(Side note before I get going: my editor gave me back my book! I am super duper grateful I am working with her. As I go through the chapters I can see how she edited, but my voice still sounds like me. She improved flow so dramatically. Oh working with competent professionals is like a gentle summer rain. Ahhhhhh.)
Less than 10%. When you want to talk about problematic men that’s the figure you are looking at. In every group of 100 men not even 10 of them are douchebags or rapists or violent.
But lots of people (men and women) get attacked by this percentage. This is the problematic percentage.
Noah thinks it is a very good sign that female violent crime is on the rise. We aren’t that far behind men anymore. He says that is a sign of progress.
I understand the frustration around the #notallmen and #yesallwomen hashtags. No, not all men are a problem. But sometimes when people are angry and ranting about the problem they don’t have the spoons to slow down and gently stroke your hair and say, Of course not you honey.
If you are in the 90%+ of men who are not scumbags, congratulations. I may or may not be willing to thank you for not being a piece of shit all the time but I do notice and appreciate it.
Unfortunately it is the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. This problematic segment of society. Because it’s not just men. Women are doing more and more violence. We live in a world where they can.
Is there any way to morph the language from, “Men are predators” towards “The problematic portion of society” because there will always be men, women, and trans*folk who fall into the same wedge of the pie. It is stupid to act like ONLY men ever do bad things.
And with the yes all women–are you a woman if you don’t get harassed? Is not getting harassed a sign of shame because you aren’t attractive enough? I don’t think it is based on looks. I don’t know for sure what it is based on. I know that black women get it worse than white women in this country. I don’t have the authority to speak about international patterns.
If you never get harassed, are you a woman? That is what the #yesallwomen bandwagon seems to be about. All women have unpleasant things happen to them. Not all of those unpleasant things are sexual or about street harassment.
Do we really need to unite as a gender behind an experience that only happens to less than half of us? Why in the hell should that be the marker?
Seems pretty stupid to me.
There are bad people in the world. Lots of them. But they are still less than 10% of the population. How do we learn to focus on the problems rather than using gender or race as blanket permission to hate people?
I’m afraid this problem is too big for me.
I can handle this on a small group level. I had lots of classroom conflicts. I had opposing gang members in the same classes. We had issues. But I managed to get my classroom declared neutral territory and by the end of a school year sworn enemies would laugh and put on a stupid play together.
Scale is the problem. How do you deal with problematic people? By having someone stare at them all the time to make sure they don’t get away with shit. But it’s a hard job. Not that many people really want it.
And the worst predators are the ones who don’t go to jail anyway. They are never prosecuted. My dad was a rapist for decades before it took a sixteen year old child saying, “No more”. I am pretty sure I know about at least six other child victims of his. No telling what else he did.
Not all men are bad. Truly. Most men are decent. Some men are flat out wonderful. But y’all got a snake in your gopher hole. I’m not sure that the victims are going to be able to stop this problem.
This has to be seen as a problem that is bigger than perpetrators and victims. By-standers have to start to see it. By-standers need to be unafraid to walk into a public conflict and ask if everyone is ok. Deescalation is super hard. People who are currently amping up are rarely able to manage it alone.
I have walked into a lot of fistfights. I rarely come away with more than a bruise. It is worth the potential danger.
Sometimes I don’t understand how I became the one who is breaking up the fights instead of starting them. Life is so crazy. I think that conflict management training they made me do in junior high helped. The fact that I face steeper penalties now helps too. And I signed up to be a 20 year good example. Oh just shoot me now.
Six years in and no major fuck ups!
Only little fuck ups. Everyone does little fuck ups. That’s basically mandatory. Perfect parents are bad for kids. Kids learn how to handle mistakes and failure by watching their parents.
When I stop and think about it I am very proud of myself. I have an incredibly low frustration thresh hold so if I’m doing something hard for me… well… now I just mutter my constant swear words very quietly instead of screaming them at the top of my lungs. Progress.
I have broken multiple dishes this year. My response, “Ah drat! Back up and let me clean it up. Whoops.”
Shanna’s response every time has been, “Good thing that came from Ikea. *phew* It’s easy to replace!”
When my kids break things they say, “Oh no! Oh thank goodness it is replaceable.”
We don’t get the bone china out very much. We are all clear we won’t be able to just get another one. And it’s pretty. So we save it for very special occasions. (Their grandmother sent them one fancy bone china plate. Because that won’t start a fight at all. It’s Peter Rabbit and friends. Very cute.)
I’ve been talking to Shanna about this. About mistakes and the kinds of mistakes you make. The vast majority of all mistakes are no big deal and you just keep moving while learning from the experience. You have to fail to learn.
There are some mistakes that are bigger. There are some mistakes you can’t get back and they really hurt someone.
The problems with the destructive 10% of society fall into this category in my opinion.
Those problems really hurt. Those problems keep going. On the kid level of understanding we went to the glass case where we keep all of our dishes. Up high above the shelves the kids use Noah and I have a few glass art pieces we have acquired through life.
One of them was a wedding present from Dad and Francesca. Shanna already managed to break the other present I had from Francesca. This is the last thing I have left. I can never get another one. This was the last thing my good friend saw and said, “Oh this makes me think of Krissy.” (I don’t really understand why. It is not my color palette. Whatever.)
If that got broke I would be very sad. If Shanna got mad at me, went to the cabinet and broke it on purpose…. I would feel completely devastated. I told her I would rather have her punch me in the face over and over again. That would hurt me very much.
Even though it is just a thing and things are replaceable. This thing comes packaged with love from someone I will never see again. This item isn’t replaceable. I could buy more glass, but I can never buy more love from Francesca. It is not for sale.
I try not to talk to my kids about rape yet. So I try to talk about problems on a scope they will understand.
My kids understand that there are people in the world who will touch you in your private places without permission. They think that if anyone ever does that kind of thing that they have full permission to cause as much pain as they physically can. Outside of it coming up rarely in books (my kids are quite sure that if Prince Eric snuck into their room to kiss them while they were sleeping he wouldn’t be walking out because his legs would be broken–I love my kids.) I don’t talk about those problems much.
I don’t want them growing up with all rape all the time. And that’s hard for me to do. It is conscious effort to change topics and find accessible, appropriate things to talk about.
I’m kind of tired of the indignant, “But I’m not the problem.” Ok. Fine. Then stop fucking talking about you and TALK ABOUT THE PROBLEM.
All I know is that I have the safety to hide in my house a lot of the time. I live in a relatively safe neighborhood. Well, my next door neighbor keeps getting ripped off. I have not said out loud to him, “Well maybe if you spent less time in your front yard yelling asshole racist shit you would be less of a target… they don’t hit me.”
But that’s not the point. What is the point? Men are raped. Women are raped. Men are rapists. Women are rapists. More than half of the people alive are neither a rapist nor a rape victim.
How do we even talk about the problem? How do we get a handle on the scale? How do we talk about systematic solutions. If every community needs a few dozen people like me to follow around the problems and keep them out of trouble… that’s a hard burden systematically. It’s easier to put them in prison. Only that has so many problems it isn’t funny. Our country is obscene and disgusting in how we incarcerate our citizens.
People a lot smarter than me have been beating their heads on this problem. But I feel like defining the problem further is useful.
Have a good day.