Listen men: About Rape, Sexual Assault, Abuse, Misogyny & Exclusion

9 Mar

by Dr Stewart Hase

Dear fellow men,

I’m writing to you at this moment in time because of the recent media frenzy about sexual abuse in the snake pit that is Federal Parliament. However, the issues currently headlining all our various forms of media is a daily, yes daily, problem in our supposedly egalitarian, good onya mate society. 

What I’d also like to say, in support of my fellow writer Dr Jennifer Wilson, is that males writing about sexual abuse (in all its forms) is about the same as asking hungry fox to provide advice on how to build a fox proof henhouse. So, a few notes from a bloke to other blokes.

The most important thing you (as a man) need to recognise is that when it comes to rape, sexual assault, abuse and harassment of women, misogyny and exclusion is that you don’t understand. You don’t get it. If you get that you don’t get it, there is the possibility that we might understand, or at least as closely as we can.

One of the reasons we don’t get it is because it is not in our best interests. We’ve been taught from birth, that women are goods and chattels, second class citizens, handmaidens, someone who will serve our needs, whether it is in the house or the workplace: even the street. We get this from our families, from the major religions that teach, through text written by old men in caves, and from ourselves. 

Fellow blokes, it’s about power. To be brief, there are three types of power when it comes to the sexual, physical, verbal, symbolic abuse of women. 

The first type of power is exercised by those men who are socialised as above, and never come to question what they are doing. Sounds apologetic (to women who are reading this) but it is perpetuated because it is in our best interests. We are selfish. Glass ceilings, the ‘tea lady phenomenon’, assuming male superiority in all things, and ‘she was asking for it’ rather than accepting that men need to control their impulses, are just a few examples of how we exert power.

Then there are men in positions of power who think that they can get away with anything they want. Mind you, they do this with all aspects of their lives, not just with the appropriation of women. Note the word appropriation. It means ownership. They assume that it is their god (and I mean god) given right to take.

The third type of power is what I call impotent power. These are men who have appallingly low egos or sense of self. They want to take control of women, to appropriate because it makes them feel better about themselves. This is the bulk of female abusers of all types.

And to be clear, blokes, it is not just overt violent power that underpins rape, and physical and sexual assault.

One women a week, on average is murdered in Australia by her partner or former partner is murdered in Australia One in 5 women have experienced sexual violence, 1 in 3 physical violence, and one in six women have experienced stalking since the age of 15.

It is also the subtle ways in which we (yes you) downplay women, denigrate them, portray them as less equal, diminish them, and appropriate them. And don’t just point the finger at Prime Minister Scott Morrison and friends, the Labor Party or Barnaby Joyce and his mates. It is alive and well in your local golf club, bowls club, in football clubs, on the cricket field and on all forms of social media. 

Let me try an analogy to get my point about power across. Imagine getting into the ring with a really skilful boxer or martial arts exponent. It starts with a lot of shuffling around the ring, a bit of feinting, and the occasional jab to the ribs-taunting you. This results in you being exhausted in about a minute. You’re starting to feel a bit helpless because you can’t lay a hand on him. Then the big punches start. Not enough to knock you out but enough to start you bleeding, close your eyes, make your breathing difficult to catch because of broken ribs. He just keeps jabbing away. There are rest breaks between rounds, and some respite as he dances around. But he keeps on coming back. You are totally helpless and your power is completely taken away.

This doesn’t nearly cover the way in which women’s power is taken from them in rape, in sexual and physical assault and in their appropriation because, often, women’s power is taken away forever. After the boxing match, you can recuperate. Women are frequently scarred forever. 

Another analogy may help. I work with a lot of returned service personnel who have PTSD and other problems. They remind me most of women who have been abused because they too have had their personal power seized from them by fear, being overwhelmed and, most of all, helpless in the face of what is happening. Their power has been stripped away.

To fix this problem needs leadership. From us blokes. It would be great if it came from our male Federal Parliamentarians but it looks like we may as well piss into a force 10 gale. So, it’s up to us.

Speak up and, better, fucking stop it!

Stewart is a psychologist with a special interest in how people adapt and also learn. He’s written widely in these areas. He continues to consult, and annoy people who misuse power.Twitter: @stewarthase

6 Responses to “Listen men: About Rape, Sexual Assault, Abuse, Misogyny & Exclusion”

  1. carolyncordon March 9, 2021 at 12:43 pm #

    Yes, you’re getting there. Not quite there yet, but getting closer. There is a huge difference for a woman between saying yes, and enthusiastically wanting to have sex. The difference between no and yes, takes in ‘I guess so, & if I have to’, and is a shorter difference, sometimes, particularly in long term relationships.
    But wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if every sexual encounter involved willing partners enthusiastically ‘doing it’ because that us what they really want, no ifs or buts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • williambtm March 9, 2021 at 2:31 pm #

      Dr. Stewart Hase, in reply to your well-presented article above.
      No man has the right or privilege to trespass, nor to threaten, nor to endanger the lives of our female equivalents; to do so is a cardinal sin.
      The passage of one’s life to its ultimate eventual demise cannot dispel the actions engaged-in during one’s life-long journey.

      One must have observed how the passage of time did no favor to those clergy members who had in long-times past sought their sexual gratification against the laws of our land and in our communities.
      Nor cold case murders and their like.

      Inevitably, a criminal act by any other name… will ever be a criminal act.

      The constant harping of… I no longer recall, had been a favorite response given out, even in Australia’s Courts of law, by Australia’s most treacherous ever former Prime Minister, John Winston Howard…(Irrevocable fact.) This now properly identified as the claim of a disrespecting & untrusted reprehensible person.

      The use of this form of nonsensical hypothical claim can never become a defense of an evident allegation of a crime committed by any whomsoever.
      Nor is there any relief found in Australia’s State and Federal legal statutes of Limitation, limiting the period of time expired that a person can stand for trial.

      I quote an event; 2 intelligent persons driven by insatiable ambition, yet only one remains to achieve their insatiable ambition.

      Yes, Holmes, as Dr. Watson had responded, I see that you are sensibly contemplating the logic you have given for your suspicions.

      Thus a show of the true symbolic apartheid that rules overall in Australia’s House of a tyrannous leadership government.

      Like

  2. Jane Rayner March 27, 2021 at 5:59 pm #

    Nailed it, Stewart.

    Like

  3. ashleyrunsonstarbucks April 6, 2021 at 3:29 am #

    As a survivor of sexual assault, I really appreciated this article. Especially the analogy about the boxer. It is so true that men will likely never understand what it feels like to be powerless. Truly a feeling I will never forget or get over. I think that oftentimes men think that not assaulting or harassing women is enough, however, it is the bare minimum. If you are defending, befriending, or ignoring men that you know have caused harm, you are part of the problem. Men have to step up.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Michael Feeney April 10, 2021 at 4:09 pm #

    It’s all true!

    Like

  5. Petrina April 23, 2021 at 11:11 am #

    This is well written and you made key points that I often acknowledge, but most men won’t admit it, from what I can tell. That these type men are weakling and it is about trying to conquer a woman’s sexual power; not to mention that many men have a demonic contempt of women and they are savages in how they assault women. So it is like anger, hatred, and quest for a false power. Even men that are promiscuous that have sex with women who consent, it is about trying to change the dynamics to give themselves the sexual power that actually women have. They get false affirmation and big ego strokes from it. Thank you for a well written post on this heinous topic. So many men, to many men are too silent on these matters. Not only too silent but not proactive in prevention when it comes to their own sons at other males that they know. Too many fathers do not show the example of, and instruct their sons on valuing and respecting women. It seems they would rather their sons be good at playing football.

    Liked by 1 person

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