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NYT: Women cause rape by being too scarce

Hey, remember New York Times reporter John Eligon? The one who crafted this bit of drunk-shaming apologetic for a couple of alleged rapist NYPD officers? Eligon’s piece, which followed shortly on the heels of this notorious victim-blaming piece by James McKinley, Jr., helped reinforce the Times‘ reputation as a media bastion of rape culture.

And now he’s done it again, in his profile of rape and sexual assault in Williston, North Dakota:

The rich shale oil formation deep below the rolling pastures here has attracted droves of young men to work the labor-intensive jobs that get the wells flowing and often generate six-figure salaries. What the oil boom has not brought, however, are enough single women.

It turns out, according to Eligon, that scarcity economics applies to that commodity Amanda Marcotte refers to as “vaginal access” [content warning applies]:

Here, men talk of a “Williston 10” — a woman who would be considered mediocre in any other city is considered a perfect 10 out here.

“I’ve noticed my standards dropping,” said Ian Hernandez, 24, who moved to Williston from Chicago a couple of months ago. “I just went home two weeks ago. I saw the girls I had planned to see. That, hopefully, should hold me off until I go back next time in two months or so.”

Some men have forced themselves on women.

Jessica Brightbill, a single 24-year-old who moved here from Grand Rapids, Mich., a year and a half ago, said she was walking to work at 3:30 in the afternoon when a car with two men suddenly pulled up behind her. One hopped out and grabbed her by her arms and began dragging her. She let her body go limp so she would be harder to drag. Eventually, a man in a truck pulled up and began yelling at the men and she got away, she said. The episode left her rattled.

Going out alone is now out of the question, and the friend she moved here with no longer has much time to spend with her because she has since found a boyfriend and had a baby. Ms. Brightbill said she has difficulty finding other young single women with the freedom to hang out. And, she said, finding good men does not come easy.

“It’s just people trying to have sex,” she said.

Not that Eligon portrays women in Williston as just hapless victims. Some, he reports, are savvy capitalists seeking to leverage their assets:

Some women have banked on the female shortage. Williston’s two strip clubs attract dancers from around the country. Prostitutes from out of state troll the bars.

Eligon’s only reference in the piece to law enforcement is a mention of a notable increase in local domestic and sexual assaults, and a quick quote from a nearby prosecutor about newcomers not “respecting the laws of people of North Dakota.”   He doesn’t mention plans for enforcement of the laws against assaulting women, access to support services for crime victims, or anything, really, of the sort.

Instead, he closes his article with the same old “solution” offered up by everyone who works to shift the blame for sexual assault:

At the urging of her family, Barbara Coughlin, 31, who recently moved to Williston after her 11-year marriage ended, is now getting her concealed weapons permit so she can carry a Taser. Ms. Coughlin, who wore silver glitter around her eyes at work as a waitress on a recent day, said her mother and stepfather, who live here, advised her to stop wearing the skirts and heels she cherishes, so she does not stand out like “a flower in the desert,” as her stepfather put it. Her family hardly ever lets her go out on her own — not even for walks down the gravel road at the housing camp where they live.

“Will I stay for very long? Probably not,” she said. “To me, there’s no money in the world worth not even being able to take a walk.”

Comments

  1. says

    Welllll. . . it seems to me he’s describing the situation. I don’t see where he’s condoning it or making excuses. It seems to me the sin you’re accusing the reporter of is failing to add the commentary you would have added. I’m not sure that’s entirely fair, although it’s debatable.

  2. says

    He doesn’t mention plans for enforcement of the laws against assaulting women, access to support services for crime victims, or anything, really, of the sort.

    They probably don’t have any real plans. Actually, it would not surprise me if the police department there were understaffed right now. It’s an oil boom, after all (though a fact I do not see mentioned in this post). The population has increased quite drastically in that area from what I have heard from my family who lives there.

  3. ChasCPeterson says

    It turns out, according to Eligon, that scarcity economics applies to that commodity Amanda Marcotte refers to as “vaginal access”

    So are you claiming that’s not true, or that it ought not be true, or what?

    I’m going to agree with cervantes that description and quotation ≠ advocacy. Without denying the rape-culture milieu of the article’s subject, casting this piece and its author as victim-blaming and rape-apologetic is a real stretch imo.

  4. says

    I don’t see where he’s condoning it or making excuses. It seems to me the sin you’re accusing the reporter of is failing to add the commentary you would have added.

    Failing to include any mention of the local constabulary whatsoever is a bit more than “failing to add commentary.”

  5. Alverant says

    I don’t see where he’s condoning it or making excuses.

    Right there in the first segment when he talks about the number of single women and then in later segments when he talks about that. By mentioning he number of women in the area he’s implying an excuse as in “well it’s OK since there aren’t many women”. He’s invoking the idea that rare = valuable = OK to take.

  6. Ichthyic says

    What the oil boom has not brought, however, are enough single women camp followers.

    ftfy.

    but oh wait…

    Some women have banked on the female shortage. Williston’s two strip clubs attract dancers from around the country. Prostitutes from out of state troll the bars.

    problem solved.

    *eyeroll*

  7. speed0spank says

    Hey hey now, if they had put any mention of what police are doing, or information on what women can do they might not have had room for the total zinger about totally average women being tens. Tens! Can you believe it?

  8. says

    Also note that though he refers to an increase in crimes, he doesn’t provide any data whatsoever. It could have been one sentence, comparing the stats to Williston before the oil boom and to other places in the US. He doesn’t do that, making this all an exercise in anecdata.

    But the larger point is that Eligon fit the facts he’s reporting into a larger frame. Closing on the “this woman isn’t wearing pretty clothes anymore because her stepfather told her not to” SAYS something. Not interviewing the Williston cops — or even mentioning whether they exist — SAYS something.

    As a journalist you shape a story by the facts you choose to include and those you choose to omit, and those it never occurs to you to include. You shape a story by which choice of compelling “desert flower” imagery you choose as a compelling close. There’s no such thing as reporting without interpretation.

  9. Pierce R. Butler says

    Seeing the headline on this post, I had expected (analysis of) a comparable “explanation” of gang rapes in India, based on differential abortion rates and infant mortality.

    The raw sexism and rape culture in both North Dakota and South Asia generally go unremarked either way, alas.

  10. says

    Rape is not caused by a lack of consensual sex partners. Rapists rape not because they enjoy consensual sex, but are having trouble finding it, and find rape an acceptable substitute, but because they enjoy raping.

    The reporter is perpetuating a trope that is objectively false, namely that lack of “single women” (as if married women cannot be assaulted) is causing an uptick in assaults. No, the cause is an influx of rapists. More men came to town; a certain percentage of those men are rapists; now there are more rapes.

  11. AlanMac says

    Having lived in a boom town where the eligible male:female ratio was about 10:1, (Calgary , Alberta 1981), I believe that Eligon has mistaken correlation for causation. The cause is, more likely, to be the higher then normal number douches ( of various levels of douche baggery) that are attracted to these places. Most normal man knew the women had the upper hand and that they had to be MORE gentlemanly then normal if they wanted female companionship. Also he provides no actual data, only anecdotes.

  12. jackiepaper says

    Cervantes,
    You don’t see it as victim blaming and glaring rape culture that this asshole explains the cause of rapes to be the fault of women for not being available to be used by men? “Won’t anyone think of the poor horny menz!” is not a decent response to a string of rapes.
    Really?
    He’s saying that decent guys who are not given plenty of access to women’s bodies automatically turn into rapists and that’s not promoting rape culture in your eyes? Can you imagine a gay man being excused in the media this way for raping men, because there were too few consensual partners available to him?
    He then goes in to disregard the rape victims and claim that women are “cashing in” on the pussy drought by becoming prostitutes and strippers?

    But you don’t see a problem. Please, look again without your privilege colored glasses on.

  13. says

    The main problem I see with this kind of journalism is that while the inherent sexism may be obvious to some, it will be completely invisible to most. Most people will read this as an ‘this is whats happening on the ground’ piece without noticing the more subtle digs at women or the normalization of these kinds of occurances. I am with Chris, what is not included says something, but who will hear it?

  14. says

    Her family hardly ever lets her go out on her own — not even for walks down the gravel road at the housing camp where they live.

    Ladies, welcome to Williston, North Dakota Saudi Arabia.

    I expect that if there are any “equity feminist” around they will argue that because it is not the law preventing her from going out on her own (most of the time) then there really isn’t a problem.

    Maybe going out alone is more of a guy thing? (/sarcasm)

  15. pascale68 says

    @SallyStrange – thank you! You put into words what I was thinking. This NYT writer doesn’t seem to understand that rape is an act of violence, and rapists will rape even when there is an overabundance of consenting partners available. Ending the piece by remarking how a woman isn’t wearing skirts anymore implies that this is a valid way to stop rape and amounts to victim-shaming.

  16. vaiyt says

    Welllll. . . it seems to me he’s describing the situation.

    “Shortage of women causes rape” is NOT describing the situation, unless you assume the premise is true. Which it isn’t. Shut up, and fuck you.

  17. Zugswang says

    Man, when I saw “NYT” and an allusion to weak apologetics and general awfulness as a human being, I was certain this would be a vapid op-ed written by Russ Douthat. Then I read it, and was still surprised something at the level of this singular manifestation of ignorance wasn’t authored by Douthat.

    Reading these gives me a headache…

  18. says

    No, the cause is an influx of rapists. More men came to town; a certain percentage of those men are rapists; now there are more rapes.

    I suggest that there may also be an effect from having a subculture with many men together* which is reinforcing and encouraging toxic sexist attitudes, that may lead those newcomers to be more likely to rape than if they’d been spending their time in a different environment.In a mixed study group where rape jokes and sexist objectification aren’t condoned, a particular six guys may behave in a relatively civil fashion. Put them together on a football team or in a frat house where they’re all competing to see who can be the most “masculine” and the rapists among them feel they have free rein.

  19. cuervodecuero says

    I’d also add in…

    walking to work at 3:30 in the afternoon when a car with two men suddenly pulled up behind her. One hopped out and grabbed her by her arms and began dragging her. She let her body go limp so she would be harder to drag. Eventually, a man in a truck pulled up and began yelling at the men and she got away, she said. The episode left her rattled […] And, she said, finding good men does not come easy. “It’s just people trying to have sex,” she said.

    An attempted forcible vehicular abduction and odds-high implied rape in the middle of the afternoon, left her *rattled* according to the stellar journalist??? And then the only quote from her is frustration at ‘people’ trying to ‘have sex’. No mention of whether she’s reported forcible assault/attempted abduction to the police?

    My biased nose-wrinkling interpretation is reading a framing more like ‘hoo, those whacky manly men when they can’t get easy veejay to soothe their steamer after a hard day building the economy and improving the local biz bottom line; ya galz just gotta accept menz bulled up on oilfield work get frisky. Don’t rile them ‘r you’ll get the horns.’

  20. jackiepaper says

    Anyone else notice that men are, “hard working young men” when they are seeking employment, but women are “cashing in”? Ugh.

  21. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Put them together on a football team or in a frat house where they’re all competing to see who can be the most “masculine” and the rapists among them feel they have free rein.

    Ibis, yes. This. So much.

    I avoid groups of men when there aren’t other people (and women) around, in the rare times I find myself in such situations. The aggressors absolutely do feel emboldened, and enough of the others will be just spineless enough and worried enough about not being seen to compromise their performance of masculinity that they will not rein the others in. If it’s not rape, it’ll be a fag bashing.

    Nota bene—Although I know this disclaimer will be useless and the screeching will begin immediately, no, I am not saying all groups of men are rapists and fag bashers and equally likely to commit violence. I’m saying that I’ve had enough experience being on the bashing end of it to know that I can’t predict which ones will go that far with any accuracy and I will not compromise my safety. Call it Schroedinger’s gang.

  22. says

    Josh, funny how Eligon seems not to have suffered any complaint by the Menz who usually object to the Schroedinger’s Rapist trope. He’s basically saying that male people are prone to getting rapey when our Sex Gauge drops down toward “E,” after all. Which seems a bit more insulting than someone saying “I can’t tell whether you’re a rapist or not by looking at you.”

  23. F [nucular nyandrothol] says

    Possibly hard-working young entitled male rapists. The non-rapists aren’t necessarily part of the problem. (Though they may be via sexism, a sense of entitlement, crowd behavior influenced by the previous two, and the bystander effect if applicable.)

    Even if there are prostitutes “cashing in”, well, welcome to the supply and demand economics of capitalism, douchebag. Have you heard of this before?

  24. eric says

    jackiepaper @16;

    You don’t see it as victim blaming and glaring rape culture that this asshole explains the cause of rapes to be the fault of women for not being available to be used by men?

    I don’t think the reporter is saying that. Nowhere in the article is it stated or implied that the women are at fault for the crime rate. I read this prior to coming to pharyngula and my pre-pharyngula read was that the article was implying the influx of men was causing the crime rise.

    There is a lop-sidedness to it, which, as Sallystrange said, is that most men do not become rapists merely because they have no access to sex. The article focuses exclusively on the ratio when the ratio is not the cause; more rapists coming to town is the cause.

    Ibis3; sure, there are probably some men who do change to rapists in this environment. But my guess is that inadequate policing probably has a lot more to do with it than just men spending more free time with other men. My guess is that the men who turn from law-abiding citizens to rapists do so because it becomes clear they won’t get caught or punished; not because they’ve been playing a lot more Halo than they do at home with their wife.

  25. Esteleth, Ultra-PC Feminist Harpy Out To Destroy Secularism says

    The NYT article SidBB linked is interesting. In it, the authors posit that a skewed male:female ratio (specifically, with more men than women) produces a group of men who thus (statistically speaking) are cut off from the possibility of romantic relationships with women, including marriage, and having families. The cut-off men are disproportionately likely to be “low-status” men anyway (as defined by things like class, race, income levels, etc) and tend to form all-mall groups, where their attitudes bounce each other and reinforce each other. Minus a charismatic leader-type, this tends to produce a group that devolves to the lowest-common denominator conduct and attitudes.

    The end result, the authors claim, is a bubble of violence perpetrated by these men, frequently sexual. They specifically relate this to the highly skewed ratios found in India and China and recent high-profile cases of sexual violence, but I would argue that what’s going on here is more or less the same phenomenon.

  26. Esteleth, Ultra-PC Feminist Harpy Out To Destroy Secularism says

    FWIW, I’m seconding Josh’s comment above about avoiding groups of men that are all men, unless I know a number of them well. Because I’m not interested in experiencing what such a group could do. They may well be the greatest nicest, least rapey men in existence. But nope. Schrödinger’s gang indeed.

  27. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    But my guess is that inadequate policing probably has a lot more to do with it than just men spending more free time with other men. My guess is that the men who turn from law-abiding citizens to rapists do so because it becomes clear they won’t get caught or punished;

    Any amount of policing is inadequate, Eric, because women are routinely disbelieved, ignored, or humiliated by the justice system. This is so foundational you need to read up on it if it’s not something you already know.

    The problem is rape culture. A big part of the “not getting caught” and “not getting punished” is the absolute, utter lack of social catching and punishing. The diminishment of rape. The slut shaming. The clothing policing. This informs and buttresses a law enforcement system that usually—not sometimes, usually—disbelieves victims or makes it impossible to succesfully prosecute the perps.

    This article traffics in rape culture tropes, and others above have explained how very clearly. I highly doubt the author meant to, or believes that he’s participating in it. That doesn’t matter. Most of us don’t think we’re doing it until we’re confronted with it. He’s like the vast majority of people in this country who unthinkingly pass along rape culture tropes but get in high dudgeon when you suggest they’re part of the problem.

  28. Esteleth, Ultra-PC Feminist Harpy Out To Destroy Secularism says

    You’re correct, Josh. Even in a imbalanced situation where there are x violent rapey men, the way that this situation spirals into a situation where most (or even many) women feel unsafe is when said rapey men are not held accountable. Rape culture allows the rapists to get away with rape and shames women for taking steps to protect themselves.

  29. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    I found the absolutely random bit mentioning the silver eye glitter Ms Couglin wore to work on some “recent day” to be… Astounding. The reporter is effectively saying: “She wore eye glitter to work what does THAT tell ya?” (and of course the implied answer is ‘nothing good’.)

    Or is that just me?

    Also, it’s reprted that there’s both a lack of consensual partners AND an influx of sex workers ( who, as mentned earlier, are “cashing in” , not seeking employment). Even if it were true that too few single women are available to supply the vaginal access product these men feel entitled to and that leads to increased sexual violence (which I can not disagree with more), wouldn’t the influx of the sex workers address the “access” “problem”? Makes no sense to me.

  30. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Shorter me: Laws aren’t enough. Social pressure and stigma is necessary and often more powerful than legal prohibitions. Think of civil rights—just because Brown v. Board of Education was decided did NOT mean that black children were all of a sudden welcome, safe, and free of violence in desegregated schools. They’re still not today. But what gains have been made have come because the collective weight of moral disapproval from society (at least in most cases about the most blatant and overt racism) has curtailed some acts that would otherwise have happened.

    Same thing with rape. Same thing with homophobia. Same thing with casual sexism. Same thing with______.

  31. says

    I live in ND. My husband works with a lot of oil workers who have come in from elsewhere. The overcrowding has to be seen to be believed – people in Dickinson rent their driveways out to oil workers. Yes, crime has been up everywhere the oil workers are, no, there aren’t enough cops to effectively deal with it, however, there’s an unspoken there and it is a *huge* one – no one is to be seriously tipping the oil boom boat. That includes the cops.

  32. Barklikeadog says

    I found the absolutely random bit mentioning the silver eye glitter Ms Couglin wore to work on some “recent day” to be… Astounding. The reporter is effectively saying: “She wore eye glitter to work what does THAT tell ya?” (and of course the implied answer is ‘nothing good’.)

    Or is that just me?

    Not just you. I picked up on that insinuation right away. This woman must be at fault and more likley to get assaulted and raped because of the eye glitter. Obviously she was a slut who would deserve it. It was a stupid thing to say and doesn’t the reporter have editors? With sense?

  33. jackiepaper says

    Eric, if it is not the fault of women that men don’t have enough access to their bodies, so natch men turn to raping women, then who is it precisely that is at fault for not supplying these men with women’s bodies to prevent them becoming rapists? (Not that for one second I think that is what causes men to rape.)

    Let me break it down as I see it and you can tell me where I’m wrong.

    If men rape women because their is no available pussy and women control the flow of pussy, how is that not blaming women for creating rapists?
    Since there clearly are women in that town and men are raping them because, presumably those women aren’t giving it up, isn’t the author saying that women not making themselves available for fucking are to blame? If no vagina access = let the rapefest begin, then it is women, not men who control the sexual crimes men perpetrate against women. The irony is that he also says there are prostitutes who would happily sell these guys some sex, but I guess the demand so outweighs the supply that the men have turned to rape to quench their poor lonely loins. Are you seeing any scapegoating yet?
    He is comparing sex with things like food and water or other things desperate people will do desperate things to acquire, because they die without them. He is suggesting that these men are owed/need women’s bodies or else those poor hard working young men will rape. I believe people should have access to food, housing, medical care and clean water. I do not believe for a moment that they are owed access to anyone else’s body. He is writing about women as if he is writing about a water rights dispute. Too many thirsty people, not enough water. That’s wrong. That’s rape culture.
    Then again, I’ve been wrong before.

  34. Barklikeadog says

    @ jackiepaper

    Then again, I’ve been wrong before.

    Well you are not wrong now! I really liked your water rights analogy. Nice.

  35. says

    JackiePaper:

    He is writing about women as if he is writing about a water rights dispute. Too many thirsty people, not enough water. That’s wrong. That’s rape culture.
    Then again, I’ve been wrong before.

    You aren’t wrong. He’s writing about how pussy should be on tap, and of course, it’s the fault of women if it isn’t overflowing. Poor, poor menz, without proper access, you know, because they are entitled. One would think they didn’t have two perfectly good hands.

  36. The Mellow Monkey says

    jackiepaper:

    He is writing about women as if he is writing about a water rights dispute. Too many thirsty people, not enough water. That’s wrong. That’s rape culture.

    Hell yes. In this view, sex isn’t an activity that two or more people engage in together for pleasure, but a requirement for life and one which women are denying these poor, hardworking young men.

    It reduces human beings to sex dispensers. And miserly ones at that.

  37. Lofty says

    Caine:
    The rapists have been properly educated, wanking makes you go blind. Gotta have pussy to be real men.
    *squints blearily at the words on the screen*

  38. says

    Lofty:

    The rapists have been properly educated, wanking makes you go blind. Gotta have pussy to be real men.

    *Snorts* I suppose it would constitute work, and why the idea of those poor guys having to work after getting back to their miserable oil worker shack, having to wrap a finger or five…it’s unbearable!

  39. Randomfactor says

    Or is that just me?

    While I had the same thought, one additional comment.

    I remember reading last year a profile on a highly-regarded biology researcher who’d made a breakthrough. The article described what she was wearing in the lab. I was highly disappointed when the reporter interviewed another researcher in the field on the significance of her achievement, but didn’t give me a clue what HE was wearing…

  40. jackiepaper says

    Caine, They are hard working. Perhaps callused hands are really to blame here.

    Somebody send those young men a truckload of Fleshlights and stop this madness!

    Lofty, That explains why as I get older, my glasses get thicker. It must be a cumulative effect.

  41. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Thing is, jerking off doesn’t impress your buddies, whereas “getting pussy” does. Far, far more so if it’s “the right kind of pussy” (IE, young, conventionally attractive), but anything “less” is “understandable,” even though you’re supposed to be kind of ashamed of it.

    Reason #86 why I avoid hanging out with all-male groups. Even the ones who aren’t rapey per se tend to be pretty fukken toxic. >.>

  42. Matthew Oakley says

    Reading this kind of shit makes me sick. I’ve been single for more years than I care to think about yet I have never felt the need to force myself onto a woman. Nor have I felt the need to ‘lower my standards’, whatever the fuck that means. How anyone can buy that kind of crap is beyond me.

  43. says

    Azkyroth:

    Thing is, jerking off doesn’t impress your buddies, whereas “getting pussy” does. Far, far more so if it’s “the right kind of pussy” (IE, young, conventionally attractive), but anything “less” is “understandable,” even though you’re supposed to be kind of ashamed of it.

    Yeah, you’re right. Even more so now, when homosociality has gone terribly toxic.

  44. says

    Including physical descriptions of women, but not men, in the article is not just reporting the facts.
    Including reports of increased sex crimes, but not the increase in violent crimes in general, is not just reporting the facts.
    Including quotes and paraphrases from people interviewed that imply that women are things (you can “import” them, apparently), that shortages of women cause men to go insane, and that attempted rape is “just trying to have sex” without commentary is not just reporting the facts.

    All of these decisions about what to include and what to leave out are editorial, subjective decisions about how to frame a story. And this writer chose to frame it as “too few women, therefore sexual assault”, when it could have been just as easily “too quick influx of people, understaffed police, therefore more crimes”, or “bunch of men competing in toxic manliness, therefore outbreaks of toxic behavior”, or any number of different frames. so yeah, i call bullshit on the “he’s just reporting the situation” argument.

  45. says

    Ugh, so much fail in the Times article.

    We got the complete failure to comment on or even be aware of what the rape culture is. We’ve got the casual relegation of sex workers to not real people (cause see if good kind white women who just want a boyfriend and a baby get assaulted than that is vaguely lamentable, but not so for those predatory evil sex workers “chasing a fast buck”).

    We’ve got, as SallyStrange pointed out, the complete BS acceptance of all sorts of rape myths, worst of all, the idea that rapists don’t rape because they are rapists but because of some desperation or confusion and of course we’ve got the continuation of the myth of “the only rapist is the stranger rapist”, completely ignoring that most people who are raped are raped by someone they know (fairly often current and prior romantic partners).

    We’ve got the standard complete bullshit we always get from anti-feminists and sexists about how all cis men are inherently rapists and the slightest thing will naturally just set off mass rape rampages (short skirts, lack of local sexual options, not getting their dick sucked enough, women being “uppity”, etc…) and yes, it is amazing to me every goddamn time that all the people who cry crocodile tears about Dworkin noting that sexist men view sex as rape completely fail every time to notice just how little anti-feminists and sexists view MEN as well as women. I mean, they are literally calling you a violent creature who is one bad dump away from sharpening a machete and kidnapping women on the street. How the hell does this get a pass? Oh right, misogyny and a toxic masculinity culture.

    And we’ve got the incredibly infuriating “sex as Econ 101 transaction” bullshit. Which never fails to be just… GYAH. I’m asexual and I fucking understand that sex, romance, love, lust, so on and so forth have BALLS ALL to do with Economic Theory. And frankly, the attempt to reduce the complex, emotional, and so dependent on consent and genuine humanity field of sex and love into some sort of sick Men want X good from women, women want Y good from men woo says infinite volumes about just how fucked up we are as a culture and how much we’ve turned capitalism into a toxic fetish.

    And that’s before we get into the heteroassumptive problems, the way the local police as depicted seem to be more concerned with “y’all not from ’round here” bullshit than actually addressing the real problems, the way the boom is simply highlighting the issues of conservative social environments, and of course the complete failure to really look at how jobs are coded as one gender or another and the problems that inevitably stem. Cause, yeah, the fact that mining and oil refineries are treated as “men’s work” where female workers “need not apply” really exasperates these sorts of problems. If there weren’t a lot of insecure men with a “macho manly” self-assumption blocking women workers because “they couldn’t possibly be as good”, reinforcing each others worst attributes, and trying to one-up each other in a story on how they best resisted any signs of femininity, things wouldn’t be nearly as bad in these sorts of communities.

    But then, really doing some real journalism into that is simply so much harder and so much less well-paid than writing the same damn “women need to get out of the workplace (and the world) for their own good” that major newspapers have been running for over 20 years.

  46. says

    the way the local police as depicted seem to be more concerned with “y’all not from ’round here” bullshit than actually addressing the real problem

    oh yeah. the xenophobia about all those “thems” moving into North Dakota is huge.

  47. Barklikeadog says

    @jackipepper

    Perhaps callused hands are really to blame here.

    I’ve never had to go all rapey because of the callouses on my hand and I haven’t been home and seen my wife in months. You just end up building more callouses with your callouses.

  48. says

    Jadehawk:

    oh yeah. the xenophobia about all those “thems” moving into North Dakota is huge.

    Along with all the “strange culture” those “thems” are bringing along. It’s not dire everywhere here, but it’s pretty bad.

  49. says

    Jadehawk @52

    Yeah, there’s a really creepy unsettling feeling from his physical descriptions of women. And it really stems from how it just encapsulates a whole fleet of unpacked assumptions (from the idea that all a woman is is her physical attractiveness, to the ideas that less attractive or more sexually open women are worth less and often worthless, the near inhuman references to sexual workers that literally invokes monstrous images, and that goddamn fucking Pick-Up Artist numbering system which still might be the best Instant Red Flag for Guaranteed Douchebaggery that sexists ever adopted).

    And yeah, an extra goddamn for how the author slipped in that casual “hard-working” BS as if men working in fields where sexist discrimination, hostile work environments, sexual assault and harassment, brutal and violent gender enforcement, and inaccurate sex-based assumptions artificially reduce women’s involvement was somehow more difficult and more real than the underpaid, overworked gigs that often are left to be “women’s work”.

    Including, the sex work denigrated in the same article. Oil workers don’t have to worry constantly that they’ll be raped or murdered. If they get injured on the job they get worker’s comp and union support instead of a panicked run to scrounge up enough makeup to hide the scars so you won’t be fired. They don’t have to worry about being arrested or harassed by cops for free sexual favors. They don’t get to enjoy union protection, middle class wages, and industry regulations designed to keep them safe and protected. And they don’t have to literally fuck or be sexually harassed just to earn their daily bread.

  50. Hekuni Cat, MQG says

    jackiepaper:

    Then again, I’ve been wrong before.

    You are definitely not wrong.

  51. Gregory Greenwood says

    SallyStrange: Elite Femi-Fascist Genius @ 11;

    Rape is not caused by a lack of consensual sex partners. Rapists rape not because they enjoy consensual sex, but are having trouble finding it, and find rape an acceptable substitute, but because they enjoy raping.

    The reporter is perpetuating a trope that is objectively false, namely that lack of “single women” (as if married women cannot be assaulted) is causing an uptick in assaults. No, the cause is an influx of rapists. More men came to town; a certain percentage of those men are rapists; now there are more rapes.

    Quoted for truth.

    Rape is rarely if ever about sex, but it is always about power, and the normalisation of rape as ‘just what guys do when there aren’t enough women around’ is a component of that power, since it functions as a de facto excuse for rape. It is just another facet of rape culture.

  52. Gregory Greenwood says

    jackiepaper @ 41;

    He is writing about women as if he is writing about a water rights dispute. Too many thirsty people, not enough water. That’s wrong. That’s rape culture.

    Exactly right – he acts as if all women should be the horn of sexual cornucopia, and rape is the result of their failure to perform their designated function as living sex despensors properly. It is a heinously misogynistic and dehumanising example of rape culture in action.

  53. canabob says

    The story paints a crappy picture of Williston, and points up a sick culture that is growing there.
    But before you shoot the messenger, try reading the whole story, instead just the bits Chris picked out.
    And trying reading with the kind of objectivity I would hope you’d bring to your laboratory.
    I’m not sure it’s Eligon who’s looking through tinted glasses.

  54. says

    canabob:

    And trying reading with the kind of objectivity I would hope you’d bring to your laboratory.

    Oh FFS. Just what is your point, exactly? What makes you think people didn’t read the story? You know, you might have the luxury to view rape culture and sexism “objectively” – for the rest of us, it’s reality. It’s our lives.

  55. Gregory Greenwood says

    canabob @ 65;

    Perhaps you should read through the thread to see why we consider this article so problematic before seeking to admonish us. I recommend SallyStrange: Elite Femi-Fascist Genius’ post @ 11 in particular.

  56. says

    Gregory:

    Perhaps you should read through the thread to see why we consider this article so problematic before seeking to admonish us.

    “Canabob” gave himself away with the laboratory remark – he’s a fan of the Vulcan Atheist model, prepared to throw strawSpocks all over the place.

  57. canabob says

    There you go, Caine. I’m not condoning “rape culture and sexism”. But you read what you wanted to read in my comment, without actually reading what was there.
    Same goes for Eligon’s story.
    That’s my point.
    Running around shouting “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” has about as much validity as responding to violence by buying a gun. Eligon’s job is to point out reality – and the unhappy joy of being a reporter is that the reality we see is not always the one you WANT to see.
    Sad, so sad.
    But if the reality is never pointed out, it will never be fixed.
    The scattering of ashes and rending of garments here is a good thing. But stand back and you’ll see that what really needs to be fixed is the rape culture and sexism – not some (possibly flawed) reporter’s attempt to point them out.

  58. slothrop1905 says

    Just what IS the solution to such a skewed male/female ratio? The link above to the situation in India…are people in agreement here that men can socialized to not want sex? In a previous thread I thought it was agreed on here that having sex with people was something that was in your own control (because if you believe otherwise you’re a Nice Guy), but when there’s such an imbalance obviously that can’t be the case. So is the idea that with proper socialization those men who are left out should realize they just don’t want it that much? Would love to see some research on how that would work.

  59. says

    But before you shoot the messenger, try reading the whole story, instead just the bits Chris picked out.
    And trying reading with the kind of objectivity I would hope you’d bring to your laboratory.

    lol. because you’ve got some sort of evidence that people didn’t read it?
    oh, wait, no. you’re bullshitting, despite the evidence that people HAVE read the article. evidence like discussing parts not pulled out by the OP.

    I’m not sure it’s Eligon who’s looking through tinted glasses.

    sure. and the list of biased/biasing choices I listed is totes not a list of biased/biasing choices.
    huh, I guess we’re back to the part where you’re simply bullshitting.

  60. rodriguez says

    canabob you think Caine has misinterpreted your vague and critical comment. But just what were you trying to say? You said this:

    But before you shoot the messenger, try reading the whole story, instead just the bits Chris picked out.

    This would imply that you think there are some important bits Chris left out. Great, then, which ones?

    And you also said this:

    And trying reading with the kind of objectivity I would hope you’d bring to your laboratory.

    Can you point out where some specific comment is not objective?

    Your comment was virtually empty of content, except for the finger wagging at all the other, much more useful and eloquent, comments.

  61. says

    Eligon’s job is to point out reality – and the unhappy joy of being a reporter is that the reality we see is not always the one you WANT to see.

    oh yeah. dude totes just reported the objective reality, all the objective reality, and nothing but the objective reality. because that’s how writing a story works. reporters, they’re really just unbiased recording and transmission devices. especially in this day and age. because reasons.

  62. Gregory Greenwood says

    Caine, Fleur du mal + @ 70;

    “Canabob” gave himself away with the laboratory remark – he’s a fan of the Vulcan Atheist model, prepared to throw strawSpocks all over the place.

    Ah, I see what you mean. I want to think that this ‘laboratory’ remark was simply an unfortunate turn of phrase from someone unfamiliar with the problems skepticism has with sexism, but I am very much afraid that you are right, and we are about to be condescendingly informed that women will get so emotional about stuff like misogyny and rape culture, and need to show more academic detachment before they can be taken seriously…

    And now we get this @ 71 from canbob;

    Running around shouting “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” has about as much validity as responding to violence by buying a gun. Eligon’s job is to point out reality – and the unhappy joy of being a reporter is that the reality we see is not always the one you WANT to see.
    Sad, so sad.

    and;

    The scattering of ashes and rending of garments here is a good thing.

    (Emphasis added)

    It really isn’t looking good for my ‘honest misunderstanding’ reading of canabob’s words in hir first post, is it? At this rate, xe may as well just come right out and call us ‘hysterical’.

    ———————————————————————————————————————-

    Canabob; if you aren’t promoting the fallacious ‘Vulcan atheist’ idea that people who show passion about the issues surrounding misogyny and rape culture are too emotional and irrational to be taken seriously – thus demonstrating only that you have social privilege enough that rape culture effects your life to so small a degree that you can afford to be so detached – then your chosen form of words really isn’t helping your case.

  63. says

    what really needs to be fixed is the rape culture and sexism – not some (possibly flawed) reporter’s attempt to point them out.

    he didn’t report on rape culture and sexism. he perpetuated it. a story reporting ontoxic masculinity, rape culture and sexism in oil country would have been written differently. this was a story on how there’s so few women, men go insane and try to “have sex” with everything that moves.

  64. says

    slothrop:

    Just what IS the solution to such a skewed male/female ratio? The link above to the situation in India…are people in agreement here that men can socialized to not want sex? In a previous thread I thought it was agreed on here that having sex with people was something that was in your own control (because if you believe otherwise you’re a Nice Guy), but when there’s such an imbalance obviously that can’t be the case. So is the idea that with proper socialization those men who are left out should realize they just don’t want it that much? Would love to see some research on how that would work.

    Did you even read the thread? FFS, this is not about “oh, those poor men, there isn’t enough suitable pussy around! We must remedy the situation!” It’s about rape.

  65. rodriguez says

    So is the idea that with proper socialization those men who are left out should realize they just don’t want it that much? can’t rape women without serious sanctions and consequences, like jail time.

  66. Koshka says

    The first part of the story points out that men are not getting the sex they want.

    Then we have

    This has complicated life for women in the region as well.

    Apparently women being assaulted is a secondary concern to the author.

    This line

    Some men have forced themselves on women.

    should read

    “Some men have raped/attempted to rape women.”

    The article is minimising rape and is accepting that assault on women comes second to men getting sex.

    It may be pointing out “reality” but it does it as part of the entrenched rape culture.

  67. slothrop1905 says

    Yes, I read every part of this thread and the linked articles. I see everyone saying that sex for men is not like having shelter or food or water, it’s something that your hands will suffice for (I also note that it’s mostly women saying that, but whatever). I get it, you want to discourage rape in every possible way and make the culture accept that prosecutions be taken more seriously than they ever have been in any society I’ve read about. But I have also seen that large populations of men with no access to sex usually is associated with bad things. I assume there’s a reason why that is? And the reason is social conditioning? That the drive for sex in these men will just go away? Be channelled into something more productive? Or is the idea that that drive itself is just a socially contructed illusion, and nothing bad will come from its suppression because it wasn’t really there in the first place?

  68. Arawhon says

    As someone with a lot of family in Williston and and many of them working the oil field, the city has gone to shit. And thats saying something cause the town was shit before the boom. Many of the guys who moved to Williston are your average soaked-in-sexism doodz who think that having sex is a right and something that all the women should be giving them. Some of the guys who moved there are extremely bitter mysogists working the field to meet their child-support payments. The culture is sick there. Most of the cops really didnt care about you before the boom, now they are severely understaffed to handle Williston.

  69. says

    Eligon’s job is to point out reality – and the unhappy joy of being a reporter is that the reality we see is not always the one you WANT to see.

    Which is what we’re doing here: reporting on a reality that fans of Eligon’s work might prefer not to see. Do try to keep up, Canabob.

  70. says

    But I have also seen that large populations of men with no access to sex usually is associated with bad things. I assume there’s a reason why that is? And the reason is social conditioning? That the drive for sex in these men will just go away?

    fascinating. this totally sounds as if you think men who don’t get laid for a few months in a row inherently turn into beasts who lose control over themselves.

    how would any dude ever get through puberty, if that were even remotely close to true?

    seriously, stop perpetuating the weird belief that behaviors associated with toxic masculinity perpetuate themselves because men don’t get laid enough.

  71. says

    And slothrop1905, if you don’t know the difference between male sexuality and rape, then you’ve got a problem too big for me to help you with.

  72. John Morales says

    slothrop1905:

    I assume there’s a reason why that is? And the reason is social conditioning? That the drive for sex in these men will just go away? Be channelled into something more productive? Or is the idea that that drive itself is just a socially contructed illusion, and nothing bad will come from its suppression because it wasn’t really there in the first place?

    I see you’re JAQing furiously.

    It’s really not that complicated: Rape is not a need for sex, but a perversion of it — and part of being civilised is not accepting or excusing rape.

  73. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    But I have also seen that large populations of men with no access to sex usually is associated with bad things. I assume there’s a reason why that is? And the reason is social conditioning? That the drive for sex in these men will just go away? Be channelled into something more productive? Or is the idea that that drive itself is just a socially contructed illusion, and nothing bad will come from its suppression because it wasn’t really there in the first place?

    Jebus fucking Christ

  74. Gregory Greenwood says

    slothrop1905 @ 81;

    Yes, I read every part of this thread and the linked articles. I see everyone saying that sex for men is not like having shelter or food or water, it’s something that your hands will suffice for (I also note that it’s mostly women saying that, but whatever). I get it, you want to discourage rape in every possible way and make the culture accept that prosecutions be taken more seriously than they ever have been in any society I’ve read about. But I have also seen that large populations of men with no access to sex usually is associated with bad things. I assume there’s a reason why that is? And the reason is social conditioning? That the drive for sex in these men will just go away? Be channelled into something more productive? Or is the idea that that drive itself is just a socially contructed illusion, and nothing bad will come from its suppression because it wasn’t really there in the first place?

    You are making the mistake of assuming that this thread is about the lack of available women to satisfy the sexual urges of men in this community. It isn’t. This thread is about rape. And rape is not about sex at its most fundamental level – it is about power. Part of the power rapists derive from rape comes from society making excuses for them – excuses like the idea that rape is a response to the lack of the availability of women; an attitude that normalises rape as a ‘natural’ response to having too few women around, rather than pointing out that men that rape still rape even when there are lots of women around.

    The increased incidence of rape in communities like Williston, North Dakota is not caused by a lack of available women, but rather because the industry there is socially constructed as being a masculine field that is not open to women, and these ‘jobs for boys’ attract more men, and a percentage of those men attracted will be the kind of men who rape. Claiming that it is caused by a lack of women seeks to shift the blame for the increase in the rate of rape onto the shoulders of the women who are too few in number to perform the function that the article implies they should be performing – that of public sex dispensories. This attitude is clearly misogynistic, and is not merely ‘reporting the facts’.

    That there are not many women around does not mean that heterosexual men’s sex drives will atrophy, but being horny is no excuse to rape someone. There are other ways to manage sexual urges, and a responsible person employs them.

  75. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    if Vulcan men can’t mate they have to fight to the death…have we considered trying this?

  76. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    As a man who has a high sexual drive, that load of fucking stupidity tells me you simply deserve to get to banished to the island of misfit morons.

    Men who are deprived of sex are expected to behave like moral human fucking beings. Not savages.

    Even considering that rape might be an option and excused by some sexual drought says something terrible about you as a person

    People like you… WTF?

    Seriously.

  77. says

    Slothrop:

    I see everyone saying that sex for men is not like having shelter or food or water, it’s something that your hands will suffice for (I also note that it’s mostly women saying that, but whatever).

    Meaning what? That a real man would never consider having a nice wank, or what?

    I get it, you want to discourage rape in every possible way and make the culture accept that prosecutions be taken more seriously than they ever have been in any society I’ve read about.

    No, you don’t get it. This is about rape culture, living in a society which finds ways to ignore and condone rape, thanks to toxic, systemic sexism. “Discourage rape”? No, I want much more than that. I’m getting the feeling that you don’t think rape is all that bad.

    But I have also seen that large populations of men with no access to sex usually is associated with bad things.

    Bad things? Like what? Rape, perhaps?

    I assume there’s a reason why that is? And the reason is social conditioning?

    First, you need to define “bad things.”

    That the drive for sex in these men will just go away?

    No one expects men to be neutered, ffs. Most people have a sex drive, you know. Part and parcel of being human. It’s expected that people control themselves, too.

    Be channelled into something more productive?

    How about if you really, really have to ejaculate, you have yourself a wank if you don’t have the time to work out a consensual hook-up or relationship?

    Or is the idea that that drive itself is just a socially contructed illusion, and nothing bad will come from its suppression because it wasn’t really there in the first place?

    Oh fuck me, you’re an idiot.

  78. says

    Wait! If months of no sex turns men into sex crazed fiends incapable of controlling their urges, I must be special. I have managed to go for over a year without sex. Strangely enough, I never thought once about sexually assaulting someone just so I could get off. I found my right hand took care of the job in such a way that any sexual tension was effectively released.
    Huh. Guess I am an odd duck…err…shoop.

  79. slothrop1905 says

    ‘Even considering that rape might be an option and excused by some sexual drought says something terrible about you as a person’

    Wow, sorry, never said it was an option.Where did I excuse any of this? I never excused any behavior whatsoever. And if you’re saying there’s no connection between an imbalanced ratio of men/women in the ND case, that that is merely a case of the job attracting a certain type, fine. Guess I was more interested in the link on India above, because that seemed a more stark example of what I was asking about. Hard to argue the ‘job attracts rapists’ thing in that case. Let me say it clearly: I despise rape and everything that’s connected to it. I am trying to find out what the underlying assumptions are here.
    You’re saying that the disparity of men in this case is due to our patriarchal society making the oil business a man’s thing, and this type of work attracted the type of man who would rape. You’re saying, then, that it’s not just the fact of the imbalance itself that brought with it this behavior. By saying this, I AM NOT condoning the behavior, not sure how you can get to that. I am trying to get to cause. In ND you have a group of men comprised of an inordinate amount of rapists due to the job situation. So in a ratio imbalance that didn’t have that factored in, where there was no choice of joining such a group but just the ratio you were born into, what would happen?

  80. jackiepaper says

    Slothrop, you were ask questions. It is polite to answer them before you continue jaqing off.

  81. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    By saying this, I AM NOT condoning the behavior, not sure how you can get to that. I am trying to get to cause.

    The cause is a willingness of a number of (almost always) men to rape and the willingness of a larger number of people (often men, but far from always) to tolerate rape. Including by pretending that the cause is something else.

  82. Nepenthe says

    @69

    Thanks for your input Chas. *coughassholecough*

    So in a ratio imbalance that didn’t have that factored in, where there was no choice of joining such a group but just the ratio you were born into, what would happen?

    *stares at words* *blinks a bit* Rephrase please?

  83. Akira MacKenzie says

    While this is probably TMI, I confess that I haven’t had sex with another person in 15 years. While I would certainly like to have it again at least once before I die, I have not had the slightest desire to rape someone in order to get it.

    Nope. Not once. The thought has never even entered my head.

    So you’ll understand if I find the idea that sexual deprivation is any sort of excuse for rape to be pretty fucking evil and those who entertain the notion that months without sex entitles men to be subhuman shits.

    Present company included.

  84. Akira MacKenzie says

    Damn ADHD.

    EDIT: …the notion that months without sex entitles men to fuck however they want to be subhuman shits.

  85. says

    Nepenthe:

    *stares at words* *blinks a bit* Rephrase please?

    Basic translation: What if you’re born into a society/culture/caste where there’s a fucktonne of men and very few women and you aren’t one of the men who ever gets women? What about those men? Huh? What about them? Are they supposed to, to…*gasp* wank? Are they supposed to castrate themselves? Are they supposed to suppress their sex drive, because you’re all saying a sex drive is a social construct and…

    That’s as far as I care to go.

  86. says

    Just what IS the solution to such a skewed male/female ratio?

    OOoooh! Ooh! I know the answer to this one! Pick me, teacher, pick me!

    Ahem. Is it… Lock up the motherfucking rapists and let the normal men wank like normal people do when they don’t have a sexual partner?

    YESSSSS! I knew it! Awesome!

  87. slothrop1905 says

    Of course lock up all the rapists, yes.
    And I’ve never used the word ‘entitled’
    I also have never considered even coming close to invading someone’s space in an inappropriate manner and can’t imagine what it would be like to have such a desire.
    I guess at this point I’m just confused with some of the (seemingly) conflicting things I’m hearing…re the Nice Guy who (from what I’ve read here the past year) erroneously believes that ‘getting laid’ is outside his control. But there appears to be consensus in this thread that that’s just not true. One can take care of themselves, treat others as human beings and be a decent person and still, for various reasons (imbalanced ratio being one of them) never have anyone find them attractive. So Nice Guy, in many cases, is NOT wrong to think he has no control. I realize the answer to all this is ‘who the fuck cares about them?’ or something along those lines, and as one of those privileged people who’s only problem in life has been living 50 years without anyone ever being attracted to them I realize I’m coming across somewhat detached regarding issues that have more serious repercussions for others…

  88. Rey Fox says

    Hmm. I knew there was a reason I was leery of those wildlife jobs in North Dakota. Granted, they’re all seasonal, and I’m looking for something further up the ladder, but still.

    Looking back at one of them, I found this paragraph that tries to provide some warning without scaring people* off:

    The oil boom can make living and working in ND challenging. Traffic is quite bad at certain times and places. Most oil workers are men. Basic services are stretched thin (grocery stores, restaurants, etc). We can generally avoid these issues (other than traffic), but you should consider this when deciding to apply.

    * The contact person on this job is a woman, and at least in nongame wildlife, half or more of the college students and other field techs are women.

  89. Nepenthe says

    The answer, slothrop, is, in fact, who the fuck cares.

    If your sex drive is really that troublesome, Caine offers some excellent suggestions. In my case I’ve gotten rid of that troublesome libido with a combo of hormonal birth control and anti-depressants. I’m sure you could find a solution for yourself.

    PS. You don’t have to use the word entitled to act entitled. Example: I didn’t use the word condescending in this post and yet…

  90. says

    One can take care of themselves, treat others as human beings and be a decent person and still, for various reasons (imbalanced ratio being one of them) never have anyone find them attractive.

    Worse, they might never actually find someone willing to fuck them!

    Why do you conflate attractive and fucking? Ugly people fuck. Pretty people fuck. Sometimes they fuck each other. Sometimes people go for years without fucking. Sometimes people pay for fucking. Sometimes people buy a fleshlight! The possibilities are endless.

    It really isn’t a problem unless you’re an entitled douchebag.

  91. says

    One can take care of themselves, treat others as human beings and be a decent person and still, for various reasons (imbalanced ratio being one of them) never have anyone find them attractive.

    You know, I have an excellent idea of why no one finds you attractive and it has nothing at all to do with how you look or any kind of ratio at all. You’re a rather ugly person, slothrop – one who doesn’t like to listen to others, who seems to only pay lip service to being a decent person, and is whiny with an incredibly large sense of entitlement. In short form, you’re an asshole. This would be your trouble in life.

    Amazingly enough, all kinds of people manage to get happily laid, and it has squat to do with their looks or ratios of any kind. And for the extra special assholes, there are lots and lots of alternatives. Visit an adult toystore, you would not believe the goodies which are available. Save your pennies and invest in a Real Doll. Visit a sex worker. Phone sex. Or good, old fashioned wanking.

    I have an idea that not getting sex isn’t the real problem, it’s obviously available, in one fashion or another. Your problem is that you feel entitled to sex and you seem to feel entitled to a relationship, too. And as long as you feel entitled, you’d best stick with paying for sex and having a relationship with something which can’t talk back, like a Real Doll.

  92. chiptuneist says

    re the Nice Guy who (from what I’ve read here the past year) erroneously believes that ‘getting laid’ is outside his control.

    You do not understand this concept, and I think you should go learn what it means. It would help you to understand why there is a problem with perpetuating a narrative in which sex is depicted as a commodity which can be in short supply and owed or deserved like wages.

    So Nice Guy, in many cases, is NOT wrong to think he has no control.

    You will also discover that what you are suggesting is fucking terrible. You are ultimately saying that some rapists would have chosen not to rape if they had simply been granted sex by women in their lives consensually prior to the point where they could no longer choose not to rape, with the implication that the rape is actually the victim’s fault for failing to meet the Nice Guy’s unspoken expectations.

    I realize the answer to all this is ‘who the fuck cares about them?’ or something along those lines, and as one of those privileged people who’s only problem in life has been living 50 years without anyone ever being attracted to them I realize I’m coming across somewhat detached regarding issues that have more serious repercussions for others…

    No, you aren’t coming across as somewhat detached, you are coming across as someone who believes that the problem of not being able to find a consensual sexual partner can, after some finite period of time, become more important than a woman’s desire not to be raped.

  93. Hortan says

    SallyStrange:

    It Fucking/lack-of-fucking really isn’t a problem unless you’re an entitled douchebag.

    Sums it up pretty well, I think.

  94. says

    Slothtrop @101

    I guess at this point I’m just confused with some of the (seemingly) conflicting things I’m hearing…re the Nice Guy who (from what I’ve read here the past year) erroneously believes that ‘getting laid’ is outside his control. But there appears to be consensus in this thread that that’s just not true. One can take care of themselves, treat others as human beings and be a decent person and still, for various reasons (imbalanced ratio being one of them) never have anyone find them attractive. So Nice Guy, in many cases, is NOT wrong to think he has no control. I realize the answer to all this is ‘who the fuck cares about them?’ or something along those lines, and as one of those privileged people who’s only problem in life has been living 50 years without anyone ever being attracted to them I realize I’m coming across somewhat detached regarding issues that have more serious repercussions for others…

    It’s times like this where I get bummed out that the Nice Guys of Ok Cupid tumblr got taken down. And the reason for that is it was incredible (especially at its death) at directly showing how the type of person who would describe themselves as those “Nice Guys” very quickly reveal themselves in their profile or answered questions to be anything but. Lacking that, I turn to XKCD.

    Nice Guys TM don’t end up alone because they’re “too nice”. They end up alone often because they have unpacked social baggage they cling to like lampreys. And the style of baggage is usually along the same lines, assumptions that men are one dry spell away from being rapists, assumptions that sexually active men must be assholes if they personally aren’t getting any, assumptions that relationships are approached through deception and that friendship is merely a cloak to wear temporarily, assumptions that sex and relationship are commerce based, and assumptions about how men and women should act. These are the things that make them unattractive and sabotage their relationships.

    If they just cared enough to legitimately grow, stop viewing relationships as recipes or stories, stopped dwelling in toxic subcultures designed to worsen their interactions with those they are attracted to (romantically and/or sexually), and just generally learned to be open and honest about who they are and what they want… well, I guess at that point they’d stop being the epithet “Nice Guys” and just be guys, possibly guys that people they are interested in wanted to get to know further.

    And yeah, it is kind of amazing how sexist “yeah, all men will totally turn to rape, even the really nice ones, if they have any type of dry spell” and its close cousin “all men deserve a member of the sex class to get them off, failure to provide from the sex class is totally creating ‘a dangerous situation'” are not just to women, but men.

    I mean, I know a lot of men and they’ve ran the gambit when it comes to feminist awakening, but I’ve yet to meet one who is as objectively as terrible a person as patriarchal culture seems to think all men are.

  95. says

    canabob @71

    Except he’s not.

    He’s not actually unpacking the rape culture at all. Which you’d know if you read the original article.

    I mean, we, the comment thread here on Pharyngula are unpacking the rape culture with materials from the article, but that’s not because the original article was some scion of information, but because we’ve grown up enough in the rape culture and seeing these types of articles to be able to read between the lines and get out some of the real information and fill in the rest from observations of similar situations and cultures.

    But that doesn’t mean the original article is unpacking the rape culture any more than a press release from a for-profit prison is unpacking the prison-industrial complex. We are having to add that awareness through our greater understanding of the issue. Hence why the critiques and our unpacking of the greater issues.

  96. Bill Openthalt says

    I don’t believe it is rape culture, but rape nature, very much like it is violent nature and not violence culture,

    In essence, all humans are able to be violent when they find themselves in circumstances that are associated with violence. For example, if there is not enough food, humans will perform violent acts to obtain food, even when in circumstances of sufficient food, the same humans will share food with relative strangers.

    Similarly, males will be more likely to use violence to obtain sexual access to females when they are in situations where females are scarce. Don’t forget that procreation ultimately drives sexual urges; while it is possible to get orgasms from self-stimulation or non-genital contact, successful reproduction remains the most powerful motivation for sexual behaviour (in the vast majority of humans). This does, of course, not mean that for certain individuals the main motive for sexual behaviour is not hate, status (dominance) or physical pleasure, or that sexuality cannot be coopted for non-reproductive (social) uses. What it does mean is that the motives for rape are varied, and depend on both the rapist and the circumstances, like the motives for murder or theft are varied and depend on the perpetrator and the circumstances.

    The fact that in circumstances where one would expect violent and agressive sexual behaviour there are -relatively speaking- low levels of such behaviour is a testimony to the power of culture. Far from being the cause of rape, culture is what causes most males to find other means to deal with their urges, even in circumstances that favour violent and agressive behaviour (be it to obtain resources, status or the ability to procreate).

    While there still is a long way to go, culture has contributed to reducing violence and promoting equality. When culture fails, nature takes over and the results aren’t necessarily nice.

  97. says

    Also, No one and I mean no one has a right to the love or sex of another sentient being. Those of us who are romantics (as in romantics vs aromantics) may want love and those of you who are sexuals may want sex and in this modern age with its OkCupids and teh Googles and all that, those who put themselves out there and are open, honest, and not incredibly creepy, will probably get it.

    But no one is entitled to that.

    And that’s sort of the inherent BS in the myth of the “Nice Guy” “striking out”. It’s a person so wrapped up in a culture where women are objects to be “earned” by some crass mechanism of being “worthy” by performing superficial “nice” actions which are not at all nice and are nearly universally not honest that they fail to notice that the reason they’re having a dry spell and getting emo about it is exactly this*.

    They think that by simply waiting around and “wanting” something, that it should simply happen because they grew up as a nexus of privileged classes in a world that views privileged classes as entitled to the fruits of the minority classes. The world doesn’t work that way. Sometimes you have to grow up first to be functional enough for a real relationship. Sometimes you have to expend some effort in the way you take for granted the effort of those you are interested in. Sometimes you have to sit down and be honest and vulnerable and really take a risk. And sometimes you have to become a genuinely nice person rather than just hide behind a meaningless self-identification.

    *Or just going through a dry spell. Sometimes you’re not dating someone when you want to be dating someone. Sometimes that lasts awhile. Try not to become a worse person because of it, put yourself out there, accept that this includes the risk of rejection, and let it occur naturally rather than trying to force it. Because there is a lot of baggage out there in our culture, just waiting for the emo depression of “damn I’m not really with people I like”.

  98. says

    Similarly, males will be more likely to use violence to obtain sexual access to females when they are in situations where females are scarce.

    This is absolute bullshit and you should be ashamed of every single word you typed. FFS, this is not a situation comparable to a food or water shortage – read the damn comments! You and those like you are supporting the whole “hey, pussy should be on tap, those men are entitled! If they don’t get it, they’re gonna take it, so it’s your fault you women aren’t putting out.”

    Jesus Christ, people really need to stop buying into such utter bullshit.

  99. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Bill,

    In essence, all humans are able to be violent when they find themselves in circumstances that are associated with violence.

    When I see something like “all humans”, I metaphorically perk up my ears.

    I put it to you that a more defensible stance would be ‘have the potential to become’ rather than “are able to be”, because some people just freeze when the chips come down.

    Similarly, males will be more likely to use violence to obtain sexual access to females when they are in situations where females are scarce.

    Why yes, large mammals often feature fighting between the males contending for a mate, but that’s not what you meant, is it?

    Where you’re going wrong is this conceit that “sexual access to females” is a biological need, rather than an instinct*.

    * What about gay men?

    (Libidinous!)

  100. John Morales says

    Of course, instincts can be sublimated in a culturally-accepted manner.

    (cf. jock culture)

  101. says

    Bill @110

    That is 100% false.

    Men are not naturally rapists. Full stop.

    Furthermore, rape is not a crime of sexual desire, but rather power and control. Again, full stop.

    This BS myth is A) genuinely anti-male in a way that no feminist statement in the history of ever has ever managed to approach being, B) intensely creepy in a “why exactly are you so invested in minimizing rape and apologizing for it” way, and C) completely disproven by the well-recorded life-experiences of 99% of men.

    And on a personally note, your complete ignorance of biology and your attempt to use it anyways to “prove” your just-so story sickens me. The main biological motivation for sex is not procreation. We don’t go, deary me, these strong bundle of nerve clusters on sexual organs are nice, but what really drives me is the need to start pumping out babies.

    The main biological motivation for sex is sex. We (or rather you all, you filthy sexual bastiches) fuck because it feels good to fuck, because fucking means your happy zones get happy feelings.

    The side effect of liking sex is the procreative success. When sexuals enjoy fucking each other, then there’s a nice motivation to keep doing that and increase the chances when a procreative event will occur. It also can add a nice motivation to sticking around and making sure the moppets reach reproductive age themselves. But these are just incidental accidents.

    The reason being sexual is the dominant interaction in Kingdom Animalia and having complex sexuality in many mammalia is simply because A) it happened to be the case because it didn’t really come with downsides and ending up having some nice unintentional positives and more importantly B) because it turned out that genetic diversity mattered more for complex organisms than reproduction efficiency. Sexual reproduction allows a population to become and stay varied so that it can’t be easily wiped out by one crisis event.

    We don’t rape as a rule because rapists fuck all that nice enjoying orgasm feeling and we don’t like hanging out sexually with them.

    Ironically, rapists can mostly thank culture for creating situations where their demand for power and control and attempt to blame it on sex was at all unambiguous and tolerated.

    So yeah, 100% wrong on all counts. Try harder next time.

  102. says

    And yeah, the number of men so personally invested in the rape culture makes me feel all the sad-face.

    Men, if you find yourself doing this:

    A) Stop. Just stop.

    B) Don’t date anyone until you get some help.

    C) Get some help.

    D) For fuck’s sake if you actually are raping people or think you might have raped people and are trying to mitigate the guilt about it, STOP doing it and accept that you did in fact did a really bad thing and you’re going to have to deal with the consequences of that. It’s not nature, you’re just an asshole.

  103. says

    And the bloody “men can’t help, women are scarce” shit? Gay and bisexual men in low-queer populations seem to go okay without raping people. Lesbian and bisexual women in low-queer populations seem to go okay without raping people. Heterosexual and bisexual women in low male populations seem to go okay without raping people. And let’s be honest, by an overwhelming majority bisexual and straight men in low female populations seem to go okay without raping people.

    It is only in environments with way too much toxic masculinity, way too much insular “dude culture”, way too much emphasis on power, and way too few ways for people with conscience to have any power to change the culture that we get these “oh noes, how could we change anything, men just naturally rape when there aren’t many women” situations.

    A friendly hit, assholes, women aren’t very common in those specific situations BECAUSE there is strong social support for a rape culture that often rewards the rapists and punishes the victims, not because “women are scarce”.

    And as horrifying as those cultures can be for the women brave enough to try and reform them with their presence, it still needs to be said, loudly and repeatedly, that the most common form of rape will always be from people the victim well knew, often current or former partners, trusted friends, or family members. People who had all the options, all the ability to have regular consensual sex but CHOSE instead to rape because it was the RAPE itself and the POWER that comes with it that got them off.

  104. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    Some men have forced themselves on women.

    As Koshka’s already pointed out, this is a euphemism. But also, even if it were expressed honestly, it could describe any social group and setting I’m aware of, from forager to farmer to city-dweller and from slum to suburbia to superrich. Eligon presents it as if it’s something that needs a special local explanation – which he assumes is the shortage of (young, attractive) women.

  105. bradleybetts says

    I have to agree with Cervante @#1 in part, in so far as he does not seem to be condoning rape or even making apologies for it. The only rape apologetics I could spot was the father (whose attitude seems to be “Don’t look pretty and you won’t get raped”).

    He is, however, inferring that the increase in rape and sexual assault is due to the lack of single women when the general consensus amongst psychiatrists seems to be that rape is more about control and power. So he’s not guilty of rape apologetics (in this case, I haven’t read the drunk-shaming piece) so much as faulty logic; i.e. based on the premise that women are raped due to being attractive and lack of options.

    I think this is a case of panic and misplaced blame; rape and sexual assualt have risen, the locals have gone “It’s the outsiders! The Newcomers are ruining our small town!” and Eligon has simply taken their knee-jerk reaction at face value and gone out of his way to rationalise it. Which I suppose makes him guilty of lazy journalism as well as faulty logic.

  106. says

    bradleybetts:

    I think this is a case of panic and misplaced blame; rape and sexual assualt have risen, the locals have gone “It’s the outsiders! The Newcomers are ruining our small town!”

    Rather than going out of your way to prove your idiocy, why don’t you try reading the whole thread? This North Dakotan, who knows many of the oil workers isn’t having a case of panic. Just so you know there’s an actual thinking human being in the state.

    Asshole.

  107. opposablethumbs says

    @BO #110, you really need to remember that dressing up bullshit in vaguely “sciency” language doesn’t make it science.
    You need to grow out of just-so stories (self-justification masquerading as bottom-of-the-barrel evo-psych doesn’t make “just-so” look any better, unless you’re willfully blind).
    And if you really believe the crap you just vomited up, you need to wonder why you hate men so much.
    Alternatively, if you know perfectly well it’s just a load of old cobblers that you’re trying – without much success, I might add – to use as a smokescreen to conceal the fact that you’d like it just fine if things really were that way, then you need to wonder why you hate women.
    Either way, I’m sincerely sorry for the women and men who actually have to interact with you.

  108. Gregory Greenwood says

    Bill Openthalt @ 110;

    I don’t believe it is rape culture, but rape nature, very much like it is violent nature and not violence culture,

    Citation desperately needed – where do you get this idea that it is in the ‘nature’ of people to rape? Where is your evidence for such an extraordinary claim? I have been single for an embarrassingly long time, and yet I have never once felt the urge to rape anyone. The thought has never even crossed my mind, and the very idea sickens me to the pit of my stomach. I would never treat a person as an object like that.

    I seem to lack your ‘rapist nature’, as do many, many other people. Does that mean I am ‘unnatural’? Does it mean there is something wrong with me in your view?

    In essence, all humans are able to be violent when they find themselves in circumstances that are associated with violence. For example, if there is not enough food, humans will perform violent acts to obtain food, even when in circumstances of sufficient food, the same humans will share food with relative strangers.

    Big false equivalencuy there. Sex is not a biological necessity like food, You don’t die through its lack.

    You are also really, really wrong on another point – not everyone automatically becomes violent even in violent situations. As John Morales points out, some people just freeze up. Others avoid confrontation, and some try to de-escalate the situation and avoid violence that way. Not everyone is one major crisis away from returning to our feral past.

    Apparently I, and many, many people like me, don’t fall within your definition of ‘all humans’.

    Similarly, males will be more likely to use violence to obtain sexual access to females when they are in situations where females are scarce. Don’t forget that procreation ultimately drives sexual urges; while it is possible to get orgasms from self-stimulation or non-genital contact, successful reproduction remains the most powerful motivation for sexual behaviour (in the vast majority of humans). This does, of course, not mean that for certain individuals the main motive for sexual behaviour is not hate, status (dominance) or physical pleasure, or that sexuality cannot be coopted for non-reproductive (social) uses. What it does mean is that the motives for rape are varied, and depend on both the rapist and the circumstances, like the motives for murder or theft are varied and depend on the perpetrator and the circumstances.

    Where is your evidence that most people’s sex drives are primarily motivated by procreation, rather than the sexual gratification itself? Studies indicate that most rapists are motivated by power, not sex. To them, sex is a weapon – a means to their ultimate end of dominance or exercising their hatred of a specific individual or of the group their victim is a part of. If it was about procreation, there are far, far better strategies for that than rape, so your argument doesn’t even make sense even if we accept your unsupported argument that the libedo is primarily motivated by procreation.

    The fact that in circumstances where one would expect violent and agressive sexual behaviour there are -relatively speaking- low levels of such behaviour is a testimony to the power of culture. Far from being the cause of rape, culture is what causes most males to find other means to deal with their urges, even in circumstances that favour violent and agressive behaviour (be it to obtain resources, status or the ability to procreate).

    While there still is a long way to go, culture has contributed to reducing violence and promoting equality. When culture fails, nature takes over and the results aren’t necessarily nice.

    Wrong again – the fear of legal or social consequence may stop rapists raping in some cases, but the fact is that it is culture – specifically the endemic rape culture – that creates cover for rapists by tirelessly working to normalise rape and shift the blame for rape onto the shoulders of the women, using such means as ‘slut shaming’ and claiming that the victim must have ‘lead her attacker on’ because it is somehow inconceiveable that rapists would rape without some kind of ‘encouragement’ from their victim.

    Or seeking to suggest that women who do things like go out at night, have a drink with friends, wear flattering clothing, and don’t essentialy lock themselves in a panic room ever hour of every day with a shotgun kept leveled at the door are ‘asking for it’.

    And lets not forget claiming that rape is a natural reponse to a shortage of women. Yes – you, Bill Openthalt – right here in this very thread – are acting as a vector for rape culture. By saying that all men are but a thin and unnatural veneer of cultural indoctrination away from their ‘true’ nature as rapists, you are excusing rapists. You are validating them, and reassuring them that their actions are not really their own fault at all, but the fault of society for not stopping them from raping, or the fault of women for not ‘putting out’ enough. It is possible that someone who might go on to rape, or has already raped, may read your words and draw validation from them. You may help to embolden a rapist to rape. Consider that before pontificating on the ‘natural’ character of rape in public next time.

  109. bradleybetts says

    @Bill Openhalt #110

    “I don’t believe it is rape culture, but rape nature, very much like it is violent nature and not violence culture… Similarly, males will be more likely to use violence to obtain sexual access to females when they are in situations where females are scarce.”

    Sorry, but I call bullshit. It is not in men’s nature to be rapists, and “scarcity of women” does not cause men to get more rapey.

    Take me for example. I have not had a proper girlfriend for 4 years now. Now, for 3 of those years I was at Uni and it was through choice, so in actuality I have been looking for c. a year now and haven’t found one. I am from a small market town and every girl I meet (and I am about to reveal that I am somewhat shallow here, so apologies in advance to anyone I offend) seems to fall into three categories;
    1- interesting, but not someone that I find physically attractive
    2- physically attractive, but either boring or thick as two short planks (or both, more often than not, the former normally being a consequence of the latter)
    3- interesting and attractive but has a boyfriend
    I’ve had a few dates but the one girl I really hit it off with is an oceanographer and thus is off on a boat for months at a time and not in any position to have a relationship, so that’s a no go. It has been over a month since I got laid.

    And guess what? I have never, not once, considered raping someone. So, as I said, I call bullshit.

  110. bradleybetts says

    Re. my above comment; it would seem that Cerberus, John Morales and Caine all got there before me and all put it better than I did. I guess I shall fullfill the role of the small, slightly out of tune voice at the back of the chorus :)

  111. Bill Openthalt says

    Of course the most powerful motive for sexual behaviour is procreation. We only exist because we procreate, and the life of the individuals of a species is organised around procreation. That doesn’t mean that every individual has to procreate. Ants solve the problem by having a queen and sterile female workers, but the whole purpose of the ant colony is procreation. We eat and drink and breathe to be able to procreate – as a species. Women are hornier when they’re in the fertile part of their cycle, and men dislike condoms because it reduces the chance of insemination. We’re not aware of it, but that’s what causes the feelings. And again, this does not preclude homosexuality – not all individuals have to procreate, the species needs to have a successful strategy.

    And yes, given the “appropriate” circumstances, many (but not all) males will use force to obtain sexual favours from females. Think overpowering another tribe, killing all the men, and keeping the women. It’s documented in the bible and the koran, and our prehistorical ancestors in all likelihood indulged in the practice. Don’t kid yourselves; when push comes to shove, you will kill (or be killed), you will do what is required to stay alive, to get food, and to get offspring.

    Again, I am not talking about individuals. What applies to populations doesn’t apply to individuals. It is probable that most rapes occuring today are perpetrated by people who enjoy power and dominance. This does not mean that putting a lot of of males in an environment with little or no access to females will not result in more sexual harrasment and rape of the females that happen to be in that environment.

    Some human males rape because raping in certain circumstances is part of human nature. Some human males have sex with other human males because homosexuality is part of human nature. Some humans kill other humans because killing is part of human nature. Most humans are kind to other humans because it’s part of our nature to be kind.

    Culture is that what keeps nature in check, that what allows us to live in huge societies without being related and bred for the purpose like bees and ants. Culture is the information we share with each other telling us what to do with the feelings and pulsations our nature causes.

  112. says

    Bill Openthalt
    That’s a big steaming pile of bullshit.
    Sex isn’t like food, or water, or shelter.
    You can totally live without it, you know? Many people have done so for quite long times. People with sex-drives and urges and being just plain old horny.
    And lookee, they manage not to rape anybody and take care of their urges themselves.
    Your argument reinforces the crap about (hetero) men really neeeeeeeeeding pussy and therefore being entitled to it, and that a woman who doesn’t give it to them although she could is just like Ebeneezer Scrooge letting bread go moldy instead of sharing it.

  113. bradleybetts says

    @caine Fleur De Mal

    “bradleybetts:

    I think this is a case of panic and misplaced blame; rape and sexual assualt have risen, the locals have gone “It’s the outsiders! The Newcomers are ruining our small town!”

    Rather than going out of your way to prove your idiocy, why don’t you try reading the whole thread? This North Dakotan, who knows many of the oil workers isn’t having a case of panic. Just so you know there’s an actual thinking human being in the state.

    Asshole.”

    Whoa, how about calming the fuck down for a second, eh? I apologise for commenting on the story before reading all 119 existing comments (/end snark), but I was in no way trying to imply that North Dakotans were all thoughtless. If it came across like that then I apologise, but that wasn’t my intent. I was saying that the inhabitants of Williston appear to be having a perfectly normal human reaction, “blame the outsiders”, and Eligon seems to be trying to rationalise it. That was all. If you disagree, fine, but maybe try laying your reasons out before assuming I’m an “asshole”? I’m human, I make mistakes and can be insensitive without meaning to be, and I’d appreciate the opportunity to set the record straight before having you tear into me.

    Anyway, I went up and read a few of your posts, and from #38 I assume you believe the rise in crime is in fact due to the oil workers, but why do you believe that to be the case?

  114. bradleybetts says

    @Bill Openhalt

    “Women are hornier when they’re in the fertile part of their cycle, and men dislike condoms because it reduces the chance of insemination.”

    Men dislike condoms because it reduces sensation, and in some cases because because it reduces the intamacy of the moment. I doubt very much that the part of your brain which drives primitive instincts such as sex drive is capable of understanding that a condom will stop insemination and altering your behaviour accordingly. I’d value the opinion of a biologist at this point, but I seriously doubt it.

  115. Bill Openthalt says

    @bradleybetts: You’re right as far as the physical effect is concerned. That being said, one could argue that the feeling that it “reduces the intimacy of the moment” is the way our conscious mind perceives the outcome of the calculations that might include “No chance of pregnancy”. The evaluation part of the mind doesn’t need to be able to do complex analyses, it just needs access to a few key results of other circuits (which can include cognitively complex subsystems).

    It wasn’t the best of examples but it rolled nicely out of the keyboard :-)

  116. twosheds1 says

    No, the cause is an influx of rapists. More men came to town; a certain percentage of those men are rapists; now there are more rapes.

    I suspect (though I have no evidence to back it up, I admit) that a large proportion of the men attracted to those jobs tend to be fairly uneducated and economically desperate, too, which might skew the proportion of potential rapists. I’m only guessing that rapists tend to have less education, though.

  117. Ogvorbis says

    I’m only guessing that rapists tend to have less education, though.

    Have you actually, y’know, tried looking it up?

    I know that my rapist had an MS in Biology from BYU. (And yes, I know, anecdote (especially an unsubstantiated anecdote) is not data so there is no need to go there.)

  118. says

    You know if female scarcity were actually the cause and not the excuse there would be a very simple solution: polyandry. The fact that the men wailing about how horrible it is that there aren’t enough women don’t even even entertain this thought I’m thinking they know it’s a bullshit excuse too.

  119. Bill Openthalt says

    Giliell You managed to get my name right! Yippee!

    I don’t think the fact that one doesn’t die from abstinence matters. Of course, as far as the individual is concerned, oxygen, water and food are necessary for survival, but for the species procreation is just as important. There is no reason why producing offspring cannot engender very powerful drives over the lifespan of the individual.

    Obviously, in someone dying from thirst and malnutrition, the prime concerns will be getting hold of water and food. But for a sexually mature, well-fed healthy male, procreation will be the major drive underlying almost all his decisions. Gaining status means getting access to better females, for example. Don’t forget that evolutionary speaking, individuals are not important. Whatever they experience is of no value unless they produce the next generation.

    Again, I am not talking about individual humans. Each of us is the product of nature and culture and circumstances. Most human males will never experience any desire to rape, but that doesn’t mean that rape is not part of human nature. Most humans will not ever consider killing someone, but that doesn’t mean killing isn’t part of human nature. We have to understand what makes humans tick to be able devise methods to avoid undesirable outcomes.

    If rape is not part of human nature, how did it get into the culture?

  120. says

    Noadi:

    The fact that the men wailing about how horrible it is that there aren’t enough women don’t even even entertain this thought I’m thinking they know it’s a bullshit excuse too.

    Of course they do. It all comes down to “blame the women, no matter how much I must torture logic and reason to get there!”

  121. Bill Openthalt says

    Noadi
    Polyandry is perceived as horrible because the man doesn’t know if the children of the woman are his. Getting a woman of one’s own is a better strategy. But in those cases where there is a genuine, long term shortage of women, brothers sharing a wife is not unheard of.

  122. Ogvorbis says

    If rape is not part of human nature, how did it get into the culture?

    Seriously?

    If democracy is not part of human nature, how did it get into the culture?

    If pasta is not part of human nature, how did it get into the culture?

    If cherry cola is not part of human nature, how did it get into the culture?

    If slavery is not part of human nature, how did it get into the culture?

  123. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Reading Billy the Rape-Cheerleader’s posts I’m once again moved to ask the question:

    how the fuck did feminists get the ‘man-hating’ rep, when rape-cheerleaders like Billy are outright saying all men are rapists-in-waiting?

  124. Bill Openthalt says

    Caine, @136

    It’s unlikely that there ever is a conscious decision to “blame the women, no matter how much I must torture logic and reason to get there!”. That’s not how the human mind works, and thinking like that would indicate the person is a big-time psychopath.

    if I may refer to my reply to Noadi, when I say that “the man doesn’t know if the children of the woman are his”, I don’t want to suggest that this is a conscious thought. What happens in the mind is that the feeling of dislike is caused by an unconscious evaluation of the chances of relationship between the man and the children of the woman. The lower the chance, the more pronounced the feeling of dislike. Consciousness just runs after the facts trying to make sense of what happened.

  125. itkovian says

    I’m going to go with Chris @ #9 here.

    At first the article seems to simply be a factual account of what was going on, but the framing of the article itself sends a message, which is something that I _HOPE_ many journalists aren’t aware of (which means they’re incompetent instead of just plain malicious).

    You can restrict yourself to nothing but the fact, but still send a message with your wording and the very structure of the article. For example the ending note will carry more weight than the body of the article, so when someone concludes with “this woman’s father says she needs to stop dressing up like a tart”, the article stresses the point that women who dress sexy get raped more often.

    And even if that is true, such a comment firmly places the blame on the victim, which is complete bullshit.

    There are many ways the writer could have ended the article that would have carried a more useful message, or at least a less skewed one. Heck, instead of going with “there’s lots of men in Williston, so girls need to be careful so they don’t get raped”, he could have gone with “Williston sees a sharp rise in rapists, cops struggling.” So instead of being a more passive article that “feels” like saying “boys will be boys”, it would at least warn people about the crisis in Williston.

    In short, either the writer is incompetent, or he’s maliciously trying to skew his article. I would hope its the former, but in this case I doubt it.

  126. Ogvorbis says

    when I say that “the man doesn’t know if the children of the woman are his”, I don’t want to suggest that this is a conscious thought. What happens in the mind is that the feeling of dislike is caused by an unconscious evaluation of the chances of relationship between the man and the children of the woman. The lower the chance, the more pronounced the feeling of dislike. Consciousness just runs after the facts trying to make sense of what happened.

    Then, when a man marries a woman who already has children, he is subconsciously driven to hate them?

  127. says

    Illuminata:

    how the fuck did feminists get the ‘man-hating’ rep, when rape-cheerleaders like Billy are outright saying all men are rapists-in-waiting?

    It does make a person wonder how they can spout such utter shit and then have a howling fit over Schrodinger’s Rapist.

  128. opposablethumbs says

    That being said, one could argue that the feeling that it “reduces the intimacy of the moment” is the way our conscious mind perceives the outcome of the calculations that might include “No chance of pregnancy”

    That creaking sound? That’s BO #130 reeeeeaching as far as he possibly can to clutch at straws.
    May I suggest you provide some, you know, evidence for all this wild speculation?
    Do you seriously think we would instinctively want to avoid condoms – which have existed for a nanosecond on evolutionary timescales – because we know they reduce effective fertility, but have no such instinct to avoid smoking and drinking? Oh, but after years of advising that these two habits reduce male fertility some researchers now suggest that the effect is less than previously thought. Our instincts must be amazing! They “know” how condoms work, and they “know” when years of doctors’ advice is going to be countered some time in the future!
    No more woolly waffling without some actual evidence, please. Otherwise what you write just suggests that you’re a tad overemotionally attached to the ol’ men-gotta-rape canard.

  129. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    I don’t think the fact that one doesn’t die from abstinence matters. Of course, as far as the individual is concerned, oxygen, water and food are necessary for survival, but for the species procreation is just as important. There is no reason why producing offspring cannot engender very powerful drives over the lifespan of the individual.

    Obviously, in someone dying from thirst and malnutrition, the prime concerns will be getting hold of water and food. But for a sexually mature, well-fed healthy male, procreation will be the major drive underlying almost all his decisions. Gaining status means getting access to better females, for example. Don’t forget that evolutionary speaking, individuals are not important. Whatever they experience is of no value unless they produce the next generation.

    Again, I am not talking about individual humans. Each of us is the product of nature and culture and circumstances. Most human males will never experience any desire to rape, but that doesn’t mean that rape is not part of human nature. Most humans will not ever consider killing someone, but that doesn’t mean killing isn’t part of human nature. We have to understand what makes humans tick to be able devise methods to avoid undesirable outcomes.

    If rape is not part of human nature, how did it get into the culture?

    Wait

    WHAT?

    It’s way to early here for this type of conscious dumbfuckery.

    You sir are one big asshole of a walking naturalistic fallacy.

  130. says

    That being said, one could argue that the feeling that it “reduces the intimacy of the moment” is the way our conscious mind perceives the outcome of the calculations that might include “No chance of pregnancy”

    Oh FFS, you are so full of shit you’re going to drown. Ancient Egyptian recipes for contraceptives are well known – the pursuit of contraception has preoccupied human beings since fucking forever. People have sex because it feels good, you idiot. That includes men, by the way, as you seem overwhelmingly dense.

    All you’re doing is proving, over and over, that rape culture does indeed exist, as you keep insisting on providing cover for rapists. Poor ol’ rapists, they just can’t help it, can they?

    *spits*

  131. says

    Rev. BDC:

    You sir are one big asshole of a walking naturalistic fallacy.

    Well, what would you know, being childfree and all? You must not be a man, just like I’m not a woman because I chose not to breed, and of course, that means Mister isn’t really a man…

  132. Bill Openthalt says

    Ogvorbis
    Slavery happens because it is human nature to value less related humans less. Once the relationship is sufficiently diluted, it is possible to treat humans as objects. What we see today is that many people consider animals as sufficiently related to show concern for their wellbeing to the point of not using animal products at all.

    Pasta is just a way of preparing food, and cherry cola is an abomination :)

    If no male ever experienced the urge to rape, how do you explain the emergence of a rape culture? Was it god’s idea?

    Illuminata
    Come on, where did I advocate rape? Saying that something is human nature doesn’t mean it’s OK. Morality has nothing to do with what is, or is not, part of human nature. It has to do with living together, and maximizing well-being of individuals.

    I am also saying that humans (not all of them, I am talking statistics here) are potential torturers, as experience has shown over and over again that given the circumstances, a majority of humans will torture other humans as long as it is cautioned by authority. That doesn’t make me a cheerleader for torture.

    Knowing that something is part of human nature and morally wrong means that we can make those decisions that (hopefully) ensure the circumstances leading to this behaviour do not occur (at a personal or societal level).

    I would really appreciate an exchange of views without insults. If you feel insulted by my contention that rape is part of human nature, please accept as apology that I am at pains to explain that this does not mean you or any other individual human is a rapist.

  133. Ogvorbis says

    Bill Openthalt:

    Why are you so personally interested and enthusiastic in your attempts to justify rape culture? What is in it for you?

  134. Bill Openthalt says

    Ogvorbis @142

    Hate is probably too strong a word, but there are enough examples of stepparents favouring their own offspring and ill-treating their stepchildren to conclude that genetic closeness does affect feeling of parental love.

  135. Ogvorbis says

    Bill Openthalt:

    Is slavery and rape culture are inherent parts of being human, then why are they not universal? Why are they not universal in every society throughout recorded history? If rape culture is an inherent part of me, as a human male, why am I not a rapist? Why do I have no desire to be a rapist? Why am I physically sick at the idea of raping someone? Why do you want rape culture to be an inherent part of humanity?

  136. Ogvorbis says

    Hate is probably too strong a word, but there are enough examples of stepparents favouring their own offspring and ill-treating their stepchildren to conclude that genetic closeness does affect feeling of parental love.

    But if it is, as you argue, an inherent part of being a male human, it should be pretty damn near universal. “. . . enough examples . . . ” does not come close to implying that it is part and parcel to who we are.

  137. says

    Hate is probably too strong a word, but there are enough examples of stepparents favouring their own offspring and ill-treating their stepchildren to conclude that genetic closeness does affect feeling of parental love.

    There’s a whole history of humanity’s worth of examples of people happily raising non-biological children as their own. So there. Now what? I’ll tell you what – you are full of shit.

    Let’s get back to why it’s so damn important for you to protect rapists, shall we?

  138. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    Once the relationship is sufficiently diluted, it is possible to treat humans as objects.

    Yeah, because men viewing and treating their related women and children as their property doesn’t happen at all.

  139. Bill Openthalt says

    Ogvorbis & Caine
    I never justified rape, or rape culture. I merely opined that rape might not be a matter of culture, but of nature, and I offered some arguments in favour of my opinion, Where did you read any justification of or enthusiasm for rape culture (after all how can one defend what one doesn’t believe exists?).

    BigDumbChimp
    I did not commit the naturalistic fallacy, as I never justified rape because it is human nature. As a matter of fact, I never justified rape. Rape is never justified.

    Why would it be so bad if rape were part of human nature?

  140. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    Hate is probably too strong a word, but there are enough examples of stepparents favouring their own offspring and ill-treating their stepchildren to conclude that genetic closeness does affect feeling of parental love.

    So… in other words:
    Hey adopted children, your parents don’t really love you, well not as much as REAL parents anyways. But hey, second best is still good. Wait, why are you crying? It’s just science!

  141. twosheds1 says

    Have you actually, y’know, tried looking it up?

    I know that my rapist had an MS in Biology from BYU. (And yes, I know, anecdote (especially an unsubstantiated anecdote) is not data so there is no need to go there.)

    I did, actually. Two sources stated that the average is a 10th-grade education.

  142. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    Two sources stated that the average is a 10th-grade education.

    Cite them.

    That way we can see if there’s an issue with what rapists they included. Like if they stayed to just convicted rapists then that is going to skew the results to low education, poor and minorities, ignoring all the frat boys and shit that rape but have a fuck load of people to help get them off.

    So it that case it wouldn’t really mean shit.

  143. Bill Openthalt says

    It’s not because something is part of human nature that all humans have to do/have suffer from it. Obesity is part of human nature (as I know all too well), but that doesn’t mean all humans are obese.

    Our conscious mind has indeed the ability to ignore the feelings generated by the unconscious. It can also influence the unconscious. Take for example the fact that even people who are consciously non-racist, when tested do have clear unconscious dislikes of people of other races. We consciously decide racism is a bad thing, and tell our unconscious to shove it. That’s what morality is about.

  144. says

    twosheds1:

    I did, actually. Two sources stated that the average is a 10th-grade education.

    I think that’s most likely dependent on what type of rapists were used to gather the info. If you follow the links I provided, the case is rapists who have or are involved in obtaining a higher education. That’s because they are the most common type of rapist, the acquaintance type. Where you’re more likely to get the stats you looked up are in cases of serial or stranger rapists, which are the less common type.

    Such stats are also dependent on whether the offender is simply a rapist, or mainly an offender of other crimes, who also raped. It’s not altogether easy to parse out, but it’s not generally a good idea to assign the stereotype of “lower intelligence/education brute working class” to the situation of the oil workers.

  145. Bill Openthalt says

    JAL

    Parents show preferences for natural children as well. Some people are lousy parents and abuse their own children. Some people a excellent parents and love foster children more than the lousy parents love their “own flesh and blood”. For crying out loud, love is a spectrum.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but you seem to believe that if the unconsious mind computes genetic relationships and feeds that information into the system, you are somehow condemned to love your stepchildren less than your own. You are not, but it is good to be aware of the fact because we are not very adept at observing ourselves dispassionately. What we are very good at, is finding rationalisations for our behaviour, and make ourselves look good.

  146. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Hey Bill, pro tip here: Naturalistic fallacies and appeals to nature do not an argument make. So solly cholly. I’m not even going to make the mistake of asking for cites, because EVEN IF it were true that men are naturally rapists (and I dispute that MOST STRONGLY), then culture should still be able to overcome that ‘natural’ tendency, much the way that we simply do not piss on carpets, even though that’s the ‘natural’ thing to do.

    Like Cerberus upthread mentioned, it blows my mind that people freak the fuck out about Andrea Dworkin and her nuanced arguments, but shit like this, which literally says that men are rapists naturally because nature reasons, is AOK.

  147. says

    Bill, just cause you want that just-so story to be true (and what does that say about you) does not mean it actually is true.

    I mean, seriously dude, do you have any idea how not-selected for rape is if it was “teh natural”? Okay, we’ve got this awesome sexual impulse in 99% of the population that makes them want to do stuff together that might result in procreation and pods of complex sexual partners wanting to collectively raise the kids. Now we add something that immediately makes the individuals associate sex with “a bad thing”, want to avoid it, carry trauma that makes them less fit as parents, and impair group dynamics.

    Not really “selected for” in the strict biological sense.

    But how it becomes prevalent makes sense when you understand it is a great cultural tool for creating a slave class and punishing deviations from that slave class. So let’s say you are male from ye olden times and you have decreed there is men work and women work and a woman decides she wants to do the man work too? Well, now you have a one-step solution to knocking her out of that pool and very likely killing her in the trauma of child birth. And once examples have been made, you can easier enforce artificial behavior in the others, see also how the Christian Church made aversion to sex a dominant social position.

    If the point of rape was to get in there and make sure your genes survived? It’s complete fail. A parent often has little to no inclination for raising a child that directly reminds them of intense personal trauma.

    But when the point of rape is to ensure social fear and compliance to a detrimental system in a female population? It works unfortunately well. Luckily, we as a society are starting to move past this and eliminate this “enforcement” and finding out that there be some nice shiny benefits on the other side that feel a lot more natural because they are natural to us.

    Sadly, a bunch of men invested in the culture of enforcement and dominance have issues in acknowledging that and so often try and invent just-so stories about why a recent system of oppression is “teh natural one” that people are “unnaturally” deviating from.

    Cause, eek, people are straying from 50s gender roles, impossible because science, just like when they strayed from 19th century gender roles by doing things like educating women it was considered impossible because science, and so on and so forth. Claiming science for bullshit seems to be the second refuge of the scoundrel when religion no longer seems to work.

  148. chigau (無味ない) says

    Asked about abortion in cases of rape, Rep. Akin responded, “From what I understand from doctors… if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

  149. says

    It’s also amazing when you think about it, how bad faith the “culture has no power, it is all nature” crowd is.

    I mean, as atheists we are rather more aware than most of cultural assumptions caused by religion that simply have no and could have no biological origin. I mean, fuck, Christian fear of sex and sexuality? How the hell is that biologically selected for?

    So yeah, they have no trouble admitting certain things that became dominant in modern society because of culture, but for some reason really don’t want to admit to this one.

    And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see why… and be incredibly disturbed by it.

  150. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    I did not commit the naturalistic fallacy, as I never justified rape because it is human nature. As a matter of fact, I never justified rape. Rape is never justified.

    No of course you didn’t. You’re Just Asking Questions.

    Why would it be so bad if rape were part of human nature?

    Define what you mean by part of human nature.

    Do humans commit rape? Yep.

    Are humans as a species pre-programmed to rape? Being that many humans do not rape nor do they have “urges to rape”, or a “need to rape” I think the answer is pretty clear.

    Are there some people who due to circumstances or trauma in their personal lives more likely to rape? More likely, sure but not definite. This is not human nature.

    And even if it was a pre-programmed part of the human species it still would be wrong. We’re [supposed to be] evolved to a point where we can use our overdeveloped mammalian brains to make choices that go against what people like you would call “human nature”.

    What exactly are you trying to get at Bill?

  151. says

    Cerberus:

    And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see why… and be incredibly disturbed by it.

    No it doesn’t and I find it difficult to express just how disturbing I find it.

  152. Ogvorbis says

    Obesity is part of human nature (as I know all too well), but that doesn’t mean all humans are obese.

    I disagree with this one, too. It may (and I stress may) be human nature to seek out foods that give the most energy in the smallest package (fruits that are ripe to the point that they are beginning to ferment, for example). But the modern human, in western society, is storing energy for a famine, for lean times, and (in many cases) for emergencies, that don’t happen. Not all humans are obese. In almost all of human history, obesity has been the exception, not the rule. So how is that human nature?

  153. Bill Openthalt says

    Ogvorbis

    Is slavery and rape culture are inherent parts of being human, then why are they not universal? Why are they not universal in every society throughout recorded history? If rape culture is an inherent part of me, as a human male, why am I not a rapist? Why do I have no desire to be a rapist? Why am I physically sick at the idea of raping someone? Why do you want rape culture to be an inherent part of humanity?

    A small nit – rape “culture” is not part of human nature. Men’s ability to use violence to obtain access to women is, in my opinion, part of human nature.

    As I said earlier, part of human nature doesn’t mean universal, Depression is part of human nature, but not all humans are depressed. Homosexuality is part of human nature, but not all humans are homosexual. And so forth and so on.

    As far as slavery is concerned, it is the result of the ranking our mind applies to other humans. If they are close to us, we tend to (but not universally do) treat them better than when they are far from us. Slavery is not part of human nature, but the ability to de-humanise those we do not know is. Looking at history, we see an evolution towards more inclusion, which is why slavery is presented as normal in the bible and the koran, and has gradually been abolished. We no longer see people of other cultures as savages, but don’t forget that in 1914 the French and Germans still saw each other as uncultured monsters. Now, many of us wonder if we can kill animals for food. We have come a long way.

    if violence is part of human nature, why aren’t you hitting your neighbour? Because kindness is also part of human nature. Because morality is part of human nature. Again, it’s not because of something being part of human nature that you exhibit that trait. You’re just one single individual, you don’t have all the genes that make up the human gene pool.

    And finally, I don’t want “rape culture to be part of humanity”. I want people to live together in peace and harmony. I try to appreciate differences and not merely tolerate them.

    What I do believe is that using concepts like “rape culture” is looking for agency when there is none (another of the foibles of our mind). There is no group of people who know that rape is bad but find excuses for it. It is easy and satisfying, because it creates an identifiable enemy, and it allows one to feel morally superior, part of the good team.

    Black vs white, good vs. bad – if it were that easy. It’s the comfort of religion, but like religion, it’s wrong. We are not as good, and the others are not as bad as we would like.

  154. Bill Openthalt says

    @172: Sorry – got bitten by the blockquote. Only the first paragraph is quoted from Ogvorbis.

  155. says

    @Bill:

    There is no group of people who know that rape is bad but find excuses for it.

    Bull. Shit. I’d look for citations but I’m at work and don’t want the search engine hits to show on my security log. There are excuses ALL the time! “She was wearing a short skirt” “she was flirting with him” “she was drunk” “they’re married” “she shouldn’t have been out late” and so on and so forth.

  156. cuervodecuero says

    Having read some testimonies from those engaged in culturally approved polyandry, where brothers ‘share’ *a* ‘wife’, I shudder at that even being snarkily considered. ‘Wife’ too often translates to ‘the one in-house breeder with no right of refusal that also does all the free domestic labour and childcare demanded of a low-tech high-macho lifestyle’.

    Another small note. It’s interesting that in the article, camp followers of a local boom are defaulted to a category of cellar social status ‘sexualization for pay’ women. There’s many a man in the ancient sub-culture of ‘parting fools from their money’ that migrates from boomtown to boomtown gleefully fluffing an uncritical atmosphere of entitled ‘partying’ to sell sex, drugs and grift. Most of whom are well versed in what will and won’t be pursued by the local law.

  157. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    There is no group of people who know that rape is bad but find excuses for it.

    Are you really this stupid or is it that you’re so invested in your apologetics that you say stupid things like this? I’m not excluding that it’s a combination of both but those are the only options.

  158. Bill Openthalt says

    Cerberus

    The bad faith is to pretend I said culture had no power. I believe that the fact we’re doing better today than ever before is due to culture. Culture is that what humans share to transcend their nature. Nature is not good, just efficient. If using violence works, it uses violence.

    It is human culture that says we should not use torture on terrorists, that we should give a fair trial to people who ignore all the rules of human conduct. Not nature.

    Stating that rape is caused not by human nature but by culture implies that there are consciously evil people, finding ways and means to ensure that women are raped by men who are also their victims. It’s a kind of conspiracy theory. I’d rather just accept that we’re working on improving ourselves, and that’s it’s not easy, but doable. We’ve already come a long way (see Steven Pinker’s “The Better Angels of our Nature”), but there’s still a long road ahead.

  159. Ogvorbis says

    There is no group of people who know that rape is bad but find excuses for it.

    The sister of a friend of mine was raped. She was 12 or 13. Her rapist was in his mid-20s. When it came to trial (that, in and of itself, is a minor miracle), the defense attorney introduced into evidence the clothing she wore that day — shorts and a halter top. The prosecutor tried to block the introduction as it had nothing to do with whether or not she was raped. The judge allowed the evidence as, even though the act of rape is wrong, sometimes there are extenuating circumstances. Her rapist was found not guilty after 5 minutes. So, for the judge, and for the jury, no matter how bad rape is, the way she dressed excused the rape.

    There’s a group right there.

    The ‘right’ to rape is rape culture. The acceptance of rape as a part of who we are (and thus unavoidable) or excusable because of extenuating circumstances is rape culture. Your insistence that rape is a part of who we are gives cover to men who rape by telling them that it is natural, it is okay, it is part of who you are.

  160. says

    It took until July 5, 1993, for marital rape to become a crime in all 50 states, in at least one section of the sexual offense codes, usually regarding force. 30 states still have some exemptions from prosecution for rape, e.g. when the husband does not need to use force because the wife is most vulnerable (temporarily or permanently, physically or mentally legally unable to consent)!

    So, on the score of marital rape alone, it’s quite obvious the person doing the raping knew it was bad, but had full legality to do so, so they did.

    http://www.ncmdr.org/state_law_chart.html

  161. chigau (無味ない) says

    Bill Openthalt

    Could you provide a couple of sources for your knowledge of human nature?

  162. WharGarbl says

    @twosheds1
    #158

    I did, actually. Two sources stated that the average is a 10th-grade education.

    I believe its customary to provide links to sources if you’re going to use it.

  163. Barklikeadog says

    The sister of a friend of mine was raped. She was 12 or 13. Her rapist was in his mid-20s. When it came to trial (that, in and of itself, is a minor miracle), the defense attorney introduced into evidence the clothing she wore that day — shorts and a halter top. The prosecutor tried to block the introduction as it had nothing to do with whether or not she was raped. The judge allowed the evidence as, even though the act of rape is wrong, sometimes there are extenuating circumstances. Her rapist was found not guilty after 5 minutes. So, for the judge, and for the jury, no matter how bad rape is, the way she dressed excused the rape.

    That just made my jaw drop. I’m infuriated. Goddamned fucking shithole asswipes on and on and on……

    I think if that ever happened to one of my daughters I would consider vigilante justice.

  164. Ogvorbis says

    That just made my jaw drop. I’m infuriated. Goddamned fucking shithole asswipes on and on and on……

    I think if that ever happened to one of my daughters I would consider vigilante justice.

    Well, this was the late 1970s or early 1980s, so . . . yeah. Still no excuse.

    But how a woman is dressed, how much she has had to drink, whether or not she has dated the rapist, the time of day, and whether or not she was alone are frequently asked questions during the reporting of a rape, the investigation of a rape, the decision to prosecute a rape, and the trial of a rapist. These are people who know that rape is wrong, but they manage to keep finding ways to excuse the behaviour of the rapist and blame the victim. Even today.

  165. nightshadequeen says

    Bill Openthalt,

    If what you say is true (and I firmly believe it is not), then logically the next step would be locking up all men.

    I think you should start, yourself. If you honestly believe that if, deprived of sex for an amount of time, you would consider forcing yourself upon another person, I’d recommend turning yourself over to the nearest police station. Fast.

    “Men are attacking women, not the other way around. If there is going to be a curfew, let the men be locked up, not the women.” -Golda Meir

  166. Bill Openthalt says

    Ogvorbis

    The ‘right’ to rape is rape culture. The acceptance of rape as a part of who we are (and thus unavoidable) or excusable because of extenuating circumstances is rape culture. Your insistence that rape is a part of who we are gives cover to men who rape by telling them that it is natural, it is okay, it is part of who you are.

    BTW, that was an unacceptable decision.

    If something cannot be part of human nature and still unacceptable, we have a problem. Our morality should be independent of human nature, It is my opinion that even if we could prove that homosexuality is wholly cultural, it should still be accepted because sexual expression is a personal choice. Rape is unacceptable even if it is part of human nature.

    We know that racism is part of human nature. It still is unacceptable. We know violence is part of human nature, and it is also unacceptable. There are many aspects of human nature that are not nice, but we don’t become better by pretending they are not.

    As far as people justifying their actions in court, that is not the type of “culture” I had in mind. People always justify their actions, and often in the most ludicrous fashion. That too is part of human nature.

    I am not comfortable with people who see evil everywhere.

  167. says

    Cervantes:

    Now look here:

    Oh fuck off, you doucheweasel. Obviously, you didn’t bother to read the comments or chose to dismiss them. Go somewhere else to defend rape culture apologia in the media.

  168. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    As far as people justifying their actions in court, that is not the type of “culture” I had in mind. People always justify their actions, and often in the most ludicrous fashion. That too is part of human nature.

    Dude, it wasn’t just a defendant trying to throw ridiculous arguments to try and “justify their actions”. It was a judge, jury, defense team and community BUYING that shit.

  169. says

    Gen:

    Dude, it wasn’t just a defendant trying to throw ridiculous arguments to try and “justify their actions”. It was a judge, jury, defense team and community BUYING that shit.

    It doesn’t matter, Gen. It’s obvious BO is not going to accept any culture*, let alone rape culture.

    *He might possible accede to the culture in yogurt, but that’s about it.

  170. Ogvorbis says

    As far as people justifying their actions in court, that is not the type of “culture” I had in mind.

    If the public did not accept that the judge’s decision was valid, would that judge be re-elected? If the judge has not absorbed the dominant paradigm — rape culture — then he would not have made that decision. It is the culture which accepts rape, minimizes rape, and excuses rape that leads to decisions like that. Judges are not divorced from culture.

    I am not comfortable with people who see evil everywhere.

    And yet you have used the naturalistic argument that rape is a part of who we are to imply that evil is inside of every man.

    You preach about morality? And yet you accept the primacy of human nature, implying that culture is a thin veneer over our evil and then say you are not comfortable with those who see evil everywhere?

    I am a man. I was raped, repeatedly, by my cub scout leader. I was forced into child pornography and forced to abuse a much younger girl. Was my cub scout leader just giving in to his nature? Did he really believe it when he told us that there are two kinds of people — men and girls — and that it is the right of every man to take pleasure from girls (and he considered us girls — he was going to make men of us)? Or was he using the culture that minimized, accepted, and excused rape? Or maybe all three? Or maybe I am just seeing evil where it doesn’t exist.

    If something is inherent in who we are, if it is part of our nature, can culture change it? And if culture can change it, is it really part of our nature?

  171. WharGarbl says

    @Barklikeadog
    #184

    I think if that ever happened to one of my daughters I would consider vigilante justice.

    Well, we do have very easily accessible high-powered marksman rifles.

    The sister of a friend of mine was raped. She was 12 or 13. Her rapist was in his mid-20s. When it came to trial (that, in and of itself, is a minor miracle), the defense attorney introduced into evidence the clothing she wore that day — shorts and a halter top. The prosecutor tried to block the introduction as it had nothing to do with whether or not she was raped. The judge allowed the evidence as, even though the act of rape is wrong, sometimes there are extenuating circumstances. Her rapist was found not guilty after 5 minutes. So, for the judge, and for the jury, no matter how bad rape is, the way she dressed excused the rape.

    Shouldn’t he be charged and convicted with STATUTORY RAPE regardless of their belief of consent if a sexual act had taken place?

    Taking a step back…
    If the issue at stake is whether a rape (or any sexual act occurred on account of statutory rape) occurred in the first place, that can be tricky. There’s the “presumption of innocence”, and if the prosecutor cannot find sufficiently solid physical evidences and it boiled down the “he says, she says”.

  172. says

    If rape were really as integral to “human nature” as Bill claims, we would expect to see very similar rates of rape victimization across cultures.

    This is not the case.

    How do you account for that, Bill? Or is that not “the kind of culture you are thinking of”?

    Your ignorance and lazy thinking are insulting.

  173. Ogvorbis says

    Shouldn’t he be charged and convicted with STATUTORY RAPE regardless of their belief of consent if a sexual act had taken place?

    Only if the district attorney decides to charge him with that crime.

    Taking a step back…
    If the issue at stake is whether a rape (or any sexual act occurred on account of statutory rape) occurred in the first place, that can be tricky. There’s the “presumption of innocence”, and if the prosecutor cannot find sufficiently solid physical evidences and it boiled down the “he says, she says”.

    There were (and this is from remembered conversations with my friend from 30+ years ago) witnesses who saw him strong-arm her and walk her away from the carnival midway. There were scratches on his face from her fingernails. There was a medical report, from that night, that she had been penetrated and had her hymen torn.

    And isn’t it nice the way that our court system is set up so that in a “he says, she says” situation, it is always presumed that he is telling the truth and she is lying. Which is why so few rapes are reported. Which is why so few reported rapes are investigated. Which is why so few investigated rapes are sent to trial. And why so few rape cases sent to trial result in the conviction of the rapist. Even when there actually is evidence. Because so many are looking for a way to blame her — did she defend herself? did she drink? how was she dressed? etc.

  174. WharGarbl says

    @Ogvorbis
    #185

    Well, this was the late 1970s or early 1980s, so . . . yeah. Still no excuse.

    Okay, refinement of previous question.
    Do US (assuming this happened in US) have a statutory rape provisions in the 1970s/80s?

  175. says

    I am not comfortable with people who see evil everywhere.

    You are the one claiming that it is natural for men to rape. As you believe that’s the case, then every single man on the planet is a rapist in fact or waiting. Yet, that’s not evil, because it’s “natural”, right?

    How on earth do you manage to convince yourself you’re a decent human being?

    It is not in the nature of most people to rape – that is why most people don’t rape. We are the ones living in reality, who are aware of how culture shapes and changes us, how culture changes when pressure is placed on society as a whole to change certain paradigms. Facing the reality of rape culture and demanding change does work – if you can manage to get anything into that brain of yours besides your biases and stereotypes, see this: Rape Prevention Aimed At Rapists Does Work: The “Don’t Be That Guy” Campaign

  176. Ogvorbis says

    Okay, refinement of previous question.
    Do US (assuming this happened in US) have a statutory rape provisions in the 1970s/80s?

    Yes. But the DA has to make the decision to actually charge the rapist. If the DA doesn’t make that decision, if the DA decides not to charge him with statutory rape, then the rapist cannot be found guilty of statutory rape. I have no idea why the DA did not file statutory rape charges concurrent with the sexual assault charge. Perhaps a lawyer could explain that reasoning.

  177. says

    WharGarbl:

    Do US (assuming this happened in US) have a statutory rape provisions in the 1970s/80s?

    The United States is made up of states. Different states, different laws. Most states had and have statutory laws. What the fuck are you after here, anyway? Why this idiotic focus on statutory rape? That is not the same as criminal rape, the charge is different and so are the consequences.

    I was raped when I was 16. Would you like to tell me that my rapist should have been put away for statutory rape? Here’s a suggestion: don’t.

  178. Barklikeadog says

    Well, we do have very easily accessible high-powered marksman rifles.

    That’s not what I was thinking about. Something more along the lines of something the rapist can remember for the rest of his life just like to girl has to, like, say a couple of busted kneecaps.

  179. chigau (無味ない) says

    WharGarbl and Barklikeadog
    Would you consider taking your revenge fantasies to the Thunderdome?

  180. says

    Bill, if you want to see what rape as a strategy for reproduction looks like, look up mallard ducks. If rape were as integral to “human nature” as you claim, we would expect to see physiological adaptations in women and men similar to what we see in ducks: explosively expanding corkscrew penises and labyrinthine vaginal tracts with multiple dead end tracts.

    But we don’t. Why is that?

  181. says

    Well, we do have very easily accessible high-powered marksman rifles.

    That’s not what I was thinking about. Something more along the lines of something the rapist can remember for the rest of his life just like to girl has to, like, say a couple of busted kneecaps.

    Both of you can knock that shit off right godsdamn now. It makes me fucking sick. Do either of you think this makes a person who has been raped feel any better? I have news for you both – it does not. Now shut the fuck up.

  182. Rey Fox says

    Some human males rape because raping in certain circumstances is part of human nature. Some human males have sex with other human males because homosexuality is part of human nature. Some humans kill other humans because killing is part of human nature. Most humans are kind to other humans because it’s part of our nature to be kind.

    Slavery happens because it is human nature to value less related humans less.

    Obesity is part of human nature

    Men’s ability to use violence to obtain access to women is, in my opinion, part of human nature.

    People always justify their actions, and often in the most ludicrous fashion. That too is part of human nature.

    Depression is part of human nature

    Just leaving this here.

  183. ChasCPeterson says

    people who don’t know the first thing about the evolution of animal mating systems probably ought to shut up about the subject.

  184. says

    Chigau:

    WharGarbl and Barklikeadog
    Would you consider taking your revenge fantasies to the Thunderdome?

    No. They can both go crawl in a fucking cave for all I care, but I do not want to hear any more of that crap.

  185. says

    Bill Openthalt
    How about you putting up with some evidence instead of your empty wankery about how all men will rape just to have children and hate condoms because that reduces their number of offspring. I guess vasectomies don’t even happen in your universe.

  186. Gregory Greenwood says

    Bill Openthalt;

    Consider what you are saying – in essence you are claiming that rape (as well as things like slavery, murder and other massively harmful activities) are all a fundamental – and thus at some level unavoidable – part of who we are as human beings. You say it is written into the very fabric of every man to rape; no matter how much he tries to sublimate or resist that element of his ‘true’ nature, it will always be there, just waiting for the opportunity to strike. You say that culture has just barely power enough to contain the worst extremes of our ‘nature’, and that we really cannot expect any more. Thereby you imply that there is no moral obligation to try to make things better, because at the end of the day ‘nature’ cannot be fought. You are saying that culture is the only answer, and it is all but powerless to do more than hold back the worst extremes of the flood most of the time.

    You claim all of this without a single shred of actual evidence to back up your (grossly misandrist – far more so than anything ever said by any feminist in the history of the world) just so story of how all men are raging, all but uncontrollable rape-monsters beneath the skin.

    You are trying to position culture as the only thing restraining the hidden ‘beast rapist within’ that all men bear in your worldview, even going do far as to claim that any rape culture must flow directly from the ‘natural’ impulse to rape because, as you state @ 135;

    If rape is not part of human nature, how did it get into the culture?

    By this logic, we must have an natural impulse to engage in serial murder and cannabalism – if not, how the heck did Ted Bundy and several other killer like him come about?

    Scientific endeavour must come from an elements of our nature that compels us to try to understand the factual character of our surrounding, while at the same time religion must come from an aspect of that same innate nature that causes us to prefer simplistic explanations that superimpose our own social systems of hierarchical authority upon the natural world – so the conflict between science and delusional woo like creationism is actually our ‘nature’ at war with itself? And what about the religiously mandated fear and hatred of sex – what part of our ‘nature’ gave rise to that?

    What is this? Naturalistic-fallacy-palooza? If we free ourselves from an unevidenced obsession with the idea that everything flows from some immutable, fundamental human ‘nature’, then we can see that in a system as longstanding and complex as human civilisation and other social arrangements, a culture can arise.

    A culture that is not directly predicated upon any aspect of innate nature, but instead grows and develops over time due to ever shifting cultural mores and the interaction between people with brains who are not hardwired to conform to an undetectable innate ‘nature’ wuith their every action. This culture is a far more credible explanation for the rise of attitudes within society that cannot be explained by any innate nature that came about through evolutionary selection pressures.

    Rape is clearly not selected for when it comes to the raising of young in the context of a social species, and surely any rapist whose ‘nature’ is somehow able to note the purpose and effect of a condom might also have a subconscious grasp of the fact that women are far less likley to keep a pregnancy that is the result of rape, and may indeed have ambiguous feelings toward any child that is a constant reminder of that trauma. There are many better strategies for procreation than rape, and those strategies will quite posibily be impaired or rendered nonviable by rape – so why should a ‘nature’ somehow aware of what a condom is take the risk of rape for such a low procreative return? Even if we grant your own premise, your argument still doesn’t stack up.

    Once one accepts the existence of a rape culture that developed independently of any desire to procreate – and that rape is far more about power and dominance than it is about sex, let alone passing on one’s genes – then the behaviour of rapists starts to make far more sense. Your evopsyche explanation really does grasp at straws by comparison.

    @ 172 you said;

    There is no group of people who know that rape is bad but find excuses for it.

    Here on Pharyngula we have encounteed any number of rape apologists who have said, often in as many words, that rape victims must have been ‘asking for it’. That the fact that they had been drinking, or were wearing what the rape apologists considered ‘provocative clothing’, or were out at night, or generally didn’t live as paranoid recluses meant that the victim was complicit in their own rape – that their actions resulted in what happened to them, and they should bear the responsibility for it. And all this is before we get to the charmers who think that the best way to deal with lesbian women is to ‘rape them straight’.

    These people were very invested in finding excuses for rape and shifting the blame for it way from the rapist and onto the victim at every opportunity. Many of them delighted in thinking up any scenario, no matter how ridiculous, to feel out the limits of rape – to find any situation where there was ambiguity about whether something was rape or not. They gave the distinct impression that they were testing those boundaries for their own purposes. Perhaps they were doing it out of some privileged idiocy that led them to think that this was simply some dry academic debate where trying to win ‘points’ was all that mattered, but equally possibly they were doing it for far more worrying reasons.

    Rapists are very adept at manipulating societal norms to their advantage, and a great many of them know exactly what they are doing, know the harm it causes, and just don’t care.

    Black vs white, good vs. bad – if it were that easy. It’s the comfort of religion, but like religion, it’s wrong. We are not as good, and the others are not as bad as we would like.

    Believing that women are people who deserve their bodily autonomy, and that ‘nature’ is no excuse or explanation for rape, is akin to the delusions of religion in your eyes? You sound just like the ‘atheism is just another religion’ brigade.

    You are the one bowing down to an unevidenced, immutable ‘rape nature’ like it is some kind of carven idiol of a god. You are treating our nature as our irresistably powerful, omnipresent master. Your deity is the naturalistic fallacy, and you have built quite the nasty little temple to it on this thread that is actually about rape culture, completely uncaring of the harm you cause in the process. You seek to defend your toxic assumptions without evidence, and chastise anyone who doesn’t agree with you in terms of their refusal to acknowledge what essentially amounts to an unevidenced ‘revealed truth’ of the inescapable rapist ‘nature’ that supposedly lies within all men, barely contained by the overmatched efforts of culture.

    You remind of the most blinkered and smugly self righteous type of theist more and more with your every post.

  187. Barklikeadog says

    Both of you can knock that shit off right godsdamn now. It makes me fucking sick. Do either of you think this makes a person who has been raped feel any better? I have news for you both – it does not. Now shut the fuck up.

    OK I apologise. Please ,really, I meant no offense and I really am sorry. Won’t do it again. Promise. I wouldn’t ever really do something like that in reality. It was a poor way to express my anger and I really do apologise.

  188. Hekuni Cat, MQG says

    BO #151:

    Hate is probably too strong a word, but there are enough examples of stepparents favouring their own offspring and ill-treating their stepchildren to conclude that genetic closeness does affect feeling of parental love.

    There are also myriad examples of stepparents who love their stepchildren. And adopted parents who love their adopted children. Love does not require genetic closeness, even if the individuals involved have biological children. Oh behalf of my mother and all other stepparents who love their stepchildren, fuck you!

    I would also like an answer from to Caine’s question:

    Let’s get back to why it’s so damn important for you to protect rapists, shall we?

  189. rr says

    Bill Openthalt:

    Morality has nothing to do with what is, or is not, part of human nature.

    Because morality is part of human nature

    So it’s God’s will human nature to rape, and God’s will human nature to not rape.

    It wasn’t the best of examples but it rolled nicely out of the keyboard :-)

    There’s quite a lot coming out of your “keyboard.”

  190. bradleybetts says

    @Bill Openthalt #130

    Sweet jeebus, I’ve been away from this thread for a while and you still haven’t stopped talking.

    Anyway, in your last message to me you said:

    “You’re right as far as the physical effect is concerned. That being said, one could argue that the feeling that it “reduces the intimacy of the moment” is the way our conscious mind perceives the outcome of the calculations that might include “No chance of pregnancy”. The evaluation part of the mind doesn’t need to be able to do complex analyses, it just needs access to a few key results of other circuits (which can include cognitively complex subsystems).”

    *sigh* I’ll just fish the important part out of the word-salad and focus on that shall I?

    “That being said, one could argue that the feeling that it “reduces the intimacy of the moment” is the way our conscious mind perceives the outcome of the calculations that might include “No chance of pregnancy”.”

    Right, so you think that subconcious biological imperitives such as procreation are somehow affected by the concious knowledge that “This bit of rubber will stop me getting her pregnant”. Now, I am not a neurobiologist by training or profession, nor even a biologist, and yet every single thought in my head is screaming that this is absolute bullshit. I am at work and frankly don’t have time to look up exactly why this is bullshit, so I’m going to do two things:

    1- the simple application of Occam’s razor would lead me to believe that the main reason men generally don’t like condoms is because sex doesn’t feel as good, and thus I am going to go with the Null hypothesis that you are, in fact, talking out of your arse.
    2- invoke Russell’s Teapot and ask you (or anyone else) to prove your assertion.

    I would like to assure you that any convincing evidence will lead to an apology from myself, whilst also noting that the lack of any supporting evidence for your positive assertion will lead me to the conclusion that you are, in fact, talking out of your arse. Kthnxbai.

  191. says

    Hekuni Cat:

    Oh behalf of my mother and all other stepparents who love their stepchildren, fuck you!

    Going by Bill’s love of anecdotes in lieu of evidence, this should change his mind instantly!

    Well, it should work that way, right?

  192. Ogvorbis says

    I just thought of this.

    If genetic closeness (as measured by our ‘genetic closeness meter’ in our brains?) generates more love and care, why do we not marry our siblings? How can I love Wife (we are related (statistical certainty), but so distantly that we haven’t found it yet) if I am not genetically close?

    And the part about condoms triggering the ‘I can’t knock her up’ meter in the brain, what about those of us with vasectomies? Does that mean that making love, for me, should feel like I am wearing a condom?

    Bill Openthalt, have you thought through any of your positions?

  193. jackiepaper says

    I apologize for not finishing the thread. I’m sure Bill was already taken to task for this, but I want to say this myself:
    Bill,
    Natural children? Are you suggesting my nonbiological children are not natural? Fuck you.
    We have been through hell and high water together and the adoption won’t even be finale until Summer. I love and adore them. There is nothing unnatural about them or our family. My husband is proud as pie to be their papa and in fact, has always wanted to adopt. Biological drive to breed? What are we snails? Believe it or not, we’re thinking beings who know better than to think our genes are special or that love has anything to do with who your sperm donor was or what womb you gestated in. Meanwhile, my husband had a vasectomy ages ago and guess what? His sex drive is very much intact.

    Some people favor their bio-kids? Sure. Some bio-parents kill their children. In fact the last I checked the CDC website it said that about 2,000 children are killed by their parents every year in the US alone. Some people just shouldn’t have kids. Some people aren’t fit to raise tomatoes.

    People do not avoid relationships with you because you are nice. They are repulsed by your pig ignorance, lack of empathy and since of entitlement. If you want to be loved, you might want to learn what love actually is.

  194. says

    So Nice Guy, in many cases, is NOT wrong to think he has no control.

    nowhere in the US is this supposedly tragic women shortage a permanent condition. women make 51% of the population. In most cases, when a dude can’t find a partner, ever, at all, it’s because of something about him. Exceptions exist, but they exist on the female side as well, and no one is handwringing about their un-expressed libido.

    I don’t believe it is rape culture, but rape nature

    and this is where I should have stopped reading. There’s nothing “natural” about the aspects described in rape culture.

    successful reproduction remains the most powerful motivation for sexual behaviour

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Of course the most powerful motive for sexual behaviour is procreation.

    bull. if procreation was the most powerful motive for fucking, fucking wouldn’t need to feel orgasmic, since we’d already be fucking, regardless of how good it felt. The most powerful motive for sex is that it feels good. That’s WHY it feels good: because critters that enjoyed fucking fucked more, and consequently spawned more.

    If no male ever experienced the urge to rape, how do you explain the emergence of a rape culture

    shallow comment is shallow. cannibalism and infanticide are also something humans are capable of, and yet we lack cannibalism-culture and infanticide-culture. rape culture is not about whether some people commit rape. it’s about how they’re enabled and excused for it, making it easy and even acceptable to rape.

    also, interesting that you think only men “experience the urge to rape”. interesting, but wrong.

    There is no group of people who know that rape is bad but find excuses for it.

    HAHAHAHAHAHA
    bullshit. if you ask people if they’ve ever raped someone, they’d be aghast. if you ask them if they’ve done a number of things that qualify as rape, but don’t mention the word, they’ll admit to having done them.

    The same happens to other things, like racism. That’s why people freak the fuck out when their racism is called out as racism.

    but by culture implies that there are consciously evil people

    only to a flaming idiot with absolutely no fucking clue how culture and acculturation work.

    As far as people justifying their actions in court, that is not the type of “culture” I had in mind. People always justify their actions, and often in the most ludicrous fashion.

    and they generally don’t get away with the ludicrous bullshit, unless the entire culture buys into it, too. like with all the excuses for rape. you know, rape culture.

    I am not comfortable with people who see evil everywhere.

    that from the guy who thinks raping is an unavoidable part of men’s nature.

  195. Ogvorbis says

    Cultural tabu. Oooops, there’s that pesky culture again.

    Oh, no, couldn’t be cultural. Must be human nature as culture is pretty much powerless. Just ignore the history of (some) royal families for the past, oh, 5,000 or so years, right?

  196. allegro says

    @Bill

    We know that racism is part of human nature.

    Total bullshit. Racism is trained, not inherent. Look at any diverse group of small children (who have not yet been indoctrinated by parents and culture) playing together and you will see no fear of one another.

    This bullshit that you “know” on racism and rape culture is just that: bullshit.

  197. says

    Ogvorbis:

    Just ignore the history of (some) royal families for the past, oh, 5,000 or so years, right?

    Hahahahahahahahaha – I started thinking about monarchies right after I hit submit. That should be Cultural tabu. For some.

  198. jackiepaper says

    On the day that I see an article about women being abused and not one person shows up to say, “What about the menz!?!” I am going to throw a party with paper hats and party cake. I have the feeling that if I set up for that party today and waited, I’d just end up looking like Miss Havisham in a party hat. *sigh*

  199. Gregory Greenwood says

    Giliell, professional cynic @ 220;

    I’m also wondering, could Bill care to explain to us the prevalence of rape among popular, rich and powerful guys who could actually spread their semen around like free candy?

    I can give you the short version of his answer now:

    “Blah, blah, blah, immutable nature, blah, blah, blah, procreative imperative, blah, blah, blah, all men are rapists in waiting, blah, blah, blah, people who see evil everywhere scare me, blah, blah, blah, the innate nature of guys knows what a condom is, but not the ways in which money can provide sexual opportunity, blah, blah, blah.

    There you go. That should save you some time at least. ;-P

  200. Esteleth, Ultra-PC Feminist Harpy Out To Destroy Secularism says

    why do we not marry our siblings?

    Cultural tabu. Oooops, there’s that pesky culture again.

    Cultural taboo? Yep. Why don’t you ask the Egyptian pharaohs about that? After all, they practiced sibling marriage. Because they were divine, and adding non-divide blood was icky. Various other cultures have practiced sibling marriage for similar reasons.
    Shit, I was researching Henry VIII once and found a reference to someone suggesting that the solution to his “lack of heirs problem” was to marry off his then-only legitimate child, Mary, to his bastard son, Henry Fitzroy. The author of the piece I was reading noted that this (1) would have been a violation of Catholic canon law and (2) would legally have been classified as incest in many jurisdictions, including England, but that the Pope signalled his willingness to sign off on it, if Henry backed down from his threats do divorce Catherine of Aragon and break with the Church.
    Now, the Westermark Effect is a real thing, and may well be the source of many of the cultural taboos and the feeling of revulsion most people have at the ide of incest. But seriously, it has been gotten around by many cultures throughout time.

    (Quick quiz: how many times did I say “culture” in this comment?)

  201. says

    JackiePaper:

    I have the feeling that if I set up for that party today and waited, I’d just end up looking like Miss Havisham in a party hat.

    We’d be a party of Miss Havishams! Heh.

  202. bradleybetts says

    @Jadehawk

    *tears of laughter* Beautiful, absolutely beautiful :) most comprehensive takedown ever. Have an Internetz.

  203. bradleybetts says

    @Esteleth, Ultra-PC Feminist Harpy Out To Destroy Secularism

    So according to Catholics:

    “Incest: better than divorce.”

    Fantabulous.

  204. Esteleth, Ultra-PC Feminist Harpy Out To Destroy Secularism says

    To cite a more modern example: in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the House of Coburg in Germany practiced routinely uncle-niece marriages. As did the House of Habsburg in Spain in the sixteenth century. The practice fell out of favor when the long-term results of inbreeding showed up. Which is to say, the Habsburgs stopped practicing uncle-niece marriages when they died out. The Coburgs are still kicking, but (mostly) under a different name – they’re known as the Windsors nowadays – and they got over their “marry your cousins” thing around the time that their sons started bleeding to death.

  205. Ogvorbis says

    Yep. Why don’t you ask the Egyptian pharaohs about that? After all, they practiced sibling marriage. Because they were divine, and adding non-divide blood was icky.

    Although the male sharing a bed with a non-relative was fine for recreation and to prove that he was fertile. Of course, it sometimes required many, many, many women before he was proved fertile, but, like most nobility and royalty through history, he had to be willing to do his duty.

    (1) would have been a violation of Catholic canon law

    And, given the Catholic church’s definition if incest, the prohibited degrees of consanguinity, virtually every marriage involving the royalty or nobility required a waiver — seven degrees of consanguinity was the cut-off point (which is about a fourth cousin?). Sharing a great-great-grandfather or great-great-grandmother made you too closely related.

  206. Esteleth, Ultra-PC Feminist Harpy Out To Destroy Secularism says

    And, given the Catholic church’s definition if incest, the prohibited degrees of consanguinity, virtually every marriage involving the royalty or nobility required a waiver

    Trufax.

    Both of Catherine of Aragon’s marriages required said waivers – in the first case because she and Prince Arthur were third or fourth cousins, in the second case because she had the same degree of relation to Henry (Arthur and Henry being brothers, after all), and because she was Arthur’s widow.
    When the marriage of Catherine and Henry’s daughter Mary to Charles of Germany was being negotiated (it never happened, Charles married someone else), a waiver had to be gotten to get around the pesky “Charles’ mother Juana was Catherine’s sister” thing. But it wasn’t really seen as an issue, just another box to check. And – years later, when Mary married Philip of Spain, another waiver had to be gotten because Philip was Charles’ son, and thus Mary’s first cousin once removed. And because she and Charles had been engaged thirty years previously.

  207. Ogvorbis says

    And one of the advantages of all of these marriages by waiver is, when the man, for whatever reason, wanted to send his wife off to a convent and annul the marriage, they just had to pay the church to ‘discover’ the relationship.

    As usual. Men get whatever they want, women get screwed over.

  208. Esteleth, Ultra-PC Feminist Harpy Out To Destroy Secularism says

    And one of the advantages of all of these marriages by waiver is, when the man, for whatever reason, wanted to send his wife off to a convent and annul the marriage, they just had to pay the church to ‘discover’ the relationship.

    Exactly the tactic Henry tried to use to dump Catherine. Only problem was that because the first waiver had been signed by the Pope, it had to be countermanded by the Pope. And the Pope was coincidentally at that point dealing with an army camped on his lawn – an army that belonged to Catherine’s nephew, who was unimpressed with moves to have his aunt “officially” declared to have been a slut for twenty years (because if she was never married to Henry legally, then every time they slept together that was adultery).
    Henry’s marital life is an exercise in the things that people would do:
    (1) “The waiver was formatted incorrectly!”
    (2) “She’s a witch!”
    (3) [did not attempt to leave]
    (4) “She’s ugly and I can’t bear to prong her!”
    (5) “She’s boning like half the court!”
    (6) “She’s unsubmissive and talks back!” [note: this one didn’t actually go forward, he was persuaded to drop it]

  209. rr says

    Just ignore the history of (some) royal families for the past, oh, 5,000 or so years, right?

    And the fat violent rapist feral children.

  210. Ogvorbis says

    And the fat violent rapist feral children.

    First, why the fat shaming?

    Second, I don’t understand your point. Could you elucidate please?

  211. The Mellow Monkey says

    That being said, one could argue that the feeling that it “reduces the intimacy of the moment” is the way our conscious mind perceives the outcome of the calculations that might include “No chance of pregnancy”.

    So I guess us queers have sex for entirely different reasons than any other humans on earth? Or oral sex is something our subconscious minds tell us isn’t really fun? When I fuck a woman with a strap-on, are we both going “ehhh…but there’s no sperm”? Does my partner–a trans man–not have a normal male sex drive because he can’t knock me up?

    Sex is sex is sex, whether there’s sperm shooting at egg or not. Yes, some people eroticize the risk/goal of pregnancy, but the basic, fundamental idea pushing a sex drive is that sex is fucking fun.

  212. Esteleth, Ultra-PC Feminist Harpy Out To Destroy Secularism says

    What? Nonprocreative sex is unfun?

    Why do women go on the pill then?

  213. says

    Clearly I can’t leave you people alone for long enough to get eight hours’ sleep.

    guys who could actually spread their semen around like free candy

    And there go my plans to have candy for breakfast.

    And the fat violent rapist feral children.

    First, why the fat shaming?

    Second, I don’t understand your point. Could you elucidate please?

    I read that as a reference to the unbelievably tedious Bill Openthalt’s attempt to use obesity as a metaphor for propensity to rape as part of human nature.

  214. The Mellow Monkey says

    Esteleth:

    What? Nonprocreative sex is unfun?

    Why do women go on the pill then?

    Perhaps this part of HUMAN NATURE is only carried on the heterosexual male Y chromosome, along with the rape drive.

    I cannot fathom how someone can spew this stuff and not see how hateful and dehumanizing he’s being to men in general.

  215. Esteleth, Ultra-PC Feminist Harpy Out To Destroy Secularism says

    Well, some women go on the pill to manage endometriosis, ovarian cysts, or whatever (I’m one of them), but I’m going to go out on a limb and posit that said women are minority of women on the pill.

    Most women are on the pill so that they can have fun non-babymaking sexytimes.

  216. chigau (無味ない) says

    The Mellow Monkey #245
    THAT’S IT!!!11!!
    *ahem sorry*
    HumanNature™ is found only on the Y chromosome.
    So men have only half a chance of being human and women have none at all.

  217. Beatrice says

    Women go on the pill because, while it is in their nature to procreate, it is also in their nature to seek the best male to do it with. So they go on the pill until they find the masculinest of them all and then steal his seed.
    And none of that idiocy about some women being on the pill until menopause, or making pregnancy impossible permanently. That’s individuals. I’m not talking about individuals, but about the whole species. Except when I’m talking about individuals in the above paragraph, but that’s different.

    Also, that woman who is still on the pill in her forties and has no children just hasn’t met the man who has that best “Have babies with ME” smell, which her nature seeks.

    Can I haz my paper published now?

  218. says

    I cannot fathom how someone can spew this stuff and not see how hateful and dehumanizing he’s being to men in general.

    Hateful to men and women. Men ’cause they’re painted as rapists in waiting, women because they have to suffer the consequences.

  219. Barklikeadog says

    They are having a conversation on NPR right now about this very subject. One of the folks were saying something about rape kits not getting analyzed and being thrown out when the statute of limitations expired. What I don’t understand, and maybe I’m just dense (which has already been proven in this thread) is why there is a statute of limitations on rape. I’m of the opinion it should be treated just like murder but one of the other folks said something about sexual assault being the “poor cousin” to other crimes. That it isn’t given the priority in some jurisdictions that theft and robbery are. It confirms that we do indeed live in a rape culture where it is given a pass and not taken seriously.

  220. Nepenthe says

    @Barklikeadog

    Fuck if I know. Apparently in New York State, if you raped someone five years ago that’s ancient history and why should you have your life ruined now. Plus, the evidence is all gone… I mean, 5 years in a brown paper bag is long enough to have that semen rot, right? We should be glad that they allow that much time, given that it’s all bitchez lyin’ to ruin the lives of good men.

    (The statute of limitations is coming up for when I was raped and I’m a wee bit pissy about the whole thing.)

  221. Barklikeadog says

    The statute of limitations is coming up for when I was raped and I’m a wee bit pissy about the whole thing

    I’ll bet you are. I want justice done no matter how long ago the crime was committed. Fuck our society…just goddammit fuck it sometimes. *spits.

  222. rr says

    Sorry Ogvorbis, it was a bad joke referring to the “obesity is part of human nature” statement above. Feral children should be excellent subjects for the study of our alleged human nature, as they lack enculturation. But I seem to remember (It’s been a long time since I studied psych) studies were done, and not a lot came of it.

  223. Ogvorbis says

    And the fat violent rapist feral children.
    First, why the fat shaming?

    Second, I don’t understand your point. Could you elucidate please?

    I read that as a reference to the unbelievably tedious Bill Openthalt’s attempt to use obesity as a metaphor for propensity to rape as part of human nature.

    Okay. Thanks. I sometimes miss things.

    Sorry Ogvorbis, it was a bad joke referring to the “obesity is part of human nature” statement above. Feral children should be excellent subjects for the study of our alleged human nature, as they lack enculturation. But I seem to remember (It’s been a long time since I studied psych) studies were done, and not a lot came of it.

    The good Mr. Clarke explained it. No apology necessary. Sometimes I fail to grok. Sometimes I fail to grok in grand style. Sometimes I fail to grok with no style. This was the last.

  224. Paul W., OM says

    TL:DR WARNING… this is long as hell with big didactic stretches because I’m afraid of being misunderstood. Sorry.

    This discussion seems mostly simplistic and unsatisfying all around, like most discussions of human nature and culture.

    I think I disagree with some of what Bill Openthalt is saying, but I also disagree with people dismissing so much of it as simply invalid/stupid/evil/rape-justifying. (I don’t know about his motives, but it seems to me that some of what he’s actually saying is interesting and relevant, if insufficiently clear and nuanced. To me, it’s not obviously just JAQing off or rape-justifying.)

    I also tend to read the NYT article rather differently than a lot of people here—but maybe far too charitably and very incorrectly. I read some of what the writer says as a litany of things that are obviously very bad for women, so obviously so bad that he thinks it doesn’t need elaboration. I could be entirely wrong about that. I really don’t know, and that’s less interesting to me than some of the general issues that have come up in the comment thread—and at any rate I’ll try to clarify where I’m coming from before discussing how I tend to interpret the article.

    To say that something is “part of human nature” is ambiguous, and not necessarily to say that every human will do it, or be as prone to doing it, or do it under the same circumstances, or do it at all. It’s also not necessarily to say that somebody will do it in any given culture—some cultures may be entirely free of it.

    Human nature is a mix of things of varying specificity—basic drives, general cognitive (and affective) biases and limitations, and some fairly specific instincts and inferential tricks. It allows great flexibility in how many of those things manifest themselves in a given culture, but it also puts great selection pressures on cultures—or small ones with great long-term effects making some aspects of culture probable and common across many cultures, and others improbable and rare.

    I think the ability to murder is innate in an important sense, but likely not the obvious sense most people would take that to mean, and certainly not one that justifies murder. There might be significant cognitive quirks that make it especially easy for humans to learn to murder other people, and decide under some circumstances to do it, which have been specifically selected for because they’ve been useful in some circumstances in the past, or there might just be a set of broad tendencies that allows people to learn to murder, among many other things.

    Because human learning and decision making are complicated, it would be extremely simplistic to try to blame a phenomenon like murder on a single motive, as though it must be caused by one specific motive in any given case, and even more simplistic to attribute it to a single motive in every case.

    You can’t just say things like “murder isn’t a crime of hatred, it’s a crime of revenge” or “murder isn’t a crime of revenge, it’s a crime of exploitation,” or “murder isn’t a crime of opportunity, it’s a crime of justice-seeking” or “murder is a crime of lack of innate inhibitory function, it’s a consequence of a culture of violence.” A given murder may be any of those things, or all of those things, and the motives and opportunities and innate and cultural disinhibiting factors may combine nonlinearly—combinations of those factors may be much more likely to lead an individual to murder than simply adding them up would make you think, due to threshold effects, etc. (E.g., a threshold of cost/benefit ratio, or of passion overcoming inhibition.)

    In any given case, any combination of those factors might be unnecessary or absolutely necessary for the murder to occur, and it can be more complicated than that, with only certain peculiar combinations of factors mattering much.

    So, for example, all things being equal, most people are much less likely to murder if they don’t hate the prospective victim, or if don’t feel they actually deserve it, or it they don’t feel they can get away with it, or if they don’t feel they can benefit from it, or if they don’t think there’s a better plan that doesn’t involve murder but has most of the same advantages, like legally getting the person locked up for life.

    If they do hate the person, or do think they really deserve it, and so on, the odds go up very rapidly, especially if the person has certain biologically innate dispositions (e.g., due to a difficulty in assessing long-term consequences of actions) or cultural ones (e.g., an honor culture that accepts vigilante vengeance and specifically murder as acceptable or even necessary justice.)

    I suspect that the ability to learn to murder has been selected for, at least weakly, in two negative senses. One is that the major cognitive and affective dispositions that lead to the ability to murder also lead to the ability to do a lot of other things that can promote your genes, and murder can just be a specific learned manifestation of those. Another is that murder, specifically, has been a very successful learned strategy often enough that it contributes significantly to the selection that maintains those more general biases.

    As I understand it, the biological predispositions that make an individual likely to learn to murder are many and variable. Some people are naturally a bit more prone to anger, others to cold-blooded alienation, some are more prone to accept rationalizations learned from people they know, others are less to internalize reasonable inhibitions their parents teach them, etc. (I’m not saying that any of those things is straightforwardly innate, just that there are biological differences that can result in such differences, one way or another.)

    For any X and Y among dozen major factors, it would be ridiculous to say that “murder isn’t a crime of X and not of Y.” It’s just not that simple, because human learning, planning, and decision making are really complicated and involve delicate tradeoffs and thresholds. Both biological and cultural variations are many and complicated, and nonlinear, and interact in necessarily complicated ways.

    As I understand it, particular individual may be more biologically prone to murdering in certain kinds of cultures—e.g., a person with a predisposition to anger management problems but who also has a pretty good ability to keep it inhibited for conscious moral reasons might be especially prone to murdering only in honor cultures, which glorify and rationalize righteous violence, disinhibiting that person in just the right way. Different people may be biologically prone to murder in different kinds of cultures.

    That would not be surprising, and it means that in the general case you can’t separate what’s a consequence of nature (biology) and what’s a consequence of nurture (culture) into anything like percentages that add up to 100—a given murder may depend 100 percent on one or more biological traits and 100 percent on certain cultural factors, at the same time.

    And none of that justifies murder. It actually explains why it’s important not to justify murder—that is clearly a disinhibiting factor in some cases in many cultures, and in many cases in some cultures.

    It would be very surprising if that weren’t true, to some significant extent, because the relevant aspects of human nature and culture are not simple, and the interactions between them are not simple at all.

    I think some of the same reasoning applies to rape, to some extent, with various specific combinations of factors being likely to lead to a decision to rape—some of them biological and varying between individuals, and some of them cultural and varying between cultures, and some of them depending on specific combinations of individual and cultural variations. Some innate factors may be important across similar situations across a variety of cultures, and others may not. Some cultural factors may have more or less effect across a variety of individual variations, and others may not.

    As with murder, that doesn’t mean you can’t make very useful statistical generalizations, like the ones homicide detectives and FBI profilers use to identify and prioritize suspects. (A murder victim is especially likely to have been murdered by a spouse, a poisoning victim is especially likely to have been murdered by a woman, and a female victim of an apparent honor killing is especially likely to have been murdered by her own male family members, and so on.) And it doesn’t mean that those statistics don’t shed light on very commonly very important causal factors. They clearly do.

    It does suggest that if you say “rape isn’t caused by human nature, but by rape culture,” or “rape isn’t about sex, it’s about domination,” or “rape isn’t caused by women’s attractiveness, or scarcity it’s caused by men justifying rape,” it’s likely to be a simplistic and misleading generalization even if there’s a very important and fairly general truth behind it. (As I think there typically is.)

    It’s important to separate the merely causal notion of “blame” from the moral notion of blame. Conflating the two often leads to flameage, and so does misunderstanding someone else as conflating the two when they’re not.

    I may blame the malfunctioning of my cell phone on a short circuit, but that’s different from morally censuring it. Identifying causes is just not the same thing as placing moral blame, though it’s often relevant in nonobvious ways.

    And there’s no principle of conservation of blame—blaming one thing does not mean you can’t blame another, in a different sense or in the same sense.

    For example if my dog pees on your carpet, that may be 100 percent the dog’s fault in that I have to hold the dog responsible for it, and discourage him from doing a bad thing, even if it’s my fault that it’s the dog’s fault because I didn’t train my dog as thoroughly as I should have. The dog and I are both 100 percent to blame, in different senses at different levels.

    And it can be 100 percent the dog breeder’s fault in pretty much the same moral sense, if the dog breeder didn’t exercise reasonable diligence in breeding dogs to be reasonably easy to train. It can still be 100 percent my fault in sense because a) I may not have done due diligence finding a responsible dog breeder and/or b) I may not have put enough diligence into training the dog I happened to get, just because it was somewhat harder to train than I expected, and I shouldn’t have let that deter me. It can also be very much our “society’s fault” for not promoting awareness of the evils of puppy mills, regulating dog breeders, etc. And that of course is in some very different sense “human nature’s fault”—shit like that tends to happens because we are what we are, but that doesn’t imply that we shouldn’t accept responsibility at our level and do what we can to change it. (And if it’s all ultimately God’s fault, that doesn’t get us off the hook as human moral agents.)

    The total “blame” for a given event can easily be several hundred percent in a moral sense at a given level, with several people playing crucial roles they really shouldn’t have, and several hundred more percent in the causal sense at several other interesting levels.

    I think that everybody knows this, in some sense, and recognizes it in many cases. Everybody understands that when mob boss orders a hit, he is 100 percent a murderer, and so is the assassin who directly causes the death by shooting or whatever. Neither is less guilty because the other is guilty too. (And a provider of untraceable guns may be very responsible, too, and so on.) And all that’s true in the crucial, relevant senses even if it’s all ultimately God’s fault for willfully creating a universe in which that would inevitably happen.

    Likewise, it may be inevitable that some rapes occur in any feasible, desirable human culture, because of biological “human nature” and its inevitable effects on culture. That doesn’t mean that culture isn’t fully to blame for most rapes that do occur, and neither means that most rapists aren’t fully to blame for their rape in the crucial moral and legal senses. (IMO they have to be, and if you don’t think so, you seriously need to rethink your concepts of responsibility and blame.)

    IMO that means that it should be entirely okay under some circumstances, if you’re careful about how you do it, to say that a woman may have been raped because she was conventionally “beautiful” and dressed “sexily” and “carelessly” walking alone at night through a dark alley at night in a “bad neighborhood.” It may have been “her fault” in (only) the sense that she was imprudent, not morally at fault, and that would in no way get the rapist off the hook for being 100 percent morally and legally responsible for raping her, as I think he is. And that wouldn’t prevent fully blaming rape culture for the vast majority of such rapes, too, as I think we should.

    I do think you should be very careful about how you say such things about various causes of rape, because they’re easily interpreted as being mutually exclusive causally, and as morally placing moral blame, and as diminishing others moral blame, even if none of those things is actually implied.

    There’s plenty of causation and blame to go around, so blaming one thing just isn’t the same thing as excusing another.

    We shouldn’t assume that causes of rape are mutually exclusive any more than we assume that about murder. If we blame human nature, that shouldn’t mean we don’t fully blame rapists, and rape culture too. You shouldn’t divide the blame for rape, and assuming you do is as simplistic as saying “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” “Blaming” guns (and the people who oppose restrictions on them) simply does not diminish people’s responsibility for how they use guns they do have.

    Meh.

    Is all this obvious to everyone? Do we just differ on how we’re applying agreed principles to the cases at hand. Does anybody think I have it terribly wrong?

    It seems to me that it’s maybe not entirely obvious to (or agreed to by) everyone, and it’s not clear everybody’s giving each other appropriate benefit of the doubt about understanding these things—e.g., guessing that Bill is “faulting” one thing in order to excuse another in cases where it’s not apparent to me that he is. (But maybe I’m misreading the signs, and am mistakenly guessing that he’s not dividing blame, or headed that way.)

    There are also some places in the NYT articles where it didn’t seem to me that “balance” and “appropriate framing” should not be necessary, because the badness of things being flatly described should be obvious, but maybe it is necessary for a lot of people in our rape-justifying culture, and the writer should know better, so he was irresponsible for not giving it.

    I would tend to read much of page two as describing a litany of manifestions of rape culture, and implying that there’s a spectrum of manifestations ranging from verbal objectification to attempted rape, and that that’s not just a coincidence.

    Chris’s second quote in the OP omits the preceding sentence, which sets the tone for me. I’d have started it like this:

    But sensitivity is often absent here when men discuss women. Here, men talk of a “Williston 10” — a woman who would be considered mediocre in any other city is considered a perfect 10 out here.

    The first sentence of the paragraph subtly but effectively influences how I read that paragraph, and the rest of the page. He’s describing a situation in which people are especially insensitive, and in fact they’re not just somewhat insensitive, but sensitivity is often absent. To me that’s low-key but fairly clear way of saying that these guys aren’t just normally insensitive or a little worse—they often completely insensitive—a subtler way of saying they talk like total assholes.

    The writer starts by talking about this common manifestation of misogyny—the callous, unabashed verbal objectification of women on a linear scale of something like purely physical fuckability—and implies (to me) that it’s worse in Williston than in the broader culture, in three ways: (1) it’s worth remarking that it happens “often” in Williston, which suggests that it happens notably more often there than in the broader culture, (2) it’s explicitly extra-callous and demeaning because the overt scarcity-raises-value economic aspect makes it extra clear that women are purely objects, and (3) it’s extra insulting to the women in question because it clearly suggest that a lot of the women in Williston are unattractive and don’t really rate the valuation they’re getting; and only get it because the guys are so desperate. They’re mostly dogs who are lucky to rate so high.

    To me, it’s an effective way of getting across that this is a situation that thoroughly sucks and is demeaning as hell to the women, but I have no idea whether that was the intended reading, or just me projecting because that’s how I think.

    (I’m sure many MRAs would take it quite differently—that’s just how the world works, and it’s reasonable for guys to evaluate bitches in those terms, why pretend otherwise, and aren’t those ugly bitches lucky to be considered fuckable, etc.)

    Given that I’m not an MRA, I read most of the rest of the page as a litany of even clearer, more severe, and scarier manifestations of misogyny, and to me it suggests that there’s a continuous fabric of pervasive misogyny—the rampant and unusually gross verbal misogyny is just the most visible manifestation of an especially profound and misogyny, and that rape culture in general is notably worse in Williston than most places.

    I also interpret the closing bit (Chris’s last quote) differently than others here seem to. To me it reads as an obviously awful situation for a fairly typical woman who is in no way at fault. It should be dead obvious that she should be able to wear makeup and clothing that many women do in other places, and that she should be able to leave her home and walk down the road—and that it is reasonable for her to flee that grotesquely fucked-up place if it’s that misogynistic and rapey.

    I take the point of that to be that if the town is that misogynistic and rapey, such that women who don’t want to be whores or strippers are reasonable flee, it is a very fucked up place indeed. Ending the article on that note makes it sound to me like the implicit theme of the article is that Williston has an especially bad case of misogyny and rape culture, and that’s very, very bad. The writer has painted a picture of pervasive and intolerable misogyny. That closing example of intolerability seems to be a culmination of sorts consistent with my reading of the prior bits.

    But that’s just me. I do not know if that’s what was intended. Maybe the writer was just laying out some interesting facts, and himself rather callous to their significance, and I just read all that into it, because those facts are enough for me, given that I already think that way. Maybe the writer intends that kind of reading, but doesn’t want to beat his readers over the head with it, or maybe he just doesn’t evaluate those facts that way himself—or just doesn’t know or care much how people take it. Maybe it’s just stuff he thinks readers will find interesting, one way or another, and doesn’t really care how they evaluate it. Maybe he prefers not to annoy the anybody, including PUAs and MRAs by taking any clear evaluative stance that somebody could disagree with. I really don’t know.

    At any rate, I find it interesting how clearly I get that kind of impression from the article, and how hard it is for me to argue that it’s the right interpretation, or even an especially good one. (It’s weird how much that one sentence that Chris omitted matters to me, and maybe it shouldn’t.)

    By the way, I do agree with Chris that the article needs more data, not just some anecdotes, no matter how it’s intended to be taken. Even if I’m reading it right, it’s too easy to dismiss on evidential grounds.

    I also think that this might be a case in which quoting an expert commentator might be in order, if the author does want to frame it in a way we’d like better, but doesn’t want to explicitly take a stand himself.

    Despite my own reading, I think Chris may be right that there’s an all-too-easy misogynistic interpretation of the chosen facts, whether or not it was intended (or revealing of the authors own prejudices). Offering an explicit feminist frame of interpretation via a quote would make it more balanced, even if the author didn’t endorse that interpretation.

  225. says

    Brevity is far more helpful than length in assuring easy comprehension for your readers. Why don’t you see if you can say the same thing but with about half the words. I bet I could do it using about 4 – 5 times fewer words than you.

    Mostly because you didn’t say very much at all.

  226. ChasCPeterson says

    he said a hell of a lot more than ‘if rape wasn’t purely cultural than men would have duck dicks.’

    Paul W. is always worth reading. Here’s an important sentence from that long post:

    if you say “rape isn’t caused by human nature, but by rape culture,” or “rape isn’t about sex, it’s about domination,” or “rape isn’t caused by women’s attractiveness, or scarcity it’s caused by men justifying rape,” it’s likely to be a simplistic and misleading generalization even if there’s a very important and fairly general truth behind it.

    simplistic.
    and misleading.
    That’s an excellent summary of most of the comments in this thread, imo.

  227. Gnumann+, Radfem shotgunner of inhuman concepts says

    simplistic.
    and misleading.
    That’s an excellent summary of most of the comments in this thread, imo.

    It certainly sums up yours.

  228. Barklikeadog says

    simplistic.
    and misleading

    The fuck it is Chas. You just proved how dense you really are…AGAIN!

  229. Gnumann+, Radfem shotgunner of inhuman concepts says

    I wouldn’t mind Chas’ sniping if he accompanied it with, you know, actual explanations and shit.

    I dunno. I have a feeling they would include a bunch of vervets, some toy stoves and a gang of idiots.

  230. says

    For the record, I’m really grateful for Paul W.’s tl;dr comment at 255. [Update: See this retraction..] I disagree with some pivotal points he makes but it’s thoughtful, open-minded and open-hearted, and I’d take a hundred of it over one more goddamn “rapists suck and I have daughters I need to protect because the FUCKING POINT escapes me about PATRIARCHY HURR HURR KNEECAPS” comment that superficially claims to agree with things I say.

  231. athyco says

    Paul W, I’ve lurked here for a long time. I remember with satisfaction when you got your Molly. I settled in for your TL;DR because of it. But I had to yank tissues outta the box and deal with some memories, even though you’d carefully laid out the myriad levels of blame, which ones were causal, ones that were not.

    IMO that means that it should be entirely okay under some circumstances, if you’re careful about how you do it, to say that a woman may have been raped because she was conventionally “beautiful” and dressed “sexily” and “carelessly” walking alone at night through a dark alley at night in a “bad neighborhood.” It may have been “her fault” in (only) the sense that she was imprudent, not morally at fault, and that would in no way get the rapist off the hook for being 100 percent morally and legally responsible for raping her, as I think he is. And that wouldn’t prevent fully blaming rape culture for the vast majority of such rapes, too, as I think we should.

    I do think you should be very careful about how you say such things about various causes of rape, because they’re easily interpreted as being mutually exclusive causally, and as morally placing moral blame, and as diminishing others moral blame, even if none of those things is actually implied.

    It’s my life you’re philosophically expounding upon, I’m afraid. The things my father said about my clothing, my way of sitting, standing, walking; the things he forbid me to do anymore once I had the smallest of breasts. The secrets I kept because “What would they say?” if they knew two fellows in high school were lying about fucking me in the backseat of a Volkswagen Beetle. The silence I maintained when I left an end-of-school-year party to avoid a co-worker creeper who, 30 minutes later, arrived unannounced at my home because another co-worker told him my address, gained entrance by asking for a cup of coffee before driving home, thereafter ignored every “no” and raped me.

    Nowadays, it would be a different story. I wouldn’t have a single qualm that the co-worker would think I wasn’t nice enough even to answer the damn door, much less brew and give him a fucking cup of coffee.

    But you go ahead out into the world and choose the rape victim and the moment to carefully say, “IMO that means that it should be entirely okay under some circumstances, if you’re careful about how you do it, to say that a woman may have been raped because she…” Out there in the world, where women live and work and share space on transportation and store aisles with everyone else, I don’t see how you can avoid the implication of drawing together of actions you term “mutally exclusive causally,” or avoid implying the diminishing of others’ blame in 9,990 conversations out of 10,000. Hell, I knew you weren’t going there, but it still hit me like a ton of bricks.

  232. says

    I’ve had a shitty couple of days. If I weren’t in a bad mood, I’d probably be less pissed off about Paul’s verbosity. Heck, perhaps I’ll copy edit it for him and prove my point about brevity.

    But really, Chris… you’re not saying that you actually like Chas, are you?

  233. Gnumann+, Radfem shotgunner of inhuman concepts says

    I’m sorry if I contributed to the pissyness Chris.

    As for Paul’s comment, I haven’t actually read it properly yet. So I would like to make it clear I was responding to Chas, not Paul.

    I might have some choice words for Paul too sometime tomorrow if I get the time, right frame of mind and hardware to read him properly (neither is in the place ATM) – but it will be given in the spirit of his original comment. So far, my impression of that spirit is “honest (though possibly a bit misguided) exploration”. (Possibly a bit misguided will be a given in my response whether Paul’s is or not, that’s just the way of things and the equipment I’m given to work with).

  234. Barklikeadog says

    “rapists suck and I have daughters I need to protect because the FUCKING POINT escapes me about PATRIARCHY HURR HURR KNEECAPS” comment that superficially claims to agree with things I say.

    Chris I did apologise and I will do it again. I’m very sorry for the insensitive thing I wrote and won’t ever go there again. It was stupid of me. I’m sorry to anyone that I offended by my thougtless remark.

    I beg forgivness and stand chagrined and corrected. And the point really doesn’t escape me. I learn more and more just reading the well thoughtout arguments. I have learned my lesson.

  235. says

    Sally Strange:

    Mostly because you didn’t say very much at all.

    Agreed. Paul W puts great store on presenting a balanced view. Unfortunately, a “balanced” view in this case is a massive wall of airy text from the point of view of privilege, so not terribly helpful.

    Also, Chas, your argument from “hey, I respect the guy” is terribly cute but utterly irrelevant.

  236. says

    But really, Chris… you’re not saying that you actually like Chas, are you?

    Chas has been a valued regular over at Coyote Crossing/Creek Running North for years. He’s helped keep me on my toes when I’ve gotten sloppy in my science writing — we’ve got the desert thing in common, remember — and beyond that, he’s been a good friend in times when such have been scarcer than I’d like. So yes. Unequivocally.

    Not that I’m completely on board with the “I could make a point here but naah” trope, mind. But he’s on the short list of People I Damn Well Better Meet Before Shuffling Off, Preferably In The Desert With Beer Bolt Cutters And Monkey Wrenches.

    Barklikeadog @268, thanks. That helps.

  237. says

    Chris:

    For the record, I’m really grateful for Paul W.’s tl;dr comment at 255.

    That’s fine. I’d certainly hope you won’t mind if those of us who are more at risk for being raped and have been raped have a fair amount of problems with Paul’s need to always go for ‘balance’, which can, and did in this case, lead to him saying a number of stupid things.

    It’s a wonderful luxury to be able to approach rape culture and toxic sexism with an objective view, even when you have to stretch yourself thin to the point of disappearing in a quest to remain all objective and stuff, but for many of us, this is our lives. It’s not something we care to be Vulcan about so we can appear to be unsullied, great thinkers about this. It’s a bit more boots on the ground for some of us.

  238. says

    That’s fine. I’d certainly hope you won’t mind if those of us who are more at risk for being raped and have been raped

    Which number includes me, for what it’s worth.

    have a fair amount of problems with Paul’s need to always go for ‘balance’, which can, and did in this case, lead to him saying a number of stupid things

    Oh, absolutely. Have at it. And correction gratefully accepted.

  239. The Mellow Monkey says

    IMO that means that it should be entirely okay under some circumstances, if you’re careful about how you do it, to say that a woman may have been raped because she was conventionally “beautiful” and dressed “sexily” and “carelessly” walking alone at night through a dark alley at night in a “bad neighborhood.” It may have been “her fault” in (only) the sense that she was imprudent, not morally at fault, and that would in no way get the rapist off the hook for being 100 percent morally and legally responsible for raping her, as I think he is. And that wouldn’t prevent fully blaming rape culture for the vast majority of such rapes, too, as I think we should.

    Okay, Paul. I’m game. [Trigger Warning]

    I may have been raped because I was wearing skimpy pajamas in my own home while a male friend was spending the weekend on the couch. I may have been raped because I let him fix me a drink. I may have been raped because I didn’t realize the drink was either spiked with extra alcohol or drugs. I may have been raped because when I realized I was blacking out, I didn’t immediately call 911. I may have been raped because I froze up in horror when he began pinning me down. I may have been raped because I didn’t actually say the word “no” that I can recall. I may have been raped because, if I did say “no”, I might have been too intoxicated/drugged to say it clearly. I may have been raped because I did what he told me to do. I may have been raped because I curled up into the fetal position instead of trying to stumble out of my house naked in the middle of the night. I may have been raped because I let this man stay in my house at all. I may have been raped because I was attracted to him and had not entirely hidden that fact. I may have been raped because I’m cute. I may have been raped because I’m queer and don’t hide it. I may have been raped because that man knew I had already been raped before.

    Now these are all things I think on a nearly nightly basis. What value do you think it is to me and other rape survivors for other people to suggest that these things are true?

  240. says

    Paul:

    IMO that means that it should be entirely okay under some circumstances, if you’re careful about how you do it, to say that a woman may have been raped because she was conventionally “beautiful” and dressed “sexily” and “carelessly” walking alone at night through a dark alley at night in a “bad neighborhood.” It may have been “her fault” in (only) the sense that she was imprudent, not morally at fault, and that would in no way get the rapist off the hook for being 100 percent morally and legally responsible for raping her, as I think he is. And that wouldn’t prevent fully blaming rape culture for the vast majority of such rapes, too, as I think we should.

    You know, upthread, Gregory Greenwood brought up the amount of people we get here who love to play a game. The game of “Would it be rape if…” The game of “What about in this context…” They tend to cite their objectiveness, that they are just trying to figure out this rape business, really, why are you bitches people yelling, anyway?

    What you’re doing, Paul, smacks of those games much too closely. You’re also flat out defending rape culture, whether you like that or not. You see, it shouldn’t matter if a woman was stone drunk, wandering down an alley in the middle of the night, naked. It doesn’t make it okay to rape her and it doesn’t make it okay to put the focus on her being drunk, being out at night or being naked. The focus should be on the person or persons who committed rape. Always.

    It’s right interesting that when it’s a case of, say, a young boy being raped, his dress isn’t mentioned, or that he was hanging out with a group of kids (therefor asking for it) and so on. One of the articles Chris linked is a piece about the gang rape of an eleven year old child who was slut shamed and blamed in the article. Guess what? She was a girl. This garbage runs so deep, the majority of people don’t even see it. People have to be trained to see it, they have to take the red pill. That’s just how bad it is, and here you are, grasping for reasons to maintain that status.

    I’ve talked about my rape a lot here, because it’s one of the rare ones. The man who raped me was a serial rapist and murderer. He left three women alive. I was 16. I had been out that night, to a social gathering. I was wearing a dress. *gasp* For the whole godsdamned two years I got to live directly with that event, due to the trial, I got to hear snide remarks, sexist remarks and blame and shame remarks – from the people who were supposed to be on *my* side. The DA prosecuting the case said to me, after I had gotten out of a long hospital stay “what in the hell were you thinking, being out after dark, in a dress?!”

    So thanks, Paul, for being part of a culture which continues to devalue me, to consider me as less than human. You’re really helping out, pal.

  241. The Mellow Monkey says

    Caine:

    It’s right interesting that when it’s a case of, say, a young boy being raped, his dress isn’t mentioned, or that he was hanging out with a group of kids (therefor asking for it) and so on.

    A young man I know who was molested by a woman when he was a boy was asked, in court, what she was wearing and if he found it arousing.

    The trope of woman as temptress is pretty fucking deep, even in cases where a little boy is the one who’s been victimized.

    Nobody ever asked him what he was wearing.

  242. says

    Mellow Monkey:

    A young man I know who was molested by a woman when he was a boy was asked, in court, what she was wearing and if he found it arousing.

    Oh FFS. Sometimes, I just despair.

  243. Hekuni Cat, MQG says

    athyco and Mellow Monkey, as Sally said, thank you for sharing your stories.

    Caine, thank you for sharing yours and for articulating so eloquently why Paul’s balanced discussion is so very wrong.

  244. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    IMO that means that it should be entirely okay under some circumstances, if you’re careful about how you do it, to say that a woman may have been raped because she was conventionally “beautiful” and dressed “sexily” and “carelessly” walking alone at night through a dark alley at night in a “bad neighborhood.” It may have been “her fault” in (only) the sense that she was imprudent, not morally at fault, and that would in no way get the rapist off the hook for being 100 percent morally and legally responsible for raping her, as I think he is. And that wouldn’t prevent fully blaming rape culture for the vast majority of such rapes, too, as I think we should.

    Actually it does, because “She shouldn’t have dressed like that” and “She shouldn’t have been out at night alone.” is bullshit. It’s shaming and blaming the victim. People who get robbed aren’t told you shouldn’t have been walking home alone. Why is it women are told that? Why is it women are being “imprudent” for doing normal things that SHOULD’NT be risky?

    What about women crowd surfing? Men do it all the time and don’t have issues but if a woman does it creeps take it as open season to molest her. Is that right? No. Is it right to say those women are “imprudent” for trying to do, apparently, a man’s thing? Fuck that noise.

    I don’t care if a woman is naked. Just because the man’s (assuming for the example) thought process may have been “OH NAKED WOMAN, MUST FUCK NOW. SCREW HER.” doesn’t mean that you tell the victim they shouldn’t have exercised their right to do something completely harmless and fine, like what they chose to wear. How is it helpful to make US adjust to rapist though processes?

    Seriously, have you not been paying attention to the pushback against those stupid rape prevention list aimed at women and the campaigns instead focusing where it should be, which is on the rapist? Caine linked to one in comment 198.

    Oh, and FUCK YOU for that “conventionally beautiful” addition as well. What you don’t think uglies and fatso get targeted? Sometimes specifically because they are so worthless they should be grateful for a fuck? Guess what, I’m one of those so fuck that shit. And seriously, how is a women suppose to win? Oh, don’t be conventionally beautiful ladies it puts you at risk for rape but if you somehow make yourself ugly you need to fuck every man to prevent rape too.

    UGH. Fuck all this bullshit. You aren’t helping. You’re big, long, “polite”, and “balanced” view does nothing but help rape culture.

  245. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    Ah, I took too long responding. I’ll just second Cain’s 278 then.

  246. says

    Bob in Himmel did this thread blow up while I was at work.

    It’s still kind of amazing that we keep still needing to have the same arguments about rape being this tout suite natural and unavoidable thing that poor dear rapists are helpless against.

    Cause, see, the thing about natural drives, the truly overwhelming, the things denial will never fix? They don’t go away when they are discouraged. Throughout history, even though the punishments for being homosexual, transsexual, genderqueer, etc have been brutal, violent, and oftentimes fatal, there still have been no end of people pursuing and expressing themselves along those lines. Even when it carried jail times or execution sentences if caught, people have still continued to be themselves and form those relationships. Because these things really are natural, immutable, irresistible characteristics of people.

    If we were to ignore the overwhelming evidence from 99% of men on how not at all universal, not at all overpowering, and not at all present the will to rape is. If we were to ignore everything we know about biology and evolution and accept that a clearly social creation (in humans) is somehow a biological creation despite how negatively it impacts gene inheritance. If we were in short to brain ourselves in the face with a claw hammer until we were dumb enough to even entertain this desperate rape apologetic ascientific assumption as even remotely valid…

    It’d still fail.

    Because rape only flourishes when a rape culture protects rapists, defends rapists, puts doubt on their victims, and makes apologies for their actions like “oh, he couldn’t help it, he had a dark primal impulse to fuck and you weren’t putting out… you whore”.

    When a community or society actually starts giving a legitimate fuck about rape and becomes even slightly hostile to the inclusion of rapists? Rape rates plummet faster than a boulder being shot straight down towards the Earth by a cannon. Suddenly, all those rapists who just couldn’t help their uncontrollable biology have no damn issue buttoning up and flying straight so that they don’t have to face even the tiniest of consequences.

    And that’s not fucking nature. Nature isn’t “oh can’t possibly resist, too difficult, oh what? Possible consequences? Oh, all better now”. And anyone who suggest differently is deliberately trying to minimize a terrible crime because of a feeling of personal investment.

    And you don’t need clairvoyance to suspect why.

  247. says

    JAL:

    Oh, and FUCK YOU for that “conventionally beautiful” addition as well.

    Thank you *very much* for adding this, JAL. I didn’t want to start dripping venom all over the place immediately, given how much Paul’s “objective and balanced” view was appealing to the men. I was attempting to hold my temper, but that particular bit deserves extreme yelling and more highlighting.

    This, also, is another example of shoring up rape culture and the particularly toxic “bitch was asking for it” attitude. It’s a convenient way for people to ignore rape culture and what rape is actually about and why it happens.

    Just for all the idiots in the crowd: Infants get raped. Children get raped. Men get raped. Young women get raped. Old women get raped. Skinny women get raped. Fat women get raped. Beautiful women get raped. Plain women get raped. Ugly women get raped. Every single possible type of woman you can imagine gets raped. So for every fuckwit out there, whether you’re playing “I’m above this, so I can objective” or “It’s nature!” or any other game – do us a favour, please – get it into those rather thick, reality rejecting brains of yours that rape has nothing to do with how a person looks.

    Godsdamn idiots.

  248. Bill Openthalt says

    The problem with threads like these is that so much is said it becomes impossible to reply to everything, and arguments don’t get developed with care (my time being very limited doesn’t help either).

    I would like to ask people to refrain from insinuations and insults. I hope this forum is not about shouting down those whom one thinks utter opinions and ideas one doesn’t agree with. Let’s read each others arguments carefully and not jump at conclusions. Thanks!

    Definitions are important. So for the purpose of understanding my arguments, can we accept that “human nature” covers those characteristics that are encoded in genes, and “culture” those characteristics that are acquired through learning? For example, the specific languages a human speaks are part of culture, whereas the ability to acquire languages is nature.

    It goes without saying neither natural nor cultural characteristics are present in the same level in all humans. Often, the distribution is Gaussian (aka normal), but for certain characteristics, Poisson is a better fit. These curves describe populations, not individuals. The variations in human height are normally distributed. If we split the population in males and females, we notice that on average, males are taller than females. This does not mean that all males are taller than all females. As a matter of fact, in a particular population the tallest female might be taller than the tallest male.

    Thus, if we observe that within a population adopted children are more often abused than biological children (it’s not a good term, but I got castigated for the use of natural children), it does most emphatically not mean that all adopted children are abused. In fact, most children are not abused, be they adopted or born to the parents. When I assume that the mind’s ability to translate likeness and closeness as parental love in the conscious part, I am presenting a plausible explanation for the child abuse statistics. Obviously, it could be that people who adopt do this because they are looking for victims to molest. While this is possible (with 7 billion humans almost everything is certain to occur), it doesn’t seem to me the hypothesis of choice. Of course, there might be better explanations.

    We know that sexuality is human nature. If we accept that rape is sexual behaviour, it is part of human nature. Even if we classify rape as wholly non-sexual, as violence, it would still be part of human nature. Of course, one could argue that violence is cultural, but given that animals devoid of culture are also violent, it seems reasonable to assume that the ability for violent behaviour is part of human nature.

    Notice that being part of human nature does not imply that violence is acceptable, or that all humans will exhibit violent behaviour. It simply means that we get it from our genes. If the tendency towards violent behaviour is normally distributed across the population, it means that the vast majority will be relatively non-violent, with small minorities totally non-violent and very violent. There is statistical evidence that this the case.

    As far as I am aware, we have not found evidence that rape (or violence) is cultural. Some cultures are more violent than others, some condone it and some frown upon it, but violence is present in all known human societies. In effect, it seems less present in larger and more complex societies with well-developed moral systems, suggesting that humans can decide that violence is not effective, and develop cultural mechanisms to reduce its prevalence. Please note that “decide” and “develop” do not mean that people get together and decide to reduce violence – what happens is that less violent societies are more successful than the more violent ones. Of course, this also means that on average, humans also would become less violent if less violent humans are more successful at reproduction in these less-violent societies.

    I hope this is clear – violence and rape can be part of human nature and still be (perceived as) unacceptable. Also, a trait that is part of human nature need not be present to the same degree in all humans.

    As far as procreation is concerned, I never suggested that procreation is the main motive for an individual’s sexual behaviour. This is why there is no incompatibility between individuals trying to minimise the changes of conception, and procreation being the ultimate motivator for the development of sexually differentiated species that develop strategies for efficient and successful procreation. Humans are sexual animals because on the whole, sexual reproduction works better than asexual reproduction.

    It is possible that part of the sexual strategies we get from our genes deal with obtaining access to females in situations where the males outnumber the females, or when there is a perceived lack of offspring. Plants adapt their reproductive strategies to changing circumstances (like drought) so it is not far-fetched to suppose this adaptability is present in mammals (and thus humans). We know that as far as violence is concerned, humans show different levels of violent behaviour depending on the circumstances (cf. hooliganism). What is offensive about the idea that populations in which males vastly outnumber the females result in an increase in the number of males using violence to obtain sexual gratification? We know there is an increase in male-on-male violence in such populations.

    Again, for all those offended by the suggestion that in such circumstances they might be showing an increase in violent behaviour, the Milgram study proves exactly that.

    On a more philosophical note, I am reluctant to see people with different ideas or a different morality as evil, deluded or stupid. Sometimes it is extremely difficult to understand them, or to muster enough empathy to attempt to make connections. There are moments when I do think that a person is truly evil – consciously, knowingly harming others (or at least, showing behaviour I cannot explain otherwise). Maybe there are indeed large numbers of people who think it is OK to harm others, large enough numbers of male psychopaths (because that would be the only way to describe a male who uses women as objects) to create a rape (sub)culture. I have no direct experience with it, but then I live in the sticks and don’t get out much :).

    Thanks for listening and trying to understand my argument (it took two hours to write, and I apologise for its length :). It’s appreciated.

  249. says

    There is no group of people who know that rape is bad but find excuses for it.

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Wow, I would so want to live in a world where that was true. Fuck, in this world, all I can think of was the time a while ago back when Pharyngula was on ScienceBlogs when I was talking about my own sexual assault (relatively minor compared to what a lot of people suffered) and someone claiming to understand that rape was bad assumed that I made up my story and proceeded to try and spend comment after comment proving how my assault “couldn’t have happened”. Again, I wish. As I wish that everyone’s assaults really could never have happened and we could live in a world where no one of any gender or any sex would have to worry about it ever happening again.

    Sex is sex is sex, whether there’s sperm shooting at egg or not. Yes, some people eroticize the risk/goal of pregnancy, but the basic, fundamental idea pushing a sex drive is that sex is fucking fun.

    THIS!

    If sex really was about procreation and nothing else, then MAAB and FAAB people wouldn’t have their most powerful sexual nerve clusters where they do. I mean seriously, the prostate inside the anus and the tip of the clitoris on the outside of the labia? We couldn’t possibly put them in worse spots if procreation were the only point of sex.

    But that’s because their point is as you say, simply sex. Sex feels good for sexuals. Sex feels hotter for sexuals when its with a consensual engaged partner with strong chemistry or romantic connections. Sometimes that helps out in procreation, sometimes that helps out with making long-term created family arrangements attractive. But it’s not the point. The point is all the fucking.

    Well for you all, at least. You filthy animals ;)

  250. says

    Oh goody, the fuckwit is back. I certainly hope Paul W is going to be all impressed and happy with the mass amounts of shit we get to clean up now.

    I would like to ask people to refrain from insinuations and insults.

    The answer to that is no. Now, answer a fucking question: why is it so important to you to protect rapists? Just answer that fucking question.

  251. says

    If we accept that rape is sexual behaviour

    Gonna stop you right there, because we don’t.

    We really don’t accept that rape is sexual behavior.

    It’s violent behavior. It’s abusive behavior. It’s social corrective behavior (with regards to it being used as a tool to enforce compliance in what is seen as an uppity person viewed as beneath one on the social hierarchy). It’s certainly wrapped in all sorts of obsessions with power.

    But it is not sexual.

    Sure, it happens to use sexual organs to commit the assault, but that no more makes it a sexual behavior than the Hulk picking up a car and throwing it at you makes you the victim of a driving accident.

    And it is the way we conflate the tool of the crime of power with its motivation that leads directly to apologia and false assumptions.

    Because a rapist uses sex to commit the abuse, it is assumed that they were motivated by sex. That they’re motivations must therefore also correlate to consensual sexual activity and thus that the rapist must surely have been confused by some “misleading” action by their victim or some “misunderstanding” on their part to the extent of the consent.

    And yes, rapists abuse this false assumption all the goddamn time. My partner’s rapist (TRIGGER WARNING) used the fact that my partner had been sexually interested in the person before the rape as the tool to get her to back down from pursuing the matter in any means either legally or socially because obviously he was simply “mislead” and “misread the signs” and besides he knew she really liked it because she didn’t fight back enough and that’s what he was going to tell the cops if she tried to pursue it.

    No, rapists rape because the lack of consent, the fear, the abuse gets them off. Far more than if they just consensually explored it in a fantasy in a dungeon somewhere. Because it’s not a sexual desire, it’s a desire of toxic power.

  252. says

    1) I did something careless and wrong here, and I need to apologize. While I do like what I’ve seen of Paul W.’s writing in the past, I should not have singled out his comment for thanks without reading it much more carefully than I obviously did. I missed the passage about “sometimes victims deserve a share of the blame” through my own extremely careless reading.

    It’s been a really bad month and I’ve been battling my tendency to make careless mistakes through unmedicated scattered attention. (Not intended as an excuse as much as explanation and admission.) This mistake was especially potentially hurtful. I’m sorry to all, especially those here who are especially susceptible to the harm caused by that kind of statement.

    2) Bill Openthalt, go away. Last warning.

  253. The Mellow Monkey says

    Cerberus:

    Because it’s not a sexual desire, it’s a desire of toxic power.

    QFFT

    Might there be a sexual thrill to it? In some cases, yes. In other cases, clearly not. But it’s not about a desire for sex. To say that it’s about a desire for sex is to define sex itself in a toxic way.

  254. Bill Openthalt says

    Chris, I have tried to argue my case in a respectful manner. I have not once argued that rape or rapists are anything else but despicable. I have not called people names, I have not insinuated they were rapists, or fuckwits. I have tried to read answers and provide reasoned arguments. I might have failed, but I think there is no reason to ban me. If you think there is, I would appreciate a short explanation. Thanks!

  255. says

    Chris:

    This mistake was especially potentially hurtful. I’m sorry to all, especially those here who are especially susceptible to the harm caused by that kind of statement.

    Thank you, Chris. We *all* make mistakes. Hell, I make them every day. It’s almost a lifestyle. Being aware of making them makes all the difference.

  256. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    @bill

    Get bent

    Short enough for you?

  257. says

    If you think there is, I would appreciate a short explanation. Thanks!

    I’m not banning you — yet. I’m merely telling you that your participation in this thread is at an end. And I owe you no explanation whatsoever, but because I am a kind and generous person even on my worst days here’s a partial one: you’re boring.

    And if you force me to delete or bunnify further comments from you, you will annoy me further. Do not do so.

  258. Esteleth, Ultra-PC Feminist Harpy Out To Destroy Secularism says

    Bill Openthalt,
    Here is the problem:

    When a rape occurs, the only person at fault IN ANY WAY WHATSOEVER is the rapist.

    Full stop, end of story. This is not up for debate.

    The statistical probability that a rape victim reports the crime to the police is small.

    The statistical probability that the rape victim who reports sees the rapist arrested is small.

    The statistical probability that the arrested rapist is charged with rape is small.

    The statistical probability that the rapist is convicted is small.

    The reason why?

    Society has created whole sets of people who are “unrapable,” (i.e. free for the taking). Society has created whole sets of situations where the fact that the person who was raped was nonconsenting (or incapable of consent) is irrelevant. Society has created rules for situations where men are “entitled” to stick their penis into orifices, and anyone who objects is wrong and deserves what is coming to them. This cultural phenomenon is known as “rape culture.”

    By questioning rape victims, by suggesting that that the blame for rape falls anywhere else but squarely on the shoulders of rapists, by hypothesizing about “natural urges” or whatnot, by saying that rape has anything to do with sex, by saying that such-and-such situation could have been avoided if the rape victim had done [whatever], you are perpetuating rape culture.

    That is the problem.

  259. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    I would like to ask people to refrain from insinuations and insults. I hope this forum is not about shouting down those whom one thinks utter opinions and ideas one doesn’t agree with. Let’s read each others arguments carefully and not jump at conclusions. Thanks!

    Welcome to the motherfucking shark tank.
    Some chose to respond without insults, that’s their style and that’s fine. Other, like me, say fuck it and I’m calling a fuckwit a fuckwit. Both approaches are accepted but what isn’t, is telling people their way is “rude” and “wrong”. I will shout you the fuck down because this is one of the few place were rapists and rape apologist like you don’t get to rule the roost, so to speak.

    Definitions are important. So for the purpose of understanding my arguments, can we accept that “human nature” covers those characteristics that are encoded in genes, and “culture” those characteristics that are acquired through learning?

    So you’re argument becomes raping is in human nature because it’s in our genes? What gene is the rape gene? You’re very first comment pulled the “it’s not rape culture, it’s rape nature” and this is suppose to help your argument? WTF is wrong with you?

  260. Paul W., OM says

    Let me clarify the bit that several people have understandably taken exception to, though I think I addressed the issue later in the same comment, and people didn’t notice because I didn’t spell it out right there.

    Or rather I did put that in, but I edited that part out because it was not strictly necessary, and was redundant with the later part. Sorry for being too terse.

    IMO that means that it should be entirely okay under some circumstances, if you’re careful about how you do it, to say that a woman may have been raped because she was conventionally “beautiful” and dressed “sexily” and “carelessly” walking alone at night through a dark alley at night in a “bad neighborhood.” It may have been “her fault” in (only) the sense that she was imprudent, not morally at fault, and that would in no way get the rapist off the hook for being 100 percent morally and legally responsible for raping her, as I think he is. And that wouldn’t prevent fully blaming rape culture for the vast majority of such rapes, too, as I think we should.

    I guess I wasn’t careful enough myself in writing the above, or maybe I should just shut my privileged mouth and go away.

    I did not mean to imply that any of those risk factors was necessary or sufficent for a woman being raped. Lots of women get raped in lots of other circumstances, but that is a bad combination of risk factors.

    The point was that in some cases, the combination of risk factors is important, and somebody does something actually imprudent and gets raped.

    That does not mean that doing such things should get them raped. A woman has a moral right do do any or all of those things and not get raped.

    I am not saying that most rapes result from actual imprudence, and I don’t think they do. I think the majority of rapes happen to women who are not imprudent—they’re behaving reasonably and responsibly the in the face of ubiquitous risks that entail certain entirely reasonable gambles, and sometimes they lose the gamble.

    That is not a moral fault, and it’s not a fault of imprudence either. A woman who doesn’t take unreasonable or unjustified risks is still fairly likely to get raped. And that sucks hugely of course, and is in no sense her fault.

    The point of the high-risk example was only to say that even if a woman actually acts imprudently and does get raped

    1) it does not diminish the rapist’s,/i> moral responsibility for raping her. He is 100 percent at fault, and

    2) it does not diminish society’s moral responsibility for rapes that occur because women do things they have the moral right to do, but society doesn’t make it safe to actually do them. Society is still morally to blame for most of those rapes, in a way that does not diminish the rapist’s 100 percent blame, and which assigns zero moral blame to the woman.

    I was just saying that even in the minority of cases rape is caused by a woman’s imprudence, that does not make her morally to blame at all—she is not morally obliged not to do things she has the moral right to do. The rapist is still fully to blame and society usually is too—most such rapes could and should be prevented.

    That is in no way inconsistent with me agreeing that it is unreasonable to blame the victim—it is actually emphasizing that very point for the minority of cases that people are most likely to blame the victim for. Even in cases of imprudence leading causally to rape, it’s wrong to morally blame the victim at all.

    IMO, it is not wrong for me to acknowledge that such cases do exist and use them as an example. I am not saying such cases are common, or that people don’t overestimate how many rapes are caused by what degree of imprudence—-they’re not common, and people do tend to

    1) overestimate the proportion of rapes caused by such imprudence,
    2) falsely guess that a given raped woman was behaving imprudently,
    3) fallaciously assign moral blame to her for the guessed-at imprudence, and
    4) fallaciously diminish others’ moral blame “because it’s her fault”

    And every one of those things is an error—-they’re just different errors that all too commonly occur in combination.

    Does anyone disagree with any of these points? If so, please be specific, or I won’t learn anything from it.

    Brevity is the soul of talking past people.

  261. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    Thank you Chris for admitting that. It means a lot and I appreciate it.

    And Caine, I ♥ you too, for everything. Those words just flipped me. Buried in there like it’s all reasonable to assume you’re raped because you’re sexually attractive. Ugh.

  262. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    yeah everyone misheard you.

    Asshole

    short enough now?

  263. says

    Chris, I respect your decision.

    Then STOP. Right now. Jesus Jumped Up Christ, people have explained to you six ways from Sunday how you are wrong, wrong, wrong. It’s obvious there’s only room in your head for your brand of bigotry. Have a nice day and all, fuckwit. Now go away, please.

  264. Esteleth, Ultra-PC Feminist Harpy Out To Destroy Secularism says

    ? I thought I saw Bill comment @301, but there’s a different comment there now. Did he get banhammered?

  265. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Paul do you think no one pointed out this confidence before? Do you think it’s helpful? Do you think you’re fucking clever?

  266. Esteleth, Ultra-PC Feminist Harpy Out To Destroy Secularism says

    Just put him in “pending” while looking for the bunny video.

    Ah. That explains why Caine and I apparently read the same comment.

  267. says

    JAL:

    Those words just flipped me. Buried in there like it’s all reasonable to assume you’re raped because you’re sexually attractive. Ugh.

    Yeah, I know. I’m still feeling shaky with anger over them. Just how much those few words go to perpetuating rape culture and providing shelter for rapists infuriates me to such a degree…it becomes difficult to contain that anger.

  268. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    I was just saying that even in the minority of cases rape is caused by a woman’s imprudence, that does not make her morally to blame at all—she is not morally obliged not to do things she has the moral right to do. The rapist is still fully to blame and society usually is too—most such rapes could and should be prevented.

    Then WTF is the point of bringing it up if it doesn’t actually matter that the woman was “imprudent”? Seriously, those handy dandy list of “risky” things women shouldn’t do in order to not get raped haven’t changed a damn thing. They do nothing but make women feel responsible by saying, “I shouldn’t have been out at night like an normal adult person.”

    Why is this so important for you to bring up? If it changes nothing, why make the difference between your rare rapes where the woman was “imprudent” and the vast majority of rapes where women weren’t “imprudent”, when there’s no moral difference, confuses people, and causes women to take the blame for their rapes?

  269. vaiyt says

    I have tried to argue my case in a respectful manner.

    Rape apologia can’t be respectful, asshole.

  270. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    imprudence fuck auto correct consentually

  271. says

    Ing:

    Do you think you’re fucking clever?

    Yes, he does. He also thinks he floats on cloud objectivity, above all the petty concerns of us peons. It’s annoying as hell, especially dealing with this subject, given that he’s speaking from a position of privilege.

  272. The Mellow Monkey says

    Paul:

    The point was that in some cases, the combination of risk factors is important, and somebody does something actually imprudent and gets raped.

    What is important about it and why does it need to be discussed? Why do you feel that “it should be entirely okay under some circumstances…to say that a woman may have been raped because” of something she did?

    Many people have said that I acted imprudently. Please tell me what value there is in pointing out how stupid I was for drinking with a man, alone, while wearing skimpy clothing for bed? If you disagree with that being imprudent, please tell me how you judge my behavior “prudent’ and that of a woman who walked down a dark alley “imprudent.” Tell me what good this distinction does.

  273. Esteleth, Ultra-PC Feminist Harpy Out To Destroy Secularism says

    It is for reasons like that that FTB needs a “like” button, Chris. :D

    (And yes, I get PZ’s reasons for not wanting, them, and wholeheartedly agree with them)

  274. says

    PAUL! Stop being a privileged fuckwit with your head stuck up your ass. You are defending rape culture and rapists. If you can’t manage to work that out, after so many of us went out of our way to explain that to you, then do us a favour and shut the fuck up.

  275. Esteleth, Ultra-PC Feminist Harpy Out To Destroy Secularism says

    At least I now know that this is a matter of ideology.

    Fuck.

    You.

  276. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Rape is never “caused by a woman’s imprudence.”

    Jesus fucking christ, Paul, what the hell is wrong with you?

    Shut up.

  277. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    At least I now know that this is a matter of ideology.

    Fuck.

    You.

    Seconded.

  278. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    anytime someone talks about rape due to women’s imprudence I want to punch them and see if they blame their bloody nose on their imprudece. for record whenever any shit goes down being the douche to say “I told u so” or the like is epic level jackassery. Your dog ran away and got hit by a truck? Your fault for being careless. that isn’t fucking helpful..it’s sadistic or callously rubbing salt in wounds

  279. athyco says

    You’re defending rape because you think you have the right to tell one set of thinking, rational human beings (victims of rape) why another set of thinking, rational human beings (rapists) are only doing as nature intended.

    To do that, you have to ignore the many hundreds of millions of thinking, rational human beings who share that “nature” with the rapists, yet THEY DO NOT RAPE. To do that, you have to believe that rapists are on the “monster” side of the human experience. You have to ignore that there are men who would NEVER admit to a charge that included the word “rape,” but HAVE said “yes” to researchers asking about specific actions that are undoubtedly rape. You prove that this is your mindset when you say (italics mine):

    Maybe there are indeed large numbers of people who think it is OK to harm others, large enough numbers of male psychopaths (because that would be the only way to describe a male who uses women as objects) to create a rape (sub)culture. I have no direct experience with it, but then I live in the sticks and don’t get out much :).

    And you end with a smiley. *vomit*

  280. vaiyt says

    @Paul,

    Just stop. You’ve dug yourself a nice hole, stop digging before you can’t get out of it.

    Even in cases of imprudence leading causally to rape, it’s wrong to morally blame the victim at all.

    Stop right there. A woman’s imprudence doesn’t “cause” rape any more than working in a bank “caused” my mother to be staring at the barrel of a gun last year. What causes rape is the rapist. Keep the imprudence and remove the rapist, and voilà, there’s no rape.

  281. says

    Hmm, okay, I’ll take the TL challenge.

    This discussion seems mostly simplistic and unsatisfying all around, like most discussions of human nature and culture.

    Both sides do it, take a shot.

    I think I disagree with some of what Bill Openthalt is saying, but I also disagree with people dismissing so much of it as simply invalid/stupid/evil/rape-justifying. (I don’t know about his motives, but it seems to me that some of what he’s actually saying is interesting and relevant, if insufficiently clear and nuanced. To me, it’s not obviously just JAQing off or rape-justifying.)

    Yeah, here’s the thing. What it was was rape-justifying or more specifically, rape-minimizing (he was creating fictional excuses for rape that just so happened to also assume that every single man should be locked up forever because of how naturally terrible they “must” be).

    I really don’t give a fuck if he intended it as rape-justifying. I really couldn’t give a rat’s ass about his intentions at all, because his statements, arguments, and stated attitudes are the problem, not whether or not he has a pure soul of tarnished brass under the personal idenitification and need to minimize rape and sexual assault. It’s kind of ancillary to everything.

    I also tend to read the NYT article rather differently than a lot of people here

    Oh joy. More of this.

    —but maybe far too charitably and very incorrectly.

    You know what? Thanks for that moment of self-awareness. I really do appreciate it.

    I read some of what the writer says as a litany of things that are obviously very bad for women, so obviously so bad that he thinks it doesn’t need elaboration. I could be entirely wrong about that. I really don’t know, and that’s less interesting to me than some of the general issues that have come up in the comment thread—and at any rate I’ll try to clarify where I’m coming from before discussing how I tend to interpret the article.

    Well, that’s great and all, but you only get the benefit of reading that article so charitably because you are not in the targeted communities being directly dehumanized and undermined in the way he “wrote about a bad thing”. It’s a privilege you get to have, that we as members of the assumed “sex class” don’t get to enjoy.

    To say that something is “part of human nature” is ambiguous

    Yes, very ambiguous… or rather not particularly, but certainly it could be weasel-worded to appear ambiguous by backdooring culture back into the discussion of the biological and pretending that was his point all along.

    , and not necessarily to say that every human will do it, or be as prone to doing it, or do it under the same circumstances, or do it at all. It’s also not necessarily to say that somebody will do it in any given culture—some cultures may be entirely free of it.

    Human nature is a mix of things of varying specificity—basic drives, general cognitive (and affective) biases and limitations, and some fairly specific instincts and inferential tricks. It allows great flexibility in how many of those things manifest themselves in a given culture, but it also puts great selection pressures on cultures—or small ones with great long-term effects making some aspects of culture probable and common across many cultures, and others improbable and rare.

    Yeah, but those things still come from somewhere. They are still visible. They still have reverberations that are separate from the culture they take part in. When the “natural” thing you are talking about isn’t present in the vast majority of the population it is supposed to be present in, does not react to risk or social pressure like other legitimately natural phenomenon, and has been well studied as a strongly social phenomenon but the person just wants to ignore all that?

    Well, you’ll forgive us being unforgiving of the bullshit.

    I think the ability to murder is innate in an important sense, but likely not the obvious sense most people would take that to mean, and certainly not one that justifies murder. There might be significant cognitive quirks that make it especially easy for humans to learn to murder other people, and decide under some circumstances to do it, which have been specifically selected for because they’ve been useful in some circumstances in the past, or there might just be a set of broad tendencies that allows people to learn to murder, among many other things.

    Because human learning and decision making are complicated, it would be extremely simplistic to try to blame a phenomenon like murder on a single motive, as though it must be caused by one specific motive in any given case, and even more simplistic to attribute it to a single motive in every case.

    You can’t just say things like “murder isn’t a crime of hatred, it’s a crime of revenge” or “murder isn’t a crime of revenge, it’s a crime of exploitation,” or “murder isn’t a crime of opportunity, it’s a crime of justice-seeking” or “murder is a crime of lack of innate inhibitory function, it’s a consequence of a culture of violence.” A given murder may be any of those things, or all of those things, and the motives and opportunities and innate and cultural disinhibiting factors may combine nonlinearly—combinations of those factors may be much more likely to lead an individual to murder than simply adding them up would make you think, due to threshold effects, etc. (E.g., a threshold of cost/benefit ratio, or of passion overcoming inhibition.)

    And so when someone comes barging in ignoring the years of data exploring how murder is affected by xenophobia, in-group enforcement, out-group punishment, an outgrowth of violent cultural markers, etc… so they can go “well, you see murder inherently stems from revenge so people who have been murdered may have played a role in egging the murderer on” to a crowd that largely consists of people who suffered the loss of loved ones to murder or people who narrowly avoided murder, you can see why many were not real big on going “aw, poor baby, you’re right, the reams of actual data are just as valid as your completely asinine and rather offensive horseshit”.

    In any given case, any combination of those factors might be unnecessary or absolutely necessary for the murder to occur, and it can be more complicated than that, with only certain peculiar combinations of factors mattering much.

    So, for example, all things being equal, most people are much less likely to murder if they don’t hate the prospective victim, or if don’t feel they actually deserve it, or it they don’t feel they can get away with it, or if they don’t feel they can benefit from it, or if they don’t think there’s a better plan that doesn’t involve murder but has most of the same advantages, like legally getting the person locked up for life.

    If they do hate the person, or do think they really deserve it, and so on, the odds go up very rapidly, especially if the person has certain biologically innate dispositions (e.g., due to a difficulty in assessing long-term consequences of actions) or cultural ones (e.g., an honor culture that accepts vigilante vengeance and specifically murder as acceptable or even necessary justice.)

    I suspect that the ability to learn to murder has been selected for, at least weakly, in two negative senses. One is that the major cognitive and affective dispositions that lead to the ability to murder also lead to the ability to do a lot of other things that can promote your genes, and murder can just be a specific learned manifestation of those. Another is that murder, specifically, has been a very successful learned strategy often enough that it contributes significantly to the selection that maintains those more general biases.

    As I understand it, the biological predispositions that make an individual likely to learn to murder are many and variable. Some people are naturally a bit more prone to anger, others to cold-blooded alienation, some are more prone to accept rationalizations learned from people they know, others are less to internalize reasonable inhibitions their parents teach them, etc. (I’m not saying that any of those things is straightforwardly innate, just that there are biological differences that can result in such differences, one way or another.)

    For any X and Y among dozen major factors, it would be ridiculous to say that “murder isn’t a crime of X and not of Y.” It’s just not that simple, because human learning, planning, and decision making are really complicated and involve delicate tradeoffs and thresholds. Both biological and cultural variations are many and complicated, and nonlinear, and interact in necessarily complicated ways.

    Jeebus Christos, you love to go long distances to say little at all.

    As I understand it, particular individual may be more biologically prone to murdering in certain kinds of cultures—e.g., a person with a predisposition to anger management problems but who also has a pretty good ability to keep it inhibited for conscious moral reasons might be especially prone to murdering only in honor cultures, which glorify and rationalize righteous violence, disinhibiting that person in just the right way. Different people may be biologically prone to murder in different kinds of cultures.

    So, let’s see, previous paragraph “biological and cultural“. This paragraph, “biological”. That’s the flaw. The use of the cultural and then the sudden discarding of it without justification. I guess if you really want to argue the point, I agree murder is more complex than rape and is more likely to have some mix going on.

    That said, I will point out, that a LOT of impetus for murder, as well, is cultural. Who we kill, who is an “acceptable” target, etc… There is a reason that women are the people most killed in every spree shooting in modern history. There is a reason that sex workers are the favorite target for serial killers. There is a reason that trans* people are murdered at a rate of one a month in this country alone and are the number one target by percentage for hate crimes. There’s a reason so many on this list have descriptions like “dismembered”, “genitals mutilated”, or “stoned to death” on it.

    And it doesn’t have anything to do with the “biological impetus to murder”.

    That would not be surprising, and it means that in the general case you can’t separate what’s a consequence of nature (biology) and what’s a consequence of nurture (culture) into anything like percentages that add up to 100—a given murder may depend 100 percent on one or more biological traits and 100 percent on certain cultural factors, at the same time.

    Yeah. Yeah you can.

    When a fuckwit claims he’s innocent of butchering a young woman to death because she happened to have a dick and he’s scared his buddies would find out but claims a “trans panic” defense, it’s pretty fucking clear which aspects are biological and which parts are fat juicy societal garbage.

    Fuck, we have whole systems of studies just noting the difference between inherent natural biological impulses and socially conditioned behavior.

    Just because you look down on those fields of studies and their accomplishments does not mean they haven’t done good work or it isn’t rather conclusive.

    And none of that justifies murder. It actually explains why it’s important not to justify murder—that is clearly a disinhibiting factor in some cases in many cultures, and in many cases in some cultures.

    No. But arguments that remove the impact bigoted cultures make in murder ignores legitimately important aspects in favor of selling fictional stories about “lone wolfs” and “disconnected crazies” that often promote discrimination against multiple groups at once (the group being targeted and the mental health people who are lumped with murderers because no one wants to admit the role racism, sexism, homophobia, or transphobia played in a murder).

    It would be very surprising if that weren’t true, to some significant extent, because the relevant aspects of human nature and culture are not simple, and the interactions between them are not simple at all.

    I think some of the same reasoning applies to rape

    Brave man stepping on a ledge that rickety.

    , to some extent, with various specific combinations of factors being likely to lead to a decision to rape—some of them biological and varying between individuals, and some of them cultural and varying between cultures, and some of them depending on specific combinations of individual and cultural variations. Some innate factors may be important across similar situations across a variety of cultures, and others may not. Some cultural factors may have more or less effect across a variety of individual variations, and others may not.

    Except it’s been studied and the biological hypothesis has gone begging every time, but please do go on.

    As with murder, that doesn’t mean you can’t make very useful statistical generalizations, like the ones homicide detectives and FBI profilers use to identify and prioritize suspects. (A murder victim is especially likely to have been murdered by a spouse, a poisoning victim is especially likely to have been murdered by a woman, and a female victim of an apparent honor killing is especially likely to have been murdered by her own male family members, and so on.) And it doesn’t mean that those statistics don’t shed light on very commonly very important causal factors. They clearly do.

    Wait… are you setting up a “oh, a rape being more likely to come from a trusted loved one doesn’t mean anything because that’s simply who has the most opportunity” thing, I will find a way to travel down phone lines just to slap you.

    It does suggest that if you say “rape isn’t caused by human nature, but by rape culture,” or “rape isn’t about sex, it’s about domination,” or “rape isn’t caused by women’s attractiveness, or scarcity it’s caused by men justifying rape,” it’s likely to be a simplistic and misleading generalization even if there’s a very important and fairly general truth behind it. (As I think there typically is.)

    Go fuck yourself you “both sides are extreme” ignorant asshole. Feminists don’t say those things because they’re trying to make misogynists have Sad Face. They say these things because of decades upon decades of feminist study and discourse on the subject strongly demonstrating that these things are true.

    Rape isn’t a natural phenomenon, it doesn’t act like other natural phenomenon. Rape isn’t about sex, it’s about domination as seen in well… every goddamn rape ever. And rape really fucking isn’t caused by women’s attractiveness.

    (TRIGGER WARNING)I’m not conventionally attractive (self corrected for low-self-esteem induced internationalized fat shaming). At all. I’m fat. I don’t like fashion. I don’t like makeup. I can’t get rid of the five-o-clock shadow on my upper lip. I’m built like the shot put thrower I am and sometimes I start to get a unibrow. And someone sexually assaulted me. In public. In front of my partner and my mother. Because he knew he could get away with it. That I at the time had no socialization to expect that sort of thing and had no narrative to understand what was happening or why my partner and mom were reacting in the coded way they were.

    And as for scarcity…

    (TRIGGER WARNING)My partner’s rapist was sleeping with several women casually at the time he assaulted my partner. On the night he assaulted her he had a willing sexual partner literally throwing herself on him for a good tumble. Instead he decided to stalk my partner into a separate room and shove his hand down her pants and started grabbing until she stopped struggling.

    These things are not uncommon narratives. They’re the default. They’re the expected. And they’re the expected because these statements aren’t the result of privileged assholes spouting the culture’s line. They’re hard-lived experiences by those who’ve been on the front-lines of a cultural disease we don’t even want to talk about.

    God, the more I do this, the more I want to punch you.

    It’s important to separate the merely causal notion of “blame” from the moral notion of blame. Conflating the two often leads to flameage, and so does misunderstanding someone else as conflating the two when they’re not.

    Oh, you are going nowhere good with this line of fault.

    I may blame the malfunctioning of my cell phone on a short circuit, but that’s different from morally censuring it. Identifying causes is just not the same thing as placing moral blame, though it’s often relevant in nonobvious ways.

    And there’s no principle of conservation of blame—blaming one thing does not mean you can’t blame another, in a different sense or in the same sense.

    For example if my dog pees on your carpet, that may be 100 percent the dog’s fault in that I have to hold the dog responsible for it, and discourage him from doing a bad thing, even if it’s my fault that it’s the dog’s fault because I didn’t train my dog as thoroughly as I should have. The dog and I are both 100 percent to blame, in different senses at different levels.

    And it can be 100 percent the dog breeder’s fault in pretty much the same moral sense, if the dog breeder didn’t exercise reasonable diligence in breeding dogs to be reasonably easy to train. It can still be 100 percent my fault in sense because a) I may not have done due diligence finding a responsible dog breeder and/or b) I may not have put enough diligence into training the dog I happened to get, just because it was somewhat harder to train than I expected, and I shouldn’t have let that deter me. It can also be very much our “society’s fault” for not promoting awareness of the evils of puppy mills, regulating dog breeders, etc. And that of course is in some very different sense “human nature’s fault”—shit like that tends to happens because we are what we are, but that doesn’t imply that we shouldn’t accept responsibility at our level and do what we can to change it. (And if it’s all ultimately God’s fault, that doesn’t get us off the hook as human moral agents.)

    Dude, you are literally trying to weasel-word yourself into a statement you know you don’t really want to end up standing behind. Just turn the fuck back and we can all pretend you’re not going where you’re-

    The total “blame” for a given event can easily be several hundred percent in a moral sense at a given level, with several people playing crucial roles they really shouldn’t have, and several hundred more percent in the causal sense at several other interesting levels.

    I think that everybody knows this, in some sense, and recognizes it in many cases. Everybody understands that when mob boss orders a hit, he is 100 percent a murderer, and so is the assassin who directly causes the death by shooting or whatever. Neither is less guilty because the other is guilty too. (And a provider of untraceable guns may be very responsible, too, and so on.) And all that’s true in the crucial, relevant senses even if it’s all ultimately God’s fault for willfully creating a universe in which that would inevitably happen.

    Likewise, it may be inevitable that some rapes occur in any feasible, desirable human culture, because of biological “human nature” and its inevitable effects on culture. That doesn’t mean that culture isn’t fully to blame for most rapes that do occur, and neither means that most rapists aren’t fully to blame for their rape in the crucial moral and legal senses. (IMO they have to be, and if you don’t think so, you seriously need to rethink your concepts of responsibility and blame.)

    Again, you are setting up a mindset of victim blaming through way too much fapping over an intro Philosophy class. You really don’t know what you’re talking about and you’re about to say something that you are not nearly as skilled as you think to pull off.

    STOP NOW.

    IMO that means that it should be entirely okay under some circumstances, if you’re careful about how you do it, to say that a woman may have been raped because she was conventionally “beautiful” and dressed “sexily” and “carelessly” walking alone at night through a dark alley at night in a “bad neighborhood.” It may have been “her fault” in (only) the sense that she was imprudent, not morally at fault, and that would in no way get the rapist off the hook for being 100 percent morally and legally responsible for raping her, as I think he is. And that wouldn’t prevent fully blaming rape culture for the vast majority of such rapes, too, as I think we should.

    Well, that might be a theoretical possibility in our infinite universe, but damn boy did you complete FUCK IT UP here.

    This is vile victim-blaming garbage and having the faintest veneer of self-awareness does not detract from the social origins of this automatic assumption or how it fits into the larger culture where women’s rapes are legally erased because of bullshit lines of thought like this.

    I’m done with this overwrought pile of dreck. Go fuck yourself Paul. Go fuck yourself.

  282. says

    Paul, you could have just typed that you’re a misogynistic rape apologist and saved yourself the time, since that’s what you’ve announced with your posts.

  283. athyco says

    See, I knew Paul was trying to say that he didn’t believe the woman’s actions were causing rapes. He did say “mutually exclusive causally,” after all.

    What you don’t get, Paul, is that saying such a thing to a rape victim won’t stop him/her from thinking of the blame (probably to an extent that would horrify you) or becoming angry that you’d want to mention it, no matter how many disclaimers of not assigning moral blame come with it.

    I get to say if I was imprudent for letting my rapist into my house rather than telling him to get the hell off my porch before I called the cops. ONLY I get to say it, because only I know exactly what went into that decision and how I’ve dealt with it since. You simply cannot read my mind to know if I’ll hear your oh-so-cautious suggestion as an echo of the bitter condemnation of self that I’m still working through. It would be irresponsible to cast a victim back into that irrational shame; you’d do so as a privileged asshole.

  284. says

    Paul @302

    First rule of shovels, man.

    You do not have nearly enough cultural awareness, feminist awareness, and rhetorical skill to thread the needle you think you are threading. And it’s made so much worse by the fact that you think you are threading a needle when what you really are doing is being hoodwinked by cultural baggage into just poorly rephrasing extremely damaging and hurtful cultural bigotries and assumptions about rape and rape victims.

    The exact responsibility of any rape victim for their rape is 0. Because there is literally nothing they could have done. (TRIGGER WARNING) My partner during her rape (or I should say one of her rapes because of another one in which a boyfriend tried to slip his dick into her ass while she was sleeping) wore jeans and a t-shirt, avoided getting overly drunk and was in an area with other people who could see her. When things got uncomfortable there, because the rapist was red-flagging, she got up and removed herself to another room. When pursued, she tried to extricate herself. When assaulted, she tried to move his hand, she squirmed in an uncomfortable manner and gave panicked body language and verbally told him to stop. When he persisted, she tried to continue telling him to stop and continued to try to escape. When she ran out of options, she tried to shock him out of his power fantasy and use it to create an opportunity to escape. You know what she believed about herself and her rape after doing all that?

    (TRIGGER WARNING) “I deserved it”. “I did something wrong”. “The whole event was my fault”. And it’s because we in our society dump so much victim-blaming on rape victims that it’s the first avenue their minds often take when they are searching for some thought any thought to use to try and desperately regain the agency so cruelly robbed of them.

    (TRIGGER WARNING)I even did it to myself after my assault, being down on myself for not knowing the social cues that would have gotten me out of the situation before it happened.

    No matter how you try and phrase your crap, it’s hampered by that reality and that complete failure to understand just how deep in a hole you are right now.

  285. says

    Athyco:

    You simply cannot read my mind to know if I’ll hear your oh-so-cautious suggestion as an echo of the bitter condemnation of self that I’m still working through.

    This is another extremely important point to highlight. Thanks to rape culture, and further back into patriarchy which has fostered the notion of women as subhuman, *all* focus on rape has been placed on victims. On women, in particular. It is so drilled into every woman’s head, from an early age, that if something “bad” happens to her, it is, somehow or another, her fault.

    You shouldn’t have been dressed like that.

    You shouldn’t have been out unescorted.

    You shouldn’t have been drinking.

    You shouldn’t have been out after dark.

    You shouldn’t have been in that part of town.

    You shouldn’t have opened the door.

    You shouldn’t have been sleeping around.

    You shouldn’t have dated an asshole.

    You shouldn’t, you shouldn’t, you shouldn’t, you shouldn’t, You shouldn’t, you shouldn’t, you shouldn’t, you shouldn’t, You shouldn’t, you shouldn’t, you shouldn’t, you shouldn’t, You shouldn’t, you shouldn’t, you shouldn’t, you shouldn’t, You shouldn’t, you shouldn’t, you shouldn’t, you shouldn’t, You shouldn’t, you shouldn’t, you shouldn’t, you shouldn’t, whatever.

    Thanks to that, and people like you, Paul, we get to be reminded, all the time, that yes, it was our fault. Our fault. Our fault. Our fault. Our fault. There’s no FUCK YOU big enough to be aimed your way, Paul. The torture and anguish that rape victims go through, struggling for years, for lifetimes, to truly realize that it wasn’t our fault is nothing more than a throwaway line in your morality play.

  286. says

    Oh and THIS

    I was just saying that even in the minority of cases rape is caused by a woman’s imprudence, that does not make her morally to blame at all—she is not morally obliged not to do things she has the moral right to do. The rapist is still fully to blame and society usually is too—most such rapes could and should be prevented.

    Specifically needs to be countered and hard.

    No. No damn rapes are caused by a woman’s “imprudence”. Is it too damn much to ask for that women be allowed to be people without expecting rape to happen as if it was some goddamn morality play boogeyman?

    No, no woman causes their rape. Even if they went out in the streets naked, went to the sketchiest bar right down the street from the local frat house, drank all the alcohol in open containers and called their old boyfriend who they dumped for having too many red flags immediately before passing out.

    Because that woman would be perfectly safe if there wasn’t a rapist around to rape her. FULL FUCKING STOP!

    And let me just add, that men have no similar restrictions assumed on their behaviors. If Shmitty wants to get piss drunk in a toga at a frat party surrounded by sober sorority girls, no one is going to expect that he ends up raped. But for women, going outside in a short skirt, drinking, being in a place without a MAYUN to protect them, or… Fuck, let’s be honest, having the bad luck to be raped no matter what they did, is seen as an invitation to rape, something she caused by acting “unladylike” and “inviting trouble”.

    And that. THAT is so much unbelievable bullshit and it needs to fucking stop cropping up if we’re ever going to start not sucking as a society.

  287. The Mellow Monkey says

    Chris:

    Saying “Hi” is imprudent.

    Catching a cab: imprudent.

    Taking the bus: imprudent.

    There’s a handy dandy victim blaming tumblr to help with just these problems. Never again must fluffy lady brains be troubled with having to keep all these imprudent activities straight. Kate Harding will do it for you!

  288. Paul W., OM says

    Chris:

    I only just saw a comment that you posted before I posted my last one. I should have refreshed.) This is mostly redundant with the last one but I want to directly explicitly address this serious problem:

    I missed the passage about “sometimes victims deserve a share of the blame” through my own extremely careless reading.

    Where did I say that? I may have said something that sounded like that, or I might have inadvertently said something that means that, but I certainly didn’t mean to say that in the sense it apparently means!

    Two of my major points are:

    1) It simply isn’t a matter of apportioning “shares” of the blame, especially not between the victim and the rapist. You don’t divide the moral blame. The rapist is 100 percent to blame, and some other people may be 100 percent to blame too, if they aid, abet, conspire, encourage, allow, fail to prevent, etc. That does not diminish the rapist’s full responsibility. (That’s what the mob boss / hit man analogy was about.)

    2) Irrespective of that, the victim is not morally to blame at all. People have a clear right not to be raped, even if they take imprudent risks. (Which is not a cause of most rapes anyhow.) They might be imprudent for doing so, but still not morally to blame, and not a “cause” of the rape that diminishes anybody else’s responsibility for rape. At all.

    Please give me a literal quote of what you interpreted that way, because I don’t recognize that as what I said. At all. It’s more nearly the opposite of what I mean.

    If I did manage to say something that actually means that, it was certainly a terrible thing to say and I apologize abjectly and profusely for fucking up.

  289. says

    Keep on digging, Paul… you’re still acting as a rape apologist. Over and over again, even when people are giving you specific correction. Your not-pology doesn’t remotely help either.

  290. says

    PAUL! TRY READING OTHER PEOPLE’S POSTS RESPONDING TO YOUR VICTIM BLAMING AND OTHER IDIOCIES.

    I’M DAMN TIRED OF YOU IGNORING EVERY SINGLE RAPE VICTIM IN THIS THREAD EXCEPT FOR CHRIS.

    Where did I say that? I may have said something that sounded like that, or I might have inadvertently said something that means that, but I certainly didn’t mean to say that in the sense it apparently means!

    YOU SAID IT IN EVERY ONE OF YOUR FUCKWITTED POSTS. THEY HAVE BEEN QUOTED, EXTENSIVELY. YOU ARE BEING A RAPE APOLOGIST. STOP. NOW.

  291. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    I’M DAMN TIRED OF YOU IGNORING EVERY SINGLE RAPE VICTIM IN THIS THREAD EXCEPT FOR CHRIS.

    QFFT.

  292. Nepenthe says

    Sleeping in ugly-ass pajamas in a locked room stone-cold-sober with one’s fiance: imprudent.

    I mean, what the fuck are you talking about with this “imprudent risks” shit. Are many people being raped while they ride a homemade “hot air balloon” composed of lawn furniture and latex helium balloons? While they bungee jump with frayed ropes?

  293. The Mellow Monkey says

    YOU SAID IT IN EVERY ONE OF YOUR FUCKWITTED POSTS. THEY HAVE BEEN QUOTED, EXTENSIVELY.

    Seriously. WTF, Paul? We waded through your fucking walls of text. The least you could do is read what the fuck anyone other than Chris has written, because we make it really goddamn obvious exactly WHAT YOU SAID.

    Just look at what you wrote here and figure out the problem. It’s easy, since it’s been pointed out numerous times.

  294. Esteleth, Ultra-PC Feminist Harpy Out To Destroy Secularism says

    I am so, so tempted to killfile Paul.

    WTF.

  295. says

    Paul, I’ll just say that I think the notion of causal blame being distinct from moral blame is useless, and beyond that refer you to the many able rebuttals you have at your fingertips already, especially but by no means limited to athyco @265 et. seq.,

  296. sunny12 says

    Paul, I’ll just say that I think the notion of causal blame being distinct from moral blame is useless

    Seconded.

    Bringing up the concept of “imprudence” is of no use whatsoever except to bolster support for more insidious rape apologetics – even if it’s not intended. I mean, hey, when it comes down to it, we might as well say that simply being born is a case of “causal” blame for assault, since infants are raped as well. Seriously, why even go down that path at all?

  297. says

    Paul
    I haven’t time to compose a full response right now, so here’s the short form:

    … or maybe I should just shut my privileged mouth and go away.

    Yes. Yes, you should. You should abjectly apologize to the people who’ve been trying to educate you first, though.

  298. says

    sunny12:

    even if it’s not intended

    Around here, we’re fond of saying intent is not magic. We often provide a helpful link to that very subject. Anyway, intent is given no quarter here, and Paul W is well aware of that.

  299. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Paul, I’ll just say that I think the notion of causal blame being distinct from moral blame is useless

    Seconded.

    Bringing up the concept of “imprudence” is of no use whatsoever except to bolster support for more insidious rape apologetics – even if it’s not intended. I mean, hey, when it comes down to it, we might as well say that simply being born is a case of “causal” blame for assault, since infants are raped as well. Seriously, why even go down that path at all?

    Thirded. I was thinking as I read this “so if I just wasn’t born, I wouldn’t have been raped”. And I’m echoing the question here: why is it so important for you to go down this road, Paul? What are you hoping to achieve with this “nuanced”, “balanced” (*spit*) view? Because I put it to you that what you want to achieve and what you are busy achieving may not be in the same universe.

  300. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Also, I just want to quote, to Paul specifically, what Kate Harding said so brilliantly (from the Don’t Get Raped Tumblr, own emphasis):

    When Stuyvesant says that women’s dress and bodies are distraction in a learning environment, for example, what they’re really saying is that they’re distracting to male students. The default student we are concerned about – the student whose learning we want to ensure is protected – is male. Never mind how “distracting” it is to be pulled from class, humiliated, and made to change outfits – publicly degrading young women is small price to pay to make sure that a boy doesn’t have to suffer through the momentary distraction of glancing at a girl’s legs. When this dentist in Iowa can fire his assistant for turning him on – even though she’s done absolutely nothing wrong – the message again is that it’s men’s ability to work that’s important.

    And when rape victims are blamed for the crime committed against them, the message is the same: This is something that happened to the perpetrator, who was driven to assault by a skirt, or a date, or the oh-so-sexy invitation of being passed out drunk. Women have infringed on their right to exist without being turned on. (Ta-Nehisi Coates describes this centering of male sexual vulnerability quite well.) Our very presence is a disruption of the male status quo.

    Down here on the ground, far away from your intellectual ivory towers of philosphy, in the real world where most of us have to live and struggle with this shit every day, do you think that your insistence on focusing on some philosophical ivory tower difference between “moral” and “causal” blame is having the effect of disrupting the status quo as described above, or reinforcing the status quo as described above?

  301. says

    Cerberus

    (TRIGGER WARNING)I’m not conventionally attractive (self corrected for low-self-esteem induced internationalized fat shaming). At all. I’m fat. I don’t like fashion. I don’t like makeup. I can’t get rid of the five-o-clock shadow on my upper lip. I’m built like the shot put thrower I am and sometimes I start to get a unibrow. And someone sexually assaulted me.

    The last time some guy forced his sexuality onto me (jerking off over the house intercom) I was fat, dressed in a winter coat and holding the door for my two children in the afternoon. I’m waiting for Paul to tell me exactly how imprudent I was to make the poor sod watch me from his window and then go and force his wanking upon me. Sadly Bill won’t be able to tell me how that increased the guy’s chance of procreation.
    And I really don’t expect any of them to spend one second thinking about how I do with the knowledge that somebody who doesn’t respect my boundaries is living in this house with me.

    +++
    Oh, and for those “imprudent” things:
    I’ve done them all
    Getting so drunk/drugged that I had a complete blackout? Did that.
    Dancing a lot in skimpy clothing, kissing the guy like mad, giving his dick a good rub and then chickening out because I realized that it wasn’t what I wanted? Yep.
    Sharing a bed with a guy I hardly knew because hey, the bed was much nicer than the floor? That’s me.
    None of those things got me raped. Because the people I was with weren’t rapists. But it’s good to know that if something had happened Paul wold have told me that it was totally not my fault it was still kind of my fault because I could prevented a poor guy from ruining his life if I had done something different.

  302. Paul W., OM says

    Holy cow.

    I thought this could get hairy, but this is well beyond what I expected. I am overwhelmed.

    I am astonished at how man people seem to think I’m saying things I’m trying as hard as I can to make clear are false.

    I’m shocked that some people I consider friends and thought knew I wasn’t a total dumbfuck or total asshole seem to find it so easy to misinterpret what I’m saying so thoroughly, despite efforts to prevent those very misunderstandings.

    And I’m disappointed that various people seem to be criticizing me for what seem to me to be contradictory reasons, but are happy to criticize me anyhow, and not worry about disagreements as to why.

    Those things make it hard for me to know where to begin answering people, or whether to give up and slink away, as some people want. (Please, I’m, not asking for more votes—I don’t think that will help.)

    This kind of thing is the main reason I rarely comment here anymore, and more often comment at places like B&W, where people (including Ophelia) are more inclined to give me the benefit of the doubt until they’re clear on what I’m actually saying, and usually do think it is worth saying. (And it’s usually just a smaller group, so it’s less exponentially overwhelming when things start to get weird.)

    Those things also make it hard for me to give any kind of sincere and satisfactory apology because I’m pretty sure at least some of the criticisms are based on weird misunderstandings, I honestly don’t know which criticisms are right in a way I don’t yet understand, and I honestly don’t quite understand what I’m supposed to have done wrong, besides being a privileged dumbass who shouldn’t think he’s qualified or competent to speak on the subject.

    I am not ignoring anyone. I am just overwhelmed. (And frankly seriously depressed.)

    I prioritized responding to Chris for a couple of reasons:

    1) because he’s made some simple statements I could clearly see how to respond to (if only to ask “Where I did I say that?”).

    2) because it’s his thread, and what the host thinks does matter—e.g., if he thinks I should give up and go away, I think that should matter more than if someone else does.

    I will answer athyco next, because she’s been waiting the longest, but address some issues out of order. (And in the process try to address issues raised by others too.)

  303. says

    Paul W:

    Those things also make it hard for me to give any kind of sincere and satisfactory apology because I’m pretty sure at least some of the criticisms are based on weird misunderstandings

    Let’s get one thing very clear, before you even start up. You have not been, nor are being misunderstood. That is the same song we hear from every single person who has played the rape apologetics game here.

    Look at what you did – you turned this last post into a fucking lament over poor you being misunderstood and it’s why you rarely comment here, oh the humanity! For Chrissakes, get down off that bleeding cross.

  304. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Paul W, to assume at least some regulars haven’t understood your position and its basis would be foolish.

    (Time to stop repeating it and start addressing objections to it)

  305. Sophia, Michelin-starred General of the First Mediterranean Iron Chef Batallion says

    Do we really need to state this again?

    The ONLY cause of rape is the presence and actions of a RAPIST. Just as the only cause of theft is the presence and actions of a thief, or the cause of murder is the presence and actions of a murderer.
    Just because it’s rape doesn’t give it a free pass. People dressing provocatively do not cause rape, people raping causes rape. This is NOT HARD.

    We don’t blame the fucking money when someone embezzles from a company fund.
    “It was sitting there in the account, just being so tempting at me with its gigantic numbers!. It’s human nature! Humans simply can’t control their greed when confronted with staggering amounts of money. We need to cover up the numbers, have them seem modest so I can go about my business without being tempted.”

    No.

  306. says

    Paul:

    I’m shocked that some people I consider friends and thought knew I wasn’t a total dumbfuck or total asshole seem to find it so easy to misinterpret what I’m saying so thoroughly, despite efforts to prevent those very misunderstandings.

    If everyone is saying the same thing to you, Paul, then it’s time to take a deep breath and look at yourself and realize that you’ve been acting the dumbfuck asshole.

    Or is it that you think that you being completely and utterly wrong about something, which led you to be an asshole is an impossibility?

  307. says

    Ok, Paul, I had a slightly different response planned, but the other people did the whole point by point rebuttal thing way better than I can. So I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’m just going to generally explain why you got the reaction you did, since per your last comment you don’t understand, and you’ve apparently got a history of being reasonable, hence the OM, so I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt as an honest interlocutor.
    Basically, in all your philosophizing you stated two important, and false, things, for which people are justly pissed off at you, especially since you chose to continue to repeat them, over and over, in the face of many people pointing out that they were wrong. So here it is again, in very simple terms: 1) You stated that victims shared in the responsibility for their rape. This statement is universally false and damaging. No amount of equivocating about different kinds of blame changes that. 2) You used as a premise that certain behaviors/characteristics increase the likelihood of being victimized, other than existing in a space where a)there is a rapist who b)thinks he can get away with it, neither of which are in any way under the control of the victim. In other words, this is effectively a restatement of (1), but actually adds additional levels of being false and harmful. and 3)You are repeating exactly the same harmful myths that active rape-apologists use and that are constantly repeated as a buttress of rape culture. Intent is not magic, and by repeating these false and damaging myths, you are not just aligning yourself with rape apologists, you have in fact become one yourself, wittingly or not. In short, if you are being honest with us, the person who does not understand the arguments you are using is you, and you are displaying obnoxious ignorance. Since this has been explained to you repeatedly, and in a variety of ways, the correct course of action, as I noted above, is to first stop enabling rape culture with your bullshit philosophizing, second apologize profusely for behaving as a rape-enabling asshole, and third shut the fuck up until you have the slightest clue what you’re talking about. Any other course of action puts you deeper into rape apologetics, and basically confirms the opinion of all the people here who are calling you an asshole. I actually agree with them, but what the hell, I was going to write a post anyway, I may as well give you another chance to get it right and exceed everyone’s expectations.

  308. mildlymagnificent says

    Those things also make it hard for me to give any kind of sincere and satisfactory apology because I’m pretty sure at least some of the criticisms are based on weird misunderstandings, ….

    Misunderstandings? I won’t deal with the rape apologetics because others have done it much better than I ever could. Your greatest misunderstanding is that there is any way at all to be balanced or neutral or dispassionate on this subject. Any way at all.

    There are plenty of other topics where there. is. no. middle. ground. This is not unusual or special, let alone unique, to sexual assault. Any subject where science or similar research has reached firm conclusions is not suitable subject material for ‘balanced’ journalism or for ‘above the fray’ disengaged discourse. There is no neutral or middle ground. There is a whole library of research material in this area. There are plenty of anecdotes that are not part of the research – just here from this very small group of women who are willing to talk about their experiences. (And might I point out right here and now that remarks like yours are a severe disincentive to other women to do the same. You might have heard more of this kind of thing from other women throughout your life you know if we, as a general rule, didn’t expect to be faced with your kind of “rational” inexpert probing of all the possible things we might have done to bring groping, exposure and outright assault on ourselves.)

    I’m not sure where you think you can go with this. But the whole project is doomed if you think that your approach is in any way relevant or appropriate to the subject.

    Give it up. Yesterday.

  309. sunny12 says

    Around here, we’re fond of saying intent is not magic. We often provide a helpful link to that very subject. Anyway, intent is given no quarter here, and Paul W is well aware of that.

    You mean this one?

    http://genderbitch.wordpress.com/2010/01/23/intent-its-fucking-magic/

    Yeah I love it – it makes the point pretty damned well. And it’s absolutely right; ultimately the intent doesn’t matter, if the damage the statement causes is exactly the same.

    IMO that means that it should be entirely okay under some circumstances, if you’re careful about how you do it, to say that a woman may have been raped because she was conventionally “beautiful” and dressed “sexily” and “carelessly” walking alone at night through a dark alley at night in a “bad neighborhood.” It may have been “her fault” in (only) the sense that she was imprudent, not morally at fault, and that would in no way get the rapist off the hook for being 100 percent morally and legally responsible for raping her, as I think he is. And that wouldn’t prevent fully blaming rape culture for the vast majority of such rapes, too, as I think we should.

    Dalillama bove is absolutely right…it doesn’t matter if you try to distinguish between different types of blame, because blame is the wrong tack altogether! No focus at all should be focused on the victim in this respect. Saying a woman was raped because she was carelessly dressed bears exactly the same weight as saying that she was raped because she just happened to exist!

    Really, the only correct thing to say is that a person was raped…because someone else raped them. Full stop. I wish…more people would get this. :/

  310. says

    mildlymagnificent:

    (And might I point out right here and now that remarks like yours are a severe disincentive to other women to do the same. You might have heard more of this kind of thing from other women throughout your life you know if we, as a general rule, didn’t expect to be faced with your kind of “rational” inexpert probing of all the possible things we might have done to bring groping, exposure and outright assault on ourselves.)

    QFMFT.

  311. Paul W., OM says

    athyco @ 329:

    See, I knew Paul was trying to say that he didn’t believe the woman’s actions were causing rapes. He did say “mutually exclusive causally,” after all.

    If this means what I think it means, it’s important, and I suspect other people not seeing what I mean is the cause of a whole bunch of people thinking I’m making the kind of asshole victim-blaming argument that I’m actually arguing against.

    When I say that something causes something else, I mean that in a very basic low-level sense, not that the cause is an interesting one or a useful one for a given purpose.

    Consider a perfect break in pool. We would often talk about that having a cause—the break shot is the cause of the break. But that’s not the only cause of the break—it’s just the cause we’re usually interested in when we’re talking about playing pool, but lots of other things contribute equally to the occurrence of a perfect break—all the other balls have to be in the right places and have the right resiliency, the table has to be level, and so on. Each of them is equally necessary for the perfect break to happen—change any one of them much, and a perfect break will not occur.

    So literally, at a low—and admittedly usually very uninteresting level—a perfect break has dozens of causes—the presence of the balls, their initial positions, details of the felt and so on. Each of those things causes the perfect break just as much as the properties of the shot—if you change any one of them much, the perfect break doesn’t happen.

    That’s usually a stunningly boring observation that’s admittedly not worth making for most purposes, because we all pretty much know that and can safely ignore it to play pool—we can pretend that it’s the cue shot that uniquely causes the perfect break. It’s the interesting cause to talk about that we’d likely call the cause.

    The observation about a woman “causing” her own rape in that irrelevant, low-level geeky sense often becomes annoyingly relevant in rape discussions because other people bring it up and use it to make fallacious arguments.

    I’m not gratuitously bringing it up because I want to make those arguments myself, as some people seem to assume. (But you don’t seem to.) I’m bringing it up because I want to correctly explain how and why those arguments are actually fucking wrong.

    I tend think that’s worth doing because one way we fail to persuasively rebut crappy arguments is by failing to address the actual flaw, in ways that people we’re arguing against do notice and make us sound wrong, e.g., like we’re denying the obvious fact that there can be causally contributing factors, when in fact what we’re only denying that those are the particular interesting sort of contributing factors that could put moral blame on the victim and be mitigating factors for the rapist.

    Whether I’m right about that or not—maybe I can’t turn this into a more effective strategy for countering actual arguments from actual rape apologists—I tend to think it’s worth understanding where the problem with the argument actually is, exactly, amongst ourselves. (Or am I a presumptious outsider to even say things like “we”?) And I think a major problem is in the ambiguity in the word “cause” and related causal terms like “contributing factor,” which do often come up in real arguments and IMO do often cause real problems in arguments.

    For example, suppose some rape apologist does bring up a woman’s alleged imprudence as a contributing factor to the rape, implying that it mitigates the guilt of the rapist.

    What should we do? Of course we shouldn’t grant the point that she was imprudent if there wasn’t good evidence for that, and may argue that she wasn’t, but the more general point is that even if she was, it doesn’t fucking matter to the rapist’s guilt. Her behavior may or may not have been among the causes of the rape, and may even have fully caused it in the low-level, morally irrelevant sense, along with a bunch of other irrelevant stuff, but just denying that it could have been a contributing factor doesn’t work—it could have, unless we know otherwise.

    The big problem is that such contributing factors are important for some purposes, so people do inevitably notice them—e.g., women notice things like being propositioned while cornered in elevators at 4 AM precisely because that sort of situation could be a contributing factor to a rape. A lot of people have been talking about causal contributing factors around here for over a year now.

    Such a thing clear can be important, is often salient if the subject of rape comes up at all, and inevitably often does get brought up, and we have to deal with it, even though we shouldn’t have to. It should be irrelevant for purposes of assigning blame, but the fact that other people do think about it and do tend to think it’s therefore relevant means it’s relevant to us in a different sense. We have to talk about it, or talk around it, one way or another.

    We can’t believably deny that such causally contributing factors do exist, because they clearly do, and everybody knows it because they’re important for other purposes.

    IMO the right argument is the truth that I think most of us actually agree on, even if we use the ambiguous term “cause” differently—that yes, such causally contributing factors on the part of a woman can of course exist, but they’re irrelevant for assigning moral blame. A woman doing something (allegedly or actually) imprudent just isn’t an excuse for raping her, full stop.

    I thought we could all easily agree on that, but some people seem to think I’m saying something pretty much the opposite, or headed that way. I’m not.

    What you don’t get, Paul, is that saying such a thing to a rape victim won’t stop him/her from thinking of the blame (probably to an extent that would horrify you) or becoming angry that you’d want to mention it, no matter how many disclaimers of not assigning moral blame come with it.

    I think I do get that, at least to a greater extent than you may realize.

    I certainly don’t think we should gratuitously bring up the issue of a woman’s behavior being a potential causal contributing factor to her rape. (See above.)

    I tend think it’s at least worth discussing amongst ourselves because the actual rape apologists will inevitably bring it up sometimes, and we should be clear on what the ambiguity is and how to address it. I.e., show that people are drawing the wrong inferences about blame from true but irrelevant facts about causation in the boring low-level sense.

    I get to say if I was imprudent for letting my rapist into my house rather than telling him to get the hell off my porch before I called the cops. ONLY I get to say it, because only I know exactly what went into that decision and how I’ve dealt with it since.

    I understand that up to a point. I would try not to say or suggest that any actual person is imprudent for any particular thing, and was trying to talk about imprudence only insofar as necessary to argue that it’s irrelevant to placing moral blame.

    You simply cannot read my mind to know if I’ll hear your oh-so-cautious suggestion as an echo of the bitter condemnation of self that I’m still working through. It would be irresponsible to cast a victim back into that irrational shame; you’d do so as a privileged asshole.

    I’m not sure what you think I’m oh-so-cautiously suggesting, and whether I was actually suggesting it, or misunderstood to be suggesting it when I was just trying to say that it was irrelevant to placing moral blame, and had to mention it to do so. Or are you saying that even mentioning it that way, and even for that purpose, automatically “suggests” it simply by raising the subject?

    If it’s the latter, that seems pretty extreme. Are you saying other people here can talk about it, but I can’t?

    To me that seems like sorta like saying that I not only shouldn’t say the actual n-word, I shouldn’t mention the n-word by saying “the n-word,” even if the very point I’m making is that people shouldn’t use the n-word, and giving a reason why they shouldn’t use the n-word.

    Actually I can understand that in some cases. If there’s no good reason to be discussing the n-word, it can be a weird thing to bring up and start talking about. People may wonder why you’re doing it, and draw the wrong inferences, and just be made uncomfortable. (Why does this white boy keep talking about that ugly word?)

    I am somewhat sensitive to that issue, in a way that maybe I’m insufficiently sensitive to issues about talking about rape and blame.

    But likewise, I usually wouldn’t gratuitously raise the issue of rape and issues of assignment of blame for rape, myself. I know it’s a fraught and painful subject for people who’ve experienced it and/or live in fear of experiencing it, so it’s a subject I wouldn’t broach without good reason, and I don’t recall ever raising the subject myself. I have lurked in similar threads and generally refrained from commenting in them, even when I had what seemed to me to be worthwhile things to say, but wasn’t sure it was advisable for me to say them.

    In that basic respect, this seemed to be about as good a thread to talk about that sort of thing in as I was ever going to find—I didn’t need to bring up any major issues, because people were already talking about rape, and specifically victim-blaming and spurious mitigating factors, and I didn’t really think I was saying anything that radically different from what most people were already saying.

  312. Paul W., OM says

    I have to address this and similar statements that keep being made of why I’m such an intolerable asshole who got such a well-deserved flaming:

    You stated that victims shared in the responsibility for their rape.

    NO I FUCKING WELL DID NOT. I SAID THE VERY FUCKING OPPOSITE OVER AND OVER AGAIN AND I KEEP GETTING ACCUSED OF HAVING SAID THAT. STOP IT.

    You misunderstood something. That may be largely my fault somehow, but you and a number of other people have got me astonishingly seriously wrong.

    This statement is universally false and damaging.

    Sure it is, if somebody actually says it, and it actually means in context what it clearly appears to mean here. I’m pretty sure I didn’t say that, and didn’t mean to say anything that meant that, though maybe I fucked up and managed to say something that meant that when I meant something else. It’s possible.

    Seriously, people, do not tell me what I said without quoting me verbatim or telling me where exactly where I allegedly said it. Do not put words into my mouth and for fuck’s sake stop repeating this same accusation that I’ve already denied without substantiating it.

  313. says

    Paul:

    IMO the right argument is the truth that I think most of us actually agree on, even if we use the ambiguous term “cause” differently—that yes, such causally contributing factors on the part of a woman can of course exist, but they’re irrelevant for assigning moral blame. A woman doing something (allegedly or actually) imprudent just isn’t an excuse for raping her, full stop.

    You are, at this point, willfully refusing to see what you have done and continue to do. I simply can’t reach any other conclusion. You are so fucking fond of your ‘sittin’ high on a cloud’ objective philosophizing that you simply don’t give a shit about your repeating rape apologetics over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over in rafts of text.

    You have pretty much worn out any goodwill, Paul, so don’t be expecting much on the part of all those you have offended and continue to offend. It’s rather obvious you’re much more enamored of your sophistry than you are in any actual attempt to understand what other people are saying.

  314. Maureen Brian says

    Some of this – you know who you are, gang – has made truly impressive reading. Thanks.

    ______

    Paul W,

    Can you come up with a single, peer-reviewed study which confirms the assumption you refuse to have challenged? That’s the one where the behaviour of the victims can be proved to impact on how many people are raped, where they are raped or even who is raped. Because if you can’t you’ve spent an awful lot of time dribbling on about it.

    As others have noted you’d have been better devoting that time to reading the contributions of those for whom this is not just an exercise in ex post facto rationalisation, also known as the rape culture.

  315. Paul W., OM says

    John,

    I didn’t miss 327; I just haven’t gotten to it.

    I thought there were a lot of misunderstandings in that comment and do not even know where to start.

    Is there something in particular in it that you think is right and good that I have revealed that I missed (or didn’t get)? Can you tell me where I revealed that? Specific verbatim quotes would be good.

  316. sunny12 says

    I know what you’re trying to say Paul – your whole argument can be condensed down to “even if a woman is imprudent it doesn’t matter anyway because the rapist has all the moral blame.”

    However, what I’m taking issue with is the fact that there’s no such thing as a woman (or man or anyone else) even being “imprudent” and “causing” the rape to happen. The crux of the problem lies in these quotes right here:

    IMO that means that it should be entirely okay under some circumstances, if you’re careful about how you do it, to say that a woman may have been raped because she was conventionally “beautiful” and dressed “sexily” and “carelessly” walking alone at night through a dark alley at night in a “bad neighborhood.” It may have been “her fault” in (only) the sense that she was imprudent, not morally at fault, and that would in no way get the rapist off the hook for being 100 percent morally and legally responsible for raping her, as I think he is. And that wouldn’t prevent fully blaming rape culture for the vast majority of such rapes, too, as I think we should.

    I am not saying that most rapes result from actual imprudence, and I don’t think they do. I think the majority of rapes happen to women who are not imprudent—they’re behaving reasonably and responsibly the in the face of ubiquitous risks that entail certain entirely reasonable gambles, and sometimes they lose the gamble.

    That is not a moral fault, and it’s not a fault of imprudence either. A woman who doesn’t take unreasonable or unjustified risks is still fairly likely to get raped. And that sucks hugely of course, and is in no sense her fault.

    You’re drawing a line between “rapes that happen to women who are behaving reasonably” and “rapes that happen to women who aren’t behaving reasonably.” There’s no “right or wrong” way to go about doing that, because it’s not up to you to draw that distinction in the first place.

  317. mildlymagnificent says

    The Invisible Pixels.

    I’m pretty sure there are now more excellent band names on this site than the requisite musicians to play/sing the necessary parts. Though I suppose this particular band need never try to appear anywhere …..

    ‘cos nobody will listen anyway.

  318. says

    Paul W.

    A woman doing something (allegedly or actually) imprudent just isn’t an excuse for raping her, full stop.

    That word, imprudent, take it and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine.
    It’s the same fucking old “what you have to do in order not to get raped” bullshit I’ve been having since I learned the word rape.
    “Of course you should be able to be out after dark, no, I’m not saying it was your fault, but really, it was imprudent. If you hadn’t been out after dark it wouldn’t have happened
    “Really, what were you thinking parking your car there? No, I’m not saying you’re to blame, but that was so stupid of you, you were very lucky that he didn’t manage to rape you. If you had parked your car in the lighted city carpark it wouldn’t have happened.
    “No, it was not ok for him to grab up your skirt and grope you, but if you had worn trousers it wouldn’t have happened!
    Those statements above, they are not made up. They were made to me by friends and family as a reaction to me telling them about assaults and attempted assualts that happened to me.
    They shut me up pretty much. I never ever told anybody in meatspace again about the guy who went after me in the carpark after that was the reaction of my best friend. I most certainly didn’t go to the police and tell them that there’s somebody trying to assault women. Because if my friend reacted like that, how would police officers react?
    And you know what, those people are certainly right in one aspect: If I hadn’t been there, if I hadn’t parked there, if I hadn’t worn that skirt it wouldn’t have happened. To me.
    The bastards would simply have gone looking for another victim.
    Until we’re at the point where women have to police their own lives to an extend that they face more restrictions than a 5 yo (Did you read the article???).
    By agreeing that a woman’s “imprudent” behaviour made that rape possible you’re puting the burden on women. You’re silencing them. You make them look to themselves for the problem.

  319. mildlymagnificent says

    A woman doing something (allegedly or actually) imprudent just isn’t an excuse for raping her, full stop.

    “isn’t an excuse” ??!! There is no excuse for rape …. ever.

    There are plenty of people, even in the rightly despised catholic church, who will say it is morally right for someone to steal food if they have no other way of feeding their children. Many people will say it’s right, or at least justified, to kill someone who is attacking you or someone else with deadly force. In both those cases you may have to face criminal proceedings and if you’re convicted of something, your sentence will be reduced because of those mitigating circumstances.

    There is no such excuse for rape. There is no justification.

  320. bradleybetts says

    @Paul W

    I wasn’t going to wade through your bullshit, other people have done a good enough job, but this infuriated me so I have to.

    “IMO that means that it should be entirely okay under some circumstances, if you’re careful about how you do it, to say that a woman may have been raped because she was conventionally “beautiful” and dressed “sexily” and “carelessly” walking alone at night through a dark alley at night in a “bad neighborhood.” It may have been “her fault” in (only) the sense that she was imprudent, not morally at fault, and that would in no way get the rapist off the hook for being 100 percent morally and legally responsible for raping her, as I think he is. And that wouldn’t prevent fully blaming rape culture for the vast majority of such rapes, too, as I think we should.”

    Here’s the issue; it’s perfectly fine to say to someone “That’s a bad area, don’t go down any dark alleys”. Going into dark secluded areas on your own is always a bad plan. It’s not fine to say “Don’t go out in a short skirt” or any of the other bullshit you just pulled because, and pay attention here, PEOPLE DO NOT GET RAPED FOR LOOKING PRETTY. It’s about power, you douche, the (to my knowledge) entire psychiatric community is united in this belief, and let’s be honest they know better than you.

    Going down a dark alley on your own in an area you know to be high-crime is “imprudent”. But short skirts, being “conventionally beautiful”, being drunk, being “careless” (oh, that one annoyed me) is fuck all to do with it. If someone is stalking you with the intention of raping you then they will find a way to do it, regardless of how careful you are.

    Here’s the bottom line Paul, and get this through your skull, it is the rapist’s fault. Theirs and theirs alone. Now for Jeebus sake be quiet.

  321. bradleybetts says

    Oh shit, I am so angry I phrased all of the above really badly. I can’t be arsed to clarify. Paul, fuck off.

  322. says

    mildlymagnificent:

    “isn’t an excuse” ??!! There is no excuse for rape …. ever.

    But don’t you see? He said it wasn’t an excuse! All us invisible pixels are just misunderstanding him. That whole insistence on bringing up imprudent behaviour on the part of those who are raped, why that’s just plain common sense! How is it that we don’t know that?! Really, there’s just no talking to those of us with pink fluff in our skulls rather than proper brains. It’s a shame, really.

    :near fatal eyeroll:

  323. bradleybetts says

    “You got raped? In an alley? Well, you shouldn’t have gone down the alley then! I mean, you’re conventionally beautiful, so that was rather imprudent of you, wasn’t it? Silly female. What? You were wearing a skirt? And makeup? You slut!”

    *Head explodes*

  324. carlie says

    Paul,
    the concepts of “causal blame” and “imprudence” are only relevant when you’re talking about actions leading to consequences just through physics or other natural laws. If I walk onto a glacier that is too thin, it is imprudence and I am causally to blame if I fall through. This can be extended to animal behavior: if I threaten a dog, I am being imprudent and I have at least some of the causal blame if it bites me. Humans are not in this category. The whole point of us and our brains is that we make decisions on what we do, and we understand the effects of what we do. You are treating rapists as a force of nature, or as an unthinking animal: press button and get response. Place trigger in front of target and get expected result. That statement, that a “beautiful woman” is being “imprudent” by being alive in the presence of a guy, is assuming that he has no control over his own actions. It assumes that the result will naturally follow from the trigger, no matter what, so the woman is being imprudent by “tempting fate”. She is not tempting fate. There is no fate. There is only a man there who is making a conscious decision whether or not to rape her.

  325. carlie says

    Paul, what you’re saying is that a woman can be told “Well, you’re conventionally beautiful, so shit’s going to happen to you. It would be nice if it didn’t, but men, you know them, they just can’t think farther than their dicks, so when they rape you don’t feel too bad, it’s just because you are so pretty they couldn’t help themselves.”

    Or: “Well, you did go out alone and unprotected, so shit’s going to happen to you. It would be nice if it didn’t, but men, you know them, they just can’t think farther than their dicks, so when they rape you don’t feel too bad, it’s just because you thought it was ok to go out alone, and they just can’t help pouncing on someone vulnerable enough to be by themselves.”

    Do you see how vile this is?

  326. Paul W., OM says

    Bradleybetts,

    OK, you’re one of several people who’ve criticized that passage in similar terms and been enraged about the “conventionally beautiful” thing, which was there for a different reason than everybody thinks, but maybe I shouldn’t have put in in there, and I do need to address what people are saying about it.

    I was a bit sloppy about that list of risk factors because whether they are actually the most important risk factors is not very important to the point I was making, which is this:

    Even if this or fact about a woman or her behavior is a causal contributing factor to her getting raped, that is not the kind of causation that affects the placement of blame.

    and as an important corollary:

    None of those listed features (or a bunch of others) can mitigate the rapist’s guilt.

    If you disagree with either of those points, please say which, explicitly.

    If you don’t disagree, please acknowledge that we are in agreement on two very important points, or explain how they’re not very important.

    Seriously. What the fuck, dude?

    Now to explain the “conventional beauty” thing.

    Part of all of this that a lot people seem to miss is that I am largely talking about and critiquing common rape apologist arguments, and explaining why I think they recur, which has to do with why they’re actually wrong. I am not making those arguments myself. I am not a rape apologist, and I am fucking sick of people saying I am.)

    For that purpose, it’s relevant what rape apologists say as well as what is actually true, because I’m criticizing what they say.

    I know that physical appearance is not nearly as big a factor in a woman’s chance of getting raped—nowhere near things like opportunity—but I was under the impression that it is a minor factor, statistically. I could be wrong, and if so, that’s fine with me and I’m sincerely sorry if I perpetuated something that’s just a myth. I am invalidly factor in, whether it’s actually true or not.

    I did not mean to imply that “conventionally pretty” girls get raped a lot more than non-pretty ones do, so less pretty ones don’t have so much to worry about. My impression all along was that the actual numbers were comparable.

    This is one of about a zillion examples of things that people have assumed I say for nefarious, shitheaded reasons. (And fuck anybody in advance who says I’m just weaseling when I respond to such accusations.)

    I was careless there, and maybe my reasons weren’t good or clear enough, but it’s certainly not the kind of thing anybody should be enraged or furious at me about.

    (I’ll address the “imprudence” thing separately in responding to somebody else, since it seems to be another thing where several people are jumping to ridiculous conclusions about me meaning something stupid or sneaky and meaning to take it somewhere stupid and evil.)

    But this is choice bullshit:

    Here’s the bottom line Paul, and get this through your skull, it is the rapist’s fault. Theirs and theirs alone. Now for Jeebus sake be quiet.

    Get this through your fucking skull, asshole. I have said that it is fully the rapist’s fault over and over again, stressing that it is 100 percent the rapists fault.

    Don’t you even fucking know that by now? Can you get anything through your fucking skull?

    And you’re simply and stupidly wrong about it being the rapists’ fault and no one else’s, despite my making that obvious point several times. Of course other people can be guilty, too—people who aid, abet, encourage, allow, fail to prevent, etc.

    Do you seriously disagree with that? If you do, then you are an apologist for rape culture. Get a clue. Rapists are not the whole problem. The fact that they are fully guilty does not mean that there isn’t more guilt to go around. But you knew that, and were just taking lazy, careless cheap shots at me, right? Try reading what I actually wrote.

    Seriously, answer my fucking questions or retract your ridiculous accusations that I’ve already refuted, some of them several times. This is getting really fucking old.

  327. says

    Next time: Traffic with Paul W.
    Nonono, I’m not saying that it’s OK to ignore a red light or it’s the fault of the driver who got T-boned, but I only want to discuss the facts that she indeed drove a blue car. That is imprudent Also, this crossroads is known to be dangerous, there have been accidents before, so, what was she doing there at that time of day driving a blue car?
    What do you mean I should stop blaming the victim?

  328. says

    Paul, in case you’re still reading, there’s something else I’d like you to be aware of – all of us who have been raped or assaulted, and trying like hell to get through to you in this thread, we get to pay a price for that.

    Rape changes you. It changes your life, irrevocably. Permanently. Your life is never the same. You can’t go back and get that life you had, you can’t go back and magic yourself into the person you were before you were raped. The effects vary from individual to individual, of course, but there is a great deal in common across those who are raped. Many of us end up with a lifetime of PTSD. Many of us end up with a lifetime of hypervigilance and sleep disorders. The list goes on. The mental and emotional torture most of us go through afterwards has a lot to do with blaming – we blame ourselves, primarily because that’s what we’ve been taught and trained to do. Even if a woman hasn’t received that particular “don’t be ‘imprudent'” training, she’ll still run the track over and over, blaming herself. Hindsight is a mean thing. Running ’round and ’round that guilt track in your head can be utterly debilitating. You truly have no idea. That’s your privilege.

    For every thread like this (and, oh, there have been so very many of them), and the inevitable game players, JAQers and assorted rape apologists, we have the joy of explaining, in excruciating detail, our experiences, in the vain hope that information will help someone to stop causing harm and damage, and to let those reading know that we will not be silenced. Ever.

    All that, at the end of the day[s], leaves us with terrible, torturous echoes. Faint refrains of all the poisonous, well-meaning things said to us. Images of all the trembling fingers pointing blame at us. Flames, hot and full of shame as the track of what if…why didn’t I… starts and refuses to stop. Nights spent, not in comforting sleep, but awake, huddled, staring, scared, filled with a sadness you cannot even begin to comprehend.

    So, yes, we get damned angry. We have a right to that anger. We have a right to shout, at the top of our voices when someone like you comes along and refuses to take responsibility for their own words and the damage and harm they perpetrate.

  329. sunny12 says

    Part of all of this that a lot people seem to miss is that I am largely talking about and critiquing common rape apologist arguments, and explaining why I think they recur, which has to do with why they’re actually wrong. I am not making those arguments myself.

    IMO that means that it should be entirely okay under some circumstances, if you’re careful about how you do it, to say that a woman may have been raped because she was conventionally “beautiful” and dressed “sexily” and “carelessly” walking alone at night through a dark alley at night in a “bad neighborhood.”

    Contradiction detected. :/

  330. The Mellow Monkey says

    Paul, let me break this down for you:

    When you refer to a woman walking down an alley at night and getting raped as “imprudent”, you are talking about Caine. You are talking about every rape victim who has ever been told that where they were was the cause of their rape. You are repeating the patriarchal argument that societies use when they come up with laws or customs that say a woman can’t leave the home without an escort, can’t go certain places, can’t be out during certain hours.

    When you refer to a woman wearing “sexy” clothing and getting raped as “imprudent”, you are talking about me. You are talking about every rape victim who was asked “and what were they wearing.” You are repeating the patriarchal argument that societies use when they come up with laws or customs that control what a woman can wear and what she can reveal and who she needs to hide her body from.

    When you refer to a woman being “beautiful” and getting raped as “imprudent”, you are talking about every last fucking person on the planet who has been subject to female beauty standards, regardless of their gender. These people who have simultaneously been screamed at that if they aren’t “pretty” enough then they are worse than worthless and their very existence is an insult and an affront to every person whose dick isn’t made hard by looking at them and they should be honored if someone would rape them and if they are “pretty” enough, then they are a semen receptle who is personally responsible for every last hard-on in their vicinity and they are morally obligated to service it.

    That is the world you’re talking about. You might think you can be objective about this. You might think it’s possible to use the word “imprudent” about rape victims and not hurt people, maybe because you’re using it in a hypothetical way or because you’re drawing a distinction between causal blame and moral blame.

    You are wrong. You think that because you’re swimming in rape culture, the same as the rest of us. Your “common sense” has been shaped by rape culture. Your “objective viewpoint” has been shaped by privilege.

    I have hurt people and said shitty things in the past. I’ve even done it right here on Pharyngula. You know what works when you do that? You give a real, genuine apology. Not the “I’m sorry you misunderstood me” bullshit. You say “this is what I said that was wrong; holy shit, I’m sorry, everybody. I’m going to try my hardest not to do that again. Thank you for correcting me.”

    You think you’re adding a nuanced, balanced view that we haven’t considered before. You’re wrong. You’re just regurgitating rape culture. We’ve all got it in our heads already, so it’s nothing new.

  331. Paul W., OM says

    OMG, Carlie, not you too. Please no.

    Do you see how vile this is?

    Of course I do! That is why it’s not what I’m saying—I’m saying that it’s wrong to say things like that.

    I’m only saying that even if those things are causal contributing factors to a woman being raped, that does not mitigate the rapist’s guilt, or put any moral blame on the woman whatsoever.

    I keep saying the anti-rape apologetic stuff, over and over, in varying degrees of detail, and for some reason people keep inverting what I’m saying and accusing me of being a rape apologist. Really.

    And when I ask them where they think I said that, they won’t tell me. Really.

    Please, oh please, if you think that’s what I said, find where I said it and tell me where it is—-post number and paragraph, or a verbatim quote I can search for, or something.

    People keep telling me what they think I said, always in paraphrase, not verbatim, so I can’t just search for it.

    Help! Help!

  332. The Mellow Monkey says

    Paul:

    People keep telling me what they think I said, always in paraphrase, not verbatim, so I can’t just search for it.

    WTF?

    IMO that means that it should be entirely okay under some circumstances, if you’re careful about how you do it, to say that a woman may have been raped because she was conventionally “beautiful” and dressed “sexily” and “carelessly” walking alone at night through a dark alley at night in a “bad neighborhood.”

    This has been repeated in nearly every last goddamn response to you.

  333. mildlymagnificent says

    OK. Maybe I’m not as fed up as some others. So we’ll try another tack for Paul’s thinking this through.

    Let’s leave the issue of rape aside for a few lines. Let’s look at groping, grabbing and other surprise! physical moments. How does someone like Paul regard the bloke at the office or the pub who knows a woman reasonably well, if not as a personal friend, just grabbing a breast or groping the crotch when they find an opportune moment in a corridor or a meeting room or a lift or on the stairs or the way to the toilets? Or the bloke who doesn’t know you at all groping you on a public beach or public transport or at a city intersection or on a public jogging path. In public, in daylight, with other people around. Think about it for a minute.

    If you regard women in these situations as being entirely justified in regarding these men as totally out of order and should have kept their hands to themselves ….. do you have any remarks about these situations that would be equivalent to the ones you’ve advanced so far about rape? Think carefully before you venture down this path.

    So let’s go back to that woman who might have been groped at the beach when she went swimming / surfing. A few hours later she returns home. She’s still in the same bathing suit but she’s now wearing a sarong over it and she’s wearing sandals, sunnies, the usual beachwear stuff. What sort of thing would you say to her if any men tried any of the grabbing or groping on the tram/ train/ bus, or walking to and from the stop, and then to home? Is there any excuse for the men? What “carefully chosen” words might you say to your neighbour, friend, sister, daughter or a total stranger about how she might have avoided such unwanted physical contact?

    And if that unwanted physical contact became attempted or completed rape? Would you say anything different?

  334. Hooloovoo says

    Others have said this better than I, but I feel the need to get it out of my system. Also, I’m sorry if the formatting of this is bad. The preview was awful in ways my HTML elements shouldn’t have created.

    Paul W.:

    It may have been “her fault” in (only) the sense that she was imprudent, not morally at fault, and that would in no way get the rapist off the hook for being 100 percent morally and legally responsible for raping her, as I think he is.

    I am not saying that most rapes result from actual imprudence, and I don’t think they do. I think the majority of rapes happen to women who are not imprudent—they’re behaving reasonably and responsibly the in the face of ubiquitous risks that entail certain entirely reasonable gambles, and sometimes they lose the gamble. That is not a moral fault, and it’s not a fault of imprudence either. A woman who doesn’t take unreasonable or unjustified risks is still fairly likely to get raped.

    The point of the high-risk example was only to say that even if a woman actually acts imprudently and does get raped.

    “Imprudent” is not neutral. You seem to be somewhat aware of that, given that you use inverted commas for the risk factors that come from rape culture assumptions (though not around “imprudent” itself), but still, let’s unpack your use of it. First, let’s agree that it is our culture that gets to draw the line in the sand between high-risk behaviors and what it is “to behave reasonably and responsibly in the face of ubiquitous risks.” Now, is this a real line or not?

    If it is a real line, what that means is that those behaviors are indeed riskier because our culture penalizes them in order to keep women in line. Risky behaviors might vary from your “careless sexy woman alone in bad neighborhood at night” scenario from women being seen by men at all (not to mention going to school or going to a movie with a male friend) . If this is the case, then your characterization of those actions as “imprudent” is technically true, but also incredibly callous. You are saying that women that don’t restrict their actions to conform to the rules of a society that views them as second-class citizens are acting “imprudently”. You are saying that their behavior in not conforming to an unfair rule is a contributing factor to their being punished for it. Again, technically true, but pointless and callous.

    But what if this is not a real line? What if it’s just a way of giving women a false sense of security? (Because they could after all act prudently. It doesn’t matter if it’s their moral fault or not; without their imprudence, that rape wouldn’t have happened.) What if walking alone at night is no riskier than being at home with your male partner? What if it’s less risky? What if there is no distinction between “imprudent” and “reasonable, responsible” behavior in this context, because being a woman is imprudent? In that case, a woman’s behavior was never a “causal contributing factor” to her rape. It is rape culture that claims it was. In that case, Paul W., your use of “imprudent” was not just callous and pointless – it was wrong.

    In the best of cases, you said callous things without any good reason. In the worst case, and I fear that this is what actually happened, you showed you don’t understand rape culture at all while lecturing people about fine-grained distinctions having to do with rape culture.

  335. says

    Paul W

    IMO that means that it should be entirely okay under some circumstances, if you’re careful about how you do it, to say that a woman may have been raped because she was conventionally “beautiful” and dressed “sexily” and “carelessly” walking alone at night through a dark alley at night in a “bad neighborhood.”
    IMO that means that it should be entirely okay under some circumstances, if you’re careful about how you do it, to say that a woman may have been raped because she was conventionally “beautiful” and dressed “sexily” and “carelessly” walking alone at night through a dark alley at night in a “bad neighborhood.”
    IMO that means that it should be entirely okay under some circumstances, if you’re careful about how you do it, to say that a woman may have been raped because she was conventionally “beautiful” and dressed “sexily” and “carelessly” walking alone at night through a dark alley at night in a “bad neighborhood.”
    IMO that means that it should be entirely okay under some circumstances, if you’re careful about how you do it, to say that a woman may have been raped because she was conventionally “beautiful” and dressed “sexily” and “carelessly” walking alone at night through a dark alley at night in a “bad neighborhood.”
    IMO that means that it should be entirely okay under some circumstances, if you’re careful about how you do it, to say that a woman may have been raped because she was conventionally “beautiful” and dressed “sexily” and “carelessly” walking alone at night through a dark alley at night in a “bad neighborhood.”
    IMO that means that it should be entirely okay under some circumstances, if you’re careful about how you do it, to say that a woman may have been raped because she was conventionally “beautiful” and dressed “sexily” and “carelessly” walking alone at night through a dark alley at night in a “bad neighborhood.”

    Good enough?

  336. says

    Paul:

    People keep telling me what they think I said, always in paraphrase, not verbatim, so I can’t just search for it.

    NO. People keep quoting you, from your fucking posts. Perhaps in you weren’t so in love with the sight of your own pontifications, you’d keep your posts brief enough that it wouldn’t be problematic for you to find the bits people are quoting.

  337. The Mellow Monkey says

    Caine:

    Apparently, us invisible pixels also do invisible quotations, too.

    That our “voices” are completely invisible to him would be a hilarious illustration of the kind of rape culture and male privilege we’ve been talking about, if it wasn’t so fucking sad.

  338. Pteryxx says

    So many of y’all are doing incredible work explaining. sunny12 for one:

    You’re drawing a line between “rapes that happen to women who are behaving reasonably” and “rapes that happen to women who aren’t behaving reasonably.” There’s no “right or wrong” way to go about doing that, because it’s not up to you to draw that distinction in the first place.

    QFFnT.

    Paul: to try and make this clearer, there is no “behaving reasonably” or “behaving imprudently”. Analyzing a woman (and pretty much only a woman, as discussed earlier) for supposed contributing factors only happens after the fact – if I understand the concept correctly, it’s simply confirmation bias:

    – A woman was raped,
    – Did this woman have behaviors that could be flagged as ‘imprudent’?
    – Practically anything a woman does or doesn’t do can be flagged as ‘imprudent’, ‘slutty’, ‘asking for it’ etc
    – Pick some ‘imprudent’ behaviors pertaining to this particular rape victim,
    – Assume that because ‘imprudent’ behaviors exist, they were causative.

    It’s just a victim-blaming cold read on a massive scale.

    There is no correlation between how women dress, how they act, or where they go, and the likelihood of someone raping them. The only correlation is the presence of rapists. And since rapists are so common (roughly 1 in 20, remember) and have basically free reign everywhere they choose to operate – at everyone’s work, our classrooms, doctor’s offices, conferences, transit, in our families and homes – searching the women’s behavior for correlations is nothing but a trivial exercise in cherry picking. (And victim-blaming. But that’s been covered by better folks than me.)

    But this exercise also erases the rapist. Try saying:

    – A rapist committed a rape.
    – Why did he do that?

    If your next supposedly logical step is ‘Did the woman do anything imprudent?’ you are doing it wrong. ‘Why do rapists rape’ has some well-supported answers, and they’re along the lines of ‘because they enjoy it’, ‘because they see women as pussy dispensers’ and ‘because they can easily get away with it’. And a major reason they CAN get away with rapes, often multiple rapes, so easily, is because of insistence on searching the raped woman for supposed causative factors after the fact.

    From Paul’s 385 because I’m slow:

    I’m only saying that even if those things are causal contributing factors to a woman being raped,

    Like that.

  339. sunny12 says

    Aside: It makes me incredibly sad to see a conversation like this – because the people making such tactless remarks, then stubbornly digging their heels in when they’re called out on them, always seem so damned clueless about the pain that their words are causing. They’re more focused on shielding themselves from criticism than making amends for the hurt.

    I mean, I don’t think I can actually feel the same depth of pain myself, since I’ve never personally experienced a sexual assault, but bloody hell, I still have enough empathy to realise what the effect of saying something like “I think it’s okay in some circumstances to say that a woman may have been raped because [insert stuff about her looks/clothes/carelessness/location]” can have. :/

    (And since I have a feeling this is going to come up yet again in response to that quote, I’ll repeat that making a distinction between “causal blame” and “moral blame” is utterly pointless, because in the category of “causal blame” you may as well throw in things like “catching a bus,” “going for a jog,” “going shopping,” “staying at home,” “going to school,” “being a woman” – hell, even just “being alive.” All of those things could be considered “imprudent” if you’re going to venture down that path. So please…don’t even go there. Really.)

  340. sunny12 says

    Aaaaand looks like I’ve been ninja’d.

    Paul: to try and make this clearer, there is no “behaving reasonably” or “behaving imprudently”. Analyzing a woman (and pretty much only a woman, as discussed earlier) for supposed contributing factors only happens after the fact – if I understand the concept correctly, it’s simply confirmation bias:

    – A woman was raped,
    – Did this woman have behaviors that could be flagged as ‘imprudent’?
    – Practically anything a woman does or doesn’t do can be flagged as ‘imprudent’, ‘slutty’, ‘asking for it’ etc
    – Pick some ‘imprudent’ behaviors pertaining to this particular rape victim,
    – Assume that because ‘imprudent’ behaviors exist, they were causative.

    It’s just a victim-blaming cold read on a massive scale.

    There is no correlation between how women dress, how they act, or where they go, and the likelihood of someone raping them. The only correlation is the presence of rapists. And since rapists are so common (roughly 1 in 20, remember) and have basically free reign everywhere they choose to operate – at everyone’s work, our classrooms, doctor’s offices, conferences, transit, in our families and homes – searching the women’s behavior for correlations is nothing but a trivial exercise in cherry picking. (And victim-blaming. But that’s been covered by better folks than me.)

    But this exercise also erases the rapist. Try saying:

    – A rapist committed a rape.
    – Why did he do that?

    If your next supposedly logical step is ‘Did the woman do anything imprudent?’ you are doing it wrong. ‘Why do rapists rape’ has some well-supported answers, and they’re along the lines of ‘because they enjoy it’, ‘because they see women as pussy dispensers’ and ‘because they can easily get away with it’. And a major reason they CAN get away with rapes, often multiple rapes, so easily, is because of insistence on searching the raped woman for supposed causative factors after the fact.

    Yup. All of this, right here.

  341. Pteryxx says

    *blush* Thanks, sunny12.

    Heck, I was raped in my own home, in my own bed, by my (supposedly) loving long-term partner who I had plenty of consensual sex with, before and after. How imprudent was that? *snort*

  342. carlie says

    I’m only saying that even if those things are causal contributing factors to a woman being raped,

    It’s that part right there, Paul. Nothing you have mentioned is a causal contributing factor, nothing commonly found in “how to keep yourself from being raped” guides are causal contributing factors. The causal contributing factors to rape happening are all entirely in the head of the rapist, and there is no rhyme or reason or pattern or trend. Rapes are committed everywhere from dark alleys to in a woman’s own locked house in her own bed. They are committed to women from birth to old age. They are committed to women who are beautiful and those who are ugly, to those dressed provocatively and those dressed in burquas.* There aren’t even statistical correlations between those things and rape, much less any evidence that they are causal contributing factors. It doesn’t have anything to do with fault of any kind; it’s simply not true.

    And what I tried to say above is that even if you could pin it on something – wearing red, let’s say. Let’s say that somehow, statistics bear out that 95% of all raped women were wearing red at the time.
    That still doesn’t make wearing red a contributing factor to being raped. It makes seeing red a contributing factor to raping. That might seem simply semantic, but it’s not. There’s a world of difference between those two statements, psychologically and sociologically and politically.

    *And even after I wrote the above comment about how rapes aren’t a force of nature, I originally wrote “rapes happen to” in this comment and then had to change it to “rapes are committed to”, because that assumption of it being something that “happens” as a force of nature is so embedded in our society. They don’t “happen”. People and their interactions are not direct cause-effect scenarios (oh that it were, and all of those “how do I make him/her fall in love with me/stop abusing me/leave me alone/pay attention to me/give me a raise/ questions could be answered!) You simply can’t say that a particular action will lead to a particular reaction in another person. And when you say “causal”, that is the definition of causal. One particular thing causes another.

  343. carlie says

    Pteryxx, I swear I was composing mine that whole time and didn’t see that you just said basically the exact same thing already!

  344. rowanvt says

    What should we do? Of course we shouldn’t grant the point that she was imprudent if there wasn’t good evidence for that, and may argue that she wasn’t, but the more general point is that even if she was, it doesn’t fucking matter to the rapist’s guilt. Her behavior may or may not have been among the causes of the rape, and may even have fully caused it in the low-level, morally irrelevant sense, along with a bunch of other irrelevant stuff, but just denying that it could have been a contributing factor doesn’t work—it could have, unless we know otherwise.

    Sentences like the one bolded are why people are saying you are blaming women for getting raped. Because you are.

    I mean, come one. Look at that last bit in the bold.

    …and may even have fully caused it

    But no, you’re not putting any assignation of blame on the woman, it’s not her fault, she merely caused herself to be raped.

  345. says

    Carlie, every voice counts. And who knows who Paul will find to be respectable enough to actually listen to? So far, he hasn’t been very interested in what the Invisible Pixels have had to say.

  346. The Mellow Monkey says

    Maybe if one of us made a sock puppet named Dr. Vulcan who just C&Ped posts from the Invisible Pixels minus all personal pronouns he’d notice.

  347. rr says

    Paul W:

    To say that something is “part of human nature” is ambiguous…

    To say something is part of (our alleged) human nature is worthless. Unless you can point me to the literature that defines EXACTLY what is and isn’t a part of (our alleged) human nature. Saying something is due to (alleged) human nature is as useful as saying god did it. It provides cover for men committing rape. It provides an excuse for men to force women to wear burqas. It’s a goddamn waste of time and effort.

  348. says

    The Mellow Monkey:

    Maybe if one of us made a sock puppet named Dr. Vulcan who just C&Ped posts from the Invisible Pixels minus all personal pronouns he’d notice.

    Hahahahahahaha. That would be a most interesting experiment.

  349. nightshadequeen says

    Paul W.

    As I said before: If you honestly believe it’s part of human nature to be rape, you should be arguing that we should lock up all the rapists forever.

    “Men are attacking women, not the other way around. If there is going to be a curfew, let the men be locked up, not the women.” -Golda Meir

  350. Paul W., OM says

    Caine, Gilliel, and numerous others.

    Fuck me and mea culpa about that endlessly repeated quote.

    That is, this one:

    IMO that means that it should be entirely okay under some circumstances, if you’re careful about how you do it, to say that a woman may have been raped because she was conventionally “beautiful” and dressed “sexily” and “carelessly” walking alone at night through a dark alley at night in a “bad neighborhood.”

    I thought I had responded to that one already, but I can’t find that. I partly addressed it in 380, too, but only in passing.

    I do understand why that is inflammatory as it stands, and doesn’t sound right, but I thought I’d posted a pretty clear response and people were just ignoring the context and explanation I gave, and reposting the quote, out of context, which was annoying the fuck out of me.

    I AM VERY SORRY ABOUT THAT.

    I know that must have been extremely frustrating, and I am very sorry for trying your patience that way. REALLY.

    I will reconstruct and repost that.

    And Caine, I’m sorry for making it sound like nobody was quoting me, when obviously that was entirely false.

    When I said that people keep quoting paraphrases of things they claim I said, and won’t tell me where, I did not mean everybody, or that there weren’t people posting quotes.

    I had pioritized those non-quotes because I thought it would be easy and quick to show I hadn’t said those very bad things, if I could find the places people interpreted that way.

    Sorry for making its sound like everybody was doing only that, which I didn’t mean at all. I understand that that must have been infuriating too.

  351. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    Rapists are not the whole problem. The fact that they are fully guilty does not mean that there isn’t more guilt to go around. But you knew that, and were just taking lazy, careless cheap shots at me, right? Try reading what I actually wrote.

    Rapists ARE the problem. The only extra guilt to go around to rape apologists assholes like you! BECAUSE you HELP the RAPIST!

    Is that clear enough? We’ve all been fucking quoting you, it’s not our fault you only want to focus on the 2 sentences in a million where you say, “But it’s the rapists fault.” We want to focus on all the other bullshit you are trying to excuse because it makes those 2 sentences a LIE.

    And if your whole point in this is trying to argue against rape apologist, GO DO THAT. And if you thought about it, it says a whole fucking lot that the very people you are trying to help, disagree so much with your “arguments”.

  352. says

    Paul:

    I will reconstruct and repost that.

    Please, do not do that, I am begging you. Why? Because there is simply no defense of what you wrote – there is no context, of any kind, anywhere, in any ‘verse that will make what you wrote okay. What you wrote is wrong and the reasons it’s wrong have been beyond explained to you.

    Instead, just read what we have all spent time writing and try to absorb what we have tried so hard to impart. Please, you have a chance to really learn something here – don’t fuck it up by going back and trying to defend the indefensible. Please.

  353. Gregory Greenwood says

    Paul W., OM @ 385;

    I keep saying the anti-rape apologetic stuff, over and over, in varying degrees of detail, and for some reason people keep inverting what I’m saying and accusing me of being a rape apologist. Really.

    And when I ask them where they think I said that, they won’t tell me. Really.

    Please, oh please, if you think that’s what I said, find where I said it and tell me where it is—-post number and paragraph, or a verbatim quote I can search for, or something.

    People keep telling me what they think I said, always in paraphrase, not verbatim, so I can’t just search for it.

    Help! Help!

    There are several problematic elements among your remarks on this topic. For example, there is the fact that you create this curious distinction between ‘causal blame’ and ‘moral blame’ @ 255;

    It’s important to separate the merely causal notion of “blame” from the moral notion of blame. Conflating the two often leads to flameage, and so does misunderstanding someone else as conflating the two when they’re not.

    ‘Causal blame’ makes no sense as a concept – the phrase ‘blame’ in itself implies a concept of moral responsibility for an action or event. Identifying the particular chain of causality that leads to a certain event is not a matter of moral judgement in and of itself, whereas determining ultimate moral responsibilty for that specific event is. Applying the word ‘blame’ – in whatever context – to the victim of rape is a very charged use of language indeed that will function as victim blaming (and thus rape apologia) even if that is not your intent.

    However, the passage people are principally referring to is from your post @ 255 where you wrote;

    IMO that means that it should be entirely okay under some circumstances, if you’re careful about how you do it, to say that a woman may have been raped because she was conventionally “beautiful” and dressed “sexily” and “carelessly” walking alone at night through a dark alley at night in a “bad neighborhood.” It may have been “her fault” in (only) the sense that she was imprudent, not morally at fault, and that would in no way get the rapist off the hook for being 100 percent morally and legally responsible for raping her, as I think he is. And that wouldn’t prevent fully blaming rape culture for the vast majority of such rapes, too, as I think we should.

    (My emphasis)

    Firstly, you are talking here about stranger rape, when by far the most common form of rape is acquaintance rape.

    Secondly, the scenario you choose – the conventionally attractive woman who is dressed ‘sexily (just a different phrase effectively meaning ‘provocatively’ in this usuage) walking down a dark alley in a bad neighbourhood at night – is the standard fare of rape apologists. It includes many of the victim blaiming tropes – why was she out so late? What was she doing in that neighbourhood? Why did she dress so provocatively? – that are regularly used by rape apologists in a bid to either minimise the horror of rape or try to claim that the victim bears at least part of the responsibility for the rape by ‘asking for it’, rather than making it clear that the moral obligation falls solely upon rapists not to rape. Why should women be expected to have to live in constant fear of rapists? Why should they be required to live lives curtailed by limitations placed upon them in order to remove the notional opportunity or ‘temptation’ to rape from rapists? Why shouldn’t the sole moral burden for rape lie with those who commit the act of rape?

    There is also the fact that the ‘pretty women in sexy clothes in a bad neighbourhood at night’ scenario accounts for only a fraction of rapes, even if we leave aside the far more common class of acquaintance rapes. Women are attacked in broad daylight all the time. The militaries of several countries have a serious problem with epidemic levels of rape and sexual assault of female service personnel by their male colleagues – these women aren’t exactly dressing in a self consciously ‘sexy’ fashion; they are often in uniform when they are attacked.

    Then there are countries where the culture mandates that women wear burkas or other attire that covers them from head to toe, is designed to obscure the form of the body of the wearer as much as possible, and could not by any stretch of the imagination be called ‘sexy'; and yet those socities still have serious problems with rape – how were those women ‘imprudent’? What more could they have done to avoid ‘tempting’ rapists?

    And you compound all of this by using the terms ‘careless’ and ‘imprudent’ to describe a woman who is conventionally attractive, dresses in a fashion that pleases her, and doesn’t stick only to the patriachy-approved ‘nice neighbourhoods’ while making sure to scurry home and lock and bar all the doors and windows before nightfall. These terms are loaded; they imply that women who don’t conform to these social injunctions are irresponsible, that they – the victims, let’s not forget – should have known better than to… what?

    Believe that they have the right to live their life according to the same freedoms and standards as those accorded to men?

    Expect men to behave as more than base rape-beasts with no self control?

    Expect society to blame the rapists who rapes rather than that rapist’s victim for being irresponsibly ‘out while female’?

    Think of themselves as citizens living under the shield of law, rather than members of the diposeable ‘sex class’?

    These words ‘careless and imprudent’, employed in this context, replicate one of the most damaging victim blaming tropes of all:- that a woman who doesn’t behave as if she must be perpetually vigilant – never able to relax, never able to forget that her vagina paints a bull’s eye on her back, never able to just be a person, just be herself rather than the keeper of a vagina – is a fool. And worse than just a fool; she sould expect that her failure to be paranoid enough about rape will mean that in some measure society will blame her for her rape.

    Can’t you see how terrible a thing this is to say to a rape victim? How much more difficult it makes it for rape victims to come forward when such attitudes are commonplace in society? How much the damage this victim blaming mentality compounds the trauma of the rape itself by saying that women who are raped would not have been raped if only the weren’t such flighty idiots?

    Saying that;

    There’s plenty of causation and blame to go around, so blaming one thing just isn’t the same thing as excusing another.

    Suggests that there is substantial blame to be applied beyond the rapist themselves, and could even be read as implying that there is some parity of blame between rapist and victim (though I do not believe that this was what you meant). This is a terribly damaging thing to say on a thread on a site that is read by several regulars who are rape victims themselves.

    I hope that this post helps clarify to you why your remarks have made so many people so justifiably angry.

  354. Pteryxx says

    So far, he hasn’t been very interested in what the Invisible Infuriated Pixels have had to say.

    Couple more credibility points to the Straw Vulcan theory… *headdesk*

    Paul W: people being frustrated and infuriated with you really, really should not be your primary concern here. Addressing that would be treating a symptom and ignoring the cause. Please reconsider.

    If you are ever, ever in a conversation about anything relating to gender expression, sexism, male/female relations, etc, and you catch yourself thinking, “She doesn’t understand, and I need to explain this to her,” stop. Walk away from the discussion (if it’s online) or shut your mouth (if it’s in person), and ask yourself: is it really that “she doesn’t understand”? Or is it that she’s coming from a place so different than yours that you feel like she doesn’t understand your position? Do you think she doesn’t understand your position because she doesn’t agree with your position?

    from Caine’s excerpts of Nice Guy 101:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/01/02/matt-dillahunty-being-all-reasonable-and-stuff/comment-page-1/#comment-526651

    Main essay here: http://synecdochic.livejournal.com/214607.html?nojs=1

  355. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Paul, please don’t repost. Please be quiet. Please go away—for a couple of days if necessary—and ponder this before you come back.

    You’re wrong.

    You’re not misunderstood.

    You misunderstand your own actions; it’s not other people.

    I am about as disgusted as I could possibly be with you, far beyond what I ever expected when I saw your nym. That other people you consider your friends are saying the same thing in unison ought to tell you something.

    It’s not that they misunderstand you. More words won’t help. Longer posts and finer dicing won’t help. The entire premise of your argument is wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

    Please shut up and think. Or just shut the fuck up here and now.

  356. says

    Gregory Greenwood:

    This is a terribly damaging thing to say on a thread on a site that is read by several many regulars and readers who are rape victims themselves.

    Fixed that for you. I think there are a lot of people here who are unaware of the sheer amount of rape/assault survivors there are here, both commentating and reading.

  357. says

    I’m going to repeat this, while jumping up and down and hollering, in the vain hope it will be seen in time: PAUL! PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE.

    Paul:

    I will reconstruct and repost that.

    Please, do not do that, I am begging you. Why? Because there is simply no defense of what you wrote – there is no context, of any kind, anywhere, in any ‘verse that will make what you wrote okay. What you wrote is wrong and the reasons it’s wrong have been beyond explained to you.

    Instead, just read what we have all spent time writing and try to absorb what we have tried so hard to impart. Please, you have a chance to really learn something here – don’t fuck it up by going back and trying to defend the indefensible. Please.

  358. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    In case I’m not an Invisible Pixel and my post is accessible by your visual sensory system: What Caine said above.

  359. says

    Pteryxx:

    So far, he hasn’t been very interested in what the Invisible Infuriated Pixels have had to say.

    On my better days, I’m an Infuriated Pixel. Right now, I’m a shaky, nauseous, about to vomit pixel. I can’t take much more of this.

  360. Gregory Greenwood says

    Caine, Fleur du mal + @ 412;

    Fixed that for you. I think there are a lot of people here who are unaware of the sheer amount of rape/assault survivors there are here, both commentating and reading.

    Absolutely true – I didn’t mean to minimise the sheer scale and prevalence of this problem, and I apologise for doing so in this thoughtless fashion. As you say, there are doubtless very large numbers of both commenters and readers of Pharyngula who are rape survivors, given that current statistics indicate that one in six women will be raped during the course of their lives, and that is a low-ball figure. And of course, that doesn’t even cover the male victims of rape.

  361. erikthebassist says

    Paul I get that you are trying to backtrack and say you were presenting the hypothetical rape apologist argument and trying to dismantle it. We all do, and it’s bullshit.

    You’re trying to weasel out of taking responsibility for saying something that you never should have said.

    You have two choices, keep doubling down and trying to convince people that’s not what you meant, or apologize for saying it, and explain how your thinking has been corrected. No one gives a shit what you thought you meant or what you are now trying to say you meant.

    All I care about is the collateral damage your thoughtless intellectual wankery has caused and will continue to cause if you don’t pull your head out of your ass.

  362. says

    jesus fucking christ.

    I have once traveled from Germany to California to spend summer with two guys I knew off the internet.
    I have spent a summer living in a frat-house, getting plastered with the frat-guys.
    I have accepted rides from strangers.
    I have done an epic fuckload of other similarly “imprudent” things in my life.

    I’ve never been raped. Because none of these actions cause rape.

    Now, if you want to go all Spock on this shit, you could say that in order for person A to rape person B (instead of some other person), causal events must occur that bring persons A and B into geographical proximity with each other, and that some of these causal events were choices made by person B. This would be trivially true, and entirely meaningless to any discussion, because it’s true for absolutely everything.

    However, mentioning it in the context of rape and then calling the causal events “imprudent” is an action that reinforces rape culture. Because actions that bring one into the proximity of rapists are NOT “imprudent”. They are trivial. They are things like “accepting job offer”; “moving into building”; “crossing the street here, instead of three blocks down”; “taking elevator instead of stairs”; etc.

    But even this spockish tack of saying that these choices “caused” the rape is wrongly deterministic, because even being in geographical proximity of a bunch of rapists doesn’t cause rape. It always requires the causal event “person A choses to rape”, and without it there simply won’t be a rape. Example: that summer I spent in the frat-house? Some of the men around me were rapists. They would, later, admit that getting women too drunk to say “no” was something that was done at the frat-parties these guys threw and attended.
    But I wasn’t raped by these rapists. Because for whatever reason, they decided not to pick me as a target of rape. Not even after I made out drunkenly with a stripper.

    None of the actions I’ve taken are causal to rape.

    Is that clear enough now?

  363. athyco says

    Paul:

    I’m not gratuitously bringing it up because I want to make those arguments myself, as some people seem to assume. (But you don’t seem to.) I’m bringing it up because I want to correctly explain how and why those arguments are actually fucking wrong.

    Before I commented, Paul, I’d copied your first post into a word-processing document. You did spend a lot of time (5 pages) trying to get it right. It was clear to me that you were not doing anything “gratuitous.” It was clear to me that you condemn anyone trying to say that a person saying “conventionally beautiful,” “dark alley,” “imprudent” is doing it WRONG. You want to explore techniques for using a deadlier rhetorical weapon to slay such an argument, and your use of “maybe” 10 times, “seem(s)” 6 times, and “might” another 6 let me know that you were exploring, not expounding. However, your method does nothing but pull us into that irrelevant, fallacious wallow.

    I tend think that’s worth doing because one way we fail to persuasively rebut crappy arguments is by failing to address the actual flaw, in ways that people we’re arguing against do notice and make us sound wrong, e.g., like we’re denying the obvious fact that there can be causally contributing factors, when in fact what we’re only denying that those are the particular interesting sort of contributing factors that could put moral blame on the victim and be mitigating factors for the rapist.

    Let’s go back to your perfect break in pool. A player who doesn’t make a perfect break then tells you why: OK, yes, he straightened too quickly as he made the stroke, BUT his cue stick wasn’t as friction free as it should have been, it wasn’t chalked adequately, the balls were not in the right place; their resiliency was not within acceptable parameters, your hands as you racked the balls imparted oils, the table wasn’t level because your tools to measure it weren’t exact enough or used accurately, there was lint and chalk dust in the exact areas to deflect important trajectories, some pocket edges were slightly out of true, the nap on the rail cushion was brushed the wrong way, the humidity affected the felt, the light above the table flickered at the exact moment in the stroke to affect hand/eye coordination, the heating vent caused air current eddies at the far right of the table, you didn’t soundproof the room well enough to block out the sound of a car passing outside. It can go on forever, can’t it? And it gets ridiculous when we’re only talking about making a break in pool. No one would allow it. Your concession of causally–but not morally!–contributory factors for rape, however, leads us directly there.

    Since it does so WITHOUT a bright line dividing causally AND morally from causally BUT NOT morally, you’ve fucked us over to argue every little detail. Who benefits from that? The rapist and the apologist.

    Whether I’m right about that or not—maybe I can’t turn this into a more effective strategy for countering actual arguments from actual rape apologists—I tend to think it’s worth understanding where the problem with the argument actually is, exactly, amongst ourselves.

    We do understand it, but you can’t turn this into a more effective strategy. Here, your “right” is even less than not effective; the rhetorical weapon opens the bearer up for a thousand unnecessary cuts. It will become the pool player bringing up lint, then once that’s countered turning to the soundproofing. Then one of his friends will ask to see the spirit level you used and documentation from the engineer that the house itself hasn’t settled since you last used it. And as you dig up the engineer’s report, you see that 40 more friends are lining up with their questions–and talking on their cell phones to bring in their friends.

    IMO the right argument is the truth that I think most of us actually agree on, even if we use the ambiguous term “cause” differently—that yes, such causally contributing factors on the part of a woman can of course exist, but they’re irrelevant for assigning moral blame. A woman doing something (allegedly or actually) imprudent just isn’t an excuse for raping her, full stop.

    Bolded part. That’s where we agree. We think that more people, hit hard with scorn for wallowing in the irrelevant and fallacious, will stop doing it. We think that hitting hard supports and empowers victims. We think that your nuance weakens and prolongs the argument. We think that the well-meaning benefit you envision is infinitesimal in comparison with the flashbacks of shaming/blaming victims will have to endure–again and again–by trying your method.

  364. says

    Paul @363

    HOW COULD THEY HAVE MISUNDERSTOOD ME?!? WAAAAHHHH!!!!

    Well, let’s explain how.

    First let’s take about what you want to say. What you think your careful phrasing is succeeding to say. This is where you think you are and that us mean old invisible pixels are just being mean to ignore.

    What should we do? Of course we shouldn’t grant the point that she was imprudent if there wasn’t good evidence for that, and may argue that she wasn’t, but the more general point is that even if she was, it doesn’t fucking matter to the rapist’s guilt.

    Ugh, yeah, just threading a needle here, but don’t worries I totally understand that rape’s all a rapist’s fault. I mean, I’ve stated it enough times that obviously that lesson MUST have penetrated past the surface level, right? Right?

    And here’s where it falls off the rails and we get to what you actually end up saying and why we mean nasty irrational women-folk end up getting pissy with you.

    Her behavior may or may not have been among the causes of the rape, and may even have fully caused it in the low-level, morally irrelevant sense, along with a bunch of other irrelevant stuff, but just denying that it could have been a contributing factor doesn’t work—it could have, unless we know otherwise.

    Here.

    Now, I’m sure to you, this is simply a healthy continuation of the previous sentence, hence why it is in the same paragraph. That it is saying the same types of things.

    But it’s not. The words are transparently attempting to be the same, but the cultural assumptions are coming through way clearer than the lesson of “rapes are the fault of the rapists”. Here, despite all the setup in trying to convince yourself that you truly do understand that rapists rape and it’s not the woman’s fault, you end up saying otherwise.

    Oh sure, it shouldn’t assign moral blame, but man , it really could have contributed to it, you know in a meaningless way that really doesn’t matter and totally has a nasty extremely triggering history behind it, but shouldn’t we… focus… on…

    And bam, the cultural thrust of the statement ends up carrying more the notion that woman can affect their rapes, that their is something “smart women” can do to avoid them. That there is something women can do to deserve them. And that’s what ends up resonating and shouting the most clearly because it’s the one coming from the deeper level.

    Also, Paul?

    Consider a perfect break in pool. We would often talk about that having a cause—the break shot is the cause of the break. But that’s not the only cause of the break—it’s just the cause we’re usually interested in when we’re talking about playing pool, but lots of other things contribute equally to the occurrence of a perfect break—all the other balls have to be in the right places and have the right resiliency, the table has to be level, and so on. Each of them is equally necessary for the perfect break to happen—change any one of them much, and a perfect break will not occur.
    So literally, at a low—and admittedly usually very uninteresting level—a perfect break has dozens of causes—the presence of the balls, their initial positions, details of the felt and so on. Each of those things causes the perfect break just as much as the properties of the shot—if you change any one of them much, the perfect break doesn’t happen.
    That’s usually a stunningly boring observation that’s admittedly not worth making for most purposes, because we all pretty much know that and can safely ignore it to play pool—we can pretend that it’s the cue shot that uniquely causes the perfect break. It’s the interesting cause to talk about that we’d likely call the cause.

    I’m not sure you get how dehumanizing, dismissive, and destructive this metaphor is. Women are not pool balls. They are not passive objects. And yes, I get that you know that already, I don’t think you are an idiot.

    My point is that when you reduce often traumatic life experiences of women into a passive object metaphor you are participating in (even if you don’t realize it) in a culture where the dominant response to rape narratives is to completely ignore women’s accounts and where women in general are often treated as passive objects rather than people.

    And that’s also where the metaphor falls apart. A) We’re not talking about the perfect rape (whatever the hell that would be), the weather does not need to be an even 76 degrees, etc… we’re talking about rape. And rape happens in any possible way to any possible person. B) Those balls, their position, whether or not they’ve got that little stripe on that just makes them so “inviting” next to the corner pocket (AND DO YOU SEE HOW DEHUMANIZING THIS METAPHOR IS YET?), doesn’t really matter, doesn’t really even cause anything unless you are willing to go so far up into abstract philosophy and “don’t we cause things by existing in the first place” stuff that we end up treating living breathing women as passive meaningless pool balls and something real and traumatic as a simple intellectual exercise that should meter as little caution as walking through a nice park. C) For a deconstruction, you seem to spend as little time regarding why this damaging myth has such staying power in our culture and such emotional resonance for rapists and rape apologists as you do dwelling on the actual rape victims. Why are you so hesitant to eviscerate the myth in a long setup purporting to do just that? That’s a far more interesting question.

    And D) The whole problem of nearly all your examples and conversation is that your observation is incredibly boring. It doesn’t add anything. It says nothing interesting, does nothing to contradict messages and in fact you’ve had to rely on other people’s work in pointing out things to even manage “trying not to be an asshole”.

    So why say it?

    Why fixate on it? Why let yourself be led along a cultural pathway to points where you end up saying things wherein you are going “well, gosh isn’t this rancid little turd of an observation something?” Why let it be your be all end all response and why is it so important to erase the narratives, life-experiences, and real lived emotions of rape victims to explore it?

    And most importantly, why ignore the reality of the statement in its supposed deconstruction. Not the “I understand dispassionately that this is a giant pile of monkey balls”, but rather the emotional reality of that statement to the victims. To victims, this observation isn’t “la de la, pool ball metaphor, this subject might as well be the theoretical harvest of moon crops to me”.

    (TRIGGER WARNING)To victims it is the continuation of rape after the fact. The voice in one’s head constantly bleating that they shouldn’t have worn that, drank that, been at the same party as X, shouldn’t have trusted that family member, should have realized what was happening sooner, shouldn’t have gone alone, shouldn’t have gotten cornered, should have fought back better, should have done… something, something THEY can control to make it so they can be safe again.

    Because that’s what rape takes away. Agency and safety. Even if we weren’t in a deeply fucked up society that casually uses this myth to assume that women who get raped must have deserved it, this would be a powerful myth for rape victims themselves. Because it’s seductive in its horrifying way. If they just did 1 dumb thing, then all they need to do to regain agency and safety and return to a state of being where they don’t feel paranoid is avoid that one single thing. Because we don’t want to live in a world where this can just happen from anyone anywhere, especially people you trust and think well of.

    And that’s what a deconstruction of this myth needs to be hyper-aware of. This isn’t a meaningless thought experiment to rape victims, this is the way rape victims tear themselves up inside and remove all the blame from the rapist, because why not, everyone else it and at least this way they can sleep at night and visit their friends, and walk down the street at night without freaking the fuck out.

    And that brings me up to a very important final point.

    The observation about a woman “causing” her own rape in that irrelevant, low-level geeky sense often becomes annoyingly relevant in rape discussions because other people bring it up and use it to make fallacious arguments.
    I’m not gratuitously bringing it up because I want to make those arguments myself, as some people seem to assume. (But you don’t seem to.) I’m bringing it up because I want to correctly explain how and why those arguments are actually fucking wrong.

    You may have noticed that I and many other women put up something that goes (TRIGGER WARNING) up when we start talking about rape accounts, post-rape mental processing, and the state of mind we experienced after we were raped.

    And that’s kind of important because it’s a “contributing factor” (yes, it is pointed, isn’t it?) to why people are not “hey, dude, privilege much” but rather “fuck you privilege douche”. When you are talking about your fancy dehumanized thought experiment where women are like brightly colored balls and the only person with agency is the rapist with the shot (seriously, watch your metaphors), you are tripping constantly over modes of thought, arguments used against people, and ways people have minimized their life experiences when they’ve finally gotten brave to tell someone.

    These are triggers and what is triggered really does matter and it doesn’t make those triggered “hysterical” or “bad readers” or “reading something in my posts that isn’t there”. It means you lack the cultural awareness of women’s life experiences (to be fair to you, it’s mostly because women are regularly shut out of the conversation) and thus blunder constantly into deeply triggering statements, metaphors, and attitudes while failing to say anything meaningful for all of that damage.

    And I think that’s why people are being far harsher to you than you think your various privilege mistakes deserve.

    But seriously, man, if you’re not going to go anywhere with this crap other than minimizing it to a meaningless thought experiment that couldn’t possibly affect real people, then maybe you should back off and read more until you really are ready to eviscerate that argument. Or better yet, read all the people who’ve been doing a better job than you.

    Cause they are.

  365. says

    There is no such excuse for rape. There is no justification.

    Have you thought much about what rape really is, Paul W.?

    It’s a specialized form of torture.

    That’s all. It’s a particular form of torture used to keep everyone in line with patriarchal gender roles.

    Factors you can attribute to the victims that increase the risk of sexual assault? Inevitably, if you look at the research, it’s characteristics that lower the likelihood of the victim reporting the crime. Rapists prefer victims who are intoxicated, disabled, and marginalized, if we can go by the relative incidence of assault in those populations as indicating rapists’ preference. Women of color, Native American women, are more likely to be assaulted than white women. Most women and men who are assaulted are assaulted sometime before age 24; rapists rape younger people because they are less likely to recognize the red flags. Developmentally disabled girls and women also face a higher risk than able bodied girls and women. Sex workers are targeted because they have less recourse to law enforcement than other women and men, and that’s saying a lot, because law enforcement officers generally don’t take it seriously to begin with.

    Nobody who is raped is raped because they are sexy. If anything, people get raped because they are vulnerable to begin with.

    Spreading myths about how it’s the sexy that triggers rape is wrong AND harmful. Restating it won’t change that.

  366. says

    Oh and here’s how you could have used your terrible analogy better Paul:

    (TRIGGER WARNING)We can analyze til we’re blue in the face what those balls did to be sunk into those holes. We can note the flame red color on the one sitting right next to the pocket, the ugly yellow and white stripe on the one just chilling against a wall not really standing out, the way the blue one stayed close to friends while the green one was all by itself, etc… but until we look at the guy with the stick. Until we analyze HIM with the same ferocious scrutiny and stop trying to correlate it with all this data we’ve got on the balls (i mean surely having data must mean something), then we’re never going to know anything worth knowing on why he sunk those balls into the pockets and realize that for all his talk of “easy shots”, “trick balls”, etc… the name of the game is to get them all, against their will, into a position they don’t want. Anything else might as well be meaningless intellectual masturbation into the ball tray.

    But seriously, Paul, I think your greatest mistake is thinking your intellectual exercise is A) accomplishing anything, B) is safe to disconnect from real experiences because of anti-real-world biases in the field of modern philosophy, and C) hasn’t been done better by more competent people long before you ever thought up this “oh so clever” thought experiment.

  367. says

    carlie @398

    You simply can’t say that a particular action will lead to a particular reaction in another person. And when you say “causal”, that is the definition of causal. One particular thing causes another.

    Holy shit, that’s it!

    I’ve been feeling vaguely bugged by how he was using causal and couldn’t quite parse it out, but this is totally it.

    He’s taking meaningless correlation and assuming a causal chain because of debate-club chicanery and then trying to deny the argument he ends up actually making by using the phrase “causal”.

    Causal means causing another thing. And establishing that sort of thing is hard work. There are a lot of meaningless correlations in any study, some that even have cultural assumptions of causality, and it’s important to resist that rhetorical direction and really look at what actually causes these events in a meaningful real way.

    Anything else diminishes what causal means and allows all sorts of pathways for correlation data to be treated as causal when it isn’t. Or worse, as is used in rape apologetics, something that isn’t even correlated as a causal link that “just makes sense” because of our cultural attitudes about women.

    Ironically, the reason Paul makes such an ass of himself is not entirely his fault, but rather because of the way he can’t dodge this cultural “makes sense” and the way it therefore worms into his arguments repeatedly and “seems interesting and causal” when it’s just a pile of victim-blaming ignorant bullshit that completely ignores the reality of the situation.

  368. Paul W., OM says

    Gregory Greenwood:

    It’s important to separate the merely causal notion of “blame” from the moral notion of blame. Conflating the two often leads to flameage, and so does misunderstanding someone else as conflating the two when they’re not.

    ‘Causal blame’ makes no sense as a concept – the phrase ‘blame’ in itself implies a concept of moral responsibility for an action or event. Identifying the particular chain of causality that leads to a certain event is not a matter of moral judgement in and of itself, whereas determining ultimate moral responsibilty for that specific event is.

    You are right that causal blame makes no sense as a concept, which is why I put scare quotes around the word “blame” in that phrase, but not when referring to actual moral blame—it’s “blame” in a related sense which people do use and understand, (and frequently in my field). That is confusing, and I knew it needed clarification, was which is the very next sentence after what you quote gives an example of what I mean, which IMO does make sense, and does make sense of that metaphorical usage—though evidently still not clearly enough:

    I may blame the malfunctioning of my cell phone on a short circuit, but that’s different from morally censuring it. Identifying causes is just not the same thing as placing moral blame, though it’s often relevant in nonobvious ways.

    I don’t think I’m saying anything controversial there, though I agree the terminology is awkward. (Certainly nothing that should make anybody want to punch me in the face, as it evidently does some people.)

    People do understand expressions like this:

    I was sure that it was Jeff who farted, but he blamed it on the dog.

    My car wouldn’t start so I took it to my mechanic; she blamed the alternator.

    The bug in the program is in the main code; don’t blame the FFT library.

    The dog, the alternator, and the code are “blamed” for certain problems, even though they are not moral agents at all.

    Do you actually have any problem understanding what I mean there, or just not like the terminology, or what? For what it’s worth, I agree it’s awkward, but but it’s a useful concept—-you can attribute causation of events to various things without also attributing moral blame.

    Because I realized that was awkward terminology, I tried to shift to using a similarly morally neutral sense of the word cause, which I didn’t realize would be so hard for people to accept, because it’s a correct literal usage that’s very common in scientific discussions where agency is not in question.

    At that point I considered making a couple of analogies to make it clear what that sense of cause was and that I was not using the word incorrectly, but didn’t want to be verbose, and when I did make them, it was too late. Too many people were already certain that many of my statements about things causing rape were false, and my later clarifications.

    One of those was the pool break analogy. When we talk about the cue ball movement causing a break, that’s just literally true, even though pool balls are moral agents. That’s the sense of cause I needed to express what I was trying to say, and I tried to make it clear by frequently contrasting mere low-level causation like that with being to blame in the moral sense.

    Clearly, some causal events do not involve an attribution of blame, right? That is obvious in the case of pool balls, right? Everybody knows they’re not moral agents, so it can’t mean blaming in the moral sense, so they get it.

    I tried to use that correct and literal sense of “cause” when talking about people, because there are causal relations involving people that also do not imply moral blame.

    And that is something I’ve failed to get many people to understand, and accept that you can say that somebody causes x without implying that they’re to blame for x.

    Ever since then, some (most?) people have not been able to accept it when I say that somebody may cause something, even something that is blameworthy, but not be the person to blame for it—what they did that caused the event in that sense was perfectly morally acceptable, but what the other person did was completely morally unacceptable.

    I don’t know why that’s such a problematic idea—is it that I’m talking about multiple people causing the same event? Is it that I’m talking about morally neutral causation by moral agents? Is it that I’m talking about an event having multiple causes that all fully cause the event?

    I thought at least most scientists would get it—they’ve heard lots of discussions of plain old causation that’s clearly not about assigning moral blame at all, e.g., in physics and chemistry.

    I tried to make an argument here that I’d be very pessimistic about making most places, because I thought we could get past that sticking point.

    I don’t think this conversation can go anyplace useful if people don’t come to an understanding of that point (even if it’s to get me to understand that it’s wrong).

    It seems to me that for any or all of several reasons, most people can’t even accept that I’m even making basic coherent sense in the way I’m talking about causation, even if the argument I’m making turns out to be wrong or even bullshit.

    We have never gotten past go, terminology-wise.

    Here’s the kind of thing that people resist me saying and call me several kinds of names for:

    Jane was raped because she took the bus to work. In that (correct and literal) sense, Jane’s action of getting on the bus caused her rape.

    No matter how much I insist and explain that I’m talking about situations in which she’s not to blame, morally—she couldn’t be expected not to cause the rape by getting on the bus if she had no expectation of being raped—people freak the fuck out if I say that she caused her own rape. You just can’t say that, and use the term cause in that sense in that context—it always the baggage of implying blame.

    Which is missing the whole point of my making the distinction.

  369. ChasCPeterson says

    yow, PaulW, you fucking stepped in it, man.
    I’ve been there (hi, Cerberus!). On this subject you will not get people to admit even the slightest hint of nuance or situational variation, nor to give a charitable reading to anything you might say. This was true from the get-go: just look at the title of the OP. It’s just the deal. You should give it up. However, your rep here at Pharyngula will never recover.
    Chris, thanks.
    SallyStrange: have a nice day.

  370. says

    Cerberus, your post reminds me of something. My rape took place in Southern California. Decades later, I’m in a different state and live very rural. The town I live in has a population of 79. Yep. (202 if you count all the outlying farms.) We’ve been here going on 8 years. It’s quiet here, really, nothing fucking happens here and that’s fine.

    The first year we moved here, we found out that labor day weekend was a *huge party* here. So, we got out a bit, and hung out at the Muddy Creek Saloon for quite a long time. Finally, I got tired and told Mister I was walking home. I’m probably a whole 5 minutes away. As I started walking, the paranoia, fear and hypervigilance hit. I straightened up, tense, made sure I had fast, easy access to my weapon (no, I don’ t carry a gun) and rapidly walked home. Upon getting in the house, I immediately got my two monster dogs and did a complete and full check of the house, which took much longer than the walk, it’s a big effing house. Every closet, every nook, under every table, under the desk and so on. In pure fear until I knew, for sure, the house was empty.

    It never leaves.

  371. Paul W., OM says

    SallyStrange,

    Have you thought much about what rape really is, Paul W.?

    Yes, apparently much more than you assume I have. And I care more too, which believe or not is most of why I hoped this discussion would be worthwhile.

    You’re not telling me anything I don’t know, or making me think about anything I haven’t thought about.

    You’re pretty clearly misunderstanding why I’m saying what I’m saying, what the implications actually are of what I’m saying, and why I would choose to say it anyway.

    That makes me think you misunderstand what I’m actually saying. You may not believe that, but I have to, and that’s that.

    Please save your breath. That approach isn’t going to work. Ever.

  372. says

    Chas:

    However, your rep here at Pharyngula will never recover.

    Just because you deliberately burnt your rep here doesn’t mean that will happen with Paul. I retain hope that he will, eventually, understand what we are saying. You never cared to listen to anyone else, Chas. So fuck off, dear.

  373. says

    Gregory @409

    thisthisthisthisTHIS! To everything you said, but especially this:

    These words ‘careless and imprudent’, employed in this context, replicate one of the most damaging victim blaming tropes of all:- that a woman who doesn’t behave as if she must be perpetually vigilant – never able to relax, never able to forget that her vagina paints a bull’s eye on her back, never able to just be a person, just be herself rather than the keeper of a vagina – is a fool. And worse than just a fool; she sould expect that her failure to be paranoid enough about rape will mean that in some measure society will blame her for her rape.

    The rape culture at its core and the dialogue allowed to be surrounding it by society is essentially about terrorism.

    Basically, it’s creating a system where a punitive action that is often gendered and “corrective” is used to reinforce “expected standards” of behavior for women out in society. The myth of the “hot, skintight woman in the ‘bad neighborhood'” as the prototypical rape victim is intentional. It’s designed to try and encourage women to self-censor. To be less accepting with their sexuality at least in a publicly visible way. To be less racially inclusive and home-bound because “those bad places in the bad neighborhoods of the city where you encounter those brown people” are the places that “rape happens” in our visual mediums like TV and movies. To be less into letting loose or enjoying masculine activities like drinking, watching sports, or sexual exploration and openness. All of these made seemingly fraught in order to try and fight against women who are exploring being full people and breaking out of the traditional femininity molds (hence also why lesbians and trans-men are the most common victims of “corrective rape”).

    And that’s why it’s so hard fixing it. There’s too many people who are invested in the culture because they enjoy some of the fruits of societal sexism and rape or rather the fear of rape and fictional solutions to it are the way in which that culture reinforces itself and resists the inevitable reformation into a more egalitarian culture where rape and the apologies for it cease to have a home.

  374. says

    Paul:

    You’re pretty clearly misunderstanding why I’m saying what I’m saying, what the implications actually are of what I’m saying, and why I would choose to say it anyway.

    That makes me think you misunderstand what I’m actually saying. You may not believe that, but I have to, and that’s that.

    And here I just said I thought there was hope for you. So much for my prescience.

  375. carlie says

    Jane was raped because she took the bus to work. In that (correct and literal) sense, Jane’s action of getting on the bus caused her rape.

    No matter how much I insist and explain that I’m talking about situations in which she’s not to blame, morally—she couldn’t be expected not to cause the rape by getting on the bus if she had no expectation of being raped—people freak the fuck out if I say that she caused her own rape. You just can’t say that, and use the term cause in that sense in that context—it always the baggage of implying blame.

    Which is missing the whole point of my making the distinction.

    I’m not talking about blame AT ALL. I’m talking about your notion of “cause”. For the third time, cause means that an action has an effect. Do A, see result B. Doesn’t even matter if there is agency or not from any of the participants. And in your own example, you are using it incorrectly.

    Jane’s action of getting on the bus is not causal to her rape, not any more than Jane being born is causal to her rape. In that sense, the proximal cause of her rape is the decision that the rapist made to rape her; however, every step backward from that is an ultimate cause in the same way. There are no intermediate steps. Her decision to get on the bus is just as ultimate of a cause as her birth. In order for any decision she has ever made in her life to be closer to proximal, it would have to be a decision that necessarily increased her chance of being raped, and as has been mentioned multiple times, there are no known actions that actually increase the chance of being raped.

    In your pool example, which Cerberus did a fantastic job of deconstructing, those factors you mentioned have clear-cut, known reactions. Dust on the table WILL adjust a ball’s trajectory in a way we can calculate. The amount of friction on the cue DOES make a difference in a way we can measure and predict accurately. This is not true of human interactions. You can not make any analogies of causality between those things and human interactions.

  376. Emrysmyrddin says

    Identifying causes is just not the same thing as placing moral blame, though it’s often relevant in nonobvious ways.

    I don’t think I’m saying anything controversial there, though I agree the terminology is awkward.

    I cannot cause someone to rape me. The rapist is the only cause – not the surroundings, not my clothing, nothing that I have done can influence the rapist’s decision.

    Because I realized that was awkward terminology, I tried to shift to using a similarly morally neutral sense of the word cause, which I didn’t realize would be so hard for people to accept, because it’s a correct literal usage that’s very common in scientific discussions where agency is not in question.

    Here, agency is the point. The rapist is not some implacable force of nature that just happens – there is one cause of an occasion of rape, and that is the rapist using their agency to decide to initiate something against someone else’s will (bolding for bloody relevance).

    I was not using the word incorrectly

    Here is your problem. You are treating this as a cold-blooded, detached, academic discussion amongst fellow Vulcans. It is not. You are more concerned with being correct rather than doing right.

    Ever since then, some (most?) people have not been able to accept it when I say that somebody may cause something, even something that is blameworthy, but not be the person to blame for it—what they did that caused the event in that sense was perfectly morally acceptable, but what the other person did was completely morally unacceptable.

    You have had many posters ask you what they did that was blameworthy but not morally wrong that caused their rape. I’d like an answer.

    This is not a physics or chemistry discussion. This is a discussion about a violent crime that has been perpetrated against people who are actually here, in this thread. This is not the place for quibbling over what you think ‘causation’ rilly, rilly means. That callousness, unintended or not, is why you are getting defensive, aggressive, and downright righteously indignant responses. I would have thought an OM would have the wherewithal to understand those responses.
    .
    Oh, and as usual, fuck you, Chas.

  377. says

    No matter how much I insist and explain that I’m talking about situations in which she’s not to blame, morally—she couldn’t be expected not to cause the rape by getting on the bus if she had no expectation of being raped—people freak the fuck out if I say that she caused her own rape.

    that’s because it isn’t a true statement. the choice that brought her into proximity with a rapist is not meaningfully causal to rape, since proximity to a rapist literally doesn’t cause rape. you can cause yourself to be in a house full of rapists, but unless the actual causal event happens, mere proximity to rapists doesn’t result in rape.

    Or to put it differently: while choices made by people regularly bring them into geographical proximity with rapists, and only people in geographical proximity of rapists get raped, your average rapist ends up in the proximity of hundreds, maybe thousands of people. The rapist choses to rape only some of all of these people. Consequently, it doesn’t make sense to talk about causing proximity to a rapist as a cause of rape.

  378. carlie says

    Let me try to be more brief:

    Paul (and Chas, why not), why do you think that, say, “walking down a dark alley in a short skirt” is a)causal to anything other than getting to the end of the alley with maybe a bit of a chill or b) a “situational variance” that somehow raises the chances of getting raped, when actual rape statistics do not bear out that women walking down dark alleys or wearing short skirts are raped at rates any higher than any other women?

  379. Beatrice says

    Thanks to everyone who shared their painful experiences.

    For a short and really simple explanation of why “to blame for” in some abstract/irrelevant and yet worth a couple of paragraphs and repetitions way that doesn’t mean “moral blame” is a bit bullshitty, read Jadehawk:

    Now, if you want to go all Spock on this shit, you could say that in order for person A to rape person B (instead of some other person), causal events must occur that bring persons A and B into geographical proximity with each other, and that some of these causal events were choices made by person B. This would be trivially true, and entirely meaningless to any discussion, because it’s true for absolutely everything.

  380. says

    Paul, I just wrote this in the lounge:

    This Invisible Pixel is now feeling completely beaten up and down into the ground. I hope some of the Infuriated Pixels can pick up, because it’s not getting better and all I want to do is cry. Or vomit.

    Does that make you feel proud of your fucking science experiment? Of completely erasing us in favour of your insistence that rape can be approached in the same manner as a chemistry project?

  381. says

    Sally @421

    This.

    Especially,

    Have you thought much about what rape really is, Paul W.?

    It’s a specialized form of torture.

    That’s all. It’s a particular form of torture used to keep everyone in line with patriarchal gender roles.

    This.

    And worse, it’s a form of torture that is encouraged by our society. Men who rape are viewed homosocially as better people, more masculine people, higher up on the hierarchy than other people.

  382. says

    “The rape was just an excuse, I think,” said the 27-year-old Hubbard, who is No. 2 on the Big Red’s career rushing list.

    “What else are you going to tell your parents when you come home drunk like that and after a night like that?” said Hubbard, who is one of the team’s 19 coaches. “She had to make up something. Now people are trying to blow up our football program because of it.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/01/03/i-hope-this-haunts-michael-nodianos-for-the-rest-of-his-life/#comments

  383. PatrickG says

    Hesitant to jump in, but just wanted to utter the following peep after seeing Caine’s last post:

    Thanks to the Infuriated Pixels and others for being so willing to share their experiences, their conclusions, and their impassioned positions. I know it hurts you to do so (because you’ve said so, repeatedly, in this thread). I’m sure you know how much value you add by doing so (because, again, you’ve said so!).

    That’s all. Just wanted to say thanks, and that while I almost never post in threads like these (due to lack of anything to contribute), I read and learn.

    Finally, to Paul: I’m not sure what you’re trying to do other than making everybody understand!!1!eleventy!, but maybe you should think about your goals in this thread. You know, other than to cause people pain.

  384. says

    carlie @434

    But carlieeeeee, if they admit that they assume this variance because of cultural messaging they’ll have to turn in their “totally logical vulcan” card and they will feel less masculine in the homosocial circles they prefer.

    And wah, who cares about triggering rape victims, unwittingly perpetuating damaging myths surrounding rape, and dismissing the real lived experiences of women to literally place a meaningless thought experiment as being worth more than them, compared to the super important issue of THAT?!?

  385. says

    Paul W., I strongly suggest you give your participation here a rest for a while and cogitate. Here’s why:

    As a writer, it took me a long time to learn that when the vast majority of people “misinterpreted” what I’d written, it was NOT because they had each, individually, and en masse, fucked up.

    This is supposed to be a skeptics’ hangout, right? William of Ockham and all? What is the most parsimonious explanation for what’s happened in this thread?

    1) More than a dozen people, all of whom are literate and intellectually capable, and many of whom were strongly predisposed to give you the benefit of the doubt, uniformly interpreted what you wrote to mean the opposite of what you really said due to some emotional undertones or nuance-hating thread climate or Rampant PC or whatever;

    2) You didn’t actually say what you think you said, or what you intended to say.

    A good writer — by which I mean someone with a sense of professionalism, whose goal really is to communicate rather than to hear himself talk — will react to a situation like this by thanking people for their criticism (inwardly, at least) and figuring out how to hone not only the writing part but the thinking part.

    You’re not acting like a good writer here. The defensiveness is fucking you up. The “et tu, Carlie?” shit is fucking you up. You’ve decided that we’re all wrong and the only way out is for you to find the magic combination of words that will unlock the Moria Gate of our incomprehension.

    Trust me. That is not the case. The problem here is that you are not questioning your own assumptions. There’s no particular shame in that in and of itself: it’s human nature, to borrow a quote from the late Bill O. The shame is when you refuse to realize what’s going on.

    You’re arguing based on definitions set by rape apologists and treating those definitions as though they’re immutable or concrete. The definition of “imprudent behavior” is set one way by North American rape apologists; in India, it apparently includes “getting on a bus with a male companion.” You’re basing a tower of spurious argument on that rotten foundation.

    You’re not going to “explain” or “reword” your way out of it without getting away from that, and that’s work for you to do on your own.

  386. vaiyt says

    @Paul, obtuse fucker with a beam in the eye

    Where did I say that?

    HERE, YOU FUCKING LYING SACK OF SHIT.

    IMO that means that it should be entirely okay under some circumstances, if you’re careful about how you do it, to say that a woman may have been raped because she was conventionally “beautiful” and dressed “sexily” and “carelessly” walking alone at night through a dark alley at night in a “bad neighborhood.”

    HERE YOU’RE SAYING IT’S OKAY TO SAY A WOMAN CAUSED HER RAPE. DO US A FAVOR AND GO DRINK SOME NITROGLYCERINE.

  387. Emrysmyrddin says

    I’m assuming you cannot understand the (long-lasting, wide-rippling) agony of being truly helpless in a sexual situation, which is why I tentatively conclude that you fundamentally cannot understand that ascribing any kind of agency or causation in rape to the victim, and not solely to the perpetrator, the one with the real agency, is a slap in the face to every victim reading your words.
    .
    I hope that’s polite enough of an explanation for the reaction that you’re getting that you’ll bother to read it and think.

  388. says

    Paul @427

    Have you thought much about what rape really is, Paul W.?

    Yes, apparently much more than you assume I have. And I care more too, which believe or not is most of why I hoped this discussion would be worthwhile.

    You’re not telling me anything I don’t know, or making me think about anything I haven’t thought about.

    You’re pretty clearly misunderstanding why I’m saying what I’m saying, what the implications actually are of what I’m saying, and why I would choose to say it anyway.

    That makes me think you misunderstand what I’m actually saying. You may not believe that, but I have to, and that’s that.

    Please save your breath. That approach isn’t going to work. Ever.

    I’m perfect. I don’t need to improve. I understand this issue on its shallowest, least penetrative level, and therefore do not need to do any self-improvement or self-reflection to make it penetrate deeper into my assumptions and biases. I have heard previous arguments and understand that rape is bad mmkay, so it does not matter if my statements are triggering or reinforce ignorant stereotypes or are literally dehumanizing or that I’ve spent this entire comment thread literally ignoring nearly all of the rape victims explaining exactly where and why my imprecise, inaccurate, and unhelpful language and assumptions are doing real damage.

    So my question is this:

    Why is everyone so meeeeeaaaan to me and thinking I’m an asshole?

  389. says

    Paul, no one is misunderstanding you… are you really so goddamned egotistical that you can’t even allow for the possibility that you’re both factually and morally wrong? You’re being a fucking shithead, comparing rape victims to pool balls and dogs, and blaming them for their rapes.

    Hey, why don’t you go find a family who lost a child to a drunk driver, and tell them that their child caused their own death by being in a car? Maybe you can go around to plane crash victims and make sure they understand that they carry blame for wanting to travel long distances? Since you’re such a sadistic asshole under your phony detached personal, I’ll bet you’ll get a real kick out of that.

  390. says

    Chris:

    You’ve decided that we’re all wrong and the only way out is for you to find the magic combination of words that will unlock the Moria Gate of our incomprehension.

    You are a truly great writer, and I appreciate that more and more every day. Thank you.

  391. vaiyt says

    Jane was raped because she took the bus to work. In that (correct and literal) sense, Jane’s action of getting on the bus caused her rape.

    Oh, you’re going technical with us?

    Jane’s action of getting on the bus “caused” her rape as much as the bus driver’s decision of picking up the rapist, or Genghis Khan invading Europe and changing the political/populational map so that it would be the specific environment where Jane’s ancestors were born. Is that meaningful, though? Is it meaningful to talk about Genghis Khan when the subject is the cause of rape in the here and now?

    People ARE giving you the benefit of the doubt. They refuse to believe you’re so obtuse and stupid as to think your blather has actual significance to the subject, so they jump to the most parsimonious conclusion – that is, you’re being a rape apologist.

    In some circumstance, in an alternate universe where this kind of shit isn’t used all the time to blame women for their rape, it MIGHT be okay to say the things you’re saying without sounding like a rape apologist. THIS IS NOT OUR CASE. HERE AND NOW, YOU”RE BEING A RAPE APOLOGIST. STOP. OR FOLLOW MY PREVIOUS POST’S ADVICE.

  392. Paul W., OM says

    Chas:

    You should give it up. However, your rep here at Pharyngula will never recover.

    Yeah. It’s been pretty clear for a while that my rep is taking a pretty big hit of a very bad sort. If so many people really think I’m a fucking rape apologist I don’t think I’m going feel as comfortable around here. I knew I was risking that, if I couldn’t make myself understood, and I gambled and lost bigtime.

    So it goes, given my prediliction for making difficult arguments. I’ve been fading out for a long time now anyway, so it probably doesn’ t matter much.

  393. says

    If so many people really think I’m a fucking rape apologist I don’t think I’m going feel as comfortable around here.

    perhaps it was imprudent for you to walk into this place dressed up all mansplainy in those dug-in heels.

  394. Portia, wishing for spring says

    If so many people really think I’m a fucking rape apologist I don’t think I’m going feel as comfortable around here.

    Hey, everybody, mission accomplished!

    Newsflash, Paul, rape apologists are supposed to feel uncomfortable here. That’s the idea. If you still think everyone is wrong, and you’re just so misunderstood, reread Chris’ post above.

    TRIGGER WARNING

    After you do that, feel free to tell me how I’m responsible for my rape having continued because I wasn’t forceful enough in my rejection of the unwanted penetration of my person. Like my best friend told me at the time. I mean, I caused it to continue by not breaking his nose, right? Verbally rejecting him wasn’t enough, right? I mean he’d have really gotten the message if I knocked out a couple teeth? AT WHAT POINT DOES THE VICTIM STOP BEING “CAUSALLY TO BLAME”?

  395. Louis says

    Paul,

    Well, it seems time for me to take a turn.

    1) Other people have pointed out the problems with your arguments better than I ever can, but I’ll try and approach it from another angle and see if you can grasp your errors that way. Hey you never know, we might get lucky. :-)

    Also, I am assuming you are true to your words and are not an MRA rape apologist in any serious sense, I assume that, according to your words, you are attempting to find (and demonstrate) logical methods for defeating rape apologia. That’s all fine, hell I agree with that goal, but I think you’ve accidentally strayed off target. I’ll try to explain why I think that is, but this is off the top of my head so bear with me.

    The “faux objectivity” you have, the idealistic objectivity you are aiming for, is genuinely admirable but highly misleading. I’m a physical, not social, scientist, and it is just about possible to deal with my experiments objectively (even that is debatable to some degree), in social science it’s nigh on impossible. Not a criticism of social science, just a difficulty to be appreciated.

    Neither you nor I, nor any of us, was raised by wolves, that is outside of human societies to a sufficient degree to have a suitably objective, external perspective. We really have to check ourselves double thoroughly because unconscious biases an assumptions creep in far too easily. I’m at least as guilty of this as you, so this isn’t a lecture, it’s a lament!

    The faux objectivity you are demonstrating is not actually culturally independent. It’s a legacy of extant rape culture, it’s nothing more than the legacy of the desire to spread the “evil” around, to attempt to den that one person could do something so terrible to another person. Like mass shooters are derided as “mentally ill”, the victims of rape are “blamed” or in some way deemed “imprudent”. It is a way of “othering” these issues (albeit in different directions). Make the victim in some way responsible (not morally as you say, but causally) and the horror of rape is minimised, if only these imprudent people behaved prudently then some of the causes of these horrors would vanish. If only mentally ill people were not allowed access to guns, for only mentally ill people would commit mass shootings, then some of the causes of these horrors would vanish.

    Those are fallacious. Firstly it’s by no means clear that (in the case of shootings) mental illness is generally causative as opposed to say, ideology, secondly it’s by no means clear that if a mental illness is a potential causative factor which mental conditions are the responsible ones. The biggest problem is people go looking for causes after the event, the ability of these claims to predict is non existent. The same for rape, it’s looking for causes after the event. The stereotypical victim was walking down Rape Alley at midnight on Rapefest wearing a short rape facilitator and screaming “rape me rape me!” having had a skinful of rapeohol? None of these are causative of rape by themselves. They all require the presence of a rapist. Rape requires the conscious act of the rapist alone, whatever the circumstances. Whether or not circumstances increase the statistical chance of rape is irrelevant to the act of rape.

    Unlike your pool analogy, where the summation of small interactions and statistical oddities is relevant, it’s not relevant in the same way here. The analysis of rape as a statistical phenomenon might be improved by such an analysis, i.e. we will better understand who is raped, how and by whom, but that work (as mentioned upthread by I forget who) has been done to a huge extent. The majority of rapes are committed by friends/acquaintances and family, as you well know. Young children, men and women are raped, ostensibly heterosexual men rape other ostensibly heterosexual men as part of power struggles etc, the statistical pattern does not support any causative relationship between “imprudence” and “rape”. One reason people are jumping on you is because we’re in a mature area of study here, not a nascent one. I freely admit I’m not an expert in it, but there are enough people here who are.

    2) I’ll tinker with your pool analogy and make a dehumanising analogy of my own, apologies for this, but the dehumanising aspect is part of a reductio ad absurdum.

    Archery and targets. We want to improve our abilities at archery. Your argument is reliant on analysis of the target, whether blue circles are more attractive to archers (perhaps because of some inherent frequency of light sensitivity in the eyes of archers) than red, if squares are better than circles, if straw targets avoid arrows better than concrete targets etc. Maybe you even have a “lucky” target type. Here “lucky” is the replacement for “imprudent”, “archery” for “rape” and “improve our abilities” for “prevent”. This is, I’m afraid, magical thinking.

    Yes, obviously, rape victims are not archery targets, I’m trying to point out the ridiculousness of the underlying logic.

    Why this analogy and not a more biological predator/prey type analogy? Because as mentioned above that’s not what the data reveal. The “tastiness” of the prey organism is actually simply the “opportunity” to rape. The overwhelming statistical data is that rape occurs where the opportunity to rape is available. This isn’t the case in predator prey relationships. We’re not talking about an evolutionary arms race between prey and predator, we’re not talking about the defence options available to prey organisms over evolutionary time because the analogy doesn’t fit. Firstly, the analogy would have to expand to a food web rather than a single predator prey model at least, given the diversity of rape victims and environments. Secondly, given that diversity of victims and environments we can see that no prey strategy is successful against the predators. Something else is going on.

    Back to archery. If we’re going to be better archers we need to work out what makes a good archer. That inevitably involves some analysis of their biology. Transfer this to rape, if we’re going to be better at preventing rape we need to work out what makes a rapist, and indeed what entices a rapist. Great! Turns out a huge amount of this has already been done. The answer is “pretty much anything” to the last question, and indeed the first one. From an individual or statistical perspective. That’s not the same answer you get for archery, and hence why the pool/archery analogies don’t map.

    3) Adaptationist assumptions. I don’t believe there is necessarily a biological predisposition for rape or murder. I think there are biological predispositions for other things that may also cause a propensity for violent acts, the rape and murder type behaviours are by-products not adaptations. I’d be careful about the adaptationist tone of your initial arguments.

    4) “They laughed at Galileo. They laughed at Newton. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.”

    Sometimes when you are being jumped on you aren’t Galileo or Newton. Sometimes (as I have learned to my cost) you’re the other guy.

    Sometimes you’re not of course, but this really isn’t one of those times. If you think it is, do one simple thing and define “imprudent” in the context of rape for me. What I need is a working definition of “imprudent” as a descriptor of causative factors that applies to, let’s say, 80% of rapes.

    5) To all: apologies for the dehumanising archery analogy above. I know what Paul and others have been trying to do with the pool analogy, I’m not jumping up and down and screaming about it, I just want to show why such analogies are not easily applicable and I used that reductio to do it. Hopefully successfully.

    6) Caine: {hugs} if you want them (this goes for anyone else too, obviously) but Caine is my Sister Wife of Josh, and I am a terrible Brother Husband who often neglects his Duties! ;-)

    Louis

  396. says

    Paul:

    I don’t think I’m going feel as comfortable around here.

    Well, you have no one to causally blame but your own fucking self, you egotistical piece of shit.

  397. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    On this subject you will not get people to admit even the slightest hint of nuance or situational variation, nor to give a charitable reading to anything you might say.

    Translation; Aren’t we so much better than these bitches, Paul?

  398. Emrysmyrddin says

    Yeah. It’s been pretty clear for a while that my rep is taking a pretty big hit of a very bad sort. If so many people really think I’m a fucking rape apologist I don’t think I’m going feel as comfortable around here. I knew I was risking that, if I couldn’t make myself understood, and I gambled and lost bigtime.

    So it goes, given my prediliction for making difficult arguments. I’ve been fading out for a long time now anyway, so it probably doesn’ t matter much.

    Your rep is only ‘taking a hit’ because you’re being obtuse, and refusing to back off, when a large amount of other posters have made it clear to you that you’re being obtuse and bullish about a subject that has quite enough baggage as it is without yet more people (previously thought to be quite incisive and thoughtful) perpetrating yet more baggage.
    .
    People can only go by what you post. If you continue to insist that, “You’re misunderstanding me, that’s not what I wrote,” rather than, “You misunderstand me, and that’s due to my writing being unclear; I shall attempt to do better,” then, frankly, what are you contributing except a futherance of your initial error?
    .
    You can say racist things unconsciously – sexist things – homophobic things – other ‘isms’ – we all grew up in cultures that are fucked up to some degree or other. It’s refusing to recognise when you personally fuck up that pisses people off. Right now you’re doing that. Take out the martyr tone unless you really want to inspire more social correction. You fucked up. All you need to do is apologise, shut up, and learn. At the moment you’re just compounding matters.

  399. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    See, here’s the thing. If you’ve ever talked to rape victims, what you find they have in common is…nothing. They may be infants, toddlers teens or 80-year-old Alzheimer’s patients. They may wear a miniskirt or a burqa. They need not even be female. Men are raped, even outside of prisons. One may be raped with a penis, a bottle or the barrel of a gun. More often than not, the victim is smaller, weaker or in some other way vulnerable. The commonality is not in the victims. The cause or the blame or the reason or the explanation cannot lie with the victims.

    What all rapes have in common is a perpetrator who says with his actions, I am justified in taking from you anything I want–even your life…even your humanity. The rapist, really, is a terrorist–using terror to take what he wants and to make himself feel powerful.

    The soldier in the civil war rapes to demoralize his enemies–men and women.

    The rapist waiting in the alley for the girl in the short skirt…or the 89-year old grandmother…or the toddler…any one will do…rapes to make himself fell power over his victim, her family, her society, which are all powerless to protect her.

    The rapist in the boardroom is expressing his entitlement over his employees, a sort of droit du Seignor.

    The date rapist says he can’t be bothered with what his date wants–all that matters is him.

    Women are the predominant victims because men–especially the fucked up men who rape–want to view themselves as strong, because women scare the hell out of such men and because our fucked up society makes women a safe target (in part by blaming them for the rape). Even the selection of women as victims has everything to do with the rapist and nothing to do with the victim other than her sex.

  400. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Hey, why don’t you go find a family who lost a child to a drunk driver, and tell them that their child caused their own death by being in a car? Maybe you can go around to plane crash victims and make sure they understand that they carry blame for wanting to travel long distances?

    I agree. Of course, the difference in these scenario’s vs rape is that there is actually a causal link between being killed by a drunk driver and using the road. There is an actual causal link between flying in a plane and being in a plane crash.

    There is NO causal link for rape, NONE other than “presence of a rapist/s who intends to rape you”.

  401. says

    Oops… sorry about that.

    Quick question: how long before someone seems Paul W over on the slymepit or an MRA site, blaming us for his “newfound” misogyny? “I wanted to treat women with dignity and respect, but they FORCED ME TO HATE THEM! They are morally and causally to blame because they were mean when I simply disagreed with them whether or not rape victims are to blame for their rapes, now I have no choice but to call them c*nts and b*tches all day every day!”

  402. Louis says

    Myself:

    ” I’m not jumping up and down and screaming about it” referring to dehumanising analogies.

    I mean I am not jumping up and down and screaming TO DEFEND such an analogy. I hope.

    Jumping up and down and screaming about such analogies being fucking daft is entirely appropriate.

    Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

    Louis

  403. Louis says

    Chas,

    On this subject you will not get people to admit even the slightest hint of nuance or situational variation, nor to give a charitable reading to anything you might say.

    This is palpable horseshit.

    I’m not going to say why, obviously. But I just thought you should know.

    Louis

  404. says

    Jane was raped because she took the bus to work. In that (correct and literal) sense, Jane’s action of getting on the bus caused her rape.

    I’m just basically going to retread what carlie @431 said anyways, but it bears repeating.

    No. No it doesn’t.

    Let’s take the causal chain all the damn way. Big Bang, Formation of Earth, Formation of Life, Cambrian Explosion, Migration Patterns, World History, Buses being invented, Jane being born, Jane deciding to ride a bus, Jane existing, a rapist decided to rape Jane.

    If you are an idiot, you can try to weasel-word all that as being causal, but it’s not, because remove one tiny thing from the chain:

    Big Bang, Formation of Earth, Formation of Life, Cambrian Explosion, Migration Patterns, World History, Buses being invented, Jane being born, Jane deciding to ride a bus, Jane existing

    Suddenly Jane isn’t getting raped anymore. And if Jane isn’t getting raped when all of those oh so totally real causal aspects are in existence?

    IT ISN’T FUCKING CAUSAL

    Not “meaninglessly” causal, not “oh but in a moral sense” causal, not in a “I’m currently masturbating to my all holy thought experiment” sense of causal. It’s not causal because there is no longer a link to the product.

    If by removing a causal action from the chain, you cease causality, then the rest of the chain is not causal. No, not even then. THIS is the real science on causality. You can say it is correlated. You can say it was present. You can say these are things that exist in reality. But you can’t point to any form of causality and any attempt to do so is an attempt to water down causality and at that point one starts to wonder why that’s so important to you.

    So no, as much as it would totally be interesting as a thought experiment because “whoa, my hand is moving colors”, it’s just not well, true. Like at all.

    The only causal link in the chain in any sense is the decision to rape, because without it the only outcome is Jane goes about her day, unmolested. Full stop.

    Adding anything else, even in a “well, but, wouldn’t it be interesting if” way might as well be arguing that in a world where people were made of ice cream wouldn’t cannibalism be tasty as fuck while everyone is talking about how they lost their leg to a cannibal.

  405. Emrysmyrddin says

    Sometimes you’re not of course, but this really isn’t one of those times. If you think it is, do one simple thing and define “imprudent” in the context of rape for me. What I need is a working definition of “imprudent” as a descriptor of causative factors that applies to, let’s say, 80% of rapes.

    Bears repeating, just in case Paul missed it in my post, or the myriad other different ways it was asked upthread. Because I really, really want this answered. Otherwise we’re just going around in circles of ‘misunderstandings’… ¬.¬

  406. Portia, wishing for spring says

    On this subject you will not get people to admit even the slightest hint of nuance or situational variation, nor to give a charitable reading to anything you might say.

    This is palpable horseshit.

    I’m not going to say why, obviously. But I just thought you should know.

    This made me laugh, Louis, thanks ♥

  407. Emrysmyrddin says

    Chas,

    On this subject you will not get people to admit even the slightest hint of nuance or situational variation, nor to give a charitable reading to anything you might say.

    This is palpable horseshit.

    I’m not going to say why, obviously. But I just thought you should know.

    Louis

    Louis, ol’ horse, I love you.

  408. says

    how long before someone seems Paul W over on the slymepit or an MRA site, blaming us for his “newfound” misogyny?

    I find that an unlikely outcome.

  409. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Been keeping out of this but I have to point out, Paul W is too much of a critical thinker to end up with that den of “critical thinkers”.

  410. The Mellow Monkey says

    Paul:

    Yeah. It’s been pretty clear for a while that my rep is taking a pretty big hit of a very bad sort. If so many people really think I’m a fucking rape apologist I don’t think I’m going feel as comfortable around here. I knew I was risking that, if I couldn’t make myself understood, and I gambled and lost bigtime.

    You haven’t been very active since I started posting here, but I admired you back when I was a lurker. I am genuinely sad to see this turn of events. Not because people are “misunderstanding” you, but because you refuse to even consider the notion that you might be wrong, that you might be arguing from a place of privilege, and that you might be viewing things through the lens of rape culture when you think you’re being objective.

    In the grand scheme of things, what we’re asking for here is not that much. Instead of considering why so many people would interpret you the way that we have, you dismiss us as “misunderstanding” you.

    That is so depressing and so disappointing. The rape survivors here have all already asked themselves about the sort of “causal” relationship you mention. We’ve asked ourselves about that more times than you could ever possibly imagine. You didn’t bring something new. You weren’t misunderstood. You just brought up the same old crap and then accused us of misunderstanding when we pointed that out.

    When we’re fighting against people who don’t even view us as fully human and a culture that has built up to protect a form of torture and those who would carry it out, there isn’t actually that much nuance that needs to be discussed.

  411. Emrysmyrddin says

    how long before someone seems Paul W over on the slymepit or an MRA site, blaming us for his “newfound” misogyny?

    Paul’s just wrong on this occasion and unable to see it; not wilfully a douchebag.

  412. says

    Paul, I’ll give this one last try, because I really want to believe your are still the thoughtful, intelligent, insightful person I used to know.

    People did start out by giving you the benefit of the doubt. Many people tried to patiently explain to you what was wrong in your initial post. People also tried, many times over, to explain that as well as being wrong, what you were insisting on repeating and defending was causing actual, real time harm.

    A lot of us were shocked to see such…rhetoric coming from you, Paul. Especially when you chose to double down rather than re-think what you were doing. It’s not that people think you are a dyed-in-the wool rape apologist – it’s that you have consistently refused to listen to anyone else, running roughshod over anyone and anything in your determination to prove yourself correct.

    In this case, Paul, you are not correct. You made a mistake. A pretty big one. That’s something which can be rectified, if you wish. If you wish to take an honest look at yourself, listen to what others are saying and stop being defensive long enough to realize that in some areas, you still have learning and growing to do.

    I’m tired. I’m weary. And it really, truly hurts to think that you would toss us all on a heap with scorn because you can’t face being wrong about something.

  413. says

    IJoe:

    how long before someone seems Paul W over on the slymepit or an MRA site, blaming us for his “newfound” misogyny?

    Paul wouldn’t do that. He’s simply wrong in this case.

  414. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    I would note that one of the things that drives some men to presume that women did something that caused them to be raped is that they often want desperately to protect the women in their lives from a similar fate. They think that if they can find something the victim did “wrong”, all they have to do is prevent their loved ones from making a similar mistake.

    You get the same thing if you get cancer. People used to say to my wife “Oh, cancer is an angry disease. You must be an angry person.”

    You might as well try to make sense out of getting hit by a meteor.

    Blaming the victim doesn’t necessarily arise from bad motivations. But it is always wrong, always unproductive, and since it doesn’t work, you keep adding more strictures and prohibitions… Eventually, you wind up dressing women in Burqas and forbidding them from leaving the house unaccompanied by a male relative (as if that will keep them from getting raped).

  415. says

    Look at that Paul, everyone defending you even after you’ve made a terrible mess of things…

    So do you really think all of your friends are magically wrong in the exact same way, and with no obvious personal motive since they all seem to have a lot of trust in you? Or is it more likely that you’re really really just wrong, and doubly so because you refuse to listen to people who are going out of their way to give you the benefit of the doubt?

  416. Emrysmyrddin says

    I would note that one of the things that drives some men to presume that women did something that caused them to be raped is that they often want desperately to protect the women in their lives from a similar fate. They think that if they can find something the victim did “wrong”, all they have to do is prevent their loved ones from making a similar mistake.

    I call this Pigeon-Dancing; I catch myself doing a form of it when my agoraphobia flares. The trick is to notice that you’re doing it; something that I thought skeptics were adept at, until, well, a few years ago…

  417. Paul W. says

    Caine:

    Paul wouldn’t do that.

    Thanks for saying that.

    I’m likely to be at Butterflies and Wheels, not so much The Slymepit. It’s more my kind of Pharygula-hatin’, misogynistic rape apologist place.

  418. carlie says

    If so many people really think I’m a fucking rape apologist I don’t think I’m going feel as comfortable around here. I knew I was risking that, if I couldn’t make myself understood, and I gambled and lost bigtime.

    So it goes, given my prediliction for making difficult arguments. I’ve been fading out for a long time now anyway, so it probably doesn’ t matter much.

    Well, now I’m offended. Paul, I hope you know that I’ve always held your comments in high esteem. You are often brilliant and clear and cut to the point, and you’re high on the list of people whose comments I just can’t click on to read fast enough when I see their names appear in the sidebar. I am not someone who is likely to handwave and dismiss you casually. In addition, I am in the extremely lucky, random position of being a woman who has not ever been raped, so I have that emotional distance that so many people seem to think is necessary when talking about rape*. In short, I’m not someone who is likely to not give you the benefit of the doubt, or to have an agenda, or to be all non-Vulcan about this.

    And it offends me that you think that I am, that you think that we all are. Several of us have tried very hard to explain what we see is wrong with what you’re saying. Not just hurtful, for fuck’s sake not difficult, but what is wrong. And you’re ignoring every bit of it, only saying that your arguments are too difficult, that we just don’t understand, that all we’re doing is screaming rape apologist at you because of having our feelings hurt. You’re calling us stupid and irrational, without even trying to engage the substance of what we’re saying, without even giving us the courtesy to look at what we’re saying and think about it and see if it makes any sense to you. THAT is the kind of thing I find offensive. I don’t agree with you, so it’s not even that I’m wrong, it’s that I am somehow not smart enough to understand your difficult argument, or too emotionally wrapped up in it to allow myself to admit you may have a point. Do you really think that little of all of us?

    *that emotional distance is totally not necessary. In fact, it’s often a hindrance.

  419. Louis says

    Emrysmyrddin, #465,

    Yeah sorry, I don’t want to (appear to) take credit for the question, but it is one of the obvious and foundational (erroneous) areas of assumption in Paul’s arguments/analysis. It’s no surprise that it’s been hit on a few times.

    For me the frustrating thing is I really sympathise with what he’s trying to do, hell I do it! I just have to remind myself why I am making a balls up when I am doing it.

    Sorry, I mean, I have been brain washed by the hypersensitive, irrational, hysterical perpetual victims of Pharyngu-Femistasi-Thought-Squadism and therefore am immune to nuance or reason about the subject. It’s not that I have made identical errors in the past and continue to make them despite my best efforts and have had that kindly pointed out to me with far more generosity of spirit than my cluelessness deserved. That’s right out.

    Louis

  420. Emrysmyrddin says

    I didn’t intend to imply that you’d creamed the point, Louis, I’m sorry – it’s just you’d put it concisely and coherently (naturellement), so it was an immediately ram-able point worth repeating.
    .
    I also understand what Paul was trying to say – I just don’t agree with his point, nor his methods.
    .
    And it’s not the brain-washing, it’s the handy and generous provision of a uterus. How’s it doing, by the way? I hope you placed the box in the best position on the windowsill, and don’t forget to mist it gently twice a day, or it may shrivel and you’ll suddenly find yourself reading the Daily Star, and scratching and belching at inopportune moments again.

  421. Louis says

    Caine, #476,

    Paul wouldn’t do that. He’s simply wrong in this case.

    Unpossible. No one can be permitted to be Wrong On The Int