I Will Not Be Your "Model Victim"

There has been a conversation happening in the comments of a recent post on calling harassment “harassment”.

Simon: A question for all the commenters that disagree with what Greg did: what would you do in his place?

chrisho-stuart: There are any number of good examples of how to do engage these kinds of things better than Greg manages. Stephanie Zvan stands as a good example of expressing anger and contempt in much better ways than what Greg did.

Simon: I share your admiration for Stephanie. However I can’t help but notice that she too gets a ridiculously high amount of harassment from the same general direction.

chrisho-stuart: Simon; I agree that Stephanie, and FtB in general, and a range of other posters especially women, get completely over the top abuse from the general direction in which Mykeru tends to inhabit. Over this last year it has been a sharp wake up call to me and many others at the depth of sheer mean spirited venomous misogyny that exists.

They generally handle it very well.

Let’s put an end to this right now. It’s nice and all that you personally might think I’m handling this harassment well. Don’t ever fucking use me as your “proof” that someone else is doing it wrong.

  1. I get relatively little of this harassment. I am not particularly emotionally vulnerable. My job isn’t dependent on public opinion. I am incredibly privileged and secure in a lot of ways. And I’m not that high profile. For someone being harassed day in and day out, I’ve got it easy.
  2. I have support. Unlike Greg, I don’t have a bunch of people on “my side” who are eager to take swings of their own every time my name is mentioned. Instead, I have an awful lot of people, even many who disagree with me, who come to my defense. It makes a rather large difference when no one is blaming the victim, both in amount of harassment received and in the resources available to deal with it.
  3. You’re all too frequently playing that little game in which you feel helpless to control the behavior of the assholes, so you work extra hard to police the behavior of your allies. It’s the accommodationist game, and it’s a lousy bit of social engineering that benefits no one but you.
  4. This is all part of the good feminist/bad feminist game that my harassers are already trying to play. If you play it for them, you just make my life harder. You weaken my support by setting up false rivalries where there are none. You set up situations in which I get criticized for working with those “bad” feminists to accomplish things that need to be done.
  5. You are using me to make other harassed people feel and look worse. I did not ask for this. I will not stand for it. I would much rather adopt “bad” behavior myself than allow you to get away with that. I would rather stand in solidarity with them than judgment with you. Don’t make me do that.

Knock that shit off now.

I Will Not Be Your "Model Victim"
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16 thoughts on “I Will Not Be Your "Model Victim"

  1. 1

    … People playing good victim/bad victim are why I never got help for my bullying in school. Because the fact that when I snapped, I’d start screaming at people who’d been baiting me for weeks on end to shut up and leave me alone apparently meant that I deserved having the crap kicked out of me and being called every applicable slur in the book and having my life threatened.

    Because I shouldn’t be so weird. And I should just ignore them. And I should try harder to fit in. And I should, and I should, and I should.

    Never so much as a side-glance at the idea that maybe they shouldn’t be making my life hell and that the fact that I scream at them to leave me alone maybe means I should be left alone.

    And yeah.

    Victim blaming is some BS. Don’t do that, anyone. Ever. Full stop.

  2. 2

    An excellent post, Stephanie.

    I would be interested in a discussion of various aspects of your philosophy vis-a-vis ‘accommodation’ and ‘victim blaming’. These are two areas where I disagree with most of the ftb bloggers. I find it difficult to reconcile the use of these terms as a disdainful insult with other stated priorities and goals of ‘A+’ .

    I also find it difficult to participate in such discussions due to the quick ‘othering’ of those who generally support actions labeled as either ‘accommodation’ or ‘victim blaming’. I think a discussion of certain tactics that get labeled that way would be appropriate and illuminating for us all but I’m not willing to participate in a comment conversation because of the treatment I have received in the past. I would like to hear more specifics of your thoughts on the use of those terms and insults and why they have that connotation in the context of fts and A+.

  3. 3

    Beth, if I may, my philosophy on it is thus: Any strategy that puts the onus on the victim to be a better victim/avoid being victimized/etc is wrong morally in addition to being ineffective at resolving the situation. The onus should be on the abuser to not be abusive, not on the victim to avoid being abused. For that matter, the stigma and blame should be on the abuser, not on the victim.

  4. 4

    The problem with most accommodationists is their insistence that being nice is the ONLY effective method of dealing with anyone. Sometimes it works, sometimes in-your-face confrontation works, it depends entirely on the particular situation. But many accommodationists claim their preferred approach brings the desired approach and confrontation never does.

  5. 6

    It’s really easy for people who aren’t dealing with a constant stream of harassment to tell harassed people how they should be handling things. It’s a bit like the head deskery of someone telling a person of color to just act/talk/dress “more white” if they don’t want to deal with so much discrimination. Yah, maybe there are objectively “ideal” ways to handle individual situations but when a person is being constantly and systematically hounded, by someone who faces absolutely no repercussions, it’s really not fair to look at the recipient and admonish him or her for not taking their harassment the “right” way.

  6. 7

    People have no idea what it is like to be on the receiving end of this constant stream of abuse day in and day out and then to have others minimize it saying, “its just trolling” or “it’s just the internet”

    Don’t tell me to “grow a thicker skin.” How about you just become a decent fucking person?

  7. 8

    I’ll add another name to the “you’re being victimized wrong” sucks crowd. Nothing for me to say there that hasn’t already been said.

    The constant stream of harassment has consequences. It’s hard to keep in the fight for other people or for yourself when you’re the victim of crimes. Crimes that people wave away because the victim “asked for it.” It isn’t okay no matter what the crime is. It may not be assault, but it’s easier to perpetrate because the crime is done at a distance, across jurisdictions. So it can keep going, on and on, and it won’t stop until the victim gives up, and maybe not even then.

    How many times do we have to ignore a campaign of harassment and tell the victim that they’ve done the wrong thing?

  8. Jay

    Well, as far as I am concerned, speech has consequences. Free speech doesn’t mean freedom from responsibility from those consequences.

    I’ve been told that over and over at Free Thought Blogs and in fact by many feminists.

    Laden is an adult who has had his free speech and now others are having theirs.

    It’s all perfectly free speech and as so many free thought bloggers and their commenters have said, Laden can now face the consequences.

    So I have to disagree with any FtB that would claim Laden is being victimized, punished, bullied, or silenced.

  9. 10

    Hey Stephanie, do you like to hang out with the kind of people who respond to your demands whatever they may be? I keep seeing you barking orders at people like you are allowed to tell them what to do? Are these people your friends or are they your slaves? You may think I’m an asshole but I’ll tell you what I don’t talk to my friends like that. Shit I was even nicer to you up until you tried your barking on me.
    You know there is an old butthole surfers song has a line you should keep in mind “You Never Know Just How You Look Through Other People’s Eyes” That’s your problem steph, you are disillusioned. At the end of the day anyone with any sense of self worth won’t put up with the way you talk at them instead of with them. Anyone who does follow your commands will be weak of mind and really of no use except to fuel your self made image that falls flat as soon as you get out of the confines of your blog. I consider you an ongoing joke. You say you can handle harassment after the way you nearly had a breakdown because I called you a bitch? Ha ha live in a bubble much? My end point is you are making a public spectacle of yourself. No one in the real world(outside your blog) gives any respect to your thoughts or idiotic rambling about how great you are. You don’t intimidate or impress me in the least, you are just fodder. I know this wont get through to you now but the day will come when you realize I was right, you just wait. You’ll get a wake up call and realize no one thinks you are nearly as wonderful as you have convinced yourself you are, sorry. Now take you own advice Knock that shit off

  10. 11

    This be a better victim, avoid upsetting the abuser, stuff is really a bit rich.

    If any one of these people read a report of a pastor or a priest telling abused / bullied women that their abusers wouldn’t be so angry if they managed to keep the children quiet / learned to serve meals on time / made ‘an effort’ to look pretty for when he came home they’d rightly go all out, pedal to the metal, on saying how stupid these people were to think that’s any solution to such women’s situations.

    Let it be an atheist, man or woman, who’s on the receiving end of bullying – particularly because of their feminism – and similar useless advice to them to be polite, tone down the noise, be cooperative with others’ demands now becomes the gold standard.

    If you are ever tempted to go down this route, think about how it would sound if you were a teacher dealing with a bullied adolescent or a priest advising a bullied wife. Would you think the exact same words coming from them would be regarded as good advice. By anyone?

  11. 12

    mildlymagnificent, speaking as someone who was a bullied adolescent less than a decade ago, you are woefully out-of-touch on that front. That sort of advice, along with punishing the victim for being a ‘tattle-tale’ in reporting that, say, some other student threatened to kill them or slammed their head in a locker or choked them or whatever else have you (all of the above and more are things I got punished for), is all the action a lot of bullied kids can ever expect to get out of their schools if they don’t have parents who 1) believe them and 2) are willing to fight all the way to the school board and beyond to get action taken.

    Which is why I gave up reporting this crap around age 13. Why should I report it when I know I’m going to be blamed and punished?

  12. 14

    It’s all perfectly free speech and as so many free thought bloggers and their commenters have said, Laden can now face the consequences.

    So I have to disagree with any FtB that would claim Laden is being victimized, punished, bullied, or silenced.

    Thanks for letting us know you’re cool with all the threats and harassment, Jay. I mean, we knew that already, but it’s rare that anyone says it so straightforwardly.

  13. 16

    […] The calls of “witch hunt” started right away, so I explained what a witch hunt really is and is not. I talked about how to deal with the constant requests for evidence of sexism that don’t seem to stop when evidence is presented. I noted how that evidence is continually elided after being given. I pointed out that we’ve known harassing behavior exists in our communities for a very long time. I stated that staying out of the fight for equal treatment is a reasonable thing for some people to do–and what that actually looks like. I drew a parallel of sorts to show that people claiming not to be anti-feminist were treating feminism as contamination. And I put my foot down about being used as a weapon against other victims of harassment. […]

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