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February 14, 2007

Someone's Watching You Back

Interesting, watching the reaction to the outbreak of 'revenge' sites on the Internet:

She ain't your baby, and no, she doesn't want to take a ride with you.

But she does want your picture.

A new generation of female bloggers -- armed with camera phones -- has started an Internet site to post pictures and videos of guys who harass them in public.

Under the motto "If you can't slap 'em, snap 'em!", HollaBack is based on the same sort of camera phone vigilantism that has been used to shame bad drivers, litterbugs and rude sales clerks.

In September, San Francisco joined more than a dozen other cities and states that have HollaBack blogs. Women fill the sites with pictures of men they say verbally, and sometimes physically, harass them on the street.

"Some men assume they have a right to comment out loud about a woman, and we're supposed to just shrug it off," said Jessica, 22, who started HollaBack-SF out of frustration over the catcalls and kissing noises she heard whenever she left her San Francisco apartment. She asked that her last name not be used to avoid being harassed. The point of HollaBack, she said, is to shift the power dynamic so women have an alternative to simply hanging their heads and walking away.

"I don't necessarily think the men who are photographed are going to stop because of HollaBack, but this could start a discussion among women and their male friends about what is appropriate and what isn't," Jessica said.

HollaBack started in New York a year ago, when a woman posted a cell-phone picture of a raw-food restaurateur masturbating while he looked at her on the subway. She uploaded the photo to the girl-power Web site Laundromatic.net.

Within a week, 45,000 people saw the photo, including seven young Brooklyners, who then created HollaBacknyc.blogspot.com. Word spread fast through feminist media outlets such as BUST and Ms. magazines, feministing.com and Girls Against Cat Calls on the MySpace social networking site.

Today, HollaBackNYC can receive 75,000 daily hits. Europe has HollaBackEU.

Women use screen names to post to the blog. One of the first submissions in San Francisco came from someone using the screen name Pamela, who wrote about a man grabbing her arm on Haight Street and saying, "I just like to touch pretty ladies."

In October, Erica posted an item after a man ran his hand up her skirt while crossing the street at Market and Ninth.

While in general the editorial staff is not a huge fan of hanging out one's romantic laundry over the Internet, we find the faux outrage of some folks over having their tawdry peccadillos exposed on such sites as "HollaBack" and "Don't Date Him Girl.com" rather amusing. The rules aren't really all that hard to figure out.

Don't act like a jerk.

If you're married, don't cheat.

If you're sleeping around, or catting about with someone whose doesn't seem to have the most upright moral standards, you probably shouldn't be too surprised to see the details of your penchant for spanking, handcuffs and submission splashed all over the 'Net.

And for Pete's sake, while few women mind a brief flattering glance or having a man check them out surreptitiously, there are limits. It is not acceptable to grope people, to expose yourself to them, or to utter rude sexual insults. It just isn't.

In other words, if you feel embarrassed when your photo is posted on the Internet, you might consider whether perhaps it is your behavior that caused the problem and not the posting of your image.

We completely agree that many workplace sexual harassment laws are poorly written, with their emphasis on defining actionable offenses not by an objective reasonable person standard, but by what is perceived as offensive or threatening by the subjective offendee bringing the complaint:

The law is on the woman's side, at least in the office, said San Francisco attorney Philip Kay, who specializes in sexual harassment and employment law.

"What's considered an offensive comment in the workplace is defined by the person on the receiving end, not the person who said it," he said. "There are no similar laws about the streets outdoors, but that's an interesting new area."

Jessica doesn't filter submissions to HollaBack -- if a woman is offended, it gets posted, she said. But she hasn't come across any stories that seem like simple misunderstandings between two people. Instead, women tell of being cussed at, touched, followed or sexually propositioned. Some encounters are so frightening that women say they feared they could have been raped.

Unfortunately this is still a very common experience for women.

Via MensNewsDaily

Posted by Cassandra at February 14, 2007 08:30 AM

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Oh, dear lord, don't let them bring office-style harrassment to the streets-- let the slapping come back, NOT THAT!

I've seen the harrassment be abused FAR more often than I've seen the other way-- grand total of one case that was otherwise, and the woman involved ended up milking it. (There are times I'm sorry to be a woman, given some of my fellows.)

That said, however-- more power to these ladies!

Posted by: Sailorette at February 14, 2007 11:23 AM

Women getting sexually harrassed by men in SF?
Let me guess; wearing the same outfit, dating the same man, bad hair, etc.

Or, if it is truly hetero and not metro, these women should be glad there are a few straights.

Posted by: Cricket at February 14, 2007 11:40 AM

It'll be interesting to see whether or not such sites actually have any effect on the number of occurances. I really have no idea. However, it occurs to me that anyone who is brazen or crude (or enebriated) enough to be so once, isn't going to be stopped by having their photo taken and put in a place they'll probably never look.

I think the behavioral psychology method would work better. Carry a can of pepper-spray. Yep.

Posted by: Kevin L at February 14, 2007 11:50 AM


Posted by: JHD at February 14, 2007 11:53 AM


Posted by: Female Chauvinist Oink at February 14, 2007 12:14 PM

I'm with Sailorette -- the last thing we need is to open another 'exciting new avenue' for trial lawyers looking for ways to file harrassment suits. Particularly one in which the law is entirely on one side of the question, so that there really is no defense against the charge.

It's been bad enough in workplace law; we definitely do not need to reorder our society along the same, badly-considered lines.

Posted by: Grim at February 14, 2007 12:49 PM

My first reaction was much like Cass'. Don't be stupid and there won't be no problem.

My second thought was back to the most depressing statement made by our corporate trainer in my last management course. When we got to sexual harassment: "When it's your turn..."

Posted by: Masked Menace© at February 14, 2007 01:10 PM

Well Grim, I'm of two minds on this.

I hate sexual harrassment laws with a passion. On the otter heiny this is your legislature in action. Whatever!

First of all, if some woman does manage to get a picture of a guy actually doing something actionable and posts it on the Internet, that's called "evidence". So I'm kind of unsure what the problem is there: you have hard and fast evidence that something that shouldn't have happened, did. When you have a daughter, if you want her to have to put up with perverts exposing themselves to her, the way they did to me all the time when I was just a little girl... hey, have at it. It didn't happen to frighten me but it really does upset a lot of women horribly, and some are subsequently attacked by these guys, so it's not all harmless "fun".

I'm not trying to be a buzz kill, but I do see a difference between your routine wolf whistle and the guy who is pulling his pants down and jerking off next to you when you are just trying to ride to work on the fricking Metro. Like I said, I sort of think there are reasonable limits to what women ought to have to put up with in society. I used to absolutely dread running when we lived in North Carolina because a few guys made it an absolute nightmare - following me in their cars and generally acting like jerks.

That is creepy, Grim. A woman ought to be able to run on a public street in broad daylight without being stalked, and I wasn't, and I resented it. I didn't get a case of the a$$ about it, and frankly I can't imagine doing what these ladies are doing, but as I said, what do you do? It never occurred to me to call the police over something stupid like that, but when the same guys harrass you day after day, what is your recourse as a woman?

Yeah, I thought so. The only real answer is to try shaming them and hope someone who knows them will see them and call them on their behavior.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 14, 2007 01:24 PM

"First of all, if some woman does manage to get a picture of a guy actually doing something actionable and posts it on the Internet, that's called "evidence"."

I don't think that's what's being considered here. I think the legal issue here isn't whether the women can sue the men, but whether the men can sue the women for shaming them. What the women are doing is posting a picture and saying, "Sexual Harrasser!" The men are the ones who may sue here, claiming defamation.

If the picture is of clearly inappropriate activity, that is indeed evidence; but if it's not a picture of the man in the act? Surely the man ought to have some recourse to someone posting them in public as a pervert.

If the law comes to say (the way it does in the workplace), "Well, the only standard is whether she feels like she was," then there's no recourse; and the man can be shamed whether or not he is guilty, without any ability to reclaim his name. Nor is he apt to be treated the same way if he puts up a counter-webpage about the women who has so accused him -- I guarantee you that will be read as a violation of the Federal laws against internet stalking.

"When you have a daughter, if you want her to have to put up with perverts exposing themselves to her, the way they did to me all the time when I was just a little girl... hey, have at it."

I think you know that's unfair.

As for my daughter, if I should ever have one, she'll have a recourse or two beyond shaming people. A word to me or her older brother, or her mother, or any other kinfolk, should resolve the matter once and for all. Possibly even without anyone getting hurt.

Posted by: Grim at February 14, 2007 01:58 PM

but if it's not a picture of the man in the act? Surely the man ought to have some recourse to someone posting them in public as a pervert.

I think they do - that's called libel, and libel law is well established already - you don't get to mix sexual harassement and libel.

The problem, Grim, if your daughter is anything like I was is that she will never tell you. I never told anyone about anything that happened to me. Not once. Women/girls usually don't. I didn't even run home and tell my Mom when I was a little girl and I had a full grown man expose himself to me when I was out riding my bike. It just didn't occur to me - I was always the kind of kid who thought she could handle her own problems.

And to tell you the truth, I felt sorry for the guy and I was, even as a child, embarrassed for him. I didn't understand why he did it and I knew it was wrong, but I wasn't afraid of him so it didn't occur to me to go get an adult.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 14, 2007 02:08 PM

Well, if you felt sorry for him -- which may very well be the right thing to feel -- you probaby wouldn't want to humiliate him anyway. I imagine you were a smart girl; I'd hope my daughter, should I ever be so cursed blessed, would be able to make good decisions.

Too, no child of mine will fail to be taught to defend himself (or herself). And if she takes after my-wife-her-mother, one would almost pity the fellow who got too close without express invitation.

Posted by: Grim at February 14, 2007 02:12 PM

Well, in this case I think it was the right decision.

But it worries me because that tended to be my reaction most of the time, and I tended to overconfidence. I am glad you will teach your daughter, if you have one, to defend herself.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 14, 2007 02:51 PM

"but when the same guys harrass you day after day, what is your recourse as a woman?"

So, you weren't like every girl I've known my entire life that had boys that were friends? A confidant you could trust? Hmmmmm! Although I never wore a cape and tights I can't count on two hands how many times I had girls that were my friends come to me for help. I'd have to take off my shoes to get an accurate count! The problem always managed to go away. Quick! That's one thing I, and all of my friends, would not put up with. Maybe things have changed. Who knows? Peer pressure to do something stupid never seemed to be a problem for us. Doing stupid stuff was a rite of passage but there was a hard line in black and white that no one would allow to be stepped over.

Is the stigma of being a real life perv over nowadays? Did I miss something?

I do know that I have all kinds of problems with women's behavior in today's society. And I'm no naive wallflower! But when y'all wear low cut jeans fastened at the beginning of the Garden of Eden that's OK? Thongs pulled up past the pants line is style? Wearing wife beaters with no bra showing everything is okie dokie? Shorts and skirts so short as to show the whole world what should be left to the imagination is fashion? And then you get pissed because some male yells out, "Hey Baby, want some leg?" or "Hey Baby, I like your dog"!...... Huh?...... Anyhoo, you get the drift. I do not know how many professional buildings I've been in where a beautiful young professional woman meets me wearing a white silk shirt that qualifies as invisible. Yeah I know, it's all our fault!

Look, men are pigs. There's no question about that. Even these new age sensitive types are at the core pigs. It's our nature. We were born to procreate. Y'all go overboard with the whole showing what you've got thing and then it's a man's fault when he goes all Neanderthal. Talk about wanting your cake and eating it too! Y'all want to use sexuality as a form of expression but do not want any consequences of that expression. Sound familiar?

And no, I am not defending classless behavior. Frankly I've seen so much of this type of fashion that it mostly bores me. Go to a college campus some day and check it out. Go to a large professional firm and check it out. Just turn on the TV and watch all the Victoria Secret commercials. Who's fooling whom here?

Back to the point, if any woman ever, ever needed my assistance I would not hesitate in the least to lend a helping hand. Neither would my sons and they are of the younger generation. Not one of my boys would even consider dating or having a relationship with a girl that dresses the way I describe. They've seen too many of their friends thrown under the bus for even making a snide comment at school. It's a double standard and getting worse.

I kid and joke all the time but I am well aware of what is going on out there. My daughter has had a couple of encounters with pervs and had no qualms telling me or her brothers about it. Problem solved. A little bloody perhaps but solved nonetheless. And she is well trained in how to handle herself. She had a stalking incident at school a couple of months ago and she told her jock guy friends and the problem went away. Regardless of the times, there are still those of us that are trying to remain true to our manhood and a sense of chivalry even though we are constantly harangued for being men. Just don't point the finger of blame totally on us. We are totally confused by the signals we receive on about an hourly basis!

Somebody needs to post a list of the new rules so we can understand! ;-)

Posted by: JHD at February 14, 2007 03:40 PM

I have to admit that, although I would gladly have lent a hand in defense of any lady, not one has ever asked me to deal with a problem of this type. I don't know if this is because none of them encountered a problem of this type; or because they felt they could handle it and needed no help; or if it was because they were afraid of the manner in which I would resolve it.

Posted by: Grim at February 14, 2007 04:16 PM


I was raised by my Dad not to put boys in the position where they had to get in fights to defend my honor.

And that included, when I went out on a date, not dressing or behaving in such a way that a guy was going to come on to me, causing the guy I was with to have to fight him off. That's why it makes me even MORE mad when some guy DOES act that way for no reason, and there are plenty who do. I should be able to go running without being harassed. Running clothes are not "asking for it". Going to the beach isn't "asking to be harassed". It never once in my life occurred to me to do anything but fight my own battles in life. Ever.

I just wouldn't do that. If I have a problem I am not going to drag some poor guy into it. Yes, I always had male friends, but I would have died before I asked any of them for help.

And yes, when I was in college I was pleased that some of my male friends did take up for me and look out for me, but NEVER because I asked them to and never because I brought anything on myself. Or at least I hope so.

Anyway, no one cares if all some guy does is yell out one smart alecky comment. If a girl shrivels up and blows away because of that she has issues. But that's not what was described in the post. Having a guy drop trau next to you when you're riding the subway, I think we can agree, is a bit beyond that. I don't think you or anyone here would do that.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 14, 2007 04:22 PM

Depends on whether the guy LIKES to fight now doesn't it? Heh!

I understand Cassie. Believe me I do. I watched my Mom and Sisters growing up and there was little they couldn't handle. BUT there were times where intervention was needed. To have some guys ruining your life to the point you are bothered by even going out is just simply not right. Nor should it be tolerated. There ARE times when assistance is needed and there's nothing wrong with asking for help.

We had a bunch of morons I used to play ball with that were known to get out of hand. Until the day they got out of hand with a friend of mine that came to me about it. I never thought any less of her for her needing help. Sometimes there are things you just simply cannot handle. Dumbass goons are some of them. So you'd just keep silent and let them make your life miserable? Sorry, I just don't get that. Is it something inside that represents independence that you would be ashamed to ask for help? I've never thought any less of any young lady it's been my pleasure to assist. But then I guess guys aren't geared to worry over stuff like that. To us it's just simply a friend in need. It does raise some interesting questions in my mind though. It also answers some from the past.

Shoot, half the time Dink didn't get a chance to say anything. The beauty/curse of living in a small town is things get back to her brothers. Now there is your proverbial two-edged sword! ;-)

As far as the pervert exposing himself? I thought all you ladies carried purses? Scissors would fit in a purse, right? Bet he wouldn't do that any more!!! :-o

Posted by: JHD at February 14, 2007 04:43 PM

If I have a problem I am not going to drag some poor guy into it.

That just struck me! Just damn! DRAG some POOR lowlife scumsucking poor guy into it? he-he! My how your feminist days have left a mark! :-o

Some of us would willingly die for the honor. Ask Da Unit! Heh! How politically incorrect is that? :-)

Posted by: JHD at February 14, 2007 04:53 PM

It's true. It would be regarded as an honor.

Posted by: Grim at February 14, 2007 05:03 PM

Some of us would willingly die for the honor.

Yeah. That's what worries some of us ladies, you big lugs.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 14, 2007 05:36 PM

Well, it's like I always say: violence solves problems. :)

Posted by: Grim at February 14, 2007 05:42 PM

Just for efficiency's sake (and for those who don't have any Chevalier sans peu et sans reproche handy) it's nice to have some way of dealing with the idjits your own self. So, what techniques do you honorable gentlemen use that can be transferred?

I've never had that much of a problem with this sort of thing myself. Maybe it's my attitude that shows. I'm not eager to fight but willing if necessary, and jerks probably pick up on that. I'm dubious that there is some magical quality to the Y chromosome that is required so whatever it is that works we women can learn. You wonderful, wonderful chivalrous men aren't always available, you know. Or you're busy rescuing someone else ;-)

Posted by: bad cat robot at February 14, 2007 05:49 PM

Hey, you don't have to convince me that women can hold their own. My father's neighbor bought a Rottweiler with a reputation for biting people to keep his ex-wife Carolyn away. She was a good Alabama girl who packed heat (and was only too eager to use it once she caught him cheating on her).

That was about the only dog I never loved. It was vicious to the bone. Used to come over onto my father's property, and growl at my mother so she couldn't get out of her van when she'd come home. Keep her there for hours, sometimes.

Until I ran over it. Ahem. "By accident," of course. You wouldn't want to hurt a man's dog on purpose. That could cause a war. Besides, Carolyn was a friend of mine.

For a lady, I normally recommend a .38 Special, and a discreetly hidden knife. If you're of a kind heart, however, a Bond Arms derringer can be a good choice. They can handle .410 shotgun shells, which aren't very likely to be fatal, but very very likely to dissuade an attacker. Plus, if you really want to be kindhearted, you can load them with rocksalt instead of lead.

Posted by: Grim at February 14, 2007 05:58 PM

Sorry to excerpt and run but...

From Mrs. Du Toit's companion piece to Kim's post Cass linked a couple days back:

Back in Kim’s Old Country, it was expected that men kept other men in line. Women certainly can’t do it. And that is not at all an attempt to disparage women, but women cannot impose the same level of “this line will not be crossed” threat that other man can wield with their own. It wasn’t the fear of the law that kept men in line, it was the fear of other men—the fear that you could be ostracized (at best) and beaten to death (at worst) for raising a hand to a woman… any woman… your mother, your sister, your coworkers. You did not raise a hand to a woman, PERIOD.


Posted by: Masked Menace© at February 14, 2007 06:07 PM

Makes a real impression at the gun range, too, let me tell you. It's a tiny little gun, but you touch it off and KABOOM! Between the smoke and the flame, I'd say most muggers or rapists would be headed for high ground even if you managed to miss them.

Posted by: Grim at February 14, 2007 06:07 PM

It's true, what Kim says. But every woman should know how to defend herself. Some, of course, flatly refuse to learn -- but those who have ears, let them hear.

Posted by: Grim at February 14, 2007 06:15 PM

I guess I'm lucky that I haven't really had a problem with harrassment, especially not persistent harrassment from the same individuals.

I was flashed once. I was in The Hague my senior year of high school for a Model U.N. I was assigned to a host family (an English family) that lived in an outlying town. One night, there were activities for all the attendees. I went with my classmate who was also staying with the same family and the family's daughter. At some point, I got separated from my classmate and the daughter, but I had the number to call her parents. While waiting for her father to come get me, I had to stand on a deserted street corner to wait. While waiting, a man walked up from behind, said something to get my attention, and I turned around to see his privates poking out. That really scared me. He just walked away, but it could have been a lot worse, and there would have been no one there to help me. I was 17 at the time (damn, has it really been almost 20 years?).

Growing up, I didn't ever have guy friends to go to if I had needed help. The only time I did was my senior year of high school. I hung out a lot with a friend that lived below us in base housing, her boyfriend and his best friend. I could have gone to that best friend if I'd needed to. He was a big football lineman, and his mama raised him right. Since high school, there haven't really been any guys like that. The one I can think of was an Army recruiter I knew in Arkansas. My roommate/best friend and I became friends with him, and since his family was staying at Fort Sill while he did his stint as a recruiter, he'd hang out with us. It was helpful having him as a friend when my best friend started dating someone and it got serious, and I was asked to go out with them so I could meet the guy - having another person I knew go along helped keep things from getting weird (I hate being that third wheel, being the only unattached person with everyone else being part of a couple!). Now, the only friends (the (now ex-)recruiter, my best friend's husband, and my email friend in CA) I know that would I would ask to help me out don't live where I do. I do have an older brother, but he's never really been the protective big brother that I could/would go to for help.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at February 14, 2007 06:15 PM

You wonderful, wonderful chivalrous men aren't always available, you know. Or you're busy rescuing someone else

Oh now you're picking on me too! He-he! Man! you womyn's are ruff. I used to get that whole Holden Caulfield load of crap in hi skool and I've still never gotten over it! Y'all wound to the soul! I was an abused child. Abused by womyns! :-o

Don't EVER think I believe y'all are the weaker sex. Not for one friggin'! Sheesh! I also understand physics and therein lies the problem! ;-)

Seriously though, if you work in a place where you can't carry concealed then any type of pepper spray would do just fine. One of those ear busting horns does a number too! And there's always the martial arts. My darling daughter is trained in my old school family discipline plus a good bit of Tae Kwon Do. Not too mention good old fashioned boxing. She's only 5'3" but she can flat handle herself. Ask the perv at her old high school that had to have his jaw wired shut after catching a spinning back fist! Heh!

I dunno', the whole deal just ticks me off. Woman shouldn't even have to consider this stuff but that would be naive. Not to mention totally foolish. I watched an hour of these girl fight vidoes on the internet and it's pretty disturbing. It's like what used to be right is wrong now. Times they are achangin'! :-(

Posted by: JHD at February 14, 2007 06:19 PM

I've never handled a weapon. I don't think the "rifle" from my brother's Tin Can Alley toy counts... For all that my father was in the Army, we never had guns in the house. My sister's boyfriend is a gun owner, and he would always bring his handgun with him when they went out at night (he's got a concealed carry permit), but my sister asked him not to bring any of his guns into the house.

When I lived alone in Arkansas, I was glad of my two large dogs. They are leery of strangers, so just their vicious-sounding barking would likely cause most people up to no good to think twice before coming into my house. Not that they have ever attacked a person before, it wouldn't surprise me for them to do some serious damage if someone tried to hurt me. My dogs love me ;-)

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at February 14, 2007 06:27 PM

"Woman shouldn't even have to consider this stuff..."

No, I disagree with you there, old son. Fighting is good for the soul. It's just downright healthy to be able to say to yourself, with all confidence, "Someone may kill me, but no one will ever harm me; I shall submit to none without my consent."

Once you're there, a lot opens up that is otherwise forever closed. It's a fine thing: it's what it really means to be free.

Posted by: Grim at February 14, 2007 06:29 PM

Well Said MM. I spent three posts trying to make the point Mrs. Du Toit made in a single paragraph! Heh!

Even overbearing buttmunch pervert men will listen to another man or men when he knows he's going to pay a severe price for his perversion or lack of respect to women. Just seems like everytime we do try to hold the asshats feet to the fire we get drilled for our efforts. We're belittling women or impuning their freedoms or some such. Women are somehow lesser creatures if we assist. When exactly the opposite is true imho. Guys are real good at controlling guys. Period!

Posted by: JHD at February 14, 2007 06:29 PM

"Seriously though, if you work in a place where you can't carry concealed then any type of pepper spray would do just fine. One of those ear busting horns does a number too! And there's always the martial arts."

I have to agree with JHD. As someone who isn't terribly comfortable around guns (The whole addage of 'Have gun... will use it.'), I really like those non-lethal suggestions. Having taken martial arts since I was little, its actually quite profound the amount of comfort and self-confidence it brings knowing you have that sort of thing in your 'back-pocket' just in case you need it. Great for bullies, and I imagine the occasional jerk, even if you choose never to use it.

Posted by: Kevin L at February 14, 2007 06:42 PM

I have proudly defended the honor of my sisters more than once.

High School bully's and creeps learned to keep their distance and mind their manners around this family.

IMHO the fault lies with the parenting of said miscreants.

My Father, If I EVER behaved in such a shameful fashion, would have beaten me to within an inch of my life.

Posted by: unkawill at February 14, 2007 06:47 PM

That was a good piece Menace. If I'd had more time I would have written about that too. I liked it.

Posted by: Sooty's Evil Twin at February 14, 2007 06:52 PM

Just don't get too confident, Kev. I had the honor of assisting the training of a team, under master Ken Caton, that competed in the Jujitsu World Championships. There are limits to what it can do -- leverage can overcome strength, and training can overcome power, but only so far.

The spiritual advantages to be gained, however, are powerful -- if you take the training and philosophy seriously. But that isn't a "back pocket" thing. It's about changing who you are, all the way through.

Posted by: Grim at February 14, 2007 06:57 PM

"Just don't get too confident, Kev."

Absolutely! Beware of over-confidence. But still, for the vast majority of things in your life, having some will do the trick. For example, knowing what you know about a fist-fight may help you ignore a jerk, or get away from one who decides to push the issue, rather than be paralyzed in fear.

Posted by: Kevin L at February 14, 2007 07:03 PM

Well, indeed, if it's only a fistfight on offer, you can follow the Christian advice and turn the other cheek. (Or take him outside and clean his clock, as long as its done in the spirit of brotherly love).

The sorts of situations that are genuinely dangerous require a dangerous response. Fear, as you rightly say, is not your friend.

Posted by: Grim at February 14, 2007 07:08 PM

"...Women are somehow lesser creatures if we assist. When exactly the opposite is true imho."

I also tend to think that. I'm proud as hell, but have also always seen it a sign of his respect and regard that a man will step up to assist if I am in need. It's happened in both Internet and "real space," and I hold the associated memories of their assistance (and even simply substantive offers of assistance) in great warmth and as a kind of compliment.

In other words, on the flip side of Grim's and JHD's comments, it would be an honor to receive such assistance.

And as to self-protection, I know I need to learn a lot, but do not feel the necessity at this time (considering my current lifestyle). But I think the fact that I laid an assaulting teenage boy on the floor with a single move as a nine-year-old says a lot... ;)

Posted by: FbL at February 15, 2007 12:29 AM

Thank goodness fer this discussion. Miss Ladybug, you are so right that your dogs will defend you. Dogs will usually do what comes naturally when it comes to their owner being threatened.

And so do men. I love my husband. I will never do anything to cause him to have to rush to my defense. Saying that, there are creeps out there who need another man to keep them in line. If a woman can defend herself, well and good. But I also love chilvalry. Men have it naturally and using it wisely is a Good Thing and a great compliment to boot.

Mrs. du Toit's comments are perfect.

Posted by: Cricket at February 15, 2007 10:02 AM

Dogs also have good sense about what is really a threat, and what isn't. This can reassure you, if you know to trust them.

Which reminds me of a story.

Once upon a time, in Atlanta, I was walking through one of the parks on the edge between a nice district and a slum (it has since gone badly downhill, and is now not really safe to walk through). A young lady was out walking her dog--

-- a giant Rottweiler with jaws that were huge even for the breed.

We crossed paths, and I took one look at the dog, and the dog looked back at me. The next thing you know, I was down on one knee petting the dog, who was licking me in a friendly way.

I've been around dogs my whole life and love them (with the sole exception mentioned previously), and of course he instantly knew that I was a friend and no threat.

But the poor girl! When I smiled at her, I could see she was thinking: "What good is this damn dog? A big strange man with a beard just walks right up and pets him, and he doesn't even growl!"

He was a good dog, though. :) He knew when to fight, and when to be friendly.

Posted by: Grim at February 15, 2007 10:24 AM

Right you are, Grim. I have a pack of 4 such Terrorists roaming around my backyard dropping IOBs (Improvised Odorious Bombs), and generally terrorizing anything they can get their teeth or paws on. Three of them my family and friends classify as small horses, but it's my little one -- she of the Napoleon Complex -- who, more often than not, is the first one to set off the *early warning alarm* when a stranger comes around. (That means anyone or anything within eyesight -- you can see a LONG way in the desert, ya know ...) I did just recently find out from the propane guy that she will bite when I'm not at home.

Posted by: Sly2017 at February 15, 2007 12:28 PM

I posted this story on the Donovan's site over a year ago, but it is true about dogs sensing a threat and rising to the challenge.

I was visiting a friend in NoCal. One night toward the end of my stay, I heard noises in the back yard of scraping and feet walking. I had opened my curtains before going to bed and then the window because it was kinda hot. There was a person/man outside getting ready to cut his way into my room...and I was paralyzed with fear.
I didn't move, even to breathe.

My friend's dog, a purebred Airedale came running out into the backyard from the garage and she was growling and barking in a way that I had never heard before. She chased this guy off. By the time my friends had heard her, they both had guns.
Yes, indeed I felt safe enough to roll off the bend and low crawl to their room.

Never again did I assume that all dogs were friendly.

Posted by: Cricket at February 15, 2007 01:53 PM

do you ever bite the propane guy when you are home? :)

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at February 15, 2007 02:06 PM

Only when he gives me the bill, Don. But then I figure he's got it comin'... >;-}

Posted by: Sly2017 at February 15, 2007 05:02 PM

Well, I've had my dogs since the day they were born. When I first moved to Arkansas, I moved in with my best friend. She had had a German Shepherd mix for several years, but right before I moved, she picked up a stray that looked to be either a stocky Dobie or a lighter Rottweiler (except no clipped ears or docked tale). Well, let's just say neither dogs was fixed, and we had a litter of puppies about 3 months later. Six pups survived, and we found homes for all but two of them. Those two are my dogs. Before I had bought my house, we had four good-sized dogs in our yard. If any stranger would walk anywhere near the fence, all the dogs would bark, and not a friendly one. Abby was the biggest of the litter. She tops 50 lbs. Tipsy was one of the runts, but she's somewhere around 40 lbs. They don't look like littermates, though.

They've always been fine with other dogs. When I first bought my house, my dogs and the neighbors' dogs were able to get back and forth between the two yards. I fixed the problem with the fence between the yards, but the neighbor's fence wasn't secure. Their dogs eventually disappeared. Then, I got new neighbors - a couple of college guys' parents bought them the house next door to live in while they went to school. One morning as I was leaving for work, I heard a puppy whining and discovered it sitting on their doorstep. No one was home, but the old lady who lived across the cul-de-sac was out front. "Did you get a new puppy?" she asked. Nope - if you find out who it belongs to, tell them I've got it. Came home at lunch to find out it belonged to the college guys. Murray was an escape artist. I can't count how many times I went to my back door to let my dogs in only to have three dogs run into the house. Murray eventually disappeared, too. However, when I moved back to Texas, I began having problems with my dogs in relation to one of my family's dogs - their sister, who my parents let me give to my sisters that first Christmas after I'd moved away. About a year and a half ago, they really went after her in the backyard. She had several holes in her skin at her throat and it cost me over $400 to get her taken care of at the vet. Now, I have to keep my dogs separate from her. My dogs don't care about the two dachshunds. Anyway, not sure why they have taken a dislike to Dot, but to avoid further unpleasantness, they don't hang out together anymore. Anyway, the point is, I know my dogs are capable of being really mean. So long as I am not afraid of them (I'm not) we're fine. My mom tried bringing up me giving them away, but I wouldn't hear of it. I've got things worked out, and I'll be in my own place again as soon as I am once again gainfully employed with a teaching job, and they'll be my guard dogs again.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at February 15, 2007 05:41 PM

that would be "tail"... oops!

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at February 15, 2007 05:42 PM

Ummmmm......that would be the next thread......

hee hee

Posted by: Sly2017 at February 16, 2007 12:33 AM

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