sexual misconduct

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jennypenny
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sexual misconduct

Post by jennypenny » Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:51 am

I was hesitant to post about this, but I'm starting to think it's a good time to discuss it. I'm also heartened by what's happening. This is not a rant (please don't make this thread a place to dump on men -- this forum has some of the best men I've ever encountered). It's more of an explanation as to why some women feel the way they do. And while I only address women's issues, gay men are increasingly victimized and even less likely to report it, and I feel it's important to acknowledge that. I can't speak to their experiences with any authority, but maybe some forum members will feel willing to share in this thread.

The sexual misconduct allegations flooding the media are simultaneously frightening and encouraging. They are frightening because it really is everywhere and people still cover it up and/or don't take it seriously. As a 51yo women, I've heard too many stories to count. I've also experienced some stuff that literally changed the way I life my life. I don't trust men as much. I never left my daughter alone with men no matter how well I knew them. None. Ever. I know women who've changed careers, avoided social situations, given up on finding partners, and lived in fear ... all from misconduct and not from direct crimes committed like rape, violence, etc. The 'soft' side of sexual misconduct can be just as damaging to women.

Today is my 28th anniversary and I've been thinking about what originally drew us together. One of the reasons I chose DH is because when we were at a party not long after we met, a guy was getting too touchy and in a creepy way, and DH stepped in and let the guy know if he did it again, DH would kill him. He meant it, or more likely would have given the guy the kind of beat down that would make him think DH meant it to get the guy to stop harassing women. I wasn't looking for a protector, and I'm not a girly girl ... it was more that I wanted a guy who would acknowledge this stuff when it happened and who believed unequivocally that this kind of behavior was intolerable. I won't lie -- his willingness to defend women was also appealing, even moreso after we had a daughter.

When it happens to you, you tell yourself it can happen to anybody. What's becomes clear by the time you hit my age is that it happens to almost everybody. The last time it happened to me, albeit minor, was when I was at a gun range last year without DH. Last. Year. (I should point out that I'm long past my last fuckable moment as the saying goes.) The guy, who pretends to be a friend of DH, grabbed and rubbed my ass twice while I was shooting. I'm sharing this to point out that it doesn't just happen to attractive or weak women (I was shooting a G19 at the time, and well I might add), and it isn't just guys in power who do it. And women don't keep quiet just because they are weak. The guy in question owned a shit ton of guns and was a little odd, so he was not the kind of guy I wanted DH to challenge (which he would have done, see above). I kept quiet to protect DH.

note: I've had other far worse experiences that I'm not willing to share. I'm only sharing this story to point out how prolific it is and how even minor incidences can make an impression, especially as they accumulate over time.

Women are wired to protect themrselves from unwanted advances and children, so any act that suggests unwanted sexual activity is frightening on some level. Women are also more likely to be abused by a partner than should be acceptable in our culture. Reported cases indicate that 30% of all women are the victim of violence, rape or stalking. The recent flood of reports should give you an idea of how much goes unreported. That statistic also doesn't include inappropriate touching, pressure to date for job advancement, or sexualized comments about appearance. Think about it -- it's possible that half the women you know have been victimized in some way and a quarter have been victimized physically. *

I'm not saying all men are like this. It may only be 5% or 10% -- but that's still a lot of men and a lot of potential encounters over the course of a lifetime. It's like racism, only of a more personal nature. Racists tend to want to isolate themselves from the race they don't like. Predatory men try very hard to get as close to women as possible. They try to isolate women, almost the way a predator will try to isolate a weak member of the herd, because it's much easier to get away with this stuff in private (because up until recently, no one believed you). They also do things they think are pleasurable that women find frightening and physically intolerable. A guy may think that rubbing your ass is no big deal because he wasn't hurting you. But if the woman thinks of that guy the next time her husband rubs her ass in bed, and the next time, and the next time ... you can see how it doesn't take physical pain to wound the woman in some way.

The result is that we end up keeping quiet and too often letting repeat offenders get away with it, or we end up with a chip on our shoulder and distrust men who are trustworthy. Or we end up being a cranky bitch by the time we reach my age because we've experienced this stuff for ourselves, or we have close friends who have had something awful happen to them, or we've known men who get away with egregious stuff time and again because people haven't been willing to confront the problem or take it seriously (or all three). It's not fair to treat all men or even most men as potential aggressors ... but this is how it happens.

I once described this problem to jacob as a scab that never heals. Every little offense picks at it and sets me off even if it wasn't meant in the way I'm assuming. I'm writing this thread to point out to men that all of these awful stories coming out now are the reason for the scabs in the first place. It doesn't mean I'm some feminist vigilante. I can joke about sex and women, which should be obvious to anyone who reads my posts regularly. I also 'correct' men much less often for what I consider inappropriate language because I'm learning to trust that they don't mean the offense in the way I'm taking it. But it takes effort on my part not to react that way. Think of the way you guys react to stupid -- getting frustrated and maybe giving up on people too quickly or making unfair assumptions because you got a whiff of that stupid vibe and decided you wanted no part of it.

Part of changing my response has been conditioning myself to brush this stuff off instead of letting it get to me. Women need to learn that lesson. It doesn't excuse or mitigate the inappropriate actions of men, but it lessens the effect they have on the victim. Both stopping the acts and reducing their effect are important -- and important to acknowledge here. I also think women can't be stupid and then act surprised something happened (like getting drunk at every party and blaming men for taking advantage of that). Everyone --men and women -- should learn how to avoid being victimized and take appropriate action. Women can't just blow a whistle every time they feel unsafe, they need to act and react with some agency.

I say these stories are also heartening because most of the accused are of my generation, which means this culture of acceptance will die off. I make fun of the current hyper-PC culture but it does seem to cut down on a lot of this stuff. I don't hear it much on the forum and I haven't heard as many stories from my daughter. It may be that the culture has changed, or maybe it hasn't and it's only that guys are afraid of getting into trouble, but I'll take it either way. If it's the latter, the culture will follow.


* Some of you are from different cultures and some are from different economic and educational backgrounds and that influences the stats. I acknowledge that some of you might have experienced more of this and some less. The overall stats are still frightening however ... http://www.thehotline.org/resources/statistics/

I also feel I should add that education level doesn't make you safe. I have a family member who was involved in litigation at a huge university because a PhD advisor was pressuring candidates into sexual favors in exchange for better working conditions. You PhD's know the power games an advisor can play. Imagine adding a sexual element to that.

----------

Part of why I'm hesitant to post is that I'm unsure whether this relates to ERE. I've decided it's relevant because we often discuss how to understand other humans better, and this fits into that category. I also think it's an added element, like race or culture, that can make ERE a little harder for certain groups ... or give certain groups more incentive to develop a sense of agency and achieve ERE.

slowtraveler
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Re: sexual misconduct

Post by slowtraveler » Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:43 am

I think it's good to bring this up. I've walked with my sister before and she's had a stalker follow us into a restaurant and present a bunch of gifts in front of our family. She was sweating in awkward discomfort and mom was the one who knew best how to handle it.

A few weeks ago I was assaulted by a ladyboy and I've learned to walk in the opposite side of the street in that neighborhood now. She literally goes for my crotch with both hands trying to grab it and I have to aggressively shove her off, catch her hands mid journey, crunch into a ball, then jump out/run. So walking on the opposite side of street is easier than dealing with this when she is around. Going to the police doesn't seem worth it, I doubt they would take it seriously and I don't think she deserves prison for this but I find it very uncomfortable when I see her.

Women have also been relatively aggressive in grabbing me but on the arm so even if uncomfortable, it doesn't feel as threatening.

I've had multiple girlfriends tell me of varying degrees of having boob/butt grabbed by both women and men in various contexts without any sexual comfort established, they were either frozen in surprise or didn't take it seriously.

This seems culturally accepted. Ideally we would all be perfectly emotionally aware and respectful of others' feelings but this is an unrealistic ideal. It sucks having to fight off advances or seeing someone who initially seems cool turn out to be creepy. What other recommendations do you have?

IlliniDave
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Re: sexual misconduct

Post by IlliniDave » Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:31 am

It's a really messy subject in the sense there is a lot of gray area whether we chose to admit it or not that makes it quite confusing for even well-meaning men. Confidence, aggressiveness, and persistence are qualities women have pointed out to me as things they view as major positives, and sometimes apparently prerequisites, in their selection of partners (I've been identified as lacking in one or more of those areas at times ;) ). Those ideas are reflected in movie and fiction genres with women as the target audience so I don't think my personal experience has been unrepresentative.

The problem is that there are lines that just shouldn't be crossed that get crossed with a frequency that is disheartening. It seems like power is a big contributor, either held power or desired power. It seems to breathe life into any predatory tendencies someone has. It's also nothing new and may have something to do with why some older cultures segregate the sexes more vigorously than we do (even bathrooms and locker rooms, the last hold outs of gender segregation, seem under assault now).

I was lucky in that my employer was an early (and serious) adopter of sexual harassment protections so I've been more aware of my behavior for longer than most people. It's caused some awkward situations around work because I have a no-exception policy when it comes to getting involved personally with people at work, even when it is explicitly invited by the woman in question (which happens more than one might think). It's hard enough to avoid letting one's guard down and making a casual remark that gets you turned in to the HR Behavior Police. If they ever stand up thought police I am in trouble, because under it all I still ride around in the body of a male mammal. I've never felt like a victim in these types of situations even though sometimes people want things from me that I don't have any interest in giving them. I've been a nerd my whole life and I guess discomfort caused by the existence of other people is something I am just used to. But I truly hate it for others who have had more negative experiences.

One of my daughters had to quit a job when a coworker (relative of the boss) ultimately made her too uncomfortable to continue. I don't know if it was something where he truly crossed a line or if he was just a young kid with a bad crush on a pretty girl. I suspect the latter, but either way my daughter was trapped in a situation that was too uncomfortable for her to function in on an everyday basis.

I suppose I had my head in the sand all these years where I hoped the sorts of stuff we've heard recently in the news and the things you described were the exception rather than the rule. I have no sympathy for these alleged serial offenders amongst the most wealthy and powerful out there.

I joke around a lot about being an incorrigible bachelor these days. A lot of it has to do with what I've alluded to: that there are things at this point in my life that I just have to do, and I will not compromise on them. But the unspoken half is that it's too much a field of land mines out there. "The Line" is not a fixed thing, it's unique to each woman and sometimes varies by situation. I put a lot of effort into keeping empathy at the forefront due to this topic, and so I tend to just steer clear. Luckily cold showers cost less than hot ones so there's some extra synergy in all this ;)

black_son_of_gray
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Re: sexual misconduct

Post by black_son_of_gray » Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:44 am

Thanks for sharing, jennypenny.

In conversations with my SO over the years, I've learned some about the female perspective, so to speak- about going through life "on guard". It was quite eye opening to me, and now I notice the subtleties everywhere I go now. Things like how women choose to sit next to other women on buses and little micro-choices like that. I was oblivious beforehand.

Regarding the PhD thing, I've heard recently from a group of PhD students about their advisors/department faculty - it definitely happens. Their understanding was that, like Weinstein, it was an open secret and there had been complaints and actions taken in the past... but that it didn't have many consequences. Also consider that many PhD students/trainees are foreign -their willingness to speak up in a different legal system, their visa status, etc., make things even more imbalanced.

I am also heartened that the culture could be shifting towards more of an open intolerance of this behavior. To that end, I think men need to step up and behave much like your DH. Strong, confident men creating a culture among other men would be powerful. There are many ways in which male culture shames other men for various behaviors, particularly in adolescence, but that does not include ire for sexual misconduct. Something as simple as "Ma'am/Miss, is he bothering you?" can have lasting effects. Can't stop the predator who seeks out isolated people, but may make them think twice.

The demographics are shifting such that, within a decade or so, women will be the more educated gender in the workforce. They are already out-achieving men academically. I give it a half-generation or so before that manifests in the workplace (it'll be slower than it should be, no doubt). That will likely help too.

I think this is appropriate for the ERE community to discuss, because:
1) FU money could provide just enough safety for a person in a bad situation to say "you know what, I'm going to let everyone know about this". Or it could allow someone else to support that person without fear of retribution.
2) Community is a huge aspect of ERE because it is the water we swim in. For some of us, one of the reasons to FIRE is to spend more time in the community around us (e.g. Vicki Robin). For others, FIRE allows us to get away from certain toxic communities. Understanding communities and their problems/trends is every bit as relevant as understanding the current political climate, I think.

TopHatFox
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Re: sexual misconduct

Post by TopHatFox » Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:28 am

From someone that just exited a hyper-liberal college environment, I'd say this is a double-edged sword. Respecting people's space is important, but over analyzing body language can be counterproductive. At my alma mater, a smile can be interpreted as sexual misconduct. A hug can be misinterpreted as sexual misconduct. Mind you, this is with consent being explicitly asked for and given. At a neighboring college, you may even get labeled a "rapist" by the community for kissing someone in a grey area situation (e.g. both parties were drunk).

The analysis of micro-body language lead to the entire population being on edge about sharing physical affection or romance in general. This meant that very few people dated. Very few people gave hugs. Most people simply avoided any form of physical touch. A core group of people partied, got really drunk, and then hooked up. My hypothesis is that this took the edge off interacting with people with such strict scrutiny all around. This died down in winter (6 mo of the school year). Another core group of people simply used online dating like Tindr and OKc. At least then you wouldn't see the people around your classes if something had gone grey. The colleges in my area had a loneliness percentage above the national average for colleges, same with depression and anxiety. Also important: women were viewed with more leniency; men with great scrutiny. For instance, a woman could get away with kissing a guy or more without asking, especially a minority, queer, poor woman. It was much more difficult for a man to do that, especially if they were white, cis, hetero, and wealthy. Goodness help you if you didn't ask. Anyone suspected of sexual misconduct to even a minor to moderate degree--kissing, hugging, foreplay-- was shunned by the community at my school. At the neighboring school, many people literally had to leave the school from the community harassment. This is whether there was proof of misconduct or not. Someone "gaslighting" you on social media was enough.

YMMV

black_son_of_gray
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Re: sexual misconduct

Post by black_son_of_gray » Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:13 am

@ THF, informative perspective
It's been over a decade since I was in college (which didn't have the environment you describe), so it's interesting to hear about your experience.

If we were to make a frequency plot of all of the interactions that people have on an appropriate<->inappropriate axis, there would be a lot of events that fall somewhere in the continuum of "obviously appropriate" and "obviously inappropriate". As @ IlliniDave points out, where the line that splits this distribution lies certainly varies from person to person, making this quite a tricky landscape to navigate. Most of these reports (but perhaps not all) coming out in the news seem to be more squarely in the "obviously inappropriate" categories, by which I mean that the majority of people would categorize it as such. For example, randomly masturbating in front of a colleague whom you have power/influence over, without anything like consent, and persisting throughout objection, falls into that category. Of course, it can get much worse than that. I think these types of events are 1) the most damaging on the individual and societal levels, 2) have the clearest consensus that they are "obviously inappropriate", and 3) are easier to actually deal with at a societal level. The middle area between these poles (which arguably has the most frequency) is likely an intractable problem.

I had no idea that some college kids see hugging as squarely in the "obviously inappropriate" category :shock:

Scott 2
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Re: sexual misconduct

Post by Scott 2 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:16 am

The culture shift is positive. For any individual situation, I completely understand staying quiet. It's an expensive allocation of resources. The cost is lowering, and it is creating change.

The problem relates to all aspects of life, and is relevant to ERE.
IlliniDave wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:31 am
But the unspoken half is that it's too much a field of land mines out there. "The Line" is not a fixed thing, it's unique to each woman and sometimes varies by situation. I put a lot of effort into keeping empathy at the forefront due to this topic, and so I tend to just steer clear.
This is the other side. Not only for dating but any in-person interaction with a woman. The risk is not worth it. It's a huge source of collateral damage in the workplace. I limit interaction to the work-related conversation only. I will not put myself alone with a woman at work. No lunch unless in a large group. No closed door one on one meetings. No driving together. I won't even be home when our housekeeper works unless my wife is also here. The only way I speak with a woman in a semi-private setting is if they arrive with someone else - my wife or a male friend.

The net effect is discriminatory against women. I am aware they are the victims and do not deserve the exclusion. Yet, I'd only be on greater edge with someone who I know has an active HR complaint.

The irony is, I am one of the least likely people to engage in this behavior. I don't particularly like touching, especially with people I don't know well. I can't read body language, so I've never been able to flirt, and am blind to a woman seeking my attention. I fixate on complex ideas, so casual sexual jokes are the furthest thing from my top of mind.

But given the danger of litigation or losing my job over a simple interaction, I am hyper-vigilant. The risk is too high.

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Re: sexual misconduct

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:28 am

This is such a difficult topic. My overall take is that if we could have a more open and relaxed discussion about sexuality in our culture, and thereby move desires and behaviors from the box of inherently shameful into the realm of poor or illegal conduct we could make some progress in resolving ambiguity. For better or worse, this will likely also necessitate taking a bit of the "magical" romance out of the equation in the interest of educating youth about the dangers of infatuation in terms of bio-chemical and behavioral linkage, especially when combined with other mind-altering substance use.

My own perspective is fairly muddled since as a female with a high sex drive, I have often found myself in the role of the exception that proves the rule. For instance, I was reading complex adult novels with sexual themes by the time I was 13, and I blatantly seduced the 23 year old brother of a friend when I was 15. I was a bit hurt when he dumped me as soon as he ascertained my real age, but I wasn't traumatized by the interaction. I thought it was fun and exciting, kind of like coasting my bike downhill no hands. So, I was active accessory to my own statutory rape. In another place and time (15th century Italy?), thoughtful parents might have conferred and decided to marry me off a bit early. My own fairly intellectual 20th century American parents, sent me to a child psychologist, who informed them that the contents of my journal which had alerted them to my activities was likely just the product of a precocious imagination. Ha!

OTOH, like most women I have been sexually assaulted, and sexually harassed and sexually intimidated on multiple occasions and in multiple contexts. I have also been subjected to behavior which I would describe as assholery-within-bounds-of-contract. I think the fact that this behavior and its polar opposite, which I might describe as gushy-stalking-behavior-outside-of-bounds-of-contract both occur is part of the problem in rectifying the gray area. It is necessary to come to clear recognition of what constitutes "nice" behavior versus what constitutes "adult" behavior within this realm. We need to fully recognize and take responsibility for our own tendencies towards maintaining ambivalence, or constructing covert contracts we hope will be mind-read by others, and thereby communicating mixed messages. For instance, to what extent might I be indulging in ego gratification if I don't choose to communicate in no uncertain terms that I do not appreciate continuing flow of gifts of flowers from suitor with whom I have no interest in sexually interacting? Or to what extent might I be in denial that I suffered self-injury in large extent due to my own wishful thinking, if I offered consent to man I found very attractive and then experienced variety of wham-bam assholery?

Unfortunately, there really is no end to the complexity of these matters; no easy solution or set of rules that will be found to be without likelihood of unintended consequences. One of the reasons I sometimes describe my perspective or philosophy as post-feminist is that is my short-hand for somehow trying to somehow create a reality in which my freedom is not limited by my fear of men wearing black hats using power against me, but also not limited by any fears that would necessitate depending upon men wearing white hats to protect me. Then I also have to somehow reconcile this desire for full freedom with the undeniable fact that I find the power of raw masculinity sexually attractive and arousing, and the fucked-uppedness of actually wanting to end up the pinned-down "loser" on the bottom crying "Uncle" as end result of any given (well, at least 2 out of 3) bout of sexual engagement. (sigh)

BUT, even with all that said, I currently find myself in the same grouchy 50-something year old lady perspective you are inhabiting, because I too am B12 anemic, an old injury to my right-hip is constantly aching, and I have a roll of pudge around my middle due to stress-related cookie eating, and I am depressed about J.Bozo killing my rare book business, and my closest sister going literally insane, so I mostly just want to be left alone. But I am clearly not communicating this clearly, because my BF keeps trying to talk me into menage a trois with 2nd man, my permaculture partner recently started trying to blatantly hit on me again via text-even though he has a GF with whom I am now friends, and I suspect that one of the foster grandfathers at a kindergarten where I sometimes teach got my phone number off of my cell phone when I briefly left it alone on a table near him.

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jennypenny
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Re: sexual misconduct

Post by jennypenny » Sat Nov 11, 2017 1:13 pm

I hope I'm not coming across as cranky. I don't mean it that way. Most guys here would never do this stuff and therefore don't get why some women are so sensitive about it. I thought this was an opportunity to explain it, while also acknowledging that some of us (raises hand) need to learn not to go off on people here because it isn't fair.

It's tough to sort out, and like I said I'm not letting women off the hook. Women's attitudes contribute to the confusion. There are men here who could say almost anything to me and I wouldn't be offended because I know them well and know their intentions, yet if a new person said the same thing I might be put off. That makes it difficult to make hard and fast rules like you can say X but not Y.

I think the rules are also different depending on where you are. If you're out at bars or in some other dating scene situation, then a little touching and directness is to be expected, especially in a public setting. In that situation, t's kind of assumed that people are looking to find a partner for sex, even if it's down the road. It's not cool in a private meeting with a boss or client though. Context is everything.

@THF -- I have kids in college so I know how crazy the rules are now and I can't imagine what kind of line you had to walk. It's an overreaction to be sure and a symptom of the current victim culture.

I think part of the overreaction is that when you feel that the big stuff gets ignored, you then feel like you can't allow even the little stuff to slide because you don't know if it will lead to something worse. That fear makes you keep your guard up. If the boundaries are clear and enforced, the fear subsides and rules can be relaxed.

Of course, the people who need to learn to follow the rules are usually the ones who assume the rules are directed at someone else. :roll: So you end up with guys who ignore the rules, guys who are clueless to this stuff and are turned off by what they see as oversensitivity to the issue, and guys like Scott who end up paranoid (not a knock -- I've advised my sons to act the same way).

As ID said, it's messy. OTOH, if you 'good' guys would take the Cosbys of the world out to the woodshed early and often in life, women would only have to deal with the small stuff and wouldn't be so cranky about it. It gets old.

bryan
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Re: sexual misconduct

Post by bryan » Sat Nov 11, 2017 1:42 pm

Great post @jennypenny. I really liked your take/sharing and attitude about it all.

> And while I only address women's issues, gay men are increasingly victimized and even less likely to report it, and I feel it's important to acknowledge that. I can't speak to their experiences with any authority, but maybe some forum members will feel willing to share in this thread.

I'm not gay, but I've been a "victim" of sexual harassment and even for real sexual assault by gay guys. The harassment and slight violations of personal space that I might experience at a bar/club are pretty normal and I brush it off like you mentioned (it's hardly worthy of conscious consideration, honestly). But it's the more serious stuff (like friends that are basically Kevin Spacey without the acting chops) that makes things.. confusing. I only once mentioned such a serious instance while talking with a mutual female friend of ours.. and I unconsciously emoted weirdly and she responded in a sort of womanly way and I didn't like any of that. I'd rather pretend like it didn't happen. One a-ha observation I've had about gay guys was that they are just guys that are attracted to other guys. You get the good with the bad in that regard.

Certainly men have it systemically better than women. I'd keep the focus on that. But it is infuriating when you have the folks like @TopHatFox would describe that are crazy with generalizations and might treat me a certain way for a systematic reason. What a <%*#. Like, yes, I am aware that this might be approaching what it feels like to be a victim of systematic discrimination (though I have no idea if that was their point), but holy $^!# that makes you part of the problem in my book. (Reminds me of that white woman teacher famous for doing racial discrimination experiments in a controlled environment.. difference being this would be irl) Luckily this is very, very rare (and probably most often on Facebook while interacting w/ friends of friends or on Twitter where everyone judges everyone else within 5s).

I will add that this past week of drinking out at bars has had a lot of guys talking about the recent events. Occasionally you are getting some "supporters" of the offenders and some interesting, short-lived debate (e.g. another dude over-hearing responds "I want to throw this ketchup bottle at your head." and it looks like the supporter doesn't have anyone backing him up). I think one decent response could be something like "Do you see how uncomfortable/embarrassed you're making ___ with your godawful hot-take?" (assuming there is a minority of women around, maybe his girlfriend, that is always obviously having a look on her face.. or maybe best not to bring the woman into the statement) or "I don't really understand what you are trying to say" and act fairly estranged/surprised at his words.

@TopHatFox, ain't nobody got time for that. All I can do is pity them. I would also assume there will be some societal yo-yo reaction; ideally it would be something weird and fresh like punk girls ready to cut off some offensive dicks (rather than being unnecessarily mean/rude/bitchy/closed) and guys being cool ala Paul Newman (instead of being assholes/alpha xor soft/beta)).

@black_son_of_gray, as @TopHatFox said, he was at some hyper-liberal college. A bubble. It's not like that at all elsewhere, even in Berkeley/Bay Area, from what I've observed. Overwhelmingly, the traditional culture of thirsty guys taking action is the troubling norm in cities like Dallas.

As I read @7Wannabe5's response, I can't help but think of some near future where society tries to use a technical solution like chemical level management (i.e. don't let people get too horny? kind of like the anime "Psycho Pass" except for sexual desires.. get too aroused when you aren't supposed to and you get an automatic shot of inhibitor chemicals) or free sex (hmm, I wonder if the Internet has reduced rates of sexual assault in the last 20 years?). It would be apt in this day and age, compared to olden solutions we've had that are no longer effective (@IlliniDave mentioned gender segregation).

Tyler9000
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Re: sexual misconduct

Post by Tyler9000 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:30 pm

I think the thing I appreciate the most about the recent wave of sexual abuse revelations is how they're very quickly dismantling the established power system that has contributed to the problem. This kind of inappropriate behavior has been around forever, but men and women alike have been willing to look the other way in the right situations. If you had the right politics, made the right movies, or won enough football games then taking advantage of other human beings for your own sexual pleasure was not only swept under the rug but also actively excused and implicitly supported. To see true power brokers like Weinstein finally held accountable and to witness the support of predators like Spacey and Polanski finally start to crumble even among people who have made excuses for them for decades really is a big deal culturally. It's not just about empowering the abused but also about stripping away the power of the abusers.

While I still am very uncomfortable with how a mob mentality can be abused without the right due process and don't want to see all male/female interactions interpreted through an adversarial lens, I think pulling back the curtain and having an honest conversation about it is a great development. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. And by starting at the top and demonstrating that even the most powerful people have no excuse for behaving like this, I'm hoping that some trickle-down common sense and mutual accountability will also take hold and make everyone's lives a little better.
Last edited by Tyler9000 on Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Scott 2
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Re: sexual misconduct

Post by Scott 2 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:34 pm

My paranoid behavior is based on a risk / reward model. In most scenarios, there is an equal male option that is safer. On the far end, what benefit does a 19 year old intern offer me? Not much. What sort of trouble could she cause? Loads.

Every few years, my employer hires an external law firm that specializes in sexual harassment training to tour the offices. It's expected we attend in person, signatures are collected, the message is clear. If there's an issue, these high powered lawyers will throw you under the bus to protect the company.

7Wannabe5
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Re: sexual misconduct

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:39 pm

@jennypenny:

I didn't mean to imply that your post sounded generally cranky. I was just short-handing a reply to your comment about being "long past your last fuckable moment." I was trying to communicate both "I know how you feel", but also "No. That is not true." As one of my charming exes once put it, "18 to 80. Fair game." People in their 70s are still often quite sexually active.

OTOH, I have to say that I think your desire to want to simple sort men into "good guy" vs. "bad actor" categories is a bit naive. For instance, into what category would you put the high school boy (now a 52 year old man) who made anonymous phone calls to me in which he suggested that he was going to leave a jar full of his semen on my desk in AP Chemistry? I mean, that sort of exhibitionist fantasy, not unlike that acted out by Louis C. K., is extremely common. Why can't we as a culture get to the point that we can say something like "Yeah, I get that you really, really like the idea of making people look at your junk, but ...NO! Yeah, okay, maybe it is a double-standard that Kim Kardashian gets to do it all the time, but you don't, but still...NO!" I think part of the problem is that we don't provide sex education that is sophisticated enough to instruct that monkey-see-monkey-do or "do-unto-others" does not universally apply. Just because you would very much like it if I sent you a nekkid pic of me does not mean that I would very much like it if you went on ahead and did that thing yourself. There actually is a level on which men do this sort of thing just for the same sort of reason that older women will force tuna fish casseroles on a recently widowed man in their church circle.

Actually, it is even worse that that. IMO, any sort of black/white dichotomy applied to people themselves, rather than their behaviors in the moment, is likely to have terrible unintended consequences. The Good Guy/Bad Guy dichotomy naturally leads to the Good Woman/Bad Woman dichotomy which may lead to good behavior being demonstrated in one context, such as relationship to grandmother, and very bad behavior being demonstrated in other context, such as in relationship to female member of "bad" tribe during wartime.

rref
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Re: sexual misconduct

Post by rref » Sat Nov 11, 2017 3:06 pm

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Last edited by rref on Sat Nov 25, 2017 2:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

George the original one
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Re: sexual misconduct

Post by George the original one » Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:26 pm

black_son_of_gray wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:13 am
I had no idea that some college kids see hugging as squarely in the "obviously inappropriate" category :shock:
At my former employment, hugging became inappropriate EVEN if both huggers were in full consent because "it might offend someone who watched the hug". I think that became policy about 2008 or 2009. Ugh, a rather stupid over-extension that really turns the workplace into a sterile environment. "Microaggressions" was the new catchphrase at that time.

Edit: and I don't mean to desensitize Jenny's thread, because there's far too much shitty behavior out there, too.

7Wannabe5
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Re: sexual misconduct

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:40 pm

I often find myself missing the 1970s lately. To put the current environment in perspective, consider the sexual conduct exhibited by Alan Alda as even earlier era character of "Hawkeye" in M.A.S.H. Is everybody theseadays supposed to behave as priggish and uptight as Frank Burns in public, while doing the dirty on the side? I guess keeping it "on the side" is easier these-a-days until/unless everybody is required to have their browser histories inspected.

BRUTE
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Re: sexual misconduct

Post by BRUTE » Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:30 pm

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:39 pm
Louis C. K.
what's interesting about CK is that, apparently, he asked for consent beforehand, and got it.

thus, it is now impossible to have consensual relationships, if sufficient "power differential" can somehow be construed into the relation.

it follows that no famous, successful, rich, or otherwise "powerful" person can have a consensual relationship ever again. brute isn't an expert on humans, but would bet some money that "attracting chicks" is high on the list of reasons why humans even become "powerful" and acquire status.

if being rich/powerful thus doesn't only automatically make humans assholes and republicans, but now also literally into rapists, brute isn't sure how pleasant the consequences will be.

CS
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Re: sexual misconduct

Post by CS » Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:43 pm

Hi Jennypenny,

Thanks for sharing. That creep with the guns - no.

I don't agree with this though -
jennypenny wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:51 am
Part of changing my response has been conditioning myself to brush this stuff off instead of letting it get to me. Women need to learn that lesson.
What I think needs to happen is women need to stop internalizing it, and start squawking like a chicken in a fire. LOUD. The society should respond swift and decisively, like removing Kevin Spacey from his current and future works decisively.

I was in my PhD program, and my advisor, who I think is fabulous in all other ways, did NOT protect me from a predator in his lab. Even when told. Even when I filed a formal complaint at the University. There is a reason we women get worked up - it's because we aren't safe. If we squawked (yelled, spoke softly, whatever) and had the big stick of society support to stop this crud, it wouldn't keep happening.

That predator, btw, used to sit at my elbow when I was trying to work and just insist on talking to me. Too close. After I would repeatedly ask him to leave me alone. I asked my advisor to ask him to leave me alone. Instead, he gave him more hours. (In that particular aspect, my advisor failed me, he really did.) That predator did it to make me do what he wanted me to do, i.e for control. I take no small pleasure in the fact this particular specimen of humanity had one arm because he lost the other doing shit he shouldn't have been doing at a power transfer station. Brains were not his specialty.
Last edited by CS on Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

CS
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Re: sexual misconduct

Post by CS » Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:47 pm

BRUTE wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:30 pm
what's interesting about CK is that, apparently, he asked for consent beforehand, and got it.

thus, it is now impossible to have consensual relationships, if sufficient "power differential" can somehow be construed into the relation.
It's always been this way. When you don't eat/get the job/succeed unless you say yes, then there is never consent. Those people need to get their rocks off with someone else besides their coworker underlings.
BRUTE wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:30 pm
it follows that no famous, successful, rich, or otherwise "powerful" person can have a consensual relationship ever again. brute isn't an expert on humans, but would bet some money that "attracting chicks" is high on the list of reasons why humans even become "powerful" and acquire status.

if being rich/powerful thus doesn't only automatically make humans assholes and republicans, but now also literally into rapists, brute isn't sure how pleasant the consequences will be.
According to Functional MRI studies, being rich and powerful can make you less generous to the point of the inability to even feel empathy for others.

Also, according to Freakonomics, those most likely to steal from the donut guy are the executives.

I don't think it's the money per se, more the power.
Last edited by CS on Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

CS
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Re: sexual misconduct

Post by CS » Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:54 pm

rref wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 3:06 pm
OTOH, if you 'good' guys would take the Cosbys of the world out to the woodshed early and often in life, women would only have to deal with the small stuff and wouldn't be so cranky about it.
The bitter and cynical perspective on reading this: If only you would sacrifice yourself fighting more powerful men that I deem creepy so I can have my cake and eat it too. Thanks.
Super bitter, cynical and totally fed up with it perspective of your reaction to this is: Don't make me uncomfortable. I'm happy. Society serves me fine. Don't inconvenience me by asking me to consider others.

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