Guest post: what harassment really is

Guest post by Tom Foss.

Quoting “vjack”


Harassment involves repeated, unsolicited behavior in which the target is demeaned, threatened, or offended in such a manner that a hostile environment is created for the target.

I wonder if Vjack’s workplace ever includes presentations on sexual harassment. If it does, I wonder if he just spends his time during them sleeping or doodling, because even cursory attentiveness would show what kind of bullshit this is. “Repeated” is often the case (and includes microaggressions that add up to create a hostile environment) but is not a necessary component–and, in fact, the sources I found (like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) don’t include “repeated” as a condition. Instead, the necessary components are severity and pervasiveness (1, 2, 3), with repetition figuring (as one of multiple components) into the “pervasiveness” aspect. [Read more…]

Understanding understanding harassment

Update March 27 – the tweet was a mistake, and does not reflect AAI’s views on harassment. See comment 33.

Update 2 See also AAI’s post on the subject.*


Aaaaaaaaand there’s this.


Atheist Alliance Int

Understanding Harassment | Atheist Revolution

And it links to the article at Atheist Revolution. There “vjack” explains what harassment is. Guess what!! It just so happens that it’s none of the things that the people I call harassers are doing to us! Is that a coincidence or what.

No, it’s not. It’s the whole point. Understanding Harassment=harassment is not what I’m doing to you.

How fucking convenient. [Read more…]

Dedicated dialogue

It’s still going on, Michael Nugent’s project to create a “dialogue” between harassers and the people they harass. He doesn’t call it that. In fact he doesn’t call it anything – he’s being so carefully neutral that he refers to it as just two “perceived sides.”

I find the whole thing rebarbative, because nearly all the participation so far is by people who have been harassing me and others for months–>almost two years now. I don’t want to talk to them. I don’t want to talk to them on the forum they set up to harass me and others, I don’t want to talk to them here, I don’t want to talk to them on Twitter, I don’t want to talk to them under the auspices of Lee Moore and his friends, and I don’t want to talk to them on Nugent’s blog. Nugent is doing this over the heads of the people who have been and still are being harassed. It’s not two “sides”; it’s people harassing and people being harassed.

So far all the project has accomplished is to give the harassers a new and much better place to post their “grievances”…and their compliments to each other on the quality of their harassment. Like just now, on this new post of Nugent’s announcing a new phase and a new website – we get a compliment to “Skepsheik”


Phil Giordana March 26, 2013 at 10:14 a.m.


(Love your Peezus and O series, so that’s out of the way).

Ah yes, “Skepsheik”‘s Peezus and O series, Yes who could fail to love that, when it’s so witty and sophisticated and sharp?

[Read more…]


Desperate Syrian women who find themselves refugees in Jordan can…sell themselves or their daughters, for usually a very small sum of money.

Her daughter Aya is their best hope.

“My daughter is willing to sacrifice herself for her family,” Nezar says. “If the war had not happened I would not marry my daughter to a Saudi. But the Syrians here are poor and have no money.”

Nezar’s daughter is 17. The Saudi groom is 70.

Maybe he’ll turn out to be a nice guy. [Read more…]

Thinking fast and slow and gun lobby

David Robert Grimes has the unmitigated temerity to consider evidence for claims that guns make us safer.

Academics such as John Lott and Gary Kleck have long claimed that more firearms reduce crime. But is this really the case? Stripped of machismo bluster, this is at heart a testable claim that merely requires sturdy epidemiological analysis. And this was precisely what Prof Charles Branas and his colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania examined in their 2009 paper investigating the link between gun possession and gun assault. They compared 677 cases in which people were injured in a shooting incident with 684 people living in the same area that had not suffered a gun injury. The researchers matched these “controls” for age, race and gender. They found that those with firearms were about 4.5 times more likely to be shot than those who did not carry, utterly belying this oft repeated mantra.

Yes but that’s all those other people. That’s statistics. I am different. If I had a gun I would use it the right way and never get overconfident or belligerent and never accidentally shoot my foot off. By the same token, if I opened a restaurant, it would succeed, and if I gambled invested in the stock market, I would make millions, and if I smoked, I would get healthier. [Read more…]

Learn to spot the signs

Remember the Islamic University of Gaza? That the LSE Student Union twinned with a few days ago? The Boston Globe did quite a flattering piece on it in February 2010.

The first sign that this is a different place from the Western universities it resembles comes when a bell rings in the library. Quickly the students on odd-numbered floors  – all men  – gather their books and file into the stairwells. Women file in to take their turn. In keeping with a puritanical interpretation of Islamic law, men and women aren’t allowed to study together, so they switch floors every two hours. They lounge in separate student unions and eat in separate cafeterias. At intervals during the day, the call to prayer sounds from the minarets of the campus mosque, and classes come to a halt. [Read more…]

He was just trying to compliment you

Ah yes – the ever-popular “random man tells woman to smile” number.

When I did not smile (I continued looking for my keys in my purse and avoided all eye contact, in fact), he told me my “pretty face was going to waste.”

Ah, no. It’s not. It’s being put to good use keeping her eyes in their right place so that she can see to find her keys and make her way around, and keeping her mouth where it belongs so that she can eat. It’s not going to waste at all. Its function isn’t to provide something for that random man.

There are lots of comments. Some are interesting. [Read more…]

What blocks empathy?

It can be so puzzling, looking back at even quite recent history, trying to figure out “what were they thinking?” What were the people who ran Irish industrial “schools” thinking when they treated the children like shit? What were the people who screamed abuse outside Little Rock High School in 1957 thinking? What were the people who owned slaves thinking? What were the people who sold slaves thinking? What were the people who captured human beings and sold them into slavery thinking?

What were the people who stole children from unmarried mothers in Australia thinking? [Read more…]