I think that all parents find their children’s teen years the most stressful. They are moving from childhood into the transition years to adult life via the awkwardness of the teenage time.
Both genders are wobbling about in adult bodies but the brains that tick in their heads are not developing as quickly as their physiques. So parents are often confronted with an argumentative person their own size, someone they love and cherish and for whom they fear for their safety. In an effort to protect them from the dangers of the world we coach them to be careful with what they do and where they go. We get grunts and sighs in response with the inevitable eyes thrown to heaven because we parents don’t have a clue. Is any of that familiar?
Where my son is concerned I did advise him on the dangers out there for a young lad not alive to his surroundings. Top of the charts for boys would be the prospect of being attacked by a gang that get you to the ground and then kick you unconscious. Separately my better half coached our daughter on the dangers of assault and rape. In both cases it was based on the simple common sense of not putting yourself unnecessarily in risky positions. We urged them to think and weigh up situations with a view to staying safe. No doubt each day this process is replicated up and down the land and rightly so.
And yet young women do get raped and young boys do get beaten up. I got a few hammerings myself on the way up and didn’t enjoy any of them. But I was never kicked unconscious nor was I ever set upon by a baying gang of thugs. Years ago a girl I was dating In Dublin did tell me the story of the night she had been raped. What struck me, apart from the violation and humiliation of it, was its potential to do long term psychological damage. In the case of the girl I spoke to, she was resilient and strong-willed and preferred to optimistically look forward than to pessimistically look back. But other girls may not be able to cope as well.
So as with everything today, we seek prevention rather than a cure, hence the advice to caution for those younger people we are responsible to. Last week on Newstalk, the presenter George Hook was discussing a rape that had taken place, (in the UK I think). Apparently, (because I didn’t hear the full interview), a girl or young woman met this guy on a night out and agreed to go back to his hotel room with him. Now right there before we start, I would be advising my own daughter of the danger of that alone. I would be saying to her, date the guy a few times before you put yourself in the frame for possible sex. But then we learn the guy is one of a sports team of some kind and they are on tour. For lads on tour the culture has always been, “What goes on tour, stays on tour.” My advice would have been, have fun and chat with those lads in the pub or club but stay with your own friends around you too. The girl in question ended up on or in the hotel bed and she feel asleep. When she woke, another team member was in the room, her original guy was nowhere to be seen and the new intruder raped her.
That short narrative throws up a few points. Number one, the rapist needs to arrested and charged. George Hook and I agree on that to begin with. Then the girl in question needs understanding and support, no contest there. It was violent and personal assault leaving the victim vulnerable and shook. Again George and I are as one on this. Now we leave this individual rape story and because George Hook was running a talk show live on radio, we got on to dispassionately discuss rape generally. We are into the theory of how and why rape happens. I have heard feminists declare loudly that all men are potential rapists and in the purely physical sense of the word, they are. But it is my belief that most males are not favourably mentally disposed to raping anybody. Just because big lads are young and strong, it doesn’t mean they all desire to use force.
The team member that night who took advantage of the girl in the bed was a bollox and he needs to be dealt with. Then George looked at the role of the girl and from the words he spoke on radio during that show, what he was saying was that the girl was not displaying enough caution for her own safety. By agreeing to go back to a team hotel, where you might deduce there was a lot of drink taken and the hour was late, she was putting herself into a situation where she was alone with strangers who were all probably males, drunk and lively and looking to show off to each other. This is not to say that she didn’t have a right to be safe with them because she did. But human nature would tell you that in a group of lads in that state, there will always be a predator. I note also that the guy who brought her back was not there to defend her against the unwanted advances of his teammate. He too has some answering to do.
But George’s sin was to ask the question, “Is there no blame now to the person who puts themselves in danger?”. Perhaps I would not have used the word blame myself. I might have said responsibility instead. But I understood what he was saying. Rights aside, you don’t voluntarily put yourself in a potentially dangerous position. There are places in this town I have warned my son not to go through after dark. I know also our daughter was told not to find herself alone with a bloke unless she knew him and his form and family. Only under such circumstances can consent take place. But when a girl is alone and defenseless against a much stronger boy she doesn’t know, she may not be asked for her consent. George didn’t say that but I know that is what he meant.
He has been suspended from Newstalk, it has been confirmed this morning and the level of hysterical reaction to his comments is outrageous. George did not commit rape! He was discussing it in context. He is not a misogynist or anti-women, as he has been called. He was making a valid point about the real world we live in. His was an invitation to consider all sides of rape on a radio discussion programme. In a democracy with the attendant free speech, everyone has a right to their opinion. I will concede that he can be blunt but I do not accept that he is an uncaring man. His employers too have him under pressure to make his show edgy and controversial so he has to walk a thin line. But I see no controversy in what he said. He is being treated now as if he was arrested and convicted of rape himself and yet he is guilty of nothing but raising a valid point.
If modern Mothers out there are telling their daughters they have a right to go anywhere they want with anyone they choose, then they are doing those girls a disservice. There are many instances on the road where you have the right of way but need to swerve to avoid a collision. Real life is like that so we explain and caution our dependent teens in the hope they will have the wit to avoid danger when we cannot be with them. But the case of George Hook demonstrates more clearly than most that there is a sizable and noisy cabal out there who desperately seek to do away with free speech and personal opinions. They wish to set their own narrative as the only acceptable one for all decent people and muzzle any debate that departs from it.
They can fuck off as far as I’m concerned. I set up this site and called it, “Let’s Express,” in an effort to genuinely express opinions of my own. In a healthy society, this is a must. But more importantly for me, I am ever willing to be corrected or have my mind changed by intelligent reaction to my writing. I know I don’t know it all but I’m willing to learn. I love to get opposing opinion that stimulates me to think. That is how I learn. In life, we always need to have all of the relevant information to arrive at an informed opinion. When I hear the expression, ‘the debate is over,’ I bristle.
George Hook has lost his income, career and reputation for no good reason other than an ignorant hysterical response to his invitation to think. He is guilty of nothing other than throwing out an important point. So I hope George is reinstated and we can all once again enjoy the old crank. If you can’t stand him, change stations and stop telling the rest of us what to think and say because you don’t like it.