In Which I Falsely Report a Rape

…according to the slime pit. Expect to be hearing the story passed around, since people are working very hard to distract from Shermer right now. They’re doing their best to turn the spotlight around and put us on the defensive.

I’ve written four times, I think, about various aspects of having been sexually assaulted at age 15 by the father of the young man I intended to “lose my virginity” to.

The short version: [Read more...]

Two Quick Tests

Have a couple of quick heuristics to make your life easier.

Test One: Are you blaming victims?

Sure, sometimes you do have to explain how to do some basic things. I have friends who didn’t grow up in the U.S. I have friends who were very sheltered for religious or other reasons. Sometimes you say things that some across as condescendingly obvious for a good reason.

When these things are about not, say, getting drugged by someone who may want to rape you, you may be told that giving that kind of advice is victim-blaming. You may be tempted to shrug off that idea. Before you do that, ask yourself one question: [Read more...]

Shermer Speaks

Note to self: Self, if you ever want to keep something quiet, and you see an email–hell, any kind of communication–from Ian Murphy, delete it unread. Unplug the phone. Smother the pigeon. Whatever.

I’m just going to point you to the interview and let you read for yourself how Murphy got Michael Shermer to comment on the current situation (and, oh, you should read it), but here’s the relevant quote:

I haven’t been charged with anything. An anonymous woman told another anonymous woman to tell PZ Myers that I raped her at some unspecified time in the past at some unspecified conference which was alleged reported to unspecified persons who allegedly covered up whatever it is I allegedly did. You print that and you are party to defamation along with Myers. My attorneys are keeping track of everything that could amount to damages to my reputation, and in the court of public opinion it doesn’t matter if the claim is completely made up, people will just believe it. That’s why we have laws against libel and defamation and why no good editor at Salon or anywhere else you would submit such a story would ever run it because they would then open themselves up to libel. In any case, any publication of any substance would have it vetted by an attorney first, who would remind them and you of the ethics of journalism and the law against defamation.

Well, no. A woman PZ has met and finds trustworthy asked Carrie Poppy for a reintroduction by email to PZ. Carrie did that and bowed out. Then this woman, whose identity is being shielded by PZ (from someone who, as we can see, doesn’t have the strongest dedication to getting the details right) told PZ her story of being raped by Michael Shermer. PZ published the story as is. You can read it in her own words.

So that’s Shermer’s take on things. I just have to wonder, does it really matter to Shermer that the conference isn’t specified? How many different places does he think stories like this could have come from?

Updated to add a second bit of musing: How hard is it, really, to say “I’ve never done any such thing and I resent the living hell out of the accusation”?

Girls: Missing Victims of Religious Sexual Abuse?

The classic picture we have of a child victim of sexual abuse in religious institutions is a boy being abused by a Catholic priest. There are a couple of good reasons for that.

The first is that the hierarchy of the Catholic Church has given us a central group of people we can point fingers at for the decades of inaction (or action against victims) in their churches. The victims of Catholic priests have a powerful central authority to deal with, and it’s given them reason to band together and reason for news media to report on their immense struggle to be acknowledged.

The other reason is that, again because the Catholic Church has a central authority, it has made it easier for researchers studying church-facilitated abuse to use the Church as a proxy for religious institutions more generally.

The Catholic Church, however, is unusual. It is extreme both in the degree of organization and in the degree to which it limits the role of girls in the church. This means that stereotypes of child sexual abuse in the church are likely going to be misleading. Not surprisingly, a new study and report has found just that. [Read more...]

They Knew

I’m seeing people here and there try to tell me that the Steubenville rapists and their enabling friends didn’t know that what they were doing was wrong. I’m seeing people who should know better, or at least know to ask an expert, saying this.

Let’s get this perfectly clear: They knew what they were doing was wrong.

If they hadn’t known, they would have done it while she was conscious. If they hadn’t known, they wouldn’t have talked about their being anything for their coach to take care of. If they hadn’t known, they wouldn’t have spent so much time dehumanizing their victim telling each other and the world why she “deserved” it. If they hadn’t known, they wouldn’t have talked about rape.

They knew what they did was wrong. They simply felt entitled to do it anyway.

This is why they were cool with having the coach cover things up. This is why they expected their friends to laugh at the pictures and video. This is why the victim’s “crime” wasn’t being at the party but reporting–and being successful in the prosecution.

They felt entitled to do something they knew was wrong and get away with it. They thought they were the special people.

They weren’t. They aren’t. They’re just a bunch of kids.

They are not, however, mentally incompetent or criminally “insane”. Those are what we label those situations in which people really don’t understand that what they’re doing is wrong. Kids with good grades, lots of friends, and no psychotic break? Yeah, they’re not those people.

The rapists and their friends knew that what they were doing was wrong. They just felt entitled to go ahead and do it anyway.

Hanging On

Today, I spend a bunch of time that could be productive on my harassers and on making the people who don’t want to spend time looking at harassment see what my last several months have looked like. Maybe you’ll see it. Maybe you won’t have to. I don’t know. I’m tired. I’m not entirely in a position to make a smart decision on that right now.

Either way, this comment is what’s keeping me functioning right now.

I know a girl who did just about everything wrong according to those people. She’d been kicked out of the house and went home with a nice guy she’d only known for a week. The guy offered her Marvel vs Capcom to cheer her up and vodka mixed with cran-rasberry to drown her sorrows. Her drink was mixed a lot stronger than his because he hated the taste of alcohol and besides, drunk girls are fun. They fool around for a while and the guy asks if she wants to go to bed, she says not yet. So they watch a movie and the guy mixes more drinks and they fool around more. Now when he asks, she say ok but the guy isn’t sure she’s all there since she can’t even stand without support. So the guy carries her into the bedroom and she’s too drunk to even take off her shoes so the guy has to do it for her.
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Then a memory stirs in the guy’s head and it occurs to him that he’s about to do something awful. So he stops undressing her and climbs into bed fully dressed and she almost instantly falls asleep in his arms.
The guy hadn’t thought a lot about feminism or what rape was, but he did have a lot of spare time at work to read blogs and something had managed to work through the drunken haze and replace “drunk girls are fun” with “consent is important”. The guy still feels like an asshole, but being an asshole is a lot better than being a rapist.
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Thank you Stephanie, for being part of the reason why I’m just an asshole.

One of these days, I might even have enough energy left over after this sort of thing is dealt with to be proud of that.

Rape Goggles

This one involves MRAs, Wooly Bumblebee, and the details of sexual assault. It’s not pretty.

Earlier this month, I wrote about being very cautious about alcohol after being sexually assaulted by someone who had used alcohol to incapacitate me. I’ve written about the assault before. I usually link the story when I talk about it. I didn’t this time because I knew what was coming and didn’t feel like having the details hauled out and mocked.

That choice has resulted in some…interesting criticisms. We have Reap Paden trying to tell me that I was writing about being an alcoholic. (Uh, no.) And then there’s Wooly Bumblebee: [Read more...]

Do You Know How Scary This Is?

Since Rebecca tweeted about drunkeness and rape, I’ve been seeing a response from generally well-meaning guys. (Yes, I do mean guys.) These are guys who “support” anti-rape efforts in that they are happy to stand up and tell anyone who will listen that rape is bad.

They don’t exactly support the idea that we need to be making the same strong statements about rape and intoxication, though. They’re not quite fighting it either, but they’re…fidgeting. In comment sections, on Twitter and Facebook, they’re trying to figure out what they want to say without saying anything “bad”.

A few of them, here and there, are even talking. They’re saying they’re uncomfortable. One or two will even tell you they’re scared. “She could just say she was drunk, and then I’d be facing rape charges. Do you know how scary that is?”
[Read more...]