After posting about a female version of Schroedinger’s Rapist this week, I was contacted by a male reader. He had something he wanted to share, and I agreed to give him a wider platform. Be aware that all the names have been withheld or changed.
Whenever the subject of women being victims of unwanted sexual advances, contact, or intercourse is blogged about, invariably a man chimes in with “But about the MENZ!!!1!” Many times this evolves into a tu quoque argument about how men can be the victims of unwanted sexual aggression from women. They almost always ignore the statistics that show women are more often the victims of men, and even men are more often the victims of other men. They also seem to ignore the obvious logical fallacy that just because both sides do it, it doesn’t mean it’s not a problem for women victims. When the idea of a Schrödinger’s Rapist is brought about, there’s usually a trove of men who rush into not only assert that men are victims too, but that men don’t view women as potential attackers, so it must be women who are over reacting.
I have serious doubts that the men who bring this argument up have any personal experience with unwanted sexual experiences with women. It’s clear in their comments that they have no idea what it is like to be in a situation where a women has taken advantage of a man.
Too much information could tip off who I am and it would only serve to distract from the point I’m trying to make. So here is the condensed version of it. I am a cis-gendered man. In the summer after my senior year in high school, I shared a tent with two people and Mallory. Mallory and I were pretty close, but always talked about how nice it was to have a platonic relationship. I say this because I meant it. I really had no desire to be physical with Mallory at all.
That night, in the tent, I was woken by the weight of Mallory’s arm and leg curled around me. As I was turning my head in confusion and sleep, Mallory started kissing me passionately and touching much of my body. I remember half-heartedly returning these actions because I remember thinking This is what a man is supposed to want. Stop being a pussy and start liking it. I never liked it. But even that was confusing to me, because my body betrayed me. I had never had my mind and my body be so out of sync on something like that before.
I don’t know how long it went, because I never really shook off the feelings of confusion, but eventually I gently pushed her away and murmured something about being tired. I rolled over and pretended to sleep for the rest of the night. Mallory and my relationship would be changed forever. To this day I think she still believes my excuse; that I stopped because I was leaving for college and didn’t want to get into a long distance relationship. In reality, it was because I couldn’t make sense of what happened in my head.
I am still pretty fortunate. I wasn’t raped. Most touching happened above the beltline. Mallory wasn’t even trying to be vicious or overpowering. She just didn’t get consent before her actions. Yet I still felt… dirty. Shamed. Confused. I got a tiny taste of what it’s like to be a victim of unwanted sexual acts, and I hated it.
What does this have to do with Schrodinger’s Rapist and the “What about the menz!” comments? Everything. I am one of the men these commenters want to trot out as a token for parity in victimization. And it sickens me that they want to use stories like mine to their own advantage. To shut women up for talking about these issues. These men do not speak for me. I can not imagine anyone going through anything similar to what I went through and then using that experience to invalidate another person’s victimization. These comments make me so angry. Even if these men really have had a victimizing experience, they still are using it for selfish gain.
These commenters are right about one thing. Men, in general, don’t fear women as rapists or violators. The idea that there is a Female Schrodinger’s Rapist is almost laughable. Since that day, I have shared hotel rooms with members of a group of friends without fear of being taken advantage of. I probably have more reason than most men to fear violations from women, yet I have none.
Why? Simple. It just doesn’t happen often. But it goes deeper than that. There is no cultural expectation or action that women should get what they want and the man be damned. There’s no mindset that men just don’t know what they want, and women know better. I don’t walk down a street worrying if the woman walking behind me felt that the men of the world owed her and that she will show this man what’s up. These things just don’t happen to men often enough to put the fear of them into men. Even to a man who has something happen to him! But they happen to women. Everyday. My experience, mild that it was, has given me a deep insight as to how hard victims of unwanted sexual acts have it. It’s a no-win situation for women. If they are victimized, they are blamed for not doing enough to prevent it. If they take steps to mitigate risks of being victimized, they are called hysterical and over-reactive.
I have one message for people who want to use male victims of unwanted sexual acts for their own purposes: Fuck you. You don’t speak for me.