It happened one day. From one moment to the next. Things were carrying on as usual and then in the next moment everything was different. This was the day over two-thirds of Earth’s population disappeared. At first some thought it was The Rapture, but as early reports from around the globe quickly began to trickle in, it became clear there was nothing “in the twinkling of an eye” about the disappearances. Not to mention when it became confirmed just who all was being disappeared, and what little we could ascertain as to the method, there was clearly nothing heavenly about their journey or destination.
All across the world, husbands disappeared. Boyfriends melted shrieking for mercy into nothingness. Pastors, priests, monks, imams, reverends and rabbis melted like wet witches in agony in front of their followers. The US military took a huge hit, and really, most military forces throughout the world were decimated. Athletes and coaches and nearly whole teams in some cases from the little leagues to the pros in nearly every sport, but football seemed the hardest hit, were whittled down to next to nothing in minutes.
College campuses, schools, after school programs, community centers, offices where everyday business is conducted, homeless shelters, political party headquarters, the local bakery, the bodega down the street, all of your neighbors suffered losses in equal measure. Prisons were hit particularly hard as were fraternities across the board. The music and other entertainment industries like television and film were gutted. The medical and other service professions weren’t spared either, which was a shame as you can imagine the collateral damage that ensued when bus drivers, people driving cars, trains and planes and so forth up and disappeared.
It was mostly males who disappeared. Very many females as well, but most obviously the majority of those targeted were men and boys. People wondered about that until it also became obvious the one thing that those who were now gone had in common. For some, and this was mostly how it began to be pieced together, it was a matter of record. Of criminal record. For others it was witnesses who for the first time felt it was safe to come forward, as their perpetrators had never been accused, caught and/or convicted.
That was the day all the rapists on planet Earth disappeared.
One of the last things I read last night before falling asleep was a couple two three of the people I follow on twitter were half jokingly batting about the scenario of what might happen “if the #FeministaMafia shot and killed every man that raped all of the women sharing their stories yesterday….” I woke up this morning and began to write, to flesh out that What If scenario. Take a few minutes to think about it… re-read what I just wrote…
and know that I barely scratched the surface.
THIS LINK tells about the phenomenon that was the outpouring of stories to which they were referring. I won’t mention that buzzfeed ganked a huge chunk of those tweets and printed them without permission from those people, much less the OP who had asked the original question, and got the whole discussion started. That is for another day.
But what is for today and every day is just how commonplace rape is. And also to be noted, is how rare it is for someone to be raped by a stranger or strangers. It happens, to be sure, but the bulk of rapists are people that the person knows. From family members, neighbors, “friends” to those in relationships – boyfriends, fiancees and husbands.
Growing up the stats were 1 in 5 females sexually assaulted. It became 1 in 4. Now it is 1 in 3. Will it have to get to be half the women and girls in your life will have been sexually assaulted before we put an end to it?
Does the Earth have to stand still before men and boys step up and shut it down?
This is not a women’s issue. When rape is so obviously common place. When sexual assault is so everyday a part of the human lives of so many of us. When street/sexual harassment is the fabric of our daily existence.
When will it end?
Women and girls have been fighting on the front lines for decades – to keep it 100, for centuries actually – and it is still happening. Why? Because men and boys are not part of the solution in any significant ways yet. Yes there are many who have stepped up and are helping to teach other men and boys how to step up. But it is way too little and might even be too late – but it isn’t.
Hey male person reading this:
Do something today to become active in putting an end to the sexism, misogyny, misogynoir, the harassment, the assaults, the rape. Speak Up. Stand Up. Shut It Down.
Because the world you are allowing your daughters and sons to live in is disgusting, horrifying and dangerous. The world you allow your sisters, aunts, girlfriends and wives to exist in is unacceptable. The world in which YOU live in should be sending you screaming to the streets, offices, religious centers and pretty much anywhere – including your own homes – in an attempt to start making changes for the better.
Lord Buddha please give me the strength to continue. To write down for the thousandth time how men and boys can start to be a part of the solution and not the problem.
Here Is How:
1. Start at the beginning. If you are the parent of a male child, be aware of what you are teaching him about women and girls. Be aware of what he is absorbing from his pals, the media he is exposed to, society at large about women and girls. Talk to him about it, every day if you have to. Combat what you know is forming his opinions. As appropriate – age-wise and this is earlier and earlier – speak to him about consent. Start today.
Note: Become hyper-aware. Society and everything that is a part of it is male dominated (the patriarchy), comes from the male point of view (the male gaze), and learn how that affects how women and girls are portrayed, treated and shown. Your male child is absorbing all of that through his skin. Be there to counter-act those effects, and put something healthy and true in it’s place.
2. Work on yourself. I wrote about that man who saw the bumper sticker that said “Men Can Stop Rape” and how he was stunned. Because it had never occurred to him. Because rape was a women’s issue, and him being a nice regular dude who wasn’t a rapist, he didn’t think he had anything to do with it. Wrong. Get involved. Start HERE or find local places that are similar. Or start one in your community. Speak Up. Take Action.
Note: Be aware that as you go on your journey, you may find that you have/had been in a situation that you did not consider to be rape, but indeed was. I have seen this happen time and time again – the male ignorance around consent and the actual realization that female beings are fellow humans is astounding. Like I said, rape, assault, harassment is common place. So common that you may have been perpetrating it because everything in society is backing you up and telling you that your behavior is normal. (it isn’t).
3. Listen to the women and girls in your life. If someone tells you they have been raped, assaulted, harassed: Support them. Believe them. If you are confused or don’t know exactly what to do – help them get to a professional that can help them. Err on the side of the person telling you that they have been hurt. This male dominated society might have you believing that false accusations are as common as the assaults. Don’t you believe it.
Note: A guy insisting that what clothing women wear can be faulted for them getting raped, assaulted and harassed is what sparked this whole thing off in the first place. Don’t. Be. That. Guy. Don’t blame the victim and don’t gaslight.
Remember: For each and every one of those hundreds of tweets there is a rapist – in so many cases multiple rapists – still running around out there raping, abusing and harming other women and girls with impunity. And those were only the people brave enough to come forward and say anything at all. They spoke out for those hundreds and thousands more who could not. Now what are you going to do about it?
4. Check ya boys. And by that I mean when you see/hear your guy pals making a rape joke, pinching or slapping the butt of a waitress, putting their hands on a woman, talking about “willing to do the jailtime” for “hitting that” underage girl etc etc etc: Stand Up. Speak Up. Stop It. Shut. It. Down. Tell them to stop it, put a stop to it – intervene. Tell them their behavior is unacceptable.
Note: When it becomes a loss of social status and standing instead of a badge of honor to demean, harass and objectify women and girls, we finally will be taking a step forward on this issue. When it becomes absolutely unacceptable for men and boys to behave in these ways. This starts with you making sure your social circle understands that you will not tolerate that kind of behavior. Clean house.
5. Get Active. There are people in positions of power from police officers to judges that keep this system rolling like a well oiled machine. Make some noise locally. Find out what’s going on. Begin to understand just why it is that the majority of rapes and assaults are not reported. They system that is supposed to protect the victim and punish the perpetrator does in fact do the exact opposite. Figure out how to come together in your community and make it a safe haven for the women and girls who live there.
Note: Men and boys being able to act however they please with women and girls devastates society. We are hurting ourselves, our collective selves. We are allowing for the ruination of ourselves as human beings. We are revoking our rights to hold up our heads as enlightened beings striving to be our best.
Take part in the solution. If you do nothing. If you continue on as a regular nice dude who (hopefully) has never raped anyone without stepping up and taking action: You are part of the problem.
This will not be easy. We’ve just finished an award season, that like nearly every season, every damn year, manages to uplift, praise and award known child predators and rapists. Out in public. On national television. Right in front of God and everybody. But responsibility for How Things Are has to be taken and this system that allows for such things to happen must be dismantled.
Don’t stand by while this is happening. Have some goddam empathy. Maybe it is not your daughter, your child, your sister, or mother or wife. Maybe it is. It should not matter. You should be absolutely disgusted that this is how our world is. You should be burning with utter and complete shame to be representing the men and boys who do this to women and girls everywhere. You should be clawing out of your skin trying to put an end to this. The insult to your basic humanity should galvanize you into action.
I have never been raped. I have been harassed and assaulted sexually and otherwise many times though. However, until the day I die I will live under the threat of rape. I can become a statistic at any moment. 1 in 3. From the cradle to the grave. Infants have been raped. Toddlers have been raped. Girls, young adults, woman have been raped. Elderly women, senior citizens have been raped. From the moment a female child is born until the day she dies the threat of bodily harm is there for her. Men and boys are the bulk of the perpetrators, so men and boys need to be the ones to put and end to it.
You tell me if that is how you want the women and girls in your life – and all over the planet – to continue to live.