Earlier this week, I saw a post on Facebook about these women in Mexico who, when faced by a man who says anything that they perceive as harassment, they approach the man, fire confetti guns at them, then sing an anti-sexual harassment punk rock song at the guy. Although I agreed with the idea and purpose of what the women were doing, how they were doing it may not have been the best. After all, one of the three women pointed their confetti gun at the side of his head and fired it. It was loud and when anyone points a “gun” at someone, you never know what the reaction is going to be.

So, being the mouthy bugger I am, I commented that I had been “harassed” by women about my goatee… they liked it. I asked if I should have responded like these women? My thinking is that, yeah, there are guys who are stupid and have to say stupid, sexual things out loud instead of just being polite, decent human beings. But sometimes, if a compliment is sincere and respectful, then there shouldn’t be anything wrong with that.

Well, I was quickly told by a few women that I knew nothing of the horror and trials that women suffer continuously, every day of their lives from the horrible horrible men in the world.

My response to that… Oops, I’m a guy. I’m wrong. I’m ALWAYS wrong when it comes to the subject of sexual harassment, assault, or violence. I went on and on… probably a little over-board on the facetiousness.

But honestly, I’ve seen and heard this kind of response before, and it frustrates me. It angers me. It saddens me.

Most women I’ve talked to are decent enough when this topic arises. They explain their point of view. They tell me the utter stupidity of some men out there that are probably oblivious to the stupid, hurtful, insulting, and frightening things they say. They have no clue of the misogyny they are spreading. They have a stunted view of women as sexual objects solely for their ogling pleasure, or that they are somehow lesser people than them, thus can be talked down to and treated like objects.

The men who perpetrate this image and ideal of what a man is makes me sick.

Sadly, there are some women out there that aren’t much better than these men. They are the women who would have you believe ALL men are like this. That all men are misogynistic pigs that know nothing of what women deal with, and could never sympathize. Having seen numerous posts online, these women would have you believe that all men, wich must include sons, brothers, cousins, fathers, uncles, and grandfathers, are all capable of everything from verbal sexual assault, to full-on sexual violence.

What these militant, anti-men women may not realize is that men are just as likely to suffer the same kind of abuse as women from men as well. There is also men who suffer abuse and assault from their partners. Yes, women can be the perpetrators of abuse and assault as well!

Feel free to go “Gasp!”

Here are some stats from the National Domestic Violence Hotline website…

– On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States — more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year.

– Nearly 3 in 10 women (29%) and 1 in 10 men (10%) in the US have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by a partner and report a related impact on their functioning.

– Nearly, 15% of women (14.8%) and 4% of men have been injured as a result of rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

– 1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) aged 18 and older in the United States have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

– More than 1 in 3 women (35.6%) and more than 1 in 4 men (28.5%) in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

– Nearly half of all women (48.4%), and men (48.8%), in the United States have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

I think that last statistic is startling, but not surprising.

Years ago, my family were discussing kids on the playground. My Mom told of how boys and girls fight. Boys are pretty straight-forward. They use their physicality to bully lesser kids, and are blunt with their verbal abuse. Girls are more manipulative, using lies, rumour, and emotional blackmail to attack their foes. Having been on the receiving end of both, I can agree with this, as I’m sure many of you can as well, whether witnessing it, experiencing it, or doling it out.

Like both men and women, some never escape those habits that were born on the school yard. Men can continue to be bullies. Women can continue to be manipulative. Both habits do neither one justice, or help them when dealing with serious events in their life.

On the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence website, it says this about male victims of sexual assault…

“Male victims experience similar effects of sexual violence as female victims such as shame, grief, anger and fear. Male victims may also have issues surrounding their sexual and/or gender identity after a sexual assault. Issues of reporting and talking about their experiences, challenges for all victims of sexual violence, may be especially difficult for male victims because of gender socialization issues.

For our society to acknowledge that men are raped, we must first recognize and acknowledge that men can be vulnerable. Both men and women are socialized to see men as powerful, assertive and in control of their bodies. It may be challenging for some to think of men being the victims of sexual crimes because it is challenging to recognize men as “victims” and still think of them as men. This socialization can make it less likely for men to seek services and can make it less likely that appropriate services are available.”

Now before I have all kinds of women shouting bloody murder about how I’m trying to diminish sexual harassment, assault, or abuse that women suffer, I am most definitely not!

The points I’m trying to make are these…

  1. Men also suffer from abuse. Women haven’t cornered the market on this. Sadly, they are the more likely victims. But to say that men in general don’t understand what being emotionally and mentally abused, or sexually harassed, assaulted, abused, or raped is erroneous. To automatically assume men are just the monsters stomping around the countryside in the horn-dogged pursuit of women is sad and diminishes both genders.
  2. Yelling at men, telling them they know nothing about suffering physical, emotional, mental, or sexual abuse doesn’t build bridges of understanding, it burns them down, then pisses on the ashes. There may be many men out there hiding a shameful experience from their past. But since society only sees them as “manly men”, they can’t talk about it. Speaking as a man who has suffered various abuses in my life, I think I have a bit of an understanding of what some women have dealt with.

No man will every truly know how a woman feels after such horrible things have been done to her, whether it was once, or on-going. How can any man truly understand that? I sadly, but whole-heartedly, acknowledge that.

That doesn’t mean “all men” don’t sympathize, or even in some way empathize, with what women have suffered. I honestly don’t know what could help bridge that divide, but I do know negativity and hatred isn’t the way.

Advertisements