The SPLC responds to MRAs critical of its report on the Men’s Rights movement [UPDATED w/ NEW LINKS]

Arthur Goldwag, the author of the SPLC’s recent report on hatred in the Men’s Rights movement, has now responded to some of the hysteria his article provoked amongst MRAs. As Goldwag notes, contrary to what most MRAs seemed to conclude from the report,

the SPLC did not label MRAs as members of a hate movement; nor did our article claim that the grievances they air on their websites – false rape accusations, ruinous divorce settlements and the like – are all without merit. But we didcall out specific examples of misogyny and the threat, overt or implicit, of violence.

Thomas James Ball, for example, who was hailed as a martyr on so many men’s rights forums, called for arson attacks on courthouses and police stations. The Norwegian mass killer Anders Breivik wrote extensively about the evils of feminism. We included as much as we did about because it is so intimidating to its targets, not all of whom are criminals. When Elam accused Vliet Tiptree, a pseudonymous contributor to RadFem Hub, of “calling for extermination of half the human race; the male half, that is,” he offered a cash reward for her real identity. The names and locations of several candidates were publically aired.

Goldwag also takes a look at some of the radical feminists that have become boogeywomen for so many MRAs, and deals with other MRA complaints.

If you’re a regular reader of Man Boobz you’ll want to read the whole thing.

The Men’s Rights subreddit has already linked to Goldwag’s article, which has provoked not only the predictable SPLC-bashing but also some criticism of A Voice for Men and Paul Elam.

Obviously Elam and other MRAs will respond to Goldwag’s latest as well. Post links in the comments below as you find them, and I’ll add them to this post.

EDITED TO ADD: And, right on schedule, AVfM responds to Goldwag’s response. It’s a John the Other post, so be prepared to read a lot of words saying not very much.

On his own blog, Goldwag responds to Mr. The Other.

Goldwag’s piece also got some criticism from the STFUfauxminists Tumblr blog for quoting a RadFem known for her transphobia.

I’ll add more links as I find them.


Goldwag responds to Paul Elam

RadFem News Service


About David Futrelle

I run the blog We Hunted the Mammoth, which tracks (and mocks) online misogyny. My writing has appeared in a wide variety of places, including Salon,, the Washington Post, the New York Times Book Review and Money magazine. I like cats.

Posted on May 16, 2012, in a voice for men, antifeminism, internal debate, misandry, misogyny, MRA, paul elam, reddit. Bookmark the permalink. 229 Comments.

  1. Argenti Aertheri

    Deon —
    “Rape is estimated to be falsely reported at a rate of between 6-10% (though it should be noted that a significant portion of those don’t involve naming a specific perpetrator).”

    Bear in mind two things with that — 1) if no one is named, no one’s life can possibly be ruined, which puts it outside the scope of the FRS; and 2) there are places where getting an abortion is a hell of a lot easier if you say the pregnancy is the result of rape — and you need a police report to “prove” that (this doesn’t make it right, but means you should be calling for easier abortion access before attacking rape victims)

    “If they really think that a rape accuser should be incarcerated should the case fail to reach a conviction, that’s deplorable. ”

    They really do, and not even just if it goes to trial, but if a report is filed and the report can’t be proven — I had a bike stolen as a kid, it was recovered (down the damned street no less, we knew who took it) — there was a report, nothing ever came of it — by FRS standards whomever filed that report, my father I think it was, should’ve gone to jail for filing a false report, just because there wasn’t any evidence to prove who stole the bike. (I realize rape is not bike theft, but this example is so clear cut it should make the concept easier)

    Also, regarding something Pecunium said:
    “Burglary results in far fewer charges because there is often a lack of evidence. If there aren’t any witnesses, and no fingerprints the incentive to chase the culprits down is slim”

    The other major difference is that most crimes the victim doesn’t know who did it, you need fingerprints or the like. Whereas 77% of rapes are committed by someone known to the victim — the ID part of the process should be damned easy in other words.

    Also, murder/manslaughter trials are more likely to result in a plea to lesser charges — if you’re looking at the death penalty, or life, and you know you’re guilty, most people will take the plea to save their life. Rape isn’t a capital crime, no risk of death penalty, and because of the societal view that rape is “a he said-she said matter” rapists have good reason to think they’ll get away with it if they take it to trial. (There’s a lot to be said for why our plea bargain system is fucked up, but it isn’t really on topic)

    Further, in the current system and political climate, taking a rape case to trial means having to tell the entire court room and your rapist the details of the rape — this is more an issue of why the reporting rate is so low, but bears keeping in mind when comparing rape to property crime — telling the court how you left your car locked and found it with a window smashed and your shit gone is far less traumatic than having to walk through the details of a sexual assault in front of the person who assaulted you (and don’t forget cross-exam and that some people defend themselves, meaning there’s always a chance the rapist zirself will be the one asking you all sorts of questions about the assault, your sex life, what you were wearing, “well didn’t you lead me on, explain what you did that could make me think that” etc)

    That last run-on paragraph is less about statistics and more about how the American “justice” system is a joke, but it needs bearing in mind if we’re comparing rape to property crime.

  2. Argenti Aertheri

    Also, if we apply a 6% false report rate to the 3% of rapes that result in spending a day in prison, it’s a scant 0.18% — which is why I called this a non-issue. I was being really generous in the statistics so as not to end up with silly small numbers.

  3. Cliff:

    Why are so many people buying into the meme that SRS is this horrible bully organization that bullies nice people for no reason?

    Because by them bigotry isn’t a reason and doesn’t disqualify a person from being nice?

  4. @Argenti

    True, having to relive the details of your rape in front of a courtroom can be traumatic, as can facing cross examination. Though, there’s not really a solution to that problem. You can’t have a fair trial without cross examination. Especially when the principle evidence in the case is the testimony of a single witness (the victim)


    Also, if we apply a 6% false report rate to the 3% of rapes that result in spending a day in prison, it’s a scant 0.18% — which is why I called this a non-issue. I was being really generous in the statistics so as not to end up with silly small numbers.

    0.18% of what? It’s estimated that 3% of total rapists find themselves incarcerated, but what does that have to do false accusations. As you said, 54% of rapes are never reported. How does comparing false accusations to unreported rapes in this manner make any sense? I’m not even sure what numbers you are applying. You applied 6% to 3%? How, and why?

  5. Argenti Aertheri

    Deon — I’ve just seen your post looking for something else, but I applied the 6% false report rate to the 3% incarcerated rate (and a couple other rates previously) while guessing at wtf section of rapes were part of that rate, without knowing where the 6% comes from. I was using all rapes, and not just reported ones, because I’m pretty sure that’s FBI data that already accounted for that. I may be wrong on the source, but I remember seeing something around 6% from the FBI, with a really complex method trying to account for all these issues, without the source I really can’t tell (I don’t mean a blog, I mean an actual report with their methodology section).

    0.18% though would be the percent of rapes that result in a false report that results in incarceration; it makes sense because statistics is obscenely complex sometimes — if you want to know the chance/risk of a false report, you need to look at all rapes to account for the number not reported. And I used the incarceration rate because I frankly don’t have a damned clue wtf they mean by “can ruin a man’s life” — I might as well look at the percent of men eating ice cream in public, which is not what that 6% is if it’s FBI data! Using the 5% conviction rate, which is my only guess that remotely makes that make sense (seriously, I need the source) — if 6% of convictions are false, and there’s a 5% conviction rate for all rapes, you need 6% of 5% = 0.3% — which is still tiny.

    Ah! I know how to make the annoyance at out of context statistics make sense without resorting to excessive snark (ice cream jokes are a standard parts of my statistics explanations, not excessive snark) — wtf is a percent of sex?

    The answer to cross exam in rape cases is make use of technology and do it over video conference call (everyone’s in the courthouse, just not the same room) — there’s a legal precedent for face to face confrontation of “the witnesses against you” — but it’s sometimes allowed with child victims, different states say different things on that, and I’m a research geek, not a lawyer. Usually the debate isn’t whether sex occurred, but whether there was consent, so these are really weird cases under the legal system here (I’m assuming you’re also in the USA, my apologies if I’m wrong, but it sounded like you were citing USA laws)

    Sorry this is so long (and delayed) — statistics out of context rank high on my pet peeves list. I just reread parts of your previous posts, and I really don’t know how to compare “does not name anyone” to “ruins a man’s life” besides to revert both back to all rapes, which is what my silly long explanation is explaining. Simple answer might be just “that’s not what the FRS is talking about, because yet again the MRM needs a statistics course”.

    Hey MRAs? I will tutor you all in statistics for free if you stop making basic errors, starting with examples on why correlation is not causation (one involves ice cream).

  6. Argenti: The usual frustrations from dealing with those who are riding the “False Rape Accusations” hobbyhorse arise from making the mistake of thinking they are engaged in honest debate.

    I try to give them a couple of comments under that assumption, but past experience has shown me not to put too much faith, nor hope, in that possibility.

  7. @argenti

    It still doesn’t make any sense. A false accusation, by definition, does not comprise a percentage of total rapes. It’s 6% of reported rape complaints. What you are basically doing is saying: “out of 100 rapists, 0.3% are falsely convicted.” Which makes no sense.

    6% of reports are false, not 6% of convictions. I think we can all hope the wrongful conviction rate isn’t that high. Though, who knows with our legal system.

    Video conferencing is sometimes allowed for child witnesses. Courts are often uneasy about video conferencing. In the US, the accused has the “right of confrontation.” Basically meaning that someone accused of a crime has a constitutional right to face their accuser in court. Intimidated witnesses are sometimes given special accommodation, but it can form the grounds for a solid appeal if the jury comes back with a conviction. And judges generally want a “safe” conviction. (safe from appeal)

  8. Here’s some interesting stuff on false convictions (and it supports my contention it’s better to be falsely accused of rape than murder).

    The largest group of all exonerations in the US (according to The National Registry of Exonerations is for murder.

    The leading contributing cause is perjury or false accusation (66%) –mostly deliberate misidentifications (44%).

    For rape it’s not deliberate:

    Sexual assault exonerations are overwhelmingly cases with mistaken eyewitness identifications (80%).

    53% of all sexual assault exonerations with mistaken eyewitness identifications involved black men who were accused of raping white women. This huge racial disproportion (about 10 to 1) is probably caused primarily by the difficulty of cross-racial eyewitness identification.

    The only area in which accusations relate to crimes which didn’t happen was cases of sexual molestation of children:

    Child sex abuse exonerations, by contrast, primarily involve fabricated crimes that never occurred at all (74%).

    Interestingly almost all of those were from the McMartin Preschool hysteria era.

  9. Argenti Aertheri

    Deon — without the source it’s 6% of what all reports is still a guess without the source, and if that’s the FBI data, I think they already accounted for this, but I’m done trying to explain statistics without an original source. Mostly since I’m fairly sure you didn’t really read wtf I wrote there, as I explained — “In the US, the accused has the “right of confrontation.” Basically meaning that someone accused of a crime has a constitutional right to face their accuser in court.” — that already.

    And you still have the issue of wtf does “ruin an man’s life” mean if most false reports don’t name anyone. That’s a logic problem, not a statistical one.

    Pecunium — “I try to give them a couple of comments under that assumption, but past experience has shown me not to put too much faith, nor hope, in that possibility.” — maybe we can get lucky and have some of the lurking MRAs learn some statistics by osmosis or something, they way they butcher math really annoys me.

  10. @Princessbonbon: I have decided I am a lickspittle dick tugger. It sounds hilarious said out loud!

  11. a lot of words not saying much reminds me of you.

  12. Why don’t trolls ever say anything clever when they attempt troll necromancy?

    Also, your blog is terrible. People who live in houses made of a lot of words not saying much shouldn’t throw stones.

  13. I don’t know what’s worse–his blog or his screen name. Both are deluded and sad.

  14. a lot of words not saying much reminds me of you.

    Worst Hallmark Valentine ever!

  15. That blog is quite the repository of straw feminism.

  16. It kind of…

    A lot of words
    Not Saying Much
    Reminds me of you.

    A Softer World?

  17. I was going to go with “roses are red/violets are blue/not saying much/reminds me of you.”

  18. FUCK him for suggesting the false rape MYTH has merit.

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