Crap People Say About Sexual Harassment

From various posts and conversations around the internet…

“If you obviously can’t handle the social interactions at an SF Book con, then perhaps you need to seek some education … I suggest that you never, ever leave the confines of white, educated middle class North American society. In Nigeria and Saudi Arabia they take people like you and kill them with rocks.”

  1. The assumption that “people like you” are treated even worse in some other part of the world does not mean you should just shut up and accept how you’re treated here.
  2. If we’re taking “people like you” to mean “women,” then guess what — white, middle class North Americans kill an obscene number of women too.
  3. I suppose harassment and even assault could technically be defined as “social interactions,” but trying to normalize this kind of behavior and suggest that anyone who isn’t tough enough to take it should just stay away? Yeah, bite me.

“…during my freshman year in college, I knew two women who’d been raped, and a third who was probably raped but was too drunk to know for sure (that was in a fraternity basement).  At the same time, I never heard about a woman being raped at a con.”

  1. See response 1, above. The fact that you perceive things to have been worse at your college does not, by definition, mean that things at a con are all fine and dandy.
  2. The fact that you’ve never heard of a woman being raped at a con does not mean it’s never happened. (It may just mean you’re not paying attention.)

“There are several Learning Disorders and Behavior Disorders that affect a man’s ability to understand body language … Some guys are just creeps but some have a true social disorder.”

  1. I should ask my therapist about this one, because I’m very curious what kind of social disorder causes a man to:
    • Selectively target women to invade their personal space and touch them without permission.
    • Ignore verbal boundaries set by women, but pick up on the unstated message right away when a man steps in to “protect” the woman.
    • Maintain socially normal relationships with men and with women who aren’t in his “target” demographic.
  2. See Rose Lemberg’s post “Enough with the Aspie Bit Already!”

“Is flirting at cons now forbidden? When does flirting become harassment?”

  1. Things people should have learned in kindergarten:
    • Respect.
    • Keep your hands to yourself.
    • No means no.
  2. If you seriously can’t tell the difference between flirting and harassment, I strongly suggest you do neither until you’ve worked that out.

“Is a convention committee obligated to provide a Utopian space throughout the convention? Should the convention committee have some sort of thought and action police, empowered to pull badges at the merest whisper of complaint?”

  1. No. Which is why nobody’s asking for this.
  2. Does anyone else think that equating a space where there are rules against harassment, and those rules are enforced to some kind of impossible Utopia is just depressing as hell?

“Their eagerness to see and punish harassment worries and befuddles me.”

  1. And your eagerness to ignore and accept harassment terrifies me.