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Stop Telling Harassment and Assault Survivors To Go To the Police

Note: Yes, this is prompted by something that happened to me this weekend. But I’ve been thinking about it for a while and it applies to many events and situations, so I’d rather the comments section didn’t dissolve into a discussion of me and my specific (frankly rather mild) situation. I’m doing fine. However, the snark is on high for this post, so please do take what I just went through into account before complaining about my “tone.” 

So, let’s talk about when someone gets harassed or assaulted and they make it public (whether to friends and family or, like, public-public) and everybody always comes out with the same line: “Oh my god! You need to go to the police right now!”

Stop, rewind. Please stop saying this. I know it’s well-intentioned. I know you want us to be safe. Please stop saying it anyway. It does more harm than good. Let’s talk about why.

First of all, it’s unsolicited advice. Unsolicited advice is frequently annoying, especially when it’s coming from internet randos I don’t even know and who shouldn’t presume to know me. As is often the case with unsolicited advice, it completely ignores my situation as a young woman who’s just started grad school and is terribly busy and has few social supports in the huge new city into which she’s only recently moved. Do I look like someone who has the time and resources to pursue a court case right now? If we’re being honest, I haven’t even had time to call my doctor and ask her to rewrite a prescription I need, let alone spend hours having a lovely tête-à-tête with a cop who tells me I was probably asking for it by being a woman and existing.

So I don’t need your advice. Sometimes people respond to this with “Yeah well if you didn’t want advice why’d you post it online?” Oh, you know, many reasons. In my specific case, it was to highlight a ridiculous flaw in Facebook’s moderation system, to bring attention to the abuse faced by virtually any woman who writes online about feminism (or does anything online, let’s be honest), and to get some emotional support.

Emotional support, by the way, is not (necessarily) advice. Emotional support is, “I’m really sorry you’re going through this.” “You don’t deserve to be treated that way.” “How are you doing?” “Do you need some distractions?” “Whoever did this is a really shitty person.” “This wasn’t your fault.”

As I said, I’m personally totally fine and I didn’t need to vent to anyone or anything. But I appreciated it when people said things like this to me. Many victims do. You do not need to pile advice on us to show us you care! There are better ways.

Second, any person over the age of 5 is aware of the fact that the police are a thing that exists. We don’t need to be told to go to the police any more than a hungry person needs to be told that maybe they should consider eating some food. I mean, really, do these people think we’re not aware that we have the option of calling the police? (I’ll grant that maybe sometimes people may not know that certain acts, such as blackmail or death threats, are a crime. But sexual assault? And still.)

So if you tell me to go to the police, you’re sort of (unintentionally) treating me like an idiot. Yes, I know that the police exist. And guess what? A dozen other people already had the same idea you did, so if I didn’t know about the police before, I sure do now.

Third, going to the police is not effective. It’s just not. So you’re giving me advice that is not helpful. The stories of what happens to women who report harassment or assault to the police are plentiful and really sad. Yes, sometimes it works out well. But generally, either nothing happens, or the women get revictimized by the police. (Sometimes, the police also do this.)

I have been sexually assaulted and sexually harassed and threatened with rape and death. At no point have I seriously considered reporting any of these things to the police. I am not an irresponsible or uninformed person, so please trust me when I say that I have good reasons for not even considering the police as an option.

Fourth, telling a victim over and over to go to the police sends a message. And, unfortunately, that message is generally not “I care about you.” That message is, “It is your duty as a victim to go to the police, or else you’re being irresponsible and immature and making me worry about you and failing to prevent your attacker from hurting others. You are not responding to your harassment/assault in the right way.”

Did you mean to say that? Probably not. But I’m telling you right now that this is how many victims are going to perceive it. When someone becomes the victim of a gendered crime (or any crime, but we’re talking about specific crimes here), that is a time to consider this person’s needs first and foremost. You may indeed be very worried for them. You may wonder what this means for you or others you care about. It is tempting to treat the survivor as though they and they alone hold the power to stop these crimes once and for all in their hands, and all they have to do is pick up the phone and call the cops.

It’s telling that many of the people who told me to go to the police this weekend and who received a curt response from me (curt, not nasty or abusive) immediately took it personally and lashed out, whining about how rude I was and how I didn’t appreciate that they were worried about me. (Keep in mind that these were total strangers on the Internet, not friends or family or anyone else entitled to my emotional energy.) Of course. Because it was about them, and not me, all along. It was about their understandable need to contribute to the conversation and feel useful and tell a young woman what they, as older and wiser adults, thought she needed to do.

At no point was there any acknowledgement from these people that I was dealing with fucking death threats and maybe wasn’t in the best emotional state to be sweet and cheerful about rejecting their unasked-for, completely unhelpful advice.

That’s how I knew it was never about me.

Fifth, law enforcement is a deeply problematic institution that some people choose not to willingly engage with. I won’t say too much about this here because it’s just too immense a topic to cover in a paragraph or two. But yes, I have some ethical qualms about working with a police force that, in my city, fines women for carrying condoms (must be prostitutes amirite?) and profiles people of color with its stop and frisk policy. Sometimes contact with the police is unavoidable, and I would obviously call them if I were facing an immediate risk of injury or death as opposed to some dumb random Facebook death threat.

Stop telling harassment and assault survivors to go to the police. Stop treating us like we don’t know what’s good for us. Stop acting like the police are a panacea to all the world’s evils. Stop making it about you. Stop. It’s our turn to speak.

Comments

  1. says

    My experiences are statistically insignificant, obviously, but it seems to me that the people who insist that victims of rape and/or sexual harassment should “call the police” are more than happy to excoriate the police and bash the justice system in pretty much every other circumstance.

    So… the justice system fails for non-white people, and homosexuals… but is perfectly functional when dealing with rape and sexual harassment?

    Really?

    • says

      Well, many of the people I know, who would insist on pressing this kind of unsolicited advice, would also be rather comfy with the police on other matters … except maybe when they themselves get speeding tickets. Because, THAT’S totally unfair!

  2. ischemgeek says

    I rarely comment there, but I just wanted to say: advice to go to the cops is some bullshit.

    Some condescending bullshit.

    Some condescending, paternalistic bullshit.

    And at best, it’s woefully naive.

  3. says

    What you said. I’m glad you’re feeling okay-ish. Not offering unsolicited advice is just such a good rule, one I’m trying to learn to better implement but am at least conscious of. I get it so often with the chronic pain thing. I’ve been living with it for more than 25 years, and yet people still feel the need to suggest massage therapy and chiropractors, as though in 25 years of chronic back pain I would never have considered, y’know, two of the most commonly-used treatments for back problems. I get it with the depression: “Oh, you should try going out more!”, or just “cheer up!” It’s very hard not to bring the Embiggened Snarkatron when it happens.

    Also: “a police force that, in my city, fines women”

    I see what you did there. Yay you!

      • John Horstman says

        Alternately, you could have pointed out how there are cops everywhere who themselves sexually assault vulnerable women. Not all cops, but given the nature of the job, it’s going to attract people prone to abusing authority (i.e. people who like exercising authority over others), meaning most police departments beyond a given size are going to have some rapists and abusers in their ranks. IT doesn’t help that such aggressive behavior is actively encouraged by training that teaches cops to treat all suspects (and even victims) as guilty until proved innocent.

  4. resident_alien says

    Excellent post. So true regarding the police. “To protect and to serve” – yeah,but whom or what exactly ? The existing power stucture, basicly.
    I am so sorry that you have to go through this shit. Whoever is behind this is beneath contempt, really.
    One can only hope for scum like this to eventually wise up and realize what utter septic assdrips they have been.

  5. prodegtion says

    “(or does anything online, let’s be honest)”

    BULL-SHIT. There are PLENTY of respectable women online who don’t get abused. It’s only the FUCKING MORONS LIKE YOU who get abused online.

  6. PatrickG says

    I do hope you’ve seen the numerous offers of help and support around FTB lately. If you need anything, community blah blah blah. :)

    Feels silly to make this comment, since I’m sure you’re aware, and I’m sure you’ll ask for assistance if you decide you need/want it. But reading prodegtion’s… ranting? verbal vomit? whatever? just made me want to chime in and offer whatever support can be provided by strangers on the intertubes.

  7. Howard Bannister says

    Emotional support, by the way, is not (necessarily) advice. Emotional support is, “I’m really sorry you’re going through this.” “You don’t deserve to be treated that way.” “How are you doing?” “Do you need some distractions?” “Whoever did this is a really shitty person.” “This wasn’t your fault.”

    As I said, I’m personally totally fine and I didn’t need to vent to anyone or anything. But I appreciated it when people said things like this to me. Many victims do. You do not need to pile advice on us to show us you care! There are better ways.

    I’d like to throw out a pile of ‘I’m really sorry you’re going through this’ with a side order of ‘whoever did this is a really shitty person’ …

    Seriously, that’s a really helpful distinction. I’ve found myself at a loss, recently, as I realized so many of the scripts I’ve been given for helping people are victim-blaming garbage, and need to be tossed out entirely and replaced with new scripts.

    And, seriously, whoever did this is a REALLY shitty person…

  8. natifftoffe says

    Great post, Miri, it really helped. I just wish I could´ve linked to it on Jerry Coyne´s website, the post being about the notorious Mr. Deity, where the generally sane and thoughtful (when it doesn´t come to “women´s issues”) commenter and guest contributor Ben Goren argued exactly that: If you´re a rape victim, it is your duty to report to the Police. Sadly, only a handful of commenters dissented:

    http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/mormon-theology-and-mr-deity/#comment-487187

    Thanks from a soon-to-be-ex-mansplainer.

  9. Black Hole says

    Yes, reports to the police may result in bigger problems than you already have. I’m sure you are aware of the problems much more than I am. I have reported harassment in order to get it to stop, but it doesn’t work (unless I track it down myself and get a little up-close-and-obnoxious, but that isn’t everyone’s style; I personally like to scare the living hell out of people — that isn’t your style, I suppose) (they are big, I am small, they do not understand viscous traps, and I do not care to explain them to idiots).

    I am a male. You might ignore any unsolicited advice I offer, but you might want to consider it. I have been attacked many times in my life; the usual attacks have been by larger men. The clue to most of them: larger but MUCH stupider men. Any weapon I can reach is effective.

    My personal credo is to make them suffer FAR more than they make me suffer. Carry knives. Learn self-defense moves. When they are on the ground, kick them viciously. Memorize license plates. Slash tires. Stomp heads. Use firearms.

  10. John Figdor says

    “Third, going to the police is not effective. It’s just not. So you’re giving me advice that is not helpful. The stories of what happens to women who report harassment or assault to the police are plentiful and really sad. Yes, sometimes it works out well. But generally, either nothing happens, or the women get revictimized by the police. (Sometimes, the police also do this.)

    I have been sexually assaulted and sexually harassed and threatened with rape and death. At no point have I seriously considered reporting any of these things to the police. I am not an irresponsible or uninformed person, so please trust me when I say that I have good reasons for not even considering the police as an option.”

    I have to say I strongly disagree. Your experience is valid, and you may have had bad experiences with reporting, but as someone who used to work at a Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault center (DV/SA), I can tell you that it is often worth reporting. Even the police in rural Montana where I worked received training on how to respond to SA and DV claims. As soon as they got a SA/DV claim, they would call our shelter and one of our on-call shelter people would go to the police station to help them out and serve as an erstwhile victim’s advocate. From what I understand, if a police officer said during an official report the actual words, “you were asking for it,” his or her job would be in serious jeopardy. I would advise you to contact a local SA/DV shelter and report the officer in that circumstance. So I’m sorry you’ve had bad experiences, but reporting to police is often an important step in helping survivors regain their agency.

    From what I remember, the SA/DV shelter I worked at had a policy of recommending reporting, but not requiring it or pressuring women to report.

    ***
    PS: That ridiculous page asking if you should be murdered was the most abusive and harassing thing I’ve seen in the atheosphere yet. I’m so sorry that happened to you and I hope Facebook figures out a smart policy to deal with this sort of harassment in the future.

    • says

      The point of that section wasn’t that reporting never works and nobody should do it, but that nobody should pressure anyone to report because many people HAVE had bad experiences and don’t want to deal with it. If someone wants to report, they should. But random people on the internet should stop telling survivors that they should.

      • J. J. Ramsey says

        If the point wasn’t to say that “reporting never works and nobody should do it,” then why say outright that — in your words — “going to the police is not effective”? If reporting sometimes does work, then you should have said that going to the police can be hit-or-miss, which would be far more accurate.

        Look, it’s one thing to encourage people to understand why rape victims do not report. It is a whole other thing to cross the line by encouraging the continued under-reporting of rape. Telling people that it is is futile to report rape to the police, especially when it isn’t entirely true, crosses that line.

    • ischemgeek says

      Yeah, what Miri said. Given my experiences with reporting sexual assault and harassment as a kid, and the consequences with reporting bullying (much of it was simply sex assault/harassment perpetuated by my age peers), I will likely never report a crime other than petty theft to the cops.

      Because, in order, I was: ignored, lectured, ignored, ignored, blamed, ignored, grounded, ignored, punished with detention, suspended from school, ignored, kicked off the school bus for two weeks, ignored, punished with in-school suspension, lectured, lectured, lectured, blamed, blamed, lectured and blamed, and suspended from school.

      … at which time I gave up and stopped reporting.

      The above occured over a period of 6 years in 4 different Canadian provinces.

      And then when my family heard that the bullying/sexual assault/sexual harassment didn’t stop, they blamed me for not reporting and refused to believe me when I told them that I had reported and they hadn’t done a damn thing except punish me for it. They gaslighted me and told me my memories were false memories. Even though I have school records to back me up on it.

      So, nice that your jurisdiction seems to do it right. All of the ones I’ve had experiences in do it wrong.

      • Black Hole says

        I was bullied through most of high school. I am male and small; I suspect I had it better than some females, but I do not want to compare the pain. It was awful.

        One day, halfway through my junior year, I was getting beat up again in the locker room. I snapped. The adrenaline surged, and I do not remember what happened in any detail. When I “came to” I had the bully (a much better fighter) in a headlock and was pounding his head against a concrete pillar. A friend of mine (who, I realized later, had not intervened in the initial attack) was talking to me, trying to keep me from killing the assclown. I threw the jerk on the floor, violently. He got up and came at me again; I said, “OK, you want to die, fine” (my “friend” talked him out of attacking me again). No one ever bothered me again.

        What is the moral of this story? There isn’t one. Brute force was met with adrenaline-driven overwhelming force that was bent on homicide. I wanted to kill the SOB and was well on my way.

        Is there a message for others? Yes. Give in to the dark side, let your rage flow, let your most vicious elements loose, and go for the kill. Even the smallest can destroy when they have had enough.

        • coolhandjuke says

          this is terrible advice that will get you or someone else hurt.

          If you succeed, you will kill someone, and go to prison for manslaughter/murder.

          If you fail, you will in the best case scenario be beaten up. Worst case, you will be stabbed or shot or curbed or beaten with tire irons etc.

  11. says

    I do think that reporting is important and can (often) be a healing thing, and yet I don’t offer it as a random panacea to people I know only from their blogs. It is not the responsibility of victims to go to the police if the police are widely and often correctly viewed as hostile or even abusive. It is the responsibility of non-victims to work to make the police supportive to victims and to offer support to victims themselves. In an ideal world, “you should report” would be about as innocuous, non-threatening, and insultingly unnecessary advice as suggesting that one take an umbrella or raincoat when it’s raining. We’re a long way from that. When I was younger, I was much more of a “you should report” type, but discussions on FtB have convinced me that changing the police culture and ensuring victim support should come first, so as soon as my kids head off to college, I’m going to start volunteering with a local victim advocacy organization in my community.

    I do offer people I know in real life support if they do decide to report – having a friend or advocate along can make a huge difference – but the “oh my goodness, you have to report” shouldn’t ever be one’s first response to a friend’s revelation, it should be tenth or fiftieth, only after a lot of other practical support.

    I hope you are well-supported by people in your meatspace community,

  12. Jacob Schmidt says

    I’m of two minds. Generally, I agree. Telling someone to go to the police is usually just condescending. Yes, I’ve been to the police, and frankly, they were pretty awesome about it. That doesn’t change the experience of many others; it doesn’t change a demonstrable history of abuse from various police forces; it doesn’t change the risk inherent in doing so.

    The one exception, I think, is in a personal situation where a friend or acquaintance who has been assaulted isn’t sure if it’s worth reporting.* In such a scenario, I would tell them that going to the police is certainly an option (emphasis on option).

    * I mean for situations where the person in question has bought into the weird narrative surrounding sexual assault. I mean, if a guy can shove fake money down a women’s shirt and ask for a dance (facebook link) and get heaped with praise, they’re probably some victims who aren’t sure if things like that counts as assault (protip: they do).

  13. smrnda says

    I honestly think that some people become cops just for the chance to re-traumatize sexual assault, abuse, harassment and domestic violence victims. Cops also have a tendency to blame the victim, either out of misogyny but also perhaps out of laziness as well – if they discourage victims from going to the police, they can get back to the business of harassing minorities and other *more important priorities* for them.

    Wow, illegal for a woman to have condoms? Some police state there.

  14. abear says

    According to some people here you should not report rape to the police.
    I’m sure any rapists reading this are vigorously agreeing with that, they are counting on their victims silence to get away with their crime and victimize others.
    I’m not saying that someone that is emotionally unable to or is otherwise inclined to not report the crime should be forced to do so, but the active discouragement of reporting crimes is irresponsible.
    There are some lousy cops out there, but the majority are good. In many places there are support systems that can help victims deal with the stress of navigating the system.

    My personal credo is to make them suffer FAR more than they make me suffer. Carry knives. Learn self-defense moves. When they are on the ground, kick them viciously. Memorize license plates. Slash tires. Stomp heads. Use firearms.

    This is less offensive than giving advice about going to the police?

  15. says

    At the very least, going to the police helps to create a paper trail, and if you decide to (or need to) press charges or otherwise take it to court, you can show a pattern of abusive behavior. It’s part of the 3 D’s — Document, Document, Document.

    But it’s not the only thing I advise, and I’m aware (and often warn) that the police may do nothing more than take your report and pat you on the head and send you on your way. It happened to me.

  16. says

    I agree that unsolicited advice is condescending, insulting, and puts unnecessary pressure on the recipient, no matter how well-intentioned. This is true in many situations, but especially where the recipient is the victim of a crime. And I think your examples of supportive statements are great. In my limited experience, the closest anyone should get to offering advice is to start by asking a variant of the question, “what will you do now/next/about what happened?”, and offer whatever kind of support the victim asks for – including advice or resources – in carrying that out, whenever (and if) they decide to do something.

    As for reporting, though, are there any good options? It seems not. After all, while there’s a chance the perpetrator will go free even if a victim reports the crime, it’s an absolute certainty if s/he doesn’t report it. Yes there are cops who are really shitty at their jobs, and some that are abusive assholes, but as a former police officer and a father (and victim of sexual assault at age 13), I really struggle with the idea that someone I love – my daughter, for example – might consider it worth foregoing a chance at justice through the legal system if she became a victim.

    Like a lot of parents, I would walk through hell with my kid, and helping her face ineptitude and hostility would go right along with being a part of her support system. Would that be enough? I don’t know. Everything in me rebels against the idea that a perpetrator should go free without putting up some sort of legal fight. But as you pointed out, in such a situation, it’s not about me or what I think, feel, or believe. And that would be a really tough pill to swallow if the victim is someone you love.

    I guess I didn’t really have a point there, but your post resonated with me.

  17. Paul Roth says

    But what can be done to make the horrible situation stop? Do sexual assault and abuse support groups like RAINN help? I feel great despair at the thought that someone, often a friend of mine, could talk about being in such situations and not seem to be able to or know how to get out of those situations. I don’t care about my despair, but I care about the person who might die without escape.

  18. jesse says

    I’ll throw in with Paul Roth to ask this: what can be done to make it so that reporting what is pretty obviously a crime isn’t such a problem? Forget the whole thing about dumb advice for a minute. I am asking what (in the case of the NYPD, for instance) we should be asking, nay, demanding? We wouldn’t want to be in a situation where reporting a murder, say, was so fraught.

    Yes, cops abuse their authority and I am perfectly aware that there are huge institutional issues. But is there anything at all anyone can do to make it better? Something in the here and now. If I were to go to the city council meeting the next time anything with the cops comes up, what should the course of action be? That’s what i am asking about.

  19. Capt. Obvious says

    Let me start out by saying that I’m an Anarchist who hates the police.

    That being said, the stupid of this blogpost absolutely burns!! By not going to police after a rape or assault, you are protecting the perpetrator and enabling their behavior. You absolutely MUST go to police to file a report. Even if they do nothing, at least there’s a paper trail that can be used later to catch this person. Most rapists are repeat offenders and one of the few legitimate functions of police and courts is to catch and detain predators. Societies can’t fucntion properly when predators can operate freely without consequences. There needs to be a group of people to deal with these predators or they will destroy everything in their path. The only real alternative to police and courts are lynch mobs.

    Pick your poison, which do you think is worse??

    • PatrickG says

      You’re absolutely right. People have an obligation to report crimes to the authorities, because if they don’t, how can the authorities possibly be effective?

      People fail to understand just how necessary the evidence trail is. Authorities are incapable of investigation, prosecution, or otherwise effective follow-up until they are provided the facts of the case. Even the most libertarian or anarchist amongst us must recognize this basic fact, given the society we live in.

      I mean, just check out this story. Seriously, the situation was enormously improved by going to the police!

      If it needs it, this entire comment should be tagged “response to a fucking idiot”.

  20. Capt. Obvious says

    I see someone who can’t handle well articulated contrary opinions. The fact that you won’t publish my comment shows just how weak your position is.

  21. Pteryxx says

    But is there anything at all anyone can do to make it better? Something in the here and now. If I were to go to the city council meeting the next time anything with the cops comes up, what should the course of action be? That’s what i am asking about.

    Basically the police culture has to change, by pushing for training and education, accountability, and support for the victims that go through the process. Rape crisis centers are central to all three. As a citizen I’d suggest encouraging local officials to address the problem and develop friendly relationships with the crisis centers, and even point them to some of the documents and news articles we keep passing around here, such as the one about the Virginia police department changing its policy of assuming victims were lying.

    Reprinting my own post from a few months ago, with lots of details:

    What concrete actions can we take? What organizations can we support with our time/money? What can we do today to make it safer for women today?

    What comes immediately to mind is helping rape crisis centers. They’re chronically underfunded and understaffed, and one of their tasks is to provide advocates who help victims navigate (often hostile) justice systems. See EEB’s story here where the police specifically prevented her advocate from interfering with their revictimization disguised as due process.

    Rape crisis centers and survivor organizations also have been pushing to be recognized assistants to police investigation, because by educating the police and watchdogging bad departments, they can greatly improve conviction rates. Some forward-thinking police departments are changing their policies to cooperate with advocates; see this report:

    PDF link

    sourced from here on the Virginia department changing its policies to support victims.

    and beyond that, rape crisis orgs are at the forefront of pushing for changes in the laws to allow expert testimony about rape (currently disallowed in most cases).

    Schwartzman had some suggestions for improving jurors’ understanding of rape and helping victims get fair treatment:

    If social workers and trauma psychologists were allowed to act as witnesses or experts on rape trials they could explain the complexities of PTSD and what are normal and common ways that victims respond to rape. They would explain how trauma effects memory, effects your freeze or flight response and seeps into the body. Instead we have juries who rely on CSI and SVU to dictate to them how rape “really” works, what victims and perpetrators look like, and how cases should play out in a court room.

    Schwartzman and Miller both mentioned the need to shift the emphasis in rape cases off the victim and onto the perpetrator. Says Schwartzman,

    [T]he other way to help victims get justice in rape cases is to scrutinize the past and present behavior of the perpetrator as closely as they do the victim. How did the perpetrator act before, during and after the attack? How has the perpetrator acted toward sexual partners in the past? How is the perpetrator’s lack of remorse, obsessive apologizing, stalking, blaming, shaming behaviors common for someone who has committed a rape? […] Time to shift the focus and the responsibility from victims, to those who commit acts of sexual violence, so we learn the behaviors and cease to tolerate them.

    From Jezebel in 2011 citing Karla Miller of the Rape Victim Advocacy Program in Iowa:

    http://www.rvap.org/home/

    and Nancy Schwartzman of the Line Campaign:

    http://whereisyourline.org/

  22. says

    I want to ask all the people who are busy yelling about how it’s a victim’s civic responsibility to report a sexual assault or harassment complaint to the police one important question: what are YOU doing to make it easier for people to report these things to the police?

    Are you offering to stand as a witness when you see a crime happening? Have you done something as simple as just writing down your name and contact details on a piece of paper and offering those to the victim with a statement like “if you need a witness, I’m willing to speak up for you”?

    Are you willing to offer to attend a police station with a victim, so they’re not alone in front of a faceless bureaucracy when it comes to the reporting process? Are you willing to stand as a friend to a victim of crime, just so they don’t have to go through things alone? Are you willing to take time out of your busy schedule to suit the schedule of the victim, and arrange things around their life? (This is particularly a worthwhile question if you have a lot of social privilege – for example, if you’re white, identifiably male, and identifiably middle-class).

    Are you willing to stand beside a person all the way through the reporting process, all the way through any investigation, all the way through a court case, if necessary? Are you willing to provide that support?

    Are you challenging the social myths about rape and sexual assault in your circle of friends? Are you refusing to laugh at rape jokes? Are you pointing out the “missing stairs” in your communities? Are you doing something as simple as keeping an eye on the drunk people at parties or at the pub to make sure they aren’t being exploited by a potential rapist?

    Are you providing support to victims of sexual assault in your circle of friends? Are you offering them your belief in their story? Are you offering them support in their choices to do or not do what they need to do or not do in order to recover? Are you willing to accommodate their experience by not forcing them to confront their harasser in your social circle?

    If you’re not doing at least some of these things, then shut the fuck up, and stop demanding that the victims do all the heavy lifting. Get out there and start pulling your weight.

  23. Hannah (aka) says

    Thank you for writing this. You are right on all counts re what you need. Ive had some similar views over the years. I was a Police Witness after innapropriate sexual conduct by a medical professional. He was charged/convected. At that time I had a person beside me who was willing and available to support me all the way. He was a white male, middle class respected member of society. He was also my partner at that time. It turned out five (5) women had previously reported this medical professional and the Police added those prior failed reports to his charges after he was found guilty in a court re me. A legal win. I was 21-22 years of age. However after being a successful Police Witness against my husband for stalking, threats, threats to murder a smart bunch of Lawyers enabled him to seek retribution. They fabricated records re me, this has resulted in multiple false Police records re me, verbal/physical assaults by unknown persons, threats, threats to murder by my now ex-husband (one murder threat before a Magistrate) and his admissions in a Magistrates Court and a Commonwealth Court orally and by way of Notices to Admit Facts (a legal tool used by me) re multiple crimes being without legal result 2003-2013 (10 years). The difference I believe is I didnt have a white middleclass or any male or any other person stand beside me consistently through his repeated applications to remove my human rights 2003-2013 (10 years) but he had white/non-white middle class persons join him along the way willing to lie re knowing me and worse willing to lie under oath they saw/heard things. My evidence has all the facts, I have witnesses re my conduct, character. I even won an Anti-discrimination case after my employer acted on referral of my ex-husnds false statements, yet he remains free after committing repeated multiple crimes inclusive of physical/sexual assault today and me, for daring to report a crime, for daring to stand my ground with or without continued support to demand justice for me and others had my human rights removed on 3 December 2013. You are so right in what you say, I have lived it both ways – people just dont know the truth and they should shut TFU or stand beside you as a witness. Hannah

  24. Reuben Love says

    why not let the military take control if the police don’t want to do their work. What are they for? just to dress up, drive around,and look like they are protecting us?

      • Andrea McDavid says

        How about giving a woman and a whole group of women a crack at leading our culture. Men have made a total mess but meh, that’s what you get for letting hunter\warriors control the world, instead of nurturer gatherers. People wonder why 75% of humans don’t have clean drinking water, 50% go to bed hungry and 25% live in a war zone. Well, our brains evolved to fit our roles and yes our brains still have that wiring. I am speaking very broadly of course. Don’t quote exceptions. Exceptions don’t make a trend. The trend today is we are on the brink of planetary destruction. Guess why that’s not difficult to figure out why.

        Because hunter warriors do not have the brain wiring for peaceful harmonious collaborative problem solving. No they don’t They have a craving for the adrenaline of hunting and war. Yes they do. Why do you think 50% of your taxes are spent on war when people’s basic needs are not taken care of.

        Basic needs like water, food, shelter, firewood, healthcare were WOMENS work until very very recently when those roles became PAID work. Only then did men get involved. We were here for 95% or more of our brain evolution as small clans where men did not take care of basic needs. They did not fetch water, fetch firewood, gather berries, nuts, vegetables…they did not nurse the sick, clean up poop, mop up vomit, grind corn, patch the roof on a hut, WOMEN did all that and in native cultures today they still do. Men only did the hunting or very heavy work that women couldn’t do. The rest of the time they sat around just like they do today. You go to any country where men and women still have very traditional roles. The men sit around sipping something, shooting the breeze, and the women do all the work. I’ve travelled quite a bit and it’s true but don’t believe me. The famous anthropologist did a global trek to look at native cultures all over the world and he said…”the men sit around doing squat, shooting the breeze, playing cards, just like they do in every cafe and bar around the world…while the women are out planting and weeding and harvesting food, fetching water, taking care of kids and the sick, cleaning the house, making meals – basically working like rented mules.

        Modern western culture likes to promote men as working hard and yes they work. But if you go into any corporation, you will see the more senior a man is the less he works. His team does all the actual work. He just goes from meeting to meeting, not even taking notes or contributing anything. He just sits there saying very little and jumps in if he has a decision to make. It’s the people in the lower ranks who do all the work and analysis to come up with the decision he takes credit for.

        I should know. I’ve been a project manager in IT for 30 years. The senior men don’t even come to meetings with a pen and note pad. They are too lazy to even take notes. SOmeone below them does all the work and they just critique or approve. They don’t actually do any work. They just pontificate lol. They don’t do the work to solve problems. the team does, then they quote the work of the team as if it’s their idea.

        Most of the senior men I work with are just a waste of space and they are far less experienced and qualified than I am. They are just riding on the backs of the people below them. That’s all. The most senior people contribute the least.

        We have been told it’s not like that but it is.

        As for the military, they are a steeply hierarchical organization where basically one or two men at the top tell a bunch or “followers” to shut up and follow orders like a bunch of brainless robots. Steeply hierarchical organizations do not make the best decisions regarding complex social problems. They just don’t It was NEVER their role or focus. Social organization and administration was always womens work who did things in flat matrix collaborative organizations. Men only got involved once there was a pay cheque to collect for water management or waste disposal. Men never did that when it was a chore to be done in some village.

        I’m not even going to apologize if anyone is insulted because why should I apologize for the awful truth.

        Our planet has been hunted and warred almost to total collapse. I think the hunters and warriors should put down their weapons and go dig a ditch or mend a roof or DO SOMETHING USEFUL with all that (gorgeous) muscle while the people who actually care about people’s basic needs clean up this appalling mess.

        And lastly, for the military types who quote Jack Nicholson saying “When people don’t follow orders people die” I’d like to point out that ITS BECAUSE OF ORDERS THAT PEOPLE DIE> WITHOUT ORDERS TO KILL PEOPLE WE WOULDN”T HAVE WAR dum dum. And for any military guy who wants to bang on about how he risked is life to protect me, I say, COME HOME, I need protection right here at work, on the street, even in my own home. Men are trashing us women. How about a war to protect US from your rapist, sex trafficking, wife beating bro’s? Nobody ever set foot on North American soil so don’t tell me we need to spend 50% of our money on your wages and pensions when people are broke, hungry and homeless right here at home.

        As for the danger soldiers are in on the battlefield…let me say that a woman has about 10 times the likelihood of being beaten and murdered right here at home at the hands of some dud than YOU do on the battle field. Plus she is not armed. trained and does not have a platoon of bro’s watching her back like you do. Plus her attacker is about twice her strength. So don’t tell me women are weak. I’d like to see soldiers fight to survive with the odds we face. They need a reality check. As for dying in wars, WOMEN AND CHILDREN die at many many times the rate of soldiers during any war. They always have. So don’t ask me to call you my hero. You got paid to do something that never served me.

        There are much better ways to solve problems than bombing peasants in the desert who can’t even find your country on a map… duh.

        Sheesh. I’m sick of all the lies. I really am. So I’m not mincing words. Take it or leave it.

  25. Andrea McDavid says

    Oh my – this is so true. Let me tell you what happened to me. A drunk guy vandalized my car in 1997 and caused 2400 dollars in damage. I repaired it out of my own pocket. Guess why,. The cops talked to me then him an totally lied in their report. I know, because I’ve been pulling police reports to figure out why they are so dismissive towards me. Turns out, this one incident was reported from the drunk abusive guys lies. I told them he came to my city for the weekend to hang out and got drink and vandalized my car because I wouldn’t let him drive it. HE told them he was out of work and I was mean and wouldn’t let him sleep in the house which is a joke – he was the MANAGER of Natural Factors Lab in Vancouver. He had a great job which they didn’t check up on. They just took their bro’s side, which was a pack of lies, and libelled me in their records. Which started over a decade of being mistreated by cops, my male doctor, my male bosses…..yes, that’s what they do. They target you.

    Don’t go to the cops. They do this way more than people realize. If you don’t believe me then ask yourself….if over 300 police officers have filed a class action lawsuit accusing their OWN officers of harassing them to hell and back, then what does the public think they wouldn’t dare do to an isolated, hottie civilian like me. Don’t you think being a hottie attracts more aggressive men. Yes it does. Plenty of people assume if you are desirable you must be a bitch for not having a husband when the truth is, you can go through 100 dates and not one of those men has a decent attitude towards men. Our culture encourages tremendous ignorance and contempt towards women and then men wonder why and intelligent woman can’t stand them oozing entitled male supremacist propaganda at her, like she’s not a person, she’s just a resource to be plundered. His “Help meet” as the bible says….not her partner….oh no….

    Did you know the words in the bible used to describe Eve are EZER KENEGDO, translated in over 300 versions of the bible to mean, “helper” or “help meet” when REALLY they are easily translated to mean “strong savior in time of distress” and “equal and opposite counterpard”.

    Do you see an agenda in that mistransalation our western culture was built on. What better way to get men to join your relion business and pay sunday taxes but saying “hey bro, join us and we will assure you total and complete domination of women…because…you know…god says so” And they say pride is the gateway sin eh? Well I’d say that little con job totally seduced men’s pride, then lust, then greed and JEALOUSY. Because they are jealous we control procreation. Yes they do. Without us they have no connection to life They are the end of their own line without us. It’s not that they hate us. It’s that they NEED us and instead of behaving decently and winning our trust and love they just bully us into submission. Isn’t it the church that told men to treat us like breeding sows? Yes it is. And stupid men went along with it and they in turn became work horses. For whom? The church, the state…corporations of course. Who do you think profits when we overpopulate? Business, the military, religion….do you see now? Demoting women weakened MEN and enslaved MEN. That’s why the statue of liberty is a woman with shackles broken at her feet, not a man. (sigh). Wake up men. You are your own worst enemy.

    Why does this story matter when it’s so long ago? Well, once a cop makes you out to be a bitch to men in a police record, every angry man on the police force is going to be encouraged to abuse you. That’s what happened to me. Once this report went in my file I was “marked”.

    Once abusers in your community and in your profession know the police want to see you trashed, every abuser at work, in the community knows you are a sitting duck and boy have they had fun with me. I’ve had my house egged 5 times, I’ve been hired and fired 7 times in the last decade, I’ve had burned mutilated barbie dolls left on my doorstep, I’ve had a barbie doll left on my desk with ATE CUNT written on it. I’ve had my car vandalized countless times, my gas line gut, my windshield wipers bent in half….basically I’ve been tormented and never knew who it was. I moved 4 times which was financially devastating. I realized it has to be the police becuase nobody else has the technology to track you across the country for years on end. This has been going on for an age and a half for crying out loud.

    I even have a chat thread from a guy at work who says he could rape me and the police won’t help me because “everyone knows the police say you make up stories”. YES that’s what the abusive men in my profession say about me.

    As for the barbie taunts, that started 5 years ago by some IBM guys at work who messed up a very technical project that I cleaned up and delivered properly. They decided that rather than congratulating me on my skill and talent, they would degrade me and say “oh she’s just a barbie doll”.

    Well, sorry guys, I think the real issue is that this barbie doll has everything. I roll out of bed looking like barbie. I’ve given you my real name. If you want to check out why I might have a pack of dogs sniffing up my skirts go look at me on facebook or linked in. People say being pretty makes like easier. No it doesn’t All it does is make you tastier prey.

    I am DISGUSTED lol. I used to really cut men a lot of slack but not any more. I’ve been kind, tolerant, loving, generous, hard working and fair. I’ve always paid my way, I never once lied about any man ever, I never once even took a free drink when I didn’t intend to be nice to a guy. Nobody has ever come to me in need and been turned away. I was the sweet, kind giving woman every guy says he want’s. END THIS IS THE THANKS IT GOT FOR IT.

    Well……now that I have proof in my records of men cunt hunting me, men who my tax dollars pay to protect and serve me….men who destroyed my impeccable reputation, destroyed my career spreading defamatory lies about my character to men in my workplace….they can worry about THEIR career, they can worry about THEIR reputation, they can worry about paying THEIR mortgage.

    Because for every lie the told about me to crush me, I’m going to tell the truth and let them be crushed the way they crushed me.

    That’s JUSTICE.

    They know I’m on thier tail and I want them to know what it’s like to be hunted the way I’ve been hunted, The difference is that I am hunting the hunter in the sense that I am hunting liars, abusers, exploiters, harassers, professional woman haters. I’m catching them in their own words. Their own lies. There won’t be any “he siad she said”. Their own words in their own records will be used to catch them and prove what they did.

    I won’t even need a lawyer. This will be a slam dunk.

    Assholes. No wonder the police force has the highest rate of divorce of all the professions. That’s what I’ve been told by the son of a police officer.

    I used to trust the police.

    I agree with the poster. DON”T GO TO THE POLICE. You may get a good cop. Of course they exist. But you more than likely will meet a man who is reasonable to your face then smears you in his report to protect your abuser.

    People ask me why men on the police force would do this. Well I say. Haven’t you ever heard the expression “Bro’s before ho’s”? That’s all this is.

    Men hunting vulnerable women, using them as a punch bag for every woman who didn’t let him dump his DNA deep inside her body on the first date. I even had a cop hit on me and then demand to know why I wouldn’t let him have sex with me. Yeah. I did. I said, “Look, I don’t even know your name and you want to put your body fluids deep inside me. ” He said “Yes so what, that’s sex…whatever.” I said, ok, let me take a vial of my blood and body fluids with MY DNA and inject it into your abdomen and if you are comfortable with taking that risk then I’ll consider you putting me at the same risk.

    He shut up after that. Fucking moron.

    Oh yes, I’m pissed. I guess they think I’m easy meat but they don’t know me. I’m always the last person to get mad in any situation. But my daughter says “Don’t get my mom mad. Once everyone else has blown up and gotten over it, she’s just getting warmed up.”

    Oh yes. I don’t have an explosive temper. I go on a slow burn and that’s where I will get the stamina to kick some blue ass from here to the courts and back out onto the street, where they tried to drive a good woman like me.

    Yes I will.

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