Hanging My Head In Shame
The recent news story and subsequent letter from the victim revolving around Brock Turner, the rapist and former Stanford University athlete, could have been taken straight from my upcoming novel F.B.O.M. The novel was written in the hopes of shedding light upon the practically institutionalized rape of women, not only on the college campus or in dark alleys of major cities, but in far too many of the “normal” bedrooms of nearly every community in the US and other countries.
As angry as I was about yet another man not having the character to treat a woman as more than an object to be used for his own gratification, someone smaller to overpower, someone that he could assert his male dominance over, I recognized that he is merely a product of a dysfunctional society that has likely existed for over 9000 years. (More on this in the future)
Then the father’s letter came out expressing the pain and punishment his son has experienced. Yes, I was still upset at the son for his actions, but the realization that his father had never taken the time to teach his son that “20 minutes of action” with an unconscious woman is an inexcusable crime. It’s rape. It isn’t 20 minutes of fun; or 20 minutes of excitement; or 20 minutes of drunken joy. It’s a crime that will affect most of that woman’s life including how she relates to men… FOREVER!
So who should I be upset with? The son that committed the crime, or the father that raised an animal? Or should I be upset with the grandfather that didn’t teach the father that didn’t teach the son? Or perhaps I should go back farther to the great-grandfather? Great-great? Where does one lay the blame when society has allowed these beliefs to fester for generations? How does one find the guilty party when both genders are wrapped so tightly in denial?
People make mistakes under the influence of alcohol all of the time. They get behind the wheel of a car and drive, they play with guns, they get in fights, they do any myriad of stupid and dangerous activities. Yet we can’t blame alcohol or drugs for the ridiculous things that they do. The substances may lower the inhibition and alter the judgement of the person that is under the influence, but at base level that belief and behavior lives inside of them. Alcohol doesn’t create rapists; it just brings what’s inside to the surface.
It’s society that’s created men with no conscience, no understanding, no realization of the evil that they do. In researching FBOM, talking to rape counselors, reading and hearing stories I learned one amazing and disturbing fact that overshadowed all of the others. Our mothers, sisters, wives and female friends have to walk through life in a state of constant vigilance bordering on fear not knowing if a male is going to attack them, give them a drugged beverage or simply wait for them to be vulnerable. Many women won’t acknowledge or even recognize the feeling of fear because they’ve lived with it all their lives; they think it’s normal. And it is always there, always in the back of their minds.
I am aware that when FBOM hits the shelves in September, it’s going to cause some anger and resentment from my fellow males. It’s going to cause tears and bring out unconscious fears in female readers. Some will hate it; some will love it, but hopefully many (male and female) will begin to understand.
If we are going to find solutions, it’s going to have to be together. Men and women working as one to change centuries of perceptions and understanding. Please feel free to leave comments, suggestions, or a message of hope…
(This is a repost of a blog post written on my previous site)