Before I say anything else I’d just like to say a massive thank you to everyone who helped me with this post, I really and truly couldn’t have done any of this without you. It means the world to me that you all took the time to share your thoughts and experiences with me and everyone else reading this.
All artwork in this post can be found by clicking on the images.
I’ve been incredibly privileged to have my comment section be a lovely space from the time I’ve started blogging until now and I trust that it’ll stay that way. I don’t tolerate trolling or hate and this post is no exception. Please be respectful and kind. I assure you that I won’t hesitate to call you out for anything other than that.
Trigger Warning: This post covers topics like rape and rape culture, if either of those are triggering to you please don’t read any further. Resources can be found at the end of the post for anyone who needs them.
Some things to note:
Rape affects everyone FULL STOP Rape culture affects everyone FULL STOP
If you aren’t going to read this post with an open mind you might as well leave now. That being said, if you want to share your problematic thoughts go ahead, I’m trying to learn from more than just my own opinion.
noun (mass noun)
- A society or environment whose prevailing social attitudes have the effect of normalizing or trivializing sexual assault or abuse
-victim blaming-teaching people how not to get raped instead of teaching people not to rape-rape jokes-catcalling-locker room talk
o r i g i n
Rape culture was a term first used in the 1970’s by feminists to describe the normalisation of sexual violence in society and has been used by the media and public since then. However, rape culture has existed for centuries, some well-known stories of rape culture in society include the story of Medusa, Leda and Zeus and Helen of Troy.
tells the story of a womxn who is raped by Poseidon(God of the sea) in Athena’s (Goddess of wisdom) temple. Athena punishes Medusa by turning her hair into snakes and making her so hideous that anyone who looks at her turns into stone.
throughout Greek mythology, Zeus is highly praised for his sexual encounters with womxn. Many of these stories include sexual violence.
The Rise of Alexander The Great
Pausanias, a bodyguard of King Phillip II was invited to a banquet by the King’s father in law, Attalus. At the banquet he is raped by the King’s servants and after the King refuses to punish them he kills the king. This paves way for Phillip’s son, Alexander The Great
Helen of Troy
the Trojan War was a result of Helen running away from Menelaus(her husband + king of Sparta) to be with Paris (the son of Priam + Trojan king). In an attempt to get her back Menelaus ignites the Trojan War. Throughout the story Helen is seen as Menlaus’ property.
“I started becoming very aware of my surroundings in grade school. The hyper-sexualization of a child meant that I had to defend myself from grown men honking their car horns and calling out while my friends and I would walk across the street to go to school. I was constantly paranoid of men we’d pass by. I’ve listened to my cousin blame herself for being sexually assaulted by a guy who was interested in me. I’ve heard so many jokes about how women need to adjust their behaviour because somebody else has entitlement to someone’s body. I’ve had a partner choke me without consent, sending me into a panic attack. At one point, I thought I was fortunate to have never had anything regarding rape culture happen to me until I realized how saturated my life is with it. They were every day behaviours that I had internalized as normal as a child. All those moments of fear being around strangers or men were not nothing. So no, I don’t want a massage from a classmate. I didn’t ask for hands around my neck. When consent is rescinded, there is no consent. I am tired of having to carry a pocket knife with me wherever I go because I can not trust other people to remember that my body is not theirs to have”
S t a t i s t i c s*
*It’s important to note that most cases of male sexual assault don’t get reported, something we’ll be getting into in a bit
73% OF LGBTQ+ college students experience sexual violence. 51% of LGBTQ+ students who suffer sexual violence in K-12 attempt suicide. Transgender students are at a higher risk of sexual violence. Bisexual womxn report higher levels of rape than heterosexual women. 26% of gay men and 37% of bisexual men experience sexual violence.
Over 40% of womxn will be raped at least once in their lifetime. In 2017/18 alone more than 40 000 new cases of rape were reported. Only 1 in 4 womxn will file a report against rape. Of the cases reported only 6% end up with a conviction
1 in 5 womxn will be raped. For every 1000 rapes, 310 are reported. 57 reports lead to arrest. 11 cases are referred to prosecutors. 7 cases end in a conviction. 6 rapists will be incarcerated. Approximately 32 000 womxn per year are impregnated from rape.
“It really makes me question what makes humans feel it is acceptable to treat any human in this way. I don’t have any experiences like this personally, but I do know the fear too well of hopelessness. Whether it’s walking alone at night and thinking that a tree shadow could be someone following me, or going to the toilet in a club and thinking someone could corner me, or the anxiety of wanting to dress nice but knowing that it could provoke a negative reaction from the opposite sex. It’s a scary world we live in where sex is often so different for women than it is for men. For a lot of men it’s about power and dominance, and for many women it’s about a positive and enjoyable experience. I don’t understand it, and I especially don’t understand how men can use and abuse women when they have mothers and sisters and daughters who could be in the same shoes as their victim someday” @caitharnett
i heard it’s only rape if someone has the injuries to show for it
sometimes people who are raped sustain internal and/or external injuries
and sometimes they don’t.
Many people who are sexually attacked are unable to move
or speak from fear or shock or because they are incapacitated
Men are less affected by sexual assault than womxn
rape and sexual assault can be traumatic for anyone who experiences them.
Gender has nothing to do with a person’s reaction.
Anyone can avoid rape by ‘fighting off’ the rapist
Many people who are sexually attacked are unable to move or protest
due to fear, shock or because they are incapacitated.
People react to sexual violence in many ways and none of them are wrong
“as someone with low self-esteem it’s easy to live with these advances because it made/makes me feel ‘wanted’. I was sexually assaulted as a teenager when a partner kept going even though I wanted to stop- for a long time, and sometimes even now, I felt like it was my fault because I didn’t fight him hard enough. But what if he hurt me, and took what he wanted anyway? I was too scared/inexperienced to risk it, so I let him. It took a while for me to process what happened as an assault but all these years later, learning about consent and how important it is, I realise what it was.” @anonymous
“The hardest pill to swallow for me is definitely the fact that rape culture was heavily
normalised for me at home, more so since I’m the only girl child in my family. I never
understood why my brother was allowed to walk around the house shirtless when we had female guests over but I wasn’t allowed to wear my sweaters with leggings when we had male guests, or how come my brother was allowed to leave the house for a few days
without as much as a text but, at my age of 23, I have to be home by 9pm or my mom might call the cops to report me missing.
Living in South Africa is quite something in comparison to how most of the world does
things. We’re taught that a man must keep pursuing you until you cave in because it shows his persistence and level of admiration he has for you, we’re taught to ‘submit’ to our husbands or boyfriends (if you’re not yet married) as a level of respect for the head of your relationship/ household since men apparently know better… if you want a more relatable take on rape culture in South Africa from the eyes of someone in their 20s who isn’t married and hates it when men don’t take no for an answer (seriously, I’m not Aaliyah—if at first you don’t succeed, please leave me alone): some men go to night clubs to spike women’s drinks, some go with the intention of buying women drinks to guilt trip them into leaving with them, the celebrities use their names as some sort of magic word to make girls feel lucky to even have them breathe in their direction, and when all is said and done and a girl changes her mind about who she’s going home with, 9 out of 10 times, the man’s friends will pretend not to notice it when the girl’s being shoved into a car because of entitlement and bruised ego issues on the man’s part, or when he calls her derogatory things because she stood her ground and/ or changed her mind.
Rape culture is so deeply engraved in our upbringing, it’s almost become normal for our
male population, especially within the black community, I feel. I’ve been followed around by men who wanted to talk to me, I’ve been threatened because I didn’t greet back when a man said hi to me, I’ve had guys hunt for my number to text me that they like me when I don’t even know them, I’ve been groped without my consent… I’ve been raped. I worked at a night club in 2018 and prior to this, my understanding of rape culture was standard. I understood it but not the intensity of it because of how normalised it’s become in our communities. During this time, the excitement of constantly being around famous figures may have clouded my judgement once or twice, but the longer I stayed in that environment, the more I had lots of “hang on a minute” moments that made me question, each night I had a shift,
if a) these were the types of people I wanted to be around in the media space I saw myself working in someday and b) if 500 bucks a night was worth the
blatant disrespect I experienced both personally and in passing in this popular night club.
When you work in a space that’s heavily alcoholic, knowing your values and sticking to your goals is very essential. I knew I was there to serve drinks in a sparkly dress, sway my little hips while holding a flare up for whichever guest, and smile like theirs was my favourite table even though I’d done this same routine 20 times over in the same night. I knew off the bat that I’d never compromise myself by getting involved with any co-workers or celebrity guests who found me attractive—just make my money and take a cab home as soon as 3am hits. There was one co-worker in particular who had a thing for me beyond friendship. Did I find him attractive? Absolutely, but not enough to risk my pocket money and be another name on his list since I always saw him with some girl every other night. He made it clear that he found me sexually attractive—it was in his jokes, in the innuendos he threw in when we’d be outside smoking together, in how he looked at me when I said hi and in the compliments he gave me. He even noticed the smallest things like when I’d gotten my nails done, when I’d gotten new shoes or if my makeup was done differently. Of course I was flattered. I’d been out of a relationship for some years at that point and a bit of ‘good’ attention does things to a girl’s ego but he knew I wasn’t interested in anything he had to say to me beyond the friend-zone because I’d always shut down his advances.
On my birthday that year, I’d gotten treated with a table of drinks on the house for my
friends and I and I was so excited because I’d spent all year watching other girls have their parties thrown at the club with a beautiful cake, some balloons and VIP treatment and this was finally my time. I’d gone and done my hair, my mom had gifted me outfit money and I was in a mood beyond excitement as I’d already affirmed all year that 23 would be the best year of my life. I had my drinks with my girls and danced about the club and I went outside for my usual smoke routine with my co-worker in which, as per routine, he started with the compliments and innuendos. Again, I had to remind him that I was fine and happy with how we were and I’d assumed he’d accepted it, but a few drinks later, I was laughing with him and, before I knew it, we were going out for ‘air’. I’ll spare you the details—most of which I thankfully can’t remember because of my intoxication—but I woke up at my friend’s house feeling so dirty and shocked above everything, I didn’t even stay for breakfast; the moment I got out of bed, I gathered my belongings and headed home to ‘nurse my hangover’ and shower thoroughly.
For weeks after this incident, I was depressed. I didn’t eat much and each moment I spent alone was the perfect one to cry and scream and blame myself for giving him signals that I might have been interested—maybe I laughed too hard at his jokes, maybe I smiled too much, maybe I somehow communicated that I was keen while drunk, maybe the skirt I wore that night had been too short or my breasts were too exposed. My mom didn’t notice a thing about my changed behaviour or depression. When she was at work, I was getting all the crying done and when she got home, I’d force myself to sit with the family and laugh as if everything was okay. In all honesty, I didn’t even want to leave the house—it made me feel physically sick, just thinking about being around so many people, part of the fear being that maybe they could smell it on me because there’s this belief about rape in my community that if it happens once, it’ll most likely happen again because the perpetrators could smell rape victims. One time my mom got off work early and asked me to meet her at the mall… I had to get my crying done prior to putting my makeup on to pretend to be okay. I’ve never shared this story with anyone I personally know because it embarrasses me that this happened to me—that I allowed it to happen to me. I, the victim, feel embarrassed about being victimised when my rapist is still at that club, probably doing to another girl what he did to me. I often wonder if he acknowledges what he did? Is he sorry? Does he know that I feel violated to this day?
Does he wonder about me and ask himself why I stopped going to work after that night?
When I read stories online about girls being raped and someone brings up alcohol and outfits to defend the rapist, it breaks me; I literally feel guilty and that’s probably why mystory will only ever be shared in writing on the internet until I get to a point in my life where I’m no longer ashamed… sometimes I feel like the day that men take accountability for their actions will come sooner than the day will forgive myself but I try not to think too much about the pain; I try to focus more on the fact that, in some ways, I’m speaking about it. I experienced it and, as I write this, I’m realising I’m still hurt but, guess what? This is no longer something that I allow to take up a bulk of my day. I’ve carried on as best I could and I’m ready to fight for any woman who’s gone through this ugly experience.
Rape culture to me isn’t just the act of rape. It’s the subtle jokes a man throws at a woman that he pairs with beautiful compliments that he hopes will have her cave in. Rape culture the entitlement of not taking ‘no’ for an answer. It’s when a man goes as far as paying attention to the little things she does or says—pretending to care that much—as to play the good guy card so she can fall for him and give him what he wants. Rape culture is in the fact that he’s still got his job and someone knows he has flings with girls there, but they let it slide. Rape culture is the silence around the various forms of rape and this irritating, hurtful conditioning that drunk sex is always consensual. So many people, especially in the night scene, have witnessed some act of rape but it’s become so normal for men to feel entitled to our bodies that people mind their business instead of checking on the possible rape target. Instead of society conditioning men to not rape, they police women on how to not get raped, and that’s where my anger is directed—the fact that I may never express to my friends, family or partner that I was raped because of where and how it happened to me.
As a result of my experience, I’m more self-conscious about what I wear—shorts go with
stockings or a sweater around my waist and if I show legs, I have to cover my upper body and vice versa, I take my time letting any man in and, with the recent rise in femicide statistics in South Africa, every man is guilty to me until proven innocent. The bright side of my experience is the amount of time I’ve given myself to heal and rebuild myself. Yes, I’m still ashamed and hurt, but beyond that, I’ve discovered my beauty beyond the physical because my physical self doesn’t matter much to me anymore—I want to grow from the inside. I’m more of a warrior for women and children and try to get involved in as much work based on them as I can, and in terms of my love life and dating, I’ve become better at detecting red flags and I’ve come to take my time in getting to know someone.
To say it gets better over time is literally the only hope that rape survivors have going for us. It’s a day by day task, having to convince ourselves that today will be better and that today we have to be part of the world and not feel sorry for ourselves for once. Some days I have to take a day off school to collect myself in a public place, just to remind myself that people aren’t out to get me or judge me or attack me… that people don’t care (and it’s ironic because at one point, I wanted them to care but now I find peace in knowing that I can go out for a cup of tea and sit by myself and they wont bother me). My biggest challenge as someone who has recently gotten back into dating is trusting someone enough to let them take me out and let them pay for the food/ drinks on our date because, at the back of my mind, I’ve told myself that I don’t want to owe anyone anything, and it bothers me a little that I’ll laugh at his jokes but my phone’s tracker will be on. It’s a process. On the rough days, I literally feel like I’m in a shell, merely observing my day play out with no control over it, but on my best days, I’ve forgotten about the hurt for a moment and I’m the strongest
woman I know and I love it!”
F a c t o r s c o n t r i b u t i n g t o r a p e c u l t u r e
When you teach girls that their worth is determined by their ‘attractiveness’ you are contributing to the harmful ideology that we exist to only be consumed, that we exist to please.
My mother didn’t carry me for 9 months so I could be your McDonald’s happy meal, get a grip luv.
If I want to wear the shortest skirt on the planet and show off my stomach because it makes me happy then I should be able to do that. I should be able to walk to the mall without plotting escape routes. 8 year old me should never have been catcalled. 9 year old me should never have had to be told that she couldn’t go to a sleepover in case she got raped. 12 year old me should’ve been able to go for a run around the block because I liked running. 13 year old me shouldn’t have had ways of fighting off an attacker memorized. 14 year old me would like to go to the mall just once and not have to tell guys more than twice my age to f*ck off for catcalling me.
I don’t need to know I look sexy. I didn’t ask you.
The System Supports It
Every time the topic is ignored or normalized. When you don’t teach your children about consent. When you try to teach people not to be raped instead of telling people to not sexually assault others. When you slut shame or make rape jokes or teach girls to always apologize. When you make excuses for behavior that shouldn’t be tolerated. You are actively contributing to what at the time may seem like nothing, but really is more harmful than you think.
So who benefits from rape culture? I think this quote on Reddit perfectly sums up my thoughts:
“…Although not all
men take advantage of these benefits, they do have the possibility if they wanted to. I think that counts as benefiting from rape culture. Whether they use the power or not does not change the fact that they have it.” Reddit
Which leads me to my next point
Need for Power
Some questions to think about: Who has power? Who doesn’t? Why? How far is someone willing to go to get it?
survivors you may know
o r i g i n
Men Are Trash was a concept brought to life by womxn in South Africa in response to the lack of action from men with regards to fighting rape and rape culture, after Karabo Mokoena was burnt and killed by her boyfriend. The hashtag aims to illustrate violence and inequality.
t o x i c m a s c u l i n i t y, b o y s w i l l b e b o y s
& a c c o u n t a b i l i t y
- a social science term that describes narrow repressive types of ideas about the male gender role, that define masculinity as exaggerated masculine traits like being violent, unemotional, sexually aggressive etc. also suggests that men who don’t exhibit these aren’t ‘real men’
-the idea that real men always want sex- the idea that violence is the answer to everything- the idea that any interest in a range of things considered feminine would be emasculation- the idea that men and womxn always have to be competitive instead of cooperative-
“it is hard and frankly ignorant to deny that females are often set to a disadvantage in comparison to men”@tom
i s #menaretrash m o r e d a m a g i n g t h e n b e n e f i c i a l
“I’m a genderqueer trans man, raised and socialized as a woman. I always had the feeling that I should be able to dress how I wanted, and I’ve reclaimed that since then, but I regretted it for a long time. Men would put their hands or their phones up my dress in public. Men would follow me downtown at night. A friend invited me over to cook a meal together and catch up on a show we were watching, and he pressured me into sex until I turned non-vocal and he just took what he wanted. It got around in my friend group that I was a good lay, and didn’t interact with anyone outside of a theatre group and some online friends. I had to learn to love myself again. Now that I pass as an AMAB(assigned male at birth) person, I’m constantly shut down when I talk about rape culture, because it’s assumed I haven’t experienced it. Which is harmful in multiple ways, in that both men DO experience rape and sexual assault, and it also shows not many take into consideration the intersectionality of being an AFAB(assigned female at birth) trans person.”
“I think hashtags like #menaretrash are rooted in responses to misogyny, and that isn’t the core of why men don’t speak up. I was raised as a woman and transitioned in my early 20s, but I’ve experienced a lot of toxic masculinity as I’ve transitioned. I think at the end of it all, men are told to keep quiet when it comes to difficult circumstances, and rape/sexual assault falls into that category. Men are also generally regarded as people who are supposed to be strong and dominant, so to be put in a position of weakness or disadvantage is embarassing and humiliating.”
“Men see generalisations as an attack rather than what they are, a generalisation. We(women) never know which man is safe and therefore to us all men are risk because they could show their true colours anytime. Men don’t seem to get that though.”
w h e r e i s t h e a c c o u n t a b i l i t y
-A question we should be asking everyone
w o m x n vs m e n
c o m m u n n i t y vs r a p i s t s
There’s no denying that society has a long way to go in terms of addressing rape culture, but how focused are we amplifying the experiences of more than just womxn in conversations about rape?
Hear me out.
I don’t think we should stop calling anyone out. I do however, think we need to call out everyone who’s problematic. I think now more than ever it’s important to address the culture we’ve come to accept as normal. I don’t think we can do that without having actual discussions, without actual communication between everyone.
I hopped onto social media and asked the questions:
“do you think the conversation has became womxn vs men(69%) or community vs rapists”(31%) and “do you think womxn rapists are given the same energy as male rapists.(Of which 55% said no) Here are some of the responses:
“The movement causes problems instead of uniting people.”
“No not at all. I feel often times they’re given a pass and seen as heroes. A teacher from my high school was arrested for having sex with an underage student a few years ago, and the comments on social media were all praising her for taking advantage of him. Like it was some kind of fetishized game. Other times I’ve seen it said that women can’t even rape, so the men are just lying/complaining/seeking attention.
There have been flyers posted around my town recently about a woman who was having a lot of unprotected sex with young men and they were contracting HIV. She’s being accused of doing it on purpose. The flyers name her and give a general description, so people can identify if they need to be tested. I don’t agree with keeping this all under wraps. If a local man was purposefully spreading HIV around to young women, I feel there would be an uproar.
When asked if they called out problematic men, 100% of voters said yes. When asked if they called out problematic womxn, 28% of voters said no.
So why are we so quick to call out men and not womxn, and are we really making the kind of changes we need for movements like #timesup to succeed if we’re not addressing the issues within them?
I think the exclusion could be down to understanding and kind of awareness or education on the matter. I also feel like people’s response to the movement causes the exclusion(in some cases)
Everyone’s perception of it completely changes what the movement ends up being about
“Teens don’t have to join the stereotype that this messed up world has created for us”@Sarah
“Consent: A Bad Feminist Essay
I have only ever been in one relationship. I was kind of coerced into
this one relationship, too. When it started, my friend and I were out
feeding horses one night. For some reason, she knew what was happening.
The guy wanted me to go over to his place to ask me something. My friend
hinted at what it was, and I started refusing. I didn’t want to go. I
have never been a relationship girl.
I was the one who chased him. I like the attention. In fact, my senior
year of high school showered me in candies and gifts and attention
because I had control over those situations. I didn’t have to do
anything more than what I wanted (which wasn’t much, really).
So, sometimes I sit here wondering why I let myself go into a
relationship that I didn’t really want in the first place. I liked
making out. I liked the attention. I liked the air of mystery that
surrounds it. It helps keep the boys under my thumb.
But that doesn’t mean anything outside of what it was. There were never
any promises in those kinds of relationships. Slapping a label on it
meant work was involved; work I wasn’t familiar with. I didn’t know how
to handle it. All I knew is that it meant I’d have to give more. So, I
On some level, I must’ve wanted this relationship. I think. I’m not
blaming anyone for it, because it was good while it lasted. I think. But
there’s something that has been bothering me for a while.
It’s a really fuzzy memory because I was on a medication that caused
short-term memory loss, and I don’t want to remember it. I remember how
I felt though. I know how I feel now —
And I feel incredibly guilty for letting it go on without saying
I’m not a professional. I can’t tell you for sure that my ex has Nice
Guy Syndrome. I am only sure, in my own head, that he does. He is a nice
guy. But he thinks he’s better than he is. I realize now that my
reactions of lashing out later on during mini “break-ups” in our
relationship was just a way of getting him to feel the way I felt when
this situation happened. I am tired of feeling like a bad feminist for
protecting his ego.
But I was scared of offending and starting a losing battle.
I lost it anyway.
What I remember is laying on my back. I don’t know what we were doing; I
can’t remember. We were in bed. Fill in the blanks, because I can only
do the same. I remember his hands going around my throat, squeezing. We
had never talked about this before. Consent! Consent, consent, consent.
Yes, we were in a consenting situation, but we had never discussed
hands-around-the-throat-choking. And I remember the sense of panic,
snapping me out of whatever was happening. I remember forgetting how to
Because I did not consent to being choked. It was scary. I didn’t know
if he’d know when to stop. I didn’t know if he knew that I did not like
what was happening. I didn’t say anything, just pushed his arms off me
after a little while of being shocked out of my own brain. I didn’t like
it. I didn’t like it, and I don’t know if I’m still able to fully
process the stark lack of consent that was happening.
But I never said anything — and that’s what is bothering me the most
today. I want to cry knowing that there were three years I had the
chance to educate him. But that’s not my job. As the Nice Guy, he
should’ve known that a conversation was required before his hands ever
went around my neck.
I spent the next couple of years with this thought in the back of my
head, always slowly concerned that his hands would go where they weren’t
wanted. There were nights when he’d lash out in anger because I was
being annoying, where he’d hit me. There were times when I’d be so mad
that I’d slap him. Maybe it wasn’t healthy, but the times where I
retaliated against him were my ways of trying to punish him for choking
and scaring me. Because I was scared. I was terrified of what was
happening in that moment that it’s all I can remember from that
And sitting back, hearing so many of my friend’s assault stories, it
makes me mad that I never said anything. I have tried to be the
encouraging voice, the ear that listens, and the friend who loves and
supports in these situations. I educated my ex in getting tested for
STD/Is (another thing I am mad he put me at risk for), so why did I not
educate him on what he did was a disrespect of my consent? And why did I
Because as a scared woman, it is not my responsibility to fix a man. I
see two therapists and a psychiatrist. I have my own issues and demons
to work on, and now this is one of them. I’ve been told that I am not a
bad feminist, a title that I have bestowed upon myself. I had three
years to educate my ex on what he did, but I chose to protect his ego
because I didn’t want to hurt him.
Sitting back now, it wasn’t my job. I didn’t have to fix him. I have one
job, and that is to protect myself. Yes, being vulnerable is a skill to
learn, but I don’t have to be at risk. Here’s my lessons:
1. It’s not my job to fix you.
2. It’s not my job to educate you if you want to be considered an ally
3. It is my job to protect my body.
4. Consent comes before and during. Silence does not equate to yes.
5. It is not my job to fix another person.
6. Not fixing you or correcting you does not make me a bad feminist
7. It makes me a victim.
8. Being a victim does not make me powerless.
It doesn’t matter what relationship you are or are not in. If you do not
like what is happening, you have every right to “offend” the other
person for your own safety. And that is the lesson I am taking away from
being a bad feminist and not educating the boy who hurt me.” @Alex
Being a man is not about hiding your feelings or struggles and not talking to anyone about them. It’s about taking your responsibility to yourself, your family and your community to fight back and get better. I recently met some guys who are making sure that no one has to do that alone.
They’ve risen out of the darkness and that takes more strength than keeping it all bottled up inside like the stereotypes tell you to. Just like having the strength to carry on is often braver than having the guts ending it all. To carry on is a decision you make every minute of every day. To end it all is one decision and one action. Solutions need to be found and these people I met are doing just that. They’re starting peer to peer support groups where men can come and talk to people who understand and care without judgement.
They’re not breaking taboos because it’s trendy. This is life or death. On one hand coming together is a choice, a choice that takes strength, and in the other it’s not, they would fall apart without each other.
But together they’re strong. Together they’re determined to get their lives back into their control. And those men, those men who let themselves become vulnerable are the strong ones, the ones with a future.
The importance of education
Disclaimer, maybe I don’t know enough about this subject to comment, but I’d just like to share these thoughts based on my own experiences and what I see around me. I apologise from the bottom of my heart if I misunderstand or offend anyone. Please let me know so you can explain your point of view and I can listen and learn. Thank you.
I’m a firm believer in people being held accountable for their actions and having to face the consequences, but I also think that society screws people before they’ve even had a chance in life and although that NEVER makes their behaviour acceptable, we need to start at the root, start EDUCATING people and start empowering them to believe in themselves and in others.
We need parents to teach their kids that rape jokes are not acceptable (neither are jokes about suicide, abuse, mental illness or anything else that is NOT A JOKE, that has the potential to destroy another person inside or belittles them and their experiences, also things you have no. understanding. of). We need people, especially boys and men, to wake up and see that glorifying sexual abuse or anything related to it is not cool and that standing up against that, standing up for your friends, for your family and for your fellow human beings is. We need to start teaching sex ed in a way that’s honest and accessible, not patronising, not over-complicated, not glorified. We’ve got to smash taboos like we smash targets, start talking about things in a way that emphasises empathy, respect, understanding and works towards a way forward. Only when we break down those barriers that are enforced by fear and ignorance, can we start to create change.
So education. Maybe if you’d taught that boy that girls are not an object to be sexualised when he was young, he may not have grown up to rape one. Maybe if you hadn’t messed up people’s heads with glorified violent ideas fed to them through popular media that are only amplified amongst their peers because their parents never taught them better, they wouldn’t be behind bars now. Or worse still, still free because their victim is too terrified to speak out. Maybe if we stopped shoving this narrative of ‘men are tough, men don’t show their feelings, men don’t cry’ down the male gender’s throat then they’d all be less confused. Maybe if we stopped forcing people into boxes, we’d all be freethinkers. Maybe if we stopped victim shaming, if we started seeing everyone in this messed up world as a product of a messed up society, we’d have somewhere to start.
It’s starts here, with you, with me, with everyone. Talk about this in school. At home. With your friends. Where you work. Don’t make fun of it. Don’t whisper and laugh. Don’t make assumptions. Listen and learn and play your part in making a better world. @Gracie
Things to read/watch
things to look into:
Forge( trans/nonbinary people)