Confronting Sexual Assault: Avoiding The Divisiveness of Radical Feminism And Its Counter Culture Movement
Feminist activists have seized upon the MeToo social media movement and the Kavanaugh Sex Assault Scandal to compel society to take action against sexual assault. Feminists have also capitalized on the new found willingness to tackle crimes against women in order to further their other causes. For radical feminists, the only way to further women’s issues is to suppress and emasculate males. They believe it is necessary to strip away the “masculinity” of boys and men in order to support the empowerment of women. Obviously, this radical view invites unnecessary social conflict and exasperates the underlying tensions already expected from a social power shift. The empowerment of women means men have less undue over power women, thus certain men feel the empowerment of women disempowers them. For men who feel this way, current events raise fears of a radical feminist political takeover. President Donald Trump summarized this budding counter movement by claiming this alleged era of false allegations is a ‘scary time’ for men.
Sexual assault is, of course, not just an issue that impacts women. Not only are men also victims of sexual assault and harassment, the damage done to victims affects their friends and families. Consequently, sexual assault and harassment are social issues that all ideological factions need to address. Traditionally, society has largely avoided the discomfort of dealing with sex crimes by pressuring victims to repress the memories of their experiences and their feelings. It is, after all, easier for the victims and their loved ones to simply pretend nothing happened. Victims either become dysfunctional messes or learn to suppress their feeling and memories until they forget their victimization ever happened. In essence, victims are victimized a second time by their loved ones and communities. Although talk of sexual assault can “retraumatize” victims, especially if they do not get the support needed to help them learn how to cope with their feelings, it is necessary to confront the issue of sexual assault as a society and the psychological impact as individuals in order to prevent the victimization of vulnerable individuals and make victims whole.
It is not, however, helpful to exploit building public outrage against sex crimes to further radical political agendas. Doing so simply furthers the political agendas of self-serving special interests groups while fostering backlash against those who truly want to protect victims of sexual assault and harassment. Radical feminist movements and the budding counter movement, which seeks to delegitimize the experiences of sexual assault victims, must not be allowed to hijack the MeToo movement or any other effort to address this as well as any other serious social issues. Radical activist groups pursue illiberal public policies that simply advantage one group by disempowering another. Instead of solving problems like discrimination and victimization, this approach creates social conflicts that pit groups of individual against each other while perpetuating a cycle of victimization. The victimized become the victimizer, which encourages others to further victimize them.
In the case of sexual assault and harassment, the radical feminist movement hopes to categorize any aggressive sexual behavior by males as violence against women. Terms like so-called “toxic masculinity” target traditional male-linked traits, which encourages males to become more passive, more “feminine.” Males who do not feminize are characterized as “bullies” and “sexual predators.” In turn, the counter culture movement wants to vilify victims of sexual assault and discount any effort to address sexual assault as the product of radical liberal politics. It also seeks to characterize abusive, domineering behavioral traits as symbols of masculinity. In other words, both extremes are jockeying for control of the social narrative instead protecting victims. The simple truth is that humans are predators while males, in general, are biologically programmed to be more predatory when it comes sexual pursuits, thus males tend to be more sexually aggressive than females. This does not, of course, justify sexual assault or harassment. More importantly, it does not mean men must be abusive in their sexuality to be manly nor do they have to be victimizers.
Dealing with sexual assault and harassment means culturing all members of society to recognize the averse impact their unwanted sexual advances can have on their targets. It means fostering a culture of consent while designating aggressive to abusive sexual words and actions as socially unacceptable. It requires an open and honest conversation that unites people against sexual harassment and assault instead of one that divides people. The counter sexual assault movement is capitalizing on fears of false allegations in order to garner support against victims of sexual assault. Their goal is to protect powerful sexual predators and squash efforts to empower women against victimization in order to protect their own social advantage. The solution is not a divisive radical social movement. Victims need to be empowered by the legal system and society to confront their victimizers, which will also empower potential victims to defect against unwanted sexual advances and acts. Society, however, cannot victimize others to do that, i.e. zero tolerance policies. This can only be accomplished by targeting the behavior of victimizers, not men and women as groups.
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