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Controversy Over Violet Blue's Harm Reduction Talk 562

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the thinking-not-allowed dept.
Weezul writes "The Ada Initiative's Valerie Aurora got Violet Blue's Hackers As A High-Risk Population (29c3 abstract) talk on harm reduction methodology pulled from the Security BSides meeting in San Francisco by claiming it contained rape triggers [ed note: you might not want to visit the main page of the weblog as it contains a few pictures that might be considered NSFW in more conservative places]. It's frankly asinine to object to work around hacker ethics as 'off topic' at such broad hacker conference. Is Appelbaum's 29c3 keynote 'off topic' for asking hackers to work for the 'good guys' rather than military, police, their contractors, Facebook, etc.? Yes, obviously harm reduction is a psychological hack that need not involve a computer, but this holds for 'social engineering' as well. It's simply that hacking isn't nearly as specialized or inaccessible as say theoretical physics. Worse, there is no shortage of terrible technology laws like the CFAA, DMCA, etc. that exist partially because early hackers failed to communicate an ethics that seemed coherent and reasoned to outsiders." The Ada Initiative responds that such talks do more harm than good. It could also be argued that "not working for the bad guys" type talks aren't off-topic, since the hacker community has traditionally cared about things like information freedom.
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Controversy Over Violet Blue's Harm Reduction Talk

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  • Rape trigger? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @11:59AM (#43024927) Journal

    WTF is a rape trigger?

  • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @12:11PM (#43025051) Homepage
    That's a little tendentious. The police and military are ostensibly designed to protect the general population. I mean, I'll respect your concerns about police oppressing people instead of protecting them, but if you go so far as to call them "bad guys" per se I'm not convinced that you're not just bringing a pre-existing political prejudice to the table...
  • Re:Rape trigger? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GT66 (2574287) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @12:12PM (#43025059)
    Any comment in the public sphere that can have the effect of making a rape victim "relive" the event. So basically, anything that can have the effect of reminding a rape victim they were raped is now a censorable "offense." Basically, as feminists like to USE situations to leverage their agenda, they are using this as an excuse to violate freedom of speech. Expect to see this strategy expanded and used more often as people begin to resist feminist hegemony. From Violet Blue's blog: "I found out a few hours later that I had been targeted by a feminist organization, The Ada Initiative. I learned that the woman who smiled at me while talking to the BSides SF organizer was Valerie Aurora, from the Ada Initiative. I also learned that what happened with my talk wasn’t a case where someone who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time as a survivor of sexual trauma or abuse, which is how it was presented to me. Instead, it was an organization that had planned to get my talk removed. I wonder, if I had offered to omit the section about GHB from my talk, which they did not know about, would the talk have been permitted by these people and the threat of problems for the organization lifted? "
  • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @12:17PM (#43025109)

    There is no consensus that we should ban anything in public that might trigger this though. I don't see how this leads to banning a talk, if you think it might trigger your PTSD just don't attend.

  • Wrong Talk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hhnerkopfabbeisser (645832) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @12:17PM (#43025127)

    Violet was scheduled to speak about "sex +/- drugs: known vulns and exploits", not about "Hackers As A High-Risk Population".

    While I don't agree with the cancellation, this talk was more sexually charged (hence problematic) and much less on topic at a hacker conference than her talk at 29c3 was.

  • Re:What? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @12:27PM (#43025265) Homepage

    Man, go read the post.

    http://violetblue.tumblr.com/post/44107008572/what-happened-with-my-security-bsides-talk [tumblr.com]

    Basically, if someone wants to shut you down, they can use anything sex-related as a weapon. And if anyone disagrees, you become the enemy.

    Violet Blue got shut down because the presentation *mentioned* the sex.

    And if you ever disagree with someone who claims to be sensitive to the topic (abuse survivor), then you are worse than hitler.

    Outrage is called for.

  • Re:Rape trigger? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @12:28PM (#43025277)

    I suffer from combat related PTSD. It sucks, I get triggered all the time. I especially don't like the filled to the max hallways at defcon, I have had more then one panic attack from that. I don't like the hackers that wear leather and combat gear around thinking its funny or cool, it scares the shit out of me at cons. I know they are kids, they mean well, and no one is trying to hurt me. Unlike the drunk guy who gets in my face for no reason, their actions are not malicious.

    Most of the time I am able to keep my shit together and no one knows how I feel on the inside. This is my trauma, my probleme, to think that others should change to satisfy me is pure stupidity. I am the one that needs to recover and be able to move on in my life, so I do it. Victims of crime are in the same position, if you have triggers, you need to be in weekly counselling until its resolved. Pretending that its OK and if others would just not trigger you will ruin your life. No amount of activism will ever heal the wounds you have.

  • by Antipater (2053064) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @12:34PM (#43025351)

    To summarize the Ada Initiative's argument, "You should never talk about sex, because if you do, you'll give women traumatizing rape flashbacks and turn all men in the audience into pathological rape-machines. Especially techies, because everyone knows techies are super-rape-happy already. So no talking about sex."

    I hate it when I have to agree with people who think "feminist" is a dirty word, but in this case Ada's "Think of the children!"-esque rationale just seems absurd.

  • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jjohnson (62583) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @12:36PM (#43025381) Homepage

    Well, we didn't ban anything. The Ada Initiative takes the position that any sex content at a technical conference is out of bounds and hostile to women--and there's a good argument for that. Women at tech conferences are very much in the minority, sex is generally not a topic within the normal scope of technology, and the geek community has real problems with sexism, creeping on women at conferences, and just generally losing its shit when the topic of women comes up. So the rep from the Ada Initiative talks to the organizers, mentions this and their specific concerns that content of the talk (like use of GHB for sex) could trigger rape victims, and the organizers pull the plug because they're appropriately risk averse on this topic.

    So who blew it? The Ada Initiative did by not approaching Violet Blue beforehand. Violet Blue is trained as a crisis counselor and has worked with rape victims. She knows the issues. They could have worked out a way to present the talk without triggering content and with sensitivity to the concern that discussing sex with a room full of geeks could have a negative impact on the women at the conference.

  • by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @12:37PM (#43025411) Homepage Journal

    From the Ada Initiative's own statement [adainitiative.org] on this:

    Simply put, even the world’s most pro-woman, sex-positive, pro-consent talk about sex is likely to have negative effects on women at a technical conference.

    More simply put: "Any talk of sex at a technical conference is bad m'kay, because a rape survivor might get offended."

    Sorry, but covering the ears and mouths of others to suppress information YOU DON'T LIKE is against feminism since it presumes that women are too fragile to handle sexuality in a positive and adult manner, is sexist to men since it presumes that the mere talk of sex, no matter the content of message of purpose will push some men to rape or "give women bad sexual experiences".

    And how many of these men would attend this fabled "Conference on Sexuality" where Violet Blue's talk would be "on topic"? I predict none.
    So a chance to raise awareness, engage, inform and encourage healthy debate has been lost because one group with a very clear agenda decide that no one t a "Tech Conference" should be able to be so educated and informed on subjects they feel are harmful based solely on their own ideals.

    The Ada Initiative should be wholeheartedly shunned by the tech circles who value freedom of information and freedom of choice for being counter to the very principles upon which their culture is formed. This is a culture based on curiosity, exploration, boundary pushing and self-education -- we don't need Ada Initiative telling us where or how to educate ourselves or dictating what topics are "safe".

  • Re:Rape trigger? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by greg1104 (461138) <gsmith@gregsmith.com> on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @12:38PM (#43025425) Homepage

    Somewhere between your straw woman and the other bad summaries floating around is reality. He's the important part from the presenter herself:

    "In the talk I do cover ‘date rape’ drugs, and I explain their actions and how they’re dangerous."

    Seems like a pretty legitimate way to trigger a rape flashback to me. It's appropriate for an information security conference only in that drugging people is a pretty effective way to get secrets out of them, and one that probably isn't considered as much as it should. If someone isn't sensitive enough to realize that even approaching that discussion is tricky, due to well known concerns over the same drugs being for rape, they really shouldn't be talking about it at all in front of an audience.

  • by pavon (30274) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @12:42PM (#43025483)

    There is a consensus that people attending computer security conferences should expect the focus to be on computer security, not some very weakly tangentially related subject, especially when the title of the talk isn't announced until a few hours before the talk.

    It isn't just a matter of not attending the talk if you don't like the subject. The talk itself turns the attendees' focus away from technical matters and onto sexual matters in an environment where women already have a difficult time being treated professionally rather than as sexual objects. And in a crowd of socially awkward men who already find it challenging to interact with women without having sex rubbed in their face.

    The talk was completely off-topic and couldn't possibly improve the environment of the conference.

  • Re:Rape trigger? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @12:46PM (#43025537)
    For the love of humanity, mod parent up. People need to be responsible for addressing their own difficulties, not force all of society to acquiesce and adopt arbitrary strictures to make sure they don't possibly ever cause somebody to remember something nasty.

    So, all you whiny feminists, unless you are willing to be sensitive to people like this AC and ban all pseudo-military accouterments from all fashion forever etc. then you can STFU. That is of course if feminism wasn't already based on double standards run amok.
  • Re:What? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @12:47PM (#43025549) Homepage Journal

    So who blew it? The Ada Initiative did by not approaching Violet Blue beforehand.

    If the talk should not have been cancelled then the fault lies with the person who made the decision to cancel the talk, period the end. You can't permit people to foist responsibility off onto groups because of your personal biases, that only leads to cognitive dissonance. The Ada Initiative did not make the decision to cancel the talk, they only advised doing such. You can scowl at them all you want, but it's still not their fault.

    There's things I don't like about the Ada Initiative, like their high and mighty tone. But that still doesn't mean that they cancelled this talk, or that they are responsible for the cancellation of this talk. Blame the decision-maker, not the advisor. Our failure to do that as a species is one of the things that keeps us in a condition of suffering.

  • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wisnoskij (1206448) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @12:47PM (#43025555) Homepage

    But they should NOT. That is ridiculous. If someone is so emotionally scared than a person of the gender that raped them, bumping into them in the conference is probably just as likely if not more likely to make them uncomfortable.

    If you are a psychological wreck and need others to work around your weaknesses then go live in a padded white room in an asylum.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @12:50PM (#43025581) Journal

    Yes, the police and military are the bad guys and have been for decades. They are designed to protect the general population in the same way an electric fence protects cattle. Every war since at least Vietnam has had nothing to do with protecting people, only securing global hegemony. And the main purpose of the police is to keep the peasants from revolting. Notice how robust the response to OWS was, when the real criminals on Wall Street went untouched? Look at how willing the police are to ruin lives over a little Cannabis or how much respect the military has for basic principles of justice like innocent before proven guilty.

    These are not honorable institutions with honorable goals, and none can be associated with them honorably. We live in an upsidedown world where the authorities who are supposed to protect us are in fact the greatest threat. Wake the fuck up already.

  • Re:What? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @12:52PM (#43025609)

    Nerdy con goers use weird and different drugs. Harm reduction is on topic anywhere drugs are being used by even 5% of the population. I've been going to hacker cons for over a decade and everyone i know there uses drugs. This rejects the common recreational use of GHB. The stigma of it as a "rape" drug is far overblown and just a tool prohibitionists use to co-opt feminism. Chloroform is equally useful as a rape drug, wait, i've seen that used recreationally at hacker cons. If you think GHB rape is rampant where is the data? Have you read the London drug rape study? No you haven't, drug rape is a myth. You clearly have no idea how much consensual drug use goes on at a con. Con attendees (hacker, sci-fi, anime, etc) use so many drugs.

  • Re:What? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Trepidity (597) <.delirium-slashdot. .at. .hackish.org.> on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @12:53PM (#43025639)

    That's an argument you can make. I think your position is unreasonable position, however, and that intelligent people should not adopt it. In particular, you seem consumed with some emotional anger yourself, and appear more interested in denigrating people who might have post-traumatic reactions, feverishly imagining how they should be committed to asylums, than in rationally analyzing the situation and developing sane conference policies.

    Therefore, my personal conclusion is that someone designing a conference policy would be do better to read the Ada Initiative's well-argued opinion, and should not follow your rather poorly, emotionally-argued opinion. It's ultimately up to the conference organizers to decide what policies they wish to have, though.

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @12:54PM (#43025649) Homepage Journal

    It's a common aspect of PTSD, and as we become aware of it, it's becoming common in some areas, at least, to warn people of triggers in your essay or blog entry or whatever to give them a chance to duck out.

    A well-written essay will do that simply by being an essay. The introductory paragraph will give the reader a clue as to what kind of material follows.

    In any case, we can't take all the rape triggers out of society because there will always be another trigger. I have various friends around whom I cannot play specific albums because it's the music to which they were raped. The problem with the idea of trying to avoid triggers is that they are individual-dependent. We all know that depictions or discussions of rape can trigger a reaction in people, at least, all of us who care even a little bit about other humans. But pretty much anything can do that. Maybe the problem isn't the trigger, but the societal surroundings that affect how victims deal with their problems.

    Finally, I don't want anyone to believe I'm trying to diminish the actual problem. I was never sexually abused, but I was the target of systematic bullying and violence basically from the day I set foot in Del Mar Middle School, throughout my career at Branciforte Jr. High, and until the day I left Harbor High School. I didn't even get summers off since I was so regularly in summer school. I still sometimes have dreams about it. I can imagine that someone who had been subjected to still worse abuse might have still worse reactions. But I'm pretty sure that suppression of discussion is not the answer. It's just pretending the problems don't exist, and when you do that, you can't address them.

  • Re:What? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @12:57PM (#43025701) Homepage Journal

    But they should NOT. That is ridiculous. If someone is so emotionally scared than a person of the gender that raped them, bumping into them in the conference is probably just as likely if not more likely to make them uncomfortable.

    If you are a psychological wreck and need others to work around your weaknesses then go live in a padded white room in an asylum.

    I'm sure that's easy to say if neither you nor anyone you love has ever been the victim of a violent sexual assault.

    Go volunteer at your local women's shelter, then try and come back here with that attitude.

  • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @12:59PM (#43025745) Journal

    The Ada Initiative takes the position that any sex content at a technical conference is out of bounds and hostile to women--and there's a good argument for that.

    OK, what is the good argument for that? It's certainly not the following.

    Women at tech conferences are very much in the minority, sex is generally not a topic within the normal scope of technology, and the geek community has real problems with sexism, creeping on women at conferences, and just generally losing its shit when the topic of women comes up.

    That's a great reason to get it out in the open, talk about what's acceptable and what's not. Making sex an uncomfortable subject will only make men more uncomfortable which will make more "creepers". You don't fix problems by not talking about it.

    What's the actual argument that talking about sex openly is harmful in any circumstances? Are there any such arguments that are not as easily deflected as the one above?

  • Re:What? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by beckett (27524) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @01:00PM (#43025761) Homepage Journal

    and the geek community has real problems with sexism, creeping on women at conferences, and just generally losing its shit when the topic of women comes up.

    so the solution is not to talk about sexuality at all at conferences? If you feel the best way to deal with these "real problems" is to internalize the very issues you take a strong position against, that's fine. but to request someone "pull the plug" to a lecture at a technical symposium just because it disagrees with your political worldview is tantamount to burying your head in the sand becuase you don't like all the men at the beach. the sooner we can talk about sex like grownups, the sooner raise the bar of discussion past adolescence.

    The cruelest lies are often told in silence. - Robert Lewis Stevenson.

  • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @01:04PM (#43025813)

    'm sure that's easy to say if neither you nor anyone you love has ever been the victim of a violent sexual assault.

    Go volunteer at your local women's shelter, then try and come back here with that attitude.

    And that is supposed to mean that because there are people who got hurt, we stop discussing the problem in the public? How has that ever actually helped anybody?

  • Re:What? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @01:08PM (#43025863) Homepage Journal

    Well, it most certainly is not a "best practice", and damn the demographic group concerned. If this bullshit is acceptable, then we'll have to accept that a member of Race A might be "triggered" if exposed to a member of Race B. Or, a member or Religion Z, if exposed to a member of Religion Y. Or, Gender F, if exposed toa member of Gender M. And, actually, that is all it boils down to. Some bitch feminist didn't like this guy's talk, so she shut him down, with a threat to act hysterical if he were allowed to speak.

  • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wisnoskij (1206448) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @01:08PM (#43025867) Homepage

    I would argue that there is a huge wealth of evidence that informing people about sexual issues is preferable to not.

    What the Ada initiative is arguing for is the abolishment of sex-ed, something that does actual damage in either high school or any culture that struggles with its sexuality.

    They are also arguing for survivors of rape never hearing the terms sex, rape, or and related terms or content ever again. They are arguing for repression, when we know that in many cases these people need to talk about these issues and hear them discussed. Yes, it is important to be tactful and knowledgeable about how to go about talking about these subjects, even just for normal well adjusted people with no traumatic issues in their past. But an absolute repression of all content is 100 times worst for these victims than anything even the most callous person might say in front of them.

  • by beckett (27524) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @01:10PM (#43025901) Homepage Journal

    The talk was completely off-topic and couldn't possibly improve the environment of the conference.

    It's too bad that the talk was censored by Ada Initiative; otherwise the rest of the grownups could have made up their own minds on the subject instead of believing your opinion of a talk that never occurred.

    extremely insightful that your idea of tangential, may be another person's epiphany. This is the exact purpose of a conference: to listen to new ideas, even if they are not in your narrow field of research.

  • by B'Trey (111263) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @01:17PM (#43025983)

    The talk was completely off-topic and couldn't possibly improve the environment of the conference.

    And, of course, that opinion is the only one that matters, so it's OK to lie and use whatever other cheap, underhanded methods you can use to impose your perspective on everyone else, right? "Rape trigger" is a convenient tool because it shuts down all further conversation.

    A: "Rape trigger!"
    B: "But I ..."
    A: "What, do you support rape? What kind of sleazy, disgusting asshole are you?"
    B: (slinks away)

  • by c (8461) <beauregardcp@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @01:18PM (#43025991)

    Sorry, but covering the ears and mouths of others to suppress information YOU DON'T LIKE is against feminism...

    It's also against history and plain common sense.

    First, they're trying to censor something in the hacker community. Mere words can't explain how much "fail" is involved in that concept.

    Second, history is pretty clear that if you want to solve social behavioural problems (which, I'm assuming, is the fundamental reason behind the Ada Initiative), anything less than honest and open communications, even about things which are uncomfortable to some, is going to backfire. Suppression gives you stupid shit like abstinence-only sex education, and appealing to reason and/or authority without using reason or having authority is just denying reality. Particularly if your subject population is resistant to overt propaganda and manipulation, which this one certainly is.

    So, I guess the Ada Initiative can probably manage to get tech conferences to completely shun sex topics... as long as they don't mind that it's not going to do anything to actually reduce these "negative effects on women at a technical conference".

  • Re:Rape trigger? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GSloop (165220) <networkguru AT sloop DOT net> on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @01:23PM (#43026075) Homepage

    It may be "your" problem. [Negating the fact that *we* sent you to war and you were doing your job in service for all of us - at least those in the USA. (I'm assuming you're a US combat veteran.)] ...As a start, I hope I've widened your thinking in how it's NOT really just _your_ problem. Lots of us contributed to _your_ problem, and you ought to be reasonable in letting some of the blame flow to others too.

    ---
    But, for discussion sake - lets just *assume* it really *is* all your problem.

    Is it too much to expect the rest of the world to take some care and have some empathy in helping you manage? I mean really - sure it's all a blind person's problem for being blind. Or an elderly person's problem for being elderly. But still, we make allowances for these "problems" and treat such people with dignity and respect. We make changes to how we'd interact with the world to accommodate them, and make them feel as comfortable as possible.

    That's not to say that one can't go overboard on accommodation - because you certainly can. But, in general, in the world, we rarely do TOO MUCH for those who need our help and consideration. If there's an error, IMO, in the world, it is that we have _too little_ empathy and care for the perspectives of those outside our gender/race/ethnicity/social-group/family etc. The number of times we have too much empathy? Pretty damn insignificant IMO.

    ---
    So, while I recognize your desire to stand up on your own two feet and I know that you want to succeed on your own - please realize that you need care and love from those around you too. It's not too much to want others to help, and while you can't *make* them do so, they ought to.

    I wish you the best in your recovery. IMO, care and love from those around you and being realistic in viewing your responsibility in your "problem" is key in finding the best resolution you can.

    -Greg

  • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by frank_adrian314159 (469671) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @01:32PM (#43026191) Homepage

    There was no premeditation, and no conspiracy to silence Violet Blue or an interesting talk.

    Yet that was what the first request was - silence the talk. Not a question of what was in the talk, not a request to speak with the presenter, but instead a request to shut it down. No, not a conspiracy, but something worse - a knee-jerk reaction that was honored as a "reasonable" request, causing a speaker to be silenced based on no evidence.

    This was a really great way to make your point, Ada Initiative. As a person who supports the project's overall goals of fighting sexism in the high-tech community, I think that the person who requested this action is an utter moron who needs to be expunged from this group before she (or he - how would I know) does any more harm. If it happens to be the group's leader (as indicated in the article summary above), you need a new one.

  • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @01:34PM (#43026215)
    From what is known about the exchange it seems likely that the Ada Foundation was threatening the con organizers in some way with some kind of negative action if they didn't get what they wanted. The organizers were acting under a duress that the Ada Foundation's representatives/agents initiated. Faulting the Ada Foundation is not a blameshift if, as is apparently the case, the organizers would not have been faced with a negative future condition that would be created by the Ada Foundation if the organizers didn't act.
  • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @01:38PM (#43026237)

    Any sex content is hostile to women?
    That is the most misogynistic thing I have heard all week.

    You do know that women are as interested in sex as men, right?

    You do realize that the treating them with kids gloves you are endorsing is exactly what people expect of geek groups right? It is the other side of the creepy fratboy coin. Same not treating them like real people BS.

  • Re:Rape trigger? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ardaen (1099611) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @02:08PM (#43026531)

    For the love of humanity, mod parent up. People need to be responsible for addressing their own difficulties, not force all of society to acquiesce and adopt arbitrary strictures to make sure they don't possibly ever cause somebody to remember something nasty.

    Not the best way to put it, but there is some truth there.

    So, all you whiny feminists, unless you are willing to be sensitive to people like this AC and ban all pseudo-military accouterments from all fashion forever etc. then you can STFU. That is of course if feminism wasn't already based on double standards run amok.

    I was with you up until you started the name calling and the bigotry against feminists.

    Yeah, sure, some may have double standards and some may be ridiculous. This is true of any group of people. This does not mean that all feminism is a double standard or that everything under the umbrella term feminism should be summarily dismissed. By that logic any group or cause can be ignored.

  • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cayenne8 (626475) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @02:15PM (#43026595) Homepage Journal

    I'm sure that's easy to say if neither you nor anyone you love has ever been the victim of a violent sexual assault.

    Go volunteer at your local women's shelter, then try and come back here with that attitude.

    Look, I understand that rape or any other assault is traumatic. That' a given, it is a horrible crime and should be punished.

    That being said, it is a big world, and nasty shit happens. Is it up to everyone else in the world to be careful and tip toe around someone that is sensitive to some content for most any reason?? I think not. If that person can't handle something, then they themselves can self censor what they see or hear. Anyone that can't handle rape talk, should not attend a talk that involves that, they shouldn't prevent other people from having said discourse on said subject.

    I'm getting very tired in our current society of basing everyone on the LOWEST common denominator. Someone might be offended, be traumatized or be allergic to something, so the MAJORITY of people that these things have no effect on, must be deprived of these sights, sounds, smells, consumables to protect the very small minority that should just take their bodies and minds elsewhere so as not to be exposed.

  • Re:What? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by i_ate_god (899684) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @02:23PM (#43026667) Homepage

    > Therefore, my personal conclusion is that someone designing a conference policy would be do better to read the Ada Initiative's well-argued opinion, and should not follow your rather poorly, emotionally-argued opinion. It's ultimately up to the conference organizers to decide what policies they wish to have, though.

    Your conclusion is illogicall. If the subject matter at hand is risky subject matter for someone, then that someone should not attend, rather than shutting the subject down altogether.

    Someone who has PTSD from a war who is at risk of "triggers", should not attend a talk about "Advanced Programming Techniques for Automated Targeting Systems", just as someone who as PTSD from a rape who is at risk of "triggers", should not attend a talk about the pros and cons of sex and drugs.

  • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by achbed (97139) <.gro.debhca. .ta. .ds.> on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @02:48PM (#43026895) Homepage Journal

    They are arguing for removal of sex and sexual situations from all discussions, unless there's (a) lots of warning, and (b) all discussion is "pro-consent and constructive". They also explicitly state that they believe that any audience WILL contain members that WANT TO RAPE (what do you think "is very unlikely that your audience has a uniformly, or even widely-held, negative opinion of harassment and assault" means?) and that your talk will trigger them to rape in the halls.

    This is not a very constructive way to discuss anything. If this tactic was used for discussion of security holes, they would be advocating for the abolition of CERT public mailing lists, and revoking public notification requirements for successful hacks because it may cause people to be uncomfortable.

    This topic is uncomfortable for people precisely because it is forbidden to talk about publicly in many circles. Security by obscurity never works, and the same can be said about taboo subjects like the combination of sex and drugs. The more you know, the more you can defend yourself. If you want to remain ignorant and present opportunities for others to harm you, that's your decision. Don't force me to remain ignorant because you want to be.

  • No. Just no. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fyngyrz (762201) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @02:50PM (#43026915) Homepage Journal

    Sex is a perfectly ok subject at all times. It is a fundamental and ultimately healthy part of human activity. Arguing that it isn't puts you in the position of someone who is defective, or padding the room for someone who is defective.

    If you're defective, you should get that fixed. Not expect the rest of us to modify our behavior.

    Eventually, the path of "padding the room" leads to no discussion of any issues because someone might be sensitive to them. That's not the way of liberty; that's the way of the ultimate mommy universe, and it is fundamentally wrongheaded.

    Liberty is not a condition where you won't hear uncomfortable things because everyone else is responsible for keeping you away from potential discomfort. It is a condition where you may hear anything, and you are responsible for keeping your own comfort. That's where a healthy human's center needs to be focused.

    If you're not a healthy human, you should get that fixed, rather than inconveniencing the rest of us, either directly or via misguided advocates, however well intentioned they make think themselves. If you are one of those advocates, rather than one of the unhealthy, don't work on the rest of us to pad the room. Work on the unhealthy to bring them up to snuff.

  • Re:Rape trigger? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @03:41PM (#43027365)
    Feminists, as a class, are intolerant. Intolerance is like force, it's only wrong if you initiate it. I am intolerant of intolerance, and as such of feminists. I freely acknowledge this makes me a bigot connotatively, but not denotatively (pejoratively). I hasten to add that qualifying feminists as 'whiny' is not 'name calling' if, in fact, they are whining and that whining is the core of the issue at hand, all of which I believe are demonstrably true unless you can produce evidence to the contrary.

    I would recommend you look at this video [youtube.com] ("Is feminism hate?"), which though a bit long, is very methodical in its examination of the intolerance that is at the core of feminism. If it piques your interest, I would recommend other videos by the same woman which precede it in the same vein such as NAFALT [youtube.com] (Not All Feminists Are Like That).
  • Re:Rape trigger? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by atari800 (453939) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @04:16PM (#43027717)

    Is it too much to expect the rest of the world to take some care and have some empathy in helping you manage? I mean really - sure it's all a blind person's problem for being blind. Or an elderly person's problem for being elderly. But still, we make allowances for these "problems" and treat such people with dignity and respect. We make changes to how we'd interact with the world to accommodate them, and make them feel as comfortable as possible.

    ---

    This is a bit of a fallacy when put it in the context of the actual issue that we are talking about. You think that "Is it too much to expect the rest of the world to take some care and have some empathy..." means that a presentation at a major conference should be completely cancelled (30 minutes before it was to begin) because one person walked up to the guy in charge and said "I won't like one part of this presentation because I have some personal issues that relate to that small part, and it will make me uncomfortable"

    That is not "taking some care to have some empathy", that is insanity!

    Do you seriously think that was a reasonable accommodation, like helping a blind person cross the street?

       

  • Re:Rape trigger? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by aaaaaaargh! (1150173) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @06:41PM (#43028849)

    However, as others have pointed out quite convincingly already, if you're the victim of a date rape suffering from PTSD with flashbacks, it's a good idea simply not to attend a talk titled "sex +/- drugs: known vulns and exploits" rather than complaining about it and/or preventing it from being given.

  • Re:No. Just no. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fyngyrz (762201) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @10:17PM (#43030571) Homepage Journal

    But you also don't demand that the one legged man crawl up a stairs on hands and knees or else be confined to a hospital bed.

    I don't demand any such thing. I do demand he tolerate the existence of two-legged people, the mention of axes, cherry trees, and whetstones. Likewise for the raped individual; bad deal, no question. However, that doesn't make sex bad, relationships bad, or the gender that matches the one that did the deed bad. The deed was bad. Placing blame and/or responsibility on the people who didn't do the deed is defective behavior. Expecting the world to modify its speech because of some event in your life is defective behavior. This is worlds away from your ridiculous example of forcing a one legged man to crawl up stairs.

    I'm guessing that you, like many, draw a bright line between visible injuries and less visible ones.

    And you'd be 100% wrong. I recognize the injury. I do not recognize the world's responsibility to modify its speech because of an injury, visible or not. Furthermore, I would make a strong case that in doing so, one is making the injury worse.

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