I try to watch my language for a variety of reasons, the least of which is that my station could get fined, and I could get fired, if it happened on live television.
So I am perplexed why people seem genuinely uncomfortable with my recent use of the P-word in print.
Really? This makes you uncomfortable?
It got me thinking about the root of many of our most serious societal ills: how if it makes us wince, we just won't talk about it.
Rape. Molestation. Sexual harassment. Sexual assault.
Discomfort with these definitions--and confusion over what this feels like, and what to do next--only compounds the fear and shame.
If it's male-on-male rape, some say it's even more perplexing to process. Your masculinity is questioned. Add the male physiological response--the fact a man's body responds to certain acts automatically, yes, even when he's being RAPED--and you can only imagine how confusing that must be.
As a male rape victim told me last week, he thought he'd "take his secret to the grave."
The solution? We can start, he says, by asking kids THE question no one ever asked him: "Has anyone touched you in your private parts?" Then be willing to listen. And believe them.
Men, this is particularly powerful if the question comes from YOU, according to experts at the Sexual Assault Center of Nashville.
How is it that our kids have access to music with explicit lyrics, R-rated movies, and pornography at the click of a mouse...yet we're too awkward or uncomfortable to have open conversations about sexual violence?
It's time we all man up.
For free counseling and advice if you or someone you love has been sexually assaulted, call the SAC's crisis and support line at 1-800-879-1999.