An Open Letter To All Men Concerning #YesAllWomen

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Hi.

Let’s talk for just a moment about this #YesAllWomen thing. To be honest, when I first read it, I did what a lot of you did. I got defensive. The reason why is because I don’t rape women, I don’t look down on anyone, and I try to be respectful to everyone. So when I see women talking about living in fear it doesn’t register with me right away because I’m not someone that tries to inflict that fear.

The problem is that so many guys that feel this way don’t say, “hmm, what can I do to help this situation?” Instead, they get online and try to convince women that their feelings are false or that it’s their own fault for being fearful. That’s not helping. There are also men who have been attacked, abused, and live in fear. We all know this, but here’s what you have to realize:

It’s #YesAllWomen, not #YesAllWomenAndNoManWhatsoever.

Sure, there are males that experience this, but that doesn’t somehow negate the fact that all women do as well. I don’t understand why raising awareness of women’s rights makes men feel the need to say “well, it’s hard for me, too!” It’s not a contest. Sometimes it’s good to just listen instead of trying to convince those speaking that it’s just as bad for you. It’s like if your parents died and you started sharing deep personal feelings of how it affected you. Imagine doing that and someone says “well, a lot of other people lost their parents too, and their story is just as bad!”

In more than one place, I’ve read guys say, “well, if you’re afraid of every man raping you because ONE guy did it, that’s your fault, not ours.” First of all, how dare you tell anyone how to feel after being violated in the most heinous way imaginable. Secondly, let’s look at this in the most basic way possible that anyone can relate: What if you went to Burger King and got a cheeseburger? You ate it and got horrible food poisoning that caused you to stay sick for days. Now imagine your friends asking you if you wanted to go to Burger King and when you said, “oh god, no way, that place made me sick,” your friends respond with, “well it wasn’t THIS Burger King. Plus that was so long ago. Not all cheeseburgers are bad and just because you had a bad one doesn’t mean you should be fearful of eating them. Honestly, it’s your fault for not wanting to go at this point.” You would be furious. And get this, THAT’S OVER A STUPID CHEESEBURGER! Think about how much more ridiculous it is for you to say that to someone that’s been attacked. It’s not a need for sympathy, it’s a need for empathy.

No one should live in fear. No one.

Let’s look at the next claim that several, NOT ALL, but several guys have made recently. They’ve said that if a woman is drunk, then it’s not rape if she ends up having nonconsensual sex. “She shouldn’t have gotten so drunk!” Let’s flip this one around for just a moment. Imagine a group of bros out for a night of drinking. They’re drinking hard and fast. Now what if a large, aggressive gay guy ended up taking one of these bros home, unbeknownst to his fellow bros, and having sex with him while he’s passed out drunk. (I apologize to the gay community for the example, but stay with me for just a minute.) What happens when this bro wakes up? He’s probably going to go get all of his friends and beat the crap out of his attacker because that’s rape, right?

But here’s what you don’t know. The bro was wearing a cutoff shirt that showed off his huge biceps, so he was definitely asking for it. Plus he had been drinking all night, so it’s kind of his fault for being so drunk that he couldn’t make good decisions. I mean, did he ACTUALLY say no? If not, then he can’t really blame his attacker. If you know anything about the male body, it can shut down to prevent rape, so it sounds to me like consensual sex. Let’s be honest, he probably wanted it. His parents should have taught him better.

Can you even imagine asking a guy this? Then why is it acceptable to say the same thing to women?

I know that I’m far from perfect and that we all have a lot to learn, but how are we ever going to learn if we don’t take the time to listen? Let’s stop trying to convince everyone that there isn’t a problem and start listening so we can figure out a solution. TC Mark

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