Who grasps how massively God-forsaken fucked up the world really is?
Even many well-informed people appear to be fairly clueless, including activists directly confronting truly messed up problems. Most just don’t get what it all means. They see some data, if they know the data at all, but almost no one looks beyond their little niche of ideology, interests, and personal experience.
Take the victimization cycle. That sounds too abstract. A cycle? To put it in simple terms, suffering leads to more suffering. From one person to the next, generation after generation, century after century, all across society. Fucked up people fuck over other people leading to even more fucked up people. An endless tidal wave of fucked-upness, seeping into every crevice of the lives hit by it. A flood of suffering that leaves destruction and disease in its wake.
What is the typical response to this? Blame the other guy, the other group. Scapegoat someone, anyone.
What is to be avoided at all costs? Looking at the ugly reality straight in the face.
That is a major problem with both partisan politics and identity politics, or really any kind of ideological dogmatism. It leads to groupthink, an us vs them mentality. It is pointless and stupid. It just makes everything worse. The larger problems are ignored, the problems that are so immense that taking them in would lead some to suicidal despair. Maybe many people know on some level how fucked up it is and they want to avoid that awareness at any and all costs, even if it means never dealing with the problems they claim to care about.
The example that has been on my mind relates to the “Not All Men”. It irritated me not because there wasn’t some important discussion that should be had about the issues but because that discussion wasn’t really happening. Most of the posts on both sides of that ‘debate’ were bullshit, pointless attacks of the other side (not to say there weren’t a few intelligent responses in the mix). It mostly became an ideological turf war.
I chose not to join in the internet fiasco, the righteous posturing in articles and blogs. I chose not to join in because I didn’t want the bullshit to get on me. I kept my mouth shut and my mind open. Instead of voicing an opinion, I put my head down and tried to figure out what it all meant.
I knew about the statistics feminists repeat. I had no reason to doubt those statistics, but my curiosity got the better of me and I went into obsessive research mode. I had to know for myself what was what. Although I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, I wanted to see the data on some specific issues. I wanted to see the data on physical and sexual abuse, spousal and child abuse, female and male abuse, and anything else along these lines. I’d never looked at this data and all I knew was that there was a high rate of reported rape of women by men. So I made my search broad and checked every source I could find.
A real shocker came up. Some sources showed that women were more likely than men to abuse boys. Also, some sources showed that boys who reported being abused by women were more likely to have their allegations dismissed by the agencies/organizations that are supposed to record that info and deal with those problems. This apparently is a blindspot that may be as big as what once was found with spousal abuse by men. In both cases, something thought rare has turned out to be not so rare, after all.
My point isn’t some bullshit tit for tat. The feminists get their jab in with the rape statistics. And then the men’s right groups get to jab back as well. I don’t care about “Not All Men” or “Not All Women” or whatever else anyone wants to think up. Screw that! I’m not going to play those stupid games. Let’s take all of this seriously.
Are we prepared to deal with this soul-crushing fucked-upness? Or are we going to stick our heads in the sand once again?
This is mind-blowing stuff we’re being faced with here. How many women who abuse boys were themselves abused by men at some point? And how many men who abuse women were once abused by women?
Do we have the gut-level courage to ask these questions out in the open and look for the answers? Will we accept what answers we might find, for this issue and so many others? Are we adult enough to take shared responsibility for these problems?