A column that I regularly receive by email began this week with the following statement:
“The most dangerous weapon in the human arsenal is not landmines, or machine guns, or even nuclear missiles. It is the male libido.”
What could be a plainer expression of prejudice? Men are more evil than atom bombs.
And a familiar one. Sex crimes were the standard accusation against blacks in the US South fifty years ago—reread To Kill a Mockingbird. Black men were supposedly unable to control their sexual urges, and were forever raping white women. God help the black man caught alone in a room with a white woman—see Native Son.
They were the stock in trade of Nazi propaganda against Jews in the 1920s. “The Jews,” Hitler explains in Mein Kampf, “were largely responsible for prostitution and the white-slave traffic.” (Shirer, Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, p. 26). Julius Streicher filled his Nazi weekly, Der Sturmer, with “lurid tales of Jewish sexual crimes” (ibid, p. 50).
Sex crimes and crimes against women and children were the standard claim against Germans in allied propaganda in WWI, as they are in the propaganda of all wars: the rape of British and Belgian nurses, bayoneting babies, and so forth.
It is, in sum, the standard charge against any group against whom you wish to stir up hate.
The columnist goes on to cite the use of underage prostitutes and sex-for-food among UN peacekeepers and NGO representatives in Liberia, and strange claims by Janis Karpinski, former commandant of Abu Ghraib. Karpinski says female soldiers in Iraq died of dehydration in the night, because they were afraid to go out to the latrines in case they were raped. As a result, they did not drink anything after four or so. “In 120 degree heat or warmer, because there was no air-conditioning at most of the facilities, they were dying of dehydration in their sleep.”
Another bit of evidence that men are dangerous is that 2995 men have attended “John School” in Toronto—a punishment for men caught using prostitutes. Another is that Sex Offender Registries are primarily male.
Let’s take these one by one.
the use of underage prostitutes and sex-for-food among UN peacekeepers and NGO representatives in Liberia
UN peacekeeping forces and charitable NGOs in the Third World are perfect places for bullies and sexual adventurers to ply their trade. Supposedly above suspicion, able to approach people with their guard down, little on-site supervision, dealing with people in an extremely vulnerable state. This is an eternal problem for such organizations.
But to suggest the exploiters are representative of all men is a blood libel; the sort of corporate guilt that is the essence of prejudice. It is like blaming all Jews for the actions of a few avaricious ones you have known, or all blacks for those few who commit violent crimes. Most men would not even have the urge to have sex with an eight-year-old girl, much less consider acting it out.
Moreover, there is no reason to suppose from this that such things as pedophilia are more common among men than among women. Men are merely more likely to go to Africa as peacekeepers or NGO reps; no more. North American stats actually suggest that women abuse children more often than men. Yet you won’t read that in the papers.
female soldiers in Iraq died of dehydration in the night, because they were afraid to go out to the latrines in case they were raped
Karpinski is not a credible source. She is herself implicated in rape and torture, has been courtmartialed and convicted for “dereliction of duty, making a material misrepresentation to investigators, and failure to obey a lawful order.” She has also been accused of shoplifting. She has every reason to lie here, to deflect guilt and to get revenge, and she is known to be a liar.
The claim is absurd on the face of it. If the women were really afraid of rape, why could they not contact a superior officer—why did Karpinski herself do nothing about it? Why could they not go to the latrine in groups to protect each other? Why could they not use chamber pots, as our grandparents did, or as we still do in hospitals? Why couldn’t they simply take their M-16? Note too that, while the desert is very hot during the day, the temperature drops dramatically at night. It would certainly not be 120 degrees or warmer.
It is also, according to doctors, impossible to die of dehydration within a few hours, even in the hottest weather. It takes at least several days without fluids (http://www.annals.org/cgi/content/full/128/7/559).
On top of that, it turns out that the army has no records of female soldiers dying of any cause at the rank and in the place Karpinski alleges.
2995 men have attended “John School” in Toronto
Why does this say something about men, specifically? My guess is that each of those crimes involved two people, and the greater guilt is generally assigned to the seller, not the purchaser. So with bootlegging, drug dealing, fencing. Why a different standard here?
Sex Offender Registries are primarily male.
They are also, in the US, primarily black and Hispanic. So, of course, are the prisons as a whole. If this means there is something wrong with all men, does it also mean there is something wrong with all blacks and Hispanics, or, in Canada, all aboriginal people?
And if so, surely it also follows that, if a majority of executive positions are also filled by white males, this only reflects men’s just desserts.
You can’t have this one both ways.
In fact, there is any amount of evidence showing that men are more likely than women to be charged for the same crime, and if charged more likely than women to be convicted, and if convicted more likely than women to be sent to prison. In other words, this is evidence of discrimination against men, not of men being more likely to commit sex crimes. As noted, stats suggest more pedophilic acts are actually committed by women.
The columnist goes on to note that many women are raped in wars.
Perhaps so. But rape is against the rules of war. If it occurs, it is a war crime.
It is, on the other hand, perfectly legitimate in war to shoot young men dead.
So who is being discriminated against?