Two weeks ago a man in France was arrested for raping his daughter. She’d gone to her school counselor and then the police, but they needed “hard evidence.” So, she videotaped her next assault. Her father was eventually arrested. His attorney explained, “There was a period when he was unemployed and in the middle of a divorce. He insists that these acts did not stretch back further than three or four months. His daughter says longer. But everyone should be very careful in what they say.” Because, really, even despite her seeking help, her testimony, her bravery in setting up a webcam to film her father raping her, you really can’t believe what the girl says, can you?
Everyone “knows” this. Even children.
Three years ago, in fly-on-the-wall fashion of parent drivers everywhere, I listened while a 14-year-old girl in the back seat of my car described how angry she was that her parents had stopped allowing her to walk home alone just because a girl in her neighborhood “claimed she was raped.” When I asked her if there was any reason to think the girl’s story was not true, she said, “Girls lie about rape all the time.” She didn’t know the person, she just assumed she was lying…
No one says, “You can’t trust women,” but distrust them we do. College students surveyed revealed that they think up to 50% of their female peers lie when they accuse someone of rape, despite wide-scale evidence and multi-country studies that show the incident of false rape reports to be in the 2%-8% range, pretty much the same as false claims for other crimes. As late as 2003, people jokingly (wink, wink) referred to Philadelphia’s sex crimes unit as “the lying bitch unit.” If an 11-year-old girl told an adult that her father took out a Craigslist ad to find someone to beat and rape her while he watched, as recently actually occurred, what do you think the response would be? Would she need to provide a videotape after the fact?
It goes way beyond sexual assault as well. That’s just the most likely and obvious demonstration of “women are born to lie” myths. Women’s credibility is questioned in the workplace, in courts, by law enforcement, in doctors’ offices, and in our political system. People don’t trust women to be bosses, or pilots, or employees. Pakistan’s controversial Hudood Ordinance still requires a female rape victim to procure four male witnesses to her rape or risk prosecution for adultery. In August, a survey of managers in the United States revealed that they overwhelmingly distrust women who request flextime. It’s notable, of course, that women are trusted to be mothers—the largest pool of undervalued, unpaid, economically crucial labor.
How to dry a soaked library
These may not the best photographs, but they show something quite unusual: a library of precious books drying in a giant warehouse. On November 6th, 1966 the Italian city of Florence experienced one of the worst flooding in its long history. The heart of the city disappeared under 3 meters of water. Among the buildings it entered were two important libraries: the Biblioteca del Gabinetto Vieusseux and the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale Firenze. Over 1.5 million books from these libraries were damaged by the water; hundreds of pages were found pasted to walls and ceilings when the water had disappeared.
Drying one book is hard enough, but what to do with complete libraries? First the soaked books were gathered (pic 2). Some were then placed in heated rooms (pic 3), but the majority was hung out to dry in giant storehouses (pic 1). Thousands and thousands of pages from precious books, including many from medieval manuscripts (pic 4), were placed on long drying lines by so-called Mud Angels, as the volunteers were called - not unlike drying spaghetti in a pasta factory. Remarkably, a government letter from 2007 warned that there were still thousands of books waiting in storage for their conservation treatment. Obviously, drying a library takes a long time.
More information on the flood in this Wikipedia page and this detailed and well-illustrated blog. This is an account of a book conserver who worked on the soaked books. A really great and unreal movie on the conservation of the books was made in 1968 (watch it on YouTube here). On the bright side, the tragedy produced new methods of book conservation (read about it here, via @john_overholt).
"As a white male I’ve long since learned that my opinion isn’t considered valid when discussing anything"
Oh shut up and go run for Congress you fucking baby.
November is American Indian Heritage month. Did you know that there are at least 562 federally recognized tribal nations in the U.S.?
Matika Wilbur is attempting to photograph every one. Wilbur, of the Swinomish and Tulalip in Washington State, sold everything she owns to travel the nation taking portraits of her people. She calls the series Project 562 and aims to debunk myths about American Indian culture. “I’m not a Halloween costume. I hope to encourage a new conversation of sharing and to help us move beyond the stereotypes.”
"We are still here," she says. "We remain."