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June Converse

Thriving After Trauma - Author and Writing Coach

You Did Not Say That?

This blog seems particularly timely because as I’m writing this, we’re in the heart of “March Madness” and like many other wives, I’m a basketball-widow for a few weeks. I’m writing this on a Thursday morning. That’s significant because I was told of the encounter on Sunday and I CANNOT get past it. The shock of it still vibrates inside me.

At a gathering of college students at a major university with a strong basketball program filled with players with genuine NBA-dreams, a female student stood next to a basketball player. The young lady smiled at the player and proceeded to compliment him on the team’s success. He cut her off and said (and this is a direct quote), “Unless we’re going planning to f*#$, don’t speak to me.” Let me repeat that …

“Unless you plan to F*&$ me, don’t speak to me.”

Now, I know what you’re thinking – that I’m relaying a story that’s been embellished through several re-tellings OR that I’m telling a story out of context OR that I’m telling a story where I only tell one side (for example, maybe the girl said or did something to inspire such a response) OR maybe he was joking and I’m overreacting.

I know you may be thinking along those lines because that’s what I usually think too. BUT, let me assure you, I personally know the players in this drama.

Here are the questions that keep rumbling through me:

  1. How should that girl respond? I can create great “comebacks” but what words could she have said that would make a true impact? Or is an impact beyond the realm of possibility for such a boy?
  2. Should this young lady file some sort of formal complaint? Which leads me to ask to whom and with what expectation? And, let’s be honest, if she did complain, she would become the pariah, not the boy.
  3. What in this young man’s world gives him the idea that this is acceptable? And beyond that, what do we, as a culture do to change such a perception? Eventually he has to enter the adult world, where does he fit? Is it possible he fits almost anywhere?
  4. Are athletes afforded so much worship that this is acceptable? Condoned? Expected?
  5. Is this sexual harassment? Or is this just some jackass showing off? How do we counsel our children – male and female – on how to handle themselves? How do we define sexual harassment? With the #metoo movement, we need to define the rules more clearly. Is there a difference between sexual proposition and sexual harassment? But, this blog is not about sexual harassment – I don’t want to enter that debate right now. What I want to understand is how a 20-year-old boy believes such words, such intent, such expectation enters the realm of acceptable behavior?
  6. Does this work for the boy – does he get girls to f*&* him with such an attitude? If so, that says more about the culture our girls live in than the boy – right?
  7. What would this boy’s parents say if they knew he said this? Do we, as parents, somehow condone this in our current culture? Do we ignore these attitudes and therefore subtly condone? Do we accept other behavior that leads to a slippery slope we can’t control?

I know we live in a culture of entitlement. Is this just a disgusting extension of that?

I’m posting this not because I want to kick-off a storm of controversy. I’m posting this because I had no idea how to counsel my young friend. I have no guidance for children, my grandchildren or their parents. In my mind – and maybe I’m showing my age – this behavior is Unacceptable.

I have no idea how to change things. It seems that we have so many problems in our world and all of them are so complex. Where do we begin? Can we even begin to define strategies when some believe his behavior is acceptable and others do not? Do we have any hope when everything seems so polarized? Can we bridge these gaps?

This entire situation has created an upheaval in my own heart. It feels like I should DO something – but what? How?


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June Converse with purple hair
Choosing to rebuild a life after a breakdown has been a challenge. I became an author and a blogger who openly shares...
All of my novels, at least so far, have an element of mental illness within a character. Decide to Hope is the most autobiographical in that I struggle in many ways exactly as the female protagonist.
- J.C.


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