Reactions I’m Not Interested In Hearing

I worked with him and I never noticed anything. He can’t be bad. This is such a wilful denial that codeswitching exists. We all behave differently around different people and in different situations, and it’s not reasonable to assume that someone who treats professional equals well is therefore incapable of predatory behavior.

In addition to that, we all have a reasonable personal interest in just doing our jobs and not getting involved in workplace drama. This goes double for creative fields with a lot of freelancing, where networking, contacts and good professional reputation can determine whether you’re hired again. Some guy at work who makes questionable dating choices that don’t directly affect us can just be read as awkward personal dramas to avoid.

Finally, it annoys me that we often hear a variation on “he seemed fine to me, therefore she must be lying” and rarely “she seemed fine to me, therefore a person with a vested interest in keeping this quiet is probably the one lying.”

She’s making it up for the attention. This makes no sense, because the attention women get from saying they were assaulted is not good attention. No one thinks it would be great to have their lives and choices torn apart in public, and have internet detectives dig up any past dating mistakes, professional setbacks, unattractive photos and pretty much any type of discrediting information. The court of internet opinion accuses victims of being both too unattractive to assault and too slutty for it to “count.” And there are still apologists we try to say that women are seeking this attention?

She’s lying to hurt him. I mean, I guess false accusations exist? I’m not saying that it’s completely impossible for a woman to make up an assault, but we don’t ignore any other reports of crimes based on the possibility of dishonesty. If you report a stolen wallet, the first reaction isn’t that you probably spent the money foolishly and now regret it.

And considering the complete lack of consequences men face, it’s not a particularly effective way to lie for revenge. Why not just lie to the IRS and get him audited?

It was a confusing situation. Look, no one is saying that a person who greets with a hug when the other person is coming in for a handshake is a sexual predator. Misreading signals is a thing. But, you know, if a man keeps somehow misreading signals of interest, and keeps kissing and touching people who aren’t interested, and it keeps happening to subordinates, and only subordinates, well, it gets harder and harder to see it as an honest mistake.

We’re all aware of power structures at work. If you claim that you don’t notice such things, send your boss out for your coffee tomorrow and see how that goes.

It’s disingenuous to pretend that a social request from someone with power is really a social request. If a superior invites a subordinate for coffee or dinner to discuss her work, or her future at the company, or a potential freelance project, she’s got to accept. There’s a whole other conversation about asking women to lean in, look for mentors, and network, telling them that they’re not going to earn as much until they communicate more like men, and then punishing women for sending signals of interest because they spoke about subjects of mutual interest with a man.

I mean, it’s not that confusing. Don’t put your hands on people who are backing away from you. Don’t kiss people who are backing away from you. Only show your dick to women who want to see your dick.

Fine! I guess flirting is illegal then, huh? If you can’t tell the difference between telling an acquaintance she looks pretty, or telling an acquaintance what sexual acts you’re going to perform on her, or showing unsuspecting women your junk, then yes, please don’t “flirt” with women.

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