Jonathan Freedland (The insidious force in global politics? Toxic masculinity, 29 September) is right in his account of the dangers of worldwide masculine entitlement.
What we saw in Brett Kavanaugh’s performance on Capitol Hill was that and more. It was a display of frat boy syndrome: the right of rich, privately educated males who club together in fraternity houses on US campuses to bully anyone who gets in the way of their collective, self-righteous, self-admiring pursuit of wealth or power. And that includes other men, not least most of Trump’s supporters. These bands of brothers endow elite universities with huge donations that perpetuate the dominance of their class.
Perhaps it is time to abandon the concept of “the patriarchy” and use “the fraternity” instead.
• Jonathan Freedland is right to pinpoint the deep personality failings in many leaders, but I would doubt they deserve the term “masculinity”, whether toxic or not. Their actions seem more the result of a failure to grow up. I suggest the term should be “toxic childishness”.
• Sexual assault and abuse do not end with the events themselves. Such violations leave a sequela in the lives of victim-survivors. Without support, for some the trauma of sexual abuse can become a life sentence. Professor Christine Blasey Ford spoke of the anxiety and post-traumatic stress symptoms, including claustrophobia and panic disorders, that have followed her through life. Accounts by survivors document many different, often self-harming, behaviours used to manage the internal chaos caused by the trauma of sexual abuse, often bound by unbearable shame. When will we recognise sexual abuse can be a contributor to mental health problems, addictions, eating disorders, domestic violence and homelessness, to name a few?
One in Four (supporting survivors of sexual violence and abuse)
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