[personal profile] mjg59
(This post contains some discussion of rape and sexual assault but does not go into any specifics)

There was a brief controversy at Linux.conf.au back in 2011. The final keynote speaker gave a compelling presentation on online privacy, including some slides containing sexualised imagery. This was against the terms of the conference policies, and resulted in an apology from the conference organisers and the speaker. The situation was unfortunate but well handled, and that should have been the end of it.

Afterwards, there was some pushback on the conference mailing list. Concerns were raised about the policy being overly restrictive and the potential for it to be used to stifle speech that influential groups disagreed with. I don't agree with these arguments, but discussion of why policies have been implemented is completely natural and provides an opportunity for a community to determine what its expected standards are.

And then Ted Ts'o effectively called rape victims liars[1]. At first I assumed that this was just some sort of horrific failure to understand the implications of what he was saying, so I emailed him to check. The reply I got drew a pretty clear distinction between the case of a drunk college student raping another drunk college student in their room and the case of knifepoint rape in a dark park. You know, the difference between accidental rape and rape rape. The difference between the one any of us might have done and the one that only bad people do. Legitimate rape and the "rape" that those feminists talk about. The distinction that lets rapists convince themselves that they didn't really rape anyone because they weren't holding a knife at the time.

Ted Ts'o argues that only a small percentage of rape really counts as what people think of as rape. Ted Ts'o is a rape apologist.

There's an ongoing scandal in the UK at the moment. A well known DJ, Jimmy Savile, died last year. He grew up in a working class family, but through hard work and natural talent was one of the most significant figures in promoting pop music in the UK in the 50s and 60s, and worked in various parts of the BBC for the best part of 30 years. He spent significant amounts of time raising money for charity, and it's estimated that he raised over £40 million for various causes. Since his death, around 300 people have accused him of sexually abusing them. The BBC is desperately trying to explain why it cancelled an expose shortly before it aired. Multiple people who worked there at the time claim that everyone knew he was involved in indecent activities, but saying anything would risk both their career and the charities that depended on his fundraising. Nobody said anything, and he was allegedly free to continue his abuse.

Ted Ts'o is a significant figure in the Linux kernel community. He has expressed abhorrent beliefs that damage that community. Condemnation was limited to a mailing list with limited readership, meaning, effectively, that nobody said anything. Last week the Ada Initiative published a blog post pointing out the damage that did, and I realised that my effective silence was not only helping to alienate 50% of the population from involving themselves with Linux, it was also implicitly supporting my community leadership. I was giving the impression that I was basically fine with our community leaders telling people that it wasn't really rape if you were both drunk enough. I was increasing the chances of members of our community being sexually assaulted. Silence is endorsement. Saying nothing is not ok.

In the absence of an apology and explanation from Ted, I'll be interacting with him to the bare minimum that I'm compelled to as a result of my job. I won't be attending any Linux Foundation events he's involved in organising. If I'm running any events, I won't be inviting him. At a time when we're finally making progress in making our community more open and supportive, we don't need leaders who undermine that work. Support organisations who encourage that progress, not the people who help drag us back.

Footnotes

[1]The original archive has vanished. I've put up a copy of the relevant thread here. Throughout, Ted states that he's actually arguing against the idea that women need to be frightened of sexual assault, and not against the definition of rape. Except saying things like This one does a pretty good job of taking apart the Koss / Ms. Magazine study, which is the source for the "1 in 4" number. For example, it points out that over half of those cases were ones where undergraduates were plied with alcohol, and did not otherwise involve using physical force or other forms of coercion is difficult to read in any way other than "Half of the people you're counting as having been raped haven't really been raped", and favourably referring to an article that asserts that the rate of false rape reports is probably close to 50% is pretty strong support for the idea that many rape victims are liars.

(Update 2012/10/30: Adam Williamson suggests in this comment that this mail is a better example of Ted's behaviour - there's some explicit victim blaming and a lot of "Is that rape" questioning with the obvious implication that the answer should be "no". Ted Ts'o is a victim blaming rape apologist.)

(Update 2012/11/05: It's been suggested that I haven't been sufficiently clear about which of Ted's statements justify my claims. So, here we go.

In this mail, Ted links to and endorses this article. He explicitly links to it because of its treatment of rape statistics. Quoting directly from that article:
the rate of false reports is at least 9 percent and probably closer to 50 percent
Ted explicitly endorses an article that claims that a significant percentage of reported rapes are false. The study that generated that figure is held in poor regard by other researchers in the field - Australian police figures indicate that 2.1% of rape accusations were classified as false. Ted asserts that he was trying to argue against poor use of statistics, so it's a fair assumption that he agrees with the alternative statistics that he's citing. Ted believes that many rape victims are making false accusations. Ted believes that many rape victims are liars.

Again in this mail, Ted argues against a claimed figure that 1 in 4 women have been sexually assaulted. One of his arguments is that Also found in the Koss study, although not widely reported, was the statistic that of the women whom she classified as being raped (although 73% refused to self-classify the event as rape), 46% of them had subsequent sex with the reported assailant. Ted disagrees with a statistic because some rape victims subsequently have sex with the reported assailant. This means that Ted believes that this indicates that they were not really raped. Ted is a rape apologist.)
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totallyy agree

Date: 2012-10-29 09:45 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I think Ted's crossed the line. Well put. Hackers think they can get away with stuff just because they are prominent.

Re: totallyy agree

Date: 2012-10-29 09:56 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
When you say "Ted effectively called rape victims liars", you're meaning 100% of victims, and I don't think he refers to that percentage. This means you're also lying.

When you say <
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When you say "Ted effectively called rape victims liars", you're meaning 100% of victims, and I don't think he refers to that percentage. This means you're also lying.

When you say <<is difficult to read in any way other than "Half of the people you're counting as having been raped haven't really been raped">> you're also lying because he's not saying that. It's your interpretation. Why I interpret for example is that half of the cases are "fuzzy". Fuzzy is, you know, that value that is between 0 and 1. You're assuming all victims of rape are real vicitms of rape, and are assuming that Ted is saying that half are not. I think Ted is just saying that half are fuzzy (that require more proofs to be certain), which is completely different.

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Learn to read, dumb fuck

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Stop deleting this Matt

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Date: 2012-10-29 10:11 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Thank you for speaking up about this. Whether people intend it or not, sexism and rape culture are embedded pretty deep in out culture, and every voice calling it out helps.

A different perspective..

Date: 2012-10-29 10:37 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I don't really see why there should be a correlation between conference policies and any statistics about rape.

From what I just read, at any point Ted calls rape victims liars. It just seems he was making an argument regarding statistics and quite obviously not all accounts of rape are true. Maybe his argument was outside context but in principle there's nothing tabu about discussing rape statistics.
Moreover there's nothing wrong with his reply about the definition of rape. If two people are drunk and have sex without any of the two physically forcing it, I can't see why it would be considered rape. I understand any of the people involved may regret the act and even get angry, but that's it.

Regarding actual conference policy, I see it as a matter of common sense. I don't see though any necessity to enforce rules that are acceptable society-wide. Many artistic performances, motion pictures, paintings, retail stores, events and so on contain sexual content. Actually, people themselves are live portraits of sexuality, to more or less extent. So policies such as not allowing references to sexuality in presentations seems a bit of an Americanization. I mean, the American approach to sexuality is seen as almost medieval by other parts of the World, quite on par with Saudi Arabia. Too much is always too much, but as a general rule I see absolutely no issue with this. I'de have no second thoughts on using an image of a "a pig and a duck apparently having sex" to prove a point.

Re: A different perspective..

Date: 2012-10-29 11:01 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
The conference policy is aimed at speakers who wish to spice up their technical presentations with pornography to get attention/notability/approval from the audience and game the system. The same way a car sells better when the TV ad also features a scantily clad woman, or music album sells better when the music video features scantily clad women.

Depending on the crowd, this tactic is likely to strongly alienate a few people and work as intended with many more.

If a company's recruiting/sales is based on an image of "brogrammers", this is just a marketing tactic.

I don't know anything about the talk at that conference. Possibly, this is a case of overly general wording and lack of common sense. It is up to the organizational committee to decide whether something is only going to offend the prudes and should be allowed or whether it's really unprofessional and morally bankrupt and should not be allowed. Context and delivery matter. People in charge should have the courage to make a judgement and not hide behind wordage in lists of rules.

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What a horrible approach to this discussion!

Date: 2012-10-29 10:44 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
The worst thing in all of this is that you haven't gone any distance to understand the views of the other person. It's really not hard to see what Ted is talking about. There are different levels of sexual assault just as there are different levels of most event. Sometimes the statistics for these crimes are grouped in a way that implies the worst while the median average of the crime is much less severe.

For the purposes of accurate risk assessment (which is really what this is all about) some levels of the crime can never really apply. Think of all the types of rape and then consider how many of those can happen at an event.

Stay with me, I know you're probably about to delete this comment for being that of another "rape apologist" but I have a point.

What you seem to be inferring from Ted is that some levels of rape are okay somehow… And that's where you lose me completely. Where the hell does he say anything like that? In fact, when I re-read his posts without your sensationalism, all I see is somebody using statistics to make a very specific point about others' fear of statistics.

And what is the block about Jimmy Saville all about? What on earth does a paedophile or the approach around that paedophile have to do with Ted? Are you somehow trying to draw a parallel between what Ted is saying and the *alleged* approach to Saville? I think you're getting dangerously close to defamy.

The only person that deserves an apology here is Ted.

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Is this really proportional

Date: 2012-10-29 10:55 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Where did Ted actually accuse _rape victims_ of anything? I read only that he questioned the studies and the definitions used. You made it sound like he had accused one or more people of misrepresenting their experiences. Could you give the exact reference please?

Also, where did Ted explicitly or implicitly say that rape (by anyone's definition) is ok? I.e., how do you justify calling him a 'rape apologist'? If I read correctly, Ted wanted to distinguish between different forms of rape (which may or may not be a sensible thing to do), but did he ever state that either of them were acceptable, whatever you chose to call it? The way I read it he did the exact opposite, he stressed that they were all unacceptable. But not all the same.

What you are accusing Ted of is extremely serious, and regardless of you being right or wrong it will likely do irreparable damage to his reputation (as the headline of your post is crawled by the various search engines). Moreover, if consensus becomes (as seems clear to me) that you have greatly exaggerated, if not entirely manufactured, this controversy, then I can not see how you, nor the Ada Initiative can recover from the disgrace. In short, I hope you thought this one through...

You should be very careful

Date: 2012-10-29 10:59 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I share the opinion that any rape is terrible and should be uncovered. However this judgement of your might not be entirely just. You should be careful about public forums, because this can be used against you. Especially that English libel law is not so understanding. Here I see people who disagree with your judgement and that is a warning sign.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_defamation_law
From: (Anonymous)
Person A: "over 103% of women have been raped at some point or another,something need to be done".

Person B: "how did you come up with the 103% statistic?"

MSG59: "person B is a rape apologist".
From: (Anonymous)
Well put, and deleting things because "nobody from X is involved" does come across as a little bit counter-intuitive, as the purpose of posting this widely is exactly to involve as many people as possible, and pertains to the "Linux community" (not present in X, apparently).

The way I read Ted's post

Date: 2012-10-29 11:02 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
To me, Ted's post was suggesting that the researchers for the stats say "The definition of rape is this, if anyone we speak to says otherwise, we still consider the situation rape".

So in the case where two people are drunk and each contributing to a [poor] decision to have sex, some define the woman involved in that act as a victim despite the fact that both are under the influence at the time.

So when asked if she was raped, the answer is no because she knows that she contributed to the poor judgement to get impaired just as the man did. However for the purposes of the questionnaire, because she admitted to being drunk the 'rape' checkbox is ticked.

I don't see Ted as defending violent or manipulative situations, but those areas where both people involved define the situation as having been a string of bad ideas rather than a rape or where both made bad decisions but one calls it rape (either sex may have been raped).

Re: The way I read Ted's post

Date: 2012-11-01 10:08 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
So when asked if she was raped, the answer is no because she knows that she contributed to the poor judgement to get impaired just as the man did. However for the purposes of the questionnaire, because she admitted to being drunk the 'rape' checkbox is ticked.


That's clearly wrong. Since they were both drunk, the rape checkbox should have been ticked twice: he raped her, and she raped him.
From: (Anonymous)
I think Ted was wrong in trying to be too logical in public in an area which is taboo. And it is taboo for a reason; there are victims who rightfully do not want to be doubted, and of course rape is always rape, there is no such thing as not-quite-rape.

In a logical argument, unless you are perfectly right (no one is perfectly right), you are bound to have some errors, some of them significant. That's the point of arguing really, so that someone who is right corrects someone who is wrong. The problem with public rape discussions is that erring on the side of the perpetrator has very harmful consequences, much more harmful than consequences from erring on the side of the victim. While I don't think that Ted is malicious, he should have left this discussion to somewhere private. In private, being wrong on either side in a discussion is not going to cause harm to victims. And discussing things in private can help wrong people come right: personally, I corrected some of my misconceptions in private argument with people who knew better.

But having said all this, although Ted may be misguided, and although he was insensitive for the sake of his idea of statistical honesty, I have to disagree when you call him a rape apologist. That is just seeing this from one perspective without trying to understand what he really is on about. I don't think he saw this as a discussion about rape per se, to me he seems like he is discussing statistical interpretation with rape as a case study, while everyone else was discussing rape.
From: (Anonymous)
I know of a study by William Hudson on IT workers that found an inverse relationship between empathy skills and how much technically oriented one's job is. Meaning, on average people with very technical jobs are better systematisers but tend to have lower empathy scores.

But while in women this effect was small, in men the decline in empathy skills was found to be far, far more severe.

The Free SW community, awesome as it is, is mainly composed by very technologically-oriented males. This might be bringing about dynamics that can be alienating to outsider groups, women in this case. We really need to make an effort to have a welcoming, heterogeneous and balanced community.

Saying that Theodore is a rape apologist is hyperbolic. But he, like many other very smart men in very technical positions, might have a significant lack of empathy that prevents him from seeing that answering the very real concern that women tend to be far more vulnerable than men with "well, actually, your statistics are sort of flawed" is not acceptable.

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Date: 2012-10-29 11:38 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I am probably going to say terrible things here; please forgive me in advance because these are new and strange ideas to me and I'm still grappling with them, but I want to understand because I'd rather not be a jerk to anyone if I can possibly avoid it.

My first thought was "if two drunk college kids have sex, which one is the victim?" because presumably both of them were fairly positive about the idea at the time. But then I figured that drunk people can't necessarily give informed consent so it's quite possible that afterward both parties might genuinely feel violated.

So I *think* the actual underlying idea here is that if somebody tells you they feel violated, then that's a legitimate actual feeling that deserves respect and consideration, regardless of whether their claim has been approved by a court of law, or whether other people might make the same claim falsely.

Is that more or less the lesson I should learn from this?
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Date: 2012-10-29 11:45 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I think Ted himself said it best. (from the linked reply)

"There is a spectrum of what can be considered "rape". One of the
things which I think is dishonest is when the loosest possible
definition of rape is used when creating the statistics, but when it
comes down to saying how horribly women are affected by rape, the
worst possible scenario is used.

If the statistics include cases where both college students are drunk,
and sexual penetration occurs, and since the women didn't give
consent, obviously its rape, then it's fair to ask what percentage of
the statistics are this sort of case, and what percentage of the cases
are one where the women is jumped from behind in Central Park by a
strange, and raped at knifepoint.

Surely you recognize the two cases might be somewhat different?"

Ted's only crime was not being politically correct, he went out of his way to say he wasn't trying to diminish rape or anyone's personal experience with rape. He was just saying it's dishonest to say 1/4 women were raped because most people equate the word "rape" with the worst kind of rape (violent sexual assault by an unknown assailant). And before you say it, NO I'M NOT SAYING drunk sex without consent (man or woman being drunk) is ok. But to put it all under the umbrella term of "rape" is very misleading and dishonest.

Just like saying "10 million cats are murdered each year" but not mentioning that you're factoring in cats that are accidentally run over by cars.

Of course people like you will take what I just wrote and twist it into some Gawkeresque headline "Rape apologist equates rape victims with dead cats". That's seriously all you people do, you evade the honest debate, ignore facts and instead just use name calling like "rape apologist" or "sexist". You are too blinded by your own dogma to see otherwise.

Did you even read the article Ted linked to? Here's a good excerpt.

"Only about a quarter of the women Koss calls rape
victims labeled what happened to them as
rape. According to Koss, the answers to the
follow-up questions revealed that “only 27
percent” of the women she counted as having
been raped labeled themselves as rape victims"

In other words Koss herself determined those women were rape victims even though the women themselves didn't describe what happened to them as rape.

http://www.d.umn.edu/cla/faculty/jhamlin/3925/Readings/RapeCultureSummers.pdf

The numbers you can cook up are endless if you have no problem being misleading and have a loose interpretation of words. You could add women who were groped in the subway as being raped (a sexual assault that doesn't involved intercourse) and you'd get what? "90% of women have been raped in their lifetime"?

Oh and if someone questions if it's honest to label groping in the subway as rape they're just labeled a rape apologist and defending subway groping.

Date: 2012-10-29 11:50 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Well put. But be careful, they might single you out next...

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Date: 2012-10-29 11:57 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] tytso
I've never said that rape is OK; and I didn't say that they were liars. However, I do have some serious reservations with how people use definitions and how people use statistics.

Look, homocide is never ok. However, there is a huge difference between negligent homicide and first degree murder. First degree murder requires intent. But negligent homicide does not. If you are trying to reduce the incidence of homicide, it's important that you understand whether homicides were murders or negligent homicide. To blur this distinctions in statistics is simply not helpful.

If you want to claim that rape is the same as homicide, where intent doesn't matter, you can do that, but then please don't say at the same time that rape is fundamentally about violence. To illustrate this, consider the hypothetical situation where two people, Alice and Bob, who are both drunk when they have sexual relations, and where neither them had malice aforethought before the started imbibing alcohol to induce one or the other to have sex. This might be rape in the eyes of the law (depending on an indivdual state or country's criminal statue), but hopefully it's obvious that no violence was involved.

Hence, people who claim that in such a situation, it's automatically rape, it has a distinct danger of trivializing what rape means. Are you really sure you want to do this?

Similarly, if the rule is that if both Alice and Bob are drunk, it's Bob which is the rapist and Alice the victim, what happens if it's Andrew and Bob? Are they both rapists? Are they also both victims? What if it's both Alice and Barbara which were drunk when they had sexual relations? Again, are they both rapists? Are they both victims?

What if Alice is five years older, and an assistant professor, and Bob is her graduate student? Is Bob still the rapist, because he's male?

My point is that things are a lot more complicated than some poeple like, and I'm troubled that people seem to like to reject nuance, and just claim that everything is black and white. I'd like to think that people are intelligent enough to understand this distinction, but perhaps I'm wrong.

To the extent that there were people who thought my insisting on nuance was an implied argument that rape is OK, I apologize. Perhaps I was assuming too much of linux.conf.au attendees.

-- Ted

Quit while you're ahead

Date: 2012-10-30 12:25 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Just like I have no hope of fixing that nasty ext4 corruption bug, you have no hope of being a lawyer. Quit while you're ahead, bow out as gracefully as you can, and leave the morality argument to the clergy, and pontification about the law to the Constitutional Law professors.

Your beliefs are yours. Don't let them affect all the good work you do when the two are completely orthogonal.

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Point well taken

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Apologists

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Mind-blowing

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Ted's actual argument.

Date: 2012-10-30 02:03 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
There are two billion computers in the world today. What did I just tell the average person? The average person probably believes I said there are two billion laptops and desktops in the world. The misdefinition takes place in the mind of the receiver of this information, and it's unavoidable. So in order to not be accidentally deceptive - or to prevent other people from accidentally deceiving themselves, it may be responsible to inform them of what a "computer" is.

Tso's argument is that yes: in this case, it is the responsibility of the deliverer of such information to try and eliminate the receiver's own misdefinition, and that the absence of such an attempt is deceptive.

Re: Ted's actual argument.

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Re: Ted's actual argument.

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Re: Ted's actual argument.

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Re: Ted's actual argument.

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Re: Ted's actual argument.

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Definitions

Date: 2012-10-30 02:48 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] hnasarat
I commend Matthew Garrett for advocating against the trivialization of rape, and taking a hardliner stance in favor of inclusivity. Indeed we need more people seriously acting to put an end to sexism and patriarchy in FOSS communities.

However, labeling Ted Ts'o as a rape apologist is ill-informed and not conducive toward achieving inclusivity, increasing more diverse participation in FOSS, and reducing factors which "alienate 50% of the population".

In writing this post, Matthew is clearly following the suggestions of Valerie Aurora, the author of the linked article "Open Source Software: Open to all?" (https://adainitiative.org/2012/10/open-source-software-open-to-all/), when she encourages people to vehemently speak out against people who express beliefs like Ted.

In this article, Valerie decries Ted's posts on the mailing list but offer's little constructive criticism. The third paragraph is the only one in which she directly addresses Ted's posts. She writes, "Ts’o wrote that rape was impossible if both people were drunk enough, and that including several common kinds of rape in rape statistics could be 'hyperbolic and misleading.' I won’t go into detail here because it’s pretty offensive".

Valerie writes with the assumption that all readers will understand what is inherently wrong with Ted's post. I did not, and sought to get more concrete answers.

Ted specifically said, "if both Alice and Bob were drunk, there's no rape that has taken place". Valerie is implying that Ted is so wrong that he is offensive. (http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Rape_apology_on_LCA_mailing_list)

According to the US Code (http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/10/920), the classification of rape specifically requires "unlawful force", "greivous bodily harm", or "impairing the ability of that other person to appraise or control conduct" without consent.

According to this definition, rape cannot be confirmed or denied by drunkenness alone. Thus, both Valerie and Ted are incorrect. However, if the specific aforementioned necessities are absent, Ted is correct in arguing that drunkenness does not mean rape. Thus, his "challenging the use of statistics that may be hyperbolic and misleading" is reasonable, since he is referencing statistics that classify nonviolent sexual encounters as rape.
Indeed, regarding one of these articles, Ted writes his assumptions: "For example, [the article] points out that over half of those cases were ones where undergraduates were plied with alcohol, and did not otherwise involve using physical force or other forms of coercion". (http://www.codon.org.uk/~mjg59/ted_mail/0037.html)
Thus, if your definition of rape requires force or violence, then these statistics that count nonviolent sexual encounters as rape are indeed misleading.

This conclusion may be unsatisfying to those whose definition of rape is more general, like Matthew, myself, and Valerie. To them, perhaps, rape may refer to any non-consensual sexual act (without the specific aforementioned requirements). Indeed, these people are not alone! The official definition of rape by the FBI is different from the one in the US Code!
Rape - "The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim."
http://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/attorney-general-eric-holder-announces-revisions-to-the-uniform-crime-reports-definition-of-rape
Note the absence of any reference to a requirement of force for a sexual encounter to be considered rape.

With this definition, rape still cannot be confirmed or denied based on drunkeness alone! Now, we must examine the definition of consent. The US Code section on rape has a pretty thorough treatment of consent. It's the same link as before, near the bottom of the page: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/10/920
Unfortunately, still, this definition of consent doesn't mention impairment. However, under the definition of sexual assault, one definition reads:
[a person is guilty of sexual assault if he/she] "commits a sexual act upon another person when the other person is incapable of consenting to the sexual act due to impairment by any drug, intoxicant, or other similar substance, and that condition is known or reasonably should be known by the person".
Thus, whether or not two copulating drunken individuals are sexually assaulting each other seems to hinge on whether the two impaired individuals can know that the other is impaired and unable to give consent. This is up for debate, but out of the scope of this comment.

What I hope to have shown is that this argument between Ted and those who agree with him (like some commenters above me), and Matthew, Valerie and those that agree with them is meaningless, since the two groups have conflicting definitions of rape. However, this conflicting definition is an issue which is larger than these groups -- the US code and the FBI have different definitions themselves!

Still, there exists this conflict between these two groups. I entreat Ted to examine the more inclusive definition of rape, and perhaps see how he may have offended and hurt those who have been impacted by nonviolent but nonconsensual sexual acts. Moreover, I believe that a mailing list for a work-related conference is not the place to have such discussions, and since he has quite clearly angered some people (however unwittingly), I hope he will apologize for the sake of goodwill across the diverse community, and to be magnanimous.

To Valerie, I wish you will include more concrete premises to back up your opinionated conclusions in the future, lest you lead others to start arguments based on such subtle things as differing definitions. Still, you are working toward a good goal. Keep it up.

To Matthew, I hope to have shown that Ted is a rape apologist only depending on your definition of rape. An apologist is "a person who makes a defense in speech or writing of a belief, idea, etc" (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/apologist?s=t&ld=1093), but Ted is not defending rape -- he's not saying rape is okay! Instead, he's saying that certain acts are not rape, based on his definition of rape.
However, to you, with a more general definition of rape, he is saying that some kinds of rape (inc. non-consenting sex) are okay (not rape). Still, your issue is not with him personally, it is with conflicting definitions of rape in our society. I entreat you to not be standoffish (though your meanings are in the right place), because it ensures disunity between groups of people, who probably both want the same things as I mentioned before: achieving inclusivity, increasing more diverse participation in FOSS, and reducing factors which "alienate 50% of the population". Probably, calling Ted a rape apologist is hurtful, and not constructive in the sense that you may have hoped. From the comments above me, it has just seemed to create more disagreement.

Perhaps a more productive post would have detailed how Ted's post may have been hurtful and alienating to some people.

Going forward, it's important to keep in mind that the definition of rape is a hotly contested thing. Often, you're not arguing against a person so much as against the current definition of rape. It may be best to qualify your definition of rape (be it non-consensual with force, strictly non-consensual, or something else), whenever you bring up the term in the future.

Regards,
Hashem Nasarat
Edited ((Small grammar mistake)) Date: 2012-10-30 03:04 am (UTC)

Re: Definitions

Date: 2012-10-30 03:05 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
The problem with the whole Alice and Bob thing is that certain men seem to have this urge to cite the most questionable possible hypothetical examples as if this was some kind of evidence of anything.

It's a troll-y tactic because it tends to polarize and derail any kind of discussion into a deeply pointless argument about what constitutes a criminal offence in some hypothetical scenario with absolutely no relevance to the debate at hand.

If you read the whole thread, including his later posts which get progressively wackier and wackier, Ted rather successfully derailed a constructive discussion of how to address a specific problem at a specific conference into a polarized and angry regurgitation of a highly toxic debate about what is and isn't 'rape' and how bad rape is and whether some rapes are worse than others. To the net detriment of everybody involved. This was not a good thing to do.

I've cited elsewhere in this comment section some useful references that it's worth reading. The whole hypothetical scenario about two people getting drunk and having sex without explicit consent is essentially a derailing tactic. If you look at the actual source Matthew was quoting, it does not match any of them very well. The majority of rape cases by any metric - reported to law enforcement, reported to health authorities, reported to surveys of any kind, whether reported by the attacker or the victim - do not involve such a questionable scenario. Even where they involve alcohol consumption they tend to involve far more consumption by the victim than the aggressor, and they involve consumption to the point where the victim is _not physically capable_ of consenting - not the messier question of whether when they say 'yes' they really _mean_ 'yes', but the kind of 'not consenting' which involves being passed out and unresponsive.

Re: Definitions

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Re: Definitions

From: [personal profile] marahmarie - Date: 2012-10-31 05:46 am (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2012-10-30 05:58 am (UTC)
yatima: (Default)
From: [personal profile] yatima
Here's some logic for all y'all: if presenters use sexualized material in presentations, and if it's pointed out that doing so is bad because it has a negative effect upon (for example) women and/or rape survivors in the audience, getting into a pissing match about exactly how rape is defined and/or counted is BEST CASE SCENARIO just incredibly rude and beside the point.

If community leaders behave in this fashion, they should expect to have very few women in their communities. As indeed this one does.

Date: 2012-10-31 05:56 am (UTC)
marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)
From: [personal profile] marahmarie
I agree with this statement exactly. It completely blows my mind that Ted twisted a conversation about what's best to present to both sexes at conferences into an argument about the definition of rape. How did that even happen?

(no subject)

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The More You Know

From: [personal profile] marahmarie - Date: 2012-11-01 01:04 am (UTC) - Expand
From: (Anonymous)
I don't post on these blogs often but I just happened to be perusing planet gnome and read your blog entry. I thought to myself "What a terrible thing that Ted Ts'o has these views". I then clicked through your link to his original mails and see a completely different argument than you have attributed to him; and a completely rational argument at that.

Shame on your libelous misrepresentation of Ts'o. All you've managed to do for the community is tarnish an innocent person's name and make yourself look like a radical reactionary. Congrats.

MJG. Take a deep breath

Date: 2012-10-30 08:04 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Read what Tso writes...

http://www.codon.org.uk/~mjg59/ted_mail/0037.html

The only agenda he seems to push, is to use meaningful statistics. If he is wrong in his arguments, I think he would listen to those.

Re: MJG. Take a deep breath

Date: 2012-10-30 03:48 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Read the post in context, and read the entire thread - including later posts - and see what effect Ted had on it.

If you read what he was replying to he was completely off-track in bringing up the stuff be brought up at all, and as the thread progresses he got increasingly into Alice and Bob kookiness and intentionally inflammatory hypothetical scenarios.

There's other comments which do a pretty good job of explaining why asking 'innocent' 'statistical' questions like this is a really bad thing to do, which I didn't even totally grok at the start of the thread, but it's pretty clear if you read the whole thing, and it's also pretty clear that Ted entirely refused to be educated.

Let me get this straight...

Date: 2012-10-30 08:23 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
If a person has a narrower definition of rape than you, do you consider them a "rape apologist"?

If you can even remotely answer this with yes, I think you are on very dangerous ground. I do really not like calling anyone "rape apologist" for having an opinion (no matter how unpopular or wrong that opinion is).

Date: 2012-10-30 10:13 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I think you're grossly misinterpreting the point Ted is trying to make especialy in his reply to you.
He's clearly not talking about rape being ok if both are drunk.
The first point I think is that we can't classify as rape any case in which everyone involved agrees (without pressure) it wasn't rape, otherwise all sex while drunk was rape which clearly diminshes the meaning of the word. There are probably even shades to that because it could range from simply having consensual sex while being drunk, being carried away by the mood of the moment and regretting it later and up to the edge case where someone was really incapable of making clear they don't want something.
The thing is from a scientific point of view it's absolutely inacceptable to just assume that having sex after drinking enough alcohol to effect decsicion making is rape. Clearly even a single glass of wine does influence our emotions and decision making processes so we can easily drift into criminalizing a lot of consensual activities and the real question here is at which point we need to classify an adult person as too drunk to decide things for themselves. I'm no legal expert but I think you need to be quite drunk when signing any contract (which is a legal form of consent) to claim you didn't actually consent.
Anyway from the E-Mails posted I can't really see where Ted called rape ok if people were drunk. He merely argued that the definition of rape used in the study is at the least vague. However I also think that it's very hard to find a really good definition that doesn't have edge cases, especially when the victims themselves may be in denial, which mind you can go in both directions, they could be regretting (maybe it was just bad) what they consented to in that moment but they could also be making themselves believe that they consented as a way to cope with it. The point is we don't know and so one can not simply count a case where the victim denies it was rape as rape.
From: (Anonymous)
The message you link to as “reply I got” does not support your statement, really. In it, tytso merely points out that the statistics made were abused in “advertising” (probably not the right word, but my grasp of English is not good enough to find a proper word) by including numbers for types of rape that were more questionable than those the statistics was used against.

However, if you want to point out the really damaging mails from tytso, go to the Ada Initiative report and read the “rape was impossible if both people were drunk enough” message. There you get it.

Sorry tytso, I also believe this is not appropriate (although, I wonder why sexism, racism, etc. is such a problem in the anglophonic countries? For example, most German/Swiss/etc. Debian Developers wondered why we had to vote about the Diversity Statement at all, saying it should be obvious. Some even didn’t vote because they thought it was redundant…)

//mirabilos

Date: 2012-10-30 10:50 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Mixing a persons opinions, no matter how misguided they may be, with the work they do IMO is dangerous. Sure Ted expressed an extremely objectionable viewpoint, but does that give people the free reign to bulldoze his professional career with knee-jerk hate, going so far as to compare him to a pedophile?

I also find it concerning that a lot of these arguments tend to last a week, and are quickly forgotten. Is this really the best way the tech community can deal with controversial topics?

The apparent inability for the tech community to handle these issues without resorting to full-blown arrogance is a large part of what puts me off contributing to open source and free software.

Date: 2012-10-30 11:02 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Ted Ts did NOT called any victim liar. He said that 73% of people included as victims in survey did said that they don't consider themselves victims hence he did not called him liars (you may call Ted Ts liar if figure is incorrect or you may call the victims liars if you say they were victims). He did said that alcohol-related intercourse are difficult case, and, if I read correctly, it wasn't that rape was impossible but that the situation is be symmetric as both parties have symmetric impaired judgement. He was against 'pornography' on conferences. Mixing them with people who said "pregnancies from rape as “a gift from God.”", “some girls rape easy,” or “legitimate rape” (as Ada Initiative did) is IMHO largely out of place.

That said after reading from comments the question 8 strongly implies to me that those were indeed victims. I am not quite sure about all of the meaningfullness of statistics he operate on (1 in 6 or 1 in 10 - what is the difference - in any case it is WAY too large. I'd consider 1 in 100 a large issue). I'd imagine that rape from someone known may be more dramatic then from stranger etc.

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Thanks

Date: 2012-10-30 01:34 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Thank you for speaking up and speaking out. The tech communities continued ability to pretend that sexism doesn't exist within it amazes me. Rape is rape is rape. A huge percentage of women *HAVE* been sexually assaulted in their lives. Most of them have never reported it. Pretending that their experiences are not real, or that it 'wasn't rape' because they were dressed in a certain way, or because they were drunk, or whatever ridiculous excuse rapists come up with to excuse themselves is incredibly disturbing. That its actively happening within the linux community doesn't surpriseme, though it does make me sad and concerned.

Thanks again for speaking up and speaking out.

Worst piece of libel on Planet Gnome ever

Date: 2012-10-30 01:41 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I'm so disappointed right now I need to write this. While not being a contributor, I'm a fairly regular Planet Gnome reader and I usually enjoy the friendly atmosphere of the community. What I have just read really strikes me : this is the worst ever piece of libel I have had to read on Planet Gnome.

It's actually intentionally misquoting and poorly interpreting what is written while pretending to honesty. It's pure libel using nothing less than rape which is the most shaming stuff in our societies. What's the purpose of this article if not sapping the reputation of Ted Ts'o for absolutely no valide reason ? You can't play with people reputation in this way. Planet Gnome is not The Sun front page. I would actually consider suing someone for less than what is written in this.

If you follow the link, you will see that Ted actually never said victims of rape were liar (beautiful use of novlang by the way, victims can't be liars considering they are stated as victims). He never made any comments doing an apology of rape. He only criticises the statistics often put forward and stating tham 25% of women have been victims of rape. His comments concern only the scientific validity and honesty of the statistics. He specifically points out that the study classifies as rape some case where the alleged victim itself doesn't describe the event as a rape. That's completely different that implying victims of rape are lying. This is a critic of a specific study and of a biased usage of statistics. It has nothing to do with an actual rape apology. Comparing that to the Savile affair, a case of sexual abuses on children, is plain sick.

I'm really disgusted with this. I have no word to describe so much dishonesty. Shame on you Matthew. Shame on you.

Re: Worst piece of libel on Planet Gnome ever

Date: 2012-10-30 03:51 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Try reading the whole thread, including all of Ted's posts, and the posts he was replying to, and consider the context, and the effects of his post on the thread and particularly on the women who were trying to achieve something constructive in it. Maybe then you'll see the problem.

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Only blame the rape victim?

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Profile

Matthew Garrett

About Matthew

Power management, mobile and firmware developer on Linux. Security developer at Nebula. Ex-biologist. @mjg59 on Twitter. Content here should not be interpreted as the opinion of my employer.

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