Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Who Didn't Know This Was Coming?

And yet another 'big name/high level in the atheist', or as I like to call them 'longer in the movement than me' people, has now been named in our movement's Achilles Heel!

Now before every one's hair on the back of their necks starts bristling, keyboard ready and fingers twitching... I'm not saying there isn't a problem. There is if women are being raped, attacked, assaulted - verbally or otherwise, or in any way being demeaned because of their sex. And it should not be tolerated. What I am trying to say is that this is not unique to the atheist community. Women have been on the shit end of the stick when it comes to these issues for thousands of years and are still dealing with them. Slowly, things are changing, but they still face a battle. But had we not had rational people at the helm of some of these major atheist organizations, we wouldn't have seen regulations and guidelines pop up as quickly as they did when allegations began to be leveled. What is different between this country's history within various organizations/movements dealing with women's issues and our atheist community, is atheists have been quicker to address and, in general, been a lot more responsive to the voices of the vocal women (and men)  in this movement.

I could be wrong (and I frequently am), but I haven't seen the problem as wide spread as the chatter on the Interwebs would indicate. Having never personally experienced any bad things happening to me because I'm a woman at an atheist convention is primarily why I say this, but also after getting to know many women in the movement, I've not heard one case of harassment or rape at a convention. Maybe they didn't share their story with me. Or maybe I never had it happen to me because I'm not pretty enough, maybe I'm too old, maybe it's because I'm a tall and strong looking woman, maybe because I usually just go back to my room alone or if I do meet up with people it's in a large crowd or if I'm with someone, he's not a dick. And I'm also not saying with my assessment of why I've never been raped and someone else could be raped or mistreated badly is because they would have to be pretty, young, short and waif-like, like to party, hook up with one guy, or just a bad judge of character and basically asked for it. That's NOT what I'm saying, so don't make that judgment either. I'm speaking strictly from my perspective.

I'm also not being dismissive of any woman's claim of being raped or assaulted. Any crime that is committed should be dealt with quickly and appropriately. Any steps that can be put in place to prevent it from ever happening again should also be implemented. Serious offenses should be taken seriously, period and misogyny should not be tolerated.

Frankly spoken though, all the attention to isolated incidents and certain individuals in our movement gives us a serious bad reputation. Not just from the incidents alone, but the back and forth atheist bashing and 'who's camp are you in?' allegiance atmosphere has created a division that just doesn't make sense to me. Let's not go there, please. It's hard enough to find credibility as intelligent, rational human beings in this religionist dominated country. But now, all eyes are focused on us as if all our atheist men ever do is rape other atheist women and then afterwards we slander the whole male sex in the process when it's just isolated incidents. We're supposed to be the realists, so act like it.

Let's call this what it really is... some men are misogynists, some men are rapists, some are being incredible douche bags and some men who think with their dicks instead of their compassion and brains in a situation that could be complicated by the usage of said appendage - those men are the problem. And again, I think in most situations, conventions or otherwise, the standards and expectations are that men AND women will be respectful of each other. If not, they are dealt with. But let's not demonize ALL men in the process or create an atmosphere where MOST men can't be trusted. That's just unreasonable, and something I thought we atheists weren't.

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