My response to a popular social media post is below. I don’t pretend it’s the final word, but it expresses something missing.
The post I responded to
Guys ask why women are so pissed off. Even guys with wives and daughters. Jackson Katz, a prominent social researcher, illustrates why. He’s done it with hundreds of audiences:
“I draw a line down the middle of a chalkboard, sketching a male symbol on one side and a female symbol on the other.
Then I ask just the men: What steps do you guys take, on a daily basis, to prevent yourselves from being sexually assaulted?
At first there is a kind of awkward silence as the men try to figure out if they’ve been asked a trick question. The silence gives way to a smattering of nervous laughter. Occasionally, a young a guy will raise his hand and say, ‘I stay out of prison.’ This is typically followed by another moment of laughter, before someone finally raises his hand and soberly states, ‘Nothing. I don’t think about it.’
Then I ask the women the same question. What steps do you take on a daily basis to prevent yourselves from being sexually assaulted?
Women throughout the audience immediately start raising their hands. As the men sit in stunned silence, the women recount safety precautions they take as part of their daily routine.
Hold my keys as a potential weapon.
Look in the back seat of the car before getting in.
Carry a cell phone.
Don’t go jogging at night.
Lock all the windows when I sleep, even on hot summer nights.
Be careful not to drink too much.
Don’t put my drink down and come back to it; make sure I see it being poured.
Own a big dog.
Carry Mace or pepper spray.
Have an unlisted phone number.
Have a man’s voice on my answering machine.
Park in well-lit areas.
Don’t use parking garages.
Don’t get on elevators with only one man, or with a group of men.
Vary my route home from work.
Watch what I wear.
Don’t use highway rest areas.
Use a home alarm system.
Don’t wear headphones when jogging.
Avoid forests or wooded areas, even in the daytime.
Don’t take a first-floor apartment.
Go out in groups.
Own a firearm.
Meet men on first dates in public places.
Make sure to have a car or cab fare.
Don’t make eye contact with men on the street.
Make assertive eye contact with men on the street.â€
â€• Jackson Katz, The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help
(The first man to minor in women’s studies at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, holds a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a Ph.D. in cultural studies and education from UCLA.)
I’m not sure what men he finds because they don’t match what I’ve seen, nor what data shows.
For a person to portray men as clueless about what it feels like for overwhelming force to threaten his life, bodily integrity, sexual integrity, etc suggests that person didn’t look or isn’t aware of his or her biases.
A quick search showed “A new study reveals that men are often the victims of sexual assault, and women are often the perpetrators.” NPR host Hanna Rosin wrote in Slate.
Wikipedia’s page on Crime in the United States cites Bureau of Justice figures that
“More men are raped in the US than women, figures on prison assaults reveal” reports the Daily Mail, citing Department of Justice figures.
Consider the ratios of men to women imprisoned for, say, cannabis. It’s nothing like the ratio of using it. The guy who said ‘I stay out of prison’ may have been joking, but behavior that women might get a warning for consistently results in men imprisoned, their lives ruined, and, yes, themselves raped.
Anecdotally, I have been mugged at knife point, as well as by a gang with the leader threatening me with a wrench in my face, as well as by two people wielding a large rock who shoved me to the ground, and more. Police have threatened me while going about my regular life. I practice most of the safety precautions the women listed and know many women who don’t practice many of them. If you consider sex without consent sexual assault, then women have sexually assaulted me, using various forms of coercion, intoxication, and more. I’m scared of reporting such things because I learned the results, as many men do:
Denise Hines, Ph.D., a research assistant psychology professor at Clark University and a research associate at the Family Research Laboratory and Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, reported
when an abused man called the police, the police were more likely to arrest him than to arrest his abusive female partner. The men who called the police were arrested in 26% of cases, whereas their abusive partners were arrested in only 17%. Half the time the police arrested nobody, despite the abuse, and in 8% of the cases they arrested both the abuser and the victim. In those cases where the police did identify the abused man’s female partner as the aggressor, in 29% of cases, they refused to arrest the abusive woman. In 39% of these cases they said that there was nothing they could do and left. One abused man said:
The [police] first response was to arrest me, even after she turned on them, they did nothing.
The trans men in this Washington Post article illustrate what many men know, that calling police led to police coming after them — they were surprised at men’s condition after presenting as female for four or five decades, despite popular conception that men’s perspective is pervasive.
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