Thinking about sexual abuse and assault

Every woman you know has encountered some sort of sexual verbal or physical abuse at least once in her life.

Every one.
Most women you know have had multiple instances of it. Some very serious. Some “just” inappropriate comments. Insinuations that a raise depends on sexual compliance. Groping. Sexual images in the workplace.
20-50 percent of them have been raped.

Think about it.

Think how many women are impacted. Women all over the world. Billions of them. Women who are part of your lives. Women you love. Your mothers, sisters, wives, aunts, cousins, coworkers, friends, lovers.

“But not all men are like that” you say. Of course not. But men need to be more active in fixing the problem. All of us do, but particularly men. Men have met this behavior with uncomfortable silence and turning their backs to it for too long.

But when I try to clarify my own thoughts about it, I have so many questions. More questions than answers.

What about false accusations?

Are they common or rare?

How young is too young to consent, and who decides?

Is there a certain amount of sexual behavior that we should tolerate even if it isn’t consensual?

What is worse-the predators or the men who know about their friends and co-workers who are predators and do nothing?

How do you balance a need to believe the victims with a need to a fair trial, whether the court of public opinion or a court of law?

What about innocent until proven guilty?

What about innocent until proven guilty when the judicial system is stacked with people, men, who are often abusers or inclined to favor abusers in court?

What about damage to careers?

Why are women blamed for the assaults and abuse directed at them so often?

What does it mean if someone waits decades to report an attack?

Or if she never reports it at all?

How can we expect anyone to report it when in most of the world women are brutalized for having been victimized?

How can we expect so much of women in the US when so often the victims are slut shamed or worse?

Is not reporting an attack a sign of guilt or innocence?

Is it meaningful in any way?

What is the line between a compliment and an inappropriate remark?

Should one mistake end someone’s career?

What about two?

How bad should the mistake be to end a career?

At what point should someone be fired?

Why do so many men think it’s OK to touch any part of a woman’s body?

Are we OK with sexual abuse being used as a partisan tool?

What about believing the ones who say it happened?

Are people more willing to believe accusations against gay men?

Are allegations of abuse being used for political ends?

What does it mean if an artist has committed some sort of abuse or assault?

Should they lose awards/accolades they earned for their art?

Does it nullify all accomplishment?

Do these men genuinely believe we want to see their dicks?

Is it really that difficult to keep it in your pants and keep your hands to yourself?

But here’s the thing: the US elected a president who admits that he has himself groped women and thinks it’s a celebrity perk. Even if you don’t believe the women who have accused him of rape, why do you not believe his own words?

What does it say about us as a nation that we are willing to elect pedophiles and rapists to our highest positions?

Are there so few men and women of character willing to run for office that this is the best we can do?

This is hard to write about. I have only questions, except for one thing: it needs to stop.

An imaginary conversation about upheaval at work

My work BFF is moving to a different team and my heart is broken.

Aren’t you happy for her?

Yes. I am super excited, and it is a fantastic move for her! But she sits next to me now and I love her and next week she won’t be there anymore. She’ll be over a mile away.

You will talk to her all the time. You can IM each other all the gossip.

I feel like an abandoned spouse.

There are way worse things happening at work right now that you can freak out over.

The other upheaval at work is scary and it’s also something I am totally fretting about in my own quiet way, but this is an emotional work disaster. That is much worse.

Have you been crying at work again?

No. Yes. Maybe a little. We both did. And I learned that she is a Taurus. That explains why she is my work BFF.

Uh, it does?

Totally. Because I am a Scorpio.

Which means?

Since we are astrological opposites, we have a great synergy in which we can TOTALLY handle all of each other’s weird shit without batting an eyelash.

Such as?

None of your business.

I thought opposites would tend to butt heads…

No, but OMG MAYBE WE WILL NOW THAT WE WILL POTENTIALLY HAVE DIFFERENT WORK GOALS!!!

Seriously?

Nah. I was being melodramatic. We’ll still have very similar goals. Don’t roll your eyes at me.

I can’t help it.

It’s involuntary?

No, you’re being irrational. I thought you were all science based. Astrology is total garbage.

Oh, I know it is.

But you still believe it in this case?

Uh. Not exactly.  I just believe that I am a total Scorpio which is the best sign, and that Taurus is the second best sign.

Because?

Just..because.

It’s about sex, isn’t it.

Sex, power, money and death. But ewwww not at the same time! At least not the death part.

Of course not. Weirdo.

Creep.

 

Going fallow

I have a head for business and a body for sin. Unfortunately, the sin appears to be gluttony.

–Jenny Colgan

 

Curiosity is gluttony. To see is to devour.

–Victor Hugo

 

The other night, as I was binge watching “the Shahs of Sunset,” I decided something: my brain is more disengaged than I would like it to be. I  haven’t been reading  anything (much), I have no projects going that I’m longing to complete, I haven’t been writing.  My brain has been-to borrow a farming term-fallow.

Is that good or bad?

Spending more time watching the messed up lives of a bunch of wealthy Los Angeles Iranians is not something I aspire to, although I do love Asa’s caftan collection and the over the top gold jewelry they all wear. I don’t like to “should” myself, but I really should find something better to do with my time than this. At the very least, make something while I’m watching?

The lack of a creative outlet for my imagination and hands is dangerous for me. Mentally and physically dangerous. Left to my own devices without the ability to imagine things and implement them in some way,  I’m the living embodiment of “satan finds work for idle hands…” and not even in ways that are interesting. I mean, if I’m going to be self destructive it should at least be interesting.

The sad truth of all of my bad habits is that they are very dull. No one wants to hear about gluttony or sloth. They are the least sexy of the Seven Deadly Sins. Perhaps I should try wrath, vainglory or greed?   I already have a tinge of lust, pride and sorrow.

I’m certainly not giving up lust or melancholy. I’m a November girl and Scorpio has got to  scorp!

Avarice/greed  is not my thing at all.

Do you suppose I should try to work toward vainglory? I do have a very high opinion of myself, but it’s offset by an equally low opinion of myself. I suspect I could get to vainglory eventually, but I might need some therapy to boost my ego a bit. Or is it my id that’s deficient?

Wrath? Occasionally. I can be irritable if I think people are stupid, but to get up a good smoldering ire takes a long time for me. It’s generally something people have earned. I could probably achieve wrath, but I’m not sure it’s a lifestyle I could truly embrace.

Maybe I should work on the sins I already have before trying to get new ones.

Wait, what?

I’m not supposed to increase the number of sins in my life? I’m supposed to decrease them?? Who says? Everybody? Well, that’s silly.  What do you mean, I went on a tangent?

Apparently, I was saying something about my brain going fallow.

At least lack of mental discipline is not one of the Seven Deadly Sins….but I will try to do a better job of not letting my brain and body turn into marshmallow fluff from now on.