Maureen Brian sets a few people straight »« There’s a difference?

Comments

  1. Josh Slocum says

    Fucking A. Please, please, please make a big deal out of this with the support of others in FtB. Rub this right in JREF’s face. Damn it! I’m so angry on your behalf, Ophelia.

  2. says

    To preempt something I suspect will happen — whether the threats are legitimately threatening or not, it doesn’t fucking matter. It doesn’t matter if they came from the least threatening person in the world. What matters is the bullies won.

    To quote a certain person talking about FtB, bullies ruin — and in some cases end — lives.

    FUCK.

  3. Gregory Greenwood says

    I am sorry to hear that Ophelia.

    MRA’s really do hail from the shallow end of the genepool. I suppose it is only a matter of time before some of them turn up here to man-splain how email threats totes don’t amount to a problem with harassment at TAM, and all the oversensitive feminazis just need to chillax.

    Do I really have to share a gender with these people?

  4. haggard says

    You mean she let the bullies win? Or if this is not a legitimate threat of danger, just bullying, then that behavior has been rewarded.

    Ophelia, if this is a credible threat, certainly if it is enough to stop you from going to a conference, I suggest you take it to the police.

  5. Josh Slocum says

    Yeah, Haggard. Cuz Ophelia can be totes confident TAM would have her back. It’s so way her fault and unreasonable of her not to put her neck out to get chopped off.

  6. says

    @haggerd #10:

    Protip: When you’re threatened you can decide to go to TAM to show the bullies they didn’t win. When someone else is threatened, they get to decide what’s best for them.

    Ophelia, I’m sorry. This really sucks.

  7. says

    It’s just beyond comprehension that I once shared a ‘community’ with these people. Why anyone thinks being on the Internet should give them permission to act like a monster, I’ll never fully understand. As if I needed another reason to never consider going to TAM… Even though I know a lot of good people, people I respect, are still going, the fact that so many sexist, abusive assholes will be there puts me off like nothing else.

  8. haggard says

    Hey haggard? I suggest that you let me decide what to do with my life.

    I forgot the part where I came to your house and forced you to call the police. For that I do apologize.

  9. Brownian says

    Shut the fuck up, O. They really gave you that kind of response???

    Yeah, wait, what?

    Are we going to hear about how the REAL problem is talking about email threats?

  10. says

    It doesn’t mean much, but fuck it, I won’t be going to a TAM either until this problem is sorted and women can feel comfortable going to them.

    I would really like to see these threatening assholes outed and their TAM tickets (if any) invalidated.

  11. says

    Oh for fuck sake. Exactly *who* is doing the witch-hunting again?

    Ophelia, did you make a police report? Would you be OK with posting the email – with or without identifying details? (Totally your call on both questions, obvs.)

  12. haggard says

    Oh, fucking hell.

    Haggard, I’m sure you know better than Ophelia does what’s a “credible threat” to her and what isn’t, you having testicles and all.

    Derp. I never even pretended to know whether the threat was credible, I did however say that if it was, certainly if its enough to stop someone from going to an event. Then it is probably worth calling the police. So your post is completely irrelevant.

  13. haggard says

    I do hope you reported the email threats to authorities, Ophelia.

    You should let her decide what to do with her life!

  14. carlie says

    You know, it’s not just the threat itself, haggerd. It’s that TAM organizers let a speaker at their own event twist in the wind for weeks, refusing to answer any question she had about policies for the event, and then responded with pretty much nothing when she got threatened over it. She’s not rewarding the bullies, she’s sending a clear message to the TAM organizers that treating your conference-goers and speakers like crap is unacceptable.

    It’s bad enough that they’ve ignored dozens of comments from people they don’t know. Why waste the effort when most of them aren’t even conference attendees? But they’ve ignored comments and questions and serious concerns from their own speakers, who they invited, who are the very product they are selling and who they are dependent on for the conference to be a success. Business acumen, they no has it.

  15. says

    You obviously need to write back and tell them their violent attention is unwanted. Otherwise how will they know? Then if they threaten you again, it’ll count as harassment.

    Otherwise, it’s like two friends hanging out on a beach, or something.

    /sarcasm

    Shitty shitty bullshit. Words fail me.

  16. fossilfishy says

    You know, when your organisation has problem with women being harassed and a woman is threatened in regards to your conference ‘meh’ as a response is rather like trying to cure hemorrhaging with leeches. Fuck ‘em. They’re mendacious incompetents who’ll hopefully bleed out soon.

  17. Josh Slocum says

    Carlie, he knows this. And because of that he doesn’t deserve patient engagement as if it hadn’t been explained to him, and as if he were unaware of the whole conversation. He’s just being a shit who decided it was His Turn To Own a Thread.

  18. says

    Josh, yes. Just, sorry to hear it, our loss.

    Nothing about the threats.

    Mind you, that’s not the Official Response (not that there will necessarily be one) – I’d just belatedly sent requested info for bio page and gotten a reply, so I thought I should say “oh wait, don’t bother.”

  19. Josh Slocum says

    a woman is threatened in regards to your conference

    One of their FUCKING SPEAKERS, no less.

  20. julian says

    Congratulations. You’ve wasted enough of your time on an event that’s been indifferent at best to the harassment a number of its attendees have been sending your way. If nothing else it’ll mean a few extra dollars in your pocket.

  21. NateHevens says

    Ophelia… you should forward it to DJ Grothe directly. I’m dying to see him try to squirm his way out of this one.

    Also, there better damn-well be a Women in Skepticism conference again, because I want to attend it.

    So what skeptics/atheist conference will you be attending, then? I’ll likely be missing SSACon again (I hate being poor with such a passion), but any others further out?

    Lately I’ve been wondering if we’ll ever here from Randi himself about all this. Nothing would make me happier than to see Randi call Grothe and TAM out for this outrageous bullshit…

    But then, I really don’t know the history of Randi and Grothe and TAM well enough to know if Randi would bother, or if he’d defend the bullshit…

  22. julian says

    haggard,

    you’re seriously here to mock and ridicule people now of all times? Do you honestly have that little concern and care for others?

  23. LeftSidePositive says

    TAM looks like being the Susan G. Komen Foundation of skepticism.

    ZOMG, I love this so so so sooooo much!

    I think I’ll just QFT again:

    TAM looks like being the Susan G. Komen Foundation of skepticism.

    Seriously, this sentence is a thing of beauty. That is all.

  24. says

    @Ophelia,

    Just, sorry to hear it, our loss.

    And here goes any slim hope I had that the announcement of a new communications director for JREF would result in better responses and well…communication.

    I think you’re right here: they’re delighted to have one less voice that might be something other than praise full of sunshine and rainbows. They don’t want hard truths about the movement.

  25. carltracy says

    I’m so sorry

    Wish I had more to say, but I don’t really think I can say anything that would make any part of this better.

    =(

  26. says

    I’ll bet those bullies felt extra confident, knowing how JREF was handling harassment issues.

    Congratulations, JREF! If you wanted to turn your conference into a sausagefest, you’re on the right track!

  27. MattF says

    Unsubbed from JREF newsletter and told them why. It’s the most impact I can make with them, sorry it isn’t more. Really sorry that /any/ members of my gender are such asses.

  28. Feddlefew says

    If it matters, I think not going might be the strongest statement you can make.

    If you like video games, may I suggest a nice round of Fallout 3 or New Vegas to de-stress?

  29. says

    Repeating: to be fair, that wasn’t The Response, it’s just that I’d replied to a housekeeping email and gotten a reply so I replied to say “never mind” and why. That wasn’t the sum total of the response.

    I gotta go. The thread will now fill with garbage from the arglbargls.

  30. Well Now says

    This really sucks. Ophelia, this should have never happened. You should try to get this dealt with by going to the person’s ISP and get them reported at least to them, if not the police. I’m sure there’s plenty of people here with the technical knowhow to get that done and trace this person.

    That said, I’m a bit confused at all the things directed at DJ and the JREF. How could DJ have anything to do with these threats. How is the JREF responsible? Unless you’re subscribing to Greg Laden’s conspiracy theories about TAM and the JREF.

  31. Willow says

    wow, you need to post the threat and who sent it. So we can all kick that jerk in the nuts. No more hiding, WHO SAID WHAT… we want to SEE the threats and the names used. Don’t cover for the person, that’s what women used to be scared and do. I can’t see you being scared. We need to know exactly what was the threat, who sent it (or everyone) and make sure they do not attend ANY skeptic humanist conference ever again. A threat against Ophelia is a threat to all women. So, for all women to be safe, the threat must be shared, the person(person’s) must be outed. period. Women can not shelter men anymore, name names!!!!

  32. 'Tis Himself says

    I wonder what spin JREF’s new Director of Communications will put on this.

  33. Mriana says

    haggard says:
    June 19, 2012 at 5:55 pm
    I do hope you reported the email threats to authorities, Ophelia.

    You should let her decide what to do with her life!

    Haggard, I realized Ophelia banned you, but in case you see this, I said that out of concern for Ophelia and if you can’t handle concern for a person, then that’s your problem.

  34. Willow says

    look it’s all ok for people to say she can decide what she wants to do with the threats. NO IT IS NOT!

    if you are raped and do not report it and someone else is raped, you are partially responsible for that rape.

    In this case, Ophelia has an obligation to report the threat and to share with other women, jerk men do not just attend TAM. They ATTEND lots of skeptic/humanist conferences. NOT outing this guy and reporting him, is like “oh well, I’m safe, good luck to the rest of you women.”

    No, as a woman Ophelia has an obligation to her fellow women to keep them safe, and also to make sure these guys don’t “win”. To say “I quit” is to say “you win jerk man that has threatened me” and he has learned “wow threatening women really works well! I will try it more often!”

    She can not attend and should not if she feels unsafe. But not posting the threat and who made it? That is not reporting a crime against women. Women don’t do that to women.

  35. says

    How could DJ have anything to do with these threats. How is the JREF responsible?

    By not having a harassment policy, by lying about past incidents, by lying about those people requesting a harassment policy, minimizing their concerns, misrepresenting their claims and desires? By complaining about those concerned about harassment? By accusing those concerned about harassment of harming TAM, in some cases claiming its deliberate?

    Do you think any of THOSE things might have contributed slightly?

  36. Brisvegan says

    Wow Ophelia,

    That’s awful. So sorry to hear that.

    As the calls for you to publish the threat, though I sympathise with the people who are saying name names, I can see why some people wouldn’t publish. Can you imagine the endless “But that’s not really a threat, She’s making it up, Let me analyse the language to tell you why you’re wrong” bull that will rain down? If people can argue that monopod guy was just some poor misunderstood photographer, they’ll find a way to simultaneously argue that the threat was an offer of rainbow fluffy bunnies and that women deserve even more vile threats.

    Best wishes and support from me.

  37. Cory Albrecht (@Bytor) says

    Could we see the exact response from the JREF that was characterized as “oh sorry kthxbye”? Because otherwise you know people will accuse you of misrepresenting the JREF. Better to forestall such accusations with transparency.

  38. says

    Willow, FINALLY a call for some responsibility when it comes to harassment towards women!

    Odd that it’s a demand made to a woman experiencing harassment, though.

  39. James Kell says

    @58 No. Right now, this isn’t TAM. This is someone who is WRONG, possible criminally so, sending email threats on their own.

  40. says

    @58 No. Right now, this isn’t TAM

    I see. Thanks for explaining that to me. Here I was, thinking that the tone set by TAM could have contributed. Clearly that’s a silly idea.

    Thanks for setting me straight.

  41. Sethra says

    if you are raped and do not report it and someone else is raped, you are partially responsible for that rape.

    Uh…yeah. Because women are always believed and the world is full of unicorns and pixies and rainbows. And the police never ignore evidence and never accuse women of lying to get revenge, and they never tell women that what they wore or what they were doing contributed to their rapes. And then unicorns come down from their rainbows and trample the rapists and everyone lives happily ever after.

    Or something like that, right?

    Ophelia, I’m sorry you’re going through this shit.

  42. Josh Slocum says

    if you are raped and do not report it and someone else is raped, you are partially responsible for that rape.

    Oh. My. God.

  43. julian says

    if you are raped and do not report it and someone else is raped, you are partially responsible for that rape.

    No you are not. The rapists is responsible for that rape. A previous victim is just that; a previous victim.

    Now kindly, shut up. Your mock outrage isn’t helping anyone. It’s making the situation worse. So please, stop and re evaluate what you’re saying.

    NOT outing this guy and reporting him, is like “oh well, I’m safe, good luck to the rest of you women.”

    Ophelia has explained her reasons for not going and has more than once shared her distrust of TAM and atheists in general (like Blackford, Stangroom and Coyne) who would take her harasser’s side over hers. Please do not jump to this “I got mine, fuck you” line. It’s bullshit and not something she needs to be dealing with right now.

  44. cyranothe2nd says

    if you are raped and do not report it and someone else is raped, you are partially responsible for that rape.

    No. Seriously, no. This is an irresponsible and reprehensible thing to say. The person who is responsible for the rape is 100% the rapist. You don’t get to decide for victims how they react or that they are now responsible to Women Everywhere. They don’t become a cause you can work through. Victims need to take care of themselves, first and foremost.

    Seriously, fuck you and your entire victim-blaming, bullshit comment.

  45. cyranothe2nd says

    Oh and Ophelia, THANK YOU for what you have done and continue to do for us. I am so, so sorry that this has been the result. But I’m immensely proud that you’re a part of our movement and really hopeful for the future of skepticism because of people like you.

  46. says

    if you are raped and do not report it and someone else is raped, you are partially responsible for that rape.

    This has got to be the single most tonedeaf and maddening thing I have ever heard, and my rage meter was already pegged. What the serious fuck?

  47. Agent Silversmith, Feathered Patella Association says

    if you are raped and do not report it and someone else is raped, you are partially responsible for that rape.

    A gigantic star made out of pure wrong couldn’t supernova out more wrong than this statement.

    TAM has moved one step closer to getting the attendance it deserves.

  48. says

    Well, I guess TAM is now a safe space for poor Blackford now that one of the “bullies” isn’t going to be there.

    He can ride the elevators unconcerned.

  49. Martha says

    This is really terrible, Ophelia. You don’t deserve to be treated this way. No one does, not even those who have repeatedly dismissed the seriousness of this problem.

    @52 and @57 I can’t see that anyone has suggested that DJ or JREF is actually making the threat. But it’s certainly eminently reasonable to expect them to have a response when a scheduled speaker is threatened. I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt until they’ve had time to formulate a response. Continued silence will not be acceptable.

  50. Willow says

    so, if you are raped, and you find out someone else was raped by the same guy but was too busy dealing with her “angst”…so they guy was able to rape you. YES he is at fault. 100%. But as victim number two, you would be a little mad I should think.

    Same here, if the threat is such that other women are in danger, then hey, please share! No one is going to support someone that has threatened any woman with physical harm so that she is afraid to go someplace. If a woman that attends TAM is hurt by this obvious nut job that emailed her, because she did not report the person to authorities and share the email and sender with TAM and South point, then yeah they may just be “oh I was beat up, thanks for not reporting that email that said “I am going to fucking smack any feminists I see at TAM”

  51. says

    No one is going to support someone that has threatened any woman with physical harm so that she is afraid to go someplace.

    Did something fundamental change today to make this now true? Because if so I’d like to know about it and properly celebrate it.

  52. says

    Jafafa Hots @74:

    Well, I guess TAM is now a safe space for poor Blackford now that one of the “bullies” isn’t going to be there.

    I bet he, Stangroom, Sarah Mayhew and the ERVites are so pleased that they’ve successfully bullied one of the “bullies” out of the picture.

  53. cyranothe2nd says

    Willow,

    What is the actual fuck???

    You think that rape victims languish on their fainting couches, experiencing “angst”?

    What is wrong with you?

  54. julian says

    One less thing to worry about.

    It really is. TAM (and the entire skepticism community thing since E-gate) looks like one giant stressor. There’s nothing to be gained by subjecting yourself to that, so why not stick to the parts you enjoy and are receptive to you? Seems much easier on the nerves and more productive than continuously beating your head against a brick wall.

  55. Sethra says

    Thanks, Willow. I enjoy being reminded that it’s my own damn fault no one believed me when I reported being raped.

    I enjoy being reminded that when I was being stalked, the police told me they couldn’t do anything unless the guy actually assaulted me.

    Thank you for reminding me that it was my job to do the police’s job for them BECAUSE THEY REFUSED TO DO IT.

    Read as: GO FUCK YOURSELF, you miserable shitbag.

  56. Josh Slocum says

    Don’t forget, Sethra, how your reaction to it was “angst.”

    You’re a filthy, poisonous article, Willow.

  57. julian says

    If by angst you mean life altering trauma, sure, Willow. I’d totally be mad at someone having an emotional breakdown, questioning every aspect of their life and bordering suicidal. But then again, I’m a jerk. It’s how I roll.

  58. says

    If a woman that attends TAM is hurt by this obvious nut job that emailed her, because she did not report the person to authorities and share the email and sender with TAM and South point, then yeah they may just be “oh I was beat up, thanks for not reporting that email that said “I am going to fucking smack any feminists I see at TAM”

    Because that’s not a fucking straw dummy you just pulled out of your ass or anything. Hey, if you know what’s in Ophelia’s email already, why don’t YOU report to the cops for her?

    There are lots of legitimate reasons someone might not report. Reasons including repeat victimization, gaslighting, emotional distress caused by people disbelieving you, and probably dozens of other such reasons. And if you put yourself through all that, and that person goes on to rape again anyway because the people you reported to did nothing about it, what then?

    If you want to fix this, fucking fix the rape culture that lets the underreporting problem exist in the first place.

  59. broboxley OT says

    Im sorry Ophelia, in future when something like this happens is it possible to get a group of likeminded individuals to take turns acting as minders? They can also document abuse and post it everywhere perhaps getting the organizers to pay attention to what they are attracting.

  60. Sethra says

    Yes, it was all just ‘angst’. Obviously, it had nothing to do with shock, anger, betrayal, rage, or complete and utter disbelief that people refused to believe me.

    Ophelia needs to do what is best for Ophelia, period.

  61. julian says

    I bet he, Stangroom, Sarah Mayhew and the ERVites are so pleased that they’ve successfully bullied one of the “bullies” out of the picture.

    That’s not entirely fair. Each one has condemned this sort of thing (I think). It’s just that certain forms of intimidation and harassment peak their interest more than others.

    Which is no small thing but at least they’d agree this sort of thing shouldn’t happen. They’d just look away if they could when it happened to someone they dislike.

  62. The Pint says

    so, if you are raped, and you find out someone else was raped by the same guy but was too busy dealing with her “angst”

    “Angst”? “ANGST”?!? Oh you have GOT to be fucking kidding me!

  63. Willow says

    We do need to change the “culture of rape”. Every mom and dad needs to talk to their sons about rape NOW.

    I apologize if Ophelia feels she is too upset to report this crime. Not all women are able to report crimes, especially personal sex harassment crimes. I was out of line, there. If she can’t do so, it’s not up to any of us. Only she can know if she can do this or not.

    I hope if it was a violent threat against all women, that she can privately report it to South Point so they can help keep women safe. If not, that’s ok. I imagine at any conference, safety is an issue that can never be a given.

  64. Brisvegan says

    No one is going to support someone that has threatened any woman with physical harm so that she is afraid to go someplace.

    Seriously? Did I just read this?

    People have defended all sorts of threats and creepiness against Ophelia, Stephanie, Rebecca and Elyse over the last year. In the last few days jerks have argued that monopod guy was misunderstood! When his actions were first described, someone said that no-one could defend an apparent upskirter. That optimist was unfortunately proved wrong several times over.

    In the last year, jerks have redefined and defended threats of sexual assault (rape and genital kicking). They claim that the people who out the threats are the bullies and the poor misunderstood threat-maker was defending scepticism against the nasty wimmins who want to ruin it.

    So, yeah, jerks will pile on and make Ophelia’s life more difficult if she outs this threat.

    Also, it won’t stop the threat-maker and won’t stop any assaults. The actual miscreant makes that decision, not his victim. If anything, all the supporters who will crawl out from under their rocks if Ophelia publishes will likely embolden the jerks.

  65. Happiestsadist says

    Ophelia: I’m so sorry this shit happened to you, and that JREF are further showing what utter turds they are with their communications to you.

    Speaking of utter turds, Willow, what the everloving fuck is with you? Rapists are responsible for the rapes they commit. All of them. 100%. Not their victims. Though I’m rather comforted by the fact that my suicidality and severe PTSD was in fact just “angst” and not being severely traumatized, and I somehow in fact developed superpowers allowing me to bust through a severely victim-blaming culture, if only I weren’t so busy moping over that whole “repeated rape” thing. Selfish me.

  66. echidna says

    Ophelia, I am so sorry. The callousness of the TAM organisers made this almost inevitable.

  67. Nepenthe says

    so, if you are raped, and you find out someone else was raped by the same guy but was too busy dealing with her “angst”…so they guy was able to rape you. YES he is at fault. 100%. But as victim number two, you would be a little mad I should think.

    For the record, I’m not angry with the other women the man who raped me raped before me. And I’m going to bet that the women after me might feel the same, especially if he’s threatened them the same way he threatened me.

    Just putting that out there; maybe the voice of someone who’s been there might mean a bit more than your mental wanking.

  68. Sastra says

    Ophelia, I am so very sorry this has happened, and hope to hear you speak and/or meet you some other time. TAM ought to try to do everything in their power to keep you. It might not change your decision — and I respect that — but given all the circumstances it seems called for. Violent threats? WTF. No, the post-elevatorgate climate at TAM 9 was not good, but this year is worse. They need to at least attempt some heartfelt damage control here.

    Atheist Alliance America; Denver; Labor Day weekend. Think on it…

  69. llewelly says

    Willow says:
    June 19, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    look it’s all ok for people to say she can decide what she wants to do with the threats. NO IT IS NOT!
    if you are raped and do not report it and someone else is raped, you are partially responsible for that rape.

    The freedom to choose not to risk the second round of abuse which so often results from reporting a rape is a necessary freedom.

    You cannot in general know how much risk a given rape victim it face for reporting. Nor can you can you know what resources they have – or do not have. You cannot assume an arbitrary rape victim will have the psychological resources necessary to endure reporting the crime, nor can you assume they will have access to the social and governmental structures which might make such a report useful. You are not in their shoes, and you therefore lack the information necessary to make a reasonable decision.

    But in fact the entire basis of your argument may be wrong; Ophelia did report that she was threatened to TAM, and also on her blog. We don’t know that she didn’t provide identifying details about the threats to TAM. We also do not know if she has any details about who made the threat; these things can be obscured, particularly so for those who lack access to the right technical resources.

  70. says

    No question willow is being tonedeaf… But let’s indulge the thought experiment with a bit of an adjustment:

    Someone witnesses a rape taking place and dosent stop or report it and the perp continues to rape, to what degree, if any, is the witness responsible for the subsequent rapes?

    I’m sincerely interested in how people would consider this scenario.

  71. cortex says

    I almost feel that at this point, any other speaker with a conscience will do the same.

  72. carlie says

    No one is going to support someone that has threatened any woman with physical harm so that she is afraid to go someplace.

    Huh. Tell these people. They didn’t get the memo.

  73. says

    Someone witnesses a rape taking place and dosent stop or report it and the perp continues to rape, to what degree, if any, is the witness responsible for the subsequent rapes?

    The rapist is 100% responsible for any subsequent rapes. No one else.

  74. julian says

    I hope if it was a violent threat against all women, that she can privately report it to South Point so they can help keep women safe.

    I’m sure TAM will want to know more about the threat. No organisation is going to want this on their record, even if most of their fanbase doesn’t want Ophelia there. It’s to bad a precedent so they’ll want all the info they can get.

    Hopefully they can use it to make TAM a little safer.

  75. FossilFishy says

    I would no more tell a rape victim that they must report it than I would tell someone with a broken leg that they must get up and walk on it.

  76. mythbri says

    @Jesuslovesbags

    If you’re so interested, I would suggest you take your questions to another thread. Derailing the discussion about threats driving away a speaker from TAM just to satisfy your curiosity doesn’t seem appropriate.

  77. echidna says

    Jesuslovesbags:

    Ophelia has, at the very least, reported the incident to TAM. McQueary reported the incident he saw to Penn State, who appear to have been already protecting Sandusky. It doesn’t do any good if the authorities-that-be don’t want to know.

  78. julian says

    Someone witnesses a rape taking place and dosent stop or report it and the perp continues to rape, to what degree, if any, is the witness responsible for the subsequent rapes?

    The witness is not nearly as hurt or harmed as the victim so I’m more inclined to assign them culpability in that situation. In that case they would be enabling rape as there is nothing preventing them from reporting this. Like an onlooker who watches bully break a kid’s nose almost (apologies if that’s to minimizing an analogy)

    Anyway that’s all kinda off topic, isn’t it?

  79. Sastra says

    “Most of (TAM’s) fanbase doesn’t want Ophelia there?” Oh, I seriously doubt that. Was there some kind of poll taken, or are you just extrapolating from what you think DJ thinks, and perhaps a few comments in the Forum?

    “The organizers” are not the fanbase. Nor is DJ Grothe. Based on what I’ve seen, the audience would have enjoyed her. That’s the fanbase.

  80. says

    No one is going to support someone that has threatened any woman with physical harm so that she is afraid to go someplace.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    If a woman that attends TAM is hurt by this obvious nut job that emailed her, because she did not report the person to authorities and share the email and sender with TAM and South point, then yeah they may just be “oh I was beat up, thanks for not reporting that email that said “I am going to fucking smack any feminists I see at TAM”

    if a single report actually managed to get someone removed from TAM, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.

    you’re dishing out counterfactual hypotheticals as if a report had the actual direct consequence of taking an offender out of circulation. Ask the women raped by Strauss-Kahn how that actually works in real reality. Ask any victim of sexual harassment or assault who actually did report how that worked in reality.

    you’re completely disconnected from reality with your claims and demands, and you’re harming people with your victim-blaming.

  81. Funny Diva says

    Well, crap, Ophelia. I’m really sorry. Some people are just sorry sacks of feces. And I wish they would refrain from flinging around so liberally (or at all, come to that…)

    Perhaps your local readers could put together an impromptu(?) Ophelia is Awesome picnic in the park or something? If you’re not too busy. IIRC you’re in the same part of the country as Jen McCreight? I’m not too far from there myself.

    Best,
    FunnyDiva

  82. says

    TAM is a safe place for women to meet and we’ll beat up any women who disagree.

    Hey now. That’s just makes no sense. So obviously, it must be a completely unfair characterization of… of…

    (Reviews…)

    Oh. Well, then…

    Well, then, actually, that’s pretty much a perfect précis, innit?

    Pathetically enough.

    (/Wow, they sure made their point, didn’t they?)

  83. Josh Slocum says

    Me too Cyrano. Not least because the slimers wouldn’t dare show up in any numbers because FtB has already successfully created a culture in which that behavior is shameful in that circle.

  84. says

    They have responded; I should have said that before I ran off. Both DJ and Carrie, the new communications honcho, responded before I ran off – so, before 6:30 by this clock.

  85. NateHevens says

    Willow, I was going to quote you, but I can’t. Stop talking about rape. Everything you type about is fucking stupid, insensitive, and pathetic.

    So just. Fucking. Stop.

    On another note…

    Someone mentioned Coyne along with Blackford and others.

    Why? What has Coyne done?

  86. Happiestsadist says

    Count me in as someone who’d go to an FTB event in a hot minute. And not just for The Line.

  87. Randomfactor says

    Have friends (half of them female, the other half sane-male) who were talking about going to TAM. Sent them a link to this post. I think they’ll be interested.

  88. says

    Sastra – I’m sorry too; I’m really sorry to miss you and Mya and Dorothy. And Amy, and Leo Igwe, and Fred, and probably lots of people I don’t know about.

    But that’s all I’m sorry about. The rest of it was just looking more unpleasant every day, thanks to the latest round of Blame the Women.

  89. says

    Jason Thibeault says:
    June 19, 2012 at 6:55 pm
    Jafafa Hots @74:
    Well, I guess TAM is now a safe space for poor Blackford now that one of the “bullies” isn’t going to be there.
    I bet he, Stangroom, Sarah Mayhew and the ERVites are so pleased that they’ve successfully bullied one of the “bullies” out of the picture.

    Hey, Jason, how about you don’t start lying about, okay? I’ve never bullied Ophelia. I’ve never spoken about or to Ophelia. I don’t know anything about Ophelia.

    I can understand that you don’t like me because I tweeted that I thought it was unhelpful of you to call people “douchebag” “asshat” “vacuous shitball troll” and “vagina owners”, but saying I’ve bullied Ophelia is a lie.

    It’s really deplorable to see the shitty mess the comments of FtB blogs the authors, especially PZ, not only let happen, but encourage. Instead of trying to make TAM welcoming for everyone, let’s apply the same policy of conduct that PZ uses here: mob rule and intentionally unwelcoming.

    PZ, you’re really nice in person, but now I’m under the impression from the way you present yourself online that you aren’t interested in rational, helpful discourse, but rather the sensationalist ramblings welcomed here that attracts traffic.

  90. says

    FFS, Sara Mayhew, do yourself a favour and watch the FtB discussion and compare it with the self-labelled “penisgate” discussion and consider which one really fits the “rational, helpful discourse” model.

  91. Hamilton Jacobi says

    NateHevens,

    A while back, Ophelia responded to an insulting and dismissive post by Miranda by telling her to “fuck off”. This was apparently such a breach of decorum and good taste that Coyne and Blackford decided that they must, I say must, transfer their allegiance to the Slime Pit, in order to ensure that proper young ladies such as Miranda never have to have their shell-like ears sullied by such filth ever again.

  92. says

    I’d go to a FtB event despite generally being a peoplephobe and generally avoiding other gatherings. But I can’t afford to travel.

  93. says

    And as for bullying and dislike and so on – I don’t know why Jason dislikes you, but I know why I do: it’s because you took part in The Great Penis Debate. It’s because you didn’t object when those shits laughed about how Rebecca’s not too ugly to rape. It’s because you lent your presence to that bullying-fest.

    Not having to be around you is one good thing about not going to TAM.

  94. amblebury says

    Ophelia, thanks for saying ‘no.’ Thanks for not putting up with one milligram more of abuse.

    I’d suggest that any woman who does attend TAM, and gets pestered by any skeevy creep, goes and asks the organizers for their money back.

    It probably won’t work, (you won’t get your money back) but I’ve found in the past, it’s a way of getting noticed. Not that anyone should have to do that in order to get treated with decency, but y’know, getting treated with decency is evidently a little hard to come by around that joint.

  95. Brownian says

    PZ, you’re really nice in person, but now I’m under the impression from the way you present yourself online that you aren’t interested in rational, helpful discourse, but rather the sensationalist ramblings welcomed here that attracts traffic.

    Ah, the old “uptick in hits” line that’s so popular with the kids these days.

    How else is one supposed to write a “controversialist” blog?

  96. Robert B. says

    Be safe and be well, Ophelia. I hope there are other places to share your ideas where you will be kept safe and supported.

  97. FossilFishy says

    you aren’t interested in rational, helpful discourse, but rather the sensationalist ramblings welcomed here that attracts traffic.

    First: Rational and helpful to whom exactly? You see, the discourse at Phayrngula has helped me to realise what a privileged idiot I was being on numerous occasions. Nothing like a rhetorical slap upside the head with a garnish of invective to wake one up. Nice hasty generalisation you’ve got going on there.

    Second: You do realise that this isn’t PZ’s blog right?

    Third: I love the sly implication of dishonesty tagged on at the end. Is that what you mean by rational, helpful discourse?

  98. Brownian says

    Question for anyone but Sara Mayhew:

    Does offering a prize of [dramatic pause] One Million Dollars! to anyone who can demonstrate paranormal abilities seem at least somewhat sensationalist?

  99. Funny Diva says

    Randomfactor@121:

    Buh…buh…but, that’s Irresponsible Messaging! How _Dare_ you!

    /snark

  100. says

    For the record, I am beyond outraged. Ophelia, although we have never met as we travel in different circles, let me just say that I am appalled and outraged that these spineless cads would now target and threaten you too after all of their ballyhooing over being “bullied” by the bad-ass rad fem “bitches” of the atheist community (like myself) who came in to defend Rebecca because of the threats she got after Elevatorgate.

    That this crapfest coming from “reasonable” men from the “better” social classes is telling.

    And you know, it’s funny because as the author of four nonfiction books, I did ONE conference — a human rights conference in London back in 2009 with 250 attendees where I was one of the speakers — and to the best of my knowledge, they did not have anywhere near this level of trouble happening there.

    If I were the paranoid, tinfoil-hat conspiracy theorist type I’d swear that this was a deliberate act on certain people’s part (i.e. the usual suspects) to not just drive women (and our wallets) away from the atheist/skeptic movement, but to literally destroy the movement and flush a whole hell of a lot of people’s hard work down the toilet by showing their asses in public and then blaming women (and some of our allies like Jason and PZ) for TAM (and the atheist movement in general) getting seriously damaged. Because NOBODY with an IQ above a houseplant could possibly fuck things up this bad by accident repeatedly — which they’ve done.

    I can only conclude one of two things: (1) Either these guys are idiots that ought to be arrested for possession of brains with intent to use because they really don’t “get it” that they’re the ones ruining everything, or; (2) These guys are agent provocateurs whose mission is to destabilize the atheist movement because it is growing and mounting a serious challenge to the deeply entrenched privilege structure and power wielded by the Vatican, the USCCB, and the Christian Right.

    With 150 million pissed off women across the US over the War on Women, plus a rising atheist movement challenging religious authority, it’s fair to say that the religious bastions of privilege are scared. Look at what the pedophilia scandal and the now-recently disclosed events of First Nations children that died from abuse at the religious-run Indian boarding schools. The ol’ boys of the religious industry have a lot to lose and things aren’t looking too good for them. Privilege is rarely, if ever, relinquished peaceably.

  101. says

    Yes, sorry Ophelia. I came here from PZ’s tweet and wasn’t properly paying attention to the banner. Sorry.

    Not having to be around you is one good thing about not going to TAM.

    Wow. You’ve never met me. We’ve never interacted before.

  102. left0ver1under says

    Most (if not all) FtB bloggers and readers who comment agree that this is a problem.

    Perhaps it’s time for an organized boycott campaign against TAM, to make aware those running TAM – and ruining it – that this will not be tolerated. Either they rein in and/or ban those causing the problem, or the problem gets publicized.

    Yes, it poses a risk of negative publicity (the religious using it as ammo against atheism in general). But if there are no consequences for Randi, Goethe and others at TAM, then they’ll continue to do nothing about it.

  103. echidna says

    Sara,

    Wow. You’ve never met me. We’ve never interacted before.

    So?

    You have opinions about all sorts of people, including people that you do (or do not) vote for. Since when does the formation of an opinion rely on a direct interaction?

  104. says

    Yeah, sweet little Sara, not taking part in any bullying at all, just hanging out talking about those “doucheface blogs” with people who tell the world that “people like me” can suck their cocks. Such a dear, she is.

  105. says

    Sara, no, I’ve never met you and we haven’t interacted, but you took part in that foul “debate” last week. That’s why I don’t want to be around you. You’re probably great in all sorts of ways, but that “debate” was vile stuff.

  106. says

    And as for bullying and dislike and so on – I don’t know why Jason dislikes you, but I know why I do: it’s because you took part in The Great Penis Debate. It’s because you didn’t object when those shits laughed about how Rebecca’s not too ugly to rape. It’s because you lent your presence to that bullying-fest.

    I entered that hangout because I saw a bunch of white guys talking about how women are treated at TAM. That’s why I lent my presence to it. I don’t know why Jason is saying I’m a bully and specifically that I bullied YOU into not attending TAM when I haven’t had anything negative to say about you or anyone else.

    You’re allowing Jason to claim I’ve bullied you when you know this isn’t the case. And now you’re making disparaging remarks about my presence at TAM without ever having interacted or met me before.

  107. RowanVT says

    I am so very pleased to learn that it wasn’t a mind numbing terror I felt when my stalker tried to break into my house, causing me to hide in a closet for hours before calling the cops who then told me that they would do nothing because how were they to know if it was this alleged stalker or just a tizzy with my boyfriend. Instead it was just a moment of ‘angst’. Now I can stop being so cautious around strange men, as I have no reason to be afraid!

  108. mythbri says

    @Sara E. Mayhew

    I’ve been a lurker during most of this discussion, from when Jen originally made an off-hand comment about inappropriate behavior from speakers at skeptical conferences.

    I have nothing to judge anyone on but what I’ve seen and read of them here – no personal experience whatsoever.

    There was a marked difference between the two video discussions had about this entire sexual harassment conversation, and I feel that I can judge the participants in the context of that discussion.

    The “Penisgate” discussion was despicable, unhelpful, and did nothing to improve my opinion of the people who participated in it. Rape jokes are never funny. Not even when you’re trying to be funny, and not just cruel and hateful.

  109. says

    Wow. Just wow. Sara, I said “one of the ‘bullies'”. You called me a bully. You said FtB was full of bullies. Ophelia is on FtB, therefore she is one of the bullies.

    And you generally ignored the ACTUAL BULLYING GOING ON DURING THAT PENISGATE VIDEO. And here you are saying I’m lying about you, while you’re lying blatantly and repeatedly about me.

    How do I even respond to someone this blinkered?

  110. mythbri says

    (To be clear in my comment #147, I am not attributing rape jokes to Sara Mayhew, only noting that they came up in the course of the discussion in which she participated.)

  111. says

    In comment 79, Jason writes, “I bet he, Stangroom, Sarah Mayhew and the ERVites are so pleased that they’ve successfully bullied one of the “bullies” out of the picture.”

    I find it really interesting that people make absolutist statements (and perhaps justly so…I’m not here to argue that and am actually quite sympathetic) as to how a rapist is 100% responsible for rape [as opposed to people who didn’t report a past incident], but apparently people other than the person who sent Ophelia the threat are [at least partially] responsible for the threat sent to Ophelia.

    Excuse me? How have Stangroom et. al. bullied Ophelia out of the picture? I and other “ERVites” — yes, I post there — bear no responsibility whatsoever for the threat sent to Ophelia (unless of course an “ERVite” sent the threat, but then the responsibility lies solely on that person). That accusation is perhaps the most absurd thing I read here in weeks and far more egregious than the name-calling and dismissal of arguments because of personal attacks and alleged “tone trolling.”

    Also interesting are the conclusions so many commenters are jumping to especially in the light of Ophelia not posting the threat. People are assuming it is a male, an “MRA,” a sexist person, etc. What evidence can there possibly be to support this assertion when the threat has not been released? Anyone could have possibly sent this threat ranging from a non-serious female who just wanted to stir drama to a self-identified feminist female blogger.

    (Obviously threats are not okay, should be taken seriously, should be reported, etc. I’m not disputing this nor am I disputing Ophelia’s decision to refrain from posting it. My contentions lie elsewhere).

    If this sort of feminism or skepticism that is ‘worth wanting’ or one that is being aimed for, I want no part in it.

  112. says

    @Jason

    You called me a bully. You said FtB was full of bullies. Ophelia is on FtB, therefore she is one of the bullies.

    I don’t recall calling you or FtB bloggers bullies.

    But drawing attention to the fact that you called DJ a douchebag, asshat, and said he didn’t care about vagina’s or “vagina owners” isn’t me bullying you.

  113. says

    Justin, did you just say that after all your arm-waving about tone and calling people names, you hang out in the slimepit? Do you go to lecture them, or what?

  114. BJ Kramer says

    Ophelia, I am saddened you will not be coming to TAM. I know you probably have a dim view of me, and I was looking forward to an opportunity to make my best case to correct that in person. But I completely understand — nobody should have to be concerned about threats to their safety at a conference. Your decision not to go is disheartening, yet understandable.

    Please post the entirety of the emailed threats, including the full headers. Technically savvy folks may glean enough information to track down the sources behind these emails and make the world safer for everyone. If there’s any chance we can bring these disgusting cowards to light, I think it is incumbent upon us to try.

  115. crayzz says

    @justinvacula

    The threat does not exist in a vacuum. It exists among many other actions of bullying, of which ERV is famous for. Also, one person thought the person who threatened was an MRA, not “people”.

  116. Josh Slocum says

    Wow. You’ve never met me. We’ve never interacted before.

    Your behavior online is more than enough to judge your character, Sara. You keep some shitty company and you defend (and laugh along with) some horrible behavior. I haven’t met you either but like Ophelia I don’t want to. You give me the creeping willies. That is to say, your recent behavior disgusts me. You may not care, obviously, but people who aren’t already your pals have a very different and not flattering picture of the kind of person you are. That’s all on you.

  117. cortex says

    Also interesting are the conclusions so many commenters are jumping to especially in the light of Ophelia not posting the threat. People are assuming it is a male, an “MRA,” a sexist person, etc. What evidence can there possibly be to support this assertion when the threat has not been released? Anyone could have possibly sent this threat ranging from a non-serious female who just wanted to stir drama to a self-identified feminist female blogger.

    Sure, for all we know, it could have been some cat crawling across a keyboard!

  118. Stacy says

    Sara Mayhew, you came onto Ophelia’s blog, where she’d just announced she’d received a threat, to complain about other people.

    Don’t act all hurt and make this about you, OK? Just don’t. Take it to Jason’s or PZ’s blog.

    Shove your own hurt feelings aside, and say loudly and unequivocally that threats are unacceptable and it’s terrible that Ophelia received one, full stop. Or at least take your beef with Jason and PZ to Jason or PZ’s blog.

  119. RowanVT says

    But… but Stacy, if she did that then she wouldn’t get to feel as self righteously persecuted as she does now!

  120. says

    “Shove your own hurt feelings aside, and say loudly and unequivocally that threats are unacceptable and it’s terrible that Ophelia received one, full stop. Or at least take your beef with Jason and PZ to Jason or PZ’s blog.”

    So, apparently it is OK for Jason to come on here and suggest that Sara and others are [partially] culpable, but it’s not OK for her to respond to the accusations?

  121. says

    @160

    Your behavior online is more than enough to judge your character, Sara. You keep some shitty company and you defend (and laugh along with) some horrible behavior. I haven’t met you either but like Ophelia I don’t want to. You give me the creeping willies. That is to say, your recent behavior disgusts me. You may not care, obviously, but people who aren’t already your pals have a very different and not flattering picture of the kind of person you are. That’s all on you.

    I have no clue what online behavior you’re referring.
    I have no clue what “shitty company” you’re talking about. I entered the hangout because I saw there were no women in the conversation. I’ve was unfamiliar with the participants. I didn’t like most of what was said and how it was said but my goal was to communicate what I wanted to say, rather than rebuke others.

    But fine. Anyone who doesn’t want to meet me because of a lame youtube video where I got to speak for about 60 secs, instead of…oh…I dunno…my international award winning work, TED Fellowship, CFI TAM and TED talks, and promotion of science-based thinking through a NOKIA produced campaign video…is probably someone not worth my time hanging out with anyway.

  122. Funny Diva says

    Thank you Stacy @ 162. And seconded.
    That goes for anyone else who’s here playing the “But, Jason/PZ said…” and “But, whaddabout MEEEEEEE” games. This is not the proper venue. Take that shit somewhere else. Especially since we’ve all heard it umpteen times already in the last week.

  123. says

    OB,

    How about posting the email (with the full headers). If you do not want to post it here you can send it to me.

    At the very minimum you should forward it to your ISP.

    If you do not know how to display the headers, tell me what email client you use and I can send you the information on how to do it.

  124. says

    People are assuming it is a male, an “MRA,” a sexist person, etc. What evidence can there possibly be to support this assertion when the threat has not been released? Anyone could have possibly sent this threat ranging from a non-serious female who just wanted to stir drama to a self-identified feminist female blogger.

    Not familiar with Bayesian probabilities, are we? I thought that was de rigeur in skeptical circles. Hell, even I figured it out.

  125. echidna says

    Justinvacula:

    Anyone could have possibly sent this threat ranging from a non-serious female who just wanted to stir drama to a self-identified feminist female blogger.

    What, the range that you envision is from one category of female to another category of female? Posting that on a scientist’s blog is really quite rich.

    There is no data availalbe for us to speculate on who or what the threat is from. What matters to us, who are not directly involved, is the fact that the threat is in line with a natural progression from what has gone on before, particularly the GPD. It also matters that the TAM management have done so little to assure people that harassment is unwelcome, will be noted, and dealt with that confidence in TAM has been shattered. It also matters that the response to the threat seems to have been no more than a shrug of the shoulders.

    That really isn’t good enough.

  126. mythbri says

    @Sara E. Mayhew

    I did notice that the discussion was dominated by the men participating in it, and that the women who were involved were interrupted constantly, and not returned to or allowed to finish a lot of the time. That must have been really frustrating for you, and it didn’t shed any favorable light on the overall context of sexism in skepticism.

  127. Tony... therefore God says

    Willow:
    If you haven’t been banned yet,
    A hearty FUCK YOU for this:

    if you are raped and do not report it and someone else is raped, you are partially responsible for that rape.

    I was going to not comment on your insensitive, deeeeply stupid, comments, until I came across this. Congratulations. In one sentence you’ve shot my heart rate through the roof.
    What the *hell* is wrong with you that you could say such an abominable thing?
    The person responsible for the rape is the person who *did* the rape. A 5 year old could figure that out.

    look it’s all ok for people to say she can decide what she wants to do with the threats. NO IT IS NOT!

    In this case, Ophelia has an obligation to report the threat and to share with other women, jerk men do not just attend TAM. They ATTEND lots of skeptic/humanist conferences. NOT outing this guy and reporting him, is like “oh well, I’m safe, good luck to the rest of you women.”

    Have you even looked at rape statistics?
    Are you even aware that women routinely get dismissed by police when they report they were raped?
    Are you aware of the backlash women frequently face when they speak up about being raped?
    Don’t bother to answer.
    You don’t know squat.
    STFU and go find your humanity.

    No, as a woman Ophelia has an obligation to her fellow women to keep them safe, and also to make sure these guys don’t “win”. To say “I quit” is to say “you win jerk man that has threatened me” and he has learned “wow threatening women really works well! I will try it more often!”

    She can not attend and should not if she feels unsafe. But not posting the threat and who made it? That is not reporting a crime against women. Women don’t do that to women.

    Women don’t do *what* to women?
    Are women all one big hive mind?
    How you can’t see that you’re removing responsibility from the rapist is beyond me. The rapist is the one that chooses to commit that horrific violation. Not the woman they’ve victimized.
    It’s so wonderful that *YOU* get to sit there and tell other people what they should or shouldn’t do. It’s so totes fantastic that you think you have the right to impose your views–your horrible uninformed, vile, insensitive, moronic views–on another person.
    Newsflash: It’s not your life. You don’t get to sit there making demands of others expecting them to just do what you say. Ophelia’s choices and her decisions are hers and hers alone. Just like every other human being on the planet. You don’t get a say. Hell, you don’t deserve to give advice, with the crap that you’ve spewed.

  128. Josh Slocum says

    Sara:

    But fine. Anyone who doesn’t want to meet me because of a lame youtube video where I got to speak for about 60 secs

    Criminy but you’re a whiner, aren’t you? Grow the fuck up. You’re an adult. You’re judged by the company you keep. Undoubtedly you have many very admirable qualities (and I mean that honestly, not as sarcasm). But your judgment needs a lot of maturation. I hope you take some of this on board because it’s serious shit, some of which may not become clear to you until you get a few more years of experience (again, said honestly and as someone who’s been there, not as an age-related put-down).

  129. Stacy says

    An over-the-top rhetorical “I’ll bet they’ll be glad” is not equivalent, morally, to a threat.

    Pretty sure that’s not beyond the moral reasoning of an 8 year old.

    And I never said “it’s not OK for her to respond to the accusations.” I suggested she take it elsewhere. Her very first post here was addressed to Jason and PZ and contained not a word to or about Ophelia and the threat she received.

  130. echidna says

    AndrewV69,

    Ophelia is a scientist and a blogger, and is very likely to know how to get to the headers herself. If she doesn’t, I’m sure she has plenty of tech support on tap.

    Have you any idea how irritating it is for men to assume that a woman they are speaking to have no technical expertise? Despite their job description?

  131. Josh Slocum says

    my international award winning work, TED Fellowship, CFI TAM and TED talks, and promotion of science-based thinking through a NOKIA produced campaign video

    That’s embarrassing.

    This is what I mean by maturation that can only come from experience. You’ve done great professional things. OK. Many of us have too. That doesn’t make you immune to foolish choices just the same way all the rest of us have done some dumb shit despite our professional track records. Nor does it make you a bad person, obviously.

    But get off the goddamn Trophy Soapbox.

  132. Erista (aka Eris) says

    @Willow

    No one is going to support someone that has threatened any woman with physical harm so that she is afraid to go someplace.

    . . .
    . . .
    . . .

    Okay! I successfully managed to repress the urge to say something about you that might be offensive to parties other than you. Whew!

    Anyway! Do you remember that Chris Brown beat Rhianna to a pulp? Do you remember that? It was pretty public. In the news. That kind of thing. Cuz, you know, he did a lot more than threaten a woman with bodily harm; he actually delivered in a truly spectacular manner.

    Now, are you going to tell me that no one supports Chris Brown? Truly? Or are you going to make excuses about why it’s different to support a man who actually beat a woman to pulp than it is to support a man who threatens a woman over email?

  133. says

    @172

    Criminy but you’re a whiner, aren’t you? Grow the fuck up. You’re an adult. You’re judged by the company you keep. Undoubtedly you have many very admirable qualities (and I mean that honestly, not as sarcasm). But your judgment needs a lot of maturation. I hope you take some of this on board because it’s serious shit, some of which may not become clear to you until you get a few more years of experience (again, said honestly and as someone who’s been there, not as an age-related put-down).

    So now you’re forming conclusions about my maturity, judgement, experience and who I’m friends with, based on what you saw on one video?

    And a red flag that your comment is a condescending age-related put-down is when you have clarify that it’s NOT a age-related put-down. Nice try, hoser!

  134. Chris Lawson says

    Ophelia,

    I don’t have much to add except that I, too, am sorry this has happened. There will be other, more supportive venues.

  135. Brownian says

    Anyone who doesn’t want to meet me because of a lame youtube video where I got to speak for about 60 secs, instead of…oh…I dunno…my international award winning work, TED Fellowship, CFI TAM and TED talks, and promotion of science-based thinking through a NOKIA produced campaign video…is probably someone not worth my time hanging out with anyway.

    Probably not. Not with the busy schedule you undoubtedly have, buying trophy polish, polishing trophies with it, returning trophy polish for shinier stuff, shining the trophies again, not to mention the hours of yoga to keep you limber enough to pat yourself on the back like that.

    Why, I, for one, am just grateful you found the time to spare to pop in like you did. Next time call beforehand, and we’ll see about setting up something like they did for the Queen’s jubilee. I’ll wear my best hat.

  136. Brownian says

    So now you’re forming conclusions about my maturity, judgement, experience and who I’m friends with, based on what you saw on one video?

    You’re here. Interacting.

  137. echidna says

    Sara,
    If appearing with the other people in the video is misrepresenting your attitude to the way sexual harassment should be dealt with at TAM, then please take the opportunity to present your views.

    So far, you have said nothing to refute the impression that the video gives.

  138. Janine: History’s Greatest Monster says

    So now you’re forming conclusions about my maturity, judgement, experience and who I’m friends with, based on what you saw on one video?

    No. Your opening salvo on this thread was enough.

  139. Josh Slocum says

    And a red flag that your comment is a condescending age-related put-down is when you have clarify that it’s NOT a age-related put-down.

    Guess what? Age matters. Experience changes a person. It happens to all of us. I didn’t know as much at 15 as I did at 25, then 35. I don’t know as much as I’ll know at 45 or 55 or beyond, or as much as people many decades my senior. That’s just reality, not an insult.

    You strike me as inexperienced in some of these subjects. So was I. Be offended if you like but it’s a bit silly.

  140. says

    So now you’re forming conclusions about my maturity, judgement, experience and who I’m friends with, based on what you saw on one video?

    There was a lot more of you there than the tiny slivers of quote-mines from which you formed your judgment of me. So there’s that.

  141. says

    @175

    What the hell are you talking about? I brought up my professional accomplishments in response to your claim that you can judge me based on my “online behavior”. You make assumptions about my experience, judgment, who my friends are, and that you don’t want to ever meet me, based on ONE GAWDAM VIDEO, while being completely ignorant to anything else about me.

  142. says

    Your artwork looks pretty cool, Sarah.

    It’s also cool that you like to spread the word to youngsters about science and skepticism via manga.

    You know what’d be even cooler? If you stopped hanging out with sexists, giving them cover, and complaining when people took you to task for whining and tone trolling.

    I saw your first appearance in Pharyngula, I read the transcripts of the Penisgate thing… you do not make a good impression with any of that.

    Tough, but that’s life.

    Josh’s advice is good.

  143. gworroll says

    I was wanting to get to TAM some day, it looked like a lot of fun and educational too. This year was definitely not going to work, but I was looking at how I might budget for next year.

    But with all the crap that’s piled up lately, something big has to change. DJ Grothe, whatever strengths he might have, has not impressed me in this, to put it mildly. As a bare minimum, before I’d consider going, they need beefed up incident tracking. Giving DJ the benefit of the doubt, that he’s not just a dishonest shit, this whole controversy would show that TAM isn’t tracking incidents, at least not in any way that is easy to reference and review after the event.

    I suppose he’s right, in a way, that feminist bloggers are driving people away with their writing on this. Of course, if he was doing his job, they wouldn’t have anything to write about in the first place. He’s attacking the symptoms, not the real problem.

    Even with a fixed reporting system, I’m thinking either he has to go, or give just about the best apology in the history of apologies at this point.

  144. Tony... therefore God says

    Willow:

    so, if you are raped, and you find out someone else was raped by the same guy but was too busy dealing with her “angst”…s

    Seriously?
    You’re trying-and succeeding-at being more loathsome?
    Angst? In air quotes? You must have thought angst wasn’t demeaning enough.
    Go search the net and look up rape stories. Research the statistics. Educate yourself. Any other time I might provide some links, but your callous, execrable comments have me too disgusted to do your work for you.

    ANGST?
    ANGST??!!

  145. Josh Slocum says

    Sara: fuck off and have your tantrum somewhere else.

    While this seems wildly implausible to you right now in the moment, you’d be better served in the long run listening to people like us who won’t suck up to your prissy ass for your accomplishments and will tell you how it is plainly. Contrary to our publicity we tend to be people who actually care about others (including friends) and would rather bruise each other’s egos a bit to get to the good stuff than pat ourselves and each other on the back.

  146. cyranothe2nd says

    Sara–

    I don’t just judge you by your participation in that horrible video. There’s also your blog, where you say, amongst other things, that rape is not an issue of misogyny, that a woman is just as likely to be raped by another woman as by a man, where you cite a study without fully reading/understanding it (to the extent that you cherry-pick a quote that say that rape by females is very prevalent, but ignore that later the authors talk about how much of rape by females is done with a male partner…and also ignoring the more recent (like 25 years more recent) stats from the CDC that has rape by women only accounts for ~4% of total rapes) and then you go on to accuse people that care about this issue of only paying attention to males raping females, despite this accounting for 96 fucking percent of rapes! (Or, 1/5 women in the US that will be raped in her lifetime.)

    So yeah–for your sloppy reading, your rape apologia and your misunderstanding of rape culture and misogyny, I’d say you’re at the least an idiot and a Chill Girl.

  147. Aquaria says

    so, if you are raped, and you find out someone else was raped by the same guy but was too busy dealing with her “angst”…so they guy was able to rape you. YES he is at fault. 100%. But as victim number two, you would be a little mad I should think.

    FUCK.

    YOU.

    Seriously.

    FUCK

    YOU.

    Angst? ANGST?

    Goddamn it what the hell is wrong with you to call that angst?

    You know what honey/ I don’t blame a GODDAMNED one of the women who were gang raped and dumped on the road like I was. I was the THIRD woman to show up at the house I went to to ask for help.

    I was simply the first person who a) provided a near-photographic description of the thugs who hurt me, and b) had an idea where they would probably go after they left me. The cops went right to that place, and damn if they weren’t in the parking lot. My description of them was so bang on, down to the stripes on the lead scumbag’s sleeves, that the cops walked right up to the dirtbags, cuffed them, and hauled them in, supposedly on public intoxication.

    I was also extremely lucky that the sheriff in my county was sick and fucking tired of how many women were getting raped in his jurisdiction, and had hired cops from all over the country–female cops, especially–who were veterans of getting rape convictions, who were under orders not to dismiss us, not to blow us off–to listen and believe and fight to the death for us.

    I got a conviction. But I was barely believed by anyone outside the cops, and the guys got probation. And then my attacker raped again, in another state–a Congressman’s daughter.

    I don’t blame myself for what happened. I blame that sorry piece of shit for that. And I blame asshole filth like you who somehow think I’m fucking responsible for how nobody believes rape victims. Or for a rapist raping people.

    FUCK

    YOU.

  148. FossilFishy says

    Stacey @162

    Shove your own hurt feelings aside, and say loudly and unequivocally that threats are unacceptable and it’s terrible that Ophelia received one, full stop.

    This. So Sara, I understand that you dropped into the wrong blog because of a tweet malfunction. Fine. But here you still are in a thread about one woman being harassed out of going to TAM and you haven’t said a word about it. Why is that? Seems to me the rational thing to do is to address the actual topic at hand after all.

  149. Aquaria says

    It’s really deplorable to see the shitty mess the comments of FtB blogs the authors, especially PZ, not only let happen, but encourage. Instead of trying to make TAM welcoming for everyone, let’s apply the same policy of conduct that PZ uses here: mob rule and intentionally unwelcoming.

    It’s a fucking travesty that you’re so willfully stupid and bigoted–so much that you think anybody with a brain cell or sense of decency would give two sorry fucks about what you think. About anything.

    Sorry about that, Ophelia, but this waste of DNA deserves it and more.

    It’s not all about you, Mayhew.

    Sit down and shut up until you stop being such a self-involved twit.

  150. says

    echidna says: June 19, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    Ophelia is a scientist and a blogger, and is very likely to know how to get to the headers herself. If she doesn’t, I’m sure she has plenty of tech support on tap.

    All I know about OB is that she blogs.

    Have you any idea how irritating it is for men to assume that a woman they are speaking to have no technical expertise? Despite their job description?

    Yep yep and yep. I get irritated every time I call Tech Support and it becomes very clear I know more about the infrastructure that the rep.

    But I follow the script anyway.

  151. Tony... therefore God says

    Willow:
    First off, I hate that you have this name. How can a fictional character display more humanity than someone who is actually *supposed* to be human?

    “We do need to change the “culture of rape”. Every mom and dad needs to talk to their sons about rape NOW.

    I apologize if Ophelia feels she is too upset to report this crime. Not all women are able to report crimes, especially personal sex harassment crimes. I was out of line, there. If she can’t do so, it’s not up to any of us. Only she can know if she can do this or not.

    I hope if it was a violent threat against all women, that she can privately report it to South Point so they can help keep women safe. If not, that’s ok. I imagine at any conference, safety is an issue that can never be a given.”

    Apology FAIL. Massively.
    You’re not sorry about anything YOU said, which you damn well should be. You’re sorry for how Ophelia makes her own decisions?
    Yes, we need to change the culture of rape.
    Now get out of the way.
    You’re part of the problem.

  152. Gregory in Seattle says

    I don’t have adequate words. It is obscene that Ophelia would be getting threats for pointing out that there is a problem. It is beyond obscene that that the organizers who, supposedly, are puzzled over the sharp drop in attendance by women, are unwilling to do anything.

  153. echidna says

    I suppose he’s right, in a way, that feminist bloggers are driving people away with their writing on this.

    No. Just no. This is like saying that journalists are responsible for people being worried about [insert disaster affecting their country right now].

    And the feminist bloggers are more than neutral observers.

  154. Tony... therefore God says

    o question willow is being tonedeaf… But let’s indulge the thought experiment with a bit of an adjustment:

    Someone witnesses a rape taking place and dosent stop or report it and the perp continues to rape, to what degree, if any, is the witness responsible for the subsequent rapes?

    I’m sincerely interested in how people would consider this scenario.

    That was gutsy and not much of an adjustment
    You called willow tonedeaf, yet you did the exact same thing. It’s not tonedeaf. It’s vile.
    Did you miss where everyone said “the RAPIST is 100% responsible”?
    I’m seriously interestted in what is wrong with people who try to “spread the blame”?

  155. Josh Slocum says

    I get irritated every time I call Tech Support and it becomes very clear I know more about the infrastructure that the rep.

    Then you’ll understand without trouble how your comment would appear to people who don’t know you.

  156. FossilFishy says

    I got a conviction. But I was barely believed by anyone outside the cops, and the guys got probation.

    A slam dunk case and the fucking pondscum got fucking PROBATION!? If I didn’t already understand, as best I can having never been in the situation, why women don’t report rape that would have done it. FUCK FUCK FUCK

  157. Josh Slocum says

    Oh, I totes believe BillyBragg is with the blackskeptics blog. Totes.

    This is cheap shit you’re lobbing at Jason, and I say this as someone who’s taken him to task on some actions that pissed me off as a gay guy. The difference between Jason and a through-and-through homophobe is that he actually listens and tries to align what he says with the good will he wants to express.

  158. says

    Oh hai, people ignorant of what happens when you report sexual harassment to an institution which does not care about the issue. Let me just tell you what happened when I reported that one of my professors had told everyone I was sleeping with her (and made up seriously disturbing bedroom habits), accused me of being crazy and tried to pressure the department into dropping me out because she thought I had reported that she was filmed, for an escort agency, forcing a student she was teaching at that time, to fellate her strap-on.

    Even though she had threatened me and other students with physical violence in front of witnesses, the video was on the internets, she had attempted to blackmail other faculty into getting rid of the students she believed were a problem, there was a paper trail a mile wide of things like preferential treatment, threats and violations of HIPAA (she claimed to have access to students’ medical records), the school claimed two things: that we were all over 18 and that even though there was a full year of paper trail demonstrating ethics violations of various types, that her behavior was ‘an isolated incident’.

    Even though no less than ten students wrote to the administration and/or filed complaints with our OEO compliance office.

    If an institution is not committed to compliance with federal laws and ethical policies which ban that behavior, the institution can and will weasel out of support for persons being harassed. In our case, the administration strategically lost the paperwork sent them over and over and over, until we stopped complaining.

    So they left us in that department, with no support. Some of us developed full-on PTSD. I literally had to escort students to class and let them hold my hand while they tried not to have a panic attack. In my case, among other things, one of my colleagues masturbated in front of me, and my transcripts and other paperwork were strategically lost. Why? Because they could punish me for making a big deal out of things and inconveniencing administrators.

    So, you know, reporting? It doesn’t ‘magically’ cause an institution to honor harassment policies. You know what else?

    This is not an uncommon experience. So fuck you.

    Ophelia, I’m sorry you’re experiencing this. So sorry.

  159. echidna says

    BillyBragg,
    It’s not appropriate to continue the argument with Jason on Ophelia’s blog, when Jason has explicitly invited those who wish to continue the argument onto his own blog. See comment 159.

  160. echidna says

    Mouthyb,
    I hear you. I had similar experiences at Uni, but not the administrative push back.

  161. says

    @Josh Slocum says: June 19, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    Then you’ll understand without trouble how your comment would appear to people who don’t know you

    I believe anyone who has ever called Tech Support for any technology issue understands that.

  162. Josh Slocum says

    Apparently I have to break it down for you, Andrew:

    1. You made an offer that was doubtless well-intentioned.

    2. It happened to stumble on a sore spot in this discussion and provoke suspicion that you thought Ophelia wasn’t technically capable. Remember that this is a hot discussion about sexism.

    3. You didn’t mean that and couldn’t have known.

    4. OK.

    5. It’s pointed out to you, with some snark.

    Can you back off now?

  163. says

    echidna: I have to say, I’m jaded as shit about the complaint process because of this. I was used to the run around reporting rape and child abuse (I reported my family repeatedly), but I thought, as ‘bastions of liberality,’ that colleges would some how take this kind of thing seriously.

    Teach me to be optimistic. :/

  164. Josh Slocum says

    You’re not associated with the BlackSkeptics of FTB, are you?

    Oh please. Can everyone stop giving that motherfucker the benefit of the doubt? Honestly.

  165. echidna says

    Andrew, Tech Support not knowing as much as you do on a tech issue is not the same as people constantly assuming you don’t understand and don’t want to understand anything technical because you are female.

    I expect you think that you were being helpful, but I’m telling you that your comment really pokes a sore spot. I’m a woman who is also an elec eng, by the way.

  166. Tony... therefore God says

    Andrew:

    Yep yep and yep. I get irritated every time I call Tech Support and it becomes very clear I know more about the infrastructure that the rep.

    But I follow the script anyway.

    Turn around and look up. You may just see the point sailing past you.

  167. Tony... therefore God says

    Ophelia:

    got email threats about TAM today, so I’m not going.

    I’m so sorry.

  168. LeftSidePositive says

    @justinvacula, et al:

    I think it needs to be clearly understood that there is a *huge* difference between expecting THE VICTIMS of a crime to act a certain way, versus expecting society at large to act in a responsible way. So, expecting someone who has already been the victim of a trauma to take on MORE burdens is pretty loathsome, and this is *entirely* different from expecting at-arms-length reporting of observed crimes/causes of concern as a part of basic civic participation. It’s also entirely different from looking at the broader social forces that embolden rapists/assailants, that excuse rapes/assaults, and normalize misogynistic behavior. That is just an entirely different level of discussion–at the interpersonal level, the person who committed a crime is 100% responsible for it, in the sense that the blame is NOT shared by innocent bystanders or the people harmed by zir actions. HOWEVER, at a different level of resolution, we are *not* 100% in charge of what we do–we are acted on by social forces both consciously and unconsciously, and no ones choices exist in a vacuum.

    So it is perfectly fair, for instance, to say that the rapist is 100% responsible for a rape at a criminal/interpersonal/moral level, but that is a subset within macro societal forces such that, for instance, the police department that didn’t take the previous claim against him seriously that thus enabled him to be free and have the opportunity to rape someone else, are also responsible. Furthermore, to make a morally coherent assessment, you need to show that someone DID SOMETHING WRONG in order to be responsible, and actually had a reasonable chance of doing differently. For instance, it is fair to say the police department was negligent in failing to follow up on a report, because they have an established duty to act and they have undertaken their responsibilities to the public professionally and voluntarily. A victim, on the other hand, did NOT choose to be in the position of being responsible for public safety, likely has no or very limited recourse to effect change for public safety, and faces significant risks and hardship in reporting which makes it too burdensome an expectation to place on a private individual.

    As for your responsibility for the threats toward Ophelia and others, understand that we are talking about the social/cultural factors level, which is more indirect than the micro, interpersonal level. And, when we say you share indirect responsibility for this climate of misogyny and it’s nastier symptoms, it’s because YOU ARE DOING SOMETHING WRONG: it is unethical to tone troll as a means of shutting down people who are expressing legitimate and sincere grievances about their treatment and marginalization; it is unethical to laugh along with rape jokes or give tacit approval to them in a public forum, as this normalizes rape culture and allows bullies to (correctly!) perceive that society as a whole tolerates their actions; it is unethical to derail conversations about serious concerns of marginalized/threatened persons because it shows bullies you consider the harmful behavior in which they engage only minor and erasable, thus giving them social cover to continue doing it; it is unethical to call people “bullies” for speaking up against the mistreatment against themselves, as it shows your desire to silence those harmed and takes an active role in raising the social status and legitimacy of those actually harming others by shielding them from social condemnation; it is unethical to pull a “both sides do it” without evidence to place the bully on the same moral level as the bullied; I could go on, but I hope this suffices to show how you are materially contributing to a culture of misogyny and apologism for abuse (and doing so actively and enthusiastically!), and this indirectly encourages and perpetuates those who take it upon themselves to enact these attitudes directly.

  169. Josh Slocum says

    Andrew, Tech Support not knowing as much as you do on a tech issue is not the same as people constantly assuming you don’t understand and don’t want to understand anything technical because you are female.

    This reminds me of the “double surprise” I frequently get when (certain) people see me working on the engine of my 1966 Plymouth. The first is a quizzical look as they try to process how it is that a fag not only knows how to adjust carburetors and valve lash, but takes obvious delight in being a grease monkey on the weekends.

    The next comes after I answer this question:

    “Um, uh. . .like. . uh. . where’d you learn how to work on cars?”

    “My mother.”

    [stymied look]

    “Yeah, we grew up poor so we had to do our own maintenance on cars. My mom mostly drove Chrysler Slant Sixes so I got familiar with them pretty early. They’re easy to work on.”

    [stymied puzzlement from the straight boy who doesn’t understand that cylinders can fire in order without the presence of a computer chip.]

  170. echidna says

    echidna says: June 19, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    Ophelia is a scientist

    You seem to know something that I do not.
    Where did she obtain her science degree?

    I can’t verify that, I could be wrong.

  171. Tony... therefore God says

    I see Jason STILL refuses to answer the question about his claims regarding Stangroom, Mayhew and the ERVites. Evidence please, or shut the fuck up, homophobe.

    Perhaps he thinks his blog is the appropriate place for that.

  172. Josh Slocum says

    Sally:

    Sorry, that obviously came off as far more credulous than it sounded in my head.

    And I’m sorry; my response came off exactly as nasty as I intended it but you didn’t deserve it:) My nerves are frayed, girl.

  173. LeftSidePositive says

    And another thing…is it just me or do the people who are now shocked–SHOCKED!–and gleefully cutting their teeth declaring Jason “a homophobe,” seem to strongly resemble those who preen like they’re great social-justice champions in order to declare that Planned Parenthood is “the real racist!”??

  174. says

    @echidna says: June 19, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    I expect you think that you were being helpful, but I’m telling you that your comment really pokes a sore spot. I’m a woman who is also an elec eng, by the way.

    As an elec eng, I would expect you to understand so yes, point made.

    @Josh Slocum says: June 19, 2012 at 10:16 pm
    Can you back off now?

    Yep. This is me shutting up.

  175. Josh Slocum says

    Thank you, Andrew, really. You have no idea how rare it is for someone to be a person about this whole thing. Much appreciated.:)

  176. says

    And another thing…is it just me or do the people who are now shocked–SHOCKED!–and gleefully cutting their teeth declaring Jason “a homophobe,” seem to strongly resemble those who preen like they’re great social-justice champions in order to declare that Planned Parenthood is “the real racist!”??

    Good point. Another analogy: the anti-choice activists who are suddenly so feminist that they feel the need to ban sex-selective abortions.

    Cargo cult social justice.

  177. says

    SallyStrange: If it hadn’t, I wouldn’t have had to take up a science instead, so at least I got out of the arts? (And I’m happier out of the arts.)

    Hopefully, it makes the case that there are problems with reporting.

  178. Josh Slocum says

    Oh, and you, Michael Kingsford Gray:

    You seem to know something that I do not.
    Where did she obtain her science degree?

    You know goddamned well Ophelia isn’t a scientist, has never claimed she’s a scientist, and that the commenter made a mistake. You’re transparently making a bad-faith effort to find some way to impugn her credibility and it’s shit. So take that back to Jerry Coyne’s place after you pull it out of your ass.

    Commenters: Don’t fall for MKG. He’s trolling for shit and he’s well known for it.

  179. says

    SallyStrange: If it hadn’t, I wouldn’t have had to take up a science instead, so at least I got out of the arts? (And I’m happier out of the arts.)

    Uh well um… yay science? Seriously though. There are better ways to come to science. Usually women leave STEM because of harassment, it’s a bit ironic.

    Hopefully, it makes the case that there are problems with reporting.

    You’d think that case wouldn’t need to be made anymore. But then you’d also that it’s a truism that women are people who are no more prone to lying than men are.

  180. Mike de Fleuriot says

    I think Rebecca Watson was correct, TAM is just a fund raising event for the JREF. Just have a look at the last couple dozen emails that they have sent you. It’s almost all about membership fees and how to get other people to join and support them financially. When last did we get anything worthwhile about the issues of our movement from them.

  181. says

    Re Stangroom: he says we’re all bullies and that bullies sometimes end people’s lives.

    Re Blackford: on top of calling us all bullies, he also claimed that people trying to push for strong harassment policies were going for Taliban-like dress codes.

    Re Mayhew: well, she thinks Justin Vacula’s right with his quote mines. Her tweet about me was retweeted by Notung, Justin Vacula, Justicar, Phil Giordana, and Kylie Sturgess. And she was perfectly fine with everything that happened in that PenisGate video but me calling DJ a douchebag is beyond the pale.

    As for the context of all those quote mines, look waaaaaaay up at @159 for the link to exactly what went down there.

    I swear sometimes. That doesn’t make me a bad person. But it apparently gets Mayhew completely on the side of the people who think FtB is populated by misogynist homophobic bullies who might kill people and who want Taliban-like dress codes.

    That’s why I don’t like Mayhew. It’s such a damn shame too, because her mangaka are pretty good.

  182. RedHat[GoE] says

    Can someone explain to me what TAM had to do with the threats? Most Likely nothing but the comments seem to suggest TAM had something to do with this. I don’t see the connection

    If Ophelia feel threatened that’s up to her to decide. it would take more than a few anon or otherwise threats to stop me from going to an event especially if it’s diminishing the voice of valued speakers (male or female). But that’s just me.

    Ophelia not going opens the door for new female speakers who feel less threatened.

    I hope all things were considered when making the choice.

  183. Josh Slocum says

    But it apparently gets Mayhew completely on the side of the people who think FtB is populated by misogynist homophobic bullies who might kill people and who want Taliban-like dress codes.

    They don’t actually thinkthat, Jason. They’re merely willing to affect believing it in public to give themselves cover for participating in the further harassment of people who are already on the shit end of the stick. Shorter them: It’s Popular.

    That makes them ethically depraved.

  184. Josh Slocum says

    Can someone explain to me what TAM had to do with the threats?

    No one believes your bullshit so why not peddle it somewhere else?

  185. says

    I adore this:

    Mriana says:
    June 19, 2012 at 5:52 pm
    “I do hope you reported the email threats to authorities, Ophelia.”

    And so many others saying the same thing….

    But, she shouldn’t because she wouldn’t be taken seriously, because she’s a female, and it will likely “be dismissed”

    I love you all, you hypocritical FtB’ers

    <3

  186. Josh Slocum says

    especially if it’s diminishing the voice of valued speakers (male or female)

    Along with the rest of your crap comment, that’s a tell. If you have to ask why, don’t bother. You’re a dood. You’ve never had to think about this seriously in your life.

    Fuck off and die.

  187. ivycannon says

    Why wouldn’t she just post the threat and identifying information like PZ did when he was threatened?

  188. LeftSidePositive says

    @casey, 240, you miserable fucking strawmanning bullshit peddler:

    You are aware, aren’t you, that there’s a vast difference between saying “you categorically shouldn’t report” (which NO ONE has said) versus “it’s okay if you don’t feel safe reporting for the following well-documented reasons and we respect your assessment of the situation” (which is the actual argument being made here)?!

    So you can take your misrepresentations of our arguments and shove it.

  189. Melody says

    Why wouldn’t she just post the threat and identifying information like PZ did when he was threatened?

    She’s not PZ. She has no obligation to do so. I certainly wouldn’t post anything that other’s might pick apart and downplay, not in this hostile environment.

  190. says

    Why wouldn’t she just post the threat and identifying information like PZ did when he was threatened?

    She? This is her blog, strange that you seem to be asking this question to the passing wind as if you’re talking about a phenomenon rather than addressing a person.

    Why wouldn’t she? I’m guessing that it’s because when she said “that’s one less thing to worry about” that’s all she decided she wanted to say at least up until that point.

    I suppose this is where you start to explain to her how her reaction is all wrong.

  191. says

    I am not Ophelia, so I cannot speak for her.

    But if it were me, here is what I would do:

    1. Report it to the conference organizers

    2. Report it to any relevant authorities

    What I would NOT do is publish it. Because I have ZERO doubt that, just like as happened with Monopod Man or Elevator Guy, hordes of frothing sexists would immediately seize on it, pick it apart, proclaim that I was unskeptical for taking THIS or THAT part of it seriously, and how could I really know that he MEANT it, and really, all things considered, it wasn’t that bad, and aren’t I paranoid and hysterical for getting upset about it, et fucking cetera.

    This is different from when PZ publishes silly crap from creationists. Why is it different? SEXISM.

    Maybe that’s what Ophelia is thinking. Maybe not.

    Again, if I were her, I’d be feeling mighty pissed off about the sheer number of people with the utter GALL to question the decisions I make about my own safety and my own life. STOP SECOND-GUESSING OPHELIA’S DECISION.

  192. says

    Why wouldn’t she just post the threat and identifying information like PZ did when he was threatened?

    Oh my, what a difficult question! Let’s see…perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Ophelia is not PZ. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that being a woman is not the same as being a man and that in all too many cases, they aren’t treated the same. Imagine that!

    By the way, your idiocy is not helping things out. Just sayin’.

  193. says

    She might also not choose to publish because, as I’d like to think my story illustrated, the cost of reporting and/or publishing is years of being discredited and picked to pieces by assholes who don’t want to believe there’s a problem.

  194. says

    ivycannon, perhaps you should ask Ophelia directly rather than asking onlookers “Why wouldn’t she”? It’s pretty rude talking past her like that on her own blog.

    But since you asked bystanders to speculate, I guess that possibly Ophelia might:
    a) have decided it’s too risky and might provoke further retaliation.
    b) be thinking about it but has decided to sleep on it first.
    c) be waiting for a chance to discuss it with her lawyer.
    d) be fed up to the back teeth with the whole bloody thing and be out getting drunk right now.

    It’s up to her. She doesn’t have to justify herself to you.

  195. says

    @casey, 240, you miserable fucking strawmanning bullshit peddler:

    This clearly makes your post MORE intelligent. Because you have your own vocabulary, fully of dirty dirty made up words. Good for you. Really. You’re a fine adult.

  196. ibbica says

    Ophelia, just wanted to voice my support for you!

    While I’m here, might as well add a hearty “Fuck You, Too!” to those who would chastise or vilify (WTF?!) you for your response.

    TAM’s certainly no longer the only game in town. There’s absolutely NO good reason to continue supporting an organization or a conference that doesn’t welcome you or your support… ‘you’ as in “Ophelia” as well the plural “all the people who reject the all-too-obvious philosophy of the JREF/TAM admin”.

  197. Stacy says

    @caseygaspari, you’re too stupid and dishonest to merit any response beyond sheer dismissal.

    You’re a fine adult

    Grownups sometimes dismiss shitstains by calling them shitstains.

    What grownups who are ethical people don’t do, is behave like you.

  198. Utakata says

    I think I am beginning to conclude that TAM is no longer a safe place for rationalism and reason…let alone anyone who defines themselves as female and is looking for better harrassment policies. There has been arguements of witch hunts from the tone trolls who think better sexual harrassment polciies are too politically correct (Lol, Taliban…hyperbole much Brother Blackford?)…yet, ironically those who are raising harssment issues legitimately in the first place are clearly the ones being hunted.

    I am truely sorry to hear you had to cancel out on TAM due to the those ignorant fuckheads who resort to threats in the name of reason (my head hurts just thinking about that). It saddens and depresses me deeply. But you got to do what you have to do to keep sane in all of this.

  199. Mriana says

    caseygaspari says:
    June 19, 2012 at 10:56 pm
    I adore this:

    Mriana says:
    June 19, 2012 at 5:52 pm
    “I do hope you reported the email threats to authorities, Ophelia.”

    And so many others saying the same thing….

    But, she shouldn’t because she wouldn’t be taken seriously, because she’s a female, and it will likely “be dismissed”

    I love you all, you hypocritical FtB’ers

    So I’m getting jumped on for expressing my concern for her? You know what? You don’t know me to even call me hypocritical. Ophelia and I have never met in person, but we have known of each other for quite some time through the CFI board. She doesn’t know me well, but I think she can discern that I am concerned for her. As for being “not taken seriously” and “be dismissed” that is one of the most sexist things I’ve ever heard and strangely enough, someone who seems to be female. WTF? Would you say that to someone who was a rape victim or a person whose life was threaten? We don’t know what was in the email, but it was enough to make her concerned enough to back out of speaking. If it is serious enough, I think she is intelligent enough to know what she should do with it. You have a strange way of showing concern and compassion. I wouldn’t even call what you said concern and compassion.

  200. says

    Bugger, teach me to hit send before I’m done.

    There are endemic problems with reporting harassment and threats, of which the problems reporting rape are simply a case study. The second study contains a discussion of problems with sensitivity when people file complaints.

    Pro-tip: There’s a well known problem.

  201. says

    Oh how cute.

    Casey mocks and ridicules someone who reports harassment by saying “you have to expect to get hit on.”

    Then Casey mocks those talking about reporting and the double-edged sword that it is and that some justifiably are torn when it comes down to the personal effects it has… and mocks those who suggest reporting it.

    Report sexism and Casey mocks your concerns and cheerfully joins in with abuse and sexist remarks.

    Don’t report sexism and Casey calls you a hypocrite. Suggest that reporting can cause a backlash and Casey belittles you for having noticed the abuse that she and others pile on to those who report.

    I think Casey wins an “it’s teh internet.”
    Please note, this is different from winning “the internet.”

    You can only win an “it’s teh internet” by claiming that the internet is not the real world and you have to expect people to act like asses, and then attempt to prove it by successfully making a complete ass of yourself.

  202. says

    mriana, I’m not lumping you in with caseythenasty, but I will tell you that you stepped on a sore spot with your expression of concern.

    It’s fine that we can hope Ophelia reported it, and that she is getting sensible help in dealing with the threat, and that she has not been blown off by the police. But various TAM ‘supporters’ have been dismissing the importance of having any harassment policy at all with ‘not our problem, just report it to the police’. As if it’s all so simple. So that unadorned suggestion has got a bit of bad spin.

  203. Mriana says

    @mouthyb That doesn’t mean she should not report it if she wants to do so and personally I don’t think it should stop her, if that is what she chooses to do. If we stop reporting things and say “Oh, well. I’m a woman, they won’t do anything”, then definitely nothing will be done about it. However, if we continue to report such things, then eventually something will get done. It might take years, but if we give up and do nothing, then the bullshit will continue, for sure.

  204. says

    Oh, and in case it’s not obvious, I forgot to mention that by mocking others’ concerns, Casey is herself helping to hone the edge of the double-edged sword that she then proceeds to mock others for noticing.

    That was a deciding factor in winning an “it’s teh internet.”

  205. says

    Mriana: And her choice to do so is her choice, depending on the risk assessment and sheer ridiculous amount of energy required to try to get people to bother to do anything about it.

    In this case, JREF’s response has demonstrated that they’ll do squat about it, which means that there’s little point in reporting, unless she’s willing to dig in for a ridiculous amount of time and energy repeating herself and dealing with a refusal to pursue complaints.

    And there’s no point in attempting to tell her to report, that she has a ‘duty’ to report. The necessary resources, especially after the last year of general vileness on the internet, is more than anyone should have to deal with.

    Trust me, the first response of many organizations is NOT to pursue the complaint. Their first response is to minimize the damage to the organization, and it’s cheaper to just make the complainer go away. All you have to do is keep losing the paperwork and denying that anything happened.

  206. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Mriana

    No one’s saying anywhere “Oh, well. I’m a woman, they won’t do anything”. Nowhere. At all.

    What IS being said is that IF a person, any person at all, should choose not to report, they shouldn’t be judged for it, and certainly not be made out to be complicit in further harassment and rapes, as the lovely and charming Willow said earlier.

    That’s all. As simple as don’t judge, everyone gets to decide what’s best for them individually and there are good reasons for either reporting OR not reporting.

  207. Mriana says

    @Alethea H. “Crocoduck” Dundee You know, I spent at least 7 years of my childhood in an abusive situation. If I had given up because people didn’t listen to me due to being a child, I never would have found people who did listen and spent my whole childhood being sexually abused. I believe in not giving up and to keep trying until someone listens and does something. I have two words for people who deny, belittle, mock, ignore, enable, etc when it comes to sexual harassment and abuse, but I won’t say those two words here. Research on the matter be damn and don’t give up until someone listens and does something to help. It may take a long time, but someone will eventually do something to help the victim, so they can eventually be a survivor.

  208. says

    You know what makes people give up?

    Telling them that they are at fault for doing what they thought was necessary to protect themselves.

    I’m glad you survived your abuse.

    Please stop trying to apply your choices to other people’s lives. What worked for you won’t work for everyone.

    Research can show us what works for most people, and mouthyb provided it, but you seem to think your personal experience trumps research. You’re wrong.

  209. Mriana says

    Trust me, the first response of many organizations is NOT to pursue the complaint. Their first response is to minimize the damage to the organization, and it’s cheaper to just make the complainer go away. All you have to do is keep losing the paperwork and denying that anything happened.

    Yeah… and eventually someone or more than one person will take them to court, despite lost paper work, if they don’t lose people before that. They might not be able to save the organization then. If crap like that is happening, then they won’t be able to same the organization. It will go down via a law suit or lost business.

  210. IslandBrewer says

    Well … fuck.

    Fucking fucker fucks.

    The recent penis debate, this newfound news about Jerry Coyne … words fail.

    I think I just don’t want to know much about what goes on in comment threads any more.

    Ophelia, I’m so sorry. You’ve definitely made the right choice.

    No TAM for me, now, thanks.

    I just hope JREF takes this as one more knock to the skull and starts to wise up. Unfortunately, I fear they’ll be ludicrously slow on the uptake.

  211. Mriana says

    Research can show us what works for most people, and mouthyb provided it, but you seem to think your personal experience trumps research. You’re wrong.

    And that is why the research shows what it does, because people give up due to being “dismissed” and all, but if people don’t want to do anything about it, then it will continue. Do nothing about it, then there is not reason to complain, back out of speaking, or not attend. Actually, the very act of backing out of speaking, not attending, etc is a means to do something about it and they are good ways. Eventually, someone will listen, but I think women who are being sexually harassed can do more, if they want to do so.

  212. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Mriana Please read my reply to you. People have to defend WHY they don’t report because other people say stuff like

    if you are raped and do not report it and someone else is raped, you are partially responsible for that rape.

    No one is saying DON’T REPORT. What’s being said is DON’T JUDGE someone who chooses not to report.

  213. Mriana says

    @Gen, Uppity Ingrate I took that Casey person as saying as much with her post that I replied to and that is where this started.

  214. says

    Why can’t we all just treat each other with respect? I dont understand =[

    You really don’t understand?

    How many female Presidents has the US had? Did the US ratify the ERA? Has any mainstream politician even dared mention the ERA in the last two or three decades? And then there are all the other countries…

    I mean, yeah I guess I don’t understand that on some level… but for the most part I totally understand it as do many others. I understand that it is, where it comes from, who is doing it.

    Which is why we aren’t all getting along. There are so many more who not only don’t understand, they don’t WANT to understand… they don’t even want to know about it.

  215. says

    Mriana: Yes. Eventually. After groups of victims of harassment have had an absolutely brutal time of trying to get anything done, have potentially had their careers destroyed, have waded through miles of shit and dealt with ridiculous retaliation.

    But who am I, and who are you to demand those risks be taken? I have no way of knowing what Ophelia’s risks are. She will know them better than I, and always will be able to know them better than me, and I cannot and will not demand she make those risks for me.

    If I can offer an alternate strategy for social change: dismantle causes. You sound as if you are driven to try for social change. Good. The only effective changes I’ve seen have been the relentless dismantling of social structures, through conversation and the refusal to put up with shit from others.

    But, and this is an important but, EVERYONE needs to take breaks and walk away from battles. It’s a hell of a fight and there are too many battles every day to fight them all.

    There’s no reason to feel guilty about not fighting all the fights.

  216. says

    Mriana, if I understand you correctly, then you are in favour of dogged persistence as a strategy in general, and you are also not trying to dictate what Ophelia should do. This is fine with me. Do note that Ophelia IS actually drawing attention to the problem, not shoving it under the rug. Whether she does that by complaint to JREF, the police, DJGrothe, internet exposure, or any combination of these or others is not so relevant to your point. Make a noise until it’s fixed? Yeah, we’re onto that. Big time.

    You’re getting some splashback from people confusing you with the “well just tell the police hurr durr problem solved” mob. I think the main reason for this splashback is your tacit assumption of strength. It’s great that you were personally able to be so persistent, but not everyone has that capacity. And victims should not be blamed for that.

    BTW, just “Alethea” is fine.

  217. says

    I hope this isn’t a thread derail…

    I don’t really like that “survivor” label.
    I understand that many victims of abuse use it and it is helpful to them, but in my personal experience it has only been used by others to dismiss what happened to me. Even therapists.

    “Hey, you’re a survivor!” they say, trying to cheer me up or bolster my self-esteem… as if my surviving had anything to do with anything other than the fact that I hadn’t been killed.

    “Everyone survives except those who don’t, and you’re only a survivor until you’re not” was my usual response.

    To me it doesn’t feel that far off from saying “I didn’t die because The Lord saved me!” Except when used as a purely descriptive term, of course.
    Anyway YMMV.

    Sorry if that was a derail, just something I’ve been thinking about for a few years.

  218. Bjarte Foshaug says

    Well, that’s it then. The “skeptical/atheist community” that included both the anti-feminist crowd and people worth knowing at the same time has passed beyond the event horizon, and nothing can bring it back.
    _

  219. screechy monkey says

    And over at the JREF Forum, they’re dancing a jig. When they can divert themselves from chortling over the fact that the guest poster at Skepchick (one of the complainants about Dr. Buzzo) is, like, some weirdo who has “issues” because they aren’t traditionally gendered. Posters are demanding a full skeptical inquiry into this question, which they equate with being a “tomboy.”

  220. Mriana says

    @Alethea Yes, I am and no, I never said or thought Ophelia was shoving it under the rug. I don’t know how anyone got that, but if anyone did that was not what I was trying to say nor I was trying or meaning to blame victims for someone sexually harassing them. However, you maybe right about the “splashback”. Thanks for mentioning that. I will take that into consideration.

  221. says

    Jafafa Hots: I always got frustrated with the implication that I’d done something noble, instead of dumb fucking luck and a whole lot of things which no one should have to do, though the label is a convenient description.

    And then, of course, there’s the nights thinking about people who died.

  222. says

    mouthyb, yeah. Totally.
    Like, I was just lucky enough to not die or be murdered, but not lucky enough to not have to live with this shit. Hooray, me.

  223. dysomniak says

    Sorry to hear the bullies won, Ophelia. But it isn’t you who loses her – it’s TAM. They’re missing out and they should be damned sorry.

  224. says

    Jason claims that I’ve bullied Ophelia.
    I addressed this false claim where it was posted.
    I didn’t move to Jason’s link with it because this is Ophelia’s blog and she knows I’ve never bullied her and she should have the decency to say Jason is incorrect.

    You guys might not like me, that’s fine. But that doesn’t make me a bully.

    And I have no reason to be happy about Ophelia not attending TAM, an assumption also made by Jason.

    And Ophelia, you make a really vitriolic comment about not wanting to meet me based on zero interaction with me and guilt by association. You simply don’t have enough information about me to warrant such disdain.

    My opinions have been my own and aren’t associated with any organization, group, or “side”. In fact, my assertion has been that the online discourse has polarized the issue and the silent majority have far more moderate views.

    The venomous commenters here demonstrate through their ridiculous flaming why most people don’t add their voice.

  225. dysomniak says

    Dammit, that should read “it isn’t you who lose here“. Might I just add that you remind me quite pleasantly of my middle school english teacher – another cantankerous old broad (no offense) who took exactly zero shit from anyone, whether it was directed at her or her students.

  226. dysomniak says

    You guys might not like me, that’s fine.

    So glad we have your persmission!

    But that doesn’t make me a bully.

    Sorry, but you get judged by the company you keep. In your case you’ve not only befriended bullies and misogynists, but defended them. If that’s guilt by association then I guess we’ve all been very unfair to all those holocaust deniers – after all they didn’t say they hated jews…

  227. says

    Words just don’t sum up how disgusted I am with those people. You have my sympathy, Ophelia.

    To repeat some previous comments, posting the bullies’ information (such as IP addresses) might be useful, if only to show them that they’re not completely anonymous.

  228. Momo Elektra says

    You simply don’t have enough information about me to warrant such disdain.

    That’s a lie.

  229. dirigible says

    I’m sorry to hear about this and I don’t know what to say other than that I think you’re doing the right thing.

  230. Egbert says

    I’m so sorry to hear about the sinister email threats, Ophelia. You always have my support, and I hope you get the police involved.

  231. Matt Penfold says

    You simply don’t have enough information about me to warrant such disdain.

    We have your own words. They are quite sufficient, so thank you for that. Don’t do down your ability to communicate your ignorance, stupidity and vileness.

  232. julian says

    It’s not fair to say Sara Mayhew bullied Ophelia as she hasn’t said so much as two words to her except just now.

    That said, why the fuck has the thread become all about the ways she’s been wronged?

  233. John Morales says

    Sara E.:

    But fine. Anyone who doesn’t want to meet me because of a lame youtube video where I got to speak for about 60 secs, instead of…oh…I dunno…my international award winning work, TED Fellowship, CFI TAM and TED talks, and promotion of science-based thinking through a NOKIA produced campaign video…is probably someone not worth my time hanging out with anyway.

    Citation desperately needed; also, your expectation of adulation is (ahem) at best misplaced.

    (Such a shame you couldn’t brag in a lame video, eh?)

  234. David says

    SARA MAYHEW, FUCK OFF YOU BULLY. All your posts on this thread , have been bullying, that you pretend not to know that that, shows what an asshat you are. That and your insincerity.
    You, and people like you, are the fucking problem

  235. Arty Morty says

    Sara,

    You’re sorry to hear that Ophelia’s not going to TAM. OK, but your comment sounds a bit hedged: Ophelia isn’t just not going to TAM, she’s not going because she received threats.

    Like Stacey @162 said,

    Shove your own hurt feelings aside, and say loudly and unequivocally that threats are unacceptable and it’s terrible that Ophelia received one, full stop.

  236. Momo Elektra says

    Ophelia, im so fucking angry about your treatment i may slip off the wagon.

    I hope you won't. It won't really make you feel better, right?

    I started writing "It's not worth it", but it sounds so hollow. This is all so very depressing.

    I'm so sorry, Ophelia. I can understand your decision. I'm amazed you held out for so long.

  237. says

    At Sara E.Mayhew in #298: was that so hard? Surely you must be able to understand that showing some sympathy to Ophelia for having to make that decision should have been the very first thing you did, and that you shouldn’t have expected much sympathy until you fixed that?

  238. David says

    Momo, thanks, but its not the alchohol/drug wagon. its a word wagon, one that Ophelia , has recently convinced me not to use,and that shouldnt be even tho Im from Manchester

  239. A. Noyd says

    Sara, go flea-dip yourself instead of acting like no one’s supposed to say a thing about how you lay down with dogs.

  240. julian says

    All your posts on this thread , have been bullying, that you pretend not to know that that, shows what an asshat you are. That and your insincerity.

    They haven’t been bullying. They’ve been minimizing but I don’t see any reason to doubt she means it when she says she’s sorry Ophelia Won’t be at TAM.

  241. says

    It has been pointed out that this decision was OB’s to make alone, and I completely agree with that, especially not knowing what the circumstances of the threat are. But I do regret to see the bullies win. This better not set a precedent.

  242. says

    David, I don’t see Sara M bullying anyone in this thread. She may have made some embarrassing and lukewarm defenses of some of her previous comments here and elsewhere, but bullying it ain’t. So why don’t you tone it down a bit.

  243. Wonk says

    I am so, so, so unspeakably sorry that you have to put up with this crap. (Inclusive of all crap concerning the key post, all crap in this thread, and the enormous mountains of crap which have yet to land on your head.)

  244. dysomniak says

    @rorschach

    So we’re supposed to make a distinction between being an actual bully and merely being a cheerleader for bullies? You do your randroid namesake proud with this kind of bullshit.

  245. says

    So we’re supposed to make a distinction between being an actual bully and merely being a cheerleader for bullies?

    Yes, we’re supposed to.

  246. says

    Wait, so Ophelia is threatened to the point of not attending TAM, but she is a bully?

    No, I think I understand. She’s bullying by not going, amirite?

    Ophelia, I’m very sorry that you have to suffer these idiots.

  247. maureen.brian says

    Ophelia,

    I am so sorry to hear that this has happened. I totally respect your decisions to date and any you may make in the future on what to do about it.

    Yorkshire?

  248. Gnumann says

    Sara E.Mayhew says:
    June 20, 2012 at 1:56 am
    #294 dysomniak has earned the Godwin badge!

    So – instead of actually addressing the substance you found it appropriate to engage in a well-poisoning technique.

    But of course you’re not a bully. After all, you took all this time off from holding the bullies cloaks to tell us in a bullying fashion that you’re not a bully. We should totally take that at face value no matter what else you do. (Sarcasm warning for those who are sacrasm-impaired)

  249. Emptyell says

    For those who seem not to have made all the way through the original post:

    I got email threats about TAM today, so I’m not going.

    One less thing to worry about.

    It amazes me that so much froth and bother is whipped up over what so far is a simple announcement. Aside from the appropriate expressions of sympathy and regret there isn’t much else to to say that isn’t just a bunch of hot air.

    We do not know if, whether, how, when or to whom Ms Benson has or will report any of this. She may well still be considering her appropriate courses of action.

    We don’t know if she was already having reservations about attending and the threats were just sufficient to convince her to cancel or if she was still eager to go but the threats made her fear for her safety.

    As this is effectively breaking news I would assume that she is still unsure of how to respond other than that she has decided to cancel her appearance at TAM. But what I think is irrelevant and I expect that if she feels the need for advice she will ask for it, but probably not here so I don’t feel any impulse to offer any.

    . . .

    But…

    Since this is already so far off topic I will indulge in a bit of commentary on the commentary.

    Something struck me reading through all the suggestions, requests, demands, explanations and arguments about what and how she should or should not report. Then I got to comment #220 by LeftSidePositive which seemed to say everything I was thinking but in an entirely different way so I’ll go ahead and take my shot at it anyway.

    . . .

    The arguments that the targets of threats and victims of harassment and violence are partly responsible for future threats, harassment and violence if they fail to report it (besides being reprehensible victim blaming) are a false conflation of the general with the particular.

    The general condition is the societal, cultural and political environment in which the particular events take place. If as a society we decide that the sexual abuse and subjugation of women is undesirable (this is sadly not a forgone conclusion) then we can act on the level of policy and law, and social and cultural norms of acceptable behavior to discourage it. Such actions can be reasonably informed by statistics in pursuit of reducing the undesirable behavior. Besides laws against rape and assault this may include anti-harassment policies and social stigmatizing but this is all before the fact and aimed at reducing the problem.

    When the general potential for assault becomes an actual incident we have left the realm of statistics and probabilities to one of facts and details. The response to these circumstances are entirely up to the judgement of those involved and contingent not only upon the particular events but also how these intersect with the overall social and cultural context. It is impossible to generalize what is appropriate for anyone to do in their particular circumstances.

    . . .

    Applying this to the example at hand:

    If we as a society decide that we can reduce the rate of threats, harassment, assault and rape by increasing and improving the reporting of these events then the appropriate response is to implement policies that make it easier and safer to do so.

    Insisting that individual victims are responsible in each case for reporting regardless of their particular circumstances and regardless of the support (or lack thereof) that they can expect from society is presumptuous and insensitive to the individual and destructive misdirection from the policy solutions that can actually help.

  250. says

    But I do regret to see the bullies win. This better not set a precedent.

    Turning your back on and walking away from a bully is not always the bully winning. Especially if there is hope of other, better places to be rather than where the bully is.

  251. carlie says

    Sara, I know exactly three things about you. One, the comments you made at Pharyngula, where you dismissed firsthand reports of harassment as “RUMORS” [sic].

    Second, in the transcript of the video, where you dismissed concerns about the conference as people trying to “eliminate all sexism everywhere on the planet” and jokingly dismissed questions about this year’s policy as “Policies are usually put in place, and then they are in place until someone says otherwise! [makes angry face and fists at camera]” and dismissed bloggers raising these concerns as “Doucheface blogs [sic] who think that they’re cool because they have blogs.”

    Third, your conduct in this thread, where you expressed dismay about how you were being characterized, which is understandable, but then refused to talk about anything else besides yourself and your hurt feelings until 5 hours and 9 comments after you started posting.

    It’s not a huge amount of information, no, but it’s all quite consistent. Enough to get a fairly good picture of the kind of person you are.

  252. dysomniak says

    @rorschach Why?

    Or would you like to see all us nasty feminists get what we deserve, like Silk Specter? Just riffing on your nym here.

  253. Rick Schauer says

    Ophelia
    I haven’t made it through all of the links and comments Jason and others here @FtB have kindly provided me yet from comments I made @PZ’s a couple days back and know “some” about the inappropriate elevator ride, rape threats and bulling and posturing BS going on (and I hope my head is letting me comprehend well this a.m.)

    -but is it possible a xtian bully/troll/douche is now stirring up the pot…playing a Breitbartian role with these new disturbing threats against you as a sidebar to their already troubling, malicious, douchbag behavior????

    Not trying to let anyone “rational” off the hook but I find all this low-brow, knuckle-draggin’ behavior repulsive as hell and when I think of hell and low-brow, knuckle-draggin’ behavior together, I automatically think, “fukkin’ xtians!”

    Cause this conflict within the “rational” community is now so beyond horrific that I dunno if I want to hang with anyone “rational” anymore…and me thinking things like that would serve the “godbots” well.

    Finally, I sincerely hope you can somehow find peace again after being threatened…I simply can’t imagine how bullied you must feel. Fukkin’ Fukkers!

  254. says

    Or would you like to see all us nasty feminists get what we deserve, like Silk Specter? Just riffing on your nym here.

    You are making statements and arguments about my comments, yet you trivialize them with a “just riffing” disclaimer. So I am left with not knowing what you are actually on about, or whether to take you seriously. The “us nasty feminists” remark seems to indicate that you think that I oppose feminists and their views, which I don’t. So please be a bit clearer in your comments, because I can’t tell right now whether you’re an asshole or a wanker or a lousy comedian.

  255. says

    It’s already been corrected but I’ll just repeat it: echidna simply made a mistake in saying I’m a scientist. I’m not.

    Some troll comments have been removed. Sorry if this makes some bits of the discussion a little confusing, but I’m not in the mood to leave troll comments in place today.

  256. says

    Mariana:

    And that is why the research shows what it does, because people give up due to being “dismissed” and all, but if people don’t want to do anything about it, then it will continue.

    Ever hear about Robert “Willie” Pickton, the serial killer from Port Coquitlam, BC, the guy who killed 49 women (but was only prosecuted for 6 of them) and fed their remains through a wood chipper, turning them into slop for his pigs? Pickton preyed on poor, marginal women from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES) — poor prostitutes, mostly First Nations women. Women that NOBODY gave a fuck about. It is thought that Pickton began his killing spree as far back as 1985.

    One almost-victim, a prostitute who fought back and stabbed him with his own knife after she had been slashed by him, was taken to the same hospital as Pickton (at almost the exact same time) and she told the police about what happened to her, and that there was a pile of purses with ID’s, some belonging to other missing women from DTES. Because she was a poor, marginal and prostituted woman, neither the RCMP nor the Vancouver police did a damn thing about it.

    She was not deemed a good enough witness for the Crown because she was a poor, marginal prostituted woman with a drug addiction. Consequently, Pickton remained free and continued to kill for several more years. On another occasion, an employee of Pickton’s salvage business reported to the police what HE saw on the Pickton property, which was grounds enough to at least execute a search warrant.

    There were more than just one or two people that went to the authorities about this guy yet the cops didn’t do squat. Despite the fact that they had knowledge that a serial killer was on the loose. It wasn’t until the early 2000’s that Pickton was finally apprehended, but not for the murders (it was because of a firearms licensing issue), and that’s when the found the head, hands and feet of his final victim, Mona Lee Wilson, in a slop bucket in the slaughterhouse along with the dismembered partial remains of another woman, and DNA of his other victims(but not enough body parts to actually return any remains to grieving surviving relatives).

    Had the cops gone after Pickton after the first person came forward, the prostitute who survived an encounter with him as a “near miss”, the lives of about 20 more women would have been saved. Yes, being dismissed IS a valid reason for someone to rationally cut their losses. This happens because this society never gave a fuck about women, especially POOR women who have never been able to engage in the system. But misogyny doesn’t confine itself to only the marginal women — it works its way up the social class ladder. Instead of blaming victims of misogynistic harassment and threats for their reticence to come forward, how about affixing blame where it rightfully belongs: squarely on the perpetrators!

  257. Louis says

    Crikey Ophelia, this is bad. I’m sorry to read you won’t be going to TAM for such horrible (as in horrible to you) reasons.

    That’s what makes me pig-sick about all of this, I’m Mean On The Internet™. I’ll cheerfully call someone a gigantic suppurating douchecanoe or what have you, but death threats, threats of genuine violence? Even Vox Day doesn’t provoke such rage…although he does come close. ;-) (I stress this hyperbole is purely for comedic purposes)

    I’ve been involved in a goodly bit of “real life” activism, and I totally support your right to decide as you wish, pick the battles you wish to, and do so with no criticism from me at all.

    There’s a lot of supporters out here for you. The “silent reasonable majority” for whom people have decided they speak is not as homogeneous as they might imagine.

    Louis

  258. says

    Oh, I forgot to add that the first woman that told the police about Pickton, she had to change her name and go into hiding after the RCMP refused to follow through on any charges against Pickton. She received death threats from Pickton and his brother and some of their Hells Angels buddies.

  259. says

    This is seriously unbelievable. Number one, that attendees at a skeptic conference would feel the need to send e-mail threats to one of the conference speakers. Number two, that the threats are simply dismissed by the people in charge. Number three, that people are still on here fucking defending the threat.

    This. Should. Not. BE!

    The fact that some skeptics are actually happy about this is atrocious. We as a community are no better than any other community. We tout ourselves as these high and mighty disbelievers, but when you get down to it, we’re misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, racist assholes. Not all of us, but we have those in our community who apply these thoughts, and they’re defended for it!

    I have never been as disappointed in a group of people than I have been now. Yesterday I was reading the Blag Hag post about Leah Libresco leaving atheism for Catholicism and now I get why she’s able to do so easily. The only thing that’s changed with regards to the community is the fact that atheists don’t believe in God. Other than that, we’re just as bad.

    Women, gay men, lesbian women, transgender persons, and everyone of a minority race should feel safe at skeptic conferences. We should feel good about going, excited, and enjoy ourselves. Instead we have this situation going on, and it’s despicable.

    and @Rick Schauer:

    It DOESN’T FUCKING MATTER if it’s a douchebag troll doing this. The problem is that Ophelia’s concerns about the threat were simply dismissed by the people in charge of TAM. If it was a douchebag troll, and Ophelia reported it, the response should be the same as if it wasn’t.

    Read this. That is the way a conference should handle threats, regardless of whether those threats are legitimate or trolling.

  260. says

    Gregory:

    MRA’s really do hail from the shallow end of the genepool. I suppose it is only a matter of time before some of them turn up here to man-splain how email threats totes don’t amount to a problem with harassment at TAM, and all the oversensitive feminazis just need to chillax.

    Do I really have to share a gender with these people?

    Well, that is not your fault. At least you don’t share the same ideology. And that is what matters.

    On the bright side, none of them are your conjoined twin. (Hey, gotta be grateful for something, right?)

  261. ischemgeek says

    I’m sorry you had to deal with a threat, and I’m more sorry that people chose to jump to conclusions about whether or not you plan to report and pass judgement on their pre-conceived notions. Seriously, people, we go from Ophelia Benson saying she’s not going to TAM because of a threat to she should report to if she doesn’t report, she’s a hypocrite and bears responsibility for the attacks on anyone else the person(s) issuing the threat make? What the crap? I thought skepticism and rationality was all about reserving judgement until you have all the facts. And I thought a given for humanity was to respect the privacy of someone who is a victim of crime. Shows what I know.

    Stop jumping to conclusions to paint her in the most unfavorable light possible. Stop judging her based on those conclusions. Respect her privacy, and leave her alone about this. It’s not your life, you’re not involved (I hope), and it’s none of your damn business. If she wants to expand on it, that’s her choice. If she doesn’t, that’s also her choice. You do not get a say in her choice about how to handle something that has impacted her life, and you are not entitled to pass judgement on her choice to do what is best for her. Lay off.

    I would say the response to a two-sentence blog post (three if you include the title) astounded me, but in light of the past year, it doesn’t. So I’ll say it’s depressing instead.

    Ophelia, I’m gonna throw in with the people saying, “Those who threatened you are vile, and I support you whatever your choice is in how you proceed.”

    I hope I’m not being too foward with my denouncement above and the following, but: What certain people above are doing (judging you a hypocrite if you don’t report when they don’t know whether or not you’ve reported, etc) is not cool. I know that you know this already, but I’ve found it helpful to be told anyway when bad stuff happens: It’s not your fault this happened. Those people are out in left field and their judgements are not valid. Do what you need to do, and know that whatever you/i> need to do here is the right thing to do in response.

    Take care.

  262. dysomniak says

    @rorschach So no comment on why we should set Mayhew apart from the bigots she so happily toadies up to? Or why you would take the name of an “objectivist” for your comments here?

  263. mehitabel, wotthehell wotthehell says

    Ophelia, this is terrible news. I am so very sorry to hear it.
    Also,

    I would say the response to a two-sentence blog post (three if you include the title) astounded me, but in light of the past year, it doesn’t. So I’ll say it’s depressing instead.

    Ophelia, I’m gonna throw in with the people saying, “Those who threatened you are vile, and I support you whatever your choice is in how you proceed.”

    Seconded.

  264. Brian says

    Hey Ophelia, not that it’s worth much, but I have no doubt that your decision was a good one, just like you are a good person. You think your way through things, so you’ll have reached this conclusion by that manner. :)

  265. says

    @ 327 – one correction – the threats were not dismissed by the people in charge. Really! I was sort of amused by a reply I got from someone else there, but I should have kept it to myself. Then again I’m not the only one who should have kept things to myself. That’s why we are where we are now.

  266. ibbica says

    @Rick Schauer 320:

    Is it possible? Yep. Does that matter? Nope.

    Not when the general attitudes* displayed by certain prominent individuals and their supporters are not immediately readily distinguishable from the attitude* apparently underlying a maybe-just-a-particularly-vile-troll DEATH THREAT.

    Not when there are already plenty of good folks in the ‘rational community’**. Folks who actually care enough about all sorts of people as, you know, people to treat them as such and to behave accordingly. There’s no need to accommodate shitty behaviour when there are plenty of folks around refusing to exhibit, condone, or excuse shitty behaviour. Any “community”*** will only be better for its absence.

    *Please note the term attitude.

    **Is that a thing? ‘Cause last I checked pretty much every human on the planet thinks themselves ‘rational’.

    ***With the possible exception of a Shitty Behaviour Community. There’s one community extinction I’d be happy to see.

  267. says

    @Rick Schauer:

    but is it possible a xtian bully/troll/douche is now stirring up the pot…playing a Breitbartian role with these new disturbing threats against you as a sidebar to their already troubling, malicious, douchbag behavior?

    Sure it’s possible – just like it’s possible that you are an xtian infiltrator who is trying to get atheists to blame it all on the Christians without one jot of evidence, trying to expose us as either dogmatic atheists, poor skeptics or both. Just to be clear: I don’t think there’s evidence for either conspiracy theory. I really don’t like conspiracy theories.

  268. ibbica says

    Ugh, correction:

    I made the leap from ‘threats’ to ‘death threats’. Not sure if that’s correct. Still vile, still unacceptable, but don’t want to contribute to misunderstandings.

  269. mehitabel, wotthehell wotthehell says

    dysomniak @330: You are embarrassing yourself. You are wrong about rorschach, who blogged in the past about the ERV crowd and misogyny. Google it and drop this nonsense.

  270. dysomniak says

    @mehitabel I’m going off of what they’ve said in this thread. I’m sure if I’ve misinterpreted them they can speak for themselves. At the moment it would seem that they are defending Mayhew’s Chill Girl bullshit, which is something I will not tolerate.

  271. GBJames says

    IslandBrewer @270 said: “…this newfound news about Jerry Coyne…”

    What newfound news?

  272. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    I should have said this WAY, WAY earlier, but I’m so sorry that you have to deal with this, Ophelia. It’s completely unfair and vile and I wish there was something I could do for you and the other Horsewomen having to deal with this shit other than rail on the internet.

  273. echidna says

    dysomniak,
    Expecting Rorschach, or anybody else, to be available for comment on your schedule is unrealistic.

  274. kaboobie says

    Ophelia, I am very sorry you experienced this and I fully understand why you came to the decision not to attend TAM.

    I’ve given up on waiting for DJ or the JREF in general to respond in any way that is satisfactory to the harassment issue. I really fucking hope they respond to one of their invited speakers receiving threats. In any case, there is no way I can see myself attending TAM in the future, and I am seriously questioning whether I can continue to support the JREF in any way.

  275. MyaR says

    Ophelia, I’m so sorry this has happened, and I totally understand your decision. While of course I’m sorry I won’t get to hang out with you, there will be opportunities in the future, and they will likely be in a more pleasant environment.

    I hope JREF responds appropriately, and I hope they manage to take action at TAM itself. At this point, they need to do much more than just beef up their harassment policy and procedures. They’ve got four weeks, and I hope they use them well.

  276. mehitabel, wotthehell wotthehell says

    @dysomniak: You must be joking. You have nothing to show “defending,” all you have is someone who didn’t condemn Mayhew in exactly the way you want. Yes, we are supposed to make a distinction between bullies and their cheerleaders; it does not follow that lesser villains should be excused or defended. The logic, you cannot do it.
    (and for what it’s worth, I think rorschach is wrong, but still…thanks for the chuckle, I guess.)

  277. Xenopuss says

    Can I just try to do something to kill this meme: JREF have responded to the threats as Ophelia has mentioned at least twice on this thread. They responded promptly and I think we can infer that they responded adequately too, or Ophelia would have criticised their response (please correct me if I am wrong about that). Whetever DJ Grothe and JREF’s perceived evils in the past they seem to have behaved impeccably over these threats, at least nobody yet knows any differently. So can we stop putting it about that they have done something wrong here? The wrongdoer is whoever is making these threats.

  278. Dianne says

    Ophelia, I don’t have much to say except I’m sorry this happened. Is there any practical action to take apart from not attending TAM any more?

  279. says

    Well “adequately” is putting it a little too strongly – I could have done without the blame-FTB aspect, for one thing – but hey, it was late in the day, first quick response, etc.

    Anyway they did respond, and they didn’t say ok thanks bye.

  280. mehitabel, wotthehell wotthehell says

    David, I don’t think that’s a good example of bullying at all.

  281. kaboobie says

    I saw that they have responded to Ophelia, and I hope they follow through. I also hope they respond publically.

  282. Xenopuss says

    “I could have done without the blame-FTB aspect, for one thing”

    I don’t think you have reproduced the response, so not sure what that was. Did they offer any support to encourage you to attend?

  283. Childermass says

    Failure to report a rape is itself a crime in some, but not all, jurisdictions. There certainly a moral obligation. Indeed, I suspect the victim would be more likely to press charges if she knew she was not alone.

    If someone intentionally creates a situation that can cause a reasonable fear of violence then they have committed assault.

    The people in charge of any meeting should have the power to expel anyone who has done this. They should have the option to do so without issuing any refunds. I dare say that it say so in the publicly listed rules. Indeed it might be a good idea to outright say so on the membership form. Failure to agree to that provision would result no admission.

  284. echidna says

    Ophelia,
    Just wanted to apologise for my error mistaking your as a scientist earlier. It was a long-standing misapprehension of mine.

  285. Timid Atheist says

    I’ll just add my voice to the chorus and say, I’m very sorry for what’s happened to you Ophelia. I hope that you can get things settled to your liking and that JREF responds appropriately to your report. And I hope that you are safe.

    I’ve been pretty sick over watching this fiasco turn into a bloody mess of blaming. I truly hate to see people who are on the same side when it comes to skepticism and atheism tear one another apart over what should be such a straight forward problem to address. Sadly when it comes to harassment and sexism it’s never straight forward, which is why we’re still dealing with it in the 21st century.

  286. MyaR says

    I’d like to draw attention to the fact that, while there has been some trolling, the vast majority of the comments on this thread have been expressions of support for Ophelia and condemnation of the threat-makers. A guestimate from reading every comment is that, in less than 12 hours, 100+ people expressed support for Ophelia. That is heartening, and that is the future of the secular community we’re building.

  287. A Hermit says

    “A guestimate from reading every comment is that, in less than 12 hours, 100+ people expressed support for Ophelia. That is heartening, and that is the future of the secular community we’re building.”

    Make that 100+ +1. Not much else I could add.

  288. gworroll says

    Echidna @197:
    “No. Just no. This is like saying that journalists are responsible for people being worried about [insert disaster affecting their country right now].

    And the feminist bloggers are more than neutral observers.”

    This was the point I intended to make, I failed to make that clear. I apologize for that.

  289. thepint says

    thorgolucky @360

    Intimidation worked. Scums win.

    It’s not just the intimidation alone. It’s the last straw on the camel’s back, so to speak. Attempts at intimidation happens all the time, but it’s that much more effective when the victim of said intimidation has little to no confidence in being afforded any support or protection by peers, society or, in this case, the organizers and organization behind a conference the victim was planning on attending. Ms. Benson was not only supposed to be at TAM as an attendee, she was supposed to be a speaker, and it does not speak well of TAM and the JREF at all that she decided not to attend due to the threats she received, as it would have been their responsibility to provide protection and support for her. And nothing they have shown in the entire sad, sorry, sordid mess that preceded the threats Ms. Benson received has done anything to warrant confidence that they would have taken adequate precautions to protect her and address any security issues related to said threats.

    So no, it wasn’t just the threats that worked – it was the systematic piss poor treatment of people like Ms. Benson who spoke out about issues of harassment and installing stronger anti-harassment policies and procedures at events like TAM that made threats like these more likely to occur, because it’s been pretty damn clear signaled to the scum that they have little to worry about in terms of consequences for their scumbag behavior.

  290. Your Name's not Bruce? says

    Good for you Ophelia in doing what is best for you. It’s TAM’s loss and TAM’s shame. It’s up to them to fix their broken meeting.

  291. says

    Ophelia,

    I just wanted to send a message of support.

    I appreciate you don’t want to say much about the whys and wherefores right now, as it seems TAM have got a few things to work out. However, I hope that you and/or TAM will be able to make a public statement soon so as to clarify what happened and how it is being dealt with (if at all). It might be helpful in calming things down and putting to rest some of the rumour that is going around, as well as the atmosphere of fear and loathing it has engendered.

  292. David says

    mehitabel, wotthehell wotthehell says
    “David, I don’t think that’s a good example of bullying at all”

    Yeah,OK, maybe it wasnt a good example. But “they got your number, Scared and runnin” not very nice aimed at someone who has very recently received threats

  293. says

    Ophelia
    Shit I’m sorry.
    There’s not really much more to say.
    It’s fucking aweful.

    TAM
    Well, this would be the right time to come forward with a very, very strong message about how unacceptable such behaviour is. Really.

    Sara Mayhew
    Wow, just wow. It’s all about you, isn’t it?
    It’s about how vile people are to you, and how missunderstood you are (wait, what is actually your position?), how awesome you are and how many awards you have won.
    And then you wonder why people here don’t like you?
    Here’s some hints:
    -You dismissed a victim’s statement as “rumors”
    -You keep on going endlessly about how mean FtB bloggers and commenters are to you but never open your piehole to even mildly criticize the other side.
    You participated in that disgusting “Penis-debate”. You laughed happily at a rape-joke. So, you couldn’t half finish your points? Well guess what, that’s because those guys were not even remotely interested in anything a woman might have to say, not even you or Mallorie. Yes, you play the Chill Girl™ and you probably think it will keep you safe. You probably think that following some special rules will keep you safe. You probably think that getting along happily with Emery and the likes will keep you safe. You’ve probably talked yourself into that, because, let’s face it, it’s a scary world out here where you realize that this is bullshit. You noticed yourself how you were shut up in that debate even when you were mostly agreeing with them, imagine what happens when you dare to disagree.
    And you still come here and complain about other people when you yourself have participated in ugly things and when you do anything of that sort towards your own friends. But I have an idea why that is: It’s because this is still a safe place, even for somebody like you. Because you know that being called a “lying fuck-face” is about the worst that is going to happen to you here, because here there are people like rorschach who will still stick up for you although I suspect he has no more sympathies for you than the rest of us. And because you damn well know what would happen to you if you took such complaints to the Justicars and Emerys of this world.
    Because you’ve just seen it with Rebecca, with Greta, Stephanie, Jen and Ophelia.

    Childremass

    Failure to report a rape is itself a crime in some, but not all, jurisdictions. There certainly a moral obligation. Indeed, I suspect the victim would be more likely to press charges if she knew she was not alone.

    Fuck you.
    Yeah, how to make rape-victims shut up completely? Threaten them with punishment more severe than their rapst is going to face should anybody ever find out. BTW, these laws usually apply to bystanders, not victims. And usually the law recognizes that you don’t have to bring yourself into more danger by calling the police.
    You know who has a moral obligation: society to dismantle rape-culture. Congratulations for not doing so.

    PSA: Don’t expect me to reply to anything, my computer is borked, I’m writing on somebody else”s right now.

  294. Anne Marie says

    Fyi Sara: Advocating we listen to the woman who says the solution to harassment is to tell hotel security when something happens and do absolutely nothing else while praising that “debate” full of rape jokes and invitations to suck a dude’s cock as logical (among her other lovely comments) doesn’t make you seem very nice to be around.

    Also: these dudes aren’t going to support you if you say something they don’t like – they’ll turn on you like they did on Rebecca. Being the I-don’t-give-a-shit-about-sexism girl only works as long as you’re willing to pretend bad things don’t happen to keep your friends. Dude mocks and berates your packing list and insults all women along with it? Laugh it up and teehee about style while ignoring that he’s being a douche. Who cares? I’m sure it’ll never happen again or get any worse than that!

    Homophobes and racists have their token gay and black friends who sit through the bullshit and convince themselves that their friends really don’t mean it and they’re just kidding and they’re talking about the other people, not THEM, but they’re only lying to themselves. You’re Palin’s gay friend. She’ll trot you out to defend herself but she doesn’t give a shit about you and thinks you’re worth less than her. Being friends with and promoting sexists doesn’t make you fun and quirky and cool, it makes you depressing.

  295. Matt Penfold says

    Being friends with and promoting sexists doesn’t make you fun and quirky and cool, it makes you depressing.

    But I bet they allow her to use their toilets.

  296. ibbica says

    @Childermass 354:

    “Failure to report a rape is itself a crime in some, but not all, jurisdictions.”

    My understanding of such laws is that the intent is to require any witnesses to report/testify, not the victims, and seem to be primarily invoked in cases of child abuse. How on earth would anyone apply such a law to any act that is not considered ‘criminal’ if there exists consent on the part of a (legally considered “capable of consenting”) victim?

    Please correct me if I’m wrong on that; if so, there are some very serious problems with those laws or their enforcement. Are the moral problems with charging a victim of any sort of abuse with ‘failing to report’ really not obvious?

    “There certainly a moral obligation.”

    Yes, there certainly is a moral obligation on the part of perpetrators to not commit abuse in the first place.

    Yes, there certainly is a moral obligation on the part of people receiving reports of abuse to take those reports seriously.

    Yes, there certainly is a moral obligation on the part of everyone surrounding a victim of abuse to not shame or blame that victim.

    Any insistence of a ‘moral obligation’ on the part of the victim “to report” is easily overridden in the face of (1) the very real additional harm to the victim that can come from the act of reporting (from dismissal and blaming/shaming to additional violence), (2) the much-more-likely-than-not lack of consequence for the perpetrator.

    “Indeed, I suspect the victim would be more likely to press charges if she knew she was not alone.”

    Merely insisting victims report crimes is not the solution here, because a lack of reporting is NOT the underlying problem. The problem is the response (or lack thereof) to reports. The dismissals. The shaming. The victim-blaming.

    Yes, rape is under-reported. But it is a grave mistake to believe that the blame for that under-reporting lies with the victims.

    Encouraging reporting of rape involves providing support for victims. It involves protecting victims from further harm, and providing real consequences for perpetrators.

    It does not involve shaming victims by insisting they have a ‘moral obligation’ to put themselves in harm’s way by reporting.

    (TL;DR: “I agree whole-heartedly with Giliell @368″)

  297. Matt Penfold says

    Let’s not forget that most rapes are not carried out by someone unknown to the victim, but by someone known to the victim.

  298. Rick Schauer says

    ibbica and Deen and Katherine Lorraine,

    Thanks for replies. I concur with your comments.

    And Deen…yeah, this way to real to let conspiracies get any traction.

    Ophelia I’m so bummed this has happened to you. My heart-filled best wishes and thoughts to You while dealing with all this.

    (‘shaking tau-filled head’ *muttering* What is this world coming to? Fukk!)

  299. Utakata says

    @Giliell

    Yeah…I think Sara Mayhew has to have the won the thread derailing meltdown troll of the month somewhere. Another one for reason and rationalism down the tubes. I’m also sorry Ophelia has to put with this from people who should at least know better. /sigh

  300. says

    I have read a lot of the threads that have unravelled since the TAM fallout, though not necessarily all. There may be critical information I’m missing. However, there’s something I am confused about.

    For me, the issue of harrassment at conventions comes down to ensuring there is a process in place to deal with situations that cause attendees discomfort. In my mind, this security effort begins with issuing warnings to people who have been reported, with expulsion or legal enforcement being reserved only for the most extreme or criminal behaviour.

    In other words, this is about policing behaviour that for the most part is not necessarily criminal, but exists somewhere in the space between anti-social and illegal behaviour.

    For example: it might not be illegal to proposition a pretty girl in an elevator for coffee. However, we might want to class it as harassment.

    What I’ve seen with those who are either arguing against anti-harassment policies, or who are fellow-travellers using the opportinity to bash FTB, feminists or some percieved anti-TAM threat, is that they seem to be shifting the focus towards discussion of criminality. Criminal standards of evidence are demanded (such as in the case of the behaviour of monopod man). ‘Witch hunt’ is used as a term, creating images of actual trials. Any harassment that is less than violent sexual assault seems to be dismissed or elided.

    In other words, the opposition seem, to my eyes, to have successfully escalated the rhetoric and derailed the conversation to be entirely about criminality. What they seem to have done is dismiss any behaviour that is less than outright criminal as being worthy of discussion. What I see, to a large extent, is the ground has been shifted away from ‘guys, don’t do that’ toward ‘if it isn’t rape-rape, we need not do anything’.

    Or am I getting the wrong end of the stick?

  301. mehitabel, wotthehell wotthehell says

    @David at 367: I think the niceness of it is a quibble; the come back Ophelia message of the song holds also and there’s no reason to think Mayhew didn’t mean it sincerely. I don’t think she’s inhuman and actually approves of people getting threats; it’s hard for me to see that as a gloat. I think the major bullying is her treatment of Jason Thibeault. That is, if anyone were misrepresenting my words as badly as she is his, I’d feel personally attacked. At 123 she’s all “I understand that you don’t like me” and then drags this back out:

    I tweeted that I thought it was unhelpful of you to call people “douchebag” “asshat” “vacuous shitball troll” and “vagina owners”,

    which is egregious because one of those things is not like the other. I hate that the thread’s back on Mayhew again, but since it is: she has got to drop her ridiculous “vagina owners” antics and apologize for them, like, yesterday. That clause of Jason’s acknowledges that not all women have vaginas (and, incidentally, it is also true that not all people with vaginas are women). He emended a comment from somewhere else and ended up with “many of whom own those vaginas” instead of “women’s vaginas.” A definite change for the better. Unless her obvious hard-of-readingness is to blame, Mayhew doesn’t care what the fuck she’s playing at. She is being an utter puke. Personally, I am pleased to call myself a woman and a vagina owner and draw a nice distinction between the two because genitals !=gender. Mayhew’s attempting (and likely succeeding in some quarters) to drum up sentiment around that phrase and she’s willing to sacrifice the meaning, that anatomy does not equal gender. In an effort to score cheap points in an obviously partisan dust-up. Repellent. Repugnant. Flat out fucking horrible. Why doesn’t she just run for President already?

  302. says

    @leebrimmicombe-wood in #376:

    What I see, to a large extent, is the ground has been shifted away from ‘guys, don’t do that’ toward ‘if it isn’t rape-rape, we need not do anything’.

    ‘And if it is, we should just let the authorities deal with it’. No, I don’t think you’re wrong.

  303. says

    I’m trying to figure out how to make the 20 acres of land outside my house into a decent meeting place, just so we can have a meet-up, speaking, chatting, and learning place without having to put up with all this bullying, misogynistic shit.

  304. says

    I’m bummed that Ophelia Benson will not be speaking at TAM. Threatening emails do no one a service no matter what side you are on. What a shame that it came to this.

  305. Gnumann says

    Criminal standards of evidence are demanded.

    I think the main sentiment among that crowd is “you can’t just tell us we’re treating you badly – you need to prove it beyond any shadow of doubt”.

    And I would disagree with you. Criminal standards are far more relaxed than the standard that crowd subscribes to.

    I’m still pretty peeved at the crimes against coffee – no way any of that defence ever would stand up in court. (The crimes against coffee is the defence of EG who claim he only meant coffee. Leaving a bar that presumably serves coffee for a cup of decrepit hotel-room instant coffee – yeah right!)

  306. Tezcatlipoca says

    Is there something going on with the FTB platform? I’m trying to follow the blockquotes and comments but the numbers next to the comments are all over the place. (It could be the antiquated browser I’m forced to use by my corporate overlords but I’m not certain.)

  307. Tezcatlipoca says

    Hmm, part of my confusion seems to be the comments roll over to 1 after 99 or 00, so there is no hundreds placeholder. Carry on!

  308. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Being friends with and promoting sexists doesn’t make you fun and quirky and cool, it makes you depressing.

    But I bet they allow her to use their toilets.

    LOL only if she agrees to stand up when she pees.

  309. onion girl, OM; social workers do it with paperwork says

    Ophelia, I’m so sorry about this. :( Please know you have the support of many.

  310. says

    Redd, posting that song was really fucking creepy. (Mehitabel, I think you cut her far too much slack.)

    Childermass:

    Failure to report a rape is itself a crime in some, but not all, jurisdictions. There certainly a moral obligation. Indeed, I suspect the victim would be more likely to press charges if she knew she was not alone.

    What Giliell said. You didn’t bother reading the thread, did you? Also, “it’s the law” != “it’s right,” unless you’re Lawful Stupid.

    Giliell:

    Sara Mayhew
    Wow, just wow. It’s all about you, isn’t it?

    For people who lack empathy, it’s always about them.

    Same deal with Millsy on PZ’s post linking to this one. It was perfectly OK for him to spend hours and hours triggering rape survivors; it’s not OK for him to get any blowback whatsoever; it’s perfectly OK for him to suck up all the oxygen in thread after thread whining about it.

    Lee, conflating social disapprobation with criminal charges is a very, very common tactic in rape denialism, for reasons Gnumann brings up but also to shame victims into thinking they’re doing something contrary to democracy. That’s why denialists shout “Innocent ’til proven guilty!” when cases are being discussed outside of a court of law.

  311. Lyanna says

    I’m sorry you had to deal with that, Ophelia.

    To the people who are concerned that this is Letting The Scumbags Win:

    I put it to you that the exact opposite is true.

    Ophelia is not the loser from this decision. Neither is any woman.

    The loser is TAM. TAM has lost an interesting speaker. TAM has lost those attendees who may have come to hear her speak. TAM has lost the chance to appear more welcoming to women, and thus gain more attendees and more female speakers in the future.

    Men are not automatically entitled to women’s company, whether it be sexual or emotional or intellectual companionship they are looking for.

    If men want women’s intellectual companionship–if they want to benefit from women’s ideas and women’s opinions–they have to make their spaces welcoming to women.

    If they don’t do that, they’re going to miss out on a lot of interesting women speakers, thinkers, and convention attendees.

    There comes a point at which women have to stop trying to reason men into acceptance of their humanity, because reason just won’t work (for some men, let me emphasize, and for some women who choose to enable them). What will work is making it in their best interests to accept our humanity.

    I think female speakers avoiding TAM if they get threats will help do that.

  312. says

    It seems to me it’s pretty obvious that it’s much more the yelling spitting suck-my-dicking misogynists who are harming TAM by causing women to stay away from it, than it is the women who talk about not wanting to be around yelling spitting suck-my-dicking misogyny.

    But hey, maybe that’s just me.

  313. mehitabel, wotthehell wotthehell says

    @ Ms. Daisy Cutter: that wasn’t Redd with the song, that was Mayhew. And so help me, I think that was some of the unintended creepiness we’ve heard so much about lately. Watching her this past month, she seems totally insulated, not much clue there over how things appear to other people. I hope she figures it out. And that she never hits on me.

  314. says

    Mehitabel, you’re right. Redd, I’m sorry I attributed the posting of that video to you.

    Mehitabel again: Mayhew does seem insulated. She isn’t the only one. There’s definitely a bubble in the wider community in which she and various others exist. They don’t seem to get how appalling their behavior appears not only to us but, I’d venture to say, to decent people outside the community.

  315. mehitabel, wotthehell wotthehell says

    @Ms Daisy Cutter. Yeah, exactly. And it’s not just that the behavior appears appalling; it can also cause pain. It’s not like people here are just trying to pop a bubble for the fun of it.
    I gotta run. See you around.

  316. Leon says

    I don’t blame you in the slightest, Ophelia. For my part, I’m glad I wasn’t planning to go anyway.

    Seems to be we should all be ready to be done with TAM, until it changes its tune.

  317. David says

    mehitabel, wotthehell wotthehell @ Ms. Daisy Cutter

    creepiness, intentional or not we can disagree on, politely, and probably never get to the truth of tha matter. What we can agree on: Ophelia is bang on the money @390.

  318. Emburii says

    Well, I’m late to this thread. Two things:

    First, COYNE has defended some of this bad behavior and taken a hyper-skeptical approach? I thought better of him.

    Secondly, so Sara Mayhew’s first response to hearing about the death threats Ophelia got was to get indignant that someone dared think uncharitable thoughts about Sara Mayhew. In her first response in this thread she didn’t even bother to say ‘sorry to hear that, Ophelia, despite our differences in opinion no one deserves this’. And she wonders WHY people might be uncharitable…

  319. petzl20 says

    It’s easy for me to say, because I didn’t read the emails nor personally receive a threat sent specifically to me.

    However, I just don’t see how an anonymous internet threat to a person attending TAM can be seen as credible or actionable. I’m know PZ Myers gets unremitting email harassment and threats for his atheist beliefs and he soldiers on. These emails are just noise and static radiated by dysfunctional troglodytes who busily type away in their parents’ attics and subbasements and squint at direct sunlight. They impersonally troll all targets of opportunity perceived to be vulnerable. They should be ignored like spam emails promoting cheap, organic cialis and Nigerian finance ministers seeking American bank accounts for depositing embezzled funds.

    Is a Las Vegas hotel, which has many cameras and much security (gamblers with lots of money need to feel safe or they’ll find another casino) and many, many people walking around at all hours– is this the place to feel vulnerable? How can any place be safe if a well-lit, well-peopled, security-minded venue like a LV convention hall is not safe?

  320. Johnathan says

    What kind of threats were these?

    Threats of violence ought to be reported to the police. Please head down to your local police station and file a police report. Also report it to the federal trade commission, if the threats were filed on line, and you can get some help, perhaps, through your STate Attorneys office or Attorney General’s office if you ask for the computer crimes department.

    Also, if you go to TAM, you could notify the local authorities there, and they may be willing to send some police protection to the location so that there will be law enforcement there. Print out the threats and submit them to law enforcement.

    TAM could also provide protection for you. You ought to forward the threat to TAM and ask what they can do to beef up security.

    These are just alternatives, and the choice is yours. It just sucks to see a criminal win.

  321. says

    thorgolucky:

    Intimidation worked. Scums win.

    Actually, no. The scums didn’t win. Throughout recorded history, everything that brought about any kind of change would not have been possible without a whole hell of a lot of support from the majority of women. The Salem Witchcraft Trials would not have been possible if there would not have been women to hate and persecute, adolescent girls to do the accusing, and other women to remain silent in fear of being next when silence is consent.

    From the French Revolution to the Bolshevik’s October Revolution, from the labor movement to Civil Rights to the atheist/skeptic movement, women were and are at the fore. Maybe it’s time enough women start figuring it out that men in all these movements have benefited at our expense and it’s time for us to say ‘No More. Now it’s our turn for fair treatment and basic human rights and dignity that we should not have had to ever to grovel for in the first place.’

    And I think if anything, Ophelia’s absence from their little coterie of chauvinism sends the message: “if you don’t want to be fair and act right, we’re not going to support you and lend any credence to your ‘good ol’ boys’ club and don’t come crying to us when your movement falls apart or when your organization hemorrhages membership and money, don’t whine about it to us. We’ve had enough. Up your asses, the lot of you.” — THAT is what I call us winning, not “the scum” as you rightly put it. And with more women hurting, and I DO mean suffering in real poverty in this shitty economy more so than men, it’s not like these man-children can afford to alienate the few women (and men who would not want to see their own daughters treated thusly at this ‘meat market’ that the atheist/skeptic movement has become) that can afford to go to travel and go to conferences.

    If all we wanted was bullshit from these assclowns, we could all form a cattle co-op and raise cows — at least we can slaughter them and get some steaks out of the deal for all the bullshit and aggravation.

  322. screechymonkey says

    “First, COYNE has defended some of this bad behavior and taken a hyper-skeptical approach? I thought better of him.”

    As far as I’ve seen, he’s stayed out of this round of the discussion (meaning, the stuff set off by DJ’s comments a few weeks ago). At least, I haven’t seen anything at WEIT on the subject.

  323. Emburii says

    screechymonkey, thank you for the response. What are people referencing, then? (Not that I don’t believe it, but I’d like to know what I’m responding to if it comes up.)

  324. julian says

    These emails are just noise and static radiated by dysfunctional troglodytes who busily type away in their parents’ attics and subbasements and squint at direct sunlight.

    This stereotype needs to die.

    These are not nerds in their parents’ basement. They are fully functioning members of our society, people who’s hands you have shaken or held a door for you as you walked out of a building.

    If you are honestly committed to this stereotype I’m going to have to ask you to provide some kind of evidence for it.

    How can any place be safe if a well-lit, well-peopled, security-minded venue like a LV convention hall is not safe?

    I can tell you at least one story of a Marine (male) being gangraped while at a FOB not 10 feet from someone carrying an assault rifle. Do not mistake numbers for safety.

    Besides, what does it matter if whoever issued this threat can be expected to carry it out? It’s a threat definitely sent by a TAM attendee. Should it just be dismissed because we don’t know how likely it is to be acted upon?

  325. screechymonkey says

    Is a Las Vegas hotel, which has many cameras and much security (gamblers with lots of money need to feel safe or they’ll find another casino) and many, many people walking around at all hours– is this the place to feel vulnerable? How can any place be safe if a well-lit, well-peopled, security-minded venue like a LV convention hall is not safe?

    The cameras and security guards are great for helping catch someone after they’ve committed a violent act. And while that risk of getting caught might deter a rational person from committing violent acts there, that’s not very relevant. Rational people don’t send threats like that to begin with. So I see no reason why Ophelia should have to take any such risk just because you deem it “safe.” It’s her life and her choice.

Trackbacks

  1. […] And so some very hard discussions are taking place, because there are people within our community who think they should be able to disregard some or all of this. These people are making others uncomfortable, and distressed, and downright scared. […]

  2. […] there is ever good reason for threatening a speaker at a sceptics conference, to the extent that she decides that she ought to pull out of her speaking engagement. In amongst the discussion and counter-discussion, a couple of great posts about the extent to […]

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