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Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Links - 3rd April 2019 (2) (#metoo)

NPR: Neo-Puritan Revival in the #MeToo Age - "Part 2 of a Radiolab series titled “In the No” explores issues of consent as applied to “gray zones”—disappointing sexual encounters that some feminists have begun to argue should fall under the purview of the #MeToo movement, even in cases where it’s not clear that any violation has necessarily occurred... Cases like these make for a compelling counterpoint to Prest’s argument that affirmative consent standards are an infallible means of assessing when a violation has occurred (let alone a perfect system for negotiating sexual encounters between the young, inexperienced, and often drunk college students to whom they’re meant to apply). But Prest not only demurs on that issue, but sidesteps into a broader conversation about oppression and privilege that reveals just how deep the problem goes... The average 20-something man probably isn’t pausing midhookup to recontextualize himself not as an individual, but as an oppressive agent of the patriarchy. But if we truly want to work against history, and toward equality, then arguably the last thing we should be doing is to buy into the notion that women inherently lack sexual agency—or indeed, that a history of gendered oppression makes it impossible for them to truly know their own minds. To say this creates a confusing environment for young people is an understatement. Taken to their logical conclusion, affirmative consent standards may teach an entire generation of heterosexual men to distrust their partners: to assume that they’re drunk, confused, or even faking enjoyment rather than acting in accordance with genuine desire. (For some proponents, the “haze of fear and confusion” that affirmative consent creates surrounding sexual communication is even part of the appeal.) And women, in turn, are being taught that every encounter—romantic, sexual, or even professional—finds them at the wrong end of a power dynamic which makes even their own feelings suspect. Haven’t they been socialized to please others first?... Alarmingly, this view—which simply deletes the possibility of active female desire by casting women as forever on the precipice of victimhood—has become increasingly trendy in progressive spaces. A woman who instructs her date to get a condom and explicitly requests rough sex later describes his behavior as “coercive.” Another describes being “forced” (by the same man) to put on a certain style of eye makeup before a hookup, and writes, “What he did to me was rape.”... These are women who made decisions under their own power, but couldn’t cope in the aftermath when those choices made them feel terrible. Under other circumstances, this might lead a person to contemplate the gap between her actions, her desired outcome, and the actual result—and to recognize that this kind of miscalculation is normal, human, and an essential part of the trial-and-error process by which we eventually become better judges of what will make us happy. But consent culture increasingly doesn’t leave the door open for that kind of nuance. There is no room within the framework for a desired choice to lead to regret, or for a woman to say, “I wanted this in the moment, even if things didn’t work out as I’d hoped.” Instead, women retroactively strip themselves of their agency: “I didn’t consent to feeling bad about this, hence I didn’t consent to any of it.”... if your goal is to protect women at all costs from feeling bad about their choices—because you don’t think they can handle it, and they probably don’t know what they want anyway—then we already have a word for that. It’s not feminism. It’s paternalism. And it denies women a fundamental if unglamorous freedom: to not just make decisions, but to live with and learn from the consequences of their less-than-great ones."
The slippery slope (aka concept creep) is real - it doesn't even stop at affirmative consent. Actually the euphemism treadmill is another example of the slippery slope
Another aspect of how victim culture is disempowering

Just Because a Woman Puts a Penis in Her Mouth Doesn’t Mean She Consented, Says College Sex Expert - "An educational consultant who advises students expelled from their colleges for sexual misconduct described a real-life circumstance in which one of her clients was found to not have obtained affirmative consent from a sexual partner, even though the alleged victim had initiated sex by placing his penis in her mouth... Prest, a steadfast supporter of requiring men to obtain affirmative consent from women without exception, was resistant to Stontland's skepticism about the idea that affirmative consent is a salve for the many complications that arise from modern day hookup culture."

An Appalling Case for Affirmative-Consent Laws - "Extreme problems require extreme solutions. When wrongdoers are going unpunished, intrusive countermeasures are justified, even if they create new victims. Innocent-until-proven-guilty is nice in theory, but untenable in practice. The state should strike fear into innocents if it leads to fewer victims of violent crime.Ugly problems don't always have pretty solutions.These are the sorts of value judgments one expects from supporters of Stop and Frisk, "three strikes" laws, the prison at Gitmo, and racial profiling to stop illegal immigration. They're also the value judgments that Ezra Klein invokes in his endorsement of a California law requiring affirmative consent for sex on the state's college campuses... Here is what Klein believes:
The law could define as rape "two college seniors who've been in a loving relationship since they met during the first week of their freshman years, and who, with the ease of the committed, slip naturally from cuddling to sex."
The law intrudes on "the most private and intimate of adult acts."
The law's "overreach is precisely its value."
The law "will settle like a cold winter on college campuses, throwing everyday sexual practice into doubt."
The law will create "a haze of fear and confusion over what counts as consent."
If successful, the law will cause all or most college men "to feel a cold spike of fear when they begin a sexual encounter."
If the law succeeds, "colleges will fill with cases in which campus boards convict young men (and, occasionally, young women) of sexual assault for genuinely ambiguous situations."
The existence of cases "that feel genuinely unclear and maybe even unfair" are especially necessary for the law to succeed.
"The Yes Means Yes laws creates an equilibrium where too much counts as sexual assault. Bad as it is, that's a necessary change."...
It is also inconsistent with Klein's self-conception as a post-ideological wonk who just follows the evidence where it leads. On what basis does he conclude that California's new law, the costs of which he discusses at great length, will lead to a salutary change in sexual culture, let alone a decrease in campus sexual assaults? The argument he presents for that conclusion isn't just thin, it is virtually absent... His article is worth dwelling on because it is alarming to see an influential editor eschew liberal values so totally and explicitly, and because his logic reflects and underscores a broader, illiberal trend among some policy advocates and activists. "When will women’s lives and safety matter more than abstractions?" Katie McDonough writes at Salon, lambasting critics of affirmative-consent laws with the rhetoric and logic of a talk-radio host excoriating the ACLU for caring more about due process for terrorists than the lives of Americans... "If we universalize affirmative consent," he argues, "we unleash a lower standard onto police and prosecutors ... incapable of avoiding racial or class prejudice." The inequality endemic to our judicial system, he continues, will fall "on people of color and working class students in our universities." Whether the problem is street crime, terrorism, drug cartels, or sexual assault on campus, liberal values and due process protections are there for vital reasons. Abandoning those values has ended in horrors so often and with such dire consequences that empiricist wonks should champion them as zealously as anyone"
Feminism means it being better to convict 100 innocent men than let 1 guilt man go free

The “C” Word – Matter - "Men are scared. So much so that some are simply abstaining from sex entirely “because you never know who might cry rape the next day,” as a USC frat member once confided. Fear — of arrest, prosecution, and even mere public shaming — is quickly becoming the primary reason to get on board with consent. While fear can be a powerful motivator, it doesn’t start conversations around consent — it ends them...
'The last time consent was mentioned at my school was when a team from Kaiser Permanente came. They did the obvious “sober yes” stuff, and I asked a question: “Can a woman (not just any partner) withdraw consent after the act?” to which they responded, yes.I was dumbfounded. The answer was ridiculous. No uproar from the audience, everyone else seemed to accept this. I was somewhat shocked to hear that a person could withdraw consent after sex'...
'I’ve had situations before where there were mutual interactions in the hookup context, and the next morning there was a “Wait, what the hell happened, could you fill it in?” Those types of situations are super dangerous for a black male. We have very little recourse if someone says rape. Obviously there’s a he-said-she-said [argument], but it cuts against black males. So I’ve learned to be cautious, more so than my non-black friends have had to be.'...
'I’m representing a student right now who took a year-long suspension from his college, even though his story checked out when he spoke with the police, because he didn’t want to run the risk of being expelled and having it on his permanent record instead. He would have won the case, but the stigma was too severe. With so much gray area, how can we be sure sex was non-consensual any more than we can think that it was consensual?'..
'I remember a lot of my 15–16-year-old concern was from a place of “When we break up, I don’t want her to claim I raped her.” That possibility was treated throughout the male social circles with a Red Scare-level fear, the word rape replacing communist'...
'Even though I’m a cis, hetero male and care about consent, I get a lot of people — not women I hook up with, but from their friends, and other men — assuming I’m gay, because I’m a feminist, because I talk about consent. And I’m not gay, but it’s just another example of how men often use homophobia to shut down conversations about consent. It pops up every now and then and I just have to remind people, “No, I like vagina.”'"

You Can Take It Back: Consent as a Felt Sense | Bandana Blog - "This framing of consent (and violation) is wrong. It is tragically wrong. Regardless of how we tweak it, the consent-as-permission model retains a focus on the experience of the person receiving permission, not the person who is or is not consenting. Such a system encourages us to design “consent contracts,” negotiated agreements about what behaviors are permissible in what situations. In such a system, the most rational thing to do is also the least ethical: prioritize avoiding accountability for acts of rape over respecting another person’s consent."
One more example of how people are beginning to think that consent can be withdrawn post-hoc (consent can be withdrawn after the act)

Wall Street Rule for the #MeToo Era: Avoid Women at All Cost - "No more dinners with female colleagues. Don’t sit next to them on flights. Book hotel rooms on different floors. Avoid one-on-one meetings.In fact, as a wealth adviser put it, just hiring a woman these days is “an unknown risk.” What if she took something he said the wrong way?Across Wall Street, men are adopting controversial strategies for the #MeToo era and, in the process, making life even harder for women... Interviews with more than 30 senior executives suggest many are spooked by #MeToo and struggling to cope... “If men avoid working or traveling with women alone, or stop mentoring women for fear of being accused of sexual harassment,” he said, “those men are going to back out of a sexual harassment complaint and right into a sex discrimination complaint.”"
According to liberal logic, Emmett Till would've had nothing to fear if he hadn't done anything wrong

Junot Díaz says alleged sexual harassment 'didn't happen' - "In a statement in May, the Dominican American writer said “I take responsibility for my past”, and that “we must continue to teach all men about consent and boundaries”.But speaking to the Boston Globe from the offices of his PR firm, in his first interview since the accusations came to light, Díaz denied kissing Clemmons.“I did not forcibly kiss Zinzi Clemmons. I did not kiss Zinzi Clemmons. It didn’t happen,” he said.Díaz told the Globe that he didn’t deny the kiss when Clemmons first accused him because “I didn’t feel like anyone would listen to me. I felt like people had already moved on to the punishment phase.” He also distanced himself from his initial statement, saying: “That statement is the worst thing I’ve written, the worst thing I’ve put my name to. Boy, I wish I’d had the presence of mind to rewrite the damn thing.”... Following the accusations, Díaz stepped down as Pulitzer prize chairman. A recent investigation conducted by MIT cleared him to continue teaching there, while the Boston Review announced in June that it would be retaining him as its fiction editor after investigating the situation and finding no “larger pattern of abusing power”. The Boston Review’s decision prompted three poetry editors to resign in protest."
More #metoo excesses

People Believed Johnny Depp Was A Domestic Abuser. It Turns Out He May Have Been The Victim. - "People jumped to believe that actor Johnny Depp was a domestic abuser after his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard, made the accusations in 2016 as the couple was divorcing. Depp is now suing Heard for $50 million, claiming that he was the actual victim of domestic abuse in the relationship... Depp alleges that Heard was the serial abuser in the relationship, and provided “87 newly discovered surveillance videos, 17 sworn eyewitness statements, audio tape, photographs, and other evidence” to prove he was the real victim. One of the testimonies comes from Trinity Esparza, who was the concierge at the penthouse where Heard claims Depp hit her in the face. Esparza now questions how Heard received the mark on her face she claimed was from Depp, after reviewing surveillance footage from three days later, when Heard’s sister Whitney pretended to punch her in the face, according to court documents... Depp and his attorneys claim Heard made the allegations to advance her career. After she claimed to be the victim of domestic abuse, she “became a darling of the #MeToo movement, was the first actress named a Human Rights Champion of the United Nations Human Rights Office, was appointed ambassador on women's rights at the American Civil Liberties Union, and was hired by L'Oreal Paris as its global spokesperson," the lawsuit states."

Temple on Twitter - "Johny Depp had to dig for 87 surveillance videos to get the tables turned against Amber. A woman basically needs to lay accusations to raise hooraw/destroy career."

NPR's Fresh Air Fires Film Critic Over a Facebook Joke - "Schneider was humiliated and mistreated, that seems clear, but because this incident has been inflated to an actual sexual assault through the internet grapevine, it looked like Edelstein was making a Literal Rape joke. The post wasn't up long, but soon after came the demands for his head... #MeToo started out as a movement that outed men in power for sexual harassment, assault, and abuse. The intentions were to upend power structures and uplift women. At the same time, some of us pessimists and naysayers warned that this movement had the potential to gradually twist and mutate so that even small misteps and slights could ruin somebody's life. Does this incident—the firing of a man based on an ignorant but short-lived Facebook post—show that the moral panic is rising?"

Brian May apologises for 'innocent until proven guilty' comment on Bryan Singer - "“It had never occurred to me that ‘following’ a person on Instagram could be interpreted as approving of that.”"
Due process is problematic, apparently

A Harvard Law Professor Is Representing Harvey Weinstein. Students Say This Makes Them Unsafe, Demand His Resignation. - "Ronald S. Sullivan Jr. is a law professor at Harvard University and faculty dean of Winthrop House, one of the college's 12 residential houses. He was the first black man to serve in such a position, and also directs Harvard's Criminal Justice Institute and Trial Advocacy Workshop. In 2008, he advised the campaign of then-Sen. Barack Obama on criminal justice issues. He represented Michael Brown's family in their suit against the city of Ferguson, Missouri, and his work has led to the release of over 6,000 wrongfully incarcerated people.You might expect Sullivan to be in good standing with the progressive activist community at Harvard. You would be wrong.Earlier this month, more than 50 students attended a protest demanding that Sullivan resign his position as dean over alleged #MeToo failings. The Association of Black Harvard Women also wants him gone. "What has been made especially clear is that you have failed us," they wrote in a letter. "You have failed the Black women in this community, not only as one of the few Black Faculty Deans on campus but also as a community leader—someone who we respected and looked to for guidance."Notably, Sullivan himself has not been accused of sexual misconduct or any #MeToo-related wrongdoing. But he has agreed to represent disgraced movie executive Harvey Weinstein, who was accused of sexual harassment and assault by multiple women—and that in and of itself is apparently an unforgivable offense, in the eyes of victims' rights advocates... The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education's Samantha Harris lamented that "the Harvard administration is taking these demands—which boil down to calls to penalize and marginalize a criminal defense attorney for defending criminals—seriously."This episode is yet more evidence that modern progressive activism is regrettably at odds with previously cherished progressive values. For many on the left, free speech and due process are not principles to defend, but obstacles to overcome."
Due process and the presumption of innocence are only championed by fascists

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, Guilt and Innocence - "‘You have the editor of the New York Review of Books who has actually lost his job for publishing an article by somebody who was found not guilty in a court, you know the Imbruma [sp?] case. He lost his job because he publishes an article that’s actually exploring whether you can ever come back, whether you can ever have redemption. He found not guilty. That's a scary atmosphere for women and men’
‘I think it’s a very dangerous thing to start moving the hashtag #metoo movement into that domain and start looking at the potential ramifications for individual people who may have not gone through a prosecution and a trial, but to suggest that there's an innocence and guilt that can be discerned on the basis of accusations or accusers. Who we know, most people who experienced sexual violence don't go through the criminal justice system, don't seek justice, don't often speak out about it. I have an issue with the discourse of innocence and guilt. So we know that criminal justice system, someone may be proven or go through a criminal justice process, be found not guilty. That doesn't mean that what happened to the victim didn't happen. They don't stop being a rape victim. They don't stop being someone who's been harmed in some way.’...
‘You're assuming that anyone who claims that they are a victim is really a victim. And you've just said if someone's found not guilty, it doesn't mean that the woman wasn't raped. Well who raped her then?’
‘Well, that I think exactly is the problem. We’re equating criminal justice recognition of a victim with a person who's been victimized recognized as a victim.’"
Accusation = Truth

Due Process Protections and the #MeToo Era - "Lisa Borders, the CEO of Time’s Up, an “organization born of the #MeToo movement that advocates for safe and harassment-free workplaces,” has resigned. Why? Because her son was accused of sexual assault. But that’s not what makes the story truly notable. Family troubles can cause people to press pause on their careers all the time. What’s notable is that the CEO resigned in part to advocate for her son’s innocence... Time’s Up put out a statement that said, in part, that it “unequivocally supports all survivors of sexual harassment and abuse” and that “all of our actions were fully guided by our support for survivors.”... I wrote that #BelieveWomen was in a state of legal collapse. Courts, including most notably California courts, are turning against #BelieveWomen-motivated campus kangaroo courts. The court decisions are becoming so problematic for universities that many campuses are being forced to change policies to protect due process regardless of whether the Trump administration finalizes its new Title IX regulations. But as the Time’s Up story shows, due process just might be enjoying a cultural revival right alongside its legal revival. It turns out that when accusations are leveled at people you love, “#BelieveWomen” or “believe survivors” becomes not just a slogan but a millstone around the neck of a son or spouse — a son or spouse who you may believe to the bottom of your heart is innocent of any wrongdoing. In that case, due process transforms in an instant from a tool of the patriarchy to your loved one’s last and only hope... When even a #MeToo movement leader circles the wagons around her son, it’s obvious why due process has such enduring appeal. Accusation should never equal conviction, and due process helps rather than hinders the search for truth."
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