Belief, sex and all that

These comments are probably badly worded and reflect only my own experiences and beliefs. Note that I was “raised wrong” (for my time, apparently, given some of the excuses going on these days): my parentsĀ  brought me up to believe that women were people first, women second, and I’ve never been able to see women as belongings or objects. Most of my best bosses have been women; most of my best friends have been women; the smartest and best person in this household is a woman [who kept her own name, but then I never suggested otherwise]; most of my most valuable colleagues at work were women; most of the jackasses I’ve encountered have been men.

Lying and belief

I am inclined to take most people at face value until I learn otherwise.

I am especially inclined to believe most people when what they’re saying can hurt them and has no likelihood of helping them.

I am acutely aware that women have a harder time being listened to, being paid attention to (not always the same thing), and being believed than men do.

So, all things considered, I am inclined to believe most women who speak up about bad things that happened to them, even after many years and especially when they’re standing up to somebody more powerful.

[Admittedly, if someone asserting low-level sexual assault turns out to be a frequent “just playing around” sexual assaulter herself or himself, that reduces credibility a whole lot: that speaks to “until I learn otherwise.”]

Oh, and there’s this: while I suspect there may be a few women somewhere who have never been sexually harassed or sexually assaulted, that number seems likely to be shockingly small: I don’t have handy examples to point out.

So, yeah, for all those reasons and more–specifically including the believability of the women I’ve worked with and for, dated, or married–I’m inclined to believe the accusers.

I’ve heard enough about casting couches to assume they’re real; I’ve overheard enough bragging to assume there’s a lot of “seduction” going on that’s not the courtship of equals; in the past, I’ve even been known to shut down one or two “I’d do that…” discussions–although, to my eternal shame, not every time and perhaps not loudly enough. I know that too many men are dogs and proud of it.

Me?

As for sexual assault: I’m essentially certain that I never have. Certainly not kissing, hugging or anything more intimate, and I’m pretty certain not any unwanted touching.

Not the way I was raised. Not my understanding of how people should behave with other people.

Then there’s sexual harassment, and here, at 72 years of age and with a badly imperfect memory, all I can say is: I hope not, and I’d like to think not, and certainly not in the last few decades, but never? I can’t say. (If I ever did, it would never have been more than an unwanted compliment or asking someone out twice before taking “No” for an answer, and I can’t be sure neither of those or some equivalent never happened.) If I did, my belated apologies.

As for the “not all men…” idea, I’m not going to go for that particular line of bullshit, and I am aware of the societal dynamic. In effect, it might as well be all men. [How would I feel about men just not running for political office for, say, 50 years? Sounds good to me, and I haven’t voted for a male Senate candidate in quite a few years…]

I’m no saint, and I’ve certainly been an asshole now and then. I suspect that grown-up men are just fine, but I always wonder when I’ll actually grow up and how many men ever do…

Why this post?

I’ve tended to avoid some hot issues because I don’t have much to say. This may be one of them, but I think it’s worth saying something anyway.

 

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