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  • Writer's pictureDana Webster

Keep It In Your Pants, Fellas

It feels like we women are finally getting our due. The #MeToo movement is a few thousand years late but, well, better late than never, I say. Given the outpouring of stories shared (my own included), one can't be faulted for believing that sexual assault, molestation, harassment, and violence in general against women (and children) is a new phenomenon. Alas, no. Only a deeply misogynistic society could give itself permission to silence and shame women who have been violated so relentlessly.

Paul and I have been watching Impeachment: American Crime Story. It's a retelling of the Monica Lewinsky/Paula Jones/Bill Clinton debacle. All I can think, as I watch episode after devastating episode is this: Just keep it in your pants, Bill.

This is not me belittling Monica's traumatic experience (she was only 23 years old, for f's sake); it is me reducing gendered sexual violence to its barest minimum, with an eye to simplifying the compulsion to whip out one's junk without invitation, to a level men can understand.

Just keep it in your pants, fellas.

I wonder: has anyone actually researched the drive to rape? Biochemically, is something amiss? I ask only because the thought that men choose this course of action simply because they can is horrifying to me. I am looking for the magic pill solution. If some men's brains are scrambled to the point of committing sexual violence, perhaps we can treat it with meds? Maybe a lobotomy?

Or, we could lock them up. In the dystopian world of my imagining, women go about raping, murdering, and serial killing men without consequence. It would be a what's good for the goose kind of situation. But, hang on, no consequences? That would never happen. There would be zero tolerance for that kind of violence against men. Women would be imprisoned in droves, locked away for the rest of their natural lives, never to be seen again.

We have male leaders of countries, CEOs, priests, Boy Scout leaders, teachers, military men, police men, politicians, taxi drivers, fathers, brothers, boyfriends, husbands, neighbours and complete strangers all raping and molesting girls and boys and women, ad nauseam. As women, we live with this knowledge every minute of everyday. It takes a toll. Is it any wonder women suffer from anxiety to the degree we do? Is it any wonder we have trust issues as though that were a weakness? Seems pretty justified to me.

When I was a young girl, about 6 years old, walking home from school (yes, we walked unaccompanied by adults back in my day) with my best friend, Linda, a man pulled up beside us in his car, all smiles and friendliness, told us he was lost and could we help? Well, we were good girls, raised to be polite and helpful. So, we approached the passenger side of his car, close enough to see through the open window and to witness him stroking his erection, sticking straight out of his open zippered fly. It was the sound of his heavy breathing that scared us the most.

Just keep it in your pants, fellas.

When I was a teenager, I was standing on the corner at Yonge & Dundas streets in Toronto, waiting for the light to turn green. A stranger reached in front of my boyfriend, whose hand I was holding at the time, and grabbed hold of one of my breasts. I think I was meant to take it as a compliment when he said, "Nice tits!" And wandered away.

Just keep it in your pants, fellas.

Is there a woman out there who doesn't have a similar story or two or a hundred to tell? And honestly, if you are a woman who has not been robbed of her self-worth due to sexual violation, I would love to hear from you. I'd love to know what it means to live a full and healthy sex and love life. What does it feel like to not have spent a lifetime in therapy trying to put back together a life before the assault(s)? To not blame yourself for being too pretty, too trusting, too young, too vulnerable?

I marvel that Bill Clinton, a President of the United States (and we know he's not the only one) was willing to put his career and his marriage in jeopardy all so he could wave his penis around like it was God's gift to women. An appendage at the heart of which male insecurities and false bravado reside. To put the ridiculousness of this in context, remember that women are still having to fight for their right to breastfeed in public places.

Listen, I'm a (mostly) heterosexual female. I've met a few penises that I would call friendly. The key is that they were offered to me. They were not thrust upon with me with a zoned-out, power hungry, penchant for violence as others have been. The friendly ones come in peace. They issue an invitation and I RSVP with my words, my body, my emotions. They do not pin me down, or threaten violence, or suggest that my career is in jeopardy if I don't comply. The friendly ones hear me when I say, no. Those ones have the maturity to simply shrug and find something else to do. No one's pride is wounded, no one feels the need to push through.

Just keep it in your pants, fellas.

The thing that is truly disheartening about sexual violence against women and children is that we largely, as a society, are blind to it. We have let boys be boys for so long that we don't even know it's wrong anymore. And women are left to pick up the pieces of their ruined lives, to clean up the mess the boys have made. Sexually violated women are more prone to addictions, self-harm, abusive relationships, and suicide. Feels like a raw deal.

Gendered violence is a betrayal of the sacred pact men and women have together. We are meant to be partners, symbiotic players in each other's lives. Supportive, loving, respectful, trusting, vulnerable. That is how it is meant to be. And that is how it can be. The #MeToo movement is of benefit to all genders. Thanks to the selfless bravery of the women who are fighting for this change, women who are willing to do the educating that is needed, women who are willing to roll up their sleeves and get to the work of compassionate change, despite the debilitating impact of sexual violence, we can dream of a better, safer life.

For the love of women and children, just keep it in your pants, fellas.


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