Questions You’re Not Supposed to Ask

What the fuck does this accomplish?

BERKELEY — For the 100 or so women and girls — and a smattering of male allies — who danced in Civic Center Park on Thursday afternoon, Valentine’s Day wasn’t about hearts and candy.

Organizers called the day, replicated in communities throughout the U.S. and in 205 countries, “One Billion Rising,” named for the one-in-three women and girls across the globe who will be raped or beaten in their lifetime.

“We have reclaimed Valentine’s Day,” said Satya Starr, an abuse survivor who participated in the event. “Women actually need to have an end to abuse and rape. That’s what they really need, not chocolate and flowers.”…

One Billion Rising used dance to celebrate women’s bodies, which organizers said are often denigrated, and encouraged participants to protest violence against women. As they executed the choreographed movements posted on the One Billion Rising website, many of the dancers sang along to recorded music reverberating through the park: ” … This is my body, my body’s holy/ No more excuses, no more abuses …”

I’m really trying to figure out a scenario in which this activity would be useful.  As in, maybe there’s a rapist in the audience who, overcome by the “choreographed movements posted on the One Billion Rising website,” decides to quit raping and turn himself in to the cops?  Or there’s a potential rapist who encounters same, and decides to hold off?  Or there’s a third world despot somewhere trolling YouTube on his off hours and, overcome, decides to shut down the rape annex in the Ministry of Truth?  Or a spectator decides to join the police?

Commenter Soozcat calls this kind of thing junk-food activism, which is such a great phrase I’m going to steal it for the Dim Devil’s Dictionary with her permission.  Not only is its effect negligible by design, it could actually make things much, much worse — this being Berkeley, I can see some naive girl walking down a darker street later at night than she normally would, because just last week the One Billion dance-a-thon ended rape in the community.

Question the second:  “one-in-three women and girls across the globe who will be raped or beaten in their lifetime.”  One in three?

Call me a horrible patriarchal pig if you must, but that number don’t pass the sniff test.  So I followed the links from the One Billion Rising website.  One led to this booklet from “UN Women,” which said

Throughout the world, one in three women will experience violence in their lifetime, such as beating, rape, or assault.

Notice the qualifier:  “violence…such as.”  Which — of course — makes it sound like they’re claiming that one in three women will be beaten, raped, or assaulted.  But when you click on the .pdfs of the report, you get

One in three women throughout the world will suffer this violence in her lifetime; she will be beaten, raped, assaulted, trafficked, harassed or forced to submit to harmful practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM).

Not to take a thing away from the severity of those other crimes, but…. “harassed”?  I’ve seen enough fudged data in my lifetime to spot a weasel word when I see one.

The other link from the One Billion Rising website led to this .pdf, which claims

The most common form of violence experienced by women globally is physical violence inflicted by an intimate partner. On
average, at least one in three women is beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused by an intimate partner in the course of her
lifetime.

Which also looks pretty weaselly.  “Coerced” covers a lot of ground.  Having had a few intimate partners in my lifetime, I’d sure like to know just how they’re defining that one.  Is “an expensive dinner on our anniversary” coercion?  (And if so, was I “coerced” into shelling out most of my week’s paycheck?).*

Which leads to question the third:  why do they feel the need to juke the stats in the first place?  Call me a sexist if you must, but I’d like to go on record as saying that rape is bad.  So are assault and genital mutilation.  If I found out about an uptick in any of them in my community, I’d….

Well, actually, now I’m starting to figure it out.  We’re seeing, I think, one of those quintessentially liberal dilemmas where two competing streams of goodthink collide.  One is the standard “all women are victims of something.”  The other is that sense of information pollution Morgan wrote about.  Let’s look at that list again:

she will be beaten, raped, assaulted, trafficked, harassed or forced to submit to harmful practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM).

Except for that weasel word “harassed,” the rest of those are specific acts.  In America, at least, the police keep pretty good records.  You can look up crime in Berkeley, for instance, with maps and everything.  The cops, no doubt, have far more detailed data than this, with advanced statistical analysis.  And looking at that yellow-orange blob smack in the middle of all that red, it seems the Berkeley police are doing a pretty good job, all things considered.

Now before you start screaming that I’m “blaming the victim” or something, let’s take a step back and calm down.  Notice what I’m actually saying, not what you assume a Krazy Kapitalist Konservative would say.  Any rape, assault, genital mutilation, etc. is a tragedy.  If the One Billion ladies of Civic Center Park were out there dancing to raise awareness of these crimes in Berkeley, I’d get out there and boogie with them, just on the off chance it might help.**  If they were taking donations to fund something tangible in their community, I’d kick in.  Hell, if they were taking donations to fund some global do-goodery I’d contribute, because this targets real people who are victims of real, horrible crimes.

But they aren’t doing any of that.  They’re trying to “raise awareness,” worldwide, of crimes they themselves are statistically less than likely to be the victims of.  Instead of doing something tangible for their community, they fudge the numbers up to make it look like one out of every three females is going to be the victim of a horrible crime, and then organize a big to-do that’s somehow supposed to affect the entirety of Planet Earth.  And when this has no appreciable impact on local conditions — as it pretty much can’t by definition — the net result is to make folks like me take the whole idea of “awareness raising” even less seriously.

It’d be silly if it weren’t so sad.  These are people who have the time, money, and energy to organize a hundred like-minded folks on a workday (Valentine’s Day was a Thursday this year).  Obviously that energy could be mobilized to do something tangible, with measurable goals and results.  But instead, the entire point seems to be to raise the emotional temperature of the already excitable, then set them gyrating in activity that’s purposeless by design.  Do any of them know the real crime stats in Berkeley?  What would they do differently if they did?

To ask is to answer.  Which is why, I suppose, you get in trouble if you ask them.

 

 

*if, you know, that happened.  Which I’m not saying it did.  The last thing I need is some UN global sex police jacking me up because I said “c’mon, please?!” when the lady said she had a headache.

**assume for the purposes of this post that I live in Berkeley.

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12 thoughts on “Questions You’re Not Supposed to Ask

  1. Soozcat

    So… you gonna ask my permission? 🙂

    (Yes, you can use the phrase. You can reach me through Captain Midnight if you need to.)

  2. nightfly

    Oddly, the number we always heard during the “Take Back the Night” marches at school was “1 in 4.” Apparently, not alarming enough since violence didn’t dry up, so now we’re upping the number… which raises the question, if the number has gone UP despite all these marches and dances and raised awarenesses, then what the hell good is it actually doing?

  3. mkfreeberg

    I’m old enough to remember when the favorite catch-phrase was “think globally, act locally.” It seems to have flipped around to advertise locally, preen & pontificate globally. Or something…

  4. Robert M Mitchell Jr.

    I think they have told us the point, to reassure each other that “you are not alone”. Freedom and taking care of yourself is hard, and for most liberals, it appears, something separating them from their herd is a much bigger deal. If this were the case, we would expect to see public affirmations to the point that we see fake accusations and stories, once it is perceived that it happens to “everyone”, and not being raped is seen as the thing that might separate her from the herd. Have we seen this effect? “The Morning After” was full of such examples…….

  5. Texan99

    On my birthday, I plan to return all presents to the donors with a note saying, “One out of three human beings with a birthday will experience an adverse effect of war at some point in his or her life. I don’t want your birthday presents. What I really want is world peace. Quit trying to distract me with irrelevancies, and get to work remedying the warlike violence implicit in your lives.”

  6. bridget

    My usual conservative feminist thoughts:

    *One easy way to end rape, violence, and muggings: issue all law-abiding women a concealed carry permit. As I keep saying, it’s hard to rape a woman when she blew your gonads off.

    *This “raising awareness” crap is yet another manifestation of liberal ideology, wherein there are no definable truths, no hard and fast rules, nothing in the world that is not immune to a good sob story. This is the engineer in me coming through, but skyscrapers, cars, iPads, electrical wiring, plumbing, and all that other good stuff do not operate on emotion, “awareness”, or rhetoric. Yet these people can’t understand why expostulating about “innovation” does not produce new inventions, nor can they understand why dancing the night away does not change rape.

    *I think it does a disservice to rape victims to lump them in with women who have been harassed. Now, I’ve been harassed, groped, hit, thrown into furniture, had my career maligned by a professor who was trying to get into my pants, and had men try to force me into sexual acts. Lemme tell you, those events are NOT all equal.

    *That gets me to my next point. I fail to see how maligning Valentine’s Day is anything but counterproductive. It is the day in which men go out of their way to treat women well – a day in which they are supposed to basically say, “Thank you for being in my life, and thank you for being a woman.” (Yes, we’re supposed to reciprocate.) Valentine’s Day hammers home to men that they are supposed to treat us with respect, not use their greater physical and social power to coerce us into sex.

    It’s fairly normal (in the literal, statistical sense) for men to treat women badly. (Look at the Middle East and gendercide in India and China.) Chivalry, Christianity, traditional values, marriage, and all those other boring things that leftists hate have been the greatest weapons against exploitation of women. Unfortunately, as Glenn Reynolds always says, feminists don’t like those things because there are also duties on them.

    Okay, done with that rant. I think.

  7. Severian

    It’s a good rant!

    This nails it for me:

    I think it does a disservice to rape victims to lump them in with women who have been harassed….. Lemme tell you, those events are NOT all equal.

    I think “disservice” is too mild a word. I think it’s evil, frankly. If making a pass at someone after one too many drinks is the same thing as rape — if that’s the definition we, as a society, are going to use — then that lowers the bar for action considerably, doesn’t it? If they’re functionally the same thing, then they should be punished the same way. And if you’re looking at jail time anyway….

    This kind of bumper-sticker sloganeering is gonna get somebody badly hurt, or killed.

    1. nightfly

      ” If making a pass at someone after one too many drinks is the same thing as rape — if that’s the definition we, as a society, are going to use — then that lowers the bar for action considerably, doesn’t it? If they’re functionally the same thing, then they should be punished the same way. And if you’re looking at jail time anyway….”

      Oh, absolutely. And I think that’s the purpose, actually – not to jail guys for come-on lines, because I don’t think that would be possible to put into law – but it IS possible to put it into society that normal, healthy maleness is somehow vile and vicious.

      Well – it works, sadly enough. And it works in exactly the same way as gun control “works.” Punish everything, and only those who care nothing for punishment will ever act. Punishing manhood doesn’t prevent a single rape, a single act of lewd boorishness, or any other terrible act. It does, however, seriously curtail the healthy strong manliness that would lead a bystander to walk up and slug a lewd boor. You wind up cracking down only on the healthy expressions, NEVER the unhealthy.

      Doctors are finally wise to one of the unintended consequences of anti-bacterial soaps and such – they also kill harmless bacteria and can allow resistant strains of dangerous bacteria to flourish in the absence of competition. It’s the same thing here – a healthy ideal for manliness competes with the unhealthy with boundaries and responsibilities and standards. It makes real men out of would-be boors, and those who are incorrigible are in for a lot of busted lips and bruised egos.

  8. Jason in SD

    Boy, am I glad they’ve reclaimed Valentine’s Day. I was so sad to see it slide slowly into a celebration of love.

  9. philmon

    My takeaway is this: “junk-food activism”

    Oh, am I ever going to use that one.

    I remember “Take Back the Night” from when I was in college.

    At first, I thought “Oh. Look at that. Women standing up for themselves. That’s cool.”

    But what came out of it was “every man is a potential rapist”. Which pissed. me. the. hell. off.

    I love women. As I like to say, I’m a big fan. Always have been. My first crushes go back to pre-school. They make life better than it would be if it we were a race of men who reproduced by amoebic fission (not a pretty picture in itself). There’s yin and yang. We’re not the same. Very similar in many ways, but we’re not the same. As a man, I love them more than I do mankind in general, because, as a man, I recognize that we need them. They make life worthwhile. I have no sisters, but I have a wife and sisters-in-law and daughters-in-law, nieces, and perhaps soon a granddaughter (don’t know yet). I was brought up right in a … *gasp* … religious household. A Christian one. One that taught me that you do not take what is not given. One that taught me women have souls the same as mine.

    The “all men are potential rapists” meme I think was worse than the “Minority Report”‘s division of pre-crime. It actually couldn’t be anything but counter-productive. What they were telling me is “no matter what your behavior, you’re still tainted because you have the equipment most often used”. In this scenario, there is nothing I can do to elevate me beyond this original sin of being born male. And some may see it as, “hey, if you already think I’m guilty anyway ….”

    1. Cylar

      It’s pretty much the same sort of thinking that paints you as a potential violent sociopath if you own a firearm.

      Some feminist was running her mouth about how men are potential rapists because they’re equipped for it. How far would men get in telling feminists that they’re potential prostitutes because they’re equipped for it?

  10. bridget

    Some feminist was running her mouth about how men are potential rapists because they’re equipped for it. How far would men get in telling feminists that they’re potential prostitutes because they’re equipped for it?

    PLEASE do not give them any ideas. Pretty please, do not.

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