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April 15, 2007 2:30 PM   Subscribe

Ubuntu is organizing a 'National Day of Truthtelling' in Durham, NC, on April 28, 2007. They argue that poor judgment does not justify rape, and are gathering women to tell their stories. Their motto: "It is better to speak."
posted by anotherpanacea (112 comments total)

 
“When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.” --Audre Lorde
posted by anotherpanacea at 2:33 PM on April 15, 2007


Wait...

The... Linux distribution... people?
posted by disillusioned at 2:39 PM on April 15, 2007 [4 favorites]


I had a really hard time parsing what the hell Ubuntu could have to do with all of this.
posted by Alex404 at 2:39 PM on April 15, 2007


disillusioned writes "The... Linux distribution... people?"

No, unrelated group with the same name.
posted by Bugbread at 2:47 PM on April 15, 2007


Ubuntu.
posted by anotherpanacea at 2:47 PM on April 15, 2007


Who does think poor judgment justifies rape?
posted by DU at 2:47 PM on April 15, 2007


To facilitate a broad, community-driven demand for justice for the Survivor of the March 13, 2006 rape.

Erm. By not writing "Crystal Gail Mangum" are they protecting the victim's well-known identity? Or are they trying to save themselves from lawsuits?
posted by Kwantsar at 2:50 PM on April 15, 2007


On the third link, I can't help but think it might have been a poor choice to follow up the caption "For all those who know we can end rape culture" with the picture of two smiling young men.
posted by Doug at 2:56 PM on April 15, 2007


Am I the only one who thought "what does a Linux distro have to do with rape?"

After RTFAing I think it sounds like a great idea.

Our culture puts a shame on victims of rape. Our legal system seems designed to make bringing charges into an exercise as humiliating as possible for a woman, while letting rapists off on the flimsiest of excuses. Even if the courts find that a man is guilty of rape, many in our society still find ways to blame the woman ("she shouldn't have been out at night", "she shouldn't have been in that neighborhood", etc).

Worse, we have a cultural bias against sexworkers. A cop in Orange County was acquitted of orally raping a stripper. The defense attorney in the case didn't deny the charges, but instead focused on the fact that the victim was a stripper: "She’s an overtly sexual person," he told the jury.

So, yeah, I think a march is a great idea. I don't think one march will change anything, but it might start some changes, and we need some changes.
posted by sotonohito at 3:00 PM on April 15, 2007


So, yeah, I think a march is a great idea.

Really? In the same town that just went through the bile and recriminations of Mike Nifong's desperate attempt to convict three rich white dudes in order to score some political points?

I've participated in Take Back the Night. I think things like this are generally a good idea, in that they raise awareness and get people talking.

This? This is buckets of salt being thrown onto an open wound.
posted by bardic at 3:07 PM on April 15, 2007


From the header of the Ubuntu site: End rape now! In Durham, North Carolina, USA, community members are breaking the silence about sexual assault and racist violence as part of a long struggle against racism, classism, sexism and all forms of oppression.

Ugh.
posted by bardic at 3:09 PM on April 15, 2007


Worse, we have a cultural bias against sexworkers. A cop in Orange County was acquitted of orally raping a stripper. The defense attorney in the case didn't deny the charges, but instead focused on the fact that the victim was a stripper: "She’s an overtly sexual person," he told the jury.

That's a complete mischaracterization of the defense, who argued that the two had a consensual relationship, and that she was trying to get a payout by suing the city. I'm not saying that's what happened, but that's what the guy's lawyers said.
posted by delmoi at 3:12 PM on April 15, 2007


bardic writes "In Durham, North Carolina, USA, community members are breaking the silence about sexual assault and racist violence"

Maybe it's because I've been out of the country, and things may have changed in my absence, but: what silence? Issues like racism and rape have never been things I remember Americans being particularly silent about.
posted by Bugbread at 3:15 PM on April 15, 2007 [3 favorites]


1. To facilitate a broad, community-driven demand for justice for the Survivor of the March 13, 2006 rape.

I think they might need a new mission statement.
posted by Justinian at 3:16 PM on April 15, 2007


Obviously, rape is terrible and it's good to raise awareness and all that, but doing this in Durham, for the explicit purpose of demanding "justice" for the accuser in the Duke lacrosse case? That seems like a terrible idea, and not one generally well designed to raise actual awareness about rape.

There are some good reasons rape charges are hard to maintain, and one of them is the problem of false reports. Demanding "justice" for someone who seems in all probability to be making a false allegation only compounds this problem.

The whole website is completely oblivious to what the facts turned out to be in this case, and that the students were exonerated. They're the ones who need justice, not a woman who ruined their lives.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 3:17 PM on April 15, 2007


I didn't write that. It's from Ubuntu's website. But yeah, Durham-Raleigh has been just about the opposite of silent over rape and race issues over the past year. Convenient opportunism? Well, there's been plenty of that. Looks like there's about to be more.
posted by bardic at 3:22 PM on April 15, 2007


Maybe I'll load up a van with some anti-rape tshirts and make me a killin' down in Durham.
posted by Justinian at 3:25 PM on April 15, 2007


1. To facilitate a broad, community-driven demand for justice for the Survivor of the Unix Timestamp 1142294400 rape.
posted by thirteenkiller at 3:29 PM on April 15, 2007 [6 favorites]


A popular definition of ubuntu is, "the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity."

...on the one hand; and on the other, (as far as I can tell), that the local DA pressed forward with some patently fraudulent claims in order to score political points on account of the unpopularity of the people those claims were against, and this group (who have identified with the first concept) believes that because he failed in pressing those fraudulent charges justice has not been served.

I'm having difficulty reconciling these two positions. I think I probably wouldn't like those guys much anyway, but complaining that they weren't successfully framed doesn't seem to relate very well to any universal bond of sharing that I can imagine.
posted by Grangousier at 3:33 PM on April 15, 2007


Kwantsar writes "Erm. By not writing 'Crystal Gail Mangum' are they protecting the victim's well-known identity? Or are they trying to save themselves from lawsuits?"

Maybe it's just that, since Crystal Gail Mangum didn't actually get raped, they figured that somebody somewhere probably got raped that day, so they're demanding justice for whomever that might have been.
posted by Bugbread at 3:35 PM on April 15, 2007


what silence?

What, you didn't get the memo? It was all over the news. I think I even read a couple of books about it for some classes I took in college. I think youtube has some video links if you want to catch up. It's, like, totally not talked about, ever.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:37 PM on April 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


bardic writes "I didn't write that. It's from Ubuntu's website."

Yeah, sorry, I know, I was using MetaFilthy to quote, and I forgot to strip out the "bardic wrote" part. End of a night shift, mind working slowly.
posted by Bugbread at 3:37 PM on April 15, 2007


Civil_Disobedient writes "What, you didn't get the memo? It was all over the news. I think I even read a couple of books about it for some classes I took in college. I think youtube has some video links if you want to catch up."

For some reason (sleep deprivation), I have this image of John Cage's 5'11" being dedicated to the scandal, and being played on the news, written about in books, and YouTube videos of its performance. So it would be everywhere, constantly referred to, and yet...silence.
posted by Bugbread at 3:39 PM on April 15, 2007


delmoi It may have been part of the defense to claim that the two had a consensual relationship, but a) she wasn't suing the city, she was bringing criminal charges against the cop, and b) whatever else the defense argued, it also argued that as a sex worker she had no right to complain.

In addition to saying that the woman was, gasp, an overtly sexual person he also asked: "You dance around a pole, don’t you?" and "Do you place a pole between your legs and go up and down?" Like I said, he may have also argued that she was just out to make a buck, but he also did his best to convince the jury that since she was a stripper she couldn't possibly have been raped.

Bulgaroktonos Bullshit. The students weren't exhonorated, the charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence. The DA may have screwed up, but that doesn't mean that the woman is lying about being raped. You'll notice that she hasn't been charged with falsely bringing charges.

bardic re: salt and wounds. You don't fix things by being nicey nicey. Some wounds need to have salt thrown in them, and I'd argue that the last thing we need is to let people sit back and say "well, that black slut was just lying, now let's go chant 'no means yes' and celebrate".

Its possible that no one was raped by the Duke Lacrosse team. I think its awfully unlikely, but its possible. That doesn't mean that rape isn't a problem, and it doesn't mean that class and race issues don't color our perception of rape.
posted by sotonohito at 3:44 PM on April 15, 2007


sotonohito writes "I'd argue that the last thing we need is to let people sit back and say 'well, that black slut was just lying, now let's go chant "no means yes" and celebrate'."

Er...so have people been chanting "no means yes"?
posted by Bugbread at 3:47 PM on April 15, 2007


delmoi writes "Worse, we have a cultural bias against sexworkers. A cop in Orange County was acquitted of orally raping a stripper. The defense attorney in the case didn't deny the charges, but instead focused on the fact that the victim was a stripper: 'She’s an overtly sexual person,' he told the jury.

"That's a complete mischaracterization of the defense, who argued that the two had a consensual relationship, and that she was trying to get a payout by suing the city. I'm not saying that's what happened, but that's what the guy's lawyers said."


From the Orange County Weekly:
"It wasn’t a surprise that Stokke put the woman and her part-time occupation on trial. In his opening argument, he made it The Good Cop versus The Slutty Stripper. He pointed out that she’d once had a violent fight with a boyfriend in San Diego. He mocked her inability to keep a driver’s license. He accused her of purposefully “weakening” Park so that he became “a man,” not a cop during the traffic stop. He called her a liar angling for easy lawsuit cash. He called her a whore without saying the word.

“You dance around a pole, don’t you?” Stokke asked.

Superior Court Judge William Evans ruled the question irrelevant.

Stokke saw he was scoring points with the jury.

“Do you place a pole between your legs and go up and down?” he asked.

“No,” said Lucy before the judge interrupted.

“You do the dancing to get men to do what you what them to do,” said Stokke. “And the same thing happened out there on that highway [in Laguna Beach]. You wanted [Park] to take some sex!”

Lucy said, “No sir,” the sex wasn’t consensual. Stokke—usually a mellow fellow with a nasally, monotone voice—gripped his fists, stood upright, clenched his jaws and then thundered, “You had a buzz on [that night], didn’t you?”

As if watching a volley in tennis, the heads of the male-dominated jury spun from Stokke back to Lucy, who sat in the witness box. She said no, but it was hopeless. Jurors stared at her without a hint of sympathy.

In his closing argument, Stokke pounced. He called Lucy one of those “girls who have learned the art of the tease, getting what they want . . . they’ve learned to separate men from their money.”
That didn't read like a mischaracterisation to me.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:48 PM on April 15, 2007


sotonohito, they absolutely were exonerated so far as that can be determined. The accuser's story was incredible, it changed frequently and was contradicted by the physical evidence and other witnesses to the surrounding circumstances. She couldn't even keep straight how many or which students she was accusing of raping her. The best estimate is that she gave five different accounts of the incident.

There was no DNA from any of the students. Since the rape kit was conducted only a few hours after the alleged attack, it is incredibly unlikely that they raped her.

We don't label people innocent, officially, legally, but I'm not sure how anyone can look at the evidence and conclude that these students were anything other than innocent. The handling of this case was a disgrace. She's not being charged with filing a false report because of people like this Ubuntu group. People so dedicated to bring the world in line with their narrow, racial vision that they are as blind to the truth as any Klansman.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 4:01 PM on April 15, 2007


bugbread wrote: "Er...so have people been chanting "no means yes"?"

Apparently at the Bay to Breakers race in San Francisco of all places a largish group of men dressed in t-shirts made to look like those of the Duke Lacrosse team were going around chanting "no means yes!".

Look, the three men who had charges dropped may not have raped Mangum, the DA may have gotten the wrong people, upset by the experience she may have identified the wrong people, but to argue that she wasn't raped is just plain stupid. People don't leave ripped off fingernails in the bathroom, along with $400 in cash and their cell phones, when fleeing a place unless *something* happened. Somebody, possible the three men identified, or if not them someone else, got away with rape, and Mangum is now doubly victimized: first by the rich pigs who raped her, and now by everyone calling her a lying slut.

That's wrong, and the sickening triumphalism evidenced by the "no means yes" chanters shows just how much harm is being done by letting the "Mangum is a lying slut" meme go uncountered. If there was insufficient evidence I'll agree that charges should have been dropped for the three men accused of raping her, I'm not at all arguing that we should be engaging in witchhunts. But that doesn't mean she wasn't raped, it just means that *maybe* those three aren't the guilty parties.

I'll argue that we shouldn't be publicizing the accused in rape cases until after judgement is rendered, it'd save a lot of headache.
posted by sotonohito at 4:03 PM on April 15, 2007


sotonhito writesYou don't fix things by being nicey nicey.

No, you fix them by shutting the fuck up for a few months and letting the town in question get its bearings back. They don't need "help" from an organization like this to figure out that, yes North Carolina, racism and sexism still exist.

sotonhito writes I'd argue that the last thing we need is to let people sit back and say "well, that black slut was just lying, now let's go chant 'no means yes' and celebrate".

Ultimate strawman. Please tell me who, exactly, is doing this? Some troglodytes muttering it under their breath? Probably a few. You won't change them anyways.
posted by bardic at 4:04 PM on April 15, 2007


Maybe it's just that, since Crystal Gail Mangum didn't actually get raped

Everyone's an expert on the case, right? There's no way for you to know that.

From the Duke News:
But the sergeant's case notes also recount what the nurse told him in response to his questions: that the woman appeared to be in so much pain that it took 'an extended period of time' to examine her, and that the 'blunt force trauma' seen in the examination 'was consistent with the sexual assault that was alleged by the victim.'

posted by psmealey at 4:05 PM on April 15, 2007


sotonhito writes Look, the three men who had charges dropped may not have raped Mangum

Based on the (complete lack of) evidence, you are just as likely to have raped her as a member of the Duke lacrosse team.

I eagerly await you flying to Durham to turn yourself in for questioning.
posted by bardic at 4:06 PM on April 15, 2007


Peter: The charge was that he forced her to suck his dick. The officer denied this, and claimed it was consensual. In fact, the excerpt you quoted supports this:
“You do the dancing to get men to do what you what them to do,” said Stokke. “And the same thing happened out there on that highway [in Laguna Beach]. You wanted [Park] to take some sex!”
The defense is accusing her of offering a blow job in exchange for not getting a ticket. That's 180 degrees from what the original charge was.

In other words, sotonohito claimed that the officer did not dispute that he raped the woman. But he did. Thus, what sotonohito said is wrong (and therefore mischaracterization)

What the defense actually claimed was that the cop didn't deny that he got a blowjob, but rather denied it was coerced.
posted by delmoi at 4:06 PM on April 15, 2007


God, this is all so Minority Report. All men are rapists until proven otherwise. Especially if they have the poor fortune to be white and affluent.

Listen to yourselves, please. Some of you have completely lost your minds.
posted by bardic at 4:09 PM on April 15, 2007


bardic I'm a man, and I don't argue that all men are rapists until proven guilty. But look at the facts instead of your kneejerk defense of people with "the poor fortune to be white and affluent".

The medical examination didn't discover any foreign DNA, but did state that it found blunt force trauma, that Mangum was in such pain that the exam took much longer than normal, and concluded that her condition was consistent with a rape.

She left torn off fingernails, $400 in cash, one shoe, and her cell phone in the bathroom where the rape is alleged, and fled the house without those items.

People don't experience vaginal blunt force injuries, rip their fingernails off, and leave behind a lot of money just for grins. She may not have been raped by the three men who were charged, but it seems almost certain that she was raped by someone, how else to explain the fingernails and money she left behind while running away? Her story changed and she was inconsistent in identifying the perps; well, it seems reasonable to assume that she might not have been at her most observant best while being gang raped.

"Ultimate strawman. Please tell me who, exactly, is doing this? Some troglodytes muttering it under their breath? Probably a few. You won't change them anyways."

Not a strawman at all, but as I wrote earlier a report from several sources, complete with photographs, of actual events at the Bay to Breaks race in San Francisco. You'll be retracting your "strawman" comment now I assume?

delmoi Sorry, I misstated myself. I didn't mean to say that the cop admitted to raping her, but that he admitted to having sex with her. The *lawyer* implied, strongly, that she couldn't have been raped because she was a stripper, and everyone knows that you can't rape a slut.
posted by sotonohito at 4:22 PM on April 15, 2007


sotonhito writes I don't argue that all men are rapists until proven guilty

Yeah. Thanks for playing.

Not a strawman at all, but as I wrote earlier a report from several sources, complete with photographs, of actual events at the Bay to Breaks race in San Francisco.

Ah, sotonhito's unimpeahcable source -- sotonhito.
posted by bardic at 4:25 PM on April 15, 2007


sotonohito writes "If there was insufficient evidence I'll agree that charges should have been dropped for the three men accused of raping her, I'm not at all arguing that we should be engaging in witchhunts. But that doesn't mean she wasn't raped, it just means that *maybe* those three aren't the guilty parties."

Well, from what I've read in Wikipedia, there was a lack of evidence of two things:
There was a lack of evidence that these guys raped her.
There was a lack of evidence that anyone else raped her either.

(Note: I'm no expert on this, just going off what I've read)
posted by Bugbread at 4:26 PM on April 15, 2007


sotonohito writes "I'd argue that the last thing we need is to let people sit back and say 'well, that black slut was just lying, now let's go chant "no means yes" and celebrate'."

Thanks for the info on the Bay to Breaks race. That sentence makes a bit more sense now.

However, I think you do have a bit of a straw man going here, in that you're arguing that "the last thing we need is X", apparently in opposition to people supporting X, but has anyone in this thread said that we do need people to say "that black slut was just lying, now let's go chant "no means yes" and celebrate"?
posted by Bugbread at 4:29 PM on April 15, 2007


sotonohito: But that doesn't mean she wasn't raped, it just means that *maybe* those three aren't the guilty parties.

Look, the guy that replaced Nifong actually declared them innocent. Not just 'not guilty', innocent. That is not something that is done lightly.

There is ironclad evidence that one of them was somewhere else, doing something else, at the time of the supposed rapes. There's no 'maybe' involved anymore.
posted by Mitrovarr at 4:37 PM on April 15, 2007


The vaginal blunt force injuries are heavily disputed. It's claimed that the nurse who examined her mentioned them, but if I remember correctly they're not mentioned anywhere in the medical records. Also, there was an alternative explanation.

I'm also really confused as to the big deal you're making out of the fingernails. She left behind a fake fingernail in a bathroom; fake fingernails fall off, people throw them away, it's not like her actual nail was ripped off. She was also drunk, so it's not unusual that she might leave stuff behind, once again it's what happens when people are drunk.

This barely rises to the level of circumstantial evidence, it's just evidence that at some point she was in the bathroom, and left some things there. If this were any other crime, or the racial dynamics were different, we would not see people going to such lengths to defend this woman.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 4:38 PM on April 15, 2007


sotonohito, one of two possibilities exists; Either you don't know very much about the Duke case and are speaking authoratatively about it anyway, or your brain has fallen out one of your ears in your efforts to be sensitive.

I don't have the stomach to go into everything, so I'll just address your bit about the physical exam; the accuser had recent semen from multiple men in her underwear; NONE of that semen was from any of the Duke Lacrosse players. So it's quite possible the accuser had bruising... she'd engaged in sex with multiple people in the last day or two. Now, maybe those people raped her, I don't know and neither do you. I do know that it didn't happen at the Lacrosse party, and none of the Duke players did it.

it just means that *maybe* those three aren't the guilty parties

This is just pathetic.
posted by Justinian at 4:41 PM on April 15, 2007


The Duke rape case played out practically in my backyard, and for that reason, I've been following it quite closely. To clear up a few misconceptions, I'd like to point out the following:

-- AG Cooper found the case could not be prosecuted for lack of evidence. He also stated that his investigation finds that the defendents are innocent. He took explicit care to emphasize this.

-- He stated that no rape took place, and that he would not prosecute the accuser. He implied that her apparent belief that a rape did happen was related to her long history of mental illness.

-- The link to the Duke News service was only a reprint of an article originally printed in the New York Times. The basis for this article was the notes that were released by Officer Gottlieb. These notes were heavily criticized as they comprised 33 pages wholly recreated from memory months after the events happened, and also substantially smoothed over inconsistencies in the accuser's story. Many of the descriptions of the accuser in pain are Gottlieb's characterizations. The descriptions of the pain she was in just standing up and sitting down were made days after she had already returned to her dancing job, according to her coworkers.

-- As of yet, the only traumatic medical finding of the rape examination was that the accuser was observed to have "diffuse vaginal edema" which is consistent with both consensual and non-consensual sex.
posted by Maxwell_Smart at 4:50 PM on April 15, 2007


I live one town over from Durham. I am sick to death of the Duke lacrosse rape case. (Apparently even Katie Couric came to town last week to report when the charges against the kids were dropped). This story jumped the shark about six months ago, and I think that I speak for pretty much everyone in the Triangle when I say, "leave us the hell alone, will ya?" Send a reporter in six months to ask how things are going, but for the time being, just drop it. Let the kids and the dancer get on with their lives. I do think the DA should be disbarred, though, FWIW.

I am disgusted that this Ubuntu group (I stopped and went, 'huh? Linux?' too) is degrading itself by riding on the dirty coattails of this used up story. If I were up to the 'truthtelling' session on the 28th, I would go and shake my finger at them and yell "shame on you!"

Oh, and sotonhito, get your facts straight. I don't feel like getting into the details, but you seem to be misrepresenting the case to a certain extent.
posted by msali at 4:51 PM on April 15, 2007


If I'm following sotonohito's argument correctly:

She left behind a fake fingernail, a good amount of money, and her phone. She said she was raped. There is no evidence that she was raped. But, because she left things behind, it is clear that "something happened", and that "something" equals rape.

Am I mischaracterizing your argument?
posted by Bugbread at 4:57 PM on April 15, 2007


But, because she left things behind, it is clear that "something happened", and that "something" equals rape.

So we've all been raped at some point? No wonder my wife looks concerned when I forget something at the store.
posted by maxwelton at 5:34 PM on April 15, 2007


Sigh. This group started because of the Duke case, but right now they're just trying to preserve a space for women who have been sexually assaulted, especially women of color and sex workers, to tell their stories.

Try these on for size:

Prostitutes cannot be the victims of sexual violence.

If a woman takes her clothes voluntarily, she's consenting to whatever happens next.

A woman does not have the right to say 'no' after she's begun a sexual encounter.

Agree? Disagree? If you disagree, how do you imagine a prostitute or stripper is to go about prosecuting her case?

Oh, and here's a funny joke I heard:

ive decided to have some strippers over. all are welcome.. however there will be no nudity. i plan on killing the bitches as soon as the walk in and proceeding to cut their skin off while cumming in my mefi issue spandex

Haha. Hilarious, isn't it?
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:43 PM on April 15, 2007


anotherpanacea: If you disagree, how do you imagine a prostitute or stripper is to go about prosecuting her case?

It may be the case that while a prostitute can be raped, it is nearly impossible to prove. This does not mean we should simply take her at her word that it occurred, though - that case should have the same burden of proof as any other case.

If you think about it, this is a good reason to legalize and regulate those professions - the stripper in this case should really have had a bodyguard with her, which would have prevented both false allegations and actual rapes. On the same note, it is easy to see how it is much easier to prove or disprove a rape with a prostitute who works in a place where it is legal (like a Nevada chicken ranch) than a streetwalker.
posted by Mitrovarr at 5:55 PM on April 15, 2007


anotherpanacea writes "Sigh. This group started because of the Duke case, but right now they're just trying to preserve a space for women who have been sexually assaulted, especially women of color and sex workers, to tell their stories. "

They should probably change/modify this part of their "about" page, then: "UBUNTU was born in the aftermath of the March 13, 2006 rape of a Durham, NC Black woman by members of the Duke University Lacrosse team." Correcting that would take most of the wind out of threads like this, and I'm sure Ubuntu would rather people agreeing with their agreeable mission than arguing about old info on their homepage.
posted by Bugbread at 5:58 PM on April 15, 2007


anotherpanacea writes they're just trying to preserve a space for women who have been sexually assaulted, especially women of color and sex workers, to tell their stories

They could have chosen any town or city to do this in, so they choose Durham? Please. These people are shit-stirrers and/or desperate for attention. Nifong and Mangum have done a lot to set back the (very important) issue of sexual assault and rape. So why have the rally here? It doesn't make any sense.

As for the multiple strawmen you're throwing out, look, I'll admit -- there are some people, especially men, going around with some pretty crude notions about women and sex. However, having a rally in Durham in the wake of this whole messed up episode will advance the cause exactly nowhere. Might even set it back a bit. Sorry, but that's just plain stupid no matter how you look at it.

Honestly, I can see it now -- FOX news will drool over this. Look at them uppity libruls and feminsits LOL AMIRITE?

Speaking as a liberal myself, it pains me to see fellow travellers who are too naive or self-serving to understand how assinine an idea this is. It'll be a while before the residents of Durham get things back to normal. For God's sake, let them have that chance.
posted by bardic at 6:10 PM on April 15, 2007


Speaking as a liberal myself, it pains me to see fellow travellers who are too naive or self-serving to understand how assinine an idea this is. It'll be a while before the residents of Durham get things back to normal. For God's sake, let them have that chance.

I see the problem you're pointing to, and it pains me. But do you see the other side of this? For the next few months, it's open season in North Carolina. Anyone of vaguely marginal status is a target, because no prosecutor with a clue is going to 'sitr up shit' in anything less than a perfect case. Sadly, rape cases are never perfect: they've always been hard to prosecute, but the lacrosse case has tipped the scales in favor of the rapists. In a state the size of NC, a woman is raped every day. How many of them will have the full protection of the justice system in the near future?
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:16 PM on April 15, 2007


For the next few months, it's open season in North Carolina.

This is a truly unhinged statement. If there is a spike in rapes in NC, I'll eat one of my shoes. But now you're just making stuff up.

What's so hard to understand about this? Nifong was a corrupt DA, who got fired. Good. The accuser was drunk and has a history of mental health issues. Hopefully she's now getting the care she needs. It's a sad story, but maybe she'll turn her life around. Good. Three completely innocent guys get their lives back, and have probably learned a lot about how hiring strippers for a privat party probably isn't the best idea. Good.

Basically, you're arguing that justice would have been served by three innocent men being convicted of a rape they didn't commit. You are insane.
posted by bardic at 6:31 PM on April 15, 2007


If there is a spike in rapes in NC, I'll eat one of my shoes.

If there's any spike, I'd be willing to bet that it'll actually be a decrease in reported rapes.
posted by gignomai at 6:54 PM on April 15, 2007


If that happens, it'll be bad. And Nifong and Mangum are the ones directly to blame.

But color me skeptical. This was about an incompetent, opportunistic DA, not about a rape being covered up. Just the opposite -- it was about a non-rape being blown out of proportion into an actual one.
posted by bardic at 7:07 PM on April 15, 2007


Basically, you're arguing that justice would have been served by three innocent men being convicted of a rape they didn't commit. You are insane.

Ummm.... I'm not making any claims about their guilt. Frankly, it's immaterial, except that the way the case was handled as a media blitz rather than an ongoing criminal investigation is a travesty, and the current round of jokes about Mangum are despicable.

I'm talking about ALL THE OTHER WOMEN who have been and will be raped. Just because the media has an obsession with this story doesn't mean that the rest of the world can pretend that rapes will stop. They'll continue apace, which is why we need to remind ourselves that the world of misogyny and sexual violence doesn't start and end with the Duke lacrosse team. Opposing rape isn't a 'cause,' it's not a movement or a political activity. It's human decency and the rule of law. Thus, the march, the FPP, and this argument.
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:08 PM on April 15, 2007


"It is better to speak."

only if you tell the truth
posted by pyramid termite at 7:14 PM on April 15, 2007


anotherpanacea: I'm not making any claims about their guilt.

Yes, you did. You claimed it was still in question. Twice.

Frankly, it's immaterial

Don't you see that this attitude is exactly why this travesty occurred? People cared about pushing their agendas, not justice or truth, and they had it all blow up in their faces because their cause célèbre turned out to be a total lie or a madwoman's dream.
posted by Mitrovarr at 7:17 PM on April 15, 2007


A woman does not have the right to say 'no' after she's begun a sexual encounter.

Keep in mind that this particular notion isn't just the ranting of some fringe misogynists, it's Maryland State Law.
posted by gignomai at 7:20 PM on April 15, 2007


rape activists: just stop. Stop hounding innocent people. Keep your damn mouth shut until they're convicted. Referring to alleged rapists as "rapists" is unamerican and wrong. Period. Trying defendants in the press is wrong. Period. Regardless of the horror of the crime, I have zero patience for people who believe in "guilty until proven innocent" or, in this case, "guilty even after proven innocent."

You're not helping your cause. You're hurting it . A lot.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:20 PM on April 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


anotherpanacea writes I'm not making any claims about their guilt. Frankly, it's immaterial

You are insane.

They'll continue apace, which is why we need to remind ourselves that the world of misogyny and sexual violence doesn't start and end with the Duke lacrosse team.

So how does holding a rally in freakin' Durham accomplish this?

The stupid, it burns.
posted by bardic at 7:25 PM on April 15, 2007


bardic Actually, my sources are outside my own head, sorry to dissapoint. I didn't include because I had RL stuff to attend to.

Before I put in the links, I'd like to observe that a quick Googling on your part would have demonstrated that I'm right about the people chanting "no means yes" at the Bay to Breakers race.

Pictures of the guys in their oh so funny Duke type tshirts.
Eyewittness account in the letters to the editor section of the SF Gate.

So, no, I'm not building ultimate strawmen. The assholes really are out there chanting "No means yes!", and this really is about rich white pricks claiming that its ok to rape poor black women. But go on with your odd persecution complex man, don't let me stop you.

I don't have a lot of sympathy for anyone who's sick of this. I reserve my sympathy for the victims of sexual violence who will find that thanks to all the triumphalism it'll be even harder to get a DA to push a rape case.

As I said, the three accused guys may be innocent. That doesn't mean that Mangum is a lying slut, other people there may have raped her. She could be lying, I don't think so, but its a possibility. Even if she is it doesn't make the anti-woman triumphalism right.

The point is that this isn't about charges being dropped against the three men, if it was no one would be chanting "no means yes". Its about power, its about a society that does its absolute best to ensure that a raped woman doesn't report it.

Say, for the sake of argument, that you're right. She's an evil lying slut who just wanted to be pilloried on national TV on the off chance that she could hurt some rich white guy's image. I can't see that, but let's say that you're right. If that's the case its a good thing that charges were dropped against the men in question, but where did all the putrid anti-woman shit come from? How come this suddenly turned into "no means yes"? What's that got to do with dropped charges? Nothing, but its got a lot to do with "keeping women in their place", doesn't it? Its got a lot to do with trying to surpress future rape reports, doesn't it?

So, no, I say let's have a march, let's keep the shit stirred up. Shit stirred up is a damn good thing. The shit in question needs to be stirred up because 1/3 of American women will be raped at some point in their lives. If Mangum is lying, I'm glad the Duke players aren't in prison, but I still support the march. Raped women need to know that they will be listened to, that their cases will be successfully prosicuted.

Even if Mangum lied, rape is still a problem, and if a march helps even one victim successfully nail a rapist, I don't care how many people get upset by a bit of shit stirring.
posted by sotonohito at 7:28 PM on April 15, 2007


She's an evil lying slut who just wanted to be pilloried on national TV on the off chance that she could hurt some rich white guy's image.

I never said this. You really need to calm down.

As for the t-shirts, they're in very poor taste. Poor taste is not a crime.
posted by bardic at 7:38 PM on April 15, 2007


Look, sotonohito, you are not helping. You are hurting your own cause. Like PETA and the ALF, you alienate those who would be on your side with your extremism. I think Bardic is right - you would have happily sent those three men to jail for a rape they didn't commit, just to make a point (at which point, ironically, they'd probably have been raped.)

Look, I have no respect for people who try to 'put women in their place', especially not with violence. However, cases like this and activists like you do not make me thing 'We need to do something about sexual abuse.' It makes me think 'We need to do something about false accusations.'

You are essentially attempting to start a conflict between the the extreme anti-rape people and the normal anti-rape people.
posted by Mitrovarr at 7:52 PM on April 15, 2007


Yes, you did. You claimed it was still in question. Twice.

No I didn't. You may be confusing me with other commentors, but I don't make claims about the guilt or innocence of untried strangers in confusing gang rape allegations. I don't know what happened. Neither do you. Part of not trying people in the press is not assuming you know the facts of a case from the things the press reports.
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:06 PM on April 15, 2007


So here's a simple question, how does holding a rally in the town where the most famous case of a false rape accusation and prosecutorial misconduct help the cause? Why not hold a rally in DC, for example?
posted by bardic at 8:12 PM on April 15, 2007


anotherpanacea: No I didn't. You may be confusing me with other commentors,

Ah, you're right, I switched between debating two of you and somehow failed to notice the transition. My apologies.

Neither do you.

Well, maybe not with absolute certainty, but after the D.A. has declared them innocent, and after reading the details of the case, I feel that I know within a reasonable doubt.
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:16 PM on April 15, 2007


Why not hold a rally in DC, for example?

Ubuntu is based in Durham.
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:17 PM on April 15, 2007


As for the larger question, "why in the town where the most famous case of a false rape accusation and prosecutorial misconduct?" The organizers appear to believe that this one case has taken the attention away from a host of other Durham cases, and a trail of prosecutorial incompetence and misconduct that has left a number of OTHER rapists free. They'd like to publicize those other stories.

They'd also like to create a culture friendlier to victims. There's a difference between the adversarial court system and an adversarial media. But again, that's what happens when a case gets tried in the press; people feel comfortable digging up all those credibility arguments that go on in a courtroom, but without the protections that a courtroom can provide to both defendent and victim.

Thus Durham, thus now.
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:26 PM on April 15, 2007


Great. My birthday is the National Day of Truthtelling. Talk about stealing my thunder.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 8:32 PM on April 15, 2007


sotonohito: I'm right about the people chanting "no means yes" at the Bay to Breakers race.

Well, kind of, but not really.

The Duke t-shirt -- along with anything else worn at Bay to Breakers -- was a joke. A bad, tasteless joke, but a joke nonetheless. Not only that, but if you had noticed the dates on the various posts you would have known that this was last year's race.

So calling it "sickening triumphalism" doesn't seem anywhere in the vicinity of "right" to me.
posted by bjrubble at 8:32 PM on April 15, 2007


Um, you've FPP'd an organization that was formed on the basis of a false, libelous accusation. Not that that means you automatically endorse all the content of said organization but c'mon, don't play coy. This is about a group of shit-stirrers who want to keep Durham from having the one thing it deserves as a community -- some relative peace and quiet.

Further, here's what gets me about the positions of you and sotonhito. I think we can all agree that the Nifong-Mangum saga was not a good day for rape awareness in America. The faster we can forgot these two names the better. So, why hold this type of rally in Durham? Nobody has even tried to give a decent answer to that one.
posted by bardic at 8:49 PM on April 15, 2007


It was quite unfortunate that in the last calendar year, in Durham over 100 cases of rape were investigated by the police. Eleven of these were alleged gang-rapes. Only one conviction was obtained.

It appears now that the DA knew very early on that the Duke case was flimsy. I can't begin to imagine what could have happened with some of these other cases if so much time and money weren't spent on the Duke case.
posted by Maxwell_Smart at 8:56 PM on April 15, 2007


I think we can all agree that the Duke case isn't a great one to fly as a flagship anti-rape case, but give me a fucking break. The Durham community "deserves" peace and quiet? Ubuntu's anti-rape activists are "shit-stirrers"? I'm not sure if any of us deserve and peace and quiet so long as sexual violence is so prevalent. Society is fucking up big time and we all contribute to some degree with our lack of action.

I'd venture a guess that most of these activists have true, personal experience with rape and sexual assault. Yes, their experience is biased. Maybe even "extreme." I don' t see anybody questioning the idea that up to one out of three women in the US experience sexual assault.
"Issues like racism and rape have never been things I remember Americans being particularly silent about."
I think the point is that rape is wildly under reported. Yet the media and society latched on just this one extra juicy, minefield of a case. When the hell have we ever had a reasonable dialog about sex, race and/or classism in mainstream America?

I guess I just get this feeling from this and other Metafilter discussions that there's a knee jerk contingent that feels on some level that rape is an anomaly. It happens to other people and rapists are rare. The truth is that we're all in the center of this issue. We're all surrounded by survivors and perpetrators. We've all been to a party or a club where a rape has occurred. Once we know that we're in the thick of it, we can be more vigilant and work in everyday ways to end this bullshit. There are so many ways to unravel the problem of sexual violence and injustice that I hope everyone who is passionately posting to Metafilter for whatever reason right now is also using their copious free time to be involved in their own pet justice issue. Otherwise, STFU and get out in the real world and get to work.

This bears repeating: One out of three women in the US has been or will be sexually assaulted. If you have anything but the most superficial relationships with other human beings, you will learn that rape affects you and your world hugely. Superficial peace and quiet is more hurtful than anything that a so-called extremist could muster, because normal people can spot an extremist from a mile away. However, "peace and quiet" and denial are irresistible mental states for most people.
posted by Skwirl at 10:37 PM on April 15, 2007


Maybe we should have every male in Durham register as a sex offender. Ya know, they could do it.

Less snarkily, I'm all for more light, more discussion of these serious issues. This organization, which was formed in reaction to a rape that didn't happen, isn't helping. Simple as that. You don't change hearts and minds by harping on what you admit was a setback to the cause re: Nifong, Mangum.

As for "peace and quiet," I think you're very quick to dismiss the merits of these things. I didn't call for "sustained ignorance," just some time for the community there to do some soul-searching, thinking, etc. Getting rid of Nifong was a good start, but again, how cavalier of you to suggest that what an entire town needs is for recent wounds to be re-opened. How condescending and short-sighted of you.
posted by bardic at 10:53 PM on April 15, 2007


if i knew when the ubuntu people were coming to my town, i'd be tempted to invite the phelps/westboro baptist people at the same time just for the comic potential.
posted by bruce at 12:19 AM on April 16, 2007


sotonohito : "Even if she is it doesn't make the anti-woman triumphalism right."

Is there a single person in this thread arguing that it does? That's the strawman that you're erecting. You're arguing that this rally is "much better than anti-woman triumphalism", but nobody here is saying it isn't.

anotherpanacea : "The organizers appear to believe that this one case has taken the attention away from a host of other Durham cases, and a trail of prosecutorial incompetence and misconduct that has left a number of OTHER rapists free. They'd like to publicize those other stories. "

Now, this, I have to say, makes sense. A lot of sense. If Ubuntu has the head to make that clear, that it's not in support of the plaintiff in the lacrosse case, but in support of other victims whose cases aren't being handled fairly because of the travesty of the lacrosse case, then this "shit-stirring" might actually be valuable.

Skwirl : "When the hell have we ever had a reasonable dialog about sex, race and/or classism in mainstream America?"

When have we ever had a "reasonable dialog" about anything? How can an entire country have a "reasonable dialog"? Most to the point: what the hell does "reasonable dialog" mean?

Skwirl : "I guess I just get this feeling from this and other Metafilter discussions that there's a knee jerk contingent that feels on some level that rape is an anomaly."

And I get the opposite feeling, and that rape is common enough and problematic enough that there are plenty of places this rally could happen, and there is no need to do it in the one place that is going to be least receptive and most hostile to it due to recent use of "rape allegation as tool to get political leverage and attention".

Skwirl : "Superficial peace and quiet is more hurtful than anything that a so-called extremist could muster, because normal people can spot an extremist from a mile away."

Yes, but the effectiveness of "peace and quiet" and the effectiveness of "extremists" is about equal. Neither one changes peoples' minds. So given the choice between the two, you can be completely inneffective and inoffensive, or completely ineffective and offensive. If only presented with that choice, I'd choose the former.

Now, being rational while passionate? That can be both "effective and offensive" or "effective and inoffensive". As long as they're effective, they're both better choices than the former two ineffective choices, and I'd gladly pick either one over the ineffective choices.
posted by Bugbread at 1:45 AM on April 16, 2007


dpkg --remove rape
posted by dr_dank at 6:35 AM on April 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm right about the people chanting "no means yes" at the Bay to Breakers race.

You're only right as far as the fact that these guys were actually doing this. As for WHY they were doing it, you are way way way off the mark. It has nothing to do with anti-woman triumphalism, and everything to do with misogynistic jokes in bad taste. You see, this happened shortly after the whole thing broke in the first place. Not recently, and certainly not after it came out that her allegations proved to be somewhat inaccurate. These guys certainly weren't celebrating her case falling apart, nor were they celebrating their newfound ability to rape without penance. And, let us not forget, that you were bringing this up in the first place as an argument for having the rally in Durham, specifically. Would it not be better, using this evidence, to perhaps have the rally in San Francisco, where said offensive behaviour actually took place?

Now, having said that, I don't particularly have any bone to pick about the actual rally itself. Sure, they probably could have a) chosen a better location; and b) recreated their group under a different name so as to disassociated themselves from the whole Duke Lacrosse fiasco. Ubuntu maintains that their number 1 priority is "To facilitate a broad, community-driven demand for justice for the Survivor of the March 13, 2006 rape." This lessens their credibility mightily, and by association this rally becomes less about rape activism in general, and more about the Duke Lacrosse case. Especially when it's being held in Durham - one can't help but wonder about their motivations.
posted by antifuse at 7:01 AM on April 16, 2007


antifuse writes "Ubuntu maintains that their number 1 priority is 'To facilitate a broad, community-driven demand for justice for the Survivor of the March 13, 2006 rape.'"

I'm curious: do they actually maintain that, or is it just an oversight of not correcting their About page? Keep in mind that, working as members of Ubuntu, they're probably long past looking at their About page, while as folks new to Ubuntu, it's one of the first places we look. I don't think it's impossible that they just forgot entirely about their About page. I know I did in my previous blog, and I certainly don't remember right now what's on my MeFi user description page.
posted by Bugbread at 7:12 AM on April 16, 2007


antifuse writes "Especially when it's being held in Durham - one can't help but wonder about their motivations."

Well, again, they're in Durham, so while their holding the rally or not is a valid point of consideration, and their mission statement is also a valid point of consideration, their choice of location is probably more a matter of geography than evidence of some particular motivation.
posted by Bugbread at 7:14 AM on April 16, 2007


I'm curious: do they actually maintain that, or is it just an oversight of not correcting their About page?

Well, considering that this case was the whole reason for the creation of their group initially, you would think that as the case came crashing down they would probably start to rethink the group's purpose and mission statement. And when they did that, you would think that they would go and update one of the main (only?) places that it's written down: their about page.

As for the reasoning that "they're in Durham, so of COURSE they would hold it in Durham" - either they don't care about the fact that their arguments are going to be muddled horrendously by the undermining factor of the Duke Rape case, or they honestly didn't think that their Truthtelling Day would be somehow affected by the case. I'd love to be charitable, and think that they want to focus on the fact that so much money was wasted on this single case while so many others went by with hardly any investigation. The fact is, though, that if this was the case you can be sure they would have made an effort to make this clear SOMEWHERE in their writings, and I just don't see it.
posted by antifuse at 7:47 AM on April 16, 2007


Sorry, we're basically in agreement regarding the Durhamness, I just meant that it isn't really an issue that they chose Durham, so much as that they chose to do what they're doing despite being in Durham. Functionally equivalent; I'm just anal about details (and yet oh so frequently wrong...bad combination).

antifuse writes "And when they did that, you would think that they would go and update one of the main (only?) places that it's written down: their about page."

Again, I think that's possible, but considering how little attention I've ever given to "about" page like entries, and given how many folks sites I've seen with completely outdated "about" pages, I don't think it's impossible that they just forgot about it. About pages are largely fire-and-forget.
posted by Bugbread at 8:00 AM on April 16, 2007


Hrmm, you may very well be right - the closest thing I have to an about page, my "100 things about you" page on my blog, is over 3 years old and pretty ridiculously out of date. But I tend to hold organizations in general, and especially those who actually HAVE mission statements, to a higher standard than your average doesn't-post-as-much-as-he'd-like-to blogger. I don't really consider my "100 things" list to be all that important, in the grand scheme of my definition of self, whereas you would think that an organization of Ubuntu would tend to stick pretty religiously to their mission statement. I should actually email them about it to see what the real story is.
posted by antifuse at 8:12 AM on April 16, 2007


Err, that should be "an organization such as Ubuntu"
posted by antifuse at 8:15 AM on April 16, 2007


antifuse writes "But I tend to hold organizations in general, and especially those who actually HAVE mission statements, to a higher standard than your average doesn't-post-as-much-as-he'd-like-to blogger."

Hehe. I'm quoting myself now from another thread where we're having a discussion, but:

Fair nuff.
posted by Bugbread at 8:16 AM on April 16, 2007


This is from the e-mail that alerted me to the rally. It seems like what this rally is oriented around: other stories, true stories, to keep the truth of sexual violence from being buried under a scandal. It was written by a woman named Aishah Shahidah Simmons, who is Philadelphia activist.

I was the young Black woman who in 1989, at 19 years old six weeks shy of my 20th birthday, said "Yes", while on a study abroad program…I was the Black woman who broke the rules of the university where I attended by agreeing to sneak out, after hours, to meet the man who would become my rapist… I was the Black woman who after breaking the university enforced rules started to have second thoughts but was afraid to articulate them and was afraid to turn around because my friends were covering for me… I was the Black woman who paid for the hotel room where I was raped…I was the Black woman who said to my soon-to-become rapist, "I don't want to do this. Please stop." I didn't "violently" fight back. I didn't scream or yell to the top of my lungs" because I was afraid. I didn't want to make a "scene." I blamed myself for saying, "Yes"…for breaking the rules…for paying for the hotel room.

I am one of countless women, regardless of race/ethnicity/national origin, age, sexual orientation, class, religion who experientially learned that the (often unchallenged) punishment for women who use poor judgment with men is rape and other forms of sexual violence. And the reward for those same men who perpetrate the sexual violence that we (victim/survivors) experience is the opportunity to perpetrate again and in turn say "WOMEN LIE."


For my part, the Duke case seems like a colossal distraction. The decision to pursue this case seems like a sort of weak conspiracy, an attempt to say, publicly, "We're doing something about rape," while privately hoping to lose. The closest thing I can think of as a comparison was a practice prevalent in Rwanda, where one of the forms of institutional racism during the Hutu regime was to promote the lowest scoring Tutsi on placement exams. Thus, the chaff rises to the top, and the populace is presented with symbolic inadequacy.

In the same way, pursuing a weak case in the media does more to propagate the claim that "Women Lie," than a dozen false accusations handled quietly, or an equal attention to all cases such that the public can see how many are false and how many true. It's not-so-subtle misogyny, but we mostly don't see how the marginal cases become causes celeb, while all the clear cut cases go unnoticed.

If your goal was to shift focus from this poor case to the myriad good ones that are going unprosecuted, poorly prosecuted, or are silenced by the fear of media retribution, how would you go about it? I'm not an organizer, but I could probably get a message to them through some transsexual activists I know. I'll relay the concerns regarding the About page, for instance, but I'm not going to try to convince a bunch of North Carolina activists that they should shut up and keep their heads down for a while, or stop 'stirring shit' in their home state. Still, constructive suggestions might be appreciated.

You can email them yourself, actually: dayoftruthtelling at google's special happy place for receiving mail.
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:54 AM on April 16, 2007


anotherpanacea writes "In the same way, pursuing a weak case in the media does more to propagate the claim that 'Women Lie,' than a dozen false accusations handled quietly, or an equal attention to all cases such that the public can see how many are false and how many true."

I don't live in the US, so correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the pursuit in the media actually done by the DA? That is, from my understanding, it's not that there was a wrongful charge which was prosecuted by the DA, which the media brought to light and made a big deal of, but the DA himself was the one who brought it to the media.

If that's the case, while I'd say that the end results are exactly as you describe them, I seriously doubt the DA shot his own career in the foot intentionally as a subtle form of misogyny.

anotherpanacea writes "If your goal was to shift focus from this poor case to the myriad good ones that are going unprosecuted, poorly prosecuted, or are silenced by the fear of media retribution, how would you go about it?"

Looking exclusively at this thread, I'd say: "Change your mission statement." Personally, I'd say "Present the case that this issue was a travesty, brought on by the DA, and as a result, people who really have been raped are being given short shrift. Don't put 'other victims' and 'Crystal Gail Mangum' together, or you'll lose support of people who support your actual goal." Seriously: think about the average MeFi demographic, and then read this thread. MeFites don't support rape. Maybe there's one or two people on the whole site who think "the bitch wanted it". And yet so much of this thread is polarized against Ubuntu, because of their alignment with Crystal Gail Mangum. They're damaging their own cause and alienating allies, and that's only good if your goal is martyrdom.
posted by Bugbread at 9:10 AM on April 16, 2007


The levels of absurdity about this whole case and its aftermath make the Ubuntu rally almost seem normal. I think the reason many women/activists have not simply shrugged and said "OK then" when the case fell apart was the inability to feel pity for these affluent white kids, who despite their "year of hell" will suffer no long-lasting financial or psychological damage that can compare in any way with what their accuser has most likely already suffered, and will continue to suffer. It's obvious that hell has been her home address for a long time.

And of course from the feeling that if the races were reversed, the media's approach to it would be remarkably different. Their exoneration was given an importance in the media that would never be given to, say, a black man released from prison after 20 years of time unfairly served. And yet, the levels of suffering involved are in no way comparable. And that reality feeds the anger that so many still feel.
posted by emjaybee at 10:52 AM on April 16, 2007


Their exoneration was given an importance in the media that would never be given to, say, a black man released from prison after 20 years of time unfairly served.

I think people are still going to be talking about the Scottsboro Boys in 50 years, whereas I'd imagine the Duke case will fade away more quickly than not, at least outside of Durham.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:34 PM on April 16, 2007


The levels of absurdity about this whole case and its aftermath make the Ubuntu rally almost seem normal. I think the reason many women/activists have not simply shrugged and said "OK then" when the case fell apart was the inability to feel pity for these affluent white kids, who despite their "year of hell" will suffer no long-lasting financial or psychological damage that can compare in any way with what their accuser has most likely already suffered, and will continue to suffer. It's obvious that hell has been her home address for a long time.

I agree wholeheartedly with this, by the way.

Part of the madness of this case has been its two acts as a sort of political passion play. First, it was presented as a story o upper-middle class white athletes gang-raping a poor black college student whom they had hired as a stripper - a juicy left-wing narrative of power, privilege, and suffering. White people fucking over black people, and this time not figuratively.

And then, as the case imploded, it was presented as a story of PC campus leftism run amok. If you squinted and pretended that this one case represented a mass movement, it looked like white kids were the ones getting profiled all the time, and that their professors would stop at nothing to almost literally jail their own students for being upper-middle class white males. Needless to say, this was a juicy right-wing narrative of how far we'd gone astray as a society.

Ultimately, the media circus - from the DA to CNN to Fox News to the right-wing blogs to the left-wing blogs to the Duke 88 - struggled mightily to bang and mold and melt this story down into each commentator's pet political meta-narrative, even when the facts, as known at each time, never quite fit into one slot.

All in all, it'd make for a pretty good Tom Wolfe novel.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:52 PM on April 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


anotherpanacea writes but I'm not going to try to convince a bunch of North Carolina activists that they should shut up and keep their heads down for a while, or stop 'stirring shit' in their home state

False dilemma. Nobody's telling a womens' rights group not to be activists, but to do it fairly and honestly. Ubuntu is based around a rape that never happened. You still don't seem to understand why this is problematic. So let me offer you some simple moral calculus that just might get through to you:

Two wrongs don't make a right.
posted by bardic at 2:17 PM on April 16, 2007


No, I'm pretty sure some people advocated up thread that they should shut up and keep their heads down and stop stirring shit.

Is this basically the same chasm we've seen in other threads today: "too soon." Ubuntu formed their group hastily, but ultimately, they seem to be well intentioned. Even if they're not, I don't think they have the pull to turn the Duke Lacrosse case around.

People without scruples will be using convenient events to push their agenda. In this case, it's the "women lie" meme. I think that makes it all the more important to have a timely, reasonable response. Sitting back and waiting for a peace and quiet that will never come is defeatism.

In any event, I can say that the basic idea of the Day of Truthtelling is a good one that should be replicated. Hopefully it will outgrow its original birth. Generalizing the issue makes a whole lot of sense no matter how the Duke Lacrosse case panned out.
posted by Skwirl at 6:29 PM on April 16, 2007


I'm pretty sure some people advocated up thread that they should shut up and keep their heads down and stop stirring shit.

Yeah, that was me. I'd amend that to something like this now -- what the community of Durham needs right now is a little time to get back on its feet. Have a rally in DC, or anywhere else for that matter. Drawing attention to the Nifong/Mangum affair is a lose-lose for both the town and the anti-rape advocates.

None of this matters as much as this simple fact though -- the organization, as it presents itself to the world, is based on a slander. They don't deserve to be taken seriously until they rectify this.

they seem to be well intentioned

No, they don't. They're liars. Again, simple calculus -- two wrongs don't make a right.
posted by bardic at 1:42 AM on April 17, 2007


By my calculation there were five wrongs and no rights, but I'm not sure they're the same as your two. Maybe we should compare our work.

First wrong: Nifong turns a rape investigation into a personal quest for fame.

Second wrong: Duke lacrosse players who have been indicted on probable cause (witness testimony is sufficient for probable cause, after all, but it's not the same as a conviction) are pilloried in the press.

Third wrong: In defense of the lacrosse players, other so-called journalists attack the accuser, creating yet another fear in rape victims who don't want their faces broadcast on television or their names shouted on talk radio.

Fourth wrong: Case falls to pieces, and the press blames the victim, rather than the attention-hungry prosecutor.

Fifth wrong: A whole state full of ACTUAL rape survivors is implicated in one woman's false allegations, and told to shut the fuck up.

I wasn't sure whether there were any residual wrongs, i.e. your self-righteous, pig-headed misogyny masquerading as middle-of-the-road liberalism. I never was very good at math. What did you get for #27?
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:45 AM on April 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


Duke lacrosse players who have been indicted on probable cause

Pathetic sophistry. They were never convicted of anything. Stop twisting words around.

And you're missing the primary wrong -- the rape allegation was a false one. Simple as that. Until you get over this fact, you're going to spin your wheels over the Nifong-Mangum saga and never advance anything.

As for your fifth wrong? Complete strawman. You still haven't shown who, exactly, in North Carolina is now more callous about rape. Sure, you've speculated, but have you been there? You've given an anecdote about a bunch of assholes in a race from last year, and seem to hang a lot of phantom concern off of that.

Ah, but I'm the problem. Right. Seriously, as others have mentioned, assinine crusdaders like you harm your cause more than they help it. For the sake of women who actually do need help, realize you do them a grave disservice with your empty, thoughtless bluster. Because right now, you're accusing someone you don't even now of being a misogynist. You have no idea what my own experiences with this issue are.

Well played, fuckwit.
posted by bardic at 1:00 PM on April 17, 2007


re: the press blaming the victim, i.e., Mangum

You did turn on a television set during the past year, right? You do realize that major media figures (Nancy Grace, who I don't watch myself, comes to mind) basically convicted the entire lacrosse team of a gang rape that never happened, right?

Look, I've said multiple times that I take no pleasure in this. It's a lose-lose for a town like Durham and for the general cause of women's rights. And yet, you need to polish this turd into a lump of gold somehow.

Why not just take it for what is was, an anomalous incident of a false accusation bolstered by an incompetent, politically motivated DA?

Learn to pick your fights. And again, seriously consider the fact that you do more to harm your long-term goals than help them. That's myopia of the worst sort.
posted by bardic at 1:04 PM on April 17, 2007


bardic, could it be that you, too, have confused me with other commenters here? Go back and look at the ones timestamped 'anotherpanacea.' Your vitriol has been pretty high throughout this thread, and, until I lashed out in response, I don't think it was warranted. For instance, I was not the one who posted (or cared) about the race video. Yet very early you were accusing me of being insane and whatnot.

Also, the lines about 'empty thoughtless bluster' and 'probable cause' being 'twisting words around' were particularly artless and sort of embarrassing. If you must fling shit, please stop getting so much on yourself, eh?
posted by anotherpanacea at 1:11 PM on April 17, 2007


You're right, the SF T-shirt thing was from Sotonhito.

My larger point re: the fact that you keep throwing out the notion that now, magically, people can get away with rape at will, stands.

If a single woman is now more likely not to report a rape, then that's a huge problem. I'm not convinved it's going to play out this way. If it does, then the sooner we can forget the names "Nifong" and "Mangum" the better. You still haven't explained this. You still haven't explained how an organization based on a lie can possibly do any good for a community that could use a little time to regroup in the wake of everything that went wrong here.

You accused me of hating women. You are insane. And you are an impediment to your own very cause.
posted by bardic at 1:23 PM on April 17, 2007


You accused me of hating women. You are insane. And you are an impediment to your own very cause.

My first comment to this post was an Audre Lorde quote. I'll repeat it here: “When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.” --Audre Lorde

It's misogynistic to argue that rape survivors should shut up. It's not insane, necessarily, but it's certainly insensitive. The greater evidence of misogyny is your claim that opposing sexual violence is some form of a 'cause.' It is not. It's common sense and the rule of law.

If a single woman is now more likely not to report a rape, then that's a huge problem.

Well, I'm glad we agree. The question of 'likelihood to report' is a sociological claim that is easily proven or falsified, but cannot be settled on the internet. We might argue about it, but why bother? We don't seem to like each other very much. Let's leave it here.
posted by anotherpanacea at 1:41 PM on April 17, 2007


Speak, yes. Lie, no.
posted by bardic at 1:46 PM on April 17, 2007


anotherpanacea writes "I wasn't sure whether there were any residual wrongs"

I think you missed two:

- The accuser makes a false accusation
- The lacrosse players send out misogynistic vicious email

But, yeah, you covered it pretty darn well. Wrongs all over the place.

bardic writes "You did turn on a television set during the past year, right? You do realize that major media figures (Nancy Grace, who I don't watch myself, comes to mind) basically convicted the entire lacrosse team of a gang rape that never happened, right?"

What the hell, bardic? You've gotten so pissed off that I think you've stopped reading what people are writing.

That's what anotherpanacea's saying in the item that you call "pathetic sophistry". He says "It was wrong that people who were only suspects, whose guilt or innocence was not yet determined, were convicted in the media", and you say "pathetic sophistry. And you do realize that people who were only suspects, whose guilt or innocence was not yet determined, were convicted in the media, right?"

It's usually bad form to call someone a pathetic sophist for agreeing with you on something.
posted by Bugbread at 3:32 PM on April 17, 2007


Actually, I'd say it's a pretty accurate description. YMMV.
posted by bardic at 3:44 PM on April 17, 2007


Er, so are you saying you're a pathetic sophist as well, then, bardic?
posted by Bugbread at 3:53 PM on April 17, 2007


Bardic -- How dense can you be? Are you seriously saying "Well, if they know they're not lying, what do they have to fear?" Whether or not someone is percieved as "speaking" vs. "lying" is something that is largely totally out of their control. When someone claims that they've been raped, immediately the machine of public opinion gears up and says "Really? Is that true? What if you're lying? Let's check out the character of your rapist, and relate any and every upstanding facet of his character! Let's dissect your own character, and for every way in which we find you imperfect, more people will decide for themselves, publicly state, and perhaps even distribute through major media outlets the suggestion that you're a lying, manipulative whore!" The more powerful your attacker is, the more likely this is to happen. Even though it looks like the woman in this case did falsely accuse, the amount that her character has been eviscerated in the press deters women who have a true story to tell, because all this affects how believeable a woman claiming rape is in general, as well as how terribly they can expect to be treated if they aren't believed.
posted by gignomai at 3:02 AM on April 18, 2007


Are you seriously saying "Well, if they know they're not lying, what do they have to fear?"

No. I didn't say that.

When someone claims that they've been raped, immediately the machine of public opinion gears up and says "Really? Is that true?

Yes, it's a problem. It also cuts the other way though (Nancy Grace show transcript from last year): "Tonight, legal smackdown, Duke`s entire lacrosse team under the microscope on the alleged multiple rape of another student. Tonight, we are taking your calls."

Like I've said over and over in this thread, lose-lose.

This is an important fight. Groups like the once linked by anotherpanacea, based on a lie, are not helping anybody except those who want to snicker and say that rape never really happens. Nifong-Mangum set the cause back. Please don't try and exploit the very raw nerves in Durham so soon after this to make not just a bad point, but a determental one. It will just draw attention to where it shouldn't be drawn. False rape accusations are both anomalous and problematic, for obvious reasons. Don't base your worthy cause on what happened here, even if it really really makes you feel good to stick it to drunk frat-boys. Who might (and have every right) to sue now. And probably will. And we'll just get more of this stupid, sad saga. Just let this one go, and learn to pick your fights better in the future.
posted by bardic at 5:46 AM on April 18, 2007


once = one, determental=detrimental

I apologize for my salty language. Go figure. Someone calls me a misogynist out of hand for simply thinking this is where the anti-rape/womens' rights movement shouldn't go right now. I'm happy to have a "credentials" fight on this, but that would be kind of stupid, wouldn't it?

That said, I'm happy to stand by everything I've posted in this thread. If the Ubuntu march is a success, and more people in the community of Durham are made aware of these serious issues, then I'm happy to eat crow.

But try and put yourself in that community's shoes for a minute. They've been dealing with this sad, made-up story for over a year now. Let them get some relative peace back in their lives before an idiotic protest group like Ubuntu strolls into town to let them now that they're there to support "the Survivor of the March 13, 2006 rape."

Speak truth to power, not this sordid bullshit.
posted by bardic at 5:57 AM on April 18, 2007



No. I didn't say that.


Oh, come on. You may not have said it explicitly, but I'm pretty sure that's what your Speak, yes. Lie, no. comes down to.


Don't base your worthy cause on what happened here, even if it really really makes you feel good to stick it to drunk frat-boys.

I'm pretty sure this isn't "my" cause, and that I don't really have any say in what someone else decides to base their organization on. I think it's stupid to be using this case too. I don't see how this comment has a thing to do with what I posted above.
posted by gignomai at 10:52 AM on April 18, 2007


Oh, come on. You may not have said it explicitly, but I'm pretty sure that's what your Speak, yes. Lie, no. comes down to.

Ah yes, thought crimes.

Speak, yes. Discuss. More light.

Make a false rape accusation? Bad idea, generally. Make it the mission statement of a group? Really bad idea.
posted by bardic at 2:28 PM on April 18, 2007


I can't believe you lasted this long, bardic. My patience would have run out long ago.
posted by Kwantsar at 2:37 PM on April 18, 2007


Make a false rape accusation? Bad idea, generally. Make it the mission statement of a group? Really bad idea.

In case you missed it the first time, which you apparently did, I'll repeat: I think it's stupid to be using this case too. I don't see how this comment has a thing to do with what I posted above.
posted by gignomai at 4:34 PM on April 18, 2007


A list of organizations who are helping in the planning.

Another list of organizations who endorse the rally.

I believe it is no longer tenable claim that the strange notions of a few individuals or groups really bear on the intentions and purposes of all these organizations so close to the community where the rally is taking place.

Bardic, I am truly sorry we have had this falling out. I tried to get in touch with you via e-mail at the beginning of this discussion, but I seem not to have found the right address at your Wet Casements site. I wish there was a way for us to achieve comity on this issue, but barring that I believe it ought to be possible to have these disagreements without animosity, and I apologize for my part in fanning the flames.
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:37 AM on April 19, 2007


At the risk of being an ass, I'd like to chime in and point out that this thread illustrates perfectly the problem with Ubuntu. The event they're hosting, as well as the events and support they're getting from all manner of anti-rape organizations, is an obvious good. However, continuing to directly associate the group with the Duke case clouds their otherwise eminently noble motives. It's a distraction and it helps no one, which is especially a shame since merely that association is the problem. It's like having an anti-Creationism group dubbed the Piltdown Project.

I'm only speaking for myself here, but I don't ask Ubuntu to completely denounce Crystal Magnum. It would just be prudent for them to say, "well, this case imploded, but rape will always be a problem in Durham and the world over, so there's no reason to ever give up fighting it and supporting its victims. So that is what we are: an anti-rape, victim's rights group in Durham."

I'm not even of the school that Magnum was necessarily a liar. I think she is obviously sick and needs help, but political interests, from Nifong to the Duke 88 (and later to the right wing pundits), were determined to exploit her (and the accused) for political gain. Something may have even happened that night, although certainly not with those three accused, but we'll never know because of that grandstanding. Ubuntu's leaders may wish to simply support their cause and not "abandon" Magnum, but it still smacks nastily to me, even if on some level it's well-intentioned.

While I do not believe there is a pattern of discrimination against white males at all (except maybe in the most very silliest and furthest-flung of humanities classes), I do wonder - how would we feel if there was an otherwise noble anti-rape group who referred on their About page to the "victims" of the Scottsboro Boys "rape?" After all, only one of the women recanted. It wouldn't exactly be the sanest, nicest, or even most accurate move, now would it? It might possibly distract from their otherwise worthwhile mission, yes?

Just my two cents.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:46 AM on April 19, 2007


Well, I don't think you sound like an ass, Sticherbeast. I think you're right on the money. Although in politics, as in romance, you 'dance with the one what brung you.'
posted by anotherpanacea at 4:32 PM on April 19, 2007


Afterthoughts:

What is the relationship of the Day of Truthtelling to the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case?

"March, rally to fight rape" WE DID IT. THANK YOU COMMUNITY!!!
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:35 AM on May 2, 2007


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