Misguided Community Response

Friends have send me screenshots of a conversation on FB yesterday. This is exactly the type of knee-jerk community response the OWF is trying to change.

Remember: Believe the Victim. Question the Accused.

First, the mockery:

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I’ve said it on FB and I’ll say it again, anyone who mocks a group trying to create a safe place for survivors of sexualized violence is, at best, a crappy person. This particular person I had blocked weeks ago because of his misogynistic content. I see from these posts that it was a good decision.

I must say that I love public postings and screen shots. Takes the stereotypical he said/she said dilemma completely out of it.

Our community will not tolerate misogyny, and by publicly spreading misogynistic content, we will make this community unsafe for the predators. Spew misogynistic bullshit publicly and you will be outed as a sexist and a misogynist, and depending on the content, maybe as a predator, too. With screenshots.

Next, Rape Culture In Action:

Throughout the thread, in which this is only part, The Great Derailers were spewed here and there, predictably, and insinuations of a false accusation permeated every word. The one that hurt my heart was this one, from a fellow survivor. I’ve protected her identity for solely that reason.

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What exactly didn’t she believe? That “No Means No” post was written nearly two years ago when I was in considerable pain and still quite trapped both in love and in a trauma bond with the perpetrator. I wrote accounts of events that spanned months, leaving the details of the most forceful part of the assault, the part that crossed into digital and oral rape, out of the description. I have since written updates that have outlined my evolving understanding of those events as I’ve learned more about rape culture, the rape spectrum, and through extensive rape recovery therapy over the past two years. So, what exactly doesn’t she believe?

Furthermore, she makes gross assumptions of what OWF is about without bothering to read what we’re actually about. The author JHA of Silver Goggles, by the way, is not one of the organizers for this “movement,” OWF, nor does she insinuate as such. JHA’s post was even entitled “In Solidarity.”

I find all the references to “slander” and threats of legal action rather comical, really, as it’s a tactic bullies use to silence victims. I’ve been threatened with legal action before, and I’ll say now what I said then. Bring it the fuck on. It would be an extremely expensive civil suit in which the accused would have to prove it significantly damaged his reputation AND that it’s NOT TRUE. I have a report with the NYC Police Department of the events, one they flew out to CA to collect in person. That’s how seriously they took my summary of events. I’ve documented the events publicly and privately. Plus, I have emails from him where he referenced how I tried to physically leave the room, and he blocked my exit with his body both times.

Bring it the fuck on.

Still. That’s all beside the point, although it’s a great example of our culture’s tendency to not believe the victim, even when she’s giving details, being transparent and honest, and he’s remaining silent.

This entire discussion was based around another prominent member of the Steampunk community, not my attacker, being called out for mansplaining and misogyny in the Silver Goggles post, stating that the author wouldn’t doubt it could escalate. Rumors about sexualized violence were at least inferred, and it’s this that the thread seemed to be focusing on. His name has since been removed from the article for the author’s safety, as threats ensued.

Predictably, again, the accused didn’t respond to the implied accusation or speak to events, but rather hid behind shouts of “slander” and the like. He even invoked the term “social lynch mob,” which is highly racist. Although he definitely knows *someone* was traumatized by his behavior, and he didn’t speak to that. He, in fact, confirmed the rumors just by referring to this someone, as Silver Goggles post didn’t put any details about any assault. But here, he confirms that he knows there is someone somewhere who is traumatized. He confirms it.***

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I didn’t see what Mikeal finished saying, but if the beginning is any indication, I’m sure it had something to do with how he can’t believe he’d do such a thing. I could be wrong. Please let me remind you, fellow community members, if you’ve seen him around or shared a pint or had a conversation with the accused, YOU DON’T KNOW HIM! Even if you’re close friends, you don’t know him. I’m not saying the accused is or isn’t guilty of whatever he’s been accused of, but I am saying that predators hide in plain sight. Rapists look like everyone else up until the raping starts, and their victims are as surprised as anyone else.

Let us remember the most notorious sexual predators of our time, Catholic Priests, are great with women and children. They do so much for their communities. They work in the service of The Lord, AND some still molest children. I’m not calling the man in question a pedophile, not in the least. I don’t know him and have never met him. My point is that the excuse of “he seems a nice guy” doesn’t mean he is.

Now I’d like to see the man in question choose accountability over hiding behind reputation and rape culture rhetoric. I’d like to see him respond to the following questions without revealing the identity of who he clearly knows made the accusations, for her safety. Here is what to ask him:****

  1. What happened?
  2. Why were you pursuing/touching/having sex with her/him when s/he clearly wasn’t interested and/or said “no”?
  3. Why didn’t you listen to their “no” the first time?
  4. Why didn’t you wait for a “yes”?
  5. What are you going to do to make this better? To care for this traumatized person?
  6. Are you willing to do what the victim needs in order for her to feel safe/heard? For how long?
  7. Are you willing to make amends/take responsibility for your actions?

Then see how he responds. Is he willing to be held accountable for his actions?

Depending on their answers to these and other such questions, the community will decide whether or not the accused will remain welcome in the community. If they respond defensively, throwing out accusations of the accuser being “crazy” or “vindictive” or something similar, then they’re out, I’d say. They’re derailing the conversation instead of speaking to events.

If they say things like “I’d never do such a thing,” they’re still derailing the conversation and not speaking to events.

If they acknowledge that the victim has obviously been traumatized and seriously respond to the accusation by addressing events, if they are willing to make amends and do what is necessary to help the victim heal and feel safe, then you’re dealing with someone who has integrity.  If the accused does this in front of his community, he will see the true power of responsibility and be more respected than ever. The victim will feel heard and validated and believed, which will facilitate her healing. The community will be stronger because of it as well.

You’ll see from these screen shots the common community response to an accusation or even insinuation, as in this case, of sexualized violence. This is what we mean to change. No need to condemn him, but question him.

From Meet the Predators:

If we refuse to listen, he can continue to pretend that the rapist is some guy in the parking lot late at night, when it’s actually him, in our friends’ bedrooms half an hour after last call. If we let that happen, we’re part of the problem.

The rapists can’t be your friends, and if you are loyal to them even when faced with the evidence of what they do, you are complicit.

Want to stop rape and sexual assault in our communities?

Change the culture. To rape again and again, these men need silence. They need to know that the right combination of factors — alcohol and sex shame, mostly — will keep their victims quiet. Otherwise, they would be identified earlier and have a harder time finding victims. The women in your life need to be able to talk frankly about sexual assault. They need to be able to tell you, and they need to know that they can tell you, and not be stonewalled, denied, blamed or judged. (Meet the Predators)

Here is what we vow: Question the accused. Believe the victim.

-_Q

UPDATES:

***After a lengthy discussion with the supposed accused on FB, I see that I was in error to claim he knew someone, somewhere was traumatized. In the above screenshot, he was referring to the author of Silver Goggles and how she had called him out before for something or another. He wouldn’t give me a link to it. That’s what he claims, so it must be true.

This is how he ended our conversation on FB. Oh, by the way, he kept going on and on about power, which is what he’s taking away from me in this quote:

“and now… I’m taking away yours… good bye. I have a life to lead that does not involve trading “Rape Culture” for “Victim Glorification”. Keep Believing the Victims and Victimizing the accused. I will support actual thought and real justice. You are irrelevant.”

Very interesting.

****These questions were meant to be sample questions to ask the accused, as they were taken directly from the Accountability page. I can see how if you were to ask them regardless of the answer they appear leading, and that wasn’t my intention. Start with the first question, depending on the answer and what you know about the accusation, form a second question. And so on.

Apologies for the confusion.

-_Q

Olivia M. Grey lives in the cobwebbed corners of her mind writing paranormal romance with a Steampunk twist, like the Amazon Gothic Romance bestseller Avalon Revisited. Her short stories and poetry have been published in various magazines and anthologies, like SNM Horror Magazine and How the West Was Wicked. Ms. Grey also blogs and podcasts relationship essays covering such topics as alternative lifestyles, deepening intimacy, ending a relationship with love and respect, and other deliciously dark and decadent matters of the heart and soul.

Read more by O. M. Grey on her blog Caught in the Cogs, http://omgrey.wordpress.com

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64 Comments

Filed under Community Response, Misogyny, Objectification, Rape Culture

64 responses to “Misguided Community Response

  1. Oh really? I am the “Other prominent member of the Steampunk Community”. Did you read the article before my name was removed. By the way, it was removed because one of her friends said she was wrong. I never approached her. I have the screen cap and here is the google link. Now tell me how this was a perfectly justified way of handling this… do it in public for all to see.

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache%3AmXfzywMSQOgJ%3Asilver-goggles.blogspot.com%2F2013%2F07%2Fsolidarity-link-order-of-white-feather.html+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ca

    • I’m right here in public. I did read it before your name was removed.

      Now, please, answer the questions. Don’t reveal the accuser’s identity, but by your own admission in the above screen shot (in the post) there is someone who feels traumatized.

      Why? What happened? Tell us here in public for everyone to see.

      • He did respond to the questions. “I never approached her.” Unfortunatly your questions assume that the person did do something wrong. If they accused never approached the person then how are they supposed to answer the rest of the questions.

      • I didn’t see that response. Where is it?

        OH! I see it now! From his comment above. I think he meant he didn’t approach the author of the post to remove his name, one of her friends did. He wasn’t speaking to the implied accusation.

      • Don Johnston

        How can you act on the slightest rumor? this is the USA. We all have the right to be faced by our accuser and tne full details of any accusation fully laid out. Rumors are nothing but tales told by those who are jealous or have too much time on their hands. Rumors are what led to the likes of the Witch Hunts and other such foul disgusting miscarriages of so called “Holy Righteous” Justice when all it turned out to be was mob rule and horrible travesties carried out in the name of right. You should be ashamed of yourself. What sort of Kangaroo Court are you trying to run here???

      • No court. As I say again and again on this site which you obviously haven’t read. Nor have you read the posts about “witch hunts” and what a disgustingly misogynistic term that is. Acted? I merely wrote a blog post. I’m not sure what you think I’ve done here.

      • “I think he meant he didn’t approach the author of the post to remove his name, one of her friends did. He wasn’t speaking to the implied accusation.”

        Unfortunatly you are making assumptions. I have not followed a lot of this debate so I don’t know the details. But much of what i have read is based on assumptions and rumor. And yes, many in the community make dispairaging comments when the subject comes up, but that is less harmfull than spreading assumptions and rumors. Especially on a topic that easily gets both sides riled up and can have posibile legal ramifications. Instead of making public posts about rumors I would think you would be encouraging men to be responsible and women to go to the athorities if there is an issue.

      • I went to the authorities when my lover raped me, and they did nothing. I know what the authorities do. Only 3% of rapists ever see a day in jail. Only 14% of reported cases ever see the inside of a courtroom. Only 40% are even reported.

        That’s why we have this about community responsibility. No one is talking condemnation here. We’re just asking questions. Never did I accuse this man or say he was guilty. I asked him what happened.

        And, that wasn’t an assumption. Taken in context, he was talking about the author of Silver Goggles or at the very least the friend who spoke on his behalf:

        Did you read the article before my name was removed. By the way, it was removed because one of her friends said she was wrong. I never approached her.

        You admit above that you haven’t followed the debate, so perhaps you’re making assumptions.

        I did make an assumption in the article, to which I’ve not amended.

      • “You admit above that you haven’t followed the debate, so perhaps you’re making assumptions.”

        I am attempting to not make assumptions, or even speak to the original issue since i haven’t followed it. But only speak to this particular blog post and the comments attached.

        I guess what I am trying to say is it goes both ways. In any accusation, rape or not, you need to question both parties. But you need to question both sides respectfully. That means gently getting details from the allegd victim and fairly persuing details from the alledged attacker.

        Unfortunatly many police departments do a shitty job with getting the details from the accuser. They do stupid shit like bring up what they might have been wearing or drinking. None of that is relevent except to get the clothes for evadence. They should persue rape accusations the same way they do any other fellony, follow the leads. Take statements.

        Unfortunatly your line of questions for the alledged attacker is almost as bad, just in the other direction. All but the first assume that he has done something wrong. questions about making things right assume there must be a wrong. This treats the accused as poorly as the police treat the accuser.

        What i see as needing to happen is huge education for police forces on how to handle rape cases. Give them the same priority as any other felony of that level. Get the individual cases out of the public eye, let the athorities deal with it. Unfortunatly mob mentality is detramental to just about everything. Encourage men to be responsible, and I don’t mean just not molesting someone, but take a stand. If you see someone being preditory say something. If one of your guy friends brags about taking advantage of someone, call them on it.

      • Agreed on educating police forces and making them a priority!

        YES!!! That’s called The Bystander Effect, and you’ll see a link about that on the right sidebar.

        I can see where my questions appear leading, and I’ve already spoken to that in another comment. They were meant to be sample questions, not to be fired off like an interrogation. First one first: “What happened?”

        I had a lengthy conversation with TW on FB to which he claims he has no idea about any accusation. Until we have more details about the rumored accusation, the questions stop there. JHA saw her error and removed it. She never accused him, rather said she heard him named and it wouldn’t surprise her based on her dealings with him.

        The problem with questioning the victim is that they all come across as victim blaming at first. The first thing is to turn to the accused and ask him/her. The victim is traumatized, so any questions will further traumatize her. Find out details from the accused. See how he responds. I’m not saying condemn him. I’m saying ask him because he’s the only other one that was there and he is not the one traumatized. Ultimately there will be more of a discussion with both parties, once the victim feels safe and heard and believed.

  2. Owen

    What happened where? No incident was even reported, or talked about, just a “rumor” and then accusations based on the fact that apparently where there is rumor it must be based on fact. On now you are claiming that we are all complicit even though nothing has even been said actually accusing him. You also make it sound like even a vague accusation should be enough to ostracize someone.And so here you are demanding he answer the question, “Who did you rape?”, with no knowledge whatsoever.

    • First, I’m not claiming anyone is complicit. Where do you see that? I’m saying that this is the common community response to an accusation.

      Secondly, I never asked “Who did you rape?” You asked that. I asked, as you see in the above comment: “Why? What happened?”

  3. Owen

    Or did you not even realize that all of this has nothing to do with you, but instead is about this silver goggles person’s unfounded accusations against someone else entirely?

    • I’m well aware this isn’t about me. It’s not about you either, but you seem to be taking it rather personally. Silver Goggles said she heard a rumor. She didn’t accuse.

  4. Failing to see how that is an admission to anything.
    Rape and harassment are wrong and should be punished. Full stop.
    Defamation of character with no evidence is wrong and should be punished. Full stop.
    Asking leading questions (I.e why didn’t you? As opposed to did you?) is equivalent to the infamous “when did you stop beating your wife?” question, dawned whatever the reply.
    I’m all for listening to the victim, but if you don’t look at both sides odds on you could be hanging a man for a crime he may not have committed.

  5. Don Johnston

    I am sorry, but you have neither spoken to me nor have you blocked me just before my comments above were taken out of context. In fact I had never heard of you prior to this whole circus. I made the comments I did because of the manner in which all of this was dealt with in regards Thomas and I feel it was completely underhanded and a witch hunt. my remarks are, yes, my total loss of respect for your white feather movement because it is taking a good cause and turning it into a private witch hunt that at best is ludicrous, at the least out right on the verge of breaking civil law. Good Day Ms who ever you are, and I am sure when you go off like this in public everyone quickly realizes the one who should remove themselves from the society is you yourself.

    • Please read this:
      What a Witch Hunt Actually Is”
      and
      The Great Derailers

      I don’t know who you are either. I have a lot of “friends” on FB, and you are blocked from mine. I remember your profile picture and blocking you for misogynistic content. That’s all I know about you, and I sure don’t want to know anything else.

      Out of context or not, mocking a group of survivors to try and make a safe place for survivors…not cool. Rather disgusting, actually.

      • Don Johnston

        for your misguided information, I also am a survivor, I was sexually molested at knife point at 5 years old. as for your claim you have me blocked. I am sorry, but for all your lies here and this being the very first time I have seen or even heard of you, I strongly believe this is a lie as well. in fact you said you just recently blocked me. Your whole story is really shaky and you have greatly discredited yourself, not just this time, but as I understand this is the 2nd or 3rd time you have been at the center of very ugly rumors and acts. I really do not wish to know anymore of you as well, and I want all further mention of me to cease. I have blocked all of your lackeys, and I will be posting for public viewing how it was all discussed and decided to put me on the ‘list’ and who made those decisions if I hear anymore. Do you understand me you great Faker???

      • I’m so very sorry that happened to you.

  6. Sarah Hunter

    As far as I can tell, nobody seems to know what Thomas supposedly did, just a bunch of unsubstantiated “rumors” and the accusation that Thomas is the “type” who would sexually assault someone, with no explanation as to why. These statements can be just as damaging to his business and character.

  7. Katie

    I am all for educating and dealing with people who are abusing people in cons but they MUST have a paper trail that substantiates their allegations or it turns into nothing but a witch hunt.

    Why are we paying taxes for a justice system when things become a vigilante movement?

    In my opinion… that is just plain WRONG!

    • What if they’re abusing people away from cons? What if the victim is too traumatized to report it officially? It took me over a year to report my assault officially. After another rape, actually, when the police told me to report what happened in New York in 2011. I’m well aware of how terrified the victim is, how they could be suffering from PTSD and how they are too afraid to even participate in a FB discussion let alone subject themselves to the humiliating treatment given by the police and, case in point, their community. Look at all these responses here. If you were a victim of assault, would you feel safe coming forward? Honestly?

      Again with the “witch hunt” and “vigilante” justice. It’s really so very predictable. Some words and phrases over and over. Do you see how deeply ingrained these notions are?

      Please read my page on The Great Derailers, of which these are two.

  8. Katie

    Ladies’ you have just set the women’s movement back a good 20 years. WTG.

    • Wow. We really haven’t.
      Ignoring the amount of rape that happens every day, the amount that goes unreported, believing the accused over the victim so that she doesn’t even feel safe to come forward, that is what’s hurting women and the “women’s movement.”

      Read up on the “women’s movement,” Katie. I have several links on the Resources page.

      • Try it this way, believe nothing said by anyone without some form of proof or a preponderance of evidence. If someone came to you and told you s/he had been raped by the moon, would you believe the victim? Say s/he tells you s/he was raped by Obama on a day you know he was overseas, do you still believe the victim?

        What happens when the accused rapist responds by saying, “actually I’m the victim, s/he raped me.” Do you believe them both? Do you send a tarnished feather and a creepy note to both of them?

        I don’t care whether it comes from the victim or the accused or the lips of Jesus himself, letting other people decide what you should believe, who you should believe, is dangerous.

      • Define “some sort of proof or preponderance of evidence.”

      • “some sort” means I’m personally pretty flexible as to what standard one might apply to a positive assertion. Plenty of boilerplate definitions of “proof”, such as: “evidence or argument that compels the mind to accept an assertion as true”. The legal definition of proof: “The result or effect of evidence; the establishment or denial of a fact by evidence.” Or a more academic approach: “The validation of a proposition by application of specified rules, as of induction or deduction, to assumptions, axioms, and sequentially derived conclusions.”

        The key is that there is some standard that must be met before ANYTHING is believed and that standard is applied to everyone.

        It should never be easy to accuse someone of any crime or horrible deed. I get it, that social norms as well as realities of physics and a host of other factors conspire to make reporting sexual violence more difficult than most other forms of assault. I get that. There needs to be support systems in place to address the very special difficulties in this particular form of abuse. I’m all for that. Programs that assist victims in proving their allegations, in achieving justice based on a single standard of law, I’m all for that. But applying a different standard of trust based on the nature of the allegations isn’t the answer.

      • So what would be an example of proof that would convince you the victim was telling the truth. The minimum level of proof necessary to believe that someone you love, trust, or admire committed some level of sexualized violence?

      • If a person whom I had no reason to doubt told me that some specific person (a stranger or my dearest friend makes no difference at this point) attacked them in any way I would need very little from that person to consider it a possibility. Perhaps a clear description of the crime (not the gory details, but some specificity), and a clear timeline of events.

        I would want a modicum of verifiable facts even if they are ancillary to the overall accusation. I would want to know under what conditions the person telling me this would make a formal complaint of some kind. As the person making the claim, I would need that person to provide some evidence that an attack occur. My personal standard is much lower than that of a criminal court (beyond reasonable doubt) maybe even below that of civil court (preponderance of evidence). Just give me some evidence that this guy did something bad and I am inclined to believe you. If you can give me that, some evidence that an assault occurred as you described it, and I will believe you until the person you accuse can likewise prove that you are wrong.

        See, I’m inclined to believe that people do horrible things. I know there are real monsters in this world and that they can be anyone; like that beast in Cleveland. I would like a system that makes it as easy to report a rape as it is to report a stolen car, but I wouldn’t want it to be easier. It shouldn’t be easy to accuse anyone of horrible things, but there are things we could spend time and energy on that would increase the report rate, prosecution rate, conviction rate of these horrible acts.

      • That’s an excellent answer! I’m quite impressed, actually. I thought you would’ve said bruises or some physical sign. Yes, sir. Quite impressed!
        Now, a little deeper…

        Would the person being visibly shaken, looking over her/his shoulder all the time (literally & figuratively), and being unable to describe the events without crying suffice?

        Or maybe not even visibly shaken. Maybe putting on a brave face and a smile, but when the rapist’s name is mentioned s/he turns white. What is s/he doesn’t come forward for many months, until she’s able to recount without much emotion.

        Or if s/he’s in such a dissociative state they’re numb, rather spacey and detached.

        I’m glad you don’t have the reasonable doubt thing, as that’s why 97% of rapists walk free.

        I’m interested in how you would consider someone you had no reason to doubt. Does that include someone who struggles with a mental illness of some kind, like depression or anxiety or bipolar disorder? What about borderline personality disorder? Or schizophrenia? Or DID? Would you have reason to doubt them?

      • Also, if you haven’t yet, I invite you to read the “Believe Her” page linked in the right sidebar.

        You’ll see that I’m not saying believe every word that comes out of her mouth as gospel truth. I’m saying give her the benefit of the doubt and acknowledge she’s been traumatized.

        Please read it.

      • Working backwards through your questions a bit. If I have evidence that the person has lied about a serious issue in the past I would have doubts about the things they say. I do not mean that I would refuse to believe them, only that my standard of evidence is going to be raised accordingly. If I know the person has a mental illness that is known to cause breaks with reality or other forms of ‘wrong thinking’, I would indeed scrutinize what the person says were that not the case (all else being equal). At this stage, my moral responsibility is not to support anyone but instead to determine the likely truth.

        This next part should answer the rest but it is gonna take the long way to get there, sorry…

        In my ideal world, crimes are clearly spelled out and people who commit crimes or who are said to commit them are reported, investigated, prosecuted, and if found guilty serve an appropriate sentence.

        The first part of this as it relates to sexual assault or any kind of assault really is usually pretty good. State by state the crime is pretty clearly defined. Some might want assault defined more broadly, some want it narrowed, that’s a matter for legislators and at the moment what is on the books is enough to work with.

        Reporting sexual violence is a real issue. I have said any number of times that whenever a person comes forward to report, they should be appointed an advocate who’s job performance is based on the % of reports that get prosecuted. Someone with a vested interest in getting a winnable case in front of the prosecutor. I would also make it mandatory that the name of the accuser be kept anonymous until the case is prosecuted and if it is never prosecuted the name is stricken permanently. This would mitigate some fear of reprisal for making a complaint.

        I would have all of law enforcement notes relating to the investigation be a matter of public record (names redacted) in order to make them accountable for shoddy tactics. I would like all suspect and complainant interviews recorded to remove a little of the ‘discretion’ in taking reports that law enforcement can sometimes feel entitled to.

        Prosecutors want to convict rapists. They want to win cases. As it stands, they put away sex offenders over 60% of the time (which is pretty good compared to other crimes). With an advocate helping the victim start to finish, and decent police-work this can be better.

        The average convicted rapist serves over 10 years, but there is a lot of disparity and first offense sentencing is laughable. Personally, I believe there is a limited place for the death penalty and aggravated rape should be on that list. At the very least some harsher incarceration terms.

        That’s my ideal world, where if a person is attacked the legal system is designed to get them justice and their attacker punishment. The problem is, that ideal legal system won’t work if victims wait months to file a report; or are uneducated about what is and isn’t criminal behavior; or are incapable of providing any evidence to back up their accusations. The legal system we have now certainly can’t help people like this, no legal system can.

        I expect some changes in our legal system that bring it closer to my ideal, it’s reasonable to expect some changes in the way victims report assault as well. I mean, mostly, that confidence in the system will embolden more to come forward. But there must also be changes in how women (primarily women) come forward.

        Lack of physical marks doesn’t mean a damn thing, let alone prove that a rape didn’t happen. But it sure doesn’t prove one did either. Waiting to report shouldn’t be evidence that you are lying or mistaken, but it doesn’t help your case either. I know first hand that taking a shower gets the stink of a creep off you, but while we are complaining about lousy performance of our justice system we should also be able to educate potential victims on how to get a winnable case to a prosecutor without being accused of ‘blaming the victim’.

        Because if your goal is not to get creeps off the street, it doesn’t really matter who believes you.

      • I’d like to see where you get statistics that say sex offenders are put away 60% of the time with an average of over 10 yrs. It’s sure not what my research over the last year has shown. Quite the opposite.

        Also, you’re discussing prosecutable offenses that have been officially reported to law enforcement, which in my research is 3%. Only 14% ever even see a trial. And all that is out of the 40% that’s even reported.

        What about social consequences within communities? That’s what we’re talking about here at OWF.

        Not ideally, but in reality, so few rapists are prosecutable for various reasons. What if it’s not prosecutable & there’s not even a police report? Wouldn’t you think that between the victim and her assailant the one who deserves safety and protection from the community is the victim? Out of those two, don’t you think the victim should be embraced at parties and conventions, which have been made a safe place devoid of her attacker?

        Remember, all we’re talking about here, at worst, is the assailant not being welcome at parties and/or cons for a determined length of time, set by the victim, and going through an accountability process.

        I think we can agree that the first step to improve either the social or legal part is making the victim feel safe enough to report. The #1 fear of victims not reporting is that they won’t be believed.

        That’s what we’re trying to change.

      • I will start by saying that making any sort of decision based on most published ‘statistical analysis’ is a fools errand. There are few primary sources of data and most of the analysis is performed by interest groups and pundits. I’m not being dismissive of your research, I’m acknowledging that any angle of this discussion can frame statistics in a way that favors them. Most commentary on this subject cite very old studies, studies which have not been peer reviewed, etc. A common example is the Kenin study that supposedly looked at reports of rapes in a secret small midwestern town somewhere with two undisclosed college campuses. This guys study gets brought up all the time when people want to demonstrate that fall accusations of rape are prevalent. Rape victim advocates tend to have more and better quality research at their disposal but can still end up making false comparisons.

        Your 3% number for instance. And I’m not impugning it outright, hear me out. To arrive at this number A national survey was performed and based on the answers collected from 2700 women an estimate on the total number of rapes that had occurred during that year was made. The study most cited by victim advocates was performed by the ‘National Women’s Study’ which concluded that nearly 700,000 rapes had occurred during the year. Then that number of rapes is compared to national data on reported rapes, prosecution of rapes, conviction of rapes. If an identical study were done on the number of people victimized by vandals you would get a similar litany of depressing statistics. Again, I’m not saying that rape is not a problem in this country (I have stated the opposite) but too often arguments get raised to a level of hyperbole that serves to put people off rather than engage them.

        Extrapolating data to apply to a whole population is not of itself a bad thing but this is an absurdly low sample size for the 130 million adult women it is supposed to represent. Also the methodology of weighting was deeply flawed, it broke the sample up into 4 regions and extrapolated results that way. 683,000 occurring in 1992 is not a credible number because the methodology of the survey was deeply flawed. Compare to the National Violence Against Women Survey conducted a few years later (probably as a result of pressure created by the NWS … which is a good thing).

        The NVAWS polled 8000 women and 8000 men and asked them questions nearly identical to the NWS survey. The NVAWS also explicitly included attempted and uncompleted rape. You can read the full report at (https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/210346.pdf ). I liked this study’s methodology a lot better, it’s something that would have been accepted by one of my poli-sci professors. Anyway, the NVAWS concluded that something close to 300,000 women and 90,000 men were raped during that year. It’s nearly the same study, actually larger numbers should be reported because it asks about attempted or incomplete rapes, but because of a much more representative sample size we get a lower number.

        It’s still too high of a number, but getting back to my first point, it’s problematic using numbers at all and you’ll find commentary on this subject referencing conclusions made from both the NWS and the NVAWS and a whole host of research in ways that do not paint an accurate or complete picture.

        As for my source on successful prosecution of rapists, I got it from ( http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/fdluc06.pdf ) on table 11. When I said it compared well to rates of conviction for other offenses, I was in error. I was guilty then myself of conflating 2 different sources. Rape is convicted 61% of the time compared to the average of 68% for all felony crime. Though it is more successfully prosecuted than other forms of assault. I don’t think this represents a lack of interest in convicting rapists so much as special problems associated with making a case. It also shows that prosecutors are more likely to go to court with an unwinnable case in cases of rape.

        I’m going to stop here. You bring up a great bit in the remaining 80% of your comment and I would like to speak to it in some measure. But I’ve droned on quite a bit already and I got kids to chase around the back yard still. Maybe later then?

      • Thank you for the info. I’ll look at those links.

        The 3% and other statistics I repeatedly quote are taken from here. They get their information from the Justice Department and FBI.

      • This is going to be wordy, sorry I open a window and tap at the keys across the span of a day or two sometimes. Just be warned.

        The RAINN organization is a noble group. I give money to 4-5 charities every year (my version of tithing I suppose) and RAINN is almost always on my list. They do a better job than most, but there are inherent flaws in coming to conclusions based on five different primary sources. Thing is, most people who are sympathetic to the cause don’t care if the numbers don’t line up perfect and most people who are obdurate wouldn’t accept the numbers even if they did. For my part, I am a bit of a pedant and I value integrity much more from those I support than from those I don’t. So I tend to pick at things I care about, I want an argument supporting my cause to be unassailable, and I’m disappointed when they are not.

        This is what I looked at in the RAINN report. They get “46% of rapes are reported to police” by comparing numbers from two different reports; the usdoj “Female Victims of Sexual Violence, 1994-2010” and the FBI “Crime in the United States” report in order to compare survey estimates of the number of rapes per year with FBI compiled data on number of rapes reported. But the newest report of the USDOJ FVSV (http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/fvsv9410.pdf) actually expands its scope to include data on how many rapes were reported to police and why and why not and a whole lot of useful information. Basing conclusions on data from a single source is a better way to go than mixed source methodology.

        What frustrates me is that using the USDOJ paper the reporting rate is actually much lower than the RAINN report conclusion. 36% of rape victims report their assault (page 7 of that report). They miss an opportunity to point out that FEWER reports of rape are resolved by arrest in this period than in the previous (down to 31% from 47%). Then to get their numbers on prosecutions, they pull from 1999 source (after their previous sources made such a huge deal about how much difference there is in crime rates and reporting rates) and to get conviction rates they pull from studies that only look at large urban counties.

        Again, I’m not saying the report is wrong, what I’m saying is that their conclusions are based on weak analysis. The primary data is strong it’s just not conducive to answering the question this report is asking. If RAINN were and undergraduate student and I were grading its paper, I would (at the very least) require a very large section detailing the shortcomings of its own research methodology. This is actually quite common, to point out how your own research should have been conducted but could not be for some reason.

        And that brings us to … “so what?”. Ok, that’s fair. So what is that big talk needs big walk. If you want to make this a numbers game then hire credible analysts in third party labs to do the work. I think it’s a fool’s errand. Statistics rarely convince anyone (and I’m a poli-sci graduate with an econ minor). But they can be used to shape the internal direction of a movement. That drop to 31% reporting rate shocked me, it’s really a sobering read.

        Maybe that’s where my ideal world and the real world come into play. Like you said, by finding ways to raise that reporting rate. The number one reason for not reporting an attack is fear of reprisal followed by a belief that the police would not do anything to help and a belief that being raped was a personal matter.

        These three reasons account for 46% of the refusals to report an attack. These are beliefs that do not reflect reality and can be influenced through education. Rape shield laws keep victim identity secret until a case can be made, police do ‘something’ in 86% of reported cases and make arrests in a third of them, and the personal matter thing is a values judgement I guess but the reality is that not reporting puts the community in danger. Working to address these shortcomings in the system and in social custom generally just seems like a more productive use of time and treasure.

        But you ask this:
        “Wouldn’t you think that between the victim and her assailant the one who deserves safety and protection from the community is the victim?”
        and:
        “Remember, all we’re talking about here, at worst, is the assailant not being welcome at parties and/or cons for a determined length of time, set by the victim, and going through an accountability process.”

        This is just such a slippery question. The answer is that of course the victim “deserves safety and protection from the community”, and the assailant does not.

        But then it gets very circular. Because when I ask how I will know who the victim is, you say, “The victim will tell you that s/he is a victim.”

        Alright, “fair enough”, I say. A victim would certainly know whether s/he’s a victim or not.

        But then you say, “Also, s/he said Bob did it; so we are telling every party we attend that if Bob shows up we’re leaving because he attacked her/him. We don’t wan’t people like Bob chumming around with us.”

        And this is where the calliope slips a cog and the background music goes all wonky. Follow this dialogue. I’m trying to present your reasoning fairly, if I get something wrong please take it in good faith.
        /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\//\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/
        “How do I know Bob assaulted her/him?”

        “S/he said so.”

        “How do you know s/he is right?”

        “Statistically speaking very few reports to the police are lies and it’s uncommon that they are erroneous”

        “Statistically speaking neither you or I are police. What are the statistics for false and erroneous reports of rape to friends?”

        “There is no data on how likely a person is to make a false or erroneous report of sexual violence to that person’s friends.”

        “Right, well are there penalties for making a false report to the police?”

        “Yes, it’s a felony.”

        “Are there penalties for making a false report to one’s friends or to strangers?”

        “Not really. If s/he’s lying and spreads that lie around s/he could be found liable in a tort case.”

        “What if s/he’s just wrong?”

        “S/he probably wouldn’t be liable because s/he did everything s/he could to know the truth and was simply wrong about it.”

        “So if s/he’s lying and we spread it around?”

        “Yeah we would be just as culpable in a civil case. Saying someone has committed sexual violence is de facto defamation. But we know s/he’s not lying because s/he said so; and because victims rarely lie to police about this.”

        “Again, we’re not police right? Nevermind. So if she’s just wrong, I dunno, maybe someone slipped something in her/his drink and s/he’s certain it was Bob but maybe it was someone else. Anyway, if s/he’s just wrong but we spread that accusation around anyway we’re all off the hook because s/he just made a mistake right?”

        “Well s/he is, because you can make a mistake about something that happened to you. We would still be liable in a civil case because we must take reasonable steps to validate defamatory statements before spreading them.”

        “Someone telling us that Bob is a sexual predator ISN’T enough due diligence to take before telling other people that Bob is a sexual predator?”

        “Not even close.”

        “So by telling other people that Bob is a sexual predator based only on the unsubstantiated word of one person, we actually incur GREATER legal risk than the person telling us that Bob is a sexual Predator?”

        “That’s right.”

        “So … s/he has said Bob sexually attacked her/him, what do we do about that?”

        “We tell everyone in the steampunk community that Bob is a sexual predator and make him stand out like a sore thumb and feel unwelcome.”
        /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\//\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/

        I’m trying here. Right? Like someone say’s they’ve been attacked, absolutely what can I do to help. But when the answer is, “Ostracize Bob”, I don’t think it is out of line to want a little more than, “Cause s/he said so.”

        You’re asking me to have a lower standard of proof from someone else about what Bob did to them than I would have from myself if I were the victim. That fictitious person has some reason to believe that Bob attacked her or at the very least someone attacked her, I’m willing to write off the possibility that s/he’s intentionally lying about Bob because the likelihood is very small and it’s a distraction. But whatever, s/he has some reason to believe that Bob’s a bad guy and that’s good enough for her/him but I’m a bad guy if I want some kind of a reason before I believe Bob is a monster?

        If you want me to believe that S/HE believes that Bob attacked her, I’m all in. If you want me to let other people in the community know that s/he believes Bob attacked her… yeah I’d go for that too. But I think it does no one any service at all to remove all burdens of proof from anyone.

      • Interesting dialogue.

        The part you left out is *asking Bob* what happened and to explain himself and the situation. The victim is traumatized. She confides in her community. If she feels safe enough, she’ll likely even tell someone what happened with enough detail that Bob could be question about it further, not the victim.

        The social “proof” is in Bob’s response. Does he act with integrity or does he say “she’s crazy” or “I don’t know what she’s talking about,” etc. Does he seem concerned for this person with whom he was intimate or does he seek annoyed? Does he brush it off and dismiss it, or does he try to figure out what went wrong?

        “Ostracize Bob” doesn’t come into play unless he’s a serious jerk about it all, neither does “tell the entire community” he’s a sexual predator. If it can be handled with integrity between a handful of people, if Bob is willing to step up and take responsibility–not necessarily for “rape,” but by acknowledging his actions did something to traumatize this person and in his care for her, his first priority is to ensure her well-being–then he, himself, might remove himself from parties for a few months out of respect for the hurt person.

        I’m not talking monsters here. Monsters have no choice than to be monsters. Rapists choose to rape. People choose to behave in one manner or another. Is Bob an entitled, narcissistic douchebag who refuses to take responsibility for anything or is he a truly good man who perhaps blew a boundary or made a selfish choice? Or somewhere in between?

        Did he blow a boundary or was it intentional? Did he think he deserved her even if she changed her mind or said NO? Repeatedly? Did she say “no vaginal sex” when it started, but he got so hot and she was obviously, too, that he just went for it? She was gagged and she didn’t say NO again, after all. Did she say NO for hours but kept kissing him anyway, so, you know, she really meant yes. Even though she struggled with him at every step of the “seduction,” saying No No No, she did it with a smile and a soft voice, so she really wanted it?

        Is this what Bob is saying?

        Or is he saying, “OMG! I had no idea. Gosh. No wonder she got all quiet. I should’ve stopped and checked in with her. Will she be okay?” OR “She did say NO over and over, but her body said Yes. The last woman I was with shamed me for stopping and giving up so easily. It was wrong of me to not take her NO as a NO. She’s obviously damaged by this. What can I do to help/minimize the damage/help her heal? Anything.”

        There are really far too many scenarios to list every possibility here.

        Rapists are not monsters. I don’t consider The Musician a monster. He’s a broken man, at least when I knew him two years ago. Desperate and miserable and selfish. Entitled, yes. Narcissistic, no. His behavior with me was severely damaging, selfish, and disrespectful, but mostly because of how I was treated afterward, like garbage, discarded, instead of a human being he supposedly cared for in pain. The manipulation and exploitation coupled with the sexual assault and callous abandonment all together was what was traumatizing. That I haven’t heard a single word in two years when my pain has been quite public, is dehumanizing. He’s proven the kind of man he is, to many, over the span of two years.

        I use myself as an example only for clarity. To remind you and everyone that these are actual human beings in pain, not statistics.

        It’s in that after-care treatment where most of the damage is done in the kinds of assault that don’t have the kind of evidence to be even investigated by the police, let alone prosecuted.

        It’s in that after-care, or lack thereof, where Bob shows the kind of person he is.

        I don’t have the answers either. It’s a deeply complex issue. I’m trying, here, too.

        What I know is this: what we’re doing, in our culture & communities, isn’t working.

      • This one will be shorter, I promise.

        Alright, the less you talk like a cold-war soviet propaganda poster the more ‘on-board’ I get. That’s not a pejorative, I love old commie propaganda posters. But so much of your website feels more like, “Grab your pitchforks” and less like “Let’s have a discussion on how we want to deal with creeps.”

        Going back to one of my earlier comments… hold on a sec… that last post was brutal, navigating 3rd person pronouns. For illustrative purposes I’m going to pretend that the accuser is named Jean and the accused person is named Pat and we can let the issue of their respective genders fall by the wayside.

        Okay, I mentioned that at some point after being told that Pat attacked Jean I would be willing to accept the possibility that it happened as Jean said. In most cases it’s a very low bar. Unless I have some rational and informed reason to doubt Jean, Jean telling me it happened with a level of detail that includes ‘when’, and ‘where’ is enough for me to believe that Pat could have done as Jean said. I’m not saying I believe that Pat did what Jean said, but I’m accepting it as a possibility. Additionally, I’m willing to believe that Jean believes she is telling the truth. This might seem like a fine hair to split. The former dictates how I treat Pat and the latter how I treat Jean. I should be able to accept that Jean is hurting and in need of support based on Jean’s say-so without having to believe that Pat did something awful based only on Jean’s say-so. I hope you would find that this a reasonable position even if you yourself would take a different one.

        The reason that ‘when & Where’ are important is that conversationally speaking specificity is a cost. When you are specific about when something happened you are committing yourself to your story. If the even occurred some time ago and the details have gotten fuzzy then the narrative that Jean gives should say so. I would not be any more likely to accept Jean’s story if it said Pat attacked me at 3:00pm April 5th, than if it was something more like Pat attacked me at a party the first week of April two years ago, I didn’t say anything then but I never saw Pat again until Pat got a job delivering bread to my family’s restaurant. This is a pretty light burden to meet and I would be hard pressed to believe someone who refuses to give me even this little bit of information. I wouldn’t think that Jean was lying but I would ask Jean to come to me with this information when they are ready if they need me to believe this about Pat.

        So now I believe that Jean believes Pat attacked Jean (this scheme isn’t much better). And I have a clear enough picture of what happened from Jean to believe that the event as Jean tells it, is a possible one.

        I think much of my problem with your next step is a matter of framing. The more you explain how, as a sort of community advocate, your group would approach Pat, the less issue I have with it.

        Yes, after providing whatever support Jean needs, the next step is to ask Pat what his version of the event is. This is not the language used on your website and I’m not sure it’s actually the position you are advocating. What it seems like you are advocating is that once Pat is accused (and I would add that the accusation is substantiated by that small measure of detail) that it is now up to Pat to prove that he did not do it. The implication is that Pat, in this story, has a higher burden of proof than Jean.

        Now when you describe it, if the Pat says Pat never met Jean but whatever happened it sounds terrible and Pat hopes Jean feels better soon, well then case closed.

        Or you ask that one makes a determination of Pat’s honesty based on the reaction to being accused. “The social “proof” is in Bob’s (Pat) response.”

        You ask: Does he act with integrity or does he say “she’s crazy” or “I don’t know what she’s talking about,” etc.

        But if Pat believes that Jean is crazy then acting with integrity means saying so. Your question here is loaded because it is founded on the assumption that if he is honest then he will admit to doing something wrong. It pre-supposes Pat’s guilt.

        Put it this way, if someone I had never spent a minute alone with told you I had sexually attacked her I would almost certainly say, “I don’t know what she’s talking about,”. Using that response as confirmation of my guilt is a logical fallacy.

        If my highschool girlfriend (this is going a ways back) came to you and told you that in 1994 I raped her, and you came to me to ask me what happened I would also almost certainly say something like, “That bitch is, or at least was, fucked up in the head. Believe her if you like but as it stands now whenever I think of her at all it’s to hope she gets hit by a bus.” My reason for telling you this is not because I ever raped that horrible person. We shared 5 years and 4 of them were magic. She found someone she loved more and after a few weekends of hurt words back and forth we all moved on. Then she didn’t like that I moved on and murdered my dog.

        Again, presupposing that animosity towards Jean means that Pat must be guilty is a Salem Trial tactic. “You’re a witch”, “I am not”, “That’s just what a witch would say!”, “Why do you think I’m a witch?”, “She says you’re a witch.”, “Then she’s lying.”, “More proof you’re a witch!”

        I know you carp at the comparisons to witch hunts. In the broader picture of your policies leading to ‘witch hunts’ of men I agree that it is usually a desperate argument. I personally categorize my belief system as neo-pagan and I’m married to a wiccan and we raise our children wiccan, I’m not trying to exploit the imagery of the burning times in order to win an argument.

        But the reason the Salem Witchcraft Trials were so atrocious is that they proceeded based on an assumption of guilt and on the presumption of the accuser’s infallibility. It is my personal stake in the history of witch hunts that makes me hesitant to condemn another based on a presumption of guilt.

        Then you ask:
        “Does he seem concerned for this person with whom he was intimate or does he seek annoyed? Does he brush it off and dismiss it, or does he try to figure out what went wrong?”

        In the first question you pre-suppose that Pat has had an intimate relationship with Jean. You also pre-suppose that if that were true then there would be no legitimate reason for Pat to have any animosity towards Jean. You are pre-supposing that Jean is the good guy and Pat is the bad guy and so if Pat reacts with anything less than compassion towards the person who is accusing Pat, then you take that as confirmation of your existing belief.

        I’m willing to hold Pat to a slightly heavier burden of proof than that required of Jean, but if you remember that bar is set pretty low at this point. I’m willing to confront Pat on the matter in the interest in determining what actually happened. But if I’m to believe Jean based only on her say-so then without any reason to doubt Pat I must do the same for the accused.

        The process may have value if in only offering a venue for dialogue. In those cases where both parties acknowledge something happened and there is a difference of perception in just what that something is. Or in the rare case where the accused person readily admits to being a villain.

      • After Karen’s hurtful comment and my long response in a blog post, I don’t have much energy at the moment.

        This wasn’t supposed to be about me or my past, but it seems to have become so. I hope that my examples help others, that they have at least that much effect.

        Re: your comment. As I said, I can’t go through every possible scenario. The responses to your scenarios above seem logical and compassionate to me. The problem with the “she’s crazy” thing is that it’s used far too often. Yes, some people are really crazy, and I would hope that you would follow that up by saying she killed your dog. How horrible!! Still, a woman can be “crazy,” that is, mentally ill, and still have been the victim of sexualized violence. In fact, those who struggle with mental illnesses, in their many manifestations, are at a greater risk for sexualized violence.

        I’m saying don’t use “crazy” as an excuse because, if nothing else, it’s cliche and dismissive and insulting to the many who struggle with some kind of mental illness. Say this instead:
        “I haven’t seen her for 20 years. We had 4 great years and one horrible one, and I’d be interested to know what she’s saying happened. I remember the relationship ended, I moved on, and then she killed my dog. That’s the last I heard of her.”

  9. Katie

    I have read that page and I do not agree with you. You are damaging this movement by insisting that you condemn people when there is no evidence to back it.

    If you have hard proof, police reports, court records.. then I’m all for giving the perp censorship they deserve but to automatically take one side, not letting the accused a defense then you are guilty of abuse!

    This can not be tolerated. If you make unsubstantiated claims that harm a person reputation… I hope they wipe the courtroom’s floor with your butt.

    This is WRONG!!!!

    • I’m not insisted that we condemn anyone. Where did you read that? All I’m asking is that people turn their questions to the accused rather than the victim. I really don’t see why that’s so difficult for people to grasp!

      Only 40% of rapes are reported to the police, and that’s an over-estimation. Only 3% of rapists ever see even a day in jail. Yet…600 women are raped every day. One every two minutes. That means that since you wrote the above comment, two women have been raped. Only one of them will report, and she will likely be humiliated by the police. They will downplay it and minimize it. He won’t even be questioned, let alone arrested or see the inside of a courtroom. Only 14% of reported rapists ever get to court.

      This is the point, Katie.

  10. vbsargent

    I don’t know any of the parties involved. In fact Ireally only know one person who commented on a couple of things regarding this . . . event. So I really have no personal stake or foreknowledge in/of all of this. With that in mind please, PLEASE open your mind and free yourself from any preconceived notions that you may have.

    The Silver Goggles blog did indeed come across as conviction in absentia based on nothing more than a rumor and a sense that the author could see the person in question being that way. Very bad idea. Neither fair nor unbiased.

    In your posting above you wrote:

    1. What happened?
    2. Why were you pursuing/touching/having sex with her/him when s/he clearly wasn’t interested and/or said “no”?
    3. Why didn’t you listen to their “no” the first time?
    4. Why didn’t you wait for a “yes”?
    5. What are you going to do to make this better? To care for this traumatized person?
    6. Are you willing to do what the victim needs in order for her to feel safe/heard? For how long?
    7. Are you willing to make amends/take responsibility for your actions?
    Yet you keep responding to comments that all you did was ask “What happened?”
    Let’s go through this as if I were the accused:
    1. What happened? Me: Umm . .what are you talking about? Nothing happened.
    2. Why were you pursuing/touching/having sex with her/him when s/he clearly wasn’t interested and/or said “no”? ME: I didn’t pursue etc.
    3. Why didn’t you listen to their “no” the first time? ME: They didn’t say “no” because nothing happened.
    4. Why didn’t you wait for a “yes”? ME: I didn’t wait for a “yes” because nothing happened.
    5. What are you going to do to make this better? To care for this traumatized person? ME: I’m not going to do anything because nothing happened.
    6. Are you willing to do what the victim needs in order for her to feel safe/heard? For how long? ME: No, because nothing happened.
    7. Are you willing to make amends/take responsibility for your actions? ME: Again, no. Nothing happened.
    After the first question, every other question goes on the assumption that the accused is lying and is guilty. So in reality all that you did was ask the question “What happened?” then followed with a slew of questions that by their very nature prejudice the reader against the accused, as Bexi K attempted to point out, yet you derailed the conversation and shut her down in the very manner that you deplore.
    Talk about not cool.

    You

    wor

    • Those are sample questions. If the first question is answered that “Nothing happened, I don’t know what you’re talking about” then the other questions are moot. I certainly can’t give examples of questions regarding every possible scenario of how the last one responds. Those questions are taken directly from the Accountability page as sample questions.

      Although, I can see how that wasn’t clear. On FB, I asked TW “What happened?” Then, after much ado, he told me that he knows of no accusation so he doesn’t know what it’s all about. I didn’t ask another question regarding the accusation. I did ask if he was properly accused, as JHA didn’t accuse him but said she heard him named, if he would respond to the accusation publicly, to which he replied, “I would respond…”

      That’s all I can ask until I know more details of an accusation, if there is one.

      JHA realized her comment caused damage, so she removed it.

      I see where Bexie K suggested the question be phrased differently to make them not leading. That’s a great point. I’ll change the phrasing. Still, she was saying I was looking to hang a man, and all I did was ask a question.

      I’m not sure how I derailed the conversation. There is usually no evidence in a rape accusation. That’s the whole point to The Order of the White Feather: to give the victim the benefit of the doubt and to question the accused.

      Everyone is acting as if we’re out for blood. It’s just a question.

      Besides, this post is an example of how a community responds. It’s exactly how my community responded when my rapist was accused. In that case there was a name, me. There were details, on my blog and on Violence Unsilenced. And the responses were exactly the same. I was ostracized, he was embraced. That’s what happens in rape culture.

      That’s what we’re trying to change.

      All I’m asking anyone to do is question the accused, not condemn him.
      Believe the victim. Give her/him the benefit of the doubt.

  11. vbsargent

    PS: I don’t know why it posted the:
    “You

    wor”

    I think that my computer is wonky, so please don’t read anything into it.

    • No worries.

      Also, you’re right. I did keep saying all I asked was “What Happened?” and that’s my fault for not being more clear. I wrote this public blog post with sample questions I’d like to see him answer.

      When he engaged personally, I asked one question, actually two: “Why?” and “What Happened?” I also asked that on FB along with this one: “Would You Behave the Same?” referencing my experience. He said there was no idea what this was about, then I asked him “What happened that made this person feel violated?” He said no one seems to have a clue.

      The conversation was, of course, much longer than that. You can read it for yourself.

      I apologize for my assumption that the screen shot was referring to the accuser, as it says “didn’t this accusation pop up before?” when it apparently was referring to the author of Silver Goggles. Perhaps you can understand my confusion as that author never accused him but rather said she heard him named.

      I’ve made an amendment to the above post. I’ll do the same for the questions.

  12. Katie

    I am well familiar with the woman’s movement. I myself am a victim and when victims start calling foul then you should realize you need to change your mindset.

    What you are doing is abusive and sexist.

    I’m calling *BULLSHIT*

    • Please tell me how this is abusive or sexist. As I’ve stated on my “Disclaimers” page, people rape people. Although 99% of rapes are perpetrated by men, they aren’t the only ones. How is asking a question abusive? How is showing rape culture in action abusive?

      I’m so sorry to hear you are a survivor, too.

    • Don Johnston

      i called bullshit along time ago and feel your whole white feather society has proven itself nothing more than a farce and a pretension of true justice when all it is serving to do is give voice to some who have problems with the words, actions or opinions of others just because they differ from their own and has no true basis in the purpose it is stated for. if anything, it is a miscarriage of the very justice is purports to support and should be looked upon by everyone in the same light as one who has been labeled by the criminal justice system as a child molester.

    • How is this abusive or sexist? Honest question.

      Also, I’ve seen you throwing around terms like vigilante and witch hunt. I would like to address that.

      This isn’t about chasing out and flushing out the accused. That is a secondary or even tertiary goal. Hell, it might not even be a goal depending on what the victim wants to be done. We say it in our about page that we will address the accused when and if the victim wants to.

      This is not about the accused. Not even a little bit. At least not for me or the many people I know who support this cause.

      This is about the victim. This is about not letting the victim fall through the gaps. This is about making sure they have a safety system to go to when they need help.

      I don’t know your own experience with being a victim, but in my own I was blamed for my rape by on of my best friends and even after my attacker admitting publically that he did in fact rape me there were still rumors that I was lying.

      OWF is to make sure that that doesn’t happen. It is to make sure that victims have someone to speak to who don’t question them on what they were doing or wearing. We won’t call victims liars and let them beat themselves up for years.

      We are here to help victims become survivors.

      Again, this is not about tearing people down in the community. This about making sure that there is a safe place to go. Now, addressing the accused is part of system, but it is not even close to the primary goal. But beyond that, for most people what is the major consequence? Someone doesn’t get invited to a party. That really takes the teeth out of vigilantism…

      And also, witch hunt? This isn’t about hunting down people and pulling them from our ranks. This is about support for the victim. If they want to address the accused or to have someone address their accused then we are there to help them get answers they need in order to heal.

      Please stop making this about the accused and realize this is about the victim becoming a survivor.

      • Brilliantly said, Jenny. Thank you!
        Exactly. As you’ll see in Our Vow, the only thing you vow is to Believe the Victim. You vow you’ll be a safe place for her to talk.

        The point here is if anyone is questioned, it’s the accused. Generally at the okay of the victim. Since permission was not granted to publicly name any of those named on Silver Goggles, including my attacker, it rather threw us into this shit storm. She didn’t have my permission, and I never named him publicly, but I’m glad she did. I support her 100%.

        If the rumor is true about the man in question in these comments, she realized it would put the victim in further danger so she removed the reference.

        This post is about demonstrating the normal community response and the amount of work that is needed to learn to not react this way. It creates an unsafe environment for the victim to speak out. *If* there is a victim out there, s/he would not feel very safe to come forward in the midst of this shit storm, nor can I blame her/him.

        The first thing we have to do is make the community safe for wo/men to speak out if they’ve been subjected to sexualized violence. These types of responses shown above are exactly how any community would respond because it’s how we’ve been taught to respond. This is what we strive to change.

        To make this a safe place for victims to be heard and believed.
        Questioning the accused is secondary, indeed.

  13. Katie

    Jha did way more harm by making accusations like she did that automatically spilled over here.

    I understand that you want to help people. I just don’t think you are going about it correctly.

    • I agree that it wasn’t the wisest decision, but it was a brave one. I had nothing to do with her post, so I’m not sure how we’re (OWF) are going about things incorrectly. She acted on her own, but I support and applaud her courage. I wouldn’t have written such a post. I’ve never named my attackers publicly, nor will I unless there is a lawsuit when it’s public knowledge. I didn’t give her permission to name the man who hurt me back in 2011, but I’m glad she did.

      This post was about how communities are culturally trained to respond. This is what we’re trying to change.

    • What do you believe the problems are other than someone putting a name to a rumor (who, while they support this movement did not post the rumor on this page)?

      Do you not think that the victim should not be traumatized further with pointed questions?

      Do you not support the victims being directed to RAINN?

      Do you not support the questioning of the accused?

      I have a feeling it is questioning that bothers you in part, so,
      Olivia said that the questions are sample questions and when someone says convincingly that they didn’t do it, then obviously different questions will need to be asked. Questions about rape aren’t and cannot be scripted. Every instance will be different and it will be real people talking to each person. And it will be a person who has the best interest of the community in mind. They will have a reason to find the truth because this is community we want to be part of.

      Or do you think this is still about pushing people out of the community?
      For this I would like to direct you to the survivor page where it says,

      “This is what you say to a victim of sexualized violence:
      I’m so sorry that happened to you.
      I believe you.
      I’m here to listen to as much or as little as you’d like to share.
      What do you want to do next?
      Do you want to go to the police? Call RAINN? Would you like me to go with you?
      Ultimately, but not right away, ask: ‘What would you like to see happen with him regarding the community? What, if anything, could he do to help you heal/make amends?'”

      Meaning that we ask the victim what steps they want to take. We ask what they want to do in regards to community response.

      This is about making the victim feel safe. Not about shaming people out of the community with rumors. That is not what this is about.

      I hope I touched on your concerns.

  14. Mrs. Pendragon

    Don, you clearly mocked a group dedicated to very cause you claim to work with and help. You’ve lost credibility.

    As for your denial made, I know of several documented conversations you’ve held with women who felt very uncomfortable and blocked you in result. That in itself speaks volumes.

    If you’re so bothered by being called out for your own documented words/actions you’d best to just to avoid it all any further.

    My interpretation of this article was merely showing an example of how communities respond in these cases.

    Clearly, folks interpreted it otherwise and OM has since openly discussed those concerns many had.

    That is being responsible and owning to what one says and does.

  15. Karen

    Ms Grey,
    A few questions: If you were ‘abused’, then why continue an affair with this married man after the event?
    Why does your language of your posts change from that of someone deeply in love, to a jilted lover, to a victim of abuse, to that of a rape victim? Reading your posts carefully, it is apparent that your version of events changes dramatically as time goes by. This is also EXACTLY THE SAME for the following affair that you had, where you fall ‘in love’, the man leaves you, then you create abuse in order to attack him.
    One only need to read your responses to the person who was removed from the Silver goggles post to see how very twisted you have become, ready to leap on accusations without a shred of evidence, even when there isnt even an event to relate it to.
    Isn’t is unfortunate that every single man that you seem to meet romantically (according to your blog), seems to have raped or abused you- and that your accusations are written only after they have left you?
    When did you file this supposed police report? Directly after the event? If so, then why continue to have an affair? If you filed it after the affair was concluded, then doesn’t that suggest that you decided to do it out of spite? Or is it in fact all in your fevered imagination?
    Don’t you think it might be time to settle down with your alledged husband and stop having constant, and it seems, damaging affairs?

    • Hi Karen.

      There is far too much here to respond in a comment buried at the bottom of this post, so I created a new post just for this. You can read my answers here: Victim-Blaming and Slut-Shaming.

    • Kg

      Karen could you please direct us all to the points where you accuse Olivia of changing her story.
      Why is is that ladies themselves seem to be the worst offenders for victim blaming ?

      • That’s always surprised me, really. They are the biggest offenders of victim-blaming, slut-shaming, and rape apologia.

        My therapist says it’s because they’re either so horrified by rape that if they make it the victim’s fault they can just e sure not to do what the victim did, therefore be safe from rape, or they are in denial about what has already happened to them.

        I read “her” comment to my husband last night, and he was so horrified after the first few sentences that he couldn’t hear anymore.

        Thank you for your comment.

  16. Pingback: Victim Blaming & Slut Shaming | The Order of the White Feather

  17. Pingback: A Fungus Among Us | The Order of the White Feather

  18. Pingback: Leaving Liesel Behind | Ashley Leckwold and the Whiz Bang

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