I find myself to be stuck somewhere between a loss for words and a racing mind.
Where are we, truly, just as a people, when men (and women) are flagrantly excusing sexual assault — and more so, justifying it?
Listen, in this context, this has nothing to do with politics. I don’t give a damn about politics, as it pertains to the commentary I am reading and hearing in the media over the last several days. For me, this has everything to do with having a mother, a sister, an array of close girl friends, but most importantly, a conscience.
I don’t know if I can adequately summarize how infuriating it is that a man — albeit a scuzzy, rotten and vomit-inducing example of a man — can exclaim, essentially, that he is entitled to a woman’s body because of his status in society — and then, be socially pardoned for it, due to political reasons.
Make no mistake about it, there is absolutely no excuse, nor justification known to man — or woman — that allows sexual assault to be acceptable.
For victims and survivors of sexual assault, I cannot imagine how disheartening and haunting it has been to watch television over the past week. I cannot fathom how traumatizing it may be to see those who look like you, and are susceptible to the same mistreatment as you, trivialize the concept, and dismiss the notion as harmless wordplay.
It is being labeled as “locker room talk” — just that. As if boys and men merely discussing groping women, without consent, is inconsequential. Bullshit. This rhetoric, these ideas, it isn’t just words. It is a mindset, and it is an ideology that ultimately has the potential to create a rape culture epidemic, if it hasn’t already.
This breeds entitlement. Such a philosophy enables a predator to feel entitled to a woman because of the dress she wore, or the way she danced. As if either is some sort of mixed-signal calling card.
But there is no calling card alternative to a woman’s body, the only calling card is yes. And the opposite of yes is no. Therefore, turning a no into a yes, without consent, based on the aforementioned factors, is the very embodiment of rape culture.
Look at your daughter, crusading through an office, often doing twice the amount of work as her male counterparts just to prove she belongs, and still falling prey to unwanted advances from those in power who deem her inferior — and undeserving if she dare shun them.
Look at your granddaughter, who was touched inappropriately by the star athlete at school, because he felt he could — because it had been subconsciously ingrained in him, by a panel of women on television, that he was “just being one of the boys”.
This, again, breeds entitlement.
When you foster a sense of entitlement, you create a reality where your daughter, or your granddaughter, can be taken advantage of — whether she is intoxicated, unconscious, or not. And with entitlement, often trails privilege; and privilege, more times than not, excuses sexual predators, of a higher social status, of consequences deemed to potentially have a “severe impact” on that social status, and to hell with the victim.
That is what this is about. Not an election, nor political gain, but the message.
And in saying the right thing, if it so happens that your candidate suffers as a result, then so be it — they shouldn’t be your damn candidate, at that point, anyway. It doesn’t matter when it was said. There is no societal statute of limitations for being a sexual predator. We don’t all is well! Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer just because they have been dead for decades — it doesn’t work like that.
You are what the evidence says you are.
Men, women represent the very best in us. They bring out the best in us, and often, they protect us from ourselves. But they cannot protect us, in turn, if we do not protect them. So when you hear the phrase “locker room talk,” perhaps it is best to question what locker room that individual has spent time in.
Because the notion of the locker room is figurative. Where, in actuality, the literal, modern day, locker room consists of the boardroom, the golf course, the fraternity house, and places of power that should not have power. This is the culture we are breeding, and sustaining, when we trivialize and demean the barbaric reality of sexual assault.
Howbeit, for the patriarchs and matriarchs that feel this is just the way of the world, the holidays are coming up. So picture this: as your daughters, or granddaughters, fill the Thanksgiving table around you, and they reveal to you the times they may have been violated, touched or groped, without their consent. You be sure to let them know it was “just boys being boys”.