I’m done – Kira Hall speaks out on the context of sexual assault

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Maribou

Maribou is a voracious reader who also likes to watch, stare at, and listen to stuff. Occasionally he makes stuff, too. They work in a small liberal arts college library, and share a house in Colorado with their husband Jaybird, three cats, and what looms ever closer to ten thousand books. She is identifiable as genderfluid, trans, farm-raised, citified, and bisexual, among a plethora of other adjectives.

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125 Responses

  1. Avatar Anne says:

    @Maribou I saw you post this on FB thank you for thisReport

  2. Avatar Maribou says:

    I would add that the courts aren’t going to protect men or boys, either. I understand why the OP left that out, given the context – but it’s still important.Report

  3. Avatar Kim says:

    Let’s just say there are reasons Q didn’t show up more on Star Trek…

    (I’m keeping my thoughts to myself on actual shows currently running, of course)Report

  4. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    I’m kind of biased here because the Toronto music scene is a sister scene to the neighboring Hamilton music scene and I know a bit about its norms. The issue I have is that we know that abuse and assault are very hush hush subjects, but we expect people to act as if they have perfect knowledge. Often times it’s not so much a thing of not cutting out someone you know is an abuser, but not knowing if you should cut out someone who you’ve never really heard anything about, but he gives you kind of a weird vibe. Or, working with someone who doesn’t give you a weird vibe and then getting called on it later because “everybody knows” he’s an abuser, but you never heard anything about it until that moment. Or, the worst, which is not directly getting called out for working with someone you never heard was an abuser, but hearing tell that there are “people” in the ether criticizing you for that reason.

    Some of this probably has to do with the passive-aggressive-as-hell nature of Canadians as well. I know there is a notorious bathroom wall in Toronto where women in the music scene share which men to stay away from. I’ve also never seen it, nor been privy to the private facebook pages where it’s discussed. I sure hope I’m not supporting those men. All I know is I don’t work with a few dudes in the music scene because they give me a weird vibe when I see them interact with women. Maybe they’re just dorks. But, maybe they’re worse.

    Don’t get me wrong- I fully understand why women don’t speak out about assault. I just get the feeling sometimes that people think there’s some sort of meeting of the menfolk where the abusers talk openly about being abusers and everyone else is afraid to stand up. More often it’s a matter of following your gut and not dealing with dudes who seem like creepers.Report

    • Avatar Maribou says:

      @rufus-f Except that I’ve directly told people about my abuser – DIRECTLY – and had them not cut him out. Or even not act to protect kids from him. In some cases I can even understand why.

      But the linked post is talking a lot about the balance of power, the balance of “giving somebody a fair shake” and how systematically we put that balance in favor of abusers and not the people they’ve abused, in general social terms not just in legal ones.

      I think it’s a mistake to assume that just because you are fairly sure you would never be in denial about someone being dangerous, those around you also don’t know.Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. says:

        Fair enough. All I can really say then is fuck those people. I’ve not personally been put in the position of someone telling me directly that someone I am working with is an abuser. I have been put in the position of being told directly that someone I had worked with in the recent past is an abuser and “some people” question why I would have worked with him.Report

        • Avatar Maribou says:

          @rufus-f I also tend, very much, not to trust anyone who says “some people question why you would do x.” Hell, I was accused of being abusive (and forced in a not entirely legal way) to seek counseling by the most abusive boss I ever had. (This worked out to my benefit, ironically enough, as the counselor helped me to find strategies to deal with her enough that I could make a case against her and get her out of my life, even though I was terrified because statistically when people go up against their bosses, their bosses tend to win.)

          I know it’s often grey. But the point of the post, in my opinion, is that it’s not ALWAYS as grey as social circles collude to make it. The people who are upset have some obligation to share with you directly and *immediately* when they are upsete. I outed myself as a victim to someone I haven’t known well in years, specifically because I didn’t want my abuser worming his way into his social circles. It was REALLY uncomfortable. Screwed me up for days, even though he was supportive and kind.

          If we change our social interactions such that the actual victims don’t (reasonably) expect to be shamed, you would probably get more helpful inputs and less manipulative ones. And (forgive me for being strident, but this is one of the things I get frustrated with when trying to discuss these matters) if you aren’t the problem – the statements being made *aren’t aimed at you*. They’re aimed at all the people who’ve been in similar-sounding but morally different siituations, and made the wrong choice. We’re not assuming it’s you. We’re talking about those 5 other people that *it is*.Report

          • Avatar Rufus F. says:

            This is one of those topics that’s extremely hard to discuss because it’s so emotionally charged and because it’s hard to convey that you respect the person you’re discussing it with and mean no offense. So, I mean no offense and I respect what you’re saying.Report

            • Avatar Maribou says:

              Likewise.

              And, really, “More often it’s a matter of following your gut and not dealing with dudes who seem like creepers.” is pretty much good advice in line with what the linked author is saying. That issue of people knowing, but not being willing to say, that you’ve run up against, is part of what she’s arguing *against*, from what I can tell.

              I just don’t think the part of the problem you struggle with is the biggest part of the problem. And since most of my context and examples (including the original post) come from the same type of small whispery (and incidentally, Canadian, with the cultural complexities you describe well) communities that you are part of… I guess our perspectives are just different.

              What frustrates me is not your opinions, but that whenever someone brings up stuff like this, the talk often turns to a combination of “how foolish / morally erroneous you are for wanting to not trust in the justice system” (see other comments), and “well, *I* think the problem actually is…” – which is not disrespectful but does feel like a distraction. You are not a distraction. But I wish more men would respond to posts / sharing like this with something that sounds more to me like “This sucks and I do all I can to avoid working with these creepers, if anyone is feeling like I’m oblivious they should tell me so I can confront things, because trust me, I do that when I can.” – which I think you did make fairly clear – and less like something that sounds like, “Well, the problem this causes ME is that…” – which is what it seemed to me like the focus of your comment was. Probably if this happened less in my real life, I would be less quick to see it in online comments from people I don’t really know.

              Again, I know I am scolding you and I know that is not really fair. I think it’s *because* I value you highly and love everything you write that I feel more compelled to talk about what I found frustrating in your comment, as opposed to some others that are far more difficult for me to find value in.Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. says:

                Thank you very much.

                I should say this is also very contextual for me in that I know a lot of people in the Toronto music scene (including half my band) who have been really struggling with how it was that Gomeshi was fairly active in their scene and able to do the shit he did for so long. Some of them had no idea. Some of them say everyone knew. But the question of what do we do now is very active here.

                So my frustration is not so much because I’ve been accused of being *that person* (who supports the abuser) before, which I have, but more that it’s really easy to not actually be that person and cause someone else the same kind of pain that you would if you were that person. Right? It sucks being accused of booking a band with a “known” abuser on a bill, but I’ve been accused of far worse. It *really* sucks thinking there’s someone out there who was abused by the guy who now thinks I know and don’t care.Report

              • Avatar Maribou says:

                Yeah, that makes sense.Report

              • Avatar Maribou says:

                And yet – as much as I am more empathetic to you than the abused person who misinterprets you, given that I don’t know them – I think it sucks more for them than for you? Most likely?

                And it really sucks for both of you that there isn’t an easy or straightforward way to find that person and say “hey, I didn’t know, I’m sorry.” Assuming, you know, that the abused person exists and wasn’t just invented by the person accusing you because they like stirring up trouble (or something like that).

                Sigh.

                It’s a mad mad mad mad world.

                I appreciate your thoughtfulness and willingness to give more context to your perspective.Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. says:

                Absolutely. “Sucks” is a lousy word because it’s so inexact. This person’s “sucks” is that, if I did book her abuser’s band and she thinks it means I took his side, it’s psychologically traumatizing and retraumatizing and actually widens the scope of that trauma. My “sucks” is just that it’s horrible to think I might have unwittingly done that to someone and it’s also horrible to not know a fail proof way to avoid ever doing it again. But that’s more along the lines of guilt, not trauma.Report

              • Avatar Maribou says:

                *nods*

                I hope things get easier for everybody soon. Despite all the stress and pain this whole public court of opinion has dug up, I do feel like it can make some things better in the long run – part of why I posted the link in the first place.Report

  5. Avatar InMD says:

    So… the state should punish when there isn’t sufficient evidence to support conviction…? And when there is substantial evidence suggesting collusion between the accusers? Is that only for rape accusations or does it go for other crimes too?

    I don’t understand where this idea that you can’t get a conviction for a sex crime comes from. When those guilty of heinous crimes go free it’s unfortunate but I find the idea that a lot of violent felons are being acquitted in the age of mass incarceration to be baffling.Report

    • Avatar greginak says:

      One of the really big problems with prosecutions of rape or sexual abuse is that in many cases there is no physical evidence. Most cases of child sexual abuse revolve around accusations by the “victims” who are often young children who by their nature are poor witnesses. In many cases the evidence comes from vague statements in nasty custody battles so the child s statements might be one or a handful of not very clear accusations. There is a large subset of adult rape accusations where the parties knew each other and had a previous sexual relationship and the alleged rape wasn’t’ so violent to leave marks. So these isn’t’ physical evidence of bruises or forced sex. That makes a lot of cases he said vs she said which are inherently hard to prosecute. Certainly in some cases the guilty walk. Which isn’t an argument for throwing lots of people in jail, just a statement that some crimes are difficult to prosecute.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Sex crime cases are also hard to prosecute because sex is something that brings up some very strong emotions in the jury. Its why evidence that might be considered admissible in other trials is excluded from rape trials.Report

      • Avatar InMD says:

        No disagreement from me on any of that and I have no objection to increased resources to support victims of crime which are removed from the criminal justice system.

        I do think we have to be careful about the idea that we can treat presumption of innocence as merely a burden of proof issue at trial. The article seems to argue that an accusation should be sufficient to make someone a social pariah regardless of evidence or investigation. I disagree with the apparent presumption that such an approach can be separated from the justice system, which is itself inherently political. The idea that juries are impartial or above outside influence is a legal fiction.Report

        • Avatar Maribou says:

          “The article seems to argue that an accusation should be sufficient to make someone a social pariah regardless of evidence or investigation.”

          The article (actually a Facebook note) is arguing that right now an accusation is far more likely to make the accuser a social pariah than it is the accused, regardless of evidence or investigation, and that that situation is unjust and the only way to change it is to favor the accused over the accusers *socially*, not legally. Particularly in small communities where everyone knows someone who knows someone who knows one or the other of those two people (the situation the writer is describing). Putting an abuser on a show isn’t just a matter of hiring them, it’s also a matter of NOT hiring anyone who can’t bear to work with them because they were abused by them, or of making abused people choose between their careers and their mental health.Report

          • Avatar Kim says:

            It’s also, in the case of charming folks like de Lancie, the case that if you hire abusers, they’re going to abuse the rest of your cast.Report

          • Avatar InMD says:

            I guess I’m not really understanding. Are you suggesting people should have their employment restricted because of gossip?

            I can see how a victim of a violent crime would want to avoid the assailant but until there’s proof a crime even occurred it’s all just question begging. That isn’t favoring the accused over the accuser it’s favoring a requirement that facts are established before someone is sanctioned.Report

            • Avatar Maribou says:

              If you think people in creative performing communities like the one described in the linked article get jobs based on objective hiring qualifications without recourse to gossip or personal connections, you live in a different reality than I do. These people are all friends of friends of … however many degrees of friend, and the decisions they make about hiring are as much social decisions as they are employment decisions.Report

              • Avatar Damon says:

                Yep, that’s true, what Maribou said @inmd . I have some familiarity with some “creative scenes” to agree. The problem I think lies in the fact that everyone knows one another and folks don’t want to rock the boat as it can impact their work. However, there’s several issues going on. 1) work 2) legal 3) social response/reaction to any claim. Not everything can be handled legally. And folks often make decisions based not on the right thing to do but on what will protect them or their work.Report

              • Avatar InMD says:

                @damon I think your point about people doing what they perceive to be in their best interest regardless of what is right or wrong is true. However, I also think there are a lot of assumptions about what third parties really do and don’t know about things that happened behind closed doors when this argument is made . My suspicion is that these decisions are really coming down to popularity contests.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                InMD,
                you haven’t seen the pictures.Report

    • Avatar Maribou says:

      Oh, you can get a conviction once in a while. In the case of the only convicted pedophile and child porn maker that I personally am 100 percent sure about, a plea bargain down to time served (about half a year), because the docket is backed up with gang murderers and non-violent drug cases, and they don’t have staff or funding to push for trial, or interview people who are willing to testify, and they are (completely understandably) more interested in getting some (ANY) conviction on the record than on the giant dice roll that could lead to actually meting out justice, finding a way to rehabilitate the accused, or keeping a repeat abuser out of society — or could just lead to said criminal maintaining the fiction of a clean record once again.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        I suppose I ought to feel bad about hoping that he got raped in prison.
        I suppose I ought to feel like I’m a terrible person.
        Half a year??? For making child pornography??
        (I’m going to assume this was more than snapping pictures of 4yearold’s feet for the internet).Report

        • Avatar Maribou says:

          I’m really not interested in discussing the details of the case, but yes, significantly more than that.

          And your feelings are your own, there’s no ought involved whatsoever until you start talking about them… FWIW, I went through a phase of feeling the same thing, but I got over it.

          Really it’s just terrible that it’s up to … chance and time… with a side of people who know being more able to (carefully and worried for their own safety and pariah status) say something, whether he hurts anyone else. You’ll notice I’m not publicly naming this person here. I couldn’t deal with the fallout from doing so.

          You’ll notice I’m also using a (fairly transparent) pseudonym. The two things are not unrelated.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        This is nearly universally true these days. The court system(s) in the US are not funded at anything like the level necessary to actually conduct trials in more than a small fraction of the cases. Check your county prosecutor’s conviction record — it’s almost certainly >90%, and probably >95%. Not because they’re that good in court, but rather because they negotiate so many cases down to something that the accused will accept in exchange for a guilty plea.

        At the same time, how much of the available resource was chewed up trying (unsuccessfully) to get permission to kill James Holmes, who would have pleaded guilty in exchange for life without parole?Report

        • Avatar Maribou says:

          Yep. I have so many yeps for this comment. I don’t think there was anything special about this case. It’s just how things go.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

          @michael-cain

          Trials in the civil and criminal contexts are risky. People only go to trial when they think they can win*. Criminal trials are a bit more likely because a defendant always has a right to plead not guilty. I was once empanelled on a drunk driving case and my public defender friends said that drunk driving cases only go to trial when the defendant absolutely refuses a plea deal.

          Though I would argue that the prosecution negotiates down. Often what they do is threaten with more time for going to trial. “If you plead guilty, we will ask for 15 but if you plead not guilty, we will ask for 60” does not feel like negotiating down to me.

          *There is a small exception that some companies with deep pockets will always go to trial because they can usually outspend and drown any plaintiff’s lawyer. Exxon, DuPont, and John Crane are notable examples of this strategy and it works!! John Crane only gets sued in asbestos cases when the plaintiff feels like they have beyond a damned good case against them.Report

          • Avatar Michael Cain says:

            I can believe that at the high end. What was described to me when I was doing state budgets was at the low end: “If you make us go to court, we’ll go for felony X and three years; or you can plead guilty to felony Y and do eighteen months.” Even more common, as I understood it, was: “If you make us go to court, we’ll go for felony X and two years; or you can plead guilty to misdemeanor Y and do ten months in county lock-up.”Report

            • Avatar Maribou says:

              That is VERY similar to what happened in the case I am referring to. Misdemeanor, time served; rather than multiple felonies, years in jail. It’s win-win for the courts (given their backlog of murderers) and for the offender… just not a great outcome for the past and present (and/or possible future) victims.Report

            • Avatar Will H. says:

              This is the real effect of mandatory sentencing for burglary in Illinois.
              A burglary charge is effectively a plea bargain tool.

              My CJ prof made officer of the year by breaking up a burglary ring. Eight people, almost half with priors, and all of them walk on probation, except for two who had outstanding warrants on other charges.

              Then the people complain about crime, and the police dept. gets more leverage in the budgeting process, and the union forms a “victims’ group” to assist with the PR. Prosecutor’s conviction rate is sterling. Judge is tough on crime.
              Then the prosecutor goes to the probation officer with a caseload of 200 and says, “No more than five.”

              Seriously, if committing several burglaries isn’t enough to violate someone’s probation, then probation is a pretty good deal.

              That’s what you call “Keeping the public safe.”
              From what exactly, I’m not so sure.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                From what exactly, I’m not so sure.

                The peril of not getting another tax cut?

                It’s not like PD’s, judges, courts, and prisons are free. Even as crime goes down, it’s still darn expensive to do that whole “trial” thing with all those rights and rules and evidence and testimony and stuff.

                Better to not spend it and tell those fine folks working in the justice system to figure it out. Give that money to a useful cause, like paying for a new football stadium. I mean, can’t keep playing in the old one. It’s 10 years old!Report

              • Avatar Damon says:

                The courts and cops are too busy putting small time dealers in the klink to deal with serious crimes.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                Just north of 20% of those incarcerated in state and federal prisons are there consequent to convictions for which a drug charge was the top count.Report

              • Avatar Damon says:

                That’s a lot of folks!Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                Drug offenses are also the largest cause of prison admission at the state level. The reason that state prisons are filled with violent (~45%) and non-violent non-drug offenders (~35%, with most property, fraud, and non-violent sex crimes in this category) is that violent offenders in particular tend to stay in longer.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

                Note that “largest cause” does not mean majority. Here’s a report from Brookings. It’s really only violent crime that has significantly longer sentences than drug crimes. Nonviolent property crimes are about the same, and public order offenses typically have shorter sentences. Including federal prison, about 31% of admissions are for drug crimes.Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                Yeah, largest cause means larger than any single other cause, which includes violent offenses.

                Put it this way: if you meet someone who tells you they’ve spent time in a state prison, your best guess is that they were there for a drug crime. If you meet someone in a state prison, your best guess is that they are there for a violent crime.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

                I understand the distinction, and I’m not saying you were wrong—just elaborating.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                Imagine if someone described that as “we can boost police funding 20% without increasing taxes in any way at all”.Report

      • Avatar InMD says:

        I can’t speak to your anecdote but to the extent prioritization of violent felonies can take a backseat to more easily resolved vice cases then we aren’t in any disagreement. The incentives should be on successful investigation and prosecution of violent crime and property crimes as opposed to just number of convictions. Still the state almost always has a major advantage in plea bargaining due to harsh sentencing guidelines. The government has more than sufficient capability of convicting and incarceration people.Report

        • Avatar Maribou says:

          Of course it does. That’s not the problem – it’s a problem, and is related in some ways because part of the reason people don’t get punished for sex crimes is that there’s no spectrum of punishments that *actually corresponds to severity of what they’ve done*. It’s a goddamn dice roll. But it’s a *tangent* to what’s actually being suggested in the linked post, not a key component of it.

          Though the linked post (not my anecdote, which spans 2 countries) is actually written from a Canadian context, and the laws and incarceration rates are very different there than here.Report

    • Avatar KatherineMW says:

      There’s this case. There’s another case in Canada where the judge outright blamed the victim for not managing to physically prevent her rapist from raping her (and repeatedly referred to the victim as “the accused” during the trial). And not only is conviction hard to get, every trial that goes that way overwhelmingly discourages victims from going through the hell of a trial by convincing them that there’s no point and that it will only make things worse for them.Report

  6. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Criminal court proceedings aren’t supposed to protect women or really anybody else. In the ideal common law case the sole star at the trial is the accused. The question is whether or not this person is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The assumption is that the accused is innocent and that it is better to let a guilty person go free than punish the accused. This is what criminal court proceedings are supposed to be about.

    Using criminal courts is a blunt instrument. It is not a good idea to create a new version of the War on Drugs because that already wrecked havoc. A better way to prevent sexual violence against women is through better education and social services.Report

    • Avatar pillsy says:

      Criminal court proceedings aren’t supposed to protect women or really anybody else. In the ideal common law case the sole star at the trial is the accused. The question is whether or not this person is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The assumption is that the accused is innocent and that it is better to let a guilty person go free than punish the accused. This is what criminal court proceedings are supposed to be about.

      Sure.

      But in that case, there hardly seems to be much room for outrage or even objection to Ms Hall’s proposed course of action. People taking perfectly legal action to protect themselves from probable abusers, or even impose negative social consequences on them, can hardly be said to be acting unjustly simply because those probable abusers would be acquitted in a court of law.Report

      • Avatar Maribou says:

        This. The author’s experience was that the legal system was not the place to seek for justice, and she was specifically responding to her experience of people who effectively said – by their actions – “Well, if he did it – which he probably did – that’s the court’s job, to punish him, and I should just treat him the same as I always would even if it provides cover for further abuse.” She’s saying TO THOSE PEOPLE, no, that’s not plausible, the court is NOT going to protect people from this guy (regardless of whether you think it should, or not), and you should take action to protect the people and communities you care about. Not violent action, just the action of no longer favoring the accused over the accusers.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Who pays the price for too many Type I errors? Who pays the price for too many Type II errors?

      Allow for enough Type II errors in your system and you will shortly be challenged by a system that will significantly reduce Type II errors at the cost of introducing Type I errors.

      And, I suppose, vice-versa.Report

      • Avatar Maribou says:

        If I understand what you’re saying correctly, I think the use of the word “shortly” indicates that your historical / global worldview is far too narrow. Could be misunderstanding though.Report

        • Avatar veronica d says:

          Exactly. Given that sexual violence is (quite sadly) a gendered phenomena, is this an argument that we rightly balance the interests of the victims (usually women) versus those accused (often men) in just the right way? Without any perspective on the fact that those accused are often charismatic men with access to informal systems of power, and the victims are often women who lack access to same?

          I mean, the level of blinkered support for the sexist status quo continues to amaze me.

          The man says, “Hey, I’m pretty sure it’s all working just right. I’ve never been raped.”Report

          • Avatar InMD says:

            Without getting into the question of actual innocence, and assuming that the burden for convicting someone of rape could be lowered without inflicting a mortal wound on due process generally (which in itself is naive), what makes you so sure that it’d be the powerful who would be punished? More likely the fallout would be along familiar lines of class and race.Report

            • Avatar veronica d says:

              @inmd — I’m guessing you didn’t read the article and have chosen to comment without bothering to understand the first thing about the context. That seems like poor form. In the future may I suggest you understand the context before you comment.Report

              • Avatar InMD says:

                I read the article. I regularly follow developments in criminal law and am familiar with the details of the Jian Ghomeshi case and background on his career with the CBC.

                The point I’m making is plenty valid. People often advocate changing the law or, as in this article, social practices in the wake of acquittals of this nature thinking they’ll finally get the Ghomeshis, or Cosbys, or Roethlisbergers (or whichever other celebrity accused of using social status to victimize people). I think that’s understandable but ultimately misguided.

                I think the fact that you were so quick to make that assumption as opposed to engaging substantively only illustrates my point. It’s an emotional topic but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t at least try to deal with it rationally.Report

              • Avatar veronica d says:

                @inmd — I’m not talking about changing the law. The Facebook post did not talk about changing the law. @maribou is not talking about changing the law. We are talking about something else.

                In other words, you are changing the subject, which is derailing.

                Rape conversations are very difficult. They are emotionally fraught. Wading in with “devil’s advocate” positions, particularly with off-topic distractions, can come across as incredibly insensitive.

                If you want to address the actual topic, please do so.Report

              • Avatar InMD says:

                The article argues that the courts aren’t protecting women. That is an assertion about the legal system and the law. It advocates ‘cutting people off’ in their private opportunities when the courts dont convict or there isnt enough evidence to bring charges. I discussed that above.

                Looking at the piece from an angle you don’t like or asking people about questions that I think are begged by the post and/or other comments is not derailing. I don’t see how anything I’ve said is outside of the usual spirit of discussion on this site.Report

              • Avatar Maribou says:

                Is your assertion that the (Canadian) courts *do* protect women? (Which is a separate question from whether or not they actually do so, and one not directly addressed by the article.)

                Is your assertion that if a court can’t convict, individuals therefore shouldn’t change their behavior toward an accused individual even when it becomes common knowledge in a community that not only was this a known abuser, but that some people had known about this behavior for years without speaking up?

                Is your assertion that if only the rest of us knew more about the Canadian legal system, we would understand that an acquittal of Ghomeshi ought to mean that we treat people in similar contexts as if no one had ever accused them of these things and as if there were not significant social corroboration?

                You’ve argued so many different (and frequently off-topic) things on this post that it’s hard to tell what exactly you are trying to do.

                ***********

                Also, while I don’t actually think you’re outside the usual spirit of discussion of the site (and I love that spirit, which does include related but not on-the-nose discussions), I think most of us do try to be compassionate toward each other. I personally could use a little more compassion from you and a little less “I can’t speak to your anecdote,” when I’ve made it fairly clear from said anecdote that I’m talking sideways about some pretty horrible personal experiences. And you COULD actually have spoken some compassionate or at least halfway kind words to my anecdote, you just chose not to.

                To be perfectly straightforward, in case you just missed it – and probably I will never say this in public again, nor will I resort to complaining about other people’s behavior on the site again if I can possibly help it – as an editor I try NOT to do that sort of thing – I want you to be able to post even when I am bothered by you, maybe even especially then… sorry, tangent.

                Anyway, to be clear:

                I was one of the “this isn’t the first time this person has abused children in his care” witnesses, that the prosecution couldn’t even be bothered to interview.

                This isn’t an academic discussion to me, we’re talking about how people should or shouldn’t act about *my* abuser, when I confront them with his abusive behavior, as well as the larger topic.

                Why would anyone want to work with a pedophile? Why should anyone be *required* to work with a pedophile in a creative and deeply personal context, which is the *specific* context of the article? Why is it immoral for me to tell someone I care about, “Hey – he did this stuff. Don’t just tell me you know that but the courts should sort it out, I’m hoping you won’t be in a band with him / seek him out to be on your show / whatever, for both of our sakes.”? How is it NOT immoral for me to keep my mouth shut, assuming I feel safe opening it to that particular person in that particular context?

                The point of this piece – posted to someone’s personal facebook, albeit publicly, not written for a newspaper or something – is telling the people she knows not to keep their mouths shut, and not to embrace people they know are bad people, because she’s been seeing them do that for years . The rant I quote follows a *specific story* of the writer talking to someone she cares about, and being told that he was going to treat the guy the same way, since the justice system would take care of the rest.

                By insisting that lived experience of one’s intimates shouldn’t count in day-to-day moral choices, you’re compartmentalizing way beyond what is, yes, just.Report

              • Avatar InMD says:

                Just so you know I appreciate the time you took to write this and will respond when I get home (phone isn’t ideal for addressing that many points).Report

              • Avatar Maribou says:

                Thanks for letting me know that.Report

              • Avatar Maribou says:

                Reading this over, I do see that my own experience and the Facebook poster’s sort of bled into each other in the “Why would…” paragraph, in a perhaps-confusing way. I have also been choked, by the same abuser who molested me. So it’s damn hard for me to speak at all or to share at all around a Facebook note that involves fingerprints on someone’s throat – no matter how powerful and important I believe that piece to be.

                I’m pretty sure if you replaced “pedophile” with “person who chokes women nonconsensually and then charms them into accepting the behavior” the point remains the same…Report

              • Avatar InMD says:

                @maribou Ok, I’m going to go point by point (and if I miss something please feel free to call me out, I’ve asked tough questions on the thread and have no intent from shying away from yours).

                Regarding whether or not the courts protect women, I think that depends greatly on the context and the woman. However, when it comes to victims of crimes I think that expecting criminal courts to act as instruments of vindication is asking something that they aren’t set up to do and probably can never do. Courts exist to make a determination as to whether or not sufficient evidence exists for the state to enforce an outcome of some kind. In the criminal context, it’s whether or not the state has sufficient justification to deprive someone of their freedom (and down here south of the border, sometimes their lives). The victim is not a party to these proceedings, and though they’re often the trigger for a prosecution and present evidence, given the larger considerations of due process, the law cannot treat victims as an interested party in the legal sense. There’s a long history of arbitrary and horrible abuse at the hands of the state in the name of enforcing criminal law and for that reason I think we need to be very careful about undoing the protections we inherited from the Enlightenment, no matter how heinous the accusation, lest we unleash other types of injustice.

                This notwithstanding, I do not think that victims of crime should be without assistance and recourse. There are civil avenues where many victims are able to recover from their attackers, even where there was not sufficient evidence to convict criminally. I also think it’s important to have robust public services to allow people who need it an avenue of escape. I don’t think those services should be contingent on anyone being convicted of a crime. We do, at best, a very inconsistent job of this now, and I am in favor of efforts to make them better.

                Regarding how people should treat someone who is acquitted or who can’t be convicted of a crime, I am indeed skeptical of efforts to establish a social norm in which people who aren’t convicted of a crime are still treated as pariahs (this is how I read the post you linked to). I think establishing such a norm is more likely to create a lot of Boo Radleys than it is, to say, force a powerful person out of public life in disgrace. I also think (as I stated above) that setting such a norm harms our ability to have a fair criminal justice system by de facto destroying impartiality, to the extent there even is any.

                That said, I do think people (as the author does), must be free to advocate for others to disassociate with anyone for any reason. If people want to listen that’s their business, and in some instances it may well be completely justified. She’s in the right to do it, but I don’t think people who chose not to listen are any less in the right (absent some other inside information).

                Regarding the Ghomeshi case itself, it sounds like the state lacked evidence, and all of the victims had serious credibility problems (the e-mails disclosed would seem to me to render conviction, at least at this particular trial virtually impossible). Does that mean he’s innocent? Of course not, but it could all just as easily be gossip and hearsay. The fact that there are multiple accusers and a history of rumors doesn’t mean anything (again, my understanding of the e-mails is that the accusations at issue in this trial were at least somewhat coordinated). Now, maybe he is really a bad guy who has managed to get away with some horrible things, but there’s also the lessons from the Crucible, or for a more recent, real life example, the McMartin preschool trials. Without convincing evidence I give the benefit of the doubt.

                Lastly, regarding my tone and posting style, I did not intend to say anything about your personal life, past experiences, or otherwise, and I am sorry for appearing that way. I try to be as direct as possible, especially with viewpoints that differ from my own. I do that because I’ve always thought that was the best way to show that an argument is being respected and taken seriously. I only used the word “anecdote” in the sense that I was looking at your story as anecdotal evidence about the broader topics. It was not meant to imply that I didn’t take it seriously or as a slight. I like to debate policy and can see how that approach might seem insensitive when it comes to this subject matter. Again I did not (and do not) intend to be mean-spirited or have any ill-will.Report

              • Avatar Maribou says:

                For the most part I appreciate your clarification of your position even where I disagree with it. And for the record I also don’t think criminal law is the best way to protect a specific victim – but if serial some-other-kind-of-violent-criminals regularly went free because society is set up to blame the victims, we would think there was a problem with the legal system, and hence I do think there is a problem here. My experience / anecdotal evidence suggests that in this country the biggest problem is backlog and in Canada the biggest problem is the judiciary being full of jerks, but despite my extensive attention to the subject – I’m sure you can imagine how alert to the topic I must be – I am still open to the possibility that the problem might lie elsewhere.

                The one issue I have with your comment where I think you might actually see where I’m coming from, rather than just agree to disagree, is this:

                “setting such a norm harms our ability to have a fair criminal justice system by de facto destroying impartiality, to the extent there even is any.”

                This would be true if we were operating in a vacuum. However, we are not. We are, in my considerable experience and research, operating under a norm that is *already* strongly partial, in the direction of assuming the accusations are false. That is *already* biased in favor of the accused most of the time. Not just in the “reasonable doubt” sense – a sense of which I approve – but social mores and pressures push AGAINST impartiality, strongly in favor of the accuser, rather than being neutral. Again I would refer to the last two sentences quoted:

                “This might sound harsh, and it is, I agree. And the day that survivors of sexual violence afforded even a modicum of the courtesy and benefit of the doubt that is given to abusers, we can scale it back.”

                Your experience may suggest that Kira Hall is mistaken in her assessment of the current assumptions society makes in these cases. My experience as a survivor of sexual violences both large and small, who knows LOTS of such survivors – probably enough that if I didn’t know them casually, I could use them as a research group no more dubious than many of those that slip into peer-reviewed journal articles – is that she is right. Not just right, but brave to speak up in this way.

                And that she may make some positive difference in her community by doing so.

                (Also, as an aside, I didn’t actually think the court “failed” in my accuser’s case. I think it’s a travesty of justice – and related to the travesty known as the war on drugs – that courts really can’t afford to do more than plea bargain people right and left, because full investigations would just be too much work. Leaving my experience and Michael’s stats aside, the rape kit backlog alone would suggest that this is a serious problem. I’d like to see more funding for legal process and less for fancy guns and military-grade gear, if it were my policy call to make.Report

              • Avatar InMD says:

                You and I are certainly in agreement regarding investments in the war on drugs and police militarization. That is money that could be much better spent. As I stated earlier in the thread, I agree that the incentives need to be changed to prioritize investigation and prosecution of violent and other serious crimes, instead of high volumes of arrests related to vice and quality of life issues.

                The rape kit issue is a complicated problem and I do agree that it needs to be addressed. That said, every untested kit is untested for a different reason. Sometimes it really is an issue of prioritization (which needs to be fixed), but other times it’s because there isn’t a suspect, and there are quite a few instances where the fact that sex occurred isn’t in dispute (the issue at trial is consent) and therefore there isn’t a reason to do the test. The state needs to be able to prioritize cases it is most certain it can win and to the extent some kits remain untested for that reason I am not disturbed by it. Again, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a problem here but I don’t think that the volume of untested kits in itself tells the whole story.

                Regarding juries my experience is different and we will, I think, still need to agree to disagree. I started my career as an attorney interning with a circuit court judge then at a small firm where the bread and butter was criminal defense (for clarity this was a very brief stint that barely registers in what I do now so I do not want to give the impression I spent years in the trenches as a trial lawyer, I have not). However I would wager that I’ve spent more time than most in court rooms during (and participating in) criminal proceedings. While every jury and juror is different, the prevailing bias in my experience is in favor of the state. The vast majority of defendants are not wealthy, socially connected, or particularly sympathetic. Your average person tends to think that if the defendant didn’t do something wrong then the police never would’ve picked him up in the first place.

                The dynamic may (and I stress the word may) be a bit different in something like the Ghomeshi case where we’re talking about someone with wealth and celebrity, but those cases are not the norm. In an environment where we already criminalize too much and incarcerate too many (a disproportionate number of whom are poor and/or black) I can’t get on board with attacking the presumption of innocence. Even the privileged shouldn’t be punished if the state can’t prove their guilt, but as always the real burden of it would (and already does) fall on the disadvantaged.Report

              • Avatar Maribou says:

                @inmd I wasn’t talking about juries anywhere in my comment, as neither Ghomeshi’s case nor the case I am intimately familiar with were decided by a jury – and most aren’t. I said the *Canadian* judiciary aka judges are full of jerks, and I base that on about 25 years of paying attention to their collective decision-making on domestic and sexual cases (starting when I was about 12 and found out that the father of one of my classmates – someone I had previously thought of going to about my own abusive situation – had given someone six months in jail and no ban from seeing his baby or being alone with it, after placing said baby in a pot of boiling water *on purpose* and leaving it there).

                Again, I don’t want to attack the legal presumption of innocence. I’m not even saying it’s helpful to go widespread on social media in cases where the accused isn’t already doing that (the Ghomeshi media storm was initially largely fueld by his own post on Facebook, and people’s responses to that). But social knowledge within a community of people who know each other – and being a “gossip” insofar as that means warning other people about abusers – is Not The Same Thing. Telling the truth about the things that happened to you, regardless of your willingness to go to court is also not the same thing.

                And waiting around to only do those things if / when someone is actually convicted of what they actually did is neither safe, nor helpful, nor fair to victims.

                The reason The Crucible and similar stories are powerful is not because we should NEVER convict people only in the court of public opinion, it’s because we often *need* to, and thus need to be particularly aware of the dangers that come along with doing so, and the limits we should place on ourselves if we do feel it’s necessary.Report

              • Avatar InMD says:

                Understood and I appreciate the clarification regarding juries versus the judiciary. That is a different beast and you’re right, to the extent it isn’t necessary to get at the facts, judges should be diligent about not bringing stereotypes or biases into questioning.Report

          • Avatar Maribou says:

            For the record, Jaybird is not arguing what you say here as “the man says”. I’m not sure quite what he IS arguing, but I’m entirely confident it isn’t that. He’s not like that.Report

          • Avatar Maribou says:

            PS @veronica-d I talked to Jaybird and he just wasn’t careful about using the word “shortly” where he should have used “eventually”. Basically I think he was saying “if you are this awful to a group of people [ie women] for this long, at some point a compensatory mechanism [ie social opprobrium networks] will, in fact, start to function.” which is his INTP way of saying “Hear, hear and also this is structurally fascinating,” I think.

            I’m sure if I didn’t get it, he’ll come along and elaborate eventually. Unless I just run out of cope and declare the topic off-limits in our house for the weekend. I have to do that sometimes.Report

            • Avatar veronica d says:

              Yeah, that wasn’t even what bothered me. It was the whole idea of analyzing this in terms of type I versus type II errors. Which, those terms are from statistics, and they make sense when talking about medical diagnoses and similar things. So fine. However, they assume a neutral observer operating in good faith. They assume decision makers who are optimizing truth.

              In other words, you take your probabilities of truth and error, you put them in your cost/benefit matrix, you multiply out, and that tells you what to do. Yay decision theory. Yay good faith.

              But what happens in the absence of good faith? What happens when operating in a context of entrenched sexism? What happens when the people who build the decision matrix have different stakes than those effected by their decisions?

              In other words, this is politics, not science. No one here is disinterested.

              Regarding those of you crying out for the falsely accused —

              I’m a bit frustrated an angry right now, so I’m going to be really fucking blunt. I beg the indulgence of the moderators.

              I WILL PAY THE EXACT SAME EMPTY FUCKING WORDS FOR MEN FALSELY ACCUSED THAT YOU RAPE-APOLOGETIC MOTHERFUCKERS PAY TO RAPE VICTIMS. THE SAME EMPTY WORDS THE SAME EMPTY WORDS YOU MONSTROUS FUCKS.

              Of course I don’t want anyone falsely accused, just as no one here wants anyone raped. But people get raped. And people provide empty words.

              As the Facebook post argues, it is clear that the courts will not help us. Neither will “good liberal men.” We women must help ourselves. We must build our own alternate networks of power.

              And if these power structures cause injustice to some hapless man? — we will give him the same empty words we receive from men, such as you can see right now, in this conversation.

              #####

              Politics and power. How do you people think the world actually works? Civilization is a tenuous thread that hangs from the consent of the governed. Women are done with your shit.

              Does this sound unfair? We’ve been having this conversation for decades and each time it is exactly like this thread. Every time. Again and again. And again. And again. So it will go until we find our own power.

              Women are not stupid. This should frighten you.Report

              • Avatar Maribou says:

                Your anger is blunt enough that it’s actually making *me* anxious, fyi. (Not moderating you, just informing you. It’s hard for me to post about this stuff in the first place, and I am concomitantly pretty sensitive about people yelling at each other. Even online.)

                It strikes me that you might be interested by this Beaverton post, which was circulating in my facebook circles today. I liked it enough that I’m now sending them (well, the Aviary household is sending them) 3 bucks a year. I’d send more but sometimes they piss me off.Report

              • Avatar veronica d says:

                Right. Sorry.

                I’m going to go do something now that doesn’t involve the Internet.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                too true,
                the good liberal men are busy shutting down far worse things than adults (or even adolescents) getting date-raped.Report

  7. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    If I am understanding the point correctly, I agree that the real way to end or protect women from sexual assault and harassment is to apply social pressure. There is the side of me that wonders why it took Dov Charney so long to be ousted despite his known crepiness and why Terry Richardson continues for the same reason. Part of this is because too many people in high up positions keep on employing those dudes.

    That being said, I am suspicious of turning things into mob rule and the court of public opinion for everyone. There are very good reasons we hold criminal cases to a beyond a reasonable doubt standard. But the balance between rights of victims and rights of criminal defendants is probably impossible.Report

    • Avatar Maribou says:

      I think your second paragraph is addressed in this specific context by the last 2 quoted sentences above:

      “This might sound harsh, and it is, I agree. And the day that survivors of sexual violence afforded even a modicum of the courtesy and benefit of the doubt that is given to abusers, we can scale it back.”

      Right now, in this context, there is on balance a mob rule – there has been for centuries – and the mob rule says that women who say such things happened to them should be punished. There’s no “turning into” about that. It’s the same reason there are honor killings.Report

  8. Avatar Murali says:

    Certain basic and just features of rape trials make it tilted against victims.

    1. Presumption of innocence
    2. Burden of proof beyond reasonable doubt

    2 requires immense elaboration because it ties in with 3 and 4

    3. The messy nature of sex and dating practices. (mixed signals)

    4. The adversarial nature of criminal trials.

    Given 3, lots of considerations, including character of accuser, can provide some reasonable doubt about guilt. Remember, it is not enough that the accuser had sex against her will. It is not even enough that the accused probably knowingly had sex with the accused against the accused’s will, there must be no reasonable doubt that the accused culpably ignored the lack of consent. If there is some non negligible possibility that non-consent may not have been clearly indicated by the victim, or that the accuser reasonably believed that consent was given, the not-guilty verdict is required.
    Given 4, defence lawyers are not just permitted, but arguably obligated to use these methods to exonerate their client.

    The most disposable of these requirements, I think, is the last one. Less adversarial court systems might be better. The question, that will have to be answered is whether such a system is desirable generally for all types of cases. It would not do to have non-adversarial systems for rape but adversarial systems for everything else.Report

    • Avatar Maribou says:

      I’m sure you can understand why I would be less interested in fixing an extremely broken system, and more interested in how to support victims and protect people from becoming victims of the same people who cannot be convicted.

      One of the biggest problems with the legal system around sexual assault is that for all the reasons you listed and more, it’s really not a good idea to testify against people. This is also risky with regular cases; I was terrified to give written testimony against the guy whose dog bit me last year, given that he was terrorizing our whole neighborhood (not just with the dog) and that testifying meant he would be directly told my name and home address. Even though philosophically I *completely* agree that accused people should have the right to know who is accusing them, it was really scary – given my lack of trust in our police and courts to protect me from violence – to put my neck out in that way.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        How much does a mean bodyguard cost?
        We’re not talking a full tactical team, but just someone to walk you around, and maybe keep the bugger off your property.
        (how quick is the response time of police in your neighborhood?)Report

        • Avatar Maribou says:

          @kim oh, he’s gone. but it took a lot of concerted effort by the neighborhood to get rid of him. I don’t often worry about him, now that I haven’t seen him or his dog in almost a year and the trial’s been over for months, but it was scary as heck at the time.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      This is where I’m tempted to compare rape to physical (non-sexual) assault or theft.

      Imagine a cop rolls up on two dudes. One is sporting a black eye and the other a bruised hand. The former says, “He punched me!” The latter says, “He wanted me to!” How do we think things proceed from there?

      Imagine a cop rolls up on two women. One is holding a bracelet with the other’s name engraved on it. The latter says, “She stole my bracelet!” The former says, “She gave it to me!” How do we think things proceed from there?

      Maybe I don’t really understand how any of these situations are likely to proceed. Maybe none of them end in arrest or conviction of the accused. But I’ve never heard of a victim of assault being asked, “Well, have you ever liked getting roughed up? Ever play tackle football with your buddies? Maybe you DID want to get hit.” And I’ve never heard of a victim of theft being asked, “Well, have you ever given gifts before? Is it possible you did want to give it to her? Maybe you sort of implied it was okay for her to take it.”

      So why look at sexual assault, sexual violence, and rape so seemingly differently?Report

      • Avatar Morat20 says:

        Because sex is, in fact, a thing adults like to do. A lot. Without “obvious” indicators, it becomes quickly difficult to parse.

        And our justice system really isn’t set up well to deal with an incredibly common hobby that becomes criminal entirely based on lack of consent. Statutory rape? Easy. Is Age > X, done. Child molestation? Same. Violent rape with lots of indicators — SHOULD be a heck of a lot easier than it is — the fact that the system struggles with that is telling.

        If you have a common consensual activity and it’s criminal when it’s non-consensual (as it darn well SHOULD be) , a lot of times it’s going to boil down to “He-said, she-said”.

        And our justice system is just not built for that. I don’t really know how to fix it, either.

        Best I can think of is to start culturally — with the way rape is investigated and handled (which is horribly, BTW) and how sex is viewed by people. Because I can tell you that there are plenty of women walking around who were raped — and whose rapists would never, in a million years, think they raped her. There’s a huge cultural problem there, and I think that bleeds over into what SHOULD be more cut-and-dried cases.

        Because those rapists, those folks who don’t think they raped anyone? They’ll latch onto all sorts of things, justifications, ways of viewing the opposite sex, anything — to make sure they’re not rapists in their own minds.

        So the further from that bright line, masked-stranger-with-gun, rape you get — the more and more push-back you’re gonna find. Because masked-guy-with-gun? That’s safe. You know you never did that. But if it gets all grey — pushy, plying her with alcohol, invading her space, terrifying her (even if that wasn’t your intent), drunken bad judgement……oh that’s too close to home, you know?

        Better switch the subject to false rape accusations or ask whether it was a bad neighborhood or why was she even OUT with that guy if she wasn’t wanting sex? She had to know how he was….Report

        • Avatar Kim says:

          morat20,
          “And our justice system is just not built for that. I don’t really know how to fix it, either.”

          In this day and age? Smartphones. Having a camera rolling is a good way to show people “mostly what happened” (this will, at the very least, document people entirely too out of it to give consent).Report

    • Avatar Will H. says:

      @murali
      The one big thing you left out here is that character evidence is admissible at any time.
      In the English common law system, there is cross-examination. Where direct examination only allows yes/no answers (for the most part), cross allows narrative answers, but cross is confined to the topics raised on direct.
      The exception is that character evidence is admissible at any time; e.g., a prior criminal conviction need not be an issue raised on direct to bring up the matter on cross.

      The easy fix is to amend the rules concerning what constitutes character evidence.Report

      • Avatar Don Zeko says:

        At least in most US jurisdictions, that’s not the case. Character evidence is generally* inadmissible in civil trials and only available to the defense in criminal trials. What’s more, most jurisdictions have some sort of rape shield law specifically limiting testimony about the character of an alleged rape victim. The problem is that trying to limit this sort of testimony runs into a number of strong headwinds: the rules of evidence tend towards inclusivity, there are constitutional problems with limiting the defenses available to criminal defendants, etc.

        *with all sorts of addendums and exceptions and caveats, because Lawyers.Report

  9. Avatar j r says:

    Believe women.

    Because no woman would lie knowing this is what is waiting for her.

    This is obviously false. People lie all the time, in a variety of circumstances, and for a variety of reasons. That aside, I am largely in agreement with Hall’s post. This sort of behavior happens, because people allow it to happen. It’s tautological. Social pressure plays a big role in enforcing social norms.

    My one caveat is that if we really want what Hall wants to stop happening, then it’s probably going to necessitate being a lot more precise in how we talk about these things. The language of “male privilege” and talk about how society treats women is quite imprecise and not quite up to the task.

    Above, Saul asked why Div Charney and Terry Richardson got away with their behaviors for so long. It’s because high status individuals, particularly high status men, get to play different rules than everyone else. If people want to change that, the first step is probably speaking truthfully about how this works and why this happens.

    Here’s a hint: there are lots of markers that might show someone to be a high status man (wealth, looks, fame, etc.), but the most reliable is probably that women are attracted to them.Report

    • Avatar Maribou says:

      jr – I hear your objections.

      But the idea that high status men are the only ones who get away with these types of behaviors is untrue. High status men are the ones who make the newspapers / websites.

      I do think it’s true that predators who are basically charming / appealing get away with a lot when it comes to sexual assault. Everyone’s happy to ostracize “that super-creepy guy” when compared to “that guy who might give off a creepy vibe once in a while, but who is a good musician / brilliant actor / insightful CEO / helped me move that one time / is fun to have a beer with on Saturday nights”. I think our society is pretty deeply confused about who can do wrong things.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        The high status and low status thing had an interesting element to the entire issue of sexual assault. You argue that the high status men are the ones that make the newspapers or websites but I think you can argue that this sort of behavior only really hits hight status men after they are no longer high status. The accusations against Cosby did not come out until he became a persona non grata because of his increasingly conservative social views. Jimmy Saville had to die before his acts became known to the world. If you have high status than you can get away with a lot and for a long time.

        At the same time, I think it is also true that non-high status men are also afforded a lot of leeway in their behavior towards women because of the intense pressure placed on women not to complain about sexual assaults. Low status also creates a sort of clock of invisibility.Report

        • Avatar greginak says:

          Cosby was still very popular when the recent avalanche of accusations have come down. He was in no way a person non grata.Report

      • Avatar j r says:

        IMO, the first thing we should do is stop saying things like “only ones” and “everyone is.” These conversations lose a lot without some modicum of precision, my problem with the “believe women” line. When something happens enough, you can find instances of it in any and all possible permutations.

        What interests me is what usually happens or what happens ceterus paribus. In some cases being high status can make you a bigger target. The Duke Lacrosse case is a probably a good example of that. In most cases, though, the more highly regarded/well-liked someone is, the harder it is going to be to convince other people that person did something wrong. That’s just how reputation works. And I don’t think that is a bad thing.

        The issue for me is: how do some if the worst people end up with great reputations? Maybe the answer is that they’re sociopaths. And if that is the case, then a lot of the male privilege stuff is beside the point, because a serial predator will always find a way to use whatever the dominant paradigm to his advantage. Hugo Schywzer is an example that comes to mind.

        I am a little confused about the last part of you comment and maybe it’s the precision thing again. What exactly do you mean by confused about who can do wrong things?Report

        • Avatar Maribou says:

          Firstly, I try not to speak with a lack of precision on these topics, but I also try to remember how hard it is for people to speak out about abuse and therefore, when I find someone speaking about their abuse publicly for the first time and making generally reasonable, powerful statements about what to do, not pounce on statements like “Believe women,” and chide them with “You should really say ‘Believe 92 percent of women,’ or ‘Believe 98 percent of women,’ or ‘Believe 99 percent of women,'” or whatever the exact statistic might be this week. (We’re not going to get accurate statistics, EVER, while there’s still this much shame in the air, incidentally.) Something can be generally powerful, true, and noteworthy, without being 100 percent factually accurate, especially when we are talking about people’s lives as they experience them.

          I would also argue that in Hugo Schwyzer’s case, it’s still the OLD paradigm that was letting him get away with stuff (the young women in question not being empowered, being ashamed to speak out, him getting ‘upper-class white guy punishment’ aka a slap on the wrist after confessing the first time, instead of being moved out of a position where he could continue the behavior, etc.) and the new paradigm was just a convenient cloak for his behavior – one that wouldn’t work if we weren’t still all steeped in the assumption that women’s sexual experience – for good or bad – is hidden, shameful, and their own damn fault. (I’m not saying we all agree with it. But other than maybe some happy 4th-generation hippies hiding out in a mountain commune somewhere, we’re all *steeped* in it, because it’s all over the damn place.)

          As for the last part of my comment, what Will H. says below overlaps with what I was getting at, but let me see what I can manage to spell out, never having written about this topic before.

          It seems to me that most people (not all people, not all the time, and certainly not all consciously) have a thought process about evil that goes something like this:

          a) If someone does truly horrible things, this should make them seem like a horrible person on the outside, or at least, *I* can tell a horrible person when I see one. (This is often useful, since many people who do truly horrible things DO seem horrible on the face of it.)
          b) If I have fond or tender feelings for someone, or if I can see that they have many stellar and appealing qualities, they are thus not horrible. (Again, often useful – it’s important for social groups that we extend trust to each other – as far as I can tell we *need* to be able to trust trustworthy people to function properly in society.)
          c) If someone (C) accuses this person (B) of truly horrible things, then either C is lying (and is therefore either horrible or deluded, and thus no longer trustworthy, or even worse than that), OR I was deeply deceived by B in every facet presented to me, who as it turns out was lying not just by hiding the horrible things they’ve done, but also by pretending to in any way have any positive qualities whatsoever. (And, incidentally, and certainly not always primarily, since one or the other of these people is trying to make me believe false things, I HAVE BEEN PERSONALLY WRONGED in a way that makes it hard to remember that one’s own damage is probably not foremost in the situation.)

          And c), by the way, is held with the special urgency that extreme cognitive dissonance of any kind tends to produce in people. Maybe c) is true sometimes, but when it comes to interpersonal violence (sexual or domestic) between people who know each other, it is false far more often than it is true.

          So, I think that as a society we have enshrined that everyone who does Truly Horrible Things – not stealing for food things, but, say, molesting children who didn’t seduce them*, killing people without a good excuse, or whatever else an individual thinks is truly horrible AND has social backup for their belief in such …. well, all those people are beyond the pale, inhuman, monsters who either look nothing like the rest of us, or are only PASSING as being anything like the rest of us. And so when it is revealed that a neighbor, or friend, or parent, or close relative, has done Truly Horrible Things, most people slide into a), b), c) above, rather than being able to recognize that the same person who was wonderful in so many ways ALSO was truly horrible in certain (often many) ways.

          That’s what I think we’re confused about. The fact that people can be, to use a crude analogy, 60 percent wonderful, 20 percent humanly fucked up, and 20 percent the monster that everyone thinks of in these contexts. Most people really believe that anyone who can behave monstrously is either 100 percent monster, or at least contains a vastly monstrous majority.

          On a personal level, my experience of abuse suggests that’s where a lot of my internal problems with my abuse came from, trying to reconcile the cognitive dissonance between the wonderful and abysmal facets of my abuser. But people who aren’t abused also seem to usually follow the same pattern when it comes to second-hand reports.

          Does that clarify things at all? I have to admit that I am pretty worn out on this topic at this point, so I’m afraid I won’t be able to discuss it much more.

          *children don’t actually seduce people. that is pernicious, offensive bullshit. i’ve just heard it thrown around as an explanation way too often to leave it out.Report

          • Avatar j r says:

            Two quick poibts:

            I never said anything about percentages. And I don’t claim to jbiw the unknowable. My only point in thus is, if you want to change things for the better, that change can’t be based on false statements. And believe women, because no woman would lie and put herself through this is false.

            My other point was simply that the language of male privilege and society doesn’t believe women is insufficient in uncovering the myriad of ways and reasons why people protect abusers and other predators. And, if I’m reading you correctly, you seem to agree.Report

            • Avatar Maribou says:

              @jr

              The percentages are a red herring, I was trying to give an example of how hard it is to be precise. “believe women, because no woman would lie and put herself through this” should, yes, be rendered something like “if you’re not sure, you should lean on the side of believing women, even if that feels weird to you, because as far as we can tell, only somewhere between 0.5 and 8 percent of accusers would lie and put themselves through this, and even if it’s 8 percent, that still means the odds the woman you are hearing about or talking to is TELLING THE TRUTH are overwhelming.”

              But somehow that’s a lot less likely to go viral than a more succinct statement is. I used to have a lot of trouble with ‘all,’ ‘everyone,’ etc statements myself, until I learned to take them less literally and with more empathy. I do not believe the poster meant for anyone to take her statement literally, because we all KNOW there are false accusations. Women are just tired of the assumptions that their accusations are false, or that if true, they shouldn’t matter.

              Obviously I think it’s more complex, or I wouldn’t have bothered to reply at such length about the main mechanism I believe is involved. But I also think ‘society doesn’t believe women’ is the underlying context for most of the times where, when faced with my c) step above, most people are more likely to go for rejecting the accuser, than the accused.

              Society doesn’t, on average most of the time, believe women, value women, respect women, or esteem women’s perceptions of situations.

              The more you and some other commenters seek to establish what’s *wrong* with the linked post, at the expense of discussing what is right or meaningful – or heartbreaking – about it, the more confirmation I have for that view, frankly.Report

              • Avatar j r says:

                The more you and some other commenters seek to establish what’s *wrong* with the linked post, at the expense of discussing what is right or meaningful – or heartbreaking – about it, the more confirmation I have for that view, frankly.

                Consider this perspective. There are three groups of people with regards to reactions to this piece. One group will accept it uncritically. Another group will reject it out of hand. And the third, and largest, group is composed of people like me, who don’t fully agree but agree enough to engage substantively. If the group one reaction is the measure of success, then this isn’t going to be very successful in changing people’s behavior.

                I get that “believe women” is an attempt to distill for the internet. Yes, it is easier for platitudes to go viral. But the extent to which a solution is based on platitudes over complex understanding is the extent to which that solution is likely to fail.

                Maybe what you’re saying is more along the lines of yes, these situations require complex understanding, but that’s not for you to worry about. You just absorb the top line message. If that is the case, then we get to the same problem in the first paragraph.

                If I take the time to engage with something critically, it doesn’t mean that I don’t take it seriously. Quite the opposite. Also, if it’s not clear from my comments, how I engage with these situations in real life is something different than how I engage with a discussion about the ethics of behavior in these situations. And that is ultimate point. Ethical conversations need to be open to dissent; otherwise, they default to moral intuition and for many people moral intuition is what reinforces the status quo.Report

              • Avatar Maribou says:

                Three points:
                1) If I were engaging uncritically with the piece, do you think my 2nd comment on this post would’ve been a criticism of the piece?

                2) You’re inaccurately dichotomizing if you’ve decided that I’m asking you not to engage critically with the piece, or suggesting you should not have. I was asking you not to do so – or really expressing my frustration with your having done so, in my opinion – at *the expense of* also expressing what you did agree with or what you found moving about the piece. There are commenters in this thread who have done a lot of both, myself among them. But as long as women’s *real life experiences*, whether discussed “in real life” or online (which is a different area of equally real life to me, given that I met my husband and half of my friends online)… as long as those experiences are met with *far more* criticism and dissent than they are support, curiosity, and affirmation … then many women will continue to feel like their real life experiences are very much *not* welcome in male spaces. You could actually do BOTH, but you aren’t really.

                For example, it was very very hard for me to explain to you my theory of how people react to accusations of evil-doing. As I wrote that comment I had to sort through many experiences both of Truly Horrible Things being done to me, and of people’s active rejection of my claims that these horrible things happened, were wrong, and should be prevented from happening again. The “crude analogy” I shared was a less emotionally colored version of the same analogy that helped one of my siblings stop actively engaging with our abuser, for her own protection.

                My expectation … well, no, my expectation was that you would respond as you did, because I’ve been “one of the guys” since before I started school, and I’ve only recently learned that draining positive emotions from conversations is not, actually, purely an improvement. I know how these conversations are historically *supposed* to go.

                My *hope*, rather, was that you might take time in your comments to acknowledge the context I shared with you, and the parts of what I said that you did agree with, rather than leaping to respond only to the parts of my comment that you disagreed with, and then framing your disagreement with a misreading of what I said.

                It’s entirely possible to dissent in a kind, supportive way, and if people are disclosing that Truly Horrible Things have happened to them, perhaps you might reconsider what you do and don’t want to make explicit in your comments about their statements.

                Because this is real life to me. This is what happened in my real life, and the things I’ve come to think about it. The OP was also talking about her *real life* and the community she *really* lives and works in.

                For myself, I’m just plumb tired of talking to you in as context-rich of a way as I can manage and getting back hasty and compassion-free responses, so I’m not going to be able to keep up this discussion. Maybe some other time.Report

          • So, I think that as a society we have enshrined that everyone who does Truly Horrible Things – not stealing for food things, but, say, molesting children who didn’t seduce them*, killing people without a good excuse, or whatever else an individual thinks is truly horrible AND has social backup for their belief in such …. well, all those people are beyond the pale, inhuman, monsters who either look nothing like the rest of us, or are only PASSING as being anything like the rest of us.

            You don’t have to go all the way to truly horrible. One of the main defenses of Clarence Thomas against the charges of harassing Anita Hill was that he wasn’t the sort of obvious degenerate who would do such a thing. (Hill was, of course, the sort of liar and/or nutcase who would try to smear a good man. That’s different.)Report

            • Avatar Morat20 says:

              Bill Cosby, Michael Jackson — what’s his face, the football coach. Countless priests, Scoutmaster’s, and how many Uncles, Aunts, Fathers and Mothers?

              We, as a society, seem to think that we easily pick rapists and child molesters out of a crowd — there’s apparently a “type”, you know? But in practice, we’re awful at it. REALLY bad at spotting sex offenders.

              Turns out they look just like every one else, and the really prolific ones are incredibly good at being the last person you’d ever suspect. It’s how they get away with it so long.

              And that’s not even getting into date rape, where said people look like…ordinary men (and the occasional woman) because they pretty much are. Few, if any, would even think of themselves as rapists — so why would they look or act like we think one should?Report

              • Avatar Will H. says:

                It’s really more than that.
                A first-time rapist isn’t a rapist until that first rape.

                Example:
                I knew a guy that worked at the golf course who was salt of the earth.
                One night, he ran over a guy on a bike on his way home from a friend’s house where they were drinking.
                Now he’s a killer.

                Q: What does a killer look like?
                A: Pretty much like anyone you would meet at the golf course.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                It goes deeper than that — the most common form of rapist is someone who doesn’t think they’re a rapist.

                I’m not talking sociopaths or anything. I’m talking people who literally don’t view what they did as rape. Rape is strangers and knives and hiding in bushes.

                Plying her with double strength drinks, or slipping her something to relax her, or even just getting right in her face and being insistent and pushy while also 6 inches taller and a 100lbs heavier until she gives in?

                That’s just dating. her playing hard to get. You know, the game. Just flirting. A million excuses.

                The most common rapist is someone who doesn’t think he rapes. (Or sexually harasses or a lot of other things).

                Shit, assume everything Cosby is accused of is true (I believe it is, but that’s for the courts) — he won’t think slipping women drugs and screwing them is rape. Best that would ever happen is he’d admit it for legal purposes and just not believe it — just lying because his lawyer says “you gotta show remorse here”.

                He’ll go to his grave believing ALL those women wanted to sleep with him — they just needed his help to relax and do what they wanted.

                Of the rest, and other sexual predators who darn well DO know what they do is criminal (or at least against the law, since NAMBLA is a real thing, if probably 99% undercover LEOs), they’re either dumb and caught swiftly — or damn good at appearing like someone so good and trustworthy that no one will believe it.Report

              • Avatar j r says:

                It goes deeper than that — the most common form of rapist is someone who doesn’t think they’re a rapist.

                This is a good example of what I am talking about. This kind of thing sounds good from the perspective from a feminist critique of rape culture or the patriarchy, but the empirical research just does not support it. Most rapes and sexual assaults are committed by a small minority of serial predators, people who know exactly what they’re doing. They may lie about it or engage in elaborate rationalizations, but the same goes with most criminals.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Most rapes and sexual assaults are committed by a small minority of serial predators, people who know exactly what they’re doing.

                Do you think date rate is incredibly rare, or not rape? Or do you think the only date rapists are a handful of clever sexual predators?

                I’m a little confused by how you hand-waved away the most common form of rape (Two people on a date, and someone not grasping ‘no’ — even if it doesn’t escalate to violence).Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                I don’t see how this response refutes what JR said. Most rapes can be date rapes and still be done by a small minority of serial predators. It could be the same people engaging in the same criminal behavior over and over again.Report

              • Avatar Will H. says:

                That would coincide with the statistics that I have seen:
                That the average rapist commits 7 rapes before being caught.

                Of course, that’s just an average.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                I don’t think most ‘date rapes’ aren’t don’t by serial predators, but by people who don’t think what they just did was rape.

                Look, a guy with access to roofies and no qualms about drugging a woman and using her is going to do a lot of damage before getting caught. If he ever is.

                But focusing on him ignores the far greater number of guys who might just rape once or twice, but never think what they did was anything but ‘playing the game’.*

                Predators will always be there. But that latter group? Maybe we can stop them, because they don’t actually want to be rapists. Predators don’t give a crap about what society says, but these guys do.

                And frankly I think a little education and some cultural pushback, to make consent a big thing and pressure a bad thing, can frankly save a lot of women a lot of grief.

                (*I’ve heard stories, straight from the women it happened to. And I know that guy, and I know what he was thinking, and he never in a million years thinks he did anything wrong. And he’d be the first to cry ‘false accusation’ because he believes he didn’t do anything wrong, even though he flat out did. He will twist and distort and think it’s anything but what it is, because he doesn’t want to be “that guy’. And that is, bluntly, a cultural and education problem. Because if he knew ahead of time, he wouldn’t have done it. Afterwards, he’ll fight tooth and nail, say and do anything, as long as he doesn’t have to face up to the word ‘rapist’).Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                There’s probably below 15% of guys who are date rapists.
                [judging by research studies]
                (Not that more wouldn’t do it, but the self-proclaimed NiceGuys and incels aren’t able to be competent enough to pick up girls in the first place).Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                I suppose it depends on your definition — I’m not thinking ‘roofies’ and Saturday afternoon specials on abuse, I’m thinking guys who use size, alcohol, and things like her awareness that she’s alone with him to….ensure they get lucky.

                She never said no, right? It’s hardly his fault she was drunk, terrified, and stuck there…….Report

              • Avatar Zac says:

                So you’re saying it’s about…the implication.

                Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                They may not call it rape, but enough of them sure do know enough to not get their faces on camera, when they’re recording “evidence” of their deeds. Now, maybe they whitewash a little, but… pretty sure most of them know what they’re doing is at least questionable.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                morat20,
                as I noted when the pennstate case came out, there’s multiple football coaches in multiple states who are widely known as abusers. (some worse than Sandusky). Most won’t ever be prosecuted.Report

              • Avatar Damon says:

                It’s a iron rule that those with power and influence are treated differently than those without, sadly. It seems only when the status is cracked do they become vulnerable.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Depends. Lotta money riding on football in southern states.
                Plus, there’s the different cultures.

                Northern states will eventually get around to prosecuting people, if they make enough people upset. Southern states have a real history of letting authority figures get away with … well, murder.Report

            • Avatar Maribou says:

              This is a good example, @mike-schilling – thank you for pointing it out. But I think part of the underlying problem is that the binary in many of our brains says wrong-doing is “understandable / excusable” or “truly horrible” without there being much of a continuum in between. Maybe?Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      Dov Charney also had the advantage of founding and owning American Apparel. It was his property.

      A good example of the high status problem was illustrated in our recent debate about David Bowie and Lori Maddox. If David Bowie was not a rich and famous rock star than chances are he would be on the wrong side of a courtroom. Same with many other rock stars of the time. Iggy Pop even had a song about what he got away with. Kim defended this on the grounds that bards would be bards or as you would put it, high status men of a particular type do not need to play by the rules.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Let me sit right down and fucking explain to you how many fucking people are on the RIGHT side of a courtroom.

        DO high status men play by the rules?? Fuck no, they don’t.

        Orthodox Jewish men routinely rape their daughters. Do I support this? No.

        A significant fraction of conservative Protestant clergy rape teenage parishoners. Do I support this? No.

        There’s a significant number of families in this country that practice brother/sister incest, mainly in places where the brother has significantly higher status.

        There are children routinely abducted into the “sex trade” in America. There are children who dare not speak out about their parents pimping them to perfect strangers.

        I could continue, if you’d like.

        It’s the highest order of stupidity or ignorance to think that most rapists actually hit the courtroom, and that the only ones who don’t are pop stars.Report

  10. Avatar Will H. says:

    Halo effect is a cognitive distortion, and removed from objective reality accordingly.
    It’s also a hallmark of emotional immaturity.

    I had to confront this myself in approaching material for a pitch for a documentary film involving a serial killer.
    To simply say, “The man is a monster,” and disregard him as a human being is, IMHO, obviating an important part of ourselves, an aspect of the human experience from which we might benefit in examining. Failing to do so lessens ourselves as human beings, for it is that very same humanity that we share.
    If it is morally corrupt to dehumanize people, then we must abstain from that. If we abstain from that only when it is comfortable to do so, then our abstention is meaningless. Pressure brings what is inside to the surface; when someone is squeezed, what is inside of them has a way of coming out.

    I, myself, was sexually abused, so you can set aside any misconception concerning misogyny here; though, admittedly, that sort of thing provides easy targets to further avoid actually dealing with reality.
    I understand very well the feelings from which such statements as this originate: Feelings of fear, being treated unjustly, the fear of not being viewed by others as a whole person, and the equally paralyzing fear that they might be right if they do– and more I will not go into here.
    But those are simply feelings.

    I tell you unequivocally that forgiveness is to the benefit of the one who does so far more than to the one forgiven.
    I’m not talking here about pretending as if it never happened.
    And I don’t mean forgiving your abuser either.
    I’m talking about forgiving yourself for being vulnerable.
    That can be a very difficult thing.Report

    • Avatar Maribou says:

      @will-h Thank you for this comment.Report

      • Avatar Will H. says:

        You’re quite welcome.
        And I extend to you my sincere thanks. I wasn’t sure how this would be taken. I know it’s an emotional issue, and emotions, from their very origin, are ill-suited to produce positive outcomes untempered.

        If I may continue . . .

        The legal studies department where I’m at is pretty much overrun by feminists these days, and I have come to recognize good and bad. I was really surprised that I would find the study of feminist jurisprudence so fascinating; though some of it I see as diabolical, and part of it I whole-heartedly embrace– I found like-minded thinkers who had already expressed what I had been struggling to put together for many years.
        But I think the feminist movement generally is severely out-of-whack. It stems from a rather common error; that of staking out a position at the expense of an interest (commitment bias).
        I believe much of this is a matter of origins: That, at the beginning, there were “women and family issues,” and when “women’s issues” became a thing, somehow the family issues got mixed in there as well. And as a result of this, much of what we term “women’s issues” these days are more properly “family issues.”
        That doesn’t mean that they are not important issues, but rather the family issues are not getting the attention they deserve,* and that we really haven’t drilled down deep enough to truly bring “women’s issues” to the fore. I really haven’t thought through this line of thinking enough to have more to offer than that at present.
        As for the commitment bias, its effects are quite predictably detrimental. It’s the very same dynamic as the young woman who came to class with a hangover, though I am rather certain that she had blood-alcohol poisoning; and yet she still referred to those who reveled in her blood-alcohol poisoning as her “friends.” I don’t think that people who poison you, or who encourage you to poison yourself (and especially so at a time when the judgment is clouded– preying on a moment of vulnerability) are properly termed “friends.”
        Yet this is the current state of the “women’s movement.”
        The bulk of it appeals to the more base aspects of human nature, and much of it foreseeably impedes personal development in favor of producing identifiable aberrations disguised as “empowerment.”

        For example, recently I altered my position on mandatory disclosure laws with abortion.
        Formerly (and still), I have taken the position that mandatory post-treatment is of utmost importance, to at least provide screening for post-partum depression.*
        My position of pre-treatment disclosure was altered by my own experience with being in an incubator for a week due to oxygen deprivation related to pneumonia. I was never told of the severity of my condition. I was never told that the doctor had been on the phone to my brother to ask if I was mentally retarded because my speech was slurred. I was never told that there was a greater probability that the conversation with the nurse concerning the incubator would be my last moments of consciousness that that of my survival.
        The principle of law is that, without adequate information, there can be no informed consent.
        Doctors are horrible about giving adequate information to their patients.
        And the doctors that treat pneumonia typically don’t have some kind of agenda they’re pushing.
        I do believe that access to an abortive procedure is properly dependent on informed consent.
        Without informed consent, it is simply battery.
        A woman should be advised of the risk (i.e., the existence of potential and attendant probability) of sterilization prior to the procedure, and not after it occurs, etc.
        And I fail to see of what benefit it might be, other than imply pushing an agenda, that resistance to programs mandating adequate information are directed toward. Granted, there are a number of irrelevant concerns which often accompany such mandates, but this is typical of any law. The solution is to amend the law, not abrogate it.
        And yet, even that matter is colored by the “Women’s minds and bodies are their own, except when they’re not” position staked out by the women’s movement. That was something I noticed a long time ago, and my immediate thoughts were: Double mind, forked tongue. I find that people who intend to deceive me rarely do so to my benefit.
        Now, I do understand that abortion is an emotional issue. I also understand that, in vast tides of emotion, rational thought is buried under. All the more reason to identify cognitive biases, and actively resist them.

        I could go on with other issues: Cultivation of some very harmful attitudes concerning anger and rather horrific societal policies disguised as “victims’ rights,” clouding a valid issue with the focus on women earning 78 cents on the dollar compared to men with no consideration of a “compensation package” (inordinate focus on pricing is common error of untrained negotiators), etc.
        But I have been long-winded enough for one day.

        I thank you for the use of your virtual ink.

        * Some rather common concerns among the Indian communities; teen suicide (manifested here as untreated mental illness), and the integrity of the family unit (which comes from the history of the boarding schools).
        I just realized a few days ago that the issues I seem to champion a lot tend to be those which appear fairly predictable.
        As a result, I wonder how much of me is really a caricature than a man.Report

        • Avatar Maribou says:

          You are welcome to the use of my virtual ink any time. I may not always agree with you but I appreciate reading your thoughts, and the obvious effort you put into expressing them as candidly and respectfully as possible.Report

        • Avatar Kim says:

          will,
          Informed consent is absolutely informed consent. There should be NO reason a woman shouldn’t be informed of the risks of BOTH pregnancy and abortion. (as I recall, it’s significantly more dangerous for a woman to take a baby to term than to get an abortion).

          Abortion advocates often worry (with some reason, look at abstinence education for some really wrong data presented as fact) that people will simply be given a distorted version of the truth (particularly if politics gets involved).Report

          • Avatar Will H. says:

            people will simply be given a distorted version of the truth
            If they get anything at all, is what I’m concerned about.
            It seems like if a guy is fixing to die, it would be something that the doctor would tell him.
            A simple, “Sayonara, fucko,” would do, but I didn’t even get that much.

            ADDENDUM:
            As a footnote to the above, there are something like 20 or 30 different controls that go into calculating wage differences.
            The only reason I know that is because one of my profs was DOJ civil rights division before teaching.
            I understand there is a real problem there, but bumper-sticker slogans tend to mask the real problem. More heat than light, as they say.Report

            • Avatar Kim says:

              my friend is regularly greeted by his doctors with a “we were expecting the autopsy from you before this!”
              (and this with a disease that has a lot to do with mental state, and medicine that causes suicidal impulses).

              [but, yeah, if you’re really in trouble, docs ought to tell you that. We’ll just put that alongside the 50% of doctors who prescribe placebos…]Report

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