I put “Me Too” in quotes only to convey that I have not been a victim of sexual abuse, not to belittle it’s intent in any way. My thoughts are still jumbled, but strong. This is a subject of overwhelming importance to me, to my family, to families with young children, and absolutely to this country at large.
I have seen comments that bring up many issues for me and I feel it necessary to give voice to them.
ONE) Me Too. I am surprised that there are so many women who ARE NOT saying, “Me Too.” I think, shamefully, that this situation is endemic to this country, and to a greater or lesser extent the world. Horribly, in some places, to a FAR GREATER extent. As I will comment later, we are in a situation where very few people can give advice from a place where this is NOT an issue.
TWO) Me to YOU. I am a 70 year old, Very Tall, sometimes eloquent White Male. To an extent that is continually and increasingly becoming evident to me, that means I have been greatly entitled through my entire life. The trouble with being entitled is that you don’t get a certificate for it, it just IS. I don’t have to work for this, I just GET IT. IT IS THE WAY THE WORLD WORKS. So why should I act against how the world works?
Without question, I have taken advantage of this throughout my life. For that, I now, and will continue to apologize. I am sorry.
THREE) What do I do NOW? I saw a comment from someone very near and dear to me asking what to do if they see a situation that COULD fall into this category. He is also tall, white and sometimes eloquent. I am not sure if I can give any cogent advice that is not self contradictory. 1) If you have the ability, wait, watch and see if you can confirm. 2) Politely interrupt and say to BOTH, “I am sorry to interrupt, but I see a lot of stress here. Is there any way I can help?” Then go back to number 1. 3) Be aware of local options for abused people, police, shelters, and possibly have those numbers on your person. 4) Be highly aware that a stranger’s (your) interruption can be an ADDED stress and that stress happens to couples for many reasons other than spousal or couple abuse. LIFE can be abusive.
FOUR) Does Anyone Know? I commented before on the difficulty of finding someone who knows how to operate from a place of true respect, honesty and equality of value. I believe we are truly in uncharted ground here.
We live in a society where we can not talk about that for which we all have a great need, Sex and Power. Indications of that need are ALL around us. A cursory look at the adds we see hundreds of times a day will tell you that. Why do we have Hooters, Playboy, bikini’s at car shows? Even in “informative” adds, the lady talking to you is not going to be looking like Madeleine Albright (again, I am sorry) unless it is a discussion of world affairs. Look at the adds for reverse mortgages. Do you really think that a man who looks like Tom Selleck who lives in a HUGE High rise apartment in a big city needs a reverse mortgage? But he is wealthy, handsome, powerful, successful, so you take his advice. Look at our president (without the handsome part). All of that is constantly operating in our world, effecting us, yet we do not, cannot TALK about it. When was the last time you brought up your sexual tastes on a first date? (Might look into Reid Mihalko’s Elevator Speach.)
I LOVE to flirt. There are discussions now about how to maintain a sexy atmosphere in a time of absolute consent. “Can I touch you? How? Can I hold your hand? Can I kiss you? Where? Etc.” How about if you like kinky sex? How do you discuss THAT? What if you WANT to overpower, to be overpowered? “I want to feel totally overpowered, to be taken. I want to give up my power to you. Here is a 5 page list of limits and requirements as to how to do that.” Feels really sexy, don’t it.
What I am asking is, How do we do that? My thought is, at this time, almost no one knows. We do not have a societal language for continued erotic tension and engagement that allows for sexual consent.
Perhaps that is the discussion we ought to have.