Does anyone else here find it ironic that Dante has a tendency to smite women in this forum for naming sexism or discussing sexual assaults? And that he did so again in this thread?
A tenedency, you say? Wanna prove it? You know, back up your assertion? I've dished a whole 2 smites in the past year, and 1, count 'em, 1 was to a female. In this thread.
Maybe it's just you.
You are right. You smited me for a comment on sexual assault, and you smited Lorie for a comment on sexual assault. Two smites does not indicate a trend. So I withdraw my original statement.
But I really do have to point out that when women talk about sexual assault, or when we talk about sexual objectification, or when we talk about the marginalization of women in any context, or when we talk about institutionalized male privilege or any other set of issues related to the power structures that impact on male and female relationships, men have a variety of reactions.
Some men listen. Ask questions. Attempt to understand. Some men even respond as allies, acknowledging their own role and privilege in an unequal system. I count many of the allies among my personal friends, and there are many here on this forum.
But a lot of men respond differently. They are dismissive. Or mocking. They attempt to discredit the woman. They might rally their friends against her, and isolate her. Belittle her. Or they might resort to comparative suffering, and point out that there are other people in different situations whose plight is much worse. Sometimes men, perhaps in an effort to identify, talk about their own suffering, and try to establish that the inequities are in fact non existent.
And sometimes, men respond by turning the woman into a sexual conquest. This was one of the topics that Rebecca Watson had spoken about on the panel that day. And that evening, in the elevator, at 4 AM, this man went into predator mode. He did exactly what she had criticized others for doing in her panel discussion that day.
You tell me that isn’t creepy.
Yeah. She didn’t say that he tried to assault her. But you know something? When she was in that elevator alone with this man at 4 AM, the thought occurred to her. You see, here is the thing. Women think about sexual assault. Not because we are silly or frivolous or because we hate men or because we don’t like sex or because we have nothing better to think about. Women think about sexual assault because a huge percentage of women are victims of sexual assault. If we have not been victims ourselves, we know women who have survived attacks. One in four women reports being the victim of sexual assault or rape between the age of 14 and 22. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_statistics
Many more of us have been stalked. And although I’ve never seen a study on the topic, I’m pretty sure that 99% of us have had that moment in which we thought… oh no… this is it. It is going to happen to me.
She was afraid in that elevator. Just like I was afraid in college when a smart, dorky guy used to lurk outside of parties and wait for me to come out. I was even more afraid when he left a note on my windshield that said “I want to fuck you right now.” The man never touched me. Never hurt me. But he took away my freedom. I was afraid to walk alone at night after that. Afraid to be alone in isolated parts of my dorm.
And Rebecca will never feel the same way when she goes to a conference. She will never feel as comfortable sitting in a hotel bar until 4 AM and sparring with conference attendees. He took away a little bit of her freedom. Not like those who engage in female genital mutilation take away freedom from the women they mutilate. No. Not like that Richard. But as we transition towards a more equal standing among the sexes, it is perfectly appropriate to name and talk about the actions that men take that perpetuate the imbalance of power and freedom.