“The Great Penis Debate” Transcript, Part II


Kate Donovan is wonderful and patient and finally done. Here is part two of the transcript of this video. Part one is here. There will probably be a few errors in the detail here. I told Kate not to bother to do one last play through after she’d immersed herself in the nastiness for this long. Please let me know if you find errors, so I can get them corrected. Part three coming soon is up.

Trigger warning for dismissal of claims of abuse, gendered slurs, and jokes about rape.

Minute 30

Wendell: Wouldn’t have to be right now. I’m just saying there should be something

Emery: I want to take us to this point then. I think that the people who claim that JREF is not a safe place and that it needs this policy to be a safe place, or to feel like it’s a safe place, are wrong. I think that the evidence shows that it’s an extremely safe place for women. And men. And gays. And transsexuals. I think that the evidence shows—

Wendell: What about queers?

Emery: Queers are all right too. I think that, in my opinion, the evidence that supports the idea that this even needs to be a fucking discussion is completely bullshit. I think it’s completely bullshit. And the reason I think it’s bullshit is because every example I’ve seen so far, I haven’t seen a single one that is impressive in the sense that it suggests that it would change anything to have the policies that you’re describing. Nothing would change. What we’re seeing is, we’re seeing political bullying. We’re seeing positioning by this one particular—

Wendell: Why? What do they have to gain by it?

Emery: Well, I can give you examples of what they have to gain. I can’t tell you what they think or believe, or have proof that anybody is doing these things in order to gain something from it. But there’s a lot to gain. Rebecca became ten times more well known the second she started this fight. The second she stood up against Dawkins in the moment that was so fucking stupid on Dawkins’ part, and that for the record, I said very clearly was on Dawkins’ part, very fucking clearly in my show. And for you to have walked away with a different—

Wendell: I can play you the recording on that.

Travis: Yeah, Emery has it queued up.

Emery: yeah, I have it

­­­­­­_________

[the audio of tape—may be off, was fuzzy; individual voices are not currently identified] I’m backing Rebecca up. When I heard the original, about the guy in the elevator, I didn’t think she was stepping out of line. I found that so innocuous. It was ‘hey guys, don’t do that. I don’t like that’. And in her defense, now maybe this is the old criticism, but her initial statement was innocuous, but the commenters on various blogs sort of radicalized the discussion.

That’s right.

It sorta changed the topic from ‘hey guys, don’t do that’ to ‘women consistently get objectified’ and ‘how do you know he wasn’t a rapist?’. And you know, so many conversations I don’t think she intended to have.

(woman’s voice) In other words, it got blown way the fuck out of proportion, which I’ve been saying over and over and over again. People need to just calm the hell down.

I think so. And a lot of the skeptics who don’t follow this inside, baseball stuff, don’t realize how horribly she was treated. Not by, I would argue, something called the skeptic’s community, but by anonymous commenters on Youtube and elsewhere, and there’s some conflation about anonymous guys in their underwear in their parent’s basement commenting on the internet, and self organizing skeptics who are trying to make the world a better place with critical thinking.

Well, you’re trying to be polite, as I think you should be. I’m not going to be as polite. I’m pissed off right now at how Rebecca has jumped on this course of bullshit. And that’s got me fucking furious, and I’m not going to ask [mumble] to agree with that. And when she went after Dawkins and turned it into this thing, it just turned into this absurd, in my opinion, comedy of errors on her part.

Well, for context, you mentioned she went after Dawkins, when what happened, what preceded that is, Dawkins commented on one of her blog posts, this sorta way you might expect an Oxford don to do. He punctured the pretensions of an argument he thought was a bad argument. Maybe he overstated what her initial case was, fine. Maybe he was responding to some of the commenters blowing stuff out of proportion. And he had that ‘Dear Muslima” comment, where he said, you know, dear Muslim woman in the Muslim world, stop complaining about how bad you have it, because of the rigid structures of that absurd monotheism that oppresses you. Look, some woman was offered coffee in an elevator, triumph of feminism, she said no, and the other guy said ok. So you can debate. Was that kind of, wise of Dawkins to be commenting, and then he doubled down…

It wasn’t! It was an error. It was a guy coming from his perspective, an Oxford don! When someone just grabs it

___

Wendell: You can stop it there. That was my point.
___

When someone just grabs it like a fucking set of rings!

__

Wendell: You all did say it was a mistake

Sara: Hi, Mallorie!!

Wendell: You totally minimized it. You said, oh just an Oxford don doing his thing, no big deal.

Emery: (shouting) You’re absolutely right that’s what I did! I’m minimizing it because it’s minimal! It’s not what it was turned in to! That’s my point, Wendell!

[interruption for tech]

Emery: It really upsets me when I say very clearly that I don’t agree with his position, I don’t agree with his choice of words! And absolutely I minimized it, because my complaint is that it shouldn’t have been conflated like that. It shouldn’t have been turned into… You know, when our grandparents say these things about blacks, or colored people, you don’t go screaming around the house “my grandma’s a fucking racist!”. They were raised in a different time, from a different perspective. And I think perspectives should be considered when you have a reasonable discourse between people. But that’s not what Rebecca did. Rebecca didn’t have a reasonable discourse—

Wendell: No, what happened was that they asked him if that’s what he really meant, and he doubled down on it and said ‘absolutely, that’s what I meant’.

Emery: I know he did!

Wendell: He did not back off in the least!

Emery: And I wouldn’t expect him to! He doesn’t have the perspective to understand why what he said was maybe not worded well, or why it might have had a—

Mallorie: Why then? Why was it not worded well? What was wrong with that?

[everyone tries to respond]

Mallorie: She said “I felt threatened, therefore, I was threatened” Which is not okay and [muffled]

Wendell: No, that’s not what she was talking about.

Emery: Dawkins, we’re talking about what Dawkins said.

Mallorie: No, I know what was said, and I honestly didn’t think it was insensitive, and I didn’t think it was wrong, and I found it kind of amusing. What was wrong with [muffled]

Wendell: Okay, I’ve got to ask you, because in the very same show, you made the exact same point, and got very upset about what other people were doing and minimizing and saying you should do other things instead. PETA vs. world hunger was my comment. It’s exactly the same point people like Rebecca and other people were getting upset about.

Emery: Right. I think that you’re right, that Dawkins made the mistake of comparing what happens to Muslim women to the complaint that Rebecca was making. There’s two reasons he made a mistake there, in my opinion. One of them is, one is real, and the other is bullshit. That’s my opinion. The thing that is happening to these Muslim women is fucking real. The thing that is happening to Rebecca is being conflated, and being turned into something that it isn’t. She isn’t being sexually harassed. She is a public figure, who is actually having people react really, really hotly to her. Really angrily to her, okay? And it’s a thing that happens on the internet, and it’s bullshit. If it becomes a death threat, which is something we found with Mabus, there’s something legal you can do. Other than that, she, in my opinion—and by the way, in my opinion—she wasn’t afraid to go to TAM, Wendell, she went to TAM. And she was fine until all of this. She only went back and turned this into what she turned it in to after she got mired down by this fucking position she built up.

Travis: And not only that, if she had a problem at TAM, why didn’t she—

Wendell: Okay, once again, we’ve wandered., if we could. I mean, I’d like to be clear about what you said about the Dawkins comment that made me make my comment—

Emery: Yeah

Wendell: was that you said—well, actually, you seem to agree with me that he said something really stupid—

Emery: I agree with that.

Wendell: [muffled] no big fucking deal.

Emery: And I don’t think it was that big of a deal. I think it was stupid what he said, and someone here doesn’t think that. Mallorie.

Wendell: Hi, Mallorie.

Mallorie: Hi.

Emery: Would you like to chime in on what Dawkins said, and how you felt about it?

Mallorie: I had no problem with it. I mean, it pointed out what I think needed to be pointed out, which is you’re asserting that something bad happened here, and let me give you a parallel, and demonstrate that no, nothing bad happened here. I have no sympathy for Rebecca in this. Somebody prefaced asking you for coffee, with don’t take this the wrong way and asked you for coffee. To act as though there’s anything wrong with this, on any level! Guys, please do that! Please!

[everyone talking over one another]

Mallorie: I like the parallel he drew, by saying this is not a problem, here is a problem. If you want to address women’s issues, address these women’s issues, because what you’re doing now is a joke. And it is!

Emery: Let me…I’m going to challenge one thing that you’re saying there, if I may. I’m going to side with Wendell, I have a feeling, now. I liked when Rebecca stood on a stage, and Travis, you know exactly what she said?

[everyone tries to find it; Emery has it]

Emery: (quoting Rebecca) “…all except that one man who didn’t really grasp what I was saying on the panel, because at the bar later that night—actually at four in the morning—we were at the hotel bar at 4 am, and this is what we would call the ignition for the whole silly debacle, as I like to refer to it. At 4 am I said ‘I’ve had enough guys, I’m going to bed” So I walked to the elevator, and a man got in the elevator with me and said “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I find you very interesting, and I would like to talk more. Would you like to come to my hotel room for coffee?”

[siren interruption]

Emery: Now here’s the last paragraph: “Ummm, just a word to the wise, guys, don’t do that. I don’t know how to explain how this makes me incredibly uncomfortable, but I’ll just sort of lay it out that I was a single woman in a foreign country at 4 AM in an elevator with you. Just you. And don’t invite me back to your hotel room right after I finish talking about how it creeps me out and makes me uncomfortable when men sexualize me in that manner, so yeah.” So there’s the quote! Now I read it! I did a show on it. I don’t know what show it was, maybe you can figure it out for me, Travis. It was when I had Kathy……yeah, I had Tracy. Anyway, I disagree with you, Mallorie. I think any man worth his weight in one fucking ounce of grain, doesn’t get a girl cornered at 4 in the morning somewhere to ask her if she wants to hang out and be sexual, or intimate that he might want to be sexual.

Mallorie: I didn’t honestly, I wouldn’t have taken that sexually, especially if prefaced with ‘don’t take this the wrong way’.

Wendell: Oh, as a man, I’m sure it was sexual.

Mallorie: Maybe I’m naive in that regard. But, on top of that, what was the alternative? Uh, humiliate this person publicly while they’re obviously engaged in [muffled] conversation at the table? I think it would be polite to wait and step aside. I am not threatened by every man I see. That is her problem. That is her choice.

Wendell: She’s not said she’s threatened by every man. And the alternative is you get to know someone. You talk to them at the bar, or you introduce yourself.

Mallorie: Or you ask them to talk! [muffled—she has really bad audio]

Wendell: or you get a feeling as to who they are before you corner them. I got to tell you about this, one brief thing on this point, is that my first reaction to this was kind of neutral either way. Until I talked to my wife and two of her girlfriends. And they, all three of them, unanimously explained to me what it was like to be a woman. I’ll give you an example. Last [something] I was talking to my wife—

Mallorie: [had been talking in the background] your woman, but I’ve got to disagree.

Wendell: I’m just telling you how they felt. They’re older than you are. I don’t know if it makes a difference.

Emery: Mallorie, don’t worry about it. They have drugs for this!

Mallorie: It didn’t devolve! [still muffled, I might be getting this wrong]

Wendell: Well good for you! It’s like, my wife was talking to me on the phone last night, on a cell phone. And she said to me, “We’ve got to stop talking. I’ve been sitting outside of my friend’s house in my car, but it’s getting dark now. I don’t want to walk from my car to their house in the dark.”

Travis: Just real quick—

Sara: That’s called being an American, not being a woman.

Travis: Just real quick, I want to interject. It was episode 21, from July 6th, 2011.

Emery: Okay.

Travis: So yeah, almost a year ago.

Emery: So we had Tracy Harris on that show, and who else was on that show?

Travis: Jessie Marin, and Vanessa.

[Mallorie has more technical difficulties]

Emery: I did the same thing you did, Wendell, I addressed the question. I went to women, and I asked the question, is this right? And I learned something that week. I learned that if you wait for a woman to be alone at four in the morning in an elevator, where she’s kind of technically trapped with you, that’s not the best place to make an amorous move. And I think that what she did in that situation—and Mallorie, I got to tell you, a lot of people kind of attacked her for that, and I think it’s wrong to attack her for that. I think there’s a lot to attack Rebecca for—

Mallorie: [more muffled stuff] shut down. For what she actually did in the elevator, fine. But to [something] and publicly humiliate this person, and to tell men not to behave in that way, on behalf of all women, is not acceptable. That’s not okay.

Emery: Well, did she name him?

[Sara, Mallorie, Wendell talk at once]

Mallorie: I’ve got a rule: don’t make rules for how an entire gender should conduct themselves.

Wendell: She didn’t present it that way. In the video, she just said for her.

Travis: Wendell, you and I disagree, Wendell.

Sara: And that’s where the problem lies, right? She initially said one thing, and then you have internet commenters and internet trolls, in between, adding to the conversation. And then a guy like Dawkins comes in, and thinks that Rebecca said the stuff that actually, internet commenters said. And then Rebecca replies, not only to what Dawkins said, but to what Dawkins said plus all the internet commenters, what they said. So it’s a problem of the internet commenters are getting in the way, and you have people who are more prominent in our communities, like Watson, and DJ, who should be talking to each other, and not talking via blog commenting threads. Because it’s not working. And we have each others numbers. If I have a problem or a concern, I have numbers of people that I could pick up and contact someone and say, “Hey, I have a problem”. So you know, putting it out publicly and letting internet trolls add to the conversation is not doing anyone any good at all.

Richard: Everybody, absolutely everybody has DJ’s number. Everybody has DJ’s number. He answers the phone. Call him.

Emery: He’s such a slut.

[laughter]

Travis: But I just want to say–

Wendell: I really like what Sara said. I thought yeah, you’re absolutely right. The biggest problem is that people aren’t talking to each other directly.

Emery: Well, and let’s be clear about what else she said. There’s so much inaccurate information. I had personal friends, high up in the skeptical community, very high up, who completely misunderstood what was initially said by Rebecca. I literally, at that point, had it on my iPhone so I could play it for people. And I would go, “What happened? What the fuck was said here?” [indicates phone] What people were claiming was said wasn’t accurate. And they were building arguments on it. And you know what that is, everybody? It’s the opposite of skepticism. It’s the opposite of critical thinking. Find out what the facts are. That’s why I like to discuss, for example, whether or not there’s a real power imbalance. I know we didn’t reach and agreement on that, but it’s all about that, in my opinion. This is a house of cards, in my opinion. There is no reason to restrict speakers from being sexual, amorous, or attracted to TAM-goers. We’re all fucking adults!

Wendell: Okay, there’s one reason I can give you, which you probably aren’t going to think much of, but I’ll do it anyhow. There are certainly now numbers of women who, for right or for wrong, don’t feel as comfortable going to these conferences as they did six months ago. Can we all agree to that?

[general agreement]

Wendell: I’m not saying right or wrong. I’m just saying that it seems there are.

Emery: I will agree with that, but I have to add an addendum, a caveat. And that is, because of all the awfulness and misinformation, and just the incendiary shit that was being said by a relatively small group of people. That’s why that’s true.

Travis: And I just want to add, I mean, I run a local skeptics group, but I have nothing to do with TAM, and I’ve gotten three emails personally, from women who say they’re not going, specifically because of the rumors they’ve heard on the blogs. Not Rebecca exclusively, it’s other blogs as well. But it’s being billed as an unsafe space.

[everyone talks over each other for a while, stops, and then does it again]

Sara: Out of all the conferences, and out of all the people trying to do good in making spaces comfortable for everyone in TAM, DJ and the JREF have done the most, that you can see, from any other conference about skepticism or atheism. They’ve done the most.

Emery: That brings us to a very very important point.

Wendell: Can I complete the point I was trying to make?

Emery: Yes you may, I’m sorry.

Wendell: We agree for right or for wrong, more people are upset. One thing, having the kind of harassment policies and so forth would do, is they would assure some of these people who are upset about it, for right, or for wrong. They might feel safer, whether they are physically safer or not. I think they would feel better.

Emery: I don’t think that’s true.

Sara: We have to remember too, that the people who are upset in situations are always more vocal than the people who don’t. I don’t go around telling people when I don’t have a problem with something.

Emery: Maybe you should!

Sara: I tell people when I do have a problem. So there’s all kinds of people that don’t have a problem, or have had positive experiences, and you can’t know if there are more people on one side than the other, based on what you here.

Travis: On that point as well, there are a lot of women that are afraid to say anything because they’re afraid of getting badgered.

Sara: Right, and if you have a dissenting opinion, saying, “I’ve had a positive experience”, even if you say, “This doesn’t mean that I’m saying that it’s perfect” or that what other women are saying, that it doesn’t go on. You try to make the point that women are people and that we all have the same opinion and experiences, that’s like a major point. Like, if you have a conflict between two male skeptics, and they have dissenting opinions, you don’t start in asking them things about “Well, what is it like being a man in this situation?” It’s only when women are involved that it’s like, “Well, I went and asked my…”. You know I wouldn’t go, “Well, I went and asked my husband or boyfriend and his friends….”

Wendell: I think you should. The Bible says you really should do that. I mean, you should be speaking in public, as I recall!

Sara: So it can be annoying. Even though Rebecca, you know, going back to the whole Elevatorgate thing, she didn’t say she was speaking for all women. It was the internet that made her say that. But it does become annoying to hear the talk of “Well, women think this about this subject, and women think this about that, and this is how women feel”. When it’s like, we’re people. I come from a different background and different country and different culture than most women at TAM. And you know, we’re people. Just like how men are people. You can’t put all men under one umbrella the way you do women and [trails off].

Emery: You kind of could though, for the record. We’re pretty simple.

[laughter, agreement]

Mallorie: I don’t think you should put yourself in a hole like that. You’re not, and neither are we.

Wendell: No, no, he’s right. Men really are.

Mallorie: His point was to make a playbook for how to behave. We have laws in place—like actual laws! Not TAM, not gray-area, but actual laws in place that handle sexual–

Travis: Well, I think there’s an interesting point about that, though. Because TAM has a different dynamic than a lot of the other conferences because, especially since [TAM] 7, we’re in a hotel, that the conference and where everybody hangs out in are all in the same place. People don’t tend to wander off. It’s not on the Strip, the Strip’s not as easily accessible. So everybody hangs out in the Del Mar afterwards. It’s not part of the conference, technically. The JREF really has nothing to do with anything that goes on there. And from my experience, the little tiny bit that I’ve heard and seen about, it all happens there. It doesn’t happen at the conference.

Sara: Right, if you have a problem at a TAM event, like at the opening reception, you know, anything that is on TAM time, then you go to TAM staff. And every conference, you know I’ve been to all kinds of conferences, not just skeptic conferences, and the responsibility of conference staff is to kick people out and revoke badges, and keep their conference free of troublemakers. That’s there responsibility. Anything beyond that, you contact hotel staff, or the police. It’s not the responsibility of convention staff to take harassment reports and police people and take down names and keep private information of people. They’re not trained for that. You’re putting people in a position that I don’t want staff to be put in any kind of danger either. There’s responsibilities of the conference, and then there’s hotel security and the police.

Emery: Lemme jump in here—lemme jump in, hun. Wendell?

Wendell: Yeah?

Emery: I know that you want to react to that. I need to hear exactly what you’re going to say.

Wendell: Well, my reaction really is, cause it goes back to, you spent some time, which I didn’t mention, implying basically the same thing Sara just said. If it wasn’t illegal, then it wasn’t harassment. Sara, and Mallorie in particular, is that a true statement? I you went to a convention—

Mallorie: We aren’t all women!

Wendell: –are there activities that you would consider to be improper, that people should be called upon, that should be recorded, that should be thrown from the event, that aren’t actually illegal? Or do you agree with what Emery said, that it’s largely the same? Which is kind of what I just heard Sara say.

Emery: Well, I think a more telling—

Wendell: He just interrupted you because you’re a woman, that’s all.

Emery: That’s right. I think a more intelligent, or a more sensitive way to ask that question would be: “Let me ask Sara, Mallorie, and Travis, that question”.

Travis: What are you implying?

Emery: What I’m implying is, do you not hear, Wendell, what you do when you’re doing that?

Wendell: Yes, you’re right, you’re find Emery, that’s cool. I understand.

Emery: See what I’m saying? And that’s one of the problems with this whole discussion. It’s clumping all women into this one specific group, like they’re the only ones that can speak on it. And it’s not necessarily accurate, by any stretch. Women are very complex, as a group, as a gender.

Wendell: This might be me speaking from my slightly elevated age [muffled, as multiple were talking; might be wrong]

Sara: I just wanted to clarify what you just said about if something isn’t illegal, is it harassment? And I’ve had this response before, when I’ve tried to discuss what the convention, what their responsibilities are and then what should be forwarded on to security or police. I’m not saying that if it’s not a big enough deal to call the police, then not to do anything. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying there’s stuff the convention can deal with, that you know, it’s not a right to be at TAM. They could throw anyone out for any reason they want to, because it’s their event. So if they…if you report something to the convention staff, and they feel…let’s say a guy has had too much to drink, and is causing some uncomfortable situations, they can ask him to leave. Either that specific event at that time, or ban him from the convention, whatever. That’s their turf—kicking people out of conventions. If that drunk guy becomes rowdy, and doesn’t want to leave, or the lady wants, the woman wants some sort of report taken down of what this guy did to her, that is going beyond convention responsibility, and to either hotel security or law enforcement. So that’s what I’m saying.

Emery: I want to add this to what you said. DJ spoke really clearly on this, and I wish I had a transcript of it. I know I don’t, maybe someone here will remember.

Travis: He did. Richard posted it in the chat. [quotes] “So if someone is accosted or assaulted, and to be legal about it, sexual harassment cannot happen in a public event. Right? Sexual harassment can only happen in a workplace, by definition.”

Emery: So, but DJ went on to say that they have always been personally responsible for being sure that everybody is as comfortable as possible. And when somebody acts up, as someone did in ’09, they’re taken care of. They’re asked to leave. It can be reported. But I got to tell you, Wendell, folks on your side of this discussion—

Wendell: My side?

Emery: It is! You’re on a particular side, and your side—

Wendell: Come on, I’m an individual. Rebecca’s opinions aren’t my opinions. I have my own opinions, just like the women do. Right, women?

Emery: Let me ask Richard. He’s got a beard!

Wendell: Yeah, but it’s the wrong color.

Emery: My point is, really people on your side of the discussion, on this side of the discussion, there doesn’t seem to be anything that DJ or JREF are going to do to make them feel like they’ve sated this monster juggernaut that is the sexist scandal of TAM! There’s nothing. In my opinion—

Wendell: I’ve not seen any of the actual bloggers say anything like that. Commentators, yes, but not me.

[overlapping talk]

Emery: No, no, no, bullshit! You stop for a minute Travis, I’m sorry. You did too say it! You said earlier in this discussion! You said that there should be a way that someone can file a report–

Wendell: Yes, I said that! And you just said that—

Emery: –and that they can do it anonymously. But what I’m saying is—

Wendell: But your last paragraph—said stuff about the ‘sexist horrible disaster that TAM is’. Your last paragraph said there wasn’t anything you could do to satisfy, that DJ was doomed no matter what he did. I never said those things.

Travis: I have a comment on that, but I want to hear what Mallorie has to say.

Wendell: Oh, Mallorie, are you still here?

Mallorie: Yeah, I was being quiet after this man told me to shut up.

[general laughing, Emery leaves as a joking protest]

Mallorie: I’m fucking terrified because I have a vagina! No, I wanted to interject that not only is it not TAM staff’s place to police these things, but they really really shouldn’t be. Sexual assault—and that paragraph posted in chat deals with sexual harassment—let’s talk about sexual assault, which is the same thing, but not in the workplace, essentially. I don’t want TAM staff dealing with that. They can’t collect evidence. They can’t decide if the woman’s making it up, and the guy actually did something. They have no authority. That idea is kind of terrifying to me. They should not be dealing with that. That is definitely not their place. If rape or sexual assault takes place, some guy with an extra badge takes care of it? No. No. That needs to be—

Wendell: I don’t think they’re saying that they would. It excludes—

Mallorie: No, I’m not saying that you said that. But they have no business addressing that. Not only is it not their place, but it’s not their job and it’s not safe for them. But it’s also not their job in that they don’t have the authority, the training, or the ability to do anything about it, and certainly not what needs to be done about it. And for none other reason than that. Rules at TAM, fine. But those don’t even touch on the nasty things that a lot of people say—allege—happen or could happen. And I’m not talking about [muffled] commenters. I got yelled at—Penn published a letter of mine that kind of put me on the map, and I got yelled at a lot. And I got messages about like “I was assaulted’ like, two of them. And I was like, please don’t tell TAM staff about this. Or tell them about it as a secondary measure. Please don’t blog about this. Call the police. Because they [TAM staff, I presume] can’t stop that. They don’t have the authority to stop that. That’s not a conversation we need to be having. If we’re talking about this, we’re talking about it on the level of basic social interactions, not… And they have policies. As far as I know, DJ did a survey, and nobody complained.

Comments

  1. julian says

    Jesus Christ. Fuck skepticism. Fuck Grothe. And Fuck TAM.

    Why invite someone to speak if you’re not going to allow them to?

    As far as I know, DJ did a survey, and nobody complained.

    >_<

    How many times is it going to have to be explained this isn't a reliable method of gauging the prevalence of sexual harassment at a conference?

    I'm in the USMC. One of the things this lot likes to do is hand out surveys to be filled out asking thins like "Have you experienced racist remarks in your workplace?" and "Has anyone in your workplace touched another inappropriately during work hours?"

    Going off these surveys you'd think there's no problem.

    Guess what one of the biggest issues the Marine Corps has to deal with? Hint it begins with R.

    There's a reason people who do phone surveys and the like establish a type of report with the people they're questioning. There's a reason there's so much thought and consideration put into how to go about asking those questions.

    My point is, really people on your side of the discussion, on this side of the discussion, there doesn’t seem to be anything that DJ or JREF are going to do to make them feel like they’ve sated this monster juggernaut that is the sexist scandal of TAM! There’s nothing.

    Except Stephanie Zvan when she’s making suggestions on what type of policies should be put in place, right? Because you, you repulsive festering sack of idiocy, wanted to hear from her and you must have known she’d been writing a lot about ways to improve TAM and the situation. Or are you so stuck in your fucking monologue you don’t care to listen to others?

  2. Momo Elektra says

    “Mallorie: I’ve got a rule: don’t make rules for how an entire gender should conduct themselves.”

    Didn’t she break that when she said “Guys, please do that.”?

    BTW, I’m only halfway through but I don’t know what to do with this.

    This is what passes for skeptics discussing a topic? One person having to defend a subject against several people of which one talks all the time and doesn’t really let the lone person elaborate on anything, including two chill girls to “break up the sausage-fest”, one who agrees with the guys on everything and one who doesn’t say anything?

    Meh…

  3. julian says

    Yeah, I’m going to offend Nasrallah again.

    Guys, don’t ask to see the breasts of random women you meet. It’s not cool.

    Can I get radfem cookie now?

  4. screechy monkey says

    “What we’re seeing is, we’re seeing political bullying”

    It really saddens me that the progress that has been made in drawing attention to actual bullying is being diminished by these kinds of attempts to define bullying downward.

    We’re reaching a societal consensus that bullying is a real problem, not something to be shrugged off as “kids will be kids,” and now it seems like so many people want to exploit that consensus: bullying is bad, therefore if I frame what my opponents are doing as bullying, then I win the debate!

    People saying things you don’t like on blogs you don’t have to read is not bullying.

  5. Robert B. says

    I like how you can just declare someplace a safe space now. No work necessary. No input from the people it’s supposed to be safe for is needed or wanted. Just… poof. Safe space. Awesome.

  6. smhll says

    “Mallorie: I’ve got a rule: don’t make rules for how an entire gender should conduct themselves.”

    Didn’t she break that when she said “Guys, please do that.”?

    You know, I don’t like Mallorie’s widely tweeted essay, but to the best of my recollection she spoke about liking her local skeptic gatherings as they are (were), and was speaking about herself, rather than repping the gender.

  7. Momo Elektra says

    smhll ,

    You know, I don’t like Mallorie’s widely tweeted essay, but to the best of my recollection she spoke about liking her local skeptic gatherings as they are (were), and was speaking about herself, rather than repping the gender.

    I didn’t quote that essay. I quoted this script. She said it on the show.

    Emery: Would you like to chime in on what Dawkins said, and how you felt about it?

    Mallorie: I had no problem with it. I mean, it pointed out what I think needed to be pointed out, which is you’re asserting that something bad happened here, and let me give you a parallel, and demonstrate that no, nothing bad happened here. I have no sympathy for Rebecca in this. Somebody prefaced asking you for coffee, with don’t take this the wrong way and asked you for coffee. To act as though there’s anything wrong with this, on any level! Guys, please do that! Please!

    That reads to me as “Guys, please ask any woman for sex whenever you want, however you want and wherever you want, no matter the circumstances, or her stated wishes, please, because I like it, so it’s cool!”

    That is telling an entire gender how to conduct themselves, in my book.

  8. karmakin says

    The thing is, it really is a zero sum game, or at least it is to a degree. There are winners and losers, people who gain and people who lose, etc. The environment that we would like would be an environment that Mallorie would like less, and vice versa. So when she speaking about what SHE wants, yes, she is wanting that to be “inflicted” on everybody. This is pretty much unavoidable.

  9. Pteryxx says

    It still needn’t be zero-sum, because short of telling rape jokes or flashing porn at a conference while surrounded by other people, she’s welcome to have her friends treat HER however she wants. They could have room parties with a frat-house atmosphere as long as everyone there is fine with it. It still doesn’t give her friends the right to treat ALL women that way; and if that’s what Mallorie wants to see – OTHER women unwillingly being pestered – the heck with that.

  10. Timid Atheist says

    Mallorie: ” I’m fucking terrified because I have a vagina!”

    I realize she’s saying this in a mocking way toward the women who are concerned with being harassed. That being said, if I ever had respect for her it is now gone. How can she claim to be a skeptic and a decent human being and not be aware of the fact that some people spend their lives dealing with harassment on a day to day basis and have no recourse? How can she sit there and mock women who are actual PTSD sufferers and tell them their fears are unfounded?

    Her argument has always been that others don’t get to speak for an entire gender. And she claims she doesn’t either, just for herself. Well fine, but then she should realize that everyone, regardless of gender, deals with things differently.

    It just makes me sick to see her mocking people who have real fears. What are we, still on the playground where we call the shy kid a crybaby? Ugh.

    I’m just… I’m suddenly regretting ever wanting to join this community. Anyone who is okay with this kind of treatment of others is not someone I want to associate with.

    I’m suddenly glad I’m in the closet. I’m pretty damn ashamed of these atheists and skeptics. And by these I mean the ones defending sexism and harassment and assault.

  11. says

    Emery:

    “And I think perspectives should be considered when you have a reasonable discourse between people.”

    So, Emery thinks “perspectives should be considered” — EXCEPT, of course, when dealing with feminists, because women’s rights activists are just so damnably unreasonable for demanding equal human rights in the world according to Emery. The feminist perspective is not worthy of consideration in his narrow-minded, male privilege-blinded worldview.

    Emery’s whine of “political bullying” and appropriation of victimhood status smacks of the exact same persecution complex that misogynists in the fascist Christian Right exhibit whenever they’re told that they don’t have a right to force their religious beliefs on the public by injecting it into public law and policy where women’s human rights over our own bodies are concerned.

  12. Bjarte Foshaug says

    Fuck skepticism. Fuck Grothe. And Fuck TAM.

    I follow you 66.7% of the way. I don’t think misogyny can be reasonably blamed on skepticism itself (any more than naziism or communism can be blamed on atheism). It is not as if misogynists have such good reasons for their bigotry and the problem could be remedied if only they would be a little less reasonable.

  13. says

    Timid Atheist,

    I know this is a bit late but I’ve been doing shit other than checking these blogs.

    I might as well say this here too: I do not agree with everything Emery or anyone else said, I came in late and as was pointed out, was cut short a few times. Please do not make assumptions about my agreement or disagreement with other “debaters”.

    Now on to this:

    Mallorie: ” I’m fucking terrified because I have a vagina!”

    I realize she’s saying this in a mocking way toward the women who are concerned with being harassed. That being said, if I ever had respect for her it is now gone. How can she claim to be a skeptic and a decent human being and not be aware of the fact that some people spend their lives dealing with harassment on a day to day basis and have no recourse? How can she sit there and mock women who are actual PTSD sufferers and tell them their fears are unfounded?

    Her argument has always been that others don’t get to speak for an entire gender. And she claims she doesn’t either, just for herself. Well fine, but then she should realize that everyone, regardless of gender, deals with things differently.

    First of all that was sarcasm, not mockery. And it was directed toward the idea that women are fearful little delicate flowers. Not toward women who have been assaulted.
    In that sense it is perfectly in keeping with what you have aptly noticed is my stance: We are all different and we must speak for ourselves.

    That being said I do believe plenty of fears are unfounded…thats a large chunk of what PTSD does to a person. I do not think discussing the difference between a perceived threat and an overt threat is off limits.

    Its fine that we all deal with things differently, whats not fine is when we try to make rules that force all others to behave specifically in the fashion we personally fancy.

    From the people out there who are as brazen and socially aggressive, and possibly irreverent as myself, to the people who either from trauma or just natural disposition find sexual (or otherwise) social interactions distressing…
    Deal with it how you choose.

    Thats all good and well, simply do not speak for me, do not speak as though you have been crowned leader of all people of X gender, or race, or age or whatever, and understand…
    Its just a (my) fucking opinion.

  14. says

    Mallorie:

    “Its fine that we all deal with things differently, whats not fine is when we try to make rules that force all others to behave specifically in the fashion we personally fancy.

    So where do YOU draw the line, Mallorie? When it is YOUR 11 year old daughter that gets brutally gang-raped and then blamed for the attack in our culture of rape and male impunity where misogyny and sexism is legitimized and normalized? When it is YOU who throws a snake-eyes when you finally encounter Schrödinger’s Rapist (or maybe another Ted Bundy who was also Schrödinger’s Killer)? When it is YOUR daughter that is trafficked and repeatedly raped, dead from untreated AIDS and AIDS-related complications within four years of being trafficked and prostituted, or finished off in a snuff film since we shouldn’t have rules to “force all others to behave specifically in the fashion we personally fancy” because of all the oppression apologists like YOU serving as enablers and collaborators, carrying water for rapists and other social predators, in this misogynistic shit-filled world which holds that anything less than free license to exploit, sexually harass, sexually assault, and discriminate against women since women are nothing but ornaments, fuck toys, conquests, war spoils, and interchangeable disposable reproductive “livestock” is somehow “not fine” and therefore unfair?

    Without rules, we don’t have a civilized society. And yes, that means that in order to protect the more vulnerable in society we must have rules that “force behavior”, or at least highly discourage sociopathic predation.

  15. julian says

    Its fine that we all deal with things differently, whats not fine is when we try to make rules that force all others to behave specifically in the fashion we personally fancy.

    Why is that not fine but disregarding others when dealing them ok by you?

    Why should a rape survivor have to tolerate rape jokes? Why should a 15 year old have to tolerate repeated anal rape and sex jokes from complete strangers (especially after she’s made it clear she doesn’t appreciate them and they make her very uncomfortable)?

    Why is affirming people’s right to treat and behave towards others as they please a virtue but asking them to be mindful of others and to avoid behavior that may be triggering, harmful or otherwise damaging wrong by you?

    From the people out there who are as brazen and socially aggressive

    bullies, yes

    Deal with it how you choose.

    The point of discouraging obnoxious, harassing and bullying behavior is to prevent having to “deal with it.” I’ve met women who’d flash you on the drop of a hat. I’d rather people who (for whatever reason) would be triggered or otherwise distressed by being asked by strangers to show them their breasts not have to google coping techniques.

    Similarly I’ve met people who won’t (again for whatever reason) when they are hurt and distressed say anything to their abusers and actually try to better fit in ingratiating themselves to them. I don’t care to leave them in such a position and I don’t care to risk worsening the situation through some absurd “toughen the fuck up” speech.

    So it is the behavior I look to target and discourage because, afterall, that’s what creating these situations, isn’t it? That and a lack of empathy.

  16. julian says

    I honestly don’t think Nasrallah is a rape apologist or enabler. She may not a lot of harassment qualifies as harassment or that you can’t set down ground rules for dealing with others but I haven’t seen her do any rape apologia. It’s a bit extreme to say she is.

  17. says

    Julian:

    “I honestly don’t think Nasrallah is a rape apologist or enabler. She may not a lot of harassment qualifies as harassment or that you can’t set down ground rules for dealing with others but I haven’t seen her do any rape apologia. It’s a bit extreme to say she is.”

    I respectfully disagree with you, Julian, and I’ll tell you why. There is no shortage of scientific studies out there on human development and social psychology that are brimming with evidence that words not only convey thought, but create fact and drive behaviors — including the very behaviors that need to be curtailed.

    Mallorie Nasrallah has a track record of joining in with the MRA/PUA predator/bully element in the atheist community by publicly piling on misogynistic abuse towards other women (i.e. Rebecca Watson and Greta Christina to name two). She has called other women “cunts”, and told Greta Christina to “fuck herself with a knife.” These are just two examples of some of Mallorie’s “gems” of “reason.” Mallorie has also said in this publicly broadcasted podcast that she had no sympathy at all for Rebecca for the relentless threats of sexualized violence, including rape, that she received for the “crime” of saying “Guys, please don’t do that.” She as good as said Rebecca deserved it.

    As a woman saying crap like that REPEATEDLY, she gives legitimacy to misogynistic behavior by the MRA/PUA bowel movement and the sadistic social predator element of our larger society. So yes, I think calling her out as an enabler and a rape apologist IS appropriate.

  18. says

    @ Julian: Here is one of many credible source citations to support my position: http://coi.gov.uk/documents/commongood/commongood-behaviourchange.pdf

    @ Miss Daisy Cutter: Holy shit. I somehow totally missed that part of the sausage fest! ::facepalm:: Now I feel like I’ve been played since I had just given Wendell the benefit of the doubt on the first thread when he addressed a long post to me about how he really DOES want to work towards a more fair and equal society for women and girls and did NOT realize how sucky some of his behavior in the video was, and that he does not know how to express himself always in the right way as an ally without pissing the women off, and he was unsure how to participate. This was after I told him that the same status quo of misogyny and patriarchy that has hurt so many other women will not spare his own daughter (citing for example, Sandra Fluke). I think I will be watching Wendell a LOT more closely before trusting his sincerity as an ally and giving him any milk and cookies.

  19. julian says

    Nasrallah encourages and condones misogynistic actions, misogynistic speech and attitudes. But she doesn’t, through attitude or tacit approval, encourage or condone rape. At least not from what I’ve seen.

  20. says

    Well Julian, what term would you ascribe to someone who says, in so many words, that the sexualized threats of violence, including rape, are things that another woman deserves? I also believe I said “oppression apologist” not “rape apologist” specifically in my initial post, however, my opinion on Mallorie as a rape apologist does stand, too. So we’re probably going to have to simply agree to disagree on that point.

  21. LeftSidePositive says

    Here is Mallorie specifically and explicitly engaging in rape-apologizing behavior, specifically of the variety trying to make the “but what if he was drunk too?” excuse, and willfully ignoring the difference between what you cannot consent to have done TO you while drunk, versus what you actually take it upon yourself to DO while drunk.

  22. says

    Jacqueline S. Homan says:

    Mallorie Nasrallah has a track record of joining in with the MRA/PUA predator/bully element in the atheist community by publicly piling on misogynistic abuse towards other women (i.e. Rebecca Watson and Greta Christina to name two). She has called other women “cunts”, and told Greta Christina to “fuck herself with a knife.” These are just two examples of some of Mallorie’s “gems” of “reason.” Mallorie has also said in this publicly broadcasted podcast that she had no sympathy at all for Rebecca for the relentless threats of sexualized violence, including rape, that she received for the “crime” of saying “Guys, please don’t do that.” She as good as said Rebecca deserved it.

    WHAT??

    Some of this is true, some of it is an outright lie.

    I say “cunt” often, this is true. Its just part of my regular vocabulary and I dont give much credibility to the idea that just saying a word is evil, or whatever.

    But I AM NOT THE PERSON WHO SAID THAT TO GRETA. I have no idea who said that. I crack jokes, sure but I am not whoever that is that she blogged about. I have no idea who that person is.
    I like to think myself a little more creative with my digs than that anyway.

    I dont have any sympathy for Rebecca, I dont really have much of anything for her but a mid distaste. Any further lack of sympathy comes from the incredible irresponsibility of not reporting any crimes she says were committed against her.
    I dont mean blogging, I mean reporting to proper authorities. Nothing can be fixed if you refuse to report these things. And dont use that “maybe she was intimidated” crap with me, she clearly had no problem talking about it the next day.

    God damn it, who the fuck are you even, what the fuck?

    And then there is this:

    So where do YOU draw the line, Mallorie? When it is YOUR 11 year old daughter that gets brutally gang-raped and then blamed for the attack in our culture of rape and male impunity where misogyny and sexism is legitimized and normalized? When it is YOU who throws a snake-eyes when you finally encounter Schrödinger’s Rapist (or maybe another Ted Bundy who was also Schrödinger’s Killer)? When it is YOUR daughter that is trafficked and repeatedly raped, dead from untreated AIDS and AIDS-related complications within four years of being trafficked and prostituted, or finished off in a snuff film since we shouldn’t have rules to “force all others to behave specifically in the fashion we personally fancy” because of all the oppression apologists like YOU serving as enablers and collaborators, carrying water for rapists and other social predators, in this misogynistic shit-filled world which holds that anything less than free license to exploit, sexually harass, sexually assault, and discriminate against women since women are nothing but ornaments, fuck toys, conquests, war spoils, and interchangeable disposable reproductive “livestock” is somehow “not fine” and therefore unfair?

    Without rules, we don’t have a civilized society. And yes, that means that in order to protect the more vulnerable in society we must have rules that “force behavior”, or at least highly discourage sociopathic predation.

    Are you actually asking me a question? Are you asking me where I draw the line for my personal social interactions? Are you asking what I think should be legal or illegal for others?

    Or are you just being vile?

    I will assume the best and answer it as though you asked a coherent question.

    first:

    So where do YOU draw the line, Mallorie? When it is YOUR 11 year old daughter that gets brutally gang-raped and then blamed for the attack in our culture of rape and male impunity where misogyny and sexism is legitimized and normalized?

    I dont have any children, so I can not really answer this question in the way you phrased it.
    However as far as legality goes, I have no anywhere ever said that it should be less than criminal to physically assault another person.
    Be it a unwanted, uninvited ass grab, or something as horrific as the scenario you described above.
    Clearly gang rape is illegal, as it well should be. I have never said otherwise.
    It is ridiculous that you would ask, and I believe attempt to imply that I have somehow suggested such things are ok.

    When it is YOU who throws a snake-eyes when you finally encounter Schrödinger’s Rapist (or maybe another Ted Bundy who was also Schrödinger’s Killer)?

    I did not know we were talking about murder here, I thought we were talking about overly aggressive flirting, and, yes the occasional harassment.
    But again, what you have described is illegal, I have been very vocal in my “please call the cops” stance.
    I have never said these things shouldnt be criminal.
    and again:
    It is ridiculous that you would ask, and I believe attempt to imply that I have somehow suggested such things are ok.

    When it is YOUR daughter that is trafficked and repeatedly raped, dead from untreated AIDS and AIDS-related complications within four years of being trafficked and prostituted, or finished off in a snuff film since we shouldn’t have rules to “force all others to behave specifically in the fashion we personally fancy” because of all the oppression apologists like YOU serving as enablers and collaborators, carrying water for rapists and other social predators, in this misogynistic shit-filled world which holds that anything less than free license to exploit, sexually harass, sexually assault, and discriminate against women since women are nothing but ornaments, fuck toys, conquests, war spoils, and interchangeable disposable reproductive “livestock” is somehow “not fine” and therefore unfair?

    Whew, I believe that may all be one single sentence. Lets see what I can do to answer this “question”.
    I have only given my opinion, and I have only done so on the subject of con policy.
    If you feel con policy needs to address the above then cons really really really are not a safe place. We totally agree.
    But I dont think thats where you are coming from, I dont think this is a question either, and you make that clear when you accuse me of being an “enabler and collaborator”.
    Or when you attempt to present my view as wanting: “free license to exploit, sexually harass, sexually assault, and discriminate against women since women are nothing but ornaments, fuck toys, conquests, war spoils, and interchangeable disposable reproductive “livestock” is somehow “not fine” and therefore unfair?”

    I can do nothing but assure you that my view is very firmly nowhere near that. And its dishonest and absurd for you to attempt to present it as such.

    Just so we don’t have to have this conversation again:
    I am only addressing the policy of private conventions in the above talk and comment.
    We have some pretty good laws here to protect citizens, and I do not wish to see those done away with.
    I do not think (by legal definition) rape, sexual assault, assault of any sort, or sexual harassment is acceptable.
    I do think flirting, polite offers of sex (with immediate acceptance of “no”), crass jokes, rude words, and general candor are completely fine.

    We clear?

  23. LeftSidePositive says

    Any further lack of sympathy comes from the incredible irresponsibility of not reporting any crimes she says were committed against her.

    Wow, Mallorie Nasrallah is a callous, victim-blaming piece of shit!

    Mallorie, have you ever had a friend who was raped? Or even experienced any level of sexual assault? Have you ever heard what people go through when they try to report these events? Are you even tangentially aware of how women get disbelieved, shamed, verbally harassed, and threatened by the people who are paid to protect them and carry out justice? Have you heard of rape victims being jailed so they can be forced to testify? Have you had friends receive major academic/professional consequences for reporting one of these crimes? Have you heard of students being expelled for reporting a rape? Have you heard of people being locked in a room with zir rapist for reporting what happened? This is IN ADDITION to the fact that the vast majority of reports of sexual assault are simply downplayed and ignored, thus conferring no benefit for the individual or society by reporting them.

    If you want to change this, make it EASIER TO REPORT, but do not sit from your position of relative comfort and blame victims, because that is an incredibly shitty thing to do.

    So seriously, Mallorie, I strongly suggest you educate yourself on what your fellow human beings have been through, why what seems easy and logical to you might not actually be even a safe much less effective strategy in the real world, and shut the fuck up until your empathy starts to work again, because it seems seriously broken.

  24. Cyranothe2nd says

    Emery: It really upsets me when I say very clearly that I don’t agree with his position, I don’t agree with his choice of words! And absolutely I minimized it, because my complaint is that it shouldn’t have been conflated like that. It shouldn’t have been turned into… You know, when our grandparents say these things about blacks, or colored people, you don’t go screaming around the house “my grandma’s a fucking racist!”. They were raised in a different time, from a different perspective. And I think perspectives should be considered when you have a reasonable discourse between people. But that’s not what Rebecca did. Rebecca didn’t have a reasonable discourse—

    This is so stupid, I don’t even know where to begin. Hey Emery–plenty of white people marched with Dr. King. There were ethical people back then. And saying we should just ignore unethical people and their fucking racism because that’s just how they were raised is so ridiculous! Especially for someone in the skeptical community! By that logic, we shouldn’t talk about atheism at all, or try to debunk religious claims, because people are raised to believe in the supernatural and we should just accept that. We should treat Dawkins with fucking kid gloves when he makes a mistake…but when a feminist makes a mistake, her arguments are invalid forever!

    Fuck you, Emory. Sincerely, fuck yourself.

  25. Cyranothe2nd says

    Mallorie: I’m fucking terrified because I have a vagina! No, I wanted to interject that not only is it not TAM staff’s place to police these things, but they really really shouldn’t be. Sexual assault—and that paragraph posted in chat deals with sexual harassment—let’s talk about sexual assault, which is the same thing, but not in the workplace, essentially. I don’t want TAM staff dealing with that. They can’t collect evidence. They can’t decide if the woman’s making it up, and the guy actually did something. They have no authority. That idea is kind of terrifying to me. They should not be dealing with that. That is definitely not their place. If rape or sexual assault takes place, some guy with an extra badge takes care of it? No. No. That needs to be—

    Looks like SOMEONE doesn’t understand what sexual harassment is. Why is she here talking about it, again?

  26. says

    LeftSidePositive, nice job cutting out the next thing I said.

    Wow, Mallorie Nasrallah is a callous, victim-blaming piece of shit!

    Please show me where I said fault or blame rested with her?
    Oh wait, I didnt, I called it (in this specific instance) irresponsible. Which it is.

    Mallorie, have you ever had a friend who was raped? Or even experienced any level of sexual assault?

    I suspect these are more questions that arent really questions, but I’ll answer.
    Yes I have, a few actually, both myself personally, and with friends.
    And I am consistent:
    (with permission)
    http://oi50.tinypic.com/2iik5q9.jpg

    Have you ever heard what people go through when they try to report these events?

    I have heard only positive from the people I know personally in so much as the system worked. The same can be said of the times I have filed reports, with the exception of a workplace complaint that got me fired, which I also subsequently took legal action against.

    Are you even tangentially aware of how women get disbelieved, shamed, verbally harassed, and threatened by the people who are paid to protect them and carry out justice?

    I am aware that this does happen, I do not feel that not reporting criminal acts is the solution though.
    But please do not take my statement out of context. We are talking about someone who was happy to tell the world about incidents, sometimes in detail. It is not credible to act as though there was any reason not to do the responsible thing and take legal action against these people.

    Have you heard of rape victims being jailed so they can be forced to testify?

    If we are talking recently, in America, then I have to say no to this. which is not to say I do not accept that it could (or has) happened. But the only things on this topic I have heard about is how protected the accuser is. I grew up near Duke university, and that case comes to mind as an example.

    Have you had friends receive major academic/professional consequences for reporting one of these crimes? Have you heard of students being expelled for reporting a rape? Have you heard of people being locked in a room with zir rapist for reporting what happened?

    Again, in modern America, no, no and no.
    Again not saying it doesnt happen, I am saying I have not heard of it. Well, if we are talking about events in the church, I have seen cover-ups in that regard. But I dont think thats what you were asking? If it was let me say, they are horrible and I do not believe that is a problem with our legal system as much as a problem with the church.

    This is IN ADDITION to the fact that the vast majority of reports of sexual assault are simply downplayed and ignored, thus conferring no benefit for the individual or society by reporting them.

    I really suspected those weren’t actually questions, but rather statements.

    Listen, if you want to make a case, make it, don’t cover it up under the guise of asking questions. And provide citations. I am not trying to be shitty, but I just cant see how this is applicable to a discussion about TAM policy.

    If you want to change this, make it EASIER TO REPORT, but do not sit from your position of relative comfort and blame victims, because that is an incredibly shitty thing to do.

    I can fully support this, but again I was not attributing blame. I called the choice to blog and not report irresponsible. That statement does not address the crime, the crime was NOT her fault. That doesn’t therefore make bloging super responsible and wise.
    Thats all I meant.

    So seriously, Mallorie, I strongly suggest you educate yourself on what your fellow human beings have been through, why what seems easy and logical to you might not actually be even a safe much less effective strategy in the real world, and shut the fuck up until your empathy starts to work again, because it seems seriously broken.

    How I distribute my concern is not for you to decide. I love my friends, I have been in full rage begging one of them to please call the cops after an incident, I have never cried out of fury before, but for her, I did.
    And I discovered the time had passed during which there would be any evidence of a crime I plotted to kick that fuckers ass. Which was also probably irresponsible and dumb.
    I spent days with her, explaining that being a sex worker does not mean that people can use you whenever they want. Letting her know she has value, and that I love her.
    Until it became clear that I was just reminding her of something she wanted to forget.
    Then I gave her a notated copy of sex and social justice.
    I felt helpless to make things ok for her, and I hated that, I hated the world that would do that to her.

    dont make this personal, dont assume shit about me.
    I have not once brought anecdote in to this, and I would prefer not to do it again.

    I will say one more time, this “live and let live” “to each their own” stuff only addresses perfectly legal social interaction.
    I sent this in a email to Wendell after the fact and I will post it here too (note when I say harassment I mean more than a single flirt):

    I have no issue whatsoever with a harassment policy being in place at any event.
    One of my only criticisms with the way things have been handled this year is that any policy should be made available to ticket purchasers *before* they get a ticket, and a refund should be offered to those who wish it, should a policy go in to effect after sales.
    This is just for basic legal fairness reasons, and I think pretty standard.
    No one is saying this, and that makes me sad.

    I am fine with a basic conduct policy, and I absolutely think it should have harassment (of any sort) in it. I would like people to be able to agree to the policy before they lay down several hundred dollars on a ticket, and I would like the process though which an accused goes though before being evicted from TAM to be transparent (the idea of doing away with due process all together doesn’t sit well with me).

    I would really prefer not to deal with straw-men anymore.

  27. julian says

    I dont mean blogging, I mean reporting to proper authorities.

    Report what? That someone she couldn’t reliably identify groped her? To what’s going to be a largely unsympathetic listener hoping to pass her along to someone else so they don’t have to put with some whiny girl?

    Do you even realize how difficult it is to get the “proper authorities” to do anything about rape let alone groping or other forms of sexual assault/harassment?

    And you have zero sympathy for her because she didn’t contact the police but was willing to talk about it later? Because she wasn’t willing to put herself through even more bullshit but decided maybe, just maybe, if she shared her experience there’d be more faces to the cases of sexual assault that goes on in our world and it’d be harder to deny?

    Fuck you.

    We clear?

    Crystal.

  28. says

    Cyranothe2nd, you’ll note I was cut off.
    I strongly suggest you watch the video to see what I am talking about with the chat thing.

    What I was going on to say is that people who assault other people are dangerous assholes, and I dont think TAM staff is properly equipped to handle that.
    Assault is a criminal offense, and when it occurs, it should at the very least be taken up with hotel security (as a Vegas local, let me tell you they are serious business), and better still with the police.
    And con policy doesn’t really have anything to do with any of that.

    Of course, I was cut off having not been able to say all that.

  29. Cyranothe2nd says

    @ julian, its obvious that the only harassment that exists in Mallorie’s world is outright physical assault, complete with physical evidence. Because harassment is just “sexual assault that doesn’t take place at work”, right?

    Jesus, the amount of callous stupidity is just scorching.

  30. julian says

    “Incredible irresponsibility”

    Jesus Christ. You’re low, Nasrallah. Beyond contemptible. You’re outright disgusting.

    Want an example of why sexual assault is under reported, look in the mirror.

  31. says

    julian, if its been stated that these men are unidentifiable, I missed that.

    I do not thinking acting as though filing a report with police is worthless and extremely taxing is helpful.
    I am also not willing to accept that doing so will be unproductive, as many here, yourself included seem to believe.
    I think its very harmful to act this way.

    I can not understand for the life of me why so many people here take issue with the idea that reporting a crime, and taking a dangerous person out of the mix in doing so is a bad thing.

    You might not find it the most productive thing in the world, but from what I’ve seen it gets better effects than blogging and letting the fucker run around grabbing ass another day.

  32. says

    Julian,

    Want an example of why sexual assault is under reported, look in the mirror.

    Really? Really because I am pretty sure you just excused not reporting things, and acted as though it wasn’t important to do so.

    While I have exhaustively encouraged reporting.

    And I’m the reason sexual assault is under reported? Really?

    And Cyranothe2nd, don’t think I missed that you took out the two modifiers I had in that sentence, I did not say harassment and assault were the same thing, I said “like” and “essentially”.
    Cute though, how you neglected that as you decided to mock me.

  33. says

    Jacqueline, re Wendell, not just what I mentioned above, but this bullshit from Part III.

    Mallorie:

    God damn it, who the fuck are you even, what the fuck?

    Someone who’s done a lot more good in this world than you’ve ever done or are ever likely to do, and with many fewer resources.

    Her “vile” question to you was right on target. I don’t have children, either, but I would have answered that question as a hypothetical.

    I have heard only positive from the people I know personally in so much as the system worked.

    Your anecdata trumps all? That’s so skeptical.

    I grew up near Duke university, and that case comes to mind as an example.

    Awesome, the MRA tactic of dragging out the Duke Lacrosse case as the norm rather than the exception.

    Again not saying it doesnt happen, I am saying I have not heard of it.

    Then maybe you ought to fucking Google on it, because feminist blogs have been discussing this shit for a long time, and some of these cases are recent.

    How I distribute my concern is not for you to decide.

    How we react to your “distribution” of your concern is not for you to whine about, then.

    I have not once brought anecdote in to this

    Snort.

    Cyrano, yes, and there were white people objecting to slavery back in the 1800s and before that. And there are PLENTY of people who stand up to racist old relatives or cut off contact with them. PLENTY.

    Jesus, the amount of callous stupidity is just scorching.

    She’s a close friend of Penn Gillette’s. Like calls to like.

  34. says

    Mallorie:

    “God damn it, who the fuck are you even, what the fuck?”

    I’m Jacqueline Sarah Homan, that’s who the fuck I am. Leave “god” out of it since he/she/it has not been proven to exist.

    “How I distribute my concern is not for you to decide.”

    Then you have no right to dictate to everyone else how to clean up the mess who is left to deal with the fallout from the real, not imagined, social costs in terms of real human misery and suffering resulting as a direct consequence of the selfish narcissism so liberally distributed by you and too many others like you (like the male chauvinist pigs you call your “friends” that sucked up to for brownie points).

    When you “distribute your concern” by contributing more shallow, callous shit to this misogynistic, unjust, shit-filled world without giving a fuck about who gets hurt and stepped on along the way just so long as you get yours, you forfeit the right to complain about the stench as the shit piles up. You are either part of the solution or part of the problem. You chose to be part of the problem. You’ve been called on it, and rightly so.

    “I love my friends,I felt helpless to make things ok for her, and I hated that, I hated the world that would do that to her.”

    And did you ever stop to think for one second that the world that did that to her did not materialize in a vacuum? It required a hell of a lot of enabling, for a very long time by a hell of a lot of people.

    “I can not understand for the life of me why so many people here take issue with the idea that reporting a crime, and taking a dangerous person out of the mix in doing so is a bad thing.”

    The most recent stats according to the US Crime Index indicate that nearly 1 out of every 5 American women is raped in her lifetime in the US. Yet despite this, rape is the one crime where the victim is almost always, without exception, made into the criminal.

    For Native American women, the chance of being raped is much higher it’s one in three, and because of their legal status as “diminished sovereigns” per US Federal Indian Law, the ONLY ones able to prosecute those rapes are the US Attorney General.

    And the rapists who ARE reported to the police are not prosecuted and adjudicated and incarcerated most of the time. The victim is almost always, without exception, blamed for her attack — even when the victim is an 11 year old child. Real rich, isn’t it? Almost like what YOU did regarding a 15 year old girl when Jason Thibeault asked you to refrain from making excuses for rape on his blog, but you kept doing it anyway.

    According to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, approximately 25,000 women in the US get pregnant each year from rape. The actual toll may be higher, since 54% of all sexual assaults go unreported to the police, 97% of all rapists never spend a day in jail, and 38% of all rapists were a friend or acquaintance of the victim.

    And for the record, Mallorie, you said that there are laws to protect US citizens. What you fail to grasp is that under the US Constitution, women are not specifically included or codified as full persons or citizens that are deserving of that “equal protection under the law” under the 14th Amendment. Why do you think my generation (Gen-X) and the generation of women before me in the Boomer generation fought to get the Equal Rights Amendment passed? The ERA was defeated in 1980 when I was 13 years old. The Religious Right and the Vatican had a hell of a lot to do with that, as did all the reactionary, wealthy white males that stood to lose a tiny bit of privilege and power. Care to wager an educated guess as to who benefits the most from women being denied full equal human and civil rights under the law?

  35. says

    Any further lack of sympathy comes from the incredible irresponsibility of not reporting any crimes she says were committed against her.

    So, somebody gets vile shit flung at her, stuff no human being should ever have to encounter and you have no sympathy for her because she didn’t behave perfectly in your book?
    You know what’s the difference between you and the people here on FtB?
    If something vile happened to you tomorrow, if people started to threaten and harass you, they would stand up for you. Ms. Daisy Cutter would have your back, julian would have your back, I would have your back. It doesn’t matter that we all consider you an utter asshole and sorry excuse for a human being. it doesn’t matter one bit because not even sorry excuses for human beings deserve such shit.

    I have never cried out of fury before, but for her, I did.

    Decent human beings would have cried out of empathy and shared hurt.
    Did it ever occur to you that your friend had a pretty good idea what would happen to her if she reported? Did it ever occur to her that she pretty rationally cut her losses? No, you would go on calling her and women like her irresponsible.

    I got harassed by telephone. I asked a cop friend what to do, he told me to change my number. Because the only thing that would have happened would have been a waste of time for me and the police officer.

    I got almost assaulted in a car park. I told a friend. I got blamed for parking my car there. Why should I have told the police which would only have meant more people picking on me for the terrible crime of parking my car.

    I got groped on the way to the off-license. What should I have told the police?

    I got groped on the way home by a man on a fucking bicycle. What would have actually happened if I had reported this?

    I got groped on dance floors more often than I got invited for a drink. What do you think would have been the result of me calling the police?

    I got asked for sex by strange men on the street because I was merely walking oast a brothel, is that OK because they couldn’t know I wasn’t a sex-worker until they asked? Oh, and not to mention that they became quite rude when I told them I was not. Any ideas about what they would have been convicted of (where prostituion itself is legal)?

    I have a very good idea what you and your friends would have done: Screamed for “evidence” and that if the guy wasn’t convicted by a court I was tarnishing somebody’s reputation, can’t we ask questions, we must be skeptical!

  36. says

    “I have heard only positive from the people I know personally in so much as the system worked.”

    You do realize that only women with relative privilege women are able to engage in the “just us” system, while poor and marginalized women are not, and that even for women with relative privilege (race and socio-economic class) the “just us” system often fails, right? Or are you referring to a different system? Like maybe some remote exo-planetary galactic system?

  37. says

    Giliell:

    “Ms. Daisy Cutter would have your back, julian would have your back, I would have your back. It doesn’t matter that we all consider you an utter asshole and sorry excuse for a human being. it doesn’t matter one bit because not even sorry excuses for human beings deserve such shit. “

    You can add me to those who would also have Mallorie’s back should anything bad happen to her. Women have few, if any, real allies in the world as it is. And men as the patriarchy class eat that up. They love to see women tearing down, invalidating, and destroying other women. Whether Mallorie knows it or not, by taking the position publicly that she took regarding Rebecca Watson and other women who rationally cut their losses by refraining from reporting incidents to the police, she played right into MRA/PUA hands. And you can bet with a mathematical certainty that they are laughing their asses off about it amongst themselves. This video of their sausage fest is but one tiny bit of evidence of that: The micro mirrors the macro. I would never call Mallorie the gendered slur (the “c-word”) that she has called other women even though she’s done some really shitty things without any concern for how her words and actions might have impacted others. But that does not mean I won’t come down on her like a ton of bricks when she says or does something ignorant to lend legitimacy to the status quo of a system in which such vile shit happens to so many women with impunity.

  38. Jon H says

    Jacqueline S. Homan wrote: “The Religious Right and the Vatican had a hell of a lot to do with that, as did all the reactionary, wealthy white males that stood to lose a tiny bit of privilege and power. Care to wager an educated guess as to who benefits the most from women being denied full equal human and civil rights under the law?”

    Lemme guess: the New World Order, ready to round Americans up into the camps that have been built?

  39. LeftSidePositive says

    Yes, Mallorie, you ARE a victim-blaming piece of shit. When you say that someone is “irresponsible” for not acting the way YOU want after they are assaulted, YOU ARE BLAMING THEM for not living up to your standards, and that makes you a total fucking shithead. The person who was assaulted did not ask to be assaulted (by definition!), ze did not sign up for this, nor did ze have a chance to decide ahead of time what ze was getting into, and ze is in this situation ENTIRELY against zir will–so, for you to load expectations and judgement upon an already non-consenting person is fucking disgusting.

    Furthermore, no one has said that it is *categorically* bad to report, just that the risk of harm is real and thus it is TOTALLY inappropriate of you to expect someone to subject zirselves to those risks, because you have no fucking right to expose other, non-consenting human beings to risk.

    And all of your personal stories mean jack shit. If you’ve been in all those situations, and you STILL don’t have the fucking empathy to understand that everyone’s situation is different and that one can’t always be rational or altruistic after an assault–nor should we expect them to be–then my opinion of you is even lower than it was at my last comment (which is quite a feat, but not exactly an accomplishment!).

  40. says

    Miss Daisy, Jon H. is proudly showing off how classy it is to be an idiot that ought to be arrested for possession of brains with intent to use. The world according to Jon H.:
    1) Patriarchy isn’t real
    2) Misogyny isn’t real
    3) Unearned privilege isn’t real
    4) Sexism isn’t real
    5) The moon landing isn’t real
    6) The Earth is flat
    7) Germs aren’t real

  41. Jon H says

    “The world’s richest and most powerful 130 families only need a global total of 500,000 peons to be kept alive to serve them as slaves in their New World Order utopia. There are plans openly discussed about UN troops being deployed here on American soil in the event of a state of emergency. The government medical intelligentsia has openly called for culling the US population by deliberate withholding of lifesaving medical care from those it deems “unworthy”; the old and the disabled. What do you think their plan is for the majority of 300 million Americans? The corporatocracy and the government they control, which in turn controls you, doesn’t care about you. If you think you’ll be spared, you’re an idiot who ought to be arrested for possession of brains with intent to use.”

    (Jacqueline S. Homan, “Nothing You Can Possess”, pp. 407) copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

  42. Jon H says

    “Jon, that has what-all to do with a discussion of patriarchy, aside from being a passive-aggressive attempt at an ad hominem?”

    Well, someone who can’t rationally analyze the “threat” of the UN might not be able to rationally distinguish whether other “threats” are real or imagined.

  43. julian says

    Just so I’m clear, I hate that rape is under reported. I hate knowing there are countless people out there suffering in silence and whoever took advantage of them is walking about free. But (because of personal experience and information helpfully provided by women like Stephanie Zvan) I have some idea of what the situation looks like on the ground and it is not the case that rape accusations are given credibility a prior.

    It is not true that most rape survivors make up the claims. And the system has a way of shuffling even the most extreme cases away especially when the survivor has some sort of sordid past, emotional issues or doesn’t speak the dominant language in the region.

    I’m glad to hear Nasrallah and her friend found comfort and strength in their approach. And I’m ecstatic that (from what I gather) her friend had a positive experience with the judicial system. There are so many horror stories out there learning something went right for a change kindles that tiny spark of hope somewhere in the pit where my soul should be.

    But it doesn’t always work out. And you should not fault someone for how they cope with the trauma. It’s unconscionable to do so and (from what I understand) likely to only make the emotional state of whoever it is you’re trying to help worse.

  44. says

    So, yes, just an attempt at an ad hominem, Jon. And you went to all the trouble to set it up with a separate comment first. Did you really want to draw that much attention to committing a fallacy?

  45. says

    Jon H:

    Well, someone who can’t rationally analyze the “threat” of the UN might not be able to rationally distinguish whether other “threats” are real or imagined.

    What’s funny is that most people change over time as far as positions that they hold. I was very different in my political views a few years back, mostly apathetic. As a marginal poor woman in rural northwestern PA, I was one of those “forgotten Americans” that “limousine liberals” and upper-middle class “radical feminists” and of course, smug self-centered assfucks like you, never gave a shit about.

    An experience back in 2009 ( well AFTER writing Nothing You Can Possess) in trying to help a 47 year old neighbor get a life-threatening pregnancy terminated with the nearest clinic being over 90 miles away and the confrontation I had with the “tampon terrorists” and misogynistic fetal idolators of popery led me on the path to radical feminism, a core principle I always subscribed to but was unaware that it had a name and for the longest time, was afraid to publicly “come out” as a feminist. Plus, I never felt like I “belonged” (feminism had a bad rap for a long time for being very upper-middle class centric, kinda like the skeptics movement — but the difference is that most other feminists I collaborate with aren’t assholes).

    Five years and changes in situations and in the acquisition of more information brings with it a change in political perspective, and other social ideologies and philosophies.

    When I wrote Nothing You Can Possess, I could have gone Ron Paul Tea Party. Instead, I went Left along the lines of Leftist revolutionary. After finally getting access to Internet, I made some friends and they sent me more books. I then started to get involved, after they encouraged me. They sent me books by Michael Parenti, books about Edward Bernays, and a book on Marx and Engels — containing ideologies which are easier to accept than the Glenn Beck/Ron Paul Tea Party position of everyone being the enemy except, well, white dudes like them.

    Poverty is isolating and marginalizing. And the poor who are the jobless with no income or safety net in post-Welfare Reform America have not only been made invisible, but have even been made objects of ridicule for vacuous middle class “entertainment” (Jerry Springer, Maury Povich, etc.), and even criminalized (Google Keith Henry of Food Not Bombs, which is listed as a “terrorist” group). Not that I expect you to have much first-hand understanding of that on a visceral level.

    Nobody ever gave a fuck about those of us who got no choice in being economically excluded despite doing “all the right things.” Instead, those from poverty are told repeatedly how if we’re not making it in this “land of opportunity” it’s our own damn fault.

    You know you’re being screwed over and you want answers as to why when you’ve done “all the right things” that the well-educated “experts” tell you to do in order to be deserving of a chance for something resembling a nice life, and most of all you want justice. But instead of getting ANY of that, all you got was shit and shoved in it. All you get is bits and pieces of the “big picture” at a time.

    Naturally, when I found some things that are well documented that I found to be a bit scary that NO ONE seemed to be looking into back then, I wrote a book about them and that was close to five years ago: long before WikiLeaks and all sorts of other neat things came to light, like how Ron Paul is really a racist, woman-hating ass and NOT the oh-so-concerned Congressman who truly values the Constitution (he suggested that we repeal the 14th Amendment recently) that he claims to be.

    From my position at the very bottom of the socio-economic pile of generational poverty and never able to make it to even the lowest rung of the middle class no matter what or how hard I tried, it is VERY rational — for someone without Internet, TV, without heat/hot water/cooking gas, no dental care and no health care and vision care (while being denied jobs as further punishment for my conditions of poverty) due to poverty, and without hope of ever having those things in a society that never gave a fuck about me as a poor and marginal woman — to find legitimacy in a LOT of those “fears” you scoff at from your position of privilege.

    That you are not rational enough to grasp that tells me a lot about you. Along with the fact that you just hijacked this thread to make it all about your smug ass just to invalidate the legitimate complaints of misogyny in your movement.

  46. says

    Oh, and Jon, analyze this:

    “The Libertarian non-aggression principle, as stated by the Cato Institute, apparently does not apply to damage inflicted on others caused by abusive economic and social policy that promotes age, race, disability and sex discrimination that Libertarians, neocons, and neoliberals think should go unfettered by “Big Government.”

    How ironic that the same people who arrange their system of unearned privilege to steal your last penny and keep you from getting on your feet have the moxy to sell you the notion that they should be free from regulation. Anyone not in the top 10% who is led to believe that they would benefit from such as system ought to be arrested for possession of brains with intent to use.” [Read more here: http://godlessfeminist.wordpress.com/2010/06/04/too-liberal-to-post-on-liberal-sites/ ]

  47. says

    Interesting how one of the taped commenters suggested that the people who’ve been abusing RW online couldn’t possibly be part of the skeptics’ movement and are likely to be “anonymous guys in their underwear in their parent’s basement commenting on the internet”. I was only alerted to just how vile this online behaviour has been when a facebook group I was signed up to posted an unbelievably infantile and nasty youtube video about RW. It was posted by the ‘Global Secular Humanist Movement’ facebook group and there is nothing anonymous about them. They have over 61,000 ‘likers’ and it seems that everything else they post is perfectly legitimate stuff of interest to humanists and other atheists.

    Given that kind of treatment, it’s a curious idea that RW would welcome becoming “ten times more well known” and, having now seen so much hateful stuff directed at her, I have no problem believing her and other women who say they’ve been harrassed or groped at skeptic conferences. I doubt if RW imagined sticking her head above the parapet and “going after Dawkins” would bring her widespread adoration.

  48. Cara says

    Emery: Lemme jump in here—lemme jump in, hun.

    Oh, puke. Nope, no sexism here, move along.

    Mallorie: We aren’t all women!

    “Tee hee! We’re different! The status quo is so edgy.”

    Ah, well. Give them five years. They’ll be pretty damned embarrassed.

    Maybe the less said the better. You know how people cling more fiercely to a stupid idea if they’re pushed on it.

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