Sexual harassment can’t be separated from violent assaults against women. Not only do they co-exist on both a legal and ethical continuum, they stem from the same desire for power and control over females in every way — sexually, physically and emotionally. Worse, this desire is rooted in an insidious male entitlement that continues to run through society, a “boys will be boys’ mentality that rewards aggression toward girls and women.
The unwanted talk and touching is explained away as casual expressions of humour, confidence, strength, virility or cockiness and when it goes too far, and those excuses don’t wash, “she asked for it” is both a handy fallback and a boost to the male ego at the same time.
Even well-meaning modern men routinely abuse their male privilege with out second thought, instigating hugs that force women either to return these unwanted invasions of their physical space or refuse and be rude.
Despite what some men think there is no double standard her. A man having female admirers is simply a bonus to his masculine self, which remains full intact.
Men making public comments about a woman’s appearance are framing her female identity in masculine terms.
The obvious power imbalance is clear to most women and confusing to most men.
Some men play the victim card here, claiming that they are also trapped by the unfair expectations of the patriarchal culture, even while simultaneously reaping the benefits of their gender every day of their lives.
Until more men are willing to both understand and take responsibility for misogyny and then demand that other boys and men do so as well, the crimes against our daughters, our sisters, and our mothers will continue unabated.