“Alleged” is used to cover the ass of the media and those who must consider the facts of a case. By using this word, we are allowing the accused to remain “innocent until proven guilty,” a protected right, so the person who has been accused is alleged to have committed the violation. This has no bearing on whether or not the violation took place, only on whether or not the accused is guilty. Since victimization is determined by the one who suffers a violation, we should not be saying “alleged rape victim,” or “alleged assault victim,” and media has no business doing so. When we use the word to describe a victim, we instil doubt in the mind of the listener/reader as to whether or not a violation has occurred. Let’s stop doing that. Let’s start believing the victim; it harms nobody if we use “alleged” to describe only the accused, and it extends the “innocent until proven guilty” right to everyone involved.
I was asked a question:
You keep saying you’re not a ‘women’s self defence’ instructor. Why not?
Simply put, “Women’s Self-Defence” can be one of two things: it can be a women-only safer-space, in which case I am not allowed to be there, or it can be a contribution to rape culture; a perpetuation of a system wherein men get to set rules for women in order for women to remain safe from sexual assault (the efficacy of those rules being disputable).
Now, that isn’t to say I cannot teach women -I most certainly can, and do- or that I cannot address issues that disproportionately affect women, like sexual assault. It’s important I do it in ways that recognize a few key realities:
1) I, as a man, cannot occupy a women-only safer space.
2) Power-hoarding on the part of men contributes to all spaces being unwelcoming and unsafe.
3) Men have the most power in preventing sexual assault because we are the ones who harbour the offenders.
4) While I would never tell anyone to do something they don’t feel safe doing, most of the “advice” being trotted out to women is victim-blaming in nature, tends to be either ineffective or outright *damaging,* and should be demystified and debunked.
5) All risk-reductive strategies should be evidence-based and supported, not just a list of “alwayses and nevers.”
Beyond that, the law is the law, movement is movement, and counter-violence is counter-violence – it really doesn’t need to be gendered in order to be effective.
Now, I have a question for you:
What are some ways men can make spaces safer and more inviting for women?
Let’s do a two-part exercise:
Imagine, in your mind’s eye, a photograph. The image on it is of a person who, based on colour, creed, gender or other status, is routinely placed in a position of being considered insignificant or “less than.” Perhaps even someone who
Hey, Guy. I think we should talk. I don’t mind if your girlfriend, sister, or any other important woman in your life listens in on this one, but this is really about you and me – man to man. Comfortable? Good. Read on.
I mentioned elsewhere on this blog, victims of sexual assault can fall into three categories: primary, secondary, and tertiary. Since that post, however, I’m inclined to edit those categories and add a fourth, all of which I will attempt to (perhaps less clumsily) explain here. Continue reading
I’ve had a number of discussions with well-meaning men on the subject of “women’s self-defence.” Continue reading
A recent discussion on Facebook about self-defence and counter-violence evoked a response from one participant that I hadn’t heard in a while Continue reading
My mother spent a lot of time being mad at me just after my oldest started to walk. She felt I was teaching my daughter to not trust her grandmother, to not like her. The issue would always arise just after we stopped in for a visit Continue reading
I hate all the “never do this” and “always do that” garbage I see out there passed off as self-defence advice. I’m tired of seeing victim-blaming masquerading as empowerment. Here are nine tips that don’t engage in victim-blaming, are applicable to anyone, and can work as well as a kick in the balls.
Ever apologize for something you really didn’t need to apologize for? Continue reading
I’ve seen a lot of hokum out there regarding ground-defences. One instructor, speaking as a guest on a very popular and highly respected day-time television show, mentioned women’s tendency to have far greater leg-strength than upper-body-strength (men generally have stronger legs than upper bodies, too, by the way). He then proceeded to say women who are attacked should throw themselves to the ground so they can better use their legs… Um… Don’t do that. Continue reading