Coming right on the heels of watching this TEDx talk by Jackson Katz, arranged by women in San Francisco's Financial District, the subject of the following news snippet is... pretty disappointing
West Virginia senator: Women senators ‘are on top of’ military sexual assault reports
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) suggested in an interview on Tuesday that it was his female colleagues’ responsibility to monitor reports of sexual assault in the U.S. military. “I talk to all the different senators, especially to our female senators, who are really on top of this and watching it very close and following it,” Manchin said in a CBS News interview. “It is very concerning and I can tell you, we’re all in concert with this, as far as changing the dynamics of what’s going on in the military.”
Source: RAW STORY
What. Ever. Dude.
What's so cool about Katz's approach is that he's pretty aggressive about countering the "good man" notion of "sensitivity" victims, and the more mainstream notion that sexual assault is a women's issue. Instead he said, quite bluntly, that sexual assault is a leadership issue!
Because contrary to most of our narratives the biggest issues aren't about who the victims are. It's not really even about who the perpetrators are. Katz's point is that it's about who the bystanders are. And Sen. Manchin clearly lodges himself firmly in the moist, brown, smelly orifice of bystanderhood. "'Female' Senators have a handle on that embarrassing ladybusiness assault shit," quoth the male Senator, consequently it's cased closed for him.
Which is bull. Shit.
Katz points out, correctly, that stopping relationship or sexual violence isn't a matter of sequestering potential victims, and it definitely isn't a means of waiting to intervene.
Instead it's about leaders leading on the matter -- not tolerating it, scowling at attempts at humor, dismissing attempts at excuses or justifications, and in particular by benching not just offenders but bystanders -- by snubbing them, calling them out, letting it be known that no promotions or bonuses will be available, by turning their backs, by making their displeasure with failure known -- in other words doing what leaders do when instilling all other company, military, academic, or moral/ethical standards: leading!
Leaders who are men. Leaders who are women. Doing what leaders do naturally in virtually all other circumstances.
Not focusing on victims. Not even really focusing on perpetrators.
Insetad letting it be known that there will be no patience, no tolerance, and no future in the enterprise for passive, flabby, weak, useless bystanders.
As Katz points out in his video, at Penn State plenty of people knew Jerry Sanduski was a serial abuser. But it was a low-level whistle-blower who finally, well, blew the whistle outside the normal channels of leadership.
But at no point did any Penn State leaders lead! The fabled head coach Joe Paterno? Of all people he wasn't a leader, he was just another lousy bystander! The various presidents of the college who also evidently knew? They turned out not to be leaders either -- malingering bystanders the lot of them. Just like Sen. Manchin.Pretty contemptable, really.