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Dec 20 2013

The silence of the men

A woman, alone at a bus stop, late at night. A series of men pass by, leering and sneering. One man accosts her persistently.

Over the course of five minutes, he verbally threatened me with rape, a beating, and kept trying to lurch closer to me. When I barked “BACK OFF” and raised my fists, he took a couple steps back, but unzipped his pants and started pantomiming taking his dick out while continuing to call me a bitch and a stuck-up ho. “I am going to slap you, bitch. You deserve to get raped. You deserve a dick in your ass. Stuck-up ugly slut. You’re gonna get raped because you’re a bitch and bitches deserve whatever they get.” At one point he made a motion as if he was going for something tucked into the back of his pants. I just kept yelling at him as loudly and aggressively as I could. But I was genuinely scared at that point.

Sounds familiar. I’ve seen second-hand that surly resentment from men on the internet — it takes some courage and strength to stand up against it in person. Then the bus arrives, and with it some hope of rescue.

It was the middle of the night. I was alone, without a working phone or pepper spray. But we were in a brightly lit place, so I decided to stand my ground and keep yelling at him to stay the fuck away from me and hope the bus would arrive soon, which it did. I rushed to it. The doors to the bus opened, and I called to the driver, “this man just threatened to rape and beat me and started to expose himself, please don’t let him on.” Blank stare from the bus driver. My harasser actually pushed past me, got on the bus, sat down in the front seat, told the bus driver “pay this bitch no mind, she’s a crazy-ass prostitute” and laughingly told him, “she been harassing ME”.

And the driver shook the man’s hand, and ignored the woman.

The man is calling the woman a “bitch” and a “prostitute”, and the driver seems to find it unlikely that he’s been harassing the frightened woman. He does nothing. He says nothing.

The driver eventually ordered me to sit down. So I did. And then asked him: “why aren’t you doing anything? Why did you shake his hand and laugh? That guy threatened to hurt me and rape me. Why would you do that?” He basically ignored my questions. Ignored me.

I sat there, in shock, while my harasser continued to yell threats and insults at me from the rear of the bus.

And she still manages to remain charitable towards the driver.

This morning I called the Golden Gate Transit hotline and filed a report. I genuinely do not want to get the driver fired. He seemed young and totally clueless and lacking in empathy, but not actively unkind. I just hope that some sort of protocol adjustment happens. Some kind of conversation where it’s made clear to each and every driver that when a woman begs them to call the cops or to bar an aggressive man from their bus, they should DO THAT.

That’s all she wants? I wasn’t even there, and I want more. I want men to stop being accomplices in harassment.

53 comments

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  1. 1
    Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff

    Look up “Kitty Genovese”. This shit will continue until it is made a public health problem as much as STDs or SARS.

    Disgusted.

  2. 2
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Not only the silence. The complicity of the men.

  3. 3
    stevenjohnson2

    The excerpt doesn’t say anything about her asking him to call the cops.

    Trying to imagine the situation, I can picture a young, unarmed man unsure about the level of threat from a man already on the bus, trying to defuse a situation by being pacific instead of risking a physical confrontation. (And without risking his job by refusing service, depending on the bus line’s policies.) When I try to picture his acting as an accomplice to the continued insults and threats, I’m hampered by not knowing any of them. I’m also a little confused as to how the guy went from the front seat to the rear of the bus. The guy moved back to tacitly signal the driver he wasn’t an immediate threat to the woman?

    Giving passengers the right to order the driver to refuse service to others is trickier than you seem to think. I hate to say it but I know people who would amuse themselves gaming the such a system to taunt African Americans.

    The Kitty Genovese story has served as an anecdote about the worthlessness of humanity for years,
    But, from Wikipedia, “While Genovese’s neighbors were vilified by the articles, “thirty-eight onlookers who did nothing” is a misconception. The New York Times article begins:
    For more than half an hour thirty-eight respectable, law-abiding citizens in Queens watched a killer stalk and stab a woman in three separate attacks in Kew Gardens.

    The lead is dramatic but factually inaccurate. A 2007 study found many of the purported facts about the murder to be unfounded.[37] The study found “no evidence for the presence of 38 witnesses, or that witnesses observed the murder, or that witnesses remained inactive”.[38]
    None of the witnesses observed the attacks in their entirety. Because of the layout of the complex and the fact that the attacks took place in different locations, no witness saw the entire sequence of events. Most only heard portions of the incident without realizing its seriousness, a few saw only small portions of the initial assault, and no witnesses directly saw the final attack and rape, in an exterior hallway.[1] Additionally, after the initial attack punctured her lungs, leading to her eventual death from asphyxiation, it is unlikely that she was able to scream at any volume.[39] Only one witness, Joseph Fink, was aware she was stabbed in the first attack, and only Karl Ross (the neighbor who called police) was aware of it in the second attack. Many were entirely unaware that an assault or homicide was in progress; some thought that what they saw or heard was a lovers’ quarrel or a drunken brawl or a group of friends leaving the bar when Moseley first approached Genovese.[13]” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Kitty_Genovese

    In my lifetime, I’ve found that in the end anecdotes that tell us how depraved some class of people are, are not reliable guides. Anecdotes about how people are shit seem more reflective of an ideological assumption that a considered judgment.

  4. 4
    CaitieCat, getaway driver

    Things like this are why when I owned a car, I kept a small hatchet under my seat (on the principle my father taught me long ago, that looking fearsome is often more useful than being fearsome, and nobody likes seeing a hatchet in the hands of someone with possibly malevolent intent). And a few times, I got it out, when driving around and noticing guys harassing women. Not instantly, of course, but when my intervention inevitably led to slurs and threats, to point out that I was not interested in being intimidated, thanks all the same.

    I saw a woman clearly walking away from a man, both upset, and him running after to grab her. Twice, while I was on the far side of a traffic light. I pulled up and offered her a ride, or just shelter so she could call someone she knew and trusted, or whatever would be helpful. She opted to ask me to just keep him from following for a minute or two. So I did.

    The only one I was honestly scared myself in was when it was three guys, but Li’l Axey settled the question nicely without need for physical to-do. I’ve always intervened, and I always will, no matter how old and decrepit I become (I’m pretty decrepit now, and only halfway to dead). I’d rather die stepping up for someone than live having ignored them.

    Fuck standing by. What you walk past, you accept. I do not accept.

  5. 5
    gburgatheist

    This makes me very sad. Makes me angry. What happened to treating everyone with dignity and respect? What happened to treating women with respect? I’m not that old, but was taught to be better than this.

  6. 6
    PZ Myers

    #3, stevenjohnson2:

    Did you read this part?

    my harasser continued to yell threats and insults at me from the rear of the bus.

    Bus drivers do have a responsibility for the safety of their passengers. I’ve ridden buses often enough to know that when someone disruptive boards, what the driver will do is pick up that little microphone they’ve got and call their dispatcher to let them know there’s a problem…and depending on the severity of the problem, they will then send transit police to take care of it.

    The driver had more than just the complaints of the woman, he had the continuing behavior of her harasser.

    So you want to subtly shift the blame to the victim, by mentioning “her asking him to call the cops”? Why is it always either nothing or calling the police? That’s a fairly standard MRA rationalization, you know.

  7. 7
    davidjanes

    Here in DC they don’t even have to pick up the mike. They’ve got a button that changes the outside destination indicators to CALL POLICE. I’ve been on a bus where it was used, but in that case it was indeed a male passenger harassing the female driver. This was pre-cell phone days, but I understand the system is still there.

  8. 8
    The Mellow Monkey

    stevenjohnson2 @ 3

    People often don’t know what to do. They’re unsure and think…

    Many were entirely unaware that an assault or homicide was in progress; some thought that what they saw or heard was a lovers’ quarrel or a drunken brawl or a group of friends leaving the bar when Moseley first approached Genovese.

    …and so they do nothing and someone dies.

    Does their ignorance and fear make them bad people? No, but it allows them to sit back and do nothing while bad things happen. So how do we combat that? By tearing down the ignorance. We make it clear that you do intervene. You do call the police. You do what is necessary to protect people.

    If it sounds like a fight–whether it might be between friends, lovers or drunk strangers–then someone could get killed. You don’t have to know exactly how bad it is to know that it’s a bad situation.

    Some months back, there was a big rain storm here and a truck lost control as it was going around a sharp curve in the highway. It plowed through my neighbors’ house, dragged their eight year old grandson off the couch and through the yard and into the garage, where the truck finally stopped. We’re far away from town, so it took a long time for help to arrive. Another neighbor who is a retired EMT and I ran out to help. Everyone else in the community stood gawking on the other side of the highway. Are they bad people for doing nothing? No, but they learned. When there was a car accident a few weeks ago, this time they were out there with me, directing traffic out of the way and bringing spare blankets and coats for the kids in the accident. They had no special training, but now they knew not to be frozen in shock and confusion and hope someone else would take care of it.

    Sometimes that’s all it takes. Instead of hoping someone else will take care of it, step out. Call 911, guard someone who has fallen on the ground, wave cars around the accident, tell the guy to stay away from the woman who is frightened. Do something. Because sitting off to the side and being unsure of what’s going on is how people die.

    On the other hand, no man has ever died because he was told “stop harassing that woman”.

  9. 9
    cactusren

    @stevenjohnson2: You realize that PZ only posted a few excerpts, but provided a link to the full story, right? Maybe before saying things like “The excerpt doesn’t say anything about her asking him to call the cops” and “I’m also a little confused as to how the guy went from the front seat to the rear of the bus” you should try reading the whole account.

    But since you’re too lazy to click a link and do a little more reading, I’ll do your work for you and put the relevant quotes right here.

    I again asked the bus driver to either get him off the bus or call the cops. The bus driver refused to do either, and then, as I watched, he laughed good-naturedly along with my harasser and *actually shook his hand* when the harasser reached over.

    Harasser: “Sit your ass down, bitch.” Bus driver: stoically doing nothing. When it became clear that I wasn’t going to budge, my harasser got downright jolly with the driver, said “Imma go sit in the back of the bus where I belong now” and they appeared to share a moment of connection over my perceived overreaction. The implication being, I guess, that my response to threats of rape and a beating from a stranger while minding my own business alone at a bus stop in the middle of the night was somehow racist.

  10. 10
    mattwatkins

    #3 PZ didn’t quote the whole article. She did indeed ask the driver to call the police:

    My harasser actually pushed past me, got on the bus, sat down in the front seat, told the bus driver “pay this bitch no mind, she’s a crazy-ass prostitute” and laughingly told him, “she been harassing ME”.

    I again asked the bus driver to either get him off the bus or call the cops. The bus driver refused to do either, and then, as I watched, he laughed good-naturedly along with my harasser and *actually shook his hand* when the harasser reached over. I was stunned. I stood at the head of the bus and kept saying “why aren’t you listening to me? Please call the cops. Don’t let him stay on the bus.” With my harasser sitting right there in the front row, I refused to budge from the front of the bus, holding onto the railing, continuing to ask the bus driver to get him off the bus or call the police.

    Harasser: “Sit your ass down, bitch.” Bus driver: stoically doing nothing. When it became clear that I wasn’t going to budge, my harasser got downright jolly with the driver, said “Imma go sit in the back of the bus where I belong now” and they appeared to share a moment of connection over my perceived overreaction. The implication being, I guess, that my response to threats of rape and a beating from a stranger while minding my own business alone at a bus stop in the middle of the night was somehow racist. I was in shock and shaking and continued to hold onto the railing at the front of the bus. The driver eventually ordered me to sit down. So I did. And then asked him: “why aren’t you doing anything? Why did you shake his hand and laugh? That guy threatened to hurt me and rape me. Why would you do that?” He basically ignored my questions. Ignored me.

  11. 11
    moarscienceplz

    The Golden Gate Bus Twitter feed says the driver is being disciplined and they are going to discuss this with the woman.

    And stevenjohnson2 @ 3, stop JAQing off. It just makes you look bad.

  12. 12
    aziraphale

    #3, stevenjohnson2: You write

    “The excerpt doesn’t say anything about her asking him to call the cops.”

    The woman’s account, which PZ linked to, includes

    “I again asked the bus driver to either get him off the bus or call the cops”

    Poor reading skills, or did you think it unnecessary to see what she actually wrote?

  13. 13
    A Hermit

    stevenjohnson2@3

    The excerpt doesn’t say anything about her asking him to call the cops.

    ahem:

    http://theremina.tumblr.com/post/70314555185/i-was-threatened-with-violence-and-rape-and-begged-a

    “I again asked the bus driver to either get him off the bus or call the cops. The bus driver refused to do either, and then, as I watched, he laughed good-naturedly along with my harasser and *actually shook his hand* when the harasser reached over. I was stunned. I stood at the head of the bus and kept saying “why aren’t you listening to me? Please call the cops. Don’t let him stay on the bus.” With my harasser sitting right there in the front row, I refused to budge from the front of the bus, holding onto the railing, continuing to ask the bus driver to get him off the bus or call the police.”

    Shit for brains.

  14. 14
    twas brillig (stevem)

    My harasser actually pushed past me, got on the bus, sat down in the front seat, told the bus driver <redacted>

    I don’t want the following to sound like “victim blaming”, so forgive me in advance. I’m left with the question: Since the harasser got on the bus first (and sat down), why didn’t she just turn around and wait for the next bus? I can see why she would ask the driver to throw him off and call the cops, but after he refuses, jump off and let the bus carry him away. I know it is so easy to ex post facto quarterback the event, but I’m pretty sure my first response would be to just wait for the next bus. (and *then* call the bus supervisor to complain) Waiting in that neighborhood is forbidding, but slightly better than sharing the same bus with a known assailant. I’m sorry, not meaning to be obnoxious, sorry if I am anyway. Please forgive.

  15. 15
    sirbedevere

    I dunno, PZ. Your Vienna Teng post earlier gave me hope for humanity. Now this one might take it away. I’m going to get whiplash before long.

    (But thanks and happy holidays to you.)

  16. 16
    CaitieCat, getaway driver

    If there is a next bus.

    If she doesn’t have somewhere to be at a fixed time, unlike the rest of humanity.

    If she can be sure he won’t just leap off the bus one block down at the next stop, and come back to finish the job.

    If she feels safe enough in that neighbourhood to wait for who knows how long on a dark street, with people all around who, despite her yelling repeatedly, hadn’t come out to look or to help.

    If, in other words, she wasn’t a woman.

    So yes. Victim blaming All The Fucking Way. Since you asked.

  17. 17
    twas brillig (stevem)

    re 14:

    Good points. Apologies again:

    If she feels safe enough in that neighbourhood to wait for who knows how long on a dark street, with people all around who, despite her yelling repeatedly, hadn’t come out to look or to help.

    Yes! That’s what I tried to imply by “…forbidding…” in my lame question.
    —————————————————————————–

    If she can be sure he won’t just leap off the bus one block down at the next stop, and come back to finish the job.

    QFT!!! I didn’t even consider that. Blind me, so blind. SORRY.

  18. 18
    CaitieCat, getaway driver

    Then, SteveM, consider that a time when you have met an instance of your privilege. I say this only in friendly instruction; I doubt any woman reading it had failed to think of it, because we have to. Society won’t stop rapists, so it lumbers us with the job. Then blames us when we’re not able to stop it alone. :(

  19. 19
    scriabin

    Jeez. Sometimes it sounds like every man – as an adult, not a child – needs to have one instance in their early life where they suddenly fear for their safety or lose their sense of control of the situation, so that they come to understand their privilege (at whatever level that privilege may lie).

    ***

    As a total aside, and acknowledging that sexism exists at every level of our society, does anybody have any insight as to why such a virulent (bad Latin pun intended) form of it exists in the atheist/humanist/sceptical/scientific/whatever movement? I’ve fought it professionally and personally, but the stuff in these fora is really poisonous. It surprised me. I expected more of the men who seem to be enlightened in other areas…

  20. 20
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Stephenjohnson #3
    Further to what others have said, if someone getting on the bus is acting threatening at all, that’s grounds to remove them from the bus. If the driver feels personally threatened, then it’s time to call the transit cops. That’s simple professionalism for someone in that job, and someone not capable of it shouldn’t be in that job, full stop.

    Stevem
    I suspect there may be some class privilege there as well. Anyone of any gender who’s relied on the buses, especially the late night ones, to get where they need to be knows these two:

    If there is a next bus.

    If she doesn’t have somewhere to be at a fixed time, unlike the rest of humanity.

  21. 21
    LykeX

    On the other hand, no man has ever died because he was told “stop harassing that woman”.

    Bingo. I’d rather someone yell at me for no reason than they stay silent when there’s a real problem. In the larger scheme of things, my momentary embarrassment doesn’t really rate very high.

  22. 22
    tariqata

    @stevem at 12: “I don’t want the following to sound like “victim blaming”, so forgive me in advance. I’m left with the question: Since the harasser got on the bus first (and sat down), why didn’t she just turn around and wait for the next bus? I can see why she would ask the driver to throw him off and call the cops, but after he refuses, jump off and let the bus carry him away.”

    Apart from CaitieCat’s response, which I agree with completely, I’ve had similar experiences while taking public transit – albeit mine were much, much less terrifying than that of the woman described in this story – and the absolute last thing I wanted to do was continue to wait in an isolated place where I’d already been experiencing harassment. At least once I’d got on the bus or subway, there would be another person around, who might be expected to serve as a check on the behaviour of the harasser.

  23. 23
    Inaji

    Tariqata:

    and the absolute last thing I wanted to do was continue to wait in an isolated place where I’d already been experiencing harassment. At least once I’d got on the bus or subway, there would be another person around, who might be expected to serve as a check on the behaviour of the harasser.

    Yep. I took buses for years in SoCal, and to get home at night, after work, had to transfer four times, leaving me in the dark, late at night, alone, waiting for a bus. I might add that there’s an expectation of a bus driver having authority and taking responsibility in cases of harassment and other bad behaviour. A bus driver who decided to be complicit in harassing, threatening behaviour would be one hell of a shock.

  24. 24
    nrdo

    Yeah, it sounds like the woman was faced with only bad options; you can’t really second guess her decision to board. I would, however, give the driver the benefit of the doubt in that he may have been fearful himself. I once came upon what looked like a man assaulting a woman in front of my apartment. I shouted at him to get off and called security, but it was in the middle of the day in a location in which I felt relatively safe. I’d like to think I would have made the same decision in a dark, isolated location, but I can’t be certain.

    I know that this will probably piss off some people, but I don’t think you can separate violence against women from the general culture of fear and guns that seems so prevalent here in the US.

  25. 25
    twas brillig (stevem)

    re et al:

    Thank you for educating me so tolerantly. Guilty I am, of my privileges. I’ve been in similar (but much less threatening) situations that I just shrugged off, completely ignorant of the privilege that allowed me to do so.
    Thank you, again. Just to be clear, I completely support the victim here and don’t blame her in anyway. My question was only expressing my ignorance; not meaning to imply what she should have done. I was just ignorant, and asked to be enlightened. And you did. Muchos gracias!

  26. 26
    Inaji

    nrdo:

    I would, however, give the driver the benefit of the doubt in that he may have been fearful himself.

    I seriously doubt that, as he shook hands with the harasser. That reads more like bro culture to me, and bus drivers have rapid access to cops, you know.

  27. 27
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @Caine, #24:

    I agree completely.

  28. 28
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @Stevem, #23:

    Knowing everything in advance? Impossible.

    Accepting new information and integrating it? Awesome.

    Keep up the good example of taking risks and accepting new info gracefully.

  29. 29
    nrdo

    @ caine

    Well, I definitely agree that the driver made the wrong decision. The correct decision would have been to quietly call the cops as soon as the passengers were seated. That does speak to the general bias against women that’s ingrained in male “culture”.

  30. 30
    robro

    5th and Mission isn’t exactly “isolated.” It’s in the heart of San Francisco, close to the cable car turnaround at Market & Powell and two large, upscale shopping/entertainment centers. There’s an enormous, multi-story parking garage along Mission Street between 5th & 4th to service all the people driving there.

    However, it is a part of the southern extension of the Tenderloin. There are numerous SROs in the vicinity. Though there are always people around, even late in the evening, there will be quite a few men around who are drunk, on drugs, or both. The area bubbles over with violence and anger, these men ranting at one another or no one. So it’s scary, day or night.

    It’s unsettling that the driver didn’t call the cops when he was asked. He may not be empowered by GG Transit to throw one passenger off the bus because another asks him to, but he is certainly empowered to call the cops to handle such matters. Given the nature of the Tenderloin/SOMA area, cops are always close by and could have been there in seconds. But no, he chose to play the Bro-Game.

  31. 31
    tsig

    Stevem kudos.

    Nothing wrong with being wrong, staying wrong after evidence to the contrary is wrong.

    Acknowledging you were wrong, priceless.

  32. 32
    carlie

    Thank you, Stevem, for thinking about what people were saying and taking it to heart, and then letting us know you did. There are an awful lot of people who would never do that.

    I’m always worried, when it seems like a domestic violence kind of situation, whether interfering in any way would incur more problems later (because he’s embarrassed that “she caused a scene”). I assume in that kind of place, that walking a block or so away and calling the cops from there is the right action?

  33. 33
    stevenjohnson2

    “Did you read this part?”

    Since I commented specifically that I couldn’t picture the man’s behavior from the lack of detail in the excerpt, it was perfectly obvious that I read it. After the behavior at the bus stop, anything from that man’s mouth would be a threat, even if it didn’t seem like one to a confused latecomer to the situation. This rhetorical question does avoid the issue about passengers ordering drivers to refuse service to other passengers.

    “So you want to subtly shift the blame to the victim, by mentioning “her asking him to call the cops”? Why is it always either nothing or calling the police? That’s a fairly standard MRA rationalization, you know.”

    No, I don’t know, having no interest in MRA. But in this case, the woman should have called the cops instead of leaving him to wait for another victim. If the driver had a way to call, and she asked him to call, it was his obligation to call. According to another excerpt in the thread, that was the. Personally I think that’s the decisive information. I don’t usually bother to check links when I believe the source is honest and competent.

    However, there was nothing subtle about what I wanted, which was partly to point out that allowing some passengers the right to order the driver to refuse service may not be a good idea. And the larger part was to point out that the Kitty Genovese story is not the revelation of human nature it’s purported to be.

  34. 34
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    No, I don’t know, having no interest in MRA. But in this case, the woman should have called the cops instead of leaving him to wait for another victim.

    While you claim not to be an MRA, you certianly talk like one, and have the attitude of one. The cops should always be the last resort. Funny how MRA fuckwits and their apologists always bring it up as the first resort. My question is why not let lesser options work before the hammer gets invoke, a misogynist hammer since most cops don’t believe women either….

  35. 35
    edmundog

    Well, frankly, I do want the driver fired.

  36. 36
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Trying to imagine the situation, I can picture a young, unarmed man woman unsure about the level of threat from a man already on the bus, trying to defuse a situation by being pacific instead of risking a physical confrontation get assistance from someone who is in that place a figure of some authority, not getting it and instead seeing support for the attacker.

  37. 37
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    StevenHohnson2

    But in this case, the woman should have called the cops instead of leaving him to wait for another victim.

    1.) So, now it’s her responsibility that he doesn’t victimise another woman?
    2.) Has it occured to you that, since she asked the driver to do so, she didn’t have the means to call the cops?
    3.) Have you any clue about what women who report such things regularly experience at the hands of the police? Being ignored is about the best result, being sexually assaulted about the worst. There is a noticable difference in the police reactions to “woman calls the cops” and “bus driver calls the cops”. But I guess this has never even entered your head because you frankly expect to be treated with respect by the police and seem ignorant of the fact that not all people enjoy that privilege.

    However, there was nothing subtle about what I wanted, which was partly to point out that allowing some passengers the right to order the driver to refuse service may not be a good idea.

    So, b*tches be lying then.
    Don’t believe the lonely woman at night that she is being threatened by this guy. Always err on the side of the guy, because she clearly can’t be afraid alone on herself at night or she would not be out there.
    Checkmate, feminists!


    edmundog

    I would at least not be opposed against it. At least he would have to demonstrate that he is now able to do his duty. Any word along the lines of “that evil b**** who tried to get me fired” and he should be OUT.

  38. 38
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Giliell,

    Careful around that slippery slope. One day bus driver doesn’t let a threatening man on the bus, the next day he’s refusing service to someone who dared look at a woman and say “good morning”.

  39. 39
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    beatrice
    Exactly!
    And before you know it there will be busses for men only and they will all be shipped to the breeding pens!

  40. 40
    myeck waters

    You know, if you sent a bus around labelled “MEN ONLY – FREE BUS TO THE BREEDING PENS”, you’d probably get some takers.
     
    Just sayin’.

  41. 41
    knowknot

    Beatrice, Giliell
    And soon after taxpayers will be forced to pay for special LGBT-only busses, which will be a further immoral export to Russia and the world.

  42. 42
    twas brillig (stevem)

    re stevenjohnson2 @31:

    But in this case, the woman should have called the cops instead of leaving him to wait for another victim.

    I assume you missed the part where she wrote:

    I was alone, without a working phone or pepper spray. [emphasis added -stevem]

    You must have missed the first rule of this blog (tacitly): “READING COMPREHENSION”, you’re doin it rong. Get better at it.

  43. 43
    What a Maroon, oblivious

    @stevejohnson2,

    Since I commented specifically that I couldn’t picture the man’s behavior from the lack of detail in the excerpt, it was perfectly obvious that I read it.

    But in this case, the woman should have called the cops instead of leaving him to wait for another victim.

    From PZ’s excerpt:

    It was the middle of the night. I was alone, without a working phone or pepper spray.

  44. 44
    CaitieCat, getaway driver

    OT, thus brief*: stevem, I didn’t mention, and I apologize, that I did very much appreciate your being willing to take in my responses, strongly-worded though they were. Running up against your privilege isn’t fun anywhere or anytime (I know I’ve never enjoyed it when it happened to me the many, many times it has), and it’s easy to become defensive and lash out, when someone pushes it in your face like a virtual snowjob. You didn’t, and I find that admirable, and I’m sorry that I forgot to mention it earlier.

    I hope you will understand that I don’t feel able to apologize for being rough-tongued in the first place, because that grows from long, weary experience that those able to hear the answer rarely ask the question. So thank you for taking it in so well, and for being willing to learn from someone further down the ladder, even when voiced in a non-submissive tone. Those traits are valuable and too-rare assets in H. sapiens skepticandus.

    * Brief being a relative term. It’s shorter than most of my comments?

  45. 45
    neuroguy

    It’s self evident the woman in question was being harassed and the driver did not do anything about it even after the behavior continued on the bus, and this was unprofessional behavior on the part of the driver. However, she had nothing but good things to say about Golden Gate Transit in general, so I don’t know if in fairness this can be called a structural problem:

    I am appreciative to every person who’s reached out with compassion, and to the GGT representatives for being so proactive and professional in their response. A request: can everyone please stop rallying to get the driver fired? That’s not going to help ANYTHING…. But I don’t want a young man who was obviously inadequately trained to handle a volatile situation (and probably fearful) to lose his job. I just want him, and everyone else with his responsibilities, to get the training they need to do a BETTER job.

    A couple of questions (and these are general ignorance questions, I’m willing to learn) based on the title “the silence of the men” and the comment in the OP “I want men to stop being accomplices in harassment.” To what extent should this particular phenomenon be regarded as gendered (given the sexist society we have, and given that harassment is overwhelmingly male-on-female)?

    To what extent can it be assumed other women are never silent or accomplices? If the bus driver had been a woman, and acted in the same way, wouldn’t it be equally as valid to call her an accomplice in harassment? Do women generally get more support from other women when they are victims of harassment? Are women more likely to stick up for each other, or do they fear a backlash? Also, does a man’s silence encourage a perpetrator, or potential perpetrator, more than a woman’s would in the same situation, and does a man’s willingness to speak out count for more, as it were?

  46. 46
    SallyStrange

    To what extent can it be assumed other women are never silent or accomplices? If the bus driver had been a woman, and acted in the same way, wouldn’t it be equally as valid to call her an accomplice in harassment? Do women generally get more support from other women when they are victims of harassment? Are women more likely to stick up for each other, or do they fear a backlash? Also, does a man’s silence encourage a perpetrator, or potential perpetrator, more than a woman’s would in the same situation, and does a man’s willingness to speak out count for more, as it were?

    Stop JAQing off.

  47. 47
    Rey Fox

    To what extent should this particular phenomenon be regarded as gendered (given the sexist society we have, and given that harassment is overwhelmingly male-on-female)?

    You just answered your own question.

  48. 48
    quartercalling

    @43: I’d like you to imagine, for a moment, being a serf in a feudal society. You are constantly harassed and your family members have even been murdered at the hands of the lords of the land because they were bored and thought that you and your kind are naturally below them. You may talk to your fellow serfs and complain about how unfair it is that you should live in constant fear and find that many of them actually believe that they are naturally inferior to their lords and that they deserve the lives they have.

    Now, we have a situation that the oppressed have internalized and perpetuate their own oppression. But here’s the thing – telling the LORDS to shed their prejudice and set the serfs free is far more effective than the serfs no longer being complicit in their own oppression. Why? Because the LORDS are the ones with the privilege and the power here, and they are the ones who have the most options to end all the oppression. Sure, the serfs could all decide that they’ve had it and have a bloody, awful revolution, but they would probably mostly die and be shoved back down into their caste again because the lords have superior weapons and other ways of squashing a problem like that.

    It’s the same thing with gender relations. It’s far more effective for men to stop being complicit in sexism against women, because they’re the ones who have the power in the situation. They’re more likely to be listened to, more likely to be able to stop assaults, more likely to have a positive effect on his friends. Yes, there are women who are guilty of sexism, but if all the women in the world suddenly threw up their hands and decided enough was enough, it would STILL not be enough to stop these pervasive attitudes men have about them.

    I mean, after all, if a man is harassing or assaulting a woman, do you REALLY think he’s going to listen to another woman telling him to stop? Another man would be far more likely to get through to him. That’s why the focus is on getting men to stop being complicit here. It’s just a better way to go about getting rid of the problem.

  49. 49
    neuroguy

    @47:

    Thanks for the reply. And I see your point. I think we agree that the responsibility for ending oppression lies squarely on the shoulders of those with the power to end it. However I can’t quite agree with your analysis of power dynamics. The situation you mention regarding feudalism isn’t quite analogous to the present situation regarding sexism. Specifically this statement:

    Because the LORDS are the ones with the privilege and the power here, and they are the ones who have the most options to end all the oppression.

    First, what if some of the lords had actually decided it was time to end the oppression, though they were met with opposition from other lords? As a result, some of the former serfs ended up in positions of real power due to those lords who wished to end the oppression. If these former serfs, on the other hand, don’t use their power to at least reduce the oppression but, instead, use their power to uphold and even increase oppression, why shouldn’t they be called out for this every bit as much as the lords?

    Second, what if many of the lords didn’t have all that much power to begin with, because they themselves were oppressed on other axes? This statement:

    It’s far more effective for men to stop being complicit in sexism against women, because they’re the ones who have the power in the situation. They’re more likely to be listened to, more likely to be able to stop assaults, more likely to have a positive effect on his friends.

    Is a white man really likely to listen to a black man? Or a rich man to a poor man? Or a neurotypical man to one deemed psychopathological?

  50. 50
    SallyStrange

    Stop JAQing off, neuroguy. You obviously have some kind of point buried underneath all that wanking. How about just making it.

  51. 51
    Rey Fox

    The point is that sometimes women internalize misogyny either unconsciously or to curry favor for themselves within the system, so look over there look over there look look look over there

  52. 52
    quartercalling

    @49: I said lords and men had MORE options to end the oppression. I didn’t say they had ALL the options. Sure, some of the lords are going to have a vested interest in keeping the system the way it is, just as some of the men are going to have the same interest. But that doesn’t mean that the rest of the men who know there’s something WRONG with the way women are treated in society don’t have more influence when they speak out against it, and it doesn’t give them any excuse to simply ignore it or be complicit in it when they see it happening. Just because a man is a member of a minority group doesn’t mean that he should keep his mouth shut in those situations either. EVERYONE should speak up, whether they’re man, woman, a person of color, homosexual, etc. It’s just that men should especially speak up because they typically hold more persuasive power in a society where all women are thought to be unreasonable or otherwise inferior.

    You just seem to be trying really hard to make up reasons as to why men shouldn’t have to speak out against the harassment or abuse of women. Why is that I wonder?

  53. 53
    SallyStrange

    The point is that sometimes women internalize misogyny either unconsciously or to curry favor for themselves within the system, so look over there look over there look look look over there

    Clearly. I’m just curious to see if he has enough intellectual honesty/courage to admit it. It’s obvious to the rest of us; admitting it to himself would probably be therapeutic.

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