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Why the Anger?

If you don’t understand why the #metoo movement is so angry, I suggest you read this short article titled “Everything I can remember“.

As a man, I can only guess what this must be like. I try to relate it to the times I have felt threatened or in danger from others and how that made me feel. But I acknowledge that this is extremely different. I can only try to imagine what it would be like to face such constant harassment.

I do understand how infuriating it must be to have someone elected as our president who openly brags about sexually assaulting women. Someone who not only treats nobody with respect (unless they are actively kowtowing to him), but seems to be giving the assholes of the world permission to act (and speak) on their darkest impulses.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t automatically believe every woman who accuses someone of sexual assault or harassment. Even though by the very nature of sexual assault, evidence is almost always very difficult to obtain, and indeed, even when there is significant corroboration, it is likely to be ignored or dismissed. If a woman has been assaulted, reporting it will all-too-often result in a worse situation, frequently even worse for the woman than the assault itself.

Anyone who asks “why didn’t she report it immediately” is at best an idiot.

I sometimes see #metoo going too far. But I never question the validity of their anger. Just, occasionally, how they express it. After all, if we are told that “boys will be boys” then we should expect that in response, “girls will be girls”. Everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt, not just men.

How to get out of this dilemma? Take reports of assault and rape seriously and investigate them, like any other significant crime. Listen to women and their concerns, and treat these concerns with respect.

I was once involved in a situation where a man was unfairly accused of something by a woman. After investigating, I helped defend the man, even though the woman was a friend of mine and I didn’t know the man all that well. Unfortunately, the social pressure against him forced him to move away to another city.

Yes, it happens. But I believe this is an exception. It just proves that you have to treat both sides fairly. Dismissing the man’s side is just as bad as dismissing the woman’s side.

Unfortunately, we seem to be typically much more willing to dismiss women. Or silence them.


© Bruce MacKinnon

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12 Comments

  1. Wildwood wrote:

    That story is almost every woman’s story. I’m old and when I was young, I didn’t realize that things should be different. I was never comfortable with it, but the fact that I can remember so many times that things like that happened, when I have trouble remembering happier incidents, is proof that these things are almost indelible in our memory banks. Little things, like the boys in grade school and high school making comments and attempts to grab a feel, like my boss leaning over my shoulder as I worked, with his hand on my shoulder and his breath on my neck. I was 18, he was in his forties, to major things like the man who confronted me in a parking garage and almost forced to run him down. Then there some things that I don’t, and will never talk about. I was naive beyond belief. I was not prepared for things that happened but now I’m different and now I’m mad.

    Tuesday, October 2, 2018 at 8:57 am | Permalink
  2. PatriotSGT wrote:

    I agree with everything you said IK.
    I have a wife and a 12 yo daughter, and 2 sons both older.

    I worry for the girls and the boys. Hopefully my message of treat everyone with respect and particularly the ladies has sunk in over the years.
    The colleges could also do a better job of creating a better atmosphere where alcohol isn’t tolerated. I think that would help in molding our young adults.

    Tuesday, October 2, 2018 at 2:24 pm | Permalink
  3. Wildwood wrote:

    Pat I agree about alcohol, but I’m not sure how they can do that. But the majority of my memories did not involve alcohol. It involved centuries of the presumption of male superiority. That’s a hard thing to change.

    Tuesday, October 2, 2018 at 4:14 pm | Permalink
  4. paradoctor wrote:

    Why doesn’t the Senate reject Kavanaugh on grounds of perjury? That, unlike the rape charges, is easily proven from recent public records. Quick, sure, simple, and wouldn’t that be the collegial, face-saving way out?

    No, not from a Washington point of view. For perjury, precisely because it is provable and recent, has serious professional consequences. Loss of SC seat, and also loss of appellate court seat, possibly disbarment, maybe even criminal charges. Whereas rape, credibly alleged but unproven, won’t disbar him.

    So from the DC point of view, what we’re seeing _is_ the face-saving, collegial way out! But the people and DC have differing points of view; distinct systems of value; so this is not only a gender conflict; it is also a class conflict.

    Tuesday, October 2, 2018 at 6:03 pm | Permalink
  5. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Wildwood, for the alcohol even if they just set forth a code of conduct and stated the consequences it might work. They’d have to enforce those consequences a few times to make the point first though.

    I deployed 4 times between 2002 and 2009. On each tour the rules was no alcohol and no drugs. I had kids the same age as college kids 18-22 plus some a bunch of older guys and gals. I always made sure they understood and explained that discipline means doing the right thing in the absence of authority, in this case me.
    I explained the consequences for not following the policy and gave them several examples of what happens if the rule is broken. They all knew I say what I mean and mean what I say.

    On my first tour I had 2 kids influenced by an officer who got caught breaking the rule. All 3 including the officer suffured my wrath. All got busted down, given months of extra duty, restrictions and loss of pay. But, no one else ever dared to break the rule or test me.

    My point to them was we are in a combat theater and discipline matters. If you can’t do the easy and simple things right you’ll never be able to do the hard things. And if you have no discipline people get hurt or die.

    As to the male superiority issue, I get that too. I always told my soldiers and my kids my golden rule. Treat people the way you want to be treated. And if you don’t, I’ll treat you the way you treated them. I have never found a reason to hit a women, only cowards do that. I told my oldest son when he was young and I found him pushing and roughing up his little brother, I fixed it quick. I pushed him and got in his face and told him if you want to be a bully you are only allowed to pick on boys older and bigger then you. If I ever catch you breaking that rule you’ll deal with me. And I’ll call you what you are, a coward.

    I know it sounds rough, but boys in particular need that some times. They need to be told the truth and roughly. Girls too sometimes. My dad was a WWII vet who volunteered as an 18 yo and served in the pacific. He taught me manors and he spoke roughly as needed. He took a belt to my bottom as necessary, even though I was stubborn and would need some repeated correctional actions. But you know what, it served me well and it also is aught me what it means to be a man. Everything he taught me I taught my kids. They have a moral compass and they know right from wrong and most importantly what consequences are.
    Kids learn from parents, and it isn’t always nice. But parents are not their parents friends, they are parents.

    Anyway thanks for letting me bore you.

    Tuesday, October 2, 2018 at 6:57 pm | Permalink
  6. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Sorry, almost forgot the main point. Kavanaugh childhood behavior including the drinking is a direct reflection on a lack of parenting and failure to enforce rules and instill discipline.

    It is amazing that he managed to find his way into being by all accounts a responsible adult and conducted himself appropriately. Following his school years. I don’t think it’s appropriate to punish someone for juvenile behavior if they have righted the course. But I cannot tolerate abuse of a women. I’ll wait for the FBIs results. The bully antics of the left also need to be called out too. All those twitter idiots and social media cowards,left and right, being bullies and hiding behind a keyboard have got to go. I don’t deal well with bullies, I fight back no matter the size or number. That’s just the way my father built me. So you can blame him.

    Tuesday, October 2, 2018 at 7:17 pm | Permalink
  7. Greg wrote:

    Tweet of the day, imho:

    I just hope that somebody asks this question: “Judge Kavanaugh, you have a 13-year-old daughter. In two years, when she comes to you and says, ‘Daddy, I’m going to a party with some boys from Georgetown Prep,’ what advice will you give to her?” – Rick Wise

    Tuesday, October 2, 2018 at 8:19 pm | Permalink
  8. Greg wrote:

    Okay, not exactly Kavanaugh related, but also giving an honorable mention to Mr. Sulu –

    Trump and Kanye have a lot in common, actually. Both believe they are far more gifted than they actually are. Both are known to deliver rambling, nonsensical speeches. And both profess to love someone named Kim. – George Takei

    Tuesday, October 2, 2018 at 8:39 pm | Permalink
  9. westomoon wrote:

    This has been circling the internet:

    Guys ask why women are so pissed off. Even guys with wives and daughters. Jackson Katz, a prominent social researcher, illustrates why. He’s done it with hundreds of audiences:

    “I draw a line down the middle of a chalkboard, sketching a male symbol on one side and a female symbol on the other.

    Then I ask just the men: What steps do you guys take, on a daily basis, to prevent yourselves from being sexually assaulted? At first there is a kind of awkward silence as the men try to figure out if they’ve been asked a trick question. The silence gives way to a smattering of nervous laughter. Occasionally, a young a guy will raise his hand and say, ‘I stay out of prison.’ This is typically followed by another moment of laughter, before someone finally raises his hand and soberly states, ‘Nothing. I don’t think about it.’

    Then I ask the women the same question. What steps do you take on a daily basis to prevent yourselves from being sexually assaulted? Women throughout the audience immediately start raising their hands.

    As the men sit in stunned silence, the women recount safety precautions they take as part of their daily routine.

    Hold my keys as a potential weapon. Look in the back seat of the car before getting in. Carry a cell phone. Don’t go jogging at night. Lock all the windows when I sleep, even on hot summer nights. Be careful not to drink too much. Don’t put my drink down and come back to it; make sure I see it being poured. Own a big dog. Carry Mace or pepper spray. Have an unlisted phone number. Have a man’s voice on my answering machine. Park in well-lit areas. Don’t use parking garages. Don’t get on elevators with only one man, or with a group of men. Vary my route home from work. Watch what I wear. Don’t use highway rest areas. Use a home alarm system. Don’t wear headphones when jogging. Avoid forests or wooded areas, even in the daytime. Don’t take a first-floor apartment. Go out in groups. Own a firearm. Meet men on first dates in public places. Make sure to have a car or cab fare. Don’t make eye contact with men on the street. Make assertive eye contact with men on the street.”

    ― Jackson Katz, The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help

    Tuesday, October 2, 2018 at 10:10 pm | Permalink
  10. Wildwood wrote:

    Westomoon, exactly! You go through life watching what you wear, how you act, where and when you go someplace, how you talk to men, and there is no respite.

    I can relate, also to people of color who are considered suspicious at all turns, followed through stores, pulled over for little or no reason, and generally needing to be on alert at all times. It takes a toll, mentally and physically.

    Tuesday, October 2, 2018 at 10:54 pm | Permalink
  11. Wildwood wrote:

    Pat, your upbringing was common and certainly it would be nice if everyone had great parents, but until, at the very least, parenting classes become mandatory for all high school students, there is little hope for kids today.

    My only grandchild, 18 year old male, was talking about a girl he had dated and dropped and how his friends were giving her a hard time. He didn’t know what hit him, first because I almost never chastise him, and second because his mom and I both jumped on his butt. He tried making excuses but neither of us was having that. I told him that behavior was totally unacceptable as was the behavior of his friends. He replied he couldn’t stop them and I told him he should insist they stop and if they did not, then they were not friends and he needed to find new ones. I think he was really surprised at our attitude. The girl was acting a bit like a stalker but I said that was no excuse for him behaving less than a gentleman. I think it registered, at least I hope so.

    Tuesday, October 2, 2018 at 11:07 pm | Permalink
  12. Iron Knee wrote:

    Westomoon, that example from Jackson Katz is great and instructive. I would even take it one step further.

    Probably most men have had the experience of feeling like they are in a “bad neighborhood” where they might get mugged or have their car stolen or broken into. So men know what it is like to feel they have to take safety precautions.

    Katz’s example makes it clear that for women, every neighborhood is a bad neighborhood. Even their own homes. Nowhere is safe so they have to take steps all the time.

    That is a horrible situation, but it is even worse for women than that. If you are a man and get mugged or have your car stolen, you can call the police and they will take you seriously. They won’t insinuate that by wearing expensive clothing you were asking to be mugged, or by driving a nice car it should be no surprise that someone wanted to steal it (or its contents). How often would a man feel overwhelming shame and guilt because they were mugged or had their car stolen?

    Victims of rape are often treated as if they are at fault. Indeed, in some countries women who have been raped are killed by their relatives, or they commit suicide. Even in the US, if a woman is raped it often results in the end of their marriage or relationship. So a woman being raped can mean the virtual destruction (or even end) of her life.

    Wednesday, October 3, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

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