Rapists apologizing–or not

I just read this article by Deborah Copaken.  She’d been raped 30 years ago, but didn’t tell anyone at first.  She then told the intake psychologist at her University Health Services, but was advised not to report it to the police, because of the irreparable damage it would do to her: She wouldn’t be able to live in Paris as she planned, and her sex life would be dredged up and judged during the trial.  She didn’t tell her parents till years later–and did it through a memoir, not to their faces.  Due to the Kavanaugh hearings, she finally got the courage to write to her rapist and confront him.  His response:

And do you know what this man did, less than half an hour later? He called me on the phone and said, “Oh, Deb. Oh my god. I’m so sorry. I had no idea. I’m filled with shame.”

We spoke for a long time, maybe 20 minutes. He had no recollection of raping me, just of the party where we’d met. He’d blacked out that night from excessive drinking and soon thereafter entered Alcoholics Anonymous. But that, he said, was no excuse. The fact that he’d done this to me and that I’d been living with the resulting trauma for 30 years was horrifying to him. He was so sorry, he said. He just kept repeating those words, “I’m so sorry,” over and over.

Suddenly, 30 years of pain and grief fell out of me. I cried. And I cried. And I kept crying for the next several hours, as I prepared for Yom Kippur, the Jewish holiday of forgiveness. And then, suddenly, I was cleansed. Reborn. The trauma was gone. All because of a belated apology.

I also know someone who was accused of assault many decades after the fact.  He did not, could not remember ever doing such a thing.  But instead of denying it, he apologized anyway.

Contrast this to how Kavanaugh reacted to being accused, even though many witnesses have confirmed that he used to get blackout drunk when he was in high school/college.  Can’t he even consider that he might have done it and just doesn’t remember any of it?  Why can’t he apologize when others have done so for sexual crimes they don’t even remember?

I’ve also thought about–with all this going on, and #MeToo–finally confronting Phil and Shawn, all these years later.  But I wonder if it would do any good, because haven’t I already done this, with nothing good coming of it?

They were not drunk or on drugs when they did these things; they were fully conscious and remembered later.  But they did not apologize.

While Shawn did do a lot of pushing to get me to do things I was not initially comfortable with because of my upbringing, he didn’t go against my will.  That was not his transgression.  Rather, after all the pushing, I eventually began to want what he wanted to do, so I let him do it.

But then he blamed me for not saying no to him, for letting him do it, and I’d be subjected to HOURS of him scolding me (well into the wee hours of the morning, even 5am) for letting him do it.

I always let him take the lead, because of these scold sessions; I never, ever started things, out of respect for what he’d said the last time.  Yet he still blamed me for the things he did this time.

I never understood why he’d blame me.  I never could figure out how he could live with justifying himself like this by turning around on me what he himself had done.  It was definitely an abusive relationship, full of gaslighting and DARVO.  And like many abuse victims, I was too in love, and too involved in it to recognize it at first.  I finally went to the school counselor to help me break free of him.

But the words of Libby Anne and other bloggers are finally making it clear to me what was going on, how he could blame me for what he himself did:

While conservative evangelicals give lip service to boys and men, too, having an obligation to remain pure until marriage, the burden of saying “no” falls primarily on girls and women. Why was Dr. Ford at a party where there was underage drinking? Why did she go upstairs in a strange house, alone? She put herself in harm’s way—can a guy be blamed for asking what she was clearly offering? Or so the logic may go.

In evangelical circles, boys and men can be more easily forgiven for touching “loose” women than they can for touching godly virgins. In Proverbs, the “wayward woman” leads godly young men to the slaughter. In evangelical circles, girls can easily find themselves painted temptresses, and blamed for their own assaults. —White Evangelical Forgiveness Narratives, Brett Kavanaugh, and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford

Then there’s Phil.  Years later, I see his ex-fiancée posting on Facebook about how wonderful he is–so gentle, so sweet, wouldn’t hurt a fly–except there’s a “Bipolar Phil,” a guy with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, who takes over.  Yet I remember this episode, where I clearly said that what he did was rape, so he’s already been confronted:

But one night, what a horror!  In the middle of things he said, “Give me your backside.”

I kept saying, “No, not that way!” but he kept pressuring.

Before we finished, while still on top of me, he withdrew and moved down to my anus, not actually in but trying to get in.

I pleaded with him to move.

I clearly said no, and I also struggled, trying to push him away.

But he didn’t listen and didn’t move, and he ejaculated like that.  It got all over, and I got mad at him for not respecting my wishes.

At one point, as he sat hunched over on the side of the bed in the darkness, I said that rape could be grounds for divorce.

He said in a trembling, petulant, upset voice, “So are you going to divorce me now?”

I said no, but our reconciliation was probably painful.  It felt like a rape.  I still think of it as one.  He did to me sexually what I didn’t want him to do, despite my pleas.  The trouble is, in a situation like this, how would you even prove it in court?

….

[O]ral sex…was another point of contention: It was gross, no matter who did it to whom.  I didn’t want him to kiss me afterwards, but he would whine that none of his other girlfriends said that.

I didn’t want to do it to him, didn’t want to put anything like that in my mouth, did not like the taste, would not do it long enough to get him to ejaculate, because it was absolutely disgusting.

But he kept trying to get me to do it.  (His “subconscious” tried to ease me into it.  More on that later.)  But I got no pleasure from it, was grossed out by the whole thing.

I may have been traumatized by this and the constant coercion: When the cafeteria served okra that fall, I couldn’t eat it, because it was slimy and reminded me of oral sex.

Ever since then, I have never engaged in this disgusting practice again, and have been blessed with a husband who also finds it gross and wants nothing to do with it.

Late summer, during sex, Phil sometimes tried to turn me over to do my backside–with a petulant, angry, stern look on his face, like he wanted to control me and I’d better do what he wanted or else.  I would refuse and resist his hands, and push myself back down.

…In September, he broke off the marriage and spent a couple of weeks psychologically abusing me.  Then he came back to me.  I thought he wanted to be married again, but he just wanted sex and a submissive puppet.

By now, my will was broken, and I was desperate to do whatever he wanted, just to keep him from leaving again.

If I didn’t want to do something he wanted to do, it meant I didn’t care like I said I did.

I felt like I was walking on eggshells, and the slightest thing might push him away.  I felt I had to align all my opinions with his, do things exactly as he wanted even though I couldn’t read his mind, or he’d divorce me.

He seemed like a different person.  After he broke up with me, I was a broken, submissive person who was desperate to do whatever he wanted, just to keep him from leaving again.  That meant even oral sex:

One day, when he got me alone, before I had a chance to even talk to him, and without a word, he pulled down his pants.

He got a strange, angry, stern look on his face, and pushed my head down–forced, really, since I couldn’t move my head whether I wanted to or not.

I didn’t want to–it was smelly, I didn’t know if he had washed it recently, and I never liked doing this–but I did anyway, because of the unspoken but well-understood threat that he would divorce me if I didn’t. —Described here

This was a man in full possession of his faculties who knew exactly what he was doing.  This was a man who–when I used the word “rape”–became petulant rather than apologetic.

Now I hear about the bipolar Phil, the FAS Phil, and that he’s fighting for his life due to chemical imbalances that have damaged his brain and made him suicidal.  Since I already confronted him years ago, I wonder if it’s even worth bringing it up again.  I feel like maybe I shouldn’t poke the bear and dredge it all up again.  I wonder if he even remembers, given his brain damage.  I wonder if it’s all due to the FAS and bipolar and a couple of other diagnoses–which his fiancée has alluded to, without naming them.  I wonder if bringing it up again would be the last straw that would lead to him killing himself.

So I stay silent.  I think it’s best.  But still, the memories keep getting triggered, thanks to our president and his praising of Kavanaugh, along with the many defenses of Kavanaugh that have been coming from conservatives lately.

But I guess we’re just snowflakes accusing an innocent man.

 

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Brett Kavanaugh’s Narcissistic Rage episode, DARVO, and why we don’t speak up

The Kavanaugh debacle is triggering for many women.  Seems like every woman in my Facebook/Twitter feeds is being triggered.

And in a case that–for now–is he said/she said, how do we tell who to believe?

First of all, reporters have been doing more work than the senators apparently, digging up alumni and evidence all over the place.  For example, see the following:

Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer’s compelling story here.

Kavanaugh accuser’s friend says she has told him she needs more than one exit from her bedroom

A classmate who originally said that the incident with Ford was well-known at school, before retracting

The classmate’s original Facebook post on the subject

Affidavit from Accuser #3, accusing Kavanaugh and friends of predatory behavior

Kavanaugh Classmate Tears Into His ‘Blatant Lying’: I’ve Witnessed Him ‘Stumbling Drunk’

How we know Kavanaugh is lying

Old friend of Kavanaugh’s claims that his depiction of himself is a lie

As I watched the opening statements yesterday for both Ford and Kavanaugh, I paid close attention to their body language and demeanor.  Because yeah, I may have trouble with such things, but I’ve been studying narcissism/sociopathy for years now, and how to spot a predator or an abuser claiming to be the victim.

Ford was timid, terrified, quiet, on the verge of tears.  Like someone who has been attacked and traumatized and is scared of it happening again.  Even Fox News commentators and even Trump are saying she seems credible.

Kavanaugh, on the other hand, was on the attack: loud, raging, gesticulating, snarling.  Complaining about how this affects him–but never a thought to how it has been affecting Ford.  Instead of welcoming a full investigation, he evades the question, and derides the whole fact-finding process–a process which, if he’s innocent, should exonerate him.  Cold, dead eyes and a terrifying snarl.

Images of Kavanaugh are subject to copyright, and I don’t have $300 to pay for the rights to use one, so I don’t have images of him to clip and paste here.  So click on these links instead:

https://goo.gl/images/3aRGdB

https://goo.gl/images/cJ1T6G

https://goo.gl/images/aKwngR

https://goo.gl/images/e7AKoj

And then look at this:

Brett Kavanaugh's Narcissistic Rage episode, DARVO, and why we don't speak up 1

Genchi.info

And then this:

Brett Kavanaugh's Narcissistic Rage episode, DARVO, and why we don't speak up 2

Genchi.info

 

Look familiar?

Kavanaugh’s snarls are not the face of an innocent man defending himself/his family from attack.  They are the face of a predator whose prey has just exposed him.

My post on DARVO has been getting a lot of hits the past couple of days, especially after it was shared by somebody on Facebook.  It quotes Jennifer J. Freyd, who writes,

“It is important to distinguish types of denial, for an innocent person will probably deny a false accusation. Thus denial is not evidence of guilt. However, I propose that a certain kind of indignant self-righteousness, and overly stated denial, may in fact relate to guilt.

I hypothesize that if an accusation is true, and the accused person is abusive, the denial is more indignant, self-righteous and manipulative, as compared with denial in other cases.

Similarly, I have observed that actual abusers threaten, bully and make a nightmare for anyone who holds them accountable or asks them to change their abusive behavior.

This attack, intended to chill and terrify, typically includes threats of lawsuits, overt and covert attacks, on the whistle-blower’s credibility and so on. —Violations of Power, Adaptive Blindness and Betrayal Trauma Theory

DARVO means deny, attack, and reverse victim and offender.  It was done to me by Richard and Tracy in their e-mail here.  It was done to me by my abusive ex Phil.  It has been done countless times throughout the ages to victims by abusers and sexual criminals.  This frightening power play keeps countless victims from seeking help, as well, because they are terrified of what will happen to them.

One of the excuses used to not believe and to attack Kavanaugh’s accusers is that they didn’t say anything before.  That there should have been a police report if it really happened.  But girls and women who are victims of sexual assault or harassment are often too terrified to tell anyone.

If you want to know why they’re so scared, just look at accusations made against Ford:

“She shouldn’t have been at a drinking party.”

“She was going around in a bathing suit.”  (1, it was one-piece, 2, a bathing suit or bikini does not mean “rape me,” and 3, it was covered by her clothes.)

“Why was she in that room?”  (She just wanted to go to the bathroom, but got pulled into a bedroom.)

“Look how long she took to tell!  She’s just doing this for political reasons.”

She’s being blamed.  She’s being accused of lying.

Just like happens countless times when victims do speak up.  So often, we just stay quiet.

I never told my parents anything that happened to me in school, either.  My mom didn’t know that I stopped wearing dresses to school because a couple of boys lifted up my skirt and laughed one day.  My parents didn’t know that my high school ulcer and TMJ came from boys sexually harassing me in class and in the cafeteria.   They thought that going to classes about stress relief would help.

They didn’t know that–similar to what happened to another accuser, Ramirez–one of the boys pulled out his penis and put it next to me on the table as I ate my lunch, that I think I felt it brush my hand, though I refused to look at it, that the other boys laughed.

They didn’t know how one time, in the line to leave the cafeteria, the boys were harassing me so badly that I crumpled up against the wall to try to protect myself.  I don’t even remember what they did or said.

I also didn’t tell teachers about this.  I was too shy, too terrified of strangers in general, even though my friends were witnesses and told me to tell.

(That’s why friends should do the telling and not leave it to the traumatized victims.)

My parents didn’t know that my ex Phil tried to force me into anal sex, making me feel raped at least once, or that he forced me into oral sex when he hadn’t even bathed.  And no, I never reported it.

No, I don’t remember every detail.  I don’t remember who the boys were in high school, or what all they did or said.  But I remember it happened.

And I do remember exactly which teacher ridiculed and sexually harassed me in class.  There were witnesses.  But I never even thought to tell the principal.  I just switched classes the following semester.

As for Phil, I told a few friends some of what happened.  I don’t remember telling them everything.

I told his new girlfriend, Persephone, about it.  I hoped she would be appalled that her boyfriend would rape a girl.  Instead, her dismissive reply seemed to suggest that if I were telling the truth, and weren’t just being hysterical or hyperbolic, maybe even looking for attention, that I would report it to the police.

But I was too terrified to tell the police.  There was no physical evidence, so how could I prove it, for one.  (And this is often the case.)

For another, I didn’t know if a rape charge would hold up in court since I had agreed to have sex–I just had not agreed to have anal or oral sex.  I also didn’t want my parents to know we had had sex, because they were fundamentalists who didn’t know about our spiritual marriage, and were definitely against me having sex before marriage.  Even when your parents are not abusive, a combination of old-fashioned ideas and parental disappointment can be frightening.

Another reason to stay quiet is hearing “Get over it already!”  I’ve been seeing a lot of this in reactions to Kavanaugh’s accusers, when even WOMEN have been saying, “It was 36 years ago!  It was just a touch!  How can she not have moved on?”  or “All teenage boys grope!  Who cares?  It’s not a big deal!”

(You don’t forget.  You don’t move on.)

I had my own version of this a year after Richard’s friends sexually harassed me in a chat room.  He saw the whole thing, and how vile their words and behavior actually were.  Yet his wife treated it like it was nothing at all, and then Richard tried to mansplain me into believing that I was being “ridiculous” for still being upset over it (and over his continued friendship with these people) a year later.  He said it “wasn’t real” and he thought I understood that.

The only one being “ridiculous” here was Richard.

The Kavanaugh hearings are triggering for many of us because we see our own traumas being relived in the accusers, our own fears realized as the accusers are treated just as we were, or as we feared we would be treated if we spoke up.

We see nothing changed, even after decades of feminism and then the #MeToo movement.

We see men treating the hearings as a charade, even going into self-righteous tirades about it: not just Kavanaugh, but Lindsey Graham as well–who seems to have conveniently forgotten how Merrick Garland’s appointment was blocked by the Republicans.

And there was absolutely no legitimate reason to block Garland, while Kavanaugh’s temperament and character have already been proven to be narcissistic and dangerous.

Because yes, what we saw in Kavanaugh yesterday is known as narcissistic rage.  This happens when a narcissist or sociopath is called out on their crimes.

So I believe he is guilty.

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#MeToo: Sexual harassment/abuse/assault stories

Once again, a year after the last such Twitter trend (that time about handsy Trump), it’s time to Tweet about sexual harassment/abuse/assault again.  I’m reposting what I posted last year, now adding it to the #MeToo trend:

See juslikagrzly’s It has happened to me.  It has happened to you.  She writes about the pervasive problem of sexual harassment, by simply posting the stories of many women reacting to Trump’s banter on sexual assault.  She says,

It’s happened to me many, many times.  It’s happened to you many, many times — and Donald Trump’s vile and disgusting admission of sexual assault has brought the memories roaring back into my awareness.  It feels like being dragged down into a vortex of the shame, embarrassment, disgust, fear, and utter helplessness women experience when men have treated us like sexual meat.

One of the anonymous stories:

Watching the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings and wondering why she continued to work for him, all the while KNOWING EXACTLY WHY SHE CONTINUED TO WORK WITH HIM.  Feeling ashamed and embarrassed for her, myself, and all women who grit their teeth and put up with vile, disgusting behavior.

The stories have a common refrain: “I never told anyone.”  I didn’t talk about it, either.  I didn’t tell teachers.  I didn’t tell cafeteria monitors, even though friends told me to.  I didn’t tell my parents.  I didn’t change seats.  I just stayed silent, letting it eat away at my stomach until I had to get Pepcid for the stomach ulcer and medicine for the headaches and a splint for the TMJ.

I thought maybe it was the NVLD or selective mutism or shyness keeping me silent, but here I find plenty of other teenage girls who also said nothing, just put up with it.

Then, many years later, it happened again, online this time.  After many years of silence, I told my best friend, a man, what had happened back in high school–but now he turned around and told me the online stuff “wasn’t real” and I should “get over it.”

People say things are better for women and there is no rape culture.  But here’s Trump and Giuliani saying this is just “locker room talk” that men do all the time.  Trump’s apology was fake, as anyone who’s known a narcissist can tell you.  First he says he’s sorry, but then he turns right around and minimizes what he did, then deflects attention onto somebody else’s shortcomings.

Well, here are my stories, and I’m not silent about it anymore:

Elementary School

As a little girl, I loved wearing dresses.  I preferred them to pants.

Then one day in Kindergarten, as I walked to school, a couple of little boys cornered me and started lifting up my skirt.  I finally got away from them, but the damage was done: I never told my mom why I suddenly hated dresses and insisted on wearing pants all the time (except to church).

High School Sexual Harassment 

My freshman year in high school, I was sexually harassed by three guys, two of them together.

One of them kept making sexual comments to me at lunch, and once even put his penis on the table next to me.  I refused to look, but know he did it, because of the reactions of the guys around him.

I couldn’t stand the school’s chicken sandwiches after that because that’s what I was eating at the time, and it reminded me of it.

Now I know that I could’ve switched tables to get away from them, but at the time I felt trapped into sitting at that one table because that’s where I sat at the beginning of the year.  I didn’t realize that I could sit at a different table with other kids.

I’m not sure why I felt that I had to sit at that table, but it could have been an NVLD thing: “You can’t change the pattern you’ve already set!”

After lunch we would all stand by the door and wait for the bell; I can remember this guy doing or saying something while we stood in line, so much that I crouched down as if to protect myself.  But I just don’t remember what exactly he was doing.

The two other guys, who sat at the table behind mine in Biology class second semester, would spend the class period making sexual comments to me.  Once, one spoke so loudly to me during the lecture that the teacher stopped and scolded them.

I don’t know why I didn’t tell the teachers what was happening; a friend told me to do so about the lunch period bully, but something kept me quiet.  In fact, in general I was a passive recipient of bullying.  I just didn’t fight back.

Then there was the guy who called me up one day.  We were having a nice little conversation until he said he was playing with his d***.  I said something I now forget and hung up.  I never did find out who it was.  It sounded like he knew one of my classmates.

Then, of course, there were the catcalls, starting in middle school when my curves began to form, going on for years, sometimes at recess, sometimes while walking home from school.  Even a girl in my neighborhood made a sexual comment to me one day on my way home from school!

Religious and Sexual Harassment by a Teacher 

Meanwhile, my Photography teacher made at least one such comment as well.  (I don’t know why all this happened the same year.)

All first semester he’d been harassing me for being a Christian and having conservative values, even though I don’t recall saying a whole lot about them in class or much of anything, really, unless spoken to.

Other kids in Photography class joined in on the religious harassment, including a witch who told me her coven killed my cat (all I said was he went missing on Halloween and never came back), and one day started yelling at me that maybe God is the liar and the Devil is telling the truth–until a Jewish girl told her to quit it and leave me alone.

Then one day, during a work period, the teacher was sitting on a stool at a large table when I had to get around an obstruction of some type.  I don’t remember the details now, what the obstruction was, or anything.  But I didn’t want to go behind him to get around, because there wasn’t enough room and I’d run into his butt.

Rather than leave me alone like any decent man would do, he ridiculed me and told me to go behind him.

I don’t know why on earth I did this like an idiot–probably because I had grown up with the mindset that you do whatever a teacher tells you–but I started going the other way to go behind him, like an obedient student.

He started humming or moaning, and a girl said to me with wide eyes, “Better not do that.”

The following semester, I ditched that class and switched to a class on life skills.  He was a major reason why, both from this and from his religious harassment.

That year or the next, a letter to the editor of the school newspaper complained about an unnamed teacher who would sexually harass students.  I always wondered if the girl who “rescued” me was the writer and if she meant my Photography teacher.  (I must have forgotten her name already.)

All these things happened freshman year, and that year I began to get an ulcer from the stress.  After every lunch period, my stomach was in a lot of pain.

My junior year, I developed headaches from TMJ in my jaw, another stress-related condition, even though the freshman year bullies had either graduated or were no longer in my classes.

College Sexual Abuse

For my stories on this, see my college memoirs here, and look for Shawn and Phil.  Shawn is…complicated, a guy who kept pushing my boundaries and then saying he wasn’t attracted to me, and blaming me for everything he did.  Phil used various forms of manipulation and even tried to force me into anal and oral sex.

Online Sexual Harassment 

In late May or early June of 2009, while I was in an IRC chatroom with my best friend Richard, two of the admins started sexually harassing and bullying me.  Several of the other members–including a woman!–egged them on.

I did nothing to bring this on, had said nothing for some time, and probably wasn’t even watching the screen at first, while doing other things online.  I sat there in silent disbelief when they started doing this.

Then the Creep, one of the admins, because my handle was a hobbit, began making cracks like, was I hairy all over.  His comments turned to my private parts.

I just sat there in disbelief, not responding at all, when he started going on and on about how awful it is for women to not shave that area, and how his girlfriend shaves.

And then one of the other Creeps, also an admin, started insisting I post pics of that area.  I said nothing to these guys to bring this on; I don’t think I said a word through much of this.

I thought Richard would stick up for me, but he said nothing, at least not publicly so I could see it.

Richard quickly went onto a channel I myself had made recently for personal friends, so I could get away from these people and still talk with him.

While this stuff was going on, his wife Tracy came in the main chatroom.  I expected that she had seen everything and was going to give these creeps a piece of her mind, complete with her usual cussing.

But instead, when one of the admins told her I was being a b**ch for refusing to show him a picture of my private parts, she just said, “You know how hobbits are,” and started joking around and chatting with them about having a get-together at her house.

I finally told the main harasser to bite me.  The other admin said that was a stupid thing to say.  Richard even typed that he was “biting” me, basically participating now.

Then they kicked me off the channel, and banned me for several days.  I kept checking to see if I could get in, but just for information’s sake: I intended to have nothing more to do with that channel and those jerks.

These filthy creeps were actually friends of Richard and Tracy!  Nearly a year later, I learned that Richard told them they were being jerks.  But he never made them apologize or anything.  And they knew I was his real-life close friend, but did this anyway.

I was shaken and upset for days, trying to watch movies on TV, but this was constantly on my mind.  It was disturbing, made me feel gross. 

For probably at least a year, even making love to my husband would bring it back to mind, because of how gross it made me feel. 

This was no joking around–This was sexual harassment!  And Richard and Tracy did absolutely NOTHING to stick up for me!

As I wrote in an e-mail to Richard on June 5, 2009,

I’ve been feeling this massive boredom and sadness the past few days because of so many things happening at once….

This strange feeling of not knowing if I want to be around people or just hide away even from my best friends, waiting and waiting to hear that something has changed or been resolved….

I try to be happy and it almost feels like I’m manufacturing it, it’s not really felt.

I try to ignore the [IRC] thing, try to act like it’s not a big deal, but it just isn’t working.

I have to be honest with myself.  I have to put my finger on the problem: Why should I be upset about being banned from a place with people I don’t even like?

If that’s all it is, then I’d feel like an idiot.  So it can’t just be that.  Is it pride because I’m not the sort of person who gets banned from *anywhere*?  It’s part of it, maybe, but not all.

Is it the crying out for justice?  Maybe that’s it.  I want somebody to get chewed out.  I want apologies.  I feel humiliated.

That’s part of it: The humiliation.  I’ve been in flame wars before; I recall once sticking up for my friends and getting ridiculed for it, until finally the sysop put a stop to the whole thing.  I learned how not to feed the trolls.

But in this case I wasn’t even feeding the trolls.  I was just bored and playing a little here and there to pass the time, not being mean or nasty to anybody.

The humiliation comes from, mostly, being verbally abused for no reason and the others standing by and letting it happen–heck, some even joining in, saying don’t let the door hit me in the a** etc. etc., even a *girl* playing along like it was funny.

I remember it was [The Creep], [a few others], and possibly one other though I don’t remember now.  You say you were chatting with [The Creep]; I want to hear that you told him to knock it off and that he’s being an a****** to a dear friend of yours and that he’d better be apologizing to me ASAP because his “joke” is not at all funny.

I wrote about the guys in high school.

When Tracy came in I thought she’d seen everything and was going to chew out [The Creep], especially after he said I’m being b*****y for not posting obscene pictures of myself, but instead she just says “that’s how hobbits are” and starts joking with him and arranging some get-together….

I don’t want these people anywhere near me if that’s how they treat women.  All I ever did was be nice; I thought being your friend would mean good treatment; in return I got sexually harassed and verbally abused and banned. As far as I’m concerned, these are not good people.  Even as a joke–That just isn’t funny.

I feel sick inside.  I know you were disgusted by the whole thing as well; I’m not blaming you for anything.  I just can’t keep bottling it up.

I thought he would distance himself from them, stop hanging out with them, because they were so horrible, because they would treat a woman like that, because they were sexual harassers.

But no, he still kept going into that channel, still kept talking to the worst offender on the phone.  He occasionally brought them up in conversation.  I couldn’t understand how he could do this.

But he only mentioned them once or twice over the next year, so I said nothing–until I heard he was going to have them all over to his house in 2010.

In March of 2010, when my husband came home from D&Ding with Richard and Tracy one Friday night, he told me we wouldn’t be able to D&D with them the following weekend: They were planning to have those jerks from the IRC channel come visit them.

Here in my town.

In their house.

?????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was irate, telling Jeff, “It’s disgusting!”

If I saw somebody sexually harass one of my closest friends, I’d have nothing to do with him!

How could Richard not cut these people out of his life for being so horrid to women, to one of his best and closest friends, to the one who helped him above and beyond what most people would do?

And how could he invite sexual harassers to his house?  Wasn’t he afraid of letting these people anywhere near his little girls?

I couldn’t quite bring myself to tell Jeff just what these people had said to me in the chat, but tried to make him understand that he would’ve wanted to punch them all out if he saw it.  It took quite a while before I could tell him just what went on.

I ranted about it to Jeff, wondered what I should do about it, what should I say?  We pondered the wisdom, or lack thereof, of an ultimatum.

Jeff told me I had to make a decision on what to do, whether to say that Richard should drop these friends.  He also picked up some brochures about a circle of respect, which he was going to “plant” at Richard’s house so the jerks would find it.

The party was cancelled, but I began to ponder the situation, what to do about it, how to handle it, whether it was my problem or his.

A week or two later, I had almost forgotten about it, when something brought it back to my mind again, making me feel dirty and gross with the memory of what the creeps had said to me.  So I knew this was important.

So I wrote an e-mail to Richard about it.  This was around April 1.  It took me some three hours, carefully crafting it so he wouldn’t feel like I blamed him or anything, and carefully leaving out any hint that he should drop these friends.

I used all the tips that counselors recommend for dealing with difficult conversations, without putting people on the defensive.

I kept out how I found it disgusting that he would invite these jerks to his house.  I restricted my request to him please refraining from mentioning the names of these people around me, to help me to get past this and move on.

After all, the time he spent with me was only a few hours every week or so, most of which were taken up with D&D, and he rarely talked about them around me in the first place.  So this shouldn’t be too much to ask.

He said no.  In fact, he wrote such a scathing e-mail–saying that he had actually written other drafts which he scrapped, which were even more scathing–that I thought here was proof that no, he didn’t care about me at all anymore.

I cried, and was so upset that it affected me physically.  I even had to ask a neighbor to take my son to school, because I just couldn’t handle it.

Instead of writing back, I called him up.  He told me I was being “ridiculous,” that I needed to get over it, that online sexual harassment isn’t “real” and he thought I knew that.  He said, “I love you like a sister, but you’re driving me crazy.”

He blamed me, treated me like there was something hysterical about getting upset over guys online making personal remarks about my genitals and ripping into me for getting mad at them and not showing them naked pictures.

He complained about “pampering” me.

He also talked like there was something ridiculous about not wanting to hear the names of your sexual harassers spoken around you.

Yet even my husband feels the same way, cringing at the very name of someone who has abused or otherwise mistreated him.  My husband thought I was not being at all unreasonable, and did not like how Richard treated me over this.

I just couldn’t stand that he would call this “ridiculous” or tell me to just “get over it”–or that he and Tracy were still friends with the main harasser, the Creep, after this incident, that a year later he was talking with them about a get-together at their house and in my city.

I told Richard I didn’t want these guys to know what city I lived in, who I was, or anything.  But he said they already knew.

He said the Creep was actually shy and quiet in real life, not like his online persona at all–but that didn’t impress me, because you’re still a jerk even if you’re only a jerk online.  He said he did tell these guys they were being jerks to me, but now he so downplayed what they did, made it sound like I was just irrational and silly, that I couldn’t believe it.

He talked as if these guys were just behaving normally and did this to Richard’s other friends, but those friends would play along and be good sports about it.  It made me sound like a combination of prude and party pooper.

In August 2014, old college classmate Persephone shared this webpage on Facebook, Next Time Someone Says Women Aren’t Victims Of Harassment, Show Them This.

I then shared it myself, along with a short description of the above incidents.  My friends responded:

cyber bullying isn’t real bullying either then I suppose?  And cyber sex with minors isn’t real pedophilia is it??  The one who needs to get over it is the person who wants to diminish what your truth is.  If you feel like you were victimized then you were.” –(my old friend Mike)

what the h*?  Also, that his wife participated is equally disturbing but all too common.” –(Persephone)

I replied,

Oh yeah, he also told me he had other friends who would go in that particular chat room with him, and could handle that kind of ‘joking.’  Making me sound like I’m just too sensitive.  Yet for some time afterward, I felt dirty because of the things they said.

Persephone wrote,

ew, that SUCKS – and so much wth?  The ‘you’re being too sensitive’ is such a go-to from narcissists, usually when they’re enjoying your pain.  ?  “

 

 

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