31 8 / 2014
"These are forms of male aggression that only women see. But even when men are afforded a front seat to harassment, they don’t always have the correct vantage point for recognizing the subtlety of its operation. Four years before the murders, I was sitting in a bar in Washington, D.C. with a male friend. Another young woman was alone at the bar when an older man scooted next to her. He was aggressive, wasted, and sitting too close, but she smiled curtly at his ramblings and laughed softly at his jokes as she patiently downed her drink. ‘Why is she humoring him?’ my friend asked me. ‘You would never do that.’ I was too embarrassed to say: ‘Because he looks scary’ and ‘I do it all the time.’
Women who have experienced this can recognize that placating these men is a rational choice, a form of self-defense to protect against setting off an aggressor. But to male bystanders, it often looks like a warm welcome, and that helps to shift blame in the public eye from the harasser and onto his target, who’s failed to respond with the type of masculine bravado that men more easily recognize."
31 8 / 2014
"The best way to dehumanize someone while claiming you’re not is to believe you are just the same. You erase their experiences and perspective, their struggles and obstacles, their unique way of having to deal with those things in a world that also erases them. With the words, ‘but humans are humans’ or the bullshit dramatics of ‘we all bleed red’ normal people can simply pretend that if we all did things the way they did, then everything would work out okay. But, yes, we all bleed red but you don’t treat a papercut the same way you treat a gash, you don’t treat an infected wound the same way you treat one that isn’t, you don’t treat a wound to the leg the same way you treat a wound to the gut. You are not acknowledging someone’s personhood when you ignore the very things that make their lives different than yours, and when you refuse to understand that their circumstances have given them their own perspective that is just as valid as yours. More valid in fact – their perspective about their experiences that you haven’t been through is far more valid than anything you could ever think about it."