Monday, June 4, 2018

The Eating of the Crow

One of the very best things about having my own blog is being able to speak my mind without having anyone there to temper my words.

One of the very worst things about having my own blog is being able to speak my mind without having anyone there to temper my words.
Fresh Catch
I stand by all the things I said in my post yesterday, but I failed to look beyond my anger and see other sides of what is a many-faceted problem that needs more discussion than I could handle in elebenty bajillion posts.

I left out some things, and glossed over some others.

Let me say this first of all:

Falsely accusing someone of rape is just as vile as raping someone.

Both of these actions destroy lives, and I'm just pretty much generally against destroying anyone's life.

I shouldn't have gendered my post. Men are victims, too. Current statistics say it's as many as 1 in 6 men have been sexually harassed, abused, assaulted or raped. It's also an incredibly UNDER reported crime, just as rape against women is.

And none of that takes into account the abuse that the trans community receives.

So, no, it's not just women. And all of it is abhorrent.

Secondly, I didn't give nearly enough thought or words to those falsely accused. It happens, and it's probably happening more and more now that the "me, too" movement has taken off and people like Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein are paying for their crimes.

When I was saying it wasn't a witch hunt, what I meant and didn't articulate at all, was that when it's he says vs. she says and she says and she says and she says a dozen times over, there's a pretty damn good chance the accusations are true.
I much prefer steak.
When it's he says vs she says, with no other accusers or witnesses or proof, what should we do? Who is to be believed?

I don't know. I really don't.

When trying to compare the viciousness of the crimes in my head, it's difficult for me. Rapist? Lock them away forever. False accusers? Yeah, lock them away, too.

There are unquestionably different degrees of sexual harassment, assault and rape, though. There's the 18 year old dating the 17 year old that gets locked up for statutory rape and ends up having to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. His life is ruined, and I think, hope, that we can all agree that is wrong. There are violent rapists who deserve to burn not just in the pits of hell, but in a pit of our own making here on earth because fuck them and fuck showing them mercy.

Are there different degrees to those who make false accusations? This isn't nearly as clear to me because I can only see someone who would do that to another person as pure unfiltered evil. Not only are they destroying an innocent man's life (and I'm using genders here because I've never heard a case of a man falsely accusing women but I'm sure it's happened), but they are also destroying the credibility of women people who are real victims. They are making it much more difficult for those real victims to come forward.

It's worth talking about, isn't it? Calm, rational discussion rather than my angry blog post from last night? I should have spoken to those women privately, one on one. I have had a conversation with one of them today who read my post, the one who made the witch hunt comment. We're both on the same side. I made unwarranted assumptions regarding the basis of her comment.

I was wrong.

Simple as that, given context, I was absolutely wrong.
Maybe a nice salad?
Turns out that she has a friend who was falsely accused and lost everything - job, wife, reputation, everything, and you can't get that back. The accuser finally admitted she made it all up. This gentleman was accused and convicted without the benefit of a trial. The clock couldn't be turned back, the damage couldn't be undone.

That is terrifying. It's absolutely terrifying that that can happen. I have no idea what the woman's reasoning was, but does it really matter? She absolutely destroyed him with lies.

This can't happen, for all our sake. For the men who are ruined and for the people who are true victims of sexual crimes that are afraid to speak out.

Our justice system is fucked. We do not hand out punishments that fit the crimes, from murderers who get a slap on the wrist to some dumb kid smoking a joint in his car that ends up in prison for three years and a felony on his record forever. Ethan Couch. Alice Marie Johnson. Countless others that the justice system utterly fucked the fuck up on.

So what do we do?

We keep talking. We keep being civil to each other. Oh, and just as important, if not more important, is listening. We have to hear each other.

And for the record, I'm guilty, too. In my younger, drunker, stupider years, I know I grabbed a few asses in bars absolutely without consent. It never once entered my mind that what I was doing was wrong. We're conditioned to believe that men enjoy it.

With the benefit of age, I know now that what I did was wrong. Absolutely wrong. Being young, drunk and female is no excuse. I've had the opportunity to apologize to one of the men because he was, and has remained, a friend over the last quarter of a century. The others... I barely remember them, didn't know them, so let this be a blanket apology to ALL men who've been on the flip side of the coin and had some sloppy drunk chick paw on them in a bar.
Eh, what the hell... I'll go all in.
And that's why we have to keep having these conversations. Yes, parents need to teach their boys about consent and all that it entails, but they also need to be teaching their girls as well. Consent - giving it and receiving it. It needs to be a gender-fluid discussion. Men, women, and every possible identity in between.

I'm still learning, folks, and I hope you are as well. I made a mistake based on assumptions. Hell, I've clearly made lots of mistakes based on assumptions. Crow is something I've learned to swallow. It's never pleasant, but is always necessary.

But no matter what, let's keep having the conversation, okay?

A word of warning, though... I'm probably not done with this topic. I didn't even touch on the sloppy drunken bad sex that happens in college where women wake up with regrets and decide they were raped. Campus rape is a real problem, but so are bad decisions and binge drinking. If a drunk woman is incapable of giving consent, a drunk man is equally incapable. Put those two together and it's a recipe for disaster.

99.5% of the people I've encountered in my 48 years have been wonderful, thoughtful, caring, kind people. The true evil ones, thankfully, have been few and far between. I believe most people are basically good, if misguided... and I include myself in that sometimes.

You'd think I'd have learned by now that sometimes words come from people's mouths without the intent to cause harm, considering I do it myself so often. Let my mistakes be a lesson... and remind me when I spew things without thought, that there are multiple sides to every story. I'm not unreasonable... just passionate.

Perhaps too passionate at times. 🌝


4 comments:

  1. Very very good article Beth! It's always good to see anyone open up and look at both sides, and yes, these problems definitely have two sides and are very real and serious problems. I really am glad to have read this article and thank you, for taking not only the time, but also the thought that went into retaliating against yourself so to speak. I know that's not easy but you did it very well and given this situation it's really good to see people understand there are two sides! Thanks Beth!

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  2. Thank you for writing this blog post, Beth. And thank you for continuing to talk. I second what Uri said and I am glad you wrote both posts. The first one, and this one.

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  3. I'm so happy I found you in this massive universe Beth!! You're obviously extremely intelligent and I truly enjoy reading your perspective of things. Which thus far, Aline perfectly with mine :-) Whether it's insight to your SL life, where you paint a perfect vision of your deepest, most authentic, feelings about your sexual appetite. Which absolutely consumes my every thought for probably far too long, but that's ok cause I genuinely enjoy it!
    You have me thinking about sex 24/7, almost to the point of obsession, then you post these poignant, passionate,personal and opinionated blogs which are certain to attract attention. And when they do,instead of going on the defense, hammering home every point you made. You read, absorb and assess their criticisms from their point of view. Then eloquently articulate a response with an open and inviting tone!
    Your come across genuine and from my perspective, are a kind and caring soul :-)
    Thanks, JT

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  4. Once again... Beth, you have such a gift for cutting through to the basics of things, and speaking from your heart. Thank you.

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