December 16, 2007 “This is a call to war”
Yep, declaring a guerilla style campaign against Sam de Brito. Who’s with me?
So I forgot I hadn’t really told this story. I was busy finishing the unpicking of his hideous warped logic from the “Man haters” post of his.
The next day appeared a SdB post entitled “The Myth of Drink Spiking” – go on, have a read, I’ll wait.
(you may have to copy and paste this to your browser, it never does the thing where it turns blue for me on wordpress)
SO. First I had a go at him for attacking a reader for daring to suggest that it was dangerous to imply drink spiking is a myth. He says he didn’t say that. I point out that it is in fact the title of his blog. He attacks me, asking if English is my first language (and what if it wasn’t, does that disqualify my point?), implying I can’t read and implying that his title doesn’t imply that it *is* a myth, rather than that there are myths *about it*. Horseshit, you lazy fuckwit, if that’s what you meant you should have said “Myths about drink spiking” – regardless of the body of the text, your title still stands as implying that Drink Spiking *is* a myth.
Anyway, for once he offered some “proof” to back up his lunatic arsehole views. A report and an “expert” (a media contact for a research centre). Leaving aside the issue of whether the media contact is an expert in the field of research, or an expert in handling media (and doing an interview with dB and hoping he wouldn’t turn it into a revolting blame the victim piece suggests neither), I decided to *accept* his status as expert…and sent him an email informing him of the dB post and its tone.
So, while waiting for the guy to contact me, I read the report, which you can read here:
While this cannot be ruled out as a possible explanation for some reported incidents it would be dangerous to assume that this explanation applied to all or most incidents of drink spiking. Many victims who called in to the hotline stated explicitly that the effects which they had experienced were very different from the effects of voluntary alcohol consumption. In particular victims were at pains to point out that they knew the difference between the effects which they had experienced after the suspected drink spiking incident and the effects they had previously experienced as a result of voluntary excessive alcohol consumption. Given the inherent obstacles associated with verifying reported incidents of drink spiking highlighted in this report a cautious approach is recommended. In particular it is suggested that all reported incidents of drink spiking should be taken seriously in the first instance and investigated where possible rather than dismissing instances on the basis of a judgement that a person’s own consumption of alcohol or drugs was responsible for the effects.
It is estimated that less than 15 per cent of suspected drink spiking sexual assaults are reported to police, and between 20 and 25 per cent of suspected drink spiking non-sexual assault cases are reported to police. This means that the vast majority of suspected drink spiking incidents are not reported to police. If we are to gain a better understanding of how often drink spiking occurs and if police are to be able to identify patterns of drink spiking and develop targeted policing strategies there is clearly a need to improve the rates of reporting to police. This message could be articulated in awareness and education campaigns. Reporting rates could also be improved through a public perception that all incidents of drink spiking will be treated seriously by police regardless of knowledge of offender, memory loss and associated victimisation.
Then reread dB’s implications.
So I posted a comment with a link to the report and highlighted the fact that he’d ignored the crucial point of the report – that it is important to take every claim of drink spiking seriously. I waited…and waited…and waited. Now I’ve commented before on his blogs, and it takes, in working hours around five minutes to go up. Even my post at seven in the morning was up before I left for work. I could see comments posted later than mine being posted (given the go ahead by dB). So I sent a reminder. Nothing. Another reminder – still nothing.
Meanwhile I contacted the expert. He confirms he did the interview against his better judgment, that he did in fact confirm some things, but not others, that he explicitly stressed to de Brito that he did not want to do the interview if it was going to be implied that drink spiking did not happen, that people could *avoid* this stuff happening, that it was about their excess consumption etc. He had been at pains to make this clear to deB.
I again commented, telling Sam I’d contacted this guy, that his post was deceptive and unethical, and that he should post my first comment which gave people the link to the report. It was up in five minutes.
Throughout this day I’d discovered that the SMH has an email address to send complaints to about offensive comments. Gold. I sent at least half a dozen that day, including the responses by Sam where he attacked a woman for being an “egocentric sexist” for daring to suggest that he was doing the same old victim blaming crap that women always put up with, and such charming comments as “it doesn’t count as taking advantage if there’s no penetration”. I got an email from the Sydney Morning Herald saying that the comments and complaints had been brought to the attention of de Brito and his online editor.
Then I thought, fuck this, so I sent a lengthy email to the tip-offs section at Media Watch, outlining the whole day’s progress, attaching the post, the report, the information from the email exchanges and a series of comments in response.
This is where it’s at I think. I’m going to trawl the comments section of his blog every chance I get and I’m going to bombard the SMH with complaints whenever they breach the comments policy (no material which is offensive along race and gender lines etc). Every time he uses *evidence* I’m going to track it down and check it out and if there are any problems with it, I’m sending it all to Media Watch.
This shit matters. Everytime he writes this stuff he reinforces shitty attitudes towards victims, so much so that a woman commented on one of my posts that her partner works at a service centre for victims of sexual assault and that they have to tell victims *not to read Sam de Brito* as it induces so much trauma in victims. I have had enough. I’m sick of being told to not worry about it, this guy is a total hack and I think that if enough people complained about the comments with me, or sent emails to Media Watch, or pulled apart his arguments, or otherwise worked to discredit him, it might be enough to force the SMH hand in dumping him from their payroll.
While all this was going away, my best friend was out of town and fairly uncontactable. I was feeling tired and dispirited. Now she’s back, she’s encouraged me again, she reminded me that this is a good story if nothing else, but that it is worth doing, that this sort of stuff can work, and that it’s a good thing to oppose him.
I’m really, really sick of being told to ignore him. His attitudes to women cause extreme distress to victims of violence, and they cause extreme offense to me and I’m quite sick of being gently reminded to sit down and shut the fuck up and put up with it like a good girl. This. Guy. Is. Evil. I’m gonna do everything I can to expose this guy for the hack he is.
So, if you wanna help, spend five minutes a day scanning through the comments section and reporting any vile comments to the complaints section:
Or, if you see he’s written something that’s deliberately misleading, report him to Media Watch.