We have a Perv Plague.
That is, a plague of perversion.
Someone needs to say it.
The Perv Plague is where perverts run amok, using insidious and manipulative tactics to leech the life and soul out of individuals and societies.
Oh, and by perverts, I mean people who are trapped in perversion and, as a result, make perverted choices.
For those who are gasping in shock at my use of perv, I am taking up this notion of living as a pervert with the love of Jesus in my heart in an Ephesians 5:3-17 sense.
A perversion plague has been spreading before we were even born. We need to not only take stringent measures to uproot it, but I think we need to take precautions to shield ourselves, too. Given the accusations of sexual harassment and abuse that continue to be uncovered about men from entertainment to politics, I think women need to come together for a meeting of the minds.
If only there was a jerk vaccine or an abuse immunization to save the day from these perverts among us.
Regardless, these precious Nobel Peace prize worthy inventions do not exist.
Until we get these radical breakthrough inventions, I think we need to give the best substitute. The reality of the situation is that women cannot one hundred percent guarantee protection of us from predators.
We need to keep speaking out about pervs and do other things to help us stay safe.
And I am not talking about the typical argument about skirt lengths and who asks for it.
No one is asking to be abused.
It takes men and women to protect ourselves and to weed out this plague in humanity. I know women also can live as perverts, and the same applies to them.
What Are We Up Against?
We are dealing with corrupt living at all levels of society.
Some of us think of predators as the people we get notifications about in the mail or email when they move into our neighborhoods.
But, what about the high functioning perverts, jerks, and abusers? We have been eating, drinking, playing, working, and living with people who choose to live as high functioning lowlifes.
High-functioning deviants roam throughout all sectors of our society.
These are the ones who can be married, politically influential, materially successful, and are often seen as upstanding individuals in our communities and places of worship.
These Charlie Roses, Brett Ratners, Harvey Weinsteins, Russell Simmons, and the like persist for years upon years abusing and harassing others and typically do not have any criminal record to match their deviancy.
We need to use keen discernment and intuition when dealing with all people, including men. We need to stop assuming a character based upon their presentation and what others say about them. We guard our hearts and bodies watchfully and prayerfully.
Even with all of these actions, we can still be deceived. Therefore, we should not feel guilty for falling prey to these raptors disguised as genuine human beings.
Likewise, men and women need not use the reputation of these plagues to discredit victims when they speak out. While I understand the importance of loyalty, a society is only as sound as the people who live by principles.
I think it both critical to explore wisdom to help protect us against predators and to do it without victim blaming. I think at least three conversations need to occur as a powerful vaccine and immunization again the perversion plague in the world.
1) Women Who Defend and Enable Pervs: Stop it.
Plenty of women are busy defending perversion with good intentions in their discourse of “judging.” With unconscious moral relativism, they grandstand about not judging pervs because everyone sins and has a past.
Although it is true that all of us sin and have a past, this logic misses the issue.
The issue is not about judging people’s past as much as it is about people who live unrepentant in perversion until they are exposed. Typically, these people are not being exposed for past sins. They are being exposed for their present patterns of living.
Tell this “everyone sins” foolishness to a young girl who was sexually abused, and let’s see how Jesusie (really Jesus-like) this rhetoric lands.
Major difference, Perv Plague defenders.
Do we see this slight err in high horse judgment of those who dare speak out against sexual harassment and abuse?
Women are just as problematic as men. We lower the standard for men in a range of approaches. A common way is through blaming and shaming the victim. Women who have experienced trauma experience even more trauma when fellow women chastise them. These chastisers get new visions of Jesus, God, and one too many rounds of communion wine because they wax boldly in their monologues about judging men and women’s attire. The sisterhood is thrown out of the window because these women attack other women and try to silence them.
Do not get me wrong, I am aware that women make false charges. Not all of these women are using their vivid imaginations to speak about the abuses they have endured.
Sexual assault and harassment are never justified or acceptable. It does not matter about the victim’s past, profession, or attire.
2) Hey Men, Expose the Bro-Code as Perv-Code.
As long as there is a good ol’ boys club and bro-code mentality among men, there will continue to be widespread perversion and jerkdom in the kingdom. Men, who need a refashioning and reenvisoning of masculinity and manhood apart from using women as objects and defending this behavior from other men. More men are needed to live and teach that using women is not a rite of passage or a perk that comes along with fame and monetary wealth. The challenge lies in men choosing to live this example and hold other men accountable to it.
If men lost friends and status over their treatment of women, it would be a different age.
Notice that when men lose positions and notoriety, how more men decide to decry the evils of sexual harassment and abuse by their male friends and colleagues. This is not some bro-code, it is a perv-code.
If only we could isolate the creepy specimen so that women could automatically deter these bands of viral dirtbagginess (Is that even a word?).
I have been involved in discussions where men would take up for another man, even in the wrong, because of friendship. If a man is in the wrong, he is in the wrong. When it takes pressure from media and thousands of people to disagree with another man, I raise my eyebrows at these men who slowly decide to stand for right.
I believe men need to talk to and model for other men and boys about what respecting a woman entails. It requires that first, these men actually elevate this notion of respect in their own lives. If men had a healthy sense of their manhood and respect for women, they would lead the charge against sexual harassment and abuse. Because it has been popular to craft a distorted sense of manhood, we find men who go along with the herd instead of living principled lives.
3) Women, Share the Wealth of Wisdom.
As I read an article about the sexual abuse she endured as an Olympic athlete, Aly Raisman discussed how she did not know the signs of abuse.
I agree with her in that we need to talk more about these issues and educate women and girls more about them.
Knowledge in this case is just as powerful as a vaccine or immunization.
As for women, I hope we can have a dialogue about how to better protect ourselves until men get their act together. This matter of using wisdom and it can be life or death.
I have experienced sexual harassment, and I can attest that we can cross our t’s and dot our i’s, but a man who is blinded by his perversion will still attempt to cross boundaries.
We live in a fallen world. One filled with promise and hope. Nonetheless, the earth spins on its fallen axis.
There are plenty of men who do not have their act together. These men come from a range of backgrounds. No race or class has the upper hand on sin. It seems those with more affluence have been afforded more protections as they use their resources to create more chaos and pain in the world.
I do not want women to live in fear or to think that all men are monsters. I have plenty of stories of men who looked out for me or went above and beyond to help instead of taking advantage or expecting anything in return. These are real men.
As we rightfully call attention to the Perv Plague, I want women to increase our chance of survival and look out more for each other. I think this conversation is necessary.
As adult women, we can teach younger women and girls what to look out for and how to trust our intuition when we feel like something is not right. We need to encourage and model healthy boundaries with each other. Grant it, I know that we can teach with our words and lives all day, but people will make their choices from their free will. We can still look ourselves in the mirror and look to God be accountable for doing our part. This conversation helps us, while we continue to call abusers, their enablers, and defenders to accountability.
When I was a child, my mother told me not to sit in men’s laps-even if they were relatives. I did not know why, I just knew I needed to be mindful of my body and to watch my boundaries with all adults. If an adult overstepped his/her boundaries, it was not my fault. I think teaching me to be attuned with my boundaries was helpful because predators even target children, slowly grooming them as they test and overstep their boundaries.
When I became a teenager, my parents would tell me more things to watch. For example, not to ever take a beverage from someone and to keep my sight on my beverage out of sight to help prevent drugs being slipped into my drink.
One of my sisters emphasized the importance of driving herself on a date, so she had control over transportation. I took this piece of information to heart, especially as an adult woman. It was a process before I would let a man pick me up for a date at my home.
Recently after an event, two women and I decided to make sure we made it to our vehicles safely. One of the women, after making sure I made it to my car safely, drove the other women, who had parked farther away in another location, to her vehicle. None of us had to walk alone in the city night. Women do not even have to be best friends to look after each other.
On the other hand, there have been times when I knew I was increasing my chance of danger. Once, when I was in another country and out late at night returning to my hotel from a restaurant by myself in poorly lit streets. At another time, I have been with men who I trusted only to have concerns about trespassing of boundaries.
I think sharing different pieces of wisdom with each other can help vaccinate and immunize us from the plague.
Something as simple as refraining from visiting male colleagues’ hotel rooms alone—even if it is for a “meeting,” might prevent a lifetime of trauma.
Whether we do things or not, it is not our fault.
No still means no.
And simply being a woman is not license to be abused or harassed.
Predators attack at any time of day and in different location. No matter what, you are not responsible for someone else’s evil deeds. I cannot stress this enough.
Hope for People Bound by Perversion
I purposely use “perv” and “perverts” because we have made perversion way too comfortable and normal, and thereby make the people engaged in different forms of this lifestyle at ease.
There are more of us who are trapped by perversion, more than we are willing to acknowledge. It is not just people who sexually harass and abuse people.
At this particular juncture in life, helping people feel comfortable about wrongdoing is not my highest priority. If you think I have erred, please pray for me to become more Jesusie in my thinking and writing.
You see, whenever, I have repented of sin, it was not because I felt good about it. I thank God for individuals, whether behind a pulpit or a friend who cares who called my actions for what they were.
Therefore, if you are a person who is living the perv life, there is hope and there is help if you really, truly want to live in freedom.
You can repent and change your trajectory in life. If you have been living this way for a long period, it may take a while to truly experience complete freedom in your mind, will, and emotions.
I do not believe any of us want to be held hostage our pasts, especially when have endeavored to change and live differently.
The question is:
Do you want to live differently?
I strive to not judge people for their pasts. The difference between many of the men who are being exposed is that they did not repent or change. They never had a past because it remained to varying degrees part their lifestyle.
Their past did not catch up with them, their character and their souls were revealed beyond their victims, defenders, and enablers.
If you are living in perversion, your soul is plagued. You are not free. You do not have peace and joy.
You can choose to make perversion your past and not your present.
If you want freedom, surrender to Jesus and seek professional help.
Do both and keep going.
Then, be an agent to against the plague instead of spreading it.