The problematic Devos meeting with MRA and the problematic response to it.

Politico reported that Betsy Devos is planning on including several problematic groups in a discussion about Title IX, specifically the “Dear Colleague Letter” (DCL) that was released during the Obama Administration instructing schools how they should remain in compliance with Title IX when it comes to sexual harassment and assaults.

I am not surprised one bit that Betsy Devos is planning on meeting with these so called “Men’s Rights Advocacy” groups. These groups have gone so far as to suggest that we consider the use jury nullification and acquit all accused rapists until the “problem” of false rape accusations is dealt with. (Elam and his cohorts have crawfished away from their initial strong support of such an idea and have instead suggested it was akin to a Swiftian suggestion. I don’t believe them for a second.) MRA will focus on the “Kanin Study” to “prove” that false rape accusations make up nearly half of all total rape accusations. They use Kanin to say that false rape accusations are an “epidemic”.  The study is flawed for many reasons (unscientific, small sample size, etc) but these MRA groups will cling to it like it is the gospel. No real evidence exists to show that false accusations of rape are any more frequent than false accusations of any other crime. I have also seen MRA claim that a not-guilty finding means the claim was false. This is absolutely untrue.

One of the groups that is actually getting to meet with Devos, The National Coalition of Men, once suggested that Ray Rice wouldn’t have hit his wife had she not annoyed him. This is the kind of people that Devos is valuing in her meeting. One of the planned upcoming projects for this website is going to be an ongoing criticism of these MRA, what they say, and why they are often wrong about the issues they advocate for. MRA will often try and derail conversations about rape by injecting stories of false accusations of rape. They will often try and equate the pain that a rape victim goes through with the pain of a false accusation. The latter in no way comes close to the former.

The DCL includes some very good protections that colleges should set in place for persons who come forward as victims of sexual harassment or assault. However, one thing that I have pointed out previously is the potential problematic nature of both requiring the school to punish rapists instead of enabling law enforcement to do its job better and the requirement that schools use a lesser “preponderance” standard for an accusation of criminal behavior. Schools are often not well suited to investigate and punish people for crimes. Even if they were , the Federal Government shouldn’t be able to set a lower standard to punish someone for criminal behavior when they would have to meet the higher standard if brought to a court of law. If I had my way, I would rewrite the dear colleague letter in a way that kept the protections against harassment during the investigation. I would require the schools to set up counseling services for victims of sex crimes and empower those services to aid students in coming forward and bringing the criminal claims to law enforcement.

One example of why the preponderance standard is a bad idea and why we should leave punishment of criminal investigations to the police is Caleb Warner. The school, using a preponderance standard, kicked Mr. Warner out after he was accused of rape. Police, however, concluded that he did not rape the accuser and instead she was the one who lied. After a long ordeal and multiple attempts at appeals, Warner finally had the ruling against him reversed. However, the damage had already been done.

So my problem here with Devos is not that she is actually wanting to hear from people on both sides of the issue. Had she decided to meet with pretty much anybody else on this issue, perhaps I would even applaud her for listening to both sides of the story in order to try and make an informed decision. Unfortunately, the groups that she is including would just throw the baby out with the bathwater and them doing so would place victims of rape back into the targets of rapists and abusers.

But then the pendulum swings back the other way. One problematic response is from the Wonkette. I agree with the author on most of her points.

  • Affirmative consent should be the standard when it comes to consent
  • Past sexual history shouldn’t be allowed as proof that rape didn’t occur.
  • Ladies nights promote rape culture.
  • “Good faith” belief that you didn’t rape, the standard that MRA support, is BS.

So what is my problem? Well, I was once falsely accused of sexually assaulting somebody. I was in high school. My false accuser, “K”, claimed that an assault happened on day one but then came back to see me on day two to hang out. She even asked my friend to leave his room so that we could be alone. No charges were ever brought because it was obvious after the police took her report that her story didn’t hold water. However, the impact of the false accusation has lasted for over 20 years. When a news story reports another clear case of false accusations (like what happened in Hofstra, or Duke, or even the Caleb Warner case) I will have nightmares of it happening again. I react badly simply when someone says something false against me. I have fought very hard to stop myself from always needing to have the last word when people are saying false things about me about anything. And it has only been within the last few years or so that I have realized that my inability to let certain things go when people say false things about me directly pertains to the false accusation in my past. MRA groups have not made it easier on me either. Because of their lies about the frequency and scope of false accusations as well as their impacts, it makes it harder for victims like myself to come forward without being pigeonholed as being one of them.

So when I read the author of the Wonkette story say that lying about sexual assault “is not an actual thing” it makes me mad. It is a thing. It is a thing that happened to me. She is ignoring real pain.

When I read her article that states:

Families Advocating for Campus Equality is a group formed by mothers of sons who have been accused of sexual assault, who are very sad that all these mean women ruined their sons’ bright futures by accusing them of sexual assault, which they know for a fact their good boys never would have done.

I have to wonder what she might have said to my mother, who was also sure that her son did not do such a thing and was worried about my future. Now please do not get me wrong. FACE itself is a horrible group because it dares to suggest that being falsely accused of rape is totally the same thing as being raped. It isn’t. Not by a long shot. Looking at the FACE website I see several issues with what they raise. They want a “definition of incapacity”. How about this, if the person you want to get naked with would be considered too drunk for you to sign a business contract with them, the person is too drunk to consent.

Clearly one can be critical of the tactics used by FACE, or any other MRA group for that matter, by attacking their stances (like equating the pain of rape with the pain of being falsely accused of rape) without being dismissive of real victims of false accusations.

And that is my point. The overall feel of this article is one that is dismissive of people who have legitimately dealt with being falsely accused. And while what happened to us is unlikely to happen to most people, that doesn’t lessen the real impact these accusations have had on our lives. This is a well written article on false accusations and why it is harmful to just ignore their reality. I urge everyone to read it.

But one thing I really do not get is why some people are so quick to try and sweep false accusations under the rug. Every false accusation of rape contributes to the rape culture. Each example where it is shown that someone has lied about being raped makes it that much more harder for victims of rape to come forward and be believed. Do you believe that the Duke Lacrosse case helped or hurt future rape victims? Do you believe that the Hofstra case helped or hurt future rape victims? If you really want to combat rape culture, wouldn’t you aggressively fight against those who falsely accuse? The snide comments about the falsely accused should be saved for those who falsely accuse.

I do disagree with the author on one other point. She says:

HERE IS AN IDEA, DUDES: If you’re not sure, you can ask! It’s not even that hard. The woman is right there, in front of you. Just ask. Like you would with basically anything else you do in life that involves another person, other than, apparently, sticking your dick inside of them.

Asking is not enough. If a person is in front of me who is three sheets to the wind, any affirmative answer given to my question would not be considered acceptable consent.

And to those of you who DO want to have meaningful discussions about false accusations and what should be done about them, I have a couple of tips that will make things better for all of us. Do not go into spaces where rape is being discussed and bring up “false accusations”. Doing so derails needed conversations about rape and often talks over victims of rape who should have their stories heard. Also, do not give false accusations “undue weight”. Understand that while they suck, they are rare. Finally, you need to understand that the presumption of innocence doesn’t mean we have to ignore people who have been raped. We can both embrace the presumption of innocence and treat people who come forward with a rape accusation with decency and respect.

tl;dr
Devos is horrible for meeting with MRA.
MRA are horrible for a stupid number of reasons and should have no input on Title IX
False Accusations are extremely rare but they do happen.
Yes means yes, unless the person is too drunk to consent. At that point, any yes is a no. Just be a good person and get them home safely.
Don’t be a jerk to victims of crimes.

Liberal Dan Radio 12/23/2015: The Year in Review

On the final Liberal Dan Radio episode of 2015 I will be discussing some of the big issues from the past year.

I will also be discussing some more recent subjects including (but not limited to) the primaries, the so called Sanders “data breach”, the recent Ted Cruz children political cartoon, and Trump’s supposed “vulgarity”.

This will lead us to a discussion on fauxtroversies, made up controversies. Are people too quick to anger? Are people just that much more offensive these days? Is it a little of both.

Those issues and my annual night before the war on Xmas at 9pm central on Liberal Dan Radio: Talk From The Left, That’s Right.

Liberal Dan Radio 5/21/2015: Bobby Jindal is an embarrassment.

On the May 21, 2015 episode of Liberal Dan Radio:

Right as it looked like Louisiana wasn’t going to embarass itself, again, with discriminatory laws Bobby Jindal comes to save the day to keep Louisiana pushing downwards to the bottom of every list. Hypocrite Jindal issued an executive order directing his administration to basically enforce the legislation that wasn’t passed.

Say what? I will go into why that is majorly hipocritical. I will also go into why his executive order is not only discriminatory, but is poorly constructed as well.

If time permits I will also go into other issues and take your calls as well.

So for more Talk From The Left, That’s Right, tune in at 8pm Central on Blog Talk Radio.

Remember, you can also support the show by going to the Liberal Dan Go Fund Me page.

Liberal Dan Radio 4/2/2015: More On Anti-Gay Bigots

On the April 2, 2015 episode of Liberal Dan Radio:

The topics of several recent shows come together to form this show. It is kind of like a Voltron of bigotry and internet stupidity. I will be continuing my discussion about the law in Indiana, what Governor Pense is claiming that he will do about it now, and why other states laws are nothing like the Indiana law that was just recently passed.

I will also talk about the Conservative backlash to criticism of the Indiana law and why they are following the same formula I described previously in a show (i.e.that it is more important on the internet to be popular than to be correct).

Those issues,headlines, tweet of the week, and more this week on Liberal Dan Radio: Talk From The Left, That’s Right.

If you want to help support the show, either by buying advertising or by just making a small contribution to help me expand, pelase check out the Liberal Dan Radio Go Fund Me page.

Liberal Dan Radio 03/26/2015: The proposed Florida bathroom law

On the March 26, 2015 episode of Liberal Dan Radio:

Ted Cruz has announced his candidacy. I will explain why he shouldn’t be President because of one simple fact. I will also explain why that one simple fact has nothing to do with his place of birth.

Indiana and California are dealing with some very disturbing anti-gay legislation. I will go into each of those topics and give my opinion on them.

I will also be talking to my fellow Disney freak Kaden. Kaden lives in Florida and is very concerned about a new bathroom law that is being pushed in Florida and the impact it would have on transfolk like himself.

Those topics, headlines, tweet of the week, and more at 8pm Central on Liberal Dan Radio, Talk From The Left, That’s RIght.

If you want to support the show, please consider backing the Liberal Dan GoFundMe page.

Victimizing victims with child support

An Arizona man, Nick Olivas, was sexually violated by a 20 year old woman when he was only 15 years old, by the nature of the fact that no child under 16 can legally consent to sex of any kind under Arizona law. No charges were pressed at the time. Olivas said he was uncomfortable with the situation at the time. However, he was unaware that he could go to the police and that the sexual act was a crime.

The rape produced a child. Now that the statute of limitations has run out and she can no longer be charged with the crime of rape (despite the fact that we all know that it was a rape that occurred) she sought child support from her victim. She was successful. Not only was she awarded child support in the future, he was assessed charges  for past child support that he “should have” paid plus a 10% penalty for those past due child support payments that he knew nothing about. Apparently it is the responsibility of rape victims to know when their rapists give birth and to support the children that they did not legally consent to creating.

I have no problem with the idea that the simple act of a male consenting to sexual relations with a woman causes him to be financially responsible for any child that results. But this is not what we are talking about here. This is rape. This person could not consent to the sex that was had and it is a travesty of justice to seek monetary payments against him. Defense of the law will typically come in the form of “it is not the fault of the child” that the child was born. Not only does this miss the point, since we can find other ways to support kids born from these situation, these arguments sound horribly similar to the arguments made against abortion rights in the case of rape.

Men’s rights advocates, who are usually wrong on many issues, will come out against these support laws as being wrong. They are right to oppose them but they do so for the wrong reasons. They will likely blame feminism for their existence. In fact one twitter user, who may or may not be an MRA (but sounds like one) states that this was the result of feminism.

I disagree. In reality laws like this are caused by the patriarchy and if feminism is successful in dismantling the patriarchy these laws will go away. Here are my reasons why the patriarchy is to blame for such laws.

The Patriarchy supports the idea that women are caretakers and men are the bread winners. Many of the flaws in our system that MRA will blame feminism for are because of archaic social views that a child should be raised by a woman and should be financially supported by men. Eliminating the gender pay gap, breaking up archaic gender roles, and embracing that both parents have equal roles in raising a child will go a long way in fixing the perception that women should be the ones who get custody and support payments. Once this happens, the laws can be changed to reflect our new social norms.

The Patriarchy supports the idea that men are pursuers and women are to be pursued. You have heard the arguments before. That teen boys who get to “score” with “older babes” are “lucky”. Regardless of what age of consent laws say, male victims who are incapable of consenting to sex under the law are scoffed at when people suggest that they have been victimized. These male victims must have wanted it, according to the tropes, and that must make it ok (or at least “better” than when an older male sleeps with a female who is legally incapable of consenting to sex). By keeping the idea that men pursue and women are pursued we not only retain the idea that women are possessions, but we also deny men the ability to say that they are victims. It contributes to why Olivas never initially contacted the police.

Eliminate the patriarchy and you help solve the problems that exist in this case. Eliminate feminism, and these problems continue as nobody is left to fight the actual root causes of those problems. 

Liberal Dan Radio 9/3/2014: Victim blaming and backwards thinking

On the September 3, 2014 episode of Liberal Dan Radio:

Several celebrities have had nudes of them released that were obtained by people hacking their accounts. Some people are suggesting that keeping your pictures in “the cloud” is not a safe way to store such pictures and that such people are just “asking for it”. Others suggest that taking such pictures altogether are them asking for it. Others see hypocrisy in the treatment of female celebrities and male celebrities. I will cut through the hype and give my feelings on why some scenarios are different than the others and also explain why some of this blame being placed on the persons who took those pictures is just another example of victim blaming. Victim blaming just victimizes the victim.

More victim blaming comes at the hands of Cee Lo Green. After being accused of raping a person who was drugged, he had the gaul to suggest that sex with an unconcious person is not rape. Seriously. Forget you…

Another example where a victim is again victimized is the case of Nick Olivas, a male in Arizona who at 15 had non consensual (read rape) sexual relations with a 20 year old woman. As a 15 year old he could not consent to sex with the 20 year old but yet he is financially responsible for it? That makes zero sense.

Finally, I will discuss the ruling in Louisiana today that upheld the Louisiana ban on same sex marriage. Again, Louisiana bucks national trends to the detrement of its citizenry. Louisiana will eventually be forced to recognize marriage equality, but it will be dragged there kicking and screaming.

Those topics, headlines, tweet of the week and more at 8pm central on Liberal Dan Radio: Talk From The Left, That’s Right.

Liberal Dan Radio 4/8/2014: #CancelEverything

On the April 9, 2014 episode of Liberal Dan Radio:

Hashtags galore have been created dealing with the dissapointment some twitter users have with Stephen Colbert and Bill Maher over jokes made on their shows. Common consensus among those who are angry is that as white men they shouldn’t be making those jokes. Supporters of the shows suggest that perhaps intent should matter. I will go into my opinions of the statements made, including where Suey Park lost me, and about the backlash against hashtag activism.

Tuesday was #equalpayday. But what does the main point of #equalpayday leave out?

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was rebuked by the courts who affirmed the stance of Liberal Dan Radio that he has no idea what the first amendment means. I will go a little more into this.

Finally, Louisiana Congressman Vance McAllister was caught on film making out with one of his female staffers (who he fired on #equalpayday). When will the GOP stop being taken seriously as the party of “family values”?

Those topics, tweet of the week, headlines, and more at 8pm Central on Liberal Dan Radio: Talk From The Left, That’s Right.

Liberal Dan Radio August 29, 2013: Syria, Katrina, and I Have a Dream

On the August 29th, 2013 Episode of Liberal Dan radio:

This is the 8th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall in Louisiana. What has happened since then. Are we better off? How are we still being failed? What needs to improve?

The Obama Administration is currently weighing our options after evidence points to Syria using illegal chemical weapons against the rebels. Do we need to get involved? Is this our problem or the worlds problem? Should we be more patient? Will anything this President does be considered correct by Republicans? Are there other reasons why we care about what is going on in Syria while ignoring other massacres around the world (i.e. Africa)?

Finally, this week marks the 50th anniversary of the Martin Luther King speech at the march on Washington. Conservatives are complaining that more conservative folks were not invited. Republicans like to say that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a Republican himself. I will go into why the Conservatives and the Republican Party needs to clean up some of their behavior before complaining about a lack of inclusion in the festivities.

Those topics, headlines, tweet of the week and more, tonight on Liberal Dan Radio: Talk From The Left, That’s Right.

Remember, the show is moving to Wednesdays starting next week.

And remember, there are two more days left until the end of the Liberal Dan Radio Kickstarter. Great deals are there for potential advertisers. Listeners can also help for as little as $1. So act fast and help me expand Liberal Dan Radio.

Liberal Dan Radio 7-18-2013: Standing our ground against stand your ground laws

On tonight’s episode of Liberal Dan Radio I will be discussing the verdict in the George Zimmerman case.

Was the ruling right or wrong? How bad did the jury mess things up?

Are the Florida self-defense statutes Constitutional? Do they satisfy the requirement of equal protection as guaranteed by the 14th amendment? Wasn’t it Trayvon Martin who stood his ground?

What would I have done had I been on the prosecution? What arguments would I have made in my closing statement?

Why are Conservatives going so crazy trying to make excuses for the ruling? Are they tripping all over their privilege?

How can I tie Bobby Jindal into all of this?

Is this a case where the justice system both worked as it should while also failing miserably? I will go into that seemingly contradictory statement as well.

Those topics and more, plus Words of Redneck Wisdom, headlines, and tweet of the week tonight on Liberal Dan Radio: Talk From The Left, That’s Right!

LIsten live at 8pm Central on BlogTalkRadio or listen to the podcast and discuss the show at liberaldan.com.