by Ross Bishop
The issue of our treatment of women has been an issue in society for some time. After all, like it or not, we live in what has historically been a patriarchal society. But that is rapidly changing every day all around us. And changes of that magnitude usually do not happen without significant discord. Historically women have had to fight for every gain they have made, wether it has been the right to vote, to own property, equal pay, or workplace equality, every gain has been a struggle.
Fortunately in regard to sexual equality, the ship has already sailed. The issue has already been decided by society, but it will take some time for elements of the culture to catch up. Consider how long it has taken elements in the American South to accept racial equality.
Sexual abuse, a subset of the larger issue of gender equality, has lurked below the surface for generations. Fortunately it has finally begun to break through to public consciousness as something that needs to change. Movements like the “Me too” campaign will bring to light a devastating issue that has needed to be addressed for many years.
Men are going to have to change their traditional attitudes and behaviors toward women, and that is no small thing. Present attitudes have been shaped over generations, but the trend line of respect for women has taken a definite uptick in recent years.
For their part, women, who have remained hidden entirely too long in the shadows, will need to step up and accept their rightful role as equals in society.
One thing that is going to have to stop, and it is rampant in society, is sexual abuse. Sexual abuse runs the gambit from “locker room” attitudes toward women to more abusive forms such as rape, child molestation and incest.
There is no innocent “locker room” mentality. It feeds male narcissism and personal feelings of inadequacy. It sets the tone for the treatment of women throughout society. It gives social acceptance to the mistreatment of women through equating manhood with “getting laid.”
And once a man starts down that path, nothing good will come of it until he changes his beliefs and attitudes. Guys aren’t going to want to hear this, but the only differences between the “locker room” behavior and rape, are the degree to which ego gratification is involved and how much influence empathy and morals have over the individual’s behavior.
Abuse is a horrifying and demeaning experience. Almost nothing we do to each other is more damaging. Although women are (almost always) the victims of abuse, sexual abuse is rarely about the victim as a person, per. se.
With exceptions, although he probably knew his victim, the abuser doesn’t really care about who she is. He is so filled with rage and frustration that the things that normally regulate human behavior - like empathy, morals and self control - simply cannot withstand the onslaught of his pain.
What is missing from abusers is compassion. They are so engrossed by their own pain and shame and their need to “get back” at a world that has hurt them that they are incapable of considering the feelings of anyone beside themselves. This is the root of narcissism and psychopathy. I want to be clear, this is not a rational person simply filled with rage. This is a twisted and perverted mind - what we call a Gross Personal Inadequacy.
He could care less about her. She is a symbol, a target, an outlet, for a lifetime of rage, rejection and frustration. He feels powerless and she becomes a way, a vehicle, for him to dump a lifetime of frustration, rage and rejection back onto the world.
She becomes a stand-in for all those who have hurt and rejected him. In an ironic twist, this most personal of all violations is more about availability than predation. Sexual abusers are cowards. They work in the shadows - in a child’s bedroom, at night, in the basement - any private place where their shame will not be exposed.
When he was a child any sense of self worth he had was demolished by the adults in his world. We sometimes find physical abuse, perhaps even sexual abuse, but more likely we would find a family environment that had compete disregard, perhaps even contempt for, his person and his feelings. So we have a situation of extreme emotional violence with no constructive outlet. There would also be confusion about appropriate behavior, violence, women, drugs and alcohol.
In school he was a moody loner. Demeaned and rejected by the mainstream kids, he retreated into his own world of darkness and fantasy. The jocks got all the girls, he got rejected. Revenge at those who rejected and snubbed him is a significant component of his future behavior, although he will not see it that way.
People ask, “If this is all true, why didn’t he just pick up a gun and go out and shoot someone?” And the answer is that some of them do. Street gangs, drug dealers and the Mafia are cultures of violence, but their violence is more overt. As I said, abusers work in the shadows.
We hear a good deal these days about abuse by Hollywood producers, politicians and other well known figures. Their public profiles make them easy fodder for the news cycle, but there is another factor too. Many of these people seek these jobs because the notoriety and fame fills a void in their souls. This same narcissistic need motivates them to abuse sexually.
Researchers are often mystified by the extraordinary denial and rationalizations of abusers. Most abusers will freely acknowledge having nonconsensual sex, but even men who kept sex slaves in conflict zones will deny doing anything like rape. Rapes are done by “someone else.” Indeed, experts note the one trait shared by men who have raped - they do not believe they are the problem.
When it comes to dealing with sexual abuse, our legal system, created by men, is a complete disaster. Our law functions on evidence, and with sexual abuse, there isn’t any. It isn’t that a wrong hasn’t been committed, but “proof” in the criminal justice system demands something that simply doesn’t exist. The violation of this most sacred and private of human interactions rarely has any witnesses or photographs.
The only “evidence” is the horrific damage done to the victim’s sense of self, through the violation of their person, and that is extremely difficult to “prove” in court. So in a criminal proceeding, it becomes the word of a damaged and hurt child against a narcissistic and pathological abuser who is impervious to feelings of guilt for what he has done. And very often victim’s repress memories until many years later, again significantly complicating the legal process. It’s a lousy system as far as achieving justice in sexual abuse cases is concerned.
Copyright ©️ 2017 Blue Lotus Press