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Do most men see women as potential victims? Horrible recent experience has really messed me up.

(30 Posts)
Loryn Fri 25-Sep-20 20:23:39

Trigger warning mentions conversations about rape.
I wrote about this in relationships.
At the time I was feeling ashamed of myself and sad.
Now I'm furious. Im so angry at him and myself.
This has affected me so badly, which makes me feel weak, I think thats what im angry with myself about.
Im wondering if most men are like this deep down and this one just let it out after quite a while.
Do all men see us like this on a base level?
Its true in a way isnt it?
I am a potential rape victim.
We all are, if we come across a potential rapist.
So if we know that, deep down, walking around, do men know that too and think about it?

Apologies if this is doesnt make much sense, I cant talk about this in real life.

"Staying at a hotel with a man that ive been seeing, we were drinking, all going well until the conversation took a turn.
Cant remember all the ins and outs or how we even go onto it but I said I didnt think rape jokes are funny, ever.
I think he was defending from a freedom of speech position, maybe fine but not really the time or the place but we had been drinking and we both do usually enjoy having a debate.
Then he called me a potential rape victim.
I got up to get away from him and he said what about men, men get raped too.
I stayed in the bathroom for a while, crying and wondering what to do.
My car was parked in the carpark and I couldnt drive home.
I came out and he apologised.
I asked him if he or his brother or best friend have been raped and maybe thats the difference why he can think its funny and I cant.
I think he thought I was disclosing to him that it had happened to me, which I feel guilty about as if ive lied to make a point, I've not been raped but other more nuanced things have happened that I won't go into details of now and certainly was not about to share with him there and then.
He said sorry I didn't know, I just said you dont need to know.
Im ashamed that I stayed there and pretended that everything was normal in the morning.
I should have got an uber and left him there.
We haven't really spoken since, I dont want a confrontation about it but I cant stop thinking about it and wondering what the hell is wrong with him and also me.
Obviously I wont be seeing him again."

OP’s posts: |
sawdustformypony Fri 25-Sep-20 20:29:54

Do most men think of women as potential victims ? No, I'd say.

MerchantOfVenom Fri 25-Sep-20 20:32:57

No, I don’t believe most men think like this at all.

Please tell me you’re having nothing more to do with this man?

CaraDuneRedux Fri 25-Sep-20 20:34:53

No, most decent men do not think this way IMO.

The only men I've known who do this sort of thing are men who are dodgy as fuck, who are deliberately probing to see where your boundaries are and how robust they are, early on in knowing you.

They wouldn't want to put a whole load of energy into trying to groom a woman who turned out to have robust boundaries.

The two men from my past who immediately spring to mind: one turned out to have been violent towards his previous girlfriend; the other turned out to have anally raped his previous girlfriend.

There is a hell of a lot wrong with him, and absolutely nothing wrong with you. Your spidey senses told you he was a wrong un (hence the visceral reaction and hiding in the loo). Okay so you then stayed - but we are socialised to be nice, to be forgiving, to not act on our fears.

Block him and move on. And buy yourself a copy of Gavin de Becker's The Gift of Fear.

notyourhandmaid Fri 25-Sep-20 20:43:58

I'm so sorry you've had this experience. Some wariness about men in general is normal, unfortunately. But most are not creeps.

Loryn Fri 25-Sep-20 20:46:42

No I will not be seeing or speaking to him again.
Ive been meaning to buy that book for a while so thanks for the reminder its in my basket now.
I suppose it has just occured to me, if I walk past a man on a dark street, it does cross my mind, he could hurt me.
Im wondering if the man has the same train of thought.
Ive known him quite a while so its shaken me up to realise he might actually be sick in some way.
Sorry if im not making much sense my mind has been racing with horrible thoughts since it happened.
Im so ashamed of myself for staying and sleeping next to him.

OP’s posts: |
wellbehavedwomen Fri 25-Sep-20 21:36:37

I'm so very sorry that happened to you, OP. No, I don't think it's at all normal, and yes, do get a copy of the Gift of Fear.

For what it's worth, I know many really, genuinely lovely men who would have also found his comment abhorrent. The problem is that while it's not all men, it's an exceedingly substantial minority. You won't be the only person who has been impossibly creeped out by this individual.

flowers

Kantastic Fri 25-Sep-20 21:59:43

I think you did pretty well OP, honestly. You went away from him. He got the message that you weren't going to smile and laugh along.

He apologised, which isn't worth anything of course but it does mean that he realised he hadn't got away with it and you aren't an easy target. And I think the apology was probably telling you something else, too - it was telling you you were temporarily safe. He seems to have been playing a more long term game with you so he probably wouldn't have done something to dramatically push your boundaries right after an apology. I mean I don't know for sure this is true of course, but it does seem like your intuition kicked in very strongly with him so you probably would have left if you'd been in immediate danger.

And now, you aren't going to see him again. Your instincts protected you well.

I think I can empathise with how you're feeling now. I had something similar - in fact I didn't even process consciously that I'd been in danger from a man I'd been in close quarters with, until some almost PTSD like physical reactions and intense anxiety forced me to re-evaluate the situation I'd been in. (Consciously all I'd realised was that he was a weird egotistical creep who tried to stare me down. It was only afterwards I realised we were alone together, late at night, he was an obvious sociopath, and things might have gone badly if he'd succeeded in staring me down.)

CaraDuneRedux Fri 25-Sep-20 23:00:11

flowers OP.

And don't beat yourself up. As wellbehaved says, it's not all, but a substantial minority, and the real bugger is that they don't come with the mark of Cain stamped conveniently on their forehead. (Of the two I mentioned, one I never felt quite comfortable about, but the other really surprised me, because I and all the rest of our friendship circle had him down as the "gentle giant" type.) But it does sound like your instincts are spot on.

Loryn Fri 25-Sep-20 23:07:48

I didnt feel unsafe at the time, just that I wanted to get away from him in that moment.
Ive known him for quite a while and I've never felt like he would physically hurt me before.
If I could have drove home then I probably would have but I was over the limit.
I do feel like its a delayed reaction.
I pretended things were normal.
It was only later that day I thought maybe I hadn't been safe.
Since then I've just felt sick and awful about it.

My anxiety is already quite bad because of the shit state of the world, this is just another pile of shit on the crap heap in a way.
I don't know why he would think let alone say something like that outloud.
I know I dont deserve to be spoken to or treated like that.
Sorry I'm just rambling but I really feel like I need to get this out but I'm too upset and ashamed to talk to anyone in real life.
My best friend is visiting soon so I will probably tell her then.

OP’s posts: |
FireUnderTheHand Fri 25-Sep-20 23:10:59

Loryn

Firstly, you did great - no need to feel ashamed or in the wrong. Reflection is a fickle exercise, as you walk through the events in your mind you see the red flags realizing suddenly that you felt them at the time.

I can tell you that IME deconstruction of an event done with ink to paper (no pencil - it needs to be permanent, stream of consciousness) can alert you to your socialization as a girl/woman (human female) in a very clear way. You are not at fault you are (I expect UK?) socialized to 'be nice' and give men a lot of room to make mistakes and/or commit atrocities.

IME there are good people and bad people of both sexes and from every group you can imagine - perpetrators are often quite good at cloaking their intentions.

The guy's 'jokes' weren't funny and do say a lot about him as a person. It says absolutely nothing about you.

What does say a lot about you is your conviction to avoid him in the future and the recognition that you can try to make listening to your instinct a priority (I'm still working on that myself). We are human, we are socialized creatures that exhibit behaviors that often don't make sense to us even as we are in action - they are learned behaviors tied to your societally imposed gender based on your female body.

And I don't think for a moment that any actual decent man would think rape jokes are funny - there is nothing funny about it.

What I know about men is this: I have a few male friends and none of them have ever hinted at a joke like that (in my presence) and all acknowledge that 98% of sexual assaults are committed by their sex; DH is a man (obvs) but also a fantastic human being and he can't handle watching implied or somewhat performative rape scenes in movies (documentary or narrative films conveying true incidents) - hits too close to home (me) and he ends up having nightmares waking up drenched in sweat tears streaming down his face (we watched the movie ONLY really good btw and he had nightmares for three nights)... Point is good men may not understand/empathize with the fallout of rape for the victim(s) but they wouldn't find anything about it funny and would likely cast off any friend that would make such a 'joke' (heard it/seen it). Great men like my DH may be so disturbed by the prospect of anyone (not me not his mom, anyone) experiencing rape and/or sexual assault they experience intense anxiety as their closest available emotion to empathy.

But I have encountered men that make 'jokes' like that (workplace), they also tend to be lazy assholes that pawn their work off on women and take the credit (mostly married talking mad shit about their wives and the women they hope to 'bone/bang'smash' [puke face]). These men exist but good and great men are out there too.

flowers Take a breath dear Loryn, no shame no guilt - those are not yours to carry in this instance. Keep talking to us - we are here for you.

DeRigueurMortis Fri 25-Sep-20 23:12:01

No I don't think most men think like this at all.

However there are sadly a not insubstantial minority who do.

We've all seen the high profile trials of sports people who think it's ok to take advantage of drunk young woman. Often they message each other to reinforce their behaviour. They certainly think they have a right to behave this way.

What a lot of men don't understand is that we can't assume they are one of the good guys.

We have to assume they all could be predators and will take advantage - but then we are blamed for offending them and labelling them.

Truth is it's actually a shitty way to live. I don't and have never wanted to be wary of men in general. It's not something I enjoy, it's something I've learned is necessary and no many times I hear "NAMALT" will change my experiences or how I feel.

I say this as someone who has very caring and loving men in my life. My DH, DF and DS are all exceptionally kind, loving and considerate.

Don't feel guilty. He behaved badly and deserved to be called out by whatever means.

thanks

FireUnderTheHand Fri 25-Sep-20 23:17:55

DeRigueurMortis

No I don't think most men think like this at all.

However there are sadly a not insubstantial minority who do.

We've all seen the high profile trials of sports people who think it's ok to take advantage of drunk young woman. Often they message each other to reinforce their behaviour. They certainly think they have a right to behave this way.

What a lot of men don't understand is that we can't assume they are one of the good guys.

We have to assume they all could be predators and will take advantage - but then we are blamed for offending them and labelling them.

Truth is it's actually a shitty way to live. I don't and have never wanted to be wary of men in general. It's not something I enjoy, it's something I've learned is necessary and no many times I hear "NAMALT" will change my experiences or how I feel.

I say this as someone who has very caring and loving men in my life. My DH, DF and DS are all exceptionally kind, loving and considerate.

Don't feel guilty. He behaved badly and deserved to be called out by whatever means.

thanks

100% agree with everything you said.

Divebar Fri 25-Sep-20 23:19:31

I’m obviously missing something here... he said “ you’re a potential rape victim “ and your perception was he meant “ I could rape you if I wanted to and you couldn’t do anything about it”? - I’m not trying to be awkward I generally don’t understand. I can see a person making the comment really to mean “ there is no typical victim of rape “. Women who are raped are from across all walks of life so from that point of view it is correct anyone could be a victim. Of course much would depend on the tone of the debate and his language.

teawamutu Fri 25-Sep-20 23:19:31

I think a decent man does also think of women as potential victims - but of other men.

DH is far more concerned about me, eg, walking alone in the dark than I am.

FireUnderTheHand Fri 25-Sep-20 23:27:15

teawamutu

I think a decent man does also think of women as potential victims - but of other men.

DH is far more concerned about me, eg, walking alone in the dark than I am.

Ditto!

thinkingaboutLangCleg Fri 25-Sep-20 23:37:56

The only men I've known who do this sort of thing are men who are dodgy as fuck, who are deliberately probing to see where your boundaries are and how robust they are, early on in knowing you

Dead right, Cara.

Loryn, you should be proud of yourself. You handled this distressing situation really well.

You refused to stay quiet while this creep made sleazy "jokes". (The fact that he laughed about rape means he wasn't showing sympathy when he called you a potential rape victim.) You didn't try to drive home while drunk. You've shown him you are not a victim and you don't appreciate other women being lined up as victims either.

Better luck with the men you meet in future xx

Loryn Fri 25-Sep-20 23:51:04

He wasnt speaking in general terms about how all women could be victims.
Of course we all could.
He was directing it at me personally.
He almost laughed when he said it
Which I didnt take as a threat at the time but as hes 1.5x my weight and a foot taller than me im wondering now if it was.
If I had tried to leave maybe he would have stopped me.

Thank you all for replying, I know deep down that not all men or even most are like this. Problem is you cant tell until its too late sometimes.

OP’s posts: |
teawamutu Fri 25-Sep-20 23:51:41

Just want to make it clear I was not arguing this guy IS a decent man, just that there is a non-creepy way to have, and express, that view. Your instincts are chiming for a reason IMO.

teawamutu Fri 25-Sep-20 23:52:50

X-post.

Jeez, OP. Look after yourself, sounds creepy as fuck.

wellbehavedwomen Fri 25-Sep-20 23:55:01

Divebar I would agree, but it was in the context of their just having been arguing about whether rape jokes can be justified - he felt that they could. That's a seriously weird context from which a man can segue into telling a woman he's involved with that she's a potential rape victim, no?

I don't and have never wanted to be wary of men in general. It's not something I enjoy, it's something I've learned is necessary and no many times I hear "NAMALT" will change my experiences or how I feel.

Yep. We're all trained from being little girls to know that men pose a risk to us, as a class. Because they do. And life experience, sadly, reinforced that for almost all of us, even if individually lovely men are far more common than the predators. Ironically, I think it was that predatory male comic who made that joke about how women play Russian roulette every time they date someone new: "I hope THIS guy isn't going to be a predator...." NAMALT, but enough are for our caution to be entirely justified.

BrandineDelRoy Sat 26-Sep-20 03:23:08

teawamutu

I think a decent man does also think of women as potential victims - but of other men.

DH is far more concerned about me, eg, walking alone in the dark than I am.


I want to ditto you, too. My dad was this way. He was so, so chauvinist in so many other ways. It wasn't until I had more contact with guys my own age that I realized how much my dad understood his fellows.

Calledyoulastnightfromglasgow Sat 26-Sep-20 04:03:43

I don’t really understand the conversation. Was he laughing about rape generally?

I think debate saying anyone is a potential rape victim in itself is ok provided it wasn’t said in a threatening manner. Drunk does stupid stuff to people though and I can see how a nuanced conversation could de prop

FireUnderTheHand Sat 26-Sep-20 04:19:36

Calledyoulastnightfromglasgow

I don’t really understand the conversation. Was he laughing about rape generally?

I think debate saying anyone is a potential rape victim in itself is ok provided it wasn’t said in a threatening manner. Drunk does stupid stuff to people though and I can see how a nuanced conversation could de prop

Cant remember all the ins and outs or how we even go onto it but I said I didnt think rape jokes are funny, ever. I think he was defending from a freedom of speech position, maybe fine but not really the time or the place but we had been drinking and we both do usually enjoy having a debate. Then he called me a potential rape victim.

He wasnt speaking in general terms about how all women could be victims.
Of course we all could.
He was directing it at me personally.
He almost laughed when he said it

In Loryn's own words, this wasn't a debate about being a potential rape victim - it was a slip of some sort whether alcohol induced or not it conveys a worrying (at best) message.

NiceGerbil Sat 26-Sep-20 04:49:55

In a hotel room (bedroom) with a chap you've been seeing for not ages.

Having a few drinks.

Topic turns to rape (never a good thing with men let alone ones who've had a few).

Man says you are a ' potential rape victim' and men get raped too...

You go have a cry and can't be bothered to scroll up but you got away.

1. Don't have conversations about rape with men unless you know them so well they are practically a part of you AND they look after you and know you. Men DO NOT GET IT. It's a terrible idea. Many women don't either TBF

2. He was devils advocating on a highly sensitive subject. Not a good sign.

3. Men get raped too. Yes they do. Bringing it up at that point was a tad MRA / howdy

4. Potential victim? Well everyone on the planet is a potential victim. Including him. As he pointed out. Men get raped too

In summary. He's an areshole. But. IME. Conversations about rape with men rarely end well. Loads of men start them with me for some reason. Me too was particularly bad. Colleagues cornering me at the coffee machine and saying SO. Harvey Weinstein. Talk to me about rape.

No all men don't see all women as potential victims. That is a really nasty thing to say and an MRA thing 'playing the victim card' etc. I do think that as animals we weigh up risk all the time. It's not unusual to clock blokes who are walking behind you late at night etc. And they don't do the same with women, for obvious reasons.

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