Posts Tagged ‘masculinism’

prison-barsHopefully this puts an end to and a line under all the nonsensical fuss that’s bubbled along constantly since my ‘In Defence of Rape’ article. At every stage the accusations and opprobrium have gotten worse and worse until in the last blow up I was not only accused of rape apologism but of making rape threats and even being responsible for sexual assault myself. Ludicrous and unfounded.

A chap, John Stavropoulos,  who I don’t really know and who has me blocked on various networks (I made fun of vegetarians) took it upon himself to look into the accusations and to try and find out if there were any substance behind them. His findings are below, followed by my commentary. I would like to thank John for his concerted effort to get to the truth and living up to his own professed ideals. I’d also like to thank Zak Smith for his involvement and support. I’m not comfortable repeating his naming and shaming as its unclear from pluses etc whether people actually supported the accusations or not.

Final Update:

I’ve gone through many emails, links, and messages on this subject.

To review:
1. James has been accused of allegedly threatening his critics with rape.
2. James has been accused of allegedly being a rape apologist.
3. These are serious allegations and as someone with friends and family who have been raped, I don’t take this topic lightly.
4. There is a track record of people spreading misinformation about James. One clear example, there was a petition against James that included libel.
5. I don’t know James, I don’t care for his work, and I disagree with many of his opinions (for example, I’m strongly in favour of anti-harassment policies at conventions, have written several, and have implemented many). I’m not here to defend James. James was one of the first people I blocked on G+ for reasons unrelated to any of this (he made fun of vegetarians).
6. I’m personally disturbed by the seemingly vast number of people who seemingly accepted the above allegations as seemingly truth or who strongly suspect these allegations are false but have said nothing.
6. As a potential consumer of products and services from companies affiliated with James and as someone who is very aware how these topics can destroy people’s lives, I would like to know what is going on.
7. So I asked anyone to send me proof. In this thread. In email. Anonymously. In any way that anyone is comfortable with.
8. I’m going to present what I know and move on from this topic. Don’t ask more from me. I’ve dedicated a lot of time to it, and have chosen to end several friendships because of it. 
9. This is NOT a witch hunt. I’m not going to name names. This isn’t about shaming. Part of the point of this thread is to fight against potential witch hunts (which some have alleged that James may have been the target of). I’m not an attorney, judge, or jury, and my words are primarily opinion. You should make up your own minds.
10. The rules for this thread still stand, don’t post unless you have proof.

That all said, I’ve received several links in this thread that I’ve reviewed and you can read about in detail above. Additionally, I’ve received many more emails on this topic.

Let me flat out, in the clearest way possible state:

I have received NO information that proves, in my opinion, that James has allegedly threatened his critics with rape.

Unfortunately, the rape apologist allegation is much more complicated and the more I look into it, confusing. Why?

The definition for rape apologist seems to vary substantially and it’s often unclear what definition someone is using.

One (of many) definition is that a rape apologist is someone who argues that rapists have no control over the sexual temptation they experience in response to the victim, therefore the victim could have avoided awakening the irresistible rape temptation by behaving differently. From what I’ve seen, I don’t think it is reasonable to accuse James of any of this. But we don’t know what definition of rape apologist someone is using.

Another (fairly different) definition is that a rape apologist is someone who communicates that rape isn’t really rape or claims that allegations of rape are untrue or exaggerated. Some have claimed that James may match this definition because of statements here, https://talesofgrim.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/kickstart-your-tart/, specifically: “I’m sure RAINN does a lot of good work but they’re mostly known – to me – for their promotion of what appear to be vastly inflated rape statistics. I am deeply uncomfortable with my objection to the project having lead, indirectly, to funding an organisation that seems to use and abuse poor statistics. I don’t, personally, believe that you need to inflate the figures. Rape is a horrible crime and making people more afraid than they need to be doesn’t help.” and James links to a controversial news article http://goo.gl/HuCk7 which contains problematic content (an article which makes me personally uncomfortable), but it’s impossible from James’ blog post to determine if James agrees with the specifics of that news article, or if he is simply linking to it to explain his hesitation with RAINN itself.

Another (again, fairly different) definition is that a rape apologist is someone who is an apologist for rape culture (which we would need to nail down exactly what rape culture means to argue this point as this terms also has several definitions that many don’t agree on) and may not be a direct apologist for rape itself. This definition is so potentially large and potentially vague that you could potentially accuse many people of various degrees of supporting rape culture or being a rape apologist for rape culture. It’s very difficult, using these definitions, for me to make any definitive judgements on this topic.

Given the vagueness of what rape apologist might mean, I don’t want to potentially add to any potential misinformation to this topic, so I won’t. I’m going to move away from the whole rape apologist thing and concentrate on the more serious primary allegation.

While rape apologist may be an unclear term, alleging that James has threatened his critics with rape, is not in my opinion, unclear at all. So let me repeat again, in the clearest way possible:

I have received NO information that proves, in my opinion, that James has allegedly threatened his critics with rape.

Does that mean there is no proof to be found? No. But I don’t have any proof to offer and no one I know has it or is willing to share it. And given the seriousness of these allegations, I feel VERY uncomfortable with people alleging such things with such absolute statements and no information to back them up. Given that, I’ve been moved to do all this work and share it with you. Additionally, I’ve chosen to end several friendship because of this.

Rape is a serious real problem that affects many people and there is already too much misinformation around rape and it already can be so difficult to prove, that I feel it is important we do what we can to fix these problems. But potentially false allegations, in my opinion, only make this serious problem, worse. And while it is convenient for many to look the other way, I will not.

Never forget, the standard you walk past, is the standard you accept.

Some people have been big enough to apologise, given this. I’ll call out Dave Michalak in particular for the most sincere public apology. Others have been… less gentlemanly and indeed have doubled-down or shifted their accusations or started trolling. Generally the usual suspects.

It’s been a tough couple of years and extremely wearing on my mental health. I can only imagine what that strain must be like for those falsely accused of actual rape and formally charged. However it has brought a lot of things home to me and has settled a lot of thoughts in my mind.

It has made me a better advocate for free expression and has made me far more willing to call out hypocrisy and stupidity amongst activists when I see it.

It has made me much less tolerant of sexism towards men, of dangerous assumptions about male sexuality and of de-facto censorship in the creative communities.

It has galvanised my resistance to ‘anti-harassment policies’ (scare quotes because that’s not what they actually seem to be) and has prompted me to campaign against the UK porn ban and criminalisation of BDSM imagery and erotica.

It got me involved in Bannedwriters to campaign against the economic censorship of erotica writers.

It has made me acutely aware of just how rapidly word-of-mouth can get out of hand and how spurious accusations can stick, no matter how innocent you actually are. As such I have an even greater appreciation of the need for formal law over mob justice and the necessity of ‘innocent until proven guilty’, just at a point where the hysterical mob seems to be usurping any real sense of honour or justice.

Am I going to change?

Not likely. The same topics still interest me. I still stand by the majority of the original post and the work that so seems to upset some people. I’m still open to changing my mind but only in the presence of good evidence, not beasting, scaremongering, lies and scoffing. I remain opposed to ‘anti-harassment policies’ at conventions and remain concerned by the spread of de-facto censorship and the demonisation of male (or seen as male) interests, characteristics and aesthetics.

I remain hopeful that there are some people who can disagree with me politely, intelligently and still remain friendly when we don’t agree. I also remain hopeful that if you don’t like something someone does, your solution is to make/promote something that you do like, rather than to try and stop others from making/consuming what they like.


Read Full Post »

leda and the swanTired of people linking to this article (or more specifically this article’s title) without paying attention to the content. IDoR a link to the original. To remove any ambiguity whatsoever, the point of the article was simply this: No topic should be off limits. Nothing should be exempt from being story fodder. Whether rape, murder, torture, mutilation, cannibalism, racism or any other nasty thing anyone can think of. Artists must be free to explore without being censored, controlled or limited. The mere existence of something nasty in a story, game or piece of art is not sufficient reason for the art – or the artist – to be pilloried. Nor should we only allow people we consider (subjectively) skilled or politically acceptable to tackle difficult subjects. TL;DR – Censorship is bad, offence, upset or discomfort isn’t a good enough reason to prevent something being made. If you still object to that, stated as plainly and simply as that, we’re going to have a problem.

Read Full Post »