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These days many of us women could easily come to the conclusion that all men secretly—or not at all secretly—despise and resent women. The message many men send is women are simply functions who deserve to be in the background until and unless they receive express permission to be human. Women are secondary, of lesser value. Of course, ALL men aren’t alike. So, I would like to take a moment to write a tribute to the men who didn’t—didn’t sexually assault, didn’t snigger at women as meat, didn’t push women aside.
My family was composed of four girls plus my parents, a situation some men might have found intimidating. In fact, my dad did make references to his minority status from time to time. A product of his post-war era, Dad didn’t want my mom to work, because a man whose woman had to work was a poor man. Aside from his white-knight protectionist attitude, my dad never failed to support his girls. Even when their actions flew in the face of all he believed, he still put their welfare first. On his deathbed, he forced money into my sister’s hand, insisting his girls should go to Disneyland instead of watching him slowly die.
Another man I admire for his integrity around women is my husband. I remember feeling impatient when we were dating, and he asked if he could kiss me. We weren’t young. I was working on a PhD in graduate school and he was in law enforcement. Much later, after we were married, his ex-wife told a reporter—who was writing about her status as a confessed child abuser—that she had never wanted children; her ex-husband had raped her. Okay. ALL women are not truthful, either. Hers was a blatant spiteful lie to anyone who knew my husband—including the women he had seen socially. No one would corroborate her story. My husband couldn’t drink enough to lose his ironclad code of conduct. He would pass out first. Why the reporter went with the article when he had no other sources but the word of his interviewee, I don’t know. Maybe he thought it made for more sensational copy. Readers should always demand good journalism. Truth depends on it.
Many of you can cite plenty of examples of men who didn’t and won’t—husbands, brothers, friends, and co-workers. Heroes stand behind women who’ve been misused by others, listening, believing, supporting, and defending. They’re generally ignored by the bullies, but they’re the ones who make the world a better, kinder place. They’re the ones who take the heat and even lose their positions or promotions for standing up for women being denigrated. They are the ones for whom “integrity” and “compassion” have solid meaning that requires action. I speak for most women when I say, “Thank you. We care about you, too.” When these men run for office, we vote for them.