Recently Edmonton’s SS-A executed an advertising campaign called “Don’t be that guy,” which, like the “Teach men not to rape” campaign of American feminist origin, paints the crime in a very dishonest light. These campaigns, which treat rape as something men do to women and to each other, but not as something women do at all, take two very specific attitudes toward men and rape: first, that all men and boys are voracious, slavering animals inclined at any time to go on a rampage of wanton despoliation, and second, that rape is something men might commit unknowingly and unintentionally, out of a lack of consideration or understanding.
The posters created for the campaign portray men as libidinous, reckless clods, whose natural tendency is to fuck first, and ask questions later, if at all.
The campaign isn’t any nicer to women, as pointed out by Men’s Rights Edmonton’s parody of one of the posters. Some of Edmonton’s SS-A’s originals imply that mutually drunk sex is male on female rape. One in particular shows an alert, enthusiastic woman holding up a drink, with text calling her drunk, implying that drinking negates a woman’s ability to consent even when she is obviously not impaired. This is female hypoagency in action; in labeling an alert woman engaging the viewer as “drunk,” the campaign treats all degrees of “drunk” from “tipsy” on down as mentally incapacitating to women. By also using images showing men with beer bottles in their hands in other, similar messages, the campaign also employs male hyperagency to elicit a judgmental response. While women are presumed incapacitated at the first sip, men who have been drinking are treated as always competent, cognizant, and in control. Alcohol exempts women from due diligence by transferring that responsibility to their male partners. The posters might as well say, “Sorry ladies. Alcohol kills brain cells. Don’t drink and… well, do anything. You don’t have that level of capability. What do you think you are, a man?”
By design, this part of the campaign treats all drunk sex as rape. While it’s right and reasonable to say that sexual imposition upon an individual who genuinely is incapacitated is rape, it’s irresponsible and dangerous to teach people that alcohol negates female agency regardless of the amount consumed or its actual effect on the drinker’s cognizance. It’s equally irresponsible to teach people that alcohol only affects female agency, or that it never effects male agency when a female is involved, something this campaign teaches both by insinuation and by omission. The combined effect is promotion of the idea that all drunk heterosexual sex, no matter to what degree each participant is drunk, is male-on-female rape.
In promoting that idea, the campaign is harmful in two ways: It treats male consent as presumed, encouraging women to ignore men’s right to refuse sex. It also directly encourages women to make false accusations against men that would be very hard, if not impossible, to counter in today’s legal and social environment, where mere accusation is enough to infer guilt.
The careless and irresponsible nature of a campaign that treats all drunk sex as rape inspired Men’s Rights Edmonton to come up with a counter-statement to its inferences, in the form of parody posters addressing the issue of false allegations. They placed these in the some of the same locations as the originals.
When Edmonton’s SS-A and their feminist supporters discovered Men’s Rights Edmonton’s parodies, they immediately went off the deep end with affronted rage. They frothed at the fingers, tweeted, ranted, and ran to the press with cries of rape culture and rape apology, accusing MREdmonton of blaming rape victims for the crimes of their attackers, while downplaying the incidence of false allegations and male victims of female perpetrators. Some went so far as to call false allegations a myth.
Contrary to feminist assertions, false accusations of rape have been taken so lightly and tolerated so easily for so long that some women use them as a weapon in custody battles, or to get out of taxi cab fare, or even just for attention. The commonness of the problem is much greater than they’re willing to admit, likely in part due to a legal environment designed to tolerate rather than eliminate false reporting.
The same is true with female perpetration against male victims. It’s much more common than critics assert, a fact that is known to and has been deliberately hidden by feminist advocates.
Critics of MREdmonton’s parody posters are hiding their encouragement for false rape accusation behind manipulative reference to and use of sympathy for female victims. Exploiting society’s protective attitude toward women to try to guilt trip people away from addressing false allegations is demeaning to all rape victims. It treats the experience of being raped, reporting it, and going through the legal process as if that’s no different and no more legitimate than the act of making up a lie and reporting that. It’s the exact opposite of the kind of support rape victims need and deserve and you can’t victim blame someone who was never a victim.
Pitting the plight of the falsely accused against sympathy for actual victims is dishonest, sneaky, and wrong. Feminists who do so choose to ignore the fact that the “falsely” in falsely accused refers to someone who did not commit the crime, not someone who is trying to get away with rape. They must, in order to maintain the attitude that the presumption of guilt and and a system weighted toward conviction are not violations of the rights of accused men…and their attitude is specific to female accusers, and accused men.
The choice to encourage false accusation by diluting the meaning of the term “rape,” and demonizing all men by inference, is a dismissive attitude toward the experiences of men, treating them as disposable. In order to willfully ignore the problem of false allegations, one must be willing to accept destroying the accused’s life for the sake of maintaining a belief in accuser credibility regardless of whether the accusation has merit. One must be willing to sacrifice accused men for a cause. In this case, that cause is feminist power, and continued funding for feminist initiatives and feminist groups.
That is really what it’s all about. Prevention isn’t even on the radar. If the “don’t be that guy” campaign really were about rape prevention, it would be more accurately designed to address the dynamics and perpetration of rape, rather than to infer guilt upon the entire male sex for the actions of a few, treat consensual sex and rape as the same thing, and ignore the near equal perpetration of rape by women. Instead, its creators stuck to a model through which they could more easily exploit the sympathy of the public; it isn’t that groups like Edmonton’s SS-A are unaware that they’re excluding a significant portion of victims from their advocacy. They only care about the ones they can exploit for power and money. If other women – especially female rape victims – understood that, and recognized the manner in which they are being used, they’d be livid, especially when they also realize that the men targeted by these advocates include their fathers, their brothers, their friends, their partners, and their sons.
We are never going to eliminate either the incidence of innocent people receiving jail time, or guilty people escaping the justice system, because rape cases can be subjective, lawyers can be sneaky, and mistakes can be made with any case.
We are never going to eliminate rape, because there will always be people willing to use force or coercion to get what they want.
What we can do is ensure that the definition of the crime isn’t so twisted and stretched that it becomes meaningless enough to leave victims with no voice at all.
We are never going to eliminate all false accusations, because the crime is in many cases committed willfully and with malicious intent.
What we can do is ensure that the reason behind a false allegation is not that the accuser was taught by a poorly thought out, poorly executed information campaign to think of herself as an incapable, helpless child whose decisions are not her own, and whose regrets are always somebody else’s fault. We can have enough respect for victims of both rape and false allegations to acknowledge the reality of both, and demand that feminists stop pitting the victims of these two heinous crimes against each other, as if either is responsible for the suffering of the other.
We can have enough consideration for both types of victims to treat false allegations as the criminal act they are, instead of encouraging them by subjecting the public to slanderous, ideological propaganda that demonizes men and boys by falsely accusing them of being perpetrators waiting to happen.
In the final analysis, the real “don’t be that guy” for feminists are the men and boys hurt by the system and female predators. And the real reason why feminists don’t like to talk about men’s vulnerability isn’t because we’d lose sympathy for female rape victims, sympathy is an infinite resource.
They don’t want to talk about vulnerable men because money isn’t.
Don’t be that guy. You know, the guy who needs society’s sympathy. Because that would bite into our marketshare.
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