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Somebody Else's What?

“The Somebody Else's Problem field is much simpler and more effective, and what's more can be run for over a hundred years on a single torch battery. This is because it relies on people's natural disposition not to see anything they don't want to, weren't expecting, or can't explain.”

― Douglas Adams, Life, the Universe and Everything

In the process of gender issues debate, we're regularly presented with examples of female hypoagency, but this is mind boggling. It's one thing to treat inconvenient conditions as prohibitive, and choices made based on them as forced, using exaggeration for the sake of excuse. It's another to simply ignore a woman's agency without even attributing behavior to another cause, as the jurors in the Jodi Arias sentencing trial have done.

 Jury foreman says life or death decision unfair

"You heard (prosecutor Juan) Martinez say she was only 27. ... She's old enough that she should have known better," Zervakos said. "I didn't look at it that way. I'm looking at 27 years of an absolutely normal everyday young woman that was living a life that was perfectly normal. Then something changed the trajectory of her life after meeting Travis Alexander, and it spiraled downhill from there."             
So there's this mysterious, invisible outside force that changed the trajectory of her life. Doesn't that just totally make it sound like she was careening along, not due to any control on her part, and out of nowhere, through no fault or intent of her own, BAM! There she was, heading off to find a knife and a gun! And the jury can't make up its mind, because either way, this poor, innocent murderer's life will be ruined by their decision. 

It wasn't just that they were unwilling to impose the death penalty, as would likely happen were they hearing the case of Joe Arias, 27 year old man who murdered his wife. It was that they couldn't even settle on the lesser penalty of life in prison.
Zervakos described a deliberations room full of tears and spinning moral compasses as each juror struggled to come to grips with their own beliefs about what factors — including Arias' young age at the time of the killing and her lack of criminal history — should cause them to show mercy and spare her life.
Age and history notwithstanding, if Jodie were a Joe instead, given otherwise identical circumstances, and an otherwise identical defense, he'd be sitting on death row praying his appeals would stave off his execution for a few more years. While I'm against the death penalty (not just for this case because of her age, her lack of criminal history, or her gender, but overall, because I oppose affording that power to a system which wrongfully convicts as easily and often as the U.S. court system does) I have no problem acknowledging that stark disparity in societal response.

I'd ask, why is that? Why is it that society can respond to male criminal acts by holding the perpetrator accountable for his actions, but treats female criminal behavior as if it has been inflicted on the perpetrator instead of the victim? But it's not like those questions haven't already been answered. Society excuses female crime by attributing a lack of agency, blaming history, environment, relationships, illness, duress... anything but the criminal herself. It's as if hypoagency runs on the same mechanism that drives Douglas Adams's Somebody Else's Problem field, only when employed for the protection of women, it makes everything appear to be Somebody Else's Fault. That seems to be the main force that kept this jury from even being able to decide to sentence the perpetrator of a violent and brutal murder to life in prison for the commission of that crime.  
Zervakos declined to discuss his thoughts or those of other jurors on whether Arias should have been sentenced to death or life. But he said he was torn between her two personas: a killer and an average young woman struggling through life.
Arias - an average young killer, struggling through life. What a hard situation to face. Does that make Travis Alexander a lucky man, because his struggles are over, or can we admit that the alleged suffering of Jodie Arias is disproportionately minor in comparison to that which she inflicted on her victim?

Female hypoagency is contagious. Rather than deal with the fact that Arias slit her victim's throat from ear to ear, stabbed him 27 times in the neck and back, and shot him, the jury has focused on the fact that she is young. Rather than deal with how her manipulation of evidence and her getaway plan indicate premeditation, the jury focused on her appearance of normalcy. Rather than determine a penalty for the brutal murderer of a young man, whose life was not just ruined by her actions, but violently and painfully taken from him, the jury has decided they just couldn't face deciding the fate of this woman. Their aversion to facing that which they did not want to see, weren't expecting, and couldn't explain - the brutality of a young, "normal" looking woman against a strong, capable man, led them to place judge Sherry Stephens in the position of having to declare a mistrial. This raises the possibility that the penalty phase of the trial may have to be repeated, putting the victim's family through the pain of once again reliving their grief.

Jodie Arias was convicted of a heinous crime, the shockingly violent murder of Travis Alexander. The same jury who determined that she deliberately committed that murder has now decided that holding her accountable for her actions is just too hard. They cannot imagine that such a seemingly normal young woman could do such a savage thing on her own. How could these individuals, who were so convinced by the evidence in this case that they were able to hand down a guilty verdict be so unwilling to look at that same evidence as the determining factors in their decision in the penalty phase of her trial? In their concern over the future of Jodie Arias, did they forget about their responsibility to Travis Alexander... or did they simply decide that, since the actions of Jodie Arias were not her fault, the right of Travis Alexander to a just outcome could be considered somebody else's problem?

Riddle: When is rape not rape?

When CNN reported on the Steubenville case and a after talking about the crime itself throughout the trial, a female reporter expressed sadness that the boys' actions had destroyed the existing course of their lives feminists came out of the woodwork to condemn even that minor expression of sympathy and describe the boys as monsters and derelicts because of their actions.

Where they were right: Once it was determined that the boys' actions were, in fact, rape, the story should have been about the victim. It is not the business of journalists to sympathize with convicted criminals over facing the consequences of their actions, no matter how clean-cut they otherwise appear, any more than it would have been their place to analyze the girl's behavior and experiences, talk about what she faces, or otherwise speculate on the topic. Rape is rape, even if the perpetrator's appearance is as persuasive as that of Dorian Gray, even if the perpetrator is popular, even if the perpetrator has likeable characteristics, and even if the perpetrator is a teen. None of these things excuse ignoring another person's inability to refuse or resist one's actions. Coverage sympathizing with the convicted Steubenville rapists was unprofessional and wrong. Period.

Where they were wrong: Having done something terrible and stupid does not make an individual a monster, not a human, not deserving of basic human consideration even when he has failed to show basic human consideration for another person, and even though conviction and punishment are justified. It makes him a criminal person, who must face the consequences for his actions, not someone whose humanity should be forever dismissed. While his humanity should not be the focus of journalistic discussion, neither should the desire to rescind it. There is a world of reasons why taking that attitude is a mistake, not the least of which is that it denies the individual's responsibility for his actions; Monsters cannot help what they do. People can. That distinction, when the concept of "monster" is applied to criminal actions, kills the possibility of reform, and makes it so that society is forever damaged by the creation of yet another perpetually unpayable debt. No matter how rightfully averse we are to the crime, no matter how justified we are in condemning the actions and the attitude that led to them, it is not the business of society to take a similar attitude in response... unless we wish to cease being a civilization, and become a mob.

Also relevant is the fact that the very basis of the feminist "Teach men not to rape" campaign is that incidents like this happen because the rapist doesn't know any better - if that campaign is based on genuine belief, then it is incredibly hypocritical of feminists to turn around and say "but in this instance, despite expressions of confusion and denial by the accused, the act was deliberate, harm was intended, and they're monsters!" This is not to say that rape is not wrong, not horrible, or not deserving of condemnation and penalty; just that allowing oneself to fall into such a pattern of hatred following its discovery that one goes back on one's own promulgations... is duplicitous, and renders previous declamation rather hollow. Criticizing CNN's reporters for journalistic professionalism was right; dumping vitriol upon the names of the convicts after the ruling was hypocritical in light of other feminist advocacy on the topic.

And so is their (lack of) response to this, in light of their response to Steubenville. If it is right to define rapists as nonpeople, then why aren't the same feminists coming out of the woodwork to condemn this article expressing sympathy for a woman, legally permitted to own a gun, own a house, join the military, vote for president, travel outside the country by herself, be responsible for a child... who had sex with someone who isn't even old enough to be trusted with a driver's permit, or to hold a job other than a paper route? Why does the change.org petition to halt prosecution of an accused rapist just because the perpetrator is a woman who is gay have nearly as many signatures as were offered on the petition to demand that CNN apologize for showing sympathy to rapists who were straight boys? Why did so many people decide characteristics with which they identify or sympathize were reason to socially exonerate an accused rapist?

Is it because they consider (NSFW) this to be a good rape?

Dear Feminist America,

Stop advocating against victims of lesbian rape. Stop treating women and girls whose right or ability to refuse sexual contact has been contravened or ignored by other women as if they have not been assaulted, abused, used, and betrayed by their rapists. Stop treating female perpetration of rape like it is nothing. Stop treating RAPE as though gender makes a difference in its severity, its impact on the victim, its meaning to the perpetrator, or its seriousness as a crime.
Dear Feminist America, stop perpetuating rape culture, you massive cult of hypocrisy.

All in how you look at it

Feminists complain that popular media's female portrayals contain stereotypical characteristics which affect the public perception of and attitude toward real women in ways that can lead to unconscious or even conscious but rationalized sexist behavior. They also complain that lack of complimentary presentation of real women, or women feminists consider realistic, contributes to that attitude and the behavior.   
This is, in part, due to the belief among cultural theorists that visual and auditory sensory input directly controls beliefs and attitudes. Stephen Pinker discusses this in his book, The Blank Slate, the Modern Denial of Human Nature, dismantling and debunking the notion by explaining how human perception works. However, he also describes the point of view of cultural studies and related disciplines on the topic, quoting from the Concise glossary of Cultural Theory's definition of the term "image." The definition describes "image" as a "mental or visual representation of an object or event as depicted in the mind, a painting, a photograph, or film." Pinker goes on to explain that by having "run together images in the world (pictures) with images in the mind, the entry lays out the centrality of images in postmodernism, cultural studies, and academic feminism."  
As Pinker points out, these areas of thought treat reality as subject to or the product of modes of representation - in other words, as the human resources representative who ran the training course on harassment at my old workplace stated during a training session, "Perception is reality."

Granted, as I've stated, Pinker completely dismantled and debunked this concept. He pointed out that perceptual impression does not control the formation of beliefs. He cemented his argument by discussing a concept he referred to as the euphemism treadmill, in which people invent new words for concepts for which existing terminology carries unpleasant connotations, only to have the new word take on the same connotations, necessitating another change of terminology. An example of this which relates directly to victim-status movements is the ever-changing series of euphemisms which have been employed to denote ethnicity. As each euphemism begins to take on a pejorative connotation at the hands of individuals with racist attitudes, society adopts a new "clean" euphemism. Pinker points out that this phenomenon shows that "concepts, not words, are primary in people's minds."

For purposes of this discussion, it doesn't matter that I personally disagree with the concept of representation-led-reality. It doesn't matter whether perception is reality, or whether the concept is nothing but highly decorated bullshit.

Feminists believe that perception is reality.

Feminists believe that representation controls perception.

Feminists therefore believe that representation creates reality.

What is the significance of understanding that? So what if feminists believe that representation creates reality? So they think portraying women a certain way in popular media is actually a form of control over women... so what? Maybe they make some changes, maybe they feel better, maybe they don't. What's the big deal, right?

How about the ways in which feminists refer to, portray, and represent men?

Think about the academic feminist terminology applied to men, from their vast, world-encompassing conspiracy-laden "Patriarchy" theory to the application of modifiers denoting dysfunction, such as "toxic" and "predatory," to descriptive words for male characteristics, in order to insinuate by association that dysfunction is a male characteristic. Feminist advocates have developed special pejoratives and other terms for the simple purpose of demonizing masculinity itself; male oppressor, male gaze, male privilege, hegemonic/toxic masculinity, phallocentrism.

Look at how hard feminist academics and researchers have worked to hide the duel nature of intimate partner and sexual violence, in order to promote a perception of violence as being mainly perpetrated by males against females.

Look how feminists have worked to maintain the very stereotypical gender roles to which they otherwise object, to the detriment of men, when it suits women.

These groups claim that treating sex as a male-sought, female-permitted action is part of a culture that perpetuates rape, citing as their basis for that claim the ideas that men rape because they're expected to seek sex, and that men rape on the belief that women's objections to unwanted advances are a performance made to meet social expectations and are therefore to be ignored. These same groups perpetuate the treatment of sex as a male-sought, female-permitted action when discussing consent in their advocacy on sexual violence, treating consent as something men seek, and women relinquish.

These groups treat the female homemaker/male provider family model as a form of oppression of women... until the family gets a divorce, and then that male provider had better pay up, or else!

Look at how hard feminists work to promote the concept of disposable men, arguing to treat imprisoning men on the basis of false allegations as "acceptable losses" in a war on... well, who, exactly, since they also treat the crime in question - rape - as a male perpetrated crime?

Feminist groups have initiated activist campaigns with the intent of fighting against recognizing the importance and value of fathers' relationships with their children, treating fathers as interlopers and abusers, and their relationships with their children as disposable.

Take an outside look at feminist-initiated "Teach Men Not to Rape" campaign, touted as the answer to the feminist-invented concept of victim-blaming under the guise of confronting the straw-society which exonerates rapists of victims who dressed wrong, went to the wrong places, or went out at the wrong times. The campaign treats rape as something only men do, and only to women. It treats "rapist" as the natural state of male humans, something which has to be trained out of all men, as if it isn't, they'll surely commit the crime. While it may be admirable and benevolent to want to prevent crime, this campaign ignores nearly half of the perpetrators by gender, most of them by behavior and attitude, and in connection, most of the victims.

Imputations of malice, demonization of male sexuality, marginalization of fathers, relegation to disposability, defamation of the character of an entire gender... all aspects of the feminist representation of men... all consistently presented, repeated, and promoted.

This, from a group which expresses the belief that representation controls perception when discussing representation of women... so it is logical to conclude that feminist representation of men is intended to limit society's perception of men to the viewpoints expressed.  
This, from a group which treats perception as reality when discussing perception of women... so it is logical to conclude that feminists believe they can alter reality by affecting society's perception.

This, from a group who advocates changes in how women are represented, on the basis that representation creates reality.

In light of the comparison between their behaviors and their belief, exactly what do you think is the goal of feminism's representation of men?

Why contract law is not justification for criminalizing drunk sex as rape

Feminists use treating consent as the signing of a contract to argue in favor of considering drunk sex rape.

Treating drunk sex as rape depends upon imputing malice upon the accused in conjunction with the accuser's withdrawal of consent following a return to sobriety, on the basis that a mutual and irreversible act which took place during the period of intoxication can be made no longer mutual by that later decision.

Treating drunken contractual agreement as a criminal act is contingent upon a second action taken by the accused following the accuser's withdrawal of consent upon a return to sobriety, on the basis that the second action constitutes fraud. That second action is the refusal to reverse a reversible action taken by the accuser while drunk - the surrendering of ownership of a financial asset in conjunction with the conditions of the contract. When a contract is simply considered void, and no second action has been taken by the holder to attempt to force the drunk signer to adhere to the contract, a crime has not been committed.

The thing that criminalizes signing a contract with a drunk person is not the act of signing the contract when consent was invalid, but the act of attempting to impose it after consent was withdrawn.
This is a condition which cannot occur in a circumstance of drunk sex, because once the sex act is over, there is nothing to return or enforce. There is no act of imposing an agreement after the agreement has been withdrawn. There is only mutual act which one party later determines to be a mistake made due to compromised inhibitions.

Taking an action due to compromised inhibitions and later regretting it is exactly like circumstances described in criminal law. It does not match up with circumstances described in contract law. The logic of applying contract law as being more analogous of the situation than criminal acts is flawed in its lack of consideration of the reasoning behind the involved laws.

Contract law holds that an individual cannot later be compelled to adhere to an agreement made while drunk, not that an individual is criminal for making an agreement with a drunk person. Treating drunk sex as rape holds that an individual is a criminal for making an agreement with a drunk person, not that an individual cannot later be compelled to adhere to that agreement - because following a mutual physical act, there is no further agreement to uphold. Where contract law criminalizes an attempt at imposition following a legally permitted withdrawal of consent, the feminist position on rape seeks to criminalize sexual activity that was not imposed after consent was withdrawn, but which took place before consent was withdrawn. It is an illegitimate attempt to impute malice where malice cannot be proved.

The feminist position on drunk sex is inconsistent with the analogy they are using. They could be correct in arguing that drunk sex doesn't constitute the beginning of a committed relationship, that it doesn't constitute an agreement to become parents (or owe child support - but they would never argue that), or that it doesn't entitle either party to expect future sexual contact with the other... but not that the drunken state of the participants makes one of them guilty of a crime, even if the other party later regrets her actions.
Criminal law holds that being drunk does not excuse an individual from responsibility for actions taken which affect other people. Treating drunk sex as not rape holds that being drunk does not excuse an individual from responsibility for actions taken which involve (and therefore affect) other people, even if the individual regrets those actions later on. Holding the accuser in a drunk rape case to the same standard as the accused in a criminal case involving drunk behavior is a correct and consistent analogy because both are contingent on dealing with the behavior of the individual at the time of the event, an area where the analogy using contract law fails.

*Edit to address an argument made in response to this point elsewhere, wherein an arrogant debater asserts that touching another individual is assault unless consent is given:

Not according to online sources of legal definitions.
Cornell  clearly shows intent, imminent harm, and/or injury as factors which must be present for an event to be considered assault. Consent is not mentioned.

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/assault states the same criteria.

This is why, when person A threatens to hit person B, makes a motion as if to hit person B, or punches person B, those may all be considered assault, but if persons A and B bump into each other in passing on the street, while neither of them consented to the touch, neither is guilty of assault. One of them being drunk does not change that.

There is also the fact that an assault is not an act engaged in together by the victim and perpetrator, but one acted out by the perpetrator against the victim. A sex act is a mutually engaged action. Another example of a mutually engaged action is a boxing match. Person A and person B may engage in a consensual boxing match by donning the gear, entering the ring, and hitting each other until the match ends or one of them is knocked unconscious. If an individual drinks alcohol, then swings his fist and starts a fight, his participation in that fight is consensual even though he is drunk. If he is hit back and continues punching, he's participating in a consensual fight, not being assaulted, even if later when he wakes up with a massive shiner or messages on his phone about an embarrassing youtube video, he regrets starting the fight.
Were he female, and were the action she initiated a sex act instead of a fight, the result is the same: A mutually engaged interaction in which both parties actively participate, not a passive/helpless victim being acted upon by a perpetrator.

This is why cherry picking between contract law and criminal law does not justify feminism's position. In doing so, you're relying on treating women as helpless, passive objects without decision-making capability, and that's a wholly dishonest approach to the discussion.

Teach feminists not to lie


OP didn't get the desired response - so therefore he or she threw a tantrum and deleted the post. Nice... but I'm going to respond anyway, with two points.   
First, the "teach men not to rape" campaign is not designed to stop rape. It's designed to imply quite directly that rape is something men do - a flaw that exists in men that must be corrected. It does a terrible disservice to everyone by making it seem like rape is an accident. It's a social lie about men, a ridiculous misconception about the crime, and an insult to rape victims. It dilutes the crime down from "this person deliberately hurt that person" to "Oops, my bad. Sorry."

Saying the campaign is necessary because females don't understand that it's rape when they violate someone is just as ridiculous as saying the campaign is necessary because males don't understand. When a female rapes, she isn't doing that because she doesn't know it's wrong. She's doing that because she doesn't care, the same way as when a male rapes. Either she wants to hurt her victim, or she has a sense of entitlement (not the same as not knowing that abuse is wrong), or she has no moral compunctions against hurting someone to get what she wants, or she affords the rights and experiences of her victim less value and importance than she places on her own. The unvarnished, basic truth of rape is that you cannot violate the victim without violating the victim's bodily autonomy. You cannot violate the victim's bodily autonomy without knowing that you're ignoring the victim's right to say no, or ignoring the victim's circumstantial inability to say no.

An actual rapist, like any other abuser, isn't an innocent person who just stumbles past a boundary he or she doesn't know exists. The act of rape is a result of not caring about that boundary - deliberately contravening or ignoring another person's right or ability to refuse sexual contact. It isn't an accident, and it's shameful that feminism has begun using treatment of rape as an accidental behavior as part of their political agenda.

Second, even if such a campaign were justified by feminist logic, that same logic justifies starting a "Don't Teach Men Not to Get Falsely Accused. Teach Women Not to Lie" campaign.

Would you find it acceptable for the men's rights movement to start a "don't teach men to document their lives, teach women not to lie" campaign, complete with infographics, posters all over school campuses, social networking sites, and social clubs where men and women interact? Perhaps you could also assist in spreading the message that consent to social interaction is not consent to be dragged through the bowels of the legal system should one's acquaintance, friend, or partner decide that it's easier to make a rape accusation than to deal with some level of inconvenience... like fighting a custody battle, or even just paying a $13 cab fare?

Certainly, it should not matter that the majority of women don't make false accusations of rape or domestic violence. Based on the logic of the "Teach men not to rape" campaign, women who don't file false charges shouldn't be offended that such a campaign is being waged... they should be offended that society thinks so little of women's morals, toughness, and self-control that the problem of false accusations is so easily accepted and dismissed with excuses like "if you prosecute proven false accusers, female victims won't press charges."

Women should be deeply insulted by the assertion that we are so unable to differentiate between the truth and a false accusation that we'd fear prosecution too much to present evidence of any crime. Women should be horrified that society sees us as so weak and so incapable that compromising due process rights and incarcerating innocent men is seen as preferable to holding our accusations to the same standard of evidence that any other accusation of criminal assault faces. In light of the logic used to justify the "teach men not to rape" campaign, there really is no reason why women should object to the promotion of a related "teach women not to lie" campaign. In fact, since the "teach men not to rape" campaign encourages men to police other men's behavior, ethical women should should feel responsible for making sure the anti-lie message also gets heard.

So... when is feminism going to get to work on that?

Tit for tat: A standard advocated is a standard owed.

Feminists advocate enthusiastic, spoken consent as the only acceptable standard by which female consent during a heterosexual encounter may be accurately inferred. According to their expressed rhetoric, nothing else a woman does matters unless her male partner receives adamant verbal confirmation. This isn't just applied to style of dress, facial expressions, and flirtatious speech. The woman with her hand down her partner's pants isn't considered to have consented to any response from him unless she tells him so in no uncertain terms. Within this mentality, a man's consent is assumed, partly on the basis of the same behaviors feminists claim don't indicate consent from a woman, but mostly just because he's a man.

What does that mean for men? When a man's consent is presumed a given, while everything a woman may do to communicate consent is to be ignored if she doesn't also expressly speak it, where does that leave men? Feminists seem to think it knocks them down a peg, providing women with some new level of control over heterosexual interaction, requiring of men a most solicitous approach in order to avoid being accused of brutal intent.

It doesn't.

Women already had that control, in the male-seeker, female-gatekeeper model of sexual interaction. What the enthusiastic consent standard really does is take away some of the power that accompanies the gatekeeper role. In that role, women had the benefit of receiving sexual attention without having to take the risk of facing direct rejection to obtain it. Until now, the onus has been primarily on men; to initiate, to earn a woman's attention, and to hold it by continuing to impress her and following her rules of engagement. If a woman wasn't satisfied with what a man had to offer, she had the power of "NO" to end the encounter. If she wanted to continue receiving interest-driven romantic attention, she didn't have to match his effort or his show of interest. A man who receives only subtle hints and insinuation of acceptance will usually strive harder to please his partner. Instead of placing men at a greater disadvantage, the enthusiastic consent standard makes socially unacceptable the female use of tacit but unenthusiastic approval to make their male partners jump through hoops to earn desired affection.

The thing is, just because you're told that you're responsible for the interaction, that your consent is presumed given, doesn't mean you have to give your consent. While feminists advocate their enthusiastic consent model as if only women have the power of "NO," what this really does is give you reason to exercise that same power when you are not comfortable or satisfied with the dynamics of an encounter.

Men, with this advocacy, feminists are telling you that in the dating arena, women who want sex from you owe you open, honest, and unmistakable communication. Advocacy for the enthusiastic consent standard is effectively free license for men to stop shouldering all of the responsibility for the experiences of both parties in any given romantic encounter. Don't settle for some lazy scumbag who won't communicate with you, won't show any clear interest, expects you to jump through hoops, expects you to chase her without encouragement, and leaves you wondering if your advances have been accepted or not. Don't tolerate getting treated like a beggar or a slave instead of a romantic interest. If the person you're with cannot afford you the human dignity to treat you as, and act as, an equal partner, find someone else who will.

If the onus placed on men is going to be "all heterosexual sex without enthusiastic female consent may be defined as male-on-female rape," then men have the right to expect and require as a condition of male consent to sex that female consent always be enthusiastic - meaning a woman gets none of your attention, none of your effort, and no intimate contact with you unless she lets you know in unmistakable terms, and continues to reinforce the message the whole time, that she wants those things from you, and is willing to offer you the same in return. If she isn't putting as much effort and enthusiasm as you are into the whole encounter, she's not worth your time, not worth risking your heart, and certainly not worth risking your freedom. If consent that is not enthusiastic is not consent, then interest that is not enthusiastic is not interest.

After all, in the current environment, if you don't have that reassurance, you could be considered guilty of rape despite a complete lack of intent to contravene or ignore your partner's choice in the matter, despite participation by your partner, despite having no way of determining that such an accusation might be leveled against you. It's a matter of self-defense. You must treat every demure, shy, or retiring partner as Schrodinger's false accuser, and require the same level of enthusiastic participation from her as you are offering in order to solve the dilemma of not really knowing what is on her mind. It won't protect you from 100% of false accusations, but it will reduce the chance that it can be argued that you didn't get real consent, and are therefore guilty of a crime.

From now on, you should only involve yourself sexually with women who are confident and vocal about wanting intimate contact with you. No matter how many women you talk to, flirt with, hang out with, go out with, whatever... no matter how many hints are being dropped, no matter what the body language is, none of it is enough to ensure that your end of the interaction won't be considered an act of rape... so you now have the right to expect a woman to openly and without hesitation tell you what she wants - or she has no right to expect to receive what she wants from you. If she's not willing to communicate that openly with you, then she hasn't done enough to earn your trust as a sex partner.

You should be expecting that anyway - if you're going to be expected to give someone your attention, put your heart on the line, to impress, take the risk of rejection, and if not rejected, to provide pleasure... you have the right to know without the slightest doubt whether she's into you, or averse to the interaction. You deserve better than to be ignored throughout a sexual encounter. You should expect to be afforded an equal right to be treated as a wanted and interesting partner. You should expect to be offered an equal experience of demonstrated intent to please and impress. You are no less deserving of that than your partner, and if you're not being offered that equal treatment, you're being used and abused. Women who let you wonder, act okay with the situation, and then later complain about your side of the interaction without ever having given you a clue, are as abusive as women who hit you. No one has the right to expect you to put up with that.

Female readers, this part is for you:
If what I have said offends you because you're shy, and you don't want to have to be vocal, don't tell me. Tell your feminist friends, who have advocated for a social attitude condemning men for assuming that women's overt actions indicate our intent. That assertion has erased the definition of our overt actions as a form of communication, creating the requirement that communication be verbal.

The same goes to those who prefer to be romanced. If this pisses you off, don't tell me. Tell your feminist friends who have asserted that male courtship behavior is predatory, and consent resulting from it isn't consent. By defining male pursuit as predatory, feminist advocates have placed the onus on women to seek and maintain romantic interaction. You no longer have the right to expect to be courted for your attention, because men have been told that offering you that is an abuse.

Feminists have abolished the "men pursue, women are pursued" tradition of dating. One way or another, it's up to you to get off of your asses and do something about it: Either go with the new rules, and become equally responsible for the effort and risk that go into making your dating life and your sex life happen... or protest the feminist position on the topic, and their effort to impose their political agenda on you. One way or another, you're going to have to stop being a shrinking violent, because feminism has made interacting with you too much of a risk for the modern man.

By demanding that, regardless of physical behavior, "no" be the default assumption without your verbal confirmation, feminism is demanding that society not differentiate between the guy who ignores "no" and the guy whose date participated in an encounter and then later wished she hadn't. If your participation is not equal, you're asking your partner to risk a rape charge just to be with you. That's a hell of a demand to make, and frankly, there is not a person on earth whose attention is worth that risk. Therefore, women, it is your responsibility to ensure that any man you're with knows without question exactly what you want from the encounter, and to give as good as you get. You no longer have the right to sit back and expect a man to impress you, while you attempt to maintain an air of demure, modest propriety. If you're shy, if you prefer a traditional approach, if you like to be romanced... well, tough shit. It's the 21st century now, and you're outdated.

In the context of a modern, feminist-dictated dating environment, if you don't offer equal participation and equal enthusiasm in a sexual relationship, you're not an equal partner. If you don't have the courage and consideration for your partner to provide a clear indication of your intentions and desires, you don't deserve his attention.

Prior to the feminist influence on the sexual revolution, when it was expected that women act demure, and men pursue, there might have been an excuse for that in the context of a newer relationship.
There is no such excuse now. Any woman who expects to sit back and let her partner make all of the advances, and all of the connections, including the mental connection "I'm getting a positive response" or "this probably means no," is lazy and selfish... in fact, one could even argue that doing so is an act of using her partner as an interactive sex toy, instead of participating in an intimate and mutually enjoyable experience.

If receipt of enthusiastic consent is the standard, then we owe it to our partners to make our responses to them as openly communicative as are their responses to us. Think about this: When was the last time you had sex with a man who did not offer you enthusiastic consent? What makes you think you deserve that from him, if you're not going to offer him the same in return?

If you look at the feminist take on sexual relationships from a human rights perspective, you have to consider the possibility that for generations, women have been emotionally abusing men. It has been traditional for us to essentially withhold interest and affection until sufficiently impressed, yet many men face the experience of being castigated for their efforts. What a catch-22 for men, told by women that they're not doing their job as men if they do not enthusiastically and impressively pursue us... but if they try when they're unwanted, they're predatory and domineering. What a manipulative, abusive behavior our sex has exhibited. And beyond that, traditionally, it hasn't even been up to us to offer the other side of the coin - when we are impressed, we're not expected to be as demonstrative in our communication of that as we are when we communicate rejection. Coyly batting one's eyelashes and fidgeting a lot has nowhere near the level of immediate communicative impact as a slap across the face. Our gender's priority has been to communicate the negative, but make men wander a loaded maze of guesswork and potential pitfalls when the response is positive. Now, feminism is telling men on our behalf that even positive responses may be negative unless they're dramatic and obsessively defined. In doing so, feminism has made it our responsibility as women to communicate the positive as dramatically and clearly as we do the negative.

This is my challenge to other women - it's not up to others to obtain enthusiastic consent from you. It's not a potential partner's responsibility to persuade you. In today's environment, no one owes you their attention, or regard. It's your job to earn that and show your intended partner your interest. It's your job to make it clear when sexual attention and contact is something you want... and if you don't do that, you have no right to complain when you don't receive it. In fact, given the current political and legal environment, participating in a sex act with a partner to whom you have not demonstrated and spoken enthusiastic consent should be considered an act of psychological abuse.

After all, if you try to continue the old 'men pursue, women are persuaded' method of initiation and interaction, in doing so, you will have demanded that your partner give you all of the benefits, while you give your partner none of the reassurance. You've pushed upon your partner all of the risk involved in the interaction, while offering none of the rewards. That's a shameful way to treat any person.

Remember, a requirement for communication goes both ways. If men are to be expected to obtain communication, women must be equally expected to provide it. By asserting that men may be expected to assume that anything a woman has not directly and clearly requested is unwanted, feminists have given men license to assume that women don't want anything until it has been directly and clearly requested. They haven't just placed the greater burden on men to obtain enthusiastic consent, or be guilty of rape. They've placed an equal burden on women to be enthusiastic, or go without sexual intimacy.

Well, ship.

Imagine you're on a boat, sailing in deep water, and you come across a slowly sinking rowboat full of men and women.

You see the hole, and realize you have exactly what is needed to plug it and stop the rowboat from sinking, but instead of doing so, you blame the men for the hole, pull the women out of the boat, take one of the oars, and sail away, leaving the men to fend for themselves.

Later, whenever you see a rowboat with both genders in it, you assume that the men probably have put a hole in it somewhere.

Even when there's no evidence of the boat sinking, if the women claim it is, you treat those boats the same as the first.

When there is evidence that women have damaged their boats, you ignore that and still treat that boatload the same.

When what you are doing is pointed out to you, you use your history of rescuing women and abandoning men as evidence that men are boat-wreckers, and women are not.

You expect people to not figure out the logical fallacy in that, and accuse them of dishonesty and whining when they do.

Kind of a stupid and dishonest way of handling the problem of sinking rowboats, isn't it?

That's how feminism handles domestic violence.

The liars, the snitch, and the magic red tape

I haven't written about this publicly until now, because I was hoping to get the information and report on that, instead, but I've run into some odd hurdles, and because of that I think the process has become interesting in and of itself. I began this over dissatisfaction with the CDC's handling of the data from the 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. Among other things, I'm appalled at the sexism inherent in the deliberate mislabeling of data so that a double standard is created for the treatment of a single action (sexual abuse specifically involving a victim's genitals) depending on the gender of the victim. The CDC acknowledges that raping a woman is rape, regardless of the manner of violation. The CDC denies that raping a man is rape if the manner of violation involves an intimate assault on his genitals.

The ridiculousness of that denial becomes evident if one simply reverses the sexes. Imagine telling a woman that her assailant didn't rape her because the attack "only" involved abusing her genitals in exactly the manner in which they are used for sexual intimacy. Only an idiot, an ignoramus, or an ideologist with an agenda would come up with such convoluted logic. The decision to exclude being forced to penetrate from the CDC's definition of rape is not an honest attempt to categorize behavior, but an attempt to obfuscate in discussion of a very sensitive issue. Further, looking at the data they presented on those two specific types of assault - forced to penetrate, and forced penetration - it is evident that perpetration of the crime is much less gender-divided than advocates have been claiming. This information is eclipsed by the CDC's creative labeling, making it appear that common belief on the subject is correct when, based on the data, it is quite obviously not. By excluding the intimate sexual abuse of male genitalia from their definition of rape, the CDC has perpetuated three lies: First, that male victims of rape are rare, second, that female perpetrators of rape are rare, and third, that preventative and law enforcement approaches to the crime of rape should focus on a prevalence of male perpetration and female victim experience.

The presentation of the survey results was equally unsatisfactory in its description of specific categories of victim and perpetrator. The report, biased in its wording as the survey was in its methods, often states what percentage of victims in each specific category of violence reported one gender of perpetrator, but not what percentage reported the other gender. Female perpetration is particularly under-discussed. As explained in the graphic linked in the previous paragraph, that makes it difficult to accurately calculate female perpetration beyond an estimate of the minimum that can be confirmed. It became evident to me that an accurate picture of partner and sexual violence in the U.S. cannot be had without more information than the CDC made available to the public in its report.

On February 4, 2013, I sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the CDC, asking for information from the raw numbers from the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. I did not request private information, but asked for the total number of individuals who answered specific questions, by gender, by sexuality, and by type of violence. The request was carefully worded (and therefore long winded) because I did not want it misinterpreted, and insufficient information sent, but the information requested was information that the researchers would have had to compile in order to do the calculations necessary to file the report that was shared with the public. Since the report could not have been done without that information, it must exist in some accessible form.

A few weeks later, I received back the following letter (personal information blurred, including request ID, for my protection):

Note - I'm not removing the CDC's contact information, because that information is public information,
readily available on the site to which I was directed, and easily obtained otherwise.
Please, at this time, do not call, message, fax, or write to this agency about my request. I do not think
increased contact to the office will speed the process, as I will explain further along in this post.

I gave the agency a couple of months from my initial request. On April 12, 2013, I tried checking my assigned request ID at the CDC's FOIA web page. This is what I found:

As I said in my update to friends with whom I'd discussed the matter,

Out of order? Seriously? WTH is this, an arcade game?
I wonder how long it's been that way, and how long it's going to continue.

The other two addresses listed on the page don't give any information that would help me to determine the response to my request. The second link, http://www.hhs.gov/foia/45cfr5.html, goes to the text of the act which describes the rules and process, but doesn't help me find out if a decision has been made in my case, or not. From that link, I was able to ascertain that there is no legitimate reason why the CDC should deny my request for information. The agency might deny my request for a fee reduction or waver, but that should not affect the release of the information.

I called the 770 number listed, and received no answer. I left a message, and received no return call. On April 17th, I called and left another message, and sent an email.

I've been trying to get information on the status of my FOIA request for numbers from the CDC's 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. Unfortunately, the site to which the letter I received from the CDC's office for handling FOIA requests referred me has not been functioning for several days, instead referring users to a phone number. I've made calls to the number, but have received no return call.
I'm writing to request just a quick note on the status of my FOIA request, with information as to whether the information is available, if there is a time frame yet on delivering it, and at what cost to me, or whether I have qualified for a reduction or waver of fees. Even if that information has not yet been determined, I would appreciate a quick note to let me know that, as well.
The reference number given in the letter I received is #13-XXXXX-FOIA
Again, I updated friends, sharing the text of the message, and the following thought:
Here's hoping I get back a response... though I'm not holding my breath. At this point, I'm starting to wonder if there's something off about the survey that we haven't already highlighted. Like... perhaps the numbers aren't as they've been represented... or perhaps the vagueness of the report was due to the numbers showing things the CDC didn't want to admit (like a prevalence of female violence.)  

Today is March 10th, 2013. Repeated calls have confirmed for me that the liaisons at the office simply never answer their phones. Failure to return my calls and emails has confirmed for me that they also ignore messages. I've left another voice message for them regarding my request, pointing out the amount of time that has passed, and stating that all I want is an update on their decision process, but based on past experience I do not expect a response to that, either. Still, just in case, I will give them another few days to get back to me and at least tell me whether or not they have any update to my request. 

I realize that my request may seem a bit complex. The survey was done not by the CDC, but by an organization hired for that purpose, and while the request was for information which should be readily available due to its having been used in calculations for the NISVS report, I did request a fee reduction or waiver based on the need for the information. While there is no excuse for having difficulty providing the requested information, it may be that the agency is having some difficulty determining my eligibility for waver. In my waver request, I made the following statement:
Disclosure of the information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the subject matter and can be used for the benefit of crime victims within the victim's advocacy system and to improve other victim's services.

My intent is to evaluate the data for purposes of discussing violence risk among populations which are underserved by the current Domestic Violence Advocacy system and the legal system due to social misconceptions regarding partner and sexual violence. I will publish my conclusions in a non-commercial publication, from which I make no profit, which will be publicly available for anyone's use as a reference source in discussion and advocacy on this topic.

Aside from that publication, my use of the information will include advocacy directed to alert victim's advocates and legislators to the omission, with the goal of improving the outlook of underrepresented victims who seek assistance in escaping violent environments and pursuing charges against their assailants and/or abusers. It will also include discussion among activists interested in improving the environment faced by currently underrepresented victims.

I have reason to believe this data has been compiled, because the report lists percentages which would require this data in order to be calculated: Percentage of reported victims of each gender in specific categories of violence, who reported "only male" or "only female" perpetrators, and so on. The report provides this information unevenly - if it lists the percentage reporting one gender as perpetrator, it omits the other, but since some victims reported more than one perpetrator, it is impossible to determine the distribution of gender within the undisclosed population of perpetrators.

My intent is to use the information, should I ever receive it, in the following ways:
  • To advocate for support for currently underserved populations of Intimate Partner and Sexual violence victims. This would include every group not currently given the same level of assistance which is currently provided to women who have been victimized by men. 
  • To provide support for the efforts of local individuals wishing to initiate an assistance program specifically dedicated to currently underserved populations of Intimate Partner and Sexual violence victims. This would include efforts to create a shelter for individuals who, either due to gender or gender conflict, cannot be housed at existing domestic abuse shelters. 
  • To provide existing advocacy groups with balanced information on the prevalence and distribution of partner violence among genders and types of relationships, for the purpose of better understanding the problem and more effectively addressing the needs of those involved.
  • To facilitate the provision of the general public, and more specifically, of legislators, with accurate, comprehensive, and easily understandable information on the topic so that future legislative efforts to address the issues of partner and sexual violence will be more beneficial to society at large, and to victims; especially, to provide information which will assist legislators in better understanding the nature of the issue, so that they can address it with an interest in prevention rather than simply damage control. 
  • To supplement educational discussion on the U.S. federal government's approach to addressing the issues of intimate partner and sexual violence.
  • Publication in this blog, as the information is something which should be made publicly accessible, free of charge.
    (note, I do not receive a profit for writing this blog. I have placed an adsense widget on the side so that I'm not freeloading from Google for this publication, but I do not have an active adsense account, and if I did, the ad at the top right would violate the adsense terms, because it's not an adsense ad. It's simply a cause I support. That violation would get my account put on probation. It is my understanding from their TOS that I cannot simultaneously have that ad on my blog, and make a profit from adsense.)
Currently, the issue of partner and sexual violence is treated as a gendered issue with a prevalence of straight-male on female violence. The information released to the public following the execution of the NISVS paints a different picture - violence is shown to be more evenly distributed among the sexes and sexualities than advocates portray, demonstrating that the problem isn't just with straight men, and the solution does not lie in addressing only straight male violence. In fact, failure to address female violence may contribute to perpetuating the problem. However, as I stated in my letter to the CDC, the survey is vague on several points, and I find it necessary and vital that the information insinuated by the report be confirmed before attempting effective, informative, and beneficial advocacy on this topic.

I do intend to continue the effort to obtain this information. My next step will be sending a request for an update on my case using the US postal service's delivery confirmation system. Following that, I will begin contacting my representatives regarding the issue, as at this point, I believe my request is simply being ignored. If I receive no satisfaction from my representatives on the issue, I will make the issue fodder for national shock jocks, who I am sure will be interested in discussing why the CDC might see fit to hide from the public the intimate partner and sexual violence statistics used to support recent related legislation which has been controversial in part due to its gendered wording. I will continue to periodically update on this process, whether or not I receive replies.

Where are you, NOW?

Dear National Organization for Women:

For over a year, this story of abuse, scam artistry, malpractice, murder, and endangerment of impoverished women has stayed mostly under the mainstream radar... but it was originally highlighted by national news organizations.

It's on the topic of more than one of your pet issues. Surely, NOW, you haven't kept your silence on this.

Surely you haven't decided it's okay to scam women, taking payment for services not provided, have you? Or is that only wrong when the service in question isn't an abortion?

Surely you aren't approving the provision of substandard health care where women are concerned, are you? Or are you taking the position that any abortion is a good abortion... even one performed under unsanitary and questionable conditions?

Surely you're still pro-choice, as you claim, and not pro-abortion, right? Or is forcing an abortion on an unwilling patient acceptable to you? How about withholding information which would affect the woman's decision? Are you pro-choice, or pro-con?

Surely you haven't let your political position on abortion eclipse your position on rape, have you? Or is imposing penetration of the vagina only rape when it doesn't involve an abortion being performed against the patient's will?

Surely your abortion stance is all about bodily autonomy of the mother, and not simply about the opportunity to kill with impunity, right? Or do you approve of using a cutting instrument to sever the spine of a moving, breathing, crying baby, simply because he is unwanted?

The events of this story do not relate to any medical practice - what went on here is no less "back alley abortion" than that which would have been performed in 1970.

Ignoring this story is not a pro-woman act. It's anti-woman.

Talking about this story is not an anti-choice act. It's anti-exploitation, anti-abuse, anti-malpractice, and anti-murder.

Where is your outrage for these victims?

Does your capacity for human empathy really end at the doors of an abortion clinic?

Do you approve of making women a part of this barbaric practice?

Is your emotional investment in the issue really so heavy that supporters are willing to ignore and tolerate circumstances like this?

Are you so invested in defending abortion that you cannot differentiate between the horrors of Dr. Gosnell's "clinic," and the face you present to the public in the name of "a woman's right to choose?"

Do you have your heads buried so far up your asses that you seriously cannot object to heinous malpractice just because that practice is related to abortion?

Or are you simply afraid to admit that the problem is more widespread than just this one location?

Why should the women of America trust you to as women's leaders, if you're willing to tolerate such atrocity to support just this one issue?

Why haven't you spoken up for the right of women to be protected from unscrupulous, neglectful, abusive, and dishonest practitioners like Dr. Gosnell?

Did you miss the story, NOW, or did you just not care?

C'mon, now, NOW. I'd like to have heard for the last year what you think if this situation, but it's too late for that.

Wanna tell me, and anyone else who will listen, where your attention has been during the unfolding of this story?

Do you still claim to advocate "for women," or are you willing to admit that you only advocate for women whose issues fit your agenda?

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