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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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I have known two men who were abused and one who narrowly escaped assault.

I have *lost count* of the number of women I've known who've experienced moderate to severe assault including:
-- A close friend of mine in high school had been abused by an older student
-- A friend of mine who was repeatedly groped by a friend of her father's -- and her father would NOT understand or believe that there was a problem.
-- A close friend who was abused by a school nurse on one occasion and other students on another occasion.
-- A friend who was repeatedly abused by her grandfather -- who has never been prosecuted and she has had to fight with her family over the fact that he is NOT allowed to be anywhere near her daughter.

... and on and on... and I haven't even touched my own experiences, or people I know online or anything else.

It's not that you don't believe that it can happen to men. It's that it seems to happen to so damn many of us (women), that it's easy to become hypersensitized -- to question every motivation.

I'm not suggesting that it's anything like an equal split, but Ursula's post painted it in terms of "men are afraid of accusation" and "women are afraid of assault", as if women never commit assault or men are never victimized. I'm pretty sure she knows better, hence my easygoing tone, but it was important to me to highlight the murkiness of the issue.

I'm not going to detail the stories of assault and abuse I know, because they're awful and not mine to tell. The worst story I've heard from a man I knew (my ex-husband, actually) is at least as bad as the worst story I've heard from a female friend (whose story is much like the last one you mention, minus the daughter), and his abuser was his older sister.

Hypersensitized -- you described it perfectly. It's all too much, and it is overblown. Some nuance needs to return to most people's perception of the issue.

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