Sunday, December 19, 2010
Mr. Olbermann? Mr. Moore? Just putting this out there.
(TW: talking about rape and victimization.)
I don't have a following. I'm probably about the smallest of wee blogs out here in Left Blogistan. So I don't know if actually anyone will read this post. But I want to put this out into the ether on the off-chance someone does. Maybe not Michael Moore, and maybe not Keith Olbermann. But anybody.
Okay, here goes: you guys are trusted, generally. You might not always be right, but you are right often enough and clearly passionate about many of the things liberals care about and that means something to me. It means both of you give a crap about facts, and care about other people, probably more than half of the time, which is pretty good odds for media-folk. Because of that--people trust you. On a lot of things, I even trust you. But the clip I linked to is really problematic for me, as it is for most (I should think) feminist bloggers, because it dismisses the accusers, and that really isn't right.
It might be true that smears are used to discredit accused whistleblowers and activists and other people who have incited the wrath of powerful people. You know what? Smears are also used a lot of times to discredit women who come forwards to report a rape. They aren't Julian Assange. They aren't trying to broadcast millions of bytes of secret documents to try and force governments to be more transparent--they are just victimized people trying to cite personal events of which they are personally knowledgeable--and for one very good reason: to prevent it from happening again, because as they have every reason to know--it is horrible. It's coercive, terrifying, and its effects can be long-lasting.
Being a victim that comes forwards can take a lot of guts on the part of the accuser. It means she will be scrutinized for how honest she seems to be. Her morals, her sanity, her motives are questioned. And women know this. On the whole--it isn't done lightly just to "punish" men or be vindictive--which are common accusations used to make a rapist appear to be a victim. And even if some special cases of false accusation exist, this is no reason to label any specific case "hooey" before it's heard out. This dismissal of the validity of a woman's claims by assuming she is at fault re-victimize her--
And then there is a case like this, where the alleged perpetrator is now famous. I am a Wikileaks supporter, myself. There is far too much secrecy and citizens in a democracy should have more access to what is going on. But Assange's pursuit of honesty in government actually doesn't absolve him of accountability. This isn't parallel with assuming his guilt--rather, this is presuming that he should face his accusers and mount a vigorous defense. But he does not need influential media figures doing that for him, and still less at the expense of the accusers' anonymity, which was in fact compromised.
These women are real people. They have lives. Exposing their identities and speculating about what they might have as motives is putting them at risk to abuse--if not further abuse if they have already been victimized, then an unconscionable cycle of abuse for anyone, anyway. It isn't right. It isn't fair, to have the power of people with such an important and strongly broadcasted viewpoint, come down against them, and to raise the ire of your followers, and to encourage rape apologists in general, to be really damn despicable.
I don't hold a candle to what Sady Doyle has done and said in defense of rape victims, and for the cause of justice in these issues. But I'm ready to hold something. Maybe a really big teaspoon. And swat your stubborn, thick heads with the smiting end.
Say some damn thing that shows you know this needs a court's decision. Recognize that what this man you are a fan of has been accused of is serious business regardless of the circumstances. And maybe say something that shuts the rape apologist trolls the fuck up, because, you know what? That isn't just tiresome. It isn't just old. It isn't just bigoted and unnecessary and dismissive of women and their rights, or victims and their rights--it is triggering and re-victimizing and a fucking heartbreak to people who have worked really hard to keep our collective shit together to answer back to the issue of why and how and what rape constitutes, and to know you guys, who we sometimes trusted, have bizarrely reinforced the lies of rape apology--is an insult. And because of your influence, you encouraged others. Who are dismissive, abusive, insulting, threatening, not especially charming, all things considered, since they are, basically, saying "Yay, sometimes, rape." You wanna be on board with that?
Fix it. Be an example. At least acknowledge the accusations should be heard out, and amend the lies. Be better. Just try to see this thing from the side of an accuser who is truthful and right and victimized and wants justice. There are so many victims out there unheard. And so many heard and not believed. But you have the megaphone, guys. Can you do better? Can you say a little more? Me, I think you can.