||Sex Trafficking Survivors Group to Dilbert Creator:
Rape Isn't "Natural Instinct"
by Alex DiBranco
June 20, 2011
Over 1000 Change.org members have signed a petition launched this weekend by the anti-trafficking organization With More Than Purpose, telling Dilbert creator Scott Adams to publicly apologize for a recent blog post "insinuating that the act of a man raping a woman is a natural instinct."
Adams writes in "Pegs and Holes" (which you can read in full on his website): "Now consider human males. No doubt you have noticed an alarming trend in the news. Powerful men have been behaving badly, e.g. tweeting, raping, cheating, and being offensive to just about everyone in the entire world. ... The part that interests me is that society is organized in such a way that the natural instincts of men are shameful and criminal while the natural instincts of women are mostly legal and acceptable. In other words, men are born as round pegs in a society full of square holes. Whose fault is that? Do you blame the baby who didn't ask to be born male? Or do you blame the society that brought him into the world, all round-pegged and turgid, and said, 'Here's your square hole'?"
In response to the campaign, Adams left a comment on the petition accusing the creator of taking his words out of context and offered a fake apology: "I apologize to anyone who -- against all reason -- believed I issued a statement condoning violent crimes against women. But I also think you should be a little bit embarrassed that you would believe such a thing." These unreasonable, ought-to-be embarrassed people include two Change.org members who identify themselves as child rape victims in the comments. Oh, and of course co-Founder and Executive Director of With More Than Purpose, Nikki Junker, herself a sex trafficking survivor.
Junker told Change.org, "All we're asking for is an apology. An apology that says you [Adams] were wrong in publishing that, and that he says apologizes to rape victims and for influencing anybody." She replied to Adams' dismissive response by pointing out that he has a responsibility as a "public figure" not to "endanger the lives of others," and that his reputation for satire (which he doesn't claim this piece was) does not justify creating a "seemingly intelligent blueprint for a rapist to justify his actions."
Adams accused Junker of committing "a serious crime," telling petition signers to read his original post to see her "slander," and threatening legal action. He continued to insult her, writing: "I have to assume you're intentionally taking me out of context because no one could have that low a reading comprehension. ... You're a disgrace to your cause." Yes, Junker, who escaped sex trafficking and founded an organization to help other victims, is a disgrace to her cause for calling out rape apologism. (Meanwhile, a vote on his own website yielded a net negative reaction of over 1600 readers.)
So Junker updated the petition to reprint his blog post in full, so that he couldn't cry foul about being taken out of context -- but Adams, unsatisfied and unapologetic, continued to call her commentary "slanderous" and insisted she should be "ashamed."
Other media outlets have called Adams out for his "ultra offensive blog post," with Salon referring to it as going "spectacularly bonkers," but thus far the Change.org petition appears to be the only venue where he has chosen to regularly comment (and levy slander accusations). Critics further point out that his writing is deeply offensive to other men who are being portrayed en masse as animals panting to rape; that men and women have sexual urges they control (plus, rape is generally about power, not sex); and that rape, a crime, shouldn't be lumped in with cheating or tweeting dick-shots.
Just months ago, Adams stirred up condemnation with another misogynistic blog post, which compared women to children wanting candy and the mentally disabled -- he said his readers clamored for coverage of the oh-so-neglected subject of "Men's Rights." He later deleted this rant, explaining on Feministe that his regular circle has an "usually high reading comprehension level," while this post got too much outside attention from outside readers who are so emotional "they literally can't understand." Under a fanboy pseudonym Adams admits was really him, he again defended his writing by insulting critics' intelligence: "It's fair to say you disagree with Adams. But you can't rule out the hypothesis that you're too dumb to understand what he's saying. And he's a certified genius." And humble too!
Is that enough "context," Adams? You can join Nikki Junker and With More Than Purpose in asking Scott Adams for a public apology to "boys, men, rape victims and all women" by signing the petition here.
Alex DiBranco is a Change.org Editor who has worked for the Nation, Political Research Associates, and the Center for American Progress. She is now based in New York City.
Tell Scott Adams that raping a woman is not a natural instinct:
SIGN PETITION 1,073 People