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Monday News: Creepshots, Doxxing, and Victimology; iPad Mini news; FTC...

Image via Big Stock Photo

**I’ve got some opinions on doxxing but they require a full post that I’m working on right now and will be publishing next Tuesday.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Lynne Connolly
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 04:38:07

    I love the old Jodi Foster movie, “The Accused.” In it, she’s a bad girl, who flaunts herself in front of the men who eventually rape her. The point of the film is that it doesn’t matter how she dressed or behaved, the men had no right to rape her. She is shown repeatedly saying “no,” and yet they do it. Should be mandatory viewing for some people.

  2. Ann Somerville
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 05:06:31

    I seem to be in a small minority as someone who thinks what Adrian Chen did was wrong – just as what ‘Violentacres’ was undoubtedly wrong and inexcusable. But then I’ve been the victim of ‘doxing’ and outing resulting from false allegations and then grudges, so I’m hardly a distinterested party.

    I wrote my own post on this here, and I will be very interested to know what you have to say about the issue (since you’ve also been at the sharp end of this.)

    Apart from the ethics of Chen’s behaviour, what’s really troubling is that he’s not really done a damn thing to further the pushback against these photos and the treatment of women by places like Reddit – in fact, he’s only hardened the attitude of users who will now be determined to keep finding ways to post the same kinds of material as a tribute to their hero. Chen could have made exactly the same point, and had a much more positive impact, had he *not* outed VA because he wouldn’t have made a martyr out of him, while exposing just what a festering pile of shit Reddit is.

    But Ridley made an excellent point as we were discussing this on Twitter that Chen is only interested in trolling the trolls, not actually changing the system. Women’s rights and their privacy is just his figleaf, not his real motive. No woman is safer for what he did, and I would argue many are now much less safe.

  3. Nadia Lee
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 06:26:57

    Just last week, an author tweeted that a woman wasn’t going to get a man to treat her well if she dressed a certain way. When challenged about this attitude, the author claimed that she was sorry for not being a good enough feminist and that when a woman dresses in a certain way, men think it is okay to treat all women poorly.

    So unless women wear burqas or some similar outfit, they deserve to be abused, harassed and/or raped? O_o

  4. Mike Cane
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 08:13:04

    >>>All were taken without the consent or knowledge of the subject.

    So it’s OK to do that if it’s the People of Walmart blog?

    (Note that I think the idea of creepshots is disgusting. But you make me wonder where we draw the line…)

  5. Las
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 08:13:08

    I was so disgusted by that author’s comments. She actually tweeted something like, “What man will want to marry a woman who dresses like that?”

  6. Jane
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 08:20:10

    @Mike Cane: Actually, no and that’s a very good point. The People of Walmart photos are creepy too but they get a pass because everyone likes to laugh at obese, slovenly hicks, right?

  7. TiceB
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 08:24:58

    I don’t think it’s blaming the victim to encourage girls to be a little more circumspect. The whole point of dating is to find out if you’re compatible with someone, right? So why text a nude picture of yourself to some guy when you’re still not sure if he is trustworthy? When I see girls walking around dressed like pole dancers, wearing five-inch heels that are the modern equivalent of a hobble skirt, I can’t help wondering, is this what feminists were fighting for? The right for women to turn themselves into sex objects?

  8. Lynne Connolly
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 08:45:18

    @TiceB: Absolutely yes, and yes and yes, if that’s what they want to do. Prostitutes have rights, as well as anyone else, so do girls who are regarded by their condemnatory neighbours as sluts. Pole dancers have rights. Whatever we wear, however we choose to present ourselves, whatever our sexual preferences and habits, we have the right to say who can touch us and who can’t.

  9. Lori
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 08:49:57

    @Lynne Connolly: Exactly.

    And Mike Cane, I agree. No matter what the context, it’s all a way to dehumanize people.

  10. Jia
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 08:52:03

    @TiceB: The question, however, is why the onus is all on the girl. It’s the girl’s fault she texted a nude photo of herself to a guy? Maybe the girl did trust him. Maybe she dated him for a year but things didn’t work out so they broke up and in retaliation, he posted all those racy photos online. Is that still the girl’s fault? Why does no one come down as hard on the guy for posting that nude photo all over the internet? It’s as Jane said: society does not nearly put as much emphasis on men taking responsibility for their own actions as it does on telling women that they must be the gatekeepers for all things sexual because men can’t control themselves due to being mindless animals if given half the chance. That’s a healthy mindset?

  11. Mike Cane
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 09:23:04

    >>>they get a pass because everyone likes to laugh at obese, slovenly hicks, right?

    Hipsters too?

  12. Ella Drake
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 10:10:46

    I’m anticipating your post on doxxing.
    I completely understand wanting to out a man who’d post creepshots, who is violating others’ privacy, who is basically a bully, but I’m uncomfortable with violating anyone’s privacy. Where is the line drawn? Who has the right to expose a person’s private information? Do we all give up our right to privacy when we purchase that internet service and serf to our first website?

    Just this week, I saw another instance of doxxing where personal information was posted of someone who may or may not have done something unethical and most likely not illegal. A blogger anonymously posted the woman’s town of residence, where her husband worked, her son’s name and birthdate. When I questioned the violation of privacy, I was told it was the same as investigative journalism. That it’s okay to post this private information. As a journalism major, this saddened me on all levels. As a person who wants to protect privacy, it just points to how vulnerable we all are and it doesn’t matter if we’re guilty of anything.

  13. Carrie G
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 10:22:36

    There should be a marked difference between telling a woman she is to blame for being raped, and advising her to act in a more circumspect way for her own protection. Just as I would tell my girls not to be stupid and walk around a dark parking garage alone at night, I’d tell them to be careful about what message they are sending to the people around them with their clothes. NOT because I think it would be their fault if someone assaulted them (it would not be their fault!), but because I want them safe from the a**holes who assault women. It’s the same reason I tell them to be aware of how much they are drinking at a party so no jerk can take advantage of them due to inebriation. We have to be allowed to give sound advice to our daughters (and our sons) about safety. That doesn’t mean we blame them if something happens. My goal is to prevent the rape if possible.

    But honestly, how often does a woman’s clothing have ANYTHING to do with rape? A better place to focus is advising women to always be aware of their surroundings, don’t walk around at night or jog on remote trails alone, and make sure doors and windows are locked. Even with every precaution, it happens.

  14. carryl
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 10:24:33

    @Jia: “It’s the girl’s fault she texted a nude photo of herself to a guy?”

    Her fault he has that naked picture, yes. His fault if he shares it with his buddies, her coworkers, or the entire world. His douchebaggery doesn’t make her judgment any less poor.

    “Men must take responsibility for their actions so I can do anything I want without consequences” is pure hipocrisy, and dumping all responsibility for women’s well-being back onto men is the antithesis of feminine agency.

  15. Isobel Carr
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 10:42:07

    I’d like to see a little more focus on raising boys NOT TO RAPE than on raising girls not to ever do anything that might put them in danger of being raped.

  16. Ridley
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 12:01:56

    I love how some of you just accept male douchebaggery as inevitable. A woman sending a nude picture to a boyfriend is like a woman going out in April without an umbrella. What else would happen?

    What I don’t understand is why no one ever calls for criminal penalties for sharing revealing communications sent with an expectation of privacy. Broadcasting nudez isn’t like rainfall. It’s not a random act of nature. It’s the deliberate, malicious act of a person.

    I’d buy this line of questioning what precautions the victim took as not being yet another manifestation of patriarchy if once, just once, I could see a home invasion victim dismissed for not locking all their windows or not having an alarm system turned on.

  17. hapax
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 12:05:30

    @Carrie G:

    There should be a marked difference between telling a woman she is to blame for being raped, and advising her to act in a more circumspect way for her own protection.

    Yeah, there is a “marked difference.” The first one blames women for their own victimization. The second one blames women before they are even victimized.

    Not seeing much improvement there, myself.

    Do we also advise our children to not drive on public roads because there are some crappy drivers out there? To stop carrying wallets and jewelry in public because it encourages muggers? To carry loaded weapons and shoot every approaching person on sight, because hey, you never know?

    Rape and sexual harassment are not natural phenomena like tornados and earthquakes that “just happen.” They are the result of conscious choices by rapers and harassers. We should focus our attention on changing THOSE choices, and the culture that encourages them, rather than slut-shaming women and the “messages they send.”

  18. hapax
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 12:07:31

    @Ridley — Hah! I have been so ninja’d.

  19. Ridley
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 12:19:41

    @hapax: I think this means it’s a good metaphor.

  20. Gwen Hayes
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 12:32:26

    I am often worried about my daughter at college. And I often think about ways to teach my high school son how to be a better man, too. Because it seems like a no-brainer, right? Don’t be a rapist. Don’t encourage sexual behavior in women and then condemn them for being slutty.
    And I’m sure the mothers of boys who turned out to be date rapists are stunned. So where is the disconnect, I wonder?
    And this is one of my favorite infographic of all time about the best ways to prevent sexual assault.

  21. Moriah Jovan
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 12:36:53


    Do we also advise our children to not drive on public roads because there are some crappy drivers out there?

    No, but we do advise motorcyclists to practice defensive driving because cage drivers totally don’t see you and some of them have a raging hateboner for motorcyclists and will do everything they can to drive you off the road. Does that mean people just shouldn’t drive motorcycles? No. It means they have to learn how to deal with their environment.

    I don’t see what’s wrong with saying, “Don’t be stupid.” A motorcyclist who is splitting lanes (totally legal in some states) and an asshole cage driver opens his door right in front of you (which will most likely kill you, by the way) is different from an asshole cage driver running up on your back tire when you’re minding your own business. In the first case, you’re being stupid. Doesn’t mean you deserve to have a car door opened on you.

  22. Carrie G
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 12:59:31

    @Moriah Jovan:

    Yes, thank you. That’s the important difference. First there’s the fact that no one should be raped. Then there’s the fact that women are. Rape makes me angry and I’m for the toughest penalties possible. Secondly, though, I’m for protecting my daughters, making them smarter. It’s like crossing a walkway on a road. Pedestrians might have the right-of-way, the the law won’t do much for them if the driver of that car decides to text instead of paying attention. Getting the guy after the fact isn’t my priority with my daughters, helping them not be a victim is.

    And as far as my sons go, of course I’ve taught them to be responsible for their own sex drive. so has their father. We certainly don’t “wink, wink, nod, nod” over any behavior that exploits women.

  23. B. Sullivan
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 13:22:48

    Also can’t wait for your take on doxxing. What I find really interesting is that the definition of the term has become really flexible in this incident (perhaps earlier? not sure). Violentacres (that’s not the right spelling but I keep forgetting the proper misspelling) was really visible, going on podcasts, and giving a lot of people his real life information, attending meetups and having his photo taken, etc. It’s my attitude that he was lax with his information such that it did not take a server hack or any brute force to get his information – he doxx’d himself. You can’t be that open with your information and keep an alias secure. (I’d say the same thing even if this were someone with a worthy cause or a whistleblower. That this dude was a troll who spent a good part of his time purposefully stirring up trouble for the fun of it – well, that just means the sympathy isn’t a factor here. This aside from the creepshots and underage photos issue.) None of the outrage from the reddit folk really addresses this, and the concept that you can lay out information at various social media sites, etc. that with a search engine makes it easy to pick up the trail and combine the information – but no, that’s the evil part, according to some of the doxxing folk.

    It’s also frustrating to see that reddit are very focused on freedom of speech and anonymity for their members – but less so for non members, for example, the schoolkids whose substitute teacher took photos (subjects of the photos apparently have little rights for the redditors who post them, but of course also usually don’t know their images are being used this way) and posted them on reddit, or the woman/women on tumblr posting creepshot user info (again, information available freely on the internet, and gathered legally).

    A LOT of people are just not getting the ease of information gathering and how easy it is to track down people who use social media and the same user names over and over. And for a supposedly tech savy group to be ignoring this and calling it doxxing as if there was deep cover and theft of info involved – it’s just not the same thing.

    I’ve been having reading forums/trying to have conversations with a few redditorfolk who are very much into the “loss of anonymity means loss of free speech” fold, and it’s sort of frustrating that they don’t want to talk about any of the issues I’ve noted here. So you have the argument that creepshots and such have to be allowed because free speech, but posting information that’s freely available isn’t somehow an act of free speech because doxxing, etc. Which gets really disturbing because if you follow their argument they’re also saying that it’s ok to post underage, non concentual photos – because “free speech.” The arguments aren’t this badly/illogically written, but if you boil it down…yeah, they’re defending some pretty awful and admittedly illegal stuff.

    I mean, the redditors themselves named it creepshots. That’s not someone from outside calling it creepy.

  24. Gwen Hayes
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 13:50:39

    @B. Sullivan: There are a lot of angles to this. Gwen Hayes isn’t my real name. I attend signings and public events and get my picture taken. Does that mean I give up my right to an alias? (This is just a for instance, my real name was outed by the local newspaper long ago)

  25. hapax
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 13:55:21

    we do advise motorcyclists to practice defensive driving

    When I took Driver’s Ed, the teacher summarized “defensive driving” as “assume every other driver is a homicidal idiot ready to kill you.”

    That might be a fine strategy for driving* but is a lousy one for interpersonal relationships. Do I really want to advise my daughters to view every boyfriend as a potential rapist, every co-worker as a likely harasser, every stranger talking on his or her cellphone as a creepshooting paparazzi? Should I consider locking them in such a self-imposed cage a fair trade-off for keeping them “safe”?

    I don’t want my daughters to be victims of ANYONE — rapists, harassers, OR the one-sided expectations of society.

    And if anyone says “Oh, no, you’re exageratting, we just mean taking reasonable precautions”, where do you draw the line once you start going down that route? Skirts an inch above the knee are fashionable, but two inches and she’s “sending a message”? High heels are appropriate for a dinner date, but wear them to work and she “might as well be wearing a hobble skirt”? Sending her boyfriend a picture in a bikini is flirtatious, but bare breasts are “poor judgment”? Could somebody please send me a copy of the manual , so I can teach my daughters exactly how much they are allowed to own their own bodies before a bunch of strangers on the internet are allowed to call them “stupid”?

    *although not really, because how many of REALLY drive as if we expect every other car in the opposite lane to leap the stripe and race towards a head-on collision? And if any of us DO, could those people please post a big banner on their vehicles, because I think I’d be afraid to drive around anyone so hostile and paranoid.

  26. April Books & Wine
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 14:10:01

    Besides the victim blaming, I feel like the problem with those sort of safety lectures is that they are based on the notion that all rapes are committed by strangers waiting in dark alleys or bushes, when the US DOJ Crime Victimization Study shows that 2/3 of rapes are committed by someone the victim knows. I mean, what are women supposed to do, not have male friends? Not ever let people of the opposite sex in their house? Etc.

    I know what I try to focus on when I visit high schools and colleges (I work as an educator for a rape crisis program) is enthusiastic consent and defining consent for the students, so there is no confusion. That stated, there’s still a long way to go as far as changing rape culture and victim blaming attitudes.

  27. Moriah Jovan
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 14:17:15


    When I took Driver’s Ed, the teacher summarized “defensive driving” as “assume every other driver is a homicidal idiot ready to kill you.”

    That might be a fine strategy for driving* but is a lousy one for interpersonal relationships.

    Please forgive me if I’m wrong, but that’s how I read many people’s opinions on the subject: that women do assume that all men are rapists.

    Could somebody please send me a copy of the manual , so I can teach my daughters exactly how much they are allowed to own their own bodies before a bunch of strangers on the internet are allowed to call them “stupid”?

    I think that depends on your/her/whoever’s level of comfort. I assume that most people are aware of and know their general environment and act/dress/speak accordingly. For instance, I personally would consider leaving my drink unattended in public to be a stupid thing to do.

  28. Las
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 14:35:42

    I might agree that it’s reasonable to tell women to take precautions with how they dress, etc., (because there are predators out there, just like we lock our doors to prevent burglaries), if it weren’t for the fact women who weren’t dressed provocatively get raped all the time. I’m pretty sure that elderly woman who was recently raped in the park across the street from my grandmother’s apartment building in broad daylight wasn’t wearing a mini skirt, for example.

    I think the issues here are much more similar to what happens when men cheat on their wives/girlfriends, in that it’s always about what women have to do to prevent these things from happening, because, apparently, men just can’t help themselves. Many men happily go along with this because it allows them to get away with their behavior, and many women perpetuate this because they want to believe that we’re more powerful than we are. It’s scary as hell to think that there’s really not a whole lot we can do to protect ourselves if men are truly determined to hurt us, so we tell ourselves not to wear certain things, not to drink too much when around strangers, not to be alone on the street at night, because then we’ll be safe.

  29. Carrie G
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 14:48:29

    @hapax: ::::sigh::: I never said it was proper for ANYONE to call our daughters “stupid” due to their attire or anything else. But I do think telling them to be careful is common sense. Being “right” doesn’t help much when you’re on the other side of the event.

    If you read my first post I even mentioned that rapes rarely have anything to do with dress or actions. I say very little about “proper” attire to my daughters, but a lot about actions–where they go, who they’re with, etc. Use common sense.

  30. hapax
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 14:56:36

    Please forgive me if I’m wrong, but that’s how I read many people’s opinions on the subject: that women do assume that all men are rapists.

    I am at a total loss when trying to understand how this could possibly be construed from anything that anybody said in this thread.

    The only thing that comes close is several people condemning the position that “women have to watch how they dress and act because men just can’t help themselves.”

    I apologize if I seem to be posting too much on this topic, but the fact is, this kind of subtle victim-blaming makes me both furious and afraid. We have all read historical romances and rolled our eyes at the social restrictions that portrays an unmarried woman “ruined” if she is caught in a kiss, or rides in a carriage alone with a man. But the so-called “common sense” advice that is so often doled out in these situations doesn’t seem to be the slightest bit different.

    Every time somebody repeats this kind of “safety advice” to women, I hear somebody endorsing a society that makes being a woman unsafe.

    Every time someone says

    I personally would consider leaving my drink unattended in public to be a stupid thing to do.

    I hear the the member of the jury who would let my daughter’s (hypothetical) assailant off the hook because, “Really, how could she have been so dumb? Thank goodness I will never get hurt like that!”

  31. hapax
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 15:08:36

    @ Carrie G:

    I never said it was proper for ANYONE to call our daughters “stupid” due to their attire or anything else.

    I must have misunderstood you, then when in your first post you stated:

    Just as I would tell my girls not to be stupid and walk around a dark parking garage alone at night, I’d tell them to be careful about what message they are sending to the people around them with their clothes

    Perhaps you were referring to those t-shirts we see everywhere these days, that say PLEASE RAPE ME NOW in giant day-glo letters?

    And really, the foolishness of women these days, daring to drive anywhere (after dark, even!) without male escort!

    Being “right” doesn’t help much when you’re on the other side of the event.

    No. It doesn’t. But being “careful” demonstrably provides very little protection from “the event” from occurring. I don’t see what living in fear provides except, well, a life of fear.

    And if, God forbid, my daughter were ever assaulted, I imagine it would help her a whole lot if she didn’t have to suffer endless self-recriminations in my voice of “If only I hadn’t dressed like that / walked down that road / gone to that party, I wouldn’t have brought this upon myself!”

  32. Carrie G
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 16:03:21

    Well, I would tell my sons not to be stupid by walking around a parking garage alone at night, either.

    You said:
    “Every time somebody repeats this kind of ‘safety advice’ to women, I hear somebody endorsing a society that makes being a woman unsafe.”

    So you really wouldn’t tell you daughter not to expose herself to potentially dangerous situations? No advise on running on remote paths or leaving a drink unattended at a party? I can’t imagine not telling my children how to be safe, male or female. I don’t like the fact that there are creeps out there, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to stick my head in the sand and act like they don’t exist.

    Believe me, recovering from rape or any type of sexual assault is a life-long journey. If a few words of advice helps my children, I’ll give it. I’m not talking about “living in fear.” That is such a exaggeration of what I’ve said. Just like I give my children birth control advice, or car safety advice, or drug and alcohol advice, I give advice on personal safety– to my sons and daughters.

  33. hapax
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 16:28:54

    Believe me, recovering from rape or any type of sexual assault is a life-long journey.

    Umm, I really don’t need you or anyone else to tell me what “recovering from rape or sexual assault” is like.

    But I can assure you, that speaking only from my personal experience, recovering from assault is only a fraction of the difficulty of recovering from the well-meaning second-guessing from the friends and family I turned to for support and the condescending dismissal from the authorities I turned to for justice.

    I advise my daughters and my sons to be aware of their world, trust their judgment, tell the truth, and respect other people. I teach them how to seek out and evaluate for themselves both information and strategies on coping with life’s problems, large and small. I promise them that no matter how smart or good or lucky they are, life isn’t fair, and other people can be cruel; but randomness of life and the failings of others cannot be seen as judgments upon their own intrinsic worth, competence, or decency.

    If they want more specific advice, I figure they’ll ask for it. So far they have asked things like whether this shirt goes with this skirt (yes), if broccoli would taste good in chicken soup (no), and where the comma goes in that sentence (inside the quotation marks). So far, oddly enough, they have asked me neither how to keep from being assaulted, nor how to keep from assaulting people.

  34. Ridley
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 16:54:55

    I know it’s appealing to think that you can act in a way that will prevent you from being a victim, but it’s not how things work in reality. Baggy jeans and band shirts didn’t protect me, and a conservative business suit won’t protect you.

    Rape happens because of rapists, and because we make excuses for it.

  35. library addict
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 16:55:38

    On the surface saying girls/women shouldn’t dress provocatively could be seen as a reasonable statement. That’s until you really stop and think about what you are saying. Sometimes patriarchical thinking is done on an unconscious level. Hopefully the author in question had an “aha!” moment.

    Bottom line is as Jane said

    why can’t men take responsibility for their own actions

  36. Ridley
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 17:11:51


    although not really, because how many of REALLY drive as if we expect every other car in the opposite lane to leap the stripe and race towards a head-on collision?

    I won’t lie, this pretty much describes how we drive in Boston. Maybe that tells you something?

  37. Carrie G
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 17:12:38


    I have never said dressing conservatively will protect you from rape. Geesh! You two have continually twisted what I’ve said. But you know what, I don’t give a shit if you insist on putting words in my mouth. I’ll live with it.

    I WILL talk to my daughters about their safety. Good thing this is my right as a parent. I DO know what it’s like to recover from rape, both from personal experience and from the point of view of a mother of a victim. And while I deal with my daughter’s panic attacks, depression, physical problems and school-related issues, I’ll continue to do EVERYTHING in my power to keep her (them) safe.

    I realize many rapes can’t be prevented by a few precautions (mine could have been, my daughter’s couldn’t have–and no, that doesn’t make me to blame, but it still makes me a victim). So stay on your high horses about how women ought to be able to do anything they want without any consideration for the fact that there are predatory males out there. Yes, they should be able to, but we all know they can’t, so here’s hoping you don’t ever have cause to regret what you didn’t say.

  38. Courtney Milan
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 17:15:50

    @Moriah Jovan: For instance, I personally would consider leaving my drink unattended in public to be a stupid thing to do.

    Sure. Don’t order them, either. Or don’t let a trusted friend pick up drinks from the bar and bring them back to your table.

    True story: My husband went out to celebrate an exam with a group of friends–a very tight-knit group of about 10 people who worked together–a group that skewed female, but had a few guys. On the second round of drinks, one of the girls went up to the bar and got the drinks.

    He drank his beer (his second for the evening). It was roofied. A friend took him home; he could barely walk and was completely inarticulate.

    To this day, we don’t know whether it was the bartender, someone who slipped something in without anyone noticing, despite the fact that they never left the drinks unattended. It’s all too possible that the perpetrator was someone in the group–that close, tight-knit group of 10–and it was intended for one of the women by one of the guys she trusted.

    So yeah, don’t leave your drink unattended. And don’t go drinking unless you’re with friends who will watch out for you. And hope like hell that you’ve chosen wisely.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m all in favor of a good self-defense class among other things. But much of the “be smart” advice exists not because it will make a difference–most rapes that are committed can’t be prevented by simply being “smart”–but because it helps us women convince ourselves it couldn’t happen to us (or couldn’t happen again), to distance ourselves from the harm of it. To tell ourselves that it is within our control, and that we cannot be raped without what effectively amounts to our consent.

    This is why women are the worst jurors in rape cases–because we always look for a way that the woman who was raped could have prevented it, because we want to know it couldn’t happen to us, and when she didn’t act to prevent it, deep down, a lot of women convince ourselves that these acts of “rule-breaking” count as consent.

  39. Ridley
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 17:21:16

    @Carrie G: Whatever, hun. All I want is for courts and society to take rape seriously and for there to be criminal penalties for doxing people and broadcasting photos of people without their permission. If it makes you feel like you’re doing something to drill stranger danger into your daughters and emphasize the importance of dressing conservatively, go right on ahead. I only take issue with the implication that women have any control over the actions of men. Because we don’t.

  40. Lynne Connolly
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 17:58:44

    How many of you non-Brits are aware of Jimmy Savile? I say non-Brit, because it’s all over the news right now over here.
    Famous guy. Knighted by the Queen. Friend of important people. Disc jockey, tireless charity worker. Lifelong bachelor. Died recently.
    Pedophile and rapist.
    That last part has only come out recently. He assaulted young people in the BBC, the hospitals he worked in (this is really sordid). Hundreds throughout his career and he got away with it. Not all the kids he assaulted were dressed provocatively, some were mentally ill or in wheelchairs).
    Important question is, why did he get away with it for so long? Answer is, at least partly, because society wasn’t inclined to think ill of somebody who raised money for charity, and the children he assaulted didn’t have a voice. Some complained and were told to shut up. Some daren’t say anything. Particularly shocking because Savile was a public figure, a household name.
    My point it, society has moved forward, but not enough. It’s society and attitudes that must change, not the individuals.

  41. Michelle
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 18:50:53

    What about the advice of young people male and female not to put provocative pictures on their facebook because of employers. I don’t think it is unreasonable to tell any male or female minor under 18 not to send naked pictures of themselves to others. Doesn’t mean it was ok that the person sent the picture on, but I do think there are some cases where advice isn’t the same thing as victim blaming.

  42. Jane
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 18:53:48

    @Michelle – Many of the creepshot photos that were scraped from facebook pages were of girls in their bathing suits – at the beach, on a boat with a friend. And what if the girl is above 18 and in a serious relationship and her ex decides to put up photos? Because revenge porn is all about that – putting up intimate pictures sent between lovers.

  43. Ann Somerville
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 19:00:17


    Would advice have saved Amanda Todd? What 12 year old imagines the consequences of flashing her breasts in a webcam chat? Did she think she would be bullied for years over it?

    The villain here is the person who blackmailed her into exposing herself, took the picture and spread it around. Until there is a change in our culture so that men don’t want to do it, and those who do are shamed by their peers, not glorified, nothing will change.

    BTW Robin posted a link on Twitter to say that the Reddit user exposed by Adrian Chen has now been sacked, leaving him and his disabled wife without income or insurance. For all those who cheered at his being outed, I wonder if you believe his wife deserved to go down as well?

    And if you believe that the creepshots and porn photos will stop now? Because I sure don’t.

  44. Jane
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 19:06:14

    Let me also add that we can educate our girls to never go to a bar, never dress in a short skirt or tight pants, never trust anyone with naked pictures or even provocative pictures, never place herself in a situation where she could be alone with a man but our girls will never be safe enough because we don’t do enough to make it completely unacceptable to a) post a picture given to you in confidence. I.e., what if the guy who shared the picture was turned away by his friends and told that behavior is shitful and they want nothing to do with him. b) have sex with a girl who is not capable of giving consent – i.e, if she is too drunk, too doped up, too whatever. Instead of saying she was drunk and was all over me, how about looking at the guy who is so desperate to have sex that it doesn’t matter if the girl is barely animate? What if all his friends thought that activity was disgusting? c) post surreptitious photos of girls on the internet. What if when this was done, the overwhelming response was “you are a scary creepy dude” and no one likes that?

    That’s the point of asking men to be responsible for their deeds and the rest of us holding them to it. The first reaction we have shouldn’t be “how can we get those girls not to place themselves in areas of danger” but “when are these guys going to start acting like decent human beings? How can we change *that* behavior?” because until the latter happens, all the education I can give my daughter about being safe will still not prevent her from being assaulted or objectified for simply trying to live.

    Feminism isn’t about working toward trying to earn the right to be objectified but wouldn’t it be nice to be able to walk from your office building to your car without making sure that every street light is operational and you have your mace at the ready in one hand and 911 on the dial in the other?

  45. Michelle
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 19:13:55

    I wasn’t arguing that the culture doesn’t need to change. I was just pointing out that sometimes giving children advice, isn’t always about victim blaming. Doesn’t mean you can control everything. My point about facebook was that it seemed earlier that there were a lot of articles about teenagers young adults posting things on facebook that later affected them in the workplace. I didn’t see people saying the authors of those articles were victim blaming. I do tell some people going off to college (male and female) not to accept drinks from opened cans/bottles or leave drinks unattended, because there is a lot of people who like to spike drinks. Sometimes pointing out what can happen isn’t the same as saying a victim deserves what happens to them.

    Not to say victim blaming doesn’t happen.
    Edited for spelling.
    Also don’t think it needs to be either or but both. Raise males to respect others, try to change the culture, but in the meantime teach girls that life isn’t fair yet, and try to control what they can control, knowing that they can’t control everything.

  46. Courtney Milan
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 19:14:41

    @Ann Somerville:

    I feel very, very conflicted about these sorts of things, honestly. I’m not a big fan in general of outing/doxxing, almost no matter what, but that “almost” probably comes pretty close to where Violentacrez (edited from Adrian Chen) stands, and I could argue myself blue about what I think about that.

    But I feel very, very strongly that the “what about his innocent dependents?” line is not something we can and should worry about when we’re dealing with someone who is this despicable. This is the same line that gets trotted out by managers when he chooses not to fire an employee who is sexually harassing someone else. It makes people keep quiet about the guy who raped her.

    Think of his kids. Think of his wife. Think about what you’d put them through if you spoke up. It allows despicable people to use their loved ones as a shield to avoid consequences for their worst actions.

    He should have freaking thought about her, before he started posting sexually suggestive pictures of underage girls–something that is illegal on multiple levels and extremely damaging to the children involved. When you do illegal things, you take the risk that someone will find out, and that as a consequence you might get sacked or put in jail.

    I’m extremely uncomfortable putting the blame for the harm to people who depended on this man on anyone other than himself.

    This is not to say that I’m unabashedly in favor of what happened to him–but even though I don’t believe his disabled wife deserved to go down, I’m not going to assign blame for what happened to anyone but him. It’s a shame. It’s a crying shame. And if you have a disabled wife who depends on your job, maybe you need to think three times before you do things that can and will get you fired.

  47. Ridley
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 19:20:10

    I’d like to do away with “no means no” and instead drill “yes means yes” into today’s horny teenagers. Sex shouldn’t be a goal or something you press for until you’re clearly turned down. It should be something two people pursue together enthusiastically. If the other person’s not as into you as you’re into them, you need to move along or risk being a creeper. Prying consent out of someone should be frowned upon.

  48. Ann Somerville
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 19:26:26

    @Courtney Milan:

    Oh I agree that he must have known he was putting himself and his wife at risk.

    But doesn’t it bother you at all that Chen outed the wife in his article as well, when there is no indication at all she has done anything wrong? She wasn’t ‘collateral damage’ – she was directly targeted.

    Chen’s not changed anything. He hasn’t made anyone safer, and he’s not changed the culture at Reddit or at large. He posted the information for shits and giggles, and didn’t give a damn who got hurt. And now someone who *doesn’t* post creepshots has also been hurt – another woman.

    If Chen had been serious, he’d have doxed the owners of Reddit. What he did has made things worse. I weep no tears for Violentacrez, but I don’t believe we should think it’s okay for his family to suffer when there were other ways Chen could have gone about it and acheived a better result.

    As an aside, Chen says nothing that VA posted was in fact illegal, and I’ll have to take that as true since the police would be involved if it weren’t. That doesn’t mean it was remotely acceptable, but where do we draw the line for when someone should be outed? As I said in my blog post, once people take it on *themselves* to make that decision, then it’s open slather, and all kinds of justifications are used for what is essentially, a nuclear option.

  49. Sarah Mayberry
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 19:26:43

    @Lynne Connolly: I heard a victim talking about this on the radio, and the level of complacency and covert enabling (for want of a better term) from the various institutions involved is staggering. This victim recounted being in bed (as a child) in the hospital when Jimmy came around, and having a nurse advise her that the best thing she could do when Jimmy came to visit her ward was pretend to be asleep. They all knew he was going to “pick” someone. So those nurses knew that he was abusing children, as must have various other personnel in the hospital. And they let those children be interfered with on their watch. I honestly can’t comprehend how this shit happens.

  50. hapax
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 19:32:36

    @Michelle — is posting pictures of yourself drunk at a party at age seventeen the ideal career move ten years down the line?

    Not particularly.

    Is the behavior of employers scraping the internet looking for ten-year-old drunk pictures of job applicants incredibly intrusive, skeevy, and probably counter-productive to the long-term health of those companies that do it?

    Pretty much, yep.

    So why does our society focus all our attention on warning against the first and give tacit approval of the second?

    P.S. Where I work, we were all informed last week that we were *required* to have real-name Facebook accounts. We were also informed that our employer, who is funded by taxpayer money, will continually monitor what is posted on those accounts, including by our friends and friends-of-friends….

    So the onus is upon US not to have personal lives — unless, say, I wish to be called on the carpet for my nephew’s college room-mates drunken Facebook photos.

    Please explain to me, somebody, why we are all concentrating on forbidding kids from having harmless fun, instead of blithely accepting that our masters have free rein to invade our privacy.

  51. Courtney Milan
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 19:37:04

    @Ann Somerville: I’m not saying this doesn’t bother me. It does bother me. I don’t want to defend Chen at all–a lot of “outing” is just a form of vigilanteism, which I do not (generally) approve of, as it lacks, say due process, a meaningful opportunity for people to respond to the charges, and so forth.

    All I’m saying is that I really, really HATE the use of the dependents as a means to excuse harm. If this is the wrong thing to do, it would be wrong whether he was married, whether his wife was a millionaire, whether he was a guy who lived alone.

    But all that being said, when bad people do bad things, innocents suffer on both sides. We can’t let people off the hook just because shit happens to innocent people.

    I’m objecting to the use of the argument about the wife to prove something, not to your general conclusion. Because what you said about violentacrez… the exact same argument would apply if he were prosecuted and put in prison. (Just to be clear: I don’t know that he could be–I haven’t looked at any of the sexually suggestive pictures of underage children to determine if they cross over into child porn, and I have no desire to do so.) His wife would be left up shit creek. And while I’d feel sorry for her, I don’t believe that he should be able to skip out on consequences simply because they’ll have negative effects on innocents.

  52. Sarah Mayberry
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 19:39:42

    Also, Australia and Melbourne in particular is still reeling from the recent rape and murder of a woman who was walking 500m home from a busy retail strip to her nearby apartment at night, where her husband was waiting for her. She was a bit tipsy, but otherwise fine, and she never made it home. After an intense week, her (alleged) attacker was arrested. He chose her randomly, making him the sort of predator who fills women with dread. Since then, there has been a lot of talk on crappy current affair shows about “what women can do to protect themselves” and “why mace can’t be legalized” etc, etc. Not a single article (to my knowledge) talking about rape culture, why men rape, what creates a predatorial man like this, nothing. As Ridley said above, it’s as though we as a society just accept that men are these rampant, constantly hard cocks, walking around barely restrained, and that it’s womens’ job to find ways to protect ourselves from their understandable violence/sexual needs/desires. That it’s part of society and that discussing it in any way is pointless. And the conversations I’ve had with people on this subject contained so much victim blaming – “I would never have walked home alone the way she did” etc – I could only shake my head. She did NOTHING WRONG. She was simply living in the world. And this monster decided he had the right to take what he wanted and then kill her to cover his crime. This is the stuff that needs to change, not what women wear or don’t wear, or where we walk, or where we go. That may sound idealistic, but we need to at least start the discussion.

  53. azteclady
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 19:51:15

    @Carrie G: “Just as I would tell my girls not to be stupid and walk around a dark parking garage alone at night”

    Some of us don’t have a choice as to when we walk from and to our car–we are not stupid, we are trying to make a living.

  54. Sarah Mayberry
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 19:59:29

    @hapax: I can remember reading Orwell’s 1984 back in high school and thinking to myself that that degree of Government supervision of the masses would never eventuate because of the sheer logistics – you’d have to have half the population keeping an eye on the other half. Plus the sheer incompetency of Governments in general. Then social media happened, and lo and behold, we don’t need a Government to keep tabs on us, it seems. We can do it ourselves. A huge number of us, apparently, will happily live our lives out loud, “checking in” whenever we go somewhere, photographing our freakin’ food and Tweeting it, documenting every social occasion… I wonder if fifteen or even ten years ago anyone ever imagined that the internet would become so enmeshed in our daily lives the way it has? And it will be interesting (and possibly scary) to see where it all goes in the future.

  55. Lynne Connolly
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 20:11:55

    @Sarah Mayberry: The news is deeply shocking for several reasons. Raising money for charity became Savile’s way in, his way to abuse and he did it in several respected institutions, not just one. What kind of mindset allows this? And taking another tack, how many more are or were there like him?
    A nurse has spoken since, and she says he’d pick one of them, too, and they couldn’t object, or if they did, they’d be told to shut up, or moved on.
    He hid in plain sight. He habitually wore the “Pedophile’s uniform” of shellsuit and sneakers, and had a double mattress in the back of his van, where he told an interviewer once that he did “anything he could get away with.”
    Makes Malcolm Tucker look honourable.

  56. Ridley
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 20:24:23

    @Michelle: Never posting or otherwise sharing revealing photos is a safer way to go through life. I agree. I don’t see anything wrong with encouraging young people of both genders to adopt this policy.

    Here’s what gets me, though. People bring this up after shit goes pear-shaped to dismiss the victim and all but exonerate the perpetrator. “Well, what did she think was going to happen?” Meanwhile, people of both genders use their debit cards online willy-nilly, never checking security certificates, or use passwords like “password” on all their accounts, but when their accounts get hacked and their money stolen, no one blames them for having poor internet practices. They get sympathy and swift resolution. The perpetrators, when they’re found, are prosecuted.

    Now, both behaviors are pretty equally inadvisable. Why is the former seen as just desserts, but the latter isn’t? Why don’t people have any control over their private info or likeness? Why is there no penalty for distributing something that someone sent you in private?

    As for the don’t dress like a slut and walk around at night business, that’s just ignorant victim blaming. If you stood naked in front of a normal man and said “no touching,” he’d keep his hands to himself. If men target girls dressed “slutty,” and I’ve seen no evidence that they do, what would you bet they do it knowing that society will let him off the hook easier because of how she’s dressed? What I have seen evidence of is that rapists do their thing knowing full well that they don’t have consent. There are no mixed signals, just a cold determination to take what they want. How do you take precautions against that?

  57. CourtneyLee
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 21:12:00

    Years ago, in college, I believe I was nearly assaulted. I was studying in the library after dark and a male classmate (we only knew each other by sight) kept trying to strike up a conversation. I was studying for a test the next day, so I asked him politely to leave me be. He kept chatting. I told him I was busy but did he go? No. So I packed up and left. He followed. My car was a fair way away, so I went to the nearest campus safety phone and requested a security escort to my car. It took the guard ten minutes to get there, during which I was alone with creepy classmate who insisted he could walk me to my car because it was “the gentlemanly thing to do.” The guard arrived and the classmate followed us until the guard threatened to call the cops (don’t know if that threat actually held water, but it worked).

    I was out after dark. I wasn’t with a group of friends or even one friend. I was alone with a guy who would just not let up on a deserted campus. Did I do anything wrong or unsafe? NO. No, I did not. I was simply being a college student who had a test the next morning. Should I have rearranged my entire schedule that week at work, possibly losing a shift or two due to conflicts with classes, to make sure that I didn’t have cause to be on campus after dark? Should I have chosen a location other than the best one for what I needed to do? Should I have scrapped my study plans because I wasn’t following the buddy system? Doing those things would have been living my life in fear and that’s never been my thing. If that man had chosen to drag me off before the security guard got there, there was nothing I could do about it. And I probably would have second guessed every decision I had made that led me to be vulnerable to him.

    Except now I know that thinking that what caused it to almost happen was me “making myself vulnerable” is completely internalized rape culture. I can look back now and know that I didn’t do anything that either prevented or caused that classmate to attatch himself to me. I was just being a college student. I was on a well-lit campus during library hours in the middle of midterms. I was polite but firm when I asked then told him to leave me alone. I called a security guard for backup. Even with all of that, the only thing that prevented anything bad from happening was that my would-be attacker didn’t attack me. The only thing that would have caused me to be attacked was the man who attacked me.

    This is just one personal story among many, but it reminds me whenever I hear/read rape discussions that I intent to teach my two daughters to be smart, but not to let their lives be ruled by fear. Taking reasonable precautions, being aware of one’s surroundings, and having a good idea of how to fight back are all good things and I’ll make sure they’re armed with all that, but I also intend to let them know that they should not rearrange their lives, their wardrobes, their schedules, or their social locations because someone else might decide to be a criminal.

  58. Susan
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 21:22:12

    Wow. I had this conversation with my mother just this weekend. She said something to the effect that women who dressed a certain way were inviting men to be disrespectful to them. It took me about half a second to go nuclear. I told her that men were responsible for their own actions and we shouldn’t keep trotting out excuses for them. A woman (indeed, a person) is entitled to respect regardless of her attire.

    I would say that it’s a certainly that every single poster here has either been a victim of sexual assault of some kind or knows someone who has been. Even if you don’t think you know someone, I can guarantee that you do but they just haven’t told you about it. I personally know a shockingly large number of women (and one man) who have been raped/sexually assaulted—several in incredibly vicious and heinous manners–and not one of them was dressed provocatively, impaired by alcohol or drugs, behaving recklessly, etc. Those are just excuses. A man who wants to rape or attack women will do so no matter what precautions a woman takes. He will attack you in your office, going to your car in broad daylight, in your locked home, at school. I fully agree that society should not place the onus on women to take increasingly drastic—and ultimately ineffective—measures to try to insure their safety, but to educate all men and women about rape and sexual violence.

    That said, I’m not holding my breath. As others have pointed out, victim-blaming and shifting of responsibility seems to be common for all kinds of wrongdoing. Decades ago, there was an anti-car theft PSA warning drivers not to leave their keys in the ignition of unattended cars. The tagline was, “Don’t help a good kid go bad.” Yeah, you not only deserve to have your car stolen, but you’re also single-handedly responsible for turning a model citizen to a life of crime and ruining his life. Sigh.

  59. B. Sullivan
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 21:38:28

    @Gwen Hayes I’ll be the first to agree that there are plenty of perfectly good (sometimes vital) reasons to have an alias, so I don’t take true doxxing lightly. When I was a college instructor in various small towns, I felt that anonymity was important. Not as everyone usually assumes because I was don’t anything suspect online, or even anything remotely interesting. It was because I didn’t want my students to worry about what my perspectives were on various things, in case their own viewpoints were different. If I discuss something in class then I can clearly stress and reassure them they can disagree – if they read me saying it online, they might get the idea that they have to agree with that. Also sometimes you want to go out for a hamburger and not have a bunch of folk hunt you down to ask about a test. Heh.

    But the thing is with the range of search engines and social media growing at such speed, keeping an alias is something that is ridiculously hard now, and takes a lot of conscious security methods. I’d be outed now whatever steps I’d try because of my husband (he’s had an online presence since late 90s, so huge footprint there and it leads to me) and his family – and if someone were to follow the breadcrumb trail, it probably wouldn’t take much time. So if someone were to post my alias and my name? No, not doxxing. There was no hack, no social engineering – the info is all out there. And that isn’t a secret to me.

    On the photo angle – I feel such empathy for girls growing up now, and parents dealing with the new worries. It’s not just the dark parking garage. Online has a lot of dark alleys too, and there are plenty of really friendly people who you should never, never give any real life information to. Sometimes because of the hidden creep factor, sometimes because they’ll be the first to tell others bits of your info you probably shouldn’t share. (For instance if you live in a very small town and live alone, probably not great to share that and update your locations – that kinda thing.)

    Another thing that’s disturbing is what I call (someone tell me if there’s already a term for it) the Facebook Excuse. It goes “girls are posting all sorts of nude or revealing photos on Facebook so it’s ok for us to assume any and all girls on Facebook are fair game.” There’s a lot of the ol logic jump from “some girls do X” to “all girls online are the same.” Not a good attitude, that.

  60. Wahoo Suze
    Oct 16, 2012 @ 00:04:55

    A very clear explanation of rape culture:

    Rape culture is telling girls and women to be careful about what you wear, how you wear it, how you carry yourself, where you walk, when you walk there, with whom you walk, whom you trust, what you do, where you do it, with whom you do it, what you drink, how much you drink, whether you make eye contact, if you’re alone, if you’re with a stranger, if you’re in a group, if you’re in a group of strangers, if it’s dark, if the area is unfamiliar, if you’re carrying something, how you carry it, what kind of shoes you’re wearing in case you have to run, what kind of purse you carry, what jewelry you wear, what time it is, what street it is, what environment it is, how many people you sleep with, what kind of people you sleep with, who your friends are, to whom you give your number, who’s around when the delivery guy comes, to get an apartment where you can see who’s at the door before they can see you, to check before you open the door to the delivery guy, to own a dog or a dog-sound-making machine, to get a roommate, to take self-defense, to always be alert always pay attention always watch your back always be aware of your surroundings and never let your guard down for a moment lest you be sexually assaulted and if you are and didn’t follow all the rules it’s your fault.

    Re doxxing: if you’re doing it, you’re in the wrong. It doesn’t matter who you’re doxxing or why, doxxing is always wrong. I find the arguments that “but it was really easy to find, so it’s not really publishing the info” to be disingenuous, and I don’t buy them. At all.

  61. Kate Hewitt
    Oct 16, 2012 @ 04:43:40

    I don’t think we’ll ever escape victim blaming; it’s not so much about awareness, imo, as a way for other people to feel like they can stay safe, thinking, ‘If I don’t do that, it won’t happen to me.’ I read a news article in this last week about a ten year old girl in Colorado who was abducted and killed walking three blocks from her home to meet friends. I’m sure many people have heard about it; it’s an absolutely horrible, tragic story, and to add to the tragedy in the comments section many people blamed the mother for letting her daughter walk alone. People may have different opinions about when children are old enough to walk somewhere alone, but the blaming in this instance is horrifying. As if anyone but the murderer is at fault in this scenario.

  62. Jill Sorenson
    Oct 16, 2012 @ 11:10:05

    I don’t like the emphasis on women’s clothes and behavior, and I agree that it shifts the responsibility away from the rapist. That said, I think most of us could look back at our tweets and comments and find criticisms of female attire. It’s so incredibly common (and unfortunate) for women to judge each other. I do it all the time. I’ve exchanged tweets with Ridley about people who walk around with their underwear showing. We might have been talking about men or women, but *I* was thinking about women. Someone I follow on twitter posted a pic she took of a woman walking in front of her with her thong showing. Obviously this was meant as a criticism of the look. It’s not a good look, I agree! Jane has made comments about inappropriately sexy author pics. These are judgments. We ALL make them.

    Of course there is a difference between judging inappropriate attire and saying that it leads women to be treated poorly or disrespected. I hate slut shaming. I hate the attitude that promiscuous women or even prostitutes deserve abuse. Often this kind of behavior (provocative dress, risky sexual behavior) stems FROM abuse.

    I think that one of the reasons women focus on dress and behavior is that we can control these things. It’s not always about slut shaming. I can tell my daughters to be careful, to stick close to female friends, to evaluate potential dangers. I cannot control men.

  63. Ridley
    Oct 16, 2012 @ 13:25:38

    @Jill Sorenson: Well, the difference for me is that when I judge people’s outfits, I’m judging their fashion sense and not their character. I don’t think a girl walking around in 5″ platform heels and a dress that looks painted on is dishonoring herself or inviting negative attention. I just think her fashion lacks subtlety. She’s done nothing wrong. Her style just looks silly to me.

  64. Sandypo
    Oct 16, 2012 @ 15:02:21

    You know, I have to wonder, are women ever going to win? Are we ever going to be safe in public and be able to wear what we want and not be viewed only in sexual terms? Probably not. There is so much ignorance in this world. Look at that 14 year old girl that the Taliban shot last week, just because she wants girls to be able to be educated. If some of these people viewing or posting on creepshot would take that same time and/or energy and do something good, something charitable, something to help the world, what a huge difference they could make. But no, they have to make some innocent high school kid’s life a living hell or take revenge on their ex…and if that’s what some guy would do to his ex, she’s lucky to have gotten away from him in the first place! Jeez!

  65. Sandypo
    Oct 16, 2012 @ 15:04:05


    I always wonder if the majority of those photos aren’t photoshopped. Its hard to believe that people actually go out in public like that. Of course, I don’t shop at Walmart!

  66. Jill Sorenson
    Oct 16, 2012 @ 17:33:25

    @Ridley: I believe you, but I also think there is a sexual aspect to wearing provocative clothing. When a woman deliberately shows her thong, it’s not just a style choice, it’s an invitation to look and…think sexual thoughts. Which is fine. I assume that men will look and think sexual thoughts, regardless. The concern I have is that some women and girls dress this way as a reaction to being victimized, not as a celebration and ownership of their sexuality. When I see a really shocking outfit, I worry and wonder and…yes, judge. Not in a “this girl is trash” way. But in a “this girl has issues” way.

    Revealing clothing is never an invitation to be treated poorly or a justification for rape. I don’t mean to defend anyone who thinks women can prevent attacks through demure dress, constant vigilance etc. But I also think we can be concerned without spreading shame. I hope so, anyway. I’d like to be more aware of the criticisms I give and the snap judgments I make.

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