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April 02, 2013

The Alaskan Department of Victimization

A couple of items over at Grim's place caught our wand'ring eyeballs last week, but we were too busy to stop and think about them. The first one concerns the State of Alaska which - for some reason - conducts a Victimization Survey every now and again. Now we are not too sure how many discrete identity groups are being Victimized (or just who is to blame for all this Victimization -- the State of Alaska? Feral, Transgendered Arctic Wolves? Sarah Palin and her Scary Black Helicopters of Death?), but one has to admire a state that doesn't wait for its victims to come looking for them. No, indeedy - when it comes to victim-handling, the State of Alaska is most definitely leaning in:

Senator McGuire requested the Status of Women Report after reviewing a 2010 Alaska Victimization Survey, which interviewed nearly 1,000 women and found that 59 percent have experienced domestic abuse, sexual violence, or both.

“We were waiting until the timing was right to release the report,” McGuire’s legislative aide Amy Saltzman told Yahoo! Shine, explaining that the office had spent the start of 2013 mired in issues including the recently passed oil tax bill.

Among the state’s upsetting findings: In 2010, women working in Alaska only earned 67 cents for each dollar a man earned (the national average is a still-low 77 cents to the dollar). As for crime and imprisonment, the number of women going to prison in Alaska is growing: In 2007, women made up 6.5 percent of Alaska’s prison population, but that number had jumped to nearly 11 percent in 2011.

Alaskan women are slightly more likely to have health coverage than Alaskan men, but the coverage for Alaskan women is still below the national average, with 21 percent going without (compared to the national rate of 20).

In the mental-health realm, the suicide rate for women in Alaska is twice as high as the rate nationally—nearly 10 percent of girls in high school attempted suicide in 2011. In addition, nearly two-thirds of Alaskan women were found to be in treatment for alcohol related problems, compared to just one-third nationwide.

As far as homelessness is concerned...

We'll stop here, because we're fairly certain you can see where this is going. With all these Victims lying thick upon the ground never ending snow and ice, you can bet there are a whole passel of Victimizers lurking about. Care to guess who they might be? If you guessed "Men", a stuffed marmoset is on its way to you by parcel post:

So why the raw deal for women in this state? It may have something to do with the ratio of men to women there, which was noted in the state report as being higher in Alaska than in any other state, with 108.5 males to every 100 females. Nationally, there are 96.7 men to every 100 women. (Among the women in Alaska, 70 percent are white, over 17 percent Alaska native or Native American, and just 4 percent African American.)

As a reference point, the average global male-to-female sex ratio at birth is 105. Over time, it evens out to something closer to 1:1. The logical inference here is just so self-evidently self evident as to require no refutation (or proof, either!):

1. Women are being Victimized.
2. There are more men than women in Alaska.
3. Ergo, men must be responsible for the following outrages:

- Preventing fully-equal (and equally capable!) women from taking higher paying jobs
- Causing women to commit crimes at rates far in excess of the national average
- Driving the distaff sex to drink
- Causing the number of women who have health insurance to plummet to a full 1% below the national average
- Somehow causing large numbers of young girls to commit suicide

It's a good thing we already know who the culprits are, because none of the disturbing statistics cited by The Victimization Survey could possibly have anything to do with the fact that Alaska is cold, dark, and has fewer of the amenities, comforts, and opportunities offered by more densely populated states, could they? Of course they couldn't - that's just silly. Consequently, we're pretty confident that the problem is menfolk... oppressing everything within groping distance, keeping women from leaving the state or seeking better lives for themselves or their children, depriving young girls of the will to live. Guys can't help it, the poor dears - it's just how they're wired. Perhaps it's something in the culture of masculinity... or maybe it's the toxic combination of white skin and testosterone?

Imagine if African American men and boys were committing mass shootings month after month, year after year. Articles and interviews would flood the media, and we’d have political debates demanding that African Americans be “held accountable.” Then, if an atrocity such as the Newtown, Conn., shootings took place and African American male leaders held a news conference to offer solutions, their credibility would be questionable. The public would tell these leaders that they need to focus on problems in their own culture and communities.

Let's take a moment to put all this hyperbole into perspective. To ensure valid comparisons, we'll use a consistent time window: 1980-2010, or three decades. During this period:

1. There have been 20,223 multiple homicide cases (mass murders).

2. According to the source just linked, whites were responsible for 60% of those murders. And blacks were responsible for 36%.

3. So how many mass murder victims are we talking about during our 30-year period? According to this source, a good estimate is 100 per year x 30 years, for a total of 3,000 victims: That's right - a whopping 3000 people. Over 3 decades. If that doesn't qualify as an Epidemic of Violence, we're not sure what does.

Mass Shootings 1980-2010-thumb-533x320-79419.jpg

Now let's look at the overall homicide rate, because last time we checked, victims of single homicides end up just as dead as victims of multiple homicides.

mass vs single murders.png

So we're looking at an average of 100 people per year (mass murders) vs. an average of 15000 people per year (all murders). That means for every mass murder victim, about 150 people are killed in single homicides. Now let's look at the percentage of single and mass murders committed by white and black men and contrast each stat with their relative share of the population:


Now if we accept the bizarrely racist and sexist notion that individuals share some form of collective responsibility for the actions of other individuals with the same skin color or genitalia (we don't accept it for one second, but let's set that aside for just a moment), who has the most pain and suffering to answer for?

It's not white men. Not by a long shot.

That's the problem with broad brush characterizations: they are a weapon that cuts both ways.

And it's not just progressives who do this. We've written about sly suggestions that we'd all be better off if the 19th Amendment were repealed. Never mind that the proportion of women who vote Democrat isn't nearly as high as the proportion of Blacks or Jews who do so... and yet we don't recall seeing calls to take away their voting rights. Decent conservatives don't say this sort of thing because punishing or blaming an entire class of people for the actions of a subset of that class is not just profoundly stupid, but inimical to what conservatism is supposed to be about.

Just as trying to hold all white men - the vast majority of whom have never killed anyone (much less multiple people) - answerable for the actions of a few is not just profoundly stupid, but inimical to progressive values.

Imagine what the world would be like if people of all political persuasions avoided such sloppy, broad brush characterizations? Failing that, imagine a world where we stood up for each other instead of trying to divide people into warring camps?

Yeah. Kinda dumb, isn't it?

Posted by Cassandra at April 2, 2013 06:28 PM

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One may no longer simply run the numbers; base calculations are useless without applying the political logarithm 'who-whom'. Application of 'who-whom' makes the base calculation baseless and the baseless obvious. Simple... no?

Posted by: George Pal at April 3, 2013 05:03 PM

I just want to point out that white males are victims, too. Yes Victims! Victims of your expectations, America! Every single day White Men Like Me ("WMLM") are oppressed -oppressed I say! - by the unrealistic expectations and demands place upon us by womanandminorities! "How many innocents have you murdered today with your gun violence? How many women have you savaged and cheated and even offended with your pale phallically fixated cultural hegeomy? How many people of color have you held down, today, eh Mr. WMLM?"
Jumpin' Danged Bob, People! I hate to break it to you, but WMLM only get the same 24 hours every day that y'all do, so how about picking up some of the danged slack! Buy and danged gun and shoot someone already, will ya? And let me get back to work poisoning the planet!

Posted by: spd rdr at April 3, 2013 05:16 PM

You, sir, will NOT be invited to participate in our 2013 Victimization Survey.

Good day to you.


Posted by: The Alaska Dept. Of Victimology at April 3, 2013 05:30 PM

mr. rdr:

Your unseemly display of levity simply will not do. How DARE you refuse to grovel before your moral superiors? HAVE YOU NO SHAME?

This is no way to atone for the crimes of your y-gendered co-conspirators. Indeed, you have managed to compound the offense you committed when you rudely entered this world with non-approved plumbing.

How can we tolerate you if you decline to abase yourself and beg for our forgiveness?

Posted by: The Matriarchy at April 3, 2013 06:38 PM

My basement is full of stolen women's health care. I know its wrong, but I can't seem to stop; even when that hoarders TV show showed up, I couldn't let go of any of it. The only thing that helps me is installing pipelines across barren tundra - its not much, but it provides me with some comfort from my affliction.....

Posted by: tomg51 at April 4, 2013 07:52 AM

Sigh. I started out writing a comment to point out one problem with the article. It seemed impossible that:

nearly two-thirds of Alaskan women were found to be in treatment for alcohol related problems, compared to just one-third nationwide.

Given that the alcoholism rate in the US is probably around 4-6%, this couldn't be. It isn't. What the actual report says is:

In 2011, of women admitted for treatment, approximately two‐thirds identified alcohol alone or alcohol and another substance as the primary type of substance abused. In contrast, only one-third of women receiving treatment nationally, identified alcohol as their primary or secondary substance.

Once I started reading through the report itself, I realized that every statistic the article cites to prove how bad Alaska is, is actually pretty much in line with the national numbers, with the exception of the alcohol one already cited and the increased percentage of prisoners who are female. Furthermore, the report explicitly says so.

The article should not have been titled: Is Alaska the Worst State in the Nation for Women. It should have been called: When Legislators Can't Read.

Posted by: Elise at April 4, 2013 03:59 PM

It should have been called: When Legislators Can't Read.

This would assume that there are times when they *can*.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 4, 2013 05:00 PM

It seemed impossible that: nearly two-thirds of Alaskan women were found to be in treatment for alcohol related problems, compared to just one-third nationwide.

Watch it there, Missy. Are you seriously questioning our power?

Now get me a beer.

Posted by: The Patriarchy at April 4, 2013 05:43 PM

I like the stories and comments from this day's articles better, they're funny and don't make me angry at stupid POTUSes politicians.

Funny thing about Patriarchy... I saw a comic from one of my more liberal friends that had a woman saying "today is women's day, let's burn our bras!" And then in the next panel she says "No actually, I have big boobs, I need this." And I was thinking, in what world was it ever sensible that bras were tools of the Patriarchy and symbols of male oppression? My wife's an endowed woman, and it's a matter of comfort for her to wear a bra, not fashion. And if I'm an oppressive woman ogling male, I'm pretty sure that adding more clothing to women is not helping the ogling. So can someone explain that whole thing to me?

Posted by: MikeD at April 5, 2013 09:14 AM

So can someone explain that whole thing to me?

I think it had to do with the freedom to be bad girls. Or, perhaps more correctly, with a refusal to accept what seemed to be the division of women into good girls who obeyed the rules and bad girls who didn't. This categorization was perceived as a way to keep girls and women in line: don't do what you're told and you get classified as a bad girl - which means you forfeit society's protection against dishonorable men. Since good and bad was usually defined by sexuality, burning bras meant reclaiming the right to have sexual attributes and, if desired, flaunt them while denying society the right to label us as "bad". Or while saying we didn't care if we were labelled as "bad" because now we're all bad. (I think the "owning our own sexuality" aspect is why the focus was on burning bras rather than burning girdles - which would have made much more sense in terms of physical comfort but doesn't have the same visual impact.)

It didn't work out as intended for reasons too numerous to go into here. Might make an interesting blog post when my hand is up to more typing.

Posted by: Elise at April 5, 2013 11:33 AM

FWIW, I never got the whole burning bra thing either. I figured it had something to do with not being restricted, hemmed in (so to speak). "Our breasts belong to us - they're not shameful things that need to be kept under control for the Good of Humankind"

It probably made more sense if you look at it in the context of 1960s undergarments (Playtex bras, girdles, garter belts, foundation garments, full slips). All seems fairly quaint now, though I note with no little amusement the growing popularity of Spanx :p

Girdles, reinvented! How progressive.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 5, 2013 06:00 PM