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You can’t be a bloke if you don’t respect women. But ask a group of women if they respect men and you will likely be greeeted with hoots of derisive laughter.

Not true of all women, of course, but true of more than it should be.

Interesting, and not unexpected, then, the instant castigation of footballers and men in general after the latest accusations of sexual assault against some Collingwood players. More work is needed! Players need more sensitivity training! Men are bastards!

I saw one comment by a woman connected with a sexual assault centre to the effect (I couldn’t find it again later) that even if women were throwing themselves at footballers, the footballers needed to behave appropriately.

She didn’t elaborate as to what she thought the appropriate behaviour might be.

But given the currently popular ‘casual shagging does no one any harm and is probably healthy’ opinion of most women’s magazines and popular shows like Sex in the City, it is hard to see why any bloke should not think that the appropriate form of behaviour in any circumstances where a woman is asking for sex is simply to let her have it.

To suggest, as that person did, and as others have, that only men should be responsible for their decisions, and that if a woman later regrets what she has done, the man is the one at fault, is to treat women as lesser beings – more like children than adults.

This is not respectful of women, and it does not encourage respect for women.

Even when both are drunk, and meaningful consent cannot be given, responsibility lies with both, not just with the man, even if he is a footballer.

Of course, life would a lot simpler if people kept sex for marriage. Casual sex devalues both men and women, and makes it easier for persons of both genders to see persons of the other as simply means to an end – their own pleasure. This really means treating a sexual partner as nothing more than a masturbation aid.

Some men do think this way. Anyone who has seen Sex and City, and seen how popular that show is, and how some of its stars are regarded as role models(!) knows that women are capable of thinking this way too.

The harm this way of thinking and acting causes to individual men and women (and their offspring) and to gender relationships and understanding, seems to me to be simply obvious.

Also obvious is the fact that easy availability of contraception, especially the pill, and the easy availability of abortion, has encouraged this ‘if it feels good, do it’ mentality, a disregard of (or deliberate ignoring of) the consequences of sexual activity, and a deepening disregard for the different emotional needs of men and women, and for their value as persons.

Freely available contraception has not enhanced the lives or status of women.

Of course this should have been, and was, clear from the beginning. The Catholic faith said so, and so did sommon sense. Cardinal Pell has recently made these points with his usual no nonsense clarity.

Incidentally, Cardinal Pell points out, and rightly, that the Christian consensus on this matter was first broken by the Anglican Church at the Lambeth Conference in 1930 – the point from which, in my view, the Anglican Communion could no longer claim only to teach and practice the faith once delivered to the saints, and at which it began to come loose from its moorings in Scripture and Tradition in ways that are now disastrously obvious.

But the truth is ever unpopular, especially amongst those whose theme song is  ‘I want to, so dont’ tell me it’s wrong.’

The week’s Weekend Australian Magazine contains a mercifully short article by Susan Maushart called ‘The Bitter Pell.’

I have met Cardinal Pell, and enjoyed several minutes of conversation with him about Anglican – Roman Catholic relations. He is far from bitter. In fact, he struck me as a person of very considerable intellect, who is driven both by a passion for truth, and compassion for those harmed by the lack of it. He certainly was willing to listen respectfully to views which differed from his own.

Susan Maushart, however, gives every impression of harboring deep bitterness against anyone who holds views that do not co-incide with hers.

Her article contains no reasonable arguments at all, just a series of cheap shots about the Chruch and the faith, even including a mention of the inquisition, for heaven’s sake.

The best way to earn respect is to give it. It can be a hard lesson to learn.

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