I’m one of those angry, feminist writers who writes about male collective behaviour and pisses people off.
Men abuse women, men rape women, men take advantage of women. These statements are all true but, of course, I am reminded regularly “not all men!”
Firstly I’d like to point out that I’ve never said “All men”. Secondly, if I believed it was all men, I wouldn’t be living with and raising daughters with a man. So let’s just bare that in mind as we go on.
Most recently this has been in regards to women’s need for safe spaces away from men. I am absolutely not in favour of making all areas unisex under the belief that people are people and therefore there is no need to separate us by biological sex.
Men abuse women.
No, not all men abuse women. But yes, all men could potentially abuse women. And we have absolutely no way of distinguishing between an abuser and a non abuser until we are in the position of being abused.
I would truly love it if it made no difference, if men were statistically on an equal level to women for chances of abuse because that would drop male abuse rates down and we could all feel safer, we could all be safer. But it’s not the case. We are different and recognising that is essential.
I know that reading this so many men, and women, will have an outraged reaction. Women abuse men too! Women abuse women! Women abuse children! Not all men rape! Stop treating me like a rapist just because I’ve got a penis!
Sadly there are abusers in all walks of life. There are women who do truly evil things to other human beings, and there are men who are the most gentle and non threatening people on the planet. We are all on a spectrum from the worst of the worst violent abusers, to the most gentle pacifist lovers. This isn’t about stating that all penis-havers are looking to rape. It’s a statistics game and life is all about statistics.
Are you statistically more likely to die if you drive blindfolded or with clear vision? Are you statistically more likely to contract a disease if you have sex with or without a condom? Are you statistically more likely to fail an exam if you study or not?
If you’re invested in self preservation you opt out of potential death, potential disease, and potential failure. Of course, we don’t all take these things into consideration or put any value in the outcome, but for those of us that do, you play the odds. You try to survive, you try to succeed.
According to Rape Crisis, 85,000 women are raped annually in the UK, and 12,000 men are raped. Defining rape by penetration, these are male rapes on males as well as male rapes on females. Whilst this does not account for female abuse of men or female abuse of women, it suggests that women are far more likely to be victims of men.
As someone who has been assaulted both by strangers and in trusted relationships, I can promise you there is no way of knowing if the man who walks into the room means to harm you or not. You just don’t know. But statistically you know that if a man walks into a room you’re alone in you’re more likely to be at risk than if a woman walks in. If you factor that risk in with the fact that in female safe spaces such as changing rooms you’re highly likely to be naked and vulnerable, allowing men unfettered access to those spaces puts women and girls at serious risk.
No not all men will take advantage, but yes all men are a potential threat. With absolutely no way of knowing. We have seen trusted, respected members of the community convicted of sexual assault. Loving fathers, respected teachers. And with only 15% of rapes being reported to the police, and only 5.7% of those reported rapes ending in conviction, it’s safe to assume there are a lot of rapists on the streets walking around as living, breathing weapons of abuse.
It is not irrational to play the odds and keep female spaces safe. It’s not a perfect system but it’s all we’ve got.
And men, if you’re offended by this I suggest that instead of pointing out that NOT ALL MEN are abusive, you deal with those who are. You deal with the culture you live in that breeds this sense of entitlement to sex that men have. You stop assuming that just because a guy is a great mate to you that accusations of abuse from women must be wrong. If you’re so upset by a woman’s acknowledgement of the threat your sex poses to women, work to stop that threat existing.
And most importantly work on getting your own house in order before demanding the right to walk into ours.
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!