In response to the murder of Sarah Everard, here in the UK, women and men have risen up and protested in support of women’s right to be safe. The peaceful public protests have instigated further violence against women under the guise of pandemic restrictions.
This is one DGR member’s response to the discussions about the level of violence against women and girls and the root causes. We need more men to speak out against patriarchy.
“Your silence will not protect you” Audre Lorde
Most of the women I know, intelligent woman all, are not as afraid as they should be. You can see how high the wall of patriarchy is as you look up at it. I can see from my perch up here also how thick the wall is and how many men are behind it, holding it up.
Men like me, every man, is dripping in entitlement. If you do not learn it in the family, they teach it at school. If school does not programme a boy then our culture will drown them in it. We are all swimming, all the time, in patriarchy. It is everywhere.
It works like a steroid for men and a poison for women. Sure, not all men react violently when on steroids but everything I do is based on my privileged position. My privilege is entirely normalized within society and entirely rationalized within me. Every man in Western culture is privileged and entitled due to patriarchy.
Can we dismantle patriarchy?
I am familiar with the argument that societies contain just the odd bad man; I disagree with this over simplified assertion. My view is that patriarchy is an offshoot of the ability to accumulate wealth and thus create perpetuating systems of oppression. The first systemic accumulation of wealth was the seizing and guarding of food grown in agriculture. Agriculture further has the effect of forcing us to learn to objectify living things (soil,nature, women) to keep our self-belief, our ‘right’ to take. Agriculture had the direct effect of causing violence in the pursuit of resources.
Of relevance, to this argument is the ‘abduction of a Sabine Woman’. Women were needed, viewed as a resource, and taken by those blue printers of modern society, the Romans. Forget that liberal Harari and his “I don’t know why women are oppressed”. Women have a value to conquering armies, not as fellow humans but as bounty of the conquerors. The rest follows a direct causal path. So, it is possible that patriarchy is not going anywhere whilst capitalism is here and objectification is the norm.
Can men do something, anything to improve the current situation?
Yes, of course. For all the reasons women state, for all the reasons women are protesting for. The law is on the side of men and we know that law shapes power. If it was a crime, with a significant consequence, for men to harass women in the street, if it was an aggravated offence after 8pm, then violence against women and girls would reduce. If the porn industry was recognised as harmful and measures put in place to curtail it then male entitlement might lessen women and girls may not be groomed, exploited, or damaged as much. If it was a serious crime for men to purchase women’s bodies then men would do it less and the support systems such as trafficking would be less profitable and therefore smaller.
I apologise for the terrible metaphor, but you must score when you are in the opponent’s penalty box. When was the last time that this issue was so central in the mainstream media? When will it be again? In the UK we could get something into law on this wave of interest. There will be a backlash. Men are lying low at the moment, but they will be back with a vengeance. I can imagine a male plain-clothed policeman patrolling a nightclub being interviewed for the Daily Mail and explaining how all the women dressed and danced in a provocative manner – the implication being … well you, women already know. You have been here before, fought before, hard won rights.
Do we have someone to rally behind?
Those in power throughout the ages, religion, political parties, the media, woke campaign groups have done a remarkable job of dividing women, turning them onto themselves on a personal level and fuelling horizontal violence at a structural level. The ruling classes are effective when oppressing dissenting voices.
The male driven denial of women’s rights, enforced at every turn by violence, is causal and symptomatic of an overwhelming amount of personal suffering and the unrelenting cycle of biome degradation.
This was written by a man, father and guardian in DGR.
Featured image: Abduction of a Sabine Woman (or Rape of the Sabine Women), a large and complex marble statue by the Flemish sculptor and architect Giambologna. Photograph by Mary Harrsch, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
Editor’s note: That this incident from Roman mythology, in which the men of Rome committed a mass abduction and rape of young women from the other cities in the region has been a frequent subject of artists and sculptors, shows clearly how obsessed this patriarchal culture is with rape and violence against women.