Thank you for sharing your feelings in such an eloquent way. I think the Stanford rape case and lax sentencing of the rapist shocks us to the core, but it has also furthered the social discussion, which hopefully leads to increased enlightenment for both genders. The victim’s letter was so very powerful. As a father of 2 sons and 2 daughters, I want them all to read and understand deeply the feelings and ramifications, and to see the callousness of the rapist and his father for what it is.
Your writeup leads me to my question, and it’s an honest one. You mentioned that getting out of a pool, you noticed a man staring at you and that made you uncomfortable. I wonder about this because even when men and women respect each other, their boundaries, and their desires, we are still, under it all, human beings with built-in appreciation and desire for the gender that appeals to each of us. Maybe it was a creepy stare? Maybe it was that he was so much older than you and you didn’t return the feeling? But is it wrong for a man or a woman to appreciate the physical attractiveness of another man or woman? And usually, this is accompanied by a longer-than-passing look?
I have seen this expressed by some women, this being uncomfortable with men looking at them, and I wonder, if there was a different context, if we were to have moved on from an endemic rape culture, if then, it would seem like a complement? For sure, I think that all of us, if it’s a situation with mutual appreciation, are not discomforted by the stare. It’s only when it’s not mutual that it’s an issue.
Anyway, for me, this is the grayest of areas and I’m curious to hear more from you and other women about it.