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A series of letters from people who are trying to disengage but don’t know how. There’s some really toxic addiction and abusive behavior described in some of the letters, so, know that going in.

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Dear Captain Awkward,

Due to a current organizing position I hold I have been asked to deliver brief presentations to each of the Greek chapters on my campus discussing the importance of women’s reproductive health issues in the upcoming election and subsequently registering people to vote while perhaps even sneaking in tidbits about safe sex and healthy relationships. I have no reservations talking to the sororities because I figure they have more reason to be receptive to the message. I am, however, quite nervous to present to the fraternities. Standing alone in front of a room of fraternity guys is scary in and of itself. Trying to convince them to care about women’s reproductive health issues seems tricky, as does talking about consent to a group that is particularly sensitive/defensive about consent issues. How can I give my presentation in a compelling and convincing manner?

Some things I have thought of:

1.  The men and women’s sexual health on campus depend on one another. The men’s health is compromised if the women don’t have access to STD screenings/contraceptives etc and vice versa. And these dudes definitely aren’t looking to become dads anytime soon so like, SUPPORT BIRTH CONTROL HEY!

2.     The “these are your girlfriends, your friends, sisters & mothers” ploy. But that comes off to me as “PROTECT YOUR WOMEN” and that is a weird message that I don’t want to deliver.

3.     It’s just the right thing to do…

Any script ideas or talking points you can think of?

Sincerely,

Fraternizing with the Male Vote

Dear Fraternizing:

What a cool project. I understand why it feels daunting. But it is cool and important.

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Edit/Update:  The LW contacted me to let me know that she left Jon the Asshole (Yay!) after he (predictably) physically assaulted her (Boo!). She’s doing ok and gives us all her love (which is returned. SO returned). I’m leaving this question up because she’s probably (sadly) not alone in having the question.

 

Hello Captain,

About a year ago I got into a relationship with this guy for privacy purposes we’ll call Jon. Jon was really great. He lived really far away. We visited back and forth. When he visited me the first time though he was super mean to all my friends and family.

I thought it was because he was far from home. I went to stay with him (where I am now) very, very far from home. For months he’s been nothing but verbally and emotional evil and mean to me. I was begging him to stop. He never did. Recently, about a month ago, I asked again. I was on that tipping point of “falling out of love” he yelled at me for “asking him to stop being mean.”

I became pretty numb to him, and am now. I started letting myself fall for a guy I casually flirt with online. Who lets just face it, would be closer if I went home and has way more in common/to say to me/is way more my type.

My ticket home isn’t for another month. Now that Jon can sense a problem he’s acting all nice and loving. I said a few times I would try and love him because he throws stuff around when I try to break up with him. How do I tell him I don’t want to try anymore? Should I wait til I go home?

And should I pursue something with casual (bordering on serious) flirting friend, if it feels right?

 – Really freaking scared

Dear Really Scared,

Aaaaah! This got caught in the spam filter and I could not answer it immediately!  Aaaaah! I am so sorry!

First, do you live with Jon? Does he have access to your living space? Can you get to a safe place that he doesn’t have access to? Call one of the hotline numbers from this post (and read all of the comments in that thread, there is tons of practical advice there for getting out of a scary situation) and make sure you are in a safe place as soon as possible.

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