11.17.2005

Masculinity is a toxin, part 2

Well, it's happened. I don't know why I thought it might not, but it has. In my intro to Women's and Gender Studies class Monday, we discussed violence against women. Today, they turned in papers. I've only read four so far, and two of them are women analyzing the times when they were raped.

It happened every semester at Vanderbilt. As soon as I broached the subject of violence against women, expressed my outrage, and stressed that the victim is never to blame, women started coming to my office to tell me about their experiences.

Here at C of C, I've been asking around about rape and dating violence, but I haven't gotten much information. People have said, "We don't hear much about it. It's probably happening, but it's not reported." Yeah, violent crimes against women are the most underreported, so that's not surprising. But I have to admit that I'd actually begun to believe that maybe it wasn't as prevalent here as it was at Vanderbilt.

I can't decide whether it pisses me off or breaks my heart. Both, I guess. Who are these men who think they have the right to rape my students?

1 comment:

christiemckaskle said...

This experience of yours reminds me of when I used to facilitate support groups for at-risk preteens. Almost all of whom were "at-risk" because of some form of abuse or other.

I often had to remind myself that, while my students' wounds were fresh for me, I actually had the privilege of being a part of healing of something that was old news to them. Although I could give way to my tendency to suffer over their pain, it was more useful to remember that their sharing with me represented a release of that pain for them. Their sharing with me was a very hopeful sign of health and healing.

With C of C being such an extremely close-mouthed place (about violence against women) before you came, I see these sharings as evidence that you are already fulfilling your purpose there - raising awareness, helping women know they have the right and responsibility to advocate for themselves, helping young men learn they don't have the right to ignore a "No," all of it.

Of course, I hope you'll take wonderful care of yourself, especially when you've heard or read something traumatizing.

much love,
c