TV is full of it; timelines are full of it; my mind is full
I think I’ve been naive, and maybe I still am.
I’m talking about male predation and sexual assault/inappropriateness/harassment.
Just grab ’em by the *****
You get the picture.
It scares me and angers me all at once that men in a position of power (real or perceived) think that they can act however they want or take whatever they want; to feel that entitled and beyond reproach that they try to impose their will on others, by force if necessary.
- It scares me as a father of a young girl;
- It scares me as a father of a young boy;
- It angers me as a man and a human being.
The psychologist in me seeks to understand the behaviour of individuals in all cases but I will admit to a fog of anger descending when I hear such stories.
A close friend of mine told me one such story recently. She conveyed it in a jovial, almost dismissive way, stating that if she didn’t laugh, she would cry. After a couple of full paragraphs from her my only response was ‘Jesus…’
She relayed a little more and my response was the same; ‘Jesus’
Sensing my shock, she then gave me another couple of examples of men taking advantage and this time, she ended the story with
ask any woman you know..
I didn’t need to.
I had heard stories historically but somehow I’d managed to box them off as individual incidents in my mind.
Now I was joining the dots and I could feel anger rising inside me.
Not just high profile
I’ll be honest; I don’t know what to write next.
I want to talk about self-defence. I’m a martial artist and for a long time, I’ve been an advocate of everyone learning to defend themselves, especially women. But then I ask myself
‘Why should you have to?’
I’ve deleted more than I’ve written (mostly expletives) so I’ll go here. I can’t fix the world but I want to prepare my cubs for it whilst protecting their innocence.
For my son
How to be a man; a real man. That means being a humanitarian, a communicator and showing respect whilst ensuring you get respected. Hearing no and understanding that and not overstepping the line in the first place. To take responsibility. Not to stand by.
For my daughter
Having the strength to say no and the courage to act* under the circumstances. To recognise what is appropriate and what is not. To be a humanitarian but to not feel responsible for the poor behaviour of others.
I don’t blog well when I’m angry.
*this isn’t meant as criticism or victim blaming. I’m just angry.
3 Replies to “This is playing on my mind…”
Sadly, much of the disconnect comes from the fact that, historically, sons have been raised differently than daughters. The whole “boys will be boys” attitude puts out the assumption and belief that boys are different than girls, that they live by a separate set of rules. It is something that I’ve struggled with, as a woman, as a mother of both sons and a daughter.
Recently, I’ve had to deal carefully with expressing my frustration at the fact that even with regards to a basic dress code and enforcement, the blame for “distraction” is always placed squarely on the shoulders of the girls. It sets a baseline of blame that it is the girls fault for creating a distraction rather than boys being responsible for their actions. It starts with how we teach our children. We teach our girls how to be careful, how to not put themselves in risky situations while we teach (at least historically) that boys have no control over being “distracted”, that the fault lies with the girl and the boy carries no fault. We haven’t taught our boys that the girls are as equally deserving of respect as their male peers and that they carry responsibility for their actions.
I think it is a whole lot less prevalent in the younger generations because parents have begun to recognize this disparity and are working to change that, so that is absolutely a positive thing. Sadly, the concept of “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” strongly applies to many from the older generations. Not because they are incapable of learning, but because they refuse to see their world view upended and challenged or admit that maybe they aren’t so right after all. They enjoy the things that kind of thinking has afforded them, so why do anything any different?
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Well said. The whole thing disgusts me, especially the sense of entitlement. Are we that Ill-disciplined or lack self-control to that extent that a way of dressing can be classed as provocative? No. I don’t buy it. I have faith in the generation coming through but in the meantime we have to deal with this ill-judged patriarchal hangover. 😡
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At least we have the hope that our children may not have some of these same struggles as we have, or at least not to the degree we do. And that is because of parents like you and I that are conscious of the situation and are raising our kids with a better mindset than our parents generations.
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