“No One Doubts or Denies”, The Recent Literature on Rape Myth Acceptance

Last week, Ben Radford suggested that “no one doubts or denies” that “the vast majority of the time…a woman says she was assaulted, it really did happen” and that “victims are believed-as they should be, unless further evidence and investigation reveals that it did not happen”. As Ron Lindsay noted, Radford did this without reference to any research on the matter.

I’ve previously pointed out that Radford has a vested interest in this question that he failed to declare. I also pointed out that doubt and denial are hardly unknown experiences for women who talk about having been raped. In the meantime, however, I’ve also been going over the data on the question. Having done that, it’s time to address Radford’s “no one” statement. [Read more...]

Bringing Them to Light

I’ve been meaning for a while to pull the moderated comments from EEB’s guest post, “I Am a False Rape Allegation Statistic” and give them their own post so I could delete them. I kept them in moderation for a couple reasons. The first is that the post caught the attention of multiple “men’s rights” sites. They don’t get to use my platform except as I choose.

The other reason I didn’t let several comments through is that the post itself was a highly emotional read for a lot of people. I made the decision that very little nonsense was going to wind up in the comment thread after that kind of harrowing read.

However, by making these decisions, I created a comment thread that doesn’t reflect the full reality of the reactions to someone saying they were raped. In light of Ben Radford’s recent suggestion that “no one doubts or denies” that “the vast majority of the time…a woman says she was assaulted, it really did happen” and that “victims are believed-as they should be, unless further evidence and investigation reveals that it did not happen”, it’s worth dismantling the incorrect appearance of that comment thread.

Not all of these comments were held for denying that EEB had been raped, but a large number were. Additionally, the post was covered at A Voice for Men and Reddit, where you can read all the evidence- and investigation-free comments you can stomach about what a liar this particular rape victim is. [Read more...]

Investment, Disclosure, and Skepticism

As you read this, you may want to know that I’ve been accused of falsely accusing someone of rape. In fact, I’ve been accused of falsely claiming a consensual encounter was rape. You can read all about it here.

You may also want to know that I’ve previously reported on the incidence and profile of false reports. When I did, I was careful to differentiate between false reports and other types of cases that don’t end in prosecution. While I did use examples, I grounded them not just in statistics from the scientific literature, but also in the factors that affect how those statistics are produced. You can read all about that here.

A rendered picture of an unbalanced set of scales.

“balance scales” by winnifredxoxo. Some rights reserved.

After reading those, you may decide I have a vested interest in keeping people from being believed when they accuse someone else of making a false report of sexual assault. Or you may decide that I have an interest in making sure the scientific evidence on the topic is examined and understood. Or you may come to a different conclusion. In any case, you’re informed about where I stand as you read.

I asked my social media lists this morning, “Q. for the hive mind: If I were to write a skepticism piece on an issue that affected me personally, would you expect/want me to disclose?” The answers varied considerably for reasons including how specifically or directly I was affected by the issue and whether this would require me to disclose something private. I didn’t ask anyone for permission to quote them by name, so these are all anonymous here. [Read more...]

St. Paul’s Catholic Abuse Scandal Heating Up

They were, and are, pillars of the community. Saint Paul is a Catholic city, you see. Walk through the Catholic cemetery in the northern part of the city, and looking at the monuments is like looking at the street signs. So these men, these archbishops, were welcomed anywhere, feted, their opinions sought.

And they moved their child-raping priests around to new parishes and hushed up their crimes just like those other respected men in other cities. The only difference was that when earlier scandals broke, they assured us that they were following the proper procedures to make sure they didn’t happen here. Minnesota Public Radio just uncovered one of those former priests living “less than a block from a school”. [Read more...]

What Does It Say?

Dear DPRJones and C0nc0rdance:

What does it say when you want to do a Magic Sandwich Show to talk about your buddy’s views on rape and you can only manage to find one female atheist you’d want on your show who is willing to talk with that buddy on the topic? What does it say when you’re so disinterested in that one woman’s point of view on the topic of rape that you won’t let her finish sentences? What does it say when you do that enough times in a row that she leaves your show? What does it say when you continue your show looking like a Republican-assembled panel on the “religious freedom” to deny women birth control?

I am curious, but I know what it says to me.

It says that the next time someone tries to tell me that sexism in the movement isn’t a problem because, well, you know, there are just a few trolls…oh, and that Thunderf00t dude who’s gone a bit barmy, but no one takes him seriously–the next time someone says that to me, I’ll point them to this. These guys over here? They were so desperate to have Thunderf00t’s unstudied opinions on rape on their show that it didn’t matter that they couldn’t find people affected by Thunderf00t’s advice who wanted to talk to the guy. It’s okay though, because they didn’t want to hear from any of those people anyway. At least they’re still taking him seriously, and I think they even still have reputations.

But I’m a bit sarcastic sometimes. What’s your reasoning here?

The Case Against Female Self-Esteem, Part IV

I recently received an email from reader and occasional commenter captainahags titled “Please take this idiot apart!” The post in question is by Matt Forney, a self-published “entrepreneur” who seems to have taken bragging “pick-up artists” seriously when they said there was money in all those poor, lonely guys on the internet. So last year he started up a blog to test the idea that you can publish any old crap, call it “game”, and make money. He’s already put out a “best of” book.

The post in question is a perfect example of “any old crap”. It’s whiny, contradictory, and backed up by fuck all. But here. Rather that tell you about it, let’s show you what flies in PUA land–with commentary, because it wasn’t the post that sent captainahags to me as much as the fact that Forney doesn’t allow critical comments on his blog.

Friday’s post covered the long-winded, poorly asserted introduction to Forney’s post. Saturday’s covered the hilarious first of his “reasons”. “Reason” number 2 came yesterday. Today is Forney’s final chance to offer a reason that does something other than expose his own lack of education and insecurity.

3. Women don’t want to have high self-esteem. [Read more...]

Honoring Its Promise to Protect

It’s good to see religious people standing up to demand an end to sexual abuse in their churches. First a prominent Protestant evangelical, now a prominent Catholic.

In a publicly released statement, Jennifer Haselberger asked Archbishop John Nienstedt to allow an independent review of clergy files and “make public the list of clergy who have been determined to have engaged in acts of sexual misconduct, as well as those whom could reasonably be assumed to pose a threat to children and young people.”

She added, “Until this occurs, I do not believe that it can be said that the Archdiocese is honoring its promise to protect.” Haselberger has been at the center of two investigative reports by MPR News about the archdiocese’s handling of allegations against two priests.

Haselberger worked at the Roman Catholic archdiocese from Aug. 18, 2008 to April 30, 2013. She said she resigned in April because of concerns about the handling of clergy sexual abuse, allegations of abuse, and other matters.

Haselberger said she resigned because she concluded that it was, “impossible for me to continue in that position given my personal ethics, religious convictions, and sense of integrity.”

No deity is stepping in to stop this. The church hierarchy isn’t fixing the problem. We need more people like Haselberger.

Evangelicals Have Their Own Means of Quashing Abuse Accusations

I’ve mentioned before that part of the reason we pay so much attention to sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is that they have good central recordkeeping and central authority. Paper trails are great for pointing fingers. However, that doesn’t mean the Catholic Church has a worse record than, say, Protestant evangelicalism.

In fact, when you’ve got a Liberty University law professor (yes, I know) who also happens to be Billy Graham’s grandson saying that Protestant evangelicalism is worse than the Catholic Church on this score, maybe it’s time to sit up and pay some attention. [Read more...]

Sexual Assault Plus

Yesterday, Richard Dawkins issued an apology. In talking about his own sexual assault at a young age, he had generalized their experience from his. He was relatively unaffected by the experience and expressed his opinion that the same was true of “all of us”. He apologized for doing so.

Dawkins’ apology was very welcome, if incomplete, as was his admission that he should not speak to the experience of other victims of sexual assault. Alex has a pretty good take on what it missed. I don’t agree 100%, but I’m close enough not to quibble. Instead, I’d like to dig into this idea of degrees of assault. What Dawkins has had to say on the topic isn’t entirely wrong, but his naive take on the topic obscures as much as it reveals. [Read more...]

It’s Not the Libertarianism

When someone says something particularly dumb about sexual harassment or assault, something that looks like that person is trying to justify doing nothing about the problems, I brace myself. It doesn’t always happen, but frequently these days, someone will pop up to declare that this person must be a libertarian.

Well, no. Not quite. [Read more...]