I didn’t follow Ky, @explodedsoda, on Twitter until Tuesday, and so I am certainly not claiming to know her. I knew of her, and I had seen her retweeted many times by a few of my other Twitter followers. But it doesn’t matter if I know her or not, I can still be angry about what happened to her at PAX and the reaction she’s gotten from a few commentators.
If you don’t know what happened, I suggest you read this post first, but basically, she was drunk and tired at a late night party at PAX (not an official PAX party, but a private party that took place during PAX Prime), sat down apart from her friends to rest, and was harassed by a creeper who then grabbed her hand and forced her to touch his penis. Understandably, she was weirded out and embarrassed and wasn’t quite sure what to do.
But a lot of people seem to be missing the point.
First of all, a woman, or anyone really, should be able to sit down by themselves and not feel like they have to make polite small talk with strangers if they don’t want to. A woman should be able to get drunk and dance without having to worry about being harassed or assaulted. I’m not saying to not be cautious, but I shouldn’t have to worry about some douchebag sexually harassing me if I want to get wasted that night. I don’t DESERVE to be assaulted if I get drunk. I am NOT asking for it because I was drinking. My judgement may be impaired, but this doesn’t mean it’s MY FAULT if some asshole gropes me or forces me to do something I don’t want to.
Secondly, Ky is not overreacting. Several of the comments seem to assume that she is playing herself off as some kind of tragic rape victim who now has PTSD. All she said was that she was upset. She was embarrassed and felt awkward and weird and unsure of what to do. She went to her friends and tried to shake it off, but something like that is not going to go away easily, and so she cried in a taxi and wrote a blog post. As shitty as the situation is, she is certainly not acting like a weepy, traumatized victim. She’s allowed to feel weird and uncomfortable, people! IT WAS A WEIRD THING THAT HAPPENED. Have you ever been forced to touch a creepy stranger’s penis? If you have, you will probably agree that it is not an awesome thing.
When I was fourteen, I was on vacation with my family at the beach. It was a very quiet beach, and we had been going there since I was six years old. I took a walk by myself and while I was out there, I passed a man, probably in his twenties at the time, and we gave each a nod and continued our separate ways. A couple seconds after I passed him, I heard him say something and so I turned, and when I looked he had his dick out and was flopping it at me as he shouted an address, presumably so I could come find him and his floppy dick later. It was the day before my fifteenth birthday, and that’s always how I remember that birthday now. It was weird and I was mortified and I told one friend about it later and ignored the whole incident. I’m not calling myself a victim, I don’t give a fuck about that guy, and I am certainly not traumatized by any of it. But it was freaking weird, okay? I didn’t like it, and it should be okay for me to be a little bit upset about what happened to me, just as it should be more than okay for Ky to be upset about what happened to her. If you think her relatively normal response is an overreaction, you need some lessons in emotions.
Which ties in a bit to the, “Why didn’t you scream and run and immediately find the police?! Or punch him!” issue. It’s emotional. You feel weird and embarrassed, and you kind of just want to forget it. It’s a bit like how you always think of that great comeback hours after you fight with someone. You start thinking, “I should have punched him right in that dick he made me touch,” or “Maybe I should call the cops, because now I really feel grossed out about what happened.” I admire people who can make clearheaded and confident decisions like these right away. Because I cannot. I ignore what is happening and then later when I get pissed about it, I want to do something. And yes, maybe she should have immediately gone to the police with her issue. But I don’t blame her for hesitating and not wanting to, especially if she got a less than desirable reaction from security. And like she said, she also didn’t want to cause a huge scene, and punching the guy may have gotten her a violent response in return.
None of this is about gaming. It’s not about gamer culture. It’s not about her being a girl that plays games, or about PAX Prime, or gaming stereotypes. It’s about a girl at a party who was sexually harassed by a guy at the same party. It could have happened anywhere, to anyone. The details are irrelevant. When a person you don’t know starts showing you creepy photos of people’s body parts and talking about genitalia before whipping their own out and forcing you to touch it, that’s sexual harassment. Brushing it off as “no big deal” and telling people they are overreacting for talking about and feeling mortified by their experiences is a dangerous mindset. At the very least, he’s guilty of public indecency or exposure. Ky’s right to feel the way she does, and I am more than willing to have fisticuffs at dawn with any of her opponents. Or at least punch some dicks.