Why do men have this attitude?
There are times when it really seems men are hot-wired to abuse women and children, inflict the worst of violence on society and then claim innocence when they are confronted. This is, of course, absurd.
Women can be as cruel, violent and abusive as men.
Last week we witnessed two incidents of cruelty, and of a righteousness founded on an iniquity so normalised that the worst perpetrators have assumed a kind of innocence. It does my head in.
It was reported last week that an adult man had allegedly raped a six-year-old child.
The first news I received about the incident was on Twitter, when someone explained that child rape was not part of the alleged rapist’s “culture”.
The alleged rapist is white, which, when it comes to these things, is quite irrelevant.
What is curious is the claim of innocence based on “culture”.
In the current global climate, culture is a code-speak for race or ethnicity.
We may recall that in 2013, Professor Louise Mabille, formerly of the University of Pretoria, explained child rape was a “cultural phenomenon among black ethnic groups”.
This is like the trope that child marriage is uniquely an African or Asian thing.
It conveniently ignores the fact that, until very recently, in the US, when a young girl became pregnant as a result of rape it was legal to marry her, if only to save the family embarrassment.
The key here was that the child rapists and villains were not exclusively from “black ethnic groups”.
By one estimate there were almost 250,000 child marriages in the US between 2000 and 2010.
What has emerged over the past week or so is that male privilege, patronage and notions of cultural superiority have become normalised, so to speak.
Whenever it is challenged, there are claims of innocence and bullying from the very perpetrators.
In the US last week, Brett Kavanagh – apparently an upstanding citizen – displayed the “normality” of the “culture” that brought him to the top of his legal profession and which would, now, place him on the US Supreme Court bench.
During the hearings on his nomination it was revealed that he had [allegedly] abused at least one woman (a young woman) when he was a young man and that he was, generally, unfit to assume the position in the highest court of his country.
Kavanagh could not understand how the very customs, practices (and culture) of privilege which had served him so well for so long, would now be questioned.
His response, echoed by his colleagues, was that criticism of the very basis on which his success has been built amounted to being victimised and bullied.
Kavanagh snarled at everyone.
Drawing support from one of the most awesome of rightwingers, Lindsey Graham, a law-maker from the state of South Carolina, he was now claiming that he was being victimised and bullied.
The New York Times, hardly a left-wing source of news and information, was quite forthright about the way that conservative males like Graham and Kavanagh “strike aggrieved tones as they present themselves as victims of conspiracies or leftist cabals”.
In his defence of Kavanagh, and frothing at the mouth, Graham complained, “I’m a single white male from South Carolina, and I’m told I should just shut up, but I will not shut up.”
That is not quite true – the part of him being denied voice – but there is a larger issue at stake.
It is the way in which people’s careers were shaped by privilege, protection and exclusivity, and they then present themselves as honourable and actually believe that they had done nothing wrong.
One reporter on Vox online news explained that Kavanagh and Graham’s responses were part of “beating back the challenge from feminists and people of colour demanding a seat at the table; it is about showing that white men in power are not going anywhere – that they will not listen, will not budge, and will not give ground to #MeToo or the Black Lives Matter movement”.
It was precisely the “culture” of privilege and entitlement that put Kavanagh in place and kept him there for three decades. He either does not see this or he does not want to be reminded of it.
“It seemed as if the entire culture of white male entitlement … was on trial. There was anger, yelling, interrupting of women and a sense of not needing to answer difficult questions.
“In short, it was the essence of male entitlement,” a reporter on The Daily Dot wrote.
We can’t be sure whether Kavanagh’s nomination will be upheld, or the alleged rapist will be prosecuted and sentenced.
What we have been told is that Kavanagh “could not have done” what his accusers have said and that child rape is not part of white culture. Maybe it’s a man thing. Then again, there have been some dreadful women across history...