May 25 2006

Urgent Blamer Intervention Request, No. 2

From Jessica at Feministing:

Hey all,

Samhita wrote a post today on the Duke case and she’s getting slammed in comments by some pretty nasty people. I’m going to comment, but I’m in the middle of moving so it’s not going to be long. Samhita has been pretty discouraged lately with disparaging comments and the general racist, sexist bullshit that’s been thrown specifically at her. I already had to ban commenters calling her stupid, etc. It sucks and it’s ridiculous. It would mean a lot if you could show your solidarity in comments (assuming you’re comfortable with that). I’m just emailing the few folks adresses I have on my blackberry, so feel free to fwd on. Thanks so much.


The post is here.


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  1. grabapple.net

    done! stupid trolls.

  2. The actions of the Duke women’s team make me wonder where their parents and teachers are to remind them that it is dishonorable to defend the powerful against the grievances of the powerless, that for all anyone knows may be justified. The Innocent badge is not about support – it is about alignment with the already powerful against a lone accuser. It’s about sucking up.

    Where are the friends or classmates to tell them that rape actually often happens to women who are not “asking for it”? Even that it has, perhaps, happened to them? Sooner or later, every woman knows another woman who has been raped – they just don’t always know that they know someone who has been. For now, the Duke women cling to the comforting belief that rape doesn’t happen in their world and isn’t perpetrated by anyone they know. Easier to sleep that way. It is about maintaining a comfort level with your identity as a superior Duke student and dismissing anything that calls into question the inherent worth of being a Duke student.

    I am not saying that I know what happened that night at that university- I just know what happened another night, at another university – and it means I can never blow off this accuser’s story lightly. Nor can I contemplate the Duke team’s lighthearted dismissal of the charge’s seriousness without disgust and dismay. I am guessing someday when these students understand more they will look back on the wearing of this badge in shame – too bad it seems that no one can teach them to refrain from it now.

  3. saraarts.com

    Thanks. As I mentioned in my comments over at Feministing, I can’t physically bear to pay too much attention to the nasty, nasty little story playing out down there (I am so sick of remakes, aren’t you?), but those bracelets are absolute crap. Even if through some miracle of the patriarchy the alleged gang rapists actually are innocent, some things really ought to be marketing-proof.

    Jesus. My parents went to Duke. Both of ’em. That’s where they met, for chrissakes. My father used to regale us kids with tales of slipping liquor in the punch at frat parties, and we would laugh and laugh.


  4. We don’t know if the Duke players did it or not, so we should just keep quiet about it until after the trial. What we should be making a fuss about is rape in general: the shocking statistics, the endless misery, the continuing violence. It is damaging to make one case symbolic of the issue. Because the particularities of the case has become tied to misogynist case against rape in general – “women lie about rape to get back at men,” “no means yes,” and other repellent bullshit – then if the women lose the case the public consequences will be awful: endless hair-gelled news anchors explaining that rape is fake.

  5. We don’t know if the Duke players did it or not, so we should just keep quiet about it until after the trial

    Springy: It’s a little late for that. It’s been a little late for that since the media decided that some black hooker accused those nice boys of rape.
    People keep touting out the “innocent until proven guilty” line, then use it as justification to announce that, whether or not the lacrosse players are guilty, she’s still a slut who deserves it.

    And this is pretty much the way rape cases work. All rape cases. Each and every fucking case is an excuse for defense lawyers and ‘friends of the accused’ and the media to state that damnit, that woman deserved it.

    Fuck that shit, I say.

  6. hedonisticpleasureseeker.wordpress.com

    We shall be Fighting Uberfeminist Crazy Keyboardists! Great acronym!

  7. The female lacrosse players may know the accused guys, they may believe them to be innocent, the accused guys should be considered innocent until proven guilty — but does this really qualify the female players to judge what happened? Were they there at the party? Do they have testimony to provide? No? Then they should just keep out of it. Wearing some symbol of solidarity is ignorant if they have nothing factual to add to the legal case and self-aggrandizing in any case.

    Do the accused lacrosse players take real comfort in this empty gesture? I doubt it. All it does is say, “Hey, accuser? Even though our opinion on your accusation is completely irrelevant, we want to give it anyway, and it is ‘Fuck you.'” Their opinion on what happened when they weren’t there is worthless, but they want to pretend it’s not, and that’s obnoxious. There are worse things in the world than a group of people being obnoxious, but that comparative perspective doesn’t stop this gesture from being obnoxious.

  8. I couldn’t post on the site. I couldn’t even read through all the comments. I just kept thinking, there are real human people spewing this vile hatred for women. Who are these people. Do the women who trust them know what they think?
    That was yesterday. Today I was wondering if the women with the innocent wristbands think that is some sort of rape avoidance technique. Like if one of their schoolmates sees that they will know not to rape them because they are innocent. Perhaps it is a rape welcome wristband. Are they members of a rape fan club?
    Perhaps they are simply so blissfully painfully ignorant that they don’t know they can never be on the patriarchys side because the patriarchy will never be on their side.
    Maybe they are just being true to their school. This entire conflict is so fraught with patriarchial stereotype and cliche it’s like deja vue all over again.

  9. Hmmm… you almost get the feeling from all of this that men don’t really like us!!

  10. With all respect to the fine posters at Feministing, of whom I’m the greatest of fans, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our hostess for providing this troll- and troglodyte-free haven for us here, free of the gaseous emissions and general pollution of white-male rage so in evidence throughout the greater part of the blogosphere. I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels this way… we need more spaces of our own.

  11. De-lurking to add some more Duke case odiousness: on the Straight Dope message board, supposedly a place for smart people to share their expertise in the fight against ignorance, there is a thread with the oh-so-civilised name of Lying whore. At last count, it was seventeen pages long, and I quit reading it after the first few, quite befuddled at the level of misogyny reached by supposedly clever people. I know, nothing should surprise me by now.

    Dipping into it again, I found this post. By now they’ve started quibbling back and forth over statistics; the composer of said post has claimed that the rape of black women by white men is statistically low. Obviously, then, the woman he’s been debating with has a hankering for (and I quote) “slavemaster-style rape”.

    As if this isn’t nauseating enough, another guy goes on to suggest that it’s true. I thought that men were supposed to pretend to know better by now.

  12. Twisty

    Women have no idea how much men hate them.

    Germaine said it, I believe it, and that settles it!

  13. feministlawprofs.law.sc.edu

    Actually I think feminists who blog have a pretty good idea about how much men hate them. Echidne of the Snakes said something along those lines here: http://avastconspiracy.blogspot.com/2006/03/misogynists-in-my-study.html and into my fifth month at “Feminist Law Professors,” I think she understates things.

  14. Twisty

    Echidne says misogynists are a minority. I disagree; it is my position—and I would be interested to hear a feminist argument to the contrary—that the entire global social order is founded on misogyny. If that’s the case, one can only surmise that the principle enjoys widespread support; the idea that there are only a few bad apples seems fantastic. Even the supposedly progressive dudes are chick-hatin’ slugs, as was recently shown on [WHITEMALE]AMERICABlog.

  15. hedonisticpleasureseeker.wordpress.com

    1. men hate/fear their own neediness
    2. men need women
    3. therefore, men hate women

    Who said this first? I’m curious.

  16. feministlawprofs.law.sc.edu

    Supposedly progressive dudes can be pretty awful. Misogyny in the blogosphere (and how the law might deal with it) is one of my summer research projects, and already some of the more sheltered research assistants are freaking out at what they are finding. Just the stuff directed at me personally could fill a book chapter. Sunshine can be a good disinfectant, though, or so I hope.

  17. Ack. “Progressive” dudes (scare quotes intentional!) — the guys who say that rape is bad, of course, but think rape only happens to nuns and children and senator Napoli’s hypothetical abortion candidate.

  18. aeandsometimesa.blogspot.com

    I would have supported Samhita’s statement, but I was offline. The comments her post elicited demonstrate just how many people are complicit, besides the Women’s Lacrosse Team.

    One thing I find interesting (and I’ve been following posts on the case pretty closely) is how many commentators cannot distinguish between the assumption of innocence for an individual accused of a crime and the assumption that a crime occurred. While you might expect he said/she said handwaving around a date rape case, it seems so unlikely when applied to the violent gang rape of a woman at work. Why do the defenders of the accused so often go from “they’re innocent of this crime” to “no crime occurred?” I’m sure there’s a patriarchy-blaming explanation that I just haven’t seen yet.

  19. Flewellyn

    Hi, new blamer here, I found you through Ginmar over on LiveJournal.

    The sheer volume of misogyny directed at Samhita over that post is nauseating. I would read more of the comments, but I don’t want to get a headache from the asshat stupidity. Frankly, the volume of misogyny found in the progressive blogosphere and community at large is dismaying to me, a feminist and progressive male.

    Kaethe above noted the rather large misconception people have about “innocent until proven guilty”, and that they just plain don’t know what this legal standard actually means. She’s absolutely right.

    From my law courses in college, I learned that it means simply this: the burden of proof that a defendant is guilty of a crime is on the prosecution, and absent sufficient evidence of guilt, the defendant must be found not guilty (which, I might add, is NOT the same as being innocent). This can be contrasted with “guilty until proven innocent”, which requires a defendant to prove innocence, something that can be very difficult or impossible to do (proving a negative, and all).

    It does not mean “the defendant’s word must be assumed true”, it does not mean “any evidence presented by the prosecution, especially the victim, is assumed false”, and it certainly doesn’t mean “if there is insufficient evidence to prove the defendant is guilty, the victim was obviously lying.”

    Yet that’s how the public (and, scarily, many lawyers and judges as well) treat the standard when it comes to rape cases. If a woman accuses a man of rape, the assumption is that he is innocent, not until proven guilty, just innocent period. Sometimes this even means innocent even after proven guilty!

    I still run into people who will talk about what a gold-digging liar Desiree Washington was, even today, years after Mike Tyson was convicted, sentenced, and sent to prison for raping her.

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