Grant Rants

The Stupid, It Burns: Misogyny ‘R Us edition.

- September 12th, 2012

Greetings web denizens, heathens, zealots and the rest of you!

To be totally honest here, I am somewhat overwhelmed.

Last week I wrote a short column as a follow up to a story I wrote about the “Don’t Be That Guy”  anti rape campaign launched at the campuses of Brock University and Niagara College. That story drew a bizarre number of comments from trolls who seem to think their manhood is threatened when one points out that having sex with a woman who is unconscious due to drugs and drink is rape.

Not so, said they in their syntax challenged postings on the Standard’s website. Women bring it upon themselves. They get drunk to victimize men. The only people that are really raped are hookers. One of my favorites so far is a guy claiming the campaign is sexist because it aims to protect women and unfairly paints all men as criminals. (Apparently, unbeknownst to anyone there are hordes of women rapists out there, hunting down young college men. Or something. It’s hard to keep track of the garbled justifications.)

And then there were the comments claiming that because I am an atheist, it’s surprising that I support an anti-rape effort because – and this is enough to make your brain shut down to protect itself – justifying rape is a big part of evolutionary science. Seriously. I am not making that up.

To top that all off, when I wrote  piece this week about a female bank robber (a rarity in criminal circles) commenters began to say things like “Didn’t Grant just tell us women were delicate flowers” and went on to say that if caught, the robber will receive half the punishment a man does. (As if somehow a lone woman knocking over a bank justifies female coeds being raped. Or something. I don’t get it either.)

Yes, the comments reached a level of madness that I did not think was humanly possible. Don’t try to understand their thinking. You’ll hurt yourself.

Fortunately, my faith in human nature was spared, somewhat, by the constant flood of emails, phone calls and comments supporting the column and, far more importantly, the campaign. Some of the stories women have told me about their own tragic experiences have been truly gut wrenching and I want to thank all of them for having the courage to share these tales, even in short conversations that won’t ever be published.

To be honest, I didn’t really do anything that striking. Saying rape is wrong and without justification, it seems to me, is as obvious as gravity. But then I might be wrong about that. Given the comments to my story and column and what assault victims have told me, apparently “rape is just wrong” is something far too many men have a hard time grasping.

So I will say this again:

Enough is bloody well enough, boys. Ya’ll need to stop. You need to stop right now. Because if I have to keep on saying this, I’m going to get angry. And quote a famous, hitch hiking egghead, you won’t like me when I’m angry.

You know who you are. A collective of throwbacks who have been on prattling on in the comment section of the Standard’s website about how it just so *gasp* unfair to have a program at Brock and Niagara College aimed at reducing the number of sexual assaults against female students.

That female freshmen are at high risk of being attacked, that a disturbing number of these attacks happen after someone has gotten a woman drunk or has drugged them, or that the overwhelming number of sexual assaults are committed by men against women is no never mind you lot is it?

Look, boys, asking questions like “Well, what about the men who are falsely accused or rape” or  claiming men are just as often victims of women, or that women somehow “deserve” to be raped or bring it upon themselves is essentially a display of what Darwin called “the lowly stamp of our origins.” In other words, you’re behaving like uncouth cave dwelling knuckle draggers.

There is NO justification for sexual assault. Never. Ever. And when you attack a campaign aimed at protecting young women, you’re placing yourself in the camp of the rapist. That’s is just how it is, my son. That’s just how it is.

I shouldn’t have to say this. No one should. But until the message gets through, I guess I’ll have to keep banging that drum.

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6 comments

  1. Liz Fleming says:

    Sadly, there’s no cure for stupidity. The only defense is to do what you’ve done – to speak out against it. Comfort yourself with the knowledge that the red-neck idiots who’ve been most vocal in their attacks on you have only had the time to vent at such length because they have time on their hands. After all, who hires morons?

  2. MP says:

    Separate and apart from the gutteral and ill-considered musings of (presumably) male commenters, have you stopped to consider whether the message as framed is an effective one?

    Many years ago, I recall sitting in my high school cafeteria listening to a male representative from the White Ribbon campaign take the same tack in addressing the young men of West Park SS. As an avid non-rapist, I was taken aback and a little defensive at the suggestion I had somehow been contributing to our prevailing culture of rape. In fact, the rhetoric was so over the top that nearly everyone cast aside the underlying messages of respect for women and basic humanity, and instead focused on how us young men were being admonished for not being sufficiently proactive and vocal about not raping or sexually assaulting women. Apparently, it’s not enough to not engage in such acts, we must also remind each other not to indulge in acts of rape or sexual assault. And apparently, we are stupid and sexist for having the gall to question this dogma. Do you understand how silly that sounds? Do you suppose perhaps the message needs a tweak?

    • grant.lafleche says:

      I think that your reaction is what puzzles me a little, MP. Perhaps you can elaborate. I am also an “avid non-rapist” but I never got any sense that somehow the Don’t Be That Guy campaign was attacking me because I am a man. I actually don’t understand the reaction that says “I’m a man and I find this unsettling because I am being called a criminal because of gender” or somesuch thing.

      I think we do have to be proactive about this. I think the message is the right one. Is is pathetic and silly that we have to say it in this day and age? Yes. But it needs to be said. The numbers demonstrate this. Sadly, we still have too many men who don’t respect women and treat them so badly we have to say that rape and abuse are wrong. I wish we didn’t. but we do.

  3. Susan Winter says:

    Thank you! The fact that these attitudes persist is very telling about the socialization of boys in our society, and we need more messages such as these. We set up numerous programs for girls on how to defend herself and avoid assault. Where are the programs for boys telling them, in no uncertain terms, that this behaviour is unacceptable and illegal? Do these young men not have mothers and sisters? Do they not think there might be someone with just that same attitude targeting their loved ones? These men need to learn that preying on anyone, not to mention someone who does not have the ability to even try to defend herself, does not make him a man, but a coward and a criminal.

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