“Never underestimate a man’s ability to underestimate a woman,” Kathleen Turner

Lately every time I pick up the paper I’ve been reading about sex scandals. Ghomeshi, Andrews, Pacetti.  Involving men with power and woman with not so much power or so it seems.  The Ghomeshi scandal will be interesting as he clearly thinks he had consent to beat and choke woman.  Obviously by the amount of complaints against him, the woman involved didn’t agree.  Reading the NDP MP’s account of her sexual encounter with Pacetti is another matter.  She claims that she went to Pacetti’s hotel room at 2:00 am for drinks, he clearly wanted more than drinks, she excused herself to go to the bathroom and when she came out of the bathroom and walked by Pacetti he grabbed her and they ended up having sex.  She never said no, she never pushed him away, she said she was frozen because of a sexual assault in her past.   This is the most pitiful explanation I have ever heard for a sexual harassment charge.  The MP says it was sex without explicit consent.    At what point did Pacetti understand that she was saying NO.  Furthermore, wouldn’t a sexual assault make you more aware and strong enough to say NO.

When I was a young girl in Grade school, I met a girl on the bus I took to school every day.  She went to the same school as I did and she lived about six blocks away from our house.  Every  now and then she would invite me to her apartment after school and I would stop by and hang out with her for a little while before heading home.  Her older brother, John, who was in senior high, would often come home during my visit and I thought he was gorgeous.  Typical school girl crush on an older guy.  One day at school my friend approached me to tell me John thought I was beautiful and he wanted to get to know me better.  For several weeks I would stop by her apartment and we would all hang out listen to records or watch tv.  To me it seemed like a friendship and I was thrilled that John thought I was beautiful.  One day my friend left the apartment to run an errand at John’s request.  After my friend was gone, John asked me into his bedroom to look at his record collection. Being thirteen years old and naive, I followed him into his bedroom and went directly to his record collection.  Suddenly John grabbed me, swung me around and gave me a very rough kiss.  I backed off because he caught me completely unaware.  I found myself on his bed  as he was trying to rip my clothes off.  I screamed “NO” and tried to beat him off but he was essentially a grown man and very strong.  At some point during our struggle, I realized that I had a shot at giving him a knee right to his crotch.  I didn’t hesitate I put all my strength into a gut-wrenching knee blow.  Consequently, he flew off the bed onto the floor holding his crotch and writhing in pain.  I bolted out the door, through the apartment hallway, down the stairs,  out of the building and ran all the way home.  I didn’t even stop to catch my breath because I was sure that bastard was going to catch up with me.  I never told my mother or anyone else for that matter.  I chastised myself all the way home for being so stupid and believing that John thought I was beautiful and wanted to share his love of music. “What kind of idiot believes a boy invites you to his bedroom to look at records,” I told myself.  Essentially I beat myself up about the incident and buried myself in embarrassment.  The next day at school, John’s sister approached me and said that John was livid that I caused him such pain.  I told her about the attack and she was more worried about her brother.  Needless to say that was the end of our friendship.  John’s sister begged me not tell anyone and I didn’t, I just wanted to move on.  I never forgot the incident and I chose to use it as a learning experience, the victim role wasn’t a choice for me.

The whole experience gave me a different perspective on this game between men and women. I became more observant of men and I never fell for the “you’re so beautiful line ” again.   As a matter of fact the more a man showered me with compliments the more I questioned his motivation.   I started to look at men and woman for their inner beauty.  Never again would I focus on outer beauty and I approached every relationship I’ve ever been in based on inner beauty.  I don’t care what someone looks like, what they do for a living or what they own.  I judge people by how they treat others and how they treat themselves.  When I started dating men as a grown woman I was brutally honest, too honest for some men’s liking as some men like the game.  I never played the game and if I thought someone was only interested in one thing I had no problem telling them they were barking up the wrong tree.

Without sounding too judgmental, I just don’t know how this MP could not resist a man that she didn’t want to be with, especially by all accounts, her accounts, that Pacetti did not force himself on her.  You would think  her experience with a sexual assault in the past would make her more cautious and understand that if a man invites you up to his hotel room at 2:00 am that he wants to do more than sip drinks.    The battle of the sexes has been waging forever and the war will continue forever more.  Where there is power the war is even stronger and I have little sympathy for any woman who uses her sexuality as a weapon in this war to gain more power only to scream sexual harassment when it doesn’t turn out her way.  Woman such as this are a detriment to all woman trying to climb the corporate ladder using  education, brains and skills.  For every step the women’s movement has moved forward is only thrown back several decades every time a woman uses her sexuality to gain power.  Shame on men in power who play this game and use sex for their own purposes knowing full well what these woman want.  I’m sure their mothers brought them up better.  In order to be sure that men in power have clear explicit consent maybe they should try this line, “I want to sleep with you but there are no strings attached, no job, no position, just straight sex for the sake of sex.”   Somehow I doubt that the women they pursue would give them a second look!

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Just taking one step at a time and writing about the simple pleasures that make me smile.

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