Friday, November 2, 2007

A Question about a Thread

I posted a bit in a thread at Amps. Here it is. I post it here without comment, for now. I'm just curious what anyone else thinks about my participation in this thread. I will say I was not looking to be difficult or cause any trouble - I just read the thread, saw some speculation about why certain evidence might not have been admitted, and it reminded me very strongly of something that happened in another case I had direct knowledge of, so I offered my knowledge, for what it was worth.

And I was not trying to "prove" anything by talking about the case I was familiar with, I was just trying to explain why it was I said what I said, in response to a rather nasty and offensive post by mythago.

As a side note, I find it interesting that being for complete equality for women does not make one sufficiently pro-feminist to post in a pro-feminist thread. It rather belies the claim that all feminism is about is the "radical" notion that women are people. (Something which I suspect very few people, even right-wingers, would dispute. But I try never to underestimate the insanity of the radical right).

UPDATE: Just want to point out that I can't post in that thread anymore, so any questions anyone has will have to be posted here.


mythago said...

I'm not sure why you thought it was "nasty and offensive" for me to point out that you were saying something that was not true, and that you appeared to be using the subject of the post--a little girl victimized by her mother and mother's boyfriend--as a platform to attack rape-shield laws. Which, in fact, you were.

hedera said...

mythago, I read the post and all the comments. I thought DBB's comment was thoughtful and pertinent. I thought the responses to his comment, beginning with yours, leaped to unfounded conclusions about his motives, and progressed to completely unjustified ad hominem attacks on him, as well as suggestions that he was lying. As far as I could tell, he was attacked because he actually thought about the case under discussion, and raised a minor question about it, instead of merely joining the general moan of how awful it was. There was nothing anywhere in his original comment that implied he was about to complain about rape shield laws.

I've been reading his blog for some time, and he really is a feminist in the sense of being in favor of full equality for women. He is also a male and a lawyer; but neither of those attributes automatically makes him some kind of lesser being, despite all the jokes.

I actually considered responding to the original post but decided to respond here where DBB can read it, since he won't be returning to that site. Neither, may I add, will I.

DBB said...

Mythago, what I said was true, I know from firsthand knowledge it is true. So your saying it is not when I know for a fact it is does not particularly impress me.

And it should be obvious what I found offensive - shall I quote it?

"Ari, yes, there are. Generally they consist of anti-feminists wailing that rape-shield laws bar all kinds of relevant evidence, and implying that uncounted numbers of innocent men are railroaded on false rape charges because scheming bitches hide behind rape-shield laws to keep out evidence that would prove their perfidy. Of course, this requires some distortion of what rape-shield laws generally say and what their intent is."

Since I said none of the above, but you seem to be implying rather strongly that's what I meant (after accusing me of thread hijacking when all I was offereing was a possible explanation for why a rape might be excluded as 'sexual history'), that you said all of the above was rather offensive. It was also rather offputting that then when I tried to explain myself (and made clear that I was saying none of the rather offensive things you accused me of above) that further folks came in to pile on me (and no one ever even ackwnoledged how offensive your post was).

And if you read the statute you linked to on Alas, you'll see that there is no exception for sexual history of a complaining witness who commits rape. One can make a constitutional argument to get around that, but that is something that is not part of the statute, and because it is not part of it, the aforementioned rape was excluded by the trial judge. Personally, as I already said, I think that was wrong, but it was as a direct result of the statute, which leaves no exception to cover that situation within its plain langauge.

Sorry, but you just are wrong. And I didn't attack rape shield laws, I criticised the process that led to their initial enactment that left some problems with them. Fortunately, the courts have found constitutional exceptions around some of those problems, but if they were well-drafted in the first place, they would not have had to.

And Hedera - thanks for the support. I did not think I said anything particularly inflammatory - but I thought I'd seek opinions on that outside of the somewhat insular confines of that blog (well, plus the fact that I can't post in that thread anymore, so if I was to say anything more, I really had no choice but to post here - and it is funny that now mythago is complaining about that, as if I had a choice - or am I supposed to just quietly sit by while others continue to attack me?)

Sweating Through fog said...

I read the thread, and I didn't think you were being at all inflammatory.

As far as your "appearing to be using the subject of the post as a platform" In general I think it is usually a waste of time to engage with ideologues, because you get attitudes like that.

mythago said...

Hedera, I don't think you've thread all that carefully, and it's rather dishonest of you to suggest that anyone made anti-male or anti-lawyer jokes.

Since I said none of the above, but you seem to be implying rather strongly that's what I meant

As you know, what I flat-out said (rather than 'implied') is that you were trying to change the subject of the thread from a discussion of the particular case to a criticism of rape-shield laws--which, in fact, you did. Ari said that he had never seen anyone go off on rape-shield laws, and that's what my comment was addressing.

You made a statement that is completely false: "most (if not all?) states have laws that make all sexual history of a witness inadmissible, period". Here you continue to make that false statement: Michigan's statutes have exceptions in their rape-shield laws (please see Section 7.2). The sexual history of a complaining witness is not "inadmissible, period" in the state where you practice law.

In support of your blatantly untrue claim, you offered vague details about a case that you claim must be kept confidential--although not SO confidential that you refrained from giving details at all.

DBB said...

Mythago, please point to the statutory exception that would allow evidence that a complaining witness raped a three year old.

I suspect you will not do so because there is no such exception. There is only one exception in the statute (sexual history with the defendant in the form of a specific incident that explains source of semen, pregnancy, or disease), an exception which does not cover that, which is why the judge excluded it from evidence. Now, there is a constitutional exception one could make, but that is outside the bounds of the statutory language. The statute, on its face, disallows the evidence I cited.

Sorry, Mythago, you are wrong. And further, you are ignoring and deflecting your offensive comment which had nothing to do with the law or what I said and was simply you projecting onto me some rather disgusting things. In short, you were an ass and rather than admit that you were and apologize for that, you just continue to attack - it kind of reminds me of the wingnuts of the right in that respect. You would feel very at home on michelle malkin's site.

beansa said...

dbb - I don't always agree with everything you write, but I have always found you to be a very reasonable person. You are always quick to acknowledge when a commenter raises a good point, and to say that you will consider things from a different perspective when one is presented to you.

I really don't understand how your posts in the thread at amp could be read as an attempt to derail and start a platform for attacking rape-shield laws. Wha? You were specifically stating that you agreed with and recognized the need for rape-shield laws, but thought the implementation was flawed. Why is that so hard to grasp? It boggles my mind.

I have seen you get piled on in the comments sections of other feminist blogs, and it always follows a similar pattern. In fact, seeing the treatment you received in some of those comment threads inspired me to stop reading certain blogs, so disgusted was I by the groupthink going on.

I don't have much to add other than that. I don't think your comments were out of line, and I kinda like the way you will just say what you think. It's refreshing, unlike the cool-aid.

DBB said...


Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate hearing them. It can be hard to be piled on, even when I know I did nothing to deserve it. Experiences like that have inspired in me a post on drinking the cool aid (really, on groupthink, or the echo chamber that pretends to be discussion on many sites) - that is, when I get around to it.

I sometimes worry I am too free with just posting what I think, in comments and on here, but I simply can't post any other way - for better or worse, I am what I am, and it is nice to be able to let loose with stream of thoughts.

I'd write more, but I think I'll save it for my post on echo-chambers. (I also saw an interesting article that I think relates to the phenomenon).