Harvey Weinstein is all the news this last week. Before him, it was allegations against President Donald Trump. It seems that sexual assault is part of the very fabric of our society. I wish we lived in a world where we didn’t need to worry about such things, but we don’t.
A terrible list of excuses, bad advice, and bad products proliferate. I hope to cut through some of the crap and give some useful information. Nothing in this article is meant to be an an excuse. We do need to understand some basic things about human beings.
Some people may say that I don’t have the right to talk about such a sensitive subject because I am a guy. To those I respond with the following three things. First, I was bullied in school most of my life, so I am used to being on the receiving end of violence from others I trusted. While bullying isn’t the same as sexual assault, you will see some similarities below. Second, those who think I need to be a woman are neglecting the basic idea of equality between the sexes. If women are supposed to be treated as equal to me, then the converse also holds true and any man should be able to talk about women’s issues. And lastly, for the die-hards who still think I can’t, I identify as a woman for the purpose of this article.
Many people forget our basic biology. I am not talking about male sexual urges, although that is part of the problem. Human’s, both males and females, are apex predators. If you don’t understand, look at the difference between how a dog and a horse behave. Chimpanzees display similar predatory traits.
So humans are predators, so what. It means we have a biological drive to hunt prey. We see this when a man tries to court a woman at a bar. The same thing causes serial killers too. I am not justifying it, just explaining it. Much of the behavior of both men and women falls under this predatory explanation. The issue occurs when the chase moves from a mutually agreed upon courting to an unwanted advance.
We didn’t survive as a species without being good predators.
A glaring problem exists. On the one hand, we want men and women to be treated exactly the same in all things. We aren’t. Science shows there are basic differences between men and women.
Pound for pound, men are two times stronger than women on average. Are there women like Ronda Rousey who could kick the a## of most men, even mine. Yes. I would point out that she isn’t average. She also doesn’t compete in the men’s division. That is okay. We can treat people equally under the rules of law and still respect differences.
Men and women should be paid equally for equal work, legal situations, and a host of others I can’t specifically state.
Women get a lot of bad advice about preventing sexual assault. First of all, any advice which assumes that it is solely the woman’s responsibility is absolutely terrible.
Women already hear that they should avoid dark places, protect their drinks, and travel in groups. A majority of women are trying to be safe. Quit with the “You asked for it” and “What did you do to deserve it” questions.
Even telling a woman to enroll in a self-defense class can be bad advice.
Here are examples of bad advice:
- Don’t dress to “provocatively.”
- Carry your keys in between your knuckles.
- Don’t wear heels.
- Avoid dark alleys.
- Carry mace.
- Take a self defense class.
- Don’t get drunk.
Not everyone should own a gun. Many parents take their young daughters to the local store carrying pepper spray and hope that is protection. Both are terrible and good at the same time.
What are some bad products for women?
- Pepper spray
- Stun guns
- Batons (Koga and others)
All of these items can give a woman a false sense of security. For example, pepper spray needs a minim distance to be effective (usually a couple feet). If the attacker is too close, it can lose its potency. Guns, without training, can escalate a situation and lead to a host of legal complications. In a world where we always want instant results, these are mere placebos to self protection.
Excusing poor male behavior isn’t acceptable. Telling women that they dressed too sexy or put themselves in a dangerous situation is disgusting. Men can’t let other men behave in poor ways towards women. I am not saying women need “protection,” but everyone should look out for situations where women are being bothered. Here are a few signs things aren’t okay.
- Unwanted touch
- Not accepting “No.”
- Invading personal space
The above aren’t absolute rules. Sometimes during the courtship process, a playful tug of war occurs where both parties encourage the “chase.” Unfortunately, the playful chase can become too aggressive for one party and boundaries get crossed. Being clear about intentions and current desires or wants is a good way to stave off unwanted advances. Men need to take no for an answer and women shouldn’t fear sounding “bitchy” for saying what they really want.
Women who have been assaulted need to come forward as soon as possible. The fear of reprisal or being called a slut is old thinking which these predators perpetuate to prolong their escapades. It needs to stop. If you have had a bad encounter report it to the authorities to prevent other women from also suffering the same fate.
While I am only a Bakersfield boudoir photographer with a simple blog, I hope that I have contributed in a positive way to the discussion of sexual assault and its consequences.
What do you think?