Man up, for god’s sake.
For those of you who don’t live in my city and who aren’t aware, let me give the background info that spurred this post. Currently there’s a poster campaign called “Don’t be THAT guy” put out by BWSS (theviolencestopshere.ca) that was recently spoofed into a “Don’t be THAT girl” series of posters (http://bit.ly/1dgUjSb) that have been put up around my city, created by a “Men’s Rights” group (I think one could strongly argue that most currently-existing rights are “men’s rights” but that’s a rant for another day, perhaps).
The men that I’ve heard defending these spoof posters on Twitter and Facebook seem to often be saying things like “I know someone who had his life ruined” (by a girl lying about being raped/sexually assaulted). This is the point that my anger that’s been bubbling up over the past few days started to overflow.
Yeah. That’s awful when people’s lives are ruined, and it makes it really personal when you know the person that’s involved, right?
That’s why WE – the men and women who know people on the other side of this type of situation – are so sensitive about these issues. Did you know that 1 of every 17 Canadian women is raped at some point in her life?? Do you know the main reason that victims under-report their assaults (9 out of 10 are not reported) according to StatsCan? “When asked why they did not tell the police about the sexual assault, a majority of victims (58%) said that they did not report the incident because it was not important enough.” NOT IMPORTANT ENOUGH. The (81% majority female) victims in Canada already think that their bodies, their safety, their happiness are “not important enough” because of existing patriarchal cultural norms that tell them (in a variety of ways) that they are not deserving of these things, and Men’s Rights groups like this have the GALL to stand up and ask who’s looking out for the poor men in these sexual assault situations???!
Breathe in, breathe out.
Ok. But enough with the stats. Let’s just think about this – personally. Person to person, shall we? YOU tally up all of the men you personally know who’ve falsely been accused of sexual assault, and I will tally up all the women I know who’ve ACTUALLY been sexually assaulted.
As you can probably guess, I don’t personally know ANY guys who have been falsely accused of sexual assault, but you know what I do know? How many of my female friends have been sexually assaulted and who never reported it – and friends who DID report it and went through MONTHS of re-living the awful experience to try and get the perp convicted.
The responsibility for these issues lies so much more on the shoulders of men that calling attention to the (very) small percentage of women involved on the other side of the issue is ridiculous, misogynist and laughable. According to 2007 StatsCan police-reported data, “97% OF PERSONS ACCUSED OF SEXUAL OFFENCES WERE MALE”.
Let’s stop focusing on the victims. We’ve had a victim blaming culture for long enough. It’s time to man-up, men.
UPDATE! A clarification on this last sentence: there are many many excellent men out there who are disagreeing with these posters and pronouncing, strongly, that these Men’s Rights Groups do NOT speak for them. What I’m asking here is that more men – all good men, in fact – take a public stand against victim blaming and this sort of misogyny. For men to sit by and hold up their hands saying, “I didn’t make these posters!” is not good enough. We need you to stand beside us, like so many of you have, and show your very vocal support. Because of course, we need you (and want you) in our ranks.