Herstory 13 (scp.4 House2) Setting boundaries

Hmm. I was a bit tired when doing this recording, and for me it’s always difficult to understand when persons are describing places or situations involving people I don’t know. So, I write a written explanation with this video. It’s repeating what I said, and also correcting some of what I say in the film, because I didn’t relate it correctly.

Situation 1: A guy who I  wrote an sms, saying I liked her, and that I would like to see her again. She talks with my flat mate about this sms. Says that I only “want dick”. My flat mate tells me this. I send another sms, where I say I feel hurt by this comment. My flatmate and this guy is in the same capoeira group. They ‘play’ / sparr with each other in one training (in capoeira you don’t have physical contact, some of the kicks are deadly, for instance against the head). The guy swoops my flatmates legs so she falls. The guy approaches her, asks if she hurt herself. My flatmate answers “Yes”. The guy looks her in the eye and says: “Good. Consider it payback.” This then being about her telling me what the guy had said about my sms to her.

One woman offers herself to tell this man to not approach me in one of the houses. The same woman had in that house also asked me if I considered myself to be “sexist” against men.

The man accepts not approaching me.

Situation 2: This is a situation going on for years. At one woman’s birthday party this man starts talking about prostitution and pornography with me. Saying that I victimize women for stating that prostitution is a a part of an oppressive society. This rapidly turns into a discussion not worth having. Her only arguments are that I victimize, and that she has a right to say so because she’s a feminist. So I try to end the discussion. Which she refuses.

I later meet this man at the social centre called Siperia. Five times in the same evening she approaches me. I try walking away. I also tell her to leave me alone. One woman watched one of these encounters, and later told me that it looked like the man was coming on to me, flirting with me. At that occasion she had tried getting my phone number so that we could talk about this. The last time she approaches me, I’m sitting on the floor. She comes from behind and puts her arms around me. I find this especially disturbing since I had told her many times that I didn’t even feel comfortable speaking with her. Two other women break in, and start arguing with this man to leave me alone (this is a rare occasion. Usually nobody cares.)

Some year later, I start bumping into this man in different places. She still won’t leave me alone. I’m rude. I tell her to “Piss Off!” At another occasion I just scream my head off. Nothing works. Everytime I happen to be in the same space as her, she approaches me. Starts asking me “Why I hate her?”.

Since I don’t have the social network, where there would be any persons understanding my political reality, or willing to support me in having my boundaries set. Finally in desperation, I sent an email to the same mailing lists that this man is on, where I name her, and tell her to leave me alone. I also send some texts, that I think would be worth while reading for her, since she’s constantly asking me why I don’t feel comfortable with her.

Subject line for the mail I sent:

creative resistance >> stopping abusive behavior

i’m outing Dominant #5 (Yakup) <dominant#5@yahoo.com>
for repeated harassment. and am hereby asking him
to respect my [*often* repeated] wish to be left alone.

[no i’m not talking rape. he just won’t leave me alone,
talking to me – even though i tell him i feel bothered by it –
and that makes me very angry and sad.
no always means no. and should always be respected.]

i’m tired of sexism

so. deal with it.
Taking The First Step:
Suggestions To People Called Out For Abusive Behavior
http://fruitiondesign.com/dealwithit/02wispy.php

Ten Suggestions For People Called Out For Abusive Behaviour

1. Be Honest, Stay Honest, Get Honest

If you know that you hurt the person calling you out for abuse,
acknowledge it. If you think its a possibility that you might have
hurt them let them know. If you have any inkling that some way that
you interacted with them might have compromised their dignity and
boundaries let them know. The first step to dealing with our abusive
tendencies is getting out of denial. Denial is like an infection. It
starts in some locality (specific instances and situations, nitpicking
at certain parts of an account of the situation[s]), and if untreated
festers and eventually consumes us entirely. When we are able to
vocalize that we are aware that something isn’t quite right with our
behaviour it brings us a step closer to dealing with it in a
meaningful and honest way.

2. Respect Survivor Autonomy

Survivor autonomy means that the survivor of abuse, and the survivor
of abuse alone calls the shots concerning how abusive behaviour is
dealt with. This means s/he calls the shots and you live with her/his
decisions. You don’t get to determine how or even if a
mediation/confrontation happens, or initiate action towards a
resolution. You get to make it explicitly clear that you respect their
autonomy in the situation, and that you’re willing to work towards a
resolution. They may prefer to never be in the same space with you
again and don’t wish to speak with you. It is not their
responsibility, nor their duty, to attempt for resolution or enter
into dialogue with you or take any specific course of action for that
matter However it is your responsibility, as someone being called out,
to respect their needs and desires.

3.Learn To Listen

It is imperative that you open your ears and your heart to the person
calling you out. This will likely be difficult, because people tend to
get defensive and closed when they are accused of wrongdoing. Very few
people in this world want to be pegged as the “bad apple of the
“bunch” To listen you will need to keep your defensive and knee jerk
reactionary tendencies in check. These suggestions could be very
helpful to you: A) Let the person calling you out direct the dialogue.
If they want you to answer questions do so, but otherwise let them
have the floor. B) Be aware when you’re formulating responses and
counterpoints in your head while they’re expressing their account of
the situation(s), and attempt to stop doing so. C) Focus on their
account of things, and save going over in your head how you remember
things until after they have spoken. D) Reflect upon the entirety of
what they expressed and not just the disparities between your and
their account of events. E) Talk with your friends about how you can
better listen before you enter a mediation/confrontation.

4.Practice Patience

Sometimes things take time to be resolved. Sometimes it takes months,
years, decades for a resolution, and sometimes there is no clear cut
resolution. However, there is no timeline for resolution when human
dignity is at stake. Be patient and never attempt to force a
resolution. a process, or a dialogue. You may ask for a dialogue or a
mediation, but if the answer is no it is no until s/he says it is yes.
Don’t attempt to wear down the boundaries of the person calling you
out by asking for dialogue or mediation over and over again. Stay put,
reflect, and think about the power dynamics in your relations with
others.

5.Never, Ever, Blame The Victim

S/he did not ask for violence or abuse. S/he did not ask for it in how
s/he dressed. S/he didn’t ask for it, because s/he was under the
influence of alcohol or drugs. S/he didn’t ask for it, because s/he is
a sex worker. S/he didn’t ask for it because she chose to make out
with you or because s/he went back to your place or because s/he is
known to be into s/m or because she is a “tease” or because she is a
“slut”. S/he did not ask for it in anyway. It is not acceptable to
write off his/her responses to your behaviour, because she is
“hypersensitive” to �your’ threatening of abusive behaviour. It is not
acceptable to say that s/he is “exaggerating” the abuse, because s/he
is a feminist/queer liberationist/activist/punk/

youth/”a PC thug”/etc.
It is not acceptable to say that s/he is making it up, because s/he
has a history of abuse or any other such nonsense. Making excuses for
why someone is to blame for your hurtful actions are a way for you to
avoid taking responsibility for �your’ fucked up behaviour. They
expose you as a coward.

6.Speak For Yourself

You can account for your experience and your experience and your
experience alone. Don’t ever assume that you can know how the person
calling you out as an abuser experienced the situation(s). People walk
down the same streets everyday and have very different experiences.
This is a simple fact of life. It is, also, a very different
experience to have the winds of privilege blowing against your back
than to have the winds of oppression blowing in your face as you walk
down those same streets. You cannot know how someone else felt at a
certain moment, and so you should never presume that you have the
right to judge the validity of their feelings. If they have expressed
how they feel, then what you need to do, first and foremost, is to
listen. It is important that you actively seek to understand theirs
feelings. If you find that you simply cannot understand their feelings
no matter how sincerely you try it is still not your place to judge
the validity of them.

7. Don’t Engage In Silence Behaviour

By telling your “side of the story” you could be creating an
atmosphere that silences people who have been abused. If you feel that
their are major discrepancies between your account of the situation(s)
and their account, and that you are being “falsely accused” take a
deep breath. First you need to know that you can never stop sincerely
investigating the yourself and questioning how your behaviour affects
others ..the case is never closed. With time you might come to realize
that, yes, in fact your behaviour was abusive. It is your
responsibility to continuously challenge your notions about how your
behaviours effect others, and to challenge your understandings of how
you hold power over others in your relationships. Read books, enter
into recovery programs for batterer’/sexual assailants, seek out a
therapist, and discover your own ways of challenging yourself and your
conceptions of how your behaviour effects others.

Understand that if you attempt to silence the person(s) by promoting
your account of things as “the truth” you will silence others as well.
People will fear coming forward with their stories and fear
confronting abuse, because of YOUR silencing behaviour. If you are
committed to creating a world where people speak freely about the
wrongs done to them you will want to avoid focusing on how the
accusers are “lying” about you, and you will want to avoid airing your
presumptions and theories as to their “motives”. One example off the
top of my head is how one particular rapist/sexual assailant passed
out a list of 40 points of contention at a punk show to refute the
stories of three women calling him out. The flyer went on and on about
the disparities between these women’s stories and the “truth”. This is
one blatant example of silencing behaviour, but it can act in far more
subtle ways.

Silencing behaviour is ANY behaviour which attempts to make the
survivor of abuse out to the perpetrator of misinformation. It is any
behaviour which attempts to make the abuser out to be the victim. It
very quickly puts into question the character of the person calling
out an abuser. Often it leads to a backlash against them both explicit
(threats, harassment, violence) and implicit (endless questioning, non
supportive behaviour i.e. “I don’t want to get involved in this” or
“I’m hearing a lot of different stories”). Silencing behaviour creates
an atmosphere where people fear and don’t call out their abusers, and
therefore an atmosphere where abuse flourishes.

However, this does not mean that you should not speak of how you
experienced the situation(s) differently from the other person(s)
calling you out. It simply means that it is your responsibility to do
so in a way that is respectful and that does not help to foster an
atmosphere of silence around abuse. You may need to relate your
experiences to those with which you have close friendships/working
relationships and to those that approach you, but as I said above
speak for yourself. Do not intersperse their account with yours to
illustrate the inconsistencies that you perceive. Do not relate the
person(s) stories for them. Do not go on and on about how they should
have called you out in a different manner. Do not talk about their
shortcomings in the relationship/ friendship. Do not cast yourself in
the role of the victim of a “witch hunt” or “cointelpro”. Do not
assert that they are lying, and if your account differs from theirs
make it clear that this is how you and only you account for your
experiences(s) of the situation(s). Let what you say be limited
exclusively to your recollection. If you feel the need to vent find a
good person to vent to whose outside of your immediate social
scene/community (if you look hard enough you might find a therapist
willing to work with you on a sliding scale basis, preferably find one
with a radical/feminist analysis) or someone outside the
scene/community altogether (who you know for sure has not been a
victim of abuse). If you honestly believe you are being falsely
accused your character will have to speak for yourself rather then you
speaking for your character.

8. Don’t Hide Behind Your Friends

Often the people most vocal in defending abusers are not the abusers
themselves, but their friends, comrades, and lovers. “But s/he’s
really a good person/activist/artist” or “S/he contributed so much to
the community/scene” or “The person I know would never do something
like that” are some common defensive reactions among many. If you feel
that people are trying to insulate you from your problems or from
questioning your actions….let them know that it isn’t acceptable.
You need to hear the criticisms and anger of the survivor(s) and their
allies. As well you need to stop others from engaging in silencing
behaviour. Let them know that if they truly care about you that
instead of defending your character and reacting to the accusations
they need to help you examine yourself and figure out ways of
transforming dominating behaviours.

9.Respond To The Wishes of The Survivor and The Wishes Of The Community

Taking responsibility for our harmful actions is an integral part of
the healing process. You will need to respond to the wishes of the
survivor and the community not just for their healing, but yours as
well. If s/he or they wish that you be suspended from certain
projects/activities or that you engage in a batterers/assailants
program or that you do book reports on books about ending rape and
abuse or if they want you to do anything within the realm of
possibility don’t argue with them….give them what they ask for. You
need to show the survivor and the community that you are acting in
good faith and that you are ready to deal with your problems of abuse
or at the very least that you are willing to sincerely investigate the
possibility that you engaged in abusive behaviour. You need to show
the survivor and the community that you respect their autonomy and
their ability to make decisions that meet their needs and desires for
safety, healing, and ending oppression. Again if you want to live in a
world free of abuse,rape, and oppression you will support survivor
autonomy and community self-determination even if you feel you are
being “falsely accused”. . Do not engage in the silencing behaviour of
attacking the demands and process of the survivor(s) or the community.
This is what abusers and their supporters typically do to create a
smokescreen of issues to take the heat off of themselves.

10.Take Responsibility….Stop Abuse and Rape Before It Starts.

It takes a lot of courage and self-knowledge to admit that you’ve hurt
someone, that you compromised their dignity and self worth, or that
you used power over someone in the worst ways. It takes a lot of
sincerity to make an apology without expecting to be applauded or
thanked for it. However, this is what it will take to start overcoming
our abusive tendencies. To know that you have wronged someone and to
do otherwise is to perpetuate the hierarchy. It is to be more than
simply complicit within it, but to actively support it. It will take
honesty, diligent self investigation, and compassion to start to
overcome our abusive tendencies. Once your able to admit that you have
a problem with (sometimes or always) abusing people you can begin to
learn how and why you do it. You can learn early warning signs that
you’re slipping back into old patterns, and you’ll be better able to
check yourself. My life has been a life of unlearning such patterns of
abuse, of learning to reject the roles of both the abuser and the
abused, and it is far from over. Bad habits are easily taken up again,
and many times it is easy to assume that we are not wielding power
over someone. We must persistently question this assumption just as we
would demand that any assumption be questioned, lest it become dogma.

It is crucial that we learn to ask for consent from our sexual
partners. It is crucial that we learn to recognize aggressive and
passive aggressive abuse in its various emotional, economic, physical,
and sexual manifestations, and that we stop it before it escalates to
more severe and harmful levels. We need to call it out when we are
aware of it in other people, as well as ourselves This process is a
process of overcoming of oppression, of rejecting the roles of
oppressor and oppressed. It is a path that leads to freedom, and a
path that is formed by walking. Will you take the first step?

greetings from Milla
http://youtube.com/feministsister

____

____

In House2, I finally get help from one man. I ask her to come along as a witness when I make a request for Dominant #5 to respect my boundaries, and promise to leave me alone. The only exception would be if the police is coming or if there’s a fire or something such. She finally agrees. After which this man, who calls herself a feminist, goes and destroys the work of a woman.

One woman had written “Once I thought I was a slut, but then I realized I was acting like a man.” In a humoristic way pointing out the double standards we live with. Women with several sexual contacts are usually considered to be “trash”, and seen as having a “lower” or “spoilt” “value”, while men doing the same are seen as great “conquerers”.

Dominant #5 went straight to this feminist anti-sexist statement, and tried to smear it out. When that didn’t work, she put a big cross over it, and wrote “No sexism in this house” next to it.

SIDENOTE (more sexism): During this period, stretched out for years (I didn’t see her often, but everytime we were in the same space, infallibly she wouldn’t leave me alone). One period where I was unfortunate to bump into her often, I was having a brief contact with a man. A lover. Which also caused me grief. My lover and I had a talk about insecurities, where the difficulties in opening up and trusting came from. I talked about childhood, and also the everyday experiences from being oppressed as a woman. I gave an example where I had been raped by a friend. We had started having sex, and when I wanted to stop, my friend didn’t listen. I had to put my hands between my legs, and push her down on the floor. This friend of mine didn’t grasp what she had done, until the second time I talked with her about it. The reason she understood it wasn’t okay, was because I had been crying, when I talked about it. When I told my lover this story, her response had been:
“Well, a guy can’t just stop like that, she would need a ton of ice.”
I was devastated by this comment. [implying that rape is something that men can’t prevent. that it would be a part of their natural sexual drive… disrespecting boundaries and the humanity of the one they happen to be with, while they’re “at it”. ] We later got to talk it through. But it was really hard hearing something like that from a person I wanted and had physical closeness with.
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One Response

  1. I understand where you’re coming from, but I think humanity as a whole fails to understand what sexism is and what it is not. What abuse is and what it is not. What a victim is and what it is not.
    You should go check out ” The Female Ego (Impress yourself NOT the Girl) ” and “Humans Belong in Harems (Finally the Truth is Out) ” for some real insight into sexism and human sexuality.

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