Research/Opinion

Print Article

Need help?

If you have been sexually assaulted or are a victim of domestic violence and need confidential help, referrals, or information, call Safe Passage at their 24-hour hotline 208-664-9303 or see Safepassageid.org.

Empathy is nice. Compassion is better. But when it comes to shifting cultural attitudes, what counts most is complete understanding. That’s impossible without an exercise in what it is like to live the life of another person.

Or gender.

Jackson Katz, Ph.D., is an internationally renowned author and educator who created the “Mentors in Violence Prevention” program used by the U.S. military. He’s passionate about helping society reach that level of understanding, and takes a creative approach.

“I draw a line down the middle of a chalkboard, sketching a male symbol on one side and a female symbol on the other. Then I ask just the men: What steps do you guys take, on a daily basis, to prevent yourselves from being sexually assaulted?

“At first there is a kind of awkward silence as the men try to figure out if they’ve been asked a trick question. The silence gives way to a smattering of nervous laughter. Occasionally, a young a guy will raise his hand and say, ‘I stay out of prison.’

“This is typically followed by another moment of laughter, before someone finally raises his hand and soberly states, ‘Nothing. I don’t think about it.’

“Then I ask the women the same question. What steps do you take on a daily basis to prevent yourselves from being sexually assaulted?

“Women throughout the audience immediately start raising their hands. As the men sit in stunned silence, the women recount safety precautions they take as part of their daily routine.

“Hold my keys as a potential weapon. Look in the back seat of the car before getting in. Carry a cellphone. Don’t go jogging at night. Lock all the windows when I sleep, even on hot summer nights. Be careful not to drink too much. Don’t put my drink down and come back to it; make sure I see it being poured. Own a big dog. Carry Mace or pepper spray. Have an unlisted phone number. Have a man’s voice on my answering machine. Park in well-lit areas. Don’t use parking garages. Don’t get on elevators with only one man, or with a group of men. Vary my route home from work. Watch what I wear. Don’t use highway rest areas. Use a home alarm system. Don’t wear headphones when jogging. Avoid forests or wooded areas, even in the daytime. Don’t take a first-floor apartment. Go out in groups. Own a firearm. Meet men on first dates in public places. Make sure to have a car or cab fare. Don’t make eye contact with men on the street. Make assertive eye contact with men on the street.” — Excerpted from Katz’s 2006 bestselling book, “The Macho Paradox”

If that sounds exhausting or like overkill, you’re on one side of the chalkboard. If it’s all too familiar, you’re on the other — and may be among the estimated one-third of females who have experienced sexual assault at least once (or one-fourth who report it). What’s sadder is that most are assaulted by someone they already know.

Most men are not dangerous, but most women and other vulnerable populations aren’t safe from the minority of men that long list is designed to avoid.

It would be such a relief to shorten it. Culture can do that, when what is and isn’t “normal,” or at least tolerated, changes.

Our daughters, wives, mothers, sisters and children deserve to feel no less free than the other half of the chalkboard.

•••

Sholeh Patrick is a columnist for the Hagadone News Network. Contact her at Sholeh@cdapress.com.

Print Article

Read More Sholeh Patrick

Research: Need some gift ideas? We can help

December 13, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press With less than two weeks left, that gift-buying clock is ticking louder. Desperate for ideas? Got someone on your list who swears they want nothing? Don’t panic. We’ve got this. Check out our two h...

Comments

Read More

Research: Check out Scrabble’s newest additions

December 11, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press I had one of those moms. Whenever I asked, “What does ‘X’ mean?” I got the same answer: Look it up. Naturally, we were a Scrabble family. So are one-third of American, and half of British, famili...

Comments

Read More

Research: Words of the year not exactly invigorating

December 06, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press If there is one thing they all lack this year, it’s integrity. Since at least 1990, prominent dictionaries and other publications around the globe choose a word of the year. It may be the most looke...

Comments

Read More

Research: Hanukkah: Keep your spirit alight

December 04, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Happy Hanukkah. It’s such a beautiful ceremony. After sunset on this third evening of the Festival of Lights, an estimated 5.3 million Americans will light one more candle of the menorah, reciting ...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 664-8176
215 N. Second St
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83814

©2018 The Coeur d'Alene Press Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X