Help me out. I think I've been harassed and I don't know what to do.
March 1, 2013 5:20 PM   Subscribe

So I need some sound advice. I think I was harassed a number of months ago at a local YMCA by another member. I decided to file this complaint internally, and now I'm worried I'm being stonewalled. Normally I would let something like this slide, but I've decided to take up this cause because I think it's the honorable thing to do. If only because I am inspired by the anti-bullying movement. Do I have legal options? Can somebody with any experience or strength with this sort of thing help me figure out what exactly happened to me, and share what they did in a similar situation? Details within.

To make a very long story short, the YMCA is a Christian-based community gym with an extensive child care program. One of the clearly posted rules at the YMCA is that you are not allowed to curse. One day, a group of older men were playing basketball and a hard foul was committed. One of the players laid out a string of epithets at maximum volume that lasted for several minutes. Now, I'm not a meddler by any means, but this guy's behavior was outrageous. I decided to confront the YMCA staffer who was supposedly monitoring the game, and asked him why he was allowing this to happen, when it clearly wasn't supposed to. He shrugged his shoulders..

I was at that time approached by an older man who asked me if I wished to file a complaint and told me he was a member of the board at the YMCA. Thinking he wished to help me, I said of course I want to file a complaint, to which he responded more elaborately, "Do you want to file a complaint? I'm a member of the board and have been a member here for 30 years. How long have you been a member here?" This stopped me in my tracks..

I asked the gentleman for his name, which surprisingly he gave me, and began to walk away. At this point the man started yelling, "What is your name?" over and over again, as if to further intimidate me. He then began pulling at my shirt multiple times, trying to get me to turn around. He then tried to physically confront me in the hallway. At which point I told him to "back off me" and he was thankfully restrained by one of the staffers. I went straight to the member office and cancelled my membership..

What has since happened. I decided to file an internal complaint with the Y, and one of the things they told me is that the member was not in fact a member of the board. He falsely represented himself. They also told me that because he was only a member, they would provide him with a warning, that they were profusely sorry for what had happened, and offered me a free month of membership to come back. They told me they would follow up with me, and they have not. They also told me that there is not much more they can tell as far as internal proceedings go. This has been par for the course. I've been more than understanding throughout this process, and now I'm fed up..

I am unsatisfied with the conclusion of this matter and would like to know if I have any other recourse, whether it be pursuing some type of action against the YMCA, or directly against the member in question. In a few words, big picture here is, I find the offer to give me a month of free membership insulting, I would like a formal apology from the Y - for reasons I have not gone into here, namely, knowing about this type of behavior for a long time and doing nothing about it - and I'd like this member who pulled rank on me to get more than a slap on the wrist. Frankly, if this were anyone but me that this happened to, I'd want that person gone.

I would also like to ask members of this community if you think I have been harassed. If it matters, this happened about 6 months ago and still has not been resolved. If you need to contact me directly, throwaway is ymca.throwaway@gmail.com. If you took the time to read this, thanks, I really appreciate it..

posted by anonymous to Law & Government (31 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I am unsatisfied with the conclusion of this matter and would like to know if I have any other recourse, whether it be pursuing some type of action against the YMCA, or directly against the member in question. In a few words, big picture here is, I find the offer to give me a month of free membership insulting, I would like a formal apology from the Y - for reasons I have not gone into here, namely, knowing about this type of behavior for a long time and doing nothing about it - and I'd like this member who pulled rank on me to get more than a slap on the wrist.

Do I read you correctly as stating that you are interested in knowing whether you can sue the YMCA because somebody acted like a dick to you and they didn't punish him adequately to your way of thinking?

You can sue an entity for just about anything but you are inviting ridicule and possibly other adverse consequences if you do it in this instance. Let it go; you're wasting your time and energy on pursuing something that is going to lower your standing with every person that learns about the suit.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 5:28 PM on March 1, 2013 [11 favorites]


Why would the Y be responsible for the actions of another member? They're not responsible for him. You say that you want more than a slap on the wrist - but what, exactly? A monetary fine? A ban?

This guy has completely out of line, and I understand why you're upset as you are, but it sounds like you've gotten all you can from the Y. Since you've left them, you don't have deal with that asshole (or the guy who was yelling originally, which was also pretty terrible.) IANAL, but it sounds like he physically attacked you. If you really want to escalate this, you could contact the police and find out if he's committed some crime against you.

Before you do that, though, I would seriously consider whether this is worth the escalation. For me, it wouldn't be.
posted by punchtothehead at 5:31 PM on March 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


What do you think they can actually do?

I think that they could ban the member. If they did that, would that satisfy you? If so, you could reply that, in the circumstances, you don't feel safe attending the gym because of the presence of that member and you therefore can't accept the offer of a free month's membership because you won't benefit from it. You could say that warning such an aggressive person isn't enough to make you feel safe and you do not think that they are doing enough to ensure that their customers are free from harassment.

I don't know if it's too late to file a police report, that's a legal question. It wouldn't have been unreasonable to file one at the time. Short of getting the cops on this guy, you could I suppose investigate suing the gym if they don't respond to your satisfaction this time.
posted by tel3path at 5:31 PM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I mean, I don't know what kind of legal recourse you might have--you're not out anything, the cops are not going to care at all about some dude who was a jerk at you six months ago...if I'm reading correctly, no blows were exchanged, he just acted intimidating and pulled your shirt?

Maybe this is just because I walk around a major city every single day as a small, youngish female, and am thus subject to an unending stream of graphic abuse. But I would hesitate to call this "harassment." It basically sounds like a dude was an ass to you.

You want this person "gone"? What does that even mean? You want his membership cancelled? You want him in jail? Yeah I want that asshole who grabbed my crotch on the train in jail too, but the world kind of sucks and that doesn't always happen. (That dude probably bitches about wanting me in jail too, 'cause I got him off of me by crushing his foot with my high heel.)

These kinds of things happen all the time, because a lot of people SUCK. When you get out of it with no real damage, the best thing is to pretty much process it and move on. Devote your energies and resources to moving on with your life and finding a new gym.

Honestly, I am kind of jealous of the life you must lead that this is sufficiently rare and bizarre as to make you fixate on it for SIX MONTHS and consider legal action...
posted by like_a_friend at 5:34 PM on March 1, 2013 [23 favorites]


I was a member of a Y where a man got banned for ogling ladies in the swimming pool. I was very glad, because I often felt uncomfortable around this overly friendly grandpa. I heard he got caught using scuba goggles to look at tushies.

What would you like the YMCA to do? I think instead of saying "do something" to them, it would be more helpful to tell them what you'd like them to do. Do you want him to be banned? Lose his membership for a month? Get put on probation? Do you want them to pass a rule saying no bullying will be tolerated? Once you decide, then tell them what would make you happy. The worst thing they can do is say no to you.
posted by dottiechang at 5:36 PM on March 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


You could try to get a free consult, talk with a lawyer, and get their views on whether you should sue and they want to help you. That's a question of legal advice that this community really shouldn't give you.

You should think hard about what you would want to get out of litigation. They apologized but you still want an apology? What is the difference? What difference will it make in your life? And you want them to do more to this guy than reprimand him or give him a warning. Have you seen their agreement with him, if there is one? What remedies and procedures does it provide? And you want him banned from the Y, fined, suspended, or what? Will you go back if that happens? Or do you just want the universe to settle the score?

It sounds like you're very upset, and I don't blame you. But have you tried to work on that? Therapy could help you deal with any residual feelings of powerlessness, guilt, shame, anger, or however you're feeling.
posted by J. Wilson at 5:45 PM on March 1, 2013


What dottiechang said.

Also, this guy was a huge ridiculous jerk to you, and I understand the urge to see him punished, but will it actually make your life better? (If the answer is "yes", then weigh that against a) the time and stress it will cause you to keep pursuing this and b) the likelihood that anything will actually happen to him, which I think is small.)

Please think seriously about what you are hoping to get out of this. You no longer use that gym, so it's not impacting your daily life. Presumably you'll tell other people about your negative experiences with this YMCA, which is a pretty effective way to punish a company. If you haven't done it already, you could write them an angry letter, which often makes me feel better. Plus, then it's filed away for the next time this guy is a jerk to someone. At this point, I think that's the best you can do - and frankly, the most that is worth doing. Sometimes people are jerks. You've already extracted yourself from the situation - now it's time to move on.
posted by goodbyewaffles at 5:45 PM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would like a formal apology from the Y

But the DB wasn't actually a member of the board, and the Y isn't responsible for apologizing for all of its members. Just let it go and take your business elsewhere.
posted by mibo at 5:49 PM on March 1, 2013


I find the offer to give me a month of free membership insulting, I would like a formal apology from the Y - for reasons I have not gone into here, namely, knowing about this type of behavior for a long time and doing nothing about it - and I'd like this member who pulled rank on me to get more than a slap on the wrist.

You're free to write this in a letter to the Y and say that those are the circumstances under which you'll consider rejoining. You could perhaps CC the letter to the appropriate metropolitan or regional body of the Y. They'll either agree or disagree (or possibly continue to ignore you). You're free to file a lawsuit -- hey, it's America -- but I find it very hard to believe it would go anywhere, because it doesn't seem to me (IANAL) that any laws were broken or that you sustained any measurable damages.

None of this is to say that the guy wasn't a dick and didn't harass you. He did. That sucks. It sucks every single time people get harassed in similar ways, and as much as I am truly against bullying, harassment, sexism, etc., our courts of law do not have the capacity to deal with the literally millions of similar complaints most people could bring at some point or another during their lives. (As a side note: if you're male and have ever happened to wonder what it is that women are complaining about when many of us talk about routine types of harassment that we endure off and on throughout our lives, you may have been given the gift of some insight as to what it's like.)

tl;dr: write a letter to the Y, expect nothing further, and think about ways you can detach from this upsetting experience to let it go so that you can move on.
posted by scody at 5:51 PM on March 1, 2013 [7 favorites]


I disagree with the tenor of most of the above answers. This guy committed both assault and battery on you. I don't care that it was "just" pulling your shirt and physically blocking you in the hallway. It's important to do something about this because people like this don't do it just once in a lifetime, they do it over, over and over as their go-to way of getting their way and frightening everyone else into letting them. The fact that this guy was so bold about being that physically aggressive in front of everyone just goes to show that this is behavior he is extremely comfortable with exhibiting and feels he will never be held accountable for. And it worked - you left - so why wouldn't he keep doing it? If the Y just lets it slide then that is exactly what he will do so it's not just about you and giving you a freebie, it's about everyone else using the Y who this man may decide pisses him off in the future. If the Y apologizes then at least they will have admitted in writing that he exhibited unacceptable behavior on that date. If not, then the next time he does it, if someone says, "hey, what the heck? Why are you still letting this guy come here given he already did it to Anonymous last month?" they can say, "Well Anonymous took a free month pass and seems to be perfectly happy so we really don't think he was that upset by it." Or say, if he harrasses YOU again then they can say "why did you take the free month and keep happily coming here if it was really that bad?" If they apologize it will be easier to get him canned if he keeps behaving that way.
posted by cairdeas at 6:10 PM on March 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


Mod note: From the OP:
I want this person "gone" from the gym. Not society. I wasn't really looking for inward responses, like a "life is tough" talk, or suggestions for therapy. Just tell me my hands are tied and there's nothing much I can do.

I'm not emotionally stricken by this situation to the point of failure, and me upper-cutting this guy when he confronted me in the gym wasn't entirely out of the question. So it's a question asked in earnest: as an emotionally healthy person, is there anything more I can do? Was a line crossed? Can I take this matter to anyone outside the gym itself?

What I do have a problem with is someone in a social group I exist in touching me and threatening me and essentially getting away with it. And falsely representing his status so as to further intimidate me. That just seems to me a little beyond normal.

A couple of notes: he used to be a member of the board 5 years ago, the Y has known about this behavior for a long time, and a director was present during this altercation and did not intervene nor report it to his superiors.

Not to further cull the responses, but I don't have fear of such things as "ridicule." Members like this either shouldn't be in the gym, or they should sit us both in a room, and he can apologize to me. That would essentially satisfy me. He can keep his membership, and I can go on my merry way. Unfortunately, I suspect litigation is all about establishing harm and monetizing a solution. I want nothing to gain from this other than making a stand against this type of behavior. Yes, me leaving the gym has produced a settled state. Settled state being, I left the gym because I tried to reinforce their rules and was yelled at by a senior member for doing so. It's undoubtedly a great thing I moved on, but I really enjoyed being a member there.

I appreciate the advice about writing a letter. I wanted to add that so far I have dealt with the director of the gym and I would be happy to write a letter to the president.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 6:11 PM on March 1, 2013


I will make only a couple of points, without repeating what others have said:

1. It happened many months ago. The time to speak up has long passed.
2. Many people think that "harrassment" by itself is an offense. It is not. If it is based on race, sex, religion, then it might be. Someone acting like an asshole is not legally actionable.
posted by yclipse at 6:55 PM on March 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


I wasn't really looking for inward responses, like a "life is tough" talk, or suggestions for therapy.

When you ask a question, you never know what answers you are going to get.

IAAL, IANYL, TINLA. It seems to me that you have no claim here at all. There is no cause of action for "harassment". And yes, a civil suit is about money, so it is not an option for you if you do not want to "monetize" anything. Even if you had a claim, you have to have damages. What are your damages from this? Did the tugs ruin your shirt? Ok, so maybe you recover the cost of your shirt. Since this is not a contingency fee case, any lawyer would be happy to take it on for a retainer of $10,000. How much is being right worth to you?

me upper-cutting this guy when he confronted me in the gym wasn't entirely out of the question

His tugging at your shirt was beyond the pale, but your delivery of a punch to his chin was an option you think you had? This does not make you sympathetic. This AskMeFi thread would be discoverable in a lawsuit if you were to file one - your anonymity wouldn't protect you. However, you backed down so quickly from this confrontation that I do not believe you would have punched this man. How many chins have you punched?

The best you can do is to write a letter, but that will mostly be about catharsis for you than getting anything done. If nothing has happened in six months, it is not going to happen. Why are they going to care about what an ex-member has to say about a current member? Why do you care about who goes to a gym you no longer attend? You say this is about "taking a stand" and you did take a stand, but all he had to do was ask you a question to stop you in your tracks. That was the end of your stand.

As someone who is very sympathetic to that which is "Christian-based", please think about how Christian it is to bear a such a grudge for so long. We Christians are not the ones who force others into rooms and demand apologies. We are the ones who apologize without being asked. Please talk to your spiritual father about this matter.
posted by Tanizaki at 7:02 PM on March 1, 2013 [12 favorites]


I don't think there is much more you can do. You have filed a complaint. The Y has apologized profusely and given the other member a warning. I'm sure they believe they've already taken appropriate action. They aren't going to act as mediator and sit you two down in a room in the hopes that he will apologize. As they have said they've given him a warning, they're also not going to kick him out over this incident. You could certainly write a letter if you feel you need to but this is the point where you need to consider if this is the hill you want to die on.
posted by young sister beacon at 7:10 PM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


you encountered jerks at the gym. sadly, that's life. gym was "profusely sorry", gave you a month's membership for free and warned the guy. i'd just drop it. it's good to extend people grace in these types of situations.

in the grand scheme of life this is such a small thing...
posted by wildflower at 7:38 PM on March 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry, maybe I missed it: where is the harassment?

"I want this person "gone" from the gym" --- so basically, because this dude acted like a jerk that one time, you feel he should have a lifetime ban from the Y, and will be satisfied with nothing less. You made a formal complaint about his behavior, the Y investigated and disciplined him as they saw appropriate --- but because it wasn't a punishment YOU consider proper, you're considering going nuclear on the entire Y.

You tried to enforce the gym's rules and were yelled at for doing so --- I understand the temptation to do so, but you should have just gone to the manager and asked THEM to do something about the man who was swearing, not taken matters into your own hands...... sorta like the guy that yelled at you shouldn't have taken matters into HIS own hands.

I'm sorry, but it sounds like the guy was disciplined properly for his actions, the Y behaved correctly, and you're overreacting: you say you were "inspired by the anti-bullying movement", but your own actions are approaching bullying.
posted by easily confused at 7:54 PM on March 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


If I were in your shoes, part of my distemper would be in that the Y, while many people only use it a gym, is supposed to and bills itself as more than a gym- it's supposed to be a safe, respectful community for families, children, and seniors and a place that stands with disenfranchised people and supports equality between all people instead of anger and yelling.

Because the Y is that kind of place, I would treat it like that in my complaint- less lawsuit, free membership-type stuff, more a letter that says basically, "You know, I was really upset to hear this member swear during the weekly basketball game because I come to the Y for the respectful environment and then I was really freaked out by the member who grabbed me and told me he was a member of the board and chased me into the hallway. I come to the Y to have a respite from that kind of behavior and I now feel unsafe."

If so, you could reply that, in the circumstances, you don't feel safe attending the gym because of the presence of that member and you therefore can't accept the offer of a free month's membership because you won't benefit from it. You could say that warning such an aggressive person isn't enough to make you feel safe and you do not think that they are doing enough to ensure that their customers are free from harassment.

I think this is a good note to hit as far as telling them what you want.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 8:28 PM on March 1, 2013 [7 favorites]


Normally I would let something like this slide, but I've decided to take up this cause because I think it's the honorable thing to do. If only because I am inspired by the anti-bullying movement.

If I may make a comparison between your case and mine:

(1) I was pushed down stairs, shoved, pantsed in the girls' changing room, catcalled, kicked, and had hair pulled on a weekly basis without provocation when I was in seventh grade gym class for three and a half months. I was also threatened to keep this treatment a secret or else I would be hurt even worse, and it took three other girls who'd been witnesses the whole time to finally urge me to tell a teacher.

(2) You overheard a man cursing during a pickup game, approached this man whom you already knew was angry and scolded him about it, and he turned his anger on you; you escalated the situation by complaining to a YMCA employee and a second man called you on it, you appealed to the YMCA and they pursued a course of corrective action which is no doubt what the YMCA has deemed appropriate for such circumstances.

With all due respect, you were not bullied, and your claiming to be inspired by "the anti-bullying movement" is one of the most outrageous things I've ever heard in my life.

The YMCA handled this situation appropriately. Right now, you are not. You say that the YMCA is "a Christian organization" - I urge you to do the Christian thing and forgive, and then do the sensible thing and get over this.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:37 PM on March 1, 2013 [22 favorites]


What I do have a problem with is someone in a social group I exist in touching me and threatening me and essentially getting away with it. And falsely representing his status so as to further intimidate me. That just seems to me a little beyond normal.

As a woman I say Good luck with that buddy. If you figure it out that let me know.

Men I WORK with have done this to women at WORK, colleagues, and they got a slap on the wrist. The women didn't even get a free month of gym membership. I don't think you're going to get the satisfaction you want here.
posted by fshgrl at 8:52 PM on March 1, 2013 [9 favorites]


The time to do anything more about this was six months ago.

Echoing all the responses above that say 'let it go'. I don't think you are going to get any satisfaction out of pursuing this situation further.
posted by Salamander at 9:15 PM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Get over this. Life is too short for this.
posted by Ideefixe at 11:16 PM on March 1, 2013


6. Post a negative review of this YMCA on Yelp, without going into details that may identify you as the reviewer.
posted by iviken at 12:08 AM on March 2, 2013


A couple of notes: he used to be a member of the board 5 years ago, the Y has known about this behavior for a long time, and a director was present during this altercation and did not intervene nor report it to his superiors.

It sounds like this jerk is a thorn in the side of the YMCA, but they let this behavioral crap slide because that's easier than banning him from the building, which they expect (probably rightly) would refocus his belligerence on them and at least temporarily make him an even bigger pain to deal with. This easy path is open to them because they don't see a downside. But there could be real downsides for the Y, and you could remind them of them. You could file a police report -- not charges or anything, but just say to the nice policeman you chat with that you had this threatening experience and you want to have it on record that on such and such a day, such and such happened. Then write a letter to the Y, stating you have filed this police report, and that you will not hesitate to press charges if he ever accosts you again. If the Y's board has half a brain between all its members, it will realize that this guy is not only a pain in the ass but a serious liability, both legally and in PR terms, and they will suddenly become much less willing to tolerate this crappy behavior.

Forget your hope for an apology; it's not going to happen in any meaningful way. Forget getting him immediately banned; it's too late for that. Accept your free month and get back in there.
posted by jon1270 at 3:05 AM on March 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Mod note: A couple of comments deleted. A) Please provide helpful answers, B) don't scold other answerers; if there's a site problem, take it to Metatalk or contact the mods
posted by taz (staff) at 3:46 AM on March 2, 2013


You know, as someone who has been part of running some collective spaces, I think it's quite reasonable to kick things up a notch, for the reasons cited by jon1270. I'm not totally into some of the anger you're showing and I'm not totally sure that some of this isn't offended pride and masculine sense of self, but if it helps the Y get rid of a creep, that's all to the good. I also think that it wouldn't hurt to loosen up about one incident of cursing, or to talk to the management if it's recurrent.

If this guy has genuinely been faking that he's on the board and harassing people to the point of grabbing them (I am assuming that this isn't an isolated thing on his part - if it was and there is more to the story, that is totally different), then probably a lot of the staff hate him and he's probably a big source of stress for volunteers and event leaders - a truculent, problem person can act like a real-life troll and drive folks away from spaces, as I know only too well. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to work with these people, as some of them do not have enough self-control and a healthy enough mental state to mend their behavior and others simply don't want to. I've worked with several difficult and truculent people to try to get them to a point where they could follow the procedures of the space and refrain from hassling and alienating staff and others - and virtually all the time, this boiled down to asking them to leave, or being thrilled when they decided to leave on their own. The Y probably has more leverage over this guy than we did over our trolls, and I bet there's twenty staffers who would do a little dance of glee if he couldn't come back.

Also, I am a little uncomfortable with the whole "women get harassed in daily life and I got bulled for real as a kid, so suck it up" line that is emerging. I got bullied for real as a kid,pretty badly for years, and as a gender non-conforming person I do sometimes get hassled (although in fairness not as much as a woman in a less stand-offish city or with femmier presentation would)....and I figure, if some dude is acting like Mr Fake Board Member, do you really think he isn't hassling women and maybe even picking on kids? Every troll I knew in spaces I've worked on has been male, and although some of them hassled guys, all of them disrespected women - some in a direct and insult-laden way and some in a "I'm refusing to follow the rules because it is a woman who is telling me" way.

I think it would be quite reasonable to write a couple more letters and request a written acknowledgement from the Y, in particular.
posted by Frowner at 6:19 AM on March 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


There isn't an awful lot they could do.

Part of the thing about the Y is that it's run and staffed by humans. Humans often freeze and deal with confrontation poorly. That is the human condition.

Clearly you've been hanging onto this incident for 6 months! Why is it that you can't put it behind you?

It would be one thing if the jerk who accosted you actually was a board member, but he's not. Exactly what did the Y do wrong in this instance?

They can't apologize for the jerk. They did apologize for the fact that you had an unpleasant incident. They aren't going to toss the jerk because he pays dues and probably because he denied doing anything wrong.

If you felt threatened in the moment, you should have called the police. Frankly, I think walking away was the proper thing to do. Filing a complaint at the time would also have been appropriate. Hopefully the incident was situational and then you could have continued going to the gym, and things would have been hunky-dory.

If the guy continued his ugly behavior, THEN you'd have a case for having him banned from the Y. You didn't stay long enough to have it come up. You never know, he may have blown the whole thing off and forgotten you by the following day. It may have been a moot point.

Yes, nasty confrontations are nasty. But they're not harrassment.

Also, cursing isn't nice in a public place, but it happens. Why did it bother you so much. Were there children around? Are you that easily offended? It seems a very weird hill to die on.

I hold a grudge forever, so I totally get where you're coming from. But I'll tell you this. Staying angry about something long after it's appropriate to do so is a HUGE predictor of High Blood Pressure. I have it, so I should know.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:41 AM on March 2, 2013


I think your best bet is to either let it go, or to figure out exactly what you want and tell the YMCA. By this, I mean have it written down in a letter that says, line by line, the actions you expect to be taken.

I think the main issue going on here is that the YMCA did do something (although not to the degree that you would like), but what happened was not big enough for the police to be involved, so there isn't another organization to go to in order to resolve this. Action has been taken, and you don't feel it is enough. You need to demand more. Unfortunately, if more doesn't happen, there's not much you can do.

Without all the details it's impossible for any of us to say what is appropriate for the YMCA to do, but I would assume that if they actually wanted to get rid of this member, they would have jumped at the chance to do so when this situation came up. At this point, since they didn't do so, it sounds like they would rather have him as a member than you as a member. So, is this really an organization you want to give money to? Considering how they have reacted to the situation up until now, do you really want to go back there?
posted by markblasco at 11:11 AM on March 2, 2013


I just want to point out that the Y is no longer "Christian based" and hasn't been for ages. It isn't even the YMCA any more -- it's just the Y.

My Y expects members to behave appropriately, but it isn't for religious reasons.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:26 PM on March 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


So it's a question asked in earnest: as an emotionally healthy person, is there anything more I can do?

Sure, there's tons, but it all has to happen inside your head. You gotta figure out why this is, as someone said above, the hill upon which you feel driven to die.

My world-is-tough speech wasn't meant as "so suck it up," or "women have it worse." It was meant as "yes, unfortunately, this is how you should expect society to work."

You seem to have so far been exceptionally lucky --receiving proper behavior and overall justice in your world. As a result, your expectations are, sadly, way out of line. And I mean it! It's sad! You SHOULD be able to expect good treatment, safety, and swift justice. But, you can't.

It's shocking to learn this! You are rightly shocked. But the truth is most people learn this lesson when they're children (as the reports of people who were ruthlessly and endlessly bullied illustrate). We seem blase because none of this is new to us.

Lessons you can now carry with you going forward:
-Hostile people mostly respond to intervention with escalated hostility
-Authority figures are eager to wash their hands of conflict situations, so you will generally be blown off/at a disadvantage in dealing with them.
-In any given situation, you might be right, but being right won't always help you.
-To a large extent the world is unstable and terrifying, so cultivate resilience.
posted by like_a_friend at 2:48 PM on March 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Don't know what state your in, but at least here in Virginia, grabbing someone is considered simple assault. I know this from experience*. If I had been you, I would have called the police because people like that usually don't act like that once. Better to get a paper trail started or add to his already existing paper trail.

*Many years ago when I was 18 and living in my first apartment, I was hanging outside at night waiting for a friend to stop by. I was sitting on a swing on playground that was near the parking lot and buildings. This old man strolls by, sees me, walks towards me and grabs my arm. He spoke to me in a language I didn't understand but I knew he was trying to get me to go somewhere with him. He didn't grab my arm hard and he let go when I quickly left to go back inside. I was so freaked out that I called my mom and she told me to call the police which I did. They took me seriously, filed a report and we even drove around looking for the guy and we found him. They charged him with simple assault. There was even a court date but the guy never showed up to court, don't know what happened to him.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:23 PM on March 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


My two cents: if you want to make your voice heard, take your business elsewhere, and write your branch of the Y a letter indicating why you are taking your business elsewhere. Let them know that their decision to keep this guy around has cost them the amount of money that you would otherwise be paying into their organization. Let them know that you regret having to take this step, as you love the Y for reasons x, y, and z, but that you cannot go to the same branch as this man, and you do not feel that you should have to move in order to appease both this man and the organization that chooses to tolerate his behavior.

The Y will probably do nothing, but you never know.

...

Grabbing your shirt will almost certainly fall under the definition of a crime where you live, but you will probably wind up very disappointed in the results of pressing charges at this stage. File a police report if it makes you feel better to do so, but don't stake your emotional well-being on anything coming from it.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:03 AM on March 4, 2013


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