Men have certainly been under attack in recent years for many sexual and social things they might have done as well as many things they have only been accused of doing, and even for many things I’m sure some of them wished they had done but didn’t or couldn’t.

    But, accusing – without proof, without corroboration, without a limitation on how much time has elapsed since the incident, and almost always without an assessment of what provocation may have accompanied it – is like accepting someone’s assessment of what is a good movie without also evaluating their criteria for making such a claim.

    If someone said “That isn’t a good movie”, wouldn’t it be poorly conclusive not to ask for more details about their assessment than to just accept it as accurate?  Maybe they don’t like a certain type of movie, or they don’t like a certain actor or actress who is in the movie; maybe they didn’t like what the movie was about, or something that took place in the movie; maybe they didn’t like where the movie was shown, or even when the movie was shown.  In fact, if we were to ask more about why they felt it was not a good movie, maybe we would find out that they don’t even like movies!

    So assessing the criteria used for determining whether a movie is good or not is as important to making a determination of how accurate that assessment is as it is for assessing most matters of judgment.  This is especially true when someone accuses another person of an inappropriate sex act.

 

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    What actually IS a sex act?  Is it touching, feeling, probing, and acting upon an impulse, or is it “attempting” to touch, feel, or act upon an impulse, or even more indeterminate, is it “wanting” to touch, feel, or act upon an impulse?  In other words, does it have to be something actually acted upon—an act carried out—or can it just be something contemplated or desired?  And, even more importantly—at least in my opinion—is it something that was promulgated by some provocation or enticement, or was it just manifested out of the clear, unprovoked blue?

In other words, if a woman dresses provocatively, acts provocatively, talks suggestively and with hints of “possibilities” that sound provocative, is she still protected from an assertive and eager male reaction with the word “no” in the same way that she would be if there was no provocation?  Isn’t that actually a little like dangling a hunk of raw, red meat in front of a hungry lion and telling him you can’t have it?  The lion may actually see the situation much differently than the person who is dangling the meat as just an example of what might be possible.

    It seems to me that when a woman chooses to dress and act like bait on a hook, she shouldn’t be surprised to have fish biting at the lure, nor should the fish be punished for taking the bait.  Of course it can be said that she’s only dressed that way to be “fashionable” or to “keep cool” in warm weather, or even to “look attractive” without exposing herself to leering, disrespectful eyes, comments, or actions.  But shouldn’t we also admit that if someone is wearing a sign that says “kiss me” we shouldn’t be surprised that someone will give it a try?  This means that it may sometimes be a TWO WAY street to a sexual encounter, not just a ONE WAY street with a DETOUR sign that is obscurely posted.

    There certainly should be protections enforced for women who want to be left alone by males who bother and annoy them – legal, cultural, and social protections – but when a woman acts as a provocateur, her complicity must also be recognized as a contributing – and perhaps exculpatory – factor.