Shuffling Feet: A Black Man’s View of Schroedinger’s Rapist

A response to the argument of Schroedinger’s Rapist and an examination of anti-black racism. 

This morning I made a reference to the fact that men are often assumed to be potential rapists as an example of how sexism negatively affects men as well as women. The argument, commonly referred to as “Schroedinger’s Rapist”, goes something like this: because you can’t know for sure if the stranger approaching you in a dark alley or other unsafe place is a rapist or not, it is generally a good idea to be on your guard. Men can enhance their interactions with women by being aware of this mindset, and adjusting their own behaviour accordingly.

I have often heard from people making an anti-feminist argument that Schroedinger’s Rapist is profoundly sexist and unfair. After all, most men do not rape – why should every man be treated like a rapist? Isn’t that discrimination? How can you claim to be opposed to sexism, yet promote a fundamentally sexually prejudicial idea? The next step is often to draw parallels to racism – is it fair to treat all black people as potential criminals simply because, statistically speaking, there are more black criminals than white ones? Isn’t that racist?

As much as I hate it when white people use anti-black racism as a cudgel with which to beat other people, I can understand the conundrum as it is expressed. The problem with it (and the reason why it’s so bothersome to hear white people talk about anti-black racism) is that it fails to address the question in a meaningful way. To demonstrate what I mean, I’d like to share a couple of personal anecdotes from my own life. I’ve never shared these stories with anyone before, and I’m not sure why because there’s nothing particularly embarrassing about them, and they’re extremely useful in this context.

♦◊♦

When I was in high school, I was the de facto manager of my string quartet. We were gaining a bit of a reputation – we were pretty good, and young people are a novelty – and had picked up a lot of gigs playing weddings. One particular evening, I was supposed to meet the bride-to-be at her church. I had been hanging out at my friend’s house, and was walking from his place to the church. Unhappily, I realized that I was running a bit late – very unprofessional – so I decided to pick up my pace. It was cool outside, so I had my hoodie up.

I was trucking along at a fairly decent pace when I noticed an older woman ahead of me on the street. At first I didn’t pay any attention to her, as my intent was on making my appointment. However, as I drew closer, she became more visibly agitated, constantly looking over her shoulder and speeding up. There was no way she was going to walk faster than me, though – I was way taller than she. When I was about 50m away, she suddenly broke to the right and crossed the road – over 6 lanes of high-speed traffic. I thought it was an unusual move, considering we were nowhere near a crosswalk.

Then it finally occurred to me (when I noticed she had crossed back over once I was safely past her) – she didn’t see someone in a hurry to get to church – she saw a young black kid motoring toward her with no safe haven in sight. She took the risk of running out into the road rather than assume that I wasn’t trying to assault her. I remember that quite clearly, because it was the first time that I realized that I was a frightening sight to strangers.

♦◊♦

Years later I was working for a friend of mine who was doing his PhD thesis on perceived access to park facilities. I, along with my friend Suzie (not her real name), had to canvas the neighbourhood, going door to door and asking people to fill out surveys about their level/type of outdoor activity. After a few streets, I noticed that Suzie’s refusal rate was much lower than mine. Waterloo (where we were) is not exactly a cosmopolitan hub of multiculturalism, and the area we were in was populated by mostly older white people.

Thinking back to my traffic-dodging friend, I asked Suzie to go back to some houses that I’d had trouble with – people closing the door in my face or saying ‘no’ before I finished my sales pitch. Much as I suspected, blonde and 5’5″ Suzie was able to obtain consent from a number of people who had said no to me. This wasn’t about how I was dressed – we were both wearing identical t-shirts and jeans – this was about a huge black dude showing up at your door unexpectedly and asking questions. I learned to knock and then take several steps back from the door so as not to startle people.

One more story. Because I prefer to be able to knock off early from work, I start my day at around 7:45. This means I have to leave the house pretty early in the morning. There are often young women walking around my neighbourhood with their dogs and in their pyjamas. It’s often pretty dark at 7 am, especially in the winter. Despite my size, I am a particularly light stepper, and because my winter coat is black, I am not terribly visible. After scaring the bejezus out of my neighbours by coming up behind them completely unexpected, I have learned to start shuffling my feet when walking behind someone – giving them an auditory clue that I am there and approaching.

♦◊♦

Now there are two ways I could react to these encounters. I could rail against people for being racist and sexist and size-ist (if that’s a thing) – I’m so gentle and warm and loving! How dare they act as though I’m not? That’s one way – and it’s the stupid way. The other way is to recognize that while I strongly dislike the fact that people see me as dangerous because of how I look, it is up to me to decide what to do with that information. If I don’t care about spooking my neighbours, I don’t have to shuffle my feet – let them deal with their fright. But if I do care, then I have to find some way of mitigating that fear so we can coexist harmoniously.

Bringing this example home, men in the freethought movement have a decision to make. They (we) can rail against the hypocrisy of claiming to be anti-sexist whilst engaging in sex-based prejudicial behaviour, or we can recognize that if we want to be accommodating to women we have to make some adjustments to how we behave. It comes back to the central question: do we want women to be more comfortable? If not, then we should say so explicitly – “we don’t care about your comfort, toots! Nut up or shut up!” On the other hand, if we do care, then we can’t simply maintain the status quo of behaviour and berate women for being afraid of rape. That doesn’t solve any problems.

The other point I want to make here, which goes back to my objection to anti-black racism being used as a rhetorical device by those who will never face it, is that black people engage in tons of behaviours to make white people feel safer. We do this all the damn time. We make accommodations in speech, behaviour, dress, mannerism, conversation topic – a wide diversity of adjustments that we make in the presence of our white friends. We want them to feel comfortable around us, and we accept the inherent racism of the need for such changes. The fact that you rail against its manifest unfairness is indicative of the fact that you have no idea we’re doing it – which means, in turn, that we’re doing it well. Until I am convinced that you actually understand anti-black racism (which would take quite a bit of doing), I don’t appreciate being deputized into your anti-feminist screed in this way.

♦◊♦

Anyway, this is obviously simply my opinion and personal experience. I personally don’t have a problem with the argument, and I have done my best to illustrate why I think that Schroedinger’s Rapist, while unfortunate, is not unfair. If you disagree, I hope you will explain why in the comments.

TL/DR: I’ve frequently heard people object to the Schroedinger’s Rapist argument as sexist, with anti-black racism used as a counter-example. I reject this comparison because it neglects two important factors: 1) that the issue under discussion is about whether or not we want women to feel more comfortable; and 2) that black people often make similar behavioural adjustments to accommodate the racism of their white friends. I share some personal stories to illustrate this.

Update: Comrade Physioprof  has made this excellent observation: “It is not “sexist” for women to view all men as potential rapists, because (other than in prison) men possess the privilege of being subject to a vanishingly small likelihood of being raped by either men or women, while women are subject to a substantial likelihood of being raped by men. In contrast, it is “racist” for white people to view all black people as potential criminals, because (as far as I can discern from available crime statistics) white people are the ones who possess the privilege of being less likely to be crime victims than black people, and they are more likely to be victims of crimes committed by white people than by black people.”

Update 2: Greg Laden offers another perspective on this issue.

Originally appeared at FreeThoughtBlogs.com.

—Photo kaizat /Flickr

About Crommunist

Crommunist is a scientist, musician, skeptic, and long-time observer of race and race issues. His interests, at least blog-wise, focus on bringing anti-racism into the fold of skeptic thought, and promoting critical thinking about even those topics that make us uncomfortable. More about Crommunist here.

Comments

  1. “It is not “sexist” for women to view all men as potential rapists, because (other than in prison) men possess the privilege of being subject to a vanishingly small likelihood of being raped by either men or women, while women are subject to a substantial likelihood of being raped by men.”

    According to the CDC’s 2010 survey, 1.1 % of men and 1.1% of women were subject to forced or attempted forced intercourse in the last twelve months.

    80% of the men were victimized by women.

    • Apparently male victims of female rapists are to be continually ignored minimized and mocked. The fact that often no one will believe them which might make the vast difference in the stats he used vastly exaggerated is something we are just to ignore. Heaven forbid we see women as anything other than victims.

      • The irony is though he is against people using the black experience to justify arguments but then uses male victims in much the same way….

    • DavidByron says:

      You must have a really low opinion of women, and your white friends. Basically you say to yourself, “these people are more comfortable being racist and sexist so I better accommodate that”. Did that old woman give you the idea that she was comfortable? Are people who are racist comfortable around black people? You are basically talking about feeding a psychosis here. If you actually had the best intentions towards your friends whether white men or women, you’d challenge their prejudices instead of pandering to them.

      Now I can see that if you are in a position of powerlessness then you’re not going to make a lot of fuss but with your friends? What happens when they read this piece? “Oh hey guys I figured you were all way too immature and racist / sexist to be able to take the real me so I sort of toned it down for you. That’s what you all would want isn’t it?”

      You’re being patronising.

      But certainly not consistent in it. Here you are telling us all that as a black dude you constantly go out of your way to avoid us white people knowing how racist we’re being. Yeah thanks for that. But then in the next paragraph you pull this race card from out of your behind and try to tell us all that only black people can make analogies based on race.

      Really? So now you’re the metaphor police? Can you tell me if I have to have actually played baseball before I can say “I got to first base”? I wouldn’t want to offend any baseball players.

      “my objection to anti-black racism being used as a rhetorical device by those who will never face it”
      and
      “I don’t appreciate being deputized into your anti-feminist screed in this way.”

      Well tough luck. You don’t get to control my thinking or my vocabulary. I find it offensive that you actually tried frankly. A rank ad hominem. I know you think about this stuff on your blog so I have to wonder why you went there. You knew it was a weak argument. Well if you don’t then feel free to explain why you think that argument actually holds any water.

      At any rate in this article you are the one drawing the analogy between race and sex. You admit at one point that, “We want them to feel comfortable around us, and we accept the inherent racism of the need for such changes”. So presumably you also think that when a man does the same thing for women it is inherently sexist? It seems you may have deputized yourself there.

      “black people engage in tons of behaviours to make white people feel safer. We do this all the damn time”
      Like what? That would have been interesting. The stuff you did mention is typical stuff men have to do for women. It seems like this claim is a key part of your case and sort of went missing….

  2. Woot! The Crommunist bringing the awesome to the GMP! Glad to see you here, man.
    And yeah, I do that too. I do it every time I overhear coworkers accuse atheists of perpetrating the “War on Christmas” and I say nothing to my defense. I do it whenever an entitled-male-douchebag treats me like I have stupid lady-brains and I just smile and let it go. Sometimes I’ll say something, but sometimes I just want to get through a day of work without risking my employment status. Sometimes I just want to buy a loaf of bread at the grocery store without any undue hassle.
    Sometimes we make concessions in the interest of peace at the expense of justice.

    • i don't believe you says:

      Don’t use “peace over Justice” as some wizard of OZ curtain. There’s a big difference between enablement, compassion, indifference and economic survival! Maybe the Crommunist should straighten his hair and lighten his skin while he’s at it just so “certain” groups can feel more “comfortable” Waddya think?

      • Ha! You made the error in assuming I don’t know what it’s like. I’m transgender. I have to pretend to be something I’m not all the fucking time in order to merely get by in life. I’m not saying it’s just (oh hell no!), but I do it because I can’t make the world accommodate me merely by raging against it.

        • i don't believe you says:

          Ha! and you made the error that I didn’t consider “being in the closet” when I wrote economic survival! Crom ain’t acting like he does to “get by in life”. You proved my point.

          • So say I go to the bathroom. My androgynous appearance basically means I don’t have a good choice. I shuffle off to the ladies’ room to sit while I pee. My concessions include running through as quickly as possible to avoid being seen, not coming out of the stall till it’s all clear, and attempting to act girly. Less frequently I visit the men’s room, and it’s the same, with extra eye-contact avoidance. Why? TRANSGENDER PEOPLE IN RESTROOMS ARE SCHRODINGER’S PERVERT. Yes, I have the right to bust in there like I own the place. It’s their damn bigotries, not mine. But if I want to be nice, be peaceful, be quick (cuz dealing with people really slows down my day), I just concede to their prejudices and be done with it.

            • I wouldn’t care if a woman, man, transgender? (is that the non offensive term?) came into the male toilets, it’s not like we all hold hands and dance. Male toilets are generally extremely quiet, no eye contact though. I don’t get the whole big hangup society has with male and female toilets, what’s the biggest difference? Urinals and sanitary bins? I don’t get how people can freak out if someone goes to the wrong toilet, especially if they use the cubicle.

            • i don't believe you says:

              Yup. What you have to go through to ensure your daily survival/safety against bigotry and what Crommunist decides to do to make bigots feel better isn’t comparable.

            • DavidByron says:

              Not the same. As I said to him above I could understand it if he was afraid for some reason to be a tiny tiny bit provocative. But firstly he’s black and the idea of raising concerns about race in a group of liberals isn’t exactly terrifying. I doubt that’s true of transgendered issues, is it? Secondly he said he did this with his friends. Not strangers

  3. PursuitAce says:

    You’re the man. I do some similar things for women. I believe I was referred to as pathetic by a pseudo-feminist at the time I mentioned it. Whatever…Personally it’s no sacrifice for me since I see women as just people. I have no desire other than to make a group of people less fearful in their lives. I think I understand why some men might have an issue with this. Thanks for making the sacrifice and being a leader. That’s what leaders do.

    • DavidByron says:

      I think this is pure BS. But let me see how far you want to push this in the pretense that you’re being consistent. The principle you are suggesting here is that minorities never raise any concerns about prejudices and always act so as to minimise any discomfort by the majority. They should always keep up the pretense that nothing is wrong and never point out anything the majority is unknowingly doing.

      I guess I’d call that “servility” although you’re calling it “sacrifice”.

      So for example you’d want handicapped people to be “sacrificing” for the rest of us in this manner would you?

  4. Love love love your compassionate take on this….compassionate for all involved in this broken world we are dealing with…compassion for yourself put in a crappy situation…It’s exemplary. When I rant (and I do) about men showing other (younger men) what it means to be human online and in person…this is the kind of post I hope to see. Bravo and THANK YOU.

  5. Richard Aubrey says:

    Years (and years) ago, before cumulative trauma caught up to me, I used to run, frequently down country roads. As I overtook women, I always shuffled my feet, coughed, and if I’d had a cowbell, I’d have rung it. Regardless, even if I crossed the road to be on the far side, the aforesaid overtakee would indicate complete cluelessness until I was up even with her and would jump as if a gun had gone off in her ear. This, it should be said, was before earphones or plugs were small enough to run with. That aside, you don’t have to be black to be making efforts to be non-threatening. I picked my granddaugher, four and a half, up at pre-K today. She’d made a “facebook”, a sheet with four faces; happy, sad, angry, silly. I asked her what my face was. “Mad”, she said. That’s just the way it is and I, white and mad-looking (ask my granddaughter) , make such accomodations constantly. It’s the polite thing to do. You don’t have to be grinding down your knees in pursuit of a seven minute mile, either. It happens all the time. Mostly we don’t think anything of it except for figuring the tactical situation and distances and rate of overtake or whatnot. The whether is a given.
    WRT Christmas. I know it’s not the holy thing to do, but some people…. I enjoy telling them “Merry Christmas” a little too much.

  6. Julie Gillis says:

    I just love this piece. So much, as pointed out above, compassion. And also awareness for how busted we all are. So fearful, we so easily judge based on externals (as if with strangers we have anything else to go on) and I really appreciate the post as well as the excellent blog post from Greg Laden. I missed that somehow during all of Elevatorgate and it was interesting to read.

    Finally, your paragraph here really struck me “The other point I want to make here, which goes back to my objection to anti-black racism being used as a rhetorical device by those who will never face it, is that black people engage in tons of behaviours to make white people feel safer. We do this all the damn time. We make accommodations in speech, behaviour, dress, mannerism, conversation topic – a wide diversity of adjustments that we make in the presence of our white friends. We want them to feel comfortable around us, and we accept the inherent racism of the need for such changes. The fact that you rail against its manifest unfairness is indicative of the fact that you have no idea we’re doing it – which means, in turn, that we’re doing it well. Until I am convinced that you actually understand anti-black racism (which would take quite a bit of doing), I don’t appreciate being deputized into your anti-feminist screed in this way.”

    It will be a lot of digesting, that paragraph. Thank you for it.

    • DavidByron says:

      Wow. Didn’t seem the slightest bit compassionate to me. How could it? Compassion is treating others’ pain. Not making it so they can’t see the pain they inflict. Julie would you really want a friend of yours to hide from you the fact that you were causing them pain? If you found out they were doing it would your reaction be “Oh THANKS for that, you totally did the right thing”?

      Plus too this “compassion” comes with a dark side. Anyone who goes around doing that for others inevitably thinks worse of those he is covering for. Anyone who goes around consciously thinking “and you don’t even realise how racist / sexist you are because I have to cover for you so you won’t suffer the embarrassment of knowing it”. They are holding on to a lot of anger IMO.

      That is NOT a good place to be.

      • Julie Gillis says:

        Wow. No.

        As another poster above pointed out, compassion for the broken fucking world we live in. Compassion in taking the time to reach out and try to offer another viewpoint. Compassion in service, which may or many NOT be called for as a human being. No one should have to feel guilty for their skin, but we’ve built a fucked up world and people are trying to find their way to peace in a wide variety of ways. Sometimes our generousity is a sign that the world is fucked up, yet we offer it anyway.

        And as I said….

        There is a lot to process and digest in that article especially the paragraph I quoted, David. Because that is a fucking heavy statement that he laid down. Because if it’s true, which I damn well think it is, it’s wrong and means an entire class/group/race whathaveyou of people are basically giving up things so white people can have their white privilege. And I’ve said as much in multiple posts that you’ve been on, that we (usually meaning women and rape but in this case anyone walking alone etc) have the choice here to-

        1) not trust anyone
        2) trust everyone blindly
        3) figure out how to do what we can with available information, both internally and externally and make the best choices we can per situation.

        I’ve also said that the whole Schrodingers thing doesn’t mean ALL people are monsters, only that the outside looks just as human as anyone else and so what is anyone to do if ONE CANNOT TELL. Again, the three above points are the choices we have. If we go with the idea that women can rape men, the same issues apply. Men don’t know which women are sociopathic.

        And we go with the knowledge that we have at the time and it’s incredibly imperfect.

        It’s compassionate that he brought this article, with it’s very very heavy paragraph, which frankly I’d love an entire article about because I think he’s absolutely right, and personally of fucking course I want to know how to help the people in MY life feel more at ease/less pain, and check my own, yes, privilege as a white woman, because I have a lot of it. And I examine it a lot, at work, teaching social justice, etcetctec and still I can’t see all of it and I need to know when it’s damaging someone. I need to give some of it up to help others have more so we are all more equal.

        These things need to be pointed out, race, gender etc. I hate that there are good men who feel that women assume the worst of them. I hate feeling stressed on occasion, and yes, I have felt slightly stressed on occasion alone with men I don’t know just because I’m really clear on the physical fact that I’d lose that fight, if there was one. I live with that everyday as a physical reality. Is it in the forefront of my mind? No. Do I know the chances are low of harm? Yes. Does that mean the chances are nil? No. So I do the best I can realizing it’s fucking broken and imperfect.

        We live in a broken world and we are dealing with trying to figure it out. With compassion, yes. I’m taking a break from this David, you want to talk to me, email me, but I’m not going to be answering here.

        • DavidByron says:

          Have you ever felt the same fear you say is justifiable with a man, when you met two women? or one woman who was younger and fitter maybe? Or a woman who had a weapon? Have you ever felt the same way with a single woman who had no weapon but could easily be concealing a gun? Have you felt that way more with men you know as well as with men you don’t (because often an attacker is someone who is an acquaintance)?

          Does it not make sense to you that if someone wanted to over power you physically they would come prepared with a weapon for the job? Or that they would size up their victim so they feel good about their chances of success for whatever reason? Even if it is “only” another woman they have that and the element of surprise.

          I’m sorry Julie but that argument simply doesn’t stand up to inspection. There’s no rational basis for those feelings. The chances of physical harm are always more than nil.

    • So compassionate when he said that

      “t is not “sexist” for women to view all men as potential rapists, because (other than in prison) men possess the privilege of being subject to a vanishingly small likelihood of being raped by either men or women, while women are subject to a substantial likelihood of being raped by men. ”

      When the stats he quoted ignore female on male rape by envelopment. Actually no compassion isn’t the word i would use “hypocritical” is the one.

  7. “Schroedinger’s Feminist’ when there is a feminist around it is best to assume they will minimize and ignore any mans concern and be terrible at statistics.

  8. Not so fast my friend says:

    I’m sorry but I disagree…

    I’m also a black male. I’ve also dealt with the discomfort and offensiveness of witnessing some white persons’ uneasiness with encountering me in certainsocial situations. However, I refuse to make any attempts to placate to white people’s sensibilities because of some preconcieved ideas they have about blackpeople.

    While I agree that it is unfair to conflate anti-black racism with the message of “Shroedinger’s Rapist” I do so for a different reason. I beilieve that both class and race trump sex (gender) in regards to the social hierarchy (in America especially). While there are some exceptions, in the vast majority of
    situations white women are more privileged than black males.

    Let me get this out of the way as well. I do understand and do not dispute that women are at much greater risk for sexual assualt.

    But, I find it a bit disheartening to suggest that it is my responsibilty to ease white woman’s (or any woman’s or person’s for that matter) suspicions especially if they are already afforded more privilege than I.

    I do understand that you can never be certain of a person’s intentions based on their appearance. I aslo understand the fear of dealing with such uncertainties But, at what point should people be held accountable for their own safety and fears whether real or percieved? If it is reasonable if not socially
    responsible for me to cross the street when passing a woman walking alone, what measures are reasonable for her to take? Should she not walk alone or not be out by herself so late at night? Isn’t that reasonable and responsible in regards to her personal safety?

    I know someone will say that women should be able to go and come as they please, AND THEY SHOULD. It would be ideal in a perfect world. But this is an imperfect world.

    I really can’t accept the notion that, as a black man, I should be assumed doubly dangerous because I am black and male.

    • It’s all about accommodating others’ unfair prejudices and fears in order to make them more comfortable… and thereby leave those prejudices unchallenged. Does that about sum it up, author?

      Sorry, not interested.

  9. I enjoyed the article but I think the author is forcing people to make an unnecessary choice. You can view fear based on sexism or racism as unreasonable and unfair while accommodating the people who experience those fears. I agree, it is unfortunate that people hold these views, but those views are unfair and based on ignorance.

    Blanket statements that Group A should reasonably fear Group B, whether it is based on *just* sex or race, are still unfair. That people accommodate these fears to live more harmoniously with others doesn’t change that. A man can cross the street, take the stairs, or avoid offering to give a woman a ride knowing these actions would make a woman more comfortable if she has that fear, but the fact she fears him **just** because he is a man is not fair and not reasonable.

    There is no need for the false dichotomy of “make women feel more comfortable” vs. “reject the view that all men are (potential) rapists.”

  10. A. Schroedinger’s Rapist isn’t merely “dark and isolated areas”. If you read the original piece, it quickly becomes obvious that some women don’t think men should make them uncomfortable at all, which is an impossible edict in a world where men have to do most of the initiating in terms of relationships.
    B. I’m a white person, and I have to make efforts to make black people comfy. Why who woulda thunk it?
    Yes, people have to make accommodations to other people to make them comfortable and more accommodations are needed the more different backgrounds the people who are getting together have.

    Pretty much agree with everything else.

  11. “It is not “sexist” for women to view all men as potential rapists, because (other than in prison) men possess the privilege of being subject to a vanishingly small likelihood of being raped by either men or women, while women are subject to a substantial likelihood of being raped by men.”
    I have to say I disagree with this. Its basically saying that since women are more likely to be raped its not sexist to presume that all men are potential rapists. This is an attempt to say that its not sexist to presume that all men are potential rapists based on nothing more than the fact they are men.

    Rapists make up a small portion of the male population yet its supposed to not sexist to presume that any man can be a rapist simply because he is a man? I really don’t see anyone trying to defend this type of statement about any other group. “A small portion of ____ are ____ but its not -ist to presume that all _____ are potential ____”.

    And I think this is why people reached for black people as criminals as a counter example.

    To me its a matter of motivation. To me there is a big difference between, “I better keep an eye on him until I get a read on him.” and “He might be a rapist!”

    (And also I have a small quibble with the name of this theory. The original Schroedinger’s Cat was based around already knowing that we were talking about cat and then the question was whether or not the cat was alive or dead. It irks me a bit to name is Schroedinger’s Rapist because it sounds like one is starting off knowing its a rapist and then the question is will they attack or not. It would seem to me it should be called Schroedinger’s Man, in which its known its a man but then the question is will the man in question attack or not.

  12. “TL/DR: I’ve frequently heard people object to the Schroedinger’s Rapist argument as sexist, with anti-black racism used as a counter-example. I reject this comparison because it neglects two important factors: 1) that the issue under discussion is about whether or not we want women to feel more comfortable; and 2) that black people often make similar behavioural adjustments to accommodate the racism of their white friends.”

    Your two main points are both seriously flawed:

    1) It’s not that simple. If women, as a group, have no societal expectation to make ME, as a man, feel more comfortable, why would I be specifically motivated to make women, as a group, more comfortable?

    2) Apples and oranges. Mainstream feminist groups, as well as traditionalists and other groups, demand that men strive to accommodate the needs of women. If you wish to adjust your behavior as a black man to accommodate your racist white friends, that is your choice. But there are no widely powerful groups in modern society asking that of you.

  13. Do you want to know why Schroedinger’s Rapist is so offensive it’s wrong? Because the majority of men DO NOT RAPE. We have recent stats showing similar levels of rape and sexual abuse between the genders, 12 month stats showing 40% female rapists, 60% male rapists yet we still continue to push this prejudice along.

    (All victims of abuse in any form are excused, this following bit is for those who haven’t been harmed)

    If you want to teach everyone to trust their intuition then go ahead but it’s painting an entire group responsible for the actions of the few, something which annoys feminists when they say Not All Women Are Like That in response to people telling them what the extremists do yet many of those feminists push this socially acceptable prejudice.

    How about Schroedinger’s Child Abuser? Fathers should be nervous leaving their kids with their mother, the most likely person to harm their kids. Kids should be afraid of their mothers because they’re most likely to be abused by women. Of course you know the whole racial prejudices I am sure so no point mentioning anymore on that. How about ageism, lets fear 20-40 year olds who are most likely to commit crimes of violence?

    Mothers should start adjusting their behaviour to put heir children’s fear at ease around them, they have parental privilege and can abuse much easier due to a culture that is too busy focused on the men as the monsters. Sounds silly doesn’t it, quite frankly the biggest problem is raising women with so much fear in life that they have to avoid these men before they’ve been attacked (I am excluding victims here btw) so that instead of feeling normal, or safe, they feel threatened and scared by all men. Take a look at history, who were the police, the fireman, soldiers, the knights trying to protect the damsels, save the women and children FIRST, don’t hit women, these things are instilled at birth into many men and given the chance many men would tear a rapist apart.

    When we start using stats and wondering who to be safe around we play a tricky game, we fear men for violence, we fear mothers for abuse, we fear muslims for terrorism (even though the vast majority by far are quite peaceful like you and I), but hey this is men we’re talking bout. Men with Powerrr, it’s totally acceptable to fear men so much that fathers now are nervous as hell taking their kids to the park because of the dirty looks and ostracization. Cousins can’t even take photos at a soccer game grand final because the player is under 18. This happened to me, I do not feel safe at all with childrens photography due to paranoia and fear over men in particular regardless of the fact I’d hospitalize anyone that tried to harm a kid.

    I already watch my actions, i avoid trying to make women feel nervous, I am 6’6 and more scared of them but I go out of my way to ensure they don’t get afraid because I am quite a large man and the size is intimidating. I know we live in a culture that teaches women to jump at shadows where many can’t even relax and get to know a stranger because of the fear they’re a rapist when the most likely person to harm them is a partner or relative. I go out of my way to avoid being NEAR most children because I know the simple accusation of foul play is a death sentence to a man, once that mud sticks it’s got more pulling power than gravity itself.

    I am nervous to even try talk to women for fear they’ll get afraid, just how far are men supposed to go to make OTHERS feel safe? Walk around in chains? How about we drop all of the prejudice and start realizing humans for the most part are quite decent, let’s focus on the good and deal with the bad when it happens. It’s sad we have people teach and support Schroedinger’s Rapist whilst we have many of them getting angry when someone tells them to avoid certain areas, umm you’re both teaching fear! Should we teach men that they’re the number 1 target for violence? Men are 4-6times more likely to die from violence, and much of it by other men, should men avoid other men?

    We have parents asking for male teachers to be fired from primary schools over fear of men, we have women afraid of men, all this fear and what does it really accomplish? I understand women want men to understand that women are afraid of being abused and raped by them but now it’s time for women to understand the levels of abuse and rape against men even by women are very high as well, many of these men are ignorant to this FACT, so either we start teaching men to fear women too or we all grow up and drop this fear based approach.

    I’ve lived in fear all of my adult life and when it gets too much it is a hindrance, all humans should learn to respect others boundaries and do what they can to keep others calm without having to sacrifice too much. Fear is the cause of sooo many problems in the world and we really need to kick it out and bring in some real intelligent discussion on the issues. That guy in the elevator may hurt you, or he might stop others from hurting you, prejudging his actions does what? What will that fear do to you? He might rape you, he might rob you, or he might be your new best friend or the love of your life.

    By all means be cautious but teaching automatic fear has got to stop. There are better ways to reduce violence in the world without making people jump at the shadows. Fear and negativity isn’t going to help your life, if you are under attack your body will set your defenses in before you can even think about it so you don’t need to walk around with fear. Life is full of risk but do you really want to miss out on the wonderful things in life because a total stranger you know NOTHING about has a chance of harming you?

    And before I am accused of privilege of being a man and thus somehow less fearful in such situations, I have a social anxiety disorder, I am afraid of pretty much every single strange I meet to some degree and especially women due to previous abuse. I’ve seen this fear in me, and in others to varying degree’s and all it does is restrict lifestyles. You don’t need to walk down sniper alley during the Kosovo war without fear, but keep that fear balanced.

  14. Schrodinger's Rapist says:

    “Bringing this example home, men in the freethought movement have a decision to make. They (we) can rail against the hypocrisy of claiming to be anti-sexist whilst engaging in sex-based prejudicial behaviour, or we can recognize that if we want to be accommodating to women we have to make some adjustments to how we behave. It comes back to the central question: do we want women to be more comfortable? If not, then we should say so explicitly – “we don’t care about your comfort, toots! Nut up or shut up!” On the other hand, if we do care, then we can’t simply maintain the status quo of behaviour and berate women for being afraid of rape. That doesn’t solve any problems.”

    I agree, this IS the question we should be asking, The question is, at what cost.

    To put things in perspective, I am also a “large black man”, I’m over 6 feet tall, black, often dressed in loose fitting jeans a large T shirt and a long black hoodie, and due to my hobbies and work hours, I often find myself in and out of public transit, between early evening and very late at night. I like the shuffling feet example, one of my tricks when I don’t want to be particularly scary is making an effort to say “hay” or smile when entering a liquor store or some such place when its late at night and there is a woman in the room (I live in a tiny college town, LOTS of little white girls).

    The way I see it, when I’m walking alone and a pack of white dudes walk up behind me laughing after a night at the bar, I don’t see them nodding at me to let me know I’m safe. When SUV’s full of partying 21 year old girls from campus chuck a slushy at me because I didn’t look up when they shouted at me, the women on the street don’t ask me if I’m OK. When I get in an elevator during the day and a woman gets in after me, they generally don’t nod at me or something so I know they aren’t going to flag security to ask me why I’m in the building. I have frequently had police ask me for my ID in front of my own house because a girl on the other side of the street thought I looked “suspicious”, she never comes over to apologize after the cop walks over to her and explains Its MY house, I’m not robbing it…

    But I don’t rage at people for not “working to make me less fearful”… I get over it, because that’s what it means to be an adult, you put your fears in perspective of rationality and you deal.

    Frankly, I’m not willing to put the burden of proof on myself just because they (women who believe in Schrodinger’s Rapist, people who racially profile, etc) are uncomfortable. Their defensive responses aren’t justified just because they can’t figure out how to assess the threats in their life. If people want to advocate against the idea that “not walking alone” or “not walking in dimly lit areas” or any of the rest of the “don’t get raped” garbage works in any way (which I support); then they are ALSO going to have to own up to the idea that the world is a scary place and bad things some times happen to good people. All of us have to find ways to balance fear vs real threats to our safety and not let it stop us from living, and I see no reason I should go out of my way to show love and care to somebody who is willing to call me a predator simply by the sight of me.

  15. John Sctoll says:

    Schroedinger’s Child Abuser:

    Very interesting example actually. Right now, a number of major airlines will not sit an unrelated man next to a child on an aircraft despite the fact that very few (if any) child have ever abused by a strange man on an aircraft. Yet, they have no problem sitting a strange woman next to one. Here is the weird part, a mother is WAY WAY WAY more likely to harm a child on an airplace than a strange man.

    As Capt Picard would say “Here is the line, no further”. I will not placate this type of denigration of men as a class.

  16. The very definition of discrimination is treating an individual by the real or perceived characteristics of their group.

    The justification, if and when it exists, and if ever, relies on the leaning towards either the real or the perceived. Fear and anxiety are usually and mostly based on the perception of a false positive. The ask here seems to be that we continue to support false positives in order to allay fear and anxiety.

    I don’t see any added and/or sustained human comfort in following this path of sorcery. There is no human development down this road.

  17. Justin Cascio says:

    It’s nice that you want to make people feel more comfortable, but like other commenters here, notably DavidByron, I don’t agree that the steps you are taking are necessary, and in your position I don’t think I would go to the ends you do to make white people comfortable with you. I’ve lived in the South and now I live in a very friendly town where the norm is to smile and exchange a short, New England greeting when we pass on the street. It’s also a college town, so plenty of the young women on the streets aren’t part of this culture. They come from everywhere, and some of them will cross the street to avoid me. I try to have compassion for that one person who will cross away from me, or look uncomfortable, because I know that is a trauma response, not one reasonably based on me and anything she could know about me.

    Going out into the world, I try to be the change I want to see in the world. I know it’s not always possible or practical, because we are laboring under two yokes: we live in a sexist, racist society, and I want to make a society that is neither of these. I can hope that my black friends aren’t toning something down for me, that when they share stories with me about their lives, they are trying to connect, and that the rest of their behavior goes along with that too. Sometimes maybe they’re doing exactly as you describe, but it’s not what I’d want for them as my friends, to limit themselves so I don’t have to grow.

  18. Crommunist – you make some interesting points, and from a personal level dealing with your every day interactions with the world they are fine for you. I have to make accommodations myself as a Gay Crippled guy with complexities of racial origins thrown on for good measure.

    What I keep seeing is how some have gone beyond the human into dogma and abuse. I also see how some are using ideas to express power, control and be abusive.

    Lets take the All Men Are Rapists trope. That has even been changed to read “Only Men Can Stop Rape.”. It has been shifted by dogma from not just a fallacy but into a fallacy that literally makes men responsible for stopping all rape – all rapists – and that included female rapists.

    Now lets play that race card and see how it plays out. “All Black Men Are Responsible for Racism” – “Only Black Men Can Stop Racists”. It becomes nonsense – but Over stretched dogma does that.

    Schroedinger’s Rapist is a classic “Thought Experiment” – and of course is linked to Schroedinger’s Cat, a thought experiment in dealing with Quantum Mechanics. It highlights incongruity, absurdity but also reality in a frame of existence that is not normal to humans.

    I have used the same in the form “Schroedinger’s Cripple” “The assumption being that all disabled people are on the big blue bus, masturbating and licking the windows”. It’s fascinating what happens if you line up some Though Experiments side by side for Comparison and ask people to justify them.

    Schroedinger’s Rapist
    Schroedinger’s All Black Men Are Criminals
    Schroedinger’s Cripple – and the big blue bus
    Schroedinger’s Bitch – women are justified in stereotyping all men for personal safety.

    Which one’s lead to error and which one’s lead to an acceptable level of error – uncertainty – and stereotyping and offence? Which one’s respect humanity and which one’s degrade?

    By logic – if one is offensive and abusive – they all are.

    How about Schroedinger’s Bitch – all women will abuse their view of men and assume all men are rapists, not to be trusted and treated with suspicion and it’s justified.

    I have had to deal with that one whilst totally innocent, going about my daily business, as a Gay man I have no interest in the ladies – and yet it is seen as wrong for me to be offended if some woman decided to exercise power, as has happened, and publicly claim that I am some form of sexual deviant and aiming at her. All I was doing was standing at a bar waiting to be served and I smiled. Reaction “You’re a Creep”. etc

    She even went so far as to claim I had tried to touch her up. I just smiled and told her that If I was going to touch up anyone it would be that rather large hairy and hunky security guard – so she need not flatter herself because she did not float any boats for me! The security guard grinned. P^)

    I have to say she had one hell of a shock when I turned it round quicker than she could imagine and dealt with it as Homophobic and Disability Hate Crime …. and she was the one told to leave the venue and not return – ever!

    But of course using Schroedinger’s Thought Experiment is just an experiment to see what is acceptable and what is not. But even so, the way such thinking in all forms gets turned from thinking to action is the big issue. How we deal with each other is what counts.

    As a disabled man I too get tired of other’s stupidity. Sometimes I deal with it one way and other times I just give it a pass. Take just going to a shop. My local shops have given me quite an opportunity to train the locals. Ever tried to get through a doorway when someone decided to be nice and hold the door – but they actually block your way forward. In my back yard I have had the time to train people out of their assumed good behaviour, and now it does not happen.

    On the other had when I’m else where I tell people that they should use the door way first “You’re Quicker Than Me” – so they get out of my way and they think I have done them a favour. Really I should be lecturing them on access rights and the social model of disability, and just how Crippling their faulty mindset is – and how they are the issue and not me.

    It can be a bit much when all you are doing is shopping for some new pants – and you have to look forward to the horror of dealing with trying them on in a cubicle designed for a midget contortionist!

    We all accommodate – but that is a choice – and it does not make other people’s foolishness, prejudice and antisocial thinking right. We all choose battles looking at the balance of Profit and Return – but that is daily life and working out how to get to work or try on pants. We don’t always have time and even the energy to address the underlying failures.

    The net is different – if you are willing to use it wisely. Some will just transfer the every day to the screen – and others say NO and use the screen to address the fundamental underlying equality issues with a view to changing them.

    I get where you are coming from in your every day, but I think you are missing a big chance to use that screen in front of you to use the everyday to address a lot more and reach a lot more people.

    Dogma can also be accepting the Status Quo and accommodating to it, and failing to use the opportunities that come by to not let sleeping Dogmas lye.

  19. If it was about acknowledging how people react in the presence of someone they perceive as threatening, then fine. The problem is the Schrodinger’s Rapist meme is frequently used to hector men into changing their behaviour, rather than stated as simply a descriptor of how women react in public. Sorry, but I’m not personally responsible for what others project onto me merely because I wear my hood up or have a particular organ between my legs and all I’m doing is walking down the street to get home.

    And nothing personal, but this is just one individual’s view. It may well be a more sensible one to take, but I make the Schrodinger’s Black Guy counterargument to highlight the general inconsistency in how people respond to different groups being broadbrushed in this way. I maintain that if instead of Rapist, “Black Guy” or “False Rape Accuser” is substituted in, there’d be uproar. But the former is apparently fine….

  20. My brother and I happened to be driving past a school zone with his dog’s (small terrier)
    head out of his passenger window when we passed two school girls roughly 14-16 years of age.

    The dog barked:
    The girls screamed (excessively) pretended to be so very afraid that they would take to running through backyards to escape.

    The entire point being made that as the protected class I could and would be accused on a whim.

    Feeding a psychosis indeed!
    Feeding an unjust power struggle via societal violence!
    Did I mention unjust?

    This type of behavior gets easily excused everyday,then we wonder how some adults got so screwed up?

    There was a time when good behavior was enforced in the home (daddy home)
    and this bad behavior did not spill out into the streets.

    Be careful what you tell the young people they are:
    For they may become that very thing.
    (scared of any shadow)
    (entitled to police aggression for no reason)

    I’m sorry, but when the author wrote he shuffled his feet the first thing I had thought was :
    Did you say “ah shucks boss” too?

  21. I really appreciate not only this piece, but also the diversity and respect of the comments. I’m surprised no one has brought up one crucial point though: rape by a stranger is exceedingly rare.

    This, I think, is one of the most important things to recognize about situations like this. White women are taught to be afraid of large black male strangers, when in reality the likelihood that any of them will rape us is extremely, extremely low. So low in fact that it’s absurd that we’re taught to carry this fear around with us. Educating people on the actual facts and statistics about sexual assault (overwhelmingly committed by an acquaintance or lover) would not only give women an opportunity to breath a little when we’re out in public and not feel so wound up all the time, but also not make people like this author feel like they need to accommodate that irrational fear. I wouldn’t want people always being afraid of me, either.

    • That is a good point – this fear is being taught, and it really shouldn’t be. One way that would help end the fear is ending the common public message that “if you’re raped, but you didn’t try to protect yourself by avoiding strangers, then it’s kinda your fault, isn’t it?”

    • Even though I’m aware that rape by stranger is rare I’ve never thought to put it together with Schroedinger’s Rapist before. And now that I do I think the fact that rape by stranger is rare is even more evidence of how people are trying to justify presuming that men are potential rapists based on nothing other than being male.

      Most rapes are committed by a person the victim knows yet there is no talk of suspecting all the males a given woman knows of being potential rapists. No the stories are almost always about “walking down a dark alley at night”, “in a parking lot”, “waiting for an elevator”. Situations in which the men involved are random strange men that a given woman will more than likely never see again.

      So with that in mind why aren’t people trying to defend the practice of suspecting all known males as potential rapists, much less trying to say its not sexism. (For the record I’d still disagree with the idea of a woman suspecting all the males in her life of being potential rapists because even with the fact that most rapists are strangers the suspicion is still being largely based on said stranger being a man.)

      • But Danny, known males could never be rapists, or else we’d know better than to know them! AKA “Not My Nigel”
        Reference: Mrs. Cain said her husband “totally respects women,” and “I seriously, in my soul, don’t think he’s that type of person.”

        • So instead of being suspicious of known males it is prefered to be suspicious of unknown males? Hell at least suspicious of known males would actually fall more inline with the stats on rape. People like to go on about how men commit so many rapes, why not pinpoint it further to say that known men (as in know to their victims) commit so many rapes.

          But instead its all about all men being suspicious.

    • Luna_the_cat says:

      Rape by strangers is rare.

      Sexual harassment by strangers — groping, unwanted contact like the guy grinding against you in a crowded subway, sexual comments, verbal abuse, etc. — are extremely common.

      By focusing solely on the worst-case, you’re ignoring all the lower-level unpleasantness which make a lot of women feel unsafe.

      • So is it acceptable to model it all as “worst-case culture” and for people to run away with the idea and stigmatise and abuse all men?

        Shouldn’t it be “Harassment by strangers culture”?

        How about “Take Back The Subway”?

        Extreme scenarios seem to have been used because they engender knee jerk reactions and power.

        • Luna_the_cat says:

          Actually, I think that worst-case gets focused on because it is worst case; that is a universal human tendency.

          My point, though, is that rape is not the only thing (by FAR not the only thing) that makes women nervous around strangers. I’ve seen a few statistics on how many women encounter sexual harassment on the street or in public places, and it seems to run around 40-50%. So, by focusing on things like “but rape by strangers is vanishingly rare” and ignoring the problems that are really NOT vanishingly rare, a big reason for women’s natural wariness somehow becomes invisible.

          (Also, gotta say, telling men to be aware that some things can come across as threatening without their meaning it to? I really don’t see that as “stigmatising or abusing men.” So I hope that’s not what you meant.)

          • DavidByron says:

            What’s the same stat for men? Frankly 40-50% seems awfully low to me. Basically it is asking women if they’ve ever had an off day and anyone has ever said a mean word to them and only half say yes?

            • Luna_the_cat says:

              No, asking women if they have experienced being grabbed, groped or verbally abused in a sexual fashion is *not* the same as “asking women if they’ve ever had an off day and anyone has ever said a mean word to them”…go troll somebody else, because that’s just idiotic and I haven’t got the patience for it.

            • Julie Gillis says:

              Agreed.

            • So you agree that asking for clarification about the use of statistics is the same as trolling?

            • David is just asking about the validity of your statistics. You provided a justification for something by quoting a statistic that you didn’t provide a source for. That is not saying women are lying or he is covering up something or minimizing what happens to women. He is not trolling. Questioning the validity of your evidence that justifies your beliefs is not trolling. 50% could mean in the last 50 years or in the last week. Quote a statistic people will question your statistics.

            • Luna_the_cat says:

              No, DavidByron specifically equated sexual harassment with “that’s just asking women if they’ve ever had an off day and anyone ever said a mean word to them” (his words, right up there). If you want to ask “where do you get that statistic?”, then the words you use are “where do you get that statistic?”

              …See the difference?

            • Julie Gillis says:

              I sure do.

            • Sexual harassment has been defined by some as “making someone uncomfortable”. Which is why he questioned why the percentage was low.

            • Luna_the_cat says:

              Cool, glad someone else does. :)

            • Sexual harassment has many interpretations. You are assuming you have the same definition that he uses or the stats that you quote used. He asked for clarification of your definition of sexual harassment and that is justified because i have seen some very vague definitions that can make any manner of behavior be considered sexual harassment at the same time i have also seen some definitions where only the most egregious of behaviors would qualify.

              What happened here isn’t someone trolling its someone assuming that their definition of sexual harassment is the same as everyone else.

            • Luna_the_cat says:

              I do believe he should work on his phrasing, then.

            • Luna_the_cat says:

              As for where the statistic came from, my memory in the first instance because it was some time ago I saw it; but when I took a few seconds to see if I could find the specific original citation, oddly enough, I found this:
              http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/we-may-never-understand-a-day-in-the-life-of-a-woman/ . Have at.

            • Its also possible to say women will never understand the life of men. It doesn’t mean someone can’t question the validity of your evidence. You took offensense because of a misunderstanding. Your definition of sexual harassment was different to his. His talk of “that could mean she was having a bad day” was informed by him having seen vague definitions of sexual harassment. You mistook his words as trolling.

            • Luna_the_cat says:

              No, I took offense because he ignored the words that I’d written (like you’re doing — for reference, they are “Sexual harassment by strangers — groping, unwanted contact like the guy grinding against you in a crowded subway, sexual comments, verbal abuse, etc….”) in order to substitute an insultingly trivialising strawman definition.

            • Julie Gillis says:

              Yeah, I just don’t see why that’s not clear.

            • “No, I took offense because he ignored the words that I’d written (like you’re doing — for reference, they are “Sexual harassment by strangers — groping, unwanted contact like the guy grinding against you in a crowded subway, sexual comments, verbal abuse, etc….”) in order to substitute an insultingly trivialising strawman definition.”

              What if 90% of the people who were said to have experienced sexual harassment were those who said they experienced verbal abuse?
              What if hearing someone says “fuck off” to someone else is considered verbal abuse?

              I have seen an insulting trivializing definition of sexual harassment used to inflate numbers. I don’t know if your stats are measuring that or not.

            • Julie Gillis says:

              I think that asking directly for the stats is absolutely appropriate if you have questions about them. Snarking about how a woman might be having a bad day is not directly asking for stats.

            • “I think that asking directly for the stats is absolutely appropriate if you have questions about them. Snarking about how a woman might be having a bad day is not directly asking for stats.”

              If your only definition of sexual harassment is the vague kind he understandably being snarky because i am willing to bet he has seen inflated numbers due to vague definitions many times.

            • Julie Gillis says:

              If he has he should mention that and ask for stats. I think stats are great things.

            • Luna_the_cat says:

              There are ways of asking “where do your stats come from? What is the definition of ‘harassment’?” which do not in fact involve the stupid phrasing. Look, I just used those questions! See how that works? See how straightforward they are?

              Anyway, one of my sources was “Experiencing the Streets: Harassment and Perceptions of Safety among Women”, Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 2000 37: 306
              R. MACMILLAN, A. NIEROBISZ and S. WELSH

              The others will have to wait, it’s 1.30am here.

            • DavidByron says:

              (1) sexual harassment is actually not possible in public places because it is by definition an institutional act of discrimination
              (2) where I’ve seen this sort of stat the men are usually getting ti worse than the women – but their figures are never mentioned (or men are just never asked)
              (3) you yourself just said that a single word might constitute your idea of “sexual harassment”

              You are the one that introduced this “statistic”. I am just pointing out that there’s simply no way to tell what it means.

            • Luna_the_cat says:

              Aaand, this is why you get labeled “troll.” Handy, isn’t it, to be able to define a problem out of existance, and handier still to be able to lie about studies available on the web; better yet when you can make up what other people supposedly say.

              I’ve seen this from you in the past, DavidByron; there’s generally no point in trying to have a real data-based discussion with you, because you use the tactics of anti-vaccinationists and climate-change deniers — “play the nitpick game” with all evidence that is presented, make unsupported assertions that others are then supposed to try to disprove, lying about what other people say (“you yourself just said that a single word might constitute your idea of ‘sexual harassment'” — WTF? No I didn’t.), etc. You are quite proud of the fact that you consider all feminists (across the board, blanket characterization you have made) ‘evil’, and it’s plain that you have no interest in ever trying to find common understanding or hashing out a better understanding — you are far more interested in using shallow tricks of rhetoric and sophistry to “prove” that you don’t have to pay any attention. After all, you already know you’re right, amirite?

              It’s pathetic. But I thought I’d simply make it plain why this discussion is ending — it’s just as annoying as walking away and letting a group of anti-vaxxers yammer about how they “chased off Big Pharma”, but some discussions just have no hope of going anywhere.

            • @ Luna_the_cat

              Dear Luna – if you are so unhappy with the points made by one person that you have to resort to the Ad Hominem, maybe you will address points raised by others and addressed to you by name?

              I see from your past that you evade direct points from multiple people and pursue only one line of communication! P^)

              … and creating Rhetorical questions about a person is just you subjective reality being projected. If you are so hot on debate you would know that, and also that it is seen as just a poor ruse to feel self justified. Ironic use is different!

              It’s almost as if someone has been moonlighting as a cat with only one mouse sought to play with! P^)

              It seems that you have only been interested in having one aim, which is to accuse one person of Trolling and other such vagaries, – and not to be party to dialogue!

              There are plenty of unanswered points from others – so one has to wonder. Is the exit with trolling accusations real, or just a ruse to avoid the unfinished business and the questions and points you have not addressed?

              You can answer that yourself – or others are allowed to draw inferences from any lack of response. If any inference should be negative you will of course just have to live with that, since you are the one who has been so focused and avoided the opportunities provided by others – even addressing you directly by name!

            • “There are ways of asking “where do your stats come from? What is the definition of ‘harassment’?” which do not in fact involve the stupid phrasing. Look, I just used those questions! See how that works? See how straightforward they are?”

              Why is it whenever a feminist feels offended the expectation is that everyone should accommodate them. Yet when people ask them to also not have prejudice by assuming the worst of someone if they disagree its suddenly far too much to ask?

              If you actually want to reach men you are going to have to tolerate assumptions that disagree with your assumptions. Instead of assuming the worst of someone how about asking for clarification?

            • It’s pretty much female or maybe just some-feminist entitlement in a nutshell. Luckily not all females have that.

            • Luna_the_cat says:

              Gosh, it’s just so unreasonable to ask someone who is supposedly trying to have a good-faith discussion about a subject not to put up strawmen and not to be stupidly insulting to people. Pure feminist entitlement, surely, to ask for honest dealing. What a shame.

            • I’ll admit, I overstepped the line there. Bad day, so I apologize. Never comment on a few hours of sleep, you sound like an idiot and I’m still wondering what made me think the previous.

              I believe it was something along the lines that IF feminists do it in particular, it’s a feminist entitlement but quite frankly a lot of people do it from all groups.

              More clarity in the original questions of defining harassment would probably have been better. Leta has a point though, except I’d say for quite a few people of all groups do it and I’m curious too why that can occur. My guess is people are misunderstanding each other in what they are trying to ask or say, attitude has been added and it’s escalated from there?

            • Honest dealing? you complained about nitpicking and you havent even produced any stats other than stuff behind a paywall?

              How you define what is and isn’t sexual harassment may seem nitpicking but that is kind of the point with how you got your number in regards to stats. Its not the same as climate deniers because there is ACTUAL STATISTICS PROVIDED. You have not produced shit. You stated something without evidence he responded without evidence. You claim he is attacking a straw man that is because there is nothing else to attack.

            • @ Luna_the_cat

              Strawman is it?

              You listed a study – “Experiencing the Streets: Harassment and Perceptions of Safety among Women”, Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 2000 37: 306 R. MACMILLAN, A. NIEROBISZ and S. WELSH

              You have been asked for a link to a Publicly Accessible copy – one that is not hidden behind a Pay Wall. We’re still waiting to be able to analyse the study and stats.

              Some may be wondering if there is any inherent bias in the study – given that it’s titled “Experiencing the Streets: Harassment and Perceptions of Safety among Women”.

              But of course until it’s possible to verify sampling, to see if there was any gender bias, you have been given the benefit of the doubt! On the other hand you have not given other such benefit and started with the classic thought terminating Cliche’s such as Troll and Strawman!

              So here is Schroedinger’s Pay Wall!

              “As an online discussion involving gender grows longer, the probability of a person justifying their position by reference to sources behind a “Pay Wall” approaches 1.”

              So who is acting as a creature made from Straw?

              You claim that others are not showing good faith and not discussing things in a rational fashion? Hmmm? P^/

          • Is it worse for women than to men?

            Because unless you have measured it for both men and women i have no reason to actually believe it. I can name bad things happening to men not measure if the same thing happening to women and give a false picture of how bad it is for men.

            I think you have confirmed my belief in Schrodinger feminist.

            • Luna_the_cat says:

              …..Is this supposed to be either an argument or an insult that makes sense?

            • Its saying your evidence is incomplete.

              I have seen so many stats where only women were questioned and then extrapolations are made. Sometimes those statistics obscure what is happening to men. I can point to the guardian where a big fuss was made about women losing more jobs than men when government departments had cuts. The problem was though more women were employed in those departments than men and also the unemployment rate was actually higher for men than women. It meant that women were doing better than men but some people were thinking the only thing which was important were stats which show women doiong worse than men.

              It created a distorted vision of the employment numbers. Which is why everyone should be skeptical of statistics. You don’t konw if you are seeing everything or only seeing what someone wants you to see.

            • Luna_the_cat says:

              Please, feel free to produce evidence that men experience sexual harassment (especially by strangers on the street) at anything approaching the rate experienced by women. I would be honestly fascinated to see this.

            • I don’t have any evidence. But if you are going to say that women have it worse than men it is kind of up to you to provide evidence…. Scientific method and all.

              Its also a cop out because i am going out now 😛

            • If the male side hasn’t been studied, no author should dare compare male and female experience. You can show women get it bad but you can’t go further than that. That’s what many of us seem to object to. This isn’t about minimizing the harm done to women, it’s about understanding if it is unique to women or if it’s like domestic violence, rape etc that happens to us all quite a lot.

            • Luna,

              When men experience it, it’s usually not called “harassment.” In my life, I cannot recall any time that I turned a girl down and was not immediately accused of being homosexual, impotent, or any of a dozen other sexually suggestive ideas.

              But this somehow isn’t harassment by most definitions.

              If I approach a girl in a bar and say “Nice Chest!” that’s usually harassment. But if a girl approaches me, I say I’m not interested, and she responds “Whatever, you probably only like dudes,” that somehow eludes the definition of harassment.

              Because most definitions of harassment will include the first instance but not the second, it becomes very difficult for me, as a man, to take harassment statistics seriously. The broader the definition of harassment, the less seriously I’m going to take it. If the statistics dealt exclusively with groping, I’d probably listen. But when the statistics balloon to include “sexual glances” (this was included in a recent EU sexual harassment survey) I’m not really going to listen at all, especially when female behavior towards me is completely ignored.

            • @ Mike – “When men experience it, it’s usually not called “harassment.” In my life, I cannot recall any time that I turned a girl down and was not immediately accused of being homosexual, impotent, or any of a dozen other sexually suggestive ideas.”

              Where I come from It is “Sexual Harassment” – and I have seen quite a few ladies escorted off the premises by security in total equality when they have been naughty and worse! P^)

              I have to say that as a Gay Man I do find it extremely harassing when a heterosexual women tells me:

              1) that I am a waste because, I am not interested in her sexually. How dare she abuse and harass me that way!
              2) that she has the miraculous capacity through coitus to make me heterosexual and correction sex is a reality in her mind. More sexual harassment.
              3) that groping or fondling me in some way does not matter as it can’t be sexual on her part, or even assault, because of gender polarity and sexualities. I am entitled by law to protect myself – and I will – and if some object – Tough. It does not bother me the gender of any such assailant, they get equal short, sharp treatment – whether that be a shove to the floor or a slap in the face.
              4) that because I am gay her comments and conduct in some way do not count as harassment – abuse – or move into areas of criminality. Homophobic Hate Crime loomes and I am rather quick on that one.
              5) If I should correct her errors, or act lawfully to stop physical assault, It is permissible to state that I am in some way less of a man for doing so and she has the right to verbally abuse me and make unfounded ad hominem attacks – relating to my masculinity – sanity – and even the size, dimension and quality of my genitals. Well that goes into so many areas of Criminality…..and Anti-social behaviour!
              6) Should I respond in kind by saying such things as “leave me alone and stop being a lecherous pseudo Fag Hag” I am apparently to be viewed as abusing her on grounds of her sex and misandrist – and accused of being a wife beater (no joke) even when the statements being made are nonsensicalness and logically fallacious.

              It was behaviour such as that which resulted in Gay Venues in Manchester banning Hen Parties – Bridal Showers – Girls night out – and introducing Codes Of Conduct for Heterosexual Women to protect male clients from Sexual Abuse – Harassment – and in full agreement with the Police to stop Criminal Activity by such women.

              Some had one hell of a shock when the police asked the men – “Do You Want To Press Charges Against Her?”. It became policy to always answer “Yes”.

              The Police also acted just as impartially when the same Women became abusive at the door and abused security staff who refused them entrance. As it was private property and the abuse was in public – It was a public order offence and equally open to prosecution. The shocked looking faces of such women as they were arrested and taken away to cheers and rounds of applause were most welcome by the vast majority of people affected.

              It was odd – but when the same females were observed in NONE Gay venues, they would not dare exhibit the same behaviours. It seemed that they knew that Straight Men would not tolerate such conduct.

              It just shows how much behaviour is influenced by Environment and not just gender polarities.

              So how do you define Harassment? The person being harassed does and not the person doing research that is all too often gender biased and poorly designed. P^)

              That was one that the Police accepted – and it’s why they were a central driving force in addressing the criminality of a minority who believed they could be grossly anti-social and get away with it. Of course it still happens – but now there is a very well developed system that deals with it very promptly.

              Equality is like that! P^)

            • I amafreeman says:

              Well that is because women are simply wonderful and men are such assholes! Thought you knew that….

            • If being offended should count for something the actual author has minimized male victims of rape by saying that it is such a small number. When in reality the way that percentage was calculated isn’t counting large amount of what most people would consider women raping men. I could just say that the author is a troll. The idea that men here should just believe in good faith that women have it so much worse than men is obnoxious.

              The whole point here is that men should do things so women don’t feel fear. Can i make a suggestion i think feminists should also make a good faith effort that they can be trusted because so often I think it would be just be better if when a say a feminist says something i should just metaphorically cross to the other side of the road. I can see some feminists understand how much mistrust a lot of us have about them but i don’t think they understand how much of it is entirely justifiable. Again original article minimized male victims of rape so he could make a claim that women have it so much worse than men. But david here made a claim that harassment might be exaggerated so he is a troll but article writer is showing compassion….

            • @ Luna_the_cat

              “Please, feel free to produce evidence that men experience sexual harassment (especially by strangers on the street) at anything approaching the rate experienced by women. I would be honestly fascinated to see this.”

              How funny! So please define “Sexual Harassment”! It does have quite a serious and central position in your challenge.

              “anything approaching the rate” – what will be acceptable? How many standard deviations do you require?

              Shifting Goal Posts!

              Quantitative Vs Qualitative.

              And The Band Played On! http://youtu.be/g5vJa1LnSEY

          • Luna_the_cat

            “Actually, I think that worst-case gets focused on because it is worst case; that is a universal human tendency.”

            I don’t agree that it is just a “Human Tendency” – it is also open to manipulation, either unwittingly or deliberately. It does depend on how it is presented. Take fatal car crashes for example. Do Drivers Use seat belts due to a “Fatal Car Crash Culture”, or because the evidence and even laws have been presented in a way that deal with worst case – but also address lesser levels of risk too?

            There is an art to communicating risk, providing information about such risks and empowering people to manage them. As I’m not on the US I see some very, very odd patterns that are US-Centric, and which don’t fit with other countries. Either the USA is a modern day “Sodom and Gomorrah” – else the marketing has been wrong.

            Where do people address “Schroedinger’s Car Jacker” or “Schroedinger’s Drive by shooter”?

            What about:

            “My point, though, is that rape is not the only thing (by FAR not the only thing) that makes women nervous around strangers.”

            This is one of those marketing issues. The extreme stances taken have led to such oddities as women commenting here that “Only Women” have to alter their personal behaviour – and interlay everything they do, how they do it, every waking moment they have to address the risk of rape.

            I’ve addressed the oddities of “Only Men Can Stop Rape” – more bizzare marketing. It’s weird that a feminist would state such, as it logically ends up building a whole layer of Patriarchy that gives men control over women and reduces women’s agency. More Bizarre Marketing.

            As a Gay, Crippled, Racially Complex Guy – well I too have to address personal safety in relation to my environment – and asses as appropriate. I’ve been doing it for over 30 years – and even worked to have other’s trained in the techniques.

            Why is it that some are of the view that only Women have to do this, and is that due to bad marketing and poor information management?

            Why are the issues of Personal Safety and Personal Responsibility being framed in such a way as to make them only about rape – and why are issues that are not rape or sexual in nature brushed aside and marginalised?

            The OP made the point about altering his personal behaviour to accommodate other’s fears – but there is this mission creep from it being about fear of crime to it being about the Rape Culture marketing fear.

            Where do we address “Schroedinger’s Mugger” – “Schroedinger’s Gay Basher” – “Schroedinger’s lets take the easy target and do the cripple, as the easy option and the one who has the greatest issue in defending themselves against physical violence”?

            “I’ve seen a few statistics on how many women encounter sexual harassment on the street or in public places, and it seems to run around 40-50%. So, by focusing on things like “but rape by strangers is vanishingly rare” and ignoring the problems that are really NOT vanishingly rare, a big reason for women’s natural wariness somehow becomes invisible.”

            So what are the statistics on men having to deal with social danger or discomfort? Do women only deal with “sexual harassment”? Do women not care for say Purse Snatching, Mugging or even Burglary?

            Stats are easy to mention and invariably deal with one focused issue – and then you get into whole questions of Underlying assumptions, Definitions used, Sample used (it’s shocking how many studies use just students available on campus and forget to mention the biases that brings) – and then there is a massive issue of comparing supposed results across studies that are not related in any way.

            Here I have seen so many studies being trotted out in support of “Rape Culture” – and yet the most interesting one I have seen, which is not even written up, involves people being stopped on the street and asking if they know what “Rape Culture” is. Result – independent of age, gender, race and socio -economic grouping No-one knew what it was and the vast majority had never even heard of the term before. That’s an interesting one to balance that stats against. P^)

            Stats have value in identifying underlying issue and patterns – but as proof they are wide open to abuse and misuse – and so we are back to the Marketing Again!

            “(Also, gotta say, telling men to be aware that some things can come across as threatening without their meaning it to? I really don’t see that as “stigmatising or abusing men.” So I hope that’s not what you meant.)”

            Oh – I was very clear in what I meant – I asked a very direct and clear question “So is it acceptable to model it all as “worst-case culture” and for people to run away with the idea and stigmatise and abuse all men?”

            You seem to have missed both the subtlety and complexity of the question.

            You have avoided the issue of “Acceptability” – so again – is it acceptable to model it all as “worst-case culture” and for people to run away with the idea and stigmatise and abuse all men?”

            Again – it all comes across as very US -Centric, so either there is something ever so peculiar and odd in US Culture, else the marketing is odd and misleading – and worst case marketing is causing some very real issues that distort reality, skew perceptions and are leading to people adopting behaviours and attitudes that are damaging to themselves, and also to other’s who are quite innocent.

            … and I’m very interested in just what is going to happen in the next 12 to 24 months. For many years the US- National statistics of sexual assault and rape have depended upon an FBI definition that has been poor. It’s been replaced with a better one that is still poor and incomplete. There is already much discussion of how that new definition will result in an Apparent Explosion in sexual assault and rape across the USA, and there is already concern as to how the population will react to the awaited figures and the massive jump in figures that are coming.

            Given the marketing issues which are already of concern, and just how extreme marketing is leading to bizzare attitudes and ideas, what do you think will happen over say the next five years as these new stats are coming out – and people’s “worst-case focused” attitudes get a whole new impetus – and some go with the marketing hype and “stigmatise and abuse all men”?

            Some look at the past – others the present – I use those two and wonder about the future!

          • @ Luna_the_cat

            Playing catch up ( due to GMT not coinciding with other world time zones P^))

            You say “Anyway, one of my sources was “Experiencing the Streets: Harassment and Perceptions of Safety among Women”, Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 2000 37: 306 R. MACMILLAN, A. NIEROBISZ and S. WELSH”

            Do you have a link to a copy that is not hidden behind a “Pay Wall”?

            It is an issue that keeps coming up – people citing sources that most readers don’t have access to – which means that validity of sources can’t be checked – and as such real concerns as to sample size, demographics. methodology and conclusions simple can’t be addressed.

            It’s gets into areas of “Straw man” and also very poor Netiquette!

            You evidently hold strong views, as do others, so really it’s up to both sides to play fair – and retreating behind “Pay Walls” is a big NO NO!

            We may need a new Internet Law to deal with it – How About “Schroedinger’s Pay Wall” – “As an online discussion involving gender grows longer, the probability of a person justifying their position by reference to sources behind a “Pay Wall” approaches 1.”

            It’s so like Schroedinger’s Cat and how it deals with “Entanglement” and “Two States” existing simultaneously – and even the good old “Heisenberg uncertainty principle”, which is of course where the Cat came from in the first place.

            So using Pay Walls to retreat behind really is an issue – and one that any good scientist and commentator knows to be unhelpful and would avoid! P^)

      • Peter Houlihan says:

        “Sexual harassment by strangers — groping, unwanted contact like the guy grinding against you in a crowded subway, sexual comments, verbal abuse, etc. — are extremely common.”

        Or girl, all of those things have been done to me by women. I didn’t hold up their hand and yell “shikan!” And even if I had there isn’t a chance in hell I’d have been taken seriously. I wrote about this in my piece on rape culture: The percentage of male vs. female abusers is utterly irrelevant. Both exist and any attempt to emphasise one over the other is suspiciously close to arguments attempting to establish a moral high-ground for one gender over the other.

  22. According to the about portions of this post, the writer is supposed to be a scientist. I guess he’s a scientist like right-wing religious are, because at the beginning of this article he chooses to use a racist-distortion as an example in order to make a point. In my opinion any structure built on a bad foundation will fall apart.

    The line: “is it fair to treat all black people as potential criminals simply because, statistically speaking, there are more black criminals than white ones? Isn’t that racist?” is not a fact, unless you’re reading a KKK flier or notes from a GOP meeting. It is not a fact that there are “more Black criminals” then whites. On the surface it sound right to some people who don’t bother to research or think for a minute – but it is, in fact, incorrect.

    Statistically speaking, as black people are only 13% of the population, even if every single black committed a crime they would still add up to 13%. You can’t go higher then your actual numbers. I can’t rob a store and have it reported that two of me did it, as there is only one of me. Secondly, the actual statistic is that more blacks are arrested, charged and convicted then whites – in combination. That is where the “more Blacks commit crimes” BS comes from. When reporting the stats these numbers are combined by law enforcement and researchers. However, this does not happen with whites. Far more whites are arrested for a wide variety of crimes (murder, assault, theft, domestic violence, child abuse, grand larceny, extortion, etc.) Unlike with blacks what gets reported in the stats is conviction rate, not arrest, charges and convictions. With Black these numbers are put together – with whites they are separated. And what gets left out is how each are treated. White youth get picked up but not charged with far more frequency then black youth. Black juvenile records are always included in these stats, whereas most other groups tend to get sealed – you know, like the law says they should be. These are researchable facts, not opinions or ideas. They are verifiable (which I thought people of science were supposed to be about – verifying things.) Simply making the statement, even if its supposed to be an example of an over all point, only lends in to agreeing with the very racism the article is supposed to be against. It puts a bad foundation on a structure and it offends me when people simply say these things off-handedly as if they are based on some kind of fact. Especially when they describe themselves in a profession that supposed to be about facts.

    • @ dafixer – I would like to know more about this.

    • Luna_the_cat says:

      If you read more by “Crommunist” you would, perhaps, know that he knows all this. The disproportionate *conviction rate* of blacks compared to whites, even for exactly the same crimes, is also part of this. However, the PUBLIC PERCEPTION is “more black criminals than white ones”, and he is talking about dealing with uninformed, kneejerk public perception.

      Don’t just hit a phrase you don’t like and stop reading.

    • This is a total straw man argument.

      Leaving aside the statistical fallacies (blatantly wrong assumptions about the size of the criminal population), let’s get at the concerns about “arrested, charged, and convicted.”

      That might be a concern if the only available source of statistics were FBI Uniform Crime Reports.

      Thankfully they are not.

      A better source of statistics is the National Crime Victimization Survey. This relies on the reports of crime victims as to their own race and the race of their attacker. It also ignores crimes for which there is no victim (i.e. drug crimes).

      What is most interesting is that blacks are not only overly represented as perpetrators, but also as victims. In 2008 blacks made up between 12 and 13% of the total population of the US. Yet they made up 17% of the victims of violent crimes, and 28% of the perpetrator. And again, this has nothing to do with arrests, convictions, police reports, etc. This is simply asking a random sample of people “Have you ever been the victim of a crime? What is your race? What was the race of the perpetrator?”

      So, yes, we can say that blacks are statistically more likely to commit crime, just as men are statistically more likely to commit rape.

      • @ Mike

        I was struck by this “Secondly, the actual statistic is that more blacks are arrested, charged and convicted then whites – in combination. That is where the “more Blacks commit crimes” BS comes from. When reporting the stats these numbers are combined by law enforcement and researchers. However, this does not happen with whites.”

        Are you indicating that this false combining of stats and the links to race have not occurred?

        It’s quite possible to bury the issue under competing sources – but I’m interested in the validity of the claim made which deals very much with Systemic and Institutional failure – and false reporting motivated by such Institutional failure.

        • Mediahound,

          For the purposes of this article, Crommunist asserts that blacks are statistically more likely to commit crimes than whites (though his wording is unfortunate, such that it may sound like the aggregate number of black criminals is more than the aggregate number of white criminals – this is false regardless of which set of statistics you use).

          The basic assertion that blacks are more likely to commit crimes is true.

          Unfortunately, one of the data sets often used to back this assertion is the FBI Uniform Crime Reports. This data set is prone to attack in three ways:
          1) Drug Crimes (for various reasons that are too involved to go into here) MAY be policed unfairly along racial lines, artificially inflating the number of blacks arrested.

          2) The data depends on police reports, and several departments (including NYC) have stated policies that include racial profiling, again potentially inflating the number of blacks arrested

          3) Studies of juries and judges have found that people tend to “go easy” on people of their same race who commit crimes. In the courtroom, this results in convictions for lesser offenses, and lighter sentences. This is hypothesized to extend to majority-white police forces and result in a lower overall rate of white crime being reported as individual police officers subconsciously “go easy” on white felons, letting them off with warnings rather than generating arrest records. This is essentially impossible to prove, but strongly inferred.

          Despite these shortcomings, the FBI Uniform Crime Reports data set is also easy to use, available for free, updated frequently, and includes national data. Many researchers thus choose to use this data set despite the complaints above.

          In order to control for these problems, an alternative data set, the National Crime Victimization Survey can be used. This survey has the advantage of not looking at victim-less crimes (so the drug crime problem is eliminated), and relies on the reports of individuals, not on police departments (so the problem of overt and subconscious racism is eliminated).

          The data from the NCVS confirms the data from the FBI UCRs: blacks are (for a variety of reasons) statistically more likely to commit crimes. The point is: this cannot be explained away by attacking data collection methods, multiple data sets all agree on this fact.

          As for the ideas about systemic and institutional failure, that’s a completely different story, and one that could hardly be answered in an entire article, much less a comment. You would need to define institutional goals before deciding on an appropriate data set (for example, if the goal is to incarcerate drug dealers, rather than those who simply use drugs, and blacks are more likely to sell, even though all races use at the same rate, then you would expect a higher rate of black incarceration and this would be consistent with the institutional goal of incarcerating drug dealers, i.e. not a failure). Once you had defined the institutional goals and selected a data set, you could draw conclusions and then examine them critically. But the first two steps: identifying the goals and finding a data set are the most important.

          • @ Mike – thanks for the additional info – But i have to disagree with your comments on Institutional Bias.

            You said: “You would need to define institutional goals before deciding on an appropriate data set”

            That s back to front. When it comes to programming you need to define data set first and then work backwards to ensure that the data set is created and then ensure that the process meets Institutional Goals.

            Real World Example and errors. UK police force advised that profiling for serial killers had to be used in systems. Profile from FBI VICAP used and it says male perp, female victims. That is used for programming – result; Serial Killer male targeting male victims allowed to carry on for years – and it happened twice – Dennis Nilsen and Peter Moore. Please note that in both cases only confirmed victims are reported – additional unconfirmed victims are not counted. When they are factored in, if the systems had been correctly designed and programmed the Red Lights Would Have been flashing long before they were caught. They were caught due to none law enforcement discoveries – and the fact that there were two serial killers operating was unknown due of incorrect system design.

            That is a clear and readily grasped failure used to illustrate. It is by far not the only type of error and systemic failures that occurs.

            System which were programmed top down using profiles do not address all possible permutations and caused Systemic and Institutional Bias which failed to address reality. If you are to have valid systems – you have to first define all possible realities and then program to catch all such realities via the system and then validate the system against Institutional goals.

            It’s shocking how often that does not happen – and then people say look at the stats because they are supposed proof – and they are not! They are a measure of Institutional Goal and perception of those Goals and not reality.

            • Mediahound,

              I think we’re talking about different things.

              When you look at the possibility of “Institutional Failure” you have to define the goals first because that is the only way you can know if there has been a failure or not. In your example, it seems that the unstated “goal” is “catch all serial killers.” In this case, there had certainly been a failure if the detection method failed to identify a class of serial killers.

              When you are determining institutional policies (which seems to be what you describe), then it is appropriate to look at relevant data first, but that’s not the same as identifying failures in existing policies.

              One example of this sort of disagreement that I have personal experience with is comparing public and private prisons in the US. Often, the supporters of private prisons will point to things like lower escape rates, lower incidents of warden injuries, and fewer riots (in private facilities). The supporters of public prisons will point to better health care, better access to social services, and better addiction treatment programs (in public facilities).

              The argument never gets resolved because the goals aren’t defined. Is the goal of a prison to provide great inmate healthcare, or is it to prevent escapes? Depending on your answer, either private or public prisons will be “better.” Unless we know the goal, we cannot declare that an institutional failure exists at either facility.

              This is wholly different from asking “How do we create a system that can provide great healthcare and have a low escape rate?” in which case you would want to start with data. But again, that’s about crafting a new policy, and not about identifying a failure.

            • @ Mike

              This is wholly different from asking “How do we create a system that can provide great healthcare and have a low escape rate?” in which case you would want to start with data. But again, that’s about crafting a new policy, and not about identifying a failure.

              It is possible following basic good management and planning protocols to avoid both at the same time.

              Lets take a real world example that is current – and it’s a blooper!

              Federal government have an expanding policy of using data to target federal funding. This has caused the FBI to have to update the definitions of rape which they use to collect data – and for that data to then be used for multiple purposes – with the main impetus to ensure targeted Federal Funding to meet victim need – support.

              The definition has been updated – but it’s wrong. It should not have been made wrong as the purpose fro the update was to improve data. Therefore – you start with all possible permutations of victim – permutations of perp – and permeations of how rape is committed. This identifies the target data set – and from there you can check that the definition allows the full data set to be generated. The data set is the source reference to make sure the Definition is correct.

              They did not do it – which misses Rape By Envelopment by either a male or female perp – and so you have a major Institutional failure and they haven’t got off the ground! It’s so basic and so easily avoided – and they got it wrong!

              The failure to follow basic and well known best practice causes the data collected to be incomplete and with that skewed and incorrect funding for the future. Rather that address the issue it has created more issues and institutional fudging and error.

              What gets me is , if you did that in the Private/Commercial Sector – you would be fired as Totally Incompetent. It happens in the Public Sector and it’s just one of those things.

  23. Crom is right that many black people do act in accommodating ways around white people. Personally, I won’t do it. It’s not my job to make you feel comfortable. If your ignorance and/or racism causes you dash out into a busy street, then the world is probably better off without you. At the very least, I would be.

    • DavidByron says:

      Can you give an example? He failed to and everyone else black who has commented has said “screw that!”

      • i don't believe you says:

        There are topics that EVERYONE chooses not to discuss in mixed company so I believe his specific take on self censoring, but using that to justify Schroedinger’s rapist is over the top.

      • They would say that, but they’re lying :o) A perfect example would be the President of the United States. Try to even get him to say the word “black”. He bends over backwards to make white people feel comfortable and he’s considered the most powerful man in the free world. You saw it with the Rev. Wright controversy. Rev. Wright hasn’t said anything that hasn’t been said and agreed with by many black people before him. What happened when it came to light during the election season? Most of us shut the F$#K up as to not “spoil” our moment (whatever that was). Talking amongst ourselves is one thing, and everyone code switches to some degree, but speaking freely to white people is another topic. There will be consequences for doing so. Some accept it and deal with it. Many can’t handle it and will be at their most p.c. when surrounded by white people. No one wants to admit that because it makes you look bad. I don’t care about upsetting people (you can see that with my blog (shameless plug)), but it’s a lie to say that many or most don’t. They do. :o)

        • pammianne says:

          Rev. Wright hasn’t said anything that hasn’t been said and agreed with by many black people before him

          so it’s OK that Rev Wright endorses the stated views “many black people” have about them Jews? Obama bent over backwards to distance himself from Wright because he wanted to get elected and that wouldn’t and shouldn’t have happened if he publicly embraced such overt bigotry in his own community.

          I find it rich that people who see racism everywhere seem to speak in pretty hateful tones in private while playing the victim in public. I’m glad you’re willing to accept the consequences of speaking freely but then when you do so you really should stop pointing the finger at “others” who do so. You also need to understand that white people often are in the same situation in which we have to choose our words carefully and be “pc” in those same situations with black people because to do otherwise could cause problems. The assumption that white people are racist and they’re just being polite is just as detrimental to society and as big a barrier to real dialogue as the assumptions white people make about black people (OK, I grant you, what I’m really saying is the assumptions the average white person makes about anyone who isn’t white and/or some form of Christian).

          • DavidByron says:

            Don’t recall any hate language from Rev Wright. Unless anti-imperialism counts. Maybe he hurt the empire’s feelings?

        • DavidByron says:

          Does Obama even count as black these days? I need something more meaty than that. Like a real life example.

          • I know this is more in response to Pammianne, but it partially addresses your points too.

            Take a look at Pammianne’s response. Can you see what I mean when I say there can be consequences for speaking freely around white people or people who would identify with them even to their own neglect? Imagine if she is a supervisor? Oh yes, many black people will tow the line and refuse to rock the boat. I can’t say I agree with everything Rev. Wright said because I don’t know everything he said. And who agrees with everything someone says? LOL. I do like many of the things he’s done for his community. I like that he can speak truthfully even if it will be unpopular. I agree with many of the things he said in the sermons that sparked so much controversy. Look at what Pammianne has to say:

            “Obama bent over backwards to distance himself from Wright because he wanted to get elected and that wouldn’t and shouldn’t have happened if he publicly embraced such overt bigotry in his own community.”

            Who did he bend over backwards for? When has he ever shown that willingness to his most loyal voting bloc? This is exactly my point. He will bend over for white people. He does this because he’s afraid of the consequences of not doing so. I had to listen to black people (and many others) justify his cowardice for months. And they do it again every time some racially motivated case comes to the surface (Beer Summit, Troy Davis, etc.). While I agree that Obama is an unusual case, I used him because I think he illustrates something important about many of us. Take a look at Pammianne’s response one last time. If someone comes to the same conclusion that she did, how likely do you think they will be to rock the boat or do what’s right when it’s time for promotions or, worse yet, when it’s time to downsize? What do you think is going to go through the mind of someone who thinks as she does?

            Many want to say “screw that”, but when push comes to shove, they’ll do more soft shoe-ing than Sammy Davis Jr. I’ve seen it with the dreadlocks that suddenly disappeared and became fades when I was in the corporate world for a while….lol I’ve seen it with the “ostensibly black-sounding names” that suddenly became initials on resumes (Shaquanda Jackson = S. Jackson). No one wants to say they are bending over backwards, but the fear of angering white people is very real.

            • pammianne says:

              Oh for crying out loud, I’ve now lost TWO responses and they both were more coherent than what I have in my decaffeinated brain now

              My comment about how Obama needed to distance himself from Wright is two-fold: #1 Wright was reported to have made some Farrakhanesque “them Jews” comments (and has made them since Obama’s election) so I don’t think it’s unreasonable that I would expect a candidate to adamantly reject and distance himself from it. I would have typed the same exact response if he were a Jewish candidate and the lightening rod clergy was his Rabbi who was reported to have included similar references to them blacks or teh gay. #2 he’s a politician – they need to distance themselves from lightening rods that negatively impacts their electability. #1 is the one that matters to me. I’d find it refreshing if a politician really had the guts to be transparent and not distance themselves for such a lightening rod and clearly describe what ideas they really support and with which they disagree. I can’t even tell how much of the shite that the republicans spew is stuff they really believe vs how much is pandering and manipulation and I’m not sure what bugs me more – if they believe that stuff or them being willing to use it to gain power when they really don’t believe it. We’re talking about politics and politicians, so it’s probably not the example to make the case.

              I was a line manager during the last elections and, contrary to your assumption that the black folks just towed the line lest their voiced opinions honestly. My staff had no problems saying and doing things that could “rock the boat” and may have been a little too comfortable with me. I firmly believe people should be able to express their opinions honestly provided people act with common courtesy and civility in mind (this is critical in the workplace). As for promotions and downsizing, we experienced both and you seem to be assuming that my thought process meant I promoted or retained people I “liked” (white folks and minorities that held their tongues) regardless of objective measures of performance and of course it’s safe to assume I held back qualified, hard working black people that I thought were a little too un pc? Based on this, I can only assume that if you were my boss you would make your decisions about my status based on your own bias and belief that I somehow try to neuter my black staff (I gather you think my comments show my thought process is along the lines of a white person who has mistakenly convinced herself she’s not racist but really is as evidenced by my assertion that civility goes a long way?). While I am sure that there are hiring directors and line managers who make negative decisions based on a name sounding “ethnic” or “racial” and perceiving someone’s appearance as too ethnic, it seems as though you think stupidity, ignorance and racism is the domain of white folk. Could it be that white people may also have to “accomodate” to placate blacks in the same way as blacks to for whites out of fear of angering black people?

              It seems as though the only minorities that aren’t accommodated out of fear of angering them are those whose minority status isn’t obvious. Pretty much everyone, with the exception of Bahai’s in Iran and the mythical black, Muslim woman doctoral candidate in Philosophy, has some degree of privilege based on their appearance, religion, socio-economic status. We need to acknowledge that.

            • Give an example of something said to you that “rocked the boat”.

              I don’t think ignorance or stupidity is the domain of any group. I do not think black people can be racist in the U.S. based on the definition of racismI use. I do think black people can be prejudicial though.

              Do white people acomodate black people in the same way? If that is a serious question, I doubt there can be any dialogue between us. What’s next? Racism and “reverse racism” are equally serious problems?

            • Yoda – You seem an interesting guy with strong views that are not main stream. I’ve been looking at your blogs and ideas – they are strong and come from a different view point that others can have real issues seeing. You don’t seem to have any interest in taking prisoners on any sides – just there being no sides to fight in the firsts place.

              I quote Einstein frequently – “A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be.” – and I get the impression that is what you do.

              I found this interesting:

              “I don’t think ignorance or stupidity is the domain of any group. I do not think black people can be racist in the U.S. based on the definition of racismI use. I do think black people can be prejudicial though.”

              I agree completely that ignorance or stupidity is the not domain of any group – it manifests is so many ways within and across groups no one has Dominion on Ignorance or stupidity! P^)

              As I’m not from the US the next part was what caught my attention;

              “I do not think black people can be racist in the U.S. based on the definition of racismI use. I do think black people can be prejudicial though.”

              You seem to be speaking of what is, and others speak of what they think it all “Should” be.

              I would love to hear more about that – as there seems to be a fulcrum of debate. I’m also not sure of how you and other’s see that fulcrum working – and the balances that result. Is it the Definition that is the fulcrum, or people’s behaviour and attitudes – or do you have to deal with shifting Fulcrum of “Is” Vs “Should” that dances about?

              Not sure – that you can address this in the comments format – so I wonder if you is upto doing an OP on it?

              I realise that Race and the US is different to many other places – and I personally am not happy with the OP’s accommodation position which has so many issues around personal disenfranchisement – assumptions about others and even pandering to prejudice and even assumptions of other’s prejudice to be pandered to.

              It’s a Gordian Knot of prejudices, presumptions and losses of freedoms that does need an answer – both on a human level but also from the position of Philosophy and Ethics.

              Write a full response to the OP please – and lets hear some clear and well considered argument on both sides.

            • pammianne says:

              I inherited a staff that, across 2 offices, pretty much looked like a snow storm. Since the company was going through a reorg, we were hemorrhaging staff which meant I had to interview and backfill about 50% and we had a ton of new projects so I was able to hire additional staff. The loss of staff hit a remote office (1 pakastani muslim woman & 9 generic christian white women) shortly after I started; it hit my local office (25 mostly generic christian white women, 2 jewish women, 4 men of of whom was asian and who was gay) about two months later. A black direct report (Laurey) in the local office made a comment about being the only black person in our group as well as the lack of diversity in or department overall. This was about 5 years ago so I don’t remember exactly what she said and I don’t recall if she said it because she knew I was reviewing the CVs of applicants for the positions in the other office or not. I let her know that I was uncomfortable with the lack of diversity and would ensure my hiring practices would address that. You are right about often being able to identify some ethnic/racial traits from names and other things on a CV but I can say that I never rejected someone based on their name unless it was someone I knew and didn’t think was qualified (it was a support position and it’s amazing how people will lie outright on CVs even when the hiring manager had worked at their current company and knew the JD for their current role) but I did use assumptions made from that information to select candidates for phone interviews which increased my chances of creating diversity while still finding the best qualified applicants.

              Laurey was also passed over to promotion into another position because of a really stupid and myopic hiring manager. She was basically doing the bulk of the work for 3 of his inept reports who had been assigned to critical projects and his excuse for not giving Laurey the open position was that he would be putting her current projects at risk if she was reassigned – I had no control over this and as much as I didn’t want to lose Laurey from my staff, I did everything I could do to champion her for those positions as they needed to be filled/back-filled. The situation didn’t go unnoticed by Laurey or by most of the rest of my staff so I also had people raising the is it racism question which could be perceived as rocking the boat as well. It took 6 months for her to get that promotion as the idiot hiring manager had an opening on projects she knew well and wanted to finally give her the job; there was also another position under a different hiring manager at the same time and I made sure the other hiring manager knew that Laurey would be more than interested in moving out of her comfort zone taking on more responsibility for a very different type of project. Laurey spoke very freely about her frustrations and there were times she said and did things that were counter productive and unprofessional, so I did have to tell her that while everyone understood her anger and frustration, I didn’t want her to shoot herself in the foot because any time you lose your temper in a professional setting you run the risk of hurting your career even if you are 100% in the right. The agreement was that any time she felt she was going to rock the boat or just needed to vent, she was to come into my office, shut the door and spew.

              Most of my staff saw that I was an advocate for my team, set up training/mentoring to help them achieve their goals and didn’t blow smoke up their asses so they did feel free to express opinions and I felt free to agree or disagree and let them know why. If I disagreed, I was clear in providing guidance and rectifying the situation. If I agreed I helped with an action plan to rectify the situation and, in many cases, correct the misperception others had. This is a critical part of a line manager job that I know a lot of people don’t do.

              I hate to break it to you but humans can be real assholes. That is a trait that is not limited to any particular race, creed, sexual orientation, socioeconomic class. If we all agree that an act by person X against person Y is an egregious example of racism/bigotry, the act doesn’t somehow suddenly not be racist or bigoted because person X is black and person Y is the “other”. It seems as though you are saying that all blacks are, by default, victims of white people (& white people, just by virtue of being caucasian have enormous privilege regardless of any other factors and are therefor inherently racist regardless of actions). I call bullshit on that as much as I call it on the feminists who created Schroedinger’s Rapist and other people who insist on victimizing themselves to justify wrapping themselves in a shroud of righteous indignation.

              Newsflash: If I am walking down a deserted street alone at night and hear footsteps behind me that sound like they’re speeding up/catch the sight of another person coming toward me in my peripheral vision, my autonomic nervous system and adrenals are going to kick in and I’m probably going to speed up. The race, religion and sex, heck even the size of that other person (or people) is not going to impact that as my reaction is not based on those factors. If you are the person walking behind me when that happens, you decide to label me as racist despite the fact I don’t even see you. Now I can understand if black men (and Muslims, in this country) are in a quandary that doesn’t affect white men – I don’t think your average white person thinks about. White guys are not going to think that the person in front of them are speeding up because they’re men, white women will probably be oblivious I guess I can see that a black woman may notice and think it’s b/c they’re black but it’s a sad commentary that it’s understandable that black men and muslims have the reflex thought of that person is speeding up because they perceive me as the bogeyman. The thing I find odd about your stance is that it appears to me (and please correct me if I’m wrong) that you would still consider my actions to be racist even if I don’t see you (or enough of you) to know you’re black whereas I’m pretty sure most people given that realization would not. You’re right, ongoing dialogue would not be productive.

            • DavidByron says:

              Yeah that’s still not what I am trying to get at. I mean sure suck up to the boss, but who doesn’t do that? If a white man has a black boss and they think to themselves well I better look more presentable so I’m going to shave my beard instead of looking like a hippy… are they accommodating black people or just sucking up to the boss?

              What the original cases were talking about is how people accommodate people with no power over them beyond being ordinary members of a more privileged class. The man who accommodates the woman’s fears and Crommunist accommodating his white friends somehow.

              I mean who knows what he meant I suppose.

      • Examples are things like in media. I am sure Michael Irvin and Jay-Z put on a show to be more “white friendly”, also NBA players (and even now people complain they aren’t friendly enough). Some of the styles of black can be seen that way (ask yourself how many black women you know have straight hair, then ask yourself if black people naturally have straight hair). Some black people alter their speech to accommodate ignorant people who believe they are experts in English. Some drop their use of the n word and slang as well.

  24. pammianne says:

    First off I feel the need to say, as a woman, I have always bristled at so-called feminists turning women into victims just because they are women who could be raped by a man and classifying men as either rapists or potential rapist. This was a horrific and unacceptable result of “feminism” gone awry vis a vis take back the night rallies. It takes the stranger paranoia issues many people have and makes the ridiculous supposition that all men are, essentially, born to rape and that women must be hypervigilant around men. .. er “potential rapists” who make active decisions not to rape. Rapists (male or female) make an active decision to do so.

    Equally offensive is the assertion that a white person who speeds up because they are uncomfortable walking down a street and hears someone (or a group of people) coming up from behind them or in their peripheral vision is acting in a manner that is indicative of racism. The assumptions about me and the alleged rationale for my actions are as offensive as you think my alleged beliefs about you are.

    While most rapes are committed by perpetrators known to/acquainted the victim, it is not necessarily unwise (let alone racist) to exercise caution in any situation in which you could be vulnerable to an external threat (robbery, assault, etc) from another human being.

    In general, people focused on being who they really are (though, please show others the same common courtesy you expect of others) instead of trying to appear to be who they assume others want them to be, we’d be able to focus on the true context and intent of another person’s behavior and words instead of creating a slight because someone was looking for it. Maybe if the [insert type] people who “accommodate” [insert other type] people stop doing so, they will stop assuming the others are behaving in as disingenuous manner as they are?

    BTW – is it wrong that I kinda like the phrase “Nut up or shut up”?

  25. Stephanie says:

    I really appreciate your juxtaposed comparison but it also makes me sad because it hadn’t ever cross my mind black people would feel the need to make white people comfortable in their presence. Thanks for informing some of us.

  26. Richard Aubrey says:

    Two issues: What do you do, or what do you not do, to make white people more comfortable that is different from what a large man does to make women he encounters in public more comfortable?

    Do Asian men cause the same amount of fear in white people? In white women? if not, why not?

    • Richard – I object to the “white women?” phrasing.

      I keep getting the impression that the “Equality Mirror” has been so badly cracked that some keep on using just certain Shards with edges that are very limited, but sharp, and cutting a great many people out of the picture.

  27. “The other point I want to make here, which goes back to my objection to anti-black racism being used as a rhetorical device by those who will never face it, is that black people engage in tons of behaviours to make white people feel safer. We do this all the damn time. We make accommodations in speech, behaviour, dress, mannerism, conversation topic – a wide diversity of adjustments that we make in the presence of our white friends.”

    No WE don’t, you do. I respect you choice but it’s not mine, nor is it the choice of many black people I know. I am myself, always. I’m a good black man. If that makes someone else uncomfortable, that is THEIR problem. However, if my blackness makes someone uncomfortable, it does not necessarily mean they are a racist. They could just be ignorant and unexposed to black people. Regardless, it does them no good to modify perfectly acceptable behavior. Instead, they need to learn to adjust to the reality that black people exist, and we plan to stay a while.

    Similarly, men have no reason to change their behavior, if it is appropriate, out of concern that someone will think they are a rapist. If their behavior is inappropriate or threatening in some way, then that’s wrong, regardless of the reaction.

    • Justin Cascio says:

      +1

      I’ve told a fellow here recently in comments on the GMP that self-consciousness about images of men as unsafe with their own daughters is potentially corrosive to his relationship with them, and that he should strive, if possible, to just go ahead and be a good father, publicly and privately. Similarly, when we’re just walking down the street or riding in an elevator, it’s enough that we act like good people. (It doesn’t help to take the stairs. I tried that today and it didn’t work. Long story.)

    • When I was 19, I was mugged as I was leaving my mom’s house after having visited with her for the evening. It was pretty late at night, and just in the short distance between her house and my car, two men approached me and shoved me against the car. In those seconds, I had no idea what they were going to do. I’d heard that if you feel you’re about to be raped or mugged you should make as much commotion as you can, so I started yelling at them. Loudly. It was bound to attract someone’s attention. Quickly one of them yanked my purse off my shoulder and the two of them fled. I was shaken, and I had a big bruise on my arm where the guy had yanked my purse off my shoulder, but other than that I was OK except for being extremely shaken up.

      The fact of the matter is that if a woman is alone and sees or hears a strange man approaching, it’s not “sexist” to feel fear. I certainly don’t have any innate fear of men, no history of abuse, lots of positive relationships with men. But if I’d been in that woman’s shoes that the author describes I’d have run the other way too. He wasn’t doing anything “inappropriate” but I’m glad he understands how it could be taken that way. I agree with him that it’s unfortunate that things have to be this way, but it’s certainly not unfair. There’s no intention to disrespect men (or black men – personally the fear is pretty much the same for me no matter what race the man is). But unfortunately lots of women have been sexually harrassed, mugged, etc. at some point in their lives and so it’s common sense to avoid contact with strange men late at night when we’re alone. It just is, and I appreciate men who make the effort to be sensitive to that. It really doesn’t take much.

      • DavidByron says:

        Yes, it’s sexist.
        It’s discriminatory behaviour – by definition because it’s something you only do to men, not women.

      • It’s normal to feel fear to someone that reminds you of a previous abuse. The problem is teaching this to people who haven’t had that abuse and acting as if it’s ok to do. I’m sure many of us understand people who have been abused will be more fearful around those similar to who harmed them, strange guy at night for instance for a mugging, but why should we have so many fearful before being abused of an entire group? Racism taught blacks were more likely to be criminals which taught fear into their children, how is it not sexist to teach men are the majority of rapists (using stats in a dishonest way I might add) to women? It’s unnecessarily causing fear of an entire group based on the actions of a few.

        When we get misandrist authors writing only men can stop rape, and awareness campaigns causing a stereotype that is harmful it makes that fear become quite irrational and more like fear experienced in racists. The current stats on rape are already a massive wakeup call to remove this gendered approach, but the way society portrays men mostly as the majority monsters and ignores female culpability in abusing others it becomes misandrist. It’s nothing but a prejudice. What’s unfair is raising awareness of male perpetration whilst ignoring female perpetration.

        • Katherine says:

          Rapists are not men by “a dishonest statistical majority.” Studies have shown that at least 1 in 6 women have been a victim of rape. ONE IN SIX. These crimes are committed *overwhelmingly* by men. And even if you assume that every one male rapist has ten victims – which is an astonishingly huge number – that still gives us a 1/60 likelihood that any man we encounter is a rapist.

          Other research – Lisak & Miller’s work on date rape, for example – indicates that the percentage of men, when surveyed, who were willing to *admit* that they had forced or coerced a girl into having sex was at least 6%. McWhorter’s research found that the percentage was closer to 13%, with a frankly alarming rate of recidivism. Let me repeat that. Between SIX and THIRTEEN percent of men were willing to ADMIT to raping a woman. That is a fact.

          And yes, women can also rape. And men can also be rape victims. But what you’re doing right here is derailing the conversation with bullshit anecdotes about how your feelings as a man are more important than my right to feel safe and comfortable as a woman. You are not a victim here because women assume that you could potentially sexually assault them. They’re not calling the cops on you. They’re just refusing to engage with you because they have a legitimate reason to fear you until you’ve demonstrated that you can be trusted. You do not have an intrinsic right to talk to whomever you want whenever you want to. Your desire to talk to some woman is NOT MORE IMPORTANT than her feeling safe.

          • Quantitative Vs Qualitative.

            And The Band Played On! http://youtu.be/g5vJa1LnSEY

            “But what you’re doing right here is derailing the conversation with bullshit anecdotes about how your feelings as a man are more important than my right to feel safe and comfortable as a woman.”

            Could we have it clarified where this has been done?

            “You do not have an intrinsic right to talk to whomever you want whenever you want to. Your desire to talk to some woman is NOT MORE IMPORTANT than her feeling safe.”

            Could not agree more – except it applies whether the person doing it is male or female. Why is it always being represented as a One Way Street? It seems that no matter what is said – some have to get those one way streets is there by any means…..

            • Katherine says:

              That was being done, albeit subtly, with his use of statements like this one: “how is it not sexist to teach men are the majority of rapists (using stats in a dishonest way I might add) to women? It’s unnecessarily causing fear of an entire group based on the actions of a few.” And subsequently with his assertions about misandry and female rapists. While I do not deny that men can be raped, and I certainly don’t deny that it is a serious problem that should be taken setiously, it is not directly related to this conversation or this issue. Rape culture is completely different for cis-women (and transmen/women) than it is for cis-men. Rape is a form of violence and intimidation overwheingly committed against women by men, and that specific issue is what’s being discussed. Archy was presenting the problem as if a woman’s valid fear of rape as a problem with the way women are socialites because their “unreasonable” fear negatively affects those who are falsely presumed to be possible rapists, and because it distracts from male victims. That is what I meant when I said he was derailing the conversation by making what is overwhelmingly a women’s issue about men. Rape culture stems from deeply ingrained misogyny and the idea that any woman is somehow less important than any man because of her gender. By rerouting the conversation about violence against women to be about how it affects men, he’s detailing the conversation in a way I found very upsetting. It’s not sexist for women to have a healthy skepticism of men – men have power that women don’t. You can’t oppress a white, cis-gender man by being afraid of him. And while I think issues like male rape by women AND men are important issues that need to be discussed, I don’t think this is really the forum. The problem of men being unable to report the sexually based crimes committed against them stems from the same problem, in my mind, of oppressive traditional male and female gender roles.

              But by the same token, I do think that if a woman is making a man feel uncomfortable, be it by her sexual advances or some other creepy demeanour, that man also has the right to be freaked out and swiftly exit the conversation without being labeled a sexist. But men can already do that. Women, on the other hand, are socialised to be sweet, to make concessions to men even when those men are making them uncomfortable, to continue to be polite and accommodating even when she’s made it very clear that she wants to be left alone.

              That is the thing. Women, by and large, do not think that they have some right to a man’s attention. Men, by and large, are socialised to believe that they can take what they want. And that’s one of the things that makes rapists so frightening – in many ways, they aren’t all that different from your typical frat boy. There was actually a recent study done in the UK in which men in there twenties or thirties were shown direct quotes from lad mags (like Playboy and Maxim) and direct quotes from rapists, and asked a) to tell them apart and b) which one they agreed with. Not only could the men not tell the difference between comments from lad mags and comments from rapists, but I’d the men weren’t told which quote was which, they were more likely to agree with the rapists. Because that’s what rape culture does. It makes rapists think that their pathology is normal and healthy. And it makes women, who are generally far more likely to be blamed for a crime committed against them than the actual perpetrator, on their guard around virtually everyone.

            • But by the same token, I do think that if a woman is making a man feel uncomfortable, be it by her sexual advances or some other creepy demeanour, that man also has the right to be freaked out and swiftly exit the conversation without being labeled a sexist. But men can already do that.
              No. We are socialized to put up some sort of armor to pretend that it didn’t bother them. Big difference. When a man feels uncomfortable in many cases he is not allowed to speak up about it or its an indicator that something is wrong with him. And why is that? Because of the script of being a man (the traditional gender roles you mentioned).

              There was actually a recent study done in the UK in which men in there twenties or thirties were shown direct quotes from lad mags (like Playboy and Maxim) and direct quotes from rapists, and asked a) to tell them apart and b) which one they agreed with. Not only could the men not tell the difference between comments from lad mags and comments from rapists, but I’d the men weren’t told which quote was which, they were more likely to agree with the rapists.
              That reminds me is there a copy of that study (namely what quotes were used) anywhere online?

            • Katherine says:

              You have a point. And how men are socialized to deal with those situations can vary considerably based on where they grew up. Men shouldn’t feel like they can’t express their discomfort with a situation, even though maintaining their silence is often expected of them. And I do find that troubling. When I say that men have less to fear in those situations, I mean that generally speaking, they have an ability to get away from the situation before it turns ugly, because they (generally) have more physical strength, and have less to fear from a woman (or another man) who is causing them discomfort. But that is not always the case, especially in date rape situations, and that’s a problem that needs to be addressed, too.

              Absolutely. The write up in the British Journal of Psychology should be here – http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.2044-8295.2011.02086.x/pdf
              And an article on the study (though there are many, if you google some of the keywords) from the University of Surrey is here – http://www.surrey.ac.uk/mediacentre/press/2011/69535_are_sex_offenders_and_lads_mags_using_the_same_language.htm

            • I find it fascinating that the people running the tests and authoring the study are very careful in the language they use to report.

              They claim no facts from the results – but do make suggestions as to possible interpretation of the results. I think that is most wise give the number of hypothesise they use to synthesis a primes to check. It seems there are at least underlying assumptions drawn from across multiple studies used to synthesise the hypothesis – so no risk of bias there is there?

              It is interesting too that yet again the sample was taken from “University Students” – that well known bastion of a whole population where there are no Biases such as Eduction, Economics, race and even gender at play – and of course as we all know, there is no Bias at all in the volunteer effect and the Volunteers trying to work out how to make the testers happy! P^/.

              I also find it fascinating to read the “Quotations” used in the testing procedure. One set from Convicted Rapists and the other set from lads Mags. Just looking at the selected quotes there is NO EQUIVALENCE as to content, semiotics and even writing styles.

              The following two quotes have simply been selected because they were listed as No 1 on the respective lists. No equivalence other than that is implied.

              Rapist Quote: “There’s a certain way you can tell that a girl wants to have sex . . . The way they dress, they
              flaunt themselves.”

              It uses absolute language – it communicates supposed facts.

              lad mag quote: “A girl may like anal sex because it makes her feel incredibly naughty and she likes feeling like a dirty slut. If this is the case, you can try all sorts of humiliating acts to help live out her filthy
              fantasy.

              Its two sentences both conditional – using “may” and “if” – which communicate conditionals and not facts. Any fact that is implied can only exist, or be presumed to exist after the first part of the conditional is met.

              There is gross bias in the subject matter of the quotes – and a massive gap in neutrality of subject – form rapists expressing views over dress to lad mags likening women to plasticine that can be made into any shape desired.

              There is such a Divergence and lack of equivalence on the source language used from two different sources that there can be no rational or realistic comparison.

              There is an evident imbalance in the selection of Quotes – and it appears blatant.

              “We selected the eight convicted rapist items from verbatim interview transcripts with convicted incarcerated rapists in the United States contained in the book The Rapist File: Interviews with Convicted Rapists (Sussman & Bordwell, 2000). All quotes are listed verbatim in Table 1.”

              Oh so there is no bias there – Convicted rapists being interviewed whilst incarcerated have no fear that if they make the wrong comment and possible extra charges being brought?

              There is no Environmental Bias or Environmental Influence/Conditioning that could possibly influence or mediate the language of the Convicted Rapists in US jails being interviewed?

              There is no fear that saying the wrong thing or talking about the subject may influence such thing as parole opportunity, status within the Institution and even personal safety?

              Having looked at the language presented to test subjects – I’m not surprised that the very guarded statements made by Convicted Rapists would feature more highly – as they are less inflammatory – and it appears that was due to a number of factors not addressed or discussed in the study – and which the study does not even discuss or be self critical over!

              The study says of it’s findings “Unexpectedly, the participants also identified more with the rapists’ quotes than the lads’ mags quotes.”

              Well given the nature of the Quotes used and the biases built into where the quotes come from – I’m not surprised at all! The Experiment presented a search for lesser evil and perceptions on that.

              If the Quotes From Rapists had come from Unconvicted, None-Incarcerated rapists who were shooting the breeze freely, there may well have been some equivalence. P^/

              Lies – Damned Lies – And Statistics from Studies that use Biased Source material and which people then presents as fact and absolute evidence to support personal views and personal hypothesis! P^/

            • Way to totally misunderstand everything I said. I am talking about teaching automatic fear, it’s taught through generations to kids on racism, it’s taught about muslims are 911, it’s the way it’s spoken about.

              At what point does it become ok for men to start fearing women based on stats? Children to start wanting to be with their fathers as women are the most likely child abuser?

              At no point did I say my rights are above yours, I am advocating against teaching fear based on an act that hasn’t happened yet and how harmful it is when it’s used mainly against strangers when the FACT is the most likely person to abuse women is well known and usually a romantic partner. Do you have that same fear of your friends and family? Why is it UNKNOWN MEN get lumped with the fear?

              ht tp://www.livescience.com/17496-sexual-abuse-teen-girls-underreported.html
              “Of the 4,363 female students who completed enough of the survey to be included in the study, 0.8 percent admitted to coercing someone into sexual activity. Only the Swedish data allowed a gender-to-gender comparison, Kjellgren said. In the Swedish subset, of the 124 students who said they’d coerced someone sexually, 23 were female and 101 were male.”
              1 in 125 chance for other teens off that stat that a female is sexual abusive, based on that survey alone. Have you got any stats on how many women admit raping? None of the studies I’ve seen bothered to ask the women those questions. And I’ll explain further down why that’s bad.

              CDC stats have a 12 month breakdown of rapists at 40% female, 60% male, equal levels of victims. Should MEN be afraid of women now too? The vast majority of sexual abusers of men are women, would you be ok teaching men to be afraid of women?

              “I mean that generally speaking, they have an ability to get away from the situation before it turns ugly, because they (generally) have more physical strength, and have less to fear from a woman (or another man) who is causing them discomfort.”

              And I’m not sure if you have noticed but physical strength isn’t the end all be all, I have more physical strength than most humans, I can easily hospitalize most people in a fight, but the only time I’ve been in a physical altercation as an adult I FROZE UP. Strength helps but it isn’t the only thing required to successfully defend yourself and many people do freeze up as part of their instincts when under attack relating to the staying still near predator instinct. Furthermore in a casual sex encounter, a woman can merely say I will threaten rape and a lot of men will instantly shit bricks and be scared, women have more power than you think in western society and if this physical strength was such a benefit then why on Earth would cdc stats show 40% of rapists are women for a 12 month period? Those men can easily defend themselves apparently, being all stronnngggg n having manly powerrrrr, but they didn’t. WHY?

              “Rape is a form of violence and intimidation overwheingly committed against women by men, and that specific issue is what’s being discussed. Archy was presenting the problem as if a woman’s valid fear of rape as a problem with the way women are socialites because their “unreasonable” fear negatively affects those who are falsely presumed to be possible rapists, and because it distracts from male victims.”
              No, Archy is presenting the problem that we teach women to fear men, yet we don’t teach men to fear women, male to female and female to male abuse is being shown recently to be very close to equal! Yet still we have statistics made to discount much of male victimization, pushed out in anti-rape campaigns that further reinforce negative stereotypes that cause women to fear men, mixed in with a culture heavily focused on the bad that men do whilst usually ignoring the bad women do, puts men on a pedestal that causes more fear than it should.

              You speak of it yourself, violence and intimidation, men are shown to be the big bad wolf quite a lot and that adds to the intimidation. Do you think females would be more intimidated by men if they thought they couldn’t do much to harm men, OR if they knew they can harm men (and quite easily I might add), can commit 40% of the total of rapes, near equal levels of domestic violence (exact levels in all of these are debated). It’s been proven on the GMP and other areas that statistics used in anti abuse, anti rape campaigns suffer a bias, and that bias portrays men as MORE than they are, it adds to the intimidating effect whilst lower the intimidating effect of women. It makes men appear more likely to be violent and women more likely to appear victims, it teaches people to fear men and protect women. The level of shock I see when people actually realize men can be abused by women seems to show me most women are oblivious to the power they actually have, and men oblivious to the vulnerability they have.

              Do you understand now why I hate it? I already said I do not hold any annoyance over people who are afraid after being abused, it’s natural, what I don’t agree with is teaching it to people who haven’t been abused. Both genders actually have quite similar risks if the latest stats are correct, but what’s that fear going to accomplish? If we agree that it’s ok to be afraid of men then obviously it’s ok for kids to fear mum, men to fear women over both rape and the risk of false rape accusations, gold diggers, both to fear each other over being cheaters, both to fear each other over violence. What benefit is there to this fear?

              1 in 60 chance of being raped, ok, what percentage of rape is done BY STRANGERS in public areas? The elevator for example? Your fear should be against people you know, and not strangers based on the stats I’ve seen. I’m not trying to derail with the plight of men, I’m trying to find out why it’s fine to teach fear of men, but not fear of women, or fear of black people, or fear of anything. Why is it strangers get the fear if they’re less likely to harm you? That’s what confuses me. It really does seem like we’re teaching fear culture here pumping out all of these stats, I actually didn’t realize how much power women had until I started to see how prevalent abuse is from them and how close it is to men. I use to think strength was the end all be all, and women were weaker and victims, innocent since “99% of rapists were men”. Then I see these new stats and it hit me hard that women have a lot of power that many do not realize, it may not be as high as male power but it’s very significant yet the way we teach our population of rape and abuse simply attempts to lower that power and put too much power with the men.

              You gotta ask yourself where is all of this male power and intimidation when male victims are increasing rapidly in number.

              Also understand we’ve recently had those CDC stats show equal levels of victims in the last 12months, so when you start saying “Rape is a form of violence and intimidation overwheingly committed against women by men” it’s going to insult a lot of people here most likely.

              “Rape culture stems from deeply ingrained misogyny and the idea that any woman is somehow less important than any man because of her gender. By rerouting the conversation about violence against women to be about how it affects men, he’s detailing the conversation in a way I found very upsetting.”
              That rape culture also created a culture of fear, shame and silence, we’re only now finding out the levels of abuse men face but people continue to portray it in a way that it’s worse against women and minimize the level against men. When you teach women to fear men and not men to fear women as well then you’re simply adding to that culture. But quite frankly I need a break for the moment from this discussion because it’s so extremely offensive to me that it’s becoming harder to reply intelligently. Either I totally fail at explaining what I mean, maybe I am completely wrong, or maybe people just do not understand how teaching fear of a group is bad regardless of stats. It’s not about men expecting to talk to any woman and that trumping your right to comfort, it’s about creating an environment that doesn’t let you get to the point where you are so fearful of a man simply because he is a man, BEFORE you’ve experienced rape or abuse. If I only report n tell the world on stats of the mongalonga people, and they’re everywhere in our society, but I don’t do much study or focus on the rest of us, even if the levels of abuse between them and the average person are similar you can make people fear mongalongas much more than the average person since no one really knows much on the abuse the average person does.

            • Mark Neil says:

              “It’s not sexist for women to have a healthy skepticism of men”

              And when that level of skepticism becomes unhealthy? When a man simply looking at a woman (who has never been victimized) and smiling starts a panic, can we call that sexism yet? Because, when I hear discussion about rape culture, this level of fear is what I see being encouraged. So, at what point does skepticism go from being healthy to being sexist? or can it?

              “You can’t oppress a white, cis-gender man by being afraid of him.”

              Current laws in many countries have it so a woman being afraid, even if she has no legititmate reason for being so, she is entitled to a restraining order, an order that ejects a man from his home, from his children. Even if the man is utterly docile, never violent, rarely even angry, if the woman cheats on him and fears reprecussions if he finds out, that is sufficient fear to get a restraining order in many places. So yes, a man can be oppressed by being unreasonably afraid of him. Current rape laws are quickly moving down those lines as well.

              ” And it makes women, who are generally far more likely to be blamed for a crime committed against them than the actual perpetrator”

              I truly hate this argument, because it is destructive, and promotes that unneccessary fear that we’re discussing. Rape is, in many cases, limited to a he said she said argument, so in these cases, because there are no laws to discourage false accusations, one must be 1:skeptical to ensure an innocent accused is not imprissoned 2: thourough in order to aquire the needed evidence to put real rapists away. These two factors, which are neccessary for a just resolution, are being promoted as victim blaming by people like you. This results in a number of outcomes, none of which are favorable: 1: true victims are less likely to come forward, or if they do, they come forward late, after the physical evidence is gone. This outcomes is detrimental to real victims, and in no way helps them.2: it legitimizes false accusser, protecting them and promoting a culture where even investigating a case where no supporting evidence a rape was commited, to determine if it was maliciously false, is discouraged. These two combined lead to more unaccounted false reports and less actual rapes reported to police, which then results in a lower report to conviction ratio, which then is used to continue to promote the “you’ll be victim blamed” and “rape isn’t taken seriously” mantra’s which starts the process over again. 3: it makes people unwilling to promote idea’s for healthy preventative ations to reduce risks for fear of being accused of victim blaming. Promoting this perception does more harm then good, and to the best of my knowledge, it isn’t true… It’s just feminist rape hysteria advocates don’t like the idea that a woman’s word might be questioned. A simple accusation should be equivilent to a guilty virdict, just ask Jessica Valenti.

              So if you intend to persist with this comment, you are going to need to provide more then just feminist doctrine and a skewed report to conviction ratio that supports that assertion. Otherwise, this is, IMHO, simply promoting the unhealthy fear Archy was discussing.

            • @ Katherine – so when you are asked directly to justify a statement that claims an absolute – you shift the goal posts and state it’s not an absolute, it’s from inference – inference you have made and attempted to impose.

              So in future, state it is “YOUR” inference, and stop being so impolite to claim it’s others absolutes.

              Oh – and when it comes to using the “Rape Culture” argument – do you even know where the term “Rape Culture” comes from – 1975 Film – Lorton Prison Virginia, “Prisoners Against Rape” – working with the DC Rape Crisis Centre? Look it up – do the research – don’t just trot it out.

              If Rape Culture is a concern – have a look at some Videos that manifest it, and yet are supported by mainstream Feminists as exemplars of Feminism.

              When people are justifying themselves and arguments by reference to terms they really need to know about those terms – what they mean – where they come from!

              “And while I think issues like male rape by women AND men are important issues that need to be discussed, I don’t think this is really the forum.”

              Well – sorry if the forum does not come with a banner that says you are right! If this is not the forum – would you like to suggest a more suitable one?

              You may also wish to suggest a more suitable one to address your Views and ideas around Rape Culture Too!

              I love the way you go from Facts – to Inference – to Feelings – and even start mentioning studies without and discernible way way to verify your claims …… it gets more nebulous as time passes.

              And you only used the “Overwhelming Trope” 3 times to justify your inferences!

              Quantitative Vs Qualitative.

              And The Band Played On! http://youtu.be/g5vJa1LnSEY

            • @ Katherine – ““You can’t oppress a white, cis-gender man by being afraid of him.””

              That is such a Bizarre Claim – it really needs to be explained in great detail and fully accounted for. Provide a full rational argument in support of that claim!

              From The Dictionary:

              op·press – verb (used with object)
              1. to burden with cruel or unjust impositions or restraints; subject to a burdensome or harsh exercise of authority or power: a people oppressed by totalitarianism.

              It’s just the same as saying you can’t oppress a Disabled White Male – but you can discriminate and that’s OK and not oppressive in any way!

              But of you do it to a Disabled Black Male it is oppressive because he’s Black – and you are manifesting Disability Discrimination because of race!

              Lack of access due to physical barriers is not a race issue!

    • +1 too!

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      Well said.

  28. MorgainePendragon says:

    Thanks for this, Crommunist. I appreciate your compassion and your empathy.

    • Me too. Even though it sucks that it is that way.

      I don’t know if you (Crommunist, or anybody) have read Barack Obama’s first book, Dreams From My Father. He talked about an incident when he was a teenager, and his (white) grandmother came home all shaken up because a man had been harassing her at the bus stop. She was really scared of the man, and her husband later confided to his grandson that the reason she was so scared was because the man was black.

      Obama was deeply distressed by this. Kind of like Crommunist’s story with the woman running into the highway, it was his first realization that a guy who looks like him could scare a white woman – even one he loved and whom he had no doubt loved him back – just by looking like him. It was something that continued to haunt him for years, and he definitely owned up to changing his demeanor after that, to “speak softly and not make any sudden moves.” He wrote very movingly and with a lot of compassion even when describing his own anger and sense of confinement and bewilderment. That book was an eye opener, for sure.

  29. lapidarion says:

    Crommunist, thanks for the post. I found it clarifying and even empowering.

  30. I amafreeman says:

    GREAT article and GREAT exemplars! Thank you for being the exact opposite of a socio-path – actually caring about how others (might) feel in any given circumstance; there seems to be more and more of selfish behavior these days.

    Yep, just deviate even the slightest from the norm and one becomes suspect – and I fully understand that as do you and feel no animosity toward others for that. It is, however, like being poor, mighty “inconvenient”! Credit to Will Rogers. PS: Have on occasion spken to women in that situation (from a distance) that they were in no danger and that I would “cross the road”. Was surprised at how many times I was thanked – for both the verbal and the physical acts. In certain “areas” I even kept the ladies in sight just in case – it’s the Boy Scout in me!

  31. Rape by strangers is rare, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. Talk to any of the women who have been raped or sexually assaulted by someone they didn’t know, and you know that victim blaming isn’t just something the cops do, and it’s not just something society does. It’s something victims do to themselves. Or at least, I do. No amount of knowing with the rational part of your brain that rape is caused by rapists and not by you opening the door, or leaving a door unlocked, or walking home alone too late, is going to make you feel any better or safer about what happened.

    It’s not an excuse for anti-black racism, and ever since the Schroedinger’s Rapist thing, I have been way more conscious of whether or not I racially profile the people I see as potential threats when I’m walking home alone at night, or when a stranger rings more doorbell and I’m home alone. (Note: I don’t answer the door for strangers when I’m home alone unless it’s a delivery driver, in which case I always yell to my “boyfriend” that the pizza is here, or it’s a lady. I’m sorry, guys. I don’t want you in my house if I’m home alone if I don’t know you. Unless you have cookies, then we can renegotiate.) I do get nervous around people who are wearing black clothing, especially hoods, when I’m walking home alone, mostly because I live on a college campus, and pretty much everyone who has gotten mugged on campus described their assailant as a tall guy with a black hoodie and a knife in his pocket. And it’s possible that I get more nervous when I notice a black guy when I’m walking home late at night, because especially if he’s wearing black, I don’t see him coming until he’s already close enough to me that I couldn’t run away if I needed to.

    I don’t know. I probably do engage in some class profiling and racial profiling in terms of who I see as potential threats, and that’s partially because of a bad experience I had years ago. And because there are a lot of pervasive (completely bullshit) myths in our society about the “dangers” of black men that make an initial fear response difficult to overcome completely. No, that doesn’t make it okay. It’s something I’m working on. But people who are huge and could clearly overpower me if they wanted to will probably always put me on my guard, at least until I get to know them. And you know, I have gotten to know amazing guys who freaked me out the first time I met them, so it’s not like being initially identified as a potential threat means that you’ve been clearly identified as a problem. It just means this isn’t a place or a time where I feel safe enough to take that risk.

    • Katherine, I am very sorry for what you went through. See when you have been a victim of such abuse I have no problems with you being afraid,I wish you weren’t of course but it’s natural. Fear isn’t always 100% rational and doesn’t google statistics to know who to be fearful of the most, fear can be triggered from a reminder of your past abuse, I get the same thing with females mostly 15-30’s as they remind me of the bullshit I had to go through with them.

      You know it’s not right to profile and stereotype but no one can blame you because of what you’ve been through, I guarantee if a white man was attacked by a black man there’s a good chance he’ll profile and be fearful around black people, same for a black man attacked by a white man, a white man abused by white women. I did it and still feel nervous around certain groups of people that remind me of my abusers and bullies, and I’ve seen others the same.

      What I hate though is when it’s taught to people who haven’t been harmed because there’s no way to know that group is going to attack you, let alone the fact only a minority of people harm others. It saddens me when we have women who’ve never been harmed feel so afraid of men, all men, because of a bullshit misandrist culture that didn’t teach them the difference between all rapists are men (which is false anyway, last 12 months 40% were female according to CDC) and all men are rapists (false again, only a few are where most are decent people). I take offense when we teach rape in a gendered way, ignoring the significant amount of male victims and female perpetrators, teach women to be afraid of men whilst both don’t even have a clue over male victimization or female perpetration. It can easily lead people to be more scared of men thinking they do something women don’t do.

      The above isn’t at all what you do, you have a genuine reason to be fearful and I hope for you that it doesn’t get out of hand and allows you to lead a full and rich life. It’s unfair on men and women to be teaching them to fear men so much, or fear black people, or any group, based on the actions of a few. There is risk yes but there is risk in everything, people can be cautious but keep it in perspective. Thank-you for sharing though.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      Good for you for trying :) And no reason you shouldn’t take precautions. Personal safety should be colour-blind and gender-blind.

    • @ Katherine – “It’s something victims do to themselves. Or at least, I do.”

      Your personally subjective view is not a good foundation to build a premise that objectifies so many other people.

      You may need to consider how your personal views and experiences cause bias that obstructs you from considering other views that do not support your bias.

  32. One quetstion.

    Would this behavior that people are so anxious to justify when its women assessing men be tolerated in any other situation with any other groups of people?

    • Katherine says:

      If it’s another group with power and privilege perpetuating crimes against another group without those things? Hell yes. I am going out on a limb here, Danny, and assuming you are a straight white man. That’s not bad or evil – it’s just how you were born. But the thing is, being a white man has given you certain advantages that people who are not white men don’t have. As a man, you do not have a 1/6+ chance of being raped during your lifetime. As a white man (and a straight man,) your odds of being the victim of a violent crime – especially a crime motivated by your skin colour or sexual orientation – are also drastically reduced. As a white, straight man, you can go to pretty much any city or country (or time period) in the world without fear of being victimised. That is *unique* to straight white men. And having women be afraid of you? That’s not oppressive. It may not be fair, but it’s reasonable.

      • If it’s another group with power and privilege perpetuating crimes against another group without those things? Hell yes.
        That’s what I was expecting for an answer.

        This basically sounds like an attempt at trying to use the systematic to erase the individual and that’s what I’ve been thinking over the last day or so of reading this.

        I myself am willing to accept this fear based assesment from anyone in any situation unless it can actually be shown that that fear based assement is rooted in an -ism or some other unfairness. But from what I’m hearing of people it seems that a person doing such an assesment is being declared justified or not based solely on the relational history of the groups of people being represented in the situation.

        I have a problem with that.

        And for the record I’m a black man of questionable sexuality (but this isn’t the first time someone has tried to tell me what I am for the sake using it to dismiss what I say…). Meaning that in all this profiling nonsense I’m pretty much standing on the double whammy (triple if you count the fact that I’m fat because what’s more scary that the big black man right?).

        What I’m feeling here is that if I’m being profiled because of my race its okay for me to say something and expect the other person to take on the responsiblity of dealing with that fear, but if I’m being profiled because of my gender its suddenly not okay for me to say something and its suddenly my responsibility to deal with that fear? A lot of times black men are assessed as possible threats (namely violent threats) because they are the specifi combination of black and man. We’re supposed to believe that one half of that assesment is negative stereotyping and the other half is a justified assesment?

        • Katherine says:

          I’m sorry, Danny. It was wrong for me to make those assumptions without any real evidence – I attributed an argument to you that you weren’t actually making based on previous experiences with people who have said very similar things to me, and I put words in your mouth. I’m sorry for dismissing your argument unfairly because of a false assumption I made.

          I feel like I addressed some of this in the second half of my post, but I’ll attempt to address the rest of your post more coherently. ( And if you haven’t read Phaedra Starling’s article about Schrodinger’s Rapist, I would strongly suggest you do so — http://kateharding.net/2009/10/08/guest-blogger-starling-schrodinger%E2%80%99s-rapist-or-a-guy%E2%80%99s-guide-to-approaching-strange-women-without-being-maced/ )

          Part of it’s not that women actually assume all men are rapists, but that the vast majority of rapists are men. And generally speaking, most women don’t look at a man and automatically assume he’s a rapist. They just know that he COULD be, and if they’re in a social situation, they start to examine him for signs. Phaedra addresses this very well in her article, much more articulately than I am. While some women, especially the victims of sexual assault, may be wary of men to the point that they actually view all men as a potential threat, most women do not feel that way, exactly. When a man approaches her, however – especially when the woman is alone, or in a place where she cannot easily escape if the situation takes a bad turn – a women doesn’t assume that a man’s a rapist, exactly. She just knows that he might be. Many women cannot help but be constantly aware of this fact.

          If a woman made the assumption that you were a rapist based solely on the fact that you were male, that would be prejudicial, although I don’t think one would call it sexist. But acknowledging the possibility that he might be a rapist is just… not being cavalier about one’s personal safety. Women generally look for signs that a man might be trouble – some of these are just things like ignoring her cues when she gives some indication that she wants to be left alone, violating her boundaries or her sense of personal space, asking intrusive questions, etc. Women being skeptical of men isn’t acceptable because of the relational history between men and women, but because of the power imbalance between men and women that is, in many ways, ongoing. It’s exemplified through things like rape culture, and victim blaming.

          And while it may be unfair for a woman to target you as a possible rapist because of your sex, you have to realize that women are being constantly targeted as rape VICTIMS because of theirs. And until we live in a world where that’s not an issue, women being wary of men is a form of healthy skepticism.

          (Admittedly, many aspects of this power dynamic are very different when you get into white women and POC because of systematic inequalities in the justice system, but I couldn’t really speak to that with any certainty that my statements would be accurate.)

          • I’m sorry, Danny. It was wrong for me to make those assumptions without any real evidence – I attributed an argument to you that you weren’t actually making based on previous experiences with people who have said very similar things to me, and I put words in your mouth. I’m sorry for dismissing your argument unfairly because of a false assumption I made.
            Accepted. I really almost lost my cool over that one. But out of curiosity are you a white woman?

            I’ve actually read that Kate Harding post before and while I had unfair grudges against Schroedinger’s Rapist before like I say my problem now isn’t that women are making such assessments, its that people are trying to defend those assesments while saying other similar assesments are unfair.

            Women being skeptical of men isn’t acceptable because of the relational history between men and women, but because of the power imbalance between men and women that is, in many ways, ongoing. It’s exemplified through things like rape culture, and victim blaming.
            When I said “relational history” I was trying to include the power imbalance that you speak of.

            And while it may be unfair for a woman to target you as a possible rapist because of your sex, you have to realize that women are being constantly targeted as rape VICTIMS because of theirs.
            I do realize that (which is why I’ve never, even when I was indulging previously mentioned unfair grudges against the concept of SR, tried to arguet that my desire to approach a woman overrides her right to safely).

            • Katherine says:

              Accepted. I really almost lost my cool over that one. But out of curiosity are you a white woman?
              I am. (I mean, I have some hispanic heritage, but it’s not really part of my racial identity in any meaningful or visible way.)

              Okay, I think I understand the point you’re making here, though I’m not sure what the solution is. I don’t know. I thought of it in terms of how someone first explained to me why it was different if a PoC made assumptions about white person based on their race than it was for a white person to make assumptions about a POC – because of the power+privilege definition. I think homophobia as being similar in that regard – I wouldn’t fault someone for being wary of me because I’m white, but I would be angry if someone was afraid of me because I’m queer. Although other people may feel very differently about this, and I may be overlooking intersectionality as an important factor here.

              When I said “relational history” I was trying to include the power imbalance that you speak of. My mistake. I assumed you meant something in the more distant past, rather than the current state of relations.

              But yeah, from what you said, it certainly sounds like you’re behaving in a way that respects women’s boundaries, even if you don’t agree with the way that those boundaries are negotiated, which I do appreciate. I do think there are aspects of it that are very… screwed up and dated, I guess, but I don’t know that changing the way women think about men will help. I think the only way to really change women’s attitudes and remove this fear is to change men’s attitudes towards women, or rather, change our culture’s attitudes about women, because things like victim blaming are not limited to men. That’s the thing about rape culture – it teaches men that rape is normative, and it teaches women that every man’s a rapist, and it’s her behavior that determines whether or not a rape occurs. And I don’t think that’s just damaging to women. I think it’s damaging to men, too.

              Perhaps i should clarify my position somewhat: I don’t mean to say that women profiling all men as potential rapists is good or fair. I think it’s bad. I think it sucks for women that they feel like they have to be on their guard constantly, and I think it sucks for men who are pegged as dangerous because they’re big, or socially awkward and bad at interpreting social cues. But I think it’s kind of an inevitable product of the way our culture operates.

            • Okay, I think I understand the point you’re making here, though I’m not sure what the solution is. I don’t know. I thought of it in terms of how someone first explained to me why it was different if a PoC made assumptions about white person based on their race than it was for a white person to make assumptions about a POC – because of the power+privilege definition. I think homophobia as being similar in that regard – I wouldn’t fault someone for being wary of me because I’m white, but I would be angry if someone was afraid of me because I’m queer. Although other people may feel very differently about this, and I may be overlooking intersectionality as an important factor here.
              I would definitely say that your combination of being white and queer is an example of what I’m trying to say. I don’t think I could support the idea that its okay to asses you as a possible threat because your white but then turn around and say it homophobia if someone assess you as a possible threat because you’re queer. (Even though I’m not sure how often white+queer are assesed that way together.)

              My mistake. I assumed you meant something in the more distant past, rather than the current state of relations.
              No need to apologize. I tend to pick bad word choices sometimes.

              Perhaps i should clarify my position somewhat: I don’t mean to say that women profiling all men as potential rapists is good or fair.
              I do appreciate you taking it into consideration (but please don’t take that to mean that I think you should just stop your assessments).

              Its like this. I would have no problem with someone saying they are both unfair or that neither is unfair. Its the people that trying to say the one is unfair and other isn’t based on nothing more than systematic numbers. Because when they do that they are erasing the individual.

            • DavidByron says:

              I wouldn’t fault someone for being wary of me because I’m white, but I would be angry if someone was afraid of me because I’m queer. Although other people may feel very differently about this, and I may be overlooking intersectionality as an important factor here.

              So it would be OK for someone who was disabled to screw you over because you were queer for example?

              And this system makes sense to you does it?

      • “If it’s another group with power and privilege perpetuating crimes against another group without those things? Hell yes. I am going out on a limb here, Danny, and assuming you are a straight white man. That’s not bad or evil – it’s just how you were born. But the thing is, being a white man has given you certain advantages that people who are not white men don’t have. As a man, you do not have a 1/6+ chance of being raped during your lifetime. As a white man (and a straight man,) your odds of being the victim of a violent crime – especially a crime motivated by your skin colour or sexual orientation – are also drastically reduced. As a white, straight man, you can go to pretty much any city or country (or time period) in the world without fear of being victimised. That is *unique* to straight white men. And having women be afraid of you? That’s not oppressive. It may not be fair, but it’s reasonable.”

        Wow, this has to be one of the most offensive pieces of trash I’ve read. You really have no idea of the world do you? Good lord the anger I feel right now.
        ht tp://www.oneinthree.com.au/misinformation/ – One in three men are the victims of domestic violence.
        ht tp://1in6.org/ – Researchers estimate that 1 in 6 men have experienced unwanted or abusive sexual experiences before age 16.
        ht tp://www.who.int/entity/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/DALY6%202004.xls – Men are up to 4x More likely to die from violence than women, 6x more likely in war and civil conflict.

        How dare you insult men in such a way because of the colour of their skin, I know plenty of white people who were victims of crime, HORRIBLE crimes, rape, physical abuse, my extended family has lots of it and they’re white. NO HUMAN in existence EVER could be free from violence, even kings get slain! Being white doesn’t mean you’re free from fear, go ask a white guy to walk anywhere alone dark at night, tell a white guy to walk in Afghanistan alone and see how brave he feels.

        Provide your evidence, recent evidence, free from bias (which means no discounting envelopment). With 1 in 3 men suffering domestic violence, there are easily enough white men to be included there especially as that stat is from Australia which is dominantly white. Explain to me how that is not a violent crime?

        • I showed you the CDC stats. I’m done with you. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being a white man, but it’s insane to deny that you have advantages that women don’t because of it.

          • I don’t deny men have advantages in some areas, I also know women have advantages in some areas too. I took offense at the amount you ignore on men. You showed me the CDC stats and failed to read them as well, I replied to point out the parts you missed. You got caught in the bias I was talking about because you didn’t realize the definition of rape itself was biased in their report, I pointed that out.

            What’s insane is that you’re totally blind to it, you’re blind to the bias. How is that possible? It’s very very very easy to understand, Forced to penetrate is not included in the rape stats, yet other areas of the world define forced to penetrate as rape too. Gah!

          • Mark Neil says:

            ” I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being a white man”

            Don’t you? You were prepared to dismiss Danny’s arguments above simply because you believed he was a white male, you even admitted to it… ” I’m sorry for dismissing your argument unfairly because of a false assumption I made.”

            Furthermore, you dismiss even the possibility of white men suffering discrimination/sexism, simply because of the power you attribute to them (power that largely get dismissed by people such as you, who claim white males can’t be victims of XXX, only perpetrators). White men are the most restricted and regulated people in the western nations. Practically anything we do can be criminalized based on the subjective interpretations of those who are not white or male around us. Sure, some white people have an advantage due to their parent’s success, and in some places being white or male still garners advantages (under the table, because if it’s caught, it’s illegal), but for the most part, advantages of being white and male have largely been stamped out by rules and regulations that give power to those with delicate sensibilities. And you choose to ignore this in favor of dismissing white men’s concerns because they can’t suffer from anything since their white men. But of course, I’m a white man, so you will just dismiss my opinions as blind to my own privilege, and continue ignoring your own, justifying your own bigoted worldview.

          • DavidByron says:

            Can you name one of these obvious undeniable advantages that you claim men have?

      • Peter Houlihan says:

        “If it’s another group with power and privilege perpetuating crimes against another group without those things?”

        Yep, in those circumstances it might be legitimite. But we’re talking about women and men here, women have power and commit crimes too.

    • Katherine says:

      And I know what you’re thinking – but I’m not a rapist. I’m not one of those guys who does those things, and I don’t appreciate being thought of as a potential rapist every time someone looks at me. I’m not that person, and I’m nto comfortable being thought of that way. And you know what? Maybe you’re right. Maybe you are a great guy, and maybe it’s not fair that women are afraid of you. But the fact of the matter is, women have a right to assess risk in every situation, and decide if any given interaction is worth that risk. A woman isn’t looking at you and thinking, “THAT GUY’S A RAPIST.” A woman is looking at you and thinking, “I don’t want to be messed with right now. I’m not at a place wehre I’m prepared to take the risk associated with dealing with any new person who might potentially do harm to me.” And she has a right to feel that way. The stats back up her fears, and women who have actual experience with sexual assault are likely to have a MUCH more sensitive trigger for things like this. Male rapists make up at least 6-13% of the population, female victims make up at least 1/6th.

      And perhaps the biggest problem is that even so, the female victim of a sexual assault is more than likely going to end up being blamed for what happened to her. If she’s raped, what she wore is going to be called into question. Whether or not she talked to her rapist. Whether or not she seemed interested, whether or not she led him on, whether or not she was “asking” for the assault. And women know that. That’s one of the big reasons why women can be very anxious around strange men. Not just because they might be rapists, but because women are used to being told that it’s something THEY DID that caused them to be raped. Sometimes, women don’t feel like taking those chances. And they don’t owe you or anyone else that chance.

      Respect women, respect their boundaries, and it shouldn’t be a problem for you.

      • And I know what you’re thinking – but I’m not a rapist. I’m not one of those guys who does those things, and I don’t appreciate being thought of as a potential rapist every time someone looks at me.
        If you had said this about a year ago you’d be right. But that was then and this now so no, that’s not what I’m thinking.

        But the fact of the matter is, women have a right to assess risk in every situation, and decide if any given interaction is worth that risk.
        Agreed. In fact I think that right should be extended to anyone in any situation (unless there is some clear cut way to show that that fear is based on some unfairness like an -ism).

        In fact these days I don’t have a problem with the assement itself. My problem is when people will in one breath argue that a woman has a right to make that assessment and in the next declare that someone else doesn’t have the right to make a similar assessment. And often times those two breaths are backed by systematic numbers. I don’t think telling an individual that their fears are not legit and then pulling out system wide numbers. As in even if rape were to drop by 99% next week I would still not have a problem with someone making that assessment.

        • “My problem is when people will in one breath argue that a woman has a right to make that assessment and in the next declare that someone else doesn’t have the right to make a similar assessment. And often times those two breaths are backed by systematic numbers.”

          Speaking as someone who’s used the example discussed in the article about substituting blacks for men, this is where I come from when using that. If you said you avoided, or were nervous, around blacks on the street (or any racial minority) people would call you racist in a heartbeat. So why is one worse than the other? People are hypocrites, that’s why. My judgment is correct, yours is bigotry.

          • Katherine says:

            Rebel — I do think there’s a difference between making an assessment based on someone’s (dominant) gender and their skin color, partly because I think making assessments based on skin color are harmful stereotypes, but they aren’t grounded in statistical fact. Almost all rapes are committed by men – upwards of 98%. That doesn’t mean that all men are rapists, but it’s between 6 and 13% of the male population. That’s not to say that all men are rapists – no one is saying that all men are rapists. But given that one in six women is a rape victim, 98% of rapists are male, and between 6 and 13% of men admitted to raping a woman (with a very high rate of recidivism,) it’s not unreasonable for a woman to be on her guard. But we live in a culture where people blame the victims for the things that happen to them, and where a large percentage of the male population thinks it’s okay for them to take what they want without consent. Which puts women in charge of their own personal safety, and sometimes, that means that an interaction with a stranger (especially, but not necessarily, a man) isn’t worth the risks inherent in having that interaction. And in order to assess whether or not you’re really a rapist, i’d have to spend a LOT more time with you than would be safe for me to spend with you in the event that you DID turn out to be a rapist.

            Again, I think this argument is actually a classic example of someone blaming the victim. You are angry that women are wary of men as potential rapists. This is caused by the fact that a huge percentage of men ARE rapists, and a huge percentage of women are rape victims. But you’re not upset with the rapists for making women feel this way. You’re not upset with society for making some men think it’s okay to victimize women. You’re upset with the women who are victimized for judging you prematurely. Do you not see how your priorities are out of whack?

            • I do think there’s a difference between making an assessment based on someone’s (dominant) gender and their skin color, partly because I think making assessments based on skin color are harmful stereotypes, but they aren’t grounded in statistical fact.
              So if an individual white person is about to get on an elevator and an individual black person comes up that white person assessing that black person as a threat because of their skin color would be unfair because of the statistical facts? So by chance is there some threshold that black against white violence needs to cross before that assesment becomes fair?

              Now when talking about women assessing men about the possibility of rape a lot of women have commented about their past sexual assaults at the hands of men. They may add up to systematic value but at the base of it there are a lot of individual women with past experiences of being assaulted by men which in turn led them to start assessing men in their immediate area. Also I believe some women have told of how they have female friends who were attacked, leading them to start making assessments of men.

              I’m more than willing to say that assessments made under those circumstances are not unfair. But when a white person makes that assessment of a black person people are so quick, even when all they know is that the one making the assesment is white and one being assessed is black, to declare its unfair. Just nevermind their experiences right?

            • “Almost all rapes are committed by men – upwards of 98%”
              Proof please, and do you mean rape that doesn’t include envelopment/forced to penetrate? If so then your rape definition is heavily biased and by definition makes it rare for women to be a rapist, and is misandrist. The CDC report shows 40% female and 60% male rapists in the last 12 months including envelopment.

              You’re on a site for men, using the extremely offensive biased rape statistic which was recently disproved, please be more careful with misandrist slurs in future.

            • Okay, then, show me your statistic with that 40% estimate, because I had an incredibly difficult time finding any information about female perpetrators of rape. Please show me these stats. I want to see your numbers on rapes by women against men. Though I would also like to point out that even using your estimate, men are still decidedly the majority of attackers. And there is, undoubtedly, a culture that plays into that.

              I’m looking at the CDC stats right now – apparently, it’s actually 1 in 5 women. Contrast that with 1 in 71 men, also from the most recent CDC survey. And the Good Men Project itself gives us this:

              Though men remain the overwhelming majority of perpetrators of rape, the new research makes it more evident than ever that men are also its victims. Despite recent claims about a proliferation of female rapists, the CDC found that “male rape victims and male victims of non-contact unwanted sexual experiences reported predominantly male perpetrators.” Close to 50% of all stalking victimizations that men experienced were also perpetrated by men.

              1 in 2 women will experience some form of sexual violence other than rape at some point in their lives. 50%. The survey also states that of men surveyed, 1 in 5 men have experienced some form of unwanted sexual contact in their lifetime – most of which was described as “Non-contact unwanted sexual experiences.” I’m not really clear on what that is, but apparently it’s a thing. About 1 in 10 women reported rape by an intimate partner, and 1 in 3 reported some sort of sexual violence by an intimate partner. Too few men reported rape by an intimate partner to produce reliable prevalence estimates, but roughly 8% have experienced some kind of sexual violence during their lifetime.

              Here, this is what I found about rape perpetrators in that CDC study you mentioned.

              Female victims of rape reported that their perpetrators were only male at 98.1%. 92.5% of females who experienced some other form of sexual violence also reported only male perpetrators.

              Male rape victims and male victims of non-contact unwanted sexual experiences reported predominantly male perpetrators. Nearly half of stalking victimizations against males were also perpetrated by males. he majority of male rape
              victims (93.3%) reported only male perpetrators. For three of the other forms of sexual violence, a majority of male victims reported only female perpetrators: being made to
              penetrate (79.2%), and unwanted sexual contact (53.1%). For non-contact unwanted sexual experiences, approximately half of male victims (49.0%) reported only male perpetrators and more than one-third (37.7%) reported only female perpetrators.

              Yeah, I’m about to disengage with you for even insinuating that misandry exists, especially when you can look at stats like these and come away with ideas about how men totally have it just as bad as women do. Even for sexually based crimes against men, the perpetrators are predominately male.

            • Page 17 of the pdf, How NISVS measured sexual violence, read it and note that being made to penetrate someone else is in a different category. There’s the bias, those rape stats you pulled out don’t take that into account.

              Page 18, table 2.1
              Lifetime and 12 Month Prevalence of Sexual Violence — U .S . Women, NISVS 2010
              Under 12 months, the weighted % is 1.1%, 1.27m victims
              Page 19, table 2.2
              Lifetime and 12 Month Prevalence of Sexual Violence — U .S . Men, NISVS 2010
              1.1% of men made to penetrate in the last 12 months.
              Page 24
              “Most perpetrators of all forms of sexual violence against women were male. For female rape victims, 98.1% reported only male perpetrators. Additionally, 92.5% of female victims of sexual violence other than rape reported only male perpetrators. For male victims, the sex of the perpetrator varied by the type of sexual violence experienced.

              The majority of male rape victims (93.3%) reported only male perpetrators. For three of the other forms of sexual violence, a majority of male victims reported only female perpetrators: being made to penetrate (79.2%), sexual coercion (83.6%), and unwanted sexual contact (53.1%). For non-contact unwanted sexual experiences, approximately half of male victims (49.0%) reported only male perpetrators and more than one-third (37.7%) reported only female perpetrators (data not shown).”
              79.2% of those men who reported being forced to penetrate someone else, report FEMALE abuser (which the cdc doesn’t call rape which is a clear bias and sign of misandry but most people here agree it’s rape).
              SO last 12 months, about 40% of rapists were female unless you want to tell us envelopment isn’t rape.

              “Even for sexually based crimes against men, the perpetrators are predominately male.”
              False false false false false. The majority of sexually based crimes are made to penetrate, sexual coersion, unwanted sexual contact, and non-contact unwated sexual experiences. The first 3 are mostly female, the last one is more evenly split.

              Rape is defined in such a way that it means forced PENETRATION, meaning the rapist has to penetrate. That is why it’s biased and shows men as the majority, which is why it’s misandry because it doesn’t include a large portion of male victimization of forced intercourse which is mostly done BY females to males, and BY males to females.

            • And yet, you still fail to understand what the statistics mean. I never said men couldn’t be victims. They can. I think that male victims of abuse and sexual/physical violence should have all of the resources women do as victims. I absolutely think they should have access to all of those resources. With the exceptions of the obviously gender-specific concerns women have, like the possibility that they’ll become pregnant as the result of a rape, or the higher likelihood that they’ll get a disease, or the higher likelihood that in a DV situation, they’ll be murdered. Yes, all of these things can happen to men. And it’s not okay when they do. Male victims shouldn’t be silenced. But it happens so much more often to women. More than fifty percent of women have admitted to experiencing some sort of sexual abuse.. Yeah, a lot of men have too, and that’s not okay. But the fact that the victims are overwhelmingly female demonstrates a pattern and a problem that you’re unwilling to address.

              See, the STATISTICS, the NUMBERS, demonstrate that OVERWHELMINGLY sexual violence is committed against women by men. Here, I’ve done the math for you. If 92.5 percent of sexually violent crimes committed against women are committed by men, and 44.6% of women have experienced sexual violence, 41.25% of women will be raped (non-penetratively) by a man. And with 18.3% of women being penetratively raped by (98.1%) men, 17.95% of women will be raped (penetrative) by a man. Total, that gives us 59.2% of women who have been raped during their lifetime.

              My Chart About Sexual Violence Against Men:
              A Study in You Learning Things and Hopefully Being Less Ridiculous

              Rape – 1.4% — 93.3% male
              Made to Penetrate – 4.8% — 79.2% female / 20.8% male
              Sexual Cooercion – 6.0% — 83.6% female / 16.4% male
              Unwanted Sexual Contact% – 11.7 — 53.1% female / 46.9% male
              Non-contact unwanted sexual experiences% – 12.8 — 49% male / 37.7% female / 13.3 % not otherwise specified

              Percentage of men in population who are the victims of sexual violence, by sex of rapist.

              RAPE
              1.3% by male rapists, 0.1% by female rapists

              MADE TO PENETRATE
              1% by male rapists, 3.8% by female rapists

              SEXUAL COERCION
              1% by male rapists, 5% by female rapists

              UNWANTED SEXUAL CONTACT
              5.5% by male rapists, 6.2% by female rapists

              NON-CONTACT UNWANTED SEXUAL EXPERIENCES
              6.272% by male rapists, 4.8% by female rapists

              Percentage of reported acts of male rape committed by women: 19.1%
              Percentage of acts of make rape committed by men: 15.1%

              Now, the total percentage of men sexual assaulted is still at 22.2%. The way they’ve weighted the percentages is weird, so I’m going to go with proportionately, how many men are raped by men vs. how many are raped by women and then use those proportions to determine percentages out of 22.2%. So. that gives us 55.84% of those rapes were done by women, and 44.16% of those rapes are committed by men. So roughly 12.396% of men will be subjected to some form of sexual violence/coercion by women during their lifetime. And roughly 9.804% of men will be the victims of sexual violence by men.

              That means: 59.2% of women will be raped by men their lifetime
              12.396% of men will be raped by women during their lifetime
              and 9.804% of men will be raped by men during their lifetime

              This means that approximately 69.004% of people will be raped by a man. And the overwhelming majority (roughly 75%, if you calculate the estimated number of victims and then calculate percentages from there) will be female.

              Do you still want to tell me that rape isn’t a gendered concern? That this concern, this fear, doesn’t affect women more than it affects men? Do you still want to pretend that i’m disenfranchising you by telling you that living in constant fear of being raped is a legitimate feeling that many women have?

              You’ve said misandry several times in a discussion about rape and sexual violence against women, you insist on making this conversation about you, you made up a bullshit statistic, and you continue to try to “reason” from a position of ignorance. Stop trying to co-opt the oppression of women so you can make some twisted point that men have as much to fear from women as women do from men. It is simply. not. true. You’re not going to change my mind. You’re just going to make me angry.

            • What part of the last 12 months do you not understand. DO the math again with the 12 months stats.
              I said “SO last 12 months, about 40% of rapists were female unless you want to tell us envelopment isn’t rape.”
              either the dynamics of rape greatly changed in 1 year or the lifetime stats are out of whack compared to 12 month part. If you can explain how the the stats for rape and forced to penetrate are equal in 12 months yet different for lifetime, I’m all ears. Either women recently went on a rape fest, men have forgotten about their abuse, or there is a problem in the collection of the stats. I specifically said the last 12 months for a reason.

              “Stop trying to co-opt the oppression of women so you can make some twisted point that men have as much to fear from women as women do from men. It is simply. not. true. You’re not going to change my mind. You’re just going to make me angry.”
              Do you ever consider that life changes over time, and that if rape is near equal in the last 12 months that the current generation of men actually DO have reason to fear women? 10 years ago I would have agreed that it wasn’t equal but these stats are changing rapidly, and in the last year it seems to have hit parity. WHY the big change.

              Murder isn’t the only horror of domestic abuse, even emotional abuse leaves major scars, it’s horrible that women are being killed but I’d say it’s very important to identify ALL DV. We’ve only very recently had stats that truly asked about male rape victimization, male domestic violence victimization and they’re uncovering stats that are similar to what women go through. Why would stats jump so high in the last few years?

              You went from 99% to 69% in how many hours? I understand there are gender specific concerns where some areas are higher than others, what I was saying all along is that both genders have reason to be afraid and it doesn’t happen to 1 gender alone. Rape has been seen as a gendered crime and studied as a gendered crime for so long it has proven bias in the results and reporting of it, we finally get a study that reports on both genders including envelopment and it’s biased in the first few pages already, yet we have people asserting women get it worse.

              If you’ve ever read anything I say you’ll know I HATE biased stats, and use the cdc ones to prove there is great concern and bias in these studies. How can you be certain women suffer more when we have a major jump from most rape is against women, and 99% of rapists are men down to 60% in a year?

              The majority of abusers against men, will be women, at least for the last 12 months, men have a genuine reason to fear women. I’m done with your complete and utter ignorance on the matter. Men have reason to fear men and women, women have reason to fear mostly men and women. Everyone can live in fear, yay, happy now?

            • @ Katherine
              “I’m looking at the CDC stats right now – apparently, it’s actually 1 in 5 women. Contrast that with 1 in 71 men, also from the most recent CDC survey. And the Good Men Project itself gives us this:”

              … and did you look at the comments underneath that piece?

              You should also consider that the writer did not read the CDC report – they did not have time in the rush to publish – so they only used the easy read version and the press release. Quoting is great – but it is best to make sure the full context of the Quote is clear too!

              If you looked at the comments section – maybe you would have noticed some of the Criticism of the CDC report, and even how the questions used “Appendix C” have quite a few issues with bias.

              That is on top of the Fundamental issue as to how Sexual Assault and Violence was defined separately for women and men. Bit of a basic issue there.

              Woman is acted upon and man acts! If I was a feminist I would be angry about that Ingrained and Misogynist error embedded in the Study! P^)

              I note that there has been no such outcry! Funny Aint It! P^/

              Funny how some love the figures and miss the underlying anti-feminist error!

              If you are looking for incidence of event – defining it differently in advance by gender is a rather large Institutional Bias – and it Skews Results – and also has a big problem with the people asking the questions also perpetrating and embedding bias as part of the process itself.

              I learned that is “How to do a study 101” some 30+ years ago.

              If you want to quote stats – well it is recognised best practice to not just quote numbers – but also be honest about the errors and biases related to the Study – and that includes weighting and even the error of say +/- 30% that the figures are known to have.

            • Katherine, thank you for proving me right that people will legitimize their own prejudices while attacking others. You did more to support my post than anything I could have ever done myself.

      • DavidByron says:

        Does she have a right to fear only black men in your opinion?

  33. Katherine says:

    (Oh and thanks OP, this was a great article.)

  34. It’s always the way women are raised too, to fear rape. My mother was raped by a stranger who commenced to blame her because she was walking alone at night. I myself have never had a need to fear walking alone at night. My colleagues will constantly ask me if they can escort me to my car because it’s all the way across campus, but I go by myself. My dad even ingrained in my mind since I hit puberty that I need to be responsible for my safety and it’s not safe for me to be alone at night and I shouldn’t be out after 12, even though none of these same warnings were ever given to my brother, who has just as of a chance of being murdered as I do being raped. But I suppose I’m different. I don’t let statistics determine how I feel about something, but a lot of women are taught to fear strange men, and so those women shouldn’t be blamed for feeling the way they do.

  35. This was an interesting article to read. I was going to discuss using the example you mention but I already hit it above so I won’t rehash it here.

    Personally I don’t really mind if people want to treat me as a “potential criminal” on the street. I give people a little leeway on making judgment calls about their safety. I can’t say I’m very trusting of people I don’t know. I do draw the line at changing my habits and lifestyle to make other people happy and comfortable though. That is not anyone else’s job. If I came across someone who made me feel uncomfortable just by being there I’d change what I was doing. Obviously if someone is doing something legitimately threatening we have a different discussion. Someone walking down the street is not doing anything threatening. I think it’s nice the OP is concerned with others’ feelings and he is apparently nicer than I am, but do not understand why he even feels he’s supposed to change to make everyone happy. I guess I just don’t understand why people think others have to make them happy with what they do in everyday activities like walking down the street. Is this really what we’ve come to?

  36. Mark Neil says:

    “The problem with it (and the reason why it’s so bothersome to hear white people talk about anti-black racism) is that it fails to address the question in a meaningful way. “

    It’s not meant to address the question, it is intended to demonstrate the problem in a way that people are more willing to see the issue. You can’t address the issue while people still don’t see its presence. I won;’t go further into this, as you say you understand the conundrum. But I will ask, does it bother you because white people are using it, or because anyone (regardless of colour) is using a black issue for a non-black purpose?

    “The other way is to recognize that while I strongly dislike the fact that people see me as dangerous because of how I look, it is up to me to decide what to do with that information.”

    What happens when what is done with that information stops being your choice? What happens when policy makers start looking at your race and sex and start implementing policies and public service announcements about how your personal attributes are bad? It’s one thing to realize that being a “big black dude” running at an old lady might be scary, it is something else entirely when people start saying being a “big black dude” running at an old lady should be illegal (and worst when some start trying to claim that walking along playing angry birds on your iphone is considered running at an old lady, or that a 25 year old woman classifies as an old lady for purposes of this suggested law). It’s something else entirely when you start getting TV commercials telling you that it’s not a good thing to be a “big black dude”, and you “must” redefine being a “big black dude” so as not to scare old ladies. At what point do my feelings get considered into the discussion of how I make others feel?

  37. wet_suit_one says:

    Just to throw some gasoline on the fire, I add this (with the link to the evidence) showing that nearly 1 in 20 men in prison get raped or experience sexual abuse.

    http://www.hrw.org/news/2007/12/15/us-federal-statistics-show-widespread-prison-rape

    and

    http://www.hrw.org/reports/2001/prison/report.html

    Considering the U.S. imprisons more people than anyone else on earth, this is not a trivial problem (if it’s a problem at all of course. Isn’t that why we send men to prison? So they can be someone’s b$tch?).

    Fight on brave internet warriors! Fight on for the glory of our cause and our egos or something!!!

    • Katherine says:

      Compared to 1 in 6 women in the general population, it’s a pretty small number. Which isn’t to say that it’s not a serious issue, because it is. But it’s not what we’re talking about here.

      • Katherine:
        1) The 1 in 20 statistics for prison rapes is per year. The 1 in 6 statistics you quoted are lifetime numbers. They are not directly comparable. The average prison sentence seem to be about 10 years (I have only made an eyeball average value from statistics here: http://www.bop.gov/news/quick.jsp) which makes it likely that the “sentencing time” numbers are quite a bit higher than the last year numbers for prison rape.

        2) Exactly why are men raped in prison exempted from a discussion about rape prevalency? So one gets to say “Men are almost never raped”?

        • @ Tamen – I do wonder about the #RapeIsRape campaign – Rape Is Rape: No More Excuses!

          The CDC findings excluded Prison Rape – and it remains very unclear if the FBI data will address it as well.

          Oddly there is an interesting anomaly in the CDC report which smacks of Gender Bias – and even hidden agendas. Page 100:

          “In addition to the general population sample, samples were drawn from two additional populations: 1) a separate targeted sample of persons of American Indian or Alaska Native ethnicity, and 2) a random sample of female active duty military and female spouses of active duty military. Data from these two additional samples are not presented in this initial report but will be described in future publications.”

          So is that sample 2 linked to some underlying hypothesis that Rape and Domestic Violence In Military settings is gendered – and have some ignored the reports that as many as one in five serving male service men have been sexually assaulted by their fellow troop members?

          I do hope that any report linked to the Military will be free from Gender Bias – and if the #RapeIsRape campaign has any validity at all, that those who supported it and tweeted their hearts out will be supporting all people subjected to rape – so that everyone counts – and that Gender Profiling is not an issue!

          “No More Excuses: Change the Definition of Rape – Tell the FBI and Department of Justice:

          It’s high time for the FBI to modernize their archaic definition of rape (“The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will”) to reflect the reality of rape in the United States. Please update the Uniform Crime Report so that the definition of rape includes all victims. Every rape should be counted.”
          http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1400/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=6485&TAG=msblog

          As It says “Every rape should be counted.” – so anyone who discounts a single rape against a single person is not tweeting it right and not actually supporting that campaign!

          There is no Overwhelming Trope in the campaign – it’s every Rape Counts.

          #RapeIsRape – it does not mention exclusion on grounds of gender, or prison, or military or institutional settings…… etc, etc, etc.

      • DavidByron says:

        Presumably various people have already alerted you that your facts are incorrect by now and that men and women are raped in approximately equal numbers even excluding all prison rape (eg as per the NISVS, the gold standard of sexual violence surveys in the USA).

        • Luna_the_cat says:

          http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/NISVS_Report2010-a.pdf

          The lifetime risk numbers disagree with you hugely, even if you reclassify all the “men forced to penetrate” as rape. This is most likely because the risk window for women extends hugely beyond young adulthood, to childhood and even old age. And when you factor in non-penetrative sexual assaults, confining it to “sexual coercion, unwanted sexual contact, and non-contact unwanted sexual experiences” then the difference becomes even more stark (and yes, men self-reported the number and type of experience). This isn’t a claim that what men experience isn’t important, because it is; but the scale of the problem is hugely different, including when it comes to the street harassment which you claim can’t exist because (according to you) sexual harassment can only be institutional. O_o

          The numbers tell us you lie. But I’m sure you have a clever rhetorical way to prove that white is black, up is down, and freedom is slavery.

          • He should have said in the last 12 months. Lifetime, women still dominate, but it is scary to see a 12 month period reach parity which seems to suggest rape is either getting more prevalent, or just we’re only now discovering it, and I believe the numbers for men and women as victims rose from many previous studies?

            Do we need to show who gets it worse though? If both are suffering it at quite significant levels, I’d say both are deserving of action. For rape we have previous times heavily as female victims, male abuser, last 12 months we have both fairly equal victims, 40% female perps, 60% male perps. Does anyone else find that strange? Wtf happened in that 12 months?

            I do hope we see more studies, free from bias of course, that can explain the picture better. I see you mention risk factor beyond young adulthood, is rape, abuse etc fairly equal amongst the genders at young age? And is this possibly a new trait in modern society that could continue and when those young people are older, say 2030+, could those levels be similar or equal still? Basically I’m wondering if society has just created far more female rapists and male rape victims compared to before and if this is going to continue?

  38. wet_suit_one says:

    A most excellent discussion. I applaud the many interlocutors for their diligence and commitment to the discourse. It has been most eddifying.

  39. Richard Aubrey says:

    If a woman on the street, or in an elevator, or anywhere, thinks I’m a potential rapist, I don’t mind. I sympathize, in fact. Just as long as she doesn’t call a cop and tell him I’m scaring her.
    I go out of my way to be unthreatening. Men who complain about the need/requirement/expectation to to that are, imo, whiny little bitches. Put yourself in a woman’s shoes and…get over it.
    Is it discriminatory? Yes. No. Maybe. But what do you get by labeling it discriminatory? You may was well say that gravity discriminates against the obese. Tough.
    You owe it to women to be as unthreatening as possible.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      “You owe it to women to be as unthreatening as possible.”

      No, I really don’t. “Walking down the street” isn’t acting in a threatening manner.

    • Mark Neil says:

      “Just as long as she doesn’t call a cop and tell him I’m scaring her.”

      Why should this be a concern for you if you didn’t do anything?

      • DavidByron says:

        You’re a guy? Hope you don’t find out the hard way.

        • Mark Neil says:

          I was trying to make a point. He’s arguing it’s ok for women to be afraid of men and men should “get over it”, yet he is on the verge of acknowledging that fear can have negative repercussions on him, even though he hasn’t done anything wrong. It’s become criminal to make a woman uncomfortable simply be existing, and that is unacceptable… and Richard knows it subconsciously (or he wouldn’t be concerned about them calling the cops despite doing nothing wrong). He needs to make that connection that it is no longer just about comfort, but laws and policies being enacted.

    • “You owe it to women to be as unthreatening as possible.”

      Define both the term “Threat” and the term “Unthreatening”!

      There is an issue here with just one group supposedly being able to define what either means and control others for personal convenience.

      I have heard it stated that Women find Drunk Men threatening. I have a friend with Cerebral Palsy which means he walks funny – his balance is not good – and a great many people assume that he is drunk. So there he is – totally “Unthreatening” and wobbling along. Is it acceptable for a total stranger to define HIM as Threatening and that HE should be subject to Exclusion – and that HE should be discriminated against because some idiots are totally ignorant of Disability Issues?

      How does he make himself “Unthreatening” to meet some people’s extreme views – stay behind locked doors – or maybe wear a Large Bell round his neck and call “Cripple Wobbling” as he goes about his daily business?

      Is his life to be limited and reduced because of a minority with personal biases that they wish to use to control Their World and World View?

      If someone was to argue that they will not get in a lift because a Moslem Women was there – and she could be a Suicide Bomber – her face covered in relation to her freedom of religion – would that be an acceptable way to define “Threat” because some have developed a social phobia and associated internal biases that are theirs and theirs alone?

      There are some very Anti-social biases being thrown about that do need to be addressed.

  40. Richard Aubrey says:

    Peter,
    You make the choice. But if a woman is by herself, and perhaps it’s dark, she may fear the next guy walking down the street, whether you think you’re being threatening or not. Since you can’t teleport yourself out of the street, you can do various things to minimize the apparent threat which the woman may, or may not, be feeling, or you can act threatening just to prove you won’t be discriminated against, or you can do nothing. The cost to you of attempting to minimize the apparent threat is pretty small. As is any man who grudges it.

    • I feel that fear, but it’s for anyone. I don’t think I know ANYONE that feels safe in the “dark alley”. But how far do you go to minimize your threat to others? Yell safe man walking through here I’m not gonna hurt you and give them a 50m boundary? Should we be teaching guys to feel unsafe around women too? I can show you stats that paint a bad picture of women in their abuse against men, significant levels, even though these men are meant to be stronger and thus more able to protect themselves yet they still suffer. Just how far do we go with preaching fear to people? I should be nervous dating women, nervous being around anyone for fear of abuse, nervous that even with my increased strength I can still be harmed badly by women who are half my size. What good does strength do when in the last 12 months we get pretty much equal levels of rape between genders, and 40% of the rapists were female? Something isn’t right.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      I do do those things as it happens, while I was reading the above article I couldn’t help but think of all the times I’d done the same things.

      I don’t begrudge women, or men, or anyone for feeling afraid in the dark, or of strangers. I was terrified of the dark for years and long walks home up the mountains, miles from the nearest streetlights, didn’t help. I’ve also gotten the crap beaten out of me a couple of times, aswell as other harassment, while walking through a “bad area” so I really do think I know how this feels.

      What bothers me isn’t so much the reaction of strangers, as the assumption that its my job to make them feel safe. As if its somehow my fault for being tall and a man and that walking in the street at night is an unreasonable thing to do. As in everything I try to act in such a way that make life easier for other people. But that doesn’t make their fears, rational or not, my responsibility.

    • So if another man seemed scared of you, you would change your behavior to suit him? If a man was threatened by a group of women, you’d say they should change their behavior to suit him? If someone is scared of a black…wait, I think you see where I’m going, and that one’s been done already. The point is, anyone can be threatened by someone on the street, due to past experiences, things they’ve been taught, or any reason really. So what is your standard here?

  41. Richard Aubrey says:

    Peter. Their fears, rational or not, are not your responsibility. I feel it is my responsibility to act so as not to increase, or spark, those fears, rational or not.
    For example, before I retired, I used to take power walks in the evening. My math tells me I was doing a steady 4mph, which will overtake anybody who isn’t running, and looks serious. No casual ambling. During parts of the year, it would be dark by the time I got to it. If I were approaching a woman, or overtaking, I would cross the street to do so on the other side. Walking around our downtown–small town–I might get to my objective by turning right for a block, then left, instead of going straight, in order to avoid the overtake/approach. If I was not in a position to do one or another, I would yield the sidewalk–mostly a yard wide–to the woman long before it was necessary.
    Some guys, like me, need to go the extra mile. As I said earlier, my granddaughter made a drawing of faces; happy, sad, angry, silly. She’s four and a half. I asked her what face I had. “Mad”, she said without hesitation. I’m big and I have good posture, which is to say I don’t emit obsequiousness. If I get on an elevator with a woman, I go to the side so I’m not behind her where she can’t see me, and I’m not between her and the door. In public places, I don’t make eye contact.
    That’s enough detail. Point is, I try to avoid alarming women whether I think their fears are rational or not.
    Some time ago, during a discussion on profiling men of middle eastern appearance, a guy mentioned that he did a lot of business in the UK. He had a frequent associate who was Irish and got the extra attention you’d expect. The irish guy didn’t grudge the security people their attention. He thought it was the fault of his Hibernian brethren who were trying to blow stuff up. The point was that rational men of middle eastern appearance ought to blame their violent brethren for any extra attention they got. And men ought to understand some men have made some women afraid and not blame the women.

    • Julie Gillis says:

      I really appreciate this comment. I’ve never felt that the “Men Can Stop Rape” campaigns were perfect at all. I’ve felt it should be “We All Can Stop Rape” and be much more inclusive. But I also am aware that for rational or for not, some men have made some women afraid, as you say, and all of us (men and women both) need to focus on finding ways on increasing confidence and diminishing fear.

      My guess is, and it’s purely conjecture, that most of us subtly adjust behavior and demeanor depending on context and circumstance. Some of it is conscious and some of it is outside of our awareness.

      For instance, if I, as a woman, came across a lost child in a mall, I’d most definitely step in to help the child. I’m aware that I’d be at less risk of being accused of kidnapping, but I’d still be damn damn careful to make sure my behavior was that of “HEY I”M HELPING HERE.”

      As a woman, I might change my behavior walking alone at night to appear stronger, faster, and tougher. I might try to appear less threatening at the mall with that lost child. I am serious and obedient in a security line at the airport, and I act differenlyt in a bar that I am familiar with and with friends, than in a bar alone in a new city.

      We all do this and I think it’s one of the ways we all try to keep a certain peace between people. Sometimes the burden is excessive, as in the case of race or gender. So we talk about and and work on it.

      One can either trust blindly, be completely paranoid, or make the best decisions possible in the moment with an attitude of cautious trust (trust as action, not as a “feeling”) and review afterward to see if one was acting with prejudice or pragmatism. Or both.

      • Peter Houlihan says:

        Well said. But I can’t help but feel that its a little different when you’re dealing with a non-adult like an airport security-guard or a child. Its not like they can be expected to tell the difference between someone who just looks different and someone who might present an actual threat.

        Take my aunt for example: she was refused entry by US customs officials at Shannon because she had too much luggage. You couldn’t write this stuff.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      Nope, screw that. Middle eastern men shouldn’t get searched by airport security any more than anyone else, black people shouldn’t get stopped because they’re driving a nice car and men shouldn’t be treated as a security threat to schools. I don’t think it actually makes us safer to do these things and it ruins the lives of the thousands of innocent people who have to live with this kind of crap day in, day out.

      Being treated as a potential rapist by strangers on the street isn’t what I’d call a big problem, its annoying, but its the tip of the iceberg of racial and sexist profiling that runs deep in our society and has very serious consequences for the people it hits hardest.

      Statistics show that rapists are more likely to be men: Lets treat all men as potential rapists until we’re sure.

      Statistics show suicide bombers are more likely to be Muslims: Lets search brown people more at airports.

      Statistics show women are more likely to take paid maternity leave and subsequently quit their jobs: Lets not hire pregnant women.

      Of the three examples I gave, the only prejudice being tackled with any seriousness is the tendancy not to hire women. And its the only one of the three where the person affected is actually likely to act as predicted.

      On a more important note: its entirely possible that you may have to defend yourself at some point in your life against a false accusation of sexual harassment. If you do, you’ll not only be fighting the claims and physical evidence of your accuser, you’ll also be fighting the unspoken prejudice of the jurors that says that because you’re a man, you’re more likely to have done it. After all, a strange man might be a rapist, right? Better assume they are until you’re sure.

      I don’t cross the street when I meet strangers at night. Its unreasonable to ask me, but not others, to alter my behaviour because I share some traits with some criminals and this forms the basis of someone else’s prejudicial fears.

      • Steve Florman says:

        Unfortunately, Peter, “shouldn’t” and “won’t” are two different things. The examples you gave above “shouldn’t” happen, but they will. Just like I, as a white male, can sit in my car on a suburban block and not get hassled by the police whereas a black colleague of mine will probably draw a squad car and a more-or-less polite inquiry about his business in the neighborhood (a real-life situation). The question, again, becomes (and I think Crommunist phrased it well, too) was that, since these are facts, what are YOU going to do about them? If you care about your neighbors, are you going to take steps to make them more comfortable? Or do you, in effect, say “Screw ’em, they’re not entitled to their feelings because *I* don’t share those feelings?”

        Which is, of course, the whole point of the original “Schroedinger’s Rapist” post, which I suggest you read. Women (read “people”), are not bound to react the way you want them to just because *you* know you’re not a threat. *They* don’t know that, and you are not entitled to their time and attention to prove it to them. They have the right to regard you as one if they so choose.

        I’m a 6’3″, 250-lb guy. In elevators, I make brief eye contact, nod slightly, perhaps say “good morning,” and keep out of the way in the manner Richard describes so well. I don’t waste time blaming others if they choose to be a little nervous about me. I understand, and so I try to be as unobtrusive as possible when you’re the size of a small car.

        YMMV – but if you walk around with the chip on your shoulder that says it’s “unreasonable” for others to view you as a possible threat when you share characteristics with other threats, don’t be too surprised if you continue to get negative reactions. Look around you. Spot six women. (Don’t stare.) At least one of the six has been raped or sexually assaulted before. You’re Schroedinger’s Rapist, and it’s up to YOU, not them, to decide how you want to act about it.

    • DavidByron says:

      How would you feel if you discovered the woman you avoided like that got mugged or raped while you were darting around the corner to make her feel better? That she was attacked BECAUSE you chose to abandon her and therefore she presented an easier target to a genuine criminal out on the same night?

      • Steve Florman says:

        About the same way I’d feel if she got hit by a meteorite, David, since the odds are only a little better. You can posit hypotheticals all night, but ask the lady how she’d feel if that annoying guy keeps coming on to her and then insists that he’s only pestering her to protect her from a possible stranger rape.

        If it doesn’t sound stupid phrased like that to you, you are either the problem, or you have a future moderating Presidential debates.

  42. Richard Aubrey says:

    Good for you, Peter. I admire a strong, principled, determined man. Snort. Scaring a woman whose fears are irrational is just about as bloody-minded as scaring a woman whose fears are rational.
    I see you tried to change the subject to how we “treat” people. Not the point. But nice try. Point is how you, as an individual, act.
    Knock yourself out, and pat yourself on the back, too.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      Sure why stop at crossing the street? Why not just avoid going out at night or leaving the house at all. I’m sure women would be much more comforted knowing you were doing your bit to erase men from the public places entirely.

      If walking normally down the street is all it takes to scare someone then they need more help than I can give them.

  43. Richard Aubrey says:

    Two issues: Peter. An irrational fear is a phobia. Would you go out of your way to not startle a person you know as a phobic with whatever is their issue? Probably not. Their problem, right?

    Ref. hoodie. I was in Traverse City this weekend. At twenty degrees, sunny and no wind, I went showshoeing. I had a short-sleeved shirt, a medium weight sweater, and a hoodie. I shortly took off the hoodie.
    Speaking of which, I live in west Michigan and like getting outdoors. I probably get my hood up twice a year when the wind is bad and blowing sleet or something. Otherwise it is UNNECESSARY. If a large black man chooses to wear a hoodie when the weather does not demand it, and have his hood up, he’s choosing to dress like a stereotypical thug. He’s not worried about the weather. He may be saying to himself, I dress like a stereotypical thug, one who might be getting ready to play Knockout King, but I’m not a bad guy. It’s the white people who have the problem. Riiiiight.
    Survival depends on situational awareness and using stereotypes until further info is available is a survival technique. Yeah, it’s unfortunate you have to prove you’re not a bad guy, but them’s the breaks. In the meantime, give other people a break. Won’t kill you. Some of you, it might kill you not to be threatening. Enjoy.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      “Two issues: Peter. An irrational fear is a phobia. Would you go out of your way to not startle a person you know as a phobic with whatever is their issue? Probably not. Their problem, right?”

      An irrational fear? Like worrying that spiders are going to kill you? No, I wouldn’t go out of my way to dump spiders in someone’s bed just to terrify them. But if someone has an irrational fear of meeting a man on the street I don’t have to go out of my way to trigger their fears, all I have to do is run out of milk and need to go to the shop.

      “If a large black man chooses to wear a hoodie when the weather does not demand it, and have his hood up, he’s choosing to dress like a stereotypical thug. He’s not worried about the weather. He may be saying to himself, I dress like a stereotypical thug, one who might be getting ready to play Knockout King, but I’m not a bad guy. It’s the white people who have the problem. Riiiiight.”

      And he’d be damn right. I might get worried if I saw someone like that come up behind me, I might even get ready to defend myself. But I wouldn’t have the sheer gall to publicly demand all black people to cross the road when they see me just because my hindbrain engages in a little racial profiling on the side.

      “Survival depends on situational awareness and using stereotypes until further info is available is a survival technique. Yeah, it’s unfortunate you have to prove you’re not a bad guy, but them’s the breaks. In the meantime, give other people a break. Won’t kill you. Some of you, it might kill you not to be threatening. Enjoy.”

      What?? I’m not complaining that people are assessing me as a potential threat, that’s their perogative. I’m attacking the really screwed up idea that its my job to go out of my way to prove to them what a nice guy I am. Again, I don’t act in anything remotely resembling a threatening manner, unless by this you mean I have the arrogance to occupy the same footpath as other people.

  44. For me, maleness does not define my wariness of someone as potential rapist/mugger/baddie.

    It’s largely due to body language, appearance factors, and that “sixth sense” part of your brain that tells you something is wrong and initiates fight or flight responses. Plus, I always look at it like this: If I’m right, I can find an escape from a potential crime. If I’m wrong, the worst that can happen is that some random guy I don’t know is going to feel like he’s been “wrongly accused” of being a bad guy. I take into consideration my escape routes as well as my position, but I find myself being much more AWARE of my surroundings, simply because my body mass and muscle mass is probably inferior to the average male’s, and that’s mainly biology.

    I don’t believe that men are inherently bad (and many men pose no threat, especially if they are obviously minding their own business, are dressed well and carry themselves with a relaxed and unthreatening body language), but I think that it is patently ridiculous for men to honestly think that it is unreasonable for women to simply not be uncomfortable or take precautions if she finds herself alone on the street with a group of semi-drunken loud guys coming down the street behind her. Sure, they may mean no harm, but is she willing to take that chance, especially considering that if she DOES get raped, SHE will be told AT LEAST ONCE (by family and friends even) that she SHOULD HAVE PREVENTED IT because she SHOULD HAVE KNOWN WHAT WOULD HAPPEN. When you are 100% certain that if a crime happens to you, you’re going to be told that you were an idiot or a fool for allowing you to be in the situation that was obviously unsafe (akin to leaving your doors unlocked and open with all of your valuables in plain view as “inviting” criminals to pillage your home), then you damn well need to be careful because the act of the crime itself is horrifically damaging and the aftermath must either be secret and crush you under the weight of that secret, or it becomes public and everyone’s looking at what you “should have” done to prevent it in the first place, using your experience yet again as a way to forward that email to all their female friends about “how to be safe” and “avoid rape,” through hyper paranoid behaviors.

    Here where I live, we have a ton of “street people”-homeless people who are heavily entitled and will practically mug you on the street if you won’t give them money. If someone looks like that, regardless of race or even sex, I will go in the opposite direction or blast off on my bicycle. I’m not willing to chance being held up at knife point just because I wanted to give some scuzzy person the benefit of the doubt. Because I’m going to be inevitably told later that if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck that I’m a fool for expecting it to be a swan.

    Chances are, if you’re a man running around in dirty messy clothes muttering horrible things to yourself and walking around with the “up to no good amble” (as my friend dubbed it), then it is reasonable to expect bad behaviors. There are other micro expressions and body language factors involved, but many of them are subtle and must be taught/learned through first hand experience. Of course, the one time I did get raped was one of those situations where I ‘let” someone who I knew had weird feelings toward me into my place, so obviously even though I overrode those feelings because we were “friends,” I still paid the price for not listening to what my knowledge of body language was telling me. Now, when my alarm bells go off, I take heed no matter whose feelings I may possibly hurt for placing them in an awkward position. Because honestly, what’s worse, someone’s hurt feelings or my bodily integrity being trampled upon?

  45. Richard Aubrey says:

    Peter. Nobody’s demanding anything. Didn’t I already say you got busted trying to change the subject?
    I think I did.
    Anyway, the point is you have the opportunity to reduce others’ apprehension. It’s optional. You choose not to.
    Thanks for letting us know that about you.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      That’s the trouble: they are. When commentators argue that I should cross the street to pander to other people’s irrational phobias they’re making unreasonable demands. To extend that logic, should Muslims not fly on planes in case they scare americans? How wide a street should you have to cross?

      I think you mentioned something like that, but since we’re still on the same subject I felt free to ignore it.

      As I said before I do find myself doing things to make myself less scary, but I don’t go out of my way to do them nor should I have to.

      The point is you seem to think that the victims of prejudice are responsible for dispelling the irrational fears that cause it.
      Thanks for letting us know that about you.

  46. “Anyway, the point is you have the opportunity to reduce others’ apprehension. It’s optional. You choose not to.”

    As a trans person I can reduce the anxiety of transphobic people by not existing. Should I kill myself to relieve their fear that I might rape their little girls in the bathroom?

  47. The only person taking care of me – is me. Anyone else’s estimation of what my gut tells me is absolutely irrelevent to me. I will not adjust that internal sensor to make anyone feel better. It’s my life on the line.
    I assure you it is not as prejudiced as some imagine…ALL men do not set off my creep meter. ALL black men do not set it off. Creepy men do. Creepy men come in all colors. What I know factually is I am most in danger from people I know already – not random people.
    If I am wrong… big deal. If I am right and I ignore my gut I can get very hurt.

    So whatever to all of this…especially the harranging holier than thou types here banging on about feeling misjudged. Don’t be a creep. Your unlikely to get judged that way.

    • What does “creepy” mean to you?

      • That’s the thing… It’s not something I am going to spend a lot of time outlining in a blog comment. What I am saying is that we have alarms that go off. Those alarms are given to us by evolution. A lot of women undermine those alarms in themselves trying to conform and not make a scene, not upset or offend anyone.

        If a guy gets a weird feeling that he is about to be robbed…no one judges him for listening to his gut…. and EVERYONE has these gut feelings. I don’t care what color you are, what your class is – YOU have these alarms. Ok maybe in Bernard Goetz’s case his alarm was very tragically over compensated for…But I’m not talking about that. I am talking about simply trusting one’s inner compass. Sure some people have a way too sensitive alarm setting. Some people have anxiety issues that impact them beyond normal range – often because they’ve been hurt or assaulted as a kid or adult. It’s a physical thing. If my alarm goes off I am going to listen to it. None of this debate will enter my inner dialog. All I care about is that women LISTEN TO THEMSELVES. That’s all I am saying. All this discourse trying to talk women out of trusting that inner voice is garbage. It’s not about anyone else’s feelings – it’s about survival. And no one would be questioning it if I were a man saying I felt some sort of uck from another man.

        • @ Liz – I agree that there are, for want of a better term, internal alarms that we should all listen to. In fact, in UK military training service personnel are told to do this. If they get that gut feeling they analyse it – they listen to that “Little Voice”.

          The human brain and our senses are very good at picking up signals and noticing discrepancies – It can take time for those to rise to a conscious level so they can be analysed and articulated. So in many ways it’s best to listen and act on them – think later.

          Due to the Outreach work I have done over 30 years – sex workers – drug users – homeless – ex-offenders – Public Sex Venues – and more – I know the value of that Gut feeling and Little Voice. I have been trained to use them and listen and ACT! It also comes into play working with abuse survivors and assault survivors. It’s funny how you can get that Little voice telling you it all does not add up – and that can lead to uncovering extra details, or even that the person is lying and shamming to get attention. It does happen!

          But the issue here in the OP is that it is suggested that we all alter our behaviours and daily lives to accommodate little voices that we have no opportunity to hear – they are not our little voices, they are other people’s. I have no control of those and no access. I am not responsible for them.

          The idea has played out with some to the point where men are being told that due to statistics and some people’s views of women that men must assume that all women Have been raped by men and all women have Trauma related PTSD as a result. It’s an extreme position.

          I wonder at the absurdity of it – what happens when a woman who has been raped by a man and has Trauma related PTSD encounters a man who has also been rapped by a woman and he too has Trauma related PTSD?

          Who gives way to who? Who has precedence?

          The response to that is the “Overwhelming Trope” to provide Female Privilege and precedence in any given situation!

          It’s so inhuman and even strays into the area or Abuse with Victim Blaming, Rape Denial and Rape Apologia.

          In my own life I own my little voices and instincts – I don’t require others to adopt them and alter their behaviour – and I sure as hell have no responsibility for other people’s instincts and how they act.

          It’s a social dance and with all dances it’s rude to step on other people’s toes – and it’s even ruder to demand you own and control all the dance floor to the exclusion of all other people who have an equal right to dance – just in case your toes get hurt.

          If some demand that they be left to dance alone, that is their choice – but that choice does not mean all other people have to leave the dance floor.

        • Liz:
          And no one would be questioning it if I were a man saying I felt some sort of uck from another man.
          I think that’s at the heart of the what the OP is saying here.

          For some reason we are expected to believe that only certain people allowed to have such alarms and other people are supposed to just “suck it up” and difference in whose alarms are valid and whose alarms are not seems to be simply the goups of people being represented in a given situation.

          You have an alarm that goes off based on certain parameters (which are probabaly influenced by your own experiences). What makes your parameters valid and someone else’s invalid or vice versa?

          Apparently a man triggering a woman’s alarm is okay, a woman triggering a man’s alarm may or may not be okay, a man triggering a man’s alarm is okay, a white person triggering a black person’s alarm may be be okay, a black person triggering a white person’s alarm is not okay, a poor person triggering a rich person’s alarm is not okay….etc….

          I’m willing to accept that (barring some real evidence of prejudice) anyone’s alarm is valid. but there are a lot of people who seem to want to pick and choose and dictate to other people which one’s are valid and which ones are prejudice based on nothing more than what groups are represented in the situation.

          • I agree with your ideas and point.

            There is a *BIG* difference between a person’s individual alarm bells helping them feel like they can make actions in order to feel safe and institutionalizing oppressive rules or laws to disadvantage an ENTIRE GROUP of people based on phenotype.

            Example of personal alarm: I see a black guy walking down the street with his hand in his jacket in a way that it looks like he might be holding a gun. He is also muttering slurs about me (“bitch,” “slut”, etc) and is exhibiting other threatening body language that makes me feel like I should get away.

            This example is of a SPECIFIC BEHAVIOR that is being exhibited by a SPECIFIC INDIVIDUAL. This says NOTHING about how I view black people in general, or men in general, but when certain behaviors intersect within one person, I have no reason to compromise my feelings of safety.

            Example of institutionalized discrimination: People start passing laws to automatically arrest black people for being on the street walking around after dark.

            This hypothetical discriminatory law takes unrelated physical appearance as the REASON for criminal behavior and instead does a disservice to an entire group of people who are generally NOT criminals.

            There is a huge difference that many of the commenters (not you, specifically) seem to be taking offense at- the difference between interpersonal relations on the individual level and sociopersonal relations on a macrosocial level.

            So yeah, it’s totally fine for an individual to feel uncomfortable or angry, etc. It’s NOT totally fine to discriminate or legislate against entire populations of people based on physical appearance.

            • I think you’re referring to stereotypical hoodlum behaviour? Which can be triggered by white, black, any colour. There are negative associates with having a hoodie up, certain styles of clothing, gangsta rap promotes it. If you don’t actually live within that area/culture, you probably won’t understand it fully and from the outside it can look quite intimidating. We have that hear with bikies, people can mistake some groups of bikies for being the criminal element and get fearful around them, even though it could be the group of older bikers who just do sunday drives for fun and do toy runs etc.

              Perception is everything, it’s quite normal to fear based on perception but it doesn’t make it right. I use to fear certain groups that reminded me of bullying, I hated being near high school students and was defensive near them, if I heard a group laugh I felt like shit because it triggered traumatic memories. It wasn’t until I learned later that most people aren’t even thinking of you on the street, they’re usually too caught up in their own stuff that I started to feel safer. Those highschool kids could be giving me shit, or they could just be having a laugh at something totally unrelated and not even realize I am there. What we perceive isn’t necessarily right or wrong, that inner voice can be handy but it’s only a guide. Negativity can infect it and cause that inner voice to trigger way too much, and for some it becomes overwhelming like it did for me and I ended up with a social anxiety disorder from it.

            • It’s not about hoodlum behavior- it’s about how I perceive someone on the street or even in the company of others. If they make me feel unsafe, I’m not going to hesitate to remove myself from the situation. Honestly, I don’t know what’s so hard to comprehend here. When something bad happens to a woman because she trusts a guy who looks like he’s up to no good, she gets told “well, you SHOULD HAVE KNOWN.” Yet, if she listens to that gut feeling that something is wrong (even if said guy is scrawny and white and not “thuggy” at all), she’s also given shit from people for being “discriminatory”!

              You know what I think? I think that making someone else feel bad < me being put in a situation where I feel unsafe and may actually be physically attacked.

              The one time I actually WAS raped was by a guy I knew well (as most rapes happen) He was half my size but he knew aikido and he was very good at holds. We had dated in the past but stayed "friends" even though he still obviously liked me. I kept being assured by him (and other friends) that it would be "ok" to be around him at a specific event, even though I felt skeeved out and weird. After the rape, I cut him out of my life and didn't seek legal justice because there was just too much bullshit that would be pulled out into the light (we'd had a past relationship that had involved sex a few years before, I had willingly gone to the gathering, I was not drunk but I think he was under the influence, etc).

              So now, as far as I'm concerned, some random person on the street or even someone I know well feeling inconvenienced or having hurt feelings because I feel threatened and need to remove myself from the situation is not worth it.

              Thinking of someone else's POTENTIAL FEELINGS is less important to me than MY SAFETY. And chances are, if someone I know won't respect my feelings on the matter, chances are they don't actually care about me as an individual. In which case, they don't need to be in my life.

            • Just a quick question, do you expect the other person to change to suit your fears? There’s no issue with having fears yourself, I think the issue arises when we try to make others change their behaviour to suit our own fears. Certain behaviour is probably acceptable to be changed, though I’d extend it to everyone and not a particular group of course.

              My biggest concern is if we’re hyperinflating the fear and causing too much fear in people before they have been abused. There’s always risk of course but if we are in fact putting much more fear into women than they really need, does it really help? Does that make sense?

          • I said no such thing. I said – listen to your alarms. Everyone has them.

            I didn’t say Black men running = creepy. I’ve lived in majority Black spheres, worked in majority Black spheres. I do not have those triggers. I do not think or experience Black men as creepy or particularly threatening. I don’t cling my bag closer to me when generic Black guy comes along, up to me, next to me, in an elevator with me. So please don’t hook me into that convo. I agree that Black men are very often a victim of this prejudice and it has led to lynching and other abohorrent outcomes. I can separate that from the convo – for myself – about anxieties and alarm bells…and I do.

            I am saying that we all have “that little voice” and it is not really a good idea to undermine it’s authority in the moment.

            If you are a person who is large and intimidating – I am 5’2″ 120 – my priority is not going to be to salve your wounded identity. I am not intimidated by all large guys. I have been intimidated by women who posed a threat to my safety. My priority is taking care of myself. I am not fear based. I do not have PTSD. I don’t walk around living in dire anxiety of being raped. But if you set off my alarm bells I will listen to that voice first and let the chips fall. I do not understand why this is controversial. This is a science blog isn’t it?

            Fact is – we have those instincts for a reason.

            • I also don’t think anyone is trying to MAKE anyone do anything. People are saying if you are interested in maybe lessening the amount of alarms or stress others need to handle in any given day – then you might consider doing x y and z. If you don’t care to then continue on as you were and experience the world as you do. Don’t be surprised though if that doesn’t win you lots of affection from those whom you interact with. If you wonder why you don’t have a lot of say Black or women friends – Check in with yourself…if it’s only their prejudice and not your unwillingness to listen… well it’s your bed you get to sleep in it.

    • Using stereotypes and generalizations for a theory of a culture of fear here.

      I have seen and heard discussions by women who see themselves as physically weaker than men and that men can easily overpower women to the point some feel women are defenseless. One of the saddest things in life is that women seem to be trained to be physically weak, that they have no idea of their own strength physically. From what I have heard from some women is they fear doing weight lifting because they don’t want to bulk up too much and it would affect their femininity whereas male physical strength is encouraged quite heavily in society. I’ve known of women who can knock out some men in 1 hit, who are stronger than me even and I am a large man. If men and women followed similar paths in sports and had positive encouragement around strength and cardio I feel women will feel much more confident in their personal safety and might be more comfortable than they are now.

      We can look at the stats on violence and abuse and there are plenty of male victims with female perpetrators, so obviously physical strength advantage isn’t everything and there are other factors at play. If we only hear of women being abused by men over n over n over and the other variants of victims n perps aren’t talked about much. Would you agree that if society posted stats on females being raped only, 99% of rapists are male (a commonly said stat), whilst very little if any rape happens to men BY women (old stats did this), we could create a much elevated sense of fear of rape in women? Could we portray men as much more likely to be violent/abusive than women and that stereotype + the heavy focus in media of the stranger based rape could elevate a woman’s fear severely?

      All theories, I’ve been trying to understand the various sides and groups here.

      • @ Archy! It starts to get absurd.

        Women say they like men who are physically ripped – its sexier – more attractive – more masculine and manly!

        Then you get the but women are physically weaker and men who are physically ripped – sexier – more attractive – more masculine and manly – they are frightening and we require all men to change behaviours as a result.

        Am man who is Not physically ripped – Not sexier – Not more attractive – Not more masculine and manly – he is told he is sexists and even apologising for Rapists, if he does not accept the stereotypes and adapt his behaviour due to stereotypes!

        It becomes clear that there is a Win – Loose strategy at play – and if you point that out you are also Sexists – Abusive – Giving Rape Apologia – etc. etc. etc. – and of course that is just yet another gambit in the Win – Loose strategy at play.

        When does the stereotyping and silliness have an end? P^)

        Some are so highly defended that there is little to no value in dialogue – Its the human and pig wrestling scenario – the human ends up dirty and the pig enjoys it and is ever so satisfied!

        • Yeah – because we are smart enough to make a distinction between someone who works out nd is very fit and a rapist or a person who feels threatening. You seem to think those are equal in our little girl brains. Don’t know why that’s so hard for ya.

          • Liz – it’s not hard for me – I was just pointing out a number of factors that I have actually heard being discussed – and how they actually lead to absurdity!

            Absurdity leads to coping strategies and problem solving strategies that are Win-Loose!

            Even Compromise does not get a look in. Of course Compromise is an Ego play and likely to collapse at the first sign of trouble, so it’s not actually a long term solution – just a stop gap measure.

            I do Win-Win!

            http://goodmenproject.com/ethics-values/heresy-rape-statistics-and-getting-away-from-the-poles/comment-page-1/#comment-93033

            • Yeah – kinda not interested in this abstract “win-win” that is out there in the ether somewhere. My safety is my subjective sense and instinct. You are not part of that in any way unless I experience you as a threat. If I experience you as a threat – I don’t really care about your concerns with regard to having a “win”

              We’re having two conversations here.. one about the real and one about the theories in your heads. I don’t feel a need to convince you of my point of view. You should know you have having no luck doing that with me.

              I trust myself.

            • I find it fascinating that all the discussion of instinct is about threat and about danger.

              It also has a very positive side too!

              I do Win Win – because I listen to both the positive and the negative – I don’t frame my personal instincts as just being on the Dark Side!

              I remember a line from Lord Of The Rings when Frodo first meets Strider/Aragorn –

              Frodo: ‘I think that one of his (Saurons) spies would – well, seem fairer and feel fouler’

              ‘I see,’ laughed Strider. ‘I look foul and feel fair. Is that it? All that is gold does not glitter……’

              I have met so many who looked Foul and were in fact Fair – and even in the deepest night. I don’t limit myself to just one polarity!

              And I’m glad too – because one night one Foul Looking Guy was the only one who came to help as I was threatened with a knife! That Foul looking guy who I had gone with my gut on – the street homeless guy who people pissed on as he slept on the streets – he was the Guy who showed just how fair he was! So many walked by looking ever so fair and all of them were foul!

              It’s not about being in your head – it’s about being in your life! P^)

              If some are afraid they should act on it – but they should also not be so afraid that instinct is lost and they loose the positive too! That’s Loose-Loose and I don’t play that game, and I don’t support others in such inhuman folly!

            • Liz, is the theory I posted good or bad, right or wrong? I truly am wondering if we raise women to feel more vulnerable and men to feel more invulnerable? I would guess this puts a much larger fear into women. Would knowing your own strength make you more comfortable? If women knew women were victims and perpetrators of violence and abuse at significant levels each instead of the stereotypical men = perp, women = victim, would that lower the fear in women? When I realized I could defend myself in an attack, I felt a bit more at ease and had less fear, I am wondering if others feel that too?

    • i don't believe you says:

      Sorry, but for way too many people a big black man running = “creepy”. For you to say don’t be creepy is like saying don’t be big, black, male or EVER run!

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      Mediahounds post pretty much sums up my position: I have no problem with you listening to your little alarm bells. I have them too. They’ve gotten me out of trouble before and I value them.

      The only point at which I have a problem is when commentators like Crommunist and Richard Taylor argue that its my responsibility not to ring anyone else’s alarm bells. I’m tall, I’m heavy, I’m pretty strong, I can see how these things would intimidate someone else. There also isn’t much I can do to change these things. if I met me I’d probably be intimidated. But if I met me I wouldn’t expect my twin to cross the street in order to make me feel safer. I’d expect my twin to keep walking, while I do whatever I need to do to keep myself safe.

      • Don’t be surprised if they do though… and maybe it’s not just your size but something else about you. My alarms are not set off by generic big guy. Try not to take all of this so personally. It’s NOT ABOUT YOU!

  48. Having lived for many years both in the whitest burbs and very black city neighborhoods – the fear really isn’t a constant factor – it’s triggered NOT by big black men in hoodies nor just anyone approaching. It’s an internal alarm and I am not going to second guess it based on all this bullshit.

    • i don't believe you says:

      Since you bring up alarms…everyone hates the owner of the car which beeps all night long for every little thing. This article is about the overly sensitive (paranoid) not about those who are rationally safe.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      Good for you, the ire is more directed at the people who are triggered only by black men (or only by men) and expect them to make up for this.

      I’m sure you’re a good person :)

  49. Richard Aubrey says:

    schala. It’s a free country.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      Did you just invite someone to commit suicide because some people might be afraid of her? O.O

      I’m sure you weren’t serious, but that’s a pretty screwed up thing to say.

  50. Guestopher says:

    If a woman wants to dart out into traffic to avoid having a Black man pass her then that’s on her. It’s incredibly considerate for someone to be aware that this could happen and place the mental comfort of others before their own priorities. It shouldn’t be a requirement though.

    Also, it cannot be said enough that there are more White criminals than Black criminals. There are about 200 million White people in the USA and 38 million Black people. If 50% of the Black people were criminals and 10% of the White people were criminals there’d still be 1 million more White criminals than Black criminals.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      Sexism and racism aren’t really things I feel comfortable being considerate about. But as above, I’m guilty, I shuffle my shoes too.

      True, but if those figures were true then meeting a white person means that there’d be a 10% chance they’re a criminal, whereas meeting a black person there’d be a 50% chance. It would still make “sense” to be more afraid of the black person.

      In reality of course the chances of that person (black or white) being a violent criminal is less than 1%.

      • Bad math = bad thinking.

      • Guestopher says:

        “True, but if those figures were true then meeting a white person means that there’d be a 10% chance they’re a criminal, whereas meeting a black person there’d be a 50% chance. It would still make “sense” to be more afraid of the black person.”

        That follows (though I hope everyone understands that those percentages are a complete lie. Maybe the “if” and “were” parts of my comment were ignored), but the common misunderstanding I responded to was that there are more Black criminals than White. By using absurd numbers I showed that there are almost certainly more White criminals than Black. Don’t confuse the two.

        I’m not sure if this is still true with never-ending welfare reform, but the Black people you meet are more likely to be on welfare than the White people you meet (depending on geography and situation), but most welfare is paid out to White recipients. It’s not even cloaked anymore that politicians are talking about Black/Brown people when they talk about too many people using welfare and not working. Yet the cuts end up hurting many more White people. I’m always surprised that working class and lower middle class White people can’t see this.

        Also the OP said criminals, not violent criminals. I’m certainly not afraid of “criminals”. That percentage is going to be higher than 1%.

  51. wellokaythen says:

    So far most of what I’ve read here is about “stranger danger,” as it were. If we really wanted to be consistent about reducing danger, and if we really wanted to be in tune with the statistics about rape and other forms of assault, we should be most wary about our family, friends, and coworkers, not strangers on the street. How many people have been victims because they never would have thought ___ could do such a thing?

    You could stay home instead of walking down the street, but then you would pose (statistically speaking) a threat to everyone else in your house. Statistically, you might actually be less threatening if you stayed *away* from home. So, where does that leave us?

    It’s not just the assumption that some people who look a certain way are more dangerous than other strangers. The biggest exaggeration in people’s fear is not about gender or race, but in the focus on strangers as the biggest threat. That’s still a big blind spot.

    I think we’re also fooling ourselves to believe that you can just tell by the way someone looks about whether that person is a threat. Seriously — “dressed nicely” means that person’s not threatening? You mean wearing a shirt and tie like Ted Bundy?

    There is such a thing as size-ism. As a tall person I generally benefit from it more than it hurts me (tall privilege?), but it does make me more scary than an average-height person, all other things being equal. I suspect that taller men are actually LESS likely to be violent than average height or short men, but that may just be my own bias.

  52. Richard Aubrey says:

    wellokay
    Problem with your stranger vs. known is that we usually can take steps to avoid the known bad guys. We have at least some control.
    We have no control over the folks we encounter in public.
    And, as it happens, we were talking about not frightening people we encounter in public.

  53. HidingFromtheDinosaurs says:

    “It is not “sexist” for women to view all men as potential rapists, because (other than in prison) men possess the privilege of being subject to a vanishingly small likelihood of being raped by either men or women, while women are subject to a substantial likelihood of being raped by men. ”

    This is not true.
    I submit to you the following analysis of the CDC’s 2010 NIPSVS survey: http://www.genderratic.com/?p=836
    And the results of this independent study: http://feck-blog.blogspot.com/2011/05/predictors-of-sexual-coercion-against.html?spref=fb

    Both show parity across genders as both victims and perpetrators of sexual violence. Your “excellent observation” is relaying false data produced by allowing cultural biases to trump open minded investigation and proselytized by vultures who rely on a culture of fear and discord.

  54. It’s pretty fine being white. You don’t have to deal with all that rapist stuff. Women only tend to believe that black men are inherently evil. They’re often quite relieved to see a white male. We don’t have to make adjustments or do anything, the colour of our skin is enough.

    • van Rooinek says:

      It’s pretty fine being white. You don’t have to deal with all that rapist stuff. Women only tend to believe that black men are inherently evil.

      I call BS on this. As a 6’3″, 250# (on a good day), rugged looking white male, I have had white women engage in avoidance behaviors similar to those described by this black author. Including running in fear at the sight of me. I’ve also been stopped and questioned by cops on 3 occasions when I was doing nothing wrong. And I was even refused service at a Dennys for no discernable reason — right around the time that Dennys was in a national controversy over refusing to serve blacks!

      I don’t have statistics or studies, and I’m not sure it’s really possible to design an objective study to verify/refute this, but I do know, anecdotally, that FOR SURE at least SOME of the things blacks attribute to “racism”, are just the ordinary slings and arrows of life, which hit white people also.

  55. SoccerDad says:

    No one will read all these comments.

    But I urge anyone who does to read Gavin de Becker’s GIFT OF FEAR.

    We all have natural instincts that tell us when “something isn’t right.” We dismiss these feelings because we don’t “want to hurt a strangers feelings” or be “seen as a racist.”

    Next thing you know, you’re innocent Channon Christian, dying after hours of sexual torture.

    Gavin de Becker says to dismiss those rationalizations. Trust your feelings and protect yourself. Don’t worry about being Politically Correct. Most of these commenters are spouting political nonsense. de Becker says to dismiss that clutter and listen to your instincts.

  56. Transhuman says:

    I answer the idea of Shroedinger’s Rapist with Shroedinger’s False Accuser. For some reason men feel they have to defend themselves from the slings and barbs hurled at them by some women who hold irrational fears about their safety. For whatever reason, men – all of us, have either actively supported, or stood by apathetically, while ridiculous fears are made as important as established fact, even encouraging emotion to eclipse reason. The false statistics are presented by a minority of women, primarily feminists; unfortunately they are believed by a larger group of fearful, gullible women.

    Just because a woman fears an event doesn’t make it statistically likely.

    • This is not nearly said enough.
      Both men and women on average LOVE painting women as helpless vulnerable victims. It goes deep down into human sexuality and there is no way that will change. But what we can do is at least be aware of this bias and point it out in such discussions. Just saying “some men make women afraid” is ignoring a whole lot of other things that are making women afraid – things that individual men have no control over.

  57. For anyone who hasn’t encountered the so called freethoughtblogs yet, the name is to be taken with a massive heap of salt.

    Now to the post itself:
    Your proposition for every single man to accommodate all women’s feelings has a fundamental flaw on one side, and is decidedly sexist on the other side. Since you pointed out the sexism yourself, I will skip right to the flaw:

    You are suggesting men take responsibility, not just for their own actions, but for other people’s feelings – random strangers on top of everything else. The flaw in this is based on two key factors:

    1) Feeling this way or that, is a decision on the part of the person with the feelings. As such, it is this person who ultimately controls and is therefore responsible for those feelings. The best you can do is influence somebody’s feelings, but even that is only possible if they allow it which is also a decision on their part.

    2) Because we’re talking about random strangers, you are essentially expecting men to read minds. Because everybody is different, and has a different perception of what is unsettling. I’ve had women complain that I was not paying enough attention to them. The point is, you can NEVER get this right for everyone unless you can read minds and even then, you’re doomed to fail if you encounter several people who have contradictory feelings towards the same behavior on your part.

    The consequence of following your suggestion (aside from misogynistically treating women like infants) is that there is no point at which one can declare oneself a man who successfully avoids upsetting women. Even if the most rigid demands are met, there will always be another. If you start crossing roads to avoid passing a woman on the same pavement, next you’ll have to avoid the road entirely (what if a woman is on the other pavement? She’ll think you’re coming for her.). If you don’t talk to a woman in an elevator, next you won’t even be welcome using the same elevator. And so on. Even if you think there will be some “reasonable” limit, who decides that limit? And then, you’ll find yourself caught on the opposite end: Some women will be offended if you cross the road to avoid them and then you failed at accommodating them. You’ll even get the same woman making those opposing demands based on who the man is (if he’s attractive or not) or even just based on her current emotional state (since you’ve freed them of responsibility of their emotions, they need not account for them).

    In light of this, I suggest you take your abstruse and sexist ideas back to the free from thought blogs where you’ll get a nice pat on the head from your supervising feminist.

    ““It is not “sexist” for women to view all men as potential rapists, because (other than in prison) men possess the privilege of being subject to a vanishingly small likelihood of being raped by either men or women”

    This shows your true colors. And this, fellow readers is typical for the freefromthoughtblogs.

  58. Hmmmm…..

    As much as I hate it when white people use anti-black racism as a cudgel with which to beat other people, I can understand the conundrum as it is expressed.

    And…..

    The other point I want to make here, which goes back to my objection to anti-black racism being used as a rhetorical device by those who will never face it, is that black people engage in tons of behaviours to make white people feel safer. We do this all the damn time. We make accommodations in speech, behaviour, dress, mannerism, [and] conversation topic – a wide diversity of adjustments that we make in the presence of our white friends.

    So because certain people feel uncomfortable around you due to the fact that you are black, it is okay to then, in turn, use those same anti-black sentiments to justify your behavior? So anti-black racism can be used to justify changing ones, a black persons or a man’s, behavior to make others feel more comfortable but can’t be used against Schroedinger’s Rapist? Maybe I don’t quite get your argument but if you really are saying that it’s okay for men to use women’s fear of men in general to alter their (men’s) personal behavior, then why wouldn’t it also be a justification to put an end to stereotyping men? How do men changing their behavior alter women’s perceptions of them? If so, then this seems like a case of Special Pleading.

    “It is not “sexist” for women to view all men as potential rapists, because (other than in prison) men possess the privilege of being subject to a vanishingly small likelihood of being raped by either men or women, while women are subject to a substantial likelihood of being raped by men.

    Huh? This is a Non Sequitur. How does women’s likelihood of being raped relate to prison rape and, furthermore, what does that have anything to do with a heuristic which women walk around with in their minds?

    • Fortis, you posed a number of pertinent questions. I think there is a simple answer that will make a sweeping nullification of all of them:
      Women are special.

      I realize that they are not going to come out saying that directly. But that is nonetheless what it all comes down to for them. They will go to the most absurd intellectual contortion to avoid giving that answer in those words. It’s quite amusing really. One of their favorites in this particular discussion is shifting the goalposts. They make it about general courtesy. “After all, being mindful of other people’s feelings is courteous so why would you not do that? Are you a rude person?” So you’re put on the defensive for a completely different point than when you started.

      Another favorite is to bait and switch you into a discussion about rape. Then they tell you about the humungous rape statistics (appeal to numbers) and how horrendous rape is (appeal to emotions) and “a little courtesy” is justified when it helps reducing the risk of rape. That way, you suddenly find yourself labeled a rape apologist. Only that they constructed a Himalaya of logical fallacies in order to get you into that corner. But since rape is so bad, who cares about a few little details?

      Despite this, we must never stop trying to expose the frauds for what they are.

      • Well now hang on just a moment…the “it’s about courtesy” argument isn’t some sort of nefarious argument tactic. I don’t agree that men should be asked to behave in special ways when around women to avoid being perceived as a rapist…that’s just ridiculous. I do think we should all behave respectfully and courteously around each other.

        • @ Heather,

          “the “it’s about courtesy” argument isn’t some sort of nefarious argument tactic. ”

          I never said it was “nefarious”. It’s simply wrong because courtesy is not what this is about. It’s about demanding special courtesy towards women from men – which is chivalry, not courtesy. It’s like those women who demand that a man open doors for them. When you ask why, they say it’s courteous. That would only have credibility if they’d also demand women hold doors for men (and any other combination).

          “I don’t agree that men should be asked to behave in special ways when around women to avoid being perceived as a rapist…that’s just ridiculous. I do think we should all behave respectfully and courteously around each other.”

          The two arguments don’t contradict one another. You’re not telling us why or even if you think that argument is valid. One can be courteous AND not be a sexist. But the “it’s about courtesy” argument is essentially saying you have to be sexist in order to be courteous.

          • “One can be courteous AND not be a sexist. ”
            Actually, for men this is nearly impossible in the eyes of others. Not being a sexist will inevitably get you into trouble with women (and men) on a regular basis – because of this demand for chivalry. Any man who has tried to treat women the same way he treats men can confirm that.

            • Mate, that is one sweeping generalization. As I said, we must be spending our time with completely different kinds of women…because I don’t know any woman that wants a man to be chivalrous.

            • Eric M. says:

              I know very few women who don’t. I have even heard many feminists contort themselves to debate as to why chivalry and equality are not mutually exclusive. I have no problem with chivalry (traditional male to female), but it certainly is not equality.

            • “I have even heard many feminists contort themselves to debate as to why chivalry and equality are not mutually exclusive. ”

              Sadly this is true. They typically say things like “I’m all for equal rights but I don’t want men and women to be the same”. That’s fine until you realize what exactly they’re referring to that “should” be different and we’re back to regurgitating the double standards – that conveniently always put the burden of fulfillment on men.

            • Most of them don’t even notice their double standard. That’s the whole point about being entitled. They don’t have to notice it. To them, it’s perfectly fair and normal to demand something they never intend to do themselves. I don’t fault or blame them for it. It’s the result of how they are treated by men.
              This is not something I arrived at from some little circle of friends I “hang around” with. I’ve lived in several different countries and visited dozens more. If there is one constant I have encountered then it’s a double standard for the behavior of men and women which consistently puts the man on the receiving end of demand.

              Some people will point out that there are also examples that work to women’s disadvantage and mention physical appearance. But they forget that men have this too just not in the same area. Sure, the pressure on men to be slim is negligible compared to how it is for women. But try dating as a man under average height and you’ll meet the most ruthless dismissal imaginable and, unlike weight, you can’t change your height.

              So is this generalizing? Sure. I know not everyone is like that. But these are definitely mass phenomena, not just some crazy fringe cases. And again, any heterosexual male with some experience can pretty much confirm this. And also I’m probably not exaggerating when I say that most heterosexual men would happily lose the right to vote and 30% of their income if it meant some kind of equal valuing of their gender in the areas where it really matters – namely in their relationships with the women in their lives.

            • Spoken as an overweight male that was obese I can guarantee you there is heavy pressure on men to be slim, weight is one of the biggest insecurities men have! The toned strong body still means they desire being slim.

              It’s always made me dumbfounded that some assume women are under more pressure with their looks and body when it’s not like men are given much leeway, if you’re fat you’re seen as lazy, gluttonous, if you’re skinny you’re seen as weak, if you’re muscly you’re seen as a good body but can also be seen as a meathead.

          • “It’s like those women who demand that a man open doors for them. When you ask why, they say it’s courteous. That would only have credibility if they’d also demand women hold doors for men (and any other combination).”

            We really must be hanging around different types of people, because I know of no woman who wants a man to hold open a door for her, and doesn’t expect another woman to do the same (or who wouldn’t hold open a door for another woman or a man). In fact, I was raised that’s what you do…you hold open doors for people, regardless of your gender or their gender.

            I think a lot of women who talk about courtesy with regards to interactions with strangers do believe it goes both ways. I don’t know if it was this article, or another, but I was talking about how often I’ll avoid talking to strangers or be a bit flustered when a stranger talks to me on a bus or train or whatever, and it has nothing to do with their gender or race. It’s just about the way that our society deals with meeting unknown people…we tend to give people their distance and respect personal space.

            I’m sure some people have a double standard when it comes to the ways men and women should behave courteously with each other. But I just wanted to point out that when people bring up the “it’s about courtesy” argument, they aren’t necessarily employing a double standard. Sometimes what they’re saying is – no it’s not about assuring women you’re not a rapist; it’s about being courteous (whether you’re a woman or a man).

        • I’d agree that it’s a good thing to behave courteously but in this case I wonder at what cost that comes. But I also think the courtesy argument in this case is a bit of a Red Herring. With regards to opening doors, it’s one thing if you open doors for both sexes (egalitarian) and quite another if you open doors for only one sex (sexist) because that other sex to whom you do not open doors is seen as the weak and frail part of the species or what have you. Likewise, when a woman sees a strange man on the street it could be that she is just afraid or anxious around strangers in general and the fact that she sees a man isn’t what causes the anxiety. However, if it is the trait of maleness which is the cause of the anxiety then one has to wonder why (well fear of strangers can also be problematic but that’s not necessarily what this is about). What is it about maleness that causes her to act the way she does? Ultimately it comes down to that she has an idea in her head that males/men are/can be violent/malicious and that she doesn’t know this particular man therefore it is best to avoid that particular man. The problem there is that is an overreaching generalization when she does it, not just to one man, but every single strange man she meets in her life or even the vast majority of men that she meets. That is definitional of a stereotype, something which it would be hard to argue you are egalitarian if you hold. I’ve read several blogposts all like this one and all pretty much saying the same thing with very few variations. I am pretty much left to conclude that it is as Adi has said that there is in fact a case of Special Pleading for women going on here.

  59. Bringing this example home, men in the freethought movement have a decision to make. They (we) can rail against the hypocrisy of claiming to be anti-sexist whilst engaging in sex-based prejudicial behaviour, or we can recognize that if we want to be accommodating to women we have to make some adjustments to how we behave. It comes back to the central question: do we want women to be more comfortable? If not, then we should say so explicitly – “we don’t care about your comfort, toots! Nut up or shut up!” On the other hand, if we do care, then we can’t simply maintain the status quo of behaviour and berate women for being afraid of rape. That doesn’t solve any problems.

    This topic seems to come up more and more recently especially with things like Elevatorgate which raged all over the internet a while back. Exactly how does treating every man like he was a potential rapist actually help women? Is there any evidence at all that it does? That’s not berating women at all, that’s attempting to find the root cause of rape. How do we get more women involved in the skeptical community? I don’t know to be quite honest. Do we want women to be more comfortable? Yes and I would add that everyone should want to maximize comfort and minimize discomfort not just solely for one sex but for everyone involved. What if making women more comfortable comes at a cost of making men less comfortable? How does one go about solving that problem? Does one simply elevate the value of one sex’s feelings over another? How would that not be sexism? Perhaps there is no solution at all to this problem. So to distill it down to a simple question: Do we want a movement where half of its population sees men first and foremost as beasts/monsters? Or is there a better approach? Skeptics and freethinkers ought to be thinking about this issue deeply and what it means not just for women but for everyone involved.
    On a side note, freethoughts blogs is a joke by now. Before the eruption of Mount Elevatorgate, I used to freely browse, read, and enjoy much of what was written on there. After all the hullaballoo I don’t think it has earned the title of “freethoughtsblog” with all the witch hunts and back and forth that went on.

    • Concerning Elevatorgate, in case you don’t already know about it, I think the following post by James Onen is the most complete and unbiased analysis of the entire incident:
      http://freethoughtkampala.wordpress.com/2011/09/15/elevatorgate-part-2-the-failure-of-skepticism/

      It’s impressive how, in the comments section, people manage to respond to such a detailed post with accusations of ignorance. I completely approve of the label “free from thought blogs” or simply “baboon board”.

      • I do have to say, that after having “Seen” with my own eyes and “Heard” with my own ears the events of Elevator gate from Rebecca “Skepchick” Watson herself – I wonder exactly what all the Brouhaha has been about.

        I have also been quite shocked by the information that she (Rebecca “Skepchick” Watson) is disabled and has “Prosopagnosia” – a cognitive impairment which means she is unable to recognise or recall faces. So, that makes it all about Disability and bugger all to do with rape, rapists – or any thought experiment derived from a cat in a box with Cyanide – uncertainty or the mechanics of Quantum Rape alla Schroedinger !

        The way it has been portrayed by some is such a wonderful example of Modern Art, with an abstract metaphor rendered in multiple media …. and with three noses.. and a multi million price tag – that gets devalued when some recognise it’s real world value!

        Art – Indeed! P^{

        I could not possibly entertain any conversation with any person who even mentions Elevator gate and considers it a valid subject around gender – sex – feminism – men’s rights…. or even an April Fools Prank!

        It reminds me of nothing other than an ill judged rant by a certain blogger (Or should that be Flogger) who saw no value in Habius Corpus and due process… and spilled bile across the blogsphere (so promptly removed, due to apolitical embarrassment) concerning a few white boys who were at Duke University…. for Political Capitol.

        I was most sceptical in the analysis of matters around Elevator gate until I saw the video made by Rebecca “Skepchick” Watson – at which point it was a self evident No Brainer that the subject of Elevator gate is far less than a Storm In A Teacup – and perpetuating any continued reference to the None Subject would simply be an insult to any dead bovine that featured in Bone China Cups!

        I don’t waste me Earl Grey, Lapsang souchong or Fortnam & Mason best Orange Pekoe for anyone! 8^0

        I have to say – that video has made me loose respect for so many, who wrote, blogged and Italicised so much on what has been from the start a none subject! How I wish I had seen that Video earlier – and more to the point knew of the Protagonists Disability!

        And please do consider that as a Disposable Person and Disability Rights Advocate, I do have great sympathy for Rebecca “Skepchick” Watson – but no sympathy for those who have “Exploited” her and reality for their own ends – and that even includes Rebecca “Skepchick” Watson herself.

        Exactly how does “I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but I would like to talk you more on the subject ….” lead to being sexualised, and lead some to espouse the view that all men are to be seen as rapists and not to get in an elevator with a lone woman…. and all because one person has an impairment that means they can’t recognise a face and with that a person – and therefore recall if they have spoken to them previously or not?

        The exploitation of this NONE subject arising from disability by so many is Contemptible!

        My mind runs – at great speed – to section 16 of the UN Convention “Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”:

        “1. States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social, educational and other measures to protect persons with disabilities, both within and outside the home, from all forms of exploitation, violence and abuse, including their gender-based aspects.

        &

        5. States Parties shall put in place effective legislation and policies, including women- and child-focused legislation and policies, to ensure that instances of exploitation, violence and abuse against persons with disabilities are identified, investigated and, where appropriate, prosecuted.”

        “…. including their gender-based aspects!” I see a great deal of exploitation of gender and disability – and all of it aimed very deliberately against men!

        I see that in some states parties need to address the Education of many as to the nature of Exploitation – and just how Anti Social and abusive such exploitation really is!

        The exploitation of what is in fact a disability issue for Political Capital and Blog Linked revenue warrants close investigation!

        I do hope that some Elevator users don’t take my evidently presumptuous use of public space as a threat to their person – and I still wonder how the whole mess and insanity around Elevator gate ever got linked to PTSD and the representation of so many women, by other women, on a global scale as needing to be viewed by all men as neurotic quivering wrecks?

        Exploitative of Disability by any chance?

        And … given the hot air created, I am now sure that Global Warming and catastrophic climate change is unstoppable – due to Ill judge, inane and even insane blogging that uses more fossil fuel than a Chinese Smelter producing the pipe work for a transcontinental Oil Pipeline!

        Schrodinger’s rapist in deed?

        How about Schrodinger’s Exploiters – and just who should be in the Box with the Cyanide?

        } P^)

  60. Wow talk about enlightening. That was a very good post.

  61. I realize I’m late to this discussion, but, let me just say this. I have no expectation that men make any accommodation for my feelings. If you want to get in the elevator with me, go ahead. However, I’m responsible for my own safety and no one will take that away from me. If I suspect that a man might be following me then, yes, I might step into a store or cross the street. If you approach me and want to talk to me, if I feel uncomfortable, I may refuse to talk to you. That’s my right. I’m not responsible for protecting the feelings of random strangers. I’m not going to scream “rapist!” at anyone, and in fact, I think fear of stranger rape is greatly exaggerated. But that doesn’t mean I won’t be cautious. Most people who cross my path are not purse snatchers, but when I’m walking down the street, I still keep a good grip on my purse. It’s just common sense.

    • “I’m not responsible for protecting the feelings of random strangers.”

      Nobody is saying that you are. But likewise strangers aren’t responsible for protecting your feelings which is what this articles is saying.

  62. Agreed, people can do whatever they like. Go ahead and get in the elevator. But don’t be offended if a woman waits for the next elevator rather than getting in with you. (Not that I do that, normally, with elevators. But I have crossed the street to avoid someone who was making me nervous.)

    • But don’t be offended if a woman waits for the next elevator rather than getting in with you.
      Me personally, this wouldn’t offend me. What does offend me is the idea that I need to go out of my way to make said woman feel safe (like for example expecting me to take the next elevator to show that I’m not threat to her) while at the same time if this were just about any other situation other than male/female people would be tripping over themselves to call it an -ism.

      • nemesis says:

        agreed, in fact I HOPE you run like a scared kitten from me when I walk down the street. You wanna walk around feeling like your a hunted class of human being you go a head and live like one. If you wanna pretend like you have something to fear from me just because your naive sense of the world around you tells you your not just in as much danger when your not standing next to somebody that looks like me then you hide in the shadow the streetlight casts on me.

      • What does offend me is the idea that I need to go out of my way to make said woman feel safe – See more at: http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/shuffling-feet-a-black-mans-view-of-schroedingers-rapist/#sthash.jNZZ0Tus.dpuf

        Sorry Danny, but this is called, living in civilised society. We all (should) go out of our way to help those in need, make others feel safe, and strive to be a positive, productive person in the community. With all due respect, if you resent this so much, go live alone on an island somewhere …?!

        (no-one is saying you have to wait for the next elevator – take off your sunglasses or hoodie, adjust your body language, make eye contact, smile or say hi in a polite, non-threatening way, and give her plenty of space. Easy.)

  63. John Anderson says:

    I believe in freedom of association so I don’t think a woman has to talk to a man or get in the same elevator or walk on the same side of the street, etc. I do wonder how this is different from a guy not wanting to talk to a woman because she’s not conventionally attractive. People would criticize him for being shallow, but he already knows that he doesn’t want an intimate relationship with her, which is more than the woman who is afraid of a stranger knows.

    SR basically affects men in the same way that men’s expectation of beauty affects women. Why is one wrong and not the other? I’m in a male dominated field and in general, we don’t hang out with the female tech. They lose out on some non-work related information, non-work related resources, and of course some social interaction. I’m sure it’s lonely being the only female. Some people would think that it’s wrong to “freeze out” a woman even unintentionally, but why is that different from SR? We act differently around her so limit our social interactions at work with her.

    • There’s a difference between what you’re talking about. A woman (or man) who is avoiding walking down the same side of the street as a man is doing it out of a sense of fear…misguided fear, but still it’s out of fear for personal safety. Also, these interactions are extremely brief, and avoiding it is not depriving anyone of social networking or harming interpersonal or professional relationships.

      When you talk about ‘freezing out’ a woman who is a co-worker, the consequences of that are much greater. Firstly, there is no fear of personal safety that is driving it. Secondly, by doing so it hampers her ability to create professional relationships with her co-workers. A better parallel would be if the women in a most-women field were to ‘freeze out’ the men in that field…like in nursing or something. Context is key.

      • John Anderson says:

        I’m sore men in nursing have it worse than she does since often times they’re prevented from performing intimate procedures on female patients. Granted, we don’t make her do the heavy lifting, but I doubt she would complain that we didn’t let her move a 500 lb. VAX and she hasn’t.

        “Firstly, there is no fear of personal safety that is driving it.”

        I’m not 100% sure that there is no fear aspect though. She seems cool. She complained about one of the guys once to a female manager, but didn’t want to press forward with the complaint when the female manager wanted to involve our manager. The guy she accused is kind of a prick so I believe her. Still, we moderate our own interactions when she’s around. We don’t let her borrow our personal external hard drives because of certain explicit digital media. There was one female tech who wanted some of the files I had so bad she promised that she wouldn’t be offended by anything she might see. I didn’t take the chance.

        I’m sure there are several ethically dubious tricks she would be interested to learn if only to protect herself. Once I got hit with a virus that spoofed my DNS. I got redirected to a fake bank site that looked like mine with what looked like the same URL. I got suspicious when it asked for more than my user name and password. Now I surf on a virtual system so my changes aren’t permanent unless I want them to be.

  64. a wortman says:

    I think there is an important flaw in the parallel between men scaring women on the street and black people scaring white people: This example flips the oppression. Men deciding to behave differently towards women is an acknowledgement of male privilege and oppressive behavior. Black people behaving differently in order to make white people feel safe is what people of color do regularly in order to make it in a predominantly white society.

  65. John Anderson says:

    “I’ve frequently heard people object to the Schroedinger’s Rapist argument as sexist,”

    I remember reading a comment from a man, who described himself as 6 foot 3 and all musclely, but reported that he was deathly afraid of women as one woman used the threat of false accusation to abuse him. Why would his perception be treated differently from the typical woman and why shouldn’t all women be held accountable for his feelings? I don’t know if you even have to compare it to black people to see that it’s sexist. You just have to answer the question why women as a collective shouldn’t be held accountable for the discomfort of an individual man and/or why a man’s discomfort wouldn’t be valid.

    • John Anderson, the example you’re giving there is of an abused man. It would be more accurate to compare his behaviour/reactions to that of other abused women, rather than to the majority.

  66. The term “Schroedingers Rapist” and the argument it describes is NOT about the “dark stranger”. It was first introduced in an article that talks about women going on a date, not being accosted in an alley. This entire piece is predicated on a fallacy, and is an attempt to belittle women’s real world experience into the elevator-purse-hugging meme of racism.

    It is well known that the majority of rapes are committed by someone the woman knows or has met at least once. The meme of “stranger rape” has been demonstrated over and over again to be false. Anyone with sense is not going to be fooled by these arguments. I expect better of GMP.

    • Mark Neil says:

      But unknown men are being treated as potential rapists. THAT is what this article is about. The idea that an unknown man is going to rape you, and therefore feeling justified in treating him like a rapists.That is the argument Schroedinger’s rapist describes, and it very much IS about stranger rape. That ever man who is unknown is both a rapist and not a rapist at the same time, and can not be known until you/he open the box.

      The fact stranger rape is so rare actually serves to make this attitude even worst. I’m not entirely sure what you are actually trying to debate with your disparaging GMP, your disappointment, your know-it-all attitude and self righteousness. In telling us how we are belittling women’s experiences by belittling our own as a fallacy. You haven’t actually acknowledged the argument, but ironically, you’ve subsequently provided reasoning that the “all men are potential rapists and it’s ok to treat them as such” attitude is unjustified, all the while, wincing you don’t like the topic of discussion as if you’re someone of importance that gets to dictate this stuff.

  67. It’s hard to come by educated people on this subject, however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  68. Anonymous says:

    here is a comment i read here
    ” I’m in a male dominated field and in general, we don’t hang out with the female tech. They lose out on some non-work related information, non-work related resources, and of course some social interaction. I’m sure it’s lonely being the only female. Some people would think that it’s wrong to “freeze out” a woman even unintentionally, but why is that different from SR? We act differently around her so limit our social interactions at work with her. ”
    i am an Israeli and been working for many years in a “male dominamt field” it is not always easy but i never felt “freezed out”… leads me to think that america society is a very sexist one… happy i did not have to e periance this….

  69. I agree with the gist of this article, and I’d like to add that, while women (rightly) argue we shouldn’t be held responsible for the actions of a rapist or thug, we change our behaviour to avoid the threat all the time – regardless.

    We dress differently to avoid attention or judgement, we don’t go places alone, we take the long way home because it’s safer and better lit, etc etc. Not every woman, and not all the time, but most women, most of the time. So it’s not a one way street by any means.

    I’d also add that I think it’s a simple risk management slash cost/benefit process. I’m sorry if I offend you by crossing the street to avoid you. But – and one way or another, many of us have learnt this the hard way – the cost of treating an innocent man like a potential rapist (possible offence caused) versus the unwanted attention I have to deal with, or the risk to my safety if you *do* turn out to be a threat – it’s a no brainer. I’m sure plenty of innocent guys would cross the street to avoid possible trouble from a large, loud group of drunk men – they might be perfectly harmless as well! – but it’s no different.

  70. I heard the term ‘Schroedinger’s Rapist’ for the first time today. To me it seems to be just another symptom of rape culture. As long as potential victims are constantly told to prevent being raped (sic in itself), they will check every situation and everyone for dangers and act cautious. Because if an assault happens to them, they will for sure be asked “Why did you do this / wear this / be there / talk to / drink ……….” and so on.
    It hurts everyone involved.

  71. A very interesting read. I thought you might be interested in this analogy. I’ve shamelessly stolen it and used it repeatedly when friends comment about caution being unfair, catcalling being complimentary, etc.

    http://gyzym.tumblr.com/post/52983582368/consider-the-bank

  72. I liked the article, and it was a good point of view, but I do have to point out an often misquoted statistic. Black people don’t commit more crimes than white people. That’s just a flat out lie. The crime data consistently shows that an individual is anywhere between 2-7 times more likely to be the victim of a crime done by a white person than a black person. That gap in likelihood is based on the type of crime. White Collar Crimes are overwhelmingly white. Murder is roughly 1.3-1 white/black. Sexual assault, child kidnapping, and child pornography are also overwhelmingly white. etc.

    http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/table-43

    Forcible rape – Roughly 2-1
    Aggravated assault – roughly 2-1
    Burglary – roughly 2-1
    Larceny-theft – roughly 2 to 1
    Arson – roughly 3-1

    Blacks commit more crimes per capita, but that’s a useless statistic when you’re talking about YOUR safety. It’s only useful if you’re a racist peddling that they’re an inferior race or more prone to commit crimes. In the real world, if 65% of forcible rapes are done by whites than you have almost a 7 in 10 chance that your rapist will be a white person.

    This isn’t to suggest that we should have anti-white racism, it is to suggest that ANYONE’S fear of black people is completely irrational, not based on information, and totally and entirely based on your own preconceived notions. Add in the fact that most violent black crime is committed in focused geographical pockets, if you live outside of those pockets your chances of being raped/burglarized/assaulted/killed by a black person are pretty much slim to none.

    As almost a matter of universal experience Human beings get more cynical as they grow up because negative emotions carry more weight than positive ones. If you get raped by a man you may understandably forever be affected in a way that the countless positive experiences with men won’t measure up to. If you get robbed in a city once, you’ll easily forget the years and years you’ve lived there with nothing bad at all. We understand these psychological traumas, while still creating a statistically irrational fear, they’re understandable. The problem is that we begin to internalize media and news portrayals of certain groups of people in ways that don’t actually mirror our own real world experience.

    So all of the people being scared by the author here are wrong. Unquestionably. Because after all they are judging him on the “color of his skin and not the content of his character”.

    I’m not black, and if I get scared by a black guy (because I’m programmed to by years and years of media portrayals), that’s on me. That’s my bullshit I have to work through. It’s not up to anyone else to make me feel comfortable.

  73. http://www.timwise.org/2013/08/race-crime-and-statistical-malpractice-how-the-right-manipulates-white-fear-with-bogus-data/

    I didn’t write this but it’s an amazing piece deconstructing the data.

    “Whites are 6 times as likely to be murdered by another white person as by a black person; and overall, the percentage of white Americans who will be murdered by a black offender in a given year is only 2/10,000ths of 1 percent (0.0002)”

    So again. White fear of black people is entirely irrational and based not on personal experience but on subconscious racist viewpoints hammered home by nurture, not nature.

  74. To me the essential idea here is the one of privilege. As a man you have the priviledge to assume that you won’t get raped.
    As an independent young woman living in a pretty safe town, I find it hard to explain to my male friends how often I am reminded of my status as a “potential prey” in everyday life. From the slightly too-friendly neighbour to the guy walking behind you in an empty street…. It’s just always there.
    I’ve never been raped, but I’ve had guys follow me for 10 minutes while joking about how scared I looked. I’ve heard men flirt with me and then shout abuse at me when I wouldn’t respond. Many men have made it clear to me that they could hurt me, if they wanted. Do I think all men are like that? No.
    But I do feel this little fear, this little uncomfortable flutter in my stomach, very often. If you, as a man, have the possibility NOT to make me feel like that, why on earth wouldn’t you try to make things a bit easier for me?

  75. Josh Dittmer says:

    I applaud and agree with your larger point about being aware of the perceptions of those around us and not automatically assuming that there is some nefarious prejudice behind peoples fears.
    I do wish that you had not dropped the race card, because frankly all the examples you gave apply to every man. You should apply the logic you used to dispel the charges of sexism to your examples of racism.

  76. John Anderson says:

    When boys are taught not to hit girls, is that a sign of sexism by denying girls equality or is it a survival technique because in a sexist society, it doesn’t matter who the aggressor actually was? When a man hits, he’s automatically the aggressor regardless of the number of times she struck him first.

Trackbacks

  1. […] This comment is by Katherine, on the post Shuffling Feet: A Black Man’s View of Schroedinger’s Rapist […]

  2. […] I stumbled across an article at TGMP written by someone named “Crommunist” entitled Shuffling Feet: A Black Man’s View of Schroedinger’s [sic] Rapist. He opens the article stating: “This morning I made a reference to the fact that men are often […]

  3. […] should also point out that the folks over at The Good Men Project have cross-posted Monday’s piece. The comments are… not encouraging, to say the least. […]

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