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[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?

Thoughts?

Edited to add: Never mind the #MeNToo idea - I can already hear the fits being thrown because it looks like “men too”. :brooding:

 

Edited by Cerberus
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7 hours ago, Cerberus said:

Was the woman harmed by being creeped out by his handshake? She was not. 

I am, irreducibly, both female and autistic. Change either of those characteristics and I would be an entirely different person. I would not be “Me, just a guy,” I would be someone else.

The autistic of me thinks sheepishly of all the times I’ve made someone uncomfortable with a badly botched or utterly failed social interaction. And the woman of me knows full well it is entirely possible to be harmed by a creepy handshake (or an overeager hand up your sleeve). No, he didn’t wrench off her arm and leave her bleeding to death on the floor. 

But here’s the story of the “creepy handshake” in its entirety:

https://thinkprogress.org/neil-degrasse-tyson-sexual-misconduct-e63501adf706/

Here’s a simpler version:

https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/02/us/neil-degrasse-tyson-patheos-allegations/index.html

 

7 hours ago, Cerberus said:

Was she made to feel uncomfortable about further workplace interaction with him as a result? 

Gosh. I would feel uncomfortable. Really, really uncomfortable. 

 

7 hours ago, Cerberus said:

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.

Let me explain, with the woman part of me, what this looks like. 

A man who has professional power over me - and let’s not ignore physical power. Tyson is a big guy - has just made me uncomfortable. He has spooked me. I didn’t know he had any such thoughts about me. Now I do. 

Now every single time I’m alone with him, in the back of my mind, there’s going to be a little ticker-tape of worry, because of what he did. 

She hasn’t made a choice to feel this way. This happens to women all. the. time. It’s the death of a thousand cuts. I feel it every day. As an Aspie, I can’t see any logical reason why it should be perilous to me to talk to a man on the street who wants directions. As a woman, I know very well that it can be. I’ve just given him an opening. I don’t know what he’s going to want to do with it. 

I mean, I really don’t know. As an Aspie, I suck at reading the signs. So I’ve learned it’s safest to assume the worst. Believe me, this is a really fun way to live.

Ms. Watson listened to her instincts, her experiences, to her Spidey sense. She made the very sensible choice to walk away from a situation that was never going to feel ok to her again. I would have done the same thing. As a young Aspie, I wouldn’t have. As a grown woman I know better. There are other jobs. It is not worth the psychological toll it takes on you to go to work every day with that feeling.

Using Dr. Tyson as an example here is sort of a red herring, as we have no reason to believe he’s autistic. Dyslexic, yes. Since he’s spoken freely about learning disabilities, I can’t think why he’d hide autism. Talking about him makes it hard to concentrate on what I think is the real issue at hand, the accommodations that the neuroatypical can and should be granted.

https://www.understood.org/en/community-events/blogs/in-the-news/2015/05/06/neil-degrasse-tysons-inspiring-words-about-scientists-with-learning-and-attention-issues

The world needs better education about autism and how it makes us work. I hope that when people have it, feelings - sentiments - towards us will gentle. I hope people will understand that we mean no offense, and will cut us some slack. 

But speaking as a woman...Any kid who comes up to me and attempts to grope me is going to find himself violently repelled, regardless of neurology. The NT child is subsequently going to find himself in a fuckton of trouble. The Aspie child’s guardian is not going to enjoy the conversation s/he and I have, either. And if the Aspie kid can’t learn not to do it, the long-term consequence will be the end of any relationship. Salacious intent or not, there are boundaries that are absolute. The body is one of them. (Dr. Tyson is old enough to know that.)

One of the rules at the autism support groups that I attend is that you never touch anyone without asking first. I think this would be an excellent lesson to teach autistic children in general, at least as they reach puberty. Whether they - we - are cognitively capable of understanding the subtle social ramifications of why we Don’t Touch hardly matters. Not getting into the situation in the first place will save everyone a lot of grief. 

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38 minutes ago, Gearhead said:

Using Dr. Tyson as an example here is sort of a red herring, as we have no reason to believe he’s autistic.

I confess myself disappointed in this statement. My original post had no intent as a defense of any sort for Mr. Tyson's alleged (and it is at this time alleged) behavior, and I made it clear from the beginning that I not only had no information that he is on the spectrum, but personally doubted it. The particulars of Mr. Tyson's case are in fact beside the point, and only serve as a launching-point for the broader discussion.

I rather expected pushback on my assertion regarding the question of whether the handshake woman was made to feel a certain way. I have a firm rationalist philosophy about this based on my own experience in coping with unpleasant emotions, which I readily understand is not something that everyone to which everyone subscribes. I rule my emotions; I do not permit them to rule me. Otherwise, life would be intolerable for me as an Aspie. No one can make me feel anything, and I contend that I cannot make anyone else feel anything. It is the other person's election to allow his or her limbic response to govern his or her actions.

51 minutes ago, Gearhead said:

A man who has professional power over me - and let’s not ignore physical power. Tyson is a big guy - has just made me uncomfortable. He has spooked me. I didn’t know he had any such thoughts about me. Now I do. 

Now every single time I’m alone with him, in the back of my mind, there’s going to be a little ticker-tape of worry, because of what he did. 

She hasn’t made a choice to feel this way. This happens to women all. the. time. It’s the death of a thousand cuts. I feel it every day. As an Aspie, I can’t see any logical reason why it should be perilous to me to talk to a man on the street who wants directions. As a woman, I know very well that it can be. I’ve just given him an opening. I don’t know what he’s going to want to do with it.

In the case of the handshake woman here, you explain that she feels "uncomfortable" and "spooked" because the person confronting her has power and is big. She will always, thereafter, worry if she is alone with him. You say that now, she has cognitively extended her concern (without corroborating experience) to a state that makes her fearful to talk to any man on the street, even though her own logical faculties tell her that the likelihood of peril is small and the fear is on the whole irrational. We are discussing her feelings here, her emotional state. You are suggesting that the event has resulted in lasting emotional trauma that has so indelibly altered the woman's state of mind that she has only the extreme recourse of walking away from her job.

I'm sorry, but I don't buy it. None of what you have explained has absolved the woman of taking responsibility for her own state of mind, for confronting her own fears in a rational manner, and for forwardly communicating her feelings in a self-affirming way. Were we talking about a transgression of greater magnitude, there might be greater claim to mental trauma, but at some point the recipient - I will not say victim - of an unwelcome encounter must make a self-determination that only he or she can make as to whether he or she was in fact harmed in a real way, and, realistically, how resilient he or she can be to recover under his or her own power. You state that "there are boundaries that are absolute. The body is one of them" but there is no absolute definition of personal space; where one person may dislike any touch at all, another person may be entirely untroubled by it. The boundary is only absolute to the individual who sets it, and that boundary cannot be known to others - beyond a set of socially common taboos - unless it is expressed.

My entire post was intended not to debate the broader issues - I find the public discourse on the matter currently so mired in a fetid bog of neurotypical emotionalism that I fear its potential for positive societal change will be squandered.  Rather, I simply wished to question whether autistics might be particularly vulnerable in the trending environment. I fully concur with your view that broader education on the nature of autism may help, but at the same time, it wouldn't hurt for NTs to learn that feelings are not the same as facts.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I am a male. I have Asperger's Syndrome. I have been physically assaulted at my workplace. I have been sexually assaulted quite seriously on more than one occasion. I do not write from a position of ignorance, and I can only attest that I am not compelled by any emotion to say #MeToo to any of it.

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NT(ish) woman here. I work as an engineer in a field with very few women, but many men who frequently have poor social skills (I won't pretend to dx them with ASD or anything else, I'm not qualified).

18 hours ago, Cerberus said:

I confess myself disappointed in this statement. My original post had no intent as a defense of any sort for Mr. Tyson's alleged (and it is at this time alleged) behavior, and I made it clear from the beginning that I not only had no information that he is on the spectrum, but personally doubted it. The particulars of Mr. Tyson's case are in fact beside the point, and only serve as a launching-point for the broader discussion.

I rather expected pushback on my assertion regarding the question of whether the handshake woman was made to feel a certain way. I have a firm rationalist philosophy about this based on my own experience in coping with unpleasant emotions, which I readily understand is not something that everyone to which everyone subscribes. I rule my emotions; I do not permit them to rule me. Otherwise, life would be intolerable for me as an Aspie. No one can make me feel anything, and I contend that I cannot make anyone else feel anything. It is the other person's election to allow his or her limbic response to govern his or her actions.

Respectfully, what you describe is more common among Autists. It is decidedly not common for NTs. Oh that it were. My experience of IOP/group therapies is that the general consensus is that we are responsible for our actions, regardless of our feelings. So you may feel angry that you stepped on a lego while barefoot, but you are responsible for terrifying a child if you explode at them for leaving toys on the floor (where exploding - e.g. yelling beyond any reasonable measure, throwing objects at or hitting the child, etc. - is the action. Anger is the feeling).

Some therapies insist we can change our feelings. CBT claims if you change your thoughts, you can change your feelings. I'm skeptical. I have never been able to think or logic my feelings away/into something different. However, I have been able to accept them and move on (ACT), for some things at least. Regardless of my experience, CBT and ACT are accepted ways to treat even severe trauma-related reactions to situations where the limbic response does take over the person's response to a situation.

19 hours ago, Cerberus said:

In the case of the handshake woman here, you explain that she feels "uncomfortable" and "spooked" because the person confronting her has power and is big. She will always, thereafter, worry if she is alone with him. You say that now, she has cognitively extended her concern (without corroborating experience) to a state that makes her fearful to talk to any man on the street, even though her own logical faculties tell her that the likelihood of peril is small and the fear is on the whole irrational. We are discussing her feelings here, her emotional state. You are suggesting that the event has resulted in lasting emotional trauma that has so indelibly altered the woman's state of mind that she has only the extreme recourse of walking away from her job.

I'm sorry, but I don't buy it. None of what you have explained has absolved the woman of taking responsibility for her own state of mind, for confronting her own fears in a rational manner, and for forwardly communicating her feelings in a self-affirming way. Were we talking about a transgression of greater magnitude, there might be greater claim to mental trauma, but at some point the recipient - I will not say victim - of an unwelcome encounter must make a self-determination that only he or she can make as to whether he or she was in fact harmed in a real way, and, realistically, how resilient he or she can be to recover under his or her own power. You state that "there are boundaries that are absolute. The body is one of them" but there is no absolute definition of personal space; where one person may dislike any touch at all, another person may be entirely untroubled by it. The boundary is only absolute to the individual who sets it, and that boundary cannot be known to others - beyond a set of socially common taboos - unless it is expressed.

Here, I say two things. First, some people are more sensitive than others to subtle and/or perceived social queues, partly as a result of upbringing/history. I agree with you that the idea of a handshake being creepy enough to cause lasting emotional trauma seems... far fetched. However, not knowing the woman's background/history... okay. I think she did the right thing in leaving a job where, for whatever reason, she could not feel safe. I am extremely skeptical of the claim that a "creepy" handshake is sexual harassment or even reportable.

So, I wrote that... and then I read the two links that @Gearhead provided. In the situation described in those links there is much more than a handshake and I believe I would respond much the same. What's creepy? Being alone with a male superior who is potentially intoxicated, improperly/unprofessionally clothed, and who has made sexual innuendo about overpowering me. Let's be clear - I would not quit my job over a handshake that goes on too long. I have not quit my job over a (short, a-frame) hug initiated by a male superior. But if a man (or woman, I don't actually care, but unfortunately for men there is more stigma there because of a socially inherent power differential) were making sexual comments about me? I'd be... looking for work, if not quitting immediately.

Dr. Tyson's actions are, sadly, not surprising to me. I am very familiar with that community, I was involved with them when in college - I originally studied to be an astronomer and did research in that realm with a well-known astronomer and was even at the same conference the prior year to the alleged incident. The physics/astrophysics community is one of the most sexist STEM fields (this is well documented, and is a large part of why there are far fewer women in physics than in math or chemistry). 

19 hours ago, Cerberus said:

My entire post was intended not to debate the broader issues - I find the public discourse on the matter currently so mired in a fetid bog of neurotypical emotionalism that I fear its potential for positive societal change will be squandered.  Rather, I simply wished to question whether autistics might be particularly vulnerable in the trending environment. I fully concur with your view that broader education on the nature of autism may help, but at the same time, it wouldn't hurt for NTs to learn that feelings are not the same as facts.

Absolutely agree with this. There is no question in my mind: autistics are more vulnerable than NT men to making mistakes, particularly Aspies and HFAs who can sometimes "pass" as NT.

I agree with @Gearhead that there is behaviour I would not tolerate from any person regardless of their mental status. However, reactions and consequences absolutely should be moderated with respect to the individual incident and the alleged "perpetrator's" (for lack of a better word) ability to understand and follow social norms.

The #MeToo movement is walking a tricky line between holding people accountable for their actions and letting NTs confuse feelings with facts. There can't be knee-jerk responses to either side of this coin.

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2 hours ago, Geek said:

Respectfully, what you describe is more common among Autists. It is decidedly not common for NTs. Oh that it were. My experience of IOP/group therapies is that the general consensus is that we are responsible for our actions, regardless of our feelings. So you may feel angry that you stepped on a lego while barefoot, but you are responsible for terrifying a child if you explode at them for leaving toys on the floor (where exploding - e.g. yelling beyond any reasonable measure, throwing objects at or hitting the child, etc. - is the action. Anger is the feeling).

Some therapies insist we can change our feelings. CBT claims if you change your thoughts, you can change your feelings. I'm skeptical. I have never been able to think or logic my feelings away/into something different. However, I have been able to accept them and move on (ACT), for some things at least. Regardless of my experience, CBT and ACT are accepted ways to treat even severe trauma-related reactions to situations where the limbic response does take over the person's response to a situation.

Oh that it were, indeed. It may be that I hold my view strongly because I have found CBT extremely effective in my own life. I am entirely prepared to accept the possibility that a person's feelings can be prompted by another, and that the responsibility for the control of those feelings lies in the response. That also is plausible to me, but it does not alter my underlying premise that lays the onus upon the person feeling the effect to make a rational personal assessment of what that response should be. You suggest that severe trauma may lead to situations where limbic response does take over the person's response beyond rational control, and has identified treatment methodologies; i.e. it enters the realm of pathology. In most cases, I would  not think it goes as far as that.

 

2 hours ago, Geek said:

Dr. Tyson's actions are, sadly, not surprising to me. I am very familiar with that community, I was involved with them when in college - I originally studied to be an astronomer and did research in that realm with a well-known astronomer and was even at the same conference the prior year to the alleged incident. The physics/astrophysics community is one of the most sexist STEM fields (this is well documented, and is a large part of why there are far fewer women in physics than in math or chemistry). 

The entire realm of the of those disciplines is woefully male-slanted.

2 hours ago, Geek said:

NT(ish) woman here. 

Ish? With great respect, Geek (as always), being autistic is not something one can dangle one's toes into. You do not have the dx. Your insights have value from an NT perspective - as one observing autistics - but please realize that not being autistic, you cannot present as though you were "sort of" or "a little". I mention this only in closing, because your comments do have value.

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18 hours ago, Cerberus said:

Oh that it were, indeed. It may be that I hold my view strongly because I have found CBT extremely effective in my own life. I am entirely prepared to accept the possibility that a person's feelings can be prompted by another, and that the responsibility for the control of those feelings lies in the response. That also is plausible to me, but it does not alter my underlying premise that lays the onus upon the person feeling the effect to make a rational personal assessment of what that response should be. You suggest that severe trauma may lead to situations where limbic response does take over the person's response beyond rational control, and has identified treatment methodologies; i.e. it enters the realm of pathology. In most cases, I would  not think it goes as far as that.

I'm thinking about severe trauma that causes flashbacks, disabling fear of common situations/sounds, and so on. A lot of the therapy for that kind of traumatic reaction (where a fight/flight/freeze response takes over) is about exposure, with CBT and ACT applications. I do agree that it is less common than is sometimes claimed.

18 hours ago, Cerberus said:

Ish? With great respect, Geek (as always), being autistic is not something one can dangle one's toes into. You do not have the dx. Your insights have value from an NT perspective - as one observing autistics - but please realize that not being autistic, you cannot present as though you were "sort of" or "a little". I mention this only in closing, because your comments do have value.

For this, I apologize. You are of course 100% right: I do not have ASD. I didn't mean to present that I do in anyway, and I'm sorry that I did. In my first draft of the response, I included a short paragraph explaining the "ish", but later decided that I didn't want to change the subject to be about me. I'm kicking myself for not properly editing the post before hitting "submit". That's what I get for posting directly before going to bed.

The "ish" was a nod to several ongoing conversations I've had elsewhere, as a member of a population that, while not necessarily Autistic, is decidedly not "neurotypical" (or even typically atypical). I'm different - but it is not the same as being Autistic. I shouldn't have co-opted the terminology to suggest otherwise.

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Being autistic and a sexual assault survivor, I see a lot of different points of view. I've given the creepy stares, and I've gotten them. There's a point where people are held accountable for their actions no matter what, even in the case of autism. (This I would know, since being autistic did not get me out of a few wrong things I've done in my life.)

I would hope that appropriate intervention is given these days, so that people with autism know at least enough boundaries to be able to stay out of trouble, and harm's way. I've been fortunate enough to have people looking out for me in my life, to teach what is appropriate and what isn't. Some days I do forget though.

I think the biggest issue is when do people have to take the fall (responsibility, blame) for their actions, despite their disability. And I really do see it as it depends upon the severity and nature of the autism, and perhaps a conversation with the autistic individual and family members of such individual, should something like that happen, and giving them the right and benefit of being able to speak for themselves and defend themselves with an advocate present. (As a side note, odd or "creepy" looks are one thing, full on sexual assault is different, and spreading it over social media is never a kind thing to do to anyone, period. That's your personal business, and honestly, it may be best to keep it as such.)

I know my opinion may be a little bit of an unpopular one, but it is just that, an opinion. 

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When in doubt, I hope this helps:

Just say "I'm sorry, is it ok if...." e.g. "I look at your tattoo?"

or

"I'm sorry, if I am bothering you tell me to go away"

or

"am I bothering you?"

or

"are you sure I'm not annoying?"

or

"tell me to go away and I will!"

 

assuming they weren't invited to join the conversation to begin with, nice guys say this stuff all the time and one of them is now my boyfriend. They double, triple, quadruple check that you aren't just being polite (or afraid!) and that you are genuinely ok with them having come up to you to talk to you. I don't think the people who told the first two stories expected anything to be done, I think they just wanted to share a story about something that made them uncomfortable and an example of what not to do.

In fairness i even know a guy who was "a bit of a player" who STILL did this because just because yes he had lots of sex and yes consent was still INCREDIBLY important to him, as it is to any decent person! So doing this doesn't make you look weak or any of that made up nonsense from PUA and other communities that worry looking for consent means reducing your chances of having sex.

 

Edit:

NEVER say:

"I'm not going to hurt you"

That is one of the scariest things and I can't even count how many times strange men have said this to me. On the face of it it looks nice, right? Oh good, he's not going to hurt me. Nuh-uh. Terrifying.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 12/2/2018 at 11:36 PM, Cerberus said:

I rather expected pushback on my assertion regarding the question of whether the handshake woman was made to feel a certain way. I have a firm rationalist philosophy about this based on my own experience in coping with unpleasant emotions, which I readily understand is not something that everyone to which everyone subscribes. I rule my emotions; I do not permit them to rule me. Otherwise, life would be intolerable for me as an Aspie. No one can make me feel anything, and I contend that I cannot make anyone else feel anything. It is the other person's election to allow his or her limbic response to govern his or her actions. (1)

In the case of the handshake woman here, you explain that she feels "uncomfortable" and "spooked" because the person confronting her has power and is big. She will always, thereafter, worry if she is alone with him. You say that now, she has cognitively extended her concern (without corroborating experience) to a state that makes her fearful to talk to any man on the street, even though her own logical faculties tell her that the likelihood of peril is small and the fear is on the whole irrational. We are discussing her feelings here, her emotional state. You are suggesting that the event has resulted in lasting emotional trauma that has so indelibly altered the woman's state of mind that she has only the extreme recourse of walking away from her job.. (2)

My entire post was intended not to debate the broader issues - I find the public discourse on the matter currently so mired in a fetid bog of neurotypical emotionalism that I fear its potential for positive societal change will be squandered.  Rather, I simply wished to question whether autistics might be particularly vulnerable in the trending environment. I fully concur with your view that broader education on the nature of autism may help, but at the same time, it wouldn't hurt for NTs to learn that feelings are not the same as facts. (3)

 

1) As someone who cares about you, and what you think of me, I regret to inform you that you are wrong. 

2) That is exactly what I’m saying. Her trauma might be my annoyance, and vice versa; there is no empirical way to measure trauma. There’s no right or wrong to it. Based on my own life experiences, I know that it’s entirely irrational to think that because I fell and broke a rib one time walking in a particular place, where I’d been a hundred times before, that if I walk there again I’ll suffer another broken rib, but I still can’t do it. My body is afraid to do it, and my rational mind can’t override it. Fear is not simply an emotion to be tamed. It has physical and chemical components. Some days it seems to me that half of us are here because that’s true.

3) If that’s the question, then yes. People with social deficits are not equipped to deal with flaming emotional reactions. But I really see no way out of this issue except to educate people about autism. And to educate autistics about neurotypicals, now that I think of it. Not to tell Aspies and Auties that our feelings are wrong, or bad, but to explain that they’re different, and how NTs might perceive them.

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