Pervocracy: The Missing Stair Analogy
I rarely post just to say, “go read this,” but this is exceptionally worth reading right away. Cliff Pervocracy wrote not long ago about a rapist in the local kink community, and it turned out, nobody seemed confused about who was being referenced:
When I posted about a rapist in a community I belonged to, although I gave almost no details about the guy except “he’s a rapist,” I immediately got several emails from other members of that community saying “oh, you must mean X.” Everyoneknew who he was! Tons of people, including several in the leadership, instantly knew who I meant. The reaction wasn’t “there’s a rapist among us!?!” but “oh hey, I bet you’re talking about our local rapist.” Several of them expressed regret that I hadn’t been warned about him beforehand, because they tried to discreetly tell new people about this guy. Others talked about how they tried to make sure there was someone keeping an eye on him at parties, because he was fine so long as someone remembered to assign him a Rape Babysitter.
People had gotten so used to working around this guy, to accommodating his “special requirements,” that they didn’t feel like there was an urgent problem in their community. They did eventually expel him, but it was after months of it being widely shared knowledge that he was a rapist and had done other unethical sexual things as well.
Cliff’s take is that it’s like visiting in a house with a broken stair. Everyone there may have learned to jump over it, to work around the problem to the point where it seems kind of normal. I think the analogy is terrific, and go read the rest over there.