It’s not the first time something like this has happened to me, at all. It’s not the first time it’s happened to me at a tech conference. But it is the first time I’ve spoken out about it in this way, because I’m tired of the sense that some idiot can ruin my day and never have to answer for it. I’m tired of the fear. I’m tired of people who think I should wear something different. I’m tired of people who think I should avoid having a beer in case my vigilance lapses for a moment. I’m tired of people who say that guys can’t read me right and I have to read them, and avoid giving the wrong impression.The commenters make the bad start even worse, by (typically) questioning her behavior (which, in a move that makes me want to give her a medal, she bravely documented), attire, and decision to name her assaulter. The author of the Gawker article feels compelled to pull out the "Innocent until proven guilty" refrain, and laments that the victim in the case couldn't vent her trauma without naming the perp. But why should she? "Innocent until proven guilty" doesn't really apply to the victim in the case since, to her, there's already pretty clear-cut evidence that the person at hand is guilty. Remember, this happened to her. It's the legal system that's meant to reserve judgment. Moreover, if you think it was "tasteless" of her to name the guy, or some other BS the commenters are spewing, ask yourself whether you would not do the very same thing if a crime were committed against you: If your house was broken into by a neighbor, and you wanted to blog about it, wouldn't one of your purposes surely be to warn others that this neighbor isn't to be trusted? This is not a case of kiss and tell--it's a case of a victim, simply and without malice, documenting her assault.
...It is not my job to avoid getting assaulted. It is everyone else’s job to avoid assaulting me. Dozens of guys succeeded at that job, across the week. In the pub, in the stairwell, on the MARTA, in my bedroom.
One guy failed, and it’s his fault.
As one commenter on the Gawker piece astutely put it, the author's discomfort with the naming of the alleged perpetrator had more to do with his desire to spin this story into a general trend article than with any actual identifiable issue with her behavior. Whether news agencies should name alleged perpetrators of sexual assault based on victims' statements is an open question. Whether victims themselves should do so (if they choose to) through any medium available to them is NOT a question.
But why are men so uncomfortable with the idea of a fellow man being called out for sexual assault? This hullabaloo reminds me of a startling conversation I had with some friends and colleagues in Zambia. We were discussing a friend of a friend who had grabbed a woman's breast at a party, and had a bad reputation as a result. As with the above case, what was being discussed wasn't rape, but it was an assault on a woman's body--unwanted sexual contact. One by one, the men in the group defended the breast-grabbing-man, insisting the incident "shouldn't follow him around" and us chicks should "let it go." We made it very clear to them that what we were discussing wasn't some guy going too far during a makeout session and getting gently pushed away, but rather the outright, uninvited violation of a woman who made it clear she wanted no part of it. Still, they persisted in their defense. At one point, a singular guy stood apart from the pack and said, "I think it makes sense for him to have bad rap for the time he's here, sure." Hearing this glimmer of sanity, we clarified, "So you don't think it's unreasonable for someone who walks up to a woman at a party and grabs her breast to be known as the 'boob-grabber' for his remaining three months in Zambia?" The response: "Three months?! Oh, no, I thought he was here for like a weekend. Three months is way too long to still be punished for something like that!"
These were men who, on the surface, seemed like decent, upstanding guys. They were aidworkers in Zambia, for goodness sake. And yet every single one of them insisted that it was unreasonable that a man should be in any way dogged by his choice to violate a woman's body. Both this assault, which had a humorous edge to it (the woman was not traumatized, only appalled), and the one suffered by the google writer linked to above are unlikely to ever be prosecuted. Their perpetrators have little to fear from their actions other than a bad reputation. And yet the gods of maleness want to insist that that price is unreasonable? The idea that women shouldn't be allowed to use their social networks, online or otherwise, to spread the word about creeps who will likely never suffer legal consequences for their actions is absurd beyond belief, and could only be dreamed up by the collective knee-jerk brain of male privilege. These men aren't upset over the rights of one guy named in a blog post to be "innocent until proven guilty." They're upset because this victim speaking out about her assault threatens their inalienable, god-given right to violate women's bodies without reproach. Welcome to the jungle, ladies.