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Constant Process

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Being an ally - or wanting to be one - is a constant process of self-improvement.

So over on Jim Hines' blog, he related the story of a woman who was raped at a con, and ended up writing an open letter to ask her assaultant to stay away.

And I agree with all of what she said, and what Jim said to support her.

Which is odd, because, the first thing I did was write a comment about how I was falsely accused of sexual assault as a teenager [1]. I did not say that the case Jim was talking about involved a false accusation - honestly, I have no way of knowing, and no reason to doubt the original accusation. I'm still not sure why talking about my own experience (which was a false accusation) was my first reaction. I'm mulling that one over. I'm pretty sure it's Not A Good Thing, so I figure recognizing that is a first step. I definitely didn't mean to undermine the woman involved, or to question her story, but I think I did a crappy job saying so.

Yes, despite me saying (and continuing to believe) that we must err on the side of the woman's statements, because our society is sexist and still blames the survivors for the assailant's behavior. I did a crappy job communicating that, and whether intentionally or not, ended up taking the side of the apologists.

Dammit.

So let me try to make this clear:

Until we can get our society's sexism fixed, until women do not need to be afraid of repercussions for accusing a man of sexual assault, we must always take the woman's word over the man's. Yes, even if that means that some guys get falsely accused. Period.

If you don't like that answer, if you think it's unfair that some innocent guys might get a rough break, then quit whining and do something to fight sexism in our society. Reinforce that "no means no". That date rape is rape all the same. Become a feminist, and work to actually change things. Recognize your own mistakes, and start your own process of self-improvement.

Until then, shut up.


[1] Short form of the story: I tried to kiss a girl on a couch with me, she moved away, we never actually touched lips, end of event. Later I find out she had told her friends that I'd assaulted her - because my then-girlfriend broke up with me over this thing I'd supposedly done.

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