So I stumbled upon this opinion article [Male Sex Abuse and Female Naivete] by Dan Rottenberg from the Broad Street Review and frankly, it seriously pissed me off. What follows is an open letter to the Broad Street Review addressing some of my concerns. I know that it is waay too long for publication in full, but I wanted to throw the whole thing out there in case any of you felt the same way — or didn’t, and wanted to discuss!
Dear Mr. Rottenberg:
I’d like the opportunity to respond to your article “Male Sex Abuse and Female Naiveté,” and while I do not hope to change your opinion, I would feel negligent if I didn’t submit an alternate point of view.
I am a twenty-five year old female who has lived for well over a decade in the possession of a pair of terrific, ample breasts. They are mine, and I’m quite attached to them. They are as much a part of me as my smile, my eyes, my personality, or my fabulously sexy brain, and I wouldn’t change them for the world.
I am also making a living in this city as a costume designer. I think about clothes – a lot. I am able to pay my rent based upon careful analysis of how our choice of clothing helps define us as people. In regards to my own wardrobe, I attempt to always flatter my figure, feel comfortable, and look my best for any given occasion. Occasionally, this might emphasize my cleavage. Shockingly, I have never been the victim of a sexual assault.
In part, I attribute this to the company I keep. I am blessed with a lovely assortment of male friends, all of whom, to the best of my knowledge, are in possession of a penis. I have never once felt the same way about their genitalia as you seem to: that it should be equated with a loaded gun, and that the sight of my wanton legs, thighs, or cleavage will cause it to unexpectedly go off. In my professional acquaintance, I have worked with a number of directors, producers, and designers who are male, and never once have I been the victim of a sexual assault by attending late-night production meetings in their home. Frankly, I think I can speak for them when I say that were I to arrive prepared for the possibility of sexual intercourse in addition to the roster of script rewrites or fabric discussions on the agenda, they would be perplexed and horrified. I am continuously blessed by the trusted male friendships in my life, and cannot envision a world in which I cut out 50% of my companions by virtue of the fact that the “male animal craves drama about as much as food, shelter, and clothing.” How sad that you have such little regard for your own gender!
Look, questionable fashion choices are out there, as anyone who has ever attempted to walk through Old City on a Saturday night will attest. But what teenage girl hasn’t added “questionable fashion choices” to her roster of growth and experimentation? I’d venture to say that debuting that first outfit that makes you feel slim and sexy is up there with The Prom and The First Kiss as hallmarks of adolescence.
Perhaps, as you say, “it is usually easier to change your own behavior than someone else’s.” Easier. Well, perhaps. But better? Rather than deprive women of the right to their own choices of wardrobe, I would challenge men everywhere to think and act like decent human beings [emphasis added]. (Most of the ones I know do).
I am not so naïve as to deny the existence of all humans’ potential for evil. Terrible things happen to good people, every minute of every day. But to assume that your “precautions” must be taken – to never accept a job as a masseuse! To never trust a man! – is a view of humanity so bleak that I cannot possibly accept it as truth. I believe in the possibility of all people to strive towards a more civilized society. The most timely advice I have in regards to curbing sexual assaults? Gentlemen: it’s simple. Don’t sexually assault us.
June 8th, 2011