Thursday, March 16, 2017

'Sex is wonderful'

The title is a quote from a local author, Bernard Beckett, in his father-to-son letter written in response to the recent debate about rape culture in New Zealand. I encourage you to read it and thank author Sarah Laing for the link, and for her own response to the debate.

The debate was sparked last week by some boys from a local boys' high school posting on Facebook the comment that if you don't take advantage of ('fuck') drunk girls you are, effectively, not a man.

The comment received several 'likes' from other boys at the school before it was reported to officials and reached the media. There was an outcry from various quarters, including a protest organised by the local girls' school.

We have a very high rate of sexual assault in NZ and this issue has been debated and dismissed many times before. Those who have seen it all before and seen the limp legal response to a variety of rape cases, argue that the problem is that women continue to be held responsible for changing our behaviour 'This issue isn’t women’s responsibility to fix' while boys are repeatedly sympathised with and excused.

So Bernard Beckett taking public responsibility as a man for changing the attitude and behaviour of his sons, away from that of male entitlement and domination and towards respect for women as human beings, is a big step forward. Few men have taken this step in the past, rather, most leap to the defence of the boys and men accused of rape.

I fundamentally believe that if women had the social power nature intended us to have - and that we must have had some time in the distant past - we would be able to repel would-be rapists and ensure that men with the capacity and inclination to rape would not reproduce. By devaluing the feminine through misogynistic religions, war and pornography, etc (I think single-sex schools are a problem too), we transfer this natural power away from girls and women to those boys and men who think they have a right to do with us what they want, to own, to dominate, and to hurt us if we resist, because we are, to them, not fully human. Aristotle thought we were 'deformed men'. This is not about thugs. There are strenuous intellectual defences of the basic idea that women are a lesser species of being than men.

Sex is wonderful, rape is wrong. There is a world of difference between wonderful and wrong. It is up to men to return the power to repel would-be rapists to girls and women by teaching their sons the difference between wonderful and wrong and vigorously prosecuting those that fail to learn.