Hopefully by now you’ve heard of the It’s On Us campaign against sexual assault. This campaign encourages people to pledge:
To RECOGNIZE that non-consensual sex is sexual assault.
To IDENTIFY situations in which sexual assault may occur.
To INTERVENE in situations where consent has not or cannot be given.
To CREATE an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.
Although sexual assault victims come in all shapes, sizes and genders, my sense on these campaigns is that they are usually more popular among women than men. This is frustrating because – although the statistics are tricky to capture and difficult to dig up online – common wisdom is that the overwhelming majority of rapists are male. Female rapists certainly exist, but the current dialogue is all about getting men to respect women and understand that sexual assault is not acceptable.
So when I heard about the It’s On Us campaign, I wondered whether adding my name would actually be helpful, and became curious as to the gender makeup of pledgers to date. The website lists the first and last names of all people who pledge through the website. First name is not always a great indicator of gender, but as it’s the only information we have (unless we can get access to profile information for people who used the Facebook authentication) it’ll have to do.
Carnegie Mellon’s Computer Science department has a neat set of text files that list common male and female names. I merged these files with the list of names on the It’s On Us website (as of about 10:30 a.m. on 9/23/2014) to assign a gender to each signer. If the name appeared on neither or both CMU’s male and female lists, I assigned this as a “T” for “tie”. So as of 10:30 this morning, here’s the breakdown of pledgers by gender:
I was impressed that only 5% of the names couldn’t clearly be identified by the CMU gender sets, and unsurprised by the 60/35 split of women and men.
The campaign is in its early phases and I hope to produce a later iteration of this analysis that allows me to refresh the results - but my programming skills are pretty young so I can’t promise much.
What do you think of these numbers and the campaign in general? Will you take the pledge?