Recently there have been a number of cases appearing in the media, of women coming forward to tell their stories about being sexually harassed, assaulted and otherwise abused by men, especially men in positions of power, up to and including rape. I think we have to say that this is a step forward, because unless men are held accountable for this kind of behaviour, it will doubtless continue, and honestly it is the worst kind of dickishness. The number and similarity of the #MeToo posts are depressing, but (sadly) not really surprising.
So let me once again repeat what I have been saying all along in these sermons: bullying, assault, harassment, misogyny, racism, sexism, religious bigotry, all of this kind of behaviour is complete dickishness. No one but a total asshole acts like that.
And it’s good that women stand together and reject this kind of thing. And it’s important that men listen and support women and fight against this kind of behaviour. And it’s necessary that people in positions of power and trust be called out and made to pay for being King Dicks.
But this all made me think. You know it isn’t just women who get treated this way, don’t you? And it isn’t just men acting like dicks to women. And it isn’t just men who do it.
Which made me think about the things appearing in the media. Would we notice it if it was men sexually harassing men?
Such as happens to gay men and transmen? Would we be seeing men, or women posting #MeToo if a gay man came out against his boss for harassing him?
Would there be a media storm resulting in a Senator, let us say, resigning because he touched a gay man inappropriately? Or a cis man, come to that? In fact what would we call that, a cis man patting a cis man on the bottom? Is is sexual harassment? Assault? What if it was a gay man, touching a straight man? Sexual assault? Being friendly? A joke, even? Is it funny if it’s a man, but not if it’s a woman?
And what if it wasn’t a pat on the butt, but a kick in the arse?
I mean seriously, how many men have been assaulted, physically assaulted by another man? Leave out the sex, assault is assault, right? How many men would come out and say #MeToo, if some bloke went to his HR director because his boss shoved him? Threatened him? Insulted him?
What if the boss was white and the employee was black?
Or the boss was straight and the employee was gay?
I mean, I got beat up for having long hair. And I got harassed, sexually and otherwise all the time when I was a hippy. Don’t even talk about high school. Merely being a bit eccentric got you labeled queer in those days and that was not a good thing.
Anyone of us can find ourselves the victim of harassment and exclusion if our face doesn’t fit. If you are black, or a woman, or asian, or hispanic, or a goth, or atheist, or Jewish, or gay or trans or just about anything.
I mean I wonder how many of us would be included in a #MeToo campaign that included everyone who has been made to suffer just for being who they are?
Don’t misunderstand me. I am not making a #BlackLivesMatter / #AllLivesMatter comparison here. I think the most abused in our society should be listened to. I think women, blacks, hispanics and all other minorities deserve the attention, sympathy and help of the majority. Especially those majority members (I mean white males here) who have power of any kind.
Because every time we let some dick get away with that kind of intolerable behaviour, we make it tolerable. We make it acceptable. And then we will be the next one in line to be threatened. Or groped. Or cat called.
Or abused for being who we are.
Which makes me wonder, how far does it have to go, before we all can agree that someone has reached the limit? Clearly, there are a lot of men who feel it’s alright to abuse women. And many people, men and women, who feel it’s alright to abuse blacks. Or asians. Or Hispanics. Or GLBTQs. And I get the feeling that there are a lot of people out there who think it’s alright for men to abuse other men. And presumably, for women to abuse women, or men, if they are strong enough to get away with it. So where do we all draw the line? Children? Is that what it takes for us to say, alright, now you’ve gone too far?
If the recent election in Alabama is anything to go by, apparently not.
You see, once you start down the road to thinking that it’s alright to abuse someone, whether sexually, or physically, or emotionally or economically, there really isn’t anywhere that we, as a country as a people will say, “NO!”
Which is why each one of us, every day, has to not let ourselves, and other people get away with dickish behaviour. Because, my dears, once you start, there really is no stopping. And that is the fast track to Hell.