I’ve never been sexually assaulted, but I’ve known far too many women that have been. Once I became directly involved in the aftermath, serving as a shoulder to cry on and a voice of courage… And once I stopped it from happening by stopping him from happening for a couple weeks. I might be 350 lbs, but I can dead lift your fridge. The thing is, as many people as I knew who were sexually assaulted, I really didn’t know anything. The #MeToo hashtag flooded the internet a few days ago all stemming from the reveal that Harvey Weinstein is one of the most disgusting people in the world. But what that hashtag revealed to me wasn’t that Hollywood knew — because OF COURSE they knew — it revealed to me how I had no idea just how many people I knew were effected by this. As my Facebook feed was flooded by posts with the hashtag I started keeping track. Of the 514 friends I have on Facebook 134 used #MeToo — and those are just the ones I saw. As many of us are all too aware, Facebook has been curating our news feeds for years, who knows how high that number could have climbed. It could have been higher still, but I know people who were assaulted that didn’t share for one reason or another.
That sexual assault is as prevalent as it is… it’s simply horrifying. Until a few weeks ago it would never have dawned on me to worry about my wife going alone to the 7-11, now I take extra care to put myself between her and basically anyone.
So where do we go from here? I dunno.
Honestly I have absolutely no idea, and I’m really afraid to suggest anything. While I was serving as a member of a student’s association I put forward a proposal to do a couple educational seminars where we could help women be safe through a combination of self defense and education. I was immediately lambasted for blaming women. There was a pretty active campaign to have me removed from my post that only narrowly failed.
And I get it. I really do. I’ve seen some of these seminars. A slide from one seminar read “Avoid revealing clothing, pack around a sweater to wear over-top a dress for your walk home.” Really? Pack a sweater? “Encourage trusted male friends to walk you home.” Now we’re picking their friends. “Consider wearing less makeup.” Awesome.
Telling people how to dress? That’s blaming the victim. What I wanted, what I was trying to get done, was teaching women tactics and how to lay a mother-fucker out. Of course, nobody knew that because they were too busy deriding me for “blaming the victim.” Was self defense the best way to go? Honestly I can’t say for sure. What I can say for sure is I was bullied for a good portion of my life, and the only time the bullying stopped is when I beat the shit out of some people. I knocked out Wayne’s tooth, I pounded Seth till his nose bled, and I picked Mike up off the gym floor by his throat. All three fights bought me extended peace because the thing with a bully is once someone fights back, that ends it pretty quick. Maybe that won’t work with rape, but it’s what I know and it’s worth a shot.
Of course, there’s one other thing we can do to curb rape, and that’s to take a page out of John Wayne’s book; build a coalition. See no one — let alone a bully/rapist — wants to take on numbers. And people are trying to do that. They’re trying to organize against “rape culture”. They’ve identified the villain and they are trying to gather troops to fight it…
The problem — in a lot of cases — is the method they used to gather the troops. An internet famous person recently put out a list which I’ll link to here, and this list is titled the “Participation in Rape Culture Checklist”. The list is, of course, very comprehensive and… well that’s part of the problem. The list is just set up to vilify you for
A) Being a man
B) Having an opinion.
- You allow men to talk over and interrupt women. — I also allow women to talk over and interrupt men. I like passionate debate, that doesn’t make me a member of rape culture.
- You follow a ton of Instagram models whose feeds are mostly T&A (liking Suicide Girls instead for Playboy does not make you a feminist or edgy). — one of the most feminist and anti-rape culture women I know not only follows Suicide Girls but hung out in a hot-tub with them and checked out one of their burlesque shows.
- You cannot name 10 women writers or artists that you like — so because I haven’t found female artists that I like, I support rape culture? The fuck is that? I only like certain genres of books that women generally don’t write in, so I’m an asshole now? Even if I open this up to, say, actors (because the only two artists I follow are my sister and a good friend) I still don’t make 10. Of course, I can only barely name 10 male writers or artists that I like so what does that mean? And please, explain to me what any of that has to do with rape culture? How does the random happenstance of who entertains me affect someone getting raped?
- You sexually idealize the young 18 year old female figure when you are not in the appropriate age range to be doing this. — Wow, that’s amazingly vague and kind of douchey. Who is anyone to determine who someone is or is not attracted to? Who is in charge of this “appropriate age range” thing? Men liking younger women is also a genetic thing held over from when the most important thing for humanity was to procreate. Nearly ALL guys are programmed to like young, healthy women. [EDIT: I had someone who actively hates it when I don’t fall in line proof this and the only comment she had was to accuse me of justifying pedophilia. Yes — OBVIOUSLY — people under the age of 18 should be protected. That’s a societal thing and I was obviously not endorsing child pornography]
- You feel defensive about any of this — well I’m screwed then, aren’t I?
Of course there’s a message capping it off which is just so super: “Men – stop inboxing[sic] me with messages asking me, a total stranger, to take time out of my day to clarify or explain this to you – that is just another example of male entitlement and is just another way in which you are the problem.” So we’re not allowed to ask questions about this? We’re not allowed to ask how it is that my taste in movies, music, or books somehow perpetuates rape culture? Really? OK then.
Rape is a problem. It’s evidently a HUGE problem and we NEED to deal with it. And to be clear, lambasting Harvey Weinstein isn’t going to cut it. I mean, yes, he needs to be flayed alive over a pit of burning hot coals, but that’s one guy. Everyone was so proud to hear he was removed from the Academy, all the while 3 convicted and 1 accused sexual deviants are still voting members. Brilliant guys. Great work.
So how do we solve the problem? Again, as previously mentioned, I don’t know, all I can go on is what I do know.
A) Bullies don’t like it when people fight back.
B) Bullies don’t like it when the numbers are against them.
C) You’re not going to build the numbers you want, by vilifying the people you need.
Victims — I was going to say “ladies” but I just finished reading about Terry Crews…
This whole thing with Harvey Weinstein is giving me PTSD. Why? Because this kind of thing happened to ME. (1/Cont.)
— terrycrews (@terrycrews) October 10, 2017
— you are NEVER at fault for this shit. That you have been too afraid to speak up and speak out is a horrifying reality we need to address. What can I do to help?
– Be Safe.
[EDIT: So the person I was talking about who went to the Suicide Girls Burlesque show was our very own Shrimptoast. She’s quite lovely and also wanted me to know I got something wrong. In the original version of this I said she paid extra for the photos, and that was evidently a mistake. She and her husband happened upon them in a hot tub while on vacation and the girls adored Shrimptoast so much they invited them to the show including some back stage passes. While this weakens my argument slightly I believe it’s important for me to own my mistake so it’s staying in the list. You can feel free to lambaste me in the comments.]