Atheist Opens Up About Getting Sexually Assaulted at Conference

My friend Ashley Paramore made a video talking about a skeptics’ conference she went to at which she was sexually assaulted. It’s hard to listen to, and not just because I know her personally. Please hear her story and understand that she’s one of the few women brave enough to speak up when sort of thing happens — there are undoubtedly many more who aren’t (or can’t):

Keep in mind that this isn’t the first time Ashley has dealt with this sort of harassment, either.

To their credit, as Ashley says, the James Randi Educational Foundation (that ran the conference where this happened) handled the situation well. Her story shows just how important it is for conference organizers to have clearly-defined policies regarding harassment so that everyone feels safe coming forward and speaking out.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Soop

    “Her story shows just how important it is for conference organizers to
    have clearly-defined policies regarding harassment so that women feel
    safe coming forward and speaking out.”
    Men get sexually assaulted too, you know.

    • Scott

      Yes they do but this is her story.

      • Eshto

        She mentions in the video that sexual assault can happen to anybody. Everyone just chill out.

    • Joe

      I’m a Christian, and I have to say, shame on you. Way to brush aside the woman’s bravery in speaking up against a clear problem within the community. Men may get assaulted, sure, BUT it is usually by other men and not nearly as frequent..

      • Soop

        and so therefore a assault on a man should be openly ignored? All I suggested is that clearly-defined policies regarding harassment should be praised for helping everyone feel safe. Not just for helping women. Sorry I suggesting such a terrible thing.

        • Joe

          Because it’s usually men doing the assaulting. Honestly, how have men been assaulted at these things? Elaborate on your experiences.

          • Tyson Roberts

            You’re trying to prove absence of phenomenon by absence of evidence here. It’s disingenuous.

            Imagine (for the sake of your position) that you said “Hey, all you women getting assaulted – come out and reveal yourself so I can win an argument!” <- This is crap.

            I'm not saying you weren't baited into your initial comment, but I'm saying that your sentiment that male on male assault doesn't exist is dismissive and offensive.

            • Joe

              I’m not being dismissive. He said men get assaulted too, so I’m asking for his evidence to back up the claim, or at least an example.

              • Tyson Roberts

                If you’re agreeing that men get assaulted too, then WHY IS THERE A NEED FOR SHAMING?

                Also, asking for evidence was not part of your original reply – you said simply that men do get assaulted, but it was MEN (your emphasis) who were doing the assaulting.

                You keep changing gears. While your intentions may well be good, your argument (at least the original post) was very bad.

                • Joe

                  I shamed him for trying to take away from Ashley’s story by insisting men get assaulted too, when the entire article was focused on HER story. Let us focus on Ashley and the women who are clearly more targeted than men. As I said, yes, men do get assaulted, but let us focus on the story in the article.

                • Hat Stealer

                  In addition, the comment that “Men get assaulted too” was clearly meant to take weight away from the things that the woman in the video went through. It’s a line of thinking that says that women aren’t allowed to complain when they’re assaulted, because men have it bad too. Again, missing the point, and being an ass.

                • Joe

                  Agreed, I’ve never been to one of these conventions, but I am curious to know what type of “assaults” happen to the men at these things, but apparently no one has any personal experience or has been witness to this, despite a few people claiming it happens enough to try and steer the focus away from Ashley’s discrimination. Not looking to argue, just curious.

                • Tyson Roberts

                  Personal experience of those in an argument is a *terrible* proxy for evidence for argument. I’m pretty sure you mean well, but I think you’ve responded to someone you think was trolling with a bad counter argument which did disservice to your cause.

                • Joe

                  I’m not looking for evidence to use in an argument. I am just genuinely curious as to what kind of assaults happen to men at these things? I’m not looking to throw it in the faces of others, just curious.

                • Covarubious

                  Did you watch the entire video? she actually mentioned that not just women experience this kind of harassment? Why do you need details about specific assaults on men? Why is this important to you?

                • Joe

                  My video won’t work so no I can’t see the details. I only caught bits and pieces.

                • sylvia

                  you’ve seen an example if you read above. If you were a gay man would you report an assault. Also if a gay man grabbed your butt, and you are not gay, would you report this or not? Would you be afraid perhaps that people would think you are anti-gay? This has also happened. “If I report this, I’ll be seen as prejudiced.” you let it slide. INot taking away from her brave story! Wow, it takes GUTS to come out and share (and it does a lot of good to raise awareness for all victims). Her story personalizes something we know happens, and starts the conversation on how to do better for everyone attending.

                • Soop

                  I was in no way saying women aren’t allowed to complain.

                • UWIR

                  That’s a load of bullshit. I am sick and tired of this brand of “feminism” that consists of putting words in people in people’s mouths and then haranguing them about something they never said. It’s disgusting, and takes away from fighting real sexism.

                • Tyson Roberts

                  It’s well and fine to say this (after we’ve had to go through this discussion), but you did a terrible disservice to the argument to which most people were in agreement in the original post:
                  - You took what was a valid point, and set up a (bad) argument against it.
                  - You alienated people who might otherwise agree with you (by attacking men).
                  - You marginalized a group by minimizing the possibility of them being victims.
                  - You introduced the fact that you were a Christian into the discussion (non sequitur), bringing it’s baggage into the discussion *WHERE IT WAS IRRELEVANT* (I don’t care what you are, your argument here is independent), and you followed it up with the even further baggage of:
                  - You attempted to shame the man who had a valid point, which only further angered people who agreed with him.

                  On top of that, the guy may or may not have been a troll. Why did you start an argument, when you could have just agreed with the parts that were good, and corrected the parts that weren’t?

                  “I agree that this needs to be general, as men can also be victims, but as it seems to be more common for women to be so. Also, as this is her story, let’s not get derailed.”

                  is what needed to be said.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  Well, statistically, it IS men doing the assaulting, regardless of the gender of the victim.

              • sylvia

                so you got an example. Picture being a gay man. You report an assault, unwanted touching, being followed, someone just sitting and insisting on buying you a drink, grabbing….you don’t know if the person you are reporting this to has a thing against gays (especially a former cop or military person that works as a security guard). Multiple times where things have not been reported.

              • Pitchguest

                Pardon? You just made an assertion that men are usually the ones doing the assaulting, with no evidence to back your claim. Why should this person have to provide any evidence to back up *their* claim?

                Besides, it’s not as if he (or she) is making a claim out of wholecloth. Men *are* victims, too. And he wasn’t disputing the account of the woman in the video, but Hemant’s statements in the article (which since has been corrected by Hemant).

        • Hat Stealer

          No one is suggesting that assaults on men should be ignored. Why are you insisting that there’s some sort of gendered discrimination going on when all this post is doing is recounting a traumatic experience that this women had?

          • HollowGolem

            Because saying “men get assaulted, too!” changes the tone of the conversation by making the gender of the victim matter. As has been said above, harassment policies should apply to men and women equally. But this is much more of a problem for women, and a woman being harassed at a conference was the catalyst for this conversation. Therefore, the discussion, naturally, gravitated to the issues women have to deal with that -most- men are exempt from. To ignore that fact is pretty irrational, whether or not you believe one policy or another is the best way to deal with it.

        • Joe

          What are these so-called assaults on men at these conferences?

          • sylvia

            well gay men hitting on gay men. It happens. Not always wanted attention. Throw in some drinking, and you have a problem (even without drinking). Gay men are very nervous about reporting a sexual assault. I head at one conference when someone complained about a guy that pinched his butt while giving him an unwanted hug “you are a man! You are supposed to LIKE that! What’s wrong with you, just hit him if you don’t like it!”

        • benanov

          Stop trying to derail the conversation with your “men get assaulted too” drivel.

          If you want to include men, speak about reducing *all* assaults, not bringing up something everyone knows.

          • UWIR

            How is that derailing the conversation?

            • benanov

              Simple – it makes you care about something that wasn’t being addressed. It *may* have been inadvertent but it was brought up in a manner that minimized the subject being discussed (why don’t we worry about men getting assaulted too) rather than expanding the subject being discussed (we should not tolerate assault against anyone regardless of gender)

              • UWIR

                “Simple – it makes you care about something that wasn’t being addressed.”
                I don’t find anything “simple” about the claim that merely bring up a related issue constitutes “derailing” the conversation. Disqus even has a threading feature so that all the posts responding to Soop’s are collected together and don’t interfere with other posts. In fact, given all the downvotes that Soop’s post got, if you choose to sort the posts by “best”, Soop’s posts, and all those dealing with it, are at the very bottom of the page.

                “It *may* have been inadvertent but it was brought up in a manner that minimized the subject being discussed (why don’t we worry about men getting assaulted too) rather than expanding the subject being discussed (we should not tolerate assault against anyone regardless of gender)”
                I don’t see the claim that it minimized the subject being discussed as being a claim that has been supported at all. Presumably, you intended your parenthetical remarks to be first a paraphrase of Soop’s post, and then your recommended phrasing. I disagree with both; I don’t thing that your first parenthetical remark is an accurate paraphrase, and I don’t think that your second is a good phrasing. If Soop had said that, it’s quite likely that someone would have popped up with “Hemant never said that we should tolerate assault against men. How dare you imply that he did say that”. Soop could have chosen more politic phrasing, but one shouldn’t have to bend over backwards to avoid giving offense, and the behavior of people in this thread is really giving fuel to the stereotype that feminists take offense at the drop of a hat.

        • http://be.net/mattcoddington matt

          That’s clearly disingenuous. Your comment was meant to be douchey.

          • UWIR

            So, you’re a mind-reader?

        • Pseudonym

          and so therefore a assault on a man should be openly ignored?

          No, it shouldn’t, and if such a thing happened at a conference that’s within FA’s purview and the victim chose to speak up about it, I would expect that it would be covered here.

          Are you suggesting that it wouldn’t get coverage here? I think far more highly of Hemant than that.

          FWIW, rhinoceros conservation is also an important issue that should also not be ignored. It’s just not the issue that’s being discussed on this thread.

          • UWIR

            That’s rather disingenuous. Rhinoceros conservation is distinct from women being assaulted in a way that men being assaulted is not, and it is absurd to pretend otherwise.

        • KiwiInOz

          I suspect that soop is not really saying “what about the menz”, rather that Hemant could have said “so that people feel safe coming forward and speaking out” allowing for the fact that a man may also feel insecure about coming forward in a similar situation.

          • Joe

            I suspect that soop is really PNW lol and now he’s trying to retract his previous statements so not to lose face

            I’m the Christian and you’re supposed to be smarter than me, dude

          • Soop

            That is exactly what I was saying. People are so quick to misinterpret anything that has the smallest possibility of being sexist towards women and pounce on it without clarifying first.

          • sylvia

            yes! Safe for anyone to come forward! And an expectation of privacy and respect when reporting.

      • Tyson Roberts

        I see, so “it’s less frequent, therefore they don’t matter”.

        Love your logic!

        • Joe

          Are these men being assaulted at the conferences like the women are? What causes the assaults, too? Because that is what this is about, NOT men everywhere being assaulted in general..

        • Michael Harrison

          It’s an issue of practicality–dangers which are more likely tend to be addressed first, just like power companies try to get the electricity up for the parts of the network with a lot of users before the isolated users. No one’s saying they don’t matter, but there are limited resources.

          • Tyson Roberts

            And this is an issue of sentiment. It was dismissive to the dangers to men as part of a supposed “shaming”, which is dissonant to the supposed message. As a man, I don’t exactly enjoy being dismissed as part of shaming someone for pointing out that I’m a person and potential victim as well.

            • Michael Harrison

              This isn’t about shaming. Besides, if anyone’s being shamed, it’s creeps, not men.

              • Tyson Roberts

                Agreed! It’s not about shaming, which is why I took offense to it being used as a tactic in the discussion!

          • Eshto

            I understand your point about limited resources, but there are some people who think there should be a clear focus on minority needs and issues (often the same people advocating for anti-harassment policies at conferences). Where does that leave those minority viewpoints?

            • Michael Harrison

              Simple. Once the major problems are fixed, problems suffered by smaller groups can be addressed.

              • Tyson Roberts

                Bullshit. Everyone deserves equal treatment. It’s abhorrent to say that someone will be treated later because they’re part of a minority of cases. These things should happen in parallel or as part of an encompassing agenda.

                • Joe

                  To be honest, once more men start coming forward like Ashley and other women, I will be more inclined to believe this is a gender-neutral issue that affects everyone.

                • kitz

                  men can be even more ashamed to come forward. If you are groped or assaulted and you are a man, you are supposed to be “tough”. Asking for help is hard for men also. We need to look at this as a PEOPLE issue. I know gay men that will not come forward, because they may be only “out” at a conference and fear of family finding out is an issue still for some.

                • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                  I heard in a sociology class it was more difficult for men to come out and admit they’ve been abused.

                • Michael Harrison

                  Yes, but I thought you were still discussing the situation when their resources were being strained. The example I was thinking of throughout the video was airplane safety: many of the safeguards on modern planes resulted from tragic accidents. It is from seeing what doesn’t work that better systems can be developed. But again, an organization can’t act beyond the resources it has.

                • Tyson Roberts

                  Right, but there’s no reason to separate the two out. One does not have to say “we are going to protect women, but not men yet”. One can just say “we are going to protect people”. It’s a false choice.

                • Michael Harrison

                  I never said it wasn’t. Think about it: perhaps the system put in place to help women might help protect men, too?

            • kitz

              why can’t the same policies that protect women be used to protect men? I did see one gay friend of mine being made very uncomfortable by being hit on by another slightly drunk gay man. I asked if he wanted me to contact hotel security. instead we both left to go to another part of the hotel. In a way, it’s important for anyone to go over and ask someone they see in a potentially bad situation if they want help. IT’s not just something men should do for women. It’s something we should all do.

      • Hat Stealer

        Regardless of it’s frequency, the idea that we can brush just aside the hardships that women have to face from sexual assault with the phrase “well men get assaulted too” is not only missing the point, but is also an incredibly asshole-ish thing to do.

        • UWIR

          It seems to me the asshole-ish thing to do is to call someone an “asshole” simply because they brought up something you find to be a minor quibble. How is mentioning that men get assaulted “brushing aside” the hardships that women have to face?

      • Cocky Guy

        Actually, according the the American Bar Association, nearly as many men as women are sexually assaulted if you include what happens in prisons.

        • http://www.secularview.com/ Dirty_Nerdy

          Good thing conferences aren’t held in prisons then.

      • UWIR

        How is he “brushing aside” the woman’s bravery? Shame on you for make wild accusations.

    • https://twitter.com/Aneris23 Aneris

      “What about the menz?”. I hate to say it, but sometimes this is really inappropriate. Yes, men might experience sexism and assualt, but let’s keep perspective. It is not really on your list of things to worry about. I guess you worry more about being struck by lightning. That doesn’t mean it never happens to guys.

      It’s sad here again, the actual issues are brushed aside because of “What about the menz?” trolls. And I’m registered at the Slymepit. That should tell you something.

      • KiwiInOz

        Except, my fellow Pitter, soop wasn’t saying what about the menz. He was suggesting (in not so many words) that Hemant should have made his closing statements gender neutral, allowing for people who may have been assaulted to feel confident to come forward.

        • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

          But that is, at *best* the most minor quibble possible, and one that could have been more directly addressed, perhaps even to hemant directly.

          Instead, thanks to how it was brought up, the comments are now thoroughly derailed. It was utterly silly. This wasn’t Hemant or even Ashley saying “this only happens to women” or anything even vaguely close. It is a *personal* story of something, and a story that needed to be told. I sensed nothing of the kind of attitude that would require reminding people that bad things can happen to everyone.

          Sometimes, it can be just about the person telling the story.

          • Scott McGreal

            I agree with what John is saying. Ashley stated at the outset that it would be a highly personal video. Furthermore, she actually did say that she has spoken to people “without lady parts” who have experienced sexual harassment at cons, so she is aware that this is potentially a problem for anyone.

          • Pitchguest

            I disagree. Ashley herself made it perfectly clear that this can happen to anyone, regardless of gender and/or race, yet Hemant only addressed the women aspect. And wasn’t he saying it? He just did. If he ignored an aspect of a multi-colored spectrum, why shouldn’t people point it out? And is it a minor quibble? If people didn’t jump to conclusions, maybe they would see that instead of thinking it was a disparaging comment aimed at Ashley.

            Ehhh.

            By the way, if this sounds like I’m being annoyed, it’s because I am. Sorry about that.

            • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

              I don’t think it’s a disparaging comment made at ashley at all. I’m quite aware of the target of the comment and its intended purpose. I just think it was stupid, and I further think it was designed to derail the comments in precisely the manner it did.

          • UWIR

            A tone argument? That’s the best you can do?

            How are other people’s response to his post his fault? If the comments are being derailed, it’s due to the slew of people rushing to jump all over him, not his comment in itself.

            • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

              Oh spare me. When the only “argument” you have is literally hemant’s choice to use “women” instead of “people” when talking about a video by a, you know, woman, then you have precisely zero moral or ethical high ground to blather on about “tone trolls”.

              In fact, you may even be standing in a slight depression there.

      • UWIR

        “I hate to say it”
        Not, you don’t.

        “Yes, men might experience sexism and assualt, but let’s keep perspective. It is not really on your list of things to worry about. I guess you worry more about being struck by lightning. That doesn’t mean it never happens to guys”
        Then why are you saying it? What is you point?

        “It’s sad here again, the actual issues are brushed aside”
        I’m sorry your brain is incapable of keeping track of more than one subject at one time, but you really should blame other people for it.

        “because of “What about the menz?” trolls.”
        You’re the one exhibiting bad faith, by adopting the mpcking tone.

        “And I’m registered at the Slymepit. That should tell you something.”
        Not really. I don’t know anything about Slymepit, except that apparently there is at least one person registered there who thinks that bringing up a subject she doesn’t want mentioned is “brushing aside” all other issues.

        • GCT

          Shouldn’t you be whining, “What about the white menz?”

          • Pitchguest

            Now who’s trading in stereotypes, you hypocritical fuck?

            • GCT

              How is that trading in stereotypes? UWIR is a sexist and a racist. I was pointing that out.

              • Pitchguest

                …Based on what?

                • GCT

                  Based on his stances here and elsewhere including being banned from another Patheos blog for his racism.

    • K. Johnston

      Hold up, everyone! For a moment there the topic didn’t revolve around guys. Please wait while we fix this.

    • McFidget

      And how does that invalidate the point of what you quoted? Was anyone denying this? If you had bothered to watch the video you would have seen her clearly acknowledge it.

      • Soop

        I did watch the video. My complaint was towards Hemant’s statements, not hers.

    • benanov

      Hemant could have just spoken about sexual assault in general (because that should be the *real* goal at conferences – to bring the # of assaults on everyone to zero) but bringing it up in the way you did minimizes what happened to Ashley.

      Don’t do that.

      • Soop

        In no way did I intend to minimize what happened to Ashley. I fear a lot of the commenters here are twisting my post to make me look like a raving MRA.

        • katiehippie

          No, your post itself sounded like that. The first thing you said in fact.

          • Soop

            You are misinterpreting my post. Minimizing the incident that happened to Ashley was in no way what I was doing. You are mistaken if you think that’s what I had done.

            • Michael Harrison

              I say this as someone who has stuck his foot in his mouth rather often online: do damage control. If there is possible ambiguity in your words, acknowledge it, with a tone more conciliatory than what you’re using. Your defensiveness is not helping how you’re being perceived.

              • Pitchguest

                What is he supposed to do? Get down on his knees and offer them a rimjob? The ones who misinterpreted his post were the ones going on the offensive, yet he’s the one who should prostrate himself and apologize?

                Seems legit.

                • Michael Harrison

                  I never said roll over. I never said apologize. If you’d read more carefully, you’d see I gave two specific pieces of advice: eliminate ambiguity, and don’t get defensive. Here’s another approach: when in doubt, ask questions. In the same vein, a modification of Hanlon’s razor: never attribute to malice what can be explained by misinterpretation. But digging down and doubling down won’t resolve misinterpretation.

      • Pitchguest

        Oh, get to fuck. He was addressing a distortion made by Hemant, not dismissing what happened to Ashley.

    • rg57

      Even in the video, Ashley did say that people of all genders and orientations can get sexually assaulted. It’s unfortunate that Hemant distorted this.

    • Heidi McClure

      If you’d bothered to watch the video, you’d know that she addressed that.

      • Pitchguest

        Except it wasn’t Ashley that wrote that, it was Hemant. So Hemant is the one at fault here.

    • cyranothe2nd

      How typical that the very first comment and the wank that follows would be a “what about the menz!” type comment.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      I wrote “women.” I meant “everyone.” I’ve fixed it in the post.

      • Pitchguest

        Thanks, Hemant.

    • debaser71

      The original blog post has changed. It now reads, “Her story shows just how important it is for conference organizers to have clearly-defined policies regarding harassment so that everyone feels safe coming forward and speaking out.”
      Obviously the poster thought it necessary to change his language. Changing it from being about women to including men. Seems like Soop’s comment was taken to heart.

  • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

    Let’s get ready to rumble.

  • Robert Stoll

    That she was ACTUALLY assaulted means that she wasn’t a victim. Physicially touching isn’t a “femenist” thing.

    • Don Gwinn

      I honestly can’t tell what the fuck you’re talking about.

  • http://be.net/mattcoddington matt

    “how important it is for conference organizers to have clearly-defined policies regarding harassment”

    Her story is a shame, and mad props to her for recording this video. But I’m confused, she wasn’t harassed on a conference floor? Sounds like she was in a suite? Not sure the conference has any responsibility… unless I missed something, which is entirely possible (I *am* quite dumb).

    • Don Gwinn

      Whatever the legality, the conference (TAM) appears to have decided that it accepts responsibility for excluding people who harass other attendees. That means they have it. Now, if TAM wanted to argue that it’s not responsible because legal responsibility for policing what happens in hotel suites falls on the venue, maybe they could make that argument. But I think most attendees wouldn’t accept that; regardless of the legalities, if I think I (or my wife) could report a sexual assault by one attendee against another, at the hotel, during the conference, confirmed by ten witnesses, and be told that the organizers aren’t responsible for excluding that guy from the next TAM, then I wouldn’t be at the next one and I’d convince everyone I could to stay away.
      Because they accepted responsibility and did what they could, Ms. Paramore did the opposite, committing to returning and publicly applauding their response.

      • http://be.net/mattcoddington matt

        I was only trying to respond to the implication that the conference had a responsibility to handle this matter. When it’s clearly something that could be handled by the police. Just my 2c

    • UWIR

      I would consider a suite party to be part of the conference. Part of the reason people go to cons is suite parties. Some people go to cons just for the suite parties.

  • Susana Paço

    sexual harrassment and assault are harsh realities both for men and for women. It is a fact that most victims are women. This lady has earned my respect for exposing herself in order to shed a real light on the issue. The simple fact is that these things must be adressed and the victim blaming game doesn’t help a thing.

  • Steve Zara

    I’m so impressed by her bravery and wisdom.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

    Why didn’t she call 911. She was sexually assaulted not once, but twice and it sounds as if she was in a hotel room.

    • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

      That might cause a scene!

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

        He was told no more than once and continued his actions. Make a scene, make a huge fucking scene if someone is sexually assaulting you.

        • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

          I agree. Make a scene.

        • Don Gwinn

          Yes, you probably *should* make a scene. No, it’s not as easy as that sounds when you’re not actually there in the situation. It’s *hard* to do. People get raped, murdered, and injured in completely avoidable accidents (in retrospect, anyway) because it’s hard to break social conventions even when something very bad is clearly happening.

        • Doriendurga

          there is thin line between “assaulting” and “wooing” when the time of “police report” comes, believe that my friend. “She was ok with it! I was getting mixed signals, I don’t know why she started slapping me when I moved my friendly hand from her shoulder to her.. side of her body.. slightly!” It escalates in a fashion that it is always too late when you realize it is time to make a scene. And of course if you are too early he might say “I wasn’t gonna cross the line.” and he might be right actually. And you are branded as an attention seeking egocentric nutty chick…
          I live in Turkey, my experiences are probably way worse then you could expect, sorry if I overstated but our brave friend in the video is right. This kind of things happens all the time to women and the worst part is, you get used to it.. If I made a fuss everytime I was sexually harrased I would be spending half my life in police centers, losing my friends (guys: “She things everyone is after her, hah” gals: “Like we are not enduring such things! Such a fuss-maker!”) and wouldn’t even be taken seriously.
          Plus most of the people harresing a women/person is a “friend” and friend of friends. There are social consequences of making a fuss.

    • Pseudonym

      911 is for emergencies, not for reporting crimes where there isn’t current or imminent danger. As for why she didn’t report it to the police, this is covered in the video.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

        Being sexually assaulted is a crime and 911 is for reporting crimes and regardless of her answer in the video, she should have dialed 911 as soon as the assault took place.

        • Pseudonym

          No, it isn’t. In fact, in some places, both inside and outside the US, it is technically illegal to use 911 (or the local equivalent) in any situation other than an emergency.

          That’s not to say you shouldn’t call it in a non-emergency situation. Chances are you don’t know the number of your local police station. in practice, there’s no problem if you call that number to request for a police officer to come around so you can report a crime to them.

          But they won’t take your report via the emergency phone number. That is not what it’s “for”.

          This is beside the point, though. If you’d watched the whole video you’d know why she didn’t report it.

          • Joe

            If a woman feels threatened she has every right to call the police.

            • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

              She may have the ‘right’ to call the police, but the reality is that if she calls the policy, she will be dismissed, accused of making it up, told she is wasting their time, victim blamed, and the cops won’t do jack shit about it anyway. So why bother?

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

            And scum bags such as Jim Bob will continue their actions because women don’t report it. If there is a next time I hope she does dial 911 and no 911 operator is going to scold you for reporting a sexual assault and 911 operators do not take reports, they dispatch officers to do that.

            • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

              —-911 operator is going to scold you for reporting a sexual assault—

              If only that were true. And if only calling to report a sexual assault was any sort of guarantee that a report would actually be taken.

        • Covarubious

          If she had called at any point while she was still in the vicinity or the suit or in his general vicinity she can easily make a case for the crime being in progress and her being in eminent danger. She was clearly a victim of a sexual assault and was fearful of continued contact after the initial incident. 911 would definitely be appropriate.

    • Michael Harrison

      She mentioned why she didn’t get the police involved: the chances of having something come from it was too small–it didn’t seem worth it to go through the reporting process.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

        I don’t understand that way of thinking. She was very clear about what happened. She is very clear about being a victim. I must be missing something if she thinks this was too small of an incident to report.

        • Michael Harrison

          Not this event being too small–the percentage of reported assaults resulting in arrest.

          • Covarubious

            That’s the kind of thinking that should change. No your complaint might not lead to an arrest but it will become part of the public record so when the next person complains a clear history can be shown. Not only that police not have a possible witness for a future trial to corroborate the actions/behaviours of this individual.

            • Michael Harrison

              I don’t disagree with you.

              • Covarubious

                It would be nice if more people felt empowered to do that.

            • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

              It should work that way. But it doesn’t. Unfortunately, calling the cops is more likely to result in additional heartache and suffering for the victim than it is to have any consequences what so ever for the assailant.

              • Covarubious

                She doesn’t need to take it to trial. The act of filing the complaint is enough. It would go on his record and be a red flag if/when the next woman complains. He said she said is harder then he said she and she said

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  I wasn’t talking about trial. I was talking about making the complaint in the first place. No, it most likely won’t go on his record. The cops will, most likely, not even bother to talk to him or file any sort of paperwork. The cops will, most likely, dismiss the complaint as a hysterical woman overreacting or as a ‘misunderstanding’ by a woman who ‘had it coming’.

                  A definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Until a major change takes place in the mindset of the overall population, a change that stops blaming victims for ‘getting raped’ instead of blaming assailants for committing rape, calling the cops will continue to be an undesirable option.

                  You see, I called the cops when it happened to me, and I even had bruises to show for it. I went through all that. I learned my lesson. If it happens again, I’ll probably keep my mouth shut. The end result will be the same – no consequences to my attacker – but there will be less stress and heartache for me.

                  Until cops learn that victim blaming is unacceptable behavior, calling the cops isn’t going to be a solution.

                • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

                  Oh, and for the record, I was neither his first, nor his last, victim. He never did go to jail for sexual assault or rape.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          Without hard evidence or unrelated witnesses, it is incredibly easy for an offender to derail the case against them. It’s literally as simple as making false countercharges.

          Edit: There were people in the room at least somewhat aware of things, but from the sounds of it, they would have made terrible witnesses.

    • http://confessionsfromthepeanutgallery.blogspot.com/ YankeeCynic

      Because it’s an insanely painful process. As somebody who was close to somebody who came forward I got to see how much pain gets slapped on top of the amount of shame they already have at being victims.

      We laud women who come forward as brave precisely BECAUSE of those reasons. We should commend those who come forward. We shouldn’t shame those who don’t.

      • Pitchguest

        Yes, she’s so immensely brave. And alcoholics are so immensely brave for being six months sober. Get a grip. Her logic on deciding to not report it to the police is one of the stupidest rhetoric still plaguing the feminist movement. Listen to what she’s saying. She found out the man she called a friend had actually done this before, and even after admitting it made her sick to her stomach, she still didn’t want to report it?

        So the man was banned from TAM and all future events henceforth, but still able to do the same thing to another unsuspecting victim. *slow clap*

        • http://confessionsfromthepeanutgallery.blogspot.com/ YankeeCynic

          Internet tough guy, aisle one.

          Glad to know that you can mansplain to a sexual assault victim how she can and can’t feel.

        • Sally Strange

          stupidest rhetoric

          I.e., factual description of common human emotional reactions

        • Jerrad Wohlleber

          You’re assuming that reporting it would somehow lead to stopping the guy, when more likely it would lead to annoyed cops brushing it off after shaming the victim a bit. Or, in the unlikely event he was actually arrested, it would lead to him being released without charge before the night was through. Or in the unlikely event he was actually charged, and the even further unlikely event that he was convicted, he’d maybe pay a fine and do community service while his entire social circle tells him that it’s so unfair that the conniving bitch got him in trouble for doing nothing wrong.

          Harassment will stop when the community at large is truly against it, and not before. The teeny tiny chance at a conviction through the justice system is not going to deter anyone.

          • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

            “You’re assuming that reporting it would somehow lead to stopping the guy, when more likely it would lead to annoyed cops brushing it off after shaming the victim a bit.”

            That’s consistent with my experience.

          • RowanVT

            “You’re assuming that reporting it would somehow lead to stopping the guy, when more likely it would lead to annoyed cops brushing it off after shaming the victim a bit.”

            Had that basically happen to me. Well, not so much the shaming but being basically told that I was lying about the entire situation.

            Because clearly I felt like calling the cops for giggles, right?

  • Soop

    Isn’t it lovely that if you dare make a comment suggesting good harassment policy makes everyone – men and women – feel safe, you will be blasted for being sexist, telling women to stop complaining, and asked for proof that men are ever sexually harassed

    • Joe

      As a Christian, I know the consequences for making “stupid comments” on this site. But you have to stand by what you write. You’re just changing your tactics because you’ve been called out on your insensitivity. No one is denying men are being attacked. But have some respect and focus on the woman in the article, don’t try to derail a conversation about misogyny at these events, something that clearly needs to be addressed.

      • Soop

        I’m not changing my tactics. I was not being insensitive. People just want to believe I was. My comment was not at all directed towards Ashley. No one is denying men are being attacked?
        Joe:
        “Honestly, how have men been assaulted at these things?”

        If anyone is being insensitive, it’s you.

        • Joe

          Don’t turn this against me, “Soop”. I asked that because I am curious to know how men are being assaulted? Are they being groped on the convention floors or do women throw cat calls at them? Details, please.

          • Soop

            So what? If I don’t answer you with well-sourced police reports and verified articles on the matter then it means you can be free to assume no such things ever happen?

            • Joe

              This is the problem. You assume I’m going to throw it back in your face and call you a liar because you don’t have any physical evidence for me. All I was asking for was opinions and maybe some personal experience as to how men are being assaulted in the same way women are.

    • PNW

      Then do something about it! You obviously care about men’s rights (not MRA but legit rights and equality) so step up and work to change it. I apologize that women are putting themselves first and trying to correct something on our own.

      • katiehippie

        You’re forgetting to change handles to argue with yourself.

        • Joe

          Priceless, he did it to me too. What a dunce.

          • katiehippie

            Oh, the commenting is playing tricks on me. Sorry.

            • baal

              I think your first assertion of a sockpuppet were accurate. Disqus is weird on how it updates but I’ve yet to see a legit poster get misapplied.

              • RowanVT

                I’ve seen it many times. It’s even happened to me, where my comment was posted under another person’s nym. After a day or so, it got corrected.

    • benanov

      Your comment didn’t suggest that. It was basically pulled from this playbook:

      http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Derailment

    • Oranje

      And this right here is why we can’t have nice things.

  • https://twitter.com/Aneris23 Aneris

    Thank you Ashley for speaking up! I don’t believe that we need “proof” because it is wrong anyway, no matter how often it happens (after all, you don’t need to have e.g. slavery to be against it). It is still good to see what it actually means, and that it isn’t just some abstract issue.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    Ashley is pretty damn awesome and I tip my hat to her for speaking up to make a positive difference within our movement and within our world.

    • Cocky Guy

      It kinda sorta sounds like a lot of atheist men are pigs.

      • Michael Harrison

        Which makes me wonder what you think about sexual abuse committed by religious leaders. Can we therefore conclude from them that a lot of religious leaders are pigs? (Hint: the answer’s no.)

        • HollowGolem

          A lot of people see other people as objects, especially people they don’t know personally.

          It’s a way our brain works. It allows for tribalism, racism, etc.

          • Michael Harrison

            And it has nothing to do with the religious or nonreligious views of the pigs in question, which is the notion I found objectionable.

          • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

            I think its more of a primal mating thing we need to get out of our brains. Apes are rapey, just look at the Chimps. We just need to keep evolving our brains and improving our culture so these things don’t happen. Society needs to learn how to care for the victims so they report more often and punish more severely abusers. And again, I’m not making excuses, in order to stop this crap we need to learn as much as we can even if the truth hurts angry feminists.

            • RowanVT

              Bonobos are not ‘rapey’. O_o

              • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                Sorry, Chimps. Bonobos are the orgy fun loving peaceful ones.

            • GCT

              WTF are you talking about with your “truth hurts angry feminists” BS? Not only are you not funny, but now you’re trading in stereotypes.

      • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

        More exactly, those atheist men that go to conferences — who appear to be a non-uniform sample of the godless in the wider population.

        Based from the reading of some research of Hunsberger, Altemeyer, Sidanius, Duckitt, and Sibley, I’d suggest that low-RWA personalities are disproportionately likely to disaffiliate from societal religious norms (and thus, here in the West, become atheists; different dynamics would govern in communist China); that while SDO is not significantly correlated to religiosity, the high-SDO deconverts are more likely to re-affiliate to an Atheist group, either short-term aggregate (attending a conference) or long-term affiliate (joining a local club); and that high-SDO atheists still retain some of the tendency to traditional derogated group prejudices (EG: against women).

        So, expect a lot of pigs at godless conferences; but not necessarily any more nor less than godly conferences.

        • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

          This has even been a problem at Comic-Con so can we say all comic book fans are rapists? Yes, probably but that’s because they’re fuckin’ weirdos.

          • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

            First, correlation isn’t causation; and second, “disproportionately likely” isn’t necessarily anywhere near “all”.

            High-SDO, low-RWA types can be expected to be disproportionately likely to be “fuckin’ weirdos”, however, in that the high-SDO can be expected more than most to tend to strongly value their own assessments, and the low-RWA place minimal or even negative valuation on conformity to social median behavior. Comics have long been considered subversive by social authorities (EG, in government and religion) in the US, which would seem to tend to lead high-RWA personalities to avoid them; and the focus on characters with “the zenith of human fortitude and ambition” and “the pinnacle of otherworldly power” would seem to tend to appeal to high-SDO personalities.

            Contrariwise, I don’t have any direct empirical data on RWA/SDO levels for ComicCon attendees. Nohow, it seems plausible that the sexual harassment at comic conventions would tend to come from those who are above the median for SDO among con-goers.

          • Doriendurga

            ^ This comment make me want to cry for humankind…

  • Guest

    there are pigs everywhere. I’m a little embarrassed of being an atheist right now.

    • Michael Harrison

      Just repeat to yourself that when it comes to religion, it’s often the leader who’s committing the abuse.

    • http://be.net/mattcoddington matt

      Weird comment. Atheism has nothing to do with sexual abuse… That’d be like being a little embarrassed of having brown hair right now.

      • Joe

        But if you went to a group of like-minded people who called themselves “Brown Hairs” and a bunch of the women were being harassed at Brown Hair conventions, you might be embarrassed to be a part of that group..

        • http://be.net/mattcoddington matt

          I guess I don’t consider atheists a group of “like-minded”. The same way I’m not a surfer, I don’t consider me and other not-surfers a group of “like-minded” people. They’re a group of not-minded-on-this-particular-subject people.

          • Jerrad Wohlleber

            Do you go to non-surfer conventions?

            There way be nothing inherent to atheism that makes it a like-minded group, but a great many atheists have purposefully made it so.

        • Covarubious

          But he didn’t harass her because she had brown hair and his atheism isn’t what lead him to assault her. The event itself is not responsible for his actions and as she clearly states the organizers, the other “brown hairs” handled everything very well.

          • Joe

            But sexism and misogyny seem to be prevalent themes in the atheist community that need to be addressed. I’m sure in time we will discover the ‘missing link’ between atheism and these themes. Now, we could argue ‘Joe Bob’ has a lack of morals, he certainly doesn’t understand to respect a woman’s personal space, which could stem from some form of entitlement, being self-absorbed or simply feeling superior to women.

            • Covarubious

              Sexism and misogyny are prevalent themes in pretty much all communities, its not something specific to atheism. i’m not sure tackling it as an atheist issue will make much sense or do much good. Working to eradicate it at atheist events is something we must focus on but what about a lack of belief in a god or gods is inherently sexist or misogynistic?

            • Michael Harrison

              See, the irony is that after complaining you receive so much abuse so often at this site for being Christian, you proceed to paint atheists with a huge honkin’ brush, based on the action of creeps which can be found at any con. Seriously, there are also reports of this type of thing occurring at video game, science fiction/fantasy, comic, etc. conventions. But no, this is obviously an atheist thing. Twit.

              PS Based on one of your other comments, you seem to have been called an idiot before. I want to assure you that I’m not calling you a twit because you’re a Christian. Rather, you’re a twit who happens to be Christian. Twit.

              (Edited because originally, the first sentence of this post didn’t actually make much sense.)

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              Actually, sexism and misogyny are prevalent themes in the US. It’s not shocking that a lot of atheists who grew up in this cultural environment haven’t learned to shed that, or haven’t tried.

              The reason you see it so much addressed in the atheist community is because we see it as a problem. Many religious groups see misogyny as a feature, not a bug, so of course they don’t talk about it. They rail against feminism instead.

              • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                I’d go one further, and say that sexism and misogyny are prevalent themes world-wide.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  This is true. I focused on the US because most of the conferences are there, but misogyny is definitely a global problem.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  Agreed.

                • Pitchguest

                  Really? Fascinating. And I suppose you have the sufficient data to back this up? Forgive a sceptic for being sceptical.

  • rg57

    I’m glad that she came forward to YouTube with this case of sexual assault. I do not put her story in the same category of utter tinfoil-hat nonsense that Watson came up with.

    But again, it’s bizarre that (a) “Jim Bob” is once again not identified so he can defend himself against these claims, and (b) “Jim Bob”‘s record doesn’t even include this accusation because it was apparently never reported to authorities. You say he’s a repeat offender? Imagine that. Have we learned nothing at all from the Catholic church?

    If we want these things to stop, and we keep saying that we do, then we have to report to authorities, and names must be named. It’s that simple. It’s not rational to deny the authorities the chance to fail at handling these properly, and simply assume they will fail.

    The thing is, if names are named, and the charges are provably false, then the accuser can be liable civilly (and sometimes criminally). There were apparently over ten witnesses to this one, so there should be zero risk in naming this name, even if “Jim Bob” is never prosecuted. Who is it?

    • Don Gwinn

      Right. Her experience isn’t important–probably not even real–unless she discloses it on your terms. Good luck with that.

    • RowanVT

      I started trying to explain this to you. But then I realised you’re just an asshole and all I’d be doing is wasting my time.

    • Chas Swedberg

      Our legal system and our communities (including friends and families) have repeatedly treated victims of sexual assault poorly while giving their alleged attackers extra level of protection not found in other crimes. A victim is justified to tread carefully unless those authorities can demonstrate that they are able to proceed without those biases, “if we want these things to stop.”

    • http://www.miketheinfidel.com/ MikeTheInfidel

      “But again, it’s bizarre that (a) “Jim Bob” is once again not identified so he can defend himself against these claims, and (b) “Jim Bob”‘s record doesn’t even include this accusation because it was apparently never reported to authorities.”

      You did not watch the video. She discussed it with the convention staff, he admitted it to them himself, and she discovered he was a repeat offender. You’re literally complaining that she didn’t reveal his identity to YOU.

      You don’t get to tell the victim of a sexual assault how they should respond to the assault.

    • Sally Strange

      “Jim Bob”‘s record doesn’t even include this accusation because it was apparently never reported to authorities.

      That’s the second time since beginning reading this thread I’ve seen this claim. I guess some of you didn’t watch the video and are just reaching into your handy grab-bag of knee-jerk reactions to reports of sexual harassment, huh?

      • Covarubious

        She reported it to the conference officials who took note and banned him from functions for a year. She does however state she did not report him to the police, which is what most people mean when they say she didn’t report him to the authorities.

  • Rene Belloq 12 inch dick

    Fuckin’ Alcohol. Legalize Weed, everybody will be too lazy to harass anybody else.

    • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

      I know a guy who gets high, then jumps on a trampoline and re-enacts Legend of Zelda video game adventures. Not everyone gets stoned. Some get absolutely hyperactive.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        There’s always a handful of people who have… odd… reactions. They’re fairly rare (thank the gods!), but they do crop up at the strangest times.

        • RowanVT

          Like myself where I get an elevated heart rate, low blood pressure, vomit and pass out? … And that was from having someone smoke a joint a few feet away from me, outside.

          • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

            That sounds really unpleasant. :(

            Adverse reactions (vomiting and the like) are more common than the violent or hyperactive responses, and even a seasoned ‘head (me) can be effected.

            I’ve had a few episodes where I’ve way overdone it, and vomiting is not at all uncommon.

            • RowanVT

              That experience (at 7 years old, no less!) certainly had an impact on me. No desire ever to do recreational drugs. XD

              Plus, when things like valium make me violent, and I had severe emotional moodswings (mania, depression, rage each lasting exactly 1 hour and in that order) from a medication for my ADHD…. Well, my brain is so messed up that doing recreational drugs is simply a bad idea anyway.

              • 3lemenope

                Paradoxical or otherwise odd reactions to medication of all types is much more common among children than adults. For example, it is decently common for Benadryl (diphenhydramine) to cause hyperactivity, rather than drowsiness, in children under twelve years old.

                Not that you *ought* to try recreational drugs or anything, but thought I’d mention that there’s a good chance your reaction to it at seven is unlikely to be your reaction to it today.

                • RowanVT

                  It’s actually a genetic quirk. My mother, brother, and I all have this trait with medications, as did my mother’s father. Even now, being around someone who had recently smoked weed gave me heart palpitations and dizziness. The thing with the dexadrine happened when I was 16. I also can’t take opiates because I’m extremely sensitive. Morphine made me not bother with breathing; had to have a nurse sit with me for a long time going “That noise? That’s the alarm because your SPO2 is dropping. Breathe.” Hydromorphone dropped my blood pressure to 60/40. Vicodin decreased my respiration rate and knocked me out so severely that upon waking I could feel my lungs ‘bubbling’ as I struggled to inhale fully. The appendicitis gave me lots of fun medical info about myself.

                  Whenever my family starst a new medication, we do it on a day we don’t work, and we don’t go anywhere. We just read a book and wait to see if it’s going to mess us up.

                • 3lemenope

                  Ah. For me, I get the syncope special if I mix cannabis with any alcohol whatsoever. Either one alone, and I’m perfectly fine, but any mixing and I turn a sickly shade of green and become better acquainted with the floor than I ever really desire to be.

              • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                Fair enough, and I’m all about respecting choices.

      • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

        I stopped using it (16 years ago) when I made the connection between my violent streaks and smoking. This also the time when I began to fully embrace the power of critical thinking.

    • Sally Strange

      Nevermind the tons of people who drink and NEVER HARASS OR ASSAULT EACH OTHER.

      • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

        apparently nobody has a sense of humor on this site.

        • Sally Strange

          Yes let’s all lighten up and have a laugh about sexual assault.

          Not that it’s impossible to joke about it, it’s just that you, in particular, failed at joking about it.

          Edited to add that the reason your attempt at humor failed so hard is that you didn’t acknowledge that “It was just the alcohol!” is a common excuse offered by harassers, and it’s not infrequently accepted by authorities and society to let them off the hook and allow them to harass some more. However, it’s a bogus excuse, alcohol doesn’t cause harassment, it’s merely a tool harassers use to test boundaries and lower their own inhibitions so they can feel freer to harass. People who don’t want to harass won’t suddenly start harassing people when they’re drunk, just like people who aren’t racist don’t start shouting racist slurs when they’re drunk.

          • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

            sexual assault is never funny, unless if you’re being sexually assaulted by a clown.

            • Sally Strange

              Again, your attempt at humor has failed. Please stop.

            • RowanVT

              Someone has not learned the first rule of holes, I see.

            • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

              That bad joke was on purpose, that’s how dumb you are. Honestly, I think this is very serious. And disgusting, and these people should be banned from cons.

              • Sally Strange

                Honestly, I think this is very serious.

                At this point, I’m having a hard time believing that. Way to go, champ. Perhaps you’re well-intentioned, but in real life, I’d be saying to myself, “NEVER talk to that guy about sexual harassment or assault. Don’t depend on him to watch your back. He doesn’t take it seriously.”

                • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                  Well, I wouldn’t like to talk to you either, since you have a horrible sense of humor. Alcohol plays a big part, a huge part, its not an excuse for anybody, but it makes things worse. 50% of all sexual assaults are done under the influence of alcohol.

                • Sally Strange

                  Sweetie, the fact that I find your “jokes” unfunny merely proves that it is I who have an excellent sense of humor, not you.

                  And your statistics do not disprove my statements. Yes, alcohol is involved in many assaults. It does not therefore logically follow that alcohol CAUSES sexual assaults.

                  I can haz logic? Yes, and I encourage you to try some too!

                  Edited to add: it is clear from your latest remark that your suggestion to ban alcohol was actually serious, so how are we to interpret your insistence that it was a joke? Not only are you not reasoning well, you’re insincere and the whole joke thing was just you backpedaling, we can surmise.

                • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                  Who the hell said alcohol causes abuse. I said it contributes / aggravates the chances of abuse taking place. Same thing with those military rapes, they usually happen in a drinking situation. People who abuse have mental issues or a bad upbringing alcohol gives them bravery to commit these awful things. I’m saying that it sucks and it shouldn’t be like this and its the victimizers fault and ordeal but women have to be careful in drinking situations, that’s just common sense.

                • GCT

                  That’s victim blaming.

                • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                  I’m not saying any of that. I’m saying it just sucks. I’m making equality statements. Women should be careful around drunk men and drunk men should be severely punished if they incur in sexual assaults.

                • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                  We’ll eventually get to a society where women don’t have to be watching their backs and they will be equal and always respected, sadly we’re not there yet. We have been making progress but there are some people that either had a bad upbringing, have mental problems and on SOME cases do things because of alcohol that ruin it for everybody.

                • GCT

                  You’re making excuses for the aggressors and claiming that women need to protect themselves. That’s victim blaming. It’s a short jump from what you said to claiming that she put herself in that position by drinking (too much) or wearing too short of a skirt or any of the other inane things that people try to pin on women for being attacked.

                • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                  that’s stupid, I would never say anything like that. You don’t even know me. Alcohol is the elephant int he room, and nobody was talking about it. it just is, sorry there’s too much data and numbers on it. Women don’t need to protect themselves? the shouldn’t have to protect themselves, its all on the aggressor but they should. I’m not making excuses, nobody has an excuse no matter how drunk they are, they should pay dearly, there should be legal and social consequences. I hate those she was asking for it kind of statements, I find them disgusting.

                • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                  Trust me, I wouldn’t pass out or take open alcohol containers from one or two gay peeps I know.

                • GCT

                  Yet, here you are saying things like that. First rule of holes applies here.

                • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                  I’m an advocate of common sense, use common sense when dealing with alcohol, use common sense if you’re in a sketchy neighborhood, use common sense if someone offers you an open drink, that’s all advice I would give my daughter, even my son. I don’t know why you’re trying to put me in this chauvinistic box. And I’m not even talking about this case in particular. I think your way of thinking is more dangerous to women.

                • RowanVT

                  I mean, I know right? It’s totally up to me to prevent some guy from raping me. Common sense.

                • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                  If i’m making any statements is that that guy should be banned and shamed and never be able to attend one of those conferences. And that weed is better than alcohol.

                • Sally Strange

                  So is this your way of saying, “I was totes lying when I said I was joking” then?

                • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                  No, I think alcohol and sexual assault is an important factor and subject. I like to start discussions and be polemic yeah, and I wasn’t making light of the situation, I just feel alcohol makes things worse and bad people worse. But everybody likes to party. I like alcohol too. But I think I’m able to admit that it doesn’t bring the best in peeps.

                • RowanVT

                  Actually, me on alcohol is much more mellow than me in every day life. I tend to sit quietly in a corner after a single shot of whiskey and smile at life in general. Alcohol makes me feel super happy… but content to just exist in the happy.

                • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                  yeah, but everybody’s brains are different. You’re talking about personal experience i’m giving data. Anyways, I don’t want to be fighting you, i’m a fan.

                • RowanVT

                  I was challenging your blanket statement of:

                  ” But I think I’m able to admit that it doesn’t bring the best in peeps.”

                • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                  Well, in some peeps. Some peeps do get aggressive, rapier, clumsy, ridiculous, hurtful with alcohol. Start fights, etc. Some people become alcoholics, some people can be social drinkers, it depends on the brain.

                • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                  Its like saying guns are not involved shootings. Statutory rapes, roofies. Hell it doesn’t. Alcohol stimulates the cortex, hippocampus and nucleus accumbens, which are responsible for thinking and pleasure seeking.

      • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

        you are giving the same argument gun lobbyists give for owning guns, I own a gun I don’t kill anybody. Bad people are going to do bad things under the influence of alcohol.

        • RowanVT

          Bad people don’t require alcohol to do bad things. The guy who stalked me wasn’t drunk the entire time.

          • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

            I’m not saying that. Alcohol is connected to aggressiveness, child abuse, domestic abuse. I hate that this happened to you, it pisses me off so much and I hope the rest of the cons you go are nothing but great experiences. I myself have never gone to one, because I don’t believe in organized atheism but sometimes I’m tempted, and I hate that this is happening.

  • A3Kr0n

    I would hope the consultants would consider the first ass-grab grounds to kick him out. That would certainly get someone fired anywhere I’ve ever worked.

  • Kitz

    Thank you. I will say that at the last TAM I saw there were many TAMbassadors, trained in how to deal with almost any kind of problem, including sadly this. Also it’s important to get the venue involved. I found, having reported an assault at a bar at South Point (not part of the conference but where people hang out) that the staff at South Point was EXCELLENT. They try to send a woman if there is a report of this kind, because they said women feel more comfortable talking to another woman. The woman I talked to was a former Marine who had served in Iraq. She had no problems taking a report and escorting the jerk OUT (he was banned for one year and I was told if I saw him my next visit they would kick him out without his having to do anything at all!). The VENUE has to have a good policy, not just the conference. They can’t control what happens in the elevators or the front lobby.

  • El Bastardo

    Commendable and brave. Every victim of assault beds to speak up, maybe then we, as a society, will listen and not blame the victim. Maybe then the perpetrators of these vile attacks might think twice before they accost some unsuspecting person.

    I suspect they do it because they think they’ll get way with it. That has to change, and it changes with the victims speaking up and the rest of us listening and acting accordingly

    • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

      You might consider editing “assault beds” to whatever you meant it to be.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      I’m guessing “beds” = “needs”?

      • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

        on a qwerty keyboard the N and B are next to each other so probably “needs.”

  • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

    I’m amazed by how many opportunities she had to say, “no,” but didn’t, and how far it had to go before she did.

    • Don Gwinn

      It seems amazing, but if you study these things you begin to see a pattern emerge. Kathy Jackson writes about it in her “Cornered Cat” book, and Massad Ayoob tells anecdotes to illustrate it. One of his old ones was an interview with a woman who was brutally attacked after she got onto an elevator with a man. He was a rough-looking guy, big, tattoos (30 years ago, that stood out) etc. More than that, she told the interviewers that she’d had a clear feeling of danger from him, the way he was looking at her. She was sure he was going to do something awful to her. She wasn’t alone with him until she got onto the elevator; she could have avoided the whole thing by not getting on. But, she told the interviewers, “I didn’t want him to feel bad. So I got on. Then I was sorry I did it, but it was too late.”

      We’re all conditioned to certain social rules, and predators often use our adherence to those rules to predict and manipulate our behavior. “Jim Bob” may not have been able to articulate a plan to keep pushing her boundaries just far enough that she felt uncomfortable enforcing them (because somehow she’d be the bad guy there?) but that’s what he was doing. It’s hard to articulate this without sounding like you’re blaming the victim, but it’s the predator who’s making these choices out of malice.

      You’re right, it is striking. It’s the opposite of what we’re conditioned to think the bad guys will do, because in fiction, the writer wants us to identify the bad guy immediately and unambiguously unless she’s making Art. Last of the cheerful news: knowing that they do this helps, but it doesn’t make you immune. Kathy Jackson recently posted an excerpt from a chapter of her “Cornered Cat” book that deals with the same issue in a larger context–when do you break a law, a rule, or a social convention in the interest of safety? She describes one friend who sat in a restaurant and ate his meal while a fire alarm blared because no one else got up and evacuated (until the firemen arrived and ordered everyone out) and another who called Kathy, frightened because there were police in a convention hall she was in and rumors of a serious bomb threat. She hadn’t left because, although there was an entrance nearby, she’d have had to climb over a few rows of empty seats.

      It seems weird to us because we empathize with the fear and the danger, but we aren’t in the situation to feel the social pressures that lead to these decisions.

      • sware73

        In the past year I experienced an issue with a man who worked
        in my building. I did not know him, didn’t
        so much as work with him but for some reason, when he saw me, he had some crazy
        shit to say to me. The very first
        incident, I walked past him and another person in the hallway on my way to the
        rest room. I didn’t pay any mind to the
        2 of them having their conversation but he walked away from it to follow me and
        proceed to tell me how mean I look and ask why I always look so mean. Up to that point I was all inside my own head
        with my thoughts focused on work so in generally was not in the remotest way
        prepared to defend the look that happened to be on my face walking to the
        bathroom. I was so caught off guard that
        I could not think of anything to say at all other than to grumble and proceed
        into the rest room. I mean
        seriously. Who is ever prepared for some
        random stranger to do something like this completely unprovoked?

        I think your comment hits at the heart of this. Socially we all come to expect certain
        scenarios and certain outcomes from them and when something goes way off the
        path like this, we find ourselves frozen and not ready to appropriately or
        always effectively respond.

        • Don Gwinn

          Exactly. And there are two things you can do about it.

          1. For yourself, game things out beforehand if you can. Think now about what boundaries you will defend, what lines no one is allowed to cross, what you will do about it.
          BUT just as importantly,

          2. Try to take the difficulty of this into account when you see someone report being taken off-guard and your first thought is, naturally, “Well, why didn’t you fight back? Why, if *I’D* been there, *I* woulda . . . . ” Our brains tend to react to stories like this by first giving us a narrative that shows that the same thing wouldn’t happen to us, but that inhibits empathy and is often unrealistic anyway. There’s an old joke about this:

          Two friends are pulled over by a redneck cop who accuses the driver of speeding. When the driver isn’t fast enough with his ID, the cop whacks him with a baton. The passenger watches his friend yelp and move faster. The cop asks for proof of insurance and again gives the driver a crack on the head with the baton. The passenger watches, horrified. The cop finishes the interview, says, “Consider this your warning, kid,” and cracks the driver right on both ears with the baton, then walks away. As the two sit in stunned silence, the cop returns to the car, reaches in through the passenger’s window, and punches the passenger square in the mouth.
          “WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT FOR?” the passenger demanded, tasting blood.
          “That was for a mile down the road,” the cop explained, “when you turn to your buddy there and say, ‘Man, I wish that sonofabitch had tried to hit ME!”

    • Jerrad Wohlleber

      She was saying “no” the entire time. Jimbob was just pretending otherwise.

      Most of our personal communication is non-verbal. If somebody’s actions, tone, and body-language say no, then that person has said no. It’s only an abusive creeper who would force the issue all the way to verbal chastisement, which you’ll note she also used to no avail.

      • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

        According to her account in the video, she didn’t say “no” until the guy pushed her down onto the bed and began groping her crotch.

        You can bullshit all you want about body language, but you know as well as I do that it isn’t even a decent substitute for speech. To avoid causing a scene, she repeatedly chose to employ body language, as you call it, instead of simply and clearly expressing herself with speech.

        Now, I grant that body language has its uses, and I don’t object to using it. But the user should assess its efficacy, and be prepared to abandon it for better and clearer communication when it fails.

        One more thing: It’s possible that “Jim Bob” would have persisted, regardless of the language used. We can’t know that. And though he was the aggressor, and the primary one at fault, I think she unnecessarily allowed the situation to escalate.

        • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

          See, here’s the funny thing. We’ve actually done studies on this sort of non-verbal communication, and men do in fact recognize noes dressed up in other ways than a shouted “NO!”. They are perfectly capable of interpreting someone edging away, removing a hand, turning away, pretending to ignore them, excuses to escape, etc. Men indicate that they know these things mean “no” and continue to press unwanted attention on women anyways, even knowing it is unwanted. I leave it to your fertile little mind to figure out why that might be …

          • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

            It’s interesting to see the part you chose to address.

            I didn’t say “Jim Bob” didn’t understand, did I? What I said was that it isn’t as clear as speech.

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              And what I’m telling you is that you are wrong. Nonverbal communication for simple things like “no” is, in fact, just as clear as speech. It’s merely quieter.

              • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

                What about the rest of her body language?

                - She hugged him, which is a clear “yes” in terms of some physical contact. Whether that be an invitation for more physical contact, and what type of contact, isn’t necessarily clear.
                - She allowed him to be near her, with no discouragement; possibly perceived as “yes.”

                - She allowed him to touch her upper back, with no discouragement; possibly perceived as “yes.”
                - She allowed him to touch her waist, with no discouragement; possibly perceived as “yes.”
                - Then, when he grabbed her ass, she gave a weak “no” by turning away. The strong reply expect from a person wanting nothing like it didn’t come. Alone, it would have been clearer, but when combined with other signals, it might have been even more ambiguous.
                - She allowed him to approach her again, with no discouragement; possibly perceived as “yes.”
                - She allowed him to touch her again, with no discouragement; possibly perceived as “yes.”
                - She allowed him to touch her waist, with no discouragement; possibly perceived as “yes.”
                - Then, when he grabbed her ass, she gave a weak “no” by turning away. The strong reply expect from a person wanting nothing like it didn’t come. Alone, it would have been clearer, but when combined with other signals, it might have been even more ambiguous.

                In addition, her description indicates that he was probably drinking alcohol, so he might have been impaired too.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  Oh. My. Ceiling Cat.

                  You just keep going….

                • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

                  I thought it was a dialogue…

                  No worries. The end. Goodbye.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  No. Just no. A friendly hug is not an invitation to groping, it’s an invitation to friendly hug back. It is in no way sexual, nor an invitation to any sexual contact.

                  -She talked to him. That’s not a yes. People talk to their friends.
                  -He touched her and she didn’t stop him, but squirmed uncomfortably/froze up and made faces. At that point any reasonable person removes his hand and apologizes.

                  Everything after that is clearly ignoring noes. You are pretending that men are stupid and incapable of reading people’s basic body language. At least have enough respect for your own sex* to recognize that this guy was being deliberately awful, not ignorant!

                  *I am assuming you are male. If you are not, my apologies.

                • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

                  I have chosen to withdraw from this discussion. The differences between what I think I’ve said, and what you seem to think I’ve said, are getting in the way of any useful discussion we might have.

                  It seems like everything I’ve said is unacceptably wrong. While it would be surprising to be so utterly mistaken, I admit that it’s possible. Your responses aren’t informing me on how I’m wrong, or what’s right. Instead, you seem to be misunderstanding me.

                  After reading your latest post — particularly the description of Ashley’s reaction — it’s obvious that we aren’t working with the same information. Either I’ve missed something, or you’ve added something. Either way, I’ve had enough.

                  Thanks for engaging. I’m sorry the exchange wasn’t rewarding.

            • RowanVT

              And yet he actually chose to ignore that verbal ‘no’ as well, by continuing to try to get her alone where he could continue his assault.

  • Don Gwinn

    Just got to the part where he stopped sexually assaulting her, told her he “wanted to respect her,” and asked her to let him “at least be a gentleman and walk her back to her room.”
    I made a weird face and a weird noise. WTF?

    And she agreed to this plan(!) I’m not blaming her, because we’re all capable of doing this–of letting someone hurt someone (maybe us) because we aren’t able to adjust quickly enough out of our normal social attitude that we should try not to hurt someone’s feelings. We’re all capable of this attitude, “I shouldn’t let this guy escort me to my room alone after he just sexually assaulted me in front of witnesses, because he’s clearly not to be trusted, but then again, if I imply that I don’t trust him or that he’s not a gentleman, he’ll lose face in front of these people.” It makes no sense, but there it is. And she says she knew instantly that she’d said the wrong thing, which is also completely believable and understandable. But holy shit, that’s bad and makes me squirm on my seat.
    OK, I’m going to start the video again now. Wish me luck. Hope we find out in the end whether he was just lying or whether he was actually so deluded that he thought someone could watch what he was doing and think he was “being a gentleman” or respecting someone.

    • Don Gwinn

      OK, she got away. Hooray! I honestly thought the next part of the video was going to be her description of what happened when she actually did let him walk her back to the room alone. Pretty good thinking on her part to recognize the danger and do something about it that she could live with. She wasn’t ready to kick him in the groin and hit him with a stick, but she created distance, bought herself time and even turned the tables by using *his* expectation that she was on board and constrained by social rules against him. Well played.
      Sadly, doing that well implies that she has prior experience. Probably not her first rodeo.

  • Jonathan Olds

    Many believe that the way society teaches girls & women to be sweet and kind and not yell and cause a scene leads to part of the problem. Yes, the BIGGEST problem is men who act like jerks and are not good at taking a hint. It’s for that reason–the “I won’t take ‘No!’ for an answer”–that necessitates women taking a loud and firm stand at the first sign of inappropriateness. You said that you, “…didn’t want to cause a scene” when he first groped you but that is what it takes–ESPECIALLY if there has been drinking. I’m not blaming you for what happened, that’s all on Jim Bob. I am saying that men need to learn to receive permission before they touch someone and women need to remind them of that–loud and often. As a massage therapist, I never touch someone without first receiving explicit permission to do so and I always check ahead to know if there are any areas that are “off limits”. All men should learn to do the same. You have incredible courage to make this video. I hope others gain courage from it, too.

    • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

      The first instance of touching was initiated by Ashley when she “have him a big old hug,” possibly pressing her body against his. Should women receive permission before touching too? Just curious what you think about this.

      • Don Gwinn

        Yup. But there are, for men and women, clear invitations to physical touch that are nonverbal. Mistakes can be made, but if one thinks one can feel a woman up because she hugged one at a social gathering, one’s gonna have a bad time.
        Well, at least I hope so. And, obviously, she actually did escalate to a clearly-spoken, “NO, Jim, get off me, NO.” After that, the level of permission is clearly set at zero.

        It would have been better for everyone if she’d articulated that clear, loud, verbal “NO” when he first touched her inappropriately (as determined by her) but again, it’s not as easy as it looks.

        If you can’t tell whether women who hug men at conferences are inviting them to get sexual–in public–then it becomes your responsibility to be the one saying “No” to hugs, I guess.

      • Jonathan Olds

        I see a hug as an acceptable greeting for a friend, which is how she felt about him to begin with. That does not automatically give him permission to touch her in a sexual way. I like hugging people but I am cautious until I receive some cue from you that it is okay–verbal or no-verbal. And I have had women get “touchy-feely” when it was not wanted…I am happily married for 29 years. Should women be respectful, too? Yes, but it is usually the guy taking a little kindness or affection or even passiveness as a “go” signal to go all the way. A hug is NOT a pass to First Base and it sure ain’t a wave around for Home Plate.

        • David McNerney

          Absolutely.

          We hug our children all the time.

          And when “friends” greet, like in Ashley’s situation, there is always an implied permission-ask as you stand there with your arms outstretched.

          Anyone knocking hugs is way off.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        Yep, EVERYONE should ask for permission before touching!

        • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

          We should have guards at conferences that yell NO TOUCHING!

          • GCT

            Still not funny. You’re really bad at this humor thing.

      • Sally Strange

        Yes, asking permission before hugging (verbally or nonverbally) should be standard practice for everyone.

      • sickofmysoginists

        When you hug your grandma, is that an invitation for sex? I’m just asking, because that is what you seem to be implying.

        • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

          I don’t believe you are naive as your comment seems to indicate. If you still want me to answer, say so.

      • RowanVT

        Um…. body contact is, for the most part, unavoidable in a hug isn’t it?

        • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

          Which parts of the body were in contact, how they were in contact, and for how long are all — this is what I had in mind.

    • Gringa123

      I thought the same thing. Definitely cause a scene when you are put in an uncomfortable situation. There is no reason to protect the ego of an aggressor.

      • http://narcissisticclaptrap.blogspot.com/ narcissistic.claptrap

        I think this underestimates the weight of years and years of learning that as a woman, if I “make a scene” about anything, I will invariably be punished. Women who make scenes are often perceived as crazy bitch drama queens. This perception hurts our careers and our personal relationships. Appeasement is a survival strategy, and many of us do it reflexively in order to “get along”. I totally related to Paramore’s realization that she gave an appeasing, agreeable response to a man who was treating her with utter disrespect. Do you understand how many years of training she has had to do exactly that?

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

          Like how the cops treated me like I was just “some hysterical woman” ‘cuz I was (rightly!) freaking out about bein’ abused, but listened to my abuser ‘cuz he was all scary-calm and “rational”?

          Yeah.

          • Pitchguest

            Two words:

            Anecdotal. Evidence.

            • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

              Not if it’s a common experience among women. The sheer numbers alone tell me that the police ignoring and shaming female victims is a HUGE problem.

              • Pitchguest

                *sigh*

                • RowanVT

                  I know… it’s so inconvenient to have so many women countering your assertion that everything will go peachy for them if they report things. I’m sorry, it’s quite mean of us to be living in reality.

                • Pitchguest

                  Yes, dear. Whatever you say.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  So yeah, throwing in passive-aggressive sexism doesn’t exactly make you look better. Just an FYI.

    • Joseph Langston

      No matter how it may make me sound, like a prude or whatever, but I’m probably not going to touch you even IF I have your permission, unless you are my significant other…preferably we know one another quite well before any of that comes into play, and even then restraint is preferable in public. I mean, what business does such sexuality have being displayed at a skeptic conference, no matter who it originates from?? At any rate, this Jim Bob character seems to be in need of some serious education on respect for other persons, to perhaps include SELF-RESPECT.

  • Bill

    Wow, Look at her video on YouTube and note the number of down votes and tell me there is not a problem with an unacceptable percentage people. I am stunned (okay maybe not) how many guys are so clueless.

    • Pitchguest

      …There are 26 downvotes and 469 upvotes (and counting). What the fuck are you talking about?

    • Morva Ádám

      What makes you think that it’s “guys” who downvote her? Jesus fuck, kiddo, aren’t you a sexist asshole?

  • carolsue1313

    I’m sorry, but why did she let “Jim Bob” get away. Now he is free to do this again to another unsuspecting woman. You were assaulted. It is against the law.

    • RowanVT

      She stated exactly why in the video.

      Sexual assault cases rarely go to trial. The few times they do, it is often the *victim* who ends up “on trial” as the defense asks “What were you wearing? Were you drinking? By hugging him, weren’t you sending signals?” It’s bullshit, it’s stressful, and it rarely accomplishes anything.

      • Pitchguest

        Your rhetoric is exactly why not more men and women report these things to the police, because they “rarely go to trial.” Oh, well, I suppose we shouldn’t report anything to the police, then. Most murder cases are never really solved, and the murderers are still at large; there’s no point in reporting it to the police, I mean, they rarely go to trial. Durr.

        Here’s a guide from Ontario Women’s Justice Network on what questions you may be given when sexual assault cases go to court:

        http://www.sascwr.org/files/www/resources_pdfs/legal/When_a_Sexual_Assault_Case_Goes_to_Trial.pdf

        You see, there’s this thing called “due process.” It’s to do with this thing called “the law.” And in accordance with “the law”, the police must ask the victim questions – even uncomfortable questions – and it’s the same thing in the courtroom. Even as a victim, you can’t expect your story to be taken at face value. It needs to be examined closely to ensure that there is no reasonable doubt. And the questions that range from “Were you drinking?” or “What were you wearing?” most likely will come from the defense attorney, which makes complete sense. Basically, I do not agree with Ashley’s decision to not report the incident to the police – especially if he’s a repeat offender and may try to do it again. But she did do the right thing to at least report it to the conference staff, who acted quickly and efficiently.

        • RowanVT

          It’s not rhetoric. It’s fact. If we change that fact, more people will report.

          For example, when I was 17 I was stalked. We’d been getting a lot of weird phone calls, especially in the middle of the night. A couple were from the guy who registered me to vote outside a bookstore, and the conversations were a little… off? Mildly inappropriate? We only got two of those calls before the middle of the night calls began.

          After about 2 weeks of the night calls, my mom went out to run errands while I was still asleep in bed. Around 9 am I woke up to the sound of the back door being shaken and my dogs going ballistic. I looked out and saw a guy with dark brown hair trying to break in. Same color, and general height and build, of the guy who registered me to vote.

          I was so terrified I ended up hiding in my closet (With a bow and hunting arrows) for 3 hours. It only took the guy about 10 minutes to realise that breaking in when there were two 60+ pound pissed off dogs inside the house wasn’t worth the pleasure of raping and likely killing me.

          Finally I crawled out of the closet, called my grandmother, and then called the cops. My mother got home by the time the cops arrived. The officer sat down with us to discuss what happened, and I told him everything. He then looked at me and said-

          “Because you waited so long to call, how do I know you didn’t just have an argument with your boyfriend?”

          I was flabbergasted. I explained that I had a wonderful relationship with my boyfriend, and that I had been scared! He still insisted he wouldn’t do anything because I had waited too long.

          Because of those earlier inappropriate comments from the registering guy, Mom called the headquarters and asked about where he was that day. The supervisor first said that he was out of state… another day he backtracked and said the guy was in this state, but was out of town… and then yet another day finally admitted that yeah, the guy was in town at the time.

          We brought this to the attention of the police, who ignored both the comments, the timing, and the supervisor’s initial lying.

          I am very certain the only reason I escaped rape or worse was because of my dogs. And the cops didn’t do shit.

          • Pitchguest

            So, wait. The rhetoric often used by some feminists to discourage reporting sexual assault (or rape) to the police because they “rarely go to trial” is not rhetoric, it’s fact. Huh. And this is supposed to dissuade me that it’s not being used to discourage reporting sexual assault to the police because it’s not rhetoric, but fact? Oh, okay.

            For one, I didn’t dispute whether it was fact or not. That’s a failure of reading comprehension on your part. And for two, I wasn’t making any claims on the competency of the police. But if you report it to the police, there’s this thing forming called a “record” which the police can then crosscheck should it happen again. Which is, regardless of your anecdote, useful.

            Moreover, if you never make a report because you don’t want to answer stupid questions, then there’s no point in reporting anything. Murder, theft, arson. Gunshots. Loud noises.

            Again, your rhetoric is exactly why more people don’t come forward to report these things.

            • RowanVT

              So the cop telling me to my face that I was lying should totally encourage me to report things.

              Wow… opposite land sure is an interesting place to live.

              • Pitchguest

                Because an incompetent police officer thought you were lying, that means you should just call it quits?

                • RowanVT

                  How many incompetent officers are there, that this is not an uncommon occurrence when women report such situations?

                • Pitchguest

                  How many incompetent officers are there? I’m sure there are plenty incompetent officers out there. Does that mean we should stop reporting it?

                  Have you realised yet that you’re actually proving my point?

                • RowanVT

                  Opposite land again. You live in an interesting country.

                • Pitchguest

                  …So basically agreeing with you that there are plenty of incompetent officers out there, but disagreeing with you that it shouldn’t be cause to not report it the police, means I’m living in “opposite land”?

                  How the fuck does that work, insane clown posse?

                • RowanVT

                  If the odds are good that you are going to get an ‘incompetent’ officer, so that reporting does you no good at all and might give you an extra dose of “You’re lying” or “You led him on”, this is encouraging women to report assaults…. how exactly?

                • Pitchguest

                  I’m sorry… singular incidents where people might get an incompetent officer to the scene discourages women collectively to report their incidents to the authorities?

                • RowanVT

                  It’s not singular incidents. If it was rare, when the story is told we’d be saying “Wow, that sucks. Ask for a different officer!”. But instead it happens so often that what we hear is “Yeah, it’s rather what I expected to happen. Worth a shot, I guess.” These are not isolated incidents. These are common.

        • RowanVT

          Also, why does the question “What were you wearing” make complete sense?

          Legally, I should be able to run around naked without getting assaulted, right? Maybe arrested for indecent exposure, but if I was also raped a crime would have been committed against me, right?

          What I wear, or don’t wear, has no bearing on the fact of some individual deciding to sexually assault me. A short skirt is not an invitation. A low cut top is not an invitation. I personally don’t wear either. The guy who stalked me saw me in jeans and a Yosemite t-shirt. The guy who followed me through downtown at 1am after I walked a disabled friend to the train saw me in my scrubs which are about as sexless as you can get. The only thing that made him reconsider was the stupid 12 inch long ornamental dagger I had brought with me and because I know how to *look* like I can knife-fight… even though I have no idea actually how to. We had a fun stand off on either side of a street for a minute or two before he decided I wasn’t worth it after all.

          So clothing doesn’t mean shit if someone decides they want to do something to you.

          • 3lemenope

            The question makes sense only insofar as if it is the defense counsel asking it, they are doing their job in zealously fighting for their client by any means within the bounds of the law.

            It doesn’t make the question not scummy. There’s a reason why lawyers, particularly defense attorneys, are not exactly well-loved by the general public.

            • RowanVT

              It makes sense… in that, as I said, it makes the trial not against the rapist, but against the victim. It’s nothing but sleight of hand, a distraction to make the jury think the victim was a slut and therefore giving blanket permission for strangers to put their body parts in any orifice they desire.

              • Pitchguest

                Look. I will admit I’m not the brightest bulb at the best of times, but right now you’re being extremely, ridiculously dim.

                • RowanVT

                  Soo… you don’t think the question of what clothing someone has on has anything to do with victim blaming? You don’t think women are told “You were asking for it” for wearing a short skirt, or low cut shirt? You don’t think that painting the victim as “easy” based on their clothing doesn’t have an impact on how the jury views them?

                  Are you that ignorant or just an asshole?

          • Pitchguest

            Why would it make sense?

            Because it comes from the defense attorney. This isn’t rocket science. You cannot be this stupid.

            • RowanVT

              How, exactly, does what I’m wearing have any impact on whether or not the guy raped me?

              • Pitchguest

                … oh… my… fucking… god.

                Do I really need to spell it out for you?

                It’s the job of the defense attorney to make sure the person being accused is freed! Again. You cannot be this stupid. You just cannot. I’m being trolled.

                • RowanVT

                  Nope. Spell it out for me. Exactly what does my CLOTHING have to do with it freeing the accused?

                  Is he innocent if my boobs are showing?

                • Pitchguest

                  … *blink* *blink*

                  Holy shit.

                • Pitchguest

                  I don’t know if you’re playing this stupid or if you just are, but I’ll make it plain.

                  It doesn’t. The job of the defense attorney is to ensure the person they’re defending doesn’t get thrown in jail. In other words, they want to *win.* In other words, they will ask questions about clothing and how much the victim were drinking PRECISELY because they hope the jury will take it into account!

                  Am I being clear now or do I need to use even simpler words for you to understand?

                • RowanVT

                  So, they’re unethical. And playing upon the view that a woman in revealing clothing is “asking” to be raped and therefore it’s not the guy’s fault he put his penis where it wasn’t wanted.
                  The fact of the matter is that clothing does NOT have an impact on when a man decides to rape. Can you agree to that? That if a man decides he is going to rape a woman, what she is wearing does not actually play into his decision to commit rape?

                • Pitchguest

                  Ahahahahahaha. Oh man. You’re cracking me up.

                  Why are you questioning *me* on the merit of clothing? Didn’t I *just* make absolutely clear that this is a tactic employed by defense attorneys?

                • RowanVT

                  Yes. And you can’t see why a woman who was raped might *not* want to go and have defense attorneys try to get 12 strangers to feel that she deserved to be raped. You can’t see why a woman might *not* want to go through an entire trial, only to get a “not guilty” verdict, which is a likely occurrence, and in the process have her entire life examined to find multiple ways in which it’s all *her* fault she was raped. Because, to you, the initial trauma wasn’t enough. Now she has to be torn apart by the media and people like you, because good girls don’t get raped.

                • Pitchguest

                  First of all, stop trying to look for ulterior motives. Second of all, stop strawmanning. Thirdly, just stop.

                  I fully symphatize with sexual assault victims. Why do you think I want them to report the crime to the police? I want it to get the proper attention it deserves, incompetent police officers notwithstanding. However, victims of sexual assault are not exempt of questioning like victims of theft, arson, abuse and so on. Why should they be?

                  I mean, when you say that they won’t report — or they hear this kind of rhetoric and so they won’t report — because the police might ask stupid questions, and in the courtroom they might ask questions that might open old wounds, are you admitting that you wish for them to receive special treatment?

                  You are aware, I hope, that not all victims of sexual assault tell the truth, are you not? So when they are being cross-examined, which may bring the whole thing back into focus, you do realise it’s actually for a very good reason? That is, regardless if what they’re saying is true or not. You do realise that, right?

                  I mean, you could say the same thing about those being interrogated for murder. It’s not just suspects, it’s family members, friends, acquaintances. Should people stop reporting murder because the police might — or will — ask them questions that bring the trauma back into focus?

                  Yes? No? I guess the bigger question is, why am I even discussing this with you. Pointless.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  The Rape of Mr. Smith

                  If only rape survivors got treated like victims of theft. If only.

                • Pitchguest

                  I see.

                  Tell me, have you ever heard of the ticking time bomb scenario? It’s a hypothetical scenario where a terrorist has hid a bomb that almost certainly will go off, unless the terrorist gives out the location. All else has failed, so what, according to the scenario, is the best course of action to divulge this information?

                  Torture.

                  Yes. Torture. The thing that the real world, with real scenarios and real consequences, has established *doesn’t* work. And in the real world, it has been established that victims of torture will say anything to avoid being tortured again. Even if that means confessing to crimes they almost certainly didn’t commit.

                  Which, of course, means that the ticking time bomb scenario is only a viable experiment to those that still think torture is a viable option of interrogation. Which means that anyone who actually knows anything torture shouldn’t give the thought experiment the time of day because, well, they know different.

                  Which brings me to your article about Mr. Smith.

                  Now, I could look at this hypothetical scenario with Mr. Smith and his hypothetical questioning by a hypothetical police officer, and I could take it very seriously. Or I could realise the silliness of the situation and instead gently ask that you stop being so ridiculous. So I’ll do that. Feminerd, could you stop being so ridiculous? For the good of mankind? (Sorry. Personkind.)

                  Thank you.

                • GCT

                  Exactly, it is ridiculous. But, somehow you don’t think it’s ridiculous when the victim is a woman and the crime is a sexual assault. Shame on you.

                • Pitchguest

                  So when are you going to try for the Randi million?

                • GCT

                  I don’t even know what you are trying to say. What in the world does this have to do with the Randi challenge?

                • Pitchguest

                  Because the Randi challenge has to do with people claiming to have special powers, like being, oh, psychic. And as you have now twice declared for me my motivations and what I think, then maybe you ought to try for the Randi challenge because you obviously think you know my mind.

                  The people trying for the Randi challenge have also all of them been proven wrong. So there’s that.

                • GCT

                  Like I said, I don’t need to read your mind, I only need to read your posts. And, you have a history of misogynistic posts. True, people don’t usually just come out and claim to be bigoted, but if that is the criteria for deciding, then pretty much no one is. That I have examined the evidence of your arguments and posting history does not equate to mind reading.

                  If you think I’m in error, you can continue to double down, or you could consider why I might think what I think about you and see if maybe you could actually learn something from these exchanges with me and others. You continually fail to do that, however. It is always all the other people who point out the sexism in your comments that are obviously wrong, never you saying or doing something that is actually offensive. (This also serves to reinforce the idea that you are sexist BTW.)

                • Pitchguest

                  That’s funny. I can’t remember anything I’ve written that’s been misogynistic. Do you mind providing some examples to refresh my memory?

                • GCT

                  You have a history of victim blaming, for one. You’re also downplaying actual concerns of women in order to explain to them why they are wrong (mansplaining). Next, I assume you’ll claim that the term “mansplaining” is sexist in itself, which will be another data point. And, these are off the top of my head.

                • Pitchguest

                  Citations, GCT. Don’t leave me hanging.

                • GCT

                  I see, it’s let’s play dumb day. I’ve been pointing this stuff out to you as you’ve been saying it. Now, you’re going to pretend that I haven’t done that and claim that I have to go back and repost all of your comments and re-point out all the instances I already pointed out or else it won’t count? I predict that you’ll go away claiming that I can’t back up my comments. It’s not that I can’t, it’s that I’ve already done it and you’ve ignored it and I’m not going to do it again simply because you’ve put your fingers in your ears and refused to listen. So, go ahead and go back to your MRA buddies and declare victory, but anyone reading the thread can see how you’ve been handled.

                • Pitchguest

                  So the first thing you do is claim I’m a known misogynist and sexist, and then you say I’m an MRA. And seeing as you won’t cite where I said the things you say I did (which usually means providing links to the posts in question), that kind of means you’re wrong on all counts.

                  In addition you declare victory ahead of time like a child, and rather contrary to what you claim you’ve backed up nothing. I see no links, no quotes, no citations of any kind to support your position. It’s also extremely difficult to take you seriously when all you’ve contributed to this discussion is feminist catchphrases and acting like the bonafide social justice warrior.

                  Oh, well. Keep on trucking.

                • GCT

                  Thank you for confirming my predictions.

                  Of course, you completely ignore all the instances in this very thread where people have pointed out to you where you’ve been saying things that are sexist, and conclude that unless I go an point all those instances out with links (I can’t link as a guest poster BTW) that they don’t exist. Anyone can read your other comments and see that they do exist and you’ve done nothing but mental gymnastics to try and change the situation. It’s highly dishonest.

                  I do so love the whole “feminist catchphrases” thing too. I love how any argument against your position can be hand-waved away as some sort of catchphrase, thus conveniently relieving you of any duty to actually defend your positions. When you distill objections down to “feminist catchphrases” and then say it’s hard to take me seriously, that’s the height of irony. Sexist troll is sexist, now go troll elsewhere.

                • Pitchguest

                  Come to think of it, I can’t remember anything I’ve written that’s been sexist either. Unless you count the previous ones you cited, but that can’t be it. I repeatedly stated that was hypothetical in regards to defense attorneys in the courtroom and had nothing to do with my personal opinion on the matter, so that can’t be used against me. Or can it? I’m not familiar with SJW rules.

                • RowanVT

                  Actually… torture isn’t likely to get you the truth. It’s likely to get you ANY answer just to make the torture stop… or do you really think that all those men and women in the middle ages were making contracts with satan?

                • Pitchguest

                  You’re just trolling now. Stop it.

                • RowanVT

                  It’s not trolling, it’s truth. People who experience torture will say *anything* to get the pain to stop.

                • Pitchguest

                  For fuck’s sake, RowanVT.

                  Yes. Torture. The thing that the real world, with real scenarios and real consequences, has established *doesn’t* work. And in the real world, it has been established that victims of torture will say anything to avoid being tortured again. Even if that means confessing to crimes they almost certainly didn’t commit.

                  From the post you’re responding to.

                  Learn to fucking read.

                • RowanVT

                  For that one I do apologize. I did misread certain words and clearly didn’t read far enough.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Oh, I see. You think that’s being exaggerated for effect, instead of literally taking the questions asked of rape victims and turning them into questions appropriate for other crime victims. You don’t realize that the police actually treat rape victims like that on a consistent basis- it’s gotten better over time in some places, but it’s still quite common and many women simply aren’t willing to risk being revictimized by the people who are supposed to help them. It’s especially true for crimes less serious than rape, such as stalking or sexual assault like what happened to Ashley.

                  This isn’t a hypothetical situation. If you think it’s unacceptable to ask Mr. Smith those questions when he gets mugged, it’s equally unacceptable to ask Ms. Smith those questions when she gets raped or stalked or tossed on a bed and groped. Yet there you are, defending rape culture with your MRA banner held high. So am I being ridiculous, or are you being condescending to avoid actually engaging my point? Hint: it’s the latter. I’d thank you to stop that, if I thought you actually gave a damn about doing anything other than trolling.

                • GCT

                  I fully symphatize with sexual assault victims.

                  No, you obviously don’t.

                • Pitchguest

                  A genuine psychic.

                  Oh. Wait.

                • GCT

                  It doesn’t take psychic abilities, it only takes a careful reading of the words and arguments that you have put forth. On every thread that I see you on that even touches on women’s issues, you make it your job to argue for male privilege.

                • Pitchguest

                  Indeed, and it only takes a singular glance of yours to see you’re full of shit.

                  Try harder.

                • GCT

                  Right after you just got done telling us all that women should be questioned about their attire, etc? Go be a misogynist elsewhere.

                • Pitchguest

                  No.

                  No.

                  You seriously cannot be that stupid.

                  Are you?

                  My argument about defense attorneys maybe asking those questions to victims of sexual assault / rape in the courtroom gets turned around on me yet again, even though I made it perfectly clear it was in reference to defense attorneys. I can’t believe it. In the same section of comments that contains my clarification, you actually make the same stupid argument as RowanVT – in the same section.

                  I am flabbergasted by this. Utterly flabbergasted.

                  Wow.

                • GCT

                  It’s called “slut shaming”. And, people like you are continuing to claim that it’s a valid defense strategy, which helps to perpetuate it in our culture. IOW, you’re facilitating rape culture. You’re not helping, and it’s quite apparent that you don’t care.

                • Pitchguest

                  For the last time, I’m facilitating what the DEFENSE ATTORNEYS MIGHT SAY! IN THE COURTROOM!

                  Why would I agree with the rhetoric simply because I’m saying this is the kind of questions that might be asked by the defense attorney, in that the defense attorney is trying their damndest to win? Are you seriously this fucking dim?

                  Because I don’t. Now stop being such a fucking idiot.

                • GCT

                  And, when that same example was brought up in the context of a robbery, you poo-pooed it. You called it silly and ridiculous, yet you don’t call the idea that women should be questioned about these things silly and ridiculous.

                  And, don’t get mad at me because I’m calling out your sexism. Don’t get mad at me because I know of your posting history. Don’t get mad at me because I can see through your facade and actually read the content of your posts. If you actually feel bad being called a sexist, then be mad at yourself for presenting yourself that way and examine why people (not just me BTW) might think that. But, as I already said, you don’t do that. You throw up a facade of outrage meant to make people feel bad for pointing these things out. It’s a strategy meant to play on societal norms in order to uphold the societal norms of your privilege. It’s not going to work. So, go ahead and lash out all you want. It won’t change the sexist content of your posts and posting history.

                • Pitchguest

                  What? No. I didn’t call it ridiculous because it was set to robbery. I called it ridiculous because it was clearly meant to be an analogy. The problem is, there is no viable data to suggest that rape is treated in that manner by the police. Like, at all. Anecdotal evidence does not count. That’s also why I made a comparison to the ticking time bomb scenario, because it’s meant to allude to a clear-cut scenario. In the former, it’s the indifference of the police, in the latter it’s torture and everytime it’s the same outcome.

                  But it isn’t all that clearcut and the outcome isn’t always the same.

                  So, no. You’re full of shit. And so is Feminerd.

                  And this armchair psychologist bullshit is really getting old.

                • GCT

                  The problem is, there is no viable data to suggest that rape is treated in that manner by the police.

                  What fucking planet do you live on?

                  And this armchair psychologist bullshit is really getting old.

                  I have no idea what you’re talking about.

    • Jerrad Wohlleber

      Because she’s not Judge Dredd?

  • ragingrev

    I can’t be the only one that thinks it’s well past time to name names so these people aren’t invited back to these conferences, can I?

    • http://www.miketheinfidel.com/ MikeTheInfidel

      The person in this story was reported, named, and banned from the conference.

  • SeekerLancer

    Ladies, please do cause a scene. Let us know you’re in trouble. There are only a handful of predators and judgmental assholes in a sea of people who will not tolerate that sort of behavior.

    Clearly-defined policies won’t stop predators from attending conventions and only work when we’re aware there’s a problem.

    • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

      Even if no ‘scene’ is caused, anyone paying the slightest damn bit of attention should be able to figure out that someone putting their hands on or otherwise forcing attention on someone that is resisting is a problem. Do you really need a big flashing neon sign to know that the guy who is grabbing a woman who keeps pushing him away might be up to no good?

      Where is this sea of people who will not tolerate that sort of behavior? Because I’ve made the damn scene in a group of folks, and the only response I’ve gotten is awkward looks and people who get mad at me for ‘overreacting’ and ‘being a bitch to some guy who was just trying to get my number’.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        This is exactly why bystander training is so important. It makes a huge difference in assaults when the perpetrator’s friends or random bystanders step in and say, “no, this is not acceptable behavior, stop it” instead of trying to awkwardly ignore it or blaming the victim for making a scene.

        Of course, the reason we need bystander training is because without it, harassment and assaults happen in crowded areas and no one does a damned thing to stop it.

      • SeekerLancer

        People are naturally hesitant to involve themselves in situations unless they know something is wrong. They don’t want to risk embarrassing themselves over a misconception as cold and horrible as that sounds.

        I understand that simply asking for help might be embarrassing as well if you’re around others who treat the situation as a joke. But is the alternative better? That problem is unfortunate and can only be helped by raising awareness.

        Still, in this example TAM had people she could go to for help, and they did a fine job of helping her when she finally did.

        Sometimes yes, you do need a big flashing neon sign before people know that maybe they ought to step in. It’s unfortunate but if that’s something society as a whole has to change.

        • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

          ‘Raising awareness’. Just like those useless pink ribbons. If you aren’t aware yet that these cancers exist, you’ve been living under a rock known as ‘willful denial’.

          It’s something society needs to change. The onus shouldn’t be on the victim to change it. Yes, it’s cold and horrible to embarrass yourself over a misconception. Is the alternative (standing there like a jackass while someone is sexually harassed/assaulted) better? The problem is unfortunate and can only be helped by getting your head out of your ass and understanding the standard you walk by is the standard you accept.

          • SeekerLancer

            My point is touching someone might not look like unwanted sexual advances to a bystander.

            I’m not trying to blame the victim, but I do think both victims and bystanders need to be better educated.

            We’re not disagreeing that things need to change.

          • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

            Agreed.

  • Rayven

    I no longer hang out on Atheist forums or go to cons or meetups because of things like this. There is a problem within the online atheist “community” that needs to be addressed. It isn’t just about sexual harassment, it is about abusive behavior in general. (For those who think it has something to do with Atheism, it doesn’t. Most atheists do not hang out in the online social groups or attend cons/meetups, so do not judge all atheists by what a few in the online/con community do.)

    After decades of online interactions I have come to the conclusion that some of the more well known online atheists are obnoxious abusers and for some odd reason they attract a following and start to think they can get away with anything. There are dozens of individuals I could name who have said or done things bordering on, (or flat out are), illegal and yet they are not only tolerated, but semi-worshiped by online groupies.

    To make a point I will use a personal example. One well known atheist by the nickname of Placebo Messiah threatened to rape and murder my children a few years ago on a well known online forum. We weren’t arguing, he just kept posting crazy things every time I posted, trying to get me to react. This kind of behavior is normal for him and yet the guy is practically worshiped in the online atheist community. I would imagine many of you know him, that is why I am using him as an example. Ask yourself why you think people like him are cool. Then ask yourself why the cons seem to have a problem with sexual assaults. Perhaps it is because abusers are tolerated in our online encounters and are allowed to become popular in the community, therefor they end up going to cons, meetups, etc…

    When this particular threat to my children was made by Placebo/Vincent, I realized the online atheist community had become pretty toxic and perhaps I should just leave it. When it happened, not a single person criticized his behavior and many well known atheists frequent that forum, including people I considered friends. Some of the members of that forum not only attend cons, but speak at them. I asked myself, “If so many of the people in our online community don’t seem to be bothered by someone threatening to rape and murder another person’s children, what kind of community do we really have?” At that point I realized it was best to stop frequenting the atheist communities and for the last few years I have stayed away and I rarely post anything. I do not attend meetups or cons anymore either.

    My personal example is just one example of the the kind of behavior that is not only tolerated, but encouraged within the online atheist community. It has become a poisonous atmosphere and these are the same people who attend the cons. (I’d be willing to bet money that I know Ashley’s attacker. I can name at least a hundred well known atheist guys I know who have pulled stunts like what she described.) The reason most people don’t report them is because they don’t want to be shunned by the rest of the community. If a person speaks out against a popular atheist, they get shammed and harassed to no end.

    Because many people interact online on a daily basis and develop what can be described as semi-personal relationships with each other, certain types of people began to feel entitled, and are prone to invade another person’s boundaries. Remember that at cons, some of the attendees have known each other online for years, and perhaps have even flirted online or acted so buddy buddy that when they meet in person, one of them feels they have the right to pounce on the other and do things that a stranger would not normally do. I think this is where the problem lies. If you want things to change at the cons, stop tolerating the douche-bags who frequent popular online atheist forums/blogs/channels. When the atheist community stops tolerating abusers online they will not feel popular enough to attend cons.

  • Marsh

    Some here seem critical of Ashley for not fighting him off more aggressively, for saying “Fine” when he wanted to walk her back. I have experienced this. You know the person. It’s completely unexpected. You’re in shock. Part of you is reeling in disbelief, and all the while you’re thinking, “Everyone’s having such a nice time, I don’t want to make a scene, don’t want to spoil things.” Later you can’t believe you didn’t yell, hit him, run or whatever. That’s the way it is. It’s not something you plan for. Thanks to Ashley for sharing this.

  • Reg Metcalf

    this was hard to listen to, but not because of the content, but because her presentation is so hard to take seriously. sexual harassment is a SERIOUS issue, but what’s with the mf’ing bird, ferchrissakes!! seriously!
    look, i’m happy she’s speaking out. i certainly hope her message gets out there and that ANY ONE who gets harassed or abused finds the courage she’s shown and gets the support they need. i’ve never been to any of these conf’s & i don’t know much about the atheist community, but i can readily see that (too) many people in any group (and, perhaps, especially any group founded in the notion of free thought) will overstep boundaries of good behavior, manners, decorum or even the law. these people should be corrected, dealt with, expunged or treated in whatever way is appropriate.
    THAT SAID, it can’t help if those who are victimized don’t treat the subject seriously. i AM NOT BLAMING THE VICTIM, but, by her own testimony, she’s been the victim at almost every conference and, until now (and better late than never) has never reported it! it’s bad behavior and it should stop, but how will that happen if people don’t speak out, either when it happens to them OR to someone else?! it’s almost like coming out as gay OR an atheist: if it’s invisible, no one will see it and nothing will change.
    so congrats on speaking out. but DO IT LIKE YOU MEAN IT!

    • RowanVT

      You are totally blaming the victim here.

      There’s a reason there are therapy animals. They help distract people, calm them, and reassure them. The bird was likely helping with that, as you should have been able to hear the multiple points she almost broke into tears. That quaver in the voice is unmistakable.

      • Reg Metcalf

        i fail to see how i’m “blaming” her. i am criticizing her, however. i don’t think even victims are immune from criticism.

        • RowanVT

          Your idea of criticism: “How dare she cope with her trauma in a way that I think is trivial!”

          Do you criticize me as well for having both the dogs sleep in my room for *years* after I was stalked?

          What you are blaming her for is not behaving how you think she should. Because ALL people must react to trauma in a certain way, and that’s the way that you think is correct, amiright?

          • Reg Metcalf

            did she say somewhere in the video that the bird was her way of coping with trauma. if so, then i missed it and for that i apologize. i do wonder why it appears and disappears tho’. and, i repeat, i don’t believe i’m blaming her for have a bird in a very serious video about a serious problem. i’m criticizing it as a choice. but if it’s not a choice, then i profoundly regret the error.

            • RowanVT

              Someone doesn’t have to state something for it to be potentially so. As I said, there’s a reason we have therapy animals that help children gain confidence in reading, or help the sick feel better. It’s something non-judgemental to talk to; she mentioned that she was not looking forward to the youtube comments.

              I don’t know for sure it’s to help her gain confidence to tell this horrific tale, but as a simple choice if you are THAT distracted by a friggin’ cockatiel that you have to complain about it and declare that she is not taking her assault seriously, YOU have a problem.

              • Reg Metcalf

                rest assured, i have many problems. that said, i didn’t say that she wasn’t taking her assault seriously, or if i did, i certainly didn’t mean to say any such thing. what i meant to say was that her presentation (for me, obviously) underminded the seriousness of the video. i stick by that.

                and, certainly the bird COULD be serving all those functions you suggest. i just don’t KNOW that, since that information isn’t provided to me. i don’t know that YOU know it either.

                • RowanVT

                  Let me quote you, for you:

                  “… it can’t help if those who are victimized don’t treat the subject seriously.”

                  “so congrats on speaking out. but DO IT LIKE YOU MEAN IT!”

                  Yeah, totally not saying she wasn’t taking it seriously.

                • Reg Metcalf

                  you are right. i apologize for that sentence. i do think she is serious. i truly never doubted that. i still think the bird is a mistake that undermines her presentation, but i do definitely believe she is SERIOUS. you are right. no question.

                • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                  I think you are being too critical, the bird is noise to a clear and serious message. A bird on her shoulder is humorous, distracting, etc. I work in advertising and I agree completely. And its a legitimate critique, you don’t have to get so defensive about it.

                • RowanVT

                  It’s a cockatiel. I know it can be hard to tell these things. And I’m sorry again that apparently a bird can distract you that severely. It’s funny how most of us had no problem with the bird. In fact, it almost seems like just a way to be able to ignore the content of the video (which you called stupid upthread) and focus on something to nitpick instead of talk about the horrible thing that actually happened.

              • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                She has like 20 other videos with that fucking cockatoo! pre-assault. What are you even talking about!?

          • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

            She has a parrot on her shoulder like a fuckin’ pirate while she’s talking about sexual assault! its a fair point to bring up!

            • RowanVT

              Your point is potentially valid and important, but I’m distracted by your inability to correctly identify the species of bird. This constant talk of “parrot” and “cockatoo” for what is a cockatiel just makes me believe you aren’t taking this seriously.

              • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                and you are free to believe that, I could’ve identified the correct bird species to make my argument stronger, thank you for pointing it out. But I assure you she was being serious, the cockatiel is just a recurring theme in her videos.

                vs.

                victim bashing! victim bashing! She wanted to say parrot because it consoles her from her ordeal and you horrible man are horrible man man so horrible! with your penis and your facial hair, gross icky yuck.

                • RowanVT

                  O_o

                  I like beards. My boyfriend has a beard. Neither facial hair nor penises are icky.

                  I also never said he was horrible. I said that the phrase “not taking the assault seriously” is victim blaming. One can utter a phrase like that without being a horrible person because our culture constantly loves to blame victims for any perceived fault and find some way to make them have deserved what happened. In this case, it sort of read that she deserves all the nasty comments she’s getting because… she has a bird. It read as it’s okay to wave away a lot of what she was talking about… because there was a bird.

      • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

        ugh, I cringe at how many times you’ve said blame the victim. NOBODY IS BLAMING THE VICTIM.

        • Pitchguest

          It’s a common tactic used by the radical fringe of the feminist movement. Pay it no mind.

          • GCT

            Actually, victim blaming is a common tactic used by those who perform rape apologia and seek to uphold rape culture. It gets called out often because of how often it is used.

            • Pitchguest

              Whatever you say.

              • GCT

                Well, I can point out numerous examples in this thread alone. You can continue to cry about it’s some sort of tactic, but the evidence is right here in this thread.

        • RowanVT

          Uhm… It kind of counters your point when the person later apologised for the victim-blaming phrase of declaring this person wasn’t taking her assault seriously.

          • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

            No, he is saying she could’ve left the cockatoo out of this serious video. Nobody is saying she is not being serious, he’s just asking if the bird was a bad call? If I came out talking about cancer dressed as a clown it would be a totally legitimate question to ask, maybe he shouldn’t be dressed as a clown while talking about cancer, nobody is victim blaming its not a macho statement or anything the bird is kinda weird, I think a lot of people thought that and you’re bashing someone for daring to ask? there’s nothing between the lines here, no male agenda you’re just paranoid.

            • GCT

              Tone trolling at its finest.

            • RowanVT

              He said she wasn’t taking it seriously. I quoted it. I quoted it to him and he apologised for it because it does sound blamey.

              • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                yeah, you proved a point and quoted someone fine. But the problem is there, how you exaggerate things (just like the whole holocaust thing) and start pointing fingers immediately.

                1. You start crying that the cockatiel was her therapy animal, which is just silly she appears with the cockatiel on every video she makes.

                I think the guy has some serious questions, the bird, why did she wait so long to report it, why did it take so many times for this to happen, why a video instead of going to the authorities. You’re just reacting so defensively because it happened to be a guy who asked these things.

                and he said that with all these factors it might seem she was not taking this seriously, which I don’t believe is right at all. I do feel like the bird was a bad call, but whatever everyone copes differently.

                • GCT

                  It just happens to be a guy soaking in male privilege.

                • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                  so our opinions are garbage and automatically sexist because of the male privileged world we were born in and had nothing to do with?

                • GCT

                  When you refuse to examine your privileges and refuse to even admit that you might have them and then proceed to mansplain and dictate how things must be based on your privilege, then yes.

                  I do love, however, how when I make a statement about your particular comments it turns into man hating or you not ever being able to have an opinion, and yet I’m the one being accused of hyperbole on another thread. This is priceless.

                • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                  I agree about male privilege, and I value your opinion. It does kinda turn into man-hating when you use words like mansplaining.

                • GCT

                  I fail to see how using the term “mansplaining” is in any way a form of man-hating. Perhaps you can mansplain it to us all?

                • RowanVT

                  I said it *could* be a form of therapy, and mentioned that there are animals used for therapy such as helping children who have difficulty with reading gain confidence. Having an animal around can give someone added confidence. I never declared that the bird IS being used for that, but that it might be.

                  …. What exaggeration with the holocaust? Are you mixing me up with yet *another* person? Do you have any idea how hard it is to take you seriously when you can’t keep people straight?

                  Truthfully, she didn’t wait all that long to tell the con staff. Do you think I was wrong for not calling the cops for 3 hours after the attempted break in… because I was utterly terrified and hiding? Assault is one of those things that, while you know it *can* happen, you never actually expect to happen to you. It can take a long time to process what just occurred, due to shock.

                  As to not reporting it to the police, she said why in her video, and it’s been explained by several of us that based on personal experience, or the experiences of friends and relatives, much of the time our complaints about sexual assault are not taken seriously. We can even be demeaned by the very officers that are supposed to be helping us. We have no desire to experience that, coupled with the extremely low conviction rate for such cases. It feels like reporting it is pointless.

                • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                  Those are all legitimate reasons, I don’t fault her for not doing any of those things and you explain the reasons why awesomely. I was saying that the guy who asked or criticized her was maybe being genuine and didn’t know all the crap that goes with reporting this kind of horrible events.

                • RowanVT

                  And we were pointing out how his statement could come across as victim blaming. If you actually *read* the whole conversation, I pointed out a couple ways he could make the same point about the bird *without* it accidentally sounding like victim blaming. He even *thanked* me for the suggestions.

                  The fact that we got through it amiably makes your attempt at lecturing me seem totally left field. The declaring I was exaggerating, and pointing fingers, and mistaking me for yet another person, does not do you any favors when viewed in the light of the utter lack of animosity with which the poster and I had resolved the conversation.

                • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                  and I tried to help resolve it, didn’t I?

                • RowanVT

                  It was resolved long before you added anything to this part of the conversation… so no. Not really. Coming in 10 hours after the fact doesn’t ‘help resolve’ anything.

                  Declaring someone is exaggerating, and pointing fingers and calling people horrible does not help resolve anything. It is, in fact, rather inflammatory and anti-helpful.

                • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                  your first sentence was. You are totally victim blaming! that’s an accusatory statement, finger pointing. And then you went on this silly rant about comfort cockatiels.

                • RowanVT

                  Still not resolving anything.

                  That sentence directly correlated to “I’m not victim blaming” and ” …it can’t help if those who are victimized don’t treat the subject seriously.”

                  The person… admitted… it comes across as victim blaming. If you read the whole conversation, you would see this. But you don’t want to read. You want to nitpick.

                • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                  I read it. And you were right. I can admit this, but still you got super defensive immediately instead of explaining. It doesn’t help your cause when these things go unreported no matter how awful and pointless it is to report them. I think that statement had value even if it was poorly written.

                • RowanVT

                  When things are poorly written, then they don’t convey the meaning that was intended… and they decrease in value significantly.

                  You are also reading tone that isn’t there in my writing. Or maybe you are mistaking defending for defensiveness.

    • Makoto

      Oh, no, she had a bird in her video! She’s not taking HER OWN ASSAULT seriously!

      No, you are blaming the victim. Stop. The bird, her tone of voice, how she was dressed, the background, none of it has to do with what she is talking about.

      • Reg Metcalf

        i disagree. the bird is a choice. she’s making a video, not a radio broadcast.

        • Makoto

          So you’re saying if it was a podcast, even with the bird in the room with her, you would’ve taken it more seriously since you couldn’t see it?

          • Reg Metcalf

            make no mistake: i took it seriously. i took her seriously. i definitely take sexual assault seriously. but i think it would have been less distracting (for me) if i didn’t see the bird. yes.

            • Makoto

              Really? “her presentation is so hard to take seriously” does not exactly sound like you’re taking it seriously.

              Honestly, you’re criticizing her presentation of her assault, for no real reason other than that you found it offputting to have a bird in there, from what I can tell. So what. I’ve had people reveal deep, shameful secrets to me in the form of knock-knock jokes. If that’s how they choose to present the issue, I can still take the issue seriously.

              If seeing the bird is so distracting, play the video again and look away. She’s doing it in her way. If the bird is her trademark, or it made her happy, or just helped her distract herself from what she was talking about and reliving in her mind, whatever. The message is the same.

              • Reg Metcalf

                i got it. she could have filled it with expletives or or while bathing or using the toilet (something i, for one, find very comforting): it’s all the same message. true.
                and please believe me: i took it seriously. i take her seriously. i don’t take the bird seriously. look it may be a minor point for others. but i think presentation matters. if it’s just me, so be it.

                and i insist that i’m am truly sympathetic to what happened to her. i honestly wish her well. that’s it, y’all.

                • RowanVT

                  For the future, instead of going into victim blaming, however accidental… just use a little aside like “I did find the bird a bit odd” or “The bird was a little distraction but overall…”

                • Reg Metcalf

                  point taken and thank you.

    • Sally Strange

      i AM NOT BLAMING THE VICTIM, but

      Anytime you find yourself typing or writing that sentence or a variation on it, stop right there. Whatever you are claiming not to do, you are about to do. Your little screed is no exception.

      • Reg Metcalf

        i disagree

        • RowanVT

          You can disagree. But you can also be just about flat out wrong.

          • Reg Metcalf

            oh easily. i’m human. so can you. in either case, merely stating a contrary opinion doesn’t prove either point.

            • RowanVT

              You did blame her… “for not taking her assault seriously”, for degrees of seriousness determined by *you*.

              Some people cope with trauma by trying to “lighten up”. Some get angry. Various people react in varying ways. The bird probably helped keep her calm as I previously pointed out. Considering the cuts in the video, I’ll bet she did actually break down a couple times.

              13 years after my stalking, and I still don’t feel ‘safe’ if I don’t have a dog at home. She’s all of 20 pounds and timid as heck, but my brain says “There is a dog. You are safe.” If I had her with me while talking about that episode, would you say I wasn’t taking my almost-rape-and-death seriously?

              • Reg Metcalf

                well, those are assumptions on your part. they may be valid. i don’t know. i don’t know you or her. i can only respond to what i see. i understand that her seriousness, based on YOUR experience was not undermined by her presentation. no problem… for you. but the video wasn’t just for you. it was for anyone who watched it. it will necessarily engender different responses in different people. i articulated part of the response it engendered, based on my experience, in me. another part of that response was sympathy for a person who endured a degrading and humiliating experience. like many people, including you, i have endured them also. i think it’s possible to hold the notion of criticizing a presentation of greivance in your mind at the same time you appreciate the seriousness of the greivance.

  • Sally Strange

    Guys, you can’t a.) break down Ashley’s response to harassment and criticize it and go on and on about how she ought to have handled it and b.) decry low reporting rates at the same time. You can do one or the other, but it should be obvious that any harassment victim is not going to be interested in reporting to their experience to a person who has demonstrated a propensity towards criticizing the response of harasees to harassment. That’s just not the sort of thing one wants to hear when one has just been traumatized.

  • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

    Friendly Atheist branded Rape Whistles, just sayin’

    • GCT

      Still not funny.

      • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

        a Rapehorn Dawkins, you honk Richard’s head.

        • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

          MACE C Grayling?

          • RowanVT

            The first rule of holes. You really need to learn it.

            • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

              is it always protect yours when around drunk horny idiots?

              • RowanVT

                Have you hit the KT boundary down there yet?

                • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                  I did not know what the KT boundary was. Nice, you learn something every day.

                • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                  I made you a graphic:

                  http://imgur.com/wu5Wgvh

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

          Mmm….nope.

  • Rayven

    Some people have commented on Ashley’s inclusion of her cockatiel, as if it is out of place and distracts from the seriousness of the allegations. I don’t know Ashley but I am assuming the bird was an unconscious comfort device. Most people feel vulnerable when they talk about being assaulted and they may need an object, person, pet, whatever, near them to help them relax. I assumed it was a coping device and put it aside. Perhaps people who think it means she isn’t taking the subject seriously should pretend the bird is a comfort blanket or a pillow she’s clutching. Ignore it.

    Also, for those who think Ashley (or anyone for that matter) who is in a situation like the one she was in hold part of the blame for not making a scene or smacking the jerk, try to keep in mind that many conventions such as this one are made up of people who are in online communities together, sometimes for years. The victim may feel awkward and unsure of what to do because if they make a big scene, it will cause a huge drama and affect their social circle. It is a more complicated social structure than you may realize. In some cases the people you see at cons and groups like that are people you interact with daily online. They may hang out at the same online forums. Those kind of forums can be someone’s main social life, so causing a big drama is going to pretty much turn their world upside down. Plus, many people want to be accepted, so they are afraid to make a scene and risk rejection of the social group. It sucks, but that is a reality. That is why many victims in churches, schools, workplaces etc…are too afraid to speak out. Cut her some slack, she’s young and it was a shock to her. She was probably feeling overwhelmed and vulnerable. Someone she considered a friend violated her and no one in the room jumped in to help her. She felt alone.

    Speaking of that, why the hell did no one in the room help her? If I saw a guy pin a girl to the bed and start groping her while she said “no”, I would grab the jerk by the hair and throw him to the ground. Was no one paying attention? Was it a room full of creeps? When she told the one guy she needed to get away from “Jimbob”, why did he not walk her to her room to make sure Jimbob didn’t sneak out and follow her?

    • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

      unconscious cockatoo sound rapey

  • QuestioningKat

    I don’t think I will ever go to one of these events because of all the harassment I hear women endure. In general, women are taught to try to keep everyone happy and not rock the boat. We even do this when it comes time for raises and job betterment. I understand why she chose some of her actions and comments. Yes, we women need to learn to be more brash and blunt… Unfortunately, we learn to stand up for ourselves by enduring bad things and finally saying– enough! If it were twenty, thirty years ago, I might do what I did back then – Shut up and let it get the best of me by eating away at me for years. At least Ashely reported it and got it “off her chest” by making a video. It is a good thing that it wasn’t me in her position today, I would have called the cops and they would have dragged the guy out in front of everyone even if forks and knives were hurled at me. It has taken decades for me to be comfortable doing this. Sorry this had to happen to you Ashley.

    • Pitchguest

      *facepalm*

      All the harassment?

      If you actually look at the evidence, you’d realise that “all the harassment” at these conferences/conventions are slim to none. At this year’s TAM, there were no reported incidents of sexual harassment. Last year’s TAM, there were at least one (Ashley’s incident) and at TAM9 there were none (that is, there were none reported – Ashley Miller was harassed by a drunk guy but didn’t report it). Were there any reported incidents of sexual harassment at TAM8?

      It’s remarkable to me that these distortions are allowed to happen simply because a woman was involved.

      • RowanVT

        Oh yeah, we women with our fluffy pink lady brains just can’t help but make a giant hullabaloo about a little thing like getting groped, or stalked, or harassed. Oh wait, it’s not harassment, it’s “flirtation” even if it’s unwanted and we’ve expressed a lack of desire for it. Silly me.

        • Pitchguest

          No. Not women, RowanVT. Just women like you. Because if you took heed to read my words very carefully instead of using your “fluffy pink lady brain” which is apparently a euphemism for nonexistent, you’d know I wasn’t dismissing the incidents themselves but rather how the incidents are reported – by some people. People like QuestioningKat who are distorting the events to make a blanket claim of “all the harassment” at the cons, when “all the harassment” is actually very, very — very — little.

          Besides, I doubt Ashley Paramore herself wouldn’t encourage these kinds of distortions being made on her behalf.

        • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

          Pink lady brains. Nobody is saying that, you’re so ridiculous. Read calmly, Pitchguest is just saying that these have been very few isolated incidents and people shouldn’t be turned away from these events because of them. You kinda say the same thing on your video, that mostly they have been positive experience. But when a “guy” says it SACRILEGE!!!

          • RowanVT

            My… video? I have a video? The only video I have anywhere is of my last foster kittens. O_o Tomorrow I will be adding to it a video of my foster puppy.

            • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

              this stupid video the one from the post. I though you were Ashley.

              • GCT

                Stupid video? Seriously?

              • RowanVT

                Oh, the video is stupid now? Her talking about being sexually assaulted, and the guy admitting it to the staffers, is now “stupid”?

          • GCT

            Pink lady brains. Nobody is saying that, you’re so ridiculous. Read calmly…

            SMH. What, is RowanVT too “hysterical” for you?

  • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

    I think we can all agree that rape is bad.

  • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

    I have a question on the matter because I want to be a better person, sometimes when you want to defend a lady’s honor the lady in question goes, I can take care of myself! But its weird sometimes, because the guy who is defending her might also want to get her into bed he’s just using a different tactic, I was out with some friends and they had a really drunk girl with them they were getting her into her car and three assholes came and started picking a fight, hey! where are you taking that girl and shit? so we got in the middle and we were like, we know her she’s girlfriend of one of these guys but we got super violent and they did too, we thought they were just “trying to protect” the lady so they could take her for themselves and take advantage so we got pissed, they got pissed because they thought we were just getting a drunk girl inside of our car. Fuck, gender relations are complicated. should we strive for a asexual race-less, religion-less androgenic society? I think so.

  • DaveDodo007

    FFS what is it with you American atheists, it is like you are a bunch of socially retarded fuckwits. It is fucking lame having atheists conventions anyway. You are mostly a load of sad sacks with your OMG OMG IT’S A GIRL! What with your creepy speakers like P Z Myers soliciting sex from a women he dragged onstage. To the ‘bag a hottie’ Shermer types. Hardly surprising that the rest think it’s OK to grope anything in a skirt. Just grow the fuck up will you as you are making the rest of the world’s atheists look bad.

    I will be glad when you yanks get over your ‘fadish’ atheism and go back to jebus, trust me I will be better for all the worlds atheists when we haven’t got you clueless wonders dragging us down like a mill stone around our necks. Please please get back to church.

    • RowanVT

      I’d like “out of context points” for 500, Alex! After that, I will take “Accidentally proving myself correct” for 300, and “No True Atheist” for 400!

      Because non-american atheists NEVER say or do sexist shit.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        *cough*Dawkins*cough*

        • Pitchguest

          Really?

          Dawkins is sexist?

          • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

            Dang, throwing accusations. Really? Dawkins? is there proof? is there no stop to this infamy? A guy who battles for women getting education and not getting acid thrown in their faces in muslim countries?

            • GCT

              Dear Muslima.

              • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                But that’s the thing, one stupid horribly idiotic letter vs. a career of fighting for women’s right. Does it make you a sexist? he did a sexist thing, or a bad call maybe.

                • GCT

                  Which is what wmdkitty said. He did a sexist thing. He has sexist biases, and when it was pointed out he doubled down on those biases instead of examining them. I’m not aware that he’s ever come forward to admit that what he did was wrong and done anything to atone for it. If he has, I’d like to know.

                • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                  He should apologize, and i’m not defending them and this goes perfectly with my argument why these authors should be idolized, they’re men with faults, biases that make mistakes. It is also a mistake to say only american atheists are sexists or european ones, there are bad elements everywhere.

                • GCT

                  So, has he? And, do you now admit that he did a sexist thing? Further, do you admit that your objection is now defeated?

                • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                  yeah, he did. I don’t know if he’s a sexist. He wrote a bad letter in which he accurately compared the difference of plights between an american woman and a muslim woman. It was distasteful yes, sexist yes, does this make him a sexist, I don’t think so. What Dawkins wrote is true, getting thrown acid in the face is way worse.

                • GCT

                  No one said he’s an out and out sexist. Where did you get that? Oh yeah, you made it up, because you are hell bent on reading everything in the most uncharitable light so that you can complain about those uppity feminists and how irrational they all are. What he did was sexist. He got criticized for it. It’s only people like you that pretend that it means that we’ve all condemned him to hell for eternity.

                  Do you have a link to his apology?

                • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                  Aren’t we saying t he same thing? that if a person does something sexist they shouldn’t automatically be condemned as a sexist in all they do. I’m not accusing anybody of saying this, I’ve been saying how dangerous that is, for everything, when people are called racists for saying something, get their careers ruined. He should apologize. I’ve been saying that its bad to either condemn someone or put them up in a pedestal.

                • GCT

                  Aren’t we saying t he same thing?

                  No, we are not…see below.

                  that if a person does something sexist they shouldn’t automatically be condemned as a sexist in all they do.

                  We agree with that (as do every feminist I know) but here’s where the difference comes in. You look at the statements that Dawkins said something sexist and turn it into, “Those damned feminists are saying Dawkins should burn in hell for forever because he’s a sexist through and through with no redeeming qualities what-so-ever and blah blah blah.” The difference is your penchant for automatically putting an uncharitable interpretation on what was said. This is problematic.

                  I’ve been saying that its bad to either condemn someone or put them up in a pedestal.

                  No, it’s not bad to condemn someone and point out that they did something stupid/sexist/racist/whatever. If no one points it out, then the person never learns that what they did was wrong/offensive/etc. If the person in question comes forward and says, “I hadn’t thought of it that way, let me examine my biases and learn from this,” then a dialog can start and people can learn. If the person doubles down and says, “How dare you damned, evil feminists accuse me of being a sexist and a horrible, rotten person,” then nothing can be learned, and that person will not make any sort of breakthrough. It’s up to the person who has been criticized to figure out how they will deal with it.

      • GCT

        You could also take revisionist history for 200 and derogatory slurs for 100.

    • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

      couldn’t agree more. I miss the days of organizing atheist is like herding cats. Cons for atheists are a dorkfest. And that’s the problem, we start becoming judged on actions of a few because its a organized affair. They start treating people like PZ Myers like rockstars, they start acting like rockstars, rockstars want to get laid. Sometimes I do feel like this whole atheism is becoming another religion stupid argument to be true, it is very off-putting.

  • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

    Fringe Feminism is no different than the Black Power movement. It turns people off to your cause and its discriminatory against men. This whole comments thread became a man-bashing fest let’s throw words like “blame the victim” at anybody who asks any type of question, most people here are with you and consider this a serious thing that we want to fight against. Be the MLK of Feminism not the Malcolm X. We come here to support your cause, don’t be dumb. We’re not republicans.

    • GCT

      OK, just stop.

      Where is the man bashing? There isn’t any. That you would complain about this non-existent man-bashing is pretty indicative of your male privilege and your sexism.

      And, no, you didn’t come here to support our cause. You came here to support your own and take attention away from the plight of real women so that you could whine, “What about the menz?” and attack feminists. All your not-at-all funny jokes are attempts to shift the focus, to ridicule feminists and feminism, and to diminish what actually happened to Ashley. All of your so-called questions really are about victim blaming.

      You’re not the hero you think you are, and you don’t have a monopoly on truth, wisdom, or whatever else it is that you think you’re the arbiter of.

      • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

        No, I came here to raise valid questions about alcohol use in these cases and was instantly received with hostility.

        • GCT

          I thought you came here to joke as you said before. No wait, you came here for whatever purpose you can currently claim that you think will allow you to derail the thread and try to take the focus off of the issue of harassment of women. You strive so hard to make sure that we don’t get to discuss women’s issues and then wonder why people might not be receptive to your attempts to uphold male privilege.

          • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

            No, I started the alcohol debate with a joke about weed, but it was a serious subject. Well they are not women’s issues they are gender relation issues, we are all in the same boat, the same planet whenever this happens we all should hide our heads in shame.

            • GCT

              And, you attempted to make it all about your pet issues with alcohol. Now, you’re trying to minimize the impact on women by calling them “gender relation issues.” I can practically hear it….”What about the menz?”

              You should have stopped digging a looooooong time ago.

              • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                Freedom of Choice and body rights is a women’s issue. Sexual assault is everybody’s issue, it can happen to children, men, anybody and it should be stopped by everybody working together, making social contracts, improving conditions for the victims, sensitizing and improving law enforcement, clear policies, better upbringing in children, school equality classes, eliminating religion, you name it.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Actually, freedom of choice and body rights is an everyone issue. If a woman’s body can be stolen from her for the life of another, what’s to stop men’s bodies being stolen from them for the life of another? Forced organ and bodily fluid donations aren’t a female-only thing, even if pregnancy (one form of organ and bodily fluid donation) is.

                • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                  we’ve said exactly the same thing. We should all fight against this together as inhabitants of this planet. Stop calling it women’s issues, men’s issues, black issues, white issues. Its up to everybody to make this place better.

                • GCT

                  FFS. You’ve just contradicted yourself. You claimed that some issues are strictly women’s issues. Feminerd pointed out that those can also been seen as everyone issues, to which you now claim you said in the first place. In reality, you are trying to downplay the real harassment that women face by doing the “what about the menz” whine. Stop it.

                • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                  I’m not, i’m saying we should all fight this from happening. Yeah I made a mistake, there are no women’s issues that was my original position and made a mistake when I retracted. They are all everyone’s issues. These are gender-relation issues.

                • GCT

                  Yes, they are everyone issues, but they disproportionately affect women more than men in the cases of sexual assault. When you go to a bar or a conference or large gathering of people are you honestly worried about being groped against your will, being cornered by someone bigger and stronger than you and sexually assaulted, or anything else along those lines? If you’re being honest, the answer has to be no. Did your parents have to teach you how not to be raped? Did they have to tell you not to walk home at night by yourself? Not to wear clothing that is too revealing, else someone might take it as an invitation? Etc. etc. etc.?

                • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                  I have been told to wear clothes that are not too revealing, but that’s because fat men don’t look good in cutoffs. I understand perfectly, but I think we need to be trained as men to identify these problems as a species. I went to a gay night club with my now wife one time accompanying some friends, we got harassed on an alley way by some gay cholos, it was pretty scary for me. I kind of can identify.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  It’s still important to call out who gets primarily affected and who is primarily the perpetrators of some crimes. We can’t stop, say, domestic violence without recognizing how much of it is tied into outdated, patriarchal ideas. Is all of it? No. But much is, and it is absolutely vital to recognize that.

                  In much the same vein, we can’t stop mass shootings in the US without recognizing that young white men perpetrate the vast majority of them and trying to figure out why. Do young white men commit all of them? No. But until we figure out why the perpetrators are overwhelmingly white men, we probably won’t make a lot of progress in understanding why they happen and what to do to prevent them.

                • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                  You’re the smartest person here Feminerd, I’m being serious, wish these discussions had gone like this the whole time.

        • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

          How is talking about alcohol use ever a valid question?

          I drink. Sometimes I go to bars; there are people I don’t know there (the ever terrifying strangers). Sometimes I go with con-friends when I go to cons; I see these people once a year if that and talk to them online sometimes. I trust them not to take advantage of me and they trust me not to take advantage of them. That’s what friends (don’t) do, after all. The presence or absence of alcohol doesn’t change that one bit.

          Going to a suite party and having some drinks is not ever a reason to suggest that sexual assault or harassment is somehow the victim’s fault, nor is talking about rampant victim blaming some sort of crazy evil radical feminism.

          • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

            I’m saying that some people drink to rape, not that people rape because they drink.

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              Yes. And? Those people are predators who are using a socially accepted excuse to get away with their crimes. Make the excuse stop being an excuse, and you’ll see alcohol use in rape cases drop when it stops being a way to avoid prosecution and conviction. The alcohol is not the problem; the fact that we let people off the hook if they have imbibed alcohol is the problem.

              • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                I agree completely with you in everything you said. I’ve been doing poorly in explaining myself.

  • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

    Everything should be questioned, are we not skeptics? We should question everything, except when it comes to ladies claims about sexual abuse.

    • GCT

      Questioning everything is not the same as skepticism. Should we continually question whether the holocaust happened? But, hey, if you keep it up and make the atmosphere even more toxic for women than it already is, you might convince women to never speak up. Then, you won’t have to question whether they are telling the truth or not and you’ll get what you want.

      • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

        What a retarded comparison, and beyond exaggerated. There is evidence for the holocaust, photographs, newspapers, etc. for these cases it is usually one’s word against the other’s when cops ask questions sometimes they are just doing their jobs, I feel victims should be believed, treated seriously and compassionately, but never in history have there been cases where the victim exaggerates, lies, distorts, wants revenge? I’m sure there have been, I’m against “victim bashing” as much as you are and women should be encouraged to speak up and report these things but they will always get questioned, that’s a harsh reality.

        • GCT

          What a retarded comparison, and beyond exaggerated.

          First off, drop the ableist language. Secondly, the comparison was about skepticism and your statements regarding skepticism. It was your understanding of the concept that I was addressing.

          I’m against “victim bashing” as much as you are…

          No, you aren’t against “victim bashing” as much as I am. In fact, I’m not sure you’re even slightly against it. You’ve engaged in it on this very thread.

          • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

            The only thing we’ve engaged in is throwing the phrase “victim bashing” at any opinion you don’t like.

            • GCT

              Ah, no. It was pointed out to you why you were engaging in it. You don’t get to pretend that all anyone does is yell “victim bashing” and then run away from your superior intellect.

              • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                that’s what you’ve been doing. I’m pointing out the difference between authority figures asking, interviewing to get all sides of the story and then making victim bashing remarks like its your fault because you were dressed that way, maybe you had too much to drink. There is a difference, I think law enforcement people should go through sensitivity training, but there is a difference and that’s what you don’t seem to understand.

                • GCT

                  You’ve simply ignored what people have said and are now dishonestly pretending that they didn’t explain to you why what you said was victim blaming so that you can complain that the people objecting to your comments are simply yelling without any substance. It’s all lies, but you don’t seem to care so long as your privilege isn’t challenged.

                • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                  no, i’m saying that you take a statement like 50% of all sexual assaults happen under the influence of alcohol as me saying they were just drunk goofs, its probably nothing and instantly pounce for the attack. And yes I do have a personal bias against alcohol, drunk driving, spousal abuse, violence, its everywhere, i’m not in favor of banning it and returning to the prohibition era or nothing, i’m just acknowledging it of being a bad drug. Like I’ve said before, I drink, but I don’t like what it turns some people into.

                • GCT

                  Go back and actually read what people, including me, have said to you. You are obviously not paying attention.

                • Rene Belloq 12 inch figure

                  Noup, I insist there’s been a lot of finger pointing on these threads instead of talking about facts and solutions. And a lot of exaggerating things and taking some comments out of proportion. There has been a lot of finger pointing from everybody including me. But I don’t think I started it.

                • GCT

                  Yes, there is finger pointing, because when someone comes out and engages in victim blaming, others will point and say, “Stop doing that.” That is not the fault of the person who points the finger, but the fault of the person who engaged in the victim blaming to begin with. It is up to the victim blamer to figure out whether they will be defensive about it or whether they will try to see the point and why people reacted the way they did.

  • Doriendurga

    Great video, thank you for your courage and honesty my friend!
    From the comments (I take seriously) I understand most of the sensible men find it difficult to understand why people in such situations don’t want to make a fuss or file a police complaint. I will copy this which I wrote as an answer back in the pile of comments:
    there is thin line between “assaulting” and “wooing” when the time of “police report” comes, believe that my friend. “She was ok with it! I was getting mixed signals, I don’t know why she started slapping me when I moved my friendly hand from her shoulder to her.. side of her body.. slightly!” It escalates in a fashion that it is always too late when you realize it is time to make a scene. And of course if you are too early he might say “I wasn’t gonna cross the line.” and he might be right actually. And you are branded as an attention seeking egocentric nutty chick… I live in Turkey, my experiences are probably way worse then you could expect, sorry if I overstated but our brave friend in the video is right. This kind of things happens all the time to women and the worst part is, you get used to it.. If I made a fuss everytime I was sexually harrased I would be spending half my life in police centers, losing my friends (guys: “She things everyone is after her, hah” gals: “Like we are not enduring such things! Such a fuss-maker!”) and wouldn’t even be taken seriously.
    Plus most of the people harresing a women/person is a “friend” and friend of friends. There are social consequences of making a fuss.

    And I strongly recommend you men (or anyone finding hard to understand the “victim”s position) to listen and read more stories and if possible imagine or even role-play realistically. Because we are not making excuses, we are not too lazy to complain and we need people to understand our (women’s) position.
    And don’t think these “touchy” men are rare or anything. Most of the time they think there is nothing wrong with what they do (though they would shame on the behaviour if it was told as a story from the third person, so check your own memories) and most of the time it is a regular, common strategy of flirting for men- they just don’t realize the pressure it puts on the woman and/or he doesn’t have any other habit/exercise of flirting.

  • Alden Clarke

    Ashley you show great courage in coming forward, it’s discussing that their are people in this world that haven’t got the social skills to behave in a respectful way. I am discussed in your fellow TAM room party attendees for not stepping in to put some distance between yourself and Jim-Bob, it isn’t hard to see when a guy is getting handsy or pushy towards somebody who doesn’t feel the same.

    I am all for consenting adults getting together, I have noticed that there seems to be a large number of guys in the “geeky/nerdy” groups that just plain don’t know how to approach women. They have enough trouble trying to talk to women let alone to pick up, this is not a defence for this scumbag action on the part of Jim-Bob.

  • Eric Pepke

    Well, I’m going to be the unpleasant person saying the unpleasant things.

    None of this shit happens anywhere else. Maybe it happened in the 1950s and maybe it happens at frat parties, but it doesn’t happen elsewhere. It doesn’t happen as science fiction conventions. It doesn’t happen at computer graphics conventions. It just basically doesn’t happen, and it doesn’t happen with 50-somethings with PhDs. Neither does sexual harassment happen, nor do huge accusations of it happen.

    So probably someone is going to nail me for saying it doesn’t happen. Well, I’m sure it happens, just as I’m sure that there are people who die from getting struck by lightning on the golf course or lose their genitalia in freak combine harvester accidents. But basically, it doesn’t happen, nowhere near to the extent that it happens at TAM an in other atheist, skeptical, or freethought communities.

    Which means that there’s something wrong, and not something that you can wave your hands about with respect to the “rape culture” (other than skeptics, etc. even women’s studies departments decided that was stupid and wrong around 1995).

    And maybe, Hehmant, you can help figure it out. I only talked to you for a couple of days at Lake Hypatia, but you didn’t strike me as the kind of guy who would decide that everything anti-religious is automatically Nu-Perfect. Maybe you can provide some insight as to why atheists and skeptics, despite all their precious reason, seem to act like frat boys and sorority girls well into their dotage when they get together into exclusive groups, both real and virtual.


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