Why does liberal feminism refuse to center the fight against male violence against women?

Women around the world are fighting back against male violence against women, but you wouldn’t know it, following mainstream feminist media.

Claudia Correa Torre (Image: Cronica de Xalapa)

December 10 marked the end of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. UN Women, the United Nations organization devoted to addressing women’s rights, says the campaign, which was launched after the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991, exists “to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world.”

Growing up in Santo Domingo, November 25 — the first of the 16 days of activism and the International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women — was always an important day, commemorated by state institutions, the media, and civil society. The day was established in response to the brutal murders of Patria, Minerva, and Maria Teresa Mirabal — three Dominican sisters and political activists who were killed by Dominican dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, on November 25, 1960, for plotting to overthrow his dictatorship.

Image: Mirabal Family archives

The murder of the Mirabal sisters sent shockwaves throughout the country, intensifying the  rebellion against Trujillo, who was toppled soon afterwards.

A couple of decades later, during the First Feminist Latin American and Caribbean Encounter in Bogota, Colombia, more than 200 feminists from the region established November 25 as the day to highlight male violence against women. In 1993, the UN voted to implement measures aimed at eradicating physical, sexual, and psychological harm against women and, in 1999, approved the draft resolution establishing November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women at the General Assembly.

According to the Observatory of Gender Equality in Latin America and the Caribbean (a division of the UN), Latin America and the Caribbean have the highest rates of male violence against women outside of relationships and the second highest rates of violence in the context of relationships. Indeed, the region is currently the most violent area in which to be a woman or a girl, so it is fitting that women there led the effort to establish November 25, as the day to focus on eradicating male violence against women.

During a recent protest against femicide and the impunity of male violence in Veracruz, Mexico, Claudia Correa Torre, a woman whose daughter, Alondra Suarez Correa, was murdered on September 10, presumably by her ex-boyfriend, told Reuters, “As women, we face a lot of danger.” Correa Torre and her boyfriend, 19-year-old Luis Gustavo Narcia Garcia, had been talking outside of Suarez Correa’s house late into the night. The next day, the 21-year-old’s body was found a couple of houses over.

By the time investigators began looking for him, Narcia Garcia had already fled. Correa Torre explained:

“The authorities don’t do anything to find these killers and the killers realize that they are taking so long that they have a chance to get away. And they are going to continue doing so if we allow them to. Don’t forget my daughter. This could happen to any young woman”.

Although harrowing, the fact that male violence against women is being openly discussed in the public sphere is, in itself, a feminist victory, given how long patriarchy has tried to perpetuate the idea that the oppression of women is a private matter.

However, you wouldn’t be able to tell how central the fight to end male violence against women has become for the global feminist movement by looking at some feminist media.

Not only does liberal feminism not center violence against women; it erases women, as a class, from the movement itself.

The last time Feministing wrote about the 16 days of activism was six years ago. The last time they wrote about November 25 was eight years ago. It was a short synopsis, filed under a section called “Today in Feminist History.” But the fight to end violence against women and girls is not “history” — is current, urgent, and active.

In a moment when a feminist awakening is happening throughout the world for countless women and girls, the Ms. Foundation for Women says feminism is not about women at all, but about “the social, political, and economic equality of all genders.”

Not only does this definition sounds exactly like egalitarianism, as one twitter user pointed out, but, by erasing females from the definition of our own movement, the Ms. Foundation for Women ignores global efforts to bring male violence against women to the forefront of feminism.

Our friends at Everyday Feminism go one step further, claiming that to center females in feminism is violent. Last year, in a video called “Is Feminism a Movement Just for Women — Or Is It About All Forms of Oppression?” Celia Edell argued that there are two feminisms: one that “fights to end all oppressions” and another one that is “a woman-centered feminism.” This second version is bad, according to her, as it is “hurtful” and could harm people.

Edell explains:

“Feminism evokes this women-focused movement which fights for the liberation of women from patriarchal oppression. The movement has been going on for many decades and has focused on legal inequalities, women’s suffrage, educational reform, cultural inequalities, gender norms, femininity, et cetera…

… However, this kind of feminism is also hurtful, and potentially harmful. It hurts gender minorities and transwomen, by focusing mainly on the oppression — or only on the oppression and experiences of cis women…

… Some feminists identify with the notion of feminism as being for women’s liberation — the women’s lib movement. And while that’s technically true of feminism, it doesn’t actually capture all the ways that different kinds of oppression will affect women. It does nothing to account for the ways those oppressions affect people who are not women…”

She concludes, arguing, “Feminism is ultimately a collection of movements that recognize oppression of all sorts affecting a wide range of people.”

Ending male violence against women and girls is not even listed among the concerns Edell includes as central to “woman-centered feminism,” even though it’s been paramount. The very fact that a political movement centering females is considered violent, just because it doesn’t center forms of oppression that impact males, is revealing. It is dishonest and manipulative, but also plays off of the fact that women are socialized to never center or stand up for ourselves, and to prioritize maleness and male experiences over our own.

It’s easy to criticize third wave feminism for failing to stand up for women and for capitulating to patriarchy and capitalism instead, but this is a particularly revealing failure and theme in liberal feminism. By invisibilizing the pandemic of male violence against women and girls, liberal feminism normalizes the idea that our struggles as women are less dire than they truly are — that we can focus on things like “reclaiming” misogynist concepts like sexual objectification, that ubiquitous but meaningless term, “gender equality,” or the ever-embarrassing Slutwalks. Meanwhile, male violence against women remains the common denominator for women. Male violence — in all it’s different manifestations — cuts through every possible intersection of age, race, class, sexual orientation, and all other social conditions. It is an oppression that affects all women and girls across the world.

Considering this, resistance against male violence is our most powerful tool for strategizing and dismantling patriarchy as a system. Why, then, does liberal feminism avoid the issue?

All over the world, women’s advocacy and activism has forced governments and institutions to come up with initiatives to combat male violence. For example, on November 25, the French government unveiled a national plan to address violence against women and girls. Measures include: allowing women to take buses “on demand” at night (meaning that women will be able to flag buses anywhere, not just at designated bus stops); educating secondary school students about pornography; a draft law that would criminalize street harassment; and allowing victims of rape and sexual assault to file their initial complaint online.

This year on  November 25, thousands of women and girls from all walks of life, all over the globe, took to the streets to protest the violence we incur at the hands of men, simply for being born female. Crucially, it is because of the work of fellow feminists that the media has also been forced to address the issue of male violence against women and girls. Newspapers and TV newscasts, all over the world, from Zambia to Pakistan to the Solomon Islands, featured interviews with women’s organizations that specialize in the issue.

The heightened visibility of activism and protests against violence against women is the result of the efforts of countless women, over generations and all over the world, who have dedicated their lives to bringing this issue to the forefront. If you think about the scope of patriarchy, this has been a gargantuan effort.

Let’s acknowledge the activism and advocacy of the women who have fought, for decades, to make male violence against women visible and public. Let’s also remember that ending male violence against women is our most pressing concern as a women’s movement.

We owe it to those before us, each of us today, and the women who will come after us, to never allow the violence that men commit against us and our sisters worldwide, to go back into the shadows.

Raquel Rosario Sanchez
Raquel Rosario Sanchez

Raquel Rosario Sanchez is a writer from the Dominican Republic. Her utmost priority in her work and as a feminist is to end violence against girls and women. Her work has appeared in several print and digital publications both in English and Spanish, including: Feminist Current, El Grillo, La Replica, Tribuna Feminista, El Caribe and La Marea. You can follow her @8rosariosanchez where she rambles about feminism, politics, and poetry.

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  • Claudia Manion

    Fantastic article Racquel! Thank you ❤️

  • Zoë Lafantaisie

    WOW! You nailed it Raquel Rosario Sanchez! It’s a work of truth and passionate loyalty! Thank you, thank you.

  • FierceMild

    I’m always so happy to see Ms. Sanchez’ name on a byline. I know I’m about to read something real, relevant, and challenging. Thank you.

  • Omzig Online

    I was so disappointed in Everyday Feminism. Under their “Meet the staff” section, all (except one) founding members are women, and most of them are Women of Color. With such a diverse group, you would think they would come up with some refreshing insight. Instead, it’s a total garbage fire, but somehow more useless.

    At Feministing, there’s some really great pieces, but they still support prostitution with the empty-headed “Yay! Empowerment! Choice!” mantra. And, of course, they support MRA’s in dresses.

    I may be mistaken, but this seems to be a North American/Western problem. Most of the really regressive and harmful stuff seems to be originating in English-speaking online mediums.

    I’m really not sure why feminism is supposed to be the cure for every form of injustice. How did we get stuck with the responsibility of ridding humanity of every form of oppression? I didn’t sign on for that shit.

    And sorry, liberal feminists, but saying “equality for all genders” is the new “All Lives Matter” of feminism.

    • FierceMild

      Eight out of eleven players in the Iranian national women’s soccer team are transwomen:
      http://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2015/10/01/eight-players-in-irans-womens-soccer-team-are-men/

      In Argentina “sex changes” are a legal right:
      http://tgeu.org/argentina-gender-identity-law/

      India allows legal self-identification as a member of the opposite sex with no medical requirements:
      http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/15/world/asia/india-gender-rights-ruling/

      I’m not sure why there seems to be a general impression that trans activism is a Western thing. It’s Patriarchy’s newest flavor and it’s happening everywhere Patriarchy thrives.

      • Omzig Online

        You make a good point. Misogyny is a global problem, so it’s no surprise that the trans cult is a global problem as well.

        But there’s a certain air-headed quality to Western third wave feminism that strikes me as particularly useless and spineless. Ms. Sanchez speaks of a number of cultures where Women of Color are naming male violence as a problem in a way that English-speaking countries are shying away from. In the US, where I live, every topic that involves women is rendered vague and toothless by “modern” feminists. It really bothers me.

      • Wren

        I don’t get how people don’t see the connection between these extremely misogynistic countries and their embrace of trans-ideology. It PROVES that trans-ideology is regressive. But I suppose in liberal circles speaking critically about trans business in other cultures is now considered a form of xenophobic intolerance of other cultures.

        Regarding the Iranian “women’s ” team, the article states that the law allowing trans-operations:
        “…contrasts with the strict rules governing sexual morality under the country’s Sharia legal code, which forbids homosexuality and pre-marital sex”

        NO IT DOESN’T!! It doesn’t CONTRAST, it makes complete sense. Trans-ideology is the antithesis of homosexuality. How stupid are people?? And aren’t these parents freaking out that their daughters are on a team, sharing lockers, buses, and travel accommodations with biological boys in a culture that INTENSELY protects the “virtue and virginity” of its girls??
        These parents must be having major meltdowns.

      • Blazing Fire

        I first did a double take when I saw your third link (like “oh no!”, “Am I living under a rock???”), though there is NO such thing happening here! Then collected myself & did some search. Actually, it is not that bad at all here. The western news outlets are trying to paint a different story of what is actually happening. Probably creating false evidence to show you folks, and say “See how the rest of the world is! You are the only snob on the planet”, and force you to change. Unmistakable finger print of white male strategy.

        What is actually happening is that only eunuchs (born eunuchs or those who somehow ended up like that) have been recognized. And it is NOT self-identifiable. They will fall under a third category. Nothing said about bathrooms/etc for them, though (but I’m very very doubtful if they’d be allowed into women’s rooms – atleast as of now.)

        https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Supreme-Court-recognizes-transgenders-as-third-gender/articleshow/33767900.cms

        http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/supreme-court-recognises-transgenders-as-third-gender/article5914572.ece

        These are dated the same as the cnn “report”.

        I’ve not yet looked for the full text of the judgement – what is quoted by Indian media is way different (and way more sensible, if you ask me), that what cnn & buzz feed seem to be “quoting”. I’ll check & update if I find the full text of the judgement. But I highly doubt if it would be anywhere close to the crazy story that cnn carried.

        • FierceMild

          Please do! I would be delighted to learn I’ve been misapprehending the scope of this problem and it really is just the White-White-West.

          Also, wouldn’t women in India need women’s restrooms to begin with before men could barge into them?

          • Blazing Fire

            Sure:) I went through the whole judgement (never read a whole legal doc in my life till now:)).

            http://sci.gov.in/jonew/judis/41411.pdf
            https://indiankanoon.org/doc/193543132/

            First let me give the glossary for this judgement – it is quite different from the typical western media’s glossary.

            (Note: Only within the glossary, the phrases/words enclosed by double-quotes are exact quotations from the judgement – you can search for those phrases/words in the above docs if you like to)

            [Begin glossary]

            transgender – Eunuch. Persons who are “neither males nor females” (who may be “castrated” or “not castrated”, but are anatomically ambiguous) or “hermaphrodites”. It is recognized in the judgement that the term has become something to loosely refer a whole range of persons apart from the above (including lipstick-men, etc). But as far as this judgement is concerned, TG is used specifically for the third-gender persons as said in the first line.

            transsexual – Those who “strongly identify with the gender opposite to their biological sex”. So, _this_term_ is more in line with a males claiming that they are women coz they like lipstick & trinkets. They may or may not have undergone the re-assignment surgery

            transvestites – “persons who like to cross-dress in clothing of opposite gender”

            [End of glossary]

            A lil background about the general/common picture of TGs in India:
            We see a handful of eunuchs begging (sometimes they demand for alms, rather than beg) at traffic junctions in groups – they usually beg for a living, and have a unique “clap-and-beg” style. They wear women’s clothes, but mostly wear them in a very revealing way, unlike women.
            In my observation, a few micro-cultures seem to hold eunuchs in high esteem – I have seen some people (not local to my city, but hail from far-off places. India is a very diverse country – the culture varies quite a but from place to place) who seek blessings from eunuchs, though most others run away from them. I assumed that the micro-culture of those few people had created a “eunuch brings good luck” belief in order to protect the eunuchs from inhuman treatment or severe mocking.
            Some eunuchs beg only from males, some beg from everyone, but atleast in my city they do _not_ touch females physically at all. They do touch males (touch their hands or shoulders or sometimes their head – not in any vulgar way) who are stuck in traffic & keep pestering them for alms. (In our place/culture, it is not customary/acceptable for men to touch unrelated women. Women have the right to get very angry if they are touched by a man – but in practice, they can do nothing about it in most cases though). In some other cities – in North India, especially – I think even females aren’t spared from getting touched by them, not very sure, since I only read one casual reference to this somewhere else.
            Some of them, apart from demanding alms, also go to shops & demand bigger donations from the shop owners. But they generally live a poor life & live in groups.
            Hope that gives a picture of TGs (I mean, real TG/eunuch) here.

            So, coming to the judgement:

            Though there are a lot of citations from “international judgements” (the newer, crazy ones) and the from those “medical-psychiatric” lobbies which are pro-trans, they are mere quotations, and are _not_ implemented with this judgement. (Perhaps the person spent a lot of time on internet research & wanted to do some justice to the time wasted, and so pasted a lot of what he read to showcase his research. Hopefully, that is all that’s there to do with this.) The couple of examples of Indian TGs quoted here also seem to be based on “feelings” of a male not being a man, contrary to the more common case of physically being a eunuch or devoting themselves to be one for religious reasons – *BUT* even those males quoted above DON’T want to identify as a woman – instead, they want to identify as a ‘hijra’ or eunuch, and want an option to say that they are eunuch instead of being forced to tick either M or F on most documents.

            The “INDIA TO FOLLOW INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS” subtitle of stanza 47 caused a jolt, but when I read the content, it had nothing to do with self-identificaiton.

            **CNN’s statement “The ruling allows females to identify as males and males to identify as females, and no sex reassignment surgery is required for recognition of one’s self-defined gender. ” is almost a pure lie.**

            Stanza 62 (and any other stanzas referencing Article 19(1)(a) of the constitution) of the judgement gives only freedom of expressing a self-identified gender (dizzy enough, but not as bad as we we were afraid of) – basically it only says that a man who thinks he wants to be a woman has the freedom to express his “womanliness” via clothes etc, but does NOT give any right to go & change his passport or birth certificate to say he is a woman. But even this is NOT the main thing covered by this judgement.
            (PS: Article 19(1)(a) grants “freedom of expression” to all citizens, nothing to do with gender/swx per-se)

            Stanza 69 is a bit quirky, and you can twist it & construe it as though it supports the “right” of anyone to claim their belonging to any gender. But if anyone actually tries such a thing, their case will be thrown out pronto – the society here doesn’t swallow such stuff.
            It may not even go that far though, because the following stanzas (stanza 80 especially) clarify what _this_ whole judgement is concerned about:

            [quote]
            79. As is clear, these petitions essentially raise an issue of “Gender Identity”, which is the core issue. It has two facets, viz.:

            “(a) Whether a person who is born as a male with predominantly female orientation (or vice-versa), has a right to get himself to be recognized as a female as per his choice moreso, when such a person after having undergone operational procedure, changes his/her sex as well;

            (b) Whether transgender (TG), who are neither males nor females, have a right to be identified and categorized as a “third gender”?

            80. We would hasten to add that it is the second issue with which we are primarily concerned in these petitions though in the process of discussion, first issue which is somewhat inter-related, has also popped up.
            [end quote]

            So, there it goes – the whole judgement is NOT for biological males who say I-am-woman-coz-I-like-lipstick, but for physically-ambiguous persons who want to have a category of their own.

            ————

            For now, we can breath a little easy. The seriously worrying thing that I just found while searching is that there are some Indian-origin folks in US who have caught this bug (second generation folks – who were born/raised there) who are returning and spreading the disease here – very very few though. And there is one “queer NGO” – nazariya – that encourages those crary folks to remain adamantly crazy. I hope people here won’t fall for it. Only God can save us.

            http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2015/09/25/shivy-transgender-help_n_8193768.html

            Two of the FTMs have complained about the above judgement (which CNN falsely claims that it allowed anyone to identify as man/woman) because it was using biology to determine who is a transgender: (I guess they both could be the same individual going under two pen-names?)

            http://www.livemint.com/Leisure/Nv9Azw4bFA30CGbyCWSXUJ/LOUNGE-OPINION-Why-the-transgender-verdict-is-an-incomplete.html

            https://roundtableindia.co.in/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7377:because-we-have-a-voice-too-the-supreme-court-judgment-on-third-gender-and-its-implications&catid=120:gender&Itemid=133

            —————

            What infuriates me is that:
            CNN & the west are falsely pointing to the Indian judgement & lying to you saying “everyone else is ‘self-identifying’ gender” & forcing you to accept the concept. At the same time, Indian judiciary is seeing what is (forcibly) happening in the west & is believing that “every one in the west are ok with self-identification. So, it must be ok” (though this time no such thing has really been implemented, luckily. But the fact that some crazy judgements have found a mention in the document shows that the judges here are not far away from believing it. The general population is hopefully less likely to get brainwashed though.)
            They are basically using their lie to “prove” their lie – and repeating it till everyone believes that it is the truth.

          • Blazing Fire

            And, to answer your next question: Actually, no one want to use any public restroom here – in smaller cities they are pathetically unkempt. In bigger cities they are sort of better, but still people mostly avoid them. Posh restaurants & some malls usually have well maintained separate restrooms. Nearly all schools & offices in all cities & towns these days have women’s restrooms separately. Only in villages there is a problem – the offices/schools in some of them may lack separate restrooms, and in even more remote villages, even houses may not have restrooms – it is changing though. Recent attention on cases where girls got raped when they went to the fields to relieve themselves has forced the government to take this issue urgently (or pretend to, atleast)
            There have been news reports where a couple of brides in very remote villages cancelled their wedding because the groom’s house did not keep their promise of constructing a restroom in their house – it is a very brave thing for those girls in those very backward village to do! So, it is changing.

          • Blazing Fire

            Given how CNN twisted the Indian story, I got doubtful about the Iran story too & did an internet search – I find that only western news sources make that “8 men in women’s team” claim. In fact, an Arab website has rebuffed the claim:
            https://www.thenational.ae/sport/no-gender-concerns-with-iranian-women-s-football-teams-fifa-official-says-1.25957
            They said that they have checked all the players and found nothing. They also said that one of the girls in an earlier team had an adrenal problem that gave her a not-so-feminine appearance (I think it is congenital adrenal hyperplasia – which can cause excess androgen production in females, resulting in bigger stature than normal women, and not-very-feminine development of facial bones, growth of facial hair & other virilization which may not necessarily affect the external reproductive organs). But then, the androgen tests should have shown it… not sure, but what I’m sure of is that the extreme-left media in the west is certainly lying in this report. Probably the reassignment-surgery that is supposedly approved in Iran is meant only for real eunuchs, and not for normal males (if the surgery-is-allowd bit is true, that is.. I’m doubting that claim)

      • Kat

        Iran is a good example of why we should be cautious of the same type of gender narratives in Western media. Actually, reading about Iran’s policy regarding gay individuals was the first thing that made me think critically about the whole trans thing. I have no problem with men identifying as feminine or women identifying as masculine. The problem I have is with strict notions of gender based on biological sex. If a patriarchal culture like Iran is totally ok with people getting sex change surgery so long as they don’t deviate in the slightest from gender norms, it should give us pause about the way people in the West are starting to label children trans because they are gender non-conforming.

  • fxduffy

    For the most part, liberal feminism, whether the current, trans-infected one, or the earlier stronger version, has refused to recognize most forms of violence toward women, esp. when sexual in nature (the dominant form).

    The so called “pro-sex” movement which occurred in the late seventies accentuated the split between radical and liberal, and also expanded liberal feminism, made it more “pro-sex” in nature, more anti-“victimism,” more new age… all at the expense of radical feminism. To turn your back on porn, prostitution, s-m sexuality, male sex crimes, and reproductive technology undermines even the single issue work that liberal feminists achieve.

    So, liberal feminism’s initial weak politics, weakened further with each of these above moves, continues to be today under the onslaught of transgender. As obviously destructive to women, lesbians, and gays that transgender is, their debilitated liberal leadership is capable of no more than rolling out the carpet of inclusion to the marching boots of the aggressors whose goal is to wipe out their identity, culture, and history.

  • Freegoddess

    I’m appalled to learn recently that so many of the rights that women over the last century are being rolled back. It’s as if patriarchy and capitalism are determined to work hand in hand anytime there’s a real threat to their supremacy.It makes it almost impossible to trust, much less love any man.

  • Great reminder of the reality of women’s lives all over the world. And how the muddled politics of liberal feminism is distracting from this reality and enabling MRA. Thank you, again.

  • Martin Langevin

    I don’t think the problem is that liberal feminists refuse to fight male violence against women, but rather that they’ve expanded the fight to sexual violence by and against any person of any gender:
    https://everydayfeminism.com/2014/12/male-rape-epidemic/

    ‘Researchers have found that 1 in 6 men have experienced abusive sexual experiences before age 18. And this is probably a low estimate, since it doesn’t include noncontact experiences, which can also have lasting negative effects.’
    https://1in6.org/get-information/the-1-in-6-statistic/

    ‘A total of 43 percent of high school boys and young college men reported they had an unwanted sexual experience and of those, 95 percent said a female acquaintance was the aggressor, according to a study published online in the APA journal Psychology of Men and Masculinity®.’
    http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2014/03/coerced-sex.aspx

    Research shows that an abuser has often been abused himself. With that in mind, as a male, I have an interest in fighting male violence against women. Why? Firstly, there is a simple moral reason for doing so. Secondly, there is also a selfish reason for doing so. Reducing the rate of male violence against women will contribute to reducing the rate of female violence against men. we can reasonably suppose that most female abusers suffered abuse themselves. To fight the violence of only one gender ignores the vicious cycle of trans-generational violence. It’s like removing half a tumour from the body of mankind and then wondering why it keeps growing back from generation to generation.

    Also, we need to move beyond victim blaming to proposing solutions. A babysitter sexually abused me when I was eight years old. I again ended up in an emotionally and sexually abusive relationship as a young adult. Only a few years after that relationship, one woman raped me by any reasonable definition of the word. In spite of this, I have no interest in demonizing all women for what some women have done to me. I love my mother, my my wife, and my other female family and friends and do not blame them in the least for what some women have done to me. I see no benefit to blaming what these women have done on some mythical matriarchy. Instead, I place the blame squarely where it belongs: with the women who committed those acts against me.

    As for practical solutions going beyond gender blaming, I do have a practical proposal. The state faces an inextricable dilemma between granting its citizenry sexual freedom or sexual liberation. It cannot do both. If every act but the coercion itself is legal, then unless a prosecutor can prove the coercion itself, the accused will face no punishment. If, let’s say, fornication became a criminal offence, then a prosecutor would need to prove only that the defendant was not married to the complainant, that a sexual act occurred between them, and that the defendant freely and willingly participated in the act for him to be found guilty of at least fornication. While that could serve as an effective deterrent, it could also severely restrict a person’s sexual freedom.

    How do we solve this inextricable dilemma? One solution I could see would be to grant the individual the freedom to trade his sexual freedom in exchange for sexual protection under the law if that it what he wants to do. As an example, a man who had suffered childhood sexual abuse at the hands of a woman could, when applying for a new passport, sign an abstinence contract with the state. His contract status would be stamped into his passport and remain valid for the duration of the validity of the passport. It would make it a criminal offence for him to fornicate with anyone and for anyone else to fornicate with him under threat of a significant fine that would double for each repetition of the offence. If a person wants to know his status, she’d just have to ask to see his passport. If he refuses to show her it, then the onus would be on her to look for another sex partner. Should she coerce him into sex and he makes a criminal complaint, then even if a prosecutor could not prove that the defendant raped the complainant, that prosecutor could just try to prove that the defendant freely and willingly fornicated with the complainant for her to be made to pay a significant fine. We could even extend the contract to prohibit sex with one’s spouse when they are legally separated from one another. Again, if a person wants to avoid legal problems, it would be up to her to find a sex partner who has not gotten that contract status stamped into his passport.

    • Tinfoil the Hat

      Shut the fuck up, dude. Not one woman here is interested in your shitty mansplainy ideas about how we need to center OUR movement. Go blather away at the rest of the internet.

    • Morag999

      Do you always head over to a feminist forum when you feel the urge to take a big dump?

    • calabasa

      I’m sorry for your experiences. I’ve experienced sexual violence since I was a child, as have many of us here.

      However, this is still, unfortunately, doing your message a disservice, because it’s a giant “what about the men” mansplanation on a radical feminist website.

      The patriarchy is not mythical. It is one hundred percent real. What you experienced is the tip of the iceberg for most women in this world, who are regularly raped, beaten and killed for being women.

      Do men get raped? Yes. Do men get molested? Yes. Do young boys get taken advantage of by older girls and women, and does this confuse them sexually? Yes. These things happen. I agree that they are serious problems that men need to organize to look into and put a stop to, as women have organized with feminism.

      However, men do this much more frequently. The vast majority of women do not grow up to be sexual offenders, although we all experience ongoing sexual violence and harassment, and many of us (many, many more of us than males) experience rape. Unfortunately, the *vast* majority of men of men do not grow up to be safe for women; about thirty percent of them are distinctly not. The entirety of heterosexuality is unsafe and inegalitarian under patriarchy, making sex a minefield for women in a way it is not for men.

      Does it happen the other way as well? Of course. Sometimes certain individuals (male or female) are more likely to attract predators, because they spot low self-esteem resulting from childhood trauma. There are just way, way more male predators than female (believe me, I know. Maybe if you were a woman you would have been like me, and would have been assaulted countless times–grabbed, groped, followed, menaced, stalked, cornered and digitally penetrated from the time of childhood, exponentially increasing upon hitting puberty–hit and choked by various men, and violently raped on a number of occasions, including by a person you loved and trusted; that is, you would have been vulnerable because of your history, and even worse things might have happened to you, because there are just so many more male abusers and rapists out there than there are female).

      Why are there so many more male abusers and rapists than female? Why is the “power/powerlesness theory of masculinity” a concept? Because of patriarchy, which also affects us in many, many other ways that it doesn’t affect you at all.

      Are you ill-affected by patriarchy? Sure. Masculinity is harmful for men too, psychologically and even physically. Does that compare to how women are treated under patriarchy? No. You receive privilege for being male.

      As for your idea about passports (it’s interesting your default possible perp is female, but I suppose it reflects your life experiences), it’s a bit totalitarian and difficult to prove for our government to adopt it. Basically, because of patriarchy, women don’t matter as much as men, and men would be hugely afraid of women with “abstinence” passports “seducing them and then charging them with rape” (false accusations, already a witch hunt), rather than what would likely happen (men raping women and then claiming the women had seduced them and lied about their status), so this would never, ever come to pass, not in a million years. And not because of women.

      • Wren

        Yo, Calabasa. I think @Martin Langevin is purposefully targeting YOU to send long, elaborate, time-consuming posts to because he’s thinks you are easily roped into his shit, and it is TOTALLY shit (I don’t think he’s any kind of victim of assault from women, tbh. There’s something too crafted about his presentation, and something sinister and cold about his repetitions to ignore gender power, not to mention his thoroughly bizarre “solution” whilst ignoring REAL solutions to men’s violence and patriarchy, the same solutions that feminists have been demanding for decades. Feminist demands aren’t “practical” after all to men like him). I don’t think he’s telling the truth about anything, and I think he will reveal himself in time. I think he’s writing to you because you’re the only one really “biting”. He’s trying to exploit your intellect so he can exploit your time. My advice is not to give him either.

    • Missy

      Your whole post is nonsensical, as is your attempt to make female violence against males sound like it’s just as big of a problem as male violence against women.

      “Reducing the rate of male violence against women will contribute to reducing the rate of female violence against men.”

      Except female violence against males is not anything near the rate as it is vice versa. I’m not saying that there aren’t women abusers who harm men, there most definitely are, but that doesn’t erase the fact that we live in a patriarchal society which was created to benefit men and gives them countless advantages over women. It’s just nowhere near the same thing, there’s no comparison when it comes to systematic male violence and abuse against women to the rather rare cases of violence, (especially sexual violence), against men where the perpetrator was a woman. Of course every abuse victim deserves protection and support, but distorting the facts of which sex is more likely to commit the abuse and which sex is more likely to suffer it is doing no favors to the ones who overwhelmingly make up abuse victims, and that is undoubtedly women, not to mention that male victims are also far more likely to be harmed or killed by other men.

      Feminism needs to continue centering on women only, and this hijacking by men and handmaidens of a movement specifically created for the liberation of women from the patriarchy is doing nothing except regressing what our foremothers fought so hard for.

    • Wren

      We have a solution!!! Rapists go to jail!!! We’ve been proposing that for a loooooonnnnggg fucking time. It’s really not that difficult to prove rape, it’s just that the legal system favors men. Once men are actually charged and forced into court ON A REGULAR BASIS, they will learn to behave REAL FAST. None of them want to go through that, and historically, few of them have. Rape and sexual assault has been functionally legal. Maybe things are changing now.

      The problem with liberal feminism is that they endorse forms of sexual violence, i.e. BDSM, pornography, and prostitution. Plus, they don’t understand that penis=man.

      You are proposing and insane and unrealistic “solution” in an attempt to prove to us that there really isn’t a solution. It’s silly and a waste of our time to read it.

      Oh, and good for you if you don’t hate women. Why should you? You’re experiences with abusive women were the anomaly in a lifetime of being surrounded by women, while our experiences of violence with men are the norm. dismissive of feminism when you say we should move on from “gender blaming” and therefore you insult us.

    • Blazing Fire

      Your problem statement (according to you):
      “..unless a prosecutor can prove the coercion itself, the accused will face no punishment.”

      And the solution you propose for the above that you mentioned:
      ” If, let’s say, fornication became a criminal offence, then a prosecutor would need to prove only …that the defendant freely and willingly participated in the act”

      So, the current issue (according to you) is ascertaining whether there was coercion or not.
      And then you say that with your solution the issue is “reduced” to ascertaining whether there was no coercion (“freely and willingly” in your words) on the other party. How on earth is the “problem” any different now??
      Also, with this beyond-brilliant solution in place, all a rapist has to do now is to go and get a “no-forn” stamped on his passport before he goes hunting, to make his victims look like demonesses.
      The solutions that men come up with….!!

    • Cassandra

      Look up “word salad” in the dictionary and there’s a picture of your comment.

    • Kelan Fox

      What purpose does your comment actually serve? A discussion of an incredibly important issue (male violence against women) is taking place and you feel the need to make it about violence you’ve experienced.

      If you had any sort of conscience you’d understand that the abusive experiences you’ve had on occasion in your life are a daily struggle for women. If you possessed even one iota of empathy, you’d support women who have to navigate the world cautiously because of male entitlement. You, instead, imply patriarchy is fictional; gaslighting all the women no only in this space, but everywhere. Five minutes of observing people’s interactions makes it clear patriarchy is not fictional.

      What I suggest is you stop talking, read, listen and learn. Speak to the women in your life about the way they are treated by men. Self-reflect on your own interactions with women ( do you speak over women? do you treat women differently than you do other men? If so how and why? Are your sexual experiences mutual, equal and not totally centered around PIV and your own orgasm? Do you take precautions to mitigate risk during sex which disproportionately affects women?). Once you do these things, come back, re-read your comment and decide whether or not it was appropriate, insightful and helpful. If not, learn from it.

  • Kathleen Lowrey

    hey hey, ho ho, woman-centred feminism has got to go!

    -MRAs by any other name. They smell the same.

  • Maeve

    Excellent article, and thanks for writing it so clearly. It seems to me that “feminism” here in the U.S. today is focused around identity more than action. I sense that many women are ashamed of feeling or showing anger about patriarchy. I understand that an angry person will not be heard as much as a calm and cool person, but even amongst women-only groups I sense that other women are afraid to show passion. I think the cult of new ageism, as broad as that term is, may be influencing feminism by implying through group-think that active, loud, unapologetic, courageous women are somehow less “spiritual” or “evolved.” But I’m wondering if other’s have felt censored around such communities of women and if there is a link to liberal feminism? I think the general culture of the U.S. is to act “positive,” and people confuse social critique and genuine concern for a type of “negativity.” Feminism also seems to be butting heads with the anti-intellectualism that is strong in this country.

    • Bleeps3

      How could it possibly be spiritually healthy to suppress our completely rational anger for our entire lives? I hope women are angry, we should be.

      I also sometimes wonder about how medicated we are in the U.S. and how that has been influencing our perceptions of normal. AFAIK we take about three times as many psychotropic medications as other countries.

  • Jani

    The problem is that an entire generation were raised to be consumers and were largely apolitical. Feminism was a dirty word. If you wanted a pink phone to match your pink nails, that’s what life was all about. There wasn’t a “split”. There was just a critical mass of educated but unthinking consumers who bought into the “shop til you drop” myth. Feminism and activism didn’t come with matching heels and handbags. This kind of ‘lipstick feminism’ à la Feministing is the consequences of this lost generation.

  • Jani

    Agreed. Just look at Weinstein. He was abusing “empowered” and privileged women. The rot runs from top to bottom in every walk of life, in all sections of society. Men are violent, predatory and abuse their positions of power. Wherever you go.

  • Po21

    I don’t think I ever hears about cotton ceiling or “some women have penis” in Quebec, so I would say transmania and identity politic is not so big than anglosaxon part. Most people my age would say they know a trans person and be inclusive, but at the same time we dont really care about them. Still, people will say they support them to look progressive, but everyone knows they are men. As a society quebecers tend to complain a lot and we are cynical, I think if it got mainstream people would say what the fuck is this gender shit? But I could be wrong. A lot of millenials my age now call themselves “pansexual”, and the terrible comic assigned male was written in Quebec.

    When the metoo started we had the moi aussi, and I saw people posting it adding something like “and think of trans and genderwhatever who are so much more oppressed than cis” , so I guess we are in the same situation. We are slowly getting brainwashed too.

  • BornACrone

    Why? Because it might make insecure Western women look uncute and threatening to eligible men. Period. If it’s a choice between helping a woman who really needs it and looking cute and sassy to boys while your feminism extends no further than porn and sex toys, no contest.

  • Lucia Fiero

    ‘Considering this, resistance against male violence is our most powerful tool for strategizing and dismantling patriarchy as a system. Why, then, does liberal feminism avoid the issue?’ Because then we might have to confront the level of violence against women and children our foreign policy and armed forces perpetrate overseas.We are a society whose economic system is not just steeped in violence, it’s based upon it. Our foreign policy is just like rape. Countries who possess the resources we, or rather the businessmen who’ve lobbied our lawmakers successfully, want are first asked nicely. When they refuse they are then demonized. Their protectors attacked, and ultimately they are bombed or invaded. How can we as a society have a problem with men behaving in a similar pattern with women who won’t give them what they want without acknowledging our national modus operandi? This is why neo-lib-feminist especially prefer to focus on identity, right and wrong speak, and inclusion.

  • Wren

    In the U.S., most trans women who are murdered are black and prostituted, and yet the trans movement is pro-prostitution. Smh.

  • Macarons & Sakura Tea

    Innervating, insightful, and inspiring post, thank you, Hanakai. More power to you, more power to each and every radical feminist from around the world.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Magdalen is the best <3

  • Hanakai

    “If we are silent about our pain, they will kill us and say we enjoyed it.”
    -Zora Neale Hurston

  • Cassandra

    There are some of us here and there who refer to it as Everyday Meninism. It’s a crime against feminism to have that name; people google “feminism” and find that piece of shit site.

  • Cassandra

    A small sliver of hope!

  • Meghan Murphy

    “I can’t help but be masculine any more than my wife can help being
    feminine. We’re born with our reproductive components. We don’t choose
    them.”

    It sounds like you are arguing that gender stereotypes are innate and biological… They are not. They are imposed on people based on their sex.

  • Meghan Murphy

    No, feminism is not for everybody. The ‘men’s movement’ is called ‘patriarchy.’ Please stop wasting everyone’s time, here.

    • Martin Langevin

      Now I understand. Thank you.

  • MermaidJayne

    Yes, white women are always bought up. But somehow the white men who control the majority of wealth, power higher level positions, and are most committed to maintaining status quo are conveniently ignored. Even on a feminist website they have a hard time going after men because going after women is so inbuilt. Witch trials then, attacks on white women instead of men today.

  • Cassandra

    Oh, God. What a little turd weasel. “Humanist” — that’s some first rate bullshit.

  • marv

    “A friend of mine who had been false accused of selling sex in Canada without the authorization to work in Canada actually heard a female Minister’s counsel argue that whether a woman sells sex or prepares a meal at a restaurant, it’s all the same: working in Canada without a visa. Meanwhile, the first judge to try her case, a man, actually sided with her. If this was all about a patriarchy, then logically the male judge would have ruled in favour of the Minister and the Minister’s counsel would not have dreamed of presenting selling sex as just working in Canada without a visa like any other work.”

    Patriarchy, the class structure of men and women, does not automatically cause oppressor/oppressed consciousness among them. Class awareness is more the exception than the rule. Conservative and liberal based cultural identities like marriage, heteronormativity and sex work mediate the system hiding the underlying division of power. Patriarchal culture provides the lens interpreting what people see in a way that keeps the political coercion masked (though barely). Social indoctrination defines the perimeters of choice which orientate classes to accept their roles as freely chosen and natural.

    The system isn’t in perfect control however as more and more women and some men have varying degrees of lucidity. How far we advance in spreading class awakening and struggle depends on collective organizing by rebels to expose male institutional dominance and its cultural contingencies.

    If you don’t know this you know nothing of use value.

  • Meghan Murphy

    You don’t understand what gender is. Gender is just a set of stereotypes applied to males and females.

  • Second Waver

    Feminism is about women and women only- it is not everyone’s savior. I come from India where violence against women is pandemic- masses and the political class alike are cold or explicitly hostile towards feminist discourse. Erasing women from the problem (language to be specific) all together to be ‘inclusive’ of ‘all genders’ (sigh) is simply destructive and threatens to negate whatever women in my country have fought for.

  • Second Waver

    Feminism is about women only- it is not everyone’s savior. Erasing women from the problem all together to be ‘inclusive’ of ‘all genders’ (sigh) threatens to negate everything women have fought for.

  • Wren

    Thanks, I’m glad if if anything I have to add is ever helpful. That post was really hard for me to write (cause I’m not a writer!!) but it helped me to articulate it a bit.
    it’s here:
    https://www.feministcurrent.com/2017/11/30/whats-current-another-woman-accuses-sen-al-franken-groping-uso-tour/