sonia: Quilted wall-hanging (Default)
[personal profile] sonia
There's this pernicious idea floating around that if one "attracts" an abuser, or, even worse, a string of them, one is thinking bad thoughts or self-sabotaging or ignorant about boundaries or ... you get the idea. One is Doing Something Wrong and it is All One's Fault. Right down to "you choose your parents."

I find that this idea has permeated my thinking about my own history, and I keep fighting it down through the layers. (Except the parents bit. That got a gut-level "no!" from the beginning.) Fundamentally, I reject it because believing it sends me into an unproductive, unresolvable tailspin. Setting it aside gives me a sense of relief and stability.

When someone else tries to lay it on me, one of my responses is, "When you get wet almost every time you go outside, you might have done something to annoy the weather gods and deserve punishment - or you might live in Portland. It rains a lot. On everyone." By analogy, there are a lot of abusers out there, and a lot of cultural permission for abusive behavior.

Somewhere along the way, I acquired the idea that communities avoid or eject damaging people and protect their vulnerable members. Not sure where I picked that up, but in practice I found that communities avoid or eject people who call out damaging behavior, and protect their powerful members. While continuing to say that the recipients of damage must be doing something wrong.

I'm watching the ReaderCon discussion develop, and I admire the people who are speaking up in support of making ReaderCon a safe(r) space for women.

At the same time, I realize how much I've become resigned. Where do we even start? Let's say this one manipulator is permanently banned from this one event once a year. Is it possible for any but the tiniest groups to remain free from predatory behavior?

Which leads to the other problem, which is that none of us are all good or all bad. At the same time, some of us are trying a whole lot harder than others to behave honorably, kindly, with respect for others and ourselves.

Date: 2012-07-31 03:13 pm (UTC)
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
From: [personal profile] elainegrey
Ah, i like so much your response,
When someone else tries to lay it on me, one of my responses is, "When you get wet almost every time you go outside, you might have done something to annoy the weather gods and deserve punishment - or you might live in Portland. It rains a lot. On everyone." By analogy, there are a lot of abusers out there, and a lot of cultural permission for abusive behavior.

i thought i read something...

Date: 2012-08-04 05:18 pm (UTC)
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
From: [personal profile] elainegrey
In high school i recall reading about changes in the English language with respect to capitalizing words. The section of the book discussed how German capitalized nouns and pronouns and how English had diverged from that practice particularly as German became an enemy in WW I. I found the fact that we kept capitalizing the pronoun for self but not the pronoun for You or We or Them to be... well, egocentric. So i stopped.

I've since looked for evidence to support this memory, but cannot find any. (And furthermore, the reduction in capitalization of nouns surely happened long before the twentieth century, if the practice went that way. I suspect German became more codified in capitalization, not English less.)

Nonetheless, i find the practice of capitalizing "I" and not other pronouns to be strange and not consistent with my beliefs. Take it as a small acknowledgement that i am not the center of the universe.

Date: 2012-07-31 10:30 pm (UTC)
jesse_the_k: Extreme closeup of dark red blood cells (Blood makes noise)
From: [personal profile] jesse_the_k
Sigh.

I'm afraid you're right that it's hard to create a "safe" space with hard boundaries, because we are neither all kind or all cruel.

I have no answers, but share your dismay.

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sonia: Quilted wall-hanging (Default)
Sonia Connolly

March 2019

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