Douglas Bastard's Rants of Rage

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This article was written on 07 Mar 2018, and is filled under Uncategorised.

Male sexuality is toxic

A thing has happened and, as I don’t have a large friendship group – or even, if we’re being honest, a friendship group – my inclination is to share it online. This might make me one of the idiots who live out their lives in a virtual world or it might mean that I’m reaching out beyond myself. Or it might even be a mixture of the two. Who knows.

But on Sunday, I met a friend for lunch. We talked of this and that and then he said he had something to tell me. I was suddenly very aware of my heart in my chest and I also, with the kind of sick immediacy you get when you’re falling over and time seems to stand still, was aware that I wasn’t in control of what was going to happen next.

He said that he was getting divorced and that part of the reason was that his now ex was aware that he had filmed her daughter, without consent or knowledge, in the shower. The daughter in question is not his, as he is her stepfather, but at the time was only 17. This was some years ago, but the matter has come to a head.

His wife, then, knows about the filming. And her daughter also knows about it, which is why they are both in therapy. Should either of them wish to tell the police, as would be my inclination, that is their choice and for me to decide to tell them would perhaps further remove any agency from her daughter for an uncertain prospect of prosecution.

I didn’t know how to respond and was, because I am English, very polite. But after I got home, it was as though a time delayed grenade had gone off in my mind. A relative was subjected to sexual abuse as a teenager and I have numerous friends who were either abused by a family member, abused by someone in a position of responsibility or raped. The shrapnel from this explosion spooled forwards and today I sent him an email breaking off all contact.

What disturbs me is how close this incident is to one that involves my former Street Pastor leader who was found guilty of filming his own daughter in the shower and who received a custodial sentence. A meeting was called at church of the other Street Pastors where it was suggested that we forgive him. Then, as now, I think this is unmitigated shite.

The only person who can grant forgiveness is victim. A roomful of people deciding that everything is now fine has as much relevance as the Women’s Institute delivering its verdict on the Holocaust. And I also told the meeting that was this individual brought before me, I would tear him to pieces with my own hands, such is my absolute hatred for sexual abuse and anyone who perpetrates it. The response was muted.

My hatred for this person is now kicking into gear and I am suddenly, catastrophically aware of my anger. But there is more to this than just him. I am aware of all the male sexual abusers, all the male rapists and the unbelievable squalor and degradation that my own sex has brought into the world.

Filming someone is not rape, but it’s definitely attached to the same bloody iceberg, the visible promontory of a huge, subsurface mass of misogyny, hate and entitlement that governs how men around the world approach women and see them. When half of the population are at the very least familiar with some of the standard, foul tropes that come with being a man, what hope for humanity? How can men and women ever hope to have a relationship based on mutual respect when this is what men do?

It should be obvious that I am hurt and grieving for a friendship that sailed under a false flag, but I’m fucked if I know what to do next other than howl at the moon. Any idea that I can judge people, that I know what they are concealing, has just died a cheap and lonely death. With that has died any idea that, despite being male, I want to be friends with men. I’m aware of the paradox of this, incidentally, aware that I’m asking for friendship I would deny myself, but right now, I’m not feeling very logical.

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