[This post assumes that both genders can be victims of sexual aggression, and examples herein, while grammatically gendered, are not so to demonstrate a gender-specific point. Don't throw brickbats.]
I read in the news today that Neil deGrasse Tyson has been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior by three women. I have no idea whether he is on-spectrum; given his fluency as a communicator, I doubt it. But reading the details got me thinking. One complained that he peeked under the covered part of the shoulder on her sleeveless dress to see a tattoo of the solar system that she had mentioned at a party of the International Astronomical Congress; while she apparently acknowledges it wasn't an assault, she says it shows he is capable of "creepy behavior". Another felt he had given her an "awkward and incredibly intimate handshake". The third, more serious, alleges waking up naked in his graduate student bed in 1984 after blacking out from a drink he had given her, with no memory of what had happened, but assuming he had drugged and raped her. She did file a police report years later, and began blogging about the incident in 2014, the year Tyson began hosting Cosmos on television, 30 years after the alleged event.
I detail these things because I can easily, easily imagine an Aspie committing either of the first two gaffes in utter and complete innocence, and a neurotypical losing his or her wig over it because of a whole suitcase full of assumptions. And then... OMG, #MeToo! The pile-on begins. The suspicion. The pre-judgment. The inquiry. The Trial-by-Twitter.
Is the Aspie, is the HFA, prepared, even equipped to contend with this? Hardly, because it is a social onslaught of NT making. It is warfare on the most hostile possible battlefield.
Now, this is not to say that autistics cannot be guilty of interpersonal offense. Delayed development of social skills may result in inappropriate expression - indeed, "creepy behavior". Auties may not have a neurotypical's appreciation of personal boundaries. Yet there must be some consideration for the difference between willful sexual aggression and aggression without intent.
For example: If a neurotypical 13-year-old boy walked up to a woman and openly touched her breast, there would rightly be consternation and outcry. That boy is old enough to understand that that constitutes a transgression. If an Aspie 13-year-old boy walked up to a woman and openly touched her breast, the degree of his offense would depend on the degree of his autism. He could very well simply be fixated on the shape, or the color of the blouse, or the fact that she as an individual differed from the individual next to her, in a tactile way, and did not process that an investigation was not in order.
A neurotypical bystander, however, would not draw this distinction. Both cases would represent sexual harassment, because the woman would have had the sanctity of her body violated, and her sensibility outraged.
And this is where my question arises with respect to the entire movement: Is there not some point at which a person's sensibilities - in essence, their feelings - must be weighed against other factors to determine whether an action rises to the level of an offense? The Universe is full of upsets; we are not guaranteed to be made constantly happy, not by events, and certainly not by one another. Indeed, that would be an impossibility, because it is seldom possible to make two persons equally happy in a single matter in which both are equally invested. At some point, the offended person must accede to accepting some level of annoyance, discomfort, embarrassment, shame or affront in situations, or we would all be constantly knifing one another for pounds of flesh (and then knifing one another over the knifings).
Was the woman harmed when Mr. Tyson curiously looked at her shoulder? She was not. Was she embarrassed? Possibly. Was she demeaned in front of colleagues? One would have had to be present to know. Did Mr. Tyson act out of salacious intent, or simply because he couldn't resist looking at an image of the solar system? One would have to know him well to say, but his body of public life and work suggests the latter.
Was the woman harmed by being creeped out by his handshake? She was not. Was she made to feel uncomfortable about further workplace interaction with him as a result? Ah! Here, one may come to differing views. In my view, she was not made to do so; she chose to do so. She did not address the issue in a positive-affirmative manner saying, "I'm sorry, that made me feel uncomfortable" and I would prefer to keep our relationship purely professional", thus giving him an opportunity to back gracefully away. She instead took the offense and ran with it, informing him that the next day would be her last day at work. She elevated the value of her own sensibility to a level higher than both the value of her job or the value of the fairness she owed to another human being. To my mind, she fails the test for sympathy.
Because autistics so frequently are unable to relate to neurotypicals on an emotional level - i.e., the level of sensibilities - the possibility of negotiating understanding in this sphere is limited. That suggests the likelihood that autistics may tend to stumble more frequently in this arena of social conduct, and to fare poorly under a neurotypical lens when confronted.
Perhaps, #MeNToo would be more accurate?
Edited to add: Never mind the #MeNToo idea - I can already hear the fits being thrown because it looks like “men too”.
I kind of made this account on a whim at 3 in the morning on a thursday but i guess i just want to rant
Ive been clean for about two years no sometimes i did little things to hurt myself but nothing i never considered that """self harm""" i guess because i couldnt get in trouble for it// I relapsed for real last weekend and while i was doing it i liked it and it "took me back" i guess// But now i regret it so much, the florida summer is not forgiving and ive been wearing thick crewnecks every day// i forgot how much the aftermath sucked but i still want to do it again// Ive been seeking out triggering content nearly every day stuff on instagram mostly// Its not helping and im getting more depressed every day// I was supposed to hang out with my friend before he left for Europe but i canceled because i was so anxious to leave the house also to go to his house alone// Ive been canceling plans a week in advance, that ive had planned for weeks// i left my house yesterday to go the mall and wondered around for 2 hours alone// mostly this is a rant about how shitty ive been feeling for the past week. sorry// probably never going to post again idk
Recently I had a bought of noise that I wasn't able to fight off well due to being distracted by a personal issue. Of course, the reason I lost footing in the first place was because of the mildly stressful issue.
What I am wondering, is if there is a better way to distract the voices.
I am usually able to mute them by using foundational logic to win. But, when something has me questioning my beliefs in my choices and actions (which is irritatingly easy to do), I am at their mercy. I used to have 'good' voices that would hold my body back from doing anything physically because of the 'bad' voices. I had cleaned them all out a while back while trying to get better. This has left me openly exposed for these sudden surprise attacks on my sanity. I don't want to rely on 'good' voices anymore. This has been used against me in the past for me to psychologically manipulate myself into living how I wanted to myself to live. I hated that. It wasn't only me manipulating myself. It was crazy. I don't even know if it was me doing that to myself or if it was one of the 'bad' voices in particular who had a name. I don't want to believe that he could do that, so I try to say it was myself. It would be impossible for it to be myself manipulating myself... But, this is currently the only way I can move on until I can find actual help.
Sorry about that weird spiral. Yesterday I scratched the word "mistake" into my arm while arguing with the voices and coming up at loss in the battle for a while. While in conversation, I am lost in thought fighting, when I lose something else can get control of my body. I forgot to have a notepad and pencil ready. They so want to make their mark on reality that they will carve their words onto or into anything. I've put up quite a few psychological stops over the years that prevented self harm, but a lot of those were linked to the 'good' voices who would battle with positive noise against the negative noise. One of the other stops I've made is the use of the cyrillic alphabet instead of the latin alphabet with any written discussion having to do with my voices so that they are forced to translate the letters over. This means the word "mistake" was scratched into my arm in cyrillic letters. This used to slow the majority of them down, but not anymore. I've also forgotten the numb feeling and the weird sensation gotten by pain that makes it through the haze, because it no longer registers as pain. I used to use the boiling frog hot water method as a means for pain management due to a chronic condition. Either that or hot wax. I have forgotten all of these important things until now as I write this. It makes me feel pretty stupid for forgetting all of this and getting so comfy thinking I was getting better.
There has got to be a better way to distract the voices and win than to rely on honing 'good' voices. I don't want to rely on voices to fight voices when I am powerless. I want to find a physical means, something more real to help.