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Thread: Next Up In The Sexual Assault Allegations List

  1. #1
    Learning to read more, post less cmhbob's Avatar
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    Next Up In The Sexual Assault Allegations List

    Neil deGrasse Tyson.

    The link is to a piece on Patheos detailing the accusation made by Tchiya Amet El Maat, who was a grad student at UT-Austin while Tyson was there. Her accusation sounds much like those against Bill Cosby: she accepted a drink from him that was supposed to be water, then passed out. The Patheos piece was written by a person who's admittedly a fan of Tyson and who quoted him in his book No Sacred Cows.

    Apparently El Maat made the accusation three years ago in a blog post, and nobody said much of anything; I don't recall hearing about it the, or last year when another blogger repeated her claim.

  2. #2
    Beastly Fido Roxxsmom's Avatar
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    I haven't heard of this before either.

    If we needed any more evidence that this isn't just a "Hollywood" and "politician's" problem, this is it. Of course sexual abuse is prevalent in academia as well as anywhere else. I'm sad Tyson is looking to be "one of those guys" too, though. Pop culture science icons are rare, and up until now he's been a popular role model. But if the allegation is true, it's clearly rape.

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  3. #3
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    One of the most depressing tweets I've seen on all of these allegations said something to the effect of "What does this say about all the men you know if all the women you know are tweeting #MeToo?" I've always known from personal experience that sexual harassment, sexual assault, molestation and rape were very, very common, but it's still shocking and sad to see how what I thought was true actually is.

    I know better than to think these things will ever totally go away, but if I can hope anything it's that this means we're not taking it anymore and not accepting it as normal. Hopefully this raises awareness, gives victims more recourse, and gives potential abusers pause before they justify their behaviors with some old hat excuse. Hopefully.
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  4. #4
    Joker Groupie Celia Cyanide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris P View Post
    One of the most depressing tweets I've seen on all of these allegations said something to the effect of "What does this say about all the men you know if all the women you know are tweeting #MeToo?" I've always known from personal experience that sexual harassment, sexual assault, molestation and rape were very, very common, but it's still shocking and sad to see how what I thought was true actually is.
    I don't know if I would say that. I have been sexually assaulted and harassed, and so have many women I have known. But only by a handful of men. Even though it may make me wary of men I don't know, I still believe that the majority of them are good.
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  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW Cobalt Jade's Avatar
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    Also, a man who mistreats one woman, is likely to do it to many others.

  6. #6
    Joker Groupie Celia Cyanide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cobalt Jade View Post
    Also, a man who mistreats one woman, is likely to do it to many others.
    Exactly. So it doesn't take that many of them to make that many women say #MeToo.
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  7. #7
    I should be writing. Alpha Echo's Avatar
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    This is so, so disappointing. He has been an icon for human rights, science, equal rights, gay rights...everything. And he's so, freaking smart. My husband idolizes him.

    Or did.

    It makes me feel like the men who treat women with respect are in the minority. But really, the number of men who have mistreated me compared with the number of men who have passed through my life is relatively low.

    I guess?

    Except I can count off the top of my head about 10. That doesn't count the men who whistle or yell in passing. And I feel like that is way too many. And my heart crushes under the weight of knowing my daughter will experience the same. Even if something changes right this minute, she's 13. Whatever the boys her age have been taught is already engrained. All I can do is help her understand...make sure she's aware. Because I wasn't...not fully. Honestly not fully until now. I think this is huge and really hope it ignites some major culture change.
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  8. #8
    Joker Groupie Celia Cyanide's Avatar
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    I still think the assholes are in the minority. I just think it's not as obvious who they are as we would like to think.
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  9. #9
    down the rabbit hole of research... CWatts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alpha Echo View Post
    This is so, so disappointing. He has been an icon for human rights, science, equal rights, gay rights...everything. And he's so, freaking smart. My husband idolizes him.

    Or did.
    I agree. This one hurts, and while I hate to disbelieve anyone I am hoping this is untrue.

    But if it is, I hope that his outward image truthfully shows a profound change in his character since 1984. I have a thin hope that maybe he will be smart enough, be "man enough", to take true responsibility for his actions and try to make her whole in whatever way possible. Unfortunately we well past the statute of limitations (3 years for adult sexual assault in Texas) so this will never be resolved at trial unless it's in civil court.

  10. #10
    practical experience, FTW Twick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celia Cyanide View Post
    I don't know if I would say that. I have been sexually assaulted and harassed, and so have many women I have known. But only by a handful of men. Even though it may make me wary of men I don't know, I still believe that the majority of them are good.
    Agreed. Look at the *numbers* for Weinstein, Cosby, et al. One offender doesn't harass one or two women in a lifetime. They do it whenever they get the opportunity.

    The dispiriting thing is going to less "woke" websites and seeing men - men who otherwise seem sane, sensible and decent - complain that this is all so unfair. Probably the women are lying. Or if they're not, it wasn't such a big deal. And how dare they (wailing mode activated) ruin a man's life (wailing mode deactivated) over all this?

    This is how the abusers of the world get away with things. The nonabusers have been socialized into worrying more about them than about their victims.

  11. #11
    I should be writing. Alpha Echo's Avatar
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    Has anyone seen anything about him making a statement or addressing the accusation in any way? I did a very quick Google search and really found very little out there. Mainstream news outlets haven't picked it up, it seems. Unless I'm missing something.
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  12. #12
    No, you're the grease monkey. Fruitbat's Avatar
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    I really love how rapey creeps are being publicly called out nowadays in general. That is an excellent, excellent change.
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  13. #13
    People are not wearing enough hats JJ Litke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alpha Echo View Post
    Has anyone seen anything about him making a statement or addressing the accusation in any way? I did a very quick Google search and really found very little out there. Mainstream news outlets haven't picked it up, it seems. Unless I'm missing something.
    I can't find any legit news on this, either. The link in the first post is from a questionable source that seems to push a religious agenda. According to Wikipedia, Bristol Palin is one of their "prominent contributors", which does not reassure me about their standards.
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  14. #14
    Beastly Fido Roxxsmom's Avatar
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    This kind of allegation makes me feel caught between a rock and a hard place, because if I take it seriously, there's a chance of being accused of "piling on" based on an isolated, and possibly fallacious story from long ago and used as an example of why "women can't be trusted because they really do lie or misjudge what happened to them." But if I give him the benefit of the doubt, there's the whole thing with not believing victims, especially when you happen to l have positive thoughts about the one accused.

    The headlines in the sources carrying this story are misleading, as they state he's accused of raping a "former student," which makes it sound like he raped one of his own students. But the article I read actually claims that they were both undergrads in Austin when it happened. Not that this makes it any better. And if he really did slip something into a woman's drink back in college, it likely wasn't the only time he would have done so.

    I'm really hoping that this allegation is unsubstantiated.

    I think all allegations and alleged victims, even ones that took place years ago, should be taken seriously, however. Even if we like the person accused. But a small percentage of accusations are going to be unsubstantiated with any crime. It's also, as I understand it, rare for sexual abusers to limit themselves to just one victim over the years. Most of the high profile guys being called out recently have multiple women stepping forward with accounts.

    I suspect more will surface if he's a rapist and/or sexual abuser. It's tough, though, because these kinds of allegations tend to come in flurries, usually following a high profile case. Most of the time victims suffer in silence because they feel isolated or worry that no one will believe them. Sometimes multiple victims coming forward still isn't enough to be counted as proof beyond reasonable doubt, as with Cosby or Jeion Ghomeshi.
    Last edited by Roxxsmom; 11-09-2017 at 12:43 AM.
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  15. #15
    practical experience, FTW Twick's Avatar
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    He's famous enough I would expect mainstream outlets to comment on it. If it's only a site promoting a particular religious viewpoint, I'm not assuming anything until further evidence.

  16. #16
    I aim to misbehave Myrealana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roxxsmom View Post
    This kind of allegation makes me feel caught between a rock and a hard place, because if I take it seriously, there's a chance of being accused of "piling on" based on an isolated, and possibly fallacious story from long ago and used as an example of why "women can't be trusted because they really do lie or misjudge what happened to them." But if I give him the benefit of the doubt, there's the whole thing with not believing victims, especially when you happen to l have positive thoughts about the one accused.

    The headlines in the sources carrying this story are misleading, as they state he's accused of raping a "former student," which makes it sound like he raped one of his own students. But the article I read actually claims that they were both undergrads in Austin when it happened. Not that this makes it any better. And if he really did slip something into a woman's drink back in college, it likely wasn't the only time he would have done so.

    I'm really hoping that this allegation is unsubstantiated.

    I think all allegations and alleged victims, even ones that took place years ago, should be taken seriously, however. Even if we like the person accused. But a small percentage of accusations are going to be unsubstantiated with any crime. It's also, as I understand it, rare for sexual abusers to limit themselves to just one victim over the years. Most of the high profile guys being called out recently have multiple women stepping forward with accounts.

    I suspect more will surface if he's a rapist and/or sexual abuser. It's tough, though, because these kinds of allegations tend to come in flurries, usually following a high profile case. Most of the time victims suffer in silence because they feel isolated or worry that no one will believe them. Sometimes multiple victims coming forward still isn't enough to be counted as proof beyond reasonable doubt, as with Cosby or Jeion Ghomeshi.
    This encapsulates my complex feelings about this accusation very well.

    I don't want it to be true, but I'm not going to jump in and say she has to be lying because he's someone I admire.

    I guess I'm mostly just sad.
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  17. #17
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    The fact that there are serious offenders does not prevent there from also being people who committed only one or two offenses. And certainly doesn't makes cases with only one or two reported victims unbeleiveable on face value. Some offenders will just have a more specific profile for when they offend. And of course there will be some false accusations. Sometimes the matter is just difficult to assess.
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  18. #18
    All about that action, boss. ElaineA's Avatar
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    And sometimes people do a horridly shitty thing and never do it again, which doesn't absolve them of the shitty thing, but might mean they aren't permanently shitty, or that they knew their act was so wrong, they never repeated it.

    Or, we might be in the pre-shoe-drop period.

    In this case I'm going with 1) not assuming the victim is lying, 2) not jumping to NDT's defense, and, 3) waiting for additional information.
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  19. #19
    Beastly Fido Roxxsmom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myrealana View Post

    I guess I'm mostly just sad.
    This encapsulates it very well.

    It's true that some people can do a shitty thing once and never again. Sometimes they maybe even feel shitty about said shitty thing, other times the opportunity never arises again. But spiking someone's drink is pretty premeditated and seems like a strategy employed by serial predators who have "worked up" to it.

    As always, it's hard to know what to do and think in individual cases that appear to be isolated.
    Last edited by Roxxsmom; 11-09-2017 at 02:49 AM.
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  20. #20
    People are not wearing enough hats JJ Litke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roxxsmom View Post
    This kind of allegation makes me feel caught between a rock and a hard place, because if I take it seriously, there's a chance of being accused of "piling on" based on an isolated, and possibly fallacious story from long ago and used as an example of why "women can't be trusted because they really do lie or misjudge what happened to them." But if I give him the benefit of the doubt, there's the whole thing with not believing victims, especially when you happen to l have positive thoughts about the one accused.
    This isn't about not believing victims. I haven't seen a reliable allegation yet, only a single piece of what looks like propaganda from a biased site with an agenda.

    If and when it's confirmed by reliable sources, then I'll believe it. But there's too much bullshit out there that I'll just swallow anything I'm offered.
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  21. #21
    Beastly Fido Roxxsmom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ Litke View Post
    This isn't about not believing victims. I haven't seen a reliable allegation yet, only a single piece of what looks like propaganda from a biased site with an agenda.

    If and when it's confirmed by reliable sources, then I'll believe it. But there's too much bullshit out there that I'll just swallow anything I'm offered.
    This is it exactly, the balance between keeping an open mind and being skeptical. I haven't seen this story anywhere except some sites I don't consider "real" news.

    Regardless of this particular case, I'm sad about how many do appear to be real and by the large number of women I know personally who are perfectly sane, rational people and who have no reason to lie, say they've experienced harassment and sexual assault. I'd like to know what the OP thinks about this particular case and what his reasons for sharing it were. To raise this question about where to draw the line with believing allegations?
    Last edited by Roxxsmom; 11-09-2017 at 03:30 AM.
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  22. #22
    Sophipygian AW Moderator Alessandra Kelley's Avatar
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    I learned from following news about Hillary Clinton that no story is credible until reputable news sources pick it up, particularly if it is about someone the Right wants to smear.

    Mr. Tyson has long been in the sights of the anti-intellectual Right for promoting science, curiosity, education, and fact-based understanding of climate change.

    Which is not to say that this story is untrue. Plenty of men in the science and skepticism field have been predatory dicks.

    But I will wait and see if anyone trustworthy backs up this story.

  23. #23
    No, you're the grease monkey. Fruitbat's Avatar
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    As far as where to draw the line about believing allegations, I don't think there's anything wrong with just leaving it at a question mark for the time being, when there's not enough information to have a reasonably informed answer.
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  24. #24
    down the rabbit hole of research... CWatts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fruitbat View Post
    As far as where to draw the line about believing allegations, I don't think there's anything wrong with just leaving it at a question mark for the time being, when there's not enough information to have a reasonably informed answer.
    This.
    It's why I was uncomfortable with the Nate Parker controversy. There was enough evidence of rape to press charges and go to trial, but he was acquitted and his accuser has since committed suicide. I don't think she lied, but I also think the concept of innocent until/unless proven guilty is a cornerstone of our society.

    This is also why I am conflicted about accusations against dead people. Someone has said Elie Wiesel (!) groped her buttocks. https://www.salon.com/2017/10/23/eli...jenny-listman/ That puts me in such cognitive dissonance I don't know what to do with that information. But he is no longer with us to defend himself. Upthread I see we talked about idolizing people. I guess all we can do is recognise that everyone has feet of clay.
    Last edited by CWatts; 11-09-2017 at 04:35 AM.

  25. #25
    I should be writing. Alpha Echo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alessandra Kelley View Post
    I learned from following news about Hillary Clinton that no story is credible until reputable news sources pick it up, particularly if it is about someone the Right wants to smear.

    Mr. Tyson has long been in the sights of the anti-intellectual Right for promoting science, curiosity, education, and fact-based understanding of climate change.

    Which is not to say that this story is untrue. Plenty of men in the science and skepticism field have been predatory dicks.

    But I will wait and see if anyone trustworthy backs up this story.
    This exactly.
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