A twitter conversation about rape prevention.

Person 1: You’re the one that has a problem w/ a safety tool available to women. Or are you one of the “teach men not to rape” girls?!Person 2: god forbid anyone teach men not to rape! 😐
Person 1: You truly believe #rape is taught/untaught?! It isn’t! That suggests EVERY man is a potential rapist!

I saw the conversation to the left on Twitter tonight and it made me angry. It made me angry because its ridiculous. If this is the reason why so many people are opposed to rape prevention efforts that prioritize educating men, then all me to say out loud for everyone to hear:

Yes, all men are potential rapists.

Rapists are not aberrations. Rapists are not inhuman monsters. Rapists are people. Most rapists are men. Not-raping isn’t some natural instinct that some monstrous people simply lack. People are rapists or are not rapists because of what they learn from family, friends, and society. I am not a rapist because I was taught not to rape. I was taught that women are people. I was taught to empathize with other people and to treat them kindly. I was taught about consent and I was taught that sexual contact without consent is rape.

Those might seem like pretty basic facts, but do you know what else I was taught? I was taught that men know what’s best for women. I was taught that women are teases. I was taught that being horny excuses bad behavior. I was taught that no one likes a slut. I was taught that if a woman is raped a great many people will doubt her. I was taught that people will excuse or forgive men who mistreat women.

We live in a society where a man who once mistreated dogs and now works to help them is hated and reviled but a man who raped a woman is a cuddly figure of fun. We are taught that women are worth less than dogs. Don’t believe me? When did you last see a woman raped on TV? And when did you last see a dog mistreated or killed on TV?

We live in a world where people worry about the futures of young rapists but can’t empathize enough with rape victims to not be shitlords about rape jokes.

We live in a world where it’s routine to call women “wives, mothers, and daughters” in order to argue for their rights and safety. Why is that? It’s because everyone assumes that people (meaning men) need to think about women’s relationship to men. That’s because men are taught to think of men as people deserving of empathy but we are not taught that about women.

I was taught everything I needed to be taught to be a rapist. Thankfully for me I was also taught everything I needed to be taught to not be a rapist.

Don’t we owe it to other men and boys to give them the same thing?

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