October 17, 2016
The majority of women I know have been victims of some sort of sexual harassment and/or assault based on their gender.
In my fifty five years on the planet, simply because my body is biologically female, I have been understood by more than a few male human beings as being fair game for unwanted sexual advances.
• An old man tried to talk me into getting in a car with him when I was a small child.
• At eleven, a boy I didn’t know attempted to force himself on me as I waited for a ride outside a community pool after dark. I had to forcefully grab his neck to make him stop.
• In college, a male professor trying to grope me, literally chased me around a piano as we were taking it upstairs in a freight elevator on campus.
• A couple years later, when I was in my early twenties, my middle aged boss tried to set me up with a friend of his, a seventy year old married man who promised me “some land in Florida” if I would be his mistress. The older man came to my work while I was the only one there, and went so far as to grab me, pull me toward him, and kiss me before I managed to extricate myself and convince him I was not interested in his “offer.”
I could go on, there are more encounters than these. I’m sure each woman reading this has her own stories.
All of the males who attempted to take advantage of me felt they were sexually entitled to my female body. And in our culture, since males have more political, religious, legal, and structural power than females, it’s not a stretch to understand how some males attempt to use that power to take what they feel entitled to.
After the leaked tape in which the Republican presidential candidate bragged that his power as a celebrity enabled him to sexually assault women, the internet exploded with articles talking about the culture of rape that is still very much a part of our American society.
Here is a selection of thought-provoking articles you may have missed:
“How to Be a Man in the Age of Trump” by Peggy Orenstein
“R is for Rape Culture (Rage, Remembering)” by Kadee Wirick Smedley
“The problem with instant forgiveness” by James N. Poling, Ph.D.
“On Behalf Of The Amherst Men’s Soccer Team (That is not our locker room)” by David Lander
“Call Out Locker Room Talk for the Sin That It Is” by Karen Swallow Prior