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Mother of sons and feminism

(341 Posts)
Adnerb95 Sat 01-Nov-14 10:24:31

Germaine Greer's book The Female Eunuch was life-changing for me when I was at uni many years ago. I still consider myself a feminist, love to see equality of opportunity for women, hate misogyny, think we have a way to go still ... BUT I think some current branches of feminism are seriously messing with young men's heads! Any mention, for example, of a false rape allegation brings down the wrath of any number of online commentators, who immediately label you a rape apologist, as if you are making light of a hateful crime, with no excuse. Apparently, admitting that there are - not often, but occasionally - false allegations is something to be dismissed out of hand and treated as unimportant. A friend's son was recently accused of a rape following consensual sex because she was fearful of the repercussions from her (hitherto secret!) boyfriend. The hell of that family's experience which is now finally over - the police have decided on no further action and actually apologised to the young man - has been indescribable. But it was the online reactions to any mention of such an allegation possibly being untrue, that caused the most damage not just the this young man's thinking but to my sons and their friends as well. I have taught them to respect women, to be caring and thoughtful. Never to objectify women or use them in any way. But they find it difficult to deal with the attitudes which have ben revealed, which see all men as potential rapists, users and so on. Isn't it time for the feminist community to realise that one day they may have sons and they may find that their sons can also be used and abused? That sometimes their sons may have reason to fear the other sex, sad though that may be?

Saoirseba Sat 01-Nov-14 10:32:59

"False rape accusations are extremely rare! Extremely. I know there are men who have some misogynistic imagery of evil, angry women holding rape as a trump card over them, but it’s not accurate.

Rape cases tend not to result in a conviction (only 9% ever go to trial and only 3% of rapists will ever spend a day in jail) - if you were trying to get revenge on someone through the criminal justice system, this would not be your best shot.

Rape cases they tend to put a victim on trial - and air out all of her or his private information. Despite what people like to pretend, society doesn’t care about rape victims unless they fall under some perfect victim archetype - and most do not.

If someone wanted to get back at you, they probably would not do so by accusing you of rape. At least 54% of rapes are never reported.

People will bring up the percentage of false rape allegations as 8% (or even higher), using the FBI’s statistics. This number is not the percentage of rape allegations that are fabricated, but rather the percentage that are “unfounded”. Unfounded does not mean false. In the largest study thus far, a 2005 study (Kelly et. al), a lower number of 3% was found.

Additionally, jurisdictions that report to the FBI have varying definitions of “unfounded” making the term meaningless. Individuals within the justice system have bias as well. So the 3% number is also likely to be lower, particularly taking into consideration the fact that the majority of rapes are not reported to begin with.

Police officers and courts also tend to dismiss rape allegations as unfounded due to:
a victim delaying a police report or not undergoing a medical exam
a victim blaming themselves
a victim’s previous relations with the offender
a victim’s use of alcohol or drugs by the victim
no visible proof of injury

Plenty of victims are in a horrible state after being raped - and having their bodily autonomy invaded - and many are not thinking of or willing to submit to a medical exam in such a vulnerable state. We live in a rape culture - part of rape culture is that consent is portrayed as blurry and grey (when it really is not at all), so many victims do blame themselves, initially or forever. Rape is still rape even if your rapist is a friend, coworker, date, or partner. Rape is rape if you’ve consented to something else or consented at an earlier date. You are unable to consent if you are intoxicated. And plenty of rapes do not involve injury. None of those situations makes a rape illegitimate or false, yet it affects statistics. Additionally, victims may recant allegations or testimony due to intimidation or reliance upon their rapist.

Most women will not sling false rape accusations at men for revenge. It’s illogical and impractical, and it’s a heinous crime to fake. Stop pretending that it’s common for women (or anyone) to make this up. If you act like it is, you’re a horrible person and dead wrong"

LeBearPolar Sat 01-Nov-14 10:36:28

This is an interesting post and an issue which I am dealing with as DS gets towards his teens. He is a sensitive boy and we use things we read in books/the news and see on TV/in the media to start discussions about all sorts of issues related to equality. But I have noticed a quite upsetting development in that he is beginning to question why men are portrayed so negatively in so many ways, and it is having an effect on his self-esteem as he begins to form his own identity. I am always very clear with him that there are some men who are bad and there are some women who are bad, but we should never stereotype anyone because of their gender.

Sadly, he sees that happening all too often though, just as women see it happening to them. Men stereotyping women, women stereotyping men: it does no-one any good.

Saoirseba Sat 01-Nov-14 10:37:34

"43% of college-aged men admitted to using coercive behavior to have sex, including ignoring a woman’s protest, using physical aggression, and forcing intercourse.
15% acknowledged they had committed acquaintance rape; 11% acknowledged using physical restraints to force a woman to have sex."

So sorry if I don't take pause to give a shit about the poor menzzz, most of whom actually did it.

LeBearPolar Sat 01-Nov-14 10:39:08

Saiorseba - what point are you trying to make with that post you've cut and pasted? I don't think the OP is denying any of that - in fact you've just proved her point with a knee-jerk response to any mention of false rape allegations.

Where did she say, for example, that false rape allegations are commonly made?

LeBearPolar Sat 01-Nov-14 10:41:03

Well, thank you for your helpful contributions hmm

DoingTheBestICan Sat 01-Nov-14 10:49:54

I did jury service a couple of years ago and one of the trials I sat on was a rape allegation. As the trial progressed it came out how the woman had made a completely false allegation against her ex in order to stop him seeing their dds.
Even the judge commented on it. It was very upsetting to hear the evidence, even more so when it turned out to be all made up.

Hakluyt Sat 01-Nov-14 10:52:32

I have a son. False rape allegations are the least of my worries for him as he grows up.

Vivacia Sat 01-Nov-14 10:53:24

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

WooWooOwl Sat 01-Nov-14 10:56:01

As both a female and the mother of sons, I can't get on board with feminism at all.

It's too much about promoting women while at the same time as being detrimental to men instead of being about equality, which would be better for both women and men IMO.

Just as there are some damaging messages sent to little and young girls, there are plenty that are damaging to little boys and young boys. Neither are justifiable, and one is not worse than the other. One of my jobs as a parent is to teach my children how to protect themselves from being taken advantage of by other people, and I can see as much opportunity for women to take advantage of men as I can see it the other way around.

I don't feel I have any more reason to teach a boy that they have to be sensitive towards the opposite sex than I would have reason to teach the same to a girl, and I will be warning my boys that false accusations are something they should be aware of and protect themselves from.

Thumbscrewswitch Sat 01-Nov-14 10:57:39

Years ago I worked with a young woman of around 18 or 19, who was a victim of rape. Her friend, with whom she'd been out that night, also claimed she had been raped, and that it was a group of lads who had taken them into a van, raped them both and beaten up the girl I worked with. She was certainly beaten up - her face was a mess, poor thing! And I believe she was raped; but her friend had set it up, so she could have sex with her boyfriend without her Dad finding out, except when my colleague was attacked as well, it all went very pearshaped and the "friend" had to say she was raped too.

It fell apart quite quickly as the police investigated, but the man/men who raped my colleague failed to be brought to trial because of the misconduct of the "friend" - it invalidated the whole case.

Unusual indeed - but not unheard of.

CrispyFern Sat 01-Nov-14 10:57:40

I have to agree with Hakluyt.

It's probably more logical to concern yourself about your son being raped by a man than having a woman accuse him of rape falsely. Sadly!

LeBearPolar Sat 01-Nov-14 10:57:44

I agree that false rape allegations are not something I am unduly worried about. I am more worried about the bigger picture: how my son regards himself and the fact of his being male in the context of today's world. I would be equally worried about how a daughter regarded herself and the fact of her being female, but I don't have a daughter.

FreeSpirit89 Sat 01-Nov-14 10:58:00

A male friend of mine was falsely accused of rape about two years ago.

The trial went on for around 8 months although in the end the girl admitted she was lying reasons were never clear he lost access to his 3 children, lost his job and has struggled to get a new one.

False rape claims however rare. Destroy lives.

And damages the next woman's case to come along. The police will scrutinise more and therefore making it harder to report x

PacificWerewolf Sat 01-Nov-14 11:00:45

On the rare occasions that false allegations of rape are made, this is NOT a feminist issue, it's lying.

There is the individual and then there's the wider issue of male violence against woman.

I am saying this as mother of 4 boys.

I don't think that feminism needs to waste much time and energy on considering the rare cases of false allegations of rape (much as they must be devastating for the individuals involved) while the underreporting/underprosecuting/underconvicting in cases of sexual assault/rape of women by men goes on.
At may be something we worry about as individuals - fair enough.

Hakluyt Sat 01-Nov-14 11:02:13

"I have to agree with Hakluyt.

It's probably more logical to concern yourself about your son being raped by a man than having a woman accuse him of rape falsely. Sadly!"

I am much more concerned about my son being attacked by another man or by getting caught up in hyper masculine drinking/driving type lethal behaviour than him either being raped or being unjustly accused of rape.

PacificWerewolf Sat 01-Nov-14 11:03:39

Me too, Hak - I think getting boys/young men safely through their adolescence and young adult lives is a scare prospect.
'Tis one of the ways that the patriarchy IMO is damaging to da mens too grin

<runs and hides>

PacificWerewolf Sat 01-Nov-14 11:04:08

Oh, autocorrect would not let me do 'menz' grin - is this a feminist issue?

LeBearPolar Sat 01-Nov-14 11:04:18

I don't think the OP was saying that false allegations of rape are a feminist issue but that the response to them can be.

LurcioAgain Sat 01-Nov-14 11:04:51

Well, I feel my job as a mother (and feminist) will be to bring my son up to understand that women are to be respected as equal members of the human race, that consent is a bare minimum and really sets the bar way too low, and that he should be aiming for enthusiastic participation. And that sex is about mutual enjoyment, not pornified objectification. If I do this, I sincerely hope that the chance of him being accused of rape will be very minimal because firstly (the statistically overwhelmingly likely scenario, something round about 95% according to statistics from that hotbed of radical feminism, the Home Office) he won't actually have raped anyone and secondly (the unlikely 5% scenario) he will have treated the women he is close to with enough respect that none of them will resort to unfounded allegations.

Does anyone have the stats on male-on-male sexual violence to hand? I seem to remember reading somewhere that men were statistically at greater risk of being anally raped by another man than they were of being falsely accused of rape by a woman. Hope you're also instilling a suitable degree of irrational fear of encountering other men socially into your child as well, OP.

WooWooOwl Sat 01-Nov-14 11:06:14

Making our sons aware that they could potentially be falsely accused of rape by a woman doesn't mean that we can't also make them aware that they could be harmed by other men in different ways.

It's not like we only have a set number of issues we can talk to them about, and I don't think it matters which risks are the biggest. You wouldn't not bother to talk to a girl about the problems they can encounter because of other girls just because they could also encounter problems at the hands of men.

LeBearPolar Sat 01-Nov-14 11:09:06

I feel my job is to bring my son up to respect women as equal members of the human race and to expect equal respect from women in return. So to avoid women who contemptuously dismiss all of his sex as 'the menzzz' for a start.

MsVestibule Sat 01-Nov-14 11:12:08

thumb that story makes absolutely no sense to me. Are you saying that the 'friend' arranged for your colleague to be beaten up and raped confused.

Hakluyt Sat 01-Nov-14 11:12:57

What I meant was that the risk of being falsely accused of rape is waaaaaaaaaay down my list of concerns for my son and of things I feel I should be warning him about. And being beaten up by other boys/men is pretty near the top. Along with being drawn into the drinking culture, bravado around cars, macho showing off- all things which kill and main young men on a daily basis.

Hakluyt Sat 01-Nov-14 11:15:17

But we are also having, and continuing to have (he's 13), conversations about sexual behaviour, about consent (not just sexual consent) and about treating his fellow humans with respect and courtesy.

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