Kara, at a typical gaming room, and in the time frames it takes for someone to out themselves as a…
Ken Burnside
13

Ken, I profoundly appreciate this piece and your generally outstanding list of ways that men can help prevent misogynist behavior. This is so very much needed. But Kara has a very real point here, and you have a serious blind spot on this particular issue. The “Schrodinger’s rapist” argument does precisely the kind of work you’re urging other men to undo: it gaslights women for their entirely justifiable and statistically verifiable fears of being abused and assaulted by men. While your observations about the behaviors of many misogynistic, predatory men are perceptive and helpful, we women have often learned in the worst possible ways that no amount of caution or observation will protect us entirely from predatory, sexualized male behavior — even, in some situations, from relatives and friends we’ve known for years. “Separating women from the pack” is a technique that often is used by predatory men — in fact, misogynistic “dating guides” have noted this as an effective technique for manipulating women into dangerously vulnerable situations. Kara is far from wrong to point out that a victim might feel further intimidated by this technique, even when it is legitimately being used to protect her. The sad fact of the matter is that we genuinely cannot always tell which people are true allies. It hurts, as an ally who is trying to do the right thing, to be mistrusted. I know that from personal experience. But people who have been mistreated repeatedly have very, very good reasons for not always and immediately trusting people who look like their previous abusers and present themselves as allies.

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