Fear.

wall

I do not hate men.

Let me say it again, loudly and clearly, in case you missed it the first fifteen times. I DO NOT HATE MEN.

In fact, I love men! The ones I’m dating, the ones I’m related to, the ones I’m friends with. There are lots of men I love in lots of different ways. I identify as a feminist because I believe in equal rights and equal treatment for all genders. Let me reiterate this a third time. I. Do. Not. Hate. Men!

What I will readily admit is that I am afraid of all men, until I know them well enough to be reasonably sure there’s nothing to be afraid of. And, contrary to much popular belief, fear and hatred are not even remotely close to being the same thing.

I do not hate men. I am frightened of men. And I know I am not even close to being alone in this.

“But you don’t have to be afraid of me! I’m a Nice Guy!”

Yes, you very well might be. You’ve probably never deliberately harmed a woman in your life. You believe in consent and equality and all that stuff. You might very well be a perfectly wonderful human being. So why, you ask (and it’s a reasonable question) am I afraid of you simply because you have a penis?

In short, it’s because I don’t know you’re safe until you prove it. Contrary to what you might think, rapists and predators don’t come with a glaring neon sign above their heads. What makes them so dangerous is the fact that they look and act just like you. They’re not slathering beasts[1] stalking around dark alleyways. They have friends and jobs. Some of them have wives, girlfriends, children.

This is what makes them so dangerous.

To our eyes, when we first meet you, Potential Rapist and Perfectly Nice Guy look exactly the same. We don’t know which one you are, and it’s often much safer to assume the former until we have reasonable evidence to suggest the latter.

The thing is, if you are indeed a perfectly nice person, YOU know with absolute certainty that you have no intention of hurting me. What you have to understand is that I have no way of knowing that.

A close male friend said to me recently something like “the look in your eyes when you think I’m going to hurt you breaks my heart.”[2]

Is it unfair that you, as a man, have to prove yourself Not A Rapist before lots of women will trust you?  Yes, it probably is. But it’s not because we’re horrible misandrists or actually think all men are evil. It’s not because there’s some Grand Feminist Conspiracy to keep you from getting laid. It’s because bitter experience has taught us not to trust too soon, too easily.

The fact that you – most likely – do not have that bitter experience is a manifestation of the male privilege society awards you. Please check it. Please don’t tell women they’re oppressing you by being initially wary of you. Please understand we do not hate you.

I wouldn’t be wary of letting a male friend anywhere (emotionally or physically) close to me, if someone hadn’t once pretended to be my friend, just to later decide I owed him sex and abandon me when it wasn’t forthcoming. I wouldn’t be quite so terrified of relationships with men if someone hadn’t raped me repeatedly as a symbol of ownership, and then told me that having had consensual sex with another man made me worthless to him. I wouldn’t assume you don’t give a damn about me as a person and are only after a piece of Hot Blonde 22 Year Old if so many people hadn’t proven exactly that to be true.

I guess what I’m saying is please don’t blame the women who are wary of you. Blame the men who made us that way.

_____________________________________________________________________

[1] Term borrowed from Cliff Pervocracy. Read the full article here.

[2[ Quoted with permission.

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15 thoughts on “Fear.

  1. The fear goes both ways. Men don’t worry about being raped, but that is not the only thing to fear. Men worry about false rape accusations, about being fired over the proper use of the word “Dongle”. Men fear being enslaved to child support payments for a child they explicitly did not want. When men talk about Mens Issues, it’s not hatred but fear. The very same fear you have of men.

    • kerran says:

      Y’know, it’s funny but I don’t worry about being falsely accused of sexual misconduct, and I work in a career where I’m statistically more likely to have that happen than most men. I wonder why.

      Oh yeah, it’s because I make sure I’m never in a situation where my actions could lead someone to think I was raping them. Oh and because based on current statistics (in my country at least) I’m actually more likely to win the national lottery than be falsely accused.

      There’s never to my knowledge been a scrap of data that puts the number of false accusations anywhere near the volume of actual rapes, and that’s even if we don’t count cases of sexual violence, or interrupted attacks. The sad and simple fact is most men do not fear being accused of rape, probably (and this is only my personal theory you understand) because totally fictitious rape convictions are significantly rarer than million pound lottery wins.

      As for getting in trouble for misusing words, using the dongle issue as evidence is, if you’ll forgive me for saying so, ridiculous. Yes there are occasionally cases of people being fired for inappropriate comments or actions. Yes that particular example was extreme in that the companies cut their losses and fired people. But in the end two people lost their jobs, and one of them was the woman who publicly shamed the men making the dongle comment in the first place.

      You have to watch what you say at work, we all do. That’s part of life for all concerned male and female. Also… comparing getting punished for inappropriate behaviour (whether you agree with it or not is irrelevant, once you represent an employer publicly they get to make the rules) is the same as being raped? Really?

      As for “being enslaved to child support payments for a child they did not want”… You’d be amazed how easy it is not to have children. Millions of people manage it on a regular basis. If you are seriously at risk of randomly fathering a child without intending to, then take better precautions. If you can’t trust the person you’re sleeping with not to pull something that horrifically underhanded on you, you probably shouldn’t be trusting them with your genitalia anyway.
      (just saying)

      This is not to deny your argument that there are people who deliberately sabotage their partners attempts at contraception, but you’ve neatly ignored the fact that men do it as well. To claim that it’s a “Men’s issue” is utter bollocks.

      I’ve tried for the last 20 minutes to write an end to this comment that didn’t involve swear words. This is the best I could come up with:

      The things you say men fear are not feared by the majority of men.
      The things you say men fear are things that statistically extremely unlikely to happen.
      The things you say men fear do not, in any way, compare to the issue that women don’t just have to fear being raped… it actually happens on a far too regular basis and if far to often ignored, discounted or just met with pathetic bullshit excuses.

      When your fear of these things happening is comparable and equal to the chance that someone will physically assault you and force you to perform sexual acts against your will (and that you will be forced to justify what you did or didn’t do to lead them on before anyone takes your complaint seriously.) then, and only then, will you have a valid argument.

  2. missamaranth says:

    I’m just sitting here being somewhat stunned at your comment, and wondering how best to formulate a reply consisting of anything more constructive than ripping you to shreds.

    I cannot believe the first comment on a subject like this is the typical strawman argument of “false accusations!!!!111″

    Look, in this country (I can’t speak for elsewhere but suspect it’s similar if not worse in most places,) something like 6% of rape cases secure a conviction. And that’s just the ones which are actually reported. Estimates of the number of instances of sexual violence which go unreported are anywhere from 50% to 95%. At least one in four women will suffer some sort of rape or sexaul violence in her lifetime. Compared to statistics like these, the “false accusations” you talk about aren’t even a blip on the radar.

    Have you considered that maybe the women who speak out about these things are TELLING THE TRUTH, and the men who claim to have been falsely accused are FULL OF SHIT?

    I have no idea what “being fired over the proper use of the word Dongle” even means, so I’m just going to leave that one alone.

    “Enslaved into child support payments”?? Are you actually fucking kidding me? In what universe do you live, where women frequently trap men into having children they don’t want, just so that they can squeeze child support money out of them?

    When at least a quarter of men are statistically extremely likely to have these things happen to them, when 94% of cases of violence against men result in the perpetrator getting off absolutely scott-free – while the victim is VILIFIED and BLAMED, _then_ we’ll talk about “men’s fear.”

    Until then, keep your fucking privileged bullshit the hell off of my blog.

    • Fear is an emotion, not an objective fact. The fear of does not need to be justified or even of a real thing to be real fear. You fear men, you don’t hate them. I don’t hate you, I fear you. The fear does not need to be based in facts for it to be very real fear.

      • missamaranth says:

        Right, but what I’m talking about in this post isn’t just irrational fear. It’s not some silly notion of danger that women have collectively pulled out of nowhere.

        What I’m talking about, that women live with very real and immediate threat of rape or assault every day is ACTUAL PROVEN FACT. The sheer statistical likelihood of these things happening is FACT.

        Your little fiction about women all being out to get you with their false rape allegations or entrapment into parenthood DOES NOT COMPARE. To say that it does is deeply insulting at best.

      • Sorry to pop your little victim bubble, but men are more likely to be the victim of every violent crime on the books, including rape. So sorry, I just don’t buy the victim card. Your fears are as irrational as mine.

      • kerran says:

        That’s an interesting point, but basically irrelevant.

        The issue here is not whether the fear is real. In fact I don’t believe either reply suggested it wasn’t.

        The original post made a point that because of the many issues surrounding sexual violence against women, they are generally wary of unknown men. This is unfair to men, and some of them get upset.

        However many do not realise that both problems have a root cause, the issue is that women are more frequently the subject of sexual violence than men, and this fact colours male female interactions to the detriment of both. (The female through experiencing fear, the male through experiencing suspicion)

        Your reply to this was to cite three unrelated issues, false accusation, overzealous political correctness and people deliberately tricking other people into childbirth. All three could be loosely connected to “gender issues” for want of a better term, but two of them are issues applicable to both men and women, and while false accusation can be connected to rape it is not relevant to this discussion unless you argue that the risk of false accusation of sexual offences (as oppose to false accusation of any other crime) is itself a symptom of society’s irrational attitudes to sexual violence.

      • The definitions of rape that discount and disallow female rapists are most decidedly a symptom of irrational attitudes to sexual violence.
        The “Victim-Blaming” line that disallows any questioning of the motives intent or actual events surrounding a rape allegation is a symptom of irrational attitudes to sexual violence.
        The guilty until proven innocent standard for defendants in the court of public opinion is a symptom of irrational attitudes to sexual violence.
        A woman can destroy a mans life, and not face any consequences for doing so. She will be held up as an empowered woman, not a sick freak. She can do so with nothing but words, and it is not a crime.
        If it is rational for women to fear men because of what is truly a remote chance of rape. It is equally rational for men to fear women. The damage isn’t as great, but it’s much more common, and really has little to no downside for the perp.

  3. kerran says:

    “but men are more likely to be the victim of every violent crime on the books, including rape. ”

    That’s a very bold claim my man, I assume you have some numbers/sources to back it up? Specifically on the rape/sexual assault issue, expanding the field to include all violent crime just bring more irrelevant points to the discussion.

    “The “Victim-Blaming” line that disallows any questioning of the motives intent or actual events surrounding a rape allegation is a symptom of irrational attitudes to sexual violence.”

    See, that starts of sounding like you’re actually talking sense. Then I realise you’re talking rubbish again. Lets take it from the top shall we?
    First, you imply that the “motives, intent or actual events surrounding an allegation” cannot be questioned. The immediate problem with your statement is that you’re simultaneously using emotive language and being unclear. Whose motives/intents, the accused or the victims? Both would be looked into be the investigating officer.

    As for the “actual events”… you do realise that this would be the focus of a police investigation, yes? The “events” surrounding and allegation of crime are exactly what would be questioned.

    Overall, you either seem to be trying to limit the conversation to the relatively rare cases where there could be genuine doubt, (both individuals intoxicated, unclear lines of consent etc.) or operating under the assumption that once a rape is reported everything the woman says is considered gospel and the man gets no chance to defend himself. The first case is redefining the argument to fit into more favourable terms, the second is just demonstrably wrong.
    (By law the defendant gets to put his side across, and police forces have been criticised for being dismissive of rape reports, I can’t find a single report of them being told of for over zealously pursuing one.

    “The guilty until proven innocent standard for defendants in the court of public opinion is a symptom of irrational attitudes to sexual violence.”

    Finally a statement that has some substance (well, that and the one about the law not recognising female rapists, they’re trying to get that one updated though) This is partly true, equal parts a problem with society and a major problem with the court of opinion.

    And then you head straight off into the crazy talk again…

    “A woman can destroy a mans life, and not face any consequences for doing so. She will be held up as an empowered woman, not a sick freak.

    The first sentence is technically correct, but misleading. Either gender can destroy a person with false accusation. The lack of consequences is misleading for reasons that we;ll go into in a moment, and the “empowered woman” point? No sane person would hold someone up as an good example for making malicious accusations. Most people would actually condemn someone that they knew had deliberately ruined someone’s life through lies.

    I’m sensing a lot of bitterness here. If you don’t mind me asking is this something that happened to you personally? or are you just being offended on behalf of your fellow man?

    “She can do so with nothing but words, and it is not a crime.”

    Which brings us neatly to my next question, where the hell do you live? False witness is a crime, perverting the course of justice is a crime, making false accusations is in itself a crime, especially if it puts the victim at risk of prosecution and in many cases even if it doesn’t.

    If you genuinely live somewhere where this is not covered by law then I pity you and you have my sympathy. If on the other hand you don’t, then you might need to work on your arguments a bit.

    “If it is rational for women to fear men because of what is truly a remote chance of rape. It is equally rational for men to fear women. The damage isn’t as great, but it’s much more common, and really has little to no downside for the perp.”

    What evidence do you have that it is much more common? Last time I actually researched this the chances of being raped was massively higher than the risk of being falsely accused. Something like 25 cases of false accusation per a 1000 rapes, (and that wasn’t even using the estimates that include unreported rapes) Data was from the CPS website if that helps but it was a while ago now.

    • LOL I love getting a reply to comments that are longer than the post the comments are on. It’s just fun.

      So sources.
      http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/NISVS_Report2010-a.pdf
      You agreed that the definitions for rape that exclude women rapists are messed up and need to be fixed. This is one of the reports. So looking at the data, not the summary.
      0.7% of women where “Penetrated by force”
      1.1% of men where “Forced to penetrate”

      More men got raped. In the prior 12 months to the report. Major changes in laws and reporting make the lifetime number unreliable.

      Now for “No sane person would hold someone up as an good example for making malicious accusations”
      Lisa Brown
      Adria Richards
      Rebeca Watson
      These three got lots of support for their malicious accusations. There are many others, but I don’t feel like looking them up. There are many others who’s stories where big news when it was rape, and 3rd page retractions when they where proven malicious accusations.

      On False accusations. Well the number of false rape accusations is somewhere between 2% and 60%. That is a massive range of possibility with support for numbers all the way through. Mostly it’s just guessing, much like how many rapes go un-reported. On the high end of the guesstimates False rape accusations are about as common as actual rapes. The discussion is on fear and if it’s justified. So thinking it’s on the higher end, and as common as actual rapes justifies fear. This is true even with good reason for you to think it’s low.

      On more common, It wasn’t just false rape accusations. Enslaved to child support payments is most decidedly much more common than rape. Loosing your job over “Dongle” or similarly innocent words is more common than rape. Victimization of men is more common.

      • kerran says:

        Oh dear. Here we go again…..

        First you’ve singled out one number comparison in an entire report, ignoring all the data because it doesn’t fit with your argument. Ignoring the summary and conclusions just makes it seem like you don’t trust the report, and if you don’t trust it why bother even quoting it?

        On the malicious accusations you’ve still not made a salient point, newspapers almost never print retractions on page 1, it’s always hidden. This is because “Controversy!” sells papers and “We got it wrong” does not. See the MMR fiasco for a similar example.

        You’re still banging the same drum on fear. Clearly you’re afraid of false accusation. That’s fine. No one here is denying your fear. You’ve even admitted that if you take a range of numbers and assume the absolute worst case scenario, then it’s possible that your fear is justified. (which is a pretty silly statement in itself but never mind.) That still doesn’t mean a fear that by your own argument is potentially wildly exaggerated is equally relevant to a fear of something that isn’t.

        As for the other comments, you’ve still not addressed the points that both of those are gender neutral situations. One of your own examples got fired for raising the issue, and we’ve been over the child support issue already.

        To be honest, your arguing tactics are more consistent with a conspiracy theorist than a serious debate. For each of your arguments you need to prove that the problem is actually due primarily to the fact that the individual involved is male. Instead you’re highlighting data selectively to prove a point, ignoring data that doesn’t support your personal world view and retreating into emotive language when you don’t have an argument.
        Of course you won’t see it that way, but that’s the beauty of it. You’re protected by your own world-view. I’m fascinated.

      • I didn’t filter the data. I filtered the analysis of that data. An analysis that uses definitions that even you agree are bad. On “only one number” well I could have used the numbers on domestic violence or stalking that where in the report, but I considered the numbers on rape the most important in talking about rape.

        I do agree that my arguments are very “conspiracy theory” like. These are the exact same arguments used by feminist, with the same kinds of distortions and data mining. My hope was that you would make this connection on your own and start to question the OP.

        I didn’t intend to make GOOD points. I intended to present the same bad points the OP did, so you would attack that logic. I have no problem playing the villain if it’s for the greater good.

        Considering that only about 5% of the violence committed against women is from a “Stranger” Women fearing strange men makes about as much sense as Men fearing women.

  4. kerran says:

    Riiiiight….. so…. I’m unsure how to respond here…..

    You agree with my assessment that your arguments are lacking in evidence and rely on selective data and assumptions, and even admit that you’re making bad points and your position smacks of paranoia , but it’s ok,… because you were just making weak and convoluted attempts to justify your arguments in the hope that I would suddenly realise that you spouting nonsense was intended to be some kind of educational parody? Is that even supposed to make sense?

    I’m starting to suspect that I’m just being trolled, otherwise I just don’t see how making yourself look silly by presenting obviously flawed arguments was ever going to result in the outcome you’ve just suggested.

    I mean, you used a source to back up your argument about more men being raped that includes the sentence “. Too few men reported rape in the 12 months prior to taking the survey to produce a reliable 12 month prevalence estimate.” It’s literally right above the data your quoting to prove that men have it worse…

    No offence, but at this point, I’m not sure if you’re someone who has some very deep rooted issues regarding gender relations, or a very dedicated internet troll. Since I’m tending towards the latter, I don’t see much benefit to continuing this conversation.

    Have fun out there, and if you truly are a troll then I salute you. You actually had me believing you were a crazy person.

  5. martien says:

    tendency to violence is something which expresses itself also in the way to talk to write etc… be aware of that.
    only respect for oneself can lay the basis for respect for the other

  6. Kai says:

    “Contrary to what you might think, rapists and predators don’t come with a glaring neon sign above their heads. What makes them so dangerous is the fact that they look and act just like you.”

    I once tried to explain this to a guy at the end of a party, in relation to why I felt the need to tell him in advance that while he could sleep on my sofa, this in no way was meant to imply that we would be having sex. He seemed genuinely upset that the notion that ‘some men would take that as an invitation to come into my room later on, and I want to be clear that that’s not going to happen’ was being even vaguely linked to him. It made me sad, trying to explain that it really wasn’t personal, and seeing the surprise/lack of understanding that this sort of thing is actually real and not some notion I had made up just to insult him.

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