There is a conversation we need to have. I feel our culture throughout the nation, as a general statement; we don’t talk about the things that need to be talked about. The first step towards changing that culture is, you guessed it, talking about it.

This isn’t meant to attack anyone in particular, but to hopefully reach those with a flawed perception of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and rape. This is meant to hopefully reach those of you who continue to demonize women for something they didn’t have control over. There are women out there who do this as well, but I haven’t met any personally who would demonize the woman.

Now, false accusations are made. There are a few cases out there where a girl would consent, both parties being inebriated. Later in the morning, she would regret her decision and instead of owning up to her own actions, she’d rather throw her temporary partner in jail for her own shame. I must stress to you that this is not at all common, just that it does exist. The point of me bringing this up is to immediately squash the argument that this happens. Of course it happens … so does rape and much more often than any false claims of rape.

Rape is not exclusive to women. We often “joke” about it on the outside, especially those who haven’t a shred of experience with prisons — the joke being “don’t drop the soap”. We joke about it, but yet this joke is a prime example that rape happens to men as well.

A pedophile gets thrown in prison, which is celebrated by all (rightfully so), yet there are plenty who suggest the same thing might happen to the pedo to “teach him a lesson.” Since when has rape has stopped others from raping? That’s like putting gas on a fire thinking the gas would put out the fire instead of making it worse. I can understand wanting retribution and wanting to avenge those who were harmed, but how does harming someone for harming someone else help?

What prompted this discussion was an argument I had on Facebook. There was a man I was speaking with who posted a “free pass” for older men who had gone senile. It was referencing former President George H. W. Bush and allegations that he had grabbed an actress’ rear.

Speaking generally, I don’t like to be touched at all. While I was working at Parker, there was a male employee there who was quite obnoxious. We were friends at first. It wasn’t until I asked him not to touch me that he would insist on touching me. Of course, that’s what trolls do. They love to push your buttons. Still, I asked politely and kindly. It persisted for weeks.

Because I thought we were friends (and because of the idiotic stigma behind being a “snitch”) I didn’t want to get him into any trouble. I only wanted him to stop invading my personal space, especially while I was working. Once I had enough and pursued every avenue I could that didn’t involve me teaching him a lesson (I’m human, too), I decided to let someone else know. It was taken care of, but we no longer had a friendship. So be it; I don’t want to be friends with someone who isn’t considerate of others anyways. We weren’t enemies — we worked together after all. He was later let go, which was a relief to me because he still continued to harass me and other workers.

So back to the Facebook argument about Bush senior. This guy argued that because Bush was senile, he got a free pass. He argued that he’s put up with old ladies grabbing his junk and that he had suffered other situations involving sexual assault.

Let me make this clear for all of you. It’s elementary, really. We learned at a young age this golden rule: keeping your hands to yourself. Surely I’m not the crazy one on this. If I don’t want to be touched, then don’t touch me. It’s that simple.

Being senile does not grant you a free pass, nor is it the reason for repugnant behavior. There are plenty of senior citizens going senile who don’t reach out to grab someone. Bush grabbing an actress’ rear was behavioral, not out of senility. Women have continuously suffered sexual harassment and assault throughout the years, even today.

For example, countless reputable news sources reported recently about Michael Oreskes who resigned as chief of news for National Public Radio after allegations from two women who were seeking jobs at the time. He even took one out to dinner for three hours. He used his position of power as leverage for women looking for a job opportunity, exploiting their desire for his own sexual desire. It was in the ‘90s, but didn’t we elect a president who bragged about sexual harassment in the 2000s? This problem continues even today.

I’m done tolerating it. I’ve experienced multiple forms of abuse as a child, including sexual abuse. I don’t have a problem talking about it, but I prefer not to because it’s something I’ve put behind me. I’ve met countless people who have experienced some form of sexual harassment, assault, or rape. In fact, I can’t say that I really know anybody who hasn’t experienced this directly or indirectly. That’s a problem.

What’s worse? Women are demonized for coming out about what happened. Referring to the Facebook argument, this man argued that the actress was a hypocrite because “she shows her butt all around the world on television.” I must stress one important factor here: CONSENT. YOU NEED PERMISSION. This actress gave permission to the studio by signing a contract getting paid for it. She did NOT give permission to some senile old pervert. This guy on Facebook defending Bush seems like he’s looking forward to using his own senility as an excuse to be a pervert, because it couldn’t be clearer that it’s not okay.

I’d like to point out that this person I was arguing against is a registered Democrat, so it’s not like this type of behavior is exclusive to any party in particular (Harvey Weinstein serving as a prime example as well). It’s not exclusive to any generation, though I would argue that it’s more culturally instilled in those who grew up in that culture thinking it’s okay.

Let me say it once more, for those who constantly demonize the victim: you need permission.

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