I wrote last week about violence against women. While most people who responded to the post got where I was coming from- some did not. So on that note, can I just point out that not once in that piece or any other piece I have written have I said or even implied that ALL men are violent, abusive or otherwise contributing to rape culture and the oppression of women?
These are going to be my only words on it. So listen up.
If you’re a guy who is not sexist, violent, abusive or in any way a harasser and abuser of women and who abhors and speaks against such behaviour- Congrats to your enlightened self and welcome; we are on the same side.
If you are not sexist, not violent, not abusive and not an harasser of women- awesome. That is great. However, you should know that when you see or hear such behaviour, if you don’t speak out against it, you are complicit in it. You have probably heard these words of Edmund Burke’s before, but for good measure:
I’m not suggesting you need to don a superhero costume while trying to rescue every woman you see. I’m suggesting you be an ally. I’m suggesting you call your mates on their sexist comments. I’m suggesting you don’t ignore the violent arguments going on next door and instead ring the police. I’m talking about solidarity and speaking up. You get the idea?
There’s a couple of reasons that being told it’s “not all men” bothers me. This illustrates one of them really well:
Another reason is that when a man, or even a woman, responds to accounts of violence and aggression towards women with the #notallmen catch cry, what they are doing is derailing the conversation. If I told you that my dentist sexually assaulted me, would you reply to that with “Oh, but not all dentists would do that!”? Even if you WERE a dentist, would you really think what I was telling you was in any way me making a gross indictment on all dentists? Would the good name of all dental professionals be your main concern?
Of course not.
Yet if it’s pointed out that there is a problem with male violence against women, there is invariably a handful of people who want to point out that it’s not all men. So to those people: Yes, I know. I’m aware. We all know. That’s not what this conversation is about. It’s not ALL men. But it is TOO MANY men.
So while we live in a society that condemns victims, that doesn’t offer safety and protection to all it’s members and that has a legal system that doesn’t value women’s lives in the same way it values men’s lives, I’ll keep talking about it, no matter how many people:
- tell me it’s not all men
- accuse me of sexism because I didn’t write a post specifically about male victims of violence (here, on my own website where I am obligated to no one but myself)
- send me YouTube clips about how Rape Culture isn’t real because some guy says so
- tell me that I’m crazy for believing that gender is an issue in all this and not some kind of coincidence
- quote statistics about other types of crime to try to prove that violence against women isn’t a real problem
In the mean time, if you don’t have a disqus account, you can still comment as a guest, but your comment will need to be approved. Please don’t let that stop you. I’m usually pretty quick!
The best thing about blogging is the discussions that spring from it- via blog comments or on social media. Keep the conversation going!
Linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT