Love for Sady, love for survivors

2010 December 19

I suspect most of you have already heard about this, but for those who haven’t, you guys, Sady Doyle made Keith Olbermann cry, and he fucking well deserved it.

She also exposed Michael Moore for being a big doofus asshole. Okay, he was already widely exposed for that, but now he’s a big doofus asshole who lies when it is morally convenient for his personal belief system, and he is a big doofus asshole who thinks rape victims are worthless. Not true, Michael Moore? Then open your fucking mouth and say so! I know you have experience with opening your mouth, for lots of other causes, for lots of other abused and unfairly treated people, so keeping your mouth firmly glued shut when giving money to an accused rapist speaks volumes. Not to mention, opening your mouth long enough to tell everybody to disbelieve rape victims when they accuse celebrities of raping and then firmly closing it immediately thereafter, well, I guess I know whose side you would be on if a famous man had raped me. And, you know, I am not a bigshot film hero to the little guy, so maybe I don’t have the brainpower or moral authority to parse this one appropriately, but I am pretty sure one’s feelings on the transparency of government and one’s feelings on a guy accused of raping women and having his lawyer openly smear and lie about the accusers in public are quite separate concepts that do not necessarily intersect and can be held in one’s mind at the same time, with practice, much like you once learned to chew gum and walk. But what do I know. I am just a rape victim who did not prosecute because I have this crazy idea that rape victims who prosecute sometimes get harassed and threatened and bullied in such a way that being legally rapeable seems like a reasonable way to live out the rest of my permanently rapeable life.

I would rather be raped than prosecute a rape, Michael Moore. And there is nothing about you that makes me think you do not agree that this is the way it ought to be.

IF YOU NEED A LIST OF THINGS TO REMEMBER, MICHAEL MOORE, I MADE ONE FOR YOU. Perhaps you could keep this in your pocket for the next time you are on TV ignoring Sady Doyle:

Wikileaks is not the same thing as Julian Assange
Government transparency and accountability is not the same thing as Wikileaks
Rape victims are not the same thing as Interpol

Rape victims do not control the government
Rape victims do not control secret classified documents
Rape victims do not control Interpol
Rape victims do not control prosecutors
Rape victims do not control the internet
Rape victims do not control your Twitter account

Rape victims are not as hysterical as governments. When the government says people will die because you released a memo that reveals a diplomat thought a world leader had stinky breath, this is pretty much propaganda. When a rape victim fears for her life because her address has been released to a virulent public, this is pretty much a fear based in reality. Transparency: it’s for governments, not people in fear for their lives.

If Wikileaks goes down, the internet is infinitely capable of creating another site just like it
If Julian Assange goes down, Wikileaks is infinitely capable of going on
If Julian Assange raped two women (or more!, rapists tend to continue once they realize that documentary makers and news anchormen are giving them the thumbs up), the concepts of government accountability and transparency are still real concepts in the world — they do not crumble and die, as if these concepts were Tinkerbell, and Julian Assange raping women with impunity the handclaps she needs to go on

If Julian Assange has never raped anybody, and you have in the course of his not-raping-anybody:

  • made up ridiculous laws meant to mock or cast spurious judgments upon systems of justice that attempt to deter rape and give victims justice
  • made up ridiculous facts meant to mock or cast spurious judgments upon people who accuse others of having raped them
  • discussed those fake laws and facts in public because you are too lazy or intellectually dishonest to find source material or a point backed up by actual evidence
  • bailed out an accused rapist based on those made-up facts and laws you still refuse to pursue further because you like some other stuff he does
  • told people (on national television or, you know, ANYWHERE) to always suspect rape accusations against people whose politics you enjoy
  • stayed silent when others reveal information about real human beings who could die as a result of such revealed information

you will have said those things in front of rapists, and you will have said those things in front of rape victims. And those rapists know they can rape with your approval, and those rape victims know that they can be raped with your approval. RAPISTS WILL THINK YOU ARE THEIR FRIEND. RAPE VICTIMS WILL THINK YOU WANT TO HURT THEM, OR APPROVE OF THEIR BEING HURT. And neither of them will be, in any way, wrong. Especially if you don’t open your mouth to correct them.

If you have set up a career where your entire job and persona is all about truth and fighting for the little guy, then you better be prepared to take it as hard as you give it. If you’re not prepared, then your entire job and persona is actually about feeling like a big man by exploiting the trauma of the little guy for swirls of attention and adoration. Either you are for justice, or you are for misery tourism.

Julian Assange is not Wikileaks
Julian Assange is not Wikileaks
Julian Assange is not Wikileaks
Rape charges are not Wikileaks
Rape charges are not Wikileaks
Rape charges are not Wikileaks

Bailing out a guy who does a thing you like — when anybody else can also do that thing, maybe even you! — is saying that this thing this guy does is more important and more worthwhile than any rape victim, anywhere, ever. It makes a very clear image of your priority list, which looks like this:

  1. Stuff I like
  2. Everybody else, ha ha, fuck ‘em

I am taking this personally, and seriously, and angrily, because I have a personal investment. I have been raped. It is not altogether unlikely that I will be raped again in my lifetime. I know what it is like to be asked, nicely and not nicely, to shut the fuck up. I know what it is like to be bullied. I know what it is like to be mocked, and threatened, and harassed. I know what it is like to decide that being legally rapeable is more tolerable than filing a report, or going to court and asking for justice, as is my legal and human right.

I do not know why Keith Olbermann or Michael Moore are taking this personally. Since neither of them will engage in a discussion, I am left with the most obvious assumption. They are personally invested in keeping rape accusers silent, and are personally invested in making sure others do not believe rape accusers when they speak up. I do not know why they are personally invested. I do not know them personally. But I do know that they both believe that Julian Assange must be unassailable and immune from rape charges, because of his work with Wikileaks. They have spoken on that quite clearly. In fact, it is all they have deemed to clear up, except Olbermann, who wishes you to know that he totally has a friend who was raped once and so he’s incapable of ever being wrong about rape. I guess you guys didn’t know this, but it’s true, and just a well-kept secret among the secret society of rape victims. Everybody who knows me gained this super-power when my husband raped me; they are all right about rape all the time now, like fucking magic. If other rape victims disagree with them, they are just crazy! If only they had known me when I was raped, they would be right all the time, too.

(A side note, Keith Olbermann: You are a celebrity. Did you know? You are under some degree of media scrutiny, due to this fact. Your friends, your family members, they get a secondary wave of this scrutiny. So. Outing a rape victim to prove your temper tantrum point? I hope you asked her first; it is her rape, you know, not yours. There is every chance that the internet, divine troll factory that it is, will try to track her down now, and learn all the secret details of her rape, because they are entitled to such knowledge, and that is what the internet loves to do. If you don’t believe me, witness the revealing of the names of Assange’s accusers. Oh, wait, you did. Anyway. Glad to know that when a friend or family member of yours gets raped, the takeaway is that this rape is all about YOU, and the ways it makes you immune to ever learning anything new about rape, especially things like not outing rape victims in vast public arenas without their express consent.)

So, my conclusion is this:

Olbermann and Moore are personally invested in keeping rape accusers silent, and making sure others do not believe in rape accusations, because they are personally invested in men they know to be potential rapists. They are invested in those men more than they are invested in justice for rape victims. That sounds patently obvious, but I’m saying this because it’s more important than Julian Assange, Keith Olbermann, or Michael Moore; this is a survival tip. Anybody who slanders rape victims based on lies and damned lies is doing so because there is a rapist or potential rapist they are protecting. The rapist or potential rapist may be them. It may be somebody they know whom they suspect of such a thing. It may be that they never knew the rapist, but they knew his victim, and they do not want to believe her because she, I don’t know, worked for the CIA? Is a Republican? A feminist? Loud? Annoying? Needs support and dignity they are not equipped to give? The rapist or potential rapist may be a possibility and not a real person, the possible right to grope women without their consent, the possible right to harass drunk women, the possible right to call women in short skirts cunts who deserve what they get, going out like that. People with a personal investment in maintaining rape culture have a personal investment in maintaining rape culture; there is something in their lives they are trying to protect. Which means, there is something in their lives more important to them than your right not to be raped. If these same people talk about truth, or justice, or personal accountability, know that it only extends so far — that is, it only extends as far as the thing they are trying to protect, and no farther. If you threaten what they wish to protect, it certainly does not extend as far as you.

Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann are personally invested in Julian Assange. Keith Olbermann is invested enough to have had a big crying fit on the internet, and Michael Moore is invested enough to have shut his fucking mouth for once, and this is the mouth that he has built his career upon flapping. They are not personally invested in Assange’s work, not invested in his beliefs, which they can share without being invested in a man who potentially rapes. They are invested in Julian Assange, the man himself, enough that they believe he should not be allowed to be accused or tried of rape. Perhaps they would not say they are invested in Julian Assange being allowed to rape, with impunity, but there is slim difference between being invested in protecting somebody from accusations or trials and being invested in insulating a person from the repercussions of their real actions. Perhaps Julian Assange has never raped anybody, and never would. But if he wanted to, he now knows that Moore and Olbermann have his back.

So! Here is a thing you can do. You can have Sady’s back. She has stirred up a shitstorm of unimaginable proportions. I have stirred up tiny shitstorms on my blog. These made me want to burn my computer. It’s not a small thing, to have the swirling eye of the internet hurricane focused upon you. It can suck just about everything good out of your life; it’s meant to, because usually, the reason the eye is sucking upon you is because you are doing something effective. The importance of what Sady is doing is directly proportional to how much everybody is hating her for doing it. So she needs some love and support. Head on over to Tiger Beatdown and read up on what’s been happening. You can join the Twitter war upon Michael Moore’s infantile silence. You can join the donation spree upon anti-rape organizations. She has not asked for this, but I suspect you can donate to Sady’s blog, because this is taking up all the time she could be spending making money to eat and have shelter. And you can leave a nice comment for her on her blog, to cleanse the palate of the thousands of trolls that are intentionally trying to hurt her in whatever ways they possibly can.

And you can have the backs of survivors. You can reaffirm for any of them that you know (including yourself) that their right to move through life without being raped is worthwhile to you. That they are worthwhile to you. That you are not protecting some part of your life that would allow them to be raped. You can re-investigate your life, your beliefs, your friends and your family, and make sure that you are living up to that promise. Rape culture is pernicious. It’s easy to get sucked into it. Even people we respect, people who do great things, people who believe in justice and accountability, can honestly believe at the same time that some people should never be accused of rape. Take the time to sort through your own pile of trash, and make sure you can live with it, and make sure you can answer if somebody ever comes outside your tower with a bullhorn, demanding you account for what you did.

Discuss this post on the Fugitivus discussion board.

34 Responses
  1. punchandgetout permalink
    December 19, 2010

    fucking right on

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  2. December 19, 2010

    Yes. My head is now a delightful swirl of fist pumping “PREACH IT”‘s and “FUCK YEAH LOOK HOW THE INTERNET FEMINISTS GET IT TOGETHER WHEN THE TIME COMES”s and Just, yes. Fuck, yes.

    All of this is exactly what I’ve been thinking, watching this heinous slime mold like rape apologia creature unfurl it’s psuedopods and try to eat us all, except less eloquent. Thank you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  3. December 19, 2010


    Thankyou for this, thankyou to sady as well, I am so tired, tired of being told that a women, whose circumstances where like mine must be lying because rape victims don’t do that, I am tired of being told that I am unprogressive, hypersensitive, I am tired of loosing friends because I don’t understand that people like me are the acceptable losses of “our movement”.

    You are the best! Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  4. December 19, 2010

    You’re a sight for sore eyes, Harriet J. Had you in mind while absorbing all this from the very beginning.

    Can’t even begin to say how amazing Sady Doyle has been. And others too, like Kate Harding, Amanda Hess… sort of in awe of them, what they’ve done, and how they’ve never seemed to slow down.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  5. jamethiel permalink
    December 19, 2010

    You are so brave. It makes me so goddamned angry and scared. Why is it ok to do this? Why are they such assholes IN PUBLIC and how come they get applauded for it

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  6. December 19, 2010

    Thank you, Harriet. Thank you for being a part of this. I admire Sady Doyle and I admire you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  7. a very respectful (i hope) counter opinion permalink
    December 19, 2010

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    You are the worst. Thumb up 7 Thumb down 76

  8. AnthroK8 permalink
    December 19, 2010

    Yes. To all of this, yes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  9. tikitik permalink
    December 19, 2010

    Thank you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  10. December 19, 2010

    Per usual, you are the fucking bomb. That’s so all. :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  11. Artemis permalink
    December 19, 2010

    O thank you for saying all this. Women like you and Sady make it possible for the rest of us to go on living on this planet. Thank you thank you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  12. Harriet J permalink*
    December 20, 2010

    @a very respectful:

    You may think you’re being respectful. But spouting off a 101 level of ignorance about rape is anything but — you have obviously not bothered to do the littlest bit of information-gathering before deciding that you know enough to open your damn fool mouth and tell everybody what’s what. That’s about the opposite of respectful; in fact, I think it’s called being arrogant, privileged, and proudly ignorant.

    decide for if consentual sex without a condom is rape in the sense that you mean it.

    I can make that decision right here. Consensual sex is never rape; the condom is irrelevant.

    Taking off a condom when it’s an agreed-upon requirement for consensual sex means you are no longer fulfilling the requirements for consensual sex. There’s a word for that.

    Having sex with a woman while she’s asleep is not consensual sex.

    Having sex with a woman after she has asked you to stop is not consensual sex.

    Holding down a woman who has asked you to stop so you can continue having sex with her is not consensual sex.

    None of these things are what you are assuming the charges are, but all of these things are what the women have actually charged Assange with. Do your fucking homework.

    Luckily, somebody else has done it for you, since you couldn’t be arsed to care enough about doing it yourself, though apparently you could be arsed to decide that, despite not knowing the actual details, you are a fine candidate for judging them.

    false accusation of rape are just as damaging to women and to the justice of rape victims.

    No. They are not. Just because you have heard people spout off this line doesn’t mean it’s an accepted bit of wisdom. If you actually feel strongly about this, strongly enough to go around saying it, you need to back it up. Here is how you can start: 1) look up the incidence of rape in females, 2) look up the incidence of rape in males, 3) look up the rate of charges being pressed, charges going to trial, conviction rates, and sentences, 4) look up the incidence of false accusations of rape, 5) look up the incidence of false accusations of any other crime, for reference. You do not get to say that one thing is more damaging than the other if you do not actually know how many people are being damaged. If you don’t care enough to do this research by yourself, then you don’t care enough to have a goddamn opinion on the issue.

    Your entire last paragraph is completely untrue, from beginning to end. I encourage you to actually read about the charges. He has been charged, and he has been charged with rape specifically; four counts actually, none of which involve “consensual sex”, somehow. The case was initially dropped by one prosecutor, then taken up by another — this is a normal thing to happen in law, not a special circumstance.

    if every rape charge were investigated with this level of due dilgence and scrutiny we would live in a very different world.

    Indeed. In a world like that, people might not believe every dumbass thing they hear about rape accusations, without bothering to look up the details for themselves. People might be able to believe that nobody is above the law, no matter what good works they are doing, no matter who has accused them, and no matter what they are accused of.

    The diligence of this case should be the standard for all rape accusations — including this one.

    You are the best! Thumb up 62 Thumb down 4

  13. December 20, 2010

    @a very respectful

    You have been misinformed, many people have been, I was at the start, please do read more, and then come back, whether or not the allegations are true, repeating lies about what the allegations are doesn’t help.

    @harriet J
    It would be a very different world, and hopefully a world where less rape happened because would be rapists recognised that they where at real risk of prosecution and outing as rapists.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  14. MorriganInFlight permalink
    December 20, 2010

    I joined twitter, which I have been refusing to do, for the sole purpose of supporting this protest.

    Thanks, Harriet, for your blog and your fierce writing in support of this as well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  15. ASG permalink
    December 20, 2010

    Oh, *thank you* for this. I needed to read it SO SO BADLY after suffering through a *second* round of Naomi Wolf’s trivialization of rape and rape victims. It’s fucking Groundhog Day around here with Wolf; her first article was Cute Funny Trivialization along the lines of “LOL if Assange oughtta go to jail for not wearing a condom I have an ex-boyfriend who should go to jail too”, and now she’s all Concern Trolling Trivialization “well I know from rape because I’ve interviewed African refugees so let’s not get all hysterical about what Assange supposedly did okay.”

    Her shit has bothered me much more than Michael Moore’s shit and Keith Olbermann’s shit for a whole lot of reasons, not the least of which is that Moore has never given me any reason to believe he’s the least bit interested in women so I don’t feel personally betrayed by him. (I don’t know Olbermann’s schtick as well.) Moreover, people have been posting both of those fucking Wolf links all over Facebook with the implication that since a lady who worked at a rape crisis centre posted it, it must be good feminism. It makes my blood boil.

    Sorry to get off-topic. What I am trying to say is, there’s so little sanity out there and yours is as welcome as a warm puppy. I don’t remember if I’ve ever posted a comment on your blog before, but it has literally changed my life, and posts like this make it worth going on.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  16. pia permalink
    December 20, 2010

    i was raped when a man i agreed to have sex with, using a condom, took it off when i wasn’t looking and had sex with me anyway, risking my life and disregarding my choice, to satisfy his lust and his selfish need for power and dominance over me. the euphemism “sex by surprise” needs to be dropped, by all courts in all countries. call it what it IS. IT IS RAPE.

    FINALLY there is a fellow sister in this corner of the internet who has the eloquence to stand up and tell it like it is. THANK YOU, lady. your courage gives me hope and strength.

    You are the best! Thumb up 25 Thumb down 1

  17. December 20, 2010

    That people are calling it “sex by surprise” pisses me off SO MUCH–my rapist and his friends used to make the “it’s not rape, it’s surprise sex” joke ALL THE TIME, in that “oh-ain’t-we-so-cute/edgy/taboo/non-PC” way that irritates anyone who’s more mature than the average chimpanzee.

    No. “Sex by surprise” IS RAPE. Sex which is had under conditions other than those which were agreed-upon is rape. I don’t really care what any legal system says–to me, it’s rape, and if a reasonable person thinks about it for more than a few seconds, figuring out how and why it is rape should be easy.

    I don’t really care how much good Assange has done right now. All of my sympathies are with the women he victimized.

    You are the best! Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  18. esuriospiritus permalink
    December 20, 2010

    I am so, so glad to see you adding to the chorus of angry survivors. Rock on.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  19. Suzers permalink
    December 20, 2010

    Thank you. It is so fucking important that we have each others’ backs, because no one else does. So thank you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  20. Shora permalink
    December 20, 2010

    As people on the discussion board have said, Sady is a goddamned paladin. And thank you, Harriet J, for giving me the launching board to dive into this issue, and for once again giving words to my feelings to act as a shield for the onslaught I often face from those closest to me when i start in on my “radical” ways.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  21. Eva permalink
    December 21, 2010

    Thank you for being so strong and so vocal. You’re a precious person, and I’m so encouraged & inspired to see you fighting so hard.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  22. December 21, 2010

    The reason Assange hasn’t yet been charged isn’t because there’s something fishy about the accusations, it’s because the investigation is still going. I’m not sure how the American system works to create all this confusion, do they need to charge someone to make them formally a suspect? Is there no middle ground, like being “under suspicion” of a crime? That’s how it works here in Sweden – he’s officially suspected of rape (and three other sex crimes, none of which are called “sex by surprise”), not charged with rape, and the police want to bring him in for questioning. I’m no lawyer but I think the part where they decide whether to press charges or not comes after the investigation.

    If Sweden issues a formal request for Assange to Britain, he can just appeal and drag this process out for months. According to a Swedish newspaper article I found, they’re postponing any discussions of extradition (to Sweden) until January.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  23. December 21, 2010

    I think it’s interesting how international media has basically anthropomorphized the entire country of Sweden as a third rape accuser or possibly a bitch ex-girlfriend. Sweden is feminist and hysterical (did you know that condomless sex is forbidden?), Sweden accused this upstanding guy of something completely ridiculous that is really minor and unimportant and shouldn’t even be a real crime (“sex by surprise” with the $700 fine), Sweden is being totally mean and vindictive for no reason even though it flirted with him the night before (we let him set up shop here) and is probably only doing this (going after him with Interpol, unusual for a rape case) just to harm him (hand him over to the US).

    By applying the usual rape victim tropes not only to the rape victims but also to the justice system that handles the case, they are ensuring that no one will take this seriously even if he actually is tried and convicted.

    You are the best! Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

  24. Harriet J permalink*
    December 21, 2010



    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  25. Harriet J permalink*
    December 21, 2010

    @AK: I don’t know for sure how the American justice system works, to be honest. But I will tell you what I have always assumed, which I think is likely what other people are also assuming (this may be the way it is or not). But, to my understanding, you can be a suspect, but you don’t end up in a jail cell needing bail until you have been charged with something. I think that’s what’s throwing Americans, who naturally think that everybody does shit the same as we do. Thank you for the clarification here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. lalouve permalink
    December 22, 2010

    Like AK, I’m Swedish (hej där, AK!) and I think she’s got the process entirely correct. I think the reason the court wanted him held, ideally witout bail, was because he was going to return to Sweden for questioning in the week starting 11 October, and he didn’t. Courts aren’t really used to having their orders ignored and they don’t take it well; I think they were also concerned he’d skip out to somewhere we don’t have an extradition agreement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  27. December 23, 2010

    @LaLouve I think the court system has every right to be worried about a man who by his own words didn’t turn up for questioning because he couldn’t be bothered, I think he said something like I wont organise my life around some prosecutor in some other countries demands.
    Does anyone have the actual quote?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

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