Thursday, December 17, 2015

Read This Today

If you can, for it is about rape

The story is long, nuanced and extremely well reported and written.  It is about a serial rapist, about a young woman who confessed to having falsely reported her rape, and about the victims of that serial rapist.

I believe it is an important story to read, and so is this one, if for no other reason than to offer some complicating balance for the way Martha MacCallum advertised a Fox News program (Fox News Reporting: The Truth About Sex & College) in this video (from 3.24 onward) by focusing on how false rape reports can destroy innocent lives.

Of course false reports can do that.  But so can rapes.  Luckily the former are pretty rare:
The fear of false rape accusations has a long history in the legal system. In the 1600s, England’s chief justice, Matthew Hale, warned that rape “is an accusation easily to be made and hard to be proved, and harder to be defended by the party accused.” Judges in the U.S. read the so-called Hale warning to juries until the 1980s. But most recent research suggests that false reporting is relatively rare. FBI figures show that police annually declare around 5 percent of rape cases unfounded, or baseless. Social scientists examining police records in detail and using methodologically rigorous standards cite similar, single-digit rates.
I wish we could say the same about the latter.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Speed Posting, 12/15/15: Recent Good News About Women

Some recent good news about women, some of wider significance than others, but all with some good stuff in them:

-  Saudi women were, for the first time ever, allowed to vote and run for office in local elections, and some women  got elected.  This is important, even if only symbolically.

-  Daniel Holzclaw, the man who used his standing as a police officer in Oklahoma to prey on black women he deemed unlikely to report him,  was found guilty of serial rape.  The good news is that the women he hurt got justice, despite the prior fears that they would not.

-  This story about a young female baseball pitcher in Mexico is good news to me not because she is fantastic (which she is) but because of the support she is getting from the guys (in a macho society, as the story puts it).  The basic idea, after all, is that everyone should be able to develop the talents they have, and that opportunity requires the support of others.

- US Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced in early December that all combat positions in the US military will be opened to women who qualify, based on all existing physical and other tests.  Military women welcome this decision because it stops them from being discriminated against in promotions which depend on combat experiences, because women already end up being in combat situations abroad, whether they are formally allowed to do so or not,  and because of the same reason Carter mentioned:  that assignments should be based on ability, not on gender.

As you might expect, there's lots of resistance.  You can read some letters the NYT received here, both for and against the decision.  Some of the latter are about unit cohesion which means that girls have cooties and that guys can't stop their peckers from making all the choices and so on.  -- This whole topic deserves a much longer post, including the question whether this is good news for those who'd rather have also men removed from all combat positions.  There are several such posta in my archives if I only could find them.


Jesse Watters on Guys Driving in New York

A fun exercise for you would be to watch the video at this Media Matters post.

It's meant to be a jokey one about New York's traffic problems.  This Fox guy, Jesse Watters, goes around New York interviewing drivers and workers out on the streets.  Then he quips to one driver that the traffic problems are obviously created by women being allowed to drive.

And that's how Media Matters labels the story.  But the real story is in the video, my friends.  Because I'm pretty sure that Watters didn't talk to a single female driver!  New York has nothing but guys driving.

Maybe that was part of the comedy, eh?  A deeply intellectual approach to New York's traffic problems?  One which on purpose only samples male drivers so that Watters could make that joke about women driving (and sorta shake hands with Saudi Arabia which doesn't have any traffic problems because women are not allowed to drive).

Nah.  I don't think so.