As a brother to six sisters and father to four daughters, I am acutely aware that, while we’re all human and our shared humanity is something we all must remember, it’s still true that men and women inhabit different worlds. I could share some stories of being bullied, but none so visceral nor as threatening–generally, just the random sucker punch. I don’t have much fear of meeting the “wrong woman” or being stalked by a woman who can’t get over me. Men: Listen. We’re not all to blame for the rogue behavior of the few, but we can’t ignore that a sense of male entitlement can lead the damaged among us down a dark path, a path we don’t want our sisters, wives or daughters exposed to.
On a beautiful spring day in 1972, I was walking home from Pinecrest Elementary School (Hastings, MN), enjoying the sun on my face and what ee cummings called the “true blue dream of sky”. I was the kind of kid who, even in 6th grade, wasn’t very aware of my surroundings – always lost inside my own head. Eventually, though, the fact that someone was following me, and speaking to me, impinged on my awareness. I half turned, though I spun back around immediately once I realized that the kid talking to me was Randy – the guy I had a crush on.
“You better walk faster ,” he said. “Cuz if I catch up to you, I’m gonna rape you.”
I had only a vague sense of the threat in those words, but I sped up.
Randy and I lived in adjacent neighborhoods, so his group of boys and…
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