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Old January 2, 2009, 01:12 PM   #25
pax
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Join Date: May 16, 2000
Location: Washington state
Posts: 6,933
Quote:
She said that no one else saw it and she felt uncomfortable making a scene.
This is the way society trains women to react. It's there from our very earliest days. Boys are taught not to cry (or not to cry loudly). Girls are taught to play quietly and to "make nice" when someone is too rough with them. We suck those lessons in with our mother's milk and have them reinforced throughout our lives and it's only by the sheerest stubborn willpower some of us overcome the lessons ... sometimes ... under extreme stress. But standing up and making a scene is a learned reaction, not the "natural" one. The default setting is to make nice.

Yes, it's wrong.

Yes, it's stupid.

Yes, it gets people killed.

And yes, it leads a lot of women to do incredibly foolish things like hanging around a bully who threatens them rather than leaving immediately to get the manager or to call 911.

But it's real and it's powerful and it's not easy to overcome.

It's why some subway gropers can get their jollies during the commute every day for years without getting caught ... because even in this day and age, most women are STILL more afraid of "making a scene" than they are of getting groped by a passing stranger.

It's why too many forcible rapes go unreported. Reporting a rape is "making a scene." And for what? So that a lot of strangers can poke and prod at your body and your motives, imply that you had it coming, point out all the stupid things you did that gave the criminal the chance to commit his crime -- and probably won't get him convicted anyway after all that. Better just to avoid making that scene in the first place.

And it's why the majority of date rapes go unreported too. Those cases are even worse on the "making a scene" front. Even the most egregious date rapes can be impossible to prosecute in court, because too often both involved parties can be telling the absolute truth from their perspectives. She did in fact tell him to stop, while he did in fact believe she had consented and was simply play-acting at 'no.' It happens because too many women have never learned how to "make a scene" when they need to. This is not blaming the victim, simply an acknowledgement of the way things actually are as opposed to how we wish they were.

This is also why some men think that they can just talk their wives into taking a class and carrying a gun, without ever realizing that what's needed is a mindset change that goes a whole lot deeper than showing up at a one- or two-day class and buying a piece of hardware. And that learning to value her own life, her own being, enough to protect herself will fundamentally change her, change her in ways he cannot possibly anticipate and possibly won't like.

Because, you know, we do have a word for a woman who is willing to "make a scene" in public, when threatened or simply bullied. Here's the word:

Bitch.

That's what a woman has to be willing to be, and to be perceived as, simply in order to do what most guys see as the sensible thing to do in a situation like this. (Be honest with yourselves, guys. Flip the situation just a tiny little bit, and most people here would be posting something like, "Wow, what a bitch. She just saw a glimpse of his legally-carried gun and called the cops!!?")

As a 40 year old woman, I'm finally at peace with my inner bitch. It wasn't an easy journey. And it still hurts -- hurts in ways it's difficult to express -- to know that people perceive me as a bitch when I refuse to quietly accede to being bullied. I never have been good at being pushed around, something that makes me a rather "unfeminine" woman even when dressed in frills.

No, I don't have any solutions. I'm simply admiring the problem.

Don't be too hard on the woman. She reacted exactly as she's been taught to react since the day she was born.

If that bothers you, teach your daughters differently.
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Kathy Jackson
My personal website: Cornered Cat
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