No Longer Innocent

Welcome back.

In the last blog entry we tossed around the first two (of four) elements that made the situation with the crying girl such a dilemma.  We talked about the elements of location/environment and the age factor.

Shall we tackle the more prickly parts of the girl crying episode?  Let’s get on with it.

Element # 3:  Gender

This factor magnified the complexity of the problem a hundredfold.  If I were a female, helping the girl would not have been as much of a challenge.  Let’s face it, when a female approaches another female and reaches out to her, suspicions don’t pop front of mind.  But if a man approaches a girl… the antenna shoot up, caution is observed and suspicion reigns.

Sadly, it’s warranted.  There are enough examples to issue sufficient evidence of the predatory dangers in our society.

Fair Warning: Very honestly much of this blog entry will not be pleasant… not pleasant at all.  I will need to talk about the untalkable.  Those things that we know go on in the shadows of our society with the hopes that it will stay a safe distance from our nice picket fence world.  We wouldn’t want anything distasteful or dirty to disrupt our lives would we?

Or even more insidious is, if we ignore it… it will go away.

Let’s be real… there have always been people (mostly men) who have sexually taken advantage of the innocent.  I remember veiled snippets of conversation talking about the “the dirty old man” down the street or the shadowy whispers regarding certain extended family members.

Yes, it’s always been here.   But now it is worse… much worse.  Some will argue that it is no worse than it has always been.  The only difference is that what was talked about in the past with hand over mouth is now talked about more openly.

I beg to differ.  I do agree that we are more open about the topic but historically there have been natural barriers that kept at bay the natural progression down the path that ends in the exploitation of innocence.

Here are just four of the historical barriers that in my opinion have been lowered easing the progression downward resulting in the increase of abuse.  The compromise of all of these appeals to and titillates the baser nature vs. calling to our higher nature.

  1. Accessibility:  the ease of obtaining sexually explicit material or information
  2. Extreme:  the types of images available mark the worst extreme imaginable
  3. Sexual saturation:  advertising, movies, TV, etc. that hyper-sexualizes everything.
  4. Societal norms:  eased standards of what is accepted and tolerated

Real World Context

I’m sure you have your own stories but allow me to share some of my personal experiences that provides context to what I am saying.

When I was a kid I remember on occasion friends would pass around a few pictures of naked women.  We would huddle together and examine our treasure trove of exotica and joke and laugh.  The pictures by today’s standards would be considered very tame soft porn.

If you wanted to get something more risqué you would need to go to the seedy part of town and try to find a store with a limited selection of magazines.

I remember one time two friends (Gary and Mike) and I really took a risk.  We heard about a theater that (stop, look to your right and left to make sure no one sees, in whispered tone)… showed dirty movies.

We snuck off and ventured into the dark land of smut.  It was the Riviera Art Theater in Chattanooga thirty miles away.  It was tucked away on the bad side of town.  We of course made sure no one was around when we made our dash from our car to the ticket window.  It felt like an eternity as the old bent up attendant looked us over and issued the tickets.

It was amazing.  We were engulfed by a 60 minute film with a crappy storyline and two short scenes where a naked woman running across a field exploded off the screen.

Funny Side Note: We got back to our town and my friend realized that he had dropped his wallet at the “hell hole” theater.  We panicked.  We knew for sure we were busted.  We made every promise to God possible not to be caught… and we weren’t.

Looking back on all of this it feels so very innocent.  And in some ways it was.  God made us to be sexual beings.  A preacher acquaintance said that God must have been in a really good mood the day He created sex.

In hind sight I don’t think God got too bent out of shape by us exploring what sex was all about.  But thank goodness there were enough boundaries in place around us that limited our exploration ventures.

Today is a different matter.  The unthinkable and untalkable beyond the realm of decency is accessible and accepted.

Horrible Side Note: Our society (USA not a third world country) has an epidemic of sex slavery.  I ran across an report by ABC news that said there are at least 100,000 kids between the ages of 9 to 19 (average age eleven) held in sex slavery in the USA.

Does this disturb you?  It does me.  Frankly, I don’t want to hear about this stuff.  I want to conveniently tuck away disturbing information like this in a little compartment somewhere in the back of my head and discount the reality.

Like most people I want things like this kept in their proper place because it’s too distasteful.  What’s even sadder is the reality that we want to keep things like this at a distance because we don’t want the reality forced to our attention.  If it comes to our attention then it demands that we do something.

Awareness demands action.

I have done a pretty good job at keeping the bad stuff in the world at a safe distance as not to disturb my life.  But then the situations like the crying girl surfaces reality and slaps me in the face.

The reality that as a man who really want to help a young girl is blocked because of the deterioration of the world around us.

It angers me is that I feel penalized for the failures of others.

This was a heavy blog entry today.  Be forewarned… Monday is looking pretty heavy also.  I hope you join me.

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