This is a distorted reality.

I’m really puzzled by your response:

  1. The author and I both said we did not know any women for whom violence had not been an issue. You cannot dispute our experience. It’s not up for debate. It is simply our experience.
  2. You say we are tying victim hood to womanhood. You are incorrect. Just about all the women I know wear makeup and have their ears pierced. I do not see either makeup or pierced ears as an inherent part of womanhood. As a matter of fact, there are men who wear make up and have pierced ears. These generalizations are a social construction and you are putting words in our mouths.
  3. I’m puzzled by your unsubstantiated example of someone being “force fed viagra and raped for days.” Viagra does not impose an erection on a man nor does it last for days. If you are going to dismiss anecdotal evidence you have to do a lot better than that.
  4. I don’t understand your defensiveness about this issue. It reminds me of people who fight the idea of institutional racism by saying blacks discriminate against whites. I believe the author was addressing entrenched social mores about how men in this culture dismiss women’s feelings, minimize violence against women, and how women’s feelings about culturally acceptable violence is confusing and distressing.

I teach a workshop for a major university on mental health issues and violence against women. I am well aware that the rates of sexual abuse, bullying, and violence against men are also very high. One major difference here, I think, is that men are not usually taught that violence and sexual violence are inevitable parts of life and love. I believe women get different cultural messages. Please feel free to respond and let me know what you think people studying gender violence should know about men’s experiences of this.

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