“Eight percent of college men have either attempted or successfully raped. Thirty percent say they would rape if they could get away with it. When the wording was changed to “force a woman to have sex,” the number jumped to 58%. Worse still, 83.5% argue that “some women look like they are just asking to be raped.”
Margo Maine, Ph.D. (Body Wars)
There was a time that, as a person of the male persuasion, seeing this quote made me really mad. It made me mad that women would assume that I was a rapist; it made me mad that rape was becoming ‘my problem’; it made me mad because, frankly, I didn’t think it was true. I think that this is a really common male attitude when confronted with rape statistics- or, at least, it has been in my purely anecdotal experience.
But now, I know there is no excuse for that. Men need to take responsibility and look at these numbers for what they really are, and what they really, truly represent. Men, don’t be mad at the woman who is justifiably wary that more than half of the men she knows could be her potential rapist. Don’t be mad at that there’s someone trying to rain on your fun, privileged parade where rape is something that only happens on Law & Order. Don’t be mad that you can’t accept that rape is way more common than you think. Most of all, don’t be mad at the woman who was raped and is seeking justice and help for her assault just because you thinks she looks like she was ‘asking for it.’
Be mad at the man who waits in the park to prey on the women who have a right to feel safe in their own communities. Be mad at the man who takes advantage of his drunk girlfriend. Be mad at the man who pushes the issue when his wife isn’t in the mood. Be mad at the man who catcalls, who makes unwelcome advances, who cops a feel.
Don’t be angry at the woman who doesn’t entirely trust you. Be angry at the men who have made her feel that way. Don’t be a part of a problem.
Be a part of the solution.
to my fellow white bio-males: be mad that there are so many men out there who don’t give a shit about consent. DON’T be mad that someone has harshed your mellow with facts; you do not have a right to go through life unchallenged.
Just reading the top quote makes me anxious.
Fellas, the fact is: it’s not personal, it’s probability. Look at the number of women who are raped every year, and look at the women around you. We are inculcated with every self-blaming tip to prevent someone from raping us, then we deal with societal victim-blaming. The entitlement society feeds men, about the sexual availability and OBLIGATION of women, the way even government continues to feel as though we are public property when it comes to sex and reproductive rights…
It’s the statistical probability, that we’ve internalized. It’s not about you, it’s not personal. It’s not even conscious, most of the time.
I hope I live long enough to see things change.
NB: Rape is an insidious crime that is not limited to female survivors. Men, children, and LGBTQIA individuals are not excluded from survivor status, nor are women excluded as perpetrators. It is, again: statistical probability. For as much as women are stigmatized, blamed, and shamed for being raped in our culture, it is worse for men. Whether their attacker is male or female, men are even more shamed and blamed, prosecution of women is nigh on impossible, and justice is almost never served. That we have a double standard in perceiving women as incapable of the crime of rape, is horrifying.