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A Scarlet R

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Approximately a staggering twenty-five percent of women are victims of rape --a crime of violence against women-- in the military, on campus, and in society. Reforming the Uniform Code of Military Justice and raising the priority of rape among prosecutors in civilian courts would diminish the male wickedness. But the sordidness will persist unless males begin to ostracize rapists as moral lepers who epitomize savagery, not virility.

Rapists should be automatically expelled from the military, colleges, and universities. They should be required to wear a scarlet R. Fathers and athletic coaches should inculcate in their sons and players the idea that manliness means respecting the equal dignity and autonomy of women; and, refraining from exploiting superior physical strength or positions of authority to coerce, threaten, or dominate them. All forms of sexual coercion, degradation, or subjugation of women should be reprobated by males as contemptible and unmanly.

The sole legitimate source of male authority is moral suasion, not money, fame, or power. Women are not chattels. They are not sex objects. Women are entitled to pursue their ambitions and to seek fulfillment free from predation every bit as much as men.

These self-evident truths are resisted in virtually all cultures because males are politically, religiously, economically, and physically dominant. God is male. Abraham and Moses were male. Jesus was male. Mohammed was male. Buddha was male. Confucius was male. Males wrote the Old and New Testament and the Holy Koran. Males wrote the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. All political philosophers have been male. Such examples are endless.

Without moral instruction and chastisement, males instinctively embrace and practice values that enable them to gratify adolescent passions--including sex. They reward women in all walks of life for sexual attractiveness. This prospect prompts women to spend stupendous sums on clothes, jewelry, perfume, cosmetics, and surgery to gratify male sexual fantasies. Prostitutes are absurdly deemed more morally culpable than their male clients. Promiscuous women are derided as sluts. Promiscuous men are admired as "ladies men."

Masculinity should find expression in sexual restraint, not coercion. It is up to male leaders to rescue the male species from obloquy.