RANT: I Just Unlisted Angie

As most of you know, I have a penchant for buying houses that need significant work.  Because of that, I hit Angie’s List a lot.  But today I learned that they’re not pulling their advertising from Bill O’Reilly’s show because “Just as we trust members to make their own hiring decisions, we trust them to make their own media consumption decisions.”

Because hiring a plumber is exactly like giving money to a powerful abuser  so he’ll have more power to continue his decades-long harassment of women.

So I’ve decided not to add to their revenue stream because they just hand it over to a serial sexual predator.  I’ve been trying to get somebody on the site chat box to talk to me, but strangely enough, no one is available.  It’s noon, maybe they’re all out to lunch.  Or maybe, I hope, they’re reaping the whirlwind.

At any rate, thanks for trusting me, Angie!  I know I’ve made the right decision.


36 thoughts on “RANT: I Just Unlisted Angie

  1. Hi there,

    Usually I lurk and don’t leave comments but this post made me ponder. I hope you answer some follow up questions because the subject of female harassment has been on the forefront lately.

    I preface this with I have had close female friends go through molestation/harassment. And I have had close male friends be accused of it by angry, bitter women. I have a son and daughters. So, when it comes to this, I’m torn.

    Personally, I can agree with complete outrage over Trump’s comment of “grabosity.” I feel strongly enough that alone should have disqualified him from any diplomacy job.

    BUT when it comes to the Bills (O’reilly and Cosby), why is everyone so quick to judge and more importantly, ignore the very system this country is supposed to be about? Innocent until proven guilty. Only, as a society we often go with the reverse – people said you did it, then you must have. Now try to change my mind.

    At the moment – two cases are looming. O’Reilly (whose opinions I loathe btw) is being accused by a woman who claims she was offered a job and then didn’t get it. If you watch her CNN interview, there are just so many holes in the story. Firstly, if she was appalled by his behavior when he invited her to his suite after dinner, why did she say no but still go down to the bar to get a drink with him? Talk about mixed messages.

    Secondly, in her case, she even admits they were talking about her job prospects over dinner etc so she probably flirted (as most women do) to try to get ahead. No harm, no foul. But why is she making it out to be like he grabbed her ass? It could have been a simple misreading of the signals. Or she was sending out wrong ones. In any case, the latest accuser doesn’t provide a plausible story (including a thinly veiled excuse for suck up emails).


    When it comes to the settlements in excess of millions – yeah, that seems super weird and fishy. But those women aren’t coming up to speak. So, introducing the what ifs that would be illegal in court but not in public opinion. None of us were there and there is not enough evidence. So why jump to the worst conclusions? There are many other reasons to dislike the guy. Use those and not Angie’s List marketing strategy. Again, he has not been convicted of any crime.

    Me – I’m judging the women just as much. Because they’re money grabbing hoes and setting back womens’ rights a few decades. If you were anti harassment then go to court and end the guy’s career legally. No, they chose to get rich with millions. It’s not about ethics. And if they don’t feel that violated to settle out of court, then I question the transparency of what happened.

    Now, about Bill Cosby. Again, I think it is incredibly coincidental that the year he was making his big return to TV, is the year the drug claims came out. I can go into all the things that don’t add up (including how in the 90’s when he was about to buy NBC, his son mysteriously was murdered at a gas station). BUT statistics are simple and math doesn’t lie. It is literally probability impossible that if over 60 women claim he drugged and raped them, that not a SINGLE ONE at the time of the occurrence have gone to the police. ONE at least should have gotten a rape kit, or drug tested. But no. And yet, you judge.

    Why aren’t you questioning the women that make me feel like I constantly owe an apology to the good men I meet?

    I guess, I’m perplexed over this. How do we as women live good lives when we are constantly tearing down men? Because while these two cases are playing out in the news, it happens all the time in real life.


    When my husband was trying to hire a secretary, literally all the women that applied offered sex. If the job says the salary is x amount, they come back with a counter offer of, ‘ok, but what do i have to do to earn 3 thousand a month more?’

    I love being a woman. I love that I live in a country that essentially allows me to be and do anything if I work hard enough. But fellow females, what are your thoughts on this? Aren’t you embarrassed how so many other women ruined men’s lives over superficial claims? And yet the ones who actually could use our support, often never come out and say anything because it will turn into a circus.

    I don’t know, this too is a rant.

    P.S. People LIE. Surprise. That’s what amazing villains are made of. Why take someone at their word?

    1. Men lie, too. Like when they say “I only paid out thirteen million dollars to protect my children from these multiple women who have accused me of harassment.”
      So here’s how this works:
      Bill O’Reilly (and Bill Cosby) are very rich and have very good lawyers.
      The women they harass have much less power and are trying to get ahead in the business by networking, something any man would do.
      They are told they can get that help if they’ll just come by the house/hotel room/office after hours.
      When they protest or refuse, they’re blacklisted in the industry they love.
      When they threaten to go public, the expensive lawyers descend on them and explain that they’ll be destroyed in the industry if they open their mouths. If they’re lucky, they get offered money so they have something live on since their careers have been ruined by vindictive sexual predators. Oh, and they have to sign gag orders so they can’t tell anybody.

      “BUT statistics are simple and math doesn’t lie. It is literally probability impossible that if over 60 women claim he drugged and raped them, that not a SINGLE ONE at the time of the occurrence have gone to the police. ONE at least should have gotten a rape kit, or drug tested. But no. And yet, you judge.”

      Yes, I judge. It was common knowledge in the industry that Cosby was a rapist; read the reports. It wasn’t until one of the women became rich and powerful enough to fight back that his rapes were finally brought to light. It was common knowledge in the industry that Roger Ailes was a sexual predator, but it wasn’t until a woman who was rich and powerful with a powerful husband and who was willing to give up her career fought back that he was brought down. And it’s common knowledge that Bill O’Reilly is a sexual predator, and it’s up in the air whether he’ll be brought down because there are still people saying, “Hey, people LIE.” Yeah, they do, but not that many about the same man doing the same thing.

      “But fellow females, what are your thoughts on this? Aren’t you embarrassed how so many other women ruined men’s lives over superficial claims?”
      This is where my blood pressure spiked to stroke heights. This is Argh, I really do try to welcome all opinions. But the number of men’s lives who have been ruined by predatory women are dwarfed by the number of women’s lives–women who are still underpaid, under-repesented, and most likely to be killed by a man they know–who have been ruined by powerful men who see women as prey, as things to be possessed, and who find dominating helpless women a turn-on.

      Right now our country is strangling under the aegis of an incompetent who could have been defeated if 62 million people hadn’t said, “Yeah, he’s a sexual predator, but women lie and why should we ruin his life over locker room talk?” I am not embarrassed by the women who are suing O’Reilly because these are not superficial claims, because he, like Trump who just defended him, only grows worse when he gets away with this, because women deserve to be treated as equals in the workplace and not required to be sex object just to report the damn news.

      We don’t owe an apology to good men. Good men want Cosby and Ailes and O’Reilly to pay for what they’ve done. Good men are protesting this, too. Good men are doing just fine.

      It’s the bad ones who are finally getting it in the neck.

    2. Am I just incredibly naive? I would think coming back in a job interview with “how can I earn $3,000 a month more” is a negotiation tactic, not a proposition. As someone who as been a hiring manager, that would be what I would think if someone made that kind of comment to me.

      That might be another issue, an ingrained assumption that any woman who is trying to advance her career through networking and negotiation is actually there for some sort of ulterior motive. You’re suggesting “most women probably flirt” when networking – I would say, there’s a high probability that often times professional friendliness is getting mistaken for something more.

      I know that I personally ended up switching my networking strategy when I was a single young professional to only attend morning networking events after I realized a pattern emerging of “prospects” I had met and discussed business with at evening events were actually more interested in trying to date me than in working with me. I used that work around because it was available to me and I was tired of having my time wasted, but I can imagine how that would be more difficult in other industries where you really have to go to the after hours events to meet the right people.

      At any rate, I do understand your point about we can often be too quick to jump to judgment of guilt – like maybe being too quick to assume all women are flirts? – but I think in this case, as Jenny pointed out, there’s an established pattern of behavior here with O’Reilly as an individual and in the corporate culture of the network that makes this seem believable.

      Also, there are many reasons that someone who has experienced harassment would decide not to come forward, or who would end up settling out of court rather than having to undergo the often times humiliating and re-victimizing experience of a trial. And as Jenny pointed out, settlements almost always come with a gag order as part of the deal.

      Yes people lie, but usually they lie when it clearly benefits them. Coming out as a survivor of sexual harassment/assault isn’t all upshot – it’s people calling you “money grabbing hoes”, telling you that calling men out for that bad behavior is “setting back womens’ rights” or implying that you are “tearing down men” for demanding respect and fair treatment. It’s getting a reputation in an industry of being difficult or being a bitch – potentially hurting your professional advancement, and causing a climate of silence that lets the bad behavior continue and to swell to include more and more.

      So I’m not embarrassed by this because I don’t think “so many women” do this, and I don’t think the women who are accusing O’Reilly are lying. I think there are maybe a few crazy twisted women who might file false reports, but I think the vast majority who come forward are telling the truth, and the few who are not are uncovered and punished.

      And I think Jenny is right when she said good men are protesting this, too.

      Yes, we can rail against the false reports when they are exposed, but I think someone coming out as a victim is also innocent until proven guilty, and should be respected and believed until there’s evidence otherwise.

      1. Just going to add to Jenny and Katie here–it’s true many survivors do not go to the police and not come forward because of the public backlash they get for doing so, but even the ones who do go to the police and do get rape kits done have no guarantee that anything will be done to catch the perpetrator. Rape kits often sit untested and ignored for years, because processing them is expensive and requires more manpower than is available. Or, in the case of certain states and cities, they literally forgot a whole warehouse of them existed. Here:

        –NPR on the issue last year

        –Scientific American on the issue two years ago

        –USA Today on how the funding that could help the backlog tends to go towards general DNA testing instead, again two years ago

        And, on a more hopeful note:

        –Some political representatives and police forces are working with advocacy groups to lower the backlog in their states and cities, some with direct appeals to the public and some with proposed laws (including one in Texas to be voted on in May)

        –a website dedicated to research, advocacy, and survivor support

        So maybe let’s not call survivors liars just because a rape kit with a big neon “HE DID IT” hasn’t been produced. Because a conclusive rape kit is the real statistical improbability here.

        Also, just want to point out–if we’re going to argue that these men should be given the benefit of the doubt, shouldn’t we also give it to the women accusing them? Maybe not imply women accusing powerful men are automatically manipulative and greedy liars? Because saying things like “Aren’t you embarrassed how so many other women ruined men’s lives over superficial claims?” when referring to women who HAVE come out and said something about their assault is partially why we get “the ones who actually could use our support, often never come out and say anything because it will turn into a circus.”

        Sorry if I’m being too hostile for Argh, this just really pissed me off.

  2. My legal brain won’t let go of this — innocent until proven guilty is something that’s only true in CRIMINAL court, where the penalty is extreme, with the defendant at risk of losing all of his/her civil liberties and go to jail. It’s just not the way either the legal system or the human brain works outside of that context.

    Anywhere outside the criminal context, decisions are based on “preponderance of the evidence,” with no presumption of innocence, and I’d have to say that the number of accusers against the various men referenced here are plenty to establish preponderance of the evidence in situations where they’re not being sent to jail. It’s certainly more than enough to justify denying them the millions of dollars they’re earning in a job that enables them to be predators.

    And, seriously, the odds of a victim of harassment pursuing either a civil claim or a report to the police are minuscule. Anyone who’s ever experienced harassment knows that. There are a million reasons to stay quiet. I learned that when I was sixteen or seventeen.

  3. Also, in the Cosby case, some of the women did go to the police and were told that it would be a he said/she said and, really, who were people going to believe?

    1. Given that we live in a society where a man can be caught raping an unconscious girl by two sober witnesses and then given a softball sentence because the judge doesn’t want to “ruin a young man’s life,” chances are, it wouldn’t have been the girl. “Yeah, she was drunk but she said yes.”

      Until we make the consequences for the rapist as bad as they are for the victim, we’ll still have people worrying about the impact on the man’s life while dismissing the impact of rape on the victim’s. Because, after all, people lie. And all those women making the same accusation against the same man over a decade? Probably they asked for it because they wanted to get ahead in their careers, women do that.

      I’m really glad this is happening because it clearly didn’t stop Trump from being elected, but maybe if an outcry brings down Cosby and Ailes and O’Reilly, a woman will be able to say, “Stop this now or I’ll report you,” and have it mean something.

  4. You know, I was flabbergasted when I read the Steubenville teen rape story.

    The victim blaming there went to appalling degrees. The young lady left town. Then her house was burned down.

    I wondered who could be so heinous? Why were they so vile? Is their need to believe that bad things happen to bad people so central to their view of themselves as good that they are willing to destroy someone and their home over it?

    In this piece you showed me what someone from Steubenville’s processes might be.

    They are stuck in the good woman, bad woman narrative. Mother Mary vs Mary Magdalene.

    I guess I’m glad you put it out there, terribly judgemental attitudes can only be changed by reflection.

    Bad things happen to good people.

    Some people in power perpetuate harm against less powerful.

    The less powerful have no recourse in a system weighted against them.

    They take what they can get because they’ve been blackballed out of their work.

    I guess we’re just nasty women. Nevertheless we persist.

  5. I did my capstone lit review on police and prosecutor responses to sexual assault. It was some of the most difficult and depressing research I ever did. Afterward, I had a very good sense of why people choose not to report. From what I recall, the FBI estimates that false reports for all crimes are about 2%, and sexual assault is no different. Yet so many people seem to assume it’s higher than for other crimes. I’ve never understood the logic of that. The cost of coming forward is high when it’s likely you won’t be believed by most people and you will probably be threatened and harassed by strangers or face retaliation in some form, especially if the accused has any kind of status/money/celebrity. I suspect civil cases for assault and harassment might preferred by victim’s because it allows them to exact some kind of justice without being subjected to judgement or further victimization. And the higher standards of proof in a criminal trial combined with prejudices about women and consent mean going that route might expose the victim to a lot pain while the perpetrator still gets acquitted. A civil case doesn’t require proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and some victim’s might decide something is better than nothing. The families of the victims in the OJ case certainly seemed to take that view after he was acquitted of homicide. The assumption that suing a predator is only about money bothers me. It seems plausible to me that extracting money from them isn’t just about getting cash. If that’s the only way to hold them responsible, it can also be about the satisfaction of knowing they had to give up something to pay for what they did to you.

    1. The way law enforcement has treated rape in the past–thousands of rape kits stored and never processed–makes me nuts, but the “women lie about rape” makes me even crazier. When you consider the backlash, the way rape victims are slut-shamed, the way people read in narratives like “they probably were flirting to get ahead,” the way judges ask why victims didn’t keep their legs together or argue that a twelve-year-old victim was dressed provocatively . . .

      I get upset.

  6. Firstly, I’d like to say how much I appreciate that I’m not being shunned for my viewpoint and we can all discuss this. It just goes to reiterate how amazing the Crusie fanbase is.

    And then to address some of the follow up comments.

    Just to be clear – I am not defending any of the guys who allegedly did or didn’t do it. I wasn’t there. My point in this topic at all is when there is a lack of evidence, I am more weary to jump to conclusions. Because that has always been the drawback of organized society – a lot of the times it translates to mob mentality. I’ve certainly fallen to that at times.

    Are you all defending the women because you believe they are truly victims? Because it makes a good story? Because it has happened to people you know, so you defend the cause? It can be a number of things, I guess I would just like to understand what the knee jerk reaction is to assume the one who is blamed is truly at fault? Or in cases such as this, do you honestly initially hold back your opinion and only later form it?

    You may have to explain the common knowledge bit to me when it comes to the Bills. If it was that everyone knew Cosby was allegedly a rapist and sick individual, how is it that it went unmentioned for so long? Wouldn’t whatever Network was hiring him think twice in case it ever came to light? Where are these so called police reports? And again, it is very easy to claim you have been drugged but alas have no medical report to back it up.

    More importantly, if everyone knew why did no one do anything to help? Shouldn’t the blame lie as much on the people who knew as on the person who committed the crime? It goes to the recent facebook rape where dozens saw and no one called the police.


    To stand by the fact that people lie. The same way you have a point in that money can buy a lot of freedom if you actually did something wrong, it can also buy a lot of peace of guilty mind. Entertainment industry is very much about politics. So, it’s not a long stretch that people interested in fame and a paycheck can be bought too to say a fabricated story.

    My theory is that good people, in this case specifically good women, don’t know any bad women well. So, we judge based on our own predisposed behavior. Five years ago I had never met any gold-digging, social-ladder climbing excuses. So, I assumed no woman would stoop low enough to try to get ahead in her personal and professional lives. But my job put me in very close proximity so that I no longer had the luxury of assuming people do the right thing. I have personally witnessed multiple ex-wives claiming abuse on themselves and their kids so that the husbands payed more money (only to be later debunked by recordings and testimonies, including those of the kids).

    The other factor is that I have come across women like that a lot more in metropolitan than rural areas. Maybe it’s about competition. Or maybe it’s about proximity to wealth that ignites that greed seed.

    In regards to the story of hiring a secretary. Katie, as an HR person, you probably hire executives of all levels. But if it is a desk job that has a set salary and set skill level, what would possibly makes a prospective employee think they can bargain for 30,000 dollars more a year in salary? Obviously, they are leading on that they can offer an entirely different skill set —which by the way, if anyone knows where to hire honest, dignified, hard working people please point me in the right direction — But also, Katie, exactly, you made a very strategic observation. That you had to switch to morning or daytime networking to attract the right kind of connections. Women are super smart so I don’t believe the threat of being blacklisted – if you’re capable, opportunities will always be there.

    Women who have actually suffered abuse (or men for that matter), have a much more difficult time speaking about it than the circus of accusers on TV. Anytime the headline reads “I am not in it for money” – well that’s passive aggressive to the max, especially considering you’re getting paid for the appearances on the multiple news outlets. Yes, it absolutely happens that the pain and shame sometimes keeps the victims locked away within themselves for years. But you don’t go from not speaking about it to anyone for years to telling the whole world.

    It could be a heated debate for either side. So why not make it more even and just as the accused is expected to take a lie detector test, have the alleged victim take one too. Why not gather info on all the people involved. It is a lot more difficult to prove your innocence once you have been accused. And if you are wrongly accused, it ruins your life forever. (Just google freed after wrongly convicted. Hundreds of cases that don’t have anything to do with physical evidence but about someone lying on someone else)

    I strongly believe that if it is a claim that can affect the rest of your life, the case should be treated with utmost care, not preponderance of evidence. We are not talking just simple business or real estate transactions. This is someone’s life. Reputation and livelihood affected. Case in point, the boys that were accused in Rolling Stone magazine.

    As far as the consequences for a rapist not being as bad as for the victim – I highly disagree. Unless, you are part of law enforcement in which case your penalty for sexual assault is minimal (they plead you down to a misdemeanor). Being convicted of a felony (which by the way they give out for all sorts of things, including possession of small amount of drugs), makes it seriously near impossible to reintegrate into society afterwards. In most states, probation officer’s job is to get released felons convicted again on some violation (such as a parking ticket, true story) to force them back to prison because THERE IS A LOT OF MONEY in the privatized jails. Like insane riches (a lot of this is available to check online)

    To give you a sample for someone who has been convicted of rape – they cannot live where they want, they cannot get jobs. A lot of times they do not get to see their biological kids (even if the crime is with an adult) and are prohibited from being in consensual relationships with adult women often. They don’t get to drive or go to the park or a bookstore. They are forced to check into social services daily. They cannot go to university and if they do, the whole school has to know what they did. That truly does become like a witchhunt. Because if they are guilty of the crime, psychologically none of those stipulations are helpful in establishing good behavioral patterns. BUT if they are wrongly convicted, congratulations an innocent’s life has been subjected to slavery for the rest of his days.

    I will most certainly be unpopular in the next statement. I would much rather be overly cautious when it comes to sexual claims, even if it means that someone goes unpunished. Because the facts are that women have been raped and pillaged for centuries. We have figured out how to go on most times. In a one-off instance of horror, the victim will eventually find strength. That incident does not define her. But if a guy gets convicted based on shoddy evidence at best, that is a life imprisonment sentence. Even if he gets lucky and escapes a prison term, if he didn’t do it but the public opinion is that he did, tell me is that not worse to ruin someone’s life like that?

    The narrative here is that this is Not the age of the less powerful. The little guy still doesn’t get to win and does not get retribution. Black men are still terrified for their lives when stopped by police. People in law enforcement and judicial systems do not do the right thing (if you don’t believe, go sit in on criminal court hearings. Actual baby molesters who admit to the crime get penance because they don’t fight with the system. But anyone who claims innocence or wrongful arrest or questions anything, goes to prison and quickly)

    Trump did not pick a cabinet full of billionaires because their politics can be about more than just money. People lie and people do the wrong thing. The real question is how do we get back a society whose goal is to be good? And more importantly, how do we continue to question everything so that we may sift through the information until we can form our opinions based on fact and not someone else’s interpretation.

    In regards to civil cases, you are absolutely right it is a lot easier to win them for victims of sexual harassment. But, they are also option B if you don’t win a criminal case. When a victim goes to the police to report such a crime, the prosecutor will always try it as a criminal case first (unless statute of limitations) because if they get a conviction that way it is equal to a bigger win for the financial gain of the state and the prosecutor’s career.

    In this specific instance, I am weary not because they are claiming it happened but the circumstances under which they decide to come out. These are so called victims who come out in very public ways for very specific motives. This is not something that goes directly to court but rather goes to the court of public opinion first, which then obviously affects the outcome of now biased evidence review.

    Sexual abuse is horrible. Lying about it is twice as bad. Except there are no repercussions for the liars, which is why women get away with it making it worse for actual victims.

    I am not saying that O’Reilly or Cosby didn’t do it. What I am saying is that if we look at it from rational perspective, you cannot honestly say that it is an absolute that they did it. And that yes, the paying off settlements and sheer number of alleged victims look very bad. But it also looks bad that for 30 plus years somehow this never surfaced and there is ZERO physical evidence. And that the woman claiming to have been harassed contradicts herself in the story.

    So, then, why automatically assume they are the bad guys before it plays out?

    As far as some of the other comments, we live in U.S., and not India for instance, it’s almost unheard of that a rape victim would get slut shamed. Rape is not ok whether you’re dressed in a burka or a swimsuit, but there are tons of 12 year olds who do dress provocatively (danielle whats-her-name is the latest example), that is a entirely different issue than we’re talking about here. Courts and police neglecting to properly treat a rape is why actual criminals go free, but this is implying that yes, there is evidence.

    Bottom line is are we any better throwing stones at someone when our need to do so comes from a previous act of carelessness by someone else? Could it just be possible that because of the cop, the judge, the criminal who got away with wrongdoing in the past, we are inherently trying to right a previous wrong by projecting it onto a different situation?

    1. I can’t speak to American law about witnesses being complicit, but there is a high profile case in Australia right now where a private school boy raped an unconscious girl at a party and asked a friend of his to film it. The friend did, and then sent the video to 50 of their schoolmates. The rapist has been charged with rape, the friend has been charged with production and distribution of child pornography (the girl was 15), and the 50 school friends are about to be charged with possession of child pornography, which will place them on the sex offenders registry for life. They didn’t ask to receive it, they didn’t know in advance, but they also didn’t report it when they did receive it, which makes them complicit under Australian law.

      People will certainly say that this is ruining their lives unnecessarily, but if this is the only way that they will learn that what they did was wrong, and that what their friends did was evil, I firmly believe that they should be prosecuted in line with the law. That’s what it’s there for, and while it may not be fair, it should at least be equitable.

      As far as slut-shaming goes, it still happens. The girl in this particular case has been so harassed (Why were you drinking? Why were you wearing that? You were probably asking for it) that she has had to change schools to escape the bullying.

  7. Perhaps people need to do a better job in educating their young men. I think it’s true that most people are good, but there are a few rotten apples in the mix who spoil everything for almost everyone.

    Perhaps we should teach young men that they should watch their mouths and their language — people take things the wrong way so easily, so don’t give people the opportunity to take them the wrong way.

    Young men shouldn’t be with young women alone until they’ve established a level of trust with the lady. And let’s have a high standard for that level of trust — look how easily Lizzie Bennet trusted George Wickham on a short acquaintance. Young men should not only know the young lady, but the company she keeps and maybe even her family to get a good estimation of her character. In the meantime, there should be a (preferably female) chaperone around. A witness. It’s for their own protection, really.

    And young men should be aware that what they wear and the company they keep sends a signal to society. They should not only strive to be good and respectful, they should always try to LOOK good and respectful.

    Does this seem harsh or impossible? Maybe it’s just a matter of bringing the double standard into a single standard of behavior. Even though women have made progress in so many areas, there are still bad apples out there, and these rules apply to women, even though we wish we had more freedom. It would be a step forward if men also had to apply the same level of respectability toward themselves, for fear of losing their reputation and everything that goes along with having a good one. A single standard. Because yes, there are bad women out there. So men should learn to protect themselves.

    1. The problem isn’t young men in this instance. It’s older men with a lot of power using it to harass and victimize women, and it’s been going on since the dawn of time.
      Rape is about age, it’s not even about sex, and saying young men shouldn’t be alone with young women until they’ve established a level of trust ignores that (a) most young men do not rape and (b) young men and women are going to find a way to be alone regardless because puberty turns them into crazed heat seekers. (Full disclosure, I used to teach junior high and high school and college. Trust me, in none of those scenarios was there any way to people who wanted to be together apart, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.)

      The key is expecting everybody to treat each other with respect, to not harass, belittle, or victimize, to be truthful and honorable, not just men of a certain again. Hurting others is a human failing, it’s not gender based.

      1. I’m being a little bit satiric. Society still expects women to watch themselves and to not give rapists the chance to rape. Rapists are a very small, vicious portion of society, but their actions mean that all women (and a lot of men) have to be on guard. What would happen if men had to be on guard from vicious, evil women? Actually, I do think there are a lot of men who do protect themselves from bad women. But it’s not as pervasive in society, and a lot of men seem absolutely astounded that anyone would ask them to police their own behavior to ensure their own safety.

        On the other hand, I’m being a little bit serious, too. In a perfect world, there wouldn’t be bad, violent people who transgress the societal boundaries most of us agree to. But since we don’t live in a perfect world, I still tell my daughters to watch themselves, be careful with strange men, try not to put themselves in situations where they have to defend themselves. They don’t always believe me . . . . If they ever find themselves in a bad situation, though, I’ll defend them to the end, whatever their choices. I would strongly encourage them to identify their attacker and prosecute him (or possibly her, but if we’re being “realistic” then it’s probably “him”) to the fullest extent of the law. But not everyone has the strength to do that sort of thing, depending on their situation. I never did it with my attacker, and I suspect I did the right thing for me at the time, given the entire situation. That failure of courage is a hard thing to live with, but at least I’m still alive.

        I agree completely that hurting — attacking others is a human failing, and not gender based. I also expect people to respect each other, and I believe our educational systems are an important part of disseminating where our societal boundaries are. Furthermore, I believe in a justice system where people who have been attacked can find redress.

        As for older predators, we must encourage the people who are preyed upon to take advantage of the social systems we have to punish those predators. It sets a good example, and provides some transparency.

        But, some weak sniveling part of me says an ounce of prevention is a whole lot less hassle than a pound of cure. That ounce of prevention isn’t foolproof, but what is? Certainly, the pound of cure isn’t foolproof either.

        1. No, that makes sense. The problem is in the way that it’s traditionally couched.

          That is, it’s just practical to be careful with strangers in any situation. Don’t flash your money on the street. Don’t leave your car unlocked. Don’t get in cars with strangers.
          But judges rarely say to the victims of theft, “Well, why did you open your wallet on the street? Why didn’t you keep it closed?” Or “Why are you driving such a flashy car? It’s your fault it was stolen, you tempted that poor man.” The social system is set up to protect the rapist/harasser from the predatory, lying woman because the social system is still patriarchal and sexist as all hell.

          So it’s not at all old-fashioned or over-protective to tell your kids–male and female–to be careful. It’s just that women (and people of color and LGBTQ people) are always going to have a harder time getting justice when they’re attacked because the system sees them as the Other and therefore suspects them of being complicit in some way (“Why were you driving while black?”).

  8. The reason so many women are willing to believe other women are lying about the men in their lives is because if they side with the women, there’s a possibility that these men did a horrible thing and they did NOTHING. They saw nothing, or talked themselves out of seeing things, because what you’re not positive of can’t hurt you, right! We as a society twist ourselves into knots believing it’s not going to happen to ourselves–whether it’s the Trump voters who are admitting they thought Trump’s policies would never hurt them, or when white people discuss and dismiss police brutality, or that the oddly creepy dude in the friend group who hits on everyone will never escalate that behavior.

    Yes, people lie, but more often they are lying to themselves.

  9. Harassment and rape are power crimes.

    Rape and harrassment is not necessarily the attack by a stranger. It is perpetrated by people who know the victim.

    The power to say No is taken away from girls and women.

    A man’s no is a no but a woman’s no is opening negotiations. “Why are you so rude.” Us raising our girls to be polite is used against them.

    With women financially disempowered by unequal pay and pinkwashing and by having ideas dismissed in meetings, the lack of power for a woman to act is actually significant.

    It is worse for people of colour. The Guardian ran an article about how a woman thought someone was stealing her identity. It turns out they had the same name and birthdates. The black lady was subjected to more police checks. The white lady wasn’t. Critically the person of colour is disempowered and the other not. The police and the justice system were not efficient resulting in mix ups. The second thing I took away was the disempowerment enforced by structures designed to support.

    The victim-blaming again is a protective measure against it happening to the blamer. It is why date-rape or partner-rape is so hard for people to grasp. There should NOT be an assumption of consent. Consent should be seen as enthusiastic and given when aware. There’s a “don’t rape her” tutorial on YouTube and there’s the drinking tea consent video that explains consent for people who think there are degrees of consent. It is Yes or no and the yes can change to no the minute you feel uncomfortable.

    That the US doesn’t punish rape surviors with 20 lashes doesn’t mean that you don’t punish them in other ways. You pick at why were they there, what where they wearing, why so provocative and then you allow the perpetrators to continue in their work or education because of pity for them. Where is the support and empathy for the person who has been physically violated in the worst way?

    Read the piece on what if a man being mugged was treated like how women are when reporting rape. It is eye-opening.

  10. Rape and sexual assault so often get disguised as sexual coercement or seduction. We swim in the stuff. So few cases go to trial, far fewer end in actual prison sentences. So many men get off.
    When the military stuff first started getting talked about, I had a friend from high school, who is a high ranked naval doctor ask me on FB why so few women were actually reporting these rapes. I told him to turn the question around: what kind of pressures are in place that these women feel compelled to continue working side by side with these men?
    And I have to say, I highly question the idea that every single secretarial candidate offered any interviewer sex. I interviewed for a lot of those jobs, I associated with quite a few women who did those jobs, and that wasn’t really a thing. For any of us.

    1. The part that I found interesting was that it wasn’t something the poster had observed, it was what her husband had told her. I saw it as his perception as reported to his wife that fits a narrative they’re both embracing: All women in business lie and seduce, and powerful men are victims.

  11. I had trouble sleeping last night and some of this rolled around in my head for a while, so I thought I’d come back and talk about it some more.

    My office is in a jail. I don’t usually deal with defendants much anymore, but when I first started I spent most of my time interviewing people right after they got booked. Because we are a neutral agency rather than law enforcement, that’s not an antagonistic experience for anyone. I have spoken to people accused of domestic violence and then called their victims for more information minutes later and treated both of them with the same tone, attitude, and basic civility. I’ve also spoken to people accused of various sex crimes. So I can say from personal experience that the fair treatment of people accused of crimes does not require the assumption that the alleged victim (that’s the phrase that goes into reports since no one has been convicted yet) is a lying slut. And frankly, if I can be polite and professional to an accused child molester sitting two feet from me after reading a probable cause complaint detailing what he supposedly did, then it doesn’t seem like too much to ask that the general public refrain from harassing, threatening, and slut shaming women who say they’ve been raped even if no one has gone to trial yet. Sorry if that last part came out a little harsh, sometimes I get worked up on this subject.

    1. This. Thank you.

      And in other news, O’Reilly has now lost dozens of advertisers, so that’s something. It probably won’t take him down, but it has to smart, especially since once Rupert Murdoch goes, his sons are probably going to turf him fast.

      The mills of the gods grind slowly . . .

  12. I don’t automatically assume that all accused rapists are guilty. I try to look at whatever evidence is presented on a case-by-case basis.

    However, I believe the chances of a woman falsely making a sexual assault accusation are prohibitively low (some say 2-8%; some say that’s too high). I started to Google it, but there are so many articles arguing about how to analyze the statistics, I don’t want to go down that rabbit hole. Still, why wouldn’t you want to believe 92-98 percent of women? Why would you assume they are “hoes”?

    I’m a professional woman. I’m an emergency physician and a writer. I don’t believe I flirt to get ahead. The very thought is bizarre to me. Am I supposed to flirt during a code? Never got that memo.

    If I ever negotiated for a higher salary, I wouldn’t be implying I wanted to trade sexual favours in exchange. It would mean I want a higher salary because I’m bringing my skills to the table, and you need to pay for them, or watch me walk away.

    That said, I did feel uncomfortable when a woman was murdered and it seemed like everyone assumed her spouse was responsible. He may well be responsible. He has since been charged and will stand trial. Until he’s convicted, instead of lashing out at him, I grieve for her, I support her family, and I speak out on abuse in general. That’s where I focus my energy.

    In her memory: if you’re in an abusive situation, please take it seriously. One of my colleagues pointed out an article showing that if you’re nearly strangled, your risk of being killed goes up eight times–unless you’re black, in which case your increased chances of dying were so high, near-strangling didn’t make a difference. I was so depressed that I didn’t keep the link, but if you’re interested, I’ll try and find it. Here’s a link to an article that had other risk factors, like gun in the home and previous threat with a weapon. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1447915/

    If you ever want to read a good book, _Asking for It_, by Louise O’Neill, is haunting. I tried to get my book club to read it, but they refused. Maybe the cherries are more open-minded.

    I don’t follow politics closely, and I didn’t know about this scandal, but bravo, Jenny, for boycotting a business that you find reprehensible by association. It’s still a democracy. We spend our money the way we see fit. We speak freely. Let’s try and educate ourselves and speak wisely as well.

    1. I think I’ve told this story before, but it just occurred to me that it actually applies to this discussion.

      When I was in grad school, I shared an office with a guy who became a close friend. Since we were both in the MFA program, we talked about character and motivation a lot, and I really could (and did) ask him just about anything about the way guys think (keeping in mind that “guys” is a gross generalization).

      So one day on the way to school on a busy highway, I looked over to my right and then to my left because I was beginning to merge onto another freeway. There was a guy in the car to the right and our eyes met for a nanosecond and then I started my merge. I could not tell you what he looked like. He merged with me, and after a couple of miles and another merge, I got off the highway and he was still following me (this was in Columbus, so if you’ve ever been in the clusterfuck that is the four thousand different through ways that criss cross through the middle of that city, you know how unlikely this is. When I went into the mega parking building at OSU which you have to get a key card to get into, I lost him.

      I went into the office and said, “The weirdest thing just happened,” and told Mike all about it.
      He said, “Did you meet his eyes?”
      I said, “For a nanosecond.”
      He said, “That’s when he knew you wanted him.”
      I said, “For a NANOSECOND. I was driving.”
      He said, “That’s when he knew you wanted him.”
      I said, “You are fucking kidding me.”
      He said, “No, we’re pathetic. We’ll take anything as encouragement.”

      That’s what I thought about when the poster said her husband was hit on by every female applicant. They probably came in and smiled and he thought, They want me.

      I think that’s where some of the “asking for it” comes from, too. You smile, you’re asking for it. If you don’t smile, they tell you to.

      Thank god, most men aren’t that awful. I think.

  13. I sincerely was going to leave this discussion alone because it’s quite difficult to change someone’s opinion. However, I don’t appreciate the somewhat snide attacks on my husband and the implication that I just went with what he said.

    So here’s a follow up.

    Firstly, I was present for most of the interviews after the sheer volume of women who thought it’s appropriate to send suggestive pictures with their applications.

    Secondly, humor me. Put up an ad on craigslist for administrative help. Make it sound brief, professional, and like a guy. Put it up in say New York or Long Island. And tell me what responses you get. Because I’m pretty sure I’d get in trouble if I posted actual responses publicly online, I will be happy to forward the responses privately.

    Seriously, I can’t believe you guys are defending someone who very clearly was trying to negotiate a very unreasonable salary. I don’t know how much entry level secretaries get paid where you are but I want to hear your reasoning why an employer would hire a new person and negotiate a salary from 45k to 75k. Again, I mentioned multiple times it was a basic, entry-level position. And if you’re a professional, smart woman why would you think that’s even ok to ask for that kind of raise? Either a) you’re not serious about applying for the job or b) you’re offering something else.

    I would like to leave you all with this, especially for mothers with sons. Because God forbid you’re in a situation where a male in your life is accused of a sexual crime. Yes, there are cases of slut-shaming and rare instances where the court does not take the woman’s side, but in this day and age, the court almost always rules in favor of the woman (whether it comes to sexual crimes or custody issues – may I remind you it was unheard of a decade plus ago for men to get primary custody). Of course, this does not account for accusations against law enforcement or other officials because that’s a whole other bag of corruption.

    What this discussion turned into is a very generalized outrage over sexual assault and harassment. But what I was asking about are two very specific, very public instances where the women who were accusing had something to gain beyond victim retribution (so many of you are writers, why aren’t you questioning motives here). All I wanted to know was how you ended up at guilty verdicts over these two instances. Did you unbiasedly consider the evidence or go on your emotions?

    Because from what I gather, you are lumping all sexual crimes together. The majority of women don’t lie, let alone go to the police to report crimes, therefore these brave souls that came out in the news must be telling the truth. And then you throw in sexualization of kids and how apparently previously convicted rapists aren’t punished harshly enough. Whoa whoa whoa! First, nothing to do with the issue at hand. Secondly, not the same thing as two guys who are being accused before any kind of trials or examinations. The comments here are not that much different from a Trump rhetoric. He’s being asked about his taxes but changes the subject and waxes on about how there are no jobs in the coal industry.

    I did not at any point question everyday sexual harassment lawsuits or rape investigations. I asked very specifically what makes these two guilty?

    You’ve already made up your minds and that’s why you haven’t presented any arguments about specific questions on these two cases. Why is there zero physical evidence? If it is common knowledge, who knows about it? Why are there inconsistencies in the women’s stories? It just sounds like a bunch of gossipers perpetuating a story that the news published to get ratings. And it snowballs from a small accusation to the end of someone’s career, without fair trial.

    I’ll leave with this analogy. The same way you assume that if someone has been accused of rape or sexual harassment, they are most likely guilty because the crimes are too heinous to lie about; it’s the same thinking that results in most black men being convicted of crimes because when they go up in front of the jury, those people are thinking he is a black man so it is likely he committed the crime.

    1. Yes, the conversation did become generalized. That happens here. You’re right: It gets into a little hazier territory when we start talking about your personal experiences, but you brought them into the conversation, so to say we can’t doubt them isn’t going to work.

      But to get to your point, which as you pointed out we strayed from:

      “I did not at any point question everyday sexual harassment lawsuits or rape investigations. I asked very specifically what makes these two guilty?”

      When multiple women over a long period of time accuse a man of doing the same thing in an industry where it’s common knowledge that he’s a harasser or, in the case of Cosby, a rapist, then the presumption of guilt is clear. You have to be convicted beyond a reasonable doubt in criminal court, but all you need is a preponderance of evidence in civil, and there’s a preponderance in both of these cases.

    2. My comments did stray from the question you were asking, which is why I put them in separate comments instead of replying to yours directly. It’s just where my thoughts ended up going.

      But to answer your question: I don’t know anything about the Cosby case beyond the headlines and have no desire to research it, so I won’t comment on that (it’s one of the reasons my thoughts were more generalized). As for O’Reilly, I have read some of the coverage including the original Times article. As I understand it, at least one of the lawsuits was unrelated to sexual harassment but was about him berating a producer in a studio. So just other unprofessional and inappropriate behavior; I can’t remember if anyone disputed what he did in that instance. That tells me his behavior in the workplace has been questionable even if it’s unrelated to sexual harassment. The other claims, those that did and did not involve lawsuits, took place over the course of years, which suggests a pattern to me. Not all of them were made public at the time they occurred, and not all of these women asked for money, just spoke to a reporter when one asked about it for this article. I find it hard to believe that going public without filing a lawsuit has anything to do with “targeting” him as he claims, especially when there are other people making accusations of this behavior. Then, all of this is on top of the Roger Ailes stuff – the head of his network has been fired for multiple instances of sexual harassment and fostering an environment that permits that behavior among other employees while making women afraid to report it. Do I think he could get away with this at Fox under those conditions? Yeah, I do. All of that suggests to me he probably did a lot of things he’s being accused of. Would I consider all of this news coverage enough to convict him of a crime? Of course not. But like others have said, I think there would be a preponderance of evidence in a civil court and he’s probably guilty of sexual harassment. Probably, not absolutely. I don’t watch his show, and I won’t be starting, but I’m also not going to express this opinion publicly unless specifically asked for it as you did here.

      As I understand it, Scotland has three possible verdicts at trial: guilty, not guilty, and not proven. I like the idea of the not proven verdict because it says “you probably did it but you didn’t leave enough evidence to satisfy the necessarily high standard.” If Bill O’Reilly ended up at trial in a criminal court, maybe that’s how a jury would see things. Impossible for me to say. He chose to settle out of court and thus prevented even a civil trial. That was his decision, and if that leaves the court of public opinion, he’s the one who decided not to defend himself in court.

      I will say that I don’t think this is ruining his life. Fox is standing by him, his ratings seem to be steady, and anyone who already likes him isn’t going to believe the claims. Similarly, anyone who already hates him is probably going to believe the claims. So apart from the advertisers, he seems to be pretty much where he was before all this, and I just don’t feel an outpouring of sympathy for his situation. Honestly, the reaction I had to the story beyond, “Wow more harassment claims from Fox, not surprised” was that it brought more general thoughts about how sexual assault and harassment victims are treated once they go public back to the forefront of my mind.

    3. Oh, Craigslist. Evelyn, I don’t think you mentioned that before. I’m sure there are sketchy job applicants, of both sexes, through Craigslist. I also bet you can reduce or eliminate them by recruiting job applicants through screened venues.

      I hadn’t followed the evidence for either of the Bills, but both Jenny and Katie have covered Bill O’Reilly (and the “not proven” part makes a lot of sense to me). I quickly looked up Cosby. In a deposition from 2005, he admitted to obtaining quaaludes to give to young women in order to have sex with them. https://thinkprogress.org/all-the-evidence-bill-cosby-doesnt-want-a-jury-to-see-e9a6a90ec61d
      The same article says only one of 13 women accusing him of sexual assault is allowed to testify. It certainly doesn’t sound like women are having an easy time of it.

      I don’t *want* this to be true about Cosby. He opened the door for himself and other black actors. I’m not leaping on him to judge. That’s why I didn’t talk about him or O’Reilly. I wasn’t following their cases. However, a quick look at the evidence looks damning. Cosby seems to have a powerful legal team, so they may not win.

      I do have a son. Of course I don’t want him or anyone charged with sexual assault, especially falsely accused. Yet people are accused every minute. The solution is not to blame the people who come forward with charges of sexual assault. The solution is to move to a world where sexual assault doesn’t happen anymore. Utopia? Yes. And yet, we have to keep trying.

      As for generalizing the discussion, I did. For me personally, I’m not as interested in the Bills. I want justice to be served, both in courts and out of it. Both of them are in the media/entertainment industry, so their audience will determine their financial future. I am not their audience.

      I care about the victims. So yes, I spoke out in case there are any people reading this who have been or are being abused as I type this. I’m speaking out to say that I will listen to you, and if you come see me in the emergency department, I will take care of you. If you’ve been accused, falsely or not, I take mental and physical care of you also. That’s what the ER is about. I will treat you as an individual. I’m not Mother Theresa, but I’m not demonizing anyone without evidence and without cause–and I will give you the best medical care I can, in either circumstance.

      Respect. That’s all. If we all treated each other with respect and kindness, what a world we could build.

      1. Melissa, I hope that if I ever have to go the ER, I get someone as caring and compassionate as you. Thank you for making things seem a bit brighter today.

  14. Ok. That brings it back to the common knowledge part. Are you part of the industry and have personally heard these talks in the past? Is it something the news implied after the stories came to light? Because publicly there are still no threads of fact-keeping. No one in the 70’s came out and said, “yeah, Bill’s a sexual freak. it’s common knowledge.”

    It was common knowledge before that if a woman twitched her nose, she was a witch. We still believe that?

    And then what you are saying is that you are happy with the way the legal system is set up? You can be accused of a violent, dangerous crime and only go to civil court, where the evidence does not need to be bullet-proof against ruining your life? Preponderance of proof is great and all in other cases. But is it right that it should be enough in instances of literally ruining someone’s life? If morally you agree that it doesn’t need to be very convincing, that’s a personal choice.

    1. I think the testimony of many women IS a preponderance of proof, as did Fox and O’Reilly or they wouldn’t have paid five women off. Makris had tapes that proved her allegations; that’s why she got nine million.

      And that’s before you get to the circumstantial evidence, which is overwhelming: O’Reilly is accused of harassment, and instead of suing for slander gives multiple women millions to go away. The women who accuse him can show a clear pattern of career damage. There are women who are not asking for money who report the same behavior. There have been stories in the press for years about this behavior, including the coverage of Makris case, which is where nine million dollars of that go-away money went. At this point, the only people denying this are O’Reilly and, bizarrely, Trump; the network isn’t even denying it.

      If a man is accused by multiple women of similar instances of harassment over a long period of time, including one woman who has taped proof and received a multi-million dollar settlement, why do you assume the women are ALL lying and the man is innocent? Why does the man get the benefit of the doubt but ALL of the women must be venal and dishonest?

      You know, this conversation has been really good for me. We live in a liberal bubble here on Argh–it’s a personal blog, not a news outlet, obviously, so it’s going to reflect my politics–so I rarely have to examine my assumptions like this. But in this case, sheer logic backs me up, I think.

      Also, I don’t think it was ever “common knowledge” that if a woman twitched her nose,she was a witch. That was a TV show. The Salem trials were insane, but they weren’t that nuts.

    1. Excellent. I found an article that listed the companies that have pulled their ads, over sixty of them. Fox isn’t losing the revenue, it’s going other places on the network, but this has to hurt.


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