Hint...We Must Include Intimate Partner Violence & Cyber-stalking.
When I started doing batters intervention work and providing sexual assault advocacy services, we in the field often talked about stalking through use of technology like GPS tracking systems as though they were rare, new-aged gizmos that only some abusers knew how to use. Now everyone has a GPS system on their phones, and these capabilities are built into several common social media apps. Stalking in "real life" was otherwise characterized as harassment at work, being followed home, and sending unwanted letters. Repeated sexting and texting was also just starting to be recognized as grounds for violating protection orders and the like.
However, in today's age, what happens online informs what happens offline. Everyone has a smartphone, and even the most unsophisticated stalker-abuser knows how to use one. Cyber-stalking is not its own form of stalking, it is inherent to stalking in general. To be honest, the old definition is the new definition but now we need to create safety plans and therapy services that address stalking online and offline at the same damn time.
Have you ever heard "if your cannot ask for what you want in sex, maybe you're not ready to have sex." I used to believe this maxim myself before I started having sex. I realized that my shyness prevented me from being directive. My shyness was mainly due to a lack of confidence. However, I eventually learned to articulate my needs all the same. My lack of confidence did not mean that I was too immature to be having sex. I also had a healthy and supportive partner. So, here are some tips for the shy person who has a sexy idea but who doesn't want to ruin the mood by bringing it up:
1. Put it on the menu
Seriously! Write it down as a literal menu. Put your desires on a pretty card, and deliver it to your partner on a platter. Dressing up in waiter outfit is optional. Ask in what order should you bring out the "dishes." You may also put other needs under each act, such as This dish comes with a side of dental dams and is delivered clean & sober. Just like in a restaurant, a person may decline options on the menu. Tell your partner that "the chef" may be able to whip up something off-menu.
Bare in mind that part of consent language is learning to hear no's and take rejection. When partners decline it may be because they're just not in the mood right now and so you could always suggest another time or a non-sexual activity in its place. Negotiation is skill all couples need to have inside and outside of the bedroom.
When I facilitated batters interventions programming I would routinely call out the men who were not yet committed to changing their behaviors by identifying their denial tactics. I discussed these 3 of these tactics as it pertains to Kevin Spacey and his tweeted response to Anthony Rapp’s account of being molested: Blaming An Outside Factor, Staying Stuck in Self-Pity, Forgetting What Happened.
On Dr. Nazanin Maoli's podcast Sexology, she and I briefly touched on how Roy Moore, the judge turned politician, is skilled in Distorting the Facts which I'll expound on below. However, he also uses Forgetting What Happened, which you can see in the quote below. I talked a lot about that tactics in regards to Spacey's statement already, so I'll just skip it for now.
I do not remember speaking to a civics class. I don't remember that. I do not remember when we...I seem to know or remember knowing her parents...that they were friends. I can't recall the specific dates because that's been 40 years but I remember her as a good girl
Here are 4 more tactics that Roy Moore uses regularly as he continues to run for Alabama State Senate. All of the following quotes can be found in the Sean Hannity interview.
1. Distorting the Facts
No, but I don't remember going out on dates. I knew her as a friend. If we did go on dates then we did. But I do not remember that.”
Why do we accept approximations of apologies from serial perpetrators of sexual violence? What if it were that easy to accept the testimonies of survivors who are still trying to piece together their own stories? During my upcoming Sexology podcast interview with Dr. Nazanin Maoli, she and I dug deeper into the nature of sexual violence, particularly expanding it beyond rape to groping, attempted rape, and masturbation as a means of intimidation.
We covered so much! I defined the Three Big E’s that routinely underlie sexual violence: Self-Entitlement, Lack of Empathy, and Systematic Exploitation. But I ended the interview wanting to say more about the mindset of men who routinely abuse others. I wanted to share more about how many abusers choose to maintain their violent behaviors even when confronted with evidence as to why their abuse was harmful and not reciprocated.
How I Learned to Recognize Lack of Accountability
For 6 years, I challenged men who had perpetrated violence to do better. I used to volunteer as a co-facilitator of the then oldest batters intervention program (BIP) in the country, RAVEN. When I read statements from the likes of Charlie Rose, Roy Moore, Louis CK, and others all my alarm bells go off. I immediately question their desire to change, and I suspect you might, too. Perhaps you just can’t put your finger on it, but something about their statements seem insincere. Here are a few common tactics that serial perpetrators use to convince others and themselves that their behaviors are not harmful. These denial tactics are even how they garner sympathy.
1. Forgetting What Happened