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Protecting the men close to you from the abuse and harassment women can suffer

(18 Posts)
StrongTeaHotShower Fri 16-Dec-16 08:34:14

A terribly worded op so initial apologies for that!

My ex partner of a couple of months was abusive towards me in a number of ways including sexually but in a very insidious way. but also came across as very vulnerable. I was luckily never the victim of stranger rape despite him making me believe rapists were hiding behind every bush as soon as it got dark but I'd always silently made the decision that if I was I would not tell my partner as I felt he'd be extremely angry (with the situation) and not be able to cope.

On a far, far lesser scale, we used to work together and there was a rather slimy man within the company who used to grope my behind, occasionally slap it and make rude comments and text me such things late in the night. I didn't really care or feeling threatened but the fear of my partner finding out was overwhelming. I knew he'd be furious with both of us and be upset I'd been groped by someone else and I just felt he wouldn't be able to deal with it so I ignored the other mans behaviour till it simmered down.

What's the feminist perspective on protecting men from the things that can and do happen to women. Now I'm working on myself for the first time (my relationship with my ex was my only relationship if had) I'm curious to see if my behaviour followed a pattern or is recognised but I haven't come across anything to explain it.

StrongTeaHotShower Fri 16-Dec-16 08:36:15

I'd always silently made the decision that if I was I would not tell my partner as I felt he'd be extremely angry (with the situation) and not be able to cope* *

If not tell him if I had been the victim of a sexual assault or rape.

YetAnotherSpartacus Fri 16-Dec-16 09:20:35

'Not being able to cope' was his way of controlling you. Same sheep, different wolves' clothing ....

StrongTeaHotShower Fri 16-Dec-16 09:42:40

I always believed it wasn't so much to do with control bit of course now my views are changing.

I felt there would always be an element of blame on my part too. Wearing nice trousers, walking home drunk late at night, being too friendly with people.

There was certainly a implied blame there somewhere whilst at the same time being 'pure' and in need of protection for such things. It makes no sense.

MsUnderstanding Fri 16-Dec-16 09:55:40

Look up "victim blaming" en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victim_blaming
flowers

YetAnotherSpartacus Fri 16-Dec-16 09:59:22

*I felt there would always be an element of blame on my part too. Wearing nice trousers, walking home drunk late at night, being too friendly with people.

There was certainly a implied blame there somewhere whilst at the same time being 'pure' and in need of protection for such things. It makes no sense.*

Stick around ... we'll cure you of that smile

You were 'his', he needed to 'protect' you because you were 'his', but if you were 'violated' (and it would be his violation too) then it would be your fault and he'd be the main victim.

Men who play at being sensitive, hurt and vulnerable when they really aren't, and when this is used to influence how a woman behaves, are controlling.

sleepingkoala Fri 16-Dec-16 10:01:58

It's definitely abusive and victim blaming if he would be angry at you for being harassed and things like what you wore? That's terrible.

My ex used to get bothered by anything unpleasant and by me talking about anything negative. He would just not like to hear as it ruins the moment or whatever and he'd rather not dwell on things and just talk about something. Sometimes he was okay but then sometimes he'd get annoyed. It used to depend. Sometimes he'd actually be really understanding in a way and be on my side when I told him about a man at work who being inappropriate with me. But also I got the sense he'd also rather just not hear about it. Other times he didn't seem to care like I have anxiety/PTSD and when we'd go out and I started to become too uncomfortable with where we were that I had to leave, then he'd get annoyed for ruining his evening and blame me for it. No harassment or anything there just my anxiety though.

Prawnofthepatriarchy Fri 16-Dec-16 10:03:45

You're right, OP. It's not protective and it makes no sense. I have been in a relationship where my DP got aggressive when I had been attacked. It made things far worse rather than better, worrying that he would get in trouble for attacking the other man and listening to DP rant and rage round the place having a massive strop about something that didn't even happen to him.

It's a manifestation of a man's belief that you are his property, that any injury to you is an assault and insult to him.

Decent men don't do this. They acknowledge that the person affected is you, and you alone. They ask how you are feeling and try to support. They recognize that physical violence against the other man (if your attacker is known) will almost certainly make matters worse and, besides which, it's not their place to make that kind of decision. They let you take the lead.

When I typed that last sentence I suddenly realised that letting the woman in their life take the lead in such matters is pretty much a definition of a decent man. Once you have been in a relationship with a decent man you're to some extent "immunised" against bastards. They raise your standards.

StrongTeaHotShower Fri 16-Dec-16 10:18:41

You were 'his', he needed to 'protect' you because you were 'his', but if you were 'violated' (and it would be his violation too) then it would be your fault and he'd be the main victim.
*
Spartacus* that explains it perfectly. Thank you. In his mind, if any harassment or assault took place, he'd be the no# 1 victim. His feelings and his pride. This is why I made the conscious decision to never let him know about anything that could potentially happen. He's a very, very clever (re:manipulative) man and it would never be so transparent.

StrongTeaHotShower Fri 16-Dec-16 10:23:08

It made things far worse rather than better, worrying that he would get in trouble for attacking the other man and listening to DP rant and rage round the place having a massive strop about something that didn't even happen to him.

Prawn: this happened when it came to light his sister had suffered a sexual assault. She was very scared to tell him and her other brothers as she didn't want to cause a big violent scene but of course they steamrolled over her wishes and because quite destructive and planned to hunt the man down hmm.

She said she regretted ever telling them.

EvenTheWind Fri 16-Dec-16 10:29:19

Ah, yes.

The notion that women are not people but possessions of or adjuncts to men. So an offence against the woman is like a deliberate scratch on the prized car, with an extra helping of blaming the car for its own dishonour - being parked in the wrong way, perhaps.

Logic, schmogic.

scallopsrgreat Fri 16-Dec-16 10:32:48

You were protecting yourself from his abuse, not protecting him. Not protecting him. He wouldn't have helped in the situation. He would have escalated it. You understood violence was a possibility and that may have in some part, been directed at you. Certainly emotional/verbal abuse would have been directed at you. Endless accusatory questions.

Why do people think women don't report sexual assault/abuse? It isn't out of the goodness of their hearts. And it isn't because they want to protect other men. It is because they know what they will face and they know how too many men will react.

BartholinsSister Fri 16-Dec-16 11:40:17

Is this a similar thing to when you don't want to tell your Mum that you're being bullied at school, because you fear she would go ballistic and make things worse?

AmberEars Fri 16-Dec-16 11:56:54

OP, how about if you had (for example) been involved in a car accident that was not your fault? Would you have dreaded telling him about it, because he would have got angry and shouted and blamed you?

If so, is it possible that it wasn't that you were protecting him, it's just that he's just a nasty unpleasant unreasonable person and you were scared of his reaction?

girlwiththeflaxenhair Fri 16-Dec-16 12:28:35

I don't think it is protecting them, it's avoiding their judgement. Some men without doubt do not understand how a woman can be raped and not fight to the death to avoid it. I've heard it said that if someone tried to anally rape them they would fight to the death to prevent it. Hopefully the stuff that is coming out now with the abuse by football coaches will change this type of thinking.

StrongTeaHotShower Fri 16-Dec-16 12:35:49

Amber ears that's very interesting.
I can't see him reacting in a similar way if I'd had been in a car crash, caused by a dangerous driver.

scallopsrgreat Fri 16-Dec-16 14:49:37

I'm not sure the car crash analogy works. Men can understand when a car crash isn't someone's fault but for some reason that doesn't extend to rape or sexual assault hmm. Suddenly "grey areas" are introduced.

Whereas with car crashes there can be plenty of grey areas. I suspect if your car crash was in one of those grey areas (or even your fault) would his reaction have been similar to if you'd told him you'd been raped or sexually assaulted?

shovetheholly Fri 16-Dec-16 14:56:37

I wouldn't be married to a man who couldn't control his reactions. It's a quality I value highly, because I also prize effectiveness. Someone who just lashes out is rarely very effective. They're reactive rather than proactive, and liable to create mess and problems instead of a clean, clinical and devastasting strike against injustice. I also think that, behind a lot of so-called 'protective' male violence is a proprietorial attitude to women that assumes that we cannot protect ourselves and also that we are in some way 'owned' by an implicitly stronger man.

I would expect my husband to work with me, in my way, to sort out any problem of harrassment I had suffered. The key here is that the primary victim must lead.

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