Sexual assault, etc. in the news

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Re: Sexual assault, etc. in the news

Postby Koseph Jarpenter » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:40 am

It seems inevitable that in the climate of so many people coming forward telling stories of sexual misconduct, some men will get a raw deal. While I feel sympathy for those potential cases, and agree with zanelord that I want more information released for my own personal judgment of these individuals, a few powerful white men potentially getting cast in an unfairly negative light in the court of public opinion seems like a pretty small price to pay for the positive impact this all has for victims of sexual misconduct and society as a whole.

The potentially quick-to-fire actions of major organizations without clear "due process" does seem potentially motivated by PR moves, though its hard to say. Even if that's the case though, there are a lot of alternatives (minimizing, keeping things quiet, excusing) that are a lot worse, and have been the MO for a long time. Given that the world is not great at subtlety, I'm mostly on board with how things have been handled up to this point.
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Re: Sexual assault, etc. in the news

Postby Juan » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:18 pm

the "shades of grey" argument is really this in practice: in a case that is anything less than egregious, the rights of the accused (who is usually a white man) must be protected above all else, including the well-being of the (probably female) accuser.


"Shades of grey" doesn't really capture my concern about the rights of the accused, but I do have some concern about the way these cases seem to be tried in the court of public opinion. If I could craft my perfect world, there would be different evidentiary standards in cases of sexual assault and sexual harassment allegations, because there are just too many social and historical factors that make proving guilt that much more difficult, and there is less of a likelihood of false accusations there. Certainly, when a number of women come forward with the same description of an assault or abuse of power, I think that should carry tremendous weight. But I would like for all of that to be spelled out and made official. There should be a clear explanation for why survivors get a greater benefit of the doubt, why you can responsibly relax some of the burden of proof that would exist in other cases of moral transgression, etc.

My concern is really that there just be a process and transparency about its internal logic. Our country/society is really not that morally grounded and is very prone to group-think. I think for most people going along with this current wave of chickens coming home to roost, it does not represent a fully realized moral evolution, it's just a social psychological participation in a tipping point. Which is fine, when the tipping point is in the direction of justice. But if we get too comfortable with this way of doing things outside of clear processes and institutions, it risks bleeding over into other areas. Think of how much we relaxed our sense of the burden of proof for people from majority Muslim nations post-911. The way we have always presumed guilt based on narratives of Black criminality. The way organs of government can easily engage in character assassination to diminish the perceived trustworthiness of whistle blowers. I'm not saying that powerful white men are now being pushed to the margins in the way those groups have been. Just that similar methods can be used to accomplish bad things. So while Woody is right that we're not great at subtlety, I still wish there were some way to make it clear though this is a relatively safe area for mob justice, it shouldn't be seen as totally unproblematic.

Also, for the record: Nategoat's student sounds like a piece of shit. Even with an adolescent's shrunken frontal lobe, it takes a special kind of mean to think it's acceptable to call someone a cunt in the classroom. I'm not particularly concerned with the Title IX people bringing the hammer down on him. I just thought it would be outrageous if their disciplinary actions precluded faculty members from also intervening to control their own class rooms.
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Re: Sexual assault, etc. in the news

Postby greg not hairball » Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:03 pm

One difficult aspect of this situation is that the normal means of adjudicating these cases have totally failed for a really long time. You would hope that police, courts, employers etc. would be able to hold these predators accountable, but that has not been the case. That leaves the court of public opinion as the only place where these cases are being tried, so to speak. It is a shame that everyone gets the same punishment without due process, but I wouldn't blame the mob in this case which is just filling the vacuum that traditional courts have left.
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Re: Sexual assault, etc. in the news

Postby will91 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:36 pm

Surprising level of tolerance here for mob justice. Due process is a legal concept, yes, and so not always required in the employment context (or private contracts generally). But it is also a very important ethical principle, favoring fairness and proportionality in decision-making by groups/corporations/polities, that is too frequently devalued -- or worse, delegitimized -- when social issues get heated.

Perhaps of interest, Tamara L. was the Reporter for an ABA task force that issued a report on these issues in the campus context: https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/publications/criminaljustice/2017/ABA-Due-Process-Task-Force-Recommendations-and-Report.authcheckdam.pdf
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Re: Sexual assault, etc. in the news

Postby corn diesel » Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:41 pm

FWIW, I think Bari Weiss has done the world in favor in how she has wrestled with her own reactions to these issues in her column at NYT. I run around in a similar circle in how she has thought about Al Franken. Still not sure if I prefer he resign, if he deserves credit for taking the high road in calling for his own ethics investigation, whether that would be giving him too much credit, if I'm engaged in motivated reasoning because I like his politics or I identify with masculinity in a way that needs "good guys like him." I think it's probably all of the above with different points of emphasis depending on when I'm thinking about it.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/28/opinion/metoo-sexual-harassment-believe-women.html?_r=0

One other point I would make here (and this point is not original to me). The logic of sticking it to powerful white men (which I generally support) can prevent us from seeing this for the broader issue it really is. Regular non-famous men commit sexual assault all the time, and their victims can't count on the public support that results from coming forward like these women have. There's a similar problem in the national focus on sexual on college campuses. Obviously, that's a huge problem, but it turns out a huger problem is sexual assault off campuses: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/storyline/wp/2014/12/19/rape-on-campus-not-as-prevalent-as-it-is-off-campus/?utm_term=.88a74e81f873.
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Re: Sexual assault, etc. in the news

Postby corn diesel » Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:30 pm

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Re: Sexual assault, etc. in the news

Postby RunniNirvana » Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:44 am

From dyoung's interview with Ta-Nehisi Coates:

I want to go back to what we were talking about with Diana’s work, with news of sexual harassment in sports reaching people it maybe wouldn’t otherwise. I just listened to the interview you did with Marc Maron, and you said that before Harvey Weinstein and everything that’s come after, you had no idea that it was like that. Why do you think you had no idea?

Why would I? When you’re in not just the protected class—by which I mean a class that’s not actually going through the thing which has happened, the oppression—but you’re actually in a class where you’re benefiting from it...You could say—I feel so white having this conversation. Like, I’ve learned what it means to be white. It’s about power, right? White people say “well, I didn’t do X, Y, and Z.” Okay, you didn’t do X, Y, and Z but I can give you all the ways in which you’re benefiting from the fact that X, Y, and Z happened.

So I think “well, I’ve never harassed anybody,” right? But I could also give you all the ways in which I benefit from a climate that makes harassment possible. I know it’s there. And I guess I was kind of aware of that, but if it doesn’t happen to you, if it’s not really happening around you, in your space, how would you know?

It probably was happening around you with women you know, right?

Okay, and I’ve heard that before. It wasn’t like I hadn’t had women around me say X, Y, and Z happened to me. But to understand it as a pervasive thing that is basically true and exerts influence throughout the workplace...that’s another thing.

There are plenty of white people who understand that there is racism in the world. Do they get that? Yes. One of their black friends says that the cops stopped them and did something—yeah, okay, okay, I get that. But that ain’t the same as seeing Eric Garner choked to death. That’s different. It’s not the same as seeing cops down in Ferguson in SWAT gear pointing at people saying “I’ll blow your fuckin’ head off,” on camera.

So that’s the equivalent of Jodi Kantor reporting on Harvey Weinstein pulling out his dick.

That’s exactly it. It’s not like if somebody told me “Hey, sexual harassment is a pervasive and huge problem,” I would have been like “No it’s not.” I would have said “Yeah, that’s probably true.” But to feel it, and to understand that it’s true, instead of saying that I suspect X, Y, and Z? Totally different.

And when you’re in the class with power, you gotta be an extraordinary person to see it that way. And I am not a particularly extraordinary man.

I get it a lot more now when white people come up to me with reactions to the work. I don’t know that I completely understood that before. I get the desire to say “not every white person.” One of the things I got right away was that that can’t be my response to anyone that I’m talking to, to say to any woman “Yeah, but I didn’t.”

This is what this is like. Okay, I get it now. I got the urge to say that, I understand like the guilt and the embarrassment. Even if you didn’t do X, Y, and Z, you’re still implicated in it. Because you are implicated in it ultimately.


From: https://deadspin.com/deadspin-interview ... 1821996749
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Re: Sexual assault, etc. in the news

Postby Anders » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:36 pm

What do we make of the Aziz Ansari story?
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Re: Sexual assault, etc. in the news

Postby Koseph Jarpenter » Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:45 pm

Ugh that stinks. Here's the full account https://babe.net/2018/01/13/aziz-ansari-28355

He clearly acted like an extremely pushy jerk. I'd like to think he didn't always treat women that way, but that he had enough romantic encounters that went a certain way during his rise to fame that he began to expect sex with any woman he brought home.

Some of the writing in that account (e.g. she preferred red wine but he didn't give her an option) did seem like an attempt at character assassination. I didn't agree with everything in the article I'm quoting below, but I thought this paragraph was an interesting perspective:

Was Grace frozen, terrified, stuck? No. She tells us that she wanted something from Ansari and that she was trying to figure out how to get it. She wanted affection, kindness, attention. Perhaps she hoped to maybe even become the famous man’s girlfriend. He wasn’t interested. What she felt afterward—rejected yet another time, by yet another man—was regret. And what she and the writer who told her story created was 3,000 words of revenge porn. The clinical detail in which the story is told is intended not to validate her account as much as it is to hurt and humiliate Ansari. Togethe, the two women may have destroyed Ansari’s career, which is now the punishment for every kind of male sexual misconduct, from the grotesque to the disappointing.

https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainme ... ri/550541/


But ultimately, the take-home from this seems to be that despite seeming like a guy who "gets it" in his public persona, Ansari in this instance was yet another guy who acted like he should be able to have full access to a woman's body because he took her out on a date, and that's pretty disappointing. I will be curious how this affects his career, and hope the focus isn't too much on demonizing him, but rather educating men and boys that this is not an acceptable way to treat women. I thought his response was okay, but lacked any significant self-reflection.
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Re: Sexual assault, etc. in the news

Postby Narddog » Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:42 pm

This is far more grotesque that it is simply disappointing. This was last year. He was 34. I’m hopeful that the next wave of revelations are of this sort.

I’m also fascinated by the generational divide on this. Stephanie and I were discussing this with my mom the other night. My mom is about as feminist a person as I know, but she had a very lenient view of unwanted kissing and touching. She was in advertising in the 60s, so I can only imagine her experience, but I’m not sure lenience is what is needed right now. Society’s view of these interactions need a seismic shift.
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Re: Sexual assault, etc. in the news

Postby heavy_d » Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:16 pm

Yeah his behavior was gross and pushy. He also backed off multiple times by her own account. Why didn't she leave?

Many women rarely initiate sexual contact, so it's on the guy in these situations to gauge interest. Often this happens by making advances and reacting to how the woman responds. Aziz failed at this, but he didn't explicitly threaten her, even if she was intimidated.

It's on guys to get better at reading women in situations like this. It's also on women to speak up or walk out if they're not interested.

How explicit do we need to be about consent? Do we want to move to a world in which the initiating party asks permission before every sexual escalation? ("can I kiss you, can I touch you here, here, here, etc.")? If "no," then where do we draw the line?

I'm not sure how far we can take this conversation on an almost exclusively male forum.

Edit: of course I'm not implying that these scenarios are limited to male-female sexual encounters. I'm just addressing the specific case.
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Re: Sexual assault, etc. in the news

Postby Narddog » Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:17 pm

She didn’t leave, speak up, or walk out, I would imagine, in part because of the countless women who have been beaten, raped, and/or murdered as a result of declining these kinds of advances. This has been made clear to me by Stephanie, but also many women I have seen discussing this very issue. Whether or not this was a concern for Aziz is irrelevant. It seems to be a hard wired concern.

Women shouldn’t be the ones to solve this. It is incumbent on men(a male issue, generally speaking) to seek consent early and often. It may not be “smooth”, but I asked permission for my first kiss with Stephanie and all subsequent steps. People will find the right dynamic, but I see no issue with men/the instigator having a special responsibility to check in and ensure everything is OK. If someone is into it/you, they won’t be turned off by you seeking consent.

*it goes without saying, but the “you” in this is general and not specific to you. I suspect you are woke.

heavy_d wrote:Yeah his behavior was gross and pushy. He also backed off multiple times by her own account. Why didn't she leave?

Many women rarely initiate sexual contact, so it's on the guy in these situations to gauge interest. Often this happens by making advances and reacting to how the woman responds. Aziz failed at this, but he didn't explicitly threaten her, even if she was intimidated.

It's on guys to get better at reading women in situations like this. It's also on women to speak up or walk out if they're not interested.

How explicit do we need to be about consent? Do we want to move to a world in which the initiating party asks permission before every sexual escalation? ("can I kiss you, can I touch you here, here, here, etc.")? If "no," then where do we draw the line?

I'm not sure how far we can take this conversation on an almost exclusively male forum.

Edit: of course I'm not implying that these scenarios are limited to male-female sexual encounters. I'm just addressing the specific case.
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Re: Sexual assault, etc. in the news

Postby stretch11 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:06 pm

Bernie, I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about this whole Aziz story. There's so many things I'm trying to process. My first instinct when I read the CNN and other summary articles was it was out of place to blame Aziz for not picking up on "non-verbal cues" on his date. Then I read the account itself in the babe blog that Woody posted and I felt the other way, that this was pretty disgusting behavior. Then I read all these articles by women that defended Aziz and put more focus on Grace's inaction and I was very confused as to how I felt.

Was it in fact sexist for me put all the blame on Aziz? Is it antiquated to think that women have no power in these kind of interactions? I absolutely hear you on the fear of assault for saying no, but by going to someone's apartment on a first date, while drinking alcohol, I feel like you have to expect what the guy is thinking, and if you're not, than you should at least be ok to leave when it isn't going the way you wanted it to (with the obvious caveat of fear of physical or even professional retaliation, none of which seemed to be at play here). I think expecting anything less of women is not giving them enough credit. But again, my view on this is developing so I would love to hear more of yours and anyone else's opinion. And again, I think that if the babe account is accurate, Aziz definitely needs to fix the way he treats women.
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Re: Sexual assault, etc. in the news

Postby Narddog » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:31 pm

stretch11 wrote:but by going to someone's apartment on a first date, while drinking alcohol, I feel like you have to expect what the guy is thinking, and if you're not, than you should at least be ok to leave when it isn't going the way you wanted it to (with the obvious caveat of fear of physical or even professional retaliation, none of which seemed to be at play here).


I'm sorry to be so blunt, but this is the problem. The only thing you should feel you should expect by going to someone's apartment on a first date, whether or not drinking alcohol, is that you are going to someone's apartment. This is a problematic way of rationalizing behavior. And I think it is impossible to say that neither fear of physical or professional retaliation is at play here. Based on the accumulated, direct or indirect, experiences of women, I think she is justified for being far from certain about how it all might go.
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Re: Sexual assault, etc. in the news

Postby stretch11 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:27 pm

Narddog wrote:
stretch11 wrote:but by going to someone's apartment on a first date, while drinking alcohol, I feel like you have to expect what the guy is thinking, and if you're not, than you should at least be ok to leave when it isn't going the way you wanted it to (with the obvious caveat of fear of physical or even professional retaliation, none of which seemed to be at play here).


I'm sorry to be so blunt, but this is the problem. The only thing you should feel you should expect by going to someone's apartment on a first date, whether or not drinking alcohol, is that you are going to someone's apartment. This is a problematic way of rationalizing behavior. And I think it is impossible to say that neither fear of physical or professional retaliation is at play here. Based on the accumulated, direct or indirect, experiences of women, I think she is justified for being far from certain about how it all might go.


Right, I completely understand that argument. I'm not saying it is ok for that to be the expectation, but if we don't work within the framework of the culture that exists, than we cannot take the first step in acknowledging that it is wrong. We need to first admit that that is the problem, then recognize that it needs to be changed, and then go about finding solutions to change it.

Let's go to the Civil Rights movement for comparison(And I apologize if my level of history knowledge on this matter doesn't go beyond high school and general education). Did Rosa Parks recognize that by refusing to move to the back of the bus that there would be punity? I'm sure she did. But she still made that concerted decision and faced the repercussions. This comes back to your saying that this was a primarily male issue. Can you call the Civil Right's movement a primarily white movement? No, there was ownership of it by African Americans making brave decisions, which is what gave it power and longevity. Were whites also a part of the process, of course. I think that giving women more power in this struggle is what will make this movement last.
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