Thursday, March 22, 2007

No Justice

You know, I was talking to a friend last night about all this mess I've been going through lately, particularly the threats Riin made recently (see Tactical Alert). I was ranting about how, in this day and age, even the best of men can't even try to patch things up in a damaged relationship anymore because, if the woman starts yelling "Stalker! Stalker!" he's labeled as one immediately whether he deserves the label or not. My friend's response made me pause:

As far as society is concerned, if a person feels harassed, they are. It doesn't matter if it's true or not. When it comes to stuff like this, you're guilty until proven innocent.

"Guilty until proven innocent." Hearing those words sent shivers up my spine, not only because they were so true, but because this is exactly the kind of crap that Riin usually rants about. She goes so far as to call our culture "Mentally Ill" and even has a section of her blog dedicated to rants about society's woes.

I can't believe she's actually using a flaw in our culture to get her way. Seems a bit hypocritical to me...

If Riin were here, at this juncture she'd undoubtedly point out, "Well, I grew up in this culture. It's hard not to be affected by it." She's said that to me before. OK... but that doesn't make it right.

"Guilty until proven innocent" is the motto under which the Salem witch trials were conducted. The Salem witch trials are considered one of the universal historical examples of what happens when people are falsely accused of crimes and are assumed guilty without giving their side a fair hearing. McCarthyism is another, more recent historical example of the same dangerous mindset.

Both McCarthyism and the Salem witch trials do have one thing in common. Both started as a result of problems in society which society in general was afraid of. As public fear of these problems continued to build, a mob mentality developed. Eventually, people got so scared of witches and communists that they wanted to get rid of them now, so they stopped taking the time to find out the truth...

In effect, society wanted to get rid of these problems so badly that swift punishment became more important than whether the party was guilty or not. In the process, many innocent people were swept away in the tide (like these victims of McCarthyism, for example).

How can I, or any man in my situation for that matter, ever hope to get a fair chance to express a viewpoint if it means being labelled the "bad guy" before word one?

Right now, it would seem that my options are extremely limited, as much by society as by her. I have no choice right now but to back off. I have not given up on Riin. I need to make that clear. I still think the Riin I fell in love with is inside that "swirling mass" in her head somewhere. I just need to reach her. At this moment in time, however, there is no way for me to do that. She, and society, have slammed her door with an adamant bang.

I guess I can only hope that either she eventually sees the truth on her own, or that someone she trusts can help her see it.

Either way, my door will remain (cautiously) open to her.


  1. Anonymous12:45 PM

    I've never commented on either your blog or Riin's, so neither of you know me from Adam (or Eve). But I felt compelled to comment here.

    You know, your friend was right about harassment, if someone *feels* harassed, then they *are* harassed. It's a self-defined thing. Same with racial-type language -- it might not have been meant to offend, but if the person feels offended, then that language was offensive.

    But I don't agree that this is "guilty until proven innocent". There is no "innocent" here who has been wrongly accused. If she feels harassed by your actions, then your actions constitute harassment. Not legally, perhaps, but essentially. You may not have meant it that way, but she's not accusing you of having meant it that way. She's only saying she finds it to be harassing.

    You need to leave her alone now. She knows how to reach you if she wants to.

    By the way, your rights of self-expression are not infringed upon at all -- you can still post all you want in your blog or lament to your friends -- that's what we all do when we have a broken heart. But your right to self-expression does not extend into *her* private space. Time to back off!

  2. I have to admit, I hate publishing "Anonymous" comments because I believe (and have always believed) that, if you're going to say something, you should be willing to stand behind what you said enough to be able to put your name on it. That's why, when I did comment to Riin's blog, I did it under my own name. She has a right to know it's me. It's her blog.

    OTOH, not allowing Anonymous comments might, on occasion, discourage some people from commenting who might have otherwise worthwhile things to say. The previous comment is a good example. I would have preferred this individual identify themselves, but their comment at least gave voice to some things that will probably go through the heads of some who read this.

    So. My thoughts on this:

    The problem with "self-defined things" is that, because they're so subjective, it really isn't fair to villify a man on the basis of something that can easily be blown out of proportion, or even lied about, by the person in the situation.

    For example, as you point out, I did not mean my actions to be threatening. I would never harm Riin, or anyone, for that matter. Ask anyone who knows me. If she did feel threatened, her judgment was clearly clouded by her anger. Instead of taking a step back to realize this, she immediately treated me as if I were threatening without stopping to consider that her interpretation might, under the circumstances, be wrong.

    She treated me as a threat. I was not a threat. That's guilty until proven innocent in my book.

    As for leaving her alone, I thought I made it clear that I was going to. If I didn't, to clarify my position perspicuously: I don't think it's fair, but I'm in no position to dispute the situation. I will abide by her wishes.

    You're also correct that my rights to self-expression, in and of themselves, are not being infringed upon. The problem is, while getting this all out here and to friends feels good, the fact remains that the message isn't going where it needs to go: to her.

    I also agree that my "right" to expression does not extend into her private space such as her E-mail or telephone, but by definition, her blog is public space. Morally and ethically speaking, she should allow me freedom to comment on her blog provided I don't say anything threatening, defaming or flood her blog with comments. However, public space or not, it is her blog. I don't agree with her censoring my comments there, but I can't do anything about it.

    IMHO, totally refusing contact from someone who loves you, particularly someone who has loved you for three years, is wrong. No disputing that she has the right to do it, but then again I have the right to start smoking if I want to. The fact that one has a right to do something does not make it a wise choice (for the record, I don't smoke or drink (I used to drink, but stopped) and don't intend to start either... I'm just making a point).

    The point of this posting was simple. Before society got so paranoid about "stalkers," it was possible for a man with genuinely good intentions to hang in a lover's firefight a lot longer, giving him a fair chance to try to repair the damage. Yes, she might feel a little uncomfortable in the short term, but the long term gain is worth it. It's like taking out a splinter. It hurts to do it, but you feel a lot better once it's done.

    In today's climate, however, that same man stands little or no chance because the moment the woman starts feeling any discomfort at all, she can yell "stalker" and force him to back off even if he hasn't done anything wrong. The problem is, there's no objective way to measure whether her discomfort warrants that, so society just has to take her word for it.

    If Riin knows me as well as she should by now, she must know I'm not a threat, at least deep down. This isn't about feeling threatened. This is about refusing to hear my point of view. In other words, I think, subconsciously, calling me "stalker" has more to do with her stubbornness than it does with any threat she feels from me.

    That's what's not fair about this situation.

    Society has gotten to the point now where people jump up and cry wolf when things get difficult in even the slightest way. You know, difficult situations are part of life, and people can make difficult situations a lot easier by simply treating people with dignity and respect. I always do (and being persistent is not disrespectful IMHO).

    It would have been much more respectful to have considered my feelings instead of just shutting me out. Yes, that route would have been more difficult for her but, then again, the right thing to do is rarely the easy thing to do.

    Today's society just makes it too easy to cop out on doing the right thing.

  3. Anonymous11:28 PM

    I do understand that society has jumped on these labels, and vilifies anyone who is accused rather than waiting until one is proven to be a stalker or whatever. For that experience you have my sympathy indeed.

    However. If someone wants to be left alone, and they attempt to accomplish that by threatening to call the police and use the stalker label, they have not actually accused you of being a stalker, all they have done is wave that possibility in front of you in an attempt to be left alone. I suspect that in this instance Riin knows perfectly well whether you are an actual threat to her or not. But there is nothing wrong with threatening to call the police as a method of achieving one's goal of being left alone. And in spite of your insistence that your message 'needs' to go to *her*, it 'needs to' do no such thing. You certainly have the need to express yourself so that you can process your experiences and move on. You may have things you'd *like* to be communicated to her, but she is under no obligation to receive them if she chooses not to. Yes, a blog is sorta public space, but it seems fairly self-evident that, even if one is open to criticism in general (as you are in accepting my posts, for example, for the sake of the discussion) there is no reason why a particular person who is wished to be avoided, at least for the moment, shouldn't respect that if they want to be considered courteous.

    And speaking of courteous, I will concede to your wishes and tell you that my name is Sue. I'm a member of at least one Yahoo Group in common with one or both of you, which is how I encountered the blogs. I don't agree with you that putting one's name at the bottom of a post means anything in terms of 'standing behind' what I say, especially since you would know nothing about me even if I sent you my last name and address and photo, but just to make sure you don't attribute my comments to Riin or someone else known to you, I thought it would be best if I gave my name.

  4. You're right. I suppose Riin didn't directly accuse me of being a stalker. I'm just shocked that she'd do such a thing as threaten police action against me, someone she knows full well is no threat, and whom she knows well enough that she should have been expecting the response she's gotten from me so far. She knows how fiercely loyal and determined I am with the people I love.

    I also agree that she's under no obligation to read anything I have to say. However, like my "right" to smoke and drink despite those choices being unwise, just because she has no obligation to let me have my say doesn't mean she shouldn't. In other words, she's making a mistake, and she has a right to make that mistake, but that doesn't make the choice any less of a mistake.

    Thank you, BTW, for giving your name. I meant no offense. It's just a belief I've held for a long time. Besides, there's been some idiot trying to post a comment here "anonymously" over the past few days whose posts are nothing but childish personal insults. I keep rejecting the posts, but the person persists. It is possible I was projecting some of my annoyance at that coward onto you. If so, I apologize.

    It's a good thing you gave your name, actually. You were right about my thinking these comments might've been from someone I knew. There's a friend of mine who used the expression "don't know me from Adam" recently, and I thought your post might have been from them. ;)

    Thanks for your advice. As I've said, I'm abiding by her wishes.

  5. Anonymous1:50 PM

    Just one final comment. Your referring to her actions as a 'mistake' -- that's a bit presumptuous on your part -- use of that term presumes a mutual agreement of goals. You may label her actions 'a mistake' because they don't move the situation closer to *your* goals. But *her* goals may be different now, and if so, then her actions may not be a mistake at all -- they may cause the situation to move closer to her goals.

  6. It is always a mistake to run from love, goals notwithstanding.

  7. Anonymous10:57 PM

    I feel sorry for you dude! You got a raw deal on this one. There must be more then meets the eye on this one! Good luck and I hope you win her love back...

  8. I agree there must be more than meets the eye here. Problem is, I can't get her to talk to me, so I have no idea what the issue really is. I have my suspicions but they are only that: suspicions. I have no hard facts.

    As for winning her love back, I hope so, too. I haven't given up on that. However, I'm not going to win her love back disrespecting her wishes and, right now, she's bound and determined that she doesn't want to talk to me. So, for the moment, there's nothing I can do. That's the frustrating part. The fact that she broke up with me when I love her so very much is hard enough, but to totally refuse to even hear my side makes it 10 times worse.

    That's the irony, actually. If she'd only let me talk to her about this, I might be able to accept this in time. I mean, after all we've shared together, our relationship deserves better than to be thrown away like an old shoe. :(

    In the meantime, I'll just have to rely on the support of friends and hope that, maybe, one of them will be able to help me figure out a way to reach her.

    One thing that bouys me up. One of my dearest friends in the world today started out being just as angry with me as Riin is now (complete with the threat of police involvement). Today, she is one of my closest friends because I never gave up on her. I don't intend to give up on Riin, either. When I find a heart that deserves love, I never give up on them. There's not enough love in the world for people like that. For that matter, there's not enough love in the world period these days. We can't afford to throw it away when it comes.

    The woman who wrote that threat is not the Riin Gill I know. I had some doubts earlier on but, after searching my heart I realized I need to have faith that the Riin Gill I loved is still in that horrible woman somewhere. I just don't know how to get to her.

    I feel like some monster has come along and taken the Riin I knew hostage in her own body... :(

  9. Anonymous1:54 PM

    I think after reading your responses and other people's comments you should let her drift out to sea!! Remember the tide goes on and the tide comes in. Question for you is "Will she be part of that tide coming back in?"

    I would let her find her way and if she wants to be part of your life she will be there if not well then it is time to move on. Good Luck!

  10. Anonymous10:20 PM

    After reading her email she seems really upset however I am not sure why she is not giving you a chance to ask her some questions or to explain in detail the reasons she dismissed you. Too much time has been spent in this relationship to throw out the window by a simple "don't bother to contact me attitude". She has to have a clear cut reason for this so I hope you uncover the mystery. Keep me posted and good luck

  11. I can't just stand there while she drifts out to sea. She could drown. :(

    Of course, to extend the metephor I could end up drowning trying to go after her. But I've seen into her heart. She is worth that risk, and so much more...

    There's nothing I can do right now. I have no choice but to watch her drift away. I'm just hoping I'll eventually find a way to reach her.

  12. Uh... to the previous poster... I'd like to keep you posted but... who are you...? :P


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