This is a follow-up to my recent post regarding two liberal-progressive thinkers. A granddaughter inspired that original post by sending me extracts from the writings of Margaret Hagerman and Noah Trevor. Following my post, my granddaughter and I had a few more exchanges. She was somewhat surprised at my reaction to Noah Trevor’s article and my underestimation of the prevalence of sexual harassment or violence. She pointed out that, according to statistics provided by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in five American girls and women are victims of rape or attempted rape at some time in their lives. I checked another source that gave the number as one in six. Either way, the numbers are horrifying. My granddaughter went on to write that she did not know a single woman who had not experience sexual harassment, and many have experienced violence. Women must be alert and vigilant at all times.
These statistics make me sad. They are a sorry comment on the state of American culture. Unfortunately, I am not so sure that we were any better in the old days.
I pointed out that a relatively small percentage of males are extremely sexually aggressive, and these predators may molest or attempt to molest literally hundreds of girls and women over a period of decades. Think of characters like Casanova, Rasputin or Epstein. Men like those give many women the feeling that all men are sexual predators. There are other men who are somewhat less aggressive but will still take advantage of females if they have an opportunity to do so. This is especially true when men are in positions of power. I am very happy to say that most men I know fall into neither camp and are very respectful of members of the opposite sex. As for myself, I can honestly say that I never molested or attempted to molest any female.
My granddaughter also emphasized that in different studies false accusations of sexual violence are calculated to be between 2% and 10%. She thinks that while false accusations are obviously wrong, to turn this into a statement “men are the real victims here” is simply a distraction from the important issue of sexual violence, a concern that is increasingly brought into public light. by the Me Too movement.
In my final comment, I expressed my hope that I never become insensitive to women’s plight and engage in victim blaming. As I stated, I do not doubt that the vast majority of accusations of sexual violence are correct. But in the toxic political environment that now envelops us, there are partisans on both sides who will sacrifice truth in an attempt to win the fight. I believe this is what happened in the Kavanaugh hearings.
I think that my granddaughter will agree that male/female relationships are fraught with danger as well as beautiful possibilities. I have been generally fortunate in my relationships.
I’ve known many men and women over the course of my 90 years, and I’ve known some genuinely bad characters as well as a few saints. Some men seem to have no conscience or sense of empathy. It would appear that they have not an ounce of compassion in their souls, and I would judge them capable of any evil act. But most men are neither saints nor devils. Perhaps they are guilty of sexual misconduct on occasion, but it is not typical behavior, and they probably regret it. I do not wish to excuse them. Sexual violence is a heinous sin. As for myself, as a child I had excellent examples of Christian manhood around me and a wonderful, loving mother that I never wished to disappoint. I was also attracted to romantic tales wherein both males and females were paragons of virtue. That was my ideal and my goal. Of course, I never quite reached it.
As an adult, I’ve always been immersed Christian fellowship. In that environment, most of the men seem to think much as I do. Perhaps that has given me a higher opinion of the male sex than we deserve.