The Internet today is overflowing with the message "boys will be boys." I'm speaking, of course, about reactions to the recent news that Josh Duggar inappropriately fondled the breasts and genitalia of girls, at least one of whom was asleep, twelve years ago.
Some people, it seems, feel this poster boy for Conservative "family values" should be absolved of responsibility and excused for his actions because he was only 14 and had teenage boy hormones. In other words, this sexual assault wasn't "legitimate" enough for them.
Well, excuse me, but what the hell has to happen in order for a sexual assault to be legitimate enough for these people? If I was attacked in a dark alley between the church and the gun show by a black, gay, atheist Democrat who works at an abortion clinic, would that be legitimate enough for people not to defend my rapist?
Let me point out here that although we don't know a lot about the victims, as well we shouldn't to protect their privacy, it's likely that these girls were doing everything right according to the most patriarchal standards of society. They probably didn't dress provocatively like, you know, showing their shoulders, backs, stomachs, or other sex organs. There probably weren't any traces of uncle sugar in their systems. (Oh and speaking of uncle sugar, Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee came out in support of Josh Duggar getting off scott free, because nothing says leader of the free world like aligning your positions with a sex offender.) Still, despite the fact they most likely did everything they were told as not to appear to be asking for it, these girls were sexually assaulted.
Since Josh Duggar got a "stern talking to" from a friend of daddy Jim Bob who just happened to be a law enforcement officer and has apologized for his habitually assaulting the young girls, everybody needs to just suck it up now. I mean, how much more sincere can you get than this part of what Josh Duggar said in his issued statement published on Facebook: "I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life." Whew! I'm so glad that he took the time to think about himself and his life because that is absolutely what someone who seeks to gratify their sexual urges at the expense of a sleeping girl needs to do more of.
TLC, the network that airs the Duggar's reality show, pulled upcoming episodes off the air. They are still trying to decide what their long term plans for the show are. That has to be a really tough decision, trying to figure out if you care enough to stop producing a show that features a sex offender and the people who conveniently arranged things so he wouldn't face any real consequences.
The reactions to this incident reflect the fact that a large part of American culture is infected with misogyny. We have a sex education problem. We have a problem with abuses of power and lack of justice. But perhaps the most significant problem we have is people ultimately failing as functional human beings and resorting to a mentality that Steve Marmel so eloquently summed up on Twitter: "He hates who I hate so I don't care what he does."