Skepchick Quickies 1.11


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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  1. The story about male volunteers is interesting. It’s obviously something that needs to be handled with care. I’d urge a little extra training for the male volunteers on how they interact with the clients and their children, simply to be certain they understand the dynamics at play, here. Still, with that caveat out of the way, I can also see the advantages of a ‘Not all men are like this, the one who abused you could be different, if he wanted to be,’ object lesson.

    1. More like “a different man could be better”. The Beauty & the Beast point of view (“he could be different, he could change”) is something that helps keep women in abusive relationships.

  2. I can understand how women visiting a shelter would feel uncomfortable having male volunteers, but from my experience there’s one huge benefit to having them there – especially for younger women – and that’s showing them how they should expect to be treated by the men around them.

    A lot of these young women go through their lives seeing men – sometimes a string of men as their mother moves from boyfriend to boyfriend – mistreat their mothers and themselves. Oftentimes they don’t even realize that there’s a different way to be treated, a different way for men to act, and a different way to act themselves, so they end up in the same sorts of relationships.

    Having male role models in shelters (and elsewhere, of course) can give them an opportunity to compare the qualities of abusers with those of (truly)good guys that they might not have otherwise. It can also give them time and practice to develop confidence in those types of relationships, as well as the understanding that they deserve them.

    1. It’s not just the women and girls – it’s also the boys who get a model of masculinity that isn’t toxic and dangerous. I think that’s very important.

    2. And I can see how this would be good for MEN, too. Reaching out to help others in a different situation than yourself is always good for people, though.

    1. “Juror #12?”
      “Can you explain to me the difference – in terms of the principles at stake – between the Schroedinger’s Cat thought experiment and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle?”
      “Uh … what?”
      “Your honour, motion to excuse juror #12 on the grounds that I am entitled to a jury of my peers and that he has just disqualified himself in that regard.”

      1. I assume everyone knows this, but; “peers” in the phrase “jury of one’s peers” really means people from one’s social class (in the medieval sense.) I.e., a nobleman had to be judged by other noblemen. Since the U.S., at least, has no legally recognized nobility or royalty, everyone is everyone else’s “peer.”

        It’s only fairly recently that “peer” has been re-branded to refer to qualities other than hereditary social class.

    2. I hear you on that one, but remember that jurors don’t just listen and vote independently, they deliberate. The studies done on the biases of jurors tend to shown that the deliberation process counteracts personal biases. When people have to discuss with each other their own personal prejudices don’t affect the outcome as much.it doesn’t look like this study tested that effect as far as I can tell.

  3. Amanda

    I’m glad, but not really surprised that many conservative Christians are loosing interest in sexual politics. For the most part it seems that they tend to loose on those issues. Over time, when it comes to those things, America as a whole has tended to move further and further to the left.

  4. My concern about the shelter is that, unfortunately, feminist organizations and projects tend to draw a certain kind of predator with a feminist façade, such as Hugo Schwyzer. Beyond what Freemage says upthread about training, male volunteers should be screened quite carefully.

    1. Exactly what I was thinking. In my State, anybody working with children (as in this case), however indirectly, has to undergo a mandatory check by the Australian Federal Police at 3 yearly intervals. Whether even that is adequate protection is debateable.

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