"Jesurgislac," apparently a young woman in the UK, had a recent incident with a guy whose actions scared her, but who didn't mean her any harm and who accepted "no" for an answer - when she finally gave it in so many words.
In a nutshell, that evening he apparently saw her walking past a pub he was in, whistled at her and when she didn't respond, came out and followed her. He accosted her from behind in a dark, lonely segment of a deserted area - to invite her to come back with him for a drink. She was not interested - in the same sense that the Atlantic Ocean contains water. She was scared of what he might have intended to do, in fact. But when she told him to buzz off and go back where he came from, he did.
We'll probably never know whether or not that guy is an Aspie. For that matter, more than a few NT men have difficulty understanding how their actions affect women in the opposite way from what they intended. One could think "Hey, it would be nice to have a drink with her, I know I won't lay a glove on her, so nothing to lose if I just go up to her and ask her to join me".
Some guys - but especially Aspies - can easily lose sight of certain subtle differences here: she was not already in the pub, in fact she did not even notice the guy, it was at night, and he not only followed her but also happened to choose a very dark and deserted place to approach her. Under those circumstances, of course she's unlikely to respond the same way as if, say, he had approached her in broad daylight face-to-face at, say, a laundromat. Or even as if she had already been drinking in the pub.
Kudos to Jesurgislac for making crystal-clear that this guy, despite some outward similarities, was not a stalker. Even though he did approach her in the same way that a criminal who wanted to scare her would have, when she said "no" he accepted it without a problem.
It certainly would be very good if more people, especially women, would - where possible and reasonable - first try saying "no" in so many words instead of immediately calling the authorities. I have no doubt that many guys, Aspie and even NT, whose actions may seem offensive or even scary, and who may not grasp subtle hints that their attentions are unwanted, would be happy to leave alone anyone who specifically said "no".
At the same time, it would also be very good if people, especially (but not only) men - and in particular Aspies - would take a good hard look at how we're acting, especially (but not only) towards women. We need to ask ourselves "Given that she doesn't know anything about me, would she have reason to fear that I might harm her or might even be trying to scare her if I approach her in this way?"
There are many little factors, as we've seen, which separate pleasurable social interaction from what many consider to be harassment or even stalking. For example: What time of day is it? Are there other people around? Is she just trying to get from Point A to Point B without necessarily trying to attract any attention? Would I be following her a significant distance (and thus might it look like I'm choosing a specific spot to approach her, maybe because it's dark and lonely or because I have a weapon or hiding place there)?
And of course, we - especially (but not only) female Aspies - need to take account of thse factors, too, so as to try to avoid actual robbers, rapists and murderers.
The good news is, we're Aspies - remember, we have an eye for detail. We can learn these things and then put our lessons to work.
Yes, we should encourage more women to take a moderate approach like Jesurgislac. We also need to encourage one another to learn the social cues, especially from women's perspectives, and then do everything we can to separate ourselves behaviorally from harassers, stalkers and worse characters.
Not only will other people be spared unnecessary fear, and not only will we be spared unnecessary attention and even arrests for alleged harassment and stalking...but also, the more we conduct ourselves with close attention to women's social cues and pay attention to their feelings, the more friends we may make and the sooner we just might wind up with the loves of our lives. Win-win all around.
PS: Hat-tip to Marcella Chester, a rape survivor advocate (and a rape survivor herself), for including a pointer to Jesurgislac's post in her recent Carnival Against Sexual Violence.
Hour 4: What do you want? Look at your goals.
8 years ago