Dear Menz

Shut the hell up.

Nope.

Ssshhhhhh.

Its hard but do it. I believe in you.

No really, sshhhhhhh.

No, honey pie, in all honesty, that is not a new argument.

Please.

“If I may play devils advocate” — no sweet-cheeks, you definitely may not.

SHUT.

THE.

HELL.

UP.

WHY?

Because we have absolutely had it.

A woman was raped and murdered in a park.

Say it after me.

A WOMAN WAS RAPED AND MURDERED IN A PARK.

How on earth can you make that about you? Honestly, the arrogance is breathtaking.

A beautiful, sassy, funny, young woman who thought she was home safe was raped and murdered in a park a few hundred metres from her home in inner Melbourne. A park where hundreds and thousands of women have been before her. In the last week another young girl was assaulted in Newcastle and another woman killed in Sydney.

We are grieving because “it could have been me/my daughter/my friend/my family”

It could be any of us. Because we have ALL been sexually harassed. And many of us have been raped. And if we haven’t been, we know a close friend who has. You do too.

Unless you are a woman you don’t get to decide how we should feel about this or communicate about this.

When your female friends are commenting on this, and asking you to listen, to our rage, to our grief, to our despair, and we are saying that MEN who rape are the problem, not women’s behaviour, you need to listen to us.

How dare you make it about you. You literally have no idea what it is like. I went out for a friends 40th birthday at an inner city pub a couple years ago. I was sexually harassed and groped five times. The self-identified feminist men we were with had no idea. They were shocked when I mentioned it in passing. I’m in my early 40’s and I’m sure as hell not some gorgeous super model.

At my birthday celebration a friend’s drink was spiked at the same inner-city Melbourne pub. She is over 40. For women it’s just so achingly, brutalisingly normal. For me, that makes 30 years… since I was told that a boy was hitting and being mean to me because he liked me.

It wasn’t until this wave of rage and grief spread over my social channels that I remembered an incident I had forgotten about. Desperate for income in my 20’s I tried door to door sales (and was terrible at it). I knocked on a door to a house. Several men were drinking inside. Huge alarm bells and gut instincts kicked in. I stayed near the door, refused a drink, eyed the exits and got the hell out of there. I am certain it would have ended in violence, had I not.

We all have these stories. And we all have patterns and ways of organising our lives that are built around avoiding violence. Most men are unaware the extent of this.

There has been understandable outrage and push back about the police commissioners comments about “situational awareness”. We’ve all seen and heard similar ones before, but its as if our collective “over-it-ness” has finally converged with the anger and grief and pain of #MeToo in a bloody tsunami.

The very idea that a middle-aged white man would know more about “situational awareness” than any woman (or femme, queer, or LGBTI person) in this society is frankly ridiculous.

And another comment…

“Call the police if you are scared, we’d rather get more calls.”

GET REAL.

I was sexually assaulted by a cab driver in my early 20’s. I woke up from a nap getting home late one night to his hands all over me. I was furious and loud, and I called the taxi company. They said it was not their problem, it was a police issue. I called the police, and the cop on the phone said “that is not sexual assault” when I detailed what had happened. The magistrate clearly believed me, but nothing happened. I was assaulted in my own drive way. My word against his.

This quote is being circulated again from the brilliant Jane Gilmore

“Women, if you want to be safe, stay at home. Except that you are more likely to be killed at home by someone who claims they love you, so don’t stay at home. “Make sure you don’t have a boyfriend because he’s the most likely person to kill you, but don’t go out without your boyfriend because you need someone to protect you. Don’t show too much skin or laugh too loud or dance too much but come on love give us a smile. Carry your keys and your phone at all times and make sure you run far enough to burn off all those calories but don’t do it in public and for God’s sake don’t run in shorts, that’s just asking for trouble. Public transport is dangerous, but so are taxis and walking and driving on your own and did I mention that staying at home is really risky, so don’t do any of those things OK? Men, just carry on as you were, this is not your problem OK?”

So I thought I’d write a helpful guide for you lovely men out there who feel the need to share your feelings at this time of great importance to you.

But I’m a nice guy ™ and NOT ALL MEN

Really? Are ya? Did you just make a woman’s rape and murder about your own feeeeeeeeelings? Do you really think that is ok? What kind of weird projected guilt have you got going on when you see a comment and assume its about you? Please don’t #NotAllMen us.

I’m a whitey mcwhiteface lady and yet I can somehow resist the urge to scream, not all white ladeez and dance badly, when Aboriginal people talk, pretty darned reasonably about concerns they have about settlers.

Would you pop up at your aunties funeral and when people say everyone loved her… would you maybe pipe up and say — “If I may play devils advocate, actually Maude wasn’t that nice. And her scones were over-rated and quite frankly a little dry”

Did that argument not make sense? Sweet as bro. We are on the same page then.

Image by: the nib

One love. Its all about the sacred feminine and masculine. We just need to re-align our chakra’s and honour the feminine within. We just need to like totally love each other. Man.

Shut your trap you twat-muppet. Or some woman is going to re-align your chakra’s with a crystal wand from the inside of your “brown chakra”.

If you want to go and man bond over the sound of bongo drums that is up to you, but POLITICAL action is what is required to change things. And you taking personal responsibility for calling out bad behaviour. That means calling out your creepy mate who says he is a shaman and likes to touch young women with his rainbow healing stick.

None of my friends are rapists. I hang out with good guys.

Actually, nah mate. This is statistically impossible. Every single woman has been sexually harassed. Most of us multiple times. Often multiple times a day. Many have been raped.

Interested in more? Lots of men admit to rape if it’s not phrased as rape. Find out more here.

Have you noticed that heaps of men who kill their families are reported in the paper as “good blokes” or “decent family men” … it is the same with rapists. They have friends. They don’t walk around with flashing signs saying RAPIST (tho that could make things easier). You know rapists. You might be friends with rapists.

Jill Meagher’s husband wrote powerfully about the ‘monster myth’ — take a look.

I would never do that. I’m not the problem.

(also shut up you stupid cow — later on in the same argument online)

WARNING WARNING WARNING — DOOFUS ALERT. If you actually say that, you ARE actually the problem.

Rape, assault and murder doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It starts with the kind of behaviour that you have most likely participated in, or 100% guaranteed turned a blind eye to.

If you don’t actively challenge sexist behaviour and jokes you ARE the problem. If you consider yourself a good “ally” then do some of the not so fun stuff and call out bad behaviour so we don’t have to.

But I’m just trying to help. What do you expect if you… walk/talk/wear a skirt/wear pants/drink…. etc… Asking men not to rape is like putting a cat in a room with a goldfish*

Initial tweet from a friend

As other smarter babes have pointed out… when you tell women not to wear certain clothes or go certain places you are essentially

a) Taking agency away from men (you know how you get all man tanty about that stuff menz) by assuming you can’t control yourselves

b) You are saying RAPE THE NEXT PERSON

*actual quote

Sheesh why so angry. You are getting hysterical. Let’s all calm down ladies and discuss this as adults.

Just nope. Most of us have had this conversation so many times and we get patronised and derailed so often it is infuriating. Here are some examples of what happens when women have said “how bout you make this less about our behaviour, and maybe try and be less rapey”.

Men abuse women for asking men not to rape.

Can’t imagine why we get so angry. Must be those darned ovaries getting us all hysterical, pass me the smelling salts!

He refers to quality misandry ice cream video. Check out nice guy TM

If you’d been talked over, and talked at and tone policed for years and years you would be angry too. When we are polite we still get patronised and derailed, so, sometimes it feels like its quicker to be direct.

Besides, what kind of snapperhead equates the tone of language in a facebook discussion, with being raped and murdered and being terrified of that. Oh, that’s right — you do. WOOPS.

But men get assaulted too! What about the menz!
 
Both women and men are more likely to experience violence at the hands of men, with around 95% of all victims of violence in Australia reporting a male perpetrator. 
 
 While men are more likely to experience violence by other men in public places, women are more likely to experience violence from men they know, often in the home. 
 
 The overwhelming majority of acts of domestic violence and sexual assault are perpetrated by men against women, and this violence is likely to have more severe impacts on female than male victims.

This is direct from our watch. Check out the site for more mythbusting

Men do get assaulted too, and more often by other men, than women. Step away from the Mens Rights Activist website sunshine. Jordan Petersen is not your homeboy. The more important issue is that plenty more women have been killed than are spoken about in the media, and it is often racially biased, and prioritised to women that fit certain profiles. Destroy the Joint have a project counting dead women. Thirty women so far this year have been murdered, many by partners.

But sexual energy is like creative energy. And I’m really tired and I just threw a grenade into this conversation but I’m going to nap now. Don’t @ me babe-faces (a late addition, but worthy of honourable mention, bc, you know, sleepless night)

I’m a totes woke bae and I wear a feminist shirt and I’m posting about how much I care on facebook

YAY. You get allllllll the cookies.

OK, yes it is useful to see men posting as allies. But look at how much praise you get, in comparison to those of us who dare to get angry with men saying stupid sexist things. We get abused. You get more cookies. Use your privilege and do HEAPS of emotional labor arguing with those morons, and you will have an authentic 10% experience of what a womans life is like. Congrats, You are so woke you are an espresso flavoured cookie cupcake!

OK. So I’ve read all of the above and I feel remorse, and I’d like to learn how to do better.

Hilarious ladies amirite!

But just in case you are a unicorn…. Here are some pro tips

  • Listen without saying but
  • NEVER say, #NotAllMen
  • Let women grieve in the way they want
  • Ask women in your life how you can practically help
  • Find out more about the women who have died in between the high profile deaths of young, attractive white women. Make a point to seek out voices of Aboriginal women, women of colour, and the experiences of trans and queer folk and people with different abilities.
  • Educate yourself. Here is a start.
  • Share these tips with friends:

This is only a small piece of my rage and frustration. Its rapidly written and likely going to get smacked down by someone. If you are man and would like to share critiques or opinions please plant them in the field below.

If you identify as a woman this is for you. If you are non binary, queer, trans, I know you face extra risks and I’m in solidarity with you. If you are a woman of colour or first nations, I stand in solidarity with you and the stories not told, the women who have died who haven’t had thousands of people speak out for them.

**

I have deliberately not mentioned the names of the women whilst the grief is fresh — I wouldn’t want to read think pieces about my family. The images are not mine, they are all in popular circulation. If I have credited incorrectly, please let me know.

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