Don't Rape, Part I — Society teaches 'Don’t get raped' rather than 'Don’t rape'

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RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

b star wrote:

  Women must stop "giving in" stop enabling men, stop being pressured, speak up, speak out, walk and run out, take self defense courses, become more discerning and demanding. 

 

It's on the men, the rest of your post was spot on, I think.  Us men must stop it!

milo204

"Nope milo, did you ever stop and think passive aggressive behaviour by way of; cold sholder, aloofness, pouting, if you don't 'get it when you want it' and overt and sublimal threats "of getting it elsewhere" are all a part of rape?"

I just think you're misinterpreting me: I'm saying the only way rape will become abnormal in society is when the people that are doing it become more educated and aware of what rape is, and that it can constitute exactly what you're describing.  That coercion is a form of rape.  My point, in my first post, was that people who do not get this right now may not see the similarity between what you've described (coercion) with a more mainstream view of rape of literally physically forcing someone against their will to have sex with you.  It will be only through educating people that coercion is a form of violence.  Again, my point was that most men-most people- simply don't think that way, so when you say "don't rape" they don't get it because coercion is such a part western society, so they still think that rape is only rape when the other person is kicking and screaming.

"And seriously, most here are not into 101ing it with you, I would bet, as I am most certainly sick of it, and really it is not OUR duty to educate YOU."

well if thats your attitude, how do you expect to communicate your message to the kind of men who would  rape someone?  If you crap all over me for responding to a post on babble which is supposed to be a place for sharing and challenging  progressive opinions, i fail to see how you are ever going to reach people who DON'T think coercion is still rape out there in mainstream society.  Which i think really proves my point about this campaign.

 

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

No Milo, it proves you haven't thought about your tact.  We're allies.  A lot of posters agree the 101 shoud be gone over.  Others don't.  Please respect them.

 

We need to find a way to respectfully communicate.  Teh interwebs sux for [email protected]$ion.

integrity

I feel that there are men who would never even consider raping a woman and it does not matter whether they are so-called educated or not.  They are simply decent men!  Those same men have the courage to speak up when other men demean women/girls.  They also help a woman when they are a witness to violence against her.  Most importantly, they find the act of rape reprehensible.  Yes, believe it or not there are such men.  Rape is a violent act, it is not only "unacceptable"but can ruin a person's whole life.  How convenient to imply that some simply do not know what they are doing.  Try telling that to a judge when you break and enter or when you kill someone when drunk driving!! It is called unaccountable and making excuses for abominations and YES rape is an abomination.  It is not the women who are "weak" as someone implied, it is the men!  Let's get this straight.  The men who are controlled by their penises are weak.  Men who say they just have no control over what they do - guess what? is there anything weaker than that?  What a flimsy excuse.  A body part controls a whole person - how "weak" can a human being get? It is a monstrous thing to do to rape a woman, child or man. Let us have the guts to call it what it is! 

 

If ya can't control your penis - get help man!  We human beings can control what we WANT to control. It is so easy to say "Gee - I just can't help myself".  Get me my kleenex box.  What a hell of a cop-out!  If there is a problem, GET IT FIXED!  Why is it that there is more of a focus on getting the women to be more careful rather than holding the men accountable for this violation?  Look at some of the posts from the supposedly progressive rabble men!!  Even in this democratic country, so it is said, men control the judicial system, the medical system, academic institutions, the media, therefore, there is mass collusion amongst men in protecting their bros and blaming the 'dames'!  Why don't the men just stay home at night and allow the women to have the streets.  Maybe we can take turns! Let's perhaps put a curfew on the guys for a change.

 

 

integrity

Re the coercion issue, let the men who profess to be allies to woman take on the task of educating their brothers, fathers, sons and male  friends/colleagues  It isn't a woman's task to educate men.  It is a woman's job TO PROTECT HERSELF: Set her boundaries and support her sisters and the men who TRULY are their allies.  Many women want to put their energy  where it counts most and where it is very much needed. Women don't have the time and energy to keep 'wiping noses' and 'changing diapers' if you get the drift.

Yiwah

remind wrote:

Michelle wrote:
...most men who pull those kind of pressure tactics on their partners have no clue whatsoever that what they're doing victimizes women.  They just think it's a normal relationship dynamic.

This too is important, very important, as it compounds the older you get.

And I believe that is why many relationships break up after years of being together, and even in companionship for the most part.

It is like there is a final straw, and that is it.

Of course it is my anecdotal observations only, but it is one of my several questions that I have asked women over the course of my life. 100's of women, perhaps 1000's.

That's how it happened for me...I always say, if he'd have been physically abusive I would have left a lot earlier.  Instead he cheated and blamed it on me for being sexually distant, even gave me STIs, and had the gall to at the outset pretend he thought I'd been unfaithful.  I wasn't prepared for the three day stints of the 'cold shoulder' when I wasn't interested in having sex with him after a long day of work and then taking care of the kids.  I wasn't prepared for the threats of him leaving me to find someone who would put out more.  I mean, I can look at these things now and realise how absolutely awful they are, but it was difficult at the time, and I know he still thinks he did everything right.

My last straw?  Him telling me "can't you at least pretend to enjoy it?".

The thought of him makes my skin crawl.

Yiwah

Michelle wrote:

Oh lord, yes.  Stalking as romance - a theme in so much of pop culture!

When Michael Jackson died, my son got really interested in him - he found a few of his songs really catchy (which of course they are).  So rr got him a video with a bunch of MJ's music videos on it.

We got to this one, and boy did we have a lot of deconstructing to do afterwards!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzZ_urpj4As

That...

 

Is so creepy.  And all the guys stopping her from getting away.  The old man giving him the thumbs up.

Can't believe I've never seen this before, it's chilling.  I think at one point I'm deliberately going to watch this with my girls.

Yiwah

RevolutionPlease wrote:

b star wrote:

  Women must stop "giving in" stop enabling men, stop being pressured, speak up, speak out, walk and run out, take self defense courses, become more discerning and demanding. 

 

It's on the men, the rest of your post was spot on, I think.  Us men must stop it!

I was taught not to put up with abuse...but I thought abuse just meant hitting.

There are plenty of things our daughters have to learn too.

b star

Yes, out daughters must learn to defend themselves, to bring the rapists to the Courts with dignity, to be independent and to learn marshal arts!! They must also learn that is life without men.  Further, if they do have a man at their side so to speak, they must learn that there is life beyond the guy!

b star

Yes, our daughters must learn to defend themselves, to bring the abusers/rapists to the Courts with dignity, to be independent and to learn marshal arts!! They must also learn that there is life without men.  Further, if they do have a man at their side so to speak, they must learn that there is life beyond the guy even if married or partnered. 

writer writer's picture

remind, somehow I  missed your post @ #35 last night. Thanks for that. And Yiwah, thanks for adding your lived experiences. Really appreciate those contributions. Michelle, thanks for the illustrations of some of the low-key / "normal" forms of abuse / oppression / coercion / rape culture.

Ghislaine

I was "only" sexually assaulted once, by a friend's brother. We were all in a tent camping together and he just started groping me - thinking I was asleep. I pushed him away without saying anything (didn't want to bring attn to other friends in the tent), but I felt awful. I confessed to my girlfriends the next morning and there was no shortage for excuses for this guy, even from women. "He and his gf just broke up, so he is feeling vulnerable and down", "he was drunk", "you were drunk" (so what?!). The fact that even women can make these kinds of excuses when sexual assault hits too close to home (which is often the case) shows how normalized it is and how much we have been taught to fear "the stranger in the alley" as the sole perp of rape. 

To this day, I avoid any situation where I might see this man and am disgusted that other friends treat him so kindly. 

writer writer's picture

Ghislaine, a few years ago I read an excellent book that explored that very dynamic, as well as other aspects of rape culture and surviving an attack.

Aftermath: Violence and the Remaking of a Self
by Susan J. Brison

http://press.princeton.edu/titles/7133.html

6079_Smith_W

Our kids are just getting into regular school (our eldest just finished grade 1).

It is very interesting to see how kids even at that age show some of the patterss of anger and lack of repect and control of adult behaviour (and many positive adult traits too, but that is another matter). I can think of one boy whose high frustration and insistence on gun play (plus the fact that other kids see that and wind him up) terrifies me.

I think we learn a lot of this stuff in our first few years of life, watching our parents. Young kids are just as aware and in many ways far more perceptive than adults. I know my dad and my mom both had  shame lessons that were drilled into them by the time they were just learning to speak.

One thing I see that gives me hope is how diligent the teachers there seem to be about impressing respectful values on ths children - not just saying don't touch, but dealing with it on a level of respect, and how it feels when someone has their private space violated, and devoting time to those kids who need more attention. There is also a big sign in their school about it being a safe place for people regardless of sexual orientation (it is a K-8 school). I don't know how much kids take the messages to heart, and I don't know how many schools are as diligent about this (we just got hit with sticks when I was that age) but it is good to see. 

It is interesting too, with our kids we were open about teaching them "penis" and "vagina" as the correct words for their bodies. We didn't plan it, but the word "private" followed naturally afterward, and by age three/four both our kids knew how to set boundaries between each other and with their mother and me, and when to tell us that they needed privacy or to not be touched.

As for the message about men's responsibility in rape culture, that message has been out for awhile, at least on university campuses. It certainly was there when I went to school in the early 80s. As an 18-year-old I recognized the message, even though I think I took it as a bit of unfair suspicion of me (an immature but understandable reaction) . I don' t know how many students who weren't aware of the women's centre or didn't pay attention to the student newspaper knew about it, but it was there. Actually, there was an active contingent of people who ridiculed that message, so I don't think there are too many university students who can claim ignorance.

Sorry for the long post.

 

 

Yiwah

Ghislaine wrote:

I was "only" sexually assaulted once, by a friend's brother. We were all in a tent camping together and he just started groping me - thinking I was asleep. I pushed him away without saying anything (didn't want to bring attn to other friends in the tent), but I felt awful. I confessed to my girlfriends the next morning and there was no shortage for excuses for this guy, even from women. "He and his gf just broke up, so he is feeling vulnerable and down", "he was drunk", "you were drunk" (so what?!). The fact that even women can make these kinds of excuses when sexual assault hits too close to home (which is often the case) shows how normalized it is and how much we have been taught to fear "the stranger in the alley" as the sole perp of rape. 

To this day, I avoid any situation where I might see this man and am disgusted that other friends treat him so kindly. 

 

It took my best friend 10 years to finally be able to accept that she'd been sexually assaulted at a house party when we were 15.  She was drunk out of her mind, but even still was pushing him away.  She told a few people weeks after it happened, but same thing...lots of excuses.  She had a few experiences like that later on, not quite as awful, but close...she got a reputation as 'bringing it on herself' and getting drunk in order to 'get away with it'.  Ten years before she could say 'no, really, it was sexual assault and it wasn't my fault.'

Yiwah

6079_Smith_W wrote:

 

One thing I see that gives me hope is how diligent the teachers there seem to be about impressing respectful values on ths children - not just saying don't touch, but dealing with it on a level of respect, and how it feels when someone has their private space violated, and devoting time to those kids who need more attention. There is also a big sign in their school about it being a safe place for people regardless of sexual orientation (it is a K-8 school). I don't know how much kids take the messages to heart, and I don't know how many schools are as diligent about this (we just got hit with sticks when I was that age) but it is good to see.

Unfortunately, I haven't had the same luck.  We moved, and my girls started classes in a new school last September.  My eldest is in grade two and has gone through some pretty intense pressure from one particular boy.  I can't believe the conversations I've had to have with her about peer pressure and boundaries.  This boy, also in grade two, was telling her that they were boyfriend/girlfriend (he hasn't asked, he just assumed) and wanted her to kiss him.  She did once, but then refused to again.  He told her he wouldn't be her friend if she didn't kiss him.  She didn't anyway, and told me.  I was really, really proud of her.  Long conversation that one.

Then, a few weeks later, he wound up in the bathroom with her and asked her to take of her shirt.  She didn't (good for her!) and I made a huge stink about it at school.  Not much got done.

A few weeks after that, another boy told my daughter she was going to have to suck his privates and "do sex" with him and the other little boy.

 

Seriously.  What the fuck!?  Again, I lost it.  I pulled her out of school for a bit too, because I didn't feel the school was taking this seriously enough.  I talked to the mom, but she was feeling threatened by the principal, and I don't think we got to the issue of 'why is your son behaving like this?' She's a great person, but he's getting it from somewhere, and so is the other boy.  It chills me to think what they're learning at that age.

So my daughters, ages 6 and 8, have already been learning about the pressure boys put on girls to 'perform'.  Maybe it's a good thing, because they stand up for themselves, and they tell me when things don't go well.  When people, boys or girls, try to threaten them with taking away their friendship if my girls don't do something...my girls tell them real friends don't play those games.

"Boys will be boys" was the school's stance.

No.  Boys and girls are taught these behaviours.

b star

Viwah - I don't think you "lost it", I think you got it.  You bet it is a good thing.  It is great that your girls will not be bullied by anyone.  Somebody's doing something right!

6079_Smith_W

@ Yiwah

That is utterly despicable. It is also unfortunate how some parents automatically default to an ego-driven entrenched position, even when it involves defending sexual assault.

My dad was a teacher, and I am aware of how much that system runs on bullying, ego and control from students and teachers. Even before our kids got into school we had discussed the option of homeschooling if it was the best thing (since we are self-employed we have that option, however difficult).

I am aware that we are very fortunate that we are not faced with that - yet.

 

Ripple

I'm reading with appreciation and so much more. Thank you.

Yiwah

6079_Smith_W wrote:

@ Yiwah

That is utterly despicable. It is also unfortunate how some parents automatically default to an ego-driven entrenched position, even when it involves defending sexual assault.

My dad was a teacher, and I am aware of how much that system runs on bullying, ego and control from students and teachers. Even before our kids got into school we had discussed the option of homeschooling if it was the best thing (since we are self-employed we have that option, however difficult).

I am aware that we are very fortunate that we are not faced with that - yet.

 

 

I was a teacher for 5 years.  I'd like to go back to it once I pass the Bar and get enough experience with the legal practice that I can sort of do both.  That entrenchment you speak of is really disturbing.  The sexism and racism I've seen reinforced in the schools (I taught mostly in Aboriginal communities) is really depressing, hence my desire to get enough of a legal education to fight...with teeth! 

I considered home schooling as well.  I probably could have done it had I not left the financial security of my marriage, but in the end I choose to live a life consistant with what I want my kids to learn, which is you don't put up with shit, and yes you do deserve to be happy.  I think ultimately this will be the most important lesson I teach them, even if it means I no longer have the option to homeschool. 

I've got them enrolled in a new school now, and I hope it will work out.  I want to be much more involved this time...the school they were in was extremely antagonistic towards parent participation (other than unquestioning volunteerism).  Maybe I wouldn't have had these conversations with them so young though, had this not come up.  Maybe my children will be more prepared because of it.  No one talked to me about these things as a kid...I had to learn them on my own and it's been a long struggle.  At least my children don't face the ceaseless physical violence I did as a kid in school.  I was in fist fights from grade two on. 

I can't homeschool, but I talk to my kids constantly.  I answer all their questions honestly.  Sometimes it shocks 'bystanders', like when I gave my daughter a quick explanation of how STIs are passed in male/female sex in a response to her question about an ad for condoms in the woman's washroom.  I think I did it in an entirely age appropriate way...luckily this was during a roller derby game and the women were mostly weirded out because the majority of them were queer :D  Imagine the looks I got when I gave a recap of menstruation in an upscale boutique washroom...

 

But I don't have sons, and I keep thinking that I'm teaching defence to girls who will end up having to fend off boys who aren't being taught how to respect anyone.  It's a good thing I can do this, but somehow it's not 'fixing' things, is it.

 

 

 

6079_Smith_W

@ Yiwah

Yes, We have one of each. If anything, we have to teach our boy to be more assertive and stand up for himself more, though I know we will ultimately have to deal with all that they will both learn from other kids. I am happy that neither of them are into the violence-numbing video games that some of their peers already enjoy. Both of ours are into inevitable gun play - even a piece of wood becomes one. And I don't think that is necessarily unhealthy if it is within reason. But he also came home one say with a realistic pistol that a friends' parents had given him. I was shocked that they would do such a thing without even checking with us to see if it was okay. I disappeared it as soon as possible.

One of the best lessons my dad gave me (and I am not sure if he even intended it as a lesson)  was when I  was four and out hunting with him. He took me in his arms, put the butt of the rifle up to my shoulder and fired. It scared the shit out of me, and I understood that there was a big difference between play  guns and the real thing.

I also really dislike a lot of the disturbing violent and sexist imagery kids are constantly bombarded with. When my parents (who are TV addicts) visit I have several times had to make them turn off those grisly cop shows that turn violence and sexual assault into tittilating entertainment. They didn't seem to be even aware that young children were seeing that and soaking it up. It is hard to explain to young kids that what some people think is normal is actually nota good set of values.

But I don't want to turn this into a thread about kids education and get too far from the original topic.

 

 

 

Yiwah

Fine line perhaps....after all, we're talking about teaching a 'don't rape' message, and where best to start with that...but we could probably have a dedicated thread on child-rearing.  I'd still sort of like to have it in this forum though. Thoughts?

writer writer's picture

I'm finding this exchange really useful. Thank you both.

KenS

My experience with schools has been like both that of Smith and Yiwah.

Like Smith in the sense that we appreciate what the schools and most of the teachers are doing. And I'm talking cultural backwaters of Nova Scotia here.

But unfortunately- there are way too many of the boys and girls it seems to be completely lost on anyway. At least a majority. The boys- I wont go there. My daughters are near the end of school years. They dont take guff let alone boys demands [dont even get it really], but some of their friends are painful to watch... let alone other girls at the school. Though, I will say that at least a couple of the friends who seemed primed to get and accept all the usual shit, have over the last couple years seem to have been positively influenced by what they talk about in class and with some of their friends like my daughters.

Boys are kind of alien creatures to me. A lot of them seem like nice guys, especially a number I've known since they were in play groups. But I cant really say what's going on inside them. And there are plenty of obvious predators out there. I don't really know if the number of boys who show that they fully respect women are any more than what would happen more or less accidentally in small peer groups like when I was in their position 45 years ago. A couple of the friends of my daughters mentioned above who you had to worry about and seem to have got sense and centre... they have boyfriends who a couple years ago I would have counted among the standard creeps.

6079_Smith_W

I remember something that happened to a friend of mine some years (20 or so) back. I had moved up to a fairly isolated rural area. It was (still is) underpopulated, with lots of empty houses, and virtually no one around between the ages of 18 and 45 - most young people just moved away. That was also part of the reason I didn't last too long up there.

I was given a house and had plenty of farm work , and stayed for a year. My friend moved up at around the time I left. She also got a house, but within a few months her landlord came by and asked her for sex. She turned him down. She never told anyone other than me and a mutual friend of ours who was a longtime resident up there, but we suspect the word got around somehow anyway. In any case, the damage was done, and she found herself evicted and basically driven out of the community.

Our friend who knew how things worked there was sympathetic, but his explanation shockingly matter-of-fact: these people have have no conception of a woman living on her own without a husband. They see a single woman who goes to the city regularly and they automatically assume that she must be a prostitute. Nothing else makes any sense to them.

 

Bacchus

6079 and Yiwah,

Thanks.

 

This is mind boggling and utterly eye-opening

Stargazer

Yes, thank you Yiwah. Lots of ground was covered here. I have an adult son and I still have a hard time getting him to properly respect women, although I think he does a good enough job. I worry all the time that I haven't taught him well enough or that it is too late for my influence on him at this point.

Ghislaine

Yiwah - thanks so much for your post #66. I have a 3 month old daughter and I am so scared by the messages I see in our culture. As maddening as your experience is (grade 2!), you show that it is possible to instill a strong enough sense of self-worth in daughters to say no to this shit. And here we are back to the thread title. Even in grade 2, girls have to be taught not to get sexually assaulted, while "boys will be boys"> 

Michelle

Wow, I didn't know you gave birth three months ago, Ghislaine! Congrats!

Star Spangled C...

This is a very interesting thread and I agree with the sentiments expressed in the first post that we seem to be mixed up in terms of to WHOM we deliver the message concerning rape.

It reminds me of a story from Israel many years ago back when Golda Meir was serving as prime minister. There had been a string of rapes in a certain city and there was a ot of media coverage and a lot of fear and everyone was looking for solutions. Some advisor (probably well meaning) suggested that maybe until the rapist was apprehended, the city should have a curfew policy in place for women where they shouldn't go out after a certain hour. Golda Meir responded that since it was men doing the raping, wouldn't a more logical approach be to impose a curfew on MEN?

b star

I find that it is critical to teach girls to defend themselves, physically as well as emotionally.  All children have to be taught to defend themselves against bullying and they also have to be taught to respect one another.  It is no small order.  Many boys are bullied by other boys too and some have had major problems, some (both girls and boys) have even suicided.  In some cases, the school authorities (teachers/principals/shool board members) looked the other way and simply would not deal with the situation.  The parents involved were at their wit's end.  Sometimes parents don't do anything about it and that is the worse case scenario.  The kids feel so isolated and alone in such instances.

 

I have known people who have had to speak to their children each time an incident of bullying/disrespect has occurred and have taught them how to behave decently with each in every such incident as they arise at school or among friends in a yard or playground.  Sometimes I am amazed at how well some children truly listen and get it - both boys and girls.  However, it does take fortitude.  I have a friend who works with children and she uses teddies and dolls of every which kind to get the kids to relate to various incidents.  They seem to learn so much more with toys and drawings esp. when they are very young.  They are not spooked that way and it is 'their language' after all.  She had the kids play out various incidents of bullying/disrespect or inappropriate touching: what they ought to do for instance, and they learned very well how to take of themselves. With older kids she had them express how they feel when someone doesn't respect them: sad, angry, teary, etc....  they often drew their anger on a large sheet of paper.  Some took red pencils and drew the "red anger", others drew with black crayons their dark sad feelings, etc....  It works very well with many children. It's a kill one must learn - to protect oneself, to communicate clearly, to have boundaries.  Adults must learn these skills too because how many of us were taught these skills? Most of us were not taught and we learn them as we go along - or not. :) When we do, we pass them along to our children/grandkids.

 

 

500_Apples

It's really too bad that the women opening up on this thread outnumber the men by a significant margin. To all the other men, agression is something that is distributed on a continuum, try and think back to the times you were most agressive, or that it was on your mind for whatever reason, even if it's relatively tame, and think about the social dynamics at play.

**********************************

I think one of the problems of guy culture is that men are measured by the woman on their arms, so to speak. Having a girlfriend / sexual partner and frequent exploits is a form of validation and is assumed to be "necessary" without anyone ever realizing it's "necessary".

I write this as somebody who is, for whatever reason, rarely in love/lust. Maybe twice in my life, once at 18-20, and another time at 22-24 or so, whereas most people seem to be in wild relationships on a regular basis from the time they're 16. Over the years I've had plenty of harassment from other guy friends telling me I need to ask her out or something... it's difficult to explain what a huge pressure it is. The impetus is to ask out any woman you might be talking with at any given point in time, go find someone if no one is available, if you're not interested get interested, et cetera. Fortunately, I rarely listened. A few times I did, twice I asked a friend out that I wasn't really into (which was preceded by non-genuine flirtations) and then lost that friend, once I made a made a really lame hyper-cocky date request to what could have been an opportunity. Fortunately, no real harm done.

Back in the fall of 2006 there was an exchange student in one of my classes, and I brought up conversation with no real intentions whatsoever, just usual exploring the water sort of stuff. There's other people in the room noticing and within the next few hours and weeks "Daaaaaaaaaaave man, awesome !!!!!! when are you making your move". The conclusion had been predetermined for me. Incidentally, she was attractive I guess, a nice person, but I wasn't attracted to her. Incidentally, when I did get a girlfriend about 5 months later that I was actually interested in, one of these guys told me "I don't think she's as hot as that other girl". His girlfriend got mad at him ...

Part of the reason that I hate parties is that they're glorified mating festivals. If the purpose of a party is to get laid, and you don't think you're going to get laid at that party, then there's no point in going. A few years back was going to a sugar shak with some people. Was going to invite one guy and he told me over msn "can't wait to get some honey, if you know what I mean". How embarassing... we don't talk much since, he changed sometime around 2005 and became more agressive in all aspects of life. A year ago or so I organized some reunion with some other alumns of my program (we were a special class imo). Another guy told me it was great I was organizing this, and that he was totally getting laid that night. He ended up leaving early, alone. Incidentally, that party was an exception and I enjoyed it, as it was mostly engaged with respect to the idea of catching up to old friends. As far as most parties go, I think they're just glorified mating festivals, and I prefer the honesty of dating sites.

I think it's important to teach boys that it's ok to be single, and that relationships and attractions should be something that emerge naturally from normal social interactions rather than something that's forced; certainly that should be the case while they're in school anyway and hopefuly meeting new people all the time. Right now, men are in part by who they date, and while that happens I'm not sure that can change. Trophy wives are a status symbol, and unlike private jets you don't need US$ 30,000,000 to go for it. If a single man ever ran for public office for example I suspect he would be massacred.

Star Spangled C...

500_Apples wrote:

 If a single man ever ran for public office for example I suspect he would be massacred.

Well, when Adam Giambrone decided to run for mayor of Toronto, he apparently felt it necessary to have some sort of imaginary "partner" rather than just saying "look, I'm young and single and I like to have sex with lots of different people."

b star

500 Apples: I'm certain many of us on this thread do not find it "too bad that the women far outnumber the men".  There is nothing "bad" about it at all!  Can't believe you actually said that!

remind remind's picture

ya this thread is so about MEN......ffs....

would ya get a grip, seriously, do you men not think we women do not understand what the fuck you are doing in this thread and forum, saying the the utter male dominant crap ya are?

where are the mods?

Michelle

I saw that sentence too, and kind of wondered about it, but the rest of the post way way more than made up for it.  If we want men to do the work of educating other men about their attitudes towards women, then that could have been what 500 meant about it being too bad more men aren't doing so here.

Thanks so much for sharing so much about yourself, and your first-hand observation of "guy culture" around sex and relationships, 500 Apples.  It takes a lot of courage to not only name it for what it is, but also to refuse to fit into it. 

I also think it's too bad that more men aren't speaking up about it the way you have.  Recognizing what you have recognized is a huge contribution towards stopping the objectification (which leads to sexual assault) of women.

Thanks for sharing.  That was a stellar post.

b star

REMIND: Thank you.  You see through it and round it.  Good for you.

integrity

O.K. it is good that some men speak up but even many men who are allies take over when not reminded that on this issue they need to LISTEN AND LEARN not be the "educators of women".  For years I facilitated groups for men only as well as groups for women only.  My purpose was to assist each to overcome gender conditioning.  The women had to learn to set clear, strong boundaries in many areas including sexuality.  They had to learn not to leak their anger away in tears or turn it inward.  They needed to increase self respect and self esteem so as to insist on being treated respectfully by others (including other women, family members, bosses, the media, university instructors).  The men had to learn to be more vulnerable, to face fear and grief and to stop using anger as a cover for every emotion and to face their sexual addiction--sex as the be all and end all, sex as the "escape", sex as "control", sex as "power over" a partner instead of sex as an expression of intimacy and caring.

 

 What I noticed is that the men who attended these groups were already a little more sensitive than the norm, had partners who were feminists or women in the process of becoming more assertive and who were threatening to leave if their men did not "get it" and make core changes for the sake of their children for those who had them as well as for the good of the relationship.  I also noticed the difference in support and recognition that was accorded these men for attending such groups.  The men were heroized. The women were initially further oppressed and called "self-centred" and "selfish" for no longer placing themselves last by family members seeking to pressure them to keep playing the game.

 

As women we must respect ourselves to be able to teach it to our children.  We have to be willing to use tough love with our sons. We have to be models who are skilled in self defense, physical self defense and emotional self defense.  We have to be able to  nip every instance of bullying--including verbal bullying--in the bud.  We have to be savvy and discerning when emotional blackmail and manipulation are used by some men and even some women to pressure us into the compassion trap of understanding at our own expense and enabling perpetrators to continue dominating us and pushing us around.

We need to welcome changes by men, and invite some input to these discussions without permitting the men to pontificate and take over.  Let the men start their own thread to educate each other. It is too early for discussion on the same thread.  Women need the space to speak to each other without interference and condesention, a place to gain strength and clarity.  Men need a thread where there can be some solid self examination and confronting of one another without fear of losing face and without further building of all too big egos.  In other words they have to do the right thing for the right reason.  If their motive is  impure there will be no lasting, significant change.  They will simply become more sophisticated at staying in the driver's seat. We need to end rape of the mind as well as rape of the body.

Summer

 

I've been following this thread with interest.  Thanks to everyone who has shared. 

 

The message "Don't get raped" encourages people to blame the victim instead of the rapist.  It encourages women to blame themselves instead of their attackers.  It makes us feel guilty and unsure when we are assaulted, such that we are left wondering if maybe we did something to make the guy think we did consent or maybe what happened was normal and not an assault after all. 

Michelle's post dealing with techniques at #40 is spot-on.  I'd be surprised if there was anyone (men or women) who has not experienced at least one of her examples. 

I would be very interested in a study about the way parents talk to their sons and daughters about sexual assault.  I suspect that the double standard I grew up with is alive and well: my parents worried about my safety and my dad would have been happy if he could forbid me from leaving the house so that nothing bad could happen; my parents worried about my brother getting one of the neighbours pregnant.  To be fair, my dad did talk to my brother about the importance of respecting women but I don't think that message was as important to him as the first one.  And why is that?  Not because my dad is a Neanderthal but because the possibility of a pregnant teenager girlfriend seemed much more likely to him than my brother taking advantage of his girlfriend. 

I'm sure most parents talk to their kids about the importance of respect in any relationship but I wonder if they explain what that means.

Boys may understand that they need to respect girls but there are many teenage boys who really do not know which behaviours are acceptable and which are completely unacceptable. Nor do they connect these behaviours with the word assault

The same can be said for grown men, unfortunately.  That is partly why victim blaming persists.

 

Forgive me for quoting myself, but in another thread about victim blaming, I wrote:

Quote:

By focusing on what the woman woulda/shoulda/coulda done differently, we are taking the focus of the rapist.  Why bother changing all these variables about clothing, demeanor, prior sexual history, alcohol, time of night, when all we need to change is one thing: it wouldn't have happened if he hadn't done it.  He could have asked first/listened when she said no/noticed that she was passed out from too much alcohol and left her alone. 

 

A guy can go home with a girl that he just met at a bar and maybe he'll be worried about the following:  is my apartment presentable/are my sheets clean/will she want to have sex with me/will it be awkward in the morning/what will I think with my beer goggles off/will my buddies razz me?

 

A girl should be able to go home with a guy and have only the same worries, but we know that's not the case. 

 

I have found that the above example helps guys understand a little what it's like for us. 

Men have to be part of the solution and we need them as allies so they can educate their children and the real brave ones can help educate their friends.

I think Apple's post is very helpful and if more men had the self-awareness he has, it would go a long way to improving situations.  If we want to change the message from "don't get raped" to "don't rape", it will be much easier with men onside.  A post like Apple's was not trying to educate women or challenge us.  It was sharing his experience. 

b star

One of the people who commented on these posts and had no response whatsoever from the women on the posts is a woman who has her book studied in Women's Studies at Harvard University and throughout Canada and parts of the U.S. and has been a huge voice in the dialogue between men and women.  Both women and men throughout this country have been honouring this woman for bringing them closer to sweeter relationships with one another and assisting their children to be non-sexist human beings, respecting and honouring one another, among many other positive changes.

This woman has been a voice in this country and internationally.  She has broadened the minds of both men and women willing to be serious about change.  She has been the voice of reason in the press, on television/radio and she has been sought out by human beings who needed to overcome prejudice of every sort as well as trauma over every sort.  This woman submitted posts on this forum and has been ignored completely while so many men have been responded to for sharing their experiences.  Apparently, this woman is correct that men are heroized for their increases in self-awareness while womens' analyses and deep sharing is overlooked at times.

Women are all too willing to give authority to men and to withhold it from women who speak out. This is why I agree that men should begin a thread of their own and the women on this thread should defer less to the men and be less congratulatory about the mens' teenie-weenie baby steps. 

I am so happy that someone has found a forum that "helps guys understand a little what it's like for us".  Us being the women.  Well guess what?  Some women want more than "a little" understanding.  They want to be understood and heard period. "A little" isn't good enough. Neither is a lil' understanding without follow-up action. Women want to be SAFE TO WALK THE STREETS WITHOUT BEING RAPED and want an end to the use of date rape drugs and an end to sexual harassment and pressure.  

Women want an end to violence against women.  Rape is not a "sexual act", it is a criminal act and an act of VIOLENCE. We, who have self-esteem and feel entitled to freedom, do not simply want a "little understand of what it's like for us".  Neither are we satisfied with the testimonials of a few men who claim to be exceptional and exempt from sexist conditioning.  Of course we want men on board but we want more than lip service. Talk is cheap.

 

 

 

 

 

Michelle

integrity, thanks for your post, and welcome to babble!  You are right that men shouldn't be taking over and defining women's experiences for them, or making it all about men and their experiences.  I didn't feel like that was happening in this thread, at least not at the time I posted, but I definitely see your point about how being too inviting to men to share their experiences in feminist discussions can lead to a takeover.  It's happened throughout the history of the feminism forum here, and if anyone should know that, it's me!  I also see your point about men taking it to another thread if they want to educate each other.

Not much to add beyond that you've convinced me. :)  Thanks again for your thoughtful post.

Michelle

I'm not sure who you're referring to, b star, but the main reason I praised 500 Apples for his post was because he was being attacked for sharing his experiences here about rape culture.  I don't think anyone in this thread, male or female, other than 500 Apples, was being attacked after sharing personal experiences that made them vulnerable.  I wasn't attempting to "heroize" anyone.  I was simply trying to add some balance. 

Any time that I see anyone attacked for sharing something that I really appreciate and find insightful, I will go out of my way to thank them for sharing and let them know that I got something out of it.  In my opinion, 500 Apples did not take over the conversation.  He has contributed something a lot more constructive than some of the clueless stuff some of the babble guys have been posting in this thread and the feminism forum in general, if you ask me! :)

I agree that I probably went overboard by saying that more men should speak up the way he has -- I agree with integrity that if they do, perhaps it should be in their own thread, so not to take over women's experiences in this thread.  So I was mistaken about that.  But my mistake came out of a desire not to see someone attacked for sharing something that was so on point and helpful to my understanding of the issue.  There are ways to treat male allies when they mostly get it right but say something that needs correction.  I don't think attacking them is helpful, personally.

integrity

No one was attacked excepting the protesters in the last while.  I hadn't noticed any "attack" on this thread.  Let's not overdo it. Everyone is entitled to an opinion.  AN "attack" is different from an opinion.

Michelle

Yes, actually, he was attacked.  He was sworn at, had his motives for what the "fuck" he was doing here questioned, had his entire post where he shared his personal experience of oppression by "guy culture" when he tries to buck the rape culture trend described as "utter male dominant crap" because of one perhaps ill-considered sentence, and then an appeal to the moderators of the forum made against him.

If that's not an attack, then I'm not sure what does qualify as one.

I think that if we as feminists can't recognize verbal attacks when made against male allies, and we can't recognize when we're replicating the kind of abusive behaviour that we decry in men, that it's going to be difficult to fight abuse against women.

integrity

I think we have very different perceptions of who our male allies are and how one recognizes them.  As far as some of us are concerned, "utter male dominant crap" is/was an expression of frustration on the part of the person who made that comment.  While she could have phrased it more neutrally, I don't view it as an "attack" which is a very strong word. It all hinges on whether the description is accurate or not.  It is great to buck the rape culture but when a male is disrespectful enough to begrudge women the right to be the majority on a feminist thread, there is more going on than an "ill-considered sentence".  It is indicative of gender conditioning re male dominance.  It reveals the tendency to take for granted that men are entitled to define reality including womens' reality. After all, 500 Apples thought there were too few male voices.  Many men are not accustomed to, or comfortable with women taking their own authority and finding their own voices. All too often women become silent and defer to male contributors.  This is what I decry. 

As for "verbal attacks" I neither make them nor do I condone them.  Many people on Rabble seem to use "WTF" or the f word.  In my view, the woman in question was not swearing AT anyone but was expressing her exaspperation.  She didn't say "F U" to the person. There is a big difference. 

It is still my observation that some of the men sharing their experiences have an over-inflated view of themselves and that some of the women responding collude with this.  It is important to acknowledge the progress of male allies when it is warranted.  It is also important not to make much ado about nothing.  It is most important of all to develop very strong and accurate radar and discernment.  There are some men on this forum, on Rabble who are true allies and some who are definitely not.  May we see with realize: real eyes, clear eyes.  It is not untoward to question motive, when it is self-aggrandizement and when it is the offering of empathy.  My point is that men need to listen more and women need to speak more.  Each requires to overcome their habitual pattern of behaviour and learn what is missing from their repertoire.  In general, men have no problem asserting their authority or usurping it.  Women, on the other hand, are conditioned to give up their power and to give up their authority.  It is much more difficulty for women to reclaim authority in the presence of men.  That is the reason some of the early Women Studies classes were more effective when all the students were female.  This is definitely not about silencing men.  Nor is it about encouraging women to take authority that is not rightfully theirs/ours. This is about bridging, uniting, coming to an understanding.  Sometimes a segregated form temperarily needed in order to assure that a mixed forum is genuinely effective.  Sometimes it is premature to dialogue.  Temporary space can be extremely effective and productive, then an exiting and innovative dialogue can take place.  Then a true deep sharing of experience, equally meaningfull to everyone involved (both men/women) can take place.  It is beautiful and touching to witness when the groundwork has been done and true unity occurs.  All feel greatly enrich.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

500_Apples

Either my comments were misunderstood, or I misunderstood the thread, either way I apologize for the error in communication. This will be my last post.

My understanding of this thread, further evidenced by the brief post I put up near the top, is that society is more prone to tell women not to get raped than to tell men to not rape. In other words, that male culture is the problem and ergo that part of the problem is that we never criticize male culture. Giving a snapshot/critique of what guy culture is like seemed like a good idea, and I was surprised/dismayed that no man was contributing this. I think men should care more beyond worrying about the safety of their daughters. If there are no men contributing it could be because men are remaining silent out of respect. I tend to assume that people contribute nothing only when they don't care. I do think men should care. I didn't say that men should be the majority, I said it's too bad that there are very few men posting compared to women. If the ratio was 1:2 or 2:3 - especially since we ought to criticize male culture - I obviously would not have said that. I took the lack of male contribution as a lack of male concern.

To use an analogy, on the question of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, I could never ever say that there's a lack of Jewish criticism --- because it's not true. As a Jewish person, I have the enormous privilege that there's a rich country out there that I could legally immigrate to at any time in my life. The crimes are explicitly/ostensibly done to benefit Jewish people, but there are a lot of Jewish people who have the courage to step up, stand up and say "not in my name".

integrity

500 Apples - in case you take a peek at this thread again.  I am Jewish also and of the "not in my name" contingent.  Many of my Israeli acquaintances would join me in stating that while Israel began as a safe haven for Jews from all over the world, it has become the sandbox of some very evil Israili politicians and power-abusing international politicians whose true motives are anything but benign.  I am glad that you feel it is important that men care about the oppression of women world-wide (psychological as well as economic). 

I doubt that other men are abstaining out of respect, although some could be, but I am glad that you are prepared to do so and to continue speaking up to other men.  It is your willingness to do that which will make you a true ally.  Your intentions may well have been honourable, however, it did divert the focus and it is the women on this thread who need to learn to maintain their focus on the critical issues of raising children to respect girls/women.  i.e. for girls to respect themselves and for male children to respect sisters/mothers/female friends (at least those who are deserving of their respect based on the merits of their character and behaviour). Further, the discussion contained issues of school bullying, teachers, etc... and how to deal effectively with these very important issues. 

I acknowledge you for your willingness to place your energy elsewhere on Rabble.

For the record, other males on this thread contributed to the shift in focus not just you. It is such an ingrained habit for some .women to cater to men and to recede  when men come forward. In one of my womens, studies classes a single man, by his presence, and by the altered behaviour of the women because of his presence, significantly impacted the dynamic--not for the better unfortunately.

writer writer's picture

500_Apples, I think it would be beyond amazing if you were to start and facilitate a male-only discussion about male culture / rape culture in the feminism forum. Not sure if other feminist women would support this approach, but it seems to me that it is long overdue.

KenS

KenS wrote:

It had also occurred to me that it would be a good idea to have a male discussion in the feminist forum- for a number of practical reasons.

Mostly:

We don't want to be distracted by having to argue first principles with men who suddenly come out if the woodwork. There should be lots of patient explanation. But if there's no end to where we are expected to go, nothing but abstractions will get discussed.

Theoretically, we could just say the rules and understandings of the feminist forum apply in this thread. But more convincing and easier to steer clear of "why" discussions if if its just here.

KenS

It had also occurred to me that it would be a good idea to have a male discussion in the feminist forum- for a number of practical reasons. It seemed presumptuous to suggest that. Now I don't have to.

But I was more generally held back from proceeding by what is being reffered to here:

500_Apples wrote:

My understanding of this thread, further evidenced by the brief post I put up near the top, is that society is more prone to tell women not to get raped than to tell men to not rape. In other words, that male culture is the problem and ergo that part of the problem is that we never criticize male culture. Giving a snapshot/critique of what guy culture is like seemed like a good idea, and I was surprised/dismayed that no man was contributing this. I think men should care more beyond worrying about the safety of their daughters. If there are no men contributing it could be because men are remaining silent out of respect. I tend to assume that people contribute nothing only when they don't care. I do think men should care.

It comes up all the time on Babble- you should NEVER take people not talking to something as a lack of interest, caring, whatever. Not unless you have raised it a number of times in a number of ways. Its a common fallacy here. And its dead wrong.

You were skeptical that the not speaking is "out of respect". Intergriy was more than skeptical. Reticent and afraid would be closer to the mark. For good reasons: the knowledge that it is the feminist forum, plus the palpable fear of saying something "wrong".

That reluctance to say something people wont like is not specific to this forum in particular. It pervades Babble for a lot of people, and would get a little extra amplification for men when its the feminist forum. And unlike in other forums, that fear would include a great many of the male regulars who would not normally be afraid of being "wrong"... of having 'incorrect thoughts'... because they are part of the mainstream of Babble regulars who informally determine what is 'supportable thinking'. But here, they are going to be as reticent to speak in the feminist forum as the non-regulars are, because here they are not purveyors of correct thinking. So they stay away as much as the non-regular male posters- even more so.

Definitely thread drift. I'll leave it because it might be useful. If not, ignore it.

I think I'm the only male who spoke of daughters by the way. And I didnt speak of worrying about their safety, even implicitly. I'm constrained by what I know. And I've been little around boys, and dont really get them.

Without going back to check to make sure, I think all the males talking in this thread have been in one way or the other addressing the practicalities of the males and oppression in the context of an opening post that is explicitly about stopping rape, and went on from there to broaden into all sexual demands on women and even more generally to respect of women in general.

So I think most if not all of the male particpation here has been following that lead- the lead set by women.

That said, there is still the problem- even in a clearly woman led discussion where the content is not being diverted by men- that men easily end up taking over the discussion, and even if they dont, women start deferring to them.

Ironically, I never come to the feminist forum- for those reasons. But rape and other of the most palpable forms of male oppression matter to me the most [and have a personal resonance], and the whole thrust of the post is what to do about men. So I don't know the rules formal and informal of the forum. Though Babble being babble, I rather doubt there is an expectation that it be only women speaking. If that is true, and you want a discussion to be women only, then you have to explicitly make it that, not expect men to magically get the message. Least of all in a thread that is "what to do about men taking repsonsibility."

That said, there is every reason to expect than men will clue in and initiate a male discussion. Regardless of whether there is to be a women only discussion.

I hate to go volunteering other people. But I think you would be good for that Apple. My approach would be too sociological. I think its not only women that respond more to what you initiated.

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