Category: sexual harassment

Sexual harassment allegations against SEO and tech rockstars

For the past several days, I’ve been watching real-time evidence of a narcissistic culture in the SEO Industry.  These are the people who help your website draw in more visitors; one of the so-called “rockstars” is Joost de Valk, founder and CPO of Yoast (company which provides a popular Wordpress plugin while also educating website owners on and helping with SEO practices).  He has also just been appointed Marketing and Communications Lead for Wordpress.org.

I first heard of the story on the WP Tavern, a Wordpress blog, here: YoastCon Overshadowed by Twitter Storm: Joost de Valk, SEO Industry Leaders Called Out for Objectifying Women

From what I can gather, a few people have been posting and tweeting to bring attention to allegations against De Valk and other “rockstars” which they say have been ignored for years now.  The allegations include sexual harassment and treating women like sex objects.

They pulled out a few tweets that sound bad, but which the intended recipient says was not harassment.  The trouble is, however, that the whistleblowers are now being harassed online, called trolls, while in the WP Tavern comments, many people–mostly men–are scolding them and saying it’s not an issue.  One–a man–even wrote:

OMG…
Imagine a world where no men or women have any sex on their mind. One does not need to be a rocket engineer to conclude mankind would die off in about 40 years. And you beggars are programmers.

If there did not happen anything physical it is OK until anyone involved says it would be too much for her. Even if there happened anything physical is also OK until it was consensual.

So go and find a real issue please!

By the way there are women who hardly ever get noticed by men, i am absolutely sure that case hurts way more than being noticed.

UGH!  There are so many things wrong with the above quote.  First of all, the idea that it’s okay as long as it’s not physical–That reminds me of my ex-friend Richard saying that online harassment of me wasn’t “real” and I was being “ridiculous” because it upset me.  Then, basically saying that it’s worse to NOT be harassed because you’re not pretty enough.

UGH UGH UGH!

Along with this is a total disregard of the fact that the allegations go way beyond a few questionable tweets from years ago.  The independent news website The Overtake went more in-depth than the Tavern did, posting an article with the following:

The SEO-industry’s history is one steeped in gender prejudice, the objectification of women and sexual harassment.

One woman who was afraid of being identified said she had been ostracised and lost friends after calling out senior executives in SEO for inappropriate behaviour. Another described being pushed out of a company after refusing to visit strip clubs. The Overtake has also heard about incidents of alleged groping, sexual comments and other inappropriate behaviour, including rumours of a serious sexual assault in 2014 which was allegedly covered up.

A now-deleted review on job rating website Glassdoor mentioned an incident where a woman says a company CEO put her in a situation where she appeared semi-naked in front of colleagues against her will. The Overtake has seen the review but we have chosen not to reveal further details to protect the victim. –Giada Origlia and Katie Wells, Gaslighting–abuse–cover up–#Metoo is finally spilling out into tech

I’ve also been following the Twitter feeds of a couple of women in tech who are also speaking out about this, confirming that it’s not just something that a few guys made up to make the SEO “rockstars” look bad (an accusation which I’ve seen repeatedly).  The women are speaking of an atmosphere in which they’re passed over for promotions and their contributions minimized because they are women.

And on the Twitter feed of one of the male accusers, I found this thread.  On the feed of another accuser, I found this, linking to a Reddit post which read:

I have been at events in Germany where it’s happened. I’ve heard even worse reports from women at events in Germany where it’s happened – literally illegal, sexual assault stuff, and with no recourse and no followup. Until a few years ago, I was like you and would say “I haven’t seen that at all,” but when I started asking questions and paying deeper attention, I saw it everywhere. It’s heartbreaking. –Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz

A blog post from 2017 speaks of a “coding rockstar” who harassed and groped the writer.  She was told to report him, but like many women, did not feel comfortable doing so.  So then in 2017 she heard him say in a tech talk at a conference,

He started his talk with disparaging comments about women and their role in tech. He followed that up with a derogatory anecdote that his girlfriend’s job was to “do him.” He did not stop there, he went on to attack the group I work with, calling us whiny and making fun of our efforts to make websites more inclusive to people with disabilities. He mentioned (more than once) that he could care less about making his project more accessible to others. –Carie Fisher, There are Weinsteins lurking in every profession–including tech

After reading these posts online, the comments in the Tavern become especially egregious.  I see so much gaslighting and trying to shut down the conversation, trying to shut up the whistleblowers.  I’ve made a few comments myself, trying to alert them to how bad this looks to outsiders, but I’ve been completely ignored.  (Ignore the woman–You mean, like they’ve been doing to the women who are victims of this harassment?)

But no, in the Tavern and in comments to the whistleblowers on Twitter, men (and one or two women) have been, basically, calling it a big nothingburger.  While the whistleblowers and victims have been speaking out and saying it is indeed something and they won’t be ignored anymore.

And the allegations are hardly a revelation–The following was written in 2013, and I’ve seen videos of SEOktoberfest (now yanked from Youtube) proving this is true:

There is no doubt that the technology sector is more than averagely sexist. The reasons for this are multitude and too complex to explore in this blog post, but suffice to say that the technology sector – and the digital marketing sector, as a subset of the tech industry – is infused with a laddish attitude and enjoys pervasive and embedded sexism.

I find this rather unpalatable. I think the tech industry needs more women, and more participation from women. We shouldn’t abide by companies and conferences using objectified women as enticements and attention grabbers. We’re not stone age cavemen any more.

…Some conferences use booth babes – or even Playboy playmates – as enticements, and whenever you see such a prehistoric mentality on display you should strenuously avoid the conference and let the organisers know their backwards approach to marketing ensures you will never participate in their event. –Barry Adams, Fighting Sexism at Digital Conferences

Considering what I’ve seen on gaming forums online, I suppose it’s not so surprising: After all, when I was dipping my toe in such forums in the mid-00s, I saw lots of sexism, lots of “raep” jokes.  That’s where I got the harassment I described above, which Richard dismissed as “not real.”  That’s where you find a lot of techies, the ones who are likely to go into the industry.  And then they wonder why there are so few women gamers or techies….

 

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Repost from 2017: Realizing that past issues with men have been caused by #patriarchy ( #MeToo)

When I came across this post in the course of normal blog maintenance, it reminded me why it disturbed me so much to read on my ex’s fiancee’s Facebook that he is a “gentle giant,” sweet, wouldn’t hurt a fly, etc. etc.: Because the man I knew was very much a chauvinistic carryover from the olden days.  Only sweet when he wanted to entrap you, or make you change your mind when you’re so fed up that you want to leave.  So I’m reposting it:

Thanks to reading blogs (such as by Samantha Field and Libby Anne) and reflecting and writing over the years, I can finally pinpoint what caused the behavior of all sorts of boys/guys/men in my past (and present).  Makes me wish I could go back in time with newfound confidence and set them straight.

Part of it was often narcissism and abuse, yes.  But that’s not the big driver.  It’s quite simple: Patriarchy explains where they got the idea that it was their place to lecture me on how to act, what to wear, whether to put on makeup, how to do my hair.  That they got to decide what we would do, not me.  If I wanted to do something, I was a slut; if they wanted to do something and I didn’t, they kept pushing.  They could have all sorts of complaints about me, including ones with no basis in reality, but I wasn’t allowed to object, or to complain about them.

Part of the problem was when–friend or lover–they thought they got to call the shots in the relationship, and I did as well.

To see that this is a real issue, note, for example, the episode “Betty, Girl Engineer” from Father Knows Best.  I reviewed it here.  When Betty decides she should be an engineer, everybody begins to tell her that it’s ridiculous for a girl to be an engineer.  As I wrote,

She signs up for a work-study position surveying, but is shamed out of it by the supervisor. However, instead of telling everyone where they can stick it, and following her dreams, she succumbs to the brainwashing, puts on a dress, and the chauvinist pig supervisor becomes the latest in her long string of boyfriends. Father even encourages the chauvinist pig to lecture Betty out of her silly dreams (since apparently girls need to be taught by men what to think). She ditches her silly whim of being an engineer, and becomes a Proper Girl (TM).

This is a blatant demonstration of men having the idea that they can lecture women on what to think, that women can’t do it themselves, and society encouraging it.

(Now please, before I get hate e-mail, I am NOT a man-hater, nor do I see every man as an abuser/harasser/chauvinist.  But this is a very real problem women have been dealing with for millennia.  MOST of the men I’ve known have NOT behaved badly toward me.  And yes, many women are horrible people as well.  Many of my friends are men who are perfectly respectful.  But for the ones who have behaved badly, long-ingrained patriarchy–only now being torn down in society–is to blame.  One need only look at today’s politics and various realities inside churches to see that such patriarchy is still alive and well, despite years of fighting it.  “It’s just locker room talk” leads to presidency; wives told to submit to abusers.)

My #Metoo post helped drive the point home for me.  It was a repost of things I wrote years ago; as I reviewed it, and read responses to the #Metoo movement, I got a new insight into what was in the minds of my harassers and others.  For example:

–Sexual harassment from guys in elementary and high school who apparently thought they had the privilege to do whatever they liked, even in the middle of class.

–Guys making catcalls to me as I walked down the street, when I just wanted to get from here to there, not deal with their crap.  What made them think they could do this?  I never heard girls yelling out of their cars at guys.  Even girls sometimes harassed me on the street!

–Even a teacher religiously and sexually harassing me–in the middle of class, with witnesses.  What gave him the idea he could do this?

–Guys telling me to “smile” when I’m just walking down the street or sitting in church or whatever.  One time, I was sitting in the car waiting for my husband, quietly musing and listening to music, minding my own business, when some man came along and actually started berating me for not smiling!  What the f***?  What gives them the idea they can do this?

–In college, Shawn kept pushing me to various forms of petting and sexual activity, even when I kept saying I didn’t want to go that far, telling me it wasn’t sinful.  When I began to change my mind and give in, even want it, now I was the slut letting him sin.  Whatever I did, was wrong.

And to explain why he would do these things but refused me the dignity of being my boyfriend, he kept lecturing me on how I didn’t act the way he liked (I was an introvert), that I should put on makeup, that I should show more skin like my friend did (I wasn’t comfortable doing that), that I should wear jeans (I hate how rough they feel), that I should change my hair.

When my friends gave me a makeover, he said I looked like a different person–and made it sound like I should do that from now on.  Okay, so apparently I have to look like a different person and not myself to please you?  Some people actually think I’m fine as I am.  See there, this idea that he should tell me how to dress, how to act, how to look!

He also told me other people said bad things about me.  He told me all sorts of things about me that weren’t even true, according to all of my friends (even the blunt one), and yet these were his reasons not to date me.  He also never bothered to get to know the real me, just kept his concept of me.  And then, finally, he decided we shouldn’t be friends anymore because I “let” him do these things, and he was disgusted by me.

It’s from reading blogs by people such as Samantha Field and Libby Anne that I now see how Shawn’s behavior was driven by Christian patriarchy and the Purity Culture, how this has been screwing up the heads of women everywhere for years, making them feel like sluts no matter who did what, making them feel like they’re responsible for the behavior of someone else.

–Phil, who thought I should be an obedient wife, always doing whatever he said without complaint, no matter if my needs were ignored, no matter if what he wanted was degrading, disgusting, painful.  And when I wasn’t like this, used shame, anger, withholding normal sexual relations, even telling his friends I was abusive, to punish me.

–Then Phil’s friend, after the breakup, telling me I was going to be an “old maid,” that I was the only girl he felt the need to say this to, that every other girl knew instinctively what he was about to tell me.  Then he proceeded to lecture me on how I should dress, how I should act, my morality, and even what career path I should follow.  Because obviously I needed a man to tell me these things and couldn’t figure it out for myself.  Because obviously my own wants are not important, and all that matters is if I please men with what I do.

And what’s up with “old maid” anyway?  See there, this guy who pretended to be a forward-thinking man, yet kept to the old-fashioned idea that a girl who doesn’t marry should be called the pejorative “old maid,” while a man who doesn’t marry is a respectable “bachelor.”  The very concept of an “old maid” is that no man wanted you, so you’ve been tossed aside.  But a bachelor chooses to be a bachelor.

–Then there was the guy, a friend of my now-husband, cornering me one day and telling me I need to be more “lively,” whatever the heck that means.  Apparently, yet again, my natural temperament and behavior was not good enough.

–My “best friend” Richard lecturing me–yet again–on how my natural temperament and behavior not only were not good enough, but were actually supremely offensive to his wife.  (Here’s a case of a woman having a patriarchal attitude, because she, too, tried to tell me how I should act, what I should think, etc.)

He scolded me on what I believed, whenever it didn’t match up with what HE thought it should be.  He scolded me for my politics.  He scolded me for not acting the way HE thought I should in various cases.  Such as, he scolded and shamed me for saving letters and e-mails to and from friends.

He scolded me for having an equal marriage instead of one where the husband was in charge.  He scolded me for thinking ecumenism was a good idea.  (His wife even scolded me for believing in evolution.)  He scolded me for not liking gory movies.

He said he wanted to “strangle” me because I–despite all his past scolding–insisted on believing that I have NVLD.  Because obviously–despite my years of research into it–he knew better than me, being a man and all.  (A mutual friend, Todd, also says–by the way–that Richard bullied HIM with psychology as well.)

Basically, Richard was very narcissistic, yes, and also very much of the idea that he got to tell me what to do!

And then when one of his friends sexually harassed me in an online chat room, not only did his wife invite that friend to their house, but a year later, when they invited this guy to their house AGAIN, Richard actually scolded me and called me “ridiculous” for still being upset over what the guy did.  He said it wasn’t harassment because it was online and that isn’t “real.”

So–a man gets to tell me when I’m being sexually harassed now?  And if I disagree, and refuse to forgive someone who never repented of his actions, I’m being ridiculous?

And what gave his friend the idea in the first place that he could harass me, that he could decide whether women should shave intimate areas, that he could then say that he only dates women who do, as if I even cared at all what he thought, considering that I’m married and have zero interest in dating him?

(And no, I never told him whether I did or didn’t, because it was none of his freakin’ business.  This crap came out of nowhere with no encouragement or engagement from me.)

What gave another guy in the chat room the idea that he could tell me to post pictures, and then complain to Richard’s wife when I didn’t?  What got Richard’s wife to say “You know how [they] are” instead of telling him off for being a pig?  What got another woman in that chat room to join in on the harassment?

What got the original harasser to then ban me from the channel when I hadn’t done a thing wrong, and in fact had sat there quietly through most of this, afraid to say anything, appalled?

Years later, when I told an old college friend what happened, she kept saying, “What the hell?” and she, too, pegged Richard as a narcissist.  Seems that she, too, has had experience with narcs.

–And, of course, there are the situations, apparently common to women everywhere, of not feeling they can bring up complaints, because even wonderful, feminist husbands get offended.  Of husbands leaving their stuff lying around on the floor, so wives try to give them a chance to be a big boy and pick the stuff up, but days later, the wives finally pick it up themselves.  I always thought this was just a Mars-Venus, male-female difference, but this blog post blames it on ingrained patriarchal attitudes that are tough to shake.  This is one of the blog posts that shocked my thinking.

Now I want to go back in time, find Shawn, find all of them, and tell them, “Who are you to tell me what to think/feel/do?  I can decide those things for myself!  You don’t get to do it just because you’re male.”

Of course, at the time I may have been too timid, too intimidated, to say anything.  Like many have said recently, women often keep quiet so as not to rock the boat, bring more trouble on themselves.

I recently read a letter to an advice columnist (I think it was Dear Prudence) by someone who had been sexually assaulted, but felt the #Metoo trend was shaming her for not speaking out.

Not only is #Metoo NOT obligatory, but some of the comments I found underneath the column were disturbing.  I got the impression that some people thought #Metoo was exploitative.  So, first we are shamed into silence.  Finally, we get the courage to speak out and speak up about what happened–and, yet again, we’re shamed for doing so?

Just as I was shamed for speaking up years ago about abuse I’d experienced, my motives questioned, told to be quiet.

Not only should a victim NOT be shamed for NOT speaking up, but a victim should also NOT be shamed FOR speaking up.

When I was young, despite decades of feminism, we still kept hearing how we should do things to please men, rather than being more assertive.  It wasn’t just back in the 50s, with Kitty on Father Knows Best being told that she had to stop being a tomboy, and start wearing dresses and being manipulative, if she wanted to get a boyfriend.

No, still in the 80s and 90s, we heard things like, If you want to get a guy’s attention, do this or that to get him to notice you and ask you out.  If he doesn’t ask you out, he’s not that in to you anyway, so forget it.  Let him say “I love you” first lest you freak him out.  And polls still showed that guys wanted to do the pursuing.

Also, until recently, I didn’t realize just how widely this reaches until I saw this post which was widely shared on social media three years ago.  There were things I didn’t even realize were part of the system of power and control, because I had always just believed “that’s how it is.”

There are still many women in churches being taught that men have to dominate over them/the churches.

This is still a problem.  We’re not imagining it.  Time to stop being surprised that it happens, and start stopping it.

I could keep going, but dang, my word count is getting high.  I’ll post now….

(Please comment on the original post.)

 

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Realizing that past issues with men have been caused by patriarchy

Thanks to reading blogs (such as by Samantha Field and Libby Anne) and reflecting and writing over the years, I can finally pinpoint what caused the behavior of all sorts of boys/guys/men in my past (and present).  Makes me wish I could go back in time with newfound confidence and set them straight.

Part of it was often narcissism and abuse, yes.  But that’s not the big driver.  It’s quite simple: Patriarchy explains where they got the idea that it was their place to lecture me on how to act, what to wear, whether to put on makeup, how to do my hair.  That they got to decide what we would do, not me.  If I wanted to do something, I was a slut; if they wanted to do something and I didn’t, they kept pushing.  They could have all sorts of complaints about me, including ones with no basis in reality, but I wasn’t allowed to object, or to complain about them.

Part of the problem was when–friend or lover–they thought they got to call the shots in the relationship, and I did as well.

To see that this is a real issue, note, for example, the episode “Betty, Girl Engineer” from Father Knows Best.  I reviewed it here.  When Betty decides she should be an engineer, everybody begins to tell her that it’s ridiculous for a girl to be an engineer.  As I wrote,

She signs up for a work-study position surveying, but is shamed out of it by the supervisor. However, instead of telling everyone where they can stick it, and following her dreams, she succumbs to the brainwashing, puts on a dress, and the chauvinist pig supervisor becomes the latest in her long string of boyfriends. Father even encourages the chauvinist pig to lecture Betty out of her silly dreams (since apparently girls need to be taught by men what to think). She ditches her silly whim of being an engineer, and becomes a Proper Girl (TM).

This is a blatant demonstration of men having the idea that they can lecture women on what to think, that women can’t do it themselves, and society encouraging it.

(Now please, before I get hate e-mail, I am NOT a man-hater, nor do I see every man as an abuser/harasser/chauvinist.  But this is a very real problem women have been dealing with for millennia.  MOST of the men I’ve known have NOT behaved badly toward me.  And yes, many women are horrible people as well.  Many of my friends are men who are perfectly respectful.  But for the ones who have behaved badly, long-ingrained patriarchy–only now being torn down in society–is to blame.  One need only look at today’s politics and various realities inside churches to see that such patriarchy is still alive and well, despite years of fighting it.  “It’s just locker room talk” leads to presidency; wives told to submit to abusers.)

My #Metoo post helped drive the point home for me.  It was a repost of things I wrote years ago; as I reviewed it, and read responses to the #Metoo movement, I got a new insight into what was in the minds of my harassers and others.  For example:

–Sexual harassment from guys in elementary and high school who apparently thought they had the privilege to do whatever they liked, even in the middle of class.

–Guys making catcalls to me as I walked down the street, when I just wanted to get from here to there, not deal with their crap.  What made them think they could do this?  I never heard girls yelling out of their cars at guys.  Even girls sometimes harassed me on the street!

–Even a teacher religiously and sexually harassing me–in the middle of class, with witnesses.  What gave him the idea he could do this?

–Guys telling me to “smile” when I’m just walking down the street or sitting in church or whatever.  One time, I was sitting in the car waiting for my husband, quietly musing and listening to music, minding my own business, when some man came along and actually started berating me for not smiling!  What the f***?  What gives them the idea they can do this?

–In college, Shawn kept pushing me to various forms of petting and sexual activity, even when I kept saying I didn’t want to go that far, telling me it wasn’t sinful.  When I began to change my mind and give in, even want it, now I was the slut letting him sin.  Whatever I did, was wrong.

And to explain why he would do these things but refused me the dignity of being my boyfriend, he kept lecturing me on how I didn’t act the way he liked (I was an introvert), that I should put on makeup, that I should show more skin like my friend did (I wasn’t comfortable doing that), that I should wear jeans (I hate how rough they feel), that I should change my hair.

When my friends gave me a makeover, he said I looked like a different person–and made it sound like I should do that from now on.  Okay, so apparently I have to look like a different person and not myself to please you?  Some people actually think I’m fine as I am.  See there, this idea that he should tell me how to dress, how to act, how to look!

He also told me other people said bad things about me.  He told me all sorts of things about me that weren’t even true, according to all of my friends (even the blunt one), and yet these were his reasons not to date me.  He also never bothered to get to know the real me, just kept his concept of me.  And then, finally, he decided we shouldn’t be friends anymore because I “let” him do these things, and he was disgusted by me.

It’s from reading blogs by people such as Samantha Field and Libby Anne that I now see how Shawn’s behavior was driven by Christian patriarchy and the Purity Culture, how this has been screwing up the heads of women everywhere for years, making them feel like sluts no matter who did what, making them feel like they’re responsible for the behavior of someone else.

–Phil, who thought I should be an obedient wife, always doing whatever he said without complaint, no matter if my needs were ignored, no matter if what he wanted was degrading, disgusting, painful.  And when I wasn’t like this, used shame, anger, withholding normal sexual relations, even telling his friends I was abusive, to punish me.

–Then Phil’s friend, after the breakup, telling me I was going to be an “old maid,” that I was the only girl he felt the need to say this to, that every other girl knew instinctively what he was about to tell me.  Then he proceeded to lecture me on how I should dress, how I should act, my morality, and even what career path I should follow.  Because obviously I needed a man to tell me these things and couldn’t figure it out for myself.  Because obviously my own wants are not important, and all that matters is if I please men with what I do.

And what’s up with “old maid” anyway?  See there, this guy who pretended to be a forward-thinking man, yet kept to the old-fashioned idea that a girl who doesn’t marry should be called the pejorative “old maid,” while a man who doesn’t marry is a respectable “bachelor.”  The very concept of an “old maid” is that no man wanted you, so you’ve been tossed aside.  But a bachelor chooses to be a bachelor.

–Then there was the guy, a friend of my now-husband, cornering me one day and telling me I need to be more “lively,” whatever the heck that means.  Apparently, yet again, my natural temperament and behavior was not good enough.

–My “best friend” Richard lecturing me–yet again–on how my natural temperament and behavior not only were not good enough, but were actually supremely offensive to his wife.  (Here’s a case of a woman having a patriarchal attitude, because she, too, tried to tell me how I should act, what I should think, etc.)

He scolded me on what I believed, whenever it didn’t match up with what HE thought it should be.  He scolded me for my politics.  He scolded me for not acting the way HE thought I should in various cases.  Such as, he scolded and shamed me for saving letters and e-mails to and from friends.

He scolded me for having an equal marriage instead of one where the husband was in charge.  He scolded me for thinking ecumenism was a good idea.  (His wife even scolded me for believing in evolution.)  He scolded me for not liking gory movies.

He said he wanted to “strangle” me because I–despite all his past scolding–insisted on believing that I have NVLD.  Because obviously–despite my years of research into it–he knew better than me, being a man and all.  (A mutual friend, Todd, also says–by the way–that Richard bullied HIM with psychology as well.)

Basically, Richard was very narcissistic, yes, and also very much of the idea that he got to tell me what to do!

And then when one of his friends sexually harassed me in an online chat room, not only did his wife invite that friend to their house, but a year later, when they invited this guy to their house AGAIN, Richard actually scolded me and called me “ridiculous” for still being upset over what the guy did.  He said it wasn’t harassment because it was online and that isn’t “real.”

So–a man gets to tell me when I’m being sexually harassed now?  And if I disagree, and refuse to forgive someone who never repented of his actions, I’m being ridiculous?

And what gave his friend the idea in the first place that he could harass me, that he could decide whether women should shave intimate areas, that he could then say that he only dates women who do, as if I even cared at all what he thought, considering that I’m married and have zero interest in dating him?

(And no, I never told him whether I did or didn’t, because it was none of his freakin’ business.  This crap came out of nowhere with no encouragement or engagement from me.)

What gave another guy in the chat room the idea that he could tell me to post pictures, and then complain to Richard’s wife when I didn’t?  What got Richard’s wife to say “You know how [they] are” instead of telling him off for being a pig?  What got another woman in that chat room to join in on the harassment?

What got the original harasser to then ban me from the channel when I hadn’t done a thing wrong, and in fact had sat there quietly through most of this, afraid to say anything, appalled?

Years later, when I told an old college friend what happened, she kept saying, “What the hell?” and she, too, pegged Richard as a narcissist.  Seems that she, too, has had experience with narcs.

–And, of course, there are the situations, apparently common to women everywhere, of not feeling they can bring up complaints, because even wonderful, feminist husbands get offended.  Of husbands leaving their stuff lying around on the floor, so wives try to give them a chance to be a big boy and pick the stuff up, but days later, the wives finally pick it up themselves.  I always thought this was just a Mars-Venus, male-female difference, but this blog post blames it on ingrained patriarchal attitudes that are tough to shake.  This is one of the blog posts that shocked my thinking.

Now I want to go back in time, find Shawn, find all of them, and tell them, “Who are you to tell me what to think/feel/do?  I can decide those things for myself!  You don’t get to do it just because you’re male.”

Of course, at the time I may have been too timid, too intimidated, to say anything.  Like many have said recently, women often keep quiet so as not to rock the boat, bring more trouble on themselves.

I recently read a letter to an advice columnist (I think it was Dear Prudence) by someone who had been sexually assaulted, but felt the #Metoo trend was shaming her for not speaking out.

Not only is #Metoo NOT obligatory, but some of the comments I found underneath the column were disturbing.  I got the impression that some people thought #Metoo was exploitative.  So, first we are shamed into silence.  Finally, we get the courage to speak out and speak up about what happened–and, yet again, we’re shamed for doing so?

Just as I was shamed for speaking up years ago about abuse I’d experienced, my motives questioned, told to be quiet.

Not only should a victim NOT be shamed for NOT speaking up, but a victim should also NOT be shamed FOR speaking up.

When I was young, despite decades of feminism, we still kept hearing how we should do things to please men, rather than being more assertive.  It wasn’t just back in the 50s, with Kitty on Father Knows Best being told that she had to stop being a tomboy, and start wearing dresses and being manipulative, if she wanted to get a boyfriend.

No, still in the 80s and 90s, we heard things like, If you want to get a guy’s attention, do this or that to get him to notice you and ask you out.  If he doesn’t ask you out, he’s not that in to you anyway, so forget it.  Let him say “I love you” first lest you freak him out.  And polls still showed that guys wanted to do the pursuing.

Also, until recently, I didn’t realize just how widely this reaches until I saw this post which was widely shared on social media three years ago.  There were things I didn’t even realize were part of the system of power and control, because I had always just believed “that’s how it is.”

There are still many women in churches being taught that men have to dominate over them/the churches.

This is still a problem.  We’re not imagining it.  Time to stop being surprised that it happens, and start stopping it.

I could keep going, but dang, my word count is getting high.  I’ll post now….

 

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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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Response to a story of sexual trauma found online

(These are excerpts from a post I wrote in April.)

I came across the following post through a WordPress plugin which brings up supposedly similar blog posts to link to in your own posts:

Now We Are Free by Lauren Shifflett

She writes of her sexual abuse and harassment by a youth leader in her church, but prefaces this with how she was bullied as a kid.  I saw similarities with my own experiences, but her comments are turned off (probably because people get mean), so I’m writing this blog response instead.

She, like me, was rejected as a girlfriend, but was a target of sexual harassment by her male peers.  This put all sorts of negative opinions of herself into her head.  She

couldn’t understand why ninety percent of boys found me repulsive and the remaining ten percent felt this strange need to expose themselves to me in some sexual way.

Same thing with me.  My first memory of sexual harassment was from Kindergarten.  I loved to wear dresses.  Every day I wore a dress, preferred them to pants.  Then one day on the way home from school, a couple of boys, smaller than I was, cornered me and kept lifting up my skirt and laughing.

My mother never understood why, all of a sudden, I insisted on wearing pants instead of dresses, because I never told her.

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.

The one who used me, ripped me apart constantly, then criticized me for being too “negative” and reserved.  How could I feel more confident and open when he kept essentially telling me I was unloveable?

And yes, you internalize this.  I felt much as Lauren did.  I didn’t have a boyfriend at 15 like she did, so there was no sexual activity back then, but I do know how this makes you feel like you’re just a weirdo who no one will actually love, and ugly.  My mom got upset with me for not thinking I was pretty, but how could I think so when this is how I got treated?  I felt ugly…..

Read more here.

 

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#notokay No, Trump, not just locker room banter: My own sexual assault / harassment stories

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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Prevalence of porn leading to teenage girls forced into anal sex

Warning: Not for children.  Though teenage girls should see it.

My heart weeps at the thought that many young girls are now being put through what I was 20 years ago by my ex-husband Phil:

Pornography has changed the landscape of adolescence beyond all recognition by Allison Pearson

Some quotes:

A GP, let’s call her Sue, said: “I’m afraid things are much worse than people suspect.”

In recent years, Sue had treated growing numbers of teenage girls with internal injuries caused by frequent anal sex; not, as Sue found out, because she wanted to, or because she enjoyed it – on the contrary – but because a boy expected her to.

“I’ll spare you the gruesome details,” said Sue, “but these girls are very young and slight and their bodies are simply not designed for that.”

Her patients were deeply ashamed at presenting with such injuries. They had lied to their mums about it and felt they couldn’t confide in anyone else, which only added to their distress.

When Sue questioned them further, they said they were humiliated by the experience, but they had simply not felt they could say no. Anal sex was standard among teenagers now, even though the girls knew that it hurt.

 

….[M]ore than four in 10 girls between the ages of 13 and 17 in England say they have been coerced into sex acts, according to one of the largest European polls on teenage sexual experience.

Recent research by the Universities of Bristol and Central Lancashire found that a fifth of girls had suffered violence or intimidation from their teenage boyfriends, a high proportion of whom regularly viewed pornography, with one in five boys harbouring “extremely negative attitides towards women”.

 

Mature women can generally make up their own minds about what they are and aren’t prepared to do in bed. That is a private matter among consenting adults, although I don’t know a single woman who thinks that a man insisting on anal sex is anything other than a depersonalising act of aggression.

For inexperienced teenage girls it’s a different matter. Their whole sexting culture sends them one crude, insidious message: buggers must be choosers.

I went through this with Phil, only unlike these girls, I refused to let him do this, knowing that I did not have to.

In response, Phil accused me of always needing to have my own way.  He tried punishing me through no sex at all for refusing anal.  He even tried an elaborate hoax to try to influence me into doing what he wanted.

Phil sometimes forcefully tried to turn me over.  Once in the middle of things, he pulled out and tried to get in the other way.  It didn’t work well from the top, but his attempt still qualifies as “rape” according to modern legal definitions in Indiana, where this happened.

He said maybe in other countries, THIS is considered the “natural” way.  He pointed to sex scenes in Clan of the Cave Bear, but didn’t seem to understand that the Neanderthals in that book were NOT having anal sex.

He told me one of his ex-girlfriends claimed it was the most pleasurable kind of sex for a woman.

And no, he never heard of lube.  The pain was excruciating the one time I grudgingly allowed it, and the pain keeps on giving: Bowel movements are absolutely horrid afterwards.

Yet somehow, I was the “bad” one because I wasn’t properly submissive to my husband, who expected obedience.

He even told his best friend how badly I treated him; the friend then turned around and scolded me.

And yes, Phil was into porn, particularly Hustler.

This was 20 years ago.  So this is not a new problem, but according to the above article, today’s Internet porn makes the problem far more prevalent–with girls who feel they HAVE to do these things.

A while back, I read a whole bunch of comments on some article online that claimed that lots of women love this kind of sex, and basically made detractors sound like prudes.

I’ve also read that the modern trend to be “clean-shaven” in unnatural places comes from the prevalence of porn.  I was once sexually harassed on the Internet by a guy who said he likes his women clean-shaven.  I never told him whether I was or wasn’t; he just attacked without provocation.

Yet my best friend Richard–friends with this guy–accused me of being “ridiculous” because, a year later, I still did not want to hear this guy’s name, and because “the Internet isn’t real [harassment].”

I’m teaching my son to NOT treat girls like this.  I tell him Girls are People, NOT TOOLS for guys’ pleasure.

My stories are hardly isolated.  So I keep them here on the Net to help other girls realize they don’t have to put up with this crap:

The story of Phil

Sexual harassment by Richard’s friend: Here and Here

 

 

 

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Response to mansplaining denials of sexual harassment

Someone on my Facebook shared this webpage, Next Time Someone Says Women Aren’t Victims Of Harassment, Show Them This.  As I posted on Facebook when re-sharing it,

I was actually viciously sexually harassed online in front of my “friend” Richard, yet he still claimed it was not sexual harassment, that it wasn’t “real” because it was online, and that I needed to get over it.  His wife Tracy even went online while this happened, and started joking around with my harassers, and even invited them to her house!

Then he continued to be friends with the people who did it, tried to convince me these people were okay, and thought I was “ridiculous” for not wanting to hear him talk about these people around me.  He said he has other friends who can handle this kind of “joking.”

We’re not friends anymore, and this was one of many things contributing to that….Since he witnessed it, I wanted him to publicly stand up for me against these people, tell them to stop, and then make them apologize.  Not just sit there.

To these things I wrote on Facebook, 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.”  (old college classmate 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.  🙁  ”

For the full story, see here and here.

It is so good to finally tell my friends this happened, after years of silence.  It is so GOOD to get validation from my friends, instead of treating me like I’m just too sensitive.

I mean, come on, these guys were making lewd and disgusting comments about my genitals, and I’m too sensitive?  As the above linked webpage notes,

So what can you do…?…Believe us! Don’t deny or minimize our experiences!…

Recognize what harassment looks like, and speak up when this happens. Whenever it’s safe for you, be the guy who shuts these a**holes down.

Turn ‘not all men’ into a force for good: Let harassers know that not all men share their toxic views, that most men aren’t like them. This is just as important when the people they harass aren’t around!

The webpage assumes that most men are NOT like this, just don’t realize what’s happening because it doesn’t happen when the husbands/boyfriends are there.  But it tells how men can step up and help curb the problem, by speaking up against the harasser.

The webpage explains how sexual harassment of women shows a sense of male ownership, as if women are objects and their attractiveness–or lack thereof–is up to the harasser.

Just as my harassers said things like, “I like my girlfriends hairless.”

Um….Considering I said absolutely nothing to you and am married and have no desire to be your girlfriend, who asked you what you think of women shaving their genitalia??!!  If you like women who look like prepubescent children, that’s your business, but it has absolutely nothing to do with me or whether or not I am “desirable.”  Or worthwhile as a person.

As is written in this article,

When he finally gave me his answer, I was disappointed. He said he trolled/bullied people because it was an outlet for him to relieve stress. He said he didn’t view the people as real, or what he was doing as anything other than a joke, and if it hurt feelings, “those people have bigger problems and it’s not my fault.”

We all know that we’re living in an age where it’s easy to post something online and have a lot of well-meaning people assume that it’s real. I know this could very well be an elaborate hoax. But for the sake of argument, let’s assume this is real.

Here’s the thing—this Reddit post might be fake, but I guarantee you that there are tons and tons of trolls doing exactly what she described her husband doing, who probably have wives, girlfriends and children who have no idea they’re sitting online in the middle of the night stalking people on social media and telling them to commit suicide.

She’s pregnant and she just discovered her husband aka the father-to-be of her child is telling women online to kill themselves.

Holy shit. His comments to her are extremely telling about the kind of person who engages in the trolling many of us have come to know in these parts.

He dehumanizes women and the other people he trolls online to the point that he doesn’t even see them as “real.”

 

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Sign of Sociopathy: Taking Pleasure in the Pain of Others; I’ve Seen It Many Times; Why It’s Okay to Be Angry About Bullying

I have witnessed people taking pleasure in the pain of others.  For example, my blog stalkers sending me a message saying that they “had a good laugh” at my pain, anguish and anger over their many abuses of my husband and me, then threatening me if I tell about it (proving that they knew they did something wrong, or it wouldn’t bother them for the truth to be told).

Or one of those blog stalkers, Tracy, posting on Facebook right after ripping me to shreds over a misunderstanding complete with cussing and aspersions on my character, “I’m having a GREAT day!”

(And this after all the kindnesses I had shown her over the years, because she could not accept that introverts are different from extroverts, that I am quiet and that she is too scary and mean to draw out a person like me.)

My own brother (who I suspect is a narcissist) turning to me and laughing every time a villain did something horrible on TV.  My brother burning ants with a magnifying glass.  My brother ridiculing everything I did, said or liked, even if he himself liked it first.  Hearing from my mother that my brother tried to kill me once when I was a baby.

Bullies making fun of me on the playground.  My ex Phil passive-aggressively embarrassing me in front of my friends more than once, for doing something he didn’t like.  Richard, the other blog stalker, laughing about turning his former best friend, Todd’s, Internet forum into a Hello Kitty theme, out of vengeance.

Tracy ripping Todd to shreds and smearing him on the Internet, making people think he was crazy, because he did something to help her, and she interpreted it as an attack.

My 18-or-so-year-old Marine brother choking me (I was about 11 or so) and saying, “I’ve been trained to kill.”

A guy who called himself a light bringer, who openly admitted to being “on a campaign against Christianity,” turning a disagreement over my SCA group’s website, into a campaign against that SCA group, posting our names online and claiming he was being religiously persecuted by us–when we just wanted our group site to load quickly, be easy to navigate, and not make the non-religious, educational SCA look like a Pagan religious group.

A girl cyberbullying all sorts of different people on a little BBS, and bringing her friends along to help.

Being sexually harassed day after day my freshman year of high school, by one of my teachers, one of the guys in the cafeteria (who even put his penis on the table next to me), and two guys in the row behind me in Biology class.

Being sexually harassed in filthy words again by a couple of Creeps in an IRC chat room, while Richard and Tracy did nothing, while Tracy in fact egged them on, and later being told by Richard that I was “being ridiculous,” that I needed to get over it, that it wasn’t real sexual harassment.

My aunt constantly ridiculing and scolding her mother during visits.  My aunt, as my mother put it, “destroying” my grandmother, who is very old and losing her faculties.  My aunt alienating everyone in the family.  My aunt scolding me for everything I did or said, and accusing my innocent dad and brothers of sexually molesting me, because of the “way” I was (selective mutism, shyness).

I take no pleasure in writing about these things, only pain that’s being dredged up in order to release mine and help others.  But someone who enjoys the pain of others, would giggle while posting real names and/or pictures and clicking “post.”

Some sites I look at say that narcissists/psychpaths/sociopaths lack conscience and empathy.  But the blogger of Narcissists Suck puts it another way, that they do have conscience and empathy, but it’s malfunctioning:

How do we know the narcissist still has an operational conscience? Let’s ask the question another way. How do we know the narcissist is aware of the difference between right and wrong? Because of the multiplied and extensive efforts they make to hide their bad acts.

The truly insane person is defined as an individual who is unable to distinguish right from wrong and will therefore commit their crimes regardless of who is looking on.

Their lack of any attempt to hide their crimes is how we determine they are insane, i.e. they lack rational ability and conscience. (By this definition, psychopaths are not insane. Rarely will our justice system allow a psychopath to claim insanity when the evidence shows the psychopath’s many efforts to hide his crimes.)

We don’t see true insanity in the narcissist. We see them presenting an image of perfection to outsiders then going home to beat the wife and sexually abuse the kid.

Then they will pull your face close to theirs and through snarling lips and gritted teeth tell you that if you try to expose their bad deed they will destroy you. This person knows what they are doing is wrong.

They are careful as to when and where they commit their base acts. Only the helpless and the vulnerable get to see the fully unmasked narcissist. This is all the proof we need that they do indeed possess a conscience. Albeit, a perverted, abused and malfunctioning one.

The narcissist still has a conscience, as evidenced by their multiplied efforts to hide their bad acts. We have clear proof they know the difference between right and wrong. –Anna Valerious, Narcissist or Psychopath, Narcissists Suck

This writer would agree, then, that Richard knew that how he and Tracy were treating me was wrong, by the way he spit, hissed, threatened, yelled at, got into the face of and towered over, and tried to intimidate my husband for sticking up for me.

Psychopaths, sociopaths and malignant narcissists are not just high-profile criminals, SS officers, cult leaders, or colorful fictional villains.  They also can be otherwise ordinary people living next to us in the suburbs or apartment building.  The damage they do is mostly psychological or emotional rather than criminal, though many of them commit physical or sexual abuse as well.

From the two-part article “Who Does That?”:

But being able to spot pathology in less overt and even frequently hid, yet equally as damaging acts, is where most of us fall short-even professionals in the criminal justice and mental health systems.

It’s also where survivors of PLR’s are likely to trip up yet again since the ‘types’ of behaviors pathologicals perpetrate can vary causing confusion to the unsuspecting, highly tolerant and emotionally understanding survivor.

Low empathy is at the core of a cluster of pathological disorders that correlates to ‘inevitable harm’ when it crosses the paths of others. Low empathy has its roots in reduced conscience, remorse, and guilt. Without empathy pathologicals find pleasure in harming others.

While they might not cackle aloud in public when a dog is hit by a car, they no less live in the shadows of enjoying the physical or emotional destruction of others. –Sandra Brown MA, Who Does That?

 

The sociopath does not accept the blame for any of the harm and hurt they cause other people. In fact the sociopath is convinced that the blame for what happened belongs with someone other than themselves, even when this clearly is not the case.

They don’t care that they damage and destroy other people’s lives. Their only concerns are winning the game and getting what they want. —How to recognize a sociopath

A sociopath can do hideously cruel and immoral things to other people without feeling any guilt.How to recognize a sociopath

The victim of a sociopath may feel physical and/or emotional pain as a result of what has been done to them. The sociopath cannot identify with the misery they are causing for the other person. Instead they are derisive of the pain of their victims, and they may use the upset they cause to their own advantage. —How to recognize a sociopath

Bancroft’s PROFILE of the TYPICAL ABUSER (actually, of a malignant narcissist):

“The batterer is controlling; he insists on having the last word in arguments and decision-making, he may control how the family’s money is spent, and he may make rules for the victim about her movements and personal contacts, such as forbidding her to use the telephone or to see certain friends.

He is manipulative; he misleads people inside and outside of the family about his abusiveness, he twists arguments around to make other people feel at fault, and he turns into a sweet, sensitive person for extended periods of time when he feels that it is in his best interest to do so. His public image usually contrasts sharply with the private reality.

He is entitled; he considers himself to have special rights and privileges not applicable to other family members. He believes that his needs should be at the center of the family’s agenda, and that everyone should focus on keeping him happy.

He typically believes that it is his sole prerogative to determine when and how sexual relations will take place, and denies his partner the right to refuse (or to initiate) sex.

He usually believes that housework and childcare should be done for him, and that any contributions he makes to those efforts should earn him special appreciation and deference. He is highly demanding.

He is disrespectful; he considers his partner less competent, sensitive, and intelligent than he is, often treating her as though she were an inanimate object. He communicates his sense of superiority around the house in various ways.

The unifying principle is his attitude of ownership. The batterer believes that once you are in a committed relationship with him, you belong to him.

This possessiveness in batterers is the reason why killings of battered women so commonly happen when victims are attempting to leave the relationship; a batterer does not believe that his partner has the right to end a relationship until he is ready to end it.

Because of the distorted perceptions that the abuser has of rights and responsibilities in relationships, he considers himself to be the victim.

Acts of self-defense on the part of the battered woman or the children, or efforts they make to stand up for their rights, he defines as aggression against him.

He is often highly skilled at twisting his descriptions of events to create the convincing impression that he has been victimized.

He thus accumulates grievances over the course of the relationship to the same extent that the victim does, which can lead professionals to decide that the members of the couple “abuse each other” and that the relationship has been ‘mutually hurtful.”

It seems that CONTROL is the problem – not VIOLENCE.

Bancroft writes:

“A significant proportion of batterers required to attend counseling because of a criminal conviction have been violent only one to five times in the history of their relationship, even by the victim’s account.

Nonetheless, the victims in these cases report that the violence has had serious effects on them and on their children, and that the accompanying pattern of controlling and disrespectful behaviors are serving to deny the rights of family members and are causing trauma.

Thus the nature of the pattern of cruelty, intimidation, and manipulation is the crucial factor in evaluating the level of abuse, not just the intensity and frequency of physical violence.

In my decade of working with abusers, involving over a thousand cases, I have almost never encountered a client whose violence was not accompanied by a pattern of psychological abusiveness.”

“An abuser’s desire for control often intensifies as he senses the relationship slipping away from him. He tends to focus on the debt he feels his victim owes him, and his outrage at her growing independence.” —The Mind of the Abuser, Sam Vaknin

My blog stalkers can read these posts and enjoy all the attention, which I’m sure they’re doing, since they show such avid interest in my thoughts and life that they’ve been here several times this week.  But I don’t care.  And I’m certainly not talking “behind their backs,” because they’re reading everything and I’m well aware of it.

Because they are so interested and I have no other safe means of communication with them, they have made this blog into a vehicle for me to confront them with what they have done and how their behavior affects people, to show them how their actions fit in with the established behaviors of abusers, to show them that their salvation is at risk as long as they do not own what they’ve done, and change how they treat people.

I do this rather than sneak silently into the shadows as if I were doing something wrong, as if I were telling lies instead of the truth I have witnessed and can document.

These posts are for other victims of narcissists and sociopaths who need to understand that it’s not their fault these things have happened, that they’re not crazy, that it’s okay to speak out about what’s been done to them.

These posts are to help you understand what these behaviors look like, not just some clinical traits in an abuse list or the DSM.

Take courage.  There really are people who do these things, and quite a lot of them, from the keyword searches I see.

“Evil Is Taking Pleasure From Causing Pain or Harm”Happiness and Evil.

“He thrived on intimidating me.  He derived pleasure from causing me pain” —Taking Pleasure From Pain.

The next red flag is, “Hated for Mysterious Reason by People Close to Them”:

In fact, another red flag is being hated — I mean really hated — for mysterious reasons. And by people that hating is uncharacteristic of.

If, say, a person’s adult son or daughter doesn’t even visit him in the hospital or go to his funeral,* there is a heavy-duty reason for that. Fortunately, it’s not our responsibility to judge.

But we do need to appreciate the weight of such a startling fact. People do things for reasons. They are not always good reasons or just reasons, but people do things for reasons.

*Good examples: Abraham Lincoln did not go to his father’s funeral, and Barbara Bush did not go to her mother’s funeral. “What Makes Narcissist Tick”, pg. 79

This red flag is well understood by those of us who have been through hell with a narcissist and found ourselves loathing them and forcing no contact for our protection.

We would be very unlikely to judge someone else harshly if we found out they had inordinate hatred for a particular person even a parent or sibling. So this red flag is one most of us would readily understand.

Unfortunately, most people out there in the world do not have any of this understanding. They are far too quick to judge what they don’t know.

They are quick to condemn our hatred of a malignant narcissist as being wrong. They are naive to a fault about people who are capable of earning such hatred — so they condemn us.

This red flag should be put on billboards and written with sky-writing: Respect the fact that people do things for reasons therefore don’t be willing to judge what you know nothing of.

Remember, Kathy is talking about a mysterious, intense hatred for a particular person in someone whom you know doesn’t go around routinely hating people.

Narcissists, on the other hand, have a very long “enemies list” so it can’t be said it is uncharacteristic of them to hate others. It is their default and normal setting.

But when you meet someone who typically gets along well with most people then know for sure that if they hate someone there is a reason for it. It isn’t for you to judge whether or not the reason is “good.” Frankly, it isn’t anyone’s damn business. –Anna Valerious, More Red Flags, Narcissists Suck

 

The sensitive, tender little feelings that the narcissist has for themselves is an extension of the empathy they have for themselves. They refuse to feel your pain, but they expect you to feel theirs!

I use the word ‘refuse’ advisedly. It is a willful act on their part to unacknowledge the pain they inflict upon you. They know what they’re doing. Their empathy allows them to know how you feel. They simply refuse to feel anything for your sake.

I’m going to cast the net a bit wider than just narcissists here. Anyone who is in a relationship with an abusive person has seen how sensitive the abuser’s feelings are.

People who stay in abusive relationships seem to be those who can’t see the huge disconnect in their own thinking.

The disconnect is this wide gulf between the abuser’s lack of empathy for you at the time they’re abusing you and yet how carefully you have to step around the abuser’s feelings at all times! The common refrain among those caught in abusive relationships is “walking on eggshells”.

The abuser’s feelings rein supreme at all times. Everyone else is expected to cowtow to, step around, coddle, soothe, and respect the feelings of the abuser at all times.

Yet, when the abuser needs to unload, he or she reserves all rights to decimating and destroying your feelings and self-respect until they feel better.

It is a sick, sick dynamic. And it is perpetuated by largely by the victim’s non-recognition of the absolute unfairness of this system….

Every psychopath has feelings for himself. The same psychopath gets a total thrill from hurting your feelings.

Even if we’re only talking about someone who emotionally abuses you on occasion so they can feel better it is the same principle. Someone who ignores your pain but has all kinds of compassion for their own pain is a sick sonafabitch. Steer clear. —Do They Have Feelings?, Narcissists Suck

No matter the appearance of a mild-mannered nature — if a person excuses abusers it is because there is some space in their minds which accedes to the notion that in at least some cases abuse can be justified.

In the case of my father there was some evidence of aptitude for abuse, but it was rare enough that I could easily forget and thereby resume my opinion of him that he was not abusive.

His unmitigated support of my mother, his lack of having ever protected myself or my daughter from my mother’s abuses, his absolute demand I be the one to apologize, move on and forgive my mother in the absence of any sincere effort on her part to make things right, his unsubtle reminders of the sins of my youth to try to prove I had no right to hold my mother to any account…all these things proved to me once and for all that he is an abuser himself.

Only abusers are willing to grant other abusers the right to abuse! It is at its very root a pass they are giving to themselves. Excusing abuse is abuse in itself. It is a red flag that the person has themselves a propensity for abuse.

Granting absolution to abusers is always an extremely selfish thing to do; it ignores the humanity of the person abused and preserves compassion for the one doing the abusing and by doing so gives the person excusing the abuse a pass for the abuse they may decide to dish out themselves….

Allow yourself to really think about the selfishly evil use of empathy of the narcissist. They use it to know (and enjoy) exactly how they are making you feel as they use and abuse you. That is what we call sadistic.

They use it to manipulate you to their own ends. Or else they will use it to feel for their sorry-assed selves. These uses of their ability to empathize are profoundly selfish and often cruel.

There is no merit whatsoever for the fact that the narcissist is indeed fully in possession of the ability to empathize. In fact it is a solid basis for our condemnation of them.

They pervert their ability to empathize and use it to selfishly exploit others to their own ends, to find pleasure in the pain they inflict, as well as to grant themselves pity when they least deserve it.

If the narcissist was incapable of empathy we could grant them a pass for having some sort of disability.

We must acknowledge the reality that the narcissist is all the more evil because they do possess this ability but choose to use it for their own selfish ends against you. They have managed to completely pervert their ability to empathize. –Anna Valerious, They DO Have Empathy–Just Not For You

ProzacBlogger gets it, writing about his stepmother, who scolded him for cutting off contact with his father, and defended his father.  Heck, what he says about her is just what I want to say to Richard for sticking up for how Tracy treated me:

My father was a monster and she sticks up for him. I know she doesn’t know him that way, which is fine. But respect another person’s experiences, I DON’T CARE IF HE’S YOUR HUSBAND. —Writing to Exhale, Because F*CK! I Need It

From the same writer:

The world is filled with bullies such as the busdriver I ran into yesterday. Your abuser was one of them, bullies at schools are the same trash, my father is one of those idiots; pathetic people compiled of a bunch of failures and insecurities wrapped in a shiny box and coated with a bunch of wild fantasies and lies.

Understand this, these people NEED to do what they do in order to stay alive. Do you think they can look at themselves in the mirror and think: I’m such a nice, good looking person!

Or do you even think they can honestly say to themselves: I didn’t do anything wrong right after they beat the shit out of you or someone else? No.

Instead of that they don’t look in the mirror at all, but instead go with what any other person (besides you) says about them.

They will never look at themselves after they ruined someones life, instead of that they will come up with millions of reasons (lies) why YOU DESERVED IT! –Prozacblogger, How to Prevent Bullies and Abusers From Getting to You

Like ProzacBlogger and Anna Valerious, the writer of Narcissists Suck, I’m not concerned with hearts and flowers and how we should try to “understand” our bullies and sociopaths.

They don’t care about our feelings, so why should we care about theirs?  Trying to “understand” the bully and get the victim to “let go” is just defending the bully and letting him get away with what he did.

Stick up for the victim instead, acknowledge his pain and that he has a right to it, and hold the bully accountable.  As Anna Valerious writes,

You have the psychobabblers and do-gooder Christian types clucking their tongues if you happen to show a flash of anger when talking about the narcissist.

They immediately assume that you are not progressed yet to a place of ‘healing’ if, when talking about the evil narcissist and her evil acts perpetrated on your own life (which likely has ongoing effects on your life and is therefore a crime in progress), you dare display your outrage.

People are afraid of our anger. Why? One reason is because they are sloppy thinkers. They think that our anger is the problem when the real problem is the monster who inflicts pain every chance they get.

Our anger is an appropriate response to their inappropriate behavior. If the tongue-cluckers insist we should not let ourselves feel an appropriate emotion then they are, in reality, insisting we become like the narcissist–pretending our way through life and denying what we feel. I’m not going there for anyone….

I have always been aware that by expressing my anger and hatred toward people with ‘evil personality disorder’ I would be condemning myself in the eyes of those who choose to think that reaching a zen-like space is proof of having healed. I am willing to be seen as not having progressed to perfect equanimity with evil people. I’ll explain why as I go.

It would have been such a simple thing for me to talk about malignant narcissists completely dispassionately. Kind of like the droning of the boring professor in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” where, regardless of the subject matter, I would speak in one tone endlessly.

I’m sure many would be impressed with how strong I am to have gotten to where nothing rattles me. I could receive much praise for having perfectly ‘healed’ from my past.

I’m not going for any silly little awards like that because I don’t believe perfect calm in the face of evil is a goal to strive for. No matter how many people may praise me for it…

I’m all about being real here. Here’s how I see it. If I were to be completely dispassionate in the discussion of destructive narcissism it would send the message to you that I would not be provoked into defending you if I were to witness the injustices of the narcissist you’ve endured.

When you read my justified anger at the bad acts of the narcissist as it has affected me it gives you good reason to believe I would be just as outraged at what you’ve endured. You sense my empathy when you read my outrage.

To display only perfect calmness in the face of overt evil would not convince you that I give a rat’s ass about you.

I do give a rat’s ass. Which most of you ‘get’ when you read what I have to say. You sense I am one of your champions. You believe I would defend you against the indefensible acts of the narcissist if I were witness to them.

You believe that I would not condemn your own justifiable anger at the total injustice of the evil acts of the narcissist. If I give myself permission to express my anger at injustice…surely I would give you the same latitude. –Anna Valerious, An Accurate Measure of Mental Health ISN’T Lack of Anger

 

This blogger describes a sociopath as a child bully ganging up on anyone who disagrees with him or her, and giggling at them–but this is emotionally stunted behavior, not normal:  Healing from Complex Trauma and PTSD

 

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