Friday, December 21, 2007

A tip: Assaulting people is not a joke.

Via Feministing:

Some people think assault is funny stuff.

Two men held down a woman and tried to cut her underwear off with a pocketknife.

The story:

A woman enters the bar and sees two men that she considered friends at the bar. She walks up to them, and they begin to talk. At some point, the men begin joking about her underwear, and asking her what kind she was wearing. When she told them it was none of their business, one of them "joked" that he was going to cut off her underwear. She apparently replied that he wasn't "man enough" to do that.

Then, one of the men held her down against the bar, as she screamed for help, while the other man reached down her pants, and cut each side of her underwear. The bartender refused to help because they'd "make things worse" for him. She finally managed to get away from them, but lost her shoes in the process. They offered to return her shows in exchange for the underwear, which she did so that she could go and get help.

When the police questioned the men, one of them said that they were just joking around, and that it was time for her "to take one for the team". What the fuck does that even mean? The other man claims to have done similar things in the past, and that everyone else in the bar was watching and laughing.

He conveniently forgets that she was in the bar. And that she was apparently not laughing. In fact, she was yelling for help.

He claims that he tried to apologize, but that she wouldn't talk to him.

Gee... I can't imagine why not. I mean, it's not like you held her down and tried to cut off her underwear in a bar full of men who apparently found this hill-are-ee-us, while one of them poked her breasts and suggested you cut off her bra next, and then refused to return her shoes until she gave you her underwear, or anything.

Oh, wait, no. That's exactly what you did.

That someone should have to explain to these assholes that it's not okay to hold people down and cut off their underwear makes me sort of ill.

15 comments:

Stupendousness said...

This makes me feel sick to my stomach. Seriously.

Just even touching her anywhere on her body without invitation makes me ill.

Plenty of men have touched me inappropriately, and the memories make me shudder.

But I don't think even I could imagine the terror this woman must have felt at the time of the assault.

Those men obviously see women as play things, to be used as they see fit. Every single person in that bar that didn't do anything to help needs punishment and/or counseling.

Yuri K. said...

It's just a totally different concept of 'funny.' It's that psychopath, Hannibal Lector/Bill Frist enjoyment of watching something suffering that you have (you think) under your control. It's not humor in the way anybody normal perceives it.

Sick.

gnaddrig said...

I imagine the two jokers as being very astonished and somewhat huffy, along the lines of "What's wrong with her now, it's not as if we raped her or anything. We didn't even cut her bra off, did we. And she got her bloody shoes back, she did."

I suspect they might even be into the work of Art Frahm: www.lileks.com/institute/frahm
They appear to have a matching sense of humour...

The Snobographer said...

"It's not humor in the way anybody normal perceives it."

Unfortunately it is, if you equate the words "normal" and "common." It's not terribly unusual for a woman reporting assault or harassment to be told to "lighten up," as the grabby harassers were "just having a little fun."
And in this case, if the majority of the people in the bar really were laughing while this woman was pinned and screaming (which, color me pessimistic, I believe is well within the realm of possibility) one can view that as a microcosm of society's views on women's bodily and personal sovereignty. I bet if you or I met the assaulters or any of the bystanders who found the stunt hilarious, not knowing who they were, neither of us would notice anything unusual about them.

A rapist is a person in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood...

ouyangdan said...

for more laughs, read the disgusting comments, on the articles about this story, and the ones on the feministing thread...all the effing apologists there made me want to throw things...one man even had the nerve to say it's not sexual assault, b/c it was just like a prank he and his friends used to play on guys in the gym locker room...uh huh...b/c that could never be sexual assault if a bunch of guys did it to each other...

thanks again, roy...you pretty much rock...

Demexii said...

They took it way, way too far but saying "You're not man enough" or even "You won't" is a dare statement and makes it hard for me to sympathize with someone when they are knowingly instigating a situation to make it worse.

Veronica said...

Saying "you won't" is a dare statement? Silly me. I'd have thought it was an expression of confidence that the people with whom one is spending time aren't complete assholes.

One of the exciting things about being old enough to drink, rather than, oh, ten, is that even if somebody actually says "I double dog dare you to smash in the window of the principal's car and you're a big fat baby chicken, cluck cluck cluck, if you don't," one can and should exercise one's judgment and assert the appropriate control over one's actions. If one cannot, one should be removed to a holding facility and not be allowed to roam free, because one would clearly be a danger to others.

My sympathy is always with the victim, I don't require that she act like some kind of pure saint in order to receive that sympathy.

Demexii said...

"Saying "you won't" is a dare statement? Silly me. I'd have thought it was an expression of confidence that the people with whom one is spending time aren't complete assholes."

You don't hang out with assholes very often now do you? And saying you won't is questioning the abilities of the person you are talking to. In a world where manliness is important and men feel the need to seperate themselves from being "gay" or "female" saying something like that is really a slap in a face. Does that excuse their actions? No. They deserve what they get. But I can't feel any sympathy for a woman who knew she was pushing them into action as well. Two wrongs here.

"One of the exciting things about being old enough to drink, rather than, oh, ten,"

Yes, because every single person in that bar acted so much more maturely than a ten year old. Once you start drinking you become a ten year old. Don't act like that only happens at colleges and high schools. Happens everywhere. You're just drunk and don't know you do it as well.

"My sympathy is always with the victim, I don't require that she act like some kind of pure saint in order to receive that sympathy."

I do when she knows who she is with and pushes buttons anyway.

Roy said...

They took it way, way too far but saying "You're not man enough" or even "You won't" is a dare statement and makes it hard for me to sympathize with someone when they are knowingly instigating a situation to make it worse.

It's hard for you to sympathize with the victim of an assault because she made a dare statement? Seriously?

She didn't make the situation "worse", because there wasn't a "situation" until these assholes decided to sexually assault her. These were supposed to be her friends. My friends and I say some pretty horrible things to each other when we're joking sometimes. We make mock threats towards each other, but part of being friends, and part of being reasonable human beings is recognizing the line between "joke" and "sexual assault". And it's a pretty bright fucking line. If my friend threatens to kill me in my sleep when I win a bet, and I say something like "yeah, in your dreams, maybe", that's not an invitation to my friend to actually try, and if you'd have less sympathy for me if one of them did, as a result? Well, that just makes you kind of an asshole, doesn't it?

You don't hang out with assholes very often now do you? And saying you won't is questioning the abilities of the person you are talking to. In a world where manliness is important and men feel the need to seperate themselves from being "gay" or "female" saying something like that is really a slap in a face.

The solution to that is to tell knuckle-dragging idiots like these to get over it. It's not to point at the victim and say "Well, she should have known better than to think she could trust her friends not to sexually assault her with a knife." The appropriate response to being teased or smack-talked is never felony assault.

How is this even a question?

Does that excuse their actions? No. They deserve what they get. But I can't feel any sympathy for a woman who knew she was pushing them into action as well. Two wrongs here.

No, there aren't to wrongs here. Since when is it "wrong" to joke around with or even tease your friends. For that matter, since when is responding with sarcasm towards inappropriate conversation "wrong"? Her words were exactly that- words.

Your lack of sympathy is your personal failing- it has nothing to do with her or what she said, and everything to do with your apparent desire to point fingers at the victim of a violent crime. That's the only second wrong I see here right now.

"My sympathy is always with the victim, I don't require that she act like some kind of pure saint in order to receive that sympathy."

I do when she knows who she is with and pushes buttons anyway.


Again, that just makes you kind of an asshole.

Demexii said...

and if you'd have less sympathy for me if one of them did, as a result? Well, that just makes you kind of an asshole, doesn't it?

Never denied it. Never caused me a problem so I don't mind telling people I am an asshole.

The solution to that is to tell knuckle-dragging idiots like these to get over it. It's not to point at the victim and say "Well, she should have known better than to think she could trust her friends not to sexually assault her with a knife." The appropriate response to being teased or smack-talked is never felony assault.

Never was there sexual contact in anyway. I would consider it assault. And I never said they did the right thing. Just I don't feel sympathy for her either. Just like I don't feel bad when a boy teases a neighborhood dog and gets bitten.

No, there aren't to wrongs here. Since when is it "wrong" to joke around with or even tease your friends. For that matter, since when is responding with sarcasm towards inappropriate conversation "wrong"? Her words were exactly that- words.

So your saying words can't hurt? So me calling someone names and making fun of them is okay to you? I doubt you will think so. If I walk up to a black guy and start saying racial slurs he will probably beat me up. And no one should feel sympathy for me. I instigated it. Not that the person beating me up is right, but neither party is in the right.

And saying "You're not a real man" is as close as you can get to saying something like "You're not a real black (or so on)." You don't think that won't trigger feelings?

And who said it was sarcastic? Sarcasm has to do with the tone of the voice as much as the words. How do you know she wasn't being serious or spiteful even?

EG said...

I don't give a flying fuck if it triggers feelings. Adults do not assault their friends because their feelings are hurt. Simple as that.

Once you start drinking you become a ten year old.

Maybe you do. Fascinatingly, I have been teased, taunted, and outright insulted while I was drunk, but at no point did I assault anybody.

A drunk adult is still an adult, and is still held to proper adult standard of behavior such as not sexually assaulting people and not whining about how her magic, magic words hurt your feelings and made you do it.

Demexii said...

I don't give a flying fuck if it triggers feelings. Adults do not assault their friends because their feelings are hurt. Simple as that.

I disagree. I know of a black girl who was a pretty good friend. She was constantly teased as "not being black" because she was smart and well spoken. She was a freshman in college and was with friends when one of them said "And I thought you were black!" He was teasing about how she didn't like something that the stereotypical black person would like. She hit him before even thinking, and he was a friend. No drinking even, just hit him in the nose and broke it. Trying to say that he didn't deserve it? I think he did.

Maybe you do. Fascinatingly, I have been teased, taunted, and outright insulted while I was drunk, but at no point did I assault anybody.

Congrats, cookie for you. Don't really care but good for you.

Roy said...

I see.

So, your friend deserved to be hit for being a racist fuckwit, but these assholes didn't deserve to have their manliness impuned, despite the fact that they were making lewd remarks about what kind of underwear she might have on, even after being told it was none of their business.

Veronica said...

And a black woman whose racial identity is being mocked by a white man is just like a gang of drunken white men being teased about their masculinity by a white woman. Yep, exactly the same power differential there.

Sorry. You fail Analogies 101.

EG said...

Note the double standard here when it comes to alcohol. Apparently, a bunch of grown men in a bar drinking just can't be expected to behave like adults and not sexually assault their friend, but a woman in a bar drinking should be expected to choose her words with nuanced care.