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Current Site/Policy Weirdness IMHO by kerplunk

Here is my rant on the ongoing admin/journal situation. If sympathy to victims enrages you, consider yourself advised not to read this journal. My apologies for any incomplete thoughts.

My feelings on the "no-call-outs" policy are that it just so happens to do nothing to protect rape victims and everything to protect their attackers. However, due to the litigious nature of modern humans, I understand the need to contain ones own liability for defamation and such. Such a policy probably needs to exist, but there are huge implications that come from this as I mentioned above. In addition, Weasyl's admins did not handle the situation correctly, because they admit after the fact that they didn't wait until they KNEW whether they were truly legally liable for the "callout" content BEFORE they notified the user to alter their journal. Bad move showing poor planning and understanding of their own position. They should have been prepared for that contingency. They had a whole year of influxing/outfluxing site users to consider this scenario, and I totally think they botched it. I think they did not do the best they could have done, they left themselves open for this. Still, I want to stick around and see how they learn from this, if they do.

However, when considering my own feelings, it's still impossible for me not to mention how their decision-making is a reflection of society's broader tendency to protect rapists from harm at the expense of past and future victims. This situation is fundamentally not different than any coverup/victim-silencing done by the church, corporations, or government, to the benefit of the rapist(s) in their midst. We have a societal problem that can only be solved by individuals questioning these ideas for themselves. Seems like many people are not capable of or willing to understand rape as a real problem.

To me, that is the really troubling knee-jerk reaction. It is how so many people, in times like this, will immediately suggest that any given attack is "alleged." We have no way of knowing either way. Therefore, it is in extremely bad taste to advise a rape victim on what they should have done differently at the time of their assault (such as "should've gone to the police") as an alternative to writing the journal.

What those people are doing is victim blaming and it has no place in a good-faith community discussion about site policy. Yet I'm finding many comments that go in this direction, as if it is the absolute first thing on their minds. This conversation about site policy gets derailed immediately by a bunch of ill-informed people with abuse-tolerant viewpoints making hypothetical excuses for someone not to be called out for abuse, solely on the idea that "i mean, what if the girl is lying about it you know girls." I am not sorry about to admit how I hate that, how much I feel that encapsulates so much about what is wrong with society.

At the end of the day, that was the reason I left FA, and it likely will be the reason I leave other sites in the future. The community is responsible for regulating its own behaviors, the admins cannot do anything about most of this stuff. And it's amazing to me how many people can bring themselves to criticize a rape victim for politeness and civility and yet can not bring themselves to criticize a rapist for raping, even when it can be proven. The collective urge to look the other way and spin it in another light is so automatic and I fear this infects all of human society.

And I want to pre-empt anyone who wants to trudge out the old "lol furry drama" routine: please take it elsewhere. That is a surrogate for Paying Attention. You're not helping the discussion and your commentary to that end is not welcome to comment in my journal.

Current Site/Policy Weirdness IMHO

kerplunk

3 December 2014 at 13:12:48 MST

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  • Link

    i agree with everything you've said, but something important to consider is how much active transitioning they have been and are presently doing. i hang out on the irc a bunch and it's at least good to know that a lot of issues haven't been stagnating (aside from i guess, some site development in general) and changes seem to happen regularly

    so i'm hoping this will be a catalyst for positive changes

    • Link

      Agreed, any situation can be used for improvement if the site operators want it to be so. That's definitely why I'm sticking around: the operators do not seem to be improvement-averse. I just hate to see the same old automatic gendered-bashing-and-excuse-making crop up so fucking immediately in response to this. That behavior is so normalized, and not only in furry corners.

      Three cheers for positive change.

  • Link

    Nicely said, kerplunk. I do hope Weasyl won't turn into an environment where rape is trivialized and victims are dismissed.

  • Link

    As a victim and survivor of rape my feelings are mixed for sure. My biggest encouragement for getting the hell off FA was Zaush's promotion.

    I hate the user's rapist, and I want nothing more than for everyone to know who he is so they can avoid him and be safe. (Also a part of me wants him to be destroyed)

    That said, it is technically calling him out. The admins are completely correct in that regard, at least. It's in the rules and calling people out for any reason is not permitted. Now, that being said, calling him out is totally the right thing to do. When you have a rapist in your community you call 'em the fuck out and make sure they never feel comfortable walking around in public.

    It's ethically/morally the right thing to do, but in technicality it's against the rules.

    I want the staff to make an exception in this case, but then they're making exceptions. I get where they're coming from as far as why they're not comfortable with the journal, even though I think it should stay. If I knew my rapist was gonna be coming to a con I was attending I'd sure as heck let everyone know! Even if it was against the rules.

    So yeah, I'm mixed on this one. I side with the user and am completely empathetic to their situation and intentions, however I do also see the reasoning for the staff's remarks/decision. I can hold it against them but I cannot fault the logic.

    Even though it's for a good reason, it's still a call-out. And the rule against call-outs is one of those double-edged swords.

    Getting away from Weasyl's specific shenanigans I've definitely struggled with dealing with "allegations" and stuff. That's the shitty part of being a victim of crime. The criminal paying for their actions legally and in society falls on preponderance of evidence and conviction. It does protect violators to a degree if they can get away with it, but it also does protect the accused innocent as well. Another double-edged sword.

    My case sucks even more. Even if I wasn't such a complete wreck when I was raped, had I gone to the authorities immediately ... males cannot be raped where I live. NC state law. Rape is the forceful act of penetrative intercourse of a male against a female in the books here. Men, and women raped by women, can't have their aggressors charged with rape where I live and it's both disheartening and enraging.

    The system will fight for you if your fight aligns with its rules for litigation and judgement. If it doesn't ... it's a sad fact but you're on your own.

    It's part of the reason I got into gun law and firearms after my own incident. Hear me out on this though. There ARE laws that protect victims of rape (or 'crimes against nature' in NC), they're the laws that provide the right to defend oneself from an aggressor. Which puts me on the fence again. Most people that support justice for victims of sexual violence or support the at-risk minorities that aren't covered by typical criminal charges tend to support firearms restrictions/bans. To me, I feel the right to own a weapon under legal guidelines is one of the biggest tools for victims of sexual crimes, those in at-risk populations, and even discriminated minorities. I think guns should be a huge part of women's and minority's rights. The statistics on rape and murder in minorities, women, and non-hetero or gender normative are disheartening, and I think we should embrace one of our biggest assets in fighting back and not becoming victims.

    Sorry for the tangent, kind of got away from the furry community and into bigger and broader issues. :x But yeah I've been meaning to make that assertion for a while and you touching on society's tendency to protect alleged rapists kinda brought me to it.

    • Link

      I'm more than happy to hear you out when you want to bring something important to the table. As I said, this recent incident re: the Weasyl call-out rules is indeed a reflection of a much broader and bigger issue. It is a very potent reminder of the duality of law, which you bring up, its tendency to protect the wrong people. I think can imagine how it can influence one's decision to take up arms. I don't think it's terribly unrelated to the topic at hand, after all, you bring it up in the context of your own attack and recovery and I think that's a valuable perspective to have in the conversation. Certainly no need to apologize for that.

      I imagine that there are many effective tools aside from lethal weaponry that can dispatch an attacker. But I do agree there is a place for firearms in society. I don't have much exposure, so I can't really say from first hand experience what is best for society. I don't think bans or other sorts of prohibitive behavior is a good approach, certainly not in America. But then again, as long as the police are allowed to summarily execute US citizens and then retire to become millionaires then maybe I can't be so sure of my previous positions. There is a lot to consider.

      But in regards to stopping abuse of power, I think the most important tool we could have would be the ability to point out an abuser without automatically drawing scorn and scrutiny upon oneself. The biggest obstacle seems to be the way society understands rape and abuse. Our understanding of it is backwards. We absolutely must change as soon as possible, somehow.

      • Link

        I will say guns aren't the only answer to dispatching attackers and sexual predators. I'm not about killing people that don't need to be killed. Obviously. Also, guns aren't for everyone. I don't want people getting carry licenses and firearms they aren't prepared to use, or are uncomfortable with. There are always other options. Be it less-than-lethal things like stun-guns and pepper-spray, or community action plans, chaperone groups, and watch programs. Also security and police protection. Restraining orders are a thing, though you have to meet a certain criteria and it's hard to get one if you're not a woman trying to protect yourself or offspring from a man, we could always work on improving the protections they offer.

        We do need more society protections for victims that take the power away from rapists and attackers, though, and the optimist in me wants to say we'll eventually get there, it's just a frustratingly drawn-out and uphill battle though. Changing societal views and gaps in understanding is HARD, as I've learned in studying public health policy and education. It's not impossible, though!

        I will also touch on your corrupt cops executing people thing as well. Going back to guns it's one of those paradoxical things I see with the general liberal mindset. We're against corrupt cops and tyrannical government, but shy away from the 2nd Amendment and fail to see firearms as a check/balance to unjustified abuse of power of authority over people (especially minorities).

        I remember before the verdict coming out in Ferguson, seeing pictures of people making shields and batons out of plywood and stuff. Nobody likes violence, nor should they, but when you're fighting a militarized police state, you gotta get a little militarized yourself. If we ever have another civil war over something like this, there's going to be a huge disparity in the ability to fight the oppression and defend ourselves as the list of banned firearms for civilians grows. If this problem doesn't resolve, or if it grows to a boiling point and explodes on a national level, the guys throwing rocks at people in body armor and tanks are going to be wishing they at least had a few sturdy rifles.

        Think of how we stop bullies in school. They don's stop hitting you when you tell administrators, they don't stop because you forgive them and they won't because it's against the rules either. A lot of the time the only way to stop a bully is to fight back. And when it comes to abuse of power, at some point fighting back is forced upon you. And that's what the 2nd Amendment is all about, at least to me. The right to bear arms against tyranny (in addition to defending yourself).

        Guns are one of those things I stick out like a sore thumb on. I'm progressive about civil rights, LGBQT, healthcare, immigration and the environment... but guns... I think those are a vital part of being autonomous, and an extremely vital tool to have not only for self-defense, but for defending your own freedoms and rights as a human. Not just as an American, but as a human being. Think about it. A cop's gonna think twice about abusing his power in a black neighborhood if he knows half the community legally owns firearms. Sexual predators too. A big part of sexual predation is the illusion of being stronger than your victim. Sometimes that is in fact the case, but big or small, the physics of a bullet stay the same.

        Anyways, if you wanna talk about guns and how they can empower minorities and victims of violence, we can always chat it up in Skype or on notes. I don't wanna detract from the main argument of your journal anymore than I have already, though I appreciate you being open to my thoughts. ;w;

        • Link

          I certainly appreciate hearing your opinion, you are welcome to speak your mind. I'll converse with you here a little bit because I think you make good points. I want to kind of say my piece and we can move this to other venues from here if we need to extend this.

          I'm in no way "against guns" in principle, and when I say things like "Ban Guns" I'm being facetious and hyperbolic. Prohibition doesn't work, I understand this, and I rely on this as a premise for a lot of my beliefs. The truth is that I'm not comfortable in the presence of guns. They are inherently dangerous and violent objects, and I think there are many reasons to remain skeptical of increased ownership becoming a particularly helpful thing in general. That's not to say there aren't any benefits to ownership, or that there isn't any nuance to this issue. I wish the conversation could be about the nuance of this, but it gets set on fire so readily.

          As for the general liberal mindset, if it's anything like I think it is, it is frustrated about gun rights rhetoric being used improperly as a roadblock to necessary poverty elimination and economic re-balancing programs, which government should be carrying out. It is already clear that using government to reduce poverty is a very effective solution for reducing violent crime. It is less expensive to give homeless people a place to live than to leave them on the streets, because the net expenses associated with unproductive members of society (law enforcement, property damage, and other complications) outweigh the cost of one apartment, dollar-for-dollar, per year. Housing homeless people gives them a stable address so they can recover and find employment, becoming more productive. That is real empowerment, because it is economic and legal in nature. It is also very clearly in society's best interest. However, society seems incapable of having a serious conversation about economically and legally empowering oppressed and marginalized people, and no trouble talking up the empowerment potential of gun ownership. It's easy to find oneself skeptical and irritable in the face of this.

          I happen to believe the purpose of society is to care for its people in the manners described above. Not doing these things seems totally absurd and irresponsible to me. I see gun ownership as not intrinsic to these issues, but certainly complicated by it. It's hard for me to see it as a real solution. It seems more like treating the symptom but not the cause. If a given society mandates (officially or otherwise) gun ownership, I question if that society is doing right by its people at a fundamental level (I would ask the same questions of a society that outright suppresses access to weaponry).

          When I try to get down to brass tacks, I see it this way: having more gun around tends to mean more bullets flying around, and that makes no one safer by definition. What guns do really well is alter the power dynamics in a conflict between two or more people, but they also tend escalate the situation unnecessarily.

          I admit that I am biased toward figuring out how we can empower oppressed people without resorting to armed conflict. Addressing the way society is fundamentally falling short of its responsibilities to its people is a better place to start, in my opinion, than talking about taking up arms. There is a place for guns in civil society but my gut has always told me that it is secondary to the core conversation about How We Live, And How We Treat Ourselves.