• Asking for Clarification of Intent or of Content Got Me A Lea Smack Down at TWW Blog

Asking for Clarification of Intent or of Content Got Me A Lea Smack Down at TWW Blog

I didn’t want to detract from Jules’ story at TWW (The Wartburg Watch) blog, so I am posting this here on my blog.

I am referencing these blog posts at The Wartburg Watch blog (I don’t want to link to the posts themselves, as they will create ping backs, and I don’t want to create ping backs):

Post 1. Dated Jan 5, 2018, title:
I Thought He Was Taking Me for Ice Cream: One Woman’s #MeToo Story of Molestation By Her Former Youth Pastor, Andy Savage

Post 2. Dated Jan 8, 2018, title:
More Developments As Well As the Drop the Mic Moments in the Andy Savage/Highpoint Memphis #metoo Situation

In the second post mentioned above, I got into a little bit of a dispute at that site with a poster named Lea, who I don’t remember ever having a problem with previously.

My last post to Lea yesterday on the matter told her I felt she was getting very cranky with me, very quickly, over me asking her to clarify some of her posts.

About two or three weeks ago, another commentator at TWW blog was accusing Lea, unfairly, I felt, of insulting parents who home school their children.

Lea made the fair point in one thread that it is easier for abusive parents to hide abuse of their children, if the children are home-schooled, more so than if they are sent to public school (a point which even home-schooling groups have acknowledged).

I told that guy I felt he was misunderstanding Lea’s post(s) about the topic and was being a little harsh with her.

In the two posts I highlight above, Post 1 and Post 2, Lea ended up getting snippy with me, and telling me to “just drop it.”

In both posts, how I understand things is, Lea made several comments expressing confusion over Jules experiencing fear the night of Jules’ assault by youth pastor Andy Savage.

(Jules is a woman, who, when she was a teen, her youth pastor, Andy Savage, promised to drive her home one night but instead took a detour down a dark, isolated street to coerce Jules into performing oral sex on him. In the telling of this story on TWW, and I think in several news outlets, Jules mentioned she felt afraid that night.)

In the course of commenting in Post 1 and Post 2 in the comments section on TWW blog, Lea several times expressed confusion over the “fear” element of Jules story.

In both threads, Lea kept musing about when, if, how, or “what type” of fear did Jules feel that night.

Lea wanted to know, if I recall correctly, and if I understood her comments correctly, what prompted Jules’ fear, and exactly when Jules felt fear – before, during, or after the assault.

To me, fear is fear.

To my knowledge, there are not “different types of fear,” so I don’t know what Lea means by pondering about “what type of fear did Jules have.”

(I’m pretty sure she made some kind of allusion to “types” of fear in at least one post, because I found it a strange concept, and so it stuck in my mind.)

I am aware that there are different types of phobias. Some people are afraid of snakes, spiders, or enclosed spaces, while other people might have a fear of heights. But I’ve never heard of there being a “variety” or “types” of fears. That’s a new one to me.

There are some people who due to brain damage, or what have you, are biologically incapable of feeling fear, such as:

This Woman Can’t Feel Fear

Meet the woman who can’t feel fear

The woman unable to feel FEAR: Mother, 44, has been held at gunpoint, beaten and approached poisonous snakes – but is unfazed due to rare genetic condition

  • Has Urbach-Wiethe disease, which has caused parts of her brain to harden
  • Her amygdala – which are crucial for the fear response – have wasted away
  • Only 400 people worldwide have been identified with the condition
  • Has a normal IQ and feels other emotions in the same way as others

Even if a person is incapable of experiencing fear, it still would not excuse someone sexually assaulting them.

I also do not understand why or how it’s relevant to ascertain if Jules felt fear at all on the day or night of her assault, or how much fear Jules felt, or when she first felt fear, and so on.

If all Lea was trying to say is that she felt the reporting was unclear on that aspect, she was not clearly expressing that – not consistently.

I did see several posts where Lea completely condemned Andy Savage as being a sexual predator and said she sided with Jules. Okay.

However, it seemed about every ninth to tenth post (carried over to post two) consisted of Lea bringing up the “fear” thing – when did Jules have fear? What precisely triggered that fear?, etc.

In my view, that was a lot of anal retentive musing over what I consider a trivial point.

How, when, or if Jules had fear doesn’t have bearing on the overall point of the story:
An older youth pastor hoodwinked a younger woman under his watch into going down a deserted road, where he pressured her for sex acts.
That is the main thrust of the situation, not how, if, or when the young lady felt fear, or what color socks she was wearing that night.

If there’s a legal bearing on when or if fear comes in to play in sexual assault cases, and Lea was asking about the legal ramifications, I suppose that would be another thing, but in some or most of the posts, I didn’t see her phrase it that way.

On the one hand, if  in some comments, you insist you are siding with the victim of the story, but then every fourth, 23rd, or 17th post (over two posts on the same story) you are doing things such as,

  • asking about the victim’s level of fear,
  • or did the victim have any have fear at all,
  • and musing aloud if the victim had fear at one specific point in time vs. another point in time,

-it does come across as though you victim blaming in some vague way.

It looks as though you’re nit picking her story to find problems with it, so you can catch her in a lie and give Andy Savage the all-clear.

It looks as though you are implying that if the victim did not have fear at all, or, if the victim only had a “type” of fear (one that meets your approval?), or, she didn’t have fear until three days after the crime, that you are saying the victim was not quite so innocent, and is also even is partially responsible for having been assaulted.

That may not have been Lea’s intent – perhaps her “fear” based commentary was connected to something else altogether, but just on the face of it, her comments were sending mixed messages.

It’s not my fault that’s how her comments looked.

I wanted to give Lea the benefit of the doubt, because I’ve seen her posts on a frequent enough basis over the past year at TWW blog to believe she stands in support of people who have been taken advantage of by churches or self professing Christians.

I was trying to be diplomatic when I asked her what she meant by her fear-based inquiries.

I just found Lea’s repeated pondering aloud in the comment box about “did the victim have fear and if so what type and when and how much” to sound a lot like people who comment on other sexual abuse cases things such as:

  • “Was the victim drinking alcohol at all, did the victim drink alcohol before, during the meeting with the alleged assailant”
  • “Was the victim wearing a super short, slutty looking mini-skirt with stiletto heels? If she was, she was totally asking to be raped”
  • “Was the victim walking alone down the street at 1.00 am? She was? She should’ve known better. Any woman walking alone at 1 in the morning deserves to be raped”

If your “was she afraid or not, and when, and how much” musings or commentary was not meant to sound victim-blaming, maybe a disclaimer could’ve been put before the “fear” rhetoric.

Your intent was not clear to me, Lea. Your point was not altogether clear, especially as you continued to post about it several times over.

I could not figure out why Lea was so determined to understand if, how, or when the victim had fear, or what “sort” of fear she had.

I also find it irrelevant to the story (unless the person can explain what in the hey it has to do with the news story, then I’ll take their explanation into consideration).

Someone in a comment box asking such questions repeatedly reminds me of the ‘Anal Retentive Chef’ character from Saturday Night Live, who starts out showing you how to do something like bake a casserole…

Only to end up instead wasting the ten minute cooking segment showing you how to clean your skillet, roll your cat into a “kitty burrito” to give her medicine, and stain your wooden patio deck.

(As much as I appreciate your cooking ware and pet care tips – I’m ultimately there for the casserole recipe.

That is not to say I am opposed to any and all commentary that goes a bit off topic on a blog. It would depend on the type of commentary it is and why the person is bringing it up.)

When, in one of my first posts I said to Lea, “You keep asking about X over several posts, and I don’t comprehend what X has to do with the main points of the story,” she shot back with (this is a paraphrase of her comment / attitude, not a verbatim quote),

“I did not ASK about X, I said thus- and- so about X, thank you very much, get off my back, you stinky loser…”

Whoa. Getting very snippy very fast there.

And I had just defended her about two or so weeks prior from Joe Blow the Homeschooling Advocate who was ripping on her.

We’re going to be nit picky and play semantic games in our replies, are we?

Okay, Lea did not put her musings in a question format, so technically, in a grammatical sense, she was not “asking” a question, but she was indicating confusion in more than one post.

She was, I take it, expecting someone to clear the “fear” aspect of the story up for her (when or if did Jules have fear).  Lea was asking a question but without putting a question mark behind it – it’s the same difference.

The whole incident is somewhat reminiscent of the ‘Jeopardy’ game show where you have to put your answers in a question format, or host Alex Trebek tells you to get bent. In this case, someone was in fact making an inquiry but phrasing it without using a question mark.

This is also reminiscent of the time I got into trouble with ex-TWW participant Velour for asking her for clarification.

I couldn’t figure out what Velour was saying (she kept conflating different topics and so on, which I found confusing), then, she snapped at me for asking her ‘why are you getting so angry, I don’t understand your points , and where is the hostility is coming from?’ (I was snapped at in response that -paraphrase again – I ‘hate all alcoholics’ and I ‘am a negative nancy who should get the hell off that blog and shut up.’)

I hope Lea is not turning into a Velour Part 2.

TWW is still the sort of blog where it’s not completely open enough to ask people for clarification.

Knowing that blog as I do, I bet you anything there was at least one other person in those threads who was also confused by Lea’s intent over the “fear” stuff she brought up more than once over two threads and was wondering what she was driving at, but they were either were too apathetic to ask, or too afraid to ask her. I asked and got slapped (metaphorically) upside the head for it.

I’m sorry, but honestly, the way Lea phrased her commentary, yes, some of it looked victim-blaming. That would be on her, not me for finding it confusing. She was the author of those comments, I was just the reader.


I may have said this before on another post here, but I always find it amusing and a little sad that this sort of thing goes down on survivor abuse blogs.

You’d think the last place you’d get your head bit off would be in an environment where people are purportedly there to help people heal over painful religious related abuse and other life difficulties.

You kind of have to already be partially healed to start with and already be a bit of a tough cookie to wade into comment boxes on survivor abuse blogs or you will get run over by other participants on occasion.

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