When it comes to the systematic abuse and oppression of women, I have found that the men around me fall into one of three camps.
- The Doers
- The Deniers
- The Apologisers.
The Doers are the rapists, the molesters and the abusers. The men who will grab a woman on a night out and shove her against the wall so they can feel her up. The men who will find a woman so drunk at a party that she is unable to resist and have sex with her. The men who will force a woman into having sex with them because their desire for her is more important than her desire not to.
The Doers are painfully common. They are everywhere. In every town. On every night out. They are rich and poor, every race and religion. They are using their penis as an offensive weapon and expecting women to comply, and if they don’t, tough.
The Doers are the biggest problem. The Doers are scum.
The Apologisers are becoming more common, but are still rare. The Apologisers acknowledge the history of male on female abuse. They see the prevalence of rape, assault and abuse. They find it painful how many women can use the phrase “the first time I was raped…”
The Apologisers look into a woman’s eyes, as she’s recounting her tale of abuse and assault, and say “I am sorry for my sex.” Not because they’ve done it, not because they ever would, but because they belong to a part of society that makes them ashamed to be male. They are the ones who publicly fight against it. Stand up for women, share feminist posts on Twitter, and get into arguments with their friends in defense of slut shamed women.
In an ideal world there would be no need for Apologisers because we would all be on equal ground. But we aren’t.
Which is when The Deniers come out in force.
The Deniers are the most common. They aren’t fundamentally dangerous. Indeed, the idea of raping a woman is so horrific to them that they would a) never do it and b) trust their friends and family to never do it. The Deniers are so certain that rape and abuse are rare that they see women complaining about it as the problem, because if they stopped complaining for a minute they’d see that we’re all equal already and we could move on from this outdated feminist crap.
The Deniers are not the cause of the problem, but they are increasing it. They are adding to it. They are calling women liars and slut shaming. They are assuming that rape accusations could be false because, obviously, that happens ALL THE TIME but rape itself is rare… when statistics about women’s shelters being needed come out they’re stating that women are physically capable of beating men up too so it’s not fair.
I get various criticisms and insults on Twitter for sharing my opinions. I have been called names and ridiculed. The criticisms, I am certain, come from The Deniers. The ones who want me to shut up, sit down, and stop making a fuss about a problem that doesn’t exist. Stop criticising men for things they don’t do. Stop being a feminist.
Not all Deniers are aggressive, and most would never abuse anyone on Twitter for anything. But the more militant Deniers are out there, creating Meninist hashtags and clubs, seeking out those who publicly discuss feminism, and making it harder and harder for women to come forward because they’re the loudest voice shouting in their face that they’re wrong.
Doers are the worst of the worst. They see women as objects for their pleasure with no right to autonomy. Women are there to dominate and screw at your leisure. They’re weak, inferior and irrelevant.
Deniers need a wake up call. They need to have an honest conversation with the women around them. They need to not leap in to criticise and judge and just listen. They need to find out how many of their female friends have been touched when they didn’t want to be, had sex when they didn’t want to, and been criticised for dressing in a certain way because they’re inviting men to do those things… and poor men can’t be expected to resist.
I have run out of fingers to count on the amount of times I have been sexually abused in some way. Verbally, physically, aggressively. Listing it is terrifying because I know I’m not alone. And I know that most men would not believe me or would explain it away. Because they just won’t listen,
Apologisers… I don’t need them to apologise because they didn’t do it but I do need them to fight with us. Don’t tell us how to do it, don’t feel they can fix it for us, just stand behind us and say “Yes, I believe you, and I’m here. This is your fight, but I support you.”
You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.
Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!