By now, you may well have seen that Ashley Paramore put up a video describing a sexual assault she was subject to at TAM last year. I’m very happy to provide a spoiler now and tell you that things were handled well when she reported the assault. Her video:
Me being me, I dug into the comments, wondering what Ashley was dealing with in the immediate aftermath of posting the video. I found something interesting. I present this screen shot because it entertained me that these comments were right next to each other.
illuminator83: Contrary to some other harrassment accusations (like ‘elevator gate’) this is actually a real one. I don’t think you will see any negative feedback …
zarkoff45: You’re not going to get a backlash on this because saying “he touched the no-no parts on the doll” is clear enough — it’s not like you said “he asked up for coffee while we were alone on an elevator.”
Anyone want to take bets on this? No? Y’all are no fun anymore.*
For clarity’s sake, I’ll state the hypothesis that those comments represent: Rebecca Watson received backlash/negative feedback as a direct result of saying, “Guys, don’t do that”, referring to propositioning someone in an enclosed space after that someone has just announced they need sleep. Ashley will not receive backlash/negative feedback as a result of filing an effective formal complaint against someone who physically assaulted her. All good?
Now, for the other comments. Because I’m mean that way, I’ll start with the comments that were already on the video when those two were posted.
We have the “Wait, now, let’s be all concerned for the guy who assaulted you” responses:
tigerclaw1000: I see ok, i would maybe have an explanation why it dose attract more creeps, i think it might be because like creeps, atheist, skeptics are the underdogs/outsiders of the society and they are more likely to deny the culture that in America is well nuts and thus is more likely asocial.
It is also possible that guy simply misunderstood Ashley and though she night like it.
Not saying its ok, just that it we should not villefy the guy, it might be a misunderstanding.
happyjesus123: Jim-Bob has a problem that is in need of treatment. Banning him from the conference is good for TAM (particularly from a liability perspective) and good for TAM participants. But, it does not help Jim-Bob learn to behave correctly. Is there away to help Jim-Bob or should he be isolated from human interaction?
We have “Guys just can’t be expected to understand, so it’s up to you personally to manage the situation”:
BloodRedLegend: Sometimes men confuse friendliness with flirtation. We can think that, just because a woman is being nice to us or seems to enjoy our company, she “wants the D”. Then, when the woman rejects his advances, he may take it as some sort of silly game of “playing hard to get”. Throw alcohol in the mix and things can escalate very quickly. Hands go where they’re not supposed to. After that, whether the woman is raped or not may all depend on who’s around. Don’t ever agree to go to a creeper’s room.
Martyj2009: You need a conference buddy. Someone who will have your back.
AtheistCitizen: your only failing, and it is probably hard to overcome, is not being more assertive.
We have several “Just keep this a personal matter between you two” responses:
bjohnson55555: You needed to make a big stink the instant he tried to slide his hand up your skirt, and you should have smacked the shit out of him when he pushed you down and went for it again.
MikaelDryden: Dear women.
If we men ever start acting like Jim Bob, you have my permission to knee-kick us in the groin.
TiteProducts: I often think some claims of harassment are exaggerated but this is beyond something that simple. Should have just kicked him in the balls, I’m sure he would have gotten the message.
We have “Oh, thank God you’re not like those feminist women!”:
moestietabarnak: Glad you reported this, as it should be.
But the only other instance I heard of these situation was elevatorgate, and this instance was WAY overreaction about someone just hitting, no idle hands. Yet I don’t think many deny these happen. Just keeping proper perspective.
ThaTroothHurts: I agree a lot of people are in denial about this happening.
But all I have seen feminists do about it is attempt to create a rule that is already there.
Someone sexually assaulted you, you had 10 people in the room and people handled it well. I don’t think there is much else you can do to improve that situation absent of the knowledge that your assault was going to happen…
eagleeye1975: I’d like to applaud you for the way you approached this.
1) You didn’t commit the cardinal sin of blaming ALL men for being creeps.
2) You didn’t try to make it out to be the fault of anyone BUT the perpetrator (ie: TAM, the hotel, etc)
3) You didn’t claim harassment until after you had VERBALLY said “stop” and he didn’t.
I think, honestly, it’s understandable to “not take the hint” when you did the “non-verbal” stuff (turning away), which could have been seen as mere “flirty”/Hard-to-get.
eagleeye1975: That said… grabbing your ass, and other grabby stuff after that, wasn’t okay either… just because you haven’t said “no” doesn’t mean you have said “yes”.
So all in all, I think you showed an abundance of tolerance, and let him cross WAY over the line before crying foul.
We have “Geez, lady, why you gotta take things so far?”:
xTurquoiseGlazex: Was expecting edgy shit from the intro, instead got a tame Atheism+ beat up about a minor harassment that sounds like any normal friday night in the city! Bad call, you should’ve taken it in your stride and let jimbob to hus own devices. The world has ways of catching up on people like him even though he was drunk and chasing tail like 99% of us.
We have “You should do/have done more”:
Gábor Koszper: PS. You’re saying this is an intimate and personal video. Which is interesting, because I think you shouldn’t feel that this is an intimate, personal occurence. I think the proper answer to what happened would be you screaming to everyone what happened. Because being silent about it only defends Jimbob. I mean, his name should be public. I think that publicity of the case protects you. At least that’s my experience.
SimplyHerpes: healthyaddict, my only criticism is your timing. Your involvement with the community should never have been a deterrent. It would have been better to assume the consequences and potential rifts which is why it feels good for you to finally get this out.
joe mama: shoulda called police that dude is going to end up raping someone.
We have “Excuse me, but if I understand this detail correctly, which I must have because I always do because I’m so rational, there’s a problem with your story that throws everything into doubt”:
Barry Gormley: I don’t want to seem insensitive, but the one part of this video that I can’t help but question is where you say you’ve experienced some form of harassment at every convention you have attended. To me this seems like an extraordinary claim. Especially given that some women who’ve been to many conferences claim never to have experienced this problem.
Barry Gormley: 1) I question one of her claims, therefore I’m insensitive?
2) About forty seconds in she claims to have experienced some form of harassment at “literally every” convention she’s been to.
3) If she people to do anything about it, even something as minor as helping to spread awareness, then she is in fact obligated to prove to prove that this problem exists. Are you suggesting that we should just take her word without question? You know what scepticism is right?
We have “Hey, now, don’t be talking shit about my community”:
tigerclaw1000: You have my support, they was not cool what that guy did.
How ever is it really because the conferences them self’s or just jerks and weirdos who happen to go there?
thesparitan: Why are conference so dangerous? I am somewhat skeptical about these conference assaults. But it’s completely possible. I want to know more about why or even if they are happening at a high rate
We even have “What were you wearing?/How dare you be attractive?”:
davidthecook: That must have been a short skirt for him to get under it so easily. It is a shame he couldn’t admire without touching. There’s got to be a Jim-Bob on YouTube; it would have been entertaining(mildly, but worth it) the owner of that channel commented. I feel there was room for humor, as you are still in good spirits(no supernature intended in that cause). I am also glad you handled it the right way, and that you are not in some ditch…we need your support in our secular endeavors.
Noktelfa Rootcreeper: I’ve heard some controversy about sexual advances and stuff at cons, but this doesn’t sound at all like a grey area. He had no business touching you like that, and went way too far in front of witnesses. I’ll bet you wish you were hideously ugly, now. (almost) No one ever forces himself onto people like me.
All that happened before those two comments telling Ashley she won’t see backlash/negative feedback because what happened to her is the sort of assault that people take seriously, not like what happened to Rebecca. That’s what we could see publicly in the first four hours of comments, and Ashley hasn’t even been arguing with these people.
As it turns out, I’m going to stop there with reproducing the comments, because I don’t think anything more is needed to demonstrate that the feedback Ashley is receiving is already worse than what Rebecca received in the earliest hours after saying, “Guys, don’t do that.” If she continues to talk about this and continues to stand up for herself, I don’t see any good reason to think she won’t get more and worse, if she isn’t already getting the ugly stuff privately.
So, next bet: Who thinks those two optimistic commenters will learn something from this before the next person steps up to say they were harassed at a skeptical or atheist conference? Anyone?
*I lie. I’m just bored with the same “arguments” (i.e., assertions composed of gut feelings based solely in ignorance) over and over and over again.