Wednesday, November 26, 2014

"Sex without explicit consent"

A few days ago, some charming Liberal partisans were howling: "A man's career has been ruined because of some lying little bitch!"

I don't know what happened. I have found the whole thing to be confusing. Not as confusing as Sheila Copps, but confusing. Parliamentarians are supposed to be powerful people in theory. They're people trusted by tens of thousands of others to represent them. Once in Parliament, they're supposed to be colleagues.

But all this theory was designed when parliamentarians were all rich, white men. Poor people were dirt. People of colour were animals. And women were "a temple built over a sewer." Sexual harassment wasn't even a concept for these guys. The last thing they'd do would be to set up policies for how to deal with it.

Here's my idle speculation: It all happened just as the female NDP MP said it did. She found herself with the opportunity to speak with Liberal leader Justin Trudeau about something that was bothering her. She honestly (for whatever reasons) did not want to destroy this guy's career. But she didn't want to stay silent and contribute to a career like Ghomeshi's or Cosby's (alleged) serial assaults.

But Trudeau called a spade a spade. Now that he was made aware of these accusations, he couldn't be seen as contributing to a cover-up. He named and suspended the MP. I don't think he knew what else to do. The NDP MP complained somehow and Mulcair heard about it. He didn't know what to do either. His MP was upset. Certainly, Mulcair doesn't like Trudeau, and any chance to criticize him is going to be seen in a positive light.

But I think the non-existence of sexual harassment policies in Parliament is the root of the problem. These sorts of allegations are going to continue, not because female politicians are going to start "crawling out of the woodwork" as some Facebook strangers described the process of Ghomeshi's accusers coming forward. They're going to continue because we men do this shit all the fucking time. Especially the type-A ego-maniacs who go into politics.

John Turner used to pat women on the ass. He thought nothing of it because that's what you did in those days. (At least sexist Bay Street executives thought so.) It's probably still a joke (for guys) to "cop a feel." It's only been a couple of years really since women have insisted that they have the right to be walking down the street hammered, with a t-shirt saying "I am really asking for it!" and not be raped.

Times are changing.

Is it possible that this guy thought he had consent? Maybe. Is it possible that this whole thing is a partisan dirty-trick orchestrated by Mulcair and his army of nubile Quebec honey-pot assassin squad? Maybe. (But I doubt it.) (Even if some Liberals think "sex without explicit consent" is a string of weasel-words to accuse a guy of rape without necessarily saying so. Me, personally, I think she didn't say "rape" because she honestly thinks the guy made a mistake. That she actually wants the guy to get help and stop what he's doing. That's why she's refrained from calling him a rapist.)

About "explicit consent," ... this young lady has been doing these blogs for a while and they're very popular. If things went down the way the female MP described it, the man in question could use it.


Scotian said...


I see very little in your post to take any issue with, except one thing, which I am going to now. When she spoke to Trudeau she did NOT talk about her own incident, no, she spoke about the OTHER NDP MP's incident, you know, the woman who clearly didn't want further action taken? From her own accounts she didn't mention her own incident until the Whips were involved. I've been having a problem with this MP over the fact she outed her fellow MP without that MPs consent, but I had been assuming it was to support her own claim, now I find out it was not that way at all, and I hate to say it, but I do find this having an impact on her credibility with me. Trudeau has been wearing shit pies thrown by the Dipper brigades for "outing" these women, yet not one word ever have I heard or seen from these same folks about the outing of the second NDP MP to Trudeau by the first one, and I have to say that bothered me enough when I thought she was using her to support her own claim. Now that I find she used it as the SOLE example to tell Trudeau about (especially when if one believes what the media is saying about what the substance of the Andrews incident is) when it was the LESSER horrible act, and said NOTHING about her own much more serious incident, I find it difficult to understand why she gets such a free pass on this point.

Look, this is not meant as a defence of Trudeau, the Libs in general, or the MPS in specific.
It is just that I am bothered seeing people lose sight of what I think is an important fact in this, that she did not go to Trudeau about her own complaint but instead took it on herself to out her fellow MP despite not having any permission to do so, and did so not even to support her own complaint. That I have to say for me impacts her credibility in terms of understanding how she thinks and what she is willing to do.

She should NEVER have outed that fellow MP like this. I might have been able to get past it if she did so in the heat of the moment to try and show a pattern of problem with the Lib caucus to Trudeau by doing so in addition to her own complaint, but as the ONLY incident she tells Trudeau about? I, like everyone else, am forced to weigh her credibility despite not knowing who she is, so her actions have to make the basis for doing so. Now, I tend to treat such allegations seriously and credible because I know the reality of false accusation of sexual assault is far Far FAR less common than it being true, and I really have a thing about people who pull blame the victim crap too, but in this case the actions of this MP are giving me serious reason to find it difficult to take her word at face value because her actions with Trudeau have not been making sense to me from the outset, and with this latest revelation really confuse me.

Have you got anything you can come up with to help me understand why her outing of her fellow MP while keeping her own incident a secret in her complaint to Trudeau should not be treated as a serious consideration on her motives and credibility overall?

I'm not trying to be flip, cute, or partisan here thwap, this is not about my issues with the NDP, this is about this MPs actions specifically given it was her going to Trudeau which triggered this becoming a public issue in the first place. Why should she be getting a pass for outing another victim, and worse, apparently doing so without even the reason of using it to support her own claim of wrongdoing? That is my question, and then what does that action do to her credibility and consideration of her judgment overall as a person?

I know this is a bit of a landmine field, but it is something really bothering me, and I am genuinely curious as to your thoughts on this specific aspect of it.

thwap said...


It appears that she mentioned her own case to Trudeau first, and then, later in the conversation, mentioned the other NDP and Liberal MPs.

I think it's easier to assume that she was nervous. That she found this opportunity to speak out, and she just started to talk. Including about the other MPs' issues.

As with Mulcair and Trudeau, she had no protocol to follow. I believe Trudeau did the right thing, but I also think it's possible that Mulcair, seeing how his MPs are upset by the way things escalated, genuinely thought that Trudeau had harmed them.

Given the fact that Trudeau and Mulcair hate each other, expressing recriminations would come easy to him.

I think this makes much more sense than to imagine that the NDP used these two MPs to falsely accuse Liberals.

I also think that trashing her use of words "not explicit consent" is asinine.

Let's follow the idea from yesterday's post: Not engage in reflexive distrust of rape accusations.

Scotian said...

From her interview in the Star:

"She said she did not confide in Trudeau about her own allegations involving Pacetti, but said she did bring it up when she and the other NDP MP met Liberal whip Judy Foote and NDP whip Nycole Turmel to discuss the complaint involving Andrews."

From the G&M:

"The MP said she told Mr. Trudeau about the allegations involving Mr. Andrews first because it had been “a continuing process.”"

From the Huffpost interview:

"The NDP MP said she sat next to Trudeau and asked him if he was aware of allegations from another female NDP MP about Liberal MP Scott Andrews.

“I thought that this was unacceptable, and I asked him if he knew about it,” she told HuffPost."

"On the bus, the MP said she didn’t discuss her own experience. But in a subsequent meeting with the Liberal and NDP whips she alleged that Pacetti, a Montreal MP, forced himself on her in March."

I'm sorry thwap, but the only way to read this is that she outed her fellow MP alone in the contact with Trudeau on the bus, and only mentioned her own incident later. Up until that detail I was willing to basically view it the way you were being nervous, or wanting something to support her own claim to Trudeau, but in the light of what she said under direct questioning from reporters, kind of hard to maintain that.

As to the rest of your reply, inclined to agree without issue there, and I totally agree with you regarding the idiocy being aimed at "explicit consent".

I do think Mulcair handled this much more poorly than Trudeau, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that it might have been out of genuine outrage as opposed to political expediency, but either way he and his side clearly have been the ones identifying the women, talking about their feelings, and providing pretty much all the details beyond that two Lib MPs were suspended from caucus, and doing so to trash Trudeau and his action, that is just what the factual reality is.

I do not tend to reflective distrust of rape allegations, if anything I tend to the opposite, and I am taking no different position here. I am however not willing to let this NDP MP get a free pass on her violation of a fellow victim without even the excuse of it being to add to her own complaint, that I do have a problem with thwap, especially given how many Dipper voices have been crucifying Trudeau and the Libs for supposedly committing that same offence. I find that a bit hard to take, especially on something this serious, and having her now coming out and eating her cake and having it in the media doesn't help where her judgment is concerned, and if one shows really bad judgment consistently it does affect your overall credibility in everything, and this is starting to take on that kind of odour for me, and I am NOT happy about having to feel that way, but I deal in what is, not what I would it be.

Thanks for the calm response on what I freely acknowledge is a emotional minefield topic, I really did appreciate that.

thwap said...

I got my chronology from what looked like the best title on my page of google hits:
"The case for the Trudeau defence lies in the circumstances in which he found out about the alleged inappropriate conduct.

He was sitting on a bus leaving Cpl. Nathan Cirillo’s funeral in Hamilton on Oct. 28, when a young NDP MP sat next to him.

They had never met before and he was disconcerted because he wasn’t 100% sure of her name.

The young MP then said she wanted to get something off her chest — the allegations of inappropriate behaviour she was subjected to by a Liberal MP.

She added that there was a second case, involving another NDP MP and a different Liberal member."

Scotian said...

Fair enough, although I have issues about Ivison and his "objectivity", especially where anything to do with Trudeau is concerned. This was one of those things where I felt it was best to read as many accounts out there as she made available to try and see what stays consistent, what is direct quoting, and what is being attributed by the writers. So I still stand by what I believe is what this MP did by her own words on that basis, but I can understand why you went the way you did too.

In any event, sooey at her blog has managed to offer some speculation that I can accept as a viable explanation for her conduct, so for the moment at least I'm leaving it there barring further information coming out to undercut it.

Between the two of you today I have managed to work out some of my rage at this situation, being married to a multiple rape survivor (the last of which happened during our engagement) as well as having many friends who are survivors (and being the first male friend they told in a lot of their cases on top of that) has left this as one of those issues that strikes to my primal core. The abuse of the vets is another for me given my family heritage and how I was raised, so this week has not been one of my better in that sense. My blood pressure is something I've had to be very mindful of that's for sure.

Anyways thwap, thanks for this exchange, I really have appreciated it.

Anonymous said...

Rape and Murder are capital offenses and, upon conviction only, should be automatic death sentences. We don't need Canada's new national pastime to become gang rape and murder like another country's seems to be these days with their police actually blaming the raped and murdered victims for the crime/atrocity perpetrated on them and we we won't have to worry about the same mindless animal coming after their victim(s) for revenge upon their inevitable early release because of "time served and/or good behavior". Fuck your idealistic (rhetorically speaking and if you choose to take that personally, too fucking bad) sensitivities. The deterrent may not be there for someone as sadistic and mindless a monster as it takes to do something like that in the first place but I won't have to support the no good son-of-a-bitch for years with my hard earned tax dollars either and that also is good enough for me. The time for rape to be "okay" is long past over. It never was anything but a sadistic torture of its victims and should be dealt with just as severely. Any kind of sexual assault is called assault because it is ASSAULT. When you make the egregious "okay", all lesser forms of that phenomenon become the accepted norm. Just look at the cons cabinet members and their criminal records and you won't need any further explanations. Happy Friday!
Meat-Eating Leftie With a Gun

thwap said...

Dear Meat-Eating Leftie With a Gun,

Well, I'm opposed to capital punishment. It's the practical concern of giving the state the power to kill us.

As far as my sensitivities go, I think if a person who was raped (or one of their approved agents) were to take personal revenge upon a rapist, I wouldn't be too heart-broken. (I'm not a fan of vigilante justice, because that sort of thing can get out of hand. But I wouldn't cry my eyes out over it.)