I’m about to quote a long section of Military Brats: Legacies of Childhood Inside the Fortress. It’s about the typical profile of the child molesters seen by a commander in the Navy’s Medical Service Corps (i.e., enlisted people). As you’re reading it, notice the very strong similarity to the archetype of what’s considered sexy and masculine in American popular culture (cop/soldier, football player, rapper, etc.).
But whether civilian or military, these families have a lot in common. “A further look at the [incestuous] family reveals that there are rigid family rules and role relationships,” Crigler continues. “The concept of androgyny is almost unheard of; sex-stereotypical roles and rules are strictly and traditionally assigned and adhered to at all times. The father typically rules the house either with an iron hand or passively with innuendoes, such as implying that if outsiders find out what is going on, he will be sent to jail, thereby splitting up the family. These families do not adapt well to change because their problem-solving skills are few and unreliable. This weakness in the family unit is particularly significant to military families who are destined to move…often.
There are several types of incestuous father, but the most typical type found in the military, according to Commander Crigler, is probably a “tyrant” type.
He is authoritarian. When he speaks, he appears to be the epitome of a Marine Corps drill instructor or the captain of a ship. He rules, he orders, he demands, and either he receives absolute loyalty and obedience or the consequences will be grave. He brooks no opposition and often uses threats of force or actual physical abuse to have his way inside his family. To his family he is a tyrant, but to his military superiors he may only look like a “good trooper” or a “man with discipline.” His family lives in fear of his anger and retribution should they upset him. He is a patriarch and looks at his family as his belongings who must obey him, follow him from one duty station to another, and who are totally subject to his whims. Often, these whims include sex from his daughters. The military macho myth is prevalent in this type. Sex may be the only way such a man has of being close to another human being. He believes that to admit to needs for affection and closeness would be tantamount to admitting weakness. Such an admission would be too damaging to his ego structure, which is built on asserting power and aggression.
A civilian social worker is also quoted on this topic:
I see this with police officers, too–people who are attracted to that masculine sense of power and control. We see chiefs in the Navy who try to run their families like they run their staffs, on a military basis, and it doesn’t work. And they get very frustrated and try to control it more and more, and that can lead to physical or emotional abuse.
I don’t think these men purposely want to hurt their families. They have high investments in their families; they don’t want to lose them. Insight therapy can be very effective with them.
Emotionally retarded dickishness is extremely harmful to society. Military training is designed to produce it. The book makes the interesting point that alcoholism is encouraged in the military because taking care of your drunk buddies is the only socially accepted nurturing behavior. Even more interesting, a study found that increasingly violent jobs within the Air Force were associated with increasing abuse. Air Force violence is at a distance, so the effect was presumably underestimated. The physical severity of abuse tends to be higher in the military, because the abusers are better at hitting people. Mortality rates are higher.
This next section breaks all kinds of taboos, and we should think about how disturbing that is.
Up to now [early 1990s], DoD’s attitude toward family advocacy could best be described as an increasing willingness to deal with problems of domestic violence that just happen to occur within the military setting. It would be quite another matter to assert, on the basis of comprehensive research findings, that the Department of Defense itself, by virtue of conditioning many of its members to perform violent duties, shares indirectly in responsibility for the abuse of military children. If that is found to be true, it would be an exceedingly difficult truth for DoD to face. But if true, it must be faced, for there is a moral imperative to face it–and American military families, growing ever more sensitized to these issues and vocal about them, will demand that it be faced. Families need reassurance that the military is doing everything in its power to make sure that warriors conditioned to fight for their nation on a moment’s notice do not turn their aggression on their own children.
You just know that huge numbers of people would literally shoot the messenger when presented with these facts. Because America doesn’t actually care about women and children. At least not the people making decisions, who epitomize these traits. It’s a huge problem in the UK.
Patriarchal authoritarianism, which is a mainstream value in our society, is strongly associated with wife-beating and pedophilia. There are people among us who’d sooner rape their own children than talk about feelings, because only pussies and faggots have feelings. That’s how bad it is.
David Graeber’s The Utopia of Rules makes some interesting points about perspective-taking in our society. People with less social power are expected to understand the viewpoints of those with more social power, but not vice verse. It’s evident in high school students:
A popular exercise among high school creative writing teachers in America, for example, is to ask students to imagine that they have been transformed, for a day, into someone of the opposite sex, and describe what that day might be like. The results, apparently, are uncannily uniform. The girls all write long and detailed essays that clearly show that they have spent a great deal of time thinking about the subject. Usually, a good proportion of the boys refuse to write the essay entirely. Those who do make it clear that they have not the slightest conception what being a teenage girl might be like, and are outraged at the suggestion that they should have to think about it.
Nothing I am saying here is particularly new to anyone familiar with Feminist Standpoint Theory or Critical Race Studies.
On the other hand, identification with the police is encouraged to an astonishing degree:
Why are we so confused about what police really do? The obvious reason is that in the popular culture of the last fifty years or so, police have become almost obsessive objects of imaginative identification in popular culture. It has come to the point that it’s not at all unusual for a citizen in a contemporary industrialized democracy to spend several hours a day reading books, watching movies, or viewing TV shows that invite them to look at the world from a police point of view, and to vicariously participate in their exploits. And these imaginary police do, indeed, spend almost all of their time fighting violent crime, or dealing with its consequences.
We’re being trained to see things from the perspective of abusive people. From The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement:
According to a study by public health researchers, two-thirds of the popular songs in 2005 that mentioned sexual intercourse described sex that was degrading to the other partner, usually a woman. (“Ay bitch! Wait ’til you see my dick. Imma beat that pussy up.”) The average teen now spends a full half hour a day listening to songs that describe degrading sex.
Lest we forget, an important role of mulattoes in society was to be rape objects that looked sort of white. I, myself, am descended from such a union. Does this truly surprise anybody? Everyone on the internet has seen porn, yes?
In order to change the situation, we, ourselves, have to date people who don’t conform to traditional roles. Remember: traditional gender roles encourage child abuse that ruins people’s entire lives. This is Christopher Lasch, all the way back in 1979 (The Culture of Narcissism):
In the heat of the struggle to win the West, the American pioneer gave full vent to his rapacity and murderous cruelty, but he always envisioned the result–not without misgivings, expressed in a nostalgic cult of lost innocence–as a peaceful, respectable, churchgoing community safe for his women and children. He imagined that his offspring, raised under the morally refining influence of feminine “culture,” would grow up to be sober, law-abiding, domesticated American citizens, and the thought of the advantages they would inherit justified his toil and excused, he thought, his frequent lapses into brutality, sadism, and rape.
Today Americans are overcome not by the sense of endless possibility but by the banality of the social order they have erected against it…they feel themselves overwhelmed by an annihilating boredom like animals whose instincts have withered in captivity. A reversion to savagery threatens them so little that they long precisely for a more vigourous instinctual existence. People nowadays complain of an inability to feel…
Twentieth-century peoples have erected so many psychological barriers against strong emotion, and have invested those defenses with so much of the energy derived from forbidden impulse, that they can no longer even remember what it feels like to be inundated by desire. They tend, rather, to be consumed with rage, which derives from defenses against desire and gives rise in turn to new defenses against rage itself. Outwardly bland, submissive, and sociable, they seethe with an inner anger for which a dense, overpopulated, bureaucratic society can devise few legitimate outlets.