Why Is It Hard To See What’s Wrong Here?

I’d like to share an experience that I think demonstrates why it is so hard to attract and keep women in my field — software development.

I was recently reading a blog about an advanced feature of the Scala programming language and in that blog there was the following snippet of code:

// Usage - thanks to Stanislav Spiridonov for the funny example :)
import scala.concurrent._
import scala.concurrent.ExecutionContext.Implicits.global
val beast = hell.createBeastFor(credentials)
val f: Future[Option[Blood]] = Future {
beast.rape(user)
}

When I saw this, I almost didn’t continue. All I could think was:
1. There’s nothing funny about rape.
2. Thank god I didn’t share this blog with my colleagues without a careful read.

The site that it was posted to allowed comments and I suggested, politely, that as there was nothing funny about rape and that since many of his potential readers might not think so either, he should consider changing “rape” to “attack”.

Here is his response:

Hi Nick. I’ve taken the example from another blog. But, if it hurts you so bad, I will change it tomorrow.
Imho, it is not offensive in any way. The context is clearly sarcastic.

I simply responded that I appreciated that he would change it and left it at that. I don’t know the author from Adam and if he didn’t see why this was an issue, I doubt that I’ll have much luck changing his point of view. I think this is a win, albeit one that I’m not completely comfortable with.

I wish I could say that this was a 1-off incident. But it’s not. I’m sure that many of you can relate similar ones. Should I call him out? Is naming and shaming the way to go? Will it actually change his behavior?

One thing I know: I won’t read his blogs in the future.

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