Sunday, January 06, 2008

Let's talk privacy

So have you ever had a gun pointed in your face by a crazy person?

Have you ever had a close relative try to run you over in his car?

Have you ever had a psychotic lunatic hold you at gunpoint until you did whatever crazy thing he decided you should do?

When these sorts of things happen, it's a good idea to get the fuck away. Sometimes it's hard. Sometimes it means uprooting your whole life and running away to someplace safe. People do it all the time. I did it many years ago. I'm proud of myself for doing so.

Some abusers, especially psychotic ones, are really good at appearing normal to other people. Especially if they are white middle class professionals. Because, you know, those type of people, "our" people, just don't do that sort of thing.

So a few times while the bastard was still alive, I ran into "well-meaning" people who thought it would be a wonderful thing to patch up that unfortunate misunderstanding I had about the man who tried to kill me. So they gave him my number or my address. And he was back with the harassment. So I uprooted my life again. I cut off more "friends" and relatives.

It sounds like I had it rough, but I didn't really. I would much rather go somewhere new and feel safe than to have to deal with the wacko again. I was young with transferrable skills and no kids at the time. Sure, it wasn't fair, but whose life is, you know? Lots of people had it much worse than I did. I had skills and savings and close friends who respected me.

But one thing I noticed, again and again, is how some people could never understand my need for privacy. Sure, privacy seemed like a good thing, but there didn't seem to be any reason to get all whacked up about it. For some people, privacy is something that never even occurred to them.

These people would think, why the hell not give out my phone number to someone who was interested? Why not point out where I lived or worked to a nice looking gentlemen? A professor, even!

So I'm just posting this here to say, privacy can mean nothing to you if you aren't facing the prospect of an angry lunatic with a gun and a grudge. Hello, privilege! Please, just get the fuck away from me.

And stop, please just stop, trying to make privacy a trivial and unimportant thing. It's the reason I'm alive today.


Plain(s)feminist said...

Huh. That's interesting. I've been thinking that you are more honorable in your determination to respect the privacy of others than maybe most people are, but now I can see why. I guess I haven't thought about it in that way, exactly. But you're right - it's a privilege NOT to need privacy so desperately. And I've been struck by your posts that have so centered on the issue of privacy and the comments that have ignored this entirely, noting instead that the issues discussed didn't seem serious enough to warrant privacy, as if privacy weren't important regardless of the content of the discussion.

belledame222 said...

Well, some people who understand it just fine in all other respects, apparently it goes out the window when they determine they are entitled to something.

Even if it weren't that dire: um, hello, what kind of underpants gnome logic does it take to determine that repeatedly ignoring other peoples' concerns about privacy with rationalizations of why it's okay really is...supposed to build sympathy for one's case that one merits entrance into a private group? Say wha?

Plain(s)feminist said...

hee hee - underpants gnome - I don't know if this is a reference to some British sci-fi show I haven't seen, but damn, I'm LMAO!

Ravenmn said...

I think you're being entirely unfair to gnome culture. :)

But thanks for understanding. You really don't get to decide for other people how much privacy is important.

assembling words to armory, she waits... said...

having been in a similar situation, i totally empathize. it IS a privilege to be so flippant about privacy; to not have to worry about who's got your number, or where you live, or work, or eat, etc... living your life worrying about who or what may be over your shoulder shifts perspective in a way that little else can. anonymity shouldn't be so difficult sometimes...

belledame222 said...

"underpants gnomes:" actually from a South Park episode, wherein there are these gnomes that are stealing everyone's underwear. we discover why, at the end: they plan to sell them for profit. the plan, displayed prominently, reads:

Step 1) Steal underwear

Step 2) ????

Step 3) Profit!!

this has become a meme for "plan that makes not the sense."

also, Lisa coined the phrase "underpants gnome logic." it is a keeper.

belledame222 said...

for instance, the radical feminist Revolution, as appears to be conceptualized in certain circles:

Step 1) Examine oneself thoroughly

Step 2) Purge oneself of vestiges of Patriarchal influence

Step 3) ???