I was at the Minnesota Atheists and Humanists of Minnesota All-Star Conference all day yesterday, but I still had people asking me whether I was going to address the talk by Carol Tavris on rape allegations and rape culture that she gave at TAM on Friday night. The short answer is “Maybe”.
The problem is that I don’t have the talk. All I have is the tweets. They’re terrible, by and large, but most of them come from people who are already terrible on this topic. This was a talk given at a conference where the management has historically taken out extra liability insurance to deal with the risk posed by one of its keynote speakers. There’s a certain motivation for the attendees to pull out every dismissive, permissive, victim-blaming message possible from a talk on rape. The tribalism in the tweets is not subtle. I could give a talk on rape myths in front of that audience, and the Twitter feed would still be terrible.
So I’ll wait to see whether the talk is released to a general audience. If the point was to rally the troops, it may not be. And if it stays private, it can’t be used to bolster bad policy recommendations based on its credentials of having been delivered by a skeptic at a skeptic conference. If it does come out, then I’ll see what it actually says. I may write about some of the tweeted messages in the meantime, because they’re common enough to be worth addressing, but I won’t assume those were actually in Tavris’s talk itself.
One of the tangential issues that came up in the rape thread that would not die is the statement “no means no.”
I really hate to have to point this out, believe me… but sometimes a simple “I’d rather not,” “I shouldn’t,” or even “no” isn’t clear enough. I won’t try to guess at numbers, I’m not qualified, but there are most certainly women who enjoy that particular game. Keep in mind that we’re talking about college kids here. Boys and girls in their late teens and early twenties for the most part, and clear communication about sex and relationships is going to be fairly uncommon. Again, I’m not even going to pretend to put numbers on it, but I’m absolutely certain that sometimes it is honest miscommunication.
“No means no” is a simple slogan, but it just doesn’t reflect reality. Imagine stopping only to be yelled at because your partner was getting into it and you ruined the mood. Imagine it happening when you’re young and still inexperienced and emotionally fragile. How many times do you think that has to happen before a person is capable of mistaking a sincere “no” for a repeat of the previous situation, if only for a short time?
I’m not trying to say it’s common… I’m just saying I’d be amazed if it never happened, and that I’d be amazed if there aren’t piles of similar ways a misunderstanding could happen in a moment of passion. If the “victim” says that it was a misunderstanding, I’m inclined to believe her unless there’s some other information to imply otherwise.
This was originally posted in 2009, when I first started talking about rape online despite having studied it in college, and when I first discovered what happens when you do talk about rape. The more things change, eh?
Gosh, apparently talking about rape is controversial, particularly when one doesn’t argue that only inhuman monsters rape. I haven’t been trolled this hard since talking about…huh, equal pay. Let me count the ways.
Apparently, I was both bragging and claiming victimhood.
Talking about a personal experience made the whole thread all about me, narcissist that I am.
Interestingly enough, our troll declined to interact with Greg in any way, except to say, “Oh, I’ll be busy for the next few days. By the way, we have something in common. Nice to meet you,” when Greg put up citations. Charming little transparent creep.
Via Ophelia comes the news that the sweet, friendly, new pope that everyone loves has a rosy outlook that extends to the coverup and facilitation of child sexual abuse by the Church.
“The Catholic Church is perhaps the only public institution to have acted with transparency and responsibility. No-one else has done more. Yet the Church is the only one to have been attacked,” he said in an interview with Il Corriere della Sera daily published Wednesday.
The same article notes that the Vatican has been denounced by the United Nations for appalling response to allegations of abuse. Commenters at Ophelia’s compare the response to allegations in the Church and at the local school, finding the Vatican wanting. They point out that the Vatican is a haven for those running from facing the problem. Me, though? I think it’s time to check back in with Minnesota Public Radio on our own local problem. Continue reading “"No One Else Has Done More"”→
Last week, Ben Radford suggested that “no one doubts or denies” that “the vast majority of the time…a woman says she was assaulted, it really did happen” and that “victims are believed-as they should be, unless further evidence and investigation reveals that it did not happen”. As Ron Lindsay noted, Radford did this without reference to any research on the matter.
I’ve been meaning for a while to pull the moderated comments from EEB’s guest post, “I Am a False Rape Allegation Statistic” and give them their own post so I could delete them. I kept them in moderation for a couple reasons. The first is that the post caught the attention of multiple “men’s rights” sites. They don’t get to use my platform except as I choose.
The other reason I didn’t let several comments through is that the post itself was a highly emotional read for a lot of people. I made the decision that very little nonsense was going to wind up in the comment thread after that kind of harrowing read.
However, by making these decisions, I created a comment thread that doesn’t reflect the full reality of the reactions to someone saying they were raped. In light of Ben Radford’s recent suggestion that “no one doubts or denies” that “the vast majority of the time…a woman says she was assaulted, it really did happen” and that “victims are believed-as they should be, unless further evidence and investigation reveals that it did not happen”, it’s worth dismantling the incorrect appearance of that comment thread.
Not all of these comments were held for denying that EEB had been raped, but a large number were. Additionally, the post was covered at A Voice for Men and Reddit, where you can read all the evidence- and investigation-free comments you can stomach about what a liar this particular rape victim is. Continue reading “Bringing Them to Light”→
As you read this, you may want to know that I’ve been accused of falsely accusing someone of rape. In fact, I’ve been accused of falsely claiming a consensual encounter was rape. You can read all about it here.
You may also want to know that I’ve previously reported on the incidence and profile of false reports. When I did, I was careful to differentiate between false reports and other types of cases that don’t end in prosecution. While I did use examples, I grounded them not just in statistics from the scientific literature, but also in the factors that affect how those statistics are produced. You can read all about that here.
After reading those, you may decide I have a vested interest in keeping people from being believed when they accuse someone else of making a false report of sexual assault. Or you may decide that I have an interest in making sure the scientific evidence on the topic is examined and understood. Or you may come to a different conclusion. In any case, you’re informed about where I stand as you read.
I asked my social media lists this morning, “Q. for the hive mind: If I were to write a skepticism piece on an issue that affected me personally, would you expect/want me to disclose?” The answers varied considerably for reasons including how specifically or directly I was affected by the issue and whether this would require me to disclose something private. I didn’t ask anyone for permission to quote them by name, so these are all anonymous here. Continue reading “Investment, Disclosure, and Skepticism”→
They were, and are, pillars of the community. Saint Paul is a Catholic city, you see. Walk through the Catholic cemetery in the northern part of the city, and looking at the monuments is like looking at the street signs. So these men, these archbishops, were welcomed anywhere, feted, their opinions sought.
What does it say when you want to do a Magic Sandwich Show to talk about your buddy’s views on rape and you can only manage to find one female atheist you’d want on your show who is willing to talk with that buddy on the topic? What does it say when you’re so disinterested in that one woman’s point of view on the topic of rape that you won’t let her finish sentences? What does it say when you do that enough times in a row that she leaves your show? What does it say when you continue your show looking like a Republican-assembled panel on the “religious freedom” to deny women birth control?
I am curious, but I know what it says to me.
It says that the next time someone tries to tell me that sexism in the movement isn’t a problem because, well, you know, there are just a few trolls…oh, and that Thunderf00t dude who’s gone a bit barmy, but no one takes him seriously–the next time someone says that to me, I’ll point them to this. These guys over here? They were so desperate to have Thunderf00t’s unstudied opinions on rape on their show that it didn’t matter that they couldn’t find people affected by Thunderf00t’s advice who wanted to talk to the guy. It’s okay though, because they didn’t want to hear from any of those people anyway. At least they’re still taking him seriously, and I think they even still have reputations.
But I’m a bit sarcastic sometimes. What’s your reasoning here?
I recently received an email from reader and occasional commenter captainahags titled “Please take this idiot apart!” The post in question is by Matt Forney, a self-published “entrepreneur” who seems to have taken bragging “pick-up artists” seriously when they said there was money in all those poor, lonely guys on the internet. So last year he started up a blog to test the idea that you can publish any old crap, call it “game”, and make money. He’s already put out a “best of” book.
The post in question is a perfect example of “any old crap”. It’s whiny, contradictory, and backed up by fuck all. But here. Rather that tell you about it, let’s show you what flies in PUA land–with commentary, because it wasn’t the post that sent captainahags to me as much as the fact that Forney doesn’t allow critical comments on his blog.
Friday’s post covered the long-winded, poorly asserted introduction to Forney’s post. Saturday’s covered the hilarious first of his “reasons”. “Reason” number 2 came yesterday. Today is Forney’s final chance to offer a reason that does something other than expose his own lack of education and insecurity.