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cathyn: (Johnny!)
[personal profile] cathyn
I wish I could say I understand rape culture. I can understand it exists, and do. I can understand some of the symptoms, and I do. What I cannot understand is living in it from a woman's viewpoint. Herein lies the rub. She is upset with me for thinking the steps she has to take to protect herself, day to day, from the threats of our rape culture are "paranoid". I honestly think this way because, when one contemplates all the ways in which danger could come at a woman, and they are vast any myriad, they sound a great deal like paranoia.

However, I have no fucking idea what it's really like. I am not a woman, never will be, and I don't live this day to day. The closest I have ever gotten was growing up a white kid in a very ethnic and very economically depressed neighborhood, wherein I was constantly in danger of being beaten up, robbed, and/or worse, simply for being a 10-year-old white kid, and on several occasions, did. This lasted for about two years before my mother moved us from this dreadful place, to Carlsbad, NM, most of the way across the country. Yes, it seemed (and still does seem) like a long way, and yes, we escaped the constant, incessant threat of senseless violence.

Women can't do that. They can't move to escape the constant threat of violence. It goes with them wherever they go, 24-7-365, and all across the globe it goes from Threat Level 7 to Threat Level 10, depending on where one is, and certain other factors which we humans have used to create the rape culture. Read the news, you'll see it, maybe. Nothing I can do can fix it, and in honesty, there is nothing I can do to internalize it. I can't learn it, I can't really experience it. I can fight it, and do, and will continue to do so, without any real hope of success.

What I must do, however, is not be an asshole about it. When the car is running low on gas, and the wife mentions it, I need to not trivialize the situation, which for me *is* trivial, but for her can rapidly escalate from minor inconvenience to life threatening situation in seconds flat, as can EVERYTHING ELSE IN HER LIFE, thanks to rape culture. I am a beast, and very little threatens me. That can never mean there are no threats out there, as much as I want that to be the meaning.

I am learning to adapt to reality, a reality that I can see only tiny slices of, yet one that I *MUST* acknowledge exists, and which I must work to both be sensitive to, as well as make accommodations for, all without being an asshole, like I have been for the last couple of days.

I'm sorry, Laina. In many ways I am a completed adult, but that in no way means I don't still have a million things to learn. This lesson is probably the hardest one I will ever encounter, as its very existence is an insult to me and my masculinity, and I will stupidly resist learning because of this. I didn't cause it. I have striven to stamp out its symptoms in myself. I do acknowledge that even with my every effort, I am still part of the problem. I will continue to work to improve, but my sensitivity, and my attitudes towards your fears. I will continue to actively work against the perpetrators of rape culture, even when they're me. Especially when they're me. You deserve better. I will strive to be better.

Date: 2014-06-01 05:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lifeofglamour.livejournal.com
Well, I'm not angry anymore.

Date: 2014-06-01 08:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rustmon.livejournal.com
Amen. *HUGS*

Date: 2014-06-01 09:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brat-grrl.livejournal.com
You, Mr. C, are a good man.

Date: 2014-06-02 02:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dame-cordelia.livejournal.com

You are a thoughtful, intelligent man. And that is why you try (and fail) to understand the rape culture.



Date: 2014-06-02 05:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kahnegabs.livejournal.com
Thank you, Sir. You are indeed a knight.

Fist bump bro.

Date: 2014-06-02 06:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dakini-bones.livejournal.com
It's hard to know the damage done by our system to groups of people other than you, but you gotta try and then accept it when they tell you what it's like, so good on ya, mate.

In other news please try explaining it to, ahem, other men, next time you're here...

Date: 2014-06-02 07:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] klwilliams.livejournal.com
Yup. One key thing you left out is that a large percentage that can be googled for but it's late of rapes are committed by friends or family members.

Date: 2014-06-02 04:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tamingheadfauna.livejournal.com
Thank you, Cathyn. :)


Here is a metaphor I heard during some of the discussions about misogyny and rape culture coming after the terrible incident on/near the UCSB campus, with a little bit of my own twist:

You are given a bowl of M&Ms and you are told 10% are poisoned.
-- You have no way of knowing which 10% are poisoned
-- The poison in question is a CONTACT poison
-- And, over time, the poison can leech into the candies near it


In this light, it is an act of bravery, just to go near the bowl, let alone reach into it, let alone EAT the candy.
In this light, futility, exhaustion, and feeling overwhelmed or paralyzed--regardless of the decision--is par for the course.
In this light, we do what we can; including talking about the bowl, being conscious of what is in the bowl, taking measures to prevent the spread of the poison among the candy in the bowl, and being respectful of folks' decisions about the bowl

Date: 2014-06-02 07:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lifeofglamour.livejournal.com
That's a good metaphor.

Date: 2014-06-06 01:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ferrousoxide.livejournal.com
Ug. Ok, i had a rant here that will be very unpopular in public. Message me sometime, and i'll tell you.

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