24 Aug 2008, Comments Off on Thread of Doom

Thread of Doom

Author: Helen

Who’d have thought a Thread of Doom would develop over a small qualitative study of partner rape conducted by Womens Health Goulburn North-East– a small, rural organisation studying events at the coalface.

Sure, the little poem at the beginning of the report: it probably seemed like a good idea at the time, but nah. Bad poetry should be stamped out tirelessly, and probably doesn’t have any place in a piece of writing which needs to present itself as serious, because it’s just handing a weapon to people who want to mock and deride.

But Nick was much more troubled by the fact that it’s a qualitative, not quantiative, report – not many lovely statistics (except some basic breakdowns and information from other sources), no equations, bar graphs, oh noes! As a business writer and economist, Nick feels that this consigns the report eternally to the intellectual dustbin. But many commenters don’t agree.

(T)he report itself seems to me a perfectly respectable piece of qualitative research. The methodology looks to be an appropriate way of eliciting the experiences and understandings of a particular group of people (spousal rape victims in Victoria’s Goulburn valley), existing research is decribed thoroughly and both the women and people from responding agencies (especially police) are interviewed thoroughly on an individual basis by 2 researchers and in focus groups, and later counselled/debriefed.
As others have noted, several of the comments seem to misunderstand the nature and purpose of this sort of qualitative research. The comment about a “hopelessly biased group of subjects” is especially misconceived. They are seeking to elicit the experiences and understandings of a particular group of women, so accusations of sample bias are by definition irrelevant.

and

There seems to be some confusion over what this report is about.
It’s not a piece of research for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, but a self published report from a health NGO in rural Vic. For that, it’s not a bad effort.
As for a “hopelessly biased group of subjects”, I think someone is missing the entire point and misunderstanding the relevancy of bias.

But the thing about the report which really raised the Gruen ire was the opening paragraph of the Executive summary – a preamble to the report sort-a-thing. Here it is:

Women who are raped or who suffer domestic violence are somehow thought of in the popular imagination as a stereotype. According to this, the women are asking for it, dressed inappropriately, provoking it – responsible for it. While this is clearly uninformed, our sample provides yet more evidence that any woman is vulnerable to rape. We do not need to be a certain ‘type’ of woman, or to behave in particular ways, or to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The vignettes which follow this Executive Summary provide the evidence for this. Further evidence is found in the diversity of women who participated in this research.

Nick parses this in a way I find somewhat fanciful:

So there you go – rape really is on the end of every wolf whistle. I guess, if I wasn’t tapping away on this keyboard, I could be raping someone right now, and unless there’s something wrong with the research methodology it’s overwhelmingly likely that I wouldn’t even recognise what I was doing as a crime.

In other word, Nick read the paragraph as saying that all women everywhere are at risk of rape at all times from all men everywhere, but particularly from Nick, who, along with all blameless family men everywhere, is the target of this insulting report!

It seems pretty clear to me that what the paragraph is trying to say is that (1) with respect to rape in general, there is a tradition of victim-blaming in our society, as well as most of the others of course, (2) therefore, by providing more evidence of rape within marriage, this report shows that women are at risk even when behaving “cautiously” within a nuclear-family norm; hence, “any woman is vulnerable to rape”, not just scantily-clad women out on the tiles.

So, the thread of doom unfolds. (Oh look over there! Lesbian violence!)

I’d commend Nick and some of his commenters to a couple of posts which are becoming classics in the blogosphere: Sometimes, Conversations with my Man are Instructive, by Ilyka Damen (a story about another Thread of Doom), and Dear Ladies, please stop getting yourselves raped… by Melissa McEwan. As well as that report, of course.

As for “find a worse piece of research”? That’s easy. Here’s lots. (H/T to Barista.)

Comments (0)

  • Kim says:

    Thread of doom is right! And now we’ve got the unedifying spectacle of various wankers trying to “prove” that lesbians never have sex and are more prone to domestic violence than anyone else.

    /sigh

  • Hattie says:

    Well, I only know a few women who have been raped by their partners, so it can’t be widespread.
    *snark*

  • M-H says:

    As a qualitative researcher whose day job is among scientists, I really relate to these issues. Recently at a meeting I was trying to propose a qualitative study of the free comments at the end of the student evaluation form. It was like talking to kindergarten children. They couldn’t understand how any software could deal with text-based material unless it was sorting it statistically: “Oh, you mean it counts the number of times they use certain words?” When I asked what was the point of asking for these comments if they never used the data, the answer was “So they can let off steam. We never take any notice of what they actually say.” ::sigh::

  • Laura says:

    I agree with Kim about the unedifying spectacle aspect of it. The kinds of comments that are being made in that thread and going unchallenged by the OP are making me reluctantly and disbelievingly revisit my former opinion that Troppo was a woman-friendly blog. I don’t know what to think of it now.

  • Laura says:

    On the poem, I feel strongly that to dwell contemptuously on it in the way he does is about as bright as mocking Gillard for the sound of her voice without listening to what she’s actually saying. Invoking one’s sense of what’s proper in the aesthetic sense is trivial and trivialising – insultingly so, in this case.

  • shula says:

    sigh…

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  • Melaleuca says:

    While I feel sympathy for many of the sentiments expressed above, it is interesting to note than no-one has provided evidence to back up the opening statement in the executive summary:

    “Women who are raped or who suffer domestic violence are somehow thought of in the popular imagination as a stereotype. According to this, the women are asking for it, dressed inappropriately, provoking it – responsible for it.”

    This includes Kim and Tigtog who tell us an avalanche of evidence exists to support the claim

    In fact the weight of evidence refutes the claim and accordingly what we have is a rape myth of a different kind.

    It may even be reasonably argued that this particular myth is an elitist swipe at ordinary folk by their self appointed betters.

    But once again let me reiterate that I feel deeply for the victims of rape, which is a hideous crime, and state that such victims should get all the support they require from the community and government.

  • Fine says:

    I was realy shocked at this. I couldn’t beleive that someone supposedly as well educated could be such a complete arse as Nick Gruen is. What really, really shocked me was the glibness of the original post. That was very much compounded by Nick’s total lack of understanding, or curiousity about why women don’t leave violent situations. I would have thought he could do some research before he opened his mouth. The reasons are hardly kept secret. Ther’s tons of research.

    One of the most interesting papers I’ve read about it is by Eleanora Gullone who was at Monash Uni. Her research forund that something like 35% of women who delayed leaving violent relationships did so becaseu they couldn’t bear leaving the family pet with the violent partner and refuges won’t allow animals, This reearch has led, I beleive to Lort Smith Animal Hospital researching whether they could build a specific animal shelter for those pets. W

  • anon for this says:

    I know at least one woman whose partner had their perfectly healthy dog euthanased when she walked out on him for a few days while pregnant. Add kids to that equation, and a very effective guilt tripping that it’s only when she selfishly wants any life of her own instead of “supporting him” that he goes mental, and leaving such an abuser becomes very complicated.

  • Helen says:

    And now …drumroll… the Immense Gothic Cathedral of WTF award for this comment.

    “Twill be a long time until this one’s beaten. What a dill.

  • Kim says:

    Melaleuca, I have no intention of commenting further on that thread, because it has descended into a complete sewer where “let’s bash teh wimminz” has become the prevailing tone. By the looks of what you’ve been saying you would just dismiss any citation as “womyn’s studies” and I’m not responsible for educating you in either the facts on rape or in qualitative research methods. If you have a genuine interest, as opposed to a desire to score points and throw your weight around with regard to disputes you have wrt moderation on LP, then go do it yourself.

    Laura, in light of the total theme switch on that thread, and the comments like the bizarre one Helen’s just linked to, I think I share your assessment of Troppo. Looks like the “civility” schtick is a completely farcical joke.

    And Nick Gruen really should be ashamed of himself. If not for starting it, at least for not putting an end to it.

  • Zoe says:

    It was worth reading the whole thing for this exchange (at 17):

    # Melaleuca said:

    “Mate, give up. You had a bad morning and posted rubbish in a dickheadish fashion. It happens. Stop digging.”

    Did I sit next to you in tutorials?

    # Amanda said:

    Yeah, I was the fat hairy one in the boiler suit.

    I ♥ Amanda.

  • Kim says:

    Yeah Amanda’s a legend!

  • lauredhel says:

    Another aspect of “add kids to the equation”: Not only is it very difficult for a victim to escape with children, just in terms of the practical necessities (particularly when emotional and financial abuse have been part of the package); but after the break there are fair odds that the abuser will then be awarded partial custody, and will therefore be in charge of the kids with no-one else around. I can barely begin to imagine how terrifying this might feel.

    Sometimes “Why didn’t you remove them to protect them?!” is more complex than it appears.

    I think the discussion has also ignored the fact that women who are particularly dependent on their partners are more likely to be abused – for example, women with disabilities who are reliant on the partner for basic care.

    Until the anti-“womyn’s studies” crowd are getting as up in arms about the complete lack of real support for victims in these situations as they are about their right to wolf-whistle, it’s very hard to take them seriously.

  • Helen says:

    One of the examples I gave on the thread was Julie Ramage, who I’ve been meaning to post about for some time (and when I do, oh, the trolling I will get- that’s why I’ve been putting it off for yonks. 😉 ) She felt she couldn’t leave because of a) the threaten the pet thing Anon mentioned, and b) she had a kid starting year 12 and she felt she would ruin his chances in life… (Yes too much emphasis on the feckin’ VCE /HSC in this country, but that’s another story…)

    I’m off to bed – let the Thread of Doom fester!

  • Melaleuca says:

    “Melaleuca, I have no intention of commenting further on that thread, because it has descended into a complete sewer where “let’s bash teh wimminz” has become the prevailing tone.”

    Or in other words you can’t play censor and get away with cheap shots so you’ve picked up your bat and ball and gone home. You happily resort to sexist digs at men when it suits you, for example your paradigm about men being largely responsible for global warming due to their “oppositional” attitude to nature.

    Amanda came in like a raging bull, hurling abuse at Nick and men in general without bothering to read what he actually said. I think my rather mild sarcastic dig was indicated in the circumstances.

    Please note I criticised a couple of the guys who made bigoted comments on that thread. I wish Nick warned the offenders or deleted the comments.

    I also make supportive posts on women’s issues like paid maternity leave. http://allocasuarina.blogspot.com/2006/10/paid-maternity-leave-is-health-issue.html

    As to “women’s studies”, it isn’t value-free, disinterested scholarship anymore than the scholarship that comes out of right-wing think tanks. As such any genuine scholar must treat it with the utmost caution and skepticism.

    I’m not anti-feminist, I’m anti-junk science and misinformation.

  • Kim says:

    Shorter mel: Wimminz rude, should stay in proper place. Uppity lesbians not wanted.

  • Kim says:

    I also make supportive posts on women’s issues like paid maternity leave.

    Don’t worry, dude. We’re organising your medal ceremony as I type.

  • Melaleuca says:

    “Shorter mel: Wimminz rude, should stay in proper place. Uppity lesbians not wanted.”

    Why do you think this is a mature reply to my comment?

    I don’t even mention lesbians so your accusation that I don’t like them or welcome them is absurd and offensive. I’m gay myself, as you are well aware. You’re capable of so much better than this.

  • Kim says:

    Hmmm, I think you were the one who introduced the very strange red herring of same sex female relationships and domestic violence at Troppo? Because – at all costs – threads about men and sexual violence must immediately be turned around to focusing on women?

  • Melaleuca says:

    I also point out that sexual assault is equally common in male same-sex relationships. The paper in question is clearly heterosexist and that is one of its many faults.

    But the point about lesbian rape is crucially important because of the myths certain feminists have built up about patriarchy and rape, as demonstrated by one of my links at CT to a feminist academic who basically says “oh but women lesbians don’t perpetrate sexual assault, or if they do its not the same as when men do it.” We hear this nonsense all too often. Feminist myths need to be smashed every bit as much as other myths.

  • Melaleuca says:

    Grrrr- “women lesbians” should read lesbians.

  • Amanda says:

    “Amanda came in like a raging bull, hurling abuse at Nick and men in general without bothering to read what he actually said.”

    Of course I read it. It’s, like, 200 words long. And then I read it many more times. Not reading something and not agreeing with it are not the same thing, O Great Parser of Scholarship Whose Head Explodes at Any Semantic Imprecision.

    And since I actually read the report in question too, in the Bothing to Read Things stakes I am in the lead over people like, oh say, Nick who didn’t. Yay me.

    Five days later, raging bull subsided, and after a period of profound introspection and reflection I find I have the same interpretation, of the original post and the dissembling in comments. The meaning is clear to me, the defences deeply unpersuasive and it still irks me.

    And let’s not mythologise the original post. Everyone who has a blog understands what happened here, but in most cases our ill advised and unconsidered drive by snarks — where everything we run across is ranked in value of the one liners it could produce for a post — are merely ignored when they fall flat after “publish” is pressed. They sink off the page without comment. We all have them and we wonder whether anyone will notice if we just delete them after a few hours — damn feed readers!

    This was not a deep reflection bravely challenging the taboos of our age and could at least be defended on that basis, it was a dumb glib blog post of no value, which is being canonised because of who it can be used to piss off.

  • Helen says:

    Amanda, “raging bull hurling abuse” was completely OTT. I thought you were quite reasonable in your reaction to that whiny post.

    Steve, if one of us had made a similar comment you’d be questioning our mental state. Also, the obsession with gay and lesbian relationships proves… what? that the same dynamics persist because of learned behaviour? That reports should always specify “heterosexual relationships” in studies?

    And, no, there is not as much evidence of women raping men, at all, either the stranger, acquaintance or domestic variety. That’s MRA wingnuttery.

  • Paul Norton says:

    Margaret Atwood might summarise the thread of doom this way: men fear reading poetry and polemical introductions to research reports by women; women fear being killed by men.

    She might also add: men fear having their blog comments moderated by women; women fear being killed by men.

  • Lee says:

    Harden th F**K up girls

  • Melaleuca says:

    “That reports should always specify “heterosexual relationships” in studies?”

    Yes. Otherwise it’s heterosexist. Imagine the carry-on that would ensue if a right-wing thinktank wrote a report about Australians that arbitrarily and without acknowledgment excluded Aboriginals. We’d inevitably have Mark B and Kim over at LP thumping the pulpit and lecturing us on the evils of racism.

  • armagny says:

    Quants are always rights.

    Just ask all the economists who predicted the current economic downturn.

  • Helen says:

    Lee, we’re already so f**kin’ hard, that’s why the Club Troppo blokes are all in a tizz. We are teh oppressors!

    Also, Mel, do you know what “concern troll” means?

  • Melaleuca says:

    What I do understand is that the abuse I’m copping on your blog equals or surpasses the abuse directed at women on Nick’s post at Club Troppo 🙂

  • Helen says:

    I don’t think so – especially as you would know, the creepiest comment has been deleted from the Troppo thread.

  • Helen says:

    Oh, now I feel terrible for hurting your feelings. I mean, we get told to harden the f**k up and shit, but I know some of you blokes are very, very sensitive. Here, have some politically correct boring tea.

  • Kim says:

    Where’s Zoe? Hugs!

  • Kim says:

    Ps – cause threads about the rape of women are all about men’s feelings, actually.

  • Oh. My. God.

    I just finished reading T.O.D. and am now boiling mad, heaving with sadness and bewildered.

    What I realised, more than anything, was the real need of some people (I don’t care if they are male, female or other) to ignore a fundamental principle.

    By continuing to snark about womyn’s studies/lefties/feminists and their desire to assert that these attitudes exist, and are very prevalent, these commenters are only continuing this cycle of belittling “anecdotes” instead of seeing them as real experience.

    We are women. We talk to other women. Some of us have been raped. Some of the women we speak to have been raped. As women, we are exposed to REAL experiences, REAL stories, REAL sharing. Perhaps they have, as well.

    Why can’t they accept that we feel many parts of our society tell us rape is deserved due to our own provocation etc? Can’t they accept these are our experiences? It happens in court, it happens in the papers we read, it happens in discussion with other people.

    Please note that I am not an academic. I’m not attempting to discuss this in terms of the merits of quantative research.

    My point is that continuing to sideline our opinions by saying we are inherently fringe elements is supporting the idea that it is a feminist myth, or other such crap.

    Many women who have never identified as feminists, or attended a womyn’s studies class (let alone a university) or perhaps even gone to court, are made to live in a society where they are judged as having deserved/provoked/encouraged their own rape.

    That is their reality.

    This discussion is continuing to behave like this experience is an exception, rather than a common experience, that it is only an opinion of irrelevent feminists, rather than women unfortunate enough to experience it first hand.

    I might not have a thesis, but I do have my experience. As do many, many, many other women. The statistics might not be my strength, but opening my ears and accepting other people’s reality is within my grasp. I’d like to think that they could show the same respect.

    The fact that discussion about what ‘sensible’ women should/would do to avoid rape has become central to the argument speaks volumes. The basic fact ought to be all that matters. Women should not have to fear rape. Choosing to discuss what they should/would do to avoid it is continuing NOT to discuss the rapist, but rather victim’s responsibility. These people are victims. They are not responsible for their attack.

  • I didn’t realised it had blossomed into a ToD. I didn’t really give it a second look, actually. And now I’m not sure I want to.

  • Nabakov says:

    Loosen the f**k out boys.

    Jeez, some blokes get awfully uptight at the mere suggestion they may belong to the same gender as those that would never behave like them.

    Speaking as a bloke m’self, owning and operating a dick is fantastic fun. But it’s also too a powerful earthmoving piece of equipment that requires thoughtful management.

    (The saggy and ill-fitting synodoche I employed above is in no way is meant to imply that my genitalia has the cubic handling capacity or fuel consumption of a Caterpillar 953C WH. (To be honest, I’m more like a 572R Series 2)).

    And when a bulldozer runs out of control, the first thing they do is drug test the driver and check the hydraulics not question whatever it was running into. I see no reason why the same principle shouldn’t be applied to nasty collisions between men and women.

    Us blokes got the power. We run the fucking world. Yeah Baby! Therefore when anything in it fucks up, any investigation should begin with us as a starting point for what went wrong. The penalty of power. We may very well turn out to be the innocent party on occasion, but not very very very very very often.

    No, I’m not a SNAG, as anyone who’s met me can testify. And by some standards, some belligerent males’ warlord heroes were SNAGs anyway. Like Winnie, the utterly uxorious watercolourist.

    However I like to think I’m a gentleman. But people who think they’re gentlemen should never ever assume they’re automatically in the right just because they think they’re gentlemen and can point to others that are not. Handsome is as handsome does.

    I realise such a concept is difficult for the likes of Melaleuca to grasp. In his case, I strongly suggest googling ’emotional intelligence’ as a starting point.

    Woo-hoo! As a perfect example of synchronisty in action, my iTunes random play just threw up Madison Avenue’s “Don’t Call Me Baby”.

    Incidentally, if anyone knows any smart funny female plumbers who like pina coladas and getting called out in the rain…

  • Nabakov says:

    Do you need a mailing address for my medal?

  • Nabakov says:

    And also, where do I go to claim my royalties for first having coining the phrase “Thread Of Doom”? circa Catallaxy 2005.

  • Melaleuca says:

    “Ps – cause threads about the rape of women are all about men’s feelings, actually.”

    Why do you always resort to sarcasm when you lack an argument? It’s rather poor form and very immature.

    But because your boycotting (is that sexist?) CT here’s some more contemporaneous research that should hopefully help restore your faith in the “popular imagination”:

    996 Australians were asked in a telephone interview in 2006 if they agreed that “women who are raped often ask for it”.

    Only 6% agreed (see page 68).

    http://www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/assets/contentFiles/CAS_Paper1_full_technical_report.pdf.pdf

    As the research was done by the Australian Institute of Criminology and the Social Research Centre I guess it should carry some weight.

  • Melaleuca says:

    Err, you’re not your. Sorry. G’night.

  • Nabakov says:

    “Why do you always resort to sarcasm when you lack an argument? It’s rather poor form and very immature.

    But because your boycotting (is that sexist?)”

    He has absolutely no idea how he comes across does he?

    Melaleuca mate, you are really asking for it now. (Those of a sensitive disposition may wish to avert their eyes now.)

    People completely across the political landscape of the Australian blogosphere regard you as a titanic prat. Why? Let me be the first to synthesise this wide spectrum of opinions into one little ray of light bouncing off your pupil which I suspect is probably the size of an ant’s left testicle. On a winter morning.

    You are a lukewarm contrarian without conviction, an solipsistic slut making love to the mirrors of your own mind and someone who spends far too much time going after female posters and commentators on the basis of their sex and not their arguments-either because you’re fucked up your own life, financially emotionally and sexually in some way or because you’re fucked up your own life, financially emotionally and sexually in some way.

    How do I know this about you? It’s simple. You’ve never ever manifested any awareness of humour or even a sense of laughter online in any way. In short you’re a sociopath without even the saving grace of actually wearing a tabbycat hat on your head. A dim, humorless, angry and deservedly marginalised nutter.

    But hey, feel free to prove me wrong. Point to at least one thing you’ve contibuted online where there’s tangible evidnece that it was actually appreciated by humans who don’t grind their teeth as they talk.

    *lift muzak…lift muzak…lift muzak…*

  • Nabakov says:

    Trust the rest of you enjoyed that little burst of male head butting energy.

    Over the next 12 hours, you’ll probably be treated to the entertaining spectacle of Melaleuca disentangling his antlers from his arse and then furiously charging a hatstand.

    On a more uplifting note, I really recommend this highly eccentric yet slyly thoughtful online photo hunting and gathering exercise.
    http://riotclitshave.livejournal.com/
    Work back through it a bit and you’ll realise she’s one of the greatest photo editors on the planet

  • Laura says:

    Sorry to have to ask you this Nabakov but did you read the last lines of this comment?

  • armagny says:

    *spots face-off between bored would-be silverbacks*

    *thinks of the meta-connections, heads off for coffee*

  • Melaleuca says:

    Thanks for that Nabster. It certainly is interesting to observe the behaviour of certain blog feminists and their male camp followers when cherished myths are unpacked.

    From the beginning of this debate all I’ve done is question this elitist swipe at the great unwashed: “Women who are raped or who suffer domestic violence are somehow thought of in the popular imagination as a stereotype. According to this, the women are asking for it, dressed inappropriately, provoking it – responsible for it.”

    In spite of howls and screeches that the evidence is abundant no-one has backed up the claim with hard evidence. The more I ask for evidence to back up the myth, and provide evidence that smashes it, the more personal attacks I attract. Go figure.

    I hope you all have a pleasant day. I’m up for a spot of tree planting!

  • Fyodor says:

    And also, where do I go to claim my royalties for first having coining the phrase “Thread Of Doom”? circa Catallaxy 2005.

    Back off, Nabs, them royalties is mine. I coined the term, though originally it was the “Turkey Roast Thread of Doom”.

    Gotta say I’m pretty disappointed to see the – now completely debased – term apply to a thread that’s barely over 200 comments. I blame Teh Patriarchy.

  • Kim says:

    You get personal attacks, melaleuca? The atmosphere of that thread has become one, if it wasn’t always one, where a lot of women feel very reluctant to comment further. It’s not only because there’s no engagement, and a sneering tone of dismissal from boys who just want to talk about themselves and their hurt feelings and how anyone child support is a conspiracy against men and lesbians sometimes do domestic violence too. Though it is that. It’s also the fact that the majority of the commenters resolutely avoid discussing the actual ostensible topic – women’s experience of sexual violence and the attitudes that both belittle that experience and contribute to its reproduction. But it’s also the fact that a lot – I’d go out on a limb and say probably all – of us commenting there have had our own brushes with unwanted sexual advances, harrassment, scary partners or boyfriends, wacky cab drivers or blokes in bars who don’t understand how a woman could possibly want to have a drink without being instantly assumed to be available to be picked up, and so on. A post which instantly singles out a serious report about attitudes which facilitate horrible life deforming violence to make some glib and flip and uninformed point – and worse, to have a “competition” – is sickening. It goes beyond incredible insensitivity – but there is that at work. If Nicholas Gruen can’t see how very many people will have lost a lot of regard for him, that’s his problem, not ours. But I’d hope that others might do somewhat better in at least trying to understand how the tone and substance of a lot of comments on that thread makes women feel.

  • Helen says:

    There were quite a few sensible commenters early on. Since it’s become a hatefest between Mel, JC and Yobbo, they’ve very sensibly, like Armagny, decided to call it a day.
    Congrats Mel, for being able to dominate the conversation through sheer reiteration of your point. Whatever it is.

    Back off, Nabs, them royalties is mine. I coined the term, though originally it was the “Turkey Roast Thread of Doom”.

    Gotta say I’m pretty disappointed to see the – now completely debased – term apply to a thread that’s barely over 200 comments. I blame Teh Patriarchy.

    THat’s because it is qualitatively doomy, not quantifiably so. Because I say so. My blog, my rules, and all that. (Now some nitwit is sure to come in and seize on that last sentence and extrapolate it into proof of my overweening lust for domination.)
    Also, what Kim said.

  • Fyodor says:

    Yah, but doomyness is relative, isn’t it? Personally, I give the Troppo rape thread only a 4/10 for doomynance, and most of that score is for cute & cuddly Nick Gruen’s difficulty factor in making himself look like a callous prick. I suspect that’s a large part of the disappointment here: “but…but…Nichoas! I thought you were one of the nice men!”

    LP used to have some cracking rape threads, but it’s hard to keep those going at the requisite fever pitch of doomosity when one bans the loons.

    [Yes, sorry, more OT meta – many apologies] Oh, and what Zoe said regarding Amanda’s line: hands. down. best. comment.

  • Laura says:

    It’s not a fucking game

  • Fyodor says:

    Isn’t it? I think that depends on perspective. Smellyloser, f’rinstance, has played you pretty comprehensively, whether you were aware of his game or not.

    Actually, “it” is no more or less than a mere comment thread on a blog, and – apologies for my presumption here – IMO you’ve allowed it to upset you far more than it deserves.

  • su says:

    “Cracking rape threads”

    Wow. That’s just disturbing. This isn’t some abstract issue that’s useful for a bit of point scoring -it is our experience or that of people we know. Getting ‘upset’ is not only understandable it is necessary if we want things to change.

  • derrida derider says:

    Still ‘n’all, through all the mutual dickheadedness (including his), mel has a point. The abstract clearly says that the popular stereotype “in the community” is that women who are raped are “asking for it”. mel asks for evidence that this statement is true – and no-one can provide it. No doubt it is true of partner rapists, but they are not the community. Abstracts should not begin with demonstrable untruths.

    And bad poetry is offensive in iself, whatever its context. Neither god nor man can stand it.

    But gee, people, what a lot of hot air over a minor study.

  • Laura says:

    Our friendship is over Fyodor.

  • Fyodor says:

    Can I keep the horse?

  • Helen says:

    OK enough Fyodor. Talking about “cracking rape threads”, while it might seem funny on the blokey cheezel-dusted group blogs, is actually a bit sociopathic to those who retain some of the sensibilites of the real world. Laura represents the reality-based community here: Rape isn’t something to joke about.

  • Helen says:

    Still ‘n’all, through all the mutual dickheadedness (including his), mel has a point. The abstract clearly says that the popular stereotype “in the community” is that women who are raped are “asking for it”. mel asks for evidence that this statement is true – and no-one can provide it. No doubt it is true of partner rapists, but they are not the community. Abstracts should not begin with demonstrable untruths.

    There’s plenty out there but you choose to ignore it. I also find claims of “you didn’t come back to me on line with 100s of references therefore you are so pwned hurh, hurh” completely worthless since Tigtog and I have lives (aka work + family) and run our own blogs, as opposed to snarking on other peoples’, so of course our time to spoon feed our hostile commenters (who we know will either ignore what we find or twist it in some unlikely manner) is limited.

    The Amnesty International study which Steve quoted gives the number of respondents assigning some measure of blame to the victim in rape as 1 in 3. That’s about the same odds as contracting cancer. I don’t see anyone posting about how cancer is all in wimminz imaginations and it’s all overblown anyway.

    Read the UK compensation story in the daily mail. The writer is conflicted but after a bunch of mixed messages, ends up weakly saying that well, what can we expect when we get drunk. Yes, most of the comments are anti. That is a good thing. But the premise of the article is that drunken women are at least partly to blame for their own rape. This BBC article, which is of course less sensationalist, kind of makes the same point made in the study we are discussing. You say “of course no one thinks a woman should be blamed for rape any more!” but the article, based on the study, says no such thing and continues the theme of definition:

    owever, the number of respondents who state their case with the opening line “no woman should ever be blamed for rape – BUT” is astounding.
    The concept that a woman who drinks, wears revealing clothes or flirts can in some way contribute to her rape seems to have found an unsettling level of support.
    With it comes the issue of how we define rape and rapists.
    The traditional image of a sex offender is the masked man hiding behind bushes, waiting to pounce on unsuspecting females.
    However, we must face the fact that there will be some men who have committed rape who would consider themselves a world away from the “beast” prowling city streets at night for his prey.
    There is no loophole, no mitigating circumstance and ultimately no excuse
    We have all read accounts of rape victims who have chosen not to fight back out of fear, who have been unconscious or have been unable to resist as a consequence of drink or drugs.
    It follows that there will be men who have committed these crimes who firmly believe that what they did was not rape because they did not use brutal violence – they were simply taking advantage of the situation.
    The truth is that there is no protection against the attitude that non-violent yet non-consensual sex doesn’t add up to rape.

    When I brought up the example of the KBR rape, rocket-scientist JC had this to say:

    If Haliburten hadn’t hired the woman to be sent to Iraq as an engineering contractor they would be guilty of sexual discrimination under federal US laws. Her case against Haliburten is nothing other than financial rape.

    In other words, JC think it’s unreasonable for a woman to go to work in Iraq and has only been able to do so because of unnatural legislation; as a result, she is raped. Get it? If she had stayed in her proper sphere, according to that sentence, she wouldn’t have been endangering herself. So, what can the company possibly do!

    In other words, while claiming no-one blames the victim for rape any more and that cannot possibly happen, he’s doing it on that very thread. Ass.

    Here’s another study from the US Department of Ed.

    Here’s another study.

    But gee, people, what a lot of hot air over a minor study.

    Yes, NG’s hissy-fit was entirely unseemly. However the regulars on the blog have done a sterling job of bolstering the OP and each other and smearing the dissenters. Well done.

  • Fyodor says:

    OK enough Fyodor. Talking about “cracking rape threads”, while it might seem funny on the blokey cheezel-dusted group blogs, is actually a bit sociopathic to those who retain some of the sensibilites of the real world. Laura represents the reality-based community here: Rape isn’t something to joke about.

    A little perspective would be helpful here. This thread is not about rape; it is a meta-thread discussing the conduct of another thread, on another blog, in which a report on rape was discussed/debated/snarked/whatever. You started the meta-discussion with, I might add, more than a dash of jocularity, and I think it’s a little rich for you to proclaim that I am divorced from Teh Reality for following your lead.

    Anyhoo, that’s all from me. The cheezels await.

  • Helen says:

    “A little perspective” = “wimminz being irrational again”.

    I disagree strongly with your extremely distorted picture of what was going on with that comment, and I don’t think it’s Laura or I who lacks perspective. Your phrase “cracking rape threads” was tone deaf, inasmuch as it was presenting a thread on rape as something funny and enjoyable and an opportunity to pwn and be pwned. While I enjoy online argybargy as much as anyone (as you know), that’s kind of offensive given the topic. As Laura said, that’s beyond the funny-game category, and some readers might well be actual rape survivors who are triggered and upset by treating it as a joke. it might be better to enjoy the cut and thrust of sophistry on other topics. THat’s part of the “civility” thing.

  • Caroline says:

    I like Nicholas Gruen and I’ve never considered him to be particularly representative of the general background feel of Troppo. A blog I find to be something of a bastion of teh patriarchy and as such, increasingly *somehow* anachronistic. It is extremely popular with many many . . . . men.

    ” The closest thing to 19th Century Gentlemen’s Club,” someone said. Oh, how I agree.

    I think the point behind Nicholas’ post was, as the title suggests and was intended to be more concerned with bad research than with the subject of the paper. The biggest mistake he made was in choosing the wrong piece of research to illustrate his point. A choice which made him appear flippant on the subject (which I don’t really think he is). All he really achieved was to misrepresent himself–badly on a subject that he clearly hasn’t given much thought to and one in which he was clearly out of his depth on.

    Having said that, (as they say) I didn’t read the paper and I didn’t read all the comments. But knowing something of Nicholas, I didn’t find the post in and of itself particularly offensive, until I started reading the comments, and then of course everyone was being offensive, offended and offending. Including me. Yippee.

  • Pavlov's Cat says:

    Caroline, I’ve been the target of some glancingly anti-feminist (not anti-woman) snark from Nicholas in the past, in a discussion about a movie to which I had contributed some brief and obvious Feminism 101-standard interpretation or other. Someone else, let’s call him/her X, called me on it, along the lines of “Vat’s stu-pid, vat is” — the usual response of the hostile to any kind of cultural interpretation, especially if it’s feminist in its angle — and then Nicholas turned up saying ‘Thank you, X. A bit of sanity.’

    That is, he was calling me mad — on the basis of this brief, mainline and, to many, obvious and basic feminist interpretation — but he did not choose to address me, or the point, directly.

    I remember this so clearly because I thought it was incredibly strange. Judging by this and many other instances en blog over several years, I think Nicholas simply has it in for whatever he thinks feminist theory is (presumably like most anti-feminists he thinks there’ s only one), and that the framing of that rape study just pushed some already very hot buttons.

  • armagny says:

    Holy crap I just read the troppo thread, it’s something else.

    One little observation I don’t have the time to get into in that extensive bunfight, but the quote up the top talks of a discrepancy between the law and the understanding of it held by males. There is an aspect of the way that’s worded that sounds like a generalisation over all men… but, interestingly, a couple of the most offended and indignant reactionary commenters in the thread then go on to express views that show they clearly don’t share the view of the law.

    That is, in respect of them, the quote was clearly correct. I’m thinking of the ‘no isn’t necessarily no’ bit. I’m surprised this didn’t cause a couple of their colleagues to back off a bit.

    Helen, you raised the law over there, yes the provocation changes have been passed successfully. Other relevant reforms (by our A-G who for his faults should be recognised as one of the best reforming A-Gs in the country, and a pretty progressive male as well) out of the sexual assault task force work include:

    – Further clarifying of the need to obtain consent, ie further distancing the law from the ‘no isn’t necessarily no’ school;
    – Better provisions for victims to be able to give evidence remotely, including making this mandatory with most child victims;
    – Preventing self-defending accused from directly questioning victims… and so on.

    And I agree with your take on many lawyers finding the classic way of doing things pretty awful.

    Ran into Nabs this morning, working in the same building as blogolalia’s funniest flamer is an honour.

  • Helen says:

    Steve Munn’s still gamely holding out that really, we have refused to provide any evidence that rape myths still exist.

    Hey, when they really do die out, I’ll be the first to raise a glass.

  • Helen says:

    Now he’s moved on to “manipulative women making false rape allegations”.
    Club Troppo is turning into a MRA site.
    Oh, and describing comments from excellent thinkers/writers like Laura and Pav, Kim, Tigtog et al as “squeals, hisses, oinks, screeches and yips”. Awesome. Way to claim the high civility ground.

  • Pavlov's Cat says:

    “… a couple of the most offended and indignant reactionary commenters in the thread then go on to express views that show they clearly don’t share the view of the law.

    That is, in respect of them, the quote was clearly correct.”

    Word, armagny. But they would go to their deaths denying it, quite genuinely unable to see the connection. That’s why I’m trying to stay out of this one; there’s no point.

  • Zoe says:

    Where’s Zoe? Hugs!

    Kim, I’ve been having an ear operation. I rate the experience as very slightly less pleasant than reading Troppo.

  • lauredhel says:

    That’s why I’m trying to stay out of this one; there’s no point.

    Couldn’t agree with you more. Not that I think there’s no point in anyone else engaging; just that I’ve sure lost the drive.

    There’s a larger issue that always butts its way into the back of my mind when personally engaging with gleeful, frothing rape apologists and deniers online, and that’s that – for all they might vigorously deny it in text – I have no.fucking.way of telling which of them are potentially physically, real-world dangerous.

    The joys of feminist blogging – or, what Paul Norton said, above. “men fear having their blog comments moderated by women; women fear being killed by men.”

    If they want to cast me feeling that way as a big win for MRA-kind, and whoop and holler about pwning me? That says more about them than it does about me.

  • Kim says:

    Sorry to read that, Zoe!

    *hugs!*

  • Kim says:

    Going back up to the discussion about Nicholas Gruen, this weird comment from Jack Robertson is to the point:

    http://clubtroppo.com.au/2008/08/21/name-a-worse-peice-of-research-troppo-competition/#comment-309900

    Apparently Gruen thinks that blog threads can’t broach topics without descending into “orthodoxy”, “default positions”, etc.

    He doesn’t appear to have noticed that hatin’ on teh wimminz is a default position.

  • Fine says:

    Yep, by the time they’ve finished, rape won’t exist at all. It’ll just be the evil women making false accusations. Not a fun place to hang out. And with moderators who don’t seem to be taking any repsonsibility for what’s being posted.

  • Melaleuca says:

    “He doesn’t appear to have noticed that hatin’ on teh wimminz is a default position. ”

    Such a sophisticated and disinterested reading of that thread, Kim.

    For someone who likes to come the raw prawn about red herrings, you sure do dish them up.

    But I’m intrigued why no-one has bothered to address Helen’s obviously erroneous criticism of Gruen. She says:

    “But Nick was much more troubled by the fact that it’s a qualitative, not quantiative, report – not many lovely statistics”

    Um, no. Here’s what he said re the qualitative nature of the study:

    “No problem with a report about the nature of women’s experiences. With qualitative research. (In that context) I have no problem with the poem. I have a problem with the way in which a qualitative exploration of women’s experiences is an excuse for rattling off a pretty much random bunch of slogans – so much so that the slogans don’t even match the occasion.”

    [link to the Club Troppo post which has already been linked to – Snipped]

    [Ad hominem-snipped]

  • Helen says:

    Steve, I think I and others have made it pretty clear what we find wrong with Nick’s account of the report, and I’m not going to spend my Sunday night re-hashing it. If you have nothing better to do, you may do so on your own blog.

  • Melaleuca says:

    Oh, and I should add for balance, lest I be accused of being a hata of teh wimminz, the point that carpet-biters such as m’self are also not immune from relationship violence.

  • Kim says:

    Melaleuca, after that thread, I have zero interest in what you think about anything. So don’t bother addressing further comments to me.

  • […] Blogger on the Cast Iron Balconey takes a look at a Club Troppo thread of doom and finds gosh, men can’t seem to discuss an innocent little qualitative study on rape without getting awfully defensive and pompous. 2 B Sophora finds a convenient naivety in the advice given to women experiencing domestic violence “just to leave”. And The Hand Mirror niftily summarises the proposals being considered in New Zealand for improving sexual violence legislation, […]

  • Amanda says:

    Um so, TTOD just went and got a little LESS classy. Yeah, I didn’t see that coming either.

  • Pavlov's Cat says:

    I saw that too. *splorf*

  • via collins says:

    It seemed to have come shuddering to a halt with with Observa happily chattering away to himself posting news ltd links. He’s very safe when doing that all on his own.

    But yonder, is that Greenfield over the ridge? What pith doth he bring forth?

    The train wreck has life in it yet!

  • Zoe says:

    I heart it. Amanda’s comment remains in top spot.

  • Troll says:

    [Deleted ] Mate, you’ll have to do better than that. A Blogspot blog “proving” that women are all liars, even though you admit he’s a fruitcake? Please fuck off. Thanks, CIB admin

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