Thursday, September 04, 2014

Volunteering to be raped...or worse? (Changing the context?)

"A local man, who police say coerced his girlfriend into moving in with him..."

That's the opening of a news item from my morning paper that goes on to describe a cascading series of crimes and calamities visited upon said girlfriendand her childrenby some felonious caveman with whom she agreed to cohabit. Oh wait, I forgot, she was coerced.

Folks, an adult woman has an obligation to avoid being coerced into things that may have disastrous consequences for her; surely that obligation is ironclad if she has kids (as women in these untoward circumstances invariably seem to; how come it's the women living stable lives in million-dollar homes who have all that trouble conceiving?) You cannot permit yourself to be coerced into moving in with an abuser. Call the cops, call the cops again, go to a shelter, recruit your brothers or some of your male friends from the gym to "educate" him. Perhaps buy yourself a Glock, learn how to use it, then keep it handy, wait for Mr. Macho's next tantrum, blow his effin head off and claim self-defense. ("Get hollow points," as that comedianLouie Anderson?used to gibe.) You will almost surely be exonerated or receive some token sentence. But do not give in. If you do give in, it's on you. Don't look for someone else to blame (or some nebulous, self-serving psychological syndrome to cite) when you and/or your defenseless kids suffer for it.*

So it is with all this loose talk about men maneuvering women into unwanted sex.**

Are women fully functioning adults? Or are they, in fact, perpetual wards of the nanny state who require constant looking-after and all sorts of special provisions enacted to protect them from their own puissance deficit? Don't talk to me about the natural physical power imbalance between men and women, either, because that's exactly the kind of reasoning that women themselves reject out of hand in pronouncing themselves fit for police work, military duty and other physically demanding occupations that once were the exclusive province of males.

Which way is it gonna be, ladies? Can you take care of yourselves in relationships and life? Are you the equal of men? Or not.
* I could mention the obvious SHAM tie-in her, reiterating the ways in which early self-help encouraged us all to feel like impotent victims, but why muddy the waters? Read the book if you haven't, wink.
** I'm not talking about flashpoint, life-and-death scenarios where a man has a knife to a woman's throat. I'm referring to cases where women later complain about having been coaxed or shamed or "pushed" into sex. In other words, the pressure was verbal or implied, and a "No" would not have had fatal consequences. This is also why a woman cannot allow herself to be coerced into moving in with a guy. Once you do so, your options are much more limited. And it's why we teach our children to never get in a car with a, scream, kick, fight...even if it does seem to be a life-and-death scenario. Because once you're in that car...


Jenny said...

"Which way is it gonna be, ladies?" I think we need a major cultural shift that is a lot more respectful of people, generally. We tend to take polarizing positions — especially on political and religious issues, which naturally bleed into gender issues — and then wonder about the illusive bridge between those poles. I like to think people are mostly evolving toward enlightened thinking, gaining insight with experience; but that's not everyone's objective. Some people aren't committed to self-improvement, or to helping others improve, too. (Some people are addicted to self-help books. Nobody who reads this blog, of course.) In short, if people don't figure out how to cope with conflict, to live in equanimity, and to cultivate other desirable qualities, the problem of domestic and other types of personal violence (rape included, of course) will continue. It's a commitment and it's work, and it requires much practice. Also, tuning out the yammering media helps! At least long enough to effing meditate! ;)

Steve Salerno said...

I think you're 100% right, Jenny, even though I've been one of the loudest and (apparently) most obnoxious debaters.

But the more I think about it, the more I think this may be one of those issues where there's no way to win--certainly not on my side--and the personal costs of even venturing an opinion are excessive in today's highly charged sociopolitical environment. I'll explain in time, perhaps.

Jenny said...

Nothing wrong with obnoxious, Steve. Just stay honest! We need a lot more of that, all around.

"I think this may be one of those issues where there's no way to win--certainly not on my side--and the personal costs of even venturing an opinion are excessive in today's highly charged sociopolitical environment."

Yep, but if you say nothing, nothing gets said. That's not really okay either.

"I admire anybody who has the guts to write anything at all." (E.B. White)

I found that one a few years ago in The Courage to Write, by Ralph Keyes. Funny how words stick with you sometimes.