34 Comments

This is incredibly common even in literal child SA cases. The number of times I've had to read how communities and families rally around abusers is sickening.

The most common phrase is "innocent until proven guilty." Is it used as it's supposed to be as in a court of law before a conviction? No. It's always used in the face of the allegations. And so abusers get the benefit of the doubt over victims over and over and over again.

Expand full comment
founding

When my daughter was in daycare in the nineties, there was this protocol that when a child was hurt by another child, the two of them had to hug and make up. It wasn’t just my daycare, either. When my nephew bit my daughter, my SIL told my nephew to hug my daughter. I scooped up my kid and left. I told my daughter that she never had to hug anyone who hurt her. I think a whole generation of victims might have been created by that stupid policy. It made the perpetrator feel great and left the victim confused and hurt.

Expand full comment

This is so despicable. Thank you for highlighting this article that is beyond inappropriate. So disheartening. I hope enough people complain and write in that they have to issue an apology!!!! Just inexcusable reporting...

Expand full comment

Thank you for this, as the Cut piece was absolutely rage-inducing. It especially did not help matters that my daughter is named Fiona.

The part that especially sent me over the edge was the indignation so many people had that he ended up on a bathroom list of boys at the school to avoid? Like yes, if a teenage boy shows nudes given to him by his girlfriend, other girls should know that he is not a person to be trusted with intimate details/knowledge of them.

Expand full comment

Consequences. Appropriate consequences. Since there were none provided by the adults around them, the girls had to come up with their own solution to protect and empower themselves. Self-defence in the absence of effective authority.

Expand full comment

Thank you. Her descriptions of Fiona gave me the ick.

Expand full comment

And it’s calling from inside the house, too. That’s what’s killing me. It’s not just out there. It’s everywhere. I’m increasingly stymied and speechless. Grateful to have this column to speak for me when I’m agape.

Expand full comment

In what seems to be an unhappy time, this column gives me new heart. This article particularly is so clear-headed and well put: it calls out the bad assumptions we see around us.

Thank you Jessica.

Expand full comment

I am a subscriber to New York magazine and started reading the article this morning. I only got a few paragraphs in when I started to think "WTF?" Thank you Jessica for once again having the presence of mind to dissect insidious misogynistic bias in mainstream media, because I couldn't get much further than the phrase "psychedelically beautiful" and the author's casual mention of Diego's "mistake."

Expand full comment

Thank you for saying this. I want to scream.

Expand full comment

Is this related? Maybe:

I have an adult male person in my life. We are related. I do not remember ever meeting him (such is a large family). He is interning at my company. I have had no fewer than 3 female relatives reach out (directly and - mortifyingly - indirectly) to me about his internship. Again, this person is an adult. He has not reached out to me.

Have I reached out to him? Have I helped him? No, I will not reach out. I have a job and this is a grown man. I am on LinkedIn. He has my number. He is at the company and can find me on the internal directory. I am not avoiding anyone. He simply has not reached out.

Why are adult women expected to help this grown man foster a potentially professionally beneficial relationship? Oh, readers, the rage I endure when I get these passive-aggressive comments from my female relatives ‘’wondering’” why I haven’t made the first move. And you know what I say?

I tell them I would be HORRIFIED if a bunch of relatives had to help me send an email to a potential contact. He should be too. And if he needs that, I do not want him working here.

This shuts them down ASAP. And I sleep very well at night.

Expand full comment

So the female relatives think you should engage in nepotism? I would think you know the company well enough to have a sense of what is appropriate and what isn’t within the company walls. Especially since you have never met him and have had no opportunity to form your own judgement. This isn’t a family barbecue, it is where you work. Your relatives interference is really inappropriate.

Expand full comment
Comment deleted
Expand full comment
Jun 23, 2022·edited Jun 23, 2022

The Oxford English Dictionary definition of nepotism: the favouring of relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs. The OED definition doesn’t exclude other forms of favouritism.

The situation is exactly as deep as it is complicated. In any organization there will be nuances to the interpersonal relationships of the personnel. There are obvious, more universal influences like hierarchy and length of time in the organization. There will also likely be nuances individual to an organization due to past history and precedence, as well as the effects of individual personalities. You or I can set up scenarios where recognizing a relative is beneficial or where that would create the worst possible outcome for the old hand or the newcomer or the health of the organization as a whole. We aren’t there so we don’t know the reality in this case. I am more likely to accept the view of the person who has been inside the organization for a number of years compared to someone outside looking in, like the interfering relatives. All of this also applies to families, and the bigger the family the more nuances to navigate. Many many stories have been written about families and their dynamics. And schools, as you know. When harsh judgements are made without knowing all the facts, the resulting unkind words and behaviour will be felt as bullying, rather than the constructive input that might have been intended.

Expand full comment
founding

Yes, I think it's related. Having our expectations for men being no higher than for children, and having women cover for them. We see what the results of that are.

Expand full comment

What a disgrace. And she has two teenagers daughters of her own, according to her website.

So so so fucking gross.

Expand full comment

Seriously how does garbage like this get published in New York magazine? How many editors signed off on this?

Expand full comment

In addition to winging (justifiable, of course), write letters to the editor of that magazine. Perhaps that will change their nasty writing. OAM, I was guilty of bad behaviour, and my mother told me to stop. I unconsciously would reject women who had become attached. At least it was not the celebratory "Love them and leave them." , but the result of my being sent to a nunnery at two, by order of the Parisian government. They thought to avoid the fear of bombardment. Think of the harm to the thousands of children sent out of London. That harm is recounted in some English TV shows. I recovered, as a result of being a nannie for a psychiatrist's children, and finding a wise and wonderful third grade teacher.

Expand full comment
founding

That none of those that signed off on this thought this was wrong says everything that is not right.

Expand full comment
founding

[PRIMAL SCREAM]

It looks to me like what all of these bad takes have in common is a core belief that it's not possible for boys and men to change, so therefore we have to make all these concessions.

Why is that belief so persistent?

And I really hate to add this, but, it's especially frustrating when the bad takes come from women. Men are the problem, but when women take the side of the abuser, for whatever reason, it lends the argument a credibility that it wouldn't have if it were only men making it. At least that's the way I perceive it.

On the one hand I would love to see what you've written here make some big waves, but on the other hand I think back to your last piece and how it would probably bring you lots more hate and abuse. Sigh.

Expand full comment
Jun 21, 2022·edited Jun 21, 2022Liked by Jessica Valenti

This is a brilliant take. As a mother of two teen girls, I see this kind of coddling and excusing of boys' abusive conduct all the time. Thank you, as always, for your voice.

Expand full comment
author

Thank you! I really, really wish I didn't have to write it

Expand full comment
Jun 21, 2022Liked by Jessica Valenti

This is such fuckshit and I am so mad.

Expand full comment
author

oh i had to take a walk and calm down before I wrote this

Expand full comment