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As a man who has experienced female sexual abuse, I lean pro-choice; but I've consistently voted pro-life for a few elections now due to the lack of alternative options in the promotion of male sexual and reproductive rights.
While people know about male sexual aggression, we often ignore the scale of female sexual aggression and how this in turn can affect the way a man might vote.
Whereas feminists perceive two positions on male sexual and reproductive rights (pro-paper-abortion and pro-opt-in), non-feminists (incmuding I) perceive at least five separate and distinct positions to advance male reproductive rights (the last three of which aim at reducing the rate of unwanted pregnancies in the first place and so might attract sincere pro-life interest too). To understand these different positions, we first need to understand the male sexual experience and how this could motivate some pro-choice men to vote pro-life.
According to the World Health Organization:
'[I]nternational studies reveal that nearly 3 in 4 children aged 2-4 years regularly suffer physical punishment and/or psychological violence at the hands of parents and caregivers, and 1 in 5 women and 1 in 13 men report having been sexually abused as a child.'
' Child maltreatment causes suffering to children and families and can have long-term consequences. Maltreatment causes stress that is associated with disruption in early brain development. Extreme stress can impair the development of the nervous and immune systems. Consequently, as adults, maltreated children are at increased risk for behavioural, physical and mental health problems such as:
'perpetrating or being a victim of violence
'high-risk sexual behaviours
' unintended pregnancy
:alcohol and drug misuse.: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/child-maltreatment
According to the APA:
'A total of 43 percent of high school boys and young college men reported they had an unwanted sexual experience and of those, 95 percent said a female acquaintance was the aggressor.'
'Being coerced into having sexual intercourse was related to risky sexual behaviors and more drinking among the victims.' https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2014/03/coerced-sex
According to the online PDF report Internet sex addiction: A review of empirical research:
'In addition to the qualitative research studies, nine quantitative studies investigating Internet sex addiction in adults were identified in the literature review. These are presented in chronological order. Schwartz and Southern (2000) aimed to describe compulsive cybersex in a sample of 40 cybersex problem patients who were treated for mental health problems at the time of investigation. The sample comprised 19 males, 57% were married, 48% were white collar workers, 20% were blue collar workers, 12% were students, 68% had a history of sexual abuse, 43% suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and 73% suffered from some affective disorder. Furthermore, it was reported that 70% had a sexual addiction, 56% were dependent on some psychoactive substance, and 48% had some kind of eating disorder. The researchers based their analysis on preliminary descriptive data, reviewing clinical files including initial assessments, psychiatric evaluations, psychosocial histories, and other mental health assessments. In terms of the participants’ online sexual preferences, 26% had a predilection for some paraphiliac behaviour, 21% wanted romance and/or dating, 16% were looking for extra-marital partners (e.g., swinging), 11% wanted sexual chat, homosexual and/or teenage contacts online. Overall, their compulsive engagement in cybersex resulted in many negative consequences (e.g., relationship problems, work problems, personal problems, and excessive time involvement (Schwartz & Southern, 2000).' https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.researchgate.net/publication/239750133_Sex_Addiction_on_the_Internet&ved=2ahUKEwiEqLO1u9fsAhVKQ80KHTV1DGMQFjABegQIChAC&usg=AOvVaw3FHuLze2t8h5TXJS_OecoM
According to the online PDF report Risky Business: The Market for Unprotected Sex:
'In this paper, we investigate why sex workers may not be using condoms. We begin by constructing a simple bargaining model of commercial sex that has a number of empirically testable predictions. The model predicts that a condom will not be used when the client’s maximum willingness to pay not to use a condom is greater than the minimum the sex worker is willing to accept to take the risk. Surprisingly, however, the model also predicts that when the client is worried about the risk of infection from unprotected sex, he may be charged more for using a condom than for unprotected sex. Similarly, when the sex worker prefers not to use a condom, the client is given a discount for not using a condom. The price differential between protected and unprotected sex is a weighted average of the maximum the client is willing to pay for not using a condom and the minimum the sex worker is willing to accept to take the risk of infection by not using a condom. The weights are a function of the relative bargaining power of the client and sex worker.worker.' http://cega.berkeley.edu/assets/cega_research_projects/102/Risky_Business_The_Market_for_Unprotected_Commercial_Sex.pdf
According to the Youtube documentary Cowboys of Paradise, female buyers often prefer and male providers often willingly provide unprotected sex too. https://world.time.com/2013/10/15/ignorance-and-a-thriving-sex-industry-fuel-aids-explosion-on-bali/
Even a masseuse can sexually assault a male customer: https://metro.co.uk/2017/11/02/man-assaulted-by-masseuse-who-tried-to-perform-sex-act-on-him-after-massage-7050150/
According to the online PDF report The cost of HIV/Aids in Canada:
'The proportion of indirect to direct costs is also greater in estimates of total cumulative illness costs, because indirect costs due to premature mortality continue to accumulate even when direct costs cease at the time of death. Thus Albert and Williams estimate the total economic burden of HIV/AIDS in Canada to date at $36.3 billion, of which $29.9 billion are indirect costs and $6.4 billion are direct costs (a ratio of nearly 5:1). They also estimate the future economic burden associated with the current HIV population at $27.3 billion, (reflecting a 4% discount rate), of which $23.3 billion are indirect costs and $4 billion are direct costs, a ratio of nearly 6:11' http://www.gpiatlantic.org/pdf/health/costofaids.pdf
This does not include the cost of unplanned pregnancies, syphilis and other STI's, and trauma.
The five male pro-choice positions I see are as follows:
- Pro-paper-abortion (PPA)
According to this position, human life starts at delivery as a result of the woman's decision to not obtain an abortion.
A man might not have consented to the sexual act leading to the pregnancy.
Sexual assault is extremely difficult to prove beyond reasonable doubt and when it can, it might take too long to do so.
Therefore the man should have the right to file for a paper abortion within the first eighteen weeks of pregnancy to permanently forfeit all paternal rights and obligations.
The above is not just theoretical: some actually promote it: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paper_abortion
I presume that supporters view it as a male post-conception equivalent of 'my-body-my-choice'.
It could deter a woman from sexually assaulting a man with intent to entrap him through pregnancy.
a. It can embolden more men to sexually assault women.
b. It could allow a consenting man to forfeit his obligations.
c. It could legitimize the idea that paternal rights and obligations are secondary to women's and so promote a slippery slope towards increasingly denying paternal rights and obligations.
d. It can enable male sexual addiction by removing a man's responsibility for his actions.
- Pro-opt-in (POI)
This position simply takes the PPA position to its logical conclusion: if human life starts only at delivery as a result of the woman's decision to deliver, then it follows that she holds exclusive parental rights and obligations towards the child except to the degree that she allows the father to opt in.
Non-feminists who see the logical conclusion of the PPA position perceive it as a dangerous slippery slope towards the POI position.
The pros and cons of the POI positions resemble those of the PPA position but more significant.
Worse yet, the POI position is not just theoretical either. Some feminists have promoted that position too.
- Pro-criminalization-of-fornication (PCF)
According to this position:
Human life starts at conception; but while the mother may have a legitimate reason to obtain an abortion and so should be free to decide according to her own conscience, the father does not.
Consent to fornication is a primary cause of unplanned pregnancies.
Consent to fornication is easier to prove than sexual assault so provides a more effective deterrent against sexual assault
Therefore, to deter unnecessary abortions in the context of decriminalization, consent to fornication should be punished by a heavy fine that doubles for each repetition of the offence.
It follows from this rationale that the father's paternal obligations stem not from whether he'd consented to the act that led to the conception, but rather from his biological paternity alone.
They would view financial assistance and mental-health support for a male victim of female sexual abuse as a separate matter for discussion.
As strange as this position might seem at first glance, given the pregnancy, STI, trauma, and other risks involved, regulating the exchange of bodily fluids betwen random individuals seems scientifically even more valid than imposing a fine for not wearing a facemask or not keeping physical distance. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fornication#Across_history,_cultures,_and_laws
Pros: Consent to fornication is easier to prove beyond reasonable doubt than sexual coersion or assault, prostitution, or paying for sex, so could more effectively deter these, reduce the spread of STI's, unplanned pregnancies, and trauma, and help sexual addicts to better manage their behaviour.
a. It can reduce sexual freedom and, while it may deter sexual assault, does not prevent it.
b. It does not liberate a male victim of female sexual aggression from his paternal obligations.
- Pro-Self-Exclusion (PSE)
This posion follows the same rationale as the PCF position above, but just doesn't take it to its logical conclusion.
Instead, it proposes to keep fornication legal by default but allow a man to self-exclude through some kind of administrative process (such as through an online passport account) from the freedom to give his consent to fornication under threat of a heavy fine that doubles for each repetition of the offence.
In exchange, a woman who encourages him (beyond just giving her enthusiastic consent)
to give his consent could face a heavy fine for incitement to commit a self-exclusion offence.
This would be easier to prove than sexual assault and so would provide more deterrence, which is important when we consider that a man's reproductive rights end at conception under all circumstances.
The woman would then need to confirm a man's status (perhaps from an official email message sent from his passport account) before encouraging him beyond just giving her enthusiastic consent to avoid the risk of paying a heavy fine for incitement to commit a self-exclusion offence.
A man could pro-actively send a formal email message from his passport account prior to a first dinner date alone at her home as a way to clearly communicate his nonconsent to any sexual interaction with her and warn her of the potential legal consequences if she tries to pressure him into sex.
Should she ignore this warning and continue to pursue or stalk him, he could sign into his passport account to resend the formal message, but this time with a CC to a police sexual-crimes unit. Receiving a formal email message with such a CC would probably deter most female aggressors from continuing the behaviour, especially if she an investigator later contacts her to question her and give her a casual warning.
Should she continue the behaviour, the man could resend the message with CC, which could provoke a police sexual crimes unit to open a formal investigation to determine whether the man has make a false rape accusation or whether the woman may be abusing him emotionally and sexually.
A passport account could allow its holder to sign in to self-exclude from the freedom to marry up to any chosen date up to a maximum of two-years into the future (extendable at any time). For added good measure, he could self-exclude, for the duration of a five-year passport and autorenewable every five years, from the freedom to marry without the free and explicit consent of both his and her living biological parents (with the exception of any parent who loses his right of parenthood as a result of a criminal conviction for rape, molestation, or gross negligence leading to abuse of the child). This could allow a man who feels extreme pressure to marry (such as when he faces a threat of suicide or other such blackmail) to self-exclude so as to be unable to give consent within a selected period of time, without involving their living biological parents, or both.
For men who already struggle with sexual addiction resulting from past trauma, self-exclusion could help them better manage their behaviour by proving a stronger deterrent than default laws can provide.
I have met at least one man who'd experienced a woman threatening him with a false rape accusation if he refused to have sex with her. Though I don't know how common that is and have never experienced that particular kind of abuse myself, the fact that it even occurs raises concerns about a man's self-excluded status making him not less, but rather even more vulnerable to female sexual aggression. To counter this, a man who self-excludes from the freedom to consent to fornication could be granted the right, on request, to an inquisitorial trial in Esperanto without the aid of an interpreter, protection from rape-shield laws, and the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
At my second wife's admissibility hearing, the Minister's counsel refused to share the names of anonymous witnesses with my wife's counsel and told her that she would need to apply through the Access-to-Information Act to get that information as a tactic to stretch the duration of the process and so discourage us.
Under the adversarial system, the Minister's counsel effectively served as the gate-keeper to the available evidence and was hired explicitly to prove my wife's guilt. In other words, she had a motive and the power to suppress evidence that exculpated my wife. The first judge recognized this tactic and so ruled in my wife's favour. The appeal judge ruled that the Minister's counsel had no obligation to present such evidence and that the onus was therefore on my wife to prove her innocence. This cost us tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees and around two years of legal limbo. An inquisitorial trial could have empowered the judge to access that information himself.
In states that possess more than one official language, it is not uncommon even for people in positions of authority to fail to master their language of work: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Official_bilingualism_in_Canada#Educational,_linguistic,_economic,_and_other_challenges_of_official_bilingualism
Given how, in any state that has more than one official language, police and border officers, counsels, and even judges may fail to master their official language of work, an accused who distrusts the judge's competence in the language of the trial and the competence of an interpreter could request a trial in Esperanto without the aid of an interpreter so as to address the judge directly in a language that the judge could reasonably master.
According to one study, a person can learn as much Esperanto in 150 hours of instruction as he could English after 1,500 hours. To put this into perspective, a person who starts to learn Esperanto at the age of eight for fifty hours a year for six consecutive years could achieve the same mastery of Esperanto by the age of fifteen as he could after three thousand hours of English (as is simply not possible in any publicly-funded school anywhere in the world). https://www.vie-publique.frapport/27650-lenseignement-des-langues-etrangeres-comme-politique-publique
We should remember that a judge is not a language scholar but a legal scholar. This could save on legal interpretation costs too.
To grant a self-excluded person protection from rape-shield laws could protect him from an aggressor's attempt to weaponize the law against him by blackmailing him into unwanted sex through a threat of a false rape accusation.
The right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty beyond reasonable doubt could protect a self-excluded foreign national from being expelled from the country on mere circumstatial evidence. Had my wife enjoyed such a right, she would never have had to face trial in the first place given the lack of evidence and revealed incompetence and prejudices of some of the people involved in her case. The same could apply to a falsely-accused foreign male.
Self-exclusion could present some risks. For example, a woman could coerce a man into consenting to fornication, in which case he would then hesitate to report her out of a fear that he could face a fine too. We should remember though that precedent already exists to take duress into account in cases of coerced consent. We should remember too that the man would have freely chosen to self-exclude with the understanding that self-exclusion would come with both advantages (such as more sexual protection under the law) and disadvantages (such as less sexual freedom under the law). It would be up to the self-excluded man to not freely consent to fornication so as to benefit from its greater protection under the law.
I know a few men (including me) who support this position and others who, following its rational conclusion, perceive it as a step or slippery slope to the PCF position above.
I see it as a male pre-conception equivalent of 'my-body-my-choice'.
A Right-to-Self-Exclusion Act (RSEA) could extend to alcohol, gambling, prostitution, and other addictions too: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-exclusion https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cashless_Welfare_Card
Its pros and cons resemble those of the PCF position above for those who choose ti self-exclude and any other person in their interactions with the self-excluded.
If you would like to know more about what a Right-to-Self-Exclusion Act might look like, please let me know and I could email you the details.
In the absence of an alternative in popular political discourse, some men who otherwise lean pro-choice may vote pro-life in the belief that making abortion a criminal offence could more effectively deter female sexual aggression against men and, in so doing, more effectively promote male sexual and reproductive rights.
We can reasonably presume that many of these men would switch their votes to better alternatives to promote male sexual and reproductive rights if given the choice.
Where do you stand on male sexual and reproductive rights?