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Jun 08 2009

Is there a “rape proclivity bubble on a multi-axis quadrant?”

Greg Laden, as you may already know, recently postulated a hypothesis regarding the possibility of a “rape switch” — a set of circumstances in which soldiers are significantly more likely to rape members of the local population — that rang true with him. The idea originally came from one of his students’ term paper written in 1993. Discussion of the topic has been heated, to say the least, and I’ve been throwing more than my fair share of wild punches in the fray. This is just an attempt to put together a number of them into something more cohesive (and coherent) now that a lot of the rage has subsided. I will attempt to avoid or ameliorate those sticking points that drew so much of everyone’s off-topic ire, and I’ll even try to make up for a number of misconceptions I myself had in coming into the argument to begin with.

Now, fair warning, I’m a computer geek, and I have a tendency to think in computer terms rather than organic squishy ones. Also, I am the furthest thing from a psychologist imaginable, so I am neither qualified nor trained to try to tie everything together. There’s a lot of preamble to get out of the way before I can get to my actual postulate, so here goes.

To start off, the major point of contention throughout the argument was Greg’s assertion that anyone for whom this potential “switch” is turned on is automatically a rapist, whether they’ve raped or not. Everyone who argued against this usage seem to be coming at it from the angle that the word itself already has a defined meaning – being, someone who has, or has attempted to rape. I’m still trying to fight off a linguistic prescriptivist image, but words mean what they mean because we all agree that’s what they mean, and if the majority of your audience disagrees with your use of a word, then it’s up to you to prove that the definition needs stretching, or use a different term. This may be ceding too much ground to people who want to derail the conversation off the useful ideas presented in the original hypothesis, but my goal here is to avoid such derailment. As such, I will only refer to such people for whom the act is capable, as “potential rapists”. I say this knowing full well that every single human being on the planet is a potential everything, so when referring to a person as being a “potential rapist” I mean that most or all of the barriers present normally in any member of a “normal” society have been removed and thus the abhorrent act in question is much more possible for this person. The word “potential”, because of that shared capacity for evil omnipresent in humankind, is useless without first qualifying the argument as such.

Another problem with the argument as originally presented is that there is necessarily only one switch, that it affects only the ability to rape someone, and that it only has two positions, off or on. This kind of binary thinking is something we humans are good at, but it abstracts the argument to the point of absurdity. The human mind is much more squishy than that — as with my belief that no one single gene is responsible for the genetic components of, say, autism, or homosexuality, I suspect that no one single aspect of your personality is responsible for your ability to commit a rape. There are a number of factors that change fluidly from situation to situation.

There was a side argument (and a really galling one at that) as to whether or not Stephanie Zvan was justified in, while evaluating any particular situation to determine whether or not a person was capable of rape, applying the term “rapist” to that person in her decision process and acting accordingly — whether she ever voiced that internal label or not. That conversation mostly came out of the comments, and frankly, the original post only argued that she was within her rights to act as though the worst case scenario was true no matter what. Now, you can be in a dark alley and run away from an otherwise harmless man, and mistake the person as a rapist in the process, but if you were to pass the person in the street in broad daylight the next day and identify him as being a rapist, frankly you’re in the wrong in that situation. But that wasn’t the argument at hand, nor was it that armed soldiers or cops trained to react with the same level of certainty and people end up dying as a result. A few people kept pulling the conversation in those directions, and I honestly feel it was both out of line and disgusting. No matter what, a person has every imperative to protect themselves whether the danger is real or imagined — because you can’t tell for sure one way or the other unless you refuse to act, at which point you’ll find out for certain and there’s no going back from there. That Greg is voicing the idea that this is possible — that there is a subset of people capable of rape and might therefore actually rape when presented the opportunity — may be heavy-handed in saying “let’s call these people who CAN rape, ‘rapists’,” but that heavy-handedness only comes from stretching a term already agreed-upon to apply only to people who have committed the act, regardless of whether the actual idea (e.g. that all men are “potential rapists”) is justified. This should not be extended under any circumstances to the internal thought processes of someone who has every right to defend themselves against even the merest potential of harm.

This brings me to my argument proper. In order to counter a particular misconception I had regarding BDSM, Becca provided a verbal illustration that started tying it all together for me, which I will quote:

I need a visual model; let’s try a quadrant.
Put “consent” on the X axis and “violence” on the Y axis.

(upper right = both violence and consent, e.g. some BDSM; lower right = no violence but with consent, e.g. positive stuff; upper left = violence without consent, e.g. war rape; lower left = no violence or consent, e.g. necrophilia? roofies?)

Any given person can be represented by both a single dot (representing some average or their primary proclivity), and a “bubble of probability” around that space (which need not be regular in shape but could be thought of a little like an electron cloud- where the probability of occupying a given space fades to practically nothing at some point). It is probably possible to have multiple noncontiguous bubbles.

For an average person, war zones tend to increase the sample size of that bubble of probability toward more violent and less consent. They can also move the primary-proclivity dot (which may be related to why it’s difficult to “turn off the switch”).

(I get that being a Dom doesn’t necessarily mean you’re willing to forego consent, and I get that Doms consider themselves to be subservient in the relationships, DuWayne kindly took me aside and gave me lots of reasons to open my mind a bit on the topic, most of them involving the fact that I was being really closed-minded about it in the first place, so let’s drop that tangent for now.)

Out of context of whether it’s possible for a Dom to rape someone who isn’t consenting, let’s apply that quadrant to the issue at large.

There is definitely some intangible difference between those that are capable of raping someone in a given situation and those that are not. What that intangible difference is, what Greg refers to as a switch, is whether this particular situation falls inside one of those proclivity bubbles or not. With regard to the original postulate, I’d contend that there are more axes than just this — some of which factor into whether or not you’d be willing to ignore a lack of consent. And not only that, but each person could have a different set of axes that factor into this diagram.

Let’s say in the average person they include: a) social acclimation, b) your perception of the victim’s humanity, c) general inhibition, d) stress factors (e.g. the more stressed you are, the more likely you’d act otherwise out of character).

So you take a group of people. Train them to be killing machines, and strip them of their inhibitions against killing. Teach them to impose their will on others with force, deadly force if necessary. Then let them congregate with and rely upon only one another, with very little contact with their pre-war home life. Let them get shot at, lose a number of friends senselessly. Repeat until they’re just about totally crazy. If a culture emerges where rape doesn’t seem as repugnant as all the death that’s around you, then social acclimation is diminished — the morals imposed on you by “civilization” are reduced or depleted. Also, if you’ve been taught that the population you’re at war with, is sub-human, then your perception of your victim’s humanity is decreased, stretching the proclivity bubble further on that axis. Throw in a desire for revenge for your fallen bretheren and you might as well just double the size of the bubble on every axis.

Likewise, as we know rapists can spring up naturally in the populace without a war going on, whatever conditions that need to be met in the particular person might be met by other means (e.g. psychological or chemical problems in the person’s brain, sexist upbringing, being taught some group of humans or even just women are not human, etc). So it’s not like only soldiers are rapists — just that all the events in wartime are likely to drag your proclivity bubble larger and larger on a number of fronts until the likelihood of a situation coming up landing even at random on all those behavioural axes where you can potentially rape, and where you actually DO, approaches 1.

So after all these conditions are met, and the particular situation and confluence of all the proclivity bubbles on all the axes lands this particular situation on this multi-dimensional array within one of these bubbles, then this person is a potential rapist. Now, because the human mind is not a binary state, giving a man a shotgun does not make him a murderer until he points and shoots. Just because a potential victim is well off assuming the man with the shotgun could very well shoot him or her, does not mean that person is de facto a murderer ahead of time — but the victim is well advised to get the hell out of Dodge as though he was aiming right for his brainpan.

So, it could very well be a matter of young kids, hormones raging, getting their aggression sliders cranked up to 11 by basic training (if not by the training then at least by the aggressiveness of the other recruits), finding themselves expected to be “adults” and able to restrain this newfound “power” when this is the first time they’ve been out on their own, like, ever. Put them overseas, where the social inhibitions, and inhibition in general, are negated or culled, and they’ll do some really sick things, like throwing puppies off cliffs, shooting up intersections, dehumanizing and torturing and killing otherwise innocent people they’ve been trained to see as non-humans, raping 12-year-old girls then killing the families and burning the houses down. In the case of these soldiers, it’s honestly like they get that “no killing” part of their moral centres turned off in order to make them capable of killing, and that has a cascade effect through the rest of their psyche, only it’s a whole bunch of different factors all adding up and, in aggregate, turns your sweet teenage boy into a slavering rapist.

So is Greg right that there’s a “rape switch”? In my opinion, yes and no. Yes, there is a confluence of behaviours and conditions that have to be just right to do something that you would otherwise think repugnant. No because it’s not a binary switch that you could, say, hard-wire off, or justifiably kill everyone with it set to on. It’s, as Becca rightly pointed out, more like a fluid, organic set of proclivity bubbles on a number of axes that might correspond with each of the “factors” that one can identify as contributing to a rapist mindset.

Seems like a bit of a cop-out ultimately, doesn’t it?

Oh, and while I was drafting this, Greg totally poked the hornets nest some more. Great read, and makes me look like a “me too”.

68 comments

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  1. 1
    Rystefn

    I agree with the vast majority of this post, but there are a few things: I don’t particularly think the likelihood approaches 1 in very many people. I think the odds get distressingly high, and that, given a population of thousands, even a 10% chance turns into hundreds of rapists. A higher chance, of course, translates into more. The odds for any given person will vary wildly, of course, but overall, I’d be willing to bet they average out to much higher than any of us would like to think. Of course, being around rapists who get no punishment, will have an effect on the “bubble” as well, so if it isn’t stopped swiftly, there will be a cascade effect, which is what history tells us does occur, at least at times.

    Also, this: “There was a side argument (and a really galling one at that) as to whether or not Stephanie Zvan was justified in, while evaluating any particular situation to determine whether or not a person was capable of rape, applying the term “rapist” to that person in her decision process and acting accordingly — whether she ever voiced that internal label or not…” is not entirely true. As I recall, basically everyone was in the “think whatever you want to think” camp. The side discussion was about the ramifications of thinking that way. At most, there was an admonition to “think very carefully about which habits she wants to emulate.”

    Other than that, I think you’re on the right track here, and hopefully it might help others to understand. If nothing else, once we get a handle on the causes, we can at least get people to undserstand when it starts happening to them and maybe that will help them to resist the urge.

  2. 2
    Jason Thibeault

    Well, “approaches 1″ doesn’t mean “equals 1″, though it implies that it’s pretty damn close.  I guess what I mean to say is, throughout the population, any given situation might end with rape, regardless of by whom.  If that means I scale back the probability factor, fine, but that belittles the point.  Beyond that, the further you stretch those bubbles on each axis, the more likely any given situation will fall within one of them.  I agree with the cascade effect of lack of punishment though.  Seeing someone rape and get no punishment normalizes the behaviour and pushes the boundaries of the bubble on the social axis (for example).

    I still don’t agree that the admonition of certainty where someone has no means of defending themselves but fleeing, and certainty when your actions could have fatal consequences to the other person, are a reasonable comparison.  I see why she says the comparison is out of line.

  3. 3
    Rystefn

    Even aside from the normalization effect (which I have no doubt impacts here), there’s also the fact that it demonstrates so the people who might have otherwise been held back by fear rthat they need not so much, after all.

    Oh, and it wasn’t a comparison. That’s not at all what I said. She made the comparison to soldiers and cops, all I did was point out that the behavior she was planning to emulate lead to violence, cruelty, and in fact, to the very rapes this whole discussion is about.

  4. 4
    DuWayne

    Fuck all!!!  I will try to wade through this later – I am tired, my head hurts and I have been totally distracted by my post about accommodationists and Mooney’s response to it.  Time to shut down with some sci-fi…

    I will be back tomorrow – maybe. I am also pretty well tapped on this rape discussion…Far more interested in writing about good clean fucking – in a variety of ways and with a variety of people…

  5. 5
    Jason Thibeault

    Rystefn, I’m afraid you didn’t come off as one of the people who thought it was okay to think whatever you please about the subject. 

    Stephanie (OP):

    There are a lot of benefits, to me, of treating that large increase in incidence of rape as a universal, particularly if my goal is to prevent my rape in a war situation or that of others in a potential war situation. If I avoid all male soldiers in war, I am much more likely to avoid being raped. If I can stop war from happening, I can keep many more women from being raped. If I assume that no man is a rapist, even in war, until it’s proven, there’s a very good chance I can’t do either. But both of those are the point of Silence Is the Enemy.

    So, what outweighs the potential costs, to me, of acting as though Greg’s statement were untrue?

    Rystefn:

    Avoid soldiers in a time of war. It’s smart. But do it because they’re more likely to be rapists than most categories of people are. Don’t assume they ARE rapists. It’s a subtle difference, but it’s the difference between rational caution and bigotry.

    Me:

    One way or the other, for erring on the side of safety, anything above your personal comfort level of probability [...], and you should assume the person is capable of rape and distrust them as such.

    If that means you consider them rapists while you do so, even though they haven’t raped anyone, then as long as your conscience can live with the misnomer as the expense of your assured safety, then I don’t personally see a problem with it.

    Stephanie:

    But when I say there is a practical difference to me between thinking “might possibly rape me” and thinking “rapist” that there isn’t for you, I mean it. There’s a reason that the military and police are trained toward certainty, even when it isn’t really there. In a situation where your safety is at stake, that certainty makes a difference in how you react.

    Jason, you’re getting close to getting this. You’re still speaking as though the labels in my head make a difference to who someone is, though. My conscience is troubled by that not even slightly.

    Rystefn:

    That certainty costs lives, Stephanie. Innocent lives. I’ve seen with my own eyes death stemming directly from this false certainty. You’re 100% right that the certainty makes a difference in how you react. Both police and soldiers kill innocent people and commit barbaric atrocities because of that certainty. That certainty is part of what leads said soldiers to rape in such numbers as we’ve been discussing. Are you really sure that’s what you want to teach yourself?

    Me:

    In the case of Stephanie being falsely certain that someone is a rapist (in the sense of “is capable of rape”, as I happen to agree that her internal label applied to me may never even come up in conversation much less hurt me), the only real potential harm to her posed by false certainty is that she might be wrong, and might not otherwise befriend someone worth befriending.

    Rystefn:

    It will probably never cause Stephanie to kill anyone. It will most likely never cost a life. It’s still a habit that leads the people she specifically mentioned in defense of the habit to do terrible things from time time. Sometimes by accident. Sometimes not so much.

    I’m sorry, but ultimately, being certain that a person is a rapist during the decision process for whether or not to flee, does not have any negative repercussions like those you’ve suggested with soldiers, and the label applies to that person ONLY DURING STEPHANIE’S DECISION MAKING PROCESS.  It’s not going to cause her to falsely accuse someone of rape, or of hurting or killing someone. No matter who brought it up first, emulating that “cop certainty” behaviour does not have the same repercussions as an end-result.  Arguing against that decision making process and the label applied to her decision making process is almost like trying to put a foot in the door for her to double-think her decision and say, “well, maybe he ISN’T a rapist”, and if you take her down from 100% certain that she should flee to 99%, and that 1% chance happens to end in her rape, then you’ve done her a grave disservice in suggesting that she should act differently than she’s trained herself to act.

    If you somehow think that she is going to turn around and attack, possibly with a weapon as per the cop certainty argument, a person that had no intention of raping her, then I don’t think you get the point of what she was saying.  And I don’t think you get that she really is looking out only for her own self-defense.

    I don’t particularly feel comfortable speaking for Stephanie though, having only known her online and for a few months at best, so I disclaimer this by stating that this is my own interpretation of her argument.

    DuWayne: you deserve a break, you magnificent bastard. Come tear this apart later though, will ya? Once you’ve recharged the batteries of course. I agree that a good clean (or super-dirty) sex post would be a welcome change of pace.

  6. 6
    Rystefn

    Actually, I spelled out specifically that this is NOT what I think. You remember the part where you quoted me saying I don’t think it will cost a life. That’s not because I don’t think Stephanie has what it takes to kill someone. Everyone has what it takes to kill someone. I also explained how you don’t fucking need to be 100% certain to protect yourself. You don’t need to be 100% certain that a needle lying on the ground in the park is infected with Ebola to avoid stabbing yourself with it, do you? It’s an extreme example, but so is that ridiculous idea that 1% uncertainty will get her raped.

    She says there’s a reason soldiers and police are trained to think in certainties, and she’s right. But it’s not a good reason. It’s because it’s a lot easier to teach someone to be certain the people they’re dealing with are subhuman monsters than to teach them how to fully understand the kind of situations they are going to find themselves in. It doesn’t help stay safer or make better decisions. It helps them commit atrocities, though.

    My understanding is that, statistically, she has a much better chance of being raped by a close friend than the stranger in the dark alley, anyway. Terribly sorry if I refuse to contribute to a culture of fear by encouraging people to assume every stranger is a rapist when they will be equally safe simply taking reasonable precautions. Like I said before, she can think whatever she needs to think. Hell, I said it more than once. It may not serve her s well as she thinks it will, but that’s her burden to bear. I encouraged her to carefully consider it, and I still do. The moment people start telling others that it’s a good idea to think that way, I have a problem. That leads to nothing good.

  7. 7
    Jason Thibeault

    Basically, your argument is that from certainty stems the possibility of unintended harm to others.  My argument is that in performing mental operations, being certain is effective shorthand for there’s a possibility but I don’t have time to weigh it presently.  We’re talking past each other, and that’s the problem with this whole argument.  (That, and this has less to do with meeting a stranger in a dark alley than it does with the original post, wherein she is putting herself in the shoes of a woman in a war-torn country with roving bands of soldier-rapists.)

    Cognitively, I’d argue that when presented with a decision that you have to make very rapidly, there is some evolutionary advantage to the “act now, deliberate later” idea.  The only counterargument to “act now, deliberate later” is when acting now could have unintended, destructive side-effects, as your argument poses.  I contend that the situation presented does not have unintended side-effects.  So she avoids all soldiers during war-time.  What positive effect is she missing out on, through her “bigotry”?  And what negative ones does her “bigotry” have against the soldiers?

    Besides, when you have to act now and deliberate later, that means you’re processing things very quickly.    It’s a lot easier to train someone to act with certainty than to deliberate over the situation because the situation may have more layers of complication or abstraction than you can process all at a time.  When processing things quickly, you want to eliminate as many possibilities as you can, so as not to let yourself deliberate for too long.  When there’s a chance that a particular soldier that’s about to, say, find you huddled in the corner of your house, is not a rapist, what does that mean to your cognitive decision to get the hell out via the back door or window while you have the chance?  Do you want to add that precious few seconds of cognition, determining whether or not your decision is based on rational facts, or raw emotional fear and could possibly be prejudiced unfairly against this soldier?

    I see that you’re constantly stating that she has every right to think what she needs to, in order to stay safe.  But at the same time you’re undermining your own statements by suggesting to be careful in case you make mistakes and unfairly judge people.  I’d personally rather she unfairly judge people.

  8. 8
    Rystefn

    No. My argument does not stem from that at all. My argument against certainty is much more stemming form the complete lack of necessity of self-deception to act and from the the fact that cultivating lazy mental habits will lead to that same lazy mental habit impacting other parts of your life. You’re too hung up on one specific example. It’s not an example I chose, so trying to pretend it’s the end-all be-all of my argument is completely unfair. As I’ve pointed out again and again: the only reason I ever pointed out soldiers and cops at all ever in relation to certainty is that Stephanie held them up as role-models in this aspect. I was merely pointing out that they are damned shitty role models, as a general rule. Doubly so given that we’re talking about one of the specific atrocities this certainty can bring about in the first place.

    Cognitively, I would argue that there’s a pretty large difference between “act now, deliberate later” and “HOLY FUCK, IT’S A ROVING BAND OF RAPISTS! RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!” Once again: just as you don’t need to be certain the needle is infected to avoid being stabbed with it; and you don’t need to assume that the alligator will eat you to avoid being mauled; you don’t need to assume the soldiers are rapists to avoid being assaulted by them. You know, “HOLY FUCK, IT’S A ROVING BAND OF SOLDIERS! RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!” is 100% equally effective. If you stop to wonder “Wait, why are we avoiding these people, again?” Well, that falls rather neatly into “act now, deliberate later”-land, doesn’t it?

    Then, later on, when you’re deliberating, you have the liberty of taking the time to understand that soldiers are potentially extremely dangerous people for any number of reasons, the elevated risk or rape and other forms of violence being pretty high on the list, and in fact, comprising the vast majority of it.

    Oh, and while I’m poking holes in this idea, isn’t it pretty much the exact same thing as telling women to avoid getting drunk at frat parties? Doesn’t anyone who suggests that as a defense against rape get yelled at for “blaming the victim” and shouted down as an evil sexist agent of the patriarchy and defender of “rape-culture”?

  9. 9
    Jason Thibeault

    You’re arguing both for and against certainty simultaneously.  You’re saying “I should run away from potential danger” is cognitively identical to “I should run away from danger”, but it really isn’t.  There’s going to be a brief moment in the former where, voluntarily or not, you’re assessing the level of danger.  Being trained for certainty means you’re taking away the need to assess the level of danger.  In the case of, say, an alligator, you are assuming it WILL eat you when you run away, because you know alligators are extremely dangerous and CAN eat you.  You’re in essence assuming that this particular alligator is a human-eating monster, during your cognitive processes.  This isn’t intellectually lazy, it’s how our brains work in a crisis situation.  Since we can’t think our way out of a wet paper bag, and every situation can only be described in levels of probability in our heads, in acting we are assuming certainty that our course of action is correct — at least, for the split second during which we’re making it.  Human brains have far too much tolerance for uncertainty, meaning they will assume a situation is certain even if it only has a 50-percent-plus-one chance of happening.  In assuming a situation is certain, they will act.  Or, if they’re trained to deliberate and assess until they reach a higher level of certainty, they won’t act — they’ll freeze and do nothing until they CAN achieve a higher level of certainty — deliberate now, act later.  The more doubt you have that your course of action is correct, the longer you’ll pause to think, whether you like it or not.

    Now, I’ve yet to hear a good argument against Stephanie defending herself in this specific situation — because you’re not offering one, you say she has every right to do so.  Yet, you’re arguing AROUND the topic.  Either to be argumentative or to split hairs or to erode at the confidence level she has that she’s always making the best decision for herself.

    The comparison with getting drunk at a frat party does not hold.  Yes, you’re doing something stupid, because you’re assuming you’re safe when you’re really not.  The mistake here is the assumption of safety.  When’s the last time you got drunk while you thought you weren’t safe?  But to blame the girl for being taken advantage of — that’s just wrong on so many levels.  The immoral act came from outside, and has nothing to do with you getting drunk outside of the fact that this facilitates someone’s ability to take advantage of you.  The person committing the moral outrage is still at fault.  If you park your car in front of a fire hydrant on the side of the street, and a drunk person comes plowing into it at 150kph after having ricocheted off a nearby tree, you are not at fault for the drunk guy getting behind the wheel just because your car is in a no-parking spot, even if being in a no-parking spot puts you in a known drunk-guy-ricochet-path.

    At that, the next time you get into a fight-or-flight situation, why don’t you stop to think about whether you’re applying proper labels to the potential threats?  Weren’t you trained to push all doubt out of your mind, as part of your military training?  Have you ever done it, despite the potential for unjustified cruelty?  There’s a reason this is important, and why it’s more important than to try to train people to avoid cruelty, since that last fact stems from teaching these people not to be bigoted against too large of a social group to begin with.  You can be “bigoted” against a soldier because it’s assumed that a soldier has a weapon and training on how to use the weapon, a potentially itchy trigger finger, or a heightened chance of raping you if you’re a female non-combatant.  If you’re “bigoted” against, say, the brown people you’re in charge of either killing or subjugating, you’re classifying them as sub-human, and are more likely to be cruel to them.  Running away from a soldier that you don’t deem as “sub-human” is not cruel against them, nor is it intellectually lazy to assume that there’s a better chance that you’ll get raped if you’re a lone female noncombatant in a warzone.  So please stop arguing that intellectual laziness is the problem here.  It’s no wonder you’re grating on everyone’s nerves with this line of argumentation, because you’re chipping away at the underpinnings of the person’s self-defense and you have no moral justification to provide for it other than a sense of holier-than-thou.

  10. 10
    Rystefn

    You’re wrong. I’m not pulling analogies out of my ass, I’m talking about situations where I have experience. Remember when I said this: “I avoid crawling through bushes in the woods out here because I know there might be rattlesnakes or copperheads in there, not because I’m certain of it. I don’t poke alligators with sticks because I know it might attack me if I do, not because I’m certain it will.”? There are no bands of enemy soldiers where I live just now, but you know what there are? There are copperheads; there are rattlesnakes; and there are alligators. Guess what I’ve never been bitten by? All of the above. I’m not drawing random analogies, I’m talking about my own actual mental processes. That’s why I used the needle example – because it’s something people more readily understand than alligators and venomous snakes.

    I have never yet assumed that the alligator WILL eat me. Do you know what that’s called? Panic. It never helps. Ever. When you say “The more doubt you have that your course of action is correct, the longer you’ll pause to think, whether you like it or not.” You’re pretty much right on… but here’s the thing you seem to have trouble wrapping your mind around: You can completely, 100% believe you are taking the right course of action while not assuming that the alligator will eat you. You say I’m arguing “Either to be argumentative or to split hairs or to erode at the confidence level she has that she’s always making the best decision for herself.” It’s the last one. Because if she is choosing the panic response, I don’t think she is making the best decision for herself.

    “The comparison with getting drunk at a frat party does not hold.” Really? Point out the difference, then.

    “But to blame the girl for being taken advantage of — that’s just wrong on so many levels.” No one’s doing that here.

    “Weren’t you trained to push all doubt out of your mind, as part of your military training?” It didn’t take. This wasn’t a particularly smart point to bring up, though, since I already refuted it. Remember all that stuff about the unwarranted certainty of soldiers causing people to die? remember the part where I said I’ve seen the effects of this wrong assumption of certainty with my own eyes? Maybe you should go back and rethink this particular argument.

    “nor is it intellectually lazy to assume that there’s a better chance that you’ll get raped if you’re a lone female noncombatant in a warzone.” Thank you. This is EXACTLY my argument. This is what I’ve been saying. You don’t run because “OMG! HE’S A RAPIST!” You because <b>there’s a better chance</b>.

  11. 11
    Jason Thibeault

    I have never yet assumed that the alligator WILL eat me. Do you know what that’s called? Panic. It never helps. Ever. When you say “The more doubt you have that your course of action is correct, the longer you’ll pause to think, whether you like it or not.” You’re pretty much right on… but here’s the thing you seem to have trouble wrapping your mind around: You can completely, 100% believe you are taking the right course of action while not assuming that the alligator will eat you. You say I’m arguing “Either to be argumentative or to split hairs or to erode at the confidence level she has that she’s always making the best decision for herself.” It’s the last one. Because if she is choosing the panic response, I don’t think she is making the best decision for herself.

    This is insane. You’re arguing that a person must rewire their natural responses in order to avoid offending someone with their misnomers in their brain! What, do you think the potential rapist, or alligator, or needle, are capable of reading the person’s mind and telling whether they used the right word to describe them? You’re agreeing with me that a person in a bad situation needs to run away, but you’re arguing with them only about the certainty of what they’re doing.  That requires massive rewiring, by my understanding of cognitive processes, to be able to do things when you’re uncertain about them, as well as to rewire the decision making process on the side.

    “The comparison with getting drunk at a frat party does not hold.” Really? Point out the difference, then.

    “But to blame the girl for being taken advantage of — that’s just wrong on so many levels.” No one’s doing that here.

    I just did explain the difference — while conceding that in both situations you’re doing something dumb, by not acting as though you are 100% certain the outcome will be bad, I also explained that the act itself is what’s evil and to be blamed for the victimization. Don’t cherry pick the start and the middle of the very paragraph that argues the difference. But if you need more argumentation that there’s a difference, here. In the case of a person going to a frat party and being assaulted while drunk, they could be young and naive and don’t realize there’s any danger. They could have been convinced that the people they were with, would defend them or were “safe”. That does not mean that person was at fault for being assaulted. They were at fault for not being defensive enough in a situation where it has become far too “okay” to just assault a person that’s drunk — a fraternity “rape culture”.  But the assault itself — that’s wholly the fault of the assaulter.  Any amount of “well she shouldn’t have been there” or “well she shouldn’t have been drunk” after an assault like that, just serves to diminish the severity of the crime and spread the blame around.  And my counter-example of a person parking in a no-parking zone getting smoked by a drunk driver should show you that breaking one minor rule does not absolve the sins of the person breaking the major one.

    In the case of being in a war zone, your argument that one should be careful how they think about a given person in a given situation lest they be “bigoted” boils down to adding a layer of uncertainty to someone that’s already certain.  Going back again to the frat party example, where originally they’re certain they’re NOT going to get drunk at a frat party, you’ve added a layer of distraction to their thought process. For example, “don’t go get drunk at a frat party because someone MAY take advantage of you”, may end up wedging the door open just enough that the person allows themselves to be convinced to stick around and have just one more beer. Or just one more roofie-colada.

    Thank you. This is EXACTLY my argument. This is what I’ve been saying. You don’t run because “OMG! HE’S A RAPIST!” You because there’s a better chance.

    If you understood and agree with my argument, then you’re only arguing semantics (YET AGAIN), and have only been arguing semantics the whole time (WHAT A SURPRISE). You agree with me that it is vital that the cognitive processes run unimpeded and allow the person to make the decision as though there is every bit the certainty that that “better chance” equals a 100% chance — because a person has to make up their mind before they can act.

    Yet you’re, over and over, pounding on the distinction that “better chance” does not merit certainty. In acting, you are choosing to be certain. Even in the odd case where you can both act and be unsure as to whether or not it’s the right decision, there is, at the very least at some level, 100% certainty for just long enough to send the signals to your muscles. The decision-making process is evaluated afterward — e.g. act now, deliberate later. Unless you can somehow argue that it’s possible to cause an action in your body without being 100% certain that you want to perform that action — outside of neurological diseases. There’s a lot of neurology that happens — raise your right arm, a section of your brain lights up. See someone else raise their right arm, that same section lights up. The difference is whether you can control the impulse. And since your brain is more than capable of thinking about raising your right arm without actually doing it, that means it takes will to drop that filter preventing you from doing a thing. Giving a person a measure of uncertainty that they didn’t have before is tantamount to throwing another filter in the process.

    So, why argue about the cognitive process itself? I can’t help but think all you’re doing is arguing to erode a person’s confidence in acting with certainty in an uncertain situation, not because you want them to “make the right decision” out of some fear that they’ll “panic” or do something “bigoted”, but for rather nefarious reasons e.g. the wedge in the door I mentioned earlier. And I can’t help but think this is what others see in you when you make this argument, and why it’s so repulsive to them.

    I know you have noble intentions, trying to keep people from being prejudiced or making panicky decisions, but the end result is you’re hurting their decision making process if they follow your suggestions.

  12. 12
    Rystefn

    OK – two quick things, because you’re going on and on mostly about the same stupid thing.

    1) You do NOT have to rewire you entire thought process to act without certainty. That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Yeah, that’s harsh, but you’re laboring under a wrong assumption and fucking up your entire argument. You ever flip a switch without knowing what, if any, light it was wired to? How do you explain that? Were you, in that moment, 100% certain it would turn on the kitchen light? Did you have to rewire your brain to flip it without that certainty? Think a little. Seriously.

    2) You’re babbling again about blaming the victim. No one is doing that. Now try to point out a real difference between the war scenario and the frat party scenario. In both cases it’s 100% the fault of the assaulter, no one’s saying otherwise. What is the difference between telling someone that all soldiers are rapists and to hide or run from them and telling someone that all frat-boys are rapists and not to get drunk at frat parties?  Stop changing the subject to mythical victim blaming and point out a difference, or concede that it doesn’t exist.

  13. 13
    Jason Thibeault

    And you’re likewise going on and on about the same stupid thing.  How much text have you written here?  Certainly as much as I have…

    You can make the decision to flip that switch because you want to know what it is.  You can decide to run away from a shadow because you don’t know what it is.  In either case, at the moment you decide to do that thing, you are 100% certain you’re going to do it for whatever good reason you’ve convinced yourself you have. 

    In the case of knowing that there’s a soldier approaching you, you can choose to wait and see if they’ll rape you or kill you or give you a cookie and send you on your way.  Or you can get the hell out of Dodge.  The option is flip the switch or potentially get raped or potentially die.  In choosing to flip that switch, you’ve decided you don’t like the odds.  You’ve made the assumption that the person is a rapist or murderer for long enough to make that decision.

    The real difference between the war scenario and the frat party scenario: in one you are informed ahead of time that bad things might happen if you stick around (as the assumption is that the potential victim is aware the soldiers are coming).  In the other you could be lulled into a false sense of security (by ignorance or by being convinced of such) and believe yourself to be safe enough to drink without getting assaulted.  In the first, your guard is up by default.  In the second, your guard might be down, and might stay down while you’re too drunk to put your guard back up. I believe I argued as much, twice now. I won’t concede there is no difference, when I’ve argued a difference that you’ve ignored twice now.

    How do you reconcile these two points, both of which you said?

    Doesn’t anyone who suggests that as a defense against rape get yelled at for “blaming the victim” and shouted down as an evil sexist agent of the patriarchy and defender of “rape-culture”?

    Stop changing the subject to mythical victim blaming and point out a difference, or concede that it doesn’t exist.

    That’s the only reason I was arguing the point — because YOU BROUGHT IT UP.   If you’d like to drop it, by all means, drop it.  But I’m getting sick of you trying to rewrite the rules of this conversation in the middle of it.

  14. 14
    Rystefn

    You’ve made the assumption that the person is a rapist or murderer for long enough to make that decision.

    Wrong. You can assert it as many times as you like, but you’re still wrong. Just as you made the decision to flip the switch because you decided it’s worth the risk that it might just do something unpleasant to see what it does, you can make the decision to avoid the soldiers because you made the decision that it’s not worth the risk that they might just do something unpleasant to see what they do. Same thing.

    In one you are informed ahead of time that bad things might happen if you stick around (as the assumption is that the potential victim is aware the soldiers are coming).  In the other you could be lulled into a false sense of security (by ignorance or by being convinced of such) and believe yourself to be safe enough to drink without getting assaulted.

    I call bullshit. In both cases some people are informed ahead of time that bad things might happen, and some people could be lulled into a false sense of security (by ignorance or by being convinced of such) and believe yourself to be safe enough. There is no difference here, they are identical in this.

    How do you reconcile these two points, both of which you said?

    Doesn’t anyone who suggests that as a defense against rape get yelled at for “blaming the victim” and shouted down as an evil sexist agent of the patriarchy and defender of “rape-culture”?

    Stop changing the subject to mythical victim blaming and point out a difference, or concede that it doesn’t exist.

     
    Simple: the one is pointing out that people get yelled at for “blaming the victim,” (note the scare quotes) and in the other I point out that no one is actually doing it. I was merely drawing a comparison between two ideas which as fundamentally the same, but when one is pointed out, people get accused falsely of victim blaming, and it’s the people who make such accusations pointing out the other. I was highlighting hypocrisy, not talking about blaming the victim. This is because, well, no one is actually blaming the victim here. Any more confusion?

  15. 15
    Jason Thibeault

    Aside: Either use the HTML button to edit it in HTML, or paste the text you want to quote and highlight it then use the Blockquote button.  In the visual editor, < gets translated to &lt;

    Wrong. You can assert it as many times as you like, but you’re still wrong. Just as you made the decision to flip the switch because you decided it’s worth the risk that it might just do something unpleasant to see what it does, you can make the decision to avoid the soldiers because you made the decision that it’s not worth the risk that they might just do something unpleasant to see what they do. Same thing.

    So you’re saying this switch that may turn on the kitchen light may also open a trap door full of snakes above your head? Or be wired to shock you? So you’re saying there’s an inherent danger in lightswitches that I was not previously aware, despite mostly only entering buildings I assume were built to a specific electrical code? I think you made my case. In the light switch example, the risk of danger is so infinitesimally small as to not even exist. In deciding to turn on the light despite not knowing what it does, I have a reasonable expectation that it’ll either turn on a light, a fan, or possibly an appliance or power outlet. Since I see the switch is made of plastic, I can assume to a degree of certainty that I won’t get shocked. On the flip side, deciding to run away from soldiers from an invading force involves the assumption that a) you’re hidden from the soldiers, b) you know they’re soldiers, and c) you have foreknowledge that soldiers are in general violent folks who have raped others in your country in the past.

    No matter which way you slice it, you’re making a decision based on best evidence, and you’re weighing probabilities and assigning labels to those possible outcomes. No matter what the end result’s label is, it doesn’t matter. If there was a bit of foreknowledge that light switches are sometimes wired to shock you, I would factor that into whether to flip the switch or not. It would be irrational, sure, to assume that the light switch might open a trapdoor full of snakes, but does it matter that that’s what I’m worried about if I stop myself from flipping that switch?

    In both cases some people are informed ahead of time that bad things might happen, and some people could be lulled into a false sense of security (by ignorance or by being convinced of such) and believe yourself to be safe enough.

    Show me some proof that everyone knows that going drinking at a fraternity is basically walking into a rape factory.  Either that or show me examples of frats roaming the countryside breaking into houses and raping the women therein.  I’m thinking of the Monty Python sketch the Crimson Permanent Assurance, though I’m pretty ashamed it came to mind in the middle of this serious conversation.  The only similarity in this case that I can think of is if a friend of yours convinced you that the invading army should be greeted as liberators and given chocolates and flowers, so you decide to wait it out and see if these soldiers are indeed the liberators your friend proclaims.  As in, someone convinced you to let your guard down.  Just like in the frat party example.  In either case, it is not the rape victim’s fault.  And since I didn’t bring it up, and you’re making a false comparison to try to paint me as a hypocrite by daring to suggest that you should run away from the potential rape situation, by suggesting that I’m trying to blame the victim if they DON’T run away, I’m afraid you’re scoring no points on that front.

    Do you now concede that the frat party example does have legitimate differences which I’ve covered, which explain why people get upset when it’s used to point out that the victim should have been more defensive, and are you now willing to drop that angle (PLEASE)? Or do you still call bullshit on all of them en masse, even though you’ve failed to show they’re not actually legitimate differences?

  16. 16
    Rystefn

    Yeah, I noticed that about the html tags just a shade too late. It also seems that the html editor refuses to recognize my blockquote tags, and the blockquote button simply doesn’t work at all. Oh well, such is life. I’ll chalk it up to a browser issue or something and move on.

    “So you’re saying this switch that may turn on the kitchen light may also open a trap door full of snakes above your head? Or be wired to shock you? So you’re saying there’s an inherent danger in lightswitches that I was not previously aware, despite mostly only entering buildings I assume were built to a specific electrical code?”

    Not remotely. There is, however, a risk that it’s wired to a garbage disposal with a fork in it or a outlet into which an appliance is plugged – a stereo with volume ridiculously high, or a blender full of something with no lid on it. I did say “unpleasant,” not “dangerous,” though it actually could be quite dangerous to turn on a garbage disposal if a fork, knife, or small glass had fallen in. So… the difference is in scale, not type. The level of risk is substantially different, but the fact that you need not be 100% certain to act remains.

    “On the flip side, deciding to run away from soldiers from an invading force involves the assumption that a) you’re hidden from the soldiers, b) you know they’re soldiers, and c) you have foreknowledge that soldiers are in general violent folks who have raped others in your country in the past.”

    Sorry… I don’t follow. A) If you’re already hidden, why are you running instead of continuing to hide? If they’ve seen you, it seems to me that would be a much more reasonable time to run away. B) It’s generally pretty easy to make that distinction. C) If you know what you a soldier is, then you know they’re violent. It’s part of the definition of “soldier,” and you therefore have no need of foreknowledge that they’ve raped people in your country in the past to have reason to flee.

    Not that any of that has anything to do with being 100% certain that they are rapists anyway, but I just thought I’d go ahead and point it out.

    “No matter which way you slice it, you’re making a decision based on best evidence, and you’re weighing probabilities and assigning labels to those possible outcomes.”

    …and in what universe is the same thing as having absolute certainty in your mind every time you make a decision?

    “Show me some proof that everyone knows that going drinking at a fraternity is basically walking into a rape factory.”

    Why would I do something like that? A) I never said anything like that, and B) they don’t know anything of the sort, because C) it’s not. Well, depending on the fraternity, I suppose.

    “Either that or show me examples of frats roaming the countryside breaking into houses and raping the women therein.”

    Why would I do that? I never said anything like that, either… though I wouldn’t be surprised to find it’s happened at least a few times. Human beings are capable of some pretty horrific behavior.

    “The only similarity in this case that I can think of is if a friend of yours convinced you that the invading army should be greeted as liberators and given chocolates and flowers, so you decide to wait it out and see if these soldiers are indeed the liberators your friend proclaims.  As in, someone convinced you to let your guard down.”

    So… the only reason anyone ever goes to a frat party is because someone convinced them to let their guard down? Really? No one shows up out of simple ignorance? No one goes because they want to get drunk and laid? No one goes because they don’t believe the people telling them it’s basically a “rape factory”?

    “In either case, it is not the rape victim’s fault. “

    You keep feeling the need to assert this. Who is telling you that it is? Certainly not me, and I’m the only other person in this conversation right now. Are you alright? Are you hearing voices or something? Have you been tested for Schizophrenia?

    “you’re making a false comparison to try to paint me as a hypocrite by daring to suggest that you should run away from the potential rape situation”

    No I’m not. I’ve been saying you should run away the whole time. Over and over, I’ve said it. I’ve said you should avoid the soldiers, the needle, and the alligator. If you really think otherwise, you should go back and reread it, because you’re living in the Land of Make-Believe.

    “suggesting that I’m trying to blame the victim if they DON’T run away”

    Really? When did I suggest anything of the sort? Tell you what. You find a single instance of me ever doing that, and I’ll hand you the Hope diamond wrapped in Angelina Jolie’s thong.

    Seriously… I’m starting to worry about you. You seem to be a having problems sorting out reality from some sort of fictional world you’re building up in your mind. Thinking people are saying things they’re not, delusions of persecution… Maybe you should see someone, or something.

  17. 17
    Jason Thibeault

    So you do concede that a frat party and a war-torn country are two vastly different situations and are not alike enough to make your assertion:

    Oh, and while I’m poking holes in this idea, isn’t it pretty much the exact same thing as telling women to avoid getting drunk at frat parties? Doesn’t anyone who suggests that as a defense against rape get yelled at for “blaming the victim” and shouted down as an evil sexist agent of the patriarchy and defender of “rape-culture”?

    – totally baseless, by virtue of the situations NOT being similar enough (in any respect, none of which you’ve debunked outside of saying “I didn’t say that”) to merit the comparison?   Especially given this:

    I was merely drawing a comparison between two ideas which as fundamentally the same, but when one is pointed out, people get accused falsely of victim blaming, and it’s the people who make such accusations pointing out the other. I was highlighting hypocrisy, not talking about blaming the victim.

    I don’t think it’s terribly crazy of me to assume that the hypocrite in this case is me, for making the assertion that one should avoid potential rape in a warzone, when you’re suggesting that the argument that one should avoid soldiers tantamount to suggesting one should avoid frat parties. If you’re not highlighting *my* perceived hypocrisy in that, despite it being plain on its face, then you’re highlighting perceived hypocrisy in people who argue that saying the girl should have avoided the party is blaming the victim. Except I’ve also thoroughly explained how that IS blaming the victim, while arguing against it in those asides that you have singled out and attempted to paint me as schizophrenic with (ad hominem much?).

    So now that it’s no longer about the “hypocrisy” of people getting angry at others for spreading the blame inappropriately (which indicates that you dislike the “blame the victim” line of argumentation generally, because it absolves the victim of the need to defend themselves), and it’s not about my personal “hypocrisy” in employing an argument you see as similar (which indicates that you ARE suggesting that in saying there’s a need for self defense in a war zone that I’m blaming a victim who does not defend themselves regardless of the way they label the discussion internally, and should earn me a big diamond, hold the thong please), then whose hypocrisy is it?

  18. 18
    Rystefn

    “So you do concede that a frat party and a war-torn country are two vastly different situations and are not alike enough to make your assertion:”

    I do not. The pertinent aspects to the comparison (i.e. the degree to which encourages people to avoid situations and take steps to protect themselves can be likened to victim-blaming) are very much alike enough to make my assertion, and I stand behind it.

    “I don’t think it’s terribly crazy of me to assume that the hypocrite in this case is me, for making the assertion that one should avoid potential rape in a warzone, when you’re suggesting that the argument that one should avoid soldiers tantamount to suggesting one should avoid frat parties.”

    Not quite. I’m suggesting that the argument that one should avoid soldiers in a a warzone is tantamount to suggesting one should avoid getting drunk at frat parties. I’d say the difference is one of degree, not of kind… but if we accept that 1 in 4 statistic we hear so much, I don’t think the difference in degree is terribly overwhelming, either.

    “If you’re not highlighting *my* perceived hypocrisy in that, despite it being plain on its face, then you’re highlighting perceived hypocrisy in people who argue that saying the girl should have avoided the party is blaming the victim.”

    It’s not plain on its face, you’re jumping to conclusions. It’s a common error. I am most certainly highlighting the hypocrisy of people who say telling people to avoid such parties is blaming the victim… but only insomuch as they overlap with the group saying to avoid soldiers in war so they won’t get raped.

    ” Except I’ve also thoroughly explained how that IS blaming the victim”

    No you haven’t. You’ve only pointed out that it’s not the victim who should be blamed. It’s no more blaming the victim than telling the victim of burglary they should have locked their doors and had an alarm system installed, which is common practice.

    “ad hominem much?”

    Quite often. I find it spices things up a little. That said, there is a difference between ad hominem comments and the Ad Hominem Fallacy. The fallacy would be if I said, for example, “You’re a schizophrenic, so your argument is wrong.” I am merely saying “your argument is wrong. I also wonder if you might be schizophrenic.” It’s an oft-overlooked difference, but it is there.

    “which indicates that you ARE suggesting that in saying there’s a need for self defense in a war zone that I’m blaming a victim who does not defend themselves”

    You misread. I suggest nothing of the sort. No diamond for you.

    “then whose hypocrisy is it?”

    Well, as I said before, that would be the people who fall into the overlap of the goups “People who attack the suggestion that women protect themselves from rape by avoiding getting drunk at frat parties for ‘blaming the victim,’” and “People who suggest that women should protect themselves from rape by avoiding soldiers at war.”

    At that point, I had no idea where you fell relative to the first, only that you fell inside the second, as do I. I’m beginning to think that perhaps you are within that intersection, in which case, yes, I’m calling you a hypocrite for it.

  19. 19
    Jason Thibeault

    Here’s how it works.  I absolutely agree that people in warzones should avoid soldiers.  I also agree that naive youths should avoid frat-houses.  In a hypothetical news article on a blog, stating that a woman was raped after getting drunk at a frat house, a comment saying “she should have avoided the frat house” is blaming the victim, because it’s not also condemning the rape itself.  It’s common sense that she should have avoided the frat house… common to us, anyway.  But that doesn’t absolve the rapist — except, it does, in some people’s minds, for the same reasons that “don’t wear loose clothing, don’t walk in dark alleys” absolves the rapist as well, because the woman was “loose” or “asking for it”.

    The reason why there’s a backlash against someone saying “you should have defended yourself better” is because it has been used in the past prevalently to push the blame onto the victim more than they deserve — if they deserve any fraction of the blame at all, and I don’t think they do, considering the overshadowing egregiousness of the one sin compared to the other.

    So, I do fall into that overlap where misusing the phrase “the woman should have defended herself” to diminish the crime is abhorrent, but agree that the woman should have defended herself if she had any benefit of foresight of what kind of situation she was walking into.  I’ll even happily admit I fall into that overlap, because the place they overlap is not necessarily internally inconsistent. I agree that a woman should defend herself if benefited with the foreknowledge of something potentially happening, but also disagree with people telling them so after it happens as though THAT’S the big crime of the event.  Because the whole “raped by soldiers” situation outlined originally, does grant the potential victim with that foresight that is lacking in the frat house example.  It also grants that victim with the ability to make a decision that might make a meaningful difference in his/her survival and safety.

    And since I fall into the overlap, I guess that DOES make me the hypocrite that you were talking about.  In which case I do get a diamond.  Not that the “I’ll give you the Hope Diamond” phrasing is anything but hyperbole, used to “spice up” your posts in much the same way you throw in random insults.  (And I’m aware they aren’t invocations of the Ad Hominem Fallacy thank you very much, or I’d have mentioned it that way!) Either way, don’t expect you’ll be able to cow me into submission.

  20. 20
    Rystefn

    So… saying that the women should avoid soldiers without saying at the same time that soldiers are raping is wrong is “blaming the victim”? I can’t agree with that. In both cases (war and frat parties), it’s only diminishing the responsibility of the rapist if the comment in question, well… actually diminishes the responsibility of the rapist. More to the point, I’ve seen more times than I can count instances of people roundly condemning the rapist and all rapes and still be attacked for mentioning ways that people can protect themselves. Saying someone should have taken steps to protect themselves is not “blaming the victim” and it is not diminishing the responsibility of the rapist, no is explaining the steps involved. Not in war, and not in frat parties.

    This isn’t about a lack of foresight in one case or the other. Some people lack foresight in both, and some people do not in both. I couldn’t begin to pretend to know the numbers, but they do exist.

    Oh, and I didn’t say you’d get the rock if you were a hypocrite, I said you’d get it if you could find an instance of me suggesting that you’re trying to blame the victim if they don’t run away. Go back and reread it if you don’t believe me. It’s not hyperbole, it’s just that I know what I did and didn’t say, and I know I won’t ever have to pay.

  21. 21
    Jason Thibeault

    Firstly, no, you’re not allowed to get upset at me and/or call me a hypocrite because other people have gotten angry at someone who both wished the person had looked out more for their own safety and condemned the act of rape.  Beyond that, wishing they had stayed safe and admonishing them for their lack of foresight / lack of caution / lack of whatever are wholly different, and context is key — chances are any such admonition of the commenter comes from the context of their comment.

    Secondly, were you or were you not trying to say I’m a hypocrite for saying, on the one hand, women should defend themselves by running away, yet simultaneously saying that “you should have defended yourself” is an unacceptable reaction to a perpetrated rape?  Because that’s the only way in which you could justifiably call me a hypocrite, and implied in this is that I actually DO have to suggest that women run away and therefore am engaging in the very practice I condemn; ergo you’re suggesting it; ergo diamond please.  You can’t disentangle the one from the other with a mere hand-wave and another attempt at a pithy semantics argument. 

    And I’m frankly tired of this whole line of argumentation since it is so heavily tied to semantics.  You sure do love to play this game, here and elsewhere.  It is not becoming.  And it’s wearing at my last nerve, since you’ve been doing this all day.

  22. 22
    Rystefn

    Firstly, I am not upset with you or calling you a hypocrite for anything other people have done. That’s not me. I made a general observation of hypocrisy. If you fall into the group to which it applies, then I’m calling you a hypocrite for what you do, nd if you don’t, then I’m not calling you a hypocrite at all. It’s that simple.

    “chances are any such admonition of the commenter comes from the context of their comment.”

    Ideally, it would be that way. Maybe my experiences are not representative, but from what I’ve seen, it has not been such. I have seen literally scores of women freaking out at the mere mention of the idea that women can protect themselves in any way by avoiding these types of situations (getting drunk at frat parties, taking drinks from strangers at clubs, etc.).

    “Secondly, were you or were you not trying to say I’m a hypocrite for saying, on the one hand, women should defend themselves by running away, yet simultaneously saying that ‘you should have defended yourself” is an unacceptable reaction to a perpetrated rape?’”

    No. I was saying that anyone who says women should defend themselves by running away and simultaneously saying that “women should defend themselves by not getting drunk at frat parties” is an unacceptable reaction to the existence of frat-party rape. A subtle distinction, I know, but it matters.

    “Because that’s the only way in which you could justifiably call me a hypocrite”

    The only way I’m calling you a hypocrite is if you “fall into the overlap of the groups “People who attack the suggestion that women protect themselves from rape by avoiding getting drunk at frat parties for ‘blaming the victim,’” and ‘People who suggest that women should protect themselves from rape by avoiding soldiers at war.”" If you do, then you’re a hypocrite, if you don’t, then you’re not. That’s all I’m saying, and all I’ve been saying on that subject.

    “ergo you’re suggesting it; ergo diamond please.”

    I think you’re having another reading failure. Here, let me quote it for you again:

    you: suggesting that I’m trying to blame the victim if they DON’T run away
    me: Really? When did I suggest anything of the sort? Tell you what. You find a single instance of me ever doing that, and I’ll hand you the Hope diamond wrapped in Angelina Jolie’s thong.

    It’s not semantics. You’re trying to claim something you didn’t earn. You only get the rock if you can find a case where I suggest that you’re blaming the victim if the don’t run away. I’ve never said it; I’ve never said anything like it.

    Look, face it – you’re just fucking wrong. You’re wrong that you have to be 100% certain that someone is a rapist to avoid them. You’re wrong that I’m falsely accusing you of hypocrisy. You’re so very, very wrong that I owe you a diamond that from now on, I’m going to have spell it R-O-N-G, because even spelling it right gives you too much credit.

  23. 23
    Jason Thibeault

    Look, face it, YOU’RE just fucking wrong.  In order to act, you have to have 100% certainty even just for a nanosecond.  That was my argument from the beginning, it makes sense cognitively, and it dovetails with what I know of the original argument from Stephanie’s blog — that you absolutely have to do what is psychologically necessary to allow yourself to shut down that possibility of getting raped whether it’s real or imagined.  The whole argument revolves around whether, in acting, you are assuming your action is correct and 100% justified at least for the duration it takes to perform the act — I hold that it does, and that it’s not possible to decide to do something without being 100% certain that you’re going to do it, consequences notwithstanding.  If the cognitive process leading to running takes mistaking someone for a 100% for-certain rapist in that split second (because as I said, I do hold that this is true), then fine.  Let the equivocation and the uncertainty come after that split second wherein you make the decision to run.  Nobody runs from the rustling bush thinking “OH NOES, A PANTHER!  OR MAYBE ALSO COULD BE A BUNNY RABBIT OR THE WIND”.  You can argue that some think “it might be a panther” while running.  I would argue that in those cases they are assuming it IS a panther and are only willing to find out for sure once they’re a safe distance — they’re okay with being wrong in that direction, because being wrong in the other means death.

    As for that whole diamond thing, yeah, apparently you meant only that one little sliver of the overarching argument re explicitly saying the woman was at fault, rather than just suggesting it by virtue of fulfilling all the rest of the clauses of that argument:

    And since I didn’t bring it up, and you’re making a false comparison to try to paint me as a hypocrite by daring to suggest that you should run away from the potential rape situation, by suggesting that I’m trying to blame the victim if they DON’T run away, I’m afraid you’re scoring no points on that front.

    That’s right, you never did suggest outright that I’m blaming the victim in doing so.  But you’re saying that I fall into the one category where I make the argument that they should defend themselves (thus blaming the victim), at the same time as the other where I’m upset that people blame the victim unproductively.  You’ve done it multiple times now, even though you never once said I’m blaming the victim. You couldn’t call me a hypocrite unless you implied that I was doing something hypocritical, and that’s the only hypocrisy to be found in that compound statement that you so love to split up into parts.

    The more I think about that dichotomy, the more I figure that the difference, with me, depends on when you say it, for the most part.  If you say it before someone is about to go into a potentially bad situation that they may or may not be aware of, then you are warning them to defend themselves better.  If you say it after they got into that bad situation and were assaulted, you’re a fucking douchebag.  Get it?

    We’re getting nowhere.  You have your ideas and I have mine.  I think yours are fucking loony and likely to lead someone to get hurt, and you likewise think mine are fucking loony and likely to lead someone to hurt someone else.  Is there ever going to be an end to this, or are we going to keep screaming past each other in perpetuity?

  24. 24
    Rystefn

    “In order to act, you have to have 100% certainty even just for a nanosecond.”

    This is an interesting statement. It’s really two different statements, though, isn’t it? One of which I agree with nearly completely, and the other of which batshit insane. Let’s have a look and see if you can guess which is which…

    1) it’s not possible to decide to do something without being 100% certain that you’re going to do it
    2) It’s not possible to run away from a person without being 100% certain that the person is  rapist

    The first… well, you can do something while being 100% certain you’re at least going to make the attempt without being certain it’s actually physically possible (like lifting a heavy object), but let’s set that aside from the moment. You’re basically right. You have to be 100% certain that you’re going to run in order to run. I’m with you on this one. It’s the second one you’ve got all fucked-up. It’s as wrong about the rapist as it is about the panther. You don’t have to be 100% it’s a panther to run. “Oh shit, might be a panther!” is a damned good motivator for most people to run from a panther. As a side note, running away is the wrong reaction if it’s a panther, and is more likely to get you killed than looking right at the bush and yelling loudly “Hey! Are you a panther!?” Panthers, like most cats, are wired to chase things that flee. Even if it wasn’t hungry, it might just pounce your monkey ass as a reflex reaction. Yelling and waving your arms around, on the other hand, will often frighten them away. Of course, if it’s a bear, then yelling and waving your arms might just get you killed, since that’s how bears challenge one another, and it might you for a challenger. Damn… that 100% certainty is some risky business, isn’t it? Assume you know what’s going on, and you can get your stupid ass killed by being wrong.

    “you’re saying that I fall into the one category where I make the argument that they should defend themselves (thus blaming the victim)”

    That’s just a lie. The parenthetical, I mean. I’m not the one conflating defense with victim blaming. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m condemning the people who do that. Tell you what. You find one place where I say anything to signify that I think advising women to defend themselves is in any way similar similar to blaming the victim, anywhere in all of history, and I’ll swallow a live elephant whole. All I’ve done is point out that some people conflate the two and then point out that if those same people advise women to defend themselves from soldiers, that makes them hypocrites.

    Reading for comprehension: you fail.

  25. 25
    ReformedYankee

    Let’s skip “Therapists” and try “Household Objects”, for $400. And the answer is, “You usually drink water out of one of these…

  26. 26
    Jason Thibeault

    Yankee: What is a toilet?

    I’m to bed.  Don’t think I’m going to let you twist this and get away with it, though, Rystefn.

  27. 27
    Rystefn

    I look forward to hearing what you have to say tomorrow, then.

  28. 28
    Jason Thibeault

    First up, this entire argument is predicated on an assumption that the person who mislabels another person as a rapist in the cognitive process leading up to the decision, is even 100% certain of the facts that they’ve decided to be the case while making the decision under pressure.  100% certainty is probably far overstating the case.  Cognitively, “panther” and “might be a panther” are functionally identical.  In fact, “panther” might always be shorthand for “might be a panther”.  Likewise with “rapist”.  It might always be shorthand for “might be a rapist”, rather than a pronouncement of implicit guilt on the part of the person involved who may or may not actually be guilty of anything.  So no matter how many times you say “don’t think that way”, you can’t rightly assume they actually ARE thinking that way, even if they’re stating it as such in the post-situation deliberation period.

    So, in my line of argumentation, I cede that “is a rapist” may be functionally incorrect (in that the person may not be a rapist), while holding that they may not actually be thinking “is” outside of a cognitive shorthand made to facilitate the decision making process. 

    From the synopsis of a paper I can’t actually read without paying for, here:

    People tend to make decisions reactively when confronted with emergency situations or when a disaster unfolds. In these circumstances, the best decisions tend to be those that have been thought-through and rehearsed ahead of time, a good example being use of a pre-prepared evacuation plan when the office catches on fire.
    The normal decision-making process generally involves:
    1. Defining the problem,
    2. Collecting necessary information,
    3. Developing options,
    4. Devising a plan,
    5. Executing and
    6. Following-up.
    However reactive decision-making is. reactive. Because of this, there is not usually time to execute this full decision-making process, meaning that it’s all-too-easy to make a bad decision when under pressure.

    This is why it’s more than acceptable to rehearse and train certainty into a person for life-and-death situations.  For the same reason it’s acceptable and good to do fire drills, it’s acceptable and good to teach people to make snap assumptions that will protect their safety, because you need to eliminate as many deliberative steps in the decision making process to shorten it and drill good behaviours into the person before such a situation arises.  Cruelty (e.g. “bad decisions”) can result from snap decisions when a person holds some measure of power — e.g. soldiers and cops — but on the topic of rape, if you’re arguing against trained certainty because you’re worried cruelty will come from it, you’re wholly and entirely missing the point of the exercise.  Here’s an example of what’ll happen if you don’t train certainty into people ahead of time in a crisis situation.  People die from lack of certainty too, you know.

    And here’s a good paper on the effects of pressure on the decision making process, and I’d argue the pressures inherent in being a vulnerable person in a warzone counts as pressure as much as the time pressures involved in this paper.

    That’s just a lie. The parenthetical, I mean. I’m not the one conflating defense with victim blaming. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m condemning the people who do that.

    How is it a lie?  It’s objectively not, you just want it to be.  You see, in order to argue I’m a hypocrite, you also have to argue that I’m conflating defense with victim blaming.  Just because YOU don’t believe it personally, and are condemning people who do, doesn’t mean you can call me a hypocrite without claiming that I’M doing it (because otherwise how could you condemn me?).  So stop fucking trying to weasel out of this, I’ve got you cold on it and you know it.

    Or you won’t let yourself admit it, since you think this is another game of dom/sub and I’m your sub — only I’m not doing a good job of submitting, so you have to resort to treating me like a bitch to be put in her place.  See, I can throw out ad hominems too.

    I’m not going to have as much time today to fight with you, by the way.  Sorry.  I know how you so relish this.  And by relish, I mean “think you’re always right even in the face of evidence you’re not”.  And that’s not an ad hominem, it’s a fact predicated on my lines of argumentation honestly involving changes and ground-ceding and revisions of statements while yours involve nothing but refusing the argument because it doesn’t suit you.

  29. 29
    Rystefn

    “you can’t rightly assume they actually ARE thinking that way, even if they’re stating it as such in the post-situation deliberation period.”

    Thank you. You’re the one who was saying that’s the way people think, not I.

    “People die from lack of certainty too, you know.”

    They absolutely do… but there’s a difference between being certain about what is the proper course of action and being certain the soldier is a rapist. THAT’S what I was saying this whole time. You don’t need to be certain the alligator will eat, you just need to be certain that you’re supposed to stay the Hell away from it. You don’t even need to know why, really. It’s helpful to get people to accept that you’re giving them the right response to a situation, but necessary to know in that particular moment at all.

    “You see, in order to argue I’m a hypocrite, you also have to argue that I’m conflating defense with victim blaming.”

    I’m not arguing that you’re a hypocrite. I haven’t yet. I said one time that I suspected you might be one of the people who fall into the overlap so on so forth etc. Nothing more.

    “…doesn’t mean you can call me a hypocrite without claiming that I’M doing it”

    Who cares? Since I never called you a hypocrite, it’s a moot point, isn’t it?

    “otherwise how could you condemn me?”

    Never did that, either.

    ” So stop fucking trying to weasel out of this, I’ve got you cold on it and you know it.”

    If I had ever called you a hypocrite, your argument would have some merit. Since I didn’t, it doesn’t. I made a general comment, which you took personally. I tried (and have been trying for some time) to explain to you that it only applies to you if it actually applies to you. I know that’s a hard concept for you to understand, but try for me one time… try really hard. If it doesn’t apply to you, then it doesn’t apply to you. Is that really so hard to get? Is the concept honestly that complex that you’re having trouble wrapping your brain around it?

    “Or… you think this is another game of dom/sub and I’m your sub — only I’m not doing a good job of submitting”

    Oh I don’t like subs who don’t resist so much. Half the fun is in the struggle, really. Hence the aforementioned playing with other doms… though you may not have seen that comment. No big deal if you didn’t. It’s not critical.

    “And by relish, I mean ‘think you’re always right even in the face of evidence you’re not’.”

    Tell you what – put some evidence I’m not out here, and then we can see how I think. Until then, the best you can say is that we both think we’re right, and the more you revise and restate you argument, the more it turns out to really be what I was saying the whole time.

  30. 30
    Jason Thibeault

    “you can’t rightly assume they actually ARE thinking that way, even if they’re stating it as such in the post-situation deliberation period.”
    Thank you. You’re the one who was saying that’s the way people think, not I.

    So go back to Stephanie’s original post and read it in light of this. While I argued the whole time that the label used internally doesn’t matter, it’s not even certain if that label was used as, like I said, anything other than cognitive shorthand.  So why have you argued so strongly against something that you also think is not even certain, even in the example given?  Just because I argued that people are 100% certain of something during the instant when they act, I’m willing to concede that they may not be, because that certainty might just be cognitive shorthand — as in, exists only during the instant of deliberation.  When it’s all expanded out in the post-event deliberation, it might not get expanded out the way it should.  So when victim runs from soldier while thinking “rapist”, knowing full well he/she means “potential rapist”, then writes a blog post about it saying why it was important for him/her to run without stopping and weighing the facts adequately, he/she uses the word “rapist” in the same sense as the cognitive shorthand as posited originally.

    The hypocrite argument seems like something of a Monty Python sketch too — the argument sketch specifically.

    Rystefn: People who fall into these two categories at the same time are hypocrites.

    Me: I don’t think the two categories are mutually exclusive the way you do, but I definitely fall into both, and here’s why.  I guess I’m a hypocrite.

    Rystefn: I’m not saying you’re a hypocrite, and if I did, here’s some absurd no-prize.

    Me: But I just admitted I fell into both groups.

    Rystefn: But I’m not the one arguing that being in one category is hypocritical if you’re in the second one too!

    Me: Uh, yeah you did.  *I* argued that you can be in both without being a hypocrite.  You said that if you’re in both you’re a hypocrite.

    Rystefn: No I didn’t!

    Me: Look, you’re being argumentative for nothing.

    Rystefn: No I’m not!  NA NA NA I CAN’T HEAR YOU

    And you go on to not hear me for two straight days.

  31. 31
    Rystefn

    “So go back to Stephanie’s original post and read it in light of this.”

    Ok… I stand by everything I said. I stand by “think what you need to stay safe.” I stand by “Are you sure you want to emulate these people?” I stand by “you might want to consider it carefully.” I can’t see a single word I would have changed except perhaps to try to avoid confusion and mischaracterization of my comments, although I’m fairly certain it would fail, just as it’s failing completely over at Stephanie’s blog right now.

    As for the hypocrite argument… I think you’re missing it pretty badly. Maybe I can fix it for you.

    Rystefn: People who fall into these two categories at the same time are hypocrites.
    Me: Blaming the victim is wrong
    Rystefn: You’re right. Luckily no one is blaming the victim here
    Me: Why are you accusing me of blaming the victim?
    Rystefn: What? I never said anything like that! If I did accuse you of blaming the victim, you can have a prize.
    Me: Look, you called me a hypocrite, where’s my prize?
    Rystefn: No, the prize is if I accuse you of blaming the victim, go back and look.
    Me: Look, you’re being argumentative for nothing.
    Rystefn: No, I’m being argumentative because you’re wrong.
     
    There you go. Hope that helps to clear things up.

  32. 32
    Jason Thibeault

    Fine, I’ll amend it slightly to include your objection, because it is relevant, though it adds more back and forth to the whole synopsis and a synopsis is supposed to be short.

    Rystefn: People who fall into these two categories at the same time are hypocrites.
    Me: I don’t think the two categories are mutually exclusive the way you do, but I definitely fall into both, and here’s why — because of the differences I’m itemizing between the two situations.  (itemizes said differences, including that screaming about blaming the victim is necessary for one half of the two situations)  I guess I’m a hypocrite.
    Rystefn: You’re right that blaming the victim is wrong. Luckily no one is blaming the victim here.  Also, why don’t you point out differences between the two situations?
    Me: I just did.  Assuming you don’t agree with the arguments I’ve made, that means you’re saying I’m a hypocrite.
    Rystefn: But I said I blaming the victim is wrong, and nobody said you’re blaming the victim!  If I said you’re blaming the victim, then here’s an imaginary prize!
    Me: Look, you just hand-waved away my pointing out differences between the two situations that make me NOT a hypocrite, so you think I’m a hypocrite.
    Rystefn: No, the prize is if I accuse you of blaming the victim, go back and look.
    Me: Look, you’re being argumentative for nothing.
    Rystefn: No, I’m being argumentative because I have a warped perception of this conversation and am incapable of being articulate about anything I’m so close to.

    Oh, if only you’d said that last one.

  33. 33
    Rystefn

    Actually, I pointed out that the differences you tried to point out weren’t so different after all. Of course, you would leave that part out. Makes it easier to pretend I just skipped over it if you… well, pretend I just skipped over it. Also, you don’t seem to understand the categories, because you said that you don’t call advising women to avoid getting at frat parties blaming the victim, which was one of the categories. You call telling the woman afterward blaming the victim, which I can’t agree with, but it only makes you a hypocrite if you advocate telling women afterward that they should have avoided the soldiers in the warzone.

    Seriously. Go back and read what I actually wrote. I know it seems like a fine distinction to you, and you want to wave it away as semantics, but it’s no finer a distinction that you saying that telling a woman to avoid getting drunk frat parties beforehand is is trying to help her protect herself and telling her after is victim blaming.

  34. 34
    Jason Thibeault

    No.  No, I’m done with this war.  While I’m sure I could go back and do exactly what you’ve asked, this war has been waged far too long over far too many trivialities.  Something Stephanie posted at her blog made something dawn on me.  This post, while it mentions a series of comments you perpetrated, is not about you.  I can no longer point people to this and ask for comments because 90% of the scrollbar is filled with you.  So I’m done.  If that means you win, so be it.  Just… stop.  If you even respond to “stop” as a safe-word any more.

  35. 35
    Rystefn

    That was a cheap shot, Jason. You say you’re done, but can’t resist ending it with a dickhead comment like that.

    Now, if you don’t want to do it, I understand, but I think it would help to clarify what’s been happening here if you go back and reread at least the first few comments to this post. In the first comment, I lead in with a discussion of the concept you were putting forward. In the second (2/3 of which was a direct quote from you), I pointed out what I felt was a slight mischaracterization of the discussion over at Almost Diamonds. The third was me saying that I though you had a solid idea and expressing a desire to further explore it.

    Within a few posts, you dropped the discussion of your own post and made a comment as long as all previous comments completely dedicated to the argument at Stephanie’s blog. I was perfectly happy discussing the actual idea from the OP, and was actually very interested in exploring it further.

    I still am, if you’d like to.

  36. 36
    Jason Thibeault

    Fuck!  Fine, whatever, it was my fault that the discussion ballooned like it did too.  Now STOP.

  37. 37
    Rystefn

    Stop what? Arguing about whether or not you’re a hypocrite? Or whether or not I call you one? I did. Stop arguing about what counts as blaming the victim? I already did. Stop talking at all? Not going to happen. So… how’s about some of that clear communication we’ve been talking about?

  38. 38
    Jason Thibeault

    Okay. I’ll submit, then, since trying to out-dom you is ineffective. Here’s some honest communication, as you have requested, and it’s only because I have the benefit of most of one day’s break without taking you on directly.

    I am passionate about a lot of things, and when I get into a heated debate, I do have a tendency toward “ready, fire, aim”. Normally I can keep this in check, and am amused when people troll for the sake of stirring up outrage, but when the trolling is subtle enough (and honestly, it only takes being anything subtler than “the real meme”), the trolls can usually get a good deal of satisfaction out of getting exactly the responses they want out of me. You are one of these trolls — whether you intend to troll or not. You make my blood boil, you render me incapable of making cogent arguments no matter how good a handle on a topic I think I have, your arguments cause me to read quickly and not as thoroughly as I should, and thus argue poorly. And while you’re doing all of those by your mere presence (by which I mean your mode of argumentation), you argue side-points that are either irrelevent to the conversation or tangential to the point of being a distraction, you phrase things way more forcefully than they need to be thus rubbing salt in the wounds you purposefully or inadvertently open, and never cede any ground or agree to disagree on any point.

    Despite all this, I’m going to attempt to explain to you exactly why you are sand under my skin whether you mean to be or not. This is an honest attempt to figure out why it is you’re getting on so many people’s nerves, why everyone keeps attacking poor you. And it does put most of the onus on you, but it is not accusatory outside of the sense that it’s not everyone else’s fault they all, constantly, misread your intentions.

    You’ve consistently raised my hackles with every post, ever since I missed the first thread on whether or not someone should act when rape is witnessed in another country; and I had to play catch-up in a hurry, relying on Stephanie’s pointing out the highlights of your arguments then. In the one I managed to get in on, you brought up that to some people no really doesn’t mean no; regardless of whether it is true — and it is, do not misread me! — it is nonetheless off-point because these people for whom no doesn’t mean no are a byproduct of societal pressures that result in a normalization of gray-rape culture. In bringing the point up, you tacitly argue for this rape culture, not because you believe in it (as you keep making clear over and over), but because we are already aware that “no means no” is — no, not a slogan as you suggest — but an ideal, an instruction, something to strive toward. You even agree with this point. And yet with each person stepping up saying “this is not the ideal situation” you argue the case as though it is excusable that the world is this way. Maybe it’s just because, again, you’re not good at wording things so that you don’t unintentionally piss off half your readers. But honestly, step back for a second and tell me what you read into this (though I’m sure you will likely say there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it and nobody could possibly read malice into your bringing the point up):

    “No means no” is a simple slogan, but it just doesn’t reflect reality. Imagine stopping only to be yelled at because your partner was getting into it and you ruined the mood. Imagine it happening when you’re young and still inexperienced and emotionally fragile. How many times do you think that has to happen before a person is capable of mistaking a sincere “no” for a repeat of the previous situation, if only for a short time?

    In light of the fact that we KNOW this is a problem, because that’s the very grey-rape culture we’re arguing against (though this grey-rape culture issue is ALSO a tangent from the main argument regarding rape in a warzone), that grey-rape culture that erodes at people’s ability to keep from becoming rapists once they go over to a foreign country full of indiginous, dehumanized women? Because we know this, your coming down out of the heavens and granting us with this wisdom as though we were wholly unaware that society presently accepts and excuses this behaviour honestly does sound as though you were arguing for it. Yes, even though you say immediately thereafter (by which I mean, in a later comment, after the full fury of the interwebs bears down on you), that you don’t agree that this is the case.

    You further go on to bring up that a woman saying “this isn’t rape” when someone is confused by them saying no and thinking it actually means yes, should indicate that the woman did not consider this incident a potential rape, whether the incident would actually qualify as an attempted grey-rape or not. Because both the man and woman in your example were brought up in a culture where no does sometimes mean yes, where grey-rape is normalized and not fought against, this miscommunication leads to an egregious act being brushed off by both parties. Again, as we are striving for the ideal, you are playing devil’s advocate with a topic that is insanely radioactive. Whether you believe that “no means no” should be the reality rather than wishful thinking, in arguing this point you area again tacitly arguing for the status quo — again, intentionally or not.

    You also suggest that you have, in the past, had an issue where you mistook a “no-means-yes” instance for “really no”, and it resulted in some discomfort on your part because she was upset that you hadn’t seen through her games. This provides another anecdote arguing for the status quo, when obviously this woman was neither mature enough to communicate about sex honestly, nor was she aware that there’s a problem in the undercurrent of society where no can sometimes mean yes (and that this IS a problem at all, in fact). By bringing up this example, you’re providing another line of argument against that no means no in present day society, in the face of the fact that the discussion was that “no means no” is the ideal, and the baseline assumption of everyone fighting for that ideal to become a reality.

    And in the most recent example at Stephanie’s, you argued that one should avoid certainty because it can lead to either a) bad things happening as a result, or b) lazy thinking that impacts other aspects of your life, depending at which point in the thread we’re talking about. This was in response to a thread where Stephanie specifically asked, “what is more important than my safety?” You were again playing devil’s advocate on a topic where the very question was framed such that the only correct response is “nothing short of everyone else’s safety” — so the only interpretation of this is that she would do something drastic and hurt someone else in a misguided effort to defend herself. I gave you the benefit of the doubt and assumed you meant that there was the possibility that she could also be missing out on befriending someone worth befriending (a soldier could be a powerful ally in a warzone, or the guy following her in the dark alley could be trying to be a misguided guardian angel, etc.), however everyone, myself especially, thought you were suggesting that this was more important than her being safe. Again, later, you say that she absolutely should do anything she can to stay safe.

    Are you noticing a pattern yet? All of these points are off-topic when it comes to the subject at hand — you argue about tangents using toxic arguments that cause strife, but do so in such a way that you can double back and “clarify” that you’ve always held the “correct” position that everyone else is arguing the whole time. You said yourself that you employ ad hominems in order to spice up the conversation — I doubt it’s spice you’re looking for, though. You honestly seem to attempt to engender rage in the debate participants in order to beat them by thinking coolly and logically while they are visibly upset about what you’re saying and how you’re saying it. This is a known, and a very effective, debating tactic, and whether you realize you’re doing it or not, you employ it with the skill of a fencer. Riposte, feint. Troll, agree.

    It’s honestly not that people are predisposed to hating YOU — it’s that you’ve brought up so many points that are either common knowledge with respect to the topic, or endemic to the problem, or otherwise the “devil’s advocate” position, and phrased each so that someone could easily mistake your position as being that you honestly believe them, even when you say you do not a comment or so later, that you’re basically turning every discussion into an argument. After being conditioned to see these arguments from you, I (and I’m sure other readers) see it in every post even when it isn’t there.

    That’s not even touching on what happened in this thread, which I intend to do, including whatever “my bad’s” come out of it, if you’ll stop swinging your dick around and actually listen to what I’m saying. Nor is it touching on the fact that you obviously DON’T respond to “stop” as a safe-word when I used it twice, so my dickhead comment was absolutely merited, and proven true. Nor, again, is it touching on the fact that whenever anyone suggests that you’ve done something trollish by posting what you’d posted, you ever cede any ground, and arguments spring up like some twisted version of trees, flowers and bushes in a forest nymph’s wake… most of which being about anecdotes of your life, how you felt about a topic, how you were slighted personally, how important it is to you that the other side be heard, you you you you.

    Do you have even the least bit of insight into why you are so aggrieved by all parties, by so many Don Quixotes, in these arguments now?

  39. 39
    Rystefn

    Actually, Jason, I stopped when you said “stop.” Unless you meant for me to stop talk altogether, in which case, as I said before, I do not respond to it, and you are not entitled to a “safe word” on that score anyway. I immediately stopped arguing, pointed that I had been trying to discuss the topic of this post, and that I was interested in picking that aspect of the discussion up still. That hasn’t changed, by the way.

    as to the rest… Well, of course I’m inflammatory. It’s in my nature. The more I like you personally, the more I’ll give you Hell. The more I agree with an argument, the more I’ll dig at any small issue I find within it. This is nothing new, nor is it a surprise to me. If you don’t mind, I’d like to address some of the specifics here. It’ll probably be inflammatory as well, I have little experience writing in any other style, but I’ll see if I can’t tone it down a shade, since you seem to be a listening mood right now.

    1) When I said “No doesn’t always mean no,” it was in response to a person saying “how hard is it to understand?” or something very like that. Well, sometimes it doesn’t, and that can make it hard for some people to understand. I was highlighting a problem and pointing out behaviors that cause these sorts of problems, especially among the young and inexperienced. This is all from my first post on the subject of “no means no,” nothing solely from later posts. I expected to be misunderstood, but that’s why I started with “I hate to have to say this” and followed it with a quite long explanation.

    Oh, when you say “You further go on to bring up that a woman saying “this isn’t rape”… should indicate that the woman did not consider this incident a potential rape,” that’s almost a tautology. Either she didn’t consider a rape, or she’s lying. If there’s a third alternative, I can’t imagine what it might be. As far as an egregious act being brushed off by both parties… well I guess that depends on how far it went, doesn’t it? According to my understanding of the study, if any smallest fraction of penis entered into vagina for any tiny and insignificant length of time, it technically counts. Were this done forcibly, with intention, I’d agree – it’s an egregious act of evil. Even if only so much occurred. If it happens because a couple of college kids weren’t communicating properly, I’d call it a really bad and fucked-up situation, but I’m pretty adamantly against calling it rape.

    2) On Stephanie’s thread, my stance has been from the start explicitly stated: Protect yourself and minimize risk to yourself. I expanded on that by saying something to the tune of “do it because it’s safer to avoid them, not because they’re all rapists.” I expected someone to call me out on the bigotry comment, and was prepared to defend it. The whole side bit about certainty, frankly baffles the Hell out of me. I cannot understand why Stephanie would find it so necessary to be certain someone is a rapist to avoid them, but I said then what I say now: “Do what you need to to be, or even feel safe.” I don’t understand why people are so hostile to the statement that unsupported certainty can be a bad thing. I was blindsided by that. It seems a clear statement of inarguable fact to me.

    As for it being about me – well, last I checked, pretty much everyone uses anecdotes (including you, Greg, Stephanie, catgirl, and if I recall every single person in this argument trying to say it’s not about me); the only reason to comment is to say how you feel about a topic; wouldn’t you, or anyone else, respond to being called the thing you hate most in this world? Oh, and how in the universe is making a comment about how important it is that the other side be heard about me?

  40. 40
    Jason Thibeault

    I really appreciate that you’re trying to tone it down, truly. I understand this false sense of comfort with people who you like, or who you think argued well. But it’s false. And being churlish just makes you come off as a dick. Also, it lends to exactly the situation I’m suggesting — that you are arguing a sensitive topic in either a dickish or unnecessary or off-topic manner (or some combination thereof).

    The supposed tautology’s operative word was “potential”, should have bolded or something. E.g. she saw it as a misunderstanding thus it shouldn’t count even if it fit the criteria. And the article said it didn’t, so. The point really never needed to be brought up at all, your arguing it implied tacit agreement with the status quo.

    The certainty thing is fundamentally a difference of opinion until and unless one of us finds something scientific, since I can’t find any studies that suggest that either a person uses cognitive shorthand when doing the decision matrix, or that they can calculate risk percentages and will take chances within comfort zones even with limited information. I’m sure they *CAN* do the latter, but I don’t know how certain they get at the moment of making their choice. When I make decisions, I am an optimist in that to make that decision I have to either be certain it’s the right one, or decide that the risk is worth it and hope that it’s the right one, but either in hoping or being certain, once I’ve made up my mind, I believe it’s right for the duration of “pulling the trigger”. To use a bad metaphor that will bring back all that stuff about soldiers and cops.

    It’s okay to use anecdotes. It’s even encouraged. But if you’re arguing something unpopular or something that is already understood or doesn’t need to be said in the argument at all (because you realize the conversation would have gotten on just fine without you mentioning the tangent at all, as either someone else would bring it up directly and sound like they’re defending it, or people would mention it when it was relevant to the argumentation of the main theme of the post), then don’t be surprised when people jump all over you.

    Frankly, the amount of text that’s been about you, your methods of argumentation, speculation on why you’d say what you said (no matter how clear you think you are, if people have to speculate, you’re either not clear, or sound too trollish to be taken at face value, or you’re arguing on the wrong side of the debate no matter how earnest you are)… it all seems like a huge waste.

  41. 41
    Rystefn

    “it all seems like a huge waste.”

    You don’t know how much I hate doing this. You probably never will. I’m going to do it anyway, and I hope you understand that I say this in confidence.

    How much money do you think the extra traffic has raised for Doctor Without Borders?

    If everyone suddenly conceded I was right, I’d just say something else for them to take wrong. I expect this comment to disappear before morning.

  42. 42
    Jason Thibeault

    And in the private e-mail thread following that last comment, you told me you didn’t care what I thought, and to do what I was going to do. And that’s out you.

  43. 43
    Dan J

    Strange, I never clicked through. I guess I just wasn’t that interested in what Rystefn had to say. Some of it kinda creeped me out, to be honest.

  44. 44
    Rystefn

    Fuck you. What’s next, the fake comment where I admit that I was never a soldier? Maybe the one where I accept defeat and crawl away only to banned so I can’t deny it? Shit… and I thought you threw a low blow before. This is beyond contemptible.

  45. 45
    Jason Thibeault

    That’s also beyond a lame attempt at a save. WordPress sends to gmail live, gmail has smtp ids proving that what they received is really what they received. I could forge you admitting you’re a douchebag, but why bother? You outed yourself. Fucking asshole.

  46. 46
    Rystefn

    …and you’re an IT guy. You really expect anyone to believe that anything is impossible to fake? Your friends will believe you, because that’s what friends tend to do, so it’s basically a waste of my time to even bother at this point, but since when have I ever let that stop me?

  47. 47
    Jason Thibeault

    Yeah. I am. Being an IT guy, I can obtain proof it was really you. Access logs from my server showing your IP submitting exactly the message you sent. Emails from Gmail that, with Google’s cooperation could be verified to have both been sent and received. Sure, some of it could be forged, and sure, I know how to do it. But people know I fight fair. And some of what I have to offer CAN’T be forged, with the webhost’s cooperation. So fuck you. Again.

    And in the end, even if I DID forge any of it, isn’t getting you to SHUT THE FUCK UP reason enough?

  48. 48
    Dan J

    IP spoofing is not impossible, but it sure as hell ain’t easy, even for most IT guys. You have to have a very special set of circumstances in order to pull it off.

  49. 49
    Rystefn

    Right… your friends will believe you, because that’s what they do. It’s the nature of most friendships. It’s a dirty fucking play you pulled just now, Jason. Dirty as Hell. I don’t know how you can live yourself after something like that. Bastard that I am, I’m not sure I could.

  50. 50
    Jason Thibeault

    I’m amazed that you think playing the victim will work. Should I have posted the entire e-mail conversation simultaneously so it doesn’t look like I might have time to manually figure out, then type out, all the valid SMTP headers?

  51. 51
    Dan J

    To be honest, I’m not sure how you live with yourself if some of the things you posted about yourself are true. If I found myself thinking the way you describe some of your own thoughts, I’d seek immediate psychiatric help.

  52. 52
    Rystefn

    What? You’re under the impression I thought I’d get some sympathy around here? Not bloody likely. I know better than that. I can’t even get sympathy for being a little miffed at someone openly calling me a rapist.

    Dan, I’m not sure I get what you’re referring to here… Maybe the part where I ascribe myself enough self-knowledge to understand that I’m capable of truly horrific atrocities under certain extreme circumstances? Because everyone is, I just admit it to myself… or are you one of those people that thinks BDSM is a psychiatric disorder?

  53. 53
    Dan J

    No, I don’t think BDSM is a psychiatric disorder. It’s the way you described the urge (though unacted upon – self-control means a lot in that area, as in many others) to thrwo someone down and violently beat them and have sex. It’s the cutting to leave scars, etc. It bothers me that you get off on that, but not so much as it bothers me that someone gets off on having it done to them. It’s the ultra-violent stuff that I don’t understand.

    Like I said, if I found myself thinking those thoughts, I’d see a shrink. I’m sure you didn’t start off in the BDSM scene at that extreme, so I can understand that it seems not out of the ordinary for you. It’s just beyond my understanding.

  54. 54
    Rystefn

    Fair enough. I am pretty far down towards the end of the bell-curve on this. Although, full disclosure here: I do act upon the urge to throw people down, violently beat them, and have sex. Entirely consensual, I assure you, but it do act. I would like to point out, though, that I don’t get off on enacting violence. I get off on getting other people off, and the people I happen to be with sometimes get off on receiving violence. Honestly, it’s never entirely easy for me to overcome the internal barriers to hurt someone I care about at first. No matter how much they ask, I’m never completely comfortable with it until after, when I know I haven’t gone too far. I’ve only left scarring on one person who did not explicitly ask for it, and in my feeble defense, they were very shallow cuts that would not scar most people.

    Honestly, I probably could not bring myself to cross that threshhold except for the fact that I myself am a fairly extreme masochist, and know from experience how much pleasure there can be in it for some people. I am neither a sadist nor a violent person by nature. I don’t see what I do as all that much different than body modification, which may weird people out, but rarely makes people think you need to see a shrink.

    Of course, if these kinds of thoughts suddenly sprang into your head, I can imagine it would be traumatic, and you might want to see someone about it. I’d probably encourage it, personally, depending on how well I knew you and what I knew about you (which at this point is pretty much not at all and practically nothing, so I’d say yes, go). I know at least one person who came to it fairly suddenly and describes it as a very unpleasant and difficult period, coming to terms with it. I came to it far more gradually, as most people do, I think, and so it was a relatively easy thing, internally, at least. The reactions of other who find out… well, sometimes it’s not so simple.

    Well, this is getting rather lengthy and is yet another completely off-topic issue (I’m extremely prone to falling into that). Maybe I’ll post something about it on my own blog, and in the future I can just link to it and move discussions of this nature there.

  55. 55
    Jason Thibeault

    Why don’t you do that then? Like, now. That way people who WANT to hear what you have to say, can hear it. And I’d admit, if you hadn’t been so noisy over the last week, I might even be one of them, because you’re a hell of an eloquent guy for a douchebag.

  56. 56
    Rystefn

    Because I’m a stubborn motherfucker who doesn’t know when or how to quit and is really bad at following instructions, doubly so when they’re given is such a fuckwad manner. I’ll probably do it sometime in the wee hours tonight when everyone else has gone to bed and there’s not much else to do. It’s not going to hurt Kull’s feelings if I finish the book on Monday instead.

  57. 57
    Jason Thibeault

    I neither know what the fuck you’re on about, nor do I care.

  58. 58
  59. 59
    Rystefn

    Please tell me it was the rambling and not because you don’t know who Kull is… Please, please tell me your not so benighted. If you really don’t know, get thee to the library, my friend. Seriously. Set aside whatever personal dislike you might harbor and read. You owe it to yourself.

  60. 60
    Jason Thibeault

    The only Kull I know is Kull the Conqueror. Stop playing nicey-nice right after accusing me of hacking your Gibson.

  61. 61
    Jason Thibeault

    AAAH I GOT A POPUP SAYING SPAMMERS HAVE MY IP ADDRESS OMG I HATE YOU SO MUCH RYSTEFN U HACKER

  62. 62
    Jason Thibeault

    He won’t haxor me any more coz my buddy JEFF K helped me install a fonerwall
    http://www.somethingawful.com/hosted/jeffk/dr-episode1/index.htm

    YUO ARE TRAPPED
    and hear si my butt!!!

  63. 63
    Rystefn

    Dude… There is no other Kull.

  64. 64
    Dan J

    Rystefn said: “I get off on getting other people off, and the people I happen to be with sometimes get off on receiving violence. Honestly, it’s never entirely easy for me to overcome the internal barriers to hurt someone I care about at first. No matter how much they ask, I’m never completely comfortable with it until after, when I know I haven’t gone too far.”

    Thank you for posting that part. I feel a bit better about it now. Yes, the “gradual” vs “sudden” thing is what I had in mind. Arriving at that point suddenly would seem rather odd.

  65. 65
    Rystefn

    I can only imagine.

  66. 66
    Greg Laden

    I know better than that. I can’t even get sympathy for being a little miffed at someone openly calling me a rapist.

    You totally have my sympathy in that regard.

  67. 67
    a mother

    Jeez, what planet are all you guys on, anyway? And am I, like, the only person who’s noticed that you are all guys in this discussion?

    And OMG, somebody took YOUR redefinition of a word and ran with it, and now you’re all bent out of shape? Awww, poor babies.

    What I’ve gotten out of covering a pair of blogs spanning this topic, just being kinda nosy, is that one person – notably FEMALE – expands on a hypothetical in her internal conversation with self, expands it into a method / rationale for protecting herself in situations where doubt of her actual circumstances justifies the urge to protect herself, and takes a chance at trying to explain it to all of you. And all you seem to be able to see is a slur on your character and a hit to your ego. YOU all know you are better than the worst possible case scenario. Or at least so you state. I don’t get that a single one of you has the least idea of what she’s feeling, or how hard it is to try to communicate with any of you. You just don’t FEEL it – and you try to justify asking for her knee-jerk trust?

    But hey, get a clue guys. We women don’t have the assurance of knowing whether or not any one of you is an angel or devil, and that is true no matter how well we think we know you!!! Dates, husbands, brothers – all can be rapists. And for every rapist there’s a first time. I don’t give a crap what the trigger for any of you might be for that, though much of this discussion aims at pinning that down. I just take offense at any one of you thinking you can assure any one of us with words – written or spoken, delivered in caress or shout, that it could never be you and there’s something wrong with us for thinking about whether it could, and further, how to protect ourselves proactively in any situation. A single word, already stretched past meaning, is the very least part of the issue.

    We don’t read minds. We don’t scan and interpret souls. We’ve often tried trust and found out the hard way just where that doesn’t get us. So all of you, please, please, get off our case because your dear little egos are offended. If you never grow past your own egos, you’ll never be able to understand what’s going on in the other half of the world, or why.

    We’d like to like you. We’d love to trust you. Ain’t never going to happen when you can’t see past your dicks. And this self-reinforcing commiseration society thing you’ve got going on here is absolutely no help.

  68. 68
    Jason Thibeault

    And am I, like, the only person who’s noticed that you are all guys in this discussion?

    one person – notably FEMALE – expands on a hypothetical in her internal conversation with self, [...] And all you seem to be able to see is a slur on your character and a hit to your ego.

    Five guys total posted in this specific thread, mostly because I was taking Rystefn to task for his doing exactly what you are upset about. I really hope you meant to post this elsewhere, but I’m honoured that this was the endpoint in your reading about the topic. You may want to visit the Silence is the Enemy main page for more links about this specific topic.

    Your anger at men is valid, and your point that women are not mind readers is good, and the idea that everyone is capable of despicable things is not just received, but the whole point of the conversation. Also, my ego is not bruised by talking about the fact that all humans are capable of these despicable acts so… uh… who are you disagreeing with specifically? I don’t think all of us need to be painted with the same “ego is bruised and wants your trust and tries to make himself look like an angel” brush, as we’re definitely not just chattering on the same (e.g. wrong) side of this argument… but I can understand how you might get that impression if you saw the wall of text between me and Rystefn and didn’t want to actually read it. If you do, I’m sure you won’t find anything like a “self-reinforcing commiseration society” between us.

    Or are you just venting? Because that’s okay too.

  1. 69
    Lousy Canuck » Is there a “rape proclivity bubble on a multi-axis quadrant?” try 2

    [...] There are two side arguments worth mentioning here regarding semantics and whether Greg’s “heavy-handed” use of the word “rapist” is justified. They are tangents and are not to be discussed here, but the links are here and here. [...]

  2. 70
    Lousy Canuck » Geek Art: Needlework Brings Together Programmers, Crafters | Gadget Lab | Wired.com

    [...] showed me this earlier, and I wanted to blog it, but got distracted with hacking the Gibson I mean arguing with Rystefn. Oh well. It sure is geeky. I bet I could spoof me some blankets like nothing, because being an IT [...]

  3. 71
    Lousy Canuck » Trolling as psychological rape

    [...] e-mail exchange that led directly into this blog post, written in response to this comment on the Thread Of Doom: “a mother”: Thanks for your reply. It requires comments. This was a culmination of a [...]

  4. 72
    In MI, does CFI stand for Center For Incivility? « Lousy Canuck

    [...] reading: Is there a rape proclivity bubble on a multi-axis quadrant? Rape Myth #1: She’s Probably Lying Rape Is Not an Adaptation Skepticism and Rape Adaptations [...]

  5. 73
    In MI, does CFI stand for Center For Incivility? | Lousy Canuck

    [...] reading: Is there a rape proclivity bubble on a multi-axis quadrant? Rape Myth #1: She’s Probably Lying Rape Is Not an Adaptation Skepticism and Rape Adaptations [...]

  6. 74
    Is there a “rape proclivity bubble on a multi-axis quadrant?” try 2 | Lousy Canuck

    [...] There are two side arguments worth mentioning here regarding semantics and whether Greg’s “heavy-handed” use of the word “rapist” is justified. They are tangents and are not to be discussed here, but the links are here and here. [...]

  7. 75
    Trolling as psychological rape | Lousy Canuck

    [...] the post itself, an e-mail exchange that led directly into this blog post, written in response to this comment on the Thread Of Doom: “a mother”: Thanks for your reply. It requires comments. This [...]

  8. 76
    Is there a rape proclivity bubble on a multi-axis quadrant? (A repost.) | Lousy Canuck

    [...] one more or less likely capable of rape. I wrote out my modification of his hypothesis in my post Is There a Rape Proclivity Bubble on a Multi-axis Quadrant? I had intended the post to be floated for the purposes of collecting dissenting opinions and [...]

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