“It’s a disgusting double standard that men are not yet given that same respect.”

 

This comment was from Jen, on the post On Ownership, Sexual Violence, and Standard Operating Procedures

I’m sure you hear this a lot, but I think you’re very brave for putting yourself in the limelight and talking about your abuse. I am a female rape survivor. I know that the way it works for women, often, is that the people we know at the time do not support or believe us – however, the majority of society, at a remove, will acknowledge that raping women is bad and should be stopped. It’s a disgusting double standard that men are not yet given that same respect.

I feel like when a lot of pain is involved, it’s difficult not to lash out at a perceived aggressor. I think that you’re right that sometimes there need to be discussions that are only about abuse against one gender and that should sometimes only be conducted by that gender. I speak from my own experience here; sometimes, it’s very difficult for me to speak to men about this. In those times, when a man tries to contribute, my knee jerk reaction is to lash out, and that has no place in a healthy forum. Similarly, if I’m feeling in pain and like a victim, I believe it might be difficult to hear a man talk about women as aggresors – because when we talk about this, sometimes our voices and our pain is raw, and sometimes it’s hard not to feel defensive even though I am clearly not the woman who has abused the speaker. I’ve never acted on this defensiveness. We have all earned our pain. That needs to be respected.

But even in this blog, I see an “Us vs Them” mentality forming in the comments. “Seems that men can never have issues without women pulling them into the fold,” “It sickens me when…especially feminists,” Missed, I think, the point of women, or feminists, restricting the rape debate to men on women.” (Incidentally, I know a number of fantastic menfolk who identify as feminists or equal-rights activists. Maybe this wasn’t the intent of the commentors, but the implication of the comments seemed to be that feminist and woman are synonymous.) There’s an entire comment arc about how women don’t take male rape victims seriously, and that discussion certainly has its place – but in my experience, men don’t take male rape victims seriously either. This is a societal problem and I think that unless we – all of us, men and women – don’t stop playing into the competition of gender binary, it’s going to be a hard one to fix.

photo: mil8 / flickr

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Comments

  1. Peter Houlihan says:

    Hear hear.

  2. “But even in this blog, I see an “Us vs Them” mentality forming in the comments.”

    I have been around for a while and I have never seen a rape awareness ad address women as predators, even though everyone knows that men can rape. Everyone. And a great number of people are oblivious that women can rape so an ad addressing the public’s ignorance of female rapists would really be raising awareness.

    If you want to see some of where the ‘feminists focus on male-on-female rape/ignore other forms’ is coming from, take a look at this report:

    http://www.wcmt.org.uk/reports/840_1.pdf

    Here are a few highlights:

    “The issue of female offenders is an area that feminist organisations struggle with as it contradicts the core belief that men are the sole perpetrators of sexual abuse. This can be reflected in agency literature, websites and advertising that advocate a pro-feminist stance, which does not include the possibility of female abusers.

    ““The findings highlighted further the difficulty in not being able to separate the male survivor from the male perpetrator. Male survivors (said that) when asking for help as a victim, they would be directed to men’s violence programs or not understood and have to be explicit about what had happened to them.

    “With the emergence of the male victim and the rising reports of female perpetrators comes the threat of challenge to the gender based hypothesis of sexual violence, which is at the core of feminist theory.”

    And then there are the more general campaigns about ‘ending violence against women’ that, for example, minimize and actively hide sexual abuses of men during war.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/jul/17/the-rape-of-men

    When you create a theory that genders rape as ‘patriarchal oppression practiced by men on women’ you create a toxic atmosphere for anyone who hasn’t been victimized in the ideologically correct configuration of genitals.

    Further when a group of people, let’s call them gynocentrists and their fellow travellers, are not only marginalizing male victims and victims of female rapists but actively suppressing evidence of their existence…

    When you say the people who are pointing this behaviour out are engaging in ‘us versus them’ mentality… I’m not sure what to think.

    • “When you say the people who are pointing this behaviour out are engaging in ‘us versus them’ mentality… I’m not sure what to think.”

      Exactly.

    • wellokaythen says:

      Seems like of the thousands of posters and articles out there about rape prevention, the authors could spare a few posters to mention women as perpetrators. Or at least reach out to male survivors in a way that does not assume that male survivors feel exactly the same way as female survivors. C’mon, just a few won’t hurt.

      To this I would add that there is the possibility of common ground in recognizing women as potential abusers. There’s no need to separate this totally into us versus them. There’s no need to make one gender the exclusive perpetrator and one gender the exclusive victim. Someone mentioned the fact that men can also be rape victims. There is also one more population not mentioned here yet that seem to be the most invisible yet: women who are survivors of sexual abuse by other women. That sounds like perfect common ground – “see, I keep telling you women are victims” and the other side can say “see, I told you women could be abusers.” Lose-lose, both sides are right.

  3. I live in Victoria, Australia. I originally went to counselling as a male victim of a female rapist in 2003. I’m now a board member with that same service. However the Victorian network is somewhat unique. It became inclusive about a decade ago because of the efforts of a couple of people within the network and in spite of interference from feminists within the network and some Labor government politicians. As far as I know there’s nothing like it anywhere else in the world on that statewide scale.

    Victoria is rather peculiar though. Our sexual assault laws were amended in the late nineties partly because it was realised that the very specific physiological definitions made it impossible to deal with female perps(when I was raped it was legal!). However with dozens of convictions in the interim we have still only jailed the one proverbial exception. It’s the only state where male victims and female perpetrators are acknowledged by crisis services but also the most inclined to deny those victims justice in it’s legal approach. Through the rest of the country male victims are aggressively rejected by services – even if their taxes are funding said services – often being laughed at or called liars.

    The media has tended to be abominable. Cases involving female perpetrators have frequently been presented from the woman’s – the perpetrator’s – viewpoint. We are regaled with all the hardships of their lives, all their emotional pain, frequent references to their past kindnesses, often ancient and brief, and even wardrobe descriptions. It seems they have been taught sensitivity towards victims who have been identified as only possibly female. In any sexual impropriety any female involved is the default victim even where she is the perpetrator. Print and internet media has also tended to open these coverages to public comment with the predictable response – gag fests, outright denials of the mere possibility of a female rapist, excuse making of all sorts and the occasional sane comment drowned out in further mockery. Our womens’ magazines, massively distributed and read, do glossy spreads about adult women and their adolescent “lovers” AND pay them for the stories too. Guess who’s perspective is being presented? The title “Schoolboy Lover” has been used several times now. What are they thinking? What are their readers thinking AND paying for?

    Over the past decade I’ve made a point of watching reactions to cases involving female perpetrators. To a large extent the reactions of men and women are different. Many men will have a “wish it had happened to me” attitude. The rest tend to point to double standards. Women, on the other hand, are inclined to make excuses for the perpetrator, often invented out of whole cloth. Believe me when I say any excuse will do. Nothing has disgusted me more than the sight of Oprah Winfrey’s audiences giving standing ovations to women whose only claim to fame is raping a young boy. Disgusting and shameless.

    As for feminism it has much to answer for. One thing I will never forget or forgive is being told by feminists that my male privilege prevented my aunt from NOT raping me. I was seven years old. Media Hound pointed out months ago that male victims and female perpetrators were visible and acknowledged in studies going back decades. Then they disappeared. Feminism politicised the issue and it has been the politics of exclusion and discrimination ever since.

    Incidentally, I know a number of fantastic menfolk who identify as feminists or equal-rights activists. Maybe this wasn’t the intent of the commentors, but the implication of the comments seemed to be that feminist and woman are synonymous.

    Right. Feminists like Michael Flood and Hugo Schwyzer who advocate that male victims be disbelieved by default and presumed to be perpetrators instead? Nice folk they are.

    This is a societal problem and I think that unless we – all of us, men and women – don’t stop playing into the competition of gender binary, it’s going to be a hard one to fix.

    It would be a damn sight easier if feminists hadn’t created the “gender binary” in the first place. The exclusion and discrimination will cease only when feminists take a walk and stop playing games of politics with the lives of victims.

    • Transhuman says:

      I notice in Australia that when a woman is convicted of sexual assault, they somehow avoid an entry in a sexual offenders register.It is possible the media simply refuse to mention that aspect but I note with men as offenders the note is included in the news report. The most recent case was a teacher who drugged (with alcohol) boys as young as 12, sexually assaulted and raped them. As you describe, we then get the sob story about how hard the life of the woman rapist’s life has been.

    • “Nothing has disgusted me more than the sight of Oprah Winfrey’s audiences giving standing ovations to women whose only claim to fame is raping a young boy. Disgusting and shameless.”

      Do you happen to know the air date of the episode you’re talking about, or the women in question? I would like to read more about this and understand why this is being called rape.

  4. I think that male criminals should get the same treatment, and have the abuses that have been perpetrated against them taken into account when they are sentenced.

    There should be equality in privilege.

  5. prefernottosay says:

    One of the things that is difficult is even that first step, of acknowledging that something happened to you. In my case I kept thinking, “well, I didn’t stop her so I must have wanted it right?” and “why wouldn’t I like being with a woman?”. For a long time I couldn’t even acknowledge where my anger and frustration were coming from, and it soured me on relationships and girls for many years (it happened when I was 13).

    To this day I wish that hadn’t been how I had my first sexual encounter. You know, stereotypical teens say that they wish their friend’s mom would make moves on them, but when it starts happening in real life, it’s not sexy, it’s disturbing and scarring.

  6. This whole discussion makes me sad, because I feel like the victims–male or female–very often don’t get the support they need and deserve. People of both sexes will misuse power if the opportunity is right and the person is so inclined. Further “us against them” conversations just take the focus off of the real point (to me anyway) and that is that these people are hurting and deserve better than what they got.

  7. well I can honestly say that I don’t know what it’s like, nor would I want to. I’ve seen the true ignorance of modern feminism, hell, I’ve seen feminists who view all men as devils and agents of evil, they believe that because they are women, they can do no wrong, that a woman should never be convicted of a crime, it angers me that such ignorance is allowed to grow in the “nation of equality” alongside horrible “idealists” such as the westboro baptist church

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