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May 29 2012

Not ready for the flood

Paul Fidalgo did another good roundup of Stuff on Women in Secularism last week (“another” in addition to the one I linked to before that one).

He quoted Jen on the perils in talking about “commonly-showcased speakers who are also bad-actors toward women”:

Look at what happened to Rebecca Watson when she simply said “guys, don’t do that” about an anonymous conference attendee. Imagine the shitstorm if there were public accusations of sexual misconduct of some very famous speakers. I’m not ready for the flood of rape and death threats. I’m not ready to be blacklisted and have my atheist “career” ruined by people more powerful and influential than me. I’m not ready to be sued for libel or slander. I’m not ready for the SSA or other organizations I’m affiliated with to also be harmed by association. And that’s exactly how all of these other women feel – hence the silence.

And commented on this situation himself:

The fact that we have a prominent leader in our movement—or anyone in our community—who has to be concerned about a “flood of rape and death threats” has to be a screaming alarm for us to change our attitudes and confront reality. We are the reality-based community, after all. And we are also (many of us) humanists, and the fear and repression that this atmosphere represents is contrary to those values, contrary to basic morality, and is truly the very thing we as a community claim to be against when it comes in a religious context. I hope that a result of this discussion is not more vitriol and defensiveness, but a newfound resolve to act and make things better. We’re hypocrites if we don’t.

So far there has been some more vitriol and defensiveness, but also their opposites, so I’m cautiously optimistic.

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