As a middle aged male, I’m almost afraid to look at the news each morning. On a daily basis members of our gender are popping up in the media, each story more atrocious and humiliating than the next.
Articles, blog-posts, and social-media are ablaze with the heart-wrenching accounts of sexual abuse victims — many of whom are still dealing with the after-affects of their trauma decades later. There is a justifiably large focus on what can be done to prevent abuse, as well as punish those who perpetrate it.
However, I’d like to examine the issue from a different angle.
For me, one of the most striking aspects of the reported cases is that the violations are being committed by men who seem to “have it all”. They are successful in their careers, they are leaders, they are wealthy. Many are married with children. By all measures, they have made it, and made it big. They have status, money, and lots and lots of power.
And yet, behind closed doors, they are rubbing their erections up against strange women or worse, dry-humping unsuspecting coworkers and ejaculating in their own pants. These assaults are some of the most cringe-worthy accounts I’ve ever heard. And although you hear about sexual abuse where the genders are reversed, still — in all my 50 years, I have never, ever, heard about a woman dry-humping a stranger and orgasming on the spot. Have you?
This needs to stop — but how? To say that the message of the hour is “Stop Abusing!” seems appropriate, but too shallow to be effective. To speak-up when witnessing abuse to the right thing to do — but not addressing the underlying cause. We need better insight into the source of the problem.
According to modern psychology, abuse is really about power and control. And since sex is at the core of our self-image, the core of our being — what stronger way to mistakenly feel powerful and in control than to sexually dominate another?
But the opposite is really true — as stated in our holy books Ethics of our Fathers: “Who is the powerful person? One who controls his inclinations.” Integrity and self control — not domination of others — are the ultimate expression of one’s power.
To me, this is the crux of the problem. We falsely equate success, money and domination with true power. We seek affirmation from the outside, rather than from within, and in so doing, we actually give away that which we want so desperately — our real power. When we look to the “other” for validation, we are in essence crying out “How I feel about myself is in your hands — please affirm me, and make me feel good”. In reality, we are really handing over our power to our victims, in an attempt to validate our self worth. This is the antithesis of power — it is blatant weakness. How ironic, and how sad.
As men, we need to wake-up. And, as usual, it is the women around us who are sounding the moral alarms. Personal confidence, self-worth, and true power comes from within — living with purpose, standing up for our values, giving to others, and being grateful for what we have. We need to redefine and recommit to integrity and honor. And we need to set limits on our behaviors, starting with non-consensual contact. While I don’t exactly know what that looks like (do you ask first? Do you wait for her to make the first move?) I do know that it would exclude dry-humping the nearest female and rubbing your erection on strangers. Those are sure signs of emotional weakness and desperate cries for help, not to mention moral depravity.
Gaining control of your inclinations makes you strong and gives you true self-esteem and confidence. Set positive goals and make yourself an object of desire. Amazingly, according to women, the top character trait they are attracted to is self-confidence. So when you work on these goals, you no longer need to assault the nearest female. You can just ask one out on a date, and she might even say “Yes!”