Friday, November 20, 2015

Twerking, Sexual Assault, and Double Standards

We've previously discussed the differences between men and women insofar as who's more likely to initiate declarations of sexual interest (men) and who's more likely to reject them or become offended that someone said something offcolor (women). I believe that these tendencies are virtually hard coded between the genders though obviously there are coy men who play hard to get and aggressive women who demand immediate no strings attached sex. But generally men initiate (often after a woman sends a signal) and then women respond. I think that's just the way humans are made. Obviously each culture regulates this dance of life differently.  Some men get in trouble by misreading signals that were meant for someone else or seeing signals that weren't even there.  Serious protocol violations can lead to verbal/physical conflict, police involvement or worse. On the flip side some cultures attempt control over all expressions of a woman's sexuality to the point that her travel is restricted. And in some areas an accusation that a woman was speaking to a man who is not her husband or relative can have very negative results. We generally give negative attention to men in public spaces who shout out double entendre salutations or ruder statements to women. In some quarters this is called "street harassment". Men who do this rarely seem to achieve their desired result though as with lottery winners there's no doubt someone out there who has hit the jackpot. Most women seem to dislike this verbal attention though paradoxically some women who complain about it the most also complain when they no longer receive it. Whatever. Everyone's different. Although reasonable people can disagree about the timing and propriety of approaching a woman on the street, no one could disagree that putting hands (or other body parts) on someone without her permission is grounds for assault charges. It's just not something you do. Well the door swings both ways.
Recently, in what appears to be a "man bites dog" event two women in a Washington D.C. gas station decided to physically harass a man who was rather obviously not interested in buying what they were selling. And selling is probably not a figure of speech here. At least one of the women has been charged with prostitution before. The women ground themselves against the man and touched his chest, backside and manhood. The man claimed that he feared for his life.  One of the women has since been charged with third degree sexual abuse. On a local radio station some hosts derided the man's "feared for my life" claim or the idea that the women should be criminally charged.  

The way I see it Mr. Tharpe, a middle school teacher, had no idea who those women were, if they were armed, or where they had been. He didn't know if this was a police sting operation. He didn't know if the women had pimps or other associates who were watching him and preparing to rob/extort him. And would you want some street hooker of either gender making a grab for your privates? I'm thinking not. Perhaps for any of a thousand reasons Tharpe doesn't want to be touched by or have sex with nasty women whom he does not know. That is his right, after all. The idea that men should always be (ahem) "up" for sex at any time for any reason with anyone is balderdash.  As he explains it was a lot more than twerking.

So society should be just as intolerant of unwanted touching/abuse/assault from women as from men. I don't think that we're there yet though. I don't know why it is so difficult to get people to understand that you need to keep your hands to yourself. It's a very simple concept. Ask first. That will usually clear up any unpleasant misunderstandings. Or if you make a move and someone reacts as if they just touched a live wire and starts screaming for their Mommy, chances are they aren't interested in doing anything with you. Take the hint.
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