Letter to Dr K.
This is a message to my good friend Dr K. A man who has bought me many a beer, meals, had me over to his house, and generally been a pretty good chap to me.
I write this message here to talk to him because, well, he unfriended me on facebook, after not being able to sustain conversations about rape culture and feminism without saying “you’re just in it for the ladies Michael” or “I don’t like how you are generalising about all men”
Dear Dr K,
you say you don’t like how I ‘generalise about all men’. You react to the fact that I use the term rape culture, and you seem to think that this is term specifically designed to attack you (for some reason), you think that I’m saying “all men are rapists”.
I don’t say that all men are rapists. Rape culture says that. Not feminists, not people fighting rape culture, we say the opposite, we say men are capable of much more! And ending rape culture is about more than just not being a rapist yourself. It’s speaking up, what I’m trying to do.
It’s rape culture that says that rape is the inevitable consequence of women being present in men’s domain. (rape culture reckons the public domain is men’s domain). That rape is inevitable, that men’s sexual impulses can’t be controlled, so the best way to avoid rape is to not make yourself a target.
Let me show you this by way of an example. Imagine a woman is raped one night. If it has to be a woman you know or care about for the message to work with you then sure make it someone you know and love. She is raped on her way home from being out.
Rape culture asks “what was she wearing?” “did she lead the guy on?” “what did she think was gonna happen being out and drunk and dressed like that and alone?”
How would you react if someone you knew was raped and then those questions were thrown at them? I’m guessing that like me you’d say “what the fuck does it matter? She was raped, and its the rapists fault, not this woman for what she was wearing or the crime of drinking whilst female”
If yes, then you’re with me. Opposing the theme in our culture that it is any way the victims fault.
THATS WHAT BEING AGAINST RAPE CULTURE IS!!
*Oh and side note, in case the Muslim hating papa smurf has read this far down in the Waiheke People’s Parliament, yes women rape men too. No one denies that it happens. If you really care about this issue then that’s great. If you only bring it up in discussions of rape culture to derail the subject then you take the knob-endery elsewhere.
Feminists and those fighting rape culture hold that men are capable or more than this, and that it is insulting to men to assume that rape is inevitable. For safety reasons it makes sense for women to assume that any man could be her rapist, because even though #notalmen are rapists, any man could be, and #yesallwomen are constantly aware that any man, a stranger or someone they know could be, and that because of rape culture, they, the victim, are likely to be scrutinised when they speak up about the violence more than the man.
Fighting rape culture is about making it safer for victims. By building a culture where we don’t blame the victim, or perceive that she maybe had it coming.
I know you want that too. You want to end rape culture. You’re not the enemy, and you’re not the one its pointed at, and if you decide to be, you really can be part of the solution! You’re only part of the problem when you take it personally and attack feminists and me! But I believe you want the same thing.
*another side note, if you say “well feminists are too angry and they need to ask more nicely” I’d encourage you to read a bit about ‘respectability politics’ and how it’s used to shut a conversation down.
*To my dreadlocked circus friend, when you say that by bringing up the problems I’m being divisive and creating a problem you’re saying there isn’t a problem until I make it! When you say that we should just give up ‘isms and all get together and talk it over I’d remind you that the 40 hour week and all other advances in workers rights weren’t won by workers ‘talking it over’ with employers, and that those with privilege and power rarely (If ever) give it up voluntarily.
Rape culture won’t be defeated by talking it over with it’s defenders, but by people power and cultural change making victim blaming unacceptable in the media and the courtroom, by calling out our mates when we see them doing it, and by not shutting up about it!
Now, Dr K, about your accusation that I’m “in it for the ladies” echoed by the grumpy abusive man in this group who never raises any points only insults me.
What kind of friend questions a friends motives for caring about something?
I see you post a lot about inequality, about the raw deal that those on low incomes get, and Maori and Pasifika.
What if I were to say “I dunno about Kev and all this picketty inequality stuff, he’s a highly paid doctor, and doesn’t suffer from the effects of poverty at all. Why is he going on about it? Is he just trying to show how cool he is to the bros?”
If I were to say that I’d be being an absolute dick. It sounds exactly like the thing a certain island welsh tory might say. But it’s the exact same thing, right? Not cool.
My friend, the good doctor, would not do this. It’s out of character. So I can only assume the whole thing’s hit a raw nerve. As Tom points out to me, maybe this is a good thing, and you are about to have a break through.
You hit me up on the street and asked me if we’re still friends. I don’t know, however
When you are ready, I’m here. We’re here, and come add your voice to the struggle to end this bullshittery in our society.
Yours in building the better world,
25 Feb 2016