[Lounge #396] »« What are we going to do about gun violence?

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. ChasCPeterson says

    Maybe if I go away for a couple of days and come back and go through stuff with I fresh eye, what you are talking about as the big mistake everyone sees will just pop out at me.

    or, maybe not.
    But for right now, walking away is the thing to do.

  2. Tethys says

    I haven’t caught up, but this sentence from Mellow Monkey #294 hits the nail on the head:

    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.

    Exactly. I wish I had something to add to expand upon this crucial point, but being triggered is not conducive to clear communications. I’ll be brief.

    Paul W

    You are wrong, and fuck you very much for the shit on the floor.

    ——–

    Horde

    I love you. Thank you.

  3. says

    Emrysmyrrdin:

    So you have no comments at all on the hundreds of posts already here?

    I decided to scroll past Paul’s latest post, as he asked me specifically to back off and I didn’t want to find myself replying anyway. I surmise scrolling past was a good decision.

  4. says

    Paul W., you have long been one of my favoritest atheists in the online world. For you commentary in general, but also for one comment in particular – the legendary Comment 29 over at Ophelia’s old place. It’s something I link to frequently as a clear, incisive, and downright brilliant example of showing someone exactly how and why they are wrong and how all the efforts to explain something away as a misunderstanding are useless and misguided.

    You see where I’m going, don’t you?

    The commentariat here has been Comment 29’ing you. At length. In exhaustive detail. With facts. They are demonstrating the same “we’re pissed and we should be and here’s why” qualities that make Comment 29 such a standout piece. And they are pissed. But I daresay that most of them are doing so with the expectation that you are smart and decent enough, regardless of what they are reacting to now, to get it.

    Please get it. Please take this very seriously. It’s at least as important as what Comment 29 so cogently addresses.

  5. Tethys says

    I surmise scrolling past was a good decision.

    Yes. I have steam coming out me ears, and it’s not even addressed to me.

  6. Cyranothe2nd says

    perhaps it was imprudent for you to walk into this place dressed up all mansplainy in those dug-in heels.

    /thread

  7. says

    Paul W

    the one crucial thing I’m fundamentally wrong about in one clear, agreed-upon way.

    I’ll give you a big hint, Paul. It’s the part that everybody has been quoting back at you when they tell you why you’re apologizing for rape. It’s the part where you insist that the behaviour of the victim is in some way causal of their being victimized. That’s the part where you are wrong, in every imaginable sense. No amount of philosophizing about this premise will get you anywhere useful, because this premise does not reflect reality. Your continued insistence that we just consider that maybe this might be true is the problem, because a) it is demonstrably not true, and b) stating that it is or may be true is actively harmful to people who have been victimized by rapists, which category includes a lot of people here, who used to like you, until you repeatedly, over and over again, accused them of complicity in their rape. That’s the one, singular problem that everyone’s been trying to point out to you, and I cannot conceive of how you can honestly claim not to understand that if you have read even a tenth of the posts on this thread. My initial presumption that you are an honest but terribly misguided interlocutor has been sorely tested, and my willingness to continue to respond in a halfway civil manner has more to do with my personal preferred writing style when I am very, very angry, in that I attempt to be very precise to avoid typing a cathartic but uninformative string of “FUCK YOU”s. Understand that I come to this discussion as a male who has never been sexually assaulted in any way; this is not you triggering me. The reason I am very pissed off is that you have been directly triggering people who I like to consider to be friends, and furthermore denigrating, although not to their face since they’re not here, my husband, my roommate, and literally every adult female not in my immediate family (possibly bar one) whom I have gotten to know to a significant degree. All of them have at least one story of rape, near rape, or sexual assault, which they have shared with me. To see you continue to insist that they are culpable in their victimization, over and over, in the face of so many people explaining how and why you are wrong, has literally raised my blood pressure to the point that my vision blurs with each heartbeat. And that’s me. I can only imagine how much more you’ve hurt and angered Caine, Cerberus, and all of the other people who have opened their wounds for your edification and delight, and you owe each and every one of them a personal apology, as abject and groveling as you can make it.

  8. Cyranothe2nd says

    Eric Saveau–can we get a link to the famed Comment 29? I don’t think I’ve ever seen it…

  9. says

    Dalillama:

    you owe each and every one of them a personal apology, as abject and groveling as you can make it.

    I can only speak for myself, but all I want from Paul is for him to turn that critical eye on himself and to see that in this instance, he is wrong. That’s it. And that’s a lot, I know. Right now, I’d settle for a really good try.

  10. says

    Paul

    Wow. I’ll admit that the cynical side of me was expecting that your comment @492 would turn out to be the disingenuous douchebag flounce I was reading it as, but I wasn’t really expecting that to be A) true or B) revealed so damn quickly.

    8 comments later and there wasn’t even really anything there to set you off. We were letting you climb back up the ladder to dignity. Did you think the dignity was angry bees? Are you just a cavophiliac?

    Also weren’t you ranting earlier about how we were just picking on these one or two statements that just “sounded bad out of context” and “I already addressed that, so I am done forever because communication is a one-way street” and now it’s all “you’re picking on so many different things (that all are about very similar things cropping up multiple times), how could anyone hope to respond or view it as at all valid”?

    I mean, if you want time alone with the hole, all you gotta do is throw a sock up and tell us to bug out for awhile. We’re really not here to judge.

  11. Gregory Greenwood says

    Chris Clarke @ 451;

    perhaps it was imprudent for you to walk into this place dressed up all mansplainy in those dug-in heels.

    And this is such a bad neighbourhood of the information superhighway afterall – a real dark intertoob alley. Full of nasty castrating feminazis just waiting for any opportunity to set upon one of the unwary menz. When you think about it, coming in here was downright careless of Paul W…

  12. Cyranothe2nd says

    Thanks Caine. That’s a really good post. I admit that I haven’t come across Pal before (or, if I have, that his ‘nym hasn’t stuck in my brain), so I was not as charitable in my reading of his first post as some others were when they attempted to explain why he was so wrong. It seems like it really didn’t matter, since he doubled-down instead of listening, but its good to know that he’s not just some troll.

    Also Caine, you’ve been rocking this thread hard. Mad props!

  13. says

    its good to know that he’s not just some troll.

    That’s a matter of opinion. Given this in his latest:

    It is not clear to me at this point that people generally agree on how I’m wrong in specifics—e.g., the one crucial thing I’m fundamentally wrong about in one clear, agreed-upon way

    … I find it difficult to believe that he’s arguing in good faith. I am not feeling inclined to welcome him back with open arms.

  14. says

    Cyranothe2nd:

    That’s a really good post.

    Yeah, it is. And that’s the least of what he wrote during the accommodation wars. He shined during those. It’s why so many of us are having a really difficult time with all this now.

    Mad props!

    Thanks. :)

  15. Louis says

    Chas, #467,

    fair enough, Louis; we agree that you owe me nothing.

    Oh I dunno. Contempt isn’t nothing whether or not you find it significant.

    Louis

  16. The Mellow Monkey says

    Paul:

    It is not clear to me at this point that people generally agree on how I’m wrong in specifics—e.g., the one crucial thing I’m fundamentally wrong about in one clear, agreed-upon way.

    I would be happy to try to address any one issue that people agree is the crucial one I’m wrong about—and in particular, one particular objection to it.

    Okay.

    athyco @265:

    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.

    Me @ 275:

    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?

    Caine @ 278:

    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.

    JAL @ 282:

    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?

    Chris @ 292:

    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.

    JAL @ 311:

    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?

    Me @ 316:

    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.

    Josh @ 320:

    Rape is never “caused by a woman’s imprudence.”

    vaiyt @ 326:

    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.

    Cerberus @ 327:

    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.

    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.

    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.

    Cerberus @ 330:

    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.

    Caine @ 332:

    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. … Thanks to that, and people like you, Paul, we get to be reminded, all the time, that yes, it was our fault.

    Cerberus @ 333:

    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!

    Nepenthe @ 339:

    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?

    It’s this, for a few hundred comments. Over and over again, the same thing. Yes, yes, we know you don’t really think that a rape victim was “asking for it.” We know that. But you are still trying to argue that there is “nuance” here, that our basic stance is one of “extremism”, and that there’s nothing wrong with discussing a victim’s “imprudence” so long as you make it clear you’re making a distinction between “causal blame” and “moral blame.”

    And that is all wrong. And we have all said it is wrong. And we have all said the many ways that it is wrong. The fact that you think we’re somehow in disagreement here baffles me. We are all saying the same things.

    There are many different ways you’re wrong and many different ways we can analyze that wrongness and fine shades of wrongness, but at the end of the day, it’s just rape culture baggage.

    And it’s wrong.

  17. says

    Chris:

    Your point about Caine rocking the thread, however, is much-warranted.

    Thank you. You did some impressive rocking yourself, Chris.

    I didn’t read his latest (last?) post, but this bit:

    It is not clear to me at this point that people generally agree on how I’m wrong in specifics—e.g., the one crucial thing I’m fundamentally wrong about in one clear, agreed-upon way

    Wow. I…

    wow. I don’t see how he could possibly say that with a straight face or any honesty. If we ever sounded like an echo chamber, it was in this thread. We were all saying the same damn thing. Over and over.

    Okay. Well, I tried. We all tried. And that counts, right?

  18. Louis says

    Gregory Greenwood, #516,

    Downright imprudent I’d have said. Not that that makes anyone morally responsible.

    Louis

  19. Louis says

    Caine,

    Okay. Well, I tried. We all tried. And that counts, right?

    I got a Certificate of Attendance.

    And you don’t get one of those for just showing up.

    Louis

  20. Hekuni Cat, MQG says

    MM:

    that our basic stance is one of “extremism”

    Wow. Thank you. There are so many things wrong about Paul’s comments that I didn’t see this until you pointed it out.

  21. carlie says

    Maybe if I go away for a couple of days and come back and go through stuff with I fresh eye, what you are talking about as the big mistake everyone sees will just pop out at me.

    Maybe.
    Maybe if you don’t think of it as “what is everyone trying to hammer at me as a big mistake”, which automatically raises defenses to the “la la la I can’t hear you” level.

    Maybe if you try skimming through and reading just all of Caine’s responses, or skimming through and just reading all of Cerberus’ responses, etc., it might make more sense because each person is coming at it from their own angle, and maybe it was having all of those perspectives coming at you at once that made it seem confused and muddy.

    Maybe if you don’t try looking for one magic bullet of wrongness, but look at it as “what are the possible weaknesses in what I said and how”.

    I’m just really discouraged that you seem to see this whole thing as “everybody against Paul” rather than “everybody against this thing Paul said”. I’m really sad that you are interpreting it as people being mean and irrational and directing their meanness at you rather than the possibility that they are all trying to clue you in on something important because they care about what you think about this thing. I don’t argue like this because I think it’s fun. Nobody was getting any enjoyment out of this. It’s affected some people very strongly in a very negative way. It wasn’t for the sake of wanting to make you feel bad; that wouldn’t ever be worth what they’re going through right now, how their day and possibly their next few days have been ruined. It’s not an attack on you. It’s about this idea you put forth and how it’s flawed, and the reason it was attacked so strongly is because that exact same idea gets promulgated time and time again, and it’s both factually wrong and is used as a cudgel against people who could never deserve it.

  22. Paul W. says

    OK, here’s that paragraph that at least some people seem to take as a proof that I’m a victim-blaming rape apologist, and I can certainly see why:

    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.”

    Presenting it out of the context I at least attempted to create for it, It really does seem to clearly mean something fucking horrible that makes me a victim blaming rape apologist.

    But that is NOT WHAT I MEANT. REALLY.

    I intended a very context-dependent meaning, in which the sentence is true but only if you interpret several terms in particular ways.

    That is, it was intended to be a statement that seems horrible and damning if you interpret one way, but can nonetheless actually be true and even morally acceptable if it’s clear that a very different interpretation is meant.

    That’s why the paragraph has several apparent “obvious” problems that make it clearly seem like a horrible statement. It’s supposed to be a statement that some people would find obviously victim-blaming on one interpretation, but that other people would think is a statement of fact and have an interpretation on which it’s true, and think is okay.

    If you don’t believe me about that—that the statement is supposed to seem obviously victim-blaming, etc., in a way that I am not, but it has yet have a different much-less-obvious interpretation that is true and okay, then if I say that the statement is true, it will seem like I am clearly some sort of victim-blaming asshole who really does not belong here.

    I really fucked myself with this example, because clearly I made it too complicated and dependent on too many non-obvious matters of interpretation, and that made it difficult to believe me when I said it could ever be true or okay on any interpetation, and that effectively derailed my argument right there, in a way it never recovered from.

    I spent too much time trying to justify an example that was poorly chosen and prone to disagreement, and made people suspicious that I was just wanking for the sake of it, or that I wouldn’t spend so much time wanking about a horrible statement if I wasn’t trying to pull a fast one, or any of various other bad things.

    I am sorry I fucked up in that way, and compounded it by not keeping my eye on the ball, quickly ditching the example with an apology, and coming up with an example that I could make work and make convincing.

    If you think I’m a rape apologist because you didn’t understand what I was trying to do with that example, or didn’t believe me that it was really what I was trying to do, I understand that. I did fuck up, bigtime, and made myself too hard to understand and even too hard to believe.

    I am very sorry for putting everyone through all this with that huge fuckup, and some other fuckups.

    I hope you’ll believe me when I say that my motive was not to justify victim blaming, but to explain how it can hinge on an ambiguity, and that I at least thought there was a good reason to make that kind of point, and certainly didn’t mean to put everybody through this crap just to make that point.

    Unfortunately, it took me way longer than it should have to realize how much I’d fucked up with that example, and I didn’t understand why so many people didn’t believe me when I said that I was arguing against victim-blaming, not for it. I did the wrong thing in response, repeating what I do actually think and denying that it was victim blaming, rather than recognizing why people wouldn’t believe me in the face of what seems like a clearly victim-blaming statement on my part.

    Again I am very sorry for all that.

  23. The Mellow Monkey says

    Caine, I may have overstated that, but it was my interpretation of this mess from his first monster post:

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

    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.)

    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.

    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.

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

  24. says

    It’s not an attack on you. It’s about this idea you put forth and how it’s flawed, and the reason it was attacked so strongly is because that exact same idea gets promulgated time and time again, and it’s both factually wrong and is used as a cudgel against people who could never deserve it.

    Thank you, Carlie. ♥

  25. says

    If you think I’m a rape apologist because you didn’t understand what I was trying to do with that example, or didn’t believe me that it was really what I was trying to do, I understand that. I did fuck up, bigtime, and made myself too hard to understand and even too hard to believe.

    Yes, Paul, your mistake is precisely that you were playing twelve-dimensional chess for an audience of rubes. That’s exactly what happened. We’re all just golden retriever puppies here watching as you put quadratic equations on the chalkboard, and waiting for an apology from you for going too far over our heads.

    You’re done in my thread. Go away.

  26. says

    Paul, I get this is an ego thing. I get that you’re trying. I get that you’re hurting. And I get that this is your way of trying to mend bridges and I accept your apology, but seriously, man, your continued stance of “all y’all with your lady brains are too stupid and short-attention-spanned to get my super duper important thought experiment point” just makes me want to punch you in the junk.

    I get that this whole… thing… got really tied into a lot of ego about how smart you are and you know what, you a schmott guy, but… no. You really do not understand how much you are failing because of the cultural contexts in which you keep saying these horrible sexist things like “the women who disagreed with me just couln’t understand my super complex man point”.

  27. carlie says

    Caine, I’m sorry for how this has affected you. I do sometimes take the “unaffected in the same way you (the person I’m arguing with) are” viewpoint in discussions like this, and I always worry that I’m coming off as callous and performing sideswipes on other people in the process. I hope I’m not.

    That is, it was intended to be a statement that seems horrible and damning if you interpret one way, but can nonetheless actually be true and even morally acceptable if it’s clear that a very different interpretation is meant.

    I’m now whimpering on the floor in academic frustration. The bolded part is exactly what many of us have been arguing against this entire time. Not the first interpretation. We are taking issue with “can nonetheless actually be true”, because it is not, in fact, actually true, in any correlative sense of the word, in any statistically significant sense of the word, in anything but the most trivial “and also there was a big bang that was causative of this event just as every event is a summation of everything that has happened in all of space and time prior to said event” sense of the word. I’m honestly at a loss to explain that point any differently than is has been the last dozen or so times.

  28. says

    From mob bosses and assassins to pool balls to dogs to alternators to…

    We’ve been about everything except who we are, eh?

    If you think of men as leptons, and women as hadrons, then according to this Feynman diagram it’s clear that causality is dependent on hey where did everyone go?

  29. mildlymagnificent says

    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?

    I’ve skipped a few posts so someone else might have got here before me.

    Paul, do you really understand where your thinking is taking you? Your real problem is that you’re resisting going to the place that all women inhabit. Our thinking, our upbringing, our life experience all combine to make us understand that women are never, ever, never, safe from the reality of rape.

    Your rationalising and logicalising about factors or contributors or causes of any particular rape are the same intellectual tap-dancing that women have to do all the time – when we’re seriously trying to avoid facing the fact that it isn’t up to us.

    I realise that you’re not there yet – but welcome to our world anyway.

  30. Louis says

    Paul,

    You made your argument too conditional and complicated? I didn’t think so, it was just incorrect. I also didn’t and don’t think you are any species of rape apologist, other than accidental at worst, and hell, we ALL do that whether we like it or not.

    You’re about to get a barrage of “intent=/=magic” by the way, so brace yourself. I wouldn’t be shocked if your “complicated” comment makes people think your apology is actual a classic notpology.

    Imagine a single rapist. That rapist has individual drives, desires, tendencies that will make that rapist rape a subset of potential victims. IIRC many rapists have a “type” (someone please correct me if I am wrong, I am working from memory). One can’t easily generalise from the specific tendencies of one rapist because the cohort “rapists” and the cohort “rape victims” are too diverse (as mentioned before). Again this is an area that has been well studied, a mature area of the social sciences. And again, the only major commonality, the only major generality, seems to be “opportunity”. In all cases of rape the only identifiable proximal cause is the presence of a rapist. That’s not as tautological as it sounds because it is an explicit refutation of your claim that one can meaningfully talk about other proximal causes of rape.

    Note that I am not talking about blame, or moral responsibility, just simple causative factors.

    Is the presence of the rape victim a distal cause? Their clothing? Their drunkenness etc? Sure. But then so is (as others have already said) any damned thing that lead either rapist or victim to be present at the time and place of the rape. How far do you want to go in examining distal causes? And why only examine the distal causes associated with the victim and not the rapist? Sure one person’s drunkenness might be a distal cause for one rapist’s rape, but so is the set of circumstances the rapist placed themselves in to be able to rape. It’s an endless regress, and the tendency to focus on distal causes associated with victims is a legacy of rape culture. It is explicitly an apologia, accidental perhaps, for the distal causes associated with the rapist.

    Worse, it ignores the only reliable PROXIMAL cause we have: the presence of the rapist and their opportunity to rape. Again, the data bears this out simply by noting the diversity of rapes, victims and rapists.

    It’s partly the confusing of proximal and distal causes, and the focus on distal causes associated with the victim only that particularly undermine any argument you are trying to make. Plus, well, you know the other stuff I said upthread! ;-)

    Louis

  31. DLC says

    Mmmmkay. been away from this for a while. Yes, Paul W, I am going to pile on. Paul W, rape is never, ever justifiable for any reason at any time FULL FUCKING STOP. I don’t fucking care if the victim was dancing naked in the street wailing out hit me baby at the top of their lungs.
    No one, not ever, not even their spouse, has a right to force themselves on that person sexually. There is no damn nuance, no ambiguity.

  32. Louis says

    Clarification:

    Distal causes are things like “ZOMG if I had got on that plane I would have died in that crash, but I was saved by my car breaking down”. I’m using the term (perhaps incorrectly) as representative of events that are related to the event causally some how, but are irrelevant to the actual, proximal cause of the event. So for example, my car could have broken down on a day when I wasn’t due to take a flight, causing me disruption but no life saving inconvenience.

    The same applies to the stereotypical “short skirt” (or whatever). Sure Rapist A with Short Skirt Urge might be partly aroused to rape by the presence of a short skirt, but this is a distal cause, it takes no account of other distal causes and is irrelevant to the proximal cause of the rape: the presence of a rapist and the opportunity to rape. The stereotypical “short skirt” could have been present in front of a bazillion rapists none of whom had the opportunity or current desire to rape.

    Focussing on individual distal causes in this way, especially distal causes in the case of rape victims, is to totally miss the really important bits about the rape. If you’re trying to find ways to combat apologists, start there.

    Louis

  33. carlie says

    Is the presence of the rape victim a distal cause? Their clothing? Their drunkenness etc? Sure. But then so is (as others have already said) any damned thing that lead either rapist or victim to be present at the time and place of the rape. How far do you want to go in examining distal causes? And why only examine the distal causes associated with the victim and not the rapist? Sure one person’s drunkenness might be a distal cause for one rapist’s rape, but so is the set of circumstances the rapist placed themselves in to be able to rape. It’s an endless regress, and the tendency to focus on distal causes associated with victims is a legacy of rape culture. It is explicitly an apologia, accidental perhaps, for the distal causes associated with the rapist.

    Worse, it ignores the only reliable PROXIMAL cause we have: the presence of the rapist and their opportunity to rape. Again, the data bears this out simply by noting the diversity of rapes, victims and rapists.

    It’s partly the confusing of proximal and distal causes, and the focus on distal causes associated with the victim only that particularly undermine any argument you are trying to make.

    THIS was one of the points I was trying to make. No wonder I couldn’t quite get it down right; it was off playing around in Louis’ head where I couldn’t reach it.

  34. says

    Carlie:

    Caine, I’m sorry for how this has affected you.

    Thank you. I know what these threads do to me, but it’s important. We can’t sit in a corner and be silent.

    I do sometimes take the “unaffected in the same way you (the person I’m arguing with) are” viewpoint in discussions like this, and I always worry that I’m coming off as callous and performing sideswipes on other people in the process. I hope I’m not.

    I obviously haven’t told you just how very much I appreciate that you can do that. You can go places I can’t, you can reach people I don’t and you always provide a calm, rational, well reasoned and often cutting commentary. I can never read you fast enough. In threads like this, you act like an anchor for me. And I love you dearly for it.

  35. Louis says

    Sorry, Carlie.

    We feminazi pharynguscum all think alike. I must have accidentally stolen the Hymn Sheet when it was your turn.

    Louis

  36. Gregory Greenwood says

    Cerberus from Time Forgot @ 429;

    thisthisthisthisTHIS! To everything you said, but especially this

    It is very nice of you to say that, but I think you put it far better than I did.

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

    Paul W. @ 424;

    Fine, you don’t want to listen to me. Fair enough, others have made the point far better than I have. If you will take some free advice from me, it would be to go back and read all the posts from people like Caine, Carlie, and all the women on this thread who have experienced rape and its legacy upon society and the individual. They understand these issues far better than a man like me (and, I assume, like you) who has never experienced rape or sexual assault can ever hope to.

    Read all the posts by Cerberus too – they succinctly cover all the points you need to understand, and the deconstruction of why your pool analogy is so problematic is particularly effective.

    It is not that none of us are detached and rational (or even ‘smart’) enough to grasp your arguments, or that we are all making the exact same mistake that leads us to misunderstand what you are saying in the exact same way – you are wrong on this, and the reasons why you are wrong have been repeated scores of times on this thread. We are not doing this to hurt you, emasculate you or belittle you. We are trying to communicate why your remarks are so harmful, in the hope that you will understand that your words are causing damage.

    Even I – someone who has never had to go through the trauma of rape or sexual assault – do not enjoy this type of grinding verbal sparring over an issue that is so triggering and causes so much pain. I find it draining and depressing. I cannot imagine how difficult it is for the people who have had to live through rape and its longterm aftermath. These people are prepared to suffer the triggering and the resurgent trauma caused by threads like this because the message they are seeking to express to you is so important. The least you can do is put aside your reflexive defensiveness and listen to them.

  37. says

    Paul, I understood what you were trying to say and do just fine. I do not fucking appreciate the “sorry you’re all too stupid to get my incredible argument”. We got it. It was wrong. What, exactly, does it say about you, that you can’t manage to understand what we have been saying for hundreds of posts? What, exactly, does it say about you that you cannot admit that you are wrong?

  38. carlie says

    Now I’m embarrassed enough to hide under the couch. ♥ I love how you can be passionate and eloquent at the same time, because as soon as it’s something where I am emotionally involved, I turn into a sputtering pile of incoherence.

  39. Paul W. says

    One clarification… I was only looking for one especially bad thing (that everyone agreed was the terrible thing) because some recent comments by others seemed to suggest that there was a big particularly crucial thing that everyone saw as The Big Problem but me.

    I had never thought that was likely, myself—it had seemed that there were many varied criticisms of many things, and trying to address—but if there was one biggie, I wanted to address that one for sure before leaving.

    Having at least attempted one that seems pretty big to me, I’m history.

    Goodbye everyone.

    Best wishes, and sorry for all the pain.

  40. vaiyt says

    Presenting it out of the context I at least attempted to create for it, It really does seem to clearly mean something fucking horrible that makes me a victim blaming rape apologist.

    Stop thinking you’re smarter than everyone here. We can read the fucking context, you idiot. We KNOW you were making a completely meaningless causal link that “coincidentally” sounded exactly like rape apologia. We pointed it out to you REPEATEDLY. YOU DOUBLED DOWN. AGAIN. AGAIN. AGAIN. AND FUCKING AGAIN. You refused to let go of your precious argument. Guess what, you can take the argument AND the context and shove BOTH in your nostril until it hits your brain.

    But that is NOT WHAT I MEANT. REALLY.

    All together now!

    YOUR!

    INTENT!

    MEANS!

    JACK!

    FUCK YOU and have a good day!

  41. The Mellow Monkey says

    Caine:

    I obviously haven’t told you just how very much I appreciate that you can do that. You can go places I can’t, you can reach people I don’t and you always provide a calm, rational, well reasoned and often cutting commentary. I can never read you fast enough.

    Seconding this to Carlie. Your contributions are just phenomenal.

    And Caine, you’ve really been an inspiration to me with how you handle threads like this.

    I want to thank the Horde in general, because when I first started posting here, I couldn’t handle these topics for more than a few posts before descending into incoherent monkey rage and tears. The months here, reading these arguments, seeing the apologetics ripped to shreds, has helped me more than just about anything else and I can finally discuss these things without just making a sobbing ass of myself. I haven’t always been like that (and absolutely have made an ass of myself here), but being able to talk about this stuff and hold my ground is an incredible gift. Thank you for that.

  42. Louis says

    The Mellow Monkey,

    I haven’t always been like that (and absolutely have made an ass of myself here)

    Oh but DAHHHLING, all the best people have!

    Louis

  43. says

    Chris:

    If you think of men as leptons, and women as hadrons, then according to this Feynman diagram it’s clear that causality is dependent on hey where did everyone go?

    You are a wonderfully wicked man.

  44. says

    MM:

    The months here, reading these arguments, seeing the apologetics ripped to shreds, has helped me more than just about anything else and I can finally discuss these things without just making a sobbing ass of myself.

    ♥ You are a clear and wonderful voice and you have no trouble at all making a mean point. Or a dozen.

  45. chigau (無味ない) says

    Chris
    Paul W. #551 looks like a real exit.
    Would you consider leaving it?
    It would take a Mighty Bunny to close this episode.

  46. says

    Oh, Paul. Paul, Paul, Paul, Paul, Paul.

    Describing your first post as “didactic” is illustrative. Stop trying to teach. Stop fucking typing. Read. Listen. Try to understand.

    You know I’ve long liked and respected you. I’m confident you’ll do the right thing.

  47. erikthebassist says

    Caine, Cerberus, Athyco, Jal and the rest…

    Well, if there’s anything positive to take out of this mess it’s this: I want you to know that two years ago I wouldn’t have understood the response to Paul W today. I might have even thought people were over reacting.

    Today, I knew Paul was fucking up and knew what the reaction would be before I even saw it.

    I had the same reaction.

    I know he put a lot of people througha lot of pain today, and it pisses me off that he did, but you should all know it’s not for nothing, that there’s another me out there lurking who in 6 months, or a year from now, is going to remember this thread, and countless others like it.

    They are going to remember what Paul (and others) said and how it contributes to rape culture and how it can be used to pour salt in the wounds of the victims, and they will stop and think before they speak, and might even find themselves calling out someone else on similar bullshit.

    What you are doing is making a difference, you are winning hearts and minds. I’m proof of it, and I know there are hundreds of others just like me out there reading this.

    I want you to know that, and thank you, from the bottom of my being, thank you. I’m a better person for having known you and for my time here.

  48. says

    Chris
    Paul W. #551 looks like a real exit.
    Would you consider leaving it?

    That was my intention, yep.

    It would take a Mighty Bunny to close this episode.

    This one’s not really right for this thread, but I’m putting it here for safekeeping for use in mid-thread with a lower-stakes troll.

  49. Gregory Greenwood says

    I would like to add my voice to those pointing out that the words of people like Caine and Carlie and all the other wonderfully expressive and intelligent feminists and progressives on Pharyngula do make a real difference. It does raise awareness of what rape culture is and how widespread that poison has become in our society. It is from people like you that I learned about it as a lurker. You are the ones who put the red pill in my right hand, and the blue in my left, and let me choose whether I had the fortitude and intellectual honesty to look at how messed up our patriarchal culture is without the comforting blinders of the cis/het, white male privilege I happened to be born into.

    I took the red pill, and every day since has been an exercise in trying to be aware of my wholly unearned privilege. It has equipped me with the knowledge to start to become a better person, and I flatter myself that I have made a couple of tentative, tottering steps in that direction, though with many a trip and stumble along the way, My journey to becoming more socially aware began with people like you and your fantastic, well chosen, insightful (and inciteful) words – you are the reason it has been possible. I would like to thank you for that, doubly so knowing the personal pain it must have cost you to do it.

    Your words do make a difference. They made all the difference for me, and they will do so for others.

  50. erikthebassist says

    *hugs* Caine. I don’t gerally approve of hero worship, people are people no matter how smart or successful, but it’s awfully hard not to make an exception in your case.

  51. says

    That was my intention, yep.

    It’s your thread, Chris, but I wouldn’t mind if Paul came back for a bout or two, because I’d really like to find out if he can reach understanding. Just on this page alone, we’ve had some outstanding explanations (Carlie and Louis) that I don’t know that Paul has seen yet.

  52. says

    Okay, I’m gonna join Carlie under the couch. ♥

    Gregory, you have been a consistent, patient (incredibly patient, if you ask me) voice of reason for quite a long while now. I’ve seen you reach people no one else could get through to, and that’s worth…well, everything.

  53. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Just on this page alone, we’ve had some outstanding explanations (Carlie and Louis) that I don’t know that Paul has seen yet.

    Very nice explanations that should have gotten through. But, I think Paul really had a blind spot, having to do with choices by the rapist. Just as the rapist picks a victim for whatever reason he needs, it is very similar to the bank robber picking a bank to rob. It is there, and its where the money is (paraphrasing Willie Sutton).

  54. erikthebassist says

    I’ll forgive you Hekuni Cat if you forgive my never ending string of typos, deal? =)

  55. Louis says

    Nerd, #571,

    Ahhh but banks that get robbed are imprudent for not having enough guards, being out late at night in the wrong parts of the economy and wearing a short interest rate.

    Slutty, slutty banks.

    Louis

  56. Gregory Greenwood says

    Caine, Fleur du mal + @ 569;

    Gregory, you have been a consistent, patient (incredibly patient, if you ask me) voice of reason for quite a long while now. I’ve seen you reach people no one else could get through to, and that’s worth…well, everything.

    Aw, shucks. Now I’m all embarrassed…

    ;-P

    Sometimes, though, I wonder whether my ability to reach some of these people is a product of my openly male nym more than anything else. I fear that I am enabling their misogyny by providing an obviously male voice for them to engage while they continuously ignore the voices of other posters with feminine or gender ambiguous nyms who make the points easily as well (and usually far better) than I do.

    Somewhere in the shadowed recesses of my noggin, there is a little imp in a cage furiously rattling its bars and screaming at me to drop the non-swearing-slightly-milquetoast-nice-chap routine and just yell at that type of person to actually address the women on the thread directly rather than ignoring their existence in favour of engaging the commenters with the clearly male nyms.

  57. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Slutty, slutty banks.

    Only one thing to do with this logic. Give it a tankard of 9-day-old *dons PPE to make the transfer*.

  58. says

    It’s your thread, Chris, but I wouldn’t mind if Paul came back for a bout or two, because I’d really like to find out if he can reach understanding. Just on this page alone, we’ve had some outstanding explanations (Carlie and Louis) that I don’t know that Paul has seen yet.

    Well, I kind of felt like I was doing him a favor, and I certainly wouldn’t be aching to come back were I in his shoes.

    But I have benefited from chances offered when I didn’t deserve them in the past. So.

    Paul, if you want to come back and read and actually engage, and you can manage to write responses that don’t make me hear them in Phil La Marche’s voice as The Brain in my head, here’s a second chance. You can thank Caine.

  59. says

    I’m totally on board with what Erik said, and I’m in the same position.

    You folks have taught me a lot… I’m sure some of you remember some of the asshole moves I’ve pulled over the last couple of years. But as slow as I am, I learned some stuff. I learned that if something isn’t YOUR issue, it is better to ask what other people closer to the issue think rather than make statements based in ignorance. I learned that if someone tells me that I’m wrong, maybe I should ignore my first instinct to get defensive and make sure that I’m not actually wrong.

    And the big one: trying to score intellectual debate points isn’t worth hurting other people. It doesn’t matter if I can figure out a clever way to spin things so that I’m technically “correct,” if I’m causing other people pain then I’m absolutely doing the wrong thing and I need to stop immediately and apologize. Treating other people’s real-life experiences like some sort of game that I can crack open and poke around in is wrong every time, no matter how complicated a rationale you can build up in order to justify it to yourself.

    And Paul, I’m going to go ahead and apologize for some of what I said to you. Some of my anger is just that I could have been as stupid and cruel as you have been, and in defense of people I’ve grown to care about. Accusing you of being a potential MRA/misogynist was uncalled for, and I’m sorry.

  60. Louis says

    Just so we don’t get accused of being an echo chamber, I’ve learned nothing from any of you and I hate everyone.

    Louis

  61. says

    Ahhh but banks that get robbed are imprudent for not having enough guards, being out late at night in the wrong parts of the economy and wearing a short interest rate.

    And just think of the sluts robbed by banks! Out for an affordable student “loan” (everyone knows what that means) or looking for a whoregage in a seedy neighborhood.

    Predatory, my ass.

  62. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Dang, can’t even include GROG in post #576. (Time to fix the Friday night fish dinner for the Redhead (she’s not religious, just that the local restaurants have fish fries on Friday night). Where are the Idaho potatoes to nuke *goes in search of*?)

  63. says

    IJoe, *bravo*. That was a good post.

    Gregory, don’t listen to that imp, tell them to shut up and settle down. I have seen, in more than one thread, a person listen and respond primarily or exclusively to you, however, it makes your presence and willingness to engage all the more important. There will always be men who are at a stage where they simply aren’t willing to engage with women on some topics, or they are uncertain how to engage with women or they’re plain scared of engaging women.

    A lot of the time, when a man is trying to figure certain things out, especially if those are confusing, complex things, it feels better and easier to for them to be able to talk with another man. In this, as well as much of other bits of life, homosocial bonding can be crucial, it can be the make or break. So, you just keep telling that imp to mind it’s own business. So to speak.

  64. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    Paul W.

    Presenting it out of the context I at least attempted to create for it, It really does seem to clearly mean something fucking horrible that makes me a victim blaming rape apologist.

    But that is NOT WHAT I MEANT. REALLY.

    As said, Intent Isn’t Magic. Anyways, EVEN IN CONTEXT your statement is bullshit and wrong.

    That’s why the paragraph has several apparent “obvious” problems that make it clearly seem like a horrible statement. It’s supposed to be a statement that some people would find obviously victim-blaming on one interpretation, but that other people would think is a statement of fact and have an interpretation on which it’s true, and think is okay.

    If you don’t believe me about that—that the statement is supposed to seem obviously victim-blaming, etc., in a way that I am not, but it has yet have a different much-less-obvious interpretation that is true and okay, then if I say that the statement is true, it will seem like I am clearly some sort of victim-blaming asshole who really does not belong here.

    This is the problem. I couldn’t disagree with this more. Those statements aren’t true. They aren’t okay. Not even in the “harmless change one factor and change the whole incident” way because the only way to change something to make a rape not happen is to remove the rapists.

    I really fucked myself with this example, because clearly (1)I made it too complicated and dependent on too many non-obvious matters of interpretation, and (2)that made it difficult to believe me when I said it could ever be true or okay on any interpetation, and (3)that effectively derailed my argument right there, in a way it never recovered from.

    (4)I am sorry I fucked up in that way, and compounded it by not keeping my eye on the ball, quickly ditching the example with an apology, and (5)coming up with an example that I could make work and make convincing.

    1.) Fuck your condescension. We understand you perfectly. Maybe it’s YOU that isn’t understand us. Ever think of that Mr. Observational Vulcan Ivory Tower Philosophical Wanker?
    2.) You spent hundreds of words on this, there is NO WAY to make it okay.
    3.) Your argument is exactly the problem, even with all the charitable interpretations and leeway given you.
    4.) Notpology.
    5.) There IS NO example that could work or be convincing.

    If you think I’m a rape apologist because you didn’t understand what I was trying to do with that example, or didn’t believe me that it was really what I was trying to do, I understand that. I did fuck up, bigtime, and made myself too hard to understand and even too hard to believe.

    I am very sorry for putting everyone through all this with that huge fuckup, and some other fuckups.

    Oh, fuck you and your condescending notpology. You sound like this:

    “Oh, I’m sorry you’re the one misunderstanding me. Oh, I’m sorry my example was too complex for you. I’m sorry I didn’t give you a better, simpler example for you poor slow folks. I’m sorry you’re too cynical to believe me, even though I’m a good person with a good track record. It’s okay *pats heads* I understand you at least.

    I hope you’ll believe me when I say that (1)my motive was not to justify victim blaming, but to (2)explain how it can hinge on an ambiguity, and that (3)I at least thought there was a good reason to make that kind of point, and (4)certainly didn’t mean to put everybody through this crap just to make that point.

    1. Doesn’t matter.
    2. NOT TRUE. There’s no ambiguity.
    3. Really? I’ve asked and yet haven’t seen an answer except maybe that “in a clinical, strictly observational sense” trash. Even if you make up an coherent reason, again, it doesn’t matter. It’s not true, it’s not okay, and there’s no reason for your rape apologist argument.
    4. Doesn’t matter, you did. You still don’t get it and are really just making it worse.

    If you’re really gone, good riddance. Like Dawkins, you’ve got a sexist blindspot here. While you may have been great before and may be great later on other issues, you suck at this topic and honestly, fuck that. I don’t see a reason to believe your arguing in good faith or that you can come around.

    My atheism with be inter-sectional or it will be bullshit. Fuck coddling supposed friends and allies, when there is plenty of others to support who won’t pull this shit. If others want to hold your hand and play nice with you, good luck to them and I respect their decision, I’m just not going to do that. Fuck you.

  65. Louis says

    SC, #580,

    Just think what this means the economic downturn and toxic debts are in terms of sluts/feminism/rape culture.

    And quantitative easing. That’s positively disgusting!

    Oh dear, I’ve gone again haven’t I?

    Louis

  66. says

    SC:

    And just think of the sluts robbed by banks! Out for an affordable student “loan” (everyone knows what that means) or looking for a whoregage in a seedy neighborhood.

    :Laughs: You have a wonderful way with words.

  67. Gregory Greenwood says

    Caine, Fleur du mal +@ 584;

    Gregory, don’t listen to that imp, tell them to shut up and settle down. I have seen, in more than one thread, a person listen and respond primarily or exclusively to you, however, it makes your presence and willingness to engage all the more important. There will always be men who are at a stage where they simply aren’t willing to engage with women on some topics, or they are uncertain how to engage with women or they’re plain scared of engaging women.

    A lot of the time, when a man is trying to figure certain things out, especially if those are confusing, complex things, it feels better and easier to for them to be able to talk with another man. In this, as well as much of other bits of life, homosocial bonding can be crucial, it can be the make or break. So, you just keep telling that imp to mind it’s own business. So to speak.

    OK then.

    Oi, imp! Yes, you in the cage – pipe down or I’ll feed you to my id. It hasn’t had a decent meal in days…

  68. Gregory Greenwood says

    Louis and SC (Salty Current), OM;

    *Applauds*

    Your riffing on banks is brilliant, just brilliant!

    :-)

  69. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    Oh, damn. Again, I’m slow composing and missed a lot. I swear the last comment I read before my last post was Caine’s 567. I still stand by what I said though. I’ll leave now since people want him to come back and be charitable and I’m just not willing to do that.

    Good luck all.

  70. erikthebassist says

    Just so we don’t get accused of being an echo chamber, I’ve learned nothing from any of you and I hate everyone.

    Louis

    coffe on screen and keyboard, I’ll clean it up monday… (wanders out in to the cold and my car, chuckling, thankfully)

  71. says

    You have a wonderful way with words.

    :) Mutual! And that also goes for Carlie, Chris, Gregory, Louis, JAL, Cerberus, and many others (including Chas and Paul W. when they’re fighting the good fight).

  72. says

    JAL, you didn’t miss anything and I thought your post was good. I agree with it. It’s not at all certain Paul will be back, and your voice is every bit as important as everyone else’s.

    I’m just curious to see, given the explanations given by Carlie and Louis, if Paul could pull his head out and actually achieve understanding.

  73. Louis says

    Gregory,

    Fancy a look at my fiscal policy? I’ll show you my LIBOR if you show me yours.

    Louis

  74. says

    You know, SC, it will be your fault that whoregage will now reside in my brain forever and I just know it’s going to pop up at the most inappropriate moments, causing a laughing fit.

  75. Koshka says

    Count me in on the echo chamber. Several years ago I would have been sympathetic to Paul W ‘s argument. The regulars here helped me to think ( and to STFU and listen). Thank you all. I know it causes you pain to deal with this but it does make a difference.

  76. carlie says

    Thanks to everyone – I have a very hard time taking compliments, but I’m glad if anything I write is useful. And I’m constantly amazed at the communication skills of everyone who comments here.
    And thank you, Eric, for letting us know so well that it can end up making a difference.

  77. Gregory Greenwood says

    Louis @ 549;

    Fancy a look at my fiscal policy? I’ll show you my LIBOR if you show me yours.

    Ohh – cheeky…

    Just so long as your LIBOR hasn’t been artificially inflated like that slutty Barclays Bank…

    ;-P

  78. Louis says

    Gregory,

    Artificially inflated? What a thing to say to a boy! I’ll have you know I am the very epitome of financial probity.

    Unless you have a crooked accountant and a tax avoidance loophole, then I’ll do anything!

    Louis

  79. says

    Y’all,

    Thanks for all of your work in this thread. Just reading it has worn me down. However, it has also motivated me to do something I have never done before, in detail, and that is to share my story.

    I was imprudent. It was a party, you understand, and I was drinking like everyone else. There were some drugs there, too, and I know I partook in some of those, because at the time I tended to take what was offered me in a desperate attempt to stave off my depression. I couldn’t tell you if I was conventionally attractive, but I was thin and I had big boobs. At this party, I met a new fellow. He was smart and well-read, and he seemed to like me. We ended up making out quite heavily, and were still doing so after the party had wound down and everyone else had gone to bed.

    [TRIGGER WARNING] At some point, I woke up with this guy between my legs. I knew I didn’t want him there, but I was too fucked up to move, to speak, to do anything, so I passed back out. When I woke up the next morning, I told my friend, the host of the party, that I thought I might have been assaulted.

    “Are you sure you didn’t consent?” he asked me.

    Well, no. I wasn’t sure at all. Maybe when I woke up from being blacked out, I just changed my mind. Maybe I led him on. Obviously I didn’t stop him or say no when I realized what was going on, so he must have taken that as implicit consent. Really, he was such a smart and charming guy. He wouldn’t do such a thing. I was so taken with this idea, that I was the cause of his behavior, and that he was really just a great guy, that I continued a casual relationship with the man. It lasted several months, until I moved away.

    This house was a safe zone. I had been partying there for years, had passed out fucked up on numerous occasions, and nothing like this had ever happened. Imprudent, that’s what I was.

    Later, I was even more imprudent. I frequently walked down the streets of Roxbury (a sketchy neighborhood in Boston) drunk and alone at 3 or 4 in the morning. Sometimes I wore a dress. You know what happened to me? Aside from being solicited to purchase crack, nothing.

    So, Paul W., when you say things like:

    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.

    You are talking about me. Imprudent, thoughtless, risky-behavior-engaging me. I was raped, and seventeen years later I still struggle with the thought that I could have acted better and prevented it.

    When you say those things, it’s intellectual to you. To me, it’s my inner monologue reminding me that, even though it’s 100% my rapist’s fault for raping me, I acted imprudently. So, really, not 100% his fault. Kind of my fault, too.

    Cerberus from Time Forgot said something that resonated:

    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.

    About a year after the assault, I was consensually fooling around with my boyfriend (the man who would become the incomparable Mr. Evilisgood) when I momentarily forgot what was happening and freaked the fuck out. Screaming, kicking, running to the corner of the room, curling up in a ball kind of freaking the fuck out. See, I thought it was happening again, but I wasn’t drunk and drugged up and so I finally got to do what I had wanted to do. Only it wasn’t the assault, it was just some good, happy, fun sexy times. Nothing kills the mood more than having a flashback to your rape in the middle of consensual sex.

    To his credit, my boyfriend got it. He never asked if I was sure it was rape. He just believed me, no questions asked. Probably this is one of the reasons I decided to keep him around permanently. We worked together to make sex okay again. It was not an easy process, and it took years.

    Paul W., I understand that you do not want to be seen as a rape apologist. But some of the things you’ve said in this thread are deeply hurtful and thoughtless. And you just keep digging in, like if you repeat these things enough times, we’ll all go, “You know what? You’re right! Imprudent-acting women totally caused their rapists to rape them!”

    With some confidence I can assert that this is not going to happen.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, there is some cheap red wine in the fridge , and I don’t think I can get through another moment of this thread without it.

    Is that imprudent of me?

  80. says

    evilisgood, hell yeah, cheap red wine is imprudent. If you drink enough, ya might get a headache. Risky.

    Thank you for having the courage to share your experience. It’s difficult, I know. Flashbacks are a b…bear, aren’t they? Hate the damn things. It will be 39 years this summer since my rape. 37 since the trial was over and I could finally walk away, at least until the first parole hearings.

    All these years later and I still get hit out of nowhere. Mister knows not to walk up behind me. But he was excited about something last month and forgot and walked quietly out of the bathroom, into my studio, behind me (sitting at my desk) and placed his hand on the back of my neck. I screamed so damn loud, jumped out of my chair and had a knife at his throat before I even processed one thing. That sort of shit isn’t fun and it isn’t funny.

  81. chigau (無味ない) says

    Janine
    You’re right.
    I posted immediately after reading evilisgood’s comment. (without thinking)
    I apologise and retract it.

  82. The Mellow Monkey says

    Thank you for sharing your story, evilisgood. I was “imprudent” enough to be raped twice in about the span of a year. It’s only been three years since the second assault and I have to maintain certain rules with my partner about what I can and cannot do. Sadly, one of those rules is “no cuddling at bedtime” and sometimes “don’t touch me at all.” Being touched while I’m asleep is a guaranteed way to ruin the night with flailing and a defensive attack.

  83. says

    Gah, that was way too long a screed, and I missed the flounce. But whatever. It’s out there now.

    Tethys, hugs are always enthusiastically accepted. Thank you.

    Caine, two things. 1. I will drink slowly and take some aspirin. Risk mitigation FTW! 2. You are an inspiration to me. The courage you display every day on this forum is something I aspire to. Thank you.

    The Mellow Monkey, I know of what you speak. It’s good that you have a partner who understands. Together, you can work through this.

    Everyone, thanks for reading. That was difficult, but maybe it will help somebody.

  84. athyco says

    Paul all along said that the rape apologists were arguing things that were irrelevant and fallacious, and thought that we might fight them back better if we could explain with some sort of “causal v moral” distinction rather than scornfully dismissing them. “It is NEVER the victim’s fault!” would sound to rape apologists as though we were unreasonable. After all, they could come up with “conventionally beautiful” and “dark alley” and “short skirt” and stuff.

    He hadn’t thought beyond the step of addressing the apologists. He hadn’t thought of what it would mean to victims watching allies argue it; how unspeakably vile and ENDLESS it would be to argue on their festering victim-blaming ground. He hadn’t thought how utterly impossible it would be for victims to argue it. His method made me think of Audre Lorde’s title “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House.”

    I’m framing new ideas (still scornful, still refusing “causal” or “moral” to apply to a victim), but they’re based on the arguments from the rest of you that any new ideas have come. I like the concise and accurate identification of Paul’s “causal blame” versus “moral blame” by Louis @541 as “distal” versus “proximal.” I may jump on that like a bunny in a bowl of popcorn sometime.

    But I’m mad at you for hiding it from carlie and me when it should have been in the Hivemind Hymnal, Louis.

  85. says

    Athyco:

    I like the concise and accurate identification of Paul’s “causal blame” versus “moral blame” by Louis @541 as “distal” versus “proximal.” I may jump on that like a bunny in a bowl of popcorn sometime.

    I was excited by the distal/proximal values also. I think that could actually work when arguing with genuine apologists, as far as possibly getting them to at least change their focus. Distal/proximal comprise good, easy language, too, with none of that problematic moral/blame business.

  86. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    That was difficult, but maybe it will help somebody.

    I am sure that there are lurkers who can relate to the story that you told earlier, evilisgood. Enough people delurk often enough to relate how these threads have helped them out. Do not doubt that you have done good.

  87. Pteryxx says

    evilisgood: telling your story helped me, you should know.

    (warning for telling my own story) Not long ago I had a similar severe flashback during consensual sexytimes with current awesome partner; instead of fighting and screaming, I went rigid and mentally checked out… which is exactly what I did to endure being raped by my abusive ex. I didn’t realize it at the time, though, because back then I hadn’t figured out that it counted as rape. I still thought ex had abused and threatened me ‘but at least I haven’t been raped’. All the kudos to new partner, who realized within seconds something was very wrong and comforted me for the next couple of days, question- and blame-free.

    Thanks to you and Caine and so many other of the legion (as on Caine’s shirt) for helping the quiet portions among us put the pieces together.

  88. says

    All the kudos to new partner, who realized within seconds something was very wrong and comforted me for the next couple of days, question- and blame-free.

    You have a good person there, Pteryxx. I’m so happy for you.

  89. sunny12 says

    I’m another lurker – I’ve only really just started to post here (with the exception of…one post I think I made last year?) – but I’ve been helped immensely by all the comments I’ve been reading over the past few months. It frustrates me eternally when I see yet another advice column on how women can avoid being raped (complete with the usual stuff about clothing, hair, etc.) pop up on my Facebook feed courtesy of friends who saw fit to share it. I’ve tried pointing out how this advice may be well-meaning but incredibly damaging, but keep being met by the same tired old “well some men just can’t help it, so telling them not to rape isn’t going to accomplish anything” and “hey, I’m only caring about women’s safety, why are you being so mean to me?”

    There’s always that conundrum…do I risk alienating my friends by continuing the argument? Or just shut up and say nothing to keep the peace? *sigh* So far I’ve always opted to do the former because I really think it’s just that important, but it frustrates me.

  90. says

    sunny12:

    well some men just can’t help it

    :facepound: This moronic, deadly meme must die. Penises are not alien brainsuckers, dragging poor innocent men off to rape whoever is convenient. Men have brains, they can use them. One thing that moronic meme does is to paint men as stupid, helpless beasts. Seriously, if I was male, I’d be pretty pissy about that.

  91. sunny12 says

    :facepound: This moronic, deadly meme must die. Penises are not alien brainsuckers, dragging poor innocent men off to rape whoever is convenient. Men have brains, they can use them. One thing that moronic meme does is to paint men as stupid, helpless beasts. Seriously, if I was male, I’d be pretty pissy about that.

    Yeah same. It always amazes me when people accuse feminists of hating men…but then stay ridiculous stuff like that, which actually manages to be far more insulting to men than anything I’ve heard a feminist say.

  92. sunny12 says

    I’ve linked to this several times, but this might help, Sunny12 – The Don’t Be That Guy Campaign. Post it right back, *bam*, in their face. Do it repeatedly, if necessary, until the get they message.

    Wow, thanks for sharing that, that’s awesome!

    *bookmarks*

  93. chigau (無味ない) says

    Penises are not alien brainsuckers

    John Varley wrote a short story called Manikins in 1970mumble called

    Manikins
    Doctor Evelyn Burroughs goes to a psycho ward to study the case of Barbara Endicott who is suffering from a carefully worked out schizophrenia where the all-female human race has been dominated by a race of parasites that invade a woman’s genitals and transform young women into so-called men. Evelyn herself wakes up out of her “crazy” episode to find herself in the care of women, safe at last from the male parasites.

    [story summary copied from http://herbboehm.webs.com/storysummaries.htm

  94. says

    Caine

    Seriously, if I was male, I’d be pretty pissy about that.

    I am, and I am. Although when I hear that shit from another man, it also scares the shit out of me; it’s kind of like the christians who say ‘without god, what keeps you from robbing and killing people?.’ I hear things like this, and what I hear is “I am a standing danger to everyone around me, because I will commit acts of gratuitous violence and terror the very second I think that no one’s going to stop me.” And that scares me. Basically, when women say things like ‘[some] men just can’t help themselves’ ( I have encountered it without the qualifier) I write it off as rape culture myths deeply imbedded. But I am a man, and I know damn well that I don’t have any urges to go out and rape, so when I hear a man say that, it reads not as internalized myth, but as projection; any man who says something like that, I automatically start to wonder exactly what they do when they think they won’t be caught, you know?

    evilisgood
    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I’m glad to hear that you, Pteryxx, and Caine have found good partners finally; I’ve heard similar anecdotes that didn’t end nearly as well. I’ve also been in on the other side of the scenarios involving the Messrs Caine and evilisgood; while I don’t pretend that it’s as bad as having one’s PTSD triggered, I can say that it’s no joy on the other end either. A combination of abject fear that I’d done something terribly, terribly wrong and sickening anger at the person(s) who initially did do something terrible, the echoes of which I’m now seeing.

  95. dontpanic says

    If you think of men as leptons, and women as hadrons, then according to this Feynman diagram it’s clear that causality is dependent on hey where did everyone go?

    Are you going to have next-to-leading-order, and next-to-next-to-leading order diagrams? You know … to fully describe all the distal interactions due to the patriarchal sea that arises out of the spontaneous symmetry breaking of the vacuum expectation value of no rape?

    Ack. I read the whole thread (okay, skimmed a few parts of Paul’s wall-o-text) and want to thank all those who shared their stories and explained their points (so passionately). I can see that once upon a time I might have been a “Paul” (though a bit less lengthy) and I’m sure that time on Pharyngula did me some good in that regard. I do hope some of the serious points seep into today’s lurkers brains and while they might not wake up with a “Eureka” moment, it will at least subtly affect their future thoughts and behaviour.

  96. FossilFishy (Νεοπτόλεμος's spellchecker) says

    Caine #608

    What is the point of all this grief if there’s no possibility of opening eyes? Of growth? Of learning?

    This, this right here.

    When I first stumbled on this place the Horde scared the crap out of me. The savage takedowns of shoddy thinking and unevidenced claims were intimidating in the extreme, and they still are. But under that you find #608. That desire to educate, to make the world a better place, is a deep current here.

    One of the things I hate the most about the skeptic, rationalist, atheist movement, such as it is, are the StrawVulcans. Their tone trolling dismissals of arguments couched in passionate language angers me in a way that no creationist has ever achieved.

    Not just because it belittles the experience of those who’ve suffered and then found the strength to tell us about it, though that callous exercise of privilege is more than enough to justify my rage. But also because it dismisses that underlying passion to make things better.

    I thank you all for your passion, for your courage and for your persistence in the face of privilege-hardened obstinance.

    The world may be far from perfect but with you folks in it there is still hope.

  97. vaiyt says

    Paul’s “causal blame”

    is completely meaningless, as pointed out in this thread. Saying that the victim “caused” her rape is only technically correct in the sense that her parents having sex caused her rape, or that people inventing and building the bus she was raped in caused her rape, or that the fucking Big Bang caused her rape. That’s not useful. It’s bloviating bullshit.

    None of those factors help us distinguish a rape situation from a non-rape situation. The presence of the rapist does. Change all the other factors and keep the rapist – rape. Keep all the other factors and remove the rapist – non-rape. Simple like that.

  98. mildlymagnificent says

    None of those factors help us distinguish a rape situation from a non-rape situation. The presence of the rapist does.

    And I think that is the toll that the poor long-suffering brain of Paul is not willing to pay to enter the reality that women face.

    We live with never knowing who or how or why or when the 1 in 20 chance of a man being a rapist will turn into the reality of sexual assault on ourselves or someone we know.

    And. we. know. it has fuck all to do with how we dress or where we go or what we do. For as long as the rapist statistics are at the 1 man in 20 level, we have to acknowledge that working in a workplace or going to a function where there are 50 or more men, the odds are that there is at least one rapist in the group, (and there may be several). And that person might be the one we’ve known the longest or trust the most. We are literally playing the odds – that we can avoid the man/men in question and that even if it’s one of the men we know, that this time it won’t be ourselves that he chooses to target.

    It’s not a wonderful way to live. Most of us manage it with a reasonably good grace most of the time. We’re used to it – no matter how awful you might think it that we have to live like this. If you have never before seriously entertained what this must be like, give it time. We were brought up to it. We’ve lived with it. We have lots of experience of grabbing and groping in lots of times and places. We’ve extricated ourselves from several not so positive encounters with various men over a fair number of years. And 1 in 6 of us have had to deal with actual sexual assault. (And let’s not forget the 1 in 4 of us who’ve suffered violence at the hands of partners.)

    This is not a pretty picture. But life is harder for some than others. For Paul and all the others like him who simply can’t face the fact that this is the way it is, be grateful that you’ve not been taught all your life that men are dangerous but that it is your responsibility to keep out of their way if they’re strangers and keep them happy if they’re not. Be grateful that it’s taken this many years before you’ve been asked to get this notion into your head – and be even more grateful that you’re not being asked to make the changes to your job choices (don’t be a baker or another kind of worker who has odd hours, for starters) and your other activities that women are expected to.

    You can’t refuse this. Life is not a cafeteria where you can ignore all the options that you fear or dislike. Some of them are an inescapable reality. Just be thankful that you can absorb the message simply by reading and thinking about it rather than living with it.

  99. Maureen Brian says

    I’ve been following this if always behind the curve for time-zone reasons but others were doing an admirable job and the couple of points maybe worth adding – maybe – would be footnotes anyway. So here they are.

    Question one: why would anyone spend six hundred and odd comments discussing whether or not a particular line of argument, Paul’s, could or should be used without any reference to whether or not the folktale he was repeating had any basis in fact?

    One thought which comes through loud and clear in the famous Comment 29 is the very same person saying that the untruth of religion should be the over-riding consideration, regardless of tactics, style, personality, whatever. Here we had people constantly shouting “check the facts” but it went unheard.

    Trying to keep up with this has been like watching a whole series of very badly edited disaster movies. Time after time someone risks life and limb to rush to the edge of the precipice waving a huge red warning flag and then we cut immediately to the very same out-of control locomotive heading toward exactly the same fate.

    Question two: if we women are so very stupid how are we expected remember the several million different magic tricks, protective rituals, incantations and dress styles which over the course of a few decades we have all been told will – honestly! – save us from rape?

    Question three: why the fuck would we go to trouble of remembering all that quasi-religious nonsense rather than put our energy into what has already been proved to help? Things like rape crisis centres, campaigns aimed at potential rapists, pressure on police to provide a better response and on legislators to update arcane laws – things which work on this planet, anyway, if imperfectly to date.

  100. Louis says

    The distal/proximal stuff was only dealing with the causal part of Paul’s comments, not the moral part. Reading Paul’s comments it’s abundantly clear neither he nor anyone consider any action on the part of the victim to be morally responsible for a rape.

    The reason I further split causal stuff into distal and proximal was because it was key to the problem. It’s the core confusion whenever the “but she was wearing a short skirt” type stuff comes up. If rapists were some homogeneous cohort of people who only raped a specific, homogeneous cohort of victims under a very narrow set of clearly identified circumstances, then maybe, MAY-BE, we could draw some proximal causes of rape from victim behaviours (i.e. specific members of the victim cohort, deliberately and knowingly putting themselves into the path of known rapists under the correct circumstances). It still wouldn’t denote any moral responsibility, because there is no link between an is and an ought in that sense.

    The major, overwhelming problem with this idealised universe that Paul has attempted to refer to is it bears zero relation to the real one. The data does not show anything like this. Rapists and rape victims are not homogeneous cohorts by any stretch of the imagination, they are not (to steal Chris’ analogy above) a specific type of lepton or boson with known properties that behave in (reasonably) predictable ways. Neither are the circumstances of rapes necessarily similar, again the available data is that rape is conducted over a horrendously diverse set of circumstances.

    This is why one can’t pretend to the sort of philosophising that Paul was aiming for. Granted I know what he was trying to do with it, deconstruct rape apologetics and more power to him, but the problem is he was (accidentally IMO) using rape apologetics to dismantle rape apologetics. It’s like punching people for pacifism. You don’t successfully dismantle a piece of rape apologetics by (accidentally) perpetrating the same errors that are used in rape apologetics (mistaking proximal and distal causes, ignoring the data, focussing on the distal causes associated with the victim, focussing on distal causes at all etc).

    Louis

  101. carlie says

    The reason I further split causal stuff into distal and proximal was because it was key to the problem. It’s the core confusion whenever the “but she was wearing a short skirt” type stuff comes up.

    And what was so frustrating is how many of us were saying that, and Paul never addressed that at all. He fixated on the “you’re confusing moral with causal” mistake he thought everyone was making, and, I don’t know, skipped those comments entirely?

  102. Louis says

    Carlie,

    Yup!

    Amazing how so many people hit on the same thing. It’s almost like it’s a single glaring error or something. Ahhh but the Invisible Pixels are playing a familiar tune it seems. One of their classics “Being All Uppity And Shit”…

    Louis

    P.S. A thought, half formed, occurs to me (I’m slow on the uptake, forgive me). The implicit claim that the universe is really this idealised space where rapists are RAPISTS who BEHAVE in certain WAYS and all (prudent potential) VICTIMS need to do is not allow themselves to succumb to those WAYS is related to why some people (not Paul AFAIK) can’t grasp Schrodinger’s rapist. Rapists are not apart, not a type, not a homogeneous group, they are potentially almost anyone and there’s no way to tell until the opportunity presents itself. I.e. after the fact. This is not the same thing as saying “all men are potential rapists” (accusatory tone, wag of finger, castrating hand gesture), it’s saying that you can’t tell the potential rapists from the potential non-rapists because we do not live in this idealised space where rapists are RAPISTS.

  103. carlie says

    Louis – what I really liked about your explanation is how you took it from “so everything in the world is causal then” specifically to “then every prior action of the rapist is causal”, so why focus on the prior actions of the victim without mentioning the prior actions of the rapists? How imprudent of him to go down a dark alley when he knew that he might rape somebody.

  104. The Mellow Monkey says

    “well some men just can’t help it, so telling them not to rape isn’t going to accomplish anything”

    And this, I think, is an outgrowth of the insistence on conflating rape with sex. There are people (and especially male rape apologists) who recognize that the sex drive is powerful and, thinking that rape is in some way associated with the sex drive, assume that some men simply have a sex drive that pushes them to rape. As if “rape” is a hardwired orientation that leads into assaulting people as easily as looking and admiring someone you find attractive. And this is wrong, thankfully. Even pedophiles can remain non-offenders.

    Rape is to sex as slavery is to love. There are instances where one may look like the other, where consensual interaction may mimic rape/slavery, but the nightmarish, human-rights-violating real things are fundamentally different. They are based on different desires and different goals. A rapist may get a sexual thrill from the act, but slave owners feel affection for enslaves nannies and mistresses and children. The rape was no more about sex than the slavery was about love.

  105. ChasCPeterson says

    Looks like it’s all over here but the mutual back-patting: another successful wagon-circling and the doctrinal hardline held against another onslaught of original thought and nuanced reason. Repetitive near-verbatim chanting of the assertions of Theory will instantiate them as Truth, is that it? Good luck with that project.

    Louis:

    Rapists and rape victims are not homogeneous cohorts by any stretch of the imagination, they are not (to steal Chris’ analogy above) a specific type of lepton or boson with known properties that behave in (reasonably) predictable ways. Neither are the circumstances of rapes necessarily similar, again the available data is that rape is conducted over a horrendously diverse set of circumstances.

    see, to me, this obvious truth was a major chunk of the point PaulW was trying to make. It’s not Paul who lives in an idealized universe where rape is treated as a one-size-fits-all monolith that can be completely discussed via a few well-memorized nostrums. It’s (most of) his critics.
    Seriously. To insist (for example) that ‘rape is never about sex’ is to dwell in an idealized Identity-Studies fantasy world. Which, I guess most of y’all feel comfortable there so keep it up.

    Rape is to sex as slavery is to love.

    SAT fail.

  106. The Mellow Monkey says

    Wow, Chas has totally rebutted me. I’m all a’tingly, imagining that razor-edged wit turned on all those poor stupid feminists and their theory throughout history.

    Andrea Dworkin: “The genius of any slave system is found in the dynamics which isolate slaves from each other, obscure the reality of a common condition, and make united rebellion against the oppressor inconceivable.”
    Chas: “Nuh uh.”

  107. carlie says

    against another onslaught of original thought and nuanced reason.

    What was the nuance, Chas? His point was that you could say that performing action x caused result y. It was pointed out to him that this is really a trivial and meaningless statement, as action x had no higher causality for result y than any other action taken by either participant at any point in their lives up until that moment. Furthermore, besides being a factually trivial statement, it is not a neutral one, as it falls directly in line with a trope that has been and continues to be used to great harm, emotionally, legally, and sociologically, and is therefore not a great concept. He never engaged with this idea in any sense, preferring to fall back on “you don’t understand what I’m saying”. He (or you, or anyone agreeing with you both) never even tried to explain why what I just said above is wrong and how. There was no engagement, and no nuance.

  108. carlie says

    And THAT’S the part that really pisses me off, Chas. This is the pattern that gets repeated over and over and fucking over again.

    Person A says problematic thing B.

    People C explain the exact issues they have with thing B.

    Person A latches on perhaps one thing one person in cohort C said that was more than a bit insulting and shorthand, and claims that nobody understands.

    People C continue to explain in multiple ways the issues they have with thing B.

    Person A only repeats how nobody understands.*

    People C repeat their explanations again.

    Repeat from *.

    Then people C get called an echo chamber who don’t do anything but say the same things over and over again.

    Do you see where this goes wrong? It goes wrong right at the asterisk, where person A gets so offended by being challenged and/or insulted that they don’t even notice that there were actual criticisms made of their argument. I really wouldn’t mind arguing over the finer nuanced points of which part of all of the distal causalities to mention and what rhetorical implications those might have, but Paul never even went near that point. He just kept saying his ideas were too difficult for us to understand.

  109. carlie says

    So Chas, or Paul, or anybody else who thinks this was just a shouting match to impose an ideology. TELL ME WHERE THIS IS WRONG AND WHY:

    this is really a trivial and meaningless statement, as action x had no higher causality for result y than any other action taken by either participant at any point in their lives up until that moment. Furthermore, besides being a factually trivial statement, it is not a neutral one, as it falls directly in line with a trope that has been and continues to be used to great harm, emotionally, legally, and sociologically, and is therefore not a great concept.

    That, I think, fairly well sums up everything everyone has been saying. This is the hypothesis I am putting forth to you now. Tell me how this:

    A) is an incorrect use of what Paul means by causality
    B) is incorrect in how reliably certain actions result in rape
    C) does not have the implications I’ve said it does

    Because that is the fucking problem, that people who try to defend themselves don’t even do so with any regard to what is actually being criticized.

  110. Pteryxx says

    Nobody claimed this was a complete discussion of every different form of rape there is. However, there is NO nuanced view that invalidates the statement “rape is never the victim’s fault”, much less mitigates its harm.

  111. carlie says

    No no no, Pteryxx, you see, he never said it’s the victim’s fault, just that what they did could be said to cause it to happen. You just don’t understand that he’s not assigning fault, just causality. It’s your emotions that are causing you to see moral blame assigned where he meant none to be. If you would only understand that he didn’t mean moral blame, everything would be ok and you would agree with him. Because nobody talked about the faults with his definition and use of causality at all, nope. It’s all about the moral blame and how nobody can get past that to understand the logical rational physics of the whole thing.

  112. Louis says

    Chas,

    1) I’m not getting drawn into your bitter little war against Pharyngula. Have fun with it. If other people choose to make the odd joke at the expense of some piece of cluelessness and you don’t like it: Tough. Whine about backslapping and circled wagons all you like, it won’t make any of it real. What you see as self congratulatory group think may be something else. Projection, Chas, it’s what’s for breakfast. Your bitter inadequacies are simply not any one else’s problem.

    2) The bit you quote from me has some relevant context, pointing out precisely why I think it contradicts the key part of Paul’s original post that so many take exception 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.

    What I was saying, when read in context, Chas, is that whilst we can talk about those (distal) causes all we like, it’s a wonderful towers in the sky thing to do, it has no bearing on reality. It’s mental masturbation and not the good kind. The majority of Paul’s post was a set up for this quoted part. The argument hinged here, particularly around the words “okay” and “imprudent”. The problem comes when those distal causes are treated as if they were proximal causes, something not borne out by the available data, and when the only distal causes under consideration are those surrounding the victim, not the rapist, it’s a reflection of extant rape culture. Whilst Paul might have been talking about nuance and complexity for a large portion of his post, he has yet (AFAIK) to note that the very nuance and complexity of rapists, victims and rapes explicitly undermines what he was claiming.

    That diversity, that complexity, renders meaningless any discussion about distal causes unless all distal causes are equally considered. Paul explicitly didn’t do that, he explicitly said it was okay (i.e. justified either intellectually or morally) to consider the distal causative factors involved in the victim’s behaviour only. No mention was made of the rapist. In the sense that this could be applied to statistical study of rape, it’s already been done, the answer’s in, no specific behaviour or distal cause on the part of the rape victim is sufficiently well correlated with rape to be meaningful. So Paul was wrong. For all the complaints about insufficient nuance and what not, that was incorrect.

    He’s been asked to define “imprudent” more than once too. It should be an easy thing to do as this is part of the crux of the disagreement. Why isn’t he doing it? Actually, since you’re his champion it seems, why aren’t YOU doing it?

    3) “Rape isn’t about sex” and sundry slogans are insufficient to encapsulate every nuance of rape? Well thank you, Sifu, for your profound insight. For your next trick why don’t you tell us that water is wet and grass is green.

    These slogans OF COURSE don’t encapsulate a complex phenomenon like rape. But they are more than useful enough to see off the 99% of asinine, 101 level horseshit that get hoyed at rape victims on a daily basis. I, for one, wasn’t aware that at the top of the thread there was a neon sign reading “100% comprehensive discussion about all nuanced aspects of rape everywhere”. People were sloganeering because that’s all that’s required. People have finite resources, engaging every Wrong with the same fervour is not only exhausting it’s impossible.

    But clearly such understanding and charity is beyond you when there’s whinging about “Identity Studies” to be done. Whatever the fuck those are. Never seen one. I suspect they are an American thing. Never trusted Americans, can’t say aluminium right. Bloody abomination I tell you.

    Louis

  113. says

    Looks like it’s all over here but the mutual back-patting: another successful wagon-circling and the doctrinal hardline held against another onslaught of original thought and nuanced reason.

    “Women cause their own rape”
    Yeah, that’s really original. That’s a totally new concept nobody has ever heard of before. So much original thought in that. Totally not an idea we’ve been fighting against for, how many, a hundred years?
    “Women can lower their chances of rape by doing XYZ”
    Such nuanced position! Because the nuance goes from “don’t walk down the alley” to “cover yourself in bedsheets and only leave the house with your owner”
    God, when you look up “arrogant asshole” in the encyclopedia there’s probably a picture of Chas.

  114. Gnumann+, Radfem shotgunner of inhuman concepts says

    Chas:

    To insist (for example) that ‘rape is never about sex’ is to dwell in an idealized Identity-Studies fantasy world. Which, I guess most of y’all feel comfortable there so keep it up.

    You got to learn how to speak human Chas. Step away from you biological textbooks and evopsych fairy tales for some moments.

    Sex is of course involved in rape, but it’s not what defines a rape. What defines a rape is violence, dominance and deceit. These are always the core defining elements. This removes a rape from normal human sex in every important aspect except the possibly physical acts.

    AFAIK – there is no scientific literature making a good case for rape as a part of human sexuality. At least not any more than murder is a part of human social interaction.

  115. Emrysmyrddin says

    mutual back-patting…wagon-circling…doctrinal hardline

    Be specific, or fuck off. It’s a simple choice.

  116. says

    Overall on Paul-

    This post on psuedoallies really seemed to sum up Paul’s fundamental problem.

    Sometimes an “ally” might really want to help and they might really just not have it in them to actually help because they haven’t really committed emotionally to opposing oppression on a real level.

    And I think that’s Paul’s central problem. He wanted to help by creating this beautiful thought experiment where he could look like the reasonable male in issues of rape and go “gee gosh, mr. really bad rape apologist, you sure have a lot of points about how bitches be cray-cray and go all weird about how it’s never the woman’s fault a rape occurred, and now that I’ve connected in that way, oh yeah, everything they said actually was true.”

    But that doesn’t help. The only good parts are just copy-pasted from the “extremists” and are directly undermined by all his other parts and his bad parts actually take his thought experiment from “unhelpful” into “legitimately harmful” to the population he was trying to be an “ally” for.

    And I think by doing that and by doubling down so painfully, Paul revealed his pseudoally nature on this particular issue.

    I hope in the future Paul gets his shit together and can move from being a psuedoally to being the legitimate ally he, I’m sure, wanted to be.

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

    again Chas you can leave.

    We would cry but really you can. Well find another scientific sexist to be a passive agressive douche bag.

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

    chas can’t speaak human on this. He is a rational male scientist above you lesser peons.

    And we know he’s right because monkey women’s like pots

  119. says

    Yeah, I just had a rape flashback this morning. I think I’ll let everyone else rip apart Chas.

    Okay one piece:

    Identity-studies

    And right there you revealed yourself to be the sort of right-wing paranoid conspiracy theorist who thinks that minorities studying the world around them or bringing out data on their populations is somehow reverse bigotry against dominant populations, whose monomaniacal focus on their own culture and the exclusion of any real information disputing its conspiracy theories, is of course “just how the world works, man”.

    You are not even worth engaging.

    And with that, I’m out.

  120. Louis says

    Giliell,

    I’m wondering what nuance will elevate the distal cause of a rape (say the length of a woman’s skirt) above the proximal cause of a rape (say the presence of a rapist with the opportunity to rape)?

    For me Paul’s argument was like an hourglass. Lots of lovely space and fluffy stuff at the top. Equally lots of lovely space and fluffy stuff at the bottom. But there’s a pinch point in the middle and that pinch point seemed to be hinging on an analysis of distal causes surrounding victims, not any causes surrounding rapists. The pinch point is where the flaw is. Unfortunately, otherwise we might have had a GIGO or something else, as opposed to a lengthy set up of well disguised (probably even disguised from himself) unequal apportioning of causality to the victim.

    Louis

  121. says

    Cerberus:

    Yeah, I just had a rape flashback this morning.

    Yes, I had one last night. Not that that sort of shit matters to the high and mighty Chas, no sir.

    What broke my heart was reading a post by Ogvorbis in the lounge. We all know what he’s been through the last couple of years. He felt the call to show up to this thread, being one of the Invisible Pixels, but when he saw the “woman gets on bus yadayadayada caused her own rape”, he immediately thought “I joined the boy scouts” and had to walk away.

    He wasn’t even in this thread, and it caused harm. If Paul ever comes back to read, I hope he gets a bit of understanding out of that.

  122. carlie says

    But there’s a pinch point in the middle and that pinch point seemed to be hinging on an analysis of distal causes surrounding victims, not any causes surrounding rapists. The pinch point is where the flaw is.

    Not even an analysis of distal causes, he was simply saying they exist. At least, he thought he was simply saying they exist. What he wasn’t realizing was that they are no different from any other distal causes that exist in the universe, and that it makes a world of difference if you are only talking about those specific distal causes linked to the victim; he himself was elevating those distal causes to some importance beyond what any analysis of rape would allow those distal causes to be elevated to.

    Also, he gave away his underlying biases with the term “imprudent” when describing normal human behavior.

    I’m sorry, Cerberus, that being involved and trying to help people understand did you harm. Caine too, and everyone else who was set off by this.

  123. Louis says

    Carlie,

    All very true, especially this:

    Also, he gave away his underlying biases with the term “imprudent” when describing normal human behavior.

    But I’ve been trying to be charitable. Well, to Paul at least. He seems like a decent guy, and I have a massive soft spot for Decent Guys Who Make Mistakes On The Internet.

    For some reason. I can’t imagine why. ;-)

    Louis

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

    @Louis

    There’s too much charity already

  125. Gregory Greenwood says

    ChasCPeterson @ 639;

    Looks like it’s all over here but the mutual back-patting: another successful wagon-circling and the doctrinal hardline held against another onslaught of original thought and nuanced reason. Repetitive near-verbatim chanting of the assertions of Theory will instantiate them as Truth, is that it? Good luck with that project.

    Chas, please try to consider what you are saying here. Try to put yourself in the position of the rape surviviors on this thread who have had to deal with a lot of very triggering language and imagery. Try to look beyond a shallow, pseudo-vulcan approach to atheism and skepticism that views the possession of the personal privilege required to be able to view these issues in a detached fashion as indicative of a superior grasp of the arguments. It doesn’t prove your superior rationality or understanding, merely that you have never been on the receiving end of rape and rape culture – all it shows is that you have social privilege enough to be able to afford to view the topic as a mere academic exercise rather than the reality of your day to day life. Passion is not the same thing as delusion, and detachment is not automatically equal understanding.

    Above all, try to stop and consider whether this is the appropriate venue for you tell yourself how intellectually superior you are when compared to we mere mortals not graced with a penthouse suit on Mount Olympus. Is massaging your own ego in public really worth causing rape survivors pain? Do you really want to be ‘that guy’ – someone who is so self obsessed, so egomanic, that they would behave like that?

    You are an intelligent, intellectualy capable guy, Chas, no one contests that. You are, or at least should be, better than this.

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

    Please don’t speak for everyone

  127. Tethys says

    *joins the having flashbacks pool*

    I appreciate that others have savaged the harmful stupidity on this thread. I was aghast to read every. single. erroneous. rape. trope. given as “causes” of rape. I especially hate the dark alley/short skirt response. I know many rape victims. None of them were assaulted by a stranger in an alley due to fashion choices.

    Yet every single fucking time the word rape is uttered, that stupid trope is trotted out as adding nuance!?

  128. Pteryxx says

    Add me to the pool, too. “circling doctrinal wagons” bull. shit. More like lighting a single candle in the dark.

  129. Gregory Greenwood says

    Ing:Intellectual Terrorist “Starting Tonight, People will Whine” @ 662;

    Please don’t speak for everyone

    A fair point – correct the sentence in my 661 to;

    “I believe you are an intelligent, intellectualy capable guy, Chas, and I do not think I am alone in this estimation. You are, or at least should be, better than this.”

  130. says

    Gregory:

    Do you really want to be ‘that guy’ – someone who is so self obsessed, so egomanic, that they would behave like that?

    Actually, he does. Chas deliberately burnt his rep here and has been doing a lot of bitter grudge holding. He could change that anytime and he’s well aware of it. Chas has a hate-on for anything sociological and a love of evo-psych, which comes under a great deal of criticism here. He chooses to think we’re all too stupid and in love with antiquated, incorrect ideas to get where he’s coming from, so it boils down to a “fuck you, morons!” from him. Most of us just ignore his crap.

  131. says

    Mellow Monkey

    And this, I think, is an outgrowth of the insistence on conflating rape with sex. There are people (and especially male rape apologists) who recognize that the sex drive is powerful and, thinking that rape is in some way associated with the sex drive, assume that some men simply have a sex drive that pushes them to rape.

    I suspect that a combination of lack of empathy and a massive sense of entitlement can combine to allow some men to decide that their sex drive is the most important thing in the world, and be willing to start justifying rape to themselves a a way of restoring the ‘balance’ of the world, since clearly they’re entitled to just go fuck somebody whenever they want, and if that somebody disagrees, then they need to be punished, and now we’re back to power again.

    gregory

    You are an intelligent, intellectualy capable guy, Chas, no one contests that.

    I certainly fucking well do.

    You are, or at least should be, better than this

    No, this is pretty much par for the course for Chas.

  132. says

    Tethys:

    *joins the having flashbacks pool*

    Godsdamnit. I’m sorry. ♥

    Pteryxx:

    Add me to the pool, too. “circling doctrinal wagons” bull. shit. More like lighting a single candle in the dark.

    :anklehug: And, word. It amazes me (and it shouldn’t) that Paul and Chas can actually state something like “original thought” with anything approaching a straight face. That’s not “original thought”, it’s fucking “old as the godsdamn hills thought”.

  133. Tethys says

    *peanut m&ms for pteyrxx*

    —–

    I just checked a map of Williston, ND and it’s good news everybody! There aren’t any alleys at all, dark or otherwise. I’m so glad to know that the women of Williston are completely safe from alleys.

  134. Tethys says

    sorry for misspelling your ‘nym pteryxx

    Caine

    Much love back. The company in the pool is pretty amazing.

  135. Ogvorbis says

    I had a really unpleasant dream last night.

    I dreamt that I did what I should have done and reported my abuser.

    And the reaction was, “well, you wanted to join the scouts, right?”

    Luckily, I was able to, well, not laugh at my dream, but take it for what it is — a reaction to something I read.

    Doing okay. But what a shitty dream.

  136. The Mellow Monkey says

    My deepest sympathies to everyone who had flashbacks or nightmares because of this. I simply had a dream that I was trapped in a burning building and desperately trying to protect myself by spraying down the carpet with a little water bottle. Certainly no symbolism there or anything…

    Dalillama:

    I suspect that a combination of lack of empathy and a massive sense of entitlement can combine to allow some men to decide that their sex drive is the most important thing in the world, and be willing to start justifying rape to themselves a a way of restoring the ‘balance’ of the world, since clearly they’re entitled to just go fuck somebody whenever they want, and if that somebody disagrees, then they need to be punished, and now we’re back to power again.

    Right. And that’s a viewpoint of sex that is itself toxic, long before any rape occures. From the perspective of such a person, there is no real difference between consensual sex and rape.

    The fact is that in a complex social animal like humans, sex is not a discrete concept that simply describes a single basic act. We’re describing our ideas and goals and feelings around that act. This is why two consenting adults rubbing their bodies together is a type of sex–frot–and yet a dog running up and humping your leg doesn’t constitute you having sex with that dog.

    Drawing that distinction between sex and rape isn’t from ignorance of what sexual pleasure a rapist may or may not be seeking. It’s drawing that distinction because to not do so is to put rape in a place of legitimacy, where discussions of what the victim did to turn on the rapist are appropriate, where there’s a “fuzzy line” between sex and rape, and where it’s much easier for someone to justify committing rape. The rapist who rapes because he values his sex drive more than he values other people has far more in common with the rapist who rapes purely to humiliate and hurt someone, with no thought of pleasure than he does with people who only have consensual sex.

    Making that distinction and redefining sex in a non-toxic, healthy way is important for battling rape culture. The trouble is, we usually get stuck in this rape culture 101 bullshit instead of moving beyond that into all of the–gasp–nuances.

  137. athyco says

    *hugs (as accepted) and beverage service of choice to Cerberus, Caine, Tethys, and Ogvorbis in the flashback pool*

    Seems that mine was gotten out of the way right at the beginning (belated thanks for the extra box of tissues, Caine!). And, wow, the second page comments went a long way to erasing the “yeah, but…” thoughts I had tamped down but hadn’t successfully rebutted in years.

    Ogvorbis, I have always liked the “you” I read. During a smile/cry session I had over this thread, some of your recent words popped into my head, and they were good for me. I’d project you saying to those in the dreams, “‘Boy Scouts’ is damned distal, you asshole casseroles with smegmarmalade sauce.”

  138. says

    MM, *applause*

    You know, I have my molly noms all selected for the last couple of months, but if PZ (or Mary) ever get back to posting the OM Noms, I’m going to nom this whole damn thread for a special molly.

  139. Gregory Greenwood says

    Caine, Fleur du mal + @ 666*;

    Actually, he does. Chas deliberately burnt his rep here and has been doing a lot of bitter grudge holding. He could change that anytime and he’s well aware of it. Chas has a hate-on for anything sociological and a love of evo-psych, which comes under a great deal of criticism here. He chooses to think we’re all too stupid and in love with antiquated, incorrect ideas to get where he’s coming from, so it boils down to a “fuck you, morons!” from him. Most of us just ignore his crap.

    I’m probably wasting my time then. He made some good posts before he changed his nym – he seems to have completely gone off the rails in recent months.

    ***

    And Dalillama, Schmott Guy @ 667;

    No, this is pretty much par for the course for Chas.

    I have seen him be dismissive toward the experiences of rape survivors and ganerally obnoxious on several threads relating to rape culture. I still hope that he might snap out of it at some point and realise how much harm he is causing, and how poor his reasons are for causing it, but then again I am a terminal optimist…

    But if things continue this way, I am eventually going to have to accept that all I am doing is wasting keystrokes.

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

    * You got the cool post number for this thread I see.

  140. says

    Gregory:

    He made some good posts before he changed his nym

    Yes, he did. A whole lot of them, actually. I still really enjoy it when he posts about turtles or the environment, on those subjects, he can be a joy to read.

  141. Ogvorbis says

    “‘Boy Scouts’ is damned distal, you asshole casseroles with smegmarmalade sauce.”

    Yup. So damned distal that it disappeared when I trimmed my toenails.

    Thank you for that.

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

    Chas started to be a jerk before he changed names

  143. says

    Wow. I should not have clicked Janine: Hallucinating Liar’s link. That was repugnant.

    I’m very fond of all of you here, and maybe I’ll be back in a few days, but right now it’s too much.

    Thanks for your work.

  144. says

    evilisgood:

    I’m very fond of all of you here, and maybe I’ll be back in a few days, but right now it’s too much.

    Understood. Take all the time you need and have a glass of cheap red wine for me. ♥

  145. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Rape culture can pop into the strangest and sickening ways.

    A woman goes to a hospital for a hysterectomy. While she is under but still conscience, the anesthesiologist forces his penis in her mouth.

    Where does the rape culture bit comes in?

    The columnist, who is a woman, opens her column with this line.

    She lost a womb but gained a penis.

    Real fucking funny.

  146. says

    Janine:

    A woman goes to a hospital for a hysterectomy. While she is under but still conscience, the anesthesiologist forces his penis in her mouth.

    Oh great. Just fuckin’ great. I think, if I ever need surgery again, I’m demanding a female anesthesiologist.

  147. Pteryxx says

    But it’s probably that woman’s fault somehow, for, uh… needing major surgery… by trained professionals… in a hospital… hm.

    *holds out apologist-script, rips it crossways three times, throws the confetti in the air and walks offstage*

  148. Ogvorbis says

    Pterryx:

    Well, we must keep in mind that the rape was the proximal cause, which outweighs the fact that the gas-passer was a rapist.

  149. Gregory Greenwood says

    Janine: Hallucinating Liar @ 685;

    Stephanie Zvan has a new post that, sadly, fits the theme here.

    I read the linked post, and have one more reason to despise feMRAs like Wooly Bumblebee with every fibre of my being. She even has the gall to claim that all she is doing is protecting innocent little menz from hysterical women who supposedly throw out rape allegations at the drop of a hat;

    “Rape culture” theory holds men, and only men, responsible for what women do.

    This man, for one, neither needs nor wants her ‘help’? She doesn’t realise that it is not some mythical oppressed class of men victimised by false rape claims that she is aiding here – she is rallying to the defence of rapists, and is too blinkered and/or poisoned by her much prized ‘chill girl’ status to see it.

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

    wolly comment shows she’s not trying to protect some innocents..she finds rape amusing. She does want to protect rapists given the glee she takes in proding victims

  151. ChasCPeterson says

    My #639 was an intemperate outburst that I would have done well to keep to myself. I am sorry for any and all hurt it caused.

    So but still I feel the need to address some of the responses elicited. Please skip it or killfile me if you don’t care; that’s fine. To illustrate the technique involved, here I will be skipping what I perceive to be nonsubstantive, personal, and juvenile responses. Have a nice day.

    carlie @#642-4:

    It was pointed out to him that this is really a trivial and meaningless statement, as action x had no higher causality for result y than any other action taken by either participant at any point in their lives up until that moment.

    I am not comfortable speaking for PaulW. As for me, trying to think for myself, I don’t buy the universality of that assertion. For one thing, it ignores the real-world concept of differential a priori risk. (However, I have multiple reasons for declining to re-engage in this argument itself. If it pleases you to include cowardice among them OK. This includes the All-Caps Challenge in #644.)

    it is not a neutral one, as it falls directly in line with a trope that has been and continues to be used to great harm, emotionally, legally, and sociologically, and is therefore not a great concept.

    I understand. It’s my strong impression that this is the foundational idea from which Paul’s critics are starting; the reason for even wanting to engage with his comments in the first place. It’s also–and I’m sorry for going all INTP (if not Vulcan) here but I am what I am–an argument from adverse consequences and therefore an appeal to emotion.

    Person A latches on perhaps one thing one person in cohort C said that was more than a bit insulting and shorthand,

    Did that part occur in this case (i.e. PaulW = Person A)?
    More generally, your scenario assumes that the stuff being ‘pointed out’ to Person A by Cohort C is true beyond its appeal to consequences.

    and claims that nobody understands.

    Again I don’t want to speak for Paul; this is my opinion. You imply that A says ‘nobody understands’ because s/he feels insulted. Another possibility: s/he feels (probably, around here, understandably) insulted, and feels misunderstood, because most of the immediate response consists of shoring up the appeal to consequences in automatic opposition to the conventionally toxic concept and shows no particular sign of even trying to understand A’s point. *shrug*

    It goes wrong right at the asterisk, where person A gets so offended by being challenged and/or insulted that they don’t even notice that there were actual criticisms made of their argument.

    Well. There’s plenty of opportunity for it to go wrong in various ways before that, but this too can happen, sure.

    Paul never even went near that point. He just kept saying his ideas were too difficult for us to understand.

    yeah. By the time the point in question rolled around, Person A was pretty burnt an freaked out I think, and so there are no doubt arguments made that he could have addressed more specifically.
    However, on the other hand, I honestly don’t think that a lot of Cohort C was interested in understanding his ideas, just beating back their perceived toxicity.

    Pterryx:

    there is NO nuanced view that invalidates the statement “rape is never the victim’s fault”

    Agreed.

    Louis:

    The problem comes when those distal causes are treated as if they were proximal causes

    or maybe before that, when one commits to a simple dichotomy of cause-types.

    when the only distal causes under consideration are those surrounding the victim, not the rapist, it’s a reflection of extant rape culture.

    Agreed.
    It seems bizarre, though, to equivocate the behavior of 2 people in a clear victim/perpetrator situation as if their various ‘distal causes’ were somehow objectively listable.

    That diversity, that complexity, renders meaningless any discussion about distal causes unless all distal causes are equally considered.

    I just don’t think that’s true in a general or universal way. It seems obvious, to me, that certain behavioral decisions are far more important than others, and that in the real world, far from the ‘wonderful towers in the sky’, there is a meaningful concept called ‘risk’.
    A diversity of causes and situations necessitates a diversity of explanations, maybe case-by-case. The sloganeering obviates all of that in favor of a simple, unified front.

    In the sense that this could be applied to statistical study of rape, it’s already been done, the answer’s in, no specific behaviour or distal cause on the part of the rape victim is sufficiently well correlated with rape to be meaningful.

    did somebody link to these data? There has to be a lot to unpack in any such study.

    He’s been asked to define “imprudent” more than once too. It should be an easy thing to do as this is part of the crux of the disagreement. Why isn’t he doing it? Actually, since you’re his champion it seems, why aren’t YOU doing it?

    I’m nobody’s champion, Louis. I call shit as I see it. And I never used the word ‘imprudent’.

    I suspect they are an American thing.

    interesting.

    Gnumann:

    Sex is of course involved in rape, but it’s not what defines a rape. What defines a rape is violence, dominance and deceit. These are always the core defining elements. This removes a rape from normal human sex in every important aspect except the possibly physical acts.

    I thought our operational definition of rape was nonconsensual sex. If that’s reasonable, then neither violence nor deceit (?) seem necessary or core, whereas the sex act is. It just seems bizarre to deny this. Domination I would regard as intrinsic to nonconsensual.
    And if you think you can determine what is and what isn’t “normal human sex” then you’re a far better determiner than I am.

    AFAIK – there is no scientific literature making a good case for rape as a part of human sexuality.

    So I guess you’ve read Thornhill and Palmer (2000), which attempts to make that case (I have not). They also have a response to critics posted online, if you’re truly interested.

    At least not any more than murder is a part of human social interaction.

    uh…it happens all the time, man. And it used to happen a lot more.
    You might want to check out Jared Diamond’s new book, as do I.

    Cerberus:

    you revealed yourself to be the sort of right-wing paranoid conspiracy theorist who thinks that minorities studying the world around them or bringing out data on their populations is somehow reverse bigotry against dominant populations, whose monomaniacal focus on their own culture and the exclusion of any real information disputing its conspiracy theories, is of course “just how the world works, man”.

    LOL. I am nothing of the kind; none of it.
    Rather, I am merely an opponent of bullshit (as perceived by me). I’ve also spent the last 30 years on college campuses, socializing, reading the paper, serving on committees, checking out conferences, etc., and I have noted the sources of the bullshit I have perceived. That’s it.

    Greenwood:

    you have never been on the receiving end of rape and rape culture – all it shows is that you have social privilege enough to be able to afford to view the topic as a mere academic exercise rather than the reality of your day to day life.

    I acknowledge this.
    And I do not doubt that if my experiences had been somehow different I would feel very differently about it.
    And this is one of the multiple reasons I am shutting up.

    Caine:

    Chas has a hate-on for anything sociological and a love of evo-psych

    Exaggerations both. I only ever mention Sociology specifically to yank SC’s chain. And I do not “love” Evolutionary Psychology; I frankly don’t even know much about it specifically. Haven’t read Pinker, Buller, or Fine (yet, but I am in possession of copies).
    What I do love is stuff that makes sense, like biology.
    What I do hate is what I call ‘North-campus bullshit’, which includes but is not limited to the substitution of rhetoric, emotional appeal, political opinion, and ideological Theory for empirical knowledge and rational logic. In my experience, such emanates mostly from the purveyors of interdisciplinary Studies programs and their cohorts in places like Sociology and Cultural Anthro.
    just to set that record straight. Not that it will endear me to y’all North-campus types.

    He chooses to think we’re all too stupid and in love with antiquated, incorrect ideas to get where he’s coming from

    As far as I can tell–and I try pretty hard at this–I don’t “choose to think” anything, just think shit. In fact, what prompted my intemperate and unnecessary comment was precisely my perception that Cohort C had all chosen to think certain things. But whatever.
    And I do not think the commenters at Pharyngula are stupid, else I wouldn’t be here. I do think that non-stupid people can often say stupid shit, though.
    And I do not think the locally popular ideas I regard as incorrect are antiquated; on the contrary, they are all too curent, imo.

    Greenwood:

    He made some good posts before he changed his nym – he seems to have completely gone off the rails in recent months.

    point of clarification: I did not so much change my nym as abandon a nym (actually, at the time, a series of anagrammic nyms) for my actual real-life name. With the understanding that ‘Chas’ is the conventional English abbreviation for ‘Charles’ you can look me up on Scholar or call me up for a beer if you’re on Long Island.
    But I have indeed gone off some rails in recent months; you’re right about that. Apologies for apparently letting it slop over here.

    I have seen him be dismissive toward the experiences of rape survivors and ganerally obnoxious on several threads relating to rape culture.

    These allegations I deny vehemently. Please explain and link or apologize.

    Caine, thank you for the kind words. I swear I will try to limit myself to less controversial subject matter in the future.

  152. says

    Chas:

    However, on the other hand, I honestly don’t think that a lot of Cohort C was interested in understanding his ideas, just beating back their perceived toxicity.

    I can easily see how you’d think that. The massive problem was that we find ourselves in a position to fight such toxicity all the bloody time and it has to be beaten back, even at the expense of discussing the underlying idea Paul had in mind. That had to take place because all it was doing was giving credence to such toxicity. People did try, repeatedly, to explain to Paul that his language was problematic and even then, he refused to change it. I don’t think you have any problems understanding that. As you can see, once the repeated rhetoric was gotten out of the way, a lot of us started talking about Paul’s goal and how it could be achieved. It is an interesting subject and I think it deserves discussion, but not at the expense of living people who have already been fucked over and don’t need to see someone doing that again.

    I think it can be discussed without offense to people and without using words, that at least on the surface, turn us into objects.

    Caine, thank you for the kind words. I swear I will try to limit myself to less controversial subject matter in the future.

    I said that because I meant it. I have found you to be an interesting, engaging person much of the time. I also think you don’t need to limit yourself, I think subjects like rape and rape culture are difficult ones for *everyone*. All that’s needed, really, is for everyone to be a bit more thoughtful and more mindful of their language and the potential effects of language and how an argument is framed. I think it’s fair to say that everyone gets pretty damn heated in threads like this, with good reason. At the bottom, though, the most crucial part is to keep, right at the forefront of our brains, that we are people and people can get hurt, very easily.

  153. carlie says

    did somebody link to these data? There has to be a lot to unpack in any such study.

    That was at the crux of what I was trying to discuss. I don’t have any at hand, but then again I’ve never seen any studies that indicate that there ARE any specific risk factors for being raped. Those things about skirts and alleys are just “something everybody knows”, without any backup. I’ll try to look things up tomorrow, or maybe somebody else has a reference right at hand.

    Thank you for responding – I was looking for something like that from Paul and part of my frustration was that he didn’t provide it.

  154. Pteryxx says

    I’m also looking for general summary references but I’m too damn burnt out. There aren’t any double-blind short-skirt studies out there anyway. What there is, is a massive body of research analyzing rapists’ behavior and tactics, and they simply don’t rape random beskirted or flirty or pretty women. They seek out victims based on their vulnerability versus the rapist’s security within their social context, and depending on the rapist’s preference/comfort zone/skill level, their victims can be kids, family members, acquaintances, co-workers, even strangers. That’s one reason rape incidence is higher when the victims are disabled, for example. Dependence is a vulnerability, trust is a vulnerability, lower social status is a vulnerability. One kind of rapist rapes women who can’t get away, another rapes women whose backs were turned, and yet another rapes women who don’t believe a trusted friend could do such a thing to them. And they’ve mostly been able to refine their chosen technique through practice, because their victims usually get blamed and silenced and thus consequences don’t happen.

    /venting *sigh*

    Useful scraps I managed to find: (bolds mine)

    MYTH: Only certain types of women get raped. It could never happen to me.

    FACT: Any woman can be raped.

    Rape can and does strike anyone at anytime. Age, social class, and/or ethnic group have no bearing on the person a rapist chooses to attack. Research data clearly proves that a way a woman dresses and/or acts does not influence the rapist’s choice of victims. The decision to rape is based on how easily the rapist thinks the target can be intimidated. Rapists are looking for available and vulnerable targets. Women are not raped because they “put themselves in a dangerous situation,” as is so frequently stated, or because they wore certain clothes, or because they followed a particular lifestyle. These aspects are highlighted only to further blame the victim and excuse the violent behavior of the aggressor.

    from the same site, bolds in original:

    A recent study by David Lisak, Ph.D. and Paul M. Miller, Ph.D. (2002) indicates that what is actually happening is that some men rape and, of those men who rape, two-thirds of them commit “repeat rapes or attempted rapes, either against multiple victims or more than once against the same victim.” Most men do not rape and are actually uncomfortable with sexism and the inappropriate behavior of other men. (Berkowitz, 2002).

    http://www.iup.edu/page.aspx?id=44097

    Also from the CDC:

    Risk factors for perpetration of sexual assault

    I’ve been digging around the CDC and the DOJ but their sites are a mess. Most sites that list the myths about rape are referencing a specific DOJ publication, which I haven’t been able to find:

    Office on Violence Against Women, Department of Justice. (n.d.) Myths and facts about sexual
    violence. Retrieved May 3, 2006 from http://www.usdoj.gov/ovw/MythsFactSexualViolence.htm

    I did manage to find the source for the 1 in 6 and 1 in 33 stats:

    Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Rape Victimization: Findings From the National Violence Against Women Survey. January 2006. with pdf available at the link.

    and another fact sheet with lots of references: http://www.vaw.umn.edu/documents/inbriefs/sexualviolence/sexualviolence.html

    and for the moment I’ve read as much about rape as I can stomach.

  155. carlie says

    I think this post is a good example to throw in here. It’s by a person who describes a woman who does everything “wrong”, but is not raped… I don’t want to reprint it here because Stephanie deserves the page hits, but it’s seriously worth reading.

  156. Drolfe says

    it is not a neutral one, as it falls directly in line with a trope that has been and continues to be used to great harm, emotionally, legally, and sociologically, and is therefore not a great concept.

    I understand. It’s my strong impression that this is the foundational idea from which Paul’s critics are starting; the reason for even wanting to engage with his comments in the first place. It’s also […] an argument from adverse consequences and therefore an appeal to emotion.

    It seemed to me the reason for wanting to engage was a moral one: repeating these tropes in the presence of people that have been raped is harmful to them. Causing harm is immoral*. Saying “don’t do that” isn’t an argument. (Is it?) It’s self defense. So you know, it seems like you could expect some push back from moral people wanting to stop harm. (Even before considering the wrongness or perhaps effectiveness of the tactic etc., you need to stop doing harm.)

    If you are far removed from rape and the possibility of rape and you need to deconstruct rape apologetics in order to construct better arguments against rape apologists in their own terms — you’re sure this would be a productive use of your intellect — you should probably not do that around people that have been raped and perhaps do it in private with a bunch of Vulcan dudebros where your expressions aren’t going to harm onlookers or propagate the sort of toxic shit you ostensibly are trying to combat.

    * Usual caveats.

  157. says

    Drolfe:

    Saying “don’t do that” isn’t an argument. (Is it?)

    No, it isn’t. Saying don’t do that implies that the person you’re admonishing already understands the reasons X shouldn’t be done.

  158. ChasCPeterson says

    yeah. Hey, if I had a bunch of Vulcan dudebros to hang out with, I wouldn’t spend this much time in teh blogosphere.
    But thanks for…whatever…interacting, I guess.

    kidding. Point taken.
    watch me shut up:

  159. says

    Chas:

    Hey, if I had a bunch of Vulcan dudebros to hang out with, I wouldn’t spend this much time in teh blogosphere.

    I think if there were a bunch of Vulcans around, a whole lot of us would be taking time off.

  160. Gregory Greenwood says

    ChasCPeterson @ 697;

    These allegations I deny vehemently. Please explain and link or apologize.

    So turning up on threads about misogyny and rape culture, stating how boring you find the whole business, engaging in that obnoxious ‘I could comment, but I won’t’ trope you go in for, and on this very thread making crass comments about ‘circling wagons’ with regard to the comments of rape victims discussing how toxic rape apologia is, doesn’t count as being dismissive of the experiences of rape victims and generally obnoxious in you eyes?

    Here’s a thought Chas – maybe that lies at the heart of your problem; you don’t understand how badly you come off as someone who goes onto a thread where victims of rape deal with a very painful topic, only to repeatedly make it clear how very boring you find the whole topic, as if there is something more important everyone should be discussing.

    It will probably come as grand revelation to you, but not everything is all about you and your pet obsessions. Sometimes, when you don’t have anything of worth to contribute, the best course is simply to stay silent and pay attention to what others have to say. It is times like that that you learn something.

  161. Drolfe says

    Gregory,

    “Circling the wagons” seems to me like the rational response to a damaging attack, that is the defense of self and others against harm. Is protecting yourself and others against harm too emotional? Spock seemed to be OK with it. (Maybe that was his human half.)

  162. says

    Excuse me, Gregory and Drolfe – neither one of you is helping by turning this into a “what’s wrong with/about Chas” session. Chas addressed people in his last post and said he’s strengthened his resolve to stay out of these kinds of subjects. I’m not overly happy about that, because I think he can contribute with a bit more thoughtfulness, however, it’s his decision and he knows what he is and isn’t capable of doing.

    This is also not discussing the actual topic of the thread, so unless either of you have more to add on that score, would you please take any talk of Chas elsewhere? Thank you.

  163. Paul W. says

    Chris,

    Paul, if you want to come back and read and actually engage, and you can manage to write responses that don’t make me hear them in Phil La Marche’s voice as The Brain in my head, here’s a second chance. You can thank Caine.

    I only just saw this, because I’ve avoided revisiting this thread until now.

    I may take you up on that offer, or may not, but in any case, thank you very much.

    And thank you very much, Caine.

  164. Paul W. says

    I want to retract my ill-fated paragraph, but not the opening construction, which a lot of people do seem to have misunderstood.

    I was trying to make a point about how we talk about causation and blame, and I still think it’s a good one. It’s an important point because simplistic talk about causation and blame has consequences—for example, it’s often used to justify libertarian and conservative bullshit. (E.g., “guns don’t kill people,” and saying we shouldn’t address social issues underlying crime because that’s “social engineering” and we should instead talk about “individual responsibility” and be “tough on criminals.”)

    This is not, as many people including Chris have said, a matter of being a Spock wannabe and emotionlessly treating people like pool balls or leptons. It’s also not just pointless ivory tower philosophical wankery, as others have said. It’s about how people actually talk about important stuff.

    It’s very much about how normal people normally talk about causation, when discussing people’s actions and their consequences, when it seems clear enough where blame does and doesn’t belong.

    I want to explain the opening construction I used in that ill-fated paragraph, about how “IMO it should be entirely okay under some circumstances, if you’re careful how you do it, to say that somebody caused” X—where X is something horrible he or she blameless for. (In this case a rape, but people seem to have misunderstood and sometimes intentionally misrepresented the basic construction.)

    All of those qualifiers are really important, and they’re not just superficial hedges to get away with saying something otherwise unacceptable.

    People say that kind of thing about blameless causation all the time, and in context, it can be a perfectly fine thing to do because it’s clear that it isn’t about blaming.

    Some examples of phrases that may sound blaming and horrible and unfair out of context, but can be non-blaming and okay in context:

    I killed my neighbor’s dog

    she killed her husband

    he killed himself and his buddy

    If I’m talking about a situation in which I was driving responsibly, and a dog suddenly bolted in front of my car, and I hit it despite trying not to, I may say “I killed my neighbor’s a dog with my car today. It had gotten loose and ran right out in front of me. It was so horrible.”

    In that case, I’m talking about myself in terms of plain old causation “like a pool ball or a lepton,” not because I’m philosophy wanker, and maybe because I’m an empathetic animal lover. It matters to me that I killed a dog, even if I don’t think I’m to blame for it, and it’s specially horrible to have caused the dog’s death myself, even through no fault of my own, and despite my attempts to avoid it.

    Likewise, if I’m talking about a situation in which a woman caring for her husband administered a dose of a drug, and the drug killed him because the doctor messed up the prescription, presumably she’s not to blame, and that’s one of the things that makes it interesting that she nonetheless caused his death—“she was just trying to take good care of her beloved husband, and was horrified to discover that she’d killed him.” The fact that she caused the death herself is part of the nightmarishness of the situation.

    Saying that she killed him, in that context, is not blaming an innocent party, it’s just talking about her causal role. And that’s part of what’s horrific about the situation, that’s being empathized with.

    And if I say that a guy killed himself and his buddy, that can be non-blaming if I’m talking about a situation in which the guy was flying a large plane, and chose to crash it into an unpopulated hillside rather than risk an emergency landing in a populated area. “The guy killed himself and his buddy to save a lot of innocent people below.”

    That’s the kind of thing I meant about how it should be okay under some circumstances, if you do it carefully, to talk about somebody blamelessly causing an event that’s horrible for themselves or others.

    It doesn’t mean it’s okay to say that kind of thing carelessly or out of context. If you call me a “dog killer” because I failed to avoid running over a dog despite my best efforts, that’s obviously not okay. And if you just flatly say that some woman “killed her husband” as though she’d murdered him, that’s not okay either.

    The point is that context does matter a whole hell of a lot, and it should be okay to talk about innocent causation, if you’re careful about it, without it being assumed that you’re placing blame.

    That is a very, very different thing than saying “it’s okay to say that a woman caused her own rape” as though she was to blame. I never said that, and certainly didn’t mean that, and explicitly said the opposite over and over.

    And I meant it.

  165. Paul W. says

    Louis et al.,

    Re distal vs. causal, I considered using those terms but realized it’s not the right distinction.

    The morally blameworthy cause can be more distal or more proximal than the blameless causes.

    For example, if a poisoner slips something in somebody’s drink, the drinker is the more proximal cause—they cause their own poisoning in a blameless way, because they were set up to do so.

    But more distal causes than the poisoner are not generally blameworthy—for example, the manufacturer of rat poison, or the poisoner’s parents. (Unless they raised the kid to be a murderer.)

    There are lots of causes of events, but the only ones that matter for placing blame are the ones where somebody fails to meet an obligation—they either do something they’re not supposed to, or don’t do something they are supposed to. That cross-classifies a lot with what’s more proximal or distal.

    That is why the rapist is generally fully to blame, and the victim is not to blame at all—the rapist is obliged not to rape, irrespective of the other causes leading to the rape.

    It is also why more than one perpetrator or enabler can be fully guilty, and you don’t divide the blame among them. E.g., if I’m obliged to prevent a rape, and don’t, that doesn’t change the fact that the rapist is obliged not to rape. It’s not to the rapist’s moral credit or debit whether I’m around to prevent it; either way, the rapist has failed to meet a basic obligation, and my guilt or lack of it has nothing to do with that.

  166. ChasCPeterson says

    heh; I figured you’d return.
    I know what you’re talking about, Paul.
    But I predict further line-holding.

  167. says

    “IMO it should be entirely okay under some circumstances, if you’re careful how you do it, to say that somebody caused”

    But the thing is, Paul, that first you have to establish that there is, in fact, causation occurring. That’s what you never did, and that’s why everyone was jumping all over you, because there is not any such evidence in the current literature. Unless you can provide some?

  168. Paul W. says

    Dalillama,

    But the thing is, Paul, that first you have to establish that there is, in fact, causation occurring. That’s what you never did, and that’s why everyone was jumping all over you, because there is not any such evidence in the current literature. Unless you can provide some?

    I think it’s obvious to absolutely everyone that there’s causation occurring, even if they don’t use that term, and freak out when I do.

    Consider a woman who is raped because she got on a bus, and there happened to be a rapist on it, and she had no way of knowing that.

    That’s causation. It’s why we say because, and it’s obviously not about blaming in that case.

    Some people seem to understand that, but be mystified why I’d talk about that boring sense of plain old causation if I didn’t have some malicious or stupid victim-blaming place I was going with it.

    (One reason is that victim-blaming often occurs when people slip illegitimately from the straightforward sense of causing to one that carries baggage of blameworthiness. The falsehood or fallacy is often not in saying that somebody caused X, but in then proceeding to blame them for something they merely caused, as though they’d failed to meet some obligation, when they clearly didn’t.)

    Other people don’t seem to understand that literally is causation, and it’s the basic, central sense of “causation,” and literally do not seem to be able to understand if I use the term “cause” in a way that doesn’t imply blame.

    That is why I gave the examples I did of innocent causation.

    Here’s an example of innocent causation leading to rape:

    She was raped because she asked her old friend to fix her a drink, and didn’t watch him like a hawk. He roofied and raped her.

    That’s plain causation with no blame involved—presumably the woman should be able to trust an old friend not to roofie and rape her, but shit like that does happen.

    In that case, if you understand that of course she is not being blamed, and of course we’re not talking about “causation” in the sense of finger-pointing to a culprit, then you should be able to say that yes, in the basic sense of causation, she caused her own rape by doing something entirely reasonable, in the same way that I caused the dog to die when I killed it with my car, the woman caused her husband to die when she dosed him as prescribed, etc. Causation doesn’t imply blameworthiness. Only failures to meet obligations imply blameworthiness.

    Whether we use the term “cause” in that case or not, that sense of causation necessarily comes up in discussing things that lead to rape, and you can or can’t prevent rape, given whatever the risk factors are or are not. (E.g., given the prevalence of acquaintance rape, trusting an old friend to fix you a drink is surprisingly dangerous relative to some stereotypically “dangerous” behavior.)

    I don’t think anybody here actually disagrees with me that such causation actually occurs. I think the sticking point is the use of the term “cause” which for many people seems to evoke blame no matter what I say to explain that I’m not talking about that.

    Did you understand my examples of innocent causation involving accidental or justified killing? Did you disagree with any of it?

    A huge problem with talking about any of this is that in normal speech, we often do use causal talk to imply blame.

    For example, if I say that somebody killed his wife, and don’t say that it was innocent or justified, people are likely to assume something that I didn’t say—that he committed homicide. Or if I say that somebody went to the electric chair because he killed his wife, it’s just assumed to be a shorthand for saying that he didn’t just cause her to die, he murdered her, which is actually a much stronger statement.

    (Unfortunately, I fucked up my fatal paragraph by talking about the wrong risk factors as potentially causing rape. That was stupid, but it was also because it mostly didn’t affect my point—I guess my point being that even if a woman was engaging in stereotypically risky behavior, and even if that behavior really was particularly risky, it wouldn’t mitigate the rapist’s guilt. It wouldn’t affect his obligation not to rape, or mitigate his guilt for failing to meet that obligation. She wouldn’t be failing to meet an obligation, so she wouldn’t be blameworthy at all.)

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

    @Caine

    Chas doesn’t need his hand held or for more “he’s a regular” pitty when he so constantly is a shit

  170. says

    That’s causation. It’s why we say because, and it’s obviously not about blaming in that case.
    What fucking relevance has that got to the discussion, Paul? That’s like saying that the people who got shot in Aurora wouldn’t have gotten shot if they hadn’t gone to go see Batman that night. This is true, but it’s completely fucking irrelevant to any discussion of what caused the shootings to happen. So what is the fucking point of even bringing it up?

    irrespective of the other causes leading to the rape.

    What ‘other causes’? Be specific, please.

    Unfortunately, I fucked up my fatal paragraph by talking about the wrong risk factors as potentially causing rape.

    WHAT FUCKING RISK FACTORS, Paul? The entire point that people have been trying to make to you is that there is no evidence that there is such a thing as a ‘risk factor’ in this discussion, or rather not one which is subject to the control of the victim; that’s why the discussion you’re trying to have is so pointless.

    Did you understand my examples of innocent causation involving accidental or justified killing? Did you disagree with any of it?

    I understood perfectly well what you were saying, but it has no relevance to this discussion, because unlike killing you can’t accidentally rape someone. So a discussion of culpability in deliberate vs accidental homicide is not germane at all.

  171. throwaway says

    Paul W @ 719:

    She was raped because she asked her old friend to fix her a drink, and didn’t watch him like a hawk. He roofied and raped her.

    She was raped because someone decided to rape her, not because she asked someone to do something for her. Why would the rapist be the indirect subject with a passive existence in the description of events? Such careless phrasing ignores the causal choice that mattered – someone decided to rape.

    How about this phrasing instead: “He exploited her trust by drugging her drink surreptitiously.” Much better, clearer, and best of all the victim remains blameless, causation is all clear and there is no prescription of precautions in order to remain blameless. The actor in the sentence is the one responsible for the outcome (and sounds better than the subject flip-flop in the quoted passage.)

    I also have a problem with your inclusion of the phrase “didn’t watch him like a hawk.” I’m sure you’re aware by now what this implies, what kind of guilt-tripping this does to victims? What the phrase implies (you know, because words in certain orders do have specific meaning) is that “if-only” the victim hadn’t created the opportunity to become a victim then they wouldn’t be a victim.

  172. says

    Smaller stuff first:

    Chas: not helpful. Predicting a thread will go badly is never a way to make it work better. You know this. Cut it out.

    Ing: If we’re not cutting slack to people acting like assholes just because they’re regulars, that cuts in more than one direction. As far as I can tell your only contributions to any of my threads consist of sniping at other people. The only reason I haven’t banned your whiny ass is that you’re a regular. Do not make me regret that more than I already do.

  173. says

    Ing:

    Chas doesn’t need his hand held or for more “he’s a regular” pitty when he so constantly is a shit

    I know your feelings about Chas, Ing. That said, I can think for myself, thank you.

    Paul W:

    I’m sad to see that I was wrong and you still don’t understand one iota of what anyone was trying to tell you. It’s a devastating disappointment to see you cling to your harmful construct as if it were more important than the people involved.

  174. says

    Larger stuff:

    Paul, the whole point of you taking a break was not for you to sit and think of more effective ways to explain yourself to those of us who are just not quite as clever as you.

    I would add my signature to Dalillama’s in 721: what is your intent here? Even if you’re right, what on earth do you think we will accomplish by examining ways in which women “cause” their rapes by existing?

    You — and Louis too, for that matter — are using the word “cause” in a way orthogonal to the way it is understood in colloquial usage. No one outside a graduate-level philosophy seminar uses the word “cause” this way. A bank did not “cause” the bank robbery by being there. A waiter did not “cause” his death by showing up for work atop the WTC the morning of September 11, 2001.

    What you’re talking about is more properly described, in the English most of us speak, as a “necessary precondition.” If no women are at the club where the rapist is, no women get raped.

    Which is not a useful consideration. It’s firmly in the category of “no shit, Cumberbatch.” Unless, that is, your conclusion is to tell women to refrain from being part of the necessary preconditions, at which point — regardless of your intent — you contribute to hurting those women.

    Your post hurt people here, Paul. Your subsequent participation hurt people. You engaged in good faith and with apparent benign intent, but that doesn’t matter a bit. And your apparent absolute lack of subsequent self-awareness not only doesn’t make it better, but it makes me regret taking Caine’s advice to let you stay.

  175. says

    Not that I’ll be any less likely to take Caine’s advice from now on, mind. It’s just that on this one matter, I’m going to stick with my original gut feeling.

  176. says

    Oh, and this?

    This is not, as many people including Chris have said, a matter of being a Spock wannabe and emotionlessly treating people like pool balls or leptons. It’s also not just pointless ivory tower philosophical wankery, as others have said. It’s about how people actually talk about important stuff.

    Take your condescension somewhere far, far away and do something physically unpleasant with it, Paul.

  177. says

    Chris:

    It’s just that on this one matter, I’m going to stick with my original gut feeling.

    I’ll freely admit you were right and I was wrong. I don’t understand why Paul is so invested in his concept to the exclusion of how people actually think and feel, but after reading his further contributions, I’m not feeling benevolent anymore.

  178. mythbri says

    @Paul

    I have read this entire thread, and even though I understand what you think you mean, you’re still not understanding what people here are trying to tell you.

    Caine, carlie, Tethys, Louis, Pteryxx, Gregory and others that I have not yet mentioned have attempted to explain to you exactly what is offensive about your comments here, especially about the original one. And the reason they persist in doing so is not because they’re too stupid to understand what you’re getting at.

    An older man manipulated my cousin’s emotions and isolated her from her friends and family so that he could have sex with her. She was 14.

    The direct cause of her statutory rape was the man who deliberately set out to put her in a vulnerable position, preying on her inexperience, loneliness and emotional issues for his own gratification.

    Plenty of people have engaged in the behavior that my cousin did and NOT been raped. The only difference was the presence of a rapist.

    It’s about how people actually talk about important stuff.

    Who do you think you’re talking to here, Paul?

    Rape is “important stuff.” Do you know how people actually talk about rape, when they do actually talk about it?

    They say, “What was she expecting, going out dressed like that?”

    They say, “What was she expecting, leading him on like that?”

    They say, “What was she expecting, letting him into the house like that?”

    They say, “What was she expecting, drinking as much as she did?”

    They say, “What was she expecting, getting in the car with him?”

    That’s how people actually talk about rape. What you’re doing is trying to make a meaningless distinction that is NOT important, however you feel about it, between causation and blame.

    How is this useful in any way?

  179. says

    I’ll freely admit you were right and I was wrong.

    Caine, I wasn’t blaming you for Paul’s dropping another Vulcan turd in the thread.

    I was just saying you caused it.

    Let me concisely explain what I mean in only a few short thousands of words:

    *clears throat*

    What you all fail to compreh&*^^&*$%^^bnv%^

    %@%@%@%@%

    NO CARRIER

  180. Louis says

    Chris,

    I didn’t think my use of the word “cause” in that manner would be problematic. Apologies as it clearly was, and apologies for my not considering that it could be. I was trying to address Paul in his own…I’m struggling for a word here…is “voice” okay? Hmmm I may revisit that! “On his own terms”? Something like that.

    Oh and for the record, Paul cannot have been talking to people not as smart as him because I’m smarter than everybody. I know this because my mummy told me so. And no one is going to call my mummy a liar, now are they?

    ;-)

    Louis

  181. says

    And no worries, Louis. I thought your contribution was very helpful. I just don’t think that’s the right word, though I appreciated how you approached it.

  182. carlie says

    What you’re talking about is more properly described, in the English most of us speak, as a “necessary precondition.” If no women are at the club where the rapist is, no women get raped.

    Which is not a useful consideration. It’s firmly in the category of “no shit, Cumberbatch.”

    Repeated for emphasis. And to add on – the point I tried to make over and over again is that it is not the only necessary precondition, and is not any more “necessary” than any of the other preconditions.

    Paul, in your hypothetical, do you see any difference in necessity/causality between “she asked him for a drink” and “she didn’t watch him like a hawk” and “she said yes she’d come over” and “she decided she wanted some company” and “she woke up in the morning”? If you do, you’re saying there are “risk factors” for rape that make them more necessary preconditions than other actions/states of being. And what we’ve all been trying to tell you is that, statistically, there are no actions or factors that make rape more of a necessary precondition than any other. As I’ve said several times, sure, asking for that drink is a precondition. But not any more of a precondition than every other event that led to that exact moment. If you really feel like you must explain yourself further, that’s what I want you to explain: Do you think there are actions that make rape more of a probable outcome than other actions, and what evidence do you have that that belief is true?

  183. carlie says

    (hit submit too soon)

    And if you do not think there are actions that are more necessary to the outcome than others, what is the benefit of singling out any one of those actions for comment?

  184. says

    Paul:

    It’s about how people actually talk about important stuff.

    Wrong. It’s how you talk about important stuff. You have repeatedly spent thousands of words either ignoring or running roughshod over how the rest of us talk about “important stuff.” In that one sentence alone, Paul, you come off as a superior being, one who knows the proper way to talk about “important stuff”, while all us peons who have had the actual experience of being raped or assaulted or know someone who was have no idea at all how to talk about those experiences. Basically, you’re telling us we aren’t sophistimacated enough to grok your talk.

    Well, we are and we get it. Sorry to deliver such shocking news. You’re still talking with your mouth full of shit, and all the protestations in the ‘verse won’t change that at all. There’s a reason that most everyone in this thread sees you the same way and it would be nice if you could manage to turn that incredible brain power on yourself for once, instead of insisting you and your concept are correct.

    We’ve already read your ideas, your concept, to the point we are seriously over-saturated with it. It’s still wrong. It’s still incorrect. It’s still not the way that people talk about stuff, important or not. You cannot insist on objectifying us, then cry foul when we resent and reject the objectification. As has been repeatedly said to you, Paul, you are ignoring us as people, you are denying us our humanity. We are not objects for you to juggle about in an attempt to stuff us into your construct. Your construct is wrong from the base up.

  185. ChasCPeterson says

    @Caine: Chas doesn’t need his hand held or for more “he’s a regular” pitty when he so constantly is a shit

    ffs, Ing. a) Caine neither offered to hold my hand nor suggested I deserved pity. She merely asked an off-topic discussion be moved to the Thunderdome. b) In order to get your semiliterate little grudge-lick in, you responded to a comment that was 2 weeks old. What’s wrong with you?

    Predicting a thread will go badly is never a way to make it work better.

    I didn’t predict it would go badly; I predicted it would go exactly as it has gone. No value judgement implied. I understand where Paul’s critics are coming from too.

  186. Paul W. says

    [Bla bla bla excized]

    The problem is not that I’m talking highfalutin’ philosophy talk on a non-philosophy blog. It’s that I’m talking about causation in a normal colloquial and scientific sense on a science-and-liberalism blog, but about the wrong subject.…

    And there we have it, folks.

  187. says

    I realize that the ‘conversation’ is probably over what with the bunnies, but still:

    about the wrong subject.…

    Yes. Specifically, about a subject where it is not relevant to the discussion, and causes harm when it comes up. That’s why it’s the wrong subject, which is what you seem to persistently be ignoring.

  188. carlie says

    God damn it. I didn’t see the comment before, but the one sentence that is left indicates that Paul is either entirely ignoring me or I can’t seem to get my point across at all. Yes, we know what you mean by causation, Paul. We knew what you meant from the very first time you said it. My own point is that the causal examples you are using, the ones you used right in your first post, are indistinguishable in effect from every other action that occurred prior to the incident. I’m asking you why you chose those particular actions to highlight and talk about. I’m asking if you understand those particular actions are statistically identical to every other action prior to the incident in terms of their amount of causation. You never answered. It sounds really narcissistic, but I’m really disappointed that you chose to focus solely on the fact that your comments were causing emotional damage and ignored not only me, but several other people who were trying to address your biases in what you did and did not consider to be causal. And now you’re going to go off mad, and think that you’ll never be understood here, and you’re probably hurt yourself by it, and all this time you’ve been ignoring everyone who’s tried to address these other parts of it.

  189. says

    Paul:

    It’s that I’m talking about causation in a normal colloquial and scientific sense on a science-and-liberalism blog, but about the wrong subject.…

    Uh huh. Amazing you just can’t buy yourself a clue or three, eh? :near fatal eyeroll:

  190. Nepenthe says

    I thought the bunny video was cute but so so and then got to the 1:00 point. Chris, you almost killed me with a potato chip. IRL choking! You could post moar bunnies and I would forgive you.

  191. Paul W. says

    Chris:

    What you’re talking about is more properly described, in the English most of us speak, as a “necessary precondition.” If no women are at the club where the rapist is, no women get raped.

    I mostly agree with this, and I think it’s a very, very important point, which I wish I’d made explicit earlier, and mostly used different terminology.

    You are certainly right that many of the things I’m talking about are best viewed as “necessary preconditions” for events.

    They are causes—in not just a technical sense but a perfectly colloquial sense, but are usually not the relevant ones for identifying a fault or assigning blame, for a particular purpose.

    Part of the problem there is that what you should call a “cause” vs. just a “necessary precondition” is not an objective fact—it depends on what level of analysis you’re talking about, and for what purpose.

    So, for example, if you’re talking about rape prevention, and not talking about blaming the victim, you will try to identify causes of rape, so that they can be avoided.

    But if you’re talking about who deserves moral blame for a rape, what counts as a cause worth calling a cause is different.

    In the Chernobyl meltdown situation, what we’d call a cause would depend on what we’re trying to accomplish. If we’re just trying to figure out how the disaster happened and why it happened when it happened, we will consider the machinery operator’s pushing the button to be clearly a cause—it activated something that in turn caused the meldown.

    But if we’re trying to figure out who was responsible for the disaster—who failed to meet an obligation—we clearly won’t count that as a “cause.” That will be part of the background we ignore as things proceeding as expected. We “screen out” most actions as (1) not being salient causes because they’re what we normally expect, or (2) not being blameworthy causes because they’re don’t involve failing to meet an obligation.

    Both of those apply to the Chernobyl machinery operator—we assume she’ll push the button as she’s supposed to, because that’s normal,. and it would only be salient if she failed to. We normally “screen out” such “background” events in talking about any system, even where blame is not an issue. We also don’t consider that an interesting cause for moral blaming in particular, because she is not failing to meet an expectation—she’s not only doing what we’d normally expect, but that’s what she’s supposed to do.

    That difference is relevant to any discussion of victim blaming. Often the interesting cases where people screw up and blame the victim are where we can’t screen things out for the first reason—somebody made a choice that’s not predictable—but we should screen them out for the second reason, and we don’t.

    I think that’s very relevant to the subject of victim blaming—it’s often how things go wrong. People may find some causation—something the victim did—salient because it’s unpredictable, and was a cause in the sense of being a “necessary precondition” for the rape, but then fail to screen it out as they should because it wasn’t a failure of obligation—it was just something the woman chose to do, which she had every right to do, that happened to be a necessary precondition for the rape.

    The big problem there is that some things clearly are “causes” for some salient purpose, such as rape prevention, but not for that one.

  192. mythbri says

    So, for example, if you’re talking about rape prevention, and not talking about blaming the victim, you will try to identify causes of rape, so that they can be avoided.

    I’m positively breathless with anticipation, Paul.

    What do you consider to be rape prevention?

  193. says

    Paul:

    a science-and-liberalism blog

    Also, Paul, since you seem to be determined to be a fuckwit, just because science comprises part of this blog does not give you license to run off at the mouth treating people like shit, ignoring people who have seriously hard questions and having yourself a happy fun time turning us into objects for your own gratification.

    As it seems to have escaped your notice, this is also a social justice blog. That means the concerns of actual human beings count, so you can take your objectification of us and stuff it. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you where.

  194. Paul W. says

    Ooops.

    I hadn’t seen where Chris said I was “done in this thread.” Didn’t mean to sneak anything in after that.

    Carlie, I’m really not ignoring you. I have thought about some of the things you’ve said, and may not have come to the realizations you want—maybe I will in the future, I dunno—but I’m not ignoring you. For example, my last comment was partly in response to things you’ve said, though I don’t know if that’s obvious.

    I do think the issue of which causes we think and care about, of the many causes we know about, is absolutely crucial, and the answer is interesting and important, and entirely relevant to understanding victim blaming.

    But I’m gone.

    Bye, everyone.

  195. says

    Mythbri:

    What do you consider to be rape prevention?

    I’m absolutely positive it wouldn’t be any of the standard crap which was repeatedly written down for Paul’s edification in the two pages of this thread, oh no. I’m ever so sure it’s brand new prevention stuff, something to do with us being pool balls, likely.

  196. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You are certainly right that many of the things I’m talking about are best viewed as “necessary preconditions” for events.

    Well, the big bang was one of them, but it irrelevant to the point that was being made against you. Not all necessary preconditions are equal, and citing cause, you are implying a responsibility that wasn’t there. I would have left such stuff out, even if philosophically correct, as it doesn’t meet the reality of the situation.

    Part of the problem there is that what you should call a “cause” vs. just a “necessary precondition” is not an objective fact—it depends on what level of analysis you’re talking about, and for what purpose.

    Here’s where you got into real trouble. The only cause of rape is the rapist. End of story. All else is minor contributing factors at best, or irrelevant in most cases. You appeared to be ignoring this fact and concentrating on the irrelevant factors to detriment of the only real cause of the rape. Essentially you came accross as saying the victim was responsible for their rape. That is what you need to rectify. You do that by apologizing for bring the trivial irrelevant factors into the picture.

  197. ChasCPeterson says

    aw. An unfortunate decision, in my view.

    a subject where it is not relevant to the discussion,

    What? The post title is ‘Women cause rape by…” and it specifically mentions “blame-shifting” and “victim-blaming’. What did you think Paul was trying to talk about?

    and causes harm when it comes up.That’s why it’s the wrong subject

    Argument from consequences. Feelings are more important than ideas.
    At least admit it.

  198. Paul W. says

    Carlie,

    It appears that Chris excised the stuff I was talking about and replaced it with “blah blah blah,” so my response to some of your concerns disappeared. (And I’m guessing this will too.)

    At any rate, I do care what you think and wasn’t just ignoring you.

  199. ChasCPeterson says

    having yourself a happy fun time turning us into objects for your own gratification.

    wow, that’s pretty unfair.
    But I’m done here too.

  200. mythbri says

    @Chas

    Based on Paul W’s recent comments, it seems as though he’s saying what we’ve seen before on threads regarding rape, albeit in a more convoluted and intellectual way:

    “I’m not saying that people are to blame for their own rapes! The victim is not to blame whatsoever! Incidentally, we can figure out how to ‘prevent rape’ by analyzing what the victim did to cause their rape.”

  201. carlie says

    So, for example, if you’re talking about rape prevention, and not talking about blaming the victim, you will try to identify causes of rape, so that they can be avoided.

    And what we have been trying to say is that there aren’t any causes other than the rapist’s decision to do so. There is not a single “cause” that you can tie to rape so that “if you do x, rape will most likely occur”. Or more likely occur. If you want to talk about rape prevention and identify causes of rape, you have to look at it from the rapist’s angle. You have to look at all of the actions, all of the causes, that the rapist performed up to that point, because those are the proximal causes, the distal causes, the necessary preconditions. What the victim does is entirely random from a statistical point of view. Women get raped in bars, in frat houses, in taxis, at church, at the doctor’s office, during surgery, in their own houses, in their own beds. Women get raped wearing short skirts, long skirts, baggy clothes, burqas. Women get raped when they’re adolescent and flirty, when they’re old and feeble, when they’re not even old enough to walk yet. There are no ways to identify causes of rape that use the trajectory of the rape victim, because every trajectory is different.

    We’ve been trying to prevent rape by analyzing the action trajectory of the victim for decades now. It hasn’t worked. That’s because if you’re looking for causal factors, looking at the trajectory of the victim is looking in the wrong place.

  202. mildlymagnificent says

    Come on Paul. It doesn’t matter how you dance around ascribing causes, correlations and conditions to the victim of a rape.

    The big issue is – always – what if the victim who caused, for certain values of cause, rape by getting on the bus which contained the rapist didn’t get on that bus ….. but another woman did get on the bus. How are you going to make the different history and different circumstances and different actions of an entirely different woman become a “cause” of a rape by the same rapist?

    The only common features to the event are 1. the rapist, 2. the bus. The only thing that makes the victim a victim is the presence and actions of the rapist.

    What you’re overlooking is that, even if anyone did follow your “causation” notion, the only thing that happens if the victim you’re talking about takes some other course of action is that she dodged a rape, this time. Why? Because some other woman would have come under the rapist’s notice if our victim sidestepped her place in his sights. And our not-a-victim-this-time subject has to keep on dodging tomorrow and every day following. While the rapist simply changes focus and changes targets.

    Remember we’re talking about 1 in 6 women being raped in their lifetimes. Dodging any particular rape ‘opportunity’ is not at all like moving out of the way of an out of control train – that’s a once in a lifetime, hardly ever happens to anyone, event. Rapists are everywhere we go and involved in pretty well everything we do. And they don’t carry warning signs.

  203. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Chas:

    Argument from consequences.

    Well, yes. That’s what morality (and indeed, social justice) is all about.

    (duh)

  204. vaiyt says

    Paul W, dumb ass rape apologist who’s taking too long to shut up, says:

    I’m just doing it unusually consistently about a subject where it’s often done inconstently, to avoid a fallacy of equivocation, and to show where fallacies of equivocation often occur and how they do or don’t lead to stupid victim-blaming.

    You’re showing pretty well where equivocation occurs. Your entire oeuvre in this topic has been nothing but equivocation after equivocation.

    Exhibit A – the quote that started the shitstorm:

    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.

    Italics for emphasis. The problem, Paul W, is that doing what you’re asking in this quote is FUCKING IMPOSSIBLE. It would require that we not live in this bullshit culture of victim-blaming. It would require a cultural milieu that doesn’t conflate “participation in the chain of events” with “blame” for this specific kind of event. It just DOESN’T FUCKING WORK. No matter how fucking careful do you think you are, there’s NO THORDAMN WAY you, in this culture, in this time and place, can say that a woman was raped because of something she is or did, and not end up blaming the victim. That’s why we don’t do that, we don’t like when people do that, and you’re playing the game of rape apologists when you insist on doing that.

    Moreover, when we’re here, discussing the “causes of rape”, we’re definitely NOT treating all causal factors as equal – and someone as smart as you think you are SHOULD know this. If you insist in perpetuating the confusion by using a definition of “cause” that’s not useful for the discussion, either you’re not really smart, or you’re deliberately adding noise. What it is, then? Stupidity or malice?

  205. says

    Chas:

    wow, that’s pretty unfair.

    No, it wasn’t in the least unfair, Chas. In two pages, Paul compared rape victims to all manner of objects and has continually treated us as objects. After two pages of the same textorrhea from Paul, all of it leading to the inevitable place of “it’s something the victim did!”, I’ve had enough of trying to get through to Paul. If he can’t handle what he’s actually doing to people, then he needs to get a fucking clue, stat, and stop fucking doing it.

    Appealing to his so-called reason is not working. If he (or you) thinks I’m being harsh, maybe it’s godsdamned time you see things from a POV which is not yours. Someone who was in this thread earlier posted elsewhere that they were triggered by Paul’s continued crap parade already. Paul has already made it clear, by his actions, that he doesn’t give one single shit about the actual people involved here. Me, I’m on the side of us peons. You can think what you like, Chas, but nothing changes by being all sweetness and light to those who attempt to dehumanize us.

  206. vaiyt says

    They are causes—in not just a technical sense but a perfectly colloquial sense, but are usually not the relevant ones for identifying a fault or assigning blame, for a particular purpose.

    NO SHIT, SHERLOCK. THAT’S EXACTLY THE PROBLEM OUTLINED IN THE OP, AND YOU’RE NOT HELPING.

    Seriously. Paul W must think he’s a genius. He comes into a thread that is specifically about conflating causation and blame, and proceeds to slobber that “hey, we shouldn’t conflate causation and blame”, while trying to squirrel in an use of “cause” that DOES EXACTLY THAT. Then he observes with amazement, incapable of understanding why people don’t agree with such a wonderful piece of insight.

  207. vaiyt says

    wow, that’s pretty unfair.
    But I’m done here too.

    Boohoo. I’m not even going to whip out the violin, just don’t forget to grab your crown of porcupine thorns from the rack before you go out.

  208. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Feelings are more important than ideas.

    Ideas that cause shame, fear and more in those who have been raped, compared to an unnecessary pseudointellectual exercise? (If it was truly intellectual, it would have taken the distress it would have caused into account).

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

    sorry Chris didn’t see your post. Ending whine and leaving

  210. Nepenthe says

    You are so right Chas. Every one of the rape victims getting upset in this thread is anti-intellectual and overly emotional because they prioritize their mere feelings over an invigorating discussion of whether, in some esoteric sense, they caused another person to commit a crime against them, the trauma of which may have radically altered the course of their lives. How could we be so disappointing and shallow. My sincerest apologies to you.

    *spits*

  211. says

    Nerd:

    Ideas that cause shame, fear and more in those who have been raped, compared to an unnecessary pseudointellectual exercise? (If it was truly intellectual, it would have taken the distress it would have caused into account).

    QFT.

  212. says

    Paul

    They are causes—in not just a technical sense but a perfectly colloquial sense, but are usually not the relevant ones for identifying a fault or assigning blame, for a particular purpose.

    No, they are not used that way in a colloquial sense. No one says that the Aurora victims caused their shooting by going to see Batman, no one says that the passengers caused the Lockerbie bombing by taking that flight, etc. People only say the victim caused their victimization when they’re y’know, victim blaming.

    So, for example, if you’re talking about rape prevention, and not talking about blaming the victim, you will try to identify causes of rape, so that they can be avoided.

    Yes. And that has been done. What causes a rape is a rapist deciding to rape somebody. Now we need to work on how to get them to stop doing that.

    So, for example, if you’re talking about rape prevention, and not talking about blaming the victim, you will try to identify causes of rape, so that they can be avoided.

    Chas

    What did you think Paul was trying to talk about?

    The thing is, he’s not talking about victim blaming. He’s engaging in victim blaming. Do you understand the difference? By choosing to focus on trivialities which have no statistical correlation with being victimized, he is perpetuating rape culture, because that focus is a part of rape culture. Everyone here already knows that our culture focuses on irrelevancies when it comes to rape. That’s the fucking problem. Focusing on those irrelevancies even more does not help. Also, and largely separately, you’re an asshole and I still wish you’d just STFU and go away.

  213. says

    So, for example, if you’re talking about rape prevention, and not talking about blaming the victim, you will try to identify causes of rape, so that they can be avoided.

    There’s one, only one thing that prevents rape: don’t rape.
    And even if you had a point that for a woman engaging in some fairly normal stuff like going to a bar and having a beer put her at risk for being raped, then we should always go with Golda Meyr and tell the men to stop going there.
    Wouldn’t that be horribly unfair if all those 94% of men who are not rapists were asked to abstain from a shitload of social activities women then get to enjoy freely?
    Yes?
    Now, so, why should women be asked to abstain from those things to prevent a crime happening to them?
    It’s also noteworthy that Paul doesn’t only compare women to all kinds of objects, he also constantly compares rape to accidents in his analysis of “causes”.

  214. says

    Giliell:

    It’s also noteworthy that Paul doesn’t only compare women to all kinds of objects, he also constantly compares rape to accidents in his analysis of “causes”.

    You’re right, that is noteworthy and it shouldn’t be ignored. It’s an insidious thing to do, providing even more cover for those who do rape.

  215. ChasCPeterson says

    cross-posted from a Thunderdome comment:

    I apologize for the feelings of hurt, dehumanization, anger, and frustration caused by my words in this thread. I’m sorry to have been inconsiderate.

  216. carlie says

    Crossposting back from Thunderdome in case Paul will notice it:

    Paul deliberately compared us to objects, such as pool balls and alternators.

    (Caine)

    And not only was that wrong in all the ways in which it is wrong, but it is also wrong from the scientific viewpoint he so insisted he was using. Inanimate objects obey the laws of physics. Set up the same set of causal actions and you will get the same reaction, every time. People aren’t like that. One person could respond to a causal action of being cut off in traffic by sighing and hoping the other person has a better day, while another responds with road rage. And even if you want to make educated guesses about causes and reactions in moods, it still doesn’t hold, because the actual causal action for their attitude wasn’t the cut off at all, it was something that happened earlier in the day that helped shape their current mood. That’s one of the parts he refused to get.

    Also, thanks for saying that, Chas.

  217. says

    X-posted from Tdome:

    Chas:

    uh…wow. I certainly didn’t think of any of the discussion in those terms. I guess if you’re being talked about you’re objectified, but I’m certain that Paul wasn’t knowingly dehumanizing anybody.

    I know you didn’t, however, I can’t extend that benefit to Paul. It wasn’t a matter of being talked about. Paul deliberately compared us to objects, such as pool balls and alternators. He also compared us to dogs, mob bosses and assassins. He was told that replacing us with this, that and the other wasn’t helping, by a whole lot of people, and instead of listening, he just moved on to comparing us to something else. He *erased* us, even while we were present and trying to get through to him. Nope, just handwaved us away. I know you’re capable of understanding how that feels.

    Paul did. not. listen. At all. To anyone. He didn’t care about causing harm nor did he care that he was simply using us as objects in his precious construct. Honestly, I don’t understand just what stake Paul has in insisting on that whole mess. It reeks, from top to bottom and there’s something terribly off in that insistence. For all his disclaimers, everything he said all came down to the same old shit – putting the focus and onus on those who are raped. You know, we’re tired. Damn tired of this being the case for fucking forever already. The focus and the onus needs to be on those who do, will or would be willing to rape. How many times did I bring up the “Don’t be that guy” campaign in Canada? That works. It works where all the massive “rape prevention” lists don’t. It works because it focuses on the one factor which remains static in cases of rape – the presence of a rapist.

    I don’t have any sort of personal grudge with Paul, but I gotta say, this last round – I don’t think so well of him now. I’ll admit, I expected better. I gave him one chance after another. I gave him more benefit of the doubt than he deserved. Dressing up old shit in new clothes isn’t good science, it isn’t good anything, and that’s all Paul was doing, after doubling down, tripling down, nthing down.

  218. Tigger_the_Wing says

    Yesterday, I was so angry with what I had read here I hoped to make a comment of my own; but meatspace stuff got in the way, as it has a tendency to do, and I ran out of time. When I got back to this thread, it had drawn to a close with Caine’s brilliant summing-up.

    But, dammit, I don’t want anyone to think that the people who did the heavy work in this thread are in a small minority. I want to put up my hand and say “I care, too.

    Paul W. was wrong, in all the ways Caine says he was.

    Despite his continuing his horrible, triggering comments over in the Thunderdome, he doesn’t get off making it all about him and his feelings, as if being asked to stop hurting other people is by far the worst thing that could happen, far worse than anything he might say to hurt them.

    ~~~~~~~~~~

    Pteryxx

    Paul, I guarantee you that the word ’cause’ doesn’t suffer so tragically from misrepresentation that you need to heroically defend its virtue.

    Paul W.

    Pteryxx,

    I guarantee you that it does.

    It simply isn’t true, however much he might protest, that he is entitled to victim-blame as long as he calls it something else. That response of Paul’s was disgusting.

    Paul W.

    Carlie,

    Thank you for your kind words, but I think it’s all a bit more complicated and intractable than you make it out to be, and it wouldn’t be helpful to discuss how and why I think that, so I should just go.

    Oggvorbis, and everyone else I’ve hurt,

    I’m sorry.

    A condescending remark to Carlie, referring to her very good comment here, followed by a small, brief, grudging apology (mis-)naming just one of the victims he triggered and then lumping all the rest under ‘everyone else’ doesn’t get him off the hook, in my opinion.

    There are plenty of other people, men especially, who read this thread and didn’t feel qualified to comment. Please do. The more of us who show that we do not support rape apologetics, no matter who is making them and no matter how hard the victim-blamers protest that they aren’t doing that, the better.

    Whether or not we have direct experience of the horrors of rape in all its manifestations, we all have a part to play in putting the blame squarely where it belongs: on the choice of the rapist to rape, without qualification. Without esoteric philosophical discussions about ‘ultimate causes’. And certainly without speculation about the behaviour of the victims, which is completely irrelevent to the decision the rapist makes. Those do nothing except harm the innocent.

    Paul W. was told this, over and over again by many brave men and women, yet still chose to say that it was because no-one understood him instead of admitting that everyone understood him only too well, but disagreed with him.

  219. FossilFishy(Anti-Vulcanist, with a perchant for pachyderm punditry) says

    Chris, I’m adding this because it was pointed out the men of Pharyngula have been letting the side down a bit in these threads and I want to add my voice by way of retroactive mitigation of that failing. Please bunnify me if you feel that this is unfair piling on.

    Paul, I read your arguments and I understood them. My initial response was negative, but I didn’t dismiss you out of hand. Instead I waited. And then came the response that I half expected: a comprehensive rebuttal from multiple sources, evidence that my initial impulse was correct.

    I take no pride in that correct assessment. It was dim and half-hearted and my lack of trust in my own judgment shows I have a long way to go on these issues. It’s a failing and I accept it, just as I accept that I have an obligation to mitigate and remedy that failing.

    That’s all us men can do when we trip over our societal privilege Paul. Acknowledge it, accept it, and try to do better. You haven’t done this.

    You’ve triggered people here by doubling down instead of backing off with an apology when it exploded in your face. You’ve cause demonstrable person harm to individuals over and above the perpetuation of rape culture inherent in your arguments. You belittled and demeaned those arguing with you by reducing their experiences and pain to an intellectual game in which you have to be right and damn the consequences. This is contemptible.

    I repeat, because that is all I can do:

    Women are not the cause of rape.

    Never.

    Rapists are the cause of rape.

    Always.

    Damn you and all impervious straw-Vulcans for never being able to accept that.

  220. says

    Paul:

    I think that’s very relevant to the subject of victim blaming—it’s often how things go wrong. People may find some causation—something the victim did—salient because it’s unpredictable, and was a cause in the sense of being a “necessary precondition” for the rape, but then fail to screen it out as they should because it wasn’t a failure of obligation—it was just something the woman chose to do, which she had every right to do, that happened to be a necessary precondition for the rape.

    A woman is raped by an acquaintance at a party.
    The reason she is raped is because a douchebag raped her. There *is* no other reason.
    She wore sexy clothes. Not a reason.
    She chose to drink. Not a reason.
    She flirted with guys. Not a reason.
    She stayed too late. Not a reason.
    She came to the party in the first place. Not a reason.
    The house where the party occurred was built. Not a reason.
    The rapists’ parents got married. Not a reason.

    The *only* reason…the absolutely *only* reason that she was raped is because some douchebag chose to rape her. The responsibility for the rape rests on the rapist. Whipping up a set of circumstances to explain how the woman wound up in a situation where she was raped is victim blaming. It’s saying “don’t do this”, “don’t go there”, “don’t wear that”, “don’t drink that”. Instead of trying to figure out how the woman should have done something differently so that she wouldn’t be raped (as if that’s possible), how about telling men “don’t rape”?

  221. Feline says

    They are causes—in not just a technical sense but a perfectly colloquial sense, but are usually not the relevant ones for identifying a fault or assigning blame, for a particular purpose.

    To claim that your use of cause here is colloquial is a damnable lie.
    If I am at a party and person A puts down an empty bottle of beer on the edge of a table and I sweep my arm through the top of that bottle, causing that bottle to fall to the floor, I would be at fault. I would be expected to sweep up the glass shards and pull out a mop to clean up the small shards. And never would anyone think to even ponder what person A did. It does not happen. Person A did not cause the bottle to fall.