The Other R-Word
I'm actually a fan of KT Tatara; my fangirling threatened to get unhealthy at one point. This, however, is not one of his best bits.
I think men treat the words "rape" and "rapist" the way white people treat the word "racist". When accused in all seriousness, they act like it's worse than the fact they were just trying to force themselves on someone. Other times, the words induce an eye roll. And when stories and stats are brought up, they often rush to bring up the false accusations of rape (or they bring up women raping men), rather than facing up to a social problem so old it actually frequents the pages of human mythology.
Ladies in attendance here at the bar, raise your hands if a man has ever gotten a bit too forceful with you. He may not have completed the act, but he sure as hell tried.
Almost of all us know what it's like to meet a man who has trouble with the word "no." If you haven't, I sincerely hope you never do. He's the guy from history class. He's the dude who sent you a drink at the bar. He's the kid from next door. He's the friend you knew all the way back in elementary school. He got good grades. He had a good job. He paid his taxes, and he went to church, the synagogue, or the mosque. He spoiled his Jack Russell Terrier somethin' fierce. Nothing about him screamed "potential rapist", until you two were alone one day - not even drinking - and for some reason, he just didn't want to hear the word "no."
I often compare the race issue with the gender issue because the dynamic is the same. Trying to hide your gender is like trying to hide your race - not the easiest task. As women, we're very easily identified and often targeted.
If you're wondering what brought this post on, you've guessed it - Amber Cole, among other things. Bloggers keep bringing up the fact that no one is writing open letters to the boys, and most men are not properly addressing the issue at the core: the boys thought it was okay to do that to a fellow human being. Forget the fact she was female for a moment: they did this to a fellow human being, a living, breathing being, and they thought it was okay.
Some of you remember Hercules and the Amazom Women, starring Kevin Sorbo. If you don't, go to Netflix and watch it on streaming. Before you laugh, pay attention to the scene where the Amazon Queen takes Hercules back through his childhood where his father Zeus - a lecherous perv who raped plenty of women - gives him a less than healthy education about women. Best part of the whole...whatever that was. The reason boys behave like this is that they're taught to behave like this. Through verbal and nonverbal cues they are told women are less, and meant to be violated. Whether they're not told by their fathers or brothers or uncles and such, society is telling them that, whether through casual humor or mainstream media.
For example, I've lost track of how many times I've seen women raped in films and on TV, and it's clearly filmed in a such a way as to arouse male audience members. The woman isn't screaming or fighting; she's not bloodied or beaten; she's often conveniently written as a slave or a servant or a hostage who feels "compelled" to obey so she doesn't struggle or do anything to properly disturb the male audience. In other words, these rape scenes, whether they're in Spartacus or Helen of Troy, are something straight out of fetish and fantasy, not horrific true life.
Another example: a former neighbor of mine used to work with teens. She was once part of an intervention where a group of male colleagues were talking to a teenaged boy who'd either admitted to or had been busted for drugging a girl. My neighbor talked about how uncomfortable the men were reprimanding the boy. They mumbled things like "jail" and such, but no one said the girl's name or even brought her up. So my neighbor finally spoke up, saying something to the effect of, "I don't know why these men are avoiding the word 'rape', M---, but you almost raped that girl. You almost ruined her life, so instead of being glad you're not going to jail, you need to be horrified of what you almost did to that girl." Only after she brought this up did the men mumble something else in support.
This brings up the sociopathic element which sorely needs to be discussed. We've talked extensively how, for white people, being called a racist is considered worse than actually being one. There's a similar issue here with the word "rapist"; men don't want that label. "Player", sure. Rapist? Not so much. A ex-guy friend of mine and I were talking about sexual preferences. He insisted that 1) he was straight, 2) he preferred anal sex to vaginal sex, and 3) though he later took it back, he said part of the pleasure was the degradation of the woman (a common sentiment amongst men, mind you). When I said I naturally disagreed with #2 since the vagina is self-lubricating, and I would not feel comfortable with a man who insisted on anal sex, he said - and I'm quoting verbatim - "But it's not about you."
To clarify, he felt a woman's discomfort in that situation was irrelevant, because she was supposed to be doing it for the man. When I said that was a rapist's thinking, he blanched and started backpedaling. Mind you, he was a "good guy." I had known him since I was about 15, and he had shown me the utmost respect and affection for well over a decade...until that moment, when he felt so "comfortable" with me, he felt could say something like that, and it would all be cool. Sort of like when white people get too comfortable around people of color, and let slip what they really think of POC, and expect everything to stay hunky-dory.
I'm bringing up the sociopathic element because white people who fear the word "racist" and men who fear the word "rapist", and who focus more on the words than the damage of their actions, should know they are behaving exactly the way child molesters do. Child molesters, upon arrest or admittance into institutions, don't show remorse for their actions. They're too busy demanding to know when they can go home, how soon they'll get to see their families, and to "please" not be called pedophiles, child molesters, or sex offenders in the process. They're more afraid of losing their jobs, families, and freedom, rather than what they did to some innocent, defenseless child.
So for all you male bar patrons in attendance, if you feel the need to write about Amber Cole and the boys who ruined her life, come correct. If you're a MoC, write about the violation the way you would a racial violation. I read plenty of MoC and you men are merciless when exposing white racism. You don't directly or indirectly empathize with white racists, so don't indirectly empathize with the boys. Don't skip over them to lecture Amber, and by extension, other girls. Now's a great time to have the right talk with those boys, and by extension, other boys.