A couple of days ago, I made a post on harassment in life and at conventions
. Please go ahead and read it if you haven't already; there are some interesting discussions in the comments.
You may be surprised to know that I actually pulled some of my punches in that post. I was polite, sure. I cut-tagged, sure. Also, I didn't talk about my worst experiences, just the first one and its escalation, and then a number of vague examples. I didn't tell anyone else's stories, either. I wish I didn't have so many stories from others.
I didn't talk about those events because they make me feel awful. The things people have done to me over the years have made me feel filthy, ugly, ashamed, stupid, crazy, desperate to leave, desperate to be someone else, guilty, nauseated, and violently
I didn't talk about those events because the list is long and depressing and all of the little ones run into each other because they happen again and again.
I didn't talk about those events because lots of other people have had it worse for so many reasons. Kat Howard has a brief explanation here of why people don't report and why we shouldn't pressure them to do so
. She says, "Really, the wonder isn't that more people don't name names. It's that anyone is brave enough to at all." ( Then she links to this post by Genevieve Valentine, and if you haven't read it yet, I'm just going to post the entire thing: )
Some of the discussion in the comments there is interesting, too. In most places, you'll find a fair number of people saying stuff like this
, in varying degrees.
Seeing all these posts is probably beginning to get tiresome. Nobody likes to read about depressing stuff over and over and over again. Nobody likes feeling like maybe they're part of the problem. Nobody likes being afraid to talk to people at cons, a place where it's supposed to be fun and easy for geeks to interact. Nobody wants bad stuff to happen. (Well, okay, I'm generalizing here, but even members of the Evil League of Evil try not to harass that girl at the laundromat.) In fact, while I'm on the topic, everybody wants to think that they just don't have the potential to do awful things within them
But these things keep happening. Some part of the backs of our heads must be telling us that it's okay. These things happen. Must have been one heckuva misunderstanding there, or somebody had a really bad day. That person's always been nice to me
. That would never happen in my
backyard/city/convention/party. Why do these people keep complaining? I
wouldn't tolerate that bullshit, and then complain about it later instead of acting! I'd throw a punch! Everybody else just needs to learn respect and to grow a spine. That one dude is just like that -- sure, he's kind of a lech, but he's a harmless
lech, and that's why we all put up with him. Some people just can't take a joke. Don't we all have bigger problems to worry about? Well, I just won't go to that con or talk to that person.
I'm not going to lie, I have thought these things. I will think them again, because I have been taught to think them. But just like everything else in life, to get to the really big and shiny things, to get to the future I want, I'm going to have to stop doing some of the things that make me feel comfortable.