Over the past week, various media outlets have reported a worldwide meeting of heterosexual men to advocate for the legalization of rape. According to feminist publication Ms. Magazine, there were 165 meetings total planned across 43 countries for the night of Feb. 6, organized by “anti-feminist, homophobic and misogynistic writer” Dayrush Valizadeh, also known as Roosh V.
However, Roosh V, the writer behind the male supremacy website Return of Kings, canceled the events just two days before they were to take place because he “could no longer guarantee the safety or privacy of the men who want to attend.”
Wow, that must suck to have your personal safety threatened.
Although these meetings were canceled, people around the world are still shocked they were planned in the first place.
Roosh V’s male supremacy, pro-rape meetings less illuminate the skewed ideologies of the men who planned to attend and more shed light on society’s treatment of women in general.
Of course a group of men who consider themselves pro-rape advocates thought it was okay to plan a meeting to “make rape legal.” With NFL football players continually let off for their rape and abuse charges, Raven Symone denying Bill Cosby’s rape allegations on live television and rape anthems like Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” gracing the top of the billboard charts, we live in a society where men are taught that rape is okay.
Of course pro-rape advocates exist. When young women take self-defense classes, we are taught not to wear short skirts, always travel with friends and watch what we drink. However, young men are not being taught that they shouldn’t rape. We are continuously told that we’re the problem. Women are the issue. Dress codes in schools promote the ideology that women’s bodies are distracting to men and should be covered up instead of telling men not to look.
Of course pro-rape advocates exist, when a woman can’t walk down the street without the threat of being cat-called or hit on by an unsolicited man. We’re called the words “sexy” or “baby,” and told to “smile more” from complete strangers whose opinion is uninvited. It is dehumanizing to be shouted at as if we’re objects available only for the pleasure of others, though it happens constantly.
Of course pro-rape advocates exist, when a woman has to endure threats and hate when online. Erica Olsen, Deputy Director of Safety Net, reported that 89 percent of domestic violence victims were experiencing intimidation and threats by abusers over the Internet and texts. However, it’s not just victims of domestic violence. According to an episode of NPR’s “This American Life,” comedy writer Lindy West once posted an anti-rape tweet and received numerous comments like “Hoes like this make me want to commit rape out of anger” and “No one would want to rape that fat disgusting mess.”
Of course pro-rape advocates exist. When words like “friend zone” are being tossed around when a woman, God forbid, decides that she would rather be friends with a man even though he wants more. The friend zone is problematic because it completely ignores the right a woman has to choose. The idea that a friend zone exists promotes the belief that women are only around for the purpose of romantic relationships.
Of course pro-rape advocates exist, when nearly 40 percent of online pornography depicts violence against women. When Chris Brown can very publicly beat up singer Rihanna and still go on to sell millions of albums and remain in the public eye today. When Donald Trump can rape his ex-wife Ivana Trump in 1989 or prominently announce he’d sleep with his own daughter and still lead the Republican polls.
We are conditioned to believe that all of this is normal.
Of course not all men rape, but of course all women experience the setbacks in society which lead to these distorted ideologies that allow for men like Roosh V and his followers to exist.
According to The New York Times, one in every four women experiences sexual assault on college campuses today. Look around the room right now. Think about the women in your life. Rape is not acceptable, but why do we pretend like rape-culture is?
Stephanie McCann can be contacted at email@example.com