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  1. #511
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amargith View Post
    True. Though those can be used against you as perpetrators tend to be more willing to overcome the threshold of harming another. My mom used to advise a specific type of sugar. It leaves scars that never heal, and when it falls to the ground, it turns to powder, diminishing the chance of them using it against ya
    They can't use anything against you that you use first.

    Having something to defend yourself with is only worth as much as your willingness to use it should it become necessary. Have a five or six foot circle you imagine around yourself. If you feel threatened, and they cross that line immediately use what you've got. No negotiation, no warning. Just action.

  2. #512
    The High Priestess Amargith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    They can't use anything against you that you use first.

    Having something to defend yourself with is only worth as much as your willingness to use it should it become necessary. Have a five or six foot circle you imagine around yourself. If you feel threatened, and they cross that line immediately use what you've got. No negotiation, no warning. Just action.
    Err...if I were to do that, Id pepperspray a lot of people wanting directions and genuine 'nice guys' asking for my phone number or trying to get to know me

    That's what makes it so hard to respond properly. And yes, I will admit I give people the benefit of the doubt so I'm unlikely to strike first, though I *do* strike back. But that is more a personal preference and issue, and not so much relevant to the topic, I guess.
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  3. #513
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amargith View Post
    Err...if I were to do that, Id pepperspray a lot of people wanting directions and genuine 'nice guys' asking for my phone number or trying to get to know me

    That's what makes it so hard to respond properly. And yes, I will admit I give people the benefit of the doubt so I'm unlikely to strike first, though I *do* strike back. But that is more a personal preference and issue, and not so much relevant to the topic, I guess.
    Always trust the hairs on the back of your neck.

  4. #514
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amargith View Post
    Thats easily said. Not so much easily done when you re alone in a street with four guys who won't let you pass till you've answered all their questions. You automatically retreat and try to navigate it away from a conflict, I can guarantee that. And I'm not a timid little woman. Im not afraid to walk around normally (though I know many women who are, hence i mentioned it). Ive done martial arts, and I am confident in my social skills, but even I cannot take 4 guys on my own and so all Ive left is my charm to get me out of that situation.



    That is something I'm less familiar with, though we do have a neighborhood in our city where it is beneficial to wear...long dresses and cover things as many of our muslim immigrants live there. So that I can sort of relate to. Still, women share in those risks I take it and take similar precautions in that kind of danger, Id hope. I'd also hope that, like in my city, those neighborhoods are limited and you can choose to avoid them. It isnt like you can avoid men altogether. I too avoid neighborhoods that are notorious for rape and assault.



    That could certainly be a reason. In fact, I suspect it is. However, we aint all like you. I have to actively think about not smiling when I'm outside coz Im usually happy in my head thinking about stuff and..well without realizing it, smiling. I too however will assess what kind of man is coming towards me and chameleon into what I know will work with him; be it ignoring, looking down or asserting my confidence and taking down the smile.






    Id say this is a good comparison to what I have to do to be left alone on the street. And I do feel for you that that is *still* something that is a factor in careers.



    Ive had men using a ruse to do this. Asking for directions, then grabbing you and kissing you. I was so utterly shocked they would dare to do that, that I wasnt fast enough in responding. Ive also had the ones that just do it while you're walking around and are in your head. You dont even realize its happening till tis too late. And Ive had them be threatening (coz there were several of them) where I was trying to navigate my way out of the situation and they use it to come too close to you physically and force it out of you.

    It is not like I actively ask for this to happen, but it does happen. Now, since Im a touchy feely person - and I ll admit, I probably vibe this out and they take advantage of it - and prone to giving people the benefit of the doubt, while not easily frightened, it didnt scar me for life or anything. I mostly just laugh it off once Im over the shock. But nevertheless..it shouldn't happen.

    As for the threats I've actively observed:

    * I've had a group of guys in a car demand I get in so they could 'go out with me in the city'. I waited for the bus, they followed my bus, they followed the tram I got on and tehn asked me to wait while they parked. I said suuuure, and made a run for it.

    * I've had a guy stalk me and get off at the same bus stop as me - and I live in the middle of nowhere - where I was alone with him to have him confess he got off coz I did and almost have him follow me home (again, I live in the middle of a few farms where nobody would notice a thing)

    * I've had a guy I'd never seen before come up to me in the ladies bathroom which was empty, put his arm possessively around my waist and accuse me of being a virgin while trying to kiss my neck.

    * ... I can go on.

    Usually, those situations happened when we were alone and I tried to resolve it diplomatically coz I *knew* that if push came to shove, I wouldnt be able to take them. I was always able to talk my way out of it but sometimes it came at the price of having them invade my space, unfortunately

    And dont get me wrong, I got...used to managing this kind of invasion of personal space over the years. And none of it traumatized me for life. But I look back and realise what kind of risks I have had to take when really I shouldn't have to. And these werent people I talked to (coz those are another category alltogether in my storybook), or befriended or flirted with. They were complete strangers who felt compelled to do this.
    I'm not at all saying any of these are okay behaviours. On the other hand, when something is happening over and over again, which is potentially life endangering, I wonder if it is worth looking at whether you are putting yourself in avoidable danger or not. I have a pretty open face, which in the past has invited socially awkward strangers of both sexes to start up conversations with me. Over time, I have learned better how to avoid giving off as open of vibes when I am in that situation, and to avoid engaging strangers in conversation. While it is not my fault that odd people generally are drawn to me, there are variables within my control to at least minimize the negative interactions that might put me in danger.

    Maybe in an ideal world, women should be able to go where they please, when they please, dressed how they please without worry, just as people should be able to leave their houses unlocked without anyone taking anything, harming the people inside, or vandalizing. I don't think it is realistic though to expect that to be the case.

    Being physically smaller, I think it makes sense to plan for the worst while expecting the best of people. If there is less opportunity for badness, then there is less likelihood of it. To me, this is not a matter of going around in fear, nor of abandoning the need for social change. However, the chances of becoming seriously harmed, or even just jaded and cynical go up greatly the more times one puts themselves in danger. If these situations are happening mostly when alone, is there perhaps a way to avoid being alone on a regular basis in potentially life-threatening situations? I'm not discounting that harrassment is a real thing. I just think there is also onus on any person to avoid foreseeably dangerous situations if they can.

    The only situation where I've actually experienced anything physically inappropriate was in a large crowd on Hallowe'en when everyone was dressed up and someone grabbed my butt on their way past. I was not happy with their behaviour, but also recognized that by choosing to put myself in a situation where there were a lot of people with lowered inhibitions, thousands of people in the space of a few blocks and a degree of anonymity all around me, I had taken a calculated risk in deciding to do that. In a lot of cases (not all, but many), I think danger can be averted through a sense of self-care, as well as shutting down inappropriate behaviour in the earlier stages and not engaging in conversation/eye contact with people you don't know well. Maybe that seems restrictive, but to me it is a lesser price to pay than dealing with the aftermath of something inappropriate or life-threatening.

  5. #515
    The High Priestess Amargith's Avatar
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    Sure enough, thats all you can do. I tried to disappear, appear less open etc, but apparently it isnt a power I have, so I went for the next best thing: mastering how to navigate out of the situation safely, and as I said, it doesnt cause me much distress anymore these days as you learn what to watch out for. But yeah, it is a hassle. Nowadays I rarely leave the house as I work from home and I have to admit, it is a relief as much as I also enjoyed meeting new people and having awesome conversations with random strangers - often men - in Russian on the bus home.
    ★ڿڰۣ✿ℒoѵℯ✿ڿڰۣ★





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  6. #516
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    Maybe in an ideal world, women should be able to go where they please, when they please, dressed how they please without worry, just as people should be able to leave their houses unlocked without anyone taking anything, harming the people inside, or vandalizing. I don't think it is realistic though to expect that to be the case.
    In an ideal world, both women and men could go where they want, dressed how they want, because there would be no crime at all. In the real world, crime occurs, with rape being a crime that affects primarily women. Yet in our efforts to get everyone to take the crime of rape seriously, we must not exempt it from the usual kinds of strategies we routinely practice to avoid other crimes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Amargith View Post
    Id say this is a good comparison to what I have to do to be left alone on the street. And I do feel for you that that is *still* something that is a factor in careers.
    Actually, my point was that ignoring all that "career advice for women" has not negatively impacted my career. If there had been actual impact, I might have seen more benefit in following it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Amargith View Post
    As for the threats I've actively observed:

    * I've had a group of guys in a car demand I get in so they could 'go out with me in the city'. I waited for the bus, they followed my bus, they followed the tram I got on and tehn asked me to wait while they parked. I said suuuure, and made a run for it.

    * I've had a guy stalk me and get off at the same bus stop as me - and I live in the middle of nowhere - where I was alone with him to have him confess he got off coz I did and almost have him follow me home (again, I live in the middle of a few farms where nobody would notice a thing)

    * I've had a guy I'd never seen before come up to me in the ladies bathroom which was empty, put his arm possessively around my waist and accuse me of being a virgin while trying to kiss my neck.
    In all the places I have lived (4 different regions of the U.S.), these kinds of situations happen mainly in those bad areas that both men and women tend to avoid, due to high crime rates in general. The last might happen in some bars/clubs, but I don't go to such places so cannot say. I have never encountered any of them - or anything similar - myself.

    The most unpleasant situation I ever had in public with a man was when I was travelling in the service. I was staying in visiting enlisted housing, and went to the lounge to watch TV. A guy spent over half an hour trying to pick me up, but it was all talk: he never tried to touch me, never even moved to sit closer. I never felt threatened at all, just annoyed that he was distracting me from what was then my favorite show. I finally gave up on watching and left.

    Quote Originally Posted by Amargith View Post
    That's what makes it so hard to respond properly. And yes, I will admit I give people the benefit of the doubt so I'm unlikely to strike first, though I *do* strike back. But that is more a personal preference and issue, and not so much relevant to the topic, I guess.
    It is relevant in helping to explain the sometimes significant variations in individual experiences, e.g. yours vs. mine. We are fundamentally very different people, which comes through in even the briefest, most casual encounter, and have very different strategies for handling the same problems.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  7. #517
    Senior Member Bamboo's Avatar
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    @Amargith and @fidelia edit: and @Coriolis

    Yeah, I like meeting random people, it'd really stink not to be able to do that. There's some stuff, like hitchhiking with questionable people that I might be able to, though that I'd probably not reccomend to women because stranger danger is a thing, but so is prejudice about others intentions and you can't balance perfectly. I think most people with any emotional awareness understand that. (that last part is re: partially to @Vasilisa's quote above, which was going a slightly different direction but on the general topic of profiling people as creepy).

    Personally I like to be friendly with the option to escalate intelligently which is higher risk than avoidance but in my experience reward is worth it. It also changes the way I operate and plan - generally meaning, staying aware (sobriety, situational, etc.), planning escapes, preparing for fights and unpleasantness. Some people find that extremely stressful and tolerate it more or less. But in general, long term exposure is exhausting and a relief to avoid.


    I have observed and heard stories where women (and men) were acting friendly and due to shyness or simply wanting to 'stay pleasant' didn't shut down behavior before it got out of hand. I'm sure I've done this myself, for instance, with a gay man in a bar who I was trying to be friendly toward but kept trying to make advances. Some people are able to cool their jets but still have a polite conversation. Some people...not so much. By not telling him to please leave me alone earlier on instead I had to go the 'get the fuck back asshole' route after things escalated as he took my neutral/slightly negative behavior as an indication to try harder.

    I've also seen people escalate a situation way fast in a way that was excessive where a simple 'no thanks' probably would have sufficed. I think it takes a lot of practice/awareness to balance your response to needs of the situation, but inevitably your reactions will either be too much or too little.
    Don't know how much it'll bend til it breaks.

  8. #518
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    I know from the forum here that some people are more prevention oriented, while others kind of deal with things as they present themselves. I wonder if these differences in orienting to the world impact incidence of some things happening.

    As I think of the people I know who most often encounter inappropriate behaviour, it tends to be people who are less prevention oriented, which seems to contribute to being in a dangerous place in the first place and also in taking longer to terminate the interaction at early stages. When I was younger, I had less faith in my gut instinct and so felt obligated to answer certain questions just because they were asked, etc. I notice a parallel in how much more mildly inappropriate behaviour I encountered as a result. Now I have scripted myself so I have a response ready such as,"I don't share information like that with people I don't know well" etc. I found that you can still be yourself and even be pleasant, while still giving red lights to the person with your body language and by retaining some reserve. It may not come naturally right away and of course our past treatment affects the non-verbal messages we present to people, but I think we do have more power sometimes than we think.

    I lived on a reserve for five years which typically presents some difficult and potentially dangerous situations. During that time, I found that most of the people who experienced harm there could have avoided it by making more proactive decisions about where they went, how much they conversed with people unknown to them, who they went with and by choosing not to drink in some people's presence. Bad stuff happened all around me, but with some common sense and self-care, much of it was avoidable.

    I've also found that people will push boundaries verbally/with body language first as a way of seeing how aware you are and also to see how open you are. Even without saying anything, there are many ways of declining those grey area advances before they continue to something more serious.

  9. #519
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bamboo View Post
    @Amargith and @fidelia edit: and @Coriolis

    Yeah, I like meeting random people, it'd really stink not to be able to do that. There's some stuff, like hitchhiking with questionable people that I might be able to, though that I'd probably not reccomend to women because stranger danger is a thing, but so is prejudice about others intentions and you can't balance perfectly. I think most people with any emotional awareness understand that. (that last part is re: partially to @Vasilisa's quote above, which was going a slightly different direction but on the general topic of profiling people as creepy).

    Personally I like to be friendly with the option to escalate intelligently which is higher risk than avoidance but in my experience reward is worth it. It also changes the way I operate and plan - generally meaning, staying aware (sobriety, situational, etc.), planning escapes, preparing for fights and unpleasantness. Some people find that extremely stressful and tolerate it more or less. But in general, long term exposure is exhausting and a relief to avoid.


    I have observed and heard stories where women (and men) were acting friendly and due to shyness or simply wanting to 'stay pleasant' didn't shut down behavior before it got out of hand. I'm sure I've done this myself, for instance, with a gay man in a bar who I was trying to be friendly toward but kept trying to make advances. Some people are able to cool their jets but still have a polite conversation. Some people...not so much. By not telling him to please leave me alone earlier on instead I had to go the 'get the fuck back asshole' route after things escalated as he took my neutral/slightly negative behavior as an indication to try harder.

    I've also seen people escalate a situation way fast in a way that was excessive where a simple 'no thanks' probably would have sufficed. I think it takes a lot of practice/awareness to balance your response to needs of the situation, but inevitably your reactions will either be too much or too little.
    I agree entirely. I love meeting new people and have frequently done so on my travels. I think context is a big key, as well as degree of friendliness based on amount of knowledge and on the signals they are giving out. I think it is important for women especially not to put themselves in positions where misjudging someone they don't know we'll could put them in serious danger. Things like being in an isolated spot alone with someone, walking alone in a sketchy neighborhood, taking public transit late at night alone, drinking or doing drugs without someone reliable to watch out for your safety, or not having transportation or money all put women in a vulnerable position, yet I frequently see women doing this and then being upset at men. As Coriolis said, this is no different than acknowledging potential for other non gender specific crimes like mugging and acting accordingly.

  10. #520
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    Glad she finally figured it out. Presumably she will know better next time. Even better if she will share her experiences with other women, so they don't have to learn the hard way. But wait: that's what she's doing in this article, showing women they have the right and the need to object and speak up. I am too, though, but you criticise me for it. No matter since I'm sure you don't need my encouragement, but I will continue to offer it to those who might benefit.
    No. I criticise you for being dismissive of women and the issues that affect them. Repeatedly.
    And for the smug condescension of your "well, it doesn't happen to me, so wth are you doing wrong?" Which is pretty bloody odious in a thread like this.
    (In case you "missed" that too.)

    I have been grabbed by a total stranger in a public place where I assure you, I wasn't giving off any "come hither" vibes. I was just trying to bloody-well get home from work. I can't believe anyone would seriously accuse me of over-friendliness...
    I reacted with a rage that astonished, and comforted me. I thought 'hey, at least I know I wouldn't just freeze in a situation like that. I can handle myself.'

    When it happened in a date-like situation, I found myself caught off-guard. Macing a stranger and macing a date are very different propositions. Fortunately, I managed to get out of that situation unscathed. But I certainly don't believe the many women who have been date raped are somehow "doing it wrong".

    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    I don't want to make any of this about me. I know I have been lucky, but can't attribute my positive experiences to luck alone. I started to wonder then, if there was something I do automatically that has spared me most of these troubles, can I figure out what it is and share it?
    Oh please. I hope it never happens to you. Who knows why it hasn't? Maybe everyone thinks you're a dude, like online. That must be awesome for you. But unless/until it does, given your total empathy failure, perhaps you should just bow out of the thread.

    The entire premise here is that women SHOULDN'T be second-guessing themselves. This is a Rape Culture-based problem. That's what needs to change.

    Next you'll be telling us we should all wear burkas and just not leave the house.
    (Not that you're safe there either.)

    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    I would recommend walking with others, but that's not always convenient.

    There are a ton of pocket guns, tazers, and other deterrents that fit in a purse.
    No one asked for your advice.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

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