Engagement is good, but how about not engaging on their terms? »« Ham on Nye

Who you believe says a lot about who you are

Stephen King really put his foot in it. Commenting on Dylan Farrow’s revelation that she’d been sexually abused by Woody Allen at the age of 7, he wrote:

I don’t like to think it’s true, and there’s an element of palpable bitchery there, but…

Everyone is focused on the “bitchery” comment — you know, outspoken women are “bitches” while outspoken men are “Brave Heroes” — and I agree, that was an awful choice of words. But it’s the first part that bothers me: the “I don’t like to think it’s true”. In a trivial sense, none of us like to think about bad things happening in the world. I don’t like to think that we’re bombing people in drone strikes, I don’t like to think that children are going hungry in America, I don’t like to think that it’s uncomfortably cold outside right now. But what we would like and what is real are two different things.

He doesn’t like to think that Woody Allen has done awful things to kids and is getting off scot-free because he’s rich and influential. But the alternative is to think that Dylan Farrow is a lying fabulist; does he like to think that? Or not? Because that’s really the situation here, either Allen or Farrow are lying, and it always seems to be that we’re made more uncomfortable by the thought that a popular film-making man might be lying, than that a woman might be.

Read this essay, Woody Allen’s Good Name. It makes the excellent point that in all of this tut-tutting about Allen, nobody seems to be considering Dylan Farrow’s good name.

What is the burden of proof for assuming that a person is lying? If you are a famous film director, it turns out to be quite high. You don’t have to say a word in your defense, in fact, and people who have directed documentaries about you will write lengthy essays in the Daily Beast tearing down the testimony of your accusers. You can just go about your life making movie after movie, and it’s fine. But if you are a woman who has accused a great film director of molesting you when you were seven, the starting point is the presumption that, without real evidence, you are not telling the truth. In the court of public opinion, a woman accusing a great film director of raping her has no credibility which his fans are bound to respect. He has something to lose, his good name. She does not, because she does not have a good name. She is living in hiding, under an assumed name. And when she is silent, the Daily Beast does not rise to her defense.

In a rape culture, there is no burden on us to presume that she is not a liar, no necessary imperative to treat her like a person whose account of herself can be taken seriously. It is important that we presume he is innocent. It is not important that we presume she is not making it all up out of female malice. In a rape culture, you can say things like “We can’t really know what really happened, so let’s all act as if Woody Allen is innocent (and she is lying).” In a rape culture, you can use your ignorance to cast doubt on her knowledge; you can admit that you have no basis for casting doubt on Dylan’s statement, and then you can ignore her account of herself. A famous man is not speaking, so her testimony is not admissible evidence. His name is Woody Allen, and in a rape culture, that good name must be shielded and protected. What is her name?

Which happens more often? That men unchecked will take sexual advantage of young women? Or that women will lie about being abused? Those Bayesian priors ought to be considered when evaluating a claim like this.

Comments

  1. says

    I don’t like to think it’s true

    Welcome to humanity, Mr. King. No one likes to think of adults raping young children. It’s unpleasant as all hells. That said, it doesn’t do any good to retreat from the reality that a very large percentage of children are raped. As for the “palpable bitchery”, there’s a reason. It’s not “bitchery”, Mr. King. It’s fury over being broken because someone decided you would be a good fucktoy. It’s difficult for people to understand, but surely all of us who were so used deserve a little thoughtfulness and compassion.

  2. says

    I don’t like to think it’s true

    Welcome to humanity, Mr. King. No one likes to think of adults raping young children. It’s unpleasant as all hells. That said, it doesn’t do any good to retreat from the reality that a very large percentage of children are raped. As for the “palpable b!tchery”, there’s a reason. It’s not “b!tchery”, Mr. King. It’s fury over being broken because someone decided you would be a good fucktoy. It’s difficult for people to understand, but surely all of us who were so used deserve a little thoughtfulness and compassion.

  3. says

    I don’t really want to disbelieve either of them, and it’s going to be distressing to just read the differing accounts and try to weigh the truth of each, so I’m going to keep my head down until the sturm und drang quiets down a bit. Fortunately, neither of them is looking for support from me.

  4. says

    Inaji:

    It’s difficult for people to understand, but surely all of us who were so used deserve a little thoughtfulness and compassion.

    ^^ This.
    I may never know the horror of being sexually assaulted, but I can show support, compassion and empathy for those who have.
    We live in a world where sexual assault is, sadly, ubiquitous. So I damn well will believe those who say they’ve been assaulted.

  5. says

    I agree that the problem isn’t the “palpably bitchy” comment (after all, it’s not as if that’s a negative — if I were an abuse survivor, “palpable bitchiness” would be the calmest emotion I’d be entitled to, far behind “volcanic rage”). This attitude — “We can’t really know what really happened, so let’s all act as if Woody Allen is innocent (and she is lying).” — is far more pernicious, as it is able to masquerade as phony “fairness.”

    I was disappointed today to see a very similar sentiment posted on Facebook by Sean Faircloth, I guy I generally admire. He wrote, “If you’re certain Woody Allen’s a child molester, you aren’t a skeptic. If you’re certain he isn’t a child molester, you aren’t a skeptic.”

    For one thing, certainty isn’t the attitude skeptics, let alone scientists, take towards anything, so that whole thing is a red herring. But as any scientist and skeptic knows, you can derive valid conclusions without certainty. As the essay by Bady points out,

    The second reason it’s okay if I’m wrong is that I’m probably not wrong. It’s much more likely that I’m right. Because I am not on Woody Allen’s jury, I can be swayed by the fact that sexual violence is incredibly, horrifically common, much more common than it is for women to make up stories about sexual violence in pursuit of their own petty, vindictive need to destroy a great man’s reputation.

    “What is more likely to be true based on observed patterns” is a basic heuristic we use all the time in life to make informed decisions. Faircloth seems to be implying that there is a skeptical standard that should be applied that, by default, renders Woody Allen and Dylan Farrow both precisely equally likely to be telling the truth, or lying, and that no consideration of broader factors needs to be entertained. And this, right off the bat, plays fully into rape culture complacency and victim blaming before it does anything else.

  6. davidct says

    Allen may be famous but he has a history of inappropriate behavior with young females in his care. This shifts the Bayesian priors toward the possibility of the charges being true. Having read a limited number of King’s works, his attitude is not a surprise. Why is it again that Mr. King’s opinion is of any importance?

  7. Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach says

    I suppose its my fault for not having seen any of his movies, but my first thought was, she has nothing to gain and a hell of a lot to lose by revealing this, so I’m going to believe her unless I see evidence to the contrary. Followed by a quick and revealing search of independent accounts of his disturbing behavior around her in public and his general skeeviness (screw you spellcheck, that’s a word). More than enough to convince me he’s a raping shitstain. Maybe his movies are the greatest ever made, I don’t know and I don’t care, doesn’t change the fact that he’s a blight on humanity. Fortunately, I am not a court of law, I don’t have to presume his innocence, I can just go right ahead and loathe him.

    Also, just a general fuck you in the direction of Mr. King.

  8. says

    Dave:

    Fortunately, I am not a court of law, I don’t have to presume his innocence, I can just go right ahead and loathe him.

    I’m glad you said this.
    I’m going to repeat (with a few tweaks) it just bc someone is bound to wander in here and whinge about how Woody Allen should have the presumption of innocence:

    The presumption of innocence applies to the courtroom. This blog is not a court of law. We can go right ahead and loathe Woody Allen.

  9. artymart says

    I could care less about Steven Kings comment. We must consider – when this claim was first brought forth by the other it was investigated and there was no evidence to support it. Certainly if a 7 year old was raped there would be evidence to support it. There was none.

    From what I’ve heard and read the prosecutor did find that the mother created the story and conditioned the child to repeat it. This being a ventriloquist for one’s own child is a common thing in divisive marital splits. It causes unending harm to all concerned – significantly to the child.

    Very few people actually know what really happened but we do know the matter was thoroughly and, I presume, honestly. investigated and found to be without substance. Reviving the story some years later does not make it true.

    I really have no interest in defending Woody Allen. If there is evidence now, that wasn’t considered before, what is it? Let’s hear it and see it and then make an assessment based on facts – not unsubstantiated claims.

  10. says

    NelC:

    I don’t really want to disbelieve either of them, and it’s going to be distressing to just read the differing accounts and try to weigh the truth of each

    This really bothers me, so I’ll ask you to think about something. I was raped as a child. For years. I never told anyone, because I was well aware that the situation was seriously weighted against me. A great many children who are raped, even when they do tell someone, have not been believed. That’s an additional blow of such harm that there are no words for it. Kids may be kids, but most aren’t stupid, and have a very good working knowledge of how things will work for them and against them in their particular dynamic.

    For most people who were raped as children, it can take many years into adulthood to finally reach a point where you can spit it out, like glass and blood you’ve been choking on for years. Most people who were raped as children remember what seems to others to be trivial details, but we focus on details because it’s better than focusing on what is happening to you. When you finally can speak about it, those details come out, and they are still focused on, because it’s still difficult to say anything at all.

    Adults who rape children aren’t much in the habit of admitting it. Saying that you don’t want to disbelieve either of them is playing into the power imbalance that’s still there. Okay, so you think it’s all down to you being fair. Well, I won’t look to change your mind, but I’d ask you not to post such a thing, because it’s like a punch to the gut, a comment like yours, a reminder that children who are raped have nowhere to go, except into the general disbelief of surrounding adults.

  11. aziraphale says

    What saddens me about Stephen King’s comment is that in his “Gerald’s Game” the central character, who is treated sympathetically, was abused by her father. I wonder what changed?

  12. says

    When I read Allen’s account, here’s what jumped out at me: his defense is that Mia Farrow never let him be alone with the children, that he might have had a few seconds or minutes at most alone with Dylan in all the years he was a stepfather.

    And I’m thinking, “Why was it considered necessary to never let him be alone with the children?”

    Isn’t that strange? I spent a lot of time together with my kids, while my wife was working or taking a break. We never thought twice about it. My wife was very protective of the kids, but never had the slightest worry about leaving them with me.

    Yet here it is, everyone simply taking it for granted that Woody Allen should not ever, for even a minute, be left alone with children. Even in the account of the time he did disappear with Dylan, they lost track of him for 15 minutes (he’d taken her up into the attic), and everyone was frantic with worry. Allen’s defense was that it wasn’t that long.

    That is an unnatural situation. That everyone, even Allen, accepted it tells you that something was up.

  13. Dhorvath, OM says

    Very few people actually know what really happened but we do know the matter was thoroughly and, I presume, honestly. investigated and found to be without substance. Reviving the story some years later does not make it true.

    Gonna need a citation there. Also, your presumption of honesty galls. Don’t do that.

  14. says

    artymart:

    Certainly if a 7 year old was raped there would be evidence to support it.

    Just what evidence do you expect to waiting about, ready to leap to the eye? Hair, skin, fibers? The man lives in the house, of course those things will be there. Semen spills? That can easily be dealt with by someone living in the house. A rapist is capable of wearing a condom, y’know. When it comes to raping children, it’s quite easy to deal with such evidence anyway. Give the child a bath, clean up very well. So much for evidence. Do a load of laundry, so much for evidence. Oh, and in case you’re thinking of a broken hymen – it’s possible to rape without breaking it, and if it is broken, it’s not necessarily evidence of rape. And so on. Seems to me you don’t have the slightest idea of what you’re talking about.

    And of course, the cops are never swayed by anyone, nope. And they are never, ever incompetent, nope. Same goes for those in medical professions. Never swayed, never incompetent. Nope, never.

  15. frog says

    As davidct@4 said, the dude has previously been openly acknowledged in a relationship with his technically-adult adopted daughter. Technically an adult when the relationship became known, but how many people believe that it didn’t begin until Soon Yi’s 18th birthday? :skeptical eyebrows:

    Never mind that ew, dude, this is your daughter, adopted or not.

    So yeah, based strictly on past patterns of behavior, I’m gonna go with a very high confidence that Ms. Farrow is telling the truth. There’s no reason to doubt her, and plenty of reason to believe her.

    It croggles my mind how many people can achieve the mental gymnastics needed to avoid looking at this.

    Yes, I’m very sad to learn that a very funny, very talented writer/director turns out to be a raping shitstain. It’s horrible. But the sad fact is that people are complex, and horrible people are capable of creating amazing things–rapists have many hours in the day when they’re not busy raping.

    One of the ways people like this get away with it is because they don’t seem like a monster in other aspects of life. That whole schlemiel routine is good cover. Try to remember that the man is a professional performer.

    Maybe people need to be absolved of guilt by association. Okay, folks, I officially absolve you for ever watching and enjoying a Woody Allen movie. You had no idea what he was doing. You’re okay.

  16. says

    artymart:
    “Unsubstantiated claims”.
    Ah, you’re one of the people who doesn’t believe victims who speak up about their abuse. To which I say:

    Here’s the math. According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey –there is an average of 237,868 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year.

    There are 525,600 minutes in a non-leap year. That makes 31,536,000 seconds/year. So, 31,536,000 divided by 237,868 comes out to 1 sexual assault every 133 seconds, or about 1 every 2 minutes.

    http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/frequency-of-sexual-assault

    As I said upthread, sexual assault is ubiquitous. I’ll add that women are routinely dismissed in just the way you artymart have done. We had 4,000+ comment thread last year where assclam after assclam dismissed the sexual assault of Jane Doe for ostensibly the same reasons you’ve just stated: “lack of evidence”.
    Because a victims’ testimony is not evidence.
    Because sexual assault is not common.
    Because we don’t live in a Rape Culture.
    Because men don’t routinely violate the bodily autonomy of women.
    Because women lie about being sexually assaulted.

    Did I forget anything? The asshole brigade will drag out the above lies (actually, they’ve already begun). Oh, they’ll mask it behind “there’s not enough evidence” or “she’s disparaging his good name” or “presumed innocent til guilty”. All that does is extend the benefit of the doubt to Woody Allen, and dismiss Dylan Farrow.

    STOP DOING THAT.

  17. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Very few people actually know what really happened

    One of them just came out and said what happened, with little to gain except a lot of heartbreak, condemnation and repeated trauma.

    Why do you think she’s lying?

  18. Jackie, all dressed in black says

    Just another reminder that no show of anger is ever considered justified if the person experiencing that anger is a woman. We’re to simper, smile and suffer in silence like ladies.
    Fuck that noise.
    King needs to get his head out of his ass.

  19. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    I don’t like to think it’s true

    Hey, I felt the same way when I was being molested by a father figure. I really, really didn’t want to believe it was happening.

    Strangely, this did nothing to save me.

  20. says

    There’s a third possibility, that Dylan isn’t lying but has an implanted false memory. That’s actually much more common and easier to do than most people think, and it fits the known facts of the case. Many children make accusations of child abuse which are false, because a trusted adult (in this case of course it would be Mia Farrow) has coached them to believe it. The initial investigation, which exonerated Allen, came to that conclusion. I of course do not have any independent knowledge to support or question that, but the fact is, this was litigated long ago and that’s what the investigators found.

  21. says

    Frog:

    One of the ways people like this get away with it is because they don’t seem like a monster in other aspects of life.

    Don’t other. Just fucking don’t. Allen is not a monster, he’s a human being. Yes, people who rape are people. If all the people who did terrible things were monsters, it would be easy to tell at a glance, wouldn’t it? Othering does not help, it just makes you feel better to think that a human being wouldn’t do such a thing. Well, human beings rape all the time.

  22. says

    Inaji:
    I’ve got to run off to work. I anticipate this thread will explode when I get back to it in about 7 hours. To you and all the others who will be here, you have my support, always.

    (I can’t wait to see if that citation will be given)

  23. Juliana Ewing says

    The initial investigation, which exonerated Allen, came to that conclusion.

    There was no “conclusion” and Allen was not “exonerated.” The investigation was dropped.

  24. Jackie, all dressed in black says

    Cervantes,
    Trigger warning:
    What about the babysitter who saw Allen with his face in his daughter’s crotch? Does she have false memories too? What about the nude photos Allen took of his other daughter when she was a teen, the one he later married? Are those imaginary?

    Jesus H Christ, you guys really love to coddle and protect skeevy fuckers.

  25. dianne says

    The initial investigation, which exonerated Allen, came to that conclusion.

    I don’t have access to the actual investigation files, but several credible, mainstream sources have stated that the prosecutor chose not to pursue the case despite credible evidence, because of the risk of further trauma to the child victim. I haven’t yet seen any source that was not defending Woody claim that he was exonerated or that there was no credible evidence.

  26. Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach says

    How the fuck could you possibly conclude that an implanted memory is more likely than someone with a history of disturbing behavior toward children in public doing something horrible with a child in private?

    I’m also going to go ahead and join Inaji in requesting that citation.

  27. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    artymart @ 7

    Certainly if a 7 year old was raped there would be evidence to support it.

    As Inaji mentioned, quite a bit of evidence can be washed away or prevented from getting there in the first place through the use of a condom. Or the assault could occur in some way that doesn’t involve a penis. Or, actually, the vagina doesn’t truly have a fresh guaranteed pop top on it like a jar of salsa. The presence or absence of a hymen can’t say much about whether or not a child was molested. It’s possible for an assault to occur without causing physical injury.

    What evidence is there? The testimony of Dylan herself and the multiple witnesses to disturbing behavior, such as his inappropriate doting on her, sharing a bed with her in his underwear, putting his face in her crotch, etc.

    So, in fact, there is a lot of evidence to support him molesting his daughter.

  28. says

    Cervantes- Citation needed for basically everything you’ve said. The claim that Allen was exonerated, especially. Every current source has said the prosecutor declined to proceed for fear of further traumatizing Dylan. I haven’t seen a single source claiming the evidence was too weak for conviction, much less that the evidence was so weak as to call Allen exonerated. You really need to back that claim up- and hey, if you actually can source that to something credible, you might even get more people to join you on Allens side.

  29. unbound says

    Ignoring the specific claims of both sides, this comment bothers me a lot:

    Those Bayesian priors ought to be considered when evaluating a claim like this.

    This is where statistics breaks down into uselessness. The value of statistics can point you down the path of higher likelihoods, but has absolutely no bearing in resolving individual cases. It doesn’t matter if less than, say, 10% of cases involve memory implantation. The outcome is binary, not statistical in individual cases.

    I will provide a case in point…my own. The odds of having the type of tumor I had, where it was located, at my age were less than 1%. But there it was, and I’m short one adrenal gland as a result, but my blood pressure is now manageable. So the statistics made for a useful tool for the doctors to start, but the actual answer for my individual case didn’t follow the trend.

  30. imthegenieicandoanything says

    King is stupid and this is outrageous.

    I don’t cut Woody any slack for being rich, famous, OR a guy who’s made some good movies. Not at all. And I am leaning on supporting Dylan and Mia, since they clearly have as much to lose as Woody (who has pretty much everything, but his money, at stake.) There’s clearly some creepy angles to the man.

    So far, though, there’s nothing in this like Roman Polanski’s horrible case, though people here refer to “multiple witnesses” who have somehow never made it into the news stories I’ve read (Guardian), though I don’t follow any Hollywood gossip very closely. His “reputation” means nothing to me, so I’ll just lean on expressing support to Dylan.

    But what ELSE would certain people here do? The freedom to “loathe” anyone, that is your right, absolutely. How you choose to do it certainly may cause others to join you, or lathe you in return.

    When the torches and pitchforks come out, here or anywhere, you know the mob is going to find a monster to burn. And maybe toss in a few non-enthusiasts as well, because their mob is so right.

  31. says

    @30:

    When the torches and pitchforks come out, here or anywhere, you know the mob is going to find a monster to burn.

    Speak for yourself, asshole. I don’t believe in monsters. See #20.

  32. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Many children make accusations of child abuse which are false, because a trusted adult (in this case of course it would be Mia Farrow)

    Well, yes. What’s important to remember is that when Important Rich White Man rapes someone, you MUST find a woman to blame. His victim was just a kid, so blaming her is distasteful for his eager defenders. But it MUST be a woman’s fault. Some woman, somewhere!

  33. sc_a5d5b3a48ba402d40e1725cbb3ce1375 says

    frog:

    Maybe people need to be absolved of guilt by association. Okay, folks, I officially absolve you for ever watching and enjoying a Woody Allen movie. You had no idea what he was doing. You’re okay.

    That’s pretty blatantly the primary motive on the part of all deniers. As someone who, in high school, once appreciated a compliment by a friend for being “like Woody Allen”, I felt my own odd variation on the guilt-by-association. I never actually identified with Allen, but I appreciated a fair bit of his work.

    A couple years ago, the first thing about him that made me go “What?!” was when I read his line how something that had happened to his ex-wife “probably wasn’t a moving violation”, which can only be interpreted as a slut-shaming rape joke. And then of course there was the marriage to his step-adoptive-daughter. I agreed with the disgust of other members of that family.

    I hadn’t heard about the original vicarious accusation by Mia Farrow. I hate to say it but I probably would have considered it more likely false than true.

    Anyway, frog’s point is reinforced by something I’d overheard someone else say: that while thinking about the news they decided that they’d never considered Allen that big a part of their personal canon, or something like that, and so they could feel okay. This person being an atheist to whom I wouldn’t normally attribute much cognitive dissonance, and here they had to “reason through” something that didn’t actually require reasoning. (It’s not logically impossible for a good person to appreciate the works of someone who later turns out to be evil. In fact, our strange intuition that there’s some kind of contradiction in there, a necessary consistency between ethics and aesthetic power, probably feeds into theological instincts about God, but that’s another matter.)

    I can’t help but think of other situations where fans of some respected artist have to either become deniers or grimly live with the dissonance: Roman Polanski, Phil Spector, Michael Jackson. (To think that if only Charles Manson had been more commercially successful, his name today would connote “rock god” first and “serial murderer” second. People would have made his post-mortem concert movie a commercial success, just like with This Is It.) And now I’m bracing myself for Hollywood-defends-Polanski all over again, only worse because even Polanski admitted to his crime.

    If nothing else, this revelation should reinforce an argument that’s been gaining traction in the last few years: It’s time to end the statute of limitations on rape.

  34. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    Apparently, saying “most likely the accusations are true” is exactly like a pitchfork and torch bearing mob. Remarkable.

    I guess if I’m not actively watching Midnight in Paris while engaging in this thread, I am just a mindless hate machine.

  35. dianne says

    Apparently, saying “most likely the accusations are true” is exactly like a pitchfork and torch bearing mob. Remarkable.

    Yes, but only when accusing a rich white man of rape.

  36. Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach says

    Yes, of course, a few people on a blog trying to show support for someone who was raped many years ago and many miles away is exactly the same thing as a mob showing up on Allen’s doorstep with pitchforks.

    Couldn’t help but notice you jumped over the link in this very thread to the story with all those witnesses, just so you could maintain that hyperskepticism. Not to mention bringing up Polanski to try to minimize this because its not as bad as some other terrible thing.

    We got some kind of asshole bingo card I could be keeping score with?

  37. sc_a5d5b3a48ba402d40e1725cbb3ce1375 says

    I should amend what I said at the beginning about all deniers. For many of them, it’s not about respect for this particular man, but the usual “let’s hear both sides” and/or rape culture.

    unbound:

    I will provide a case in point…my own. The odds of having the type of tumor I had, where it was located, at my age were less than 1%. But there it was, and I’m short one adrenal gland as a result, but my blood pressure is now manageable. So the statistics made for a useful tool for the doctors to start, but the actual answer for my individual case didn’t follow the trend.

    Is there any reason to suppose you weren’t in that 1%? It’s unfortunate when the math doesn’t pan out, but it’s meant to be an optimal tool, not a perfect one. I’m glad to hear about the improvement to your health.

    Of course, something potentially less rigorous than medicine, like the issue of whether Dylan is telling the truth, may be too subjective to actually calculate mathematically. However, I think the “priors” point still holds. Prima facie, we should believe when people make these accusations, because they generally have more to lose than to gain, and because of our enabling culture, as PZ points to. When you then consider davidct’s additional priors, the case for Allen’s innocence shrinks considerably, if only in terms of argument more than any numbers on paper (but I bet someone good with the numbers could present that case, too).

  38. frog says

    Inaji, I apologize for my poor phrasing. We are actually in 100% agreement, but I see where my phrasing was unclear. I wrote “monster” from within the point of view of people who do exactly what you rightly point out is a cognitive error: othering the perpetrator.

    My point is exactly the same as yours, that everyday people often commit terrible acts. Denying that some “respectable” person could do a terrible thing is the same as saying that only “monsters” do terrible things.

    And that’s simply not true.

  39. says

    I’d just like to point out that Cervantes did not say that an implanted false memory was more likely than actual abuse, but rather that false memories are “actually much more common and easier to do than most people think,…”

    And as a citation for that, I’d suggest anything regarding McMartin Preschool.

  40. Holms says

    That’s an interesting point quoted in the OP. If he is presumed innocent of sexual assault (until proven guilty through trial), then so is she of slander.

  41. says

    The implanted/altered memory thing is well established- therapists really can do this through carelessness or malice. That’s not what we’re on Cervantes about for sourcing, though given it’s there, I’d really like to see Cervantes bring in something to support bringing it up in this context. Is there anything particular to this case that makes it likely? Where have those particulars been reported?

    What we are really on him for is the assertion that the initial investigation exonerated Woody Allen. Most sources, all that I’ve seen, are stating the case was dropped not due to exoneration or lack of evidence, but because the prosecutor did not want to further traumatize Dylan. If Cervantes has a credible source claiming exoneration, it’s pretty damned relevant and he should put it forth for consideration.

  42. says

    imthegenieicandoanything @30:

    But what ELSE would certain people here do?

    Maybe not buy his movies anymore? Just throwing that out there.

    Those of you who believe Farrow, thank you for believing her. It means a lot.

  43. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    If nothing else, this revelation should reinforce an argument that’s been gaining traction in the last few years: It’s time to end the statute of limitations on rape.

    Seconded.
    I don’t understand why there’s statute of limitations on rape anyway. Especially when it comes to children. Just look at this case: at the time, judge didn’t want to go ahead because of more trauma for the little girl, and now it’s too late.

  44. carlie says

    People saying it was a false memory or coached story: read the Vanity Fair article from when it happened. There were many, many odd events, noticed by an awful lot of different people who had no reason to believe one person over another.

    I found this article to be quite interesting, about the threads of incest through Woody Allen movies. Yes, fiction is fiction, but lines like “A little small flirt? Mother away getting shock treatment, and the only beautiful daughter home. Long lingering breakfasts with dad.” are all over the place.

  45. carlie says

    though people here refer to “multiple witnesses” who have somehow never made it into the news stories I’ve read (Guardian), though I don’t follow any Hollywood gossip very closely.

    Right here.

  46. says

    As a society we can do so much better by our children. We can take what they are telling us seriously. We can listen to them. Being a child is supposed to be fun and innocent, and kids know it’s supposed to be this way. So when it’s not, children notice. We can believe them, rather than dismissing them, when they tell us that something is wrong. That’s another thing we can do.

  47. says

    I’ve just got two words to add to this discussion.

    “Jimmy Savile”

    Actually, heres two more:

    “Operation Yewtree”.

    If you can’t see the relevance, theres no help for you.

  48. roro80 says

    #7

    If there is evidence now, that wasn’t considered before, what is it?

    The published statement directly from the now-adult victim, maybe? Jesus Jones.

  49. Drolfe says

    This is slightly a tangent, but from my understanding of the situation the McMartin case didn’t involve “implanted false memories” at all. It did involve credulous, bad thinkers in positions of power using moral panic to justify their leading questions and jury manipulation.

    “False memories” don’t matter when a bunch of dipshits are responsible for gathering “evidence” in our “justice” system. The McMartins were screwed by a giant epistemology fail in a system that is supposed to be evidence based.

  50. notheotherguy says

    Unbound: I disagree.

    The point here is to assign a probability of an event being true, given all of the information. In your case, the prior prob of having the type of tumour you did is less than 1%, and, without knowing the process involved, eventually it was found out that this was the type you had, by using evidence to shift that prior (based on accumulated data from other cases) to match the reality of your case, eventually shifting it towards 100% that you now know what you had. (Also, sorry you had to go through that, glad to hear you’re better.)

    In the Allen case, we can start with the prior that the probability of someone who makes a rape claim telling the truth (which from all of the credible evidence I’ve seen is more than 99%), and apply specific data from the case, such as Allen’s behaviour in other situations and his not being allowed alone with the kids at all and everyone’s acceptance of this (as PZ mentioned above), and this pushes the likelihood up from the prior.

  51. rrhain says

    “But the alternative is to think that Dylan Farrow is a lying fabulist; does he like to think that?”

    Incorrect. There are many alternatives. You’ve just fallen for the “Lord, Liar, or Lunatic?” canard of theism, Myers. It is possible that Dylan Farrow is simply wrong. She may not be lying, she may not be crazy, but that doesn’t mean she’s right.

    As factual matters, despite a six-month investigation by numerous agencies, including medical examinations, no evidence was found to support allegations that Allen molested D. Farrow. Despite the fact that Allen went on to adopt children of his own and go through the background checks required, no evidence was ever found to support claims of abuse. Combined with D. Farrow’s changing story, there is considerable doubt about the accuracy of the charge.

    Note again: This doesn’t mean she’s lying or crazy. It simply means that she just might be wrong.

    You bring up Bayesian statistics, but you seem to leave an awful lot out. Which is more likely? That a man who is well-known for being intensely claustrophobic decided to molest a child in an attic while at the home of his ex-girlfriend during their extremely vitriolic breakup involving custody and support legalities? Or that D. Farrow is mistaken?

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/01/27/the-woody-allen-allegations-not-so-fast.html

    @11: “Why was it considered necessary to never let him be alone with the children?”

    Because Mia Farrow is like that? Did you never consider that? Hint: This doesn’t excuse any behaviour of Allen’s. But to pretend that M. Farrow is pristine is to make the same category error as you’re applying to Allen. To compare your wife to Mia Farrow is to show a severe lack of comprehension regarding M. Farrow’s behaviour.

    According to M. Farrow’s own memoir, Allen had little, if anything to do with the Previn children and she had to push him to take an interest. It is because of that prodding that he started taking Soon-Yi (then at least 18) to basketball games and their relationship began. So it would appear that the reason he was never alone with D. Farrow was because neither of them let it happen. Between his neuroses and her parenting methods, by what basis do we justify even suppositional claims that Allen is a sexual predator?

    And remember: Allen is not the step-father of any of the Farrow children. They were never married (New York does not recognize common law marriage) and he didn’t adopt any of them. They never lived together. He never spent the night at Farrow’s house.

    On top of that Moses has come out to say that M. Farrow’s parenting style was “brainwashing.” If we’re going to believe Dylan, why do we dismiss Moses?

    Indeed, something was up: They’re both craptacular parents.

    You are assuming many facts not in evidence and presuming to read the minds of those involved. All are horrendously bad methods of examination.

    @12 Dhorvath, OM: “Gonna need a citation there.” If you are incapable of doing your own homework, it is not someone else’s fault. This is common knowledge, easily available through the simplest of internet searches, and was covered in the national press.

    The question is not why the citation wasn’t given. The question is why you don’t know the details? That then leads to the question of why you think you are in a position to speak intelligently on the subject when you don’t know anything about it and refuse to do the requisite homework required to get up to speed.

    @13: “The man lives in the house.”

    No, he doesn’t. Allen never lived with M. Farrow. He never even spent the night.

    @14: “the dude has previously been openly acknowledged in a relationship with his technically-adult adopted daughter.”

    Incorrect. Allen never adopted any M. Farrow’s children.

    “how many people believe that it didn’t begin until Soon Yi’s 18th birthday?”

    Mia Farrow, for one. Her own memoir indicates that he didn’t have anything to do with the Previn children, Soon-Yi least of all, until M. Farrow pushed him into it when Soon-Yi was either 18 or 20.

    And you *do* know why I say, “either 18 or 20,” yes?

  52. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Note again: This doesn’t mean she’s lying or crazy. It simply means that she just might be wron

    Since a hyperskeptic rape apologist (if you don’t condemn, you are an apologist) idjit has made up their mind, I can easily make mine up. Allen is (to use a title of a Doonesbury book), guilty guilty guilty.

    You concern is noted and rejected.

  53. says

    It simply means that she just might be wrong.

    Uh huh. It’s just so gosh darned easy to get confused and mix up a hug with rape. Yep.

  54. Zee Low Brown says

    Manhatten was a great movie. It really, really rubbed me the wrong way though. I couldn’t help but think it was an attempt to normalise statutory rape.

    And to be very, VERY clear, yes, I agree that statutory rape is just rape. My reason for using the redundant prefix was because I was implying that was someone else’s intention, and really it just highlights the moral gap. I don’t think this is a grey area, he, it seems, does.

  55. says

    Those of you who are babbling about pitchforks didn’t follow the link.

    To be blunt: I think Woody Allen probably did it, though, of course, I could be wrong. But it’s okay if I’m wrong. For two reasons. First, because my opinion is not attached to a juridical apparatus—because I have not been empowered by jails and electric chairs and states of exception to destroy people’s lives—it isn’t necessary for me to err heavily on the side of “we need to be really fucking sure that the accused did it.” It’s a good thing, generally, that juries are empowered to say “We think the accused is probably guilty, but we’re not sure beyond a reasonable doubt, so we will not convict.” That bar is set high for a reason; if you’re going to lock a person in a cage for a long time, you need to be really sure. But we are also empowered to say the same thing. We are also empowered to say “We think Woody Allen probably molested a seven year old.” And because we are not in a court of law, we don’t even need to say the second part. The fact that we will not convict him doesn’t even need to be implied. He is not, after all, on trial.

    Go read it before you start typing again.

  56. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    What we are really on him for is the assertion that the initial investigation exonerated Woody Allen. Most sources, all that I’ve seen, are stating the case was dropped not due to exoneration or lack of evidence, but because the prosecutor did not want to further traumatize Dylan. If Cervantes has a credible source claiming exoneration, it’s pretty damned relevant and he should put it forth for consideration.

    This was linked from the Wikipedia article on Woody Allen when I looked it up earlier today. I don’t know whether it’s legitimately credible or rape culture in action, though. Oddly, the link and the main text sentence relating to it seem to have been removed from the article’s references in the last few hours.

  57. rrhain says

    @55, 56: It seems you don’t understand what the word “wrong” means.

    Consider the possibility that it never happened at all. There was no “confusion and mixed up a hug with rape” because there was no hug to be “confused” or “mixed up” about.

    And who said anything about “hyperskepticism”? It appears you don’t actually know any of the details of what happened. All you know is that somebody made an accusation and that is sufficient enough for you.

    Well, to use your standards: Your hypergullibility and ignorance is noted and rejected.

  58. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Consider the possibility that it never happened at all. There was no “confusion and mixed up a hug with rape” because there was no hug to be “confused” or “mixed up” about.

    And this is distinguishable from accusing her of lying how exactly?

    All you know is that somebody made an accusation and that is sufficient enough for you.

    We also know quite a few things about the general patterns both of such accusations and the response to them, shit for brains.

  59. says

    rrhain #60

    It appears you don’t actually know any of the details of what happened. All you know is that somebody made an accusation and that is sufficient enough for you.

    Were I on a jury, knowing no more about the case than I know now: no, I would not vote to convict.

    Were I a parent whose children were likely to come into contact with Allen, what I know, or suspect, now is “sufficient enough” to want to keep him the hell away from them.

    Spot the difference?

  60. nich says

    I couldn’t care less about Woody Allen…

    [three paragraphs of innocent until proven guilty, already investigated, no evidence, and statue of limitations later...]

    …but I’m just really not interested in defending Woody Allen.

  61. notheotherguy says

    @60:

    You can call it hypergullibility if you wish, but let’s break this down:

    1) If I beleive on the (apparently inconsequential) evidence of Dylans report, and nothing else, that Allen is guilty, what happens? Well, I’m sure as hell not gonna put money in his direction, and, just maybe, convice a couple of others to do the same. Consequence: Nothing, really.

    2) If I don’t, and choose to speak up about it, or even to if I just speak up about not being sure and therefore grant Allen the beneifit of the doubt (although, since this is not a court of law, I’m stumped as to why he gets the benefit but she doesn’t), what are the consequences?
    Well, any sexual assault victims, past or future who see that, see just another data point pointing towards the fact that evrything, from the justice system to public opinion, is firmly in defence of the accused, and are that much more likely to not say anything, directly contributing to rape culture. This is what you are doing.
    Please stop.

  62. notheotherguy says

    Whoa, me @64 seems like I’m saying that victims not saying anything is contributing to rape culture. Apologies, this is not at all what I meant.

    I meant that defending Allen, or even just talking about granting him the benefit of the doubt, could cause victims to not speak out, and is therefore contributing to rape culture.

  63. sc_a5d5b3a48ba402d40e1725cbb3ce1375 says

    rrhain compared PZ’s point that either one of them’s a liar, or they both are, to “lord, liar, lunatic.” Yes, that Christian apologetic is a false trichotomy, and is often responded to by pointing out possible alternatives.

    But an even bigger problem with it is that there’s no reason to believe anyone has ever had magic powers. Compared to the claim that he turned water into wine, Jesus’ mental state (sanity, honesty, etc) is of trivial importance, and only human bias makes us think otherwise. One should feel zero pause in suggesting “Jesus was a liar” as a better hypothesis.

    Rape, meanwhile, obviously exists. And there’s good reason to assume that any given survivor or witness is telling the truth, not lying, or insane, or mistaken. When it comes to lord-liar-lunatic, the arguer is taking advantage of a pre-existing totally unearned cultural respect for “Jesus”, hoping it will persuade even a nonbeliever. Conversely, actual living people do deserve basic respect/trust, especially women and children, who can’t count on it to the degree men can,

    Deniers here aren’t floating a possibility like “Maybe Jesus, whose existence itself is doubtful, didn’t have magic powers.” They’re floating the possibility “Maybe Dylan Farrow is lying or mistaken about what happened to her.” Apart from the goes-without-saying trivial acknowledgement that anything is possible, what’s the point?

  64. says

    Azkyroth @59-

    Hard to say if it’s rape culture or not in that doctors report, but the doctors report isn’t the whole of the investigation. If that’s where Cervantes is getting “exonerated” from, that would probably be rape culture at work.

  65. sc_a5d5b3a48ba402d40e1725cbb3ce1375 says

    Argh, I misphrased my first sentence, but I hope the meaning is clear.

  66. says

    All you know is that somebody made an accusation and that is sufficient enough for you.

    A woman told her story of being raped, and all the rape apologists are tripping over their tongues to find any excuse for Mr. Allen. In all the years I spent being an advocate for people who had been raped, I’ve heard a metric fucktonne of stories. I have a couple myself when it comes to being raped.

    There’s a considerable amount of evidence that Mr. Allen indulged in openly skeevy behaviour, all of which tends to weight things on Ms. Farrow’s side. Until I have good reason not to do so, I’ll believe the person who was raped. Part and parcel of rape culture is to immediately dismiss anything the rape victim says. You’re happily indulging in nauseating rape apologia, and defending the status quo in regard to the treatment of rape victims.

  67. rrhain says

    @61: “And this is distinguishable from accusing her of lying how exactly?”

    Because people can truly think something and yet be wrong about it. Thus, they aren’t lying. Nor are they crazy. They’re just wrong.

    You’re falling for the “Lord, Liar, or Lunatic?” canard of theism. If it’s bogus there, what gives it legitimacy here?

    “We also know quite a few things about the general patterns both of such accusations and the response to them”

    Which is why we do investigations. Which is why we ask for other witnesses. Which is why we look for inconsistencies between what was claimed to have happened and what the evidence shows. For example, the nannies present at the time the incident supposedly took place indicate that D. Farrow was never out of sight for more than five minutes and that her underwear was never missing.

    So are they lying? Crazy? We’ve got one person making one claim and another person claiming the opposite. What is your justification for choosing one over the other?

    “shit for brains.”

    Ooh…nice one. Is that all you have to bolster your ego? Now that you’ve got the ad hominem out of the way, can we get back to the subject at hand?

    @62: “Were I on a jury”

    Who said anything about a jury? This is just basic human decency: Don’t talk about things you don’t know anything about. Go ahead and have whatever silly thought you wish to have, but be cognizant of the fact that the only information you have is a single person’s statement and that you are completely ignorant of the six-months-plus’ worth of investigation into this matter.

    You are entitled to your own opinion. You are not entitled to your own facts.

    Wouldn’t you like to learn all the facts before you make your opinion?

    “Spot the difference?”

    No. You’re still just as ignorant as you were before. Only this time, it’s willful.

    @64: “If I beleive on the (apparently inconsequential) evidence of Dylans report”

    That’s not evidence. That’s a claim. Evidence is what is used to support the claim.

    “Consequence: Nothing, really.”

    Given that Allen really doesn’t care about you, you’re right. He has never done his work for the adulation of the audience. That’s part of the reason why he has never accepted any award for his work.

    But you’re about to engage in Pascal’s Rape Wager, aren’t you? That believing the victim does no harm while not believing the victim can only lead to disaster, right?

    “If I don’t…what are the consequences?”

    Nailed it.

    The reason “why he gets the benefit but she doesn’t” is that all of the evidence supports his version. D. Farrow’s own story keeps changing. The people who were present at the time it supposedly happened testified that she was never out of sight for more than five minutes. The medical examinations found no evidence of assault. Moses Allen, who originally didn’t want to have anything to do with W. Allen when he and M. Farrow broke up, has come out to say that life under M. Farrow was “brainwashing.”

    If you’re stumped as to why W. Allen gets the benefit but D. Farrow doesn’t, I’m just as stumped as to why D. Farrow gets the benefit but M. Allen doesn’t.

    You’re ignoring the very real effects of giving credence to false accusations. It actually makes it harder for people who have been molested to be taken seriously. By being as gullible as others are accused of being “hyperskeptical,” you make the job of actually dealing with the reality of abuse that much more difficult since we no longer have good methods of identifying abuse. Completely ignoring the very real damage done to people falsely accused, you ignore the very real damage that comes from people thinking they were abused when they weren’t.

    You are ignoring the very real trauma you inflict on people that were never traumatized in the first place.

    That is what you are doing.

    Please stop.

  68. rrhain says

    @65: “I meant that defending Allen, or even just talking about granting him the benefit of the doubt, could cause victims to not speak out, and is therefore contributing to rape culture.”

    So innocence is no excuse? Someone who isn’t a child molester needs to accept accusations lest someone who really was molested be cowered into not speaking?

    That makes no sense.

    @66: “And there’s good reason to assume that any given survivor or witness is telling the truth, not lying, or insane, or mistaken.”

    Indeed. That’s why there was an investgation. It was six months in the making and included medical examinations and testimony of potential witnesses. None of which turned up anything.

    And then we have other children in the Farrow family pointing out the extreme dysfunction of Mia Farrow’s parenting style.

    So is it really so bizarre to think that maybe, just maybe, D. Farrow is sincere but mistaken?

    Nobody here has said D. Farrow is lying. The only people who are making that accusation are those who are defending her. The fact that you can’t see that calls into question your ability to analyze the situation.

    What’s the point? That you don’t know what you’re talking about. You haven’t done any investigation into the matter and yet you still feel that you are in a position to say something intelligent about it.

    We don’t accept that with creationists. Why should we accept that with you?

    @69: “and all the rape apologists”

    Huh? Show me a single “rape apologist.”

    Real simple question: Suppose it didn’t happen. How is it “rape apology” to defend that? “Any excuse”? You mean by questioning witnesses and finding them to say that it didn’t happen? You mean innocence is not sufficient? It is impossible that D. Farrow might be mistaken?

    “There’s a considerable amount of evidence that Mr. Allen indulged in openly skeevy behaviour, all of which tends to weight things on Ms. Farrow’s side.”

    Actually, no. The specifics of his behaviour do not give any credence to him being a child molester. In fact, Mia Farrow’s own memoir states that Allen had very little to do with the children she had by Andre Previn.

    “Until I have good reason not to do so, I’ll believe the person who was raped.”

    Assumption of facts not in evidence. And willful ignorance of the actual facts. You do have good reason to at the very least question the claims of D. Farrow. Of course, that leads to the question of which claim you are referring to since D. Farrow’s story has changed repeatedly.

    It’s great that you want to diminish rape culture, but you are not helping by refusing to look at the facts that are known. In fact, you make rape culture worse by doing so since every time we ignore facts to “focus on the victim,” we make people less and less likely to trust victims of rape and assault.

    That’s what you’re doing.

    Please stop.

  69. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Reality check: the actual rate for unfounded sexual assault claims is about 2%.

    So are they lying? Crazy? We’ve got one person making one claim and another person claiming the opposite. What is your justification for choosing one over the other?

    Sexual abuse does not necessarily leave obvious injury. As for the nannies, you really think it’s less likely that they’d convince themselves it couldn’t have happened out of a sense of responsibility and/or deference to Allen than that that a woman thinks back to her childhood and couldn’t remember being assaulted? If nothing else, she quite obviously has a lot more reason to have vivid memories of that day than they do.

  70. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Also, “ad hominem” refers, roughly, to using an insult as a premise. Attaching an insult to a conclusion doesn’t qualify. Dipshit. :)

  71. nich says

    These allegations are nothing new, the accuser has a lot to lose by doing this, and Woody Allen isn’t exactly unknown for inappropriate relationships with his adopted children. Is this enough to convict? I really doubt it. Is it enough for me to be wary of the guy? You betcha.

    Here’s the thing, you can either believe her, or believe him. If you believe her, speak out in support of her. She’s going to need it. If by some chance you buy his story, just shut up about it. He’s Woody Allen. If Roman Polanski has taught us nothing else, it’s that being famous is support enough and if it turns she really was telling the truth, all you’ve done is made yourself look like a complete asshole by slandering a rape victim in the press. Looking at you Alec Baldwin.

    @70:

    Nailed it.

    Aren’t you the little prognosticator! Course, most would just call it basic reading comprehension, but that doesn’t sound as cool as SWISH!

    The reason “why he gets the benefit but she doesn’t” is that all of the evidence supports his version.

    ALL evidence? Let’s ignore the fact the guy was screwing his OTHER adopted daughter? The one he had raised since she was 8? Or the fact the judge thought the guy was full of shit? Ya know, because he was screwing his OTHER adopted daughter?

    You are ignoring the very real trauma you inflict on people that were never traumatized in the first place.

    Ya see, by giving credence to her story you’re REALLY just hurting her even more! She’s only a victim because you are making her one! Please stop believing victims! You just hurt them more and make it harder to support the real victims! Of course by my previous logic it sort of makes it hard to support them too…fuck it. To hell with supporting victims. Real victims are smart enough to shut up about it anyway and when the fuck did they ever win an Oscar?

  72. says

    @rrhain:

    “The specifics of his behaviour do not give any credence to him being a child molester.”

    Professionals, of course, say otherwise. They see classic grooming behaviour in the accounts of witnesses. Are you even for real? What evidence, exactly, might you accept as giving credence to that?

    Your faux-concern for the importance of being able to trust victims of rape and assault seems at odds with you apparent requirement for a minimum standard of 3 adult male witnesses to the rape.

  73. Kitterbethe says

    @ rrhain 70, 71

    Did you actually just have the gall to argue that hyper skepticism and impossible standard of evidence are HELPFUL to molestation victims?

    Did you actually have the gall to compare believing a rape victim to believing in creationism?

    Did you actually have the gall to accuse someone else of ignoring the facts while saying “all of the evidence supports his version”?

    Did you actually DARE to do all of this while wrapping yourself in a mantle of faux-concern for victims?

    You are spouting terrible, harmful, bullshit and you need to STOP. You should also feel ashamed of yourself.

  74. nich says

    But you’re about to engage in Pascal’s Rape Wager, aren’t you? That believing the victim does no harm while not believing the victim can only lead to disaster, right?

    You’re going to do that thing where you end your sentence with a period, aren’t you?

    “Yes.”

    BOOMSHAKALAKAH! FOR THE WIN BABY!!!

  75. proudofcoincidence says

    I’m posting this from the Daily Beast article by Robert B. Weide. Allen did not adopt anyone.

    #1: Soon-Yi was Woody’s daughter. False.

    #2: Soon-Yi was Woody’s step-daughter. False.

    #3: Soon-Yi was Woody and Mia’s adopted daughter. False. Soon-Yi was the adopted daughter of Mia Farrow and André Previn. Her full name was Soon-Yi Farrow Previn.

    #4: Woody and Mia were married. False.

    #5: Woody and Mia lived together. False. Woody lived in his apartment on Fifth Ave. Mia and her kids lived on Central Park West. In fact, Woody never once stayed over night at Mia’s apartment in 12 years.

    #6: Woody and Mia had a common-law marriage. False. New York State does not recognize common law marriage. Even in states that do, a couple has to cohabitate for a certain number of years.

    #7: Soon-Yi viewed Woody as a father figure. False. Soon-Yi saw Woody as her mother’s boyfriend. Her father figure was her adoptive father, André Previn.

    #8: Soon-Yi was underage when she and Woody started having relations. False. She was either 19 or 21. (Her year of birth in Korea was undocumented, but believed to be either 1970 or ’72.)

    #9: Soon-Yi was borderline retarded. Ha! She’s smart as a whip, has a degree from Columbia University and speaks more languages than you.

    #10: Woody was grooming Soon-Yi from an early age to be his child bride. Oh, come on! According to court documents and Mia’s own memoir, until 1990 (when Soon-Yi was 18 or 20), Woody “had little to do with any of the Previn children, (but) had the least to do with Soon-Yi” so Mia encouraged him to spend more time with her. Woody started taking her to basketball games, and the rest is tabloid history. So he hardly “had his eye on her” from the time she was a child.

  76. robnyny says

    Woody Allen was never Soon-Yi Previn’s father or stepfather. As you might guess from her last name, Andre Previn is her adoptive father. Woody Allen was never married to Mia Farrow, and so he was never Soon-Yi’s stepfather.

    This sort of thing is not unprecedented in Hollywood. Gloria Grahame married her stepson, George Sanders married his sister-in-law. I could probably think of more if I gave it some thought.

    This may seem excessively technical, but comments here seem to placing a lot of emphasis on false assumptions.

    I am also mindful of the “recovered memory” disasters of the 1980’s and 1990’s that led to thousands of false allegations of childhood sexual abuse.

  77. nich says

    Woody Allen was always the big ‘get’ for me,” says Robert Weide, best known for his long-term directing/producing stint on Curb Your Enthusiasm, which earned him Emmy® and Golden Globe® Awards. “The prolific nature of Woody’s output has provided me with an embarrassment of riches. In fact, Woody will have made three features just in the time it’s taken me to make this one documentary.

    You wouldn’t think a guy who filmed a hagiography about Woody Allen could be just a WEEEEEEEE bit biased?

  78. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    It’s great that you want to diminish rape culture, but you are not helping by refusing to look at the facts that are known. In fact, you make rape culture worse by doing so since every time we ignore facts to “focus on the victim,” we make people less and less likely to trust victims of rape and assault.

    That’s what you’re doing.

    Please stop.

    What rape apologists do is make the perp the victim, just like you are doing with hyperskepticism. I’ve seen that shit before. Shit then, shit now. YOUR version of what is true is irrelevant once you go into hyperskepticism mode. Your mind is made up. You become nothing but a presuppostionalist.

  79. sc_a5d5b3a48ba402d40e1725cbb3ce1375 says

    proudofcoincidence:

    1-10 counterpoints to assertions no one here made

    Sure, we can agree to all that about Soo-Lin Previn. But it doesn’t change that (1) that relationship is ethically creepy for the age difference alone, in addition to the fact that it’s an ex-girlfriend’s adopted daughter and (2) it’s another indicator, in combination with lots of other data (most especially Dylan Farrow’s letter) that Allen is probably a child molester.

    rrhain: Just like with lord-liar-lunatic and the accusation-of-accusation-of-Dylan-lying (see my comment before last), the comparison between “it’s best to believe rape victims by default” and Pascal’s Wager is erroneous. Pascal’s Wager involves entirely unknown and/or ill-defined probabilities/assumptions. It assumes we should only consider monotheism-vs-atheism (ignoring polytheism), and further that a monotheistic god would both hide itself from existence and care deeply that people think it exists. The whole thing is preposterous from the start, independently of the game theory argument it makes.

    Arguments against Pascal’s Wager do not imply that similarly-advised general cautions (such as “If you keep a first aid kit around and no one ever gets hurt, you won’t lose out, but if someone is hurt and you don’t have one, you will”) is irrational, not so long as reasonable approximations are made of the costs of actions and probabilities of outcomes, etc. In fact, what Pascal’s Wager does is hijack a perfectly rational approach to things by transplanting it into an irrational context, involving unfounded claims of infinite positive/negative utility, etc. (See also the St. Petersburg paradox, which does not somehow disprove expected value theory.)

    We shouldn’t accept the crazy idea that false accusations of rape, even accumulated across hundreds of instances, are remotely as damaging as the risks of not listening to self-proclaimed rape survivors and targeting rapists for justice. These are entirely different categories of “victim”. The cost-benefit math doesn’t do what you want it to, especially considering just how common rape is versus the rarity of false accusations (in addition to the extreme gulf in the suffering we’re talking about).

  80. nich says

    @83

    1-10 counterpoints to assertions no one here made

    I made the assertion that he was messing around with his “adopted daughter” further up so for accuracy sake I will add “his longtime girlfriend’s” in front of adopted while maintaining that the fact he was messing around with her when she borderline underage and had to have known her since she was grade school age coupled with decades of molestation allegations from his own child is enough smoke from that fire for me to be wary of him. Luckily for Woody Allen I am a pissant commenting in a far flung corner of the internet and he is an Oscar winner so I doubt he really cares that I think he very well may be a child molester.

  81. says

    It’s great that you want to diminish rape culture, but you are not helping by refusing to look at the facts that are known. In fact, you make rape culture worse by doing so since every time we ignore facts to “focus on the victim,” we make people less and less likely to trust victims of rape and assault.

    I am not “ignoring the facts.” I am, as we all have to do, all the time, doing the best I can with incomplete facts. There is a world of difference between “we couldn’t corroborate the accuser’s account,” and “the accuser is lying.” Between the Scottish Verdict and “not guilty.”

  82. proudofcoincidence says

    83. Multiple people on this thread have referred to Allen’s adoptive children and have accepted misconceptions about their relationship that I too thought were true until I looked them up. I had a parent that died and for most of my life my surviving parent has been in a relationship with someone with children. I, my siblings and those other children have never considered ourselves to be family in anyway. We are people whose parents are dating and that is as far as it goes, and I have never considered my parent’s lover a parental figure. So when PZ makes comments about playing with his children and how Mia never let Woody alone with the children I think he is operating under the assumption that they share the responsibility for the children. That wasn’t the case and people are bringing interpretations into the relationship that are inaccurate.

    I am a bit creeped out by the age difference but I don’t think it is a correlation with sexual assault on a child. There are lots of healthy relationships where there is a drastic age difference. But to me this is less creepy than the story of Celine Dion and her husband. I welcome studies to a contradiction but being attracted to a sexually mature adult who is many years younger than you is very different than being being sexually attracted to children who can’t grant consent.

    I don’t know what happened and don’t think a satisfactory resolution will be found for anyone. I feel sympathy for Dylan’s pain. I think she wasn’t raised with the care that she should have and hope that she finds the resolve and good fortune to find more happiness and health in the rest of her life than she has to this point.

  83. robnyny says

    “Borderline underage” doesn’t exist. Under New York law, you are either of majority or of minority. Many people start their sex lives at 13, so if she started her sex life at 19 (or 21, since the date of her birth is speculative) it is not borderline. It’s bright line law that it was legal. I started my sex life at 18, other friends and relatives much younger.

  84. robnyny says

    For 86:

    My 8-10 step- and half-siblings (my father was not at keeping track) were people I met anyone from a maximum at 10 times (mostly at weddings and funerals) down to once (awkward moment because my half brother didn’t know that his father was also my father, but I knew and introduced myself as such).

  85. Stacy says

    @rrhain #54:

    Incorrect. Allen never adopted any M. Farrow’s children.

    Incorrect. Allen adopted Dylan Farrow and Moshe Farrow. Satchel, now known as Ronan, was believed to have been Allen’s biological child (but may not be.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woody_Allen#Marriages.2C_children_and_romantic_relationships

    As factual matters, despite a six-month investigation by numerous agencies, including medical examinations, no evidence was found to support allegations that Allen molested D. Farrow

    Spectacularly wrong. One team of investigators concluded that Dylan hadn’t been abused–and there were problems with that report (see below.) However, the top police investigator did not find Allen credible:

    The top investigator I spoke to had interviewed Allen. “He had a scripted presentation, with his attorneys there. I did not find him credible,” the officer told me of the three-hour session. “I allowed him to say his piece without questions. When I questioned him, he starts stuttering and saying he didn’t do anything.” The officer stated, “There was never ‘Yes, I did’ or ‘No, I didn’t.’ There was not a clear, definitive yes or no.

    State investigators found Dylan credible:

    “When a little girl says someone digitally penetrated her,” one of them told me, “if a child relates pain to the incident at that age, that’s credible.” Maco had steered clear of any questioning of Dylan during the Yale–New Haven inquiry. After Wilk’s decision, however, he decided he needed to see for himself if she could be relied on to take the witness stand. “I sat down with the child, with my secretary, with another female from the state police, and we rolled around—we had stuffed animals. As soon as I broached the idea of Woody, the child just froze. Nothing.”

    On September 24, 1993, Maco called a press conference to say that he believed he had probable cause to arrest Woody Allen but that he would not press charges because of the fragility of the “child victim.”

    As for the trial judge:

    The judge concluded that Allen demonstrated no parenting skills and was “self-absorbed, untrustworthy, and insensitive.” Allen’s trial strategy, he concluded, had been “to separate his children from their brothers and sisters; to turn the children against their mother.” He found “no credible evidence” to support Allen’s contention “that Ms. Farrow coached Dylan or that Ms. Farrow acted upon a desire for revenge against him for seducing Soon-Yi.” He found the molestation allegations inconclusive.

    That Yale/New Haven team (hired by Allen) that found Dylan’s accusation unbelievable?

    Staff at the Yale–New Haven Hospital Child Sexual Abuse Clinic concluded that Dylan had not been sexually abused. They had been asked by Frank Maco, the Connecticut state attorney handling the case, to render an opinion solely on Dylan’s ability to perceive facts correctly, her ability to recall, and her ability to repeat the story on the stand in court. Instead, as Maco tells it, not only were his requests ignored but the clinic went far beyond them, and he learned in March 1993 from Dr. John Leventhal, the pediatrician in charge of the clinic, that “ ‘we find no merit in this claim, and we’re going to present this to Woody Allen’ the next day. The next thing we know Woody is on the steps of Yale proclaiming his innocence.”

    Maco says giving the results to Allen first, ignoring the state attorney’s request, and then pronouncing judgment on the case was unprecedented. In a 1997 Connecticut Magazine article, investigative reporter Andy Thibault quoted a deposition given in April 1993 by Leventhal: “Regardless of what the Connecticut police wanted from us, we weren’t necessarily beholden to them. We did not assess whether she’d be a good witness in court. That’s what Mr. Maco may have been interested in, but that’s not necessarily what we were interested in.”

    The clinic cited Dylan’s “loose associations” and her active imagination as thought disorder. Dylan, for example, had told them she had seen “dead heads” in a trunk in the attic. When he was informed that Mia “had a trunk in her attic in which she kept wigs from her movies on wig blocks,” Thibault wrote, “Leventhal acknowledged this was not evidence of a fantasy problem or thought disorder.”

    Thibault cited a litany of practices employed by the Yale–New Haven clinic that at least one expert put into question. Based on an examination of court documents and the report, he wrote, “The Yale team used psychologists on Allen’s payroll to make mental health conclusions.” He reported that the team had destroyed all of its notes, and that Leventhal did not interview Dylan, although she was called in nine times for questioning. They did not interview anyone who would corroborate her molestation claims. Judge Elliott Wilk, who presided over the custody hearing brought by Allen, wrote in his decision that he had “reservations about the reliability of the report.

    http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2013/11/mia-farrow-frank-sinatra-ronan-farrow.print

    As for the big question:

    Actually, no. The specifics of his behaviour do not give any credence to him being a child molester.

    Actually, yes.

    Woody Allen was reportedly in therapy due to inappropriate behavior around Dylan–behavior witnessed by third parties for two years before Mia Farrow found those photos of Soon-Yi.

    There was an unwritten rule in Mia Farrow’s house that Woody Allen was never supposed to be left alone with their seven-year-old adopted daughter, Dylan. Over the last two years, sources close to Farrow say, he has been discussing alleged “inappropriate” fatherly behavior toward Dylan in sessions with Dr. Susan Coates, a child psychologist. In more than two dozen interviews conducted for this article, most of them with individuals who are on intimate terms with the Mia Farrow household, Allen was described over and over as being completely obsessed with the bright little blonde girl. He could not seem to keep his hands off her. He would monopolize her totally, to the exclusion of her brothers and sisters, and spend hours whispering to her. She was fond of her daddy, but if she tried to go off and play, he would follow her from room to room, or he would sit and stare at her. During the school year, Allen would arrive early at Mia Farrow’s West Side Manhattan apartment, sit on Dylan’s bed and watch her wake up, and take her to school. At her birthday party last July, at Farrow’s country house in Bridgewater, Connecticut, he promised that he would keep away from the children’s table so that Dylan could enjoy her birthday party with her friends, but he seemed unable to do that. Allen, who was a fearful figure to many in the household, was so needy where Dylan was concerned that he hovered over her through the whole party, and when the cake arrived, he was right behind her, helping to blow out the candles.

    Calling attention to someone’s birthday-party behavior may seem trivial at best. However, Dr. Coates, who just happened to be in Mia’s apartment to work with one of her other children, had only to witness a brief greeting between Woody and Dylan before she began a discussion with Mia that resulted in Woody’s agreeing to address the issue through counseling. At that point Coates didn’t know that, according to several sources, Woody, wearing just underwear, would take Dylan to bed with him and entwine his body around hers; or that he would have her suck his thumb; or that often when Dylan went over to his apartment he would head straight for the bedroom with her so that they could get into bed and play. He called Mia a “spoilsport” when she objected to what she referred to as “wooing.” Mia has told people that he said that her concerns were her own sickness, and that he was just being warm. For a long time, Mia backed down.

    (ibid)

  86. Stacy says

    Ugh, I messed this up:

    ” Woody Allen was reportedly in therapy due to inappropriate behavior around Dylan–behavior witnessed by third parties for two years before Mia Farrow found those photos of Soon-Yi”

    Should be

    Woody Allen was reportedly in therapy due to inappropriate behavior around Dylan–behavior witnessed by third parties–for two years before Mia Farrow found those photos of Soon-Yi.

  87. hugo says

    Which happens more often? That men unchecked will take sexual advantage of young women? Or that women will lie about being abused?
    Can’t the same be used for false convictions/death sentences and the presumption of innocence? As in “which happens more often, that an innocent person is convicted/killed than that a killer escapes justice” I’m aware that we’re talking about different environments, one is public (media), the other government and law but that is not clear in your post and it can be interpreted that you’re not only talking about media.
    I’m all for more protection of victims, better support for victims to come forward, punishment of abusers in all cases regardless of status and legally the presumption of innocence on both sides should remain. Public opinion (media) should be shifted to a better understanding of the issues (which in my opinion should lead to certain things not being public until a certain level of evidence is reached) but for that the law has to handle this differently too and the public’s craving for knowing details has to change too.

  88. Stacy says

    @rrhain:

    On top of that Moses has come out to say that M. Farrow’s parenting style was “brainwashing.” If we’re going to believe Dylan, why do we dismiss Moses?

    Indeed, something was up: They’re both craptacular parents.

    Apparently quite a few of the children would disagree. This is also from the 2013 Vanity Fair piece:

    I was able to speak to eight of Mia’s children, who uniformly said they were not especially aware of how unique their situation was growing up. “I knew the status of my mom, but to me we were normal. My brothers were my brothers, and my sisters were my sisters. There was nothing special,” Daisy Previn, 39, told me. “We each had our own life, went to school, did our homework. My mom was there to sit down for dinner with us.”….One of the accusations Woody Allen’s side made during the uproar with Soon-Yi was that Mia favored her biological children. Daisy disagrees: “If we got into trouble, it was no different than if a biological kid got into trouble. As far as love was concerned, there was no distinction. I gave my mom some very hard times growing up, but in the end she always said, ‘Remember, Daisy, I love you.’ ”

    Most of the children used the same adjective for their situation: cool.

    @rrhain:

    The reason “why he gets the benefit but she doesn’t” is that all of the evidence supports his version.

    No it doesn’t.

    @rrhain #71

    you don’t know what you’re talking about. You haven’t done any investigation into the matter and yet you still feel that you are in a position to say something intelligent about it.

    You are in no position to lecture anybody on lack of investigation and intelligent comment on this matter.

  89. carlie says

    I’m all for more protection of victims, better support for victims to come forward, punishment of abusers in all cases regardless of status and legally the presumption of innocence on both sides should remain.

    That’s literally not possible. If you have “presumption of innocence” for the perpetrator, that means you automatically treat the victim as if they are lying until they can prove that they aren’t.

    About Soon-Yi – my take on it is that there are some people in life that you just can’t have, and you have to deal with it, and nobody ever said it was fair. Maybe the person lives too far away. Maybe you were both in other relationships and the timing never matched up. Maybe one of you is a direct supervisor over the other one and there’s a strict no-dating policy at work and you can’t get different jobs. And maybe you’re too closely related to each other. Some people are simply off-limits, no matter how many pantsfeelings you have for each other. If you go ahead and dive into that relationship anyway, that is saying that your feelings for somebody outweigh your desire to conform to the societal norms that say you can’t, and doing so is a clear indication that you may do so in the future as well because you don’t care about that societal rule.
    And in this case, he proved that he was willing to break the “no family members” rule as well as the “no legal minors” rule. Any dithering about whether he was really her dad and whether her being a teenager when he took naked pictures of her really counts as underaged is avoiding the fact that, for all societal rule purposes, they were indeed a family and she was a kid, and he showed that he didn’t care about that at all. What you make of that is up to you, but you can’t claim that there were no signals coming to him that this was someone you aren’t supposed to have.

  90. says

    rrhain:

    @12 Dhorvath, OM: “Gonna need a citation there.” If you are incapable of doing your own homework, it is not someone else’s fault. This is common knowledge, easily available through the simplest of internet searches, and was covered in the national press.

    It is not Dhorvath’s job to go searching the net to verify the truth of the claim made by artymart @7:

    Very few people actually know what really happened but we do know the matter was thoroughly and, I presume, honestly. investigated and found to be without substance. Reviving the story some years later does not make it true.

    Xe made the assertion about the investigation that is not true, as Stacy @89 details. If you’re going to spout factoids as truth, you’d better be prepared to have some evidence to back them up. You make the claim, you provide the evidence.

  91. sonofrojblake says

    either Allen or Farrow are lying, and it always seems to be that we’re made more uncomfortable by the thought that a popular film-making man might be lying, than that a woman might be

    More completely:

    Either Farrow is lying, or Allen is lying and a child-molesting shitbag, and it always seems to be that we’re made more uncomfortable by the thought that a popular film-making man might be lying and a child-molesting shitbag, than that a woman might be just lying.

    The proposition that Farrow is lying “merely” requires one to believe that people lie, and that this particular allegation is a lie. Pace those who advocate believing the victim, this is not, in fairness, a stretch for most people, because our everyday experience is that people lie.

    The proposition that Allen is lying requires the aforementioned belief, but crucially the additional leap that someone one might have previously had some respect or admiration for is actually a child-molesting shitbag. I can understand why that might be harder for someone to do.

    For myself, and in this non-court of law – I believe her. All the way. Can’t see any reason to doubt her for a second. To me, Woody Allen comes across almost every time I see him in any context as an American Jimmy Savile, i.e. a predatory scumbag hiding in plain sight. PZ@13 only reinforces that impression.

  92. carlie says

    The proposition that Farrow is lying “merely” requires one to believe that people lie, and that this particular allegation is a lie.

    No. It also requires one to believe that she is willing to stick her neck out and face, well, exactly what she is facing, which is overwhelming negativity towards her for doing so. It requires one to believe that whatever she does hold against him gives her such a desire for revenge that she is willing to risk destroying her own life and reputation to get it done. It requires one to believe that she is willing to do this despite the overwhelming odds that she will not succeed in her quest, given that she has done it before with no result and given that the vast majority of people who claim rape are disbelieved and pilloried in the public eye.

    Pace those who advocate believing the victim, this is not, in fairness, a stretch for most people, because our everyday experience is that people lie.

    False rape allegations are not in any way higher than any other crime allegations. Some studies show it to be at a lower rate than other crime allegations. However, if someone tells you that their wallet was stolen, you don’t automatically assume they’re lying because everyday experience is that people lie.

  93. says

    This is all so depressingly predictable.

    All you golden mean, presumption of innocence bullshitters need to shut the fuck up. We’re not in a court of law. The right thing to do when someone makes an accusation like this is to believe them, provisionally at least. We can’t keep letting people get away with stuff like this because of some imaginary higher principle. Assuming the accused is innocent is assuming the accuser is lying. Given multiple witnesses of inappropriate behaviour, this is either conspiracy theorising or more likely outright rape apologism.

  94. carlie says

    If your initial response is “she might be lying”, ask yourself if there are any other situations, ever, in which your initial response is “they might be lying” other than a rape accusation. I honestly can’t think of any other situation that routinely always gets the “might be lying” knee-jerk response other than “the dog ate my homework”. Seriously.

  95. jetboy says

    I’ve usually avoided these stories; they make me so angry. I don’t want to think of other people as being capable of these things, even if I know from personal experience that people are capable of these things. It’s been thirty years, and reading the accounts of Mr. Allen’s behavior before, during, and after brought everything right back.

    Let me tell you – no one gets to tell me, or Ms. Farrow, or anyone else how to feel or what to think about it. Unless you are my therapist, you don’t have the right to tell me or anyone else how to process this. You think he’s not guilty? That’s wonderful. Good for you. I think he’s guilty as hell. It’s not up to you to present his case; you are not: a) in a court of law, or b) in possession of all the facts. I am not in charge of Mr. Allen’s fate; a situation that he will surely rest easy knowing. Arguing his “case” neither serves him, nor you.

    I do not feel that this is a forum to be rational in, or a subject to be rational about. Losing religion can start with perpetrations like this. It did for me. Questioning assumptions can begin with some shock to one’s understanding of reality. It did for me. It took me fifteen years to trust another human being enough to relate the story to one, and I lost her forever not too long after that.

    Do you understand these things? I could never have had a normal relationship until now, in my late 30s, because it’s taken me that long to adjust my capacity for reasoning to do something my brain used to do intuitively. I could never have trusted myself with children; until I adjusted myself (along with some serious psychological therapy) to the reasoning that I love them too much to bring that kind of hurt to them. The kids were never in danger, I could have had good relationships with people in my teens and 20s – but I couldn’t know, I couldn’t guarantee it.

    Up until a few years ago, my life had been wasted, and who is there to blame? Fuck, I don’t know – blame doesn’t enter into it anymore, I might as well have been struck by lightning. I could point out that the religion I was raised in has the situation I was in as a common complaint. I could point out that the state I lived in granted visitation and custody rights to the most wrong of people, irrespective of the circumstances surrounding previous court proceedings. I could point out that the perpetrator had a history of similar activity, and that there was some speculation that the same had been perpetrated upon the perpetrator. None of this matters – it happened, and I barely survived. The perpetrator escaped justice some time ago, by dying.

    If a person in my circumstances expects mental health, they have to confront what happened, pick it apart, every detail, and come to the realization that victimizing another human being is the most terrible crime. We are supposed to trust one another, especially family – it’s how we’re wired. Violating that trust violates a person’s most basic understanding of their own humanity, if they survive.

    Confronting the abuser, laying out the charges, showing them where they were wrong, and putting it out there for everyone else to confront, to check their own humanity in the balance of this crime. These acts are some of the most important things a human can do to overcome their trauma: “This happened, I survived, and I still need some help.” Stephen King calls it “bitchery.” Well, fuck him, then, and fuck anyone who thinks like him.

    This isn’t about some person who makes shitty movies, and his questionable life choices, this is about a young woman working on herself. I wish her well. I wish Mr. Allen, and Mr. King, long and healthy lives, filled with the kind of petty annoyances that make every day of it just SUCK.

  96. hugo says

    All you golden mean, presumption of innocence bullshitters need to shut the fuck up. We’re not in a court of law.
    Ok, how will this ever get better if no discussion is permitted?

    The right thing to do when someone makes an accusation like this is to believe them, provisionally at least.
    You mean say you believe them but keep the door open that the accusation may be false?

    We can’t keep letting people get away with stuff like this because of some imaginary higher principle. Assuming the accused is innocent is assuming the accuser is lying.

    How about (as an outsider, not law enforcement…) not getting into the argument whatsoever? How about supporting the victim without blaming the accused openly, why would the victim be helped by publicly accusing their attacker?

    Given multiple witnesses of inappropriate behaviour, this is either conspiracy theorising or more likely outright rape apologism.

    so it looks like you do need evidence then.

  97. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ok, how will this ever get better if no discussion is permitted?

    You don’t discuss, you pontificate.

    You mean say you believe them but keep the door open that the accusation may be false?

    Yep, unlike you who doesn’t allow for the guilt a dudebro.

    How about supporting the victim without blaming the accused openly, why would the victim be helped by publicly accusing their attacker?

    Show us how to do that, as it doesn’t work in real life. Funny how the apologists never do that. Just that we don’t know for sure, and the dudebro must get a free pass.

    so it looks like you do need evidence then.

    The testimony of the victim is EVIDENCE, which you refuse to acknowledge. Otherwise, your presupposition is that the victim lied. Your hand is showing dudebro.

  98. sonofrojblake says

    @carlie. 97:

    if someone tells you that their wallet was stolen, you don’t automatically assume they’re lying because everyday experience is that people lie

    I agree. And if someone tells you they were raped, you believe them.

    ask yourself if there are any other situations, ever, in which your initial response is “they might be lying” other than a rape accusation. I honestly can’t think of any other situation

    Easy. If someone tells you that their wallet was stolen by someone you respect and/or are predisposed to trust, what then? If someone told you your mother/best friend/PZ Myers had stolen their wallet, would you automatically believe them? I think your initial response would be “they might be lying”. For myself, if someone told me my mother or best friend had stolen their wallet, my initial response wouldn’t be “they might be lying”, it would be “fuck off you slanderous shitbag, you are lying, you lying liar”, or similar.

    Because sometimes you have some personal investment in someone’s reputation – you love them, or like them, or at least respect them, and that makes admitting they might be a criminal harder.

    What makes it harder still is if, really, deep down, you kinda suspected the person you liked or respected was, on the quiet, actually a thief, and you did and said nothing, thus tacitly condoning their thievery. Because that means you weren’t just a poor judge of character, that means you were supporting and enabling them by not calling them out. When people consistently support a person credibly accused of crimes like this, I tend to put some of it down to cognitive dissonance – they just don’t want to admit that they might have been able to do something about it, or at the very least don’t want to admit that they at some stage liked and respected the git being exposed as a criminal, despite themselves kinda knowing him for what he was.

  99. hugo says

    You don’t discuss, you pontificate.
    me? so you presume to know me?

    Yep, unlike you who doesn’t allow for the guilt a dudebro.
    awesome how these comments dive into accusations so fast, funny how you’re supposed to be the one who’s on the victim’s side…

    Show us how to do that, as it doesn’t work in real life. Funny how the apologists never do that. Just that we don’t know for sure, and the dudebro must get a free pass.
    Ever heard of talking, being there, offering assistance? do you really have to put everything you hear on a public forum?
    btw Thanks for the accusations, I guess you must be right because you said it.

  100. Jacob Schmidt says

    Easy. If someone tells you that their wallet was stolen by someone you respect and/or are predisposed to trust, what then? If someone told you your mother/best friend/PZ Myers had stolen their wallet, would you automatically believe them?

    It’s a false analogy to compare an accusation of theft at someone who has had little or zero opportunity to commit theft to an accusation of molestation aimed at an adopted parent or similar; a parent, you might recognize, has many opportunities, and there is a significant power imbalance.

    me? so you presume to know me?

    You? No. Your behaviour in this thread? Yes.

  101. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    me? so you presume to know me?

    Just by your dudebro writing and illogic.

    awesome how these comments dive into accusations so fast, funny how you’re supposed to be the one who’s on the victim’s side…

    More dudebro illogic.

    Ever heard of talking, being there, offering assistance? do you really have to put everything you hear on a public forum?

    Even more dudebro illogic. The first reports were not on this forum. But your dudebro illogic, excuse making, and attempts to sweep the accusations under the rug is out for all to see.

  102. hugo says

    the accusations under the rug is out for all to see.
    I wasn’t even talking about a specific accusation, but good for you to be so wise

  103. carlie says

    For myself, if someone told me my mother or best friend had stolen their wallet, my initial response wouldn’t be “they might be lying”, it would be “fuck off you slanderous shitbag, you are lying, you lying liar”, or similar.,?

    And you put Woody Allen in the same category as your mother. Oooookaaayyy.

    Here’s another example of someone famous having multiple sexual assault charges leveled against him by multiple women, again where it disappeared into the ether of people not wanting to believe it.

  104. chigau (違う) says

    Is there Godwin-like rule to the effect that in any discussion about sexual misconduct, someone is going to compare rape to a stolen wallet?

  105. hugo says

    ok forget the wallet, let’s say I tell you I was beat up yesterday by your mom, I’m expecting you to publicly support me by denouncing your mom as a vile attacker.

  106. hugo says

    Why are you doubting me, I’m really disappointed in this questioning?
    But if you must know we were in the same cake bake group, I’ve heard from others who said it happened to them too but they were too afraid to say anything or they wouldn’t be allowed in the bake club.
    I didn’t wanna say anything because it was nothing life threatening but when I heard about the others I thought I should speak up before more people get hurt.

  107. Jacob Schmidt says

    ok forget the wallet, let’s say I tell you I was beat up yesterday by your mom, I’m expecting you to publicly support me by denouncing your mom as a vile attacker.

    Let’s try this again:

    It’s a false analogy to compare an accusation of theft physical assault at someone who has had little or zero opportunity to commit theft physical assault to an accusation of molestation aimed at an adopted parent or similar; a parent, you might recognize, has many opportunities, and there is a significant power imbalance.

    That said, my mother actually was falsely charged with assaulting one of her neighbours. I don’t begrudge people for being wary of her after that.

    Finally, you seem to be attempting to justify bias without demonstrating that said bias leads to accurate or correct conclusions. People defending Allen due to bias are wrong; comparing Allen to one’s mother doesn’t change that.

  108. chigau (違う) says

    hugo
    You are not paying attention.
    I’m not doubting that Mumsy beat you up, just curious as to how you met.
    and why do you think I’d give a fuck about disappointing you?

  109. hugo says

    but what if there was opportunity, like your mom did she really not assault her neighbour?
    I’m not talking about the case in the post, all my comments are about the general problem of abuse accusations.
    If I go to the police with my accusation of your mom I think that the police should at first take me serious, look into it and find evidence in a manner that doesn’t victimize me and still keeps the presumption of innocence (it’s also how they should handle rape accusations).
    Things fall apart when some party goes public (and I fully understand that that can be because of frustration about the law not handling things right).

  110. carlie says

    chigau – I’m sorry, that was me who brought it up just by way of throwing out a few examples of things you don’t automatically disbelieve someone about. I didn’t think they’d actually take that and use it as bait to hang a larger analogy on. I really ought to know better by now.

  111. Jacob Schmidt says

    but what if there was opportunity, like your mom did she really not assault her neighbour?[1]

    I’m not talking about the case in the post, all my comments are about the general problem of abuse accusations.[2]

    If I go to the police with my accusation of your mom I think that the police should at first take me serious, look into it and find evidence in a manner that doesn’t victimize me and still keeps the presumption of innocence (it’s also how they should handle rape accusations).[3]

    Things fall apart when some party goes public (and I fully understand that that can be because of frustration about the law not handling things right).[4]

    \

    1) I did specify that she was falsely charged; more specifically, she was acting in defense of my younger brother.

    2) This case falls within those “general accusations”; unless you can find something that differentiates general accusations from Dylan Farrow’s, what you say about the rest should (if applied consistently) apply here.

    3) This is good; I agree with this. Unfortunately, this is not consistently done by the police.

    4) Things fall apart because we leave the structure of criminal investigation an prosecution. There is no longer any “presumption of innocence”; those that support it almost invariably support it in a lopsided manner, by treating the victim as guilty of lying. The fact of the matter is, when accusations come forward, we need to respond. Responding as if the accused is innocent (i.e. as if the victim is lying) both places others at risk and is harmful to the victim.

  112. says

    So make the comparison crime murder instead of theft. Raising the stakes just makes one more likely to vigorously defend ones relative or friend or other respected person than otherwise. It makes sonofrojblake more right rather than more wrong in his analysis: people get partisan for all the wrong reasons. It’s the nature of this macrocephalic ape. Or one of our multiple natures.

  113. Portia, walking stress ball says

    @121

    Raising the stakes just makes one more likely to vigorously defend ones relative or friend or other respected person than otherwise.

    Except dead people (murder victims) can’t tell us exactly what happened to them. Which it what we have in this case. Evidence. Victims’ statements are evidence. It’s because of equivactors and obfuscators like you that we believe them when they say they were attacked.

    Oh, and when my dearly beloved cousin told me his girlfriend accused him of rape, I believed her. It hurts my heart on several levels, but I believe her.

  114. carlie says

    This is a nice piece about who you presume is innocent and what that means.

    The damnably difficult thing about all of this, of course, is that you can’t presume that both are innocent at the same time. One of them must be saying something that is not true. But “he said, she said” doesn’t resolve to “let’s start by assuming she’s lying,” except in a rape culture, and if you are presuming his innocence by presuming her mendacity, you are rape cultured. It works both ways, or should: if one of them has to be lying for the other to be telling the truth, then presuming the innocence of one produces a presumption of the other’s guilt. And Woody Allen cannot be presumed to be innocent of molesting a child unless she is presumed to be lying to us. His presumption of innocence can only be built on the presumption that her words have no credibility, independent of other (real) evidence, which is to say, the presumption that her words are not evidence. If you want to vigorously claim ignorance–to assert that we can never know what happened, in that attic–then you must ground that lack of knowledge in the presumption that what she has said doesn’t count, and we cannot believe her story.

    We are in the midst of an ongoing, quiet epidemic of sexual violence, now as always. We are not in the midst of an epidemic of false rape charges, and that fact is important here. All things being equal, it’s more likely that the man who has spent a lifetime and a cinematic career walking the line of pedophilia (to put it mildly) is a likely candidate. All things being equal, the explanation that doesn’t require you to imagine a conspiracy of angry women telling lies for no reason is probably the right one.

    Go read the whole thing, it’s really good.

  115. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    NelC @ 121

    So make the comparison crime murder instead of theft. Raising the stakes just makes one more likely to vigorously defend ones relative or friend or other respected person than otherwise.

    If there was credible witness testimony stating that my mother murdered someone, I’d be inclined to believe it. I love my mother, but I recognize that there’s no such thing as monsters. There’s nothing special to separate any one of us or our loved ones from rapists and murderers. Even people I love can do terrible things.

    There’s pretty much no one on Earth that I would believe couldn’t become a murderer. If one of my loved ones had the pattern of behavior described by witnesses in the Vanity Fair article and then someone came forward with a first person account of being victimized, I’d be crushed and sad and also accept that it was pretty damn likely to be true.

    Perhaps it’s easier to not vigorously defend people when you’ve been repeatedly victimized by people you trusted. Loving someone–or their art–guarantees nothing.

  116. proudofcoincidence says

    NelC

    I think the partisan issue is important. People get caught up in that and it is a difficult human issue to overcome. I was disappointed when Obama let a sexual harrasser and probable rapist speak at his nominating convention. When someone stands up for an issue it hurts the cause when they make exceptions. But people do it. People forgive. Is it moral to forgive someone who hasn’t been held accountable or showed contrition?

  117. Dhorvath, OM says

    None of us knows Woody Allen, we have no first hand context for how he behaves in private, so comparing this case to one against our immediate family is a stretch that doesn’t seem valuable to me. Yes, if someone accuses my mother of doing something to them recently, I have an easy out, she’s been dead for years. If they told me of an earlier time when she did something mean, I would have little difficulty believing that, she was mean to me at times. If they told me she stole something my flabber would be gasted, honest to a fault is the face she presented to me. As for abusive behaviour, well, she didn’t have the best understanding of boundaries, so yeah, I could see it. I think she was mostly pretty good to people she had power over, but I have only my own experiences on which to build that opinion.
    None of which exists for me with Woody Allen. All I have is his fictions, none of which have held my attention long enough to follow, and so I really know nothing. Keeping in mind that I can, with little difficulty, imagine one of my closest relatives doing things that warrant legal intervention, why would I doubt the stated experiences of someone he had power over? Who is holding the cards in this? It’s not Dylan.

  118. carlie says

    My mother is a saint. A fuckin’ saint, I tell you. But in trying to imagine my response to being told my mother killed someone, it isn’t “What?! No!!” but “What?! Why??” Wanting to know more about what happened that would explain the report, not an immediate thought that the report must be a lie.

    Are the people who jump so quickly to the “it’s a lie” explanation people who themselves lie all the time, so that’s all they can imagine other people doing?

  119. sonofrojblake says

    @Jacob Schmidt, 105: not my analogy, just replying to carlie’s question.

    @carlie, 108:

    And you put Woody Allen in the same category as your mother. Oooookaaayyy.

    For. Fuck’s. Sake. Learn to fucking read. Read phrases like “I believe her. All the way. Can’t see any reason to doubt her for a second.” Read phrases like “child molesting shitbag” and “predatory scumbag” in post 96. These are not phrases I am applying to my mother.

    The point that sailed over your head is that many people, including Steven King apparently, have a pre-existing tendency to trust Allen and distrust anyone accusing him of something, anything, purely because of his pre-existing reputation, as you might, by default, trust someone you love/like/respect, like your mother/best friend/PZ. Way to wilfully misrepresent what I’m saying.

    And thanks for the link, but I live in the UK. You might google “Operation Yewtree”. The other day I switched on BBC Radio 4, and at 08:00 on the main national flagship news station all three of the top three stories – ahead of the economy, the violently destructive weather, Syria, or anything else – were reports about television personalities appearing in court on charges of sexual assault and rape dating back decades. It has long past the point of disgust or incredulity and become the subject of grim humour in this country that if someone was on TV here in the seventies, that basically means they were probably regularly sexually assaulting people. One victim has alleged she was sexually assaulted ON LIVE NATIONAL TELEVISION, and it is notable that there’s not actually any great backlash saying “no way” or similar. Believe me, to anyone paying attention in this country, it is all too believeable, to the point of becoming expected, that people in the entertainment business have used their position to carry out sexual assaults of the most brazen and repeated nature.

    @chigau, 109, re: Godwin-like law. I guess so. In this thread, see carlie’s post 97.

  120. sonofrojblake says

    @carlie, 127: “in trying to imagine my response to being told my mother killed someone, it isn’t “What?! No!!” but “What?! Why??” ”

    In fairness, I may have made an error asking you to consider the possibility that someone told you that your mother had committed a crime. You know her. I don’t.

    My default assumption with my mother, based on my lifetime of knowing her, would be that she had not committed a crime, and that whoever told me she had was lying.

    If that is not your default assumption with your mother – based on your lifetime of knowing her you default to assuming that she has murdered someone, and you only wonder why – well, that’s fine. Everyone’s mum’s different, I guess.

    Is there anyone in your life for whom your default assumption, on being told by a stranger that they’d murdered someone, would be to doubt the stranger’s story? Or do you just assume the worst of every single person you know, family included, all the time?

  121. edmundog says

    I believe it. Dylan Farrow has nothing to gain by this. Some have criticized this coming right at a time when Allen won a major award, as if that somehow makes her opportunistic, but the only thing I see there is that she may have finally had enough.

    I can’t help thinking in all this that Mia Farrow is a real piece of crap, though, as she’s been among the defenders of Roman Polanski since his *confessed* violent drugging and rape of a child. I guess it’s only wrong if it’s her own kid. And I don’t like thinking like this, because my brain tries to connect the dots to being on Woody’s side, and I feel gross for thinking it, and even now I’m not sure I should have mentioned it. But Mia’s not the victim here, nor is Allen. Just Dylan, and she’s the one who came forward.

  122. Dhorvath, OM says

    Is there anyone in your life for whom your default assumption, on being told by a stranger that they’d murdered someone, would be to doubt the stranger’s story? Or do you just assume the worst of every single person you know, family included, all the time?

    How is this a fair interpretation of what Carlie and I have said?
    I don’t assume the worst, I assume that I don’t know everything. Which I presume is why Carlie would start with “Why?” People are complex.

  123. Jacob Schmidt says

    not my analogy, just replying to carlie’s question.

    By furthering the analogy beyond it’s intended use.

    I guess so. In this thread, see carlie’s post 97.

    ’tis quite different thing to note differences than to assert similarities; the latter is the problem.

  124. Jacob Schmidt says

    Is there anyone in your life for whom your default assumption, on being told by a stranger that they’d murdered someone, would be to doubt the stranger’s story? Or do you just assume the worst of every single person you know, family included, all the time?

    That is one hell of a false dichotomy.

  125. Jacob Schmidt says

    Sorry, last successive post:

    My default assumption with my mother, based on my lifetime of knowing her, would be that she had not committed a crime, and that whoever told me she had was lying.

    You have not known Allen for a lifetime; its an entirely inappropriate analogy.

  126. carlie says

    he point that sailed over your head is that many people, including Steven King apparently, have a pre-existing tendency to trust Allen and distrust anyone accusing him of something, anything, purely because of his pre-existing reputation, as you might, by default, trust someone you love/like/respect, like your mother/best friend/PZ.

    It didn’t sail over my head at all. I was trying to point out that a public reputation is in no way comparable to the kind of trust you have in people you personally know. We, as the general public, do not know a single damned thing about Woody Allen’s personality or personal ethics or morality. We don’t know anything more about him than we do about Dylan, so there’s zero reason to gravitate towards believing his side over hers in terms of prior knowledge about the kinds of people they are. Your comparison doesn’t hold.

    And to take it further, the counter point that people are trying to make is that even if you know someone, even on a social level, that doesn’t mean you know anything about how they treat people who are in a vulnerable position with respect to them. (see: Bora Z, the last entire year).

    @chigau, 109, re: Godwin-like law. I guess so. In this thread, see carlie’s post 97.

    Yes, thank you for pointing out it was me. I already did that at 118, but I guess you wanted to emphasize it.

  127. carlie says

    In fairness, I may have made an error asking you to consider the possibility that someone told you that your mother had committed a crime. You know her. I don’t.

    *slow clap* You’re really going out of your way to take what I’m saying the wrong way, and IIRC, that’s not usually your style. I’m not sure why what I’m saying is hitting you so badly, but let me retry.

    If someone told me my mom had killed someone, I’d want to know more. What was happening? Why did it come to that? Where is she now and can I see her? The idea that maybe the report is wrong would happen eventually, but it certainly wouldn’t be my first one, because things happen. Maybe she killed someone because they had a gun pulled on one of my brothers and stabbing them with a knife was the only way she could defend him. Maybe she meant to hit him in the head but didn’t know he had just had a stroke and the extra blow caused a bigger arterial rupture. My point is, why should my first response be no, that’s a lie? Why would I assume an entire suite of things that would culminate in a random person having a motive to lie to me about my mom?

  128. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    edmundog @ 130

    I can’t help thinking in all this that Mia Farrow is a real piece of crap, though, as she’s been among the defenders of Roman Polanski since his *confessed* violent drugging and rape of a child. I guess it’s only wrong if it’s her own kid. And I don’t like thinking like this, because my brain tries to connect the dots to being on Woody’s side, and I feel gross for thinking it, and even now I’m not sure I should have mentioned it. But Mia’s not the victim here, nor is Allen. Just Dylan, and she’s the one who came forward.

    Yes, this is about Dylan. Lots of abuse victims have parents who have done or believed stupid, shitty things (lots of people who aren’t abused also have parents who have done or believed stupid, shitty things!) and that has nothing to do with whether or not they were abused. Mia doesn’t have to be a saint for Dylan’s story to be believable. Her mother has nothing to do with whether or not what Dylan says–and all the other witnesses of Allen’s inappropriate behavior–is true.

  129. Portia, walking stress ball says

    Maybe she killed someone because they had a gun pulled on one of my brothers and stabbing them with a knife was the only way she could defend him.

    What’s interesting to me about this analogy is that there are justifications for taking human life, like the example carlie gives here. There’s no such thing as “[child] rape in defense of others.” So the rape apologists instead have to say she was lying, or misremembering, or whatever, because the truth of the accusations is in itself indefensible.

    Their analogy breaks down once again.

  130. roro80 says

    #129

    Is there anyone in your life for whom your default assumption, on being told by a stranger that they’d murdered someone, would be to doubt the stranger’s story? Or do you just assume the worst of every single person you know, family included, all the time?

    The analogies are horribly tortured at this point, but I believe a big part of the point is we believe that murders and thefts happen every day, and that there are people who commit them, and we don’t automatically believe the victim/accuser is lying, because there’s no reason for us to believe reflexively that they are lying. We have a certain pre-disposition to believe that some people we don’t know are more likely to be guilty than others (see: racism!), but in general “person X committed a crime” is not a tough sell. Woody Allen is not someone we know. We admire his work, he is clever and talented, but other than knowing that he is clever and talented, there’s no reason to think him incapable of a crime. He is a white man, and we like his work, but other than that, we don’t know him. Very different from our mothers or friends, with whom we have real experience and understanding, presumably.

    The difference I think carlie was getting at is that there is a univerality to victim blaming rape victims. If someone accuses someone we don’t know of stealing their wallet or breaking into their home, we don’t automatically assume that the victim is lying or was doing something stupid or wrong. We (as a culture, not you+me) automatically do assume rape victims who are raped by someone they know could be lying.

    I believe a big part of this is that those with the most power/privilege have a bigger fear of being falsely accused than they do of being raped. Most men aren’t at great risk of, say, date rape, or being drugged at a party to be raped. But the stories about a woman who has consentual sex and then “cries rape” is a situation where many men think — well, I’ve had sex with women, what if one of those women were to decide the next day to claim I raped her? Even though this is extraordinarily uncommon, it’s more believable to men than the thought that maybe they could be overpowered and raped by someone they were dating. So they empathize with the accused over the victim, even though the victim is much more likely to be telling the truth.

    Sorry that got longer than I anticipated.

  131. carlie says

    The difference I think carlie was getting at is that there is a univerality to victim blaming rape victims. If someone accuses someone we don’t know of stealing their wallet or breaking into their home, we don’t automatically assume that the victim is lying or was doing something stupid or wrong. We (as a culture, not you+me) automatically do assume rape victims who are raped by someone they know could be lying.

    Yes, thank you – you said it better than I did.

  132. sonofrojblake says

    @edmundog @ 130 – it is a perfectly credible and consistent scenario that
    (a) Dylan is telling the truth
    (b) Allen is a scumbag
    (c) Mia Farrow is also a scumbag.

    @carlie, 135:

    We don’t know anything more about him than we do about Dylan

    Sorry, that’s simply false. I couldn’t pick Dylan Farrow out of a lineup of two. Until this week, I’d have assumed that “Dylan Farrow” was male. Meanwhile, I have decades worth of visual and audio material giving me an impression of what Allen is like. How accurate that impression is is academic. Films he’s directed and appeared in. Interviews he’s done. Standup acts. Court appearances. News stories. I have formed an impression of Mr. Allen from this massive amout of material. I have formed no impression of Dylan Farrow at all. See above for the conclusion that impression led me to before Ms. Farrow’s recent accusations.

    why should my first response be no, that’s a lie? Why would I assume an entire suite of things that would culminate in a random person having a motive to lie to me about my mom?

    I repeat – I don’t know your mother. I can’t speak for you.

    I can only tell you why I would assume a stranger was lying if they told me my mother had murdered someone. Two words: Bayesian priors. I have none for your mother. You do, and they lead you to different assumptions. Fair enough.

    @roro80, 139:

    We admire his work, he is clever and talented, but other than knowing that he is clever and talented, there’s no reason to think him incapable of a crime.

    True. But some of us define ourselves by in part by those we admire, and it is a common experience to feel disappointment, even betrayal, when people we idolised turn out to have feet of clay. And it’s not hard to understand why people would resist changing their mind about something like that, even in the teeth of the evidence.

  133. roro80 says

    #141 @sonofrojblake

    True. But some of us define ourselves by in part by those we admire, and it is a common experience to feel disappointment, even betrayal, when people we idolised turn out to have feet of clay. And it’s not hard to understand why people would resist changing their mind about something like that, even in the teeth of the evidence.

    Disappointment, yes. Betrayal, certainly. Is that what you think Allen’s defenders are displaying? It’s not at all what I feel they are displaying. I hate it when people I generally liked or admired turn out to be shitheads, like a punch in the gut.

  134. roro80 says

    ^^sorry hit submit too quickly

    Like a punch in the gut. BUT I don’t outright deny that this person I admire but don’t know couldn’t possibly be a bad person.

  135. carlie says

    Meanwhile, I have decades worth of visual and audio material giving me an impression of what Allen is like. How accurate that impression is is academic. Films he’s directed and appeared in. Interviews he’s done. Standup acts. Court appearances. News stories. I have formed an impression of Mr. Allen from this massive amout of material.

    All of which are carefully curated for public consumption, much of which is specifically advertised as fiction. How could a person’s work indicate at all what kind of person they are? And if you think that it does, well, go ahead and look at what he’s done, then. Really look at it. I’ve linked to a couple of pieces that do, and it’s not pretty. His stories are all about how he as the main character is the victim of circumstance who should be pitied, never mind the effects his actions have on people around him. There’s a lot of fixation on young teenaged girls. He himself, in an interview when he was 40, said “I’m open-minded about sex. I’m not above reproach; if anything, I’m below reproach. I mean, if I was caught in a love nest with 15 12-year-old girls tomorrow, people would think, yeah, I always knew that about him.” There’s your priors, right there.

    But some of us define ourselves by in part by those we admire, and it is a common experience to feel disappointment, even betrayal, when people we idolised turn out to have feet of clay. And it’s not hard to understand why people would resist changing their mind about something like that, even in the teeth of the evidence.

    That is the first really sensible thing I’ve seen you say. Sure, go with that. But don’t try to make any claim that it’s logical, or that it isn’t absolutely and unfairly biased against anyone who would accuse that person of any wrongdoing.

  136. gillt says

    PZ

    In a trivial sense, none of us like to think about bad things happening in the world.

    Yeah, and the irony being he’s made a fine living from thinking about bad things happening in the world and writing about it.

  137. theoreticalgrrrl says

    @ #54 “And remember: Allen is not the step-father of any of the Farrow children. They were never married (New York does not recognize common law marriage) and he didn’t adopt any of them. They never lived together. He never spent the night at Farrow’s house.”

    Why on Earth would Allen try to get custody of her children then? They weren’t married, he didn’t adopt any of them, they never lived together. Suddenly he wants custody of these kids who were practically strangers, the siblings of his teenage lover. What would they call Soon-Yi if he succeeded? Mom or sister?

    (Sorry I skipped down to comment, so if someone addressed this already I apologize.)

  138. theoreticalgrrrl says

    Woody Allen in an interview in 1976:

    “I’m open-minded about sex. I’m not above reproach; if anything, I’m below reproach. I mean, if I was caught in a love nest with fifteen 12-year-old girls tomorrow, people would think, yeah, I always knew that about him.”

    He added, “Nothing I could come up with would surprise anyone … I admit to it all.”

  139. sonofrojblake says

    @carlie, 144:

    You are now just thrashing around, trying and failing to not look stupid.

    In 135, you said it was impossible for us to know anything more about Allen than it was about Dylan.

    I told you that was false, and explained why based on things like his court appearances, etc.

    And in the space of one paragraph, you went from saying “that’s carefully curated, it’s fiction, i.e. you should ignore it” to saying “there’s your priors, right there”, effectively arguing yourself round to my side, but appearing to think that meant you’d somehow proved me wrong. Do you even know what you think?

    Since you’re simply ignoring things I’ve written, but have managed to tie yourself in a knot reaching the point where you’re saying the same thing as me, I think it’s probably best if we both just leave it there.

  140. Stacy says

    @theoreticalgrrrl #146, good point. By the way, as I pointed out in comment #89, rrhain’s claim that Allen “never adopted any of [Farrow's children]” is incorrect. Allen adopted Dylan and Moshe Farrow.

  141. carlie says

    And in the space of one paragraph, you went from saying “that’s carefully curated, it’s fiction, i.e. you should ignore it” to saying “there’s your priors, right there”, effectively arguing yourself round to my side, but appearing to think that meant you’d somehow proved me wrong. Do you even know what you think?

    Because I gave you my perspective that it didn’t matter, but then approached it from your perspective that it did to show that it ends up being bad either way. Do you understand how sentences work?

  142. carlie says

    Here, I’ll go back and label them so you will be able to follow along.

    MY BELIEF IS:

    All of which are carefully curated for public consumption, much of which is specifically advertised as fiction. How could a person’s work indicate at all what kind of person they are?

    HOWEVER, I THEN TURNED TO YOUR PERSPECTIVE, AS CLEARLY EVIDENCED BY THE PHRASE:

    And if you think that it does,

    THIS IS A PHRASE COMMONLY USED TO INDICATE A CHANGE IN PERSPECTIVE. I THEN STATED WHAT WOULD LOGICALLY FOLLOW FROM THAT, IF YOU THINK THAT IT DOES:

    well, go ahead and look at what he’s done, then. Really look at it.

    NOW HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF THINGS HE HAS SAID AND DONE, BOTH IN HIS FICTION AND IN REAL INTERVIEWS, THAT YOU WOULD HAVE TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION IF, INDEED, YOU THINK THAT IT DOES:

    I’ve linked to a couple of pieces that do, and it’s not pretty. His stories are all about how he as the main character is the victim of circumstance who should be pitied, never mind the effects his actions have on people around him. There’s a lot of fixation on young teenaged girls. He himself, in an interview when he was 40, said “I’m open-minded about sex. I’m not above reproach; if anything, I’m below reproach. I mean, if I was caught in a love nest with 15 12-year-old girls tomorrow, people would think, yeah, I always knew that about him.”

    SO IF YOU BELIEVE THAT HIS PRIOR ACTIONS ARE WHAT TO JUDGE HIM ON:

    There’s your priors, right there.

    IN CONCLUSION, I HAVE BOTH STATED MY POINT AND ALSO THEN GIVEN YOU WHAT RESULTS FROM YOUR POINT IN ORDER TO COVER BOTH SIDES.

    More clear now?

  143. sonofrojblake says

    @carlie: Much clearer, thanks.

    my perspective that [Bayesian priors] didn’t matter

    I have a question. Setting aside all the spurious stuff about stolen wallets or your murderous mother, let’s talk about the actual thing that’s at issue here: reports of sexual assault or rape, and people doubting them.

    If I understand you correctly, you are saying that those who allege sexual assault or rape should always be assumed to be telling the truth, regardless of whom the allegation is against, regardless of the substance or detail of it, regardless of their reliability or otherwise as a witness, regardless of the character of the alleged attacker – believe the victim, 100% of the time. I am not taking issue with that here, just trying to ensure I have characterised your perspective correctly.

    IF I have that right, a question: is there now, or has there ever been, any man known to you who, if a woman reported them for rape or sexual assault, absent further information, your first inclination would be to think the allegation false?

  144. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    sonofrojblake:

    you are saying that those who allege sexual assault or rape should always be assumed to be telling the truth, regardless of whom the allegation is against,

    Because who raped someone has everything to do with why the survivor should be believed. Right. My rapist was a man in his mid- to late-thirties, with a wife, three or four children, an MS in biology from BYU, a stake holder in the Mormon Church, a pillar of the community. Which means that you are, to me, partly right. Who the rapist is has nothing to do with whether or not they are a rapist — a pillar of the community can be a rapist. It has everything to do with whether or not the survivor will be believed. I told one person. One. I told another scout leader what he was doing to me and was told I was a liar and that if I told anyone else it would destroy his marriage, his career, his life, his standing in the community, and his leadership position in the church.

    regardless of the substance or detail of it

    Because trauma never, ever plays hell with memories, right? I spent decades knowing that I didn’t like being a cub scout because something bad happened and/or my leader was a pervert. No details. I didn’t want the details. I didn’t want to remember the pain, the shame, the humiliation, the degradation, the knowledge that I was used as a girl by this man. I still don’t want those memories. But they are there. And every time I remember what happened, what was done to me, what I did, the memory is a little different.

    , regardless of their reliability or otherwise as a witness

    Because a child having knowledge of what digital penetration feels like is just a kid telling stories, right? I was known as a story teller. Not so much a liar, but I could keep my classmates amused for 15 or 20 minutes with a made-up story. The one time I told, I was told that I was lying, that this was just another made up fable out of my mind. How a nine-year-old boy would know the taste of semen, or the feel of anal rape, or what an adult, erect penis looked like without direct experience is beyond me. The ones casting doubt on our memories, the ones claiming that women, and men and children, lie about rape and sexual abuse and assault, are doing this for a reason — if everyone knows that little kids lie about abuse then they are easier to abuse. If everyone knows that women lie about rape, the crime of rape is easier to commit with impunity.

    regardless of the character of the alleged attacker,

    Because we all know everything about everybody, right? No one has anything hidden in their life, right? My rapist had impeccable character. And was a rapist. And he used that character, used the respect that he had, to put himself in a position where he could rape children. And convince those children to abuse others. And do horrible things.

    Woody Allen is a pretty damn good writer. His movies are unusual, non-mainstream, different, provocative. He is respected professionally. And he deserves that professional respect.

    Professional respect, though, does not mean that he cannot be a child abuser. It protects him, though. It inoculates him against the accusation. Because people do tend to carry the professional respect, which is earned, over into personal respect. And it may be wrong.

    believe the victim, 100% of the time.

    Yes.

    The number of falsely reported rapes is extremely low. The number of children who wrongfully report rape or sexual abuse is also extremely small. It looks bigger than it is, though. Why? I’m a perfect example. My report to a scout leader that I was being sexually abused could be counted as a false allegation because he talked me into taking it back, denying it, saying it never happened. How many children are forced, by family, to retract an accusation of abuse in order to keep the family together, to keep Dad from losing his job, to not drive the family into the poor house? How many survivors retract their true accusation under pressure from family or friends? How many accusations are never pursued by the police (and are thus considered false reports of a rape)? or are dropped by the prosecutor because, well, bitches lie? How many other children have been told that what they are claiming cannot be true because he has a a wife, three or four children, an MS in biology from BYU, is a stake holder in the Mormon Church, and is a pillar of the community? More than just me.

    So yes, considering the infrequency of real false reports of rape or abuse, I will believe the survivor. And offer support, a sounding board, and a safe outlet for the fear, rage, pain, shame.

    is there now, or has there ever been, any man known to you who, if a woman reported them for rape or sexual assault, absent further information, your first inclination would be to think the allegation false?

    No.

    Now one for you: is there now, or has there ever been, any woman known to you who, if she reported that she had been raped, your first inclination would be to think the allegation true?

  145. carlie says

    sonofrojblake – not quite, it’s a difference that might seem semantic but isn’t:

    you are saying that those who allege sexual assault or rape should always be assumed to be telling the truth,

    Rather, that they should not be first and always assumed to be lying. Immediate presumption of innocence of the perpetrator, in a case like this in which the primary evidence is the firsthand report, means that the corollary is that the accuser has to be lying. That’s where the whole court version of presumption of innocence gets wrongly tied into people’s individual judgment. Taking “innocent until proven guilty”, and expanding that to “innocent even in the face of the evidence of accusation” is taking a side – it’s saying that you care more about the perp than the victim.

    There is also a societal cost to “but maybe she’s lying” as the default in any case of rape. The thing is, it’s not just this case. It’s not just your feelings about Woody Allen. It’s all the cases. It’s what happens every single time a rape victim comes forward, and it happens not just from people who know the perpetrator well and just can’t believe it, it’s from bystanders, it’s from police officers collecting information, it’s from juries, it’s from judges, it’s even from defense attorneys. The deck is stacked hugely against the victim in favor of “but maybe she’s lying”, and taking that stance is absolutely not neutral. It is already tipping the scales to one side.

    is there now, or has there ever been, any man known to you who, if a woman reported them for rape or sexual assault, absent further information, your first inclination would be to think the allegation false?

    I guess maybe we’re arguing over “first inclination”. My first thought on hearing something like that that doesn’t make sense is “tell me more about it, because I need this explained in great detail to understand what the hell is going on here”. From a certain perspective, I guess that means no, my first inclination isn’t denial. Sure, there are people who have a much higher threshold for me in terms of me thinking them capable of doing that; that doesn’t mean, however, that I’m going to entirely refuse to hear what someone might have to say about them. And the list of people I think I know well and deeply enough to completely discount what someone else is saying happened in private is a very short list. We’ve just seen from what happened with Bora that many people can have a deep friendship with someone and still not know everything, not by a long shot.

  146. Dhorvath, OM says

    is there now, or has there ever been, any man known to you who, if a woman reported them for rape or sexual assault, absent further information, your first inclination would be to think the allegation false?

    Virtually every man I have a social history with has done things that easily qualify as harassment when in public, (I include myself, learned much have I, but it wasn’t all early in my life.) Why would I assume that they would behave better when alone? I have seen the surveys where simple framing of situations outs people as rapey, why would I think anyone I know above that?
    Surely there are people who I would think, at first inclination, that they might not have thought their behaviour unusual or noteworthy. That doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt the victim. It certainly isn’t an excuse, part of becoming a better human is facing the things we ought not to have done regardless of how well we knew we ought to do different.

  147. Jacob Schmidt says

    IF I have that right, a question: is there now, or has there ever been, any man known to you who, if a woman reported them for rape or sexual assault, absent further information, your first inclination would be to think the allegation false?

    A quick story:

    I once had a friend of mine show up on my doorstep in tears. I brought her inside, let her calm down a bit, and asked her what was wrong. There was a few problems, but at the centre of them as was several months of reoccurring sexual abuse from her boyfriend; a man with whom I had been very good friends for more than a decade; a man who I would have never considered capable of sexual abuse.

    I could have responded several ways. Pragmatically, asserting that the accusation is false is simply a non-starter; it accomplishes nothing, and I risk harming a sexual abuse victim. Epistemologically, I’ve been provided with evidence (i.e. a first hand account) that contradicts my understanding of my friend. Responding to such evidence with rejection is both irrational and childish; it suggests that my friends reputation is more important than both examining the claim and the victims feeling of safety (a position I consider wholly immoral).

    Now, why should I, under any circumstances, simply reject the personal accounts of others about people I love?

  148. sonofrojblake says

    @Oggvorbis, 155: You have my sympathy. To your rather odd question: yes, of course. Absent other information, basically almost every woman I’ve ever known or met, for all the reasons you give.

    @carlie, 156: Oggvorbis managed to answer the question I posed in one word. But your paragraph seems, if I understood it correctly, to be saying “no”, too. In which case, you, too, have my sympathy.

    @Jacob Schmidt, 158:

    why should I, under any circumstances, simply reject the personal accounts of others about people I love?

    Because you trust the people you love more than you trust random strangers?

    Or more pithily – Bayesian priors.

    If your Bayesian priors don’t predispose you to trust those you know well and love over any yahoo that can talk, you’re not much of a friend to anyone.

  149. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    sonofrojblake:

    To your rather odd question: yes, of course. Absent other information, basically almost every woman I’ve ever known or met, for all the reasons you give.

    Yet your inclination in the case of Woody Allen appears (to me) to be a transference of his well-earned public and professional respect into his private life. So a woman who you do not know outside of news and personality magazines, makes a claim against a public figure, who you also do not know outside of his professional actions and news/personality magazines, and your impulse is to assume the survivor is lying/mistaken/wrong/coerced. What makes Dylan different? Is it Woody Allen’s professional respect?

    Second, what ‘other information’ would colour your willingness to not assume a survivor is lying? If a woman has had seven boyfriends in the last six months, all of which had a sexual component, and then claims she was raped, would that be some of the ‘other information’ that would lead you to think she is lying? Or if a woman is drunk? or dressed scantily? or goes into a bad part of town without an escort? Or engages in recreational drugs? Be specific. What ‘other information’ would, for you, brand a survivor a liar?

    To bring it down to a personal level — my rapist was respected in the community, professionally and in church; he was a family man with children of his own; I was nine years old and had a reputation as a good story teller. Is that ‘other information’? If not, why not?

  150. Jacob Schmidt says

    Because you trust the people you love more than you trust random strangers?

    Or more pithily – Bayesian priors.

    Oy, I addressed that: “…I’ve been provided with evidence (i.e. a first hand account) that contradicts my understanding of my friend. Responding to such evidence with rejection is both irrational and childish; it suggests that my friends reputation is more important than both examining the claim and the victims feeling of safety (a position I consider wholly immoral).

    If your Bayesian priors don’t predispose you to trust those you know well and love over any yahoo that can talk, you’re not much of a friend to anyone.

    Dear lord, how the fuck did you get that idea? Can you quote me saying anything like that?

  151. Jacob Schmidt says

    If your Bayesian priors don’t predispose you to trust those you know well and love over any yahoo that can talk, you’re not much of a friend to anyone.

    Its worth noting that you are note simply describing lack of trust, or trusting a friend more. You are describing the assumption that the accuser is lying.If you lack bayesian priors, that assumption is simply invalid.

    So unfortunately, even if I were to adhere strictly to bayesian priors even in a situation in which they are inappropriate, I would not be able to reasonably assume dishonesty from someone I don’t know.

  152. Pteryxx says

    Because you trust the people you love more than you trust random strangers?

    http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-offenders

    Approximately 2/3 of rapes were committed by someone known to the victim.1
    73% of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger.1
    38% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance.1
    28% are an intimate.1
    7% are a relative.1

    https://www.rainn.org/public-policy/sexual-assault-issues/marital-rape

    It was not until the late 1970s that anyone was convicted of raping his spouse in the United States. Before then, criminal codes typically included a “marital rape exemption,” or provision barring prosecution for the rape of one’s spouse. Such laws reflected then popularly held views that only stranger rape constituted “real rape” or that forced sex is a “wifely duty.”

    Someone being a trusted friend, even an intimate partner, even a spouse, is not sufficient reason to exclude the possibility that they may also be a rapist. Even if you don’t have the direct evidence of them raping you.

  153. carlie says

    One of the problems is that, for the vast majority of people, your Bayesian priors on them are not specifically based in being a person of the type they are sexually attracted to in a socially and physically vulnerable position to them in a situation in which there are no other witnesses. Your priors with your best buddy you watch football games with do not apply to the woman who is having a drink after dinner in his apartment.

    You also are expressing sympathy of the sort that seems to assume that we go around suspecting our loved ones of bad behavior all the time, unable to trust or properly love. That’s not it at all. It’s simply understanding that having blind faith in a person is usually undeserved, because no one is on a pedestal all the time. And again, pull back and remember that you started this argument over your feelings for a person you have never met, you have never talked to, have never known in any way other than his public presentation for the media. That’s not the kind of person I’d put blind faith in.

  154. theoreticalgrrrl says

    Ogvorbis

    Please, please, please, don’t say “used like a girl” please? I hope that doesn’t sound insensitive to what you went through, I’m so sorry you had to deal with this abuse and betrayal and you have my love and empathy and hugs. Just, it’s really hurtful to hear rape described that way.

  155. says

    theoreticalgrrrl:

    Just, it’s really hurtful to hear rape described that way.

    I’m sorry if it hurts you, however, there’s a reason Ogvorbis uses that particular phrase, because it was used by the man who was busy assaulting him. A lot of the language heard by those of us who were raped as children is very hurtful, not only to us, but to others. It doesn’t do us any good to ignore the reality of it though, it has to be dealt with, and one of those ways is talking/writing about it.

  156. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    …though it seems like putting it in quotes wouldn’t be too much to ask.

  157. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    theoreticalgrrrl

    Please, please, please, don’t say “used like a girl” please?

    I am sorry. I should have put that in quotes. One of the ways he kept us quiet was pointing out that what he was doing to us was what men do to girls and we should grow up to be men. I was using that as an example of how he silenced us. Quite successfully.

  158. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    Askyroth:

    You are right. I should have. I didn’t and I am sorry I hurt people. I screwed up. Sorry.

  159. sonofrojblake says

    @ Ogvorbis, 160:

    Yet your inclination in the case of Woody Allen appears (to me) to be [...] is to assume the survivor is lying/mistaken/wrong/coerced

    Ah, right, now I understand what the problem is here. You’re just ignoring what I actually say, repeatedly, so that you can argue with and from a position you’re comfortable with.

    So: go back, now, and read my very first post in this thread, post number 96, and see how that squares with your quote above.

    And then respond to what I actually wrote, rather than some bullshit you’ve made up.

  160. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    sonofrojblake:

    Yup. Just made it up. But then, I am a monster.

    Sorry. I’ll leave. Wouldn’t want to actually let the other stuff you have written (which I quoted) get in the way.

  161. Anri says

    Shorter sonofrojblake (as I am reading it, anyway):

    “Look there just has to be some way in which I can defend accused rapists a priori and not be a scumbag. Why aren’t you guys helping me find it?”

  162. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    And then respond to what I actually wrote, rather than some bullshit you’ve made up.

    Compared to the bullshit you have made up? Either you support the victim and take their word for the act, or you are part of the problem of rape apology. You need to make up your mind why you don’t believe the victims, and it looks to me like dudebros get the benefit of the doubt, which means doubting the victims. Figure out why you go there, then keep it to yourself, and learn from it to be a better, more empathetic person.

  163. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    sonofrojblake:

    To your rather odd question: yes, of course. Absent other information, basically almost every woman I’ve ever known or met, for all the reasons you give.

    You still did not answer my question in #160. What “other information” would, for you, brand a survivor a liar? Be specific. I also pointed out that my rapist was well respected in the community, professionally and in church, a good family man with a wife and kids, and I was a nine-year-old known for being able to spin a good yarn. Would that be “other information” that would brand me a liar? Please answer. What is this “other information” that would make you think a claim of rape by a survivor is a lie?

  164. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    And I apologize for my nastiness at #171. The world is treating me like a diaper and my brain is helping things along. Sorry.

  165. sonofrojblake says

    @Anri, 172:
    “Look there just has to be some way in which I can defend accused rapists”

    Nope. Not interested in doing that, and it’s a fucking calumny to suggest I am, but I’m used to that by now.

    I, like you(?), want to see all accused rapists brought to justice. No ifs, no buts, not “ah, yes, except if”s. An accused rapist is a rapist, and only a scumbag would want anything else. I am baffled where you’re coming up with the idea that I’m defending those people.

    Unless…

    Unless by “accused rapist” you mean “every single person ever accused of rape”. And if you mean that, why bother with trials? Just lock up anyone who’s accused, easy. Save a fortune in court time. Good idea?

    @Nerd of Redhead, 173:

    Either you support the victim and take their word for the act

    What, like I explicitly did in post 96?

    it looks to me like dudebros get the benefit of the doubt

    Then you need an eye test.

    Conversely, it looks to me like all you need for a conviction is an allegation, regardless of who is accused and who’s doing the accusing. I wonder if your friends know your opinion of them. I wonder if they’d be your friends if they did.

    @Oggvorbis, 174:

    What “other information” would, for you, brand a survivor a liar?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begging_the_question

  166. Jacob Schmidt says

    Unless by “accused rapist” you mean “every single person ever accused of rape”. And if you mean that, why bother with trials? Just lock up anyone who’s accused, easy. Save a fortune in court time. Good idea?

    It would seem the phrase “a priori” escaped your notice. One does often need to address statements as written to have a valid point.

  167. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    “Look there just has to be some way in which I can defend accused rapists a priori and not be a scumbag. Why aren’t you guys helping me find it?”

    Eww. I’d assumed he was just trying to pedantically make a point about how it was understandable that this news about Woody Allen would be especially unwelcome, and people might feel conflicted, without defending their insisting on defending Allen per se. >.>

  168. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    sonofrojblake:

    One ‘g’ in my nym.

    Second, you are the one who wrote that, “Absent other information, basically almost every woman I’ve ever known or met, for all the reasons you give.” Not me. You wrote that.

    What “other information” are you talking about? The survivor’s reputation? What he or she was wearing or drinking? The age of the survivor? How long ago it happened? The public reputation of the one accused of rape? This is not begging the question. This is me asking you what the fuck you meant when you wrote: “Absent other information, basically almost every woman I’ve ever known or met, for all the reasons you give.” What is that other information?

  169. says

    So, the original question was:

    Now one for you: is there now, or has there ever been, any woman known to you who, if she reported that she had been raped, your first inclination would be to think the allegation true?

    This was in the context of sonofrojblake having asked Ogvorbis if there was any man he knew that he would reflexively doubt any accusations of sexual assault against him. Ogvorbis’ answer was no.

    sonofrojblake’s response to the question above was:

    Absent other information, basically almost every woman I’ve ever known or met, for all the reasons you give.

    Ogvorbis wants to know what that other information might be. It’s a reasonable question.

  170. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Conversely, it looks to me like all you need for a conviction is an allegation,

    Gee, are you really confused that a blog is a court of law, with the same level of evidence required to make a determination? If so, why are you arguing period? You don’t have a point, other than the Dudebro point of “the Menz can’t be accused”. WAHHH.

  171. says

    Ogvorbis:

    This is me asking you what the fuck you meant when you wrote: “Absent other information, basically almost every woman I’ve ever known or met, for all the reasons you give.” What is that other information?

    I’ll put my money on “oh, y’know, something like the alleged rapist denying they committed rape.”

  172. Pteryxx says

    What happens before a conviction? A trial. What happens before a trial? An investigation, preceded by formal reports being filed, preceded by initial evidence being taken, including witness and victim testimony. None of which will ever happen in the first place if the victim is not taken seriously. A public accusation of rape isn’t a magic conviction wand. However, an accusation that a victim’s probably lying IS a magic anti-conviction wand – it makes evidence disappear, stops investigations before they begin, and generates false-allegation statistics out of thin air. Believing the victims supports the initiation of due process.

  173. sonofrojblake says

    @Ogvorbis: sorry, re: nym. I got it right in post 170. I got it right in 177. I double-tapped on the g in 176. My bad.

    @Jacob Schmidt, 178: Yes, indeed. I was responding directly to Anri@172. I just looked back at post 172 again, and the phrase “a priori” is still stubbornly escaping my noice in that post. Perhaps you can indicate where in post 172 it appears, be a dear, do, I’m struggling.

    @Azkyroth, 179: ” I’d assumed he was just trying to [make a point] without defending their insisting on defending Allen per se.” Defending their insisting on defending Allen? If you mean what I think you mean, I’m not doing that. Once again for the hard of thinking I believe Dylan, I think any reasonable person should and would believe Dylan, and frankly, I haven’t even seen anyone defending Allen, per se. I’ve seen a few people making noises like “aww shit not another one”, but that’s hardly a defence.

    Re: “other information”, it’s a reasonable question. And I realise I’m sticking my neck out here, but I’ll answer, in good faith, as honestly as I can.

    Start with the obvious: the identity of the accused. Stranger? Believe her. Priest? Believe her. Teacher at her school? Believe her. Mutual acquaintance? Believe her. A boyfriend? Believe her. Famous British television personality of the 1970s? Definitely believe her.

    My buddy [redacted] who is as camp as a row of tents and has been since we were ten (and probably was before)? Uuuhh… well… My good friend [redacted] who is trans* and may or may not lack some of the equipment (it wouldn’t occur to me to be so rude as to ask him)? Hesitation creeping in again. There are, simply, some people known to me who, if someone said they had been raped by those people, my first instinct would be to think “huh? No. No way, sorry.” Now I’ll be the first to say it’s a very, very short list (there are others), and I have people I’d regard as good friends who are not on it. But there’s a list, and until I read this thread I assumed everyone apart from a fictitious caricature of Andrea Dworkin would have one. You live and learn. I can only marvel at how you can live surrounded by men who you believe, without a single exception, would be prepared to rape someone. It must be horrible for you.

    @Nerd, 182:
    BBZZZZTTT, fail, not paying attention, go back and read post 96, final paragraph. In this non-court of law, I’ve convicted Allen, to my satisfaction. It’s a turn of phrase. Why did I do that? Allegation, plus no reason whatever to believe it false and a bunch of other, additional reasons to believe it true. That’s all. It really amazes me how condemnatory you are of someone who agrees with you. I can’t imagine how hostile you’d be if I doubted for a moment that Woody Allen is guilty, or defended him in any way.

    @Pterryx, 185: “None of which will ever happen in the first place if the victim is not taken seriously. ”
    Absolutely agree with that, and nobody reasonable could disagree, I think. Who’d disagree with “take allegations of rape seriously”? Not me.
    The entirety of the issue, I think, is the distinction between “taking seriously” and “believing”.

  174. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    sonofrojblake:

    Now I’ll be the first to say it’s a very, very short list (there are others), and I have people I’d regard as good friends who are not on it. But there’s a list, and until I read this thread I assumed everyone apart from a fictitious caricature of Andrea Dworkin would have one. You live and learn. I can only marvel at how you can live surrounded by men who you believe, without a single exception, would be prepared to rape someone. It must be horrible for you.

    Really? That’s what you got from my writings? That I think every man I know is a ‘prepared to rape someone’? Where the fuck did you get that? I know a man who was accused of statutory rape. I will never know if he did it or not because the girl, who was 13 (he was 29) withdrew the complaint after the police told her and her parents what she would have to go through to get a conviction and her parents decided to pressure her into lying and saying it never happened. I have no idea if he did it or not because the investigation was squelched.

    I know one man, closely, who has been accused, and convicted of, possession of child pornography. And, I admit, it surprised me. If he had been accused of raping a child, it would have surprised me. And yet, my first instinct would not have been to jump up and down and claim that the child is lying and that he could not have done it. Why? Because I know a man who did rape children and he was the kind of man no one in their right mind would think he raped children.

    I told. I found an adult, a responsible adult, and told him that my den leader was doing things, was putting his penis in my butt, I provided details that a nine-year-old should not know. It was not taken seriously. I was told I was lying. I was told that I was mistaken, wrong. f That it was not possible. And I never told again. Because I knew I would not be believed. See? When the other scout leader assumed that I was lying, it guaranteed that there would be no investigation.

    I do not assume that every man I know is a rapist. I do assume that every man I know is a potential rapist because all I know is the part of them that they show me. Not the dark secrets in the back of his mind. If they are there. But even if my best friend was accused, I would want the investigation to happen. End of story for me.

    It must be horrible for you.

    Don’t you fucking dare take that condescending tone with me. You have no fucking idea how horrible some parts of my life are. And one reason it is horrible is because the society in which we live has a knee jerk reaction when a child accuses a well-respected man of rape — we jump to his defense and assume the survivor is lying. You are part of the problem. You claim there is a distinction between taking seriously and believing. There isn’t. If you believe a survivor’s story, you will take it seriously. If you think the survivor is lying, then you will not take it seriously. Understand?

  175. says

    But there’s a list, and until I read this thread I assumed everyone apart from a fictitious caricature of Andrea Dworkin would have one. You live and learn. I can only marvel at how you can live surrounded by men who you believe, without a single exception, would be prepared to rape someone. It must be horrible for you.

    You’re a piece of shit, sonofrojblake. The following isn’t really for your benefit, since you seem determined not to be honest about what people are actually saying to you, but is rather something I’ve been musing on for a while.

    TRIGGER WARNING: DISCUSSION OF RAPE FOLLOWS

    I’m very close with a person who happens to be male. Our relationship has been sexual at times. Our friendship is ongoing.

    When we first met, he told me how he was falsely accused of rape. As time went on, he revealed more details about the experience–how he met the woman, what they did together, getting arrested, being in jail, and eventually having the case dismissed before it went to trial.

    Initially, I was convinced: he was falsely accused, end of story. However, as I learned more of the gritty details of what exactly happened (and no, I’m not going to share them here), I’ve become convinced that it’s entirely possible–even likely–that the woman in question sincerely believed he raped her. I also believe that he didn’t intend to rape her, but also that he did not due his due diligence in making sure she was capable of giving consent at the time. And, as we have said in this space before, if you don’t take care to ensure that you have consent then you are at the very least risking that you are raping somebody. And this is all based off what he alone has told me–who knows how my perspective would change if I were granted access to the woman’s story.

    So, no. I really don’t think there’s anyone who is 100% incapable of raping someone. He’s among my favorite people in the world.

    It’s difficult, but I feel better about myself for embracing the truth–that he may have raped someone, that it is possible–than I would if I allowed my affection for him to overrule my rational estimation of the realistic possibilities.

    Hell, when I was 13, I held my little brother down and kissed him against his will. That is sexual assault. I didn’t know that at the time. I knew it was wrong, but I didn’t know that. So, I sexually assaulted him. I know for a fact that I am capable of sexual assault. Someday when I’m braver I’ll ask if he remembers that.

    Nevertheless, life is far from horrible. I’m happier now that I have a better understanding both of myself and of consent in general.

    Funny, that.

  176. says

    Re: “other information”, it’s a reasonable question. And I realise I’m sticking my neck out here, but I’ll answer, in good faith, as honestly as I can.

    Also, note: sonofrojblake never did answer the actual question, which was about what “other information” about a person reporting being assaulted, in the original wording of the question it was a woman, might cause him to drop the de facto assumption that she was telling the truth. Instead he provided information about the person being accused that would cause him to doubt the person reporting being assaulted.

    If that’s all the honesty he’s capable of then he’s not capable of much.

  177. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    That’s all. It really amazes me how condemnatory you are of someone who agrees with you. I can’t imagine how hostile you’d be if I doubted for a moment that Woody Allen is guilty, or defended him in any way.

    BZZZZ fuckwit. You are being a Concern Troll. You agree, but you have “ISSUES”. Which makes everything you say subject to utter skepticism like you want us to apply. Don’t like it? Shut the fuck up loser troll.

  178. theoreticalgrrrl says

    #168
    Ogvorbis
    I didn’t now you were quoting your abuser. I’m so sorry. Don’t worry about forgetting the quote marks, it happens. Thank you for being so brave in talking about this and for standing up for victims.

  179. says

    sonofrojblake

    I just looked back at post 172 again, and the phrase “a priori” is still stubbornly escaping my noice in that post. Perhaps you can indicate where in post 172 it appears, be a dear, do, I’m struggling.

    If you are for whatever reason incapable of using ctrl-f as I just did, you might take a look at the italicised part of post #172. Jackass.
    Ogvorbis and others
    All the *hugs* and support

  180. carlie says

    I bet sonofrojblake would have been a real hoot during the Schroedinger’s Rapist discussions. Same mistaken attitude we saw in so many then: if you don’t automatically trust someone entirely and implicitly in all things, the only alternative must be that you constantly suspect them of all wrongdoing.

  181. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    if you don’t automatically trust someone entirely and implicitly in all things, the only alternative must be that you constantly suspect them of all wrongdoing.

    Yep, which is why HE and what he asserts is constantly suspected. Don’t like it SoB, stop doing it to women and other victims of your privilege…

  182. theoreticalgrrrl says

    Dylan Farrow has responded to Allen’s op-ed. I wonder if this would be considered more “palpable bitchery”?:

    His op-ed is the latest rehash of the same legalese, distortions, and outright lies he has leveled at me for the past 20 years. He insists my mother brought criminal charges – in fact, it was a pediatrician who reported the incident to the police based on my firsthand account. He suggests that no one complained of his misconduct prior to his assault on me – court documents show that he was in treatment for what his own therapist described as “inappropriate” behavior with me from as early as 1991. He offers a carefully worded claim that he passed a lie detector test – in fact, he refused to take the test administered by the state police (he hired someone to administer his own test, which authorities refused to accept as evidence). These and other misrepresentations have been rebutted in more detail by independent, highly respected journalists, including this most recent article here:
    http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2014/02/woody-allen-sex-abuse-10-facts.

    With all the attempts to misrepresent the facts, it is important to be reminded of the truth contained in court documents from the only final ruling in this case, by the New York Supreme Court in 1992. In denying my father all access to me, that court:
    Debunked the “experts” my father claims exonerated him, calling them “colored by their loyalty to Mr. Allen”, criticizing the author of their report (who never met me) for destroying all supporting documentation, and calling their conclusions “sanitized and therefore less credible”.
    Included testimony from babysitters who witnessed inappropriate sexual behavior by my father toward me.
    Found that “there is no credible evidence to support Mr. Allen’s contention that Ms. Farrow coached Dylan or that Ms. Farrow acted upon a desire for revenge against him for seducing Soon-Yi. Mr. Allen’s resort to the stereotypical ‘woman scorned’ defense is an injudicious attempt to divert attention from his failure to act as a responsible parent and adult.”
    Concluded that the evidence “…proves that Mr. Allen’s behavior toward Dylan was grossly inappropriate and that measures must be taken to protect her.”
    Finally, the Connecticut State prosecutor found “probable cause” to prosecute, but made the decision not to in an effort to protect “the child victim”, given my fragile state.
    From the bottom of my heart, I will be forever grateful for the outpouring of support I have received from survivors and countless others. If speaking out about my experience can help others stand up to their tormentors, it will be worth the pain and suffering my father continues to inflict on me. Woody Allen has an arsenal of lawyers and publicists but the one thing he does not have on his side is the truth. I hope this is the end of his vicious attacks and of the media campaign by his lawyers and publicists, as he’s promised. I won’t let the truth be buried and I won’t be silenced.

  183. sonofrojblake says

    Yup, more or less the reaction I expected.

    @Ogvorbis, 187: “Where the fuck did you get that? ”

    Post 155. “is there now, or has there ever been, any man known to you who, if a woman reported them for rape or sexual assault, absent further information, your first inclination would be to think the allegation false?

    No.”

    That’s a clear, unequivocal answer to a very clear, unambiguous question. You would immediately believe an allegation, any allegation, by anyone, against even the most trusted man you know or have ever known. That’s horrible, and there wasn’t an ounce of condescension in my previous statement of that. I’m literally sickened that you or anyone lives like that, even though I can’t really imagine what it must be like.

    @SallyStrange, 188: I’m not sure what “determined not to be honest about what people are actually saying to you”. I’m trying to tease out what it is people believe, because I’m not sure I believe it myself. Ogvorbis has answered the question honestly and in one word, and the implications of the answer horrify me. I’m not sure what else I can offer you.

    @189 – no, now you’re just making up bullshit because the truth doesn’t fit your narrative of me as a piece of shit. Here’s the truth:
    Original question, post 155: “is there now, or has there ever been, any woman known to you who, if she reported that she had been raped, your first inclination would be to think the allegation true?”
    Original answer, post 159: “To your rather odd question: yes, of course. Absent other information, basically almost every woman I’ve ever known or met, for all the reasons you give.”

    That bit about the “information” being about [the] person reporting being assaulted? That is bullshit you made up to try to make me look bad.

    Ogvorbis did it in post 160, saying that my impulse was to disbelieve Dylan Farrow, when in my FIRST POST I had said EXPLICITLY that I believed her. What is it with you people with the making up bullshit stories to try to make someone look bad? Do you even see the irony? At all?

    @Nerd of Redhead. Yes, you got me, I was being a concern troll. And you were being an arsehole. Swings and roundabouts.

    @carlie, 193: oh, you again. ” if you don’t automatically trust someone entirely and implicitly in all things, the only alternative must be that you constantly suspect them of all wrongdoing”. Yet again, made up bullshit. Look – if you’re not comfortable with the fact that there isn’t a single man you know or have ever met that you’re sure wouldn’t rape someone, that’s very much your problem. Please don’t condemn me for having pointed it out. Please don’t condemn me for actually having met people that I do trust 100% in that regard. Condemn me, perhaps, for being naive and over-trusting, I’ll accept that.

    And don’t, please, think for a moment I expect anyone to trust me. I *expect* to be suspected constantly. And hey, I’m right. And since that’s about the hardest thing I have to deal with day to day, you’re right – I’m privileged. And I know it, and I never forget it.

  184. Gunboat Diplomat says

    Lots of claims on this discussion that this blog is not a court of law, therefore the same rules don’t apply therefore its totally ok to jettison the basic legal principle of “presumption of innocence.” This is disingenuous. This blog is an attempt to influence social reality and that necessarily means affecting the minds of potential jurors and lawmakers. Thus this could have an effect on how such cases are decided in court and even extend to other areas of criminal law.

    Several commentators consider jettisoning the presumption of innocence is a small price to pay in rape cases as the deck is so stacked against rape victims. I can understand why a victim of abuse might think that. This is a good example of why its not a good idea for victims of any crimes to directly try the accused.

    For the rest of you, and PZ in particular, shame on you for ignoring the effect this might have on those falsely accused. Not just those such as the Scottsboro boys or people like Brian Banks (just to show the Scottsboro boys is hardly some historical anomaly) but all of the many thousands who have rot in prison falsely accused of various crimes for one reason or another. Presumption of innocence may not have saved Mumia Abu-Jamal but without it he’d probably be dead. It didn’t save the Birmingham six or the Guildford four from prison either but without it would never have been released.

    Is this what so-called Atheism+ stands for, atheism plus chucking out one of the few rights the oppressed have? Well I can’t IMAGINE how that could ever, EVER come back and bite you on the ass.

  185. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Thus this could have an effect on how such cases are decided in court and even extend to other areas of criminal law.

    Yes please!
    Influencing the courts to the point that they actually take abuse victims seriously!?
    *melts*

    And you can take your atheism plus bullshit and show it right back to the orifice where you pulled your presumptions from.

  186. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I *expect* to be suspected constantly.

    Yes, liars bullshitters, and trolls deserve nothing but scorn and their ideas rejected. Mature up.

    This blog is an attempt to influence social reality and that necessarily means affecting the minds of potential jurors and lawmakers.

    Gee. a blog in the corner of the internet has such a large influence. And “presumed innocent” is ONLY required in a court of law. Prove otherwise by citing real evidence, not your opinion of said evidence.

  187. Jacob Schmidt says

    This blog is an attempt to influence social reality and that necessarily means affecting the minds of potential jurors and lawmakers. Thus this could have an effect on how such cases are decided in court and even extend to other areas of criminal law.

    This is, frankly, idiotic. Different situations require different standard of evidence. Criminal conviction requires a high standard; social responses don’t. This is trivially true. Rape cases are one of the few areas where “presumption of innocence” is trotted out and applied to every aspect. We are already applying different standards to different scenarios, we’re just asking that such is done consistently.

    Several commentators consider jettisoning the presumption of innocence is a small price to pay in rape cases as the deck is so stacked against rape victims. I can understand why a victim of abuse might think that. This is a good example of why its not a good idea for victims of any crimes to directly try the accused.

    As I’ve noted, presumption of innocence has already been jettisoned in many scenarios. In an case, I’m curious as to how you’re going to arbitrarily dismiss my opinion, since your arbitrary dismissal of rape victims does not apply to me.

    Is this what so-called Atheism+ stands for, atheism plus chucking out one of the few rights the oppressed have? Well I can’t IMAGINE how that could ever, EVER come back and bite you on the ass.

    What the fuck is with morons whinging on about atheism+ around here? Most of the commentators here have nothing to do with it; those that do merely represent an overlap. Seriously. this isn’t an atheism+ blog.

  188. carlie says

    absent further information, your first inclination would be to think the allegation false?

    No.”

    That’s a clear, unequivocal answer to a very clear, unambiguous question. You would immediately believe an allegation, any allegation, by anyone, against even the most trusted man you know or have ever known.

    Look at how you changed between those two sentences. You asked if someone’s first inclination was that an accusation must be false, and then interpreted that as saying the accusation must be true. There is a whole world of “maybe” in between there that you’ve arbitrarily eliminated. It’s called waiting for more information. It’s called not being dogmatic. It’s called not jumping to conclusions.

  189. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    sonofrojblake:

    That’s a clear, unequivocal answer to a very clear, unambiguous question. You would immediately believe an allegation, any allegation, by anyone, against even the most trusted man you know or have ever known. That’s horrible, and there wasn’t an ounce of condescension in my previous statement of that. I’m literally sickened that you or anyone lives like that, even though I can’t really imagine what it must be like.

    I know that I do not know what other people are capable of. I know that , no matter how well I know someone, no matter how close I am to him, there are parts of his life that are hidden from me.

    My rapist was, as I have pointed out multiple times, a pillar of the community. And the one person I told? His first inclination was to think the allegation false. And he told me so.

    You seem to be convinced that you can decide, based on your knowledge of a person, whether or not that man is capable of rape. I know that there is no way for me to know either way. See the difference?

    I am literally sickened that you, after stating, multiple times, that you believe Dylan, that there are people out there that you already know could not be rapists. Your first inclination would be to think the allegation false. You think that Woody Allen probably did molest/rape Dylan. Bravo. And since then, you have been telling us that, in some cases, it is okay to automatically think that the survivor is lying.

    Your blatant and complete misrepresentation of what I have written is noted. I am still not sure if you are doing this deliberately or are having problems comprehending what I have written (see? another example of not prejudging based on other shit that you have written in other threads).

    That bit about the “information” being about [the] person reporting being assaulted? That is bullshit you made up to try to make me look bad.

    Okay, fine. I’ll accept that. So you now claim that, based on what you know about the one being accused, you can accept or dismiss the allegation of rape? How? How do you know? Think about the man who raped me repeatedly for two years, the man who coerced me into abusing others, the man who photographed me, the man who used me again and again and again. How would you, if I had reported what was going on to you, have made the decision, right there, whether or not to take what I was saying seriously or not based on your knowledge of the one I was accusing? You seem to claim that you have a way of deciding whether or not a man is capable of raping another human being. Care to share this with the world? Because it would sure as hell make life simpler and make for far fewer rapes if we knew, like you claim to be able to do, who is dangerous and who is not.

    Ogvorbis did it in post 160, saying that my impulse was to disbelieve Dylan Farrow, when in my FIRST POST I had said EXPLICITLY that I believed her. What is it with you people with the making up bullshit stories to try to make someone look bad? Do you even see the irony? At all?

    Do you see the irony in stating again and again that you believe Dylan Farrow while at the same time claiming that you have the ability to determine, based on what you know of the accused, whether or not the person making the allegation should be believed?

    See, the basic difference here is that I am willing to admit that, no matter how well a know anyone, I do not know everything about him or her. I cannot state that because I know Joe, because I am good friends with him, because I have known him for forty years, the allegation must be false. Or even is probably false. Most people I know it would come as a surprise but I would leave open the possibility that the allegation is true no matter how well I know that person. See, I’m willing to live with ambiguity. You keep claiming that you already know who is capable of rape and who is not. And I think, based on personal experience with someone who was viewed by all as being above reproach, that you are wrong. Not a bad person. Just, when it comes to this subject, wrong.

  190. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    My general stance is that unless the allegation includes things that are literally impossible (e.g. “I got flushed down a toilet,” which was made by one of the children in the “Satanic day care” case), I act on the presumption that it’s true.

    And even when the allegation includes (seemingly-) literally impossible things, my inclination is to consider discounting that portion, rather than tossing everything out.

  191. Al Dente says

    Gunboat Diplomat @196

    Lots of claims on this discussion that this blog is not a court of law, therefore the same rules don’t apply therefore its totally ok to jettison the basic legal principle of “presumption of innocence.”

    Since a blog discussion isn’t a legal proceeding then legal principles do not apply.

    This blog is an attempt to influence social reality and that necessarily means affecting the minds of potential jurors and lawmakers.

    All sorts of people attempt to influence social reality and affect the minds of others in numerous directions. You’re trying to do so yourself with your claims about “presumption of innocence.”

    Thus this could have an effect on how such cases are decided in court and even extend to other areas of criminal law.

    My mother telling me as a child that taking things that don’t belong to me is wrong might influence my decisions if I’m selected as a juror in a theft case. “The defendant is obviously guilty because my mommy said stealing is bad.”

    Several commentators consider jettisoning the presumption of innocence is a small price to pay in rape cases as the deck is so stacked against rape victims. I can understand why a victim of abuse might think that.

    What Ogvorbis and others have been saying is that you cannot tell who is a rapist and who isn’t. A person can be an outstanding pillar of society and still be a rapist. Plus in today’s rape culture the odds are stacked against a rape victim trying to accuser their assailant.

    This is a good example of why its not a good idea for victims of any crimes to directly try the accused.

    Thank you, Captain Obvious, for this non sequitur. It’s probable that nobody here would have grasped this point if you hadn’t explicitly made it.

    For the rest of you, and PZ in particular, shame on you for ignoring the effect this might have on those falsely accused.

    Now we see what you’re really complaining about. You’re one of those rape apologists who pretend that most rape accusations are false. Too bad reality doesn’t agree with you.

    Is this what so-called Atheism+ stands for, atheism plus chucking out one of the few rights the oppressed have?

    As has already been noted, this isn’t an Atheism+ website. Perhaps you should take your whines to one that is. And please explain how oppressed rapists are. I’m sure that will be the source of much laughter and mockery at your expense.

  192. says

    Gunboat Diplomat:

    For the rest of you, and PZ in particular, shame on you for ignoring the effect this might have on those falsely accused.

    Quick, what percent of rape claims are labelled false?

    BTW, I feel no shame in believing the victims of sexual assault. It sounds like you’re a heartless pissant.
    BTW (pt. 2) this blog has nothing to do with Atheism+. There’s an overlap in shared values, but the same can be said of Pharyngula and Skepchick.

  193. Rey Fox says

    So hold on again. Is this blog just an extremist corner of the internet, forever dwindling in popularity and influence, or does it hold the very future of jurisprudence? I can never remember.

  194. Nick Gotts says

    According to Gunboat Diplomat@196, no-one should ever be charged with any crime. After all, according to Gunboat Diplomat, until a person has been found guilty in a court of law, everyone must presume they are innocent, and also must not take any action that might affect any subsequent verdict in any criminal court case. But obviously, if the prosecuting authorities charge someone with a crime, they are no longer presuming that the person they charge is innocent, and furthermore, the act of charging them could clearly affect any potential jurors’ opinion about whether they are likely to be guilty. The same strictures, naturally, apply to witnesses. After all, in telling the police what they witnessed, they are clearly attempting to influence social reality in ways that could influence future jurors, and that, according to Gunboat Diplomat, is a complete no-no.

  195. A. Noyd says

    Gunboat Diplomat (#196)

    For the rest of you, and PZ in particular, shame on you for ignoring the effect this might have on those falsely accused.

    No one’s ignoring it, you shitweasel. We’re saying that orders of magnitude greater harm is done by giving accused rapists the benefit of the doubt. For some perspective: 5 Things More Likely To Happen To You [A Man] Than Being Falsely Accused Of Rape. Number 5 on that list is rape. Men are something like 82,000 times more likely to be raped themselves than face a false rape accusation. So if we stop defaulting to a presumption of innocence for accused rapists (outside a courtroom), we help way more men, too.

  196. A. Noyd says

    Nick Gotts (#207)

    But obviously, if the prosecuting authorities charge someone with a crime, they are no longer presuming that the person they charge is innocent, and furthermore, the act of charging them could clearly affect any potential jurors’ opinion about whether they are likely to be guilty.

    Well, there are problems with the ways that prosecuting authorities go about choosing whom to prosecute. It’s in no way fair, which is why black people end up prosecuted so much more often despite committing no more crime than anyone else. But it’s disingenuous for GD to bring this up as if this systematic unfairness works against those accused of rape. It’s nearly always the opposite: rapists get the benefit of the doubt even from the side that should be trying to get a conviction.

  197. sc_a5d5b3a48ba402d40e1725cbb3ce1375 says

    One of my basic assumptions about the people I know and and love and trust is that they would never rape, and by extension, that they would never be accused of rape. Hearing an accusation would therefore cause me to update my understanding of the situation dramatically.

    To do otherwise is a variant of (ironically) the prosecutor’s fallacy: it treats probabilities as absolutes rather than dependent on a context of known information.

  198. says

    sc etc.:

    One of my basic assumptions about the people I know and and love and trust is that they would never rape, and by extension, that they would never be accused of rape. Hearing an accusation would therefore cause me to update my understanding of the situation dramatically.

    Thank you.

  199. says

    sc_mess

    One of my basic assumptions about the people I know and and love and trust is that they would never rape, and by extension, that they would never be accused of rape.

    That’s not a realistic assumption.

  200. says

    Weed Monkey:

    That’s not a realistic assumption.

    Perhaps it isn’t, yet it’s the one most people operate under. I think you’re stepping to the side of sc etc.’s comment though, in that they expressed the importance of updating in the face of an unexpected accusation.

    The family member who was raping me was a pillar of the community, and I was well aware of the fact that I wouldn’t be believed if I tried to tell anyone. People still have this insistence of thinking about rapists as drooling, savaging monsters, and resist the realization that most people who rape are, on the surface at least, just like everyone else, often highly respected and well thought of in their sphere.

    Most people will go through their whole life never being accused of rape, for the reason that they have never raped anyone. Most people don’t rape, so an accusation against someone you know can feel personal, and you get a knee jerk response rather than a thoughtful update of the situation.

  201. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Yeah, I think this is a good way of putting it:

    One of my basic assumptions about the people I know and and love and trust is that they would never rape, and by extension, that they would never be accused of rape. Hearing an accusation would therefore cause me to update my understanding of the situation dramatically.

  202. Nick Gotts says

    Well, there are problems with the ways that prosecuting authorities go about choosing whom to prosecute. – A. noyd@211

    That’s quite true, and it was true in the UK in the cases of the Birmingham Six and Guildford Four, which Gunboat Diplomat mentions. There was at that point a widespread anti-Irish prejudice in the UK, and furthermore, a desperation to convict the perpetrators of the IRA terrorist bombings, which led the police to fabricate evidence against innocent people whom they believed to be guilty. But contrary to GD’s claim, the presumption of innocence played no role whatever in the subsequent exoneration of the wrongly convicted people. The Court of Appeal does not make any such presumption.

  203. sc_a5d5b3a48ba402d40e1725cbb3ce1375 says

    Weed Monkey:

    That’s not a realistic assumption.

    I admit hyberbole in the choice of the word “never”. If I had to give it a number, let’s say 1% chance of an eventual accusation against Hypothetical Trusted Friend. (And that’s probably absurdly high; it’s not like accusations just fly all over the place for no reason, despite that being an element of the rape-apologist worldview.) Meanwhile, I have in mind some other also-tiny probability that HTF would be a rapist.

    After hearing an accusation, I naturally update the probability-of-rape-accusation from 1% to 100%. It would be irrational to say “Because the probability of an accusation was calculated at 1%, then even though I think I heard an accusation, there is a 99% chance that I hallucinated said accusation.”

    Yet that’s just a variation on what people do with respect to their personal estimation of probability of the accused’s guilt: “Before the accusation I thought it extremely unlikely X would ever rape anyone. Ergo, after the accusation I retain exactly the same probability, and therefore assign the remaining 99% (or whatever) to ‘The accuser is lying or somehow mistaken’.”

    So in part this is the manifestation of a common bad-math fallacy. However, rape culture and related issues contribute much more to the problem.

  204. sonofrojblake says

    @Ogvorbis, 203

    That is bullshit you made up to try to make me look bad.

    Okay, fine. I’ll accept that.

    So now I have an additional piece of information about you, one you accept – that you’re the sort of person who, with just a little motivation, will make up bullshit to make someone else look bad. Absent that information, my first inclination would have been to believe the things you say, as it would be with any person about whose credibility or otherwise I knew nothing.

    You seem to be convinced that you can decide, based on your knowledge of a person, whether or not that man is capable of rape

    Where you get that particular piece of fiction? I said that for a tiny subset of people I know, my inclination would be to consider an allegation against them false. I didn’t say my inclination would be to think it should not be investigated. As you correctly point out, neither I nor anyone else can just know, and I never implied I thought I could. Just another little morsel of bullshit intended to make me look bad.

    You seem to claim that you have a way of deciding whether or not a man is capable of raping another human being. Care to share this with the world?

    Odd that I should “seem” to claim that without ever having actually claimed anything of the sort. There is not to my knowledge any way to tell whether someone is capable of something in potentia.

    There is an imperfect way of telling whether someone DID something. It’s called an investigation and a criminal trial, and imperfect as it is it’s the best and least barbaric method our society’s come up with since we stopped just stringing people up on hearsay. And I don’t know anyone who, if they’re the subject of any allegation for anything, shouldn’t be investigated. That’s equality before the law, and nothing I’ve said here or elsewhere expressed or implied any disagreement with it.

  205. says

    OMG, Gunboat Diplomat showing us again that there is no suffering a white man will not appropriate in order to suit his own agenda.
    Mumia Abu Jamal? You dare to bring up the case of an African American activist (who actually got that guilty verdict, doesn’t that mean he’s guilty?) in order to defend Woody Allan?
    Fuck you.

  206. Gunboat Diplomat says

    @222 Giliell

    The Scottsboro boys were found guilty too as you might know. You do know the Scottsboro boys case don’t you? Does anybody here know that case? Coz theres a deafening silence here on how the issue of rape intersects race in american society. See also, Birth of a nation. Or Gone with the wind. Or the black american footballer Brian Banks.

    However, Mumia might have something to say on this matter seeing as the prosecutor at his trial specifically encouraged the jury to disregard the principles of presumption of innocence and reasonable doubt on the basis that he’d have endless appeals later on.

    Perhaps you could just tell him (and the thousands like him) its a small price to pay for your political agenda. After all its unlikely you’ll have to pay that particular price – whitey – so “fuck them” too I suppose…

    Finally, it turns out there can be serious consequences for assuming someones guilty and then waving your hands saying “but this isn’t a court of law so its ok to label people child molesters”:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/10420713/Bijan-Ebrahimi-An-innocent-man-thrown-to-the-mob.html

  207. says

    Gunboat Diplomat
    A) That’s a lot of straw you’re beating there
    B) In case it escaped you: Woody Allen is not a marginalized black guy who’s on the public enemy list of the system anyway.
    C) You’re actually proving my point: Presumption of innocence and guilty verdicts don’t mean that much when the system is systematically stacked against some people. Black men are one group, rape victims another, Woody Allen and a fuckload of prominent abusers are not.

  208. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Yawn, GD showing us he has nothing relevant to say again, and therefore no points to be taken seriously.