TW: Sexual violence
Gang rape of an unconscious person is not about sexual pleasure. How much pleasure is there in ejaculating into or onto an unconscious woman? Like, how little do you have to know about sex to know to think that’s fun? What’s your standard of pleasure here? Where did sex ed fail you if you think that this is sex?
It is not about proving that you are a sexual dynamo. What kind of man finds a helpless woman sexually exciting? We generally consider getting a hard-on at someone else’s inability to fend you off as a characteristic of a serial killer. (Unless we don’t, because we see female terror as the cost of male pleasure.)
So why would young men prey on women with alcohol problems, getting them drunk until the point of blacking out (or at least not being able to fight back) and then stick their penises in them, one after the other?
It’s not really for their own pleasure. It’s for the sake of their peers and their status with them: they don’t know how to be adults without a pecking order. (Who comes first is important in this situation.) They don’t know how to have power without having it over other men, and before they can have it over other men, they have to have it over women, and an unconscious woman is an easy one to have it over.
Or, as one male commentator wrote in response to a Facebook post questioning whether conservatives could support Kavanaugh if he, in fact, was guilty of the crimes he’s accused of: “I like him even more.” This was an adult man, not a 17 year old without a fully-developed frontal lobe.
We have–especially through our Greek system–produced generations of men who carry with them memories like the ones described by Brett Kavanaugh’s victims. We don’t have to ask women to explain #whyIdidntreport. We can also ask men what they know–and why they did it.
Above, a possible future Supreme Court Justice, who is expected to treat women as equals under the law, flies a flag made of women’s underwear on Yale. His fraternity was later banned on campus for chants promoting rape. Today’s Yale students are sharing stories of such violence on campus, so be sure to support their efforts with a click.
While we hear a lot about the number of women who will be raped, we don’t know much at all about the number of men who rape. Why? Because we don’t ask. We don’t want to find out that it was our fathers and our brothers and our pastors and our politicians and our Supreme Court Justices who used sexual violence as initiation rituals into fraternities or sports teams–or just into friendship circles.
But we do have some insight into why men do violence to women and to each other. We understand that this is a result of toxic masculinity–a desperate need to bolster up a fragile sense of self, one tied to violence and domination and gender distinctiveness. We know how to raise our boys better, but we need to put them into better systems, ones where the kind of behavior that used to be a prerequisite to get into our most elite institutions is now seen as unthinkable. We can get there, but it will require moving all men who have engaged in this kind of behavior out of power, because we can’t let boys today think that this is how power is achieved.