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.