To The Angry White Man

Image credit: Dan Bøțan

“A woman, I forget who, once asked a male friend why men felt threatened by women. He replied that they were afraid that women might laugh at them. When she asked a group of women why women felt threatened by men, they said, ‘We’re afraid they might kill us.’”

This may be one of the best lines in the entire Netflix series, “The Fall.” Gillian Anderson’s female detective character describes to her colleague why she doesn’t find the male serial killer in the series as “fascinating” as he does. While this statement resonates true with me, and most likely everyone else who has a vagina, my straight, white, male friend takes issue with it.

“Is that rational?” he asks. “10% of murders in 2015 were men killing women, so is it ok for a woman to assume I’m dangerous because I’m a man?”

Here’s the deal with that, and let me preface this by saying it is absolutely relevant that he is straight and white, but in this case, let’s just talk sex. Statistically, in 2015, there were an estimated 15,696 murders in the United States. Of those, 21% of known victims were women. 63% of known offenders were male. So while the numbers of women murdered by men may seem “low” to some, the fact remains that almost 2/3 of homicide offenders are male.

Outside homicides, there were approximately 90,185 rapes reported in that year. Reported. Statistically, 1 in 10 rape victims are men. That means 90% of the rape victims were women. Even if a portion of those rapes, we’ll say 10%, were committed by women on women, that’s still over 72,000 rapes of women by men in a single year. I don’t think you’ll find one rape victim who doesn’t say sexual assault was the worst experience of her life, and often, these women are lucky to escape the situation alive. If you’re asking me whether someone is dangerous, I’m considering their probability to rape as a solid reason to believe so.

If we expand to include all forms of domestic violence in our reasoning, more than 1 in 3 women have experienced domestic abuse in their lives, and almost 10% have experienced rape at the hands of a domestic partner. While this study doesn’t account for same-sex relationships, we can logically conclude that, since we only recently began considering those relationships significant, and since only about 1.5% of women identify as lesbian, these statistics reflect primarily heterosexual relationships.

And only 11.4% of serial killers are women.

So all things considered, yes, you are absolutely more dangerous as a man.

Crime statistics in the United States are undoubtedly cause for alarm, but here’s the real problem keeping us from progress: men getting angry about being prematurely judged against and grouped with negative stereotypes.

Before all the members of the anti-man-hating-feminist club pipe in, this isn’t just a problem for men. I’m a white woman, and I still get angry when I hear that a large percentage of black Americans feel as though they are treated as inferior to us. But I get angry because that is an accurate feeling on their part. Black Americans are systematically treated as an inferior race, as inferior people, based solely on the color of their skin. A skin color I wasn’t born with. A treatment I don’t receive, but do completely acknowledge and disagree with. So when people point that out, of course it makes me angry. It doesn’t make me angry because I am a bad person, a bad white woman, and I need to repent. It doesn’t make me angry because any one of these numbers or individuals is personally lashing out at my character and I’m being unfairly stereotyped. It makes me angry because we are still living in a society that is separated based on inborn traits that make no difference. We should all be angry about that.

It’s worth mentioning here that if being considered dangerous based on one characteristic of your body over which you have no control is offensive to you, consider the black man. Now consider who groups him in that way. One last thing, consider that within agencies that reported race in homicide cases, only 10% more homicides were committed by black individuals than white individuals in 2015. Based on your original argument, that difference hardly matters.

Dear friend, you personally are of no danger to me, because I know your character, and I know you. But not every woman does. Not every person does. And not every good man is what he seems.