Harassment and Understanding It (split from Do Men Have a Problem with Empathy)

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Post by azazel on Thu Oct 30, 2014 12:53 pm

kleenestar wrote:One thing I find helpful for getting people to understand the experience of harassment is tying to unwanted stereotypes that they already experience. For example, I have a Chinese friend who really hates the "Asians are good at math" stereotype. He already feels frustrated when other people treat him as if he were their personal math-help vendor, and that's what I drew on when we discussed this.

In terms of execution: first we talked about the experience of having other people impose on his time and attention in a way that made him feel uncomfortable and used. For example, he would get lots of people randomly asking him for help in the stats class we took together, often in a way that didn't respect the fact that he actually had his own homework to do. I was able to make the connection for him that "I feel like a math-dispensing object to these people who don't care about me" is very much like "I feel like a sex-dispensing object to these people who don't care about me." From there it was easy - I just pointed out that the context in which "being good at math" is likely to come up is school-based, but if you're a woman then anytime you have a female body and are in public the "sex-dispensing object" bit can get triggered. We talked out a couple of specific examples, like "Imagine if people were bugging you about their math homework on the bus," and "Has anyone ever insulted, bullied, or harassed you because you wouldn't math for them?" (The answer was yes, by the way, which turned into a really interesting conversation.)

Obviously it's a small sample size but it's a strategy I would try again - I think most people have at least one identity where there's a stereotype that looks positive from the outside, but whose lived experience is pretty miserably negative in practice.

Hmmm... the problem I see here is that if people still see street harassment as a "compliment", they still won't understand it with this metaphor. Being used as a math-dispensing object is easily seen as something as something that you don't profit at all from, while the first impulse of romantically starved people will most of the time be to think of being cat called as something advantageous to you, how annoying it may be.

That's why I personally like the street harassment = bullying approach, as it gives people a stepping stone to put them into the right mindset to see the bigger picture. It makes it clear that call callers use it as a tool to assert their dominance as bullies did and that any "compliment" is clearly not intended to make anyone feel better. (I was called cutie once by a group of drunk women across the street, and didn't take it as a compliment as it was clearly meant, what a stuck up male bitch I am)

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Post by kleenestar on Thu Oct 30, 2014 12:57 pm

I've never had any luck with the bullying approach, precisely because people who see harassment as a compliment aren't able to make the conceptual shift to see it as bullying instead. For the math thing, the piece that helped make the shift was me pointing out that being good at math is a valuable thing and it was still being used to make him feel shitty - instead of trying to contradict the "harassment is a compliment" narrative I used a "both-and" strategy to get him to see it differently. Obviously you are not me so different techniques may work for you.
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Post by UristMcBunny on Thu Oct 30, 2014 1:18 pm

I love the bullying angle, myself. But I think it is most helpful to people who have experienced bullying, because you'll understand the subtle differences between a "hey" from a friend and a "hey" from a bully. But in my experience, people who weren't significantly bullied, or were bullies themselves, don't see it at all - much in the way that a lot of the worst bullies in my school seemed convinced that they didn't do anything wrong to me and shocked when I didn't want to be their facebook friend years down the line.


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Post by nearly_takuan on Thu Oct 30, 2014 2:32 pm

kleenestar wrote:I've never had any luck with the bullying approach, precisely because people who see harassment as a compliment aren't able to make the conceptual shift to see it as bullying instead. For the math thing, the piece that helped make the shift was me pointing out that being good at math is a valuable thing and it was still being used to make him feel shitty - instead of trying to contradict the "harassment is a compliment" narrative I used a "both-and" strategy to get him to see it differently. Obviously you are not me so different techniques may work for you.

Yes, yes, yes, yes! Also, often you do get those kinds of requests for free labor phrased as some kind of compliment. "Oh, you're so good at math/computers/explaining things, can you help me with my homework?" "You're a computer guy, right? Can you fix my computer?" I imagine people in other professions experience something similar. (I'm way more cool with these kinds of requests coming from people I already know as friends, by the way, because they seem to like me as a person too, and not just want me to do things for them. What bugged me was when classmates and random people I'd just met wanted the same things from me.)

Now, I do happen to really like teaching and helping people out, but those kinds of requests still managed to get annoying when enough of them built up, especially when I had my own academic projects and assignments to worry about (on top of more general "real life" things).

Actually, I would argue that I still profit from being other people's Free Math Tutor or Free Geek Squad or Free Problem Solver or Free Heavy-Object Mover more than a woman does from street harassment, because I usually get to feel at least a little bit of genuine gratitude from the people I help, and some satisfaction in the work that I do. Whereas being physically ogled and objectified is a much more passive thing, and seems like it would come with 100% entitlement and 0% gratitude from people with >50% shitty attitudes.
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Post by BasedBuzzed on Fri Oct 31, 2014 6:57 am


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Post by reboot on Fri Oct 31, 2014 9:18 am


<mod> Basebuzzed, this is not an appropriate thread to put videos that parody a concern and experience many of the posters here deal with every day. I struggle to figure out exactly how those videos contribute to the discussion of empathy and street harassment, so could you please add some text about how the videos relate to the topic on hand? Or, if you can not think of something, find another thread for them? <mod>
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Post by kleenestar on Fri Oct 31, 2014 9:48 am

nearly_takuan wrote:
kleenestar wrote:I've never had any luck with the bullying approach, precisely because people who see harassment as a compliment aren't able to make the conceptual shift to see it as bullying instead. For the math thing, the piece that helped make the shift was me pointing out that being good at math is a valuable thing and it was still being used to make him feel shitty - instead of trying to contradict the "harassment is a compliment" narrative I used a "both-and" strategy to get him to see it differently. Obviously you are not me so different techniques may work for you.

Yes, yes, yes, yes! Also, often you do get those kinds of requests for free labor phrased as some kind of compliment. "Oh, you're so good at math/computers/explaining things, can you help me with my homework?" "You're a computer guy, right? Can you fix my computer?" I imagine people in other professions experience something similar. (I'm way more cool with these kinds of requests coming from people I already know as friends, by the way, because they seem to like me as a person too, and not just want me to do things for them. What bugged me was when classmates and random people I'd just met wanted the same things from me.)

Now, I do happen to really like teaching and helping people out, but those kinds of requests still managed to get annoying when enough of them built up, especially when I had my own academic projects and assignments to worry about (on top of more general "real life" things).

Actually, I would argue that I still profit from being other people's Free Math Tutor or Free Geek Squad or Free Problem Solver or Free Heavy-Object Mover more than a woman does from street harassment, because I usually get to feel at least a little bit of genuine gratitude from the people I help, and some satisfaction in the work that I do. Whereas being physically ogled and objectified is a much more passive thing, and seems like it would come with 100% entitlement and 0% gratitude from people with >50% shitty attitudes.

Wow, I can't tell you how good it felt for me to read what you wrote. Thank you for your thoughtfulness, empathy, and insight!
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Post by nearly_takuan on Fri Oct 31, 2014 9:57 am

I ought to be thanking you. It was your idea to make the comparison in the first place, and it's a good one. Smile
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Post by Conreezy on Fri Oct 31, 2014 10:50 am

reboot wrote:

<mod> Basebuzzed, this is not an appropriate thread to put videos that parody a concern and experience many of the posters here deal with every day. I struggle to figure out exactly how those videos contribute to the discussion of empathy and street harassment, so could you please add some text about how the videos relate to the topic on hand? Or, if you can not think of something, find another thread for them? <mod>

I think the first one was meant to highlight the fact that men have it much better in this particular regard.  We're mostly left alone, which to a woman who is constantly harassed would probably seem to be like being treated royally.  That's the intention, I think--to point out that the basic respect afforded to men is downright aristocratic compared to what women experience.

ETA: I think that the comparison would have been better if it were just 10 hours of a man walking in total silence, though.

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Post by nearly_takuan on Fri Oct 31, 2014 10:58 am

Conreezy wrote:ETA: I think that the comparison would have been better if it were just 10 hours of a man walking in total silence, though.

Would that still be a parody video, or would it just be a video?

...I'm not sure what the intent behind either video was, but I don't think they made their argument very well.
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Post by Guest on Fri Oct 31, 2014 10:58 am

The parody could be seen as something an MRA/Red Piller would use to mock the idea of women's harassment, though.

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Post by nearly_takuan on Fri Oct 31, 2014 11:01 am

HermitTheToad wrote:The parody could be seen as something an MRA/Red Piller would use to mock the idea of women's harassment, though.

That point would have been made more clearly if they'd gotten women to do most of the "heckling". Way clearer "what do you think it's like for us?" pout-vibe.
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Post by Conreezy on Fri Oct 31, 2014 11:05 am

nearly_takuan wrote:
HermitTheToad wrote:The parody could be seen as something an MRA/Red Piller would use to mock the idea of women's harassment, though.

That point would have been made more clearly if they'd gotten women to do most of the "heckling". Way clearer "what do you think it's like for us?" pout-vibe.

There are videos of that. The men seemed a little taken aback, but I wasn't sure it was because the attention was unwanted so much as suspicious. I think getting hit on by gay men would be closer to analogous. At least, that's what illuminated the harassment issue for me--being on the receiving end of a very pushy man's unwanted (and un-returned) sexual attention.

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Post by Mel on Fri Oct 31, 2014 11:25 am

Conreezy wrote:I think getting hit on by gay men would be closer to analogous.  At least, that's what illuminated the harassment issue for me--being on the receiving end of a very pushy man's unwanted (and un-returned) sexual attention.  

The problem with focusing on that as an analogy is it reinforces homophobia. (Not saying that it was homophobic of you to have been comfortable with that unwanted attention, of course, but that telling guys in general, "Imagine how awful it would be to have guys coming on to you!" feeds into the existing negative attitudes about gay guys in general.)
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Post by Conreezy on Fri Oct 31, 2014 12:01 pm

Agreed, and I originally alluded to that in my comment before I edited it, saying that it would cause discomfort in men for the wrong reasons. That's a good point to make.

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Post by UristMcBunny on Fri Oct 31, 2014 12:46 pm

The second one definitely has an unpleasant feel to it - the mention of and use of a bouncing breasts mod and skimpy armour reminds me of some of the comments I've seen on the original video (in between the many rape threats the woman is now getting) claiming that she was "asking for it" by "dressing like that" or speculating that she was wearing a push-up bra.

That said, I think we can ignore those and return to the topic at hand. If people want to discuss those videos I would suggest making a separate thread for it.

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Post by Guest on Fri Oct 31, 2014 1:11 pm

kleenestar wrote:One thing I find helpful for getting people to understand the experience of harassment is tying to unwanted stereotypes that they already experience. For example, I have a Chinese friend who really hates the "Asians are good at math" stereotype. He already feels frustrated when other people treat him as if he were their personal math-help vendor, and that's what I drew on when we discussed this.

Another good example: people throwing pocket change at my face and telling me to go fetch it, because that's what Jews do.

But yeah, "sexual harassment" as bullying really doesn't register for most people like that. When I posted that video on Facebook (the one where the chick is harassed on camera), a LOT of people went off on me for being a "feminist faggot" and so on. Lemme get some highlights, copied and pasted from Facebook. Only the "nicer" stuff though, I'll get banned if I get the worst of it:

"Have a nice evening" what a fucking pervert huh? Jeez man those guys that follow her for 5 minutes are creeps but not everyone that tries to start up a conversation is a fucking pervert.

So by this logic we can never ever compliment someone we don't know, or even talk to them really because we have to assume they are not interested and have had whatever conversation 1000 times before. Some of those weren't even come ons, they were simple greetings. Can we just not speak to each other anymore because everybody is probably sick of talking to everybody? Doesn't really make a lot of sense to me. I sincerely see how these never ending attempts to flirt can start grating but the act itself of trying to strike a conversation (in a not creepy way) doesn't make a guy a harasser or a pervert (as long as he drops it when she's not interested). I guess I'm sorry that you have to deal with this but the chance that a person is just completely sick of talking to people shouldn't restrict all of us to simply not starting a conversation with each other.

And I agree that a lot of what was said was offensive and crossed several lines. I just don't really know how to fix that problem. We obviously can't just ban it, since your right to free speech trumps somebody else's right to not hear what they don't want to hear in public.

And that was from people trying to be somewhat respectful about the topic. The worst of it was shit about how "ungrateful and fucking entitled fucking cunts are" (again, not paraphrased, please don't ban me, I'm copying and pasting from Facebook as I go along), and a bunch of stuff about the "feminist conspiracy" and how else men are ever gonna get any tail. It got really gross. Remember, I don't live in a Sexual Wonderland, this is all par for the course.

But I think there's a huge degree of entitlement and narcissism that leads to the mentality that you can just talk to some random ass person and they owe it to you to talk back. In a lot of cases, it's just a display of power. "I have no power in my daily life, but if the girl does what I want, I'm a real man. I got power because someone did what I wanted." The woman ignoring all these people caused insecurity in them, causing them to strike out to try and regain their perceived power.

Not to mention how the power display actually does work on some girls who are either too scared or too apathetic to resist. At the last party I went to, this guy had his arms all over this chick and basically forced himself into her space whenever he could, and she eventually went with him out of a sort of apathy. I've seen the same trick repeated, and men don't seem to get that most other men are respectful enough to try and not make a move. I mean, what the hell am I supposed to do if she's giving off no sign of being disgusted with him or anything like that? At what point does one intervene? On a technical level, he was never harassing her. She simply went along with everything with no resistance. So it wasn't sexual harassment, but it was a show of dominance that led to "getting the girl." Obviously this isn't a typical case of how attraction is built, but it happens much more often where I live.

There's also the whole "women as property" argument that some dudes have with people. "Don't you fucking touch her, she's mine." "To all the guys in the room, she's my girl, back off." It turns the whole thing for high school and college students into a show of bravado, who's got the most gumption. It's like a tribal kind of thing. But of course, such tribal tactics aren't going to work on women who aren't drunk and high off their asses and unable to do anything (guy in question didn't do anything with that girl sexually, he just stayed around her and tried to scare other guys off. So no, not a rapist). But I've seen things go that far (and been way too plastered to do anything about it, admittedly). When you actually watch someone get molested in front of you and be unable to move, well it's not something I'd advise. But it's all a dominance thing. "She wants it because they want to be told what to do." Traditionalist model of man as dominant and woman as submissive. That women want to be "taken," that asking her what she likes is a "faggot" thing to do. All of these misconceptions are a laundry list of reasons why some dudes think this kind of behavior is OK, because they're just as scared to talking to girls as I am, deep down. Women are some of the most intimidating creatures on the planet, that aspect is understandable. Resorting to tactics like that and getting furious when the traditionalist model doesn't work is not.

Because after all, they could just try and talk to them as people. I've gotten that far myself. Hell, in that particular aspect, I'm much better at it than most guys I know now. But they still inherently believe that the only way to get with a woman is convincing or manipulating, and until that is proven to be wrong to the population (meaning: yes, obviously it's wrong but most people don't know that), you're going to continue to see this happen to a ton of people, men and women both.

But actually, speaking of harassment, I actually got sexually assaulted for the second time of my life at a party (first time by a man, yay me), and it resembled the sexual assaults that have been described to me by mostly women perfectly. I actually find it to be pretty hilarious because the same tactics men have used to assault women (which they boast to me about, literally boast to me about. I'm telling you, the Deep South is messed up. I usually avoid them after they say that, but damn). Dude I knew pretty casually who had made a couple moves on me got me drunk and then attempted to have sex with me in front of everyone. He was trying to grope my crotch and kiss my neck. And the argument always goes, "you can just fight them off, why don't you fight them off?" I was physically stronger than this guy. But I literally froze up during all this, I could not move for the life of me. And I realized that this "deer in the headlights" move is how a lot of women feel when men come on to them. It's just a display of power. I had previously rejected this guy and this guy wanted power over me. People started trying to egg him on, it was weird. After about two minutes of this, I was able to snap out of the freeze and push him off of me. But to think that if this guy has done this to me, how many other people has he tried this with? They all probably froze too, because you're in an intensely frightening and vulnerable state (especially being plastered like I was, yes I drink too much, what of it?). And how many times did this guy think it was OK? I distinctly remember laughing really awkwardly and saying "no man, get the hell off" and him saying "you know you want it." And I kept laughing harder, because it was literally every sexual assault any girl had ever described to me, the most cliched kind, and I got that kind.

I'm not telling this story for any kind of sympathy or anything ("you are perfect just the way you are!" and so on). I'm simply saying that I have firsthand knowledge of what it feels like to be harassed, and I imagine that the experience is identical for a woman. Men perceiving no answer as a yes, not looking for signals of desire, all of these things they surely lack. And for me, I'm at least trying to differentiate between men that want power over people and men who simply are too stupid to figure out when someone doesn't want to do something. I don't even know if there's a difference. In either case, it definitely didn't excuse this guy's actions. But it's a power display, that video's a power display, trying to assault me is a power display, all the shit all of you have dealt with are power displays. Remove the need to obtain power, I think the instances of this kind of behavior would go way down.

I dunno, I think I ranted here for too long.


UristMcBunny wrote:I love the bullying angle, myself.  But I think it is most helpful to people who have experienced bullying, because you'll understand the subtle differences between a "hey" from a friend and a "hey" from a bully.  But in my experience, people who weren't significantly bullied, or were bullies themselves, don't see it at all - much in the way that a lot of the worst bullies in my school seemed convinced that they didn't do anything wrong to me and shocked when I didn't want to be their facebook friend years down the line.


They see it as nothing. For some reason, those types seem to think I'm a good person to talk to about that. A couple friends of mine are former high school bullies and were genuinely shocked to discover that I had actually been really offended. More power displays to feel powerful. it's basically saying "I can have you any time I want to. Just you wait." Like that. At least how girls have described it to me. All the times they've had awful sex because they've been too scared to say no, how many times someone's gotten them plastered, fucked them, then claimed it wasn't rape (even a couple relationships started over this). It's a little mind-boggling to see just how awful my gender can get, just how much of the scare stories actually happen. Fuck, how much of it I've actually seen myself.

I've actually been really scared that the few times I've done anything remotely sexual was just some girl trying to satisfy me out of some form of obligation and not because she actually wanted to. I've never done anything without permission, it could just be my insecurities talking, but with how often women I know are victimized, how would I know? I know that's making the issue about myself and not about the ones actually suffering, but it's something I've worried about. Hell, all of this could be a reason why I'm so scared to be sexual, I don't want to accidentally do anything without knowing someone wants me to. I don't want to be a creep, and it's basically petrified me from talking to women. The creeps have ruined sex for me and tons of other people.

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Post by BasedBuzzed on Fri Oct 31, 2014 1:55 pm

Huh, I parsed them as being respectively about how well men get treated in comparison, and the second one as how even in videogames dudettes often get harassed(whether female MMO characters or how female avatars get preprogrammed reactions from NPCs). Never mind then, apologies for the derail.

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Post by Enail on Fri Oct 31, 2014 1:59 pm

<mod> Glides, you're worrying way too much about the slur thing. We're not going to ban someone for quoting someone saying something offensive that they clearly disagree with. Seriously, you're fine. </mod>

And I'm really sorry that happened to you. That's shitty.

And this makes me think, while men often have a hard time understanding the kind of street harassment women experience b/c they lack a comparison in their experiences, it's easy to extend that too far in discussions like this one and act like men can't understand and don't experience sexual harassment or assault at all, which is very obviously not true. There are  unfortunately - a lot more points of commonality between men's and women's experiences than we tend to acknowledge.
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Post by reboot on Fri Oct 31, 2014 2:03 pm

BasedBuzzed wrote:Huh, I parsed them as being respectively about how well men get treated in comparison, and the second one as how even in videogames dudettes often get harassed(whether female MMO characters or how female avatars get preprogrammed reactions from NPCs). Never mind then, apologies for the derail.  

No worries, although it would be helpful to the discussion if you (universal) could put some sort of explanation or interpretation of links to hook them into the context of threads. Otherwise they are kind of a Rorschach blot where people try and figure out intent and may misinterpret, a road that leads to madness
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Post by UristMcBunny on Fri Oct 31, 2014 3:54 pm

Shit, Glides.

On the one hand, I'm seriously feeling buoyed up by the fact that you get it. Because OMG does it feel... not good, but... less lonely? Maybe? To know someone else understands.

On the other, I am so incredibly sorry you've been through this shit, too. It's awful, and no one should have to experience it, and I know that deer-in-the-headlights feeling all too well.

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Post by Guest on Sat Nov 01, 2014 2:46 pm

UristMcBunny wrote:Shit, Glides.

On the one hand, I'm seriously feeling buoyed up by the fact that you get it.  Because OMG does it feel... not good, but... less lonely?  Maybe?  To know someone else understands.

On the other, I am so incredibly sorry you've been through this shit, too.  It's awful, and no one should have to experience it, and I know that deer-in-the-headlights feeling all too well.

It's weird because half of the people I've told have laughed it off, "men can't get assaulted, you're just a faggot," that sort of thing. And I don't even feel all that bad hearing that because I've seen so many other people being told the exact same sort of thing, and it's almost morbidly funny how I'm getting the same treatment now.

And the other half suddenly started to treat me like I was some kind of maimed animal trapped in a cage. They got all loving and caring, and I don't much like that, as it signifies that I'm too weak to deal with this myself.

At the same time, I don't really feel like a man right now because of it, and it's not an entirely depressing feeling. But I kind of feel separated from the rest of my male friends in that regard, as if they would be strong enough to fight the guy off and I'm not.

I'm going to assume that that's probably what a lot of women feel like, and my shame towards these feelings also signify that I still subconsciously consider sexual harassment to be a "woman thing," instead of something that just happens. And even a small part of myself feels like I deserved it because of the kind of person I am, because I wasn't enough of a man, and that makes me a "woman." It's not the rational logical external part of myself that thinks it, it's the internal part conditioned by years of religious extremism that women are the "lesser" being, that women are weak, that women aren't strong.

So those two parts of my head are in conflict right now between what I know is right and what my subconscious won't stop believing.

I've basically broken off most contact with people, I go to class and I go back home, I haven't done any of my work, I'm just kind of in this perpetual state of nothingness. It's nothing like I ever thought it would be. I was actually stupid enough to think I'd cry a couple times and then gradually recover.

So I think that it's simply indicating that i really didn't understand harassment and how it works, even if I was never saying that anyone was "asking for it." Was I "asking for it"? I have no freaking idea, not like I told the dude that I wanted to do anything with him.

So all I can do is take how horrible I feel, and multiply it by a billion, and that's probably the psychological aftermath of being raped. And that actually makes me deeply admire the people I know who actually have been raped, because all of this is a real bitch to deal with and it feels almost unbearable. And to somehow deal with that amount of pain, and still operate at a basic level, that fucking astounds me. I am in literal awe of those people, and I'd tell them if I didn't want to remind them of how horrible it was.

I didn't even admit till yesterday that that was why this past week has been me either feeling completely numb or close to breaking down. Yesterday, I suddenly started remembering every bad thing I'd ever done to anyone (nothing on the level of what this guy did to me, but I've absolutely done some bad things).

Ignoring my senile grandfather as a child, not realizing that the reason why he kept trying to talk to me all of a sudden was because he knew he was dying. I only realized this the last week he was alive, and that was the only week I ever paid attention to him. I was eight. I was deeply arrogant for an eight year old.

Bullying an evangelical Christian kid who clearly had some kind of autistic disorder because he wouldn't stop trying to invite me to his church. I was twelve.

Savagely beating a fourteen year old boy's head against a table when I was sixteen. I was angry that day. That kid, too, had some kind of learning disability.

The various girls who told me what a great friend I was and how caring I was, and I only did all that thinking that I'd be able to sleep with them. I broke off contact with all of the them at the exact same time once I realized what I prick I was being. They were hurt, but I was too ashamed to admit what a conniving little shit I had been.

All those tests I cheated on, all those people looking for a friend who I ignored, the girl whose advances I rejected because she had crooked teeth (she since got braces, her teeth are looking lovely, and she and I are very good friends), all of these awful things I had repressed in an attempt to make myself out to be the victim.

So technically, I really do deserve this. Feeling this violated and broken is exactly what I deserve for being such an evil kid. I didn't do what I did out of any genuinely malicious intent, I just got angry and struck out at people without thinking. But that's not a good enough excuse.

So all of that came back at once, and my mind was trying to justify the assault somehow, and hey, if it's punishment for all of these terrible things you did as a kid, then it wasn't for no reason. You weren't just a random target. And I completely broke down and fell crying to the floor, screaming "I'm sorry!" at the top of my lungs, to the point where someone the next room over started hitting the wall screaming at me to shut up.

Hey, if that's what sexual assault does to someone, I don't even know how rape survivors survive. That's why I'm in awe.

And to answer your question, I'm pretty sure that I get it.

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Post by Enail on Sat Nov 01, 2014 3:23 pm

You do not deserve that. No one deserves that, Glides.  

And it's nothing to do with being too weak - people like that take advantage of the fact that it's unexpected, that it's a situation you're not prepared for. It's natural to not know how to react, to freeze up.

I suspect the people who are tiptoeing around you aren't doing it because they think you're weak, but because they know it's an awful thing to happen and want to be there for you like they would if you had something else bad happen, but they don't really know exactly how to handle it. Let them be nice to you, it sounds like you could use that - and there's nothing weak about wanting a little extra caring when you're having a bad time, that's pretty much what people have friends for.

And would you think about talking to a counselor at your school about it, even just for a one-time session? Sometimes it's helpful to be able to process this stuff out loud with someone who you don't have to worry about their reaction.

Look after yourself, Glides. I'm really sorry you're going through this.
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Post by Girlande on Mon Dec 01, 2014 3:01 pm

nearly_takuan wrote:Imaginatively entering in a role is not sufficient to understand the nuances behind it. Playing at being a detective or undercover cop does not actually do that much to prepare you for the stresses you would experience if you actually were in that role in reality.

I'm coming back to this discussion to cite this article from the Guardian: Reading literary fiction improves empathy, study finds
Psychologists David Comer Kidd and Emanuele Castano, at the New School for Social Research in New York, have proved that reading literary fiction enhances the ability to detect and understand other people's emotions, a crucial skill in navigating complex social relationships.
...
The pair then used a variety of Theory of Mind techniques to measure how accurately the participants could identify emotions in others. Scores were consistently higher for those who had read literary fiction than for those with popular fiction or non-fiction texts.
So the point isn't that you're play-acting or that you know exactly what it is to be a detective, or to be a woman, in reality. But you can enter imaginatively into their emotions, thus increasing empathy.
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Post by azazel on Mon Dec 08, 2014 8:42 pm

azazel wrote:
Hmmm... the problem I see here is that if people still see street harassment as a "compliment", they still won't understand it with this metaphor. Being used as a math-dispensing object is easily seen as something as something that you don't profit at all from, while the first impulse of romantically starved people will most of the time be to think of being cat called as something advantageous to you, how annoying it may be.

That's why I personally like the street harassment = bullying approach, as it gives people a stepping stone to put them into the right mindset to see the bigger picture. It makes it clear that call callers use it as a tool to assert their dominance as bullies did and that any "compliment" is clearly not intended to make anyone feel better. (I was called cutie once by a group of drunk women across the street, and didn't take it as a compliment as it was clearly meant, what a stuck up male bitch I am)

Field tested this, and mileage varied a lot.

Only got a sampling group of n=2, of which one understood after comparing it to bullying, the other still thought there was nothing wrong with it although he agreed that he couldn't call it compliments.

Trying to convince people on the internet proved of course fruitless, as is to be expected.

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