A.R. Moxon, the author, took it upon himself to start an exercise for men to understand the concept of empathy, on lines of gender. He decided to articulate women’s experiences in terms of sexual and physical violence and reconstruct it as men’s. Simply put, he replaced assaults done on women’s bodies with men’s by calling each experience as being knocked in the balls.
Moxon made an initiative in this direction saying that when one looks at the macro level at which empathy works, one realizes that it has forever been a one-sided effort. Women, he says, have been trained to exercise empathy in every situation while men are allowed to be careless with this emotion. That is, women have largely been told to behave in a manner that they can accommodate the needs and desires of a man, for the betterment of his survival. While on the other hand, men have been allowed to think only for themselves. Consequently, both men and women think of men’s survival only.
Bringing up one of the recent events of Kavanaugh’s election and women’s accounts of sexual assault, he said that in situations like this the social biases become quite apparent. The instinctive reaction in such cases, and especially in one like this, is to protect oneself from any answerability or vulnerability. Shouldn’t it be to empathize, instead?
Moxon agreed that this kind of an analogy may not be perfect but he explained that it comes closest to understanding sexual assault on women. He defends his choice of ‘kicking in the nuts’ with sexual assault on women because he said that in this way perhaps every man would understand what the experience must be like.
Because naturally, no man asks to be kicked in the groin and certainly doesn’t confuse the act with sex. Hence, hypothetically speaking, if in a social set-up it’s an accepted, silenced act to get kicked in the nuts, and in an act of violence it is confused with sex or something similar, it’s going to be perplexing, disturbing, and upsetting for any man.
Incidentally, Maxon came up with this when the Supreme Court of US selected Kavanaugh as the Judge. Commenting on the nationwide reaction of the women to this event, he confesses his own inability to comprehend the angst of women. Though he says that this exercise has at least brought him closer to understanding the situation better.
Kavanaugh’s selection as the Judge has clearly indicated the complicity with which it accepts sexual abuse; the normalization of violence as just another banal event. In fact, in a social set-up such as this, even raising a voice against harassment seems like a wrong is being done to the harassers—thanks to the general acceptability of these events.
Maxon insists on shaking the citizens of the country out from a deep slumber that they’ve slipped into lately, and helping them recognize the bull-headed people in power who’ve turned a blind eye to harassment. It’s an alarming call to the supporters of such political parties that don’t respect women.