Seems that sexism, like syphilis, is always the disease of the Other :-)
Remember the pathetic effort to justify the invasion of Afghanistan because the US was going to liberate Afghan women from patriarchy? Never mind that the US had never really bothered to liberate American women from patriarchy, and never mind that the US military was and is one of the most patriarchal organisations on the block: if feminism could somehow be used as a sales pitch for the war, it would be.
My point: women’s issues are only raised by certain kinds of males when they can be wielded as a bludgeon against some other group of males, to score a point in a “larger” contest. (As if there were any larger contest than the never-ending worldwide war on women.) When a man whistleblows on sexual predation within his own camp, then I’m inclined to believe he might actually care about what happens to women. But if he’s only shocked-I-tell-you-shocked by sexual predation within his competitor’s firm, the opposing political party, the lower classes, or a target nation… ho bloody hum, business as usual.
Fast forward to American politics today. Stan’s absolutely right — at a guess, in the world as we know it, any group of hetero men bigger than a soccer team (as he puts it) is going to include at least one sexual predator. And if that sexual predator is charismatic enough and the team operates under the right isolating circumstances, he may be able to recruit others to participate in acts of violence against women. And it doesn’t matter whether that team is contemporary or historical or antique, leftist or rightist, American or European, black or white or golden brown or purple with polka dots, rich or poor, speaking English or Spanish or Uzbek or the purest classical Greek. ‘Cos patriarchy is the biggest and oldest internationalist movement of all time.
So what is to be done? For a start, no matter what the sport or undertaking: make sure that no team operates under conditions of isolation and impunity, and that all teams have at least three women on them (that’s Icelandic reasoning: one is a token, two is an embattled minority, three starts to carry some clout). 50 percent women would be a good target. Because charismatic predators are out there, a statistical instance, a persistent demographic. In every office, in every campaign headquarters. No one has yet developed or bothered to enforce a screening procedure that would exclude them. Men who feel entitled to extort sexual service from women are on the police force and in the government and the media and the factory and the schools and (as we know) on the Supreme Court. Sexual predation, from mild harassment to severe assault, is as common as the common cold. So we need a good social immune system to cope with it, detect it, and render predators harmless once discovered.
But… to address this issue we also need to stop pretending right now that sexual predators are only a problem in the other folks’ camp. Because it’s just not true. That’s like claiming that only your annoying neighbours’ kids ever get colds.