This is a short essay on my opinions regarding rape and gender equality. I have written this only as I am tired of being criticized by ladies for my lifestyle choice (celibacy) and of having people (i.e. the same ladies) accuse me of sexism anytime I respond to their questions regarding my opinions on equality. What follows is simply my account as to why I have come to the conclusions that I have drawn contrary to all I have been told to believe at school and university. Perhaps by making this public it may challenge the opinions of others—please realize I do not seek to change anyone’s minds. I am simply trying to outline the reasons why I think the things I do. If anyone can provide a counter-argument which can disprove that which follows I would be very appreciative if a reply or comment can be left as I would desperately like to believe something else about the world.
I genuinely believe that there are no women’s issues. Women’s studies courses should be abolished. There should not be a ministerial position for women’s issues. There should not be women’s advocates on campus. Laws relating to sexual violence need to be rewritten so that they are not framed in gender terminology.
The reason for this is two-fold. Put simply, any issue that can affect a person can affect another person. Men experience rape, domestic violence, discrimination at work, and sexual objectification. There is no issue that is only applicable to either men or women. Dividing the political landscape into gendered issues in this way simultaneously does two things: one, it refuses to acknowledge that men can and do experience the same things as women and two, it demeans these issues by relegating them to the status of “women issues” i.e. of less importance than “male issues” like economics and war. In short, my experiences have led me to believe that equal rights can only be achieved by granting equal responsibilities, not by giving any group of people a hand up or by setting targets for ensuring that X number of Y group will be represented in Z body.
Positive discrimination is an oxymoron. It would not be out-of-place in George Orwell’s 1984. The idea that any group of people should have access to careers, or anything else for that matter, for which they are not qualified actively sabotages any attempt at achieving genuine equality. Ultimately, you do not end discrimination by simply discriminating against a different group of people.
I reached these and several other conclusions on the subject of gender based-ideology though my experiences as outlined below. Please do not think that I share this lightly, or that I am seeking sympathy or that I am trying to justify my own bitterness. I share this in order to illustrate the consequences of the gendered approach to gaining equality which have, in my opinion, been counterproductive at best.
At the age of 23 I was raped. I was approached by a man in a nightclub, who spiked my drink before he followed me into the toilet and violently raped me. The following day I reported the incident to the police. The specialist officers informed me that because I am male I could not be a victim of rape and that I am, by definition, a rapist. They stated that whilst they could not stop me from reporting the offense that they would prosecute me for wasting police time should I follow that course of action. The reason they gave me was that as a man, legally, I could not be raped because I am not in possession of a vagina.
At this time I was in a relationship with a woman who primarily identified herself through her sexuality. She felt that the most appropriate way for me to get over my new-found fears and feelings of disgust around sex was to have more sex with me. In fairness, most of the those encounters were consensual, in that whilst I may not have wanted sex at that time, I was prepared to trade it in exchange for intimacy. I was however, experiencing a whole bunch of psychological problems relating to the rape, specifically heightened anxiety, panic attacks, flashbacks, suicidal feelings, etc. This particular young lady was, on the last time I was intimate with her, very insistent that we have sex, despite my protestations. This was an occasion wherein I was experiencing flashbacks primarily triggered by her touching me without my consent. As she climbed on top of me I begged her to stop as all I could see in my mind’s eye was the man who had raped me 3 weeks previously. Her response was to continue with renewed enthusiasm.
She noticed that I was crying and still pleading with her to stop so she hit me several times in the face and carried on until she reached that point of ultimate pleasure. Afterwards, she was very angry that I did not want to have sex with her and voiced this opinion with some gusto. Following this, in the immortal words of Iron Maiden, I ran to the hills and elected to remain celibate for over 5 years.
Eventually I healed and ended up in relationships with women again, some positive, some less so. At the age of 33, I dated a lady who worked for the police. Once again it appears that I am a terrible judge of character as she was quite selfish and had a tendency to overreact over nothing. Long story short, she wanted to have sex and I said no so she pushed me onto the bed, hiked her skirt up and did anyway. No longer being in such a bad place I picked her up off from me and said I wasn’t interested at that time. Her response was to say “that is unacceptable to me” and she got on top of me again. Again I said no and picked her up off me, to which she replied that she didn’t care and once again pushed me back onto the bed and started again. I picked her up again, and explained that if I was to act like that towards her I would be looking at a long prison sentence and rightly so. She replied “man up” and for a fourth time did the same thing. At this point I picked her up off of me for the last time and told her that she could not treat me or anyone else in that manner and I left.
This was only a few months ago and it has massively affected the way that I view women. I have become celibate once again and find it very difficult to trust anyone who shows any interest in me. While I feel that I am able to stop such a situation from ever occurring again it will always be by subjecting myself to the risk of violence, false accusations, or other repercussions. The easiest way for me to look after myself at this point is to not associate with anyone who wants to have sex with me.
Following the first incident I went to the police who informed me that no crime had occurred due to my gender. I stated that I wanted to make a statement regardless as I felt that there was a rapist targeting men (and women) in the community whom I could identify and would bear witness against. The police informed me that if I chose to do this that they would prosecute me for wasting police time.
I sought out support from rape crisis who informed me that I cannot be a victim of this crime, only a perpetrator. I was informed that I cannot visit any rape crisis center because my presence would be too upsetting for “genuine” (i.e. female) victims. At this time, I was studying for a degree in sociology and part of my course was on feminism. Over the course of the next 3 months I attended lectures and seminars wherein I was informed that all men (me included) use rape to keep all women in a state of continual fear. I was taught that all men are potential rapists simply waiting for their opportunity. I had to read treatises by Mary Koss and Andrea Dworkin; I had it stated to me that, as rape is a crime of power, any man who is subjected to this crime should be automatically incarcerated for life–the logic being that any man who has had his “power” removed by the act of forced sex will immediately seek to “regain” this loss of power by simply raping as many women as possible, therefore, in order to protect women we should imprison male victims before they have the opportunity to further victimize women.
I’m not convinced that there is a rape culture in the way that it is portrayed by feminists. But I do think that there is a hidden rape culture that operates against men. As it is not a serious crime for a man to be raped—it is classified as the less serious “sexual assault,” but then only when a man is raped by a man. When a man is raped by a woman it is not a crime in most cases. We refuse to offer support to male victims, we blame men for being victims of rape, and we hold them accountable as a group and as individuals for the actions of a criminal minority, and feminists call for our incarceration not only without due process but without our having committed any crime ourselves.
We understand that we are worthless. We know that we are utilities; wallets and vibrators to be used by any woman who decides to at any time. We know that we can be physically assaulted by both men and women alike and that society, the police and the courts tolerate this. We know that any woman can raise a false allegation against us that legally has to be believed and treated seriously, whereas we cannot even report a crime without leaving ourselves at risk of prosecution.
We make rape jokes to trivialize our own experiences—humor exists in all places to ridicule trauma, to make light of the horrendous and to comfort the distressed. Feminists have taken this as proof that there is a rape culture at work against women, that we who make these jokes are part of a global patriarchal conspiracy to keep women down. The truth is that we laugh because we are tired of crying, and crying hasn’t helped us.
We are criticized for trying to laugh off the fact that we are not protected by the law, that we have no access to help or support or victim services following that which feminists have decreed to be the worst crime against the person that a human being can be subjected to. We are blamed for the existence of a crime that we are the victims of. We are bombarded with posters and internet campaigns telling us to not be that guy. We are discriminated against in court by the gradual erosion of our right to due process. We are told that we’re not real men because of our weakness—that weakness being to abhor violence and to be unwilling to put ourselves at further risk by defending ourselves for fear of very real legal and social reprisals.
I have learnt from my experiences. I have absorbed and digested information and I have come to my own conclusions. That is to say the following: rape is not important. It is the act of a minority of self-centered, monstrous individuals who have all the moral agency of a parasitic wasp. And we know that wasp stings are painful but not permanent. The only permanent issue is if you happen to be a wasp. Because that pain (i.e. self- loathing, worthlessness, moral weakness) is a part of you. The reason you feel the need sting others is because you are too emotionally stunted to possess a single iota of empathy, respect, compassion or any other value that separates humans from the baser life forms.
Rape is not important to me because by imbuing it with importance I allow it to continue to affect my life, and that is something that I cannot do. Rape is a gift. It is something that has been given to me by several individuals, all of whom forced sex on my unwilling person due to their own insecurities regarding their desirability, attractiveness and self-worth. And it is a gift of self-loathing. Sometime ago it occurred to me that rape is a shameful act. But it is not my shame. I have never forced myself on anyone, nor have I ever had the desire to do so.
I forgive my abusers. Those feelings which I have suffered for 10 years, are a gift from the few criminals who have successfully violated me. I forgo their gifts as these are not my issues to deal with—these issues are theirs. I forgo them and give them back. Let the parasites deal with their own behavior, it is not a reflection on me.
By the same token, I refuse and reject the society that tells me that rape of men is acceptable. I reject the opinions of the lunatics who have steered the discourse on rape exclusively towards a gendered view of the world rather than treat it for what it is—a criminal act. I reject the ideas of Dworkin and Firestone and Koss, all of whom have publicly stated that men who are raped somehow deserve it. I reject gendered interpretations of the law by the police, by the courts, by individual solicitors and professors at university.
I reject the notion that discrimination can ever be positive. But equally, I forgive you all. I reject your stupid double standards and I give you them back to you. I remove myself from your world entirely and live by my rules, under my direction, taking responsibility only for myself. I reject your ideas on relationships, parenthood, governance and employment rights. I refuse to engage with a society that blames me for the crimes committed against me. This is what forgiveness is. In short, I forgo your world and the consequences of your ideas, your attitudes, your crimes and I gladly return it all to you.
And I hope you choke on it.