Don’t Shame the Victims Into Silence!
Unless They Are Men?
With the Herbster/Slama scandal in the air, many are making proclamations of not “shaming victims into silence”. Of course, victims should speak up, report criminal behavior, and assert their rights, but it will never be easy. All people empathize with the victims, but eventually, thoughts turn to “how not to become a victim”. Nobody is inspired to become a victim or wants to be a victim. So at some level, victims will be judged, shamed and even mocked.
A Russian woman tries to blackmail an American elected official. The official reports it to law enforcement. Sounds like a hero from stopping foreign meddling in American politics, right? But the details get ugly. I am referring to former State Senator Bill Kintner. He engaged in cybersex using a government laptop. He paid a $1,000 fine for improper use of government equipment and was shamed out of public office. Keep in mind, Kintner reported the crime at great risk and embarrassment to himself and others. He didn’t stay silent and did not wait years to report the crime. Kintner had courage, a virtue few have, to admit to his mistakes, pay for the mistakes, suffer embarrassment, and still report a crime. (https://www.chicagotribune.com/nation-world/ct-bill-kintner-resigns-womens-march-tweet-20170125-story.html)
There are plenty of people who will slam Kintner for being pathetic but he reported a crime. But what lessons did the rest of the population take from this scandal? The Federal Bureau of Investigation is asking teenage boys to report the same type of exploit Kintner faced. But do boys want to suffer what Kintner suffered? And it is not just teen boys, but pre-teen boys as well. https://www.3newsnow.com/news/local-news/fbi-warns-of-sextortion-scheme-targeting-teenage-boys
For males, sexual events are too often a 3 minute incident which can lead to catastrophic results or merely be forgotten as “water under the bridge”. Males rely on visual cues and when they are wrong, well, too late to back out of this now. This makes males convenient victims.
I took issue with Senator Slama’s dress, and many readers are taking objection to my characterization and say her dress was just fine. They are not seeing the security problem I see. Many Nebraskans think of a prostitute as a woman wearing a skimpy bikini and tiny shorts, slapping her ass on the street corner saying, “hey honey, want a piece of this?” However, there are plenty of escort services which mask prostitution.
Men need to attend an event, and want to be seen with a classy woman, not their mom. This is how escort services came into being, but morphed into questionable practices and illegal activities. An escort will dress discreetly but the clothes will have utility of access. The type of skirt can matter. And extortion and blackmailing can happen. So where many see no problem, I see a serious security concern. (https://www.pennlive.com/crime/2022/03/accused-prostitute-26-guilty-of-blackmailing-prominent-pa-lawyer-is-wanted-by-cops.html). (https://www.marca.com/en/football/international-football/2022/05/07/62763c9d46163f268d8b45a2.html) Much of the news media will not cover this topic, particularly in the USA.
Catholic schools have a similar problem. At Saint Margaret Mary’s, girls are required to wear skirts or at least they were. By the fifth grade, the girls insisted on wearing pants underneath because boys kept on flipping up their skirts. And on a hot day, there may be a girl who wears nothing under the skirt at all who could get a boy to blush in three shades of red. Duchesne Academy does not face such problems because it is an all-girl school, but the skirts have resulted in stereotypes about Catholic girls and this is a genre of porn focused on girls wearing skirts.
The take-away here, is men and boys can be sexual harassed and exploited but receive little sympathy or attention. Yes, it is different compared to what women and girls experience but what happens to males is still there and needs to be confronted.