This section allows our members to submit their views & reviews on anything from sex & politics to movies & books. Each post must have a feminist angle and is subject to approval from the Limerick Feminist Network. Anything posted in this section must be original content. To submit a piece or make a query email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In light of the recent Standford rape case and LGBTQ shooting in Orlando please read our open letter to men, everywhere, urging them to step up and fight against misogyny, homophobia, transphobia and violence against women.
Not only was blatant misogyny and homophobia/transphobia responsible for the recent #Stanford rape case and LGBTQ shooting in #Orlando, toxic masculinity and male entitlement also played a big part. In light of this, we are calling on men, everywhere, to start openly addressing these problems. Please read and share the open letter below with the men in your life, and men, please read this and take note. Thank you.
By now, we are sure you have heard about the Stanford / Brock Turner rape case, you should know that this story is not isolated or a ‘one-off, this is just one story and one element of a problem on a much larger scale; men’s violence against women. Events like this happen EVERY DAY. So before this event and everything that came with it becomes nothing but a distant memory to you, we want to say a few things and we (all women), really need you to listen and take note.
Men, your gender and toxic masculinity is hurting us. It is scaring us, abusing us, damaging us and in some cases killing us and we need you to stop.
* 1 in 5 women in Ireland experience sexual abuse as adults
* In over 90% of rapes the perpetrator is known to the victim in some way
* 1 in 5 women in Ireland who have been in a relationship have been abused by a current or former partner
* 1 in 3 women, worldwide, is beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused by an intimate partner in the course of her lifetime
* More than a third (38.6%) of women murdered around the world are killed by their partners
We are positive that almost all of the women you love and care about have, at one time, been victimised by men in some way. Are you okay with this? Are you not embarrassed and angry that your gender is responsible for the abuse of women you love and women on a grand scale?
Then why aren’t YOU doing something about it??
The bar of what it is to be a ‘good man’ is so pitifully low that most self-proclaimed good men think they deserve a cookie just for not being violent towards women, when in reality you should all be doing more. A lot more. It has nothing to do with forcing people to be ‘PC’, it is simply asking you to be a decent person.
We’re not asking you to do anything difficult, really.
* Don’t laugh at sexist, homophobic, transphobic, racist or rape jokes
* Call out sexism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia & racism
* If you see a man creeping on someone who looks uncomfortable or uninterested – step in and see if the person is okay
* If you see a man grope a woman – tell them to stop and that it’s wrong
* Don’t take or share explicit pictures or videos of people without their full consent
* Understand and talk to your friends about the importance of continued, enthusiastic sexual consent
* Understand and talk to your friends about toxic masculinity and the negative effect it has on the lives of all men
* Openly support your local domestic abuse service and rape crisis centre, there are enough of them out there and most of them are struggling to keep services going
Talk to the women in your life, when you realise the full extent of shit we have to deal with, it will astound you.
And before you say it, we know, #notallmen but at this point simply saying, “Well I, personally, treat women very well” is not enough. It’s a cop out, it’s brushing the problem away from you and on to someone else. It’s letting those that treat women badly get away with it and it’s not good enough.
You may not directly be responsible for the abuse of women but your silence speaks volumes. Saying nothing and doing nothing to try and stop what’s going on around you makes you complicit and that’s just as bad.
It’s time for men, all men, to step up and do more.
Image credit: Ashley Fairbanks