This comment by kckrupp was in response to Lisa Hickey’s post “Rapists I Have Known.“
I completely agree that with the exception of a few radical pockets, feminists in general do not see it as “all men are bad,” and I think the bigger problem is carelessness in language and ‘accidental’ blame. A good example of this is the Slutwalk and the recent incident with the PA Liquor Control Board’s ad where the slogan that came out of the ordeal was “Don’t Get Raped vs Don’t Rape.” The “Don’t Rape” slogan is the same thing men have been told over and over again in regards to date rape. I’ve been to several date rape prevention education programs and talks directed at men (university required it as part of a fraternity) and they all boiled down to the same message over and over: “Don’t rape.”
The problem is, most men think rape is vile and respond with, “Well I’m not a rapist, I don’t want to be a rapist, I’m not going to ever rape anyone, so this message has nothing to do with me.” They tune the message out, just as Odds described.
An even bigger part of the problem is the entitlement belief that I see coming from most activist groups. They take a staunch “I’m right and you’re wrong” approach, and I mean almost ALL activist groups. Most activist groups seem to take the standpoint that society should rise to meet their ideology, rather than crouching down to meet society at eye level and then help society work their way to standing up taller. That is the key difference I see in Lisa’s piece and the Good Men Project as a whole from other gender-focused websites. You see, Cara, you are right, Men need to help men understand how to stop rape from happening and so do women, because if men currently don’t see it as a problem or are tuning the message out, then the burden is on those trying to change society and resolve the problem. Fortunately, the GMP is going about it the right way by talking about things in terms or personal reflection and perspective, connecting to men at their level, as equals, telling men you are great and valuable, and capable of great things, and we need good men like all of you to change the world. It doesn’t tell them, well you better do this, it allows men to come to their own conclusions and make the decisions on their own. And that is the only way to truly change a person’s mind and one by one change society.
This is the comment by Odds that is referred to in the comment above:
Moreover, there needs to be some incentive for men to be good – if I’m assumed to be a rapist or a potential rapist by a group of people, I’m not going to try to change their minds, I’m going to disengage from them and find someone else to associate with. Same as how I expect a black man would react if I assumed he was a felon and drug addict until proven otherwise, or how a Jew would probably react if I assumed he was a Zionist agent until proven otherwise, or how a woman would react if I assumed she were a man-hating lesbian until proven otherwise. It’s every bit as unjust and cruel. Assuming the worst in everyone I see, even if it were (hypothetically) borne out in the statistics, creates an environment where the best of any group have nothing to gain by being part of it.
Say that society changed and I, as a man, was presumed guilty in a legal sense in the event of any accusation – rape, harassment, abuse, whatever. Name your feminist cause, I’m presumed guilty. Why would I bother to interact with any woman I did not already trust? Any slight emotional instability, any trace of feminist ideology in a woman, and I would have nothing to do with her. Too risky. Why would I bother to get involved when I see another man making questionable moves? The person reporting any crime is nearly always a suspect as far as the police are concerned. Why would I ever get involved and intervene on a woman’s behalf in the face of that risk? I’d simply not get involved. I can think of one woman who might be raped or dead today if I had not intervened on her behalf – but she was drunk enough at the time that, in a world of presumptive male guilt, she would have been unable to tell which of us was the good one.
It’s not so unbelievable. How many poor black neighborhoods are full of otherwise regular, innocent folks who simply refuse to talk to the police about anything? Who believe, with fair reasons, that the police do not have their community’s best interests at heart?
None of that is unreasonable. We live in a world where a five year-old playing doctor is a sex offender. If we take the feminist assertion that rape accusations are not believed often enough as a fact, for argument’s sake, then look at the world presumptive male guilt creates: in the short term, all this does is inflict the same injustice on another group (which is fine if two wrongs make a right, I suppose). In the long term, it casts doubt outside of the legal realm on the word of any woman. What man would ever believe a rape claim if he knew that in all cases, the woman’s word was enough? How many men need only be convicted by word alone before other, innocent men stop seeing it as justice? What would those men think of female accusers? Even honest accusers would not be believed, since the men were convicted on word alone, and not on evidence.