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  • I am technically classified as a man. An adult born as a male. I grew up in a society that had strict gender roles. Girls played with dolls; boys never cried. When I was a teenager I was very very shy. When I would ask a girl to dance, I would sweat profusely.

    As a young man I tried to be what a man was supposed to be. I had no real role model in my life. My dad, for the most part, was missing in action. I assumed that men did things like my heroes on TV and in the movies. So I emulated the Lone Ranger, and later, James Bond. (During my day there weren't black cinematic heroes.)

    Then I went into the service. I became part of a group. I lost my individuality. I was a team member. I would imagine my rite of passage is very similar to the experiences of male college students, especially athletes.

    In my day I was taught a woman was something to conquer, to use and discard. Real men, I was told, was dominant and domineering. Women were weak and deceitful creatures that would use their feminine wiles to cage a man's "man-ness".

    My young brethren informed me that even when a woman said NO, she really meant yes. Women were confused, irrational and highly emotional. They said women act like they don't care about sex, but they do! (This was many years before the sexual revolution took hold.)

    Today we live in a highly sexualized society. Porn is everywhere. Highly charged sexual situations are displayed on mainstream broadcast TV (like the TV show Scandal, where a fictitious US President has a sexual encounter with his mistress on the desk of the Oval Office). What is our society teaching our young men and women?

    If we are to learn anything from the Steubenville rape case, it should be that we should treat women as human beings not sexual objects.

    Rape is non-consensual sex. It is an assault. It is a power play. It is domination and control. And it is definitely not LOVE.
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