Stop Changing the Subject When Someone Speaks About Violence Against Women.
Shut up and listen.
People have been talking about it for years and years, but its only recently that people have started to listen, to take it seriously and to act on it. In the wake of Harve Weinstein and the #MeToo movement, people have started to listen.
The sad part is that as many people that have started to listen, to act, to speak, just as many are plugging their fingers in their ears and pretending not to hear it. Or they’re violently opposed to the idea that violence against women is an actual problem.
Too many times I’ve been interrupted with blow-off tactics. You know what I mean, it’s when you start the conversation but it’s quickly derailed by (usually) a man talking about how he was treated poorly by a woman. Or how violence against anyone is unacceptable.
Yeah, it is unacceptable, and I’m terribly sorry that you were treated poorly by your past girlfriend, but this topic was about the widespread systematic treatment of women and our ingrained need to ignore it. Nobody is saying that it’s ok that your girlfriend was an abusive bitch, or that violence against anyone is ok, we’re trying to shed light on the fact that as bad as those things are, you have to admit that it is far more prominent against women.
Yes, murder is bad, nobody is disputing that, but that doesn't mean you can interrupt me when I’m talking about how yet another woman was killed last night by her partner with a lecture about how murder in general is bad and wrong and yadda yadda.
Do you know the stats of women killed by their partners vs men killed by their partners? Do me a favor, go look it up for yourself. I’d tell you, but chances are you’d find a reason to discredit whatever I try to tell you, so YOU go find out. I challenge you.
Here’s another one. Do you know the stats of women abused by their partners vs men abused by their partners? Go look that up too.
How about this. How many of your female friends have been harassed and assaulted? Would you listen if they tried to tell you? Have they tried to tell you before only to have you dismiss them?
Do you know how many people are behind bars for rape?
Do you know the stats of women who are sexually assaulted? Not by their partners specifically, just in general.
Do you know how many of those women come forward?
Do you know why they don’t?
When they do, are you one of the ones asking what they were wearing, if they were drinking, if they ‘asked’ for it? Spoiler Alert — if you are, you’re part of the problem.
Of the tiny percentage of women who come forward, do you know how many men are convicted and given an actual prison sentence?
Brock Turner was caught red-handed by two other men when he was assaulting that woman behind a dumpster. He tried to run away, and those two men caught him and held him there until authorities arrived. What happened to him? His swimming scores were posted in the articles about his crime. The judge let him off with only 6 months in jail, for which he only served, what, three? Why? Because anything more might ruin his future, I’m paraphrasing, but that’s what happened.
Not only that, but his daddy didn’t understand why he was being punished for, wait for it, ’20 minutes of action.’
Oh, are you going to tell me that this was just one incident? That’s where you’re wrong. This happens all the time, you just haven’t heard of it because nobody cares enough to look into it. Police don’t care enough to investigate, prosecutors don’t care enough to go after the perpetrators, judges don’t care enough to pass out proper sentences. Friends and family don’t care enough to listen.
You don’t care enough to listen without gaslighting.
I had a conversation the other day with a man who told me about an online friend of his from India who confided in him that she’d been raped by her uncle as a teen, and that’s why she didn’t date men. I said something along the lines of how, as fucking awful as it is, is something that happens so often that we need to start doing something about it.
Do you know what happened next?
He lectured me about how that was something that only happened in third-world countries, not in the UK where he’s from, or Australia where I live. I tried to correct (gently) correct him, and he told me about how his ex used to yell at him and act like a bitch, and that was a basis for how sexual assault is not an issue we need to address because women are mean too. I tried to (firmly) correct him, and he retaliated about how he would never want to be in an argument with me when we finally got together. (Plot twist, we’re not together, we were never together, and I’d never even entertained the prospect of our dating before, he would just continuously assume it was going to happen despite my telling him otherwise.) Hmm.
This is just one instance.
I had another recent conversation with my actual partner about Twitch streamers. He said that a lot of female streamers complained about people only coming to their streams to follow them for their looks and their tits etc, and proceded to say that if they didn’t dress like whores on camera then that wouldn’t happen.
How about this.
Those women can wear whatever they want and have the freedom of not being harassed by men. I don’t care if they’re naked. They’re not objects, and men aren’t mindless animals. If they want to wear a bikini, they can wear a bikini, if they want to wear low cut tops with contoured cheeks and eyeliner for days, then they can damn well do it without being called a whore. I don’t see men streaming in saggy revealing shirts complaining about being sexually harassed and told to change their clothes. Why? Because nobody treats them that way, but they treat women that way, and you blame the women.
Here’s the thing.
Your ignorance is no excuse.
If you’re going to ignore this widespread issue of toxicity and abuse towards women, then you are part of the problem. Oh, you’ve never hit a woman? Good for you, if you’re ignoring all the women who have been hit, and the men who hit them, then you’re still part of the problem.
Next time a woman, or even a man, or anyone actually, brings up the subject of violence against women, here’s what I want you to do.
Shut up and listen.
It’s not about you.
JLRose is an American fantasy writer, 3D artist and game designer living in Melbourne, Australia. She’s spent the past three years working on the first full-length book of The Galean Universe titled Repentance.
Her short story, The Chase, is now available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. The Venue is set to be released in September. Click the images below for more.