Am I making a mountain out of a missing stair?
December 31, 2019 11:31 PM   Subscribe

I'm a woman in a male-dominated hobby where we run events at local hobby shops. One of the local shop owners in my neighborhood has a well-known history of physically abusing their intimate partners. However, many of my fellow hobbyists continue to run and attend events at this particular shop. What can I do about this? Or should I do anything at all?


If it wasn't obvious already, I have a moral objection to supporting this business owner. It's possible that not everyone in the community knows their reputation. I am vocal about the situation and why I do not patronage that store whenever it comes up in conversation. However, I'm not interested in starting a public campaign to call out the owner. That doesn't feel like my place and the people who've been hurt by the owner also do not wish to be outed.

It's sad to say, but it's simply not "convenient" to boycott this location, because it's objectively the best shop in town. I know that there are others who feel the same way I do, but it's a relatively small group of us compared to the larger community. My current solution is to actively run events at other shops--which is good, but more passive than I'd like.

Is there anything else I can do to get my fellow hobbyists to stop going to this store?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm a woman who has been severely wronged in a male-dominated environment, so I viscerally understand why you don't want to reward a misogynist. But I've also been falsely accused of something significant; the helpless feeling of being unjustly held responsible for something you didn't do sucks big time and I would never want to do that to anyone else. Please be ultra sure of this dude's guilt before you go accusing him.

If I were one of your fellow hobbyists, I'd want evidence that this person did in fact do what you say he did. Referring to his "reputation" wouldn't cut it, for me. Reputations can be based on groundless gossip. If you really want to convince people, the victims and/or witnesses may have to speak up about their experiences, or you may have to point people to his conviction record or some such. The guy should also be allowed to give his side of the story.
posted by nirblegee at 1:19 AM on January 1 [13 favorites]


Is there anything else I can do to get my fellow hobbyists to stop going to this store?

In community driven hobbies, it's rare you need to convince everyone - or even a majority - of a course of action prior to effectuating the change. More often there are a few influential individuals - those that are outspoken, those that organize events, and those that perform much of the labor of operating a community.

Could you find those people and lobby them with whatever information motivates the owners' reputation? It will limit the amount of time you have to bring this up in conversation while maximizing the impact you can have.

I would also encourage you to focus on evidence and experiences rather than reputation. You will be more likely to convince people based on specifics than generalities. I'm stating this because in general I would not be inclined to abandon a useful business relationship merely over unspecified injuries to unspecified persons.
posted by saeculorum at 2:23 AM on January 1 [7 favorites]


the people who've been hurt by the owner also do not wish to be outed.

I'm just going to assume you know this first hand. Respecting the wishes of the victims of an abuser has to be the highest priority here so I commend you for working within the limitations that imposes. I actually think organizing events at other stores is the opposite of passive and is a really great idea and a very pro-active thing to do.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:50 AM on January 1 [63 favorites]


Sounds to me like you’re going about this exactly right. I bet putting energy into creating other alternatives will pay off with time.
posted by sallybrown at 5:00 AM on January 1 [7 favorites]


Consider expanding the playing field beyond your hobby.

What would it take to make it easier in your community for victims of abuse to report it? What would make it less likely for this kind of abuse to happen? Anything reasonable you do to foster these two goals can't be faulted by the victims you're (rightfully) respecting and can't safely be faulted by their abuser.
posted by alittleknowledge at 10:05 AM on January 1 [2 favorites]


Having events at other stores seems the opposite of passive to me. You're actively holding events in a space you prefer. If people go to those, they're not going to the other place at that time and if they only go to X events, then the store loses attendance.

I am vocal about the situation and why I do not patronage that store whenever it comes up in conversation. However, I'm not interested in starting a public campaign to call out the owner.

These two sentences seem at odds. "I prefer not to go there." is different than how I read your first sentence where you explain the exact situation when the store comes up.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 7:00 AM on January 2


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