‘Get a Weapon’ — A Story of Deployment, Sexual Harassment, and Sexism from The Atlantic

This article in The Atlantic is right up Ye Olde Blogge’s alley. It dovetails with all of my posts on sexual harassment, sexual assault, and the motivations of the men who commit these acts.

For any women who are reading, I’m sure it will resonate. For any men, I’m sure it will illuminate.

As a white middle class man, I cannot appreciate the constant corrosive pressure that sexism places on women or racism on people of color. But, when I read this article, I felt the extreme pressure put on these women, and I like a good liberal who is motivated by an unconscious desire for fairness above all else — unlike good conservatives who are motivated by an unconscious desire for safety — I felt the inequality and unfairness of it all viscerally. I also thought of my mother working in Tehran in the year before the Shah fell. It must’ve been a similar experience for her.

I offer this post in the hopes that men will read it and understand the way our behavior and assumptions affect the women — and you can easily transpose this experience to racism and PoC — develop a modicum of everyday-empathy for the women (and PoC) you have in your lives.

Understand that living under this kind of constant corrosive stress is damaging to both your physical and mental health.


‘Get a Weapon’

When a veteran military man gave me that advice before I left to join U.S. forces in Baghdad, I thought he meant that I needed a way to protect myself from the enemy.

Sandra Sidi October 2019 Issue

Duck and cover!” a mechanized voice screamed. The ground shook and the window rattled. I rolled from my bed to the floor of my trailer and felt for the armor I’d forgotten in my office. I lay there and sweated and swore. The voice from the loudspeaker urged me to get away from the windows. I was inside a tin can.

I crawled to the door. My hand was on the knob when I realized I was naked. The next impact knocked the air conditioner to the floor. I grabbed a light-blue cotton robe and bolted.

I raced along a row of sandbags, one hand holding the robe closed. The duck-and-cover bunkers were 100 feet away. Another series of explosions, and I hit the rocks. I was lying there, panting, when I saw a bright-yellow bunker tucked behind a row of sandbags and palm trees. I was up, running, full out. My robe fell open and flew out behind me.

Continue reading at The Atlantic: ‘Get a Weapon’

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