Dean Clough

January 16, 2023

Portico Darwin: I Also


2 Minute Read
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Happy Martin Luther King Day.  I hope you'll consider and remember what this singular man did for America.  And at what cost.

It's a holiday, I know, but this topic is important.  My apologies for its serious and sexually graphic nature, and a warning that it is about the subject of rape.  Please do not read further if that subject might offend or upset you.  Ideally, what I've written will start (or continue) a nuanced dialog on the subject, vs. angering women (and men).  I also recognize I can never fully understand a woman's perspective on this sensitive issue.

The following is an excerpt of an editorial that appeared in the January 8, 2023 edition of our local paper, The San Francisco Chronicle; the emphasis at the end is mine. 

Nearly 30 years ago, I went on vacation to a remote tropical island for a week-long scuba diving trip.  In the wee hours of my first night there, the German manager at the resort where I was staying banged at my door, drunk.  In a jet-lagged stupor, afraid that there was an emergency back home, I let him in.  I’d had no reason to fear him — he’d been friendly and even a bit flirty, upgrading my room and buying me a glass of wine at the bar.

We began kissing, then having sex.  This wasn’t what I’d planned, but I wasn’t saying “no.”  However, when he reached down and removed his condom before entering me again, it was definitely not consensual.  I froze.  It didn’t occur to me to try and fight this husky man who was so heavy on me and holding down my shoulders as he thrust.  I just wanted it to be over.

For the rest of the trip, I acted like nothing had happened.  Although I kept him at arm’s length, I interacted with him at resort parties.  He, too, acted like nothing had happened, as if this is how all the single women were welcomed.  I even met him and his assistant manager in the bar for drinks one evening with my assigned dive buddy, a French woman I’d just met who spoke no English.  But when the two men entered the bar, her stony expression told me she’d been “island welcomed,” too.  I tried to hide how ashamed I was by my nonchalance.

After I returned home, it took me several months to define what happened as a “rape.”

"We began kissing, then having sex," and she didn't say "no".  Her partner then took his condom off (now making the sex "not consensual") and "it didn't occur" to the woman to indicate his action wasn't acceptable to her, because he was "husky"?   
Might things have been different if she had said or done anything?  Anything at all?    

I would really appreciate hearing from any woman reading this, as I have some questions:

  • Do you feel this powerless as a woman?
  • Was this rape?
  • Should this have appeared in the newspaper?

Me?  Hmm.  I think instead of "Believe Women", a more reasonable and less destructive approach would be to "Listen to Women".

Throughout time, men have wrongly and negatively wielded professional and personal power over women - but the reverse has also been true.  Men have only one innate advantage over women, and that is greater physical strength.  A man using it against a woman in any manner is beneath contempt.  And to coerce sex through violence is as bad a crime as there is.

But is it right the author of the editorial is now enabled by #MeToo and society in general to say she was raped?  Should a woman's perception of reality in such matters become the actual reality?
Just curious.


The timing was perfect on this one.  

From literally our nicest friends (and we have a bunch), George Valiant Walker and his bride Sherry Pace, came this very kind note.

Sherry and I are at home reading your retirement blog.  And we just want you to know that we read you quite a bit and I’m glad it’s cathartic for you.  Peace and love.

Right back at you, my brother.  And as always:  thank you to any one that is reading this newsletter.


Given the subject matter, and it being MLK Day, it would be disrespectful to play anything today.  

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