November 19, 2017

GLANZEL | The Root of Sexual Assault

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Roy Moore is disgusting –– there is no question about it. Despite what some on the far right might claim, the fact of the matter is that he pursued underage girls and used his position of power to take advantage of them. What is even more disgusting, however, is how much support Moore has retained. A recent poll showed that 42 percent of Alabamians still support Moore in his senate race; a fact that is revolting. How in God’s name can 42 percent of the people of Alabama still support a man that is quite clearly a pedophile?

The root of the Alabama tragedy is a disease that has stretched throughout the millennia. It is a disease that causes men to believe that they are inherently superior to women and places women at the foot of the altar of manhood. Every single one of us is familiar with this disease –– and we know the cure to it.

To eliminate the Roy Moores of the world, there are two steps we must take. First, we as a society must be willing to encourage women to achieve positions of power. Only when women have finally achieved a parity in the kind of economic and political power held by men can real and substantial changes be made at the top. Second, fathers must play a more active role in young men’s lives. The onus is on the fathers of society to teach boys how to treat and respect women.

It is my hope that everything I just wrote was obvious. It is only when we recognize and accept the above propositions can we tackle a new and radically different dimension of sexual assault.

Sexual assault is rampant on our nation’s campuses –– and Cornell is no exception. A recent survey by the Association of American Universities found that nearly a quarter of all college females have faced unwanted sexual advances. In looking at these statistics, it would be wrong to assume that these assaults stem from the same disease that plagues men like Roy Moore and Harvey Weinstein. Instead, the root of sexual assault on college campuses is radically different.

We millennials are the products of a brave and changing new world. We are the first generation to experience a world in which literally everything can be consumed on-demand. A century ago one would have to wait at least 20 minutes before receiving food at a restaurant; now, fast food provides instantaneous nourishment. Forty years ago, one would have to sift through an encyclopedia to find information on a particular subject; now, a world of information is immediately available at the swipe of a finger. And just 20 years ago, one would have to wait until a prescribed time to watch a television show; now, the advent of online streaming has made TV schedules a thing of the past.

In a world of instant gratification, millennials have also been raised by a generation of parents that are subservient to the needs of their children. Today’s parents view themselves as sacrificial lambs, existing only to better their children. This, in turn, has given millennials a sense of entitlement –– a sense that they deserve the same kind of sacrificial treatment from every human they encounter.

In short, we millennials are entitled, impatient, spoiled little brats –– and this is the root of sexual assault among today’s youth.

Boys have gone their entire lives thinking that the world is their sandbox, and that they deserve to have whatever they want, whenever they want it. This, of course, does not mesh well with a woman that rebuffs a sexual advance. For the boy who has known nothing but immediate gratification and the adoration of himself, it is impossible to fathom that someone would refuse to acquiesce to his demands.

The millennial sexual predator is very different from the sexual predators of Roy Moore’s generation. Roy Moore is the product of a centuries long practice that degrades women; millennials like Wolfgang Ballinger are the product of a brave new society that exalts the individual above all else, and ignores the well-being, safety and happiness of others.

My fear is that the millennial sexual predator is far more dangerous, and far more difficult to remedy, than the predators of previous generations. We can fight the Harvey Weinsteins by publicly shaming them and encouraging women to step into positions of power. We can teach young boys to respect women, to treat them as their equals. We can encourage fathers to show their sons the proper way to treat women. These are the tools necessary to combat men like Roy Moore and Bill Cosby. But for the men who grew up in a culture where the altar of worship is oneself, I question whether those remedies will be effective.

 

Michael Glanzel is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at mglanzel@cornellsun.com. Cornell Shrugged appears alternate Mondays this semester.