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Thanks for the Rape Epiphany, Rep. Akin

46 comments | August 20th, 2012

(by Mir from WouldaShoulda)

Unless you're living under a rock (or without Internet; same thing), you likely know that yesterday Rep. Todd Akin (R-Missouri) managed to stick his foot pretty far down his own throat. So far, in fact, that he asserted that when a woman is a victim of a "legitimate rape," she can't get pregnant because her body can "shut things down." (If you somehow missed the kerfluffle, you can read about it here.)

This spawned an entire day of alternating political jokes and outrage… blogs, Facebook, and Twitter all lit up with commentary as people of all political persuasions were able to unite behind a single idea, for once. Sure, that idea was pretty much "this Akin guy is a moron," but still. My friends were cracking jokes about their "magical vaginas" and lists of "other things my body can shut down" and such were popping up more quickly than I could neglect my work and read them all. My favorite resultant article was this one on Jezebel, just in case you're interested in figuring out what sort of rape you may be facing.

I have very little patience for this sort of nonsense. I am an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse and it's never going to sit well with me when people try to pontificate about whether or not your trauma is valid. Trauma is trauma, full stop. So much of this particular flavor of conversation happens about abortion; I happen to be pro-choice, myself, but the idea that people who've never been sexually violated get to make a decision about the validity of abortion as a choice for those who have makes me furious. But even when we're not talking about abortion, people are still talking about validity, and that angers me even more.

When someone is stabbed, you don't stand around discussing whether or not they asked for it. You don't ask them if they're sure they were stabbed, or if maybe the knife was just held kind of nearby, or maybe they just cut themselves and then tried to blame someone else…? It's not a conversation rational people have. But rape or other sexual trauma, hooboy. Everyone's entitled to have an opinion about that, seems like, and I can think of no other crime that is simultaneously so violating in its very nature AND so likely to result in victim-shaming.

So yesterday, in the wake of Akin's comments and the uproar that followed, I remembered something. I remembered something as I was discussing with a friend how "men just don't get it." What I remembered was this: My sophomore year of college, a girl in my department—whom, I should probably note, I didn't particularly like—was raped. The news spread like wildfire, of course, though the event occurred on a Friday night and there she was in class on Monday. Accounts varied a little, but most agreed that she'd been out drinking (even though she was underage), had signed two guys into her dormitory after hours (even though she'd just met them), and condoms were found in the trash when she called the cops the next morning (rapists don't use condoms, right?). I'd love to tell you that I set aside my initial impressions of her as vapid and kind of annoying and offered her my unconditional sympathy and understanding, but I can't.

I thought she stupidly got drunk, stupidly brought guys back to her room, probably consented and then felt remorse and cried rape. I'm ashamed to admit that. I, a fellow woman, and someone who should've been doubly sympathetic (given my history), thought she made it up to cover her poor choices. As did most of my fellow students. I certainly didn't say anything to her, but… I didn't say anything to her. I just looked at her as someone who was stupid and either flat-out lied or got what that stupidity deserves.

She dropped out at the end of the semester. I don't know what happened to her after that.

That incident came flooding back to me yesterday, and as I cringed at the memory of my callousness, my readiness to believe that an 18-year-old brought trauma and drama on herself, it all suddenly made sense to me.

I think Todd Akin really believed (until every news outlet and half the free world corrected him) that "legitimate rape" can't result in conception. And I think he believed that because the alternative is to accept that something awful and violating can result in something even MORE awful and violating and that is incompatible with his views on the sanctity of life. I think he believed that because otherwise he would have to look at the statistics and accept that a shocking number of his fellow men are capable of unspeakable violence that not only robs women of their security but also turns "the miracle of life" into an ongoing nightmare for those women. And it would be easy to believe that only powerful white men who've never gone through anything terrible are capable of that sort of creative thinking.

But I also think I believed that girl in my department was stupid and/or lying because of a kind of hubris that can easily be hummed to the tune of "that won't ever happen to me." I didn't go to bars; I never brought strangers to where I lived; hell, I'd already been violated as a kid when I had no situational control, I sure wasn't going to invite trouble to visit again. But her? Oh, the lies we tell ourselves to feel protected: She did it all wrong. That's why it happened (or didn't) to her. I'm safe because I'm smart. Because the alternative was to accept that it could've happened to me or someone I loved just as easily as it happened to her.

Of course Akin was wrong. Of course I was wrong. Of course it's human nature to want to explain away evil in a way that makes us feel less threatened. But we can't just talk about "stupid white men in power" when we have these conversations. I'm guessing it was her fellow coeds that made that victim in my department feel the worst, because we should've been able to empathize, and we didn't. We turned away. Maybe no one said anything so obviously stupid. Someone like Akin is easy to dismiss; what we did was more insidious, and exponentially worse.

I am so, so sorry if I made things worse for that young woman, however ignorantly or inadvertently. I hope she was able to recover and continue on to a fulfilling and happy life. As I watched the world take Todd Akin to task yesterday, I wondered why no one did the same to those of us who whispered and rolled our eyes, all those years ago.

How do we change these conversations? Not just with the loudest and most ignorant, but the "everyday wrongness" that is quieter and more prevalent? What will it take to do away with victim-blaming?

(read more Mir here)

46 comments

  • Amy

    Posted on August 21, 2012

    My best friend in college was sexually assaulted when she was a freshman. She wasn’t a party girl. She didn’t dress provocatively. She had never even spoken a swear word as far as we know when she came to college. She was assaulted by a leader in the college group at her church. When she went to the police, she was convinced to not press charges because she was wearing BLACK UNDERWEAR. So, all of a sudden she was to blame because she had on black underwear. Why? Because she was wearing black pants. Apparently, if your underwear is something other than virginal white, you are just asking to be raped? The fact that this guy got away free and didn’t even lose his position in the church pretty much broke her. She spent the rest of her time in college in therapy.

    Why do women have to do things to not be raped? Why aren’t boys taught to not rape? My friend and I took a RAD class in college to learn to defend ourselves from an attacker. That was one of the only things that gave her any peace. But why do we have to learn to not be attacked? Why can’t men be taught to not attack?

    I swear I could go on and on all day long. It shouldn’t be scary to be a woman. As women, we need to band together and shout from the mountain tops that we’re not going to take this anymore. That we’re tired of violence against our sisters. And we need strong women in positions of power to make this happen. And we need to start voting out the “good ol’ boys club”.

    Okay, stepping off my soap box.

    Report this comment

    • Mir

      Posted on August 21, 2012

      I love your soapbox, Amy. What a horrible story about your friend. :(

      Report this comment

    • Arnebya

      Posted on August 21, 2012

      I agree, Amy, that it shouldn’t be scary to be a woman. We shouldn’t even have to explain that someone wasn’t a party girl or otherwise try to fix up her character. Rape is rape is rape whether a situation begins consensual and something changes midway through. It “shouldn’t” matter where someone was at what hour, with whom, wearing what. Yet, it does matter; we both know it does.

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    • meghann @ midgetinvasion

      Posted on August 21, 2012

      “Why do women have to do things to not be raped? Why aren’t boys taught to not rape?”

      I think this is at the core of the issue, right here. Females are taught do this, don’t do that, so you won’t get raped! Then, if someone does get raped, so much is focused on what she did or didn’t do, because obviously it’s her fault somehow, right? Sigh.

      Why can’t we, as a society, put all that energy and focus into telling men and boys “Hey, don’t rape people.” Put the responsibility on their shoulders to prevent it, instead of, as a society, saying “Some men are just going to be like that, and it’s a woman’s job to prevent it.”

      Report this comment

      • Lauren

        Posted on August 21, 2012

        Yes to all of this. I recently read an article that laid it out this simply: the ONLY predictor of rape is being in the presence of a rapist. In other words, the length of your skirt, the quantity of alcohol you consume, the time of night you walk alone NONE of that compares as a predictor of rape other than simply being in the company of, or being confronted by, a rapist. While that fact should be a no brainer, sadly it is not the predominant cultural narrative. Instead we accept that rape is a ‘natural’ occurrence and women are responsible for preventing it. That is shameful, especially in 2012.

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        • Brigid

          Posted on August 24, 2012

          Thank you for this. This helps clear up a 20-year battle in my own head over how I could have been so stupid to put myself in such a vulnerable position. I hold myself responsible to a degree, but the rapist is the son-of-a-bitch who did something WRONG.

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      • Bob

        Posted on August 22, 2012

        Men ARE taught not to rape. I am 49, so I was raised just after the “promiscuous 60′s” but before Herpes put the kibosh on “free love, man” and I was most definitely, with no ambiguity, taught that no means no. By my dad. Who is now in his 70′s. Not all men – of any generation – are misogynists or are of the misunderstanding that there is any excuse for rape.

        I get that the political power in Congress is still a patriarchy, but I have to say that I am really tired of being part of “men just don’t get it” and the assumption that because I am a man I am automatically part of the problem. I raised my son (and my daughter) the same way I was – to respect all people.

        The only way we can beat this is to be inclusive of all who respect a person’s right to be free from violence.

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  • Arnebya

    Posted on August 21, 2012

    Can we do away with it? I am wearing my well worn, much too tight because it’s been well worn Hat of Cynicism. You’re right; it is easy to call him idiotic and marvel at his having made it to office knowing this can’t have been (isn’t) the first time he’s spouted this nonsense. I have no answers, Mir, only more questions, I think. I don’t know why the automatic response to victims of rape or other abuse is to angle one’s head the side and utter, “Are you sure?” There are so many examples, like your stabbing one, or of a shooting, or a house fire. Maybe beause of…outright evidence? Do we automatically question rather than believe because there has to be a determination of rape, a physical “proving” of rape wheras the stab victim has a laceration, a person shot has a bullet inside his body, and a fire causes a house to burn down? I, like you, had that experience of not initially (or ever) believing someone else’s truth and I regret it still. I don’t know what to do to help us get to the point of not blaming the victim (or assigning outrageous claims of sperm deselection). I don’t know what to do keep assault from being a taboo topic. I just know I want every person to have the ability to control what happens to his or her body. I know I want that.

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    • Mir

      Posted on August 21, 2012

      Yes. Me, too. I wish there were clearer answers.

      Report this comment

    • Pris

      Posted on August 21, 2012

      This is such a complex subject and I could say many things from many different perspectives, and it would be a very long essay. So please don’t take this as the only significant thing I can think to say.

      I have to bring up a point from the position of the devil’s advocate. Men can end up being blamed erroneously for rape by malicious would-be victims. The type of crime is so damning that it would ruin their reputation even if they turn out to be innocent in the end. It’s all…just sad.

      Another thing that gets neglected in this type of discussion is that men usually can’t picture themselves in the position of being raped. The thing they should be thinking of, intensely and descriptively, is experiencing anal rape whenever they might feel righteous enough to pass judgment on women and rape. If this politician had that very terrifying experience in his consciousness before speaking out so callously, maybe he would have chosen his words better. Empathy goes a long way, or so I’d like to think.

      That might actually be the answer for the conundrum in the post. Empathy. People make mistakes, and nobody should be punished with rape for bad judgment. But that’s the world we live in. And what was the lesson that girl might’ve learned from her experience? To be less trusting, less outgoing, less carefree? Less…free.

      I hate this world.

      I don’t think weakness or mistakes should be justified or revered. But there’s no recipe for making this world a good place. Just, a little bit better, in small bits and pieces, from our respective corners.

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      • Anonymous

        Posted on August 21, 2012

        While there are certainly false accusations I would be interested to see them as compared to false accusations for other crimes. More? Less? About the same?
        But, really, it shouldn’t matter. Someone else’s lie shouldn’t rob you of your truth. I am sick of people using the argument that false accusations in any way should affect an individual’s right to justice.

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        • Pris

          Posted on August 21, 2012

          Oh, no, I wasn’t using it as any sort of justification! Just as maybe an explanation why people might be quick to question rape, which doesn’t make it good in any way! And besides, it’s just a part of the problem.

          I think the bigger part of why the questioning comes is because sex is still viewed as something shameful and bad, somewhere deep down. So if you’re in any way viewed as sexually involved, you’re suspect in some way.

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        • M

          Posted on August 21, 2012

          According to the FBI, false reports of rape occur as often as false reports of other crimes, around 10%. Granted I learned this many years ago during my training to be an advocate for sexual assault prevention education, but I doubt the statistic has changed much OR that the FBI is lying.

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  • Leslie

    Posted on August 21, 2012

    I loved this post, Mir. I’m glad that these conversations are happening. It’s happening all around the internet, and I added my story here: https://droppingtherock.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/dark-space/

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    • Mir

      Posted on August 21, 2012

      Leslie, thank you for sharing that. I’m sorry it happened to you. I’m so glad you were able to continue on and heal.

      Report this comment

      • Leslie

        Posted on August 21, 2012

        Thanks, Mir. I have a friend who works for a university and deals with this subject. He wants to try to educate college-age men that a lot of their views on rape and assault are not correct. Unfortunately, it sounds like it’s going to have to be a large effort – larger than I thought for sure. However, conversations like the ones going on today can only help.

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  • Aimee

    Posted on August 21, 2012

    This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, and not just because of Akins. The teenage daughter of someone I know was raped not too long ago. She didn’t report it to the police, because she was ashamed. Ashamed? Why? Because she was on a date with this person, and she told her mother she thought she didn’t say “no” loudly enough.

    That cracked my heart into pieces. No woman should ever feel that way. I too am an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and my abuser never faced any consequences for what he did to me. No matter what, no matter how far I think I’ve moved beyond it, what he did is with me every day. He took something that should only be given, and it’s not something I can ever get back.

    As far as what we can do to change it, I think we (women in general, but especially women who have been sexually assaulted) need to be noisier. For a long time, I did not speak about what happened to me. I felt shame, even though I did nothing wrong. But as long as we are silent, as long as we don’t put up our hands and say, “Me too” and talk about our experiences, that feeling of shame will remain.

    And Mir? We all want to feel safe. If only we all could have the wisdom we gain as adults when we’re still kids. We don’t. We can only learn. I can understand where your desire to believe there was a reason that your classmate was raped, behavior that could be avoided. That *you* could avoid. The alternative is so much scarier.

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  • Kim

    Posted on August 21, 2012

    I’d like to abolish the notion that females are responsible for male misbehavior. “well, if she hadn’t flashed her bra strap/black underwear (um, how did the rapist know the color of her underwear>)/ankle/hair/looked me directly in the eye/existed, I wouldn’t have had to rape her. I’ve used some extreme examples, but I’ve heard otherwise rational mothers of boys say that girls shouldn’t be allowed to wear tank tops to school because it made it hard for the boys to concentrate. WTF?
    But Mir’s story also reminded me of the victim shaming that happened after Aurora – “what were children doing at that theater?” I’m guilty of that reaction myself, at least in my head. I think it’s violence itself. I think we have to keep talking against the pervasive violence in our lives and culture. We’ll never eradicate it, but we can condemn it.

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  • karen

    Posted on August 21, 2012

    Bravo, Mir… I ‘m spreading your word, I hope you don’t mind…

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  • Karen

    Posted on August 21, 2012

    I grew up during a time when a rape by anyone you knew — a classmate, a member of your house of worship, checkout clerk at the grocery store — was not considered rape. The rapist was always “led on” or “encouraged”. Even as that view started to fade, the lifetime-membership continued. If a woman ever had consensual sex with a man, he had lifetime rights to have sex with her, and rape was not possible. The only exception is if she is married to someone else — i.e. belongs to another man. This attitude exists today. Kind of gives a woman pause to know that any sexual encounter grants lifetime rights to her body.

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  • Erin

    Posted on August 21, 2012

    I have a seventeen year old adopted daughter that due to her own childhood neglect and abuse has gone through a terrible phase of acting out sexually. To say it plainly, she spent a year and a half being a slut and sleeping with anyone who asked. I think the total sits at ten guys. One of the many things that breaks my heart about her behavior is that if she is ever raped no one will believe her because of her history of sleeping around. We tried to tell her that if boys have heard she always says yes and then one time she says no they might not listen. Not that it is right or ok, but that it happens and she is putting herself in a risky situation. I fear my baby will be that girl at college who drops out because everyone rolls their eyes and turns away because they think she was asking for it.

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  • suburbancorrespondent

    Posted on August 21, 2012

    “Oh, the lies we tell ourselves to feel protected…” Exactly. And not just about rape – we tell them to ourselves when we see another parent struggling with a child’s problems and think, “That can’t happen to our family.” I think it is just human nature. We need the fiction that we are in control, or else how could anyone ever have the courage to get out of bed in the morning?

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  • Ingrid

    Posted on August 21, 2012

    You make a really excellent point here. Unfortunately I think the majority of us are guilty of having fallen into that “blame the victim” mindset at one time or other, whether about sexual assault or something else. Very sobering and a good wake-up call. Sharing this. Thanks. :)

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  • Staci Boden

    Posted on August 21, 2012

    As a teenager, I had several friends who were date raped and unfortunately, it was just the beginning of what has always felt like an EPIDEMIC of violation. Most of my women friends are survivors of something. I’m 43 now with a teenage girl and starting to hear about my friend’s daughters, our beloved next generation, being raped, violated, abused, maligned, and then blamed…..when is this bullshit going to end? And the bigger question is how do we stop it?

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  • Sheryl

    Posted on August 21, 2012

    This is an excellent post and an excellent conversation. Thanks Mir.

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  • Dawn

    Posted on August 21, 2012

    I have a friend who was date-raped at 17. That was her first experience with sex. She told no one immediately after. Didn’t dare tell her parents for fear of the ructions it would cause in her small town. Kind of blamed herself for “letting it happen.” She tried to talk to her sister about it, but her sister “didn’t want to know.” (Frankly, just after I get to slap the s**t out of her rapist, I’d like to have a crack or two at that sister.)

    This friend is a lovely, artistic, talented, sweet, gentle, loving women who is forever damaged. Because she told no one (or at least no one who would help her) she has never had therapy. She is now in her 40s and she is very delicate.

    Men who don’t rape find it so hard to believe that there are those who do. I had quite a conversation years ago with my father. He was born in 1912 and firmly believed that women who got raped were somehow at fault. Thought that some women dressing provocatively put us all at risk and why didn’t we respectable women convince them to cover up? I said for the same reason that respectiable men couldn’t convince rapists not to rape. Then I enlightened him to the number of times that his ‘respectable’ daughter had suffered street harrassment, vulgar comments at work from ‘respectable’ men and inappropriate behaviour and comments by members of the medical profession. He was totally shocked. Decent men have no idea what we, as women, face every day of our lives.

    I’m rambling. But this topic makes me sputter and see red and steam come out my ears.

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  • Pseudonym

    Posted on August 21, 2012

    My 14-year-old (now 15) niece was molested by her stepfather last year. Because things happened at different times and she waited to tell anyone, a lot of people in my family sided with my sister. Yes, I said my sister, who threw her daughter under the bus completely. Instead of moving out with her and my sister’s younger daughter (this guy’s daughter) while this was being investigated, she threw my niece out of the house. Instead of trying to get to the bottom of it, she called my niece names and told her she didn’t want her to come back home anyway. Eventually, my niece was placed with a family member (they wouldn’t let her out of state to live with me, and I live several states away). There was no obvious physical evidence due to the time frame between the last incident and when she reported it, so it was considered unfounded. Where they live, if you were accused of this and the incident was unfounded, you can sue the minor to get it off your record completely, which is what her stepfather did. Instead of testifying yet again for the third time in court and in front of him, she refused to get in front of him to give him the satisfaction of her detailing the abuse again. It was taken off his record. (The sad part is that when this guy was younger, the family internally dealt with a situation where he was accused of molesting another family member, so it was never reported to the authorities.)

    My niece is broken. The family member who had her lost custody and couldn’t afford to raise her for the next few years, and my sister refused to give over guardianship. My niece finally went back to her “home,” and she has told me many times how frustrating and upsetting it is to be in an family where no one apparently believes her (several cousins, aunts, great-aunts, and other extended family members said to her outright, “What you did to your mom was terrible! How could you do that to your poor mom?!”) and everyone treats her like some kind of lying trouble-maker. The bad part? She knew that her life would be screwed up in the end, whether the allegations were unfounded or not. She knew that her mom would try to twist the story into something else (she always does and is quite manipulative) to make others in the family believe something else was going on. I know them both very well, and I know my niece is telling the truth. I saw the grooming going on and was outspoken about what was happening as soon as I saw the signs. I’m just glad that she was brave enough to speak up in the first place.

    When they were going to make her testify for a third time in front of the guy who used her, I realized then and there that this is why so many molestation and rape cases go unreported. Who wants to sit there and detail it in front of the one who caused it and who is just enjoying hearing it again and again? (Mir, I normally post as a different name, but I just can’t risk it. My niece gets in trouble any time my sister remembers that there are any out here who believe her and are behind her.)

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    • Mir

      Posted on August 22, 2012

      No worries on the pseudonym; understood.

      Stories like this make me want to curl up under my desk and never come out. The idea that a parent would not just not believe her child but then sacrifice her that way… I can’t bear it. Your poor niece.

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  • Wendy E

    Posted on August 21, 2012

    The stories above make my heart hurt. Right now I am organizing self-defense classes for all of the Girl Scouts in our city. If I can get ONE of them to be able to protect themselves and be able to prevent this it will all be worth it. If I had my way, the classes would be mandatory for every single girl at the high school every year.

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  • bryan

    Posted on August 21, 2012

    Back in ’03 or so, I led a board on iVillage/Parent Soup for Parent Survivors of Childhood Abuse. Every time a new mom or dad came to the board, they would introduce themselves by saying “I’ve read your stories, and I don’t think I fit here because what happened to me isn’t as bad.” Then they would tell some of the saddest, most horrifying stories. I think we want to minimize our own trauma, when the most healing thing is to pull it out of that back shelf of our psyche and talk about it, unfold the story and look at the detail. If we are lucky we get to do that with a good friend, supportive partner, great therapist. Here’s to all of us who are making it through. I am so amazed at you all. Really. You too, the one who hasn’t really told anyone yet. Recognize the success you have had in coming this far.

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  • Suzanne

    Posted on August 22, 2012

    If I took you to a bar or a room and got you smashed and you gave me your bank card and PIN willingly, and the ATM showed me happily typing in the correct number at the machine on the first try….. you could still have me arrested for stealing your money. The video of me doing so would damn me in court. Why does our MONEY have more protection than our bodies do in this country?

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  • Jennifer

    Posted on August 22, 2012

    This reminds me of the “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker. When I read it last year, this sentence stuck out (I’m paraphrasing from memory): “Men’s greatest fear is that women will humiliate them. Women’s greatest fear is that men will kill them.” I’m not sure that any but a very small minority of men will ever really understand this.

    Great book, by the way. I’m planning to make my daughters read at the very least the chapters on dating/relationships (including how to spot/defuse a potential stalker) when they reach the right age. One of the things the author stresses is that girls/women are taught to be “nice,” and that predators use that to their advantage. He even mentions that it’s better to spurn/piss off a decent man than to suppress your instincts that “something isn’t right” because you were taught to be polite/nice or “don’t want to hurt his feelings.”

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    • Aimee

      Posted on August 22, 2012

      Jennifer, yes! This is a great book, my stepmother actually sent me a copy the first time I got my own apartment in the city. I think every woman should read this book.

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  • victoria

    Posted on August 22, 2012

    What to say on this subject…I translate in court in a French-speaking community where there is a small English-speaking community. Mixed in with people accused of speeding, or selling drugs are people accused of sexual assult, and the victims. Translating for everyone, I become a witness, unwished, to more people’s stories than I would have wished. Where am I going with this….oh, well, although I may feel rather helpless for what people have lived in the past, I guess by translating, I’m helping the victims to get their voices heard. So,in thinking of your article, although there may be a sense of regret for actions not done in the past, we are where we are now. In the now, you (and, us all – I think)are in a different mind set than previousally. So, worry not about the past, but do now what you feel is the right thing. (how’s that?)
    Oh, and please, believe your daughter, or friend, or whomever tells you that “x“ happened to them, because, if I’m not wrong, the biggest thing that hinders the victim getting help, and the accused (getting either punished or help) is the inability to believe.
    I believed my daughter, years and years ago, and my ex family in law choose to believe that their family member is innocent. Too bad, because he needs professional help.

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    • Pseudonym

      Posted on August 23, 2012

      Amen on the believing, Victoria. I can’t imagine dismissing something like that outright, no thought given, and I have lost many family members because of this viewpoint over the past 6-8 months. Something is sorely wrong with our system.

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  • ???

    Posted on August 22, 2012

    I am a 40 year old woman. I have been raped. I have had an abortion. I have had 2 miscarriages and 3 children. I have experienced labor, caesarean section, and premature birth. I have had a hysterectomy. Despite this rich and varied gynecological history, earlier this year a male family member had the unmitigated temerity to tell me that my opinion on abortion – which I think I will keep to myself – was uneducated and ridiculous. Because I disagreed with him, he dismissed me as a “foolish little woman” who couldn’t be trusted to understand the complicated minefield of “Women’s Issues”. His arrogance – his sheer certainty that because he was a man he knew better than I did what was “good for me” – took my breath away.
    My point is simply this: until we do way with the (still common!) attitude that women are somehow inferior to men, I don’t think we will ever have satisfactory answers to these question or be free from the commentary of idiots like Mr. Akin. Sad but true.
    And no, I don’t think all men think this way. I’m married to one who doesn’t, thank God. And I’m trying to raise some more.

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    • Victoria

      Posted on August 22, 2012

      I love your last sentance :)

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    • B.

      Posted on August 22, 2012

      Me, too. I have two sons & I will do my best to make sure they know better.

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    • Kate in Michigan

      Posted on August 24, 2012

      I literally gasped as I read what that man said to you.

      My son — aged 8 — is growing up to be a fine young man who thinks women are to be respected, loved, cherished, and sometimes … a little afraid of. Hey, I’m a tough mom, what can I say?

      But he knows that women are incredibly valuable, and is vocal when he hears any anti-woman or anti-girl talk.

      You and I are part of a huge network of women raising good little men.

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