Lucy Flores wrote an article which pointed out that Joe Biden had approached her from behind, sniffed her hair and kissed her on the back of the head. I read so many comments particularly from men that were basically “get over it, this is no big deal”. I disagree and would like to explain.
Patrick Carnes wrote a seminal book on sexual addiction called Out of the Shadows. In it he describes the three stages of sex addiction. One symptom he points out is called indecent liberties. These include rubbernecking, ogling, copping a feel on the subway, and rubbing up against a woman etc.
So why is this so bad. Underlying what seems like rather banal activity is a presumption of dominance and implied ownership of the other. We all have a sense of our own personal space. This varies from person to person. It is important especially for all people(women) especially those who have been traumatized, to get permission to invade that personal space.
The reaction to this invasion can range from feelings of creepiness or inappropriateness to fear or even terror. These personal invasions often feel like aggression or that the perpetrator has hostility toward his target. Remember Anita Hill describing Thomas recounting a pubic hair on his coke can. it isn’t like he “”whipped it out” in front of her but she felt what I would call being groomed for subsequent dominance and usury.
The underlying attitude on the part of the perpetrator is entitlement and lack of respect and that is exactly how it feels when someone moves his hand down from your back to your butt. I’ll bet there isn’t a woman alive that hasn’t experienced some form of indecent liberties perpetrated against her.
This is a very subtle form of violence but that is just the point. It is surreptitious and it is intended to be something the perpetrator can get away with and easily deny. That is why it is so creepy.
Please share with me your own personal accounts of receiving these uninvited hostilities from men. It is a very easy assignment for most of us……
Michele Happe MA