Does this unpublished story say violence is okay?

Hello all!

I’ve been sitting on this story all morning wondering if it belongs in the Not Always Friendly feed or not. It’s about a creeper getting a bit of comeuppance, but it’s also carried out through violence and theft. Should we publish it? The completely unedited story is below:

Convention, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

My friend is a crossplayer. He’s a guy, and he identifies as male, but he dresses as female anime characters for conventions. I’m a woman.

We’re at Gencon together. My friend and I separate for a bit because we want to go see different panels. One girl warns me that a creep has been harassing women near where my friend is seeing his pannel. I make note of it, and text him a warning. He texts back that ‘I know’ and ‘We should probably leave now’

I head back to the car to meet him. I’m a little upset that we’re cutting this day short, tickets are expensive, so I demand that he explain what happened.

“Well” he said “This guy started catcalling me. I didn’t realize he was talking to me because he kept saying girl this and girl that. He got in my face and demanded I pay attention to him, then waved a fifty dollar bill under my nose and said he’d pay me fifty dollars if I showed him my pussy”

“So… what did you do, flash him your dick?” I asked.

“No.” My friend said “I punched him, grabbed the fifty dollars, and ran away.”

We then returned to the hotel, and we got my friend into men’s clothing and washed off his makeup, so he’d be unrecognizable, then returned to GenCon. Security was heightened when we got back, but we weren’t sure if that was because of presence the creeper, or if that was because my friend punched the creeper.

The OP makes no judgement on the actions, so the story doesn’t say if violence in these circumstances are fine; that will be up to ghe commentators, and they will be vocal about it.

As to whether you post it, put it in unfiltered, or decide not to publish it at all depends on how much heat you think the site can take.

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I have to admit that I find these questions a bit odd, the story included a violent event. It doesn’t revel in the telling of it or include a moral commentary so the ethics are left entirely to the reader to decide. Therefore, it literally doesn’t say anywhere whether the actions were right or wrong.

However, as Stephen has pointed out, it will no doubt lead to a heated debate. I can think of at least one person who will say that the creep got what they deserved whilst others will say that OP’s friend should have left and got security.

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I agree with the others; I don’t think the story itself says that violence is OK, but the comment section will be… combative :slight_smile:

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I don’t think it’s actually saying violence is okay, otherwise they wouldn’t have left to change his appearance. But it WILL raise discussions for sure.

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Yeah, it doesn’t say* violence is OK, but it is a “both parties suck here” situation. Creep is creep, but it also says bad things about OP’s friend that he thought punching the creep and especially taking the money is an OK response, instead of just, for example, bluntly telling the creep “dude, leave the women alone and BTW, I’m a guy” or something.

*That said, there’s no indication OP even reprimanded her friend for what is basically assault and theft, so she might implicitly condone it.

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I think it does condone the violence. OP doesn’t seem surprised, upset or annoyed at the friend’s violence, and in fact helps them evade consequences for it by changing back into street outfits snd running off. It takes some credulity to believe that OP “isn’t sure” if security is looking for violent friend or creepy guy - it takes very little to realise they are more likely looking for someone outwardly violent than ‘just harassing women’ (because security tends to be sexist and more concerned about punches than creepy comments).

The OP just made things worse for the harassed women by making security and the organisers focus on one violent crossplayer, rather than the fact that a creep was continuously harassing women and nothing was done about it.

Both parties are wrong, but I can’t say that the OP comes off any better either. They don’t sound scared of the creep or even scared of their friend, just indifferent and unwilling to care about consequences when it happens to be their ‘friend’ doing the wrong thing.

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I think OP is complicit (they might even fit the legal definition of an accomplice dependent on local legislation) since they didn’t report what was basically their friend mugging somebody and helped them disguise themselves (ironically by removing their costume).

However they don’t defend their actions or offer any justification - it’s just presented as something that happened. Hence why I don’t see it as explicitly condoning the violence but I see your point that the silence is implicit endorsement.

If published the debates will certainly be heated.

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I dunno. If my friend ran up to me and said “I just punched a guy cause he was sexually harassing me”, and they started pulling me upstairs to change and run off… my instinct would not be to follow along. I might initially in shock but from then on I’d pull back and say “hang on… why are we running away?” I can understand being freaked out, but I would hope that myself and any friend of mine would quickly realise that it happened in the heat of the moment, stop and go back to deal with the consequences - and by pointing out that it was a little in self defense.

To run, change, leave the place entirely and then post the story on a website? You’re right it doesn’t explicitly condone the violence but it does go out of its way to make it seem like it was ‘just a weird thing that happened once, like the time you accidentally broke a vase. You don’t necessarily make a good decision to break the vase, but you do make decisions later to tell someone or buy a new one or apologise.

It just makes me feel like the OP is implicitly condoning it because there’s no sense that either them or their friend acknowledged that it wasn’t “this weird thing that happened” but a criminal act they got away with.

There’s no attempt at questioning the reaction, no suggestion of “this happened and in hindsight we should have talked to security”… it’s actually the lack of justification and the objectivity of the tone that bothers me. It doesn’t leave it up to the readers, it tells us we should just nod along as well.

Returning to my first para: if a friend punched someone and stole their money, regardless of the preceding actions leading up to it, it would bother me. Even more knowing I had helped the friend avoid dealing with the fallout. After it all happens, I’m sorry but I’m apologising, I’m telling the truth and I would likely lose a friend because they think it’s better to run than admit they screwed up in the heat of the moment. I would also be really worried about the other women, and the potential for this guy’s activities to be ignored or dismissed because he’s now framed as the victim, security will now not believe anything anyone else more than likely, and everyone else might be too scared to come forward. So the guy might just keep harassing women because security is now convinced he did nothing to deserve being punched. I’d be upset that my friend is that selfish that they don’t think about the consequences to other victims.

Or to put it another way: ignore the preamble about the creepy guy being a creep to everyone. It’s just “my friend was being hit on by some guy and instead of telling staff he decided to punch the guy and steal his stuff and I helped him run away”.

We’re supposed to empathise with the friend because of the way the story is framed (the guy he hit was a habitual creep). We’re supposed to do the same as the OP, let the friend off the hook. I can understand that you might be taken surprise and find yourself doing something you might not normally do out of fear of safety… but the point at which you run off and tell the internet rather than the authorities… sorry, that’s just weird to me.

We agree mostly, I’m just talking nuance here :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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I’m almost definitely overthinking this but I see the question from two main perspectives:

  1. That of the OP - they don’t condemn their friend’s actions and, you’re right, although no moral judgement is offered in the narrative the act of posting it to NAR could imply that they think their friend’s actions were justified under the circumstances.

  2. The NAR editors - the act of publishing a story which features a violent event does not mean that the editors condone the actions within it.

I suppose they could hedge their bets and include a disclaimer to that effect at the start.

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At the risk of starting to become that hypothetical comment section… my instinct would be to follow along because nobody ever takes sexual harassment seriously. I would not advise any friend of mine to go back and face consequences, because I know the creep’s harassment would be trivialised and ignored, so the ‘consequences’ would not be fair ones.

That wouldn’t necessarily mean I approved of their actions (OK, maybe the punching, but not the theft). Only that I thought that any official consequences for those actions would be disproportionate and one-sided.

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The argument I see to “justify” taking the $50 is to prevent the creep from trying it on other guests, but… is it wrong for him to have his fun, if he can pay for it… I can’t decide.

I can’t help but notice the line ‘he got in my face’ and that the harasser waved the bill ‘under his nose’

Normally that might be considered self defense. The posters’ friend’s personal space has been violated.

Typically these ‘pay attention to me damnit’ events involve physical contact as well, in my personal experience.

The theft of the money, well, if the friend panicked that makes sense too, as a panic event

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Fair point. I can understand running away because I’m afraid of more harassment. I guess I’m more the type to speak up regardless, because I know if I don’t maybe no one else will. (That’s not to say I think other people should, people should definitely do what they’re comfortable with, and I very much side with victims protecting themselves first - only that my viewpoint clouded me from remembering not everyone thinks or feels my way ;))

I still find it strange though to run away and then post it here. Again, that may just be me :wink:

OP’s friend only told them they hit someone after they both left the convention.
Knowing how expensive those tickets are, I don’t really see OP returning to the convention with a ‘plain clothed’ so to speak friend as condoning the actions; that was OP making the most of their tickets.

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I still disagree, but respect the fact that other people would make other decisions :woman_shrugging:

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It occurs to me that ‘trans panic’ is still a defense in court cases. telling the catcaller that he was a guy could have gotten op’s friend to death or otherwise murdered. Especially in Indiana

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