Let me just start with a simple conceit: women are awesome. Seriously. They endure so much shit in life, they take so much flack, and still manage to be funny and kind and generous.
Not that this comes as a shock to anyone, but I prefer the company of women. Women are infinitely more interesting to me than males, they don’t make me fear for my safety, and they don’t fuck with my boundaries. The people who have brought me the most joy, who have most improved my life have always been women, and so I think, without reservation, women are fucking awesome.
I have a particular affinity, fondness, however you want to put it, for intelligent women, for women who don’t take any shit, and who don’t base their lives around men’s feelings. And men are ALWAYS getting their feelings hurt – even those men who think they are women. Unaccustomed to being derided, abused, name-called and harassed their whole lives (as women are), men (all men) get very upset when women don’t collude, don’t submit, don’t prioritize their delusions, don’t suck their dicks (literally and figuratively). They get whiny. They get angry. And they get awful.
Twice in my life – once as a child, once in my late teens – I was subjected to male depravity at its lowest. This is not uncommon. If women can escape childhood/young adulthood unscathed in this manner, they are lucky – and women know this.
I don’t like to discuss these events. Not on my blog. Not in my “real life.” (This is what very expensive psychotherapy in my twenties was for.) I don’t like bringing this shit up, because even to this day, I have a visceral, gut-churning reaction to the memories of what men will do.
And I have the utmost respect for women who are willing to openly, candidly, publically discuss their own history of male abuse. Most women don’t want to talk about it, because it is painful and horrific and profoundly upsetting. That shame, that sense of dread remains always as a specter, and so I am in awe of the courage of women who, despite that sickening “gut-churn,” go ahead and speak their truth.
One of the reasons many women, and I am in this camp, don’t openly discuss their histories of abuse is for fear of how it will be received by the listener or reader. One must worry that others will scrutinize the event, will make erroneous inferences, will (as the culture most always does) place the blame squarely on the female victim, and excuse the perpetrator. By keeping the details of my history amid a small, trusted group, I don’t have to worry about this happening.
However, the women who are not like me, who are transparent with regard to their histories of male abuse, are so very important. These voices empower women. These voices make female victims feel less alone in the world. These women name the problem of male aggression and abuse. And if there is any justice (there isn’t) for women who have been abused (our numbers are legion), it is in the willingness of these other women to tell the truth, and tell it openly.
So why am I bringing this up? I’m bringing this up because, tragically, we still live in a world where it is “open season” on women who tell the truth about their own lives. I’m bringing this up because it is still acceptable for men to harass women about their rape, and I cannot tell you how this sickens me.
I have before on this blog mentioned Cathy Brennan, an activist whose work and words I admire. I think she is remarkably brave to so openly speak her mind, and she is a tireless advocate for women. Men, especially men who think they are women, tend to dislike her – she doesn’t cater to the will of men, she doesn’t prioritize men’s feelings, so she is perceived as a threat. (All women who act accordingly are perceived as a threat.)
Because she is willing to put her politics, her activism “out there,” she is, of course, subjected to all manner of personal attacks – from the laughably bizarre to the terrifying. And virtually all of the attacks come from a single source: men. Whether they’re in a three-piece suit or ladyface, men have no qualms about publically threatening her. And this is why so many of us (and there are many, many of us who are in agreement with Cathy Brennan’s positions) choose to remain anonymous.
With men, there are no boundaries. With men, if you disagree with them, they will threaten you. They will threaten your children. They will call you a cunt. They will mock your rape.
The following screenshots were taken from Ms. Brennan’s Facebook page. Here, a man (who thinks he’s a woman), takes the time to scroll through her posts in order to find an in-road to make the following comments:
This makes me angry. Word-failingly angry. It wouldn’t matter what woman’s page this man was posting these comments to, it would always make me angry. Because men are perpetrators of rape, they do not grasp the depth and breadth of the harm that befalls women who are subject to it. Because men are perpetrators of rape, they do not understand (nor do they care to) the profundity, the permanence of that particular violence. I have known women who were destroyed by the act. And I know that all women subjected to it are forever changed. Forever.
As human beings (FYI – women are human beings), we are allowed to disagree. We are allowed to hold varying perspectives. We are allowed to think for ourselves. Women are allowed to think in the best interest of other women. Women are allowed to tell men to “step the fuck off.” Men may not like this. Men may disagree. And that’s fine. Men are allowed to disagree with women. I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.
But vehement disagreement and poring over a woman’s PERSONAL Facebook page, expressly to harass her in the most foul way possible, is crossing a fucking line. Maybe there’s something fucking wrong with your politics, your ideology, your precious fucking gender religion, when the BEST you can do in your efforts to confront a woman who disagrees with you is to harass her over her rape. Maybe, the next time one of you males – and god there are many of you – who are psychotically obsessed with Cathy Brennan, feels the need to scroll and scroll through backlogs of her Facebook page in order to taunt her about being raped, perhaps instead you should call a shrink and have your fucking head checked.
What many of these transactivists (men) don’t seem to realize, is that 1) women are allowed to hold their own opinions, even when it hurts your feelings/inconveniences you 2) women are human beings with human limitations.
That guy who posted the above comment? He thinks he’s a woman. But you know what? A woman would never mock another woman about her rape, because women know how male abuse fucks us up. These guys can feel ‘til the fucking cows come home, but repeatedly they reveal themselves for the violent, male aggressors that they are – the sort of dudebros who think it’s clever to make sick, misogynist jokes at the expense of a woman’s tragedy. They pull this shit time and time again, and yet they expect us to embrace them wholly as women, to acknowledge them as female, not to question it all, to allow them in our spaces, to consider them “one of the girls.”
Would you want a guy who says to a rape survivor “if you weren’t such a flirt you wouldn’t have been raped” at your women’s festival? What about in your bathroom? Or in your local lesbian organization? This is male behavior, folks. This is revoltingly perverse and hostile, but it is quintessentially male.
And before any of you fuckwits decide to accuse me of being a “sockpuppet for Cathy Brennan” (as many have), know that I would defend any woman – public presence or no – who is being harassed by strange men. Harassment is not dissent. Harassment is the primary tool of men who want outspoken women to shut up and acquiesce. And seriously? A man who goes out of his way to make sick comments about rape? You’re not only male, you’re the fucking dregs of the species.