With the Trump administration in power fear mongering is at an all time high. On any given day our fears are artfully directed towards xenophobic nonsense. Daftly, the right focuses on the rare crimes committed by “The Other”, whether that be undocumented immigrants, refugees, or just people of color in general. We need our guns because the “other” will rape our women. We need this wall because the “other” will murder our children. We need our prisons because the “other” can not be rehabilitated and must be contained indefinitely. Ever absent is our own home grown terrorism. Never is there a diatribe against the perpetual violence perpetrated against women by men. If I bring it up, I’m a radical. What about violence by women against men? But not all men assault men, they whine, as if it makes a difference. Male silence = Male Violence.
Today on Facebook my dad posted some little thing about how disheartening the polarization of the political system in the US is. He’s very much a moderate liberal who enjoys a good debate (the man works as a bargainer with the teachers union) and he’s disappointed that discussions he could have had in the past, were now obsolete with the disappearance of moderates. I wrote in reply:
“Well, conservatives have been trying to keep me in my place and strip me of my rights as a woman since the beginning of the United States political system. When it comes to my rights as a human being, when it comes to standing up for minorities, there is no middle ground.”
This random man, apparently he went to Junior High with my dad, white and retired replies “LMAO!”
So of course I answer: “Thank you for proving my point by once again being a white male who refuses to believe women when they say there’s a problem.”
And this is what this man says to me:
Fear mongering at its finest. My favorite bit is how he cites his relationships to women, as if this qualifies him as not a misogynist who just basically said it would serve me right to get raped. Just because you get lucky with your wife at least three times does not mean you are exempt from being a Grade-A patronizing asshole.
Gilbert Fales is the poster-child for the current Republican Party. He is xenophobic. He is misogynistic. He suffers from white-knight syndrome and, he is oblivious to actual facts. When I succinctly pointed out that statistically I was far more likely to be raped by a US citizen than by an immigrant (undocumented or otherwise) and that our efforts are better directed at ending rape culture, he had nothing more to say on the subject.
I have statistics to back me up, but since conservatives love to talk in case studies let’s go there as well. When I have been cat-called it has been exclusively by white men who speak perfect English. When I got groped on public transportation in Chicago, it was white men. When I get hit on at a bar, it’s white men who haven’t been able to take no as an answer.
Of course crimes are perpetrated by minorities, I’m not debating that. But why do conservatives always hone in on “The Other” and their missteps while shrugging off the deluge of crimes committed by white men? Why can’t our leaders accept that there is a problem and that it is nuanced and deeply ingrained. It’s going to take a lot to combat rape culture but we can’t do anything until we admit that it’s the greatest problem women face. But that would mean a bunch of old white guys looking in the mirror and recognizing their own failings. It would mean that they got over their fragile egos, and considering what an uphill battle it has been to convince white liberals to get over their own fragility when it comes to race and sexism, I don’t see this being an easy thing to accomplish.
In the mean time, stop telling women who to be afraid of. Stop talking and preaching. Listen to what we have to say. Work with us to fix the problem. And for the love of all things sane, don’t tell us our only recourse is an old conservative guy with a gun. I have agency and I will protect myself and I will work towards a world where women don’t have to live in fear.