CW: rape & abuse
Male victims of rape and/or abuse deserve more than being used as a “trump card” to invalidate women’s issues. Men who do not care about male victims of abuse love to point out that men are also abused as a tactic to divert attention away from discussing women’s issues. These people do not care about women. (I bet you already figured that out!) They feel annoyed that women have the gall to discuss their social issues and their entitlement to be at the center of attention at all times supersedes their empathy for male victims of abuse or rape.
The truth of the matter in the Caribbean is that instances of men being abused, raped and assaulted are more common than we realize. There is a great deal of shame that male victims carry with them — not just shame about the specific incident but shame regarding the likely homophobic backlash they will face for coming forward. And yes, I said homophobic backlash because what many of these “brilliant” men who have “disproven feminism” fail to realize is that the majority of perpetrators of abuse against men… are other men.
We need to take a more nuanced approach to discussing rape and sexual abuse that examines the paradoxes and conflicts that male abuse victims face without invalidating women’s issues. Unfortunately, this will never be the responsibility of women to tackle these issues head on. I ask myself time and time again why the men who use these issues as a trump card do not seem interested in actually doing anything.
Well, there’s an answer to that question, it’s just not a pleasant answer. I’m writing this as a message to other feminists to watch out for people who wish to derail women’s issues without actually giving a damn about the issues they claim require more attention. Watch out for people who want you to expend energy on causes that they refuse to expend energy on themselves. We must be allied (obviously!) against all rape and sexual abuse, but not every battle is ours to fight. Women are allowed to focus on women’s issues. We must get more comfortable with that fact.