No One Will Read This

Again with the Thunderfoot? Well this is mainly out of pique. It’s no secret that I found his latest two videos naught but stupid. If Thunderfoot thinks we are telling women to not take precautions to avoid casual rape then he simply is constructing a straw man. We however aren’t blaming them for what happens if they take some precautions and still get raped because we know that some of the “precautions” are impossible to follow.

No, what we want is to point out that women have to take precautions that we don’t and that’s unfair and sucky and ineffective. Pointing that out got me this from “Adam Who”

I just made you waste 20 minutes of your time. Just look at all non-skeptical, presumptuous nonsense you just posted which nobody will read.

Funny thing is? Adam Who is right. People rarely listen to us and quite honestly the current environment in atheism seems designed to argue over moronic things resulting in a dedicated group of individuals who would damage and harm any attempt to do anything if by some chance you are associated with Freethought Blogs.

The funny thing is? Among all the anti-vax, among all the quacks, among all the pro-lifers, religious fundies and even the goddamn animal lib. Not one group has tried to shut me up or dedicated to ignoring what I say as thoroughly and in a method as coordinated as atheists and skeptics. So called skeptics that is. So what triggered him?

This….

Question? Thunderfoot picked up a video from India about a horrific rape and the aftermath of excuses given by people in power to blame women for their rapes. None of the statements those were made up or jokes. People seriously stood up and said “Call your Rapist brother and he won’t be able to rape you since brothers must protect sisters!“.

Thunderfoot’s statement was rather damaging. I say this as someone who works in India and someone who is actively trying to encourage a better treatment of women. His response was women should take precautions.

Well? What precautions should Nirbhaya have taken? Short of an armed squad of amazon bodyguards? Don’t go into bad areas? Okay, we may say that but what about women who live there? Sucks to be them? Don’t dress sluttily? Well we know it doesn’t matter what women wear since women in Burkhas are still more likely to be raped than women without. Don’t go out late? What time’s late? Thunderfoot basically gave a bunch of excuses about defending yourself from rapists by saying “endeavour to not be around rapists”. Basically? It’s a hindsight argument.

It was looking at women who got raped and pointing out a decision that got them into the situation of getting raped. Don’t go out and drink. Don’t go out by yourself (always take a male chaperone with you! Wonder what religious nation has that rule!) and so on.

He was dicking over women in a country widely regarded to be some of the worst treated women in the world by giving them some idiotic spiel about mountain lions. Do you even realise how moronic thunderfoot sounded to someone in India?

Put it this way. A big fear for many of you in the west is Heart Disease. Do you think it’s helpful showing up to a ward where heart bypass surgeries are recuperating and tell them it’s their fault because they ate too much pie? No. That isn’t helping anyone and it’s just insulting.

Same thing here. I know you don’t really like FTB but frankly? Thunderfoot is incredibly in the wrong on this one.

And he is an influencial atheist. For fuck’s sake? I had people telling me there was no “rape culture” in the west because there were no armed gang style rapes going down like in India. Well? India sucks! But India’s trying to be better. America sucks in a lesser way but you shouldn’t say “Well we are better than India so not going to do anything about this problem”.

I pointed out that just last year there was a rape in Steubenville where there was a sustained cover up to protect two underage rapists because football was more important. The ensuing backlash had a variety of people weigh on the side of the rapists including MRAs who claimed “she got what was coming to her because she was a damn helmet bunny” and justified all the death threats and hate mail she got for asking for simple justice. Adults. Grown men and women thought throwing a stupid ball around was more important than the life of a young woman.

That is a problem. This is a problem that does exist. Thunderfoot is just another part of the problem. The fact he is atheist and has a strong support is disturbing to say the least particularly considering when I commented on the issue it was a strong support of non-Indian atheists “insisting” that I was just excessively sensitive to all the rapes happening in India and that there was “no problem”.

Painful to realise that just because we are atheists doesn’t mean we are always right on everything.

I ask readers. What’s wrong with saying this? What exactly is harmful?

Comments

  1. says

    If it’s any consolation, I really don’t think the guy has much support. I’ve no idea who is following him and upticking his silly videos, but when I refer to his crap in open and public online venues the response is head-shaking and expressions of disgust, even from people who have enjoyed his other stuff.

    Make no mistake, he’s a pariah in the movement and deservedly so.

  2. says

    Avicenna, on your last post about this you stated your thesis – that “we don’t tell women not to take precautions. We specifically tell them to take precautions and to be worried.”

    I posted a comment in which I specifically cited examples to the contrary. I also cited examples where those statements were supported and endorsed by FTBers.

    Perhaps you did not see the comment, but central to it was an important question: Are you prepared to repudiate the person who made these statements as well as any endorsements of those statements? (The comment was responded to a couple times by other commenters, but not one of them addressed the central question.)

    It’s not my intent to spam with copy/paste, but I also don’t want you to have to go cross-referencing comments from different threads in order to know what I’m talking about. Therefore in the interest of courtesy, I’ll restate the comment here. You’ll probably have to check the original comment in order to see the links and the block-quoted text.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Avicenna,

    Hi. I cannot watch Thunderf00t’s video (yet), so I can’t comment on that, but I would like to take some time to comment on your blog post here.

    The fun thing is we don’t tell women not to take precautions. We specifically tell them to take precautions and to be worried.

    Let me start by acknowledging the ambiguity inherent in the word “we”… I can’t be sure who “we is”, but I’m assuming that you’re speaking of the “Royal We” – the A+/FTB/Skepchik contingent, including, but not limited to, Zvan, Benson, Carrier, Myers, et al.

    (If I’m wrong on this, then everything I’m about to say doesn’t apply… and I have no idea who “we” is.)

    This is the same “Royal We” who were very supportive of a young lady named Sarah Jones who had a momentary tiff with Al Stefanelli a few months back when some mentally unstable guy on Stefanelli’s Facebook page began making death threats toward Ms. Jones. (Al quickly took appropriate action by deleting the guy and apologizing to Ms. Jones).

    Zvan specifically included Ms. Jones in the “Royal We” with her post entitled ”How Many Do We Lose”

    So if this is the “we” you area speaking of… I’d like to direct you to something that you might find surprising.

    Avicenna said:

    We specifically tell them to take precautions and to be worried.

    But Sarah Jones said:

    When you suggest that women take any sort of action to avoid rape, you shift the blame where it properly should be (ie, on the rapist) and transfer some of it to women. You’re implying that she is at least partially responsible for becoming the victim of a crime.

    Avicenna said:

    We are not suggesting to women to go out and be care free. We have never done that. We aren’t stupid.

    But Sarah Jones said:

    Women do not have any sort of responsibility to avoid rape. Rapists have a responsibility to avoid rape. Any other dynamic, ye who despise ‘buzzwords,’ is a manifestation of rape culture. That’s reality.

    The gadfly known as oolon, who is up there with SallyStrange in terms of FTB commentariate notoriety, gave Ms. Jones’ post his full agreement!

    Another great post… Absolutely agree, the traditional skeptics hate that its moving beyond bigfoot skepticism and into other areas like feminism / social justice. Hope you can keep up the awesome.

    Staphanie Zvan was aware of Sarah Jones’ post, as it was explicitly mentioned in some dialogue she pasted into a subsequent post. Not only was Jones’ post mentioned, but the very topic we’re discussing here was described, so it’s difficult to imaging that Zvan was unaware of what Ms. Jones was endorsing. Zvan’s silence is a tacit endorsement of these ideas.

    Steersman: Those different perspectives on “victim-blaming” are indeed a puzzle, like two completely different langauges or “incommensurable” concepts. You might “enjoy” reading several of the comments over on Sarah Jones’ site which question my analogous argument that people do have some responsibility to lock their homes and that that argument does not constitute “victim blaming”.

    So what we have here is clear evidence that members of the Royal We absolutely do endorse the idea that women have no responsibility whatsoever to look out for their own well-being, as well as evidence that other members of the Royal We and their fan base are allied to this doctrine.

    Now… at this point I’d like to commend you for your position – I think you’re spot-on with the position you’re taking – judiciousness, prudence, and the acceptance of responsibility along with activism aimed at increasing awareness of the injustice of violence and assault aimed at women is the right approach. It is a wise parent who teaches their boys not to rape and their girls to locks their doors at night.

    But I think you’re a bit misinformed if you think that the complete and total abdication of personal responsibility is not being endorsed by many feminists, including many that would be subsumed in the FBT/Skepchik faction. Sarah Jones is only one example.

    So now I have a question… what is your position on the idea that Ms. Jones expressed in the blog post I linked to? What are your thoughts on statements such as “Women do not have any sort of responsibility to avoid rape.”? Are you prepared to repudiate that idea – and idea that was endorsed by at least one of the most fervent FTB gadfly’s, tactily endorsed by at least one of the FTB elite, and cheered on by dozens and dozens of commenters at Jones’ blog?

    Because according to Sarah Jones, this post of yours – and you yourself – are a manifestation of rape culture.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    (I can’t preview this so I hope the html tags aren’t screwed up.)

  3. Badland says

    Mofa, aka Mark Senior from Adelaide.

    You know, it’s remarkable how you only seem ever to show up and vomit your inane bullshit in threads about feminism, or appalling treatment of women, and yet – surprise! – this really and truly doesn’t reflect on your egocentric inability to utterly fail to even attempt to see things from a viewpoint other than your own.

    Avi, you are a remarkable person. You make the world a better place.

  4. doublereed says

    Kacray,

    None of those posts are not contradictory to each other. I have no idea how you’re switching around “personal responsibility” (which apparently you think means victim blaming) and the idea that all people generally try to avoid harm. Stop trying to simplify things. You sound like an idiot.

  5. doublereed says

    I meant “None of those posts are contradictory to each other.” Avicenna, as far as I’ve seen, has the same attitude as the rest of FTB. There is no contradiction.

  6. says

    doublereed, if you don’t understand what I’ve said, that’s fine. The question wasn’t directed at you.

    Christians typically don’t see the inconsistencies in the bible. There’s a reason for that. I see that same dynamic playing out in your rationale.

    There is a clear inconsistency between “we don’t tell women not to take precautions. We specifically tell them to take precautions and to be worried.” and “When you suggest that women take any sort of action to avoid rape, you shift the blame where it properly should be (ie, on the rapist) and transfer some of it to women. You’re implying that she is at least partially responsible for becoming the victim of a crime.”

    If you don’t see the inconsistencies between those two statements – both made by feminist bloggers who have the full backing of the Royal We – I think that says more about the degree of cognitive dissonance in your mind than it does about me oversimplifying anything. They aren’t just inconsistent, they are flat-out contradictory.

    So I’d like to if the person who made the former statement is willing to repudiate the latter statement. I think it’s a fair question.

  7. doublereed says

    No. The two statements are not contradictory. Again, I’m not sure where you are seeing the contradiction.

    One is precautionary. The other is hindsight.

    One is referring to basic common sense actions to avoid harm that everyone, male and female, do. This means that the second one is not only stupid, it’s also harmful, because it means that all harm that is done to people is by definition unavoidable.

    One refers to taking precautionary actions to avoid harm. The other refers to taking responsibility to other people harming you.

    I’m sorry, but the two things are not contradictory, no matter how many times you repeat them right next to each other.

  8. AsqJames says

    @kacyray,

    doublereed is right, none of those posts seem contradictory to me as long as the actual words are read simply as they are and you don’t “paraphrase” them to change the meaning.

    Your understanding of the meaning of certain words and phrases may be the issue here. As evidence, your understanding of the “Royal We” is clearly lacking. It does not mean a group of people at all. It refers to use of the first person plural pronoun where most people would use the first person singular pronoun. In other words it is substituting the word “we” for “I” even when the user is only referring to himself or herself.

  9. says

    Kacyray is just playing a childish game of “gotcha, hypocrite!” He thinks he’s clever, but he’s only revealing his ignorance.

    Regarding the typical advice about personal safety and “personal responsibility” that Kacyray, Phil Mason, and associates like to talk about, as it applies to rape:

    1. It applies to at best a quarter of rapes. So, right out of the gate you can see its utility is limited because it is only talking about stranger rape. No word from them on how to prevent being raped by friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, spouses, parents, siblings, cousins, etc.

    2, As has already been pointed out, it’s merely cruel to apply this advice after someone has already been assaulted. As if the first thing that runs through a victim’s mind isn’t, “Dammit, if only I hadn’t _______.”

    3. Taking the long view, advice like, “Watch your drink,” or “travel in groups” or “Don’t get in cars with men you don’t know well” are not tactics for rape prevention so much as they are tactics for rape displacement, i.e., certain individual women may avoid being raped, but there’s still a rapist out there, and if he can’t find a way to use alcohol or drugs to achieve his assault then he’ll find another way to do it. Thus, if universally applied, Phil Mason’s advice would result in a world where rapists prey on women who are too disabled in whatever way to learn self-defense or “proper” body language, too poor to choose to live in a “nice neighborhood” and work a job with 9-5 hours, and too young to know how to handle their liquor. Which, come to think of it, describes the world we already live in.

    See, the world is already saturated with Phil Mason’s bullshit “advice.” If it were effective, we would have noticed its effectiveness a long time ago. Continuing to promote it as if it’s worth a damn not only gives people a false sense of control over their likelihood of being raped, it prevents people researching and developing tactics that actually REDUCE the incidence of rape instead of shunting predators off towards sub-populations whose social value is lower. So far, a couple of things show signs of being successful: first, educating the rapists who rape mostly because they’re ignorant of what rape actually is. Second, educating first responders about the true symptoms of sexual assault instead of the stereotypical ones so they don’t erroneously dismiss legitimate cases and thus free rapists to continue raping. Third, remove the stigma from sexual assault so as to raise the odds of victims reporting in the first place. The evidence that these techniques work is thin, but SOME is better than NONE, and “none” is precisely the amount of evidence Phil Mason provides for the efficacy of his advice.

  10. says

    Oh, and also:

    up there with SallyStrange in terms of FTB commentariate notoriety

    What makes me so notorious? Seriously you people are weird.

    –N.O.T.O.R.I.O.U.S. Strange

  11. says

    Heh… I guess I have my answer. Avicenna clearly won’t touch the question, and the rest of you are pretending there’s no inconsistency at all.

    Roger that… no one sees the inconsistency. Good to go.

    Reminds me of the last time I had a discussion with fundamentalists on biblical contradictions. “Contradictions? What contradictions???”

    Oh well. I tried.

  12. Pitchguest says

    Sally Strange:

    Kacyray is just playing a childish game of “gotcha, hypocrite!” He thinks he’s clever, but he’s only revealing his ignorance.

    Regarding the typical advice about personal safety and “personal responsibility” that Kacyray, Phil Mason, and associates like to talk about, as it applies to rape:

    Right out of the bat you either don’t comprehend what was said, or you deliberately misinterpret. Well done.

    That being said, it’s not even a question of interpretations. What Avicenna is saying and what Sarah Jones is saying that many FtBers agree with (including its commentariat) spells an *obvious* contradiction. You see, because the notion is that ANY — ANY! — advice on how to reduce the risk of ending up into situations where you might get raped is IMMEDIATELY dismissed as victim blaming. You can see it black to white on paper, for fuck’s sake. As a native speaker of the language, Sally, you should be pretty fucking embarassed.

    Not to mention that you claim the advice is only given to people who’ve ALREADY BEEN raped, which clearly isn’t true. It’s general risk assessment advice for anyone who’ll listen.

    Another thing is you glibly use language that only pertains to women and not also to men, i.e. “don’t get in cars with men you don’t know well,” “certain individual women”, etc, etc. Are you really that green, Sally? Or do you still think only women get raped? Again, another staple of the FtB commentariat.

    Also, this …

    3. Taking the long view, advice like, “Watch your drink,” or “travel in groups” or “Don’t get in cars with men you don’t know well” are not tactics for rape prevention so much as they are tactics for rape displacement, i.e., certain individual women may avoid being raped, but there’s still a rapist out there, and if he can’t find a way to use alcohol or drugs to achieve his assault then he’ll find another way to do it. Thus, if universally applied, Phil Mason’s advice would result in a world where rapists prey on women who are too disabled in whatever way to learn self-defense or “proper” body language, too poor to choose to live in a “nice neighborhood” and work a job with 9-5 hours, and too young to know how to handle their liquor. Which, come to think of it, describes the world we already live in.

    … is absolutely moronic. You are aware that rapists rape regardless if any advice of risk assessment was given or not, right? Are you honestly labouring under the worldview that no moral or ethical lesson is provided to rapists and murderers about rape and murder?

    See, the world is already saturated with Phil Mason’s bullshit “advice.” If it were effective, we would have noticed its effectiveness a long time ago.

    No it wouldn’t. Despite taking precautions to lock their door or lock their car, people can still get burgled. Despite taking precautions to protect their wallet, people can still get pickpocketed. Despite taking precautions to avoid shady areas during night hours or whatever such precautions might imply, people can still get raped and murdered. Do you think that over the course of history that nobody has given the same or similar advice of risk assessment that TF has? People rape. People murder. People steal. Generally they know it’s wrong, morally and ethically, and lawfully, but they do it anyway. Unfortunately, it’s a fact of life and has been around for a loooong time. We don’t have to get used to it, and we don’t have to accept it, but we have to come to terms with that this is how it is.

    … first, educating the rapists who rape mostly because they’re ignorant of what rape actually is.

    What?

    Second, educating first responders about the true symptoms of sexual assault instead of the stereotypical ones so they don’t erroneously dismiss legitimate cases and thus free rapists to continue raping.

    “True symptoms”? Also, what?

    The evidence that these techniques work is thin, but SOME is better than NONE, and “none” is precisely the amount of evidence Phil Mason provides for the efficacy of his advice.

    I couldn’t help but notice the complete lack of evidence you provided to support your arguments.

  13. says

    Gee, Pitchguest, would you LIKE to see the evidence? I notice you didn’t actually ASK for a citation–as many people did for Mason, and were ignored. I’ll be happy to look up those links for you and post them later on, when I’m out of work.

  14. says

    You guys really are champions of studiously ignoring that which contradicts your predetermined conclusions. It’s remarkable, really. I mean, it’s not like these links haven’t been posted, oh, say, over and over and fucking over again, all around FTB, which, obviously, y’all read constantly.

  15. says

    DAMMIT.

    I accidentally x-ed out of the page while I was writing my comment… OK, got it again.

    1. A great many people don’t understand consent and thus, what rape actually is, and educating them may help reduce rape rates

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/10/08/230428115/many-teens-admit-to-coercing-others-into-sex

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/dont-be-that-guy-ad-campaign-cuts-vancouver-sex-assaults-by-10-per-cent-in-2011/article1359241/

    http://alanberkowitz.com/articles/MenAsAllies.pdf

    2. Police and other first responders have a skewed idea of what sexual assault trauma looks like

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2013/06/why_cops_don_t_believe_rape_victims_and_how_brain_science_can_solve_the.html

    http://www.policymic.com/articles/59531/for-these-police-calling-rape-victims-liars-is-just-part-of-the-job

    3. Removing the stigma of reporting rape will increase reporting rates and thus increase trials, prosecutions, and incarcerations

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/18/AR2006061800610.html

    http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/1229280?uid=3739832&uid=2&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=21102758923871

    http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=VsmAVxBCxV8C&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=rape+reporting+stigma+prosecutions&ots=4sJOn8UoLv&sig=mGymMxdu3kmLXNleJ1l2HUbKLuw#v=onepage&q=rape%20reporting%20stigma%20prosecutions&f=false

    http://www.powells.com/biblio/9780738206233

    (That last point seemed pretty intuitive to me, but hey.)

  16. says

    Tons o’ links holding up my previous comment.

    Perhaps in the meantime Pitchguest could point us to the empirical research Phil Mason referenced to substantiate his opinions about, say, the effect of body language on rape?

    Oh right. That never happened.

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