Monday, December 11, 2017

On "Boys"

This is a diversion from games but related to my typical work and my current look into masculinity with Posers, and is as-of-now an unpaid post.

Mike Rugnetta wrote two posts on the subject of the McElroy Brothers and the use of the term "boy." I found it by a shared Twitter thread by @RowanGayle who I don't know but said some cool stuff. And reading these things brought me to tears, because I want to talk about why I, personally, consider myself a boy...and why I don't agree that boy must be or necessarily is gender neutral.



My coming out story is freely available on the internet so I'll just say simply: for technical terms I use genderfluid nonbinary-masculine to define myself, but casually I refer to myself as a boy. It started jokingly, but then I felt it more significantly that the word fit me better than anything else, and it ties into these things that Mike and RowanGayle are saying. It is not necessarily about gender, but it is about identity, and it interweaves with gender for me.

When I first became a viewer of the various McElroy properties, Griffin's voice really stuck with me (as a synesthete, to me it is the exact color and feeling of slipping on a banana peel, which makes me giggle). I liked how he talked about the characters they made on Monster Factory, and his enthusiasm. I also appreciated the not-entirely-but-pretty-damn-wholesome vibe the McElroys have thus far been some of the least problematic internet entities I've seen (along with Rugnetta and Mikey Neumann), and fuck if I didn't feel the positivity and enthusiasm pouring out into the world from their media. Even when things were at the point where they could be problematic, they didn't go there, or if they did, they apologized. That is important to me, so much, and that's part of what "boy" is to me because of how it reflects in both the speakers and the subjects who are just trying their damn best - not necessarily good, but trying to be, always trying to be.

I see boy as inherently trying. Trying to be better, which is a common refrain for me, be better, and to be what you want to be. Hopeful is not something I am, but something I think translates well to boy-ness, and I don't talk about how much I want to be hopeful, but I do want that, and I know that's part of why I cling to boy. In the times Griffin used it in Monster Factory, it stuck in my head as this loving "our boy can do anything!" vibe and I loved that these boys, these no-middle-sliders boys who fumbled were still seemingly loved even though they're characters in a damn video game. I have struggled so much with feeling okay with who I am, but every time I heard "boy" it poked a little at me, and I finally just let it in. Griffin doesn't know me and neither do any of these other internet people but boy, boy stuck with me.

There is a playful, loving, hopeful, enthusiastic vibe in the idea of these boys that try so fuckin' hard to just do the thing and to just be boys. That's what I love about it, I think.

I'm not a man and have no desire to be, but the soft masculinity that sits in boy suits me. It's not about men or women, and I think here is the flaw. Not everyone has to be a boy, and it is evident to me by the McElroy use of it that it is not necessarily gendered man or woman, but instead likely an androgynous space where some boys could be - it feels that it could be a soft masculine, but it doesn't have to be.

My complication with the analysis thus far is more that we are only considering man, woman, and agender identities. It isn't destroying the gender binary to take gender away entirely - expanding gender and understanding the complexities and variances of gender identity is what destroying the gender binary is.

What is a person who has a gender that is not necessarily binary but it does exist?

I dunno, I guess what I'm trying to say is, when Griffin used boy, it gave me a simple word for what I am. And that's pretty cool, whatever people end up saying it is later.



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Friday, December 8, 2017

Harassment in Indie Games: Part 4 (Conclusion) - How

Content warning: sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual violence, threats, online harassment, threats of violence, harassment and assault of minors, statutory rape, rape, mental illness, anxiety, social ostracizing

Harassment in Indie Games: Part 4 (Conclusion) - How



This is the fourth and final post (posts one, two, & three) in a series about sexual harassment and assault in indie RPGs, larps, and spaces. I put out a survey to ask people about their experiences. This post is going to cover How (how do we fix this).


Previous posts have said this has not been an easy task for me or, especially, for the people who shared their stories. It has certainly been that. This has been really hard, and exhausting, for me. I can’t imagine how hard it was for people to relive their own experiences and trust me, to some a stranger, to talk about them with respect. Whether they chose to be anonymous or to share their personal information, I think it takes a lot of fortitude to talk about our experiences.


This last post’s Patreon proceeds will go to RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest Network) and I ask you to join me in supporting RAINN to promote the safety and wellbeing of survivors and at-risk individuals as much as we can. Donate here. Thank you!

HOW

How do we fix this?

Change. We need to change, and we need to do it as soon as possible. A few suggestions from the respondents really are valuable in how we can look at this:


- I think the community needs to learn effective ways to self-police. Maybe it should be included in first sessions, but I know not every one of the men I encountered in my early years was a sexual predator but they were complicit and probably egged some of that behavior on without realizing. Creating an environment where those predators are afraid and terrified of the reaction should they behave that way is paramount and an active contract the community and the game runners should participate in.


- A clear consent/anti-harassment policy would have helped. The convention has that today, and they have panels on sexual harassment and how to identify and help stop it. People also need to feel stronger about calling out bad actors' behavior.


- Making it clear that these spaces (and really any spaces) don't work without consent, and the adults in a space need to make sure that if there are minors in a community older members aren't making advances towards them.


- They should have listened and made it clear that this behavior was not acceptable and worked with [the bad actor] to adjust his behavior into something not deeply harmful to members of the community. If it came to it, I think people should have asked him to leave the space/community.


All of the things we can do are such concrete, understandable actions. Most of them involve acknowledging the risks within our own communities. They also can often mean excluding people, sometimes even people we don’t know if we want to exclude. The reality is, some of the time we have to exclude people to include people. For every bad actor you include, you are excluding at least one other person or group, and that is a choice you should be conscious of every time, and you have to ask yourself whether the wellbeing of people at risk is less valuable than letting a well-known game designer speak on a panel at your convention.


Is it worth hurting people to be able to play with a GM who constantly runs over people’s consent? Is it worth losing the participation and contributions of tons of women to let the senior manager for D&D say women aren’t “real” developers? I ask anyone with power, with anxiety in my heart, with fear inside me: are we worth anything to you? Do you care? Will you read this and just turn away? If you decide we don’t matter now, I hope someday you change.


If instead you think it’s time to make a difference, my suggestions are here:


  • Create guidelines and standards for all levels of community (table, region, convention) whether it’s online or offline and ensure they meet the needs of all of the individuals in the community with consideration of their identities and their needs. (Examples at GeekFeminism Wiki and Big Big Bad Con.)
  • Educate people about consent and boundaries with the assumption that if we don’t teach them, no one will, so that we move forward with comprehensive information.
  • Learn signs of bad actors and their habits, like being unwilling to respect consent or not asking for it, lying about their behaviors, invading others’ space, suggesting content or actions that are inappropriate for the audience or that make people feel unsafe, and similar issues.
  • Call out bad actors when they do something wrong. Do it publicly or privately, but make sure it won’t hurt the survivors when you do it. Respect their safety and wishes, but don’t let people keep doing bad things when you witness them, when you’re made aware of them otherwise, or when you’ve been called upon to speak on behalf of those harmed.
  • Believe the people who speak up and support them. Don’t leave them hanging and alone when something bad happens. Support them through the whole process, and do what they ask (even if that means keeping quiet).
  • Remove repeat offenders from the community, even if it means banning them from conventions, events, and even your game table. Don’t let them continue to act badly in spaces you control or that you have influence over. If they apologize and demonstrate meaningful change, work with the survivors to see what is possible.
  • Protect minors and marginalized people from bad actors. Make spaces where those people can feel safe and where they can easily get assistance. If someone breaks the rules of consent and respect, get them away from underange and marginalized people as soon as possible.
  • Learn signs of abuse and harassment and find out if someone needs help if they seem in trouble.
  • Start using safety tools (link) and encouraging consent-based play in your games.


These don’t sound so hard, but they will take effort and time. If you want more complex efforts, hire a diversity consultant for your convention, for your project, and anything else you want to do. Ask people for their perspectives. Trust people who ask for help. This section is so brief because the reality is, the work isn’t complicated - it’s just going to be challenging. We need to change our culture and our ways of responding to the needs of survivors, and help protect people from being harmed in the first place.


Let’s start now.




US Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673
- Chat https://hotline.rainn.org/online/terms-of-service.jsp


US Domestic Abuse Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
- Worldwide chat: http://www.thehotline.org/about-us/contact/


US Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255
- Chat http://chat.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx

I apologize for not having non-US numbers at this time. The chats should be accessible for anyone, and if you still need help, please contact me directly via contactbriecs@gmail.com. I'm sending good vibes to you as well as I can. Thank you!


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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Harassment in Indie Games: Part 3 - Where and Why

Content warning: sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual violence, threats, online harassment, threats of violence, harassment and assault of minors, statutory rape, rape, mental illness, anxiety, social ostracizing, perspective of offender

Harassment in Indie Games: Part 3 - Where and Why



This is the third post (posts one & two) in a series about sexual harassment and assault in indie RPGs, larps, and spaces. I put out a survey to ask people about their experiences. This post is going to cover Where (where the events are happening, where are people making efforts) and Why (why do people do these things, why is this happening right now, why is it happening in these spaces).


As I said before, this has not been an easy task for me or, especially, for the people who shared their stories. I am incredibly grateful to the people who responded. Whether they chose to be anonymous or to share their personal information, I think it takes a lot of fortitude to talk about our experiences.

Find the post after the cut.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Five or So Questions on Potlach

I had a great interview with the creators of Potlach: A Game about East Coast Salish Economics! The researchers and creators of Potlach, The N.D.N. Players, are Jeanette Bushnell, PhD; Jonathan S. Tomhave, PhD; and Tylor Prather. We talked about the origins of the game and the meanings that are held in the cards and language of the game. Check out the interview below!

--

Picture of the Potlach cards on a table - lovely artwork!

Tell me a little about Potlach: A Card Game About Coast Salish Economics. What excites you about it?

Potlach: A Card Game About Coast Salish Economics is a strategic, educational card game based on indigenous philosophies. It is designed to meet K-12 educational standards for teaching about native history, economics, culture, and government. Potlatch was developed as a community effort with local elders and language experts. The game is written in both English and Lushootseed, an indigenous language of the Salish Sea region. Game mechanics are based on sharing resources to
meet other players’ needs for food, materials, technology, and knowledge.

What excites me about our game is that as you play it, you get a shift in your thinking towards valuing sharing within a community rather than accumulating as an individual. Or, as one of our early game testers wrote, “A big change in thinking from other games. I started out thinking about what I was getting and by the end it was more important the way I was sharing.”

Players at a table playing Potlach with great enthusiasm!
What was the impetus for making Potlach into a game?

The impetus to make a game based on indigenous philosophy came after a couple years of analyzing games for our podcasts. For indigenous scholars like ourselves who study systemic oppressions (and live them), analyzing and playing game after game that reproduced these oppression got tedious. One aspect in particular was individual accumulation – a concept often associated with capitalism. So, one night, Tylor said he’d always wanted to develop a board game and we started working on one that used concepts and values from indigenous economic systems rather than those from capitalism. Eventually we decided on looking at the very specific system local to us (Salish Sea region) that redistributed wealth.

The word potlatch comes from Nuu-chah-nulth who live in what is now British Columbia, Canada. The word was altered via the commerce language knows as Chinook Jargon that was used throughout Washington and British Columbia after Europeans settled in the area. Potlach is not a Lushootseed word but has become commonly used to describe events associated with wealth distribution actions.

The "above waterfall" card with the number 3 in a primary color at each corner, and the card name in English and Lushootseed. The style is really easily understood, which I love.
How do the basic mechanics work?

The deck has two types of cards – Resource Cards and House Cards.

Each player has one House Card that indicates the size of their extended family dwelling. Historically, the largest known house was Old Man House at Suquamish, WA. (Link to press release from 2014 about this dwelling.) Our House Cards are sized as having 3, 4, 5, or 6 fires that indicate the amount of resource needs for the people in the house.

Every player is dealt six resource cards of various types and sizes. Players take turns Gifting their Resources to meet the house needs of other players.


With the cards representing resources that are being given gifts, how do players understand the meaning and importance of those concepts - is it through language, symbols, or how the cards can be used, or something else?

Primarily our game is about a sharing-based economic system so what players tend to notice the most is that the play moves them to strategizing ways to insure that every players has all their needs met rather than one player accumulating more of anything.

The game can actually be played without understanding the meaning and concepts of the various cards. The cards are all color-coded and numbered to facilitate play. That said, each card has a picture and the name of the item in both English and Lushootseed (the local indigenous language).

Based on our own experiences of attending potlatches (or giveaways) in Washington, Alaska, and British Columbia we developed four types of giftable resources. Then we talked to some local elders and language experts and finalized the types of resources as: food, gathered materials, crafted technologies, and teachings.

Ideally, players will look at and read the cards while playing. We are working on a Teacher’s Guide to facilitate more teaching about local resources. With the success of the Kickstarter Campaign, we will have some funds to make a podcast with a native Lushootseed speaker so players can hear what the Lushootseed words sound like.

The "clam" card with the number 4 in red at the corner, and the card name in English and Lushootseed.
What are the important parts of the gifting and, to me, ethical caring that are demonstrated in Potlach - to you and from your world perspective?

Our game is about an economic system that very pragmatically assures that all members of society respectfully have their needs met so that they can continue being active and valued participants. From our world perspective, in which all things are interconnected and impact each other in highly complex and nuanced ways, it would be illogical to do anything else. Keeping the system in balance is the ultimate goal.

Gifting is the word we use to represent the reciprocal distribution and redistribution of available resources. The societies that have used this system are highly complex and have many ancillary systems in place.

The N.D.N. Players logo!

--

Thank you so much to Jeanette, Jonathan, and Tylor for the interview! I hope you all liked the interview and that you'll check out Potlach: A Card Game About East Salish Economics on Kickstarter today!


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Monday, December 4, 2017

Harassment in Indie Games: Part 2 - What

Content warning: sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual violence, threats, online harassment, threats of violence, harassment and assault of minors, statutory rape, rape, mental illness, anxiety, social ostracizing

Harassment in Indie Games: Part 2 - What


This is the second post (post one) in a series about sexual harassment and assault in indie RPGs, larps, and spaces. I put out a survey to ask people about their experiences. This post is going to cover What (what is being done as a harmful act, what the result of the harm is, and what we are doing right now).

As I said before, this has not been an easy task for me or, especially, for the people who shared their stories. I am incredibly grateful to the people who responded. Whether they chose to be anonymous or to share their personal information, I think it takes a lot of fortitude to talk about our experiences.

Follow the cut for the post.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

12 RPGs for the 12th Month - Day 2

These are actually questions not days but I like day so whatever.

(Image includes a list of 12 questions for 12 RPGs for the 12th month.)

Following my previous post about the meme where I answered question 1, here's my response to question 2.
"Which genre tropes that come up in an RPG of your choice do you love, and never get tired of? Why do you love them?"
One of my favorite RPGs is Shadowrun (3rd Edition), and a few of the tropes that happen in SR3 that I love are the dramatic hyper-action scenes, the shifting of perspectives between a focused decker or rigger and the combat- and magic-aligned characters, and the resistance.

The first is just fun as hell. I have played a few characters who were into hyper-action, hyper-violent style play and they were fun as hell. One was an elf archer who had some body mods to inject combat drugs into his system (He was modeled on Iggy Pop for looks, and named after a coworker, Sorin). He survived a force 6 fireball without even using all of his drugs (though just barely), jumped between two skyscrapers to grab on with his gecko grip and continue fighting, blew up an entire compound (and the plot) with the grenade gun the GM unwisely allowed him to obtain, and avoided death somehow - in part because I forgot to calculate in his armor, and then we realized he had survived. :) I also had a phys adept satyr who had a gaes of dancing to use her adept powers, and she dual wielded Dikote vibro swords. She jumped through a window before every fight. I'm serious. She also had a tendency to decapitate people... a lot.

The second sometimes requires a specific set of people, but I love when the GM and table can do shifted perspectives between a decker or rigger who's plugged into the matrix doing combat or hacking or whatever, then swap out into the hallway or the courtyard where there's like a fucking armored troll shooting a machine gun at guards and a dwarf shooting fireballs at everyone else and everyone's freaking out about timing because they gotta get out of here to make the drop.

And the last is the general theme of resistance. Not all SR3 games I've seen go towards actually fighting the good fight, but I love when they do. My satyr character up there, she actually ended up setting up an underground railroad-like situation to protect ghouls who were being rounded up and killed by local megacorp police. We helped recover a church that had been attacked and protect the parishioners. We took down a bunch of corrupt police, corp, and government people in various games, too - always fighting to protect the ones who needed it. That's something that matters to me.

Thanks for reading!






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Friday, December 1, 2017

12 RPGs for the 12th Month - Day 1

(Image includes a list of  questions for 12 RPGs for the 12th Month)
These questions set up by Paul Mitchener (sourced from a private post) are pretty cool and I'm hoping I can keep up with them over the next few weeks.

The first question is:

"You're running an RPG to introduce new players to the RPG hobby this month. Which game and genre do you choose, and why?"

To be honest, I'd poll the players for their preference in genre and level of complexity. If you have someone who prefers Shadowrun level of complexity in rules to Archipelago, they might be super bored, and the opposite might be super frustrated. My go to intro games, though, were I to GM:

Personal favorite:
Turn because the rules aren't super complicated, it's mostly real life stuff, and it's also shown to be very fun. http://www.briecs.com/2017/06/turn-rpg-beta-playtest.html

Storytelling:
The Quiet Year because it is easily understood and manages to produce a rich experience every time. https://buriedwithoutceremony.com/the-quiet-year

Cyberpunk:
Shadowrun: Anarchy would be my top option here, but with my personal house rules. I'd have to brush up on the rules but it's got some great shadowruns included, the rules aren't wildly confusing, and it's super thematic with a fun setting. http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/194759/Shadowrun-Anarchy

(My reviews: http://www.briecs.com/2016/08/shadowrun-anarchy-gen-con-prototype-review.html & http://www.briecs.com/2016/10/shadowrun-anarchy-review.html

Cosmic Horror:
Lovecraftesque has a really interesting storytelling/roleplaying structure with the way you tell one character's story, and it can be super spooky. http://blackarmada.com/lovecraftesque/

(My interview: http://www.briecs.com/2015/09/five-or-so-questions-with-annison-and-fox-lovecraftesque.html)

Horror:
Bluebeard's Bride is one of the scariest, most fascinating games I've ever played. Feminine horror is not only interesting but a learning experience for everyone at the table. This would be the "heavy" option for a safe game group. http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/224782/Bluebeards-Bride

(My interview: http://www.briecs.com/2016/11/five-or-so-questions-with-marissa-kelly-on-bluebeards-bride.html)

Dread would be the option for people I'm less familiar with, or for a lighter game. It always has a good record of fun and startling for me, and there's such suspense! http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/83854/Dread

Urban Fantasy:
Urban Shadows is fun, and it has a lot of interesting bits and pieces in it. It's one of my favorite games to play with new people because while you can go deep and dark with it, you can also stay in a safe place and still have a great time. http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/153464/Urban-Shadows

My interview: http://www.briecs.com/2014/06/five-or-so-questions-with-andrew.html

Fantasy:
Companion's Tale is a really lovely game telling experiences of the companions of a hero. I honestly don't think I've played through a game but I know it's mechanics are easily understood enough that it would be a gorgeous way to learn a new game together! https://companions-tale.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders (preorders)

My interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gk15TWXQOTc

High-RP:
Archipelago in any of its forms would be an awesome way to just let people have a low-mechanics, high-roleplay experience and go all out with whatever setting we want. Definitely a good option. http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/147623/Archipelago


So that's my options! :) Feel free to join in responding on your blog or social media or respond in the comments!


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Harassment in Indie Games: Who, What, Where, Why, and HOW Part 1

Harassment in Indie Games: Who, What, Where, Why, and HOW
Content warning: sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual violence, threats, online harassment, threats of violence, harassment and assault of minors, statutory rape, rape, mental illness, anxiety, social ostracizing

Part 1 - Introduction, and Who

Recently I put out a survey to ask people about their experiences with harassment and assault in indie rpgs and larps, as well as spaces around them like conventions. I wanted to gain some context to talk about it.

The purpose of this blog series is to talk about:

  • Who: who is being impacted, who is taking harmful action,
  • What: what is being done as a harmful act, what the result of the harm is, and what we are doing right now,
  • Where: where the events are happening,
  • Why: why is this happening right now, why do people do this, why it’s happening where it is, and,
  • How: How we can respond to it, how to avoid it in the future.

This has not been an easy task for me or, especially, for the people who shared their stories. I am incredibly grateful to the people who responded. Whether they chose to be anonymous or to share their personal information, I think it takes a lot of fortitude to talk about our experiences.

The first thing about this, which I knew beforehand would happen, is that I didn’t receive piles of responses. While people are fine with speaking about their experiences in closed spaces, or in places where they could easily delete their posts, etc. I am not sharing the exact numbers of people publicly because I don’t want to increase any risk to people who have shared. I also want to point out that what I’m sharing here is pieces of the responses. I had to select carefully because it was, even with the responses I got, a ton of dense and very important information.

Edit for definition: I was asked to give a definition to indie games by a reader. The definition I offer here is just mine and what I used.

I allowed respondents to define it by their own awareness since it is a flexible term, but what I was looking for is primarily independent and small publishers (so as small as a single person, but not really bigger than Margaret Weis Productions) focused on tabletop RPGs and larp, and the spaces where those games are played and promoted (even within larger events, like Gen Con and Origins).


I was made very aware of my own circle of influence during this project, and I know that I actually ended up having to play the dodging game with people who I know have done harmful things.

Full Disclosure

Three of these posts are paid posts on my Patreon (Patreon.com/briecs), and I’m accepting support and donations through PayPal (PayPal.me/briecs) as I normally do. The final post proceeds will go to RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest Network).
 
Additionally, I want to give full disclosure for my perspective. I have been:

-- Content warning for list of traumatic experiences related to sexual violence --

  • assaulted,
  • drugged and assaulted (to what degree, I actually am not sure...because I was drugged),
  • harassed, stalked, groped, and negged*,
  • recipient of erotic fanfiction about myself and the person in my inbox without permission and also when I was too afraid to say no because the person might kill themselves,
  • hit on and solicited by men at least 5 years my senior up to 40 years even when I was underage, from known ages,
  • recipient of rape (including explicit description) and death threats (of the “raped-to-death” variety) by strangers and by people I knew,
  • emotionally manipulated into sex, and,
  • body shamed in the context of a sexual relationship.

[*Negging is when someone insults you to lower your self esteem so they can give compliments and influence the individual towards them. It is popular with pick-up artists and it’s bullshit.]

-- End content warning for list of traumatic experiences related to sexual violence --

A fair amount of this stuff occurred in game communities, others in adjacent geek communities. I have been sexualized by older people since I was at least 5 (yes, I’m sure of that), online and face-to-face active verbal and physical harassment started in my teens, and so on. I also know personally of two domestic abusers in the community, a few men who have harassed or assaulted people, and multiple people who I wouldn’t want to be alone with because of their behavior, and not all of these identities are known or public.

This context is so people understand, yes, I am biased. I am biased against people doing bad acts. I don’t think bad acts only happen to women or that only men commit it, or anything like that, and I do fully believe that in most cases people can change and stop doing bad things, and try to do better things. That takes work, though, so with no apologies and no change, people remain in a bad spot with me.

I also believe victims. If it turns out someone has been falsifying things, that’s pretty shitty, yes. Most of the time, though, victims are more likely to keep the secret forever than risk the stigma and vilification that most victims experience. Victims are not treated with respect in most situations, and it can be downright dangerous to speak out against people who hurt them.

SO, with that in mind, let’s get started. Follow the cut!

Note: Quotes from the survey may be cropped or have sections excluded to remove names of individuals involved in the situation or to reduce the length of the post - I am doing everything I can to maintain the voice of the respondents and this post is reviewed by the respondents for their approval.

WHO

Who is being impacted?



The survey was open to basically any gender, and I received a majority of responses from cis women (less than 50%, but the whole of theirs was larger than any other category), but also from trans women, nonbinary people, genderfluid people, and men. It is pretty well known that cis women are often recipients of sexual harassment and violence, but it is important to me to note that people were being impacted across the gender spectrum. This is not only a “[cis] women’s issue” - it’s an everyone issue.

Keeping in mind that cis men, trans men, and masc people overall are even more unlikely to report their abuse because of the stigma that comes with it, I’m not surprised that I received few reports from those individuals - less than ⅕ of the responses were from them, in part because a couple who responded are being counted as responses from women because some men reported on behalf of their partners. Still, it’s important to note that men did respond - in part because of a comment I got that stuck out to me.

When I asked what could be done to support victims, they responded “I have no idea. Criminalize men?”

Men are significantly noted as the bad actors here, but cis and trans men are impacted by harassment from women as well as others, and this kind of commentary discourages them from being able to acknowledge the harm done to them (by any gender, including other men). I want to make sure we don’t ignore other individuals who are causing harm (including women against women, and so on), and ensure we’re listening to all survivors.

I didn’t ask for participant ages, which I may change if I revisit this, but about a third of the people who responded talked directly about underage people (themselves or others) being harmed by sexually-charged behaviors, whether it was sexual assault or harassment, or manipulation and controlling behavior. Emotional abuse is a factor here across the board, and it really impacts younger people.

One person who responded said that they received a lot more harassment when they were younger, but now nearing age 50, they receive less - but it hasn’t stopped.

I did not include race or disability on the survey, which may be considered if I ever pursue a future survey. I left those out to ease people’s entry into responding and reduce the risk of identification by outsiders who read my article. I hope that’s understandable!

Who is causing harm?

It is unfortunate here that many of the respondents did note that the person who harmed them was a man. However, not everyone mentioned the gender of the person (I didn’t ask in case people wanted to share multiple experiences, which they did), and there were women reported as being the bad actor. People of all genders were noted as bystanders, as well, which was disappointing.

The bad actors skewed adult - almost all of the responses were grown adults, but teenagers were mentioned as some of the offenders, as well. This is important to note because of the age power differential, as well as the spaces where these things happen.

Importantly, not all of these were heterosexual interactions, or done by straight people. One instance has a confluence of issues:

I had a game master/member of a community that I was a part of harass me multiple times over the 2 years I was around in said community. The individual was a cis man who identified as gay, even though I am a woman and was identifying as a lesbian at that time he would constantly make sexual jokes about me. He pretty constantly made these jokes and also would offhandedly talk about wanting to have sex with me/wanting to see me nude even though I identify as a woman AND I was underage at this point (He was in his late 20s). [from a trans woman]

This includes the underage issue, the gender issue, tacks on transmisogyny, and also frames this as within a community. More on spaces soon, but in the next post, I want to talk about what’s being done.


US Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673
- Chat https://hotline.rainn.org/online/terms-of-service.jsp

US Domestic Abuse Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
- Worldwide chat: http://www.thehotline.org/about-us/contact/

US Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255
- Chat http://chat.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx

I apologize for not having non-US numbers at this time. The chats should be accessible for anyone, and if you still need help, please contact me directly via contactbriecs@gmail.com. I'm sending good vibes to you as well as I can. Thank you!


edited 12/1/2017 correcting language re: cis women/women/trans women in paragraph after figure, ditto for cis men/men/trans men. Sorry for the errors!

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