Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Developing Sexual Harassment Apocalypse

Look: some sexual harassment accusations are false. Of this there can be no doubt. In fact, I suspect that a pretty hefty percentage of them are false. It's a fairly low-cost, more-or-less sure-fire, way to destroy someone's career / life.
   But there doesn't seem to be any way around the conclusion that this shit happens a lot. And a little is way too damn much.
   Nobody that I'm at all close to gives any sign that they do this sort of thing. In fact, they give every sign of not being the sort of person who'd tolerate it for a second. If that's the kind of guy they are, they do a damn fine job of hiding it. And also of not revealing any sign of such assholery in the rest of their personality, either. But obviously my friends aren't going to be a representative sample of dudes. But there are all sorts of guys I've known-but-not-liked that I'd not put it past.
   At any rate, this is all complicated by lots of things. First, that most guys don't do this. So a relatively few guys are victimizing a lot of women. And those guys are often pretty good at evading detection. So most guys don't see this stuff, and can't help but be somewhat skeptical. Also, I think that, since most guys don't do it, when they hear stories of accusations, they can't help but think about themselves being accused--and so the prospect of a false accusation is close to the forefront of their mind. And, again: there probably are fair number of false accusations. And add to that that the radical, vocal vanguard of contemporary feminism is pushing a theory according to which false accusations are good--first they enthusiastically push overly-broad conceptions of sexual harassment and rape, thus intentionally classifying non-harassers as harassers and non-rapists as rapists; second, they deny that false accusations are real and insist that they don't matter.
   But, be all that as it may, there still seems to be an enormous amount of this stuff going on. I really just can't believe it. Where the hell are these guys coming from? Did they not have parents? My folks weren't what you'd call feminists, but they'd have never stopped beating my ass if I'd've ever done something of the kind. And I mean: basically regardless of how old I was. And it never had to be said explicitly, any more than I had to be told explicitly not to commit arson or something. Jesus Christ. This all really is mind-boggling to me.


Blogger The Mystic said...

You know, you insist (and have always insisted) on saying things like “most guys don’t do this.” You first said that to me, in fact, to combat my belief that, on the contrary, most guys are pieces of shit who would do exactly this sort of thing.

Now, I’m not saying the recent flurry of accusations (and, somewhat surprisingly, admissions) constitute statistically relevant evidence for my position or anything, but color me unsurprised.

I don’t really understand your mind bogglement, here, either. It reminds me of when you heard my stories of my undergraduate years and you recoiled in seemingly-genuine shock, as though there once existed a time when the attempt to get women drunk and take advantage of them every single night wasn’t embraced by 90% of college guys as the sole purpose of their existence. A time when you didn’t routinely walk past unconscious women sprawled across yards with cardboard signs hanging around their necks, “So-and-so’s Beer Bitch” scrawled across it in Sharpee. A time when the guys weren’t as so many mindless tractor trailers and the women weren’t mere hapless caterpillars born too close to the road, forcing me to adopt a policy of intervening only when hearing calls for help, lest I spend my entire life trying to save willing victims from themselves.

So none of this surprises me in the least. I am, likely beyond most others, and maybe even above all other relevant matters, concerned with falsely convicting the innocent. However, if you can be ok with the death penalty, well, I’d wager mightily that the risks involved with these allegations (particularly where admissions are involved, obviously) are far, far less than there.

Frankly, I suspect a very small percentage of males haven’t done what, say, Franken has been accused of doing (and admitted to it). I’ve seen it, heard about it, and been immersed in a cesspool of it since high school. I was furious over it for years, forced to watch as the majority of guys around me sought, or opportunistically acquiesced, to take advantage of girls who just didn’t seem too concerned with avoiding the abuse. I’ve had a limited chance to talk to members of both parties since these experiences, and while the women seem uniformly to regret and feel guilt over their complicity, the guys basically shrug it all off.

My evidence is anecdotal, but we don’t have any other reliable evidence to consult, to my awareness.

6:01 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

I was thinking that college house parties are sort of their own thing, whereas the stuff we're hearing about is at work--or, in the case of that fucking Weinstein pile of shit, in his hotel rooms, where women were lured under the pretense that it was a professional meeting.

But, yeah. I've been as some pretty debauched parties...but I've never seen the kind of semi-systematic semi-rape you've described.

And nothing you said in any way led me to believe that, say, half of men are assaulting women at work. I just don't believe it.

7:33 AM  
Blogger The Mystic said...

Well, let me be a little more clear:

I don't think that half of all men are assaulting women at work. That's pretty much obviously false.

I picked Franken as my example because that's more along the lines of what I think roughly half (or more) of men are capable of doing. If given the resources and the circumstances where their shortsighted brains determine there's a sufficient likelihood of success in getting away with it, I just don't doubt much that they'd try it.

And they're probably not outright thinking "I'm gonna rape her." It's probably more like "She knows what she wants, I know what she wants, so we're going to do this."

That was more or less the mentality of all of the guys with whom I spoke who were engaged in that sort of behavior I described in college. Any women who actually took them up on the venture were evidence to them of the accuracy of that thought. Any who didn't were simply being difficult. I doubt there was much forcible rape going on, but given the preparatory methods (i.e. alcohol), I wouldn't expect it to be often required.

And that's more or less how I would expect almost all of these incidents to start. The ones we hear about are the few where the guys overextended their strategies against women who kept their wits, didn't get wasted out of their minds, and retained the social standing required to credibly report the matter.

That's what I expect, anyway. I think that most guys don't have the circumstantial requirements to act on their capabilities, but I expect that that, combined with our society's strong legal system, is the limiting reagent in this phenomenon - not the general goodness of men.

8:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's almost as if the corrupting influence of power is something people have recognized for a long time. People with power will use that power to get what they want.

10:01 AM  

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