First of all, there is far too many opportunities for people to discuss, real world examples of women being raped by men, and unfortunately I am seeing these stories shared mostly by women.
Men, we need to step up and take ownership of this conversation amongst ourselves as well.
This week alone, I saw a man on a TV show slut shame a woman for sleeping with her partner, I’ve seen convicted rapists let out of prison after serving minimal terms, transcripts from a trial in the US where a judge asked a rape victim why she didn’t just keep her knees together or tilt her pelvis away from her rapist. A women stalked from online and raped, and even a friend of mine who received bruising on her arm from an aggressive man she had been on a couple of dates with, who got mad when she no longer wanted to see him.
Are. You. Serious?
That was just THIS WEEK!
What has happened that not only are we discussing these things as news and entertainment, but that they are so easily accessible that I can’t go a day without seeing it on social media, or hearing about it from my friends.
It’s time for men to step up and say it’s not ok. Not online. In person. Share this, or don’t, but at least think about it. If you share this and don’t pull up your mates for their terrible behaviour, then it’s not really working is it?
How can we, as men, do a better job of pulling up other men for behaviour that might lead to attacks on women?
Well you can keep an eye on your peers/friends that do the following with their partners/girlfriends/women they are dating:
If you know people who act this way, maybe have a chat to them, see why they do, tell them that its not really a great way to treat people and offer them help to find someone to speak to about it. Keep an eye on them and their partner and make sure that she is ok over time. Partners of abusers won’t always leave right away, and that can be frustrating, but be there for them for a time when they might need to leave.
On a comment thread a couple of weeks ago, a female friend of mine had seen in a carpark, a man punch a woman in the face, to the ground. They had been having a verbal confrontation, and the woman slapped the mans face. The man then spat in her face and closed fist punched her to the ground.
The first few comments from men on that thread were along the lines, “Well what did she do to fire him up” “It’s bullshit that women can do whatever they want and if men retaliate they get in trouble”, “Women want equality, but complain when they get back what they dish out”.
Can we just cut that bullshit out?
Women arguing for equal rights are not giving us permission to beat them up when we are mad. These things happen from the way that we as a whole talk about it.
People argue, people fight, people say mean horrible and hurtful things.
None of that gives you permission to rape and/or beat someone up.
I made a graph to clear up any confusion.
Now being ‘traditional’ is no excuse to yell at a woman who wants to have sex with someone for any reason. The point should be that no one should have to be with, or have sex with, anyone that they don’t want to. If a girl has had sex with 200,000 people, it doesn’t mean that she will have sex with you, or your mates. It means she can have sex with whoever she wants to have sex with (provided they want to have sex with her too).
It is that simple. As men we need to end talk about being ‘owed’ sex for any reason. As men we need to stand up and say that it’s not a woman’s fault for not ‘tilting her pelvis’ and being raped, it is the fault of the man who raped her.
It is not the fault of the drunk woman who passed out and was raped. It is the fault of the rapist.
It is disgusting to me that the first comments on many discussions like this start with
“What about women that beat men” – Yes there are issues with all kinds of violence, but a conversation about women abusing men is not a counter argument to men beating women.
“What about women that lie about being raped” – Also not a counter argument to the fact that women are still being raped by men, and that women shouldn’t be getting raped for any reason, ever. That is still not a reason to immediately assume all rape claims are spurious. It is certainly not a reason to make excuses for convicted rapists.
“Women want to be treated like men, then they shouldn’t complain when they get all the same treatment” – Equality of opportunity does not mean men can do whatever they want to women!
Consensual sex is awesome. It can be fun and varied and intimate and wonderful. Healthy sex is consensual sex, good sex is mutually enjoyable sex. You don’t have to marry everyone you have sex with and likewise, if you want to wait until you are married to have sex, you have every right to do so. Everyone has the right to dictate what happens with their own bodies, and no-one should be forcibly abusing another person in any way at all. If you have any doubt about whether someone wants to have sex with you, just ask!
If we change the way we talk to each other about these things, then we can, as men, improve the situation for women who unfortunately, currently have good reason to be wary of us. Men are well placed to look out for other men who might go out and cause harm to women. Pull them up, talk to them about what is and isn’t appropriate, and create an environment where we celebrate men who make other people feel good, and not just men who do whatever they want, when they want.
There is nothing embarrassing for all men for talking about being disgusted by the behaviour of these guys that are committing these crimes. We don’t need to start with the comments like “All the rapists should be burned alive”, “These guys are the worst kind of scum” etc etc. The vitriolic comments and violent rhetoric doesn’t actually help.
What does help, is taking the people around you, and the people you know and talking openly about how pinning a girl to a wall and kissing her when she didn’t want to be kissed, is not cool. That getting someone drunk so you can have sex with them, is not cool. That bringing a girl home and letting your mates watch you have sex with her, or letting them join in without her consent, is not cool. That if a girl doesn’t want to see you, that’s ok. That you are never owed sex. That 3am trips to your house, do not guarantee that you’ll be having sex with someone. Being drunk isn’t an excuse for putting your hands on a woman inappropriately. No outfit on the planet is a blanket invitation for anyone to have sex or touch whatever part of a woman they like. Drugging someone’s drink is not cool, for any reason. That being a dickhead only makes you a dickhead, it doesn’t make you cool. The number of people someone has had sex with has nothing to do with how good they are as a person. The number of people someone has had sex with is no indication of how many more people they will have sex with, and certainly there is no magical number over which someone will definitely just have sex with you.
Bring it up, it’s not embarrassing, it’s just real. I think everyone should be having great sex, and no one should be getting raped. It’s up to men to pull each other up when there aren’t women around, to prevent things from happening when they are. We can do better, and improve the situation for women in generations to come.
Share the articles, let women know that it’s not ok for men to get away with rape and slut shaming and treat them terribly. Let women know that there are some men out there who recognise the problem, and even though we don’t always know what to do about it, we are here to learn and help however we can.
Just Be Nice - J
Josh Reid Jones - Founder of The Just Be Nice Project and Odin Sports