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breeden
ursulav

Because one can of worms is never enough!

Okay, gang, I'm off to spend an evening canoodling with my significant other, and will not be on the internet.

Please be civilized to each other in the prior post, I beg of you, while I'm not here to bounce. This is one topic where emotions run really high, and I don't want to have to close threads because I think it's an important topic to discuss, and we're all basically on the same side. If the conversation DOES get ugly, it's okay to say "I don't see anything productive coming out of this," and step away.

It's okay to be pissed. Just be polite.

However, before I go, for the purposes of discussion, one thing I've run across in this discussion (and other posts related) that I hardly ever run across is fear vocalized on the part of men that they'll be accused of rape or sexual harassment when they're just tryin' to get lucky as best they can.

Now, my kneejerk reaction is to scoff a bit, I confess--that's a kneejerk, and I make no bones about it--because, well, being female, my fear is that some dude is gonna rape me, then carve me up like a christmas ham in the basement and wear my skin around like a little hat. This is the sort of thing I worry about. My kneejerk, therefore, is something like "Pfff! You think YOU have problems?"

And that may well be unfair. Hell, granted that fear is not a zero-sum game, it's definitely unfair. Everybody has a right to be scared of ill treatment.

But--thing is--every single woman I know, with no exception I can think of, knows somebody who has been sexually assaulted or abused. In fact, with VERY few exceptions, that person is either somebody close to her, or her own self. These aren't stories, this is...y'know...something that we basically just live with. Life sucks, lots of people get hurt, we brazen on through because the only alternative is to curl into fetal position and weep for humanity.

However. It occurs to me that I may be doing men a disservice in general by dismissing this fear just because it seems like women get so much more of the short end of the stick. Suffering, too, is not a zero-sum game. So. I'll ask two questions then:

A) If male, are you afraid of being falsely accused of rape? Is this a Major Fear--i.e. something you worry about every time you're trying to get to know a woman? (Hell, is this something you worry about if you're, say, alone in a parking garage with a female in the next aisle getting into her car?)

B) If either gender, do you personally know anybody who has been falsely accused of rape? (Not friend-of-a-friend stories, but you, yourself, are at least the level of on-line acquaintanceship with them.)

(Okay, two and a half.)

Somebody'll probably suspect that this is a snarky passive-aggressive way to get men to admit that this is a load. It's not. Honestly. I'm genuinely curious. For all I know, a staggering percentage of men really do go into a relationship in mortal terror that they're going to end up with their testicles in a vise. I KNOW what it's like to be female, but I've never yet been male (at least not in this life!) and I honestly don't know what my own response to the discovery that this might genuinely be a widespread problem would be. 


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Please forgive me that I prefer to post anonymously on this; I will voluntarily out myself privately to you, Ursula, but this is a topic on which I'm still sensitive.

A) Yes and yes.

B) I have been, personally, falsely accused of rape. It cleared up quickly and without going to court when it was demonstrated that I couldn't physically have been where she said I was, but the fact remains that she accused me and someone, however briefly, believed her.

Since then I recovered somewhat, and in fact right now I'm more-or-less-happily married. But recently the issue flared up again: the backstory is too long and personal to go into here, but what was meant to be a reassuring "of course you're attractive" after a difficult break-up was reported to mutual friends as "he tried to get me to go to bed with him". (And I am aware that I carry the privilege here, and that it's not only possible but probable that I just shouldn't have put myself in that situation in the first place.)

That said: I am also aware that I am a special case, and that I've had two unlucky encounters. I don't bear any ill will toward anyone but the people who decided to accuse me, and even then I'm sure they had reasons for what they did, even if I don't know what they are. I don't think my experience is reason for anyone else to fear being falsely accused. In my case, I am concerned about it, but it's a case of once burned = twice shy, and I'm aware that it's something I need to deal with.

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