Newt In A Tea Cup











{January 15, 2007}   “But I’ve never [insert violent crime here]!”

One of the first things that keeps coming up in every single discussion of domestic violence or sexual violence is that “Not every man rapes” and “people who do that are a minority that makes the rest of us look bad” or words to that effect. The response is of course “duh!”

We know that not every single man rapes. Of course we know that.

But pointing it out is as useful as telling a Jew living through WW2 that not every German is a Nazi.
(Forgive me for bringing up Nazis but I’m having problems thinking of another analogy.)

The man who does not rape doesn’t negate the threat possed by the one who does.

Gendered assault seems to be one of the main ways women are represented in the papers so we are constantly forced to see and, yet the statement implies we shouldn’t complain or remark on it. It’s seen as misfortunate but normal. Yet we all know that the vast majority of those types of crimes go unreported. World wide between three quarters and half of the female population will face domestic violence.

When the numbers and likelyhood of being affected is that big does it really matter if there are still men out there who aren’t perpetrators?

Does the battered, dying victim care that not all men are violent? Surely the only one who it matters about is the one who did that to her.

If a woman is walking home and it’s dark and a man is behind her, does it matter if that specific man has never commited a rape? She doesn’t know his police and moral record. What she does know is that there are men out there who do rape and because she is female she will never stop being a potential victim.

Because if one single man commits a rape or gender motivated crime, every man becomes a potential threat to every woman.

Contrary to stereotypes, rapists and abusers do not have a special look and uniform and the stakes are too high to ignore. We know that the likelyhood of being raped by another woman is minimal and ridiculous.

The common link in all the attacks is that they are commited by men (even raped men are usually attacked by heterosexual men supporting that rape is about power not sex).

Therefore the fear and distrust of men is completely legitimate. And the fact that not all men are guilty does not matter until none are guilty.

We don’t care one jot about the men who don’t hate women – do you think that deserves a prize? It’s a ridiculous disclaimer that does absolutely nothing to solve the problem. Do we start every discussion on HIV/AIDs by saying “Not everyone in Africa is positive” as if that’s a distinction that needs making? No? Then why do we do it when talking about sexism?

This isn’t a call to hate men. It’s actually a call to respect women and go to the roots of the problems they face in this world. In fact to focus the issue on the woes of men’s image by association is an insult and slap in the face to those who have been victims of those crimes.

This is a call to stop patronising and ignoring the real systematic way in which women are hurt and suffer for comforts sake.

Put it this way – as long as women have a legitimate and ingrained fear of the male half of the human race, then neither will be able to enjoy as meaningful relationships as they could have. I do not want my girl friends to be afraid of what their boyfriend will do in an argument, scared of someone on the street because of gender. I hate that and I know it isn’t fair but as things are it is legitimate. Men and women live side by side and it stands to reason that if one group suffers so does the other.

So if you claim that not all men rape, what are you doing about the multitude that do?

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stormy says:

Just wanted to stop by and say, a great post, hit on some key issues.
Keep it up! 🙂



jo22 says:

“The man who does not rape doesn’t negate the threat possed by the one who does.”

Love it! Very well put.



tcupnewt says:

Thanks! I remember reading a quote some years ago saying something to that effect; “one rapist turns every man into a potential rapist for a woman”, or similar and it’s stayed with me vividly. Expressing that (especially the roots of fear) is a real issue for many women, I think.



Grace says:

If a woman is walking home and it’s dark and a man is behind her, does it matter if that specific man has never commited a rape? She doesn’t know his police and moral record. What she does know is that there are men out there who do rape and because she is female she will never stop being a potential victim.

So true tcupnewt! I’m about to start working with a service user who has suffered such horrendous abuse from both her male family members and her husband that she can no longer stand to even be in a room on her own with a man. So many people who say ‘what about the men who don’t rape?’ and claim that so many women ‘cry rape’ never seem to think about the life long effect that sexual and violent abuse has on a person – they don’t think about the fact that for those people every man might represent their abusers.

Great post! I don’t think i’ve commented on here before (been a bit rubbish with keeping up with it all to be honest) but I really like your blog, and your theme =)



tcupnewt says:

I’m so sad to hear about that. It seems that this kind of abuse never stops and never goes away which makes the fear all that more important in our lives but also all the more ignored. People act like it’s inevitable, like the sun rising, so we should put up with it and not complain.

It’s funny how men are ready to jump on women for “asking for it” and tell us to be smart about rape, but react so strongly when any suggestion that men might be rapists is raised.

I’m hoping your service user is able to heal within herself and find some solace. I was going to say good luck but that doesn’t seem appropriate- be brave!



Grace says:

Thanks tcup I will try! I really hope that I can help her to help herself in this way – her sister suffered similar from their family members and has been able to come to terms and has benefits from counselling – unfortunately rather than seeing this as a bench mark and something to aspire to she she’s it as not being as good* as her sister and seems to think that everything that has happened to her is because of her, because it is her fault.

This is all just from her paperwork!

*’good’ isn’t exactly the right word there but I can’t think of a better one!



Jim says:

The idea that being a man is a sufficient condition for somehow being culpable is not correct.

Only when someone has committed a crime are they guilty.

If a white man is walking home and it’s dark and a black man is behind him, does it matter if that specific black man has never commited a violent crime? He doesn’t know his police and moral record. What he does know is that there are black men out there who do commit violent crime and because he is a white male he will never stop being a potential victim.



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