CW: Sexual Harassment, What can I/we do to prevent abuse of position in our fields?


#1

About 7 months ago, 2 women came forward with accusations of something horrible having been done to them by someone I’ve worked with. I completely these brave women for the record. Fast forward to now this is old thing went from dead silence to a legal battle. The accused is suing both women for “defamation”. Thankfully they’ve both been able to pool their resources and hire a good lawyer. Their families and friends have now been dragged into this by the accused, as well as at least one of the two women’s therapist they explicitly saught out help from after the alleged incident.

The accused is an artist, not someone particularly famous but they have a significant cult following. This cult has been and still is doing everything in their power to harass these women into silence. Thankfully the accusers aren’t backing down and have from what I’ve seen been able to rely on support from many people in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

I was never close to the accused, I’d heard rumors but didn’t know what to do about them, so I regretfully did nothing. I’m not even sure what I could have done had I been a better person in that moment and I don’t know what I should do now, which is why I’m posting this here.

What can I do in the future? What can I do to help stop this epidemic of predation in our society?

Let’s say that I’m also an artist like the accused, let’s also say that I’m currently gaining a lot of new attention because of my art. And finally let’s say that in the near future I’m in what most people would call a “spotlight” for being an artist.

Is there anything I could do from that position to help stop whatever poison in our world allows this to happen so often that there have to be entire social movements against it?

Is there anything I should be doing right now? If so what?


#2

CW: Disturbing Violence

Thank you for sharing this, and sorry in advance because I don’t have an answer. But I’m really glad I saw this thread right now because earlier today I just found out that a local college freshman who died last October in a Hit and Run probably didn’t die in an accident. Some recently released details (a positive toxicology report and a lot of terrifying text messages to her friend) have come out and resulted in her parents and other family members opening up a private investigation. I feel like we’re all somewhat guilty in her death and whatever was done to her before she was killed in the hit and run. Why didn’t any of us question why she was out at a time nobody knew her to ever be out at, in an area nobody has ever known her to go, ever.

Sorry I somehow managed to make this about me, I just needed to get that out. And sorry again for not having good answers for you. I don’t think any individual can fix the problems in our society that have lead to predators being able to get away with victimizing people (especially women and LGBTQ people and POC). But I do have hope. I have hope that things are changing for the better and predators of all walks of life are no longer as safe as they once were, and hopefully they never will be again.

Stay woke and stay mad, we’ll find a way to stop this forever one day.


#3

Some preventative measures for you, which wouldn’t necessarily have to be carried out from a “spotlight”, though that might help. These would also work inside or outside of your field.

1 - Repeatedly let people know they can come to you about anything, even people you’re connected to. Not in public, but to those who you are friends with. Work hard to gain trust, and more importantly, make sure you actually are the person they can come to. Which brings me to my next thing.

2 - Be ready to drop anyone. Do not close ranks. A big problem we often see, and sometimes don’t see, that can help abusers is that they have people around them (fans, colleagues, etc) who won’t dump them and may even defend them. I need you to take a tally of the people who benefit you in your field or outside of it, pick whoever would affect you the most if they were found to be an abuser, and make a plan to cut them off.

It sounds extreme, but hey, mine happened this year, as some of you know. It can be extremely hard, but there is no relationship or benefits worth closing ranks, staining yourself with the influence of an abuser and closing off a potential path to resolution for their victims.

3 - Support people who are working under people in power in fields where popularity, connections or reputation are relevant, the type that most commonly become abusers. You don’t have to feel like you’re showing up with support after something has gone wrong–if you support marginalized people, they will have that much more confidence to get out of a bad situation and strike out on their own rather than worry they aren’t going to get anywhere.

4 - Continue to be loud about being mad about this. We need some of these big companies to start turning out their abusers, realize it’s better than burying them or letting them cool off and bringing them back in six months. When there’s a game workers’ union, we need to make sure they’re equipped to deal with harassment reports. We need to keep on the button about this.


#4

I got some advice one time that was supposedly from the Christian Bible, but I kinda doubt it is actually in there. “Do not drink so much that you become a fool.” My interpretation of that has always been absurdly broad. To me, the idea is that a fool is a state anyone can reach where they belittle their own principles. And I think of wine as being an excuse to do so without much worth. So I’ve always thought of the non-existent verse as “Don’t put yourself in a situation where you may easily dismiss the ethical principles you’ve developed over a long period of time through infrequent moments of incredible insight for something as transient as financial gain or stupor.” I think most people know how much success they can willingly throw away for what is right. I myself will do some fucked up shit to protect a few people I know and their health. I’m not proud of it, but I’m not willing to give it up either. I guess what I’m trying to say is learn how to choose your battles. And often a righteous effort rewards you in ways you would never have imagined. But sometimes it will land you in prison you know?

Edit: It has come to my attention that my post could be taken as a suggestion that you might should harm the abuser, I didn’t mean that. That would be a horrible idea imo, I only believe in restraining attackers, not in exacting violence punitively. It’s my fault for being unclear about how this connects to the question of how to put yourself into a famous professional position without encouraging a rabid and fanbase capable of harassment. What I was trying to say was that you should know your personal limits. As in: don’t become so famous that you have too much to lose by doing what is right.
The part about choosing your battles and the mentioning of protecting people and the possibility of prison is my attempt to address how this argument becomes less useful when taken to the extreme. I don’t expect anyone to make too many sacrifices for what is right to do. If the right thing to do puts loved ones in danger or sends me to prison, I am NOT going to do it. And I wouldn’t expect anyone else to either.