Skepchick Quickies, 7.26


Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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  1. If the $35 touch-screen computer makes it to market as anything other than unusable crap (or at all), I’ll eat my netbook.

  2. “They said she gave implicit consent by being at the bar…”

    So a woman merely being IN a bar is “implicit consent” for assault now? Really? REALLY!? Well, I guess I better stop going out “for my own good” lest I get raped and the jury decide I really consented to the sex due to my merely BEING IN PUBLIC.

    “if she was willing to dance in front of the photographer, she was probably cool with having her breasts on film”

    I really hope this is an exaggeration of the actual presented reasoning, because that’s quite a leap.

  3. “They said she gave implicit consent by being at the bar…”
    This is the same logic that is applied when people say that women who dress provocatively are giving implicit consent to sex and therefore its not rape. Its the “she deserved it” viewpoint.
    ITS 2010 PEOPLE!!! Why aren’t we past this already?????

    In other news – If those folks get the baby back, the world is no longer in any shape to make forward motion.

  4. @Kimbo Jones: Re: “if she was willing to dance in front of the photographer, she was probably cool with having her breasts on film”
    I think that’s a paraphrase or interpretation from the blog (that’s how I read it, at least). But I’ll bet the jurie’s reasoning was not far from that sentiment.
    Looking for other references now.

  5. @Kimbo Jones: The STLToday story quotes jury foreman Patrick O’Brien talking to a reporter:

    “Through her actions, she gave implied consent,” O’Brien said. “She was really playing to the camera. She knew what she was doing.”

    I think that is exactly the reasoning for the decision.

  6. That Guardian Article seriously distrubed me.
    It acctually physically hurts just to listen to those girls.
    I cant believe people are still seriously doing this.

  7. The Girls Gone Wild article reminds me of why I’d argue against having a trial by jury if I ever need a trial; I know my peers. Most of them are fucking idiots. I don’t want to be tried by them, I want to be tried by a legal counsel composed of judges who have years if not decades of experience handling cases.

    Seriously, did that entire jury have a six year old’s understanding of consent? A six year old in the phase just before they learn that “no means no”? How hard is it to try this case? “Your honor, my client said ‘no.'” “Your honor, my client assumed ‘no meant well, okay.'” “Verdict in favor of the prosecution. Burn those tapes.”

  8. @Kimbo Jones: Yeah…that statement pretty much says it all. As conservative as St. Louis is, I’m stunned. I’m just glad that the case I have in St. Louis now is a simple probate matter that won’t go anywhere near a jury.

  9. Some lawyers and law students are discussing the “Girls Gone Wild” case here. It seems the basic problem is that the law doesn’t distinguish between consenting to be on camera (which she did, since there were signs posted saying that filming was in progress and staying constituted consent to be filmed, and since she furthermore showed that she was aware of the cameras) and consenting to be partially nude on camera (which she did not.) The jury seems to have decided that, under the law, there was no crime committed by “Girls Gone Wild” in recording her, since she had consented to be filmed in the same way as everyone else. There was a crime committed by the girl who pulled down her shirt against her will, but she was not on trial. And it is not illegal for GGW to record and publish their recording of the comission of that crime — which is probably good or it would be a lot harder to prove, for instance, police brutality charges if you couldn’t publish videos of crimes being committed.

    So we need a better law — one that says “consent to be filmed fully clothed does not imply consent to be filmed while being forcibly stripped.”

  10. @mks.mary: Thanks for clarification. Its another one of those situation where the correct decision is not the right decision. Where being legal and being moral are two entirely different animals.
    My grandfather used to say about doing his farm’s tax deductions: “Its legal, its just not honest.”

  11. @mks.mary: Thanks for that. However the jury foreman’s comments are very unfortunate. There seems to be no sympathy for the detail that she was apparently assaulted.

    It’s dismaying to see so many comments that essentially blame her for merely being in the bar. A woman can be in a bar with GGW filming (perhaps simply to witness the spectacle) and consent to being filmed in general with no implied intention of nude participation (unless their statement includes that, but how sketchy is consent law that posting a sign in a building full of potentially inebriated people is ironclad consent to every event that occurs within the framework of the general consent statement?).

  12. When linking to a site that contains images of…medical stuff, some sites will include a squick warning for the faint of stomach. The photo of the baby was not nearly as bad as I had been dreading, I would rank this on the very low end of the squick scale, but seeing a baby so afflicted would make the image more emotionally triggering for some people. Just sayin’. “Mild squick advisory for people who like babies” or something.

  13. @mks.mary: Thanks. That brought up some interesting legal details I wouldn’t have thought of.

    This Fox News story seems to show the cameraman grabbing her top (though I doubt you could prove it was the cameraman in court). The reprehensible commentary is along the lines of the jury foreman’s statement.

  14. a) Gods, I hope GGW gets brutalized on appeal. That’s just bad law.

    b) And now, I want to punch people.

    c) I do have to wonder what they’re looking at for this. I’m guessing it’s going with some variety of flash memory for the RAM, but will be really excited if this gets off the ground.

    d) This has probably been answered before but… what the hell is these people’s problem? I understand, you like God, and think he heals everything. Did it ever occur to you that he’s going to heal things BY HAVING A PERSON DO IT? I’m reminded of the old joke about the guy in the hurricane.

    “A hurricane was approaching, so the neighborhood is being evacuated. A truck driving by Joe’s house stops. The driver yells out, “Come on Joe! Get in the truck. The hurricane is coming!” And Joe replies, “No, God will save me.” So the truck continued on its way.

    The floodwaters begin to rise, and boat floats by. The people in the boat yell out, “Come on Joe! Get in the boat. The flood waters are rising!” And Joe replies, “No, God will save me.” So the boat continued on its way.

    The floodwaters continue to rise to the level of the roof of the house. So, Joe must stand on the roof. A helicopter comes and the pilot yells out, “Come on Joe! Grab the rope and we’ll pull you into the helicopter.” And Joe replies again, “No, God will save me.” So the helicopter continued on its way.

    Joe drowns and goes to heaven. Joe yells at God, “Why didn’t you save me!” And God replied, “I sent you a truck, a boat, and a helicopter!” “

  15. I think I pressed the wrong key and my comment disappeared. To summarize in one word, ARRRGGGGHHHH!

    If it reappears, I want to add something about the last story… I think the whole problem here is based on the archaic notion that children are property and their owners (their parents) can do anything they want to them. Abused animals can be taken away from their owners more easily. I think we a as a society need to adopt the notion that being a parent means you are accepting responsibility for caring for another human being, temporarily until they are capable of caring for themselves (i.e. reach adulthood), and if you can’t do it, you shouldn’t be allowed to be a parent. There is no unalienable right to parenthood, anymore than there is to drive a car. (Speaking of which, my license expired yesterday because I forgot to renew… Need to run off to the registry right now. Fortunately, Google Earth says it’s only 1.6 miles, each way, so I could in theory walk.)

  16. @Buzz Parsec: ” and if you can’t do it, you shouldn’t be allowed to be a parent. ”

    This is great in theory, but in practice, not so much. Sure, there are some things that are blatantly obvious: Sexual or physical abuse, for instance. But for the less obvious, who gets to make the decision on what a fit parent looks like?

    Poor? Atheist? Muslim? Black? Hispanic? Lesbian couple? Single mother? They may be fit parents to you and I, but for many, they aren’t.

  17. @Mark Hall: If the law is inadequate to prevent what happened regardless of anyone’s attitude, there are no grounds for appeal. Even if a new law is enacted it could not be used as a basis for appeal which has to be due to an already existing law being ignored, misinterpreted, and/or misconduct by lawyers or errors by the judge in the initial trial.

  18. @marilove: Yeah, like my landladies. Their kids’ favorite movie is the Phantom Menace. Clearly due to bad parenting. ;-)

    Seriously, that’s definitely the rub. It would only work if *I* got to make the decisions. I was feeling really cranky when I made that post… The sort of mood where I wish there were robots with lasers positioned along all roads, ready to administer sharia justice to all litterers.

    Today’s stories made me feel that way, except the $35 notebooks… If they can really make them for that, that would be awesome.

    Is flash actually cheaper than hard disks for small storage? If they have enough bandwidth, they could give everyone cloud storage. Blanket India with WiFi or microcells. I’m on a mailing list about Twisted, and yesterday someone posted about a new version of Tahoe- LAFS, a distributed filesystem with encrypted, redundant cloud-based storage (sort of like RAID-5, but using virtual Internet storage instead of physical disks.) Since it’s based on free, open source software (Linux, Python, Twisted and Tahoe itself), I think it would be ideal for this sort of application.

    Sorry for the geeky digression; I love this stuff.

  19. @James Fox: I’m not a lawyer, so I am a little fuzzy on this, but it’s my understanding that a lot of the American legal system is based on caselaw and precedent, so the law could reasonably be reinterpreted here if the jury had made the right decision– i.e. that the woman’s initial “consent” (given by default when she merely walked into the bar) could theoretically be ruled to have been negated when she herself withdrew the consent verbally (by saying “no” repeatedly, and by refusing to sign a waiver allowing her image to be used in the video, as I understand it) if the jury had any brains or hearts (it’s seriously a Wizard of Oz type situation here, geez) they could have changed the way the law is interpreted.
    Also, I’m not sure appeal is even possible in a civil case, so I don’t think that’s an issue here. But I could just be talking out of my ass. My only basis for this is the one copyright policy class I took…and several Law and Order marathons =)

  20. @thracian-filly: It may depend on what state you’re in. I know that there is usually no presumption of privacy for your image when you’re in a public place; in other words someone can take your picture without your permission on the street or in an open public business. However in my state you need to ask someone’s permission to record their voice, such as when having a conversation be it public or private. In this case you have a woman who’s in a public place who knows she’s being filmed, and there is no law prohibiting someone from videoing in a public place; and those recording the video are not only are filming in a public place, they have a sign up advising the patrons of an establishment of what they are doing. In that circumstance, regardless of whether someone pulls up their shirt or not, it’s hard for me to see how you could then assert any level of privacy after the fact, especially if you were overtly performing for the camera which could be reasonably seen as overt consent. I would think a good new law should specifically require written permission for any image used for profit containing any nudity. The profit issue seems key to me because if I were to film a woman topless on a public beach (I personally would just make a craft felt cut out image) I could do what I wanted with the picture unless it was to make money, libel or defame someone.. And any news filming should also be exempt, so to bad if you’re exposing yourself when reporters and their cameras are around. And making it illegal (probably misdemeanor not felony) to sell any nude image of an adult without permission makes the civil issue moot unless you want to sue for damages which would also provide a disincentive to a business to promote this type of stuff.

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