This is an extremely difficult and sensitive topic and I applaud you for having the courage to write about it. My only observation, which I know in advance is out-of-step with what’s currently Politically Correct, is that in so many of these narratives there is an implicit assumption that life should be risk-free and that if only other people did the right thing 100% of the time then all would be well.

I grew up in unstable third-world countries and was exposed to significant violence throughout my childhood, both witnessed and directly experienced. What I learned is that the world is at certain times and in certain places and under certain conditions inherently unsafe. There are no guarantees, and if we expect such guarantees we are merely fooling ourselves. Each of us needs to take reasonable care of ourselves lest we do become in some way the victim of others. Even now, after 45+ years of experience in unarmed and armed combat, I do not walk alone down darkened city streets nor proceed with an expectation that “all will be well” when I’m in potentially dangerous environments — and such environments include gatherings of intoxicated and excitable individuals. My assumption is that the world will not change in order to accommodate itself to my hopes; rather I must accommodate myself to its realities if I wish to avoid harm.

You had experiences that were unwanted and confusing. Perhaps the lesson to be learned is not quite the one that present-day transiently fashionable Politically Correct memes are proposing. It is unlikely the world will change itself to accommodate the unrealistic glib expectations of those who believe the onus is always on others to secure our own personal objectives. Of course we want males to be more aware of consent issues and of course we decry violence. But imagining that problems will vanish entirely merely because we want them to or because we have a social media campaign is inherently unrealistic. More realistic is to take risk into account and act accordingly — which is not at all the same as being paranoid, constantly on alert level Red, or seeing everyone around us as potential threats. That is just as unrealistic as expecting the world to be lovely all the time. Reality is complex and our responses to it must be appropriate, not based on wishful thinking.

I hope these comments do not seem insensitive. I’ve have friends who’ve had experiences similar to yours and I understand the difficulties they can cause. And I hope the act of writing about them has in some way aided you to lessen the impact your experiences had on you.

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Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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