[TW for misogyny, gun violence, rape culture, rape apologia, victim-blaming, slut-shaming, suicide]
I've been feeling many things since the UCSB attack this past week--sadness and hopelessness definitely come to mind. However, today I'm angry. I'm angry because, instead of talking about the ways that violent misogyny is killing women and what we can do to stop it, we're fighting yet another onslaught of men who are desperate for attention.
I'm sure most of the people reading my blog know this, but 1 in 6 women will be raped or otherwise sexually assaulted in her lifetime. Many believe that this statistic is highly under-representative of the actual number. As I mentioned in a previous post, every rapist commits an average of ten rapes, so the logical conclusion is that 1 out of 60 men is a rapist. There are 7 billion people on the planet, give or take, at the moment--assuming that the population is about 50/50 among men and women, out of 3.5 million men, about 58,333 men in this world are rapists. They will rape an average of 10 women each--that's 583,330 rape victims. And that's a modest estimate.
What the men of this world forget is that women are taught all our lives that we are sexual objects and potential victims. We are a commodity to be bought and sold, and if we are ever the victim of an attack, including murder, we must have done something to cause the attack. According to RAINN, there are 237,868 rapes each year in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of women will be attacked this year, and it will almost always be blamed on the victims. Almost no one will think to blame the rapists. There are articles and blogs and comments ALL OVER THE INTERNET blaming the women that Elliot Rodger mentions in his manifesto for the murders that occurred at UCSB, arguing that they should have put out so that this wouldn't have happened.
At this point in time, we need men to stand up with us and fight violent misogyny. We need men to combat the patriarchal culture that bred the Elliot Rodgers of the world, that made it OK for men to kill women (or drive them to suicide) when they don't give them what they want (and sometimes even when they do).
But instead, they're choosing, yet again, to make the conversation all about men.
Before you start screaming NOT ALL MEN, take some time to think about why you're assuming that the women who are speaking think all men are misogynists, rapists, and murderers.
Read the #YesAllWomen hashtag on Twitter. Really digest their stories. Realize that there are thousands upon thousands of stories. Realize that EVERY SINGLE WOMAN YOU KNOW has dealt with harassment, assault, or rape in one way or another at some point in her life. Read through MRA websites that promote the assault, rape, and murder of women. Read the news stories detailing murder after murder, rape after rape, and then go read the misogynist comments applauding the murderers and rapists.
Then think about why women might think that way.
Then think about how you're contributing to that.
Realize that, instead of using your privilege and your voice to speak up for women, you're choosing to use it to make the conversation about you.