For months, every morning when my daughter was in preschool, I watched her construct an elaborate castle out of blocks, colorful plastic discs, bits of rope, ribbons and feathers, only to have the same little boy gleefully destroy it within seconds of its completion.
No matter how many times he did it, his parents never swooped in BEFORE the morning’s live 3-D reenactment of “Invasion of AstroMonster.” This is what they’d say repeatedly:
“You know! Boys will be boys!”
“He’s just going through a phase!”
“He’s such a boy! He LOVES destroying things!”
“Oh my god! Girls and boys are SO different!”
“He. Just. Can’t. Help himself!”
I tried to teach my daughter how to stop this from happening. She asked him politely not to do it. We talked about some things she might do. She moved where she built. She stood in his way. She built a stronger foundation to the castle, so that, if he did get to it, she wouldn’t have to rebuild the whole thing. In the meantime, I imagine his parents thinking, “What red-blooded boy wouldn’t knock it down?”
She built a beautiful, glittery castle in a public space.
It was so tempting.
He just couldn’t control himself and, being a boy, had violent inclinations.
Her consent didn’t matter. Besides, it’s not like she made a big fuss when he knocked it down. It wasn’t a “legitimate” knocking over if she didn’t throw a tantrum.
His desire — for power, destruction, control, whatever- - was understandable.
Maybe she “shouldn’t have gone to preschool” at all. OR, better if she just kept her building activities to home.
I know it’s a lurid metaphor, but I taught my daughter the preschool block precursor of don’t “get raped” and this child, Boy #1, did not learn the preschool equivalent of “don’t rape.”
Not once did his parents talk to him about invading another person’s space and claiming for his own purposes something that was not his to claim. Respect for her and her work and words was not something he was learning. How much of the boy’s behavior in coming years would be excused in these ways, be calibrated to meet these expectations and enforce the “rules” his parents kept repeating?
There was another boy who, similarly, decided to knock down her castle one day. When he did it his mother took him in hand, explained to him that it was not his to destroy, asked him how he thought my daughter felt after working so hard on her building and walked over with him so he could apologize. That probably wasn’t much fun for him, but he did not do it again.
There was a third child. He was really smart. He asked if he could knock her building down. She, beneficent ruler of all pre-circle-time castle construction, said yes… but only after she was done building it and said it was OK. They worked out a plan together and eventually he started building things with her and they would both knock the thing down with unadulterated joy. You can’t make this stuff up.
Take each of these three boys and consider what he might do when he’s older, say, at college, drunk at a party, mad at an ex-girlfriend who rebuffs him and uses words that she expects will be meaningful and respecte, “No, I don’t want to. Stop. Leave.”
The “overarching attitudinal characteristic” of abusive men is entitlement.
[CW: discussion of rape culture and violence]
This reminds me of an article about online (heterosexual) dating that I read a while ago. It listed men’s and women’s worst fears about meeting someone from online. The highest ranked fear that men had was that their date would be fat, whereas the highest ranked fear that women had was that their date would turn out to be violent and kill them.
I think that says a lot.
Its interesting also that these fears sit subconsciously until woman are asked to exams their responses to men. We women will operate with this fear in mind, the way we protect ourselves, make sure our friends know where we are when we go on a date, words that we use while interacting with men, all in hopes they will not kill us, but simultaneously love us.
I think bell hooks made a point about this in her series on love. Something along the lines of how can women hope to love and receive love from men when at the foundation of our relationships there is this strong fear of men. You can’t build true trust when your foundation is crumbling under you.
The scariest part is, once you recognize this fear, and face it, how do you address it when there is evidence of “good” men abusing, hurting, and killing women everyday?
I was in my early 20’s when one of my homegirls broke this down for me.
I was in a broken relationship, and one of the things was that bugged me at the time was that the girlfriend at the time would freak out whenever I got angry - I never yelled, never throw or hit things, mostly, I just needed some time to cool out.
“Why does she get scared when I’m angry? I’d never hit her!”
“But she doesn’t KNOW that. She can’t assume that. Look at how many dudes are out there pulling shit.”
And that stuck with me for a hot minute. The relationship was broken on so many levels anyway, but that fact still remains, as a man, I can’t fault women for assuming the worst in order to protect themselves, especially how the world’s patriarchy and misogyny rolls.
I’ve had continual discussions with Tchy about this, and I don’t expect to stop. It’s fair to say that there’s no one in the world that I trust more, and he has been extremely careful with me, but… the fact remains that he leans quite a bit towards the masculine, and this means that that fear is always there. The news of transmasculine folks abusing/raping people doesn’t help that fear any. :(
I’m learning not to apologize for it. It’s not my fault (nor, really, is it his) that I’m scared of dude-type people. But it’s always there. Which is another reason why I get so pissed off when trans men try to make transmisogyny about them.
This is an incredible thread of responses. I’ve seen this quote before, but not the dialogue that built up around it. The part about loud=violent hits home particularly hard for me. I am terrified of getting into irl arguments with men, especially when they get loud. It’s always going to sit in the pit of my stomach.
That part resonates for me too, although from a completely different angle. Despite being more terrified of sexual violence than I am of anything other than my own brain, I do not hesitate to yell, confront, get up in the face of, threaten, even hit men twice my size and many times my strength. Faced with a threat of violence from men, I will either imply or state “I dare you to.”
I also, as previously established on this blog, have a death wish.
To me, that encapsulates everything about the violence, especially sexual violence, coded into relationships between men and women in our society: for a woman to assert herself in the face of maleness may require the woman in question (such as me) to be perpetually suicidal.
Reblogging for commentary. I have been frightened and scared by men being loud with me, even if I don’t think they’ll be violent. Like people have said above, it’s just a latent response in your brain to fear violence from men.
I went out to dinner with someone a couple of weeks ago (LONG story, was supposed to be a group dinner but it ended up just being me & a strange man) and I told him I blogged about feminism and politics, and he went off on me. He told me feelings were bullshit and women just wanted special privileges, and then he said, “Women don’t give men enough credit for not being violent psychopaths. That’s what we are, deep down. We want to rape and pillage, and we don’t, and women don’t give us enough credit for that.” I burst into tears. That shit was terrifying.
I too am reblogging this for the amazing commentary.
When supposed feminist ally men deny this very basic, simple truth - that’s how you know they are an ally to no one.
This all gets taught to women at a very young age, how dangerous the world is when you’re in it being a woman. I’ve been struggling to write about something that happened with my daughter a few weeks ago, how to form the words, but this is possibly the best context.
We were in the wine shop, in line to pay, and she was so excited to get her lollipop (in the time honored tradition of wine stores everywhere). A man two people ahead of us started fighting with the woman behind the counter about how much money he’d given her. As I was moving her behind my body, my daughter froze, and when I say froze, I mean wasn’t moving a muscle except to shake.
It sorted itself out pretty quickly. We paid and left.
Once we got back into the car, she started crying. I asked her what was the matter, and she said, “Mama, I was so scared. When men get angry they shoot people.”
That’s a direct quote. When men get angry, they shoot people.
I asked her, “Baby, why do you think that?” She replied, “on NPR, that’s what happens. When men get really mad they kill people. That guy was really mad, what if he had a gun? What would you do?”
The talk we had afterwards was difficult; no one said parenting was easy. But this is the life we live as women. If my 9 year old understands it, then men of the world, alleged feminist allies, Nice Guys, random douches on the street, and even actual non-dangerous men: so can you.
I’ve reblogged this quote before, I think. But reblogging now for the amazing commentary.
I was having a discussion with my father and brother the other day. We were talking about receiving threats of rape or violence via the internet. Their whole argument was “just ignore it and walk away from your computer”. Amazing solution. Can’t believe I never thought of that. It’s so clever because we all know that when you leave your keyboard the threat of violence disappears.
Dearest Beloved Girl,
This letter is an apology. An apology for being an adult who has failed to make the world safe for you. Because you should be safe. Even when you make the sometimes stupid, often naive choices that teens make, you should be safe.
Your vulnerability should not invite assault and attack of your body or your spirit. And so I am sorry, because we have failed to teach your male peers that they have no right to touch you without your consent or to use you to meet their needs or to discard you if your victimization does not fit their life plan. I am sorry we have failed you.
This letter is also a note of gratitude for your willingness to report this crime, to take the stand, and to endure the viciousness hurled at you this week. I know the words that run in a loop in your mind. Don’t tell. If you tell, no one will believe you. If you tell, everyone will think you are a whore. Sometimes he is the one who says them first, spewing the words like mold spores that grow in the darkness of your silence. Sometimes it’s your own voice telling you, I can’t tell. No one will believe me. It’s the reason 54%of survivors never report the assault. It’s the reason I kept my secret for nearly a decade. But not you, beloved. You demanded the right to be heard.
You may have lost your voice that night, but you found it again when you told the truth–even though you knew, didn’t you? You knew just how relentlessly they would try to silence you.
You knew that neighbors, and friends, and even members of the national media would mourn the loss of your attackers’ football careers more than the loss of your innocence. You knew that even those who claimed to be sympathetic would pass along the pictures of your assault with a tone deaf voyeurism that seeks to make you a thing instead of a person. I think maybe you knew, or suspected these things, but you spoke out anyway.
And that…that is astonishing. And I want to say thank you, because you did what so many of us never find the strength to do. You spoke for yourself. You spoke for the 44% of rape victims who are under 18–and you spoke for my 14-year-old self, who still hears that threat echoing in my head, “Don’t tell. No one will believe you.”
So, this is my apology and this is my gratitude. This is me saying, “I believe you.”
And I believe you are inherently valuable. Not as a character in some grotesque news cycle where your assault is all we know, but as a girl with hopes and dreams and ambitions and vulnerabilities and so much more growing up to do. I never need to know your name, but I need you to know you are not alone. Surviving is not a single occurrence, it is a lifetime of making choices that honor you and your right to speak. You have begun surviving. You will continue surviving. And if you ever get down, or wonder how you will go on, take out this letter and read it to yourself.
I believe you.
[CW: cissexist assumptions, discussion of rape and suicide] Feminists do not want you to lose custody of your children. The assumption that women are naturally better caregivers is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not like commercials in which bumbling dads mess up the laundry and competent wives have to bustle in and fix it. The assumption that women are naturally better housekeepers is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to have to make alimony payments. Alimony is set up to combat the fact that women have been historically expected to prioritize domestic duties over professional goals, thus minimizing their earning potential if their “traditional” marriages end. The assumption that wives should make babies instead of money is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want anyone to get raped in prison. Permissiveness and jokes about prison rape are part of rape culture, which is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want anyone to be falsely accused of rape. False rape accusations discredit rape victims, which reinforces rape culture, which is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to be lonely and we do not hate “nice guys.” The idea that certain people are inherently more valuable than other people because of superficial physical attributes is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to have to pay for dinner. We want the opportunity to achieve financial success on par with men in any field we choose (and are qualified for), and the fact that we currently don’t is part of patriarchy. The idea that men should coddle and provide for women, and/or purchase their affections in romantic contexts, is condescending and damaging and part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to be maimed or killed in industrial accidents, or toil in coal mines while we do cushy secretarial work and various yarn-themed activities. The fact that women have long been shut out of dangerous industrial jobs (by men, by the way) is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to commit suicide. Any pressures and expectations that lower the quality of life of either gender are part of patriarchy. The fact that depression is characterized as an effeminate weakness, making men less likely to seek treatment, is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to be viewed with suspicion when you take your child to the park (men frequently insist that this is a serious issue, so I will take them at their word). The assumption that men are insatiable sexual animals, combined with the idea that it’s unnatural for men to care for children, is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to be drafted and then die in a war while we stay home and iron stuff. The idea that women are too weak to fight or too delicate to function in a military setting is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want women to escape prosecution on legitimate domestic violence charges, nor do we want men to be ridiculed for being raped or abused. The idea that women are naturally gentle and compliant and that victimhood is inherently feminine is part of patriarchy.
Feminists hate patriarchy. We do not hate you.
|—||Lindy West, If I Admit That ‘Hating Men’ Is a Thing, Will You Stop Turning It Into a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy?|
Without [legal consent], sexual contact with someone is rape whether you intended to rape or not. A woman who is drunk, unconscious, sleeping cannot give legal consent. And it’s not about a woman simply saying “no,” it’s really about making certain she’s saying yes.
Jaclyn Friedman author of “Yes Means Yes”, coined the term ‘enthusiastic consent’, which flips the traditional lens with which we view consent on it’s head. She asks, “What if, instead of just the absence of ‘no,’ an enthusiastic ‘yes’ was required as a standard for sexual consent?”
[…] “Consent is actually easy to figure out. You have to ask. It’s your job to ask. It’s not gendered. Women also have the responsibility to ask. And if you can’t tell, ask.”
And if the “yes” you receive is obtained through coercion, and/or is not enthusiastic, that does not count as true consent.
Yeah, so trans men and non-binary CAFAB people can get pregant too. Wonder how long it wil take for the people who make these infographics to grasp this fact…
[TW: forced sterilisation]
So fucked up. Now bear with me - this is the Daily Mail so they won’t be the most feminist in covering this, but it is agreed that this is an effed up situation.
The nine-year-old girl who gave birth in Mexico will never have another child after she was sterilized by the doctors who delivered her baby - against her family’s wishes, it was revealed today.
The youngster was given the procedure following the shock delivery without the consent of her own mother.
She has now reported the Zoquipan Hospital in Guadalajara to the local human rights commission which is investigating.
I hope something good comes of this. No one deserves to have their reproductive rights violated - even if they’ve given birth at 9. Unacceptable.
Also kind of surprised this hasn’t been given more attention in the feminist news cycle.
Wow. Absolutely, unrepentantly inexcusable. America has a sick history of doing this to women of color as well, but it’s still shocking to see it happening today - especially to a 9-year-old girl. Sick.
So not only did this 9-year-old child give birth after being raped - because under no circumstances can a 9-year-old consent to sex - she will never have another opportunity to have children because of a second horrible violation. Wow.
One of the worst things I’ve ever read. Ever. I actually can’t process this.
Erika Nicole Kendall, What A Victim-Blaming World Looks Like To A Victim
An addition: If rape was about only about vaginas, people without vaginas would never get raped. BUT THEY DO.
This is all of the accurate and none of the bullshit.
I’ve noticed lately that a lot of MRAs and such are quoting a study done by Prof. Kanin (formerly a prof at Purdue) who found that 40% of rape accusations are false.
I think it’s really important everyone know where these numbers are coming from and why they’re straight up BS.
Kanin did one nine-year study in an UNNAMED town (so no way to verify it) in the 80s, with only 109 participants, and forced all of them to take a lie detector test, which we know to be extremely inconsistent and manipulative for victims. Furthermore, any recanting was marked as a “false report” and we know there are any number of reasons that rape victims recant testimonies.
Another study done by the Air Force in the 80s claims that 65% of rape victims are lying. But again, when victims came forward they were immediately told they would have to take a Lie Detector test to prove it, and roughly 65% of them backed off and said the rape hadn’t happened. Again, lie detector tests are extremely manipulative, and there are a million reasons why a victim would not want to undergo that.
This, more comprehensive, recent, and scientifically sound study done by the FBI shows that about 8% of accusations are unfounded. As unfounded does not mean false, it is reasonable to conclude that less than 8% of accusations are false.
The largest study done was done by the British Home Office in 2003, and it found accusations to be about 3%, which is lower than the average of other crimes.
In conclusion the number of false rape accusations is most likely between 2-8%, which puts it no higher than other crimes.
In conclusion of my conclusion, MRAs, please shut up forever.
“And notably, people who falsely file claims usually do not name specific individuals, but instead “involve only a vaguely described stranger. These research findings support the theory that people who falsely allege rape do so not out of desire for revenge against a specific person, but because they seek general attention and sympathy.” [Source]
So not only is the number of “false” rape accusations incredibly smaller than 40 percent, but an even smaller number accounts for accusers who specifically named an individual as their rapist. Which makes you wonder about all those dudes online who have a friend whose life was totally ruined by a false rape accusation. If you consider plain statistical probability, it’s much more likely that your friend is a rapist who got away with it than that he was falsely accused of being a rapist.
Bolded because that is the truest shit I’ve read in a long time.
It’s also a good time to bring this back to the fore.
I’ve been meaning to make a post discussing assaults that often happen in mental hospitals that often go unreported/unnoticed, but I haven’t had the spoons for it.
But the last time I was hospitalized, there was a man there who asked me if I wanted to “hang out”. I was extremely drugged-up on Haldol and god knows what else, and I said “sure”. He later told me to follow him into his room. I told him that I didn’t think we were allowed in other patient’s rooms, and he said it was okay, to “just follow him”. So I went in. He then proceeded to push me onto the bed and feel me up. I quickly pushed him off and started walking towards the door, but he stood in front of me and put his hands on my ass. He then started feeling me up again and eventually tried to start taking my pants off. I was extremely confused from my medication and felt like I was in a dream, but eventually I had the sense to push him away and ran out of the room. I didn’t really know what to do. I didn’t quite know how to process what had just happened. I wasn’t sure if it had *really* happened or if I had hallucinated it (I have schizophrenia). So I went back into my room and decided to try and go to sleep because my mind was racing.
He followed me into my fucking room.
He crouched down near my bed (my roommate was sleeping) and kept saying “come on, what’s the big deal?” I told him to go away, that I had a girlfriend, etc. He kept stroking my leg and trying to pull my blanket off. I told him that he really needed to leave, but he just kept talking to me and touching my leg. I told him that if he didn’t leave that I would scream. He finally said okay and stood up and started walking away. But then he just stood there for a while and I started counting “1, 2…” and he left. He then just stood outside my door for a long time and starred at me.
I was obviously freaked out. But I couldn’t believe what had just happened was real.
I was tired from my medication and went to sleep.
The next day on smoke break, I was trying to process what had happened. I couldn’t decide whether it had *actually* happened or if it had all been in my head.
And then, I saw him.
He came outside, smiled at me, and sat down next to me.
He asked me for a cigarette.
I told him that he had a lot of nerve asking me for a cigarette after what he did to me the other day. He said, “You know you had fun.”
I was disgusted.
But I still gave him my second cigarette?
When I was done smoking, I stood up to leave, and he said, “So, do you want to hang out later?”
I just looked at him with a horrified face and walked away.
I guess he was discharged that day or something, because I didn’t see him after that, which is unfortunate, because I finally had enough sense to report him after I had discussed it with other patients and my girlfriend (even though I didn’t end up reporting it). But after discussing the incident with other patients, I was horrified by some of the stories I had heard (not stories from that hospital, but other hospitals they had been at). I heard stories of patients who had reported being assaulted by other patients, but when they reported it, it was never taken seriously. I heard stories of patients who were harassed by staff members, but when it was reported/addressed, it was also never taken seriously. And it reminded me of how when I brought up my concerns of a male patient who kept starring at me (like really, even my girlfriend commented on the fact that this guy kept starring at me, and he would stand outside of my room and look at me as I was trying to sleep… it was freaky), and you know what they did for me? THEY GAVE ME HALDOL, BECAUSE LOL, THEY SAID I WAS JUST ~BEING PARANOID~.
When you’re mentally ill, you’re not always heard.
And it’s things like not being heard that make me question whether things like what happened to me at the hospital *actually* happened.
But it *did* happen.
And I shouldn’t have been afraid to report it just because I worried about whether or not I would actually be believed.
The fact that I couldn’t even fully believe myself because I was so drugged-up scares me.
I love you so much and I’m so grateful you took the time and energy to write this. Thank you. Seriously <3
Some of the arguments that defense attorneys use to defend rapists
I want you guys to stay informed. Here are some of the arguments that I edited for a defense attorney who specialized in defending men accused of sexual assault, rape and domestic violence.
- These cases work in a peculiar way — the jury won’t be swayed if the lawyer seems to be attacking a victim (especially female). So the defense plays up how smart and well-balanced the woman seems and how helpless and naive the guy is. If you’re cross-examining a woman and ask her nicely about a string of achievements — “You graduated summa cum laude from an Ivy League school, correct?” “You started your own business, correct?” “You are in charge of over 40 people at your company, correct?” “If one of your employees behaved inappropriately, you would have no problem reprimanding or firing them, correct?” “A smart woman isn’t likely to stay with a man who beats her every night, right? Does that sound right to you?” — the jury ends up having sympathy for her, but believing that she’s too smart (or pretty or accomplished or whatever vein the attorney picks) to let bad things happen to her.
- When he cross-examines his own clients he emphasizes that they’re either too morally sound or too confused, “It was just a mistake,” so that sometimes you can admit that there was an altercation but (he tells the jury, shaking his head) you can’t call it rape because that’s too strong.
- “Victim pretended to be unconscious following alleged rape to avoid answering friend’s questions” — hat’s a section heading for a case summary.
- “Friend did not initially believe explanation” - that’s the heading of the next section. In this particular case, the attorney cross-examined the victim’s friends and got them to admit that she was just a dramatic person, or flustered, pointing to signs that she either lied about this case or chronically lies/exaggerates.
- “Victim had time to consider her circumstances before accusing client of rape” — she took until the next day to go to the police station, soooo.
- Point out all the different ways she could have resisted or every possible sign of resistance that wasn’t there — the prosecution will focus on the few signs they have, but the defense can be really smarmy here and list every single way she did not resist
- If the woman was drunk, and the prosecution says she was unable to consent because she was drunk, the defense can call in experts on alcohol absorption and grill them until they admit that there’s a margin of error (“Since it was our contention that the alleged victim had exaggerated her level of intoxication to attract attention, and was not, therefore, too intoxicated to consent to sexual relations, the main goal of this cross-examination is to undermine the credibility of the chemist’s retrograde extrapolation calculations.” That’s a quote from a book I edited).
- And of course the good ol’ focusing on her sexual history, any flaws she could have, emphasize that these are human flaws and that nobody in this case deserves any punishment.
These are very convincing arguments to juries.
And that’s why we hesitate to report our sexual assaults and rapes, because “it’s not that big of a deal,” because there’s no way we could “let” that happen to us; because once we get to the police station they ask “what took you so long” and “how could you let that happen to you”; because when you get to the courtroom you’re subjected to this; and the time and the money and “I just want this to be over.” and then…the jury is so easily convinced. They say 1 in 4 women has been sexually assaulted, but I really think it’s more, and I don’t even want to know how many sexual assaults and rapes have happened with absolutely no mention — or even recognition — of them happening (from either party). Let alone retribution.
Korean poster which has been making it’s way around.
Protesting sexual harassment and violence against women: Etiquette for men at night.
- Remember that your presence can be threatening to women walking alone at night.
- If a woman is walking in front of you alone at night, slow down. You walking quickly or speeding up can be and in most cases is threatening.
- If you’ve been drinking and are drunk, go straight home.
- Do not pick a fight or aggravate women walking at night
- Do not take off your clothes or publicly urinate.
- Be careful to make sure you do not touch or hit someone, even on accident.
- If, late at night, you come to a situation in which you and a woman have to ride an elevator together, let her go up first and wait for the elevator to come back down.
- If there’s a woman in a public restroom (there are Korean public restrooms with no gender or sex markings that are open to all people), wait for her to finish and come out first before using the restroom.
- Report broken streetlights to the police.
- Tell other men about these rules and that they have a responsibility to not threaten women walking at night.
Korea does it right.