My Experience at the 2014 Melbourne Slut Walk

slutwalk

By:Samuel Enderby

On Saturday, August 6, I performed my first investigation of a Melbourne Slut Walk and, in the process, learned a lot of very interesting things about the mindset of the people who attended by interviewing a handful, including an organiser, a political campaigner, and a few regular people.

Unfortunately, things started quite poorly with my very first interviewee stumbling over the first question I asked her which was simply, “Why are you here today?”. That was a bit of a worry, not to mention a shock, but I guess some people really do just come along to things like this without really knowing why. Maybe thinking is a tool of the Patriarchy. Who knows? Others, alternatively, had clearly rehearsed & memorised answers for this question which were all a slight variant of, “I’m here today to show solidarity to my fellow brothers and sisters and to eliminate victim blaming when women are raped”. Which is really a non-answer given its clearly rehearsed nature. Not a great start.

The next question that I put to people was, “What are your thoughts on rape culture?” and thankfully there were no prepared answers for this one, but they did all have the same belief which was a definitive RAPE CULTURE IS REALLY REAL! All of them claimed to believe in it but had quite different ideas about just what it is & how bad it is. One of the Slut Walk organisers I spoke to said “It’s rape culture when an investigator asks a rape victim questions regarding their behavior and how much they had been drinking”. I don’t know how she thinks we can capture rapists without asking the victims questions but pushing for that is going to lead to many more men being falsely imprisoned, something that advocates of this position do not seem to care about.

Another woman, who was just a regular attendee, believed rape culture was evidenced by the media advising women not to walk home alone at night, or to be careful with how much they drink. This seemed to be a common belief from the attendees because another woman I spoke to had identical views. To these people, this was not advice on keeping yourself safe from criminals but victim blaming. One of the women that spoke, before the walk to Federation Square started, said rape culture is woman having nipples that are illegal to see in public which seemed to be something of a… unique… definition, to say the least.

One of the most interesting interviews I had was with a man who works for the National Sex Party. His views on Rape Culture were pretty standard but, when I asked him if two adults, who are similarly intoxicated, have consensual sex one night and the next morning one of them believes they could not have actually consented because they were intoxicated, is it rape? Not only did I get a definite yes, but he also said he would want this to lead to a conviction in our courts which is a bit scary coming from a man who may one day have the power to enact such legislation.

He did at least admit that men could, possibly, be raped, and even said that he knows men who have been raped according to these standards, however when I asked him what we can do to help more male rape victims come forward he simply said “We do enough. Maybe a few years ago we didn’t do enough but now we do plenty”. That said however, he could not manage to come up with a single example other than saying that some people talk about it now.

After I had spoken to this guy for a while, he handed me a pamphlet on how the National Sex Party plan to expand reproductive rights (for woman only of course). That’s fine and I have no real problem with it but, when I asked him about reproductive rights for men, things like Legal Paternal Surrender for example, I first had to explain to him what it was, after which he simply replied, “I don’t know much about that but it would be nice if we could have that”.

One of the last people I spoke to was a guy who had a the sudden urge to state, without any prompting, how outraged he was that more “cis white males” had not attended, and then immediately gave away too much information when he revealed that he was here with his feminist girlfriend who was doing a documentary on “micro-aggressions” against women. When asked what his thoughts on rape culture were however, he was worryingly vague & then started rambling about the so-called “wage gap”. You know, the very same wage gap that has been already been thoroughly debunked over and over, year after year. It’s a pity that he had never been exposed to that particular little nugget of truth. I’d have loved to have been the person to enlighten him but my aim in being there was to listen to their views and did not want to get into any overly heated debates that may lead people to believe that I was there to disrupt their event. Unfortunately this interview was cut short because his girlfriend, the documentary-making feminist, demanded it. Of course being the “good man” that this poor guy was, he didn’t even let out so much as a whimper when she yanked on his metaphorical choker chain and brought him to heel.

My favourite interview of the day however, was with a woman who initially stated some anti-MRA views but, refreshingly, was open to discussion about why her views may be false. Her main gripe was that MRAs want the spotlight taken off women. I explained that, if we want things to be just and equal for everyone, that might be a necessary sacrifice, but she was less than receptive to that line of argument. She was wholly against anything that would lessen attention being given to women, regardless of how much it may help men. Her other main criticism was regarding the MHRM associating the worst feminists with the entire group. Resigning myself to the fact that it wouldn’t make a lick of difference to her opinions, and using people like Amanda Marcotte and Adele Mercier as examples, I nevertheless explained that the “worst feminists”, as she put it, are not merely a powerless fringe element but are the core movers and shakers of academic, governmental, and institutional feminism who hold considerable power and shape both government policy and the legislation that affects us all. In short, they ARE feminism and, this being the case, they must be held to higher standards than they are currently being held to. To my utter shock, she agreed with this. I was pleasantly surprised to find at least one person who was willing to consider alternate points of view without instantly resorting to vicious Ad Hominem.

The most informative interview I had was with one of the organizers of the event. She had some very interesting things to say about how alleged rape cases should be investigated which can all be summed up in one sentence, “Don’t question the alleged victim regarding any of her behaviour, no matter what.”. I asked her for her views on the date-rape-drug-detecting nail polish that is in its testing stages in America but she did not know about it. When I explained what it did she did not seem totally against it but her main problem with it was that it wasn’t focusing on what she wants more people to focus on, which is being sensitive to the feelings of alleged rape victims, even to the point of compromising an investigation, and teaching men not to rape.

I then put to her the same hypothetical situation mentioned above of an intoxicated couple having sex and one later revoking consent and asked her “Should this be considered rape?” which she answered with a categorical yes. She also gave a definitive yes when I asked her would she consider it rape if the genders were reversed. However, when I asked if there would be any chance of Slut Walk including male victims, she said that the Slut Walk is about female victims only and men can make their own event if they want. I asked if she would promote an event like that if it was to be created but she responded with, “Only if it does not take the focus off of us”, which is pretty much impossible so it’s really just a polite way of saying that she only cares about female victims and that male victims can piss off and be victims alone.

So, as you can see, although I didn’t come across anyone as crazy as, say Big Red (NSFW), a lot of the attendees had some pretty interesting, bizarre, and/or internally inconsistent views (some more so then others). Most of the people I spoke to were willing to admit that men and boys can be victims of rape and sexual assault by women but, despite the fact that most of these people identified as Feminists and that Feminists are constantly insisting that Feminism is all about equality, they obviously didn’t care in the slightest whether or not anyone helped male victims in any meaningful way and they sure as hell weren’t going to spend any time doing so themselves. If you ask me, that was the most revealing thing that my interviews uncovered… Feminists care only about women and women’s problems, they do not, and will never, care enough about men’s problems to do anything about them and will readily sacrifice men for a greater emphasis on the problems facing women. The talk about Feminism being all about equality is just that, talk. Merely an excuse to deflect criticism and nothing more. This is why the MHRM exists, it is the only group that cares enough about the problems facing men to actually do something about it. However, we still have a lot of work to, especially if the views of the politician that I spoke to are anything to judge by. This is why it is critical for us to inform as many people as possible that men and boys can be the victim of rape and sexual assault and that they need more attention, compassion, and assistance then what they are currently receiving, which is practically nothing.

The Slut Walk organisers and attendees have an unhealthy view on this issue. It’s not okay to spread propaganda that scares people, particularly women, into thinking that every man is a potential rapist, there is nothing you can do to protect yourself, and it’s vicim blaming to even try. Not only is it just not true, it adds to society’s already overblown fear and suspicion of men, does nothing but cause tension and mistrust between the sexes, and creates an atmosphere of irrational fear which does nothing to help anyone. We need to throw out the hateful fear-mongering dogma and fill the vacuum with factual data that focuses on the tiny percentage of actual rapists instead of on all men. We also need to acknowledge the fact that female rapists exist, and in far larger numbers than anyone is willing to admit. Then we need to inform everyone on how these sexual predators operate and what can be done to protect yourself from them, just like we do with every other type of crime.

Until such times as this happens though, we are not going to see any significant headway on reducing the rape of women and we are going to continue to see male victims marginalised & ignored in greater and greater numbers.

 

 

A bit about the Author:

Samuel Enderby‏ (AKA Nemo) first noticed the issues men and boys faced when male friends and family were effected negatively by the family courts when he was growing up but did not get into the MHRM until he realized these issues go far deeper than he realized.

 

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4 thoughts on “My Experience at the 2014 Melbourne Slut Walk

  1. I’m actually pretty impressed, I’m sure there were plenty of hardcore people there, but for the most part it was the moderates, which is good to see.

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