#metoo -- the violence in us

I originally wrote this in February 2016. I wish it were not still timely.

One addition: rape, assault, harassment are never, ever about "not knowing where the line is." If you have to ask, you've already crossed it. Rape, assault, harassment are always, always about power.  I've written more on this here.


VP Biden and Lady Gaga are good company to be in, and though it's not the crowd I'd like to be most known for: I have been sexually assaulted, more than once. More unfortunately, most women I know and more men than you might imagine are also part of that company.

Look, it's not the rapist in the bushes who is the biggest problem (though one of mine was on an Italian train). Never has been. And though most sexual assault of children is incest, that's not it either. The biggest problem is the language of violence, from "hit that" to "hammering," to the idealization of domination in porn, to encultured disrespect and sexualizing of women, gentle men, and children. We don't even notice it anymore: when did a deeply misogynistic term like "douchebag" get to be okay, said by women and men, unreflectively? How many of us laughed with Barney Stinson, and loved that Robin and Lily spoke brutally of sex as well?

We have to change our language and our thoughts, to tell our children and our partners and friends that it simply isn't okay to talk like that, dress our children like that, watch comedy and drama that makes evil seem banal. Not because it's inherently bad, but because we become what we attend to. All of us.