incorrect. It's min 5 people of 84 families. Given a mean family size of perhaps 3.5 (if by "family" they mean "nuclear family", though I bet they include anyone you know about really--Uncle Bob would count, and one report per family with reports) it's more like 5 out of 294 people, or 1.7%. And I don't think they share their exclusion criteria, which isn't a good sign. And there's a significant selection bias given how they recruited (in a newspaper, for people who have the free time and/or low wealth enough to want to do a study, and in particular on female growth and development).
I refuse to believe that. I mean, yeah, the man had direct contact with such cases and probably had been in the field for tens of years while I'm just a computer programmer but I still refuse to believe it.
People will allow all sorts of horrendous things to happen, if it serves their interests.
Father rapes his daughter? The mother refuses to believe it: thinks her daughter is only doing it for attention; doesn't want her "perfect" family image to get shattered (plus, daddy dearest pays the bills and funds her lifestyle). Same goes for extended family.
"It couldn't happen in our family." "You know how teenage girls are." "He would never do something like that. I've known him for decades."
Cognitively checking-out, because it's not their "problem." And other forms of dissonance.
Those are only the stats for pregnancy, though. I'm sure the incidence of sexual abuse without pregnancy is higher.
Before we take the information at face value, we would expect some kind of support for his statement from other professionals. There are scientists who study the factors relating teenage pregnancy, as well as advocates for sexual abuse victims who uncover and publicize facts like these. If the information is something that has never been formally studied but is something that doctors "just know," there are tens of thousands (at least) of medical professionals who have regular contact with different populations of pregnant teenagers in the United States alone. If there's a widespread suspicion that the number might be 10% or more, that would mean a lot more than one doctor making an off-the-cuff remark in the audience of a law lecture.
With the recent popularity of genetic testing services for health and ancestry tracing, I would think this would be easy to tease out of the data. Of course not many people will expect to see as part of the report that their father is also their grandfather or uncle; I wonder how these services handle that?
I think your comment is getting attention because you're offering an idea that people like, and some anecdata to back it up. It's a classic problem of the modern world, things that people want to believe get a lot of attention, out of proportion to their actual frequency. I think you, and others here, want to believe the situation is worse than it is, or worse than the data here warrant believing, because you're going to get rewarded for acting as if the appealing idea is the case. I don't mean you are sitting there, consciously thinking that, but the rewards (here some updoots on HN) shape your behavior behind the scenes anyway. This is how we get news that paints a grotesquely distorted view of the world: people want to hear about how a crazed soccer mom murdered all her kids in the bathtub, and critically it is profitable. They don't want to hear that everything was fine in Peoria, IL last night.
I would bet a lot of money that the picture you paint with the study's numbers is substantially false. For one, your interpretation of the numbers they give is wrong. Second, the study doesn't appear well done. It's a little old, but it also has a lot of indicators that it isn't of high quality (e.g., lots of "p<0.05", but no "p<0.001"--see p curves). I haven't read it in detail and won't because my spidey senses say it's not worth it based on what I've seen skimming.
Wow thanks for this extremely well researched and authoritative opinion
Automatic genetic testing also has other advantages of preventing future paternity disputes.
Honestly, this would be an interesting thing for a single state to run an experiment with and see how behaviors change.
Given women cheat at the same rates as men, blanket genetic testing would break up a significant amount of families. That's why some countries (France for example) ban paternity tests.
Ending abuse for the pregnant girl is certainly their prorogative
Want something very chilling? First year criminal law lecture on rape. Professor says "We have about a hundred people in this room. None of you future lawyers have criminal records. Statistically speaking, about fifteen of the fifty or so women here are victims. And probably fifteen of the men are rapists." Also see the opening sequence of the movie Copycat (1995) where Sigourney Weaver's character does a similar trick regarding serial killers.
Starting from the assumption that general population numbers apply to a group of law students (I assume that he doesn't have statistics about rape among law students) on to the assumption that there is a 1 to 1 relationship between rape victims and rapists. I would assume there to be more victims than offenders.
Just seems a rather weird move to tell your first year students a significant number of their fellows and friends are either victims or rapists just to make a point about unsolved rape.
Law students aren't learning to be statisticians, epidemiologists, or policy wonks. Emotionally moving people to act upon a collection of documented facts— be it in trial or a contract negotiation— requires persuasive speaking and strategy. She made the breadth and consequences of rape palpable to her students not only by giving it a face, but giving it their faces. Since this poster, years later, immediately recalled that story when prompted, I reckon it was thoroughly compelling.
You cannot extend population-level averages to a group of people without first proving that group is representative of the population.
Why? Women who have been abused are often abused by more than one person.
>>just to make a point about unsolved rape.
She was making multiple points, several of which had nothing to do with rape. It was about criminality. Why we punish crimes the way we do. The strain on police/judicial resources. Diversionary programs. The prevalence of plea bargaining. and and and. A first year law lecture is a very nuanced thing.
Intuitively, that makes sense. If people figure out how to get away with something, some of them are going to keep doing it. E.g., if I think about the people I knew in high school, most didn't shoplift, but there were a couple who did it a whole bunch.
Go to a sufficiently large rock concert and the lead singer would be able to say “statistically at least one of you are a murderer!” Which might be “statistically correct” but all that would accomplish is for everyone to question his or her sanity.
"Misery loves company" is indeed a common attitude, but I'm not sure it's especially healthy.
I'm traumatized from childhood abuse (but not sexual abuse), and knowing how many people are neglected/abused by their caregivers lets me know that:
a.) There is nothing about me that caused the situation. Since I'm a very strange human, that's good to know: They weren't abusing me because I was too hard to parent or because I didn't act like a normal child.
b.) "This too shall pass." Trauma has impacts on my life, but, with the example of others, I can move on and make decisions that help address the damage.
But maybe I've always misinterpreted the English phrase. Is there a different English saying that's closer to the Dutch meaning?
The phrase "misery loves company" makes me think of this Calvin and Hobbes strip, so I guess it has cynical connotations for me:
Though I wouldn't apply this phrase to the situation of victims feeling comforted by the knowledge that they're not the only ones.
It helps to know that you are not the only one who has suffered injustice.
The school they were teaching at probably disqualified anyone with any criminal record from admission.
I am just now getting my career on track, but I am essentially starting from square one again. As a programmer your primary tool is your brain, and when it simply isn't working...
What, to me, is positive, is that we are talking about it. Just being aware of this pain and not replicating it is what is needed to shift the world.
As a boy, I carried my shame in silence, and learned early to dislike and avoid extended family gatherings, masking my avoidance in a blanket of "family sucks/is boring" cynicism.
As an early teen entering puberty, I grew increasingly disturbed about had happened. I tried to force the feelings away, almost ritually, but grew increasingly mired in confusion about what was wrong with me. Why did I (despite the fact that I was but 5-6 years old at the time) not take action? Did this mean I enjoyed being abused? Did this mean it wasn't abuse? Did the fact that I didn't stop the abuser mean I was not heterosexual? I began bombarding myself with pornography, almost as a salve against the uncertainty and doubt about who I was.
It wasn't until nearly 40 - and in the context of therapy to try to prevent the most important relationships of my life from falling further apart - that I had even considered the fact that I'd survived abuse. I felt ashamed to even think about accepting that statement, as I knew many others had suffered so much more serious forms of long-term abuse.
Only now have I come to marginally accept that decades of suffering internalized shame, fear, pain and mistrust deserve to be called survival.
I now have children who I love with all my heart. I cannot fathom inflicting such suffering upon them - or anyone else, for that matter. I will never be able to entrust them to the care of close family or friends. It's a constant internal struggle when they ask about sleepovers with friends. Such trivial things as "going over to someone's house" trigger immense uncertainty and fear, which I do my best to not burden my children with. I don't know if I will ever truly be able to shed the thick cloak of cynicism - largely a defense mechanism - that has and continues to impede my ability to relate meaningfully to the world and the people around me.
I hope I can - and I hope that awareness grows, so that other people aren't exposed to a similar experience.
My heart aches because you sound so much like my mother.
What I will say is that as her child, one thing I appreciated so much is that I never had to worry if my parents would believe me if something happened. Your kids will have you always in their corner and that makes such, such, such a difference. So much of my mother's turmoil is related to her mother not believing her + the victim-blaming. You're helping and shielding your kids just by being who you are, even if you don't want to worry them.
And I also learned a lot and had some big mindset changes from reading the giant Kidpower Book for Caring Adults, which really goes in depth and is good at breaking things down into simple practices.
I really like the mindset of teaching kids how to be safe in a positive way (i.e. without scaring them about potential dangers) and the serious-business approach to our responsibilities as adults.
It's awful -- like getting slapped in the face repeatedly -- but it works.
- Females, of course, can get pregnant, and our assaults are more likely to be physically painful.
- Males have zero social support and are far more stigmatized for being victimized, and they also have less of a support network/are more isolated than females on average. They also have fewer resources available since sexual assault is seen as only happening to females. Fewer shelters, hotlines, etc.
I'm not saying you're wrong, but I wonder why you think this is the case?
I think this because:
Rape (and sexual assault in general) are (usually) the result of a combination of power dynamics + sex. The other main assumption I'm making is that women are mostly sexually assaulted by men, and that men are sexually assaulted by both women and men in fairly equal numbers. (I think that women are as likely to be effed up in the head as men, but a substantial amount of male victims are victimized in male-only or default situations like the military or prison, and if all the people around you are men, all the assholes and rapists are too.)
So, examining each component separately:
Sex is going to be based on what sex acts are most common, and the most common male-female configurations focused on male pleasure have pain as a possibility for the female. Forcible vaginal penetration hurts more physically than being forced to penetrate, and being forced to gag on a penis is, in my opinion, more likely to cause pain than forced cunnilingus. So the acts themselves are more likely to cause physical pain.
With regard to power dynamics, I think most females are assaulted by men and those men are going to use their physical superiority more often (because it's the power tool they use). For male victims, I would guess whether or not their experience was physically painful would depend a lot on both the sex of their assaulter and how old they were at the time. I would expect boys that are victimized as children would be more likely to report physical pain since, like with adult women victims, there is often a physical strength differential between victim and assaulter. (Or, for example, I was physically abused by a woman as a child, and she was stronger than me.) I would also expect more physical pain from men who are sexually assaulted by other men in a social space where physical prowess is important.
The flip side of this is that I think men who are sexually assaulted by women are more likely to experience social and emotional pain/turmoil. Much like men are taught to wield their muscles as weapons, women are taught to wield our social abilities, and a woman who wants to humiliate a man or assert power over him is more likely to gaslight him, convince him to gaslight himself, etc. than beat the crap out of him. You also see this when some asshole women are dismissive of men getting erections during an assault. "He's hard, he wanted it."
I'd also hate to compare the experiences and I wouldn't say one is worse than the other. I think we should understand the variables that might cause differing results so that we can support all the victims. A focus on self-defense and overcoming feeling weak isn't going to help a male victim who could have physically stopped his attacker but didn't for social reasons: They need validation of their experiences and decisions. You know?
Sexual abuse is to women as police violence is to black people. These classes of people are affected more (far more - perhaps 2x?) than others, but that doesn't mean others aren't affected. A broader class of victim lets you draw lines more clearly: BLM isn't about police vs black people, it's really about police vs not-police. Sexual violence isn't about men vs women, its also about abuse of power, over children. Children includes boys and girls of all colors, of all religions, of all sexual orientations.
Abuse of power knows no gender or race. Mothers abuse their sons. Teachers abuse their students. The more we allow the culture to ignore some abuse to make other abuse more narratively appealing, the more we abandon those victims that don't fit the protected class, and the worse we do at actually identifying the problem itself. This is a great moral and practical failing, an example of the potency of left-wing "other"ing.
The culture does not want to hear from victimized men, especially straight white men. It is okay to withhold empathy, because SWMs are "powerful", they always have been and they always will be, and are to blame for most, if not all, of the worlds problems, especially abuse of power in all its forms, they say.
We've been encouraged for years to express vulnerability, expressing more of a softer, feminine side. Now, we are punished for it, and then we get some unwanted appellation like "men's rights advocates", which is a liberal code for right-wing anti-feminist reactionaries working nefariously to maintain the status quo.
The dead comment is right: no-one cares about men. I will go further and say that its a deeply evil thing, and I fear for my 2-year-old son. This is a real fear, not a construction, and it should be okay to share the concern in a public forum without being attacked for saying something I'm not. But I know it will happen, anyway, because you cannot fight the tide.
Both your comment and the flagged comment make that claim.
It seems much more so the case that people can care about how bad actions affect both female and male victims than the hypothesis you propose.
And, in fact, straight white men can be in a position of power, and have advantages, and also be able to share stories where they are victims, and find support. These things do not have to be black and white and contradictory.
Who the victim is and how they are affected does not speak about who the transgressor is, nor does it do so in inflexible, absolute terms. So the effects of being a victim can be explored without going into a "victim mentality" as someone who does not happen to be the primary focus of this article.
They can, but that doesn't mean they do. It is dangerous to be caught caring about men or boys. Consider this recent SNL skit "man park": https://youtu.be/9XOt2Vh0T8w?t=131. I've linked to the part where a woman is saying something sympathetic to men, and then panics that she'll be caught on camera saying it. This is after showing men in a dog park. E.g. equating them to dogs.
Note that my comment was NOT triggered by the OP's study, but rather that a comment was flagged and killed stating something that I think is obviously true, but quite inconvenient for some people to read.
Not at all in my experience. Comedy skits aren't evidence, or we could have some very interesting discussions!
As men, our expected place in society is to contain our emotions. To be silent. Our traumas are not ours to share. The social costs of doing otherwise are unbearable. Society has no tolerance for our victimhood. ...The Audacity!
So yes, exactly. No one cares about men.
The parent reads like the ever-present 'reverse discrimination' complaint, but it's not the same. Discrimination and prejudice are about power. If the abuser doesn't have the power, they are a lot less dangerous.
This is true statistically, but I think OP's point is that statistics should not be used to dismiss individual experiences. Daniel Shaver was white, for example. Cheye Calvo was a white mayor when his house was raided (speaking of power!).
Thing is, police has too much power relative to the vast majority of citizens. The delta varies drastically between different population groups, but it's "too much" for all of them.
No, it's true really. White people, overall, really have much more real power. It's not a number in a report, but a hard fact of reality.
And then, any time racism comes up, lots of white people find any way to downplay it.
This is Qanon-level conspiracy thinking. By and large, white folks are safer around police because their interactions are qualitatively different from the interactions Black folks have with police.
To be sure, this includes quite a bit of anti-Black racism within police forces, but even that is better described as prejudice than "white folks have undue power in the legal system". Also, to be clear, the criminal justice system does tend to screw over marginalized Black communities in countless ways - and this impacts the kinds of interactions Black folks have w/ police, but even that is a matter of bad structural/institutional design, not white folks individually having too much power.