“You people seem to get raped a lot…”

I got pissed off by something on the internet. This may not sound like ground-breaking news, but this time I got pissed off by something the Dalai Lama said, which is special even for me. The quote in question was:
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Now, I totally agree to looking for a non-violent solution whenever practical. Aside from ethical considerations, I find violence painful, risky, and costly. My bugbear is with stating that non-violence is always feasible, that it is the only option one should consider, or that being forced to engage in it is a sign of strategic failure or personality flaw.

I also see children as adults-in-training, inasmuch as they are developing the skills and attitudes they will require when older. Therefore, it really cheeses me off when they are indoctrinated into a lie. At what age and how do you rewire their brains to allow them to give themselves permission to defend themselves physically if required? Why create that mental barrier in the first place?

So there I was, arguing my point admittedly in a less-than-calm manner, when a bright spark posted this:

“You people seemed to get raped, jumped, and confronted in dark alleys a lot… if one can’t see a non-violent solution to a problem, doesn’t that make the thinker violent?”
I think it was at that point that the smoke started coming out of my ears.Yes, “my people” used to get raped, jumped, and confronted in dark alleys a lot. In fact, there was  time in my life when I didn’t know a woman who had NOT been sexually assaulted by a stranger – and I’m talking deliberate, often violent predation of a sexual nature, not social situations gone awry. They lived dangerous lives in unsalubrious places, for which there are costs. At that point those lives and places were their only options. Shit happened. My people got hurt.

Tim Larkin came up with “Violence is seldom the answer. But when it is it the only answer.” Marc MacYoung modified it to  “Violence is seldom the answer. But when it is, it’s the best answer” because, of course you could choose to die, get raped, etc. If you encounter a predator determined to harm you, what is your non-violent solution? Is your middle ground option with a rapist to ask him to only stick it in half way? Yes, those situations, thankfully, don’t happen often – but they DO happen.

Was this enough to convince the person arguing with me that there were options the Dalai Lama’s approach wouldn’t cover? Oh, no.

It’s really a level of creative thinking. That and awareness. Violent situations don’t just go from zero to one-hundred (yes, there are rare cases of extreme onset.) But outside of those, all the events leading up to that point should be indicators to the “aware.”
So there you go, people. If someone violently assaults you and you resort to violence, it’s a failure on your part. This is what we should teach children to make the world a better place. The fact that this also teaches them to either be passive victims or torture themselves if they resort to violence is immaterial. Tiptoe through the tulips.
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5 thoughts on ““You people seem to get raped a lot…”

  1. On the one hand, yes one should avoid violence whenever possible. And *often* one can do that through situational awareness, judicious de-escalation and, yes, a willingness to bear temporary inconvenience once in a while.

    On the other hand, Sparky should keep in mind that one of the best ways to keep a situation from going violent is to be ready for violence. Violent people can sense when you’re ready to back it up and when your mouth is writing checks your ass can’t cash.

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

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  2. I have always (as much as I respect him, and I do) rolled my eyes at the Dalai Lama. “Violence is (almost) never the answer” he says — so, he and his entourage ran away from his people (to prevent the Chinese from trapping/controlling him — and left them to abuse HIS PEOPLE!) (Right choice, but not without *someone else* paying the price!) And he was raised from toddler-hood surrounded by protection, teaching, warmth, kindness, and love; and never-wanting, never-difficulties (or, rather, wants and need, and difficulties handled by someone ELSE); and he never NEEDED to protect himself — because he was surrounded by protectors! ANYONE being raised in such a protected bubble, a “safe room,” a “detached from the hardships of REAL life” cushion will, of COURSE, be kind and loving and giving and … only half a human! (Granted, probably the GOOD half — but without his protectors he’d be under Chinese control and hungry!) “Wishing” for everyone to be kind and loving ONLY works if you have an army of protectors (and providers)! “Normal” people are not surrounded by such an entourage, they do not have the choice of being only the ‘good’ half of human… WE (normal) folks are animals living in an animal world — to deny it is to be blind to reality!

    Love your blog — just found it (well, the old one) and have been reading through. People who do not have close experience with “real” life, I call ‘hot house flowers” — my younger sister (a classical musician surrounded by highly educated, refined, very liberal {eye roll} people) who believes that “if only” people would all be nice, then all the world’s problems would go away. Me? I’m a weed, I’ve BEEN in the roadside ditch with the other weeds and know that the (restricted) life of a hot house flower entails some pretty big blindness to real world! {shrug} I’d rather be guarded and awake, then sweet and asleep!

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  3. Glad to be of service :-).

    The Dalai Lama came to my school around 65367459 yrs ago. He seemed really cool, and so did his entourage, including body guards… So yeah, a degree of speaking about things of which he doesn’t have a direct experience may be an issue. The thing that really worries me is that it’s hard enough for good people to be willing to hurt someone, even in self-defence, because hurting people is against the grain for them. So to make them feel bad for having been forced into doing something that they already class as bad seems, well, totally shitty, even when it’s done for the Greater Good.

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  4. Agreed. It’s … weird but not surprising … that so many women will struggle to defend themselves (including my hot house flower sister), but turn into tigers to defend their child. Do they think (yeah, I know, they’re NOT thinking…) that the child will be fine if THEY are injured/disabled/killed?

    My sister, when I urged her to get some *training*, said that she would throw herself tooth and nail, regardless of injury to herself, at anyone who tried to harm her child. “Great! Good answer to start with!” says I. “Wouldn’t it be better to know how to EFFECTIVELY defend your child? ‘Throwing yourself tooth-and-nail’ means the bad guy just knocks you out with one blow and THEN has his way with your child: you’re unconscious, you can’t do a thing to protect him!”

    She couldn’t get there. {sigh} (She’s more than a bit horrified that I go armed. {double sigh})

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