Is ‘getting involved’ a male duty? | Jeff E. Jared

Nine-year-old Allison Hoff’s Kid’s Corner op-ed on bullying in school was great!

Jeff Jared

Jeff Jared

Nine-year-old Allison Hoff’s Kid’s Corner op-ed on bullying in school was great!

Ideally, students, and people in general in wider society, should stand up to bullying, and other forms of intimidation and assault when they see them. That’s good advice.

But it got me thinking about a similar, yet larger issue.

Forgive me, but it seems that it’s always males that are expected to break up fights, and “get involved,” at least when any physicality is required.

I’m sometimes taken aback when women seem to expect men to be unpaid bodyguards and private cops for them, and for society at large. Men are just expected to be vigilante police at all time, or to be what is otherwise known as “gentlemanly.”

(Not that Miss Hoff argued this in her article, I’m extrapolating to a broader point.)

“Unpaid bodyguards” is a phrase from Herb Goldberg’s 1976 book entitled “The Hazards of Being Male: Surviving the Myth of Masculine Privilege.”

Take the Penn State football/child rape scandal. Then assistant coach/graduate student Scott McQuery (with the red hair, if you’ve seen clips of him on TV) walked in on Mr. Sandusky sodomizing a 10 year old in the shower.

I’ve heard women say, “McQuery should have been a man and barged into the shower and broke it up, called 911, and held Sandusky until the police could come.” Or at least “he should have stopped it.”

But isn’t coach McQuery himself a bit of victim for walking in on that repugnant scene?

It might be like walking in and seeing someone’s head being cut off. You’ve just been inflicted with emotional distress (which is a legal tort, or cause of action, by the way). You’ve just had your eyes violated. You’ve just been victimized, by watching another get victimized.

Coach McQuery walked in not only on sodomy, but gay sodomy, and not only gay sodomy, but gay child sodomy. Should we have more sympathy for him, for his having accidentally walked in on this?

Yes, generally, ethical people should get involved, speak up and try to stop bullying or break up fights, and/or report things to teachers, police and authorities.

That’s common sense and being a good Samaritan.

But to do so can be risky both physically and emotionally. And it seems that men are expected to undertake this risk disproportionally.

We have sympathy and seem to have understanding when female rape and domestic violence victims don’t report things, (although we encourage them to do so), but not with men. Maybe a double standard here?

Anyway, something to think about.

Kirkland resident Jeff E. Jared is an attorney and political writer who writes from a libertarian and law and economics perspective.

 


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