Processing: The Sexual Harassment And Abuse Floodgates In General… And CFI In Particular (UPDATED AND CORRECTED) »« This Needs To Be Handled

Karen Stollznow’s Complaint About Ben Radford – Do You Have Evidence Backing It?

If you have evidence or personal accounts that will back Karen Stollznow’s complaint about Ben Radford, please send them to CFI — and please make them public if you can.

The CFI Board of Directors can be emailed via the Corporate Secretary, Tom Flynn, at tflynn@centerforinquiry.net. They can also be reached by snail mail, at:

Center for Inquiry Board of Directors
PO Box 741
Amherst, NY 14226-0741

Comments

  1. hjhornbeck says

    Really, nobody? OK, I’ll ask it then: why should we contact CFI, exactly?

    CFI’s board have… not demonstrated a eagerness, shall we say, to hear from the public. From the sounds of it, Stollznow presented them with a fair bit of evidence to back up her claims, only to be minimized and have it swept under the carpet. More evidence probably won’t do much, unless external pressure is brought to bear. Stollznow herself would be a better place do direct evidence to.

    I bet I’m missing something, though.

  2. Silentbob says

    @ 1 hjhornbeck

    If you don’t mind me saying so, you may be missing the “please make them public” part.

  3. Greta Christina says

    CFI’s board have… not demonstrated a eagerness, shall we say, to hear from the public. From the sounds of it, Stollznow presented them with a fair bit of evidence to back up her claims, only to be minimized and have it swept under the carpet. More evidence probably won’t do much, unless external pressure is brought to bear. Stollznow herself would be a better place do direct evidence to.

    hjhornbeck @ #1: Because more evidence makes it harder for them to ignore. Because it’s easier to ignore one person making a complaint than it is to ignore one person making a complaint with several other people corroborating her story and making it more plausible. Because more people reporting their evidence or personal accounts is “external pressure.” Because some of us are trying to give CFI the benefit of the doubt, and give them a chance to do the right thing — and more evidence will make it easier for them to do that.

  4. hjhornbeck says

    Silentbob @2:

    If you don’t mind me saying so, you may be missing the “please make them public” part.

    I don’t mind at all, becau-

    Greta Christina @3:

    Because more evidence makes it harder for them to ignore.

    Yeah, exactly. But here’s the thing: they’ve already had a tonne of evidence, from those who were directly involved no less. If Stollznow is correct (and she probably is), they dismissed and minimized it.

    Problem: any evidence we could gather by calling for it would be much weaker than what they have on hand. If they dismissed/minimized strong evidence, what makes anyone think they’ll take weaker evidence more seriously, even if it is in greater number?

    Because it’s easier to ignore one person making a complaint than it is to ignore one person making a complaint with several other people corroborating her story and making it more plausible.

    Stollznow already had that, in the form of Blake Smith. He was part of the same podcast, knew both parties well, and from his own statements we know he was involved in the investigation. What are the odds that someone else could provide as good a testimony as him, yet be completely ignored until now?

    Because more people reporting their evidence or personal accounts is “external pressure.”

    We’ve already tried that after the WiS2 debacle. Despite quite a bit of external pressure, CFI issued a “fuck off” of a non-pology and did absolutely nothing. They’ve already made their move, in the form of that statement. They’ve already crossed and dotted their legal I’s and T’s. They are sitting on solid ground, and any movement away from that would be an admission they screwed up. They are not going to respond to pressure.

    Because some of us are trying to give CFI the benefit of the doubt, and give them a chance to do the right thing — and more evidence will make it easier for them to do that.

    The same benefit of the doubt we gave them after WiS2? Remember, a lot of us backed down because Lindsay showed signs of getting the point; so far as we know, the board still supports his speech 100%, and they are the one’s we’re trying to get to now. Remember, they’ve already made their move, by issuing that statement wiping their hands of the mess.

    It’s our move now, and I say we encourage people to come forward publicly. That will drive away donors and investors, hitting them where they pay the most attention: their bottom line.

  5. Greta Christina says

    hjhornbeck @ #4: Will you please, please, stop trying to persuade people with evidence or experience of workplace sexual harassment to NOT report it to the company in question?

    Yes, also reporting it publicly would be good, if people think they can do that, Not everyone can. If there are people who feel that they can’t go public, but can report their information to CFI, that is more helpful than not reporting it at all. Please stop discouraging victims and witnesses of sexual harassment from reporting it to whoever they feel okay about reporting it to.Thanks.

  6. hjhornbeck says

    Christina @5:

    Will you please, please, stop trying to persuade people with evidence or experience of workplace sexual harassment to NOT report it to the company in question?

    Whoa whoa whoa, I wasn’t arguing for that. What I was arguing was that, in this one particular case, I don’t think it makes sense to go to the company with additional information. In the general case I’m in complete agreement with you, bringing evidence of harassment to the company in question should be one of the first steps taken. I apologize if my writing wasn’t clear on that point. And to head off another possible misunderstanding:

    Yes, also reporting it publicly would be good, if people think they can do that, Not everyone can.

    Agreed 100% here, too. No-one is required to be a hero. You should not bring evidence to the public unless you are capable and comfortable of defending it.

    Ok, back to this one particular case. I quote Stollznow:

    I have since discovered that this company has a history of sexual harassment claims. They also have a track record of disciplining these harassers lightly, and then closing ranks like good ol’ boys. Another colleague assured me this was better than their previous custom of simply ignoring claims of sexual harassment.

    If what she is saying is correct (and I have no reason to doubt it), then CFI have a history of minimizing or silencing harassment and assault claims. Given that, what good would it do to provide them with more information about a case they’ve closed? They certainly imply they’re finished in the press release:

    There have been blog posts recently that have commented on public allegations made by Karen Stollznow regarding harassment she suffered and what she considered a less than adequate response by the organization employing the harasser. […] However, we would like to make it clear that any suggestion that CFI has been less than diligent in addressing harassment complaints is mistaken.

    If the case has been “diligent”ly handled, what difference would it make if they were handed more information? If they had more would they treat it fairly and equitably, in contradiction of the evidence that suggests they would not? Throwing more evidence at them would be like bringing more evidence in front of a crooked judge. It wouldn’t convince them, and in the worst case it would make it easier to dig up dirt on the witnesses in order to discredit them.

    I hope the CFI board isn’t that crooked, but given what we saw in response to WiS2, and what Stollznow has handed us…. I’m not willing to extend them any more charity.

  7. says

    Hi Greta! As a feminist and atheist, I’ve really appreciated your and other bloggers’ courage in bringing this issue to light.

    I have a question about how to handle allegations of rape and sexual harassment. In the local atheist group that I am only now tenuously connected to (because so many members display open disdain for women and feminists), Karen’s allegations have been discussed only briefly, and with criticism and disbelief. Basically, they’re saying: “Well we ARE skeptics after all, and skeptic means we need PROOF! DUURRRR”

    But with something like rape, or the kind of sexual harassment Karen experienced (and I do understand Karen has lots of proof, but I’m talking about a case where perhaps, like many cases, there’s not much proof beyond the victim’s testimony), what is the best way to handle cases where there’s not much physical proof? Because I understand how little rape/harassment is actually prosecuted and how difficult it is to accuse someone, I favor giving the accuser the benefit of the doubt.

    I guess I’m asking: what’s the best way to respond to these people, who say that there must be ample physical evidence in order to actually DO something about harassment or rape? In the real world, it would be awesome if every person who experienced this kind of abuse had ample physical evidence, but it just doesn’t happen that way. I don’t for one second believe that that means we shouldn’t believe the victim. What do you think?

  8. tiberiusbeauregard says

    @Hannah Barnhardt

    Don’t underestimate the power of forensics. You’d be surprised how quickly and precisely these folks can usually tell if a rape/assault allegation has any credibility, or not.

    For non-violent human interactions: Go and get an audio recorder of some sort. Or find witnesses. Or surveillance footage. Any evidence is good.

  9. Greta Christina says

    Don’t underestimate the power of forensics. You’d be surprised how quickly and precisely these folks can usually tell if a rape/assault allegation has any credibility, or not.

    tiberiusbeauregard @ #8: Right. Which is why, out of every 100 rapes, 3 rapists are convicted.

    For non-violent human interactions: Go and get an audio recorder of some sort. Or find witnesses. Or surveillance footage. Any evidence is good.

    Right. Because when you’re being harassed, the sensible thing to do is to run out and get an audio recorder or gather witnesses, go back in time to when the harassment started, and record it. Or make sure that you get harassed in a place where there’s video surveillance. m-/

    This is the second instance of rape denialism from this commenter in this blog. I don’t see any reason to tolerate any more. Banned.

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