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Right ways and wrong ways

Addendum: The Tumblr discussed herein, “More Will Be Named,” has been deleted as I wrote this. So I guess the general point of this whole post has been vindicated, or something. Well, I wrote this thing, so I’ll leave it up, because the point still applies generally.


Have you heard? Harassment is back in the discourse. Oh frabjous day.

With the recent reveal by Karen Stollznow discussing the harassment she faced during her time with CFI on the part of one of its highest-tier figures, Ben Radford, to today’s followup by Carrie Poppy corroborating Stollznow’s claims and adding that they were trivialized and dismissed by JREF, the message is once again out there: the godless, skeptical community is not yet a Safe Space for its women, even its women respected for their activism.

In the main, this should not be surprising, because this behavior is everyfreakingwhere. Dispiriting as hell, yes, but not surprising. It isn’t just a problem atheists are having right now. Cripes, we live in a country where elected officials have convinced themselves rape can be divided into sub-categories, only one of which is “legitimate.” (Presumably some of the others are “bitchin” and “unwashed and somewhat slightly dazed.”) Demeaning and debasing women’s experiences is something of a sport to people privileged enough not to have to live them themselves, usually by the happy accident of being born be-willied.

And now even “male feminist allies” must be suspect. Hugo Schwyzer is a California college instructor who built a massive online celebrity reputation for himself as a male feminist spokesman and activist. About a year and a half ago that public persona began to crumble when his own past — one of drug abuse, boning students in his office, and trying to kill an ex-girlfriend in a botched murder/suicide attempt — came to light. Lately, he has been driven out of public life altogether as his “redemption” narrative has proven just as bogus. The married, Christian 46-year-old whose favorite blog topic was chiding older men who date younger women was found to be engaged in multiple adulterous affairs, including sexting pictures of his junque to a 27-year-old porn star. (It’s safe to say Schwyzer may now be one of the most energetically hated people in internet history, loathed in equal measure by feminists and MRA’s — rather an impressive feat.)

Observation: Sex fucks people up and shit.

"I honestly have no idea what you mean!"

“I honestly have no idea what you mean!”

Women absolutely need to feel as safe as humanly possible to discuss any sexual harassment scenario they’ve experienced, especially if they’ve been living and working in a climate — say, planet Earth, for instance — where discussing such situations will subject them to blame, shaming, derision, dismissal, and all manner of abuse, because only an uppity ho who can’t take a flattering compliment would totally lose it just because some drunken lout Nice Guy™ said something entirely complimentary about her boobs or ass.

That’s the crazy thing about sexual harassment, assault, and rape. Of all the crimes visited upon people, it is one where victim-blaming is not only disproportionate but completely off the scale. If you report that someone smashed the window of your car and tried to boost it, the default response you’d get would almost certainly, universally, be sympathy and anger towards the perp. But if a woman reports she was sexually violated in any way, the default response from far too large a percentage of people who hear her will be doubt, denial, shifting of blame (you were drunk, you led him on with your push-up bra), and worst of all, a whole second round of sexual abuse and threats for having the gall to make the charge at all.

So if someone tells you rape and sexual harassment should be treated like “just any other crime,” odds are very good they’re a hypocritical d-bag, because they don’t do that themselves. Case in point: If it’s discovered that the fellow claiming his car was nearly boosted is later found to have done the deed himself, perhaps to cheat his insurance company, everyone who initially sympathized with him will think he’s a major dickbag. But what they won’t likely do is think that every person they hear, for the rest of their lives, who reports an attempted grand theft auto is lying and trying to run an insurance scam.

But this is how many people think of rape: One documented, proven case anywhere in history of a false rape and sexual assault/harassment accusation, to misogynists, means that the default response to any such claim, ever, is “Biatch be lyin’!”

This is an acculturated misogyny that may take — jeezis — generations to correct. And it’s not an attitude that can simply be jettisoned from the human lexicon of douchery on command, like this.

Screen Shot 2013-08-07 at 2.24.14 PM

Yeah…thing is…we’ve all seen how that’s worked in the past, right?

Again, a single instance of false accusation or deliberate slander is enough for too many people to be instantly dismissive of any claim any women make about their experiences with rape and sexual abuse. Women know this, all too infuriatingly well, and this is why rape and sexual assault is one of the most underreported crimes out there.

Which brings me to the topic of right ways and wrong ways all of us as a community can ensure that safe spaces exist for women to be bold and forward with their stories, and not be branded lying shrews with an agenda right out of the gate. The above image was screenshot from a Tumblr that’s arisen in the wake of the Stollznow revelations titled “More Will Be Named.” More than a little intimidating, that. And I suppose it’s meant to be. But an immediate problem was evident to many of us, and our very own Matt Dillahunty brought it up. To wit: there seems nothing preventing any anonymous rando from just submitting a false accusation to the site, and having some unsuspecting person’s name blasted to the world in 60-point type that they’re a groping rapey raper. What’s to stop someone from just posting that Matt Dillahunty or Aron Ra or Martin Wagner OMG totally upskirted and tongue-bathed me at Godless Skeptifest 9000! Nothing, that’s what.

If the first argument someone hears for something is bad, it has a tendency to inoculate them against any and all later arguments, even really good ones. For most readers, this Tumblr will be the first they hear that specific, named superstars in the atheist/skeptical world (Bill Nye!? NO FUCKING WAY!) are conference creepers. And the anonymous format of this Tumblr is tailor-made to prompt its readers to just snort derisively and call “Bullshit!” on absolutely all of it. And for good reason: as skeptics, isn’t it one of our fundamental axioms that unevidenced claims should be treated skeptically?

To their credit, the host of this Tumblr has recognized the potential for abuse. Maybe something like this is a start. But what we should be concerned with is ensuring that survivors of any form of sexual abuse are treated, first and foremost, respectfully and credibly. I’m not the guy to determine what the right ways are. Discussion will resolve that. But a number of people I’ve interacted with today are concerned that Tumblrs like “More Will Be Named” are doing it the wrong way.


Addendum: Jason Thibeault has written eloquently and at length on the topic of trust in these circumstances, which I encourage everyone to read.

Comments

  1. praxis.makes.perfect (Just call me Prax. It's easier to type) says

    It seems that tumblr is now gone. It was there less than an hour ago but now it’s completely deleted.

  2. Nepenthe says

    I don’t understand what the illustration is supposed to indicate, other than that person’s unfortunate choice of clashing patterns in lingerie. Anyone want to give a hint?

  3. says

    Well, it doesn’t matter anyway, because I just found a much funnier picture that illustrates the caption better, plus it does a much better job of fitting the harassment theme.

  4. Eric Pommer says

    I’m not sure I have this right. On the one hand you’re saying that we shouldn’t be skeptical of rape claims, that we should “believe survivors”, but then on the other you’re saying the tumblr was a bad idea because it made it too easy for people to make false rape claims? Isn’t that somewhat contradictory?

  5. says

    That’s basically my problem with “Believe survivors”… the burden of proof files right out the window. I’ve found whatever arguments are made for why we should believe them are frequently used by Christians as to why Jesus is real, etc. In this context, however, sexism/assault is not an extraordinary claim, unfortunately… so evidentiary requirements are lower.

    That’s not to say there aren’t actual victims, but there’s a frequently impenetrable wall of evidentiary requirements. Unless the person happened to have a security camera trained on him/her, or was illegally recording conversations, etc, it’s really difficult to actually get any evidence. What’s left is anecdotal.

    I’m trying to frame it in terms of “whistle blowing”. If someone raises an accusation, how do we handle it? We aren’t dealing with science here, exactly… it’s a lot more more messy, with a lot of testimony… but clearly investigations should be made.

    Beyond that, I don’t have the faintest clue how to approach it. I don’t know how to resolve the conundrum of evidentiary requirements versus rampant victimization of those who weren’t lucky enough to gather objective evidence.

    But I do know that I’d rather not live in a society where 3-4 people can simply accuse me of something and *boom*, I’m taken down.

  6. says

    I’ll add in too, that, as much as I hold science/skepticism in high esteem, I also have to acknowledge that it’s not perfect, and in this context, is leaving a lot of people out in the cold due to technicalities. That’s part of the conundrum.

    Unlike investigating scientific questions, there’s more of a social urgency as well… but I don’t know that means the rules should be set aside for expediency.

    I’m sort of thinking out loud here.

  7. says

    I’m saying that while we shouldn’t be immediately dismissive of rape/sexual assault claims as so many people are, we should also be aware that something like a Tumblr that allows unevidenced accusations by anonymous individuals is ripe for abuse and false accusations, and is therefore not a good way to let victims feel safe in coming forward in a way they’ll be taken seriously. Stollznow was only able to come forward after much time had passed, after she was no longer affiliated with the organizations she worked for (and who rebuffed her attempts to deal with the problem), and because of her stature as a public speaker and writer. So imagine a woman with no public presence, and what she faces. There ought to be ways they can discuss what they’ve experienced, but that Tumblr wasn’t it.

    Jasper is also right about the anecdotal nature of claims and how hard they are to investigate. “So and so groped me at a conference” is almost impossible to prove without eyewitnesses, and harassers know this, which is why so many of them feel they can do what they do with impunity. Sometimes, only a widely corroborated series of accusations will create concrete consequences for them. What got editor James Frenkel fired from science fiction publisher Tor Books was one woman finally filing a complaint with a convention staff (who handled it expertly, which is to say, the opposite of what CFI does), and the publicity from that suddenly emboldening numerous other women Frenkel had skeeved on in the past to come forward. So a pattern of bad behavior can go on years and years and years until something finally forces them to stop.

  8. Jess says

    First, the sarcastic tone you employ to criticise the drunken lout/nice guy, comes off a little weird. Also, “uppity ho”, even when used sarcastically seemed a little unnecessary. Sorry if that’s a little over-reactive. It rubbed be up the wrong way.

    Second, your post is a study in contradiction. I get your point, but saying in one breath that “victims should be believed” (I’m paraphrasing), but in the next excusing your lack of belief and scepticism as axiomatic. Also, comparing rape/harrassment/assault survivors to Christians (a.k.a. the people you disbelieve as having no evidence) flies in the face of your earlier assertion that we need to start believing the victim without evidence.

    Apologies if I’ve misunderstood or misinterpreted your article. If I have, I’d be grateful for you to clarify. I’ll admit that reading “uppity ho” got under my skin right from the start and it was hard to take the article objectively afterwards.

  9. says

    Well, you didn’t see that my use of “uppity ho” was a literary device in which one uses the speech and attitudes of those one is mocking to further mock them (I did it again further down with “Biatch be lyin'”).

    I invite you to read the first paragraph of my reply comment to Eric Pommer, which hopefully will help clarify the rest. Short version: women need safe spaces to feel comfortable talking about their sexual assaults, but given that even one known false accusation can poison the well for all actual victims, a format that allows anonymous accusations, that is ripe for abuse by its very nature, is not that kind of safe space. Since the Tumblr has now been taken down, I guess it’s a moot point for now.

  10. b. - Order of Lagomorpha says

    I honestly do not get it. If, as you say, I tell someone that my car got stolen, listeners are sympathetic to my plight and offer all sorts of colorful ideas for punishment of the thief. If I say I got groped or someone kept trying to pin me in a corner or raped it becomes, “Where were you? Why were you there? Had you been drinking? Had he been drinking? Is that what you were wearing? Who was it? Oh, I know him; that’s just the way he is. (Hint: he shouldn’t be that way.) He didn’t mean anything by it. (And you know this how and this excuses him how?) He’s awkward/socially inept/on the Asberger’s spectrum/whatever.” (And you know this how and this excuses him how?)

    It seems easy enough–if you’re a friend or acquaintance of the victim, you offer condolences and/or support. Leave the cross-examination out of it–the victim will get enough of that trying to report it and now is not the time to feed your CSI/NCIS fantasies. If you’re the friend or acquaintance of both involved parties, the victim really doesn’t need to hear your litany of possible alibis as you attempt to reconcile the person you (thought you) knew with the new information you just received. Work through all that on your own time, in your own head and not out loud to the victim. Ask if they want to report it and, if so, if they want someone along for support. As with so much of life, the guiding dictum should be, “Don’t be a jerk.” I don’t understand why that’s so hard.

  11. b. - Order of Lagomorpha says

    It *was* a brilliant read. Thanks so much for pointing it out (and I liked the link to the article by the Ken Lay, the Victoria Police Chief Commissioner as well).

    Getting back to the “name and shame” site, I can see the dangers of it. I just wish that people like Carrie and Karen and all the silent others could come forward and say, “This is what happened” without dealing with massive fallout. There’s much less chance of abuse of reporting when it isn’t anonymous. Sadly, the victims that do come forward get assaulted all over again, while the jerky guys are busily fist-bumping the jerk and doing their best to silence the victims while screaming, “Free speech!!1!”. And we’re supposed to be the rational ones. Bother.

    This would be why I don’t attend cons; I’m not connected to the grapevine to find out who to look out for and it’s hard to enjoy yourself while having to constantly watch your back.

  12. Tawn says

    ” In this context, however, sexism/assault is not an extraordinary claim, unfortunately… so evidentiary requirements are lower.”

    Maybe, but the importance of a question also raises evidential requirements. It doesn’t matter much if I incorrectly believe you have a brother you don’t have.. but the consequences here are serious. (I’m sure you realise this, just making the point).

    “Beyond that, I don’t have the faintest clue how to approach it. I don’t know how to resolve the conundrum of evidentiary requirements versus rampant victimization of those who weren’t lucky enough to gather objective evidence.”

    It is a difficult situation, but I think the principle of ‘(treated) Innocent until proven guilty’ is practically sacred.

    One thing to realise is that if the verdict is ‘not guilty’.. this doesn’t mean proven innocent. It is probably of little satisfaction to an unsuccessful rape victim.. but it is worth pointing out that the court is not claiming she (or he) is a liar.

  13. tom kay says

    False claims are trivially easy to make, and sometimes impossible to disprove. Should good people be protected from bad people? Obviously. But what if the accuser *is* the bad people?

    “Believe victims” is another way of saying “accusers cannot be liars”.

    Once *you* are the falsely accused, then it’s easy to see why “victims should be believed” is fundamentally unjust.

    Atheists should recognize shifting the burden of proof.

  14. tom kay says

    >the publicity from that suddenly emboldening numerous other women Frenkel had skeeved on in the past to come forward.

    The problem here is *assuming* the scandalous accusations are factual. See this snopes article for a clear counter example.

  15. says

    I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that the following list are all documented phenomena, and far more common than things like product tampering.

    • Sexual assault and rape happen, and happen often. Claims of such are not extraordinary.
    • Lack of action on the part of organizations when such claims are made.
    • Dire repercussions to victims who speak out.
    • Men in a position of power abusing that power in the service of obtaining sex, and in the service of covering up wrong doing.

    False claims may be “trivially easy to make” (and as you seem to have overlooked it, the OP acknowledged this in my criticism of the now-defunct Tumblr), but they are not nearly as common as MRA’s and antifeminists make them out to be. In any event, you’ve essentially proven the point of my original OP. All it takes is one documented instance of a false accusation for someone like you to suggest that false accusations are the rule, and not the exception, when the crime is rape. Would you be offering this viewpoint if the crime in question was anything other?

  16. says

    Good thing no one had to assume, then. In Frenkel’s case, there were eyewitnesses to the most recent incident, very quickly backed up a litany of similar accusations by women in the industry whose reputations are sound. When there is a pattern of bad behavior, it is much harder to dismiss than a stand-alone, random accusation.

    No one’s suggesting we convict and hang men accused of this kind of thing based just on claims, only that we should take the claims seriously and respectfully, and investigate them. Considering the shitstorm pretty much all women endure when they come forth with things like this, why do people think false rape accusations are some kind of common female hobby? “Gee, I’d really love to get called a lying whore 500 times on the internet today!”

  17. GrzeTor says

    We live in an anti-human, pro-corporate world. Mobs mount lynching campaigns against slightest hint of unfounded accusations, while corporations always get away with paying some fine (a tiny percent of what they earn) for whatever proven evil they do.

  18. Jess says

    No, I understood your literary device (hence my reference to sarcasm, pretty sure that’s what you used to mock the dudebros you imitated). My point was that it seemed unnecessary, and the language made me uncomfortable. Just a personal observation, not a misunderstanding of its purpose.

    Second, I can see from reading the comment responses that you are in the right place. I think that Tumblr could have been a good idea, if it was approached from the same angle as PZ’s “grenade” blog. If it was simply there to warn others of a potential rapist or harrasser, or for victims to feel they had a voice or a safe place, then that would have been a great thing. Unfortunately, “More will be named” gave it an air of mob-justice and vigilantism.

  19. GrzeTor says

    “Sexual assault and rape happen, and happen often. Claims of such are not extraordinary” You cannot make it a generalized rule. Accusation is not against “statistical probe” but against a particular person. And for a particular person a claim is extraordinary if it doesn’t fit this person’s characteristics or previous history of this particular person.

    For example if someone said “Stephen Hawking commited rape” this would be incompatible with both his known features, character as well as his known historical behavior. Thus this is definitely an extraordinary claim. A claim that a criminal previously convicted for rape and a violent crames commited another one is not an extraordianry claim, and prior knowledge of both characteristics and past behaivor allow one to speculate that such accusation might be true.

    In case of some people who are currently accused of wrongdoing by prominent members of Freethoughtblogs the accused known characteristics put them rather in “good guys” category, thus a claim of rape is extraordinary.

  20. says

    Can you really assume you know everything about the “characteristics or previous history” of the person under scrutiny? (And your example of Stephen Hawking, given his physical ailments, is kind of dealing from the bottom of the deck, isn’t it?) It often becomes apparent, in the wake of accusations from multiple sources, that the “characteristics or previous history” of the person being accused may possibly be that of an individual who uses his stature and power to take advantage of others sexually. And since powerful men throughout history have a long and well documented history of doing this, we’re back to a non-extraordinary claim.

    To the public at large, such men tend to look like “good guys.” Because they know people like you will always see them that way, due to their celebrity/public reputations, they are confident in whatever unsavory stuff they get up to in private. I’m sure a lot of Catholic parishioners were in denial about their parish priests, too.

    I’m involved in the world of science fiction publishing, and I thought I knew James Frenkel fairly well. But I also know several of his accusers well, and their character and reputations are sound (as they are to the publisher who released their works, and cut their ties with Frenkel as a result). Quite clearly there was an aspect of his personality I never saw. Predators look respectable, and are indeed so enabled by our culture they don’t even think of themselves as predators. Life would be awfully convenient if all rapists and creeps looked like the guy on the cover of Jethro Tull’s Aqualung, “greasy fingers smearing shabby clothes,” but they don’t.

    Do false accusations happen? As I pointed out in the OP by linking to the Duke Lacrosse fiasco, yes. But they are not common. And it’s a fallacy to conclude that “Because Woman A lied about her experience, Women B-Z are probably lying too.” No one is saying we should leap into lynch mob mode at the first accusation, only that we should take women seriously when they reveal their experiences with sexual harassment or assault, especially where the claims are not random or isolated but corroborated by further accounts.

  21. says

    @GrzeTor
    You know, that’s the same argument people give for believing Father Frank when he says that the altarboy is lying: “No, not him. He’s such a nice man. He couldn’t possibly.”

    A quick glance at the facts will tell you that someone being a “good guy” is practically useless as an indicator of whether they’re really a good guy. Why? Because the bad guys know how to stay hidden.

    In the real word, the bad guys don’t all wear black hats and twirl their mustache while grinning. In the real world, the bad guys look much like everyone else. Unless you know these people personally, face to face and very well, you shouldn’t rely on your perception of their character. You’re likely to be wrong.

  22. maudell says

    Yes, all those corporations using their non-human being entities to paid risible fines.

    If you really think about it, you may realize that it is about very human power, not about non-human corporations. In the same way that you think a ‘trustworthy’ (powerful) man has increased credibility, criminals get away with it, while people of any genders get shamed for getting raped. In probabilistic terms, from the information that we have, false accusations are much rarer than ‘real’ accusations. What makes you believe the person with power more? Do you think people who rape do it openly? If a guy gets accused repeatedly but the accusations are not taken seriously, does he have a ‘history’? I’d like to know, because you seem to have quite the system to establish who’s guilty and who’s not. Since the goalposts are shifting quite quickly, I’d like to know in case it happens to me. Should I just not get raped by someone who you find credible? Or maybe you would accept a recorded video and the testimony of 4 adult men who chaperon me 24/7?

    Please let me know, I wouldn’t want to be anti-human.

  23. GrzeTor says

    @Martin: “Can you really assume you know everything about the “characteristics or previous history” of the person under scrutiny?” In general – typically you won’t know enough information from just the Internet or even participating in a conference to make a judgement about a person. Good explaination from Justicar is here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v530d7jvYgo&feature=c4-overview&list=UUeFlOi54kYIgbJHt_1ApDpg

    In the specific case that Pharyngula is now inflaming what can be said is that we know MUCH MORE about the characteristics a person accused by Pharyngula than we know about the credibility of an anonymous accuser. The accused doesn’t have a history of criminal behavior or violent tendencies, is known to have a good self control even during some intensive moments like debates – is not a hothead but a calm and peaceful person, is known to be hard-working, and his value system that includes truth seaking. He’s also talented, and intelligent, a type of intellectual. Has no known mental dieseases. Basically a person of a class in which stereotypical crimes (like fistfighing, brawls, stealing, vandalism) are rare and extraordinary. He dislakes conspiracies. Besides he’s old so any tendencies he has have a high probability of being known now.

    On the accusers side – since the accuser is anonymous – we don’t know if she is trustworthy or a liar, we don’t know if she is mentally healthy, or if she has delusions or even is a psychopath.

    This is what we know now. So if someone claims that we can make some preliminary judgement, then this background knowledge is a strong factor against the rape hypothesis. Of course one may always claim we don’t have enugh information for any preliminary judgement, more data is necessary – then such person has to withhold the judgement and condemn those who at the same time publish incomplete accusations and refuse to provide additional information that is necessary for making a proper decision in the case.

    Then again – a new information can appear, that changes the background knowledge, as you have written. But until a quality information of this type appears (not anonymous gossips) we have to rely on the above, or admit there’s no enough information.

    @LykeX – “In the real word, the bad guys don’t all wear black hats and twirl their mustache while grinning. In the real world, the bad guys look much like everyone else. Unless you know these people personally, face to face and very well, you shouldn’t rely on your perception of their character.”

    That’s why we shouldn’t believe the accusers on their word alone. The accuser might be exactly the type of person you describe! “the bad guys know how to stay hidden.” – you wrote – this is exactly what the accuser did in this case, hiding behind PZ Myers, thus it’s PZ who is in danger of legal repercussions if the accusation is false.

    Notice – I’m just checking how well what is going on matches with LykeX’s criteria; I’m not personally making any judgement above.

  24. GrzeTor says

    “you seem to have quite the system to establish who’s guilty and who’s not” – what’s your evidence that I claimed something like that?

    “In probabilistic terms, from the information that we have, false accusations are much rarer than ‘real’ accusations.” What’s your evidence for this? Especially when it comes to anonymous accusations?

    Do you think that applying averages to a particular person who we know is significantly distant from average by most meaningful measurments (ideology, talent, intelligence, life success, popularity etc.) is a valid approach?

  25. Tawn says

    It seems to me that we should simply trust the courts in these matters. The justice system is by no means perfect, but it is infinitely superior to the prejudices and hearsay of communities and forums.

    When a person is accused of rape we should resist speculating about their guilt and how nice or bad a person we think they are. I’m sure there are many rapists with a friendly persona and many non-rapists who are a bit creepy.

    Likewise, we should not speculate on the character of the accuser. We should take their accusations seriously. That is not to say we ‘believe’ them, no matter what the % ratio of false accusations to true accusations is. To take a claim seriously is to dismiss bias and say we will try to determine in the fairest way possible if the claim can be proven or wait for the court’s decision. We should of course give support to the victim as if the rape really did happen.

    We should also remember that a not-guilty verdict is not a false allegation (unless it can be separately shown the accusation was false) and there should be no backlash against the accuser.

    It is unfortunate that these cases evoke such strong emotions on both sides. Rape is a horrible thing and likewise a lot of men feel very threatened by the idea that their life could be destroyed very easily by a false allegation. However, expressing prejudice through mob-like attacks on people’s characters doesn’t help.

    Finally, I do wish we would all remove the gender identifiers whenever possible. Most rapes are committed by men on women, but that’s no reason to forget that men can get raped too. It would be useful to consider how we would feel about a situation where a man is making the accusation.

  26. says

    Everyone’s aware men can get raped. And you might want to have a chat with some survivors of rape, who’ll tell you just how friendly and supportive the courts are to them. That’s not a justification for online gossip, just a reality that, when it comes to dealing with sex crimes and their victims, the courts are a lot worse than “by no means perfect.”

  27. says

    So let’s review: Before being taken seriously as a potential sexual predator, a person must be:

    • pathologically violent with an extensive criminal record.
    • a hothead with a lack of self-control.
    • have a value system that repudiates truth-seeking.
    • untalented, unintelligent, and anti-intellectual.
    • mentally ill.
    • a no-account, unclassy brute whose habits include fistfights, stealing, and vandalism.
    • a conspiracy theorist.
    • young.

    Is that about it?

  28. says

    Grze Tor:

    The accused doesn’t have a history of criminal behavior or violent tendencies, is known to have a good self control even during some intensive moments like debates – is not a hothead but a calm and peaceful person, is known to be hard-working, and his value system that includes truth seaking. He’s also talented, and intelligent, a type of intellectual. Has no known mental dieseases. Basically a person of a class in which stereotypical crimes (like fistfighing, brawls, stealing, vandalism) are rare and extraordinary. He dislakes conspiracies. Besides he’s old so any tendencies he has have a high probability of being known now.

    Hmmm. That would be a good description of the man who serially abused and raped me, for years, as well as several other women and children and one disabled male relative. Well, at first he wasn’t old, but he got that way, and when he died a few months ago, his friends called him a “good man”.

    There was no history of violence; those who knew were too afraid to talk, and in the presence of those who didn’t know, he was thoughtful and kind.

  29. GrzeTor says

    @Martin and @Susannah – did you get that we are talking about probabilities here? Yes, the probability of a person with characteristic I have descirbed is much lower than the person that Martin describes. So this falsifies Martins assertion that rape is not an extaordinary event, in the context of who has been attacked at Pharyngula.

    Of course low probability events can happen, they just happen rarely. You can die from a meterite hitting you, or win 20 million in a lotery – these0 extraordinary event.

    So let’s look at characteristics provided by Martin:

    • pathologically violent with an extensive criminal record. That’s obvious – that’s a description of a brain that is somehow emotionally driven to do evil stuff to others, not follow any societal rules etc. Criminal record of violent behavior is an evidence for it. Notice that this is different than the case of lack of self control – in this case we have the existance of abnormal pro-violence impulses in the brain.

    • young – Criminality peaks at about 25 years of age. Testosterone declines with age, as well as with having children.

    • a hothead with a lack of self-control. That’s an obvious factor. Sexual impulses can be strong, you need to have ability to veto them. Notice that this factor is different than “pathologically violent one”. Here we have a person with normal emotional state and impulses, just with weaker abilities to stop them via higher brain levels.

    • a no-account, unclassy brute whose habits include fistfights, stealing, and vandalism. Something like a behavior of Sovied army on occupied territories – raping and pillaging. Or Mongolian hordes of Genghis Khan doing stuff to their enemies. This is more of a cultural factor, rather than a brain dysfunction. If such people were brought up in a higher culture then it would help them behave better.

    • untalented, unintelligent, and anti-intellectual. There are 3 factors here: first is that better quality brains are better at understanding the long-term consequences of actions, second one is that a talented person is more likely to have sexual partners lining up for a session with them, while there are much fewer, and lower quality candidates for untalented one. The intelectual/non intellectual factor is just another one related to culture.

    • mentally ill. This of course depends of the type of mental illness – a depression lowers probability, while some kind of psychopathy would increase it.

    • have a value system that repudiates truth-seeking.
    • a conspiracy theorist.

    These two above are more about if we should trust a person if what he says is true. So a manipulative can set traps for his victims by pretending something else, while in fact trying to get into their panties.

  30. says

    @GrzeTor
    Maybe you should check back with reality. The simply little narrative you’ve got about rape isn’t how it works in the real world. Being a rapist doesn’t require a long criminal history, mental illness, lack of impulse control or tendency towards getting into fights.
    Those are the kinds of people that do stranger rape; a distinctly minority case. The more common “date rape” type of case involve perpetrators who are generally well-adjusted, educated, with no criminal record, who very deliberately and consciously plan out their actions so as to maximize success and reduce consequences to themselves. They’ll even tell you they’re doing it as long as you don’t use the word “rape”.

    Which type is it Shermer is accused of?

  31. GrzeTor says

    “To wit: there seems nothing preventing any anonymous rando from just submitting a false accusation to the site, and having some unsuspecting person’s name blasted to the world in 60-point type that they’re a groping rapey raper. What’s to stop someone from just posting that Matt Dillahunty or Aron Ra or Martin Wagner OMG totally upskirted and tongue-bathed me at Godless Skeptifest 9000! Nothing, that’s what. ”

    What you haven’t noticed in your post is the characteristics of the attack – these look like DISTRIBUTED attacks, without formal central coordination. Distribution without formal coordination is a good way to attack someone or destroy somethin without facing legal consequences. Eg. if a single chemical factory poisons you via poisoning your water, then they face paying some fine (they are a corporation so nonone will try to damage them too much, unlike humans who are imprisoned etc.). But if a pollution of a river comes from thousands of tiny sources, each polluting below certain treshold, and only a sum of such pollution poisons you via poisoning your water, then a legal system breaks, and you as a victim have no recourse.

    So how could a distributed attack on let’s say a person X look like:
    1st witness: “I saw X during the debate. He wore 4 pieces of clothing overall”
    2nd witness: “I saw X during the debate. He wore a nice tie”
    3rd witness: “I saw X during the debate. He wore nice socks and a colorful t-shirt”
    4th witness: “I saw X during the debate, He wore leather gloves”

    So via a distributed attack you can suggest that someone was debating almost naked, while every single source of this overall information would be below the threshold of libel or defamation, even if they didn’t tell the truth.

    What Pharyngula does is a kind of distributed attack. The responsibilities are as follows:

    1. The anonymous source prepares the main accusation, but since she doesn’t publish it, then she is not liable for being sued.

    2. PZ publishes just an information of the type “someone told me something”, taking a lot of care to prepare legal disclaimers that would protect himself from potential lawsuits: “I will again emphasize, though, that I have no personal, direct evidence that the event occurred as described”, “an accusation I can’t personally vouch for,” or by using the vague names for what he condemns: “unethical behavior”, “putative assilant” etc.
    So in case of a lawsuit he is partially protected.

    3. Commenters – their role is amplifying, inflaming, exagerating, introducing hysteria, playing on emotions, being judgemental etc. If every commenter can keep his share of attack below the treshold of being sued, then than can be safe, while contributing to the resultant attack (not every commenter on Pharyngula was careful enough to assure that).

    So overall a person can be attacked via a distributed attack, and have few legal options available to defend himself, as opposed to a centralized attack from a single source. We need to improve our legal system to address the situations of distributed sources of pollution, or distributed sources of attacks, that add up to somethign big.

  32. GrzeTor says

    @LykeX – i guess you are generally well-adjusted, educated, you don’t have a criminal record, you are good at consciously planning your actions ahead in order to maximize your success, you don’t have a mental ilness, or lack of impulse control? And you somehow have much more experience than me in how rape “works in a real world”?

  33. says

    @GrzeTor
    Is this where I’m supposed to cower in fear of the mighty feminazi brigade with their countless minions who will shatter my life with a false accusation?

    Sorry, I’m not worried in the slightest. If you like, you can read here about why.

    My knowledge about how rape works in the real world comes from listening to victims and reading research. You know, like the link I posted before. You read that right? You didn’t just ignore the hard facts in favor of your line of bullshit, did you? That wouldn’t be a very skeptical thing to do.
    The link (that’s this link, in case you missed it) summarizes research about rape. Proper scientific research; just the kind of thing a good skeptic wants.

  34. AhmNee says

    This is, in my opinion, part of the problem with the dialog. You understood what Martin was trying to say. His underlying meaning you seem to be fine with but you’ve taken issue with the particular language used because it made you feel uncomfortable. Instead of acknowledging to yourself that you thought that was a bit harsh or a bit unnecessary, that is the point you’ve led with and derailed the point of the conversation. The point of which, you don’t disagree with. Now we’re discussing Martin’s language instead of the issue at hand.

    To me, the language isn’t there to make you comfortable, it’s there to convey a point, a meaning. If you’ve understood the meaning, asking for the language to be tailored to your sensibilities is in a sense narcissistic.

    I’m using you, Jess, as an example of what I’ve seen as a problem with dialogs on sensitive subjects. For that I apologize though I stand by my observations.

  35. b. - Order of Lagomorpha says

    1. The anonymous source prepares the main accusation, but since she doesn’t publish it, then she is not liable for being sued.

    Except that the source isn’t anonymous–the source is known to PZ.

    2. PZ publishes just an information of the type “someone told me something”, taking a lot of care to prepare legal disclaimers that would protect himself from potential lawsuits: “I will again emphasize, though, that I have no personal, direct evidence that the event occurred as described”, “an accusation I can’t personally vouch for,” or by using the vague names for what he condemns: “unethical behavior”, “putative assilant” etc.
    So in case of a lawsuit he is partially protected.

    Not so much “legal disclaimers” but clarifications of the story. Much like saying, “This horrible thing happened in my city.” Upon someone asking questions, “Well, I don’t know; I wasn’t there, but my cousin lives next door to where it happened and told me about it.” A peremptory clarification, if you will.

    3. Commenters – their role is amplifying, inflaming, exagerating, introducing hysteria, playing on emotions, being judgemental etc. If every commenter can keep his share of attack below the treshold of being sued, then than can be safe, while contributing to the resultant attack (not every commenter on Pharyngula was careful enough to assure that).

    On the contrary, the primary source of “amplifying, inflaming, exagerating (sic), introducing hysteria, playing on emotions, being judgemental (sic), etc.” I’ve seen have been those defending Shermer–“witch hunt”, “hysteria” (an amazingly often-used word by those folks for some reason), “castrate him”, “lynching” (because, you know, saying, “X did something bad. Please be on your guard.” is totes like dragging someone out in the middle of the night and murdering them), etc. Most of that is combined with a total inability to comprehend what they read (for example, continuously referring to the source of the story as anonymous. She’s known to PZ, hence not anonymous); declining to read any of the previous comments, even just the first page of comments where about 90% of their questions have been answered or responded to; a marked inability to tell the difference between libel and slander; tone trolls; concern trolls; people playing the “if I move the facts an inch more, is *that* rape?” and more than a few people who have since been banned for running two or more sock-puppets. And let us not forget that shining star that “accused” PZ of being a rapist, copy-pasting the story of a rape victim from the web–truly a fine example for all of us since nothing says sincerity like using the pain of another for your own, totally unrelated ends. (/sarcasm)

    Unless you know Michael Shermer in real life (and by “know”, I mean a friend and not just, “He signed a copy of a book for me once”), you “know” Shermer exactly as well as you “know” the victim. Why is it so easy for you to defend Shermer and yet so very hard to even give any credence to the reported victim? Why is it easy for you to say that Shermer is the victim of an attack, while you, sir, are guilty of attacking others (the original reporter is lying and the commenters are all judgmental, hysterical, lying….)?

  36. GrzeTor says

    “Unless you know Michael Shermer in real life (and by “know”, I mean a friend and not just, “He signed a copy of a book for me once”), you “know” Shermer exactly as well as you “know” the victim.” That’s ridiculous – just compare the volume of information we have with or about Shermer vs. those few sentences of the anonymous accuser. Then compare the depth of information we have about Shermer vs. virtually nothing we have about the anonymous accuser. The type of information we have about Shermer in a sense exposes the way his thinking process works. And it looks good – he is on the side of truth and anti-scam. When it comes to the anonymous accuser it would take much more data about her in order to validate she is trustworthy and not some psychopath, liar or a scammer.

  37. GrzeTor says

    @LykeX – in general what I wouldn’t like to occur is for a previously atheist and skeptical communities to turn into accusation generation and publication spheres. First because it’s important to keep staying on topic, and if there are some non-related problems solve them in the background, rather than making it THE topic. It’s like eg. you went to a course to learn statistics, and instead of getting the education you’d just witness the big brawl over some sexual stuff. Secondly because it is risky for persons involved to be close to accusation generators. If generating accusations turn out to be effective method for eliminating political enemies, then they will become more popular, not only on left-wing side, but also by having other sides encouraged to utilize such efficient methods. Also this may not be only sex-related accusations, but of any other type. You might be protected from the accusations from the feminists, as you are on their side, but what would protect you from accusations from those who don’t like you?

    When it comes to your documentation they specifically don’t address important factors that I have provided:
    – participants are young (26.8 years)
    – they are of “diverse ethnic background” which would include likes of Islamic approach towards women and higher rates of crimes of blacks in the results

    When they address it comes against Pharyngula hypothesis, and in favor of what I have proposed – just one example:

    “Lisak & Miller also answered their other question: are rapists responsible for more violence generally? Yes. The surveys covered other violent acts, such as slapping or choking an intimate partner, physically or sexually abusing a child, and sexual assaults other than attempted or completed rapes. In the realm of being partner- and child-beating monsters, the repeat rapists really stood out. These 76 men, just 4% of the sample, were responsible for 28% of the reported violence. The whole sample of almost 1900 men reported just under 4000 violent acts, but this 4% of recidivist rapists results in over 1000 of those violent acts.”

    So basically violence = predictor of rape. The accused person is not violent – lower probability of the accusation being true.

    Other factor mentioned was that most such crimes are done to known persons, not to strangers – which again doesn’t support a story about such thing happening between strangers on a conference.

    So how to evaluate the probability of if accusation is true, what would help there?

    http://www.theforensicexaminer.com/archive/spring09/15/

    “For example, in terms of the initial disclosure, unlike false accusers, true victims tend to go directly to law enforcement to file a report. False accusers are more apt to tell family members or close friends, who either report the rape themselves or push the victim to do so. In discussing the alleged rape, false accusers may be unable to provide detailed descriptions of the rape or may provide too much detail.”

  38. says

    And it looks good – he is on the side of truth and anti-scam.

    So was Brian Dunning. The he pled guilty to $5 million in wire fraud.

    Roman Polanski was a world renowned filmmaker with no history of violence and no record. Then he doped up a 13-year-old and raped her.

    Conclusion: your criteria for determining who and who cannot be a sexual predator is disproved and dismissed.

    When it comes to the anonymous accuser it would take much more data about her in order to validate she is trustworthy and not some psychopath, liar or a scammer.

    She is known and trusted by PZ. She is known and trusted by PZ’s wife. Her account is being corroborated by other women sharing their own experiences with Shermer, all of which follow a reputation Shermer has had for a long time of being a skirt-chaser at conferences. (All that’s changed now is that he appears to have leveled up from skirt-chaser.) So — it looks good.

    I must say, your live performance of Rape Culture Apologetics in Action is quite instructive to anyone who wonders why more victims are afraid to come forward.

  39. says

    So how to evaluate the probability of if accusation is true, what would help there?

    http://www.theforensicexaminer.com/archive/spring09/15/

    “For example, in terms of the initial disclosure, unlike false accusers, true victims tend to go directly to law enforcement to file a report. False accusers are more apt to tell family members or close friends, who either report the rape themselves or push the victim to do so. In discussing the alleged rape, false accusers may be unable to provide detailed descriptions of the rape or may provide too much detail.”

    Where earlier in the report, “false accusers” is shown to include

    This statistic is almost meaningless, as many of the jurisdictions from which the FBI collects data on crime use different definitions of, or criteria for, “unfounded.” That is, a report of rape might be classified as unfounded (rather than as forcible rape) if the alleged victim did not try to fight off the suspect, if the alleged perpetrator did not use physical force or a weapon of some sort, if the alleged victim did not sustain any physical injuries, or if the alleged victim and the accused had a prior sexual relationship. Similarly, a report might be deemed unfounded if there is no physical evidence or too many inconsistencies between the accuser’s statement and what evidence does exist. As such, although some unfounded cases of rape may be false or fabricated, not all unfounded cases are false.

    From that report (same paragraph as the first quote):

    False accusers may describe the incident with inappropriate affect, such as pleasure or even pride.

    Inappropriate effect is a common result of trauma. A “flat effect”, lack of appropriate emotional response is a symptom of PTSD, not of lying.

    Most true victims do NOT go to law enforcement.

    Here’s Toronto Police Service’s report:

    Sexual assault is a vastly under-reported crime. According to Statistics Canada, only 6% of all sexual assaults are reported to police.

    In one study, women gave the following reasons for not reporting incidents of sexual assault:

    • belief that the police could do nothing about it (50% of women gave this reason);

    • concern about the attitude of both police and the courts toward sexual assault (44%);

    • fear of another assault by the offender (33%);

    • fear and shame (64%).

    (Solicitor General of Canada, “Canadian Urban Victimization Survey,” Bulletin 4: Female Victims of Crime. Ottawa, 1985.)

  40. says

    From the Huffington Post: False Rape Allegations Rare, But ‘Damaging Myths’ Harm Real Rape Victims, Says CPS’ Keir Starmer

    There were 5,651 prosecutions for rape for the period between January 2011 and May 2012 the study looked at, but only 35 for making false allegations of rape.

    Likewise, there were 111,891 prosecutions for domestic violence, but only six for making false allegations of domestic violence.

    A further three people were charged with making false allegations of both rape and domestic violence.

    The study found that a significant number of these cases involved “young, often vulnerable people, and sometimes even children”.

    Around half were brought forward by people aged 21 and under, with some involving people with mental health difficulties.

    In 38% of those investigations, the initial complaint of rape or domestic violence was made by someone other than the suspect. When the alleged victim was under 18, that figure rose to 50% and often involved a parent.

    “From the cases we have analysed, the indication is that it is therefore extremely rare that a suspect deliberately makes a false allegation of rape or domestic violence purely out of malice,” Mr Starmer added.

    “It is within this context that the issue should be viewed, so that myths and stereotypes around these cases are not able to take hold.”

    35 out of 5,651, 38% of which were made by a third party, such as a parent.
    That works out to 0.04% of all prosecuted rapes were owed to a false accusation.
    0.04%

  41. GrzeTor says

    @Susannah – shouldn’t you rather compare total number of accusation to the total number of guilty verdicts? The number of prosecutions is not that useful, as it includes cases where the accused was not found guilty.

  42. says

    @GrzeTor

    Ok. I assume you mean total of false accusations to guilty verdicts. In that case, with approx. 36% of prosecuted cases ending with a guilty verdict,* we can assume that the false accusations would be found in the “Not Guilty” category. So 64% of 5651 prosecutions gives us 3616 Not Guilties. Of these 22 would be owed to accusations by the victims. (62% of the 35.)

    22 out of 3616 gives a total of 0.6% false accusations. Of which some, at least, are due to mistaken identity, lack of evidence, etc.

    The probability of an accusation being false, then, is vanishingly small.

    *data point from UK Ministry of Justice>/a>

    In 2009, defendants convicted of rape made up 36% of the number of defendants
    prosecuted for rape in that year.

  43. John Phillips, FCD says

    You really don’t get it do you. Stranger rape, the type most likely to involve varying degrees of violence and might fit your imagined rapist are not the majority of rapes. In fact the majority of rapes are carried out by people either known to the victim or is someone the victim would usually think trustworthy, e.g. a well known figure in the skeptic community. So on that basis your whole argument as to who can and cannot be thought of as a rapist is nonsensical.

    In fact, taking the fact that the majority of rapes are done by people known to the victim or people assumed by the victim to be trustworthy and that the number of false allegations are a small fraction of non false,allegations, the more likely probability is that the accusation is true. That doesn’t mean that it is definitely true, but with a P (number of true claims) in excess of .9 it is safer for women likely to meet him to work on the basis it is true rather than false.

    After all, if the accusation is false, the worst that happens is that women might be careful around him and he might lose a few speaking engagements. For actual real harm to and negative effects on accused and even convicted well known rapists is pretty low, as recent history is full of such cases were well known rapists and even paedophiles will have a legion of defenders. Think of Polanski defended by many in Hollywood, to give just one very famous example. However, if the accusation is true and a woman ignores it or didn’t know about him, she could be the next victim.

  44. GrzeTor says

    First you are strawmanning here – “your whole argument as to who can and cannot be thought of as a rapist is nonsensical” – have never claimed I talk about determinism (who can/can’t be) but rather how likely is a non-deterministically proven claim that a person of certain characteristics is guilty of certain actions.

    Then you are cherrypicking: what metadata shows is that we don’t actually know how much rape accusations are false. The range of estimations is crazy – from 3% to 41% depending on the study.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/2013/08/07/right-ways-and-wrong-ways/#comments

    Besides what you cite is irrelevant to the case at hand – as there’s no accusation of a type that is present in those studies: they are about accusations that were reported overtly to the police, rather than some anonymous snitching on the Internet. I’ve already provided link that not going to the authorities is a predictor that a claim is false:

    http://www.theforensicexaminer.com/archive/spring09/15/

    “For example, in terms of the initial disclosure, unlike false accusers, true victims tend to go directly to law enforcement to file a report. False accusers are more apt to tell family members or close friends, who either report the rape themselves or push the victim to do so. In discussing the alleged rape, false accusers may be unable to provide detailed descriptions of the rape or may provide too much detail.”

    This is exactly what we see – no reporting to police, but just informing a friend – with the friend being the informant, no details provided etc.

    Then again using statistics applicaple to average criminals of some kind to a person who is undoubtly not average in most aspects (intellect, the ideology followed) is simply wrong. There are important factors that I’ve mentioned that make the accused outside of profile of a rapist. These are important issues, just one example that ideology influences behavior: In Sweden Muslims are 5 percent of population but commit 77 percent rapes.

    http://themuslimissue.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/the-living-hell-for-swedish-women-5-muslims-commit-nearly-77-6-of-all-rape-crimes/

    The characteristics of the accused I’ve provided are quite opposite to the profile of a criminal, he’s not a low-middle IQ 25-years-old black muslim who lacks self control, has previous crime history, is generally violent, and has some mental problems etc. This doesn’t mean that it’s impossible that the claimed activity happened, it’s just that it is an extraordinary event – opposite to what Martin Wanger said – and thus we need strong evidence to be convinced of the claim. “Someone said something” is not a strong evidence, thus right now there’s no reason to believe that the accused is guilty.

    Those who might have such evidence – like PZ myers – are denying it to the public, while making accusations, thus making it impossible for the public to make a valid judgement, while being emotionally molested with accusations of wrongdoing. Thus PZ Myers can be thought of as the enemy of public.

  45. GrzeTor says

    Strawman – “your criteria for determining” – I’ve never claimed certainties or determinism. Just how likely a claim is based on the information we have, for a specific person who is not average, rather than based on commont people. We don’t have enough information for determistic judgement, so probabilities are all we have now.

    Now when it comes to your critieria they are almost like a religion – “She is known and trusted by the Pope” – implying that we must trust her (argument from authority). Guess what – I don’t trust PZ, not because I thinkg he’s evil, but because he is infected with a mind virus of left-wing ideologies. This prevents him from being an objective truth seeker.

  46. John Phillips, FCD says

    GrzeTor, snigger, you just lost any semblance of credibility you had left, bye.

  47. Russell Glasser says

    I’m also sniggering at GrzeTor, but my snigger comes supported by the ability to ban annoying people.

  48. says

    Just to add further confusion, I don’t necessarily see harassment and rape in terms of gender, due to the diversity of my own experiences. I have twice in my life been sexually harassed (in one instance made to feel very uncomfortable in my own high school) by other women/girls. I am straight, and I have been approached as well by lesbians I actually liked, and who were quite nice about it–some I even agreed to dance with, etc., and had no issues whatsoever. So, it’s not a case of just not being gay–it was a couple of women who were not being respectful of the fact I wasn’t interested. And the one in HS, was pretty big, and quite powerfully built, and intimidating.

    Additionally, I have a gay friend who met some friends at a night club, and ended up going back to his apartment–on purely platonic terms–with a straight guy he knew casually, to just hang out and have a few more drinks. Somewhere during that evening, things went badly, and the “straight” guy exposed himself, which was not what my friend was after. When it didn’t pan out, my friend ended up beaten badly and in the hospital for several days. And the beating was captured on street security cameras (showing my friend leaving his house and running AWAY from this maniac). It was so bad he was found still unconscious in his own blood the next morning. When the “straight” guy was confronted, he initially didn’t say too much, but later came up with a nice story that my friend had tried to drug and rape him–which is why he chased and beat him near to death (a sure sign of being physically incapacitated by drugs). His counter claim was sufficient to convince the prosecutors in that jurisdiction that it was more hassle than it was worth for simply a severe gay bash incident, and all charges were dropped. Near-fatal beating caught on film vs. unprovable claim of attempted rape. And this violent aggressor now walks free.

    Additionally I have a close female friend who has also been raped, and not reported it. And another person close to me who claims she is married to a date rapist–that she was forced to marry after becoming pregnant due to religious/social pressure, at a young age.

    I’ve seen a lot of sides of this, and the only thought I have had is something like a “repeat complaint” rule; but even that isn’t a perfect solution. I just wonder if we could establish some criteria for “pattern” dysfunction behaviors? I recall a guy who was violent and threatened his neighbors, and the cops could never catch him–but different neighbors had called to issue a number of different levels of complaints. Ultimately someone was killed, and the question was “How were all these complaints ignored?” I understand it’s hard with a word against word scenario–but word against a lot of unrelated other words, begins to stack up, in my view–not just in regard to rape cases. I would think the cops should find it odd if they got several unrelated reports of John Smith pulling a pistol on different people around town, for example. Currently we seem to wait till someone is shot before acting. Maybe, though, there is some criteria that could be created that would be psychologically valid, to identify actual pattern dysfunctions before someone gets hurt? Again–I don’t know. But it would seem to encourage reports even in situations where an arrest could not be made, and still not *unduly* infringe on someone by simply “taking the word” of the complainant? I think something along those lines–or a better idea?–might be something that could be further developed in the public interest?

  49. says

    I agree with the “pattern” idea–esp at conferences. I think something like the “three strike” rule would be good. Rather than women waiting for someone else to file a complaint, if they knew that complaints received from different sources would be added to a ‘body of evidence,’ perhaps that would encourage them to file the complaint even if nothing were to happen on the basis of just that one complaint.

  50. says

    I think you hit on a few different issues here, though.

    First, there is a difference between reporting a stolen car (the cops will likely take your report at face value, even though you might be pulling off insurance fraud), vs. accusing your neighbor down the street of having stolen it. Let’s say the vehicle is never found. And there is no evidence your neighbor took it. You say you saw him do it, but he says he was home watching the game all night. In the U.S. the person accused always has the edge, because we hold innocence as the default, and guilt as what must be proven.

    That being said, I agree fully with your complaints about treatment of victims. Do I expect the cops to confront him and talk to him? Yes. Do I expect them to take your statement in a professional manner? Yes. Do I expect full reports and whatever investigation is required to try and sort this out? Yes. But at the end of the day, if it’s your word against his, he’s innocent until there is some evidence of his guilt. And the claim is not the evidence.

    I just spoke to a woman I know yesterday whose spouse was accused by an ex of pulling a gun on her. She lived three hours away at the time and the spouse had an alibi. There were a number of problems additionally found in the accuser’s story. And in fact this woman had a history of stalking the pair and threatening *them*. But this was just one way for a functional, but unstable, person to hurt innocent people for whom she had a hate-on. It’s extremely sick and sad that such people exist, but they do. And I rarely meet anyone who hasn’t known one or more such people. I have been falsely accused, myself, of some serious misconduct (luckily not illegal, but certainly reputation-damaging). And it’s especially heinous when it is an accusation that is your word against someone else’s and you’re then called on to prove what you didn’t do or didn’t say. In my case, I was lucky that I was being slandered with claims of something I had written, I still had the written record of what had been exchanged. But even with that, and with a later full public retraction and apology from my accuser–it’s was just an easy way to damage me, by a functional, but unstable individual. There were a few people who simply believed her claims at face value, and I found that astonishing. But people like that rely on the fact that there will always be some who are ready to believe a horrible claim, and empathize with the accuser–whether they are telling the truth or not.

  51. John Phillips, FCD says

    GrzeTor, keep digging that hole, you are quite pathetic in your goal post shifting and obviously haven’t a clue what you are talking about. For the final time, you’re average rapist doesn’t fit your own criteria of who is actually a rapist, but instead is often regarded as a pillar of the community, much like you think Shermer is, let me guess, you’re a RWA. The type of rapes you are using to judge who are or are not rapists is a minority of actual rapes, both reported and not reported to the authorities. As to your other bits of cherry picking, which doesn’t accord with actual figures for, e.g. the UK, it is quite breathtaking in its audacity, you would make a great IDiot.

  52. says

    We have to take all rape claims seriously. Yes, it’s possible for someone to lie. But usually when someone is lying there are other partsof the story that turn out not to be credible. It’s possible to investigate someone’s claim without being dismissive or unsympathetic.

  53. says

    The Duke Lacrosse team is a good example of what happens when a good investigation happens or doesn’t. There was evidence (receipts, surveillance cameras) that some of the players were miles away from the alleged attack. It may not be possible to determine what happened between two people who were alone, but when someone is lying it is almost always true that some part of the story does not fit (or may even be demonstrably untrue). At the very least an accusation deserves an investigation of the facts. We should not assume someone is guilty or not without looking into it further.

  54. Narym says

    What I’m left wondering, is; why do we know that the people in question have been accused of this? Why aren’t they anonymous along with the other parties?

    We can all speculate about who is and isn’t trustworthy, and feel that that’s enough for us personally to side with one or the other. And of course, if we know someone personally, if we’re their friend, our role as friend is… different for each person depending their circumstances. But as an outsider I don’t feel that I can be anything but agnostic about the claims at this point. And I don’t see how it is a matter for the general public to be concerned with.

  55. John Kruger says

    When I weigh the damage that can be done by an anonymous false accusation against what people can get away with in the absence of indisputable evidence, I have to come down in favor of anonymous reporting. Of course such accusations are not going to be actionable in any legal kind of way, and yes it is open to abuse. Yet, when all one side is risking is undeserved scrutiny and the other is risking continued unimpeded sexual assaults, the choice is pretty clear in my mind.

    I could see having some form of moderation on a site that could check for excessive or outrageous accusations from a particular source, to bolster the credibility of the site as a whole. Given the whole “you can’t even make that accusation because you might be lying and could damage someone’s reputation for no reason” trope, I think it is very justifiable for reports to be available without the wider public knowing the source.

  56. SheerDistaste says

    You know what? This whole feminism crap that all of FtB has been going on about ever since that elevator thing pisses me off.

    Do you know why it pisses me off?

    Because it’s rubbing off on me.

    Back when it started here, pretty much all of the articles talking about feminism, harassment at conferences, rape culture, whatever I found to be ridiculous overreactions to inconsequential bullshit.

    Then after reading these articles for about a month, eventually 1 in 10 I would say “that’s actually a good point”. Then it was 2 in 10, then 3. As of now it’s about 8/10.

    And furthermore, often when I am reading something, or talking to someone, or watching something, etc. completely away from FtB, I’ll find myself thinking “that’s sexist” or “that’s really offensive and degrading to women, I don’t support that at all” – when before I wouldn’t ever have these thoughts. And whenever I get these thoughts I get annoyed because I’m starting to sound like PZ Myers or whoever or one of his flunkies here… yet these things keep popping into my head, more and more frequently!

    You guys (and girls) are slowly turning me into a feminist, and that pisses me off a lot.

  57. nathanaelnerode says

    “I recall a guy who was violent and threatened his neighbors, and the cops could never catch him–but different neighbors had called to issue a number of different levels of complaints.”

    In this context, it’s worth remembering the original definition of harassment (from legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com):
    “n. the act of systematic and/or continued unwanted and annoying actions of one party or a group, including threats and demands. ”

    So, yes, harassment really is about patterns. “I understand it’s hard with a word against word scenario–but word against a lot of unrelated other words, begins to stack up, in my view–not just in regard to rape cases. ”

    This is one of the things the common-law crime of “harassment” is actually supposed to address: a perpetrator who keep pulling the same stuff over and over and over, stuff which you might write off if it happened once, but it *isn’t* just once, it’s over and over and over. For some reason the police don’t usually want to bother to deal with it these days, but it’s worth remembering what was done for hundreds of years.

    This is in contrast to assault which can be a single event: a single credible threat of bodily harm is assault. Police don’t seem to understand this either.

    It’s worth stopping harassers before they decide to commit assault; if they get away with harassment for long periods, often they’ll escalate from harassment to assault. If stopped at the harassment stage, they often don’t escalate. I’m speaking in generic legal terms here, not specifically of sexual harassment or sexual assault.

  58. Kit Russell says

    @ Tawn: “One thing to realise is that if the verdict is ‘not guilty’.. this doesn’t mean proven innocent. It is probably of little satisfaction to an unsuccessful rape victim.. but it is worth pointing out that the court is not claiming she (or he) is a liar.”

    While the court may not say that the victim is a liar, there are plenty of people who will. In the particularly memorable words of one MRA, women (it’s always women who make false accusations, dontchaknow) who fail to secure a conviction against their rapists are “lying cunts who should spend the rest of their lives turning tricks to pay off their slander lawsuits.”

  59. Mark R says

    When I listen to the debates, I hear both sides making some legitimate points, shouting at each other, but the points are not always mutually exclusive. Taken as a whole, they aren’t engaging in the same argument, which is rather disturbing.

    MY take is that we should be breaking these arguments down into separate discussions that we can analyze more easily:

    1. Define the terms. What is sexual harassment? What is sexual assault? What is sexism? You may think the answers are pretty obvious, but they’re not. Sexual harassment is notoriously vague depending on context. This discussion could be even more lively if we provide hypothetical or anecdotal situations and ask which category they belong in Wine-Drinking-Woman in the Myers Hand Grenade post is an excellent example. Was it predatory to pour wine in her glass? should an objective person see this behavior as indicative of other predatorial acts, etc. If we don’t define the terms adequately, we cannot engage in a meaningful discussion.

    2. With a solid definition of terms, sort out the multitude of claims and categorize them as allegations of sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexist attitudes, and general rudeness. One of the problems is that we’re seeing people are bundling anecdotes together into a single category of “general creepiness” and using that creepiness as some sort of evidence to support a judgment of guilt in more severe circumstances. For example, one opinion in this area (which I happen to hold) is that a man with a reputation for being a womanizer at events should not be tarred with the predator brush and have that reputation used to justify conclusions that he is a rapist. This will further clarify the issue and help us to evaluate the evidence based on the quality and context instead of the emotional impact it seems to have on many commenters.

    3. Behavior of the “factions”. I’ve seen and even experienced some of the A+ vitriol for myself. There is a tendency there to be very dogmatic, to brand any dissenter as a misogynist without engaging in debate, and to sometimes outright sensor people for even the most minor disagreements. To be blunt, from my perspective, there is a very disturbing authoritarian feel to this movement. Although I support harassment policies being implemented at conferences, I also find it alarming that they are even trying to regulate the types of clothing that are worn and the types of opinions that can be expressed. This thought-crime prosecution and Pentesostal style dress code attitude needs to be addressed in an objective manner.

    On the other side of the coin, I’ve been very disturbed by some of the absolutely horrible things that have been said about these women online. While I support free speech and don’t advocate censorship except in the most extreme cases, I think there should be a part of the skeptic’s mind that wants to keep things about the topic being discussed. Calling a woman a cunt or a twat; threatening to rape her; or threatening violence at all–even in the most rhetorical sense–is unacceptable behavior in a civil society. It should not be done, and those who do it are not behaving objectively. They are, therefore, not being skeptics.

    4. Finally, someone needs to set up some ground-rules on proper skeptical discussion. I realize this sounds somewhat authoritarian itself. But I’m thinking of something more along the lines of guidelines as to what can pass for a rational argument and what can’t. I’ve already been on boards where people were chastised for using name calling, not out of an interest in morality, but because the name calling detracts from the power of the argument being presented.

    A. Arguments should be evaluated on their own merits–and for no other reason. A misogynist, a rapist, a murderer, a radical feminist who just wants to cause trouble, can all make valid points.. Dismissing arguments based on who you think a person is or what their motives may be is not a skeptical attitude. However, if someone criticizes a poor argument, they in turn should not be subjected to slander or hatred. If you disagree, put forth your reasons and let the community make up its own mind.

    B. We should be looking for areas in which we disagree and in which we agree. We should state those areas outright. By clarifying terms and setting ground-rules, we will be able to arrive at these junctures more easily. Regardless of your commitment to skepticism, it is very naïve to think that skepticism will arrive at answers for all of these questions. However, identifying where we disagree and why is an important step in making decisions and going forward.

    Let this serve as a request from some of us that find ourselves disturbed by the whole issue from Elevatorgate forward, to stop the pettiness and get back to skeptical basics. Let’s be less heated and more cool in our evaluations of these questions. Let’s be skeptics. Its time to walk the walk.

  60. says

    A misogynist, a rapist, a murderer, a radical feminist who just wants to cause trouble, can all make valid points.

    Misogynists, rapists and murderers can make valid points?

    Think you lost me there, sorry.

    I like how you also equated “radical feminists” with those categories, too, as well as solely considering them the ones who “just want to cause trouble.” (Because feminists, radical or otherwise, couldn’t possibly have valid concerns to address, nosiree, and no one would think misogynists, rapists and murderers were troublemakers if those damn pesky radfems weren’t out there whining about them all the time.)

    “Getting back to skeptical basics” (how helpful of you to instruct us all on how we should be thinking of these things), it occurs to me that you’re not doing a very good job of hiding your own biases (such as, you know, being a rape apologist — see above quote) behind the thin smokescreen of JAQing off you’ve provided here. Of course, you’d prefer to think no one should ever consider a person’s motives when evaluating their viewpoints (though I suspect you’d e perfectly okay with judging the motives of, say, creationists), because that might lead them to examine your motives.

    You might find that “walking the walk” where skepticism is concerned isn’t always going to present results always flattering to you. To declare that only such results would come from proper application of skepticism is, dare I say it, not skeptical.

  61. Mark R says

    “Misogynists, rapists and murderers can make valid points?

    Think you lost me there, sorry.”

    Objectivity means that we will evaluate the argument on its own merits. To reject an argument because of some other action on the part of the arguer is by definition “ad hominem”. Therefore, yes, misogynists, rapists, murderers, politicians and the guy who works at the car wash can all make valid points.

    “I like how you also equated “radical feminists” with those categories, too, as well as solely considering them the ones who “just want to cause trouble.” (Because feminists, radical or otherwise, couldn’t possibly have valid concerns to address, nosiree, and no one would think misogynists, rapists and murderers were troublemakers if those damn pesky radfems weren’t out there whining about them all the time.)”

    I suspect that you’re so used to defending your sacred ground that you’ve missed the nuance of what I was saying there. I wasn’t trying to say that these women are “radical feminists who just want to cause trouble” I was naming several categories that have been developed into which people on various sides of the argument are routinely dumped in a valiant attempt to avoid reasonably evaluating their arguments. Just as the feminists are called radical feminists who are trying to make trouble, people who disagree with them are often called misogynists (or rape apologists in your case). Also, I’ve noticed that people who make pleas for a rational discussion are accused of “JAQing off” or are called “pseudo-skeptics” or “hyper-skeptics”. The point I was making, which I think you probably realize if you weren’t busy quote mining, is that regardless of what category you want to put someone in, you can’t evaluate what they’re saying based on what you think of them personally, or to attributed motivations. This is the essence of skepticism, Mr. Gardener. Being objective means keeping personal biases out of the process as much as possible.

    “Getting back to skeptical basics” (how helpful of you to instruct us all on how we should be thinking of these things), it occurs to me that you’re not doing a very good job of hiding your own biases (such as, you know, being a rape apologist — see above quote)”

    Again, Mr. Gardener, as a person who claims to be a skeptic, I would think you’re a bit better than this. I didn’t make an argument either for or against these claims. I made a plea that we try to discuss this rationally and objectively. Calling me a rape apologist is simply ridiculous, especially given the nature of my post. You can apologize at any point you like and I will graciously accept. It was uncalled for, and worse, not justifiable.

    “Of course, you’d prefer to think no one should ever consider a person’s motives when evaluating their viewpoints (though I suspect you’d e perfectly okay with judging the motives of, say, creationists), because that might lead them to examine your motives. ”

    At least you understood that much of my post. You’re correct. I don’t think a person’s motives have any relevance on the validity of their argument or whether the evidence they are citing is accurate. In fact, how could it be otherwise? Perhaps you’d like to give me an example of how motivations make an argument more or less valid or a fact more or less true. Again, you’re advocating (rather stridently, it seems) for ad hominem arguments. I’m not certain where that comes from, but I sense you’ve taken an emotional stance here and will hold on to it regardless of logic and reason. The sad thing is that you might be exactly right about everything, but since you have yet to make a cogent argument and seem intent on petty attacks, nobody will ever see it.

    “You might find that “walking the walk” where skepticism is concerned isn’t always going to present results always flattering to you. To declare that only such results would come from proper application of skepticism is, dare I say it, not skeptical.”

    As is getting typical of the ideologues on both sides of this issue, you’re claiming to restate my assertions, but doing so incorrectly. I never “declared” that a skeptical examination of these issues would make me look like a white knight. It is quite possible that in such a discussion that my assertions would be challenged and shown to be invalid. But, Mr. Gardener, that’s WHY I–that’s why we–engage in skepticism. Because if we are wrong, we want to find that out. We are seeking ultimately for “as close to the truth as we can get”. Yes, I expect that there will be many times in my life I will be demonstrably wrong. I welcome it.

    But please sir, if you would like to prove me wrong, show me where my arguments are wanting or my evidence is incorrect. Don’t make idle accusations of rape apologism and JAQing off. Actually do a little work and think about it. Your response was intellectually lazy, and you should be ashamed.

    This argument shows what happens when skepticism is held subservient to ideology.

  62. M the Atheist says

    @Susannah

    OMG!!! I believe you are doing some outrageous reasoning here. You openly admitted to 2/3rds of the rape cases ending in a ‘not guilty’ verdict; meaning the defendants were not guilty. In America One is Innocent until Proven guilty; and that is what it means. Ergo those accusing the defendants were post-facto and effectively lying; thus using false claims.

    We can victim blame all you want and say things like ‘just because someone is found not guilty does not mean they are innocent’ which would be dead wrong in a free society. Also, these data are supported and replicated in almost every Western Nation that keeps tract, Australia and Canada, etc.

    I cannot believe you openly admitted to 2/3rds of these defendants being found not guilty and then still manipulated the math and minimized the results to support such a flimsy claim. I will forgive you for being too zealous in your quest to not see the forest through the trees.

  63. says

    Don’t get so excited just yet. From the document Susannah links to, where you think she’s “manipulating her math”:

    Estimates suggest around 8-10% of all rape complaints are false, but there is no evidence to suggest there is a greater prevalence of false rape allegations than false allegations of other offences.

    There is no consistent definition of a false rape allegation and not all are made maliciously. Some may result from mistaken identity, others from, for example, mental ill-health and false memories.

    So while I know the misogynist “bitches be lyin'” narrative is something a lot of guys (ahem?) are deeply invested in, the figures don’t really back it up. After all, skeptics are supposed to take things like actual data seriously, right? But like I said in the OP, find just one instance of a false claim, and the rapey-rape-yay-rape-because-BITCHES crowd will immediately assume they’re almost all false — a phenomenon you won’t see with any other crime.

  64. M the Atheist says

    A personal story from an atheist conference.

    A couple of years ago I was at the national atheist convention in Houston. While there on a Friday night I sat next to PZ Meyers at the bar and close to AronRa, Thunderf00t, and others; I believe Shermer was at the bar too and the following night I met Dawkins; and I actually got to shake Christopher Hitchens’ hand. It was an awesome event and I plan on going to others every Fall.

    As for the harassment and convention aura. I was there Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights; and each night I had the pleasure of a different Lady. Either in my room or her’s; here is where the story begins, and it is standard and not filled with drama.

    Friday was standard fair at a bar; I made a bit of an ass of myself to PZ (because at the time I did not know who he was and did not realize I was sitting at the popular table), but since I have a graduate degree in biology we still talked. A gay man asked me up to his room and I said no; no biggie. I forget how I met the first older female blonde but we ended up in my room and things went from there, she left later that night in the AM. I imagine she told others about the rather surprisingly polite experience she had because the following night I experienced this.

    Saturday came and I listened to talks all day, met people and had fun. Later that night at the bar I met Mr. Dewitt and we discussed the bible at length. He and his son and a lady asked me up to a room for drinks and a post bar-closing get-together etc; no biggie. In swooped a 20-something Hispanic female, common in Texas, she (for reasons I am not clear on) asked me up to her room to “smoke” with some friends; I looked at Jerry and he smiled (apparently knowing something I didn’t), I decided that drinking was second to smoking and I agreed to leave my new friends and go with the girl. When we got to her room there were no others in the room only us and there was no smoke, we decided to go to my room and smoke and we enjoyed each others company until very late that evening and she left on good terms with a smile.

    Sunday came, the conference ended early in the day and I spent the afternoon drinking with Ra and f00t; everyone decided to go to some restaurant and I decided to stay at the hotel because I paid good money for the room and was talking to a nice female Canadian. Here is where the story gets weird.

    Guys in the group were trying to get her to leave me and go with them; I told her she was free to do whatever she wanted and that I was fine going to my room alone. The insistence of these two to three men to c*ck-block me was of no concern (I was quite happy to be alone on Sunday) but she stayed and we went back to my room and she left at 4am.

    The point of this story? I was able to enjoy one of the last true conventions that was not ruined by all this PC, harassment, rape-scare BS. None of the women complained, I did not even try that hard, and no one was harassed or raped. f00t was cool, Ra was too, PZ got along with everyone and there was peace in the land. For those that do not know, conventions of any kind are adult playgrounds were people go to meet like minded fellows and to bask in the joy that is Similarity and Cooperation. I hear Star Trek conventions are adult playgrounds for Trekkies and people go there to meet and hook-up with like minded fellows too.

    No one complained about my behavior, I did not try too hard, I was educated and inebriated to mental euphoria; I was so happy that I had spent time away from the small town Texas nut-jobs I was surrounded by for so long. I thought our movement was growing and kicking butt and would only get stronger.

    Then things started to fracture and fall apart and now we are all caught up in a debate that is more appropriate for the culture at large and not our small and fragile community. Of course, do not harass women, but also realize that many of us are surrounded by people and live in communities where we cannot be open and honest with those of the opposite sex; where secrecy and privacy pollute our relations with others, especially the opposite sex. Christians and the like judge and fear atheists in America still, and girls are judged by who they go out with; so loneliness and isolation are still felt by many secularists.

    Conventions should be a place where we can be open and honest with each other; especially those of the opposite sex, because so many of us can’t in our daily lives. The female contact, affection and communication I experienced at that convention gave me strength and hope to survive a few more years in my small town; it held me over until I could move, it gave me the courage I needed to voice my opinions (no matter how big a mistake that turned out to be). I found unity at that conference; I found courage and affection; things I had not had in years.

    Now the unity is ruined. Now the interactions are suspect. Now rules are laid out to regulate behaviors that are only natural and encourage more strength and unity. Things are not totally ruined but they have been set back. All because some guy made a bad pass and some woman made a mild statement; and both were taken too far.

    So the guy should have said what he said in the open around fellows at the bar where the woman felt safe rejecting him and he demonstrated boldness by risking rejection in front of others. So the woman vlogged about it and made a seemingly meaningless statement that trolls took out of context and took too far.

    Now it has exploded in to anonymous rape accusations, black lists, suspicion and the outright separation of a splinter group, whose liberalness and caring would have better served the greater whole. Now Shermer is being slandered and libelous statements threaten to fracture an already small community into even smaller and more bitter bits.

    Please understand that conventions are for the like-minded to meet, and naturally like-mindedness tends to lead to more physical expression. This does not mean it should always, but so many of us are without the support of fellows in our home communities, that to seek it in our intellectual communities is no sin.

    Do females tend to gravitate towards males of status and power? yes. Does power corrupt? yes. Does alcohol affect reasoning and sexual desire? yes. But we should not be looking for inappropriate sexual advances, because we will always find them. Men make bad moves, women make bad decisions, we all make mistakes; this is part of the risk taking behavior that leads to sex.

    But a house divided cannot stand and since practically everything a man does to obtain female affection is non-verbal and could be considered harassment of some kind (body language, slight touching, eye contact) the only thing short of out-right asking (as was the case with me and the gay man) is unreasonable and women don’t really like that approach; you might as well treat them like a prostitute.

    This is too long, but these issues have been blown out of proportion and now we are talking about national rape statistics and anonymous accusations are being made and I feel sad that something that seemed like a great source of support, both mentally and physically, is being turned into a slanderous cesspool that is becoming too risky to even attend anymore. We will lose speakers, we will lose fundraisers, we will lose volunteers, we will lose the movement; if we do not move on.

    Peace and Long Life.

    M.

  65. says

    So here’s the TL;DR version of you: “If I’ve never been in a situation where behavior tipped over into harassment (by how I understand the term), then no such situation has happened, or at least, so rarely we shouldn’t even care about it. It’s only the uppity PC womynists who are making trouble. Wouldn’t it be great if they’d all just shut up and we could go back to having fun?”

    Man, there’s just so much here…

    For one thing, you don’t know Shermer has been slandered. If you claim to know this, you’re claiming more knowledge of the situation than anyone else. There is, in fact, a lengthy grapevine where accounts of his being a horndog at conferences are well established. Granted, this is the first time we’ve heard of him possibly going this far. But you’re no more in a position to say the claim against him is “slander” (that is, knowingly and recklessly false) than anyone else is say it’s incontrovertible truth. Also, Shermer’s accuser is not “anonymous.” She is known to quite a few people, who are keeping her name out of it (difference between “anonymous” and “unnamed source” explained here), because there’s this big wide wonderful rape culture that loves to make the lives of woman absolute hell in the rare cases they actually come forth and report.

    At public events, people socialize and flirt. That you seem to think we don’t know this is, well, adorable. But harassment is a very different thing from flirting, and — try this on — every person, including women, gets to set their own personal boundaries for where the line between flirting crosses over into harassment. Some people cross lines, realize they’ve done so, and respectfully back off. Some do not. Some deliberately ply their targets with liquor to blur the lines even more. The key to empathizing with the experiences of others starts with understanding that such experiences, that we haven’t had to share, do exist.

    But a house divided cannot stand and since practically everything a man does to obtain female affection is non-verbal and could be considered harassment of some kind (body language, slight touching, eye contact) the only thing short of out-right asking (as was the case with me and the gay man) is unreasonable and women don’t really like that approach; you might as well treat them like a prostitute.

    Wow, this is what they call, in the military, a target-rich environment. Where to begin?

    But a house divided cannot stand

    Yes, and of course, in your world, it’s the women who are the divisive ones here. Not the men who are harassing them, sending them rape and death threats via email and Twitter and blog comments. Nope, it’s the women who like to pee on everyone’s cornflakes by complaining whenever they receive that kind of treatment. Don’t they understand how divisive that is?

    A thing to consider: why would I (especially if I were a woman) want to share a house with people who repeatedly threatened, belittled, and stalked me? How strong is a house that refuses to be as welcoming, safe, and inclusive of all its potential members, preferring instead to coddle its most privileged ones?

    since practically everything a man does to obtain female affection is non-verbal and could be considered harassment of some kind (body language, slight touching, eye contact) the only thing short of out-right asking (as was the case with me and the gay man) is unreasonable and women don’t really like that approach

    How hard is it to learn women’s rules and respect their boundaries? It’s been my experience that women actually appreciate a man who is confident and honest enough to ask outright…as long as you have first taken the time and effort to get to know them, get the lay of the land, and set the groundwork for a connection that she feels on a mutual basis. What women don’t like — what they usually call “creepy” — is men who behave insecurely, never really talk but freely leer, men who do make their desires known non-verbally but don’t have the sense of self-respect and respect for others that they know how to first present themselves as an attractive prospect. Then again — and this is something that drives a lot of guys crazy — not every interaction you have with a woman, even the hot ones, is a prequel to sex. Guys who use terms like “friendzone” are the ones not mature enough to handle both rejection and the notion that there is some value to non-sexual relationships with women at all.

    So the upshot of all this is, you’re complaining bitterly that a social climate that was awesome for you has been disrupted because women have made us all aware that the same situations were not only uncomfortable, but sometimes downright threatening and dangerous, to them. And it’s them who you think are the problem.

    You’re doing this all wrong.

  66. M the Atheist says

    @Martin Wagner

    1. Thank you for your response and your point of view.
    2. You do not do my post or its essence justice.
    3. I will respond in brief to your thesis.

    I believe I was quite clear as to who I believe the source of the problem was. First a man that made a bad pass that would have been better served out in the open for several reasons and two trolls that took a vlog statement basically out of context and too far. Nowhere did I blame women or call them the “divisive” ones.

    4. This is Labor Day so I have the time and energy to do this and since my posts tend to be “tl;dr” for most; the following post will be optional and basically an addendum for reply.
    5. I simply call for unity again.

    LLaP

    M.

  67. M the Atheist says

    This is a paragraph for paragraph response. It reads rough because I chopped out the cited text to shorten my post. To follow the flow bounce back and forth between the posts.

    Well you are distorting way too much in the first paragraph, probably for rhetorical purposes and to set-up a trollish strawman; I sense a bit of projection here too.

    Yes I do have Thoughts, and “I am massive, I do contain multitudes.”

    There is the legal defense fund being set up for Shermer and if the law will be involved this episode involves slander. I cite Thunderf00t and Shermer himself as “claim(ing) to know this, …” “Grapevine” is another way of saying the game of Telephone. Granted rape is a serious and slanderous allegation, true. Your fifth sentence is illogical and pretty hard to process; I will say (in parody) that atheists are in no more of a position to say God is a lie than Christians are to say God is incontrovertible Truth. One an anonymous source is an unnamed source and two I do not believe the culture you fear is “rape culture” but in fact Troll Culture.

    Belittling someone is ad hominem attack and only reveals your argument so weak as to betray the fact it cannot stand on its own merits and needs to attack your opponent; you are going about this all wrong. “… every person, including women, gets to set their own personal boundaries for where the line between flirting crosses into harassment.” One, in your own post, later on, you contradict yourself with regards to this statement and two, no the will of the majority gets to set the boundaries for where behaviors cross into harassment; it is called the law and the legal system; harassment is a crime and thus should be reported to authorities at every instance of it. As for “deliberately plying targets with liquor” no one makes a person drink more than they want to, I believe this is called water torture; but I get what you mean and will say no one should be held accountable for another’s actions or choices. I do have empathy, I empathize with the men and women in Africa that are raped, tortured, maimed and murdered, regardless of sex, and while these things have not happened to me and I have never witnessed them, I do believe they exist. I am not sure of your point here, probably to frame me as an insensitive, un-empathizing man that simply does not understand; nice try though.

    Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

    Stop feeding the Trolls. If one cannot tell the difference between Trolling and actual threats then one needs to turn off their computer. If Christopher Hitchens were still alive he would remind you that one need not worry about the death threats one receives but rather worry about the people that never send them at all, they are the ones with real intent.

    Our house is not infected with Trolls and if anyone at a conference were stupid enough to make a face-to-face rape or death threat at a conference they would be arrested and banned; so stop feeding the trolls. I will not get into privileged classes or groups; we are all equals at conferences. Male privilege is as much a problem as female privilege, both sexes have advantages and disadvantages in different fields; but at conferences we are all equals.

    The opening sentence of this paragraph is where you contradict yourself, you previously claimed that every person (woman) has the right to decide for themselves what their boundaries are and now you ask a question that infers there is some universal standard for all women that is easy to learn so that all men can respect their boundaries; as for my personal experience the answer is it is not hard at all, hell it is downright easy and a man can simply stumble into companionship by not being a creepy jerk, but this is my experience. “Confident” yes, “Honest” yes, “ask outright” occasionally, you are either not remembering your past correctly, counting only the hits and not the misses, or your game is so airtight it could work in the vacuum of space. The rest of your paragraph is fair enough and wise enough to go without comment.

    “Bitter” no, please do not infer an emotional state from a form of communication that omits a very large chunk of human communication. “was”, the past-tense does not apply, your mind reading magical powers are wrong and over confident, “disrupted”, not at all I am still content and wish only for those less fortunate and in a life situation like I was in to experience the same “awesome” experience that enabled me to escape the terrible geographical circumstance I was in. We are all made uncomfortable at times, I was off-set by the gay guy trying to sleep with me, and we both moved on, I have recently been made very uncomfortable by another male advance in my home, being harassed and made uncomfortable and feeling threatened is not the sole purview of women. I never said I blamed women, your mind reading powers and powers of inference are failing you again young padawon.

    You too are doing this all wrong. Do thirty push-ups, race a teenager, and do a bar trivia contest; these reality checks should realign your ego.

    LLaP

    M.

  68. says

    I recently read an article about how, after a certain point, people in arguments are no longer arguing to establish facts, but simply to “win,” regardless of the facts, because it’s far more important to be Right All The Time than to admit there are things they don’t understand. As this is pretty much where you are in the conversation — it’s especially precious that you’re chiding me about my ego, when your latest opus is all about ego-salvage — I’ll offer a more succinct reply (which will still be wordy, unfortunately, because a little bit of bullshit takes a lot of soap to wash out) to your latest flailing, and then cut this off.

    Funny thing about this “legal defense fund” that’s been started for Shermer. Because, in fact, Shermer has not been charged by police with any crime. So as he is not currently (or about to be) a defendant in a legal dispute, what is the need for a legal defense fund? What this really is, I think, is a “donate to a SLAPP suit against PZ Myers” fund. And if Shermer actually brings forth that action, it may not go so well for him, mainly because California has very strict anti-SLAPP laws, and also because his claims he’s never been involved in any of the situations he’s accused of may force him to face his accusers in the discovery phase. He could bring an online defamation suit against PZ. But even there, he’d have to demonstrate that PZ posted the claims against him while knowing they were false and not caring they were false (the basic legal criteria for libel), for the express purpose of damaging Shermer’s reputation. And he simply won’t be able to pull that off. (Also, Shermer will not be able to show he’s been materially harmed by the claims, since to my knowledge he’s lost no jobs, no income, no speaking engagements, no publishing deals, etc., as a result.) If I were Shermer’s lawyers, I’d be telling him, at the very least, to hang fire.

    What you stated outright was that the accusations against Shermer were “slanderous,” that is, knowingly and recklessly false and meant to defame the man. And this is simply not something you can know. Sure, you might believe that, and want that to be true. I myself would hate for the claims to be true. I’ve always admired Shermer. Loved his books. But part of skepticism is understanding that even heroes can have feet of clay, and in a world that’s given us many prominent, admired men who have turned out to be rapists, killers and more (Roman Polanski, OJ Simpson, Jimmy Saville), we all should have learned some lessons by now about accepting the idea that admired heroes are capable of often horrific failings. Take that little reality check home with you. Maybe what happened between Shermer and his accuser was a misunderstanding, maybe it was assault or worse. Maybe we could discuss the wisdom of the way in which PZ chose to release the information. But to claim any kind of definite knowledge about how true or false the claim may be is simply dishonest.

    If you don’t like being thought of as an “insensitive, un-empathizing man that simply does not understand,” then you should work harder at not demonstrating that’s exactly what you are. “We’re all equal at conferences?” Tell that to the numerous women who have already been made to feel threatened and unwelcome at such events. Pay attention to their accounts of what the response has been when they did try to report the incidents. It’s very easy to smugly lecture someone that all the online stalking and multiple rape and murder threats they endure are nothing but harmless trolls, and they should just suck it up, when you aren’t the one on the receiving end. And how do you determine what is or is not a credible threat? You seem awfully fond of taking the position that a thing is so because you have declared it to be so. So just as you have declared the accusations against Shermer to be “slander” (a fact not in evidence), you are now declaring all online rape threats to be just a bunch of goofy pranksters having a laugh. It’s only the ones who don’t threaten whom you should fear, but that’s okay, because you’ll be dead before you have the chance.

    So yeah, “insensitive, un-empathizing man that simply does not understand” is you at the very least, because your only response to the concerns that are being voiced — over and over and over — by women in the movement is essentially to tell them they’re being shrill and overreacting, and they need to shut up now because UNITY! A sensitive, empathic man would say, “Hmm, there are some issues coming up that I’ve been unaware of, and they’re really impacting women in the movement. Maybe I should listen and learn what they have to say, so that we can work on solutions, because the best way to have unity is to make the atheist community a safe and welcoming environment for all of us.” Someone who really cared about unity in the movement would be taking that view.

    What you thought was a contradiction in my explanation of women and their boundaries was actually you having a glorious episode of comprehension failure. Yes, women (and men, for that matter) set their own personal boundaries. But what I went on to describe was that in my experience, women, being for the most part normal human beings, usually react in a positive way to men who behave like normal human beings and not creepy weirdos. This was a general statement about human nature as it applies to both women and men. And yes, generally acceptable patterns of normal human behavior are comprehensible, and can be learned. Most of us work our way through that process in our school years.

    But what often happens in social situations is a power imbalance that men take advantage of, that put women in the position of feeling threatened, assaulted, or victimized in much much worse ways. As Margaret Atwood once said, “Men are afraid women will laugh at them. Women are afraid men will kill them.” Until you are willing to put yourself in the position of actually listening to what women have to say about their experiences and how those experiences impact them, rather than arrogantly lecturing them on what those experiences (which you don’t have) actually are and how they should be responding to them (“They’re just trolls! Don’t feed the trolls!”), then Survey Says that the one doing everything wrong is still you.

  69. says

    Just to issue a hearty “Amen!” to this comment:

    “How hard is it to learn women’s rules and respect their boundaries? It’s been my experience that women actually appreciate a man who is confident and honest enough to ask outright…as long as you have first taken the time and effort to get to know them, get the lay of the land, and set the groundwork for a connection that she feels on a mutual basis. What women don’t like — what they usually call “creepy” — is men who behave insecurely, never really talk but freely leer, men who do make their desires known non-verbally but don’t have the sense of self-respect and respect for others that they know how to first present themselves as an attractive prospect. Then again — and this is something that drives a lot of guys crazy — not every interaction you have with a woman, even the hot ones, is a prequel to sex. Guys who use terms like “friendzone” are the ones not mature enough to handle both rejection and the notion that there is some value to non-sexual relationships with women at all.”

    I read the entire initial OP on the thread, and most of it, I had little reaction to; but the one thing that stood out was the number of male atheists mentioned who were engaging from a dialogue standpoint, and the number of women mentioned who were sexual diversions. I have no problem with any sort of consensual sex between adults. But I can’t stand guys who separate out men and women, where men are those things used for intelligent interaction, and women are the sex things you use to get your rocks off.

    It’s amazing how up front my own husband was when we first met. And yet, we’re married 13 years now. He is a theist. But he didn’t pussy-foot around, try and use fuzzy body language and assumptions, use weak lines or subtexts I had to unravel and decipher…and meeting him was probably the most refreshing experience of my life because of his upfront honesty. And by that I don’t mean crass, rude asshole. He was the epitome of respect and consideration the entire time we engaged, and he’s been that way the entire time we’ve been married. As you noted, Martin, what one wants *from someone else* needs to be weighed against that other party’s agency. In other words, “I want sex,” doesn’t fly if you haven’t even been considerate enough to figure out if the other person might even be interested. That’s just cloddish and inconsiderate, not “forthright honestly.” If you don’t consider that other party and what they want/don’t want, you’re simply displaying inconsideration. And as you note–it’s simple maturity that allows one to be considerate–to take into consideration what the other person wants BEFORE plowing ahead like a bull in a china shop. The first guy I met the day I met my husband actually asked me if he could put his hands on my naked body. That’s inconsideration, not considerate honesty. As my husband approached me to say he was interested in talking to me more if I had time, I’m sure he had interests in me as well–but he tempered that with an offer to me to get to know him better, so that I could then have opportunity to gauge interest and we might see if there was potential for further interaction. It really wasn’t brain surgery or rocket science–not nearly as god-awfully hard as some people make it out to be. “OH MY GOD…if I have to be considerate–that will ruin everything!? Why should I have to consider the sex things as though they matter as much as I do??? It’s SOOOOOOOOOO hard!!!” Yeah, I’m not really up nights worrying these people will be missing from atheist gatherings. And this applies to interaction with ANYONE. It’s not as though you only need to use consideration when you are having some male/female exchange. It’s just good policy across the board anytime you want something from another person (with agency). If you want something from THEM, then THEY matter–what they want matters.

    My response to people who think that a high level policy statement about what behaviors are/are not appropriate at a convention–that includes a section on sexual harassment (similar to what other sorts of meet ups and employment places use*)–is the end of enjoying life as we know it, is “Go do your own convention, and have/don’t have whatever rules you want.” I don’t know that anyone is banned from creating an association of atheists and hosting conventions and allowing/disallowing whatever they like at them. If the ones with policy statements are too horrid to attend–make your own convention.

    One of my pet peeves is people who write to TAE to tell us what we could do to make the show better–for them. They have all these nifty ideas to totally revamp the program. Constructive criticism is fine. But that is not what this is. This is “here is what I want from your show, and I think you need to do it that way.” My response is: What is stopping you from doing your own atheist show exactly as you’d like it done? You have the same capacity to create Internet content as we do…ustream, youtube, blog, facebook…? If you don’t think we offer what is needed–feel free to get off your ass and offer what you think is needed. If you’re right–your offering will catch on like wild fire and be a runaway success–I expect far better received than our show. And if the current conferences are now going to be shit going forward, make the conference you think a conference should be, and you’ll do great business if you’re right.

    Keep sitting on your ass complaining–or be the force you think this world/community needs. It really isn’t hard.

    *I’m not saying that private conventions should necessarily use employment harassment policies. I’m simply noting that work places use them, and I don’t feel as though I’m in prison and having the worse time of my life because I can’t make racist/sexist comments to my coworkers. The employment of a high level policy can/should be appropriate to the situation. But these are used routinely in work places, and coworkers still often meet and marry, in line with the policies. Convention guidelines could be more flexible than employment guidelines, but I don’t see the harm in defining appropriate/inappropriate interactions if it’s your party. Nobody is required to attend, so you’re not imposing on anyone there–as they all agreed to the policies when they bought the entry ticket.

  70. M the Atheist says

    “… after a certain point, people in arguments are no longer arguing to establish facts, but simply to ‘win’,”

    Good game, no rematch. Bro ;)

  71. says

    For @M

    My favorite fact about all this …is that sex-cons, pron-cons and bdsm cons HAVE HARRASSMENT POLICIES. The sex positive community (and the professional sex worker community) is all over that…the poly community is all over that. The people having ***ALL OF THE SEX***….have harrassment policies. These guys live in a *really* small and twisted world…. their experience is so limited and so binary and hetero-normative….and yet… they speak with such authori-TAY.

    If you find that confusing or need help navigating consent based sex positive realms buy yourself a copy of The Ethical Slut.

  72. M the Atheist says

    Of course they would because it is those communities that need sexual harassment policies the most!

    ???

    The issue was not harassment policies.And if the issue that started all this was a bad pass in an elevator, I would imagine only an absurd policy could address such an obscure and random pass. Admittedly, it was a bad pass (this was never argued) but the woman should pity the man for having such meekness to only have the courage to make it in private and in a completely deniable way. He was trying to eat his cake and have it too. He was avoiding the public shaming and loss of status and self-respect if she turned him down. It was a win win for him; as is demonstrated by the fact we still do not know who he is.

    As for her part in this, it was a non-part. She just said a simple off hand comment about ‘yeah don’t do that’ or something, which trolls took personal; probably because that is the meek pass they tend to like to make because of the low risk.

    No sexual harassment policy could cover all possible situations and now it has blown up into blacklists and word of mouth campaigns. Crazy … simply crazy.

    Well now also rape victims are coming out, I cannot tell if they finally have the courage or if they are just jumping on the bandwagon for pathological reasons.

    As for those who cite the vast numbers of women finally coming forward as evidence I find that ironic in a skeptical community. It is like saying just because a billion people say they have personal experience with the spirit of god or they swear that they feel god’s presence that there must be a god problem or whatever.

    WTF is going on around here??? I thought I left crazy behind and now crazy is here too!! WTF!?!?

    Thanks

    PaLL

    M.

  73. says

    but the woman should pity the man

    No, when I approach someone socially in a public setting, I do not dictate to them how they need to respond to me. I’m the one imposing on them. A person going into an elevator has NOT asked for my social companionship, and if I abuse the setting to push my wish for social interaction with them onto them, I get what I get in response. I might get a “Why are you fucking talking to me?” or a polite reply. But they didn’t ask to have a conversation with a stranger by stepping on an elevator. That’s a public setting, not a social one. I don’t take elevators to meet and converse with new people. It use them to get from point A to point B.

    I agree she never called it harassment, and it wasn’t harassment. it was, however, a social boundary violation and imposition on someone’s public activities. When people plan their days, to do their public business, “striking up a social interaction with Tracie” isn’t likely on their agenda. For me to assume it is–is well presumptuous and entitled.

    Where I live, anyway, it is still the custom to demonstrate humility and understanding that you’re imposing on the other party in such a situation by opening with an apology for even talking to them. Generally this is in the form of “Excuse me” or “pardon me” or “Sorry to bother you, but…” We all acknowledge that this is not the case in social settings. At a party, for example, I might come up to someone, extend a hand and say “Hi, I’m Tracie, how do you know Jim and Jessie?” I would be that forward, because we have all entered a social situation where we’re expected to mix, mingle and integrate. That is the established custom. I don’t usually do this to people I don’t know who have stepped onto an elevator with me or who are buying gas at the next pump. “Public” is not the same as “social.” And this is not something difficult to understand. In fact, there are travel sites where people can go to investigate local customs and boundaries before traveling abroad.

    If you interrupt someone’s public routines–they owe you NOTHING. You are imposing, and they can tell you to fuck right off if they like. Or they can accommodate you. But it’s their call how they react to an unsolicited intrusion in their public space.

  74. says

    The issue was not harassment policies.

    If you go back to your original OP, you brought up that whatever you’re talking about impacts your capacity to behave at conventions like you used to. I assume you’re describing harassment policies–which would be what could regulate behavior at conventions. The other alternative is that you’re claiming that what other people think or say about your behavior somehow restricts your ability to behave, and that’s not a phenomenon I’m familiar with. It sounds like some sort of telepathy? What do you care if some people don’t like how you act, and criticize it? You’ve indicated the women you met did not think that about you. So, I assume when you meet similar women who think you’re fine, you’ll still hook up at conventions? The women who assess you critically–if any do–wouldn’t have hooked up with you before, anyway. So what exactly has changed about what you’re allowed to do at a convention, or how you behave? If your beef is that others will openly express what they’ve previously only thought…so what? People criticize TAE hosts all the time–sometimes openly and publicly–and we still do the show. If you know your behavior is fine, and nobody is forcibly stopping you–then it sounds like the only real restrictions you’re facing are the ones in your own mind. Criticism is not a restriction on what you can do. A policy that is enforced is a restriction on what you can do. If you fail to act out of your own fear of other people not approving of your actions–I’m not sure you’d ever be able to act. There will always be critics.

  75. says

    @M the Atheist

    Of course they would because it is those communities that need sexual harassment policies the most!

    Um No. Again – speaking with authority you clearly do not possess…. No they don’t “need them” any more than a Vaccuum Salesman Convention in Utah. In fact, they need them less – because THOSE COMMUNITIES UNDERSTAND AND DISCUSS CONSENT AND BOUNDARIES CONSTANTLY.

    Cthulu Wept.

    “if the issue that started all this”

    No again. This is an issue that is NOT just happening in your TINY SPHERE. It is not just happening to YOU. This is happening across industries and communities as women and others are enforcing NORMS AND BOUNDARIES like adults.

    And then being hounded into silence with rape and death threats. FFS man get your head out of your ass – explore the wider world.

    As for pathology and reasons…. look inward.

  76. M the Atheist says

    Good insight and I basically agree. The dude did it in an elevator to avoid the social blow-back if she said no. I guess I routinely use polite norms and folkways when in public so I can’t remember the last time; but most people in my big city small talk in an elevator, probably using your polite norms; the ones you cited.

    As I said, the guy was trying to eat his cake and have it too. I personally used Texas norms in New York city and have been told to f*ck off plenty of times, and I was just trying to be nice. I appreciate RW never called it harassment, I do not appreciate the thought pathways it sparked in her that inflamed into patriarchy essays.

    I never denied it was a bad pass; but to say it is indicative of male entitlement to female bodies is insane. He was probably a guy that gets the pleasure of female company very rarely and probably had a crush on her, etc. RW showed some class by not slamming into this guy’s psyche right there in the elevator and tearing him apart; she probably slept on it and then got upset and said very off-handedly “yeah, guys don’t do that’.

    What the big deal was I do not know. Then Dawkins chimed in and then the Trolls attacked, and the Feminists jumped in, and it became a free-for-all; then the MRAs flew in, the Canadians followed, I expect troops sometime soon.

    PaLL

    M.

  77. M the Atheist says

    Wow! Too much to comment on I had to have a smoke, lazy week because the holiday screwed everything up. I will go into TMI and I will not be rude, so please do not take it that way.

    First, never assume, it makes an ass out of you and me; etc.

    Two, my problem with a lot of people; and, ironically, you cite telepathy after using it to assume something about my behavior.

    Now TMI. My behavior has not changed and I do not concern myself with what others think; even though my small-town experience proved that you should sometimes. My concern was with others that may have problems interacting correctly; as is demonstrated by the elevator incident. I was surrounded for years by people that did not agree with me, this affected my social life. I thought being surrounded by like minded people would help; and it kind of did. While at the AAA I talked to ladies and found out that y’all have a lot in common despite differing educations and political views; it made me sad. So now I go to conventions for myself and not for any kind of Relations. I have two female friends I can contact in my area for NSA stuff; so conventions are for my personal mind.

    I recently got out of a LTR and discovered that very few women are like my Ex, which is sad. I could go into it, but just being like minded is not enough; so my behavior has not changed. I am still polite to ladies at conventions and stuff still happens but my “Game”, as it was, is simply to treat y’all like people; as I have been told to do. Harassment policies are not my concern and no one has ever complained about my behavior, although for odd reasons fellow dudes seem to think I am up to something bad and nefarious; why I do not know … this still bothers me. Honestly, I am a good guy, I look a certain way but … I am a nice guy!!!

    Oh as for your mind reading powers, please stop thinking you can read my mind and assume stuff about me. I am an odd bird and odd things and other odd birds impress me. I am not “normal” but just because of that does not mean I am Bad. Why dudes still try to run White Knight interference still makes me wonder though. What do people think I am up to???

    LLaP

    M.

  78. M the Atheist says

    Dude, get your feelings hurt a lot? Wow! You are too emotional and projecting too much. I will say thanks for the input but … good game, no rematch.

    PaLL

    M.

  79. Russell Glasser says

    Indeed, no rematch. I’m tired of you being a douchebag here, go do it somewhere else.

    Bye.

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