Freddy: “See you’re a celebrity in here, and I’m not talking the good kind. Dude kills four guys over some dope. Okay. But murder a girl? Rape a girl?”
Nasir: “I didn’t.”
Freddy: “Doesn’t matter. Makes no difference. See, there’s a whole separate judicial system in here, and you just been judged and juried, and it didn’t come out good for you.”
This is dialogue exchanged between Nasir Khan, a college student accused of raping and murdering a girl and Freddy Knight, former boxer and current inmate who runs the prison in the hit show, The Night Of. The separate judicial system Freddy refers to is the system by which inmates judge the severity of their crimes. In this situation, murdering one girl is worse than four men.
There’s no need to actually debate this proposition. The show is fictionalized but the sentiments are quite familiar. When women suffer violence from men, it’s immoral and unforgivable. When men suffer violence from other men, it’s routine. Trivial by nature. My focus is not to empower those who wish to minimize the very real violence women face. The following is a typical scenario that plays out.
“In one case of intimate partner murder, the woman had left the man seven years ago and was married to a new partner. The ex is possessive about her, thinks she still belongs to him, and he kills her” (Vice News).
And yet, of the 12,996 murder victims in 2010 for which supplemental data were received, most (77.4 percent) were male and of the offenders for whom gender was known, 90.3 percent were males (FBI). Male violence against other males is much more common and expected. It’s a return to the scripts written for us by decades of patriarchal conditioning. Decades of “never hit a girl” or “save the women and children” sounds chivalrous and full of honor. I’m not advocating that more girls should be hit, only that young boys who internalize “never hit a girl” receive the subtle message that boys are okay to hit or that their own life is not worth sparing.
The stats don’t lie and the same pattern is evident in these numbers as Freddy’s reasoning above. The greatest irony in men internalizing dominance is that we accept violence towards other men and symbolically, ourselves.
“The first act of violence that patriarchy demands of males is not violence toward women. Instead patriarchy demands of all males that they engage in acts of psychic self-mutilation, that they kill off the emotional parts of themselves. If an individual is not successful in emotionally crippling himself, he can count on patriarchal men to enact rituals of power that will assault his self-esteem.” -bell hooks
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