I research an amazingly high number of random things. Okay, “research” may be a bit ambitious for some of my factoids, perhaps Fact-Check is a better descriptor. Frequently I’ll pour a few of my newly gleaned facts out to my fellow employees, sharing newly learned tidbits like nine percent of the world’s population is age 65 or over or that CARICOM, the Caribbean Community, had 13 member states in 1990 and that Bermuda didn’t become the fourteenth until 1991: Little details with which I populate my stories, little details that matter to me. BTW- the percentage of the world’s population that is over 65 has doubled since the year of my birth so we now have four times more people over the age of 65 than we did three-score years ago. Four times more? Yep, because the world went from 4 billion people to nearly 8 billion.
Last week it wasn’t me sharing a factoid that steered my before work conversation onto child molestation as it was a declaration of my displeasure over blanket statements that are inherently hateful and that paint huge groups of people in negative light. The particular statement that raised my ire was a proclamation from a wonderful young friend of mine who posted a meme that said, “Me watching a guy approach a girl making sure they know each other and she’s safe before continuing my day.”
I asked my fellow, white, male, middle-aged co-worker how this banal statement would read if instead of saying “guy” it said, Muslim, Jew, black-man, etcetera.? Asking, “How blatantly sexist and broad sweeping is the statement that declares men are rapist?” This intro to my workday led us down a rabbit hole that might well have had Alice declaring, “Curiouser and curiouser!” because yes, men are rapists far more often than are women but women rape too. Women rape women and women rape men, and the underlying implication that all men are rapists and all women are benign is both false and unhealthy.
My tête-à-tête with my workmate quickly devolved from rape in general to child rape/molestation and he made the assertion that most child rape is homosexual in nature, a statement both completely untrue and in distinction untrue. Rape and molestation are decidedly male dominated atrocities as males commit over 9/10 of the sexual abuse of children but men married to women commit over 3/4 of child rapes and about 3/4 of the victims are girls, making my coworkers contention that most child rape is homosexual in nature false at the most basic level. It is easy to disprove that most child rape is male on male but even the assertion that men raping boys is homosexual in nature is false in a more subtle yet critical way. It is false because a man who rapes male children who is not sexually attracted to adult men is not a homosexual, he is a pedophile.
Did you just go, “Huh?”
Men who are exclusively sexually attracted to other men are homosexual as are women who are exclusively sexually attracted to other women. There’s a sick old joke that goes, “What do you call a man who’s had sex with nine women and one man? A fag,” a joke ignorant, pejorative and illustrative.
Sexual attraction spans a panoply of healthy varieties including exclusively same sex, exclusively opposite sex, bisexual and myriad variations therein. Sexual attraction and action can also be evil and destructive. Raping and molesting others falls under evil and destructive and the rape and molestation of children is evil multiplied exponentially. Calling a man who is sexually attracted to boys but not to other men homosexual is false, harmful and disingenuous. That man is not homosexual, he is a pedophile.
Sexual predators are a huge problem in our world and most predators are men but broad blanket, ill-informed, prejudicial labels that disparage unrelated groups or ignore the realities of who is committing violence against whom because of our ingrained, uninformed prejudices against some while ignoring real threats from others is counterproductive in our efforts to make the world a sexually saner and safer place. We can do better. We must do better.