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A Voice for Men falsely accuses a male feminist blogger of being a “confessed rapist,” because “karma is a BITCH.”

A Voice for Men's Paul Elam: Serial False Accuser
A Voice for Men’s Paul Elam: Serial False Accuser

When is a false rape accusation not a false rape accusation? When it’s leveled against a feminist man.

That, in any case, is the logic behind an appalling post on A Voice for Men attempting to smear a male feminist blogger named Jason Thibeault, who posts on FreeThoughtBlogs as Lousy Canuck, by proclaiming him a rapist.

The post is a typical bit of AVFM “satire” — that is, sophistry — arguing that “by his own feminist standards” Thibeault is a rapist … because he was once accused of rape by a girlfriend, as he wrote about in a recent post. And since feminists believe that ALL accusations of rape are true, AVFM’s Birric Forcella argues, Thibeault is thus a “confessed rapist.”

Obviously, this argument is ludicrous on its face. Feminists don’t believe that all accusations of rape are automatically true. And Thibeault, for his part, says that he was falsely accused.

This doesn’t stop AVFM from giving their piece the frankly libelous headline: “FreeThoughtBlogs’ Jason Thibeault, confessed rapist.”

AVFM may defend its post as “satire” — they have a rather expansive definition of the word — but that headline is pure libel. It’s false — and would be so even if the accusations of rape were true, as Thibeault (who’s responded to the AVFM post here) maintains his innocence.

And AVFM’s intent is clearly malicious. In the first comment to the piece, AVFM founder and publisher Paul Elam declares frankly, and revealingly, “Karma is a BITCH.”

Thibeault’s real crime, in AVFM’s eyes, is that he has publicly supported women who have come forward in recent weeks to accuse prominent skeptic writer Michael Shermer of rape and sexual assault.

And so they have responded by making what is an unequivocally false accusation against him in a headline on their site.

Of course, this isn’t the first time A Voice for Men has falsely accused someone of something based on bad evidence or no evidence at all.

In April of this year, Elam (along with a number of other MRAs and an assortment of White Supremacists as well) worked himself into an uproar over a blog post from an alleged feminist allegedly working in a college admission office who claimed she was routinely trashing applications from white males.

Though even the most rudimentary amount of fact-checking would have revealed that the woman they blamed for the blog had nothing to do with it, she had her contact information posted online by MRAs and others, leaving her open to harassment and widespread vilification. Elam contributed to the hubbub by posting a vituperative post identifying the wrong woman by name — and only after being called on his mistake by numerous other MRAs did his finally retract the post.

You can read about the whole appalling affair here.

Elam has also made false accusations against little old me. In yet another case of libel-by-headline, he accused Jessica Valenti and me of being “child abusers” … because we’re feminists. (Seriously, that was the entire basis of his accusation.)

And at one point, either lying outright or misled by a  troll, he put forth the absurd conspiracy theory that I was somehow responsible for an appalling Reddit forum known as the Beatingwomen subreddit.

In his post on the subject, he claimed to have “intel” from two separate sources that “confirm[ed]” my involvement in the subreddit — he provided none of this evidence — and promised that “further word” on the subject would be forthcoming.

Of course, this evidence never materialized — because it was fraudulent and/or imaginary. Elam dropped the subject. I had and have no connection to the subreddit.

And not long ago, AVFM’s Dean Esmay very publicly accused its former Canadian News Director Kristina Mendez (AKA TheWoolyBumblebee) of (maybe, possibly) running off with the money she collected for a center devoted to the memory of Earl Silverman, a Canadian MRA who committed suicide partially out of frustration over the difficulties he had in funding the DV shelter for men he ran out of his home. The folks at AVFM have admitted quite plainly that they have no evidence of wrongdoing here.

Apparently, AVFM’s strategy is to prove that false accusations are common by making as many of them as they possibly can.

EDIT: Added the bit about Valenti and me.

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fit-to-flip
fit-to-flip
8 years ago

What andemilybites and Ally s. said. I’m way more inclined to believe the accuser in regards to sexual assault then I am for other crimes. Societally rape is treated way, way differently from other crimes- so the context is not the same. If we (people in general) handled rape better (and I mean wayyy better, because what we have now is just fundamentally broken), I might change mind sure. But that’s not the situation we have here, so it doesn’t make sense for me to treat all crime accusations the same way.

kittehserf
8 years ago

Historophilia – bloody hell. That second blogger’s not being anything-positive, unless it’s harassment-positive and hey-let’s-cause-a-rape-victim-even-more-distress-positive. What a filthy thing to do.

karmarad
karmarad
8 years ago

Well, yeah, Elam is hate personified. How about somebody who is really human: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmTS4TieO28

kittehserf
8 years ago

Also, among the younger women who do identify as feminist, the “sex positive” thing can be jarring to the older-school people, who don’t see participating in burlesque and porn and so forth as particularly “liberating”. They see it as women happily participating in the culture of objectification, without acknowledging how hard it was to achieve even some moderate degree of non-objectivization in the first place.

That’s pretty much where I come from, rabbitwink, and I’m not even of the second-wave generation(s).

@fit to flip – consent-positive is the best term I’ve seen, I think. I like sex-critical, too, because it suggests questioning a lot. Sex-neutral gives me a vague sense of being indifferent or apathetic.

The mention of Dan pardon-me-while-I-puke Savage reminds me of the idea that I tend to associate (rightly or wrongly) with sex-positive: that nauseating “good, giving, game,” which always sounds to me like someone’s required to let someone else do or demand whatever they want, and to have any boundaries at all means you’re the prude who deserves to be cheated on that Cassandra mentioned above. Sorry, no, that’s just the whole thing lightcastle (I think) mentioned, too: the so-called sexual liberation of the ’60s that turned “not allowed to say yes” into “not allowed to say no.” It was still about men having the right to demand what they want of women and blame/shame us for not complying.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

I am firmly in favor of the “allowed to give whatever the hell answer you want” option, which apparently has never occurred to Savage, or to any of the earlier proponents of faux-liberation.

kittehserf
8 years ago

Precisely. The WHOOSH sound you heard then was the idea of enthusiastic consent flying over Savage’s head.

fit-to-flip
fit-to-flip
8 years ago

Oh man, Dan Savage. Did he ever do that whole ‘staying of the internet for a bit’ thing? Or is he still going?

shadists
8 years ago
Reply to  gl205

@GL205: the endless fun of trying to figure out what we feel when presented a situation, in this case a horrible one no matter where the truth falls, from one point of view.

Doubly so when it has explanation which, as you point out, is often used to dismiss real victims.

shadists
8 years ago
Reply to  CassandraSays

@Cassandra: I’ve always vastly preferred “safe, sane, and consensual”

kittehserf
8 years ago

fit to flip – wasn’t that H. Fucking. Schwyzer who was doing the whole “staying off the internet” thing? I mean, I know he was, but wasn’t aware of Dirtbag Savage saying the same thing.

In other important news, Savage Cat just got carried away and stuck her claw in my thumb.

hellkell
hellkell
8 years ago

Ow, Kittehs! Lilly does that all the time, and she has fish hooks for claws.

kittehserf
8 years ago

So does Mads! She doesn’t do it often, but this morning it’s all “Come and play! Leave me alone! Come and play!” and flinging herself around on her scratching boards. I went to pull one in her reach and she grabbed me by mistake.

She’s currently hiding under her favourite pink plastic bag.

fit-to-flip
fit-to-flip
8 years ago

@ kittehserf
Oh shit, I got them confused, that’s embarrassing. Yes, it was Hugo I was thinking of (I haven’t heard anything about him the past 2-3 weeks but I haven’t been looking either). Savage, as far as I know, is still on his ‘say no to Russian Vodka’ kick. Ughh.

cloudiah
8 years ago

You could not get Dan Savage off the internet with a crowbar.

kittehserf
8 years ago

If only Savage would get off the internet! But like cloudiah said …

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

In honor of the fact that he finally got discharged from the army yesterday, my favorite celebrity cat consequences gif.

http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lskx13CvX51qfj5rto7_250.gif

(Yes, I realize that most people here will have no idea who this guy is, but hey, there’s a cat so that automatically makes it manboobz appropriate.)

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

Is Hugo keeping his no-internet promise? I kind of assumed that would last about as long as it took him to start missing the attention (about 15 minutes or so).

hellkell
hellkell
8 years ago

I’m trying to imagine an internet with no Dan Savage. It’s a nicer place.

AK
AK
8 years ago

For what it’s worth, I initially struggled with Jason’s narrative as well, and did a lot of reading. My default is to believe the victim, for the record, and I’ve gone to the mat over it with people who doubt.

I’m inclined to believe Jason’s account, based mostly on his current actions. Admittedly, I’m coming to this late as I am a religious person and thus feel a little unwelcome in the skeptic community. 😉 But I was impressed by his honesty, what appears to be a long pattern of advocating for believing victims, and most of all his acknowledgement that talking about being accused of rape might make people treat him with suspicion and *explicitly* saying that was okay. I’m sorry, I’ve been reading a lot about this on and off today and so I can’t pull up the exact quote, but somewhere he said something along the lines of, “If people treat me with suspicion and women are more cautious around me, that’s okay and far better than everyone staying quiet about predators” [obviously an awkward paraphrase].

It’s just anecdotal, but I have known some predators and they don’t usually act like that. They aren’t willing to take the consequences, they make it all about them, etc. Schwyzer is a good example of that, actually. He could talk a good game about other things at times, but he never acknowledged his responsibility for the harm he caused, got pissy when people called him on it, etc. Jason’s willingness to own up and accept people’s judgment makes me think he really probably was innocent.

Please don’t take this as an attempt to convince anyone else they’re wrong or should trust him, though. That’s just my personal feeling, and I totally support erring on the side of trusting the victim and realize that I’m likely heavily biased by my own experiences which may not actually be relevant to a wider population.

kittehserf
8 years ago

Cassandra, I felt that guy’s pain!

kittehserf
8 years ago

AK, thank you for that background, I think those were good points.

AB
AB
8 years ago

I’m inclined to believe Jason’s account. Then again, I’m inclined to believe people who claim to have been victims of a crime as long as the risk of victimising others by doing so is minimal. If the hypothetical false accuser was directly involved in this debate, I’d probably be more careful about taking sides.

The ”she’s a compulsive liar”-narrative is indeed used to discredit female rape victims, but the main reason for that is that such a person (i.e. compulsive liar) is more likely to make false accusations in the first place. It would have been far more unusual if Jason’s accuser had been a completely average well-adjusted girl who just decided to randomly make a false rape accusation because she’s female (something which most MRAs seem to think is the norm). Jason’s describtion of his relationship sounds a lot like the abusive relationships I’ve experienced myself and heard about from others, and not very much like the MRA caricature usually presented in these cases, which increases his credibility in my eyes.

He also doesn’t stand to personally gain anything by being open about the accusation, since he’s not trying to discredit rape victims, and the accuser is unlikely to step forward with her accusations again which makes a pre-emptive defence unncesary. And if he wanted sympathy, he’d have been better off posting his story in the slymepit. All his “confession” achieved was to bring attention to something that could make members of his own audience uncomfortable around him and make him an target of hate on two fronts. It also showed that it was possible to live through an MRA’s worst nightmare and not become a bitter misogynist because of it, which undoubtedly pissed off some MRAs but did little to help Jason personally.

And I’ve never heard of any similar accusations against Jason, or reports about behaviour fitting the pattern of a rapist. It’s no guarantee, but I’ve found the people at FTB to (as a rule) adhere to some pretty high ethical standards, and considering how big a deal they make of believing victims and being willing to confront problematic behaviour even among so-called allies, it’s unlikely they would sweep such behaviour under the rug. And finally, Jason hasn’t demanded that anyone find him 100% above reproach. He’s openly stated that if some women feel they need to be extra careful about getting drunk in his prescence, he’s OK with that. He doesn’t demand to have women around him act without caution, and he’s consistent in his approach to rape accusations (trust but verify) in a way that doesn’t fit the pattern of a rapist trying to groom potential victims or get away with his crimes.

Rape happens. And false accusations about rape happen too, albeit at a lower rate. Statistically speaking, it’s unlikely that not a single male feminist blogger has ever been falsely accused of rape. According to himself, Jason happens to be that single male feminist blogger in a sea of other bloggers and commneters who’ve been raped for real. Statistically, it’s exactly like most credible studies would predict, so unless some other evidence is forthcomming, I’ll believe him to the extent of treating him like an innocent (but not to the extent of thinking his ex should be thrown in jail).

AB
AB
8 years ago

Basically ninja’d by AK 🙂

Jason Thibeault
8 years ago

kirbywasp (and others saying similar):

Currently there’s a statement “Jason was falsely accused of rape,” for which I have one bit of evidence. It’s anecdotal, which makes it shaky, and there are some patterns that are a bit disturbing that make it shakier still. But there’s nothing else, so with reservation I would have to say that I believe it.

It is true that mine is the only account you have. Without any corroborating evidence, it’s as likely that I’m making it all up from whole cloth as that it’s true in every stitch — and memory is imperfect, and it’s well possible I’m wrong about some things. I don’t THINK I’m wrong about anything specific, and I’ve had almost twenty years of a nearly sexually-devoid life as a result, wondering whether or not I actually did something to DESERVE that treatment, and worrying to the point of putting off willing partners.

This, I’ll note, is miles better than not considering consent.

Is this going to make me more likely to think other rape victims must be lying? No.

Good. It fucking kills me that my story — told before I knew people said this kind of nut-and-slut over and over and over again to discredit real rape victims — contributed to the fabric of the rape culture that lets real rape go unpunished. As I’ve said, if I had any idea dudebros would use my story, told to help heal my own conscience, to hurt others, I damn well would have kept mum. Splash damage was never, ever, my intent.

Am I going to be more likely to think that, in the hypothetical case that Jason were to be accused again, that accusation was false? No. Actually I might be slightly more inclined to believe it, but that’s beside the point.

Considering AVfM invented six other accusations, I hope you’d consider the source at least. But that’s the whole problem — we have a number of people making credible claims about a repeat predator, and now we have Team Harassment trying to prove how terrible it is that we told people about those claims and they’re using me as the sacrificial lamb because I’m really fucking useful to them. I walked down the path that many of them must have walked down before themselves turning woman-hating asshole — and I didn’t turn. Therefore I need to be destroyed, and getting you folks to tear me apart would just help prove their point (in their own minds anyway).

I made a mistake by telling my story. It is compounded now, so long after the fact, by that same story being used to hurt me and to throw up chaff and possibly damage rape victims.

Again, this fucking kills me.

Am I going to think that the woman in Jason’s story is probably a pathalogical liar, or that if she ever steps forward with a claim I should just dismiss her? No.

I sometimes wish I had accepted her friend request just so I could find out what she was thinking when she made the accusation. All the info I’ve had about her life after we broke up came from her ex-best-friend passing it along second-hand. I never wanted to know about all of that stuff I heard about her afterward. I just wanted to move on and be done with that episode of my life. Though, when I was younger, I had a lot of schadenfreude that she’d “ruined her life”. I don’t think that’s necessarily the case now. I hope that, if indeed she’d lied a lot when she was young as I remember, it was a phase that she grew out of. I don’t know. I have no way of knowing.

The point is that I am also uncomfortable with Jason’s narrative. If that story is challenged, I’m not going to let myself just dismiss the challenge simply because I heard Jason’s side first.

Nor should you. If you’re faced with duelling anecdotes, I don’t know what you should do, but picking the one you heard first is almost certainly poor skepticism.

This is why I feel comfortable saying “I believe the story”; I do it with full knowledge that this is a decision made with incomplete knowledge. If this makes any sense whatsoever, I’d call it “skeptical belief.”

I do slightly worry that someone might enter the picture pretending to be that person to further blow up my reputation. Out of spite, you see. Because I didn’t take that reality-altering pill that turns you MRA that they’re so desperate to get people to take. I don’t think I’ll ever say the person’s name as a result — it then becomes all too easy for someone to fake it.

What’s ironic is that it’s going to be the people desperate to make society such that one cannot ever bring forward a real rape charge, who are attempting to destroy my credibility using a fake rape charge. Ironic, damning, and galling.

I’m personally glad that you believe the story provisionally, though — not because it’s comfort to me, but because I’m certain that’s the villain’s end goal here. Never forget the MRAs’ goal is to make sure that victims are never believed, even provisionally, when they come forward with claims of having been assaulted.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

In this case you can’t really blame the cat…

http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lskx13CvX51qfj5rto8_250.gif

And also

http://31.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lwrvpzy7Vf1r8m635o1_500.jpg

Though, on the other hand…

http://31.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lskx13CvX51qfj5rto4_250.gif

(I love pictures of men being cute with cats. It’s the quickest way to send me into “awwwww” mode.)

(And yes, I’m avoiding the other topic because without any input from the alleged victim I really don’t feel comfortable drawing any conclusions.)

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