Thursday, August 16, 2012

Being A Man Doesn't Mean His "No" Doesn't Matter

(The link in this post is about a man retelling the story of a woman that came way too close to raping him. Tread carefully.)

A while back I came across a rather serious post about a man giving his account of a night during which he was almost raped.

I think there is something worth looking at in regards to men being attacked by women.
I hate her for this. I hate her because the only way out is to start swinging at her, and it’s not until I’ve connected with three solid palm strikes to the side of her face that she finally releases her bite. I hate her because I’m a gentleman, because I was raised to treat women with the utmost respect,...
I put emphasis on that last part because this is a dilemma that many men face when it comes to situations like this.

Guys are raised to be all tough and badass. We can fight our way out of any situation and we will kick the ass of any and all that get in our way. Surely the application of such badassitude would be deemed valid when staring face to face with a rapist right?

Not if that rapist is a girl/woman. If attacked by a guy the gloves are allowed to come off and all bets rendered null and void. Open the gates and give the guy what's coming to him and for the most part people would be okay with it. But when it's a girl/woman all of a sudden he is supposed to seal away all his power and ability and just take the attack. Or at least he should be careful not to hurt her or anything like that.

(And of course this is not to say that all men have such power and ability for it is certainly possible for a woman to overpower a man even when he fights his hardest against her.)

This is a matter of guys being told that we are not allowed to defend ourselves against girls/women that attack us (and this is not limited to rape, you see it in domestic violence situations as well). Why is that? He gives the answer.

He's a gentleman. Not just a gentleman but a "real man". Yeah a mark of being a "real man" is to never under any circumstances hit a girl/woman.

This is a pretty dangerous bit of programming here. When one's safety and and (possibly) life is in danger there is no good reason for a male to be expected to not fight back because of some arbitrary attribute of the attacker like gender.

And speaking of respect, simply put no woman that would violate me in a sexual manner (or any other manner) is a woman that is deserving of my respect.

If giving women a free pass to hurt me is a requirement for being considered a "real man" then I am perfectly fine with not being a "real man".

You can see how this dilemma plays out in the end of his post:
What if it’s not really that big a deal because I’m physically stronger? Will people accuse me of being sexist or some creepy Men’s Rights douche if I acknowledge this? Does this detract from the legitimately scarier issues women face? What if there’s retaliation? What if she claims it never happened and tells everyone I’m just The World’s Worst Human?

What do I do now?

What am I supposed to do now?
1. Being physically stronger than your attacker doesn't mean that it's not a big deal. Combat training, weapons, etc... Absolutely none of those things mean that being attacked when in position of them is not a big deal.

2. If people do accuse him of being a Men's Rights douche then the problem isn't when him or with MRAs, the problem is with the accusers. A man acknowledging that he was nearly raped by a woman IS NOT SEXISM. Talking about female against male violence and rape IS NOT SEXISM. The people that think it is are the ones with the problem. Be they man, woman, MRA, or feminist.

3. Talking about the issues that face men does not distract from women and anyone that thinks it does are the ones with the problem. Issues that women face, issues that men face. They are both valid, they are both real, and they both need to be talked about, confronted, and remedied. In short "Not no but hell no".

4. This would be absolutely horrible. If someone were to retaliate against him for speaking up then it would only prove that he is not the one with the problem. There is nothing in his story that warrants any retaliation.

5. This is a legitimate fear. Contrary to what people say it is possible for a woman to damage a man's reputation with stuff like this. And it's also possible that she could take the fact that she was drunk and spin it around until the story is rewritten into him trying to rape her.

6. and 7. Truthfully I wish I could offer some straight forward set of directions on how to proceed from where he is now but I can't, as I have never been in such a situation (almost but not quite, that's a story for another day). But I do think that by simply speaking up and telling his story he is off to a good start. A good start not only for himself but for other men who have been and are currently where he is now.

This man was almost raped. The last thing that he should have had on his mind is worrying about hurting his attacker because said attacker was a woman and the next to the last thing he should have on his mind is how it will distract from talking about women. If people are as serious as they say they are about supporting people of all genders then at the least they should be able to leave guys like this alone as they speak up.

Oh and the person that made the comment, "The sad part is, no one will ever ask you what you were wearing and how much you had to drink." is really not paying attention. Rather than going on about women have it worse because they are shamed over what they had on or how much they had to drink they would be a lot better off paying attention to how men aren't even given that much of a benefit of the doubt. But I bet money that if instead of saying that certain criteria (such as attire alcohol consumption) meant a woman was not raped they were saying that by virtue of being a woman she was not raped they would notice it just fine.