I read something today on cosmopolitan about a campaign that high profile women such as Catherine Hardwicke and Lady Gaga have gotten behind.
It involves women being sexually assaulted by men on college campuses and how they deal with the repercussions of the attacks. However as much as I think raising awareness of this horrible issue is important, I can’t help but feel that campaigns like this drive the stereotype that women are always the victim and men are always the aggressor.
Let me put this forward. If a distraught woman came to you saying she had been raped, you would instantly believe her yes? It’s only natural but these days thousands of women lie about being raped. Sometimes they can’t remember giving consent if both parties were drunk, other times they wake up the next day and are ashamed of what they’ve done, therefore cry rape. Now I’m not taking anything away from the women who are genuinely victims. Rape is a heinous crime and should under no circumstances be taken lightly but should we always judge the man to be the villain before looking into it further? This is a crime where people are perceived to be guilty before proven innocent.
Statistics show that in Britain thousands of women are raped compared to men but they are only recorded statistics. How many men are likely to come forward to admit that they have been abused, especially with the woman being the attacker? Not many. They run the risk of being laughed at or their masculinity is mocked because we live in a society where men are the “stronger” sex. Physically they may be but emotionally? Doubtful.
The common misconception that men are always up for it or would never turn down sex if offered is wrong. There are so many stories of women slipping the man Viagra and forcing them to penetrate; thats just one example.
One particular story of an ex marine called James Landrith shows that men can be victims of abuse by women. He is one of the few cases that has actually been reported and he talks about how the attack has really affected him.
There was another campaign recently that was aimed at sexual harrassment towards women by males called #WhoWillYouHelp and in this campaign video there are numerous examples of men being the attacker but yet again not one example of them as a victim.
Personally I feel that in order to gain equality we need to stop automatically assuming as a society that women are the weaker sex. By labelling them as so we are taking away their ability to be equal which is counter productive. Women are just as capable as men of being the perpetrator in a sexual violence or harrassment case and as soon as we start identifying that this is less likely, the better.