Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

Unfair argumentation methods III: Intermezzo on rape debates

with 7 comments

After posting a new article, I usually have a look at the WordPress pages for the tags I have used. This I did yesterday too, and stumbled onto an excellent example of some of the issues I discuss in this series of articles:

A discussion of rape, blame, and responsibilitye was started by what appears to be a reasoned good-faith comment landing in the eyes of an active feminist, who responded with a long, mostly irrelevant post (but probably still a good faith post). Critically the post-author (blue milk) did not seem be understand the semantic differentiation the original commenter (Darsh) made—thereby basing her attacks on him on entirely faulty assumptions. The same applies to many of the subsequent commenters. In my one comment (so far), I tried to give some help in understanding it by quoting a very thought-worthy poem:

Here lies the body of William Jay
Who died maintaining his right of way
He was right, dead right, as he sped along,
But he’s just as dead as if he were wrong.

(Attributed to the Boston Evening Transcriptw)

Unfortunately, after the original post, things went out of hand more or less immediately, including comments (my commentary in brackets) like:

  • Darsh: Out of curiosity, could I ask what happened so that you didn’t get raped?

    thewhatifgirl: Why? So that you can use that as a reason to judge other women for “getting raped”? No, it’s none of your goddamn business.

    [Note the accusative tone, the presumption of Darsh being malicious (the complete opposite of my impression), and the rudeness. What is wrong with “No, that is too private.”?]

  • Gappy:

    “Guys regularly need to press on through token resistance from girls”???

    WTF? Token resistance? No clearly doesn’t always mean no in your book Darsh.

    [Token resistance is very common, and pressing through token resistance is very different from raping someone, be it in intents, methods, or willingness of the counter-part—in the same way that haggling over the price during a garage sale is different from breaking into the garage at night and stealing the item.]

    Remind me never to get myself in a situation where I’m alone with you. I imagine that might be very irresponsible of me indeed.

    [Here the implicit (and, from what I have read, entirely unfounded) accusation that Darsh is a likely rapist is raised.]

  • violent rabbit:

    Yes, you are. All men are rapists.

    [A long standing, paranoid, and misandrist lie, which I really should not need to comment upon.]

  • violent rabbit: [In reply to a perfectly reasonable comment made by Darsh]

    LOL “avoid”


    3. “bears…responsibility”


  • violent rabbit: [In reply to a perfectly reasonable comment made by Darsh]

    Like not leading him on? By dressing sexy, making eye contact, walking home from work at night? Right!





  • Moonmaid:

    I think men react in such a way (like @Darsh), because rape (or violence in general) is not something allowing for much shading and rationalization. Rape is an emotional issue, which requires us to take sides. So men are much rather inclined to side with the rapist than the victim, because otherwise they would be required to show some empathy and turn against their own kind. Siding with the victim also requires you to experience and endure a minimum of their pain. It’s much easier to stay away from such feeling by victimizing the victim.

    [Highly speculative, contains specious reasoning, and is unduely accusative of both men (in general) and Darsh (in particular).]

  • violent rabbit: [Directed at my, so far, sole comment on the thread—which I consider extremely reasoned in the light of the tone and behaviour of most other commenters.]





  • bluemilk:

    Darsh, your views are way out of step with the other women and men who visit this blog. Your ignorance on this subject actually offends people, including me, so the onus is on you now to take some time to go away and read and think and educate yourself.

    [His views may be out of step with the others, but that is just because he happened to get involved in discussion with many less-than-reasoned feminists, and is certainly not a reason to silence him—but, as I have pointed out in a number of posts, that is exactly what some groups want to do to dissenters. He has shown no signs of ignorance, and certainly I find the behaviour of the other commenters far more offensive. The concluding claim would carry greater justification if directed e.g. at bluemilk, herself, or violent rabbit]

  • Someone:

    I hate to say it, but maybe @Darsh needs to get raped to see the other side of this. It’s obvious there’s no reasoning with him in any other fashion.

    [The first sentence says all we need to know about “Someone”; the second, demonstrates that she has not understood what Darsh was saying.]

  • Blue milk: [In an added statement to the original post.]

    WARNING: the same person who left the comment to which this post responds has also entered the comment thread below. He continued to attempt to argue that women bore some responsibility for rape. Many others have argued against him and I will be moderating any further comments of his, but I have left his existing comments untouched as I think there is some useful discussion happening in response to them. This thread might be upsetting to you, please let me know if this is the case and if you think I would be better to remove his comments altogether.

    [Note the extreme degree of censorship suggested towards the ad rem argumentation of Darsh—while viscious attacks from other commenters are allowed to stand. Speaking for myself, I find a lot of the thread upsetting, namely the intellectual dishonesty, lack of reason and perspective, inability to understand others points of view, etc., that are displayed by the other posters. Darsh, in contrast, has remained within the lines the entire time (even in the face of gravest provocation) and his one sin is merely this: Having another opinion the majority of the commenters… I note, further, that his opinions are again misrepresented or, in a best case, misunderstood even in this “warning”.]

(If you wish to comment, please make sure that you have read Unfair argumentation methods I: Preliminaries first.)


Written by michaeleriksson

June 6, 2010 at 1:16 pm

7 Responses

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  1. For the record, I don’t usually allow comments through threatening others. But I made an exception in this case. If you treat the topic of rape like your own fun little exercise in morals when people are in that space talking about their personal experiences then you are going to enrage people, much the same way as if you enter a forum where soldiers are discussing post-traumatic shock after war and you thought that too could be a fun little hypothetical for yourself.

    When you show that kind of disrespect and end up with a face full of bile, well, I’m inclined to let you wear it.

    blue milk

    August 1, 2010 at 1:28 am

    • I am going to apply Hanlon’s Razor and assume that you misuse the word “you”—else, if you intend to raise these accusations against me, your comment would be indefensible. (See also a previous discussion on “you”.) Incidentally, I strongly suggest that you learn to consider the ideas behind Hanlon’s Razor yourself.

      Even if, however, you intended “one” or specifically Darsh, your comment here is highly unfair:

      There is no sign that Darsh had “[his] own fun little exercise in morals”—nor that he showed any kind of disrespect. At the outside, he misjudged the situation and the audience through naivete.

      On the contrary, he was the victim of repeated vicious and unfair attacks that belong to the school-yard level for making a matter-of-fact comment that does focus on a point worthy of discussion (irrespective of personal opinion about the eventual outcome)—and, in my reading, he did so in “good faith”.

      Should you feel that particular comments are in the wrong forum, because they could be hurtful to those emotionally vulnerable, there is a simple solution: Write a short comment or email to that effect, a “Thank you for your input, Darsh. Unfortunately, there are many here who still struggle emotionally with the events they have been through, and I fear that your comment could be taken the wrong way. I ask for your understanding for my decision to not publish the comment, and express my hope that you do not take this personally.”—-imagine the difference this would have made! Instead, you deliberately pulled his comment into the lime-light for a greater exposure (potentially increasing any damage done to the victims’ emotions…) and an opportunity to throw eggs and rotten tomatoes on him.

      Should a particular discussion be so sensitive that input from outsiders is not wanted at all, well, then it is up to you to not hold it in public. (A more private exchange is not that hard to arrange.)


      August 1, 2010 at 9:05 am

  2. […] many feminist blogs work on a guilty-until-proved-innocent principle. [Cf. my previous entry or the case of “blue milk” for extreme examples. Beware, however, that the same overall tendency is quite common, even if less […]

  3. […] being more interested in faulty or intellectually dishonest argumentation and censorship. However, [5] provides an example of feminist “debating” where I was involved myself—as might some similar […]

  4. […] and links. Similar topics have occurred implicitly in a few older texts, however. I point e.g. to [1] and to my conflicts with and concerns about German blogger Antje Schrupp, discussed in e.g. [2] and […]

  5. […] e.g. [1] for an older example. (I have avoided them like the plague for a number of years and lack new […]

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