How to react when you hear low-key ignorant comments about sexual harassment

AKA “better responses than calling them an insufferable twat” (but sometimes that works too).

ICYMI (where the hell have you been?!), sexual harassment allegations have pretty much taken over Hollywood. Movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp have dominated the headlines and garner more momentum by the second. Huge names stand accused of seriously shitty behaviour with more and more victims coming forward in their droves. See here, here, here (we could go on…)

In turn, it's thrust a spotlight on sexual harassment for us Average Joes and has brought about some much-needed discussion about sexual harassment.
However, with great discussion comes great douchebaggery (a wise prophet once said. Probably).

Seems in a post-Weinstein world, there is still a heck of a lot of confusion over what constitutes harassment and even consent. And why the fuck are we still debating what a woman is wearing in 2018?

But a pressure-cooker topic like harassment requires more than a "Piss Off" response - although it's sometimes the most satisfying.
So we've created a handy little guide of responses to intolerant/dumb/misogynistic remarks about sexual harassment. We have a feeling you're gonna need them…

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COMMENT: "But she's always got her tits out"

WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY: "'Cos they're HER fucking tits, and she can do whatever she wants with them."

WHAT YOU SHOULD SAY: "Isn't this the oldest victim-blaming response in the book?! You never hear someone say, 'Oh well if he didn't want to be murdered, he shouldn't have worn a jumper,' and that's because that's a ridiculous and unfair thing to say. Can you at least try and apply the same logic to sexual assault victims and treat them with the same respect? — Nobody should have to police their clothing to prevent an attack. This is categorically not their fault."

COMMENT: "But hadn't they hooked up before?"

WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY: "Didn't you shit yourself as baby? Doesn't mean you want to do it now."

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WHAT YOU SHOULD SAY: "Just because you've slept with someone before, it doesn't mean you want to be harassed by them now. Haven't you ever had an ex you'd rather stay the hell away from? People change, have different priorities and want to do different things. The same rules apply to sex and consent: You shagged them once a while back, but you don't want to now. You just had sex five minutes ago, but now you really don't want to because you're in pain or the person you were sleeping with has freaked you out. You always reserve the right to say no. Just because she said yes once, doesn't mean it's a copy and paste, apply to all situations for the rest of her life. That's ludicrous."

COMMENT: "Flattery is the new sexual harassment these days."


WHAT YOU SHOULD SAY: "Nope, soz. Not buying what you're selling. Flattery is giving someone a compliment and leaving it at that. Flattery can turn to harassment when that person keeps on pestering, and 'complimenting', and demanding a response. No one ever got in trouble for saying 'That is a lovely dress,' but they could for saying, 'That's a lovely dress. It'd look better on my floor though. Oh, you didn't like that? Why won't you smile? You'd look so much prettier when you smile. Why won't you look at me? Fucking look at me you stupid whore!' You see that, Barry, see how things got out of control when she didn't even provoke him?"

COMMENT: "She led him on by allowing him to buy her a drink."

WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY: "Are you shitting me?!"

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WHAT YOU SHOULD SAY: "What you're doing there is valuing her time, attention and right to not be harassed at the cost of a drink. Does $8 gain you entry to a five-star hotel? Whether he's 'invested' a drink or two into trying to pull her or not, she doesn't deserve to feel unsafe, uncomfortable or abused."

COMMENT: "Girls always play hard to get."

WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY: "She's trying to shake you off, dickhead."

WHAT YOU SHOULD SAY: "This one is real simple – If you can't read non-verbal clues (like her turning away from you – although you'd really think that would do it) and you haven't had any indication or a vocal 'yes' then always assume it's a 'no'. Capiche?"

COMMENT: "Why didn't she tell him where to go?"

WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY: "Goddammit Gump you're a goddamn genius."."

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WHAT YOU SHOULD SAY: "Have you ever been in a room with someone who is twice your size, who is aggressive and intimidating? The last thing you want to do to them is piss them off, because you're shit scared about what they could do to you. Sometimes you get trapped in a situation that you simply can't control and so as much as you'd rather be anywhere else, you can't physically leave. No victim ever chooses to be harassed. Please don't ever forget that."

COMMENT: "She's just being dramatic."

WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY: "I wish we could Black Mirror this shit so that you get to experience how scary of a situation she was in."

WHAT YOU SHOULD SAY: "Sexual harassment, is extremely difficult to talk about, and so many victims stay silent out of fear of the repercussions and the shame associated with it. It is quite likely that she has been battling this for quite some time, and is already lessening the details of her story to save face and protect her attacker — which is something that happens after years and years of witnessing victim-shaming and blaming (see aforementioned responses…). , Even talking about sexual harassment can be triggering for some victims, so tread carefully and always speak with consideration and respect."

If you or anyone you know has experienced sexual misconduct or assault, help and support can be found at White Ribbon or 1800RESPECT.

If you would like to donate to the TIME'S UP initiative, which provides legal aid and funding for people who have experienced sexual harassment, assault or abuse, visit its GoFundMe page here.