"Don't want to be murdered? Don't marry a murderer!"

Thanks to a commenter on the thread about feminism and the murder rate, I found some interesting discussion about Latoyia Figueroa’s murder (scroll down about two-thirds of the page). Criminologist Jack Levin addresses the horrifying fact that the most common cause of death among pregnant women and new mothers is murder by speculating about the cultural pressures that might drive men to kill women who are carrying their children:

We glorify, we romanticize fatherhood but there are many men who don’t want it. They see the baby as an obstacle to their success.

Of course, there’s more to it than that: some men who don’t want to be fathers take the responsibility for avoiding fatherhood onto themselves, while others expect their girlfriends to bear all the responsibility. The ones who think murdering your pregnant girlfriend is an appropriate response to an unwanted pregnancy push the sexist, women-are-to-blame thinking to its extreme, but the difference between believing you have the right to kill her and believing you have the right to compel her to have an abortion is one of degree and not kind.

It’s true that one of the ways our culture contributes to crimes like this is by putting pressure on men that some cannot live up to. But the other side of the coin is the image of motherhood and femininity as subservient to male control that makes these men consider their partners as objects for them to control and, if necessary, destroy. Both are cultural pressures, both are factors in crimes like that, and I’d prefer to see more attention paid to the one that directly affects women than to the one that could be read as excusing men.

But at least Levin is focussing on the actions of the criminal. Criminal profiler Pat Brown picks up this social pressure and runs with it into blame-the-victim territory:

I think we also have women out there who are not picking men who want to be fathers. It’s a simple solution for the women. Don’t get pregnant by men you do not trust and absolutely think want to be in a relationship and want to move into fatherhood.

Such a simple solution. Don’t want to be murdered? Don’t marry a murderer. Don’t want to be raped? Don’t let yourself be alone with a rapist. Don’t want to be used as a sexual object and then discarded? Don’t associate with sexist jerks. Not to say that victims of murder and rape are to blame for what happens to them, of course, but we know there are predators out there and it makes sense for women to take these few simple steps to protect themselves.

It falls to Levin to point out the flaw in this plan:

Not all of these guys…in fact some of them are the last person you’d suspect and that’s part of the secret of being a sociopath and getting away with murder. So you know sure, let’s use warning signs and common sense, but it doesn’t always work.

Until men who see women as expendable objects start wearing labels to distinguish them from the rest of the male population, “don’t get involved with a jerk or a sociopath” isn’t a solution at all. There are men who appear to be wonderful, caring people as eager for parenthood as the women who fall for them, but who, at the first sign of things not conforming to their fantasies, blame the women and expect them to fall immediately into line. When the man who is genuinely trustworthy and the man who is only trustworthy as long as he gets what he wants look the same to the naked eye, what’s a girl to do?

Whatever filters women set up to screen out the jerks and the sociopaths, they lose. No filter is perfect: it will either underblock and let undesirables through or overblock and screen desirables out. If the filter underblocks, you could end up with someone who thinks murder is an acceptable form of birth control, and the likes of Pat Brown will suggest that it’s your fault for not realising who you’d tangled with. And if it overblocks, you’re an evil misandrist who thinks all men are rapists and won’t give a nice guy a chance.

But given that the stakes are so high, why do “nice guys” deserve a chance before they’ve produced solid evidence, as opposed to unreliable assertion, of why they should be trusted? Outside of feminist discussions, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the question asked. Nice guys deserve a chance because they’re nice guys, and because deep down, a woman really needs a man and won’t be happy without one. Male privilege and the myth of subservient femininity, all packed into one unexamined assumption.

This entry posted in Anti-feminists and their pals, Feminism, sexism, etc, Rape, intimate violence, & related issues. Bookmark the permalink. 

70 Responses to "Don't want to be murdered? Don't marry a murderer!"

  1. 1
    Thomas says:

    Blaming women is no surprise, unfortunately. The surprise was a man having none of it:

    ABRAMS: You can’t start blaming the women, Pat…

    BROWN: Oh yes, you…everybody’s got to…

    ABRAMS: No you can’t. I’m sorry…

    That’s what men can do. We can call bullshit early and often on victim-blaming for rape and domestic violence.

  2. 2
    paul says:

    But given that the stakes are so high, why do “nice guys” deserve a chance before they’ve produced solid evidence, as opposed to unreliable assertion, of why they should be trusted?

    I know this is something of a rhetorical question, but it has the problem of assuming that there is such a thing as sufficiently solid evidence that a guy should be trusted. A bunch of us were talking just the other day about an old friend who had been involved with a guy for 10 years when the two of them decided to have a kid. Infant arrived, the guy said, “Gosh, I guess I wasn’t cut out for this after all,” and she pretty much never saw him again.

    So if a woman wants a man in her life, there’s pretty much no level of filtering that’s going to guarantee niceness when the chips are down.

  3. 3
    Thomas says:

    Is he paying his child support?

  4. 4
    Radfem says:

    Ah, PHMT rears its head again.

    It’s a serious problem, when a pregnant woman’s number one cause of death is homicide and more likely than not, it’s at the biological father’s hand. Yet too often, like rape and DV, it’s the victim’s fault for putting herself in harm’s way(i.e. walking at night, wearing “suggestive” clothes, not picking her men well). The rapists, wife-beaters and murdering mates are only following some dictum enbedded in their DNA, and it’s the women that are triggering these predestined, pre-programed behaviors.

    I do think women have to be smarter in their dating choices, in terms of if you are having a gut feeling, or a back-of-the-neck feeling, or there’s red flags in a new relationship, then trust those feelings, which may be difficult because there’s a lot of heady feelings in new relationships. Hopefully, parents can raise their daughters to have self-respect to demand a partner who will treat them with respect, and they will raise men to respect women and not treat them as property.

    That said, if men are going to kill the women they are dating, because they are pregnant(as if only the woman plays a role in the process and the men are completely absolved of any responsibility.), that is an action that they are doing. They’re doing it to exercise power over the woman and her body, or because they do not want to share their property(the woman) with another living entity. They want the woman to remain an object for gratification who will put their needs first, above that of a child. They are narcissists who feel threatened by the lack of 24/7 attention. And there’s other reasons, all of them self-centered and selfish.

    Criminologist Jack Levin addresses the horrifying fact that the most common cause of death among pregnant women and new mothers is murder by speculating about the cultural pressures that might drive men to kill women who are carrying their children:

    We glorify, we romanticize fatherhood but there are many men who don’t want it. They see the baby as an obstacle to their success.

    So Levin, they have no other choice available to them under the sun, than to kill the woman? Why is there all this speculation about why men kill women? It’s like when they say about a serial killer who kills women, being mentally ill in order to commit those acts when maybe [newsflash] he just hates women.

  5. 5
    Thomas says:

    Amen, RadFem. This is exactly like victim-blaming in rape. Men are criminally assaulting women — the blame lies with them. These criminologists who say, essentially, “well, why did women pick these guys?” are giant assholes and are not raising any point worth inquiry. They should be focused on what makes these guys think that killing these women is a solution. And if that’s not their focus, women and especially men of good conscience need to demand that the put the focus where it belongs.

    Therefore, praise for Abrams is in order, because he was having none of it.

  6. 6
    Chana says:

    Men don’t have a god-given right to abuse women, but saying they don’t deserve a chance even to associate with women until they can prove they’re not psychopaths is taking things too far. Everyone deserves a chance, men included–not a chance to sleep with you or a chance to subjugate you, but a chance not to be seen as a potential rapist. What are men supposed to do, provide an official certificate, a doctor’s note, and a social security card?

    Not all guys are nice, but they shouldn’t be avoided like the plague. Nobody should need a special license to interact in public with other humans.

  7. 7
    Radfem says:

    I didn’t say anything about requiring men to pass a test or be given a card before they could associate with women. I did say that blaming biology, or the romaticizing of fatherhood, for men who kill their wives is nonsense. Men in these cases made the decision to commit murder, and in many cases, it was premeditate, meaning they thought long and hard of what they intended to do, and planned their courses of action.

    I’m not sure of what those statements has to do with coercing or forcing men to have to *prove* through various means that they aren’t rapists, killers or whatever. Actually, it’s these “biology as destiny” arguments about men, that could be used to push men towards more stringent standards of determining whether or not they were fit to interact with women in a society. Because afer all, it could be argued that it is inevitable that there would be violence that they apparently could not control so those standards would then be necessary.

    Of course, under patriarchy, this “biology” thing just is allowed to serve as an excuse, among apologists who are deluded enough to argue that even if women die at the hands of men, it’s still the men who are the oppressed class.

    Most of us wouldn’t know a sociopath if we saw one, particularly in the beginning because they know how to manipulate people and can be quite charismatic. You usually don’t find out who is, and who isn’t one until it’s too late.

  8. 8
    ol cranky says:

    I was actually blogging a Latoyia update when I heard Abrams let Pat Brown have it (he was irked to say the least). Many of the Philly bloggers got all sorts of comments not quite as nicely put as Brown’s (which tells you how bad some of them were). Nobody blamed Laci Peterson for making the mistake of marrying Scott and procreating with him, the same for Lori Hacking – the end result was the same (only with a lot of national media coverage) and I’m sure their husbands were sweet as pie to them prior to deciding to off them. I’m also sure that the late Maria Marshall thought her husband, Rob, was a wonderful man and father – and yet this nice, successful business man killed his beautiful wife (2 of their boys were in college at the time, at what point should she have known she was at risk of being murdered by him?).

    Now when it comes to a “baby mama” like Latoyia, it’s a societal attitude that “the bitch got herself killed”. While the attitude is predominantely against women of color, there’s a degree of it against women like Amanda Jones as well (she’s gotten some coverage, but nothing compared with the affluent white damsel in distress).

    What do the former have that makes them judged worthy of concern and respectful treatment that the latter do not? They are white, they are affluent, they are considered attractive and, in the cases of the pregnant women, and they are married which makes them innocent victims. The rest of us show bad judgment in our choice of husbands/lovers who kill us.

  9. 9
    katthemad says:

    Chana;

    Here’s where we get into the “damned-if-you-do-and-damned-of-you-don’t” part of victim blaming.

    We shouldn’t treat all men as potential rapists, as you say; everyone deserves a chance. And when we take that advice and give everyone a chance and one of those people turns out to be a rapist we’re blamed for not treating everyone as a potential rapist to begin with and showing more caution.

    What fun.

  10. 10
    Amanda says:

    Everyone deserves a chance, men included”“not a chance to sleep with you or a chance to subjugate you, but a chance not to be seen as a potential rapist. What are men supposed to do, provide an official certificate, a doctor’s note, and a social security card?

  11. 11
    clew says:

    So what do the evo-socio-bio-Just-So apologists for patriarchy do with the genetic unfitness of men killing their own children??

    Surely the giraffe-killing archetype just tips his hat and rides off into the sunset.

  12. 12
    Robert says:

    So what do the evo-socio-bio-Just-So apologists for patriarchy do with the genetic unfitness of men killing their own children??

    Well, it does seem to be a case of a problem that solves itself.

    It’s just that the cost is so unspeakably tragic.

  13. 13
    ginmar says:

    Ah, victim blaming yet again.

    Sometimes you realize just how unimportant, un human,you are to the other half of the species. Reading about the invisible murderers of pregnant women does it. That’s what victim-blaming does: it makes the assailant invisible.

  14. 14
    Nick Kiddle says:

    Radfem: I’m prepared to cut Levin some slack because examining the role that our culture plays in crimes like this isn’t the same as excusing the actions of the criminal, and also because he showed his good sense by pointing out the flaw in Brown’s “simple solution”.

    ol cranky: I’ve only been following the story via this and a couple of other blogs (sadly, there are enough murdered women here in the UK to keep the news media occupied without covering US stories) and I had no idea there was a racist dimension too. How vile.

  15. 15
    Elena says:

    I read a book by crime Anne Rule called “Kiss Me, Kill me” in which she describes several murders of women by strangers and romantic partners. An overriding theme of the book is how the killers took advantage of their victims’ natural tendency for kindness, or their utter passivity when threatened (not an exclusively feminine trait, in my opinion). I’m saving the book for my daughter to read- I don’t want her to fear men, but I want her to be savvy. Another thing the book brings home is the wierd misogyny of the 60’2 and 70′s, when killers of women were treated as poor misunderstood misfits.

    I don’t think examining why some women stay with violent, dangerous men has to be viewed as blaming the victim, if it is done so very carefully.
    I believe that violent, perhaps sociopathic people pick their partners carefully, and I don’t think everyone can be fooled by a sociopath. And remember in the book “The Sociopath Next Door” we are reminded that most sociopaths aren’t violent. I know one, a woman, who is a destructive, dangerous person, albeit non-violent.

  16. 16
    Anonymous says:

    We glorify, we romanticize fatherhood

    You’re joking, right?

  17. 17
    RonF says:

    Since when is fatherhood romanticized and glorified? Consider the most common source of family images we see, those on TV. Dad is usually a well-meaning but ignorant dufus who needs constant correction by everyone else on the show, especially his wife. She, in contrast, is generally shown as intelligent and is held in quite high regard.

    Then move on to that common obsession, celebrity lives. When Brittany Spears got pregnant, there was some comment around the office about “why is this news?” I pointed out how rare it was that a female celebrity entertainer would publicly state that she thought it was necessary to get married before she would get pregnant and have a baby. Many others seem to tend to view their children’s fathers as more akin to a sperm donor than a partner to bond themselves and their children with.

    For this and for other reasons, then, I disagree with this premise. It seems to me that fatherhood is not held in particularly high regard in American culture at this time. If you are going to ask, “why would a man do this”, it seems to me that a critical examination of how the status of fatherhood affects a man’s overall cultural status is in order. Perhaps this will help explain (but not excuse) their motivation.

  18. 18
    RonF says:

    It would be interesting to see an analysis of these homicides based on the relationship between the members of the couples. While there are a couple of examples given above of people who had known each other for a long time ending up like this, it might be instructive to consider the whole of the population to see if there is any correlation between factors such as the length of the relationship, the existence of a marriage, etc., and the incidence of such homicide.

    The fault for such killings of course falls to the killer. But that doesn’t mean that, for numerous reasons, women who want children shouldn’t carefully consider the stability of the prospective father. No method for doing so is perfect. But you’d think that any effort is better than none, and the longer the woman gets to know the man and observe their interactions with both themselves and others, the better off they’d be. Make sure, as well as you can, that having a child is what the father wants as well as what you want. A reluctant father is perhaps worse than no father at all.

  19. 19
    Thomas says:

    Ron, everything you said assumes an intended pregnancy.

  20. 20
    RonF says:

    Hm. Well, good point, Thomas. I did. But my presumption is that people who don’t want to get pregnant will do something to make sure that pregnancy doesn’t occur (abstinence, pill, condoms, etc.). Choosing to have sex that can result in pregnancy without either making sure that this is what both people want and are ready for or taking the necessary steps to make sure that no pregnancy results is incredibly irresponsible, damn stupid and unfair to any child that results.

    Unfortunately, since it’s irresponsible and damn stupid (and selfish), it happens fairly often.

    No one who does it and ends up with a child should expect a good outcome as a matter of course; the odds are that the people involved will not bond together or with the child. That doesn’t justify killing. But it does mean that you’ve made a bad choice that should and could be avoided and have put yourself at heightened risk for all kinds of bad things.

  21. 21
    Thomas says:

    Now you’re assuming that contraception is 100% effective.

    So you’re saying that women should “carefully consider the stability of the prospective father” even if they intend to have casual sex, because if they fail to use contraception, or if it fails, they might find themselves pregnant by a sociopath who will kill them? That sounds like a long way around to putting the burden on women to do inaccurate and marginally useful screening to prevent events that are tragic but tough to forsee.

    Frankly, it is not in the interest of any straight man to set the bar for all sexual partners too high. If you’re really serious that women shouldn’t be screwing around with any man that they wouldn’t trust if they were pregnant by him, then you may be setting yourself up for a pretty serious dry spell.

    Your analysis only really makes sense if one accepts a bunch of myths: that poor women are deliberately getting pregnant by men who do not want to be fathers, without regard to the support they will receive. But, I suspect once I put it this way, you will decline to adopt that mythology. I submit that that mythology was what drove Brown’s assinine comments, because they don’t make sense in any other context.

    I’m against unwanted pregnancy. I support comprehensive sex ed, available contraception, and abortion on demand without apology because I believe every child should be a wanted child. However, when a man kills a woman to keep her from having his offspring, the sentence does not contain the word “but.” “What he did was criminal and should be punished” is not a disclaimer that comes before an analysis of what the victim could have done differently. I don’t accept the “what the victim should have done” routine when a woman is raped, and I don’t accept it when a woman is murdered.

  22. 22
    Elena says:

    In a perfect world, women would only choose decent fathers for their children. Then again, that’s not how most people came to be in this world. The idea that we carefully choose and plan having children is a radical new feminist idea.

  23. 23
    ol cranky says:

    I had no idea there was a racist dimension too. How vile.

    Nick:

    I think it’s elitist more so than just plain old racist. The racist dimension feeds into it but even white women from the “wrong side of the tracks” are frowned upon by those who consider themselves of a higher and more respectable class: All in all, it’s just a bad mix of old fashioned American Puritanism and classism/racism: “those people” are viewed by the pious neo-puritan as “irresponsible animals”. Our caste system may not be as obvious as the ones that exist elsewhere, but it exists nonetheless.

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  25. 24
    Chana says:

    katthemad–

    I know. One of the reasons that a woman who gets tricked into going out with a psycho or who is killed by one shouldn’t be blamed is that there’s no way she could have seen it coming; there’s no practical way to be 100% sure that she’s safe. In other words, the fact that “not giving guys a chance” is such a bad way of doing things is part of why the victim should never be held responsible. (Which is not to say that it’s the only reason.)

    And the people who believe the double standard that women should be totally accepting of guys and still are to be blamed for their own murders need a good thwack upside the head, if you ask me.

  26. 25
    alsis39 says:

    Thomas wrote:

    I’m against unwanted pregnancy. I support comprehensive sex ed, available contraception, and abortion on demand without apology because I believe every child should be a wanted child. However, when a man kills a woman to keep her from having his offspring, the sentence does not contain the word “but.” “What he did was criminal and should be punished” is not a disclaimer that comes before an analysis of what the victim could have done differently. I don’t accept the “what the victim should have done” routine when a woman is raped, and I don’t accept it when a woman is murdered.

    Absolutely.

  27. 26
    mythago says:

    But my presumption is that people who don’t want to get pregnant will do something to make sure that pregnancy doesn’t occur (abstinence, pill, condoms, etc.).

    Birth control reduces the chance of pregnancy occuring; it does not “make sure” pregnancy will not occur.

  28. 27
    Aegis says:

    Nick Kiddle said:
    Whatever filters women set up to screen out the jerks and the sociopaths, they lose. No filter is perfect: it will either underblock and let undesirables through or overblock and screen desirables out. If the filter underblocks, you could end up with someone who thinks murder is an acceptable form of birth control, and the likes of Pat Brown will suggest that it’s your fault for not realising who you’d tangled with. And if it overblocks, you’re an evil misandrist who thinks all men are rapists and won’t give a nice guy a chance.

    This is probably all true.

    But given that the stakes are so high, why do “nice guys” deserve a chance before they’ve produced solid evidence, as opposed to unreliable assertion, of why they should be trusted?

    Good question. While we are at it, let’s ask some similar ones:
    Why should a taxi driver in an inner city pick up a black person at night considering there is a chance they might get mugged, unless the black person can present solid evidence that they are not a potential criminal?
    Why should you make friends with anyone considering that there is a chance they might lie to you or steal from you?
    Why should a man get married considering there is a chance his wife might cheat and commit paternity fraud?
    Why trust anyone or give anyone a chance on anything ever?

    If we are going to direct cynicism towards someone because of a small probability that they may hurt us, then we must direct cynicism towards everyone, or we would be hypocrites. If we are going to distrust any member of a group who is known to have a small percentage of violent members, then we must distrust just about every group of people. If some members of a group conform to a negative stereotype, then we must judge all members of that group by that stereotype.

    In any kind of interaction with people, there is an element of risk. This risk is not a good thing, and we do our best to reduce it as much as we can without destroying civil liberties. Yet it seems to me that there is no such thing, and will be no such thing, as a risk-free society any time soon, unless we end up in a police state. In that case, it seems we must evaluate what the risks are, and weigh them against the potential benefits of human interaction, instead of being completely trusting or holding a paranoid “guilty until proven innocent” attitude.

  29. 28
    ginmar says:

    Um, yeah. Comparing racism to reasonable caution is really the way to go here, Aegis.

  30. 29
    VK says:

    I have issues with the paranoia/reasonable caution line. I’m told I’m nearly always on the paranoia side. For an example if I get a taxi, I will always book, I take a picture of the driver and text it to a friend along with the car registration number, the name of the company, where I am going and an estimation of how long it will take me to get there – with instruction to call the police if I haven’t called them by the end of that time frame. And I tell the driver I am doing this. This tends to piss the driver off considerably (since it takes me a while to do this plus it makes it obvious how little I trust them). But on the other hand I’ve had a friend raped by a taxi driver, who got away with it because it was impossible to identify who he was. I can’t just get into a taxi without doing this – and it freaks me when friends do it.
    To an extent I do this with dates too. Tell a friend exactly where I am going and with who. Avoid being alone with them until I’ve known them for a while (which is no guarentee, but hey eventually you either trust someone or spend your life alone). I carry my rape alarm everywhere.

    Still I suspect if I am raped, it will be suggested I could have taken more care. That I was rash to trust a person so soon. That I incited it by my over-cautioness or some such rubbish…

  31. 30
    Thomas says:

    Aegis, I could address the substance of what you said, but the subtext is more important.

    It seems very apparent to me, from this and other posts, that you (especially) and some other men are really frightened and offended when some of the women commenters express anger and cynicism about rape and men. Some women have been pointed, saying that they assume men are rapists, and lots of guys react really badly to this.

    Well, I’m a man, and I’m telling you to grow a thicker skin. Women live with not only the fear of being raped (not by some stranger, but by some guy they thought was a friend), but with the very real fear that if it were to happen, lots of folks would bend over backwards to find fault with their conduct. I’m sure at some level you know this is true, but they’re not making this problem up.It’s as big and as real as they say it is.

    So some women assume all men are rapists, or tell us they do. Well, that makes me feel all icky inside, too. But that’s not their problem. If men are doing things that make this situation so bad, then everybody ought to be trying to stop it. Now, the women I’m talking about are doing all they know how to stop rape, and to stop victim blaming. But men have a long way to go to make rape and victim-blaming unacceptable among men. When we get there, or even make a lot of progress there, maybe the cultural forces that make women like Q Grrl and Ginmar suspicious of you and me will change. Until then, I accept that I see what it is they are upset about.

    They don’t owe you a cookie or a pat on the head. They don’t owe you an honorary certificate that says, “Except Aegis – he’s a nice guy.” They don’t owe any of us that. They’re just trying to live their lives and leave the world a better place at the end of the day than it was when they woke up. So, if you want the readership around here to stop thinking of you as a self-justifying whiner (I’m being blunt, of necessity — that’s my unvarnished view, and I don’t think I’m alone) then try talking about how to fix problems and not arguing, essentially, that more people should cut you a break.

  32. 31
    RonF says:

    Now you’re assuming that contraception is 100% effective.

    No single method is. But if you double up (e.g., IUD and condom), the rate of pregnancy is quite low. And if you put that much effort into it, then the likelihood that the person you’re involved with is a homicdal nut is low as well.

    So you’re saying that women should “carefully consider the stability of the prospective father” even if they intend to have casual sex, because if they fail to use contraception, or if it fails, they might find themselves pregnant by a sociopath who will kill them?

    Yeah. But that’s too limiting a case. I’d say that they should have such consideration because a failure of contraception could cause them to end up with a child who has at least one parent who doesn’t love it and has no committment to it. That can lead to all kinds of bad outcomes – emotional attacks, child abuse, abandonment, etc. Even if you take homicide out of the equation, sex that could result in pregnancy isn’t casual and viewing that way is selfish. The concept of “casual” sex isn’t all that valid.

    Frankly, it is not in the interest of any straight man to set the bar for all sexual partners too high. If you’re really serious that women shouldn’t be screwing around with any man that they wouldn’t trust if they were pregnant by him, then you may be setting yourself up for a pretty serious dry spell.

    Could be. But like I say, “sex isn’t casual”.

    Your analysis only really makes sense if one accepts a bunch of myths: that poor women are deliberately getting pregnant by men who do not want to be fathers, without regard to the support they will receive. But, I suspect once I put it this way, you will decline to adopt that mythology. I submit that that mythology was what drove Brown’s assinine comments, because they don’t make sense in any other context.

    Oh, I suppose that there may well be some poor women who take that approach on the basis that they’ll get support from the state. In many cases that’s the way they were raised, and thus they don’t appreciate how little support that is and how much more desirable the alternative is. But I’m much more focused on what seems to me to be the much more prevalent case of people of any economic status taking sex casually and then not being ready to take on the responsibilities of what happens should a pregnancy result.

    I’m against unwanted pregnancy. I support comprehensive sex ed, available contraception, and abortion on demand without apology because I believe every child should be a wanted child. However, when a man kills a woman to keep her from having his offspring, the sentence does not contain the word “but.” “What he did was criminal and should be punished” is not a disclaimer that comes before an analysis of what the victim could have done differently. I don’t accept the “what the victim should have done” routine when a woman is raped, and I don’t accept it when a woman is murdered.

    A pedestrian waits at a stoplight to cross the street. As the light turns yellow, a motorist comes up to the light and shows no sign of slowing down. The light turns red, the pedestrian enters the crosswalk, and gets run down by the motorist. The death is the fault of the motorist, who broke the law and ignored his or her responsibilities. However, a prudent pedestrian would still be alive.

    Perhaps not a perfect analogy, but I hope I get my point across. When a homicide occurs, it is the fault and responsibility of the killer. But that doesn’t mean that in all cases there’s nothing the victim could have done to stay out of that situation, and that what they could have done shouldn’t be the subject of study and instruction. Self-preservation is the ultimate responsibility of the self, not someone else and not the state. The state can and should punish killers after the fact, but it’s not going to be able to stop them beforehand.

  33. 32
    mythago says:

    And if you put that much effort into it, then the likelihood that the person you’re involved with is a homicdal nut is low as well.

    If you go to buy a condom, you are not going to find a package of devices that look very, very much like condoms, but when you get them home and open them up, turn out to be sheets of explosive. If you have an IUD installed, the doctor is unlikely to secretly insert a fake IUD that is coated with curare.

    If you are looking for a romantic partner, on the other hand, you may very well run into a sociopath, or an abusive nut, both of whom are very good at concealing their true nature up front. This is especially true given the way that our society blurs the lines between appropriate and inappropriate behavior. (He’s pushy? Oh, that means he really loves you. He won’t take ‘no’ for an answer? Why, my buddy did that with his girlfriend, and they’ve been married thirty years!)

    Nobody is saying that women are utterly helpless, or that we should be incautious. That’s quite different than turning to blame the victim, and treating murderers as some regrettable force of nature.

  34. 33
    RonF says:

    In a perfect world, women would only choose decent fathers for their children. Then again, that’s not how most people came to be in this world. The idea that we carefully choose and plan having children is a radical new feminist idea.

    The only thing that appears to be radically new and feminist about the idea is that you can use modern pharmaceuticals to precisely schedule childbirth, and that a relationship other than marriage with the father of the children is an available and suitable option. But the concept that there should be a careful plan who to have children with, and that a woman should have a relationship with her children’s father that will do her best to ensure that said father has a social, emotional and financial committment with her and them is older than recorded history.

    And I’d like to see the reasoning behind your comment that “that’s not how most people came to be in this world”. You don’t think that around the plant, most children are not born to families where either the woman herself or the parents of the woman at least considered the suitability of her prospective mate as a father? I’m pretty sure that my wife considered the question.

  35. 34
    RonF says:

    If you are looking for a romantic partner, on the other hand, you may very well run into a sociopath, or an abusive nut, both of whom are very good at concealing their true nature up front. This is especially true given the way that our society blurs the lines between appropriate and inappropriate behavior. (He’s pushy? Oh, that means he really loves you. He won’t take ‘no’ for an answer? Why, my buddy did that with his girlfriend, and they’ve been married thirty years!)

    Good points. A woman can misjudge a man, and a man can be deceptive. No method for discerning these is 100% effective. But that’s not my point. My point is, you put some effort into evaluating your prospective partner and do what you can. If you’re wrong, then you’re wrong, but by trying the majority of people will cut out the majority of lunatics and monsters. However, to engage in sex that could result in pregnancy in a casual fashion is the antithesis of this.

    Nobody is saying that women are utterly helpless, or that we should be incautious. That’s quite different than turning to blame the victim, and treating murderers as some regrettable force of nature.

    I agree. Saying that the victim could have been more prudent or cautious is not in and of itself the same as blaming the victim. Murderers are solely responsible for their actions and should be judged accordingly.

  36. 35
    Thomas says:

    Could be. But like I say, “sex isn’t casual”.

    Well, that clears that up. Your real agenda is that people shouldn’t be having casual sex. Well, if your imaginary friend tells you that sex is only for procreation or for committed relationships or whatever, you’re welcome to live that way.

    I do not believe that pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease are god’s chosen punishment for fornication. I think they are just biological facts with not more message to them than the common cold or cancer.

    You’ve tipped your hand, Ron. To you, all the risks are the same: fornicate, and bad things will happen — pregnancy, disease, serial killers, whatever.

  37. 36
    Nick Kiddle says:

    If you go to buy a condom, you are not going to find a package of devices that look very, very much like condoms, but when you get them home and open them up, turn out to be sheets of explosive. If you have an IUD installed, the doctor is unlikely to secretly insert a fake IUD that is coated with curare.

    I don’t know – the way things seem to be headed at the moment it can’t be far off happening…

    I’ve been lucky enough to avoid tangling with a psychopath, but I’ve dealt with enough men who think my wants are irrelevant that I’m very leery of getting into another relationship now, or maybe ever. And what do I get from everyone I speak to? “Oh you’re being too negative/paranoid/not fair on all those nice guys/not fair on your unborn baby” (this last from the father, who doesn’t want to kill me but does want me to rush into a relationship that would almost certainly be a disaster in order to relieve him of his responsibilities). I use analogies like the explosive condom all the time: my favourite is “If a significant number of people offering to invest your money for you were scammers and you had no reliable way of separating the scammers from the honest ones, wouldn’t you keep your money under your bed?” It never works. I’m supposed to be prudent and cautious and at the same time open to a romantic ideal that has so far done me nothing but harm.

  38. 37
    Nick Kiddle says:

    A pedestrian waits at a stoplight to cross the street. As the light turns yellow, a motorist comes up to the light and shows no sign of slowing down. The light turns red, the pedestrian enters the crosswalk, and gets run down by the motorist.

    A pedestrian waits at a stoplight to cross the street. A motorist arrives at the light and comes completely to a standstill. However, the pedestrian’s sister was killed by a motorist who appeared to have come to a standstill, only to drive forward once the pedestrian was on the road, so the pedestrian is naturally over-cautious in such situations. Rather than cross, she waits until the car has driven off and the road is completely clear.

  39. 38
    Nick Kiddle says:

    Why should you make friends with anyone considering that there is a chance they might lie to you or steal from you?
    Why should a man get married considering there is a chance his wife might cheat and commit paternity fraud?
    Why trust anyone or give anyone a chance on anything ever?

    Why indeed?

    Any time you trust someone, you take a risk. Only you can weigh up the risk and the potential reward and decide whether it’s worth it. Sometimes you take the risk and it backfires, and with luck you’re still alive and whole to use that information to make a better decision next time. Sometimes you decide it’s not worth the risk, and you miss out on something wonderful.

    But unless you’re a woman making decisions about who to date/fuck/marry etc, there doesn’t seem to be the whole damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t assessment of your decision from all and sundry.

  40. 39
    Elena says:

    You don’t think that around the plant, most children are not born to families where either the woman herself or the parents of the woman at least considered the suitability of her prospective mate as a father? I’m pretty sure that my wife considered the question.

    You have a very romantic idea of what marriage and having children is like around the world, and throughout history. Perhaps you imagine that tight knit communities hire a matchmaker, like in Fiddler on the Roof, or a man first saves a nest egg and then asks for his intended’s hand. In the book “Marriage, a History” Stephanie Coontz enumerates the way marriage used to be very uncommon among all but the landed class in Europe. Then there’s polygamy and common law marriage- have you heard of those? The stability of such versions of marriage comes at a huge price, or isn’t really stability at all.

    And pre-birth control, pre-choose your own mate and how many kids to have, marriage was hardly a stable institution for children, even if your mate was screened for suitability by supposedly wiser people who may or may not have had their own interests at heart. Many women died in childbirth, and it was common for children to live in unstable familes because of death. Wife beating, indeed wife murdering, was legal, is still legal in many parts of the world. In short, choosing well, if you could choose, didn’t and doesn’t always lead to rosy outcomes.

    And no one should die because of a bad boyfriend. And congratulations for having a smart wife; my husband has one too.

  41. 40
    Aegis says:

    Thomas said:
    Aegis, I could address the substance of what you said, but the subtext is more important.

    Because of your tendency to make assumptions about my motives and beliefs that I consider inaccurate, I would have preferred it if you stuck with the text, Thomas. If you want to know my motives, then I would invite you to simply ask, instead of assuming.

    For example, you feel the need to assure me that rape is a serious problem. Yet that has never been in question in any of my posts. Why do you seem to consider any questioning of feminist responses to rape to stem from an inability to recognize the gravity of rape? Also, you assume that I want the women here to “give me a cookie” and exempt me from cynicism. Actually, I don’t believe this, which you could have found out easily by asking.

    So some women assume all men are rapists, or tell us they do. Well, that makes me feel all icky inside, too. But that’s not their problem.

    If a woman wants to look at all men as potential rapists, then that is her prerogative. Unlike you, I don’t feel icky in response to that attitude, because if I was a woman who was raped, I might feel the same way.

    The point of my post was not necessarily to condemn the cynicism that some women have towards men over rape, nor to demand an exemption for you or me or any other man. Those women may have very good reasons for their cynicism. What worries me is cynicism when it is selectively applied, in this case, to men only. I posed my questions because I was wondering whether cynicism is being applied to any potentially dangerous interpersonal interaction, or only to ones with men.

    I wonder this because I have seen many feminists extend great cynicism towards men, but complain about men who extend cynicism to women, or to feminists. But if it is ok for women to be cynical on the basis of sex to men who may hurt them, why is it not ok for men to be cynical on the basis of sex also, or for anyone to be cynical on the basis of, say… race? Would you advise feminists and minorities to develop “thicker skins” also? If not; why not?

    So, if you want the readership around here to stop thinking of you as a self-justifying whiner (I’m being blunt, of necessity … that’s my unvarnished view, and I don’t think I’m alone) then try talking about how to fix problems and not arguing, essentially, that more people should cut you a break.

    I know you think I’m a self-justifying whiner, Thomas; it’s apparent from your subtext. You are welcome to your opinion. You strike me as a fundamentally intelligent person who is strangely obsessed with imputing negative motives to people (specifically, people who disagree with feminists) rather than understanding their arguments. I don’t think I’m alone either. Fair enough?

    Also, it’s not true that I have never talked about how to fix anything (so you are either being forgetful or dishonest in claiming otherwise). As I have suggested many times in posts I know you’ve read, I believe that socializing men to approach women sexually in a way that is both practical and congruent with female desires (instead of in a way that sets them up for rejection and bitterness towards women) would decrease many of the problems and alienation between the sexes, possibly including rape.

    P.S. Nick, thanks for the reply. I agree with pretty much all of it.

  42. 41
    ginmar says:

    Yeah, Aegis, once again, if you want what you say you want, try shutting up and letting women talk. Then you listen to them. Then you really think about it. Then—and here’s the part where you always fuck it up—-then you don’t contradict them because you just find it too inconveniant to deal with.

    Try that. Until then, your goals and your methods contradict one another.

    RonF: My point is, you put some effort into evaluating your prospective partner and do what you can. If you’re wrong, then you’re wrong, but by trying the majority of people will cut out the majority of lunatics and monsters. However, to engage in sex that could result in pregnancy in a casual fashion is the antithesis of this.

    Yeah, sure they’ll cut out the freaks and the monsters. I knew a guy ten years. Your little bit of advice leaves out the victim-blaming knee-jerk response people have to any woman at all complaining about anything.

    Saying that the victim could have been more prudent or cautious is not in and of itself the same as blaming the victim. Murderers are solely responsible for their actions and should be judged accordingly.

    Yeah, actually it is. Funny, even in denying this you get in two criticisms of this imaginary victim yet say nothing about the murderer except to brush them off with a ‘yeah, sure.’ That’s common in discussions of victims. It’s funny—-people will say they’re not victim blaming. Yet they never get around to blaming the murderer. There’s always some brushoff for that guy, and a specific focus on the victim.

  43. 42
    Thomas says:

    What worries me is cynicism when it is selectively applied, in this case, to men only. I posed my questions because I was wondering whether cynicism is being applied to any potentially dangerous interpersonal interaction, or only to ones with men.

    Are you kidding me with this? Are you postulating some alternate universe where women are the ones raping men? Outside of male violence against women and male violence against male domestic partners, I can’t think of too many circumstances where one is at great risk of bodily harm from one’s acquaintances.

  44. 43
    RonF says:

    Elena, I’m not talking about history. I’m talking about now. And I’m also only talking about situations where the woman has a choice, since the focus here was the perceived premise that women who were murdered in this situation bore responsibility for their own murder because of the choices they made. So what happened 100 or 1000 years ago and what happens in situations where someone else makes the choice for a woman is off-topic.

  45. 44
    RonF says:

    Yeah, sure they’ll cut out the freaks and the monsters. I knew a guy ten years. Your little bit of advice leaves out the victim-blaming knee-jerk response people have to any woman at all complaining about anything.

    Maybe that’s because your sweeping generalization that people have a victim-blaming knee-jerk response to any woman at all complaining about anything is no more actually true than the various sweeping generalization about feminists that people on the right-wing make.

    Funny, even in denying this you get in two criticisms of this imaginary victim yet say nothing about the murderer except to brush them off with a ‘yeah, sure.’ That’s common in discussions of victims. It’s funny…-people will say they’re not victim blaming. Yet they never get around to blaming the murderer. There’s always some brushoff for that guy, and a specific focus on the victim.

    Given that I repeatedly made statements such as “Murderers are solely responsible for their actions and should be judged accordingly.”, your accusation that I said nothing about the murderer except to brush them off with a ‘yeah, sure’ seems quite misleadingly at variance with the facts.

  46. 45
    mythago says:

    My point is, you put some effort into evaluating your prospective partner and do what you can.

    Well, yes. I don’t think anyone has ever suggested that women pick their male partners randomly, or that it’s more fun to exercise no discretion whatsoever.

    But when you single out victims and say “you guys need to be more careful,” then you’re going beyond platitudes about ordinary caution. And you’re not really explaining why the over-paranoid approach is a bad one.

  47. 46
    RonF says:

    mythago, the fact that people who want to blame a victim for what has happened to them tell the victims “If you had done/not done ‘x’ this wouldn’t have happened’ doesn’t mean that “Do/Don’t do ‘x’” isn’t good advice and shouldn’t be offered or followed. To use it as an excuse for shifting the responsibility of the bad outcome to the victim is incorrect, but a separate issue. And it’s also true that sometimes, no matter what you do, the bad outcome happens anyway.

    As far as suggestions about picking male partners randomly, etc., well, someone brought up the concept of “casual sex”, and when sex (and especially sex that can lead to pregnancy) is treated casually, you are treading close to just such a thing.

  48. 47
    Tuomas says:

    Women are taking many precutions against rape already, to claim that common sense advice is needed and actually helps assumes that women don’t have that common sense. This victim-blaming, patronizing crap.

    Also it is right to demand to live in a society where women aren’t raped because of their clothes, behaviour, or location. The usual response to that is “Well, the society isn’t perfect, so you need to take care of yourself” gives a false sense security and superiority to women who do take precautions, and reduces the importance of demanding a better society (more education, better prosecution etc.), by creating a “do X and everythings okay”. Everything is nor okay.

    As has been pointed out a million times, the best precaution against rape is “don’t be a woman” along with “never meet any man, including members of family”. Who seriously wants either for women? Sounds like an awful society to men and women alike.

  49. 48
    Tuomas says:

    Excuse the numerous typos and grammatical errors. :)

  50. 49
    Tuomas says:

    Um, the thread was about murder. Substitute “raped” with murdered and the comment works fine.

  51. 50
    ginmar says:

    Maybe that’s because your sweeping generalization that people have a victim-blaming knee-jerk response to any woman at all complaining about anything is no more actually true than the various sweeping generalization about feminists that people on the right-wing make.

    Wow, what an asshole. People don’t blame the victims; who knew? All the women I know, all the books I read, all the people who became feminists because they got blamed by assholes when another asshole attacked them—-none of that happened! Nope, people don’t blame the victims at all. How do I know this? Some guy arrogantly says so.

  52. 51
    Aegis says:

    Thomas said:
    Are you kidding me with this? Are you postulating some alternate universe where women are the ones raping men?

    No, because rape isn’t the only way people can harm one another (so it isn’t the only reason for cynicism between people).

    Outside of male violence against women and male violence against male domestic partners, I can’t think of too many circumstances where one is at great risk of bodily harm from one’s acquaintances.

    Think again. Male stranger violence is going to be bigger than either female or male intimate partner violence.

    The National Crime Vicimization Survey found that males experience almost twice as much violence from acquaintances/friends as women experience from intimate partners (17.2 per 1000 people vs. 9.4 per 1000). Same with violence towards men by strangers (19 vs. 9.4). According to these figures (which are at the bottom of the study), males are more at risk of violence in their encounters with others. Also notice that these incident rates don’t show that anyone is at “great” risk.

    Anyway, physical violence and rape aren’t the only way people can do harm to each other, so they aren’t the only things to be cynical over. There are other ways someone’s reputation and livelihood can be ruined, such as false accusation of DV or rape. I’ve heard some MRAs say that they avoid associating with women because of that risk, and I’ve often seen women and feminists take offense at that stereotyping of women. Would you advise them to grow a thicker skin?

  53. 52
    ginmar says:

    Yeah, Aegis, try again. Women are smaller than men and face huge obstacles getting justice. Your constant refusalto listen to women on all these threads is the perfect example of this mindset. Men get attacked by other men; it’s a patriarchal culture, and they’re its primary beneficiaries.

    What’s obscene is complaining to women about it and trying to imply that men deserve more pity because the chickens came home to roost.

  54. 53
    Nick Kiddle says:

    someone brought up the concept of “casual sex”, and when sex (and especially sex that can lead to pregnancy) is treated casually, you are treading close to just such a thing.

    Men get to treat sex casually with no adverse consequences though, that’s the trouble.

  55. 54
    Cala says:

    Aegis,
    It seems that your point is that training women to treat all men as potential rapists is needlessly cynical, and at odds with how we generally live our lives in other cases; we shouldn’t, for example, treat all new acquaintances as potential thieves or murderers, even though we’re at just as great a risk (for some suitable defintion of risk.)

    I suggest, however, that this is how we generally treat others to some extent. We lock our doors, indicating that we think there is a reason to lock them. We usually don’t let strangers enter our houses; we don’t give out our bank PINs to new acquaintances at the bar. I could go on, but it’s rare that we assume that a new person we meet is wholly trustworthy. We assign greater and lesser degrees of trust to people depending on what is at stake and what we know of a person, and what the likelihood is that we could come to harm.

    What makes this frustrating is that when a woman is raped, or murdered by her husband/boyfriend, the instant response suggests that it’s her fault because she was too trusting, or should have known better. If she responds to that threat by becoming less trusting, she is derided as being cynical.

    This sort of catch-22 just doesn’t occur in other cases. To take your taxi example, if a cab driver gets shot by a criminal, few would blame the cabbie for having picked up a dangerous fare. If your college roommate logs onto your computer while you’re away and uses the cached credit card information to purchase himself a stereo, people will say, ‘He’s a thief’, not ‘Well, you were asking for it.’

    If the response to a murdered pregnant woman is to say, “She should have known better and picked a better father”, isn’t it a little disingenuous to criticize other women for being a bit paranoid?

  56. 55
    Aegis says:

    Cala said:
    It seems that your point is that training women to treat all men as potential rapists is needlessly cynical, and at odds with how we generally live our lives in other cases; we shouldn’t, for example, treat all new acquaintances as potential thieves or murderers, even though we’re at just as great a risk (for some suitable defintion of risk.)

    I’m actually not sure what my point is, or how I feel about about the cynicism some women may have due to rape. Personally, I’ve found that paranoia towards any situation where I might get hurt is not the way I want to live my life. But maybe other people have reason to feel differently. The reason I am having this discussion is so I can figure out where I stand.

    I suggest, however, that this is how we generally treat others to some extent. We lock our doors, indicating that we think there is a reason to lock them. We usually don’t let strangers enter our houses; we don’t give out our bank PINs to new acquaintances at the bar. I could go on, but it’s rare that we assume that a new person we meet is wholly trustworthy. We assign greater and lesser degrees of trust to people depending on what is at stake and what we know of a person, and what the likelihood is that we could come to harm.

    True. People do watch out for theft and fraud from casual acquaintances to some degree. Though still, most people don’t treat their casual acquaintances as possible assaulters or murders. Well, I don’t at least. So, treating men as potential rapists and murderers still seems inconsistent and paranoid to me. Though that’s not to say that women (especially women who have been victimized in the past) shouldn’t be paranoid. If they need to be paranoid to feel secure around men, then so be it. Actually, I think that is the strongest argument in favor of women being paranoid about rape or violence from men. We just shouldn’t forget that this is paranoia, considering how low the actual incident rates are (at least according to the figures I cited).

    This sort of catch-22 just doesn’t occur in other cases. To take your taxi example, if a cab driver gets shot by a criminal, few would blame the cabbie for having picked up a dangerous fare. If your college roommate logs onto your computer while you’re away and uses the cached credit card information to purchase himself a stereo, people will say, ‘He’s a thief’, not ‘Well, you were asking for it.’

    Yes, I agree that lots of people will aim extra cynicism at female victims or rape or DV.

    If the response to a murdered pregnant woman is to say, “She should have known better and picked a better father”, isn’t it a little disingenuous to criticize other women for being a bit paranoid?

    I’m not sure what connection you are trying to draw between these two. If being paranoid about rapists is at odds with the way people usually conduct their interpersonal interactions, then how do the negative attitudes displayed towards victimized women change that? Those attitudes don’t actually raise a woman’s risk of being victimized (though I suppose they may decrease a woman’s chance of receiving support if she does get victimized). Why does that negative cultural response give women a mandate to be extra cynical about men?

  57. 56
    ginmar says:

    Why does that negative cultural response give women a mandate to be extra cynical about men?

    Jesus Christ. Maybe you don’t think being forcibly penetrated is any big deal, Aegis—Oh, wait. That’s right. Stay out of prison, and it’s not something you have to structure your life around.

    Remember where I told you to start listening to women? This is the part where you start doing that instead of second guessing them and saying that you’re not sure their responses to stuff you have no chance of experiencing are somehow unwarranted.

    What rediculous insensitivity.

  58. 57
    Aegis says:

    ginmar said:
    Jesus Christ. Maybe you don’t think being forcibly penetrated is any big deal, Aegis…Oh, wait.

    ginmar, it’s obvious that being raped gives women a reason to be cynical about men. If you go back and read my post, you will see that I asked a very different question: why does specifically victim-blaming in our culture give women more of a reason to be worried about being victimized by men? I am not saying that it does or it doesn’t, only that I would like to hear the reasoning for it.

    Men get attacked by other men; it’s a patriarchal culture, and they’re its primary beneficiaries.

    A guy gets assaulted, but somehow he is benefitting from the culture? Pardon me for sensing a contradiction here. For someone who is so vehemently against victim-blaming, you are quick to make excuses when the victims of violence are men.

    What’s obscene is complaining to women about it and trying to imply that men deserve more pity because the chickens came home to roost.

    You haven’t understood a word I’ve said, have you? Show me one place where I’ve said anything like that (though I don’t understand your reference to chickens). The point of my posts in this thread are to show that if women have reason to be cynical about men, then men also have reason to be cynical about women. That’s not necessarily anything to do with pity. Even though men are much less likely to be victimized to a high degree in rape, they still have plenty of reasons to distrust women, such as a (relatively lower, but still non-trivial) risk of DV, false accusations of rape or DV, or paternity fraud. Maybe cynicism is necessary and well-grounded in some circumstances, but I think it’s important to understand what it means, and what its consequences may be. If women should be cynical towards men, why not men towards women? Why not blacks to whites and whites to blacks? Where does it stop? As far as I can tell, the natural conclusion of this kind of thinking is a world where nobody trusts anyone, especially people who aren’t a member of their sex or ethnic group. Is that really the world we want to live in?

    Remember where I told you to start listening to women? This is the part where you start doing that instead of second guessing them and saying that you’re not sure their responses to stuff you have no chance of experiencing are somehow unwarranted.

    Listening is a two-way street, ginmar. Many of the abuses in history have come where one group was so convinced that they were right that they silenced another group and told them to just shut up and listen.

    Honestly, what makes you think I would ever want to listen to you considering the way you addressed me above? If you want me to listen, then cut out the patronizing attitude. You seem to think that if you yell at me and try to shame me enough that I will eventually roll over and play dead, but trust me, that isn’t going to happen. I am not interesting in being the target of your anger and hatred, no matter how well-founded you think they may be.

    Even if everything you were saying is true, and everything I was saying was wrong, then getting pissy at me would still be counterproductive. It would prompt me to dismiss your words and become entrenched in my ignorant positions because I wouldn’t be able to see why you were right. If, on the other hand, your goal is to vent at me, then by all means keep doing what you are doing. Or we could simply agree that neither of us is at a place where they can hear the other, and stop trying to communicate…

  59. 58
    Nick Kiddle says:

    A guy gets assaulted, but somehow he is benefitting from the culture? Pardon me for sensing a contradiction here. For someone who is so vehemently against victim-blaming, you are quick to make excuses when the victims of violence are men.

    I don’t know whether you’re having genuine difficulties with comprehension or are just pretending to misunderstand to prolong the argument. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you’re stupid.

    A man who has been assaulted is benefitting from being a man in our culture in ways unconnected with the assault. His being assaulted is in no way a good thing, but he has the advantage of not living in a culture where his assault is likely to be treated as no big deal and his own fault anyway.

  60. 59
    Aegis says:

    Nick Kiddle said:
    A man who has been assaulted is benefitting from being a man in our culture in ways unconnected with the assault.

    Yes, that is true. Yet it seems to me that if he got killed or badly injured in the assault, that it would eclipse those benefits, no?

    I admit that I should have come out and said this without being snarky, and for that I apologize.

    I don’t know whether you’re having genuine difficulties with comprehension or are just pretending to misunderstand to prolong the argument. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you’re stupid.

    Nick, if you don’t want me in this thread (or your threads in general), all you have to do is say so and I will leave. Otherwise, please spare me petty remarks like the one I quoted above, which was simply uncalled for.

  61. 60
    ginmar says:

    It’s not uncalled for, Aegis, when over and over again you simply refuse to listen and try to make anal retentive analysis a shield for sexism. You have repeatedly refused to get it, and whenever you get a taste of your own medicine your whines reach the heavens.

  62. 61
    Ampersand says:

    Aegis said:

    Nick Kiddle said:

    A man who has been assaulted is benefiting from being a man in our culture in ways unconnected with the assault.

    Yes, that is true. Yet it seems to me that if he got killed or badly injured in the assault, that it would eclipse those benefits, no?

    It’s a universal truth that everyone suffers and everyone dies. I’ve known wealthy white straight men who went through mind-boggling agony due to health issues; nothing in this world is a guarantee against suffering or death.

    However, just because we’re all sort of equal in that way – no matter who you are, you can suffer (although being privileged certainly lowers your odds), and every one dies – it doesn’t follow that all white, male, straight, class, nationality, etc, privileges are “eclipsed.” I don’t think that privilege and suffering are simple mathematical equations, in the way that your suggestion implies.

  63. 62
    Thomas says:

    Even though men are much less likely to be victimized to a high degree in rape, they still have plenty of reasons to distrust women, such as a (relatively lower, but still non-trivial) risk of DV, false accusations of rape or DV, or paternity fraud.

    Aegis, are you making an empirical claim about the prevalence of (1) female on male DV; (2) false accusations of rape or DV; or (3) paternity fraud? The first, you admit is rare. The last is largely impossible given current technology. So your empirical claim is, what, that the reality of rape is balanced by false accusations of rape? Or of DV (presumably, what, with faked medical evidence to back it up)?

    Or are you claiming that the mere possibility that these things could happen to a man makes male paranoia about women as prudent and justified as some women’s decision to treat all men as potential rapists?

  64. 63
    ginmar says:

    Yeah, he’s doing the PHMT manuever and proving anybody right who dismissed him weeks ago. Not to mention the fact that the paranoia of some men is self-serving and in this case practically obscene.

  65. 64
    Aegis says:

    Ampersand said:
    However, just because we’re all sort of equal in that way – no matter who you are, you can suffer (although being privileged certainly lowers your odds), and every one dies – it doesn’t follow that all white, male, straight, class, nationality, etc, privileges are “eclipsed.” I don’t think that privilege and suffering are simple mathematical equations, in the way that your suggestion implies.

    Sure, everyone dies. I am not talking about deaths by natural causes or “health issues,” but rather violence to men which homophobia, misogyny, and the construction of masculinity contributes to. As that system supposedly advantages men over women, I must point out that men who die partly because of this system may not be deriving much net benefit from it. Or are you implying that we can’t tally up any kind of “net benefit”? Note: I agree that privilege and suffering aren’t simple mathematical equations, yet doesn’t the argument that males are privileged over females require some method of judging male advantages and female disadvantages to be more significant than female advantages and male disadvantages?

  66. 65
    Aegis says:

    Thomas said:
    Aegis, are you making an empirical claim about the prevalence of (1) female on male DV; (2) false accusations of rape or DV; or (3) paternity fraud? The first, you admit is rare. The last is largely impossible given current technology. So your empirical claim is, what, that the reality of rape is balanced by false accusations of rape? Or of DV (presumably, what, with faked medical evidence to back it up)?

    First, paternity fraud is perfectly possible if the child isn’t tested until too late (or not at all). Yet I will mainly talk about (1), because it’s easier to find reliable data on it.

    According to the DoJ: “Women were victims of intimate partner
    violence at a rate about 5 times that of males,” and “Of the 1,830 persons murdered by intimates in 1998, 72% or 1,320 were women.” This means that 1 in 6 victims of inimate partner violence and 1 in 4 victims of intimate partner homicide are male. Unless all the violence against men is in same-sex relationships, there is a non-trivial amount of violence against men by women going on. This violence may be of a lesser degree, but it still exists. Yes, the victimization rate is higher for women, but not, in my opinion, so much higher that men shouldn’t be at all cynical of women if women should be cynical of men. Or would you interpret the figures differently?

    So your empirical claim is, what, that the reality of rape is balanced by false accusations of rape? Or of DV (presumably, what, with faked medical evidence to back it up)?

    Or are you claiming that the mere possibility that these things could happen to a man makes male paranoia about women as prudent and justified as some women’s decision to treat all men as potential rapists?

    I am not suggesting that the Bad Things which happen to men balance out the Bad Things that happen to women (in fact, the Bad Things that happen to women are obviously worse). What I claim is that unless the chances of a being a victim of a Bad Thing by the opposite sex are massively different for each sex, then if one sex has reason to be cynical, then the other does too, especially if the chances are very small in the first place. Also, if it is ok for one group to judge another group by the worst actions of its worst members, then why can’t the second group judge the first group by the worst actions of its worst members?

  67. 66
    Lee says:

    Aegis, what part of “5 times greater” do you not think is “massively different”? Really, I was sorta sympathetic to your claims of cluelessness (based on age and lack of experience) until now. Maybe you should hire a proofreader before you post again.

  68. 67
    Aegis says:

    Lee, if your “sympathy” turns bitter based on that one post, it is either insincere posturing, or it wasn’t worth very much in the first place. I’m happy to answer any of your challenges to my analysis, but please spare me the condescension.

    Aegis, what part of “5 times greater” do you not think is “massively different”?

    We are talking about a small victimization rate for both sexes (in 1998: 7.5 in 1000 for women, and 1.5 in 1000 for men). Is there some reason to say that the 7.5/1000 victimization rate is cause for cynicism towards every single member of the opposite sex, but a 1.5/1000 victimization rate isn’t anything to worry about? If women are going to judge all men as a potential victimizer based on this data, then it seems to me that men would be justified in at least a small degree of cynicism towards women. Is this more clear?

  69. 68
    southerngirl says:

    I agree that murder is not an option for birth control. Too often, these poor women do have some warning signs of impending danger, but in the stress of day to day life, and in the hopes that they are wrong, the signs are ignored. Even a small red flag can be a huge warning, and where there is one, usually a trail ensues.

  70. 69
    Lee Raconteur says:

    Yet another example of misquoted, mis-cited or simply fraudulent statistics in a piece about man on woman violence in the United States. The number of pregnant women killed by their husband or boyfriend each year is ~150. This is a tragedy, but hardly an epidemic. There is also scant evidence that these women were murdered *because* they were pregnant. Yet another example of thesis by implication; cite this passage often enough, and people will begin to believe the implication that these women were killed because they were pregnant, and that another law is necessary when existing statutes handle the scenario quite well.