(This advice assumes you are safe – it is talking about the words you should use when blogging the incident or reporting to some authority after the immediate danger has passed. It is talking about reporting incidents that are in the past. If someone has, say, doxed you and you haven’t cleared up all the address-leaks yet, that’s an ongoing incident that is still happening.)
So we’ve discussed that person on the tube who violates not just personal boundaries – but actual pretty damn common social boundaries on the level of ‘Please don’t steal my wallet’ boundary. You are entitled to tell that guy to ‘Fuck off’ and while in legal terms, it probably isn’t sensible to punch him…I’m not sure I’d fault you too harshly if you do choose to. We’ve also discussed various POVs on the term ‘creep’ – that’s over there if you want to see it. Categories for this series are here, there and everywhere. There’s also this.
(The litmus test for kicking people is probably ‘Is this [not fit for publication] really worth going to jail/prison for?’ since it counts as deadly force in a lot of places)
So let’s talk about the guy who never gropes but still violates some boundaries. And the thing is? You’re not quite sure about him…he doesn’t grope but he stands too close, he never shows up at 3am at your house but he does call you three times after one date. He’s also the lonely on the train who just won’t stop talking despite your headphones-in and ignoring him and general ‘leave-me-alone/don’t-approach-me’ demeanour. There’s another guy who doesn’t get close enough to
So what do we do about this guy? Because let’s face it, the kindest word you could use to accurately describe his behaviour is something along the lines of ‘clingy’ or ‘social limpet’.
This…this is where things get complicated. It really does depend on how you’ve been using ‘creep’ up to this point. You here also includes ‘your social circle’ and ‘your neighbourhood’ and ‘your herd’.
If this is the behaviour that you’ve been using creep for all along, then this guy is what creep means to you so go ahead and call him a creep. If, however, you or your neighbourhood or social circle reserves ‘creep’ for people like Tube Groper #21 then…no, you don’t get to call this guy a creep because you are accusing him of groping. I realise that in the second case, you don’t mean to call him a creep but…tough…you still need to get off his foot.
If this is the kind of guy that you call a ‘creep’ but you know you’re talking to someone who was talking about the Groping Guy then….that gets rather complicated. It probably depends on various other factors like who has what privilege and how historical stuff plays into it (white woman v white man is different in that regard than white woman vs black man.) but the very least that you need to do is clarify your terms ‘creep’ before you start.
The next few ones are about false accusations so there’s that. If you do not want to or cannot reasonably engage with the idea that false accusations do exist then this is where you’re going to want to leave us.