Ban Weapons of Sex Oppression, Colltalers
The explosion of sexual abuse and rape cases against women, perpetrated by Hollywood men, was not Tinseltown’s first consequential global hit in a long time. But the factory of broken dreams did play a role delivering this sick issue its first unambiguous worldwide breakthrough.
Violence and weaponization of sex by men against women has been around since before biblical times. Society’s acknowledgment as the cancer that it is, though, didn’t keep pace with it. Although far from a resolution, this open secret is now finally part of a global conversation.
Whether such discussion must get to the ‘why now’ or ‘who’ll be outed next’ questions, is besides the point. More important is to proceed to a cure, a new bounding social contract not unlike the one that finally outlawed slavery and child labor. And get everyone involved. Rigorous punishment and a healing process must be included into the solution, as safeguards against power and influence, and victims’ protection.
From ‘gazillionaires’ to self-appointed masters of the universe, to morally corrupt priests, unfit educators, and perverted coaches, plus anyone in a position to impose their rot onto those entrusted to them, we must be diligent and thorough, to top the poor job we’ve done for millennia.
Almost all ancient holy books, from any of the known religions, have backed the staggeringly cruel license that prophets and patriarchs took to quench their thirst for power on the backs of women and children. And history’s men’s way to etch and glorify on word their wretched deeds.
After transcending the pampered confines of the famous LA district, charges of sexual assault have now reached all corners of organized society, as it should since it’s so prevalent. Pain and extreme despair such an event may inflict on a person’s life is not just permanent. It too causes Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, among other afflictions, just like witnessing death and dismemberment of comrades in battle does.
It’s now repeated almost meaninglessly, that rape is not about sex, but power, which it is, based on what we know about human interrelations. But sex, and women’s unique position as sole guarantors of our species survival, can’t be compartmentalized, for that’s the goal of the rapist: to subjugate, steal and devalue the one unquestionable power females have over them. As is ripping their ability to experience pleasure.
Rape has nothing to do with pleasure, for sure, and when it’s about children, it can also be life-impairing. Some were not
expecting that the uncovering of the secret horror show that goes on behind the silver screen would also reveal rampant child abuse. But by all accounts, reasons and attempts to penalize victims closely followed those used by the Catholic Church when it was caught protecting pedophile priests.
And then the conversation veered a bit towards male victims of rape, a well-documented occurrence in prisons, and pretty much at every organization, or tradition, that discriminates against women. Even the most pious, and traditional, of ancient tribal council, is biased toward granting special rights to pleasure to males only, even if it involves murdering their women and making boys their personal sex slaves.
As unsavory but worth finding ways to getting rid of all disgusting things powerful men do to everybody else, though, the issue threatens to steal the thunder of the current allegations, and it’d be a terrible mistake, or rather another excuse? to change the conversation and let women fend for themselves, as they have forever. In other words, if males have a contribution to make it is not hijacking the news with their own pain. Again.
It’s taken women in the U.S. Canada, Mexico, parts of Europe and South America, an unsurpassed deal of courage to finally tell their heart-breaking stories, and until every single one of them has the floor, if they need to do so, we, males, have to shut the hell off, and listen. Some will have to pay too, as apologies (prayers?) simply won’t do this time. And spare us the insult of watching you being a coward about it.
Just like the alien of the movie, sexual abuse and rape allegations flooding global headlines teared up the well groomed chest of Hollywood’s elite, and have the potential to move us forward. Take the matter of inequality, for instance, which tracks the oppressive power plays men have been staging against subordinates from time immemorial. When a woman exposes a bully, it strips him of his only weapon: impunity.
There’s reason to be optimistic about the #metoo hashtag, and the movement that has empowered former victims of sexual abuse. They need to keep on coming, the cultural divide must be conquered, and society will have to embrace and leverage their pain and suffering for change.
If support is there, and people of all genders find common ground to demand social transformation, who knows? maybe what has been all but unattainable to current political forces may be achieved: to bring into accountability the person who instead of leading, has ducked responsibility and even cruelly bragged about his privilege. Yup, a certain white male who dwells in the White House when he’s not golfing.
The biggest reward, of course, is not about lining up abusers, making sure they no longer hold absolute power over the species’ proverbial weak links, women and children, even if that’s an important goal. It is to see women occupying the equal space in society they own by right.
We live so bleak a time that many are looking on books about dystopias, real and imagined, for ways to navigate its many shortfalls. George Orwell’s 1984, or Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale, both dark visions of the future, are now staples among contemporary best-seller lists. But is the author of often-quoted, most men and women will grow up to love their servitude and never dream of revolution, who may’ve laid down a more precise version of our reality. For on it, it’s not Big Brother who oppresses and exploits society; it’s us who allow it to happen.
The quote is from Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, which author Neil Postman considers more relevant to our times than Orwell’s famous book. As he wrote recently, Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us; Huxley feared it’d be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.
We hope, almost against any hope, that we’re not quite there yet, that’s still possible to call out social networks’ role enabling trolls and news hackers for what it is, and head to new era of accountability from public figures and organs, and personal responsibility from everyone else.
We need to demand more and not be the slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude. When women stepped up, and shouted, No!’ they restated an ethical prerogative of never submitting to anyone’s despicable indulgences just so to be allowed to live. It’s our call to also step up and stand to protect those being hurt in secluded corners of their own homes, or shamed in places of work or of worship.
Rape, sexual oppression, the mega rich hiding offshore spoils stolen from the poor, war profiteers wining and dining on the dough of weapon sales profits, times are indeed bleak. Still wrongs must be righted, and victims shouldn’t be reduced down to shame and pain for their ordeals.
Enough of turning robots into citizens, or giving women post-trauma consolation scraps. Instead, let’s help them crash the grass ceilings built by misogyny and intolerance, so they can fulfill the role they’re best qualified for: that of the leaders ushering a new era for humankind. WC