Originally posted on November 28, 2014
I take a simple position on discussions about sexual violence: leave out the politics. Politics make an already complex issue more complicated. They lead to bias, bigotry, and favoring the protection of political stances over addressing the problem. This is particularly true when feminists are involved in the discussion.
It appears many feminists are incapable of discussing sexual violence without resorting to “who has it worse” arguments. Advocates for male victims and men’s rights activists frequently challenge feminists on those arguments. Feminists usually respond by dismissing the challenges as “misogyny” or an attempt to silence women.
Yet there is good reason for people to persist in those challenges, and that is because when such arguments are left unquestioned, they lead to rather ugly statements. For example, Kaelyn Polick-Kirkpatrick wrote in The State Press:
[…] men’s rights activists and skeptics alike raise questions about feminism’s tactics. For instance, why not include everyone in conversations about rape given it’s such a prodigious problem? Well, conversations that include men do need to happen — everyone has a role to play in mitigating rape culture; but these conversations do not necessarily need to happen within the feminist community.
Feminism provides a safe-space for women to cope with and fight back against the oppressive society in which they live. It exists because oppressed people often need support from others who can empathize with their struggles — men have privileges that prevent them from being able to empathize with the struggles of women, even when they are survivors of sexual crimes. For instance, it is unlikely that a man will be asked what he was wearing during an assault, and it is unlikely that a man will be told that he deserved it due to his promiscuous behavior.