uc berkeley graduate division lectures philosophy

Dealing with phone harassment

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A friend just shared on Facebook that she has been accosted by some dude—a stranger to her—over the phone. Sexually explicit stuff. She hung up and blocked him but he kept leaving her messages and sending her texts somehow. She just learned how to permanently block his number, which she has done. I have this dude’s phone number and it traces to Phoenix, Arizona. My question: Is there some service somewhere where I could share his phone number and an army of allies would call him? Or tele-market to him? Or otherwise accost him until it becomes so inconvenient that he has to get a new number? I don’t want him to be sexually harassed. I am not the kind of person who would invite sexual harassment on anyone. I just want him harassed to the point where he can no longer use the number he currently has to sexually harass anyone else. I get scam calls all the time about winning another free vacation at a Marriott Hotel. (I don’t know why I’m still paying rent with all the vacations I’m supposed to have won.) Is there a way I can sign him up for endless calls for free vacations? Can you or your readers think of some other suitably annoying/debilitating fate for his number? I’d love to write to my friend in support and solidarity and inform her of the annoyances about to rain down on this dude’s number!

—Sexual Harassment Unleashes Totally
Unrelenting Phone Promotions

I’m sorry your friend was harassed by some asshole with a phone, SHUTUPP, but the counterstrike you’re considering could backfire on your friend. I mean, let’s say you got this asshole to change his number—let’s say your campaign of targeted non-sexual harassment was a success—then what happens? Well, then the asshole gets a new number. He’ll still be an asshole with a phone, most likely the same phone, just with a different phone number. And since his new number won’t be the one your friend blocked, SHUTUPP, and since he’ll still have your friend’s phone number, he’ll be able to resume harassing your friend and any other woman who’d blocked his old number. As unsatisfying as it might seem, your friend’s best course of action here is the one she already took—blocking the fuck out of this asshole—and your best course of action would be to express sympathy and solidarity without doing anything that might make things worse.

Follow Dan on Twitter @FakeDanSavage. mail@savagelove.net. On the Lovecast, Elle Chase on dating for large ladies. www.savagelovecast.com