December 2, 2005
At school in front of the women's studies center (where I work) there's always a big dry erase board on an easel. It has a question on it (sometimes written by me) and an article to go with it. The article always pertains to women's issues in some way and is meant to raise awareness about the issues. The comments often end up totally off track or people don't bother to read the article.
This week the question was about whether an armed forces sexual assault database would help or hinder the effort to deal with sexual assaults within the forces. My immediate reaction was that it would hinder it- but this was far from the response that it recieved.
Some of the comments were: "why on earth would it hinder it?" and "what about sexual assaults on men?" or "why are we disregarding the minority here?" or "this is a power issue not a gender issue". This time I just couldn't take it.
All we do all the time is focus on the group, that happened to be the minority in this case, but in virtually every other sense is the majority; men.
Let me edumacate everyone on some common knowledge in the gender studies world, and if you know this stuff already, holla!
Something like 95% of sexual assault victims are WOMEN assaulted by a MAN.
The remaining 5% of the victims that are MEN, are typically assaulted by another MALE....this was my comment on the board- and in response someone wrote,"hey, not all guys swing that way."
This is a GENDER issue.
The majority of victims of sexual assault are violated by a male they know (ie. husband, boyfriend,neighboor), not by random intruders etc.
Sexual assaults happen to children, infants, teenagers, 90 year old women, 'fat' women, animals etc. Slinky clothing isn't the reason sexual assaults happen.
Sexual assault is about POWER - it is not b/c a man can't get laid otherwise, or b/c he is wired to be a sexual predator.
In my opinon, sexual assault and violence against women are largely accepted as the norm in our society and the burden is on the victim to prove she didn't provoke it.
If you dont believe me, here's what the World Health Organization has to say:
Most studies on violence against women indicate that
* the perpetrators of violence against women are almost exclusively men;
* women are at greatest risk of violence from men they know;
* women and girls are the most frequent victims of violence within the family and between intimate partners
* physical abuse in intimate relationships is almost always accompanied by severe psychological and verbal abuse;
* social institutions put in place to protect citizens too often blame or ignore battered women.
I offer this post up as a challenge to all white men who haven't realized their gender and racial privledge to dig down deep inside and look it right in the face. Then take action and support the Violence Against Women Act.