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I think there's a deeper cultural problem here: that the behavior of Joe had that much of an impact on Justine's life in the first place. There are women that would experience the same thing, but would not retreat into themselves in this extreme way. There are even women that would shrug it off. However, the response of Justine matches ancient societal expectations: if a woman has been violated, she loses all value.

Why would anyone still believe that in our modern society? Because like the vilification of gay people ('gay' and 'faggot' are still a word used by virtually everyone to put things down as 'unmanly' or generally 'shameworthy') it has has entered the undertow of culture, where it is less apparent, but just as strong.

When someone is raped, we say we understand that her life is shattered, that she will never recover. It's part of a general acceptance that certain events mean someone's life is 'over' (death of a child, significant other) and that they may never recover. This acceptance implies expectation. Stronger women are questioned, seemingly admiringly, but actually judgingly: 'How can you just continue living after this?' with a hidden 'you are supposed to have broken!'.

It's easy to say that being raped should be like breaking a leg: an unfortunate event that can happen during a lifetime in human society with all its strange and from which you can recover after some pain and trouble. The difference is of course that one was inflicted on purpose by someone in your social group, while the other is usually self-inflicted or at least accidental. That this makes a difference is actually part of the same problem: that if you've been bested by another in your social group, you lose status and value. This also has ancient origins and as a result has deep roots in our minds. A chimpanzee with a broken leg doesn't lose status if humans take care of its leg. It only loses status if it loses a fight.

What is the way out of this? Make a conscious effort not to believe these things anymore. Raise your children not to believe these things. Don't participate in them and scold everyone that does them. Teach them it doesn't matter if someone has asserted dominance over them and that their lives are no less valuable as a result of it.

Justine, please seek professional help. Find a therapist that will work on changing the beliefs that have caused you to experience this event so strongly and caused it to have such an influence. There are lots of women on whom a similar experience had a weaker effect. This is not because you are weaker: it is because of what you were taught during your life, because of your beliefs. It is hard to change beliefs. There are many emotions connected to them, which makes you recoil from touching them. A professional therapists will enable this process, after which I hope you will look back and think "why on earth did I believe those things so strongly that a single event could have such a strong influence on my life?!"

This is a difficult point to make. I'm surprised you didn't use a throwaway account.

I've been assaulted by peers. I've had drugs slipped into my drink. One time, someone put a gun to my head and robbed me.

After these experiences, I had nightmares, phobias, and insecurities. But surprisingly quickly, I recovered. Without social expectations of permanent trauma, the mind seems to be quite resilient. Thank you for making this point so much more eloquently than I could have.

I'm glad that you've suffered no lasting harm, but please do not overgeneralize to a claim as strong as saying that without social expectations others would respond similarly, because this can lead to people thinking that those with persistent problems after an isolated trauma are how somehow perpetuating their own problems through their attitudes. This is contrary to everything we understand about how humans respond to stress and trauma on a lifetime scale, and in particular contradicts the glaringly strong evidence from the CDC's Adverse Childhood Experience dataset that lifelong resilience in the face of stress is dramatically reduced by early traumas.

Sounds like you might know the literature - can you link to some good jumping-in points?

Unfortunately, my experience is more first hand (survived a nearly fatal accident as a toddler that has had lasting impact on my life). But I recall the CDC's page on the study having some good jumping off points, and I think I first ran into it via this series of articles: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jane-ellen-stevens/the-adverse...

Powerful stuff.

Being victimized by others is not a choice. Abiding in a victim identity is a choice.

That's why so many rape survivors choose that word - because it is more powerful than victim. Perhaps there are even more powerful names - thriver, for example.

This comes dangerously close to victim-blaming.

Let me tell you that what Justine is feeling is absolutely not some social construct built exclusively on archaic misogyny. I have known more than one gay man who was raped and felt exactly the same way.

You might consider that at least some of the women who appear to deal better with being assaulted are actually just putting on a brave front to avoid being pitied and condescended to.

I think it would be best to de-emphasize the question of blame altogether and have an unprejudiced discussion about how such incidents can be prevented in the future (and great kudos to Justine for trying just that).

The terrifying thing about this is that in the area of sexuality the difference between an exciting, enjoyable experience and a terrifying, traumatizing one can be entirely in the mind of one party and not necessarity noticeable to the other party while it's happening. Especially if both are drunk.

And most women fully expect men to be bold and take the initiative while they themselves give vague signals that are easy to misinterpret. And all of this is pretty much expected to happen while everyone involved is drunk because that removes inhibitions and that's what everyone wants.

A recipe for disasters like this, really.

Especially if both are drunk.

I think a large part of the problem is the social acceptance of alcohol and being drunk. Objectively speaking, getting drunk is similar to getting wasted on other (illegal) drugs. Alcohol is a drug which due to an accident of history is legal. The negative consequences of alcohol consumption are ubiquitous. More people die from alcohol than from all illicit drugs combined. If it is wrong to take drugs, it is wrong to drink alcohol, especially to the point of debilitation.

Being drunk should not be an extenuating circumstance for bad behavior, it should be an aggravating circumstance. When people choose to drink something which makes them less able to behave in a socially acceptable way, they should be prepared to accept the consequences.

If the other party didn't bother to ask or pay attention, they shouldn't be having sex. It's like driving with your eyes closed: when you hit someone, the blame is entirely on you.

My intention was society-blaming, not victim-blaming. See elsewhere in this thread for my response to that point.

Bringing up that men can also be raped and will feel 'the exact same way' is a good point, but I believe a red herring. A central point of my argument is that all people do not feel 'the same way'. It's exactly the fact that some people feel differently that makes clear that the consequences for Justine's life could have been far less if she had had different beliefs. And I bring this up because I believe it can reduce the consequences for future Justines and perhaps is useful to future Justine.

People react differently to difficult events.

Some children who are abused recover quickly. Others are messed up for many many years.

We agree so far.

But so what? Are you suggesting that she is wrong to feel so distraught? Or that society is doing something to encourage her to feel this distraught?

Because from I read I see a lot of society blaming her for what happened and telling her to get over it.

But so what? Are you suggesting that she is wrong to feel so distraught? Or that society is doing something to encourage her to feel this distraught?

Because from I read I see a lot of society blaming her for what happened and telling her to get over it.

I agree. I can't believe some of the comments. The top rated post at the moment is from someone who feels sympathy with the abuser and who believes it was the fault of the victim. Who then edited his comment to say that her DUI charges were unforgivable, as if this somehow caused her to be assaulted.

Other commentators are basically saying similar things - she fell apart, what's with that, why can't she jut get over it? Another comment says that the language she used about her assault is ambiguous and can't have been all that bad. Yet others are implying or stating baldly that she did consent to being groped in public by her boss! Frankly, it sickens me to read the comments these fools are making.

Who then edited his comment to say that her DUI charges were unforgivable

I avoided that part of the post, but a DUI is something you bring on yourself and not something I can easily forgive. People driving drunk kill people. You don't get to say, "Yes I could have murdered people but don't you see I was distraught". "Oh, ok, it's fine then"

>walls of text everywhere trying to examine the situation and blame those involved

You guys have to deal with it that she voluntarily lied down on a bar, induced by alcohol with other men around her and OFFERED her body to be licked. In which universe did she saw an expected outcome of not being approached with a sexual tone? They were drinking the entire night and all those geeky guys normally filled with anxiety completely loose up with one of the other sex they have been around with for quite some time and then all of a sudden this woman lies down on a bar, peels her shirt up and pours a drink on her body whilst having a boy friend?

She must have at least expected something, no? She was not raped or "sexually assaulted", she had intimate contact which she knowingly was building up to the entire night and she could have very well contracted her back muscles and got off that bar when she saw her boss approaching. In fact, why did she even get on that bar when she was fully aware of the context? A body shot, really?

> She must have at least expected something, no?

No. A body shot is not an invitation for anything. A body shot taken from a girl with a boyfriend is not an invitation for anything. A body shot taken from a girl with a boyfriend, while hanging out in a bar with 'geeky guys' that just 'loosened up' is not an invitation for anything. If you think it is, you have a problem.

To answer your question again: no. Just no. No, no, no, NOOOOOOO!

I was talking about societal expectations earlier. I don't know what subculture you belong to, but it seems one that goes against the grain on this. And we have the law on our side.

So you regularly see body shots in a non-sexual content? When could she expect it, then? What would have made the difference between this body shot and a "normal" body shot? I am not saying it was an invitation. It might not be but she cannot possibly do a body shot without expecting a fully grown alpha male to take his chances. Even if she didn't, she could have easily denied him the opportunity when things started getting too close.

Of course body shots occur in, and contribute to, a sexualized context. That doesn't mean you may expect "a fully grown alpha male to take his chances" in the way it happened here.

As someone's boss, you don't french-kiss someone then-and-there, on the bar, in front of colleagues and peers. That's not just taking chances, that's a display of dominance over both her and the colleagues and peers. It's true ape-like behavior and most people aren't prepared for that anymore, in any context. No matter how drunk they were, most present would still have gone: "WTF is happening here?" when that happened in front of them.

Now bypassing that, accepting that this has happened, then the following is still baffling. She isn't reciprocating. You cannot not notice that and you should back down at that point.

Bypassing that, accepting that he didn't notice or severely misjudged, then you still don't engage in sexual behavior right then-and-there, in the open. There are only few persons in few circumstances that enjoy such public displays of sexual behavior. Most people wouldn't ever, in any state of mind, with any girl, perform this behavior. They wouldn't do it if the girl was naked and asking for it. Let alone if she was clothed and her feelings towards such behavior were entirely unknown.

> she could have easily denied him the opportunity

In your abstraction of what happened and an abstraction of human beings, she could have. In the actual situation, with actual people and all their idiosynchrasies and their history together: no, she couldn't. She didn't. And in the end that still boils down to this: the fact that she didn't resist does not mean she is guilty and he is innocent. He behaved like an asshole, whether she resisted or not. He shouldn't have behaved like that, whether she resisted or not. Most people would never in their right or drunken minds behave like that or wish others to behave like that. He was wrong.

You wrote:

> she could have easily denied him the opportunity when things started getting too close.

That's garbage. She said she froze up "like a deer in the headlights". She sounded terrified, so no - it wasn't easy at all.

Two words: Personal Responsibility. The fact she admit she froze up would in my mind maybe give the person the benefit of the doubt that he was not trying to be purposely malicious. That is the real issue here when we want to throw around terms like "sexual assault". What matters is the intent of the person when they commit these acts not that technical some sexual contact was made that was not invited when two adults in a bar that are drunk are engaging in personal contact. Nothing in this article tells us the Joe intended to assault her, only that he made a very bad decision in making a move like that before being invited to. Maybe he felt that was were it was leading from the fact that she never pulled away during 3 personal contacts that were progressive. Maybe she froze or maybe she was just too drunk to be fully aware. You have to evaluate both sides to see if the evidence points to specific motives. That is the real issue here.

What was Joe's personal responsibility? Why do people insist on bringing Justine's personal responsibility into this equation but not Joe's?

He was in a position of power over her which most firms with an HR department are very specific about.

Two words: Rape Culture. Rape culture exists when we continue to question the motives of the victim. The fact that many of you continue to excuse his behavior and question hers, leads me to believe that we're going to see way too many cases of this in our lifetimes. It's no fucking wonder these things continue to happen. The sexual assault apologists in this thread is really disheartening and frankly, appalling.

Not to mention there seems to be this ridiculous misconception that if you didn't know you were assaulting someone it's not sexual assault.

That's so very, very wrong. Anyone who argues this in court has a bad lawyer, or isn't listening to their good lawyer. Sexual assault can occur even if you don't know you are doing it. It is your responsibility, as the initiator, to know whether consent has been given or not!

Groping someone in a drunken stupor is very likely to get you into a LOT of trouble. The sooner this misconception is cleared up, the better. Both for those poor unfortunates that encounter the one with the misconception, and for the person with the misconception themselves, otherwise they might find themselves in jail!

So now Joe is responsible? For her? When did she shift from being a strong independent woman who needs no man to having someone be responsible for her? I thought she was a grown up woman able to make her own choices and stand for her own actions but now she isn't responsible? I know her writing doesn't really lie about the quality of that responsibility (pouring yourself drunk in a work week, que) but she IS responsible for her own actions and everything which is achieved by this blog post is due to her own actions.

Please don't tell me that her not ever able to obtain a job is Joe's fault. Look at what she writes and smears on the Internet for the public view. Unless she goes to work at some feminist induced Ruby startup where this is accepted and even stimulated, this trail of shit smearing will haunt the search engine index pages for years.

Yeah, as the boss he does have some responsibility. And he sure as hell is responsible for his own actions.

You just don't get it, do you? If you don't ask for explicit consent, and rely on mixed signals to evaluate consent, if you get I wrong then you are still responsible. That's the personal responsibilty of the one initiating the unwanted sexual advances.

I don't care if she stripped down naked and paraded up and down the bar. This doe s not give any man the right to engage in unwanted sexual activity. Full stop. A court of law would find the same, and in fact there are quite a few surprised men who have found this out, to their cost.

Why did they ask her to do a bodyshot? They didn't ask any of the guys to do it. She clearly points out the desire to be accepted by a male-dominated group, and she did what they asked because of that.

Now. I can't speak to that. As a white male I've never been in a situation like that in my life. And I'd bet a lot of money that you haven't, either. So you know what? We should probably both avoid talking as if we know what it feels like.

I think that a person who agrees to a body shot expects that somebody drink a shot from their body, and then they get up, and then nothing directly happens as a result and they get to choose what happens next. I reject the notion that consenting to a body shot is equivalent to foreplay.

pearjuice, after reading your other comments in this thread and the justifications you're using for the sexual assault that occurred, I would be seriously concerned with those around you, should you ever partake in drinking with them.

You mention "why" a lot in some of your posts. "Why did she not get off that bar?", "Why did she even get on that bar?". Let us be clear about one thing. Justine suffered a sexual assault. Asking victim-centric questions about the assault is blaming the victim. What followed the encounter from her HR department is disgraceful and unnerving, but not surprising considering your attitude toward the whole thing...

So any contact by a man on woman which has not explicitly said "Yes, I am okay with this" is sexual assault? Rape? Shouldn't the victim have responsibilities? Know what is at stake?

> So any contact by a man on woman which has not explicitly said "Yes, I am okay with this" is sexual assault? Rape?

Yes. It really is very simple: when you're with someone who has been drinking, or who you are the boss of, or both, you need to get explicit consent for sexual activity.

"Are you okay with this?"

> Shouldn't the victim have responsibilities? Know what is at stake?

"She was wearing a short skirt" wasn't particularly acceptable in the 1980s and, as can be seen from this thread, is not acceptable today.

Why is it so hard to understand that people initiating sexual contact need to be the ones to take responsibility? Especially if they're in a position of power over the other person?

I'll oblige you with a response.

This wasn't just "any contact". Did you read where he jammed his tongue down her throat? Did you read where he groped her ass? Did you read the part about penetrating her with his finger?

Quit trying to frame this as just "any contact" because it wasn't.

Without wading into this pointless debate, the fact that this part of the story was in the shape of bullet points does not help lift the ambiguity...

The bullet points seem to cover several minutes at least, if not a good half hour or longer. At all times she could have said "please stop now". Did she? Perhaps she did. We don't know, though. At one point she expressed surprise that her boss would do this even though he was married. Was that "please stop, you're married!" Or was it "aren't you married?"

Could be either, from this report... So the ambiguity is enough to give space to all these pointlessly angry debates.

Edit: the following links remove some ambiguity, but not a whole lot: http://theotherzach.com/writes/2013/10/9/events http://blog.matt-darby.com/essays/i-am-the-other-developer

The lack of resistance is not a consent.

Thank you for those links.

Seeing as you are an expert on the matter: whenever I am presented in such a situation; at which point do I ask the woman for consent? Is it when she jumps on the bar and lifts her shirt or when I lick her belly button (which was why she jumped on the bar)? Before I wrap my hands around her of after I kiss her forehead?

If you are her boss, you don't do those things at all.

If you are an employee, you don't do those things near your boss.

I don't disagree, but it's hardly the point. It is far, far worse for an employer to do this sort of thing than it was for the employee to have done something inappropriate in front of her boss.

Their is a power imbalance in the employee/employer relationship, and it is almost always skewed to the employer. That's why there are unions, and workplace relations laws.

Why did she not pull away after the kiss and be done with it. It takes some time to kiss someone, reach around grab their butt then go down the pants which were likely tight fitting jeans. Just time it yourself and ask yourself if there is enough time for someone to pull away. I am not sure how you "jam" you tongue down someones throat and not have them pull away if they did not want that from you. Check your emotions for a second and read through and document all the facts and weigh them before you start making judgements.

> Did you read where he jammed his tongue down her throat?


> Did you read where he groped her ass?


> Did you read the part about penetrating her with his finger?


Quit trying to sensationalize the story.

So on top of a lack of reading comprehension, we have people blaming the victim? Is it any wonder women find it hard to exist in the tech world?

You exaggerated with 1. 2 was explicitly stated. For 3, fingering does not imply penetration. What was that again about reading comprehension?

Are you implying that I blamed the victim? What was that again about reading comprehension?

He stuck his hand down the front of her pants and started fingering her. That is penetration. I don't see how you could interpret it differently.

He didn't exaggerate about him forcibly sticking his tongue down her throat. That's what she wrote. You clearly do have a reading comprehension problem!

He didn't exaggerate? You and he must have awfully long tongues! Believe me, I've tried.

Fingering may or may not involve penetration. I can't make it any clearer without being explicit.

Or, maybe I have a reading comprehension problem.

sexual penetration Sexual intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, anal intercourse, or any other intrusion, however slight, of any part of a person's body or of any object into the genital or anal openings of the victim's, defendant's, or any other person's body; emission of semen is not required.

You have a reading comprehension problem. I'd suggest you stop digging that hole any deeper.

I'll stop. I tried fingering some thick skulls. I could not penetrate.

I think I speak for many that your comment just made us all feel more stupid.

um. well. basic anatomy: fingering does imply penetration. and it is clearly sexual assault regardless.

Try reading. Here is the text you somehow entirely issued:

Following the shot:

- Joe began to start rubbing my back and kissing my forehead (let me say this is not uncommon behavior between me and men I consider close friends. I have a close relationship with a lot of my former EdgeCase coworkers)

- Joe then put his hands down the back of my pants, yes, I wear a thong and thus he began grabbing my ass.

- Joe then started kissing me, forcibly with his tongue. I was not reciprocating.

- Joe began to put his hand down the front of my pants and finger me. I was a deer in headlights staring into the eyes of the two male bartenders hoping someone would help me.

Those all existed in her account.

"She was not raped or "sexually assaulted"..."

Did you miss the part where he penetrated her with his finger in front of everybody?

I wasn't there and can't speak of how Justine was lying on the bar (whether she was enjoying that moment) but I can read:

>Joe began to start rubbing my back and kissing my forehead (let me say this is not uncommon behavior between me and men I consider close friends. I have a close relationship with a lot of my former EdgeCase coworkers)

So this is not uncommon. She was OK at this point. She occasionally let men kiss her forehead. Opinions may vary on the sexual implication at this point (as for her it is a social greeting).

>Joe then put his hands down the back of my pants, yes, I wear a thong and thus he began grabbing my ass.

Here she implies that wearing a thong allows for ass grabbing? I am uncertain whether she is okay with it due the usage of the word "thus". Seeing she had a boyfriend at that point, it should be a red flag but I don't know her standards in relationships. Could be a major red flag but could also be playing around.

>Joe then started kissing me, forcibly with his tongue. I was not reciprocating.

Okay red flag all raised. She was getting kissed. Not liking it. He already had her hands on her lower section. Why did she not get off that bar? Why did she even get on that bar? Why was she still on the bar when he groped her ass? How can he possibly know her limit when she DOES allow ass grabbing and forehead kissing but DOES NOT allow full-frontal kissing?

>Joe began to put his hand down the front of my pants and finger me. I was a deer in headlights staring into the eyes of the two male bartenders hoping someone would help me.

She can come up with all sorts of analogies and somehow expects people to help her out. She is not okay with the current situation. Why does she not stand up already?

>I told Joe to stop and reminded him he had a wife and children. He said, “Don’t’ worry about it we have an agreement”

Can't you think about that before you offer your belly button to him? That you have a relationship yourself as well? You can talk but not stand up? Was he actually pushing you down?

I am not sure which part I missed. Or she. Or he. Or all of us. But I can see (read: read) what she did, expected and lived through and how it could have been easily avoided every major and minor step which can only make me say that it was her fault. Note that this has nothing to do with how she handled her experience and what it made of her, but rather how being raped or not and who's fault it is.

The parts you missed? Hmmm, how about the part where it would have been rather obvious to him that his advances were unwanted right around the part he tried to kiss her with tongue if not earlier. What about the part where it's rather difficult to get off a bar when you're drunk and there's a guy leaning over you. Then there's the part where women are under social pressure not to kick up a big fuss about this kind of thing at the time because gee "it was only a bit of fun" and they're "overreacting".

If she had some pushed him away and got off the bar, I can pretty much guarantee you we'd be seeing comments just like yours about how she was freaking out over nothing.

Let's also not forget about abuse of power. That was her boss, two levels up in the hierarchy of the company. She was shocked, and I'm sure most people can understand how awkward it is for her to have had to demand her boss stop groping her.

Can someone tell me how you put your hand down to grab someone's butt while they are laying on their back on a bar? That seems kind of difficult. I just tried it and it took me rolling someone on their side then doing it and then rolling them back to put my hand down their pants. I am just recounting the information presented to fairly run through this situation. We need to be fair to both parties if were are going to be passing judgement on people we don't know and were not at this event. We are only hearing one side of the story so that means we need to scrutinize it even more.

> Here she implies that wearing a thong allows for ass grabbing? I am uncertain whether she is okay with it due the usage of the word "thus".

You are misreading this. It doesn't mean it makes acceptable ass grabbing. It was there to make the point that my putting his hand down her pants in that manner, he was touching skin. A thong does not offer an extra layer of protection.

Just because she consented to the shot part does NOT mean she was offering anything else.

Die in a fucking fire, you victim blaming moronic waste of fucking skin. Or at the very least get the fuck out of my fucking industry so you stop giving those of us with a penis and a clue a bad name.

Fuck you.

That's a lot of ad hominem we got there. You may want to slow down a bit and take things easy.

>Just because she consented to the shot part does NOT mean she was offering anything else

"A body shot is a shot of alcohol (such as tequila) that is consumed from a person's body, usually from erogenous zones such as the navel or the breasts." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_play#Alcohol)

Reading further:

"An erogenous zone (from Greek ἔρως eros "love" and English -genous "producing" from Greek -γενής -genes "born") is an area of the human body that has heightened sensitivity, the stimulation of which may result in the production of sexual fantasies, sexual arousal and orgasm." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erogenous_zone)

Please take note of the part involving "sexual fantasies, sexual arousal and orgasm". She peeled her shirt up in a submissive position on a bar with lots of alcohol involved. Which part are you missing?

Your definitions are tangential to the argument. A body shot is risque, but they are not an open invitation to groping and fingering. Your point amounts to "her skirt was too short."

Before you cry out straw-man, don't. Nowhere on wikipedia does it say body shots guarantee consent to groping and fingering. The fact it occurred on her navel doesn't mean 'yes'.

By all accounts she was at least tipsy, if not outright drunk. Further, Joe was her boss at the time (i.e. position of authority). The responsibility was squarely on his shoulders to be 110% positive that his advances were welcomed. Whether he was unable to do that because he was too drunk, too excited, or didn't care does not matter. He failed in that responsibility and it is nobody's fault but his own.

So what women need to start doing is carrying guns? If a man starts touching you without your consent you shoot them, simple, right?

At any point she could have screamed, said "No" or simply stand up. Being tipsy doesn't paralyze your muscles. You can still speak and resist. If was she actively resisting anyone would have gotten between her and him much earlier and the police report would be in her favor immediately.

It is not until she feels penetrating contact, she begs him to think about his wife. In no instance before that (ass grabbing, facial kissing, tongue-to-tongue contact) she even pointed out possible resistance. How is it not her responsibility to not climb on that bar when her boss is around? To not lift her shirt in front of her boss?

pearjuice, you continue to take your arguments to ridiculous conclusions in order to justify what happened to Justine. Just fucking stop.

We aren't talking about brushing up against someone at the bar. Her fucking boss took the body shot as an invitation to sexually assault her. What's so fucking difficult to understand about that?

Maybe you can try to understand pearjuice's comments and fucking think for a while.

I think he does understand pearjuice's comments. He seems pretty appalled by them, which is pretty understandable really.


I'm not missing the point of pearjuice' argument. In each of his/her posts, he shifts the blame from the perpetrator (Joe) to the victim (Justine) and follows up by taking it to some weird extremes "So what women need to start doing is carrying guns? If a man starts touching you without your consent you shoot them, simple, right?" and using Wikipedia to define body shots and erogenous zones.

You do it in your post with, "why didn't she remove herself from the situation". Neither one of you question Joe's behavior...just Justine's. If you can't see that as victim blaming, then I'm not sure what else to say.

> Apparently I've reached the maximum thread depth and don't have a "reply" option to your post.

There is a built-in time limit to prevent rapid replies when threads get deep.

You can either wait a few minutes, or work out how to get the reply box.

I hope you never get accused of rape.

Same here. But it seems that it will be unlikely, given they have shown pretty clearly they understand that a. if you are the boss, don't make advances on underlings, and b. they are unlikely to make an advance until they are sure thy have communicated clearly with the other person.

Which only asserts that these guys have never been intimate with a woman. These things develop and often it is very vague when things should progress or not. When you as male are allowed to drink alcohol from a belly and allowed to kiss the fore head and wrap your arms around the suspect, at which point should you communicate? In a blink the momentum could be lost and all is left will be uncomfortable positions (she laying on the bar, Joe half on top) and awkward silence. He was passionate, she invited him because she did not actively took measures to let him know he is not welcome. It would have taken one word. "Stop". But she, intoxicated as she were, threw all her responsibilities away and expected the male in question to regulate access to her own body.

Which brings me to my final observation: at any point in time women seem to be able to give, not give but also revoke consent. For the latter: even after actions by both parties have taken place.

I'm going to repeat this yet again, in the hope it gets through to you, or someone else who might be under the strange misconception that unwanted sexual advances by a man to a woman is the personal responsibility of the woman:

If you do not have explicit consent, and you misunderstand the signals given by the woman, no matter what the perceived provocation: it is your responsibility as to what happens. Your failure to understand you've stepped over the line into the realms of sexual assault has nothing to do with the woman.

If a man gets it wrong, he cannot say that it is the fault of the woman. The woman may have given out some mixed signals, but it was the man who initiated the contact, and it was the man's responsibility and duty to ensure that the woman was ok with what is happening.

Let's set aside the fact that you've just decided to do a body shot off a colleague.

> I cannot explain to men how hard it is being a woman trying to play it cool in an industry of men. I want everyone to think I’m cool and relaxed so I try and just play by their rules. Regardless I got on the bar and lifted my shirt as far as I was comfortable.

You cite Wikipedia like it was a boolean logic kind of situation where just taking part means an invitation to anything a drunk brain can come up with.

Being drunk is not an excuse.

Sincerely, a dude who likes women

If being drunk is not an excuse why did she throw all of her responsibilities out of the window and decided to climb on that bar, lift her shirt in front of colleagues and other professionals in her field?

>I want everyone to think I’m cool and relaxed so I try and just play by their rules.

followed by "Regardless" says a lot about her sense of responsibility and ability to see what exactly she was doing, implying and portraying by lying down on that bar. Or was it the alcohol? Because certainly nobody lifted her on that bar, right? Nobody pushed her down when her boss groped her? Nobody held her mouth open when her boss sticked his tongue in? Nobody told her "your boss has all right to touch you, Justine. Stay flat, your boyfriend will never know"?

Jesus christ.

Lying down on bar - doing body shot != permission to sexually assault.

I disagree. I have never heard the term body shot before but from all wikipedia tells me, I would conside it acceptable for a man to grab a womaons ass if the woman was in a body shot. If the woman screams no that's a different this g but it didnt happen here.

I disagree

So you believe that if you do a body shot of off someone, you then have permission to sexually assault them? Wow..

People in this world do just grab peoples asses, kiss them, etc. all the time without explicit consent. Even without doing body shots.

Exactly. If someone goes as far as a body shot , I consider something like kissing very minor detail. Maybe its a cultural thing.

I see this in movies all the time. Now you guys are telling me its sexual assault.

Indeed, we are.

We call this "rape culture."

My girlfriend put her hand in my pants without asking this morning, so she's part of 'rape culture'?

I have plenty of personal interaction, thanks.

A couple is different than a married CEO and his employees. I don't feel you're arguing in good faith, so I'll leave it at that.

That's a pretty sick position to take. You think it is ok to sexually assault someone if they allow body shots on a bar?

If her complaint was that the bodyshot itself constituted sexual assault, sure. Otherwise your argument is literally no different than "she was wearing a short skirt and therefore deserved it."

I'm sitting here, toiling away on HN, happy in the fact that I'd seen it all. Then I read your comment.

You couldn't possibly be using Wikipedia as a justification for sexual assault, could you?

She agreed to the body shot and nothing else. There's no consent for other things. Body shot is not a 'gateway drug' to sexual assaults.

Consent is almost always just implied, not explicit.

I'm in no way defending him or his actions, but it's understandable how an intoxicated guy (therefore less able to read subtle body language signals) could think an act of foreplay like licking alcohol from her body was a way of consenting to further sexual advances.

I could maybe accept this argument if he tried to advance things, and stopped when it was clear she wasn't reciprocating. There's a sexual element to a body shot, and there's really no use denying that fact.

But when you kiss someone, and they fail to reciprocate, and certainly when someone tells you to stop, you've clearly crossed a line. In my mind, there's absolutely no room for grey area in this from the point she said "stop".

Her post is light on details, so it's hard to decipher how Joe perceived the situation.

> But when you kiss someone, and they fail to reciprocate...

It's likely that he didn't notice her not reciprocating the kiss. He might also have though she was just a bit shy or simply a bad kisser.

> In my mind, there's absolutely no room for grey area in this from the point she said "stop".

Agreed, no doubt about it. However, this is what she wrote:

"I told Joe to stop and reminded him he had a wife and children. He said, “Don’t’ worry about it we have an agreement”"

There's a massive difference between "Stop, I don't want this" and "Stop, we shouldn't do this because you have a wife and kids". It seems to me like Joe though she meant it the second way.

This whole story seems like a tragic case of serious miscommunication between two intoxicated people, not a vile act of evil.

Exactly, I does not look to be a vile act but still a bad decision on Joe's part. If someone said no by referencing wife and kids, that would "imply" they actual would do it but that have a moral objection to the person's relationship status. NO MEANS NO when you say NO or STOP. Many of you are being self-righteous by vilifying this person and then when anyone brings up reasonable doubt, you attack the person or worse then addressing reasonable questions like why didn't she just walk away or clearly say STOP or NO. Instead I see people absolving Justine from any PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for her ACTIONS or LACK THEREOF.

I don't see why it should matter what justification she gives for why he should stop, someone saying "stop" is clearly unhappy and uncomfortable with the situation. Saying that it's ok that he 'misunderstood' her because she gave a reason that meant nothing to him denies her agency.

Ignoring that she was clearly uncomfortable with everything about the situation, even if she were merely uncomfortable with making out with a married man this would be more than enough reason for her to say stop and expect him to not continue.

The fundamental problem with this kind of equivocation, though, is that in a scary as fuck situation people do what they can to get out and sometimes they can't figure out the right thing to do in the split second between someone kissing them and shoving their finger in their genitals.

Aside from the fact he was married, drunk and her boss...

The problem with not getting explicit consent is that the other party may not be comfortable with your advances. If you misinterpret the signals, well, I'm sorry - that's your issue, not the other parties. If you mix up the signals as you haven't communicated sufficiently with the other party, then I'm afraid you are still responsible for your actions.

Personally, I've never been bold enough to be so forthright to a woman. Now I'm married, I'm glad I never was! This sort of situation seems to me to be an absolute minefield and you are highly at risk of getting it wrong!

I honestly feel no sympathy for this Joe fellow. He should never have placed himself in this situation, and he should never have attempted the things he did until he had the chance to properly know whether he got consent or not. You are NOT going to find that out clearly at a rowdy bar surrounded by colleagues and party-goers.

A body shot is not a foreplay to anything. If you need reference, go ask any university party goers.

You're forgetting that they pressured her to do it. So, socially pressure someone into doing something sexually submissive = she's fair game to go further?

Yeah. That's sick.

She should of just gotten up from the bar. From how the story reads, I don't think she was laying down at that point so she had the opportunity to walk away. 4 separate acts happened and by her account 3 were unwanted. How many does it take for someone to just remove themselves from the situation? How many?

They physically assaulted her and pinned her down on the bar? What I have read translates to her being an independent woman who voluntarily rolled her shirt up and decided to climb on the bar.

> Just because she consented to the shot part does NOT mean she was offering anything else.

This part a lot of people can agree with, myself included. The rest, not so much. I understand and I share the sense that pearjuice's opinion is aggravating, but this reaction is not acceptable and, worse, it sabotages your (valid) point.

By the way, if you really want to hate someone, go search the comments of the article for "Peter Habicht".

Words to the effect of "she was asking for it" are uncivilised and to my mind an uncivil response is at that point not just acceptable but important.

I had two points there - the first was that pearjuice was plain wrong. The second was that pearjuice's attitude does not belong in civilised society and that anybody holding such an attitude should be defenestrated with extreme prejudice.

I respect your opinion that my chosen means of attempting to make the second point were suboptimal, but I am happy to stand by my words with the possible exception of 'moronic', which might have been better replaced by 'abhorrent'.

I don't think anyone is suggesting that she was asking for it. However, from the report it is ambiguous whether she clearly stated "no" at any point (reminding him he's married may have been a clear no statement, but we don't know for sure). Unfortunately this ambiguity is giving rise to the arguments above.

I am civilised. I think that your attitude (suggesting that someone whose opinion differs from yours should be killed by throwing them out of a window) is far less suitable to civilised society than pearjuice's, who is arguing a contentious and sensitive point, and may be wrong, but is at least willing to do so without calling people names or threatening to harm them physically.

Your behaviour, however, is completely unacceptable. What's your excuse for it? Do you also beat up things and people around you physically when you get upset, or does your violence remain verbal only?

The sort of victim blaming attitude shown by their comments helps to perpetuate social constructs that enable a substantial amount of physical harm.

Additionally, "they hadn't said no" is not a justification for putting your hand inside somebody's trousers.

Trying to paint an obvious failure of basic consent as ambiguous is, to my mind, at the very least "maybe she was asking for it", which I find no less unpleasant.

As such, I think perhaps our definitions of "civilised" differ.

It's easy to be civil with those you agree with. A gentleman is a gentleman even in the gutter. It's when faced with those whose opinion is abhorrent to you that you get to show that you're civilised.

> I had two points there - the first was that pearjuice was plain wrong. The second was that pearjuice's attitude does not belong in civilised society and that anybody holding such an attitude should be defenestrated with extreme prejudice.

I agree with you completely on that point. People like pearjuice do not belong in our civilised society. Seeing pearjuice victim blame is disgusting, and he should be taught a lesson in humility and empathy.

I suggest we make him sew a yellow pear on his clothes, and send him to a empathy training camp.

Ad hominem is really a problematic point on HN and it seems to be rewarded by these inner social circles. It is truly demotivating.


Unmitigated bullshit.

> However, the response of Justine matches ancient societal expectations: if a woman has been violated, she loses all value.

"The response of Justine matches" (be more pretentious) the response of someone who has experienced extreme violation of trust by a close friend who was also an authority figure. If you like, invent a hypothetical scenario that involves public humiliation and violation of trust and all the rest and no sexuality whatsoever and a person might be equally traumatized.

It's interesting that you recommended she see a therapist. As with all the well intentioned advice she's getting as a result of posting this, it's certainly a possibility that has occurred to her and has been recommended by those close to her.

This is why many reasonable people simply do not like to talk about sexual assault, on here or in real life. It seems to cause people to default to a position where you must adopt one view (i.e. theirs) to the exclusion of all others. If you talk about the effects societal norms have on victims, or on strategies to navigate a misogynistic world, people will accuse you of "victim blaming". On the other hand there are people (like antirez, in this baffling post that went highly upvoted on HN a while back: http://oldblog.antirez.com/post/different-take-sexism-it.htm...) who think trying to understand the precarious position women in tech--or other boys' clubs--or heck, the whole world--live in is, in and of itself, misogynist. Talking in a reasonable, realistic, yet understanding way becomes impossible, and people are afraid of taking the slightest ideological risk lest they slotted in on some "side" belonging to one of many unreasonable positions. For many people this is uncomfortable even if they are on the "right" side! And they won't tell you how they feel either because that's just as dangerous. So the topvoted discussion is, invariably, angry nerds misrepresenting each other with a lot of insults thrown in.

Eventually one exclusive view gets upvoted to the top, and the thread is forgotten and life goes on, then another thread happens and maybe the same view dominates or maybe a different one does. How unenlightening. It's why I never take a position in these threads except maybe to offer pretentious meta-analysis, like I'm doing right now.

The two of you are doing two things at the same time.

First, you're having an intellectually legitimate debate that's probably revealing some good counter points and offering valid, alternative perspectives on the broader issue.

Second, you're continuing a cold argument devoid of any (productive) empathy in lieu of passionate, scientific rigor.

This is not what this post needs. Let it go, guys. Neither of you is going to convince anyone meaningfully. The issue is polarizing enough as it is. This is a situation that calls for empathy and support, and the interchange of ideas that won't put other people off of listening to each other in an open way.

I don't mean to be self-righteous, but this is a community somewhat known for entering into page-length tangential debates -- that would be detrimental to the subject at hand.

* This is a situation that calls for empathy and support, and the interchange of ideas that won't put other people off of listening to each other in an open way.*

... and HN is the place for that to happen! ;)

My comment wasn't in the spirit of cold argument at all. I found Confusion's comment genuinely offensive. And yes, overly intellectualizing.

edit: I don't care about cynicalkane's comment enough to puzzle out what he means. No offense to cynicalkane intended. :)

You now perpetuate the myth that what happened to Justine should necessarily have such an extreme influence on her life. I say: no, this is not the "response of someone who has experienced extreme violation of trust". This is a "response of someone who has experienced extreme violation of trust". It is only the response of someone with a certain nature and nurture. It is an understandable response and Justine is not to blame for it at all. That doesn't mean it can't be changed. If it can be changed, that doesn't mean she was being overdramatic in the first place, or some such nonsense. Those kinds of thoughts are exactly the kinds of implicit beliefs I'm pointing to and the kinds of thoughts that e.g. prevent someone from searching help: they are afraid that when they are helped, they are exposed for the frauds they feel like.

You don't wonder why such an event would have one effect on one person, another effect on another person and whether perhaps things could be changed so Justine suffers less? I suggest that this strongly depends on what the person believes and that this can be changed, so her life changes for the better.

I suggest a therapist because I have firsthand experience with needing help to change my beliefs about the world.

Although I respect the point you're trying to make, it's only a part of the problem, by far not the entire problem.

And what I find borderline offensive is that you completely ignore the fact that the company pretty much swept the whole incident under the rug.

This in my opinion has had a much more immediate effect on the victim's sense of self worth than any deeper cultural issue.

Basically she was given to believe that what happened to her wasn't that big a deal, and since she clearly experienced it very differently, indirectly she was told she didn't have much value.

You can't address every possible point from every possible opinion in every post.

I find it borderline offensive that you find it borderline offensive that the GP missed out on the point you wanted to make while making other valid points. Respectfully, of course.

To me, it seems an order of magnitude more important to fire the person than to publicly acknowledge his wrongdoing. I would be extremely upset if they had done it the other way around, so I don't think this counts as sweeping it under the rug.

Do you think the public acknowledgement is more important than the firing? Is the problem that they were only 80% behind her instead of 100%? Is it something else? I really want to understand your position.

False dichotomy. Not either-or. Both.

They fired him.

They appear to have provided support to her.

She could go to the police and file a report. It's traumatic, and unlikely to have any effect.

But it is not possible for the firm to say "We sacked Bob because he sexually assaulted one of our staff".

"But it is not possible for the firm to say "We sacked Bob because he sexually assaulted one of our staff"."

Why not? The event in question happened in a public setting, while her boss was acting in something of an official capacity (it was a work related event). To me, that demands a public acknowledgement and treatment of what happened.

They leave themselves open to law suits. He hasn't been questioned by police, nor arrested, nor tried, nor convicted.

Innocent until proven guilty is a firm principle.

Accusing someone of a sex crime will have very serious consequences for that person.

She has said that she doesn't want to involve legal processes. When the company publicly says that he assaulted her they force the legal processes to start - either he sues for defamation or police get involved.

I didn't make a false dichotomy. Read my post again. I think the firing was about 90% of what they should have done. Do you disagree with that?

'Swept under the rug', to me, sounds like doing close to 0%.

Just re-read your comment and you're right, you didn't make a false dichotomy. But it is easy for a moron (like me) to take your comment and turn it into false dichotomy. Sorry about that.

I will say, though, that I really don't like assigning percentages because I think they fit the situation poorly.

In my opinion, the company should have done two discreet things: fire the guy and address why he was fired (see my comment to other responder for why they should address the firing). Assigning percentages to these to represent their respective importance is not very useful; they are both past the threshold of Very Important. Therefore, they should both get done.

And she had to return to that job without any reason to believe that they would offer any support.

I can appreciate your sentiment, and we absolutely do not want to encourage the 'fragile women' meme. It certainly plays a role. However, it's only one component, and I think you may be putting a bit too much weight on it. A loss of bodily autonomy is psychologically harmful, regardless of societal expectations.

Yes, it is psychologically harmful regardless of societal expectations, like a punch in the face is physically harmful. However, I read your emphasis on this as implying agreement with the common idea that it is irreparable and should have lasting consequences for someones mind, which is something I strongly disagree with.

I'm putting much weight on it because of two reasons. The first is that the only way Justine is going to be happy again is by dealing with what happened in a different way. The current way obviously isn't working: she's being selfdestructive. The only way I've seen work is having people change their assumptions and beliefs, generally taking up beliefs not shared by 'society'. I'm strongly channeling Nietzsche here: society has a vested interest in making the individual feel weak, powerless, insignificant and it is ruthless and cruel in the ways in which it achieves it. The second is that I believe preventing these things from happening is hard and that they will keep happening for a long time to come, no matter how hard we try. The 'prevent this' angle is covered well by many others, but the 'prevent these things from having such a strong impact' isn't. I believe it is a damn waste that so many people are made to believe they are weak, worthless, insignificant, guilty, for whatever reason, due to whatever history. I believe Justine is a prime example of what is wrong on this front. One incident had enough power to completely change who she feels she is, how she should behave, what she represents. This one incident has taken over everything. Why can it have this power? Because we allow it to have this power. And we are responsible for taking that power away!

Amen. It's something most of us here (to generalise) as straight middle class males will likely never experience. I struggled with how to help when my ex-girlfriend was assaulted. I still am unsure on the "right" thing to do, other than support and empathise.

No, that is not a deeper problem. It may be a problem, but it is minor compared to the fact that there are vast numbers of people who think that sexually assaulting people is okay.

Different brains respond to severe emotional trauma in different ways.

I urge you to spend some time with smart people with PTSD. Collect some data and evolve your beliefs.

> sexually assaulting people

The problem is that what is considered "sexually assaulting people" is relative to one's culture, education, religion, etc.

In ancient China just the bare foot of a girl was the most intimate thing you could imagine, something a husband will never get from his wife. In Tang dynasty apparently showing breasts was considered normal.

Right now in France saying "my dear" (ma chérie) when addressing to a colleague is a bit borderline but "you look pretty today" is ok (while not 100% innocent). Maybe it is the opposite in the US?

There is also this story (is it true?) of African students coming to France in the 70ties and raping girls who accepted to come to their room: in their original culture a girl who accept to go the room of a boy already accepted to make love, and the "no! please, no!" thing is a gameplay.

Not to talk about how things are in Japan...

I am not sure the current most common definition of the limit between laughing together and "sexual assault" in the USA is the best one and should be used as a worldwide norm. I would bet against it actually.

> The problem is that what is considered "sexually assaulting people" is relative to one's culture, education, religion, etc.

This is why we have laws. And the assault didn't happen 'worldwide,' it happened in the USA. So the definition is not really ambiguous.

But laws, while necessary, are very inefficient at avoiding bad behaviors. If I don't steal my neighbors or assault girls, it is not chiefly because it is forbidden by laws, it is because I would feel ashamed of myself.

Edit: what I mean is that using the self esteem, sense of honor, education, all these old things might prove more efficient than laws, and maybe especially in problems related to disrespect of women.

Agreed, I only mean that 'yeah but how do you define sexual assault?' has a clear answer.

Not to mention, the offender lives in the same culture that defines what he did as sexual assault. The argument, to my mind is a little specious.

Calling complete bullshit on you for "vast numbers of people who thing sexually assaulting people is okay". Either your definition of sexual assault is much different that standard usage, or you hang out with deplorable people.

Edit: What did you hope to accomplish in your response?

Edit 2: Also, perhaps instead you could educate us what it is we could learn by hanging out with smart people with PTSD. Since not all of us have the opportunity to meet people in that situation, maybe you could share a bit about the experience and what you learned.

A bit.ly link to a Let Me Google That For You for rape statistics in the U.S.? That's your contribution? Seriously?

He said:

> Either your definition of sexual assault is much different that standard usage, or you hang out with deplorable people.

I was demonstrating that he was wrong.

Try demonstrating differently next time. Incidentally, if you want the definition of sexual assault, then searching for sexual assault statistics seems to be an unusual search criteria.

I don't think it is a given that brains simply are different and that emotional trauma, once contracted, is unchangeable. Humans have the capacity to change the function of their brains (even the physical layout of their brains, as recovery after brain damage shows), both to reduce the chance of developing PTSD and to address PTSD after getting it. Although the second is most relevant here, what I described may have more influence on the first.

Take a look at the list of factors that influence whether you will develop PTSD [1]. Take the 1st factor: why does being female increase the chance of developing PTSD? Because of physical differences in the brain? Surely, but certainly also because of the different beliefs females grow up to hold. What it means to be female is not just a question of physiology (according to some, physiology doesn't even enter into it). One way in which people with PTSD are counselled, is by changing the way they perceive themselves, which includes what it means to be 'female'. Take the 4th factor: having other mental health problems. Why does a person have those in the first place? Again, there are undoubtedly genetic factors, but at least an equal amount is due to 'nurture', which can be addressed by further nurture.

Reducing the number of people who commit sexual assault is the only way to get rid of the problem at all. However, I don't have high hopes for that in the short run, because you're appealing to empathic and rational thought, while sexual assault happens in circumstances in which those kinds of thought are put on the backburner by the perpetrator (because of alcohol or simply because he's a opath). I'm a pragmatist: I agree people shouldn't be sexually assaulted, but given that people are* being sexually assaulted and will keep being sexually assaulted for decades to come, I think we should also focus on helping victims in better ways. And the best help for them is to have a set of beliefs that cause you not to be devastated by such an event in the first place.

I admit all my knowledge of PTSD is third hand. I hope it stays that way. Nevertheless, I don't think I'm disqualified from making statements about things with which I do have first hand experience, such as changing your beliefs contrary to societal expectations, to increase your happiness in life.

What data concerning 'smart people with PTSD' do you believe I am missing?

[1] http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/post-traumatic-stress-disor...

I can't believe I'm reading this here. What if some other assault happened, you got kicked in the guts by your boss while everyone around you just stood there and didn't do anything about it? I know I'd be quite upset. That man had absolutely no right to do what he did and you can't blame the victim for getting upset about it.

I'm blaming society for the victim being upset to the extent she currently is and I'm suggesting a way to change it. I'm not blaming her for being upset at all, I'm merely suggesting a way for her to become less upset.

If someone breaks your leg, but you don't go to a doctor and complain about the extreme pain it causes you, am I then blaming you for the broken leg if I tell you that you I think you could suffer less by having it set and cast?

When someone is raped, we say we understand that her life is shattered, that she will never recover. It's part of a general acceptance that certain events mean someone's life is 'over' (death of a child, significant other) and that they may never recover. This acceptance implies expectation. Stronger women are questioned, seemingly admiringly, but actually judgingly: 'How can you just continue living after this?' with a hidden 'you are supposed to have broken!'.

Psychological research does suggest that self-talk and future expectation has an enormous influence on experienced outcomes.

In other words, it is extremely unhelpful for a person who experienced an adverse event to anticipate trauma and my life will never be the same and suffering.

Trauma may happen. It may not. Time will tell.

Sorry, but this post is 100% baseless supposition. If you haven't studied the causes of PTSD or the results of sexual assault you're not really in a position to comment on it. I see this kind of post all the time on tech websites, where people think that the causes of human (or animal) behaviour is simple, because they haven't exposed themselves to enough information to know any better.

I think you should probably delete this post, I can see it doing more harm than anything.

> 'gay' and 'faggot' are still a word used by virtually everyone to put things down as 'unmanly' or generally 'shameworthy'

The fact you think "virtually everyone" does that certainly says a lot about you and the type of people you spend time with.

You're trying to blame the victim, which is troublingly common when someone has been raped or sexually harassed but it is never the right response. It is traumatising when these things happen, it is personally demeaning and it is never acceptable.

Justine is brave for coming forward and we should encourage everyone in a similar situation to do the same and support them when they do.

The deeper cultural problem here is that your comment has been voted to the top.

I don't see how you can interpret my post as blaming the victim. I'm blaming society for the extreme damage the crime has done to her and I propose ways to mitigate some of the damage.

I'm not addressing the perpetrator at all, because he's obviously guilty of a crime. That doesn't change anything about the fact that we can mitigate the results of the crime.

It's absolutely still victim blaming, though thinly veiled under the guise of societal expectations being the reason for her supposedly blowing the whole thing out of proportion. Even if you pretend to be blaming society as the main culprit, your argument still essentially boils down to "it's not that bad, deal with it" and there is no denying this. I'm not saying there isn't any validity to your original argument, but don't back off and act like you're not saying that it's her failure to psychologically cope and deal with it that is causing all of this suffering. I've never had any person close to me experience sexual assault, but to argue that it's a societal problem and to imply that it's less psychologically traumatizing than it actually is is a dangerous argument to make without any kind of experience or knowledge of the actual psychological impact.

The solution isn't to make society believe that it's not a big deal, and that people are expected to make a timely recovery. I feel like this would lead to even more victim blaming and even more self hatred for those who don't meet the societal expectations of quick recovery. The proper message isn't "you should get over it quickly", but instead "you CAN get your life back"... and unless I'm mistaken, I believe this is what people helping those with rape try to teach the victims to believe.

Its easy to interpret it that way when do not read the comment.

I am unable to understand how a long post about how "societal expectations makes the suffering of the victims even worse than it might otherwise be" is anything except sympathetic towards the victim.

If you're seeing blaming in it, please do explain why since I'm as confused as the OP was.

We blame the victim all the time. Many alcoholic, drunk driver, bad-at-their-job people would rather not be like that but they're suffering some kind of severe emotional trouble and don't have the willpower to overcome it, much like this girl. They still get fired and charged with DUI regardless.

"Blaming the victim" means suggesting that the victim of a crime perpetrated by another was not the fault of the person who committed the crime, but rather their fault is somehow absolved by the actions of the victim. This is considered a terrible thing to do because it completely removes the victim's right to NOT be a victim.

If the victim actually, definitely and factually is partly to be blamed, why cannot the victim be blamed? Or do you disallow facts to be said? (This comment is general and doesn't make claims about this particular case).

Because then they are no longer the victim?

Very good post, right on. I'm a woman, dealt with a number of more unpleasant situations, but wouldn't accept my life shuttered because somebody told me so. It's only beneficial for drama queens/kings, while naive people are thrown into the state of helplessness and hysteria without even realizing it. It's totally the opposite to the women empowerment, the one we want.

I would add 2 things - according to his (now removed, but still available in wayback machine) blog http://web.archive.org/web/20130923014010/http://objo.com/ Joe O'Brian wrote that he was looking for professional help with mental issues or such in June 2013 (substance abuse? a rehab?). So, now the internet is lynching a sick person who already realized a problem and was seeking help? How nice. While the other side blames her drinking problems on the society and "male industry" (how childish).

Second, having dealt with drunk men myself (no drugs or guns involved, just alcohol - like in the story). A slap in the face usually works very well to help him keep his hands to himself. If it still doesn't work, a good smash in the face and moving away works even better. Unless, a lady gets so plastered that she can't move or use her brain, or she's a damsel in distress type. Then her life was ruined long before somebody put a hand into her pants.

to everything bad that happens - the most beneficial thing to do is say "big deal, life moves on". On the case of sexual assault, it is politically incorrect to say it, and you will be considered a pro-rape chovinist ape.

Some, wrong, people say "she" (not always a woman, mind you) had her life shattered. Other people talk about the potential harm while balancing it against resilience and community support in the face of unconscionable violence, without diminishing nor further victimizing the survivor.

It not okay to tell rape survivors that they are weak or wrong for having experienced their assault, their great betrayal in public as a negative and traumatic event. Instead, we need to blame rapists, over and over again, and dismantle rape myths, and offer survivors the support they ask for, not the support you decide they need.

Yes, my first impression is that she's very fragile and passive. "Assault" is a too strong word if the guy let her go when she left for a smoke. And why didn't she punch the aggressor? Friends can be punched too. Saying "no" isn't enough to claim she resisted. If someone uses his physical force against us, we're not supposed to just say "please stop" as if the guy were respectful enough to obey. And she went back to work for him? The girl doesn't know how to survive in a tough world.

I am very sad to read this comment. Instead of writing ten paragraphs, I'll just try to write a little story:

Imagine you are in a building that has suddenly started to shake violently - and in slow motion you realize that this is your first earthquake, you are in a place without good building codes, and this area is capable of intensely destructive earthquakes - you may panic, feel a huge wave of paralyzing confusion, feel your brain flood with adrenaline, forget all your rational thoughts and fall down in shock as shattered glass falls on you and hurts you. Then a friend (who was in a stronger part of the building and didn't panic) finds you and helps you out of the shaking building. Later a person asks - why didn't you just duck under the table? Only idiots get hurt in earthquakes.

Here is also an article that addresses the long list of problems with "why didn't she punch him": http://adainitiative.org/2013/08/why-dont-you-just-hit-him-t...

Ideally we'd have a world in which everything happened in the same way up until the moment he french-kissed her. Then she would indeed have punched him and said "you crossed the line". He would say "sorry, my alcohol-infused mind judged the situation wrongly, I should not have done that and will not do it next time". In this ideal world, he'd mean that. Everyone would accept the miscalculation and everyone would get on with their lives, without anyone holding anything against anyone else.

You know why the world isn't like that? Because of beliefs and expectations.

You are judging this situation in the abstract and in hindsight. That is pointless and leads to callous conclusions that do not do justice to the complexity of these situations. It lacks empathy and respect for the complexity of the situation and differences between people. Try to imagine the scene, the days leading up to it, put yourself in the shoes of a woman, imagine the beliefs she has about how she should behave, how others will behave, about what is expected of her. The situation becomes complex, muddy: so many variables to consider! As someone else said: put yourself in a gay bar, with a score of gay colleagues, including your boss, and this happens to you. What if you worked in a larger company? What if the company was in bad weather and perhaps people need to be let go? So many variables!

> And why didn't she punch the aggressor?

She was in shock.

> Saying "no" isn't enough to claim she resisted.

Why does it matter if she resisted? Is it not rape if you don't resist?

It was totally an aggression. My point is that she hadn't learn to live in a world where aggressions happen (capitalism maintains most of humanity in poverty, how surprising is it that this world is tough?). She shouldn't have been in shock, she should totally have resisted physically (in this context, sometimes resisting is dangerous) and she should have felt nothing but anger afterwards. Instead we had the story of a little bird who went out of her parent's nest for the first time and got hurt. You can't afford to be fragile and passive if you were born in a battlefield. Children shouldn't just be protected from the violence, they should be trained to survive it. Maybe schools should teach martial arts instead of volleyball.

easy for you to say

Regardless of shock or not, it was her responsibility to pull away and not let it go any further. Maybe she was really drunk and it didn't hit her that this was happening. Yes unwanted sexual contact happened but to make her as a pure victim is passing judgement on Joe with even asking him his side or any of the witnesses. Yes bad things happened but it is not this clear cut and one-sided. Sorry to break it to you.

Why are you talking about rape? I thought rape required penetrative sex, this is a sexual assault isn't it?

> Is it not rape if you don't resist?

It's not rape if the other person has no way of telling that you want them to stop.

So if someone starts fingering a random girl in public and she freezes in shock and fear, it's not sexual assault because she couldn't gather her wits in time to resist? Because that's what happened.

I know we're all programmers here but stop trying to build rules and logic around this. We all (should) have the common sense to understand when something is rape and when something is not. There is no trigger, there is no conditional, there is no callback, it just is and people who fail to understand this make me sick.

A number of people's lives have been forever changed by the recently surfaced actions and instead of focusing on the "what ifs" and the hypothetical situations we focus on fixing the underlying problems within our community.

There is an extremely simple logical construct surrounding this: consent is not the default state of the other party.

What is not easy to understand is how people don't understand this. :\

It's not rape if the other person has no way of telling that you want them to stop.

The fact that you committed this sentence to HN boggles my mind.

This would condone drugging your victim and is obviously and dangerously wrong.

Yes, obviously that is an important exception, which doesn't change the fact that the statement is generally correct.

I think you've forgotten that alcohol is such a drug that makes it harder to resist. It doesn't matter why the drug is in your system. So this situation goes back to the rape category.

No, it highlights the fact that what you have said is not correct, and a court of law would show you to be wrong.

It highlights the fact that you are being far too general about when rape is allowed.

Or the fact that you are being far too general about what is rape.

Guess which of us that makes more likely to be morally right about this issue. I'll save you the trouble; it's me. If you are wrong about what is not rape, you've raped somebody. It's not hard to get clear consent.

Ah, that's all that matters here, isn't it? that you are morally right and have no doubts about it. It's nice if one can make the world so simple.

Yes, actually, I don't have any doubts about it. I'm removing the capacity for doubt by being responsibly cautious. That's my responsibility. That's our responsibility. It's not even remotely fantasy to consider this.

No, it's still rape.

> Saying "no" isn't enough to claim she resisted.

Yes it is. In fact, not saying "yes" is enough.

> not saying "yes" is enough.

No, it's not.

...yes, it is. Of course it's not as simple as saying "yes" or "no" in real life, but the point is that if a person is communicating something less than an obvious yes - for example, if a person is unusually quiet, has closed-off body language, isn't reciprocating, is hesitant, or seems uncomfortable - then the other person needs to stop and check in to find out what's going on. The uncomfortable person doesn't need to verbally say "no".

This article has a reasonably helpful explanation of consent and "yes" and "no": http://www.doctornerdlove.com/2013/03/enthusiastic-consent/

That article makes some good points but ultimately describes a fantasy world (that I would like to live in!) in which women are not hesitant to unambiguously initiate romantic relationships and sex and then unilaterally places the burden on men to act as if that were the world we live in and risk being called rapists if they don't.

It really a lot like victim blaming.

That article's explanation of consent easily supports a world where a lot of women hesitate to unambiguously initiate romantic relationships and sex. For example, the partner can listen to her hints, ask to confirm that his guess is correct, proceed when she gives him a reasonably clear confirmation, and keep his eyes open for signs that he made a mistake. It's about paying attention.

And the article explains that the burden isn't unilaterally on men - that men also benefit from partners who care about consent:

> Consent is not just about what you aren’t willing to do, it’s about being willing to talk, to communicate openly and without reservation with your partner about how they feel and how you feel. It can be intimidating, especially for guys, to take ownership of their feelings about sex, especially if they don’t want to have it. Many men feel that they have to have sex, even when they’re not comfortable with it, because they’re men and that’s what men do so they have to suck it up. There will be times that men will feel pressured, even coerced, just as women do.

If she'd punched her aggressor, people would instead be complaining about how she overreacted, and how their first impressions are that she's very hostile and aggressive, and she should just have said no again more firmly (I can remember this happening before). Female rape and sexual assault victims basically can't win no matter what they do.

How about a compromise, walk away. Pull away. Or clearly say Stop it or No. All those would of worked just fine. What I am saying is that a victim usually has no alternatives when they are victimized. From her own account, she had the ability to exercise any of the items listed above to remove herself from this situation.

Here's a compromise. Don't sexually assault people.

I'd be ok with that but he was her employer. She's in a really tough position. If it was a co-worker, it'd be a different conversation imo.

> Saying "no" isn't enough to claim she resisted.

Actually yes, yes it is enough you sick, perverted fuck. "No means no" isn't just a slogan, and it isn't "No, along with some physical resistance means no".

This point wouldn't be made if there wasn't an underlying feeling that she shouldn't be making such a big deal out of it.

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