One Consequence of Creeping
One of the reasons guys harass women is that they can. Their actions get excused as harmless flirting, or simply, “Bob being Bob.” The target of their aggression, whether it’s unwanted physical contact, stalking them around a convention, focusing unwanted attention and commentary on her body, or whatever, has generally been conditioned to not raise a fuss. If she does say something, she’s told she’s overreacting, or looking for reasons to be offended, or simply to lighten up.
So much of the time, the harassment appears to go unchecked.
But you know what? Fandom is a fairly small, interlinked community. People in fandom tend to know each other. Take a purely hypothetical situation where you, a random writer, were harassing a woman at a convention. Maybe she didn’t say anything to you. But–hypothetically speaking–she might have said something to a friend later, warning that friend about you. They might have started keeping an eye out for you, watching each others’ backs and passing the word.
They might even have mentioned what happened to someone like me.
I admit, I sometimes have to fight my own White Knight syndrome, the desire to charge out on my horse and smite creeps like you from our ranks. But of course, I didn’t witness what happened. And this was told to me in confidence. The only reason I’m talking about it here is that it happens so often that there’s no way to identify the specific person–the specific people–I’m talking about. Heck, just at ConFusion, I’m aware of at least three different instances of this kind of crap happening to people, and unfortunately, that’s not unusual.
If you’re worried that the creeper I’m talking about might be you, well, that seems like something you really need to sit down and think about.
I won’t get the rapier out of storage and go on a smiting spree. Nor will I call down the Wrath of the Internet to publicly shame you.
On the other hand, I get a fair number of review copies from various publishers. And what do you know, I recently noticed that you were the author of one of those review copies. Yes you, the same dude who was creeping on a friend of mine. What a fascinating coincidence, eh?
Guess which book will never get reviewed on my blog.
Guess which author will never get a retweet, a linkback, or any kind of promotion from me whatsoever.
I may not have the biggest following on the internet, but I’ve built up a pretty good readership over the years, and your actions toward this woman–actions you probably didn’t even think about…actions you assumed would have no consequence–have cost you the chance to have your book plugged to thousands of SF/F readers.
It’s a shame, really. And I can’t help but wonder how many potential readers you lost, all because you couldn’t treat a woman with more respect…
Hypothetically speaking, of course.
January 30, 2013 @ 3:53 pm
After your patronising (and grammatically peculiar) “So sayesth” I no longer have any difficulty in believing that otherwise calm and rational people might be driven to yell at you on public transport.
And that’s before we even get onto your leap of illogic from my isn’t it rather more sensible for the person who knows the people involved and the particulars of the allegation to decide how credible he finds it, not go with these “might be mistaken” weasel words? to your Either you think women never misconstrue a man’s intent or that all people who are accused of misdeeds are guilty.
No; I’m suggesting that Mr Hines might have a perfectly good set of reasons for believing his friend’s account including the length of their acquaintance, how reliable he’s found her in the past, what else he knows or has been told about the creeper in question and the specifics of the allegation.
January 30, 2013 @ 4:12 pm
Well said. I was going to respond last night but realized I was too angry to sound reasonable. You’ve said it all for me. Thanks.
January 30, 2013 @ 4:37 pm
Interesting. At no point did I say that somebody shouldn’t help somebody out. I said they should be aware of the difficulty of sorting out the truth and proceed with caution.
I shouldn’t have brought in my personal examples, since the only possible response to them is personal. I will defend my manager: she handed everyone a pamphlet on the rules changes. She spoke to everybody she knew was a smoker, telling them their was a rule change. Was this a matter of her demonstrating some unknown class privilege or inability to imagine how this might be perceived by somebody with different experiences. Perhaps. Perhaps naïvely, I believe a strong majority of people would want to be notified of policy changes that could cost them their jobs (the penalty for smoking in non-designated areas were extreme since it was a hospital). I’ll let that stand for my personal stories.
Since the rest of your answer involves personal attacks, I’ll just repeat: I called for caution and did not single out Jim. I greatly respect his efforts to make people aware of gender issues, but I have doubts about blacklisting people.
January 30, 2013 @ 4:46 pm
My “So sayeth AJ Hall” was meant to be a humorous variation of “AJ Hall said,”. If you wish to explain how you found that patronizing, please do. Perhaps I’ll learn how to avoid having people yell at me on public transit.
Please note that the sentence you quote was a complex clause: the ending was, “or I miscommunicated.”
In retrospect, my original post was poorly constructed. My examples only muddied my point and made it easy to read that I believe, as KatG put it, “let’s face it, bitches be crazy a lot of the time.” I regret posting the original late at night, having not written it for clarity.
Regarding Mr. Hines: he’s shown tremendous courage with these posts. If he feels I’ve wronged him, I’m sure he can tell me himself.
January 30, 2013 @ 5:43 pm
KatG, I just reread this and it bothers me quite a bit:
“You are making the argument that men might be inconvenienced or hurt by the crazy women folk, and therefore all women should put up with harassment unless it happens in front of other people and can be proved in a court of law, because the possibility of the man being in a sticky situation from his behavior is more important than whether or not the woman is victimized.”
What bothers me isn’t your misreading of my argument (although, I must admit, that’s annoying), but the idea that one group of people deserve punishment in place of evidence. You seem to be arguing that one group of people should be punished for suspicion of a misdeed because of other members of their group have done those misdeeds.
I find that chilling and it has nothing to do with my race, sex or gender. I understand harassment is a serious, real issue and people who care about women (or just people in general) want to find a solution. I support that. But where I part company is where we begin to disregard guilt and innocence in the name of solving the problem. Of course we can’t have perfect evidence. But if we throw off caution, we don’t get justice, nor do we get a solution to the problem.
Harassement is a form of bullying. Bullying is best stopped by making people aware of what is and preventing it from being acceptable. When we see bullying, we—anybody who cares about other people—need to stand up and say no. Saying nothing does nothing. An author who doesn’t get a review won’t know why, and without knowing why, won’t have any additional empathy nor social pressure to change.
The reason I have such respect for Jim C. Hines is that he works tirelessly at educating people. That’s the path that has the pay-off.
Jim C. Hines
January 30, 2013 @ 7:06 pm
In the past month, Mr. Hines has read comments about how he should cut off his own dick, and how the mere sight of his flesh has caused people to gouge their own eyes out. (I’m pretty sure the latter was joking, though.)
Nothing in this thread has come close to making me feel wronged 😉
Jim C. Hines
January 30, 2013 @ 7:10 pm
“All that is probably true,* but blackballing an author who is on such a path won’t change his or her behavior—if you don’t know you’re being punished, you won’t know that changing your behavior would change the outcome.”
This is probably true. However, publicly stating that this is my policy might change the behavior of other authors, or at least encourage them to think a little more about what they’re doing. It also helps me and others to support those authors who do, to the best of my knowledge, treat others with respect. Finally, I hope it allows me to express support and perhaps solidarity with those people who’ve had to endure this kind of creepy behavior.
January 31, 2013 @ 3:36 am
Why, as a matter of interest, do you characterise it as a “personal attack” when a poster simply points out to you that you may have misconstrued a particular situation, when your entire thesis in this thread has been that women need to realise that they can misperceive, misunderstand and misconstrue, sometimes with horrific results when it comes to sexual harassment?
I have to say, actually, that I personally find it somewhat difficult to misconstrue what a man has in mind if he puts his hand up one’s skirt or down one’s blouse and, when one moves away from his vicinity several times, follows one and repeats the gesture, but in the spirit of openess I’m prepared to concede that it is at least possible that he has simply mislaid his cigarettes, believes one is concealing them in the more intimate parts of one’s anatomy and if one will just sit still and let him frisk one, once he’s satisfied himself that they are not in fact concealed there the two of you can go back to discussing the decline of the Western economy, no harm, no foul.
But if women shouldn’t be offended by being told they’ve misconstrued scenarios like the above as aggressive sexual harassment crossing the borders into assault, why on earth should you get all put out about the possibility that your comments on an internet thread might be misconstrued as “bitches be crazy”? Sauce for the goose sauce for the gander, no?
January 31, 2013 @ 3:42 am
London Crockett: “At no point did I say that somebody shouldn’t help somebody out.”
I never said you did. You did seem to be saying that Jim should help the author even though his friend informed him the author had harassed her and other friends of hers he knows further observed this author’s behavior, and despite the fact that authors are under no obligation to help each other promotionally. So basically what I said was you were saying that people should always do favors for harassers because they might be wrongfully accused harassers. Which you kind of were, but I don’t think you really realized that’s how it was coming out.
“I said they should be aware of the difficulty of sorting out the truth and proceed with caution.”
The assumption there again is that being cautious would not have occurred to Jim, but instead he’d rush right out and not do favors for this author. Which would be just way more horrible than his friend getting harassed. The thing you do not seem to be getting is that when you guys start talking about caution, blacklisting, crazy women who make false accusations or overreact, etc., you are saying the exact same thing that these harassers say about the women they’ve victimized, even if there were twenty witnesses. And that the reality is that even if the woman is believed about harassment and has witnesses, very little is likely to happen to the guy, while the woman, even if she is believed, will be endlessly victimized further by well-meaning folk who are way more worried about the guy who harassed her than anything that happens to her. This is again part of the ingrained culture that women don’t own their bodies and sexuality and therefore may be lying or mistaken, and so women should put up with harassment and not speak out unless it is very, very bad, on the faint chance a guy might be uncomfortably confronted about his actions. You are contributing to the culture that coerces women into enduring and staying silent about harassment because the cost of making the accusation (which is assumed in most cases to be false,) is way too high. So here’s a tip: stop talking about caution to women (and men who help them,) as if caution weren’t the watchword of every woman’s life.
“I will defend my manager” — Since you are completely unwilling to find out anything about the black woman’s experiences, you really don’t know whether your manager screwed up or not. You don’t know how she talked to this woman or how she’s talked to her in the past, and even if you think there wasn’t a problem with it, again the black woman has to live in a very different world than you do and put up with stuff on a daily basis that you are unlikely to ever really understand. Maybe she overreacted, but given the enormous potential of losing her job by making a complaint, maybe she had more grounds than you are aware of. That doesn’t mean the manager is an awful person either. It means that it is indeed complicated and maybe you don’t have the answers for everybody’s experiences, especially those of different genders and races. So yeah, you might want to hold off on calling people irrational, especially as that is a stereotypical term used to deride women and non-whites when they complain about prejudicial treatment.
“Since the rest of your answer involves personal attacks,”
None of my post contained personal attacks beyond exasperation. I’m trying to point out that maybe you are not as aware of things and of what you are saying as you think you are. Maybe there’s another viewpoint that you might want to consider, like, say, that your friend could have had a legitimate beef about your behavior towards her that came to a head on that train.
“I called for caution” — which was completely unnecessary “and did not single out Jim.” — you addressed Jim’s behavior directly. “but I have doubts about blacklisting people.” — Jim isn’t blacklisting anyone. People deciding that they don’t want to deal with you or do you favors is not the same thing as a blacklist. By dressing it up as blacklisting or shunning or other melodramatic words of punishment, you are again saying that people should first protect the harasser and be highly skeptical of the victim because she’s probably lying or wrong. You’re also claiming that victims have tons of power in the system and harassers little, which is backwards of reality.
“What bothers me isn’t your misreading of my argument (although, I must admit, that’s annoying), but the idea that one group of people deserve punishment in place of evidence. You seem to be arguing that one group of people should be punished for suspicion of a misdeed because of other members of their group have done those misdeeds.”
Well no, I didn’t say anything of the sort. You were the one who said that you knew women who had committed misdeeds and therefore all women must be viewed with extreme skepticism. (Also, again, you have a very melodramatic notion of what “punishment” harassers actually face when they are accused of harassment, including with multiple witnesses of their behavior. They very seldom are ever punished at all, while the victim is repeatedly punished for speaking up, including by people who say that we should always worry about the harassers first.) Your entire argument is that most women are lying or wrong about being harassed, even though every woman puts up with dozens and dozens of incidents of sexual harassment throughout her lifetime; that we all want to rush off and pummel harassers as soon as a woman opens her mouth without reasonable assessment of what occurred, and that the only time we should believe a woman about harassment is if we actually see it occur ourselves, no matter what other evidence. Which is again exactly the favorite argument sexual harassers use too. You’re scolding us, buddy, on the assumption that we’re eager to be a lynch mob. Which is again exactly the favorite argument sexual harassers use too.
“But where I part company is where we begin to disregard guilt and innocence in the name of solving the problem.” — Which no one was doing, but your assumption that most of us are doing it comes back to that cultural ingrain that says sexual harassment is rare (it’s not,) that women have difficulty determining it (they don’t as they deal with it regularly,) that women should listen to others as to whether they were harassed or not (cause bitches be crazy,) that most acts of harassment don’t have witnesses (most do,) and that the majority are eagerly rushing forward to railroad poor men just caught in a mistake (the opposite is actually true of society,) and that men accused face horrible punishments and social shunning (they don’t and are often rewarded for that behavior which is reinforced throughout the culture.)
“Of course we can’t have perfect evidence.” — And yet, you were insisting we have it, specifically direct eye witness evidence with the woman not trusted at all ever, no matter how well one knows the person, nor other witnesses. If we have not personally witnessed the harassment, we should not believe the woman and should do favors for the harasser, like book reviews. “But if we throw off caution, we don’t get justice, nor do we get a solution to the problem.” — Women don’t get justice for sexual harassment. They get emotional trauma and then sometimes a ton of social scorn and that’s it. And they don’t want justice anyway — they just want the behavior to stop so they can enjoy a frigging convention. Again, you’re putting forth the idea that lynch mobs are common, that men are getting wrongly accused all over the place and horribly punished thereby, which all happens to be statistically wrong. And that is a very large part of the problem, almost as large as the harassment itself.
January 31, 2013 @ 5:28 am
I agree, and yet further down this very thread we get “How could you construe that as patronising? It was just humour.” The idea that there’s some sort of rigid and/or between humour and humiliation implies there are a lot of people out there who’ve never seen a custard pie joke.
January 31, 2013 @ 11:42 am
First, can we leave me out of this? I’ve acknowledged my examples weren’t well chosen. You’re making assumptions about me and how I handle my life that are not in evidence. You don’t know me or the situations I’m talking about well enough to speculate on them individually. If you wish to talk about such situations in general, feel free. If your exasperation is so high that you feel the need to blight my name, send an email to ihateyou@yournotana*holejustacluelesswhiteguy.com. I’ll be sure to check it regularly.
Also, please stop speaking for Jim. This is his blog! He’s already shown that he can pop in and speak for himself.
I’m going to try to summarize my concerns:
1. I am aware of how serious harassment is and respect that Jim—personally—would handle reports to him well. I am also aware of how harassers try to minimize their actions and deflect responsibility onto their victims.
2. Regardless of how harassment has (not) been dealt with in the past, I am uncomfortable with individuals deciding to single out people for punitive action without talking to more than an accuser
3. I don’t think Jim’s solution (beyond proclaiming it—I agree with is logic about that) will change behavior
4. I strongly believe that if we want a better world, we have to do the difficult work of finding solutions that change things, not just do things for the sake of action
5. My concerns would stand regardless of race, gender, sex, sexual orientation, or any other status/identifier queue you want to drop someone in.
As a clarification, my acknowledgement of the lack of perfect evidence was to indicate that I don’t expect anyone to use a court trial to deal with non-criminal actions.
Finally, in regard to AJ Hall’s comments, it is possible that “Creeper” has some specific meaning I’m unaware of. If someone has physically groped you, I call that sexual assault. My discussion has not been about groping.
January 31, 2013 @ 11:43 am
Jim, would you throw a bit more line spacing between paragraphs into your CSS? It’s a bit difficult to read longer comment with the current paragraph spacing.
January 31, 2013 @ 12:29 pm
I’d say that you need to bring your vocabulary up to date. I refer you to Captain Awkward which lists the specific creeper behaviour complained of as including:
Offering to drive my stranded friend home from a party, then informing her that he expected sex as “payment” when he dropped her off; following her to the house after she said no
Sending gross, inappropriate or just plain crass messages over Facebook
Texting my friend about how he’s “jerking off” while thinking about her
Straight-up fondling (fully awake and conscious) girls that he’s just met, or at the very least getting uncomfortably touchy-feely with them
Attempting to have sex with his friend’s girlfriend, on more than one occasion
and John Scalzi giving his incomplete guide to not creeping which includes at point 5 5. Don’t touch. Seriously, man. You’re not eight, with the need to run your fingers over everything, nor do you lack voluntary control of your muscles. Keep your hands, arms, legs and everything else to yourself. This is not actually difficult.
If you seriously have been having this entire conversation on the assumption that unwanted touching of a sexual nature isn’t part of what people include in the blanket term “creeping” what did you think the hypothetical bloke had hypothetically done?
January 31, 2013 @ 1:15 pm
My operating assumption was that a creeper was a sexualized creep. In other words, somebody who stalks, who won’t let somebody out of a conversation that he’s made sexual, violations of personal space, and any inappropriate sexualized behavior (gestures, texting, messages, etc.).
At the risk of giving KatG more license to drag my personal life into her discussions… One of my personal shames is that when I was in high school (15, or so), an older guy I was vaguely friends with told me about taking a girl to an isolated spot and telling her to put out or get out. I didn’t tell him that was rape or just wrong. I didn’t cheer him on, but didn’t do anything to stop him. I regret that quite a bit.
The only way to stop a proto-rapist from becoming a rapist (if it’s possible) is to create an environment where peers know that coerced sex is rape, full stop. I didn’t think about it in those terms until later. Had I identified what he was doing as not just horrible but criminal, I would have at least confronted him. If I had been taught to report such things, I would have gone to the school counselor. I was by no means a brave child, but I had enough of a sense of moral grounding that education could have changed my actions.
This is why I think caution is vital. Harming people for things they didn’t do isn’t only unjust, it causes resentment and backlash. While I suspect this column may make a few people reluctant to misbehave at a con, its the bulk of his work that will help boys make better choices at the point where their peer pressure can change people’s thinking for life.
January 31, 2013 @ 2:53 pm
This is why I think caution is vital. Harming people for things they didn’t do isn’t only unjust, it causes resentment and backlash. While I suspect this column may make a few people reluctant to misbehave at a con, its the bulk of his work that will help boys make better choices at the point where their peer pressure can change people’s thinking for life.
Some responses to hearing about this kind of behavior aren’t about education, legal justice or punishment, which is the point I believe Jim is trying to make, here. An account of this kind of behavior, related by someone who one trusts, along with an understanding of the prevalence of the problem and empathy for the victims of the behavior, will influence one’s feelings and one’s own behavior in response, simply because they will. Behavior influences reputation in every area of life. When people are reminded of this, when they get an “I see what you did there” message from someone whose response could potentially affect them, they may reassess their behavior and they may not. One hopes that they will, but one will feel the way one feels, regardless, and act accordingly. It’s at least as advisable to bear that in mind as is your assertion that one shouldn’t jump to conclusions.
Jim C. Hines
January 31, 2013 @ 4:08 pm
I would, but in all honesty, I don’t have a clue how to do it. I poked around the WordPress theme settings and glanced at some of the CSS code, but couldn’t find anything for comment paragraph spacing. Sorry.
January 31, 2013 @ 5:16 pm
Hmm… I looked at my own CSS, which is a bit of a mess of non-standard tags (must clean up blog, must clean up blog). My p tags don’t have anything creating extra space. I use two returns. My h1, h2, etc., tags have padding-bottom: (pixel value) in them. If your theme has a comments tag, you could try adding it there, but I’m not enough of a CSS monkey to know how that will play in actuality.
Thanks for trying to do it, no matter what the result.
January 31, 2013 @ 5:22 pm
London Crockett: “First, can we leave me out of this?” — Oh goody, it’s the this woman criticized me so she’s clearly irrational and overreacting and hates me and men in general response. You dragged yourself into it; trying to assert that I shouldn’t address what you said is an attempt to deflect from considering anything that I’ve said about what women deal with on the grounds that I’m making you feel bad. Which is the argument that women get a lot regarding sexual harassment and women’s issues — you’re making me feel bad so shut up and stop making me feel like I’m the bad guy. You’re not the bad guy; you’re a guy who is shoving his male privilege around and then sputtering when he’s called on it. You want to scold everybody here, but land sakes if we scold you back or simply ask you to consider stepping out of your own viewpoint for a sec.
Women have been dealing with all forms of sexual harassment for, oh, FOREVER. Some men in only some parts of the world decided that this was an actual problem only thirty, maybe sort of forty years ago, and that mostly because women kept saying the exact same things I’ve been saying to you while being called irrational or bitches. Washington state in the U.S. is only now debating — debating mind you — removing the law that says marital rape isn’t actually rape. And the help that is being offered to us from a lot of perfectly nice guys is that we have no real understanding of what harassment is and they’ll explain it to us, and that we should be very careful if we say anything about anything we go through. Because surely we women are planning to horribly condemn tons of men through hearsay and stick them in camps and not let them have pudding, or something. Or because we’ll make the harasser feel so bad that he’ll turn right around and become an even worse harasser and it will be all our fault.
Any group of women will be giving you solidly large numbers when you ask: how many times have you been groped in public? How many times have you been touched inappropriately by strangers in public? How many times has a man pressed his body against you in public? How many times have men said aggressive sexual and crude things to you in public? How many times have men followed you or come over to you and forced you to talk to them or backed you into a corner of a room in public? How many times has this happened to you when you were over the age of thirty? How many times has a man gotten angry, insulting and threatening when you’ve complained about his behavior or simply tried to walk away, in public? How many times have others, even if there are witnesses, told you that you misunderstood and the harassment wasn’t harassment? How many times have you been told that X woman did or said this or was seen as doing something and therefore, you and most women may be completely wrong/lying/hysterical, and should not get so worked up about this harassment thing? How many times have you had to explain to men and women that sexual assault includes more than rape and that many actions that they think are non-criminal and no big deal are actually criminal? How many times have you ended up getting death and rape threats over the Internet because people know you complained about being harassed or complained about sexual harassment in general? Because all of this happens to women all the time. Some of it is happening now in this conversation on the reactions front.
The reality is that if you sexually harass me, most of the time, I will or will have to let you get away with that crap. On the rare occasions when a woman complains, even if there are witnesses or many incidents known about the harasser, nine times out of ten, the harasser will get away with that crap. On the tenth instance where the claim is taken seriously, the harasser usually will get a “punishment” that consists entirely of a stern talking to or being asked to leave an event. And yeah, that includes groping a woman in front of witnesses. And the woman who has raised the complaint will be told sternly not to push the complaint further — often because it would inconvenience the harasser and make him look bad to others or inconvenience others having to deal with it — and faces actual shunning, endless interrogations about whether she’s really sure she was harassed, and again possibly rape and death threats for complaining. And no matter how many instances of sexual harassment women talk about, there are still others who explain that they don’t really know what harassment is and therefore should be careful even privately talking to friends about it because the important thing is to protect the person and reputation of the harasser, not that of the victim. What makes you uneasy is that Jim might have believed a woman he knows and her friends who observed the guy’s behavior and decided that he’s not doing favors for this person, who is not named or being punished in any way by any authority. What makes you uneasy is that a woman might be seen as credible about harassment. What doesn’t make you uneasy is that a professional author harassed a woman at this convention, which is something that happens to women all the time and is so unpunished that women have to form informal networks to warn other women about dangerous guys. And further, you’re so sure that it’s never occurred to women that they have to be careful about this whole issue that you’ll just gently instruct them to be so. Oh, and admonish me for talking for Jim, which I didn’t do. I talked about your criticism of Jim.
We are arguing with you not because we’re hysterical and again for the umpteenth time not because we think you’re a bad guy. We’re arguing with you because you’re making assumptions that don’t align with facts and mansplaining up the ying-yang. And you were the one who made the conversation about you and keeps making it about you. I certainly like having conversations with men about these issues without them making it about themselves, but it’s rare. So I will concede the argument so that Jim doesn’t have to keep moderating it. I’ve made my points; maybe some day you’ll consider them.
January 31, 2013 @ 5:56 pm
You and I have a philosophical disagreement about the nature of justice and appropriate measures to take in the face of a continuing tragedy that substantially harms many women. We do not disagree that creeping is harmful. We do not disagree that it happens and that victims have difficulty finding help or justice. We differ in how cautious people should be in pursuing their own justice.
I have striven to be polite and respond only to arguments in a non-personal manner (except for noting personal attacks). I’ve laid out a gender-neutral set of concerns, expressed sympathy and understanding of harassment and acknowledged that my initial examples were poorly chosen. As you and AJ Hall pointed out areas where I had communicated poorly, I have worked to clarify my positions, editing out my sometimes snarky initial responses.
Yet, no matter how conciliatory and polite I am, you continue to insult me, make wildly untrue assumptions about me, my ethics and my capacity to understand others. You ignore most of my points and harangue me on things I acknowledged were poorly chosen examples. In short, you are a bully. You appear amply armored against such charges, ironically, much in the same way the men you loathe do. I am categorically, absolutely NOT making an equivalency between your poor behavior and the despicable crimes of creepers. But the path towards a lack of empathy starts by people not being called out for their words. I formally call you out.
I don’t believe further communication will be helpful to you, me, or anyone still reading this woeful thread. If you wish to contact me, I’ve provided an email address above you may send hate mail, mash notes and bicycle maintenance tips to.
Have a wonderful day, full of smiles and joy.
January 31, 2013 @ 6:51 pm
As someone who has tried to stay out of this discussion because your wording constantly made me see red due to tone and choice of words used I can honestly say that you might want to print off this entire discussion, sit down with a female you trust to be truthful, and have her help you see where you went wrong so if you enter similar discussions in the future you might be able to get your point across. You might try this post for advice on communicating on the Internet http://tasha-turner.com/intelligent-poster/ .
You seem to imply that those talking about the issue are possibly going to be wrong about who is an abuser and don’t take into consideration the harm that such allegations might cause said accuser. Again read what was written by you & only you with a female friend (or better your mom/grandmother/sister) and see if after they read your comments they can tell you what you were saying and that it does not fall into “knowing better than women” or condescending or insulting.
I can assure you that it is the rare women indeed who does not take time to consider the situation before saying something.
Either you give Jim credit for being smart or you think he is easily duped by a woman who “just misunderstood” something. Me I tend to believe Jim is not only smart but based on the education he has and things he has done I’m very confident that Jim is able to make good decisions when a female friend comes to him claiming to have been harassed/stalked/etc. Checking into someone’s background before cautioning/advising them in their own home/blog is usually a good idea.
Unless more men like Jim get involved in this and take steps to stop or at least not support the abusers women will continue to not be safe anywhere because we know most of the time we won’t be believed.
May you find peace and blessings and the women you care for see compassion and able to get the help they need if they are ever abused/harassed/stalked/raped. Have you seen the figures for how frequently a woman is sexually or physically abused? Do you realize if you know a dozen women chances are at least 4 of them have been abused? Do you know who those women are among your friends and family? If yes, than that is the women to ask for help in writing posts/comments on this topic. If not, why not?
January 31, 2013 @ 6:54 pm
Just when I thought you couldn’t get more awesome. Bless.
Christine A. Hook
January 31, 2013 @ 8:49 pm
I wish there were more respectful men like you out there, who were not afraid to stand up and show it. Thanks for writing!
January 31, 2013 @ 11:59 pm
Thank you for replying cordially. I had dinner with a female friend and talked about it. She didn’t read what I wrote (we weren’t going to bring out an iPhone at the bar), but I had to convince her it was possible I wrote something as misguided as you seem to believe I have. It’s possible I presented my words too kindly (she did agree, as do I, that my initial examples were mistakes that could only cause problems).
Insomuch as I can tell, this is not a disagreement about whether women are harassed, or that I think women make things up You’re confusing me for somebody else if you think so. If my poor examples are at fault, I apologize. If my writing has been worse than I believe, I regret it. But I am well aware of all the statistics you’re likely to bring to bear and none of it matters to my point.
The difference between me and the people who have posted responses to me is that I believe that punishing innocent people is worse than letting offenders get away with crimes. Many people don’t believe that, or believe than in measured doses. (Even I’m not an absolutist about it, but clearly my inclinations are much stronger than the respondees).
No amount of horrific crimes on the part of individuals will change my belief that we must work diligently to fight against misunderstandings, innuendo, and false punishments. I understand the harm of bullying, both against women and men. I’ve witnessed the damage being a victim of even unintentional harassment. I know rape victims and the sometimes lifelong suffering they experience. You may disagree with me, but if you want to engage me in debate, challenge my ideas. Tell me why an innocent person should suffer to save another innocent person from harm.
I hate that I live in a world where people are bullied and harassed; I hate that there is no good solution to preventing a jerk at a con from ruining a woman’s experience or worse; I also hate that my government imprisoned people without charge and tortured them. I hate that men and women sit in jail, abandoned by many of their friends and families due to false convictions.
I do sincerely appreciate your attempt to address me calmly and compassionately. I hope that whatever red you’ve seen has turned into something beautiful
February 1, 2013 @ 1:55 am
The problem that a lot of us may have when confronted with someone whose first response to a post like this is “Whoa, there, partner! This alleged abuse may not even have happened! Think very carefully before you base any sort of action on this report, because the guy might not have done it!” is that there are way, WAY more guys who have done it than there are guys who have been accused of doing it but who haven’t. It’s much, MUCH more likely that the villain of a piece isn’t a crazy, vindictive bitch who makes false accusations against men for fun but an evil, predatory asshole who hurts women, because there really are many more of those out there. There are also way more of those predatory assholes running around cons and other spaces, hurting women, without consequences than ever have been or ever will be slapped on the wrist by reluctant con-comms or other groups. There are also many more women who have been hurt by these men and who haven’t come forward than those who have, and the reason for that, in part, is because of people who are more interested in creating a safe space for the accused than they are for the accuser. Part of that protection of the accuser involves insisting that everyone remember that he may not be guilty, because she may be making it up or may not be qualified to determine whether she’s been victimized or not, when she’s actually the only one who IS qualified to know that. Immediately insisting that everyone in the convo remember that he may not be guilty (and especially without any knowledge of the incident that’s being discussed) says a number of things that people are likely to take issue with: That she may be lying, crazy or stupid; that people who hear her report and form an opinion are likely to lack the discrimination or the inclination to consider whether her story is likely to be true before making that judgement; that even the remote possibility that that her story isn’t true is more important than the much less remote possibility that it is; that the worst outcome in a situation where few if any people not directly involved CAN know as well as the victim does whether a report is true is that someone should form a negative opinion of an accused that isn’t warranted, rather than that a man may be or become a serial offender or that his crimes may escalate because he never receives any consequences for his behavior. Protecting offenders creates an environment where offenders thrive and incidents and crimes multiply. Wanting everyone, even those who know the reporter well, to doubt the report and never deliver, or express the intent to deliver, consequences as your addition to a discussion of this type does more than offend participants of the discussion who’ve been hurt by offenders (and those who care about those victims), it supports a culture that makes it easier for offenders to offend. THAT’S the worst possible outcome, not that Jim should choose not to promote someone’s work.
February 1, 2013 @ 2:20 am
(That should be “Part of that protection of the accused”, not accuser; it’s very late here.)
February 1, 2013 @ 2:52 am
Your position, if I may put it this way, is a perversion of the rule of law, respect for which is one of the fundamental underpinnings of a safe and just society.
Yes, the presumption of innocence is a corner-stone of the rule of law. But “presumption” is all it is; that is, someone is considered innocent until proved guilty. And proof has different standards. To prove someone guilty of a criminal charge requires proof beyond reasonable doubt; to prove someone liable in a civil matter requires proof on the balance of probabilities. But The law is a blunt instrument and you can’t expect every single social interaction you have to be subject to a lawsuit before you allow yourself to act.
I am pretty certain, incidentally, that you probably are fully accustomed to making business and personal decisions based on a far lower standard of proof than you’ve been urging on everyone here. If, for example, someone comes into your office looking rough and says, “I had a hell of a weekend, you know that new Italian that’s opened on the corner? Me and my wife ate there on Friday and we’ve been vomiting ever since” do you immediately rush out and book a table there? And if not, why not? After all, you’ve only got the word of an accuser to go on, and you claim to hate misunderstandings and false punishments.
If you had ever shown an sign of realising that the women attending cons where creepers are allowed to run rampant are innocent victims who are being punished by non-action and try to put forward some constructive suggestions as to how their rights are to be protected you might have had an easier ride, but “Being sexually assaulted sucks but so does Guantanamo Bay, so suck it up and deal” doesn’t cut the mustard as a constructive approach to curbing sexual harassment.
Jim C. Hines
February 1, 2013 @ 8:00 am
Assuming that the woman is guilty of lying/”misunderstanding”/blowing things out of proportion tends to be the default for a lot of people. It gets old fast.
February 1, 2013 @ 8:26 am
So, too, do the constant demands for “more” and “better” evidence, especially when it’s always accompanied by arbitrary decisions to rule out large swathes of the evidence of guilt on the grounds that it comes from untrustworthy sources eg the victims. This was highlighted in the recent BBC scandal about Jimmy Savile, when a Newsnight investigation into the Jimmy Savile abuse allegations was dropped and, in a damning trail of emails, one of the management team behind the decision to drop it used the phrase “our sources so far are just the women” – all of whom had already, independently of each other, made complaints to the police. It emphasises what a huge burden of institutionalised assumptions women carry when making complaints of harassment or sexual abuse.
February 1, 2013 @ 11:25 am
CC, Jim, AJ Hall: I want to be clear that from the beginning, my purpose has been to sound a note of caution, not enforce a standard of justice. I don’t have the answer as to what the proper balance of protecting the victims vs. ensuring nobody is further made a victim. Nor have I tried to undermine the notion that women making such accusations need to be taken very seriously. Perhaps I failed in communicated that.
AJ Hall, “if I had ever shown a sign…and try to put forth constructive suggestions…” please reread my posts. I don’t believe either is lacking. I regret you didn’t post that comment initially. My comments were unintentionally, but certainly, colored by the sense of being attacked personally. I tried to be dispassionate and polite, but your post would have focused me directly on the philosophical and pragmatic issues at hand.
Beyond my concerns about protecting the innocent when pursuing the guilty, I am concerned that silent punishment is a tactically poor choice. The people who can be changed by peer pressure and awareness experience neither when they are secretly denied reviews and their names silently circulated among those who consider themselves crusaders against sexual harassment.
When you combine a punishment that won’t change behavior with a procedure that doesn’t try to ensure there hasn’t been a misunderstanding, you, by my standards, are more likely to end up on the wrong end of the balance of justice.
The only solution I can think of that can change creeper behavior at cons is speaking out. Jim does a fantastic job here of fighting that fight, both humorously and seriously. At conferences, its the duty of all attendees to call people on bullying. I know that a lot of creeps don’t take well to being called out and I certainly understand if a a victim choses to walk away. Unfortunately, I can’t think of anything else that will change the culture that makes creep feel entitled or justified than calling them out when they act. If you’ve got better ideas, have at it.
I’m off to find Pancho Sanchez and continue my little ride. Enjoy the rest of your days.
February 1, 2013 @ 12:13 pm
Yes; as a woman who’s been dealing with this since childhood, I know.
February 1, 2013 @ 12:36 pm
We are clear that, from the beginning, you’ve been trying to “sound a note of caution”. We’ve been trying to tell you that we don’t WANT your note of caution, that your note of caution is BAD, that your note of caution is PART OF THE PROBLEM, but you won’t hear anyone tell you that. Perpetrators live in a comforting habitat built largely out of notes of caution sounded by people like you, while victims suffer in the vacuum of your doubt. Perps have all the consideration they need, and more; our culture is overflowing with concern for the well being of the accused. No one needs to be reminded to consider the poor predators, but people do need to be urged to consider and BELIEVE the victims. Your note of caution not only isn’t needed, it’s causing damage.
We’ve tried to explain this to you repeatedly, that Jim and others who hear and act on reports are ALREADY aware of everything you’ve said because they’re intelligent, discerning people, and that this post isn’t about punishment but IS about natural (and needed) consequences. You can’t think of anything else that will change the culture that enables creeps to hurt women? That’s what posts like Jim’s are about–changing the culture from your note of perp-protecting caution to one of believing the victim and acting on those beliefs. We’ve moved past your note of caution; we’ve evaluated and considered and decided on the side of victims. You aren’t Sancho Panza, tilting at the windmills of culture, you’re a rape apologist, you’re part of the cultural problem. You’ll be treated like part of the problem everywhere you sound this victim-doubting note, which you will no doubt continue to do because you appear to have been deafened by it.
February 1, 2013 @ 2:03 pm
Well said, all of that.
Not merely that but when LC has been asked – over and over again – why he has any reason to suspect that caution is not being applied here he’s dodged the question.
Furthermore, further up the thread LC has explained that his approach to caution is so extreme that even when a rapist admitted a rape to him in high school it didn’t occur to him either to identify it as a rape or to do a damn thing about it (including mention to the authorities that his mate might present something of a threat to the girls in the school). Now I gather he feels bad about that doing that now (how many more women has his schoolfriend gone on to rape?) but it doesn’t seem to have registered even now that inertia is the enemy here, not lack of caution.
February 1, 2013 @ 3:40 pm
I just want to thank everyone who has done such great clear headed, intelligent, to the point posting about this, especially in response to LC and Rob B. I know if I try to list you all I’ll miss someone 🙂
I’d only add that a beautifully perfect and perfectly horrible illustration of why women don’t report (and even how the law in the US was supposed to work, though I think we may have improved a tiny bit since, but I wouldn’t bet on it) are the confirmation hearings of Clarence Thomas and especially Anita Hill, who is one of my heroes. She didn’t come forward originally because she knew what would happen but when it became so important, she did and what happened was exactly what she expected. Especially her integrity being questioned. And Long Dong Silver and a pubic hair on a coke can are pretty damn hard to miss as instances of sexual harassment.
I’ll say again ’cause I can’t help myself. Women are already so damn cautious they will not come forward without eyewitnesses (even though a corroborating witness is all that is required in sexual harassment cases). And most women will just withdraw from whatever situation rather than come forward because they would be insulted, hounded, threatened, and probably blacklisted if they do.
Clarence Thomas is a supreme court justice. How much more cautious should we be?
February 1, 2013 @ 4:32 pm
I hate being wrong. There’s a point where maybe you could change your mind, but the person whose complained has done so with personal attacks—I can ignore that. Another person says you’re doing something wrong, but then tells you that your unusual word-choice means that people should yell at you on the train—no need to bail from my position for that. Then come the other people who think you’re wrong, but you’re dug in. But finally, the tide is so great, you have to reconsider. CC’s 12:36 post was that moment for me.
CC is correct: I was arrogant. I walked by a conversation and assumed my concerns hadn’t been already discussed. I was dispassionate to the point of being tone-deaf. I retreated into logic and philosophy without thinking about the place and history. And I was insensitive to people who feel passionately because these issues aren’t something that happened to a friend or acquaintance, but to them.
I apologize to those I’ve offended and hurt.
CC, there’s one point you made which I hope you’ll forgive me from diluting my apology by commenting on. You said, “…our culture is overflowing with concern for the well being of the accused.” This may be true in the case of sexual harassers, but I hope you’ll take some time and examine how American culture’s thirst for vengeance has made showing sympathy for even rape victims in prison difficult. Our criminal justice system does not harm just the perpetrators, but the families and communities they come from and return to. The severity of our laws undermine the safety of the people who are yet to be victims by taking resources away from stopping the people most likely to commit crimes. This isn’t just philosophical noodling—it’s real lives that are being severely damaged, including children whose parents have made (or not made, in some cases) mistakes.
AJ Hall, you can loathe me as you wish. You don’t know me except in a forum where I’ve behaved badly. However, you make a tactical error when you bring up someone’s confession of childhood mistakes to make a point of educating others so that others don’t repeat the mistake. Boys need adults and their peers to tell them harassing is wrong. If you shame men from ever admitting their errors, the most powerful voice a boy will have is taken away from them. Hate me if you want, but please don’t shame people like that.
Again, my apologies to those I’ve offended and thank you to those who persisted in showing me that I was being arrogant and overly concerned with intellectual noodling.
February 1, 2013 @ 5:23 pm
LC, I appreciate your willingness to reevaluate your views and to say so; I do think that in future you might consider leaving out the Parthian shots and references to tactics when apologizing, as they tend to make you appear to have been (and still be) playing a game, one which you’re still determined to win, at least a little bit. We’re not jousting, here; those of us who are advocating for victims are very serious about what we’re saying. It’s not a game to us, and the subject is far more important than an individual’s ego. It’s not about winning, it’s about being heard and understood.
I don’t feel the need to take any time out to examine “America’s thirst for vengeance”, and I’m not sure why you assume that I should. Wanting to help victims of sexual harassment and assault as opposed to protecting the perpetrators from consequences and wanting to ensure that those who have been convicted of crimes are dealt with humanely are two very different issues, and the second is not part of this discussion. Nor can you deduce my position on the humane treatment of convicts from my stand on the humane treatment of the victims of abuse, and I would find it insulting that you would assume that you can, but I recognize that you’re still flailing a bit in defense of your ego and are grasping at points to fling back at me as you gallop away, so I won’t bother.
February 1, 2013 @ 6:14 pm
CC, I couldn’t figure out any way to detach my other comments from my apology. If I had been clever enough, I would have done so.
You’re right, this isn’t about winning. It’s about solutions. The only thing I have to offer at this point is a recognition that sexual harassment and assault are not isolated from the the conditions, social and physical, men find themselves in society. Men won’t stop harassing unless they’re taught not to. That means getting rid of shame for people who are willing to admit to having been wrong and are willing to offer useful help. That doesn’t mean letting men off because they plea, “I just want to help.” But if somebody wants to turn their errors into learning, embrace that. If they haven’t quite figured out what the right lesson is, help them get there.
It doesn’t effect the overwhelmingly white and middle class con environment* much, but our criminal justice system has a huge impact on how men behave outside of prison. As such, it significantly influences how women are treated—not just by ex-offenders, but by everybody they interact with. Out culture isn’t overflowing or even trickling concern for the well-being of the accused. This may just me flailing to salve my ego, but the words I’ve just used originated as yours. Perhaps, just maybe, there is something there for you to consider.
Everybody needs to pick the battles they want to fight. Even If yours don’t extend to my concerns, I appreciate your dedication to where you’ve planted your flag.
*This is at least my (limited) experience of cons. I don’t recall hardly any people of color at the ones I’ve been too.
"Orange Mike" Lowrey
February 1, 2013 @ 7:14 pm
“overwhelmingly white and middle class con environment*
*This is at least my (limited) experience of cons. I don’t recall hardly any people of color at the ones I’ve been to”
Lord-a-mercy, what cons have you been going to? Not Chattacon, or WisCon, or Potlatch, or Readercon, or any ICON (not even the Iowa one) or Worldcons …. I can’t think of any cons I bother going to that fit that description.
February 1, 2013 @ 7:15 pm
No, LC, men at cons don’t harass women because men in prison get raped (because America doesn’t care about them) and then are released back into society where they teach all men, including con-going men, to disrespect and assault women. NO. And the “concession” you make concerning the relative paucity of men of color at cons in relation to this weird idea is frankly appalling. NO. And your entire first paragraph seems to be a thinly veiled plea for us to embrace your “apology” and you, by extension, for making it, which, again, NO.
NO, there is nothing here for me to consider except more NO. Please stop it, LC. Just cut your losses and stop it.
February 1, 2013 @ 8:42 pm
“especially in response to LC and Rob B.” — They’re just trying to figure things out. This is not, as CC noted, a competition. Unfortunately, that can lead to folks insisting that the people who are arguing with them must loathe them and are personally insulting them while calling those people irrational and vicious and referring to that as logic. 🙂 But that’s part of the culture training we all get in life — only if people and especially women talk in dulcet tones about women’s issues, we’re told, will they be listened to (male privilege.) Unfortunately, even if you talk in dulcet tones, it doesn’t necessarily get heard, since these are thorny issues, and the insistence on dulcet tones tends to reinforce the culture of silence. Both Rob B. and LC definitely don’t want women to shut up, but the concerns they raised are about shutting women up and that’s the cross-section that needs to get shifted, bit by bit, in the culture.
Jim’s action with this unnamed person is essentially a choice of friends. It’s the refusal to be buddies with and support someone who is taking advantage of the community where that often happens to act unprofessional and sexually harass, again usually in public. It’s akin to a group of male friends who have one member who their girlfriends complain is harassing and threatening them. And that group of friends can ignore and disbelieve their girlfriends and keep having that guy hang around and do what he wants, or take precautions around him because “Bob is just being Bob” and they have common interests (such as being authors together.) Or they can see their girlfriends as credible and not irrational and stop having him over. You can see this as “shunning” and “punishment” and “revenge” if you like, and insist that the group has to keep being friends with Bob unless they catch him in the act of harming their girlfriends. You can insist that they are responsible for Bob’s behavior and emotional problems and that he’s just a poor boy with social problems and they are in charge of watching him to keep him from getting out of hand like a dog with rabies. Or, you can see it as them protecting the people they love, not tolerating harassment, and making a choice of friends.
It’s not about justice and certainly not about vengeance. Women are never going to get justice for anything, nor is that their goal on this issue. They just want the behavior to stop and to not have to fear for their safety because they are female, (and for that matter, male and transgender victims of harassment want the same thing.) And that’s not going to happen when women are not viewed in the society as full human beings beyond their sexual characteristics or capable of understanding their own experiences — experiences they go through on a regular basis their whole lives — and being credible. That’s not going to happen when the main concern is how Bob the harasser is feeling, if Bob is included or not, and if the woman has been thoroughly interrogated and made to feel ashamed and disbelieved. But there’s an enormous amount of ingrained cultural fear that women speaking up more over harassment means they’re coming in an extremist lynch mob and will sweep up poor, clueless guys on their side in their wake. That if women can actually improve the environment so that harassment is less tolerated, people are more aware and incidents decline — that if the society is more equal, then some men may be uncomfortable and shouldn’t we pay attention to this plight.
And the answer is, in dulcet tones, no, we shouldn’t. Bob will survive. Bob might even stop being a harasser some day, but not if his friends build an environment that is perfectly comfortable for him to keep harassing women so as not to “shame” him while shaming their girlfriends for speaking up. So Jim is saying that this guy will not be his author friend and here are behavioral standards he has for those he is willing to be author friends with. That doesn’t keep Bob from going to cons and promoting his book, although if Bob keeps it up, the con folk might end up throwing him out. But the con folk can also intimidate — and some of them have — women authors and others who speak up about harassment and threaten their careers and expel them. Certainly they usually get shamed for speaking out. And called bullies besides. That’s part of living in a world where sexual harassment is not a one-time thing but a near weekly occurrence if you’re female, and nearly every time you talk about it, specifically or in general, you’re considered to be overreacting.
Jim C. Hines
February 1, 2013 @ 8:45 pm
Actually, that description matches pretty well with most of the conventions I’ve attended. I just pulled up some pics from Worldcon last year, and while it certainly wasn’t an *exclusively* white convention, it was pretty much dominated by white folks. At my most recent convention, the very first panel packed the room for a discussion of inclusion in fandom. One panelist talked about how fandom was colorblind. Another panelist asked how many people in the room were white. Every single person in the audience raised their hand, except for one woman who had come with a panelist … a panelist I believe was invited to come and do this panel specifically because he wasn’t white.
February 2, 2013 @ 1:19 pm
I have a “white knight” illustration story.
So, about 15 years ago, I was driving home from work — as usual, well after dark. Dallas freeways. My tire blew out in a somewhat deserted area just before an interchange; I coasted until I could park under a very bright light, got out with my trusty tire iron, and began to get things done.
Four pickup trucks stopped for me, all driven by men.
Now: remember, deserted Texas road, I’m all by myself, stranger in a pickup truck. I am fully capable of fixing my own tire. I have no broken limbs. I have, in fact, changed OTHER peoples’ tires. I’m simply female, and kind of short. But pretty strong.
The first guy asked me if I needed help, and I told him no, thanks, I’m fine, while continuing what I was doing. He waved and drove off.
The second guy asked the same, and added, “Do you want me to call someone?” Well, no, because I don’t give out phone numbers to strangers, but I thanked him kindly and sent him on his way, and he was good natured.
Ditto Guy #3.
I was in the process of tightening the lug nuts on the newly-replaced tire when a fourth pickup pulled over, a guy got out and began walking toward me without saying a word. I stood up with the tire iron in hand, and he said, “Here, give me that, I’ll fix it.”
I said, “Thank you, but it’s already almost done, I’d rather finish it myself. It’s kind of you to stop to check, but I’m okay.”
He kept coming. Didn’t pause. I backed up until I was very clearly in the light and visible from any cars driving by, and he said, “Just give me the tire iron and I’ll get it done in no time.”
I said, “Thanks, but I don’t know you, and I’d rather you moved on. I just don’t feel comfortable right now.”
He then began screaming at me and calling me a bitch and saying that I deserved whatever I got. But I had the tire iron, he didn’t, and he calculated his odds and found them less than satisfactory. I was hoping like hell he didn’t have a gun, because of course that trumps everything. Either he didn’t, or he was afraid he’d been seen where we were. He got back in his truck and roared away, swerving toward me to scare me as he went.
Had I give up that tire iron I am totally convinced I would be some kind of statistic right now.
So my motto is: never, ever give up the tire iron. Trust people, fine; at least (from this sample size) 75% of them are good people willing to help and perfectly safe.
Never give up the tire iron.
February 3, 2013 @ 12:27 pm
London, I want to say that I think Jim was using your ‘caution’ as he never posted the authors name. People who are not personally acquainted with both Jim and his friends (like myself) will not have any idea who this author is. How much more caution do you want?
February 3, 2013 @ 12:35 pm
“I never said or implied any of those things.”
Yes, you did. You said it in your initial post, right here:
” If cons are meant to foster an acceptance of everyone, how can you place limits on their behavior? ”
You were arguing that you can’t tell people not to behave certain ways. That is, frankly, insane and counterproductive, and as others have pointed out, not placing limits on behavior is exactly the kind of thing that fosters an atmosphere of harassment. You HAVE to limit behavior if you want to eliminate creeps.
February 4, 2013 @ 9:22 am
Have read some comments, skimmed some more, and I see two pernicious myths that keep coming up here.
One myth is that “a lot of guys might not know if they are being creepy.” In fact, most creepers are aware at some level that they are being creepy, but they REALLY don’t care. So all these arguments about “but what if men are ACCIDENTALLY creepy and then women are mean to them oh noes” are actually a derail. If all the men who definitely knew they were creepy could be persuaded to stop being creepy, the vast majority of the creeper problem would be solved. Issues of sexual harassment are not about perpetrators who are clueless, although they may in fact be about perpetrators who get very angry when confronted with their own privilege and bluster a lot.
The other is I see a lot of advice to guys to “go get a woman you know to read your comments! She can explain how sexist they are.” Well, no, not necessarily. Maybe. But lots of women are sexist too, or lots of women are not educated about the tropes and assumptions that come up in discussions of sexual harassment or feminism, or lots of women are completely unfamiliar with the idea of privilege. Besides, people’s friends are likely to side with them. On top of that, even if they think their friend Mr. Commenter is wrong about something, maybe they just want to enjoy his company and play Halo and not get into some argument about random stuff on the internet. Or maybe they think he’ll react in an argumentative way. Or maybe they just don’t feel like being a “Token Women’s Perspective.”
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I definitely rely on my friends’ advice. But for a guy, having a female buddy say, “Oh, you’re fine, I know what you meant, also do whatever you want” is not some green card that means now he is right all the time about women’s issues. All women are not experts on feminism.
Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little
February 5, 2013 @ 7:32 am
The only thing I have to offer at this point is a recognition that sexual harassment and assault are not isolated from the the conditions, social and physical, men find themselves in society. Men won’t stop harassing unless they’re taught not to….
Which Jim is emphatically attempting to do, by enacting what consequence he can upon a confirmed harasser.
Seriously, men really won’t stop harassing and raping until society stops treating harassment as no big deal, until society stops treating women as unreliable witnesses, until society starts enacting consequences for their behavior.
Your posts in this comment thread, despite all your lofty intentions, are part of the problem. Your pleas of “But maybe she misunderstood!” and “Be very, very cautious before you accuse him and maybe ruin his life!” are not unique; you are adding yet another voice to the chorus which constantly reinforces the message that harassers quite definitely hear: There will be no consequences, because a society convinced that false accusation is so much worse than being groped, harassed, or raped, and that women are so very prone to falsely accusing, is a society that will enact no consequences, leaving the gropers, the harassers, and the rapists free to grope, harass, and rape again, and again, again.
Jim’s part of the solution. You’re currently part of the problem. And as part of the problem, you surprise no one with your criticisms of the person who’s part of the solution: “Hey, wait, woah there, slow down before you hurt someone, let’s think this through.” It has ever been thus.
article submission program
February 7, 2013 @ 8:23 am
Please let me know if you’re looking for a article writer for your weblog. You have some really great articles and I think I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d really like to write some material for your blog in exchange
for a link back to mine. Please blast me an email if
February 9, 2013 @ 3:33 am
Thanks, I needed a laugh.
February 9, 2013 @ 3:11 pm
As if to illustrate all the points that we’ve been trying to hammer into your recalcitrant skull over the last few days here is an example of where your “it’s important to remember” rape apologism ends up. Someone was sexually assaulted as a teen by her music teacher. He recently came to trial. His defence barrister put exactly the arguments to her that you have been urging in this thread: that she lived a fantasy world, that she was seeking to damage him by her story, that she could not be trusted. On top of all she had suffered at his hands the cross-examination proved too much. She took her own life.
She never heard that the jury had convicted him – beyond reasonable doubt – of having done exactly what she accused him of – brutal sexual assault.
She never will hear that.
And I’m sure you’re delighted.
Because as you’ve been pointing out, it’s so bloody important to remember the harm that can be done by wrongful accusations of sexual assault.
February 9, 2013 @ 3:32 pm
Your link isn’t working, AJ.
February 10, 2013 @ 2:08 am
Is this better? http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/feb/09/frances-andrade-courts-son
February 10, 2013 @ 2:47 am
Yes, that’s working, thank you.