So, What Does This Make Me?

29

October 2, 2018, Prescott-

As a teenager, and as a twenty-something, I touched a few women, without their prior consent, though not in a compromising area.  Something inside of me recoiled at my own behaviour, and each case lasted less than a minute.  I can only hope the people, none of whom I knew by name, or ever saw again, have had good lives and have been treated well, over all.

The Kavanaugh case has brought me to a place of circumspection. I know that no one is perfect, yet one of the two people with whom I have spoken, about one of the incidents, was almost apoplectic in lecturing me about what my twenty-something self should never have done.  He is an older man, who prides himself on his manners, yet regularly curses in the presence of women his age.  The other person, a woman slightly older than me, simply noted that this sort of behaviour is something I appear to have long outgrown.

None of us walks on on water, yet we each have the capacity, and therefore the duty, to grow emotionally.  I have never sexually assaulted, or coerced, anyone.  Indeed, I have only made love to two women in my life, the second of whom became my wife. I am hardly ashamed of that track record, as brief as it is.

The last thing I did, before writing this, was to remove myself from the readership of a man who laid all blame, for the issue that has dominated the national debate, on the woman who belatedly reported it.  Consensual sex is not rape, and rape is never good.  To conflate the two, even in an “intellectual” environment, is reprehensible.

Now, what do the incidents I mentioned above, make me?  If you wish to say I am a hypocrite, you may.  For any of us, especially men, our purity towards other people is one of degree.

Not Like Animals

8

April 6, 2017, Prescott-

On the television series, Chicago PD, Intelligence Sergeant Hank Voigt loves his people- family annd fellow detectives alike.  The show frequently addresses misuse of power, both by police and by miscreants.  Among the latter group’s most common misuses of power is rape.  Last night’s episode addressed the neurotic means to power, of the rapist.  As Sergeant Voigt inferred, his people don’t act like animals.

While it was playing, on network TV, seventy five of us, at the main campus of Yavapai College, were gathered to hear the testimony of a dozen women, and one man, who had suffered sexual assault and domestic violence.  They suffered at the hands of those whom they should have been able to trust:  Their fathers, husbands, siblings’ friends, step-parents.  Some got no support from their mothers, siblings, “close friends”, even counselors.

I have, as many of you know, been a counselor, at three different schools in this state.  I have seen all manner of human brutality, and have seen the best of human kindness. Strong women and girls have come to me for assistance,I believe them-then and now, and I have had their backs.  Caring boys and men have pitched in, and helped.  Then, there are the depraved, of both genders, whom I have helped put away.  One case, in particular, stands out: A well-connected individual violated a child, was arrested, and got some of his friends and neighbours to try to impugn my character.  He was tried and convicted, his friends found themselves dispersed, by the government agency which employed them (through no action on my part, by the way), and I continued to work at the school for several more years.

The thing is, as a good friend said recently, men and women need each other.  I have many women friends, of all ages, ethnicities, physical characteristics and marital statuses.  To my mind and in my heart, they, and the men who love them most, are family.  If anything happens to them, their husbands/boyfriends, children or grandchildren, it’s as if it has happened to one of my biological family members.  This goes double for my schoolchildren, but that is a whole other ball of wax, given the protocol under which I work.

People who beat others, devalue others, torment others, have a mindset in which control is paramount.  Co-operation, in their twisted view, exists only for the purpose of accomplishing their agenda.  This is largely the province of men, though I know of several women who have followed the same path.  Little by little, case by case, their victims are stepping forward.  They are learning strength, they are learning to speak out, to walk away and to heal.

In this heart, and in many others, they are loved.