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Pretty, pretty please, dammit.

(possible triggering subject)

I want to thank wulfsdottir  for linking me to cereta 's post about rape culture and what men can do to help change it, and I really ask that all my readers check it out, and read the comments too, because the post is good, and the comments are mind-blowing. I laughed, I cried, I ached, I screamed (internally, since I was reading some of it at work), I clenched the fist of death. Men, I love you, but I need you to do this - speak out when you hear (or see, such as on the Intarwebs) a man making jokes about rape, when you hear a man denigrating a woman because she won't do what he wants, in fact, whenever you see or hear women being treated as less than fully autonomous beings with full control over their bodies.

Why? Because we need you to be That Guy (read the post! I'll wait!). We need it so, so bad. For a good example on the web of That Guy, check out Richie at Crimitism, who has suffered the slings and arrows from speaking up, and came out, not only whole, but a better person at the end. We need you to be our supporters because the culture that sets women up as second best, that makes rape somehow about sex and "getting laid" instead of domination and subjugation (why do you think straight men rape in prison? Clue: It's not about sex), tells men that unless she's kicking and screaming she's consenting, and frames rape as "what women do wrong" instead of "what men do wrong", makes it impossible for women to speak and be heard. It's easy to dismiss a woman if you think of her as not fully human, but it's a little harder when your buds are saying "dude, that is not cool".  We need you to be the one saying "dude, that is not cool".

Is it easy? Fuck no. But we want the men we love and like, the men who are our lovers and our friends, to have our backs. To see us as people worth defending. To be people we can trust to speak up for us when we are not being listened to. And sometimes, that means putting yourself in an uncomfortable position. But, as cereta  says, what is more important - protecting yourself from feeling like a buzzkill, or protecting us from humiliation, rape and death?

I know some of you want to argue with me right now. That you're already stopping and hitting the "comment" button, and that you want to bring out the same arguments that come out every time I write about women's harassment, like this, and this, and this, and this. I'd like you to pause, though and think for a moment. Do you really think I've never heard any of the arguments before? Do you suppose that there's a happy place where women go to talk about this stuff where no-one ever tries to derail the argument into comments about tone, or how shit happens to men too, or that it's really not such a big deal because they don't think it is, so no-one else can, or that we're all being paranoid or over-reacting, or hysterical, or that it's a compliment when someone won't take no for an answer?

We hear this all our lives.  From day one.  As soon as the subject comes up, we hear it.  Frequently, we don't even get to say our part, because someone is talking louder than us in an effort to get us to shut up about the icky subject.  We're supposed to smile, and be sweet, and not cause problems.  And if anyone says it isn't like that, I would remind you of the comments that come out of the woodwork any time a man people know is accused of doing something inappropriate - the comments of "it's not a big deal", "she didn't say no really loudly, so it's okay", "I've never seen that behaviour, so it can't have happened", "she's just a slut", "it's her fault for being provocative/drinking/wearing that" or the trump card of "they're making it up - women lie about this stuff all the time".  All the comments designed to shut women up, and preserve the status quo.

Rape culture?  We're swimming in it.  And many, if not most, women are barely keeping their noses above water.  Many drown.  So, even though it's uncomfortable to think about, consider cerata 's post, and mine.  And think about the women you know, and how you say you want to defend them from bad things.  Listen to what they're saying, even if it makes you scared.  And think about the fact that 1 in 3 women is sexually assaulted at some point in their lives, and 100% deal with men who think that they have an absolute right to touch and take women's bodies.  That means that statistically, there's a good chance that a third of the women you know have been assaulted, and every single one of them has been felt up or otherwise forced to deal with threatening, coercive, or unwanted sexual attention.  I'm not telling you to be That Guy, because I don't have the power to do a damned thing.  I'm begging you, for the sake of women everywhere, who deal with the fear of men and what men can do every day.  Speak up - you don't have to be Batman, just the guy that says "dude, not cool". 

One in three women.  One in three.  How many women do you know?

Think you don't know anyone who has been raped? 

If you read this blog, you do.


( 55 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )
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Jun. 26th, 2009 03:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you. For the link to the original post and for your words.
Jun. 26th, 2009 03:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the link. I know I'll be sending a few people over.
Jun. 26th, 2009 03:48 pm (UTC)
Glad you found it worth the read.
Jun. 26th, 2009 03:54 pm (UTC)
Mother of God. I'm currently acquainted with three (incest/child abuse, friend rape while inebriated, date rape) other women who've been raped. At various points in my life I used to know 2 (drunken frat party gang rape, incest/child abuse) more. I know one male who's been raped (incest/child abuse). Pretty much fits the stats, I do believe, and those are just the people who've told me. People who tell me this shit... have no clue. Yes, we need people to be That Guy.
Jun. 26th, 2009 04:03 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you spoke. I hope they listen.
Jun. 26th, 2009 04:12 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
Jun. 26th, 2009 04:40 pm (UTC)
Emailing the link. Thank you.
Jun. 26th, 2009 04:57 pm (UTC)
The dismissive excuse I have heard all my life for so much of that behavior and that just makes me WILD is, "Boys will be boys."

So because they are young, short, mini-rapists, stalkers, and what-have-you, it's OK?!? That the whole, "I want it, you have it, and I'm going to take it from you because you can't stop me" mentality is OK?!?

Fuck that noise.

That is no damn different than the stories of almost every person sentenced to execution and sitting on Death Row, whether it was over a car, or money, or sex. I want it, you have it, and I'm taking it because you can't stop me.

I jumped to the link yesterday and read cereta's post and a bunch of comments (OK, I got very little actual work done yesterday). Yes, we need men to be That Guy. I cannot recommend her post, as well as yours, enough.

As for me, what I know from experience and noticed from others' stories was that it is so rarely a stranger who rapes or violates you and/or allows it to happen without intervening. And it's the betrayal of trust and the violation you feel when you think you are safe or with people who actually care about you that are hardest to get over, if anyone ever does. The people who make the conscious decision to trust again are so brave in my eyes. OK, sometimes I think they're stupid, but mainly I think they are brave.

So, calling all honorable men: We need you to be That Guy.
Jun. 26th, 2009 05:03 pm (UTC)
May I share this link? Thank you for posting it.
Jun. 26th, 2009 05:18 pm (UTC)
Totally. :)
Jun. 26th, 2009 05:13 pm (UTC)
I consider myself quite lucky in regards to unwanted sexual advances, really. Not that nothing has ever happened to me. My cousin and I were molested by a female babysitter when we were 3 or 4, and in one job I had a coworker constantly sexually harassing me (and I was too scared and embarassed to speak up about it, and it was one of the deciding factors in me leaving that job), but that never went beyond verbal harassment.

Somebody needs to be That Guy. There aren't enough men who are willing to stand up and tell other men that they're being fucktards for treating women like nothing more than living sex dolls.
Jun. 26th, 2009 05:20 pm (UTC)
Working as a lawyer I actually heard the argument about *rough Passion* being made in court. That was two years ago. The woman had screamed no, kicked and biten the guy and then while he was at it puked all over him and his defense was:
I thought it was consentual. His LAWYER (and I am a lawyer too and know about what his job was and I am not living in the US either) actually though it might be worth a try to say it was heady passion gone out of hand. An experienced criminal lawyer...which means that there are still cases in which this argument works.

Really: SHE PUKED! She said no and she PUKED!
I don't really call that subtle. If the guy really thought it was consentual he needs to be locked up too, because we KNOW he will do it again, since he apparently cannot take any hint at all.
Jun. 26th, 2009 05:45 pm (UTC)
Thank you. If you read this comment you now know 2
Jun. 26th, 2009 06:10 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately I have known good guys who have been bitten by being "that guy" by the woman in the situation. I think it is hard to know when to help and when to lay off since so many messages are going out. It's obvious when you walk in on certain situations (rape, mugging, etc.) that what is happening is not okay, but when someone says something inappropriate and a nice guy says "that's not acceptable" it doesn't really help when the girl in the situation starts yelling about how she "didn't need his help, thank you very much," and she never asked for "a knight in shining armor."

I think that sometimes we as woman accidentally send mixed messages. I definitely think that a big step in the right direction is teaching good men to be open enough to say, "what's going on here and do you need my help?" and then teaching women to not get as defensive and to respond positively even if the answer is "no thanks I'm all good" because I know sometimes men are afraid of being thought of as sexist because they assume we can't help ourselves out of a pickle.....but then honestly sometimes we can't because we are facing odds and strength that are too great in some cases.

Does that make sense without sounding like an apologist? Because that's not what I meant.
Jun. 26th, 2009 06:35 pm (UTC)
I think that the occasion of that happening needs to be handled by the man in question, and it should not make him stop. Because for every one woman who gets cross, there are 20 who needed that guy, and no guy stood up.
(no subject) - cathgrace - Jun. 26th, 2009 06:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wulfsdottir - Jun. 27th, 2009 04:10 am (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 26th, 2009 06:30 pm (UTC)
Have posted a link to your post in my LJ. Everyone - men and women alike - needs to hear this. I have a gorgeous, single, 25 year old daughter whom I worry about every day, and a 23 year old son whom I hope I've raised to be "that guy." Thank you.
Jun. 26th, 2009 08:04 pm (UTC)
Hey. Just posted this link, and thank you profoundly for what you wrote. I had to deal with two situations of attempted rape when I was less than 12 years old; one was by a friend of my best friend's brother and the other was by a stranger who treed me and two of my friends (literally; we climbed a tree) for three hours while he tried to get us to come down and told us what he wanted to do to us. I was lucky; I got away, but I've known two people who did not.

This can't get discussed loudly enough or often enough. One thing to pass along-- I got given good advice years ago during a self-defense class, and it was this: if you're in a situation where you feel endangered and where someone won't say no, start screaming "FIRE!" at the top of your lungs. People who'd normally avert their eyes *will* look if you do that, believe me; and if they don't like it, well screw them. What's worth more, their approval or your safety?

Again, thanks.
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