By Rescue the Women Foundation
Rape culture plays a central role in all the social dynamics of our time. It’s at the heart of all our personal interactions. It’s part of all our social, societal and environmental struggles. Rape culture is not just about sex. It is the product of a generalized attitude of male supremacy. Sexual violence is one expression of that attitude. Again, don’t let the terminology spook you. Don’t get hung up on the term “male supremacy.” The term isn’t the problem. The problem is that rape culture hurts everyone involved. Antiquated patriarchal notions of society make it difficult for men to come forward as rape victims just as much as they foster a desire for a man to be seen as powerful and sexually aggressive. Men shouldn’t feel threatened or attacked when women point out rape culture — they’re telling us about our common enemy. We ought to listen.
Now that you know what it is, what can you do about rape culture ?
- Avoid using language that objectifies or degrades women
- Speak out if you hear someone else making an offensive joke or trivializing rape
- If a friend says she has been raped, take her seriously and be supportive
- Think critically about the media’s messages about women, men, relationships, and violence
- Be respectful of others’ physical space even in casual situations
- Always communicate with sexual partners and do not assume consent
- Define your own manhood or womanhood. Do not let stereotypes shape your actions.
What else can you do about rape culture when you experience it. Men can confront men.
No one is suggesting violence. In fact, that’s what we’re looking to avoid. But sometimes, a man needs to confront another man or a group of men in a situation. When you are out in public and you see a man hassling a woman, you stop for a moment. Make sure the woman sees you. Make her to know that you are fully aware of what’s happening. Wait for a moment for a clear indication from her of whether she needs help. Sometimes, the couple will continue right on fighting like you’re just a hickory tree. Other times, the woman will make it clear she’d like backup and you approach the situation. you’ve never had to get violent. Usually, your presence alone makes the guy leave if he’s a stranger, or explain himself if they’re familiar. It changes the dynamic. That’s why you should always stop when you see a woman getting hassled in public. For any reason, make sure any woman, in what could become a violent situation, one may or may not be correctly assessing, feels that she has the opportunity to signal to you if she needs assistance. Always be a big brother to a sister so that response is practically instinctual.
But, don’t limit this to women. You could also do this for two men who were clearly in a lovers’ spat. Whenever you see a situation spiraling out of control, and especially if someone is crying for help or being attacked, you should confront the situation. You don’t need to “break it up.” But engage, get involved, take down pertinent information, alert authorities, call the police. Do something
Men can correct men.
If you hear a guy say some jacked-up slurs in front of you and there’s no one from that particular community around to be offended, you can still say something. This is also true when you hear misogynistic language. Speak up. Tell your friend or co-worker that rape jokes are bullshit and you won’t tolerate them.
Trust me you won’t lose your “man card.” If you’re older than nineteen and you’re still worried about your man card, you don’t understand what respectable masculinity is about, anyway. It’s not about cultish approval from others — it’s about being “your own man” and doing the right thing. You might be surprised by how many other men will respect you for doing what they wanted to but didn’t. I’ve heard it plenty. I promise you that’s true.
No one is suggesting you go around policing everybody. Don’t make it my business to make sure everyone live by your yardstick. No one needs you telling them what you think about every little thing they say and whether it meets your criteria for social awareness. But when some dude says some foul shit, and you know it — we all hear those jokes — you can let the dude know his rape joke or his “she’s a whore” analogy didn’t play.
Men can make other men.
Let’s say, you’re in a group of men, and one of your friends starts hollering at a girl — tell him to knock it the fuck off. You won’t be a punk for speaking up for the woman. As long as you don’t try to score points with her for “defending her,” you won’t be white-knighting it either. You’re just doing the right thing. No one needs some sexist clown hollering at her because the dude popped a mental woody. Cat-calling is one of the worst advertisements for male sexuality there is. Those assholes make us all look like complete tools. You get that, right? We need to cut that shit out.
Working construction is when you learn to speak up to a group of men. You have to do it. Mostly, you do it because you want to respect yourself. Otherwise, you’re another pathetic man that allows a guy to mistreat a woman in your presence. When a guy cat-calls a woman and you don’t say something, he just treated her like a cheaply degraded sex object for his satisfaction and he turned you into the punk-ass that’s willing to allow him to mistreat a woman in your presence … while you say nothing.
What would your grandfather think if he saw you in that moment? Would he be proud of you? Are you proud of yourself? Male pride is good for something! Use it to be your better self. Don’t be that silent punk that goes along with the crowd to get along with the crowd. Speak up when someone cat-calls a woman in front of you. Tell them to shut the fuck up. As a man, you have power. Use it. Men respect conviction.
It’s our job to have standards for ourselves, and thus, for all men.
You may think and even say,’’ man, lighten up, brother. Cat-calling is not that big a deal. Aren’t we making a mountain out of a molehill? Some women like it.” You may be right. Maybe some women do like it. That doesn’t matter. You may like to speed while others may like to smoke pot in public. Neither of you gets to do what you like. That’s just how it goes sometimes when you’re a member of a society. If you find that woman who likes to be cat-called, go for it, just do it behind closed doors. When you’re in public, respect the physical and mental space of others.
Don’t limit yourself to being a man. Be a mensch. Be a human being!
When women the world over are out there sharing their experiences, their trauma, their stories and their personal views, as men, we don’t need to enter that conversation. In that moment, all we need to do is listen, and reflect, and let their words change our perspective. Our job is to ask ourselves how we can do better.
As an organization that is focused on sensitizing the public on Rape and Rape like issues, Rescue the Women Foundation (REWOFO) is ever ready to give its best in trying to improve the ways Men treat Women especially in Nigeria.
For more information you can reach us on;
Twitter: RescueDWomenFoundatn (@Rescuethewomenf):