Jun 26, 2023·edited Jun 26, 2023Liked by Steve QJ

Some years ago the feminists on college campuses were putting up posters reading "All Men Rape." Each poster featured a large photo of a randomly chosen male student, none of whom were rapists.

I don't have to mention how abhorrent this was. Each one of those innocent students could have been assaulted or worse.

Your Amber doesn't sound much better.

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"Each poster featured a large photo of a randomly chosen male student, none of whom were rapists."

Yep, I heard about this. Absolutely ghoulish. The problem with the anger and resentment that builds up around social issues is that it allows people to justify the most awful behaviour while telling themselves they're on the right side.

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Feminism seems to be an extreme case. Not as extreme as "trans" but getting there; an absolute refusal to recognize allies from outside the group. I've seen it hundreds, maybe thousands of times; feminists who sneered at all men who claimed to care, no, you can't possibly know what we go through, privilege, patriarchy, blah blah blah. OK fine, fight your own battles, I tried.

With the "trans" there is no difference between 99% supportive and dropping the Zyklon-B.

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Anger and resentment are problems in that way, agreed.

However, I'm coming to believe that a key factor is that people who are completely convinced that they have the moral high ground feel that "treat others as you would like to be treated" no longer applies. They numb any human empathy for those who are morally beneath them. Reciprocity and mutuality are irrelevant.

And this happens even with people who consider themselves to be highly empathetic and caring - except about their moral inferiors.

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I would have, just to be a contrarian bitch, written on them, "All women lie."

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Most men aren't like those described by Julie or Amber. Most men care and respect women. Most men have to deal with the same assholes from a different perspective because most men who taunt and harass women also taunt and harass men - it's in their nature. So most men are tired of the years/decades of deflecting alpha BS directed at every male of the species. So maybe, and I'm just saying maybe that's why they didn't rise to the occasion when witnessing someone woman being harassed. They suffer from Alpha Male Fatigue. Living a life in a hypervigilant state sucks. With that said I too am sorry for whatever Julie or Amber or any women might go through with men. It's what happens when men have too dominant a role in society and "make the rules" and why women need to be equal partners. Women are a modifying factor in life - all of life - and without their input, without their compassion, ALL men suffer. That's how this whole f**king system is set up - it's interactive and interdependent. We all need to change. But I differ from you Steve in one way - It would be Haagen Dazs chocolate chocolate chip.

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"But I differ from you Steve in one way - It would be Haagen Dazs chocolate chocolate chip."


I agree with all of this. But I think there's an even simpler reason why men don't rise to the occasion when they see a woman being harassed; most men, like most women, are agreeable and don't know how to fight and are afraid to risk getting beaten up.

It's interesting how these conversations (I'm actually having a similar but far longer conversation in the comments of an article at the moment) flip between saying men need to intervene in potentially violent situations and saying men need to be less violent and aggressive.

Most men *aren't* violent or aggressive. Which means they're enormously less likely to intervene. Because the instinct to fight, even if to protect somebody, requires a genuine readiness to commit violence. It's way harder than most people who have never been in a fight think.

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The fear of actual confrontation is real. Ironically, those who have experienced violence and eventually fought back may be more fearless in defending someone being harassed. I speak from the experience of a child in an extremely strange and violent home (mother) who became a teenager who fought back and eventuality a young person who allowed no one to violate me or anyone I was associated with. No fear.

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I agree that is an underlying element. Real violence is traumatic. We see so much of it on TV or video games that we seriously underestimate what it is. I mean, look at soldiers returning from Iraq, Vietnam etc., who were traumatized but "not wounded." What, about 90% of them. I knew men back in Brooklyn during my "youth" who could break bones with one punch. Not fun, not easy to confront. So, yeah, there is a reluctance to wade in, fists flying. Not sure what that fine line is between action and common sense reluctance - it's there somewhere. Good points. Question: Have you actually tried Haagen Dazs chocolate, chocolate chip? 😁

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I can speak to putting your body on the line to help others escape violence. I have been used by stranger women to escape aggressive men and eaten fists for it. I have told guys who wanted to fight in a small transport that they would both be fighting me too and to wait until others are not captive to their poor choice. Even when somebody broke into my apartment at 2AM, I only had their life in my hands long enough to surmise they were not a threat to me, and I soothingly calmed them with no unnecessary intimidations while we waited peacefully for the police to arrive. I have no desire to have power over others. I never intimidated or started fights, and I put my body on the line to quickly end them.

I was going to write far more than I will here, but I realized the end game is straightforward. Protective men get recruited by would-be spouses who want to be mothers. They need us to re-target our energies away from 'thugs in Gotham at night' to our babies at home. Batman could never be married nor have a family. His spouse would not have put up with that.

Peacekeepers are usually single men still roaming Gotham. They are highly visible to single women seeking a partner which which to become a mother. Those attractive peace makers face growing ranks of disgruntled, single, thugs. As long as women find peacekeeping men attractive, we will be pulled away from the fray. My softening knuckles are moving over this keyboard a few feet away from my kids and my wife. I belong here and not in the streets looking to balance thugs.

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We do have statistics. And if your statement that most men respect women is true, then that respect somehow isn't showing up in domestic violence reports, wage equality, or social media, or any number of other areas of society. Having suffered male violence in childhood, as a teen, and as an adult, from a fairly wide spectrum of males, I can attest that I believe men who do actually respect women are not the majority of men. I don't buy this "alpha male fatigue".

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While I understand your sentiments - I wasn't selling any viewpoint. I personally have experienced alpha male fatigue and it is real to me, even if it isn't real to anyone else. I have observed a greater percentage of good men than bad men - but my circumstances, my geography over the past 60+ years are different than yours or anyone else. I am sorry you suffered any male violence - many have - including myself. Been bullied, slapped, punched it goes with the territory. But in the end it's not a contest, Best if bad is eliminated, wherever, whenever.

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"Do the work," intervening can escalate quickly. Men who behave badly also behave violently. Daniel Penny did the work.

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I had this exact thought, Dave. I somehow doubt that Amber would hold Penny up as a shining example of being a male ally (and, frankly, I wouldn’t want her to).

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We have to get past demonizing one another, plain and simple.

For decades, organizational behaviorists developed new and better ways to execute the simple lesson: Criticize the behavior, not the person...because that's how people learn.

For the last few decades, many of us have been ignoring that great advice. We have criticized the behavior AND declared the wrong of whole groups of people. We have insisted they accept guilt like a Christian sinner or an alcoholic. We've said that no matter the absence of the behavior or the improved behavior, the sin remains.

It is no surprise that we see such a massive social backlash.

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Jun 26, 2023Liked by Steve QJ

I keep looking to read articles that advance the gridlocked state of a debate and this a good example of doing that. Amber's right, all women have suffered sexual harassment and few of us have had men defend us (honestly, I wouldn't even know what that looked like), while consistently relying on other women to have our back. You are also right, not all men want to make our lives difficult in this way and if we want them to start stepping up in public (the way you have) then we have to stop alienating men in these discussions. I think women like Amber (and definitely myself0 have this underlying sense of deep heartbreak/sadness/betrayal that men don't seem to care enough to protect us from other men, that we don't matter to them, and this comes out as anger and blame. It was an interesting read watching you diffuse Amber's anger and to see that you both really are on the same page. I don't know what the way forward is but this is a start.

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"I think women like Amber (and definitely myself0 have this underlying sense of deep heartbreak/sadness/betrayal that men don't seem to care enough to protect us from other men, that we don't matter to them, and this comes out as anger and blame"

100% And I do understand this feeling. To once again make the comparison with racism, I think some black people feel something very much like this about white people. I think a key challenge for all marginalised people is to move past the blame phase so that we can start talking productively and collaboratively about solutions.

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I think men SHOULD stand up for others. So should women. Why should it always be men putting themselves in danger? How can *we* be better allies to others being threatened? We maybe can't take down a Jordan Neely but then again we might...I've often considered what I'd do if an unarmed man was seriously physically threatening someone. Maybe wrap my arms around his neck and give him something to think about like violence (like, say, breathing again!) Would I have the labia to do it? Maybe, but I don't know until I'm in the moment. Would I put myself in danger? Pretty likely. I don't know whether I would, or what would happen. But I've already put myself in danger for a woman in my building by calling the police on a guy and he knows where I live (long story). Nothing happened. He didn't come back to take his revenge. I took a chance, a gamble, and I won.

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Oh, I remember her. Subway Chick. Who threw away the new dress she wore because they harassed her while wearing it, even though none of them touched her. I wrote a response to it a few weeks later, reposted on my blog. https://www.growsomelabia.com/post/if-a-man-ogles-a-woman-and-she-doesn-t-notice-has-she-been-harassed

I didn't tag her, I don't remember if she discovered it or not, but I castigated her a bit for increasing her own suffering by layering her own misinterpretations on it and making it an attack by Da Patriarchy (dun dun DUUUUNNNN!) on everything she's ever worked for.

Agreed, women and antiracists say 'do the work' when what they really mean is, "I don't know what that means either, but anyway *my* responsibility* is actually *your* responsibility, and I can't feel happy and safe until *you* change."

This is the fundamental error in much of social justice's ideology. *You* have to change, not *me*.

Ironically, the chickies who bleat the loudest about 'rape culture' are the ones who allow it to perpetuate consequence-free, and who expect Da Patriarchy to protect them from Da Patriarchy.

And when there is a 'good man' around to step in for us...that's awesome. Happened to me not long after this gal's incident. I thanked him for being a good ally and for doing what I *didn't* think to do, which was to call the police and report him. That was *my* bad, but lesson learned for next time.

No matter what marginalized group you're in, you live in the Real World and you have to take steps to protect yourself. Which is why I've got a killer keychain in case anyone decides to give me some serious shit. I can't always count on a Good Guy to be around.

One thing she could have done was to provide a little public humiliation. Saying to them on the ride, loudly, "Hey guys, do you treat all women this way? Does you mom have nice tits? Do you think other guys like looking at your mom's tits and wondering what she must look like topless? Do you have a daughter? Would you want drunken assholes to treat *her* this way? What do you think gives you the right to harass a stranger on a subway? Were you raised by wolves in the forest?" Maybe take out your phone and snap a few photos or a video. Then post it later on social media.

Make there be *consequences*.

Women (and non-whites) have to do some work too--personally. Learn how to stand up for themselves and provide *consequences* for bad behaviour.

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"Who threw away the new dress she wore because they harassed her while wearing it, even though none of them touched her."

I don't know, maybe this is me being patriarchal and infantilising, but I have a lot of sympathy for what Julie went though. And I can imagine, after being harassed like that, you'd second guess yourself every time you wore that particular dress.

Some people would probably argue that she should take her power back or not let those men control her actions, I can see that argument too, but I don't think she's being melodramatic by not wanting to wear it any more.

But yes, the bigger problem is what to do about behaviour like this. And the only answer I can think of is that more people need to take action themselves instead of complaining that somebody else isn't doing so.

If each one of us decided to "be the change," if it was a safe bet that people of *either* sex would speak up when somebody was out of line, I think anti social behaviour would plummet. But, of course, that's much harder and scarier than pointing fingers at somebody else.

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Her experience is what it is, but I lost patience with overblown examples of harasssment. I'm sure it wasn't pleasant but FFS my reaction to increased violence on the TTC is to arm myself with sort of legal things to carry (they're legal to carry, just not to plan to use them as a weapon). My friend and I got hassled but not hurt last fall & I've been subjected to other uncomfortable scenes in proximity not directed at me. My attitude isn't to piss and moan about crime, men, and the patriarchy but to be prepared and *not allow* people to get away with this stuff (not just men...women are perps too here).

The problem with her overblown story is that all the weakling feminists on Medium crowd around..."oh, poor baby, poor baby, it's terrible how we can't go on the the subway without being hassled..." as though women were the *only* ones being hassled anywhere. It encourages passive femninity. These are the *same* women who encourage rape victims not to report because 'you won't be believed'. Well, you won't be believed by everyone but you will be by some and you might even be believed by the justice & legal system. Not reporting rape because 'you won't be believed' perpetuates both the 'rape culture' they're always going on about and never challenges the real possibility that she *won't* be believed. Or they'll say, "even if it goes to trial he probably won't get convicted or he'll get a light sentence." Also probably true but he might *not* and even if the case is thrown out he gets to shit his pants for awhile wondering what might happen to him in prison. I've written about *that* too, how rapists who get off lightly still suffer consequences women and victim rights advocates don't acknowledge.

Sarah wasn't raped, she wasn't touched, and had the guys been sober I'd be more sympathetic, but honestly, when I read that two years ago I thought she was overblowing it all.

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You do realize, I hope, that Sarah is not you.

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"Does you mom have nice tits? Do you think other guys like looking at your mom's tits and wondering what she must look like topless? Do you have a daughter? Would you want drunken assholes to treat *her* this way?" Spot on. There are very few people in this world that don't have somebody in their life. To appeal to the thug as if strangers were his own family is spot on. We all need to see family in the stranger faces around us. When I beheld my own children at birth, I loved not just them but everyone a bit more. There has to be a way to get thugs to see humans instead of prey.

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Anti-social personality disorder is on the rise (no wonder, given our culture). There are no known effective treatments for anti-social personality disorder, and they rarely seek treatment because they don't believe there's anything wrong with them. If they wind up in jail or treatment because of alcohol or drug issues, they resist admitting that they have anything to do with their problems and blame others. Many, many highly skilled, insightful people have attempted to come up with ways to fix ASPD, and so far, bupkus.

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I've been harassed, threatened, molested and downright assaulted by men repeatedly in my life and never once did I even think of looking for another man to come to my rescue. To be honest, most of the time, I feel annoyed if men try to fight my battles for me. So I tend to see things just a little differently than Amber here, or most feminists, for that matter. As I see it, if I want the same respect as a man, which I do, I have to stand up for myself. How could I expect equal respect, if I were to act helpless and expect some man to step in and rescue me every time I have a problem? Was the whole point of the women's liberation movement not to prove that women can take charge of our own lives, without help from men?

I'm 5'3", 105 lbs, I carry pepper spray and I've travelled all over this country in a hatchback and gotten out of every scrape I've gotten into so far, without asking a man for help. If I can do it, so can other women. AND WE SHOULD. This is not to say a man shouldn't step up if he sees an actual assault occuring, where a woman is overpowered and actually needs help. Of course, ANY bystander should step in to help a person who is outnumbered and being victimized, regardless of sex/gender. But as for the day-to-day creeps on the subway - I got them handled, man.

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We should be like the bonobos and stand up for other women, too. What if a crowd of strange women surrounded some woman being hassled by a guy, or a bunch of drunks? What if it got to be A Thing and men came to realize that they might face a gang of angry women if they pulled any shit?

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"What if it got to be A Thing and men came to realize that they might face a gang of angry women if they pulled any shit?"

Ha! I just commented something very similar in response to one of your other replies. I'd *LOVE* to see this. From both men and women. If this were the norm, if creeps knew to expect a group response when they harassed people, I think it would stop pretty damn quickly.

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While even one particularly powerful thug might not lose a full-on physical confrontation with even a sizable group of angry women, that is not the point. What should matter is that he realizes no predation is free of consequence, that the price of predation will forever be high and simply not worth the hassle.

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Watch "Dietland".

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Jun 26, 2023Liked by Steve QJ

What if you're a disabled woman? Or someone with a nature not inclined to feisty attitudes? Am I really expected to fight off a man twice my size? Is that really the primary answer for all women? Why would you be annoyed at men coming to your assistance in dealing with a threatening male? I respect your attitude, I really do, but I don't think it's fair that this is what be expected of women. It's a POV that lends itself to victim blaming.

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Jun 26, 2023Liked by Steve QJ

All people should intervene when needed against harassment. It is a citizen's obligation that we should be taught in Civics classes.

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We should teach Civics. We used to. Now...?

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My answer is that if for any reason you feel you are unable to defend yourself, you should be very careful about how you travel in public. Yes, other people should come to one another's aid, but you can't always count on that, and creepy people shouldn't prey on the vulnerable, but unfortunately, they do. No matter how well the majority of people raise their kids, no matter how many positive messages we give out about being "allies" or good Samaritans or whatever, there will still be predatory people who will prey on the vulnerable. So if you know yourself to be vulnerable, take precautions. Travel in groups, travel only by day, stay in well-lit places with lots of other people around so you can call for help if needed. You need a strategy for how you're going to cope with harassment or assault if it happens, because sooner or later, it probably will - sooner if you're a female between the ages of 12 and 40.

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The primary thing is to be situationally aware. Walking around yapping on a phone or texting or Instagramming or whatever is exactly what no one who cares about their safety should be doing.

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I think you're absolutely correct. If you can stand up to some guy then all the better but a raft of strategies should always be in play. You have some good suggestions there.

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It's not an answer for *everyone*, but it's an answer for more women than would like admit. Circumstances vary too. Some situations are more dangerous than others. Others, like three drunk guys on a subway, less so.

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I got punched in the face by one drunk guy at a 7/11. Just sayin'.

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That happens too.

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You’re a true bad ass and I love your attitude. No one gives you respect. It’s earned on the way you carry yourself.

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The chances of me asking a man for help are very slim. I know how that goes. Women (as a sex) MUST stop being so fucking WEAK. Yes, obviously individual circumstances vary. Arm yourselves and fight back (I don't think of guns as I live in Aus, I am thinking of a spray). Even just being extremely loud and aggressive is often enough. Women, as a sex have been conned into being compliant in situations where they have the right to scream for help.

However, I taught my kids early on to go to a middle aged woman for protection first - because that's your best hope of getting help. Where we will tolerate abuse for ourselves, most women will come to the aid of a vulnerable person if asked. Even just sitting next to a middle aged woman offers some protection on a train or bus etc.

Men, as a sex, tend to either simply not see it or pretend not to see it. That's just the reality and if you find yourself feeling triggered by that, do remember that reality doesn't care how you feel.

I will always defend a girl who wants to be left alone, where a man might tell her "He's just being friendly" if he deigns to intervene at all. And I will always start civilised and polite but I can scream the building down if required.

I have never forgotten the night in So Cal (where I lived for a few years), that I went to a 24 hour supermarket very late, maybe 11pm or so. It was a nice neighbourhood and I had insomnia at the time (see how I am explaining myself already, I'm a good girl, please believe me, I didn't deserve it!). The store was naturally almost deserted, being it was so late, but one man was there and he kept appearing near me no matter what aisle I was in.

Eventually I shook him off. I went out to the car to put my groceries in the boot and he suddenly appeared mumbling something about getting a lift. Without a word, I ran away - around the opposite side of the car to him - and ran back inside the supermarket. The only clerk was a large man, who seemed to be the manager.

I told him this man had me and been following me around the store and approached me in the car park. He came out to the car with me, and shooed him away. And then he said "He probably just wanted a lift though."

Yeah. A strange man followed a woman around the store at nearly midnight and crept out to her car in the darkness for a fucking LIFT. I honestly couldn't think what to say in reply. Either he was a total moron, or was being a deliberate moron because he sympathised with my potential rapist and attacker.

Either way, that is one of the very few times I have ever asked a man for help - and his response is exactly why. Who has the time or energy to convince a man you'd prefer not to be stalked, harassed and terrorised, only to be minimised and quite possibly ignored. Ask a middle aged woman for help, far higher chance she will give a damn.

Link to a story I wrote a while ago outlining the many, many, many experiences I have had of being harmed by men. Everyone already knows it's not all men.

Since we've tried literally everything else, women need to get much more aggressive about defending themselves.


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Yes, all this that you say Celtic - AND - 95% of the time you don't need to have superior physical strength. If you can be REALLY assertive, you can make even most aggressive men leave you alone.

One time I was walking down the street and a man approached me and asked if I was available "for a chat". I said, "No, not really, I just want to be alone". But of course, he didn't take no for an answer, and started following me. I went into a bookstore. He came into the same bookstore. I ducked out and walked quickly down the street, but he stayed on my trail, and as I started walking down a sides treet towards my apartment, I heard footsteps behind me. Now, I was on a deserted street. It was daylight - Sunday afternoon - but there was no one around. I figured running wasn't an option because he would just overtake me, so instead I turned to face him and confront him.

"So, you're following me?" I asked

Looking sheepish, he admitted that he was.

"I've just never met anyone who dresses like you" he explained. I looked down at my clothes.

"You've never met anyone who wears jeans and a sweater?" I asked.

"I mean I guess it was your head scarf" (I was wearing my hair wrapped up in a scarf.)

"So you're following me down an empty street because I have my hair up in a scarf?"

"I guess so."

"Okay, well, look. I don't want to talk. Please just leave me alone. I want you to turn around and go back the way you came and stop following me."

He mumbled a bit and then finally agreed and walked away.

Thankfully, that is how that story ended.

I have another story. Thist time I was in an unfamiliar city, on the road, and decided to take a nap in my car in the parking lot of a public park. I woke up and had to pee, so I got up and walked towards the public bathroom. When I came out, I noticed the park was abandoned except for a group of guys, mostly Latino, who were hanging around the bathroom door. I started walking back to my car.

"Hey, Mamasita, what's going on?" one of them asked.

I shrugged, trying to look nonchalant although I had quickly grasped the peril of my situation.

"Nothing, just going back to my car," I said.

"Maybe we walk with you," he said and the whole group of them started to circle me. I was terrified. Thankfully, though, I was armed. I reached into my purse, pulled out my pepper spray and held it up.

"I'm going back to my car, ALONE," I said.

Their demeanor completely changed.

"Oh hey, no problem, we don't want no problem, Mamasita," he said.

They backed off.

I got back to my car, shaking. Got in. I drove away, and never ever ever went in the public bathroom in a park without checking my surroundings first again.

I am still afraid of what would have happened if I hadn't had that pepper spray. Would I even be here to tell the tale? It didn't look good.

Anyway, the moral of my story is this: the combination of pepper spray and strong talk has been enough to shut down all the creeps who have ever tried to hassle me - even when I was alone and outnumbered. Obviously, there are some creeps who wouldn't even be deterred by the pepper spray, or who would catch a woman by surprise before she could respond. So I am definitely not saying that men shouldn't stick up for women, or that we all shouldn't stick up for each other. Of course we should, but we should also all learn to defend ourselves to the best of our ability, because it really makes a difference.

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I've got a temper, it has saved me several times. I should really write about some of the incidents where's it's risen to my defence.

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Back when shopping malls were a thing (rapidly shuttering now) my wife when I was not with her waited until a man with family went out to the parking lot and she followed until she saw no stalkers and needed to change course to her car.

I wish I could convince her to arm herself, but I don't think she has it in her to kill someone so maybe it's best that she doesn't. Of course, that is for the gravest extreme. As a young woman, hotter than molten lava, she learned to deal with assholes.

A humorous story from you. She had not been in America that long when at lunch she walked thru the parking lot at work holding hands with a Thai friend. Some jerk called them lesbians. I'm told that she told him, "Oh yes, Seenuen is better in bed than my husband." He never said anything to them again. Not what he expected as a response. ;0)

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Oh I was often accused of being a "dyke" by men I'd politely rejected. Once, having reached my limit with one particular cretin I said "No, I'm not a lesbian, but I'd still rather fuck her than fuck you," He snarled and slung his hook.

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Jun 26, 2023Liked by Steve QJ

Well said!

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Fantastic! You made my day because that's what I have been feeling for a few weeks. Thanks for sharing.

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I see this as part of the trend to export responsibility - and agency.

An individual woman can be very aware that she can't change general male behavior, but she can imagine that a man standing in front of her has that power. If only he would tell the other men in his circle that they should not harass women (extrapolated to all sympathetic men doing so), harassment would stop.

For the most part tho, the sympathetic audience has tended to self select a circle who are not doing that, and they have no more control over the behavior of anonymous male strangers than the woman does.

Imagine - we could stop robberies, if we would just encourage other people to tell their friends that robberies aren't cool, doing the work. Or murder, or infidelity.

You put your finger on it - the prescribers of this approach really don't know how to accomplish the social change they want, so they push responsibility off onto somebody else whom they can imagine is supposed to have that power or somehow figure out what they cannot. But they choose somebody who actually doesn't know how to do it either. The point becomes not "how to actually create change" but instead "how to hold somebody else responsible for creating that change (via magical thinking), not us".

What comes to mind is starting with something like infidelity. Women could pioneer and refine the kinds of techniques they want men to adopt, in convincing other women not to commit infidelity; then men can adopt those same techniques to stop male infidelity. Then we can move on to, say, street harassment.

But what would probably happen is that the women would find that holding "women" in general responsible for keeping any subset from committing infidelity is beyond their ability. Maybe they could trim it around the edges a little, but no substantial change. Then they would not have working techniques to pass to the men. But if they expect the men to stop male infidelity first, then they can forever, they can forever imagine that men could do if only they'd try. (IE: it's easier to imagine that without having succeeded in doing it oneselves).

Now if we were talking about intervening when one (male or female) witnesses harassment, that's a different story. We can all do that, just as we can all intervene if we see any crime taking place - within some bounds of safety. I don't see that as a male only civic contribution, although there are some cases where men may be more appropriate at the group statistics level, even if every individual case varies.

Where modern politics complicates that matter tho, is in regard to what energies you wish to have men bring to such situations. The messages to men have been very mixed in recent years - if they intervene, will it be appreciated or resented? How can they know?

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I've often said that women could do a lot more to stop rape by reporting it when it happens, not weeks or years or decades later. Every woman who doesn't report a rape gives the man permission to do it again. Or they can be like that Tampa woman earlier this year who fought off a rapist and reported him immediately, likely stopping other rapes that night.

SHE did the work. Bill Cosby's accusers didn't. He thanks them for their support.

WE decide when men's bad behaviour (or whites') ends. Not them.

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It's been shown that when women do report rape, often they aren't believed. Police don't take the charge seriously and don't investigate. I read an article about a study where it was discovered that most rapists are in fact serial rapists, and when police put criminal reports together from multiple jurisdictions with DNA evidence, they often found that one man had committed multiple rapes, which had been reported - and not investigated. So in such cases, it is the police, not the women who are giving rapists' permission to rape over and over again. And if women come to know this is what they can expect from police, it's easy to see why they might not bother to make reports at all.

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I agree with everything you said. And . . . it is complicated. Many women are well known to be serial accusers where it has been repeatedly verified that no such crime occurred. For rape accusations to be treated with the attention they deserve, we need the police to not be chasing so many false accusations to then have the time for the urgent and real ones. They simply cannot know which ones are the real ones at the start. I am sorry that my comment doesn't get us any closer to helping real victims.

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Jul 9, 2023·edited Jul 9, 2023

Funny, I haven't heard of all these many women who are serial accusers. It sounds like you are trying to make a case that women make false accusations in equivalent numbers as men commit sexual violence against women. As a woman who was raped by two men when I was seventeen years old and a virgin (and it was not a date and they were strangers on the NYC subway and I was wearing loose blue jeans, a flannel shirt, and a heavy winter coat, so no, I wasn't "asking for it") I find that highly offensive. If anything, rape is under-reported. Cases of false accusations inevitably make headlines, because they are SO rare.

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I hesitate to say anything, since I very much take your point. And in no way do I want my words to diminish your traumatic experience.

But your last sentence is not actually factual. I'm not criticizing you for sincerely believing it - I used to believe it too.

When I was firmly in the tribe, it was just one of those tribal beliefs that we hear and read and repeat - without every looking into the data. It fits the narrative I preferred, everybody around me believed it, and we can't check everything, and almost all of the misrepresentations are made by the other side, right?

Even back then, tho, in the back of my mind my scientist wondered "what is the known objective truth to which accusations were compared so carefully?". But I set it aside, for the reasons above.

It turns out tho that the oft quoted stat of "false accusations" is based on how many women are *detected*, *charged* and *convicted* of a false accusation, which is a very different measure.

It's based on the rhetorically convenient but not credible concept that 100% of false accusations result in conviction (unlike every other crime, where we assume that only a fraction of the crimes result in a conviction).

Rape is a particularly complex legal challenge, as far often there are no witnesses nor strong evidence for consent or non-consent, it too often winds up being who to believe. A large majority of reported cases, even in the most progressive jurisdictions in the country, do not result in prosecution for that reason - if there isn't evidence which the prosecuter thinks a jury will likely believe, it's often not considered a good use of resources (actually, a prosecuter who loses too often because they cannot judge the strength of their own case is not promoted well).

However, that same ambiguity cuts both way. It's not common that the defendant has unimpeachable proof that the charges are false either.

And even beyond general "don't bring it to trial without convincing evidence" issues, in the case of rape it can be very contentious to bring any false accuser to trial, for fear that it will discourage others from reporting. Or there can political fallout. So there is some hesitantcy to bring charges without strong proof.

So it's not even vaguely reasonable to assume that ever single false accusation (combining both those resulting in charges and those not prosecuted) is accompanied by such incontrovertible evidence that the accusers are 100% prosecuted and 100% convicted.

But even using a figure like 3%, known to be very unreliable but oft cited based on the above, for every 30 reports (not every 30 prosecutions or convictions, just reports) there would be on false one. In most large cities that would be headlines at least every week. But only a small fraction of rapes (and false accusations) ever makes it the headlines.

Headline coverage is an extremely unreliable source of statistical sampling for assessing prevalence, but it IS what most people's naive intuitions are tuned by. Including me, tho since I began look deeper into dozens of issues, I've come to be a lot more dubious about others as well. I note what the headlines want me to believe, but don't give everything too much faith until I've done a bit of research.

And again, I am sorry for your experience, Nona. That should never happen to anyone, and my questioning a factual statement about prevalence of false accusations is not in any way reflective of your particular reality (nor vice versa).

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Yes, the Justice system has much to answer for here. So.....maybe a better use of feminist activist time would be to hold police accountable and force them to take rape seriously, rather than defending gender appropriaters or angling for a Tammy the Tank Engine.

Nothing's going to change until we make it change.

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I'm curious what you would consider taking rape seriously. Please take this as a serious inquiry, a brainstorming about what we'd consider a proper approach. Let's compare that proper approach to the most progressive pro-active police departments in the US in 2023 (not the worst departments in 1923).

How would a "taking it seriously" police approach differ from what they are doing today in such cities, and how would we measure their success? Would we expect 100% of all reports to result in automatic prosecution, even if the detectives and DA did not find the accuser credible? If not, what portion of reports would we expect to be prosecuted in a department which did take rape seriously?

Many activists basically advocate for seriously abridging the civil rights of those accused of rape, but I suspect you don't want to go that far. Others say "believe all women" (as instructions to police, prosecutors, judge, and jury), but I suspect you would find that too one sided as well. Where is the right balance in this regard, in order to take rape seriously?

If you were to ask people what the most serious violent crimes are, rape is typically in second place, and the punishments already reflect that. Would we need to make the punishment more serious than murder? (That could have some unintended negative effects). Today is long separated from the concepts of rape as historically a property crime in the West (and less than that in some other places) as described by Brownmillers "Men, Women, and Rape" (yes, I was horrified back when I read that book). But if you think that punishment needs to be increased to take it seriously, then to what degree?

You also mention holding police "accountable". Accountable for what, with what due process and what penalties?

I'm not asking for a detailed monograph, just a basic description of how a PD which took rape seriously would differ from today's best US police departments. (Then we could talk about how to bring the others up to that standard). Are you looking for minor tweaks, or a completely revamped criminal justice system? I don't know, I'm not assuming, I'm asking.

I am seriously wondering what "taking it seriously" would actually mean, to compare against law enforcement practice today. I'm not trying to demean your ideas (I don't even know that you have in mind yet), but I am upfront mentioning some of the complexities which need to be factored into the "taking it seriously" alternative approach. You are a very sharp and sensible person, so I look forward to some thoughtful discussion, if you have some time.

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Good question, Lightwing, and thanks for bringing it up in an intellectually provocative manner. What I'm going to say applies only re those women who report immediately, not the ones who wait awhile before coming to the police.

This should give you some background on how yes, we've made some progress re prosecuting rape cases, but there are still hurdles to overcome. And ultimately, it starts with women/activists rather than the police, because the latter don't take rape nearly as seriously as they think they do. Yeah, some of them would like to get rid of due process ("If a woman says he did it, that's all you need; because women NEVER lie about these things") and some want rape convictions months or years or decades after the fact. The highly uncomfortable truth is that to start making sure the police are doing their job, we're going to have to give them more opportunity to either do it or don't by going to the police and being examined before she takes her next shower.

Support it or not, showers make the police's job much harder.

Then, if the police fail to provide a rape test, fail to provide a trained investigator, and fail to act promptly on DNA evidence or to investigate the alleged victim's story, THEN feminists know which PDs to target and to do something about it.

The police and feminists collude together, however unconsciously, to keep rape a largely consequence-free crime.

I'll admit I also have a dim view of cops and their attitudes towards women.


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Nicole, thanks for responding.

I was responding to your assertion that police don't take rape seriously enough (and need to be held accountable for that), and wondering what taking it seriously would actually look like in your view (compared to what the best departments are already doing).

What I hear is the suggestion that after a prompt (pre shower) report, the PD which too rape seriously enough would:

* provide a rape kit

* provide a trained investigator

* act promptly on DNA evidence

* investigate the alleged victim's story

Good suggestions, but I'm not seeing how that contrasts with the best departments today, at least when stated in this non-quantitative way. If so, then the issue would be "the best departments already do what we want, we just need to expand that to the rest".

I think there are several nuances that are needed, though.

You clearly don't believe that every accusation should be automatically treated as completely true, which implies some filtering by the detectives and the DA, as to how much resources to spend on each case, how credible each is, etc. That filtering is inherently somewhat subjective - both in how the case is evaluated, and in regard to the thresholds for deeper investigation, charges, prosecution.

How do we hold police "accountable" for making the "right" judgement calls in that swamp of complexity? It's cheap and easy to suggest that "if they just took it more seriously" that would fix things, but how do we know whether or not they are doing so?

But I think that may miss the largest issue making rape more complex than most other crimes: consent. A rape kit can verify whether ejaculation occurred, but it cannot speak to consent, which is often the confounding issue. Compared to say, a carjacking, where we would not need to deal with most carjackings being acknowledged to be consensual and in many of the relatively few where it's disputed, only the parties involved know whether or not it was. (Imperfect analogy I just concocted, don't pick too hard on it).

Many well intentioned people want to modify the criminal justice system in regard to rape, but there are huge difficulties in how to translate vague slogans into appropriate and effective real world policies (beyond what we already aim for today; bringing more PD's up to best practices is a different topic). How do we know whether we have it right?

One approach would be to substantially lower the thresholds for prosecution, which would mean many more prosecutions of weaker cases, and correspondingly lower conviction rate (per prosecution). Would that be a net gain, for what end? One hint: it's not going to be the wealthy who suffer the most from increased jail/prosecute/acquit dynamics.

The deeper I've looked into this issue, the less respect I have had for the oversimplifications which are politically popular.

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"𝘐'𝘷𝘦 𝘰𝘧𝘵𝘦𝘯 𝘴𝘢𝘪𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘸𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘯 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘥𝘰 𝘢 𝘭𝘰𝘵 𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘱 𝘳𝘢𝘱𝘦 𝘣𝘺 𝘳𝘦𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘪𝘵 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘪𝘵 𝘩𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘦𝘯𝘴, 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘸𝘦𝘦𝘬𝘴 𝘰𝘳 𝘺𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘴 𝘰𝘳 𝘥𝘦𝘤𝘢𝘥𝘦𝘴 𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘳."

To make matters worse, if the decades later is associated with an attempted political cancelation, in the minds of many it smells like bullshit. That increases the credibility issue of "believe her."

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It does. And it's the only crime I can think of that requires little to no proof that long after the fact. Imagine if I said, 'Dave Murray broke into my house in 1986 and stole $350 and my TV. I didn't report it at the time because I was ashamed it happened to me. And the TV wasn't insured. And the bank I'd just taken the $350 from is like five or six mergers ago. But you should believe me because Dave is a filthy thief and WOMEN NEVER LIE about theft!!!"

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Jul 9, 2023·edited Jul 9, 2023

Women don't report rape because police budgets leave rape kits unprocessed for years. Women don't report rape because they don't want to go through cross-examination by brutal defense attorneys who question every aspect of their lives. Women don't report rape because successful prosecutions are extremely rare even when the evidence is glaringly clear. Sometimes women don't report rape because it's a police officer who committed the crime.

But I agree that women are the ones who have to figure out how to protect ourselves.

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No one would have taken Cosby's accusers seriously back then

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Likely not. But also, not all of them would have reacted as strongly as some women would today. The first few didn't think it was worth thinking about, I guess. "I wasn't raped," one said. She woke up with his dick in her mouth but she didn't consider it rape. Today we would.

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I am all for women taking matters into our own hands. Sadly, no one has yet brought this brilliant idea to market, according to Snopes: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/rapex/

I've said for years that all kids, boys and girls both, should have self-defense classes as well as or instead of athletics, if the budget won't include both. It's a shame that women are left to seek out such basic information on our own. At least the internet provides access to a lot of information about dealing with walking around in public.

That's what most men just can't seem to process: that many women have to spend a LOT of time thinking about, and planning for, and coping with the possibility or actuality of verbal assault and/or physical violence just in order to go about their daily lives.

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If everyone were trained in self defense, they would also be trained in how to overcome it. Given equal training and skill, the stronger/larger person usually wins in the real world.

If women are far more motivated to do so than men are, as you suggest, then their differentially seeking it out more often should give them the edge. Does anybody know it that's true today? Are there more women than men in self defense classes?

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Well said - very astute observations!

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Let's start with violence and lesser abuses, infidelity carries too much with it. Speaking as one who has had way too many arguments with fantasy addicts and overfamiliar with their rationalizations.

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Sure, pick an issue. The collective "women" would take responsiblity for keeping all women from doing it; then they would ask men do the same, likely using the techniques they used.

Or rather, they would find that it doesn't work that way.

But if instead they expect men to do this magic first, they can always imagine that men's failure was just due to not trying.

(Distilled from longer version)

"Fantasy addicts", I like that.

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The whole idea of being an ally seems weird to me. If the behavior of the few puts you at war with an entire tribe, perhaps a tribe that I am thought to be a part of, why the hell would I want to be an ally in your war against me? A common knee-jerk to that is, "Go f yourself bigot!" With a number of Medium writers, as a white, heterosexual male I'm an evil mother **** by default.

I have always treated people with respect and formed friendships with people without regard to their ethnic, or even political tribe. That doesn't indicate that I agree with them, and I often express disagreement in a way that they might listen to and think. It's certainly not about hating them. Getting to know people and forming friendships is fatal to bigotry. It is possible that I've done more "work" and done more good than the virtue signaling whining SJWs who demand that members of the tribe they hold in disdain "do the work" that they don't define.

I have no way of knowing since I can only assess what has been within my reach if I have done more that is useful than them. It's not a contest, we can only do what we think is right. I'll admit that I find them tiresome and non-productive.

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I don't like the word "ally" in this context either. That's the language of war. Are we at war? How about "friend", "supporter", "helper"? The use of a word usually reserved for those who take sides together in armed conflict pits us against one another based on demographics and escalates disagreements.

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When you’ve been hurt enough times by a particular type of person, it's not a huge surprise when you start to become wary around them, or begin to fear and dislike them...even if it’s just subconsciously. Someone who's been bitten by multiple dogs isn't going to just go up to one and pet it, even if they might have done so in the past.

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Yes, it's not only acceptable, it's logical and rational to be suspicious of the sex that has repeatedly harmed you. As a wife to a decent man and the mother of another, I know neither one of them would be remotely perturbed by being avoided by a woman. Every woman, and man, has the right to avoid danger as they see it.

And only an abuser or a person with no understanding at all would ever tell you to let you that it's your job to unlearn the defences your brain has in place to avoid being raped and murdered. Do whatever you must to stay safe.

Never forget, you are the only person in the whole world who you know for a certainty is not lying to you and has your best intentions in mind.

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"it's logical and rational to be suspicious of the sex that has repeatedly harmed you. As a wife to a decent man and the mother of another, I know neither one of them would be remotely perturbed by being avoided by a woman."

Hmm, I don't think the second statement follows from the first. Yes, no decent man is gong to be perturbed by a woman avoiding him (depending on how she does it I guess). But it's neither logical nor rational to treat a category of humans that has billions of people in it as dangerous because a handful of them mistreated you.

There's are obvious analogies I could make to racism or homophobia or any other form of bigotry here.

To be clear, I obviously recognise that a female prejudice against males is different to a white person's prejudice against black people, say. But that doesn't mean it's logical. It's emotional and kind of short-sighted and that's because humans are emotional, short-sighted creatures.

That's why I wouldn't have any problem understanding if a woman saw me on a dark night and crossed the street, for example. I absolutely wouldn't discourage her from doing this or tell her to rationalise her fear. In fact, if I were on the same side of the street as a woman walking alone at night, I'd probably cross first. But this is a fear-based reaction. Not a rational one.

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No, it's logical. And it's not prejudice. (Edited to add -"Prejudice - preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.")

When men as a sex commit around 98 percent of all violent crime (and they do) and when 99 percent of the people who have harmed you across three different continents were men (and they were) and when the sex of men are documented throughout history across every culture, ethnicity and creed as being dangerous and predatory (and they are) it's not remotely prejudicial to avoid men in an effort to stay safe. It is irrational to call a learned response based on facts and reality prejudicial when it comes to making decisions that affect my own body and safety.

And to be clear, I work with men and spend time around men regularly, but will always choose a woman over a man to sit beside, talk to, as a server, definitely for intimate medical care. In any and all interactions when there's a choice I will unhesitatingly pick a woman I don't know over a man I don't know. Because, statistically, provably and irrefutably they're far (far) safer on every level.

Yes, that's logical. I am absolutely allowed ethically and pragmatically to choose the safest option that makes me comfortable where possible.

Recently, at work, I was given a sweet little certificate for making the most positive impact on everyone. A bit daft, but it was meant well. The men I spend time with during any part of my day are given the same respect and politeness as the women. They do not know that I have a perfectly rational aversion to dealing with men, and avoid them when possible. When it's not possible, I am an adult about it.

You can choose to believe that picking the safest and most comfortable option is prejudice if that makes it easier to understand. But I prefer reality.

What a shame 9 year old, 18 year old and 30 year old me didn't know what 55 year old me knows.

You can't tell the safe men from the unsafe men. Avoid where possible.



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(Edited for typos and to join the two comments I made together).

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Steve, you wrote "I obviously recognise that a female prejudice against males is different to a white person's prejudice against black people."

Is it, though? How is it different?

This question was dramatised well in an episode of "Rosanne". A black man comes to her door and she reacts (rudely) in fear. I think she slams the door in his face. Then later she encounters him in another situation and apologizes, explaining herself thus: "I wasn't scared of you because you're black, I was scared of you because you're a man."

So - how is it different?

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I wish I could upvote this a hundred times.

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Sorry but that is part of the "work" that we all have to do. If you've been bitten by numerous dogs in the past but know through your "work" that 99.9% of dogs don't bite, then you need to be rational and restrain your emotions and not be worried about the next dog you see. It's not ok to go around this world infected with the accumulated prejudices of your past experiences or those of others.

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Unfortunately, the freeze response (like fight or flight) has no rational moment. It's all mediated by the reptilian cortex of the brain and when that's triggered all higher functioning (such as rational thought and deliberated action) ceases. We are animals, after all. The more danger you've been confronted with, the more these automatic responses are triggered and the less likely rationality can be brought into the picture. The "work" you are talking about (getting rational about trauma) can take a lifetime to chip away at.

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But that's no reason for us to accept behaviour predicated on that.

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Instinctive and emotional responses can't be controlled; by nature they bypass the thinking, 'rational' mind. Human beings aren't emotionless robots, Jedi, or Vulcans, and we can't just logic away our fears any more than we can logic away who we are or aren't attracted to...because the roots of all these things are in the body, not the conscious mind.

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Firstly, I disagree that the mind/brain cannot root out emotional turmoil. We are not passive emotionalists either and acquiescing to this condemns one to a miserable life. We certainly can logic away our fears when they are not supported by a rational basis. Regularly overindulging one's emotions does make it more difficult to effect this however.

Also, people are allowed to have all of the irrational fears they like and can even have all the instinctive and emotional responses they like based on these irrational fears, provided they keep these to themselves. If their irrational emotional responses are for public consumption, then it seems only fair that the public should respond appropriately. And if these irrational emotional responses are designed to effect public policy, then we should push back and let the person know their fears are irrational.

It is not society's job to play the role of therapist.

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People can control their emotional responses to a degree, but some forms of trauma (for example, PTSD in a soldier who saw his buddy killed by an IED) are better worked through with psychological counseling. Unfortunately, many people with problems like these can't afford therapy.

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"Also, people are allowed to have all of the irrational fears they like and can even have all the instinctive and emotional responses they like based on these irrational fears, provided they keep these to themselves"

Well, that's the thing isn't it? People cannot keep these things to themselves. Hurt people hurt people. It's just a fact. And is why we have intergenerational trauma and so many people struggling with poor mental health and life negative outcomes. If you could reason with irrational thoughts they wouldn't be irrational thoughts. I mean do you think we could sit the Israelis and Palestinians down and say, "Look, you're both incredibly traumatised from generations of fighting and mass loss of lives of loved ones, and we understand you have emotional responses to that, and feel irrational about people who personally haven't hurt you, or are no longer alive, but it would be best for the rest of us if you didn't indulge these feelings and just keep them to yourself. 'Kay?" I mean seriously. If people could just keep trauma to themselves world history would have looked very different. You're almost saying "Don't be human". The answer is developing more effective technologies to treat trauma (such as EMDR), not insisting traumatised people hide their trauma. I mean you can keep insisting that, but it would be a pointless.

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Ah yes...the old "reframe your trauma" and "just be kind" command, lest you be labeled "phobic."

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trauma schmauma

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"None of us are smart enough to figure out society’s problems on our own. Which means we’re going to have to talk to each other. And more importantly, listen to each other. We going to have to find ways to understand each other. To humanise each other. To avoid the temptation to demonise our outgroups." Indeed this iS the work. For all and each of us. As well as having the courage to speak up and speak out when we hear or see harassment in any form.

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"If I knew what “work” would change this, I’d do it gladly." You are already doing the work that can change this. You intervene when you are a witness to public nastiness committed by men against. women. I believe that bystander intervention in public bullying is one of the most powerful responses and the most helpful in terms of actively modeling for other people how to stand up to bullies of any sort in public. I am talking about "public" as in real life, not social media. Social media, I don't know if standing up to bullies is as powerful. I imagine the scale of social media dilutes the effectiveness of intervention...

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With regard to your comment below, where you intimate that my rational, fair and logical take on matters is irrational and prejudiced, I have written an article in response. I have no expectation that you'll read it, and all good either way. But I thought I should let you know I had written about our interaction.


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