Much as I thought I was done with discussion stemming from the “dirty old man” post, I was sent a comment posted at Nita Farahanny’s flavor which made me very sad, and compels me to discuss it one more (and hopefully last) time.
By a commenter who calls himself Nathan_M (and unfortunately, the WaPo lacks a means to link directly to a comment):
Wow, Scott Greenfield’s comment to the woman who was sexually assaulted at professional events is appalling.
If a client wanted advice on how to deal with a situation like that any competent lawyer would provide something very similar to Kateality’s [sic] analysis. She has essentially nothing to gain and potentially a lot to lose form making a public allegation, which is admittedly unfair but we deal with the world as it is and not as it ought to be.
I don’t think Scott Greenfield is intentionally malicious, but the level of cluelessness he, Judge Kopf, and others like that show is very difficult to excuse
The reference in the comment above is to this comment thread. The commenter here, Katereality, wrote of how her butt was groped by a lawyer at a bar event. The upshot is she did nothing, absolutely nothing, about it. Katereality explains why, with a cogent litany of reasons for her to remain silent and seethe about her treatment. I neither dispute her story of what happened, or her reasoning for doing nothing.
But, my reaction to the fact that someone “sexually assaulted” her and she made the decision to do nothing was this:
Well, you kinda lost my sympathy a bit when you made the excuse not to respond to the jerks. First, I’m not buying. I would believe you, and I would never hold it against you. But if you’ve made an active decision to do nothing about it, then you can’t simultaneously complain. As you note, it can be seen as “tacitly excusing, and thus perpetuating, the behavior of jerks.” Yes, it most certainly can.
Upon this foundation, Nathan_M concludes that my response is “appalling” and “clueless.” How is it possible that we’ve raised a new generation of people, of men, of lawyers, who would rather join hands, commiserate over the unfairness of the world and sing Kumbaya when a woman is sexually assaulted? Where the hell is your spine, you gutless coward?
It’s easy to rationalize doing nothing. It’s safe, and none of the potentially career damaging outcomes will happen if you stand by feeling badly about a woman being sexually assaulted. After all, what’s a sexual assault when compared to the potential damage that could happen to a career, right? Is the new feminist-ally answer to lay back and take it, because, you know, something unpleasant could happen if you do something?
Katereality offered her comments as examples of what is meant by rape culture. Whether that’s accurate is unclear, as it’s just as easily an example of a guy sexually assaulting her. There is no question that there are bad people out there doing bad things, but that’s not a culture and an example isn’t a definition.
I don’t so much blame Katereality for having made the choice she made. It was her butt, and her choice what to do about it. My issue is with complaining about something that is sufficiently, after the fact, worthy of complaint, but not sufficiently worthy of doing something about for real. Whining about it afterward is not doing something about it.
There was once a time, not too long ago, that people, both men and women, wouldn’t hesitate to make damn sure that someone sexually assaulting them or someone around them would not go unnoticed. There may well be consequences, but everything we do in life has consequences. The point is that we would never tolerate crap like this.
If Nathan_M reflects the new breed of sensitive young men who “get” it, then we are doomed. Anyone who thinks the solution to a woman being sexually assaulted is to wring his hands and bemoan rape culture, rather than confront the perpetrator any time, anywhere, is a disgraceful coward.
If there is such a thing as rape culture, then it is perpetuated by these wussy boys who lack the guts to take action against anyone who would do this to a woman. Whining about it is no solution. Deal with it.
I do not, however, believe that weasels like Nathan_M reflect the next generation of people, men or lawyers. I believe that most men, and most women, would find such conduct intolerable and deal with it. Doing nothing is not a solution.