(c)July 2013 All rights reserved ~ This article is the sole intellectual property of the author and CAN NOT be reprinted any any format without the express written permission of the author
Browsing the K&P (Fetlife) I came across a story wherein a man had been out hiking with his female friend, at night. When they returned to their dormitory, another man, a man who had been hitting on this woman relentlessly, was waiting for her in the dark.
I got really angry when I read this story. The man who had been hiking with his friend, thought it was weird that the other guy was there, but didn’t see it as predatory behavior. What the motherfucking fuck!? Seriously, um, guys?
Let’s simplify this scenario:
A larger mammal waits, in the dark, for a smaller mammal to return to its home.
Holy hippos Batman, it’s a nature special! This is the very definition of predatory stalking!
So how is it that a guy can see this taking place, but not see what is happening ?
Before I go further, just a note to all the women reading. I am going to talk about protection, and being vigilant. None of this is meant to imply that you are the weaker sex (childbirth = you win), need my help, or any other condescending garbage.
We live in a culture that glorifies male predatory behavior. Just as young women are shown storybooks full of crappy Prince Charming endings, young boys are given stories in which the day is saved by killing or violence. The most widely read book in the world, features the story of a powerful male forcibly impregnating a young girl, who is not even given the chance to consent.
Perhaps you’ve heard of it, it’s called The Holy Bible .
This isn’t about the bible, it’s about the depth of our domestication into this culture. From religion to cartoons, books to video games, we are told from day one that women should be patient and wait for their one opportunity to submit to perfect love, while men are told to kill and take what is theirs.
So guess what, Men?
It’s time stop assuming that he’s a nice guy and he didn’t mean it.
If we, as men, want to truly be feminist allies (and if you don’t, please consider suicide, kthxbye) we need to start looking for predatory behavior. Not just occasionally noticing something shady; we need to be actively looking for this shit. We need to look for it all around us at events, and we need to start by looking at ourselves.
Guys, have you ever had these thoughts about a girl?
If I could just get her alone and talk to her, she would see that I am attractive.
If I take a girl out for drinks, it will be easier to get intimate with her later.
I admit that I have. I was trained to believe that these thoughts were sensible, non-predatory, maybe even romantic. Take a closer look. Why the fuck would I need to get a woman alone in order for her to see that I am attractive? Like she can’t tell when we’re near other people? Why does it feel normal and peachy to wait until a woman is intoxicated before making your move? Maybe drugging her before asking for consent isn’t as innocent as we want it to be.
Fellas, we have been taught to act like predators.
We need to see that for what it is, a process that we need to consciously undo. Just like women need to undo the horrid body hate brainwash, guys, we need to stop thinking that this shit is ok. It’s so far from ok, that we don’t even see it in our own behavior. And it’s made us unable to protect our female friends.
We’ve become obsessed with not being seen as cock-blockers, thinking that any judgment is wrong, and not wanting to make “drama”, that we have stopped defending the people that most of us claim to cherish above all others. Are we seriously so worried about what people think that we are willing to let abuses go unchecked?
So what can we do, realistically, to start changing the state of safety at events? First we can improve on what we already do:
It’s common for a guy to escort a woman from a venue back to her car.
Men and women, look closely. I know a lot of you see nothing wrong. However, we just sent a woman out alone with a man, and they are going to an object that can easily be used for containment and noise reduction: her car. Is that safe? Not so much. We only think it’s ok, because we’re assuming that he’s a nice guy.
Why do we think he’s a nice guy? Because he volunteered to take a lone woman to her car? Hmm. Because we know that most rapes are committed by someone the victim knows? We know that, right? So let’s reconsider single escorts.
Instead, take a mixed group with you. It will be a nice little break and walk for all of you.
If you see something shady take place, and you’re not sure whether or not to get involved, just ask someone! Do it right away. You don’t need to cause extra drama, you don’t even need to use anyone’s name. Simply tell someone what you saw, and ask if it warrants further attention. Talk to as many people as you need. You don’t have to reveal your own feelings, or attack anyone’s character in order to do this.
Say “Hey I saw this thing happen. Is that ok, or should I let someone know?”
See that? No drama, just a quick check in. Predators rely on silence, we need to use vigilance and communication to take that tool away from them.
Second, we can improve our response to reports of abuse. That means that if someone comes to you with an issue of abuse, you don’t deny it, you don’t downplay it, and you don’t wait on it.
What to do if abuse is reported to you:
- Make sure you understand the story by repeating it back
- Escort the victim to a contact point with event staff or host
- After making contact, determine if anyone else witnessed the incident
- Stay with the victim and the staffer, go ask what each witness saw
- Remain present until dismissed by the victim
We have to change this shit. We have to join the fight, and commit to it, fully. We have to start within ourselves. We need to transform from predators to guardians. We need to stop assuming that he’s a nice guy and he didn’t mean it.
Which means that we need to acknowledge predatory behavior whenever, and wherever we find it. Even inside. We need to call it out for what it is. And we have the tools to do it! We have the knowledge to create safe ways to explore these feelings. We have the community to bring this discussion to the fore.
I’m not sure how to end this, so I’ll let Louis C.K. Handle it for me:
“ The male courage, traditionally speaking, is that he decided to ask a woman out. And if the woman says yes, that’s her courage. That kind of courage is beyond imagining. How do women still go out with guys, when you consider that there is no greater threat to women than men? We’re the number one threat to women! Globally and historically, we’re the number one cause of injury and mayhem to women. You know what our number one threat is? Heart disease.
Try to imagine that you could only date a half-bear, half-lion. ‘Oh, I hope this one’s nice.’ ”
We can do better. We have to do better.