Sunday, 5 January 2014

Why Women Probably Think You're A Creep....

....before you even speak.

MASSIVE DISCLAIMER: This is about how women are trained to view men, not about how men actually are. I know a few guys who feel like they are viewed as predators by the women who they pass in the street - they're probably right... and this is why:

I saw an interesting tumbler post the other day (LINK) which starts:

Rape culture is when I was six, and
my brother punched my two front teeth out.
Instead of reprimanding him, my mother
said “Stefanie, what did you do to provoke him?”
 The poem goes on to say "It’s starts when we’re six, and endswhen we grow up assuming the natural state of a man is a predator" And that right there is how rape culture hurts both men and women. 

By teaching our daughters how not to "provoke" sexual assault we're instilling 2 detrimental ideas:  
  1. If it happens it's at least partly your fault - you shouldn't have provoked it.
  2. Men are predators. You have to be careful around them.
Some men are predators. And a lot of women are assaulted... and some of them think it's their own fault and don't report it. 

Even if you don't know it I can guarantee you know at least one woman who was sexually assaulted. I know of a few of my friends have been assaulted and I would be willing to bet that there are others who have been too ashamed to talk about it. 

Where does this shame come from? Victim blame.

I had what I consider a close encounter a little while back. I was practically on my doorstep and honestly I think that's the only reason I didn't end up getting attacked. Scariest 2 minutes of my life. This guy was setting off all kinds of alarm bells and in the back of my mind I had "If this guy tries something people are going to blame my clothes" but even beyond that there is so much information out there on "How Not To Get Raped" like it's really something we have control over. With all that helpful advise surely it's partly our fault if it happens, right?

The thing is the advise isn't that helpful. Be vigilant and aware of your surrounding is pretty sound advice for anyone. There's some shitty people in this world. But specifically advising women to hold their keys in their fist like a weapon when they're walking to their car just in case some guy tries to grab them, is just continuing our training: Man = predator. You must live in fear of strange men. 

Living in fear isn't living. 

And all this shit leads to people who think that street harassment is either okay... or funny... or something because it happens far too much

Street harassment is a massive symptom of a culture that disrespects and objectifies women. And it feeds the idea that strange men are dangerous and/or creepy every time it happens. 

And not just because it happens....

Because there is rarely any consequence. 

Most level headed human beings get that street harassment is not okay but at the same time most people aren't doing anything about it.... even if they see it happen. There is no consequence for these arseholes. No one is going to protect, or stand up for us out there in the street. We have to do it ourselves and why shouldn't we, all our lives people have been telling us how ... how to avoid rape....

How to fear men.

I'm sorry guys, but this is why you can't approach a woman you don't know on the street. Even I will probably throw all my guards up if you approach me. Until victim blaming, street harassment and all the other aspects of rape culture die - we're going to see you as a threat. It's not fair, it's not your fault... and there isn't really much you can do about it.

This is how rape culture hurts men.

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