By Alison Tieman
What makes rape a special kind of violence? It’s not the physical damage, which can be very minimal; it’s the emotional damage, which can be catastrophic.
Rape makes you afraid; it taints your trust in the world and twists how you see it. It drives you into a prison of fear.
But all other violence does that as well. What’s truly special about rape is simple. It takes a bludgeon to your ability to bond with others in the most intimate way.
Rape robs you of your ability to see innocence.
“Get rid of men and you get rid of rape.”
The sexual exploitation of women by men is the greatest taboo in our society; there is nothing more stigmatized than being a rapist of women. Rape is a call to action; today it’s dressed up in new terms but it still harkens back to that primitive urge to protect female sexuality from foreign interlopers. Modern gynocentrists did not invent rape hysteria; they inherited it and they are using it the way everyone throughout history has—as a tool to grind away at things they don’t like.
For the woman on the street, rape hysteria is shoved down her throat over and over till she vomits it up without thinking, all over herself and her life. It seeps into every interaction, every step she takes into the outer world. ‘Is this man going to rape me? All men are guilty! I’m never safe and it’s their fault!’
That’s where rape hysteria wants all women to be. Frightened, helpless… impotent. Calling upon a higher authority to save them. And, of course, robbing the men around them of their innocence.
“All men are responsible for rape culture.”
But rape isn’t something that happens to women; it isn’t something done to women by men. It’s a human problem and it’s a human problem that does not know gender. More men are raped in prison a year than women in the general population. More boys in juvenile facilities are raped than girls. And they are raped by women. There are surveys that show just as many men are raped in romantic relationships—date-raped—as women.
That leaves stranger rape; 26% of all non-institutional rape. It may well be that most stranger-rapists are men; but it does not follow that a vast majority of their victims are women. An argument can be made that men under-report; and studies have shown that rapists who are heterosexual in their consenting relationships will rape based on vulnerability not sex.
Statically women are not more vulnerable to rape.
And there is something else; in reading about the victimization of men by women, another story emerges.
Male victims, teens and adults, are changed by having been raped by a woman—they are suicidal, addicted, dysfunctional, unhinged, helpless, hurting. In the background of many male rapists of adult women is sexual abuse done to them by women. The vagina employed as a weapon can carve and twist a man so badly he defies society’s most fundamental taboo—male on female rape.
The vagina is a weapon every bit as potent as a penis.
It can steal innocence.
“All sex is rape.”
A child does not see innocence. To a child the world is good and bad; the good pleases the child, the bad displeases her. The world is made of good and bad people. Good people benefit the child; bad people do not.
Innocence, to a child, if it is seen is seen as weakness and a threat. Someone else’s weakness threatens the child’s absolute claim to the attention and effort of adults. In the child’s calculus need equals worth and other’s needs lessen the child’s worth. The only eyes that can see innocence are those that know they can take it away. Or protect it.
Innocence is inspiration. A call to protect and provide, to be strong. It may be passive but it is powerful. It’s why someone will brave flames—literal or metaphorical—to save another. Like children, many women expect men to fill them with passion. But passion only exists in those who can bear the sight of innocence.
“The personal is political.”
Before I started to read about men’s rights I was, like every other woman, bound by rape hysteria. Men in my eyes bore their burden of guilt and I, in turn, bore my burden of fear.
But I was lucky.
I stumbled upon the men’s rights movement and saw things—statistics, studies—they pulled up from the depths of our society’s subconscious—things that would silently slip down into the deep if it weren’t for them.
All the evidence I’ve seen against rape hysteria is not good enough for those who profit from keeping women in a prison of fear; but it’s good enough for me to question my obligation to stay.
I realized women have sexual potency. And if women are equally responsible for rape, then they have an equal responsibility to be responsible. Because women can take away men’s—and boy’s—innocence. There was no need for men to carry a burden of guilt; nor was there a need for me to carry a burden of fear.
A weight lifted from me in that moment; a weight I never knew I carried till it was gone.
Before I had always seen my husband—and every other man—as either a good man or a bad man; but never innocent. His actions were always deliberate, if he did me harm he was a villain with the blackest heart; if he did me good, he was a knight-in-shining armor.
After, he became innocent.
“The fear of rape limits women’s potential.”
Women infected by rape hysteria will meet bad men, creepy men, evil men. And they’ll meet good men, real men, strong men.
But they will never meet an innocent man.
They are poorer for it.