Can we all agree that this is out of bounds?

Nob Akimoto

Nob Akimoto is a policy analyst and part-time dungeon master. When not talking endlessly about matters of public policy, he is a dungeon master on the NWN World of Avlis

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204 Responses

  1. Murali says:

    True. Lots of these people posted on facebook and twitter. Can we track down their real identities?Report

  2. greginak says:

    Can’t say this is all that surprising. Holy #%#%. Heavy sigh. Anonymity brings out the worst in people.

    And just to make a really unhelpful comment, those darn liberals have made it so hard to discuss racism.Report

  3. Glyph says:

    Yeah, I saw this on Salon. Bonkers:

    The point Maxwell was making was similar to one zic has made around here before.

    I thought this was interesting:

    After Canada launched a “Don’t be that guy” consent awareness campaign in 2011, the sexual assault rate dropped for the first time in years — by 10 percent.

    Assuming that number is accurate and not a statistical anomaly (and assuming America is similar to Canada, always a big assumption), we should try that here – a 10% drop is nothing to sneeze at.Report

  4. NewDealer says:

    No, we can obviously not all agree that this is beyond the pale because many people participate in it and are shitbags.Report

  5. Kazzy says:

    I get that there are sick, demented, twisted, and/or hateful people out there who find no issue with rape and/or racism. That part bothers me but I accept it as a reality when dealing with a diverse population of 7 billion plus people.

    What bothers me are people who, if asked in other contexts their feelings on rape or racism would genuinely answer that they are uncomfortable with either (even if they might ultimately disagree on what qualifies as rape or racism) but because of tribal reasons see the need to not only accept it, but to defend or embrace it. These folks probably don’t actually want to see “nigger” women get raped and their throat slits. But goddamnit if they’re going to let someone tell them that they SHOULDN’T feel this way! It’s evident in Baldwin’s hashtags… it’s not actually about Maxwell’s experience or position… it’s that someone have the gall to suggest that an opinion held by people they might more broadly agree with be indefensible.Report

    • Nob Akimoto in reply to Kazzy says:

      I’m not entirely convinced that Baldwin’s twitter account isn’t a parody….Report

    • Jim Heffman in reply to Kazzy says:

      “goddamnit if they’re going to let someone tell them that they SHOULDN’T feel this way!”

      What ever happened to “I disagree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it”?

      Does that not apply if it’s a bad person saying bad things for bad reasons?Report

      • I wasn’t aware that expressing disapproval of people making threats or saying horrible things was somehow incompatible with thinking they still can say it without coercion from government.

        Freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from consequences or judgment.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Jim Heffman says:

        They can say whatever they want. But it’s flat out stupid to wish that “niggers” get raped and killed because someone suggested a differing viewpoint. That doesn’t even amount to havin an opinion but being needlessly reactionary and antagonistic, defining oneself in relation to your opponent onstead of anything you actually believe.Report

      • Tod Kelly in reply to Jim Heffman says:

        “goddamnit if they’re going to let someone tell them that they SHOULDN’T feel this way!” What ever happened to “I disagree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it”? Does that not apply if it’s a bad person saying bad things for bad reasons?

        Remember back when it was liberals that used to say all views are equally good and none – not even being for the raping and killing of those that disagree – should be shamed; and conservatives were the ones that said you had to draw a line somewhere?Report

        • Matty in reply to Tod Kelly says:

          No actually I have a terrible memory, got any references for this?Report

          • Stillwater in reply to Matty says:

            My memory must be going too…Report

            • Stillwater in reply to Tod Kelly says:

              From the link: “The term [cultural relativism] became common among anthropologists after Boas’ death in 1942, to express their synthesis of a number of ideas Boas had developed. Boas believed that the sweep of cultures, to be found in connection with any sub species, is so vast and pervasive that there cannot be a relationship between culture and race. … This principle should not be confused with moral relativism.”Report

            • Matty in reply to Tod Kelly says:

              OK I’ll admit to just skimming but my first thoughts.

              1. A concept used in academic anthropology is not necessarily left-wing even if most anthropologists are.

              2. It is a leap from -to study another culture you have to understand their values to “not even being for the raping and killing of those that disagree – should be shamed”.

              3. The ‘relativism’ seems to apply between cultures not within, are the people making these comments part of a distinct society from Ms Maxwell? That they use the same communications medium suggests not.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Matty says:

                Cultural relativism is a ridiculously misunderstood concept — generally by people hysterically accusing people of it.

                I think the problem is that it puts on point something most people don’t really think about. Morality — “good” and “bad” is very, very, dependent on culture.

                I know some people make a case for a universal morality, which oftentimes strangely mimics their personal and cultural morals (go figure) but most people take as “good” and “bad” the values the absorbed from their culture growing up.

                And that notion — that “good” and “bad” might not be some inherent truth, some static fact of existance that cannot be denied, but fluid to a large degree can be deeply upsetting.Report

              • Shazbot5 in reply to Morat20 says:

                Is the morality of slavery “dependent” on culture? What about the morality of a death penalty for gays and lesbians?Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Shazbot5 says:

                Whether you intended to or not, you just gave an excellent example of my point.

                I happen to think they are deeply, deeply immoral. But consider this: The culture I was raised in found slavery to be moral 150 years ago, and has moved from criminalization of homosexuality to tolernace over my very lifetime.

                Plop me down 150 years ago, and — given I’m quite liberal — I probably would consider slavery immoral, but homosexuality a crime and a deviance. That’s the way I would have been raised, the culture I would have known, and the background and data with which I’d make moral judgements.

                Do I think they were wrong 150 years ago about slaves? Heck yeah. Do I think they were wrong 40 years ago about gays? heck yeah. Do I think half the country or so is wrong about gays now? Heck yeah.

                And no, I don’t have any qualms about trying to assert my moral view on them, just as they have no qualms about pushing theirs on me.

                But as much as people yearn for a universal morality, an enlightening truth, a static good/bad scale — it’s not true. Morality is derived from your culture, your background — whether your church, the philosophers that have informed your society, or just your parents and friends. “Good” and “bad” are not only fluid between cultures, but within them over time.

                As much as you might consider yourself a good and moral person now, a 100 years from now at least SOMETHING you believe moral and acceptable is going to be widely viewed as immoral. Your grandkids will roll their eyes, make excuses, and people will ignore because you were ‘raised in a different time’.Report

              • Shazbot5 in reply to Morat20 says:

                So slavery is morally wrong, regardless of where it is practiced. It is universally wrong. Good.

                There is no doubt that some people do not believe it is wrong. But their beliefs are false. Lots of people hold false beliefs in lots of cultures. The mere fact that many people used to believe slavery was okay, didn’t make it okay.

                Morality isn’t determined by culture or popular opinion, but it is obvious that people’s (often erroneous) beliefs about what is moral are partially determined by culture.

                Are you equating truths about what is moral with truths about what some or many people think about what is moral?Report

              • Shazbot5 in reply to Morat20 says:

                I’d also reply that there are a ways to explain the objective basis of morality: utilitarianism, deontological ethics, etc.Report

              • Kim in reply to Morat20 says:

                Cannibalism is not, however, universally wrong (provided, of course, that the human is dead before you eat it).

                I think we can ascribe a certain sense of morality and religion to the act of eating another human being — certainly in the cultures where it is practiced, people do.Report

              • Shazbot5 in reply to Morat20 says:


                Yeah, the famous example from Herodotus is that the ancient Callatians ate their dead, or sons would eat fathers or something like that.

                You might be grossed out by the Callatians (almost as much as we are grossed out by Lutefisk and those pesky Norwayites), but really there is nothing immoral in their practice. Were the Callatians alive and in the U.S. we would be right to not judge them as immoral for eating dead bodies, even if we might prefer not to eat at Callatian restaurants. The exception to that might be if we discovered that eating dead humans caused harm to the health of the community or to below-the-age-of-consent Callatian children. Harming children (unless absolutely necessary to save lives) is universally wrong, unlike a specific funeral practice that we find to be gross, merely subjectively.

                By contrast, we would be correct to judge modern Aztecs living in Utica who killed their children as a sacrifice to the Gods as immoral. Or imagine this became a hipster thing to do.

                Some things are not universally good or bad, no matter how gross or weird: funeral rights, clothing norms, tattoos, piercings, sexual practices, rules of politeness and formalities, diet, etc, (provided that no one is harmed or their rights violated, see below). Different cultures have different rules about fashion and greetings and funerals, but no one way of arranging these norms is better than another. They are just different. There is no standard of correctness for funerals or greetings that isn’t relative to a culture.

                The mistake the cultural relativist makes is in thinking that basic moral rules like “Don’t enslave” or “Don’t cause unnecessary suffering and death.” and “Respect the rights of rational others as long as they respect others’ rights” are not just cultural norms like “Never wear non-matching socks.”

                The exact status of morality (utilitarianism, deontological ethics, social contract, natural law, anti-realism, projectivism, error-theory etc.) is up for debate, but Cultural Relativism is just obviously wrong as a moral theory.

                The seminal Rachels paper on all of this is copied here. Great little read if you’re interested:


              • Kim in reply to Morat20 says:

                I don’t want to say that it’s wrong… it’s just incomplete. Yes, obviously, there are actual morals that we want to make universale.Report

              • Shazbot5 in reply to Morat20 says:


                Cultural Relativism is the theory that all moral standards are not universal, but are relative to culture. So if your sentence is true, which I think it is, by definition, Cultural Relativism is false, not just “incomplete.”Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Morat20 says:

                So slavery is morally wrong, regardless of where it is practiced.

                That is my view, yes. I view slavery as morally wrong, no matter where or how it is practiced. (Well, kinky sex is different. But it’s not really slavery if it’s consensual, is it?)

                There is no doubt that some people do not believe it is wrong.

                True. Both now and historically.

                But their beliefs are false. Lots of people hold false beliefs in lots of cultures. The mere fact that many people used to believe slavery was okay, didn’t make it okay.

                False how?

                You seem to think slavery is ‘universally wrong’ as if it were and ethical fact, like the speed of light or the number of protons in a hydrogen atom.

                It’s not. Slavery is “universally wrong” entirely as a matter of viewpoint. I believe it is. You believe it is. Other people believe it is not. People, historically, have often believed it was not.

                “Slavery is wrong” is a moral judgement. It’s not a fact, it’s a belief. An opinion.

                Now, I happen to also believe — as does practically EVERYONE — that some moral views are worth enforcing on people, whether they agree or not. And whether we succeed is often based on numbers, interest, enthusiasm, and how well armed or funded we are.

                But “slavery is wrong” is not a fact. It’s a moral judgement. It’s one I make, yes. I think slavery is wrong anywhere and anyhow, and worth utilizing every tactic — up to and including physical force — to end it. But that doesn’t make it a fact.

                The problem people — and you — seem to have with ‘cultural relativism’ is that if what we believe is wrong differs, by what right does one culture have to judge another? If our moral truths aren’t revealed universal constants, but mere opinion, how is any one superior to any other?

                Obviously that’s not a conclusion some people wish to — are even are capable — of handling. They’ll flat out deny it, dodge it, change the subject.

                But it doesn’t make it any less true. What’s ‘good’ and ‘bad’ varies by culture, by time period, by all sorts of things. Even the most casual glance at history shows that ‘morals’ change, good and bad change. You can claim we’re groping towards some universal truth, some perfect factual morality — but frankly that’s just delusion.

                We can, as we have with everything else we’ve done as a species — sit down and make the best ethical and moral code we can. And enforce it. (And heck, we should!). But what we decide on isn’t fact. It’s not universal. It’s not some shadow of a true morality.

                It’s just what we, as a culture, have to say about right and wrong.Report

              • Shazbot5 in reply to Morat20 says:

                “Do I think they were wrong 40 years ago about gays?… Heck yeah.”

                To be wrong is to have a belief that X is true when it is not the case that X is true, objectively, i.e. when X is not a fact. If I am wrong to believe that Santa exists, that means I believe he exists and it is a fact that he doesn’t.

                If people used to be wrong in believing that we should kill gay people, they means that they believed that it was moral to kill gays but it was a fact that they shouldn’t.

                If you are a cultural relativist, you should say “In some cultures killing gays is morally acceptable while in our culture it is not morally acceptable, because the claim “We should kill gays” is a social norm like “We shouldn’t wear non-matching socks.” So it isn’t wrong for people in a culture that kills gays to kill gays. Relative to their culture it is morally right for them to kill gays. And our culture that doesn’t kill gays isn’t in any objective way morally better than the one that kills gays; our culture just has a different way of doing things.”

                Note, if there is no objective, culture-independent way of determining whether a moral practice within a culture is wrong, then there is no way for you to be justified in saying “It is wrong that they kill gays.” Indeed, if cultural relativism is true, and you told the people (or in our past) who killed gays “You shouldn’t do that.” they would be justified in saying that you made a false claim, because they are just following the cultural standards of their culture.

                So your position is self-defeating, unless you are willing to say that you are not justified in the claim that cultures that kill gays are doing something wrong.


                Your worry about the ontological status of moral facts is important and valid. But moral facts may be an expression of the social contract, or they may supervene on facts about which acts maximize human welfare. BTW, there are analogous worries about the ontological status of mathematical facts (and facts about projected phenomena like color and sound) but those worries don’t imply that there aren’t mathematical facts.Report

              • Kim in reply to Morat20 says:

                Moral facts basically boil down to a single principle: “Don’t Cheat.”
                It’s what we need to do to make sure the game’s worth playin’Report

      • KatherineMW in reply to Jim Heffman says:

        Having a right to say something is not the same thing as having the right to say something without people reacting to what you say. Pointing out that someone is an awful, despicable person for saying something awful and despicable does not infringe on their rights.

        Also, free speech doesn’t extend to threats.Report

        • Jim Heffman in reply to KatherineMW says:

          So, no, “I will defend to the death your right to say it” doesn’t apply if you’re a bad person saying bad things for bad reasons. Free speech is only for people we like. Got it.Report

          • Evidently reading comprehension isn’t your strong point.

            Every reply has basically been “you can say whatever you want, but there will always be consequences to those comments.”

            Freedom of expression and speech are not freedom from criticism.Report

            • Jim Heffman in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

              Thread starter: “But goddamnit if they’re going to let someone tell them that they SHOULDN’T feel this way!”

              So it’s okay to tell people how they *should* feel and expect them to take you at all seriously?

              Like, I can tell you that you *should* hate Muslims and homosexuals? You’d think it was acceptable for communities to band together and shame people of unacceptable religion or personal behavior?Report

          • Murali in reply to Jim Heffman says:

            Dude, don’t be deliberately obtuse, you sound like a sociopathReport

  6. Mike Schilling says:

    Nob, can you point to what you’ve learned about Bozell’s involvement?

    And I hope it doesn’t need saying, but, yes, this sort of crap is so far beyond the pale that it can only be described with words like “criminal” and “sociopathic”.Report

  7. Jim Heffman says:

    Adam Baldwin has never *not* been the person we see here. People just assume that because they rilly rilly glomplike “Firefly” that everyone on it must be good and kind and think exactly like they do.Report

    • I don’t expect people to be saints, but I do hope they’re not well…misogynstic sociopaths.Report

    • George Turner in reply to Jim Heffman says:

      I’m not seeing the problem. Adam Baldwin hasn’t himself said anything overboard, and Zerlina Maxwell has one of the most idiotic positions I’ve seen in a long time, in terms of being disconnected from reality. She might as well claim that rape will disappear once we’ve built the new socialist man. Perhaps she should call Robert Downey Jr. on what the rapists in prison are really like, and do some cell-block visits to see if she really can change their culture, because if she can it will save everyone a whole lot of hurt. I’m not betting on a good outcome, though, because there are some seriously screwed up, violent people there.

      If “changing our culture” would eliminate crime, don’t you think we’d have accomplished it by now? With Obama pushing such ideas in Chicago, shouldn’t their murder rate have plummeted? Perhaps the most screwed up and violent people among us are the least affected by social mores? Perhaps that’s why we finally sent them to the big house after thirty arrests.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to George Turner says:

        Ugh, seriously?

        The problem with this thinking, George, is that it assumes all rapes are like that which we see on “Law & Order: SVU”: deranged men jumping out of bushes and violently sodomizing an old lady.

        The reality, unfortunately, is much different. Sleeping with a woman too intoxicated to give consent is rape. Pressuring an otherwise reluctant woman to have sex is rape. Exploiting power differentials to bed a woman is rape. Yet many men do not think of these things as rape. I know I didn’t when I saw such behavior going on and, thus, did not intervene. Had I better understood what rape was, had I been exposed to a cultural shift and accepted it, I might have, and that would have prevented real rapes from happening.

        But as long as people are going to insist that those aren’t REALLY rape, that the woman was just asking for it, that the perpetrators of such acts are simply studs adding to their docket of sexual conquests, we are going to see rape rates higher than they ought to be. We can’t reduce rapes to zero, but shifting cultural attitudes will reduce rapes far more than arming women will. And, before you start in with what I’m sure you will, I think women should have every right to arm themselves if they see fit. But I think that arguing for more guns as the solution to rape is straight up stupid.Report

        • James Hanley in reply to Kazzy says:

          Really well said, Kazzy. Rape on college campuses is a huuuuuge problem, and almost none of it is by psychopaths, but by guys who got drunk at a party and have been socialized into thinking that getting some when they want it is cool and manly. Socialize them into realizing that they’re just being vile shits who’ve really hurt someone and at least some of them are not going to do it. Contra George’s comment, it’s not about making rape disappear, but about diminishing its frequency by delegitimizing it.

          I’ve seen the effects on college students. I had a friend in college who had been date raped the summer before by a guy in her church youth group who gave her a ride home one Sunday night. A group of us that were her friends tried to help her deal with it emotionally, but the administrators at our religious college really leaned on us to not associate with each other after the night she punched a wall, because she didn’t have any other effective way to express her anger, and broke her hand. None of us returned the next year, and god only knows how things turned out for her.

          And I’ve been a member of a committee that reviews suspended students’ appeals for readmission. I vividly remember one young girl whose grades plummeted from As to Fs after midterm of her first semester, after she was raped at a party. She actually felt like she had to apologize for not dealing with the rape better. Amazingly, not one of the women on our committee said what had to be said, so after an uncomfortably long pause, I finally said it, that she never needed to apologize for not dealing well with having been raped. That’s the culture we have, and that’s what we need to change.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to George Turner says:

        I’m not seeing the problem.

        Wishing for someone to be raped and murdered is not an appropriate way to express disagreement.

        Adam Baldwin hasn’t himself said anything overboard,

        Feminism neither explains nor excuses rape.Report

        • Pinky in reply to Mike Schilling says:

          Lemme just guess that George didn’t see the problem with what Baldwin said, not with what the rape-threat guy said.

          Baldwin didn’t say that feminism explains or excuses rape. He said that we used to teach men not to rape.Report

          • Mike Schilling in reply to Pinky says:

            He said that because of feminism, men no longer respect women, and (by implication) that’s why they feel it’s OK to threaten to rape and kill Ms. Maxwell. Which makes sense, because we all feel free to threaten to rape and kill men.Report

            • Pinky in reply to Mike Schilling says:

              I don’t think that’s a fair reading of his comment. You’re reading it that (a) someone said that she should be raped and killed, and then (b) he said that it’s okay to say/do that because of feminism. I read it that (a) she said that we need to train men to not rape women, and (b) he said that we used to teach respect to women, but feminism put an end to that.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Pinky says:

                Awful typo on my part. “Teach respect to women”? Yikes! I meant “teach men to respect women”. To be fair, I’m also playing cards while I typed that comment, and I was doing a bad job at that too.Report

              • zic in reply to Pinky says:

                This makes no sense.

                Because rape has gone down. Feminism has been somewhat successful in bringing down the numbers of rapes; but not successful enough. Back in the day, when women were women and men were supposedly taught to respect them, there were still rapes, and women who were raped shamed into silence even more then they are now. That golden age of respect, it’s a fantasy to protect manly privileges, not a reality based on statistics about the crime of rape.Report

              • Pinky in reply to zic says:

                I’m not saying I agree with Baldwin’s point. I’m saying that Mike unfairly characterized it. There’s a difference between being wrong and evil; there’s also a difference between being wrong and someone thinking that you’re wrong. We could debate Baldwin’s point, and he may be 100% wrong, but that doesn’t mean Baldwin’s wishing for, or excusing, rape.Report

  8. zic says:

    There was a time when men were taught to respect women. Feminism put a stop to that.

    Ah yes. Blame women. When they were compliant and obedient (where they ever, really?), men respected them. But when they demanded to be treated equally, well, enough of that little lady.

    The way we even talk about rape is crazy; we try to control it by telling women to 1) be careful how they dress, 2) where they go, 3) who they’re with, 4) how intoxicated they get. And if a woman still gets raped, it must be her fault, she must have violated one of those rules.

    So imagine your car gets stolen. It was your fault because 1) the car must have been too flashy; 2) you parked it in the wrong neighborhood, 3) you shouldn’t have let your friends know you have such a nice car; 4) the gas tank was full. And to prevent auto theft in the future, instead of policing the thieves, we’re going to keep talking to you about items one through four in hopes of solving the problem.

    Maxwell is 100% right; if we want to decrease violent crimes against women, we need to focus on the perpetrators of those crimes. And that means men like you and you and you have to stand up and point out how utterly pathetic the Adam Baldwin’s of the world really are. Thank you, Nob, for doing that here.

    A good defense is only half the game.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to zic says:

      At some point though, somebody with a gun is going to have to get involved. Because there’s always going to be some people that are not very nice people.Report

      • zic in reply to Kolohe says:

        Yeah, right.

        Most rapes are not committed by strangers. They’re committed by a family member, a friend, a date. The violent stranger attack in the park are the exception, not the rule.

        So all the ladies should start packing heat on their hot dates. And after a drink or two, we’ll trust they won’t accidentally shoot you; we’ll hope she has better ability to exert self control while in her cups then the men who date rape demonstrate.

        Guns are not the solution to rape. Teaching men to understand what rape is, teaching men that women are people first, not objects of lust first, that’s a better solution. And hijacking a thread discussing rape and men’s responsibility to end rape with another discussion on guns is repulsive.

        I sometimes wonder at the root of much of the homophobia I’ve heard from men over the years — that they will be viewed as lust objects to be hit upon and taken advantage of by gay men in much they themselves treat women.

        /and all gay men the world over, please forgive me for suggesting this; it’s not about you, it’s about straight men’s fears of getting what they give.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to zic says:

          That is a REALLY interesting point regarding homophobia, zic. Men tend to be in control of sexual encounters; ceding control is usually voluntary and in pursuance of their own pleasure. A sexual encounter with another man presents a scenario where control is not automatic, an unfamiliar and likely fearful place for most men. You see a similar abhorrence for powerful women, whether that power is derived from their physical standing or the force of their personality. Anyone who might exhibit sexual control over a man quickly becomes someone to fear, hate, or ridicule.Report

        • Kolohe in reply to zic says:

          I thought the thread was about that we can all agree that some people are bigger jerks than a market square full of old timey soda shops and Jamaican Chicken food trucks? After that point of obvious agreement, everyone is taking the thread wherever they chose to.

          No kidding culture matters. It matters for all crimes. There is a false dichotomy though, that we can’t simultaneously conduct education while allowing women to avail themselves of whatever tools they wish to use – emphasis on *wish*, i.e. personal choice – for personal protection. Because while not all, and not even the majority, of sexual assaults are conducted by strangers, some obviously are.Report

          • Kazzy in reply to Kolohe says:

            Who here has said that women shouldn’t be allowed to arm themselves? I thought Maxwell addressed that directly, emphasizing what you also emphasized… that which the women *WISH* to do. I recognize that some people believe in more stringent gun control universally, but I don’t think anyone thinks or has argued that women who want to carry firearms to protect themselves from sexual violence should be prevented from doing so.

            And not everyone DOES agree… as evidenced by some of the responses here.Report

            • Tod Kelly in reply to Kazzy says:

              “Who here has said that women shouldn’t be allowed to arm themselves?”

              No one here, but it should be noted that in the Blaze story that got everyone so upset, it framed Maxwell’s message as her calling to disarm women and instead teach them to tell men they were bad if attacked.

              And to be fair, if we’re limiting ourselves to what is being said *here*, we do already have people here suggesting that this is the way people who are Republicans behave.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                I didn’t see The Blaze piece. If it characterized Maxwell as calling for disarming women who wish to be armed, then it misrepresented her views and The Blaze, not Maxwell, ought to be called to task for that position.

                Personally, I don’t care if the people making these comments are Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or Whig… they are disgusting, vile, hate-filled comments nonetheless. As discussed in my initial comment at 11:44, I do think there is a strand of thinking wherein folks willingly take on disgusting positions in opposition to the belief that such disgusting positions should not be held. “You think racist jokes aren’t just jokes but carry real consequences for perpetuating racism? Fuck you, I’ll tell one right now just to spite you.” That sort of attitude. I think that is more prevalent among conservatives but certainly see it amongst liberals as well. It is self-victimization, ultimately, something no ideology has a monopoly on.Report

              • Tod Kelly in reply to Kazzy says:

                “If it characterized Maxwell as calling for disarming women who wish to be armed, then it misrepresented her views and The Blaze, not Maxwell, ought to be called to task for that position.”

                I daresay the people that frequent The Blaze aren’t the kind of people that look for reasons to criticize The Blaze over whatever liberal The Blaze is warning them about. I don’t get the sense that they’re particularly big on nuance.Report

            • Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

              I recognize that some people believe in more stringent gun control universally, but I don’t think anyone thinks or has argued that women who want to carry firearms to protect themselves from sexual violence should be prevented from doing so.

              If they favor gun-free zones, they favor preventing women from carrying firearms to protect themselves in these places. That doesn’t make the position wrong, but I don’t see how that isn’t the position that is being taken?Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

                I guess it comes down to intentionality. The outcome might be the same, thus calling into question the position itself, but it does not necessarily mean that people explicitly believe in specifically disarming women.

                I’m not sure I’m being clear here… perhaps it is analogous to the fallacy of accusing animal rights activists as being hostile toward faiths that practice animal sacrifice. Does that make more sense?Report

              • Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

                Yeah, the intentionality isn’t there. Women or potential rape victims aren’t being targeted. I think that’s relevant, though also relevant is that the results would include disarming them and that it’s baked into the proposal.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

                Sure. But is anyone in the conversation arguing universal gun restrictions? I acknowledged them to concede that, yes, there are some people who seek a world wherein women would be barred from arming themselves, but I haven’t seen any of those people present in this conversation.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

                It doesn’t have to be in favor of universal gun bans. Prevent guns in a gun free zone, and you’ve already done something. This has been part of the debate in Colorado. The testimony of a woman who had a gun who had to put it up when she went into a gun-free zone and was raped. This doesn’t mean that gun-free zones are wrong, but it is a side-effect of them even if guns remain legal in the overall.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

                Gotcha. I’m not sure I even understand the purpose of a gun-free zone. I think private property owners should be free to decide for themselves what they will allow, but otherwise, gun laws should be universally applied. Personally, I’m in favor of of limited gun control (emphasis on the limited, not the control) not because I see guns as the panacea to solving the world’s ills that some proponents argue, but because I think we should do our best to expand freedoms and not curtail them.

                I suppose the question Colorado is: Would that women have been raped had there not existed a gun free zone? Which is a meaningful question for that particular set of circumstances, but still begs the question of why rape is happening.Report

              • greginak in reply to Kazzy says:

                I’m not particularly for gun free zones except in limited circumstances but i never thought the point of them was that those places will then be completely and perfectly free of any sort of gun violence. That is the silly interpretation from the pro-gun side. I gather the point of gun free zones is: guns, even legal ones, can lead to accidents or violence, so if you them out you have made the place a bit safer (especially where kids are often present) and lots of people really don’t like guns so keeping them out makes people tangibly more comfortable and feel safer. ( they would note that plenty of crimes with a gun are committed by people who own them legally). I assume they would also point out that some people don’t have a problem with some gun free zones, like court houses.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

                Greg, different gun-free zones occur for different reasons. Gun-free courthouses very much are to prevent violence from occurring. Universities? Well, I do think that’s part of it. Maybe accidents are another. But I think a lot of it is a desire to prevent people with guns on campus from intentionally doing bad things.Report

              • greginak in reply to Kazzy says:

                Yeah there is a somewhat different purpose but i noted courts as gun free zones to make the point that we are fine with some places being off limits to guns. A Uni campus is obviously a bit different than a court house, lessening accidents, fear of guns and fear of what legally owned guns lead to are also factors.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Kazzy says:

                Courthouses aren’t gun-free zones. If they were they ‘d get shot up all the time because they deal with a large criminal population that doesn’t obey the law, much less little signs on the walls, and many of those criminals would love to shoot a judge or two.

                Look around a court-house sometime. Every time you turn around you’ll see a guy with a badge and a gun on his hip.Report

              • Shazbot5 in reply to Will Truman says:

                Another side effect is women being raped at gun point, which is -the evidence seems to suggest- far more common than women using guns to prevent an attack. Guns make offense easier than defense.

                The argument is that rape is the problem and it should be attacked directly, at least partially by viewing men who commit the sort of not-as-violent date rape as the moral monsters they are. The solution to the problem of the prevalence should not involve arming women because that harms women, which is unfair, given that they are not causing the problem. The idea that women should arm themselves as a response to the threat of rape is itself, subtly, mysoginistic, since it is a solution that will harm women physically and psychologically, and since it comes close to perpetuating the myth that women are responsible for, even a little bit, preventing themselves being raped.

                Note that if women are required to carry guns to try to fend off attackers, women will be required to suffer (the probability of) the negative consequences of carrying a gun: the guilt of accidentally shooting a friend, the possibility of shooting themselves (happens even to the smart and careful), the need to train, the likelihood the gun will be used against them, etc.

                This data implies carrying a gun is unlikely to help you:


                This data implies that guns prevalence makes battery against women worse and more fatal:


                I think their may be some overtstatement in Zerlina’s argument. However, after she was viciously attacked like this by mysoginists is not the time to do anything but support her. Nit pikcing her arguments can wait, and doing it now fails to send a strong message that we agree in principle with her position on women not being responsible for their own rape.

                Its almost like nitpicking a debate between a KKK racist and a person who was just almost lynched. The claim, “well the KKK” guy has a point, sort of, just doesn’t need to be made, not so soon anyway.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to Shazbot5 says:

                Shaz, I agree that the primary issue here is Maxwell’s treatment and not the extent to which she was right or wrong. My first comment in this thread outlined (rather briefly) exactly what I thought of her treatment.Report

              • zic in reply to Shazbot5 says:

                Shaz, if you were in the room with me, I’d give you a hug.

                Really really awesome that you got this just right, thank you. I’m weeping with relief.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Shazbot5 says:

                Well, the irony is that today Zerlina is probably down at a gun store buying a 9mm because of all the rape threats.

                At least she didn’t come out in support of Mitt Romney, in which case she’d need to toss in an AR-15, too. (Gabriel Gifford’s husband is claiming he just bought an AR-15 “by accident” on his way out of a gun store.)Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Shazbot5 says:

                Gun rights activists threatening violence against folks who don’t share their views is certainly an effective way to ensure that society arms up. Afterall, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”Report

              • zic in reply to Shazbot5 says:

                George, just because that’s what you would do if you were threatened by rape does not mean it’s what she would do.

                She’s already shown what she’d do — speak out, and suggest it’s time to stop blaming the victims of the crime and start making the perps take responsibility and recognize why they’re committing these crimes.

                She’s a very brave woman to speak truth the the face of criminal privilege. The ‘go buy a gun’ is a mark of cowardice; of giving up, of having little faith that men can improve their characters.Report

              • Shazbot5 in reply to Shazbot5 says:

                Buying a gun to keep yourself or your family safe is like smoking cigarettes to help you diet to keep yourself from getting sick. Of course, in all probability the cigarettes will be more likely to kill you.Report

              • Shazbot5 in reply to Shazbot5 says:

                That’s Zerlina’s point. Arming yourself comes at a cost your safety, your family’s safety, your psychological and physical well-being. So to say to rape victoms and potential rape victims, the solution is that you should arm yourself is to inflict harm on the victim.Report

              • Brandon Berg in reply to Shazbot5 says:

                Those links don’t support the claims you’re making. They tell us nothing about how the risks an average person faces change when he buys a gun.Report

              • Shazbot5 in reply to Shazbot5 says:

                Having a gun in your home significantly increases your risk of death — and that of your spouse and children. And it doesn’t matter how the guns are stored or what type or how many guns you own. If you have a gun, everybody in your home is more likely than your non-gun-owning neighbors and their families to die in a gun-related accident, suicide or homicide. Furthermore, there is no credible evidence that having a gun in your house reduces your risk of being a victim of a crime. Nor does it reduce your risk of being injured during a home break-in. The health risks of owning a gun are so established and scientifically non-controvertible that the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement in 2000 recommending that pediatricians urge parents to remove all guns from their homes.”


                That article quoted above makes reference to the Hemenway article that I mentioned.Report

              • Shazbot5 in reply to Shazbot5 says:

                I also mean to link to this, and since I only linked to some of Hemenway’s older papers, I see your charge has apparent validity, but not so much now that Hemenway has gone further and put all of info together and summarized in a 2011 paper:

                “Abstract: This article summarizes the scientific literature on the health risks and benefits of having a gun in the home for the gun owner and his/her family. For most contemporary Americans, scientific studies indicate that the health risk of a gun in the home is greater than the benefit. The evidence is overwhelming for the fact that a gun in the home is a risk factor for completed suicide and that gun accidents are most likely to occur in homes with guns. There is compelling evidence that a gun in the home is a risk factor for intimidation and for killing women in their homes. On the benefit side, there are fewer studies, and there is no credible evidence of a deterrent effect of firearms or that a gun in the home reduces the likelihood or severity of injury during an altercation or break-in. Thus, groups such as the American Academy of Pediatrics urge parents not to have guns in the home.”


                That is a 2011 meta-review. The best evidence indicates that buying a gun to keep you and your family safer is like buying everyone cigarettes to keep you slim and healthy. (You can avoid junk food better when smoking, IMO. And I distinctly remember people telling me that smoking was good for them because it kept their weight down, regardless of the cancer risk.)Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Shazbot5 says:

                Owning a gun is especially hazardous for people with names like Hemenway.Report

              • Shazbot5 in reply to Will Truman says:

                The gun free zone will also prevent rape at gun point. No guns or no gun zones may -the evidence weakly suggests will- reduce rape rates.

                Also, other countries have lower rape rates without necessarily increasing concealed carry. Certainly concealed carry and gun prevalence in the US (or when you look by states at the states with the most guns) hasn’t seemed to reduce the rape rate. Though it is hard to make a positive case for guns making rape worse, there is little evidence that gun bans or gun free zones would increase rape rates, especially in state by state, country by country data.Report

              • Citizen in reply to Shazbot5 says:

                Rape free zones?Report

    • Kazzy in reply to zic says:

      The idea embodied in the quoted statement shows a fundamental misunderstanding of what it means to respect someone. Respect requires consideration for the other’s terms, needs, wants, and desires. If I only treat you well when you meet my standards, that is not respect; that is self-serving.Report

  9. Recovered Republican says:

    This is one of the things that made me give up on the GOP.Report

  10. Will Truman says:

    Yes, out of bounds. Beyond the pale. A lot of them ranging between odious and (in the case of actual threats to her person) criminal.

    (This comment should not be construed as full agreement with Maxwell. Nor should expressions of any disagreement be construed as “cover” for these sorts of comments.)Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

      Can you elaborate on your disagreement with Maxwell’s stated position? I’ve seen some knee-jerk disagreement that doesn’t carry much weight in actually refuting her position, but think you’ve probably got something more thoughtful or constructive up your sleeve.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

        My disagreement isn’t so much with the notion that we should (also) focus on male culture, but that conversations towards female self-protection and precautions are problematic because we’re not discussing men. I don’t see any either-or here.

        I mean, if your first response to hearing about a rape is thinking that she shouldn’t have put herself in whatever position she’s in, or that she should have fought him off, that’s a real problem.

        But if we’re having a discussion about what women can do, that’s also a worthwhile discussion to have because when a man rapes a woman, the one of the two that didn’t want it to happen is the woman. That doesn’t make her remotely responsible (indeed, to me it suggests the opposite), but it does unfortunately place more of the burden on her to prevent it.

        I mean, I don’t like saying this because it can all be construed as “blaming the victim” and it is a dramatically unfair state of affairs. And one I am interested in remediating from the outside where possible, including attempts to change the way men view women and rape. But with boots on the ground, however unfair it may be to spend time on the person who doesn’t want it to occur, it is not an unimportant thing.

        (I should note that any perceived disagreement I have with Maxwell may be based on a misunderstanding of her position and a projection from other conversations I’ve had on the subject.)Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

          Ask and ye shall receive! Thanks for your response.

          You are right that there is not an either/or. What I understood from Maxwell was her belief that ALL conversations about rape focus on the role of the victim, a fact/perception with which she is tired/frustrated and given a large audience such that Hannity commands, sought to change. So, sure there was something a bit subversive to her handling of the appearance, shifting the topic of conversation in a way that might not have been necessary, but which she saw as a way to bring an ignored conversation to the masses. Personally, I can’t find much fault in that.

          A few years ago, I got into it with a blogger who went by Marge Twain (might have been her real name… I’m not sure). I stumbled upon a post regarding the show “Tough Love”, where some guy lectured women are just what they were doing wrong in the dating world. The episode being discussed involved the host telling one woman that if she continued to dress the way she was, she was going to get raped. Marge took great issue with this and I disagreed, arguing much what you argue here: it would be great if the culture shifts but, as of now, it hasn’t and we shouldn’t pretend that women can’t or shouldn’t take some steps that might secure their safety, practically speaking.

          I say this because yours is a position I understand and once held myself. And I don’t necessarily disagree with it: practically speaking there are some things women can do that might lower their chances of being the victims of sexual violence. But they can’t reduce that chance to zero, many of them already take such steps, and these steps come at a cost to their freedom and their dignity. So when Sean Hannity, no friend to women, starts lecturing them about even greater steps they should be taking, greater freedoms they should sacrifice, greater indignities they should be subjected to, I can understand why women like Maxwell would balk at even reasonable suggestions.

          I think of this much like I think of many conversations about how we can address disparities/inequalities between racial groups. Yes, there is a shared burden… but as a white person, I should focus on the role of white people and leave black folks to discuss their burden and action steps. In this conversation, men, like Hannity, should focus on the role of men and leave women like Maxwell and the other female guess to discuss if or what steps women should take.

          Ultimately, men don’t get to make that decision for women, which is too often the case when conversations remain male dominated.Report

          • Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

            Re: How she is dressed.

            If it is the case that dressing a certain way makes certain things more likely, that ought to at least be a part of the conversation. What I find interesting in the discussion (and I should add that I had the exact same evolution on the subject that you did) is that there is actually little indication that is the case. And yet that is precisely what a lot of people are hip to discuss. That is indeed indicative of a part of the problem. We seek to spread responsibility. I don’t think it’s inherently misogynistic. I think a part of it is a natural “There has to be something we can do to prevent this thing we do not want to happen without relying on the person that wants it to happen not doing it” reflex to such things.

            There is something, to me, that feels inappropriate to say as a male to say “You should keep a gun on you” or “You should take self-defense classes” to avoid being raped. Or lecturing the putative victims of rape on how to avoid it more generally.

            On the other hand, on Unfogged a while back was vociferous objection to a university flier talking about relatively simple precautions a woman should take to avoid being assaulted. There was almost nothing objectionable on the list (it didn’t make any suggestions on how to dress, for instance) but there were objections because it was putting the impetus on women in what read to me very much like a “Don’t forget to secure your belongings and lock your car” sort of way.

            I also want to add… a part of the discussion on what women may or may not be able to do to decrease the odds of sexual assault is that we need to talk to men about how they need to respond to this. Such as, if a woman you don’t know very well doesn’t want to be alone with you, she’s not a b*%$# and she’s not paranoid, she’s worried about this thing that happens to women with all too much frequency.

            One of the problems I think we have with our approach to the thing is that there is often a disconnect on the male side between thinking a woman who was raped would have been better off by taking certain precautions and then getting upset when women do that around us because of course we aren’t a rapist (and she is somehow supposed to know that).

            Anyway, if gun control is a part of the topic on rape, I don’t consider it untoward for men to discuss the issue with women. Now, if the subject is rape more specifically and what we should do to stop it, I am inclined that more of the floor should be given to women than to men. It is a problem that men are so frequently the talking heads on both sides of every issue, but that goes beyond this.

            Not having seen the segment, I’m not sure what the case was with Hannity. My assumption, having read about Colorado and the flap that occurred there, that the discussion specifically involved gun control and not just rape more generally. Which could itself be a problem with the parameters set up, but it does seem to me to be in-keeping with current events.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

              Great points. I have to run and can’t respond in turn, but want to say I appreciate your contribution here. I said to Hanley recently that in my conversations with you, I often forget that you self-identify as conservative because you don’t fit the stereotype I tend to hold of conservatives, at least in terms of your methodology. As such, you challenge me in ways because you often present a legitimately dissenting opinion that is thoughtful and principled. Even when I disagree, I can’t disrespect or disregard. Not sure if you ever saw that I said that but wanted to make clear how much I appreciate your perspective. And how exchanges like these give me hope that we are not all destined for partisan silliness.


            • Stillwater in reply to Will Truman says:

              Anyway, if gun control is a part of the topic on rape, I don’t consider it untoward for men to discuss the issue with women.

              It certainly can be. If rape and rape culture are caused by and result from men, then advice from men which doesn’t address or admit that fact will be viewed by some women (and some men!) as insulting. It gets dangerously close to apologetics and blame shifting.

              Maxwell’s views presupposed that male culture is at least in part responsible for rape culture. If a man responds to that view – especially when expressed by a woman – view by shifting the burden of responsibility to prevent rape onto women exclusively, then he’s dismissed the woman’s perhaps factually correct argument as irrelevant. There’s an element of privilege in doing that. And it’s insulting. But it also unintentionally acts to confirm the main argument, which is men not taking responsibility for rape culture.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to Stillwater says:


                I think it depends on the parameters of the conversation. If the parameters are “gun control and rape” then I don’t think taking an opposing view here is untoward or insulting. I don’t think it suddenly becomes insulting because it’s Sean Hannity and not that woman in Colorado saying it.

                Now, whether we should tie the subjects together, and whether it represents a problem that we did, is a different question. I mentioned as much. In fact, I addressed a lot of things outside of the portion that you quoted. I could repeat them, but I already said them.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Will Truman says:

                Sure. I don’t mean to discount your other views on the topic. But men expressing to women that they (causally) need to arm up for their own personal safety, or that they (normatively) ought to arm up in order to take responsibility for their personal safety, without also addressing the role male culture plays in causing the situation endangering women’s personal safety is an argumentative approach that lends itself to unfavorable judgments.

                We can theoretically about these issues impartially and sorta academically. But if we do that, and view rape and rape culture impartially and academically we can’t help but realize the causal role men play in creating and maintaining it. So personally, I don’t see any way to honestly and impartially discuss solutions to the problem – well, with any seriousness, anyway – without also discussing its causes.Report

              • trumwill mobile in reply to Stillwater says:

                Still, I expressly expressed discomfort with men telling women they need to carry guns (or take self defense courses).Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to trumwill mobile says:

                Is there a distinction here among doing something that might conflict with your values, like carrying a gun, doing something that’s a significant investment of time and effort, like mastering self-defense, and altering your behavior, like not walking across campus alone at night? The last of these seems to me to be unobjectionable good advice, like not crossing the street unless you’re sure you’ve made eye contact with any oncoming cars.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to trumwill mobile says:


                I mentioned this somewhere else on the thread, where eventually the burden placed on women becomes onerous in terms of the cost to their freedom and/or their dignity, not to mention practical costs like time and money.

                Meanwhile, the primary cost to men is not raping.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to trumwill mobile says:

                That was my point: “Go armed” is one thing, “Don’t walk alone at night” is another, and the latter can apply to males as well.Report

              • trumwill mobile in reply to trumwill mobile says:

                Men don’t not go out at night for fear I’d rape, though. To answer your question, there absolutely is a spectrum, though any of it can be interpreted as “blaming the victim” (“Women shouldn’t have to be careful to avoid rape because men shouldn’t rape.” Which is true, but not the limit to what I am going to tell Lain fifteen years hence.)Report

              • Kazzy in reply to trumwill mobile says:

                Interestingly enough, most of the measures being discussed (self defense, arming, avoiding walking alone at night) are aimed at preventing the rapes which Maxwell does not seem to be addressing, as I understand her point.

                Violent predators, however small the actual number is, aren’t going to be particularly responsive to cultural changes.

                Date rape and other forms of acquaintance rape are what I believe her to be addressing, most of which are much more likely to be impacted by cultural shifts than from female-centered prevention methods.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to trumwill mobile says:

                most of the measures being discussed (self defense, arming, avoiding walking alone at night) are aimed at preventing the rapes which Maxwell does not seem to be addressing, as I understand her point.

                Exactly. Thanks for saying that explicitly Kazzy. That’s certainly been the background assumption I’ve been assuming. I think the distinction is important.Report

            • Chris in reply to Will Truman says:

              if it is the case that dressing a certain way makes certain things more likely, that ought to at least be a part of the conversation.

              There are several issues with focusing on how a woman is dressed, in addition to the fact that how a woman is dressed is often used to blame the woman for her own rape. Now, don’t get me wrong, if I had a daughter (I don’t), I’d probably talk to her about dressing conservatively in certain situations as a precaution, even though in doing so I’d essentially be letting a rape culture determine what my daughter should wear, which is pretty damn fucked up and I’d feel pretty shitty about it.

              But the real issue is that rape isn’t about sex, it’s about power, and changing what a woman wears is not going to change the fact that men are going to try to exert their power over women. In fact, I doubt it will decrease its likelihood all that much, if at all.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Chris says:

                Can we explore the underlying logic behind the criticism of women’s outfits? Besides the fact I haven’t seen any evidence that women dressed a certain way are more likely to be the victim of sexual assault, why do we necessarily assume that women dressed a certain way are more interested in sex than others? Why can’t their clothing preferences be based around comfort or style or aesthetics? Why do we immediately leap to thinking, “Well, she had a short skirt and halter top on… she must want sex”? There is something deeply flawed in that logic.Report

              • Kim in reply to Kazzy says:

                Some outfits are deliberately designed as Victimware —
                they serve as flags that actually can attract predators.
                But nobody ever ever wants to talk about those outfits.

                Oh, no, it’s always the woman dressing “sexy” who’s the problem.Report

        • zic in reply to Will Truman says:

          Will, I like this very much.

          My disagreement isn’t so much with the notion that we should (also) focus on male culture, but that conversations towards female self-protection and precautions are problematic because we’re not discussing men. I don’t see any either-or here.

          You lay out that there are two things going on here in rape prevention:

          1) discussing men, and their role in rape prevention.

          2) helping women build good defenses against being raped.

          #2 is maybe a gun, maybe a can of mace, maybe always taking a cab home or travelling in a flock of folk

          #1 is where I’ve maintained we need more focus — more ‘dont be that guy.’ The notion of full consent, of joyful participation matters. It’s not just about you getting lucky; she should be getting lucky, too, and she has the right to feel that way after the fact.

          I hold that part of defending myself — part of #2 — is the right to look every man in the eye and say, ”If you are not talking about men’s role in preventing rape; if you are not talking to other men about their behavior when it’s rapey, then you are part of the problem.” Men need to become part of the solution simply by learning to recognize and condemn their own inexcusable behavior and take responsibility for that behavior.

          It’s not a joke. It’s not getting lucky. It’s a violent crime.Report

          • Will Truman in reply to zic says:

            I have to run, but I have to admit that when I read stuff like this…

            It’s not a joke. It’s not getting lucky. It’s a violent crime.

            My eyes glaze over a bit. Mostly because I simply cannot image it being any other way. The notion of viewing rape as a joke – as having gotten lucky – is alien to me, by and large. There are certain exceptions for gray areas (mutualdrunksex, consentual-statutory rape), I can’t imagine seeing such a thing as a sense of accomplishment. And with the exception of prison jokes (which I have come to see as being as repulsive as they are, but before that…), I am equally at a loss with it being a joke.

            Now, having said that, I know that there are people who think differently. I’m not saying that they aren’t. But “Stand up against this” and the implication that I need to be told to do so is weird. At least among my crowd.

            My not-entirely-evolved crowd, I should add. Which is the thing. There are things that my crowd does wrong. I listed one elsewhere, which is to be too critical of the measures that women take to protect themselves. Taking it too personally, even while thinking these measures are okay in the abstract.

            Ultimately, though I’m not going to tell Lain that the solution to the problem is to try to shame men. Not because it’s unfair to men, but because I don’t see it as effective. I am instead going to tell her to be careful. Which is unfairly putting a burden on her, but she will look after herself in a way that most men won’t.

            Now, if Lain is followed by Billy, well then respecting women and understanding where women come from will be a part of their upbringing. Not laughing at rape jokes would be a part of that, though I’d hope it wouldn’t be necessary (Mom never said that to me and never needed to).Report

            • zic in reply to Will Truman says:

              Ultimately, though I’m not going to tell Lain that the solution to the problem is to try to shame men.

              That puts the burden on Lain, doesn’t it? But Lain isn’t the one about to commit a crime; she’s the potential victim of a crime.

              So let’s be perfectly clear: I am not in any way, shape, or form suggesting this is how to instruct Lain to defend herself from rape; this is how you should defend her from rape — put the emphasis on men’s behavior. Teach her safe behavior; teach her to recognize warning signs, teach her all the important things we already teach girls.

              But shaming men to make them comprehend what rape actually is? That’s not Lain’s job. It’s my job, I’m doing it right now. And I’m clearly saying it’s your job, too.

              I find it very distressing that it’s so obvious we should teach women how to behave, and so little emphasis is given to teach men how to behave. It makes me sick.

              I get that you don’t think your part of the problem; that you don’t feel call to take overt action. But when Lain’s subjected to things you’ve seen your friends do to other women you will not feel this way; you’ll have trouble refraining from overt action. And Lain will hide the abuses she experiences from you because she’ll know it will trigger overt action on your part. Ask your wife; I’m sure hid many inappropriate things from her father.Report

  11. KatherineMW says:

    This is absolutely disgusting and out of line.

    And I think Zerlina made an excellent point. If the large majority of rape is not by random strangers (and stats support that it is not), then focusing on women’s ability to defend themselves doesn’t solve the problem. And yes, women should not have to do anything to avoid being raped.

    Hannity was showing a preconception that I’ve noticed as very, very prevalent among conservatives – that society can be split into two groups, “regular people” and “criminals”. The former are good, decent people who we don’t need to be afraid of; the latter are scary dangerous people who we can’t reform, and if we lock up or kill the latter we’ll be safe. The idea that people who we don’t automatically identify as “criminals” can still commit crimes – that a normally law-abiding citizen could buy a gun, and then shoot his girlfriend with it if he finds out she’s been cheating on him, for example; or that regular college students rape women because parts of our culture tell them having sex with a passed-out drunk woman is hijinks rather than rape – doesn’t seem to compute when conservatives talk about crime.Report

    • greginak in reply to KatherineMW says:

      +1 re: the odd misperception about two groups: good people and bad people.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to greginak says:

        E.g. the argument that Clarence Thomas couldn’t have harassed his female underlings because he’s not a bad person, but Anita Hill could have invented the whole thing because she’s a delusional, vindictive b-word.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to greginak says:

        You’re right. Aside from the fact that it’s a pretty good rule of thumb, it’s absolutely ridiculous.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Brandon Berg says:


          In my younger days, I hooked up with a girl who was probably too drunk to give proper consent. We were both under 18 and intoxicated, her probably moreso than I. We did not have sex but we fooled around. I don’t think she would have hooked up with me if she was sober. My actions that night would fit many definitions of rape or sexual assault.

          So am I a good person or a bad person?Report

    • zic in reply to KatherineMW says:

      If the large majority of rape is not by random strangers (and stats support that it is not), then focusing on women’s ability to defend themselves doesn’t solve the problem.

      Speaking up, speaking out, and demanding men hold themselves accountable is how we defend ourselves; it is defending ourselves; it is one of the ways to diminish the problem.Report

  12. Damon says:

    Ah the internets….

    Each individual is the person who is primarily responsible for their own safety, and that means that women are the primarily defense against rapists, of any kind, “classic” or “date rape, etc. Everyone else (men, gov’t, etc.) play second chair. Men can alter the environment marginally by supporting women, not encouraging certain boorish behaviors, and so forth, but, there will always be men who rape. It’s wiser for a woman to not do the following:

    Wear very revealing clothing in proximity to lots of men drinking
    Being alone late at night in poorly illuminated areas of the city, etc.
    Not going to some guy’s doom room after you both have been drinking.
    etc. etc.

    Dangerous scenarios can and should be avoided by having friends, winggirls, etc. around you for safety. Carrying a firearm is a choice as well and a final backup plan in case all the other cautions fail or you didn’t practice them, but that’s a woman’s choice

    And I’ll take exception to the concept of date rape in the context of alcohol. If she’s too drunk to give consent, and isn’t responsible for her actions, and he’s just as drunk, why is he responsible for his actions? Please….Report

    • Kim in reply to Damon says:

      Thinking of a gun as a final backup plan is awful misleading…Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Damon says:

      If you go out drinking with another guy, and after you’ve both had a few too many and you’ve passed out he steals your wallet and your car keys, why is he responsible for his actions?


    • Murali in reply to Damon says:

      No no no! when someone deliberately violates your rights the responsibility for that action is on that person, not on the victim.Report

      • Damon in reply to Murali says:

        key word “deliberately”.Report

        • Kim in reply to Damon says:

          yes. that is in fact the key word. The deliberate removal of the ability to give consent OR to defend oneself (with a gun, say…) ought to be punished by the harshest means possible.

          This is why it is misleading to say that the final backup plan is a gun.Report

          • Damon in reply to Kim says:

            I think you miss my point. A firearm, or any other personal defense tool, but primarily a firearm, is the last resort. There weren’t called “equalizers” for nothing. A 98 pound female can defend herself quite easily with one.

            No responsible owner of a firearm carrying concealed should ever get into a scenario where they are too drunk to give consent through alcohol. My comments about firearms relate to the non “date rape” scenarios.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Damon says:

      Others have addressed other points you’ve made, so I will just focus on this:

      “And I’ll take exception to the concept of date rape in the context of alcohol. If she’s too drunk to give consent, and isn’t responsible for her actions, and he’s just as drunk, why is he responsible for his actions?”

      I do think it is possible for both parties to be past the point of giving consent. At that point, if the interaction is “mutual” (mutual as in both parties are actively pursuing it, not mutual in the sense of giving formal consent), I don’t know that calling it date rape is appropriate. However, if one party is considerably drunker than the other, or one party deliberately facilitated the other in getting drunker than they would have liked, or one party was obviously the aggressor, you start to cross lines.

      I would also add that the vast, vast, vast majority of women who make accusations of date rape and the like genuinely feel violated and victimized. The process of making a formal rape accusation is a harrowing process; it is not one done lightly. So while a woman might falsely accuse a man in terms of her account of the events being inaccurate, the idea that women get drunk, sleep with drunk guys, wake up regretting an unfortunate encounter, and go to the police is simply a fallacy. Yes, there are cases of deliberately false accusations. But they are the exception.Report

      • Damon in reply to Kazzy says:

        “I do think it is possible for both parties to be past the point of giving consent. At that point, if the interaction is “mutual” (mutual as in both parties are actively pursuing it, not mutual in the sense of giving formal consent), I don’t know that calling it date rape is appropriate. However, if one party is considerably drunker than the other, or one party deliberately facilitated the other in getting drunker than they would have liked, or one party was obviously the aggressor, you start to cross lines.”

        You said it better than I did. But why do I suspect that even given this situation, the risk to the guy is still high for a charge of date rape?Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Damon says:

          Well, how are you defining “high”?

          Many, perhaps most, date rapes go unreported.
          Those that do, as I understand it, do not often lead to convictions.

          I realize that someone may be convicted in the court of public opinion but, honestly, when is the last time you saw a guy shunned because he hooked up with a drunk girl? These guys usually get high-fived and pay no consequence for their action.Report

        • Kim in reply to Damon says:

          Cultural attitudes.
          There are plenty of women who go to parties simply to get fucked, and use alcohol to take away some of their “responsibility”.

          Those aren’t the people who are being victimized.

          “I Went Someplace I Thought Was Safe, and I did Spicy Things… and then Something Really Bad Happened.” — these are the people who are saying “rape.”

          This is above and beside the everpresent problem of actual -predators-, who tend to be good enough at choosing targets that they don’t get rape charges, often.Report

    • bookdragon01 in reply to Damon says:

      So if you went out drinking with another guy, got too drunk to object, and he was also extremely drunk, it would be okay with you to wake up the next day and find that he’d used you for sex?Report

  13. Chris says:

    Rape has, in recent years, become somewhat easier to prove when reported soon after it occurs, with rape kits, DNA testing, and police forces that are better trained to deal with sexual assault. However, none of this makes attempted rape, even if reported immediately, any easier to prove, and it’s still often the case that both rape and attempted rape end up as her word against his situations in which the victim is put on trial as much or more than the perpetrator. So my question is this: if we encourage women to use guns (or any weapons) to thwart their own rapists, how many women do you think will end up on trial for murder because they can’t prove the guys (potentially dead, now, but if alive, probably not eager to admit what they were doing when they got shot) were actually trying to rape them? This may be the case with any self-defense claim without witnesses, but rape is a special case in that there is a whole segment of the population that assumes that rape accusations are false almost reflexively.

    I’m not saying that this means a woman shouldn’t defend herself, if she can, gun or no gun, merely that I see all sorts of problems with putting a gun in every woman’s hand, because misogyny will take over as it always does, especially where anything remotely sexual is concerned.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Chris says:

      Excellent point, Chris.

      The jerk in me is curious what the overlap between folks who reflexively assume rape accusations are false is with folks who believe George Zimmerman should not have been arrested.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to Chris says:

      This *is* an exceptionally good point, Chris. The same standard of proof that saves GZ could also save women. A higher standard of proof for GZ would also be a higher standard for women. And when it comes to rape, and such, there are racial dynamics in addition to gender dynamics. A woman who shoots a black man who she says was about to rape her could very easily get a different reception than a woman who shoots a white man on the same basis.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Chris says:

      I’m trying to figure this out.

      So one of the downsides of having women shoot their potential rapists is that it’s easier to prove rape than that a shooting was done in self-defense?

      It seems to me that the problem is the burden of proof required for self-defense, here.Report

      • Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

        So one of the downsides of having women shoot their potential rapists is that it’s easier to prove rape than that a shooting was done in self-defense?

        Jay, no, it’s that proving self-defense is difficult when there are no witnesses, and proving rape is notoriously difficult, so when you combine the two, you get new levels of difficulty. This is compounded by the fact that people tend to blame the victims of rape for the rapes themselves (in fact, often by default treating rape accusations as false), making them all the less likely to be sympathetic to self-defense claims in rape cases, especially in the case of the most common types of rape (e.g., date rape).Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Chris says:

          I don’t know how “attempted rape” might be proven in a court of law when there are no witnesses and the only person who survived the incident is the woman who happens to have admitted to have been holding the gun when it fired.

          That said, I’m fairly sure that there are enough people out there who would be willing to buy a self-defense argument despite a prosecutor’s assertion that the woman not have engaged in particular behavior if she didn’t want to find herself in a position where she’d have to shoot someone else in self-defense.

          In the US, anyway.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

            This is another thing that we talked about in Women’s Studies a million years ago (between Anita Hill and Paula Jones for those who are keeping score at home):

            When a husband kills his wife, he’s usually charged with 2nd degree murder. When a wife kills her husband, she’s usually charged with 1st.

            When we explored why, it had to do with stuff like the husband not intending to *KILL* the wife, just beat her up. When a wife kills her husband, however, she tends to do stuff like “buy extra booze first” and get him passed-out drunk before she shoots him… which, according to the law, indicates premeditation.

            How best to solve this problem?

            Outside of stuff like prosecutorial discretion actually meaning something, I’m stuck with stuff like jury nullification and/or expansion of self-defense laws.

            But I imagine that that last one would leave a lot of bad tastes in a lot of people’s mouths.Report

            • Kim in reply to Jaybird says:

              Note: even waiting a few hours past when the last abuse happened is enough for the woman to be charged with 1st degree. The man gets charged with 2nd degree because he is enraged.

              A woman lashing out generally doesn’t have the proximate danger that often is necessary for a 2nd degree murder (vis 1st).Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Kim says:

                Didn’t Battered Women’s Syndrome attempt to address this? Or is that largely a work of fiction, like pleading temporary insanity?Report

              • gregiank in reply to Kazzy says:

                BWS is shaky science. I’m not fond of it in general allthough i can’t say there is nothing to it. I was all for GZ being arrested and charged, and then given fair trial. That is pretty much what i would want for any woman who kills an attacker. Killing someone should bring serious scrutiny. Maybe in some cases there shouldn’t be charges or arrests, but still, serious scrutiny.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to gregiank says:

                I concur. There should be room for affirmative defenses, including BWS if it can be substantiated, but scrutiny is in order. I think this would take some really intense training on the part of law enforcement to be both properly thorough but also responsive to the needs of women (and men) who themselves might be victims.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

        Chris’s point is that rape is hard to prove. If a woman kills her attacker and the burden of proof for claiming self-defense is as high as it is for proving rape, a number of women won’t be able to meet it.

        It might well be that the burden of proof is different, but I think it is a reasonable question.

        When women are raped, they are often asked, “What evidence do you have that you were raped other than your word? None? Then we can’t substantiate the claim.”

        Now imagine a woman on the verge of being raped shooting her attacker. “What evidence do you have other than you were on the verge of being raped other than your word? None? Then we are charging you with manslaughter.”Report

        • Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

          If a woman kills her attacker and the burden of proof for claiming self-defense is as high as it is for proving rape, a number of women won’t be able to meet it.

          Is the burden of proof that high? That’s one of the things that makes this quandary so interesting. It obviously isn’t that high for GZ and Florida’s thresholds are not, I have come to find, not that unusual.

          Seems to me that one of the major concerns here would be “scary black men” at increased likelihood of getting shot.Report

          • Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

            That’s what I’m wondering, Will.

            And the varying thresholds confuse and concern me.

            On the one hand, I was a strong advocate of GZ being arrested, or at least a more thorough investigation taking place that required more evidence for an affirmative defense (for the record, I had far more issues with the handling of the case than with GZ).
            On the other, if I saw someone putting forth the arguments I was putting forth in relation to a potential rape victim shooting her alleged attack, I’d be very uncomfortable.

            And now I don’t know how to make high or low of it. I’ll probably just end up blaming Republicans all the same. :-pReport

            • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

              And, as you point out, there are particular segments of the population that are far more likely to take on the consequences of going down this road.Report

      • Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

        And again, I don’t mean to discourage women from defending themselves against rapists. I only point this out in order to illustrate that rape culture makes even the “gun in every woman’s hands” solution problematic.Report

  14. BlaiseP says:

    I was taught not to attempt to shoot anyone within arm’s reach. The weapon goes into play at that point: the target can snatch it away or deflect the shot. Often as not, it’s the would-be shooter who ends up in the ambulance and not the attacker.Report

    • bookdragon01 in reply to BlaiseP says:

      Yes. This is exactly one of the points frequently made in rape defense classes: a gun is not an effective preventative measure in most cases because by the time you realize the danger (know for certain the guy doesn’t just look a little threatening, but really _is_ going to attack you), he’s too close.

      In fact, at least back in the 90s when I was more involved in helping with those classes, the statistics were that a woman carrying was much more likely to have the gun taken from her and used against her. And that’s in the stranger-rape scenario. In the case of date rape, the chance of being able to pull and use the gun for defense is even less.Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to bookdragon01 says:

        Essentially a Tueller Drill.Report

        • bookdragon in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

          Yes. This.

          Basically, according to the guns-stop-rape people, every woman should essentially have SWAT team-level training to protect herself from rape. 😐

          That’s probably what bothers me most about the gun debate aspect of this. It’s just another excuse to blame the victim: she wasn’t carrying; didn’t spend enough time practicing/training… if she’d only had a gun/not had it in her purse where she couldn’t grab it easily/practiced more at quick draw/etc. this wouldn’t have happened to her.

          I mean, I’ve put considerable effort into learning martial arts because personal experience made it an avenue for taking back some control and not being f-ing _afraid_, but there are a lot of people for whom that is not an option for a lot of reasons and quite honestly the burden should NOT be on the woman to turn herself into a trained warrior to keep from being raped!Report

      • Kim in reply to bookdragon01 says:

        And that’s in the case of “actually violent” rape.
        A good proportion of the time during rapes, a woman can’t even say “no” — and here we are, fucking telling her to draw a fucking gun??Report

  15. Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    With regard to rape, a big step in the right direction would be to have women not feel betrayed by the institutions that are supposed to support them.Report

    • zic in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      MRS, from what showed on the front page, “With regard to rape, a big step in the right direction would be to have women,” I immediately thought, “what about men?”

      But I clicked through, and I thank you for not preaching to women yet again, but actually addressing the problems women face reporting rape.

      Thank you, and forgive my momentary surge of irate.Report

  16. DRS says:

    I wish the issue of date rape hadn’t come up because it doesn’t have anything to do with Zerlina Maxwell’s situation. What she’s being threatened with is violence, pure and simple, and we’re kind of getting away from that, I think, when we debate misunderstood social cues while under the influence of stimulants. Maybe it’s because there’s really not all that much to say beyond: “Yeah, these guys suck and have passed beyond the bounds of humanity.”Report

    • Kazzy in reply to DRS says:


      I think people discussing date rape are referring to Maxwell’s initial point and how changing our culture can lead to a reduction in the threat women face. There is no mistaking that the attacks being directed at her are unmitigated hate.Report