Begging the question
The link contains extensive discussion. It explains circular reasoning thus:
To beg the question is to assume something that you have no right to assume. What don't you have a right to assume? The conclusion itself, obviously, or any proposition that is just the conclusion stated in different words. Clearly, to use any argument in which the conclusion is also one of the premisses is to reason in a circle: reasoning from the premisses to the conclusion brings you back to where you started.Feminist "victim blaming" accusations start with two wrongful assumptions.
First, feminists assume that the individual under discussion is a victim (feminists label incidents "rape" whether their assigned "victim" agrees with them or not). This includes circumstances where the female they want to label "victim" has actively engaged in consensual sex and later regretted it for any reason, even when the "victim" doesn't feel victimized. An example of the practical application of feminist ideological advocacy on this is university responses; my daughter has been taught at her university that any alcohol consumption at all negates a woman's ability to consent to sex. That, when combined with the campus SaVE act, indicates that if a regularly sexually active heterosexual couple has sex after the two of them have each consumed a single drink, and someone (it doesn't have to be the girl) makes a complaint against the guy, he may be considered guilty of rape, expelled from school, and barred from attending other universities in the state. Further, the censure would be reflected on his academic record, and could influence legal proceedings on the matter.
Second, feminists assume that a "victim's" interest in exercising her own agency to control her risk level is automatically unreasonable and therefore a dysfunction. This argument extends to treating anything women do outside of feminist-led organizational advisement as a sign of "self-blame," whether it's an effective means of self-defense or not. These groups protest the idea that women and girls should be encouraged to learn and use self-defense, then obtain government and other grant funding to teach self-defense to recovering victims. Not only is that a conflict of interest (feminist organizations profit from convincing women that they can't defend themselves without feminists' approval,) it's self-contradictory. Either attempting to control one's risk level is always an irrational, dysfunctional response to danger, or it's sometimes not - even if doing so is not under the controlled guidance of feminist ideology.
With these in mind, feminist "logic" proceeds by labeling women's regret of their own choices preceding or during a sexual encounter "self-blame." Both assumptions are articulated for the purpose of labeling discussion on rape prevention "victim blaming." One cannot argue in debate that women have the right or responsibility to exercise mindful awareness the same as is expected of men without being accused of victim blaming. One cannot differentiate between an act of contravening a person's right to refuse intimate contact and a sexual encounter that is later regretted by one party or the other without being accused of victim blaming.
Affirming the consequent
The example in the link uses several scenarios. I want to look for a minute at just the first two.
1) If Bill Gates owns Fort Knox, then he is rich.
2) Bill Gates is rich.
3) Therefore, he owns Fort Knox.
The fallacy is obvious in that example. That one is rich isn't necessarily an indication of what specific things one owns. It's simply a measure of one's overall wealth. It's less obvious in the second, as we often "diagnose" ourselves based on past experience. This is a much more common mistake.
1) If I have the flu, then I have a sore throat.
2) I have a sore throat.
3) Therefore, I have the flu.
This often takes the form of "Last time I had symptom X, I was diagnosed with Y. I have symptom X again, so it must be Y again.
As the factors appear more related or the issue becomes more clouded with additional steps (such as past experience) or ideology, it becomes easier for the mind to disguise that mistake as a reasonable course of thought. The flaws in in the "logic" behind feminist claims of victim blaming are similarly clouded by combining two different fallacies to reach a flawed conclusion, but once you see them, they're glaringly obvious.
The flaw begins with "If a trauma makes the victim feel helpless and afraid, then the victim will adopt behaviors to try to gain control over future circumstances to avoid experiencing the trauma again." Feminists insert "begging the question" twice between what would be steps 1 and 2 in order to impose the victim label. This expands the flaw to 5 steps and clouds it enough to hide the flaw from most individuals.
1) If a trauma makes the victim feel helpless and afraid, then the victim will adopt behaviors to try to gain control over future circumstances to avoid experiencing the trauma again.
- Trauma such as combat conditions sometimes leads to (Post Traumitc Stress Disorder) PTSD.
One of the symptoms of PTSD is the sufferer's tendency to blame himself for conditions he could not control, and to adopt behaviors to try to gain a measure of control over those conditions. Since the conditions can't be controlled, those behaviors focus on what can mitigate their impact. This is why war vets in your circle of friends and family may be unable to sit with their backs exposed to unseen approach. One cannot control what another person is going to do, but one can influence one's ability to see it coming.
Another is to attribute significance to conditions which don't affect the outcome of a situation, and adopt behaviors to control those conditions. That's not a tendency that is unique to stress disorders; having a lucky item without which you feel more vulnerable to misfortune is an example.
Another is to (out of stress-trained habit) apply defensive responses which are necessary in frequently, unpredictably violent circumstances to ordinarily peaceful situations. An example of this is when a vet is triggered to respond in self-defense or even with panic when there is a loud noise that's similar to the noise he experienced during combat.
- Rape can be a traumatic experience.
2) Begging the question; assuming victimization, as described above.
3) Begging the question; assuming that mindful behavior is dysfunction if sexual violence is at issue, also described above.
4) The (person we labeled) victim has adopted behaviors to avoid revisiting a regretted or upsetting experience.
Because feminists have already applied the label "rape" whether the female's ability to refuse was contravened or she now regrets a conscious choice to consent, they fall right into affirming the consequent.
5) The (person we labeled) victim must be traumatized and responding to feelings of helplessness and fear
This leads to the assertion that discussion on women's power to take control over any factors surrounding incidents feminists want to call rape (which include rape, but also include regretted consensual sex acts) is victim blaming and therefore verboten. That is how feminists argue that being upset about a sexual encounter makes it rape regardless of what happened during the encounter, and use "victim blaming" as a thought-terminating cliche to stifle rational discussion on the topic.
- That the discussion is about rape and not some other area of risk
does not change what is and what is not a reasonable expectation of
personal responsibility for one's own safety. Feminists argue as if it
- The presumption that assuming control over your environment is
automatically unreasonable is bullshit. That something can be stretched
to an unreasonable level (for example, never wearing red because you
were wearing red when you got shot) does not make responses to one's
environment (for example, wearing your seat-belt because you know that an
impact could send you through the windshield without it) unreasonable.
- The presumption that a sexual choice regretted by a woman
indicates that she was raped is also bullshit. Humans regularly make
decisions we regret without being told that since we regret the
decision, it must have been imposed on us from the outside. Force,
coercion, or incapacitation are ways of imposing. When an individual
simply makes a bad decision, it's not imposed, and it's not unreasonable
to feel responsible instead of victimized. A woman who did something
while drunk that when sober she realizes was a bad idea is not the
victim that a woman who was raped while passed out or unresponsive would
- The consequent doesn't prove the antecedent. Assuming
responsibility for factors under one's control which can affect the
outcome of a circumstance is not necessarily an illegitimate conclusion,
even when not all of the factors one encountered in said
circumstance were under one's control. Changing one's behavior to avoid
the consequences of a bad decision is not automatically dysfunctional choice that indicates trauma. It's also a sign of learning. To qualify as an irrational response to
trauma, that change must be unproductive as a means of improving one's
situation with respect to risk, or so burdensome that its drawbacks
outweigh its benefits.