On the Friday before the U.S. Memorial Weekend, Harvey Weinstein showed up at a New York police station to “turn himself in.” Many of the opinion pieces I read over the weekend hailed this as a major victory for the victims of the #Meetoo movement, and for women worldwide. It is not. It is a sham that rings hollow to its core.
As a professional conflict resolution and violence prevention specialist, I am not pleased with Weinstein’s arrest. I have worked in the field of G.B.V. (Gender Based Violence) prevention for many years. I have worked mostly with young men facilitating groups as safe spaces where they can share what they have learned about what it means to be “a man.” Regardless of their social class, ethnicity, or community, the same deadly poison drip is administered to all boys and young men — through us.
Can We Arrest Our Way Out of This Mess?
From pre-birth, our society instills in male children the seeds of their own destruction through familial, societal, and cultural indoctrination of this whacked “code” of masculinity. This is the cultural poison that feeds the Weinstein’s, war mongers, rapists, school shooters, and violent white supremacists, et. al. This contamination of the human soul emanates from the same unholy well. Each of us add our own pollution to that mix that is the fount of the vast majority of social ills and violence.
In short, we all contribute (male and female) to a psychotic conception of male identity. From those men that drive the global war machine, to the newbie youngster who just joined a street gang, to the teenage boy who rapes a girl. It all comes from the same destructive seeds implanted into boys on their quest to become men.
This contortion of the human soul stems from a purposeful molding of boys into mere “male machines” — who act out the convoluted programing the adults in their society plug into their system. It is like A.I. gone bad, and it affects and infects the entire species, other species, and even the earth itself. You cannot “arrest” your way out of a mess like that! The incarceration system itself is a reflection of the disease inherent in how we raise male children.
No Justice, No Peace
The brave women and men that spoke out about rampant sexual harassment and abuse within the prestigious film and television industries certainly deserve to be heard. They certainly deserve “justice.” But what is that? Is an arrest really justice? Is even a prison sentence really justice?
The bottom line is that Weinstein’s money will protect him from the rougher edges of justice, regardless of if he is sentenced or not (which I highly doubt.) The stark realities of the American “justice” system are welded tight to the “golden rule” —“HE who has the gold — Rules,” (Emphasis on the gender).
This rule extends to not only to radical class differences in monetary wealth, but it is also supported by the parallel rule of race disparity in criminal “justice” sentencing which has been documented ad infinitum. The most accessible example is Ava DuVernay’s film, “13th.”
If we as humans want to have less misogyny, sexual violence, wars, gang violence, school shootings, etc. we cannot “arrest” our way into that New World. That is as stupid as thinking we can solve the epidemic of cancer in Western society by administering Chemotherapy to everyone. Prevention is the only reasonable and realistic solution.
How Do We Stop the Making of More Frankenstein/Weinstein Monsters?
The reason there exist today “racist robots” dominating the internet system is because the programmers of those robots perpetuate their worldviews into their programs. The Frankenstein monster was corrupted by the Doctor who “programmed” it. The Weinstein monsters of the world are programmed in exactly the same way. Faulty input = Faulty Functioning.
In the field of sexual violence prevention, we tell this story to the young men we work with. Imagine you are relaxing at a park near a rivers edge. Suddenly, a woman floats by, almost dead from drowning. What do you do? If you are bold enough to try and “save” her, by that time ten more women’s bodies are floating down the river. You try to get help. But, 20 more women’s bodies come floating by, nearly dead from drowning.
Inevitably, one guy in the group finally speaks up and says, “We got to go UPSTREAM to find out what the hell is going on there, and then STOP that!” Why is it the young men of color I have worked with over the years in economically distressed communities are smart enough to get that, but we as grown adults cannot get that? Why are most political and cultural influencers blind (or indifferent) to that? Because they mainline the same dam poison they administer to the youth.
A Call To Men (and Women!)
We as the allegedly wiser adults in society need to take a step back and ask ourselves, “What does HEALTHY manhood look like?” The young men I have worked with get this poisonous indoctrination usually from the older males in their circle, but also the females. “Man up!” “A REAL man would blah, blah, blah, . . .” “REAL men don’t cry, they suck it up!” Etc. Women, as well as men, are primary bearers of culture to young boys and men. They can tear a man down quicker than any other male could.
When I was 18, I was on a date with a woman a little older than me. We both had been flirting and drinking. She passed out (or pretended to, I don’t know) so I made sure she was safe, and left her alone in her room. The next morning, she insulted me for not making sexual advances on her, for not being “man enough” to engage in sex with her. To me, that would not be sex, that would be rape. But the point is, men get called “bitches” all the time by women and men when we do not conform to the psychotic stereotypical norms associated with being a “Real Man.”
Our primary tasks as adult cultural influencers are to examine our own cultural indoctrination around masculinity. We must “clean house” internally, first and foremost. We can learn to heal our own traumas through various mind-body modalities and therapy. Then, we need to understand the implications of our words and actions to those who look up to us.
We can also support movements and organizations involved in the prevention of sexual, interpersonal, and community violence. I have worked with great cutting edge organizations like Men Can Stop Rape, Peace Over Violence, and Homeboy Industries. Find those organizations in your community and volunteer and support them.
Will We Choose Handcuffs, or Emancipating Ourselves From Mental Chains?
I am not at all insinuating that a creep like Harvey Weinstein is some sort of “victim” of his social upbringing. He is culpable 200% for his heinous actions. I hope and pray he spends the rest of his life in dreadful circumstances in prison. Yet, that won’t happen because he is powerful and rich. They reserve those cells only for young men of color who sell weed. There is your empty justice. Hollow as a tube.
What I work, hope, and pray for is a world where my granddaughter and grandson can live in freedom working on just being human. I do not want them fitting into some psychotic role as a “super masculine” or “super feminine” caricature of themselves, simply to be respected. We learned our way into this hell. We can unlearn it and get back to the land of the living. It is on our generation’s shoulders as to what we choose.