In light of recent stalkerish stories, two incidents from last weekend’s PAX video game show, make for disturbing readings.

While it occurred at an event that wasn’t officially affiliated with PAX, the incident recalled by female video game blogger Kyle is perhaps given away by her blog post title: Boundaries and The Penis Incident:

I’m not okay with it, but I’m dealing with it better than I was right after it happened. Hell, I was even on the phone with my airline trying to see how early I could leave as soon as I got back to my hotel. I’m trying my best to keep it separated in my mind from the rest of PAX as to not let it overshadow the awesome time I had this weekend. It’s fucked up and I keep replaying the scene in my head and trying to figure out what I could have done differently to keep it from happening. People tell me I should’ve called the cops or screamed or made a huge scene, but I didn’t want that type of attention and the reaction of the security guard made me feel like cops would be even more of a waste. I actually even deleted a lot of the tweets I posted, because I felt ashamed and embarrassed that this happened to me. I didn’t want to ruin the party/PAX for other people. I don’t want people to pity me. “I’m stronger than this” I kept saying to myself as I was crying. So yeah. Needed to get that shit off my chest. And I’m sure all the drunk, self-loathing tweets that I sent out at the time weren’t really helpful, but I definitely don’t want to act like this didn’t happen. This is more common than people think and could happen to anyone you love, anywhere, anytime, in any community. A girl should be able to go and sit alone at a party and not be bothered, or go where they want and dress how they want and not be treated like that.

But lest you think this was only a sexy girl geek thing, MALE IGN writer Ryan Clemente was also the unwilling recipient of unwanted touching:

Her blog inspired me to make an important point of my own; a point that I hope all IGN fans and “fans” take to heart and protect each other from. My situation was nowhere near as devastating as hers, but it deserves some attention and analysis.

While I agree that diminishing women who complain about abuse—online or in person—that “men get abused, too” is often a tactic to diminish complaints by women, it is important to note that inappropriate is inappropriate and as the previous story on Ed Kramer shows, boys can certainly be victims.

Finally, I knew my complaints about online abuser John V. were small compared to what DCWKA’s Sue had gone through, but this is truly sickening:

SueLovesJohnny wrote, in response to dcwomenkickingass:
I wonder if your kids died of cancer, would you be so sassy?

At this point I sent him the cyberstalking law for a state his IP address pointed too. That just got him going even more.

sueshypocriteskickingass wrote, in response to dcwomenkickingass:
oh wait…was I banned?  Wait…I hear the police at my door.  Did you turn me in?  Curse you Sue!  lmfao

John V. used over 70 different IP addresses to keep harassing Sue. Have any laws been broken here? I sure hope so because maybe then we can really stop this creep.

Sue’s story also highlights the inefficiency of the “ignore it and it will go away” response. As I said in my post yesterday, I considered John V> mostly an attention troll. Now that I’ve read about his other activities I see that I was wrong. This goes way deeper and is far sicker than just calling for attention on the internet.

And you wonder why women cry out for strong female role models?


  1. We need to stop being quiet about things like this. People are bullied into keeping quiet, told not to rock the boat, that they must be mistaken because So and so would never do something like this. Or too ashamed that it happened to them. Know what? It happened, and if you want to help make sure it doesn’t happen again you need to speak out. We all need to speak out against the people who think they can say, threaten or touch however they like and think, no they KNOW, they’ll get away with it.

  2. One thing is for sure. Batman ain’t gonna save you. Neither is Bat-Girl. Or Power Girl. Or Jonah Hex.

    Jesus, this’ depressing …

  3. I think bullied is a good word. It is a kind of bullying. When showing my artwork, I’m always inclined to warn people that some of it is pretty out there in it’s content, and give them the opportunity to opt out of looking at it, because I want people to know that I’m not engaging them to be creepy. So, what this guy was doing with his camera was definitely an act of “power” over another. That should have been enough to hit the stop button on that guy, right there.

  4. I think the biggest question here is whether or not she was the only victim of this creeper’s goofy fantasy. I would say it’s extremely unlikely that she was the only girl he propositioned in this nature throughout the event.

    What a total scumbag.

    One (UNRELATED) thing I don’t get from the original post is the age old mixed message from woman that a girl sitting alone is not to be bothered. Should a man approach a girl who is sitting with a man? Wouldn’t that give the impression that she is already taken, and if you find her attractive, you would be wasting your time?

    Should a man only approach a woman in a group full of woman where any sort of romantic interest will likely be met with scoffs and and dirty looks for penetrating their circle?

    It’s weird because you’re told to have confidence and approach someone and try to talk to them, but the author of the blog heavily insinuates that men bothering a girl sitting alone at a social event are inherently assholes for even thinking that girl wants to be bothered. I suppose the author means men should wait quietly for a woman to approach them?

    I was always under the impression that you give it a try, and if she is clearly not interested, politely remove yourself. I guess everything I thought is wrong.

  5. @Bobby Weenus (sigh, hard to talk seriously about something like sexual harassment with someone whose screen name contains “weenus”)–

    The message shouldn’t be interpreted as mixed…it’s fairly simple. Woman sitting alone, seems like she doesn’t want to be bothered, don’t bother her.

    Woman sitting alone, seems like she might be willing to talk, don’t BOTHER her, just talk to her. If she seems bothered, hit the road.

    At some point, someone will find something you do offensive, no matter how hard you toe the line, no matter how polite you are. But the point is, it’s YOUR responsibility not to bother someone, not their responsibility to make sure you don’t bother them. Some will be friendly, some will be prickly, but it’s up to you to be a gentleman…you define that, no one else does.

    At least that’s how I see it.

  6. Matthew: Valid point, but she wrote it as such as if any woman sitting alone instantly shouldn’t be bothered, rather than saying “My body language clearly stated I don’t want to be bothered at all.”, she had stated: “I don’t exactly know what it is about a girl sitting alone that just screams ‘YES I TOTALLY WANT TO BE BOTHERED BY YOU, RANDOM GUY’ but it does.”

    Which doesn’t really clarify anything about her demeanor or body language, it’s just simply “I’m alone, why are you compelled to annoy me?”.

    When is a man supposed to approach a woman? Never?

    The mixed message comes from the fact that men are told daily, from all types of media, that women are attracted to confidence, so wouldn’t that include the confidence to approach someone and strike up conversation on the chance that they are actually interested?

    I suppose you put it perfectly that, at some point, something you do will offend someone, which is an absolute fact. I don’t however, think that it’s right to say it’s my responsibility not to bother them, if they’re not showing signs either way that they don’t want to be bothered, or do want someone to approach them, because for every woman who says “Damn, stop bugging me!”, there’s a woman out there who laments that guys don’t approach them. It just gets to be very confusing, and the way she wrote it popped the dialog into my head about the RIGHT time to approach someone.

  7. If these people were using telephones or snail mail to harass people, they would be in jail by now. Even the revered Woody Guthrie was arrested for sending sexually explicit letters to women he barely knew (or didn’t know at all).

  8. It’s really disappointing that creepers cannot contain themselves from using the Internet for their despicable agendas. Looking past the obvious point of it making the net a hostile place for a woman to be herself or candid, it can only hurt the Internet as a whole. The more that creeper scumbags use it as a tool for harassment or abuse, the more it will be cracked down on and controlled until it’s as bland and regulated as FM radio or television.

  9. All of this mirrors the real world. A sizable percentage of online adventurers are subhuman, as is the case with any gathering of flesh and bloods. Fighting the digital issues is just putting a band-aid on a symptom. Our entire society is just lacking empathy more and more from one gen to the next. Most people are self-possessed dicks, online or offline. The best any of us can do to fight that is to just not be dicks ourselves. Be the example of positive difference.
    Create Hell on earth, but only for those who deserve it. Create Heaven on earth, but only for those who deserve it. No more hiding behind avatars or plastic ideologies. Honesty and empathy.

  10. A total lack of empathy is the best way to put it.

    I work with my girlfriend, and I never, ever, had even a semblance of a clue about how boldly creepy some men are had I not spent my entire work day with her. I regularly watch men stare directly at her breasts, check her out as she passes… It’s like they have no clue about their own physical actions… though for the record, the majority of the creeps we deal with on a daily basis are in the sales portion of our business, and we work for a place that employs mostly sleezy salesmen. I imagine when you spend your entire day arrogantly selling yourself and a product, you begin to buy into that self promotion and hype.

    The ladies who work in my department are uncomfortable even going to the bathroom here because often times they have to walk by those sleezeballs who grin at them as they check them out, or make creepy remarks.

    It just really woke me up to what a day is like for a woman. For what it’s worth though, men don’t have to hide behind an avatar to be bold and creepy. Going back to what I had said about the media portraying confidence as attractive, I think some of these guys just have a twisted concept of confidence or being outgoing that really emerges from them and pure, unadulterated creepiness.

  11. I can’t think of a more misguided social policy than “create Hell on earth”, be it “for those who deserve it” or not. I have plenty of work to just maintaining my own behavior, I don’t have the authority to punish others for failing to live up to my standards.

  12. @Matthew
    Then why leave it to others to clean up the world? You’re part of the world, too, and others seem to be doing a ratty job in the decision-making department, from elected officials to corporate powers that be. It’s no different than waiting til after death for a heaven or hell, it alleviates responsibility. Take a stand, maybe others might follow.

  13. @Bobby: “The more that creeper scumbags use it as a tool for harassment or abuse, the more it will be cracked down on and controlled until it’s as bland and regulated as FM radio or television.”

    I think this fundamentally misunderstands the way the Internet works.

    There are too many people, with accountability spread too thin, and with hackers (both individual and in groups) far more nimble than government agencies.

    The US government can attempt to regulate the Internet, but it’ll go about as well as its attempts to stop music piracy. Some people will be hurt, most of them grievously and unjustly; most people will continue to go about their daily lives without interruption.

    I certainly have some concerns about monitoring and interference with the Internet — from the US government, from foreign governments, from my ISP, Google, the MPAA, the RIAA, spammers, stalkers — but “controlled until it’s as bland and regulated as FM radio or television” isn’t one of them. Frankly the problems in store over the coming years and decades are far less obvious and boring. Do you read any Doctorow or Stross? THOSE guys have some fascinating ideas on where the Internet is going.

    All of which to say, while we’re certainly seeing new cyberbullying legislation and the like, and some of it is ill-conceived legislation written by people who do not understand technology, I don’t think that’s going to be a major factor in determining Internet policy in the coming years. I think we’re probably safe going after isolated, serious cases of harassment without worrying about the integrity of TCP/IP, DNS, or various other basic protocols (unlike, say, copyright legislation; SOPA would have severely stunted the development of fundamental Internet architecture).

  14. At the end of her article, the author writes:
    “A girl should be able to go and sit alone at a party and not be bothered, or go where they want and dress how they want and not be treated like that.”

    This is a bit odd … Why go to a party if you don’t want anyone to speak to you? Unless by “bothered” she means being approached inappropriately, the manner in which this dreadful fellow assaulted her.

  15. @Richard–no offense taken, I just think it’s a simplistic idea that someone should attempt to make a “hell on Earth” for anyone. Too much self-importance in that idea for me, as I haven’t been deputized into any position where I dole out punishment. I’ve got plenty on my plate and I don’t need to fill it further by trying to somehow make someone else’s life even more miserable, regardless of their crimes. That’s for others–i.e. the law–to take care of.

  16. I’ve had issues w/ cyber-harassment way back in the day. This is disgusting & I’m glad those women are speaking up about it.

    As someone who used to work on some pretty sexy comic book art, but is a feminist, & has both experienced & seen both sexism & misogyny, I’ve had a lot of questions for myself lately. That whole, if you’re not part of the solution, thing.

    @ Rich – sometimes if you’re working a convention, the after-hours socializing is part of the job. And regardless, she should have been able to just be at the party on her own w/out some guy putting his penis into her hand. By saying “what was she doing there if she didn’t want to interact w/ people”, the blame is shifted from the assaulting guy to the innocent party-goer.

    Also see: I should be able to just walk down the street/wear what I want/be in an industry I love w/out fearing harassment, stalking & assault.

    The onus shouldn’t always be on women to be ever-vigilant on protecting ourselves (though believe me we are). The responsibility should be with men, to not harass/threaten rape/stalk/actually rape/etc.

  17. @Weenus et. al: You’re over-thinking it. A woman will know your intention unless you have issues socializing normally. Just use common sense and don’t pull your junk out.

    But trust me…most women know the difference. They have a social and emotional vocabulary at a depth that 90% of men will never understand (myself included). They can detect your intent and let you know if they’re interested or not. It’s up to you to respond appropriately!

  18. Eva: She said she wanted to be left alone. Why would you go to an after-party mixer to be left alone? Just because I wondered about the irony of her statement, you assume that I sympathize with a predator? How very sad …

  19. Rich: No, I didn’t mean to say that. I apologize for not making my point better.

    You asked why someone would go to a party if they weren’t feeling like interacting with others. I gave you a reason that someone might go to an after-party mixer & yet not want to interact every moment they are there. I’ve done that at functions for organizations after setup hours at a con. It’s not so much, that I always *don’t want* to be there, as sometimes you’re expected to be there. Maybe she just wanted that particular guy to go away. Who knows, I wasn’t there either.

    But my point was, why is the onus on her – “why did she go to the party? What was she thinking, going somewhere you’re traditionally social, but not really being in the mood, etc?” – and not on the guy who did the assaulting, ie – “Wow, why did that guy DO that, that’s immensely fucked up, etc?” (Though you mentioned that what the creeper guy did was wrong, I saw that.) By questioning her motives for being at the party, it seems like the next thought that follows is she was supposed to keep being nice to the guy, or, that she asked for the treatment she got by going to this party on her own. Again, like it’s her responsibility to not be creeped on, as opposed to the responsibility of the guy who stuck his penis in a stranger’s hand to not do that.

    Does this make better sense? I’m speaking about societal generalities, not you specifically. I didn’t mean to say you, rich, personally, identify w/ the creeper/assaulter.

    The point I was trying to make was that it’s a pattern that when there’s a sexual assault, the victim’s behavior inevitably comes up for question, & greater scrutiny, than victims of other sorts of crimes.

    When my car got broken into, even though it happened more than once, it was dealt with *as a crime*. Perpetrators were looked for, questions relevant to the situation were asked of me. At no point did anyone suggest to me that me or my car was asking for it.

    But one time when I told a younger male peer in comics about some sexist BS that happened to me, he was so unbelieving & dismissive. Said I likely misinterpreted the incident, that *he* never noticed *any* sexism in the comics industry, did my behavior & interaction contribute, etc. Not a simple, supportive “yo, that’s messed up.”

  20. I’m confused as to why the author calls out for more strong female role models for girls. All of these problems seem to stem from boys with crappy male role models. (Although maybe she means that if boys had more female role models, they wouldn’t be as skeevy? I doubt it, not as long as a large segment of men define their masculinity in part by how uncomfortable they can make women.)

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