Duke Rape Case: Regarding "Innocent Until Proven Guilty"

A great number of posts have criticized me and other folks for forming an opinion about the Duke rape case before a jury has weighed in. Steve of “A Republic, Madam” writes:

Liberals, stick to your guns! The accused deserve the benefit of the doubt up to a certain point, and that point has not been crossed. Do cries of rape trump civil liberties and criminal protections? I sure hope not. … My support of the lacrosse players, at least in lieu of more evidence, is grounded in liberal, not conservative, thought.

I believe very much in “innocent until proven guilty.” If and when the police make arrests in this case, I want the accused rapists (whoever they turn out to be) to have their day in court, to be able to present a defense aided by legal council, and to be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond any reasonable doubt. Then, and only then, should they be sent to prison for what I hope is a long miserable stay.

But “innocent until proven guilty” is a courtroom standard. My opinion is not the same as a courtroom, and blog posts don’t put anyone in prison. Nothing about the American system of justice requires ordinary citizens to refrain from having opinions; and it’s not inconsistent to want Courts to adhere to “beyond any reasonable doubt” while holding my personal opinions to a less stringent standard.

Furthermore, there’s a difference between being morally guilty and legally guilty. As Jeff puts it in comments:

Admonishing one side to “leave it up to the courts” (and it is only one side; I’ve never heard anybody told they shouldn’t assert an accused rapist’s innocence because the jury hadn’t rendered a verdict) equates a legal standard with a moral one, and sends the message that it’s not really rape if they can get away with it.

At this time, unless new evidence completely changes this case, it seems clear that a brutal pack rape happened. That deserves our moral outrage, even without a court’s verdict.

Jeralyn Merrit – who has discussed this case on mainstream TV news – writes:

Rape is a serious charge. It is easy to make and difficult to defend.

I’d love to bury this centuries-old sausage. (It goes back to the mid-17th century at least, when Matthew Hale called rape “an accusation easy to be made, hard to be proved, but harder to be defended by the party accused, though innocent”). I’d like to remind Jeralyn of the OC pack rape case - in which the victim, Jane Doe, has endured (and continues to endure) years of her character being trashed in public. Her friends were recruited by the defense to tell lies about her, and private detectives chased her from school to school, because she dared to press charges against her pack rapists. It took two trials to obtain a conviction, even though the rapists videotaped the rape.

Was that charge easy for Jane Doe to make? Was the rejection and abuse from the community around her easy? Was the defense’s burden – in which even a videotape of the rape taking place almost wasn’t enough for a conviction – too heavy?

Jane Doe’s experience was extreme, but hardly unique. The defense strategy of attacking rape victims goes back decades (centuries?), and guarantees that rape is not a charge easily made. In particular, when a working-class black stripper accuses wealthy whites of rape, it’s all but guaranteed that if it comes to a trial the defense will put her through hell. To call this accusation “easy to make” shows an appalling blindness to how our court system often puts rape victims on trial.

Jeralyn then sums up the case – but in her effort to spread confusion and create reasonable doubt, she gets her facts wrong. Here, she discusses the 911 call so many people have gone on about:

The women leave the party. One goes back in. She leaves again and meets up with the second woman. At some point, the second woman calls 911 to complain about racial epithets hurled at her by one or more males at the house. (listen to the call here.)Within two minutes police arrive, there is no sign of the woman.

But in fact, according to the News & Observer, “Police said they don’t know who made the 911 call to report the racial slurs.” So why does Jeralyn believe she knows something the police don’t?

(And why does it matter? Jeralyn doesn’t explain how this call – no matter who made it – is evidence that no rape took place.)

Jeralyn also quotes from “Inside Lacrosse,” which according to her has “the best coverage of the story”:

Of note are two phone calls received by the Durham Police that night, the first made by a woman who said she was driving by the house at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd., about an hour before the alleged rape took place, at which point, according to transcripts of the conversation, she was met with racial slurs.

About an hour before the alleged rape took place? That would be a blow to the accusation of rape, if true – because the police showed up a few minutes afterward the first 911 call, and found the house quiet and seemingly empty (although filled with the detritus of party). But according to this time line of events (which Jeralyn herself linked to), the next-door neighbor saw the women enter the house at about midnight and drive away between 12:45 and 1 a.m. – so if the rape occured, it occured in that time range. But the first 911 call was made at 12:53 a.m. So it’s extremely sloppy of the “best coverage of the story” to claim the call was made an hour before the rape.

That wasn’t Jeralyn’s point; I just commented on it because the bad fact-checking was so blatant. Jeralyn’s point, I think, is that the first 911 caller’s story had inconsistent details – was she walking or driving? How many men used racial epithets? But these inconsistencies don’t prove anything. First of all, there’s no evidence that the first 911 call is connected to the rape victim. Second, people who call 911 can’t fairly be expected to present a well-organized story, without any stumbles or misspeaking; on the contrary, from the recordings I’ve heard, 911 callers are often flustered and confused.

So how does a 911 caller, who may or may not have ever seen the (alleged) rape victim in her life, mixing up “walking” and “driving” prove that no rape happened that night? Jeralyn doesn’t say.

Then there’s this:

In an article filed by the Herald-Sun on March 29, Angel Altmon, the security guard who made a 911 call at 1:22 a.m. on March 14 [...] claimed the driver of the car said she was not at the party with the alleged victim. [...]

But in an article in the Duke Chronicle the following day, Kammie Michael, public information officer for the Durham Police Department, told the Chronicle the woman who drove the alleged victim to the grocery store was in fact the second dancer at the party.

Well, that certainly proves there was no rape!

Uh, wait. How does it prove anything? Explanation of relevance, Jeralyn?

Maybe Altmon misheard. Or maybe not all strippers are eager to tell total strangers what they do for a living. There are a lot of reasons this sort of very minor discrepancy can happen; you need more than “there were minor discrepancies in the 911 calls” to put together a plausible case for false rape accusation.

(You can read the transcripts of the two 911 calls here).

Jerelyn then quotes a forensic pathologist:

Usually, a physician can’t tell consensual from non-consensual. They can tell whether there’s been intercourse or not intercourse, but not whether it’s consensual because one can have bruises and certain injuries from consensual sex and one can have no injuries from non-consensual sex.

What Jerelyn doesn’t mention (and perhaps doesn’t know) is that the girl was beaten up. As the girl’s father told a TV news reporter:

The man described what his daughter looked like when she was released from a hospital. “Her face was all swollen up, her jaw. She couldn’t half walk. One of her legs was hurt.”

To me, that kind of injury doesn’t sound like the result of consensual sex for anyone but an extreme BDSMer. It sounds particularly unlikely for a stripper, who depends on her looks to feed herself and her children. (Maybe the father was lying – but it would be a very stupid lie, since the police would have taken photographs.)

Why do I think this story is true?

1) The victim’s story seems both plausible and similar to other pack-rape cases I’ve read about.

2) Both the medical exam and her father’s comments about her injuries are consistent with her story of being violently attacked and raped.

3) The police, when they searched the house where she claims she was raped, found her makeup bag and five of her torn-off fingernails. Again, consistent with her story.

4) Elements of her story are supported by the testimony of the next-door neighbor, Jason Bissey (see the timeline).

Do I think that’s absolute proof? No. It’s possible that further evidence could come along which would change the way things look entirely. (Always a possibility, with any crime.)

But at this moment, the evidence that a rape took place is pretty straightforward and convincing, whereas the evidence that a false accusation took place is… I’m not even sure what it is. “A couple of 911 calls were not perfectly consistent, therefore a false accusation has taken place!” seems to be the gist of it. That’s not convincing. That’s not anything.

* * *

P.S. Jeralyn links to this awful Findlaw article, which proposes that anyone who makes a rape accusation should be put on trial without an attorney or the chance to present a defense. Here’s my comments on that proposal from the last time Jeralyn linked it, in 2003.

This entry posted in Duke Rape Case, Rape, intimate violence, & related issues. Bookmark the permalink. 

143 Responses to Duke Rape Case: Regarding "Innocent Until Proven Guilty"

  1. 101
    Daran says:

    How odd. The preview button has disappeared! Please excuse me if the mark-up is botched.

    Jake Squid:

    Wow, Daran. If that isn’t doublespeak, I don’t know what is. If one person (or group) is “disprivileged” wrt another group then, by default, that other group is privileged wrt to the first person (or group).

    Of course it is. But you didn’t say “with respect to”. You presented it as an absolute privilege enjoyed by whites, language which implies a kind of peculiar benefit. I don’t view not being racially abused in that light. I view it as every person’s right not to be abused. I realise that non-whites don’t get to enjoy that right as much as whites, and that’s a disprivilege, not merely wrt whites. It’s an absolute disprivilege.

    One problem with presenting relative privilege as though it were absolute, is that it is sometimes used to justify – or worse, as an underhand way of slipping in as a hidden premise – the claim the relatively privileged group benefits from the unfair treatment, and has an interest in preserving it, even though they don’t partake of it themselves. (See the discussion about how “men benefit from rape” in this thread Nowhere can anyone identify a positive benefit from rape accruing to non-raping men.) I don’t benefit from the racial abuse suffered by black- and brown-skinned people. One of my two closest friends is brown-skinned, and I love her dearly. When she is racially abused, as has happened recently, it hurts me. It doesn’t hurt me as much as it hurts her, but that doesn’t mean I benefit from it.

    And, you know, we’ve been over the “men are at more risk for X, therefore women as a class are privileged over men” enough for you to know that it will not be viewed as valid – because it isn’t.

    I know it’s not viewed as valid. It doesn’t matter what X is, if women are viewed as suffering more, then it’s valid. If men suffer more then it’s denied and dismissed. Women have it worse because they are assaulted vastly more often than men… so long as we don’t count what happens behind bars… and we don’t count non-sexual assaults… and we reach down to the trivial (“any unwanted sexual contact”) and call it rape, but only when the victim is a woman. (By that silly standard, I’ve been “raped” several times in my life, but I’m male, so it doesn’t count.) Indeed, merely looking at a woman with my ‘male gaze’ is sufficient to victimise her, indeed to victimise all of womanhood! Honestly, I don’t know why you don’t just define a category which includes all female victimisation and excludes all male victimisation. You could call it “violence against women”. No, wait…

    Women’s disprivilege in the workplace is evidenced by the pay gap. They also have it much worse worldwide in comparison to men: They’re mass-raped in war attrocities; subject to sexual enslavement and trafficking in Thailand and elsewhere, many of them literally fucked to death; thousands – exclusively women – have been murdered in ‘honour’ killings in Pakistan; while newborn baby girls are slaughtered in their millions in India and China.

    Men don’t have it nearly so bad. They are the victims of 90% of all workspace deaths and serious accidents (So what?), and they’re not even compensated for it (Who cares?). Worldwide, the mass-rape of women in war is usually accompanied by the mass-murder of both combattent and non-combattent males (Pshaw!); millions of men are subject to forced labour in Burma, and elsewhere, many of them literally worked to death (Phooey!); thousands – exclusively men – have been murdered in honour killings in Albania (Never-heard-of-it!!); while hundreds of millions – almost all of them men and boys – have been forced to fight and die war (Tripe!!!).

    It’s just another PHMT complaint.

    PHMT is feminist-invented doublespeak. It is used sometimes to demonstrate faux concern for male victimisation, but always – sometimes nakedly, as in this instance – as a victim-blaming dismissal of it.

    And I can’t think of a less appropriate thread to voice that tripe in than this one.

    Of course it’s not a good thread. It never is. Feminists want to be free to engage in their sexist rhetoric and dishonest debating without being called on it. (Antifeminists, of course, have their own repertoire of dishonesty and sexism. A plague on both your houses!)

  2. 102
    Jake Squid says:

    Of course it is. But you didn’t say “with respect to”. You presented it as an absolute privilege enjoyed by whites, language which implies a kind of peculiar benefit.

    This is utter drivel. Privilege can only be “with respect to”. One cannot be privileged over themselves or privileged over nobody. So, whites are priveleged over people of color, men are privileged over women, etc., etc., etc.

    Just so that you can be sure to understand what the word means, here is a definition:

    a. A special advantage, immunity, permission, right, or benefit granted to or enjoyed by an individual, class, or caste.

    b. Such an advantage, immunity, or right held as a prerogative of status or rank, and exercised to the exclusion or detriment of others.

    So please enlighten me as to how a group can be privileged without respect to other groups?

    I don’t benefit from the racial abuse suffered by black- and brown-skinned people.

    Yes you do. Just because you want to deny it doesn’t make it false. Here are a few ways that you benefit from racism – better educational opportunities, better employment opportunities, better access to loans.

    One of my two closest friends is brown-skinned, and I love her dearly.

    Yes, yes. Some of your best friends are black. Holy cliches, Batman!

    Women have it worse because they are assaulted vastly more often than men… so long as we don’t count what happens behind bars… and we don’t count non-sexual assaults… and we reach down to the trivial (“any unwanted sexual contact”) and call it rape, but only when the victim is a woman. (By that silly standard, I’ve been “raped” several times in my life, but I’m male, so it doesn’t count.)

    Holy fuck. Do you hear what you’re saying? And you don’t think that, as a man, you are privileged. Are you so dense that you don’t understand the difference between rape & unwanted sexual advances? Are you so in denial that you refuse to acknowledge a difference between rape & sexual harrassment in the workplace? In that little quoted bit you reveal quite a bit about yourself. And what you reveal is in no way admirable.

    Men don’t have it nearly so bad. They are the victims of 90% of all workspace deaths and serious accidents (So what?), and they’re not even compensated for it (Who cares?).

    Dude, you’ve been hanging around here long enough that you should know that Amp has made entire posts about this subject. Look it up. To summarize, men are victims of the majority of workplace deaths because men are the ones who are able to get those jobs. Because male privilege has designated those occupations as jobs for men. Sheesh.

    …millions of men are subject to forced labour in Burma, and elsewhere, many of them literally worked to death (Phooey!)

    But lord knows that this doesn’t happen to women!

    …thousands – exclusively men – have been murdered in honour killings in Albania (Never-heard-of-it!!)

    Have you heard of India? Or Pakistan? Or Syria? Just to name a few. Are you really that myopic?

    PHMT is feminist-invented doublespeak. It is used sometimes to demonstrate faux concern for male victimisation, but always – sometimes nakedly, as in this instance – as a victim-blaming dismissal of it.

    I am forced to ask again… Have you ever actually read and/or comprehended anything written on this blog? PHMT is almost always used to say, “We’re trying to have a conversation about women. You are trying to distract from that conversation by talking about men. We are acknowledging that men suffer, too, but that is not the conversation we are having. Please participate in this conversation about women or go the hell away.”

    Can you understand that? I truly doubt it based on your comment.

    Feminists want to be free to engage in their sexist rhetoric and dishonest debating without being called on it.

    Or, perhaps, feminists want to be free to engage in discussions of feminist issues without being sidetracked (yet again) by the “what about the suffering of men?” trolls & others who must have everybody talk about only what they want to talk about (men). Without having to have the discussion derailed, once again, to a much, much smaller issue because we mustn’t forget the men. And you don’t see your sense of entitlement or your privilege here?

    I’m inclined to echo Charles’ spinach sentiment (which I appreciate more & more as the days go by) with regards to you. I remain stunned at your callousness, your inability to comprehend and your dishonesty. It truly wasn’t until your last comment that I realized that there is really no discourse to be had with you. So, I bid you farewell & can say without doubt that I’m done with your comments. I will not read them & I will not miss them.

  3. 103
    Daran says:

    mythago:

    Um, yeah, I have to say the ‘disprivileged’ thing makes no sense. You’re also forgetting, Daran, that you don’t get a level of ‘how everyone ought to be treated’; your privilege puts you above that level.

    I don’t understand your point. How can privilege make sense, but disprivilege make no sense?

    For a “level of ‘how everyone ought to be treated’” as far as racist abuse is concerned, I say that nobody should be subject to it. Do you disagree? Do you think that there is some positive level of racist abuse to which all – white and non-white – should be subject?

    Assuming we agree that the ‘should’ level is ‘none’, then I can’t be over that level. I’m not even at that level. It’s true that I don’t recall ever having been racially abused, but I have a white friend who has been, and I’m aware of other instances, so there is a small risk. It’s not something which significantly impacts my life. For non-whites, it does, and I don’t pretend otherwise.

    Taking a wider view than overt abuse, is my life as a white better than if I had been born non-white? Unquestionably. I’m relatively privileged in that sense. Am I absolutely privileged? What’s the ‘should’-level here? I say it is a society with no racism. Do you disagree?

    Is my life better than if I had been born into a non-racist all-other-things-equal society? That’s harder to say, but I don’t think so. I think that without the society-wide costs of racism, there would be better education, better health, a better economy and all-round better lives for everyone. Non-whites would be hugely better off, whites only a little, but we would all be better off.

    So what say we work together to create that society?

    Now what if all other things were not equal. Imagine one in which men weren’t regarded as dispensable, disposable, cannon-fodder. Men would be immeasurably better off, but women would be better off too. Imagine one in which women weren’t abused for being women. Men would be better off in that society too. This is a universal truth. Every systematic injustice hurts the supposedly privileged group.

    Except one. The root of all the other injustices. The Plutarchy. The the concentration of wealth/political power in the hands of the few.

    The number of truly privileged people in this world – those who are better off in this one than in a hypothetical ‘should’-level world were all injustice has been eradicated – is vanishingly small: maybe a few percent, maybe less than one percent. We, the ninety-something or ninety-nine-point-something percent who are absolutely disprivileged to greater or lesser degrees could brush them aside if only we could get past the divisive agenda of relative privilege.

  4. 104
    Daran says:

    Ampersand, please unbork the markup of the prepenultimate paragraph. Here’s how it should have read. (I hope. I still can’t preview.)

    Now what if all other things were not equal. Imagine one in which men weren’t regarded as dispensable, disposable, cannon-fodder. Men would be immeasurably better off, but women would be better off too. Imagine one in which women weren’t abused for being women. Men would be better off in that society too. This is a universal truth. Every systematic injustice hurts the supposedly privileged group.

    [Sorry, I had to shut previews off due to high server loads. I've unborked the paragraph. --Amp]

  5. 105
    Daran says:

    Sheena:

    You might want to learn a little about statistics. You have obviously not considered that women probably “walk the streets” a lot less than men do, so * if* there are fewer attacks, it doesn’t necessarily mean less danger.

    No I hadn’t considered that. If you know of any reputable statistics about the ratio of female to male walking-on-streets (I better not call it ‘street-walking’) then please cite.

    Until then, my own observations are all I’ve got to go on. I live in a town in Scotland with a population of several hundred thousand. In my experience, at any time of night or day, so long as it is reasonably busy, the number of men and women walking in the street are about the same. At night, in times and places where it’s not busy, there may be an excess of men, but that can’t explain the extra violence suffered by men because – again my own experience – men are attacked where it’s busy, and women aren’t.

  6. 106
    Daran says:

    Robert:

    I doubt the contention that women can walk the streets with less danger. Less danger from getting into a fight and being beaten, sure. But that isn’t the only type of assault or attack that occurs. Hello, rape? And as Sheena notes, I am sure that women spend less time walking the streets.

    Most rapes occur indoors. Most are by someone the victim knows. The stereotypical jumped-while-walking-the-streets rape accounts for a small fraction of them.

    As I said in my reply to Sheena, I’m not aware of any evidence that women spend less time walking in the streets or that this is why they are attacked less.

    There’s also the fact that varieties of assault have variable impact. I’ve never been so much as accosted on the street,…

    I was first “accosted” to my recollection about twenty years ago, when I was nineteen or twenty. I don’t know if you are old enough to remember, but according to Jake Squid, your life changed that day. That day, you became privileged with respect to me. Did you notice any difference to your life?

    but as a security-minded person I do take the risk into consideration. I don’t think anything of going for a stroll, even in bad neighborhoods at “dangerous” times of day – but I’m also not worried about a soul-destroying assault. If somebody mugs me or beats me up, it’s not going to be a (de)formative experience in my life. Hell, there are times when I’d welcome the fisticuffs.

    I’ve heard similar arguments from MRAs about rape (“I’d enjoy being raped by a woman.”). At worst, such arguments are dishonest and dispicable trivialisation. At best (and I’d characterise your argument so) they indicate a lack of imagination.

    The thing about both rape and violent non-sexual assault is, you don’t get to choose who attacks you, how many of them there are, where it happens, what weapons they use, or what they do to you. Just as there’s no pleasure in rape, only pain and terror, so there’s no fun in a streetfight, no honour, no Queensbury rules, no ref to shout “break”. A violent assault could leave you dead. Or brain damaged. Or disfigured. Or permanently disabled to a greater or lesser degree.

    Or you might get away with it, as I have done, without lasting physical or phychological damage.

    I imagine that the life impact of a street rape or sexual assault on a woman is considerably more distressing, and of considerably more negative impact on quality of life. It’s not just a simple tally of how many attacks on men, how many on women, with attacks treated as fungible. They aren’t.

    Indeed they aren’t. Rape – whatever the circumstances – typically leaves the victim psychologically utterly devastated. Sexual assault short of rape may reach to that level of severity, and either may result in physical injury, disease, and pregnancy. And some people never recover from these injuries. They are indeed life-deformative experiences.

    But you know what? Most people do recover, physically and psychologically from rape to some degree. Some to a considerable degree. Some recover completely. Some do so quickly, in months, rather than decades. And some do so, even from extremely violent attacks. There is no basis for putting rape onto a pedestal as something essentially beyond any other victimisation. To do so trivialises other people’s injuries.

    Moreover we do no service to those recovering from rape. I have spoken to scores, perhaps hundreds of rape survivors over several years, including several victims of street rapes. I haven’t done a formal survey of them, but the overriding impression I get is the two strongest predictors of recovery are a supportive response to an initial disclosure of abuse, and a focus from as early as possible on recovery.

  7. 107
    ginmar says:

    Daran, most violence is male and casual. If you want to study violence, study men. It’s that simple.

  8. 108
    Robert says:

    At best (and I’d characterise your argument so) they indicate a lack of imagination.

    Or a basic truculence. Not everyone is peace-loving. :P

  9. 109
    Daran says:

    [Sorry, I had to shut previews off due to high server loads. I've unborked the paragraph. "“Amp]

    Thanks.

    Um, I might be partially responsible for your server load. I’ve been using your preview comment tool to preview my posts to Creative Destruction. I won’t do it any more. I’ll find some other person’s blog server to hammer. :-)

  10. 110
    Daran says:

    Me:

    …prepenultimate…

    I’ve always wanted to use that word.

  11. 111
    Daran says:

    Daran, most violence is male and casual.

    I know that most violence is perpetrated by males against males. I’m not sure that most is casual. I think this is one of those ‘depends upon what you include’ things. Are you including violence in the name of law enforcement? In military traning? In warfare?

    If you want to study violence, study men. It’s that simple.

    That’s a wide topic. My particular study-focus is upon recovery from violence, because that, for me, is how I can be most effective in making the world a slightly better place

    Causation and motivation are important issues too.

    I notice when discussing violence feminists treat the various gender combinations quite differently.

    Feminists focus, almost to the point of exclusion, upon “male violence against women”. Each individual act is considered victimisation of women in general by men in general. This defocusses blame from the individual victimiser(s) onto ‘men’ which includes non-victimising men, while the individual victimisation of the woman is hijacked to ‘women’ in general.

    When feminists look at other gender combinations, the discourse is quite different. Individual acts of male on male violence are defocussed to men in general attacking men in general. The victim is equated with the victimiser and dismissed. This is a victim-blaming discourse.

    Feminists rarely look at victimisation by females and usually only when prompted. The usual discourse is that it’s rare and therefore to be dismissed. There is no defocus of blame onto women in general.

  12. 112
    Daran says:

    I may or may not attend to the rest of your post. It’s late, and I’m having trouble with my connection. But I can’t let this pass.

    Jake Squid:

    One of my two closest friends is brown-skinned, and I love her dearly.

    Yes, yes. Some of your best friends are black. Holy cliches, Batman!

    My understanding is that “Some of my best friends are black” is derided, and rightly so, when it is used to justify a person’s claim not to be racist. That wasn’t my argument. Let me restore relevent part of my post which you contextomised.

    One of my two closest friends is brown-skinned, and I love her dearly. When she is racially abused, as has happened recently, it hurts me. It doesn’t hurt me as much as it hurts her, but that doesn’t mean I benefit from it.

    She’s not merely “one of my best friend”. I have no better friend than her. I have another friend who I’d say was as good, except that this implies that it’s possible to compare them. It isn’t. They are both my best friends and closer than family to me.

    And it’s fucking offensive to have that friendship dismissed as a cliche, and to be told that I’m ‘privileged’ because she is racially abused.

  13. 113
    ginmar says:

    Yeah, that’s nice, Daran, but what are you missing about the whole ‘feminist’ word here? It’s not like anybody else gives a shit about womens’ issues but women. You want to study male violence, fine. Men commit violence because they can. Feminists try and prevent male violence against women because that’s all we have the funding and the energy for. Is there something here that’s really complicated or do we want to do the whole ‘male privilege’ dance all over again?

  14. 114
    Daran says:

    Ginmar:

    Yeah, that’s nice, Daran, but what are you missing about the whole ‘feminist’ word here? It’s not like anybody else gives a shit about womens’ issues but women.

    Let’s have a look shall we? We can measure what people “give a shit about” by seeing what they talk about.

    Here are the number of hits google returns for “women’s issues” and “men’s issues” for various top level domains. I’ve chosen .gov, and .edu because those are the institutions which effect the lives of Americans the most, .mil because it it is a major top-level domain which is really an arm of government and it could conceivably distort the results not to include it. For comparison, I’ve also searched the corresponding uk domains.

    “women’s issues site:gov” – 79,000
    “women’s issues site:mil” – 239
    “women’s issues site:edu” – 546,000

    “women’s issues site:gov.uk” – 20,100
    “women’s issues site:mod.uk” – 1
    “women’s issues site:ac.uk” – 12,500

    “men’s issues site:gov” – 46
    “men’s issues site:mil” – 34
    “men’s issues site:edu” – 14,800

    “men’s issues site:gov.uk” – 41
    “men’s issues site:mod.uk” – 0
    “men’s issues site:ac.uk” – 81

    I think it’s fair to say that “men’s issues” as a category doesn’t exist outside the US educational sector. Even there, women’s issues get over thirty times as much attention.

    You want to study male violence, fine. Men commit violence because they can.

    Thank you for your well-researched, peer-reviewed, indepth analysis compete with references and citations.

    Feminists try and prevent male violence against women because that’s all we have the funding and the energy for.

    It would cost feminists nothing to refrain from blaming male victims. In fact it would save you a lot of energy, because you wouldn’t have to spend it fighting people like me.

    Is there something here that’s really complicated or do we want to do the whole ‘male privilege’ dance all over again?

    Sure, why not. There are a lot of injustices in the world which overwhelminly or predominantly disadvantage females. I listed just a few of them in my reply to Jake Squid:

    Women’s disprivilege in the workplace is evidenced by the pay gap … They’re mass-raped in war attrocities; subject to sexual enslavement and trafficking in Thailand and elsewhere, many of them literally fucked to death; thousands – exclusively women – have been murdered in ‘honour’ killings in Pakistan; while newborn baby girls are slaughtered in their millions in India and China.

    These and many others are serious issues which warrent our attention and activism. Every one gets weighed up by feminists and placed in the pan marked ‘men’s privilege’ – the privilege being that men are not the primary victims.

    I also listed just a few of the injustices which overwhelmingly disadvantage men:

    They are the victims of 90% of all workspace deaths and serious accidents (So what?), and they’re not even compensated for it (Who cares?). Worldwide, the mass-rape of women in war is usually accompanied by the mass-murder of both combattent and non-combattent males (Pshaw!); millions of men are subject to forced labour in Burma, and elsewhere, many of them literally worked to death (Phooey!); thousands – exclusively men – have been murdered in honour killings in Albania (Never-heard-of-it!!); while hundreds of millions – almost all of them men and boys – have been forced to fight and die war (Tripe!!!).

    These and many others are also serious issues which warrent our attention and activism. But feminists dismiss them. And it’s not because they don’t have the money or energy to consider them. It’s because they disparately want to keep the pan labelled ‘female privilege’ empty. Once that pan is allowed to be filled and weighed, the fundamental dogma of feminism – universal male privilege – is undermined, and without that foundation, the rest of the edifice collapses.

    Of course, both pans are mislabelled. Every single one of the issues I listed harms everyone. There is no privilege.

  15. Pingback: Alas, a blog » Blog Archive » Yes, Cathy, Victim Advocates Should Believe Rape Victims

  16. Pingback: Property of a Lady » Innocent Until Proven Guilty

  17. 115
    Patrick says:

    I actually find Jonna Spilbor’s Findlaw article better reasoned and more objective than “Ampersand’s” disparaging comments led me to expect. What’s wrong with punishing a false accuser? And how does allowing a jury to pronounce an accusation not credible amount to a trial without representation? I don’t here Spilbor advocating anything other than consequences for the filing of spurious charges. Ampersand cites one example of a “Jane Doe”‘s experience, then makes the sweeping (and unsupported) generalization that “Jane Doe’s experience was extreme, but hardly unique.”

    The burden of proof in a legal system based on presumption of innocence lies with the accuser. Sexual assault occurs far more frequently than highly publicized cases like such as this, or the case of Kobe Bryant. In the latter case, Bryant’s celebrity status generates headlines and ratings. In the former, the disparities of race and class, as well the prestige of the university, give the story the dramatic tension that, again, generates ratings. In these high profile cases, the accused may be afforded the legal presumption of innocence, but they are tried in the media and are guilty even if proven innocent, as the stigma of the accusation will remain, and only the existance of a reasonable doubt of the guilt of the accused is acquired with a not guilty verdict, and no pronouncement is made regarding any reasonable doubt of the credibility or motives of the accuser.

    If a woman anyone deliberately makes a false accusation of rape, then the accused is in fact a victim and should have the same protections and considerations given to their dignity and privacy as we expect would be given to a real victim of sexual assault, and the penalties for false accusations should be proportionate to the life-ruining consequenses with which she attempts to target the one falsely accused.

    That being said, if any one is proven guilty of rape, the consequences should be life-altering, as is the crime.

  18. 116
    NOITEMPLE15 says:

    This lecture by Minister Eric Muhammad speaks powerfully to the Duke rape case and ties the issues of illegal immigration and the Cynthia Mckinney incident together with it to place it within the larger context of America’s race problem.

    It has been deleted by THE WHITE MAN several times due to the truth it speaks to America’s race problem and we’re sure will be deleted again soon. Get it while you can.

    THE BLACK…WHITE…PROBLEM IN AMERICA

    4/16/06

    THIS LECTURE IS 5.90MB IN SIZE. WITH HIGH SPEED INTERNET, IT WILL TAKE ONLY SECONDS TO DOWNLOAD. WITH DIAL-UP IT COULD TAKE UP TO AN HOUR.

    CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW TO BEGIN DOWNLOAD.

    http://www.zshare.net/download/the-black-white-problem-in-america-4-16-06-wma.html

    MUHAMMAD’S TEMPLE # 15

    ATLANTA, GA.

  19. Pingback: More on Privilege « Creative Destruction

  20. 117
    RonF says:

    What the hell ever happened to this, anyway?

  21. 118
    Daran says:

    What the hell ever happened to this, anyway?

    It’s ongoing: http://justice4twosisters.blogspot.com/

  22. 119
    RonF says:

    Hm. Well, the wheels of justice are surely grinding slowly in this case. We’ll see whether they grind exceedingly fine.

    Do you have a source for news on this case that is not quite so blatantly an advocacy site? Given that the blogger has already concluded that the two women involved were victims of hate crime, I wonder how objective her decisions are on what and what not to post.

  23. 120
    RonF says:

    Thanks for the response, by the way. I didn’t mean to be critical.

  24. I agree that advocacy sites are often highly biased sources of information, but in this case I think it suffices to support the proposition: “It’s still ongoing”. Sorry, I’m not sufficiently interested in the case to have sought out any other sources.

  25. 122
    Q Grrl says:

    From local news (wral.com), they aren’t planning on going to trial until spring 2007. The DA’s office is still in process of handing evidence over to defense.

  26. Pingback: V e r g e M a g a z i n e: The Duke rape case

  27. 123
    Steve Donohue says:

    Not to be an ass, but the good old-fashioned liberal virutes of due process and “innocent until proven guilty” and trying to resist conclusions even in your own opinion were right in this battle. I don’t hold it against you- we all misfire sometimes- but this scandal was a parable in not jumping to conclusions and letting the facts play themselves out.

    The only reason I’m posting the comment is because I was re-reading some of my old posts and hadn’t remembered that I had been linked. Thanks for that! Keep up the good work,

    Steve

  28. 124
    jerry says:

    Wow Amp, rereading this thread, I’d say you pwned yourself. You should post again on this thread, reflecting your conduct then, and discussing how on earth you got it so incredibly wrong.

    And how Jeralyn Merritt got it so absolutely right.

  29. 125
    Matts says:

    Hmmm….turns out they were innocent. Luckily they didn’t go to prison for a “long miserable stay”.

  30. 126
    Ampersand says:

    Actually, I think the post stands up fairly well, and I’m not at all embarrassed to have read written it.

    I said at the time (in the same paragraph you quote!) that if they couldn’t be proven guilty, then they shouldn’t be punished. Do you think I was wrong to say that?

    I said in my post, “It’s possible that further evidence could come along which would change the way things look entirely.” I think I was proven correct about that.

    In a post written later, I wrote that if I were on the jury, I’d vote “not guilty.” As more evidence came out, my views changed. I don’t think that’s anything to be ashamed of.

  31. 127
    brossa says:

    Do you remain an agnostic about whether the accuser was raped that night? Are you an agnostic about whether the rape accusation was false?

  32. 128
    alex says:

    I said at the time (in the same paragraph you quote!) that if they couldn’t be proven guilty, then they shouldn’t be punished. Do you think I was wrong to say that?

    Yes. Crimes were committed by the elected prosecutor in a bid to get a conviction and aid re-election. Concluding they it, and jumping to outrage based on very slender evidence, pushed for a guilty verdict and did an enormous amount of harm to everyone. Suspending judgement – what you were arguing against – was absolutely the right course of action.

    I said in my post, “It’s possible that further evidence could come along which would change the way things look entirely.” I think I was proven correct about that.

    Why on earth are you saying this? We can all read the post. You didn’t. You said it’s scare italics possible in order to imply the current evidence was actually very strong and this was unlikely, and you were proven incorrect.

  33. 129
    RonF says:

    Amp, here’s a key quote from you above:

    At this time, unless new evidence completely changes this case, it seems clear that a brutal pack rape happened. That deserves our moral outrage, even without a court’s verdict.

    Here’s the thing – to say “new evidence” presumes that there was already evidence in front of the public. But we now know that at the time you wrote this there was little true evidence in front of the public. A great deal of what was there turned out to be lies, rumors and innuendo.

    It’s one thing to say that we should suspend legal judgement until and unless someone are proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Every one agrees on that (well, almost everyone). But what we have found repeatedly now is that we should suspend moral judgement until all the facts are known as well. That is what was lacking in this case. It was lacking in the recent Navy Yard shootings when Sen. Feinstein and others (including some British commentator, Piers somebody on CNN or MSNBC) quickly jumped up and railed that this was yet another example of mass shootings using assault weaponry and the people who opposed such were culpable in the shooting – and then offered no apology or contrition when it turned out that, as is quite common, the initial reports were inaccurate.

    That is the lesson that I would ask you and the members of the Duke faculty who signed the defamatory letter about the accused students and others should take from this incident. I’ve certainly demonstrated that I don’t always take that lesson to heart myself, a couple of times right here, so I’m not claiming superiority in this. It’s not fair to the accused, and it can make us look quite foolish. I’ve lived too long in Chicago to think it unthinkable that a public official might be corrupting the legal or other governmental process for political or personal purpose. Caveats of “unless there’s other evidence” really is insufficient. Let’s actually wait to see what the facts are, established in public, before we start pointing the moral finger.

  34. 130
    nobody.really says:

    On Sept. 17, an outrageous violent crime was alleged to have occurred (and subsequent investigations have confirmed that an outrageous crime DID occur) in our nation’s capital. Given the drama of the moment, it’s entirely understandable that people would publicly engage in unhelpful speculation, provided they throw in caveats such as “I may be wrong, but….”

    Understandable, but wrong – at least, according to Jon Stewart:

    1. News coverage.

    2. CNN coverage (distinct from news coverage).

    3. The Best F#@king News Team Ever reports a breaking story sans facts.

  35. 131
    nobody.really says:

    Hm; don’t know why that last link didn’t work. Anyway, here’s the URL:
    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-september-17-2013/the-best-f–king-news-team-ever—godzilla

  36. 132
    Ampersand says:

    But what we have found repeatedly now is that we should suspend moral judgement until all the facts are known as well.

    Except that some genuinely horrible crimes – such as the beating of Billy Ray Johnson – would almost certainly be given a pass if we used the “no activists should make noise until after all the facts have come out” standard. In many cases, it’s only BECAUSE people make noise that all the facts ever come out.

    In this case, as more facts came out, it became clear that there wasn’t evidence enough to say that a rape had taken place, let alone that the four accused men had committed the alleged rape. In other cases, as more facts come out, crimes that would have been swept under the rug get some sort of justice. (In Billy Ray Johnson’s case, the four guys who beat him up never got more than a slap on the wrist in criminal court, but at least they had a huge judgement rendered against them in civil court, which is better than nothing).

    I do agree that it makes sense to keep a level head and to remember that we don’t know all we may think we know. But I honestly think I pretty much did that, in this case. I’m not denying that this was a tragedy, in the end, or that the four innocent accused guys were treated very unjustly. But the standards you suggest would also lead to injustice.

    By the way, here’s the complete text of the “gang of 88″ statement. Can you clarify what you find so offensive about it? It seems to me to be pretty clearly attempting to address deeper problems without actually setting forth any opinion about the guilt or innocence of the accused students. What am I missing?

    (The text seems pretty strange as text; it makes more sense if you look at how it was originally laid out.)

    We are listening to our students. We’re also listening to the Durham community, to Duke staff, and to each other. Regardless of the results of the police investigation, what is apparent everyday now is the anger and fear of many students who know themselves to be objects of racism and sexism, who see illuminated in this moment’s extraordinary spotlight what they live with everyday. They know that it isn’t just Duke, it isn’t everybody, and it isn’t just individuals making this disaster.

    But it is a disaster nonetheless.

    These students are shouting and whispering about what happened to this young woman and to themselves.

    . . .We want the absence of terror. But we don’t really know what that means . . . We can’t think. That’s why we’re so silent; we can’t think about what’s on the other side of this. Terror robs you of language and you need language for the healing to begin. 1

    This is not a different experience for us here at DukeUniversity. We go to class with racist classmates, we go to gym with people who are racists….It’s part of the experience. [Independent, 29 March 2006] 2

    If it turns out that these students are guilty, I want them expelled. But their expulsion will only bring resolution to this case and not the bigger problem. This is much bigger than them and throwing them out will not solve the problem. I want the administration to acknowledge what is going on and how bad it is. 3

    Being a big, black man, it’s hard to walk anywhere at night,
    and not have a campus police car slowly drive by me. 4

    Everything seems up for grabs–I am only comfortable talking about this event
    in my room with close friends. I am actually afraid to even bring it up in public.
    But worse, I wonder now about everything. . . . If something like this happens to
    me . . . What would be used against me–my clothing? Where I was? 5

    I was talking to a white woman student who was asking me “Why do people –
    and she meant black people — make race such a big issue?”
    They don’t see race. They just don’t see it. 6

    What Does A Social Disaster Sound Like

    You go to a party, you get grabbed, you get propositioned, and then you start to question yourself. [Independent, 29 March 2006]7

    . . . all you heard was “Black students just complain all the time, all you do is complain and self-segregate.” And whenever we try to explain why we’re offended, it’s pushed back on us. Just the phrase “self-segregation”: the blame is always put on us. [Independent, 29 March 2006] 8

    . . . no one is really talking about how to keep the young woman herself central
    to this conversation, how to keep her humanity before us . . . she doesn’t seem
    to be visible in this. Not for the university, not for us 9

    I can’t help but think about the different attention given to what has happened from what it would have been if the guys had been not just black but participating in a different sport, like football, something that’s not so upscale. 10

    And this is what I’m thinking right now – Duke isn’t really responding to this. Not really. And this, what has happened, is a disaster. This is a social disaster. 11

    The students know that the disaster didn’t begin on March 13th and won’t end with what the police say or the court decides. Like all disasters, this one has a history. And what lies beneath what we’re hearing from our students are questions about the future. This ad, printed in the most easily seen venue on campus, is just one way for us to say that we’re hearing what our students are saying. Some of these things were said by a mixed (in every way possible) group of students on Wednesday, March 29th at an African & African American Studies Program forum, some were printed in an issue of the Independent that came out that same day, and some were said to us inside and outside of the classroom. We’re turning up the volume in a moment when some of the most vulnerable among us are being asked to quiet down while we wait. To the students speaking individually and to the protestors making collective noise, thank you for not waiting and for making yourselves heard.

    We thank the following departments and programs for signing onto this ad with African & African American Studies: Romance Studies; Psychology: Social and Health Sciences; Franklin Humanities Institute; Critical U.S. Studies; Art, Art History, and Visual Studies; Classical Studies; Asian & African Languages and Literature; Women’s Studies; Latino/a Studies; Latin American and Caribbean Studies; Medieval and Renaissance Studies; European Studies; Program in Education; and the Center for Documentary Studies. Because of space limitations, the names of individual faculty and staff who signed on in support may be read at the AAAS website: http://www.duke.edu/web/africanameric/

    —————————-
    Notes:
    1 Unattributed quote made at March 29th forum, or elsewhere
    2 quote by Danielle Terrazas Williams, a first-year student in Duke’s Ph.D. program in history, taken from Independent
    3 Unattributed quote made at March 29th forum, or elsewhere
    4 Unattributed quote made by an African-Amerian male at March 29th forum, or elsewhere
    5 Unattributed quote made at March 29th forum, or elsewhere
    6 Unattributed quote made at March 29th forum, or elsewhere
    7 quote by Audrey Christopher, a recent graduate of Duke, taken from Independent
    8 quote by Audrey Christopher, a recent graduate of Duke, taken from Independent
    9 Unattributed quote made at March 29th forum, or elsewhere
    10 Unattributed quote made at March 29th forum, or elsewhere
    11 Unattributed quote made at March 29th forum, or elsewhere

  37. 133
    mythago says:

    But what we have found repeatedly now is that we should suspend moral judgement until all the facts are known as well.

    RonF, that would cut out about 90% of the discussion on this site, including much of yours. And anyway, ‘until all the facts are known’ is a bit of a vague standard. What does this mean? Until an investigation? Until a conviction? An appeal? We all suspended moral judgment about O.J. Simpson until after the civil wrongful-death case wrapped up, right?

    What we should suspend is taking official action until all the facts were known. It was wrong of Duke University to take action against these students. Vigilantism is also wrong (and that’s true even if the accused is in fact guilty).

    Oh, and we should probably care about prosecutorial misconduct generally and not just when it happens to well-off white kids. The Duke students were lucky, and I realize how appalling that sounds, in that they had resources and there was enough scrutiny that Nifong’s misconduct was swiftly spotted and punished. They didn’t spend years rotting in jail while their oppressors got promotions or judgeships.

  38. 134
    Robert says:

    ” It seems to me to be pretty clearly attempting to address deeper problems without actually setting forth any opinion about the guilt or innocence of the accused students. What am I missing?”

    This:
    These students are shouting and whispering about what happened to this young woman and to themselves.

    It isn’t “what those boys did to this young woman” admittedly, but the assumption and the tone are that a crime occurred as alleged, and the impression given is that it’s a matter of whether the authorities will find and convict, not of whether the event occurred at all. There’s no skepticism or withholding of judgment.

    As it happens, I agree with your original post that bloggers and activists and just regular folk are not under a special obligation to wait for hard data before making judgments and assumptions. Faculty members, however, are, or ought to be.

  39. 135
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Ampersand says:
    September 28, 2013 at 1:25 am

    But what we have found repeatedly now is that we should suspend moral judgement until all the facts are known as well.

    Except that some genuinely horrible crimes – such as the beating of Billy Ray Johnson – would almost certainly be given a pass if we used the “no activists should make noise until after all the facts have come out” standard. In many cases, it’s only BECAUSE people make noise that all the facts ever come out.

    Someone else has said this better (can’t find the link) but part of the problem with the social “let’s use our morality to take action pending things like cross-examination, investigation, etc.” is that the Internet makes it a hell of a lot more troubling if you’re wrong.

    Activists are sometimes wrong. Perhaps I should say that they’re often wrong, insofar as most (many?) activists are primarily concerned with a particular narrative version of the facts, rather than the facts. They certainly don’t seem to be right more often than anyone else.

    A moral activist shouldn’t necessarily hold back from judgment–but they should feel a moral obligation to take steps that help cure the effects of being wrong, if they decide to shout it out from the rooftops or publish it in the paper, etc.

    Withholding serious public condemnation (or approbation) allows you to change your mind without having to “fix” the consequences of your actions, and still keep morally sound behavior.

    This doesn’t mean that people can’t post about Duke. It doesn’t mean that they can’t make judgments and talk about them, including their opinion that the Duke folks were rapists; etc. But if it turns out that the accuser is flat-out blatantly lying, then it would–should–oblige at least one “mea culpa, these wrongfully accused folks didn’t deserve this shit and I was wrong in mmy prejudgment” post. And that post shouldn’t be filled with “… but they were privileged and it wasn’t that bad” or “… but let’s talk about the true rape issues at Duke” or “let’s talk about the myth of false accusations” or any such other dodgy BS; it should just be a simple, straightforward, “Oops, I fucked this one up. Sorry, accused.” kind of thing.

  40. 136
    mythago says:

    So public condemnation is OK as long as it’s not “serious”?

  41. 137
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    I don’t think it’s realistic to expect people, news agencies, or the like to withhold commenting in advance. Arguing against it is like blowing a dandelion upwind.

    The most reasonable thing that we could do is to require (in a moral sense, not a legal one) a true “best effort” retraction when you’re wrong. If you run front page articles on Tawana Bradley many times, surely you can run a front page article which is aimed at setting the record straight, not at furthering the Bradley story. If you make multiple posts on Duke, surely you can write a single post in which you specifically address the fact that you were wrong. And so on.

    mythago says:
    September 29, 2013 at 9:41 am

    So public condemnation is OK as long as it’s not “serious”?

    No, that’s not what I said.

    You can make whatever comments you want, but the greater the “seriousness * publicity” then the greater the burden of fixing the mess that you left behind. OTOH if you withhold judgment (or don’t go very far in condemnation) then you will have less of an obligation (or no obligation at all) to fix it, if you’re wrong.

  42. 138
    nobody.really says:

    This doesn’t mean that people can’t post about Duke. It doesn’t mean that they can’t make judgments and talk about them, including their opinion that the Duke folks were rapists; etc. But if it turns out that the accuser is flat-out blatantly lying, then it would–should–oblige at least one “mea culpa, these wrongfully accused folks didn’t deserve this shit and I was wrong in my prejudgment” post. And that post shouldn’t be filled with “… but they were privileged and it wasn’t that bad” or “… but let’s talk about the true rape issues at Duke” or “let’s talk about the myth of false accusations” or any such other dodgy BS; it should just be a simple, straightforward, “Oops, I fucked this one up. Sorry, accused.” kind of thing.

    I think there can be advantages to talking about the Duke case; this current discussion illustrates it. We’re talking about the Duke case to illustrate a larger issue of acting in the face of uncertainty. But I question whether there are advantages to talking about the Duke case for purposes of illustrating something about the Duke case.

    When we were discussing the Duke case, I think it may have been more prudent to restrict our discussion to larger topics such as rape and discrimination and privilege and false accusation and police procedures and so on. Those are all topics we can discuss while being thoroughly ignorant of the facts of the Duke case. And, if I may be so bold, those were the actual topics that we were discussing while putatively talking about the Duke case. The allegations in the Duke case were basically catalysts for very familiar discussions. So why not just cut out the middleman – especially since none of us knew the middleman very well?

    And who knows? Maybe tomorrow there will be a new story showing that, in fact, affluent Duke alumni had the prosecutor framed in an effort to defend the school’s reputation or something. And if that turns out to be true, it will in no manner alter the conclusions we draw about the risks and necessity of acting in the face of uncertainty; indeed, it would only add further illustration.

  43. 139
    RonF says:

    Except that some genuinely horrible crimes – such as the beating of Billy Ray Johnson – would almost certainly be given a pass if we used the “no activists should make noise until after all the facts have come out” standard. In many cases, it’s only BECAUSE people make noise that all the facts ever come out.

    Making noise to get the facts to come out is not an issue of making a moral judgement. I favored the investigation and trial of George Zimmerman. Trayvon Martin was dead. The facts surrounding his death at the hands of George Zimmerman needed a public airing to ensure there wasn’t some kind of racist cover-up at the hands of the local cops. A young black woman made a sensational accusation of rape – by all means make sure it isn’t swept under the rug because it involved a group of supposedly “privileged” white kids.

    But that’s separate from loudly accusing or even presuming that George Zimmerman – or the Duke lacrosse team players – were guilty of what they had been accused of and were in fact racists to boot. It’s separate from presuming that what was alleged to have happened was true; that it was on that basis an example or illustration or analogy to other issues; and that it follows that changes in law or regulations must be made.