“As men we can enjoy this particular extreme luxury of movement and freedom of choice. In order to understand rape culture, remember this is a freedom that at least half the population doesn’t enjoy.
That’s why I go out of my way to use clear body language and act in a way that helps minimize a woman’s fear and any related feelings. I recommend you do the same. It’s seriously, like, the least any man can do in public to make women feel more comfortable in the world we share. Just be considerate of her and her space.”
“You may think it’s unfair that we have to counteract and adjust ourselves for the ill behavior of other men. You know what? You’re right. It is unfair. Is that the fault of women? Or is it the fault of the men who act abysmally and make the rest of us look bad? If issues of fairness bother you, get mad at the men who make you and your actions appear questionable.
Because when it comes to assessing a man, whatever one man is capable of, a woman must presume you are capable of. Unfortunately, that means all men must be judged by our worst example. If you think that sort of stereotyping is bullshit, how do you treat a snake you come across in the wild?
…You treat it like a snake, right? Well, that’s not stereotyping, that’s acknowledging an animal for what it’s capable of doing and the harm it can inflict. Simple rules of the jungle, man. Since you are a man, women must treat you as such.
The completely reasonable and understandable fear of men is your responsibility. You didn’t create it. But you also didn’t build the freeways either. Some of the things you inherit from society are cool and some of them are rape culture.”
“Rape prevention is about the fact that a man must understand that saying ‘no’ doesn’t mean ‘yes,’ that when a woman is too drunk/drugged to respond that doesn’t mean ‘yes,’ that being in a relationship doesn’t mean ‘yes.’ Rather than focus on how women can avoid rape, or how rape culture makes an innocent man feel suspect, our focus should be: how do we, as men, stop rapes from occurring, and how do we dismantle the structures that dismiss it and change the attitudes that tolerate it?”
“When a woman first told me I was part of rape culture, I wanted to disagree for obvious reasons. Like many of you I wanted to say, ‘Whoa, that ain’t me.’ Instead, I listened. Later, I approached a writer I respect. I asked her to write an article with me, wherein she’d explain rape culture to me and to male readers. She stopped returning my emails.
At first, I was annoyed. Then as it became clear she wasn’t going to respond at all, I actually got mad. Luckily, I’ve learned one shouldn’t immediately respond when they feel flashes of anger. Thunder is impressive but it’s the rain that nourishes life. So I let that storm pass and thought about it. I took a walk. They seem to jangle my best thoughts loose.
Blocks from my house, in front of a car wash it dawned on me. If rape culture is so important to me I needed to find out for myself what it is. No woman owes me her time just because I want to know about something she inherently understands. No woman should feel she has to explain rape culture to me just because I want to know what it is. No woman owes me shit. I saw how my desire for a woman to satisfy me ran deep. Even my curiosity, a trait that always made me proud, was marred with the same sort of male-centric presumption that fuels rape culture. I expected to be satisfied. That attitude is the problem. I started reading and kept reading until I understood rape culture and my part in it.”
“[R]ape culture plays a central role in all the social dynamics of our time. It’s at the heart of all our personal interactions. It’s part of all our social, societal and environmental struggles. Rape culture is not just about sex. It is the product of a generalized attitude of male supremacy. Sexual violence is one expression of that attitude. Again, don’t let the terminology spook you. Don’t get hung up on the term ‘male supremacy.’ The term isn’t the problem. The problem is that rape culture hurts everyone involved. Antiquated patriarchal notions of society make it difficult for men to come forward as rape victims just as much as they foster a desire for a man to be seen as powerful and sexually aggressive. Men shouldn’t feel threatened or attacked when women point out rape culture—they’re telling us about our common enemy. We ought to listen.”
“When something like #YesAllWomen occurs in our cultural conversation and women the world over are out there sharing their experiences, their trauma, their stories and their personal views, as men, we don’t need to enter that conversation. In that moment, all we need to do is listen, and reflect, and let their words change our perspective. Our job is to ask ourselves how we can do better.”