KingMidget's Ramblings

Pull up a chair. Let's talk.

Dear ‘Someone’

I don’t know if you’re one person or if there was more than one of you commenting on my post from last night.  It doesn’t really matter.  I’m just going to assume that there was only one of you.  And that’s part of the problem with you hiding behind your anonymity.  How can I engage you in an honest, respectful, and legitimate discussion of the issues raised in my post when I don’t know if you’re one person or five.  By insisting on being anonymous you get to make your points while leaving me with one hand tied behind my back.

The other problem with your comments, particularly your last comment, is that you put words in my mouth and thoughts in my head that simply do not exist.  You demand that I feel the way you feel, believe what you believe, and live in your black and white world, and if I don’t I should be ashamed of myself.

Let me give you a clue, I refuse to live in a black and white world, yours or anybody else’s.

Let me give you another clue, I did not criticize the feelings and opinions of those who are sympathetic to the victim.  I get those feelings, understand and accept them, and don’t question anybody who feels that way.  And yet, because I don’t believe as you do, or feel as you do, I am open to your anonymous public attempt at shaming me and your accusation that I am judging the victim and blaming her for what happened.

I did not judge her and I did not blame her.  What I said was that I feel no sympathy.  I am completely neutral on her.  I neither blame her nor sympathize with her.  That, sir or madam, is the absence of judgment and the lack of sympathy does not automatically equal he existence of blame. Those are not the only options.

That all said, if you are someone I know in my real life, it’s a shame you believed you had to hide your identity in responding to my post.  I crave honest and open conversations in which both sides exchange ideas and opinions in an open and respectful manner.  That is impossible, however, when you put words in my mouth and thoughts in my head that simply do not exist, and you do so while hiding behind the wall of internet anonymity.

Same goes for any of my blogging and internet friends. We can disagree about anything and everything, and I’ll still love you and care about you and want to continue the dialog.  But I absolutely will not participate in a discussion involving inaccurate depictions of my opinions and feelings made by somebody who doesn’t have the courage to reveal themselves.

I deleted the post from last night, not because my perspective changed – far from it.  I deleted it because I will not allow my blog to become a place where people can hurl false accusations as you did, whether directed at me or anybody else.

Whoever you are, I invite you to participate in the kind of open and honest conversation I know we can have.  If you can’t do that, find another place of the internet to inhabit.


20 responses to “Dear ‘Someone’

  1. Audrey Driscoll June 8, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    I think I can see why you deleted the post, although I was sorry to see it gone when I returned to it today. I wanted to read it again before commenting. I don’t like anonymous (or pseudonymous) comments either.

  2. Ike Jakson June 8, 2016 at 10:36 pm

    If you have to do what you are now doing you are merely compounding the problem; as they say in the classics, if you can’t take the heat stay out of the kitchen.

    Really, really? No comment is often the best comment.

  3. Anonymous June 9, 2016 at 2:02 am

    I wasn’t intentionally hiding behind anonymity. I don’t have an account here, which is why it named me “anonymous.” This was the first time I had been on this website, after following some links elsewhere, and didn’t feel like creating an account for a one-time thing. Does it really matter? My name is Sharon if it’s that important. It bothered you that I didn’t have a name and you didn’t know how many there were of me, so you threw a hissy-fit and deleted the entire thing?

    I didn’t put words in your mouth or misinterpret them or hurl false accusations. I used your own words and in the same context. If you hadn’t deleted the post and replies you could reread it and see what I meant. Maybe you used the wrong words and didn’t even realize it.

    In the last paragraph of your post, you referred to her as stupid, not responsible, and not behaving like the adult she supposedly is. If that isn’t judgmental, I don’t know what is. Thousands of people do what she did every week without being raped. Are they all stupid, irresponsible and behaving immaturely? It’s an opinion, not a fact. So no, you’re not neutral. What’s worse, in one of your replies to a comment, you said that you had also done some stupid things but you wouldn’t expect anyone to feel sympathy about the “consequences” of your actions. Rape isn’t a consequence of the victim’s actions.

    I don’t know why you jumped to the assumption that I purposefully chose to be anonymous, then deleted your masterpiece along with the well thought out responses from your readers and composed a lengthy diatribe. It sounds like a control issue or an ego problem. But you are posting on a public platform, and if you say something controversial some people will disagree and comment. Are we required to have an account in order to do that?

    • kingmidget June 9, 2016 at 7:04 am

      I believe people who post on public forums should do so publicly. It’s that simple. It’s not about control or ego.

      And the reality is that you are misconstruing what I say. Rather than looking at the entire context of what I posted and how I responded to many of the comments that followed, you pick out a word here or a word there and reach incorrect conclusions about what I believe and what I was saying. You think I used the word ‘consequences’ so therefore I’m blaming her for having been raped. Well, you’re wrong. As I say in my comment below to Trent, if she drank herself into a blackout and fell down a flight of stairs, leaving herself paralyzed, I wouldn’t feel any sympathy for her. I hold her responsible for being recklessly stupid. I don’t hold her responsible for being raped.

      I completely agree with those who have said we need to do something about sexual assaults on campus. I also agree that women should be able to go to parties, drink, and have fun without fear of being assaulted or raped. Absolutely, 110% agree with all of those things. The onus for this is on the boys and men who are doing this and on our society for not figuring out how to minimize the harm and the risk. And, in case, you’re offended by my use of the word ‘minimize’ instead of ‘eliminate’ I’m a realist when it comes to some things. Eliminating crime of any type is a pipe dream.

      • Anonymous June 9, 2016 at 8:21 am

        It doesn’t matter if I create an account just to reply to you, because I don’t plan to use this site in the future. If I really wanted to hide behind the anonymity of the internet I could use a fake name and a phony picture. Any one of your other repliers could be doing that and you wouldn’t know.

        So here, I’m replying publicly. My name is Sharon Webb and I live in Reno, Nevada. I’m a retired schoolteacher with three grown children and two grand children. My husband passed away from prostate cancer in 2009. I have two black labs, named Oliver and Susan. I enjoy gardening and needle point. Is that public enough?

        I think you are the one who is misconstruing my words. I didn’t say you were “blaming” her, I rightly repeated that you implied that rape was the consequence of her actions. All of the wonderful things you said in your preamble don’t negate your other words here and there. Others have interpreted the same way as I have. You cannot wiggle out of your words or back-pedal and say that’s not what you meant just because you said some other stuff too.

        As Trent below me has said, “stairs don’t rape people.” He makes a number of excellent points that I agree with wholeheartedly, and does so more eloquently than I ever could. I look forward to seeing how you reply to him.

  4. Trent Lewin June 9, 2016 at 2:42 am

    I’m sorry someone’s hurling anonymous stuff at you, Mark, but I’m not sure that changes the framework of the discussion.

    For what it’s worth (and my opinion only – given with full respect for you, a person I greatly admire), I think the issues for me is that you are judging this woman. You are not neutral in the way that you brought this up, as you believe she is, as you have said, stupid. I think that is judgement. If I included any other false accusations in my commentary on your post, it is because I didn’t see much beyond that statement to explain your feelings. There was just so much room in your post for filling in the blanks around your statement that this was a stupid person.

    I guess I’m in part judging you here, too. I just can’t figure out or understand how you don’t feel sympathy for her. I don’t understand neutrality on a topic like this, as it makes me so fiercely angry. I want everyone to be angry. Yes, I want everyone to feel like I do, because I think this is a highly polarizing issue – there are the people who condemn the criminal and feel for this woman, and there are the people who sort of condone his actions and try to explain them away. You seem to be arching for the middle ground – he’s a criminal, you don’t condone anything he did, he is wrong, but you don’t have any sympathy for her. I question the value of that middle ground when the far-ranging consequences of how this matter is debated in society is so vitally important. We have to end rape culture. That end, in and of itself, in my opinion, requires us to unify our voice and shout out about the wrongness of what happened – and yes, to not trip closely to the line where those others dwell that feel that she got what she deserved. I feel that you are close to that line with your comments, although I firmly believe you would never believe that kind of thing and that that cannot be the intent of a person that I admire. But it feels that way, because as with the elements of this case, you’re making it about her and her culpability, her stupidity. I don’t think it has anything at all to do with that.

    I saw a pie chart the other day about the causes of rape. It listed promiscuity, questionable clothing, alcohol and drug consumption, and a few other things. But the pie chart was shaded only one colour, that corresponded to the label of ‘rapists’. And that’s what I believe. It matters not in the least, whether I think she was stupid in my opinion or not, this is on the boy and that’s where we should focus our efforts and words if we’re going to make any concrete changes to this disgusting rape culture that still exists. There’s a problem here. We can be part of the solution or we can talk about this girl’s excess alcohol consumption. That’s up to us.

    • kingmidget June 9, 2016 at 6:47 am

      I completely agree that the focus should be on the boy. That’s why I began my initial post the way I did and why I will continue to repeat this: Brock Turner deserves a much harsher sentence than the one he received, his father should wear a muzzle for the next five years, and the judge needs to find a new job. There is no excuse for what he did and I will never blame this victim or any other victim.

      I am extremely frustrated by the way my view of this is being perceived and narrowed. Let me try a different approach. If the woman, after drinking herself to a blackout, had fallen down a flight of stairs and ended up paralyzed would I feel sympathy for her? No. The injury that came after her reckless stupidity is irrelevant to me when deciding whether to feel sympathy. Am I judging her for being stupid? OK. Fine. I’ll accept that charge. But that does not mean I’m judging her or blaming her for being raped.

      I would never … NEVER … believe that a woman ‘gets what she deserved’ if she was raped. This is one of the frustrating aspects of this for me. Everything I wrote at the beginning of my post is completely ignored because I said I thought she was stupid. In other words, if I don’t toe the politically correct line 100%, well I guess I’m just about as bad as the rapist or the ‘blame the victim’ crowd. There are nuances, Trent, nuances in everything we do.

      • Trent Lewin June 9, 2016 at 7:23 am

        There are nuances in everything, and that’s understood. I did read the preamble to what you said and I understand where you’re coming from. I just don’t see any value at all in the nuances related to this issue. To me, this is very cut and dried: we condemn the boy (as you did too) and we maintain the emphasis and the discussion on that because I think the discussion you are bringing up is unimportant in the context. It is meaningless to me, and frustrating to me, because this type of discussion can deflect from the bigger picture. And the bigger picture is right there: people still undertake this type of thing, thing in this mentality, enact these crimes. That’s the important thing to me, not the nuances. Not the niceties or the alternate arguments. They mean nothing to me on this matter. The important thing to me is the harshest possible condemnation of this type of act, and the unified voice that carries it forward. Maybe later there will be time for nuances and discussions – maybe later I will appreciate the nuanced discussion around this, but not right now and I’m not sure ever.

        Stairs don’t rape people. This is one human being’s act upon another. Would you feel sympathy for her if she’d been raped while sober? If she’d been raped while sleeping? What standard are you applying here and why?

        I understand your frustration, but you took a stance and opened this discussion. You are expressing a cold sort of neutrality and that will of course engender discussion.

      • Trent Lewin June 9, 2016 at 7:29 am

        And for the record, have you ever known me to be politically correct about anything? I am not asking you to be political correct or to toe any line. I am simply – but vociferously – disagreeing with you. This has NOTHING to do with political correctness. We either stand up against this type of thing or we don’t. I know you are condemning the nutjob swimmer fool as we are, but you are also dangerously close to the line that others are in fact taking – the one where she did get what she deserved. If you can’t see that, I’m sorry. But that discussion is happening, and it is diverting everyone from the more important point of what happened to this woman – the victim. Emotions are high on this, mine included, and if you think you are going to avoid possibly getting tangled up with the people who want to assign blame on the victim, I don’t know what to say. But that’s how I felt when I read your post, that we don’t need this nuanced discussion right now (or maybe at all, I don’t know). I want your unequivocal anger and harshest condemnation for the boy (which you did), without it being deflected by some entirely trite and meaningless discussion about the woman and her stupidity.

        I’m sorry that sounds harsh, but let’s overwhelmingly and loudly do the condemning right now, when those voices are absolutely needed. Let’s do it cleanly and openly. That’s my appeal to you.

      • kingmidget June 9, 2016 at 7:32 am

        More later. Gotta go to work. 😦

    • kingmidget June 9, 2016 at 8:58 pm

      Unfortunately, my ability to respond to each of your comments is limited because my laptop is not cooperating with the internet and using my tablet just isn’t as functional. I’ve put up another post to try to explain my view. But a few thoughts about your comments.

      Of course you are right that I opened the door to comments and criticisms. What continues to bother me, however, is that the entire context of my original post and what followed is being ignored because of a few words here and there. You and I both know that language can be imprecise and sometimes the right word simply doesn’t exist. I used the word ‘consequences’ so you and Sharon think I’m blaming her for the rape when everything else I have written on the topic makes clear I am not.

      Let me put it a different way. You and Sharon appear to believe that the events of that night begin and end with the assault. Looked at that way, the only legitimate feeling to have is outrage at him and sympathy for her. I believe the events of the night are much broader than the assault. And for me, those events lead me to the outrage at him and desire to see him fully punished for the assault and as described in my new post, not sympathetic towards her because she took an unreasonable risk given the known reality of our world.

      • Trent Lewin June 10, 2016 at 4:22 am

        No, they are not much broader than that. Looking at it in that way does nothing to dissuade this type of act in the future. You can look at it from that kind of perspective, it’s your right, but I believe the focus should be on doing what we can to end rape culture, and that means concentrating on the perpetrator and not questioning the intelligence of the victim.

        Taking unreasonable risks? Why are we talking about this? She was at a party and had drinks. Did she have three drinks too many and that got her drunk? Five too many? What line do you want to assess here? Yes, the world is real, it’s a strange place, we either do things to make it better or we don’t.

  5. Ike Jakson June 9, 2016 at 8:31 am

    I have never seen anything closer to self-destruction than this Post following on the first but now deleted one.

  6. coastalmom June 2, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    Ahhh i kept looking for the post you were referring to and then read the comments here on this post and realized that the one you were referring to was deleted!

    • kingmidget June 3, 2017 at 8:02 am

      Well, the post was about Brock Turner and the young woman he sexually assaulted. Basically, I said that he should have got a harsher sentence and that there was absolutely no excuse for what he had done … but … that I had no sympathy for the young woman. She went to a fraternity party with her sister where she didn’t know anybody else, she drank so much that she blacked out and eventually was unconscious. That doesn’t take a small amount of alcohol to get to that point. Yes, no woman should have to experience what she experienced. Yes, nothing she did excused what Brock Turner did to her. She is not at fault for being assaulted, but I have a real hard time generating sympathy for a young woman who puts herself into a situation like that. For which I got attacked by a number of people. One of them was “Anonymous” and it was written in a way that I thought Anonymous might be somebody I know. And it just really bothers me what people do in comments sections on blogs when they can hide behind their anonymity. So, eventually I deleted the original post because I’m not going to let anonymous people hijack it and accuse me of things I don’t believe.

      The one place in which I will the commenters credit is that they are right. I did judge her. But I’m not sure why she shouldn’t be judged. As I said to Trent Lewin at one point, they want to start that night at the assault and ignore anything before or after that. Completely absolving the victim of any responsibility for her own actions.

      I say all of this as the father of two young men who went off to college and promptly joined fraternities. I’m disgusted with them for having done so. Yes, women should get to go to parties without any fear or chance of being assaulted. I believe that 300%. Unfortunately, that’s not reality in our world and any woman goes to a frat party these days, particularly one where she doesn’t know anybody, has to accept reality and make decisions that will keep herself safe.

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