Cathy Young doesn’t understand even the most basic truths about rape

For some unknown reason, virulent anti-feminist, Cathy Young, continues to be published by otherwise seemingly legit publications. Most-recently we saw her trot out an MRA-style list of “guideposts” suggesting ways feminism can “do better” in 2015 for TIME, which included a recommendation that we include men’s rights activists in our “tent” and implied that feminism was guilty of being sexist against men.

Young is extremely careful with her language and seems to be successful in convincing editors that anti-feminism is the new feminism (or, perhaps those editors have been looking for someone who can rep for the MRM in a more subtle way all along), but it’s easy to read between the lines in order to see her real message: “I’m with the boys, hi boys!

Today, The Daily Beast published an article that even those with the most basic understanding of How Humans Work would read as 4000+ words that could have easily been written in about 14. Actually, here, let me rewrite it for you:

Hed: But she was nice to him

Subhed: Here are some private messages that show rape victim knew her rapist.

Body: But she was nice to him.

Also some other people think he is nice.

There. I could have saved you a bunch of money, The Daily Beast. Instead you paid someone whose sole purpose in her writing is to discredit female victims and paint the feminist movement as a group intent on targeting males at any cost, carrying around mattresses on our backs and whatnot just for the hell of it.

(I mean, who wouldn’t want to carry a mattress around campus every day, everywhere they went, for months?)

Emma Sulkowicz (Photo via The Independent)
Emma Sulkowicz (Photo via The Independent)

For those who don’t know the story, Emma Sulkowicz began a public protest at Columbia back in September, hauling her own dorm mattress around campus in order to bring attention to the fact that the fellow student she says raped her — Paul Nungesser — was still attending classes and had not faced any formal consequences, yet she continued to carry the burden of the alleged assault.

Sulkowicz said that, in August 2012, a sexual encounter with Nungesser turned violent, reporting that he “hit [Sulkowicz] across the face, choked her, and pushed her knees onto her chest and leaned on her knees to keep them up… [then] grabbed [Sulkowicz’s] wrists and penetrated her anally.”

Photo by Amanda Hess/Slate
Photo by Amanda Hess/Slate

Other women joined Sulkowicz’s protest on campus, No Red Tape — a Columbia activist group fighting sexual assault and rape culture — was launched, and students across the world joined Carry That Weight in solidarity.

Amanda Hess wrote that “Carry That Weight acknowledges that most college assaults are committed by acquaintances of the victims, often in their own dorm rooms — carrying a mattress out the door exposes that private scene in the public square.”

Yet Young appears to have set out to discredit Sulkowicz’s story, framing Nungesser as yet another innocent victim of feminist activism (which caused him to become a “pariah” on campus, but little more).

She does this primarily by publishing casual, friendly online conversations that happened between Sulkowicz and Nungesser, somehow missing the entire point of Carry That Weight and conveniently ignoring everything we know about the reality of rape (thanks to feminist activism and the conversations we forced onto the media). That is to say that most rapes are perpetrated by men we know. Often, these men are people we have been “friendly” with — they are our boyfriends, our husbands, family members, men we went on dates with, men we slept with, friends, co-workers, employers, coaches, etc. The fact that women are or were once “friendly” with their rapists proves nothing except that rape is far more complex and ubiquitous than Young and her ilk would like to acknowledge.

Young writes:

“Nungesser provided The Daily Beast with Facebook messages with Sulkowicz from August, September, and October 2012. (In an email to The Daily Beast, Sulkowicz confirmed that these records were authentic and not redacted in any way; while she initially offered to provide ‘annotations’ explaining the context on the messages, she then emailed again to say that she would not be sending them.) On Aug. 29, two days after the alleged rape, Nungesser messaged Sulkowicz on Facebook to say, ‘Small shindig in our room tonight—bring cool freshmen.’ Her response:

‘lol yusss

Also I feel like we need to have some real time where we can talk about life and thingz

because we still haven’t really had a paul-emma chill sesh since summmmerrrr'”

Young goes on to publish several pages of back and forth messages between the two that show literally nothing except that they were friends who slept together a couple of times consensually before Nungesser allegedly assaulted Sulkowicz.

Is it really so hard to believe that a woman liked, was attracted to, was friendly with, or even “loved” a man who then abused her?? What planet does Cathy Young live on? Is it the same one we all occupy? The one where women are murdered every day by their husbands??

Wowowowow! What a revelation! Men we know and love abuse and assault us all the goddamned time!

Despite this well-known reality, Young writes near 5000 words about how, essentially, Sulkowicz “liked” and was nice — “cordial,” as Nungesser put it —  to her alleged rapist and how he is just baffled!

A big part of the reason Sulkowicz came forward was because she spoke with two other women who claimed he assaulted them as well — a former girlfriend of Nungesser’s who said he was emotionally and sexually abusive during their relationship and another student. This makes sense. In general, victims feel they won’t be believed — and sometimes don’t even believe themselves… Knowing this behaviour wasn’t a one-off or just a figment of our imaginations can encourage women to speak out.

But Young uses this information as part of her case against the women, pointing out that Nungesser’s ex-girlfriend, Natalie, “was suffering from serious depression before meeting [Nungesser] and had recently ended an emotionally abusive relationship.” (Read: crazy, unstable, can’t be trusted.) Young also writes that “Natalie did not come to see her relationship with Nungesser as abusive, or their sexual relations as non-consensual, until ‘months after their breakup.'” Oh, so you mean to tell me that sometimes women don’t realize the relationship they’re enmeshed in is abusive until after they leave the relationship and have time to reflect and maybe talk to a counselor who helps them see that abusive behaviour isn’t actually ok or healthy? That maybe if we’re used to being treated badly by our male partners we assume that this is simply what relationships are like and that it’s perfectly “normal?” That sometimes trauma is very hard to work through and that we often remain in denial for days, months, even years afterwards? That many women remain in denial about abuse and sexual assault their entire lives in order to cope?

Yeah, the fact that Natalie reacted to and came to understand her past abusive relationships in a perfectly normal and common way is totally a strike against her credibility…

In any case, Young says Natalie’s complaint was dismissed in July 2013:

“A letter from the Office of Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct informed Nungesser… that ‘based on the information available from the investigation, there is not sufficient information to indicate that reasonable suspicion exists to believe that a policy violation occurred.'”

Well hey, I’ve never reported any of the emotional, sexual, or physical abuse I’ve experienced in past relationships in any official capacity but I can almost guarantee that, if I did, my complaints would be dismissed as well. In fact, they were… By my community and friends. But gee oh gee I must be a liar.

Young notes that Nungesser complained to her about the fact that he “was never allowed to present the Facebook exchanges, which he regards as strongly exculpatory, to the panel” during the University hearings. Maybe because they are completely irrelevant and prove absolutely nothing, hey Cath? I’ll betcha my ex would have loved to humiliate me by publishing private conversations showing I consented to our relationship, liked him, had consensual sex with him, and ate dinner with him; thereby proving he did nothing wrong and that I am simply another bitter ex trying to tarnish the reputation of a “good guy.” I bet a bazillion other guys would love to do this to their accusers too. After all, it’s proven to be an effective tactic, as evidenced by the article in question.

It is a commonly-known fact that many women continue to sleep with men who have raped them, remain in relationships with men who abuse them, are polite and friendly to these same men, and sometimes chat with them on Facebook.

Julie Zeilinger at Mic spoke with Sulkowicz about Young’s article. She told Zeilinger that Young tried to contact her, saying she had spoken to Nungesser. Sulkowicz said, “Normally I don’t respond to people who use my rapist as collateral in order to make me talk to them.”

Zeilinger writes that “Young emailed again, this time saying she had about six pages of Facebook conversations between Sulkowicz and Nungesser and wanted to confirm their accuracy before publishing.”

“It’s an awful feeling where this reporter is digging through my personal life. At this point I didn’t realize that she’s extremely anti-feminist and would do this in order to shame me,” Sulkowicz said, noting that she feels Young has “written other articles supporting the rapists and making survivors look unreliable.”

All three of the women who accused Nungesser declined Young’s interview requests… understandably. Young resorts to the most basic, sexist code words and depictions typically used against female victims in her work, all the while pretending to do “fair” reporting. She highlights the fact that Natalie and Nungesser’s relationship was supposedly “messy” (how many times have we all heard our abusive relationships described in this way?), saying that Sulkowicz “couldn’t help but wonder about the nature of [Natalie and Nungesser’s] split,” in order to imply that Sulkowicz was jealous and looking for ammo to use against her alleged rapist. Young includes information from the women’s stories and statements, but couched in victim-blaming rhetoric, presenting Nungesser and the  panel members who were at the hearings (whose questions Sulkowicz described as “badgering”) as rational and the women as untrustworthy, contradictory, uncertain, and vindictive.

I mean, it’s the kind of reporting that’s worked for decades — women are jealous, vengeful, crazies; rational men are being persecuted — why not stick with it?

Nungesser was cleared of all charges in November so Young’s concern now was not that he would actually be held to account in any formal way, but rather the “trial… in the media and in the court of public opinion.” Young says he felt “harassed” and “bullied” by the mattress protest which Sulkowicz said she would keep up “until Nungesser leaves Columbia or they both graduate.” Why would she bother with all this if they were so “friendly?” Does it not occur to Young that this kind of protest might be extremely demanding, difficult, and inconvenient for Sulkowicz?

In order to further present Nungesser as credible, Young points out that he has a new girlfriend. Well guess what? My abusive ex has a girlfriend too. She gave birth to his child. Does that erase his behaviour towards me? Does that mean I lied? More likely it means that she is now — or at further risk of being — trapped in a relationship with a controlling, manipulative abusive man.

Young goes on to note that Nungesser’s mother, Karin, feels “the situation is laden with additional irony as a self-described committed feminist,” which is funny because I was told by women that, “as feminists” they were disgusted by my accusations and that I was hurting “real” victims by “crying wolf.” So really, I don’t give two fucks about how “feminist” an alleged rapist’s mother says she is. And hey, she may well be a feminist, but that doesn’t prove he didn’t assault one or more women.

Paul Nungesser told the The New York Times, Young adds, that “My mother raised me to be a feminist” — another really important and valid point because, as we all know, men who claim to be feminist are never using the title in order gain credibility and speak with authority about women’s rights, experiences, and lives. Certainly they never turn out to be abusers themselves…

Young routinely approaches this issue with the assumption that women are attention-seeking liars who constantly falsely accuse men of abuse. The reality is that abusers are extremely manipulative and know, full-well, how to do just what Young does here: paint their accusers as unreliable narrators.

The “court of public opinion,” in my experience — meaning the regular joes who surround us in our day-to-day lives — does not, in fact, tend to side with victims. They make the same excuses Young does in her work. She may see or present herself as a lone warrior, rooting for all the “bullied” men, “harassed” by feminist protest and the relatively new practice of actually speaking out about our abuse, but in reality, she is only repeating and reinforcing the most common, most clichéd myths about female victims of male violence.

Perhaps if The Daily Beast wants to produce good and responsible coverage of this issue, they might hire someone who isn’t so widely mistrusted and who understands the reality of male violence, the dynamics of abusive relationships, and how rape culture actually works. Instead, the editors chose someone whose primary talent is manipulation.

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan 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.

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  • So hold on, if Sulkowicz had despised Nungesser for years before the incident that would prove that Sulkowicz is not persecuting Nungesser out of irrational bitterness and a desire to manipulate people, right? Oh wait no, that would imply that anti-feminists know how to think rationally and make claims that are potentially falsifiable. They don’t. They make anything fit their viewpoint. In any other context, the fact that a victim was on friendly terms with the person they were accusing would be considered evidence in favour of the victim’s accusatiion. If she was on friendly terms with him, what motive would she have for accusing him of wrong doing, aside from him actually commiting wrong doing?

    As for the idea that feminist should accept MRAs into their tent, what tent is that the “people who talk about gender” tent? You might as well have asked civil rights activists to let outright white supremacists into their tent. People on opposite sides of a hierarchy related struggle are never going to be in the same tent.

    • Dana

      I love how this all got painted as a campaign to get Nungesser removed from an organization. These guys, they think they’re so terribly important that the whole world focuses on them and tries to destroy them. We saw the same attitude from Bill Cosby post-recent accusations. Problem is, until all this stuff came to light, most Americans LIKED Bill Cosby. I would argue that most still do because they never let a little thing like a rape accusation get in the way of their entertainment consumerism. And what would be the purpose of destroying his career if he didn’t actually do anything wrong? Celebritydom is not a zero-sum game. Other celebs will not become more famous just because Cosby loses his career. And it’s not celebs accusing him!

      So yeah, this is just more of the same. “People are just out to get me.” WHO sounds irrational now? And Young ate it right up. Typical.

  • Meh

    I don’t understand women like Young. I JUST. DON’T. GET. IT.

    Whatever she gains from this is not substantial enough to account for the fact that she’s part of the oppressed social class (that she shits on). Colluding with fucked up men is not a good feeling – despite the fact that it may bring short-term, bullshit “benefits”.

    Cathy – these men fucking hate you just as badly as they hate other women. Stop being so fucking stupid. SHUT UP.

    • Kate

      A few years ago I was the token feminist in a grossly sexist office, and I always used to wonder what the women who were friends with the worst of the men were thinking. I would watch my male co-workers mock and belittle women to their faces and touch them inappropriately, then watch in horror as the women laughed at it. I never knew if they were aware of what was going on or not. Maybe it was kind of a willful ignorance. I mean, they certainly had more friends in the office than I did.

      I think most anti-feminist women are just too invested in their way of life. The life changes associated with realizing exactly what is fucked up about the world is too daunting. Maybe it’s easier for Cathy Young to believe that scheming vindictive bitches lie about rape than it is to address her own experiences truthfully.

      • Meh

        Yeah, I agree. Questioning the status quo is difficult for a lot of people.

        I don’t know what it is about me (and most women I know), but I just can’t seem to go with the status quo. Even if I was somehow forced to, I’d be lying to myself the whole time. And I could probably pretend for a little while and giggle like a dumbarse to all the stupid shit that men do, but I’d end up having some sort of massive meltdown (e.g., LITERALLY exploding all over the office simply due to the build up of angry energy in my body/spontaneous combustion, etc).

        • Meh

          *at all the stupid things men do

    • Adam Sowa

      “I don’t understand women like Young. I JUST. DON’T. GET. IT.”

      Vampires always have and need their familiars.

  • Ug. What a depressingly hateful human being. I see the Daily Beast also has Camille Paglia as a regular podcaster. Maybe they should just put Ann Coulter on retainer and make it a hat-trick.

    Seriously, if this is the kind of shite their editors support, I’ll be staying away from the site.

    • Meh

      Camille Paglia… lol. Now there’s some internalised misogyny! These women are unbelievable.

      The sensible side of me feels devastated that they spread their poison. The troll in me loves laughing at them. At the end of the day, sensible me wins (most of the time).

  • Michael Max

    Several conclusions made in the article are a bit puzzling. For example the following:

    Young goes on to publish several pages of back and forth messages between the two that show literally nothing except that they were friends who slept together a couple of times consensually before Nungesser allegedly assaulted Sulkowicz.

    The messages also show that these people interacted the same way AFTER the alleged rape took place. That does not equate to nothing. It’s the closest thing to a piece of evidence in the whole story. The burden of proof is always on the accuser and not the accused, but while not technically required in this case, it does cast doubt on the accuser’s story.

    “All three of the women who accused Nungesser declined Young’s interview requests… understandably.”

    Why “understandably”? If they want to make their case heard then not talking about it is not the best approach. They cannot expect to speak exclusively to people who will take their words as factual without some tangible of evidence.

    Young includes information from the women’s stories and statements, but couched in victim-blaming rhetoric, presenting Nungesser and the panel members who were at the hearings (whose questions Sulkowicz described as “badgering”) as rational and the women as untrustworthy, contradictory, uncertain, and vindictive.

    A statement like this could really use some supporting quotes from the article. Otherwise it’s just a blanket assertion, which carries no weight.

    More likely it means that she is now — or at further risk of being — trapped in a relationship with a controlling, manipulative abusive man.

    There is a problem with describing an adult woman’s relationship situation as being “trapped”. That term implies powerlessness to change and that’s not accurate. It is not a woman’s fault, obviously, if a given relationship turns abusive, but it is her choice whether to stay in it or leave.

    Well hey, I’ve never reported any of the emotional, sexual, or physical abuse I’ve experienced in past relationships in any official capacity but I can almost guarantee that, if I did, my complaints would be dismissed as well. In fact, they were… By my community and friends. But gee oh gee I must be a liar.

    The dismissal of charges doesn’t necessarily imply that the accuser lied (though of course it could be). It just means that the accusation was not substantiated by evidence. For that matter, why did this girl stage a school protest rather than go to the police? If this isn’t common knowledge then it should be stressed strongly and often that a rape victim should report the crime to the police (not to some school board), and get a medical exam ASAP. Even a person numbed by shock and trauma should carry out those actions as an automatic response due to having them previously instilled.

    • Meghan Murphy
    • C.K. Egbert

      She did report it to the police. She was verbally abused, victim-blamed, and harassed by the police officers who were sent to investigate her case.

      Did it ever occur to you that women don’t talk about it because they will be treated with contempt, the way that you and Young decide to do? Or that reporting will lead them to be accused of falsifying information, ruining reputations, and be subject to various forms of retaliation (including harassment and violence)?

      It’s not a woman’s “choice” to leave. It is a man’s choice to abuse a woman, and the onus is completely on him to NOT abuse her. But I suppose holding men accountable for their actions is simply unthinkable, since you’d much rather blame women for what men do to them and callously decide that we have no obligation to protect women from violence at men’s hands.

      • Michael Max

        “She did report it to the police. She was verbally abused, victim-blamed, and harassed by the police officers who were sent to investigate her case.”

        She reported it more than a year after the fact and decided not to pursue it after initial complaint. Not a surprising decision since it was way too late for the police to do anything about it.

        The police harassing her is hearsay. More unsubstantiated evil stuff that seems to happen to this girl at every corner, but cannot ever be verified.

        “Did it ever occur to you that women don’t talk about it because they will be treated with contempt, the way that you and Young decide to do? Or that reporting will lead them to be accused of falsifying information, ruining reputations, and be subject to various forms of retaliation (including harassment and violence)?”

        Rapists are routinely sent to prison when accusations can be verified. No falsifying of information occurred in this case as far as I’ve seen. This girl has been the media darling until facts started popping up. Cathy Young’s article is the most level-headed take on the story yet – the first one that involves looking at both sides: the accuser and the accused. The facts don’t support the accusation – that’s the problem.

        There is also a very important issue associated with non-reporting, which doesn’t seem to be mentioned. Rapists are often serial offenders so by staying mum for months, this girl failed to do what was in her power to prevent further possible attacks.

        “It’s not a woman’s “choice” to leave.”

        Of course it is a woman’s choice to leave. To claim otherwise would be to say that women are not fit to act in a responsible adult manner.

        “It is a man’s choice to abuse a woman, and the onus is completely on him to NOT abuse her. But I suppose holding men accountable for their actions is simply unthinkable, since you’d much rather blame women for what men do to them and callously decide that we have no obligation to protect women from violence at men’s hands.”

        Look – we don’t live in a perfect utopia, and we never will. We have to assume that there are evil people around and minimize risks accordingly. By analogy, we all don’t leave our houses open when we leave, declaring that the onus is on thieves to stop stealing. That simply does not work.

        • Meghan Murphy

          “Cathy Young’s article is the most level-headed take on the story yet – the first one that involves looking at both sides: the accuser and the accused. The facts don’t support the accusation – that’s the problem.”

          You obviously didn’t read the Jezebel link. Again, Young fudged the story — she presented an intentionally manipulated story and left out relevant facts and context.

          • Laur

            It’s quite obvious from Michael Max’s comments that he’s never been raped.

        • C.K. Egbert

          She reported it more than a year after it happened–ergo it is perfectly acceptable for the police to engage in verbal abuse? I know it is IMPOSSIBLE for you to consider that women are anything other than lying bitches–but the abuse she suffered was recorded.

          http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/america-tonight/articles/2014/5/19/why-college-rapevictimsdonatgotothepolice.html

          Rapists are almost never sent to prison. Men have gang-raped women, filmed it, posted it on youtube. and nothing happens to them. It is nearly impossible to give men enough “evidence” to convict a rapist, and if he is convicted, it’s likely his sentence is very light. Also, I know this is hard for you to understand, but “rape” isn’t just a black man raping a white woman in an alleyway (apparently, for you, it would need to be in broad daylight with witnesses). Here are some stats for you.

          http://yeahlikethedeliveryservice.tumblr.com/post/101776257787/as-a-guy-in-terrified-if-i-piss-a-woman-off-all

          So a man violently abusing a woman is acting in a “responsible adult manner”? So a woman is responsible for all the abuse that men inflict upon her, and no one should do anything about it, especially given that if she tries to leave her abuser she is likely to end up being subjected to more violence (including murder) or being homeless?

          If you get beaten and robbed on the street, do you expect the police to come to your assistance and put the man in jail…or should they just laugh in your face and tell you that you had it coming because you decided to step outside of your house that day?

          I really wish that men like you would just be honest and say that you think men should be able to beat and rape women with complete impunity because you think that women deserve it.

          • “I really wish that men like you would just be honest and say that you think men should be able to beat and rape women with complete impunity because you think that women deserve it.”

            Yes. This.

        • “Rapists are often serial offenders so by staying mum for months, this girl failed to do what was in her power to prevent further possible attacks.”

          This is a classic reversal à la Mary Daly.

          The man goes on to rape further women? Oh well, she should have stopped him. Now, she shares part of the blame.

          “Of course it is a woman’s choice to leave. To claim otherwise would be to say that women are not fit to act in a responsible adult manner.”

          It’s nice that you defend women’s choices and all but, statistically, it becomes dangerous for the woman to leave an abusive (->male) partner. Of course, women can act in a “responsible adult manner”, that is not up for debate, but then you go on and say

          “Look – we don’t live in a perfect utopia, and we never will.”

          If women actually lived in a world where they didn’t have to experience any sort of coercion or danger to their sovereignty which, judging from your comment, you seem to believe to already be the case then it would be, from where we’re standing, that utopia you were talking about. You’re contradicting yourself.

          And yes, it should be a reasonable demand for thieves to NOT rob houses. I mean, not closing your door can happen for a lot of reasons and that is NOT an invitation for any potential thief to come in and take what he wants. The fact that that thief steals something is not only illegal but also unethical, at best, no matter what the conditions were before the crime and it should be treated accordingly.

          “…the first one [story] that involves looking at both sides: the accuser and the accused.”

          What wonder. It’s not like people have jumped through hoops to defend rapists and disregard tha victim up until now. Now we have a more “balanced” approach. Oh, wait.

          • Michael Max

            “The man goes on to rape further women? Oh well, she should have stopped him. Now, she shares part of the blame.”

            It was up to her to report the crime so in that sense, yes, there is some fault that lies with her for not doing the right thing. Let’s resort to an analogy again: you see a water dam that has a suspicious crack in it, and you decide to tell no one. A few days later the dam bursts and a nearby city is flooded, killing a number of people. According to your logic, you share ZERO blame for what happened, right?

            “It’s nice that you defend women’s choices and all but, statistically, it becomes dangerous for the woman to leave an abusive (->male) partner. Of course, women can act in a “responsible adult manner”, that is not up for debate, but then you go on and say”

            Nobody says choices are easy, but people need to make them nonetheless. Women sticking with abusers perpetuate the vicious cycle – that is not a solution.

            “If women actually lived in a world where they didn’t have to experience any sort of coercion or danger to their sovereignty which, judging from your comment, you seem to believe to already be the case then it would be, from where we’re standing, that utopia you were talking about. You’re contradicting yourself.”

            You need to be very careful about putting words in people’s mouth as I will call you out on it every time. I “seem to believe” that we live in a utopia? Clearly I’ve said nothing of the sort nor did I imply it in any way. I never said women do not face coercion either. You really let your imagination run loose on that one. So, to be perfectly clear, that’s not going to fly.

            “And yes, it should be a reasonable demand for thieves to NOT rob houses.”

            Go ahead and practice what you preach. Leave your doors open and educate thieves that it is wrong to steal. Either that or stop talking nonsense.

            “The fact that that thief steals something is not only illegal but also unethical, at best, no matter what the conditions were before the crime and it should be treated accordingly.”

            No kidding! Stealing is unethical? Thank you for sharing that gem of insight Admiral Obvious.

            “What wonder. It’s not like people have jumped through hoops to defend rapists and disregard tha victim up until now. Now we have a more “balanced” approach.”

            Getting both sides of the story amounts neither to defending rapists nor disregarding the victims. You don’t get to change definition of words to suit your narrative as convenient. The simple fact is that Young did what various media outlets should have done a long time ago – fact checked the case.

          • Meghan Murphy

            No. Again, she intentionally left out and manipulated facts.

          • EEU

            The fact that you dare to compare theft and rape is so fucking disturbing and misogynistic. Because, of course, women are objects so raping them and scarring them for life is just like stealing something. Get the fuck out of here, you piece of shit.

          • Sabine

            I recall quite a few of us having agreed on a previous blog post thread to stop responding to Michael Max’s contrived bullshit because he is a blatant troll. He comes here to get his pathetic kicks out of antagonizing genuine commenters. The fact he keeps turning up to argue in a humiliatingly nonsensical way against feminists on a feminist website (any issue will do) demonstrates what a sad, misogynistic loser he is. The man is beyond tragic. Let him go elsewhere to wank off to all this attention.

          • Laur

            Completely agree. These guys get so much attention here. I admit, I often reply to them. Partly because I’m angry, and their questions or comments are usually insanely easy to respond to. And also because I know there are a lot of people who read blogs but do not comment.And I don’t want some of these people to wonder what the answer is to a question or think a dude like MM made a good point without hearing the feminist side.

            I’ve noticed a lot of the dudes on FEMINIST Current do not actually believe inequality between women and men exists. They seem to have a problem with reality.

          • Andrew

            Interesting that Meghan has responded to you no less than three times now, informing you that the Young article was erroneous and manipulated for the specific conclusion she wanted. Not fair or balanced. Completely misrepresenting what happened.

            And you…don’t respond. Interesting.

            Yet you respond to other people on here. Argue might be a better word.

            Again, interesting.

          • Yes exactly. That’s because he is dishonestly pretending to engage in discussion when in fact his real project is to iterate and establish male supremacy in this space by blathering AT the other writers here and wasting their time. He can’t manage without it. If the scales were not so severely tipped in his favour, it would be a disaster for he and others like him who could never make it on their own merit.

          • “Let’s resort to an analogy again: ”

            I did not agree with your misguided theft analogy and I don’t agree with you dam(n) analogy now. Women’s genitals being penetrated is NOT comparable to objects being stolen or dams cracking.

            “Nobody says choices are easy, but people need to make them nonetheless. Women sticking with abusers perpetuate the vicious cycle – that is not a solution.”

            No, ABUSIVE MEN perpetuate the vicious cycle, the abused woman is just caught up in it. But I do like your leaps of imagination, making women share the blame.

            “You need to be very careful about putting words in people’s mouth as I will call you out on it every time. I “seem to believe” that we live in a utopia? Clearly I’ve said nothing of the sort nor did I imply it in any way. I never said women do not face coercion either. You really let your imagination run loose on that one. So, to be perfectly clear, that’s not going to fly.”

            If women actually made unimpeded choices that have not in any way been shaped by male sexuality or male modes of thinking then you might as well call it a utopia (I for one would love to see such a utopia). Since, however, that is not the case, “making choices” becomes much more complex. You know, you kind of remind me of some BDSM/porn bloggers who write almost obsessively about “women’s choices”, as a way to justify their misogyny. Like you said, “that’s not going to fly.”

            “Go ahead and practice what you preach. Leave your doors open and educate thieves that it is wrong to steal. Either that or stop talking nonsense.”

            I said it SHOULD be a reasonable demand, I didn’t say it IS right now. Of course, it’s unreasonable right now, with *our mindsets*.

            “No kidding! Stealing is unethical? Thank you for sharing that gem of insight Admiral Obvious.”

            In a world where you put part of the blame on women for the crimes of men who rape and abuse I just felt that I had to remind you that rape is unethical/misogyny. You did not seem aware of that. (Again, not that your analogy is acceptable)

            “Getting both sides of the story amounts neither to defending rapists nor disregarding the victims. You don’t get to change definition of words to suit your narrative as convenient. The simple fact is that Young did what various media outlets should have done a long time ago – fact checked the case.”

            The fact is, it’s almost custom to defend rapists/disregard victims, it’s rarely the opposite. Of course, the accused of rape should be able to say something (one, max. two sentences) in his defence, there’s this remote probability that he did not actually rape, but if a woman comes out and says it’s rape then it’s all I need.

          • Actually, we have taken more space than is due. I have no more desire to talk to you, Michael.

          • Dana

            “The man goes on to rape further women? Oh well, she should have stopped him. Now, she shares part of the blame.”

            Not a word, of course, about the (in)justice system, mostly peopled by men, that sits on rape kits for YEARS until they have a backlog in the hundreds of thousands and when they finally get around to testing, discover that they’ve missed several serial rapists.

            This is for REPORTED rapes, now. Nah, it’s probably still women’s fault.

        • everybodhi

          So the onus is on the woman to leave an abusive man, because evil exists?
          So why is the onus not on the man accused of rape to stay away from evil bitches?
          By your logic, if he hooked up with an evil bitch, it’s on him for not minimizing his risks accordingly.

          • Laur

            Hmmm…women are neither “evil” nor “bitches,” so “evil bitches” don’t exist. Nice try, though.

          • everybodhi

            This comment format makes it difficult to follow but I was replying to Michael Max and his comment, “Look – we don’t live in a perfect utopia, and we never will. We have to assume that there are evil people around and minimize risks accordingly. By analogy, we all don’t leave our houses open when we leave, declaring that the onus is on thieves to stop stealing. That simply does not work.”
            When he says there are evil people around I assume he is not only speaking of men, I was trying to use his own argument for men to take some responsibility for choosing to be intimate with a woman that lies and accuses men of rape, the same way he argues women are responsible for the bad choices that lead to their own rapes.
            If I am responsible for bad choices that lead to my own rape as Michael Max suggests, surely the guy victim is also responsible for choosing some woman out to destroy men with false rape charges. Why put the onus on a liar if not on the rapist or thief?
            He has no problem blaming the victim when it’s a woman, I am just suggesting he blame the man for being a victim and fucking that elusive woman out to ruin men.
            The “bitch” part was just speaking his language. Surely all those mythical women that lie about rape are bitches in Michael Max’s eyes.
            I was so mad when I wrote the previous comment, I wasn’t clear.

          • Laur

            Sorry!! I received your comment via e-mail; it didn’t make a lot of sense to me, because I didn’t know what context it was in. I should have read the posts above before posting.

          • everybodhi

            Let me reword my original comment without the dood speak.
            Michael Max, So the onus is on the woman to leave an abusive man, because evil exists?
            So why is the onus not on the man falsely accused of rape to stay away from evil people?
            By your logic, if he was intimate with an evil person, it’s on him for not minimizing his risks accordingly.

  • Andrew

    My response to a commenter at the Young article, if The Daily Beast allowed me to sign in, which oddly, it won’t:

    I agree in part with what you say. However, adjudication councils at universities are hardly feminist. Most of them have a higher calling, to protect the financial interests of their institutions and stay off the radar of the national reports of sexual assault incidents. There is a great deal of pressure to find abusers and rapists innocent and obfuscate the truth. Follow the money; it almost always tells the truth.

    Cathy Young isn’t brave, she’s pedestrian. She takes the safe, well-worn route of rape apologia that permeates our society and always has. There is nothing new about what she does. It’s just extra sad coming from a woman.

    I agree that rape victims and survivors SHOULD feel free to be able to go to law enforcement. However with much of the training, even in sexual assault units, being below par and often accusatory towards the victim, it’s easy to understand why many, the vast majority in fact, would be scared to face this. Instead, they hope to find support and justice within their institution of higher learning. Alas, they are failed there as well.

    Read the response to Cathy Young’s article on Jezebel. It has the full story, meaning all the parts that Cathy, deliberately and with intent, chose to leave out. It includes the actual transcripts of the Facebook chats with annotations from the survivor. Check it out. You may come away with a vastly different impression.