I know I'm making something out of this life they called nothing. It’s me against this world and I don’t care.
A few years ago I was living in Tilburg, The Netherlands. This is a small town in the middle of the country. The one amazing thing they have is a large pop venue that is a favourite touring venue for punk bands. It is one of the few places in The Netherlands that my son, a punk drummer, has been to. One night I went to see ‘Good Charlotte‘, the US punk band based around the Madden brothers. I had an envigorating, rocking evening, even though I was in my sixties! The song that remains with me from that gig is ‘Young and Hopeless’. It is a personal song that aches with teenage angst and disconnection.
I attended the first night of a Punk Music Tour and discovered what inclusion for those with learning disabilities really means.
There is a lot of talk on The Good Men Project about inclusion across the areas of gender, gender identity, race and other important issues. But the topic of how we treat those with learning disabilities like everyone else is just now coming to the forefront of the discussion. No matter how hard we work to include those who seem to be not like us, many people still find those with learning disabilities a challenge. I know I do. Autism and Downs Syndrome can be especially difficult as the effect is to disable simple communication. If we cannot communicate through words with someone how do we include them in our life?
Rape is generally about control not sex. It is about domination, usually by men of women, although it happens in other combinations as well.
In my view it is not so much a gender issue as a human issue. It is about sad people who cannot see how to live decent lives and take that out on others. What is tragic, though, is how it blights the lives of those involved. Often the lives of the victims are shattered with devastating ripple effects. The lives of the perpetuators are affected as well, often for the rest of their lives. Victims can become perpetuators, and so on.
My sons learned from what I did, not from what I said. They inherited what I learned from my father and he learned from his, to be angry.
My son came back from touring in the UK with his band and came to me for advice. He was a punk drummer at the time, energetic and fast, with his own idiosyncratic life as an artist and musician. His life was sorted out, and he loved what he was doing.