I know I’m probably going to get flogged for this, but I DO think there are degrees of harassment. I think someone whipping it out in front of me warrants being called out, no matter when it happened. But I think that if I were to start calling out every man who has ever looked at me sideways, commented on my DSLs, rubbed up against me at a dance, asked me how the girls were doing, even after I made it clear the advances weren’t appreciated…in my 20s and 30s…I could ruin a great many lives.
At what point do we draw a line? When do we force accountability for something some guy did when he was a dumb kid and the world was in a different place? If he has grown up, and grown out of that stupidity, do we tear apart his wife and children’s lives by bringing up his past mistakes?
If I found out that my now-grown child was bullied 10 years ago, would I still hunt that person down and make him apologize?
I’m not saying one way is right and another isn’t. I’m simply saying I think it is much more complicated than “don’t split hairs”. Too complicated for the solution to be a simple one.
I think the way men treat women has been wrong for a long time ( like forever) but I also think boys were taught that was the way they were supposed to behave. We are finally making some headway in that arena. We are raising our sons from day one to be a different kind of man. But our grandparents didn’t do that. Our parents didn’t do that. Their children have made mistakes that hopefully will be extinguished in future generations. But alienating an entire gender/generation for wrongs no one told them were wrong back when they committed them, NOW, is only going to continue to widen the divide we see today.
I’m not saying rapists should not have to answer. There are a million humiliations any man should know are wrong whether he’s born in 1776 or 2076, and for those he should pay. But there are a million other things that are much less clear. I don’t know what to do with those.
I just think we should not forget to breathe. These are people. Some are bad people. Some were just young and dumb and trying to look cool. Assholes from middle school aren’t necessarily assholes anymore.