The always amazing Kate Harding wrote a great article for Jezebel today that touched on both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dominique Strauss-Kahn specifically their tendency to grope unsuspecting and unconsenting women. Also the pass they (and many, nay most men) seem to receive from society as a whole for this type of behavior.
That’s not to say these things are entirely unrelated, mind you. There are certainly points of overlap between being a cad and being a criminal: An overblown sense of entitlement, an apparent lack of empathy for anyone you might hurt, an erection. But cheating on your wife is not a gateway drug to sexual assault. They are two different things, one of them a crime. If you’re a journalist, please take a moment now to repeat that to yourself a few times.
And then please consider this: A man who’s known for grabbing women’s breasts and asses without their consent (a crime) is not just some amusing, slightly pathetic Pepe Le Pew cartoon until the day someone accuses him of non-consensual penetration. He was actually already a sexual predator! And yet, inevitably, as soon as someone does accuse him of rape, friends who are familiar with his history of non-consensual groping will rush to tell the press that the accusations are absurd, insulting, inconceivable! Sure, everyone knew the lion liked to chase gazelles and pin them down and bat them around a bit for fun, but he would nevereat one. That’s just not in his nature.
Do you see the difference? One guy treats women rather shabbily, and he should be ashamed of himself. The other guy treats women like inanimate objects he is entitled to do whatever the fuck he wants to, and he should be ashamed of himself and also held legally responsible for his crimes. The line between the two is really not all that fine or blurry, you guys! It’s actually pretty recognizable!
Great right? But it also was kind of depressing. I mean how many times have you as a woman been groped? A lot right? Or at least once, most likely. I started to think about it and I remembered little shits in middle school grabbing my ass because why? It was funny? That’s just what they as boys (young men) were “supposed” to do? How they were supposed to treat women? I mean it wasn’t ever a huge deal, I don’t think it traumatized me for life or anything. But it was just accepted. That’s just what happens.
The thing is 12 year old boys become powerful men.