Sometimes I read the National Coalition for Men‘s blog posts, which come from a variety of bloggers, mostly upper middle class white guys. (I know, you’re shocked.) Something interesting was recently posted by Phil Cook, board member of SAVE (Stop Abusive and Violent Environments– sounds like a winner, right? Appearances can be deceiving…). According to their website, Phil is also the Executive Director of SAFE (Stop Abuse for Everyone)…? The two organizations would appear to have vastly different approaches to sexual violence, and cater to completely different audiences. It just don’t make no sense. But we’ll save that investigation for another day. For now let’s just analyze Phil’s post, in its entirety.
Phil titled his post “All Men Are Rapists-And They Are Coming After You”… and they are, so get off your couch and do something about it!” It’s a bit confusing, but I think he’s referring to “man-haters” when he says “they” really are coming after you.
“There is a well-orchestrated government-backed effort underway to allow women who participate in any sexual activity with a man to charge him with sexual assault or rape – whenever they choose to do so. Every man, married or dating, is at risk.” Sounds serious. Although, what you’re talking about is falsely accusing someone of rape, and rape is actually falsely reported equally or less than other violent crimes according to the FBI* (also see Anderson & Doherty’s 2008 book). Of course, considering that investigations are overwhelmingly conducted by men, the DAs who decide which cases to take are also mostly male, the definition of rape, itself, was written largely by males, and statistics used by the FBI are compiled for the most part by males…one needs to take “false reports” stats with a rather large grain of salt.
“This unprecedented attack on dating teenage boys and all men began with an April 2011 Department of Education directive. The directive was issued without prior notice or opportunity for public comment: “[I]n order for a school’s grievance procedures to be consistent with Title IX standards, the school must use a preponderance of the evidence standard (i.e., it is more likely than not that sexual harassment or violence occurred).” [bold type is Cook’s] To call the directive an attack is so inaccurate it makes me wonder if he even read it. You can decide for yourself (it’s short), but to summarize, this Dear Colleague Letter basically reiterates some key facts about rape in schools (colleges and universities included) and also the fact that the government is responsible for properly investigating such crimes, as well as for protecting students from those crimes in the first place. Phil tries to assert that the letter was “issued without prior notice”; it would be more accurate to say that the Dept. of Education was responding, albeit belatedly, to the outcry surrounding certain highly publicized cases of rape in public schools (see MSNBC and NPR, for example). But that bit about “preponderance of evidence” is my favourite part: what is preponderance of evidence? Phil thinks it means “it is more likely than not that…violence occurred”. Phil is an idiot, either that or I watched too much Law & Order as a child (thanks Mom). Preponderance of evidence means that the burden of proof is on the plaintiff, not the defendant. In other words, the justice system operates on the assumption that a crime did not occur. Maybe Phil has heard the expression “innocent until proven guilty”.
“In October 2011, Caleb Warner was allowed to return to the University of North Dakota after being victimized by the university’s low standard of evidence. The accuser had filed claims of sexual assault with both the University and the municipal police department. Two investigations resulted — the university’s according to the preponderance standard, and the police’s according to the usual “clear and convincing” standard — and they could not have turned out more differently. Warner was found guilty by his university and banned from campus after a swift investigation. Meanwhile local police reviewed the very same evidence, determined that Warner’s accuser was lying, and charged her with filing a false report. Don’t think it could happen to any male you know attending college? Think again.” I tried to find some decent news reports on this. Not much luck. It’s true that many universities (including the one I attended for undergrad) have a “preponderance” standard, which means you don’t need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime occurred, you just need “enough” evidence (subjective? Uh, yeah.)– but the burden of proof is always, as ever, on the plaintiff, not the defendant. It’s not that rape is never falsely accused, it’s just highly unlikely. Similar to falsely accusing someone of murder: you just don’t see it that much.
“Vice President Joe Biden has launched an active campaign in support of the Department of Education’s new directive. The character Val in the Marilyn French novel, “The Women’s Room,” said, “All men are rapists.” If the definitions are broadened sufficiently, it becomes true.” Well, yay to that first part (though really, how “active” can a campaign launched by the VP really be?). Said definitions are not even remotely nearing the point where all men can be defined as rapists. But by my personal definition of rape (any unwanted sexual touch), many more men are rapists than the government would ever acknowledge. Many men, themselves, are probably unaware that they’re rapists, because their culturally arranged definition of rape excludes their behavior in favor of things like drawing blood and tearing vaginal tissue. I have a lot to say on that point. Ah, well, another day…
“This might be seen as the somewhat laughable assertions of a radical feminist fringe [hey, that’s me!], but the U.S. government is acting on their behalf. It’s no coincidence that the FBI has recently changed its definition of what rape is. The previous definition was in place for eighty years: “The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will”” Yeah, well, they changed it because that definition is idiotic. “Carnal knowledge”? What the hell does that even mean? Something that subjective and soaked in religious rhetoric need not be used as a standard in crime investigation by the FBI. Also, this definition doesn’t acknowledge those rapes which don’t require force, or during which force wasn’t used. That doesn’t make it less rape-y, by the way.
“The Uniform Crime Report Subcommittee has changed that definition to: “penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”” [bold type is Cook’s] Obviously I find this definition inadequate. Phil was probably appalled by this definition, too– but because this might have been the part where he realized something he’d done in the past was rape. Oh shit!
“Has she had a drink or two of alcohol or used a drug? Then she’s “incapable of consent” even if she voluntarily became inebriated.” This is so frightening I don’t know how to begin. So what Phil is admitting, here, is that he thinks consent is implied if a woman has voluntarily become drunk. It’s annoying that he always uses “she”, by the way, as if there’s no such thing as male rape. If any person is intoxicated via any substance or unconscious or otherwise unable to give consent, assuming that you have their consent is wrong. Let’s say you take your friend home after a party and they pass out on the couch, and you decide to grope them because, well, they’re none the wiser, right? Congratulations, you just violated them. Perhaps some day in the future, the FBI will even define what you did as rape. Just think about that next time it crosses your mind to do such a thing.
Los Angeles attorney and NCFM Vice President Marc Angelucci says, “Think about what the new definition of “rape” means. Every exploratory “hands-on” teenager in the back seat of a car or on a sofa in the parents’ basement is now at risk of being branded a “rapist”. They kiss. His hand touches (“penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part”). She does nothing (“without the consent” means he has the burden to get consent; she doesn’t have to express lack of consent). He stops touching. Too late. The hand committed rape and the only question is whether she will press charges. By changing the definition at the FBI data collection level, all jurisdictions will come under pressure to change their underlying statutes to make the crime fit the Federal definition.” Actually, “the hand” did not commit rape: the person it is attached to did (in this case, the “hands-on” teenager). THIS IS WHY THE ISSUE OF CONSENT IS SO CRUCIAL. What does it mean to assume that you have the right to touch another person without asking them first? Let’s start with something as simple as a hug: you hug someone– a friend of the same sex, we’ll say– without asking first. How do you know they wanted to be hugged? How do you know they wanted to be hugged by you? YOU DON’T. YOU NEED TO ASK FIRST. It is not your body. It is theirs. Touching, however well-intended or “harmless”, should not be assumed to be your right: the first right is a person’s right to autonomous control of their body. Which means that your hug, if it turns out to have been unwanted after all, is now a form of violation. You didn’t have the right to hug them, you just assumed that you had that right. I’m thinking we should do a post about consent. Oh gawd.
“Are you a man? A parent with a son? Scared yet?” If I do have a son, I sure hope I do an effective job of educating him about human rights, rather than instilling as sense of self-entitlement which might lead him to rape someone.
“You definitely should be. There are powerful mainly hidden forces at work.” Really, we’re trying to become unhidden, we’re just not that popular.
“In this case, paranoia is not merely justified, it is overdue. There has been no news media coverage of these issues. Surprised? Shocked? Now that you are informed what action will you take to change these federal initiatives? Will you just sit back and hope that a false charge of rape or sexual assault will not happen to any males you know? Don’t count on it.” Certainly doesn’t seem like Phil is going to “sit back and hope”… Good for him, I like a challenge. I know we “feminazis”, as the NCFM’s website is often fond of labeling proponents of human rights, really do just take all the fun out of things (“NO you can have sex with her while she’s unconscious!” “NO your sexual harrassment is not taken as adoring advances!”), but we wouldn’t have our work cut out for us without people like Phil.
Also, just some icing for that cake, I found some worthwhile comments on the original NMFC post:
” We know all this Phil !! We know that is geting worst . I have an Idea . Start seling T- Shirts , ” Im not a Rapest ” !! In the San Diego area first . To see the reaction of the people . Sarcasm works best !!! Trust me . Put the feminatzis to shame . They hate that !!! Just doit it !!” – from “Ivan”
” Good Idea on the T- Shirts Ivan !!!
Harry , Happy New Year and God Bless ,to you and your team . Thank you and stay strong Brother . A lot of people are watching you guys . I looked you up in Google Maps , your San Diego office is kind of small . You have to go national Harry ,get funding from the State !! I wish I were a rich man but .. I will buy you a nice bilding and lawyers and a Newspaper to fight the Feminatzi media . Keep on pushing Harry . There are millions of rich men in USA who have been screwed by the Family Courts . Contact those people . Alek Baldawen the actor ,comes to mind. Did you know that Rupert Murdoch is on Twitter now. Yes, he twittes . Rupert can do a lot for Mens Rights ! Just do it Harry , just try to contact Rupert. You will be suprised . A very , very nice letter to a very powerful man will do the trick !!!!
Cheers from Canada guys and girls .” – from “Antony”
You know what this reminds me of? If you guessed ‘white supremacism’, you’d be correct. Maybe some (most?) of you think I’m wasting my time reading this garbage from people whose IQ is similar to their shoe size… But worse and more misguided people than this have lobbied the government, successfully passed legislation, run for office, become President of the Most Powerful Nation in the World, and so forth. It’s best to keep your eye on these things. (After all, Alec Baldwin might decide to fund them.) >_<