Basically, it’s the culture, attitudes, comments, and actions that enable sexual assault. Whether it’s victim-blaming, perpetuation of rape myths, attacking survivors, or–
Oh, wait. I have a better idea. Let me show you some of the comments I’ve seen since my article about sexual harassment in SF/F was published over at io9 yesterday.
Content warning for slurs and other garbage.
1. I think there’s a valid conversation to be had about what cosplay is appropriate for wearing about, particularly at conventions that bill themselves as “family friendly.” One convention I attend has a note about adult costumes and activities, with a note that the rest of the con didn’t consent to see your S&M play.
However, that second paragraph basically starts by saying, “If he dresses like that, he’s asking for it.” And that’s just full of Nope.
2. There’s a lot going on in this one, including this woman’s decision that she gets to judge what’s “real” assault and what isn’t, and what the “mentally healthy” reaction should be if you’re harassed. Basically, this kind of attitude encourages victims to remain silent for fear of being judged and ridiculed.
3. But it’s so hard to be a guy! We should be sympathetic with the harassers and abusers and rapists because it’s so hard to get a woman, and apparently we’re all automatically entitled to women’s time and attention or something, I don’t even know. Basically, just some gross and sexist man tears. (Comment comes complete with bonus sexism, gamer stereotypes, and other nonsense.)
4. Yes, this woman is indeed a terrible person. But she does illustrate the double-standards about men being victims of harassment and assault. “Funny enough they usually don’t care.” Even if this were true, that usually means she knows damn well that sometimes they do care. This is someone who enjoys sexually harassing others, and believes she’s entitled to get away with it because of the myths that females can’t be harassers/men can’t be victims.
5. I saved the “best” for last. “How dare you mean people come into my personal community — my ‘safe space’ to harass others — and start demanding to be treated like human beings.” I’m gonna fight for my right to harass women, dammit! You’ll never get away with this!
I blurred out the names because this isn’t about attacking individuals. It’s mostly a reminder that one reason rape, assault, and harassment are so prevalent is because attitudes like this discourage people from speaking up, excuse the behavior of perpetrators, and generally help to perpetuate the problem.