This survey has nothing to do with RFAS, and is really not okay

[TW: sexual violence, toxic community, erasure of survivors]

So I just got back from the hospital (I’m fine, I’m taking care of someone else), and found a link to this survey in my email. This has apparently been going around since August 1st?? But I didn’t even see it at all until now.

Which is terrible, considering I’ve been the one mainly holding down the fort at Resources for Ace Survivors through the first half of this month. Whoever made this up—it was not a researcher, I presume, because it lacks any kind of information about who is conducting the research and how it will be used—did not try to contact anyone at RFAS at all. This suggests to me that whoever made up the survey either may not be very experienced with the ace community, or may not really know or care much about ace survivors’ actual experiences. A cursory google search would have brought RFAS up, and it should be pretty obvious we’re the go-to place for that sort of stuff.  If Mysterious over there wanted participants, we would have been the place to ask.

This survey as written, though, is NOT safe or trauma-sensitive. In short, I recommend avoiding it. Some triggering details about this survey under the cut…

The questions focus on only one specific type of survivor experience (only in mixed romantic relationships) that would serve as politically useful talking points, so seeing as how there’s no explanation given, it’s a fair guess to say that that’s probably how the Mystery Creator is going to be using this. It completely erases any ace survivor who doesn’t fit that particular mold. Queenie described the problems with all of this in more detail.

The first question is also, “Have you ever been raped, sexually assaulted, and/or coerced into unwanted consensual sex by a romantic partner?”

NO. Coerced unwanted sex should not be described as “consensual.” It isn’t. Saying that is really not okay.

So if you are an asexual survivor, please don’t take this survey. If you feel really triggered by this and need to talk to someone, we can put you in contact with someone on The List. Also, we’ve got a discussion topic about dealing with toxic communities going, and maybe some of the suggestions people mentioned might be helpful (most of the discussion has been private though, so you’d need to join our forum to see it).

Please take care, everyone.


(P.S. — I have a stack of emails to go through, that I hope to get back to very soon. For a while now, I pretty much have just been phone posting and taking care of only the highest priority emails when I had the chance. For protecting privacy, I don’t have my blog or RFAS emails connected to my phone. So if you’ve been wondering why I’m commenting/posting but not getting back to you, that’s why. Sorry! I hope to soon.)

7 thoughts on “This survey has nothing to do with RFAS, and is really not okay

  1. The “unwanted consensual sex” thing really threw me because…has this person had any contact at all with survivor communities? At all? But then again, all the questions had me kind of going, “…well, it’s obvious that you didn’t test this with a focus group, because a huge chunk of your participants aren’t going to be able to answer this correctly…” (Like the question that assumed that people who are cool with you being a survivor will also obviously be okay with you being ace???? In my experience, that is so incredibly untrue, and other people have been reblogging the survey to say the same thing, so…)

    Bleh, given that whoever made it hasn’t identified themselves yet, I doubt they will, but I’m really curious who thought this was a good idea…


    • Yeah, pretty much. I also really doubt they will reveal themselves, but I at least hope that they’ve learned something from this—or if not, that the rest of the community has. The timing of this makes me pretty suspicious of it too—if it showed up at Asexual Advice around August 1st, chances are it was created a little bit before that, which would have put it being created around a week after (or possibly even during?) a giant tumblr fight about oppression (which apparently now has 58k notes). So… really not likely they had any idea about survivor communities at all, considering all that. I’d suspect it was maybe someone who saw that whole thing and felt like they’d be doing something “good” by gathering more data for that fight, without realizing how much those kind of fights actually silence survivors instead of helping. :/

      Here’s hoping talking about it does some good, though.


  2. Even as someone who is not a survivor and is not at all an expert on the subject, some of the survey’s problems are painfully obvious to me. It’s like it never occured to them that some asexuals have experienced sexual violence outside of mixed romantic relationships. The oxymoronic “coerced unwanted consensual sex” also jumped at me. If they were trying get info about people who do not refer to their experiences of “coerced unwanted sex” as “rape”, they should have at the bare minimum not put the word “consensual” in there.


  3. Pingback: Ace Survivors as Rhetorical Devices (part three): The One True Narrative of Sexual Violence Against Aces | The Asexual Agenda

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