Thursday, September 12, 2013

Men I Know Who Aren't Rapists

Photo courtesy of Paul Bica
I posted last week about rape culture and how it's buoyed by telling girls to be ashamed of their sexuality and telling boys they can't help themselves when it comes to sex.

Let's talk now about adults. I'm an adult, and I only have sex with adults, and, really, I almost exclusively interact with adults. And all of us grew up hearing the "boys will be boys" and "good girls are virgins" lines. Yet some of us learned to think differently. I want to tell you what can happen when, as a community, we empower all people to control their own bodies and sexualities.

I have been a member of microcommunities that place a high value on autonomy, respect, and responsibility. The principles on which they operate state that each person is solely responsible for their experience of the world. The only way someone can force you to do something is through physical force, coercion, or extortion, all of which are illegal and rightly should be punished. Thus, people in these communities don't believe the myth that girls should be pure or that boys are lustful, uncontrollable animals.

Within these communities, at some events, I have been naked. Sometimes it was for art, or self expression, but mostly it was just because I like being naked. I understand that it may have aroused some people. Hell, sometimes, that was the point. Sometimes, when I was naked, I was also having sex. In front of people. Men, even. Some of whom I didn't even know.

And do you know what? None of them raped me. Not even close. I never even felt as though it was a possibility. Some of these men have seen me like this on multiple occasions, and, far from lusting after me uncontrollably, they treat me with respect and dignity.

I'll give you a second to consider that. I have had hot, wild, animalistic sex in front of men I barely knew and, afterward, they treated me with the respect that should be afforded to all human beings.

I have been a giant slutty slut in all my slutty glory right there where these guys could see it, and it didn't make them think any awful things about my character (that I know of) or treat me as less of a person or violate me in any way.

Sure, some of them may simply not find me attractive. But, based on statistics alone, probably some of them do, and they still have managed to behave as the rational, thinking, empathetic people they are, rather than vagina-seeking missiles with no control over what happens when they get a boner.

They are great guys, and I don't mean to undermine their character in any way, but they are also normal guys. They have jobs and families and like beer and sports and, well, yes, sex. But they don't think that their penises give them excuse to treat other people badly, and they don't see sex as something they are entitled to if they want it. Not because they are great thinkers with amazing self-control. Because they simply learned to think of people as people and not toys.

If this is possible with these totally normal guys, then it's possible with other totally normal guys who aren't part of microcommunities like ours. Clearly, men can be aroused by other people and still not demean, harass, or abuse them. They can see women as desirable yet still also see them as people and treat them with respect and dignity. They can control their sexual urges, and, if they wish to act on them, make sure they get consent first. (More on consent in a later post!)

If they can do this when a woman is having sex right in front of them, they can do this in any circumstance. There is simply nothing at all a woman can do to cause a man to rape her, and anything you've heard to the contrary is untrue.

I know it's possible some of you are reading this and thinking that I am engaging in very dangerous behavior. Some of you think if I get raped I will have had it coming to me. I desperately want to hear from you. Please comment so that we can have a conversation. I want to know why you think these things.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your honesty, and for starting this conversation.