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I’d believe the woman
I’d believe my son
Refuse to answer

My friend is currently in this situation, and it made me wonder what fellow feminists would do.

Edit: wow, a lot of you all are angry for asking this, okay. Well, thanks to those who answered. I’m going to tell my friend the number so she doesn’t feel so alone. It’s hard when it’s just others’ word about an interaction. Thank everyone

My friend is currently in this situation, and it made me wonder what fellow feminists would do. Edit: wow, a lot of you all are angry for asking this, okay. Well, thanks to those who answered. I’m going to tell my friend the number so she doesn’t feel so alone. It’s hard when it’s just others’ word about an interaction. Thank everyone

70 comments

[–] Gladys_Kravitz 36 points Edited

Honestly if there's literally zero other information, almost everyone is going to pick their family member regardless of sex.

This post feels really weird, like you're purposefully trying to start a fight between mothers and non mothers.

[–] ProxyMusic 10 points Edited

It's telling the OP hasn't been back to respond to any of the comments or otherwise engage. Seems to me like this is a drive-by attempt to take a cheap shot at women who are mothers and sow division between women who are mothers and those who are not. And to promote the idea that having children - particularly male children - automatically turns women into biased, reactionary, sexist, injudicious, male supremacist "mother hens" with shit for brains and no moral compass.

I'm getting sick of this sort of stuff everywhere, but especially on Ovarit. Just because some of us have gestated fetuses in our wombs and given birth - or adopted - and raised children (or are in the process of raising them) doesn't mean our brains have shrunk, fallen out or turned into mush.

Agreed. WTF is the point of this other than to shit on "boy moms"?

As if we had a choice about what sex child we have. Worse with the whole women have to give birth to our oppressors idea, every mother of a son has wrestled with the idea that she inadvertently gave birth to the enemy. No matter how quickly she suppressed, I think this has at least crossed most women’s minds. Boy moms don’t need any help with that.

One of my closest friend’s 17-year-old son’s girlfriend disclosed abuse to her but didn’t go into detail and she can’t get either of them to say anything more. Her son just keeps saying she doesn’t know anything. personally, I don’t think he’s a bad boy, but then I feel like I probably only get one version of him, and his girlfriend seems sweet enough. I posted here because she felt very torn and I can only imagine because I don’t have children myself so it thought I’d ask women who do have kids, in a place I thought it might be reasonable to expect respectful women. I thought you all would just vote on the poll and I could tell her a number. You all really read into this and made some pretty shitty comments about me for asking the question. I posted it before I went to bed and came back to a wall of shit. I think your assumptions show more of your own fears and biases than anything. It’s actually kind of ridiculous. But it doesn’t matter, because those who did engage respectfully, I shared some of that with her and it did help her not feel so alone. So, yeah, have fun with yourselves.

[–] ProxyMusic 36 points Edited

This is too vague for me. In what context and in what way did the woman say the man I am to imagine is my son abused her? There are all kinds of abuse that can occur or be alleged in a wide variety of interactions between human beings.

Also, it's telling that in the vague situation OP has set up are there only two options: the mother must believe her or believe him. Why is there no allowance for the possibility that a mother might remain neutral and undecided until she learns more? Why is it taken as a given that she will rush to judgment in a knee-jerk way?

There seems to be an implicit assumption here that once a woman becomes a mother, she automatically loses all the mental and emotional faculties that would enable her to be impartial, reasonable and intelligently judicious when it comes to perceiving and evaluating the behavior of her child/ren.

I've never bought into the "believe all women (all the time)" dictum, and feel that it's ill-served women and feminism. Fact is, some people are pathological liars; other people lie out of mental illness; some people have victim complexes; and people who tell lies about being abused can be of either sex.

In my own family of origin, two of the female members - my mother and one of my sisters - often told lies and made false claims about other family members abusing them. Sometimes they made these claims about situations where they were the ones who had committed abuse. My sister who liked to lie would be physically abusive to me or another one of our siblings, then rush to our mother, turn on the waterworks and say I or the other siblings had been the ones being abusive to her. In turn, when I was a teenager and young woman and my mother unfortunately descended deep into drug addiction and alcoholism, she behaved horribly to me then would tell other people I had been abusive of her.

Yesterday, there was a thread about an 18 year-old TIF in the UK who has filed a formal complaint with British medical authorities against a man, psychiatrist Az Hakeem MD, alleging that he abused her and caused her to develop PTSD by performing "conversion therapy" on her. This happened during a 25-minute consultation she had with him by video conference to explore whether he would be a good psychotherapist for her. That 25-minute convo is the only time the two of them ever interacted. The alleged abuse in this case consisted of words Hakeem uttered that did not affirm the teenager's claim that she is male; his suggestion that her identifying as trans might be similar to his being a Goth in his own youth; and the skepticism he expressed about the religious tenets of the Church of Genderology that she holds dear but he said he would challenge if they were to work together. Apparently he was the one who said he thought that he and this TIF were not a good therapeutic match because their views were too far apart.

I'm not Hakeem's mother - I don't know him personally at all, though I have seen him on video and read work of his. But my gut would be to disbelieve this young woman's claim that he was abusive, subjected her to conversion therapy and caused her to develop PTSD that she says is now giving her constant panic attacks and making it difficult for her to sleep.

If that makes me insufficiently feminist in the views of others on Ovarit, so be it.

Also, I think it's only fair to ask the corollary question: Mothers, if a woman or girl said your daughter abused her, and your daughter says she didn't, and you had no further information, would you believe your daughter or her female accuser? Be honest.

Also, I think it's only fair to ask the corollary question: Mothers, if a woman or girl said your daughter abused her, and your daughter says she didn't, and you had no further information, would you believe your daughter or her female accuser? Be honest.

So we’re just ignoring statistics now? Pretending women abuse at the same rates as men? Pretending women lie about abuse by men?

This thread is a mindfuck

[–] ProxyMusic -3 points Edited

So we’re just ignoring statistics now? Pretending women abuse at the same rates as men? Pretending women lie about abuse by men?

The OP didn't say what kind of abuse she was talking about. She didn't say she was speaking of rape, sexual violence, IPV, domestic violence, sexual harassment, assault and battery, shootings, stabbing, muggings. She didn't specify that the abuse was kind of sexualized or involved physical violence. She simply said this was a case where a woman said another woman's son abused her. That's it.

I raised that rhetorical question in hopes that the OP would make clear what her main point is. Was she suggesting that women who are mothers will always believe our children because they are our children and she thinks women who are mothers will always be biased in favor of our children? Or was she saying she thinks we will always believe our male children because they are male and she thinks we are so-called handmaidens?

When other people make posts that seems intended to insult a subgroup of women, I'd like to be crystal clear on the exact nature of the insult. Was the OP trying to impugn women for being mothers of sons, or just for being mothers?

Mothers of sons who favor and enable them. Which is a real phenomenon that is extremely harmful and common.

I totally agree with everything here. I too would remain neutral and would not be happy to hear this about my son. I’d certainly confront him. I picked “believe the woman” only because I would treat it seriously and need to know more. Picking “believe my son” calls to mind mothers who stick their heads in the sand like “not MY Boopy-Bear angel!”

I’m not naive, my son is a good kid but I’m very aware that how he behaves outside the family might be entirely different. He’s never thrown up creep flags though and IME it’s very hard for abusive men or teen boys to not show ANY flags.

My sister who liked to lie would be physically abusive to me or another one of our siblings, then rush to our mother, turn on the waterworks and say I or the other siblings had been the ones being abusive to her.

This is my sister in a nutshell.

[–] ProxyMusic 6 points Edited

Sorry to hear that about your sister. I come from a big family with extremely diverse personality types, so I have never believed that all girls (or boys) are the same, or even very similar - and I never thought girls/women were naturally "sugar and spice, everything nice" and innately kind, caring and good morally.

Also, I wasn't exactly an angel all the time as a kid myself. My younger brother feels I was verbally and emotionally abusive to him on many occasions when I was in my teens and he was still a little kid - and he's right. I was often a total shit to him.

Also, I think it's only fair to ask the corollary question: Mothers, if a woman or girl said your daughter abused her, and your daughter says she didn't, and you had no further information, would you believe your daughter or her female accuser? Be honest.

I'd believe the female accuser, but that's because my daughter is a known former-abuser.

[–] ProxyMusic 3 points Edited

See, that just goes to show that mothers are capable of recognizing who and how our/their offspring are, warts and all.

IMO, the idea that being a mother means being a naif who automatically believes everything your kid says, and never ever doubts your male child, is bullshit - and misogyny.

This view also ignores the fact that most of the world's mothers have more than one child, and as a result mothers tend to be well accustomed to seeing, sorting out and having to adjudicate the physical fights, bullying, name-calling and other kinds of abusive behaviors - as well as all the flinging back and forth of accusations - that siblings often engage in with one another.

Yeah, I should say, I can only assume that anyone would accuse ONE of my three daughters of being abusive. I would have real difficulty believing anyone who levels abuse charges at my other two girls. In fact, I would be completely dismissive.

I only have daughters, no sons. I never wanted male children. I only know 1 other family like mine and I am aware that I am very, very lucky.

The way I love my children is indescribable. I can imagine that mothers of sons feel the same way. We all want to raise good, decent people who live successful lives and do not cause harm out in the world. I think most of us would choose our children first and ask questions for clarification and to understand the situation better. If it comes out negative on the side of our child, then we respond accordingly.

However, I will add that I've taught several boys and most of their mothers believe they'd never bully, harass, be misogynistic, rape, etc. A lot of them do some really horrible things out of sight and hearing of their mothers. I've watched some women really struggle with the horrors their sons commit against women when the day before they were decent.

Be very wary of peer socialization and peer pressure.

[–] mathlover 12 points Edited

Yep. Any teacher will tell you that most kids (especially boys, apparently) behave often quite differently when parents are not around. It's useless to argue about it because there is too much emotional baggage and self-esteem issues around raising "one of the good ones" that mothers of sons, in particular, are unable to see what is right in front of them, let alone possibilities of objective discourse. But virtually every rapist has a mother who insists she knows her son and he would never rape.

Children are great at performing for their parents and liked authority figures. They even act for their peers. One year, I taught a kind, introverted, insightful boy. I adored this kid. He was one of my best students. Mid-way through the year, he was removed from school for pushing one of my colleagues into a door. Any child could do this. We just don't know.

I'm not going to tear down another woman for loving and supporting her child. There's a potential for any child, regardless of how well they're raised, to turn out rough.

There's probably a lot of merit in "we love our sons but raise our daughters". I'm not blind to the reality that my daughters could do horrible things. I accept that this could be an outcome. Yet somehow the male rapists and abusers are always the sons of other women.

[–] Boudicaea 17 points Edited

I don't know why you have to believe one or the other without any evidence other than he said she said. I would tell them both to stay away from each other, as obviously there is some form of abuse going on. I would help them both by giving him a place to stay away from her, and by ensuring that he financially supports any children they have together (or making up the gap myself if I had to). I would advise them to break up.

"Believe women" means not automatically disbelieving women. It does not mean believing women over men without evidence. I think when we take unreasonable stances like always believing women over men, without evidence, it makes us look unreasonable generally. That does not help women, in the end. But in these situations, the answer is the same anyway-- they would need to get away from each other regardless.

ETA that I did not vote, as "refuse to answer" seems a bit wrong. I would have selected "do not believe one over the other" if that had been a choice, or "believe both".

without evidence

Because abusers always abuse in broad daylight with plenty of witnesses and evidence. Right.

All the more reason not to disbelieve either. I get what you are saying, though.

Didn't vote because I don't have a son but wanted to say this shit is exactly why I am not just childfree but will never create or raise a man. If I actually created an entire human and gave him life and he assaulted another woman or girl? That's when it's time to make good on "I brought you into this world and I can take you out."

But no, boy moms are the absolute worst when it comes to defending your sons abusing and mistreating women, never mind the ones who hide admitted rapists and murderers. Even our closest relative, bonobos who are matriarchal and normally gang up on aggressive males, if the shitty male has a mom high up the matriarchal hierarchy, he can get away with assaulting unwilling female bonobos.

A lot of the women on this thread are utterly delusional.

"I would know my son and I would know whether he would rape someone or not."

No you wouldn't. Most women have zero success avoiding rapists BECAUSE YOU CAN'T TELL. The men who have raped me were lovely seeming people, sensitive, lived their kids, were sweet and romantic. Nice men rape all the time. Nice men whose mommy's love them rape all the time.

[–] Queenofdogs 13 points Edited

Unfortunately no matter how hard you try to raise a son right, you're really fighting against society. So I'd believe the woman most times

It completely depends on what my son is like as an adult and what I have observed of him and the woman in question. (My son is currently in elementary school.) I would definitely want to hear both sides of the story. Even if I believed her, I wouldn't just cut him off, though... I would try to get him some sort of help to change his behavior. Yes, it would definitely affect how I thought of him and disappoint me, but I would still consider him my responsibility in some way even as an adult (of course, he might very well not be willing to take any help if this were the case).

I didn't vote because my answer would be "it depends" ...how am I supposed to know who I'd believe, when I don't know the specific accusation/situation or either of the people involved (it's hard to imagine what my son would be like as an adult this far out, so I consider him pretty much a stranger too)? My belief entirely depends upon what I judge likely to have actually happened.

[–] pellucidar 0 points Edited

Why isn't this everyone's answer? We don't become angels when we're assigned our double-X's at birth. The woman could be the bad character here. Now if you asked who's more likely to be lying, statistically, I'd say the man, but if I know at least one of the people well, I'd have to judge according to my knowledge.

if I know at least one of the people well, I'd have to judge according to my knowledge.

Wrong. You can't know one if you don't know the other. Ex: You're always told what a "fine man" X male is. You've never looked at the moon before in your life. X male tells you the moon is green with purple dots. Since you "know" X male so well, you decide you don't need to look at the moon to verify, so you don't, and you never discover what a liar X male is. And you continue to believe his lies about the moon. I had this exact experience myself with this damn woman who was treating me like shit according to what some coddled X males told her. She had no personal experience with or knowledge of me. When I pointed out to her that she didn't even know me (as in don't believe the worst about me without knowing me or anything about me at all. Give me a chance.) she said she didn't need to know me because she "knew them". She didn't and couldn't.

I am right about who I would believe and why. We're also not talking about the moon but about people lying about things I didn't witness and can't observe after the fact.

This question is impossible to answer without information about the people in question.

If I had a son, and he was dating this particularly odious TRA I know who uses ze/zir/zirself pronouns and routinely accuses everyone of being "toxic" or "abusive" for not kissing her ass, yes I would believe my son, and assume he called her "she" or something.

Don't have a son, but I put "son" because I'd hypothetically have known my son for how many ever years and the woman could be a stranger.

That said, I'd also have to consider my son's past history. Also, regardless of his history, I would sit my son down and ask him what he thinks he might have done to have provoked this woman into claiming abuse and I would NOT take "i don't know, she's crazy" as an answer because accusations come from SOMEWHERE. I'd also push him towards some sort of counseling/intervention, either because he has a problem he's denying or he's attracting/has now been affected by toxic partners.

This. I'm trying hard to raise him to be a good man, an ally. This cant go completly unnoticed later in his adult life.

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