Tag Archive | men

Going at it alone: more lessons from Josh Duggar

josh-duggar-reason-for-abuseRecently the Duggar family went on the record in an effort to lay to rest the scandal concerning Josh Duggar’s molestation of his sisters when he was fourteen years old.

In the interview the Duggar parents admit that Josh informed them of his behaviour three times across 2002 and 2003 and that each time the family decided it was best to deal with it from within the family boundaries instead of going outside of it.  When that did not work on the first attempt, they went to their church for help.  On the third time in 2003 they sent Josh to a faith-based camp for help.  But in all three cases it was dealt with entirely from the tiny confines of their close-knit community instead of informing the law and allowing the state to step in.

In 2012 I wrote a report for Yahoo Voices concerning rape and incest within the insular orthodox Jewish communities, a report that was re-posted into this blog before Yahoo dismantled Yahoo Voices.  In that report I called for an end to victim-blaming in religious communities.  Sadly with the Duggars his victims are also defending his behaviour, no doubt partially because the Duggar parents are in denial themselves regarding just how serious sexual violence is.

Until we start treating sexual crimes as serious, until we stop making excuses for those who violate the physical integrity of other people, and until we genuinely punish the perpetrators of these crimes while providing a strong and protective support system for those hurt by them then of course we cannot expect to stem this epidemic of violence and sexual violence.  Even in 2015 we treat rape as “no big deal.”  Women and men both do this, including victims of assault and sexual assault.  We keep making excuses and telling those hurt to shut up and “get over it.”

Now as a healed survivor, I am the first to say that experiencing assault and sexual assault does NOT BREAK YOU.  It doesn’t taint you.  It doesn’t make you less of anything.  In fact it becomes an opportunity for transcendence, to grow into something greater and be a better person — no different than any other form of hardship.  This isn’t lessening the horror of the experience; what I suffered WAS HORRIFYING.  A healthy human being MUST BE HORRIFIED by violence and especially sexual violence.  At the same time, our societies have this habit of not only dismissing survivors when we speak up (been there!), but also treating us as the walking dead.  So we are dismissed first for daring to speak up and second when the wounds heal — as they must heal.

It’s a culture that favours those who rape, beat, and kill and treats those who receive this treatment as surplus population who had better just die off quickly so our societies can pretend there’s not a problem.

Most alarming to me is the matter of the insular community.  Why?  Because I see its danger as someone whose insular community made it easy to continue these acts of violence and to continue dismissing me when I sought help.  Yet, unlike the Duggar girls, I went to adults for help — but they wouldn’t  help because of the insular community.  It was easier to call me “evil sorceress” or “seductress” (right because four year old girls instinctively know how to seduce men 10x their age into sex?) than place that phone call to social services that would have taken me to safety.

The larger problem is therefore not Josh Duggar — a man who doesn’t deserve to have his children grow up with him — but the communities themselves.  We can only help people in need when we go beyond our castle walls and allow the larger secular community to intervene, to enforce laws written to protect children and provide safe home environments for everyone.

Yes, our governments are not perfect; there has never been a truly perfect government.  But when we fail to trust others beyond the boundaries of our small communities we set ourselves up for exactly the epidemic of violence and sexual violence plaguing our societies.  Protecting the community becomes more important than what is right and just for the people being hurt.  This was the case at Penn State and it is the case with the Duggar family.

What is your take on the Josh Duggar matter?  Reply to this post with your comments below and let’s get a serious conversation going!

Repost: Men’s Y Chromosome May Be A Vulnerability

Reposted from “Men’s Y Chromosome May Be A Vulnerability” 


4th December 2014, World Science Journal

New re­search sug­gests the Y chro­mo­some—a re­pos­i­tory of genes that only males have—may help ex­plain why men live less long than wom­en, and are more sus­cep­ti­ble to smok­ing-related can­cers.

With ad­vanc­ing age, some cells can lose their Y chro­mo­some. Two new studies sug­gest this loss may in­crease can­cer risk—and that smok­ing may ex­ac­er­bate the chro­mo­some loss. Both pro­jects came from the same group of re­search­ers, and while they did not prove cause-and-ef­fect rela­t­ion­ships, they found as­socia­t­ions be­tween the events in ques­tion.

The ear­li­er stu­dy, pub­lished in the re­search jour­nal Na­ture Ge­net­ics on­line April 28, “demon­strated an as­socia­t­ion be­tween loss of the Y chro­mo­some in blood and great­er risk for can­cer,” said Lars Fors­berg of Upp­sa­la Uni­vers­ity in Swe­den, one of the in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

For the sec­ond proj­ect, pub­lished in the Dec. 4 is­sue of the re­search jour­nal Sci­ence, he added that the group tested “if there were any lifestyle- or clin­i­cal fac­tors that could be linked to loss of the Y chro­mo­some.”

The re­sult: “Out of a large num­ber of fac­tors that were stud­ied, such as age, blood pres­sure, di­a­be­tes, al­co­hol in­take and smok­ing, we found that loss of the Y chro­mo­some in a frac­tion of the blood cells was more com­mon in smok­ers than in non-smok­ers.”

Y chro­mo­some loss is “the most com­mon hu­man muta­t­ion” to beg­in with, added Jan Du­man­ski, a co-re­searcher at Upp­sa­la. The new work “may in part ex­plain why men in gen­er­al have a shorter life span than wom­en, and why smok­ing is more dan­ger­ous for men.”

Smok­ing is a risk fac­tor for var­i­ous dis­eases, not only lung can­cer, the re­search­ers not­ed; male smok­ers have shown a great­er risk of de­vel­op­ing non-respiratory-tract can­cers than female smok­ers.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tors found the as­socia­t­ion be­tween smok­ing and Y chro­mo­some loss to be “dose de­pen­den­t”—heavy smok­ers had more wide­spread losses. But ex-smok­ers who had quit showed nor­mal lev­els of Y chro­mo­some loss. So “this pro­cess might be re­versible,” which “could be very per­sua­sive for mo­ti­vat­ing smok­ers to quit,” said Fors­berg.

How the smok­ing-induced Y chro­mo­some loss in blood cells is linked to can­cer re­mains un­clear. Per­haps im­mune cells in blood, be­reft of Y chro­mo­somes, are less able to fight can­cer cells, the sci­en­tists spec­u­lat­ed.