Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Not That He Isn't An S.O.B.



"Anti-rape advocate" Wagatwe Wanjuki of Daily Kos cautions us not  to consider her criticism of Joe Biden in any "way a personal attack on Biden or a suggestion to completely ban him from the court of public opinion."  She notes the former vice-president, rightfully condemning Donald Trump, recently stated

A guy who ended up becoming our national leader said, 'I can grab a woman anywhere and she likes it.’ 

They asked me if I’d like to debate this gentleman, and I said no. I said, 'If we were in high school, I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.'

I've been in a lot of locker rooms my whole life. I'm a pretty damn good athlete. Any guy who talked that way was usually the fattest, ugliest S.O.B. in the room.





While condemning Trump, Wanjuki explains

There are a lot of cultural norms behind why society is still overwhelmingly complacent about rape culture. One of them is at the core of Biden’s own “locker room talk”: toxic masculinity. Toxic masculinity says the only way to be a man is to be violent, emotionless, and dominate women. The idea that boys would handle hearing a teammate brag about sexual assault by physically assaulting him is a manifestation of that....

Giving us a short, helpful history lesson, Wanjuki adds

If this was an attempt to talk about how things were back in the day, don’t believe the idea that sexual assault was less prevalent during Biden and Trump’s adolescence. Rates of rape have been declining for decades. We’re hearing more victim stories—not because of sexual violence, but because we’re increasingly creating a world where survivors’ words, the most powerful tool against rape culture, can be heard. 

However, there is an additional reason to question Biden's response to the Molester-In-Chief.

It is simply not true.   Joe Biden, a proud Catholic, has been doing penance for several years for having enabled the GOP minority on the Senate Judiciary Committee to trash Anita Hill and get Clarence Thomas on the United States Supreme Court. It is unlikely that a young Mr. Biden, less sympathetic to women's issues than he is currently, would have challenged anyone to a fight for making a misogynistic, violent remark. 

Very few- if any- guys would have, given the era and the chance the confrontation would have escalated out of control. A young man might have gone upside the head of another man who said something as bad or similar about his girlfriend. But it's a safe bet that he would have done little if anything about a fellow who spoke as generally as did Trump.

Echoing most feminists and experts in the field of sexual violence in recent years, "rape is about power, not sex. His (Trump's) choice to publicly humiliate his victims emphasizes that." However, rape is defined as "unlawful sexual activity and usually sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against a person's will..." Hence, rape is about both power and sex, with the claim that it is about only power an overreaction to the long-held, dangerously faulty, assumption that it is merely a sexual crime.

Still, Wanjuki gets it mostly right, criticizing Joe Biden's "locker room trash talk" and reminding us that our heightened concern about sexual violence reflects not an increase of the behavior, but creation of a culture in which we understand that a victim must no longer be silenced..




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