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Mar 30 2013

Defamation is not disagreement

So today, on my latest Mock the Movie transcript, this post hit my moderation wall:

Author : ShiningMoon (IP: 98.89.26.128 , adsl-98-89-26-128.mgm.bellsouth.net)
E-mail : [email protected]
URL :
Whois : http://whois.arin.net/rest/ip/98.89.26.128
Comment:
A girlfriend of mine and my girlfriend (friend and S.O. I’m lesbian) pointed out that people here aren’t taking what happened to her at the hands of Jason seriously. My girlfriend was raped. Thibeault did that. What people want to say in a friend’s defense won’t change that. I’ll believe my girlfriend over this guy.

However, another thing that I’ve found about this website in the past days are that its generally respectful of victims saying they were abused. So, what did he tell you? Did he claim that she also said he didn’t rape her? This isnt what happened. Consideration that Jason might’ve added details in is what keeps me from judging those who simply accept his word that my girlfriend is a liar. This is all I have to say. I won’t be arguing with people here about whether or not my girlfriend was raped, partly because she doesn’t want a drawn out discussion, and partly because I myself won’t endure that.

Taunts like “Where’s she? Why won’t she face him herself if she’s truly a victim?” will NOT be acknowledged. Assuming that someone is likely to be comfortable facing him, even online, is ignorant at least.

Fascinating. No details? No facts? Just an attempt to put the fear of MRA’s False Rape Accusation Trope into me?

This is, of course, completely coincidental with the fact that over at Teh Slime Pits, the Super Serious Skeptical Antifeminist Bastion Of Freethought ™, Dick Strawkins was railing on about how horrible PZ Myers is for saying that women who bring forward rape accusations should actually be taken seriously. The important bits (with link to the slimepit, be forewarned):

Re: Jim the Pleb Made Me Do It

by Dick Strawkins » Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:31 am  •  [Post 12947]

Skep tickle wrote:
PZ’s talk in Seattle a couple of days ago was titled “Moving Atheism Beyond Science”; I was one of about 200 attendees.
[...]
He imparted, in a very serious tone, the edict that we all have to accept, and I quote, “the personal testimony of women” when they say they are harassed or raped. (It sounded to me like he was equating harassment with rape, but perhaps I misunderstood his intent or his words in those 1-2 sentences.)
[...]

[...]
As for Peezus’ move towards Shakesville territory, I wonder if he should follow the logic of his words and immediately suspend one of his fellow FTB bloggers, Jason Terrible.

Jason admits to being accused of rape.
Yet, surely by Peezus rules Jason should never use the term “false”.
He should “accept the personal testimony” of the woman that accused him.
Any other response is simply promoting rape culture.

He then screenshots a comment I made over at Greg Laden’s blog several years ago, during the Rape Switch discussions:

As a victim of a false accusation of rape, I feel eminently qualified for this:

Thomas, fuck you.

We’re talking about rape of women that is actually happening right now, both abroad in war-torn areas and between our own shores, where charges are not pressed or women are silent because of either a sense of the futility of bringing the charges, or some misplaced guilt where they think it’s their own fault they were raped. And given the media’s penchant toward painting rape victims either as “asking for it” by daring to wear anything less than a burka, or as complicit by virtue of not being able to defend themselves somehow against larger, more aggressive males, it’s no surprise women in North America can be silent about so egregious of offenses.

And then this person from Alabama wandered over to my blog by searching for “lousy canuck” from their Apple iPad, found the first post on the blog, spent eleven minutes writing the comment in question, posted it, then refreshed the page three minutes later to see if I’d let it out of mod status (well, here it is, on my front page, above the fold even).

Statcounter visitor info describing the above-mentioned actions

And yet, as I said, there were no details that would bring this comment past the level of something made up entirely from whole cloth, hung on the tiniest modicum of information provided by a comment from years ago that was dredged up ENTIRELY COINCIDENTALLY over at the slimepit early this morning.

Well, that’s probably because the goal isn’t to get justice for an actual rape. The proximate goal as far as I can tell is to get me kicked off of Freethought Blogs or to pin PZ down for being a hypocrite — with the most-probable long-term goal of poisoning the well against women actually talking about their experiences with rape and harassment. The whole point of this exercise is to do damage to either me or PZ (and most probably PZ), in order to hurt the argument that we should actually consider listening to women once in a fucking while.

It’s funny that the way they plan to do it is to use a post on Greg Laden’s blog, one of the Pitters’ favorite whipping boys and our single biggest (perceived) weakness as a Skeptical Feminist Cabal that must be destroyed — because Greg Laden says dumb things sometimes, like most of us do. (Or sometimes, smart things that are terribly impolitic and cause ridiculous and undue levels of fallout. Never seen that happen to ANYONE in this movement before!) I wonder why Strawkins had that post from four years ago so close at hand. Maybe that’s just a coincidence too.

What Strawkins, the Pitters, and the defamer from Alabama didn’t realize, though — because they haven’t bothered to actually read anything by me except when they think it’s a good way to hurt me (BUT IT’S TOTES NOT HARASSMENT) — is that I actually posted at great length about the false rape accusation just a few weeks prior to making that comment at Greg’s. I had posted about it after a good deal of deliberation, after deciding that because there was physical evidence proving me innocent, I was relatively inured and could relate this story safely.

But this whole defamatory comment incident would probably not be considered harassment by other Super Serious Skeptics like vjack, despite the fact that I’ve been really really busy for basically the entirety of 2013 — far too busy to blog regularly, and frankly, have been quiet on feminist matters for a while now. Out of nowhere, despite my recent near-silence, words from four years ago about an event from eighteen years ago are being used to come after me, by ‘pitters who really really hate those of us who think women can generally be trusted when they speak on matters of their experiences. That is, of course, just disagreement and a difference of opinion, and not targeted harassment at all.

No. That shit don’t fly.

Why don’t these assholes try finding a thing that I’ve said about feminism, about rape, about anything else, and actually arguing against the points presented, instead of trying to defame my character in order to fragment FtB and poison the well against women speaking up about harassment? Why is the idea of more than one feminist leader posting to a blog network so scary to them that they have to attack a blogger on said network by attacking another blogger on said network and trying to play the one against the other?

Could it be because they don’t actually have arguments to present?

Because that’s really the impression I’m getting.

But hey, at least this incident has resurrected me from my blogging funk. Thanks for that! Perhaps for your next trick, you could try actually presenting an argument.

18 comments

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  1. 1
    PZ Myers

    Wait…she listened, & all she took from it was 1 or 2 sentences which she then misinterprets to mean I’m forever denying the possibility that a woman might make a false accusation? Nonsense. I’ve been threatened with a false rape accusation, one that could have totally destroyed my career.

    I took it very seriously and moved quickly to provide evidence that it was false.

    But of course we have to accept the personal testimony of women’s experiences. In that case, it would have been totally injust to simply say, “oh, she’s a woman, therefore she’s lying”. Most rape accusations are not false, so a priori dismissals are inappropriate, and if that woman had gone to the authorities (she didn’t, because I immediately brought in witnesses to make her effort futile) I would sure as hell hope they’d treat both of our positions with equal seriousness.

  2. 2
    hjhornbeck

    Wow. I keep wondering how low the friends of the Slyme Pit can go, and as soon as I think we’ve hit bottom…

    How can these people call themselves skeptics, with a straight face?

  3. 3
    tuibguy

    The reason that they don’t find real arguments is because they have none. Nada. Nothing. And this is the only way that they have to “defend” their positions; by saying “Look. Jason’s just as bad as us, so nyaah!”

    Slyme Pit and all of its defenders are weak excuses for assholes.

  4. 4
    axelblaster

    Wow, thanks for sharing that Jason and PZ. One of my dearest friends had something very similar (to the prior post by Jason) happen to him with a compulsive liar ex-girlfriend and he was fortunate enough to have been miles away and an air tight alibi. Yet, the other side of the coin is the real cases that are difficult to prosecute, or the high incident of underreported rapes.

  5. 5
    Ace of Sevens

    You mean taking rape allegations seriously doesn’t mean assuming them to be true unless proven otherwise, and maybe even then?

  6. 6
    LeftSidePositive

    Yeah, I kinda think even having to go with police to answer questions for a few hours would be more than adequate deterrent for the vast majority of acquaintance rapists, even if it doesn’t end up going to trial. Moreover, “We might question an innocent person!” is never, EVER used as an argument not to thoroughly investigate any other type of crimes.

  7. 7
    Stephanie Zvan

    It’s very sweet. The reaction to this post in the pit has been great indignation that someone would ever try to smear a fellow human being this way. The immediate response was, “Unholy fuck! Whoever did that is a complete and utter asshole!”

    Oh, wait. My bad. That was the reaction from various people to Rebecca tweeting a link to the post.

    What happened in the pit is that someone said they couldn’t understand the post. Someone else got indignant that Jason would post the IP. Someone else said that the commenter wasn’t an atheist because when they looked up the IP and zoomed in, they found a church at that intersection (as opposed to the plumbing business you find using this IP-lookup service). Someone else reassured everyone that no actual responsibility accrued to the pit because everyone there is an individual. They didn’t assign any responsibility to the person who was trying to use Jason as a talking point there, of course.

  8. 8
    cethis

    In the South, there are lots of churches. Using that argument, there are no atheists in Alabama. ;) Heck, I don’t live too far from a church. I guess I’m a believer. Except I don’t believe in God, but hey, I live near a church! So I must believe.

    Seriously, I could be wrong, but from what I’ve seen, this e-mail isn’t very credible. It’s sad to see people sink this low.

  9. 9
    Andrew G.

    It takes a fair amount of ignorance to believe that you can use IP geolocation to narrow a single IP down to a specific house – especially when the IP is almost certainly dynamic.

    The most that one can say with any reliability is that the user with that IP (which of course may not be the user actually posting) is somewhere in the general region served by Bellsouth network infrastructure in Montgomery, Alabama. Anyone, or any site, that claims to be able to narrow it down further than that is ignorant or a liar.

  10. 10
    Marcus Ranum

    Isn’t defamation just a ridiculously obvious ad hominem? You could be a serial killer, but that wouldn’t mean social equality is wrong.

  11. 11
    oolon

    Remove the ad hominem from the pit and what have you got left? A few “equity feminists” who really don’t want to spend any time discussing “equity feminism”… A lot of “MRAs” whose “activism” wouldn’t look much different to what they do currently – keyboard jockeys attacking feminists. If they weren’t focussed on obsessing over FtBs they’d have to find some other group to waste their time denigrating.

  12. 12
    tigtog

    This defamation is a new low. Thank you for highlighting it, Jason.

    They didn’t assign any responsibility to the person who was trying to use Jason as a talking point there, of course.

    Surprise, surprise.

  13. 13
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    Stephanie wrote:

    They didn’t assign any responsibility to the person who was trying to use Jason as a talking point there, of course.

    It’s the way of the intellectually dishonest; kind of a ‘heads I win, tails you lose’ kind of gambit – when they want to have the numbers to try and claim “look at how many of us are against FTB/Skepchick/A+” they’re a collective; when it comes to being criticised for what they as a group do, all of a sudden they’re individuals who can’t be judged on what the others do.

  14. 14
    smhll

    I am very sorry that you are experiencing this form of defamation and harassment, Jason.

  15. 15
    kraut

    Are there any legal avenues available against that kind of shit?

  16. 16
    Brony

    The definition of simplistic tribalistic behavior. He slid into the Pit and promptly had to gesticulate in our direction. I truly thing this is a group instinct thing.

  17. 17
    A Hermit

    It’s interesting how saying “take women seriously” gets transformed in the slymepit into “give women’s testimony more weight than men’s in court.” It’s like they have a magic decoder ring designed to invent whole new ideas to falsely attribute to people so they can then justify their behaviour.

  18. 18
    Tom Foss

    @Wowbagger:

    It’s the way of the intellectually dishonest; kind of a ‘heads I win, tails you lose’ kind of gambit – when they want to have the numbers to try and claim “look at how many of us are against FTB/Skepchick/A+” they’re a collective; when it comes to being criticised for what they as a group do, all of a sudden they’re individuals who can’t be judged on what the others do.

    It’s the way of the religious. Speak out against the Catholic church, for instance, and their influence on governments, and you’re “offending a billion people” and look at all the good done by these church-affiliated organization. But when the church is covering up the rapists in its midst, that’s just a few bad apples and they weren’t true Catholics and how dare you try to smear a billion people with the actions of so few.

    Sorry you have to deal with this bullshit, Jason.

  1. 19
    Yes, I’m going there. Dongles, Disagreement and Disproportianate Derision | EllenBeth Wachs

    [...] referred to as a casualty of friendly fire.   The impetus of my finally writing about this was a comment PZ Myers made on a blog post Jason Thibeault wrote yesterday. More on that later. First the [...]

  2. 20
    Splitting the difference between reality and mythology » Lousy Canuck

    [...] the timing! Surely it’s a coincidence that yet again, something posted on the Slyme Pit is turned into a conspiracy to defame and libel one of their hated competitors for the heart and soul of the secular movement. Repeatedly. Really [...]

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