So, as you can see from yesterday’s repost, three years ago, I participated in a blogswarm set up to raise money for rape victims of the war in Liberia. I tried to do a little more than just raise money, to talk about why rape is and should be an expected consequence of going to war.
So did Greg Laden. I don’t remember whether we both hit on similar ideas independently or whether looking at each other’s work at Quiche Moraine fed into approaching the same topic from different angles. We’ve certainly done that before.
Greg wrote a couple of posts trying to make sure that people understand that violent wartime rape isn’t something that happens to “those people” “over there”. He referred people to research on the topic. He put it in cultural context.
He also said this:
Men, by and large, have a rape switch. All men are capable of rape. Most men are enculturated in a way that reduces rape, and in some societies it is probably true that most violent rape is carried out by individuals who are reasonably labeled as pathological. In other societies, this is not so true. In post war societies such as those described in some of these links, or any society in a state of war, rape becomes routine. The rape switch is flipped to the on position as a matter of course.
Anyone who has ever in the history of the internet talked about Schroedinger’s Rapist knows what happened next. We didn’t. That post hadn’t been written yet.
The first thing people did, of course, was deny at length and with many attempts at diversion that we should be talking about rape at all. There were demands for statistics, demands for the sources of statistics (which had already been given), demands that we talk about women exactly the same way we talk about men despite no evidence that female soldiers do the same thing. Greg’s response to be told to shut up was what it usually is. He wrote another post.
That post contained these paragraphs:
In other words, when all the young men stay home, they are mostly not going to rape anyone. In contrast, when the same exact men go off to war, an alarming percentage of them rape. Switch off, switch on.
In the [genteel] society in which we imagine ourselves living (at least according to many of the comments on the above cited post) the switch is off, and stays off for most people’s lives. But there are circumstances in which most men’s switch is turned on. The switch being on does not mean that rape will happen. It simply means that the man (with the switch on) is now a rapist, whether he actually rapes or not (but he probably will), and when the switch is off, he is not (so he probably won’t). It is a bit of a metaphor, and a strained one (see comments by commenter Elizabeth) at that.
Among the readership was a former soldier. Well, he claimed to be a soldier. He lied about important things to a number of people, so this particular one may or may not be true.
Either way, he also claimed that Greg was “calling all soldiers in all places in all of history rapists.” And that Greg needed to apologize. And a whole bunch of other crap that was anything but discussing the problem of rape in wartime.
It was a great distraction. Since the idea of Schroedinger’s Rapist hadn’t been presented yet, we spent quite a bit of time trying to get that same idea across. I had a stab at trying to explain the difference between a legal or societal presumption of innocence and assuming that everyone you meet couldn’t possibly be a rapist:
As a potential victim in this situation, what do I gain from making that assumption of innocence?
There are a lot of benefits, to me, of treating that large increase in incidence of rape as a universal, particularly if my goal is to prevent my rape in a war situation or that of others in a potential war situation. If I avoid all male soldiers in war, I am much more likely to avoid being raped. If I can stop war from happening, I can keep many more women from being raped. If I assume that no man is a rapist, even in war, until it’s proven, there’s a very good chance I can’t do either.
Why am I bringing this up now? Because those people who are totally not unhealthily obsessed with FtB in general and me as one of many in particular are also talking about this three-year-old set of blog posts.
Justicar, who appears to have recently discovered that MRAs like to donate to the PayPal accounts of people who cater to their prejudices, dug up or was handed this information from somewhere. He made a video about it.
I can’t tell you what it says. I didn’t bother to watch it. I can tell you that Justicar has built a mini-career out of lying. About a year ago, it was about Rebecca Watson. Now, it’s largely about Atheism+. I can also tell you that only a tiny fraction of the people who liked Justicar’s video checked on his links. Funny that.
Less funny are the responses from other areas of the harassment brigade.
Here’s that picture:
Yeah, talking about the probability of rape in war is just like thinking I’m going to get raped–by stereotype cavemen–sitting on the banks of a lake in Glacier National Park. Last I checked, we weren’t at war with any cavemen.
He tweeted it again with a different message.
Hoggle, in his Other Atheists guise, joined the party.
The link goes to a video of a female comedian saying that it’s always the friend who is most afraid of rape who is least likely to be raped. Nothing like spreading misinformation in the service of cheap laughs. Nothing like using someone’s cheap laughs to try to bully someone else.
It looks like, with Jen suspending blogging indefinitely and Greta taking a break, it’s my turn again. What they think they’ll get out of this, I’m not sure. There was some nastiness three years ago, including from someone I’d thought was a friend. I cracked fairly hard. Maybe they discovered that.
It won’t do them any good. Three years ago, I discovered that I hadn’t done anything to deal with the fact that I’d been sexually assaulted. That, more than anything else that happened then, was what cracked me.
So I worked those through. If these people read anything back then, they should have understood that. They’ve never read anything of mine with the intent to understand it, though, only to try to punch holes in it. Just like they’re trying to do to me now.
It’s not going to work.