How Will They Learn Without A Teacher?
Saturday over on TGH, I posted #TheOtherMeToo in which I confessed I have been guilty of sexual harassment. What I did was minor compared to what many men have done, and what most women have experienced, but it was wrong none-the-less.
Some will argue I should have known what I did was wrong, or that I should have realised the girls involved might feel bad about what I did. Yes, I should have, but how could I if no one explained it to me? If a girl had done such things the vast majority of boys would have been all about it. Even those who were not interested would have been proud of the fact a girl wanted to do that with them. And, they would have had no problem saying, “thanks, but no thanks” or something similar. Given how we were being told men and women are the same, treating them as we would like them to treat us seemed like a valid idea.
None of this is an attempt to excuse myself, and it certainly doesn’t apply to more aggressive forms of harassment and abuse. However, if I’d know these things might make a girl feel uncomfortable, I wouldn’t have done them. I might have asked about them rather than just going for it, and that would certainly have been better.
Some will argue things have changed in the last 40 years. I’d say not as much as we want to think. Just today I was watching some teens. A couple of boys were throwing leaves at one of the girls, who was running and screaming and saying no. But she kept coming back to give them another chance. It was just innocent fun, but the girl was teaching the boys that “no” doesn’t always mean no. In a few years, those boys may hear a no in a sexual situation and apply the lesson they learned with the leaves. It’s not right, and it’s certainly a bit of hearing what you want, but if no one ever talks to them about it, how will they know?
My dad told me sex was for marriage. That’s great. (It would have been nice if he’d told me what qualified as sex, but that’s another issue.) But once I crossed that line, I had zero guidance. He never told me girls may be too scared or shocked or polite to say no. He never told me no is no, and by the way saying nothing should also be taken as a no. I wish I had known yes means yes, and everything else means don’t act, ask.
Fathers absolutely have an obligation to educate their children, both boys and girls about this issue. But you ladies should also be involved too, and with your sons as well as your daughters. I know it’s not a comfortable conversation, but think of all the pain and suffering it could prevent.
Yes, some guys are jerks who will take as much sex as they can with any woman they can. But most of us are really pretty decent and we don’t want to take advantage of the ladies in our life. Give a decent guy a good understanding of this and he won’t sexually harass anyone.
~ Paul – I’m XY, and I’m sorry for all the harassment great and small you ladies have had to deal with.
BTW, I mentioned to the men on Sunday that I’ve done a poor job of asking for donations this year. If you value what we do, please consider helping out.