Aug 8, 2012
Alex Dally MacFarlane

Read this. Go.

#322 & #323 “My friend group has a case of the Creepy Dude. How do we clear that up?”

This is one of the best discussions of sexual harassment and assault I have read.

I find it interesting that in the past five years I’ve shifted my social circles so that I am predominantly hanging out with other women. Because, see, I spent two years at school doing this: “Some of the woman decide to just quietly put up with [being sexually harassed], because they’ve learned that no one will really side with them and it’s easier to go along than to lose one’s entire community.” And I don’t really want to do it again.

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  • I read this the other day, funnily enough just before I went on a night out with my very own creepy friend. It was the first time I’d seen him since a string of unpleasant revelations from two female friends and my girlfriend in the last couple of weeks. The scales have fallen from my eyes a bit and I ended up walking out quite abruptly.

    One thing which the piece doesn’t really touch on, and which has always troubled me about my own creepy friend, is the extent to which he implicates other people in his pervery. For example, when I opted out of appearing in a show a while back, he told me: “You should have auditioned. I did a scene with [female friend of mine, then aged 16] and she was jumping up and down a lot. You’d have loved it.

    Even then, before I knew a few things I know now about him, I wasn’t having that: “Dude, she’s literally half my age and a good mate, that’s not cool.” To which, of course he was suddenly ‘only joking’.

    But his comment and other similar comments designed to legitimise his behaviour by implicating me in it, really rankled. It made me start to think that I couldn’t be friends with the young actress in question, it made me question my own motives in being her friend. It poisoned my friendship with her, a bit.

    Another regular thing was the conspiratorial conversations during performances about how he’d seen some actress getting changed. I used to actually laugh in his face at those; it’s a given of amateur dramatics that everyone has seen everyone else in their pants. It’s another given of amateur dramatics that absolutely no one looks sexy when trying to struggle into a tattered costume while in their pants. Looking back, it was more than a puppydog excitement that he’d seen a white strap (or better still, apparently, a black strap), though, he was trying to get myself, and others, to buy into his gawking and thereby legitimise it.

    So I’ve long been uneasy with this stuff from creepy dude. And when two close female friends (including the very young actress) separately told me some really not cool stuff, which was then compounded by a bit more not cool stuff from my girlfriend… I did not want to hang around with this guy any more. I don’t want to be associated with him, I don’t want people I meet thinking I agree with or approve of anything he says about women. I really don’t understand any bloke who would cling to the ‘but he’s a really great guy’ argument. I want him gone, end of.

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