Court Issues Unbelievably Stupid Sex Crime Ruling

Every time I think I’ve seen the limit on how screwed up this country is about sex, we retop ourselves. Case in point (via the Agitator):

On March 25, 2004, Amber and Jeremy took digital photos of themselves naked and engaged in unspecified “sexual behavior.” The two sent the photos from a computer at Amber’s house to Jeremy’s personal e-mail address. Neither teen showed the photographs to anyone else.

Court records don’t say exactly what happened next–perhaps the parents wanted to end the relationship and raised the alarm–but somehow Florida police learned about the photos.

Amber and Jeremy were arrested. Each was charged with producing, directing or promoting a photograph featuring the sexual conduct of a child. Based on the contents of his e-mail account, Jeremy was charged with an extra count of possession of child pornography.

So for that, they will for the rest of their lives be registered sex offenders. (Or maybe not – see comments.)

Judge James WolfAmber appealed, claiming that this application of an anti-child-pornography law to her taking private photos of a perfectly legal encounter with her boyfriend violated her right to privacy (which is guaranteed in the Florida constitution). Earlier this month, a Florida Appeals Court ruled against Amber. The majority decision, written by Judge James Wolf, hinged on whether or not Amber could have had a reasonable expectation of privacy when she emailed the pictures to Jeremy’s personal email address. According to Wolf, she could not have had any such reasonable expectation of privacy, because maybe she or Jeremy would have decided to show them to other people at some point in the future, and anyway the internet can be hacked.

No, really. That was his reasoning. And that’s not even the stupid part.

Here’s the stupid part: Judge Wolf argues that the conviction must be upheld so that Amber and Jeremy can be spared trauma and smeared reputations.

Appellant was simply too young to make an intelligent decision about engaging in sexual conduct and memorializing it. Mere production of these videos or pictures may also result in psychological trauma to the teenagers involved.

Further, if these pictures are ultimately released, future damage may be done to these minor’s careers or personal lives.

Try to grasp the jaw-dropping illogic in all its nonsensical glory:

1) Amber is “simply too young to make an intelligent decision.” But she’s not too young to be a held responsible for the crime of child pornography.

2) The state must prosecute Amber in order to protect her from psychological trauma. Because being tried and found guilty of a sex crime is obviously the least traumatic option for Amber here.

3) If the pictures were someday released, that might have hurt Amber and Jeremy’s careers or personal lives. So instead the court permanently brands them as convicted sex offenders, which in no way could potentially harm their careers and relationships in the future.


(Curtsy: Julian Sanchez.)

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130 Responses to Court Issues Unbelievably Stupid Sex Crime Ruling

  1. 101
    Charles says:


    It is true that you were focused here on the miscommunication problem rather than the labeling problem (I think they are closely related), so I’d say I was reading poorly last night.

    However, focusing on the miscommunication problem and therefore arguing that rape should only be used to refer to rape in which the rapist is clearly a bad person still has the same problem of denying people who experience rape from talking about the experience, independent of whether their rapist is generally perceived to be a bad person. The miscommunication problem exists, but shutting up about the victim’s experience of rape does not seem like a good solution to the miscommunication problem.

    See previous comment for why this is a problem.

  2. 102
    Charles says:


    There are many people (well, men) in prison for rape who were wrongfully convicted. We know this, as many men have been released from prison when it was discovered that they were wrongfully convicted. How many there are is completely unknown.

    However, these are all cases of wrongful convictions in stranger rapes, where the rape happened, but the wrong man was ID’d as the rapist. These convictions were the result of normal errors and misconduct by the police and DAs and sometimes witnesses. Many of the known false convictions are for rape-murders (as death penalty cases have gotten the most extensive rechecking by organizations such as the Innocence Project), so they are clearly in the category of “crime was committed, wrong person convicted,” not “crime not actually committed,” or “crime perceived as committed by victim, but not intended by rapists.”

    The general false conviction rates (for all crimes) are going to be based on these types of errors: crime happened, wrong person convicted.

  3. 103
    defenestrated says:

    Charles, no, I wouldn’t see that as rape. I sympathize with your friend and think her experience points to some horrible ways young people are sexually conditioned, but I’m not sure what purpose is served by using the same word for “forcible sex” and “lack of communication.” What was used to coerce E to have sex? The fear of getting dumped? In the Ask First stuff above, if E really did say “okay” and not mention that not only had she objected before but also that she objected then, then I really don’t see what S failed to do. From the way you phrase the story, at least, it sounds like he raised the topic of sex, they discussed their prior discussions about her objections, and then she said okay.

    I hadn’t seen your comment when I wrote my last one, but to expand on it: one of my concerns is about instances like S and E (where it doesn’t sound like any sort of prosecution was sought, unless I’m misunderstanding you) being used to back up the false accusation myth – that it makes it easier for someone to pop up in a conversation about rape and say, Well some guys are in jail because their girlfriends felt pressured and called it rape; that’s not what you said at all, but it lends itself to that argument. And honestly, on some level it just strikes me as insulting to all the women who were denied the opportunity to say ‘no’ or whose ‘no’ was intentionally ignored to conflate that with a situation where the woman in fact actively consented.

    That isn’t to say that I don’t understand how a consensual sexual experience can in some instances feel like a violation, and I think that there’s a lot of important work to be done on ditching the mindsets that support that happening (like what I said in the other comment about men being expected to go until stopped, and women seeing themselves and being seen as passive objects). But it helps no one to muddy the waters with the idea of “internal but unspoken” consent; in your friends’ case, if E hadn’t spent that whole encounter thinking of it as rape, and instead had known that her ability to say no was a valid right, then she, S, and the relationship could have been spared the whole experience.

  4. 104
    defenestrated says:

    egad, and I managed to leave out the whole actual point of that comment: a word which accurately described your friend’s experience, somewhere between ‘pressured’ and ‘raped,’ would be a real boon to the English language. Your friend should have a way to talk about that, and we as a society should have a way to recognize that experience 1 for what it is, and 2 for how horrible it is. But I don’t think that rape is that word.

  5. 105
    defenestrated says:

    ok, since we’re apparently posting at the same time, Charles, I agree with every word of your last comment (the wrongful conviction one). Thank you for bringing that up; I think it had occurred to me earlier when I wasn’t at my computer, and I’d forgotten about it later. You’re exactly right.

  6. 106
    Chris says:

    Yes, Sailorman, we must be talking past one another. Although your last post made your point even clearer. But for the umpteenth time, I don’t see how anyone can think that “moral rape” should be legally penalized in cases where the woman wasn’t really consenting but only she was aware of that lack of consent–i.e. her lack of consent was purely her internal, subjective feeling and she in no way made that lack of consent clear or apparent to the man. If, as you claim, many folks here at this blog think that situations like that should not only be classified as “rape” but face legal sanction as well, then I’m definitely hanging out at the wrong blog!

    defenestrated, trust me I’ve read your comments. Repeatedly. I had many, many things to say about them and I posted all those remarks in a lengthy and detailed comment this morning, but for some reason it got stuck in moderation. See my final paragraph on comment #92 (now, it will be #93 if my moderated comment ever gets posted). I don’t know why it’s still in moderation–I wasn’t in moderation yesterday, I wasn’t being rude or obnoxious, I was merely critiquing many of the arguments posted over numerous comments from you and others, and my comments after that one have all been posted. I can see it from my computer but apparently no one else can, as no one has commented on it or referred to it. That’s also why in my comment #94 (again, it will be #95 if the moderated comment gets posted), I referred to Sailorman’s comment #92 (it’s actually #91 now, again until my moderated comment posts). I’m hoping that Ampersand is just busy and hasn’t gotten to it yet, and not that it’s being held back for falling short of some standard of ideological purity or something.

    OK, that explanation was too much! Anyway, the point being, yes I read your posts and yes I responded to them, but you haven’t been able to see that response yet. Maybe once you do we can chat more then. As for your latest comment,

    Considering that we live in a world where sexual assault is a-ok if the victim is, oh say, a stripper (not a Duke-related link), or had too much to drink, or was willingly alone with the guy, or a zillion other exceptions that usually have a hell of a lot more to do with the victim’s history than the rapist’s actions

    No one is arguing that sexual assault is A-OK. Rape trials involve attempting to prove to a jury of 12 regular citizens that a rape occurred and that the defendant was the one responsible. If the result is an acquittal, then by definition those 12 people were unanimously unconvinced beyond a reasonable doubt. We can sit here and question their thinking or motivations or assumptions, question the way certain trials unfolded, argue about the drawbacks of the jury system, yadda yadda ’til the cows come home, but it’s not going to change any of that. Sh*t happens–to women, to men, in courts of law, and in many, many other contexts. One can find anecdotal examples to lend credence to almost anything, to support almost any position or viewpoint. So? Many, but certainly not all, women get a raw deal in sex assault cases; some men (fewer in number) do to, just in the opposite direction. That’s life. It’s never going to be perfect or ideal, so all we can do is try to make it as fair and impartial and equal as we can for all concerned.

    I really would like to see some evidence about all these falsely accused rapists in prison, if you have anything more substantial than “well the math sure sounds right.”

    I stand by my math. It’s simple and straightforward, and corresponds to common sense. The alternative view, to which you seem to subscribe, is that our justice system is perfect and never makes mistakes, OR that the justice system is deeply flawed and makes mistakes in all areas EXCEPT FOR sex crimes. Sorry, but I find both of those alternative positions untenable.

    Just because falsely accused and/or wrongfully convicted men disturb your personal worldview, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. You just choose not to see them.

    While we’re on the subject of math, here’s a little more for you to chew on: If we use your “statistic” that 1% or less of rape allegations are false, and combine it with the much-trumpeted feminist claim that at least 75% of all true rapes go unreported, and use a little simple math, we find that men are 396 TIMES more likely to rape a woman than a woman is to lie about it. Actually, since men make up slightly less than half the population, we can tweak it even further and say that the average man is OVER 400 TIMES more likely to rape a woman than a woman is to lie about it. Does that sound at all reasonable to you? I submit that since women are human beings too, and since human beings are notorious for dishonesty, manipulation, and for hurting other people in a multitude of ways, that a figure like this is preposterous. I further submit that men are not 400 TIMES more likely than women to do anything. Something has to give–either the percentage of false allegations is much higher than you care to admit, or the percentage of unreported rapes is much lower than feminists care to admit, or perhaps a combination of the two. And if your position is that NO, that sounds right to me, men ARE that much more beastly than women are dishonest, then I guess we might as well set up extermination camps for men as there doesn’t seem to be much hope for the future.

    We can play with the numbers above a little bit, altering either the false report rate or the rape non-report rate to get a wide variety of results, but here’s one for you: We’ll still use your 1% false report rate “statistic”, but we’ll use a different rape non-report claim that I’ve heard some feminists make: That 86% of real rapes go unreported. I think that’s ludicrous, but I’ve heard feminists make that argument. Well, running the math this time, we find that men are now over 707 TIMES more likely to rape women than women are to lie about it. Again, correcting for the fact that the population isn’t exactly 50/50, it would be well over 710 TIMES more likely. WOW. Men really, truly are savage beasts, aren’t they? It’s amazing that civilization has even advanced to this point, and that women continue to have anything at all to do with the Neanderthals surrounding them!

    Isn’t math fun?! LOL ;)


    How many millions of sexual assault victims have been wrongfully denied justice because it “stood to reason” that if the rapist thought the sex was wanted, then it must have been?

    Yes, many many women over the years have failed to win justice for the rapes they’ve survived. It’s truly sad. But that has nothing to do with my point about there being a strong likelihood that thousands of wrongfully convicted men are sitting in prison for sex crimes at this very moment. Good grief, are you going to make me trot out the old kindergarten standby? TWO. WRONGS. DON’T. MAKE. A. RIGHT.

    As for the rest of your post, I tend to agree with it in large part. Have a nice weekend :)

  7. 107
    Jake Squid says:

    Actually, since men make up slightly less than half the population, we can tweak it even further and say that the average man is OVER 400 TIMES more likely to rape a woman than a woman is to lie about it. Does that sound at all reasonable to you?

    It doesn’t sound reasonable to me that we can divide by the number next to 0 (a decimal place, then an infinite number of zeros followed by a 1), yet we can. The other problem with your statement is that you are comparing apples and oranges.

  8. 108
    defenestrated says:

    Chris, read Charles’ comment about mistaken identity again. By your reasoning, we can take the number of prisoners falsely convicted of murder to mean that the murder victims weren’t really dead. Don’t misrepresent my statement that there is no evidence that rape is disproportionately falsely accused as meaning that I don’t care whether or not the right guy gets the rap.

    And I wasn’t saying that anyone here thinks that rape is a-ok, I was describing the cultural environment in which rape cases are tried. Follow the stripper link to see the actual defense tactics that got that police officer off; one of them was a very direct statement that, since she was a stripper, we can assume that she is always open to all sexual contact. Seriously, that was argued with a straight face in a court of law. And it led to an acquittal. I’m not saying that a jury of twelve Alas readers would have acquitted, but given that that’s our world, it strikes me as very dangerous to start claiming that a woman is just as likely to lie about rape as a man is to rape.

  9. 109
    Ampersand says:

    Chris’s long post (#91) has now been approved. With trepidation. Because the truth is, it was awfully obnoxious.

    Chris, are you one of those people who doesn’t even know how to have a respectful disagreement? I shouldn’t have to waste my time going point-by-point through your post pointing out where you’ve been rude; you should be enough of a grown-up to not need that.

    Also, this old post of mine on false rape accusations may be of interest (or it may be too obvious):

  10. 110
    Charles says:


    Let me try again. I’m going to change Sailorman’s terminology from moral vs legal to victim-centric vs perpetrator-centric, as I think it makes the explanation clearer.

    I am one of the people that Sailorman was talking about who hang around this blog and are more interested in a victim centric view of rape than a perpetrator centric view of rape (although both are relevant), so I suspect that while I may not understand what you think Sailorman is saying, that I actually understand quite well what Sailorman is actually saying. My previous examples and questions didn’t work for you, so let me try again.

    This is the victim-centric perspective:

    To put it in very simple terms, if I experience something as rape, that is the relevant point from a victim-centric perspective (even if it is not the only relevant point from a legal perspective). The societal goal in relationship to rape should primarily be to prevent people from being subject to the experience of being raped. Preventing and punishing intentional rapists is a part of this, but it is not the entirety. If there is a large category of sexual encounters in which one partner comes away feeling raped, and the other partner comes away feeling like the sex was consensual, then that is still a big problem. I would argue that this category does exist, and that we should work to fix that problem. I would argue that that problem is part of the rape problem, and not merely part of the bad sex problem. From a victim-centric perspective, if I experience the sex as rape, then it was rape. My experience is not false.

    Declaring that it wasn’t rape, and that it is unfair of the victim to identify the sex as rape, purely because the other participant honestly doesn’t think that it was non-consensual does not solve the problem.

    Some questions:

    If I have sex with someone and experience it as being raped, is this a problem? Is this something that shouldn’t happen? Are we more likely to solve this problem by calling what happened to me rape, or are we more likely to solve it if we don’t call it rape? What should we call it if we don’t call it rape?

    From a victim-centric perspective, those are straight forward questions.
    From a perpetrator-centric perspective, those are unanswerable questions, because I failed to specify the viewpoint of the other participant.

    Now look at the perpetrator. If the other person involved in the sex didn’t notice my attempts to resist, is it not rape? If the other person had sufficiently intimidated me before hand that I chose not to visibly resist, is it not rape? If the other person does not believe that I have a right to retract consent, is it not rape? Is it only rape if the methods of intimidation that were used to get me to not resist were the overt threat of physical harm to me or is it still rape if the intimidation was done through implicit threats of violence? What if the threat of violence is to a third party? What if the threat of violence is to my possessions? What if the intimidation is achieved by implicit rather than explicit threats? What about if the intimidation is purely achieved through a history of physical violence? What if it is achieved through financial pressure (either legitimate or illegitimate)? What if it is achieved through social pressure?

    Now, as Sailorman will point out, the line on where it becomes legal rape is probably not the same point as the line on where you will think that the perpetrator is a rapist (in fact, it varies by state, but tends to be much more limited than you would guess). As I pointed out, the line has moved historically (thus marital rape was not rape for many years, because spouses didn’t have a legal right to meaningfully retract consent after marriage) and is still ambiguous (do people have a legally meaningful right to withdraw consent while in the middle of having sex? A few states are clear on this, but most aren’t and many juries will decide that we do not have a legally meaningful right to withdraw consent during sex).

    If the law does not recognize rape as legally rape, is it still acceptable for me to recognize it as rape if it happens to me?

    While the law recognized date rape as technically rape even before the 1980s, we as a society didn’t. Before the invention of the term date rape and the development of a movement to educate people about it and to prevent it, there was not much chance that it would be socially or legally recognized as rape if someone who you were making out with then physically forced you to have sex against your will. Indeed, people would raise exactly the objections that you have raised (in relation to a victim centric perspective on rape), that the rapist didn’t intend it as rape, and that you shouldn’t have been so unclear in relation to consent. I am not saying that you favor date rape going unpunished, but the idea of hat constitutes clarity of consent or non-consent changes over time. You are arguing that only explicit active refusal or incapacity should be treated as a withdrawal of consent, but it is also possible to argue that consent can never be assumed, that only active positive consent counts. From a victim centric point of view, what matters is whether it was non-consensual, not whether both parties understood it to be non-consensual. From a victim centric point of view, non-consensual sex is definitionally equivalent to rape. That is not true from either a legal point of view or from a perpetrator centric point of view.

    Okay, that went on far too long. I’ll stop.

  11. 111
    Charles says:


    I understand your position, and I can see using a different word. However, while I think that S and E’s case is an extreme case, I think that there is not actually a natural bright line in between E’s experience and the experience of someone who does not use much force (verbal or physical) in resisting a rape. E ended up mixing refusal of consent (arranging not to have sex, reminding S of that arrangement) and failing to resist beyond some point (saying well okay, and not resisting further). We can agree that her refusals of consent were particularly weak, and that her failure to resist read as active consent, but the dynamic was one which is common in rapes that we would both agree are rape.

    I think that a composite word (although I don’t know what, maybe “pressured rape”) might be a good intermediate step.

    As to the problem of people who want a restrictive definition of rape, and who will claim that calling S and E’s interaction rape means that feminists are in favor of locking men away for no real reason, I have to point out that much the same was done in response to the invention of the term date rape (and marital rape, for that matter).

    Now, the other problem is that under my purely victim-centric definition of rape I end up having a category of rapes that are, from a perpetrator centric view, accidental rapes, a term which gives offense. But I actually think that unintentional rape is a larger problem than most people think it is (maybe unintentional rape is a less offense term than accidental?), that many men who commit rape do not intend to commit rape, and do not conceive of themselves as committing rape. 5% of men self identify as having used physical force to restrain an unwilling sexual partner, but I doubt that many of them would self identify as rapists. Even more have probably coerced sex from an unwilling partner without using physical force, and even more didn’t understand that their partner was unwilling.

    Bah, this is hard to talk about.

  12. 112
    Brandon Berg says:

    Actually, I was responding to your characterization of me as having a general preference for protecting anyone from being labeled harshly, and not to your claim that this was a specific instance of it. On second thought, that may have been intended less snarkily than I read it, so I apologize for overreacting. For the record, my general preference is for truth in labeling, not gentleness in labeling.

  13. 113
    Chris says:


    Back in college, I had two friends who were in an ongoing sexual relationship with issues. One night they agreed to spend the night together, but not have sex. The male partner S brought along a condom, and at some point mentioned this fact. The female partner E said, “I thought we agreed not to have sex,” and S said, “Well, I thought you might change your mind.” E said, “Okay,” and they had sex. E experienced this as rape. S certainly had no intent to commit rape, and sought and received active consent (which E felt was coerced, but S was unaware that E felt coerced). S did not behave perfectly, and that rape should never have happened, but it was not in anyway intentional on S’s part that his partner should experience rape. As I said, even without intent, S did something horrible, and that form of rape should be prevented from happening as much as possible, just like forms of rape in which the rapist intends to rape. That is a case that comes close to Sailorman’s opposite world example, and I think helps to show the point of the opposite world example. From E’s experiential perspective, it doesn’t matter that she gave verbal consent, she actively did not want to have sex, and experienced the sex as rape.

    This is a perfect example of what I was referring to earlier when I mentioned feminist rape dogma. I think it’s unreasonable and extreme, to put it mildly, to call what happened between your friends a rape, based on the information you provided (now, if you left out important parts of the story, that might be a different matter). According to your account, the only “coercion” your male friend used against your female friend was that he had a condom with him and when she asked him about it, he mentioned it was in case she changed her mind. So what? That is now considered “coercion”? Wow, talk about diluting the definition of a word to the point of meaninglessness. He didn’t use physical force did he? Make threats? Make unreasonable demands? Intimidate her? Get her drunk or high? Badger or hector or beg her repeatedly? NO. They talked and decided to have sex–meaning she consented, even if she had internalized regrets about what she was doing. But she did say yes to sex, and not due to any form of true coercion on her boyfriend’s part. In other words, she changed her mind. What so horrible about that? Why is that so wrong? As feminists, aren’t we supposed to support female agency and choice? If so, why does it often seem that to some feminists, any sexual situation in which a woman at first withholds consent, then later provides it, automatically becomes a form of rape, even minus any clear and perceptible form of coercion? Aren’t women allowed to change their minds? Or is that a right reserved solely for men? And by implicitly denying women the right or ability to change their minds in such situations, and making them into rape victims by definition, aren’t many feminists buying into patriarchal attitudes and stereotypes without even realizing it? You know, that women are weak-willed, can’t think for themselves, morally pure, always in need of protection, etc.

    Charles, I note that even though you were asking readers to weigh in on whether or not this incident was actually a rape, you repeatedly referred to it as one yourself. Very telling. The fact that your friend E felt coerced in the situation, claimed that she was raped, and managed to convince her boyfriend S that she was raped by him (?!), suggests to me that she’s been a victim more of feminist rape propaganda than of her boyfriend. The bogeyman here is not S, but rather the strange and misguided attitudes and beliefs that have been drilled into her. The bogeyman, in other words, exists in her own mind. And, this whole story strikes me as a case where E couldn’t accept responsibility for her own thoughts and actions, so she projected her regrets and guilty feelings onto her boyfriend and blamed him for committing a criminal act (“unintentional rape” in this context is an oxymoron).

    And, for all those people here who’d jump all over me for suggesting even the possibility of false rape accusations, it strikes me that this example illustrates a situation in which a false accusation could very easily be made. Or an exaggerated accusation. Or a misleading accusation. Or an accusation made based on miscommunication and/or misperception. What if they had argued, bitterly disagreed, had a messy relationship falling out in their discussion after the incident? Perhaps E might have felt the urge to go to the police? Perhaps she’d have sought counseling at a rape crisis center and they’d have encouraged her to go to police? She’d keep running over the incident in her mind and become stronger and stronger in her conviction that she was actually raped, and perhaps her memory and perception of events would become a bit more colorful and selective to reinforce that belief. Finally, she might break down and go to police, firmly convinced in her own mind that she’d been raped and desiring to see her rapist, her estranged ex-boyfriend, punished for it. Once she takes that step, she’s committed–she’s made a serious accusation with major consequences, and told a story to back it up. To borrow gambling terminology, she’s “all in.” Police arrest the boyfriend, and things proceed from there.

    I see this as a reasonably plausible scenario in a number of circumstances with many different types of people. But I guess I’m wrong and all of you are right–such a scenario is fantastic, utterly fanciful, and would be totally inconceivable in the real world.

    However, these are all cases of wrongful convictions in stranger rapes, where the rape happened, but the wrong man was ID’d as the rapist

    Common sense and logic would indicate that there are plenty of wrongfully convicted and imprisoned people for false accusations too. The cases you pointed out are merely much easier to prove as miscarriages of justice, thanks to DNA testing that excludes the imprisoned man as the perp. In stranger rape cases, for the most part, a compromised witness ID or DNA mismatch will likely do the trick. In a false accusation situation, we’re almost always talking about he said/she said acquaintance or date or spousal rape cases in which the defendant A) admits to sex but claims it was consensual (so DNA matching is irrelevant); or B) denies sex or sexual contact with the accuser, and there is no conclusive evidence to indicate that sex actually occurred, and no DNA to test. And in these cases, obviously eyewitness IDs aren’t an issue like they are in stranger rape cases. So overturning a wrongful conviction in a false accusation case is a very difficult proposition, short of the accuser recanting or some other exculpatory evidence unexpectedly coming out of left field. Even though I’m quite confident that there are a decent number of men in prison due to false accusations, I’d expect that the vast majority of convicted rapists who are released from prison after having their convictions overturned will be from stranger rape cases.


    By your reasoning, we can take the number of prisoners falsely convicted of murder to mean that the murder victims weren’t really dead

    That’s a non sequitir and a false analogy.

    it strikes me as very dangerous to start claiming that a woman is just as likely to lie about rape as a man is to rape

    I never said that. Find one comment I made above where I said anything even close to that. I won’t hold my breath. Your putting words in my mouth, attributing arguments to me that I never made, and imputing dubious motives to me that I don’t have. Stop it, please. What I said was that there are many more false rape allegations made than feminists will admit, constituting a significant percentage of all total rape allegations (again, since many rapes go unreported, I’m not talking about total rapes, but total rape allegations–big difference), but that I also don’t know the specific proportion of allegations that are false, and no one else does either. That’s a far cry from claiming that I said the number of false allegations is equal to the number of rapes. My previous statements were clear. I think you know better.

    Also, defenestrated, from your post #97:

    I just can’t shake the impression that you’re valuing the right to be selfish and oblivious over the right to not get raped.

    Cheap shot. ‘Nuff said.

    Finally, Ampersand, I’m very sorry that you find me obnoxious. I certainly haven’t tried to be obnoxious, nor did I set out to offend anyone. As I said earlier, I have strong disagreements with some folks on this thread over some fundamental issues, and yes I can argue forcefully, and yes I occasionally use sarcasm (am I the only one here? don’t think so), and yes the debate got a bit heated in spots, but it was never my intention to be a prick about it, and I stated earlier that I harbor no personal animosity against anyone here. My arguments were all directed at points people made, not at them personally. I think you’re all good people with good intentions, I just feel that there are some blinders on and some misguided arguments and theories here. Apparently, some contributors feel the same about me and that’s fair. We’re reasonable people and we disagree. I’ve read other comments by other contributors to this thread that could be subjectively viewed as irritating or offensive by some too, but I guess I’m being singled out. At least it feels that way. It strikes me as a curious coincidence that I’ve elicited a scolding and have been put in moderation, and I’m the contributor to this thread with the minority viewpoint that is the most critical. Suffice it to say, I get the point. This will be my last post on this thread.

  14. 114
    Charles says:


    I can see how that is your perspective. From my perspective, you are consistently on the side of not labeling people with what I consider accurate labels, so I think of you as being opposed to accurate labeling and in favor of gentle labeling. Of course, I can see why that isn’t your perspective.

    Anyway, my comment about you being consistent was pretty snarky, so I took your snarky response as entirely fair, particularly since I was also misreading, since you were objecting to the cross talk that results when we label things very differently, rather than the unfair effect on the individual who has been mislabeled.

    While I disagree (naturally) that I should cave on the definitions I use because other people will react badly to them (while I don’t get pissed off at people for failing to be familiar with my definitions, I do think promulgating my definitions is beneficial), I recognize that odd-ball definitions do cause some serious miscommunication and cross-talk, so I can’t disagree with your reasoning.

  15. 115
    Ampersand says:

    Suffice it to say, I get the point.

    No, you really don’t.

    Chris, the reason your comment was put into moderation is that the blogging software automatically puts posts into moderation if it thinks they might be spam, according to whatever arcane formula the program uses. That is the only reason your post was put into moderation.

    As for the rest, I’m the moderator here. If you’re convinced my moderation is unfair, then there’s an easy solution: go away.

    You might notice that there are several people here other than yourself who are not feminists; yet I’m not telling (for example) Brandon and Robert off for being obnoxious. So logically, it cannot be true that I am blanketly telling off non-feminists. What do you suppose it might be that distinguishes your posts from Robert’s and Brandon’s?

    No one else on this thread has written a personal attack on other posters to match this:

    Perhaps because this discussion has been hijacked by dogma, as discussions of rape on feminist blogs are wont to do. I should have known better than to even wade into it at all. I could spend literally hours, hours, meticulously picking apart, debating, debunking, and refuting various statements made in comments starting at #76 and on to the end of this thread, but really, what would be the point? I’d just raise my blood pressure to an unacceptable level and give myself another pounding headache like I had last night, and I’d get nowhere, because evidence and rational argumentation seem to be less important to some (get that? some) folks here than reflexive dogma.

    And that’s far from the only example; you write long, obnoxious screeds like that again and again.

    One of the reasons I find your comments here so obnoxious is your constant use of the belittling term “dogma” for virtually all feminists who disagree with you. Wikipedia gets at why the term is insulting:

    The term dogmatism carries the implication that people are upholding their beliefs in an unthinking and conformist fashion. Dogmas are thought to be anathema to science and scientific analysis, though some small groups may argue that the scientific method itself is somewhat dogmatic….

    Since the Enlightenment, the word “dogma” has typically been used in a negative and derogatory manner…

    So when you accuse people here of reciting “feminist dogma,” and of being “True Believers,” you’re accusing them of being unthinking conformists, in a way that has been understood for centuries as being derogatory. And you’ve done it again, and again, and again, in post after post.

    (You also do so in an ignorant fashion. When Charles relates an unusual definition of rape that very few feminists advocate, and that many feminists would not agree with, you sneeringly refer to it as a “perfect example… of feminist rape dogma.” But what Charles said, far from being “dogma,” is quite controversial. The fact that Defenestrated immediately disagreed with Charles might have been a clue to you.)

    If you want to disagree with Charles, disagree with him. But do so based on logic and argumentation. Just repeating “dogma! dogma! dogma!” over and over isn’t an argument, Chris. And if you can’t resist sneering at the feminists, maybe you shouldn’t be on a feminist blog, especially not one that has moderation policies which specifically forbid such behavior.

    If you can discipline yourself into disagreeing with other people here with respect — meaning, among other things, no longer implying in sneering tones that feminists who disagree with you are unthinking drones — then you can stay here, and welcome to you. Otherwise, you’ll have to go away.

    And although I know you’re pretending that you are in no way responsible for this (so much easier to claim moderator for bias than to take responsibility for your own words!), the truth is, it’s your choice to make.

  16. 116
    defenestrated says:

    Charles –

    While I disagree (naturally) that I should cave on the definitions I use because other people will react badly to them

    I know you weren’t talking to me, but I should have been more aware of that point in my response to you, seeing as I had made a similar point in an earlier comment about extreme views held by “some feminists” not being a disqualification for what I was saying then. I’m not entirely sure how to reconcile our thoughts on this, but I think a term like “pressured rape,” as you suggested, would be on the right track; on the other hand, do you see what I was saying re your earlier comment being used to support certain flawed arguments? :)

    I’m just really disappointed that, after my thoughts were explicitly requested, they were not just insulted (although I really appreciate the backup on that, Amp), but also twisted and cherry-picked into something I didn’t recognize as the basis for rebuttal. I’m a little squeamish at realizing that from my way-way-upthread comment, Chris likely thought our common ground was on my not placing blame on that guy, and perhaps failed to note that in both that instance and the case this post was originally about (hey, remember that?), my view was based on my being primarily concerned with consent – not with whether rape laws are unfair to men.

    I’m also a little baffled by all the vitriol. I think I stayed relatively calm in this, and unless Chris is writing to us from prison, I really don’t think he’s the more personally invested of us in the topic this became about.

    I’m always a little curious, when I get flagged by the mod-bot, what word or phrase it was that set it off. And how many spellings of – damn it, I even typed it out before realizing I was just asking for flagging – how many spellings of a certain pill for guys are listed in the program ;)

  17. 117
    Myca says:

    And how many spellings of – damn it, I even typed it out before realizing I was just asking for flagging – how many spellings of a certain pill for guys are listed in the program ;)

    You should see what it’s like when we actually try to discuss that particular pill. Oh, it’s moderation a-plenty, I tell you.


  18. 118
    Charles says:


    Yeah, I do see how my extremely victim centric definition of rape leads to some really problematic places: bizarre and uncomfortable phrases like accidental rape, ammo for ridiculous arguments, etc. I had some really extensive discussions with Amp and my spouse last night – both strongly disagree with my definition of rape, and both had various convincing reasons why my definition is not okay). I’m not completely convinced that my definition is wrong, but I definitely need to rethink my concepts somewhat – even more so, I need to rethink my framing of my position.

    So at least something useful came out of this for me. :)

    Even though it isn’t my fault, I have been meaning to say that I am really sorry about the way you got treated (by Chris) in this thread. The entire dynamic of Chris specifically soliciting your opinion, you explaining that you generally didn’t like to have these conversations online as the subject was too personal, and then when you gave your opinion
    Chris immediately and hostilely lays into you, wildly misreading your position and immediately pushing you over (in his own mind) into the side of evil dogmatic feminists was bizarre and painful to watch.

    Chris’s bizarre reactions to Sailorman’s (and my) comments were impressive, but our comments were at least completely unsolicited. Chris solicited your opinion in the most unctuous manner possible, and then immediately turned around and gave nothing you wrote even the most minimal of sympathetic readings.

    Anyway, sorry it happened, but thanks for your input on how I talk about rape.

    Okay, my favorite Chris quote from this thread:

    Don’t worry, few people have the ability or patience to discuss rape (or any sex crime, for that matter) calmly and concisely. But it’s important to do so as best as possible. Dogma and invective on the subject do no one any good.

    Yeah, really…

  19. 119
    budding photographer says:

    When I was 16, I took a photo of myself naked using the timer on my camera. It was staged as a candid ‘towel slip’ photo op, purely for giggles.

    To think, I could have faced prosecution as a child pornographer!

  20. 120
    defenestrated says:


    I’m not completely convinced that my definition is wrong, but I definitely need to rethink my concepts somewhat – even more so, I need to rethink my framing of my position.

    I don’t know if I was clear on this before, but my disagreement was pretty much just with the framing. The concepts behind what you’ve said are ones I completely relate to, and for what it’s worth, I’m aware that I have a tendency to get hung up on semantics (and enjoy the getting hung up; I guess I got the same genes that made my sister a linguist).

    Even though it isn’t my fault, I have been meaning to say that I am really sorry about the way you got treated (by Chris) in this thread.

    Thank you for that, though as you say, none of this was your fault or the fault of any of the other commenters, and an apology really isn’t necessary (from you guys). For really long-windy reasons that I won’t go into, I think it was good for me to see such a clear example of how, no matter how carefully I phrase things or how hard I work to find common ground, it isn’t up to me how someone hears my words and it isn’t my fault if they don’t want to listen to me. So it was useful for me, too :)

    The entire dynamic of Chris specifically soliciting your opinion, you explaining that you generally didn’t like to have these conversations online as the subject was too personal, and then when you gave your opinion
    Chris immediately and hostilely lays into you, wildly misreading your position and immediately pushing you over (in his own mind) into the side of evil dogmatic feminists was bizarre and painful to watch.

    What’s kind of funny to me is that my expectation when writing that comment was that while it would be a calm and civil discussion with Chris, other commenters might jump in and…well, do exactly what Chris did. But instead he did it, and all the other commenters were cool :D

    And honestly, once I saw my sentences being split in half and represented as the exact opposite of my meaning, I didn’t really read much of Chris’s last couple of comments (esp. #91, which I think at least showed up last) very closely. Like Amp said, they seemed intended more to insult than to debate, and especially since I had already said it was a sensitive topic, I didn’t really feel like letting him use it to hurt me. So I dodged the hurt, but I still very much appreciate your (and others’) support.

  21. 121
    defenestrated says:

    You should see what it’s like when we actually try to discuss that particular pill. Oh, it’s moderation a-plenty, I tell you.


    From a thread on Pandagon today:

    Chris Clarke Mar 3rd, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    Is there any way you could fix the moderating software so that inclusion of the word ‘S0cial1st’ does not cause an automatic hold? I am not using the word for any purpose other than to describe my own beliefs.

    Take the first two letters and the last letter away from “socialist” and you’ll see the problem.

    Bit of Baader-Meinhoff goin’ on there, I’d say.

  22. 122
    Charles says:

    I did get that we basically agree (I also basically agree with Amp and my spouse), but, as the example of S and E demonstrates, the differences are not purely semantic (although the semantic differences are possibly more important, none of us think that S should have been prosecuted, and I expect that none of us would have refused to give personal support to E, so our actual reactions to even that situation would probably not have been particularly different).

    I’m not sure that I’m right in my take on that example, and I very much understand why other people, you included, draw the bright line on the far side of that example, but I am also uncomfortable with taking a less absolutist position than I currently do, and I am uncomfortable with saying that what E experienced as rape was not actually rape. On the other hand, accepting that someone can be raped in a situation where the person who had sex with them actually had no way of knowing that the sex was not consensual (because explicit consent was given and never withdrawn, explicitly or implicitly) inevitably leads either to the concept of innocent rapists or it leads to the concept of rape without a rapist, and both of those concepts are dangerous concepts to allow into existence, as they have way too much potential to bleed into the discourse and get applied to cases where the rapist merely failed to understand or acknowledge the lack of consent (a huge category of rapes, but not ones in which there is still definitely a rapist).

    My spouse also points out that the problem with accepting that someone can not consent even when they explicitly do consent, without any recognizable coercion, plays into the standard idea of women as not really being competent adults, not really being capable of having a binding word. This is certainly a problem with my position on the outer fringe cases such as S and E, but I’m not sure what the solution is. One solution is to make clear that when we get to the fringe cases of explicitly consented non-consent, we are actually in a territory where there are probably more men who consent non-consensually than there are women (Amp tells me that in some studies, men are nearly as likely to report being forced to have sex as women are, but that men almost exclusively report being forced by emotional or social pressure, while women overwhelming report being physically forced), but that possibly raises other issues.

    Well, that ended up very long.

    It is a fraught question, and one that I’m puzzling over.

  23. 123
    defenestrated says:

    My spouse also points out that the problem with accepting that someone can not consent even when they explicitly do consent, without any recognizable coercion, plays into the standard idea of women as not really being competent adults, not really being capable of having a binding word.

    I think your spouse has an excellent point there; in fact, I’m a little jealous that I didn’t put my finger on it first :)

    (Amp tells me that in some studies, men are nearly as likely to report being forced to have sex as women are, but that men almost exclusively report being forced by emotional or social pressure, while women overwhelming report being physically forced)

    I find that really interesting, especially given how tired I am of rape being framed as a solely feminist subject. Amp, if you haven’t given up completely on this thread by now [ ;D ], do you happen to have some linkage on that?

  24. 124
    Sailorman says:

    defenestrated and charles,

    having read through your comments I agree with you both. That said, i’ve not much to add ;) but i’m sorry to have disappeared in the middle of an interesting conversation.

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  26. 125
    Angry'OleMcgee says:

    Its obvious that “Jeremy” should be convicted of statutory rape as well as child pornography. The girl should get off scot free cause she was mentally hampered by his dominance. I call bearance to the lack of capacity, as well as making example to mentally retarded peoples inability to have sex due to lack of mental capacity.

    jk! They got pwned, sucks, but it happens.

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  29. 126
    It's to the dog says:

    Well it is always on the band wagon with us Americans. Will take laws without thinking them out. I am sure this is done because real thinking has not been taught in schools or by parents when we were younger.

    It isn’t just kids of just 15 to date they have a few 11 and 12 year olds or people who were that age when they did something stupid. The experts who were all hollaring in the 80’s about the super sexual pervert have done an about-face on the issue. They realize that these laws hurt people who are barely grown up enough to tie their own shoes.

    It is heartbreaking to hear about pre-teen boys with records for snapping some girl’s bra. When all it should have been was suspension and apology and then helping the school helping the girl out. Some laws are just written lazy and then used in the worst manner possible. I say stop raping the law, and making it a dimwit dog.

    It is just not cool to treat children like adults. They aren’t their brains haven’t even developed yet. In the rare case that this kid is starting to show signs of heading into trouble then professional help may be needed. But putting children on a list that will stay with them for the rest of their natural born life is ridiculous. Years from now historians will be laughting their ass off at us.

  30. 127
    Mandolin says:

    “I say stop raping the law, and making it a dimwit dog.”

    Please don’t use the term ‘rape’ in this way.