The Girl in the Bushes

When I was a teenager we all hung around at a large park in our neighborhood. We’d meet there on summer evenings to find out what the plans for that night were, play softball or volleyball, drink beer, smoke cigarettes and weed, blast our music and just be together.

Lately I’ve been thinking about those long ago summer nights, and remembering the girl in the bushes.

Every once in awhile when we were hanging out on one of these nights, there would be a line of boys in front of the bushes by the tennis courts. We’d all laugh and say to each other ‘she’s in the bushes again.’

What that meant was that a certain girl from the neighborhood was crouched in the bushes on her knees and the guys were all in line waiting their turn with her.

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Let’s Stop Pretending

Let’s stop pretending that all the ‘concerns’ being brought up that the #metoo movement may go too far and is catching innocent men in its wake are about our need to be fair and just, and not about our trained instincts to protect powerful men. We have so much compassion for these men and want to make sure no one is falsely accused, but do we have this same compassion for the women who are doing the accusing? Do our instincts cause us to say ‘this is getting out of hand!’ when another male idol falls or do we say, ‘this goes deeper than anyone ever wanted to admit’?

Let’s stop pretending that we haven’t been trained to fear powerful men, or that we haven’t given powerful men a free pass for centuries.

Let’s stop pretending this is about a few bad men who are finally being brought to justice. This is about a systemic belief that is ingrained in us that men’s sexual aggression should be expected, and it’s the female’s job to just say no.

Let’s also stop pretending we don’t believe any of this falls on the females head because of her dress or behavior. We’re trained to believe this, and we do. ‘Well, she was drunk and at that frat party in a mini skirt, so what did she expect?’ or ‘Why did she go to his hotel room? She should have known better.’

On that note, let’s also stop pretending this problem is about wealthy and powerful men. It’s not. It’s about a poisonous belief system that infiltrates every race and class. Ask yourself why hundreds of females can be abused over decades by one man, as was the case with the gymnasts and Dr. Larry Nassar. The girls all came from different backgrounds, so it can’t be about the family they’re raised in. It’s about the submissive training to which all females are exposed.

Ask yourself why it’s an accepted practice for women to be catcalled on the street.

Ask yourself why women represent half the human population, but don’t have equal voice in government, boardrooms, athletic fields, or any other public arena. Can it be that it’s not about ability, but what we’re taught our roles and rights are in life and society as females? Why are we so afraid to face the truth regarding our beliefs about ourselves and our worth as females?

That’s the question we should all be asking ourselves.