Against Our Will – Robert G Wertzler

I was – what? 10? 11?
No more than that
Curious, I wanted to know
A definition – “sexual intercourse”
Had enough basic anatomy to
Figure what would definitely qualify
But, where was the line? The line between
Not that and that?
Was it kissing?
Was it touching certain places?
(kissing “down there” I knew not of)
I couldn’t just ask, not parents, not teachers
No “birds and bees” talk
No sex ed class
To the dictionary I went
I found no clarity there
No answer to the question
Following the chain of related words
But I came to one of those words
The word was “rape”
It gave clarity to one thing
Whatever the definition of
Sexual Intercourse might be
Without consent
Knowing consent
Competent consent
Free consent
With no tricks
With no threats
With no emotional blackmail
It was beyond wrong,
A crime, a violence
Even as a metaphor,
One of war
One of despoliation
One of exploitation
I understood
It wasn’t difficult
It is an easy concept
Later, I leaned how that
Simple idea could be
And twisted all out of shape
By assumptions of male privilege
By domination
By dogma
By ignorance
By the appetites of predators
By defined gender roles
By placing blame on the victim
All lies and madness just to
Deny a truth so obvious

Bob Wertzler is retired from almost twenty years in the mental health field in California and Arizona. There are times the title, “Recovering Therapist”, seems to fit. In 2006 he retired to move to Western North Carolina to help and become primary care giver for his father who had developed Dementia. Before all that, there was work at various times as a soldier (US Army 1967-70), community organizer, cab driver, welfare case worker, wooden toy maker, carpenter, warehouse worker, and other things. He relates to a line in a Grateful Dead song, “What a long, strange trip its been.”

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