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On people believing the extraordinary claims about rape

If I had known the story of my false rape allegation would be held up by so many dudebros as the reason why you can’t take rape allegations seriously, I almost certainly would have thought again about posting the story I told primarily for catharsis’ sake back in 2009, before the shit started hitting the fan in the secular community when people dared suggest maybe we should try not to chase out women so much.

Another comment today has hit my first-post moderation wall, as so many others have since the allegations had been made against Shermer, on that old post. My linking it in the Web of Trust post probably didn’t help matters, but neither did having a shitload of people who hate FtB latching onto it and deciding this meant that we at FtB, monolith that we are, are lying hypocrites and/or rapists and/or something something evil something something blog hits something take over the world.

This comment seems more reasonable than most of them, at first glance. It’s decidedly not, though.

Trigger warnings due to frank discussion of rape and rape-apologetics.

Author : Rohn

I have no doubt based on your story you were a victim of a false rape accusation. But a dilemma is raised.

Is it fair for us to believe that your ex-girlfriend who accused you years ago of rape, is a bat-shit crazy liar without hearing her side of the story? Isn’t this “the bitch be lyin’?”

Have I missed something?

You seem trustworthy but many would say Dr. Shermer does too. Only a minority of rape allegations are false, as you yourself say.

Hypothetically – If your ex-girlfriend approached Dr. Myers today with her allegation of being raped by you, what do you think ethically he should do: Ignore the allegation, liase with you about it, publish it on his blog, or go the the police?

I suspect raising this question will get me insta-banned, if not I’d be interested in your answer.

I absolutely love the preemptive defense of Freeze Peach at the end, but I have to say that seeing this nonsense used as a club to attack PZ Myers and the unnamed source of the allegations against Michael Shermer is emotionally draining — in no small part because it’s being used to ultimately undercut victims of sexual assault.

Let’s go through this Fisking-style.

I have no doubt based on your story you were a victim of a false rape accusation. But a dilemma is raised.

I provided no evidence for my story other than my word — I could have made up every single fact about it, up to and including the existence of a girlfriend when I was 16, and yet you believed me without reservation. Why is that?

And a “dilemma” is a problem with exactly two solutions, neither of them being acceptable. You do not raise a dilemma in this comment; you raise, at most generous, a conundrum.

Is it fair for us to believe that your ex-girlfriend who accused you years ago of rape, is a bat-shit crazy liar without hearing her side of the story? Isn’t this “the bitch be lyin’?”

Have I missed something?

Quite a few things, actually. Aside from the fact that lying about things causes an erosion of trust overall, and aside from the fact that trust is necessary for believing a case without corroborating evidence, I’m going to say this as absolutely plainly as I can: Even people who lie frequently should be able to report rape and it should be taken as seriously. There should not be a “you cried dickwolf” defense. This is morally reprehensible, and intellectually lazy, and it allows real rapists who target known liars to get away with their crimes.

Another thing that you missed is that I don’t mean “throw men in jail because a woman claims rape”. Nobody means that, to my knowledge. What “taken seriously” means is, trust but verify.

In my story, a group of her schoolmates who believed her came to my house ostensibly to beat the shit out of me. They trusted, but didn’t verify. They were trying to enact vigilante justice. In Shermer’s case, I don’t know of a single person advocating either that he get put in jail without evidence, nor that a mob of vigilantes take him aside and beat him to a pulp.

So, yes. She was a compulsive liar, which I should have recognized sooner with all my attempts at covering for her and providing apologetics for her that what she said wasn’t REALLY a lie. I was in love, and I didn’t want to think ill of her, so I mentally justified all the lies as mere misinterpretations and misspeakings. But people saw her do this and recognized that this was the case, prior to her rape claims, and despite the small circle of her friends who took her at her word, many people saw this as just another lie. This, I recognize, is ALSO a problem.

I never saw a court of law over this. Most claims of rape never do. I did see some repercussions though, psychologically — since then I have had a great deal of difficulty with being overly cautious even with enthusiastic partners, to their consternation when I move too slowly in bed for their tastes. As a result of the deeply in-grained fear that perhaps the rape allegation against me was predicated on my misreading signals, I have historically chosen to be as cautious as humanly possible in such matters. I know, intellectually, that I didn’t rape her, and I know, intellectually, why she made the accusations that she did, but the psychological damage is still there, and I’m still overly cautious decades later. This is something I need to work out between myself and my partners, though — and I’ve managed to some reasonable degree, given that my dance card is presently full. But she was not taken as seriously as she should have been, except for the small group that took her way too seriously without verifying.

I resent the hell out of the fact that my ex-girlfriend’s lying is being used as an example of why you shouldn’t trust-but-verify when people claim they’ve been raped. It’s an example of exactly why you should be measured and careful in treating such a situation without doing undue damage to the alleged victim, at the same time as not doing undue damage to the accused in case they turn out to be one of the rare cases of false accusation. NOBODY treated this situation correctly, in my estimation — not the people who dismissed it as a lie out of hand, and not the people who took her at face value. And if anyone took her seriously and fact-checked before taking action, I didn’t see it (probably because they were being as cautious as they should have).

You seem trustworthy but many would say Dr. Shermer does too. Only a minority of rape allegations are false, as you yourself say.

I’ve talked at great length about how trust is built up. Shermer’s trust is built up through his celebrity status, mostly, with regard to the people making this sort of apologetic. For the people who claim to be victims, perhaps they trusted him as well, and got burned as a result, and they are trying to let everyone know he’s less trustworthy than he seems by virtue of his celebrity.

In my case, a single person claimed rape, and made statements of fact that were demonstrably false. This is decidedly not sufficient evidence to send anyone to jail. However, I have absolutely zero problem with people taking her story into account when determining whether or not I am trustworthy to be around. If people misjudge me based on that story, it might hurt my feelings, but not enough to overcome my empathy for the position that that person is actually in when deciding whether or not they need to defend themselves.

This is the Schrodinger’s Rapist argument all over again. And my stance has not changed. I, as a male imbued with all the privileges of not having to worry about any social encounter ending with rape because rape of men is exceedingly comparatively rare outside of prison, empathize fully with someone who feels they need to cross the street or wait for the next elevator or walk faster to get away from me even though I have no intention of mistreating them. My feelings are not hurt by this — not really. In fact, it makes me angry at a society where such rapes happen and the rapists are almost never brought to justice.

A very small minority of reported rapes are false in the sense of being invented from whole cloth. However, depending on your definition of “false”, meaning everything up to and including claims of rape that cannot be proven in a court of law (and running through the gamut of excuses including “woman was inebriated and therefore untrustworthy” through “nobody’s been specifically accused” through “police didn’t want to bother”), the numbers vary greatly. The most commonly accepted number is about 6% being reported but being totally untrue.

That means 94% of rape allegations are probably true. And this with under-reporting being a huge problem. If all instances of rape were reported, despite monumental societal pressure against reporting since the person reporting rape is often the only person whose life gets turned upside-down, then I suspect the number of false rape cases would decrease precipitously.

By comparison, most theft is reported, and the victims aren’t unduly put through any legal wringers. False theft reporting happens about 2% of the time. I suspect if you took false rape claims and compared to a combination of both unreported rapes and reported legitimate rapes, you’d get about the same percentage.

So, when someone reports that they’ve been raped, chances are, they were. Calling them a liar is actually the extraordinary claim.

Hypothetically – If your ex-girlfriend approached Dr. Myers today with her allegation of being raped by you, what do you think ethically he should do: Ignore the allegation, liase with you about it, publish it on his blog, or go the the police?

Since you’re not being confronted with a person who is personally known to you, whom you trust to not make radically contrafactual statements in a climate where their lives would be turned upside-down by making such a claim, in my case you find me trustworthy because I’m the only one telling the story. In Shermer’s case, multiple unnamed people have either claimed being assaulted themselves, or established corroboration of patterns of behaviour described in those claims. You can distrust them, and by extension the people who brought those claims forward, if you want. You can (correctly) suggest that this isn’t enough by which to put Shermer in jail.

But the goal of the alleged victim is to make the pattern of behaviour better known, so in the future, others might more correctly judge how to deal with this person. Ethically, I see no problem with a multiply-substantiated account by credible sources that this person may not be trustworthy in those sorts of social situations, that this person might be a horndog on the prowl. However, it’s up to individuals whether or not this is a turn-off. There could very well be people fully interested in taking him to bed despite these issues. Philosopher groupies, as it were. The issue is one of INFORMED ENTHUSIASTIC ONGOING CONSENT. This is primary in any discussion of sex — nobody here is against sex if there’s consent. Sex is great, when all parties involved are into it. Have as much sex with willing partners as you want. But consent must be INFORMED.

This is merely more information with which people can make an informed choice to consent.

Ethically, if the goal is to prevent people from being raped, and if a statute of limitations has passed and the evidence available is grossly unlikely to land Shermer in jail even if all these accounts were absolutely true, then the correct ethical choice is to make these accusations known to the audience that might use that information to better protect themselves. Since we are an internet-based community primarily, I see no problem with using the internet to get this information to the people that might be most in need of it.

If my ex-girlfriend were to — almost twenty years after the fact — approach someone in a position of power to make the allegations widely known in our community, and the person in a position of power were to believe her uncritically without independently verifying the facts of the case that are verifiable, or to compare notes against other patterns of behaviour that have been observed and reported on for years within our community — then I would suggest that that might be ethically questionable. However, even then, the people receiving that information would be able to gauge how credible the accounts are and modify their behaviour around the accused, either with being around Shermer, or with being around me. As I said before, the worst that can happen if people shy away from intimate situations with me is that my feelings get hurt. I empathize enough with people trying to avoid rape that if they gauge me as a potential attacker, they should do what they need to to feel safe (short of preemptive assault), my feelings be damned.

If, ultimately, Michael Shermer learns that he needs to be a lot more careful about consent — even if he ends up with hang-ups about it, like I did — that’s not a horrible result. Especially not where we have multiple witnesses to multiple events suggesting he’s taking the issue of consent a lot less seriously than he should.

Now, does that answer your question to your satisfaction, first-time commenter who airdropped into a post from four years ago to talk about Michael Shermer?

Somehow, I doubt it.

Comments

  1. Anthony K says

    What’s with all the false accusations of insta-banning?

    Insta-banning, ie Stalinism, is the worsest thing you can ever do to somebody, ever. It’s an assault on skepticism itself. And yet, self-identified skeptics love to toss such accusations around willy-nilly! What about reputation? What about livelihoods? What about penes?

  2. kevinkirkpatrick says

    We in the US have given the State an extraordinary amount of power over its citizenry. Quite simply, the state has the power to deprive any given citizen of their property, their freedom, and even their lives. Nothing in our world wields as much power over us as our government – not thieves, not kidnappers, not rapists, not serial killers. Yes, the power we’ve granted to the state is ostensibly given in order to protect us from such lesser threats. But it is far more important that we protect ourselves from any abuse of this unfathomable power itself. This is why we have Miranda rights. This is why we’re tried by a jury of peers. This is why the standard of evidence is “proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”

    However, social reputation/trust doesn’t work this way – the stakes are qualitatively different – the only “power” we have is the power of freedom of association. If my neighbor’s daughter was charged with theft and ultimately acquitted because our law enforcement collected evidence without a proper warrant, I can and will take all information into account in deciding if I trust her to house-sit for me (or, for the matter, on deciding whether I’d recommend her house-sitting services to a new neighbor who just moved in). The bar of evidence that we force the state to meet is MASSIVELY different than the bar of evidence we use in looking out for our property, our safety, and the property/safety of others.

    If certain people, through some chain of communication of subjective credibility, describe Michael Shermer as a man with a penchant for getting women drunk, escorting them back to their rooms, and taking advantage of their inebriation in order to have sex with them; then absolutely other women can take that into account when they’re deciding who to mingle with at the next convention they attend. Each of these women is perfectly capable of assessing how credible they find such testimonies (delivered quasi-anonymously), taking into account testimonies of people who do trust Shermer and/or have had positive experiences drinking with him in social situations, and weighing all of that against their own comfort levels, before deciding whether they’d feel comfortable joining Shermer for a drink.

    Jason – going back to your example – It would be insane for any woman who might be interested in dating you to ignore the alleged false-rape accusation you’ve described. It should absolutely be weighed, in accordance to the testimony you’ve presented *and all other information that a prospective date might have about you*, as a reason to think you might be slightly more likely than any other random guy to be a potential rapist. You’ve probably got a lifetime sentence of all the usual hurdles of starting a successful romantic relationship, plus that hurdle on top. Assuming your description of events is 100% accurate, no, this isn’t “fair”, but such is the nature of reputations (it’s not a perfect system, but it’s the only thing we’ve got, and the more transparency there is, the better it works).

    Anyway, this stuff is so incredibly… BASIC. It’s a fundamental, rudimentary part of how social groups function – of what it even means to be a “social” being. It boggles my mind that it even needs to be explained (so much so that the need to do so is almost certainly the best indication that those who require said explanations, motivated by hero-worship, privilege-preservation, or just downright assholetry, are almost definitely feigning ignorance).

  3. pneumo says

    “does that answer your question to your satisfaction, first-time commenter who airdropped into a post from four years ago to talk about Michael Shermer?”

    Hahahahahaaa. Thank you. I needed that.

  4. maudell says

    Good post, Jason.

    I think another thing that is forgotten is that this situation is the culmination of a few years of sexual harassment denialism.
    [There is no harassment at conferences. Women don't get harassed online for speaking up. How do you know harassers aren't secret Christians trying to undermine the movement? You're just a puritan. You call it harassment because you did not find the guy attractive, otherwise, you'd love it. Creep shaming!]
    This is happening after Ashley Paramore and Dr. Stollznow spoke up, facing more public shaming and denialism. People even witness ‘Jim Bob’ assaulting Ashley, and (Brian Dalton) came to the conclusion that it was consensual because sexual assault is so rare. He changed his mind after she posted the video and supported her, but I think the initial reaction is telling. Dr. Stollznow was not taken seriously by CFI, who apparently think an irresponsible woman who calls a male stripper on the job must be fired on the spot, but a man who harasses, assaults and threatens a woman for 4 years should have a slap on the wrist at the insistence of the victim. The victim’s contract should not be renewed (for totally unrelated reasons), but the harasser should stay. And make sure the victim has no idea about the results of the investigation, then accuse her of spreading false allegations about CFI’s actions.

    Of course, when this happens to anonymous women (like me), nobody ever hears about it. If known, respected women are shamed publicly, then new, young atheist women have no chance. I salute the women who came forward at the risk of their career and reputation.

    In context: this happens after years of us letting people know there is a problem and that many organizations are not taking this seriously, often punishing the victim. Years of being told it was not necessary to fix. Now that women are using the last recourse to warn each other, the internet, they are once again blamed. It wasn’t the correct way. The correct way is to smile, shut up and pretend it didn’t happen.

    After responding to troll, sockpuppets and denialists for a couple weeks, over the same ridiculous questions, a lot of us are tired. I don’t get that whole fixation about jail from people criticizing PZ. I think they believe PZ did this to become famous or something, which shows how disconnected from reality they are.

    I understand how you resent people bringing up your story to discredit your support of Jane Doe. However, I see something else in this comment from Rohn. I think a lot of people are only taking their information from blogs criticizing FtB, and they are seriously misinformed. It’s amazing to see the amount of self-described skeptics who believe that knowing less about rape makes you somehow better positioned to assess the situation. Because there is no emotion at all on their side, right? When they bring up ‘elevatorgate’ for the billionth time, it is always in a posed, rational manner.

    It’s also amazing to see the amount of skeptics who have taken up fortune telling. So many of them predict we will crush their absolute right to piss on any lawn they wish. Oppression.

  5. maudell says

    (just clarifying that I know I’m not bringing new information about what has been happening… Just wanted to vent in response to the thousands of comments I have read this week. Ok, bye, I’m going for a hike in the rainforest to purge my head of the bullshit. :-p)

  6. says

    It’s baffling to me what your drive-by commenter is having an issue with. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m not entirely comfortable with everything, but who cares?

    Warning others of a potential danger is ethically okay in my book and I can see why PZ felt compelled to do so.

    Having read the anonymously-published accounts given to PZ do I feel I can conclude Michael Shermer is a rapist? Of course not. I’m somewhat inclined to believe it, but there’s not enough there for me personally to say so and there’s no way I’m ever going to be able to verify that information.

    Ultimately it doesn’t matter if I can.

  7. says

    Shermer’s trust is built up through his celebrity status, mostly, with regard to the people making this sort of apologetic. For the people who claim to be victims, perhaps they trusted him as well, and got burned as a result, and they are trying to let everyone know he’s less trustworthy than he seems by virtue of his celebrity.

    Beautifully put. That’s it in a nutshell.

    And after all – as you say – for some people that’s a draw. Maybe he’ll get fewer trustful admirers but more in-the-know admirers. The numbers might come out in his favor, who knows.

  8. Anthony K says

    This is happening after Ashley Paramore and Dr. Stollznow spoke up, facing more public shaming and denialism.

    But Brian Keith Dalton, arbiter of what good skeptics do and don’t consider evidence, stated he believed Ashley’s account (since he was there, though he didn’t believe it when it was happening). It’s as if the denialists don’t actually have a cogent and consistent definition of ‘good evidence’, but rather caveats and conditions they trot out ad hoc.

  9. Drolfe says

    It’s a fundamental, rudimentary part of how social groups function – of what it even means to be a “social” being.

    You forgot that a certain libertarian contingent denies sociology and sociological evidence. In some cases, even society is to be eschewed.

  10. GrzeTor says

    Your whole argument about the web of trust breaks when you realize that the majority of world population doesn’t have a trust in PZ Myers. Most passively because they don’t know anything about this man (and are not intersted in learning about him), but there are also people who heard something about him, seen his writings or speaches, and that created doubts abouth this man. For example I don’t trust PZ Myers. Arguments are many, including censoring the critics on his blog, being biased against non-left political position etc.

    The main suspiction is of course that he is not driven by truth seeking, but he is just a believer in a left-wing political ideology. That is his mental model of the world and decision are not based on valid information processing techinqes, but have a strong factor from a mind viruses of left-wing political memes. That these mind viruses have the power to influence his state of mind, away from the state that should have been based solely on real-world information provided.

    In case of accusations of rape it might be that the mind virus of radfem belief in prevalence of Rape Culture was an important – who knows, maybe decisive? – factor in him believing the e-mail gossips he got, rather than just the e-mail gossips alone.

  11. Anthony K says

    Arguments are many, including censoring the critics on his blog, being biased against non-left political position etc.

    Those aren’t arguments.

    The main suspiction is of course that he is not driven by truth seeking, but he is just a believer in a left-wing political ideology. That is his mental model of the world and decision are not based on valid information processing techinqes, but have a strong factor from a mind viruses of left-wing political memes. That these mind viruses have the power to influence his state of mind, away from the state that should have been based solely on real-world information provided.

    And you believe what you just wrote is ideologically free?

  12. Anthony K says

    mind virus of radfem belief

    What is this ‘mind virus’? How does it spread? What’s the etiology? How are you (supposedly) immune?

    As someone who works in public health and epidemiology, I look forward to reading the papers describing this new disease vector.

  13. Drolfe says

    [Off topic]

    Which is the political ideology based solely on real-world information?

    [More on topic]

    Please note that segments of GrzeTor’s post read like sociology denial, e.g., the shibboleth “radfem belief in prevalence of Rape Culture”.

  14. Anthony K says

    Which is the political ideology based solely on real-world information?

    Fifty bucks says it starts with ‘L’ and ends with sticky-paged copy of ‘Atlas Shrugged’.

  15. Vicki says

    GrzeTor:

    If you don’t trust PZ Myers, you are of course free to continue to get drunk in Michael Shermer’s presence. You’re even free to tell a friend who says that she’s uncomfortable doing so that you don’t think Shermer is a rapist, because Myers is a leftist and thus not credible.

    In the meantime, even if I was more than a very occasional drinker, I wouldn’t drink with you or Shermer. And free speech means I can say that.

  16. GrzeTor says

    @kevinkirkpatrick – sending e-mails costs practically nothing, but it gives some results – sometimes marginal, but still some. Thus we have e-mail spam.

    If false or unfounded accusations cost close to nothing and have some effect desired by the accusation maker (eg. the one you suggest – lowering public perception of the accused), then we are going to end with accusation spams. And yes, there are going to be innocent victims of accusations spams, inevidably loosing their public image, based on the number of accusations in the sam alone (basic tenant of propaganda – frequent repeting makes people believe the repeated claim).

    The good way to prevent large supply of false or unfoudned accusations is to increase their cost (basic economics). This way the evil people who were planning to use false or unfounded accusations against their enemies or just people they don’t like suddenly will calculate the high cost, and give up on spamming false or unfounded accusations.

    The other way to decrease the chances for false or unfounded accusation spams is to decrease their effectivenes. This is what evidence-based skepticism does.

  17. Anthony K says

    The other way to decrease the chances for false or unfounded accusation spams is to decrease their effectivenes. This is what evidence-based skepticism does.

    That’s a lot to attribute to evidence-based skepticism, without, y’know, evidence.

    Anyway, Jenny McCarthy’s new position suggests that evidence-based skepticism doesn’t do fuck all.

  18. GrzeTor says

    @Anthony K – the concept of mind viruses comes from Richard Dawkins, an example here:

    Richard Dawkins – Virus Of The Mind
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zW6MGAM7kA

    When it comes to me, I treat this concept as a nice and useful heuristics, rather than ideology. I also have always thought of left wing political ideologies (including likes of Communism and Political Correctnes) as a form of a secular religions targetted at slightly-higher IQ people than classic myth/fairy-tale religions. Secular religions that don’t violate the laws of physics, but still have dogmas, that are not compatible with the way the real world works. Again – it’s not my ideology, but an useful analogy.

  19. Anthony K says

    When it comes to me, I treat this concept as a nice and useful heuristics, rather than ideology. I also have always thought of left wing political ideologies (including likes of Communism and Political Correctnes) as a form of a secular religions targetted at slightly-higher IQ people than classic myth/fairy-tale religions. Secular religions that don’t violate the laws of physics, but still have dogmas, that are not compatible with the way the real world works.

    That’s a nice story. I bet it makes you feel good to think that, doesn’t it? I’d hate to test your faith, so I won’t ask you to provide any evidence that this parable is anything more than that.

    Again – it’s not my ideology, but an useful analogy.

    So, you don’t actually have any evidence for the claim that it’s useful, other than to repeat it.

    You know how the real world works? You want to know what the real world says about evidence-based skepticism? It says, save your money: for all the donations the JREF brings in, Sylvia Browne is still fleecing rubes, Jenny McCarthy is getting more air-time than ever, and the Discovery channel is broadcasting pseudo-documentaries about living Megalodons and mermaids.

    The real world says evidence-based skepticism is a feel-good club for those who didn’t make the Mensa cut-off. The real world says organised skepticism doesn’t do a damned thing.

  20. imnotandrei says

    Permit me to demonstrate trust and evidence-based reasoning, GrzeTor:

    That is his mental model of the world and decision are not based on valid information processing techinqes, but have a strong factor from a mind viruses of left-wing political memes.

    Everyone I have known who said things like this turned out, when push came to shove, to be a useless jackass.

    I have no counterexamples.

    Prior probability suggests, GrzeTor, that you are a useless jackass. I have no positive reason to trust you, and a strong negative reason.

    If this were the first time I’d run across you, Mr. GrzeGate, I’d be inclined to disbelieve what you said. If you told me it was raining, I still might take my umbrella — but any really unlikely claims (It’s snowing here in San Francisco, PZ Myers is part of a conspiracy to take down Michael Shermer) — nompe. Not without significant evidence to *counterbalance* what you’ve already established.

    Jason, thank you for posting this — it is very clear, well-written, and, given your history, perhaps a few people who have not decided that this is all the result of a mind virus will get the free clue or five you’re offering.

  21. GrzeTor says

    An example of a normal man’s reactions to PZ Myers revelations, along with the interpretation of intentions:

    SpinozasPsyche – Shermergate Part 2:

    Edited by Jason to un-embed: [click]

  22. Anthony K says

    An example of a normal man’s reactions to PZ Myers revelations

    Wait, you’re not just fucking with us? You’re actually a person who believes in his inherent rationality but then writes clusterfuck sentences like the above?

    You really are a deluded asshole, aren’t you?

    Anyway, please provide actual, no-fucking-around-with-bullshit-YouTube-links evidence that you’re able to recognise and detect ‘normal’, once you’ve defined it, cogently.

    Evidence, motherfucker: do you speak it?

  23. Anthony K says

    You know what’s also a nice, useful heuristic? That atheists secretly believe in God, but deny Him so that they can hump without getting married.

    Lots of theists think that. Likely enough that it could be considered normal.

    Skepticism for the win!

  24. Anthony K says

    And where are the “normal women’s reactions”?

    No such thing. Normal people have no idea who Michael Shermer is.

  25. F [is for failure to emerge] says

    extraordinary claims about rape

    Abducted by aliens, drugged, and left in a room where Bigfoot and Elvis molested me. This would be an extraordinary claim about sexual harassment, assault, or rape. The vast majority of reports of rape are so ordinary it is a depressing reflection on our culture.

  26. F [is for failure to emerge] says

    Jesus Christ on a fucking popsicle stick.

    The good way to prevent large supply of false or unfoudned accusations

    This has never, ever, ever been a problem in the “economics” of reporting rape, but quite the opposite is true, you complete douchebag.

  27. jodyp says

    Speaking as what I regard to be as a “normal” man myself, I trust PZ’s account that he was approached by a woman that knew she could trust him to get her account out without compromising her identity, and that her story was corroborated by other sources.

    This is due in part to the fact that I trust PZ to understand fully the risks of stepping forth with the information, and I understood that neither he nor Jane Doe stood to gain anything from exposing Shermer, and had much to risk.

    In short, I am able to trust someone’s account of something because I looked at the evidence and found it credible.

    Which is what a skeptic does.

    A denialist, on the other hand, would keep looking at the evidence and refuse to see what’s going on right in front of them, because they don’t like the conclusion.

    Just saying.

  28. Drolfe says

    The good way to prevent large supply of false or unfoudned accusations

    This has never, ever, ever been a problem in the “economics” of reporting rape, but quite the opposite is true, you complete douchebag.

    Transactionalizing every human interaction is another libertarian tell:

    “If we just make credulity expensive enough it will go away! And in Libertopia no one will risk the costs of credulity! Skepticism proves libertarianism! If we just make racism expensive enough, it will go away! And in Libertopia no one will risk the costs of racism! Don’t tread on me Civil Rights Act! If we just make sexism expensive enough…”

    Orly? On what evidence?

    “Mind virus! Pareto efficiency! Distal causes! Radfem! Patriarchy is a myth!”

    Does rape exist in Libertopia? How did you solve it?

    “Who cares?! No one initiates force in Libertopia! Read Hayek! A is A! Taxes are theft!”

  29. blackbook668 says

    I don’t really buy these arguments. For a start who I trust is completely irrelevant. Why should I trust Shermer. Equally why should I trust Myers. If you trust at this stage before anything has been proven or disproven you’ve already made up your mind about the person. This is not the right thing either way.

    Also your defense of Shermer not facing court is not very good. From what you yourself say you were pretty shook up by the accusations leveled at you and for good reason – this crime isn’t seen like other crimes. Court is not the point, it is a man’s reputation that gets stained. I’m not saying people shouldn’t go about getting justice against someone who’s raped them because they might get ruined (though I reckon that anonymous proceedings for both parties until proven guilt is the least stressful way to proceed) what I’m saying is this way it is being done does no favour for the victim of this crime.

  30. says

    Jason: An excellent post, really a great response to people that shows the molehill that the denialists are mountainizing.

    Maudell: One small correction: Rebecca Watson said she knew the person who got fired from CFI for hiring the male stripper was also a man. Presumably if he had been Ben Radford, he’d still have his job.

  31. says

    F #30

    Jesus Christ on a fucking popsicle stick.

    (GrzeTor)The good way to prevent large supply of false or unfoudned accusations

    This has never, ever, ever been a problem in the “economics” of reporting rape, but quite the opposite is true, you complete douchebag.

    And he knows it well, too. I gave him links and studies a few days ago, over on The Atheist Experience, in the thread, “Right Ways and Wrong Ways”. And he read my comment, too, because he argued with my numbers, which were so low as to be irrelevant to any discussion.

  32. EEB says

    OK. In all of these discussions the past few days, on various blogs and various inter-related topics, I’ve been thinking about saying this. I never felt it was quite the right place, or time. But I think now is the right time. This might be egotistical, and I’m sorry, but I feel it needs to be said.

    [Putting a big TRIGGER WARNING for graphic description of rape & aftermath, victim blaming.]

    I was raped three years ago. Almost exactly: the beginning of August 2010. It was a violent, stranger rape, as I was walking home from work. I honestly had no fear about calling the police. My dad’s a cop. I was in shock, mostly, but certainly not thinking that making a report was going to be worse than what had just happened to me. Plus, there was so much physical evidence–deep tissue bruising on my arms, burns on my labia, tearing that went from my vagina to my anus–it never crossed my mind that I wouldn’t be believed.

    Two male detectives arrived at my house. I stammered out a request for a female detective; it was denied. (I learned later that they violated procedure by not accommodating the request.) They made me go through what happened. I was in excruciating pain and dripping blood but they didn’t want to take me to the hospital just then, and said the hospital “wasn’t ready” anyway. So I described the rape. Then they asked if I was taking any drugs. Well, just my medication. I thought it was strange that they literally spent more time asking about my mental health history and the types of medication I took, instead of the rape, but at the time, again, I was in shock, and not thinking much.

    Long story short: I submitted to an invasive physical exam, described the rape more times than I can count. They didn’t wait for my rape counselor, that I requested, another thing I found was actually against the law. (But when she arrived, she kicked major ass. And really helped me through the process; I don’t know what I would have done without her. A rape kit is extremely invasive, and I was already in terrible pain, but she was able to get me through it.) The black light (to look for fluid/blood/etc) was broken, so I tried to approximate where he had kissed me, licked me, so the nurse giving the exam could swab those areas. (This will be important later.)

    Oh, aside: the hospital wouldn’t provide Emergency Contraception, although I did get a few pills to keep from getting STDs. Not AIDS, however–I was told the procedure was to only provide AIDS prevention if you already know the rapist has AIDS, which seems a little hinky, as it’s not exactly a question I could ask during the rape). The detective, who drove me to the hospital, refused to stop at a pharmacy on the way home, so I could get Plan B for myself. He said he “didn’t feel comfortable” with that and I should “wait for my parents” even though I was 24 and alone at home. Guess 24 is too young to make the decision to try and prevent becoming pregnant with my rapist’s baby!

    Over the next few months, I submitted to multiple, horrific “interviews” that really felt like “interrogations” as time went on. I was also dealing with a serious medical condition at the time (I almost died; my intestines ruptured, but was almost certainly not a result of the rape, just bad timing). But I still believed in the system. I still didn’t want the man who raped me on the streets. I did everything they requested, answered every invasive question (the were really focused on my mental health history!), even got on the ground and acted out the rape for them, with the head detective on top of me acting out the part of the rapist. Not only was I absolutely hysterical by the time we were done, I’m positive that aggravated my PTSD for a long time after.

    And after all that, I was called in for an “interview” to discuss “a new lead in your case”. They didn’t let my rape counselor in the room–again, against the law, I found out later! For about an hour (I think; my sense of time was not that great) they were no longer even pretending to be supportive. They accused me over and over of making it up. They had very flimsy “evidence” (which I won’t go into because it’s both complicated and ridiculous) but mostly it was their “instinct”.

    Because I have a mental illness. Because I was hospitalized after attempting suicide. Because I “claimed” I had been sexually assaulted in the past. Because I was crazy, and he was sure I was just looking for attention. He had a bipolar ex-wife, you see, and she made his life a living hell. He told me how he understood mentally ill women, and how we need to create drama. How we’re liars, and we crave attention.

    And over and over they accused me of lying. Alone in this tiny room with two large, angry men, I was doing everything I could to keep from having a panic attack. I couldn’t respond to what they were saying; again, I think I was in shock. And they threatened me with jail time, with a felony on my record, destroying my family, public humiliation (he threatened to call the papers–something he did anyway, because, quote, “the community needs to know there was no threat to public safety”). They said I would be charged with a false report, with terrorizing the public (there was a public awareness campaign initially after my attack, though I didn’t have anything to do with it. After the rape, I did everything I could to maintain anonymity, and only told two people–beyond my family and the cops–hat I was attacked. But…I did it for attention, which was why I didn’t tell anyone? I’m just sneaky like that, I guess!). Accusations, threats, anger, pounding the table, over and over and over.

    The detective looked at me. His whole demeanor changed; he tried to seem kind, avuncular. “Tell me you made the whole thing up. This whole thing will disappear. Nothing will happen to you. You can leave, if you just tell me you made it up. Tell me you made it up and you’re sorry for lying, and I’ll let you leave.” I tried to hold out–but I didn’t last long. Honestly, at that point, all I wanted in the entire world was just to get out of that room. There are very few things I wouldn’t have done, if I could only leave. So I looked at him and lied. I said, “I made the whole thing up. I’m sorry.”

    To his credit, the detective was true to his word. (I now realize he could have been lying, and since I wasn’t under arrest or being interrogated–technically, I could have left any time, even though I didn’t know that–my words could have been used in court.*) That was all. He let me leave. Well. He made me give him a hug before leaving, but I was allowed to go. A very pissed off rape counselor and my very broken looking father were in the hallway just outside.

    (At the time, I thought the rape counselor hated me, thought I was a liar like everyone else. She didn’t; she was pissed at the detectives, but I didn’t know that until I ran into her two years later at an event. But at the time, I thought she wouldn’t want anything to do with me, and so I lost the one person who was really helping me recover.)

    So understand: I am a “false rape allegation” statistic. When they wrote their reports, sent the numbers off to the justice department to compile the information, I am down as a liar, a false allegation, even though no charges were ever filed against me. (Don’t know if that’s because they didn’t think they could make a case against me, or because they didn’t want to put a cop’s daughter on trial.) And you know what? I am not the only person. It is horrifying, the number of women that I have met in support groups and activist meetups who experienced very similar things. They too, are false allegation statistics. We were all raped.

    So just keep that in mind, when you quote the 6-8% “false allegation” statistic. I know we have to rely on the only information we have, and I use the statistic in conversations, as well. But I always remember that number is certainly not an accurate representation. (Maybe it should always come with an asterisk?)

    Please, remember my story when you see “false rape” statistics. Remember my friend, who admitted to a false report charge in order to keep her veteran benefits after being discharged (her rapist’s good friend and direct superior handled the case; a discharge was inevitable.) Remember the middle-aged woman I met, still traumatized, who, as a teenager, recanted her story when her rapist (and stepfather) threatened to kill her family. And the many, many others, all unknown, all forgotten–even in the bare statistics, which are often the only testament to our experiences. And we’re denied even that. Instead, our stories, our traumas, are used to stigmatize and further traumatize new victims. It makes me sick to know MRAs can take our numbers and use them to justify their “bitches be lying” stance. I can’t put into words how devastating that is.

    Are there false allegations? Of course. Jason, in opening up about such a difficult topic, has explained exactly that. And no one hates truly false allegations like a rape survivor. But we should balance that with the knowledge that the “official” numbers are not an accurate representation of the truth.

    Thank you for listening. I’m sorry for the length. I honestly tired multiple times to shorten this, but I feel that this story needed to be told, this needs to be added to the discussion about false allegations. And thank you, Jason, for such brilliant writing, honesty, and compassion; also, thank you for hosting these discussions.

    * This is why you never talk to any police officer under any circumstances without a lawyer. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been arrested, charged, or read your rights. I could have put myself in jail with that lie.

  33. mildlymagnificent says

    Oh my goodness EEB. That’s awful. I hope you’re getting the help you need now.

    The worst thing for me, and I presume other people reading your account, is that it sounds like a compendium of all the trite and the ridiculous and the illegal and the downright nasty ways police can mess up a rape investigation.

    All we can hope is that the next rape victims in that area gets different detectives to deal with their cases.

  34. pneumo says

    EEB: I am so sorry. I wish there was something to say or do that would take all that away. All I have is white hot rage.

  35. hoary puccoon says

    EEB @ 36–

    I’m in shock.

    It sounds like the cop was letting his resentment at his bipolar ex-wife wreck his job performance. And then they claim *women* behave irrationally?

  36. leftwingfox says

    I’m so sorry for what you have gone through EEB. I can’t read that without getting twisted up in frustration and rage. I’ve heard similar happen far too many times to far too many people, anecdotes which align with the evidence, and people still insist on closing their eyes to it.

  37. Jackie: The COLOSSAL TOWERING VAGINA! says

    EEB,
    I’m so sorry you went through that.

    Trigger warning/ rape and denial

    I had a friend who was put in a mental institution by her mother until she “admitted” that her stepfather didn’t really rape her. My husband worked in a hospital like the one she was kept in. He said that was not unusual. The traumatized girl is declared out of control. Her attempts to run away or commit suicide can even land her in kiddie jail. In some cases, even after a conviction the mom will refuse to believe her daughter and find reasons to send her away in order to be with the rapist. Other girls are just told by their families that it is somehow their fault that they were raped. (Should be out at a party. Shouldn’t dress like that, etc.) Not surprisingly, they can then end up in trouble because of cutting, underage drinking and drug use or violent outbursts. This is just seen as further evidence that they are crazy, immoral and not to be trusted. Our entire culture seems badly broken.

  38. jenBPhillips says

    Wow, EEB–I am moved by your bravery in sharing your story. I’m furious, but sadly not surprised, at they system for not supporting you. Be well.

  39. Smurf says

    It is obvious you idiots have no interest in the right of the accused to face his accuser. In order to placate a bunch of spoiled brat attention whores, you are willing to indulge complete speculation and rumor mongering rather than do the responsible thing and await a legal resolution to the matter. You people are beneath contempt. Talk about slimy behavior. Stop siding with the attention-whore spoiled brats and wait for an actual finding in any of these cases, idiot. I suppose the justice you would demand from others is too much to ask from you, eh? Idiot.

  40. says

    I don’t really have anything to add except my voice to the chorus thanking EEB for your story. It’s such a moving and necessary counterpoint to Jason’s story, and gives voice to the policies like the one in Virginia where victims were assumed to be lying.

  41. thascius says

    @52-You mean a blog isn’t the same thing as a court of law? The same standards of proof don’t apply really? Really?
    (sarcasm off) Sheesh. You’d think all that was so obvious it didn’t need to be spelled out. I guess Smurf proves that wrong.

  42. Friendly says

    @EEB: I want to join those expressing horror at what you went through, gratitude for your willingness to share it, and appreciation for your bravery.

    @Smurf: Way to smurftastically smurf the point. Take your fetid smurfy load of smurf and smurf off.

  43. says

    Seconding others in this — jesus, EEB, that’s horrific, and it illustrates a number of very important points about why people might not report to the police. Because your experience is not, as I understand, unique.

    Thank you for sharing. And I’m sorry you went through all that.

  44. A Hermit says

    EEB, I am in awe of your courage and the strength I know it took to post that here. Same goes for you Jason.

    Sometimes I tell myself I should stop reading and commenting on these blogs; that it has nothing to do with me really, I could walk away tomorrow and it wouldn’t change my life at all. But what kind of person would I be if I let something like that go without at least saying something? Every voice that isn’t raised in outrage at that ignorance and injustice is another voice lending silent support to a destructive status quo.

    I can’t do much, but I promise you I will do what I can. I will not be silent, here or in “real life.”

  45. says

    God Damn EEB…I am halfway through your first post.

    Thank you so so so much for telling your story…I am shattered just reading it…

    Hat’s off for telling it. I can’t imagine how hard that was.

  46. Pieter B, FCD says

    EEB, thank you for your courage in posting your story. I’m enraged, but not particularly surprised.

    GrzeTor and Smurf, off is the direction in which you should immediately fuck.

  47. Stacy says

    EEB, I’m so sorry.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    And thanks to Jason for the OP.

    ~ ~ ~

    It is obvious you idiots have no interest in the right of the accused to face his accuser.

    If this were a court of law, we would certainly support that right.

    In order to placate a bunch of spoiled brat attention whores…

    People who have been raped are “spoiled brat attention whores”? Something’s seriously wrong with you. Seek help.

    …you are willing to indulge complete speculation and rumor mongering rather than do the responsible thing and await a legal resolution to the matter.

    “Speculation”? “Rumor mongering”?

    Have you bothered to read the OP you’re responding to? The original accusation and the ensuing discussion on PZ’s blog? Or are you just another dishonest wanker?

    This is not “speculation.” This was a first-hand report by somebody who is known to PZ. Others who know her have vouched for her. There is independent corroboration that she was distraught after the incident.

    A “legal resolution”? If you’re not bright enough to notice that this is not a court of law (and that Shermer’s accuser has stated she does not plan to go to the police,) you might at least have the intellectual honesty to read the comments in this very comment thread explaining how the legal system fails rape victims.

    But I’ll bet you’re one of those derpwads who believes that American jurisprudence is all about figuring out the Truth, and a conviction or acquittal corresponds to the guilt or innocence of the accused.

    I swear, Big-S Skeptics are some of the stupidest people on the goddamn planet. Dunning-Kruger poster boys.

  48. F [is for failure to emerge] says

    EEB, I’m so sorry, that is a trial of awful shit to go through. And to have all the asshats around constantly supporting rape culture must be depressing and infuriating .

  49. kaboobie says

    EEB, my heart goes out to you. I commend you for sharing such a painful experience in hopes that it may educate others. It certainly hammers home the point that one cannot trust the police even in a violent case of stranger rape with plenty of physical evidence, let alone the far more common case of acquaintance rape.

  50. FullMetalMarmotte says

    CAVEAT : English is not my mother tongue, sorry in advance

    I would like to share a few things:
    First of all, I am a privileged white guy and I have been pretty ignorant of many issues, but when looking back, I see some disturbing patterns. For example, is rape so rare ?

    Of the three girls I am (or was) close enough to be considered as a safe confident, 2 were “acquaintance raped” (and both didn’t dared to report it) and one was harassed in a way that could have been prosecuted. Another friend was severely beaten and raped. This time, rapist was jailed (it’s quite sad when you have to end up injured to be taken seriously).
    Btw, I live in a REALLY safe country…

    Another point is that often, women don’t dare call it rape or harassments. One of the raped friend was so cautious, it took me time to realize that yes, what she was explaining me is a rape… she never used the word, only saying that he was threatening, that she was afraid, so she let him do “what he wanted”.
    All that to say that I do NOT believe that a rape claim is an extraordinary claim.

    For the harassment case, the girl told me of an awkward situation with her former boss and then made me read a letter from that guy and asked me if it was really appropriate that he would send her that (hint : it was absolutely not). She didn’t dare to call that harassment even when it was obvious AND with a written proof.

    Regarding the sad story from EEB and in relation with the whole affair. Even if I wanted to be “skeptic” (i.e. dismissive and assholish) and dismiss it as an unfounded claim, it should still have at least ONE effect. I would make sure that if someone I know had to report a rape, I would make sure that she (he) is never left alone. You don’t need physical evidence and proof before you decide it may be a good thing not to trust the system to handle such complains seriously.

    PS : super skeptic skill should also goes in the other direction : was this rape accusation dismissed because it IS false, or because it was CONSIDERED as false?

  51. PatrickG says

    @ EEB: Joining others in thanking you for sharing your story. I can’t imagine how hard it was to do so, and I wish I had more eloquence at hand to express my revulsion at how you were treated.

  52. says

    What I hear from people I trust is that poor girls without a support system are raped again by the police, literally. After all, whom can they complain to? It’s completely understandable that many women, even crossing off those who wonder if they are partly to blame, won’t go to the police. I wouldn’t (didn’t).

  53. Bozjemoj says

    @EEB, I am new and therefore an unknown quantity to you. Therefore my individual sympathy can not have the same impact as that of your friends here – I just want to add to the numbers. I am so sorry this happened to you and I have no problems believing your account of the aftermath. I don’t know – can’t know – what it cost you to share that.

  54. says

    EEB, I’m seconding what Bozjemoj said, with all my heart. You had a right to expect to be treated with respect and taken seriously. Instead you were victimized again. I wish you could sue the bastards. And why don’t their illegal actions get reported and disciplined? And meanwhile, no one is looking for a rapist. I’m so sorry this happened to you.

    The objections to dealing with sexism and harassment, that these are just individual incidents with no public consequence, are meaningless. Economics, law enforcement, public health, education, and a myriad of other activities need to be managed, even though they are made up of individual actions and reactions.

  55. Jacob Taylor says

    I, as a male imbued with all the privileges of not having to worry about any social encounter ending with rape because rape of men is exceedingly comparatively rare outside of prison

    As a male survivor, I would appreciate if you did not present misinformation. One in six males face sexual violence by the age of 16. That is hardly “exceedingly comparatively rare.” While we have no conclusive data on how frequently adult males are raped, we do know that the vast majority of sexual violence against males occurs outside of prison at the hands of people the male victims know, and usually at the hands of women (see the 2010 CDC report on sexual violence). While I understand that as a feminist you need to play to your feminist audience, it is dismissive and harmful for you to downplay what hundreds of thousands of men and boys experience every year.

    That kind of comment does not help men like me, although it does ensure that many of them will remain silent since they are apparently too “privileged” to experience rape.

  56. says

    Jacob, I don’t want to minimize your experience in any way, and any number is horrifying, but I would like to know where you got your stats. US DOH statistics say 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys experience sexual abuse.

    The problem here is one of universalizing experience. The MRAs making political hay out of my false rape claim believe it proves that most rape claims are false, when really all it proves is that the number of false rape claims is more than zero — which nobody here would argue with, staunchest feminist or otherwise. The fact that I experienced it and yet do not universalize it to everyone makes them think I’m a brainwashed feminist stooge, when really, I’m evidently the only one of us looking at the actual numbers. In your case, I strongly suspect you are primed, by your own horrible experience, to believe numbers that may be otherwise skewed by a source that’s motivated to play up abuse against boys and play down abuse against girls. I don’t think the US DOH has any such motivations.

  57. says

    Wait, I misunderstood that all your stats came from the CDC 2010 study. The NISVS, right? This one? That says:

    Nearly 1 in 5 women (18.3%) and 1 in 71 men (1.4%) in the United States have been raped at some time in their lives

    Though that’s excluding forced to penetrate, studied separately:

    Approximately 1 in 21 men (4.8%) reported that they were made to penetrate someone else during their lifetime; most men who were made to penetrate someone else reported that the perpetrator was either an intimate partner (44.8%) or an acquaintance (44.7%).

    And when you add in all the types of sexual violence together, including harassment and stalking:

    More than 1 in 3 women (35.6%) and more than 1 in 4 men (28.5%) in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

    Therefore, I’m entirely confused as to where your 1 in 6 comes from.

  58. Jacob Taylor says

    The 1 in 6 statistic is separate from the CDC report. It is curious that you found the CDC report, but not the 1 in 6 statistic. I typed “1 in 6 male” into Google, and immediately got this on the first link:

    *A 2005 study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, on San Diego Kaiser Permanente HMO members, reported that 16% of males were sexually abused by the age of 18.
    *A 2003 national study of U.S. adults reported that 14.2% of men were sexually abused before the age of 18.
    *A 1998 study reviewing research on male childhood sexual abuse concluded that the problems is “common, under-reported, under-recognized, and under-treated.”
    *A 1996 study of male university students in the Boston area reported that 18% of men were sexually abused before the age of 16.
    *A 1990 national study of U.S. adults reported that 16% of men were sexually abused before the age of 18.

    The US DOH results are based on reported cases, and therefore are not representative of the actual rate as male survivors are less likely to report their abuse. Even the 1 in 6 statistic is a low estimate, so the actual rate of sexual violence against boys is higher. That rate would never change as the boys became men, meaning that at least 16% of the adult male population experienced sexual violence. Again, that is hardly “exceedingly comparatively rare.”

    I know of no source that plays up abuse against boys and plays down abuse against girls, although I can find plenty examples of the reverse. I would not support either because I take this issue seriously, do not like anyone playing politics with it or anyone pretending to care about male survivors just to save face.

    As for other matter, I think the problem is that by quibbling over the rate of false accusations you and other feminists appear to find it acceptable for innocent people to go to prison for a crime they did not commit as long as the “guilty” ones go as well.

  59. Voodoo Idol says

    And here is where you screwed this up:

    “What “taken seriously” means is, trust but verify.”

    Wrong. Innocent until proven guilty. That’s what our nation of laws is built upon. You can’t automatically trust an accuser without breaching that very basic tenet of our great nation.

    The correct answer would be “Take note an investigate.” That’s it. No trust. No implication of guilt or innocence. If you do anything else you are wrong.

  60. thascius says

    @76-“I know of no source that plays up abuse against boys and plays down abuse against girls, although I can find plenty examples of the reverse.”-You must not have read too much by MRA’s. Their focus generally isn’t childhood sexual abuse but they frequently play up sexual violence against men and downplay sexual violence against women. A good case in point is with the CDC data-the MRA’s have cited over and over the 12 month prevalence of “forced to penetrate” for men which is almost equal to the 12-month prevalence of rape in women, while never bothering to acknowledge that the lifetime prevalence of men “forced to penetrate” is roughly one fourth the lifetime prevalence of rape in women. Then too, the MRA’s angst about male victims of sexual assault is usually just to complaint that they get fewer resources than women do-which is true. But I’ve also noticed MRA’s generally seem to devote far more time and energy looking out for men accused of sexual violence than men who are victims of sexual violence.
    also@76-” I think the problem is that by quibbling over the rate of false accusations you and other feminists appear to find it acceptable for innocent people to go to prison for a crime they did not commit as long as the “guilty” ones go as well.” I’ve never read where Jason wrote that innocent people should go to jail to make sure guilty people never get off. Or PZ or Ophelia or Stephanie or any of the other writers at FtB.
    Victims of sexual assault of both sexes have to deal with disbelief, victim-blaming, and slut-shaming when they come forward. Male victims also have to deal with homophobia whether with a male perpetrator (“No REAL MAN would let another man have sex with him”) or a female perpetrator (“What’s the matter with you? What REAL MAN would be upset about having sex with a woman?”) But those memes are rooted in patriarchy, not feminism. The assertions that we should distrust accusers and always trust the accused are just as harmful to male victims of sexual assault as female victims.

  61. Drolfe says

    But in addition to Thascius’ remarks, Jacob also said:

    I [...] do not like [...] anyone pretending to care about male survivors just to save face.

    I don’t like anyone pretending to care about anything just to save face. It’s deceitful. But in this specific case, for this specific allegation: When has this ever happened? Where? I’m confident that’s not a position commonly taken up by humanists.

    Who doesn’t care about male survivors and how does that group overlap with the people here?

  62. Copyleft says

    Voodoo Idol nailed it at #77. Never forget that what some people view as ‘the victim’ is in reality ‘the accuser,’ until evidence is gathered to determine what actually happened.

  63. Nokkelanimimerkki says

    “I provided no evidence for my story other than my word — I could have made up every single fact about it, up to and including the existence of a girlfriend when I was 16, and yet you believed me without reservation. Why is that?”

    Why would you have to disprove you’re guilty? Isn’t it innocent until proven guilty, not vice versa.

    This is the issue PZ’s MS serial rapist accusation. PZ decided to be the jury and the judge and claimed “guilty”, now prove you’re innocent. If there are rapes behind the story the trial should not be held in public forums but in a court of law.

  64. Bozjemoj says

    Raiskausapologisti @81

    No, your nym is not clever and neither are you. Repeating an already refuted assertion makes me suspect you don’t read very well and that you may have be a bit unlucky while thinking.

    I’m saddened that you live up to stereotypes, though. People may get the impression that not even the hailed Finnish school system can improve the poor stock they have to work with.

  65. saelpalani says

    @11, 19

    PZ has every right in the world to publish a 3rd hand account on his blog. False accusations are really rare. You can whinge about his politics all you want but the fact is women usually don’t have safe alternatives to report rape. Every avenue is like another rape and the least harmful is to stay anon and report it publicly so 1) other women are aware and can prevent another victimization 2) disclosing feels good 3) other women come forward 4) the person who did it is socially outed and probably many more personal reasons.

    Deal with it.

  66. says

    Saelpalani, there are a few things wrong with your assertion. First, the alleged victim is personally known to PZ, so she(?) is only third party to us. Second, catharsis from making your allegations public doesn’t necessarily “feel good”, and there are other considerations than just what “feels good”.

    But yes, I agree that victims speaking up is its own good because it will help achieve critical mass and make this community a safe space.

  67. motoko K says

    i like your statistical analysis, but i think you’re kind of an asshole and probably shouldn’t have written about this, at least not as a personal anectdote. not that its dumb to write about this, it just doesn’t accomplish anything and makes you seem a bit neurotic when you apply semantics to an agument about rape, and when you deem your personal life newsworthy in its non-happenings. one wonders why you felt the need to write about this in this personal a way in this personal a venue. i know its frustrating, and you probably wish you could shout about it on a hilltop for the world to hear, but what you wish you could do and what you really should do are usually a bit different.
    this kind of thing is probably best left to serious academic study and expert handling, not crowdsourced steam-blowing. so to publish or not to publish, or to speak out or not speak out- these are not the correct questions. who to talk to is very important in this kind of situation. the way you describe it, it seems like this is more a very personal mental health issue that your ex gf has, and not really something we should all know about you.
    by the way, ‘cathartic’ processes are usually those that involve the expulsion of bodily fluid containing human waste and/or poison, i.e. vomitus, urine, feces, sweat, but usually feces. in fact the term ‘cathartic’ is also a noun that, since the 17th century has continued to denote a medicine that causes the bowels to purge themselves. you really don’t need to purge on us. this is not a semantic correction-your use is also semantically correct as using a seperate definition for the same word- rather, it is a psychodynamic insight. In a non-freudian psychodynamic framework, an anal fixation developed in early childhood can manifest later as ‘oral expulsive/agressive’, because of the condition of fixation on witholding and expelling waste. thus the unintended double entendre of the ‘cathartic’ experience. The writer need not even know of the traditional relation of the two meanings, because they are present also in the mutual synonym ‘purgative’. now do you see why your personal life doesn’t always belong in public eye?
    Also, the best way to make a story go away is to stop writing about it.

  68. says

    Congratulations, motoko K, for what might be the least helpful comment ever. “I like your statistical analysis but you’re an asshole for having done it and shouldn’t have done it” is not particularly useful as advice or feedback, except in telling me exactly what YOUR values are and how they don’t intersect with MINE.

  69. John Morales says

    [meta]

    C’mon Jason, #85 may not be helpful, but it sure is risible.

    …and makes you seem a bit neurotic when you apply semantics to an agument about rape…

    <smirk>

    Also, the best way to make a story go away is to stop writing about it.

    <snicker>

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