I call these The Great Derailers because that’s exactly what happens: the main subject about holding a particular person accountable and/or questioning them is derailed by these topics. They are thrown out in every. single. discussion. about rape and rape culture. It’s exhausting to go through it again and again. They are knee-jerk reactions that are part of the underlying rape culture. We’ve been taught to say these things, to question the victim and give the accused the benefit of the doubt.
We must turn that around and question the accused, giving the victim the benefit of the doubt.
From Newly Open’s post “A Followup,” links mine.
And here is my point: as far as I can see, we can have two scenarios when someone is accused of sexual assault or rape:
- We can have a strong presumption of innocence, as we do now, and we can effectively protect abusers and rapists at the expense of their victims, with the trade-off that very few people will be negatively impacted by false accusations
- We can have a strong presumption of guilt, and in return protect victims over their abusers, but at the same time run the risk of persecuting some number of innocent people.
When this comes up, especially when I talk about my belief that, at least socially if not legally, we ought to operate under scenario number 2, someone nearly always claims that everyone is “innocent until proven guilty” and thereby claims that we should discard these accusations without absolute proof. But we don’t actually operate that way, certainly not socially and generally not even legally. The actual legal burden is proof beyond a reasonable doubt; I put it to you that if you know two people had sexual contact, and one says that contact was non-consensual, it is unreasonable to doubt.
The Great Derailers are listed below. The first four are the worst, so they have separate pages. Click on them to read more.
The last six are no less derailing. Summaries are given below. By wearing a white feather in support and solidarity with survivors, you vow not to use any of the following to derail the conversation. On the contrary, you will call those out for derailing the conversation. There is one thing to do: question the accused until they respond to the events in question. Using derailers like these (and many others) serves to renew a predators social license to operate.
- False Accusations
- Innocent Until Proven Guilty
- Witch Hunt
- NAMALT and/or Women Rape, Too/Men Get Raped, Too.
(Please also see disclaimers) NA(M)ALT stands for Not All Men Are Like That, with the ability to replace “Men” with whatever group the derailer is trying to defend in their straw man argument. I have yet to read any article or feminist stance that says “All Men Are Rapists” or whatever. When people are talking about the insensitivity and entitlement of some men, no one is saying all men. So by coming back with “but-but-but-not all men are like that”, you’re introducing a straw man argument to derail the issue under discussion. You’re perpetuating rape culture. Same goes with “but-but-but women rape, too!!!” No one said they didn’t; however, between 60 & 99% of rapes are perpetrated by men onto men, women, and transgender people. Grand majority.
This article is a must read on NAMALT and its satirical meme.
It’s infuriating to have the conversation about the incomprehensible amount of rape perpetrated daily and victims habitually not believed, minimized, and dismissed derailed. It perpetuates rape culture. So, stop it. (Please read my disclaimer about the use of binary gender)
- No to Vigilante Justice!
Again. We’re not talking about criminal cases here. We’re talking about social responsibility. There are no vigilantes dressed up in spandex and using never-before-seen technology to violently take down criminals. There is no sociopathic serial killer punishing victims that have slipped through the fingers of justice. Get out of your comic books & TV shows, people. This is reality. 800 women raped every day is reality. Someone has to stop this.
- But-but-but-but You’ll Ruin the Poor Guy’s Life
Let me again quote Thomas:
“When people talk about the consequences of someone saying, “so and so raped me,” let’s be realistic. They’re not going to go to prison, except in the most unusual circumstances, for the reasons I covered at length in There’s A War On Part 4: Just Us. Realistically, what might happen is that some party promoters will decide that person is not welcome and some people they know may decide they don’t want to be friendly with that person anymore. And my observation is that even that is usually only a very partial effect.”
And that is my observation, too. Some people might be “more cautious” or “keep an eye on him,” but that’s about it. Let’s look at what happened to me after the rapes in ATX by The Rapist, aka The Auctioneer: I lost every relationship except my husband. I lost friends, communities, my job, my home. I’ve spent thousands on therapy and moving expenses. I’ve lost my sexuality. My ability to trust or form friendships without fear, let alone date. I’ve suffered 18 months, and counting, of PTSD effects.
He’s lost nothing. He still has his “three wonderful relationships.” He still has his job, his communities, his home. He can still run on the greenbelt. He can still have sex and date. He didn’t go to rape counseling 3x for a year
So, tell me, whose life was ruined here?
What happened to me is the rule, by the way, not the exception. Cut the double standard.
- People will Cry Rape Willy Nilly
Yes. What a nightmare scenario that would be. Thank you, again, Nick. Here is a slice:
Imagine a world in which anyone could just, willy-nilly and without any consequences, accuse men of rape. Why, men would have an incredible burden to bear in such a society! We’d have to be very careful whom we let into our lives, and be sure that anyone we spent time alone with was someone we could trust. We’d have to avoid being alone with strange women, lest we be hit with a damning accusation out of nowhere. When going on first dates, we’d have to be sure someone knew where we were, and was willing and capable to act as an alibi if we got a strange vibe.
It wouldn’t prevent us from living our lives, of course, but some part of our minds would always have to be devoted to making sure someone knew where we were and could vouch for us. At night, walking down the street, we’d have to be careful not to enter dark areas where we couldn’t be seen. We’d probably want to do most things in groups of other men. In particular, those men who did get accused of such by a good friend or family member would have–justifiable!–trouble learning to trust women again. And of course, despite the stereotype that would develop, most of the accusations would come from friends and family.
In such a world, the prevalence of rape accusations would no doubt be incredibly high. I’ve heard estimates that, if such a thing could happen, as many as one in five or even one in four men might be accused of rape in their lifetimes, and even those men who weren’t in that large minority would always have that possibility hanging over their heads.
In case you missed the sarcasm and satirical tone in this piece, this is what women go through every. single. day. out of fear of being raped. And that last part, he’s referring to the actual statistics that between 1-in-3 and 1-in-5 women are raped or sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Again, refer to earlier in this very long post about just how often false reports are made.
The real nightmare here is that men would have to pay attention to their behavior and be held accountable for it, and for many, many men, that is truly a nightmare, not just a satirical piece of writing.
And it’s about fucking time.
- Right to Privacy
Again, not a constitutional right, although the fourth amendment “stops the police and other government agents from searching us or our property without ‘probable cause’.” Again, POLICE AND GOVERNMENT, not friends or rape victims. Your privacy in society is a privilege, not a right. That privilege can be taken away when you violate others’ rights, like by raping someone or by posting pictures of underage girls as “fop” material on Reddit. It is, by the way, an inalienable right to not be raped. Each of us OWNS our body. It’s ours, and it can only be entered with given and maintained consent. Period.That’s a fucking right.Now that all that is out of the way, let’s proceed with naming and shaming accused rapists:I’m with Germaine Greer, let’s have an online database, or at the very least ones in our own communities.(Some sites that identify harassers. Hope to see this grow over the next several months.) Although, I don’t believe they should report them online instead of reporting to police, but in addition to. Again, this doesn’t ostracize the accused rapist, but it warns other women before they get involved. Greer says, “As it is we get nothing. They are still walking around and doing what they have done the whole time. There is always one guy, say at a university who gets through lots of girls like a knife through butter.”With 97% or rapists walking free and with the average rapist raping 6 different women…with 1600 rapes every. single. day…we must do something. Please.8% commit 95% of the rapes.
- She’s Crazy/Vindictive/Lying/Exaggerating/Overemotional, etc.
One can’t get much more stereotypical than this. These kinds of portrayals of women date back to the Victorian times and beyond. This is what “hysteria” was all about, incarcerating women in asylums for being “over emotional.”If the accused spouts any of these cliches, he’s most certainly guilty. At the very least, he’s a misogynist who doesn’t care his actions traumatized another human being, no matter what label you put on those actions. Invoking one of these excuses is a huge, huge red flag.
We must look at with whom we are aligning ourselves. People normally don’t make accusations against those who were respectful, caring, and honest, and who behaved with integrity.
We are talking about supportive, beneficial communities. Places where it is safe to love and express oneself, often in extremely vulnerable ways. This might mean that you have to look at your own behavior when it comes to other people’s hearts and souls, as well as those closest to you. The idea of being responsible to the community–to connections made therein, as opposed to being responsible for them.