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comment by goobster
goobster  ·  42 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: December 6, 2017

Hey Pubski. The Makers 46 on the rocks with a touch of bitters hit the spot last night, so let's keep those rolling in. When I'm down to a finger get another one set up...

So... Headlines...

Community.

Turns out there has been a secret network of women keeping a list of "bad men" (assault, rape, creepiness, etc.) in my community for several years. Over the last week, this has entirely toppled an arts organization I am very fond of, and has ousted quite a large number of people from the community.

I've checked in with the women I have had interactions with over the last decade or so, and they have all given me the gold star. So I'm apparently one of the "good men", and not in danger of being ejected.

Instead, I am leaving on my own.

I have done what I can to help, listen, witness, and speak of how things were handled when I was in a leadership role, and why certain things happened the way they did. But, in every case, I can do no right. In fact, even not-doing is failing to do the right thing.

So I'm tapping out.

And that's probably a good thing. I am a straight, white, middle-aged, porky, married man. I have little to offer this particular community any more, so I have decided to spend my time elsewhere...

Weight Loss

Since I'm gonna be 50 in less than a year, I figured I'd go Keto to begin the weight loss, then yoga for flexibility, and finally do a little muscle toning through minor weight lifting and aerobic exercise.

Started on Monday.

Stats: 268 lbs, 5' 10" tall, sedentary lifestyle and work environment. My BMI chart says I should be 160-165lbs, which is funny, because I was 175 in high school when I was wearing jeans with a 27-inch waist.

So realistically, I can probably get around 220 and hold it there, healthily. So that's my goal. 50lbs in 11 months.

Fuck Everything.

Man... my life is good. Great marriage. Great home. Great job. Great pay. Great benefits. Great dog. Great family. Even have some savings and a 401k.

But my country is an utter embarrassment, and everything I have worked for and put my heart in to throughout my life - basically, let's just keep our nose out of other people's business, and let them get on with their life in their own way - is coming tumbling down under the forces of idiocy and small-mindedness in the world.

Yeah, I am completely insulated from all of this, and will be fine no matter what happens.

But it just bums me out that "my fellow Americans" are such a bunch of dicks.

Time to delete all the social media, and let the world burn. I have no rat in this race.

Bleh.




_refugee_  ·  42 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Turns out there has been a secret network of women keeping a list of "bad men" (assault, rape, creepiness, etc.) in my community for several years. Over the last week, this has entirely toppled an arts organization I am very fond of, and has ousted quite a large number of people from the community.

Something happened in my hometown community recently which caused a metric splashton of drama and rape accusations and drama and SJW bullying of small business owners who happened to have the misfortune of employing someone who not only had never been accused of misconduct while on the job, but who was being called a rapist when all the accusations against him, despite being unsavory, stopped far short of rape. For a while I surfed the Facebook sea where feminists, vitriolic status-posters, band-wagon-ers, concerned citizens, and happy pitchfork-sharpeners engaged about these events all at once. At one point, it was suggested (by a person of one of the above groups, to a person in another one) that my local female community should keep one of those lists, or start a secret Facebook group, and so educate each other and keep each other safe by sharing the names of men who were sexually dangerous.

In theory it sounds like a sound notion. And in fact, if I am at the bar and I see certain men who I have had very bad experiences with - really, if I see those men attempt to approach women I consider friends - yes, I will walk up to the lady/ies in question and alert them. There is one man I so detest I do not even bother warning his targets privately; I will say in front of his face that he is a creep, and advise "you don't want to talk to him." In a way, that's your list in action.

In practice, especially after seeing such a flipping mess of a monsoon of accusations get hurled about over Facebook, many of them coming from women who self-admittedly had always felt rejected by the social/music/band circle in which this guy had 'power,' and several of whom did not only not currently live in my town but hadn't come through for years before to boot (some of whom no longer even lived in the same country), this idea left me with a very bad taste in my mouth.

It is very easy to throw out names of bad people behind closed doors. And we know; the internet loves its pitchforks. A forum to discuss 'bad men' is a forum to feed drama, create turmoil and gossip, and I strongly feel would be far more prone to abuse than provide help to innocent young women. And you know what? A list of names does nothing to help women except point out specific people to stay away from. It gives you nothing.

What I think women should do, who are concerned with predatory men in their social groups, is - yes - band together. Talk amongst themselves. Educate themselves.

But not with single names of single people who are transient and also, possibly capable of change. Get together and read books like The Gift of Fear and Why Does He Do That and start to discuss red flags that men (or people of any gender) exhibit when they are predators. This could also be a place for survivors to share their stories, be supported and heard. But if you tell a person a name to stay away from, you are not giving that person anything useful in the long-term. You are not truly helping arm them against the truth of how people are, or how bad people can be. Form a group, establish a code and a telephone tree, and make yourselves a network so if a girl is out and feels unsafe she can contact the network and hopefully, somehow, the network can reach back and help her - either someone showing up at the bar where she is in person, or someone calling her an uber, or providing support or advice if she feels in danger, or even up to calling the cops if her life might be in danger and she cannot.

There are so much better ways to make and use a network than by feeding it concrete names of specific people to stay away from; feeding it, essentially, a list of poisons in disguise as full-body cleanses. If you are going to band together and protect each other, do so in a way that will last after the group has disbanded. do so in a way that is permanent, and based off of shared experience, knowledge, observations, and grounded information and tools -- do so in a way that is positive.

not that limits oneself to hiding in a dark room and keeping a list of men who at least one someone said was undesirable, and in a way feeding into a chasm that is endless - and which always leaves its spit on you even though it usually will not swallow you in whole.

goobster  ·  42 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Yes to all of this.

    A list of names does nothing to help women except point out specific people to stay away from. It gives you nothing.

This, though... this is where the usual internet yes/no, good/bad, dichotomous thinking does a disservice, and a more nuanced, phased, approach is preferable.

It's like the seven stages of grief. The first thing that needs to happen is that the very real experiences of all these women need to be HEARD. Everyone needs to have their chance at the mic to talk about the thing she has experienced, how it made her feel, and how it has affected her life ever since that day.

Then a reckoning needs to take place. The serial abusers, the genuinely bad apples, need to be outed and held accountable for their actions.

They have lived in the comfort of knowing that "Women don't talk about these things," so he has been safe from public accusations, or being held accountable for his actions. Shit, just look at what a rape survivor has to go through just to be believed!

Then the community needs to move into a phase of dealing with the structure of the problem. Why does this happen? What about our community needs to change to make this type of behavior unacceptable?

And then the practicality comes along. Do we need a blacklist? Are abusers/gropers/rapists irredeemable, and never allowed to darken the door of our events again? What type of behavior warrants ostracism? Creepiness? Inappropriate pinching? Hugging? Groping? Bad behavior when drunk? Rape? Where is the line, and why is it there?

The community is moving through the phases now. The stories have largely been told. The names have been named. And the worst have already removed themselves from the community.

Tonight a meeting is taking place about what steps the organization and the community can take to move forward and create a community/events/spaces where there are repercussions for bad/abusive behavior, and the bad ones are weeded out at the gate.

I'll be at the meeting.

I already know what will happen: Everyone will want everything, but when it comes to people raising their hands to participate and actually implement the plans, there will be the sound of crickets.

This community loves to bitch, and loves it when other people do the work.

I am not optimistic.

OftenBen  ·  42 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Get together and read books like The Gift of Fear and Why Does He Do That and start to discuss red flags that men (or people of any gender) exhibit when they are predators.

I have suggested similar things and have been accused of victim blaming.

If I want to walk the Savannah, I carry a gun. I don't ask the lions and hyenas not to eat me. Predators don't listen.

_refugee_  ·  42 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Do you want to get in a room and talk about the problem, or do you want to get in a room and talk about how to lessen the problem? That's how I feel about it.

Grassroots groups of women (or any gender) can't really effectively find the predators and make them stop predating (legally). That 'solution' isn't an option. But educating yourself and others is. You can't fix the people coming after you, but you can try to prepare for/against them - it's a fact that people will predate, why should would-be victims embrace ignorance? Because people shouldn't prey on others? You can argue 'should' until you're blue in the face but if I am going on a battlefield I will put on armor, whether we should be at war or not.

edit - we agree, and we know we agree. I think we are united in our distaste for this other set of people. So to confirm...we are ranting together here :)

edit 2: as for me, disparaging superior commenters who had no real life knowledge of or engagement with the situation being discussed (on FB) enjoyed dismissing me as a "brainwashed idiot so subsumed by the patriarchy i couldn't even see how wrong I was". which i'll take this moment to ask, why is it that when you're a woman and you disagree with a radfem, their immediate response is typically to rob you of your agency and any independent thought by declaring that "the only way you could possibly have that opinion is because men made you do so! with patriarchy! and structures! huaaah!" like it's quite ironic, it's only the self-professed ultra-insane-feminists online that insist, when another woman disagrees with them, it can't possibly be because said woman has formed independent cogent thoughts.

oyster  ·  41 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Maybe the problem is that when you point out that wearing armour is a good thing you don't actually know what that looks like to somebody else.

I mean, correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to be one of the only women on this site who will throw out my personal experiences with this bullshit and believe me I'm holding back. Maybe that means I just have more experience with this and my armour looks different.

So it's fine and all to say we should wear emotional armour but don't try and dismiss other peoples problems as if you know what that armour looks like for them. Maybe you've got a nice little suit there but the rest of us are pretty fucked up from just trying to live our lives. We will continue to fuck up our relationships, pass up opportunities at work, and in general live an isolated existence from anything we perceive as potential harmful that won't even flash on your radar.

Basically you've got no idea what sort of battlefield other women have navigated and a little empathy for them goes a long way. It's pretty damn rude to tell somebody to just throw on some armour when you have no idea what they've already got. Many women are being dragged down by the weight of it and would actually benefit from learning to trust a little bit more.

Edit: Whoa, didn’t read your early messages. That’s how gangs get started.

_refugee_  ·  41 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Hmm. When I was speaking about "should" I meant something more like: most people who can afford to talk about what "should" or "shouldn't" happen in real life are removed enough from the realities of what they're discussing that they can spend the time on a theoretical/moralistic/ultimately abstract argument. AKA people suffering from the effects of war are usually more preoccupied with surviving than with talking about how the war shouldn't be happening. Should or shouldn't, c'est la guerre.

I did not mean women should wear emotional armor, but that when a person(woman, I guess) is facing the reality of a situation, and not a theoretical discussion about what 'should' be happening or is 'right' or 'just', -- well, if I am that person, I am going to choose to wear amor if it's available to me. I'm not going to talk about how I shouldn't have to wear armor. It is a personal choice.

It is harder to put armor on over fresh wounds. I don't have any of those, I just have old marks. Like callouses. They are not interesting.

oyster  ·  41 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Sure, but at the same time the people who are relatively removed from the topic by and large won't actually understand what needs to be done.

I doubt those lists where intentional first steps, if we are going to talk about the things that happen to us we basically have to have a "no names" rule if we don't want to end up with a list. Which is a joke lets be real, that meeting would end in shouting the second Cindy chimed in to tell somebody not to use the name of the man who hurt her. It's more likely that the lists start organically with simple looking out for each other and then fester.

    well, if I am that person, I am going to choose to wear amor if it's available to me. I'm not going to talk about how I shouldn't have to wear armor. It is a personal choice.

And my response to that is so do I, we don't really have a choice not to arm ourselves against harm as it's a very natural reaction. The problem is that people who want to parade around that they make this choice to wear armour are almost always looking down on those who choose to talk about solutions and how they shouldn't have too without ever considering that maybe it is possible to do both. We all suit up, some of us just take a little extra time to try and talk about solutions and maybe that's because we have more to guard ourselves against.

I mean would it be okay for somebody who lives in a gated community to look down on somebody from the ghetto for trying to talk about solutions to violence to just say "pfft, there are bad people in this world you just need to accept that and learn to protect yourself like me"

_refugee_  ·  40 days ago  ·  link  ·  

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

edit oyster, I thought about this discussion more over the course of the last several days. I don't know if these thoughts will necessarily resolve our cross-points, but I think they are valid thoughts that might also lend clarity to our discussion here. If it seems like I'm picking up an aged discussion to needle you more about it, that's not my intent and feel free to disregard entirely.

The opinions I've expressed here are really driven primarily by the one incident I describe through a couple comments in this thread, and I will assert that, in this specific scenario, at least as far as the idea was presented on a public forum by one impassioned individual (who was also the one bullying local business owners via open "call outs" social media, phone calls demanding an employee be fired, and basically trying to blow shit up without giving anyone a real chance to have a discussion before the outrage) really was driven first and foremost by the idea of creating and maintaining a digital list of names to be shared via a private group to other women in my local community only. (I will pause to note this person also happens to live about 2k miles from my local community and has for years now. I really feel strongly about this person's intent wrt their involvement in the described drama; I do not believe this person's primary concern was in learning the truth, or in protecting others, or in acting constructively in any way.) So when I speak here, all of my opinions are really being driven by one very recent, vivid, dramatic real life event where I do believe there were bona fide foul players masking themselves as concerned, woke victims, allies, or community members.

In short: the intent of the proposed group which got me so mad truly was to simply establish a list of names of accused persons, with nary even a mention of being a support group or sharing knowledge or helping others heal or grow or feel heard.

However, when you speak about these same ideas here, I feel you're speaking much more generally and broadly, about the potential of support groups in general. I feel like, in all honesty, you are speaking about actual support groups while I am railing against would-be 'support groups' that, from their founding, would really be more like cesspools of negative energy easily prone to manipulation and abuse.

I do agree a support group such as the kind I initially described (reading books like Why Does He Do That? and such), or like I believe you envision, could be great places for victims to share stories and gain support, as well as advice. I do agree if a bunch of women began gathering on a weekly basis to share, in part, their stories of being abused, that yes, naturally, names would percolate in the group. It would be unavoidable, and I agree that it would ruin the group intent and probably dynamic if some Authoritarian Annie got it into her head to shush victims when they name-dropped or chastised them. I am in total agreement with you there.

However I disagree these discussions would de facto create lists of names of predators. I took a while to ground this idea and why I feel this way. I thought a lot about AA meetings, their code of anonymity outside the meetings, and how that structure of support group works.

My boring, probably-too-practical conclusion relies on some precepts:

- any social group which meets as a public forum open to all in search of a certain kind of support is likely to be full of individuals who only casually know each other, if at all, outside the realm of the group - it's not very likely a group of 20, united across one vector, all of whom chose to opt in to the group, will all move within one or even two or three tight social circles, out of which all local abusers operate;

- attendance at these sort of groups tends to be fluid; unless all members retell their stories of abuse at every meeting, (and for some of us, to name all our names we would have to tell many stories just on our lonesome), OR unless someone is truly keeping a literal recorded master list and sharing it at every meeting, it's highly unlikely that even most group members will be present to hear all stories, not to mention remember the names of the abusers mentioned in those stories (as if I were in a support group to listen to other women, the details of their stories would matter more to me than committing to memory the names of the villains) - and not to mention as well that while of course it's common to refer to people, villains or friends, by their real names when telling real stories of real events, it's not common to trot out full names and it's even less common for listeners to remember full names -- let's call this the "john factor," as in, "yeah, his name was john, i remember, but how many johns do you personally know?"

- i would think, similar to AA, these groups would benefit from an amount of guaranteed secrecy/privacy and/or anonymity; while I am not saying they should be locked down to "what is said in the meeting doesn't leave the meeting," I am certainly saying that, while warning others about the men named in the meetings might be admirable, I would fervently hope no one was repeating intimate stories of awful violence other women suffered to the general public (or to their friends of friends) without the original victim's knowledge and consent; (and i suspect victims would prefer their stories not get tossed about as cautionary tales like that)

- not to mention the whole "if you are seeking legal action against a person, it's exceeding inadvisable to talk about your legal case publicly/openly to others before it has gone to court," -- while yes it is reasonable and probably good for trauma victims to discuss what happened, if they are pursuing any action in a court of law with a decent lawyer I am sure the advice will be, "if you must talk about it, please change names and some identifying details to protect your own self/case, as well as prevent threats of being sued for slander."

I do agree with you in that some extent, I'm sure lists of names of men would organically arise from these groups. But I think they would be short and partial lists handed down orally to trusted members who had become engrained in the group dynamic as a whole.

And yes I still think those situations are rife for the potential of abuse by bad actors seeking to smear or "get revenge" or who are just plain crazy narcissists, etc. You would have to build and maintain a very good group with a lot of trust to avoid that risk.

-- on to your other point --

It is possible to do both - wear armor, and feel feelings, and have impassioned discussions about how you shouldn't have to wear armor, if this world were a better world. I get that. I agree people shouldn't have to wear armor - but to me that statement is so moot to my life it is not worth discussion. I suspect we agree in this: when people wear armor habitually, it becomes easier and easier to look at those who don't, and witness those people making decisions, choosing to trust, etc, and getting hurt or taken advantage of as a result -- and scoffing at them for wanting to believe that people are better than what we (the armored ones) have personally experienced. And even sometimes blaming those optimistic, bright other people for being victimized when they chose to trust/believe people are good - because while our armor would prevent us from making those same trusting choices, it would also prevent us from becoming victims in similar circumstances. And that is both terribly sad and wrong.

As a pretty strict personal rule, I do not hang out with men one-on-one. With certain conditions (is it dark outside? does he want to go to his house? is it after hanging at the bar? etc) the rule becomes even stricter. I don't feel safe. I do not think it is a good idea, and I do not do it.

I live with my sister and she does all the time. It kind of amazes me. Sometimes it makes me think I should trust men more. I should try. Then I shake my head and am like "Nah. Absolutely not, lol." While it amazes me that she would make these choices, if at any time she was taken advantage of or coerced or violently forced to do anything, at all, by a man who she was hanging out alone with -- that would still never be her fault. It would be a tragedy, and she would in no way deserve it.

Sometimes, though, do I have a shadow of the thought, you're asking for it, when she tells me about her adventures? Yes. I do. I bite it back because it is terrible.

I think you and I would agree that it is the wearing of armor which makes that thought come so easily, so uncomfortably quick. Yes, there are problems with wearing armor. It becomes easier to blame others...but if you truly blame others for becoming victims...that is because you have not yet come to terms with having been a victim yourself. That is because inside, somewhere, you are still busy blaming you. I am sure armor can be a way to hide this blame and even self-loathing for some people, as much as it can be a comforting protection.

If a magic fairy came along and guaranteed me 100% that I could safely hang out with any man, whatever man I wanted, one-on-one for the next 5 years, and I would never be threatened, fearful or victimized, I still wouldn't do it.

This is way too long anyway, but one more thing I want to tack on in closing:

to me, discussing why something is unfair, or unjust, or "shouldn't be happening" in a "decent society" is not a discussion of solutions. And it is those discussions which I feel tend to be the luxury of people who are not living the experiences which they are hand-wringing over.

gated community, ghetto, both people should want to solve the problem of violence within their community, and they should both discuss solutions and actively work towards them. rich white person saying "it's your fault you don't protect yourself" isn't a solution, it's a judgment, and it's a removed judgment. but, rich white person or victimized ghetto dweller -- either of them can say "violence like this shouldn't be happening" and that's not a solution either. and discussions about what's broadly wrong with our entire society or w/e that spring from comments about should or just or fair are not solutions either, they are distractions that removed rich gated community dwellers would prefer to spend their time visibly discussing with all their friends so they can feel better for caring about Issues without taking any action to solve them at all, but maybe get a pat on the back from all their friends for being so vocally woke. it is those sorts of discussions about theoreticals and shoulds and hand-wringing I was trying to call out in this discussion.

I shouldn't have to feel unsafe hanging out with dudes 1:1, but I do, and once I hit that conclusion I feel the rest makes a very uninteresting discussion. Because it won't change no matter how much or how many times I have to justify what I feel to other people who want to argue with me that I'm being sexist or paranoid or untrusting for doing so. People who want to exhaust me; people who are making the argument just because they want to feel Right on the Internet, because intellectually they disagree with the technicalities and impact of my decision -- while I, if I indulge keyboarders with no expense to the discussion for themselves but rabble-rousing and some nice flares of adrenaline as they see their orange-reds light up -- I have to relive, rehash, and re-defend myself (which means first, re-doubting myself again, and again, and again), grinding my emotional gears into my emotional trauma which will continue to be trauma and provide me pain without end for as long as I grind into it. that is why discussing my past trauma is not worth it to me. also bc as i said, at this point, it's mostly very boring: i have done my share of telling, to friends, to bad actors, to therapists. i don't have any questions left. i don't have any handwringing.

i think they call this acceptance.

i think sharing with others is a vital part of processing trauma. however i also think my trauma has done been processed. lots and lots. it is more helpful, at this point, to listen to stories other people are compelled to share because they are still seeking or processing or hurting or something -- way more helpful for both me and others if I sit back and listen - than it is to speak about my own experience.

--- anyway whew wonder how many pages this is --

thought about sending in a PM, fuck that imma be brave and post this shit

if a single one of you tries to argue with me about hanging out with dudes one on one, we can bypass the reply, you can send me your address, and i will come for you in person. and is this comment necessary, even on a nice place like hubski? the answer, from my own experience, even if i limit that experience to 'actually happened on hubski' vs. obviously happens everywhere else on the internet -- is undoubtedly, 100%, absolutely - YES.

ps ok i admit there are some few rare exceptions to the no 1:1 rule but we are talking like 95% of the time here so just allow me to state it as a rule. if i hang out with you as a dude 1:1, a) you're in that 5%, b) 75% chance a transaction involving marijuana of some sort is involved, c) 90% chance i've known you for a year minimum, d) 50% chance at least one of us considers the other more neutered than a gender

OftenBen  ·  42 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Can I invite you to come speak at my RPS's school? I agree on every count.

Broader shoulders, not a wider load and all that.

_refugee_  ·  42 days ago  ·  link  ·  

i edited just for funsies

OftenBen  ·  42 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I think we need to move to a post-label society. I can't think of a single '-ist' that has retained a coherent definition. What labels actually predict behavior anymore? I can't think of any.

_refugee_  ·  41 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Violinist?

OftenBen  ·  41 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Concert Violinist? Instructor? Violin-enthusiast? I played the violin for 14 years, but no longer, am I still a violinist?

(Being shitty and pedantic, soz)

OftenBen  ·  42 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    So I'm tapping out.

Good. I hope that this elicits some self-reflection.

rd95  ·  42 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Do you feel like there's anything you can do, on a more local level, to help out? You're experienced, charismatic, and resourceful and those are all very valuable traits. Now is the time where your work, wherever you choose to focus it, can be more meaningful and have a greater impact.

Just something to think about.

goobster  ·  42 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Thanks.

I know I have skills/abilities, etc., that are generally useful. And I will find a way to apply them again.

For now, my role is to listen. Witness. Be present. My inclination is to drop this community like a hot fucking rock and run the other way, but... that's always an option I can exercise later on. I can't always be present and hear the conversation and stories, so that's what I am doing now.

rd95  ·  41 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Well, it doesn't necessarily have to be with the same groups you're working with now. Food pantries, housing solutions, environmental stuff, whatever inspires you. The sad thing is there are so many issues out there that need attention, but the inspiring thing is there are also so many ways to help and so many people and institutions out there ready and willing to help you help.

OftenBen  ·  41 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    My inclination is to drop this community like a hot fucking rock and run the other way, but... that's always an option I can exercise later on.

What will be the boiling point for this froggy? How will you know when to pull the chute?

I'm genuinely curious, I dropped out of this area of discourse a long time ago and have only seen benefits.

goobster  ·  41 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'll know it when I get there? I hope?

Maybe the boiling point comes after it becomes my turn to talk?

Very long story, short: I was in a leadership position years ago. After making a very public announcement and taking action, it was brought up to me that the winner that I had awarded was actually a rapist, and had raped a friend of mine. My friend was pissed that the organization had "sided with her rapist".

This was LONG before any of these conversations were being had in public, and I secretly hoped this would sort of "go away" if I didn't do anything. And it did.

So as I have become more "woke" to the everyday existence of women, and the shit they have to deal with on a daily basis, I realized how wrong my decision was.

Not only did I "rehabilitate" her rapist, and deny her experience, by choosing his side and hoping she would take her problem and go hide in her hole again... I also inadvertently empowered other predators in the community, by showing that you could even rape one of the women in our community, and not suffer any consequences.

And I lived with that for 8-10 years. It has eaten at me, in the back of my head, for all that time.

Only recently have I come to find the words that express the role I played, and why it still stuck with me so long after.

----

The kicker is that, this week, I found out that none of it is true.

She wasn't raped. He wasn't her rapist. The information I had been given - and had been holding as a "shared secret" between me and her - wasn't true.

And when it came up in a mutual conversation she and I were having with other core people in the community... she completely melted down. She went from not being raped, to being held up as an example of how rape has been treated in our community, in the past. And it destroyed her. She went ballistic. Completely hysterical. All the pressure of all the recent revelations, and stories, and problems, all came to a head at once...

... and I found out that I have been beating myself up about my role as an enabler or "broken-stair" for close to a decade, and it wasn't even true.

But now, by "outing" her like that, I HAD become the problem.

Oh the irony.

kleinbl00  ·  41 days ago  ·  link  ·  

My first encounter with the public side of all this was when a very gentle, very shy, very kind friend (who happened to lift a lot of weights) was written up by an ex on DontDateHimGirl.com as a physically violent stalker. He had in fact broken things off when the accuser faked a pregnancy in order to pressure him into marriage (by her own admission).

There was no recourse. She had done it purely to damage his reputation at his church, where he had a leadership position. The site didn't even respond to his communication. It was up for six or seven years, coloring every relationship he had from that point forth (small town, word gets around), even after she bailed back to Canada under inauspicious circumstances. Despite the fact that she had a reputation as a liar and instigator, there was always that 'what if' hanging over him.

I'm sure the website - and other devices like it - were created with the best of intentions. And hopefully one of the side effects of #metoo is we acknowledge accusations in daylight where we apply the normal standards of credibility and intent that we apply to everything else. When things are under shroud of darkness, accusations are enough because we assume due process is denied the accuser because of the environment; it's true often enough. But for opportunists with no scruples, it gives cover for women with made-up problems to make things less safe for women in real jeopardy.

OftenBen  ·  41 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Thank you for your honesty.