For decades, women have been advocating for an end to men’s sexual abuse against women, yet it’s increasing. And a woman’s greatest threat isn’t the deranged stranger lurking behind the bushes. It’s usually a man she knows, a man she should be able to trust, a man who by all outward appearances is a respected member of our society.
Why do some men abuse and sexually violate women? Here are some reasons:
– Because they can. Men overpower women in part due to the violence-linked hormone, testosterone.
– An “anger relation rapist” hates women and wants to punish or destroy them.
– “Anger excitation rapists” get sexually aroused and satisfied from hurting women.
– Because they are afraid to ask women out on dates for fear of rejection, the “power of reassurance rapists” rape instead.
– They have a strong desire for absolute power and control.
– Their attitudes have been shaped not only by porn’s objectification of women, but by porn’s dramatizations suggesting a woman’s ‘no means yes.’
– Some are narcissists who feel entitled to what they want when they want it without consideration of the other person and because they believe the law doesn’t apply to them.
– Some give in to peer pressure or do it for gang initiation.
– Having been abused, some perpetuate the cycle of abuse.
– They lack self-responsibility; they blame the victim (e.g., she asked for it; she made me angry).
– They believe the sexual script that the end-point of flirting is sex; if she stops mid-script, she deserves to be punished.
Women have made limited progress because of the it’s-not-that-big-a-deal attitudes and inactions of men who don’t sexually abuse women. But there is hope. Men who are change agents are starting to “get it,” even if only from an it’s-bad-for-business level of understanding. We appear to be at a tipping point.
Recently, following over 60 women’s accusations of sexual misconduct by film director Harvey Weinstein, famous actors have spoken out to say no woman should experience this in the workplace. Fox News’ Board of Directors forced Roger Ailes to resign amid multiple sexual harassment scandals. Public outcry demanded The National Football League sanction perpetrators of violence against women. Universities stripped Bill Cosby of his honorary degrees following scores of sexual assault accusations. Shareholders are insisting that lucrative contracts be broken to distance their product or brand from such egregious behavior. Police arrested nearly 300 men in a sting on a sex trafficking ring in Florida. Victims are using public exposure to change the culture of rampant rapes among the ranks of the armed forces.
Though sexual violence is predominantly perpetrated against women, men and children are victims, too.
This is a human rights problem and women need the help of decent men to fix it.
Plausible deniability is no longer acceptable for something so ubiquitous. All of us need to confront or report this criminal behavior. I’m so glad to see more men joining women in advocating for victims and I’m challenging everyone to a call of conscience to see this through until we put a stop to it.
Stockton is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and owner of Inner Peace Coaching & Counseling located at 4030 Mount Carmel Tobasco Road in Cincinnati. For more information, please call 513.201.5949 or visit lindastockton.com.