• Quote of the Day
    "I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence but it comes from within. It is there all the time."
    Anna Freud, posted by Daniel

Peanut

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I have a question I have been wondering aobut for a while...I guess it has to do with setting boundries with the opposite sex.? I am usually able to have really great friendships with males and there is usually not a problem with unwanted advances....they are usually pretty respectful and/or they see my husband glaring at them.? If I think that they are overly interested in a more-than-friends way, I am usually able to say in a round about way that I'm unavailabe and keep the whole thing pretty uneventful.

However, the problem is that when a guy is physically forward I sort of blank out or freeze up and don't know how to stop them.? It's like if the boundry gets crossed far enough (which is pretty much anything physical) I feel powerless to do anything to stop it.?

This reaction is problematic for me since it does seem like my fault, and definitely my husband gets mad (at least when he knows about it).

So I was just wondering if anyone had any insight about this or similar feelings.

Thanks guys?
 

healthbound

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Hey Toeless. I can certainly identify with your experience. One thing I've tried is to repeat to myself, "I am in control, this is my body and my life and I can do whatever I want". That means I can get up and leave, I can say, "stop" (or whatever) etc.

I've had a number of situations when I am uncomfortable about what is happening, yet I freeze. This has happened during inappropriate times as well as within my consenting relationships. There were times in my past when i wasn't in control, but as an adult, I am in control now.

Other times, my initial thoughts were, "Oh, but I don't want to make the other person feel uncomfortable". However, when I tell myself that, I am really telling myself that it's ok for me to feel uncomfortable but not for the other person to. That doesn't really make sense because chances are, the other person already knows I'm uncomfortable and is proceeding anyway. So, if they're only thinking about themselves, maybe I should only think about myself too.

I don't know if that helps - but, I thought I'd respond to let you know that I've had similar feelings.
 

Peanut

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Other times, my initial thoughts were, "Oh, but I don't want to make the other person feel uncomfortable".
That's exactly what I think when it happens to.? It's like I don't want to bring more attention to it and make it a bigger deal.? But then a lot of times it ends up being sort of a big deal anyway because it is so inappropriate.
However, when I tell myself that, I am really telling myself that it's OK for me to feel uncomfortable but not for the other person to.? That doesn't really make sense because chances are, the other person already knows I'm uncomfortable and is proceeding anyway.? ?So, if they're only thinking about themselves, maybe I should only think about myself too.
That's a really good point.?

It all makes sense when you think about it ahead of time, but then when it happens and your not prepared for it, it is harder (at least for me) to intervene on my own behalf.? Then, when someone else intervenes when they see it happening, it kind of makes me feel even more speechless and objectified that someone else has taken over the situation for me.? It can be somewhat distressing to say the least...and if a third person becomes involved it seems like often the situation escalates.?

Thanks for your response healthbound...it is nice to know someone else feels the same way because I never noticed any of my friends having that problem and I felt like i was the only one.? Hopefully I can improve the way I handle these situations...I need to improve it.
 

healthbound

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It all makes sense when you think about it ahead of time, but then when it happens and your not prepared for it, it is harder (at least for me) to intervene on my own behalf.
Totally...when you're actually in the situation, it's sometimes difficult to identify ---because our natural reaction is to freeze = not do anything.

Also, I identify with not wanting to draw attention to the situation either.

Then, when someone else intervenes when they see it happening, it kind of makes me feel even more speechless and objectified that someone else has taken over the situation for me. It can be somewhat distressing to say the least...and if a third person becomes involved it seems like often the situation escalates.
I'm assuming the third party was your husband? Not sure. Ironically, I remember a time when a 3rd party intervened. For me at that time, it was almost shocking because I didn't even realize that I or anyone else "could" intervene. I was really grateful and will never forget that moment or that person.

But, I was not married and it was not even a boyfriend who stepped in. I imagine there would be other issues surrounding the situation if that were the case??

Regardless, it's still an uncomfortable situation.
 

Peanut

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Totally...when you're actually in the situation, it's sometimes difficult to identify ---because our natural reaction is to freeze = not do a
nothing.
? Exactly


I'm assuming the third party was your husband?? Not sure
? Sometimes.?
But, I was not married and it was not even a boyfriend who stepped in.? I imagine there would be other issues surrounding the situation if that were the case??
? Yes.

One particular example I was thinking of when I wrote that was when I went on a weekend trip with two girlfriends not too long ago.? ?This man started coming on really strong and I didn't handle it very effectively.? My friend was trying to protect me and intervened, which led this guy to say something really rude to her.? She ended up slapping him across the face (and he was a city councilor of the town we were visiting which was kind of freaky :eek:) and I was worried that she could have gotten into trouble for doing that and/or could make him really mad.?Luckily everything turned out alright that time.
So anyway, that's one example of one of those situations that went really awry...escalating the situation and whatnot.

It would be nice if people could keep their hands more to themselves!!

It sounds like when someone intervened for you it went a lot better.? I agree that it can be nice sometimes--like when it gets especially aggressive or uncomfortable, then you do need someone. :eek:
 

healthbound

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I find those situations really challenge our assertiveness skills. I have found that it's much worse in a in a bar or club, because there is alcohol involved. Plus, some people go to clubs to intentionally "pick up", so maybe some people thing everyone else is there doing the same thing?

But, it also happens outside of clubs or bars. I've worked mostly with men all my life. I was very lucky to be around many men who were VERY respectful of me and of all women. But there was always at least a couple of guys that would either "test the waters" or blatantly cross the line. I literally would just stare at them and shake my head because they were so clearly inappropriate.

I never minded the times when someone bought flowers for me, asked me out or even just came by to chat a little too often. I found that flattering. It was more the guys that were married and continually trying to "get with me" that bothered me. Sort of like the city councilor - you just don't expect that kind of behavior from them.

I often felt offended, like I was maybe giving off some "vibe" that somehow told these guys that I was attracted to them or would consider engaging in unethical behavior with them. I felt very awkward knowing what I knew about them and then being introduced to their wives. Yuck.

Anyway, in those situations, I observed the way men interacted with each other and then I learned to communicate with them in a way that they understood. I learned to be tactful but strong by communicating through action, banter and humor. I didn't want to offend them, but I wanted to get my message across in a way that would allow me to be taken seriously. Surprisingly, I actually gained more respect from them as well as from their peers.

Sometimes I felt guilty just for being an attractive and friendly woman in business. It was as if those characteristics couldn't coexist (maybe similar to being an attractive woman in a bar?). I think it still must be a bit challenging for some men to know how to relate to us sometimes. In my work situations, I think part of some of their behavior was simply because they didn't know how to make sense of me being there. Or maybe they figured -because I'm a single mom that somehow meant that I was ok with having careless sex or something - lol....no idea, I'm just guessing here :)

And for right or for wrong, I realized that I had to became more aware of the perfumes I used, the clothes I wore the makeup I applied etc. I learned that there was a certain power attached to being a women and therefore it was up to me to use that power responsibly (again, for right or for wrong).

I hope what I wrote doesn't sound like I think I (or you) are responsible for men who overstep their boundaries with us. Because they are absolutely responsible for their own actions. However, I do recognize that there is much we can do to help cultivate or deflect some of that unwanted attention. Regardless, we live in a world and a time where we are learning to be more assertive about both our right to set boundaries as well as our right to be who we are -both internally and externally.

Interesting thread :)
 

g-scared

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It would be nice if people could keep their hands more to themselves!!

it's funny, i've found myself in situations like that before where i was so complacent and shy when put in a position like that, but then afterwards i was soooo angry.

maybe try to keep this in mind the next time it happens.
 

Peanut

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Well I'm glad I posted that question because once again I find people here with similar feelings or experiences that I thought I was pretty much alone in having.

Healthbound, you make some good points about this. When you speak in terms of cultivating or discouraging that type of thing I totally agree. However sometimes I struggle with what I perceive to be person freedom vs. avoiding cultivating some situations (my original post wasn't just about this type of situation but now that we are talking about it I would like to get any input on this too). I realize that going out with all girls to places, that someone is more likely to get attention (or unwanted advances) from the opposite sex. They are clearly much more likely to approach and act forward than if you went out with other males, particularly a spouse or a boyfriend. However, it seems ridiculous to me that if I want to go out with my friends that we should have to bring a male protector? That seems so stone ages to me. On the other hand, it's clearly safer.
After that aforementioned weekend out with my friends, my one friend that slapped the guy was so upset she kept saying "next time we'll bring Steve (her boyfriend)". Is it really necessary to bring a male bodyguard? Wouldn't that just be perpetuating the helpless feelings or maybe it is just a smart thing to do. :confused:

And one other thing I wanted to mention that I had been thinking about since this thread, was that during situations where obvious/forward verbal or physical advances are being made I think I start feeling not like an adult, but more like a little girl. It's not really bad or obvious, I don't think, and maybe only I notice it, but it seems to make my voice go up higher and I am not able to speak with much authority, etc. I feel like when these males make advances that they are not hitting on some sex kitten or anything-it's more like they are hitting on a little girl. I mean, that how it feels sometimes. That is so strange that it feels that way--I have no idea why and I really would like to stop it.

g-scared--good point I will try to keep that in mind, maybe I can get some assertiveness from that thought.
 

healthbound

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Hey Toeless, great points.

However, it seems ridiculous to me that if I want to go out with my friends that we should have to bring a male protector? That seems so stone ages to me. On the other hand, it's clearly safer.
I agree. I think it IS ridiculous that there are still men who somehow still think it's ok to cross our physical boundaries...regardless of where we are, what we are doing, who we are with, what we are wearing, how we are acting, etc etc etc. I also think it's ridiculous that anyone -male or female- still experiences that kind of boundary crossing in this day and age. But, it does happen. And it seems to happen a lot.

Is it really necessary to bring a male bodyguard? Wouldn't that just be perpetuating the helpless feelings or maybe it is just a smart thing to do.
I agree that one shouldn't have to bring a male protector with them when they go out and I think it definitely could contribute to the helpless feelings. That's why I thought it was important for me to figure out a way to be able to deal with these situations on my own. I thought I needed to learn how to protect myself because I would not always have someone to protect me. However, I still struggle with assertiveness sometimes.

And one other thing I wanted to mention that I had been thinking about since this thread, was that during situations where obvious/forward verbal or physical advances are being made I think I start feeling not like an adult, but more like a little girl. It's not really bad or obvious, I don't think, and maybe only I notice it, but it seems to make my voice go up higher and I am not able to speak with much authority, etc. I feel like when these males make advances that they are not hitting on some sex kitten or anything-it's more like they are hitting on a little girl. I mean, that how it feels sometimes. That is so strange that it feels that way--I have no idea why and I really would like to stop it.
I can definitely identify with feeling really young in these situations (it seems synonymous with freezing, actually). I also feel angry and disgusted when I think of the fact that some men are attracted to that. I don't like that at all.

I find I'm getting a bit "spaced out" while writing this.

I don't know much about your past, but for me, I think the freezing and feeling like a child are flashbacks. My body and mind have a memory and so when those are triggered by similar circumstances, my body and mind reacts like it did when I was younger. And not having been protected or taught that I even could protect myself from similar things left me docile in those scenarios as an adult. I still work on this a lot today. I find it difficult to "remember" that I am now an adult and that I actually CAN and have a right to stop any behavior that I'm uncomfortable with----at any time for any reason.

For some reason, instead I begin thinking about the other person and then either freeze and disconnect from my feelings all together.

It doesn't even need to happen in a bar or in the workplace either. I've experienced this 3 different times in my relationship (that I'm no longer in) too.

Anyway, it's late and I'm not sure if I'm even making much sense because I'm tired and am also finding it a bit challenging to stay focused without spacing out too much :). I'll write more tomorrow after I've slept.
 

g-scared

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And one other thing I wanted to mention that I had been thinking about since this thread, was that during situations where obvious/forward verbal or physical advances are being made I think I start feeling not like an adult, but more like a little girl.? It's not really bad or obvious, I don't think, and maybe only I notice it, but it seems to make my voice go up higher and I am not able to speak with much authority, etc.?

I had an experience like this once.? My professor, whom I had always had a professional relationship with, tricked me into going on a date with him.? He not only took me on a date, but to his house while his wife was out of town.? The whole situation was so terribly uncomfortable, and disillusioning.? And I remember how complacent I was, how shy and awckward I acted, when I should have just gone to the bathroom or something and made a phone call and asked a friend to rescue me.? I didn't have a car, and did not even know how to give directions to the place.? It wasn't until well afterwards that I was overcome with a so much anger, anger at him and at myself for acting that way.?

I avoided him for weeks, months and he would call me and send me emails.? Fortunately, nothing happened in the way of physical advancements, but I was afraid of him from that day forth.? It was difficult, and I have to admit that if it were not for my boyfriend, to whom I refer to as J, I would not had made any formal disputes against him.? So, I did challenge him with a sexual harrasment complaint.? He did not get in any trouble in the end, it was my word against his, but I think it really scared him, and he ended up fearing me and leaving the school on his own.? A year later I hear that he is wreaking havoc at another school, breaking rules and just plain being a bad teacher.? He was always one of these types that tried to be a little too cool around his students.? I also hear that he has been having affairs with other women for years, one of them actually visited us on campus, and he used his students to help her on her projects! He is also, obviously having problems with his marriage.

Not that I not care much about his personal life, but I have to admit I feel a little vindicated and glad that he will think twice before he goes after a student.?

I think these feelings of helplessness have a lot to do with a power differential.? Women have struggeled with this for so long, and it has not been an easy battle to defend our human rights.? Be true to yourself.? If anything, let the guy know how uncomfortable he makes you feel.? Do NOT ignore yourself, or sacrifice your comfort for another.? I know it is easier said than done, but if we want change we should stand up for it.? ?

Take care.? :)
 

healthbound

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OK, I'm back :)

When you speak in terms of cultivating or discouraging that type of thing I totally agree.? However sometimes I struggle with what I perceive to be person freedom vs. avoiding cultivating some situations
I just went back and re-read our communications.? I re-read them because after reading your last response, I wondered if maybe you thought I was saying that we are responsible for men physically crossing our boundaries???

I really want to clarify that I do not believe that we cause or are responsible for anybody elses inappropriate behavior ---especially physical boundary crossing from any man or woman -ever.? I feel extremely strong about this and even stronger when it comes to kids and adults as well as persons in positions of power vs those not.? And in the context of this thread...I also very much agree with you about personal freedom (and being a woman going to a club for a girl's night).

But, I'm also aware that as active and attractive woman, you will most likely run into this scenario again throughout your life...as many of us did/do.? And you might not have your friend, your friend's boyfriend or anyone else there to protect you.? And because of that, for right or for wrong, I learned that we are safer if we can learn to protect ourselves.

I am not always good at taking care of myself.? And that does not mean that I am responsible for any time a guy crosses the line, but it DOES mean that I have a better chance of being safe.

Does it mean I shouldn't wear perfume, be attractive, dance, drink, go out, wear makeup, let down my guard etc?? Absolutely not.? But, it does mean that I am safer if I am aware of these things and know that I can protect myself if I need to.

It is not right.? But, it still is what it is.? And by being aware of these things and learning to protect myself, I think I actually grant myself more personal freedom.

I applaud you for posting the question.? It's something that happens all the time and we don't really talk much about it.? As I mentioned in my previous reply, I still struggle with assertiveness sometimes.? I also still freeze sometimes.? It's not easy and it's definitely difficult to protect yourself if you're frozen.? Not impossible, but very difficult.
 

healthbound

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Hey g-scared, great post and that's excellent that you had the courage to file a complaint.

I was sexually assaulted by a medical professional and ended up charging and convicting him.

Like you, I wondered why I didn't simply start screaming hysterically or hitting him or something. Instead I completely froze. It was really gross. It was as if my mind didn't even know there was another option. Like I didn't even have a choice. Part of it was that I was so absolutely shocked (similar to Toeless's experience with a City Councillor and your experience with a Professor) that this was even happening. I mean it never even crossed my mind.

Then, the fact that he was a medical professional. I felt like the dumb patient...like, "well, he's the professional. Even though this really doesn't seem right at all, he knows best". It was a chiropractor and correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think there are any bones that need to be cracked in or on any of our sexual organs. He had a fake machine that he used to scan my body with. He told me that it picked up signals that told him where there were problems in my body. While he was using it, he told me about how it helped him find cancer in one of his patients. But, there was no machine found during the investigation...I didn't even "get it" until later that the machine was fake. I think he just used a lamp actually.

The point is...that there are people who take advantage of their power. And this is shocking, scary and concerning. I wish that we could all know that we have every right to stop anyone for anything at anytime --- just based on our intuition. There seem to be similarities between all of our situations where maybe we didn't even realize what was happening at first. G-scared, you were tricked...like I was...and maybe like Toeless was too (with drinks bought or compliments or offers/talk about money/material things).

However, all 3 of us did the best we could in the situation. AND all 3 of us "told" and that is exactly what contributes to helping create more awareness for ourselves and other women about scenarios like these. The more they hear about them, the more they will be able to identify similar situations. They also might remember that there are women who HAVE gone against the grain and "told" and that they can "tell" too.

These things really challenge us in ways we aren't/weren't aware of. But, we can do it and we are doing it.

G-scared, like you, I am deeply grateful that I did what I did because it made the entire town aware of him. I have lots of beautiful cousins who live in that town (there were only 2 chiropractors) and I kept thinking about them and I thought a lot about my sister when I went through the process. I wanted to somehow make amends to my sister and I wanted to protect my cousins. And I did. They may experience something somewhere else, but they will never experience it from that guy. AND they will also forever know that what he did isn't right and that even though there are repercussions, it's absolutely possible and OK to stand up and say, "NO".

I think there is power in seeing or knowing that a woman CAN speak up AND win. Don't get me wrong, there were many many barriers and repercussions. I hear that people still talk about me and how they can't believe that I ruined Dr X's career like that. My family was NOT welcoming to my return when it went to court. In fact my grandfather wouldn't even speak to me. And for as long as I live, I will never forget sitting by myself with my one friend that came with me on one side of the court room while Dr X's entire family and network of friends piled in the room filling up every single seat as well as the standing room against the walls. All I had was a little porcelain frog that I brought with me (my sister's nick name was froggy).

But...I did it. And I'd do it all again if it would even save just one girl.

I feel very strongly that "sex crimes" greatly contributed to my sister's death and frankly, nearly mine as well. These are serious issues and even thought we may not talk openly about it with our friends, I am grateful to have the opportunities to discuss it here.

I'm sorry that I might have hijacked this thread. I didn't realize I had so much to say about it.
 
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All I had was a little porcelain frog that I brought with me (my sister's nick name was froggy).

But...I did it. And I'd do it all again if it would even save just one girl.

That's really great, that you did that, healthbound. :)
 

David Baxter

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Since I'm not a woman, I haven't felt it appropriate to interject into this conversation, and I'm not going to do that now really.

I just want to let all of you know how much I admire all of you, not only for your courage in addressing this issue here but also for what each of you has experienced and overcome, and for what you are still struggling to overcome.

I came across a blog by a woman from Alberta recently and wrote about it here on my blog. Reading this thread I have a similar reaction: It is in small ways and individual acts by courageous and determined individuals that we as a society can create significant changes. That's what I see and admire in all of you.


(Originally, I was just going to say "Wow!" but I thought that would make me sound too much like a hippie.)
 

healthbound

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Thanks Janet:)
(Originally, I was just going to say "Wow!" but I thought that would make me sound too much like a hippie.)
Well, I'm glad you decided to say a bit more.
It is in small ways and individual acts by courageous and determined individuals that we as a society can create significant changes. That's what I see and admire in all of you.
I agree and thank you.
 

Peanut

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Hey Everyone!?
? ? First I want to echo the sentiments of Dr. Baxter and say that you two are really an inspiration.? It seriously sent chills down my spine listening to how both of you stood up for yourselves and took a stand.? And, in a weird way, I felt like I had too by just listening to your guys' (I guess I should say gals'!) experiences.? It feels like there is static electricity coursing through this thread and it feels like a really powerful thing.? When I was reading the thread I thought, this is sisterhood, this is what it's all about (and I have never used the term 'sisterhood' in my entire life!).? ?
? ? Listening to the stories made me realize too, that it's not about who believes you, or who sees it, or even if you can prove it happened...it's about standing up and saying no, this is not ok with me and I will not accept it.?
? ? It also got me thinking too, about saying "I should have done this" vs saying "How can I be more effective next time?"...and next time this happens I think I will be the one to intervene on my own behalf.?
? ? This got me thinking too, about another incident that was lurking in my mind, actually much more than the aforementioned one.? It was an uncle in-law who was also the patriarch of the family (who my husband is even named after).? I didn't want to go to the family party in his honor but it was made abundantly clear to me that I was going to be seeing him one way or another to say hello (even though I had only met him twice before) and if I didn't show up then that there would be arrangements made so that we could "get together" with him.? I went and he was really cool at first, really funny, really great guy, fun to hang out with, but then he got very drunk and he was extremely inappropriate.? ?He touched me all over the place including reaching down the back of my pants.? He tried to play it off by occasionally going around and touching/hugging other people too but it wasn't the same.? What bothered me most is that I didn't say anything.? It makes me cringe to say it, and feel really stupid but I might as well be honest and say that most of the time I either ignored it or I even smiled and tried to keep things light (as if that would make it less inappropriate).? I don't know why because it was a total disaster and I was NOT comfortable with it at ALL.? Boy, that is humiliating to admit.? But anyway, 3/4 of the family left by that time and didn't see it.? Most of the remaining family members pretended like it didn't happen, except for about 3 or 4 people that talked about it afterward.? They talked about how they couldn't believe that HE (the family hero) would do that, BUT it is also apparently supposed to be kept on the down low so his image is not ruined for the whole family.? I've heard from the few family members that acknowledged it that he was blacked out and doesn't remember, but I think he does because he won't talk to my husband anymore.? This happened several months ago, and I still have to sit and listen to how great uncle so and so is doing...he's so successful, smart, happily married, etc.? Oh yea, I almost forgot, one of the really disgusting parts is that his wife saw him start doing this and told him to keep his hands to himself and then disappeared upstairs...he continued this behavior while his wife and child were upstairs sleeping.
? ? At first I didn't want to post this example because I'm told he's really excellent at computers etc, and I thought, what if he comes across it and it hurts his feelings or he thinks I'm exaggerating...but now I think, "Well, the truth hurts, doesn't it?".

I really believe that there is power in numbers and power in speaking out loud and I'm really grateful that you guys did.
 
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At first I didn't want to post this example because I'm told he's really excellent at computers etc, and I thought, what if he comes across it and it hurts his feelings or he thinks I'm exaggerating...but now I think, "Well, the truth hurts, doesn't it?".

That is interesting. I have had similar thoughts about people that I have posted about, worrying and then thinking, maybe if they read how they have affected me then they would get it finally.

What bothered me most is that I didn't say anything.?
Sometimes you're so much in shock over something like that you can't think what to say or do. Because people should not act that way. :(

And there is power in numbers and speaking out. That is very true. :)
 

healthbound

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First I want to echo the sentiments of Dr. Baxter and say that you two are really an inspiration.
He and I also mentioned that it's a good thing that we are all using the forum to discuss and work through some of these things too, so don't forget to pat yourself on the back too :)

It feels like there is static electricity coursing through this thread and it feels like a really powerful thing. When I was reading the thread I thought, this is sisterhood, this is what it's all about (and I have never used the term 'sisterhood' in my entire life!).
Listening to the stories made me realize too, that it's not about who believes you, or who sees it, or even if you can prove it happened...it's about standing up and saying no, this is not ok with me and I will not accept it.
Very well said, Toeless. I can feel it too :). Today I feel proud to be a woman instead of shameful, weak or guilty. What a great experience.

It also got me thinking too, about saying "I should have done this" vs saying "How can I be more effective next time?"...and next time this happens I think I will be the one to intervene on my own behalf.
I like what you said here. Don't forget to also keep that in mind when you think of Uncle Creepy.

What bothered me most is that I didn't say anything. It makes me cringe to say it, and feel really stupid but I might as well be honest and say that most of the time I either ignored it or I even smiled and tried to keep things light (as if that would make it less inappropriate). I don't know why because it was a total disaster and I was NOT comfortable with it at ALL. Boy, that is humiliating to admit.
I can totally relate and judging by what g-scared wrote, she can too. It's a lot of pressure thinking about how everyone "loves Uncle Creepy". Again, those were the times when I felt guilty for just being an attractive woman. Just keep in mind that Uncle Creepy IS creepy and you did what you thought was the best thing at the time. If it ever happens again, you might deal with it differently :).

Oh yea, I almost forgot, one of the really disgusting parts is that his wife saw him start doing this and told him to keep his hands to himself and then disappeared upstairs...he continued this behavior while his wife and child were upstairs sleeping.
Yip. I have seen women that are so far in denial I can't even believe their still functioning. This is not a slag against them, I really don't know how they still function. However, I do understand denial because of my own "freezing" as well as being in a relationship with a man who had at least 2 other relationships going on the side.

Some women will actually consciously "turn a blind eye" as long as their husband continues to stay married to them and/or they continue living the lifestyle they've become accustomed to. Or maybe they "freeze" too. Who knows. It is a very bizarre and sad dynamic though. It seems that women who are married to very successful, "important" or wealthy men do this most. Well, that's actually just my observation. Now that I think about it, I'm sure many women "turn a blind eye" regardless of their social or economical status. Really, a woman only needs to believe that she "can't do any better", "she deserves it" or "all men are like that" to be able to withstand such a hurtful and harmful dynamic.

I know I've withstood some less than ok circumstances periodically for a variety of reasons. Where I struggle is when there are kids involved because basically the parents are teaching boys and girls that men are "allowed" to do that and that women should "accept" it. It perpetuates the cycle.

So, back to saying "no". In the situation where the male is married, there are 2 women who can break the cycle by saying "no". When I found out that my boyfriend was cheating I had a very difficult time breaking out of the relationship ---and staying out. He cried and became very depressed. His family offered to flat out buy us a house. Oh and I'll never forget his step mom telling me that "He's already worth about 3 million dollars". Who cares. My sanity, integrity and example to my son is worth WAY more than that. But in their family, money talks. As it does for many families. He was also claiming he wanted to commit suicide which I thought was a really low blow, but that was what hooked me back. We did a dance of me getting strong and breaking it off again and then him breaking me down and us getting back together again a number of times before I finally made the permanent break (by the way, I wanted to clarify that it wasn't a drunken-one-night-mistake that he had engaged in, but rather multiple visits to his past girlfriend's house (who also knew me and knew they were cheating) as well as similar interactions with another woman I'd never met).

Anyway, for some reason I had it in my mind that I needed to be with him in order to survive. But I'm still surviving and in fact really began to flourish in my career after I finally made the final break.

A couple of months ago he called me to "talk". He'd been dating another single mom who found out he'd been cheating/lying to her aswell. In the end he told me that "She loves me enough to stick with me and work through this" to which my response was, "Well, you're very lucky then and I hope you do work through it". I couldn't do it though. Even IF for some miracle he NEVER cheated again, it would always be in the back of my mind. I would always be a bit suspicious and wonder why he was late or where he was etc etc etc. and that's not fair to me, him or my son. So that was the end of that.

Aaaaand....I've done it again...this time I really rambled. But I guess that's what the forums are about :)

Thank you again Toeless for bringing this up. It's been really nice to talk about these things from a stronger place this time :) :) :)
 

Peanut

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Oh and I'll never forget his step mom telling me that "He's already worth about 3 million dollars".? Who cares.
? Healthbound,? I LOVE that quote of yours...I totally agree...WHO CARES!?

I also love the name, Uncle Creepy!! LOL.? I also forgot to mention that after that family "party" it continued to make things weird.? My husband looks like the uncle and he would grab me in a similar manner.? So then I would tell him, "stop grabbing me like that, it feels just like what your uncle did" and boy, that did not go over.? But eventually he realized that maybe he shouldn't just come up to me and grab me like that either right off the bat.? It's like, how about a hug first?

So then, I wanted to pose this question to you all...what are some good way to tell someone to leave you alone while not being overly aggressive about it?? I want to be friendly but also be able to effectively reject advances when needed.? I was not only wondering this about aggressive guys, but also about nice guys that you just met wherever.? When a nice guy just simply asks for your phone number, and he doesn't ask if your single, or say anything else that opens that door, should you give him the phone number?? What if he just wants to be friends?? If someone (male or female) asks for my phone number I feel wracked with guilt if I don't give it to them.? Of course, I have caller ID so I can just use that, but still!? I always feel like I want to be careful not to make the assumption that the motives are sexual interest, because what if they aren't?? What if the person just wants to make friends??

But I am also interested, as I said above, in exactly what to say when a physically or verbally forward advance occurs, where the motive is obvious?? Maybe if one is prepared with what to say it will be easier to say something.
 

Peanut

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Hey!? I just got back from talking to my therapist about this and I got some insight into when this happens to me, so I thought I would share it here and maybe someone else could relate to it.? He made me realize by the questions he was asking that this being complacent to advances thing occurs when I do not feel in control.? Anyway, for what it's worth I thought I would share it...plus it reminded me of what g-scared said:
I think these feelings of helplessness have a lot to do with a power differential.

Oh yea, and he also answered my other question: no I should not give my phone number out to strangers because I feel bad and don't know what to say.? That was probably really obvious to everyone else judging from the way he looked at me when I told him about what happens (and I also want to add that when I don't know the person that I usually just give my email address instead and don't respond to the emails!).

Plus I forgot to say last time that I really liked what you said healthbound:? ?
Today I feel proud to be a woman instead of shameful, weak or guilty.? What a great experience
? That's how I feel too.?

I don't think I'm going to feel as guilty about rejecting advances now that we have discussed it openly here and also after talking about it with my therapist.? Plus, he wants to talk more about it...a lot more it seemed like.?

It felt SO GOOD to talk about this.
 

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