This time it’s Genevieve Valentine talking about her experience at Readercon.
Do me a favor, guys? Read her post. Reread these points that she makes at the end:
- A brief conversation is not an opportunity to try your luck.
- When someone moves away from an overture you are making? You are done.
- When someone indicates something you have said makes them uncomfortable and then turns their back on you? You are done.
- When someone turns to you and tells you in no uncertain terms that you are not to touch them again and moves off at speed? You are so incredibly done.
- And when you have offended a woman with boundary-crossing behavior, you do not get to choose how you apologize.
- If a woman has indicated you are unwelcome (see above, but also including but not limited to: lack of eye contact, moving away from you, looking for other people around you, trying to wrap up the conversation), and especially if a woman has told you in any way, to any degree, that you are unwelcome, your apology is YOU, VANISHING.
In other words? Respect people’s boundaries, dammit!
And understand that your intentions don’t matter here. The fact that you think you’re a nice guy doesn’t matter. The fact that you’re sure you’d never actually assault a woman doesn’t matter. The fact that you don’t think you’re harassing or stalking someone doesn’t matter.
Yeah, it sucks when someone says you’re making them uncomfortable. You feel hurt. You feel misunderstood. But your hurt feelings don’t justify the continued violation of someone else’s boundaries. If you’re feeling hurt, go talk to a friend. Go vent in a locked LJ post. What you don’t do is keep harassing the other person to try to change their mind, nor do you get to argue and tell them why their feelings are wrong.
If you actually care about the fact that this person feels uncomfortable, and you want them to stop feeling that way? Change the behavior that’s making them feel uncomfortable.
In most cases, this means leaving them the hell alone.
This has been your cranky rant for the day.