vaginal penis traps and the beauty of the information sharing age

Posted on August 5, 2012

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the main reason i frequent facebook is because it presents a platform to share and discuss ideas that are broadcasted to wide networks (actually, this is one of two reasons i like facebook, for i know it is a monster). i know usually on the internet in many forums and comments sections under blogs/news stories we are faced with the lowest common denominator when it comes to intelligible conversations and sharing of ideas, especially on particularly heated or controversial topics. However, it IS possible (i think more often on facebook because we aren’t so anonymous), and it is something that is unprecedented; to me it is one of the hallmarks of the information-sharing era we live in. Not only do we have access to literally any kind of information, we have the ability to talk to other people about it. People who disagree, which we usually do not surround ourselves with in daily life. how we use this amazing opportunity is up to us. if we want to call people “teatards” and the like and debase anyone who disagrees with us (like i see SO often).. well, yeah, that’s the beauty of autonomy and free speach. I think talking to individuals who differ in opinion from me, in a conscious and respectful way (the way i would like to be addressed), usually is far more enriching than discussing with those who share my ideas.

Today I am having one such conversation. It started with this picture and the caption “or give women guns” Image

to which i of course commented

“Or teach men that women are their equals and teach all our young folks especially the concept of affirmative consent (vs how we operate culturally now with implied consent). Women shouldn’t be held 100% responsible for their safety when other cognizant beings are the ONLY ONES who can stop sexual assault by not perpetrating. I mean obviously anything helps and im a fan of anything that may improve chances to keep women safe..but this still puts all the focus and responsibility on women instead of men.. its like a bandaid over a giant wound.. it fails to get at the root of the problem”

the OP of the photo agreed and said we still should give people ways to protect themselves because even if we teach people differently, some will never learn. of course i agree. It gets interesting when another person (presumably a friend of the OP) commented with this:

women should not take 100% responsibility for their safety? When you were a child and your parents put you in your booster seat and they told you to buckle up, you didnt, so they buckled you in. Why? Because you were not mentally capable to be held 100% responsible for your own safety. When youre a grown woman and able to stay out past a 10-o-clock curfew, you are 100% responsible for your own safety like every other citizen; man, woman, he-she, it doesnt matter.

You want to drive without a seat belt? Its your fault when you go head first the the windshield when you crash your car. Am I right? Same principle applies with your safety. You dont want to be a victim of ANY crime? Dont walk around by yourself at night, in poorly lit areas, in bad neighborhoods, yada yada yada. If you do, thats fine; take responsibility for your own safety and carry a taser or a gun. If some pathetic excuse for a man wants to violate you, make him take responsibility for his actions; tase him in the throat or put a bullet in his head. kablam! If enough women made it a known fact that is you mess with a woman shes gonna take a tank to a fist fight, nobody with a brain is going to NOT think twice before perpetrating.
To which I responded:

[person’s name],  i think you misunderstood what i was saying. i’m ALL FOR giving people the means to protect themselves, but we also need to look at root causes of things like sexual violence otherwise things like tazers or mace are bandaids to a larger cultural problem. there’s a HUGE difference between me not putting on my seatbelt and suffering the consequences and me having my body violated by another human being, i believe that’s a false analogy. also you’re example of walking around at night and the like WILL NOT ensure that i’m not sexually assaulted – most crimes of sexual violence are NOT perpetrated by strangers hiding in alleys but by acquaintances and friends. I can take every precaution in the world and still nothing ensures my body will not be violated except if another person doesnt do it.. that was the point i was trying to make. we have an epidemic of violence against women worldwide and in our country (it’s the leading cause of harm to women – declared by the surgeon general) and i think it’s imperative to switch up the narrative from “women protect yourselves better” to “men, this is something NONE of us will tolerate any longer and we need to address it”. i think we ALL need to take responsibility for the attitudes we perpetuate that lead to gender-based crime.

We’ll see how it goes.. i’m interested in how other people deal with such situations, or disarm those individuals who are CLEARLY on a no train – derail that train and get some good dialogue flowing. I appreciate situations like this because they give me opportunities to flush out and re-assess how to articulate the information i have and the positions i take. already i’m seeing things i failed to include, such as the fact i was not talking about being a victim of ANY crime, but gender-based violence. I also wanted to include “source: i was a DV educator responsible for educating front line social workers who work with survivors” but it sounded too… arrogant. But I want people to know i’m not just spouting off like some typical angry woman…. i hate that i constantly feel pressure to negate negative stereotypes that were created to ensure we don’t take women seriously and to legitimize knowledge i have, but that’s a whole different topic.  I will update if he responds. And as always I appreciate any thoughts 🙂