|I have deliberately cut out most of the picture and name to protect her identity for future reference.|
However, I want to point one thing out, for clarification's sake: the results of these stories has to come out for two reasons: 1. in case some people want to prosecute their abusers; and 2. for society to change and build from this for a better future. That being said, we should not, by any means, require victims to share their most intimate secrets in public to get that ball rolling. That's not how it should work.
I'm all for "innocent until proven guilty", I realize some famous folks have been wrongly accused these past few years, that's all good, a crime's punishment should require an actual trial, not an online lynch mob; on the other hand, victims must be believed and protected as well. You can do both in a civilized society. There may even be cases - that's where a true court comes in - where a victim may feel wronged but when the facts come to light, the defense may be able to make a credible case that there was middle ground; in the U.S., that's where civil court comes in, with punitive damages awarded.
Further debate and explanations on that issue, however - as with my own #MeToo because, as a Man, this is not my day to join that side of the argument - is for another day.
Today, my statement is this: I do not consider to have been a torturer in that sense, because just hearing the word "no" calms my manhood down for the rest of the night, as many disappointed role-playing ladies have found out. But there was a time as a child when I was discovering myself and sharing the experience with friends and relatives where now, as an adult, feel were either fucking weird or may have crossed some sort of line, and hopefully I didn't scar anyone for life. I have been told it was "normal childhood behaviour" by professionals, but kids are a mess anyway.
This does not mean I haven't been part of the problem, as an asshole, at an age where I probably knew better and could handle some responsibility.
I try to be a good person, and I try to improve on that every day. Some days I can't. Many times when I can't, I don't cause much damage to anyone but myself, if that.
But I have disrespected women, some of whom I even dated. I have said harsh thing. Terrible things. I even asked someone who had been on my case for an entire night "When will you die?". Jesus Christ. I'm haunted and tormented by the shit I've done - not just to women, to men too; I've said it here before, I've seen both sides, I've been bullied and I've been a bully, but fuck, man.
I'm in my late 30s now. I want kids. Chances are, if I do have some, they'll have some of my DNA. I don't want my kids to do what I did or say the things I've said. And here's the thing: my Mom was an amazing parent. She taught me to want to be - and do - good. She's probably the reason why I didn't turn out a criminal like some of my friends or some of my folk heroes. I don't know if I can do any better than she did, but I know there is shit I've had to learn by trial and error - and ages 8-10, then again around 15-16, I've erred quite a bit - that will look a hell of a lot like History Repeating Itself to me if and when I notice them from my kid(s) or their friends.
Sure, you try to teach them the basics: good, not evil; treat everybody equally, regardless of everything; help those in need. Some of that will have to come with reminders sometimes. Then there'll be the path corrections when they stray.
I have no idea if it'll stick. Because every day, I live with everything I've done in the four decades that I've been on this planet. And today, I'm thinking particularly of what I did and said to one gender. Friends, girlfriends, teachers, strangers.
I haven't always been a part of the solution. I'm trying to be, I really am, because there's only so much weight I can carry. But mostly because it's the Right thing to do.