“What’s the shock about how men are sexually harassing women in the context of our horrid societal and environmental momentum?” — question asked by one of the author’s home schooled teens
Imagine a half-dozen Emergency Medical Technicians putting bandages on a person who has been assaulted by a knife-wielding psychopath.
The EMTs are trying desperately to stop this person from bleeding out. It’s all very tense and suspenseful as to whether they’ll be able to staunch the flow of blood before the person dies.
But here’s the problem: as these EMTs are applying bandages as fast as they can, the psychopath is continuing to stab the victim. Worse, the psychopath is making wounds faster than the EMTs are able to bandage them. And the psychopath is paid very well for stabbing the victim, while most of the EMTs are bandaging in their spare time.
And in fact the health of the economy is based on how much blood the victim loses – as in this culture, where economic production is measured by the conversion of living landbase into raw materials, e.g., living forests into two-by-fours, living mountains into coal.
How do we stop the victim from bleeding out? Any child can tell you. And any sane person who cares more about the health of the victim than the health of the economy that is based on dismembering the victim can tell you. The first thing you need to do is stop the stabbing. No amount of bandages will make up for an assault that is ongoing, indeed, one that is accelerating.
That’s an allegorical image that I got from Derrick Jensen, a Deep Green activist who has been fighting the good fight to address the daunting challenges imposed by industrial civilization for quite some time. Here, I’d like to elaborate on how it applies to rape victims.
In short, the pressures “imposed by industrial civilization” — of course — drive one and all insane to some degree; most are obviously drowning in insanity, caught up with the horrid momentum of high tech gadgetry, proliferating wars, unprecedented immiseration and soulless careers wherein morality must take a back seat.
On that last point, it’s worth underscoring that as long as morality continues to play less and less of an influential role in behavior… well, I think it’s clear that rape, suicide and other abominations will continue to increase. The bottom line for those wanting to address increasing rape in society — from the violation of individuals to the desecration of all of Mother Earth’s lovely creatures and settings — must be to deal with the cause of our collective bleeding.
The causes are not being addressed effectively, and so the counterparts to the EMT professionals cited above continue to fight the good fight with the application of necessary tourniquets… exclusively. Their ongoing battle is worthy, and should be applauded and supported. But their activist mix must accommodate a new ingredient. Some fresh element needs to be injected into the fray.
To pass around pamphlets to help one and all to self-educate is admirable, necessary. To give speeches on the lecture circuit and post articles is essential. As are the counseling sessions in gear, and the attempts to help victims overcome paralyzing fear at home and elsewhere. But where are the efforts to deal with the cause(s) of the violence? One cannot be supporting rape abroad with our tax dollars, enabling institutionalized violence to continue on an ongoing basis — increasing daily — and harbor hope that things will improve on the home front. One might — through counseling — prevent rape from being perpetrated by a single individual, but in the context of our horrid societal and environmental momentum the pool for violators can only grow.
I spotlighted this issue in a recent article in relation to the violence of gangs, and it seems to me that the thrust of the piece relates well to rape-related issues too. There must be a new paradigm embraced for dealing with rape, one which includes a focus on the source(s) of that atrocity and all other abominations in society. For, at this point, they are all intertwined, they all impact on one another.
It is understandable if someone feels overwhelmed by just thinking about that dynamic, and quite legitimate for a given professional to back up with resolve to only consider the challenges which are right in front of her/his face, the daily mundane matters which must be attended to in order to apply necessary tourniquets.
But someone — some core group — must begin to effectively deal with what I’m calling the “source of the bleeding” here. And that will require new kinds of discussion in some quarters.
I have some suggestions respecting where to begin. And I’d welcome contact at the earliest possible moment.
Richard Martin Oxman is co-founder of the Oxman Collective, and can be reached at email@example.com.