Why Men Aren’t Speaking Up About the #MeToo Movement

I scrolled through my NewsFeed and read through the names.

It was overwhelming. Shocking. Soul-crushing.

The old co-worker who is an animal and human rights activist.

The founder of a teen literacy program.

The woman who works at a prominent tech company.

The CEO of a Silicon Valley start-up.

The former model who runs a high-end lifestyle brand.

The girl I went to summer camp with in the early ‘90s.

The woman who is dating my brother-in-law.

The entertainment lawyer who danced with me at a friend’s wedding.

Louisette Geiss, one of the women who accused Harvey Weinstein.

Hundreds of women. My friends. And I didn’t know what to say.

I wanted to express my support.

I didn’t want to say anything tone-deaf.

I wanted to join the outrage.

I didn’t want to come off as phony and insincere.

I wanted to be on the right side of history.

I was paralyzed by fear of getting it wrong.

I wanted to say something about being a happily married man, a father of a daughter, a dating coach for women.

I learned that none of those things mattered because this is a human problem that shouldn’t be impacted by my relationships with women.

So I kept reading, but I said nothing. And it forced me to think:

Are my female Facebook friends taking my silence as a lack of sympathy?

Are my female Facebook friends taking my silence as a lack of sympathy?

Is it better to speak up even if you have nothing meaningful to say?

Do we actually need another voice in the cacophony condemning Weinstein, or are the millions of women who are telling their #MeToo stories good enough?

Then I thought: is my silence part of the problem?

Is it anything like the silence of the enablers at Miramax, or the Hollywood community who turned a blind eye because “hey, what are you gonna do?”

I flash back to a rape awareness lecture during college orientation.

I remember my neighbor, an overly earnest guy, raising his hand in his overly earnest way, and asking the facilitator, “What can I, as a man, do to prevent rape?”

Twenty-five years later, I remember my snarky response: “Don’t rape anyone.”

In retrospect, it doesn’t sound good, but I meant it.

Thanks to #MeToo, I know way too many women who have been sexually assaulted.

I’ve never met one guy who has admitted to sexual assault.

So if we’re being honest, what can an average guy – your accountant, your handyman, your brother – do to stop sexual assault?

It’s not a rhetorical question. It’s a sincere and confused one.

It may sound nice to think we’re going to get Derek to engage in a conversation with Brayden about the denigrating nature of catcalling, but it’s simply unrealistic.

You can’t “make” men talk to each other about this, any more than Starbucks made us conduct coffee-house conversations with its “Race Together” hashtag.

You can’t “make” men talk to each other about this, any more than Starbucks made us conduct coffee-house conversations with its “Race Together” hashtag.

Author Laura Kipnis acknowledged the same in her book “Unwanted Advances.” “As a teacher with some experience of college men, I’d say that a large problem with focusing social change efforts on men is that the men most likely to be assholes to women are precisely the ones most likely to resist being enlightened.”

Sadly, she’s right.

The bad guys – the ones who think it’s okay to routinely force themselves upon women – are sociopaths who are impervious to this type of discussion.

The good guys – the ones who would never commit sexual assault – can only throw up their hands, wondering how to avoid getting lumped in with the bad guys.

It’s a societal conundrum.

Men are causing the problem, but are men the solution to the problem?

I don’t know.

The fact is: most of us tend not to think about issues until they directly impact us: Health care. Climate change. Immigration. Tax reform. Education.

All seem distant until YOUR health care is cut or YOUR house is under water.

Is it any surprise that the 94% of men who don’t commit sexual assault also don’t spend much time thinking about sexual assault?

What men don’t realize is that sexual assault DOES directly impact them.

Sexual assault creates a culture of fear, distrust, and wariness that millions of clueless men cannot grasp until watershed moments like this.

Sexual assault creates a culture of fear, distrust, and wariness that millions of clueless men cannot grasp until watershed moments like this.

Which is why I think #MeToo is vitally important.

It shines light on the horrors faced by women which most men cannot fathom.

It creates a swell of awareness that this behavior is more rampant than we knew.

It makes people perpetrating these crimes profoundly uncomfortable at being outed.

And yet, conversations like this remain the third rail of the internet.

If a man proffers his thoughts on sexual assault without impeccable sensitivity and understanding he risks being called a victim blamer, rape apologist, or misogynist.

I know. I’ve done it before. Despite my best efforts to offer an open, honest, male response to sexual assault statistics, I got my ass handed to me.

I know. This isn’t about me. But it is about men.

We’re half of society, and we all have to live together on this planet.

So how are the 94% supposed to contend with the 6% who are tarnishing our gender?

How can a man who is an ally strike the right tone much less make positive change?

How can we wrestle with the problem and talk about these issues without rancor, ad hominem attacks, or slippery slope arguments?

I guess that’s why I’m writing this post.

My belief is that, for reasons previously explained, women – not men – are the best advocates for creating awareness about sexual harassment.

I’m not letting men off the hook.

I’m only pointing out that #MeToo is infinitely more powerful than, well, me.

I’m aware why women don’t want to talk and prefer men to take up the mantle.

Fear of not being believed. Fear of not wanting to relive the trauma. Fear of having to be grilled by the police, go through the court system, and remind herself of the assault.

But if women don’t talk about their sexual assaults – for their own valid reasons – it’s hard to expect men to fully understand the scope of the problem.

But if women don’t talk about their sexual assaults – for their own valid reasons – it’s hard to expect men to fully understand the scope of the problem.

Yet even that innocuous sentiment brought some blowback from a reader.

“Placing the burden on victims and survivors to give and share their horrific traumas and mentally relive them so that other people can take and receive that knowledge, which the victims already know from personal experience is likely to be questioned, doubted, diminished, disregarded, or reacted to with defensiveness, is another ‘taking away something’ from them.”

Honestly, I don’t know what to do with that.

Does this mean I’m unsympathetic? Does that mean I’m one of “those guys”?

I don’t think so, but these days, the lines are blurry for even the most liberal men.

If you don’t speak out, you’re part of the problem.

If you speak out and accidentally offend, you’re part of the problem.

Which leaves pretty much every sympathetic man in a bit of a bind.

Most men agree women should speak out.

Most men agree there should be consequences for perpetrators of sexual harassment.

Most men will never fully understand what it’s like to be objectified at a young age or repeatedly threatened by men of greater strength or power.

If anything, it’s too painful to look at head-on, so we look away. Or minimize it. Or sweep it under the rug.

Or struggle to square the staggering statistics with our own limited experience.

I look at the situation closer. I try to take stock of how I am complicit.

I wonder if I have anything in common with Weinstein, Ailes, and Trump.

I think of every woman I’ve ever hit on.

I think of every sexual encounter I’ve ever had.

I wonder if I was ever “that guy.” The guy who came on too strong. The guy who couldn’t take no for an answer.

I realize I was.

I remember hitting on a woman at a bar in New York City after 8 vodka tonics. She told me to stop. I was too drunk to take a hint. Her guy friend accosted me. I took a swing and missed. He hit me in the face three times before I was thrown out of the bar. I was 24.

Would I have acted that way if I was sober? No chance.

Have I acted that way in the past 20 years? No chance.

But that doesn’t absolve me.

Culture doesn’t absolve me.

“Boys will be boys” doesn’t absolve me.

I’m a man.

I may not be responsible for other men, but I am responsible for my own actions and inactions.

I can’t change my past, but I can change my perspective.

I can be more sympathetic, understanding and vigilant.

Maybe, just maybe, I can help change the future.

This isn’t an easy conversation, but if you want men to actively fight sexual harassment, try not to attack the ones who are openly wrestling with our role in the problem. Rest assured we are equally horrified but don’t know how to express our support and create positive change.

12 MILLION women have already said #MeToo. Please share your thoughts on how men can best participate in the #MeToo movement.

Join our conversation (448 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.

Comments:

  1. 61
    Jeremy

    Previous post having been said, here’s what I think the biggest problem is for most men – a failure of empathy.  Or rather, a mis-interpretation of empathy.  I think that many men fail to recognize the effect that harassment has on women because it would not have the same effect on them.  Turn the situation around – ask a man how he would feel if a group of women started catcalling him, telling him how hot he is and how they’d like to do him – most guys would think that was pretty cool.  Because, and here’s the thing, men aren’t afraid of women.  Men aren’t worried that women will jump them from behind and have sex with them (and some guys would think that was a dream come true). Men aren’t worried that women will hit them or hurt them, men are worried that women will reject them.

     

    My first sexual encounter was difficult and I still cringe to remember it.  I was with a woman who was far more experienced than I, and one night as we kissed, she moved ahead faster than I was ready for.  I went along with it despite my discomfort, because I felt confused – part of me wanted it, part of me didn’t, so I let her do what she did, and afterward felt confused.  When she discovered how I felt, she was mortified.  I was mortified.  It was a failure of an interaction and a learning experience.  But I did not feel assaulted.  Because I was not afraid of her.  I could have ended it whenever I wanted, and I knew that.  So I own responsibility for my feelings – she did not know what was going on inside my mind – but if our roles had been reversed, the feelings would likely have been otherwise.

     

    Many women have kissed me when I preferred not to be kissed – from my grandmother to friends, relatives, and dates.  But I never felt assaulted by any of them.  Because I was not afraid of them.  Women are afraid.  Fear changes the whole dynamic.  If men understood that fear, if men understood that women don’t perceive these situations as men would if the roles were reversed, men would better be able to apply empathy.  And so, when we men discuss the difference in the perception of fear, because too many men minimize the effects of harassment, thinking that it wouldn’t be a big deal if the roles were reversed.

    1. 61.1
      Pistola

      Jeremy I have some thoughts on this.

      I see the issue as being not only a lack of empathy but also a lot of generalized anger at women and a knee-jerk “bros before hos” response, which a LOT of men have.

      After Trump got elected and harassment toward WOC started sharply climbing and I started writing about it on my Facebook page, I ended up having to block 10 men who used to be friends of mine because of aggressive, nasty stuff they posted on my page in response to topics about feminism and aggression toward women. The most common complaint was that I wasn’t being “nice.” These were not men I had ever dated or been close to. They were, however, men who had felt free to ask me for advice and help many times previously in their own lives when they ran into issues with women, which they often did.

      What was amazing to me was that after I blocked each of these guys, I would get Facebook messages from male friends of theirs essentially saying something like, “don’t be too hard on X. X is a clueless good guy.” What is this knee jerk response that assumes that A) it’s my job to tolerate aggression and B) that confronting it firmly and removing those people from my life means I’m being “too hard” on men?

      I pointed out to these guys that they were defending someone who had repeatedly attacked me negatively. What dog did they have in that hunt? Why were they remaining silent when their male friends were posting nasty stuff on my page but suddenly stepping in when their male friends got butthurt that I finally had enough and removed them from my life?

      I see the problem of assault and attack as being very related to mens’ perception that they are allowed into any space and can do whatever they want to do; that women don’t have our own spaces and that our having our own spaces is some kind of direct threat to men, whether it’s online, in a movie theater (witness what happened with the woman-only Wonder Woman screening in my city, where having ONE woman-only screening caused outrage among men that turned into a nationally publicized story, with men feeling women should not have the right to have a woman-only showing and threatening to either show up or boycott the theater, the Alamo Drafthouse).

      A lot of men simply believe that they own ALL spaces. Including our bodies and every aspect of public space. Their mentality is that “I belong everywhere and you don’t have the right to keep me out of anywhere I want to be.” They feel that being aggressive and assaulting is part of that innate “right” to be in whatever space they want to be in.

      Does that make sense?

      1. 61.1.1
        Jeremy

        Pistola, I can’t speak to your Facebook experience.  But I wanted to reply to the notion of men believing that they own ALL spaces.  Most do not believe this at all, though women perceive that they do because they lack perspective.  Just because women feel powerless does not mean that men feel powerful.  So much of this problem arises, I believe, when men feel powerless.

         

        I think that if we make the assumption that men harass women because they feel entitled to do so, there is little point to this discussion.  In that case, men ARE the problem and women banding together is the solution.  However, if we make the assumption that in some (many?) cases men harass women not understanding how it makes those women feel – believing that those women should feel flattered, should feel good about the situation as the men might feel if the roles were reversed, then there is a point to this conversation.  Lack of empathy is the problem, education is the solution.

         

        1. Pistola

          I spend a lot of time reading articles and research about harassment. This includes studies, interviews with men who harass, reviewing videotapes of men who harass women on the street and are asked why they do so.

          In fact, men who repeatedly harass women DO say that they do it because it’s fun, and because they feel they have the right to do so. Her being uncomfortable is not really something they see as important. They feel that if they look at a woman’s body and want to say something, they have the right to say something. It is their right as a man to do so. This same attitude was expressed by the men I blocked from Facebook–that they had the “right” to say nasty, denigrating things toward me on my own page.

          I do believe that there are SOME men who unwittingly harass. But this is a minority of cases both in my experience and in the research. Most men who do this repeatedly know they’re doing it. They don’t even expect it to lead to any kind of romantic encounter. They do it because they enjoy it and because they feel they have the right to do it. There is no way around that uncomfortable truth. They have been repeatedly given feedback by women that women don’t like it, but since there are no real consequences, they continue.

        2. Evan Marc Katz

          Thanks for sharing that, Pistola. I find this comment validating, especially against the claims that the majority of men are either actively doing this or supporting those who do. The power of #MeToo (at least for me) is that it brought something out of the shadows and into the light that most men don’t experience or see.

        3. Jeremy

          If this is true, it is terrible.  And I’m not doubting that it’s true of many men, I just wonder about the frequency of the one versus the other type – brazen vs clueless.  I’d like to think the ratio tips one way for the benefit of my gender. I hope you’re wrong.  I fear you aren’t.

        4. Kenley

          Jeremy,

          When Pistola said that some men know that women don’t like what they are doing but they do it anyway, I realized that that attitude is consistent with my experience with boyfriends that I have had on other issues.  Every time I broke up with my boyfriend, it was because of an issue that was bothering me that I told them about.  And their reaction was always, well, I’m okay with it so you should be too.   What is critical is that they genuinely could not understand how I could be unhappy or uncomfortable with  something when they were fine with it.  So, perhaps the education must be more than just telling men what women don’t like but finding a powerful analogy that will allow men to experience what women feel when they are harrassed by men.

        5. Evan Marc Katz

          Kenley,

          That experience is not gender-specific. My entire job is a testament to women who don’t understand men – the same way you point out that your exes “could not understand” you. The main difference is that women seem care about understanding men far more than men do. That’s why we see a MGOTW movement, not a WGOTW movement.

          In other words, you can’t “make” men feel what you feel when sexually harassed. Men and women are different and would respond differently, as pointed out by multiple commenters here. Men do not feel threatened by violence. Men are more flattered at being objectified. So your idea works more in theory than in practice.

          I think this is another form of civil rights. Protest more. Talk more. Shame more. Stay vigilant. Don’t be afraid. Keep pushing. Change may be incremental, but the world is very different now than it was in the times of Jim Crow, separate but equal, etc, because of the bravery of African-American non-violent protestors and their allies. Both overt and casual sexism are bigger than many of us realized and keeping up this dialogue should start to change hearts and minds immediately, as well as over a few generations.

        6. Pistola

          Jeremy

          The thing is, men who really are clueless STOP the behavior after one to three instances. They are men who truly don’t want to hurt others, so they stop and change their behavior. They aren’t the chronic harassers and abusers that most of the #metoo stories were about that I saw. Men who get some sharp feedback and quit what they’re doing are not the same men who repeatedly harass, grope, threaten, stalk and assault women. That group of men share much more in common with domestic abusers, who perceive their rights as being above the rights of all others, particularly women and children. The definitive book on that one is Why Does He Do That by Lundy Bancroft.

          Honestly, as a clinician, I’m not sure you can really “teach” empathy past the age of maybe 25. If people don’t develop it during their formative years, they’re not that likely to develop it as full fledged adults. That probably sounds cynical but I myself wouldn’t formulate public policy based on the hope that a bunch of men who haven’t shown empathy would suddenly develop it. That doesn’t seem realistic to me based on my experience with human beings.

          What I would like to see is better policy to stop abusive, harassing behaviors that are visible to all of us, and also for men to really understand that if you’re hearing complaints about a man from more than one woman, thinking he’s a “clueless good guy” could very well be a huge mistake and the situation needs to be looked into more. It doesn’t matter if he’s a husband/father/successful businessman/priest/teacher/coach whatever. Sexual offenders repeat over and over and have many, many targets and victims. Don’t be fooled by skillful veneers. As Gavin de Becker said, “nice” is not a character trait–it’s a social strategy to gain acceptance and approval and is used by almost all skillful predators.

          And Evan, you’re welcome.

        7. Tron Swanson

          I’d argue that men more know about women than women know about men, simply because we’re stuck being the pursuers, and we’ve had to learn it in order to have a fighting chance.

          Also, MGTOW isn’t about not wanting to understand women, it’s about knowing far more about women than we want to.

        8. Evan Marc Katz

          Sorry, Tron. MGOTW THINK they understand women, but they don’t.

          Instead, they have FAILED with women, and to mask their failure, they turn it into self-righteous anger.

          Put it this way: every day I get emails from women who want to understand men. You know how many times I’ve heard men say “Please help me understand my girlfriend/wife better so I can feel more connected to her”? You got it. Zero.

          I’m a dating coach for women for one reason only: Women ASK for more help. But men are the ones who need it more.

        9. Tron Swanson

          I half-agree with you. Men don’t want to understand women, in terms of getting relationships from them. Men do, however, want to understand women…in terms of getting sex from them. Thus the growing (and, IMHO, ridiculous) PUA community.

          In the mirror universe–and, yes, you have the Goatee of Evil in this realm–you’re no doubt running a PUA site, getting tons of questions from men…and none from women, who already have easy access to sex.

      2. 61.1.2
        Marika

        Hi Pistola

        If you are a clinician and especially if you work with abusive people, I implore you to reconsider the idea that you can’t teach empathy. I can’t remember the guy’s name, but the program is called Compassion Power and the psychologist who runs it has far better outcomes working with abusive men than other programs which treat abuse as an issue of power/control. Compassion Power sees abuse as a failure of compassion and teaches these men to have compassion for themselves and others. It’s hard to abuse/harrass someone who you have compassion/empathy for.

        Every day we learn more and more about the brain, and the current research shows it is much more ‘plastic’, even in adulthood (and even in late adulthood) than we ever realised. Unless a person is a full-blown psychopath, you can certainly teach better behaviour and understanding to adults.

        1. Pistola

          Marika

          I don’t work with abusive people, I work with their victims and survivors.

          There may be programs that work for abusers but quite frankly, the risk to victims is high enough that anyone who has been victimized is far better off avoiding anyone with a history of being an abuser. The cost is simply too high and anyone who has been victimized deserves to move on in life and find relationships with people who have no such history and already understand respect, compassion, love, and equality.

  2. 62
    Maria Almudena

    A critical failure of empathy is seen in a wide range of men, not just the predators. There’s the “good men” who expect you to trust them immediately because they know they are not out to harm you. These men will take offense if you as a woman try to take basic safety precautions around them.They know they are safe so why are you protecting yourself, right? Of course there is absolutely no logic in this way of thinking, but watch these “good guys” become immediately resentful in these situations. If they cared about women they would encourage us to take precautions, or at least understand it graciously and without resentment.

    And then, if you eventually decide to begin a relationship with one of these “good men”, they expect you to bring into it zero baggage from any previous experiences of being victimized, threatened, intimidated or abused by other men. They just don’t want to hear it, they don’t want those previous experiences to be in the picture with them at all. It’s an unfair photobomb as far as they are concerned.

    The “Me Too” movement has seen all these”good guys” pleading ignorance of women’s experience with sexual harassment and abuse, and trying to put the onus on the women to tell their experiences (how am I to know if I am not told?”) but the truth is that they don’t want to hear it — not from strangers, and in particular not from the women closest to them. And yet they want us to trust them, to do so immediately, just on the strength of them knowing themselves as “decent guys”.

    There is no trust without emotional safety. There is no emotional safety in situations where we are expected to bury, gloss over or obliterate from the record any difficult experiences we may have had with other men, or risk being seen as “damaged goods” by the present “good guy” trying to woo us.

    Evan himself reminds us that trust should not be begrudged or dosified, that it must be given freely until the person loses that trust by doing something that breaches it. I see many problems with this approach, I think it leaves women too vulnerable and exposed. But I mostly think for many women, given their experiences, it is impossible to trust men in a general way, and so it is up to the individual man to earn that trust.

    1. 62.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Maria “The “Me Too” movement has seen all these “good guys” pleading ignorance of women’s experience with sexual harassment and abuse, and trying to put the onus on the women to tell their experiences (how am I to know if I am not told?”) but the truth is that they don’t want to hear it — not from strangers, and in particular not from the women closest to them.”

      It’s not “pleading ignorance”; it’s actual ignorance. That was the point of the post – seeing hundreds of women friends who had these awful experiences that I had NO idea about.

      Next, you say that men “don’t want to hear it,” when that is the OTHER point of the post. I’m literally ASKING to hear it. Otherwise, you’re expecting me to understand your life experience as a woman without ever telling me about your life experience as a woman.

      I don’t know what your motives are, Maria, but it seems you’re willfully ignoring the very premise of the article. You’re claiming to know my thoughts and experiences better than I do.

      I say: “I don’t know men who talk about sexually harassing women.” You tell me that I do.

      I say, “Women, we need you to speak up and share your stories to educate us and understand you.” You say, “Men don’t want to hear our stories.”

      Can you see how maddening this is? Whatever I say, you’ll contradict me as if I didn’t say it or mean it.

      #MeToo was a big wake-up call (which is why I wrote this), and you’re telling me that I’ve been ignoring it. You’re wrong.

      I repeat: I have never met one man who has told me about sexually assaulting someone. (which doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened, but that I didn’t know it).

      And until #MeToo, women have only mentioned their sexual assault to me a handful of times in my life (and I make a living talking to women.)

      Somehow, you are putting the blame on me for both of the aforementioned facts.

      I reject that blame and continue to ask for something more constructive than these tone-deaf rants that imply that every man is part of some patriarchal conspiracy to ignore the rampant sexual harassment in our culture. I assure you: we’re not. We’re asking you to continue to speak up because we feel powerless over things we can’t see and don’t experience.

      1. 62.1.1
        debbie

        Evan

        Have you been with a group of your friends where one of the guys makes a degrading or disrespectful remark about a woman? If so, then you have seen and heard the start. And if you said and did nothing, you gave your silent okay

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Have I stood witness to a man telling another man that a woman is attractive and he finds her sexually desirable? Yes. However, I don’t believe that this is sexual harassment, since she is not privy to the conversation. If two women looked at some hot guy at a party and said to each other, “I want a piece of that!” I would not think they deserve to be chastised by a third woman either. Are they objectifying him? Sure. But not in service of making him uncomfortable.

          Have I stood witness to a man chasing a woman around a room, cornering her against her will, or rubbing up against her? No, I haven’t – no matter how many times you try to tell me I have.

        2. Emily, the original

          Debbie,

          Have you been with a group of your friends where one of the guys makes a degrading or disrespectful remark about a woman? 

          Have you ever been with a group of your friends where one of them made a degrading comment about a man? When women get together, they can be as graphic as men, sexualizing the men who are within eyesight. It certainly doesn’t mean the women are going to say these things out loud to the men.

        3. debbie

          Mark

          When you objectify a person and make a CRUDE remark about their sexuality is very different than saying ‘oh, my, now that is a beautiful woman’

          and yes, Emily,it can go both ways. But it starts with sexual verbal comments …. and ends with physical abuse

        4. Emily, the original

          But it starts with sexual verbal comments …. and ends with physical abuse

          That’s a huge leap. I’m not going to apologize for commenting on some guy’s physical appearance when I’m talking to a girlfriend, just like I’m sure men comment about women when hanging out with their friends, comments that I’m assuming remain private.

      2. 62.1.2
        Maria Almudena

        I have not said that you know men that are sexual harassers or predators, Evan. You must be confusing me with someone else. I believe you, I have never questioned the truth of your statement.(Having said that, it is possible to miss that someone is a predator when you are not his intended victim).

        I think it’s easy for you to assume that all the replies are to your original article, but I was replying more to the vibe of some of the comments. My words were not about you, not until the end where I made a reference to your advice elsewhere for women to trust first and only withdraw that trust when it’s breached. I still don’t think that’s good advice.

        My comment about the so called “good guys” not wanting to hear about a woman’s difficult experiences with other men was based on first-hand knowledge and also on second-hand recounts of other women relaying this to me. Sadly, this refusal to listen is typically truer of a brother, father or husband than it is of strangers. I think it may have to do with men’s drive to fix things. If they can’t fix it, they don’t want to hear it.

        You are closing the conversation by taking things so personally. You construe my words as “blame” aimed at you and you are wrong in that. If you have openly listened to the women in your life recounting their experiences of sexual harassment, then good for you, and then my comment is not about you. At the same time, I am sure you also realize that you cannot expect women to share their experiences the very second you feel ready to listen — this applies to both women you know and strangers. Many women may not want to share their experiences with strangers, because we don’t know their motivation in listening, in wanting to know. The internet is not a good place to put out this stuff.

        I stand by everything I said. It’s all very reasonable (not a rant in any way) and certainly not designed to blame you, Evan, for anything.

        You say you are asking me to speak up, but when I recount the experience of revictimization I and other women have had with the men in our lives refusing to listen, you take it personally, you deny my experience, you shut me down and portray me like some crazed addled half-wit acting out of unknown and questionable motivations.

        You say I am out to blame you and to distort your words, and reduce my measured and valid statements to men-hating “tone-deaf rants”. See the problem now?

         

         

         

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          “The “Me Too” movement has seen all these”good guys” pleading ignorance of women’s experience with sexual harassment and abuse, and trying to put the onus on the women to tell their experiences (how am I to know if I am not told?”) but the truth is that they don’t want to hear it — not from strangers, and in particular not from the women closest to them. And yet they want us to trust them, to do so immediately, just on the strength of them knowing themselves as “decent guys”.

          Your words. Not distorted. My post at 62.1 refutes them on behalf of other men who were stunned by #MeToo.

          We don’t see or hear these horrible stories in our day-to-day life. We are not lying about this, nor do we appreciate the insinuation that we are.

          Your insistence that good guys are not good guys is what I’m pushing back against.

          Long story short: I have not denied your experience at all; you have repeatedly denied mine, however, with paragraphs like the above. Thanks for engaging me on this subject, but it’s time for me to have dinner with my family and think about other things than how I’m denying women’s pain with an earnest post acknowledging women’s pain.

          Honestly, it makes my head spin.

    2. 62.2
      Tyrone

      @ Maria Almudena

       

      “A critical failure of empathy is seen in a wide range of men, not just the predators. There’s the “good men” who expect you to trust them immediately because they know they are not out to harm you. These men will take offense if you as a woman try to take basic safety precautions around them.They know they are safe so why are you protecting yourself, right? Of course there is absolutely no logic in this way of thinking, but watch these “good guys” become immediately resentful in these situations. If they cared about women they would encourage us to take precautions, or at least understand it graciously and without resentment.”

       

      I’m sure there are some men that do take offense to this. There are some people that will be offended by anything. I have never taken offense to this or personally know any men that have. I often find it odd than many women don’t take what I would consider to be some somewhat basic precautions (not walking alone while drunk at night for example). There are women out there that are offended by that though.

       

      “And then, if you eventually decide to begin a relationship with one of these “good men”, they expect you to bring into it zero baggage from any previous experiences of being victimized, threatened, intimidated or abused by other men. They just don’t want to hear it, they don’t want those previous experiences to be in the picture with them at all. It’s an unfair photobomb as far as they are concerned.”

       

      I don’t know about “not wanting to hear it”. I think it’s more like you’ve chosen to start a relationship with this person so don’t try act like they are responsible or were complicit in anything that happened to you before that (as much as reasonably possible). Did all your ex’s cheat on you? Don’t go through my phone and secretly follow me places because of your past.

       

      “The “Me Too” movement has seen all these”good guys” pleading ignorance of women’s experience with sexual harassment and abuse, and trying to put the onus on the women to tell their experiences (how am I to know if I am not told?”) but the truth is that they don’t want to hear it — not from strangers, and in particular not from the women closest to them. And yet they want us to trust them, to do so immediately, just on the strength of them knowing themselves as “decent guys”.”

       

      Why do you think every man should know who did what to every women? That is pretty ridiculous. And yes, the onus is on the woman to speak up if someone assaults her because, literally, no one can do anything if no one knows. And if someone does know and tells the authorities, they still can’t do anything if the woman won’t speak up. I can understand reasons why they may not want to come forward. But it still needs to be done more often and more promptly so that we can get to the true abusers. I think the best thing we can all do is to encourage women to speak up, rather than telling them that they shouldn’t have to.

       

      “There is no trust without emotional safety. There is no emotional safety in situations where we are expected to bury, gloss over or obliterate from the record any difficult experiences we may have had with other men, or risk being seen as “damaged goods” by the present “good guy” trying to woo us.”

       

      False. You can give a person a basic level of trust while still maintaining safety and distance until trust level increases. You can have a conversation with a stranger in a well lit, well occupied public space. You can meet a man for dinner at a popular restaurant and the two of you can talk like human beings without having to immediately discuss all of the horrible things that have happened to you in the past. Will some guy see you as damaged goods? Doubtful, unless you act like you are in fact damaged while you are around him. And if you do that, wouldn’t it prove that assumption correct? Maybe you just aren’t ready to date yet.

       

      “Evan himself reminds us that trust should not be begrudged or dosified, that it must be given freely until the person loses that trust by doing something that breaches it. I see many problems with this approach, I think it leaves women too vulnerable and exposed. But I mostly think for many women, given their experiences, it is impossible to trust men in a general way, and so it is up to the individual man to earn that trust.”

       

      Basic trust, aka not assuming everyone is up to the worst things ever, doesn’t leave you vulnerable at all. Be safe. Treat others like human beings. Don’t start a relationship if you aren’t ready to ti give more trust.

      1. 62.2.1
        Maria Almudena

        Tyrone, there are so many falsehoods and misconstructions of my views in your post that I wouldn’t know where to begin. I have long realized that to participate in this forum one has to be retired , but see, I have a full time job and a full time life, and no time to set you straight.

        So just one thing that encapsulates all the rest:

        You ask: “Why do you think every man should know who did what to every women? That is pretty ridiculous.” What is ridiculous is that you should put those words in my mouth.  I don’t think that at all. I have never said anything like that. But the “good guys” are now insisting that they want to know, that they are ready to listen, and you are clearly saying wthat you are not, thus proving my point over and over while aspiring to refute it.

        1. Katie

          Maria says, “I have long realized that to participate in this forum one has to be retired , but see, I have a full time job and a full time life, and no time to set you straight.”

          When you have no response, because Tyrone spoke well and intelligently, you respond by criticizing the fact that he made the time to write up a decent response to your comments? I agree with him 100% AND I feel it was a logical response to your comments.

          Maria says, “Tyrone, there are so many falsehoods and misconstructions of my views in your post that I wouldn’t know where to begin. “

          I acknowledge that sometimes the way we write things on these forums is interpreted differently from how we intended it, and maybe that is the case here. But as your comment was written, I don’t see any falsehoods or misconstructions.

        2. Maria Almudena

          Katie, in his post Tyrone repeatedly says in different ways that the dating scene is not a good place for a woman to speak about her negative relationships with men, lest he feels blamed or mistrusted by association or extension. He encourages women to speak up, but only to the authorities. Not to him.

          Tyrone, you seem to have a very superficial concept of what trust is and no concept of emotional safety and what that entails. Most women on the first few dates will keep it light as you suggest but eventually, when they are considering a relationship with you, they will want to know if you can handle heavier emotional content, especially parts of her experience that may make her feel vulnerable in sexual situations. You turn away from this stuff at your own risk.

          You encourage women to speak up, but only to the authorities. Not to you. If a woman speaks up to you, you immediately assume that she is blaming you by association or by extension. While she may only be looking for someone to listen.

          You are just one more self-appointed “good guy” who doesn’t want to know. You say:

          “I don’t know about “not wanting to hear it”. I think it’s more like you’ve chosen to start a relationship with this person so don’t try act like they are responsible or were complicit in anything that happened to you before that (as much as reasonably possible).”

          You can meet a man for dinner at a popular restaurant and the two of you can talk like human beings without having to immediately discuss all of the horrible things that have happened to you in the past.”

          But then you go: “I think the best thing we can all do is to encourage women to speak up, rather than telling them that they shouldn’t have to.”

          Doesn’t all this seem horribly contradictory to you? See, it does to me. You want women to speak up, but not to you when y’all are considering a relationship based on trust and intimacy. Let her speak to the authorities. OK. But what if she needs more than that? What if she needs to discuss things with someone before taking the step of going to the authorities? You don’t sound like you are going to be on the receiving end of that, Tyrone.

          There are Reclaim the Night / Take Back the Night demonstrations all over the world in October. You may want to find out more about this.

          There is also a male answer to the “Me Too” movement, and it is called “How I Will Change”. One dude, for example wrote:

          “#HowIWillChange: Acknowledge that if all women I know has been sexually harassed, abused or assaulted, then I know perpetrators. Or I am one.”

          How will YOU change, Tyrone?

        3. Katie

          Maria says “Katie, in his post Tyrone repeatedly says in different ways that the dating scene is not a good place for a woman to speak about her negative relationships with men, lest he feels blamed or mistrusted by association or extension.”

          Many parts of the dating scene are NOT good times to talk about it. Especially early on. First dates are just for having fun and seeing if you like being with each other. Not for unloading on your date about all the injustices that men have caused to you in your life. Do you want to go on a date with a dude who spends the whole time complaining about his ex-wife? I sure don’t!

        4. Maria Almudena

          Oh, and one more thing: Wanting to be in a sexual relationship with a woman while at the same time not wanting to be bothered with the wounds and vulnerability that she may be dealing with in this area IS a cold callous form of predatory behavior. It also happens to be the specialty of many so called “good guys”.

        5. Evan Marc Katz

          Sorry, Maria, what you just described is called “dating.” Men are frequently willing to have sex with women they are not committed to, nor emotionally invested in. If a woman doesn’t feel safe or think the man is ultimately commitment-oriented, she shouldn’t sleep with him. Policing the behavior of the opposite sex is rarely a good strategy; it’s much easier to change your own behavior.

        6. Maria Almudena

          Katie, I have specifically stated before that the first few dates are a space to keep things light, that this is what most people will do, so you are not saying anything new. HOWEVER the goal of dating is for two people to progress to more trust and intimacy and to eventually have sex and possibly a relationship. Vulnerabilities and negatives experiences around sex do need to be discussed before the sex itself happens.

          Many people here seem to be on a very fast calendar when it comes to how many dates it takes for sex to commence in some form. So it is possible that the discussions about sexual trauma, harassment, etc., do need to happen fairly early on.

        7. Maria Almudena

          Evan, I am not trying to police men’s behavior as it applies to me. And I don’t do casual sex, so this is not about me. I am trying to get y’all to understand that for many women sex is not the carefree zone that you would like it to be.

          Since you keep insisting that good men are ready to listen to women’s experiences with sexual trauma and sexual harassment (something that I don’t see happening, I am also trying to point out that on the dating arena (a space that is meant to foster incremental closeness and intimacy) the “good men” are not ready to listen. So in what situations will they listen? When they have zero sexual interest in the woman? For most men, having no sexual interest in a woman means that they are not interested in her or her experiences at all.

        8. Evan Marc Katz

          I respect your passion for the subject and feel the world needs advocates like you. I just think we’re talking past each other. You assign thoughts and feelings to me that are not accurate and proceed as if they’re true. Your comment above says “for many women sex is not the carefree zone you’d like it to be.” You’re right. But then again, nobody ever suggested otherwise. So I’m left to go on the defensive over something I haven’t said. And around and around we go.

          Next point: “Good men” are not ready to listen.” You seem to be ignoring the feelings of the “good men” who are engaging with you right now. It’s as if our words have no meaning because they are not in lockstep with yours. Listening is a two-way street. I have acknowledged in the original post and in every comment that this is a HUGE problem. There have been no instances where I’ve doubted a #MeToo story, blamed a victim for being sexually assaulted, or claimed to know what it’s like to live with the PTSD and lack of trust associated with sexual assault.

          Literally ALL I said is good guys like me are overwhelmed, confused and afraid. There is nothing controversial about that. There is nothing attacking about that. There is nothing unsympathetic about that. It is a description of my state of mind – one that would be impossible for anyone to argue with because, well, it’s about my state of mind. My earnest question – what can good men do if they are REALLY not a part of the problem, don’t hear about the problem, or aren’t exposed regularly to the problem – is a fair one.

          The rebuttals are completely unfair: the insistence that we are NOT good men, we ARE part of the problem, we DO hear about it, we ARE exposed to it – is false and attacking.

          What’s clear from the negative commentary on this blog and on Facebook is that there are only two ways to deal with this:

          1. Shut up.
          2. Speak up and admit you’re guilty in some way, shape or form.

          Deviate from those two options – which I did by writing a piece that speaks to a lot of men who were blindsided by #MeToo – and you’re wading into an impossible “debate” which leaves neither side remotely satisfied.

          So let’s agree on this:

          Men should believe women.
          Men should be empathetic and sympathetic.
          Men should look in the mirror and consider whether their behaviors contribute to the problem.
          Men should call out bad behavior when they witness it.

          Where we might part ways unless I’m misreading you. I don’t believe these are true:

          Most men are sexual harassers or complicit in sexual harassment culture.
          Men need to apologize for crimes committed by other men.
          Because men are not the primary victims of sexual assault, their thoughts and feelings are irrelevant.
          The primary solution to sexual assault rests on those who have the least awareness and connection to it (i.e. good guys)

          Again, I respect you and appreciate your engagement. I would just encourage you to do exactly what you’re encouraging me to do: listen. Understand. Validate. I validate any woman who has been sexually assaulted or harassed by a man. I do not validate the claim that good men are not ready to listen. See Exhibit A, above.

          P.S. Listening, by the way, doesn’t mean that everything a woman commenter writes is 100% correct and fair, no more than every man’s comment should be treated as gospel.

          P.P.S. I’m going to disengage, work on my new book, and let Katie, Clare, Jeremy, Tyrone and Karl pick up this conversation. Thanks.

        9. Jeremy

          “Wanting to be in a sexual relationship with a woman while at the same time not wanting to be bothered with the wounds and vulnerability that she may be dealing with in this area IS a cold callous form of predatory behavior.”

           

          No, it ISN’T.  This is what I was getting at with my first post, asking for definitions.  Harassment/assault/predatory behavior – we can not define these things however we wish based on what we feel.  That is the slippery slope of this discussion.  In a comment above, Kenley made the jump from men not caring about harassment to men in relationships not being willing to acquiesce to her needs.  Not the same!  One is a crime, the other is relationship incompatibility!  A man who is attracted to a woman and wants to have sex with her, but doesn’t necessarily want to deal with her emotional baggage – also relationship incompatibility.  Not predatory behavior.

           

          The woman whose sexual meta-goal is relationships believes that the meta-goal of others should also be relationships.  When she has sex with a man whose meta-goal is novelty (he wants to give and receive novelty), she thinks he is using her.  But he isn’t.  Their goals simply don’t match.

           

          Definitions are really, really important because if this discussion slips from asking for men’s help with criminal behavior to asking men for complete and total capitulation to the desires of women, the audience will be lost completely.  That is not hyperbole.

        10. Katie

          “Vulnerabilities and negatives experiences around sex do need to be discussed before the sex itself happens.”

          We are quite different then. I can enjoy great sex with a guy and feel intimate and close with him without having talked to him about the time some other dude date-raped me.

        11. Maria Almudena

          Evan: Your statement that “Policing the behavior of the opposite sex is rarely a good strategy; it’s much easier to change your own behavior” is very unfortunate in this particular thread, because it is  the foundation of victim blaming and rape culture. Women are routinely told that if they’d only dressed differently or drank less or acted less provocatively (if they’d only changed changed their behavior) they wouldn’t have been raped.

        12. Evan Marc Katz

          You’re killing me, Maria.

          It is NOT victim blaming. It is common sense. NO ONE said here that if women drank less they wouldn’t have been raped. Only YOU said it and suggested that I implied it.

          So let’s try this again: “Policing the behavior of the opposite sex is rarely a good strategy; it’s much easier to change your own behavior.”

          What I meant by that statement was that between yelling at men like me to start conversations with married men about sexual assault at kiddie birthday parties, it is far more powerful and effective for women to share their stories, tell the authorities, speak out and actively fight against male predators.

          On this, I think we can agree. I’m done fighting off straw-man attacks, having words put in my mouth and correcting wild interpretations of benign statements. Have a great day and I hope that I’ve been able to explain what good men are feeling around this emotional issue. If I have not, it’s certainly not for a lack of trying.

        13. Maria Almudena

          Yes, Katie, we are quite different. No kidding.

        14. Maria Almudena

          I stand by what I said, Jeremy. For a man to want to have sex with a woman bypassing any sexual vulnerability and taking only the fun is definitely on the spectrum of predatory behavior. It is not on the same extreme of the continuum as rape or sexual abuse, but it is on the same continuum. This reminds me of an excellent post written on this thread by Ada, where she discusses the artificial and mostly fictitious and unhelpful distinction between “good men” and “bad men”. You may want to go read that.

        15. Jeremy

          I did read it.  I don’t agree with it, or your statement here.  We are all entitled to our beliefs, but when you ask others for help, it is up to them to determine whether they feel your request is reasonable.  I think that most of the requests made of men here were reasonable to me.  Some were not.  Because I did not agree with their definitions.

        16. Emily, the original

          Jeremy,

          The woman whose sexual meta-goal is relationships believes that the meta-goal of others should also be relationships.  When she has sex with a man whose meta-goal is novelty (he wants to give and receive novelty), she thinks he is using her.  But he isn’t.  Their goals simply don’t match.

          I agree with you. As long as the man is honest about wanting something casual (and by being honest I mean telling her he wants a casual interaction BEFORE they have sex; yes, it’s also her responsibility to ask)  he is not using her.

        17. Tyrone

          @ Maria Almudena

           

          I think you may be the one with a skewed view of what trust is. You think a rape talk on the third or fourth date addresses concerns of emotional safety? How? You barely know the man. And I seriously doubt he will just think it’s great that you were raped . But if you feel that you have to have this talk before sex, fair enough. You do you.

           

          I will listen to any woman that wants to talk to me. But I am not a police officer. I can’t do anything to bring the rapist to justice. So If a woman chooses to talk to me, I would encourage her to talk to someone in a position to get the rapist off the street.

           

          And if you choose to immediately tell me about the bad things that have happened to you on our first date, I will listen. And I will assume that you are not ready to date, based on my own personal criteria and list of red flags, as is my right.

           

          I see nothing contradictory about any of these things.

           

          How will I change? I don’t need to. I don’t like or condone the rape, assault or harassment of anyone. I’ve personally intervened in incidents I’ve witnessed (which has been detrimental to me at times). I’ve listened to stories of abuse. I encourage people to speak up, just as I did when it happened to me, so that the abusers can be punished and can’t hurt anyone else.

           

          Internet hashtags aren’t going to guilt me into saying I’ve abused women when I haven’t. Or that I know abusers and I am just pretending to be ignorant of their abuse, because I’m not.

        18. Maria Almudena

          Tyrone, you are objecting to something that I haven’t said. I have already told you, and I quote: Most women on the first few dates will keep it light as you suggest but eventually, when they are considering a relationship with you, they will want to know if you can handle heavier emotional content, especially parts of her experience that may make her feel vulnerable in sexual situations. You turn away from this stuff at your own risk.

          I have also said to Katie: I have specifically stated before that the first few dates are a space to keep things light, that this is what most people will do, so you are not saying anything new. HOWEVER the goal of dating is for two people to progress to more trust and intimacy and to eventually have sex and possibly a relationship. Vulnerabilities and negatives experiences around sex do need to be discussed before the sex itself happens.

          Many people here seem to be on a very fast calendar when it comes to how many dates it takes for sex to commence in some form. So it is possible that the discussions about sexual trauma, harassment, etc., do need to happen fairly early on.

          Are you willing to listen to a woman who may want to talk about her difficult sex-related experiences before she has sex with you?  You are trying to deflect the issue but you don’t really sound like you are ready to listen.

          You also have failed to explain how you reconcile your encouraging women to speak up with your insistence that they don’t speak up to you about these matters. The idea that “good men” are ready to listen continues to seem so theoretical that it is meaningless.

        19. Tyrone

          @ Maria Almudena

          Um, there is not deflection, Maria. I literally typed that I will talk/listen to a woman about this subject matter at almost any time.  My personal life experiences have shown me that most women don’t feel the need to have a pre-sex sexual assault talk. Again, I will have the discussion, but there are times when I would deem such a discussion not appropriate. Examples include but are not necessarily limited to:

          Pre-initial meet conversation

          Initial dates

          Directly before/during “fun” activities (amusement parks, ball games, etc.)

          While in the middle of a restaurant

          Right before sex

           

      2. 62.2.2
        Maria Almudena

        Tyrone: You are not ready to do anything about other men’s predatory behavior other than making sure that it doesn’t cramp your style. That’s what your long-winded soliloquy boils down to.

        1. Tyrone

          @ Maria Almudena

          If you think telling me about your rape on a first or second date and expecting me to continue dating you afterwards because your feelings means doing something about the predatory behavior of some men, then no I suppose I’m not ready to do anything about it.

          I will literally talk to anyone about anything – just not on an initial date. You want to talk to me as a friend about your trauma or just want the ear of a stranger? Cool. But your rape as your intro over dinner and drinks doesn’t work for me. I won’t cut you off. I will listen. And you will have my empathy. But there won’t be a second date.

    3. 62.3
      Karl R

      Maria,

      As I mentioned earlier in the thread, I have had relationships (including serious relationships) with women who had been raped. At least two of them had PTSD triggers.

      The one thing these women managed to do, which I think will solve your problem, is they did not appear to distrust me. They weren’t treating me like I was a potential rapist … at least not in any way that I could notice.

      When it comes to precautions, are you familiar with the concepts of visible and invisible security? In a normal context, visible security acts as a deterrent, to convince someone there’s an easier target. Invisible security is there to catch the person who has circumvented the visible security.

      When it comes to your own safety, invisible security is anything precaution that your date won’t notice. Run a criminal background check. Learn Krav Maga. Install a spy app on your phone so your parents can track your location.

       

      But I would say that it’s impossible for me to earn a woman’s trust. How does my wife know that I will never cheat on her? Or that I haven’t cheated on her already? Or that I won’t drain her bank accounts? Or that I’ll never hit her? How could I prove any of those?

      1. 62.3.1
        Maria Almudena

        Trust is not a state of absolute certainty, Karl. Nor is it something objective. It is a state of being relaxed enough in someone’s company to pursue objectives other than safety. You earn a woman’s trust by being safe around her. There are many things that go into this — providing the space for her to share difficult experiences they may have had with other men is part of it. And it’s something many men are not willing to do.

        I don’t know which problem of mine you are alluding to, that you are now claiming to solve. I don’t think what you say solves anyone’s problem. Yes, it is possible to take precautions without  being obvious about it, at least initially. That’s how I do it too. That is the smarter way to take precautions. So what?

        You earn someone’s trust by being trustworthy around a person in a wide variety of situations. Not only by not harming her but by actively contributing to her happiness and wellbeing. Not only by not being a predator but also by offering her the emotional space to heal from her history of being prey.

         

    4. 62.4
      Maria Almudena

      Evan, we are on a thread here about the pervasiveness of sexual harassment and sexual assault perpetrated against women, and what the men who consider themselves “good men” can or will do about it. So my statements are not the equivalent of unleashing this type of conversation to a married man at a kiddie birthday party. This is where this sort of conversation belongs, on a thread like this.

      I know that your statement that it is easier for individual women to change their behavior than to police the behavior of the whole opposite sex can be interpreted in different ways according to context, and I know that you didn’t mean it as victim blaming, but in the context of sexual harassment and sexual assault, I repeat that it is a very unfortunate statement. Because women are raised and spend their whole life being indoctrinated in this idea that it is up to us to manage ourselves so that we are not sexually harassed or raped. Your U.S. President Donald Trump said recently, for example, that if her daughter Ivanka were sexually harassed at work she would simply change jobs. Which of course it’s easy to do when you are the daughter and wife of multi-millionaires.

      And going away, disappearing, changing jobs or careers or clothes may be easier than fighting the whole system in other cases too, but this is why we have the system we do: because too many men abuse their power to get sex, and women routinely bow to the way things are and change their behavior rather that facing war against the whole patriarchal setup. But the only way things will really change is if women start saying, you know what? No, I will not change myself, let THEM bastards change.

      You, too, seem very much stuck on a false dichotomy between “us the good guys” and “them the bad guys”. I fervently recommend that you look for a post signed by Ada on this very thread, where she does an amazing job of addressing the falsehood of such dichotomy and how unhelpful it is.

  3. 63
    Penny

    Thanks for the post Evan. This is actually an issue way wider than sexual assault, horrible and headline grabbing as that is.  It has to do with the power imbalance between men and women in society.

    You are in a great position to take this issue on board in your work.  It accounts for a lot of the strange ways in which women behave around men: the lack of confidence, the staying in unsuitable relationships – all the stuff that can look like an individual’s issue, but has its roots in the way women are taught that men are superior and continually defer to them, often to their own detriment or actual harm.  To acknowledge it, to refer to it, to look into it more deeply, all this would be really great.

    As a start, my friend Nikki van der Gaag – now Director of Gender Justice and Women’s Rights at Oxfam GB – wrote a book a couple of years ago that you should read: Feminism and Men.  She had lots of abuse online afterwards; her now son-in-law fielded it beautifully. 🙂

    With much appreciation for your love and support, and all good wishes going forwards.

  4. 64
    Julie

    Where are you getting the “only 6%” are causing the problems? If every single women has had something happen to them (and not just 1 incident mind you… a lifetime of incidences… I personally have journaled 5 PAGES of things said and done to me by men) then those 6% sure are getting around. The men doing these things are everywhere; in families, schools, doctors, clergy, neighbors… everywhere! Please stop perpetuating the myth that it is only a small percentage. The women are not buying it.

    1. 64.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      I’ll repeat what I responded to the last commenter who pointed this out:

      “I made a mistake on the 6%. The article, written by feminist writer Amanda Marcotte for Slate, refers to the percentage of men who commit rape, not sexual assault. No doubt the percentage of men who commit sexual assault is higher. However, I would still submit that it’s a significant minority of men. A comparable example: There are 300 million guns in the U.S. Only 25% of the population owns guns. 3% owns HALF of America’s guns. Even if most women have been sexually assaulted, most men are not sexual assaulters. Those who think it’s okay to touch or harass a woman against her will do it repeatedly for decades, while the majority of men have no idea it’s going on.”

      To respond to your point about your 5 pages of sexual harassment; that sounds awful and I’m appalled to hear it. And hey, for all I know, you’re right; it’s actually 96% of men who act that way and I’m completely clueless. Again, I am in no way minimizing or doubting your dozens of harrowing experiences with men. I just know that we all have some form of confirmation bias, myself included.

      While you seem to think MOST guys act like this (because that’s your experience), MY experience is that most guys DON’T act like this. Are you correct? Am I correct? Chances are, it’s somewhere in between.

      Example from a previous blog post:

      If you have lost two family members to car crashes, you’re well aware of the 40,000 automobile deaths each year and want to advocate for better car safety, stronger drunk driving laws, banning cell phones on the road, etc.

      All are serious threats – especially if you’ve been personally affected. At the same time, there are 1.1 billion car trips in America each day. 40,000 deaths in a year are horrible, but they still make up a fraction of car trips.

      I maintain that while most women have been harassed/assaulted (and each time is one too many), most guys are not participating in the offending behavior. As Pistola said (and cited from her research), the serial harassers do get around a LOT – and impact your view of all men. You’re right – these predators are everywhere – clergy, schools, doctors – but they’re mixed in with millions of men who would never even consider behavior like that. Please don’t forget about us.

  5. 65
    Nissa

    It’s a good question, “Should I speak up even if I don’t have something meaningful to say”? I think it is. Except there is something meaningful there – it’s “I’m listening, I’m paying attention, I’m ready to hear what you have to say, it’s ok to not be perfect or valid or right, you are allowed to have your feelings even when they might not seem ‘right’ or justifiable or understandable to others, I’m open to helping you if you need help or support or simply to say your pain out loud”. This helps both genders feel heard, and more likely to feel safe & understood as well.

    I do think that those who have not been assaulted just have that outside their experience. They have never thought about that happening, so to hear that it has is stunning, shocking and they probably won’t know what to do about it, because it’s too far outside their experience. So just having these things brought up can bring the awareness to a level that helps them be in a better position to help when that moment comes, because then it’s not so foreign. My dad is an example. He genuinely thought my mom did whatever was needed. My dad’s idea of fathering was to go to work, do as he was asked by my mom, mow the lawn and fix cars. Talking to little girls was just too far outside his wheelhouse. Looking back, my mom probably covered things up and he didn’t actually know all of what happened. But I didn’t realize that until years and years later.

    So I do think, Evan, that these things are pertinent here because we are talking about dating, how people perceive and respond to things, especially how to make each other feel “safe, heard and understood”. One of the keys here is “intention matters”. If Jeremy kisses his date, and she’s not feeling it, does that make him a violator? To me, what he intended makes a difference. It’s reeaaally subtle. If he thinks she’s not interested, and he intends to push her because he can, that’s bad. If he’s not sure, and intends to push until she makes he lack of consent clear…I find that a lesser evil. It would be better for him to find a non-forceful way to discover her consent or lack of consent. And what if she feels hurt, but he didn’t mean to hurt her? I’d put that on a par with turning quickly and knocking someone over. No matter what, they are still on the floor, but it hurts more when you know that person meant to do it. If they squeal, “I’m so sorry, I didn’t see you!!” – forgiveness is easily given, even if the hurt is sexual in nature.

    The flip side is that it’s also nice to remember we can’t always get there. PTSD means that there are a lot of moments when something happens, those of us who have had negative experiences will often freeze, pause, or react in unexpected ways. If men can step back enough to realize that it’s not about them, and not take it personally, that is helpful. He can ask, “what do you need”? A lot of the time, that can offer us enough of a safe space to calm down, pull back into the present, and encourage us to ASK for what we need (since there is an indication that it’s desired and ok). This is especially true of sexual situations that mimic the conditions of the original negative experiences. More than likely, all the person (men too) need is a moment to collect themselves, a hug, an “I’m right here”. And you can believe us. Especially when we don’t know if we did something to bring it down on ourselves, by smiling too wide or wearing the wrong thing or drinking too much or going somewhere alone with a man, without realizing he was going to take it as a green light for more than you intended. To believe us when we say, we tried to say no, but it wouldn’t come out of our mouths because our lungs didn’t work anymore. To believe that in the moment, it seemed safer to keep quiet and try not to make them angry, because they are so strong and big and unstoppable. So many women quietly condemn themselves for not knowing when exactly the line was crossed, and know only that they feel soiled on the inside. So believing them, trusting that they never intended to do anything that created an assult, that’s important too. It can help a women stop condemning herself and lead to her offering forgivenesss to herself, that she might not otherwise attain.

  6. 66
    Marika

    Okay Jeremy. I take your point.

    I really think on a post about #MeToo we should be careful, though. I think you’ve made this point a few times elsewhere, and that’s fine, but reading through many women’s scary & horrible experiences and having had a few (more minor) ones of my own, I’m not sure you making that point is really necessary or overly helpful in this context.

    Sometimes people (men and women) just need to be listened to & understood and shown empathy. Not to have someone turn around and say “well this is partly because you..”

    Like you acknowledged, women have a visceral fear of harm from men when they act in certain ways. That’s not something we choose. It just is. I used to have it even when my husband yelled. (Also my father before him). Yes, I should avoid men who yell, but had he really injured me & I was in hospital, I wouldn’t appreciate having my choices discussed and dissected, or being somehow blamed for the incident (even in a roundabout way).

    And while you may have become more bold & less cautious in your dating life, I very much doubt your wife would’ve been impressed by you harassing her, badgering her or forcing her to do anything she didn’t want to do. I still think there’s a massive difference between being confident and being a predator. Which you don’t have to be an expert in body language to figure out.

    1. 66.1
      Jeremy

      That is fair, Marika.  This whole issue is a huge blind spot for me, I’ll admit.  Like Evan, I just have no experience with this, so by availability bias I assume it’s less of an issue than it actually is.  My sister just found out that her best friend is being abused by her husband.  Apparently, this guy regularly hits her with his fist, and when asked later why he did it, he replies “I don’t know.”  Makes me want to vomit.  We are trying to get some help for her, but she isn’t making it easy because although she is afraid of her husband, she also relies on him.  It is an old story, a common story, but no less shocking for all that.  I can’t understand it, can’t wrap my brain around it.

       

      How does one influence a man who would do such a thing?  Shunning him?  Ostracizing him?  Will that help, or push him further into a corner and make him even more volatile?  Mandatory anger counselling?  Jury’s out, I guess.  Perhaps our greatest role as men is as parents – not speaking harshly to our children so as not to associate harshness with power in the mind of a child.  Giving kids a loving upbringing so that they will hopefully not develop rancor as a compensation for pathological loneliness or powerlessness.  Even that may fail, but at least we’ve made the effort.

      1. 66.1.1
        Marika

        Would you or your wife consider ringing the police and asking them to check in or your friend, Jeremy? Maybe you could say you are a neighbor and heard fighting and you’re worried  (or something). This guy needs to be held to account. Domestic abuse is a criminal issue, not a private issue.

        1. Jeremy

          It IS a criminal issue, but only if she is willing to report it.  She has confided to a psychiatrist who has put her in contact with a shelter.  If she goes to the shelter, the rest will follow.  Unfortunately they are in a remote area of Colorodo, so there’s not much I can do from Canada.  This is one of those situations where we stand ready to help, but the woman in question must take the first step.

    2. 66.2
      Chance

      Hi Marika,

       

      A primary purpose of the #MeToo movement is to create awareness… especially awareness among men so that men will change to suit the desires of women.  To that end, Jeremy’s points are relevant.  It takes understanding on both sides to improve, which includes acknowledging what both sides might be doing to contribute to the problem.

      1. 66.2.1
        Marika

        Not initially, though, Chance.

        Imagine you’re a woman who’s been date-raped. It’s hard to imagine as a man, because, like Jeremy said, men don’t have a visceral fear of harm of women. But try to imagine. You post on #MeToo. It’s the first time you’ve publicly (and even maybe privately) acknowledged it. Some dude repiles to say, sorry ’bout that. Let’s chat about your relationship choices, okay?

        I’m wondering if it’s too soon for this post. People are shocked, angry, hurt, coming to terms with what they went through etc. For now just a show of empathy is helpful. We can figure out the rest a bit later.

        1. Jeremy

          Agreed.  But it does need to come eventually, hopefully from a trusted friend or family.

        2. Chance

          Marika, I hear you, but I think your point is a red herring (not saying it’s intentional).  We aren’t personally responding to people on social media who are revealing for the first time that they’ve been harassed, assaulted, raped, etc.  A primary point of the #MeToo movement is to create awareness and somehow get men to change (in fact, the impression I got was that this was the most important point).  So, Jeremy’s arguments here are consistent with that purpose.

           

          It’s not too soon for Evan’s post.  An actress popularized an existing movement with the purpose of creating awareness about what she believes is a pervasive problem so that men will change:

           

          Message sent, message received.

           

          To state that Jeremy is in the wrong for presenting valid counter-points to this movement by implying that he’s being callous for an apparent willingness to risk offending all of these women seems like a strange distraction to me.

  7. 67
    Suzanne

    For women, the judgement of their behaviour, what they wear, and so on starts very young. Girls are sent home to change because they are a distraction to the boys. Women who sleep with men casually or on first dates are called sluts, even when the men are participating in the EXACT same behaviour. Yet we say, “that’s the way it is” and expect women, yet again, to change how they live in the world. We tell young girls they can’t go out at night, do anything alone, so on because “it’s different for girls.”

    Women are categorized into nice girls you marry, and the other ones you have “fun” with, usually based on characteristics such as independence, ambition, and the clothing she wears.

    This is what we need to change, too; the shame and submission women are expected to take, to not distract men, to not enjoy anything sexual. Double standards need to be eliminated. Let’s stop saying, “that’s the way it is” and change it to “this is how it is now.”

  8. 68
    Amber

    The #metoo movement is not just about assault but also harassment. Which is part of the culture that allows those who assault to get away with it. What men need to do in their spaces and amongst their peers is speak up. I recognize that that most men have not literally seen the other men they know assault someone. But how many men have seen one of their buddies be overly aggressive in his attempts to pick up on a woman and not corrected him? How many have listened to their buddies make jokes about assault or put the blame on the victim and not corrected him? Or joined in because hey it’s funny and it’s not like any of us actually assaulted anyone? How many men are perfectly comfortable in situations where women are reduced to nothing but their bodies or their sexuality and don’t even think twice about it because it’s seen as normal? But all of that creates a culture of permissiveness. Ingrains the idea that women are supposed to be treated that way. From there it’s all a matter of degrees before you get to assault. When your peers do something inappropriate call them out. Don’t explain it away. Don’t be afraid to lose a friend over it. The only way other men will learn these behaviors are unacceptable is if there are consequences. Not all of these behaviors cross into the territory of having legal consequences, but they should sure as hell have social consequences.

    1. 68.1
      Pistola

      Yes. Here are two examples from my own life just from the last 24 hours.

      –At a first meet from a dating site, my meet, a white guy, tells me that he found my Facebook page and read all my public posts. But my Facebook page isn’t under my  name and not searchable by my phone number.

      What do I do?

      –Today I walk out of the back door of my office and a white guy wearing nothing but a pair of shorts is standing in the hallway. He looks at me and walks into the office next to me and closes the door.

      Thing is, that office is empty. Hasn’t had a business in it in about a year. I text the property manager and she calls me 30 seconds later and says she’s on her way.

      Turns out the guy is day laborer, someone they know, who has been doing work around the property, who was given keys to do some cleaning in the empty offices this week. He apparently decided that he’d like to hang out in the one next to me, left it unlocked and moved in at least two big bags worth of belongings.

      She kicked him out with a huge commotion. However, there’s nothing to prevent him from showing up at some other time.

      Stuff like this happens to me CONSTANTLY. Constantly. I barely date anymore because of it. It’s always white men doing this stuff, and always something creepy. At one point I wrote a desperate letter to Evan, hoping, I guess, that something he could say would somehow change the world or give me a magic camera to know who’s nuts and who isn’t. It was a total fantasy, I realize that now, but one I needed at that moment.

      Wishing for a safe world for all women–and yes, I carry a gun and knife, daily.

      1. 68.1.1
        Gala

        I am sorry, but does either example constitute harassment? How is it barely anything?

        I read this thread and shake my head in disbelief. Some women really need to get a grip and get a refresher on what the definition of harassment is. When a guy tells you to “smile” (which happens to me all the time), when a construction worker whistles from the other side of the street, when men talk about women in graphic detail among themselves, when even when some behaviors make you feel unsafe, these are not instances of harassment, let alone assault. These are just instances of people being warm blooded humans. This is the continuation of the snowflake mentality taken to the gender context. The world doesn’t owe you (the royal you) a safe space. The world is NOT a safe space. It isn’t safe for anybody, and stronger humans  trying to dominate weaker humans is as normal as rain and snow. Trying to frame this behavior in gender or race context is a mistake. It is universal human condition. Get over it.

        And going to such lengths as describing the incidents like above in terms of harassment or assault doesn’t do the women’s movement any favors. It only reinforces the idea that women are nuts, and undermines the victims of real harassment and assault.

        1. S.

          There is much I could say here, but I’ve said it elsewhere in these comments. I am curious, what do you consider harassment?

        2. Pistola

          As someone who works with many people who are survivors of violence–and as one myself–I can only shake my head at your comment. Violence is a continuum. You don’t seem to understand that. It happens to be a big part of what I do for a living. You don’t strike me as being someone who actually understand the issues or why the behaviors I posted are, and should be, concerning to women. Good luck.

        3. Pistola

          And…I don’t know anyone who thinks I’m nuts. Not one single person. Not a friend, acquaintance, client, or anyone on this blog. In fact, I have a really good reputation for getting both women and men out of bad, abusive relationships into healthy, thriving ones, and a really good track record. So I’d appreciate your keeping the implied insult to yourself. Thanks.

        4. Gala

          Pistola:

          Violence is a continuum.

          I disagree. Violence is violence, clear cut and simple. Saying it is a “continuum” enables perpetrators to absolve themselves of responsibility (“i am not THAT bad”) as well as criminalize trivial non-violent behavior (cat calling). Neither is good. I have great respect for the work you do, but I disagree with your premise. We need a definitive line for what constitutes violence, assault – not some blurred “continuum” thing. Further, just because someone may feel threatened, doesn’t mean that we should all cater to their feelings. You may feel threatened by a mere sighting by a man in shorts in a parking lot behind your office late at night…. but that doesn’t mean we should ban men from hanging out in shorts behind your office. It is on you to deal with your fears. I hope you understand what I mean.

        5. S.

          Gala,

          That certainly was interesting. First, I’ve been harassed, legally, more than I knew.  I’ll have to digest that later.  Second, this:

          Second degree harassment occurs when, with the intention to harass, annoy, or alarm a person they:

          strike another person or attempt or threaten to do so;
          follow a person in public places;
          act in a way that causes alarm or seriously annoys another person and serves no legitimate purpose.

          That could cover many behaviors  The day laborer in Pistola’s example could be committing criminal trespass some other law I don’t know. I’m not a lawyer. And I don’t know what harassers ‘intend’.  Intent is a hard one to prove.  But food for thought.

          I was followed three times in my life in the state whose laws you linked to.  First time, I was fifteen. According to the link that’s first degree harassment.  But what if they didn’t intend to cause me harm or annoy me?  Wonder why intent is not part of the first degree. Sigh. That first incident is not a pleasant memory for me.

          I’m going to take a page from Evan’s book and disengage.  I think some progress was made for me personally in the comments here, but Rome wasn’t built in a few days.  Change is going to take a while.  Thank you to all who commented.

      2. 68.1.2
        Tyrone

        @ Pistola
        –At a first meet from a dating site, my meet, a white guy, tells me that he found my Facebook page and read all my public posts. But my Facebook page isn’t under my  name and not searchable by my phone number.
        What do I do?

        Nothing. Or if it bothers you that much, reduce your social media presence. Several women have tried to internet research me in the past.

        –Today I walk out of the back door of my office and a white guy wearing nothing but a pair of shorts is standing in the hallway. He looks at me and walks into the office next to me and closes the door.

        How do you know that this guy’s presence had anything to do with you whatsoever? You are just assuming this guy was there to bother you. Maybe he was. Maybe he was just planning to stay in or store some stuff in an unoccupied room. And what does his being white have to do with anything?

        The world never has never and will never be a 100% safe place for ANYONE ANYWHERE.

        1. Pistola

          I’m curious about why anyone would think I thought or assumed the world would be a “safe place for everyone everywhere.” I’ve posted more research on this thread on harassment and violence than anyone else commenting on it. I know better than anyone that this is the case. I’m the last person that needs to be told such a thing.

          Violence IS a continuum. Most women and children are preyed upon by someone they know. Most serial predators begin with small boundary violations, little “tests” to see what the target will accept. Moving too close. Letting drop that they know information about you that they haven’t shared. Making a slightly inappropriate comment. Getting someone to accept a drink they don’t really want. Predators who are not “stranger danger” generally groom their targets. This behavior is well known to all of us who work in the field.

          In the case of the Facebook guy, he already had my professional website and LinkedIn profile, so there was already plenty of info that I was who I said I was, especially for someone I hadn’t met yet. Something about it was off; it felt like a test, a little boundary crossing to see what I would do. He had to work pretty hard to find my Facebook page and I definitely had the sense that he was looking to see how I’d react to the information. I will not be going on another date with this person. I’ve been stalked from online dating sites multiple times and this kind of behavior can definitely be part of how that begins. I might be wrong, but the chance is simply not worth it to me; I’ve got lots of other guys who want a date.

          The guy in the office complex has been hanging around my back hallway for the better part of a week. It’s not an apartment complex. It’s an office complex where no one walks around even partially undressed; it’s a business environment. I’d seen him a handful of times before in my back hallway, which is only one of many hallways in the complex, and I now know that the work he was hired to do didn’t involve him spending much time at all near my office. He had keys to all of the empty offices in the entire complex, but the one he chose to leave unlocked was the one right next to mine.

          How much information do you think a woman needs to make a decision? I say enough to make her uncomfortable. There are other guys. There are other places for that worker to be and none of them involve him standing in a hallway almost completely undressed. The chances that that wasn’t a test to see how i would react are very small given all of the information. And even if I’m wrong, passing over it could have consequences that are far too grave to make it worth it to blow it off.

          The reaction of the property manager certainly backed up the fact that I had reason to be concerned. She was visibly shaken and very , very angry which makes me think other things had happened with that guy that she may have had questions about.

          I’m really, really good at helping people stay safe and get from bad relationships into good ones. A big part of that is that I’m good at teaching people how to assess and avoid. If you don’t want to take in what I have to say, it really doesn’t matter to me, because hundreds of people benefit from it every year. I know who I am and what the worth of my work is. I have living proof of what I say in the many people I’ve helped.

          Thanks Evan for giving me the chance to write here. I appreciate your blog. Over and out.

        2. Pistola

          And Tyrone: where I live, being white has a lot to do with it. Harassment and aggression toward non white women has escalated sharply in the city I live in since the election and is affecting not only me but my clients. All of us are educated, professional women, the demographic that Evan serves with his work as well. All of us have noticed the difference and that the behavior is coming from white men. And we’re all on high alert and being a lot more careful because of it. That’s why it matters. We are primary targets for racially motivated harassment right now, and we know it.

          Thanks.

        3. GoWiththeFlow

          Tyrone,

          “How do you know that this guy’s presence had anything to do with you whatsoever? You are just assuming this guy was there to bother you. Maybe he was. Maybe he was just planning to stay in or store some stuff in an unoccupied room. And what does his being white have to do with anything?”

          You clearly don’t get it.  A woman cannot afford to ignore strange goings on in her environment.  She does so at her own potential peril.  Go ask a police officer in a sex crimes unit if Pistola did the right thing by reporting this man to the building managers.  They would say absolutely yes.  Better to be safe then sorry.  From childhood girls are taught to avoid walking by parked vans, going out alone at night, or venturing into poorly lit parking garages or buildings, among many many other things.  Do boys get this message?  It never occurred to my parents that a teenage boy or young man could be in danger from a sex predator until the John Wayne Gacy case.  Even after that my brother did not have his freedom or movement restricted nearly as much as my sister and I did.

        4. GoWiththeFlow

          Tyrone,

          As far as race goes, my ex-daughter in law is Hispanic.  Since the election she has had white men behave threateningly towards her. In a store one man, while having a conversation with another, turned and looked my DIL straight in the eye when he came to the part in the convo where he said “. . . and I’m sick and tired of all of these Mexicans around here.”  She has also been told to “Go back to your own country!”  Sexism and racism are linked.  If you hate one group, it’s not hard to add another to your sh*t list.  The manosphere serves/served as an entry point for white men into the alt right.

        5. Tyrone

          @GoWithTheFlow

          Who said it shouldn’t have been reported? Or that it should have been ignored. I would do the same if a strange man was hanging out in a room that was supppsed to be unoccupied. My question was how it was a definative example of the man harrasing her. Given the details listed, it isn’t. Better safe than sorry is always the best policy. But it doesn’t mean that the man in the parked van was out to get YOU because you saw him there.

        6. Tyrone

          @ Pistola

          A man checking your Facebook posts and another man in a room that happened to be by yours are not examples of racially motivated harassment. Unless you’ve left out some other details?

        7. Tyrone

          @ GoWithTheFlow

          Sexism and racism CAN be linked. I didn’t imply that they couldn’t be. But how is a man tellng your ex daughter in law to go back to your own country, while certainly racist, an example of sexism?

        8. GoWiththeFlow

          Tyrone,

          How do you know my DIL’s experience wasn’t related to sexism as well as racism?  (See how that works?)  Would this guy have behaved this way to a Hispanic man who matched him or beat him in size and strength?

          Getting back to Pistola’s original point:  Women are cautious around men who are strangers.  After the election, women of color have been given reasons to be even more cautious of white men.  If my ex-DIL decided to avoid white men she didn’t know, given her experiences, I would understand why.

        9. GoWiththeFlow

          Tyrone,

          AGAIN.  You. Don’t. Get. It.

          Try to silence the side of your brain that wants to automatically take the man’s side and find his behavior benign.  This is about how the women experience and process these interactions after a lifetime of cautionary tales and advice–often from our own fathers, brothers, and husbands–and experiences where we felt unsafe or were actually harmed.

          Just LISTEN to us and our perspective.  Don’t insist we are wrong or crazy because it is not how you or other men experience things in life.

        10. Pistola

          Tyrone,

          I have been harassed on the street and riding my motorcycle 60 times since the election. 60. Every single incident involved white men and most of them two men. No men of color at all.

          I have been stalked 6 times in the last year, all from one week on OK Cupid before I realized that men could grab my photos off my profile, image search them and find my professional website. I have been threatened, called names, had some guy I met once show up at my office and destroy stuff. All of the men were white.

          I am a lot more cautious of white men than I was 14 months ago. It’s justified. I have had NO incidents of harassment by men of color in the last 12 months. Only white men. I’m Asian American with big tattoos. Apparently a lot of white men believe that under current circumstances this means they are entitled to treat me like I’m a sex worker, and since I work with sex workers and women who have been trafficked, I’m quite familiar with what that behavior is.

          I did not experience any of this before the election.

          I’m super cautious about white men right now as are all of my clients who are WOC. Better safe than sorry. I now don’t let any interaction that feels uncomfortable get to the point that it progresses.

          And, before anyone makes more comments about my being afraid, I’m a skilled practitioner with both gun and knife, and not afraid to use either. But it’s not something I WANT to do. And it ticks me right off that I now need to carry weapons to walk down the street, go to work at an office I pay good rent for, and generally live life. I’m pissed and frustrated a lot more than I’m scared.

        11. Pistola

          Gavin de Becker, who wrote the seminal The Gift of Fear, talks a lot about noticing things that are anomalous or “off” and paying attention to them. It’s a real shame that women are so often talked out of doing this by people suggesting that their sense of unease is them “overreacting.”

          His point: If you ARE overreacting and you’re wrong, the loss is small. If you’re right about what you’re perceiving, the loss is very large. Don’t listen to other people trying to talk you out of your gut feelings. Anna Salter gives the same advice to parents about protecting their children from adults who seem a little too interested in their kids. Trust your gut. It’s there for a reason and it doesn’t matter if other people think it’s not “enough.” It’s not their body, their life, or their kid. It’s yours.

        12. Tyrone

          @ GoWithTheFlow

           

          How do you know my DIL’s experience wasn’t related to sexism as well as racism?  (See how that works?)  Would this guy have behaved this way to a Hispanic man who matched him or beat him in size and strength?

           

          I don’t. You don’t either. I don’t have to know as I’m not the one that tried to make the claim that it was sexist. It was a shitty, racist thing for him to say. No need to assume it was gender based because he was of the opposite sex. No real reason to assume he wouldn’t say it to the face of a man that he didn’t think could beat the shit out of him. News flash – people are often wary about walking up insulting someone that can probably kick their ass. But you added that the hypothetical Hispanic guy was of equal or larger size. so clearly sexism was at play here.

           

           

          Getting back to Pistola’s original point:  Women are cautious around men who are strangers.  After the election, women of color have been given reasons to be even more cautious of white men.  If my ex-DIL decided to avoid white men she didn’t know, given her experiences, I would understand why.

           

          Your ex-DIL should do whatever she deems necessary to see to her own safety. But if something happens to her and it is a white person that happens to do it, it doesn’t automatically mean that it was racially motivated or sexist just because you think it is.

           

          Try to silence the side of your brain that wants to automatically take the man’s side and find his behavior benign.  This is about how the women experience and process these interactions after a lifetime of cautionary tales and advice–often from our own fathers, brothers, and husbands–and experiences where we felt unsafe or were actually harmed.

           

          Get what? That you felt like someone was harassing you when instead you were actually being cautious? Please continue to be cautious in life’s activities. That is what I think everyone should do. But don’t claim harassment on things that are not. Don’t cry racism in situations that are not. And don’t claim that something is sexist just because it happens to a member of the opposite sex. All you are doing is diminishing actual instances of those events for no particularly good reason. If you want to know why people might question the things you say, there’s your answer. Harassment and sexual abuse are terrible enough You don’t need to one up them.

        13. Tyrone

          @Pistola
          I have been harassed on the street and riding my motorcycle 60 times since the election. 60. Every single incident involved white men and most of them two men. No men of color at all.
          I have been stalked 6 times in the last year, all from one week on OK Cupid before I realized that men could grab my photos off my profile, image search them and find my professional website. I have been threatened, called names, had some guy I met once show up at my office and destroy stuff. All of the men were white.
          I am a lot more cautious of white men than I was 14 months ago. It’s justified. I have had NO incidents of harassment by men of color in the last 12 months. Only white men. I’m Asian American with big tattoos. Apparently a lot of white men believe that under current circumstances this means they are entitled to treat me like I’m a sex worker, and since I work with sex workers and women who have been trafficked, I’m quite familiar with what that behavior is.
          I did not experience any of this before the election.
          I’m super cautious about white men right now as are all of my clients who are WOC. Better safe than sorry. I now don’t let any interaction that feels uncomfortable get to the point that it progresses.
          And, before anyone makes more comments about my being afraid, I’m a skilled practitioner with both gun and knife, and not afraid to use either. But it’s not something I WANT to do. And it ticks me right off that I now need to carry weapons to walk down the street, go to work at an office I pay good rent for, and generally live life. I’m pissed and frustrated a lot more than I’m scared.

          All horrible things and its a shame that you’ve had to go through that. But none of that proves in any way that the strange man (that I 100% agree that you should have reported because at the very least he was somewhere he wasn’t supposed to be) was there to harass you personally and was performing said harassment becasue he was white and you are not. That is the only point I am trying to make.

        14. Pistola

          Tyrone,

          My point to you–which is based on the expert advice given to women by people like Gavin de Becker–is that waiting for “proof” is too late.

        15. Pistola

          “Proof” that the guy was there to expose himself to me or otherwise bother me would entail…waiting for him to do either or both. Too late. Do you understand what I’m saying about this? I work at preventing this kind of stuff. Not sitting around and letting something creepy get more creepy just in case I might be wrong.

        16. Pistola

          You see Tyrone, the thing is, this happened to me. It didn’t happen to you. You weren’t there. And I would guess that you don’t experience these kinds of incidents nearly as frequently as I do. Please correct me if I’m wrong about that.

          I really don’t understand your insistence on “proof.” People of color know when we’re being singled out because of our race. One of the ways we know? The same behavior isn’t being displayed toward white people in the same vicinity. There are other businesses, offices, and women in the complex, but all of them are run by people who are white.

          Do I need to be “sure” it’s racially related? Do I need to know if it’s coincidence that he chose my hallway? Nope. I don’t. Close enough for me to take action. That’s all I need.

        17. GoWiththeFlow

          Tyrone,

          I said:  “How do you know my DIL’s experience wasn’t related to sexism as well as racism?  (See how that works?)  Would this guy have behaved this way to a Hispanic man who matched him or beat him in size and strength?”

          You replied:  “I don’t. You don’t either.”

          Yet every other thought in your comments is about that YOU somehow know the truth about what my DIL or Pistola should have felt about their respective encounters (This wasn’t harassment or sexism!!!!!!!) instead of dealing with what they experienced the situation to be.  This paragraph of yours is a doozy of mansplaining:

          “Get what? That you felt like someone was harassing you when instead you were actually being cautious? [Because according to Tyrone, the decider of all such things, women are never cautious because they are being or have been harrassed]  Please continue to be cautious in life’s activities. That is what I think everyone should do. But don’t claim harassment on things that are not. [Because Tyrone says this isn’t harassment!] Don’t cry racism in situations that are not. And don’t claim that something is sexist just because it happens to a member of the opposite sex.” [I repeat, because Tyrone says it isn’t racist or sexist!]

          It’s because of the tendency of some men like you to diminish what women experience that the legal standard for sexual harassment is what “a reasonable woman” would view as harassment, not what a man would.

          “All you are doing is diminishing actual instances of those events for no particularly good reason.  If you want to know why people might question the things you say, there’s your answer. Harassment and sexual abuse are terrible enough You don’t need to one up them.”

          No I am not.  Where in the world did I ever say that what my DIL experienced is equivalent to rape?  Or where was I trying to “one up” someone?  I was bringing up the fear that exists in every woman about the potential to be harassed or assaulted and how it affects how they experience things in life.  This so the men on this board will have some understanding as to why women feel harassed in situations where they may not see it.  You, Tyrone took the lesson one step further by demonstrating why society needs the #MeToo campaign by saying something women experience, that you don’t, can’t be real, is made up, or is women over-reacting, and–OMG!–in doing so we are diminishing “real” victims.  Attitudes like this are why women don’t report incidents of harassment or assault.  Because they fear not being believed and having their experiences diminished and belittled.

        18. Pistola

          GWTF

          Exactly. When women try to say they are uncomfortable, or talk about something that’s raising their red flags, some men have a knee jerk response that rushes to defend other men, even though they weren’t in the situation, even though they don’t experience the same things that woman does, even if they lack the assessment skills to evaluate the situation.

          It may not be true of Tyrone but a lot of men simply seem to feel like they need to defend other men at any cost, even men they don’t know or men who are clearly doing something creepy or weird. Those men often don’t learn how wrong they are until something happens to a woman they really care about and they are forced to re-evaluate how they assess such things.

          Why this is, I don’t know. What I teach my clients is that if guy A isn’t listening to you, move on to guy B, guy C, guy D etc. until someone does. Don’t waste time trying to convince someone who assumes that men are automatically guiltless. It isn’t their life. Act to protect yourself. Speak out. Get help. Keep yelling until someone listens. Don’t give up. The best outcome to any crime is to actually prevent it happening.

        19. Pistola

          Quite frankly it amuses me when men tell me my assessment and subsequent course of action can’t be correct. Mainly because the information I use to protect myself, and the way I do it, has been trained into me by men: my former Wing Tsun teacher, my current knife fighting instructor, two previous shooting teachers, the LEOs who coach me at the range, and the Navy SEAL trainer who’s my current shooting instructor.

          I find it vastly amusing that men who don’t have to defend themselves like I do would suggest that the coaching I’ve received from other men, all of whom deal with threat and safety training professionally at a high level, must somehow have equipped me to NOT assess situations correctly. Of course, these men don’t know that all of my former and current defense training and mindset has been at the hands of men that know a lot more about these issues than they do. I suppose that since it’s coming from a woman, it’s assumed that a fearful woman made up the information, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

        20. Tyrone

          @Pistola

           

          ““Proof” that the guy was there to expose himself to me or otherwise bother me would entail…waiting for him to do either or both. Too late. Do you understand what I’m saying about this? I work at preventing this kind of stuff. Not sitting around and letting something creepy get more creepy just in case I might be wrong.”

           

          Did you miss the part where I agreed with you reporting the man for being in the area?

           

          The problem is not that there was a strange man in a place he shouldn’t have been in. The problem is not that it worried or concerned you. The problem is not that you took action and reported it. All of those are completely valid in every way. The problem is that you gave this as an example of harassment against you specifically, which you just admitted that you had no proof of having been the case in that instance. Then you tacked on that fact that his having been white meant that the situation was racially motivated, which again you had no proof of having been the case.

           

          The situation, as described by you, is not an example of racially motivated harassment in any way. But it is an excellent example of taking action during a situation that made you uncomfortable and had cause for concern.

           

          They are NOT the same thing.

           

          If someone makes you uncomfortable, you should definitely take some kind of action to make yourself feel safe. But don’t label someone a harasser when they didn’t actually do anything to harass you. Not sure what is so hard to understand about that.

        21. Tyrone

          @GoWithTheFlow

           

          Yet every other thought in your comments is about that YOU somehow know the truth about what my DIL or Pistola should have felt about their respective encounters (This wasn’t harassment or sexism!!!!!!!) instead of dealing with what they experienced the situation to be.  This paragraph of yours is a doozy of mansplaining:

           

          Not really. You claimed that you ex-DIL was harassed based on race and sex. The comments you listed while certain an example of racism, contained no specific reference to her being  a woman. Based on what you wrote, I asked you did any of you know that this harassment was due to being a woman in addition to being Hispanic. Your response was how do I know it wasn’t, backed by a hypothetical situation where wondering if the man would have been racist towards a another man that happened to be Hispanic (as if that never happens). If you claim something is racist or sexist, the onus is on you to describe how it is racist or sexist. If you can’t describe how it was racist or sexist, that means you don’t know that it was racist or sexist. Thus you shouldn’t tell people that it was definitively racist or sexist.

           

          The truth (all I have is the story as typed by you) of you ex-DIL’s encounter is that it was racist, but the sexism was assumed. Racism is bad enough. You don’t have to assume sexism because a man made a racist statement to a woman. Could he actually be sexist? Sure. But nothing in what you typed gave any indication that was the case. You just made the statement that racism and sexism are connected as if that is some kind of proof. It isn’t.

           

          The truth ot Pistola’s encounter AS TYPED BY HER is that she had no proof of the white harasser having been there to harass her or anyone else. And while her reporting the man for being in the room he wasn’t supposed to be in and shirtless was 100% justified – especially since she felt uncomfortable and concerned, listing this as an example of racist harassment is not.

           

          It’s because of the tendency of some men like you to diminish what women experience that the legal standard for sexual harassment is what “a reasonable woman” would view as harassment, not what a man would.

           

          Um, a man telling a person that happens to be a woman to go back to Mexico isn’t the legal standard for sexual harassment. And I hope you aren’t trying to tell ment that “reasonable women” all assume that if someone with a penis says something mean or even racist to a woman that it is automatically due to sexism.

           

           

        22. Pistola

          Tyrone,

          One last try here.

          The man was not just shirtless. He was ENTIRELY UNDRESSED EXCEPT FOR A PAIR OF SHORTS. No shoes, socks or probably underwear.

          There is NO context in this office complex in which this is even remotely appropriate. It’s bizarre and anomalous.

          My assessment was agreed upon by both property management and the law enforcement she talked to.

          Good enough for them is good enough for me.

           

        23. Tyrone

          @ Pistola

           
          Tyrone,
          One last try here.
          The man was not just shirtless. He was ENTIRELY UNDRESSED EXCEPT FOR A PAIR OF SHORTS. No shoes, socks or probably underwear.
          There is NO context in this office complex in which this is even remotely appropriate. It’s bizarre and anomalous.
          My assessment was agreed upon by both property management and the law enforcement she talked to.
          Good enough for them is good enough for me.

          It is very bizarre. And not appropriate. And reporting it was the right thing to do. And they were right to remove him from the premises. And there is still no proof that he did anything TO YOU SPECIFFICALLY OTHER THAN MAKE YOU UNCOMFORTABLE AND ABSOLUTELY NO PROOF THAT IT WAS RACIALLY MOTIVATED.

        24. Pistola

          Tyrone,

          There’s every reason to believe he was specifically trying to bother me. This man has been around the complex a number of times. He knows who the tenants are. There is no reason for anyone to ever be in my hallway except for the maintenance guy. His job was outside, out in the parking lot and other areas a good distance away from my office.

          Because of the way the offices are set up, there is REALLY no reason for him to be standing there outside my door one zipper away from naked, waiting for me. It’s absolutely harassing behavior. It’s absolutely threatening.

          Law enforcement AGREED with my assessment on this. They’re looking into whether he may be a registered sex offender now.

          Got it?

        25. Chance

          GWTF, I’m very surprised that you would defend racist commentary on this thread.

        26. Shaukat

          GWTF, I’m very surprised that you would defend racist commentary on this thread.

          What are you referring to, Chance? I haven’t seen it.

        27. Tyrone

          @Pistola

           

          There’s every reason to believe he was specifically trying to bother me. This man has been around the complex a number of times. He knows who the tenants are. There is no reason for anyone to ever be in my hallway except for the maintenance guy. His job was outside, out in the parking lot and other areas a good distance away from my office.

           

          Irrelevant. You can have every reason to BELIEVE whatever you like. Did he actually do or say anything to you? If not, he didn’t commit an act of harassment. So don’t say it is an example of racially motivated harassment.

           

          Law enforcement AGREED with my assessment on this. They’re looking into whether he may be a registered sex offender now.

           

          Also irrelevant. And even if it turns out he is a sex offender, he still didn’t say or do anything to harass you. You are just speculating that he was going to and you are extra sure of that because he was white.

        28. Pistola

          I’m not obligated to answer you, Tyrone. I’m a WOC and work in the field. I know more about this than you ever will, and I’m not interested in engaging the topics with you. It doesn’t seem worthwhile to me given the rather vast disparity in our knowledge bases. Sorry to disappoint, I’m sure others will be happy to engage with you.

        29. Chance

          Hey Shaukat, “reinforce” would be a better word than “defend”.  If you look up at Pistola’s comment in 68.1, it’s a wee bit….. well, let’s put it this way: given GWTF’s commentary on this blog about various social issues, I feel reasonably confident that she would have taken serious offense to that comment if you keep everything the same except to change the word “white” to “black” (in fact, if you go back and read it, but switch “white” to “black”, it sounds like a caricature).  I respect GWTF’s posts, but I was just surprised to see her reinforce that comment with her subsequent response to Tyrone.

           

          …and this isn’t to knock Pistola, I’m not offended by the comment itself and I’m not saying that she’s a racist.  However, the comment could certainly be construed as being racist, but I believe that she (and everyone) should be allowed to say whatever she wants as long as no one is being personally attacked.

        30. Pistola

          Chance,

          I’m factually reporting my experience. All, and I mean 100%, of the creepy, weird, harassing encounters with men I’ve had in the last 12 months have been with white men.

          No exceptions. I have had no experiences like this with men of color. None. Zero. When I say “always” I mean that so far, it has literally been always, as in, every single time with no exceptions in the last 12 months.

          It is not racist to report facts and to report my actual experience. And it’s not only my experience–it’s happening to a lot of my clients too, the ones that are WOC at least.

          Just clarifying that.

        31. Shaukat

          @Chance,

          Ah, I see what you’re referring to now. I don’t think GWTF was necessarily reinforcing that worldview, but I agree that Pistola’s position is highly problematic. She is taking a correlation and trying to turn it into causation without any legitimate grounds for doing so. In a sense, it is similar to what certain white nationalists do when they take crime statistics from the FBI Justice Department, which show that most violent crimes are committed by African Americans (when compared to whites), and then claim that this is evidence that some trait-cultural or biological-associated with the race is responsible for such behavior. Take this statement she made:

          –At a first meet from a dating site, my meet, a white guy, tells me that he found my Facebook page and read all my public posts.

          There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that the man’s race had anything to do with his bizarre behavior. I would not have even mentioned the race-just like I wouldn’t have mentioned if he was wearing reeboks.

          In my opinion there is no doubt that Trumps’ election has emboldened racist elements within American society who are now acting in afar more brazen fashion, but how you go from that to assuming that stockerish guys from dating websites-who happen to be white-are targeting you because you are an Asian woman is beyond me.

        32. Pistola

          1. The city I live in is an active target area for hate groups to recruit new members. One of the two known Neo Nazi cells in the state is here. They have been far more active, especially on and around university campuses, since the election. I live and work near two university campuses.

          2. The history of the city I live in unfortunately enables public harassment of non white people because it historically segregated POC into areas far from the center of the city. Rising housing costs  have worsened this problem and driven POC further and further out. What this effectively means is that there can be entire days where a POC can see very few other POC in large sections of the city. This emboldens white harassers because us POC stick out and there aren’t many of us around, not like there used to be.

          3. How do I know the harassment is racially oriented? How about the racist remarks and name calling?

          4. Same with online dating stuff. I get asked about my race and if I refuse to answer, the interaction often becomes hostile.

          5. I go on dates with men of all races. It is ONLY the white men who have engaged in stalker behaviors. So that is the demographic that, so far, the trouble has all come from. I’ve met plenty of men of other races but none of them got stalkery.

          One of the reasons I choose to train in defensive stuff with military guys is that military guys who have been deployed in other cultures understand this problem: you have a large population of people that look like X. Within that population there is a smaller subset of people who are definitely out to give you, yes you, problems. You have to figure out which people are the ones who are going to give you problems. That’s the assessment process when you are the minority person. Unfortunately, in the beginning, you only often figure out after the problem has already begun.

          BTW all of my shooting friends and self defense teachers–and there are quite a few of those–are white men. They joke that training me is their pet social justice project. They’re qualitatively different than the guys who give me problems, and it’s largely by learning from them that I’m learning how to identify the problem guys. None of them would do anything as remotely creepy or harassing as the stuff I’ve experienced to a woman. They’re pretty much all happily married and in great relationships, family guy types. Know them well.

           

        33. Pistola

          Also, the bar that is run by and an attraction spot for overt white supremacists is 1.6 miles from my house. Fun times.

          I gotta admit I always have to laugh when people ask me “but how do you know it’s racially motivated?” Uh, because something gets said about my race? It’s not really rocket science most of the time, folks.

        34. Pistola

          And oh. Facebook guy, after letting me know he had found my page and read all my posts, launched into how he wishes “they” would take care of “those people who come to this country and take our jobs.”

          My mother is an immigrant. Which he knew, because it’s on my website and I specialize in multicultural clients.

        35. GoWiththeFlow

          Chance, Shaukat, Tyrone,

          Chance, I’m not sure exactly what sentence or group of sentences you are referring to.  It would help if you would copy and paste them so I can more directly address them.  But I think what you find problematic is that I said my Hispanic ex-DIL has been on the receiving end of verbal abuse from some white men that she has found frightening, and that I wouldn’t find it surprising if she avoided white men because of it.

          Honestly, I don’t see where this is racist.  It’s an example of classical conditioning.  If you put your hand on a hot stove and you get burned, you learn not to do it again.  Negative or painful events and consequences imprint on our brain more firmly than positive experiences do.  Hence the advice that one negative remark to a loved one should be balance by 5 to 7 positive remarks.

          So if my DIL has had frightening interactions with white men, her base brain is going to tell her to avoid or be cautious around strange white men in the future.  It will take conscious higher lever thought to fight that don’t-get-harmed urge that could get conditioned into women of color who are subjected to racial abuse by white men.  (Just one example of how white racists not only harm POC but non-racist white people as well.)

          So if my DIL said she was going to avoid white men she didn’t already know, I would understand it.  I don’t think it will serve her well.  She could miss out on opportunities to meet new friends, get new work opportunities, or find a new partner.  But I would understand it.  Just like I would understand it if my 11 year old granddaughter didn’t want to start a pot of water boiling on the stove because the last time she touched it she got burned.

          In this thread, overall what I was trying to do is show how being a woman and a POC, separately and together, lead my DIL to experience these interactions as very frightening and as one of being harassed because of her status as both a woman and a POC. Tyrone doesn’t get it.  He is unable or unwilling to put himself in a woman’s shoes and acknowledge that they may honestly experience something as sexism or harassment that is all or in part based on their gender even though he doesn’t see it that way.

          To illustrate it a little further, on one of Evan’s comments on this post he does a short mental exercise.  He writes picture a serial killer.  Now picture a kindergarten teacher.  Is what you see sexist?  It’s in this mainframe that I posited the question of whether the man that was ahead of my DIL in a store would have directly looked her–a woman of Mexican heritage–in the eye when he said “I’m sick and tired of all these Mexicans around here!” if she had been a man?

          Because most women have been in a situation where a man tries to intimidate them and their experience of it is, he wouldn’t have done that to me if I were a man.  As a group women are smaller and weaker than men.  That’s not sexist, that just is.  And a predator or bully will seek a victim who is smaller and weaker.  So women are convenient targets.

      3. 68.1.3
        Pistola

        You appear to have exactly zero functional knowledge of how sex offenders work. They choose targets and set up a “staging area” close to those targets. Near schools, playgrounds etc. Living nearby. It’s a very common behavior. What happened when the property manager tried to get him out of the office added to the huge red flags piling up around the situation.

        However, since law enforcement is taking it seriously, it’s immaterial whether you do, Tyrone.

        1. Tyrone

          @Pistola

           

          You appear to have zero functional knowledge of the definition of the word harassment, as well as what constitutes racism.

           

          But please continue to side step everything that I’ve said and keep making my point for me.

  9. 69
    Marika

    Jeremy said

    This is one of those situations where we stand ready to help, but the woman in question must take the first step.

    I think you should look into this a bit more. Imagine a woman uprooting herself and her children and going to a shelter. You make it sound easy. It’s far from easy. Lots of women leave shelters and withdraw claims of abuse and go back to abusive partners who are then far worse. Because shelters are depressing and kids don’t understand. Then the woman feels bad and confused when the kids are upset etc etc.

    A person who hears a man abusing his wife can report it. Or at least ask the police to check in on the family. Or at least for advice. This is why I say abuse is a criminal issue, not a private issue. A bystander can’t wipe their hands of the issue.

    1. 69.1
      Jeremy

      It’s not that I think it’s easy to go to a shelter- I think it would be crushingly difficult.  The problem is that this woman has no one else for 1000 miles, has significant mental health issues, and I think she is very likely to deny the charges if pressed.  You are right, though, that I can’t wash my hands of this issue.  I’ll talk to my sister tonight.

      1. 69.1.1
        Marika

        Thank you for taking this seriously, Jeremy. You’re a good man.

    2. 69.2
      KK

      Marika,

      Sorry, but I disagree. Jeremy isn’t obligated to do anything. This isn’t his sister or his daughter. If someone chooses to get further involved, that’s their business and perfectly okay, but no one is responsible for helping her.

      1. 69.2.1
        Marika

        A lot of people feel that way, KK. Which is why we had a big awareness campaign on DV (actually, several) in Australia. DV is a crime the way robbery, rape, murder etc is a crime. If you walked past someone being raped, I’m assuming you’d call the police. If you hear your neighbour screaming  at & hitting his wife, I would hope that you’d also call the police. I’m not saying to go over there and risk getting hurt, but no one is responsible for helping her? Really?

        1. KK

          Marika,

          DV is a crime here also. We have awareness campaigns as well. That’s not the point I was trying to make.

          Of course I would call the police if I witnessed something. You’re talking about something different with Jeremy. This sounds like an ongoing situation where she doesn’t want to leave. And in that case, no I would not step in. If it was a close friend, I would offer help. If it was an acquaintance, I would point them in the right direction to get help.

          You said, “I’m not saying to go over there and risk getting hurt, but no one is responsible for helping her? Really?”

          In a DV situation, the woman has to seek help in order to get it. Talk to some police officers some time, Marika, and ask them about DV calls. There are basically two types. The ones where they arrest the perpetrator for a first offense, followed by his girlfriend / wife breaking up with him / filing for divorce and following through with court orders, restraining orders, etc… OR … repeat offenders. Ask them how frustrating it is to get called out to a home to arrest some guy that has beaten the crap out of his wife / girlfriend, only for her to bail him out and drop charges. Happens all the time. I don’t understand it. Never will. But it happens all the time. And in those situations where there’s a willing participant, no one can help. Help can be offered, but until the victim is ready to cut that person out of their lives completely, nothing will be done.

  10. 70
    Marika

    Chance

    I’m not sure you do hear me. Perhaps what men can do about this campaign (Evan’s original question) is try better to understand women. Evan said above that women all the time come to him to try to better understand men. I’m enrolled in Love U for that very reason. How often do you hear men saying “I just want to understand women better”. Yeah, not often.

    I can’t speak for all women, of course, but I truly believe that a week into this campaign, most women don’t want to be lectured by men about what they should be doing to avoid being abused or harassed. Or get into lengthy debates when they are feeling incredibly vulnerable with men who don’t understand what it’s like to be sexually abused. Later down the track. For now, just lend some support. Have a think about whether you’ve ever crossed the line. If you see a male friend being too pushy with a woman, say something.

    It’s not always about what’s logical, Chance. It’s about what’s helpful.

    1. 70.1
      Chance

      “Evan said above that women all the time come to him to try to better understand men. I’m enrolled in Love U for that very reason. How often do you hear men saying “I just want to understand women better”. Yeah, not often.”

       

      I think that men want to understand women better just as much as women want to understand men better.  However, what is always a problem is the fact that men often do not feel free to ask for help without embarrassment because asking for help is seen as a sign of weakness.  Men are less likely to ask for help in pretty much all areas of life…. not just when it comes to understanding women better.

       

      “I can’t speak for all women, of course, but I truly believe that a week into this campaign, most women don’t want to be lectured by men about what they should be doing to avoid being abused or harassed. Or get into lengthy debates when they are feeling incredibly vulnerable with men who don’t understand what it’s like to be sexually abused.”

       

      Fair enough, Marika.  I can understand the feeling because most men don’t like to lectured to about how they are all bad, even if they think they are good.  Or that their friends or family are actually sexual abusers even if they swear up and down that they aren’t…. they just don’t know it.  I don’t see a problem with making this about the victims and the stories they have to share.  Perhaps you can promote your cause, then, by speaking out against all of the misandristic comments littered throughout the comments section here?  Not that I’m offended by the comments, but it kind of detracts from your goal state of focusing on the victims, and it doesn’t promote self-reflection on the part of men when they are put on the defensive.

       

      This kind of narrative is not going to encourage men to try to understand women better.  What do you say, Marika, are you in?

      1. 70.1.1
        Marika

        Chance said: What do you say, Marika, are you in?

        Um..I’ve pulled up women numerous times when they made ridiculous demands of men on this blog (e.g. when they say men should pay for everything, arrange all dates etc). I used to get into it with Stacy2 often when she went on an on about how terrible men are. But I don’t have all the time in the world to police the blog. I also don’t really understand how me policing the blog will help men understand women better..??

        I am also doing my bit to understand men better. I’ve bought numerous products of Evan’s, I take on board his advice, and, as I said I’m currently doing Love U. I’ve made huge efforts to be a much better date over several years, recognising my role in dates not going well in the past.

        All I’m asking of you & other men is to not jump into telling women what to do, but maybe to listen to what they have to say – particularly about an issue that affects many (maybe even most) women around the world & is not something you can directly relate to, as well as to self-reflect on your own behaviour before jumping into attack/lecture/blame mode.

        Evan himself made the point some time ago that you can always be relied on to champion the male cause without putting yourself in the shoes of women…

        So..let’s turn it back to you. What exactly is it that you are doing to understand women better overall? And/or to show empathy and compassion about a cause so distressing, pervasive & topical as sexual assault?

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          You both have a point and are talking past each other. Men should listen to women (especially in regards to #MeToo). Women should listen to men (like this post from a sympathetic and confused ally).

          But, objectively, men should listen MORE, because we’re comparatively far behind when it comes to sensitivity, emotional awareness, and validating other worldviews.

        2. Chance

          Evan,

           

          “But, objectively, men should listen MORE, because we’re comparatively far behind when it comes to sensitivity, emotional awareness, and validating other worldviews.”

           

          Respectfully, I appreciate much of what you do here, but you know a statement of this nature would be considered sexist if the sexes were reversed.  This statement is also not objective.  (Not that I’m perfect… far from it.)

           

          Marika,

          I didn’t mean to give you the impression that I didn’t think you don’t put yourself in men’s shoes.  Indeed, I’ve seen you do so on many occasions around here.  However, on this topic, I feel that you have been focusing on some fairly reasonable counterpoints to the #MeToo movement, while perhaps you may have been subconsciously ignoring the broader cacophony of anti-male sentiment in the background.

           

          I’ve said before that it is by design that I take the male side of things around these parts.  However, any discourse that arises from that isn’t meant to be personal, and I’ve expressed my sympathy towards someone here who has recently experienced an inappropriate encounter with a supervisor.  Someone who has had a lot of things to say about me over time, mind you, but understand it given my approach here and I don’t take it personally.  Still, I can put myself in her shoes when real-life events supersede anonymous online debates.

           

          I also have been asking my partner, co-workers, and relatives about their experiences in light of this movement.  The challenge that I’m running into is the disconnect between what they tell me and what I am reading on here and in social media.  These women don’t generally have any bad experiences with harassment, and it hasn’t been something that has really affected their lives or how they feel around men.  Everyone’s mileage varies, of course, but this is what I am trying to piece together at this point.  Some women online say that they are constantly harassed and/or assaulted, and I believe them, but the women I know personally don’t really have these experiences (and, no, I don’t think it’s because they are just scared to share them).

           

          That’s not to say that these women don’t have their own #MeToo story somewhere in their past, but the thing is that I would venture to guess that every single woman and every single man has their own #MeToo story as well considering what the ideas of harassment and assault encompass for the purposes of the movement.  As a result, it’s difficult to gain a solid understanding of the problem since the lower severity/higher frequency events are conflated with the higher severity/lower frequency events, which also has the effect of trivializing the more serious offenses.  I believe this is along the lines of Katie’s points.

        3. Evan Marc Katz

          “Respectfully, I appreciate much of what you do here, but you know a statement of this nature would be considered sexist if the sexes were reversed.”

          You’re right. It’s subjective, not objective. And yet, how much evidence do you need that women, on the whole, are better listeners than men? Don’t be like the women who insist that men and women are the same. We’re not. Women have us beat on this one. Whether it’s biological or sociological, it doesn’t matter. Men love to talk. Listening? Not so much.

          Finally, I know you were trying to get a jab in at feminists, but I don’t believe my observation about men being poor listeners is sexist. Unless pointing out that men and women are different is inherently sexist. I think of it more like commonsense observations that pretty much everyone could make.

          Picture a serial killer. Are you sexist? I don’t think so.
          Picture a kindergarten teacher. Are you sexist? I don’t think so.

          I trust you see my point.

        4. Chance

          Evan, my point was not to suggest that men and women are the same or to get a jab in at feminists.  Again, respectfully, I believe that your comment  – the one that I originally quoted – served to minimize the points of one side of the argument and maximize the points of the other side based on something that doesn’t directly relate to the debate.  It could be true that women are better listeners than men in general, but that doesn’t automatically mean that men should listen to women’s concerns any more than women should listen to men on this particular topic.

           

          If  you took this same approach with the genders reversed, many women would consider this to be sexist in that you would be minimizing their concerns based on general gender differences that don’t directly relate to the subject at-hand, and they’d be right to consider it sexist IMHO.

        5. S.

          To Chance:

          As a result, it’s difficult to gain a solid understanding of the problem since the lower severity/higher frequency events are conflated with the higher severity/lower frequency events, which also has the effect of trivializing the more serious offenses.

          It is difficult to understand at first.  For me and my experiences, I simply didn’t trivialize them. I put them aside so I could move on with my life, but I knew what they were at the time. I just thought no one would care.

          I’m not sure what you mean by conflating. I think the lower severity events lead to the higher severity events or create the culture that allow both to happen.  As for frequency, I think both events are frequent, just some events are committed by few individuals.  But those few individuals are committing them at  a frequent rate.

          I wish I could think of an example that men could understand but nothing is really comparable.  And our culture has trained us so well to qualify and classify, and not always feel.  There are so many things that happen that we ignore.

          I’ve never been a boy but I’ll take a stab at an example.   Maybe growing up, in middle school boys used to lightly punch each other on the shoulder.  But when you are thin and small it hurts.  Not always but sometimes.  But as a boy, you quickly learn you aren’t supposed to show that pain.   It still hurts but you ‘man up’ and deal and when you get older and have more muscle it doesn’t even really hurt much anymore.  Besides, you figure maybe this is a way men show they accept you into their group.  But when you are eleven years old, maybe for you it doesn’t feel particularly welcome. But the other boys don’t seem to mind. So you accept it, work out more, gain more muscle, and it’s fine.

          So this is a ‘trivial’ thing.  No one is really hurt. It’s not criminal.  But slowly, this boy is getting conditioned to violence.  He’s learned that it’s ‘normal’ and no one is really getting hurt.  If someone is really hurting they are ignoring it in front of others.  I would say that this slow conditioning could lead to an incident like when a boy dies in a fraternity hazing event.  Now that’s more severe and criminal.  Is it a direct line from one to another? Good question.  Even I would say no.  But if you condition a boy for seven years to tolerate pain, on a minor level to be accepted by his peers, he’s not going to object to more pain for the same reason when he’s older. (And especially by his choice.) He’s going to think that that sort of casual violence is normal. In my opinion it is not normal.  Even if he thinks it is.

          So another long comment!  And perhaps a very bad example because I’ve never been a boy.  And maybe I’m conflating sexual harassment with lighter non-sexual acts of violence.  And they are not the same. I’m not saying they are. Just trying to use an example men might understand.  Feel free to dissect away.  I’m fine with criticism of my example because . . . I sense the men here really trying to understand.  Really trying to listen.  So it’s worth the risk of criticism for me to try to understand as well, even if/when I don’t succeed.  This post and its comments are about that trying.

        6. Chance

          Hi S., thanks for your comment, and I will chew on your points although I can’t say that I agree with the idea that there is a culture that fosters sexual harassment.  The vast majority of men already know that the typical behaviors described throughout this thread aren’t acceptable.  We’ve had it drilled into us from a young age….over and over and over and over and over.  I think almost every guy has had an instance in their past where they crossed the line in some fashion because they weren’t thinking, but most realize they made a mistake right after the fact, and self-correct.

           

          That said, I will take your points into consideration while I observe future interactions between the sexes.

      2. 70.1.2
        S.

        Thanks Chance, for your reply.   I thank you and Evan and Katie and others here who keep trying.  To remind me there are men and women that will try to understand.  Always good to be reminded. 🙂 If I can keep that in mind with my observations of folks, and I usually do, I will feel my time writing here was well spent.

  11. 71
    Cat5

    Why are we trying to reinvent the wheel here and talking at cross-purposes.  There are people who have spent a lot more time and money to answer many of these questions.  One such person is Jackson Katz (never met the guy, but have read a lot of his stuff and watched his Ted talks ).  If you go to Jackson Katz’ website (http://www.jacksonkatz.com), he has books and a lot of free content – Ted talks, blog posts, etc. which answer many of the questions you all have been asking about what good men can do.  He makes a lot of sense. He even has a free poster that you can download which says the following:

    10 THINGS MEN CAN DO TO PREVENT GENDER VIOLENCE

    1) Approach gender violence as a MEN’S issue involving men of all ages and socioeconomic, racial and ethnic backgrounds. View men not only as perpetrators or possible offenders, but as empowered bystanders who can confront abusive peers.

    2) If a brother, friend, classmate, or teammate is abusing his female partner — or is disrespectful or abusive to girls and women in general — don’t look the other way. If you feel comfortable doing so, try to talk to him about it. Urge him to seek help. Or if you don’t know what to do, consult a friend, a parent, a professor, or a counselor. DON’T REMAIN SILENT.

    3) Have the courage to look inward. Question your own attitudes. Don’t be defensive when something you do or say ends up hurting someone else. Try hard to understand how your own attitudes and actions might inadvertently perpetuate sexism and violence, and work toward changing them.

    4) If you suspect that a woman close to you is being abused or has been sexually assaulted, gently ask if you can help.

    5) If you are emotionally, psychologically, physically, or sexually abusive to women, or have been in the past, seek professional help NOW.

    6) Be an ally to women who are working to end all forms of gender violence. Support the work of campus-based women’s centers. Attend “Take Back the Night” rallies and other public events. Raise money for community-based rape crisis centers and battered women’s shelters. If you belong to a team or fraternity, or another student group, organize a fundraiser.

    7) Recognize and speak out against homophobia and gay-bashing. Discrimination and violence against lesbians and gays are wrong in and of themselves. This abuse also has direct links to sexism (e.g. the sexual orientation of men who speak out against sexism is often questioned, a conscious or unconscious strategy intended to silence them. This is a key reason few men do speak out).

    8) Attend programs, take courses, watch films, and read articles and books about multicultural masculinities, gender inequality, and the root causes of gender violence. Educate yourself and others about how larger social forces affect the conflicts between individual men and women.

    9) Don’t fund sexism. Refuse to purchase any magazine, rent any video, subscribe to any Web site, or buy any music that portrays girls or women in a sexually degrading or abusive manner. Protest sexism in the media.

    10) Mentor and teach young boys about how to be men in ways that don’t involve degrading or abusing girls and women. Volunteer to work with gender violence prevention programs, including anti-sexist men’s programs. Lead by example.
    If nothing else, download the poster and put it up as a reminder to you what you can do.

    1. 71.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Thanks, Cat5. Glad to see you’re still reading after all these years…

  12. 72
    Marika

    Fair points Evan. I definitely don’t think all men are responsible for the sins of some men & can see your frustration at trying to help while copping flack in the process.

    Women are just sick of men (not you) who respond to issues by jumping straight to lecture/blame town without even a brief stopover at compassion/listening & trying to understand town.

    And thank you, Cat5. Great list.

  13. 73
    Marika

    Just wanted to pay respect to you on a well thought out & self-reflective comment, Chance. I still disagree with a lot of what you say, but that aside, that was a thoughtful & authentic comment and I appreciate & acknowledge it.

  14. 74
    Maria Almudena

    Jeremy and Emily the original: The superficially consensual exchange that you are describing boils down to this:

    Man: Can I use you as a piece of meat without feelings? Can I stick my thing in your orifices even if I don’t care for you as a person and I don’t even find you all that attractive?

    Woman: Sure

    Man: OK. Just as long as you do understand that I don’t give a shit about you and would never ever consider a relationship with you because you’re just nowhere hot enough. We’re clear, right?

    Woman: Right

    Man: Oh, and I won’t have to deal with any sensitivity  or vulnerability or emotional stuff, right? It’s just sex. No intimacy of any kind, understood? In fact I hope you don’t mind if I don’t kiss you, I only do that with women I love. The same goes for cunnilingus, by the way.

    Woman: Sure, no probs.

    Man: But you will still suck my dick, though, right? Oh, and you pay for dinner, OK? You know, women’s lib and all, hahah.

    This is crass, callous sexual materialism — the ultimate objectification of women via turning them into masturbation sleeves without minds or souls. It is definitely on the same spectrum as sexual harassment, degrading porn, sexual abuse and rape. The only reason women partake of this bullshit is because we live in a world where patriarchal corruption reigns supreme, and we have confused slavery to our basest nature with liberation.

     

    1. 74.1
      Gala

       The only reason women partake of this bullshit is because we live in a world where patriarchal corruption reigns supreme

      No. Just please stop. The “patriarchy” does not force you to partake in this BS. None does. The woman consented. She voluntarily  partook in this deal. We are not little children. We have agency. To say “patriarchy made me do it” is to deprive women of such agency and absolve them of responsibility.

      As for the  reason women find themselves in such scenarios (and they do) is due to the lack of self-respect, IMO. Nothing else.

      1. 74.1.1
        Maria Almudena

        Gala, the lack of self-respect comes from living in a society where everything tells us that, without youth and beauty, we are nothing. This is the reason why some women agree to be last-ditch emergency lay for a guy who doesn’t give a shit about her. You are right, the patriarchy is not forcing us, but we need to be very conscious if we are to detach ourselves from its pervasive and pernicious influence.

        1. Maria Almudena

          And I will not stop, because I am right.

        2. Gala

          What you say makes no sense and no, you are not “right”.

          Even assuming as a premise that we are “living in a society where everything tells us that, without youth and beauty, we are nothing”, it still doesn’t logically follow that a woman needs to be a “last-ditch emergency lay for a guy who doesn’t give a shit about her”. Huh?? How do you even connect the dots in your mind? If the society tells me that “i am nothing without my beauty” my response would be to live my own life the way I see fit and not to spread my legs for the first guy who comes along. This is nonesense. Stop blaming outside factors for self-destructive behaviors that some women may engage in. The responsibility is only theirs.

    2. 74.2
      Tyrone

      @ Maria Almudena

       

      Woman agrees upfront to partake in no strings attached casual sex not because of her own wants and desires or her own agency, but due to the patriarchy. Seems legit.

      Is it also the patriarchy’s fault when the male/female roles in your scenario are reversed? Like if a woman has sex with a man and then doesn’t want anything more from him – using him like a dildo following your logic.

      It’s happened to me before. Being a man and all, I really hate when patriarchy doesn’t pull through for me.

       

      1. 74.2.1
        Maria Almudena

        That’s a very good question, Tyrone. See, the thing with the patriarchy is that it is a system designed to perpetuate the privilege of men of a certain race, class and socioeconomic status — not the privilege of all men. So many men are disadvantaged as well by the patriarchal system (although not as much or as often as women are).

        In the situation you describe, you have fallen prey to the patriarchy too.   Because see, many women these days are trying to empower themselves by emulating patriarchal behavior, you know: arrogance, entitlement, lack of empathy or compassion, materialistic values — including the sexual materialism that underlies this situation you speak of.

        1. Tyrone

          @ Maria Almudena

           

          So a woman can’t just want sex on her own. Or can’t be an uncaring person because she chooses not to give a fuck. Or have a sense of entitlement because she thinks she is the shit and won’t settle for anything less than what she feels she deserves.

           

          It’s all due to the patriarchy.

           

          So women are not responsible for their own thoughts, desires and actions. Like children, basically. From now on, I will treat women like children, not holding them accountable for what they do, because its the patriarchy’s fault, not theirs. Thank you for opening my eyes.

           

      2. 74.2.2
        Maria Almudena

        Tyrone, absolutely all of us have room to grow and to become much more self-aware and conscious about our choices. It’s not just women. You too.

        There are people who, because of their very harrowing life experiences, are more vulnerable than others to sexual predators. And see, the thing is, even men who you wouldn’t think of as predators can turn opportunistic in these situations and exploit a person’s vulnerabilities.

        And no, seeing someone is not the beginning of the continuum of dehumanization that culminates in rape and murder. As long as you see her as a person with feelings, hopes and dreams — not as an orifice to stick your dick in.

    3. 74.3
      Evan Marc Katz

      Maria,

      The fallacy of the above exchange is that your hypothetical woman says “Sure” to every request.

      The second she says “No” and the man persists, you are getting into sexual harassment/assault territory.

      But if a man wants to have sex with a woman without commitment and she says yes, for whatever reason (loneliness, boredom, low self-esteem, sex itself!), this is consensual behavior, not harassment or assault. Again, I don’t think a single person here disagrees with your noble goal of eradicating ALL sexual predation; the pushback is on this illogical slippery slope that women who get emotionally hurt by men after sex are victims. They may be sad. They may feel powerless. But they are not victims. Your hypothetical woman above should say “no” instead of “no probs”.

      1. 74.3.1
        Maria Almudena

        No, Evan. I was not trying to portray a case of sexual harassment. I was trying to depict the ridiculous one-sided sexual propositions that women are giving their superficial consent to, these days. I was trying to get women to be more conscious of what, exactly, they are consenting to when they go for casual sex. Because right now I don’t think these are fully conscious choices. Consent is not valid unless it’s informed consent.

        I was also trying to illustrate a larger overarching point: When a man completely ignores the woman in front of him and sees her just as a warm body to use, to get his rocks off with and then discard, that is dehumanization — the beginning of the continuum that goes all the way to rape and murder.

        1. Tyrone

          @ Maria Almudena

           

          You assume it is  superficial, unconscious consent. You are assuming that women can’t make decisions of their own volition. Or that if they do make the decision, it’s due to patriarchal influence causing them to go against their true desires.

           

          The old let’s treat women like children argument disguised as attacking the patriarchy.

           

          NSA sex is not the beginning of a continuum that leads to rape or murder. You seem to believe that casual sex is dehumanization. Fair enough. But millions of other people don’t share your view. And it doesn’t make them dehumanizers, uninformed, patriarchal victims, or potential future rapists/murderers.

           

          I saw someone yesterday. Seeing someone is the beginning of a continuum that goes all the way to rape and murder. Because you can’t rape without seeing the person before you start raping them, right? Gotta watch out for those spectrums.

        2. Evan Marc Katz

          Once again, you make my case better than I can, Maria.

          I 100% agree women should make conscious choices around sex and have been teaching them to do so for years. But this is a WOMAN’s choice and it is not a man’s responsibility to inform her that he is not relationship oriented. It his her responsibility to not sleep with a man outside of a relationship.

          Men can stand to change a lot of things in how they view and treat women, but, you can’t legislate kindness for either gender. Women have to say no and make better choices instead of expecting men to make these choices on your behalf.

      2. 74.3.2
        Maria Almudena

        OK, Evan, I have reached a point now where I half agree with you. May be because it’s 2.00 am here. You cannot legislate kindness in either gender. Agreed.

        But since we are here wondering what the men who see themselves as good men can do to stop sexual harassment and sexual abuse, teaching themselves and other men to see women as human beings (and not just means to a sexual end) would be a good start.

  15. 75
    Clare

    Ummmm, Maria Almudena, …. the woman in the exchange you describe is consenting to this exchange, both with her words and with her actions, by being there, and by partaking.

     

    I think this kind of scenario is awful, and it’s not one you would find me in. But I guess that’s because I consider myself a big girl who is capable of declining to spend time with, much less sleep with, a man who demonstrates this attitude towards me. Far be it from me to tell another woman that she’s not allowed to engage in casual sex with a man who doesn’t kiss her, doesn’t go down on her, and doesn’t even like her, even if I do think her consent likely comes from chronic low self-esteem. She’s a grown woman, and is entitled to her own choices.

     

    Isn’t it much more empowering to tell women that they actually have a HUGE say in whether they wind up in these kinds of situations, rather than railing against the “slavery” of “patriarchal corruption”? Women can vote with their FEET. Don’t participate in meaningless and degrading sex, and then guess what? The meaningless and degrading sex stops. Isn’t that more empowering (and more effective) than being endlessly angry at men and the system?

    1. 75.1
      Jeremy

      @Clare, agreed.  I think that the attitude that Maria Almudena is describing is the ultimate infantilization of women.  You are a big girl.  You have the right to consent or not consent to anything you choose based on the calculus of what is important to you.  But once you do consent, don’t go blaming others for your choices or denigrating them for theirs because their values don’t jive with yours.  Again, definitions are important!  A woman who consents to sex was not assaulted just because she feels bad about it later.  A man who has sex with a woman because sex is fun (and hopes and thinks she feels the same way) is NOT a moral degenerate.  There is a huge difference between asking men for help with assault versus expecting men to share your values and shaming them when they don’t.  Vote with your feet.

      1. 75.1.1
        Maria Almudena

        Jeremy, I have not equated this situation with sexual assault. I have said repeatedly that it is part of the same SPECTRUM that has at its extremes things like sexual assault and rape. Do you even understand what a spectrum is?

        This particular spectrum begins by turning the woman into an object (with her consent, but is it really informed consent when she has been indoctrinated all her life to see herself as a sex object)? Once you dehumanize a woman, your behavior towards her will go from treating her as a “consenting” masturbation device to abusing your power to force her to “consent”, to finally not bothering with any kind of consent at all.

        I am not saying that every individual is capable of running the whole gamut of this continuum, what I am saying is that IT IS A CONTINUUM. It is not a question of good guys don’t rape and bad guys do. It’s a question of most men dehumanize women in a sexual context, and the outcome of that is going to depend on the man’s personality and the amount of alcohol and other drugs involved in the sordid transaction. Get it now?

        1. Jeremy

          Maria Almudena, consider that it is possible I might know what a spectrum is.  Consider that I “got” your point several posts ago.  I disagree that the behavior is on the same spectrum.  Totally.  I disagree with your characterization of objectification – you are choosing to believe that men dehumanize women, when in fact they simply have different priorities.  If a man has different priorities than you, don’t get into a relationship with him.  But when you vilify men for being men, you lose men as allies.  If that matters to you.

      2. 75.1.2
        Maria Almudena

        Jeremy, losing you as an ally does not matter to me at all. I never had you, you see? You are just a guy on the internet with extremely distorted views that pass for mainstream these days. I have never had any trouble enlisting the loyalty and support of the men that I cared to

        You now insist that you understand what I am saying, but you clearly didn’t as in your post before last you said: “A woman who consents to sex was not assaulted just because she feels bad about it later.” A statement that completely mischaracterized what I was saying.

        If you get it now, good for you. But I don’t think you do. This is not a question of different priorities. When a man completely ignores the woman in front of him and sees her just as a warm body to get his rocks off with, that is much more than a misalignment of priorities. That is dehumanization — the beginning of the continuum that goes all the way to rape and murder.

        Some men get this, by the way. And those are the only men that I need or want as allies.

      3. 75.1.3
        Gala

        Jeremy, i just wanted to say I agree with everything you said in this thread. The failure of common sense here has been astonishing.

        1. Maria Almudena

          And this is why the patriarchal system is still so solid, Gala — because it is maintained by women as much as it is maintained by men. Even if, in the end, it disadvantages everybody.

        2. Gala

          Perhaps, you should consider that what you call “patriarchy” other people call freedom. As a woman, I for one like my freedoms. Those include having casual sex if I am so inclined. Where you see “continuum of violence” most ..ughm.. normal people see their right to engage in mutually consensual behavior. We as women don’t need moralizing voices telling us that “patriarchy” made us do it. You don’t speak for what all women want at all times. Perhaps, you ought to consider it.

        3. Maria Almudena

          I would never forbid you or try to stop you from having casual sex if it is truly a conscious informed choice on your part, Gala. And maybe it is, I am not saying that it is always a damaging thing. It can be indeed empowering, sometimes. And it is wonderful that we women have that freedom now, it hasn’t always been the case.

          But see, I also think that too many people become slaves to their base physical urges (or worse, to other people’s base urges) and call it “freedom”. And that’s not right, because there is absolutely no freedom in being subservient to a roller-coaster of sordid encounters leading to nothing but unwanted abandoned children, heartbreak, obsessions and STDs.

          So no — freedom and the patriarchy are not interchangeable terms. Unless slavery and freedom are also interchangeable.

          I am just inviting folks to be truly conscious about what they are doing and why, and whose interests it serves.

      4. 75.1.4
        Maria Almudena

        Jeremy, it is true that in this patriarchal world, the counterpart of a woman’s looks is a man’s wallet. But still, for men to lose money in transactions with women is not comparable to what women lose when they are raped or sexually harassed. Money is just money. And so I refuse to entertain your views because what you are positing now is not an equivalent issue.

        1. Jeremy

          Money is just money” … to you.  To women.  I get that you don’t get it.  All of our models seem logical if the only perspective we are willing to entertain is our own.  That’s men’s problem in the issue of harassment.  So many men just don’t GET what the problem is when men catcall or approach women for sex – because if women did that to them, it wouldn’t be a problem.  “What’s the big deal,” they’d say, “I’d LOVE it if a woman did that to me.”  A failure in perspective, in empathy.  Both sexes are guilty of this, but in different ways.

        2. Emily, the original

          Jeremy,

          So many men just don’t GET what the problem is when men catcall or approach women for sex – because if women did that to them, it wouldn’t be a problem.  “What’s the big deal,” they’d say, “I’d LOVE it if a woman did that to me.” 

          I think it might get old even for men if they were approached several times a week and almost always by women they had no interest in. That’s what it’s like for an attractive woman.

        3. KK

          Thank you, Emily, for pointing that out. I’ll add to that by saying that I think it’s important to educate young people about the way they dress and the way they’ll be perceived vs the way they’d like to be perceived etc, it’s also important to point out that just being attractive will result in more unwanted attention, regardless of dress, etc. That’s also why attractive women get frustrated when some men claim their wives or girlfriends have never been harassed. It seems like the implication is that you’ve dressed in a way or acted in a way that welcomes bad behavior, when the truth is that most of the time that is not the case.

        4. Emily, the original

          KK,

          it’s also important to point out that just being attractive will result in more unwanted attention, 

          That’s an issue men don’t seem to understand, maybe because they don’t want to think of themselves in that high percentage of men giving an attractive woman unwanted attention, but, statistically, they probably are. Of course, there’s a vast difference between a friendly hello and a leering creeper who will not go away. I wouldn’t count the former as harassment, but there was one male commenter on a previous post who said it was a challenge to approach women who were giving off a “don’t approach” vibe. Why a man would do that, I have no idea. And then feel bad he was rejected? Makes no sense.

        5. Jeremy

          That’s fair Emily.  But most men would have trouble picturing that, given that fairly few of us suffer from an excess of female attention.  It would seem, to many, a first world problem.  And because men aren’t afraid of women, they likely wouldn’t be creeped out the way women are by men.
          There was a year, when I was in professional school, where I was the gold medalist, president of my fraternity, and the most popular person in the school (got that way by doing the reverse of everything I’d normally do, like that episode of Seinfeld where George orders the opposite of his normal restaurant order and goes on to have an amazing day).  I was suddenly in high demand from all the women in the school and for the first time in my life, “suffered” from an excess of female attention – from women I was interested in and from women I was not.

          It was awesome 🙂

        6. Emily, the original

          Jeremy,
          But most men would have trouble picturing that, given that fairly few of us suffer from an excess of female attention.
          They don’t have to picture it. Just be aware of it. Even if it’s attention from a “nice guy.” Sometimes a woman just wants to make her way through the world. She’s not on the playing field. If she’s giving off a “don’t approach” vibe … DON’T approach her. It’s pushy and invasive to do so.
           And because men aren’t afraid of women, they likely wouldn’t be creeped out the way women are by men.
          They would if they were approached and/or leered at by women 40 years older than they were
          the school and for the first time in my life, “suffered” from an excess of female attention – from women I was interested in and from women I was not.
          Percentage wise, how many of those women were you interested in? I’m guessing that 90-95 percent of the attention attractive women get is unwanted.

        7. KK

          Agreed, Emily.

        8. Shaukat

          Emily,

          I’m guessing that 90-95 percent of the attention attractive women get is unwanted.

          And there’s the 10% she would like to receive but wouldn’t if men followed your advice and didn’t approach. In before you say “Women-give-very-clear-and-unambiguous-signals-all-the-time-when-they-want-to-be-approached.” Please. We’ve already hashed this out before, but I don’t know why you want to bring this up on a thread about actual sexual harassment and assault. It’s this type of conflation of different behaviors that becomes self-discrediting.

    2. 75.2
      Jeremy

      Oh, and by the way Maria Almudena, you believe that a man turns a woman into a “masturbation sleeve” by having consensual sex with disparate values. Tell me, if a woman divorces a man and then uses the legal system to coerce alimony payments from him despite his lack of consent, what is she “turning him into?”  Talk to me about entitlement and slavery, and the base nature of men.

      1. 75.2.1
        Maria Almudena

        Alimony laws exist because enlightened individuals have realized that there are non monetary contributions that people bring into a marriage. As in, many men earn lots of money because their wives provide a smooth domestic platform for them to go and do that, including homemaking and child rearing.

        However, I am not going to cooperate with you in deflecting the issue of sexual harassment and sexual abuse by men against women, or let you use this thread to vent your petty complaints that are completely unrelated to the subject at hand.

        1. Jeremy

          I brought up the subject of alimony to signify that entitlement does not run one way in this society.  That we discuss rape culture in a society where rape is illegal, in spite of the flaws of the legal system.  There are other forms of entitlement that exist in today’s society that are not only legal, but facilitated by the legal system.  Entitlements that people (and especially women) make excuses for.  Alimony is ALL about patriarchal protection of women (since you used the word patriarchy).  If it was about compensating women for domestic service because of the value of that domestic service, the law would also require women to continue providing that domestic service part-time after divorce to compensate men for the sacrifices they made in giving it up.  See how that works?  I could write a diatribe about how female entitlement to male provisioning is a spectrum, beginning with women expecting men to pay for their dates, to choosing a husband based on his income, to coercing payments from him after divorcing him.  And if you believe that is a logical fallacy, flip your logic to your own arguments.

           

          Do you really believe this subject is completely unrelated to the subject at hand?  It is the sister subject!  Entitlement.  Women are brought up to believe that their sexual agency is through their bodies.  Men are brought up to believe that their sexual agency is through their provisioning ability.  And if we understand this, we can see that the way a man coerces a woman’s sexuality is very different than the way a woman coerces a man’s.

    3. 75.3
      Maria Almudena

      Clare, I agree with you that we have choices and can vote with our feet, and many of us do. But a woman needs to be very conscious to detach herself from the indoctrination that begins earlier and earlier in our lives, and which tells us that, without beauty and youth, we are nothing. This causes tremendous suffering to many women, and yes, anger and despair as well.

      I don’t understand your statement about sex shops somehow being better and more empowering than being angry at men and the system. What does that mean? I see so many logical holes in many people’s arguments around here.

      Are you saying that buying a sex toy is going to empower women and take away their anger and stop them from railing against men and the system? Vibrators are sure better than some random asshole, plus vibrators don’t talk back or expect breakfast.

      Having said that, although my life is very happy and fulfilled, I wouldn’t want to totally part ways with my anger. Every progressive social achievement (including social harassment legislation) has begun with someone getting angry about injustice and saying ENOUGH.

      1. 75.3.1
        Maria Almudena

        That last sentence should read: Every progressive social achievement (including sexual harassment legislation) has begun with someone getting angry about injustice and saying ENOUGH.

      2. 75.3.2
        Clare

        Maria Almudena,

         

        Please, I implore you, show me the place in my comment where I mentioned sex shops or vibrators? No wonder you don’t know what that means and see logical holes… I never said it in the first place.

        1. Maria Almudena

          Clare, I am very sorry. It’s 1.00 am in Australia and I have to work tomorrow and I was going through your post very fast. You wrote: “The meaningless and degrading sex stops.” Somehow I saw: “The meaningless and degrading sex shops”.  =D   My bad.

          Now it makes more sense, what you wrote. But you are still incorrect. I can vote with my feet away from the degrading sex, but it doesn’t mean it stops. It just stops for me. But we all have a preference for the society where we would like to live, and for me that is not a place inhabited by sex zombies, abandoned children and heartbroken motherf****** s everywhere.

          I want to live in a world where people are happy and in love, where sex is a sacred mating ritual, a symbol of reconciliation between the genders, not a sordid battleground.

          Glad you asked, though.

      3. 75.3.3
        Clare

        Maria Almudena,

         

        I don’t agree with your point – I think grown adults, all grown adults (including women) are capable of discerning the external messages they have received about themselves, decoding them, and then deciding whether to accept or reject them. In other words, women are perfectly capable of defining their own worth, thank you very much. I see images of women far more beautiful and younger than I am every day, and my sense of self-worth is intact. I also do not associate with people who define women in those shallow terms, and would not want to. I attribute these same mental powers and choices to every other woman on the planet. It’s not the system that needs to change… it’s the power we give it. I honestly couldn’t give a shit what Hollywood or some advertising agency says makes the perfect woman. And guess what? It has no power over me. Reaching that point in yourself may be unusual, but it is not difficult.

         

        Be that as it may, I respect your right to disagree with me. If you want to get all bent out of shape over the idiotic views of some other people, knock yourself out. But what exactly would you have society do? Should we ban casual sex? Tell women they’re not allowed to be used as, to use your colourful language, “masturbation sleeves”? This is taking away both freedom and responsibility which is rightfully theirs as an adult.

         

        You can rail against the “system” and “society”… but it’s a pointless exercise. The true power comes from what we choose as individuals.

        1. Maria Almudena

          No, Clare. I cannot forbid women to act as masturbation sleeves for random dudes who don’t care if their masturbation sleeves drop dead after the act. Nor would I do that if I had the power to do it. But I will continue to talk about these things and to let women know that they have choices, because many women don’t know. When you don’t see a choice, you don’t have a choice.

          You say that the responsibility lies with the individual, and you are correct, and the behaviors you describe are things that I do too, and the things you avoid are things I avoid too. But we have the benefit of our education and perhaps other advantages. I work in a women’s prison and I see that too many women still see their value only in function of what men think of them, of their sex appeal, sexual compliance, etc. And that is where many women think is their economic power too.

          So, without forbidding anything which I cannot forbid anyway, and definitely without taking agency away from women, I will continue my education efforts  as I am guided to do by my own conscience.

        2. Maria Almudena

          You say you attribute the same powers and choices you have to every other woman on the planet, Clare. Are you sure of that? Even women born into prostitution, kept in cages until they are 10 or 11 to be raped like their mothers were and start making money for the slave owner? How about women living closer to us who were sexually abused as children? Do you really think that they will spring back from that immediately able to make positive, life-affirming sexual choices? Think, Clare.

        3. Maria Almudena

          Are women raised in situations of sexual subservience, sexualized and raped as children, “perfectly capable of defining their own worth, thank you very much”, as Clare puts it?

          Let’s all have a collective think about this, shall we?

        4. Clare

          Maria Almudena,

           

          I, too, would love to live in a world where sex is a sacred and loving act. That is how I see it. It breaks my heart to see women feeling used and heartbroken from the hookup culture. There’s hardly a day that goes by where I’m not grateful that hookup culture has not really *caught on* so much here in South Africa, and that I meet many men here who want to commit. It saddens me enormously seeing how women are portrayed by the likes of Hollywood and hearing about what dating seems to be in the U.S.

           

          If your conscience leads you to educate, that is an admirable cause. I can well imagine there are vast swathes of women, perhaps particularly in prison, who still define their worth according to their looks and beauty and what they perceive as what a man wants. But I have to say that it breaks my heart just as much that you seem to be keen on engendering hatred towards men. There are many, many, many men who do not see women the way you have described. I’d love to see you educating women that it’s possible to find a man who loves her, values her, and wants to make her happy. I’d love to see you educating women on how to use the power of her own choices and her own brain and feelings, the way you and I are able to do, rather than hating the system, which is just going to foster resentment and powerlessness.

        5. Clare

          “Do you really think that they will spring back from that immediately able to make positive, life-affirming sexual choices? “

          Are women raised in situations of sexual subservience, sexualized and raped as children, “perfectly capable of defining their own worth, thank you very much”, as Clare puts it?”

           

          Yes, I do. And yes, they are. Next question?

        6. Maria Almudena

          You are incorrect, Clare. There is no next question.

          I overestimated your intelligence, and underestimated the blinding effect that privilege has on people. Live and learn.

        7. Clare

          Maria Almudena,

           

          Last thing I will say, and then I really think I need to disengage from this conversation. I was being a bit facetious when I said “yes, of course” because to me, it seemed you were just trying to hijack the conversation with an emotional response. Women in cages? What does that have to do with adult women consenting to casual sex? From what I understand of women who were severely sexually abused, they often do not want a man to even touch them when they finally break free of the abuse.

           

          Anyway, that is besides the point. Will they go on to develop a healthy sense of self-worth? Who the hell knows? People who come from desperate circumstances go on to do all kinds of incredible things. Are they able to go on to develop a healthy sense of self-worth? Yes. Yes. YES. It’s possible, and it’s not as difficult as many would have you believe. We have to teach women, and people in general, that they do not have to stay victims for the rest of their lives.

           

          And keep your jibes about my intelligence to yourself. It’s water off a duck’s back to me.

  16. 76
    debbie

    To  address the issue of harassment and perhaps put it in terms…

    This is not a POLITICAL comment. It is something we are all aware of.

    We have all heard the recording of Donald Trump and his friend on the bus.

    True. no woman was around to hear the comment.

    If YOU ARE A MAN, and you were there

    would you have

    A> joined in on the jokes

    B. Sat back and laughed

    C. Said that’s no way to talk about ladies.

    D. Got up and walked away

    Now gentleman. Even if you are in a locker room, or an all mens club, and you hear, partake or support conversations such as this, then  you are contributing to the problem. It does not matter if you are 13, 30 or 90.

    By giving consent to the conversation, you are starting down a long slippery slope that will have a different ending for each man.

    so let’s work on changing the beginning.

    1. 76.1
      Tyrone

      @ Debbie

      How do you give or not give consent to a conversation that other people are having?

      Now gentleman. Even if you are in a locker room, or an all mens club, and you HEAR conversations such as this, then  you are contributing to the problem.

      Dafuq? That doesn’t make sense. Unless you are a crazy person that chooses to go interject themselves into 3rd party conversations in an attempt to hold people to your personal moral standards. It’s probably not going to go well.

      Now gentleman. Even if you are in a locker room, or an all mens club, and you PARTAKE IN conversations such as this, then  you are contributing to the problem.

      Depends on the situation. I’m not in the camp of certain kinds of jokes being off limits. If you are just talking about the time you assaulted some woman that didn’t want it, that’s not a joke and is terrible. If you are jokingly saying that there are women that will let you have sex with them if you are rich and famous. Then whatever. Some may consider it crass. But it is also true. There are totally women out there that will do things with men to get at fortune and fame.

      Now gentleman. Even if you are in a locker room, or an all mens club, and you SUPPORT conversations such as this, then  you are contributing to the problem.

      If I think the joke is funny and not an obvious  overt attempt to hurt anyone, then I suppose I would be supporting it. Distasteful jokes do not a rapist make.

      What would a woman do in the same situation?

      A. joined in on the jokes

      Like when women make fun of a man’s dick size, short amount of time he can have sex, his lack of money, his height, his hair?

      B. Sat back and laughed

      As I have heard countless times.

      C. Said that’s no way to talk about men.

      As I have heard never.

      D. Got up and walked away

      Haven’t witnessed this one either.

      1. 76.1.1
        GoWiththeFlow

        Tyrone,

        “If you are jokingly saying that there are women that will let you have sex with them if you are rich and famous. Then whatever. Some may consider it crass. But it is also true. There are totally women out there that will do things with men to get at fortune and fame.”

        And men and women continuing to promote this stereotype as if it’s a widespread thing contributes to rape culture.  Maybe Melania Trump made that decision with her life, but that doesn’t mean you can assume that all or even a majority of women will prioritize wealth and fame in a man above kindness and decency.

        In the meantime, the acceptance of this trope has led to the argument that certain wealthy, powerful men could not have possibly harassed, assaulted, or raped a woman because “. . . he can get it freely from plenty of other women. . . .”  This excuse was used in defense of Mike Tyson, Bill Clinton, Trump, and even Harvey Weinstein.  Maybe, just maybe that IS a reason why a few rich and powerful men assault women.  “What do you mean no?  Don’t you know who I am?  Most women would kill to be with me!”

        1. Tyrone

          @GoWithTheFlow

           

          Stereotype? That some women go after men with money and status? It’s something that happens. No one can deny it. I said nothing of the frequence of the occurrence or made the assumption that all or a majority of women are like that.

           

          Telling jokes about somethings that sometimes happen is kind of what people do. Reasonable people know the difference between reality and jokes. Jokes don’t make rapists rape and people defend them any more that action movies and music make kids shoot up schools. The unreasonable few outliers may be affected by such things. The vast majority of people are not.

           

          And “he’s rich and famous so he doesn’t have to rape” isn’t a proper defense against rape allegations in this day and age, so who cares if someone thinks it? It may be shitty, but the fact is you can make an argument out of anything. And there will always be someone who will.

        2. GoWiththeFlow

          Tyrone,

          “And “he’s rich and famous so he doesn’t have to rape” isn’t a proper defense against rape allegations in this day and age, so who cares if someone thinks it? It may be shitty, but the fact is you can make an argument out of anything. And there will always be someone who will.”

          LOL!  First you say it’s not a “proper” defense then you say “so who cares if someone thinks it.”  Except it is a real problem if the police, prosecutors, judges and jurors think it, isn’t it?  Not to mention the powerful man’s friends, business associates, and family members.  So charges are not brought and the man suffers no loss of friends or status.

      2. 76.1.2
        debbie

        No one asked you to involve yourself in a strangers conversation.

        If you were there WITH YOUR FRIENDS what would you do?

        throwing it back on what women would do is not helpful.

        and, I think you have provided my point.

        You don’t see anything wrong with it.

        So how could you possibly understand how I might find it hurtful, degrading or offensive?

        and if you don’t feel that there is anything wrong talking this way, then nothing else will change either.

        If you cannot or will not control what “you” say, then there will be no controlling what “you” do

        1. Tyrone

          @Debbie

           

          You are free to find any statement you like to be hurtful or offensive. Just like my friends are welcome to joke about whatever they like. If offended, you can choose to remove yourself from the area or go and report it if you find the subject matter and location to be inappropriate. But don’t try and tell me what words I can or can’t find funny/say because you think it will lead to uncontrollable actions. That is ridiculous. Jokes are not equivalent to actions. A rape scene in a movie doesn’t cause reasonable people to rape. Listening to music doesn’t cause reasonable people to murder. And a joke about grabbing a pussy doesn’t make reasonable people go out and grab pussy.

        2. Clare

          Tyrone,

           

          I do agree with you here, although not with everything you said:

           

          “A rape scene in a movie doesn’t cause reasonable people to rape. Listening to music doesn’t cause reasonable people to murder. And a joke about grabbing a pussy doesn’t make reasonable people go out and grab pussy.”

           

          I have the same problem with the kind of policing which Debbie is suggesting as I have with censorship. Stopping people from saying things is very dangerous. My first problem with it is that, like censorship, trying to stop people saying things you find offensive is subjective. Who decides what is offensive? Who decides where the line is. Wanting to stop people from expressing themselves is very open to manipulation. Today you might be stopping someone from telling a rape joke (btw, what the hell is a rape joke? I’ve literally never, and I do mean never, heard anyone telling a joke making fun of rape), tomorrow you are stopping someone from simply expressing an opinion about the opposite sex which is different from yours. There is no safe and reliable way to censor people… it always involves a judgment call on the part of those doing the censoring. And, as I’ve already pointed out, it extends easily to just shutting people up who don’t agree with you.

           

          The second problem I have with this kind of policing is that it views the listeners as passive victims of the speaker’s words. “Oh well, I had no choice… I had to rape her! I heard someone tell a joke in the men’s locker room once… not my fault.” We have all heard distasteful and offensive jokes. We’ve all heard awful song lyrics and seen upsetting movies. What distinguishes those of us who go out and commit a crime as a result from those of us who don’t? It’s our personal choices as individuals. Once you take away that personal responsibility from people and start blaming the things other people say, jokes, songs, adverts, movies, to me that is a slippery slope towards telling people they can’t think and act for themselves. Rather teach people how to critically analyze the messages they’re receiving and either accept or reject them – that turns them into empowered individuals who are far less likely to commit a crime or do something reprehensible, because they take ownership over their own lives and decisions. Trying to police the things we hear and see because you’re worried it will make people go out and rape and sexually assault turns people into mush-brained automatons who are at the mercy of what others say and do.

  17. 77
    Marika

    KK

    America is a very individualstic society. I try to remember that whenever someone writes something (like your stance on DV), that seems quite callous to me.

    Jeremy needs to do whatever he feels comfortable with. I wouldn’t be able to stand by in this circumstance and do nothing personally. But it’s his choice. And as you say, there’s no obligation on him to intervene in any way. And I’m glad there’s a psychiatrist involved who can at least try to ensure her safety.

    I don’t need to speak to the police. I have personal experience with DV. Which is probably why I have a strong zero tolerance approach to it. And know all too well that the victim/s (partner and children) are often not in a position (emotionally, mentally, financially) to be the ones to take a stand. The whole community benefits when people stop turning a blind eye to this problem & don’t just leave it up to the individual. IMO.

    1. 77.1
      KK

      Marika,

      I’m struggling with your perception of callousness. I responded that I would call the police if I witnessed abuse. I’ve said I would offer help to a friend in need, offer information about resources for an acquaintance in need. Where is the callousness in my response?

      I can appreciate your no tolerance perspective on DV because of your own experience. I have experienced it as well, so I implore you to understand that no two situations are exactly the same. What worked for you may work for others, but not for everyone and vice versa. In my own situation, I had to come up with a well thought out plan and then proceed carefully. If I would have told a well meaning friend that then alerted the police, my life could’ve been in jeopardy. I had to do things my own way. I hope you can appreciate that. Again, I have the utmost sympathy for anyone dealing with DV. I also think well meaning people can do more harm than good. Therefore, conversations should take place, help (in some form) should be offered, and respect for the person’s wishes should be given, even if that means staying out of it.

      1. 77.1.1
        Marika

        KK 

        Now that you’ve explained it I understand better and you make some fair points.

        To answer your question, it was the ‘no one’s obliged to help this lady’ attitude I found callous, as well as the fact you weighed in at all, to discourage Jeremy’s involvement. Thanks for the clarification of what you meant now.

        BTW, no one helped me. But I wish they had.

        1. KK

          Thank you, Marika.

          The reason I interjected was twofold. One, some of the comments were a bit outrageous, in my opinion, starting out with fair points and then going waaaay over the line; like a case of tunnel vision, not realizing how unreasonable they are. And two, I just wanted to offer another perspective regarding getting involved in something that the person in question may not want the type of help you’re offering. I think it’s worth pointing out that someone living in an abusive situation is already suffering and feeling like their rights are being violated. So add a well meaning friend to the mix that feels it’s her (or his) duty to inform the police or step in in some other way that hasn’t been discussed, and not only are you violating that person’s desires yet again, you could also unwittingly increase the danger of their situation.

          Interestingly, I was watching the news last night and The Texas Council on Family Violence stated that 146 women were murdered last year by their husbands (or domestic partners) in the state of Texas. 40% of those women were in the process of leaving.

    2. 77.2
      Jeremy

      I think I’m done with the argumentative portion of this thread, but I wanted to say thank you to you, Marika, and to Evan for raising this thread.  I was uncomfortable when my sister told me that her friend was being abused, but I felt there was nothing I could do about it.  But this thread made me think again about not taking a passive role (thanks Evan), and Marika’s exhortation to not turn a blind eye made me speak to my sister last night.  She will speak to the woman in question to determine the best way forward.  It is only a nudge – a nudge is all I can really do here – but that nudge might start a helpful sequence of events.  This subject is important.  I’m glad it was raised, even with the shit-storm that came with it.

      1. 77.2.1
        Marika

        Thanks Jeremy. That’s fantastic. I really hope this lady will be okay. Appreciate your empathy & open-mindedness.

        What’s that quote, something like evil flourishes when good men do nothing..

  18. 78
    Marika

    Oh Jeremy

    It was awesome 

    You are so asking for trouble..

    Read what Clare wrote about navigating day to day life dodging leering, ogling men. Does that sound awesome? It’s also far from a first world problem.

    I don’t have to be a man to appreciate the very real fear of being used & abused financially by a selfish woman. Hopefully it doesn’t take too much imagination to understand women’s very real fear of being used and abused emotionally & sexually by a selfish man.

     

     

    1. 78.1
      Jeremy

      Marika, my point was not to imply that it should be awesome for women. I understand why it isn’t. My point was that men see this differently, which is why it is so difficult for many to empathize on this. A man who has an excess of female attention is not at all afraid of being used and abused, financially or otherwise. Because he feels in control of the situation, which women do not. Men’s fear of being used financially has more to do with the legal structure of marriage, which has nothing to do with how many women are interested in him.

      1. 78.1.1
        Emily, the original

        Jeremy,

        Let me ask you this. It’s question I’ve often wondered about. Don’t answer with a quote from a psychology book. I want your honest, GUT-LEVEL reaction.  🙂     You mentioned how awesome it was to get excess female attention. What happens when a married man, one who has never gotten a lot of female attention and essentially married the first woman who liked him was nice to him, suddenly finds himself receiving all kinds of female attention?Maybe he’s in a happy marriage but he marred in his 20s. Now, he’s in his late 30s/early 40s, and women are suddenly noticing him in a way they never have. What does he do? How hard is it to turn down sexual offers? And is all the attention flattering or only the attention from the hottest women?

        1. Jeremy

          Depends on the guy.  Are you referring to the one you mentioned previously, the one who is married to, I think, the hairdresser?  Or are you asking about me?  Some guys will find it hard to resist the temptation.  Some guys (like me) would never even consider it.  I get hit on all the time by women at my work, though frankly it would be illegal for me to act on it.  But I wouldn’t think of it even if it weren’t.  I love my wife.  Love my kids.  Love my life.  To throw it all away for a hit of dopamine?  Nuts.  But then, my meta-goal is not novelty, and my personality type is Rational…

        2. Emily, the original

          Jeremy, 

          But then, my meta-goal is not novelty, and my personality type is Rational…

          Yes, but your meta-goal is validation. Sometimes that can mean a person needs more validation than one partner can provide.

          You have a good memory. I wasn’t specifically referring to my hairdresser but to the married men I used to work with who seemed to openly court attention from any and all women. One guy told me he would take dic pics on his phone and show them to a female coworker when she asked to see them. By the way, his wife worked at the same company.

        3. Jeremy

          I think that the goal of validation is definitely a factor in some people’s decision to cheat. Validation junkies need multiple sources of validation and would exhibit the behaviour you mentioned. But not all people whose meta goal is validation would, because not all of us are junkies – dopamine seekers. My inhibitory processes are intact. During the year I mentioned, I might have fantasized about acting on all the possibilities, but what I actually did was find a steady girlfriend. And never cheated on her, though she eventually did on me.

           

          So back to your question, depends on the guy. Not about whether he needs validation, but whether he is a junkie.

        4. Emily, the original

          Jeremy,
          During the year I mentioned, I might have fantasized about acting on all the possibilities, but what I actually did was find a steady girlfriend. And never cheated on her, though she eventually did on me.
          So you fantasized and really wanted to hook up casually with these women who were giving you attention (maybe before you had the girlfriend) or you didn’t sample the platter because you, deep down, you didn’t really want to? Those are two different things.
           So back to your question, depends on the guy. Not about whether he needs validation, but whether he is a junkie.
          Here’s where the conundrum lies, at least for me. The guy who never flirts and draws no attention from other women tends to be a bit staid … but if he’s too aware of other women, well, you see where I’m going.

        5. Jeremy

          Emily, no one’s mind is a unified whole.  It is entirely possible to want something and yet not want it.  To want some aspects of it yet not want the consequences.  I can want the pie on the shelf, yet know that eating it will not be good for me.  If Kate Upton came up to me and propositioned me, I’d be extremely tempted and validated.  Parts of my mind would see the proposition as extremely attractive.  Yet I would not act on it, because the higher areas of my brain would inform me of the consequences of the action.  I’d probably fantasize or dream about it afterward, but I’d know deep down that I made the right choice.  Because happiness lies in more than positive affect, it relies on engagement, meaning/values, relationships and achievement as I’ve written so many times.  Many people, men and women, don’t get that.  Choose someone who does.

           

          Now, to get to the heart of the issue, what is it that you are worried about?  That if you choose a husband he will cheat if the opportunity presents itself?  Try to choose a man of character, and look at his personality and his history of impulsivity (sorry Marika, but I really believe it’s important). Or are you worried about radical personality change – that the man you believe has one set of priorities will change his stripes?  What is the heart of your worry here?

        6. Emily, the original

          Hi Jeremy,

          Now, to get to the heart of the issue, what is it that you are worried about?  That if you choose a husband he will cheat if the opportunity presents itself? 

          Yes. That if he doesn’t, it’s not because doesn’t want to but because he doesn’t have the backbone to follow it through. His fear stops him. So he’ll be heavily flirting with other women, may be even propositioning them, always dancing on that line of not technically cheating but hardly being emotionally faithful. Always looking for outside validation.

          Try to choose a man of character, and look at his personality and his history of impulsivity (sorry Marika, but I really believe it’s important).

          I worry that the kind of man with that kind of character will be too cerebral and dry. That he won’t be able to FEEL anything deeply because that not how his personality works.

        7. Jeremy

          Thanks for being vulnerable, Emily.  I have a few thoughts:

           

          First, a guy who is ethical and maybe cerebral can feel very deeply.  Ask me how I know.  Sometimes, a person like that thinks as hard as he does because when he feels, the feelings are so strong that they are overwhelming.  The love I feel for my family, for example, is as deep as the ocean in spite of the fact that some might see my personality as dry and cerebral.  I like to laugh as much as the most dopaminergic person, though we might like different jokes.  So I wouldn’t worry so much that a man can’t feel.  Just worry whether you both feel the right way about each other.

           

          Nevertheless, a dry and cerebral guy might not be your cup of tea, nothing wrong with that.  Helen Fisher describes her research that Explorer personalities prefer to date other Explorers – they are drawn to each other’s sense of passion/adventure.  Yet Explorer/Explorer couples do have the highest incidence of infidelity due to the nature of the personality.  So you gotta find an ethical Explorer, they exist.  Or be willing to date other personalities.
          Finally (and most importantly), forgive me but I perceive you to often confuse balls with stupidity.  A man who is tempted to cheat but doesn’t, doesn’t do so because he lacks backbone/balls.  He does so because he isn’t an idiot.  There is a world of difference, IMHO, between acting on impulse because you are brave, consequences be damned, versus being passionate in an intelligent way.  If you’re going to be drawn to the former type because brashness turns you on, then yes, the chances of being cheated on are higher.

        8. Jeremy

          To add an example, it’s one thing to have a fantasy about a man whose passion for you is so intense that he throws caution to the wind.  Leaves his job, defies his family, everything be damned so long as he can have you.  Seems romantic, right?  But do you REALLY want a guy like that?  Would he really be someone you’d want to be with once his stupidity starts to affect your life?
          I wrote elsewhere that happiness is the intersection of expectation and perception.  The problem with fantasy is that sometimes it can set an expectation.  Then, when real life doesn’t match the expectation, we perceive ourselves as unhappy.  But there’s sometimes nothing wrong with our life or the world; rather something amiss with the expectation set by the fantasy.

        9. Emily, the original

          Jeremy,
          Thanks for answering.

          Finally (and most importantly), forgive me but I perceive you to often confuse balls with stupidity.  A man who is tempted to cheat but doesn’t, doesn’t do so because he lacks backbone/balls.  He does so because he isn’t an idiot. 
          I still think there’s a world of difference between being half-tempted but not really wanting to do something and wanting desperately to do something but not having the ability to follow through.

          To add an example, it’s one thing to have a fantasy about a man whose passion for you is so intense that he throws caution to the wind.  Leaves his job, defies his family, everything be damned so long as he can have you.  Seems romantic, right?  But do you REALLY want a guy like that?  Would he really be someone you’d want to be with once his stupidity starts to affect your life?

          No, the fantasy doesn’t involve kids and an ex-wife clinging to him! But I think most people are very careful.  But there’s sometimes nothing wrong with our life or the world; rather something amiss with the expectation set by the fantasy.

          I disagree. If you have a shitty job or a bad relationship, your expectations for something more are a good thing. Obviously, you can have expectations that are unrealistic but … dream in color, that’s what I say. Not black and white.

        10. Jeremy

          But we aren’t talking about the same thing.  I’d say that if one’s expectations make one happier, those expectations are a good thing.  If not, then not.

           

          My mother is an Idealist personality.  She sings part-time at retirement homes, and after years and years of vocal training, she still is not very good, though she thinks she is.  She dreams of becoming the next Barbara Streisand.  She is 71.  She dreams in colour.  She needs a better dream.  This is very different from leaving a shitty job, planning a future and navigating it through extra education, with a realistic plan and bright hope.

        11. Emily, the original

          Jeremy,

          She dreams of becoming the next Barbara Streisand.  She is 71.  She dreams in colour.  She needs a better dream.

          Well, I guess the only thing that matters in your mother’s case is if she’s hurting herself. Is she happy singing part-time and deep down ok if she’s not the next Barbara Streisand?  It would be different if she were expecting to earn a living as a singer or were younger and was putting her life on hold in pursuit of this dream. From what you’ve described, she’s living her dream as much as her talent allows and at her age, is that so bad?

        12. Jeremy

          Her dream isn’t to sing, it’s to be famous for singing.  Validation.  The expectation is harmful because it isn’t making her happy, it is making her unhappy.

        13. Emily, the original

          Jeremy,
          it’s to be famous for singing.  Validation.  The expectation is harmful because it isn’t making her happy, it is making her unhappy.
          Oh, ok. Then that’s not good. What other skills does she have that she could channel her energies into?
          There’s always a danger when people want validation form other people. Then you’re waiting for other people to fulfill you, which isn’t possible, as corny as that sounds.
           

      2. 78.1.2
        Marika

        Well, Jeremy, if there are men out there who still can’t empathise with how distressing it can be for women to be leered at, ogled, stalked etc. just because they exist, particularly after the #MeToo campaign, then I think Evan’s point about men needing to listen more is a very pertinent one.

        How much clearer does it need to be?

        I wasn’t saying financial abuse was the same thing, I was saying I’ve seen on this blog (and in men I know in real life) greatly fear being taken to the cleaners by a woman/ yet another woman. I can appreciate that even though it’s not a fear I have personally.

        1. Jeremy

          Yes, agreed.

      3. 78.1.3
        GoWiththeFlow

        Jeremy,

        You are right to link women’s fear for their physical safety with how they experience and process harassment and uncomfortable encounters with men.  I have mentioned before on other posts that girls are raised from early on to be vigilant about their surroundings and both the verbal and non-verbal cues that they get from the men around them.  Heck, it’s often our fathers, grandfathers, and brothers who exhort us the most to be afraid of men and their sexual drives and intentions.  John Gottman has a recent book out for men on understanding women, and women’s fear one of the first things he addresses.  The point being that success with women or a woman is in large part dependent upon the man making the woman/women feel safe in his presence.

        One other thing that Pistola touched on in comments above is that, in the case of street harassment, the men engaging in it know it makes the women uncomfortable but they don’t care.  Maybe what they get off on IS that it makes the women uncomfortable?  I do believe that there are men who are naive or clueless, especially with respect to keep-away body language from women.  Or they buy into the trope that when asking a woman for a dance or a date a “no” really means “try harder.”  But I think there is something different and inherently malevolent that connects a persistent aggressive street harasser and a Harvey Weinstein in that the experience of exerting their will over a woman, making her uncomfortable or frightened, is what really gets them off.  Any sexual release or payoff they get is a secondary “benefit.”

        As far as the time in your life when you experienced being an object of desire to many women, I bet that was enjoyable, LOL.  It’s nice for women, too, to experience being seen as attractive and desirable to men as well.  The difference is the amount of objectification and just who’s desires and wants get to drive the bus.  I’m sure the women who found you hot did so in part because of your intellect, personality, and style.  The attention that makes women uncomfortable is attention that is based only on looks, where any consideration of a woman’s personality, smarts, or character traits, or even what SHE wants isn’t just ignored, the attitude is more like, just shut up and look pretty, that’s all I care about.

        There’s also the question of setting and venue.  Women sidling up to you and flirting with you during a campus party would be a way different experience than women commenting on the firmness of your butt during and immediately after an important presentation you made at work, while completely ignoring the content of your work.  And then when you get upset about this they say to each other in front of you, “Boy he sure is hot when he’s angry!”  Add on that one or more of these women are your superiors who control who gets assignments, raises, and promotions.  I do believe if men experienced crap like this, it would get old real quick!

         

        1. Jeremy

          Yes. There is no question in my mind that you are right.

        2. Pistola

          GWTF

          You are correct. Predatory people enjoy making others uncomfortable. It’s a high for them, like bullying. This is also why they don’t respond to attempts to ask them to stop what they are doing, or displays of understanding. If anything, those fuel their aggression more.

          Quite frankly the only thing I’ve seen work so far is threats that are far out of the comfort and skill zone of most women.

  19. 79
    John

    Why Men Aren’t Speaking Up About the #MeToo Movement
    I copied and pasted the original title of this article because I haven’t read any comments addressing this.

    What is truly strange is that there are tons of comments about how women are victimized. I didn’t see anyone addressing why men don’t speak up about their own victimization.

    Conversations about female victimization dominates this thread. Maybe it is hard for women to discuss male victims in this case. I don’t know why that is, but it is apparent in the comments on this thread.  Just sayin.

    1. 79.1
      GoWiththeFlow

      John,

      How do you get from “Why Men Aren’t Speaking Up About The #MeToo Movement” to “Maybe it’s hard for women to discuss male victims in this case.”  That’s a non-sensical leap.  #MeToo is about women’s experiences with sexual harassment and assault and how it affects how women navigate the world.  But your concern is male victims?  Victims of what?

      1. 79.1.1
        John

        GWTF

        My point is men are not speaking up about the assaults that happened to them. The discussion is one-sided towards women being assaulted.

        1. GoWiththeFlow

          John,

          It’s really sad that your first reaction to this blog post is “What is truly strange is that there are tons of comments about how women are victimized”  Um, hello!  #MeToo was started 10 years ago by a woman to help give a voice to women who are victims of sexual assault and harassment.  Why does something have to be male-centered for you to care about the victims of it?  Because you have expressed no thoughts of sympathy for what women have shared.  Instead you complain that it’s “strange” that women are sharing their stories of assault and harassment on a blog post where Evan explains how and why he is humbled and stunned by the number of women who have disclosed that they have been victims of abuse, harassment, or assault and what other men may be feeling and thinking about it as well.  But you take women to task for it apparently being hard for us “. . . to discuss male victims in this case.”

          Every study done on sexual assault and harassment shows that women are exponentially more likely to be victims than men.  So yes, lots and lots of women victims.  And they are now speaking out.  Should women shut up because there are male victims out there?  Stand in the back of the room until male victims speak first?

          This is exactly like when black citizens talk about their experiences with racism to try and increase awareness and share their stories and a white person jumps up and shouts, “But white people are discriminated against too!”  It’s not about reverse discrimination, but an attempt to divert or shut down the discussion because the white person has a deep level of discomfort with it.  Instead of covering up your discomfort, examine it.

          Is there a place within #MeToo for male victims to tell their stories of abuse?  Absolutely.  Terry Crews spoke up.  And Corey Feldman, for years, has been trying to get people to listen to him about pedophiles in Hollywood.  #MeToo has given him a new avenue to do that.  Ronan Farrow, one of the journalists who broke the Weinstein story, is the son of Mia Farrow and Woody Allen, who fully supports his mom and sister in their charges that Allen molested his young daughter, Ronan’s sister.  He is estranged from Woody because of that, as well as his dad’s morally reprehensible actions in pursuing a relationship with his step-daughter.  Because the on top go sometimes being direct victims themselves, the ramifications of rape, sexual assault and harassment of girls and women have ripple affects the harm many men.

          Yesterday I had a wonderful conversation with a male friend and we talked about both the #MeToo campaign and this blog post as well.  The discussion flowed from talking about women’s experiences, and–Gawd, who next?–to whether the campaign would expand and men victims would start speaking out.  I shared with him that I know of a woman media personality who, according to my ex-boyfriend, when she was a junior professor in the department at the university he went to, was aggressively pursuing her male students for sex.  I told him that I wondered, with the snowball that the #MeToo campaign is turning into, if now will be the moment in time her story come out.  Because it should.  She is a monstrous hypocrite, and my ex spent four years having to avoid being alone with her, trying to move away when she was close, and all the other avoid-the-predator tactics that women know very well.

          My friend and I were able to have this conversation about women victims of sexual harassment and assault, and expand it to hopes that male victims will be able to find a space within it to speak out, because this wonderful man is able to have sympathy and empathy for the women who experience it and let them have their moment to speak.

           

    2. 79.2
      Nissa

      Actually, my points apply just as much to male victims, and specifically included men as victims in my post.

  20. 80
    Pistola

    John

    Women are speaking up about their own experiences because those are the ones they know. Men would need to speak up about their own experiences. For a variety of reasons, many men won’t. The entire #metoo thing is about speaking about your OWN experiences. Not someone else’s.

  21. 81
    Shell

    What can men say and/or do in response to the #metoo campaign? I chat with a group of friends throughout the workday and one of the men in the group brought up the campaign – his response was simply to express his feelings. He said he was shocked, angry about it and for them, frustrated, depressed. He went on to say that he “knew” it happened but because it was so against his own nature, he didn’t realize how prevalent it was, how many people were dealing with it, people he knew, people he cared about. He always thought it was a few deviants, not the ‘norm’.  His words weren’t perfect, but his response was human and honest, and those of us willing to open up about our own experiences took it for what it was and opened up further.

    Now what can men do about it? Speak up if you do see/hear it, where ever you see or hear it. I’ve had a male co-worker come up to me after silently witnessing another co-worker make rude and sexual remarks to me in a work meeting to say how offensive and inappropriate he thought it was. Great – why didn’t you say something when it was happening? It’s easy to say the woman should speak up, but when she’s the only woman in the room and ten men are there being silent and/or laughing along, it’s easier to speak up when even ONE man says it’s out of line. I’m older now, and wiser, and have no problem saying stop, that’s offensive and inappropriate, let’s stick to the business at hand. But I think the problem won’t go away until all good people say it, not just the object of the comment or harassment.

    Remove “locker room talk” and “boys being boys” from our lexicon of the acceptable. Joking around about what he’d like to do to that girl who just walked by, even if she can’t hear you, is part of the problem. This is an area where men are critical because women can’t do it, we aren’t there. If good men raise their sons to not accept such behavior as the norm and to speak out against it, eventually the good will overrule the bad. If as you say, 94% of men are the good guys, statistically your sons will overwhelm the ones who weren’t raised right. But this is an active engagement – you can’t assume your sons will know because they were ‘raised right’. This needs to be actively taught to all our children, but especially our sons.

    Raise children who respect each other and boundaries. Raise our daughters to be strong, confident and respectful of all people. Raise our sons to be the same. Teach our children, but especially our daughters, that it is okay to say no, to speak out, to speak up. I joke around that I raised my daughters to be mouthy, but it really isn’t a joke. They were allowed to disagree, respectfully, to argue their point, to make their case, to express their feelings, to make noise. It was never “because I said so” and never about adults always being right. It won’t protect them from all things, but it will make them more likely to speak out and that’s a critical thing.

    Finally, we need to, as a society, stop victim blaming. I remember being a young woman during the Clarence Thomas hearings. The manner in which Anita Hill was treated was appalling, and very educational. Was she right? Was he right? It doesn’t matter – how she was treated does. Two years later, I was invited by a boss to his hotel room. I respectfully declined. A week later I was fired. Did I speak up or say anything? No, of course not. Seeing a successful woman shredded by society when she finally spoke up was a lesson learned well. And it still happens today. We have a president who admitted to sexually assaulting women with impunity. Do I care if it was made in jest and he didn’t really do those things? No, that isn’t the point. What’s important is the message it sends to our daughters, and until we all, men and women, start to say it’s not acceptable and mean it, stop spending our money and our votes in acceptance of abuse of women, society will not change.

  22. 82
    Marika

    Emily

    Jeremy mentioned me in your conversation, so I took it as an invitation to join in 😀

    You said:So he’ll be heavily flirting with other women, may be even propositioning them, always dancing on that line of not technically cheating but hardly being emotionally faithful. Always looking for outside validation.

    It’s funny. Even though I was with that guy, I never worry about it happening again. Why? Because IMO guys like that are RARE. So far in my illustrious dating career I’ve met maybe one or two guys like that.

    A guy can be fun & dynamic & interesting & cool without being a validation addict always looking to cheat. And if he does get the urge to cheat now & then but doesn’t because of you, I think that’s okay? I think most, decent, people probably fantasize about cheating from time to time.

    Your other option is to date every red-blooded, get the heart racing, caution to the wind type you can, but not expect commitment. I get the sense you’re not necessarily rushing into a commitment yourself?

    1. 82.1
      Emily, the original

      Emily
      It’s funny. Even though I was with that guy, I never worry about it happening again. Why? Because IMO guys like that are RARE. So far in my illustrious dating career I’ve met maybe one or two guys like that.

      Really? I worked with I don’t know how guys like that in my previous job. What do you consider flirting? What crosses the line? Asking a woman to call you and repeating several times your wife will be out of town? Telling another woman you love her? Getting very graphic sexually about what you like to do. Asking another woman out to see a movie? These are examples that actually happened. (I worked there for a while, so they certainly weren’t happening every week.) How far would any of these guys have gone? Idk   Maybe they were all talk.

      Your other option is to date every red-blooded, get the heart racing, caution to the wind type you can, but not expect commitment. I get the sense you’re not necessarily rushing into a commitment yourself?
      No, I’m nowhere near commitment ready. I can’t even commit to buying furniture! But I’m working on it.

    2. 82.2
      Jeremy

      And if he does get the urge to cheat now & then but doesn’t because of you, I think that’s okay?”  Here’s the only part of your comment I disagree with, Marika.  The reason he shouldn’t cheat is because of himself, not because of you.  Quite a profound difference in the nature of the one man vs the other.  Oh, and I mentioned your name because I hoped you’d join in.  Who better to offer Emily some perspective on this?  😉

      1. 82.2.1
        Marika

        Haha, Jeremy, you’ve got me all wrong! I’m far more boring than you imagine!! 😉

        I meant he doesn’t cheat because you  (Emily) exists and he values you (her) and she’s far more important to him than his urges.

        Like Evan explained once. He copped a lot of flak for it, but I understood. A charismatic, outgoing man doesn’t stop being so because he falls in love & gets married. Best case scenario for Emily (IMHO), is that she finds the rock her world guy and she means so much to him that while he may have the odd fantasy and do some harmless flirting, he never lets it go further.

        What was going on at that job of yours, Emily?? Did you work in the adult entertainment industry?! Haha. Either you’re breathtakingly gorgeous with a strong sex vibe, or those guys were highly inappropriate losers (and probably all talk). Or both ☺

        1. Emily, the original

          Marika,

          What was going on at that job of yours, Emily?? Did you work in the adult entertainment industry?! Haha. Either you’re breathtakingly gorgeous with a strong sex vibe, or those guys were highly inappropriate losers (and probably all talk). Or both 

          I’m not going to write about my physical appearance. Every time someone does, she’s “in great shape and looks 10 years younger …” ya da ya ya da …. and it sounds like b.s., no?

          Yes, my work atmosphere was inappropriate. I will admit to being very flirtatious but if that’s all it takes with some men … A little attention and they’re crossing the line? There’s only one who ever got to me. The rest I didn’t take seriously.

        2. Emily, the original

          Marika,

          But does it matter if they’re all talk? Would you want your partner having those conversations?

        3. Jeremy

          I thought you’d understand because you have validation as your meta-goal and were married to a validation junkie.  But no, I didn’t think you were boring 😉

           

          I’ll let Evan speak for his own motivations.  But I think that if a man’s only reason for cheating is the love of a woman, if the relationship falters he is at risk for cheating.  Better if he also has a personal sense of honour and would never cheat because if he did, he couldn’t look at himself in the mirror.  Character.

  23. 83
    Marika

    Emily & Jeremy

    I’d love to chat about this stuff over a vino one day 😊

    So, firstly, Emily. I wouldn’t worry. Clearly you’re a (modest) hottie, flirty & fun. You have to have the attitude that why would anyone cheat? You are enough! It sounds like you’ve just worked with some particularly dodgy guys.

    And maybe tone down the flirt a bit at work?

    That being said, Jeremy, never say never. I’d like to say I’d never murder. But under some (limited) circumstances, the only thing standing in my way of seeking vengance would be our strict gun laws. I think no one can say with absolute certainty it would never happen. But you can’t worry about it. You can’t police everything your partner does when not in your presence.

    You just have to try to make a good choice for you & trust them & assume the best. I’m working on trying to value consistency more. I used to not value that nearly enough (or really, at all). I’m currently chatting to two people online (you were both right about Mr cave time, unfortunately). One is fun & dynamic and very attractive to me. But he’s inconsistent in his communication. The other is more low key, but very consistent and makes sustained effort. Whenever I think about mr inconsistent, I get chills. But it’s just because he follows that bad pattern I’ve associated with attraction. If he doesn’t step up, I’m cutting him off entirely. And going out of my way to show appreciation to the other one.

    1. 83.1
      Emily, the original

      Hi Marika,
      I’d love to chat about this stuff over a vino one day 😊
      I accept. Where and when?  🙂
      You have to have the attitude that why would anyone cheat? You are enough!
      Someone cheating has nothing to do with me being “enough.” That has more to do with them, no?
      And maybe tone down the flirt a bit at work?
      My job was very boring and I worked with a lot of men.  🙂
       I’m currently chatting to two people online (you were both right about Mr cave time, unfortunately). One is fun & dynamic and very attractive to me. But he’s inconsistent in his communication. The other is more low key, but very consistent and makes sustained effort. Whenever I think about mr inconsistent, I get chills. But it’s just because he follows that bad pattern I’ve associated with attraction. If he doesn’t step up, I’m cutting him off entirely. And going out of my way to show appreciation to the other one.
      Sorry to hear about Mr. Cave, but WHY IS THIS ALWAYS THE CASE?! The more you want someone, the more elusive he is. Mister number 2 will always be the one who keeps calling. It’s the law of nature. There are men you want and men who want you. (I’m using the “generic” you.) It’s as if you have to actively tell yourself to ignore and cut off Mister Elusive, even though to be around him is intoxicating. You don’t want to, but want other choice do you have? ….  Sometimes I think it’s just easier to accept option 2 because it requires less work.

      1. 83.1.1
        Jeremy

        Why is it that the men who want you are never the ones you want?  I think it has to do with the associations we mistakenly make in our brains.  Marika, you’ll know about this from your psych background.  We go on roller-coasters because we mistake feelings of fear for feelings of excitement.  We like scary movies for the same reason.  Some people like pain during sex because their brains associate pain with pleasure.  And some people mistake an activated attachment system for passion (and lack of an activated attachment system with lack of passion).

         

        My observation is that women are particularly prone to this.  The men who elicit passion are so often the ones who activate their attachment system.  I’m not advocating that women settle for men who don’t elicit passion in them, but I do advocate for them to examine the circuits in their brains and what passion means to them – sometimes the association wiring is faulty!

         

        Is it that the more you want someone the more evasive he is, or is it that the more evasive he is the more you want him?  When Marika asked a former BF to call her every day, she lost respect for him for doing so.  You can’t choose a man based on how exciting and elusive he is and then complain that he is inconsistent.  I might have said this before, but I had a relationship years ago that was full of emotional peaks and troughs.  The intensity of the emotion that I experienced was…..well, intense.  And when that relationship ended, I thought what I wanted was that intensity again.  But when I met my (now) wife, I didn’t feel that same intensity, those same intense ups and downs.  Instead, it was just constantly….good.   At first I thought maybe something was missing, but then I realized that no, this was what a really good relationship looks like.  Because human nature recognizes intensity in contrast – intense good can only be perceived next to intense bad, otherwise hedonic adaptation kicks in.  And having a relationship as full of intense bad as good is not good.

        1. Pistola

          Jeremy

          I have some thoughts on this.

          I think that bad/good on/off relationships have an addictive quality. Just like drugs. You’re hunting to score the drugs, thinking about the drugs, doing all this stuff to try to get the drugs. Then you get the drugs. Then you use the drugs and it’s great for like a minute. Then before too long it’s not fun because of the downside of the drugs and you start the whole process over again, the whole obsessive cycle. That’s what causes the intensity–the amount of mental real estate the whole thing takes up means it’s on your mind so much of the time that it feels all-consuming.

          I’ve noticed that people who get into these situations often have addictive tendencies in other areas of life too. Their brains are wired to seek that on/off again type stimulation. People who don’t struggle with addictive tendencies don’t feel attracted to people who are evasive, unavailable or not forthcoming when they need information or connection. They just disconnect from those people and move on because it strikes them as shady.

          I’ve also seen people change from camp 1 to camp 2 as they became emotionally healthier. It’s pretty fun helping people navigate that process.

        2. Emily, the original

          Jeremy,

          Why is it that the men who want you are never the ones you want?

          I realize you responded to Marika but I’m going to shove my middle aged self into the equation! 🙂

          It’s not that they never want you. It’s that their demonstration of interest isn’t consistent.

           I think it has to do with the associations we mistakenly make in our brains.  Marika, you’ll know about this from your psych background.  We go on roller-coasters because we mistake feelings of fear for feelings of excitement. 

          There’s a fine line between ecstasy and horror.

          I’ve read about partial positive reinforcement and how our brains are wired to get dopamine hits from the unpredictable. But it also has to do with perceived value. Remember that whole post on women having sex with certain men really quickly and making other men wait? You related it to the idea of a man losing perceived value to a woman if he is too quick to want a commitment. A man who is available hook line and sinker from the get-go is not perceived as being as valuable. The guy who gets your number and treats you like he’s your boyfriend almost immediately is creepy. And you can’t respect him, something you have stressed is important to men. He’s a stage-5 clinger. I realize I’m going from one extreme to other — from the elusive man to the overly available one — but remember: this is dating past 30. There are simply more people left who are either avoidant or anxious.

        3. Jeremy

          I get that, Emily, and I remember the quote you brought from HUS about perceived value economics.  But that is the faulty wiring I was talking about.  Throwing away a good guy because he is too available?  That his perceived value decreases because of his availability?  That’s crazy.  Sure, there are economic reasons for it, but it is still crazy; the result of faulty associations.

           

          There isn’t much benefit to telling an avoidant person not to be so avoidant, any more than there is benefit telling an anxious person not to be anxious.  Our attachment systems are what they are – plastic but firm.  Yet sometimes the anxious person can learn to be LESS anxious, and the avoidant person learn to be less avoidant.  Evan learned to respect a woman who was easy-going and giving, even though his nature was to be drawn to high-strung and sassy.  Because he realized what was good for him in the long-term and what wasn’t.

           

          Oh, and Pistola, I agree with your post here.  If you are fairly new to this blog, you’ve not come across our many discussions about dopaminergic pathways, but we largely agree with you here, and this corresponds with a lot of the research, as you know.

        4. Emily, the original

          Jeremy,
          But that is the faulty wiring I was talking about.  Throwing away a good guy because he is too available?  That his perceived value decreases because of his availability?  That’s crazy.
          It’s not crazy. There’s a fine line in the beginning between demonstrating interest and demonstrating clinger behavior. Show a woman you’re interested, but you don’t have to let her know what your every move will be after date one. It’s the clinger type who needs assurance almost immediately. A confident person assumes the other party will keep her word and show up for the date. If she doesn’t, he moves on.

  24. 84
    Marika

    PS: that being said, trust comes easily to me (arguably, too easy). If it doesn’t, no doubt this is all easier said than done.

  25. 85
    Marika

    Chance said

    We’ve had it drilled into us from a young age….over and over and over and over and over.  I think almost every guy has had an instance in their past where they crossed the line in some fashion because they weren’t thinking, but most realize they made a mistake right after the fact, and self-correct.

    From memory you are Gen Y? I think in Gen X and probably even more so, Y this is true. Older generations: not true. Watch a few British comedies from the 70s/80s (my parents were addicted to them when I was growing up). Groping women & treating them like dumb sex objects was commonplace. Obviously they are just shows, but Trump is a product of that generation. Also in non-Western countries: different story.

    Don’t want to get into another debate with you, but just making the point that this respect culture is a relatively new and Western idea.

  26. 86
    Pistola

    I know!

    Evan, I’d love to see a post from you about “What A Good Guy Looks Like.” I assumed you’d already written one, but when I did the little search bar thingie, I didn’t find one.

    I think it’d be interesting for you to write an article where you define what a good guy is and especially as relates to his attitudes toward women’s rights and sexuality. You say this stuff all the time in your other articles, it’s scattered throughout, but unless I missed something I didn’t see an article specifically related to this.

    I suggest it because I’ve found that while I could spend all day teaching people what to avoid, it’s equally important and maybe even more important that I teach them what to look FOR in terms of character traits. You’re not misogynist or predatory and neither are the men you surround yourself with, so maybe a general portrait of the commonalities all truly good guys you know have around non-misogynistic, non-predatory attitudes and beliefs.

    Anyway. I thought of this as something you could do for women that really plugs into your knowledge base and personal experience.

    1. 86.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      I can’t tell if you’re trolling but I think you are. So here’s a definition that I think you (and Maria) would appreciate:

      “A good guy is one who believes whatever you believe.”

      Did I miss anything? 😉

      Yes, it’s sarcastic and yes, I have written volumes on this; I just never titled a blog post the way you searched. Perhaps you should sign up for my mailing list and check out my products.

  27. 87
    Pistola

    I’m actually being serious. I’m not on your mailing list and only an occasional reader of your blog, so it’s not like I’m here very often. I simply did a search on “good guy” in the search bar to see if there was any article titled “How to spot a truly good guy” or something like that. Because I work with women 6 days a week, I like to try to find them easy, contained resources that sum things up in a single article or piece of writing.

    The issues of misogyny and racism are huge for my clientele because I see mostly educated professional WOC and we live in a red state/white city with a significant racism problem. So we are all both trying to stay safe and date and it’s not easy AT ALL.

    I can’t tell from your post whether you’d rather I not comment here. I’m certainly NOT a troll. However, if what I have to contribute here isn’t valuable to you or your readership, no big deal. Thanks for letting me post.

    1. 87.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      “You’re not misogynist or predatory and neither are the men you surround yourself with, so maybe a general portrait of the commonalities all truly good guys you know have around non-misogynistic, non-predatory attitudes and beliefs.” I hope you can admit that given the conversation, this sounds dangerously close to sarcasm.

      I am glad to have you comment here. You are bright, articulate, learned and passionate. You just have the same problem that everyone else does around here: you think you’re right, and, by default, everyone who disagrees with you is inherently wrong. Such is the nature of comment sections. So please, stay and continue to share your voice.

      And for a sincere definition of a good guy, you don’t need a blog post, you need this: “consistent, kind, communicative, high-character and commitment-oriented.” Every single piece of advice to women is written from that place. High-character and kind inherently mean that a man isn’t a sexual predator. More importantly: trust how you FEEL with him. Don’t ignore your feelings.

      1. 87.1.1
        Pistola

        Thanks for that Evan. I think the “high character” part is what we professional WOC are struggling with. We are all having experiences of going on dates with guys who are “good guys” who then say things that are overtly racist or misogynistic and maybe don’t even realize it.

        Given what’s going on in this city, this presents a tough call for us. None of us are far left feminists. We all like men and want to date them. But we also don’t really want to be in a situation where we are sending the message that we are OK with ongoing statements about our race, the race of other people or the sexual characteristics of women who aren’t white. It happens a LOT. The professional dating pool here, as far as men goes, is probably about 95% white and mostly Christian. It just isn’t diverse. So we’re all trying to figure that out without getting too jaded or too far into being guarded.

        It could be that our needs are just too specific for the topics that most dating coaches write about which are for the general public. that’s OK. thanks for letting me post.

      2. 87.1.2
        GoWiththeFlow

        Evan,

        I’m not sure if this is something you are starting to hear your clients relay to you, but I can confirm that the scenarios where some men in online interactions and dates make insensitive or outright racist comments that Pistola speaks of are happening out there.  It’s new, different, and disturbing.  I’m white, but my two adopted kids are racial/ethnic minorities.  It’s happened twice in the span of a few months where pre-in-person meeting (thank goodness) men have made racially bigoted comments when communicating with me.  Of course, I immediately cut off contact with them.  They did not know that my kids were POC, so I’m assuming they thought it was safe to say these things.

        I’m bringing this up because I can understand why Pistola, an Asian woman, would be on edge and now feels like she has to reinvent the wheel in figuring out how to find a good man.  Something has changed in this country and it’s not good.  For me, since these attitudes and biases will affect my kids and grandkids, it has been disturbing to see men and women I have known for years and always considered to be good people to all of the sudden say out loud things like they’re tired of their tax dollars going to support lazy blacks.  Or that if Mexican-Americans don’t like how things are they can go back to their own country.  (Which is ironic in my ex-DIL and her family’s case since their family has been in the San Antonio area since before Texas was an independent republic and then a state.)  And it isn’t just me.  I’ve asked other single men and women about this and about half said they have experienced this in the dating world in the past year or so and it bothers them.

        It’s really discombobulating when you meet a man and by all of your previously established ways to suss out whether he is a good man or not he passes with Flying Colors, and then he drops THE comment.  Of course I cannot bring a man into my, and eventually my kids’ lives, who indulges in casual racism.  That’s a hard line.  But it seems like casual bigots and racists are coming out of the closet in droves these days, so that means I have to make some decisions about how to try and figure this info out early before I invest time and emotions into them.  Because the tried and true indicators of what a good man seems to be;  treats me well, is kind, consistent, considerate, with a stable job, family oriented, involved with his kids, no substance issues, can all be present in a bigot and a racist.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Just had a mixed-race client go out on an enjoyable date with a guy who casually used the n-word. She asked if she was being too picky. I told her no.

          So even if I concur with your long post above, I don’t think this is that hard: if a man reveals himself to be a racist, dump him. But you can’t “try to figure this info out early” before you invest time and emotions on him. No more than you can figure ANYTHING out without investing time and emotions. But, in general, I don’t think it takes very long to reveal bigotry. It’s not like a guy buries his true thoughts for two years until you get married and THEN you find out he’s a bigot.

          Long story short: it’s a problem, but there’s a pretty easy zero-tolerance solution

        2. Pistola

          GWTF and Evan–

          Yes. This. And here is why it’s hard: I don’t necessarily think that people always know when they are being racist.

          That might sound weird. But I’ve had more than one experience recently of screening a guy, meeting a guy and seeing that yes, he was a good person. He’d never willfully hurt anyone. He’d never harass or assault a woman. He’s kind and responsible and wants to do the right thing. He’s commitment oriented and wants a relationship. He checks all the boxes. Awesome.

          And then…he says something about “those people who come here and take our jobs” (one I hear a lot here because there is a large Mexican population here).

          Because I work with straight white Christian clients, this is what I know to be true: A lot of them didn’t grow up in diverse environments. Some of them have very little experience of people of color. Their friends are white, their workplaces are white, their activities are populated by white people. They’ve heard things about “those people” all their lives from people just like themselves and taken them as truth. It doesn’t even occur to them that if they are talking to someone whose parent is one of “those people,” they sound incredibly racist.

          This problem is one that gets reported to me a lot by clients who white appearing–i.e. their date would not know that they are LatinX or AsianX or Middle EasternX because they are light skinned, light eyed and speak English flawlessly. But their parent is a brown person with an accent who may speak little or broken English. Their date thinks they are with a white person, someone just like themselves who comes from the same value system.

          And–at least for me and my clients–this is where the problem comes in. I can see that the guy is basically a good guy. He’s all the good things, essentially. He is also ignorant, but not necessarily trying to be a jerk. Or maybe he is. Thing is, it’s hard to tell.

          I believe in giving people a chance. I believe in letting people learn. But if you even bring up this stuff as an issue, you often will very quickly get called a “liberal snowflake” or far left feminist for doing so because people are so sensitive to the implication that they are raging racists. What you are trying to say is, “What you just said makes me worry about whether I could ever have you meet my dad who came here from Turkey, would you judge him?” and what they are hearing is, “You are a white supremacist bigoted asshole who wants to kill all non white babies and deport all of us.”

          So. We don’t know how to handle it. I am absolutely sure that some of these guys, or maybe even a lot of these guys, would be open to learning, because I have them as clients and I KNOW that what is inside is not always what is coming across. They’re not at fault for the way they grew up. But how to have the conversation? I have written to dating coach after dating coach for help with this one and so far no one has wanted to tackle it. So your thoughts here are appreciated.

        3. Evan Marc Katz

          My advice is that you should not have a relationship based on someone changing on your behalf. They may not be bad guys, but it’s not your job to teach them. You don’t need to write to dating coach after dating coach; you just have to keep dating until you find a man you don’t need to “fix.”

        4. Pistola

          Thanks, Evan. I’ve long struggled with the idea that people with vast differences in belief can have a happy relationship. Gottman says it’s possible. I’ve seen a *few* cases. But in most it seems like it just doesn’t work. Thanks again, from all of us.

  28. 88
    Marika

    Jeremy

    Emily is right about Stage 5 clingers. It actually goes back to the topic at hand. A clinger is not only unattractive, but it sparks a fear deep down that the guy could potentially be a stalker.

    You give good advice about relationships, but Jeremy, luckily for you, you haven’t had to navigate dating in the age of apps. It’s a whole new world. Very hard to appreciate the complexities without having been there.

    1. 88.1
      Emily, the original

      Marika,

      I think it’s also hard for a man to understand how men come off in dating because they aren’t usually the ones being pursued. I look at it as … How would you treat a new friend? You met someone you clicked with and made plans a few days away. You wouldn’t check in with that new friend every day, several times a day, until the day of your plans, would you? You don’t know each other and you don’t have that kind of rapport yet. You’d make plans on, for example, a Wednesday for a Saturday and make shoot the person a quick text Saturday morning to verify.

      I think you can certainly be communicating every day within a few weeks with someone … but not in the first week or two. It lowers your value.  A confident person makes plans and assumes the other person will show up. He/she doesn’t need daily affirmation. A man who’s overly communicating right away makes you wonder if he does this with every woman.

  29. 89
    debbie

    And that is the exact problem. When you turn away and say ‘Oh I can’t get involved. I can’t police their personal opinion….

    You can have you own opinion and voice it.

    You can get up and walk away in the middle of the distasteful joke or comment

    You could actually voice a personal opinion.. hey could you turn that song, show , down or off?

    You could make a personal stand saying you don’t want to hear things like this.

    Yes. It is hard to do. It is called being a role model. Choosing to make a stand and snake a difference. It’s calling being a leader.

    You wanted to know how You can help. I am telling you. Stand up for us and make a stand.

    You’ve admitted you’ve heard the comments,but just didn’t think it was right to get involved. Does that make it right what you have heard?

    1. 89.1
      Theodora

      The problem is that when you ask men to intervene and take a stand whenever they hear a joke or a conversation not particularly flattering to women, but you don’t ask women to do the same when they hear a joke or a conversation unflattering to men, you just hold men to higher moral standards than women, which implicitly means you consider them the morally superior gender.

      Have you ever stopped or left a conversation because women joked about men’s appearance, penis size, height, etc.? I have never done that and I haven’t seen any woman who ever did that. It didn’t even cross my mind. Then why would I ask men to do what I’m not willing to do? I don’t consider them the morally superior gender to ask them to be better than women and to police jokes and conversations that I don’t like.

  30. 90
    debbie

    Hi

    it is very clear you do not know me personally because I am that rare person who does stand up.

    Yes, when the one female member of our group took dislike a man in our group and started to say things about him, I stated I did not believe that to be true, and I would prefer to not hear such things. If She wanted to go on, I would leave.

    Yes. I made my kid change the channel based on what came on.

    Yes  that guy who was screaming at the girl, I pulled over and offered her a ride.

    Oh   I’m 5 ft 3 125 lbs  60 years old

    I never said the rule only applied to one gender. That’s your excuse for not standing up.

    The choice is yours. You know if it’s right. Just ask yourself. Could this guy say this directly to my  daughters/mothers or  fathers/sons face and not be rude or disrespectful. If the answer is no, then the choice is yours.

    Will you step up?

    Will you turn away?

    Man or Woman? Next time you see something .

    What will you do?

     

    i

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