Few things annoy me as much as disingenuousness. I could care less whether someone holds an opinion I disagree with. However, I do not like when people pretend to care about a problem or person just for the sake of appearances. I particularly do not like when people feign concern as a pretense to attack, insult, or dismiss someone else.
Yet many feminists do just that. They say they support and sympathize with male survivors, and in the next breath they attack those men, often using those men’s own stories as their weapon of choice. It is an insidious thing to do, and it is rarely done by accident. The intent is usually to unhinge the man while forcing him to disprove whatever negative assertions that were made against him. And this often works because many abuse survivors are emotionally raw and it takes very little to upset them.
I recently experienced this. Several days ago on Manboobz, a poster claimed that men’s rights activists do not really care about male victims. She claimed that the activists instead respond to them by saying, “Wow, the fact that you’re hurting is so offensive to me! why can’t you raped men stop and think abot the incels? what about my feelings?!!”
When I responded no men’s rights activist ever treated me that way and that the only people who have are usually feminists, Kyrie replied with:
I don’t know who you’re talking about, but if that happened here you definitely need to show us the comments. Which I don’t think will happen.
Except it did. About an hour later Ponkz wrote this about me:
I was sexually abused and raped as a child during the ages 8-10. It is only in recent years that I’ve started to talk about it and feel better about myself. I’ve suffered on and off with depression over the years and used to self-harm. I’m now in a place in my life where I’m a lot happier about myself and so feel more confident about speaking about it.
I say this because honestly TS makes me really angry. I really feel for him and the abuse he’s suffered, as I would any abuse victim I encountered. But the fact that he seems to completely disregard female victims – unless their abuser was female – in the name of his own personal vendetta against women in general and feminists in particular is disappointing at best and infuriating/ offensive at worst.
Hey, TS! I was raped too! By A MAN!!! I realise he was a bad man, so note that I’m not angry at men in general as a result of this! You cannot erase me or my experience, no matter how hard you try!
I’m a survivor too and honestly I have open arms for any fellow survivor no matter their who they are. But if my experience, what I went through, means fuck all to you because I’m female? In all seriousness, fuck you.
That was not the first time feminists on Manboobz used my past to attack me. However, it was the first time that someone there did so under the pretense of sympathy.
If one actually sympathizes with a person, one would not in the next breath attack that person. If Ponkz sympathizes with me and my concern for male victims, particularly those abused by women, she would not have immediately attacked me for focusing on those issues.
I chose to ignore Ponkz statement, as that is the best way to fend off this kind of attack. The way the attack works is by getting the man to defend himself against an unfair charge so the feminist can pull the “why are you so defensive” routine. Instead I responded to Kyrie, stating, “Kyrie, you said that a feminist saying, ‘wow, the fact that you’re hurting is so offensive to me! what about my feelings?!’ would never happen on this blog. It did, just about an hour after your post.”
However that upset Ponkz:
The one thing that I have been lead to believe abuse victims face is the fear of accusations of being a liar, an attention seeker, making things up, etc. It’s definitely something I suffered from and still do, hence why it’s only in the last couple of years, since the age of 28, I’ve started to talk about what happened to me to my close friends and I still find myself slightly bracing for impact if I tell anyone about it, waiting for the accusations.
To have another abuse victim, someone who I naively thought would understand such feelings, use that against me and essentially accuse me of being all “What about my feelings?” and selfish despite the fact I had explicitly expressed sympathy for him, is really upsetting beyond words and I will now probably think twice before disclosing what happened to me to anyone else in future.
I also note you didn’t address me directly, TS, but whined to David about my post as if you expect me to be banned or silenced or something. I think that’s pretty cowardly.
This is what it looks like when feminists say they sympathize with male survivors. While some of them do actually care about abused men and boys, many just say they do. When called out on an insensitive or dismissive comment they made, those feminists drop their false pretense and go for the jugular.
Ponkz showed no real concern for me, my experiences, or my feelings. She makes no attempt to fix the situation by explaining how I misinterpreted her comments. Instead, she shifted the blame to me while talking about me to the other feminist posters. So I responded with:
Ponkz, you did not express sympathy. You attacked me personally and used my past to start it. I am quite used to feminists doing that, particularly when I write or say something they disagree with, so I am not offended, bothered, or surprised by your comments. However, just because I am not bothered by it does not mean I will tolerate it.
Since you stated that you are just starting to talk about your abuse, I assume you have not spoken to many abuse victims. Please allow me to offer some advice: before you say or write anything to abuse victim, ask how you would feel if that comment were directed at you. For instance, how would you feel if someone wrote your comments to me to you?
I did not “whine” to Manboobz. I responded to Kyrie’s comment that no feminist on this blog would ever write anything close to “Wow, the fact that you’re hurting is so offensive to me! what about my feelings?”, which you unfortunately did. I understand that you do not think you did that, however, having been on the receiving end of comments like that from feminists for almost a decade, I do not believe I am mistaken. To this point, if I were mistaken, I think you would have clarified your intent rather than claiming I called you selfish, saying that you will “think twice before disclosing,” or saying that you thought you could “speak some sense to” me.
You mentioned that you thought “abuse victims would look out for and listen to one another and it’s disappointing to see how apparently wrong I am.” I am disappointed that you never thought to apply that to yourself. Again, I hope that you will think about what you write to abuse victims before you write it and ask how you would feel is someone directed that at you.
And if you are in need of support or someone to talk to, might I suggest contacting RAINN. They have a list of local organizations that help female victims, and they may be able to help you find a support group or therapist in your area.
After years of fending off emotionally manipulative comments like Ponkz’s, those comments no longer bother me. However, it does bother me that they are so common. It bothers me that people who claim to sympathize with male survivors would attack them for focusing on male survivor issues. It bothers me that they would use a male survivor’s experience to attack him or as a caveat to an attack. And it bothers me that some feminists like Ponkz try to use their experiences of abuse as means of justifying those attacks.
I know it is bizarre and stupid to expect any amount of civility and decency online, however, one would think that someone genuinely concerned about another person would not behave in such an manner.
There is nothing male survivors can do to prevent this sort of thing. Eventually it is going to happen. That said, I think civility is the best response, no matter how tempting it is to return the favor, because it reveals who actually cares and who could not care less.