Someone observed that I must be really mad about the Rolling Stones, University of Virgina, false rape story because it’s been strongly represented on my feed. No I’m not mad. In fact, I’m actually very hopeful it will bring about important changes and reassessment of current policies and approaches. Not just in journalism, but on a far wider — and arguably deeper — scale. I think the RS/UVA story is going to have far reaching effects. It’s going to be … interesting.
However, in my profession of helping people stay safe, I have for many years had to deal with a very powerful cabal. A cabal that when I talk about the results of their coordinated effort, I sound like a conspiracy nut-job. I especially sound like a loon when I talk about the damage the cabal is causing — not just to various institutions, but harming the very people they claim to be advocating for and protecting. (Sheesh I might as well be trying to tell people the Church was protecting pedophile priests … oh wait.)
Part of the reason I am emphasizing the RS/UVA false rape story is because the incident reveals the existence of the cabal and their tactics. Tactics that I feel strongly destroy people’s lives –including the very victims they claim to be campaigning for. So here is my not-so-simple, long answer to “Gee you must be mad”
Violence has been my life. I’m 55 years old and I don’t remember a time in my life where I wasn’t involved in violence, running from violence, running to violence, training, preparing for, waiting for, dealing with the aftermath, keeping violence from happening, protecting others, researching, studying, lecturing, teaching and writing about violence. Yet every morning I get up and am almost overwhelmed about what I don’t know about the subject. It is so huge a subject that five decades can’t cover the widths and depths of the subject.
So you can imagine how impressed I am when some indoctrinated 20-something clone starts mouthing soundbites and cliches about violence — including rape. THEY know all there is about the subject because they’ve had training from ‘experts.’ In the case of rape, experts whose information come from scientific sources. Or, if you know the difference, at least academic sources.
Now while you’d think we be natural allies– because hey they’re for people being safe, I teach people how to be safe– but we’re not. That’s because their focus isn’t actually on safety. They’re focused on victimization and the ‘threat that looms over half of society,’ I’m not. I’m more a let’s work on what individuals can do to keep from getting hurt by violence — and this includes not getting raped.
This puts us at odds because my goal is to help people avoid victimization, while what I call ‘the rape industry’ needs an endless flow of victims to fuel their noble cause. This is not supply and demand. This is they need victims to justify careers, funding, and agenda. If the victim pool ever dries up, they’re out of a job.
In case you’re wondering where I’m going with this there’s a quote by Upton Sinclair. “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”
Personally, when it comes to violence, I’d love to be out of a job. It just ain’t gonna ever happen. Because it turns out that people are people.
Still, if I do my job right, the numbers go down. So you have to wonder about an entire profession that works tirelessly and yet the numbers — apparently — keep on going up. Where the alarms REALLY need to start going off is when
a) the numbers are completely unverifiable,
b ) when conviction rates go up because standards of proof go down,
c) there is an assumption of guilt for the accused (guilty until proven guilty — and if your found not guilty, it just means you got away with it),
d) we are not allowed to question events because that is victim blaming and we might re-traumatize the victim, and
e) we are told to ignore certain issues because there is no such thing as a perfect victim.
In case you missed it, I just dropped three buzz-terms from the industry. Terms which in essence are telling you to shut up, turn off your brain, do what you’re told and DO NOT ASK QUESTIONS!!! What you are being told is the unquestionable truth, do what you’re told and do not interfere with what we’re doing — we’re protecting victims. And that comes before your (or anybody else’s) rights, protections, knowledge, experience, thoughts or common sense.
And YOU Mr. MacYoung, don’t you dare point out that a woman can do things that greatly increase or reduce her chances of being raped — that’s victim blaming. Worse, it’s interfering with a woman’s rights. (As was said to my face by the head of a university rape crisis center — when I’d said an underaged girl sneaking into a frat house party using false ID and binge drinking herself into incapacity isn’t going to turn out well — “A girl has the right to have fun.”)
There’s a reason I call it the rape industry, it manufactures victims. It does it two ways. One is with statistics and studies.
Here’s the problem I have with that: The statistics are not just unverifiable, but often made up. There is a reason I say there are no statistics about this subject that are worth wiping your ass. The closest thing to reliable numbers come from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report and everyone in the biz knows they are low. How low? Well that’s a critical question. The problem is nobody knows the actual numbers and the ‘estimated’ numbers are off the charts. (No lie, I found one source that estimated the numbers so high that no woman in the city of Denver could go two years without being raped — the souce’s estimated numbers were 1/4 of the entire population of the City and County of Denver.)
Yet it is these estimated number that are reported to the media. In turn, those are the numbers the media reports. Often without question. (And since there’s also strong lobbying and influence on law enforcement and prosecutorial ‘education’ they can claim they also have the conviction numbers, but that’s another issue).
Two is the industry (using these numbers) controls, not just the information, but the narrative about the subject. The, numbers, the only approved information and solution comes from the same source. Now if that doesn’t make you say “Wait a minute” then it will take too long to explain. But the simple version is imagine Chicken Little being paid for claiming the sky is falling.
Putting it bluntly, the subject is big business. Billions of dollars are being poured into education and raising awareness of this crisis. (See, here are the numbers.) Careers in lobbying and educating professionals spread these numbers as absolute truths promote the Chicken Little narrative about rape. Shit even the President quoted 1 in 5 women raped on campus. Where’d that number come from? Three guesses. It’s a standard industry soundbite (even though there’s strong evidence to debunk it — including from the Department of Justice).
Is there a problem with sexual assault? Yes. On campus? Yeah, that’s part of the problem. Do we need to address the problem? Yes. But here is where shit goes off the rails. Instead of trying to educate women on how not to be raped, the industry takes an approach that — as a violence professional — makes me scream in terror. An approach that actually increases the danger to women — at least to individuals.
To understand what I am saying about danger we have to look at a bigger picture. Rape experts claim rape is a women’s issue. (“Wait what about the fact that 50% of the people involved in rape are men?” “Shut up MacYoung! It’s a women’s issue.”). More than that, they claim rape is unique. It is independent from other violence.
Wait what? But for the moment let’s go with the idea that rape is unique. If we treat rape as an issue separate and independent from violence, an issue that is exclusive to women, then what the ‘experts’ are saying is unquestionable. The dynamics of the situation for women is what the experts say it is and there is no problem.
However, if we look at rape as a subset of violence we run into a problem. That is a lot of what they are saying about the subject flies directly in the face of what we KNOW about how violence happens. We’re being told that this particular cat barks and flies. Violence has some pretty predictable patterns and of the hundreds of women I have spoken to who have been raped, I’d put the numbers around 90% the incidents followed these patterns in one form or another. And that means, like those other types of violence, there’s a whole lot an individual can do to increase or decrease the likelihood of victimization — much less if it happens at all.
Yet that is not the narrative. In essence, what we are being told is women are always helpless victims of predatory monsters and there is nothing she can do to stop it. Oh yeah, and that monsters are everywhere.
I have three fundamental problems with this. One: Coming from a background with strong, competent women, I find this approach an obscene stripping away of power and agency from women. Sorry Sweetheart, you’re too weak, frail and stupid to take care of yourself.” (The cliche is that it is sexist men saying this, but most advocates are women.)
Two: The promotion of privilege and entitlement (the irony of this should make you spit your coffee). Instead of teaching women how to take care of themselves in potentially dangerous situations, there is a promotion of the ideal that women should be able to go and do anything they like — without having to bother to learn specialized skills or changing one’s attitude. It’s that last that makes me choke on my coffee. Do I support the idea of go and do? Hell yes. But be prepared, take along a little commonsense and good manners, but most of all if you aren’t willing to do what might be necessary, DON’T GO THERE! The add on of a privileged ‘you don’t have to’ is an unrealistic ideal. It’s also a bad bundle of assumptions about privilege, safety and freedom from personal responsibility. Worse, I’ve heard this shit before. Although its current manifestations are less obvious it’s a rehash of the old “A woman should be able to walk naked into a biker bar and not be molested.” (And no, I’m not making that shit up. That was the old rape industry cliche. ‘A girl has the right to have fun’ is an example of the morphing and new manifestations.)
Here’s the thing, I do believe people have the right to go and do things — but it requires a little preparation, knowledge and attitude shifts to navigate in potentially dangerous situations. Hell, that’s been my life. I know it can be done and it isn’t about what position you’re in when you pee. It’s about understanding people, what gets you into trouble and knowing when it’s time to get the hell out of there. That is not being taught. Hell, it’s actually being vetoed and overwhelmed with the message of “You have the right to…”The raw truth is, telling young women they have the right to go anywhere, do anything and nobody has the right to touch them — without preparation or attitude shift — is creating victims. And you can bet your ass, that young selfish entitled people are going to hear the message of “go do what thou wilt” are going to make bad decisions. I know of one woman who was partying in a rough bar wearing see through top, no panties and a micro mini. She was coming onto to guys left and right — remember this rough bar, where bikers are just one set of clientele. She decided to leave on foot — alone. The bouncer begged her to get a cab. When she was found beaten and raped in the alley she had five different semen samples inside of her.
Now most people would see this as an abandonment of commonsense and a rape that could have been avoided. Advocates see THAT attitude as victim blaming and you trying to suppress a woman’s right to express her sexuality. She should be able to do that and it is society’s responsibility to protect her from what happened by educating rapists not to rape. Better known as get the funding and mandate that all men attending college must attend ‘don’t rape training.’ Ummm excuse me, but I don’t think those guys were college grads.
Unfortunately, you cannot talk about commonsense measures and safety precautions — that’s blaming the victim. You cannot talk about ways that woman could have gotten away with dressing and behaving that way (and yes those ways do exist) because that is oppressing and trying to control her. She should have no responsibilities or requirements put on her, she has the right to act that way without consequence. The blame is entirely on others. She had no influence on, responsibility for what happened — nor should she. Oh yeah, she shouldn’t have to worry about being raped in the first place, that’s society’s fault.
(I need a hanky, I just should all over myself writing that last paragraph)
Three, the current approach (rape industry) is not helping women be safer, it is profiteering from getting women hurt. Those ‘victims’ are the industries bread and butter. Not just treating them, but getting legal justice for them and lobbying for change to right this wrong. Oh yeah, and the cash cow, raising awareness and educating people about this crisis.”Ummm what about helping people not get raped? Y’know with some commonsense tips about dangerous behaviors?””NO! That’s interfering with her rights.””But she’s heading hard and fast for trouble””Then we have to educate men not to rape! We have to have stricter rape laws!””But none of those will help keep her from getting raped!””We are advocating for all women to live in a rape free world!””But that’s not going to keep her from being raped!””You’re interfering with her rights and sexual freedom!”~sigh~If you look at the message, if you look at the ‘solutions,’ if you look at the emphasis of the current approach, you not only see deception, manipulation and careerism, but manufacturing of victims. And that I cannot abide.
These are human beings whose lives are being torn apart. Rape doesn’t happen to ‘women,’ it happens to people, to individuals. When you generalize that, you lose that important point. What’s more is the individual only becomes a statistic for the cause. This so people who get paid ‘battling this crisis’ can keep on pulling a paycheck Now knowing a little bit about human nature, I seriously have to question how this financial aspect has created mission creep. Or to frame it a different way, how has making this a career influenced the information that is coming from this field? Up to and including outright lies.
Sad to say, I think Joseph Schumpeter was correct when he said: The fist thing a man will do for his ideal is lie.
I’ll add, especially when his paycheck is intertwined with his (or her) ideal.
Cody, commented about how mad I am about the UVA/ Rolling Stone incident. The fact is I’m not mad. Yes it ripped the lid off what has become of journalism in this country. Yay! Yes it has started serious debate about how universities handle rape accusations. Yay again! Hopefully it will call into question the Title IX tribunals. Double YAY! It has revealed the rape narrative (the story was too good to check) and revealed the problem with the ‘you can’t question a rape allegation’ approach. That’s not just a yay, that’s me dancing in the streets.
But, what it has not done so much, is ripped the lid off the rape industry. Those people who are sending innocents out to be mauled so they can keep their business and funding going. It has however — if you look at this incident — revealed their existence.
Behind the cannon fodder of victims, advocacy trained volunteers, and even the idea that ‘Jackie’ lied, you begin see that RS fell for a well crafted narrative. A narrative I have serious doubts ‘Jackie’ concocted all by herself.
A narrative of an out-of-control rape culture at universities, administrative indifference and law enforcement incompetence. A story too good to check out, but also a story that RS was directed to ‘Jackie’ BY a rape activist and UVA employee, Emily Renda. The RS article quoted the head of the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights Catherine Lhamon. Both Lhamon and Renda serve on the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault and testified before Congress. We’re talking multiple trips to the White House for both. All of a sudden, the President quoting 1 in 5 starts making sense.
Oh hey and did I mention that Jackie was not only a member of ‘rape survivor’ but also campus advocacy groups? Groups that Renda is is involved with and Lhamon’s program endorse. Groups that are often the source for the bad numbers, statistics and rape awareness training?
Nah, there’s no chance of any influence or connection here. Jackie acted on her own. And if you believe that I have a bridge I want to sell you…
Nah, keep your money. But I do want to introduce you to eminence grise (grey eminence)
Then I’m going to paraphrase a quote from Serenity, “Your broadwave about Miranda has weakened their regime. They are not gone and they are not… forgiving.”
I mention that because on one hand RS took a kick in the nuts about not checking sources. A kick that –hopefully — will send shockwaves through the press. I can with some certainty predict that this failure of professional standards will be taught for years in journalism courses — especially after the lawsuit by the fraternity. (Which give Virgina law about defamation per se, the fraternity has a damned good chance of winning.) Getting yourself and company sued out of business is a major concern for the press.
That is one point, but here’s another. RS justified its lack of investigation and balanced reporting because of a concern about ‘retraumatizing the victim.’ That is a cliche/phrase/concept weaponized by the rape industry. It is one of the excuses RS put forward for their flushing professional journalism standards down the toilet. Hell the Columbia Journalism Review report reconfirmed it.
There’s the other hand. How many media sources — in pretending to present fair and balanced reporting about RS’s fuck up — used the exact same phrase? Seriously. How many times in your reading or watching the news about this incident did you encounter the terms ‘victim blaming’ and ‘retraumatizing the victim?’
That should get you looking at something. How many times in reading news stories having to do with the issue of sexual assault do you find the writer quoting someone from a rape crisis group? In the future, start looking for and counting these quotes. The pattern is there as is the cookie cutter soundbites.
Will this incident end up doing to the rape advocates what happened to NOW (National Organization of Women)? I don’t know. Back in the day NOW was the go-to source for quotes about women’s issues. Then they got so out-to-lunch after a massive internal power struggle that the media quit quoting them. NOW burned it’s own credibility with the media.
Will this incident do the same to the emince grise of the rape industry? Will the media start doubting the veracity of the information they are providing? Honestly I don’t know. I can only hope. Hope that the stranglehold the rape industry has on the subject will loosen enough that information that actually can help women avoid being raped can start getting out there. Because the current approach is putting individuals into greater danger in the name of a noble and grand cause (read careers of those in the cause).