A “very disturbing report” has been published on how women and men are discussed in an anonymous online economics forum. From today’s New York Times coverage:
“The 30 words most uniquely associated with discussions of women make for uncomfortable reading … hotter, lesbian, bb (internet speak for “baby”), sexism, tits, anal, marrying, feminazi, slut, hot, vagina, boobs, pregnant, pregnancy, cute, marry, levy, gorgeous, horny, crush, beautiful, secretary, dump, shopping, date, nonprofit, intentions, sexy, dated and prostitute.”
The forum is defended by an economics professor at Harvard, who has described it on his blog as “a throwing off of the shackles of political correctness.”
Read more in the New York Times.
Rape cases, particularly those involving people who know each other, or who have been drinking/taking drugs, are difficult to prosecute. Juries essentially have to decide whether or not the sex was consensual. The usual way to do this – notoriously – is to consider (amongst other things) the woman’s past sexual history, to try and decide whether she is the sort of woman who is likely to have consented. Now – in what is an obvious, and welcome move – Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, has instructed prosecutors to focus more on the man’s sexual history, to assess whether he is the sort of man who is likely to have forced sex on someone without her consent.
This may include situations where an alleged rapist exercised controlling or coercive behaviour towards other women, including previous girlfriends.
There has been growing concern that many male rapists are getting away with their crimes because they are able to convince juries that the sex was consensual.
Victims who are too drunk to consent or give a lucid account of events are also often not believed when they give evidence under cross-examination.
The new move will see evidence collected from a variety of sources including CCTV, social media accounts and testimonies from witnesses, who may have seen the attacker’s behaviour in the hours leading up to the rape.
Ms Saunders said she wanted to see more attention being given to events leading up to an attack, so that juries were able to assess the whole picture.
She said: “We are looking at how to prosecute certain types of cases, the more difficult ones. They tend to involve drugs or drink and people who know each other.”
She said exploring the background of an alleged rapist, would also be key, with their social media history and habits likely to be relevant.
She told the Evening Standard: “Some of it will be if you have already been in a relationship, understanding the dynamics of coercive and controlling behaviour and presenting cases in a way that doesn’t just look at the individual incident.”
She added: “If it’s about drink and drugs in some of them there will have been a targeting element, either by buying drinks or standing back until you pick someone off.”
You can read more here.
Sheet cake for flags and guns?
Maryscott O’Connor on Facebook draws our attention to an extended line of criticism of Fey’s piece. The idea is that it is the height of white privilege to look at the the scene in Charlottesville and start eating cake.
I think I see it differently, but that doesn’t delegitimize people who have found it very offensive.