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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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45 Responses

  1. Meredith
    Meredith July 7, 2011 at 4:08 pm |

    I hit publish on my own rant about this seconds before I saw you covered it better! I got a weak-ass response from MJ that totally dodged my “why does your article read like KBR talking points?” question.

  2. Tim
    Tim July 7, 2011 at 4:21 pm |

    Very sad, but I suppose I shouldn’t be that shocked that Mother Jones is taking the side of KBR. The oceans of money the plutocracts have to slosh around are corrupting just about everybody.

  3. Florence
    Florence July 7, 2011 at 4:46 pm |

    I can *not* believe this was published in Mother Jones. MOTHER JONES.

  4. Cara
    Cara July 7, 2011 at 5:03 pm |

    I expected a whole lot better from Mother Jones than “but the alleged rapist says it was consensual” and “psh, it wasn’t even that violent” and “she was drunk so she probably wanted it.” I guess I’ve learned a valuable lesson.

  5. AshleyLynn
    AshleyLynn July 7, 2011 at 5:07 pm |

    I’m still trying to understand the purpose of the article in the first place. Was it it explain why the case may be falling apart? If so, it fails miserably in its job. It’s all well and good to update on the progress of a case…as long as it doesn’t fall into victim blaming territory, and this one does.

    And it’s pretty overt, too. I am slowly teaching my husband about feminst-y type things and frequently send him articles saying “this is an example of (insert idea/topic here). He’s catching on, because today he sent me a link to the MJ article with the subject line “Is this what you would call victim blaming?”

  6. zuzu
    zuzu July 7, 2011 at 5:08 pm |

    Even if she were drunk, and even if that made a difference vis-a-vis the rape, how exactly does that explain her imprisonment in a shipping container?

  7. P.T.Smith
    P.T.Smith July 7, 2011 at 5:11 pm |

    I didn’t make it past the “if she loses this case, she totally fucked up any chance of actual rape victims getting justice” sentences.

  8. Florence
    Florence July 7, 2011 at 5:14 pm |

    They say she wasn’t in a shipping container, but she was “put in a secure location”.

  9. matlun
    matlun July 7, 2011 at 6:08 pm |

    If I could control the reporters reporting on rape cases, the one rule I would introduce would be “don’t do it”. If we just could avoid the whole trial by media circus a lot would have been gained.

  10. Helen
    Helen July 7, 2011 at 6:13 pm |

    Count me in among the people who are just so disappointed that this should appear in a news outlet like Mother Jones.

  11. Lauren
    Lauren July 7, 2011 at 6:36 pm |

    I just called and cancelled my subscription to Mother Jones. I urge anyone who receives the magazine to do the same, and remember to let whomever you talk to know exactly why you are cancelling. The woman that I reached seemed confused at first when I explained why I no longer wanted their publication in my mailbox, so I really hope that I won’t be the only one letting them know how inexcusable this is.

  12. Florence
    Florence July 7, 2011 at 6:50 pm |

    The article (AT MOTHER JONES!) ends with the implication that her entire case is fictional and that she’s just a big ol’ famewhore. Just, WTF. Apparently her story was needed when we were fighting Bush’s oil wars, but now that all that isn’t sexy anymore, MJ will just dress up a stereotypical victim-blaming opinion piece as a factual article for page hits.

    This is fucking shameful. And it’s an extra slap in the face that it’s from one of the most respected liberal, feminist-leaning publications in existence. I’m dying to know how MJ defends this editorially.

  13. Stetson
    Stetson July 7, 2011 at 6:52 pm |

    I’m glad you wrote this. While I was somewhat frustrated by the knee-jerk response of some of the commenters, this article does offer a thought-provoking rebuttal.

  14. Anon Ex-MJer
    Anon Ex-MJer July 7, 2011 at 7:06 pm |

    Until earlier this year, I worked for MJ for a few years (not in the Editorial dept), and when I read this today, I was pretty pissed…but sadly not wholly surprised. While overall they are fairly progressive and respectful in what they write about and how they do it, there have been many instances of questionable editorial oversight, or lack thereof. Certain people in the Edit department hold their own opinions or judgments in much higher esteem than those of anyone outside the department (or even of those lower down on the ladder within it), and there have been times where someone has gone to them with concerns only to be essentially told to shut up and deal.

    Sadly, it is a business they are in, and so the page views, links, clicks, likes, etc sometimes seem to become more important than the actual content.

    I do want to add though, in response to Tim’s comment (#2) – there is no financial influence at MJ from any corporation like KBR. It’s a nonprofit 501(c)3 that survives off of subscription and newsstand sales, advertising and donations, most of which are low-dollar gifts from readers and website traffic. (Of course they do also have “major donors” but for MJ, that just means wealthy libs from the Bay Area who pitch in a yearly gift in the thousands). This story was not written because they wanted some sweet cash from KBR’s coffers, I can promise that.

  15. GM
    GM July 7, 2011 at 9:17 pm |

    “There is no eyewitness testimony or other physical evidence in the case supporting the allegation that Jones was attacked by multiple people.”

    Oh, no? The rapists didn’t turn themselves in? Liar.

  16. Mojave_Wolf
    Mojave_Wolf July 8, 2011 at 12:57 am |

    Not clicking on the link because don’t want to give them the hits, but great points! If I had a Mother Jones subscription and this article is one fifth as awful as it sounds, I would be cancelling the sub. I’m not quite sure why so much of the media seems to have gone on a full court press against rape victims lately, and I’m even less sure of why the progressive media is joining in, but it’s as disturbing as it is enraging.

  17. Antoinette
    Antoinette July 8, 2011 at 6:03 am |

    I have just unsubscribed from Mother Jones in protest of this sickening promotion of rape myths and rape culture — and posted a link this well written post in the comments section for the MJ article. I also highly recommend the HBO documentary “Hot Coffee” – Ms. Jones is one of the four people profiled in the documentary and she honestly and frankly discusses her civil claim against KBR and discusses the horror she has endured.

    Also interesting how the MJ article even slams Senator Franken for demanding that defense contractors should not be permitted to avoid tort liability for such heinous acts through forced arbitration clauses in employment contracts.

  18. Avida Quesada
    Avida Quesada July 8, 2011 at 6:34 am |

    I agree with all.
    The issue with 11 is that there is people that don’t look too drunk act almost normal and then they don’t recall what happen. And I am not talking about sex only.

    My recommendation to heterosexual men will be avoid women that have drink like the plague. Even as we face the same issue men face (raping some one) we dont face same risks (legal and social). That’s due to biology, culture, politics and the law.

    The problem is that in our culture (Occidental) people drink all the time. So is complicated.

    So my point is like : If she is too drunk to consent is rape, if she is too drunk but don’t looks like, still rape, but the guy is not (necessary) a rapist. People that do stuff when drunk and then they don’t remember (like driving at high speed or dancing on a table) are a social danger and should be presented as such.

    It’s very common for men to experience the same issue, they rise with some one and they don’t remember how. The general reaction of most men is different.
    The facts are the same.

  19. Florence
    Florence July 8, 2011 at 7:16 am |

    Antoinette: I also highly recommend the HBO documentary “Hot Coffee” – Ms. Jones is one of the four people profiled in the documentary and she honestly and frankly discusses her civil claim against KBR and discusses the horror she has endured.

    Agreed, I saw this documentary this week and was blown away by her testimony.

  20. Ariel
    Ariel July 8, 2011 at 8:40 am |

    The only thing I would add is this: a rape charge, by definition, implies nonconsensual sex. This means that BY DEFINITION, the defense is going to try to put forth evidence proving consent. This often takes the form of making a case that the person bringing the charges was sexually active. Remember: just because you consent to some sex doesn’t mean you consent to all sex, and the defense bringing up multiple partners doesn’t in fact prove consent in the case being tried.

  21. Azalea
    Azalea July 8, 2011 at 8:45 am |

    This is a clear example of what I was getting at in the other thread concerning Casey Anthony’s verdict. When there is no hard proof there is overwhelming doubt (unjustifiable doubt in my opinion) of guilt or some cases a crime. As you said, someone saying they were raped does not mean they were raped, it is an allegation until it is proven. However, when there is SO much that points in the direction of guilt (she SAID she was raped, she had bruising, she was placed in a “secure” location, her rape kit was done in a military hospital and they cover up rapes all the time and her arbitration was funded by people who had something to lose if she could prove she was raped) it is pretty disingenious and yeah victim blame-ish to just taunt “well you can’t prove it so it isn’t true.”

    Hopefully the trial will offer much more than that article did and the case against her rapist(s) is strong enough that she gets a ruling in her favor.

  22. Brandy
    Brandy July 8, 2011 at 9:18 am |

    Antoinette:
    I also highly recommend the HBO documentary “Hot Coffee” – Ms. Jones is one of the four people profiled in the documentary and she honestly and frankly discusses her civil claim against KBR and discusses the horror she has endured.

    Funny, the author of this article was also in that documentary. http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/06/hot-coffee-lawsuit-movie

  23. Antoinette
    Antoinette July 8, 2011 at 10:18 am |

    Brandy: Funny, the author of this article was also in that documentary. http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/06/hot-coffee-lawsuit-movie

    I did not realize that at all — that’s really quite shocking. Although I guess it demonstrates that no one is immune to the indoctrination of our society’s rape culture; however, you would think someone who understands the legal process would not be so easily duped by highly paid KBR attorneys who have been hired solely to convince a jury that Ms. Jones is a lying whore.

  24. Torva
    Torva July 8, 2011 at 10:30 am |

    I would love to see a petition go to Mother Jones, and other publications that consistently allow the propogation of rape myths to be printed under the guise of credible journalism (or in this case, progressive journalism… WTF?!). People need to realize the facts of just how many accusations are actually made up (2%), as opposed to how many rapists go without a day in jail (93%). Perhaps if they won’t educate the public, a campaign of open letters and petitions will.

    Thanks to Feministe to publishing this point-by-point breakdown of how ridiculous MJ was to publish this horrendous article. On #10 specifically, not only can drunk women be raped, but drunk men can be raped – drunk anybody are unable to consent to sex, period.

    Avida – what you said pertains to both genders, even if both parties are drunk. It’s a dangerous line to play with, legally.

  25. Rose
    Rose July 8, 2011 at 10:47 am |

    I read the article…wow…just wow. That is one of the worst slut shaming hit pieces I’ve ever seen in my life and at almost 41 years old that’s saying a lot.

    I’m not sure what the worst part is. The way she repeats every KBR talking point as though it’s fact. Or is it the way she both implies that Ms. Jones is mentally ill (therefore, she made up the rape as mentally ill women often do!) but then accuses her of having too productive a life since this happened (she got her Masters degree, got married, had two children and became a crusader for contractors’ rights – hardly the behavior of a truly traumatized victim, who I suppose should be cowering in a corner shaking and weeping for the past 6 years – therefore she’s not acting crazy enough – she lied about the rape!)

    I only wish I had a subscription to Mother Jones so I could cancel it.

  26. Sergey
    Sergey July 8, 2011 at 10:59 am |

    “unreasonable to conclude that the mere existence of some doubt-casting evidence demonstrates untruth on the part of the plaintiff”

    “that doesn’t really indicate that she’s lying.”

    “not the best proof that the person with the torn pectoral capsule is a liar.”

    “But again, it doesn’t mean that a victim’s story…is a lie.”

    Aren’t you a lawyer? The assumption is innocent until proven guilty. That means that yes, until she can PROVE what she’s saying, it gets dismissed just the same *as if it were a lie* regardless of whether or not its true. An unproven true statement OUGHT to be equally insufficient as a lie to convict someone…that’s how the system works. Presumption of innocence.

    No one has to prove that she’s lying – she has to prove that she’s not lying.

    I think it’s ok to cover a criminal case from the perspective of what matters in getting a conviction – I don’t see that this strays from that.

  27. Yonmei
    Yonmei July 8, 2011 at 11:15 am |

    I’d been on Mother Jones mailing list for a while. I just unsubscribed, and sent them a message saying their support of KBR against a rape victim was why I’d unsubscribed.

    I think honestly, if they had any political motivation, it was an easy way for MJ to look “even-handed” – look, we object to their military contracts, BUT supported them against that crazy lying bitch who said she’d been raped and then shut up in a storage container, that PROVES we’re completely impartial!

  28. Florence
    Florence July 8, 2011 at 11:27 am |

    Antoinette: I did not realize that at all — that’s really quite shocking.Although I guess it demonstrates that no one is immune to the indoctrination of our society’s rape culture; however, you would think someone who understands the legal process would not be so easily duped by highly paid KBR attorneys who have been hired solely to convince a jury that Ms. Jones is a lying whore.

    Literally, KBR’s defense as laid out in this article is that Jones is a crazy, lying whore. The author seems to agree.

  29. Antoinette
    Antoinette July 8, 2011 at 11:43 am |

    Jill: I think that’s part of it. I also suspect that in the wake of the DSK stuff, publications want to be the first to get the “she’s not credible” scoop. Those articles were a huge coup for the New York Times, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this were an attempt by Mother Jones to get the same kind of story.

    If that’s the case – what a truly tragic commentary on the sad state of journalism. And truly disheartening considering MJ called out the NY Times for their reprehensible reporting on the sickening gang rape case in Texas involving an 11 year old child. I guess if victim blaming and slut shaming gets readers over to the NY Times and the NY Post – why wouldn’t MJ similarly betray any semblance of journalistic integrity?

  30. samanthab
    samanthab July 8, 2011 at 11:44 am |

    Well, and the implication that mentally ill people don’t know if they have been raped or not is pretty gross. And she’s inaccurately characterized the use of Lamictal; it’s to treat a number of things, albeit many of those are off-label. That’s a pretty easy bit of research, but it looks like if KBR didn’t hand it to her, she’s not going to report it. Vile.

  31. zuzu
    zuzu July 8, 2011 at 11:45 am |

    Sergey:
    Aren’t you a lawyer? The assumption is innocent until proven guilty. That means that yes, until she can PROVE what she’s saying, it gets dismissed just the same *as if it were a lie* regardless of whether or not its true. An unproven true statement OUGHT to be equally insufficient as a lie to convict someone…that’s how the system works. Presumption of innocence.

    No one has to prove that she’s lying – she has to prove that she’s not lying.

    I think it’s ok to cover a criminal case from the perspective of what matters in getting a conviction – I don’t see that this straysfrom that.

    It’s not a criminal case. It’s a civil case. Jones had to fight to get this case heard in court and not by an arbitrator.

    And, yes, Jill’s a lawyer. So she knows that civil cases have a lower standard of proof. AND the defense in a civil case can’t just sit back and do nothing, like they can in a criminal case, because depending on the claims, there are shifting burdens, or the defense has raised affirmative defenses which they must prove. And, yes, they’re going to try to show that she was a bad employee and that she was lying and try to cast doubt on her performance.

    But again, there’s a lower standard of proof in a civil case. OJ was acquitted of murder by a criminal jury because the prosecution couldn’t prove its claims beyond a reasonable doubt. But a civil jury found him liable for killing Nicole Brown Simpson. They only had to find that it was more likely than not that he was guilty.

  32. zuzu
    zuzu July 8, 2011 at 11:48 am |

    Mind you, the danger for an employer of raising a “she was a crazy lying bitch” defense is that it can backfire. Because if she was such a crazy lying bitch and you knew that, why did you retain her as an employee?

  33. EG
    EG July 8, 2011 at 11:55 am |

    Aren’t you a lawyer? The assumption is innocent until proven guilty.

    That is the assumption that must be made by jurors in a criminal case in the context of deciding that case. That particular standard does not apply to bloggers on the internet or to reporters.

    Further, just a reminder that witness testimony–even witness testimony coming from a woman–does count as evidence.

  34. Laurie
    Laurie July 8, 2011 at 12:25 pm |

    Also, I would dispute Sergey’s implication that the presumption of innocence means a presumption that the victim is lying. A subtle point, perhaps, but an important one, I think.

  35. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. July 8, 2011 at 12:38 pm |

    zuzu:
    Mind you, the danger for an employer of raising a “she was a crazy lying bitch” defense is that it can backfire.Because if she was such a crazy lying bitch and you knew that, why did you retain her as an employee?

    Bah, you aren’t cynical enough. It can easily be blamed on affirmative action hiring. Yes, indeed. Been there. Seen that. Wanted to vomit during the deposition.

  36. zuzu
    zuzu July 8, 2011 at 6:30 pm |

    Looks like Jones lost.

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there were an appeal, or a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict.

  37. Azalea
    Azalea July 8, 2011 at 8:57 pm |

    zuzu:
    Looks like Jones lost.

    Jury wasn’t convinced there was enough proof to say she was raped by Boarts. Just as with the Casey Anthony verdict, I think this is bullshit.

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there were an appeal, or a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict.

  38. Azalea
    Azalea July 8, 2011 at 8:58 pm |

    Azalea:

    Zuzu please accept my apology for getting the blockquote thing wrong! The last parapgraph is my own everybody, zuzu did not type that.

  39. Weekly Feminist Reader
    Weekly Feminist Reader July 10, 2011 at 9:53 am |

    […] notes for reporters covering rape cases in response to this article on the Jamie Leigh Jones […]

  40. Tamora Pierce
    Tamora Pierce July 10, 2011 at 1:59 pm |

    I’m just sick over this. For all the gains we’ve made (that aren’t getting taken away), the treatment of women victims in the press isn’t one of them. The situation Helen Benedict wrote about in VIRGIN OR VAMP: How the Press Covers Sex Crimes, written in the 1990s, is still very much with us. I did expect better of Mother Jones, and they now know why I’m unsubscribing.

  41. This Week’s Feminist Reader « Under the same sky

    […] Some notes for reporters covering rape cases in response to this article on the Jamie Leigh Jones case. […]

  42. Yonmei
    Yonmei July 11, 2011 at 5:22 pm |

    FWIW, I’ve just realised Andrew McKinney, the lawyer who defended Charles Boartz, is McKinneyTexas, one of the regular right-wing commentators on the Obsidian Wings (I don’t think he’s a front-page poster, but he certainly comments there a lot). I’m not outing him – he discusses the case and pretty much admits that he ran a defense based on attacking Jones’ character, in the tail-end of comments on the Obsidian Wings thread on “PZ Myers: Scientist. Atheist. Mensch.”

  43. links for 2011-07-12 « Embololalia

    […] Notes for Reporters Covering Rape Cases That the defendant’s evidence challenges the plaintiff’s claims is exactly how this works every time, and it’s unreasonable to conclude that the mere existence of some doubt-casting evidence demonstrates untruth on the part of the plaintiff (any more than it’s reasonable to conclude that the existence of some evidence supporting the complaint demonstrates the total liability of the defendant). (tags: law journalism sexual.violence usa courts) […]

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