With former boyfriends, with former peers in the supposed sex positive/healing communities, with men in the intersectional feminist movement, with lauded teachers and self proclaimed sex healers; Every single fucking feminist woman I know who tries to date men and talks with me about it has been traumatized by this ‘Bob’ creep just like I have. Over and over and over again both personally and witnessing it go down with others.
We are constantly seeing vulnerable communities tolerating foxes in the henhouse who are ‘trying’ to learn how not to hunt and slaughter the god damn chickens, often with the added intensity of witnessing these men rise to leadership and power positions over the people they systemically oppress while invalidating our own signals of danger, like we’ve been fucking trained to do, and it’s utterly crazymaking. We observe this while denying to ourselves it’s happening until we find out about someone geting really hurt, and it’s destructive to ourselves and one another.
We are counting days between learning that one more fucking high profile feminist guy we let ourselves believe was doing it right is actually serially abusive or a flat out sexual predator. We allow the truth to break only once one of us is brave enough to scream loud enough about it to give the rest permission to speak, and frankly, it’s devastating.
Additionally, these dudes are naturally padded by coward rape apologist niceguy’s who take their sides and feel sorry for them having to face the fucking music, by women still struggling with internalized misogyny and the social conditioning to leverage their understanding of this shit to cape for/protect/try to teach their abusers and predators not to be abusers and predators (guilty!).
In fact, I can count on less than half of one of my hands how many people over the last THREE FUCKING YEARS of my periodically talking openly and publicly about the person who raped me in 2014, how many people have asked me to tell me who he is. For a long time, I thought it was because everyone knew. But over the years it’s trickled out that people don’t know. They don’t know, and they don’t ask, because they don’t want to fucking know.
Abusers, by the very nature of our fucking society, are shielded by their powerful allies, and the snowed communities of followers of which they hold power or interest over. They invariably leverage that power to maintain that stasis they seek to maintain, despite being disgraced, at the expense of the people in those same communities who are betrayed, violated, and hurt by the shit they’ve chosen to do.
So, so often, they double down. They make excuses. They go silent, disappear, and hide like fucking cockroaches when the lights come on. They refuse to resign their positions as presiders over people who are systemically vulnerable to their flavor of abuse. They gesture as though they are stepping to the plate, but don’t. And in alternative communities like feminist communities, kink communities, hacking communities, queer communities — where already marginalized people seek out solice — we seem to be even more apt to automatically fucking protect the living shit out of them until it is far, far too late.
At one time I fantasized of dating that mythical, truly dedicated openly feminist man who was into fighting for my humanity as much as I am. I really wanted to believe we as a collective were ready for that to actually exist. And I was still very attached to the possibility of finding a mate to grow with indefinitely.
But you don’t domesticate the fox by just letting them hang out with hens a bunch with a fucking bowl of kibble tucked in the corner. Now, I have adopted a zero-tolerance for supposed ‘consent accidents’ in the rare instance I find myself willing to even consider fucking any of these lingo-slinging space-taking dudes, who I generally won’t even give the time of fucking day to after the camel-breaking shitshow straw that was Charlie Glickman’s public “apology” to his ex, and how disgusted and manipulated I felt by having ever ended up a part of that.
Because while restorative justice models exist and are gaining momentum, I have yet to personally see a feminist man who has violated women in his community truly commit to and complete that process. Because, frankly, they don’t fucking have to.
Now, I only remotely entertain the posibility of trusting ‘feminist’ men who make their own space feminist, religiously credit the women they are learning from, and fight the fight within their communities of OTHER MEN in their feminist activism rather than buddying up with their female teachers and their circle of women activists.
Protip: if a man says he’s feminist, but mostly only hangs/talks shop with feminist women, and you don’t see him out there being the change in front of other men, he’s at best a cowardass crap ally in it for cookies and free education/emotional labor (that the women near him will both supply AND pay for), and at worst is a rapey gaslighting predator fuck who will then use the knowledge he’s gleaned to weasel out of being accountable to the same community that has invested pricelessly in his growth and resulting status.
You are NOT WRONG to mistrust these guys, or to be angry as fuck that you have to.
You DO NOT have to be polite, tolerant, or accepting of men in your community who give you the fucking creeps, violate your consent, rape you, abuse you, gaslight you, even if they are ‘nice’, and even if they tell you what you’re seeing isn’t true.
People who truly want to learn to dismantle their oppressive behaviors in order to take their fucking boot off your neck will find a way to do it without your having to further sacrifice yourself for it. They will find a way to do it without demanding that you be nice about it or prioritize their fucking feelings. They will find a way to do it without leveraging the social capital the have over you — be it money, or being straight, or white, or male, or being socially entitled for centuries to your validation and obedience — and when they fuck up they will fucking own it, air it, apologize like a fucking grown up and move the fuck on.
You don’t owe people who don’t have the skills to respect you, who are clearly struggling to see you as an actualized fucking person worthy of the breath meant to pass through your own neck, a god. Damn. Thing.