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Girls have the right to be safe.
January 7, 2008 10:17 PM   Subscribe

Nearly 60,000* American children (mostly girls) are abducted by strangers each year. After seeing a security video documenting a young girl's abduction, 15-year-old Dallas Jessup convinced her Filipino street fighting instructor to work with her on a school project and together they developed a method intended to teach young girls how to avoid Carla Brucia's fate. The resulting 47 minute video, Just Yell Fire, is viewable free of charge and teaches easy self defense moves created to help a potential victim avoid abduction or date rape. If there's a girl you love and want to protect from harm, the tips in this video may just save her life someday.

Yes, the beginning with the infomercial-esque set-up may seem cheesy, but remember... it was made BY 15 YEAR OLDS (!) for 15 year olds. After about 13 minutes of discussion and advice, they proceed to enact and teach a full series of helpful self defense moves with dos and don'ts to avoid being abducted or attacked in a variety of situations. (It's a Hell of a lot more impressive than any of my school projects were, that's for sure.)

Warning: features enactments of teen girls being surprise attacked with good and bad results. Good results for the girl usually meaning bad results for the attacker's groin, ear, and/or eyes.

*That statistic was from the "Fire" link.
posted by miss lynnster (177 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
>*That statistic was from the "Fire" link.

Which says "children", not girls. It says the majority are girls, but there's no cite for the figure at all. I'd be very suspicious of that "statistic".
posted by AmbroseChapel at 10:32 PM on January 7, 2008


According to NISMART-2 research, which studied the year 1999, an estimated 797,500 children were reported missing; 58,200 children were abducted by nonfamily members; 115 children were the victims of long-term non-family abductions called "stereotypical kidnappings"; and 203,900 children were the victims of family abductions.
– The Child Abduction Resource Center
posted by miss lynnster at 10:36 PM on January 7, 2008


I too am wary of the non cite, googling around it looks hard to come up with a definitive answer quickly, but am still looking.
posted by edgeways at 10:36 PM on January 7, 2008


Yeah, the "tricky" bit of the number is that the total is 58,200. But only 21% were actually reported missing to anyone. (And bizarrely, only 57% were counted as "caretaker missing", so who were they missing from? Scaling factors to account for non-reporting or something?) It's in Table 7 in the first PDF linked on this page.
posted by smackfu at 10:43 PM on January 7, 2008


Terrible as the crimes are, very few children are kidnapped by strangers. Lots of runaways and children taken by a non- or joint custodial parent
posted by Ironmouth at 10:49 PM on January 7, 2008


Ah, I see, they don't count them as "missing" if no one noticed. They just count them as "children with episodes (missing and nonmissing)". God, I love statistics.
posted by smackfu at 10:50 PM on January 7, 2008


If you watch the video, they're also trying to teach girls how to avoid date rape.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:52 PM on January 7, 2008 [4 favorites]


regardless of numbers, I'm definitely forwarding this to my younger sis-
posted by localhuman at 10:52 PM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


This site says 69,000 kids abducted (in a DOJ 2002 report) of that only 12,000 are abducted by non family members, and of that 37% are by persons unknown to the child. So, we are looking at about 4,440 cases per year of stranger abduction. Now, of course even so all of these cases (69,000) raise red flags, but it seems safe to assume that it is only that 4,440 cases that this training would be effective, in that the kid would recognize soon enough to yell fire and whatnot.

as usual when we talk about crime, and especially kids and crime there is a heightened sense of "PROTECT PROTECT" but we also must be wary of thinking the world is so much worse then it ever has been, because it isn't, despite our best efforts it is family that is most likely to do us harm, and how do you protect against that?
posted by edgeways at 10:55 PM on January 7, 2008 [6 favorites]


Omigod localhuman was abducted mid-comment!
posted by shakespeherian at 10:57 PM on January 7, 2008 [13 favorites]


That is 4,440 kids out of roughly 73,000,000. Which I think is about .006% chance
posted by edgeways at 11:02 PM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


very few children are kidnapped by strangers

So that's why you shouldn't take 50 minutes of a young girl's time (or yours) to watch this?

Yeah, the "tricky" bit of the number is that the total is 58,200. But only 21% were actually reported missing to anyone.

Statistic or not --60 thousand, 58,200, or even 1-- this is still important. I think a missing child is the worst think that can happen to any parent. Anything you can do to prevent even a single kidnapping is, in my mind, really worth it.

Thanks for the post, miss lynster. Really interesting. Also, really good:

it was made BY 15 YEAR OLDS (!)

(!), indeed.
posted by omegar at 11:04 PM on January 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


Blah blah blah statistics blah blah blah.

If you watch the video, they're also trying to teach girls how to avoid date rape.

I just wanted to repeat what the important part of the video is teaching. That amongst other such things as awareness, self-esteem, and self-defense.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:14 PM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Let's just pretend I didn't quote that article. Entirely my bad choice.
posted by miss lynnster at 11:17 PM on January 7, 2008


omegar writes "So that's why you shouldn't take 50 minutes of a young girl's time (or yours) to watch this?"

50 minutes * 73M is what, 7000 manperson-years? I wonder how effective the video is and whether collectively using 10 lifetimes watching it will reduce the number of abductions/rapes enough to compensate.
posted by Mitheral at 11:24 PM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


If a guy as big as the bald guy in this film got behind me and decided to attack me, it would be game over if he had put any thought into what he was doing.
posted by 517 at 11:29 PM on January 7, 2008


This is the last this I will post here. Yes, I acknowledge that abduction would be a horrible thing to face, and education on how to avoid both abduction and and date rape is great. But, any source that uses numbers without putting them into context, or giving sources that can be said to be unbiased undermines the credibility of what they are trying to accomplish. 60,000 is a big ass number, and it is being used to needlessly scare people. Hell, you could use that number to make the facetious argument that we need a program to teach kids to be scared of their family and adult friends as 56,000 of those abductions result from family and friends. (I AM NOT advocating for this, just saying the scare number is exactly that, a scare number).

Teach kids, ALL kids to report abuse, of all types, and to be strong and confident. Don't scare them into it, make it part of their life as a matter of course. (The overwhelming majority of people I know who have been harmed in life as a child have been harmed by their family)
posted by edgeways at 11:32 PM on January 7, 2008 [7 favorites]


I don't think there's anything wrong with teaching girls (or boys, for that matter) how to defend themselves and the link's cool. If I had a daughter, I'd show her. But the misuse of statistics bothers me, simply because it ignores evidence that a child is much less statistically likely to be abducted by a stranger today than twenty or forty years ago. My friends who grew up in America and are now in their 30s or 40s tell me that life for children was much "freer" when they were kids than it is now - they could ride their bikes around town pretty much at leisure, run from to friend's houses without nearly as much phoning and planning and discussing, and that the idea that mom or dad would taxi you here or there as a sort of full-time job was, well, rather laughable. This sort of childhood sounds a lot my own childhood in Europe . . . you know, be home for dinner and let me know if you're doing anything really out of the ordinary.

The insane reporting about online predators, child abductors and so on (all of which has ramped up considerably since I arrived here 15 years ago) isn't probably doing much except giving a lot of predators ideas and crippling the joys of childhood for many kids. It's a pity. And a statistic that's overstates the occurrence of a crime by as much as 1300% isn't doing anyone any favors, it's just accelerating what's already a hysterical overreaction. Nothing against these girls and their projects, which I view as an entirely positive thing in and of itself, because yes, it's definitely more impressive than any of my student projects at that age!
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 11:37 PM on January 7, 2008 [4 favorites]


Teach kids... to be strong and confident.

Now if only we had some kind of video that would teach kids skills that commonly increase strength and confidence.
posted by !Jim at 11:44 PM on January 7, 2008 [8 favorites]


At the risk of sounding repetitive (although I wouldn't be alone).

it was made BY 15 YEAR OLDS (!)

(!), indeed.


I just wanted to repeat what is obvious. Please dig up a report paper you wrote when you were 15, and see how acurate it was. I'm not excusing anyone for the faulty statistics, but I do believe it would be useful to waste 10 lifetimes *rolls eyes* if this is helpful at all.

If a guy as big as the bald guy in this film got behind me and decided to attack me, it would be game over if he had put any thought into what he was doing.

This holds true for anyone in any encounter.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:46 PM on January 7, 2008


The census bureau has population estimates by age and sex. In 2006, there were 30 million US girls under age 15. Sixty thousand abductions would mean that 2 out of every 1000 girls were abducted. You'd hear about that certainly, since you know 1000 people and news like that travels fast. The number goes beyond specious into the realm of pure absurdity.
posted by fydfyd at 11:50 PM on January 7, 2008


This is the absolute last comment I'm making, I'm going to bed. But I guess I have to say it again.

That statistic was quoted from, if you looked, AN MSNBC ARTICLE WRITTEN ABOUT THE PROJECT. It did NOT come from the project itself, that statistic has absolutely nothing to do with this girl or with her video. I made a bad writing choice and would appreciate if the mods would delete the first sentence of the post so that people can pay attention to this girl and the good that she is trying to accomplish instead of semantics. That is all.

posted by miss lynnster at 11:51 PM on January 7, 2008


Sixty thousand abductions would mean that 2 out of every 1000 girls were abducted. You'd hear about that certainly, since you know 1000 people and news like that travels fast.

I'm not sure. The more common something is, ironically, the less newsworthy it is. It would be just like car accidents. You probably know someone or know of someone that died in a car wreck. ~42,500 people die in car accidents each year in the U.S, according to a quick Google search. That's a bit more then 1/1000. So if the abduction rates were that high, "stereotypical abduction" would be a background fact of life (although it might be more salient, since it would involve kids).

But it's the things that are rare that get all the press. Kind of backwards.
posted by delmoi at 12:02 AM on January 8, 2008


It's commendable for 15-year-olds to make and distribute a 50-minute video about how to defend against attempted abduction and other violence. I'd also like to see a 50-minute companion piece about how to avoid the attitudes and behaviors that can lead you to become violent toward others. We ought to spend at least as much time, money and energy on addressing that part of the problem (even though it's more complex than learning a set of practical skills) as we do on preparing potential victims to fend off attackers.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:15 AM on January 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


Unbelievable project. I'm saving and send to my two daughters, as well as to my girlfriend for her two daughters. The points about statistics are well taken, as is the point about not getting too distracted by that. But it is a bit like crying 'wolf' to and adds to my perceptions that there is a lot of counter-productive hyperbole around sexual predation. 'The predators are winning' the video says. But I know no one who has ever even been approached to my knowledge, let alone actually abducted. If it saves one child from experiencing rape or getting killed its worth the time. Its a useful short course on martial arts and self-defense, which can be useful and confidence building in many other types of situations as well. School bullying for example, which I think is a much more pervasive, albeit less catastrophic problem. Building confidence, to be in slightly marginal situations is also a great potential effect of learning this program. Letting kids feel free to take a run with lessened anxiety about getting abducted.

Why is it just focused on girls? Well, I guess I know the answer to that question, but it seems a bit of a shame.

Why is it up to kids to put something like this together? Why doesn't the government/local police produce something useful like this for a change?
posted by sfts2 at 2:26 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sad to say that it's apparent that in these times it is imperative and incumbent upon every parent to impress upon their child the value of a swift and very solid kick to the nuts when it's called for. It works. Don't make a big deal about it. Just say "If it ever comes to it, kick him in the nuts." This could be the most important talk you ever have with your kid.
posted by wsg at 2:31 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


The production values of this are pretty dang good for a fifteen year, heck it's pretty decent for anyone. I'm surprised they are that young, sitting so poised in the talk scenes as if a career as TV hosts is just around the corner - god knows I couldn't sit up straight at that age.
posted by dabitch at 3:18 AM on January 8, 2008


only that 4,440 cases

Only? You don't have daughters, do you? 4000 abductions, while maybe making the event statistically "rare" is still a hell of a lot of trauma. Yes, a lot of so-called kidnappings are custody-related disputes -- I'm sure the vast majority of them -- but that doesn't mean we as a society should just write off the 4000 or so girls who might have to live through an abduction every year.

I'm sorry to see exaggerated statistics thrown around, though. Anything published by 15-year-olds should be vetted by an adult if they're going to make statistical claims, but then you've probably got a group of adults involved for whom exaggeration seems like a good idea, too.

In the end, I'm all for self-defense and awareness programs for girls, generally.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:30 AM on January 8, 2008


Oh, predators are out there. In my childhood, I encountered two. One was a youngish, bookish-looking guy who lived in the same apartment complex. He wanted to trade toys and stuff to me and two friends and in return he wanted to play with our genitals, or at least that was what he said. We ran away and reported him, and never saw him again. I was around 9 or 10 years old at that time.

The other encounter was in a horrible run-down hotel, when my mom was at work. To give you an idea of how bad this hotel was, the 8th floor was closed and our room was on the 7th floor and when I opened a closet door, pigeons flew out -- there was a hole in the top of the closet going to the 8th floor, which was disintegrating and exposed to the elements. I think I was probably 11 years old then. I'd gone out for a candy bar from a vending machine and on the way back, a fat older black guy came out into the hall wearing only a towel, which he dropped as he tried to motion me into his room. I booked back to my room and locked the door, and never left the room again while my mom was at work. I didn't report that one to anyone, not even my mom, as we had more pressing problems to deal with than a sexual advance that didn't succeed. Like living in a disintegrating hotel. Heh. (While we lived in that hotel, I attended a school where there were 700 black students and me, the only white kid in the entire school. That was interesting!)

Both of these occurred during the mid-70s, long before the hoopla about sexual predators got so loud. They're definitely out there, and have always been there. But yeah, it wasn't something we *dwelled* on back then like happens today. I'm not sure if today's intense focus on sexual predators makes anything better or not.
posted by jamstigator at 4:06 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Statistic or not --60 thousand, 58,200, or even 1-- this is still important.

I just wanted to say that this "even if it helps just one person" rhetorical device makes my blood boil.

Also, is instilling the constant fear of being potentially kidnapped and raped by any given male in your day to day life maybe possibly a teensy bit of a psychologically brutal thing our culture does to women?
posted by Space Coyote at 4:40 AM on January 8, 2008 [5 favorites]


Thanks Miss L. My daughter will be watching that, even though we live in a supposedly safe part of the country where any kind of crime like this is rare.

When I was a kid living in Detroit, my sister was grabbed and nearly pulled into a stranger's car a block from home. She was somehow able to break free and run. I'm the furthest thing from a scare monger, but it does happen.
posted by The Deej at 4:51 AM on January 8, 2008


What does this have to do with girls? If Edgeway's 4400 figure is correct, there's no evidence that it's not equally split between girls and boys. And what sort of stranger-abduction-resistance techniques would be specific to girls rather than boys? And why the hell would you depend on a "15 year old girl" and her "street fighting instructor" to have any valuable insight into how to fight off a kidnapper?

This is yellow journalistic "our girls are in danger!" panic, more based on hysteria and sexism than a meaningul effort to protect children.

If you really want girls to be safe, start working on the child welfare system to protect girls from the people really likely to hurt them -- their relatives.
posted by footnote at 5:12 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hey, you guys? Are you going to eat this plate of beans? I mean... if no one wants it. Just looks pretty well done.
posted by loquacious at 5:13 AM on January 8, 2008 [4 favorites]


Also, is instilling the constant fear of being potentially kidnapped and raped by any given male in your day to day life maybe possibly a teensy bit of a psychologically brutal thing our culture does to women?

Its a brutal thing when kids are taught not to ask a male for help when they are in trouble because of over-concern. But teaching kids to determine when they are in danger and what to do if the need arises is a commendable project. The difference is to make sure not to base the teaching on fear of the situation, which will freeze the "trainee" at the worst possible time.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 5:27 AM on January 8, 2008


If there isn't a responsible adult supervising (not interfering, but watching out for dangers) there is something wrong going on. Who's not being paid to watch over the kids, if the parents are busy at work ?
posted by elpapacito at 5:33 AM on January 8, 2008


elpapo,

Not a realistic viewpoint in my opinion. Many single parents struggle to make daily nut, let alone pay for supervision on a 15 year old.
posted by sfts2 at 6:07 AM on January 8, 2008


If there isn't a responsible adult supervising...

These girls are 15. They're old enough to be the baby sitters, not need them. The stats on abduction might get parent to watch them, but most of the real life value of films and training sessions like this are for date rape type situations, which I'd venture to guess happen to girls a lot more often. I took a self-defense class when I was in junior high, and I'm really glad I did, if only to make it clear that abusive situations are not okay or normal.
posted by fermezporte at 6:08 AM on January 8, 2008


elpapacito: I don't think it's at all unusual or unreasonable for teenagers to have some independence. At 15, I was babysitting - not the babysat. Of course younger children need to be supervised, but part of being a teenager is learning how to be safe while doing more things on your own.

On preview, what fermezporte said.
posted by bassjump at 6:11 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


So is this a video on statistics or something?
posted by chunking express at 6:16 AM on January 8, 2008 [4 favorites]


So, we are looking at about 4,440 cases per year of stranger abduction.

Just under 3,000 people died as a direct result of the 9/11 attacks, and they don't happen every year. It is good to see that we've got our priorities straight.
posted by b1tr0t at 6:34 AM on January 8, 2008


If there isn't a responsible adult supervising (not interfering, but watching out for dangers) there is something wrong going on. Who's not being paid to watch over the kids, if the parents are busy at work ?

Holy crap are we ever raising a generation of total wusses.

Also, the vast majority of abuse of all sorts is comitted by exactly those persons, in that order. A) Parents or immediate family B) Extended family C) Trusted authority figure.

But I don't think that they technically classify rape as "abuse" or "abduction".

I kind of like John Candy's take on it in Uncle Buck. "He tries any crap like that again you take this knife and jab it in his leg and twist it."
posted by loquacious at 6:37 AM on January 8, 2008


best line of the video: "My parents told me I couldn't date until I earned a black belt."
posted by desjardins at 6:39 AM on January 8, 2008


sfts2 said: Why is it up to kids to put something like this together? Why doesn't the government/local police produce something useful like this for a change?

Will everyone who took the D.A.R.E program seriously raise their hand?

I think that the target audience might respect a peer-created project a little more, and pay attention as a result.
posted by dubold at 6:41 AM on January 8, 2008


desjardins,

I'm not sure if you are agreeing with that sentiment, or if its just an interesting line, but if you are...'Holy Shit, that is just so fucked up!'

Plus a black belt in martial arts doesn't mean shit against any determined attacker. My .45 trumps your Filipino street fighting skillz anyday.
posted by sfts2 at 6:42 AM on January 8, 2008


Just under 3,000 people died as a direct result of the 9/11 attacks, and they don't happen every year. It is good to see that we've got our priorities straight.

And 42,000 people die in car accidents every year. So, what's your point?

Also, the DOJ stats said there were only 115 'stereotypical' kidnappings, which is what it sounds like the video is trying to prevent. It would be nice to know what, exactly the 4,400 supposedly non-stereotypical kidnappings were like. But it sounds like if they were going to be killed/raped/etc they would count as stereotypical.
posted by delmoi at 6:43 AM on January 8, 2008


And 42,000 people die in car accidents every year. So, what's your point?

Mostly that people are morons, willing to pay for security they don't need, while their cars murder them and their children are stolen. Maybe we get what we deserve?
posted by b1tr0t at 6:47 AM on January 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


dubold,

I hear you, and my point which was not clearly articulated, was that a low cost, pragmatic, educational, personal accountability based approach to solving problems like this is often not the approach chosen by the people whose responsibility is mainly to structure societal solutions to societal problems. I'm not sure if you mean that kids will not take programs like DARE seriously, but I would disagree with that opinion, but even so, that is a high budget, high cost of delivery thing.
posted by sfts2 at 6:49 AM on January 8, 2008


I just hope this video leads to more girls growing up to be action movie stars, because we have yet to really produce our own Michelle Yeoh.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:49 AM on January 8, 2008


Martial arts thread in progress...Paging tkchrist...Paging tkchrist...
posted by jonp72 at 6:56 AM on January 8, 2008


I'm not sure if you are agreeing with that sentiment [best line of the video: "My parents told me I couldn't date until I earned a black belt."] , or if its just an interesting line, but if you are...'Holy Shit, that is just so fucked up!'Plus a black belt in martial arts doesn't mean shit against any determined attacker. My .45 trumps your Filipino street fighting skillz anyday.

Reputable martial arts don't just teach you how to fight. They also teach how to remain composed and quickly evaluate courses of action while under stress. Also, you may want to build a better strawman next time, since we were talking about girls going on dates. I don't think many girls have to deal with their dates carrying .45s, and that in a "date gone bad" scenario, I would argue martial arts is a better option than a .45 anyway.
posted by forforf at 7:17 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


forforf, if DARE involved possibly kicking someone's ass, I would have.
posted by portisfreak at 7:35 AM on January 8, 2008


Bullshit. You're more likely to get hit by lightning.
posted by mike3k at 7:54 AM on January 8, 2008


miss lynster, thank you. Ignore all the noise early on about your statistics. Who gives a fuck if it's one girl or 50,000? If this video saves *one* young woman or child then kudos. I sent it to my daughter with the instruction that she send it on by linking it to her Facebook page.
posted by nax at 7:55 AM on January 8, 2008


MetaFilter: 60,000 is a big ass number, and it is being used to needlessly scare people.

Sorry, I really couldn't resist. I did try, too.
posted by pineapple at 8:07 AM on January 8, 2008


That video was terrible.

Yes, I realize it was made by a 15 year old. However, the topic is important enough that it shouldn't have been.
posted by dobbs at 8:17 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


I am confused by the tagline: "Girls have the right to be safe." Did we sign some sort of waiver denying girls this "right"? I really hate empty declarations like that, which only serve to make your audience either alienated or rabid.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for teaching girls pretty much anyone self-defense, regardless of statistics, and this seems like a worthwhile effort. It's certainly better than nothing. But I am not sure I even know what "Girls have the right to be safe" even means. Do women? What about boys? Larval humans?
posted by m0nm0n at 8:19 AM on January 8, 2008


not to derail, but things like this:

a fat older black guy came out into the hall

often make me wonder. like when people say things such as "this black guy totally cut me off in traffic this morning" or "those black people sitting behind us sure were talking loud during the movie" (both things i've heard co-workers and friends say more than once). why is the fact that he was black relevant to your story? please note that i'm not accusing you of being a racist: i know you have plenty of black friends, you were raised to treat everyone the same regardless of skin color, etc. etc. I'm just curious -- I always ask when people say things like that, and I'm intrigued by the variety in the answers i get.

more closely on topic:

Reputable martial arts don't just teach you how to fight. They also teach how to remain composed and quickly evaluate courses of action while under stress.

every reputable martial arts instructor i've studied with (unfortunatley, they're outnumbered by the less reputable ones) has said something along the lines of "if you want self-protection, buy yourself a gun. if you want to learn something fun, interesting, and challenging, stick around" on the 1st day of class.

i'm glad to see this video teaches the proper techniques for GTFOD rather than "fighting" or "defense" -- but you can learn many of the same techniques in a bas rutten video without it being packaged as something that's primarily of importance only for young females.
posted by lord_wolf at 8:31 AM on January 8, 2008


Oh cool, now we get to talk about racism AND statistics.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 8:52 AM on January 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


Yes, boys get abducted and should have this kind of training as well.

It does work. In a city I used to work in, a guy tried to abduct a 12-year-old girl mid-day on the main street (which is usually pretty devoid of pedestrians), and force her into his van. She had had no training, but was quick-witted enough to fake an asthma attack, and he took off -- but not before she got his license plate. It turns out he had done at least two earlier abductions, a boy and a girl, and had killed both of them.

Whether there are 4400 cases or "only" 115 (which seems more likely to me), the stranger abduction threat has prevented a whole generation of kids from leading a normal life roaming around their towns the way my cohort did in the 50s and 60s. Maybe with this training parents can let their kids go, just a little bit more.
posted by beagle at 8:53 AM on January 8, 2008


Who gives a fuck if it's one girl or 50,000? If this video saves *one* young woman or child then kudos. I sent it to my daughter with the instruction that she send it on by linking it to her Facebook page.

Next time you get some crappy chain letter forwarded to you, think of this post.
posted by smackfu at 8:56 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


lord_wolf: The race of the guy in the hotel wasn't particularly important. Note that I also specified the race of the first guy who attempted to molest me, who was white. Just putting the info out there; with a sample size of 2, I'd not draw any conclusions from it, but I'm sure most folks here are too smart to do such a thing anyway. If either had been hispanic, or Chinese, or whatever, I would've said that too. Providing details doesn't imply racism, so don't get your panties in a bunch. I assure you, had I a racist bone in my body I wouldn't have survived that all-black school; there were plenty of racist kids attending that school, but none of them were me.
posted by jamstigator at 9:04 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


the disproporitonate hysteria surrounding the stranger abduction threat has prevented a whole generation of kids from leading a normal life roaming around their towns the way my cohort did in the 50s and 60s.

Fixed that for you.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:05 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


every reputable martial arts instructor i've studied with (unfortunatley, they're outnumbered by the less reputable ones) has said something along the lines of "if you want self-protection, buy yourself a gun. if you want to learn something fun, interesting, and challenging, stick around" on the 1st day of class.

i'm glad to see this video teaches the proper techniques for GTFOD rather than "fighting" or "defense" -- but you can learn many of the same techniques in a bas rutten video without it being packaged as something that's primarily of importance only for young females.


So should we give young underage girls guns or make them watch Bas Rutten videos?

Hey, how about them 'Lost' actors!?
posted by P.o.B. at 9:12 AM on January 8, 2008


"Watch out Connor/Kayla/Tiffany, the 60 thousand kidnappers are everywhere!"

Unless you spend a lot of time in another country, you really don't notice how stupid Americans are.

In Italy, you don't see any of this chauffering/monitering/running around. Kids go to school and then go play football -- by themselves. No parents making hundreds of useless trips because of the "kidnappers" lurking behind every cypress tree.

The American mantra is "how can we make money off of this"? In the U.S., SUV's and karate schools are a growth industry.
posted by wfc123 at 9:13 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Nearly 60,000* American children (mostly girls) are abducted by strangers each year.

Good lord. The national media wishes it were so. Look at what a tizzy they go into every time some young white female is abducted. If there were that many kids abducted there would be an attractive, blond, older teenager for the viewing public to anguish over every night of the week.

Anything you can do to prevent even a single kidnapping is, in my mind, really worth it.

This is terrible logic and it is all too common. Kidnapping is terrible. Without a doubt it is one of the worst fates that can befall a child or their family. But 'anything' is hyperbole. I'm sure the poster knows that and still it's using that kind of language and thinking that leads to children not being allowed to roam and explore. There's been a couple of posts on these subjects here that explore this further. There is no elimination of risk and proceeding after a reasonable point hurts more than helps.

However, I'm not looking to downplay the importance of self-defense training for girls. It's more important for them than anyone else. A video isn't enough. It's really being optimistic to view it as having the potential to save a life. Sharing information is great, and I hope it motivates some of the viewers to learn more. It isn't just about "knowing", if you want a child, or young woman, to be able to respond appropriately then handling the adrenalin is where it's at. Knowing the moves is worth little in comparison.

Also the idea that a black belt is better than a handgun is pretty out there. Handguns are the best equalizer an undersized assailant could ask for. Young women should be the leading demographic for the percentage carrying concealed weapons. Making all the would be rapists and sex killers take on that risk would be one of the best things that could be done to improve women's safety.
posted by BigSky at 9:14 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


I meet a lot of very enabled young women in the military, and the one thing that I always notice about them as compared to civilian females is how they have learned their capabilities as compared to learning their limitations. Folks don't have to be 6' 5" 330lbs to be able to defend theirselves. Most servicemembers seem to raise children in a similar manner... many of these kids/minors are not without a small weapon (might be just a 1" blade) at most times, and they aren't OMG CHILD WITH RAMBO KNIFE INSANE PARENTS CALL CPS!!! products either. Small people should be enabled to do large damage to violators.

Junior High in the early 80's (Midwest) had the whole school in the auditorium for presentations on preventing rape/abduction, including 'the testicles have the shape and consistency of a plum' 'squeeze to incapacitate' brochure for all. When a small person is attacked, nice social theories about humanity really don't have much room for discussion.
posted by buzzman at 9:16 AM on January 8, 2008


On the one hand, I'm loath to positively reinforce anything that encourages people to believe that there are sexual predators hiding behind every car, but on the other (and more pragmatic) hand, I used to train girls in self defense, and anything that raises kids level of situational awareness can only be called a good thing.

I hate that our culture's rallying cry has become "what about the children?" but I'm also not fond of the idea that a kid who could have protected themselves, didn't know how to.

This video seems like a good trade off between the two extremes.
posted by quin at 9:19 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


including 'the testicles have the shape and consistency of a plum' 'squeeze to incapacitate' brochure for all.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:23 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


“...has said something along the lines of "if you want self-protection, buy yourself a gun...”

I said that quite a bit. I also said the effectiveness of any fighting skill is directly proportional to the practitioners will, spirit and experience. You can’t get experience by watching a video. You need your skills to be challenged by live opposition to gain any kind of experience.
And there’s a big difference between training for the street (or really defending your life) and training for anything else (tkchrist has said this quite a bit on this topic - and of course, I agree.)
You can (and should) integrate modern weapons training into your style, but there are styles that already incorporate this (Krav Maga comes first to mind...er, the purist schools, not the “Krav Maga” fitness drills type schools).
I think these tapes are great for developing that will and spirit though.


“If a guy as big as the bald guy in this film got behind me and decided to attack me, it would be game over if he had put any thought into what he was doing.” - posted by 517

But that presupposes your attackers objective is to destroy you. That is not true. In a rape and/or abduction scenario his objective is to get you to do what he wants as quickly and quietly as possible. Your objective then is not fully dependent on your ability to defend yourself, but also your will to resist, the amount of attention you can draw to your situation and damage you can do to him, not necessarily avoiding damage to yourself.
So - even if he can easily break your jaw - even if he does, the law of diminishing returns is on your side.
You can more easily escape, evade, defend, and raise the stakes in terms of how much attention you draw and how much damage you do to him (making it easier for the cops to find him) such that you can easily overcome a much larger stronger opponent - because you don’t have to beat him, you just have to make it not worth it to him to pursue you anymore.
If you submit, typically it’s because you’re cowed by the damage you’ve taken or the threat of further pain.
In those terms your fighting spirit and will to resist are crucial. Often more crucial than experiance. But understanding the terms of the engagement, what it is your opponent wants, what his objective is, is probably the most important. If he wants to put you in his car, then it’s absolutely vital that you make sure that never happens. Even if you get beat, it’s better to wind up in the hospital than wind up in his car. That’s a win.
Unfortunately a lot of martial arts focus on winning in terms of overcoming by force.
Fighting spirit is the will to win, sometimes that means running away.
One of the critical things Krav Maga teaches is how to defeat a larger stronger opponent by understanding (quickly) the terms of the engagement, not attempting to compensate with skill against Andre the Giant (most Mossad agents are women).
posted by Smedleyman at 9:23 AM on January 8, 2008 [5 favorites]


wfc123: No parents making hundreds of useless trips because of the "kidnappers" lurking behind every cypress tree.

Actually, I suspect the main reason the parents have to make "hundreds of useless trips" is because the suburbs have no decent public transportation, and the parents don't want to live in the city with omgblackpeople. Kids can't walk to school anymore, not because it's dangerous, but because it's literally too far, and there aren't any sidewalks.

Now we can talk about statistics, racism, AND suburban sprawl.
posted by desjardins at 9:24 AM on January 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


Unless you spend a lot of time in another country, you really don't notice how stupid Americans are.

In Italy, you don't see any of this chauffering/monitering/running around. Kids go to school and then go play football -- by themselves. No parents making hundreds of useless trips because of the "kidnappers" lurking behind every cypress tree.


You're right, no Italian could possibly think that way.

Please, peddle your bullshit anti-Americanism elsewhere.
posted by Snyder at 9:29 AM on January 8, 2008


I dunno. I get conflicted about projects like these, precisely because of what space coyote brought up: is instilling the constant fear of being potentially kidnapped and raped by any given male in your day to day life maybe possibly a teensy bit of a psychologically brutal thing our culture does to women?

On the other hand, actually going to a self-defense class and learning how to fight off attackers, no matter how statistically unlikely it may be that I'll be attacked by a stranger, was a pretty profoundly empowering thing for me. Women do tend to get a disproportionate amount of information about how to protect themselves--please raise your hand if you've ever been sent that e-mail of "protection" tips from an oh-so-helpful family member that includes such gems as cutting your hair short, because rapists can grab onto a ponytail when you're walking to your car (!)--and yet we also simultaneously get the depressing message that there's no point in fighting back, as we'll never win anyway (see here for the prototypical phrasing). It's a no-win situation, and you end up jittery and scared about leaving your apartment after dark, feeling like you're a sitting duck who has to just wait for the inevitable bad things to happen to you. Doing something *physical* really dispels or at least lets you get a handle on a lot of that free-floating fear, and mentally get to a healthier place, I think--I may be attacked or may not, but that's out of my hands, and I'm not going to let it interfere with my daily life. So the debate about whether learning some kicks and punches will actually save your life is a bit beside the point--for most women, the payoff of learning self-defense is primarily psychological.

I bet that Dallas Jessup felt very empowered by making this video, and it's probably one of the better ways for a 15-year-old girl to process watching awful footage of an abduction. I'm less sure that another 15-year-old girl watching Jessup's video would get the same benefit, though, versus absorbing one more message that the world is a big, scary place bent on hurting them. I really think this is one of those subjects where passively sitting back and absorbing information isn't going to do it; instead of being tempted to send the link to young girls in our families, I think we'd be better off springing for a set of participatory self-defense classes instead.
posted by iminurmefi at 9:31 AM on January 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


I think that teaching kids to fear strangers is one of the worst things that you can do for them. Yes there is an infinitesimal chance that they're going to be "abducted," but there is a far greater chance that, at some point, they are going to need the help of "strangers."

If I had kids I would not waste one second on teaching them this nonsense about "abductions." Self defense- maybe. But the whole "child abduction" discourse is moral panic at its worst because it victimizes a nonexistent threat (single childless men- so there is a strong homophobic subtext to it, in my opinion) while it teaches children, unaccountable, counterfactually, ridiculously and yes IMMORALLY- that they need not fear anybody close to them. This is completely false. Completely. Little girls have more to worry about (if they shouldworry about anything) from their fathers, uncles, and stepfathers, as well as from "mom's new boyfriend," than they have to fear from "strangers."

The fact that this was created by kids only proves how effective the brainwashing has been.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 9:39 AM on January 8, 2008 [5 favorites]


Don't live in fear.
posted by aerotive at 9:40 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


"a FAT black man" ... what, no outrage for the obese?
posted by nomisxid at 9:42 AM on January 8, 2008


“for most women, the payoff of learning self-defense is primarily psychological”

Yes, that’s what’s most critical. Knowing viscerally someone else doesn’t have the right to mess with you. You can’t control when, where, if, it happens - but if it does, there’s no reason to feel like it’s inevitable or you can’t or shouldn’t resist.
Videos like this might be one step in developing that mindset. That coupled with classes in school and other social settings to reinforce those self-affirmative feelings.
One of the benefits of training with firearms is that sense of power. The downside is reliance on the weapon.
So any good teacher will develop focus and self-mastery that comes with development and improvement in execution and eschew the weapon and skill fetishization and, I’ll add, the paranoia.
Unless he’s looking to pad his account book with dues.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:51 AM on January 8, 2008


Of the 60 to 70 women I've been close enough friends with that they might have shared such a thing with me, 3 have recounted being abducted and raped by strangers as young teenagers or earlier, and one of these was abducted with a playmate who did not survive.
posted by jamjam at 9:51 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Now we can talk about statistics, racism, AND suburban sprawl.

Can we talk about insane pampering and conspicuous consumption too? In the rural area where I live, when I'm out walking the dogs in the early morning, I often see parents and their kids sitting in running SUVs at the bottom of their driveway 100 feet from the house when it's, like 40-45 degrees out because Special Snowflake, Jr. can't possibly walk that far and wait for the schoolbus in the bitter cold.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:52 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


(And at the very least it’s better than the “girls gone wild” videos)
posted by Smedleyman at 9:53 AM on January 8, 2008


Note that I also specified the race of the first guy who attempted to molest me, who was white.

That's the thing: You didn't. You wrote

One was a youngish, bookish-looking guy who lived in the same apartment complex. He wanted to trade toys and stuff to me and two friends and in return he wanted to play with our genitals, or at least that was what he said. We ran away and reported him, and never saw him again.

I read your post several times and unless you subtly alluded to it, you don't say anything about the 1st attempted molester's race.

so don't get your panties in a bunch

As I said in my 1st post, I am NOT accusing you of being a racist. Seriously. I was genuinely curious about why you included the fact that the 2nd guy was black.

So should we give young underage girls guns or make them watch Bas Rutten videos?

I get the feeling you think Bas Rutten is a kung-fu movie action star. Well, he has appeared in such films, but the video I was thinking of was this.

Although that youtube selection mocks it, he actually describes some of the same things the girls' video advises: the kick to the groin, keeping your eyes on your attacker, etc. Of course, as is the case with the girls' video, you wouldn't want to just show it to your loved ones and say, "that's it, you're good': you preface it and follow it by advising them that the absolute best thing to do is free yourself from a hold and then run to a well-lit, well-populated area while yelling "fire" -- save the "grab his arm and twist it back against his body" shit for desperately dire situations.
posted by lord_wolf at 9:53 AM on January 8, 2008


Bullshit. You're more likely to get hit by lightning.

Did anyone else besides me have to resist the urge to go find statistics for the number of children abducted by lightning?
posted by Brak at 9:56 AM on January 8, 2008


And don't even think about stealing my new band name.
posted by Brak at 9:57 AM on January 8, 2008


A lot of people hit by lightning are golfers. So in order to keep kids from getting killed by lightning strikes, we need to keep them from golfing.
posted by smackfu at 10:03 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

You've got some tough-assed women here in Liverpool. Don't fuck with them or they might pull a bollock off.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:04 AM on January 8, 2008


I get the feeling you think Bas Rutten is a kung-fu movie action star.

I am well aware of Bas Rutten. I just think this video speaks to 15 year old girls much better than his videos.

A lot of people hit by lightning are golfers. So in order to keep kids from getting killed by lightning strikes, we need to keep them from golfing.

I would, if there was a direct correlation. As a matter of fact I do remember being taught about how dangerous electricity and lighting storms are when I was in elementary school. As a opposed to not being taught any kind of escape technique other than "No!" and run.
posted by P.o.B. at 10:10 AM on January 8, 2008


(raises hand) I was traveling with two girlfriends in Europe by train at age 19 and was attacked and mugged 3 times in 24 hours. We were in Hungary, Czechoslovakia (before it became the Czech Republic) and Italy, respectively.

The first attacker tried to held a syringe to my eye and tried to pry my backpack away. I looked at the train compartment door and yelled "hey!" and when he turned around, I kicked him through the door. I have never been so scared in my life. Luckily, he was one guy, and I informed the train conductor of what happened. He apparently got off immediately and we made it to Hungary, only to be mugged in the street shortly after getting off the train.

By the second attack, I had stopped freezing up and being afraid. By then, I was pissed. After we broke away from the second gang of muggers (who had tried to drag myself and my friend Jen down an alley by our hair), I learned to scream FUCK as loud as possible.

No matter where you are, or what language they speak, everyone knows the word FUCK.

People may not respond to fire, police, help, etc. People may think children (or teens, or single women) are play-fighting with a boyfriend.

But by the third attack? My other two friends were getting forcibly dragged away and held by the throat.

I turned around, ran at the first attacker screaming FUCK as loud as possible and kicked him, HARD, in the knee. He buckled.

Second guy, hearing MY attack, turned around and I got him in the other shin with my boot.

I was wearing steel toes.

If you are attacked, especially in a foreign country, yelling FUCK as loud as possible will get the most attention.

Always try to get your attacker to go to one knee (or both) and you have a better chance of yanking your stuff back and running away.

Steel toe boots might have saved my friend's life, and my eye, for that matter, along with profanity. All that got lost out of three muggings/attacks was my sense of innocence, safety, one camera and one zippo lighter.

I was able to continue backpacking for the rest of the 6 months with a sense of heightened awareness; when I felt threatened, I ran into a church. Always. People don't tend to want to rape/rob/beat you in a church, for some reason.

Just wanted to pass this along for those who have friends, children, or siblings traveling abroad; FUCK is your best friend. Honestly. And steel toe boots.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:16 AM on January 8, 2008 [21 favorites]


I think its great that someone cared enough about people she doesn't know to do something about it. So what if it wasn't made by a professional director with a million dollar budget. Awareness of your surroundings and an assertive attitude go a long way in preventing unwanted situations. Yes a proper self defense course is probably one of the best options, but I don't see how this hurts anyone.
posted by captaincrouton at 10:18 AM on January 8, 2008


And all this nitpicking about statistics would mean nothing if it were your child/sibling/self. Just remember that; don't get lost in the weeds when the message has value. Yeah, don't live in fear, but if shit happens, you don't know what you will do. Half the time you can't believe it's happening until it's too late.

Unless a guy pulls a gun on me, I'm ready. Come and get me, fucker, cause I know what to do. NOW, that is.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:20 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Absolutely teach your kids to defend themselves. Don't get hung up on the idea that roving child abductors are a boogeyman conjured up solely to boost ratings for "Dateline." I mean, that is more or less the truth, but kids do face a quite real menace: Other kids. I saw more violence as a child than I ever have as an adult. Kids can be some rotten little fuckers.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:23 AM on January 8, 2008 [5 favorites]


I should clarify: Yelling FUCK got everyone within hearing distance of me to turn around and pay attention to us being attacked. When the guys realized everyone was staring, they backed off us.

I have also practiced flipping attackers over going backwards and forwards. I suggest everyone try this at home; it's easy to do, it's basically just backwards or forwards tumbling.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:24 AM on January 8, 2008


b1tr0t writes "Just under 3,000 people died as a direct result of the 9/11 attacks, and they don't happen every year. It is good to see that we've got our priorities straight."

Half the problem there is the WTC was in NYC. If the attacks had been directed at say the sears tower the level of hysteria would have been a lot less I bet.

nax writes "ho gives a fuck if it's one girl or 50,000? If this video saves *one* young woman or child then kudos."

This is only true if resources are unlimited. They aren't. This is the foolish thinking that has Canada spending 2 billion on a database rather than shelters or something that'll make a significant rather than saving *one* person.

lord_wolf writes "why is the fact that he was black relevant to your story?"

Why was it relevant that the guy was fat or older or even a guy as far as that goes? It's a story and stories are better if they have description.
posted by Mitheral at 10:40 AM on January 8, 2008


By the way, is the 4400 number (children abducted by strangers) where the show "The 4400" came up with it's title?

And slightly off topic but related, the best self-defense advice I ever heard (after "avoid a fight") was to never ever allow yourself to be tied up or pinned down. If the attacker is going to kill you for resisting being bound, he was going to kill you eventually anyway, so fight tooth and nail to keep your hands free.

The corollary to this is that the human jaw at the front of the mouth can apply over of 200 lbs of force, well in excess of what is required to bite off a lip or ear, or strip the flesh from a nose. So if he does pin you down, and he gets close...OM NOM NOM NOM.
posted by Pastabagel at 10:47 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Unicorn on the cob writes "People don't tend to want to rape/rob/beat you in a church, for some reason."

Considering the recent history of the Catholic Church that's pretty funny.
posted by Mitheral at 10:48 AM on January 8, 2008


i'm torn about this video, and i live with a 13 yr old girl. i stopped watching right around when the police guy was going on about never being alone, never walking alone, never being in a parking lot alone, ad nauseum. (i may decide to watch it through, but i have an errand to run right now.)

on the one hand, our 13 yr old girl doesn't go walking around alone. but i did, as a young-un, frequently. and i was approached by strangers too many times to count, some of whom obviously were meaning to do me ill. but i learned early on that a healthy dose of paranoia and a strong sense of distance between me and others was my tool of safety, alone with a loud mouth and quick feet to run away.

i hate the crap about women and girls being too scared to go anywhere alone. i think it's paralyzing and limiting and i never have taken part in it. not on dark empty college quads, not while living in an area where muggings were common, not while driving a taxicab in Chicago. was it risky? sure. and i still hate feeling paranoid when i see some guy stop his minivan up along the lonely road where i go hiking, and slow up so i'll be far away from him until i can assess the situation. i think it sucks that i view just about every man i run into out in the woods as a potential predator. and i hate that the focus on that dead girl in Georgia has been about how she had martial arts training and a dog and *still* was murdered by a psycho on the trail. it's to scare us into never going into the woods, isn't it? so sometimes i step off the trail and hide, and i always take my pepper spray, which i keep ready in my hand sometimes when i see someone coming i don't know. this drives me crazy. but i WILL NOT stop walking in the woods alone. a few psychos and well-publicized killings won't stop me. they just won't. (and her case only reinforces the belief i've had that having a dog in the woods is sometimes more of a hindrance than a safety.)

*this* is the skill i want girls to have: the skill to go out alone and be wary, to watch what's going on around her at all times, and be ready to run away from or yell at someone aggressively, even if it seems like she might be wrong and it might be embarrassing. these simple skills have saved my ass again and again. the point is to avoid letting someone get close enough to you to require your martial arts skills (or to use a police baton or a stun gun). 13 yr old is well on her way to a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. however, she should never count on it--her wits are what really matter.
posted by RedEmma at 10:54 AM on January 8, 2008 [9 favorites]


I will only comment on this. The actual SD program creator.

Chad Von Dette? Who? Filipino Street Fighting? What? Never heard of him. I assume they mean FMA.

So far I don't see anything in the videos that is necessarily bad. Technique wise. All valid. Nothing very original. But to work it doesn't have to be. (the ear grab may not be the best choice against very tough dudes - but still worth knowing.)

The scare tactics and dramatizations are abhorrent. And. Very cheesy.

However, it's easy enough to find all that stuff in hundreds of other sources and re-package it. Seriously. Who doesnt know to eye poke or smash somebodies nuts? Yeah. Eh. It's free.

Also I almost immediately discount any SD instructor that doesn't immediately qualify everything with - "this takes tons of practice" and "getting in the best physical shape you can will improve your odds dramatically." You will not "learn"anything by watching this video. It will take thousands of repetitions to make the movements work.

One look at his CV brought up this:

* Full Instructor - Filipino Martial Arts
* Full Instructor - Jeet Kune Do concepts
* Black Belt - Koga Ryu Ninjitsu
* Black Belt - American Kenpo Karate
* Black Belt - Tae Kwon Do


This makes me immediately suspicious. He BEGAN training in Filipino arts in 2001. Six years ago? And he runs a school? Dude I've been training in a JKD affiliate FMA school since 1999 (and before that as a boxer and Karate for over ten years), albeit part time and not as a job, but I'm no where near competent at FMA to run a school. Not that I am the international barometer of how how long it takes to gain competency in FMA but the art is very, very, broad. The bulk of his training being as a kid in Ninjitsu and TKD doesn't bode well for the maturity of practice and understanding required to actually TEACH something meaningful.

He trained under the tutelage of JKD "concepts" founder - Paul Vunak. I have some respect for Vunak but he is known as a pretty voracious marketer and self promoter and doesn't really have that much to show for it. Though he did embrace BJJ before most people and that gives him some serious point. But Vunak and JKD Concepts itself is not without controversy.

So before FMA Von Dette was a ninja? I dunno. The skills don't translate. I use the term "skills" referring to ninjitsu loosely. IMHO It's bullshit.

I'm not opposed to a dude making some marketing hay off of hackneyed SD videos with a couple of celebs in it but I'd like to see this Von Dette perform with a skilled opponent before I will give this my endorsement. It's easy enough to copy some moves and repackage it.

I was encouraged by this quote "He tried his hand in a couple of other arts and found they too had a tendency to over complicate things. It wasn’t until his freshman year of high school that Chad found a new art, one that seemed to work well against other people. It was Greco Roman wrestling."

Which is TRUE. Competing one year in GR Wrestling is better than a couple years of Karate or Kung Fu.
posted by tkchrist at 10:59 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


"One was a youngish, bookish-looking guy who lived in the same apartment complex."

[NOT BOOKIST]
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:01 AM on January 8, 2008


Did anyone else find it laughable in the one scene when the girl ran away after disabling her attacker and then two strangers ran up and subdued the man while another stranger called the police?
In my experience this is not what happens. Mostly people stand around and watch, if you are lucky one or two might react, and then it might just be them yelling at the guy. People suck.
posted by MrBobaFett at 11:01 AM on January 8, 2008


I turned around, ran at the first attacker screaming FUCK as loud as possible and kicked him, HARD, in the knee. He buckled.

Second guy, hearing MY attack, turned around and I got him in the other shin with my boot.

I was wearing steel toes.


THIS, however, I endorse.
posted by tkchrist at 11:04 AM on January 8, 2008


I think the idea of this video is great (I haven't finished watching it yet, so I don't know about the execution). I don't care what the stats are on stranger abductions. Almost everyone I know has had to defend themselves from physical attack at some point in their lives, so pointers on technique are good. I try and instill self-defense skills in my nieces and nephews as soon as they can talk. More importantly, I try and instill a sense of situational awareness.

If you always give yourself room to maneuver, appear alert, and walk confidently, you'll hopefully signal to any potential attackers that you aren't worth the bother of attacking. You don't necessarily have to be able to take on all comers, you just have to look less victimizable than the next person to come along. I remember reading about a study where muggers were asked to watch a film of people walking on the street and pick out who they would victimize. They tended to pick the same individuals, people who were walking with less confidence and not looking around.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:05 AM on January 8, 2008


“Unless a guy pulls a gun on me, I'm ready. Come and get me, fucker, cause I know what to do. NOW, that is”

I don’t think the specifics matter as much as the attitude. Doing whatever is appropriate in the situation (yelling ‘fuck’ or ripping off a testicle) generally stems from that kind of spirit. I suspect you could improvise what to do if someone pulls a gun. And getting shot is probably better than the potential alternative, since someone with a piece is already pretty well committed to something nasty (especially in those “Ew! A gun!” European countries. Not the former Soviet bloc. They love guns. Especially chicks with guns...so perhaps he’d be asking you to model). Unless the guy just wants you’re wallet. In which case, by all means, just give it to him. It’s not worth your life. And yeah, steel toes good.

“If the attacks had been directed at say the sears tower the level of hysteria would have been a lot less I bet.”

Well, yeah. Sears sucks man. They’d have it coming. Little known fact - the interior of the Sears tower? All 70’s fake wood paneling. Lot of Naugahyde couches, cheezy fake fireplaces on every wall. It looks like a ski lodge in there circa 1974 Playboy. Plus? Everyone has to wear velour jump suits. Their shoddy auto service alone is worth a jihad.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:07 AM on January 8, 2008


If jihadists take out the Sears tower, who gets the 60606 zip code?

I've had a lot of conversations with a buddy who's a cop about whether to surrender to someone with a gun or not. He's of the opinion that he'd rather get shot to death than hauled off somewhere and risk torture.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:19 AM on January 8, 2008


Anything you can do to prevent even a single kidnapping is, in my mind, really worth it.

We could strap cobalt jackets to all of the nukes on Earth and set them off all at once. The resulting storm of cobalt-60 would pretty certainly wipe out all mammalian life on Earth, and maybe all nonmicrobial life.

Then there would be no more kidnappings, ever.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:22 AM on January 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


Pastabagel: By the way, is the 4400 number (children abducted by strangers) where the show "The 4400" came up with it's title?
I was totally wondering the same thing! That can't be a coincidence (or... well, yes, of course it can be a coincidence, since that's the fucking definition of coincidence! hincandenza, sometimes you're a dumbass...)

Assuming unicorn on the cob's story is true- three times in a day, what the fuck?!- am I the only one who keeps wondering who the fuck these people are that are running around attempting to rape or kidnap random people? Christ, humanity is fucked 6 ways till Sunday. Either I don't know my friends very well, or I have never met these people that are that... loathsome. Where the hell do they all live, besides apparently eastern Europe?

I still say that such things are terribly uncommon, and hope to tkchrist I'm right, and that the crippling man-fearing paranoia it can engender is probably worse than the actual events. If anything, one might wonder if the generation of fear mongering has isolated enough men from their communities that it actually causes a small portion of them to become the very monsters that are feared. A friend who lived in Japan for 9 years before coming to Seattle to work for Microsoft told me a chilling-if-true factoid that a not-insignificant percentage of the young male population was basically doomed to a life of isolation. They were unable culturally to compete for the affections of women on a more modern playing field (he said that for example American men were well-viewed comparatively, in part because they tended to be less sexist- no idea if that's true, it was just what he told me), and possibly percentage-wise in the majority, they basically were in a downward spiral of isolation and alienation that only worsened itself. I wouldn't be surprised if this was the market for some of the more misogynistic pornography out there, and thus that the end of the bell curve holds a wicked edge... meaning that a small percentage of that population would be more inspired towards grotesque violence.
posted by hincandenza at 11:24 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


lord_wolf, BigSky and Smedleyman - I agree a gun is more effective than martial arts all things being equal, but things seldom are equal. As Smedleyman alludes to in his comment: will to win, composure, and decision making are more effective. Just having a gun does not imbue one with those traits. Martial arts may. So In short, I wasn't advocating martial arts for the fighting techniques, but more for the general ability to figure out the best way to defend oneself in a given situation.

The context of the comment was girls going on dates. Personally, I would feel that my daughter would be better served by having the self confidence that can come from martial arts training , rather than a gun, in that situation. First, its unlikely that the gun would be right at hand when things started to get out of control. Second, if your defense is a gun the first goal becomes "get to the gun", rather than "stop the situation", since the gun is the empowering tool. Third, it's an extreme escalation that could also backfire. So now you have the dude at gunpoint, and he advances on you, now what? Shoot your date and deal with that drama/trauma? try to bluff more? give up?

So in general - guns trump martial arts, but confidence/competence/knowing your limits trumps any weapon. This all brought to mind an exchange in the old movie classic Seven Samurais ....

Heihachi Hayashida (chopping firewood): Haven't you ever seen anyone cut firewood before?
Gorobei Katayama: You seem to enjoy it.
HH: That's just the way I am.
GK: You're good!
HH: Not really. It's a lot harder than killing enemies.
GK: Have you killed many?
HH: Since it's impossible to kill them all - I usually run away.
GK: A splendid principle.

HH (introducing himself later): I'm Heinachi Hayashida, a fencer of the Wood Cut School.
posted by forforf at 11:25 AM on January 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


We were shown this film in school when I was in the third grade (late 1960s). It scared the heck out of me; I wasn't just afraid of strangers in cars, I laid awake in bed at night thinking murderers were waiting to break into my house.
posted by Oriole Adams at 11:36 AM on January 8, 2008


I don't get the title...

Jeezus. You guys are killing me. If you watched the video, they repeat the phrase "I have the right to..." followed by things like "say no," "have control of my body," "choose my partner," etc. It was a self-empowerment theme which, might seem silly to some people, but if you look at the early relationships a lot of people get themselves into it's clear that a lot of young girls HAVE self empowerment issues. So anyhooooo, I just riffed on that phrase. It was either that or "Remember... slap, don't punch." which I'm sure more people woulda complained about. Because... ouch. And I didn't want to get accused of... HYSTERIA!!!!!!

I posted this for one main reason. As someone who HAD a stranger attack me at 17 and try to drag me off into a car (previously mentioned, so I'm not gonna go into that again), I DO wish I'd known these tips at the time. I was very lucky because what I did worked... but I had no idea about slap vs. punch (I punched) or the scoop kick (I just bit mostly) and I wish I had. So if you want statistics to chew on, how about these... 1. The majority of children somehow end up becoming adults; 2. Most studies show that the girl versions of children will become teen girls and then eventually adult women; 3. Many many many women have experienced some kind of sexual attack (they do not all include rape, mine did not) in their lives, and 100% of women have at some point in their lives felt afraid for their safety; 4. Female humans rarely are able to physically overpower males by pure strength (Leila Ali notwithstanding); 5. 59% of sexual assaults go unreported, so statistics on this topic are all kinda fucked up to begin with.

So, that's all this post is about. Yeah, a girl may never ever ever have any use for knowing how to physically stand up to and escape from someone who wants to take something (whether it be non-consensual sex or something else) from them. But wouldn't it make you feel a lot better knowing that your daughter was going out into the world with knowledge that might help her to take care of herself and think clearly to avoid a bad situation?

Yes, ok, this would've been far more interesting if done by Scorcese. But I think this 15 year old girl deserves some freakin' credit for her efforts. 'Cuz otherwise she might just pull out some Filipino street fighting moves on you. And do you know why that teen girl will be able to kick your ass? BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T WATCH HER VIDEO. Your lame defensive skills will be no match for her ninja moves.

Ahhhh... delicious irony.
posted by miss lynnster at 11:36 AM on January 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


hincandenza: A friend who lived in Japan for 9 years before coming to Seattle to work for Microsoft told me a chilling-if-true factoid that a not-insignificant percentage of the young male population was basically doomed to a life of isolation.

Was he talking about Japanese men or Microsoft employees?
posted by desjardins at 12:01 PM on January 8, 2008


I wish this little girl had seen that video. While we shouldn't paralyze our kids with fear, there's nothing wrong with teaching them to be self aware, alert, and ready to defend themselves.

Good post, misslynnster ... and as for your use of statistics, you apparently must endure 60,000 critical comments before your punishment has fit the crime and justice has been done! Buck up, about 100 down, only 59,900 to go!
posted by madamjujujive at 12:04 PM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


We could strap cobalt jackets to all of the nukes on Earth and set them off all at once.

I like the way you think. It may be time to upgrade you to a General Offensive Unit. My old pal "Limiting Factor" has been a bit unpredictable lately, and with so many units being decommissioned, we've got some holes in the fleet that need filling.
posted by aramaic at 12:10 PM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


(“If jihadists take out the Sears tower, who gets the 60606 zip code?”
Da Mayre co-opts it. Doles it out to some cronies)

forforf - yeah, I always blamed Britt (James Coburn) for killing the cowboy in the switchblade vs. fast draw duel. In seven samurai - well, that’s just what samurai did, fight duels, sometimes to the death. But Britt could have just taken off. Instead he makes this show of “look how hard I am trying not to kill you” by pretending to sleep.
The guys a loudmouth. Screw him. Take a walk. It’s not like he’s doing anything in particular.
Same deal.
Let your ego determine how you engage and you will lose whether you win or lose.
The focus should be on controling the situation and achieving the objective of not being harmed (raped, killed, etc.) and, secondary, not harming someone else (unless necessary).
Plenty of ways to do that without even touching on hand to hand technique (fighting without fighting).

And indeed, looking at it as a sort of zero sum game in terms of just the physical contest only adds to the antagonism and perception of women as targets.
That moral force and control of the situation is vastly underrated. S’why a lot of guys won’t hurt someone in a church f’rinstance.

But ultimately it’s like taking on a tiger. Humans don’t generally fight tigers hand to hand if they can avoid it.
And in fact when it does come to it, tigers tend to kill humans by attacking from behind. They can (and will) easily win, but they don’t want to get hurt. (Foresters and farmers in India and other places where tiger attacks occur wear masks on the backs of their heads I’ve heard) So, same kind of diminishing returns for the attacker.

But tiger hunts don’t occur that often and are happening less and less because humans eliminate the conditions under which tigers can thrive by attacking humans - speaking loosely here to illustrate the overall point. You don’t just keep taking tigers on face to face no matter how bad ass you are or whether you have a handgun or not. It’s a freekin tiger.

So, the best method is to eradicate the environment under which attackers can be successful.
This takes not only personal awareness, but a change in perception (opposite the “girls gone wild” women are pliant sex objects mentality) by men as well as the women or girls themselves.
(Reminds me of the smackdown a woman (I believe it was Gloria Steinem or one of those old-school hard ass feminists - I say that with respect) gave Hugh Hefner on the Dick Cavett show (I believe). Hugh kept referring to them and other women as “girls” and she said “No, we’re women.”
That kind of change in perception.)
Of course, that’s on the broader scale, but individually it has the same effect - you look confident, aware, unassailable (literally) and the mugger or attacker moves on to someone else.

Eventually there isn’t a ‘someone else’ and the behavior becomes as outlandish, antiquated and impossible sounding as abducting a wife from another village with your “best man.”
posted by Smedleyman at 12:15 PM on January 8, 2008


Space Coyote: Also, is instilling the constant fear of being potentially kidnapped and raped by any given male in your day to day life maybe possibly a teensy bit of a psychologically brutal thing our culture does to women?

I am a 24-year-old woman, and I have been fielding sexually explicit comments from strangers several times a week for the past thirteen years. Guys loudly assessing my body with varying degrees of vulgarity, remarking on all the ways they'd like to fuck me - if you include random catcalls, once-overs, and intentional invasions of personal space, I deal with this multiple times a day, every day.

This isn't the same as being kidnapped or raped, of course. But I believe that, as with rape, the main motivating force is the same - an expression of power (which is not mutually exclusive with genuine sexual desire). They know, and they're making sure I know, that if they wished, they could do whatever the fuck they wanted to me. My body is theirs to comment on (I've been laughed at when I've asked them to stop, as if the very idea that my preferences could possibly influence their behavior is ludicrous and hilarious). So I hope you'll see that these daily reminders of both my weakness and the irrelevance of my comfort level and consent with regards to their expression of their sexual desire for me might, over time, lead to suspicion and fear of strange men. Although "our culture" may exaggerate the actual prevalence of being raped by strange men, these exaggerations play a minor role in my own fears. The behavior of the strange men I encounter does the job quite well on its own.

Thank you for the link. In retrospect I wish I'd started self-defense classes a long, long time ago, if only for the confidence boost.
posted by granted at 12:15 PM on January 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


Just wanted to pass this along for those who have friends, children, or siblings traveling abroad; FUCK is your best friend. Honestly. And steel toe boots.

Amen and halleluia. Having lived in Prague, where it wasn't unheard-of to have tiny mobs of Romany children surround you and try to make off with your purse or whatever else they could grab, I can attest to the power of a good ol' "WHAT THE FUCK?!?" to throw them off and make them move on to a target that isn't watching their pockets quite so closely.

"What the fuck do you think you're doing?" also worked pretty nicely on the perv trying to feel me up on a Salzburg streetcar, too, though I speak perfectly good German.

Yelling "fuck" several times loudly is also a good way to get transferred to a human in some evil voiceprompt systems, too. "Fuck" is an all-purpose awesome word.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:23 PM on January 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


Right on, bitter-girl. I'll second "What the fuck are you doing" and will add my other two personal favorites: "Get the FUCK away from me" and "Don't FUCKIN' touch me." I've used those two to great effect. It's like when that word comes out of your mouth people instantly realize you're not going to be a timid victim and sometimes that alone stops them in their tracks.

About 11 years ago I was on a crowded local bus in Italy, and the driver was going fast around really sharp corners... it was just a crazy ride that I was starting to wonder if I'd survive. So I was all distracted by looking at the road but I kept feeling something poking at my side. Finally I was like, "Wait, what IS that?" and I looked down and the man in the seat behind me had been putting his hand through in between the seats and trying to grab me. I suddenly realized he'd been trying to feel me up for about five minutes. So I took my backpack and tried slamming it down on his hand, but it became this weird "Whack A Mole" game because after I'd smash them the fingers would just dart right back up. He was just not going to stop. So finally I braced myself as the bus lurched back and forth and I stood up, turned around and screamed "What the FUCK are you DOING!? Get your FUCKING HANDS off of me, you PERVERTED FUCK!" And then I turned back around and sat down.

I will never forget his face. He scurried off at the next stop. Nobody on the bus missed what happened, that's for sure. So yeah... FUCK is handy to make your point.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:53 PM on January 8, 2008


Also more honest than the FIRE thing.
posted by smackfu at 12:56 PM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


I like the way you think. It may be time to upgrade you to a General Offensive Unit.

Fuck that. What's the point of living if your engines aren't big enough to deform the grid, no matter how big your CAMdusters are? And what sort of can't-we-all-get-along wuss wants to share its bodyshell with two other Minds? Leave that shit to the GSVs.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:59 PM on January 8, 2008


Yeah, except I'm thinking nobody was going to encourage a 15 year old do a school project called "Just Yell Fuck."
posted by miss lynnster at 1:01 PM on January 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


Let's just be honest; in any country, with any language, there's a good chance that FUCK will be the only English word known, and there's little doubt what it means.

Curiosity will make people turn around faster over the word FUCK than virtually anything else. God bless the F word, cause it has saved my ass, literally.

I love you, fuck!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 1:01 PM on January 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


Unicorn on the cob: I love you, fuck!
Now you're just sending mixed messages...
posted by hincandenza at 1:06 PM on January 8, 2008


You know it just blows my mind the amount of empathy for bugs on MetaFilter but when there is a post about females being abused on MetaFilter there is an inability to face the the facts, females get sexually and physically abused by men all the time, all over the world. Especially children. And a lot of it goes unreported.

I hardly know a female who hasn't been in or survived some kind of physically abusive experience with a male at one time or another. There is good reason for fear in this case. That's my real life experience, no bullshit. And I like men in spite of this shit.

Only 16% of rapes and sexual assaults are reported to the police

One in four to one in three women have been assaulted or raped at a given point in her lifetime (Commonwealth Fund survey, 1998).

When a man attacked my 13 year old classmate as we sat in Central Park, my friend begged me not to tell her mother, who would punish her, the child, for the event. It's was in broad daylight. I literally cannot count the times I've been harassed by men and felt scared. More than a few times when I feared for my life.

The two times I was raped before the age of 20, in NYC and France. I never reported either of them. Survived attempted rape in Zurich and India. One because I was 13 and the guy was a house guest, the second because I was hitchhiking at 19 and blamed myself for falling asleep as we drove. Another guy who picked me up when I was hitching in Switzerland attempted to strangle me as I moved to get out of the car. Recently a young girl I know was drugged with roofies and gang raped. Another was molested by her coach in an upscale neighborhood.

I do not know many women who haven't as young women been molested, harassed, raped, been beaten by parents, boyfriends, husbands, incested.

How fantastic there are young women taking action to stop being violated, any kind of violation of their bodies by anybody, anywhere, any time.
posted by nickyskye at 1:08 PM on January 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


Whoops, I'll admit when I'm wrong. You're right, lord_wolf, I didn't specify the first guy's race. I meant to, but I didn't. I guess it must've looked like too many adjectives clustered together, so I dropped one, and that was the one.

In any case, like Mitheral said, it was just a bit of descriptiveness to flesh things out. If I'd remembered anything else particularly descriptive about those two guys (three eyes, one-armed man, whatever), I would've said that too. (And for the record, I've got nothing against fat people, one-eyed people, or one-armed people either. Heh.) But the fact is, all I really remember about those two are their rough ages, approximate weights, and their race. Well, okay, the black guy had greying chest hair and pubes, but I figured the word 'older' was good enough.

As for self-defense courses, they seem like a good idea to me, especially for women. When I was in high school, my Spanish 3 teacher decided to take my class to a one-day self-defense course on how to prevent rape, escape rapists and such. I was the only male in my class, along with 12 girls, so it made some sense. (That's why I even took the class, the only dude! Score! Well, that was the idea.)

Anyway, after the class my teacher asked us what we'd learned that day. I raised my hand and she raised an eyebrow but told me to go ahead. Being a smartass, I said, 'Well, I learned all the tactics that women are taught on how to prevent rape or escape from a kidnapping, so now I'd be a much better rapist, if I was a rapist.' She was not amused! But really, if I *were* a rapist or wanted to be one, what better thing to do than go to the classes where they teach how not to get raped, so you know what the possible obstacles to the raping might be. I guess she'd never considered that. Good thing I'm not a rapist. ;)
posted by jamstigator at 1:08 PM on January 8, 2008


Yeah, except I'm thinking nobody was going to encourage a 15 year old do a school project called "Just Yell Fuck."

If I had the money, I would fund that in a heartbeat. Whaddaya say, MetaFilterinnen (German feminine plural)? Shall we make it an official project?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 1:14 PM on January 8, 2008


Yeah, except I'm thinking nobody was going to encourage a 15 year old do a school project called "Just Yell Fuck."

These guys do. A great organization, BTW.
posted by tkchrist at 1:15 PM on January 8, 2008


Girls deserve to know that they belong to themselves, just as boys do. Problem is, when they don't know that, it's usually because they've been taught otherwise by their parents, over the course of their entire childhoods.

What are friends, much less strangers, supposed to do about that? The kids who are constitutionally immune to their parents' bullshit - a very small percentage of low-status kids, I would wager - are the same ones who already don't need to be reeducated. In my opinion, if you teach a low-status kid self-defense/self-assertion techniques, he or she won't use them, or will misuse them just well enough to get him or herself in terrible trouble.

I'm not asking to be defeatist - I'm just asking.
posted by facetious at 1:17 PM on January 8, 2008


jamstigator, you're just digging yourself a hole with that last paragraph.
posted by desjardins at 1:21 PM on January 8, 2008


DOUCHE CHILL
posted by granted at 1:34 PM on January 8, 2008


I've yelled "fuck". I've been flashed 8 times in my 3 years living in NYC- always in the subway. Every time was typical- he got his kick and I ran as fast as my little legs could carry me- except last time when I yelled, "WHAT the FUCK?!" He looked confused, then put it away and ran away from me.

It's the only time I've been agressive towards a flasher, and while it was rather liberating, I always wonder if it's worth taunting a crazy who's not being physically agressive. The one time some guy did try to grab me, he got an umbrella to the face until he let go. Oddly, I felt better about that incident than the flashing since I didn't hesitate to beat the crap out of that guy. The problem with comments, flashing, and other non-physical forms of sexual intimidation is that I'm never sure what the best course of action is.
posted by Thin Lizzy at 1:36 PM on January 8, 2008


nickyskye: Only 16% of rapes and sexual assaults are reported to the police

One in four to one in three women have been assaulted or raped at a given point in her lifetime (Commonwealth Fund survey, 1998).

When a man attacked my 13 year old classmate as we sat in Central Park, my friend begged me not to tell her mother, who would punish her, the child, for the event. It's was in broad daylight. I literally cannot count the times I've been harassed by men and felt scared. More than a few times when I feared for my life.

The two times I was raped before the age of 20, in NYC and France. I never reported either of them.
Well here's a thought. When your classmate didn't want to tell her mother, then maybe part of the problem is that women aren't doing enough to combat this consistently. Yes, it doesn't excuse the actions of others at all, but if there's some gender-wide refusal to stick up for yourselves or even report attacks, even to other women, you uh... might want to look into that.


See, here's my peeve: if 1 in 4 or even 1 in 3 women have been assaulted, then either a) the definition of assault is REALLY broad, such that for example 4 in 4 guys have been assaulted (because every guy has been hit on the playground, or beat up, or shoved down in a school hallway, at the very least) or b) seriously, grow a pair. If 1 in 4 guys is out there assaulting women, then fuck them up! I don't know any guys who do that, because even my jerkiest friend is still just sleazy in trying to pick up on women, but he doesn't do catcalls or the like, and certainly doesn't attack women; at most, he does the overly forward talkative thing. So where the hell ARE these guys?! I'm a jerk at times, but I've never crossed that line, so whoever these guys are... why aren't they completely exiled? Why can't you form a women's equivalent of the thin blue line? Or are they the misunderstood asshole boyfriends y'all keep dating, the unemployed coke dealer couch surfers who you swear are actually good people, sometimes? What the fuck, women?!

Either those stats are mostly bunk, or you really aren't doing enough to discourage that behavior. Actually... I know that's true, because come to think of it I did witness one case of assault, which I'm surprised I didn't remember before. I was at my favorite bar a few months ago, where I witnessed the dishwasher come in on his off night tipsy, get even drunker, and then just walks over and grabs the bartender's boobs while they were just inside the employees section. She of coursed shouted "Hey!", and the cook- a burly guy- rushed over and dragged him rapidly outside post-haste. Now, myself and my friend were adamant he should be promptly fired, but of course she said nothing, and he still works there even now.

So... what the fuck? Why would this bad apple change his behavior, after all- the (male) patrons who witnessed that hate the little bastard, but he got to cop a feel and had no ill consequences? If he'd lost his job and been completely shunned, his behavior might change in the future, but now he'll probably just do that again in his next job. All the rest of us guys wouldn't do that, we certainly would have supported immediate and strong action (including but not limited to a roughing up outside), but the aggrieved party didn't want to do anything.
posted by hincandenza at 1:44 PM on January 8, 2008


nickyskye, I think we can be aware of the vast problem of violence against women while still questioning what tactics will potentially cause more harm than good. I'm not definitely putting this video in that category, but it's certainly something I'm sensitive to. I ran Take Back the Night at my college for a few years (oh yes, I was one of *those* women), and every year I became more aware of the tension between "raising awareness" about sexual violence against women and becoming part of the very real problem of creating more psychological damage to women who already hear all the time about how they should be afraid to be in the public sphere because of the constant threat of danger.

It's a tough thing. You get so many defensive people that want to jump down your throat about statistics and how that many women aren't really raped because the methodology is misleading and blah blah blah (oh man, do I remember that) and the natural response is to want to REALLY MAKE EVERYONE AWARE that RAPE HAPPENS ALL THE TIME and WOMEN ARE IN CONSTANT DANGER. That's a totally rational response to other people minimizing the issue, but over time I've come to see it as a really problematic response.

Violence against women doesn't just affect survivors. Like terrorism, it's the gift that keeps on giving: women who haven't ever been a target and will never be a target still get to live a life circumscribed by the fear of violence. The worst part is, a lot of fear is instilled by very well-meaning people, like family members, who tell you things like "don't go anywhere alone" and "don't be out at night" and "look under your car before you drive away, because a man could be hiding underneath, waiting to cut your achilles tendon and RAPE YOU!" And I know every damn email forward isn't done with the intent of creating a fear that could cause me to live a less full life, or of making me think that when things *do* happen that I could have done something to prevent it, but the effect is there, unfortunately.

I've really come to believe that self-defense tips and tricks are more harmful than helpful unless you're actually physically trying them out or sparring with someone--passively absorbing that information from television, from video, or from an email just doesn't seem far enough on the empowering scale to offset reinforcing the "fear EVERYTHING" message that women get enough of. That's just a personal opinion, though--perhaps there are women (or girls) out there who do feel like watching a video with concrete tips lessens rather than raises the fear.
posted by iminurmefi at 1:53 PM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Females are socialized to be nice to strangers, to not blow the whistle on co-workers, to be "good" girls. The last sighting of Meredith Emerson was of her walking with the man who eventually killed her, their two dogs playing. She was 24 and athletic and confident...and she is dead.
posted by Carol Anne at 1:54 PM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well a guy shoved a broken glass in my face once - but that doesnt matter, cause all guys are evil, right ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 1:54 PM on January 8, 2008


So before FMA Von Dette was a ninja? I dunno.

I think being a ninja is like being an attorney - the title is only correct if you not only have the training, but have also been hired to do the job.

If you haven't been hired to kill a samurai or get beaten up by Bruce Lee or something, then you're not a ninja, you're just a dude with a T-shirt tied around his face and a collection of historically inaccurate swords.
posted by dansdata at 1:57 PM on January 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


Either those stats are mostly bunk, or you really aren't doing enough to discourage that behavior.

There is no secret cabal of women. I have no control over what other women do. If 15 other women have failed to file a report against a harasser, and I'm his 16th victim, the actions (or lack thereof) of the other 15 should not be any reflection on me. You seem to indicate that I would deserve it, in your mind.
posted by desjardins at 1:58 PM on January 8, 2008 [4 favorites]


“But really, if I *were* a rapist or wanted to be one, what better thing to do than go to the classes where they teach how not to get raped, so you know what the possible obstacles to the raping might be.”

The biggest obstacle to raping someone isn’t knowing what moves they’re going to use against you. It’s overcoming that curve where you’re going to be found out and arrested or going to be injured enough that you will need medical attention. Guy with an eye hanging out of his head or a punctured ear drum (they’re just my knitting needles, sir) or a set of broken toes, chances are he’s not going to feel all that frisky even if he’s knocked the girl unconscious.
That’s well apart from the rape being reported after the fact which - counterintuitive as it may seem - is good that more rapes are being reported (means more women are coming forward).
And you’ll run out of places to lurk in as your pattern is descerned (it might seem like you’re targeting locations at random - you’re not, and if you leave your hometown that takes you off familar ground).
Not to mention the DNA evidence you leave behind - wearing a condom isn’t enough anymore - there’s hair, saliva, and blood and possibly some flesh if the woman wants to make a fight of it.

A lot of that - a whole lot of that - depends on self-delusion that there’s such a thing as a ‘successful’ rapist. Maybe you could get away with it if it were cold bloodedly calculated. But rape isn’t a bank robbery. It tends to be not only a crime of opportunity, but one of passion and urgency. If it’s reported in a timely fashion, odds are getting better and better that the case will be cleared. Right now that’s about 40 - odd percent. Unfortunately law enforcement agencies clear an offense by the arrest of at least one person or by exceptional means. An exceptional clearance is reported when some element beyond the control of law enforcement precludes the agency from making an arrest that otherwise would be accomplished; for example, the victim refuses to cooperate with the prosecution.

Hence, your targets aren’t predicated on figuring out how the victim will fight back - they’re going to go for the eyes or use a rising palm to the chin - but on the situation - whether the victim will resist, how much, and if they look like the in-control, self-possessed type who will cooperate with authorities.

Therefore that’s where the focus should be. And making it easier - not just legally, but socially, for a victim to work with prosecutors.
Sounds like a tall order, it’s not.
Same kind of strategy the Spartans used in the phalinx - you cover the next person with your shield. You send the rapist to jail.

I’m not arguing women should tough it out and overcome the stress and such associated with coming forward. I know it’s traumatic and if someone can’t do it, they can't and my sympathies are with them.
I’m arguing it should be made easier and most certainly far more socially acceptable - even laudable - to fight back as well as come forward.

But many folks are really really hung up about anything to do with sex. We’re still pretty primative in a lot of ways.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:58 PM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Therefore that’s where the focus should be. And making it easier - not just legally, but socially, for a victim to work with prosecutors.

It's everything about the interaction with the Law after reporting a rape. The entire process — from the examination to giving your statement five thousand damned times — strips the victim of their dignity.

Even the best cops tend to lose their empathic responses after a while. Dealing with victim after victim. The cops who investigate my sister-in-law's rape were simply assholes. And it was obvious the case was getting buried in the case load. they simply didn't believe she WAS raped. It made her regret reporting.

It's hard to create a system that is both effective at doing it's job and humane.

Then I get hope. Like the cops that never gave up looking for Mia Zapata's rapist and killer. It took them TEN years.And they got the guy becuase her friends and family kept them buoyed and motived. They wanted to give her some of her dignity back by catching the guy. Even posthumously that means something. It says something hopeful about the system. They never gave up.

I think there are enough of people like that in the system who really want to help that it is best for victims to come forward and report.
posted by tkchrist at 2:20 PM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


"I think there are enough of people like that in the system who really want to help that it is best for victims to come forward and report."

Absolutely. And even in the case of the dick-for cops, cops like clearing cases successfuly, prosecutors like getting notches in their belts. If it looks good, looks like a conviction, they’re going to expedite the process. But yeah, damn arduous for the victims. Shouldn’t be.

“In my opinion, if you teach a low-status kid self-defense/self-assertion techniques, he or she won't use them...I'm not asking to be defeatist - I'm just asking.” - posted by facetious

*eyes mefi handle suspiciously*
Ok, well, as long as you’re not being...ah...ahem, anyway....
It’s not technique that matters. You can train the mindset. To put it in samurai terms - to disregard one’s own death as a factor.
One has to be certain that *this* matters - more than any pain or other trouble. *This* being one’s sexual freedom, self-respect, etc. etc.
Value that more than one’s own life, what others may think, any physical or mental pain you might be caused, and you will be willing to go to exceptional lengths to defend it and you will be not worth messing with, whatever form of self-defense you learn. (It’s not like you’re training to take on special operators or terrorists or other folks who are willing to die, rapists, robbers, other criminals set the bar nowhere near that high - otherwise they wouldn’t be criminals)

Anyone is capable of that. Just a matter of training. And that training can be done with nearly anything from sports to, hell, dieting.
It is typically treated as something esoteric or intangible or extreme. It’s not. Just a method of thinking about oneself and the world that can be trained like any other type of behavior.

(sorry to blather on about this, just have some strong feelings about it)
posted by Smedleyman at 2:24 PM on January 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


hincandenza writes "If 1 in 4 guys is out there assaulting women, then fuck them up! I don't know any guys who do that, because even my jerkiest friend is still just sleazy in trying to pick up on women, but he doesn't do catcalls or the like, and certainly doesn't attack women; at most, he does the overly forward talkative thing."

It's not 1 in 4 guys that generate a life time statistic like 1 in 4 women being assaulted. All you need is a few dedicated individuals. For example take a town of 500 people contain just a single flasher. If he is contentious about picking a new victim every week he can work his way through the whole town in only 5 years.
posted by Mitheral at 2:31 PM on January 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


Then it's all the more important, Mitheral, to reinforce that most men are not monsters, and thus if you find yourself confronting someone antisocial, "saying nothing" does nothing.
desjardins: There is no secret cabal of women. I have no control over what other women do. If 15 other women have failed to file a report against a harasser, and I'm his 16th victim, the actions (or lack thereof) of the other 15 should not be any reflection on me. You seem to indicate that I would deserve it, in your mind.
Yes, I'm clearly indicating you deserve it. Get off the fucking cross. Posters in this thread have already confirmed their own, personal, cabal-free "I did nothing" anecdotes. I'm simply stating that, like so many things, those individual actions are harmful both as individuals, and taken collectively.

Not that flashers are the same as kidnappers and rapists and murderers, but seriously: taking no action accomplishes nothing. Apparently, you'd rather 499 other people get flashed or worse than god forbid you get angry, active, and effective. Hmm... yeah, then I amend what I said: if you've done nothing while get your 1-in-4-merit-badge, then I guess you DO kind of deserve it. Because someone before you did nothing, and you're just paying that cowardly lack of action forward. Either there's a 1:1 ratio of assaults and assaulters, or there's a tiny percentage that are getting a free pass (like my dishwashing boob-grabber mentioned earlier). STOP DOING THAT! Some of the people posting in this thread also noted that simply saying "What the FUCK do you think you're doing, freak-a-zoid?!" had a surprising amount of effectiveness. Playing nice or smoothing shit over isn't working for you, or this thread wouldn't exist. I'm with Smedleyman: if you don't value your self-respect and freedom enough to do something either at the time or after, then well... what did you really expect from life?

Or you could do nothing, and then come post on the blue about how damned oppressed you and your sisters are...
posted by hincandenza at 2:48 PM on January 8, 2008


Back off or I'll karate chop you!

women aren't doing enough to combat this consistently

What an idiotic statement! Bam!

The very point of miss lynnster's post is that girls are taking action now to prevent being sexually and physically abused by men. That is a good thing. Thonk! The statistics I quoted are not bunk. Thwack!

gender-wide refusal to stick up for yourselves

Kapow!! Wonder why that is? Females get attacked, raped, molested, which in some countries and in a lot of the world makes them soiled goods, unsuitable for marrying, qualifies them for social castigation. That's why they might not report to an authority they they have been harmed.

The victims of sexual abuse are consistently blamed. The abuse is typically trivialized. In some countries women are killed or imprisoned for being raped, the victim of rape may be that blamed for what the rapist did.

When your classmate didn't want to tell her mother, then maybe part of the problem is that women aren't doing enough to combat this consistently.

Boff!! Oh right, it was my 13 year old classmate's fault for not reporting it. You are blaming the victim. You're comment is part of the problem. I cannot believe you are saying something like that.

you really aren't doing enough to discourage that behavior

Kerpow!!! And what would that be? Dress in burqa? Is that what women have to do, be completely unattractive as objects walking down the street, hide their bodies? Never go out unless with a gun or weapon or without being a black belt? And if they were a black belt and still got raped, at 15, is it that the female didn't own a knife or a machine gun? At what point is it not the female's fault for a violation that a man commits?

It apparently takes women having to be violent with men to get a simple point across. Blam!

Girls have a legal and a human right to have their physical boundaries respected and sadly girls are having to learn how to kick guys in the nuts to back off, instead of the guys learning it's not okay to commit such boundary violations. What is wrong with guys being unable to learn this simple fact? Are they stupid? Are they such female haters? Are they innate criminals? Are they unable to respect the physical boundaries of half the planet, the other gender?

iminurmefi, an excellent book I read about having appropriate, practically useful fear, as compared with free floating, inappropriate, fear is, appropriately titled, The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker on how not to become a victim.
posted by nickyskye at 3:01 PM on January 8, 2008 [7 favorites]


hincandenza: Yes, I'm clearly indicating you deserve it. Get off the fucking cross.

So, let's say your house is burglarized. Your neighbor's house was burglarized by the same person, but he didn't report because, let's say the dude took his weed. By what twist of logic would YOU deserve to be burglarized because of your neighbor's lack of reporting?

For the record, I have never been raped or sexually assaulted. I have been sexually harassed in the workplace - once when I was 18, and my exact response was to scream 'WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?' in front of the store manager. (Dude was fired.) The other time, I reported it to the owner, and he did nothing, so I quit. If I were raped or assaulted, I hope I'd report it, but I have absolutely no way of knowing how I'd feel after such a trauma, and thus I don't pass judgment on others who have actually been through it.
posted by desjardins at 3:13 PM on January 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


hincandenza: Why aren't they completely exiled? Why can't you form a women's equivalent of the thin blue line? Or are they the misunderstood asshole boyfriends y'all keep dating, the unemployed coke dealer couch surfers who you swear are actually good people, sometimes? What the fuck, women?! Either those stats are mostly bunk, or you really aren't doing enough to discourage that behavior.

OMG, you're right! All this time, we've been doing it to ourselves! Why didn't we think of that? Thank God we have a rational, right-thinking man here to cut through our meekness and hand-waving and tell it like it is.

Honestly, I think this is one of those arguments that someone brings to a discussion thinking they're illuminating some REVOLUTIONARY idea, when the reason it hasn't been brought up yet is not because nobody's thought of it, but because it's tired and offensive and almost not worth arguing against.

Hincandenza, the whole point is that women are brought up to believe, and then constantly reminded in endless ways every day of their lives, that they are victims and weak and inferior and have no right, even no ability, to effectively stand up for themselves, by virtue of the very fact that they are women. I mean, look at your advice: "grow a pair." Grow male genitalia! Become a man, that's the only way to fight back!

It's true that this is perpetuated by women themselves, but that hardly means that women are to blame. Is it a monkey's fault that after a lifetime of captivity, he won't leave his cage when the door is opened? I'm glad that you have the luxury of being able to sit back and call this a "pet peeve," but for women, it's not a matter of mild irritation. It's terror. Terror of violence, sexual violence, of knowing that no matter what, men have the trump card and they can fuck us and fuck us up if they damn well please; that resisting might just make it worse; that in the aftermath, if we come forward we're ashamed and humiliated and sometimes even blamed, but if we don't come forward we're...blamed. If we stand up for ourselves we're mocked and told we're secretly ugly and blamed for perpetuating the problem by calling attention to it. If we don't stand up for ourselves, we're...blamed.

I agree that fighting back is the best solution, but blaming women for being reluctant to shoulder the burden just makes you look like an asshole. You have no fucking idea what that 13-year-old was up against. But I guess it's also the scrawny kid's fault that he gets pounded into the pavement every day. Fight back, pussy! And poor people, what's up with that? Why don't they just get rich? I mean, this is America, we're all equal here.
posted by granted at 3:16 PM on January 8, 2008 [5 favorites]


oh, and for the record, I have specifically encouraged women to report harassment in order to benefit other women.
posted by desjardins at 3:18 PM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'll second "What the fuck are you doing" and will add my other two personal favorites: "Get the FUCK away from me" and "Don't FUCKIN' touch me."

i'll nth this... as a cabdriver (one of only two women in the whole city of Chicago at the time, believe it or not) this worked well for me. "Get the FUCK out of my cab right the fuck now!" was pretty effective on scary pick-up attempts.

the key thing is to not be shy about using it, even if you might be wrong. (you can always apologize.) one time i had left my cab running in the pre-dawn darkness and run up to get change from my apartment. some asshole had shot out the streetlight in front of my house, and so it was dark as hell. when i came back down there was a big dark figure standing between me and my cab. (had he seen me get out of my car? did he know i was a chick? i didn't know, but one of my only rules for safe passage was to never allow someone in my cab who saw i was female ahead of time. this was in the days before plastic barriers.) i moved so there was a parked car between us and yelled at the top of my lungs "What the FUCK do you WANT???" at the guy. he just about fell over he was so surprised. turned out he wasn't a mugger, just a drunk. but i was pleasantly surprised at the effect my yelling had had on him. i have never forgotten it, and it has stood me in good stead in further sketchy situations.

the main thing i've tried to teach the 13yo is that evil people are counting on you being too shy or too uncertain or too nice to be loud and aggressive at them. that paranoia can be apologized for, and being cold or even rude to strangers especially when in a vulnerable position is an acceptable way to save your skin. i don't think Meredith Emerson's psycho would have ever seen me in the woods (yes, i have been known to actually hide, even if it makes me look like a freaking weirdo), and if he did, i'd have done my best to keep a good distance away, even if it made me look silly. women are too afraid of being seen as cold or loud, even by people they don't know. getting over this fear goes a long way.
posted by RedEmma at 3:29 PM on January 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


Terror of violence, sexual violence, of knowing that no matter what, men have the trump card and they can fuck us and fuck us up if they damn well please; that resisting might just make it worse

This is probably the key one among women I know. I can't even count the number of times I've had the conversation with another woman who says she didn't do anything when that guy grabbed her ass on the street / flashed her / sat next to her on the metro and whispered dirty things because she was afraid that if she did anything, he'd just escalate and get really violent. I don't agree with that reasoning anymore (I'm much more inclined to recognize that men respond to social shaming just as much as women do), although I certainly did think that way as a teen, and it was what kept me from fighting back when men harassed me on the street.

I mean, most women kind of absorb this idea (hmm, I wonder where they get it from) that rape and other assault is a constant danger, and within that context it's much harder to think it's a good idea to start screaming at some guy feeling you up in a bar--if he's already feeling you up, he's probably exactly the sort of guy that would go apeshit if you push him or call the bouncer over, he'll probably be so pissed he'll wait for you at the exit, then he'll probably really hurt you... and so you constantly try to de-escalate the situation by ignoring it.

In fact, I have had multiple very well-meaning people tell me that it's really better if women don't fight back if someone tries to rape them, because they'll probably just get hurt worse if they resist. (One of which was the campus police officer!) That's not an uncommon message for women to get the entire time they're growing up. So to say the problem is that women just need to grow a pair of balls and fight back is to be quite clueless about the dynamics of the society in which this type of violence occurs, I think.

All of which brings me back 'round to my original point, which was that I think we need to cast a really critical eye on the sort of "helpful" messages we put out there for young women to consume about the violence that they may face. How do we give girls the tools to resist violence without making them afraid to participate fully in the world? How much should we raise awareness about the really awful stuff that happens to some women without convincing them that there's no point in fighting back?
posted by iminurmefi at 3:35 PM on January 8, 2008 [5 favorites]


I understand the fear that resisting might make it worse, and I tend to give into that fear if the harassment is not at a physical level. Some men* seem to get off on rejection and redouble their efforts. It's usually easiest in my experience to completely ignore the fucker, especially if you'll never see him again. If you will see him again, for example at work, it's a much trickier calculus that goes on. Women are constantly told they're overreacting and oversensitive, and you risk being labeled the office bitch if you complain.

That said, all bets are off with anyone who gets physical with me.

* Perhaps women do too, I've never been harassed by one.
posted by desjardins at 4:06 PM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


"At their core, women fear that men will kill them. At their core, men fear that women will laugh at them."

Gavin de Becker, The Gift of Fear
posted by miss lynnster at 4:07 PM on January 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


One look at his CV brought up this:

* Full Instructor - Filipino Martial Arts
* Full Instructor - Jeet Kune Do concepts
* Black Belt - Koga Ryu Ninjitsu
* Black Belt - American Kenpo Karate
* Black Belt - Tae Kwon Do


You forgot to mention his rockin' 'stache!

One has to be certain that *this* matters - more than any pain or other trouble. *This* being one’s sexual freedom, self-respect, etc. etc.

This is a very good point. People often shy away from techniques such as eye jabs and throat punches because of their brutatlity. But if the intent of the attacker is not known then what can be done should be done.
posted by P.o.B. at 4:36 PM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've had women grab my crotch multiple times in my life, when I worked in a nightclub and in the professional workplace. Been insulted with sexual innuendo multiple times. been propositioned. Had a woman flash me in another bar. If we are defining sexual assault and worrying about this level of interaction. (worrying meaning thinking that it equates to anything other than bad manners and bad taste) I don't know what women are supposed to do. Jesus, I've had men do the same thing to me on the street.

If you are terrified of this, you got a long row to hoe in life.
posted by sfts2 at 5:14 PM on January 8, 2008


Yep, we're just overreacting, oversensitive women, afraid of a wayward comment.

How many men are raped by women, again? Did it ever cross your mind that you might have been raped by one of your female harassers? If not, why is it that you didn't feel this fear? Perhaps because you feel confident you could successfully physically overpower her if you had to? I guarantee that a female victim of an unwanted crotch-grabbing feels the fear of rape at a gut level.
posted by desjardins at 5:35 PM on January 8, 2008 [5 favorites]


Interesting quote, miss lynster - after reading the thread I was just going to say something similar myself.

Along with the observation that, at least until maturity, neither sex really has any great experience in dealing with the methods of the other. All the "shout FUCK!" stuff above is a good example of this - as a man, I thought that was an obvious strategy; yelling a short sharp epithet with feeling is something I learnt works at a fairly early age. It's a common tactic amongst boys, but it still continues to work because there's something visceral about it.

(The alternative low, quiet, growled, rumbling "Back off ..." is probably harder for women to pull off...)

Mind you, none of that changes the basic issue that is the root of the power difference - that the male culture of physical expression is more dangerous to women than the female culture of emotional expression is to men.

(Wow. On preview, all that comes across as a bit too much stereotyping. It's not meant to be; I sure as hell don't believe that. "Power difference" is probably the wrong term to use, for example - it's just that misusing strength has much worse direct physical ramifications than does misusing emotions.)
posted by Pinback at 5:37 PM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Pinback, you made my point more eloquently than I did. Women sexually harassing men, though inexcusable, is not the same thing as men sexually harassing women, because of the inherent difference in the potential for harm. It's irrefutable that men cause more physical damage to women (and other men) than women do to men. It's completely rational for women to have more fear about an uncertain encounter than would a man, given the same situation.
posted by desjardins at 5:46 PM on January 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


I've had women grab my crotch multiple times in my life, when I worked in a nightclub and in the professional workplace. Been insulted with sexual innuendo multiple times. been propositioned. Had a woman flash me in another bar. If we are defining sexual assault and worrying about this level of interaction. (worrying meaning thinking that it equates to anything other than bad manners and bad taste) I don't know what women are supposed to do. Jesus, I've had men do the same thing to me on the street.

If you are terrified of this, you got a long row to hoe in life.


Comments like this will never cease to blow my mind. I really struggle to believe it, but I guess I have to accept that some people really can't think beyond their own skin enough to realize that a man being flashed by a drunk woman in a bar is in no way equivalent to a teen girl walking alone being physically assaulted by a man who is twice as strong as she is and could easily kill her.

So forget that a man has made ovations you on the street, because when he did so you thought to yourself, "I could kick that guy's ass," right? Sooo... let's take it into a different environment where you don't feel your manly sense of control. Let's say you go to prison. And you are the smallest one there by far, and some guys about twice your size make it really clear that they would love to rape you... however and whenever they have the urge. And that they have every right to do so at their discretion. They follow you around during the day, telling you how nice your ass is. They grab your dick when you walk by. They tell you what they want to do with it. And you are alone, there is nobody there with you on your side. Just you and these men who want to control you and degrade you so that you know they are more powerful. You aren't attracted to these men, and you know that this sex wouldn't be about fun or pleasure, it isn't consensual or mutual. It's entirely about you being controlled and broken at their whim. And you know they could easily kill you if you pissed them off and you are just trying to get through the day in one piece. You just want to stay safe. And when these guys aren't in the room, you know they might be around the corner. Any hallway they could pop out and grab you. You never know when, you never know where. They could drag you into a corner and that would be that. Any time. Now imagine living with that feeling all the time.

That's what it's like to be viciously attacked by a stranger. Since I was 17, I have had to stay aware that every alley I walk down alone is possibly where I may meet that guy. Because I've met him before. And a lot of other women have too. And NONE of us hate men. Or think we have life so much worse than anyone else does. It's purely cause and effect. We're looking around our shoulders and carrying our car keys between our fingers for a DAMN good reason, we know what might happen if we don't. And we don't want to take that chance. We are just trying to get through our day in one piece and stay safe from harm. That's it. We're not being cautious because we enjoy it. It's because we know that the one time we don't pay attention and we let down our guard, he could show up and everyone (including ourselves) would say it was our fault. Similar to how when I was attacked ALL I could think about was how I deserved it because I was wearing a miniskirt that day. I blamed myself at the time instead of the fact that two guys I didn't know should never have been trying to haul a 17 year old girl into a car.

Being mugged at gunpoint or something gives a similar sense of what it feels like but sexual assault is different. Handing over your wallet and being punched or shot is a different victimization from having people you don't know what to shove things inside of you as painfully as possible, to degrade you and forcibly take something from you that you've been raised to believe is something wonderful and enjoyable that you give only to special people of your choosing. For victims of rape, sex is often no longer something enjoyable once fear, pain and victimization is attached to it.

Personally, even though I wasn't raped, I had a problem with an ex boyfriend who used to like to put his hands on either side of my head because that's how my attacker tried to grab me. So my boyfriend would grab my head lovingly, and I know he meant it affectionately, but I would jump away fiercely because it felt like someone was trying to restrain me. He used to get really angry and tell me I should get over it because he wasn't doing anything wrong. But getting over it really isn't as easy as it should be. For anyone who experiences it.

So fact of the matter is, as much as you think being flashed by a drunk woman makes you equal to a victim of a sexual predator, you are completely fucking clueless and insanely insensitive. Sorry.
posted by miss lynnster at 6:27 PM on January 8, 2008 [10 favorites]


And just to add... if this video helps just one girl to avoid the experience so that sex can always be a wonderful and positive thing in her life, then it's fucking genius. That's the difference between men & women I think. Most men can't relate to thinking of sex as anything other than fun. I wish it was that way for all women too.
posted by miss lynnster at 6:31 PM on January 8, 2008 [3 favorites]




Why can't you form a women's equivalent of the thin blue line? Or are they the misunderstood asshole boyfriends y'all keep dating, the unemployed coke dealer couch surfers who you swear are actually good people, sometimes? What the fuck, women?!

What the fuck, men?! Why don't you keep the rest of your gender from being assholes, cokeheads, sleazebags, jerks, and rapists?! What the hell is up with this gender-wide acceptance of shithead behavior?! I mean, if you can't keep the rest of your gender from being couchsurfers, (how hard could that possibly be, anyway?) THEN STEP THE FUCK RIGHT UP, BECAUSE YOU"RE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SHITTY BEHAVIOR OF ALL MEN EVERYWHERE.

Pretty silly argument, isn't it? It's not surprising that attacks go unreported when there are real people in the world spewing stupid nonsense in which it's the entirety of womankind who are responsible for other women being assaulted.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:31 PM on January 8, 2008 [5 favorites]


desjardins: So, let's say your house is burglarized. Your neighbor's house was burglarized by the same person, but he didn't report because, let's say the dude took his weed. By what twist of logic would YOU deserve to be burglarized because of your neighbor's lack of reporting?
Actually... kind of, yes. If the neighborhood's residents all think crime is someone else's problem to solve, don't be surprised that your neighborhood becomes crime-infested. Although your example (how ironic you used the term "logic") was revealing: the only reason your hypothetical neighbor didn't report a burglary is because they were themselves breaking the law. Would that mean that you believe your existence is itself breaking the law- seriously, you believe this? Or perhaps your metaphor holds water if we say that if you were in the middle of assaulting someone and got assaulted yourself, you might be reluctant to call the police? Otherwise, it's a pointless example.
oh, and for the record, I have specifically encouraged women to report harassment in order to benefit other women.
Wait, so you... agree with my point, that women should report harassment in order to benefit other women? Guess y'all didn't need a "right-thinking man" to point that out, you knew it already! Sweet...
granted: Hincandenza, the whole point is that women are brought up to believe, and then constantly reminded in endless ways every day of their lives, that they are victims and weak and inferior and have no right, even no ability, to effectively stand up for themselves, by virtue of the very fact that they are women. I mean, look at your advice: "grow a pair." Grow male genitalia! Become a man, that's the only way to fight back!
Other than my poor choice of aphorism, I don't see your point at all. If anything, haven't my own comments been pretty much the same: "hey, enter the theater of the oppressed, and find a way to solve this problem". I don't recall expressing the sentiment that "Women are weak and have no ability or right to stand up for themselves", seeing as every post has been a bafflement that you aren't doing this in every interaction. Apparently the fear of being "blamed" is so stifling you'd rather just take the abuse. Okay, at worst you stand up for yourself with a vicious retort or even an overt threat, and you get brutally beaten or even killed in response. That will happen almost never- most of the time it'll simply discourage those foolish enough to taunt you.
oneirodynia: What the fuck, men?! Why don't you keep the rest of your gender from being assholes, cokeheads, sleazebags, jerks, and rapists?! What the hell is up with this gender-wide acceptance of shithead behavior?! I mean, if you can't keep the rest of your gender from being couchsurfers, (how hard could that possibly be, anyway?) THEN STEP THE FUCK RIGHT UP, BECAUSE YOU"RE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SHITTY BEHAVIOR OF ALL MEN EVERYWHERE.

Pretty silly argument, isn't it? It's not surprising that attacks go unreported when there are real people in the world spewing stupid nonsense in which it's the entirety of womankind who are responsible for other women being assaulted.
Wow, that was barely coherent. First of all, an appropriate metaphor would be "Why do men tolerate crazy women?" or alternately, "Why don't men encourage other men to be more firm in standing up for themselves"- except in the latter case, we do encourage that among men I guess by using phrases like "grow a pair". I didn't say you were responsible for women everywhere, but that collectively, if you all ingrain this notion that you're powerless you'll be... powerless. Littered in this thread are anecdotes of "Well, there was the time I said 'Fuck off', and it totally worked just saying that... but jeepers, women can't do anything and just have to suck it up!" By explicit comment, it's been said this isn't "most guys" doing this, it's a tiny percentage. And that tiny percentage wouldn't keep offending if you took a strong stance right away when they first misbehaved.

It's a silly argument because I gave a specific example where a woman was groped without her consent, where a guy bumrushed the offending groper out of the bar, and the other guys would have been perfectly willing to testify/confirm to the employer that this dishwasher had no business ever returning. Yet it was the woman who downplayed it. Why? Several of us men that witnessed this were irate that it happened, and encouraged her repeatedly to tell her boss, and get him fired. She refused, saying "No, no, he was just drunk". From what I'm reading in this thread, this isn't an uncommon reaction, yet it's clearly not the men who are promoting this. So who is? And don't you think the "No, no, it's not worth the hassle" response isn't helping things?
miss lynster: Let's say you go to prison. ... And you are alone, there is nobody there with you on your side. ... Now imagine living with that feeling all the time.
Wow, Miss lynster, my stance on prison rape, and the horrors therein, are well-established. If anything, people are far too glib about prison rape- a literally inescapable horror- but we're supposed to be up in arms because someone said something lewd to you and you didn't actually say anything or discourage that behavior? You suck to even make that comparison, because even dark alley attacks don't compare to prison rape, not by a long shot. Maybe it is a gender difference in thinking, but men don't offer random insulting or degrading comments to other men not simply because they aren't strong enough when compared to men, but because it's consistently discouraged. Say something like that to a guy, and the person would tell you to go fuck yourself, and everyone around you would look at you like you were batshit. Most guys- and here I speak to Seattle where I live- would look at someone making catcalls like he was a fruitcake, but otherwise ignore him and expect everyone else to do the same.

But really, comparing the plight of women in the United States in 2008 to prison rape, in terms of sexual violence and the complete lack of support for victims, is grotesque in the extreme. You should be ashamed of yourself.
Handing over your wallet and being punched or shot is a different victimization from having people you don't know what to shove things inside of you as painfully as possible, to degrade you and forcibly take something from you that you've been raised to believe is something wonderful and enjoyable that you give only to special people of your choosing. For victims of rape, sex is often no longer something enjoyable once fear, pain and victimization is attached to it.

So fact of the matter is, as much as you think being flashed by a drunk woman makes you equal to a victim of a sexual predator, you are completely fucking clueless and insanely insensitive. Sorry.
Well, that's also my point/question: you want to conflate all "assault" as equal when saying "1 in 4 women are assaulted", yet apparently assault can be "inappropriate comments yelled lewdly on the street" or "brutal prison gang rape". That's a pretty fucking wide swath there, so either that 1 in 4 number would also mean that men are routinely assaulted, even sexually, but don't get hung up on it because the vast majority- like the vast majority of women- aren't raped and thus chalk it up to an unpleasant experience not worth dwelling on... or you're really saying 1 in 4 women are viciously raped.

So either the stats are way out of whack/misleading, or 1 in 4 women really have been viciously raped, and yet their attackers are just wandering around because god forbid you be blamed or... something when you try to involve law enforcement. Can you understand why this is sounding really nuts?
posted by hincandenza at 8:22 PM on January 8, 2008


Why don't you keep the rest of your gender from being assholes, cokeheads, sleazebags, jerks, and rapists?

Hate to ruin a perfectly cromulent piece of rhetoric, but we do. If a guy is an asshole to another guy, or (to use the original anecdote) a guy squeezes another guy's crotch in a bar, he does so knowing full well he may end up with a fist in his face. Or a bottle. Or a bullet. One of the (many) reasons assholes will pull this shit on women is because they have a better chance of getting away with it. This starts at a pretty early age: if you want to see the formative beginnings of this flippant "boys will be boys" attitude, go to just about any mall on a weekend. The shit adolescent boys get away with that's so casually shrugged off by adolescent girls is fucking astounding. I don't understand why a good 25% of all adolescent boys aren't permanently walking around holding their crotches in pain from the groin kicks they (should deservedly) receive.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:42 PM on January 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


I don't recall expressing the sentiment that "Women are weak and have no ability or right to stand up for themselves", seeing as every post has been a bafflement that you aren't doing this in every interaction. Apparently the fear of being "blamed" is so stifling you'd rather just take the abuse. Okay, at worst you stand up for yourself with a vicious retort or even an overt threat, and you get brutally beaten or even killed in response. That will happen almost never- most of the time it'll simply discourage those foolish enough to taunt you.

At this point, so many women have tried to explain this to you that I find it hard to believe that your bafflement isn't willful.

Look, nobody is arguing with the idea that taking these assholes to task would be a beneficial thing. WE AGREE. That's the whole point of this fucking post - praising girls who made a video that promotes personal empowerment and self-defense.

You say: Littered in this thread are anecdotes of "Well, there was the time I said 'Fuck off', and it totally worked just saying that... but jeepers, women can't do anything and just have to suck it up!"

Who insinuated that women will just have to suck it up? The point is not that women can't do anything - I'm trying to explain why they often don't. It's ingrained into us at an early age, in countless ways, that we're victims and we're weak and what we want doesn't matter. The behavior of these men just reinforces what we've been told all our lives - we're victims - and so it's not surprising that we tend to act like victims in response. And despite what happened when you were at the bar that one time, having a bunch of outraged guys rush to one's defense is not a common occurrence. Most of the time, they, like everyone else, pretend not to notice what's happening. Furthermore, most incidences of harassment aren't nearly as dramatic as drunken public groping. It's a gradual, insidious accumulation of minor events that wear us down but over time are nearly as traumatizing as actual assault. So when actual assault happens, it can kind of feel like more of the same, and we just don't want to fucking make a big deal about it and get the whole world involved when, essentially, the whole point is that our privacy has already been violated without our consent. Is that clear to you?

Is this an ideal response? No, of course not. Does it perpetuate the problem? Sure. But your judgment of our actions, especially when you are clearly so incapable of understanding or empathizing with what it's like for us, is entirely out of line, even offensive. If a girl gets raped and doesn't come forward, for whatever reason, she has the right to make that decision, even if you don't like it and it doesn't make sense to you. Honestly, after being groped at a bar, the last thing I'd want is some guy pressuring me into doing something I don't want to do, telling people things about what someone did to my body when I don't want them to know, and shouldering me with the entire burden of female oppression if I choose not to undertake responsibility for something I didn't ask for and didn't want.

But you know, I think at this point these are just words, words, and more words, and you're right and we're wrong and your mind will never change. So, maybe just trust us. Take our word for it. OK?
posted by granted at 11:55 PM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ms Lynster,

Try to contain yourself, nowhere did I compare such a thing, and read my comments up thread. Sometimes, maybe you get a little bit too involved in defending your own thread? My comments were directed to the ones preceeding my last one a bit. If your day consists of what you say in life, well, thats your long row to hoe. No women that I know spend their day in fear as you do. That is profoundly sad if it is not ridiculous hyperbole.

BTW, I have personally stopped two rapes in my life, as well as a murder/assault of a smaller man by 3 bigger men, in which I was knifed and wound up testifying and putting them away for 5 years and some real risk to my wife and family. Maybe being big and strong can be a positive force for something. So fuck off with your sanctimonious crap.
posted by sfts2 at 11:56 PM on January 8, 2008


...someone said something lewd to you and you didn't actually say anything or discourage that behavior? You suck to even make that comparison, because even dark alley attacks don't compare to prison rape, not by a long shot.

Ummm... what are you talking about? I was referring to the attack I previously mentioned, which was having a strange guy try to knock me unconscious on a metal gate in front of my home and pull me to a waiting car which led to me being under police protection for a month at 17.

And I am not defending this fpp. Although it's gotten better, sometimes the comments on topics like this still tend to show insensitivity to life without testosterone and people with estrogen need to try to make that difference clearer. I don't care at all whose fpp this was, I would say the same things about sexual assault... just I have in threads before, ones that I didn't start. So don't make shit up just to put me in my place.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:41 AM on January 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Looking at the example of the woman in the bar that was groped what stood out for me was how none of the men actually did anything about the situation. Yeah, at the time you talked to her and encouraged her to report it but did you you think why she wouldn't report it? Most women I know that have reported sexual harassment at work lose their jobs because the manager doesn't want to one of those "humourless feminists" that "can't take a joke" on staff. And then the woman has the worry that they have to find another job where probably the same thing will happen anyways. However, if you (or any of the many men in the bar) had approached the manager the next day and said you felt so uncomfortable watching a woman being groped in the bar by a staff member that you would not patronise the bar again until the staff member was fired (not identifying the woman because it was not her behaviour that needed to be singled out) then maybe he would have felt the consequences of his actions. But, instead, you and all the other guys keep going back, spending your money there and passively waiting for the next time one of your gender is a jerk. I know I would not give my business to a place where I witnessed offensive behaviour TO a man. I also thought it was interesting that one consequence you thought was appropriate was to "rough him up". Most women cannot "rough up" a man but you still think we should "grow a pair" and solve this societal problem by ourselves?

Your personal "I did nothing" anecdote that let the dishwasher know his behaviour was tolerated by all the men in the bar puts to shame all the women that did nothing because they were worried about the social, legal or emotional ramifications of reporting their assault. You just didn't want to have dirty glasses the next time you go out drinking at that bar.

As to that 1 in 4 statistic you think covers inappropriate comments on the street as well as assault. I would say 100% of women have had an inappropriate comment yelled out at them on the street by the age of 18, but 25% of women have been the victims of a physical assault. Yeah, the number really IS that high. And yeah, there really are that many men out there that have assaulted women. Like many women I have devoted years to volunteering in rape crisis organisations, yet despite the fact that this is problem created by men and their socialisation I do not know a single man that has even given up an evening of his own time to preventing violence, against women OR men.
posted by saucysault at 1:56 AM on January 9, 2008 [4 favorites]


God, I hate guys like hincandenza, who only make it worse for the rest of us.
I don't know how you women put up with shit like this. I would've kicked him in the crotch after his first couple of posts, let alone engaged him in a reasonable debate.
posted by hadjiboy at 8:41 AM on January 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


But hadjiboy, that's the entire problem in a nutshell. If we yell "GO AWAY ASSHOLE" after his first stupid posts, well then we're just irrational and oversensitive girls who can't carry on a "logical discussion". Sometimes, just sometimes, a guy like that can come around, and you never know when "reasonable debate" might prove fruitful. From this female's perspective, it makes sense to at least TRY.

Obviously, in this case, it hasn't worked, and a metaphorical knee in the groin does sound rather appealing about now.
posted by desjardins at 8:48 AM on January 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


yet despite the fact that this is problem created by men and their socialisation I do not know a single man that has even given up an evening of his own time to preventing violence, against women OR men

When I spent a year volunteering for the rape prevention education project on my college campus there were three other men doing volunteer work there. Admittedly there were also 30 women, but I'm a little surprised by your experience. At the time I made the same assumptions that you just did, that rape, assault, and domestic violence were issues of male behavior and culture. When I learned that domestic violence rates were almost identical across lesbian, gay, and heterosexual demographics I started to feel that it is basically a human problem. We're all somewhat driven by our chimp biology, and we'd better all engage in fighting it.

As far as cultures where men protect women from assault, a coworker told me that if a woman complains of groping on public transit in Pakistan the other men on the train (or bus) will beat them within an inch of their lives. At the same time there is an obvious trade off in that culture where women are disempowered in personal relationships.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:13 AM on January 9, 2008


BrotherCaine, I had read that domestic abuse is comparable across queer and hetro demos but with the caveat that the victim's sexual identity was the determining factor (so a woman that identified as a lesbian who was assaulted by her male ex-husband/boyfriend would fall under the queer demo despite his straight sexual identity - incidentally, I personally know three women who have had that experience so I don't think it is that uncommon). I would however, be very surprised to find that female against female sexual assaults are anywhere comparable to male on female or male on male sexual assaults. Looking at statistics it tells you that male on female domestic violence is more destructive than female originated violence (women are three times as likely to take time off everyday activities due the violence). Also, quite a number of men claiming abuse are referring to the defensive injuries they got while attacking their female partner (see the model vs shins thread). I don't think it is just a biological drive, it is also very socialised for men to use violence against other people. You are right, it is a human problem and both sexes need to work on solving it, I wish more men thought like you and actually volunteered their time as well as calling out other men on their behaviour. Everyone knows the names of the major sexual assault groups that work with female victims but I can't even think of a male-run anti-violence group aiming at preventing violence.

Interestingly enough, the rape crisis centre I worked at has had a significant drop in clients over the past twenty years. The reported rape statistics to the police have gone up but the number of women contacting the crisis centre whether they reported it or not has dropped. Anecdotally, catcalls and other offensive behaviour I saw as a teenager do not seem to be as common among the teenagers I talk to now, both boys are girls do not tolerate it. Women I know the generation ahead of me (in their fifites and sixties) have a lot more personal stories of sexual assaults that were never reported. Ahh, the free-loving sixties and seventies sound so different from a woman's point of view. So it looks like society can change.
posted by saucysault at 10:21 AM on January 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


I do not know a single man that has even given up an evening of his own time to preventing violence, against women OR men.

i know a few: Men as Peacemakers. My hometown is pretty progressive on this issue--they've also formed an action group that's specifically centered on Sexual Assault. spread the word...
posted by RedEmma at 10:49 AM on January 9, 2008


So I took my backpack and tried slamming it down on his hand, but it became this weird "Whack A Mole" game because after I'd smash them the fingers would just dart right back up. He was just not going to stop. So finally I braced myself as the bus lurched back and forth and I stood up, turned around and screamed "What the FUCK are you DOING!? Get your FUCKING HANDS off of me, you PERVERTED FUCK!" And then I turned back around and sat down.

I will never forget his face. He scurried off at the next stop. Nobody on the bus missed what happened, that's for sure. So yeah... FUCK is handy to make your point.


That guy travels a lot, because he did the same thing to my then-girlfriend; she did almost the same thing you did, except that she spoke the local language and after she yelled the guy had to jump off of the moving bus and run for his life because some men on the bus had started to beat him and were threatening to soak him in diesel and set him on fire.

But whether passersby will intervene or not really depends on where you are. In northern Europe, I saw several instances of women yelling 'help he stole my bag/touched me/etc' and the only time anyone did anything other than reluctantly make a phone call was when the guy in question was dark-skinned -- in that case, three guys started beating him up and still no one wanted to make a phone call. But in other places I've seen both men and women intervene in situations, to the point of some pretty extreme violence.

But I think that people in this thread, just like in the pseudo-statistics that began the whole mess, are conflating radically different situations that deserve radically different responses. Just like (scary, but rare) stranger abductions are being folded into the (much more common) custody abductions, we are conflating (comparatively rare and scary) violent rape/assaults by strangers with the far more common abuse and rape by friends, family, and relatives. Having a gun or being a black belt and can kick a rapist's ass is great... but really different skills are needed when that cute guy who you have known all semester is saying "aw baby, but you are so beautiful and you turn me on so much" and you aren't all that into it really.

The extreme cases (like that poor hiker) are awful, but what tends to happen day-to-day is more insidious, like in the story about the groped bartender. My personal theory (which I've totally made up on my own, and may not hold up in real life) is sort of the broken-windows theory of violent misogyny: stopping the small and daily incidences of harassment really matters, because that is the environment that helps to structure and enable the more extreme violence. Are there consequences (legal, social, whatever) if I say things to a woman, or if I am way too pushy on a date? If a woman speaks out, does anyone listen? Extreme cases aside, most of this happens more or less publicly, and in a social context -- are guys with a reputation for date rape expelled from the fraternity, or is it shrugged at? does anyone come running if someone yells 'help'?

At least in the US, there have been some radical changes in how the legal system responds to complaints of domestic violence. The results sure aren't perfect, but it's also no longer a totally hidden subject, allowed to happen through the averting of eyes. And there are a lot of situations where casual harassment is no longer "just the way it is." But when we conflate the worst of the worst of violent stranger assault with the most routine of daily harassment, I don't think that we are actually providing the tools for mitigating this sort of routine misogyny.
posted by Forktine at 12:11 PM on January 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


I would've kicked him in the crotch after his first couple of posts, let alone engaged him in a reasonable debate.

here's something i truly don't understand, and i've seen it quite often here on mefi.

i've noticed that quite a few males who are eager to demonstrate how sensitive they are to gender issues seem to see absolutely nothing wrong with threatening or reveling in the idea of violence against another male.

if you threaten violence against or celebrate the idea of violence against a woman, these same dudes go apeshit.

if you threaten violence against or celebrate the idea of violence against a man, that's cool with these guys. i thought threats of physical harm for displeasure with words was a means asshole guys used to control women. i won't buy any responses about how differences in size change the equation: for all hadjiboy knows, hincandenza could be 4' 10" and weigh 90 lbs, or he could be physically disabled.

it often makes me wonder if there's more than just a touch of "rescue the damsel in distress" that colors the thoughts, utterances and actions of some -- certainly not all -- men who are eagerly demonstrative about how feminist they are. they agree that feminism is not about promoting women over men but about equality...and then proceed to advocate for women being treated in a far more respectful manner than they advocate for men. i have never EVER seen a female poster be threatened with a kick to the groin or called a "douche" or any other insulting word. and i'm not arguing that they should be; i'm arguing that we shouldn't treat male posters, no matter how annoying they are being, in that manner either.
posted by lord_wolf at 1:41 PM on January 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


I agree, lord_wolf, but this site can get VERY nasty, and it's not discouraged except in the most egregious cases. I don't really see that part of the culture of the site changing as long as it's ok with the powers-that-be if we insult each other.
posted by agregoli at 2:00 PM on January 9, 2008


Well let's just put it this way... if male instincts weren't skewed to lean towards violence (thus, that whole "hunter" thing) as an acceptable or effective method to get things accomplished, the very issues we are discussing probably wouldn't be prevalent in the first place.

Anyhow, gotta run. I have stuff to gather.
posted by miss lynnster at 2:10 PM on January 9, 2008


“Similar to how when I was attacked ALL I could think about was how I deserved it because I was wearing a miniskirt that day. I blamed myself at the time instead of the fact that two guys I didn't know should never have been trying to haul a 17 year old girl into a car.”

Yeah. I think that problem goes both ways. You (and any woman) should never have felt that you deserve it. Similarly, the two guys clearly missed something in their upbringing.

I suspect I’m sympathetic in part because I really have never had that fear. Oh, I understand it. I’ve seen it in others. But even if I ever was in that prison scenario, I’m very large, strong, I’ve studied and trained in many forms of violence my whole life and I’m ready to die.
I’m far more equipped to be the rapist.

But my parents, my whole family really, made sure I knew there were certain lines and that I learned respect for women, seniors, etc. (In fact I remember my uncle met my girlfriend when I was 14 and said “Smed, she’s a nice girl. Make sure she stays that way or I’ll step on your face.”) Not that it was pressured into me. My father treated my mother with the utmost respect and she was clearly an equal. That’s common throughout my family. And we never engaged in the “I’d fuck her” type locker room talk. Oh, we swear. I don’t think we could play Monopoly together without hearing ‘motherfucker’ 20 or 30 times. But objectifying women simply isn’t tolerated. Typically draws a cold stare when we hear it from anyone else.

So learning that trait, preventing misogyny, empowering women - any individual really - to understand their responsibility and right control over their bodies and their dignity is a long term ongoing effort - no matter which method is most efficacious.

Whether videos like this ‘work’ or not - what their impact is - isn’t as important as working on something.
Finding what works is a matter of experimentation. Putting forth those options is a matter of dedication. It’s really that simple.
So, we’ll see how the video works, what programs can be created, etc. etc. etc. The important thing is to work towards that goal even if it’s in the wrong direction. Like science - we’ll learn from our mistakes and fine tune it as we go.
But at least we’re going in the right direction.

“I do not know a single man that has even given up an evening of his own time to preventing violence, against women OR men”

I’ve prevented several rapes, some starting - in potential, some in progress. One in the military. I have a knife scar from it. You’re welcome.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:24 PM on January 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


(to emphasize: essentially - violence does not equal misogyny. I’m not saying it helps. But mindset and attitude are everything. I’ve seen appaling cruelty with nary a physical blow struck (pre-teen and high school girls alone - hell there was a girl in MO. teased to suicide by someone’s mom over the internet))
posted by Smedleyman at 2:32 PM on January 9, 2008


Anyhow, gotta run. I have stuff to gather.

as they say on that other site, i see what you did there. ;-)

I don't really see that part of the culture of the site changing as long as it's ok with the powers-that-be if we insult each other.

i don't think they're cool with it. hence the note under the live preview box. and i think it can change. i've seen -- or i think i've seen -- tremendous change since the big metatalk thread on the boy zone tone of the site. there's been nowhere near as much boys' locker room talk about women since then.

i think we'd benefit from a parallel effort to reduce the boys' locker room talk directed toward men as well. i think, because there are so many brilliant and proud people here, that insults will continue to fly over contentious topics, but i'd love to see a whole lot less "kick 'em in the nuts, he's a douchebag!" talk.
posted by lord_wolf at 3:07 PM on January 9, 2008


i don't think they're cool with it. hence the note under the live preview box. and i think it can change. i've seen -- or i think i've seen -- tremendous change since the big metatalk thread on the boy zone tone of the site. there's been nowhere near as much boys' locker room talk about women since then.

Maybe not cool with it, but it's certainly tolerated. I see at least one insult of the "shut up you're a douchebag" variety a day, and they never get deleted. I wasn't really talking about "locker room talk" but rather the day-to-day insults of other members as being stupid or idiotic themselves instead of attacking the argument. I do hope that changes as well.
posted by agregoli at 3:23 PM on January 9, 2008


Y'know, I've gotta admit, I really really hate when people use the phrase "douchebag"... just not big on guys insulting other guys by calling them an outdated invasive feminine hygeine product, I guess.

I think "jockstrap" would've made a better insult, and would've kept women out of it. Like... "That dude is SUCH a jockstrap." (See? It totally works!)

posted by miss lynnster at 3:41 PM on January 9, 2008


God, I hate guys like hincandenza, who only make it worse for the rest of us.
I don't know how you women put up with shit like this. I would've kicked him in the crotch after his first couple of posts, let alone engaged him in a reasonable debate.


What the fuck?
posted by Snyder at 4:29 PM on January 9, 2008


Geez, snyder (and others), even I got the humor. It was satirizing the "why don't you nip these attitudes in the bud" comments of people like me.

That said, I think Forktine expressed it well; it's kind of a broken-windows theory. If you allow bullying/abuse (of and to any genders) when it's mild, it only escalates.
miss lynster: Y'know, I've gotta admit, I really really hate when people use the phrase "douchebag"... just not big on guys insulting other guys by calling them an outdated invasive feminine hygeine product, I guess. (emphasis my own)
What makes you think that's a guy term? Most insults are general purpose- it's not like guys have or enforce a monopoly on terms like douchebag or bitch. F'r example, same bartender and one of her co-workers like to choose between "cuntpuncher", "twatwaffle", and yes "douchebag" as insults of both men and women.

Gosh, I sure hope that doesn't impinge upon your Manichean approach to male/female relationships.
posted by hincandenza at 7:38 PM on January 9, 2008


Well hincandenza, if you say douchebag is not an insult generally used by men directed at men? Well then let me officially stand corrected. Admittedly, I am not an expert on such matters, and perhaps it is just as you say and I need to work on my overt obsession with and inability to see things beyond the theological dualism of good versus evil. Gee, I sure am a douchebag. (Wow, what a great word! I can't believe I didn't like it before.)

Admittedly my original opinion was formed because there have never been any females in my life who used the word "douchebag" (only men), and I have never heard it used against a woman by anyone, but I'm sure you're totally right. And funny enough, I used to think that I was allowed to dislike like a phrase for any reason I chose, but today I have learned that is apparently not the case either. You are teaching me many things in this thread, hincandenza, and I thank you.

Upon reflection, it seems my main downfall may have been that I hang out with a different class of people than the eloquent individuals in your enviable social circle. Your friends really do sound very special. Congratulations on your awesomeness.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:42 PM on January 9, 2008


“I think "jockstrap" would've made a better insult, and would've kept women out of it. Like... "That dude is SUCH a jockstrap." (See? It totally works!”

I prefer surreal insults (such that you don’t know they’re insults, brindurf) or the mundane object insult: “Ease off you ceiling fan”.
Or just go off and randomly argue about something else:
“It’s proven that 63% of all abductions are...”
“Look, there’s no way that guy was safe, his foot never touched the bag! And just look at my fender, the tail light is smashed. So I don’t want your mother coming over here anymore unless she calls first. It was your turn to walk the dog.”
posted by Smedleyman at 12:31 PM on January 10, 2008


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