It’s not just the predators.

I’m a little tired of people making excuses for abusers too.

Image credit geralt

“Oh that’s just so-and-so.”

“He’s harmless.”

“Come on, it’s just a bit of fun.”

“Boys will be boys.”

Kill all that noise. Men, by definition, are not boys.

(This is the wrong time, by the way, to “Not All“ me. Save yourself.)

As a woman I’m angry.

As a black woman I’m furious.

As a person who has suffered at the hands of sexual predators I’m enraged.

And I get to be mad.

Why? For one?

Because it’s fucking disappointing.

It shouldn’t be on us, the survivors, to make the topic of sexual violence and intimidation palatable, to re-traumatize ourselves for the sake of your understanding or to nudge you to action.

We shouldn’t have to silence ourselves to protest being silenced. And so some of us did not.

We shouldn’t have to do the #MeToo emotional labor for you to see something constantly happening all around you.

Why should we be the ones to expose wounds that already never heal?

Especially not to get men to understand that sexual violence is this prevalent or that what they think is harmless hurts us!

To some of them, it’s that joke they made that one time.

That one day they hollered at a woman on the street because they were drunk and their friends did it too, so they don’t think it’s such a big deal, relax!

They trolled that one chick & threatened her or they called that chick a bitch that one time or yeah I stalked my ex-girlfriend but she knew I wouldn’t hurt her!

When NO.

No, we don’t know that you won’t hurt or kill us.

Your resume as a safe man isn’t written on your chest.

And we’ve all, almost all of us, have had to fight our way out of an unwanted encounter because we thought “this guy’s seems cool or good or wants to help me and he would never, he’s harmless!”

(About fifteen to thirty-five percent of us lose that fight by the way.)

And if we tell people or the authorities?

At minimum we have to relive the very pain we were trying to escape from with every detail of the horror.

Funny how if it was a stolen iPhone it would just be about where we think we had it last.

Funny how if it was a punch or a murder it wouldn’t be on us to do all the research and legwork.

If someone loses their car keys or their car it stolen, no one queries if they were asking for it.

For virtually any other crime it would be simply a matter of identifying who we save commit the crime.

There would or would not be enough evidence to convict. The end.

But not for us.

After that trauma, you have to emotionally survive endless questions about what you wore and if you led them on and did you maybe want it? Because sure I wanted that guy to spit in my nose while he held me down and tore roughly through my body.

If I went for a walk in the park in broad daylight and I was kidnapped, would they ask me if I maybe kinda wanted to get kidnapped? It’s bullshit!

Goddamn it this is SO not our fucking job to fIx how predatory men behave!

Nor to have sympathy for the onlookers missing things because God fucking dammit pay more attention when you know how much danger women are in every single day!

Whether or not you believe in the term rape culture, you cannot selectively deny the fact that women are in more danger in public.

The statistics easily bear this out. It is not our job to prove it. The burden should not be on us.

Nor is it our job to make more well-behaved men see that for us their “one joke” we should relax about isn’t free from blame.

That “stealing a kiss” isn’t romantic, it’s been romanticized to make it seem that little by little, consent isn’t a big deal.

The one catcall you make that you see as no big deal, men?

Is a tiny drop in an ocean of constant deafening barrage of shit flicked on us repeatedly, all day long, until we go home at night wrapped in other people’s disgustingly shitty perceptions of us as their sexual chattel.

With the added stink of the fact that each of the people who did this to us think that our feelings don’t matter.

It is happening to ALL of us.

Yes every day.

Yes all the time.

Yes even the ones you find ugly or fat or disabled or short or tall or otherwise unacceptable to you.

It’s happening all the time.

When we walk down the street, read emails, go grocery shopping, use the internet, use our phones or for some fucking go down the hall in our homes THE ONE PLACE we should be able to fucking feel safe.

So don’t say I can’t take a joke or a compliment. If a joke made at my expense is harmful and constant, it’s no longer a joke. It’s you trying to reframe abuse to absolve yourself.

If a compliment you make is done in a disrespectful way and is designed to leer at me, it’s not a compliment. It’s you wrapping abuse in the frame of compliment to absolve yourself.

So next time you find yourself saying or doing something to a woman, pause. Think about whether you’d say that to someone you respect. Think about whether you’d be pissed that a woman you were with was referred to in that way.

Then think about why you’d be offended. Because another man was going to say what you would say or because of your presence. If it’s because he’d say what you would, you’re a hypocrite.

If it was because you were standing there, think about why that’s a terrible thing. Shouldn’t it be awful that someone would humiliate another human being or make her feel unsafe in public, rather than that they did it in front of you?

It’s like saying you matter more than she does by herself. So stop doing it, either way.

It’s not the one guy who did that one thing for us.

It’s constant messaging and touching and leering and not knowing who is dangerous and who will only harm us with words .

And realize that if you truly love and respect us as fellow humans, you should listen when we say we are in pain and stop hurting us.

The fact that you didn’t mean to hurt us, and didn’t have that intention should make you more interested in how to do the right thing in the future, not less.

Men are excused from repeatedly and consistently doing harm to women. And while men keep thinking that not stopping their lecherous friends is okay it will continue.

And while men keep being onlookers instead of interceding it will continue.

And while men keep thinking it’s okay to do small harm to us, with what they think are innocent actions, it will continue to escalate.

Because the reason sexual harassment, abuse and rape are hard to prove and prosecution of said crimes are designed to traumatize the survivor is because of that gap.

That gap between what is seen as acceptable male behavior or boys being boys and what we as a society agree is flat-out harm continues to widen.

And it’s widening because we keep giving the borderline and good guys a pass for things that hurt us. We let you shrug it off. Or we tell you it hurts and you call us feminists like that’s a bad thing.

Our opinion, our very real pain doesn’t mean shit to the world, and while we keep letting “boys be boys” and expect so little out of grown ass men, it will continue.

And I will continue to be angry.

As will a lot of other women.

Women and men, if you’re as furious as I am about how it’s taken us as a society this long to even open our eyes to the harassment and abuse that has been happening all around us, I think you’re entitled.

And if your fellow men cannot realize that they will have to face that the fun they see as harmless is damaging the women in their lives, we won’t get shit else so fuck it.

We get to be mad if it’s the only thing we are sure that we’ll get. If you don’t want us to be mad? Fix your behavior.

And refuse to kick it with anyone who won’t.

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