The Danger of Downplaying

To All of the Men Who Feel it is Necessary to Keep Making This Point: 

Yes. There is a difference between rape, and groping, and harassment, and assault. Absolutely. And we (women) know the difference. We can identify it. There is a “scale” of trauma, of crime, of response. Yes. 

But the problem with saying that what Harvey Weinstein did was worse than, say, Al Franken or Louis C.K. or Matt Lauer or whoever, is that what you are not implying is that one is worse, but rather that one is ok

The problem isn’t that women struggle to understand the difference between harassment, assault, and rape; the problem is that men don’t understand the gravity of it all. They don’t realize the very real and present danger of downplaying non-consensual acts. None of it is acceptable. And men don’t get to decided what women should and shouldn’t be fine with. 

Every time you (man) cry out “but what he did wasn’t as bad!” what you are really saying is “what he did was acceptable”. It seems that, to you (man), the only unacceptable line to cross is rape. Touching and exposing, at any level, isn’t as bad, so let’s not get our panties in a twist over it. We (women) need to just take a chill pill. We (women) weren’t raped, after all. 

All he did was grab your ass? It’s not like he raped you. I mean your clothes were on. It was a compliment! 

And anyway, all he did was show you his penis. It’s not like he actually did anything to you. Rape is way worse than that! So let’s not punish him, after all he didn’t rape you. It’s just a penis it’s fine. 

Are you sure that your boss was making a pass at you? Maybe you misinterpreted. He’s such a cool guy. I can’t imagine him doing that. You must be mistaken. 

But we all know that rape is wrong. Like super wrong. That’s just unacceptable. 

Or wait? Do we? How do we know she wasn’t asking for it? She went back to his place, so I mean, like what did she think was going to happen? And, like, he spent a lot of money on dinner, so she kind of owes him. What was she wearing? How much did she have to drink? Are we sure she just doesn’t regret it now? Why should we ruin his life over 20 minutes of fun? If she really didn’t want it, why didn’t she just leave? 

But like, rape is wrong. 

Are you getting my point? 

Probably not. So let me explain. Dismissing one non-consensual sex act leads to allowing and excusing other non-consensual sex acts. And it socializes us as a society to dismiss non-consensual acts. It socializes us to devalue consent altogether. And when a man gets away with a butt grab or exposing himself, he realizes there aren’t consequences to his actions, so why can’t he get away with doing whatever he wants whenever he wants to whoever he wants? When you dismiss and excuse non-consensual sex acts they escalate. It’s a very damaging viewpoint that fuels rape culture. 

Here’s the thing, women can tell the difference between harassment, assault, and flirtation. We know the difference between Harvey and Aziz. And we are upset about it all. We are upset about powerful men in the work place exploiting their position to pressure us into horrible situations, and we are upset about “nice guys” saying “nice things” while pushing our hands against their dicks after being told no over and over again. We are upset about being ignored when we speak up. We are upset about being raped. And we are upset about everything in between. 

And we get to talk about it! News flash: if you are doing something to another person that they need to then keep secret, you shouldn’t be doing it. Period. 

I’m so sick of hearing all of these men crying and complaining about all of these women coming forward and how it’s affecting the men. These poor men can’t talk to women how they want, behave around women how they want, use women how they want any more because too many women are finally speaking up. 

Now when a woman says no, men are expected to stop what they are doing. Now when a woman says no men aren’t allowed to insult her. Now when a woman works for you, you can’t pull your dick out in front of her. Because if you do she is going to tell people about it, she is going to tell everyone about it, and everyone will know what you (man) did. It must be so hard to have to think about your actions before committing them, and being held accountable for your actions must be even harder (boys will be held accountable for their actions). 

But get over it. This isn’t about you. It’s about protecting women. 


10 thoughts on “The Danger of Downplaying

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