The Actual Worst

Dear Men,

Stop defending other men. Stop giving them the benefit of the doubt. Stop suggesting false accusations are more common than male criminal behavior. Stop protecting the villains of the play.

What’s that? Men aren’t so bad? “Not all men” violently assault us? Excuse me, but before I can hear you, I’m gonna need you to shut the fuck up while we deal with some problems first. Like all the men who ARE attacking us. And I don’t mean metaphorically “a feminist said something mean to me on the internet” attacking. I mean actual real physical and sexual assault.

Like 283,200 average annual sexual assault victimizations in the US, most of them by men, most of them against women, and most of them going unprosecuted. Or 3,032 homicides of women in 2010, almost all of them by men, and 39% of them being our current or past boyfriends and husbands. Or one of the leading causes of death during pregnancy in my country being homicide by our male partner. That’s right guys, you’re more deadly than pregnancy and childbirth!  And when a woman is more vulnerable because she belongs to another marginalized population, like being transgender or disabled or an American Indian woman living on a reservation, you men are even more likely to assault and abuse her.

More than half of those aforementioned crimes go unreported, in large part because police and legal systems are not set up with women in mind, even though women calling to report (predominantly male) intimate partner violence is the single largest category of 9-1-1 calls. You guys attacking us is more frequent than heart attacks and serious car accidents. When women report rapes to police, the police gather evidence in less than 20% of those cases. I’m not done there. Men also suck in other ways.

Though men are only about half the population of the US, you are more than 80% of Congress, 95% of Fortune 500 company CEOs, and the vast majority of religious leaders. And what have you done with this disproportionate power? You’ve abused it and used it to abuse others. Like studentsdisabled people, prisoners, and women. As politicians, you’ve restricted the freedoms of women and girls.  As police, you commit twice the rate of domestic violence as the rest of men, which isn’t a low rate remember. As priests, you’ve raped boys, girls and nuns, but don’t worry – people will only talk about the boys.

You suck. You are the actual worst. So excuse me if I don’t want to hear how some of you are good. You’ve had untold opportunities to build a better world but you won’t. Maybe a group of rapists and abusers doesn’t deserve the benefit of doubt. At least not while you protect the wicked.

When women are talking about dangerous men and you say “Not All Men”, you’re the one lumping yourself in with the men we KNOW are villains. You’re the one saying that you are so like that criminal they must be innocent, because you think you’re innocent.

So, new rule: Either you shut the fuck up and let women solve the problems you’ve dumped on us, or be prepared to be treated like you’re one of them. One of the bad ones you refuse to name and shame and lock away so that we won’t mistake them for you. You are the one saying there should be no reasonable way for women to tell you from the rest. So fine. You told me you were like the rapists and child rapists and wife beaters and professors sleeping with their students. You decided you were alike and that I needed to consider your morals when talking about them. So fine. I’ve decided your moral are theirs.

If you don’t want to be thought of us like them, by all means stop acting like them. Don’t objectify women. Don’t be chivalrous. Don’t cat call. Don’t second guess women. Don’t present legal defense for accused rapists unless that is your job. Don’t use gendered language like whore or bitch or cunt or slut. Don’t accuse women of being emotional and hysterical. Don’t be possessive. Don’t call other men pussies or say they’re whipped. Don’t victim blame. Don’t excuse or defend male misbehavior. Because until then, I have no reason to believe you when you say most men aren’t like that.

2 thoughts on “The Actual Worst

  1. You are brilliant. Without fail, I read one of your blogs and think, “THAT’S how that ought to be said/explained/argued.
    More people (perhaps especially men) need to read you, to hear you, to heed you.

  2. I feel in agreement with a lot of what’s been said.

    The only thing I want to talk about is “Don’t be chivalrous”. I use the word chivalrous to describe certain behavior, but I prefer to use it in a positive way. I call the bad type of chivalry “patronism”….like when a guy assumes a woman needs his help or assumes anyone else is incapable and needs their help.

    I use “chivalry” to refer to people who refuse to take advantage of someone even though they know they could do so and probably get away with it. I know the word chivalry has a long history, but I’d hope that it could be given a modern, positive definition and use other words to refer to the bad side of chivalry. .

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