Monday, August 24, 2009

Spoken Poem Calling For Men Related To Rape

The video of Kendra Urdang giving a spoken poem, which has been viewed over a 100,000 times, about rape and the way many men who are not themselves rapists actually help rapists through their silence and their tolerance of sexual violence and/or sexual disrespect (whether they intend to offer this help or not) has of course been responded to by some people, mostly men, as if she had done something far worse than committing the sexual violence which she is speaking out against.

In the comments of the YouTube video she's been called a Nazi which equates her with the perpetrators of the holocaust and those who practiced systematic genocide. And her war crime? Demanding that men stop being sexual violent and that other men start being active in sexual violence prevention.

It is telling when a man makes it clear that he willfully refuses to be part of the solution in preventing rape in even the slightest way, including rebuking men for their violence, while he is clearly invested in rebuking all women who challenge men in our society to step up and become part of the solution when it comes to men's violence against women. That man has made his values and his priorities clear.

There are times when it is appropriate to approach men in a non-challenging way, but any demand that all words from all women directed at men related to men's violence against women need to always be non-challenging forgets that sometimes it takes challenging words to shake people out of their complacency.

Those who say that non-challenging and non-angry is the way to go at all times need to live up to their own standards. If they don't live up to their demands for others then their demands have nothing to do with tone and everything to do with their core position on the issues. Tone is just an easy and dishonest excuse.

One of those truths not mentioned specifically in the video is that sexual violence is a civil rights issue. The solution to racial civil rights was not to lecture people, like Rosa Parks, that they would have been fine if they just moved to the back of the bus and never did anything which could be used as justification for racial injustice or race-based violence. Yet this is the only type of solution some people, men and women, will support when it comes to gender-based violence.

Urdang mentions that she doesn't wish the wake up call for men to be when a girl or woman they love is raped. This possibility is one that many men assume can never become a reality. Some men think the victim-blaming advice they give to the girls and women they care about is guaranteed rape prevention.

It isn't.

For men who have expressed their disdain for Urdang and other women who speak up against rape around girls and women they love, those girls and women they love may have been taught by their own words and actions that this man who loves them is not someone who will believe them or support them post-rape.

And that makes rapists very happy.



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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:35 AM   3 comments links to this post


At August 24, 2009 12:09 PM, Blogger JENNIFER DREW said...

Kendra Urdang is very brave in publicly speaking out about male sexual and physical violence against women and girls.

As usual misogynistic claims are attempting to drown out the fact we do live in a rape culture and one which is justified by rape apologists.

I have yet to see or hear feminists who speak out against male sexual violence against women promote Nazism or fascism. Claiming women who challenge the embedded belief male sexual violence against women are 'Nazis' is a deliberate diversionary attempt. Feminists who speak out against male violence against women do not advocate mass murder and mutilation of men but Nazism and fascism does advocate the wholesale mass murder of certain groups who are deemed 'non-human.'

Men as a group are not 'above criticism or challenge' but unfortunately many believe because they happen to be born biologically male this alone entitles them to an uncritical and unchallenging stance. Women however, are not as fortunate, since we are constantly harranged, policed and subjected to male domination and control. This is called patriarchy and hegemonic male control over women as a group.

Racism can never be challenged by non-white groups meekly adhering to white supremacist ideology and claims of 'because we are white we define your reality not you.'

Likewise, challenging male sexual and physical violence against women is in itself a challenge and one which can only be undertaken by critiquing how men as a group continue to be socialised into dominant myths concerning masculinity and societal justification for not being held accountable or responsible for their actions against women and children.

Misogyny is now so widespread it has become 'normal' hence the vitriolic male-dominated attacks on Kwendra Urdang for daring to speak the truth. But women will never be totally silence, because there will always be some who will stand up and 'be counted.'

At August 24, 2009 8:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was reading the comment, I swear most of them must have been 15-year-old single men trying to cry out for attention. They a lot of shit. Probably cowards in real life.

At August 25, 2009 2:37 AM, OpenID rmott62 said...

This poem is wonderful. Every time I hear it, I hope a tiny bit of it get through to men.

The hate in the comments are terrifying and I wish it was just a call for attention.
But that type of hate and disregard of women and girls as full humans can and does lead to violence.
I hope that most are just cowards, but whilst women an girls are being rape on a mass scale - it is not just words.

For if men continue to frame rape as "just love", we need feminism to be very angry.


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