Conversations about male victims of crime and male survivors as talking points to demonstrate a concern for women are fraught with misunderstanding, denials, and attempts at silencing. Often, the trauma is co-opted without the slightest acknowledgment of the crime and trauma the male victim suffered.
In particular, the almost knee-jerk response from some activists assuming that if a male survivor objects to, well, anything at any time or anywhere, it is because the meme/article/comments/PSA wasn’t including them or they are too stupid or emotionally underdeveloped to understand it, ‘cuz fragile masculinity and the patriarchy.
Take this one for instance (sigh) . A boy was gang-raped and left for dead. He has a long road of recovery and some physical injuries he will carry with him for life. That doesn’t even approach the psychological damage that was inflicted.
Notice that the boy’s story is USED, but not to highlight his trauma. No, it is being USED to make the point that women get victim-blamed for being raped. Nary a nod to the shaming, blaming and mockery the boy will face the rest of his life as a male survivor of rape himself. Of course, women should not get victim-blamed for being raped any more than men, who are also victim-blamed, shamed and mocked. However, it is not acceptable to co-opt someone’s horrific experience to make that point.
Again, the problem is not advocating for women. No, the problem is when the meme/article/comments/PSA USES male victims of a random crime or male survivors as a PROP or a DISPOSABLE talking point, not that it didn’t include them in the advocacy. That type of response is akin to gas-lighting as it dismisses the real concern and glosses over it as trivial nonsense in an attempt to silence the concerned party.
This meme makes the point that shaming women with victim-blaming questions is foul and wrong. Yes, it is. On any level and at any time. Always. Victim-blaming and shaming is abhorrent behavior. Again though, actual victims of crimes are being turned into disposable talking points and actively mocked. Yes, it is sarcastic, but it is still mockery and still not how an ally behaves.
Funny thing though, the author of the meme states, “They wouldn’t have gotten robbed if they were sober. Why drink with women you don’t know? Where’s your self respect.” So, the author of the meme is making the case that women should not get shamed for this while shaming men who were also drugged and victims of crime. So far, so good about not shaming women.
However, if you know my story then you know I was drugged and raped by a woman I had met that night who bought me drinks. So, by shaming the men in the story in order to make the point women should not be shamed, she is also making the false assertion that this is not already a type of shaming that men experience. Again, I lived through similar — to include the shaming, blaming, mockery and hatred for merely existing as a survivor in public. Yes, I was also told it was my fault for drinking — by men AND women.
From the perspective of a victim, this is foul.
Again, the author of the meme goes on to say, “Stop drinking with strange women & then cry when you get spiked & robbed.” Yeah, about that. Remember, I was drugged and raped by a woman I just met that night. I was publicly shamed and blamed for drinking and being with a woman I didn’t know. That is real life. It happens and not only to women, despite the author’s incompetent implications.
The author, who apparently knows nothing at all about the dynamics affecting male victims of crime, is again asserting this type of shaming and blaming is only directed toward women by trying to ironically apply it in this case. Oddly though, if she were to apply many of those points to male victims of rape and sexual assault, they would match or be close to existing forms of the shaming and blaming we already experience.
She is wrong and her advocacy comes off as mean-spirited and ignorant of how victim-blaming actually works for men.
I will never understand why it is necessary to treat one group like a disposable object in order to advocate for another group. This is a flagrant and widespread issue at the moment, especially in social media activist circles, to include many third wave feminists. That is not how a supposed ally treats another supposed ally.
The problem is not advocating FOR women. The problem is exploiting male victims of a crime as a prop.
Why is this so hard to comprehend?
This post was originally published on Medium and is republished here with permission from the author.
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