Because things like this happen when we talk about rape cultureA few days ago, in response to the two shootings in California, I posted this on my facebook and other social media"
It's no longer enough for those of us raising sons to teach them manners or "how to treat a lady" or even to have a father who is a wonderful example. We have to specifically teach our sons "Don't rape, threaten, or kill a girl for turning you down." Anything less is no longer enough.
I have come to expect, over the past couple of years, that when I post something about the basic safety of women, or about privilege, there are a couple of acquaintances sure to chime in with a dissenting opinion ("Not all men are like that!" "I'm a straight white man and I sure don't feel privileged!") Now, on many topics I am open to and even encourage a certain amount of respectful dissent; that's how we learn about each other, how to respect those with different opinions. But in this case, one of my usual suspects chimed in with the opinion that:
- Sexual assault statistics are overblown
- That it would be damaging to specifically teach our boys not to rape and kill
- That people (I'm assuming girls) must be taught that HOW THEY REJECT PEOPLE HAS CONSEQUENCES
- That women's concerns about their safety were baseless
He continued in this vein, even when several women shared their stories of sexual assault. The disrespect was painful.
It's worth noting at this point that this man was on my friends list via a fan club we have both been members of. Among other reasons, I have drifted away from the group due to an underlying culture of objectification. It's just not fun to costume up and play pretend with other geeks when you know you'll be objectified ( this has even gone to the point of "jokes" about taking out my husband to make me available. But it's a compliment, you know!) Since I am unlikely to have the uncomfortable experience of seeing this man again, I unfriended him. He later messaged me thanking me for taking down the conversation because it was "getting too personal). I responded that because he so often dismissed women's fears, I had unfriended him and was now blocking him (which I did).
He sent me an email saying "things had gone too far". I sent it to Spam. So far, nothing more.
My experience is a mild one. In all of this, I have never felt unsafe. I haven't been threatened. I feel fortunate for that. Many women do face threats when we speak out against rape culture. Which is why we must never stop doing it.