Rape culture and what it means to men like me
Think of my mind as an ever-moulding piece of clay; stretching into new and diverse ways when it comes information it hasn’t happened on before, eating that information up and making new connections where none existed before. That’s my mind in a nutshell. Hell, that’s everyone’s mind in a nutshell.
“Rape culture” is a relatively new term to me, and, being someone that has never even entertained the thought of raping anyone, I find the term quite new. Yet, as I have been quickly realising I’m not the centre of the universe, and neither is anyone else for that matter. The problem exists, it’s rife, and it’s highly prevalent in today’s culture. Just because the thought doesn’t occur to me, or that I find the act disgusting doesn’t mean there is no problem and there aren’t people out there who get off on that shit. Maybe it’s time that us men lay our sensitivities to the side for a moment and have a real discussion for once.
I’m one for education. I always say catch them when they are young and educate their little minds until they are fully aware of consent and how threatening a man can be to some women. Now you may be thinking, as I have done in the past, “what about women? They are no shining beacon of innocence.” I’d say, no, they aren’t, but this isn’t the issue we’re discussing, it’s how do we better educate men to understand negative mindsets and the harm that they can inflict upon women. The other discussions are for another day, let’s not conflict and conflate. Let’s stay on topic.
Most women I know are survivors on some level. Most of my best friends are abuse survivors that have had the world take a giant shit upon them from a great height, and for some of them there isn’t much light at the end of the tunnel, if any at all. Let’s throw in some hope, men. Let’s stand up and talk about not only how rape is one of the most harmfully invasive acts another can inflict on a person; let’s stand up and talk about how our behaviour, as men, could be better suited to combat situations like this.
I’ve always been one to stand up and scream for better education for our kids, for a better understanding into love and compassion, and that children from broken homes should be given adequate care and love in the future. I scream about that. I shout it loud. I feel I’m missing something though
What about those that are in the world now?
Yes, let’s get them young, but what about those adults that are out in society that abuse, manipulate, and all the other crazy mentalities that lead to rape culture? I sat with a man once that was married. His child was in the same class as mine, and we were both at a birthday party for the kids. He proceeded to tell me how he’d destroy the girls that were working as staff that day; these were women no older that 19. He was older than me, bridging 40 perhaps? I should have called him out on his bullshit, but I rolled my eyes and moved the fuck on, as I do most of the time.
I’m realising I probably should have stood up for what I believed in. I’m realising I should have asked him about his wife, his daughter, perhaps even asked him if he thought his thought process was ‘healthy’ – there’s one thing having fantasies and not breathing a word to anyone else about them, because let’s face it, we all have fucked up shit go through our heads from time to time, but talking to another person that you don’t know about them? That to me tells me that he had normalised his behaviour before he had even met me. In his mind all older men want to pound 19 year old girls. It’s a mindset that’s totally wrong, it’s sexually aggressive, and maybe he should lay off the porn. Perhaps I could have called him out on that.
See, men like me are afraid to upset the balance. My life has it’s own mountain of shit to wade through, the last thing I wanted to do is to take on another man’s delusions that would probably fit better with a trained therapist. I missed it though, I missed the chance. Even by just getting up and walking away from him mid speech I could have signalled my contempt with what he was saying to me, but no, wanting to maintain that balance me, I just stood there and was bored and equally disgusted with what he had to say.
If I’m honest, he had more muscles in my pinky than my whole body too, I’ll admit I was scared for retribution also. I was scared with what he’d say after I told him to seek counselling for his sexually aggressive behaviour. I was scared that he’d pound me into the ground with his massive meaty fists. Sometimes I forget that conflict is never as bad as it seems though, especially that his wife was there – what would she have said if he stood up? It always plays different in our minds when physically threatened. It does for me anyway, recalling a time when my Dad threatened to break my kneecaps with a hammer. I’ve spent my life being threatened by men
Anyway, no longer. I read an article here, and it literally put me back in the zone and reminded me of all the times I had been stood on by these types of men. My dad being one of them, then some of my friends — partly because I was eternally seeking a father figure to accept me, and ending up with people several shades worse than he was. I stood by once and watched my roommate beat his girlfriend to a pulp why I sat there and watched helpless, scared that the same fate would befall me, and I said to myself once the horrors had ended, never again.
It hasn’t, but perhaps that doesn’t mean I should only stand up for my own safety, perhaps I should stand up for other’s too. Call me a SJW, or a Mangina, or whatever you wish, but it’s a discussion that us men need to have, and seriously; one that calls for not only the education of our sons but our friends and family too. Perhaps it’s time to stand up for what we were taught and what we believe in rather than watching as others are punished for nothing. Perhaps it’s time to stop letting our friends off because “they are just like that.”
I’m tired of witnessing this all over. That article was literally a stern reminder of why I started this blog, why I founded it in the first place, and why I write. Sometimes I feel I lose my roots but it’s not long before they come back with a bump. These men don’t need help, don’t want help. They need locked up and the key thrown away. I’ve worked with enough of them to know that personally, they’d prosper better in a prison with hard labor and not much light.
I firmly believe in freedom of speech and experession, because it brings to light these acts — but it doesn’t mean that I agree with them. Freedom of speech allows me to be aware, it helps me realise the world’s ongoing problems.
Time to wake the fuck up men.
The world isn’t central to us.
Making a stand, any stand, will help.
The Relationship Blogger is dedicating October to raising awareness of rape culture. We are interested in all voices, but especially those of men who stand for consent. We hope you will make your voice heard. Learn how to submit here.