The Only One

Originally posted on March 24, 2013

Whenever feminists talk about “rape culture”, they remind me of a theory from the anime series Fullmetal Alchemist called “Equivalent Exchange”. The theory states, “Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost.” In order to make their theory of “rape culture”, feminists sacrifice male survivors of sexual violence.

Feminists have engaged in this in many the Steubenville articles. Some leave male survivors out entirely. Some mentioned them in passing. Some ignore them because of statistical proportionality. I could explain why acknowledging male survivors is important, but I know most will not care.

Instead, I want to focus on what those views imply: that there really are no male survivors. If you are a male survivor, you are the only one.

The whole idea feels weird. No one wants to hear about your life. People would sooner blame you than help you. After a while, you begin to think that your abuser was right. Perhaps they were the only one who might care.

You would do that, except some people do not just want you quiet. They also tell you that what happened did not really happen. It could not be that bad because of your gender. Your gender rules the world. No one can force them to do anything, so you cannot be a victim. You certainly do not need to talk about it. Yet you do speak up, you are lying, whining, or trying to silence the real, i.e. female, victims.

Male survivors constantly face this kind of isolation. They are damned if they do and damned if they do not. Remaining silent means staying in the shadows all alone, but coming forward means public mockery and blatant denial. While female survivors experience something like this at least people will speak out about it. Scores of people will challenge those myths. When it comes to males, there is nothing but silence.

Even victim advocacy groups seem hesitant to broach the subject. There is little outreach done about male victimization, and the few organizations that do get little media attention. Advocacy groups treat sexual violence as something only men do to only women. For a boy or a man struggling to cope with his abuse, the profound feeling of being the only one can cripple him.

There are, however, those who benefit from keeping male victims silent. Feminists use sexual violence against females to further their political concerns. Presenting rape as a “gendered crime” works for their agenda, but it also breeds anger towards men. This leads to theories like “rape culture”, which argue that sexual violence results solely from men oppressing women. It places sole responsibility for sexual violence individually and collectively in the hands of all males, including male survivors.

Those kinds of ideas can devastate male survivors. They turn men’s abuse into anomalies in which they ironically cause their own abuse. The ideas argue that men always have power, and therefore experience no “real” abuse. The ideas perpetuate the myth that all men are abusers, and people must teach boys and men not to rape or abuse. This works for feminists because it shores up their message. However, it is also a not too subtle way, intentionally or not, of silencing male survivors.

Like feminists, society tells men that they caused their abuse. However, people say this as a way to keep bad thing out of sight and out of mind. People tend to believe that only certain types of people commit bad acts and only certain types of people are victims. This idea leads many to assume that one can avoid violence. That leads people to assume that if one can take precautions does not, the victims brought it on themselves.

Society worsens this by saying men can always fight back. This plays out in a rather insidious way by challenging the masculinity of male survivors since “real men” would protect themselves.

People also believe that male-on-male sexual violence turns men gay or that the men were gay to begin with. People think that erections imply consent. They think all males want sex with women all the time, and any males abused by females are “lucky”. People think women cannot rape males, and if anything does happen, it was harmless. Most cruel, people, particularly feminists, also think any sexually abused male will go on to abuse others.

All of the above factors work only to prove what many abusers tell their victims. No one will believe you. No one will help you. It is your fault. No one cares about you. You must have liked it because you have an erection. You could make it stop if you were a real man. You are gay. You deserve this.

Many male survivors keep quiet when faced wit such negative messages from all sides. Who wants fight with people who think what happened to you is a joke, or argue with people more interested in scoring political points than helping you? It is easier to think you are alone, that you are the only one, than face that kind of hate.

Unfortunately, their silence reinforces the false notion that male victimization is rare. Yet as clichéd as it is to say, to my fellow male survivors:

You are not the only one.

Despite what society, victim advocacy groups, and feminists say, you are not alone.

There are more men and boys struggling and fighting through the same trials and suffering from the same pain than you realize. We are unfortunately millions of voices strong. You do not have to remain silent. If people do not want to listen you, keep talking anyway because you are not doing it for them. You are doing it for yourself and for others like you, and that is what ultimately matters.

* Note: This is a slightly modified version of my original post about this topic.

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39 thoughts on “The Only One

  1. Danny, I read about that case a few days ago. I find the woman’s excuse laughable since she had enough wits about her to ask the boy if he had ever been with a woman.

    But I do not expect any feminist outrage.

  2. I am reminded of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, more specifically the “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” line.

  3. I think the comments from the article pretty much prove TS’s post. The majority of them are pathetic.

  4. TS: “The whole idea feels weird. No one wants to hear about your life. People would sooner blame you than help you. After a while, you begin to think that your abuser was right. Perhaps they were the only one who might care.”

    Jacob, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Not just for this article but for what you said here because it puts to words the main reason why, on my worst days, I just want to off myself. Not bother being a part of this world.

    I may not have been sexually abused but the hurt and pain from having been treated like garbage by both genders then only getting empathy and sympathy in one area (guess which one) while finding little to no acknowledgement for the other in society is just as crippling in ways. Moreso to know that I basically am told “Just live your life. You have your health. Be thankful. I’m sorry about what happened. Nobody should go through that”. with my story of hurt from the girls and women. It’s the equivilant of telling a rape victim “Sorry about what happened. But walk it off. You’ll feel better.”

    That’s basically what it amounts to: Pseudo-new age bullshit masquerading as encouragement.

    You know what’s sadder? Finding out how naive I was to think doing a play on it would erase the burden of this invalidation and trauma. Or at least make it somewhat managebale. In reality, it didn’t. I’m still walking the earth with this trauma on my back, making a living, getting on with life as had been told to me many times. Those people don’t realize that their words of support is white noise.

    I even devoted thirty minutes to talking about struggles like this on another radio show I host. The result: Mediocre ratings, nothing compared to what had been coming my way before.

    I’m pretty jaded, to the point where if I keep hearing about “Rape Culture” and “Supporting Female Victims”, I’m going to shoot myself.

  5. Well put and right on-accurate.

    This pretty much explains my year’s experience at a RAINN affiliate rape center leading a male victim group. Except that the equating male victims as sex offenders was more express. I and all group members were openly claimed to have perpetrated without any interest or presentation of evidence whatsoever. They even placed charged offenders into the group in secret, under the seal of confidentiality. I was expected to keep this secret and it felt like betraying the group members. Strange, strange. I think they unconsciously did it to destroy the group, because no experienced clinicians permit offenders in victim oriented groups. Their presence is explosive. They are a focus for all the rage and anger of victims, and very threatening. Seems obvious as hell to me but I was overruled by the mental health professionals following the feminist doctrine.

    I still thing the role of victim, rescuer and perpetrator on the victim triangle can show the way out. But feminists, in so completely embracing and enshrining the victim role, re-inact and enable the perpetrator especially on men in various ways, and lock themselves in unconsciousness.

    It was a weird, unhealthy place, and I got the hell out. It felt cult-like. There’s just no organization that will do this work currently. As you say, they don’t care. It seems taboo to mention male victims.

  6. Wait, are you saying that the RAINN affiliate rape center you were at put male offenders into the male victims group (where I suspect there were victims of both male and female perpetrators)? Without notifying the victims?

    Just, wow. I’m speechless.

  7. I should say one offender, but Yes, and that’s when I left and lost contact with how this played out.

    It just seemed like so often they could only see men as offenders. So there was discussion of how could men who’d been victimized as children be treated in a sex offender program/group. As one and the same. They were kind of trying to work out how “victims” could be make to talk about their offending, when they didn’t have memories of offending, assuming they had, and seeing it as the denial offenders have of offending… It just must be true… but… how…. round and round in their mind I guess. Irrespective of the persons in front of them. These are licensed mental health professionals, in a college training program. This is their professional training of student interns. As a non-professional, my opinion was just disregarded as irrelevant. “You have no training in this.” Good thing.

    It was a real lesson in the problems we have in the US. Speechless, silenced, don’t know how to talk about it, yeap.

  8. Wow, Allan, that is horrifying. It’s horrifying that they did thta, and it’s especially horrifying that it was associated with RAINN. That is a real betrayal.

  9. One might think it’s exaggerated or dramatizing but it really is that bad. It’s bad enough that no help or support is available (sometimes help isn’t all that helpful) but it’s far worse that male victims often find themselves blamed or suspected to be perpetrators. It’s like doubling the whole abuse problem.
    It’s not surprising that men are averagely more violent than women. That’s what happens to people who get no empathy. They get desensitized and drowned in despair.
    This is why there is no negotiating with people who subscribe to concepts like patriarchy or male privilege or rape culture. The only “cultural” aspect of rape is that compassion is reserved for women and responsibility for men. And the best we can hope to get from feminists is an acknowledgment of that and that it’s due to patriarchy.

  10. Allan, those people should be banned from helping, losing all medical privileges. That is so sickening and corrupt.

  11. So what happens now? What do we do?

    There’s no support for male survivors, society doesn’t want to talk about them, they’re pretty much blamed for their abuse and no system will even acknowledge them. I mean, this site has already been labeled a hate site by 02 and Sympatico.

    I feel like I truly don’t belong in this world the way it is.

  12. Oh god, not The Good Men Project.

    I’m just so annoyed with them, big time. Pulling the ole “We want a place for men to tell their stories without judgement” while allowing articles published teling men to respect women, stop rape, etc etc.

    To think I trusted them in the first place with my own story.

    Notice in the comments section of your article, Danny, that they’re pointing out that most of the people who are shaming the victim happen to be male?

    While it’s true men are prone to shaming other men, they don’t stop to think women contribute to it equally by framing rape as male’s doing it to females?

  13. And they deleted another comment I made in the “Letter to my son about consent”.

    Fuck them!

  14. Thanks for your supportive comments. It was really hurtful what they did.

    To Eagle35 and everyone,

    I guess for many years, I did wonder if it was my fault, something was wrong with me, if I was the rapist or something evil, all kinds of stuff. After 3 years of hearing men talk of the same effects and issues from childhood sexual abuse, I really had to believe and know that I did nothing wrong at age 9. The doctor was the only person to blame. But I’d never heard that. From anyone.

    I don’t think writing or reading this truth is quite the same as repeatedly, someone looking you dead in the eye, in person, in front of you, as you talk, and “tracking” with you. Nodding their head, they know, you know. There’s a certainty built into that interaction. It gets in very deep. Many men told me stunning things like how the group helped them more than any of their therapy.

    In essence, many people at the rape center sided with the doctor and against the child. They blame the victim. That’s what I think of when I hear “rape culture”. The black and white ideology of feminism that blames every male and excuses all females, enabling the very violence they say they’re against.

    “So what happens now? What do we do?”

    I think we help each other. As much as I love this blog, I think it has to happen in person, face to face. I will do that with you. There are others. As they say, “We are broken in relationship, and we heal in relationship.” I just wish the politics didn’t prevent it so often, … or … every time. There’s no organization that will support this. Mental health, rape centers, Malesurvivor, MRA’s, 1in6, churches and religious groups… they all have their excuses.

  15. Allan: “I think we help each other. As much as I love this blog, I think it has to happen in person, face to face. I will do that with you. There are others. As they say, “We are broken in relationship, and we heal in relationship.” I just wish the politics didn’t prevent it so often, … or … every time. There’s no organization that will support this. Mental health, rape centers, Malesurvivor, MRA’s, 1in6, churches and religious groups… they all have their excuses.”

    Sad but true.

    Wish I could have the ability to meet you guys in person, start a group. But what with my busy schedual and limited funds, I’m hamstrung.

    You know, in my “Speak To Me” play, the ending had an organization for male survivors (fictional) with people who understood and were willing to help, both proffessional and community-wise. Just like that, the main character receives the support he needs from the people he knows and the orgainzation.

    Looking back on that, it was a pretty schmaltzy and far-fetched ending. Because in the real world, hardly anybody wants to even acknowledge it can happen to men. Not even mainstream organizations.

  16. I don’t think writing or reading this truth is quite the same as repeatedly, someone looking you dead in the eye, in person, in front of you, as you talk, and “tracking” with you.

    I agree, and that is why I make a point to talk about these issues publicly. I think people need to do this more. That said, I do think writing about the issue helps because creates enough framework and proof. Anyone can rattle off how something happens, but sometimes showing a person a concrete statistic or dozens of cases is a much bigger wake up call. I can look someone in the eye and tell them what happened to me and watch them not care. If I can show I am not the only one it happened to, if I can give more than my one example, it changes the dynamic.

  17. Eagle, I checked the article you mentioned, and there is one comment from you on there. Is that the one you are talking about? It does appear that some comments have been removed as the author refers to a comment she apparently made to a man named Jack that is missing. I am not sure what is going on there.

  18. It was added back, thank goodness.

    Like I said, I’m incredibly paranoid when it comes to being put under moderation. Even if I should understand the reasons why (it’s system related).

  19. Placeholding my response to Tamen from…
    http://goodmenproject.com/good-feed-blog/hesaid-saying-no-is-the-compassionate-and-respectful-thing-to-do/comment-page-1/#comment-483632

    Tamen says:
    March 26, 2013 at 5:26 am

    “And this isn’t targeted only at men”.

    Apparently it is: http://www.hugoschwyzer.net/2010/04/01/nannies-adultery-class-and-consent-some-thoughts-on-pal-sarkozy/

    Tamen says:
    March 26, 2013 at 9:45 am

    May I ask why it’s not acceptable to point out that one of the people cited in this article seems to disagree with the conclusion in this post?

    Greg Allan says:
    March 26, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Particularly when GMP has been implored more than once by victims to keep that individual away from them and matters pertaining to them. Those victims were clearly not heard which reinforces my notion that GMP was only interested in them for their novelty value.

  20. Gwallan, in this case you were eerily prescient in copying my comments here.

    The second comment by me that Gwallan quoted above were because the first one were put into moderation and then disapeared from my browser, hence I though it was deleted/not approved through moderation. So the second comment was asking why the first one didn’t seem to pass moderation. Both comments later appeared – which is how Gwallan were able to copy them here. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw them pass moderation.

    I went back to that article now, and lo and behold – my comments cited by Gwallan above are now gone. The appropriate response would to those would be a short reply from author (Johanna Schroeder) stating that in that case she doesn’t agree with Hugo Schwyzer. Must I now conclude that she does agree with Schwyzer in that 11 year old boys who have sex with their nannies are sexual predators?

  21. Tamen, I noticed that the comments are still gone even though several people have mentioned them again. A truly sad thing to see. On a related, noted I submitted the above piece to GMP. Unsurprisingly, they rejected it. Given that, I asked that they remove my other pieces from their site. I will await their response.

  22. If that’s the case, Toy Soldier, then this world is truly bonkers.

    Places like The Good Men Project get ad revenue and exposure.

    What do you get? A hate site label by 02 and Sympatico.

  23. Eagle, it is GMP’s choice. They make a deliberate effort not to publish pieces written from a non-feminist perspective, and I know I am not the only person who submitted pieces about male survivors only to have it rejected. The magazine that published an anonymous rape story and Schwyzer’s recounting of trying to kill his ex-girlfriend, both of which are still on their site, find my piece “not right” for them. That is fine, however, I will keep that mind the next time any of them asks me to write something for the magazine.

  24. Once again it makes me reminesce about the days when I contributed articles to them. But things were different: Hugo left with his tail between his legs, Amanda Marcotte wrote the site off. Tom enforced the magazine’s roots of men telling stories without a feminist slant.

    I miss those days.

  25. I too was very excited about the site at first and had many ideas of articles I might write. There were a few REALLY good articles, with strangely few comments. In time, it was just the feminists harping, a cat fight, … all the “good men” have long gone. I haven’t been there in months.

    What’s the lesson?

    Men haven’t “found their voice” to really even speak about their experiences. I’m not sure it’s really even “our way” to do that a lot. Perhaps out on the trail, under the car repairing it, … sure as hell not around women who are shaming us. So unlikely in this feminist media environment except as polarity.

    Oddly, in a way, I think women have way more social power than men, but in embracing victimhood and violent class struggle, feminist women are actively more perpetrators and enablers of violence. I see that when I’m around them in person too.

    I fear it won’t end well.

  26. Men haven’t “found their voice” to really even speak about their experiences.

    Allan, what troubles me most about that place is that most of the articles are written by women and most of the articles are about specific liberal positions. While I am not conservative, I am pretty sure many other men are. I am also sure that men as a group have issues more important to them than left versus right politics that they would like to discuss. Yet few of those articles run on that site. It ends up being little more than an echo chamber, especially when things like the Steubenville case happen. They ran two dozen articles about that case in less than a week, with most simply repeating what the others stated. I recall someone, I think Eagle, writing that he was told that he was not adding anything new to the discussion. Yet I do not see anything new being added there now either.

  27. Troubling in the sense it’s currently more marginalizing men than openhearted? My sense it’s dying out so it’s not now significant except in the past betrayal, than men can speak their hearts in public and be respected and heard. I found them lacking follow-through on their stated intention.

  28. Toysoldier: “I recall someone, I think Eagle, writing that he was told that he was not adding anything new to the discussion. Yet I do not see anything new being added there now either.”

    It was me. And the person who said it to me was none other than the co-head honcho herself Lisa. She also claimed I was too confrontational in the comments sections as well to add further defamation.

    You caught the hypocrisy like I did. She criticises me for not moving on, claims she wants newer stories to see the whole me rather than just someone hurt by girls and women in addition to boys and men, adds that it’ll stunt my growth if I continue on with the loop.

    Yet, THAT’S WHAT THE GOOD MEN PROJECT IS DOING; Refusing to grow or kowtowing to the strictly feminist readership. They’re not moving on either or are willing to throw their original mission of “Men’s Stories without a feminist slant” under the bus in favor of ad revenue and publicity. Like the majority of mainstream media these days.

    I also hear Hugo Schwartzer being invoked again there, the very same person who insulted Tom and dismissed The Good Men Project. Mostly by one of the resident feminists in an article.

    Seriously, that place has lost it completley and it breaks my heart. At least my articles are still there, teasing me with memories of better times.

  29. Eagle, I think Schwyzer’s article was a specific request. I do not know whether he is returning to GMP. He did choose to leave on his own, so I suppose the door is still open to him.

    As for GMP’s content, remember that their audience is primarily feminist. If you keep that in mind, it makes sense that most of their content would appeal to that group. The problem is that GMP also wants to be seen as a men’s space. Most men are not feminists and neither want to talk about feminist issues or talk about men’s issues from a feminist perspective.

  30. Allan: I am considering contacting RAINN and ask them about the practice of putting male sexual offenders in male victims’ groups. Can you provide me with more details here or via mail ( csatspray AT gmail DOT com ) ? Was the offender put on the group also a victim? From your comments I got the impression that he wasn’t. If he was I can sort of see the logic of putting him in a survivors group, although I certainly think it’s not advisable for the reason’s you pointed out. I suspect a separate group for those who were both survivors and offenders would be much better than putting them in a group with just survivors.

  31. Tamen,
    I don’t think that’s helpful. RAINN would have no part in those decisions anyway. Affiliates are quite independent. It’s a complex issue to raise though I welcome it. I’m sorry if it’s disturbing you. And it’s rightfully very disturbing.

    Yes, I believe he was also victimized first and yes, there is a need for “offenders” (broadly put) to “deal with” that victimization. Therapists in sex offender treatment programs have told me, complained, that they are forbidden to discuss victimization and the effects yet it figures into one’s developing sexuality. Obviously. They were SO happy I was creating a place for that. (Long story short: I was again forced by a previous organization to take offenders until it became obvious it wouldn’t work, then I didn’t). Figures exactly how? Lots of issues I try to talk about in the training I did once (given, like, 5 minutes time, so kinda impossible, kinda “not interested”, male survivors are just a footnote) and I don’t begin to know all about that, just what shows up all the time with men in a “victim’s group”. It’s a much needed discussion on a lot of levels and contexts.

    But as you of course can see, recognize, and I well saw, the perpetrator is hugely provocative to a survivor, and it’s generally unmanageable to have an actual admitted perpetrator in a survivor group. I even had something of a rule that mere discussion of an actual perpetrator harming someone, a child, was potentially “not allowed” if it was too disruptive, something I, others, couldn’t manage, tolerate. It certainly sets me off inside at times.

    Again, so much is needed to do with all this, there is so much ignorance, willful ignorance, and only a simplistic ideology was allowed. It becomes kind of self-fulfilling and so much a part of the problem than any solution. So I bailed out. Especially when I was feeling personally threatened by them, volunteering my time.

  32. Thank you for your swift response Allan.

    I was thinking that hopefully RAINN would not be OK with that practice being done “in their name” by an affiliate.

    Just when I thought my mind couldn’t be more boggled you are saying that therapist in offenders groups are forbidden to talk about victimization while offenders are put into survivors groups.

    Let me guess, they didn’t put offenders into any female survivors group?

  33. Allan, I wish that I was unsurprised by this, but I am not. This is not the first time I have heard of people treating programs for male survivors like this. I am somewhat shocked that they would force you to take in a known offender. That should be so obviously a bad idea that no one should have to explain it. It is such a terrible thing to do to you, the survivors, and the offender.

    As for offender therapists no being all to discuss the offenders abuse, that is news to me. While I am sure it happens, all the programs I am familiar with do at least broach the subject initially or after having an empathy breakthrough because of the abuse likely ties into the person’s behavior. It seems counter-intuitive not to talk about it.

  34. “offender therapists not being all to discuss the offenders abuse”…

    For accuracy, don’t generalize from my single experience please. I referred to just this one experience–one therapist spoke of one program, once to me. I don’t claim to know much about offenders and their treatment, and I’d be surprised if there is some kind of uniformity to treatment that prevents discussion of an offender’s previous victimization. Perhaps it was just this stage of the program the therapist was referring to? IDK. These things go on for years in many instances with many stages.

    …”while offenders are put into survivors groups.”…

    Again, let’s don’t generalize from one situation. It actually was the policy to not accept men who had abused anyone as an adult. All male survivor groups I’ve heard about operate this way. That would be about 5-8 groups, several therapists who operate male survivor groups, I believe MaleSurvivor’s Weekend’s of Recovery are only open to “non-offending survivors”. At least, you better not talk about doing something like that there.

    My point to all this would be that male survivors of sexual abuse (like female, all survivors) have a lot of issues that we should help them with and try to understand rather than let silently “play out” to the detriment of everyone around them. My experience is, that RAINN affiliates cannot do that because they are too ideologically driven and not interested to learn, nor willing to follow the specific known protocols that work with this population. Male survivors are an “underserved population” as they admit but this is by design, more than any other reason. It would be pretty straightforward to correct.

  35. >Some ignore them because of statistical proportionality.

    I like to point out the hypocrisy of a movement that claims to care about minorities ignoring men because they’re a minority of victims.

    No responses yet.

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