Popular feminism: Allying with abusers and trashing feminists

Last month I wrote a piece stating that I would not be supporting Canada’s supposed Next Top Progressive Startup, Ricochet. I explained how disappointed I was to see yet another leftist publication supporting the decriminalization of pimps and johns and misrepresenting abolitionists and feminists who advocate for the Nordic model. I pointed out that the feminists who had been brought on as editors and contributors were women who appeared to have been intentionally selected because of their particular brand of feminism: a pro-sex work, anti-radical kind of feminism. Some were women who engaged in unprovoked trashing and slandering of me and my allies. I was disappointed by this and said so. But that was only half of the story.

What I felt I couldn’t say publicly at the time, but did say privately to a number of people, was that I could not and would not support any platform, publication, or organization involving an allegedly abusive man. And unfortunately I had been provided with information from more than one source that one of the men who co-founded Ricochet had been accused of abuse.

Because the stories I’d been told were not mine to tell, there was little I could say about what I, and many others in the Canadian progressive community, had heard. When I learned that this man would be a founder and editor at Ricochet, I was livid. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what to say. So I asked for solidarity. I couldn’t name names but I knew full-well that the information circulating around this particular man had been communicated to many in the progressive community, yet he was still being allowed a position as some kind of leftist leader. No one was holding him to account. People who were willing to trash me publicly, simply because they disagreed with my feminist politics, were unwilling to cut ties with or call out a man who had been accused of abuse.

I wrote:

I’m still shocked at how little women’s lives matter to progressives. You seem to be able to wrap your heads around just about everything else but female oppression (or you claim to, in any case). Over and over again I watch women leave abusers only to see them be propped up by other men and women as progressives and radicals, supported by their communities. Women are betrayed time and time again by those who are meant to be their allies. And it fucking hurts.

After I published my piece about Ricochet a woman contacted me. She said this man had sexually assaulted her. Shortly thereafter she published a post detailing her account. The post was circulated widely among the progressive community. He had his lawyer contact her and demand she remove the post. He threatened to sue her if she spoke of the allegations publicly. She took the post down.

As you’ve probably gathered, I still don’t feel I can “name names” with regard to the alleged perpetrator. I have no doubt that I, too, would be threatened with legal action. I know these kinds of men. I lived with one. After I left him and began to tell my community about my experiences with him, he also threatened to sue me. This is how bullies and abusers function. With threats. They will stop at nothing to silence their victims and to maintain their positions of power. They need to control the discourse. They are looking out for number one — always.

But I am tired of sitting on this information — information many of us have been hearing about for months, years even — knowing that the victims are out there watching as this man continues to move through leftist circles, writing about progressive politics and even rape culture, now at the head of a leftist publication, while they are abandoned. By us — by feminists, by progressives — by the very people who should be supporting victims, fighting male violence against women, and holding sexist men to account. It makes me physically ill, in part because I’ve experienced it (though perhaps on a smaller scale).

There is no doubt in my mind that the women involved with Ricochet* — only too willing to trash and attack me because I refuse to pretend that the sex industry is a site of female empowerment or simply “a job like any other” — are fully aware of these allegations and rumours. I’d like to hear from them on this issue. If they are so willing to speak out against other feminists, they should be willing to speak out against rape culture in their ranks.

Because what the fuck kind of feminism attacks other feminists while allying and working with abusive men??

Here’s a radical idea: my feminism is one that’s here for women, not abusive men — not pimps, not johns, and most certainly not men who have been accused of abuse and sexual assault. Feminists are free to and always have disagreed on various issues; but the least we could ally on, one would think, is solidarity with women.

I am not aware of what — if anything — has gone on behind the scenes. For all I know this man has also demanded that female contributors and editors at Ricochet remain silent on these accusations. But have they been forced to continue working with him? Allying with him? Standing by while yet another victim is silenced?

This isn’t feminism, this is bullshit.

 

*EDITOR’S NOTE, 08/05/2014: I’ve since learned that a few women involved with Ricochet were not, in fact, complicit in ignoring/defending the individual in question and did push for accountability, though unfortunately this can’t be said for the majority of men and women involved with the project.

Meghan Murphy

Meghan Murphy

Meghan Murphy, founder and editor of Feminist Current, is a freelance writer and journalist. She completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog. Follow her @meghanemurphy

  • http://www.montrealcyclechic.com lagatta à montréal

    The problem here is, how are we supposed to judge the foundations of such accusations? I have certainly experienced such crap decades ago, but have no way of assessing such a current case if no accusations are laid (not necessarily in bourgeois courts, but in the leftist milieu).

    I was thrilled by ricochet (always looking for work to keep the wolf from the door) but certainly don’t view prostitution as cool or sexually liberating.

    • Meghan Murphy

      There isn’t really any way that I can respond to this comment without getting myself into legal trouble or crossing boundaries that I can’t cross, if that makes sense….

      • http://www.montrealcyclechic.com lagatta à montréal

        Yes, it makes perfect sense. Someone I knew who had a sterling reputation used to beat his wife and at one point pushed her down the stairs and broke her arm.

        Perhaps I framed my question wrong – how can we achieve justice in such cases?

        • Meghan Murphy

          Oh I see. Well I think that we can refuse to ally or work with men we know to be abusive? We can talk to them privately, also, and hold them accountable if possible. What are your thoughts?

  • C.K. Egbert

    This hits close to home. The pervasive abuse and harassment in my profession has recently come to light, and we see the same dynamic of silencing of victims and institutional protection of perpetrators.

    I often see people who consider themselves leftists defending BDSM, promoting prostitution as work, express more concern with “due process” for perpetrators of sexual violence than justice for victims, still becoming a radical skeptic whenever an allegation is made(even though the evidentiary standards are impossibly high, even though many women who have been victimized don’t think that unwanted, coerced, abusive sex is rape).

    In solidarity.

    • Meghan Murphy

      It’s no real surprise that those who stand behind and support the sex industry ally with abusers and rapists, but it’s awfully disappointing that it’s coming from women who identify as feminists…

      • ozzie

        When you made the first post a month ago, I suspected/had a hunch that one of the underlying issues for your opposition to them was they might have an abuser in their midst. Mainly because a) it’s incredibly common in these circles to cultishly and mindlessly rally around abusers and b)there’s no doubt in my mind that people who support and enable corporations, pimps, traffickers, and johns against poor, abused, homeless or indigenous women are also probably horrible in other ways.

        • Meghan Murphy

          Yeah, I didn’t feel I could say what I knew… But I just can’t stand it anymore. I’m not letting this get brushed under the rug yet again. It’s not ok.

          • ozzie

            That’s very brave of you. I hope something substantial comes out of this.

        • http://www.montrealcyclechic.com lagatta à montréal

          Yes, this brings to mind the rapist among the leadership of the British SWP.

      • bella_cose

        I read the post by Melissa Fong that you linked to. I think it’s pretty telling that at the end she wrote that she doesn’t think that every side should have equal representation in journalism. The example she used was not interviewing “a White Supremacist on their thoughts on Temporary Foreign Workers…” because it would not be “socially just” to do so. So, basically, anyone who does not agree with her anti-feminist stance on prostitution, is now being compared to a racist.

        It’s not surprising that people who think like this would support abusers. I do wish they wouldn’t identify as feminists though.

    • ozzie

      ”…express more concern with “due process” for perpetrators of sexual violence than justice for victims…”
      It gets worse than that actually; often victims are straight-up, actively barred from reporting abuse and involving law enforcement because their leftist ”comrades” will manipulate them into believing they would just be reinforcing the police state and prison industrial complex.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Yes!! I wrote about this too — I was ostracized in the community because I called the cops on my abuser! I had no idea the “rule” was that you didn’t call the cops. Those people would have preferred I stay silent and endure than call the police. Disgusting. http://feministcurrent.com/4983/being-anti-state-does-not-equal-being-pro-freedom-misogyny-in-progressive-communities/

        • ozzie

          Wow, that’s horrifying! I’m glad you got away from that place.

          These men don’t understand the hypocrisy and irony of their movement: a liberated hippy commune turns into an insulated site of creepy, cultish group-think; people who screech about anti-censorship and free speech have a lawyer intimidate and threaten to sue a woman for speaking her truth; people who think hierarchies and power imbalances are inherently abusive practice bdsm; people who think all work exploitation under capitalism thinks prostitution is just dandy. I could go on forever.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Part of the reason it was so upsetting was that it was women, primarily, who I felt ostracized and abandoned by… They essentially sided with my abuser…

          • ozzie

            Unbelievable. I guess it’s predicated on that whole ”if I toe the line it won’t happen to me” false mentality.

          • http://twitter.com/Jan4Matt Jan (@Jan4Matt)

            Yes. That’s the horrifying part of abuse losing not just your sense of safety with the abuser but losing it with everyone else when people refuse to acknowledge that what you suffered was abuse because acknowledging the abuse would require uncomfortable action on their part.

            I can only imagine what the victims of the riccochet predator are going through at the moment and how their sense of safety has been shattered not just by their abuser but by the rest of the group refusing to say that his actions were wrong. Thanks for standing up for them.

            People/women who stand up against abuse and injustice and acknowledge that it is wrong are almost the only hope at all women have of reestablishing a sense of safety and reconnection with people after abuse.

          • http://twitter.com/Jan4Matt Jan (@Jan4Matt)

            And yes I have felt the same with respect to feeling ostracized and abandoned by women. I think we really count on each other for safe spaces and protection, not just physically but also emotionally so when a woman is not there for you and condones the abuse, it shatters your sense of safety.

    • http://twitter.com/Jan4Matt Jan (@Jan4Matt)

      “I often see people who consider themselves leftists defending BDSM, promoting prostitution as work, express more concern with “due process” for perpetrators of sexual violence than justice for victims.”

      You would think that they would stop and think. However self reflection and reflection on their own reactions seems beyond these people.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Well, and what’s behind the sex industry and support/efforts to normalize the industry is the idea that men’s sexual pleasure is of higher importance than women’s lives… So if you don’t get that it’s unlikely you’re going to ally with women over abusive men. If you don’t get even that much, you’re not likely to be much of a feminist…

        • http://twitter.com/Jan4Matt Jan (@Jan4Matt)

          That’s (a little too) true.

    • http://ewinsor.wordpress.com lizor

      “I often see people who consider themselves leftists defending BDSM, promoting prostitution as work, express more concern with “due process” for perpetrators of sexual violence than justice for victims, still becoming a radical skeptic whenever an allegation is made(even though the evidentiary standards are impossibly high, even though many women who have been victimized don’t think that unwanted, coerced, abusive sex is rape).”

      Yes, this. The conspiracy of silence/silencing is so insidious. I could not name my rape at 15 by a 34-year-old “progressive” man for ten years after the fact because I had agreed to have sex with him. The fact that it was painful, humiliating and abusive was something I could not get beyond blaming myself for. Once I had got to the stage of naming the rape at 25, I also knew that I had no case whatsoever.

      I don’t mean to derail and talk about myself, and I have little to add beyond what’s been said in comments already but I do want to express my support and admiration for your speaking up Meghan. I wish I had been strong and courageous enough to stand up and speak out all those years ago (decades have passed since then) but I was intimidated by the prospect of reliving the ordeal in public, being ostracized by my community, and being re-traumatized by a public court trial that would most likely, based on similar trial verdicts in this province, NOT deliver anything close to justice.

      The protection of male abusers of women and girls has such deep roots that it takes an extraordinary strength of heart to call out the abusers AND the social systems that protect them. We are all benefit from your honesty and integrity Meghan so my deepest gratitude to you.

  • Margaret McCarroll

    Meghan – i respect your opinion so completely that i wouldn’t touch ricochet with a ten foot pole , no more clarification required – solidarity!

    • Meghan Murphy

      Thanks Margaret. Solidarity!

  • http://twitter.com/Jan4Matt Jan (@Jan4Matt)

    That is disgusting. I am very sorry to hear this.

    “I know these kinds of men. I lived with one. After I left him and began to tell my community about my experiences with him, he also threatened to sue me. This is how bullies and abusers function. With threats. They will stop at nothing to silence their victims and to maintain their positions of power. They need to control the discourse. They are looking out for number one — always.”

    Well said. Until reading this post I had not realized that it was such typical behaviour for abusers to threaten to sue victims for speaking up. Thank you for breaking this down and explaining it. I have had an abuser threaten to sue me after I spoke up to try to protect other women and after receiving the threat I felt terrified and ashamed, as if I were the aggressor and wrongdoer. I’ve been living with a certain amount of fear that he can hit me with a lawsuit at any moment when I am trying to accomplish something. It’s heartening to know that I’m not the only woman to have been threatened with a lawsuit by an abuser.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I still live with the same fear. They are controlling bullies, so it’s unsurprising they would resort to such behaviour.

      • http://twitter.com/Jan4Matt Jan (@Jan4Matt)

        It as if these men have their bullying down to an art and finely tuned system. They probably have their lawyers on speed-dial with a defamation notice pre-typed for any woman that dares to confront their abuse. They don’t hesitate or flinch or show even a pang of remorse when inflicting their hate on women who either dare to exist or who confront their abuse. We women have to stop hesitating and flinching too when we speak up for justice.

    • Rachel

      A guy who raped me 2 years ago is quite wealthy and that’s why I’ve never reported. I figure he has enough money to sue me for saying things I cannot prove.

      In my experience, rich guys (there’s been 2) are THE worst. The sense of entitlement to everything, including women’s bodies is astounding. Then there’s the power factor. They can abuse you as much as they want because they know you’re afraid of their power. Well, that’s my anecdotal experience anyway.

      With both men, I wasn’t really interested but had friends and family push me to “give them a chance” because there’s this sick, outdated, patriarchal-as-hell view still that women need some man with money to take care of them. I only tolerated the first one for a couple of months (he never raped me but was mentally abusive) and the second one until the 3rd date, so fortunately not too much time was lost on these assholes.

      I’d much rather be just barely scraping by than abused any day.

      P.s. Sorry, I know I went off topic here a bit but it appears I kind of needed to vent. I rarely talk about those men due to a strong sense of shame.

      • http://twitter.com/Jan4Matt Jan (@Jan4Matt)

        I’m sorry to hear you went through this. That sounds like a terrible experience to go through.

        “In my experience, rich guys (there’s been 2) are THE worst. The sense of entitlement to everything, including women’s bodies is astounding.”

        This is disgusting, sad and telling. They are reasoning that their money and ability to buy things for women entitles them to women’s bodies. This is the ole, “Well all women are whores in one form or another. When you buy your girlfriend a nice dinner or gift, you’re really paying her for sex” argument. I had a pro-prostitution lobbyist recently try to argue that to me on twitter and I responded that, “If that’s the pessimistic view of sex that you want to take, that women find men so disgusting that we wouldn’t ever be close to you unless bribed then you are welcome to it.”

        So it’s disgusting that rich guys have this sense of entitlement and at the same time I’m sure that deep down they feel a bit disgusting as well because they know they rely on their money every day to bribe women (who they believe would otherwise find them disgusting) to be close to them.

        Then people call radfems sex negative when we try to interrupt this negative, “I’m so disgusting that no woman would be close to me unless bribed,” discourse.

  • Leo

    It certainly seems a difficult situation.

    Honestly, if a woman relates her story like that, then unless I had an active reason to disbelieve it, I’ll accept it, no further questions asked. The stats are absolutely in favour that it’s true.

    I still struggle with being able to really accept this -because it’s painful- but many men just do not care. They’ll be just as ‘progressive’ as suits them. It stops the second they’re asked to give things up, do anything that would be inconvenient or uncomfortable, like actually kick out an abuser from their groups. It’s worse to see when women do it, too, but in their case, it hurts them too, not acting in solidarity with other women isn’t really in their own interests, either. Men have just got them feeling like they have to act that way, not that that excuses it, we can still hold them accountable.

    You’re doing absolutely the right thing, I think, and being brave as always in your speaking up for women. Solidarity, sister.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Thanks & solidarity.

    • C.K. Egbert

      If a woman’s testimony is the only evidence in a case of sexual assault–and it often is–then I’m going to believe her rather than the perpetrator. That’s what gets me about some of the discussions: what a woman would need to do to “prove” her sexual assault (how do I “prove” it was unwanted?) is literally impossible, and it’s grossly unjust to hold them to those standards of evidence…

  • http://erinmoores.wordpress.com Erin

    Hi Meghan
    I don’t know you but heard of you and Feminist Current first when you critiqued a project I was involved in – the McGill “I am a feminist” photo campaign. Since then I have been following Feminist Current pretty regularly and read your initial critique of Ricochet with interest – as I have acquaintances and friends-of-friends who are involved in Ricochet. I have no idea who you are talking about or what the situation is, but…even not knowing, I’m tempted to believe you, just knowing that the “blind spot” of so many “progressive” men is how they actually treat the women in their own real lives. I am saddened to hear this and await responses from Ricochet and its supporters.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Thanks for reading, Erin.

  • Derrington

    Am absolutely in line with you Meghan. I’ve had more than my fair share of male supremacy abuse, from my father beating my mother and denying we were his children, through two violent ex partners, two rapes in childhood, an extremely aggressive and rude manager currently and a four month campaign of gendered violence against my six year old daughter at her school which resulted in the school seeking legal advice on how to ban me from speaking to governors rather than dealing with the boys who sexually assaulted my daughter at one point. At every single stage of speaking out about any of these incidences I have been accused of making false rape accusations to discredit me as a witness, of lying, of being hysterical, angry without justification etc etc etc. Tthat’s by members of my family as well as friends, government institutions etc. It might interest you to know that in the mid 1980s, nearly 80,000 women were in mental institutions who were assessed as being there wrongly, mainly due to them having suffered male violence that was denied by all round them by insisting on the madness of the victim. Having reality denied by all of those around you is enough to send the victim mad in a lot of cases if they are not hugely strong and grounded.

    These so called sex positive feminists are gullible at best, deceitful at worse. Pornography has taken over from religion in portaying women and child rape victims as villains – sluts that have entrapped innocent men into raping them and then turn on the men and pretend rape. The storylines and footage shot as reportage is wholly false and done to undermine women and children’s credibility as worthy of being treated as equally moral as men. No wonder most victims won’t go near the male run justice systems since they are so wholly corrupted by pornography.

    So called sex positive women support calling women and children sluts and whores. That’s the equivalent of having an anti racist that supports calling black people niggers and scum. I don’t judge women for doing sex work, but I am under no illusion that being called hate speach whilst engaged in sex is a statement of equality and respect.

    I have your back for what its worth all the way from the UK. I may not have a gun but I can spit!

    xxx Keep strong and be careful, these people are psychopaths and care nothing for truth or your welfare and rights as a fellow human.

    • reader

      right on.
      i like your line about how pornography/the sexploitation industry (the militarization of sexuality) “took over from the churches in reviling women.”
      As for the people in porn, with their grotesque “sex” (pointless squishing around in holes) for the virtual johns in tv land, i think they’re just gargoyles on the church anyway – first damaged by misogynist religious nonsense as children and then degraded abused and brainwashed by authoritarian men.
      they like to say they “chose it” but we all know they were just following orders (sieg heil)

  • Mariana

    Don’t forget it isn’t just pimps but madams as well.

  • Brutus

    This is like your article on Conor Oberst all over again. There’s a difference between “accused” of abuse and “guilty of abuse.

    • Meghan Murphy

      1) I have never written an article on Conor Oberst
      2) You can choose not to believe if it comforts you, but that won’t help change or address this dynamic and the abuse will continue.
      3) I wouldn’t report on it if I didn’t feel the information was legit.

      • Brutus

        The article nonetheless appeared on this website which states that you are the founder and you bear some responsibility for the articles that are posted here. And i’m not choosing to not believe it, i’m choosing to remain impartial until “accused” can be confirmed as “guilty.” Your case against Ricochet’s brand of feminism is legitimate, but defaming someone’s character based on what are still unverified accusations is not.

        • Meghan Murphy

          I say “alleged” for a reason… I also refuse to let abusers keep getting away with this because their victims don’t press charges. You could make the same argument around Woody Allen or R Kelly. But why?

          I’m not trying to defame someone, I’m trying to get progressives and feminists to hold men accountable. I’m also trying to address the extreme hypocrisy that’s happening here…

          • Brutus

            R. Kelly was charged, put on trial, and later acquitted (even though there was videotape evidence). Woody Allen has not been charged nor put on trial. If someone, as have many people, were to claim that based on these accusations we shouldn’t see any of his films then that amounts to Ad Hominem attack on his character in order to dissuade people from paying attention to his works. What you’ve done is exactly that, you’ve spoken of an allegation, an accusation (not a charge, trial, or guilty verdict) in order to further dissuade us from taking Ricochet as a worthwhile feminist publication.

          • Meghan Murphy

            My understanding is that R Kelly was found not guilty — so are we to pretend he isn’t? I believe Woody Allen’s victim — I don’t care if he was charged or not. The evidence is pretty damning. And, re: this post, if a woman tells me she was abused or assaulted, I believe her. Period.

          • Margaret McCarroll

            @Brutus – we already know that ricochet is not a ‘worthwhile feminist publication’ by their stance on prostitution

          • C.K. Egbert

            This isn’t an ad hominem attack (and yes, I do know what that is). It’s not supporting an abuser.

          • Laur

            Ad hominem attacks on his character? ALlen has been quoted in Rolling Stones as saying something like, “It wouldn’t be surprising to find me in a hot-tub filled with fifteen-year-old girls.” While that alone doesn’t prove he molested his daughter, it does show his contempt for the boundaries of women, especially young women.

            Women have not been easily able to prove rape in court, unless they are white, it was done by a stranger, and they fought back. And even then, I know of cases that happen to this day where officials side with the perp.

            There is no real reason for a woman to fabricate a rape story, seeing as she will be disbelieved, may end up being drive out of the school she’s at, may have her tires slit, etc. Rape is also a very different crime than robbery, as it takes aware an individual’s sense of safety and control.

            Get a clue before posting such drivel.

          • Brutus

            My point is that there are two ways in which you can go about criticizing something. The first is to actually criticize the content. This is what Meghan did in the first article she wrote about Ricochet, and she, fairly convincingly, argued that their ideological brand of feminism should be met with skepticism. The second form of criticism is to abandon content and criticize a person’s character, and this is what she’d done in this article. All i’m saying is that you’ve tried to convince me to be skeptical of Ricochet and one method has been legitimate but the other, this one, has to be taken with a grain of salt because it is not based on argumentation but on, yes, an Ad Hominem accusation about someone’s personal character. An Accusation that for so long as it remains an accusation and not a guilty verdict I shouldn’t take much into consideration when deciding whether or not I should trust Ricochet as a feminist publication. My point wasn’t to make a larger point about the nature of abuse but merely to point out that you are making an argument against Ricochet and one method, at least for me, is more legitimate than the other.

          • andeväsen

            Not only is it not an ad hominem attack, it is not even an attack.

            People are free to boycott the consumption of a piece of media for any damn reason they please however trivial or serious. A group of 70’s era punks feel John Lydon has ‘sold out’ and no longer have time for him. Others will still listen to the Sex Pistols and PIL because they don’t care one way or another about ‘selling out’.

            We eschew Woody Allen because he is sexist. If you don’t care about sexism, go ahead and watch his films.

            Boycott is a legitmiate form of protest. Protesting is resisting, not attacking.

        • bella_cose

          The thing is, supporting these abusers until they are proven guilty of abuse, is akin to doing nothing about it. Women don’t throw about accusations of abuse because it’s a super fun way to amuse ourselves. Especially considering how often we aren’t even believed. In fact, most people go out of their way to support the abuser against any accusation. Often, abuse victims forget to get video footage of their abuse, or some other kind of proof that would satisfy people such as yourself. It’s much easier to believe the abuser than rock the boat, isn’t it? Heaven forbid you support the victim. You may lose your place in the inner circle.

          • http://twitter.com/Jan4Matt Jan (@Jan4Matt)

            “The thing is, supporting these abusers until they are proven guilty of abuse, is akin to doing nothing about it. ”

            Exactly. It’s male entitlement all over again, abusers feel ENTITLED to “support” and people being on their side (i.e. people disbelieving the victim and believing them) throughout the trial or fact finding mission (of whatever kind). It’s also always implied to be very non judgemental along the lines of, “well you shouldn’t be jumping to conclusions until something is proven,” however not jumping to conclusions would actually mean “neither guilty nor innocent until either is proven” and NO ONE getting support. However abusers feel ENTITLED to the assumption of their innocence and having people stand by their side. That sense of entitlement to support tells you a lot about their attitude of superiority towards women right there.

            “Women don’t throw about accusations of abuse because it’s a super fun way to amuse ourselves. Especially considering how often we aren’t even believed.”

            Absolutely. Whenever a woman accuses a man, I look at that and think, “Look it’s David and Goliath. I wonder what made David choose to gather up his courage to take on Goliath. I don’t think David decided to do this just for fun.”

            This needs to be looked at from a power perspective, who has more power and more reason to lie ? Women have less power in society and we know that, we have little reason to try to challenge a person with a lot more power than us unless he is really a threat to us. For a person with less power to challenge and accuse a more powerful person this requires a getting past a significant motivation hurdle, there’s a significant amount of motivation that that person would have had to gather. David doesn’t just get up one morning and blithely decide to take on Goliath.

          • derrington

            The possible rapist has their right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty enshrined in law. The child or women victim does not. They arrive in the police station shackled to two thousand years worth of gender or age discrimination, first set up by religion and now maintained by porn. They are seen either consciously or unconsciously as the bitch or slut trying to get the innocent into trouble. The court process is set up against the victim in the kind of grotesque parody of justice you could see in apartheid S Africa or any other discriminatory society. Gender or age discrimination is so accepted it is invisible. A child trying to defend themselves against character attacks about them lying is unable to state that producing events in a linear timeline to satisfy barristers etc is a developmental impossibility, they simply cannot do that as yet. And the courts do not even recognise this basic of human development. Hence you get the truly hideous spectacle of 13 year old rape victims being cross examined by 8 male adults, as we had here in the UK, one for each rapist, baracking and calling the victim a liar simply because she was not able to recount each attack in a linear order over and over again whilst under huge psychological pressure to retract her evidence by eight adult and bewigged men. Luckily there were numerous other victims to corroborate her story with their own, but tried individually, she would have been toast in our justice system.

          • http://twitter.com/Jan4Matt Jan (@Jan4Matt)

            “The thing is, supporting these abusers until they are proven guilty of abuse, is akin to doing nothing about it.”

            Yes. This sets things up so that during a trial effectively the abuser gets social support (and belief for their side of the story) from everyone while the victim gets social support from no one. That’s almost like having a court that is set up so the defendant gets free counselling and emotional support during the trial to maintain their spirits and keep them in tip top form emotionally but it’s not a symmetrical situation and the plaintiff doesn’t get the free counselling and emotional support. That wouldn’t be fair. And also the amount of social and emotional support a person has during a trial can affect how they present themselves and tip the direction that the verdict goes in. Having an asymmetric system of social and emotional support is not justice.

            This is one of the ways in which rape culture is enshrined politically by the lack of counselling resources for rape/abuse victims. A lot more abuse victims would have the strength to go to trial and get justice if counselling support had been available to them but without it they don’t have the strength to go through with demanding justice so more rapists and abusers remain on our streets.

        • BrylCreamQueen

          I agree with you, Brutus. This IS exactly like the Conor Oberst situation where everyone immediately took the side of the alleged victim without anyone proving anything. And then, lo and behold, she admits she did it for attention. There are some commenters below claiming that we should automatically take the side of the alleged victim because there’s “nothing to gain”. I’ve noticed that a lot of feminists gain credibility for their arguments by simply invoking their own rape or sexual assault experience. I’ve noticed feminists who are open about being raped or sexually assaulted get more page clicks when they publish something about it. I’ve noticed women revel in having everyone know they were raped or assaulted because they were victimized and everyone rallies around them. I’m not sure why everyone things nothing is to be gained from telling others you were raped. I mean, Oberst was dropped from his label and wanted to sue this woman because everyone was calling him a rapist. It seems like a woman can easily undermine the character of a man by claiming he’s raped her. So, I’m not sure why I should believe someone who claims they’ve been sexually assaulted/ raped just based on their word!

          Maybe this won’t be published because I’m not supposed to say these things as a feminist (out loud) but I’m kind of tired of this attitude where anything a woman says is valid just because she says she was raped.

          • bella_cose

            Guess what? You aren’t a feminist. Pretty much every comment you’ve made on this blog has been about as ant-feminist as one could be.

            It’s so awesome having someone hold you down, ignore you when you say no, basically treat you like you are less than dirt, and fuck you against your will. And then, the knowledge that there are people like you out there, who will go out of their way to support rapists, will keep many women from even reporting it.

            It changes your life forever. You are NEVER the same, and you had no choice in the matter. That totally sounds like privilege to me.

          • Laur

            “I’ve noticed that a lot of feminists gain credibility for their arguments by simply invoking their own rape or sexual assault experience. I’ve noticed feminists who are open about being raped or sexually assaulted get more page clicks when they publish something about it.”

            You’re right. Women share stories of sexual assault for credibility and page clicks.

            Nevermind how non-credible women who publicly come forward are (think the women accusing Julian Assange who received death threats, Anita Hill, called “slutty and nutty” by senators, or the fact that women’s word is taken less seriously in general then men’s). And many of these women didn’t come out for years about their assaults; think how many still AREN’T coming out about them, in large part because of rape culture based on myths like the ones you outlined above.

          • bella_cose

            Also, why is it wrong for people to “rally around” victims of rape or abuse? Usually, that’s how people who are capable of empathy act. It certainly doesn’t do anything to support an argument that women falsely accuse men of rape or abuse in order to get attention, or special privileges.

            Do you even like women at all? You sound quite bitter.

          • ozzie

            I can’t believe I bothered reading your mind-numbing puke of a comment.

          • http://twitter.com/Jan4Matt Jan (@Jan4Matt)

            ‘Maybe this won’t be published because I’m not supposed to say these things as a feminist (out loud) but I’m kind of tired of this attitude where anything a woman says is valid just because she says she was raped.”

            I can’t speak for Meghan or anyone else but personally my ear is not a garbage and I am already tired of listening to sexist garbage from people in daily life. I don’t need to come on this blog, one of the few places that I don’t find depressing and hear more garbage just because you insert a manipulative line into your post implying that you don’t know maybe Meghan might be a meanie and “censor” you for being hateful towards women. Believe me I already more than surpass my garbage quota for each day and I am not missing having more garbage in my life. Your comment is already published so you got to say your garbage but I needed to say that about the manipulative line you inserted because you feel entitled to space for your sexism on this blog.

            As for the rest of your post, congratulations on your feminism. You have accomplished such a deep understanding of how things work between men, women, abusers and abused on this planet.

            Since you have the intelligence and insightfulness to have looked at the world around us and figured out that it’s such a cakewalk for rape/abuse victims and they are getting so many unearned PRIVILEGES and adoration from the entire world, why don’t you go find a sociopath and bingo maybe you can win the rape lottery too and get all those wonderful prizes, page clicks and all that adoration you mention enviously ? All this, all this can be yours too.

          • http://ewinsor.wordpress.com lizor

            ” I’ve noticed women revel in having everyone know they were raped or assaulted because they were victimized and everyone rallies around them.”

            What a pile of bullshit. Women who live through rape live with the most intense shame and many never speak beyond whispered and painful confessions of unspeakable memories, and it’s clear that to attend to such soul wounding is excruciating. Often their stories are disbelieved or because their experiences speak a truth that no one wants to hear – or be reminded of. Not to mention the way rape victims are treated during trails and by the wider public. Have you been living under a rock for the past decade? You cannot possibly have been a literate English speaker and not be aware of the litany of horrific rapes and their aftermath, including suicides in both Canada and the U.S. just in the past two years.

            maybe a few women are lucky enough to find support but many are ostracized and further manipulated into silence by their community.

            BrylCream, why are you here writing these disgusting (and obvious) lies? Do you loath women so much that the few who do get some decent support infuriate you? Why don’t you piss off back to your NCFM buddies and try to grab a scrap of humanity along the way.

          • BrylCreamQueen

            First of all, I’m talking not talking about any woman who has been raped. I’m talking about those who claimed they’ve been raped and then use it to get attention. Second, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere I’m a LatinA a.k.a. a woman. Third, you have no clue what my experience with rape has been in my life. Let me give you a hint. .. I’m a brown woman who grew up in a shitty project. Believe me, I didn’t see any white feminists giving a shit about the prevalence of rape in our community. .. Fourth, I have personally been in the room with a (white) friend on multiple occasions and have watched her get drunk and simply make out with a man-friend of ours and the next day the girl is freaking out telling everyone he raped her when in fact I know that didn’t happen. These are the type of women who are always freaking out all over blogs about their “abuser” and getting sympathy and support from feminists, not the women who need it most (like girls and women from my community who the media turns a blind eye on because they’re not innocent-looking enough (because they’re brown) for anyone to care. Fifth, please don’t tell me that I’m not a feminist just because I’m calling bs on some of these rape “victims.”

          • bella_cose

            Now I get it. You are generalizing based on one anecdote, and resentment towards white women. I get why you would feel resentful. White feminists still have a long way to go when it comes to looking past their own privilege. I don’t think having a friend who seems to suffer from a pathological need for attention gives you any right to dismiss women who don’t.

            The statistics I’ve seen are that less than ten percent of reports of rape are false, and the percentage of women making false reports that actually named someone is closer to 2 percent. Taking into account how many assaults are never reported at all, I’d say the false rape accusation hysteria is just another way to discredit women so men can go on training with impunity.

          • Margaret McCarroll

            BrylCreamQueen – what kind of a ‘friend’ leaves her inebriated girlfriend to fend off the wolves – doesn’t sound to me like you’re any kind of friend and how do you know that she wasn’t raped when you didn’t care to stick around? – we usually hear the fake rape crap from mra types – that is MEN – what’s your problem,,,

          • andeväsen

            I understand what you mean about the media giving certain races more attention than others.

            But how are you helping women and girls who remain silent about their rapes by refusing to believe women who break the silence?

            By refusing to believe women who report rape, aren’t you perpetuating the same values that drive other women into silence?

          • http://twitter.com/Jan4Matt Jan (@Jan4Matt)

            I understand what you are saying that white women get more empathy, concern and action taken for their abuse/rape/sexual harassment. That is true.

            I see this like a situation where a hospital has a severe shortage of anesthetics and the hospital decides to be racist and give it disproportionately to all the white women. It’s still not enough anesthetic so the white women are in pain and the brown and black women are in even more pain. Is the answer to say “Well the anesthetic should be distributed fairly, we should take some from the white women and give more to the brown and black women ? Those white women are the problem they are getting too much of the painkiller. That’s the reason that we are in pain.” You could take that approach if you want the brown and black women to be in a little less pain but think as long as they are in equal pain to the white women then everything is great and it’s not a problem that all the women will still be suffering for a shortage of painkiller. That doesn’t solve the problem and the brown women will still be in pain.

            The problem that has to be tackled is the shortage of painkiller for the women, until that is tackled everyone is still going to suffer.

            So yes there is a problem of brown women not being considered as worthwhile of empathy as white women and getting less empathy than white women for their harassment/abuse/assault but there is an enormous empathy deficit overall. We don’t simply need a redistribution of the empathy. We need a lot more empathy for everyone. We need brown/black women to start getting the same level of concern and empathy as white women and then we need to keep going increasing the empathy and support level beyond that for everyone.

          • Meh

            Hmm… no.

            It’s actually really difficult for a lot of women to even vocalize – to friends and family – what happened to them. Making a formal complaint of some sort is an even more emotionally-taxing experience. It’s extremely distressing – and to suggest otherwise is just plain ignorant. It’s so ignorant that it’s embarrassing just listening to.

            In my experiences with sexual harassment, women who finally do make a complaint fear that they will receive unwanted attention. I’ve never, in all my years of working with women who have made complaints against abusive co-workers etc, met a woman who “reveled” in the attention she received from the complaint process.

            It’s really important that we – as a society – build an environment for women where they feel safe and comfortable discussing their experiences of harassment/abuse and to support them throughout the complaint process. By jumping defensively when a woman accuses a man of harassment/abuse, you’re perpetuating a culture where women remain silent. Why the hell would you want to do that? What do you get out of that exactly?

          • andeväsen

            I’d love to know what part of the world you hail from, where women who report rape are rewarded and the alleged rapist’s life destroyed. Because apart from your part of the world, everywhere else has the opposite occur.

            I’d also love to see your observations in more detail re blogging about rape. If the demoniator is page views, have you compared the ratio of ‘rallying’ messages/tweets/emails /personal communication vs. that of ‘denigrating the victim’ messages/tweets/emails/personal communication? Please don’t leave us hanging. The world would like to know.

            Why should you believe a woman who reports rape? Because she is likely telling the truth. And we ought to be aiming for a society where violence, both physical and as violence against women, is abolished.

            Oh. Also: “I mean, Oberst was dropped from his label and wanted to sue this woman because everyone was calling him a rapist.” That’s not true. Neither of those two statements. His label did not drop him. And he always had a committed fan base who vouched for his innocence, some of whom also harrassed the accuser.

          • derrington

            I guess in part youre refering to me since I have spoken out about being raped on this thread. And I guess the fact that speaking out lost me everyone in my family, friends id known all my life and still continues to lose me friends if I reveal my experience to anyone. Yes I can see how ive done that to enjoy the infamy that has got me. You seem completely and totally blind to the realities of rape victims as to be psychopathic towards them. Maybe you should work on your victim hatred before exposing yourself to them on here.

          • NitroGirl

            You know what? You are not a Feminist in the slightest. The fact that you feel validated in your misogyny by a MAN no less speaks volumes of how LITTLE you care about women. You sound like an MRA posing as a Feminist and it’s quite disgusting and I don’t even know why you should be allowed space here after this comment. And I am being VERY generous and kind because this is not my blog and I cannot say all I want to say. The percentage of women who’s claims “turned out to be false” is VERY low,and for you to come here on some “some bitches be lying” bullshit makes my heart sink and disgusts me. Even if you are a survivor of rape it does not give you the right to assume some women are lying. Worrying more about false rape claims than the men raping women does not make you a Feminist. And what does “White Feminists” have to do with anything when you made a generalized comment about all women (this includes women of color also) likely lying about being raped and you not believing them? How is perpeutating what is routinely done in poor urban communities helping Women and Girls of Color,again? (By the way, I am a WoC also,just for clarification. I don’t have any White Privilege you can try to call me out on and weasel out of not accepting responsibility for your inhumane comments about other women.)

      • Lisa

        You know what? This is bullshit. The odds of someone falsely accusing someone of sexual assault is practically non-existent, and yet, this is the first thing people seem to jump to because they can’t face the reality of sexual abuse. It happens ALL the time, and then everyone helps to shame and invalidate the victim, while they rally around a psychopathic sick pervert who belongs in jail. Maybe we should start listening to the brave women who come forward.

    • ozzie

      That’s the whole point. If the alleged perpetrator is so confident the case against him is false/fabricated/completely fictitious/slanderous then he should let the accuser tell their story, but instead he’s getting a lawyer to intimidate/harass/threaten to sue this woman. If he did nothing wrong, what is he so afraid of? If there is absolutely no grain of truth to something, it would be blatantly obvious. The Oberst case was completely different because anyone that read that woman’s account could see that none of the details given matched up or made sense chronologically.

    • http://twitter.com/Jan4Matt Jan (@Jan4Matt)

      There’s also a difference between a victim being accused of lying and defamation and actually being guilty of lying and defamation. If you’re so determined to not jump to conclusions about abusers’ guilt or innocence then don’t jump to conclusions about victims’ truthfulness or untruthfulness. It works both ways.

      • ozzie

        Yes! I can’t upvote this enough. That commenter is pretty much saying: ”Let’s not jump to conclusions before we know all the facts! The accuser is a conniving, scheming liar though”. And he doesn’t even see the irony in that stance. He wants facts rather than nebulous hearsay, but wants the victim intimidated and threatened with a lawsuit so that facts can never surface.

        • http://twitter.com/Jan4Matt Jan (@Jan4Matt)

          “Yes! I can’t upvote this enough.”

          Thank you. And thanks for expanding on it even further with this:

          “He wants facts rather than nebulous hearsay, but wants the victim intimidated and threatened with a lawsuit so that facts can never surface.”

          That needed to be pointed out.

  • reader

    Hi – I support you. You are right, they’re “fun feminists,” handmaidens of patriarchy in spite of themselves.
    The people they pretend to defend are not “sex workers.”
    It’s not sex and it’s not work; these are Prostituted People.
    “sex-workers’ rights” are JOHNS’ rights.
    Prostitution is a violation of HUMAN rights.
    “Harm reduction” means maintaining the harm, just turning down the volume; rape with a condom is still rape, and “renting an organ,” whether the harm is reduced or not, is still oppression. They wouldn’t be in favor of illegal trafficking in third-world people’s organs for sale to rich first-worlders, so why is renting an organ ok?
    prostitution oppresses all women and corrodes what little semblance of human community there is left after all the progress in capitalist alienation…
    the left has been manipulated by the multi-billion dollar sexploitation industry, and the new hip lefty startups are blind to it.
    the bill is a start in fighting prostitution but even further, the “johns” belong on sex offender lists!

  • Pingback: ‘This Is How Bullies and Abusers Function. … They Will Stop at Nothing to Silence Their Victims’ : The Other McCain()

  • Laur

    In solidarity with this original post, Meghan. I wish you were able to name the perp, because I think they need to be named, but your concern about legal liability is understandable.

  • andeväsen

    Actions speak louder than words. If you call yourself a feminist, be one.

    The basic tenets of women’s oppression: Women are disbelieved when they report violence; Violence against women is trivialised; Sex is an item of value which women own and this ownership gives women social and financial power. Choosing to uphold and reinforce these statements is the opposite of being feminist.

    Men on “the left” rely on women to rally towards them and prop them up because men on “the right” are openly and loudly anti-woman. Men on “the left” are complacent that women will support them no matter what. They rely on Stockholm Syndrome.

    • huha

      Agreed.
      Women should realize that men aren’t on our side, left or right.
      I think the growth of the WhiteMan-led atheist movement is partially responsible. They think that if you’re anti-porn or anti-paid rape, you must be a religious nut (which is quite the opposite since religious nuts use porn the most). Women, of course, afraid to be labeled religious and ‘stupid’ by those white men, side with them. They are so afraid of being labeled ‘a bigot’ that they lose their basic common sense and humanity as a matter of fact (ignoring the realities of prostituted women requires sociopathic thinking).

      • andeväsen

        Agreed. Richard Dawkins is a prime example. As is the UK’s Stephen Fry. I’m not sure of their stances on porn/prostitution but each fulfils the criteria for ‘super-douche’ when it comes to women.

        • http://twitter.com/Jan4Matt Jan (@Jan4Matt)

          “Yes! I can’t upvote this enough.”

          Thank you. And thanks for expanding on it even further with this:

          “He wants facts rather than nebulous hearsay, but wants the victim intimidated and threatened with a lawsuit so that facts can never surface.”

          That needed to be pointed out.

  • wilde west

    You’re brave and courageous Megan.

  • wilde west

    You’re brave and courageous Meghan.

  • pisaquari

    The “next top progressive” organization will not be founded by men. Jussayin’

    • Meghan Murphy

      Seriously.

  • jose

    You’re an easy target Meghan. People can attack you and what will you do? Threaten to sue them? Ruin their careers? Of course not.

    The boss yells at the husband. The husband yells at the wife. The wife yells at the kid. The kid kicks the dog. This is what’s going on with you and this man’s maids.

    That’s why they attack you instead of their enemy. Because at the individual level, one to one, the man is economically, socially, politically, and physically stronger than them. And these maids believe in an individualist doctrine of self-empowerment rather than in the collective power of sisterhood. So they don’t stick together and consequently they remain dominated by the man.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Totally. You wonder why people are so attached to trying to destroy and discredit me instead of focusing on the systems/people who are actually doing the oppressing/perpetrating violence and abuse. It’s easier to shit on me and I’m more accessible. Pathetic.

  • Missfit

    I feel your outrage!

    Sadly, mainstream feminism today seems to be more about individual empowerment than solidarity among women.