The Wrong Friends and the Wrong Enemies

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Jonathan McLeod

Jonathan McLeod is a writer living in Ottawa, Ontario. (That means Canada.) He spends too much time following local politics and writing about zoning issues. Follow him on Twitter.

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  1. Avatar Roger Ferguson
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    says:

    “What we would consider deeply inappropriate if done to a woman is just a prank committed in poor taste when inflicted on a man.”

    A view shared by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Scalia, who cautioned against over-reaction to ordinary “male horseplay” in the employment discrimination context. (Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, Inc. 523 U.S. 75 (1998)).

    .http://laws.findlaw.com/us/000/96-568.htmlReport

  2. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    From a lawerly prospective, I think it is too easy to say he was released without charges because he was a celeb or the police office was a man but those could have been factors. It could also be looking for an argument.

    1. People get released without charges but that does not mean charges cannot be brought later as long as the applicable statute of limitations has not expired.

    2. People get released without charges because the amount of energy and resources needed to prove something that carries a relatively minor punishment is to great a burden. People seem to generally dislike this kind of resource allocation but it is necessary.Report

  3. Avatar Chris
    Ignored
    says:

    You keep using the driving legal limit for alcohol as if that’s the “legal limit” for giving consent for sex. People kept asking you in the comments of the last post if that’s the law in Canada, and as far as I can tell have shown pretty convincing arguments that it isn’t.

    And they have to be correct, right? In most states in the U.S., drivers 18-21 can’t drive with over 0.02% BAC (and I think the same applies to commercial drivers). But no one in their right mind argues that someone at 0.03% can’t consent to sex, since you can quite easily reach that level after two glasses of wine.

    0.11 BAC is dangerous to drive, and rightfully illegal, but that does, and it’s mystifying that you blur the distinction, repeatedly. Maybe 0.11 is too drunk to consent, but that’s not the same thing as it being too drunk to move multiple tons of metal at high speeds down the road.Report

    • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to Chris
      Ignored
      says:

      “But no one in their right mind argues that someone at 0.03% can’t consent to sex”

      apparently you haven’t been on the internet in the past five years because there are people who do honestly argue that.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Jim Heffman
        Ignored
        says:

        Can you point to one (this being a different Chris)?Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Jim Heffman
        Ignored
        says:

        @chris – Jonathan keeps making that very statement, repeatedly, in these posts, w/r/t Canadian law.

        Now, maybe that needle can be threaded by saying that Jonathan only means “consent” in the legal sense – with the aside that if that IS Canadian law, the law is perhaps problematic, since it would criminalize, at a rough guess, like a kabillion acts of tipsy/drunk/buzzed (but otherwise consensual!) sex, as well as take away agency from the approximately everyone who likes to “get a little loose” before they “get a little loose” – but pushback here has never elicited that response from him that I have seen, and he seems to be holding the line.

        So for all intents and purposes, I assume that Jonathan approves of a zero-tolerance policy with regards to intoxication and sexual consent, and the Canadian legal rule he posits is also the preferred moral one. Which is why my wife and I have incorporated a Breathalyzer into our foreplay. Blowjobs for everybody!

        https://ordinary-times.com/blog/2014/07/22/violence-against-women-when-facts-wont-subvert-justice#comment-891078Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Jim Heffman
        Ignored
        says:

        He says .03% = legally unable to consent? I saw him say in the last thread that if you are intoxicated, you are legally unable to consent. I don’t think anyone considers .03% “intoxicated,” and I don’t see where he suggests any such thing. In fact, he doesn’t appear to make any claims about BAC in that thread (and only once in that thread does he defend the claim he actually makes, saying he’s talking about Canadian law, so once in the post and once in the thread, and now once here).Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Jim Heffman
        Ignored
        says:

        You know what, that was unnecessarily snarky and I apologize. Jonathan is one of my favorite people here and I know his heart is in the right place. But I found his responses to @j-r yesterday (who I thought was making a couple of very narrow points, eloquently and clearly) very unfair and dismissive and right up to the line of accusing jr of being a rape apologist or someone who dismisses systemic sexism (when jr explicitly conceded privilege and systemic sexism’s existence, and was simply debating its primacy in those particular examples), and I guess I’ve been kind of stewing about that.

        Honestly ra*e (with a p or a c) is the the internet topic that almost always causes otherwise-sensible people to start jumping to conclusions about what people *really* mean when they say something, and it’s why these debates get so frustrating.

        But here I am, obviously not keeping a cool head about it, so I shouldn’t point fingers.

        Sorry everyone.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Jim Heffman
        Ignored
        says:

        By the way, intoxication and consent has to be one of the trickiest moral and legal issues relating to consent possible. Taking a really hard line on it is probably a bad idea, but I suspect there are way, way fewer people who insist that any level of intoxication negates the possibility of consent than there are people on the opposite extreme when it comes to drunk women and sexual assault.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Jim Heffman
        Ignored
        says:

        @chris

        Here is the post where I think the whole debate started.

        https://ordinary-times.com/blog/2014/04/18/canadas-awkward-relationship-with-rape-culture

        As you can see, my very first comment is trying to get clarity on what “intoxicated” means, using a quote from Jonathan’s piece.

        Can she consent to sex after drinking?” The answer, according to Canadian law, is “no”…a woman cannot legally consent to sex when intoxicated

        It is Jonathan who keeps conflating “after drinking” with “intoxicated” and everyone else who keeps trying to point out that they are not necessarily the same thing (though I suppose that, since alcohol IS a “toxin”, even a sip of it technically “intoxicates”. But we are not at the dictionary level, we are at the legal and moral level).Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Jim Heffman
        Ignored
        says:

        Yeah, I read that thread. I definitely think Jonathan was a bit too extreme there, though I took it to be him being loose with language rather than him thinking that if a woman has a glass of wine with dinner, she can’t consent to sex.

        Also, did anyone ever find the relevant Canadian law? Is there a BAC level at which Canadian law says “consent is legally impossible now”?Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Jim Heffman
        Ignored
        says:

        Chris,
        Law doesn’t matter. Judges will rule against all reasonable judgement:
        http://blogs.windsorstar.com/news/sexual-assaultintoxication-feature

        My god, this is horrid. A girl, who was passed out, was not sexually assaulted because she couldn’t PROVE that she didn’t consent before she passed out???Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Jim Heffman
        Ignored
        says:

        OK, it looks like Jonathan is completely wrong about Canadian law:

        http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1625992Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Jim Heffman
        Ignored
        says:

        From your link, Kim:

        Can a person say that I consented if I was drunk?

        No. If you are drinking or high on drugs and unable to make a decision, the law does not consider that you consented.

        However, the case law detailed in the paper I link suggests that this is not at all the way the courts interpret the law in Canada. Instead, the intoxication has to be either unintended (someone else gave you the intoxicant without your knowledge) or so great as to render the person unconscious or pretty close to it. I can’t find anything that suggests that drinking, or even being drunk, makes consent impossible in the eyes of Canadian courts.Report

      • Avatar Griff in reply to Jim Heffman
        Ignored
        says:

        The relevant Canadian law is the section I pointed to in the last thread, Canadian Criminal Code § 273.1 (online here).

        R. v. J.R. contains a clear explanation of the law. Quoting at some length:

        In the context of sexual assault, the capacity to consent is straightforward and is a factual issue to be decided by the trier of fact. A person has the requisite capacity where she has the ability to understand and agree (or not agree) to engage in the sexual activity in question. This is not a cognitively complex task. …

        In order to be found to have lacked the capability of consenting, the complainant must have been intoxicated to the point where she could not understand the sexual nature of the act or realize that she could choose to decline to participate. …

        In order to be incapacitated, due to whatever reason, the complainant must be unable to understand the risks and consequences associated with the activity that she or he is engaged in. The complainant must understand the sexual nature of the act and realize that he or she could choose to decline to participate. …

        The question is whether or not the complainant was able to make a voluntary and informed decision, not whether she later regretted her decision or whether she would not have made the same decision if she had been sober. Thus, an obvious example of incapacity would be the complainant who was unconscious or in a coma at the relevant time. As I have already explained, memory loss, without more, is not sufficient proof of incapacity. Similarly, while intoxication, self-induced or otherwise, might rob a complainant of capacity, this is only a possible, not a necessary, result. …

        Mere drunkenness is not the equivalent of incapacity. Nor is alcohol-induced imprudent decision making, memory loss, loss of inhibition or self control. A drunken consent is still a valid consent. Where the line is crossed into incapacity may be difficult to determine at times. Expert evidence may assist and even be necessary, in some cases, though it is not required as a matter of law.

        Unless the law has changed substantially in the past few years, this is the law in Canada.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Jim Heffman
        Ignored
        says:

        .05 to .08% BAC are legal limits for driving in a great many jursidictions due, as I understand it, to empirical evidence backed by some considerable research that it’s around that BAC where peripheral vision and reaction time diminish enough to make operating a motor vehicle at 30 MPH or greater much more dangerous.

        Differences in peripheral vision and reaction time do not seem to me to be reasonable metrics to apply to validity of consent to sex.

        None of which is to defend the despicable use of alcohol or other forms of intoxication as a means of manipulation, or to comment specifically about the Howe or Giroux cases, about which I know next to nothing.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Chris
      Ignored
      says:

      I’d find my judgement significantly impaired with two glasses of wine. Hell, I might even be passed out, depending on how quickly I drank ’em.
      /lightweightReport

  4. Avatar j r
    Ignored
    says:

    Questions pertaining to the existence of racism in the Nova Scotia justice system are valid, but the rhetoric used by the movement is that of victim-blaming and rape apologies… If people truly cared about justice for falsely accused men, they would take up the cause of Coner Oberst, and leave Howe to his jail cell, but this isn’t about justice. This is about preserving male dominance, and it is through the choice of their champions and their foes that we see the truth that lies behind the movement.

    This post has the same set of problems as the last one. For one thing, you are ascribing motives to people without offering any actual evidence that supports your case. My barely informed guess is that some of the people defending Howe are motivated by misogynist impulses. And some of those people are legitimately convinced that Howe was prosecuted and found guilty because he was a successful black lawyer who had a sexual encounter with a 19-yo white girl. For whatever reason, you have decided that your view is the authoritative one and that anyone who disagrees must have nefarious motives.

    The other problem is that you are assuming that because the defense conceded that the victim had been drinking, that this is an obvious case of rape or sexual assault, because the law says that drunk people can’t give consent. As others have pointed out on the first post, that is a factually incorrect summation of what the law says. In reality, the law gives no hard line as to what constitutes too drunk to give consent. The question of consent is one that is to be established in court.

    Here is what you said in the last post:

    Howe’s lawyer had lined up an expert to testify to the woman’s blood alcohol level. He stated that on the night of the assault, the woman’s blood alcohol level would only have been between .11 and .135. She would have been anywhere between 37% and 70% over the legal limit for driving… So, again, we have a man (either on his own or through his legal defence) admit to a serious crime against a woman and yet still assume that he should just be acquitted.

    You are saying that because Howe admitted that the victim’s BAC could have been as high as .135, he is admitting “to a serious crime against a woman.” That, however, implies a relationship between the .08 legal driving limit and what level of intoxication renders someone incapable of giving consent. Why? The law doesn’t say that. The driving limit is set at .08 (which for a 120-pound woman of average tolerance is about two drinks in an hour) because we don’t want people operating motor vehicles with any noticeable level of motor-skills impairment. Are you going to argue that anyone who has two drinks, is suddenly so impaired in their judgment that they cannot legally consent to sex?

    If, instead of saying that she was “as much as 70% over the legal limit for driving,” you say that she might have had as many as four drinks, it becomes pretty obvious that Howe wasn’t admitting to rape. Rather, he was trying to prove that the victim was not as drunk as the prosecution was claiming. In other words, he was offering a defense.

    As a detached observer, I start from the point of view that I have no idea of knowing what happened in this case. Maybe Howe did purposefully get this women drunk and had sex with her at a point well past her ability to give consent, but you should stop pretending that you possess some kind of a priori truth about this situation. This is the very reason that we have courts and jury trials in the first place.Report

    • Avatar morat20 in reply to j r
      Ignored
      says:

      Speaking offhand, I think automatically “too drunk to give consent” is when you’re tip-toeing the line of blackout drunk, not ‘unable to legally drive’.

      Obviously, in any given case it’ll come down to a court decision but “unable to consent to sex” and “ability to drive” are really two very different levels of impaired.

      As a practice, I never had sex with anyone I felt was more than a little tipsy (not that I had many chances, but that was my rule and I stuck to it). Basically if they couldn’t walk easily and speak rationally, I wasn’t going for it.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to morat20
        Ignored
        says:

        Obviously, in any given case it’ll come down to a court decision but “unable to consent to sex” and “ability to drive” are really two very different levels of impaired.

        This is not obvious to me at all. Someone drunk enough that they’re unable to drive safely cannot drive safely because their judgement is impaired, not just their response time, etc. And that impaired judgement is an issue with consent, as well.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to j r
      Ignored
      says:

      Rather, he was trying to prove that the victim was not as drunk as the prosecution was claiming. In other words, he was offering a defense.

      It’s unpleasant, but the other part of that defense is, as it is in nearly any criminal case, going to the credibility of the witness’ account (in this case, the accuser’s); since in any other instance, if we have a witness (accuser) saying “here’s what happened” but then upon cross-examination admitting “but I was pretty drunk, so my memory’s not that great”, that admission can (and arguably should) cut against the weight we give their recollection/testimony of “what happened”.

      Let’s say the two of us get totally wasted together and decide to try amateur boxing, like a couple of nimrods (stranger things have happened to two drunk people – why, more often I’d say they might decide to do something REALLY dumb, like get naked and exchange bodily fluids).

      Upon waking in the AM, I don’t recall HOW I got in such a bruised and battered state, so I assume that you assaulted me, and bring charges against you, ignoring your protests of “but we were both into it at the time!”

      *Shouldn’t* the fact that I was admittedly-drunk, somewhat cut against taking at 100% face value my account of how things went down last night? It doesn’t make your account any *more* credible (that is a separate question, hinging on your mental state and the credibility of your account), but doesn’t it potentially make mine *less*?

      I’m already admitting I don’t (can’t!) clearly recall exactly *what* happened; but I am pretty sure I didn’t agree to get punched in the face.

      That doesn’t mean I didn’t agree to get punched in the face last night, when I was stupid drunk (and so were you: which is why you agreed to such an idiotic proposal in the first place).

      I have friends who, in their wilder years, woke up in a bed with no idea of how they got THERE with THAT person, at all. They blacked out (or, they SAY they did. I have no way of knowing the truth).

      (Luckily, even in my more libertine youth I never found myself in such a situation – not that there were *never* any bad decisions made under the influence, but all parties consented to said bad decisions, and clearly recalled having consented the next AM, and everyone simply agreed to never speak of this unfortunate incident ever again).

      I mean, should my friends not have done what they did? Yeah. They’d agree too. They were rightly ashamed, and left that part of their life behind long ago.

      But it’s a jump from there, to “We can legally assume that a crime was definitely committed, since one or both parties was intoxicated at the time.”

      It’s a little disturbing to posit that whether or not a crime occurred the night before, rests largely on the post-facto recollections and feelings of a witness who admits they actually cannot clearly recall what actually occurred the night before. It would seem to be different from how we weigh testimony from admittedly-intoxicated witnesses in other situations.

      And yet – rape of intoxicated persons is obviously a terrible reality and needs prosecuting, both in cases where a predator has intentionally administered a “stupefying agent”, and in cases where a rapist simply took advantage of someone already intoxicated on their own.

      It seems we are dealing with several potentially-conflicting principles, and have thus far been unable to find a satisfactory balance between them, due to the nature of the crime.Report

      • Avatar Mancheeze in reply to Glyph
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        says:

        I agree that the nature of the crime is where the issue lies. We judge the crime on a high standard which indeed makes it hard to prosecute. The perp is almost always going to say ‘she consented.’

        This is why people are moving to a standard of enthusiastic consent and preponderance of evidence. I don’t know what other standard there could be. People talking about HOW much alcohol are arguing a moot point since it’s a subjective standard.

        The nature of rape requires, I think, a different standard. I think preponderance of evidence is a start along with enthusiastic consent being necessary. Of course, educating people about this is going to make the biggest difference.

        Many men AND women don’t even know what rape is. Many men, due to entitlement and privilege will force a woman, coerce her and in his mind think it’s ok. They did a survey in Asia of men who committed rape but didn’t see it as such because the questions were framed in such a way that the word rape was never mentioned but forced or coerced sex was.

        Having a preponderance standard that also focuses on enth. consent and intoxication actually benefits, for once, the victim of rape. I think that’s the best way. It forces people to focus on any sexual encounter, especially with strangers or dates. It should be the rapist who worries about crossing a lower standard, not the victim worrying about how to prove the higher standard.

        This is, I’ll admit, specific to the crime of rape.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Glyph
        Ignored
        says:

        @mancheeze,

        I applaud your comment for its honesty. Every time this issue comes up, I say explicitly that this is ultimately about due process and what the standards for establishing guilt or culpability ought to be. Lots of people say things that seem to imply what you have come out and explicitly stated.

        All that being said, I completely disagree with you that we ought to lower the standards in sex crimes from beyond a reasonable doubt to a preponderance of the evidence. The preponderance of evidence works for civil cases, because civil cases are about adjudicating competing claims between a plaintiff and a defendant. In a criminal case, the plaintiff is not the alleged victim. The plaintiff is the state. In a criminal case, the alleged victim is a witness, whose testimony has to be weighted against the testimony of other witnesses and any other evidence. This sounds terribly impersonal, but that is the very point of a properly functioning criminal justice system.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Glyph
        Ignored
        says:

        What I find interesting about these types of discussions is that there is an equation at work, usually advocated by males, which favors males. The idea – at least on the surface – is that a male ought not be falsely accused/imprisoned for engaging in an activity where consent is uncertain. But I can’t help but believe that men who advocate for these sorts of things are discounting the actual rapes that take place in order to establish a very high bar for their “innocence”. For example, if we were to eReport

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Glyph
        Ignored
        says:

        What I find interesting about these types of discussions is that there is an equation at work, usually advocated by males, which favors males. The idea – at least on the surface – is that a male ought not be falsely accused/imprisoned for engaging in an activity where consent is uncertain. But I can’t help but believe that men who advocate for these sorts of things are discounting the actual rapes that take place in order to establish a very high bar for their “innocence”. As an example of the reasoning, it seems to me that men want to value the negative effects of prison time and an accusation of rape with higher than being the actual victim of rape. And according to that type of calculus which weights outcomes or mechanisms-of-psychological-cost differentially in each case – and depending on how the variables are favorably weighted, of course – the psychological and emotional cost imposed by accusing males of rape, or imprisoning them as a result of rape, is way higher than the cost born by a person actually being raped.

        I think that’s fucked up, myself. Can’t speak for anyone else.

        Granted, there are imperfections in our criminal justice system wrt adjudicating these types of things, but that’s rarely the argument that people when trying to tease out the burden of proof, or preponderance of punishment, that ought to be born by the people involved.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Glyph
        Ignored
        says:

        I think that’s fucked up, myself. Can’t speak for anyone else.

        What I find interesting is that you have posted a comment about the question of whether we ought to lower the burden of proof in cases involving sex crimes. Instead of addressing the question head on, however, you chose to commit the bulk of your comment to some form of amateur psychoanalysis in service of phony moralizing.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Glyph
        Ignored
        says:

        amateur psychoanalysis in service of phony moralizing.

        Hey, I put in alot of energy into that comment!Report

  5. Avatar Doctor Jay
    Ignored
    says:

    I have been a feminist since about 1972 or so, and an enemy of masculinism. And yet, it managed to infect me in such a way as to degrade my life significantly. For instance, my mother mocked me whenever I showed any feelings of hurt or sadness. She used the words in singsong, “Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, guess I’ll go eat worms”. So I learned to hide my feelings from everyone, even in the most intimate relationships. This did not work out particularly well.

    I’m not certain that it’s a masculinist thing though, to refuse to escalate an unwanted sexual advance to the level of police intervention. I’ve been in a similar circumstance. On night at a bar, a woman who was sitting next to me reached into my lap and grabbed my crotch. I kind of grabbed her hand and pulled it away, and didn’t otherwise respond.

    And by the way, I am not a large man, I’m 5’6″ on a good day. And she is pretty large and athletic. We were already friends, I just didn’t want a sexual relationship with her. So I just rebuffed what I understood to be an advance, and let it go at that. We remained friends.

    So, was that overly masculinist of me? I expect that there are women out there who have done pretty much the same thing.Report

    • Avatar ScarletNumbers in reply to Doctor Jay
      Ignored
      says:

      my mother mocked me whenever I showed any feelings of hurt or sadness. She used the words in singsong, “Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, guess I’ll go eat worms”.

      As your mother, she obviously shouldn’t have done this. But I have to admit i LOLed.

      But I think its interesting how women know that comparing a man to a woman is an insult. I have personally heard more than one woman tell a man to “stop PMSing” when he complained about something.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to ScarletNumbers
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        says:

        I had to call out a student (a third grader) this year when he attempted to insult a classmate by calling him a girl.

        “Do you know why I called you over here?”
        “Because it was mean to call him a girl.”
        “Mean to who?”
        “Him.”
        “Wrong.”
        “Huh?”
        “When you use the word ‘girl’ as an insult, you are saying there is something wrong — something bad — about being a girl. Do you really think that’s the case?”
        “Well, no.”
        “When you use the word ‘girl” as an insult, you might be hurting his feeling, but you are also hurting every girl and woman — including those whom you love. How would your moms* feel if they knew you thought calling your friend a ‘girl’ was a way to hurt him?”
        “They wouldn’t like it.”
        “Exactly.”
        “Not only should you not be insulting your classmates in general, but you certainly should not be using language that communicates you think there is something wrong with someone because of their gender.”

        I was livid, in part because this kid seemed to make it his singular mission to get under people’s skin and then insist it wasn’t his fault. I wanted to make it clear to him in no uncertain terms that his choice of language was unacceptable and NOT because he was being mean to the other boy. We need to move beyond, “Don’t say he throws like a girl… you’ll hurt his feelings.”

        * Not a typo; he is the product of a same-sex relationship.Report

    • Avatar notme in reply to Doctor Jay
      Ignored
      says:

      Is this a real post?Report

  6. Avatar KatherineMW
    Ignored
    says:

    This is an excellent point, Jonathan. Many of the problems the MRAs complain about are ones that are directly caused by the same gender stereotypes that feminists fight against. Rape and sexual assault against men is treated cavalierly by society because men are “supposed” to be tough and thus a man who becomes a victim is something contemptible. Feminism is an opponent of the “men are tough, women are weak” stereotypes – as shown by advocating for things like women being able to serve in front-line combat.

    To take another example – MRAs argue that it’s unfair for women to be favoured in custody battles during divorces. Women are favoured in those battles because of extremely long-standing social ideas that parenthood and child-raising is a feminine task, whereas pursuing a career is a masculine task. The same idea is the reason why there’s social stigma against being a stay-at-home-dad. This ideology has limited the freedom of women for centuries, and feminism has fought against it continually, so blaming women for it, as the MRAs do, is nonsensical. Feminists have more experience in that fight that anyone else; they’re ideal allies.Report

    • Avatar Murali in reply to KatherineMW
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      says:

      Feminists have more experience in that fight that anyone else; they’re ideal allies.

      Yet, at least on the nuts and bolts side of things, statutes like the women’s charter which asymmetrically grant custody and alimony to women are supported by feminist groups like AWARE*. There is, in principle, a difference between fighting for gender equality and fighting for the interests of women. There are certainly times at least in the past, and perhaps a lot of times in the present where those two distinct aims coincide, but at the very least, there seem to be some things which feminists support which is in the interests of women but which does not contribute to gender parity. This is because gender equality is multidimensional and it does not seem to be the case that privilege along one dimension can compensate for disadvantages in other dimensions.

      *At least that is the case over here in SingaporeReport

  7. Avatar veronica d
    Ignored
    says:

    Before anyone digs too deep on the relationship between consent and alcohol, it is important to read this: http://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2009/11/12/meet-the-predators/Report

  8. Avatar North
    Ignored
    says:

    This is a serious issue and deserves respect and discussion. That being said if man on man groping without prior consent is truly sexual assault then we’d have to build a police station, courthouse and prison attached to every gay bar I’ve ever visited.Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to North
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      says:

      Ha. I’ve long thought one of the likely roots of homophobia was that straight men feared being subjected to the gropings/assaults they inflict on women; perhaps I’m correct?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to zic
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        says:

        20 years and 100 pounds ago, I was walking with a friend (lesbian) through San Francisco and we passed through a group of guys wearing boots, hot pants, and suspenders.

        “MY EYES ARE HERE”, I wanted to say, were I not so flustered.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to zic
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        says:

        I’ve heard that sentiment before. I’ve seen guys ogled and even called out at by gay guys before as well. I’m not good at empathy but some seemed genuinely bemused/flattered while others on the very of absolute panic meltdown.

        And now that I think about it girls at gay bars seem to come in two flavors too, either absolute crazy abandon or a sort of confused puzzlement (trying to make up their mind if they’re angry) that all the men around them aren’t paying them any mind.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to zic
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        says:

        Yeah, well, when I went back five years later, nobody ended up looking at me at all and I wondered what the hell happened.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to zic
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        says:

        You just got the wrong batch Jay me lad. I promise you there’s a subclass of gay man for each male body type there is.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to zic
        Ignored
        says:

        This is less about being hit on and more about a “cultural environment” thing… but when I used to work out at the NYSC in Chelsea (NYC), suffice it to say that there was a large contingent of gay men there. I didn’t really care, but was initially uncomfortable when I overheard comments like, “I just need to get some dick this weekend.”

        But then I realized: I never flinch when I hear comments like, “I just need to get some pussy this weekend.” And, more importantly, there are probably scores of gyms in Manhattan where that phrase is uttered on a regular basis and no one bats an eye. There are probably but a handful of gyms where the former comment is heard. And both comments are either equally wrong or equally acceptable; I don’t see room to say that the former is unacceptable while the latter is not without indulging in some pretty heavy homophobia or bigotry.

        The two years I spent working in Chelsea were very helpful for me to recognize and own my male and straight privilege.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to zic
        Ignored
        says:

        @kazzy

        You’re ability to question your own positions based on evidence from lived experience (even just witnessing other lives) never ceases to amaze me. I’m just back from a difficult family experience, and I had to do a lot of considering others lived experience instead of just presuming bad intention, and a couple of times, I actually asked myself, “How would Kazzy view this behavior?”

        So keep being Kazzy, keep pointing out how you look at someone else, and learn to change your perspective. It’s helpful, and I’m grateful.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to zic
        Ignored
        says:

        @zic
        I’ve received few higher or kinder compliments than what you offer here. A thousand thank yous.

        Being a natural observer of the human condition, a professional interpreter of human behavior (albeit human children), and someone incapable of turning off his brain gives me frequent opportunity to consider what is going on around me. It is not without its drawbacks (I can drive myself batty at times thinking and rethinking a minor interaction with someone and trying to determine if I could have and should have handled it ever-so-slightly better) but I tend to err on the side of doing more than doing less.

        Also, I liked working out at that gym (it was right near work and the energy level was super high) so even if I had to lie to myself and say, “Gay dudes… they’re just like us!” so I could make it work for me, I’d probably have done that, too. :-p

        But, again, thank you. I hope all is well for you and trust you handled things in your typically masterful way.Report

  9. Avatar Kazzy
    Ignored
    says:

    I thought about this very topic recently…

    A female colleague of mine who is easily my closet friend at work sometimes wears a pair of wide-check pants that is essentially a grid of black squares about an inch or two in size on a white background. When I first noticed her wearing them (when we were friendly but not super close), I almost remarked, “Those pants make me want to play tic-tac-toe on your ass.” Because that was my first thought. And not in a sexual way. In a, “Those pants are kind of funny” way. The thing is, I probably would have thought the same thing about a guy in such pants and would not have hesitated to say it to him if I had even the least bit friendly relationship with him. I was comfortable saying it was wrong that such a double-standard existed, but what I could not determine is to which side I was being unfair.Report

    • Avatar veronica d in reply to Kazzy
      Ignored
      says:

      @kazzy — Well, between two straight guys it probably won’t feel very sexual. (Although there is that annoying sublimated gay-thing that straight guys do. Anyway, their business not mine.)

      Between a hetero man and a woman — oh, yeah, that would come across as inappropriate. On the other hand, coming from you, it would probably come across as an awkward faux pas, and I suspect most women would let it slide. On the other hand, if you were that guy (and I assure you women have a keen and accurate sense of that guy), then it would come across as creepy and horrible.

      So anyway, if I’m every wearing checked pants (not likely!), you have permission to make tic-tac-toe jokes about my butt. But just you! The other dudes can fish off!

      *grin*Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to veronica d
        Ignored
        says:

        @veronica-d

        I have to push back against this somewhat.

        First, let me say that first and foremost we have to consider how the comment “lands”. If the guy says, “Dude, no problem,” and the woman says, “Ewww,” we have to respond differently, at least initially. I didn’t say as much in my initial post but just wanted to make clear that the target of the comment and how it impacted him/her needs to be our primary consideration.

        Okay, that said, I fear your position assumes a sexual nature to a relationship and/or interaction between a hetero male and hetero female that does not exist between two hetero males. This seems to say that opposite sex relationships between heterosexuals are necessarily different than same sex relationships between heterosexuals. It would also seem to logically follow that opposite sex relationships between homosexuals are necessarily different than same sex relationships between homosexuals (which some people do believe… “Oh, he’s gay. He can say/do that.”). It also seems to enforce the sexual orientation binary. What do we make of a bi-curious* guy making such a comment to a male friend? To a female friend?

        Now, if you are talking about what would happen practically, I don’t disagree. That is what Jonathan’s post is exploring here, as I understand it.

        Circling back to my first point, I think it is worth exploring why men and women tend to respond differently to these types of comments. How are we socializing boys and girls with regards to their bodies, their agency, their sexuality, etc.? Why does a man not see his ass being grabbed as a violation of his autonomy? Why does a woman see the same action very differently? Which reaction would we prefer? I won’t pretend to have answers to these questions. But the fact that we respond wildly differently to the same behavior done by and/or to people of different genders/sexes tells me that something sexist is probably afoot.

        * My apologies if this term is offensive or off-color. Some very quick Googling indicated its use is fairly typical. It does not appear on the GLSEN “Safe Spaces Tool Kit” glossary of terms.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to veronica d
        Ignored
        says:

        @kazzy — I think there is subtlety to this that you are missing, but I’m not sure if I can explain. I’ll try this: there is an enormous difference between a tic-tac-toe comment and (for example) unwanted touching. Likewise, there is a big difference between 1) welcome jokes between peers, and 2) unwelcome but innocent comments, which happen from time to time, and 3) a pattern of abusive behavior.

        If you are asking why this is gendered, I can point you to resources. For example, this article, which appeared shortly after the killings in CA: Why It’s So Hard for Men to See Misogyny.

        These are forms of male aggression that only women see. But even when men are afforded a front seat to harassment, they don’t always have the correct vantage point for recognizing the subtlety of its operation. Four years before the murders, I was sitting in a bar in Washington, D.C. with a male friend. Another young woman was alone at the bar when an older man scooted next to her. He was aggressive, wasted, and sitting too close, but she smiled curtly at his ramblings and laughed softly at his jokes as she patiently downed her drink. “Why is she humoring him?” my friend asked me. “You would never do that.” I was too embarrassed to say: “Because he looks scary” and “I do it all the time.”

        Similarly this and this.

        Yes, you can find examples where men are victims. Likewise, you can find examples where women are predators. (I know of a couple in my area.) But it is wrong to pretend this terrain is flat.

        Furthermore, those links all lay out one important truth: those who abuse others know what they are doing.

        So it is this: the goal here is not to stop happy dudebros from sharing dick jokes. Nor is it to stop gay men from dancing close. Dance my gay brothers! Tell those dick jokes, my dudebro friends!

        Just, maybe leave me out of it. Like, ewwwww!

        The goal here is to give victims tools to resist their attackers, to give society tools to recognize predators, and to foster a real understanding of consent.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to veronica d
        Ignored
        says:

        @veronica-d

        How much of this is wrapped up in existing power structures and the like?

        For instance, imagine a society that has true sex and gender equity… I would think at that point that we would have a flat terrain and would evaluate these situations based on the actions and not the sex or gender of the perpetrators themselves. Obviously, that is not the case.

        Why my same comment aimed at a woman might and should be seen as different than were it aimed at a man has to have something to do with existing power structures and what they typically allow/demand a woman to do in that situation versus what they allow a man to do. A guy who was uncomfortable with that comment would probably have little hesitation to make that known. A woman would probably feel much less inclined to do so. Her response might then serve to encourage similar such behavior in the future. As such, that joke aimed at a man might serve as a useful primer: “Does this guy mind this type of humor?” It probably can’t be that for a woman: “Oh, she sort of smiled and looked away. She probably liked it!” The landscape does not allow it to serve as such. It is inherently “violent” even if offered innocuously. It serves to reinforce that power structure.

        Am I getting this? Or getting close at least? Thanks.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to veronica d
        Ignored
        says:

        @kazzy — Right. The thing is, there is nothing wrong with human sexuality. But our sexual behavior happens within a power matrix, which is often abusive, and sexuality has a way of intensifying our social interaction. So in an abusive environment (which is pretty much everywhere under patriarchy), sex and gender will be a central location of struggle.

        On the other hand, when a social scene works to get the power structures right, sex and gender can be profoundly rewarding things. It can be amazing to observe.

        Oddly, the BDSM community does a good job with this stuff, at least very often, if you know the right people and go to the right places. (Which is partly why kinksters find Fifty Shades of Garbage so offensive. It completely misses the mark.)Report

  10. Avatar Shelley
    Ignored
    says:

    First time I’ve seen the point publicly made that the women’s movement stands up for both women and men. Thanks.Report

  11. Avatar Damon
    Ignored
    says:

    This groping would have stopped if the cop would have turned around and belted the guy. I’d argue that if the cop were a woman and slapped or belted the guy, it’d have stopped as well. No need for anything else to come into play.Report

  12. Avatar Mancheeze
    Ignored
    says:

    Since it seems I can’t reply to Jr and Stillwater, I’ll do so here. I think Stillwater has a point. The very imbalanced nature of the crime, when you include the structual inequality of women, deserves a lower standard, which I think should be preponderance.

    Of course I want education, public service etc. but the nature of the crime requires this lower standard. The focus should be on prevention. Knowing that many rapists are average guys with fucked up ideas about women who choose to act on them means they would fully understand it easier for THEM to go to jail.

    We are too concerned with male feelings here. We should be more concerned with the victims.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Mancheeze
      Ignored
      says:

      Just so it’s clear, you want to eliminate an underpinning principle of the Western (maybe just American?) criminal justice system for a particular crime (and/or set of crimes), correct?

      Because, if so, um, I can’t see anyway that would backfire.Report

      • Avatar Mancheeze in reply to Kolohe
        Ignored
        says:

        Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. If you can’t see the uniqueness of the crime and the effects it has on the victim and are more concerned about the perp then you WOULD feel that way about it. I, as a woman, am tired of being fearful, tired of rapists not going to jail b/c they just say ‘she wanted it.’

        It’s undermining a male law, yes. I see nothing wrong with doing that for this crime. I’d rather have men scared shitless of raping than knowing they can rape with impunity.

        Universities do it this way.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Kolohe
        Ignored
        says:

        Universities are going in that direction, per current federal Department of Education guidance, but the most they can do is kick someone out – i.e. it’s a civil law matter, not a criminal one.

        Depriving someone of life, liberty or property under a *different* due process of law for a certain set of charged crimes is a helluva radical alteration to the system.

        I’m concerned with ‘perps’ as long as they are ‘alleged perps’. Because even a 2-8% false positive error rate is pretty high when the penalties are potentially decades of incarceration and lifelong scarlet letter that is the offender registry list.

        But I guess everyone is a Law&Order Nixonian for their particular set of infractions. (as perusing most bicycle blogs will demonstrate)Report

      • Avatar Griff in reply to Kolohe
        Ignored
        says:

        Given your motivations for wanting to make this change, I assume we could keep the standard of proof the same when the victim of an alleged sexual assault is male? Or are we defining “rape” in such a way that it can only be committed against a woman in the first place?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kolohe
        Ignored
        says:

        Given your motivations for wanting to make this change, I assume we could keep the standard of proof the same when the victim of an alleged sexual assault is male?

        I’m not sure what Mancheeze’s motivations have to do with anything here, but I think you’re confusing the argument. But the view is that given that women are primarily (by a wide margin) the victims of what I hope we can agree is a serious crime, one that is difficult enough to “prove” as it is, that advocating for an even higher bar meeting the burden of proof – especially when advocated for by men – seems like it serves particular interests. I disagree with Kolohe that the burden in these cases is actually lower than the normal standard. If anything, it’s already higher given that one person’s testimony often constitutes the only evidence against an alleged criminal.

        In that sense, it’s a bit like conservative arguments in favor of voter ID laws. Sure there’s an easily identifiable objective principle in play, but invoking that principle isn’t motivated by anything other than politics.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Kolohe
        Ignored
        says:

        In that sense, it’s a bit like conservative arguments in favor of voter ID laws. Sure there’s an easily identifiable objective principle in play, but invoking that principle isn’t motivated by anything other than politics.

        I am confused. Who is that meant to describe?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kolohe
        Ignored
        says:

        Conservatives who advocate for voter ID laws by appealing to formal properties when the real motivation is political.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kolohe
        Ignored
        says:

        {{Moderation?}}

        Conservatives who advocate for voter ID laws by appealing to formal properties when the real motivation is political.Report

      • Avatar Griff in reply to Kolohe
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m speaking specifically of the asserted justification for the change, which makes specific reference to structural sexism, and therefore would only justify a change in burden of proof for cases with female victims. And I’m wondering whether indeed the proposal is limited to that class of cases.

        I’m not sure what you mean by an “even higher bar” — what’s under discussion is lowering the burden of proof from beyond a reasonable doubt to more likely than not, i.e. “probably committed a crime.” Speaking only for myself, I take the objective principle of “don’t deprive someone of their liberty unless you’re pretty sure they did something wrong” very seriously without regard to politics — and honestly, any discussion of lowering the burden of proof in criminal cases is a non-starter politically so I view this more as a philosophical discussion than a political one.

        Tangentially, if you include prison rape the gap between male and female victims closes up quite a bit so I would need some more convincing in order to accept (on a purely pragmatic level) whether making it easier to put people in prison is the answer if the goal is to reduce rape as much as possible.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kolohe
        Ignored
        says:

        Griff, my argument from the beginning hasn’t been about lowering the burden of proof in these types of cases (at least, not directly). I’ve been responding to folks who I perceive to be arguing for raising the burden of proof, or massaging certain legal concepts to permit otherwise objectionable behavior. Raising the bar implicitly means the men who engage in these activities will fell licensed to act in ways that they otherwise wouldn’t (except for the technical definitions in play). I think that’s just a bunch of bullshit, myself, as I said upthread. Even if Kolohe’s claim that 8% of rape accusations are false positives, basing policy on protecting those 8% as against the remaining 92 is preposterous. Not insofar as the view is based on “innocent until proven guilty”, but because 92 percent of the time the women is telling the goddam truth! That’s a pretty significant percentage, no? Especially given that the burden of proof is implicitly imposed on the victim here, irrespective of whether a crime was committed or not.

        I find the whole topic pretty damn repulsive, actually. Presupposing that some sort of ideal principle is more important than the actual experiences women – and men! – go thru and have on a statistically staggering level reverses the ordering of our priorities, it seems to me. And in this particular case, arguing for that principle seems to serve some readily apparent self-interests.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kolohe
        Ignored
        says:

        And Griff, I don’t mean to pick on you, but this

        Tangentially, if you include prison rape the gap between male and female victims closes up quite a bit so I would need some more convincing in order to accept (on a purely pragmatic level) whether making it easier to put people in prison is the answer if the goal is to reduce rape as much as possible.

        Misses the point so completely I actually laughed. The problem here is that you’re thinking is too damn abstract. These are real people, man.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to Kolohe
        Ignored
        says:

        @Stillwater,

        8% (if that number is the operating one) is too large for most clinical trials and laboratory experiments.

        I’m generally uncomfortable when people start telling me or others that I am thinking too abstract*. People usually tell me that when they are trying to justify intuitions they have which cannot be justified by any principle they are willing to endorse. That is a huge red flag already

        *Also, as an unathletic guy with very poor memory and worse social skills, abstract thinking is one of the few things I’m good at. I don’t like it when people try to take that from me…Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Kolohe
        Ignored
        says:

        @stillwater,

        I disagree with Kolohe that the burden in these cases is actually lower than the normal standard

        I don’t see where Kolohe said that.

        Even if Kolohe’s claim that 8% of rape accusations are false positives, basing policy on protecting those 8% as against the remaining 92 is preposterous.

        So Blackstone’s argument that “”It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer” is preposterous?

        And Griff, I don’t mean to pick on you, but this
        “Tangentially, if you include prison rape …”

        Misses the point so completely I actually laughed. The problem here is that you’re thinking is too damn abstract. These are real people, man.

        And prisoners aren’t real people?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kolohe
        Ignored
        says:

        James,

        I’m happy to address any questions you might have, so long as their not rhetorical.

        Prisoners are real people. That was my point.

        I don’t give a shit about Blackstone’s quote, for the record. The point is that men are advocating for raising the bar of what constitutes “guilt”. That’s a political issue, no? And also a personal one?

        I could be wrong about what Kolohe. I rarely understand what he’s saying anyway.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kolohe
        Ignored
        says:

        Murali,

        I don’t trust the 8% figure myself. What are the methodologies for determining such a statistic? What are the legal definitions in play?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kolohe
        Ignored
        says:

        People usually tell me that when they are trying to justify intuitions they have which cannot be justified by any principle they are willing to endorse.

        Tell me you’re physical, non-emotional, non-cultural dependant conception of rape, Murali? Or, since you’re a libertarian, what constitutes “consent”?Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to Kolohe
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m pretty sure I’m with you on what constitutes consent and rape. I’m just not with you when you go all “these are real people”. Victims of other violent crimes are just as real and human as victims of rapes. If “beyond reasonable doubt” is a good principle to apply in all those other cases and actually represents a reasonable balancing of everyone’s interests then it is highly likely that the principle is just as serviceable for rape.

        Now, it might be that you would want to challenge the “beyond reasonable doubt” principle more generally and that is fine. Or maybe you want to re-examine what exactly counts as a reasonable doubt. All of that is fine, but then you’ve joined me in talking about abstract stuff and you cannot claim to be any less abstract than the rest of us.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kolohe
        Ignored
        says:

        Now, it might be that you would want to challenge the “beyond reasonable doubt” principle more generally and that is fine. Or maybe you want to re-examine what exactly counts as a reasonable doubt. All of that is fine, but then you’ve joined me in talking about abstract stuff and you cannot claim to be any less abstract than the rest of us.

        No. My participation in this thread began when I pointed out what I perceived to be a Male Argument for lowering the bar for what constitutes “beyond reasonable doubt”, but I’m certainly not opposed to revising what constitutes “reasonable doubt” in these situatations. As it is, I think the legal system is already tilted towards men, so I think a bit of revisionism wouldn’t be a bad thing. “But what about false accusations against men?” you say? Well, as it women have a hard time proving real accusations. So I think even then the scales of justice would be tipped in men’s favor.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kolohe
        Ignored
        says:

        Murali,

        Look, I’m not valuing an abstract property by pointing out the lowering the bar on what constitutes “rape” is bad for women and good for men. There’s nothing abstract about that. Unless everything we believe is abstract, and then the word is meaningless.

        You adhere to a view that simply thinking really hard about things will produce the *right* answers. Here’s what I want to say about that: I’ve been down that road, I’ve held that belief, I believed once upon a time that thinking Really Hard could produce the right answers to all these complex questions. But I’m here to tell ya, bro, that it doesn’t. The more narrow and exclusionary your view of what life is all about, the more clear (and right!) your answers will be. It’s a bunch of nonsense, really.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Kolohe
        Ignored
        says:

        The point is that men are advocating for raising the bar of what constitutes “guilt”.

        Who exactly are these men?Report

      • Avatar Griff in reply to Kolohe
        Ignored
        says:

        @stillwater , I apologize. We seem to be talking about different things, so it’s no surprise that we wound up talking past each other. I have no idea what you’re talking about when you say “raising the bar.” I was reacting to Mancheeze’s comments, which to me read pretty straightforwardly as advocating lowering the standard of proof in rape cases from “beyond a reasonable doubt” to “preponderance of the evidence.”

        As a public defender, I may come at this issue from a somewhat idiosyncratic place, but I take the protections afforded to criminal defendants very seriously. It is not an abstract principle. It is a serious thing that makes a major difference in real people’s lives. “These are real people” is something I have to remind judges and prosecutors about my clients on a daily basis, and holding the state strictly to its burden of proof is one of the most important parts of my job, and of the criminal justice system writ large.

        So, it’s a real thing and I think it’s important, but I am always willing to reexamine my views if someone has a cogent argument. This is an area where people I generally agree with about things sometimes part ways with me, and I recognize that my particular circumstances may blind me to larger truths. I was trying to start to tease out what the argument actually could be in favor of playing with the standard of proof in rape cases. But if that’s not actually what this discussion is about, then I will reiterate my apology and bow out of the thread.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kolohe
        Ignored
        says:

        Man, of all the things to challenge me on. Does it matter?

        Recall, though, that my first comment on this thread was a response to you.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Kolohe
        Ignored
        says:

        @stillwater

        OK, so you’re just making baseless accusations?

        Show me where I or anyone else on this thread is arguing to increase the burden of proof. If you re-read the comments, you will see that the only one making a case for changing the current legal standards for determining guilt is @mancheeze and she is arguing in favor of moving to a standard of preponderance of the evidence.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kolohe
        Ignored
        says:

        Fair enough, jr. You win! If that’s all you’re taking away from my comments, then I’m not sure what else I can say. Politely anyway.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kolohe
        Ignored
        says:

        Actually, I have do have a polite I can say in response. Read my comment in reply to Murali! (Or some of the upthread stuff on overvaluing abstract principles above real human concerns. OK, that’s two things.)

        I’ve already covered this ground j r. I guess I’m talking about a different thing than you are.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Kolohe
        Ignored
        says:

        @stillwater,

        I am not sure what winning has to do with it. If I said something that implies that I believe in raising the bar for either prosecuting or convicting people accused of rape, please point it out so that I can categorically walk it back.

        You are relying on a lot of smoke an mirrors here. On the one hand you say this to @glyph:

        I’m not sure what Mancheeze’s motivations have to do with anything here, but I think you’re confusing the argument.

        Meanwhile, you also say this:

        But I can’t help but believe that men who advocate for these sorts of things are discounting the actual rapes that take place in order to establish a very high bar for their “innocence”.

        and

        In that sense, it’s a bit like conservative arguments in favor of voter ID laws. Sure there’s an easily identifiable objective principle in play, but invoking that principle isn’t motivated by anything other than politics.

        So, I guess questioning motives is fine for the people with whom you disagree.

        And you are making the exact same category error that I mention above. The whole idea that a rape trial is an exercise in male privilege at work against a disadvantaged female is just plain false. In any criminal case, the plaintiff is not the victim. The plaintiff is the state. And the state almost always has more resources and more leverage than any individual defendant. And that is why the burden of proof is set where it is for criminal trials. If you want to make an argument against that, I am more than happy to hear it out. However, all you’ve been doing is adopting a front of unearned moral outrage and trying to cast aspersions on people who disagree with you.

        And you want to talk about being abstract? Why not address the reality of what most criminal proceedings look like and who most defendants are? If every rape prosecution were about fraternity president Johnny McRichKid the serial rapist who has the protection of his wealthy family and social connections, then you might have a point. But that is not the world in which we live. Where was all that male privilege for the Central Park Five? A lot of good it did them.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Kolohe
        Ignored
        says:

        None of those were rhetorical questions, Stillwater.

        First, everyone else in this thread seems to be responding to Mancheeze’s proposal to lower the bar for conviction to preponderance of evidence by saying we should keep to the current standard of beyond reasonable doubt. You began talking about raising the bar arguments, which has caused confusion because that’s not being argued for in any of the responses to Mancheeze.

        Second, you must not have really thought my reference to Blackstone was just rhetorical, because you responded to it. But for clarity, so I don’t inadvertantly misread you, are you disagreeing with Blackstone’s formula? Are you suggesting that some convictions of the innocent are an acceptable price to ensure we convict the guilty? Or is that a really bad interpretation of your disinterest in Blackstone’s saying? (Serious question–I don’t want to impute an inaccurate position to you.)

        Third, sorry I read you wrong about prisoners. I don’t think Griff was being abstract about them, though. I read him as treating them as real people (and I think his followup about being a PD supports that reading), and, respectfully, your dismissive response to his question gave the impression you were blowing off his concern about prisoners getting raped.Report

  13. Avatar Wardsmith
    Ignored
    says:

    TL;DR, but I always thought alcohol was created so ugly people could reproduce. Will Canada turn into a depopulated wasteland now? WhoopsReport

  14. Avatar Burt Likko
    Ignored
    says:

    @j-r : “Who exactly are these men?”

    …Must …avoid… Indiana… Jones… joke!Report

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