*TRIGGER WARNING: TRUTHS, STATISTICS, FACTS AND MODERATE TO HIGH SARCASM*
To start off, let’s just get the basic criticisms that the menfolk, and some womxnfolk, are going to be spitting in rebuttal: not all men & misandry.
First of all, I am very much aware that not all men are sexist or say and do the problematic things. But a lot of men do not call out the problematic behaviour when they see or hear it. Saying not all men won’t solve anything.
Secondly, since I will be basing this off of statistical facts and lived realities of womxn, this is not misandry, if you feel that way- ask yourself why. If you consider calling out these injustices misandry, that’s the equivalent of a white British/ American male (the height of privilege) claiming that pointing out systemic racism or discussing white privilege is reverse-racism and shouting #notallwhitepeople to absolve and clear their individual conscience of guilt. wtf. no. checkyourprivilegebruv.
Let’s lie down stats and facts first:
Globally, it has been found that 35% of womxn (about 1.3-1.4 billion people- if you estimate that half of the global population is female) have experienced physical or sexual abuse by an intimate or non-intimate partner. (clickclick)
In Africa alone, 45.6% of womxn have experienced physical or sexual abuse- compared to the global statistic of 35%. (Here)
“A woman died every eight hours in South Africa, and of those murdered, 50% were killed by their intimate partners.” –Ntando Makhubu
Now that we’ve got that put out there, let’s get into the crux of why I’m sitting here blogging this post. Why we, as womxn, constantly have to put in this manual labour to explain to and assure men that this issue is actually NOT about them individually, but about the men who do commit these acts and the men who are complicit about it and above all the womxn who suffer at the hands of this.
When a womxn brings up these issues and you yell not all men before she can even finish her statement or engage in the discussion – you are shutting down and minimising issues that HALF of the world’s population face.
When you say not all men if a womxn discusses her lived experience- an experience you have the privilege not to know personally– and refuse to listen because you feel attacked you are part of the problem.
When womxn have to constantly link sexism in relation to you by bringing your mother, your sister, your daughter, your niece, your aunt, your female cousin, your girlfriend or wife into this debate – you are part of the problem. You shouldn’t find it hard to believe that these struggles are legitimate just because they don’t happen to the womxn in closest relation or proximity to you.
If you engage and entertain or are complicit when hearing casual sexism from the mouths of your friends, your family, your acquaintances – anyone you have the power or say to stop – you are part of the problem.
When womxn use the term men are trash when discussing these very trashy and unjust realities, they are not referring to every single man existent. They are not referring to great role models who have fought for and stood by womxn. They are not referring to men who are allies in the struggles womxn face. That being said, if you are an exception to trash – you wouldn’t need to say it. Your actions would show it and you’d know that this is not an attack on you personally, Bob.
Until you’ve walked alone down the street, in a parking lot, on an empty campus ground, anywhere, gripping your key as a weapon, and felt paralysing fear of being attacked, you have no right to delegitimise this cause, or to minimise its validity. Because in a world where most men yell not all men and yet statistics still keep growing you can’t tell who are allies and enemies. Because unless you know how it feels to become tense and uncomfortable as the only womxn or a minority of womxn in a room full of men, being spoken over and having to deflect casual sexist comments that a few joke about, you cannot sit there and discredit the claims made by womxn who do experience this.
To the boy who accused me of blasphemy and misandry: When I say men are trash, I am not referring to the distinguished Prophet (SAW) who treated his wives and the womxn around him with tenfold more respect than you are doing with that comment. I am not saying my father or brother or other male family members are trash. That being said, I don’t think they’re exempt from saying trashy and problematic things nor that they’re exempt from having no more knowledge on this topic than you. Trust me when I say, the hardest thing you’ll have to deal with is hearing the problematic things come from the mouths of those closest to you. And I do call it out if I hear it from those closest to me: because I believe that they can be better, they just haven’t been taught it.
That’s the issue. We aren’t teaching boys what’s right and wrong from young. Instead, we’re teaching girls how to sharpen their nails and carry precautions to be safe against the poorly raised men. This imbalance of raising both men and womxn is part of the problem. Toxic masculinity mixed in with fear-fuelled femininity is part of the problem. We can’t keep ignoring these issues by shouting not all men just because you, personally, feel innocent, Bob. What are you doing to change it? Besides absolving yourself of responsibility and guilt- which if you were actually innocent, you wouldn’t need to do. Are you calling it out? Or do you defend your problematic bro’s?
And don’t mistake this blog post as a means to ignore the fact that men get raped too. We know men get raped and sexually assaulted too. We condemn it with as much fervour as we condemn the violence against womxn. It is wrong both ways. But don’t use that to discredit the fact that it statistically happens to womxn more and we need to fight it from both ends, because as womxn and men united, we are the only way we can put an end to it. So, please, next time, instead of crying not all men and misandry and calling it a day: listen and call out the problematic behaviour when you hear and see it – because that is more effective than sleeping on a bed of fantasies where, because you’re scot-free, the world is all dandelions and rainbows – because it is not for a lot of people. Acknowledge and check your privilege, pls.