Does Anyone Ever Ask, Was It A Woman Or A Man - Part 2
Mind-meandering back to today and reflecting on incidents linked to emotional, physical or sexual violence perpetrated against young boys, girls and women.
Whether they are cast within a religious context or against a secular backdrop and whether they occurred last month or 30 years ago, generally speaking, many of us are in the throes of blanking moments in our past.
Many men and women are saying more or less loudly, ‘I have no idea what happened’ or ‘I have no idea how that’s happened’ while millions of others are blanking out personal and cultural dysfunction by saying, ‘I had no idea it was happening.’
Visibly, the vast majority of us, men and women, have been asleep in our kitchens, at our desks and in staff rooms, in hallways, on church pews and synagogue benches.
On prayer rugs, too, and while chanting our mantras.
We must also have spent many hours, days and years in suspended consciousness or cowardice while in our sports fields, clubs, streets and while hanging out.
Still, not for a moment did we miss a calendar date we considered relevant. Nor did we miss the opportunity to step up for a pay rise, to indulge in gossip, to plan our time off.
We remember clearly the time and place of our walks in the park, and who did what with whom at the parties we attended.
We were awake and ready when it came time to make an expenditure claim and to ally ourselves, one move at a time, with those we felt would be likely allies, should anything ‘unfair’ befall us.
Three monkeys, we are!
Sometimes it feels like we do not choose our lives but are engulfed by them.
Amazing how quickly the best of us can turn into personalised incarnations of the Japanese three wise monkeys.
We see no evil.
We hear no evil, but it is not that we ‘speak no evil’ – it is more the case of choosing not to talk about or report ‘that sort of evil’.
Sure, many of us chose to play the game and tread on the path of least resistance. Many of us have made compromises to obtain or hold on to something which was illusory.
Many of us accepted the gamble or the trade-off willingly.
Many of us have gone to great lengths to camouflage threats to our ego and went to great lengths to obscure as much of these threats as we could manage at the time.
From the micro circumstance of an incestuous or violent brother/father or that of an abusive boss, all the way to the macro awareness of crimes perpetrated on a significant scale and over aeons, the most shocking thing by far is always the breadth of the cover-ups and the breadth of our collective genderless blindness.
Alternatively, is that cultural blindness a measure of the depth of our callous sense of separation from one and another?
The weight of a prefix
The prefix, ‘inter’ means ‘between, among, mutually, reciprocally, together’ and so on and it is most appropriate to use terms like interdependent and interconnected when it comes to our infinitesimally tiny, personal connection to the vast whole that ‘life’ on Earth.
An ecosystem is a community of living things. Our body is an ecosystem.
All ecosystems are interrelated, and the biosphere is the sum of all ecosystems.
Biology confirms that all aspects of ourselves and the world-at-large constitute an utterly interrelated web of life.
Though we tend to not think along those lines as often as we should, we are all familiar with the reality that what impacts us impacts our loved ones.
Always forming and always invisible, ripples from our actions often impact directly or indirectly on colleagues and friends - at times on strangers, too.
And what about the birds and the cats and dogs?
Equally, we know that what impacts one species impacts many others and what impacts the air we breathe impacts our seas and, in boomerang fashion, impacts our health.
A current graphic example began unfolding in November 2017 when the population of New Delhi, India, breathed air so severely polluted that the Chief Minister, leader of Delhi, referred to the capital city as a ‘gas chamber’.
This noxious blanket of smog has already impacted positively on the manufacture and sales of air purifying devices and pollution masks which have limited effect, but the millions who are unable to afford any of the solutions available to the more privileged have gone on to inhale the smoke content of 50 cigarettes per day.
Tough we are all familiar with the motto Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno, all for one and one for all, human nature has developed in such a way that we think of ourselves as entities that are as separate from one another as pebbles on a beach. Separate even from those who tagged as our family in this lifetime.
When push comes to shove, separate, too, from our friends, those to whom we have attracted and those who have been drawn to us for reasons well beyond our earthly understanding.
We feel separate from our colleagues and, even more so from anyone we dislike though these people, too, are in our orbit for reasons far beyond common assumptions.
When the gloves come off, the concept of Me vs You and Us vs Them is tattooed in the psyche of the vast majority of folks alive today, i.e. in the brain of some 7 billion people.
Of course, there is good in every one of us.
There are also degrees of nastiness and a potential for evil deeds in each one of us.
Thus, there will conceivably be a moment in time, probably sooner rather than later, when one girl or woman, to be followed by other girls and women, will ‘equal’, perhaps even ‘better’ boys and men in regards to sociopathic behaviours.
Then, truly, will be the time to ask, ‘Was the perpetrator was a man or a woman?’
Perhaps then, will we cheer that equality has finally been achieved.
For some, there may be joy in thinking that women have finally become the new men.
For others, those nanoseconds of awareness when thought/emotion and actions were needed will, no doubt, have evaded us again.
‘I have no idea what happened’ or ‘I have no idea how that’s happened’, many of us will say sincerely crestfallen as, squinty-eyed, we peer into our cultural cesspool.
Parity, sweet Parity
Parity within the dark corridors of violence will happen. It will happen slowly. It will happen in the fullness of time.
The only real question is how long it will take girls and women to reach a critical mass of influence in the sphere of sociopathic violence.
And then … what?
Then, we might want to ask,‘Was it a man or a woman who made this awful thing happen?’
True evolution on a wing and a prayer
To create a new personal and societal order close to home requires a series of daily steps into the unknown – not recreating endlessly emotions, thoughts, actions, reactions and inaction dug up from archived stimuli embedded deeply in the emotional domain of the past.
OK for King Kong
Outside of the animal kingdom, yielding to the spirit of survival of the fittest is an obscene affront to our culture, yet, laws and penalties are inefficient deterrents when one's brain is gripped by the impulse to misbehave.
That said, we are entitled to a future where, beyond the preventative strategies in place and the new measures being deployed, men of all ages will choose to become emotionally intelligent regarding sexual tension.
They will know how to deal differently with whatever sets off their rise in T-levels.
They will control the libidinous flame, as one needs to control any potentially hazardous flame.
They will be ‘man enough’ to walk away and not return to that situation.
They will lose the impulse to impose themselves on anyone they consider ‘weaker than’ while retaining the positive aspects of authentic masculinity that enable them when at their best, to be Man the Protector – Man the Defender of the Weak.
The film and publishing industries will come to the party and contribute their efforts to the cause.
One producer, one author at a time, they will shift their focus away from girls and women humiliated, raped, maimed and murdered. The fashion and music industries will find a fresh focus away from the shape of women’s bodies.
As for the rest of us ...
In the meantime, separately and collectively, the best we can now do is promise ourselves that, as we step up our own game, we will be awake and aware.
When needed, we will make an objective statement.
We will feel empathy and, yes, we will follow through from there with insight, sensitivity and authenticity.
Where a child or woman or anyone perceived ‘weaker than’ does have a complaint about being bullied or bulldozed into a compromising situation, they will be heard and taken seriously.
They will be dealt with respectfully.
Positive tipping point
The critical mass that generates change is around 22%.
More girls and women needed wherever they are under-represented.
More 'good men', decent men, honourable men needed wherever they are under-represented.
So, if we start putting ourselves and ‘things’ in place now, like Scotch whiskey that comes to full richness at a variety of ages, from 3 years to 50 years … we have a decent leeway to uplevel our own game and make amends where amends are needed.
© 2017 Carole Claude Saint-Clair