Posted by: joshjasper | August 3, 2010

Get Real!

Tonight I learned that 51 men in Stephenson County have been wrongly accused of sexual assault and domestic battery.  Before I could conclude my presentation to these men on how to end violence, invariably each of them shared how they were wrongfully accused, discriminated against, or the victim of a situation in which they were defending themselves against a woman who was attacking them.

It’s hard to comprehend how far from reality these men are and how it compromises any efforts of violence prevention.  Where do you even start with someone who is unwilling to take responsibility for their actions?  It’s like working with children, asking them to admit to their wrongdoing, hoping that they have learned a valuable lesson in the process. 

Later in my presentation I shared my experience in the Marine Corps as a machine gunner and how violence was accepted as an everyday part of life, but that I understood that it didn’t give me an excuse to be violent in all aspects of my life.  At that point one of the guys shared with me his experience being a machine gunner, discussing the nomenclature of the different guns he had used and how he really enjoyed that job.  Just as I was thinking how great  it was to find someone with a similar background; someone who knows how it feels to lug the weight of  a .50 caliber machine gun on your shoulder for 3o miles across the desert floor, he says “yeah, I always pick being a machine gunner when playing “Call of Duty.”  Did he really think he knew what it was like to be in the military because he had logged hundreds of hours in on a video game?!  Get serious.

Lastly, enough with all of the hypermasculine posturing and posing already.  Your blatant disregard for authority, the laughing and snickering at any serious comments made, and the tattoos covering every inch of your body aren’t fooling me.  This ain’t my first rodeo.  To be clear, you are only hurting yourself by not lowering your guard and allowing people to get to know the real you.   It was no coincidence that eye contact was lost and every head in the room went down when I shared my speculation that most of the men in the room had probably been victimized themselves at one point or another. 

We may have  lost a battle in our violence prevention efforts tonight.   Although possibly true, the men in tonight’s audience are clearly losing the war in their efforts of ever realizing self-actualization.

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Responses

  1. I admire your ability to keep going back out there and calling it like it is. We may all have the desire to make those stands but not all have the endurance to maintain it. Thank God for men like you. Working with fellows in the jail I see much of what you described and at some points I just say, “what could I ever express that would get through to you?” I am still asking myself this question.

  2. I work with a group of women who had their children removed because they tested positive for meth. The women swear that they never use meth, but the other people in the house did and that’s why the children tested positive. These same women can’t admit to themselves that they are victims of domestic and sexual violence. It takes an incredible amount of courage to admit that you were victimized by sexual violence. The easier choice is to bury the experience and pretend that it doesn’t effect your life. My guess is that many of the men you spoke to last night are not brave enough yet to admit their own victimization. I am proud of all the survivors of sexual violence who have come forward and admitted that they were abused and looked at the impact of that abuse on their life. They are brave heroes. And you and the folks at Riverview are heroes, too, for helping them, and for working to create a community free of violence. Thank you.

  3. Star and Melanie-

    You both are doing incredible work. I hope you both realize it. You are right Melaine in that the men I presented to that have been victimized have not found the courage to take a hard look at themselves and start the important work of healing. Rest assured, when that begins, the violence will subside.

  4. I am confused here.

    First you say: “Tonight I learned that 51 men in Stephenson County have been wrongly accused of sexual assault and domestic battery. Before I could conclude my presentation to these men on how to end violence, invariably each of them shared how they were wrongfully accused, discriminated against, or the victim of a situation in which they were defending themselves against a woman who was attacking them.”

    Then you say: “It’s hard to comprehend how far from reality these men are and how it compromises any efforts of violence prevention. Where do you even start with someone who is unwilling to take responsibility for their actions?”

    Are you saying here that you are saying men who are falsely accused of crimes are unwilling to take responsibility for their actions?

    Please tell me that I am wrong and that I am completely reading this wrong or that I am missing some vital piece of information from the story.


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