feminism helps not harms men

Warning: This blog is going to discuss rape and sexual assault. If this could trigger you please do not read further. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I want to address something that has come up in the comment section of my last blog. There has been a discussion about how rape is defined. Yes rape is defined as penetration. However these discussions have left out sexual assault which can be just as serious, just as scaring and just as illegal and wrong as rape. Sexual assault according to The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network “is unwanted sexual contact that stops short of rape or attempted rape. This includes sexual touching and fondling. I don’t care if you are a man or a woman – anyone can be raped or sexually assaulted. And it is very,very, very wrong regardless of your gender, your sexual orientation, your religion, your beliefs, your anything. Nothing justifies it.

I’ve also discovered in my comments a new world that I did not know existed. This is the belief that the statistics about harm against women are grossly exaggerated or are simply untrue and that women are simply “out to get men”. The sad reality is that  1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed rape; 2.8% attempted rape). I don’t understand how you can argue with these statistics. The claim is also that men are more often victimized than women. I think it is a sad reality that men are often more stigmatized if they are raped or sexually assaulted. However, statistics don’t lie. Only 3% of rape victims are men. These men need resources, they need help and they need recognition however the argument that feminism and the work to change our culture to protect women is unneeded is not true. 

I suppose however if you have not seen what I have seen. Have not heard what I have heard. It is a lot easier for you to argue that there is no change needed, that women are simply “out to get you” and that men are the victims of a feminist agenda. After all, I don’t imagine you’ve sat in a room with other trauma survivors and listened to their stories of how men gained their trust and then used it to assault and rape them. I don’t think you’ve heard first hand how their family members have abused them or how strangers on the street held them down while they took turns raping them. You haven’t seen women experience terrifying flashbacks, girls no more than thirteen hide in the couches at night because the night reminded them of the abuse they had finally escaped. You haven’t heard the guilt they felt that they escaped assault but that the perpetrator also escaped capture so he can assault someone else later. And you sure as hell haven’t experienced any of this at the hands of a teenage boy who thought all of it was okay because “his friends were doing it”.

Yes, men who were raped and assaulted need help. They need hope. They need advocacy. But advocating to change our culture, to eliminate songs and movies that encourage rape and to teach young boys to respect women as people instead of viewing them as object does not attack men. On the contrary I believe it helps them. It encourages men to be more than the macho image society has constructed. It encourages teens and boys to reach down into themselves and connect emotionally. It creates males who are compassionate individuals who respect themselves and others.

So, if you truly believe that by supporting advocacy I am degrading men I encourage you to rethink your position. I also encourage you to listen and read about female rape and sexual assault victims and how these attacks were influenced by our society. And if you continue to disagree with me I encourage you to take your views elsewhere. Yes, this is a public blog but I won’t stand for degrading women on my page. I listened to men in my life degrade myself and all women for years and I don’t stand for that anymore.

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8 Comments

Filed under abuse, culture, feminism, social change, society, trauma

8 responses to “feminism helps not harms men

  1. Pam

    DISCLAIMER: I just came off a really long work day so this may not follow a logical order. Additionally, it is pretty rant-y.

    Kate, I didn’t read through all of the comments on your first post because I got really angry after a few of them. However I am really proud of you for using your voice, for asking the disrespectful commenter to please stay off your blog. One of the things I love about your blog is that you are very honest however you never attack anyone or try to put blame on anyone.

    Here is my two cents:

    I do not give a SHIT about the gender of the person who is assaulted or raped or touched inappropriately. Because it does not fucking matter. What matters is that a person’s boundaries have been violated in an obscene way.

    However, on the topic of gender and women who are “out to get men”:

    This is EXACTLY the kind of attitude that kept me silent for most of my life. This is the attitude that made me rip up the number of the police officer who wanted to help me. It is this attitude that made my second stay at CFC entirely pointless due to the harmful comments of a high up staff member and the attitudes of other staff members.

    Feeling unsafe as a woman in society doesn’t always mean violence. It also means that women are not supported when they express having suffered acts of violence. It is comments like these that invalidate the trauma of sexual assault or rape or domestic abuse. In stating that, it does not mean that men are MORE supported in speaking out against acts of violence. What it means is that the attitude towards survivors (women AND men) needs to change. People do not just “cry rape” to get attention or a reaction or to “punish” a man. And it is this belief that makes our society unsafe for someone to report their perpetrator. It is the grueling and humiliating court cases where a woman is targeted for what she was wearing or for not fighting back (so she must have wanted it). And no, it does not only happen to women but also to men. However men are not targeted for showing too much cleavage or “dressing slutty”. These are real accusations that happen to women. Men are not held to those same standards.

  2. So Your points, point by point.
    1)Rape is not gender exclusive, I take this to mean you agree with my gender inclusive definition of rape.
    2)Not rape is not rape, it can still be sexual assault and traumatic, but that doesn’t make it rape. I agree, I don’t see where this even came up.
    3)Yes, I did make the case that there is gender bias in definitions and data collection that results in under reporting male rapes, but said nothing of over reporting of female victims.
    4)I find data from the CDC much more reliable than data from a clearly biased organization.
    5)Where did you get “Women are out to get men”? I said nothing remotely resembling that.
    6)I never said protecting women is wrong. Protecting ONLY women is wrong. You said the same thing.
    7)I AM a trauma survivor. My step father beat and raped me many times, so no, you don’t get to trump me with your victim card. I don’t need 2nd hand accounts as to what it’s like to be chased down and have your clothes torn off. I have first hand experience with that.
    8)Movies and music that support positive masculinity would be good. I agree this is severely lacking.

    The only point we really disagree upon is the rates of victimization. This is the key piece for the women only advocacy that I see everywhere. This is the key piece for how you justify your phobia. Challenging this sacred cow is why you conjured all sorts of thing I didn’t say to deflect from my point about rates of victimization. You really should get treatment for the phobia and PTSD. Your phobia and PTSD are your problems, not social problems.

    • Pam

      I believe you were asked to take your views elsewhere. While this is a public blog some of your comments have made others feel invalidated. I am truly sorry for the experience that you had in regards to your own trauma. However, as a fellow survivor I would ask you to respect Kate’s wishes and no longer visit this page. I think for your own healing, as well as Kate’s and other members of this site, your views would be more appropriate elsewhere.

      As I said in my first comment above, I did not read through the lengthy list of comments on the previous post, although Kate did read your initial comment to me when I spoke to her on the phone. What I experienced from your initial comment was a feeling of invalidation of the difficulties and dangers that women face in society today.

      This IS about social problems. It is about how society encourages men to act towards women. A great example is the recent Robin Thicke song, Blurred Lines. There are many other examples of this kind of attitude within the media and how many boys are raised to view women.

      I understand that you are coming from a different perspective, being a male who was perpetrated by a male, however your initial comment was accusatory and attacking. As someone who loves Kate very much, I would also ask you to please stay off her blog. Your comments are invalidating on a number of levels.

      I hope that you get the help that you need in dealing with your own trauma and can learn to have some empathy for both male and female survivors.

      • Feelings are more important than facts. I understand. You want lies that will support delusions, not truths that will make you better. It’s pointless to present facts to people that are emotionally invested in lies. So this will be my last comment.

        What trauma survivors need is truth, not lies that feed paranoid delusions. Empathy for and pandering to are very different things. I do have empathy. I do not pander.

  3. Pam

    Kate, I want you to know that I love you and support you. I am sorry for the hurtful comments that have occurred from your past two blogs. I do not believe that anything you said was a lie or a delusion. What you stated is very much a valid fact as well as a valid feeling. I know you have worked really hard to get to where you are today. You are a completely different Kate than the one I met (ready for this) THREE years ago. I am proud of how far you have progressed and am continuously amazed at the progress you make every day. I am extremely grateful for your friendship and hearing your perspective. I hope that you can ignore these invalidating comments and recognize that there are so many people who love and support you.

  4. I regret opening that conversation, and I’m truly sorry.

    • Oh please don’t feel bad. The conversation escalated quickly and it made me quite mad too. Who would have thought that that would have happened. 🙂

      • I definitely didn’t think it was going to go that way that fast. I’m just one of those people who simply *has* to ask ~the questions~. I’m always wildly curious about what other people think and how they come to their reasonings/conclusions.

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