Aspects of #metoo include blanket suspicion and #manydon’t

The #MeToo movement has highlighted a dirty secret – that many women have been sexually abused, assault, raped. There is no doubt that many women have been adversely affected, and that some men are too pushy, some are cretins, some are predators. It has been a huge problem.

So this has been a big problem for far too many women.

It has also been a huge problem for some men who have also been victims of sexual assault. You just need to see how widespread and insidious sexual predation has been within the Catholic priesthood – and how the Catholic Church has effectively protected them, have aided and abetted them.

It is also a problem that ‘men’ as a whole are attacked and bear the blame for the actions of some men. I think that statistics on this struggle to demonstrate the real numbers. There are many female victims, but I think that cases that are reported show that some men have attacked multiple victims, sometimes many. This suggests to me that the proportion of men who are to blame may be significantly less then the proportion of females who have been victims.

There are still a large number of men who have been perpetrators, ranging from ignorant males who coerce and pressure, to hard out predators.

But many men are not like this. Many men respect women and don’t assault women. Most men.

So it’s good to see a thread like this on Twitter, beginning with:

And then he said “maybe isn’t yes” and I went home that night, un-assaulted, because I hadn’t talked to a rapist at that party.

Another story: I went out drinking with girl friends at a bar a few years later. I was flirting with a guy there, he grabbed my hand, pulled me outside, into an alley, he kissed me hard and then looked at me and said, “yes?” I didn’t say anything.

He said “go back inside then,” maybe he was annoyed but he meant it, I went back inside. There wasn’t a rapist at that bar.

One time a guy and I had flirted, he invited me to his room, I went we kissed, I said I liked it, he took off his clothes, I touched him, he tried to take off my clothes, I resisted, he said “seems like you’re not into this” I said, ehhh, he said, no, it’s only fun if you want it.

I said, I’m sorry, he said it’s ok. I left, unmolested. I was lucky, I hadn’t met a rapist that night.

I’ve been assaulted. I’ve also been not assaulted. The difference didn’t seem to be what I was wearing, how flirty I was, how much I was drinking. The only difference seemed to be whether or not the men felt it was ok or not to assault.

An important difference.

It’s important to understand how assaults and breaches of trust can affect women (and male victims). @SweetGeeking:

All of us women at some point become aware of our sexuality, and how vulnerable it makes us.

‘All of us women’ sounds like a generalisation, I would expect that women have a variety experiences and feelings about their sexuality. But this one woman’s valid story.

In that moment, we receive an invisible backpack that we have to tend for the rest of our lives. For some like myself, we learn that lesson in a violent way, long before we should ever even know what sex is. Others receive their backpack later in life, but we rarely escape puberty without it.

Our invisible backpacks vary in size and weight, usually in relation to the circumstances under which we received it. But it goes everywhere with us. It’s something we carry and tend to.

We carry our keys b/n our fingers when walking to our cars at night.

We don’t go jogging after dark, and even in the daytime we vary our routes in case someone is looking for a pattern.

We instinctively park under lights when we know we will come back to our car after dark. We do thousands of tiny things, all the time, without even thinking about it, because we don’t have any other choice.

We know that not all men are threats, but we also know damn fucking well that there’s no way to tell who is and who isn’t.

@SweetGeeking seems to assume that all women have similar feelings and fears, which is unlikely to be correct, but it’s likely that many do thinks and feel similarly as a result of having been assaulted.

And it is understandable that due to the actions of some men they become suspicious of all men.

My successful, church-going, computer programming, well-dressed, father of his own 2 daughters stepdad used my body for years, starting when I was very young. No one ever would have guessed. You can never tell.

I had the same roommate for 4 years. I know he’d never hurt me, but I still locked my door at night bc my stepdad would come into my bedroom at night, and decades later I still can’t sleep.

I know many men in my life have been shocked to learn how much this reality permeates every corner of our lives. Turn that shock into respect for how strong and badass we are. Please don’t pity me/us. Respect us & give us a seat at the table. And sit down and listen for a bit.

Generalisations aside this doesn’t shock me. It does shock me that some men abuse girls and women, and that that forces these fears and suspicions on them through no fault of their own. Sexual abuse is shocking, and the affects of this on victims can be profound and long lasting.

It is good to hear some different stories and experiences.

@jenstrange:

1st date w/ a guy: we had a daytime coffee meet-up & then I invited him to my house to play Mario Kart. We started kissing and I hesitated; he asked why, I said I was conflicted about moving too fast. He said, “then we’ll stop.” And we played more Mario. Reader, I married him.

I already felt really strongly about him but the fact that he didn’t act offended, didn’t try to pressure me, didn’t argue with me one bit, just said it’s ok and turned back to the game controllers . . . that’s how I knew he was as good as I thought he was.

Just as girls and women who are assaulted should not be blamed for what they wear or where they go and what they drink, all men should not be blamed for the offences of some men.

But it is inescapable that women who have been abused of men become suspicious of all men, until they get to know men in their lives well enough that they can trust them.

Men who respect women (or men), men who don’t abuse trust and abuse victims, they are generally not to blame for men who do assault and rape. But they can’t avoid being suspected of being possible attackers by victims of past assaults.

What men who don’t can do is make it clear that they are as shocked by men who do assault as most women are. Men who don’t can speak up and show that most men don’t, and that men who do are a minority who should be shown that predatory behaviour is unacceptable and wrong.

We shouldn’t stay silent and say it is not our problem, because it becomes our problem and is our problem if our girlfriends and our sisters and our partners and our daughters have been adversely affected by forced sexual behaviour by some men.

 

12 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  September 30, 2018

    That’s a very nicely put together post, PG.

    I was thinking as I read through it that I never tried to force myself on a female drunk or sober and never have wanted to, but I can still think back and remember the names of schoolmates at parties who deliberately and regularly targeted girls to get them drunk so they could have sex with them – and mostly the rest of us didn’t like them. I can’t remember any of them being told they were assholes and not to do it.

    • Corky

       /  September 30, 2018

      Brings to mind my first job and a co-worker people called ”Rooter.” Even by the rough and ready standards of the late seventies this prick was a piece of work. No one ever told him his attitude towards women was way out of order. In fact, amongst his friends, he was a legend.

      I remember once someone elbowing me and whispering..”Rooters going in for the kill.”

      The victim, a youngish women, tastefully dressed as are many farmers wives, was assailed with a hand on her shoulder and some witty repartee( sarc) that went as follows.

      ”Hello, Luv. You are looking hot and bothered in this heat. Sweating up up storm, eh?( wink)
      What can I do for you? Something nice I hope?

      He then did some pelvic gyrations and looked around to wink at his admiring mates.

      The lady just walked away in disgust . Rooter went back to his mates smiling and said:
      ”Aww..I’d luv to empty my sacks in her.”

      While Rooter wouldn’t last long in today’s world, I can’t help thinking, given the breakdown of family and societal order, that there are probably more Rooters in the world today. Men who
      place absolutely no value on a normal relationship with women.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  September 30, 2018

        From the sound of it, Rooter was not a great success as a Casanova, and wouldn’t be at any time. Those who talk about it the most do it the least is a cliche, but there’s some truth in it.

        The chances of anyone not walking away contemptuously in these circumstances are probably zero.

        He was probably a legend* among women as well; a legendary laughing stock.

        * unless he is a legend, full stop, which he sounds like

  2. Griff.

     /  September 30, 2018

    Good post PG.

  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  September 30, 2018

    I don’t think we can solve the world’s problems. We have enough trouble solving our own. Many women seem to be turned on by bad men, even those I read as repulsive thugs. Probably many men are turned on by bad women. Money also seems to facilitate consent. It’s complicated and social and religious taboos interfere and mess prople up.

  4. Blazer

     /  September 30, 2018

    I guess all girls are made of…’sugar and spice…and all things…nice’…they are,aren’t they?

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  September 30, 2018

      One might be forgiven for thinking so.

      I dislike the way that advising caution over things like not getting so drunk that you can’t stop things happening to you is seen as victim blaming. And the way people dress expresses their self-image to a large extent. If you don’t want people to look at your boobs, don’t walk around with them on show.

      The ‘backpack’ image is unhelpful It makes women seem like helpless victims. The idea that all men should be regarded as threats because one can’t tell who is and who isn’t is absurd. Unless someone thinks that she is so gorgeous that no man can be trusted to come near her, one surely uses common sense here.

  5. David

     /  September 30, 2018

    I look at the #metoo movement and its origins as a casting couch issue that Hollywood and the womens movement has morphed into something pretty ugly and generalized. I dont know any bloke who behaves like that and dont know any woman who that has happened too, someone getting a bit handsy at the bar which from experience is not gender specific perhaps.
    My PT does door work and 90% of his problems are from drunk stroppy women so logically if we live in some rape at will society women would be far more circumspect in their laddish behavior, they arnt.

  6. David

     /  September 30, 2018

    Also with the origins of this being Weinstein the bulk of it is if you want a movie role well you better head up to Harvey,s hotel room. Disgusting behavior from both parties but it is largely a voluntary transaction and Hollywoods most powerful virtue signallers and his mate Hilary seemed quite happy to turn a blind eye to it.
    The upshot is men now have a terrible reputation despite the rest of the world being 50 years ahead of Hollywood. Women who have been assaulted in quite horrid circumstances are now lumped in with semi famous women who have had uncomfortable dating experiences.
    #metoo has backfired, my wife agrees and she is far more scathing of Harveys long line of women sleeping their way into movie roles and now playing victims, no job is worth putting yourself through that.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  September 30, 2018

      I became sceptical of the HW claims when so many of the victims were photographed with him AFTERWARDS, smiliing happily and smooging up to him. It didn’t seem to stop them makinig films with him and earning millions for doing so. One story which had him raping a drunk woman twice under unlikely circumstances (I forget the first story, but the second one had him turning up in her apartment block after she had been dropped off, so drunk that she could hardly stand) and going up with her. Unnoticed by anyone, of course. How did he know when and where her friends were going to dump her in that condition ?

      I am tired of people cashing in on genuine suffering to get free publicity.

  7. PDB

     /  September 30, 2018

    The #metoo movement no doubt started with good intentions but like many similar things nowadays it has been hijacked by interest groups, people pushing their own agendas & overexaggerated to the point that the main message is unfortunately lost and/or more easily ignored.