What is the right response for men when you encounter a helpless person?
What do you do when you encounter a helpless person?
The right response is to help them. If you don’t know what to do, then call an ambulance, call the cops, call your parents, call somebody who might know. If you don’t want to help, just walk on by: you might still be a schmuck for not helping, but at least you’re not actively harming them.
There are a lot of wrong responses. For example, you do not steal from them, beat them, or torture them. And you don’t rape them—which is essentially a theft, beating, and torture all rolled into one crime.
You do not help yourself to them.
Most of us know this. But, some people have never learned the necessity of consent in everyday life. Often, their sense of entitlement overrides respect for boundaries. When faced with consequence, they ask to be free of it, because accepting consequence requires accepting boundaries. They might even imagine they are the real victims, if they believe other people’s boundaries do not apply to them.
A narcissist needs only his own consent.
In the news, we see a rapist avoid taking responsibility for his actions. He clearly hasn’t learned respect, consent, and responsibility — or worse, he has been taught broken versions of them. The rapist’s father defends his son, which indicates the son is a reflection of his father’s broken teaching. The rapist’s friends defend him, too, which indicates they are all reflections of a broken culture built on a broken teaching. In court, the judge protects the rapist from the punishment he deserves, which indicates a broken justice system, built on a broken culture, built on a broken teaching.
This is not limited to the case of Brock Turner from Stanford, California.
The same underlying attitudes can be found in the cases of Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, from Steubenville, Ohio; Bronson Barna, Saha Ghafouri, and Vince Rositano, from Saratoga, California; Toribio and Edgar Gonzalez, Kenuel Weaver-Hunt, Dyllan Rodriguez, and Alec Berkemeier from Torrington, Connecticut; and too many others to list.
Did these rapists and abusers think, at all, that they should help the victim, not help themselves to her?
Judging from their actions, the answer is no. And they are deeply broken to think this way.
In Turner’s case, as in all others, my heart aches most for the victim. The worst scenario after her night should have been a bad hangover. Sadly, it wasn’t the worst. And it’s not her fault. The rapist’s defenders have expressed the well-worn notions that alcohol — or parties, or some other decision by the victim — brought rape upon her. It is never true. It is always a rapist’s decision to rape. Blaming a crime on temptation or weakness is a confession, not a defense. It does not lessen the crime, and should not lessen the punishment, in any way.
So what’s a dad to do?
Parents play a key role in fixing the broken culture, because we can fix the broken teaching. Consent is a life attitude, not just a sexual checkpoint. And, it is my responsibility as a parent to include consent into a regular attitude of respect in everyday situations, because at some level, it is an everyday experience. My kids have to see that I respect other people’s boundaries, and that everybody should be treated the same, regardless of gender. This should become so deeply ingrained in them that even alcohol doesn’t dissolve it.
Then, hopefully, when they see helpless people, they think to give help, and not help themselves.
Photo credit: Pixabay.
And thank you for sharing this!