I kissed dating goodbye reflection
To these survey respondents,sexual violations in the context of romantic relationships have been some of the hardest examples to recognize as assault in the moment, but they’ve also done some of the deepest and most lasting damage to both survivor and perpetrator.The variety of behaviors people corralled into the two gray areas identified here—“borderline but ultimately OK” and “borderline but ultimately not OK”—is telling, too.
Many of the anecdotes that respondents described, especially those that involved unwanted physical touch, could easily be filed under the graver labels of sexual abuse or assault.Many have seen themselves in the stories of alleged abuse by Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K., Brett Ratner, John Besh, James Toback, Jesse Lacey, or any of the dozens of other men who’ve been accused of sexual exploitation in recent weeks.By legal definition, sexual harassment is unwelcome or unwanted; if it’s welcome or wanted, it’s not harassment.The baked-in subjectivity of this definition, combined with the large-scale recalibration of this moment, has allowed space for some people to wonder whether cracking down on sexual harassment will put an end to all friendly flirtation.To anyone bearing witness, #Me Too is writing an alternate history of the workplace, the classroom, the corner store, the dance club, the sidewalk, the friend’s party, and the intimate confines of the romantic relationship.
To people who’ve experienced harassment and abuse, it’s also an alternate history of our own lives.
They’re the bad guys, yes, and they’re a fair number of “good guys,” too.
If men are worried that they are constantly on the verge of unwittingly violating someone in the post-#Me Too era—which, good, they should be—it’s because, in a society that rarely takes claims of clear-cut sexual assault seriously, there’s usually little room for open discussion about the more nuanced social norms that define the boundaries of sexual harassment. Room for survivors to dig up and display the rotting garbage they’ve been toting around for years, to explain aloud, for the whole world to hear, where they draw the line between right and wrong.
To get a handle on how people define, or are redefining, the borders of sexual misconduct, distributed a survey asking people a series of questions about their experiences as targets or perpetrators.
We solicited anecdotes about encounters that didn’t seem like harassment at the time but upon later reflection looked like more serious transgressions.
A friend’s father, who I’ve known for years and hugged at least a dozen times, paused and asked for consent before putting an arm around me at a party this month.