“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Ghandi
I’ve always had a loud voice and as I writer, I want to use it to create the change I wish to see in the world. I’ll happily say things a million different ways to get them to land. I’d interpretive dance it, if that’d help. Now, more than ever before, it feels like time to stand tall and express my truth so that others can share theirs. But – what happens when my voice isn’t in harmony with others? When the collective voices are out of tune with one another? When no one is being heard?
The world is in a massive state of flux and change right now. It’s palpable. Our collective pain is coming to the surface and it’s not pretty. That’s okay. People will react when faced with things they don’t like. They retreat, defend or attack. Freeze, flight or fight. Standard stuff.
So what do we do about it?
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice- cream. Expect it’s not for sweet treat this time.
I scream “It’s not okay!”
You scream “It’s not my fault!”
I scream “It’s not about you!”
You scream “Stop screaming!”
I scream “Don’t tell me what to do!”
and very soon, we’ve lost our voices in the cacophony. Everyone’s throat is sore and nothing gets done.
The solution is not to silence people. It’s not to stop talking. So what is it?
The #menaretrash hashtag sparked a fire in people. They roared. Some could hear clearly where the message came from, others felt personally attacked, some felt the hashtag was doing serious damage.
The idea of inclusivity is that we have to accept all voices in the choir and this includes those that we don’t like. This idea has been a jagged pill to swallow. I have my ideas. They’re clear. I know what I’ve been through as a women. I don’t need a man telling me to ‘calm down’ or ‘do as he says’. It points to everything that frustrates me.
But, when I further argue my point – it’s used as fuel fire against me. Any truth they may have accepted is destroyed because they feel attacked. You can fight back on their level or you can own your power and
- Be the bigger person.
- Rise above it.
- Elevate yourself to higher ground.
These concepts annoy me because they reduce one and exalt another. My natural instinct is to bring it to base level and fight fire with fire, on equal terms. But I’m destroying myself in the process. Maybe looking down, or rather from a new perspective, how ever you frame it – works? I can only try. So here’s an attempt…
In desperation, anger and pain, I’d written this first article as
- Rape culture online: an example
- 11 ways to stop causing your own rape and murder by a Man who knows.
I copy and pasted the time consuming interactions with one particular man. How could he not hear what was so clear to me? Why was he incessant, publicly attacking me so aggressively? What traits did he mirror in me that he’d bothered me so much?
From privately contacting me on Facebook to offer me his solution of psycho active medicinal plants from his unprofessional diagnosis of my issues, to in no uncertain terms stating that
“And this is how women for generations have been trying to get their own way with men — through manipulation / control / feeling guilty …”
He had a very particular view point. He wrote that I used “a not so subtle form of manipulation to do what you want us to do.” He publicly expressed that I was an
- Angry feminist
- Scorned women
- Wounded feminist 101
- Playing into victim / victimiser role playing, to shape my response the way I wanted it
- and that my article lacked authentic pain.
If I / women had authentic pain “he would be to respond with immediate care.”
I was so offended and I began to think – ‘ah these men are the problem!’ with renewed hopeless disgust.
My friend creative a private Facebook group and detailed some of her horrid experiences of what it’s like to be a women. She wanted to explain to him so he would understand. Although authentic, her stories were deemed as her fault.
He questioned if she ‘really’ wanted to heal because all these terrible things were happening to her.
“It’s true that this world is fcked up place … its true that there is generational abuse to women… and it’s true you have every right to be angry … and it’s true we have no idea how you experience this on a day to day experience …What response would you like me to have that I’m not currently doing ?If you simply want care and comfort … I can offer that.“
“Just listen, make people feel heard, don’t solve, don’t judge, just listen. A statement of “I hear you, I’m here and willing to listen” not retort, just listen. Not send quotes that are patronising. I hear you say it on the inside but we still have to clean the wound that is infected before we can stitch the wound.“
Aha! Mutual understanding! Unite! This is it!
And then, He says:
“If you allow a drunk, horny asshole into your bed, he abuses you, and you stick around with him … then both of you are playing out each other’s wounds. So yes, there is responsibility here that must be owned by women, who put themselves into that position. Don’t only not stay – stop don’t choosing assholes. You can’t change them.“
He now launches his attack online. And now, in no uncertain rape terms, and his ‘say it nicely’ terms, I ask:
“I’m asking kindly, you don’t have to help, but please stop. Stop.”
I do not engage directly with him again.
And he does not stop. I won’t bore you with the details. They’re all online.
He wants his “equal right to an opinion on female abuse, as guess what, it’s perpetrated by men.”
His girlfriend defends him by calling out 3 women, myself included as “creating an image of a feminist as a raging, unfair bitch.”
Then he comes out with additions to his easy ways to to stop causing your own rape and murder.
This pandemic, in my opinion, is not only a responsibility of men, but equally of women.
- Women too, need to empower themselves
- Not choosing abusive partners,
- Not having children who cannot be cared for,
- (Not) telling young boys that men are not to trusted,
- Not instilling confidence in them (young boys),
- Empower themselves with regards to rape,
- Not date abusive alcoholics,
- Not put themselves into dangerous situations (like, the world?),
- Not have children if they cannot look after themselves,
- If they find themselves as single mothers, to nurture a healthy relationship with their father if possible,
- Help that young boy gain maturity and empowerment, so that when they reach sexual maturity, they treat women with respect.
11 solutions from the Patriarchy. Don’t blame the patriarchy when you can blame yourself. Women can prevent men’s crimes. Don’t punish men! They’re from women in the first place! Don’t blame the men who rape you or the ones who’ve murdered your sister. Instead remember: if you were better woman, he would be better. It’s up to the women to heal their hearts. And then all the raping will stop. Its easy! He tags me in a post. I untag myself. He refuses to stop.
In a world where men hear Stop and treat it as Go, what hope do we have?
After an extensive energy healing session, I’ve come to see an alternative. Because he said, she said keeps us in a loop that goes no where.
It felt like this man was out to attack me and the women closest to me. I’d been consumed with feelings of pain and rage. I’ve felt helpless – exactly like the victim he said I portrayed. He did exactly what he warned men would do – he fought back. Granted most men didn’t go his route, but he proved himself as the point. Threw every stereotypical, sexist, misogynistic, patriarchal ‘to do’ out there.
But actually: to use the child analogy again, what if he is just a child who also want’s to be heard? A little boy who feels excluded from a conversation. He wants to engage so is doing the best he can: he’s shouting solutions. He wants to make it better. They’re only offensive if you assume he knows any better. He doesn’t! That’s part of the problem. But if we exclude the men who are angry, we also loose their desire to help.
They weren’t asked for help. I for one, clearly told him I didn’t need it. I said:
“You’re included to support women whenever you choose to. Or not. I don’t depend on men for support.“
He wanted to help – not just any women, but me directly. He reached out. And I shut him down because he did it in a way that offended me, just like the hashtag offended him. What a perfect mirror. This man wants to be asked for help. He wants to save the day. He wants it to make a difference. He wants to support. He’d being denied his opportunity and it’s frustrating him so he’s lashing out in anger.
If we’re going to create a new world order of inclusivity, acceptance and integration, Then we’re going to need all the support we can get. Whether we like it or not. We may not depend on it, but we don’t have to do it alone. We can do it together. And doing it together is creating the change we wish to see in the world.