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#462267 - 03/09/14 12:36 PM Misleading statements and numbers
ThisMan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/22/13
Posts: 767
Loc: upper south
I was reading some article links from the MS site this morning, and one link led to another and another. And so the cycle began. I discovered some interesting information regarding CSA put forth as factual information. When I clicked on their source, it seemed as if they had drawn their own conclusions from the sparse information given, then presented that info as scientific study.

The only reason I noticed the inconsistencies in %'s was because I thought I had read different information in reputable publications and books over the years. And because the misleading info affects me as a survivor… as in I take the misinformation given to the public personally.

This comes from a site called "Random Facts".
On the list of "64 Facts About Child Sexual Abuse"
#2 says…
70% to 73% of child sexual abusers report experiencing sexual abuse in their own childhood. 64 Random Facts of Child Abuse


So I couldn't just accept this as fact without checking their sources, etc. The source was from a single volume which I have not read and for which no link was provided. So I still couldn't accept this as fact. It would mean 3 out of 4 of us would be hurting children. -75 out of 100 survivors are abusers… NOPE.
So I continued to search and read numerous articles from on-line. I did find some interesting info on this site… which I might consider more reliable (and perhaps it isn't, but I feel much different reading this than the other).
Statistics on Perpetrators of Child Sexual Abuse

This info is from the site, "The National Center for Victims of Crime". This site lists what I hope is actual, accurate info.

Among their bulleted info is the following:
Child Maltreatment 2010 reports that 6.2% of child abusers sexually abused as a child (page 77).

The 6% given on The Naitonal Center for Victims of Crime site is in stark contrast to 73% given on the Random Facts site.

There are several more contrasts with the data and generalizations presented when compared site to site and you might find it interesting. I AM NOT A RESEARCHER, a DATA ANALYZER, or even all that great with numbers. But I can read and comprehend. If I have made a mistake in what I think I read, please let me know. I understand that perhaps only known abusers were interviewed for the original %, but it is being presented as representing the totality of all of us, and that just isn't cool.
_________________________
For now we see through a glass, darkly.



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#462272 - 03/09/14 02:23 PM Re: Misleading statements and numbers [Re: ThisMan]
Landscape Offline


Registered: 01/31/14
Posts: 39
Hi ThisMan,
I can't comment on the numbers themselves. I haven't done the research either. It's really good that you're looking into and questioning these statistics in a forum like this.

The idea that 70% (or even 6%) of survivors become abusers would be truly frightening. Fortunately, that's not what these statistics are saying. There's a problem with how you interpreted it, that I think will make you feel much better.

When the first article said that "70% to 73% of child sexual abusers report experiencing sexual abuse in their own childhood," that means that if someone turns out to be an abuser, there is a 70%-73% chance that they were abused as a child.

To use an analogy that I just made up, let's pretend that 70% of violent gang members are under the age of 18. That wouldn't mean that 70% of people under the age of 18 are violent gang members. It would mean that for those people who happen to be violent gang members, 70% of them are under 18.

Whether you believe the 70%-73% number or the 6% number, neither study actually tells you the probability that someone who is abused as a child will become an abuser. I don't think anyone actually knows what that number is. Like you, I think that is very, very small--much smaller than even 6%.

I hope my explanation is clear. If it isn't, please let me know.
_________________________
--
"And there was a kid with a head full of doubt
So I'll scream 'til I die and the last of those bad thoughts are finally out"

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#462287 - 03/09/14 07:42 PM Re: Misleading statements and numbers [Re: ThisMan]
Suwanee Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 736
Loc: Southeast USA
I agree that those statistics are dismal. Like Landscape is saying, this does NOT mean that 70%-73% of victims will go on to abuse. It is called a "causation fallacy" where a circumstance that is related to a phenomenon is misjudged (or prejudged) to be the actual cause and not just a "tag along."

Unfortunately for all of us, many folks see the percentage quoted and assume the worst. It's easy to do….but correlation does NOT equal causation.

In other words: Everybody who ate a potato in 1870 is now dead….but we all know the potato is NOT necessarily what did each of them in.

Another perspective is "all dimes are coins" BUT "not all coins are dimes."

Will
_________________________
Cruel Summer
My Journal

-Signs and traces left in stone
Ruins of a past unknown-

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#462327 - 03/10/14 09:41 AM Re: Misleading statements and numbers [Re: ThisMan]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2582
Think of two circles.

One Circle is victims of sexual abuse.
One Circle is perpetrators of sexual abuse.

Now, these two circles are overlapping.

The section that overlaps, covers 70-73% of the perpetrators circles, however the victims circle is MUCH MUCH larger. So the percentage of victims that fall into that overlap is MUCH MUCH lower.

Basically, the percentage of abusers who were also victims DOES NOT equal the number of victims who go on to become abusers.

There is not a 1 to 1 relationship between the two. MOST abusers have MANY MANY victims before they finally get caught.

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#462378 - 03/10/14 11:26 PM Re: Misleading statements and numbers [Re: ThisMan]
ThisMan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/22/13
Posts: 767
Loc: upper south
Landscape, Suwanee, and JustScott-

I am with you guys. Thanks for the clarifications and examples. If I became confused, I assume the general public does as well, without questioning, but simply accepting the numbers for how they appear.

I wish presentations such as this made it a point to be clear and concise with their information.

bill
_________________________
For now we see through a glass, darkly.



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#462392 - 03/11/14 07:38 AM Re: Misleading statements and numbers [Re: ThisMan]
Landscape Offline


Registered: 01/31/14
Posts: 39
I'm glad we were able to help.

Unfortunately they are often writing for publication in peer-reviewed journals and clear and concise isn't always the goal.

Awesome idea to post your findings here where the community can jump in and help wade through it all.
_________________________
--
"And there was a kid with a head full of doubt
So I'll scream 'til I die and the last of those bad thoughts are finally out"

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#462400 - 03/11/14 12:45 PM Re: Misleading statements and numbers [Re: Landscape]
Suwanee Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 736
Loc: Southeast USA
Originally Posted By: Landscape
Awesome idea to post your findings here where the community can jump in and help wade through it all.


I agree. Thank you for posting on this. What really infuriates me is how the media simplistically treats complex statistics. I understand that the complexity cannot always be conveyed in a sound bite---which to me says that the media shouldn't attempt to carry ten gallons of water in a one gallon bucket.

It's all about the ratings----by any means necessary---

Will
_________________________
Cruel Summer
My Journal

-Signs and traces left in stone
Ruins of a past unknown-

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