Can the same sympathy exist for male survivors of female abuse , Tim Pylypiuk writes, as it exists for female survivors of male abuse?
Note: The following musings come from a place of venerability and fragility. Please heed before reading.
So, what’s good about Masculinity?
Personally, I’d extend the question to what’s good about being a male survivor of female abuse, not just of the male persuasion. For working beyond the irreparable wreckage of a past littered with shattered glass lying strewn about from broken trust and a damaged disposition is as masculine as you’re going to find. Even putting it all on display takes vemestitude.
It’s not a life of pride; your station emblazoned upon heart like a coat of arms. There’s no ceremony of the blade touching the tip of your head while on one knee with the proclamation of royalty bestowed towards you before an admiring monarchy.
Rather, what makes being a male survivor particularly masculine is its honesty and hard-line affront against disbelief, ostracization, and minimization from the other side. With the provision of unconditional support, that is.
Sadly, these are the only good things about being a male survivor. Otherwise, it’s holding your mirror up to reveal a universal reflection cast in glorious Technicolor by your image, only to have it fogged beyond comprehension by condensation from wilful desires to not see it. Put that nasty thing away.
Then you’re left with loneliness and solitude when all you want is to be heard and considered like any human being with a thirst for their basic human rights.
Another drawback is where triggers sound the Pavlov-esque bell and the ensuing reactions to follow.
It happened when commenting in Tom Matlack’s piece “Why I Loved ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.’” Where he celebrated not just the character of Lisbeth but the fact that a story like that dared to talk about rape culture.
My own impressions of not just David Fincher’s movie adaption, but of Steig Larsson’s “Dragon Tattoo” book series, is shaped by their roots and origins within the soil that wrap around in a sweet caress and ring the bell.
1) The author failing to save a young girl from a gang rape he was witness to in the past.
2) The original title “Men Who Hate Women”
3) Daring to talk about “Rape Culture”
These tolls combined create vibrations that quake along the threshold. To keep clear of the vault, I stand at a distance and attempt to traverse the other way. Yet, I am unsuccessful as the Richter scale ensnares me, throws me asunder, a victim to the seismic shifts.
Somehow, I thought my structure to be resolutely quake proof. But as countries such as Japan have learned, acres can still be affected powerfully.
Things collapse and crumble. I’m left looking for aid to assist in the relief effort, clothes and skin dishevelled and torn. But the culture is reluctant to tip its fair share of the money pot my way.
In my haste to share my story, I regret the exclusion of another aversion towards a certain mode of storytelling where rape and abuse are seen from the “Duluth Model” angle of men as default perpetrators and women as default victims, to which the “Dragon Tattoo” trilogy apparently adheres to.
But is that really a drawback to being a male survivor from both male and female abuse? So long as your monsters are female, yes, because the world is made for the majority, not the minority.
An artist I admire so much once said “At the end of the day, we’re all male and female.” I want to add to her statement and say “If the feminine is hurt by the masculine, there’s sympathy. If the masculine is hurt by feminine, there’s revulsion.”
Maybe if I were baptised by the pain and aftermath of having been hurt by the masculine only, if I were a female hurt by a male, rebuilding would come easier. It’d be as if home was never reduced to rubble in the first place and stood like brand new.
I don’t want to turn back time nor intend to stifle any female protagonist from expressing beyond the traditional feminine stereotypes.
I’m just hoping to rebuild in the aftermath when triggers occur so I can sing, “There’s no place like home,” and mean it. Leave a place for survivors like myself in the meantime.
Isn’t that inherent in the goodness of masculinity and being human at the same time?