Monday, October 01, 2018

Men vs. women

More than once as I walked down the street with only a male nearby, I would feel fear. At the same time I felt sorry for the man, who probably was a really nice guy. He had no idea he was creating a sense of fear just by being a man.

At the same time men hurt women. I had no idea that a woman was being raped by seven men across the street from where I lived in Boston and was peacefully asleep in my dusty rose and blue bedroom.

Too many friends have admitted they were raped, sexually molested by their fathers, brothers, cousins or beaten by a lover, husband or boyfriend. So many it is almost ho hum, except it can never be ho hum.

At the woman's college where a friend worked, incoming Freshman were warned areas where they should never walk alone, day or night, including a beautiful park across from the campus. It was no idle warning.

What I found more telling was the list above. What women do to protect themselves and what men do. I did and do many of these things where applicable as routine.

I believe Dr. Ford. I see in Judge Kavanaugh, not the innocent man who passed me by in the street, but a swaggering male, the bully, like the many who've hit on me in the past.

Fortunately, I have only been harassed by men I've worked with. It never accelerated to violence although job loss was implied in one case.

I remember standing behind my male assistant, my hand on his shoulder as I read what he'd written on his computer screen. "Careful," he said, "I'll get you for sexual harassment." He was joking or at least I hoped he knew I had too much respect for him, his wife and his kids.

Some was innocence flirting, and the danger of movements like #metoo is that the normal exchanges between men and women will be curtailed. If fear of a sexual harassment charge was constant, my husband would have been afraid to speak to me at the conference where we met, and if he weren't I'd have been afraid to answer. Where is the line?

I have no idea how to teach boys to respect women having only a daughter. Had she been a boy I would have tried. It would be an uphill fight in a culture and was before there was a president who says "grab them by the pussy."

And boys do not have to be boys if it involves hurting a girl. Men do not have to be men if it involves threatening behavior toward women.

If men did not hurt women there would be no Cosbys, Weinsteins, Kavanaughs and uncountable others.

Wouldn't that be wonderful if women didn't need the self-protection list?

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