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Jul 11 2013

You are not Salman Rushdie

Men’s Rights Edmonton has issued an Official Statement gloating over its new fame and glory and explaining how urgent it is to change the subject from rape to false accusations of rape. (H/t hjhornbeck for the link.)

Hello Everyone,

We at Men’s Rights Edmonton have become a national topic of discussion due to our recent poster campaign calling attention to false allegations of rape.

For the people that want a quick answer to the question of why the campaign, we would respond, What is wrong with advocating against both rape and false rape accusations?

Both are abhorrent means of manipulation and power.  As for our campaign, not once did it advocate or apologize for rape.  It is very clearly worded to target only people who lie about sexual assault.  “Lying about sexual assault = a crime” is a statement of fact that any rational person will agree with, and false rape reports undermine the credibility of actual reports of actual rape.

Men’s Rights Edmonton believes the original “Don’t be that guy” campaign is hate speech.  It specifically targets a gender and all members of that gender as perpetrators of rape.

No, it doesn’t.

Sexual violations, including rape, can be committed by anyone.  While a majority of reported sexual assaults are committed by men, associating or claiming all men are potential rapists is analogous to claiming all minorities will commit theft.

The “Don’t be that guy” campaign is insulting to anyone with a conscience, both men and women.  It is not novel or different. We want rapists punished for their crimes.  We also want the system to punish those that make false rape claims.  How more can you trivialize real victims of rape than by making a false rape claim?

Reliable statistics on rape and false claims of rape are hard to find.  Some studies, bolstered by low conviction rates, suggest that false claims of rape are on a par with actual rape reports.  How is this not a problem?  Reducing the false reporting of rape can only work to increase the conviction rates for actual rapists.

Men’s Rights Edmonton extends an open invitation to debate this issue to Lise Gotell and anyone who wishes to join her here.  You are more than welcome to join us for a debate.

["]What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.”

― Salman Rushdie

Yeah…Men’s Rights Edmonton isn’t Salman Rushdie.

21 comments

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  1. 1
    Raging Bee

    Men’s Rights Edmonton believes the original “Don’t be that guy” campaign is hate speech. It specifically targets a gender and all members of that gender as perpetrators of rape.

    So does that mean their mirror-image of said “hate speech” is also hate speech directed at the other sex?

  2. 2
    Raging Bee

    “Lying about sexual assault = a crime” is a statement of fact that any rational person will agree with…

    It’s also an explicit threat directed at anyone who is even considering reporting a sexual assault: if you’re not believed or there’s any room for doubt (which everyone knows is a common occurance), then you will be punished, so think of that before you call the cops.

    I agree there’s a problem of false rape allegations, but this is still a sleazy campaign of preemptive shaming, threats and intimidation.

  3. 3
    hjhornbeck

    [dances a happy dance at the recognition]

    Ahem, more seriously, there’s also talk of a lawsuit.

    “My position is that this demands some kind of a legal response. There are clear intellectual property issues,” Gotell said. “When someone has manipulated our images to disseminate such an offensive message, of course, we should respond to this in a very clear way.”

    I’ve had a quick boo at AVfM, and they’re counting it as a massive victory. Any coverage is good coverage to an extremist, I guess.

  4. 4
    smhll

    If he’s oh so certain that “don’t be that guy” is offensive, then wouldn’t “don’t be that girl who commits the crime of lying about rape” also be offensive?

  5. 5
    thascius

    Arguably any degree of false reporting is a problem, but the only studies which found “false claims on a par with actual claims” had serious flaws. Most studies find rates of false reports to be less than 10%. It’s not clear how many (if any) of those false reports led to arrests, or how many arrests led to subsequent convictions. It’s also not clear (and I’ve yet to see any MRA attempt to make it clear) whether false reports are more or less common with rape than with any other crime. Further “low conviction rates” don’t necessarily mean a lot of false reports. I’m not sure how the Canadian system works, but in the US “beyond a reasonable doubt” is the standard for conviction. It’s somewhat vague, but it does mean a jury is supposed to be convinced of the prosecutor’s case well beyond “it’s more likely than not.” The system is based on the idea that it’s better for a guilty man (or woman as the case may be) to go free than for an innocent person to be punished, which in general is a good thing. But the fact that a prosecutor wasn’t able to prove a case “beyond a reasonable doubt” does not mean the defendant was factually innocent, or that the report of a crime was false.

  6. 6
    smrnda

    @thascius

    That was what I was going to say – MRAs tend to pretend that ‘not guilty’ == ‘innocent’ and that in a rape trial that does not result in a conviction is the same as proof of a false report. No, you’d have to prove that a rape *did not possibly happen* to even suggest that the victim was lying.

    If you risked going to jail for reporting any crime if a conviction did not occur, it would be too costly to report any crime.

    There are issues of false rape convictions as there are with false convictions for other crimes, but they have more to do with faults in the criminal justice system where people get sent to jail for crimes that did happen, but that other people committed and have nothing to do with any sort of anti-male feminist conspiracy. DNA evidence has proved useful in showing the high level of false convictions, but these have a lot more to do with institutionalized racism, classism and just sheer inefficiency than anything else.

  7. 7
    Leo Buzalsky

    Yeah, I am wanting to essentially echo the thoughts of thascius and smrnda. Low conviction rates does not mean that those that were not convicted were victims of false allegations, which does seem to be the implication here. (Though they appear to have been smart enough to where they could deny this having said that these studies were “bolstered” by this. What does “bolstered” mean, exactly? Rather, bolstered how much? This would appear to be their escape route.)

  8. 8
    Anthony K

    Go to their main page and you’ll see that they think they’re Emmett Till, as well.

    While we’re considering ‘false’ allegations, how about all the fucking ace fathers who get their kids taken away from them because they’re abusive pieces of shit, and then lie and whine that feminist judges and their gold-digging ex-wives conspired to poison their children against them?

  9. 9
    Hamilton Jacobi

    We want rapists punished for their crimes. We also want the system to punish those that make false rape claims.

    They also like the status quo, where it is frequently possible to shift true rape claims into the “false” category — in the eyes of a jury, at least — by stating that the victim is not a virgin, or that her dress is not sufficiently modest.

  10. 10
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    I’m so repulsed, I can’t even read it.

  11. 11
    leftwingfox

    There’s also the issue of “False allegation” being that the wrong suspect was tried and convicted, but that a rape actually occurred. (I.e. “Project Innocence”). This too is a far cry from the MRA fear that they will be randomly accused of rape just because a woman regrets having sex with them.

  12. 12
    thascius

    @11-That’s very true. It would be interesting to know what percentage of men who were wrongly convicted of rape were misidentified as opposed to a woman crying rape when none occurred. I suspect it would be quite high.

  13. 13
    Marcus Ranum

    Salman Rushdie is witty and Urbane.

  14. 14
    karmacat

    These MRAs don’t seem particularly concerned about being misidentified in a rape case. If they are really so concerned about false allegations of rape they should support better investigation of rapes. They could also encourage people to get to know each other before having sex instead of jumping into bed as soon as they meet someone. I want to say to these men, “If you don’t want a woman to regret sleeping with you, then get to know her before you have sex.” Of course, that will mean they would have to stop and consider another person’s feelings. They are too self-involved to do so

  15. 15
    hjhornbeck

    thascius, smrnda, and Buzz Saw:

    What I love is that their logic can be turned against them. One report from the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service pointed out that there were 35 convictions for false rape reports, out of 121 allegations of false rape. This means that 71% of false rape allegations were false, according to MRA logic; in other words, in the vast majority of false rape cases there actually was a rape.

    Therefore, we should encourage false rape charges!

  16. 16
    oursally

    My reaction to this is to say to those persons “if you’re not sure she really wants to, if you’re not sure she won’t regret it tomorrow, if she’s a bit drunk, then don’t have sex with her.” You know, behave like a reasonable, nice guy. Maybe she’ll appreciate it and you could deepen the relationship next time you meet.

    Adult behaviour. Well, the behaviour we should be expecting from adults.

  17. 17
    Blondin

    The rules:

    1) If you want to go out and party and meet guys and wear sexy clothes then you are obliged to deliver on those guys’ expectations regardless of what your hopes or expectations were.

    2) It doesn’t matter whether you were drunk, lied to, coerced, etc. Once you’ve delivered you are a slut. No matter how reluctant you might have been, unless you actually screamed, physically attempted to escape, and have the scars to show for it, it was consensual and you are a slut.

    3) You might have said “no” initially. You might have indicated you were not comfortable. You might have tried to stop when you realized things were getting rougher or going further than you thought they would. You might even have a few bruises or scars. If you gave in and submitted then it was consensual and you are a slut.

    4) After the fact, no matter how naive, misled, used and/or violated you feel, you must simply accept that it was consensual and you are a slut.

    = = =

    That’s the message conveyed or, at least tacitly justified, by the ‘Don’t Be That Girl’ poster.

    The ‘Don’t Be That Guy’ posters are addressed to guys who think those are the rules. If you’re really concerned that you might be falsely accused of rape, there may be some chance that you’re one of those guys.

  18. 18
    Sercee

    As an Edmontonian following these events CLOSELY and raging about them as vocally as I can, well, obviously I’m mad. Also, losing (and gaining!) friends. There have been more and more conversations about these issues in my circle lately and a couple people I’ve known for a long time I had figured out – over the last few months or so – are MRA supporters at the very least. Now, the number of people expressing their stances clearly has skyrocketed. On one hand, I’ve gained a new solidarity with people who were buds before but now are definitely of like mind (friends are not much closer friends). On the other hand, I’m ill at how many people I actually know who think this shit is not only okay but the right way to view it. (I got in an argument with one who posted a GWW video and said that the people who dismiss her and that movement as hateful are just trying to silence them or not give them a fair shake. After watching the video I told him that yep, she’s still hateful).

    I posted a big thing about “doing it right” linking to Richard Carrier’s blog, to try to explain to people the difference between men’s issues and hating women which went over VERY well and seemed to get people thinking… but still.

    I started noticing MRA Edmonton posters on Whyte ave last year (I ripped the first one I saw down because I was pissed it was in my town… bad form, I know, but I decided not to continue that) and now these things are going around. My city has officially been polluted. Unfortunately, as a friend pointed out, it’s Alberta so it’s not going to get cleaned up fast…

    Also, dear MRA, if you’re really afraid the girl you’re hitting on might “change her mind in the morning”? Don’t sleep with her. You won’t have to worry about your fem-paranoia, and she won’t have to worry about being treated like shit. You both win!

  19. 19
    Jeremy Shaffer

    Men’s Rights Edmonton believes the original “Don’t be that guy” campaign is hate speech. It specifically targets a gender and all members of that gender as perpetrators of rape.

    Funny, as a man I don’t feel like the “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign in any way targets me. It provides some sound points to take into consideration when interacting with other people, particularly in a setting that could lead to sex, but not discriminating against me or encouraging others to do so. Probably because I don’t engage in the actions the campaign properly highlights as a negative. Maybe, and I may be going out on a limb here, but just maybe if a guy truely feels they are being targeted by this campaign it’d be a good idea if they gave their actions some honest reconsiderations before screaming persecution.

    How more can you trivialize real victims of rape than by making a false rape claim?

    Probably by creating a counter-campaign that promotes the apologetics of rape that are typically used to denigrate or place culpability on the vicitm as much as, if not more than, the perpetrator is a good start. You could further trivialize them by insisting that you have the deepest of sympathy for them while demanding greater enforcement of penalties of crimes “real victims of rape” are often accused of commiting simply because they reported their rape.

    Reliable statistics on rape and false claims of rape are hard to find. Some studies, bolstered by low conviction rates, suggest that false claims of rape are on a par with actual rape reports.

    I was going to suggest that you could talk to some of the researchers the tobacco companies hired to claim that there was no link between cancer and consumption of their products to get pointers of finding “reliable” statistics but it looks like you got a handle on that now.

  20. 20
    Jeremy Shaffer

    Amendment to my previous post: I don’t feel like the “Don’t Be That Guy” targets me now. It definitely would have targeted me when I was younger (though not me as younger as I would like to say). Fortunately, I’ve grown a lot since then, though I’m sure areas for improvement remain.

  21. 21
    thascius

    It occurred to me this evening that one of the things MRA’s go on and on about is that men can be victims of sexual assault-which is true. And that women can be perpetrators of sexual assault-which is also true. Their claim that female on male rape is as common as male and female I find highly dubious, but it does happen. If their goal was really to bring gender equity to the “Don’t be that guy” campaign, why not posters saying “Don’t be that girl who has sex with a guy who’s too drunk to consent.” or “Don’t be that girl who assumes what he’s wearing = consent.” or “Don’t be that girl who assumes because he’s a rapper he wants you to fellate him.” That could have been consciousness raising, and drawn people’s attention to something that’s often overlooked and dismissed. If only male victims of sexual assault were as worthy of the MRAs’ time and attention as perpetrators. If only.

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