1
   

Why "me too" doesn't include me.

 
 
Reply Wed 18 Oct, 2017 11:02 am
I am a survivor of sexual assault.

Over a period of several years through mid-adolescence I was abused by an older cousin who lived near us. I am a man. My perpetrator was a woman. The last time I heard, my perp was in jail for physically abusing her own kids. I don't know if she is out, nor do I really care.

I can talk about the challenges of being a male survivor. The first issue that we don't fit into the popular script... men aren't supposed to be victims (particularly of women). And we are supposed to "like it", as if being abused by a woman is every boys dream. I can tell you that these stereotypes aren't at all true; this experience is deeply painful, I feel as I have had something stolen from me.

That current FaceBook hashtag campaign is painful. There is a clear message that male victims don't deserve the same support or that female perps aren't bad. Male survivors don't get public support, our stories aren't important, the hurt we feel is minimized. Often we are not believed.

My perp had other victims. We are talking. This is not just an issue on Able2Know, other male survivors feel the same. I am not only person who feels like my story doesn't count.

I would ask anyone who wants to participate in this thread... this is a very personal story and whatever you think of me, it is true. Please consider how you respond.
 
tibbleinparadise
 
  2  
Reply Wed 18 Oct, 2017 02:38 pm
@maxdancona,
I agree with your general assertions of the common stereotypes against men. My wife, almost daily, reminds me of my duties and responsibilities because "you're a man".

It's as if, because genetics gave me a penis instead of a vagina, I'm not allowed feelings, problems, etc. We're supposed to be emotionally and physically infallible and when we aren't we're beat down as "not a real man".

For whatever it's worth, you have my support in feeling what you need to feel and expressing yourself in a way that's helpful to you. Men can be and are victims of abuse and domestic violence.
0 Replies
 
Glennn
 
  2  
Reply Wed 18 Oct, 2017 09:20 pm
Yeah, me too. I was fifteen. My mother had decided to leave my dad because of his drinking. It was summer, and our house burned down. There were seven of us kids living at home at the time, and we were sent to different places until the insurance check came and a trailer house could be bought and brought to our one-acre lot in the country. I was taken to a nearby neighbor's house where the mother had three of her kids still living at home.

These people were what others referred to as hillbillies. The mother was divorced and had taken up with a guy who'd been in prison for breaking and entering. There was lots of beer, cigarettes and coffee . . . and country music. The mother was thirty-nine and the guy from prison was thirty-two. While the mother was on ADC (aid to dependent children) and child support from her ex, the guy from prison was in the business of breaking and entering. I ended up going on runs with him. I broke into lots of places with him and the mother. I actually helped them to plan the hits by telling them the flaws in their approach. They were quite taken by my adeptness at wrapping my head around the details of a hit. I was a natural. We were Bonnie and Clyde and the kid. What a summer.

This guy from prison had been married to a woman who had been married before, and therefore, according to the religion they believed in, had to divorce. This surprised me, but it was true. And because he felt guilty for having put me on the fast track to a life of crime, he decided that he would take me to the church where his ex-wife and daughter resided in a dorm-like place where lots of other Christians lived, too. The next morning I hitchhiked to town to the hotel where my mom and dad were staying to tell them about it, but they weren't there. I called an older sister and her husband to find out where they were, and I was told that my mom had taken most of the insurance money and ran off with my other siblings to . . . somewhere to get away from my dad.

I was kind of stunned. I asked her why they didn't take me. She said that our mom figured that I would put up a fuss and so decided to not take me. I asked her where they went so that I could get there somehow. She claimed she didn't know, but I knew she was lying; I could hear it in her voice. So I hung up and hitchhiked back to my new home. I had thoughts about the call to my sister, but things were moving at a fast pace and there just wasn't time to consider everything. So I was off to Springfield Illinois with Jim.

We arrived just in time for church. They were what you would call holy rollers I guess. Women dressed modestly, as did the men. Women couldn't cut their hair, and they had to wear dresses that went all the way to the tops of their plain shoes. Men had to wear white shirts with long sleeves, and they had to keep the top button buttoned. Jim (the prison guy) introduced me, and later told me that these people really knew God and did as God commands in the Bible. He showed me the excerpt from the Bible that said that you can't remarry until your ex has died.

He eventually left me there with them. I got a job at an outdoor fruit market in the middle of the city. When I wouldn't come around to their way of life--giving them ten percent of my earnings, cutting my hair real short, wearing the big baggy black pants, etc., they said that I would have to leave. So they called a place called Hospitality House and told them I was a minor out of state without a guardian. They then took me to a street corner and told me to sit on a bench and wait for the Hospitality House people to pick me up.

They picked me up within the hour. When I got there, they told me that I'd have to go to the county building and talk with some guy. I told him my story, after which he called the church and reported back to me that they said they'd never seen me before yesterday. They were saving their asses from having kept me with them for two months without reporting me. Fuckers.

By then, my father had found my mom and siblings and convinced my mom that he would change. So when the authorities called my sister, she drove to get my mom to call the authorities in Illinois to make arrangements for my return. So my mom sent money for my bus ticket through Western Union. And I was taken to a Greyhound bus station and put on a bus.

It was a long ride. I had a stopover in Detroit. And that's where I met a guy at (you guessed it) the urinals. He was probably in his late twenties. He asked how long my layover was. I told him six hours. He said he was just dropping off a friend and was going back home, and then asked if I would like to go to his place and get something to eat. I said, "Sure." I lived in a small town of around two thousand people, and the year was 1971. I knew about people and how to steal and cheat. But I was naïve concerning such things as homosexuals.

I don't really want to go into the rest of the story. I thought I did, but now that I'm here, I don't want to. But suffice it to say that this guy was an accomplished predator. Smooth as silk. For the longest time, I felt that the incident meant more about me than it did about him.

And now I think I'm gonna go. I believe I've had enough of words. I'm tired of words. Who'd of thunk it?
roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Oct, 2017 09:28 pm
@Glennn,
So, what name do you publish under, Glennn?
Glennn
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2017 10:45 am
@roger,
I've never published outside of internet debate forums. So I publish under the names of my various avatars.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2017 10:57 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
That current FaceBook hashtag campaign is painful. There is a clear message that male victims don't deserve the same support or that female perps aren't bad.


Pain experienced is not always pain intended, and I'm not quite sure what can be done about someone determined to see this as a personal affront. This is like the "all lives matter" deflections to "black lives matter", there is a conversation happening about the balance of power between men and women and trying to insist that the conversation must also include all other related problems is to insist that this specific problem does not deserve its moment.

No, to have a conversation about the balance of power men have over women in Hollywood does not mean that men are supposed to "like" their abuse. It doesn't mean that the abuse of men is not as important (though yes it is true that the world generally does not give as much importance to it).

It just means that people are talking about a specific thing and that no it's not necessarily appropriate to hijack the conversation to talk about your thing. That this is actually the behavior that is more dismissive of pain than the mere existence of a distinct organic conversation you are trying to shoehorn another conversation into.

The analogy of why "all lives matter" was unhelpful deflection applies here too. It is like going to your boss to complain about your salary and your boss replying "all salaries matter" and refusing to talk about yours. Yes, all people matter, and yes all abuse matters but no it is not some slight to you that in the conversation about systemic abuse of women by men in power that the abuse of men is not quite the injustice currently being discussed.

Should it be discussed more? Hell yes. And I can add my own voice to this with #metoo too. But this is a ham-handed way to go about it, by waiting till some other victims are having their moment for discussion and then insisting that that very conversation be about someone else's moment instead. If anything fits the bill of giving issues short shift it is the insistence on hijacking the conversations that organically develop, even if the stated excuse is another noble cause.

"So yeah, sorry you feel this way but all feelings matter you know and what you should really be talking about here is the Rohingya". (see how that example is dismissive?)
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2017 11:19 am
@Robert Gentel,
Thank you Robert for a thoughtful response. This is obviously an emotional issue, I will try to answer with reason.

This is a discussion happening among a lot of male survivors, Able2know is a microcosm of what is happening (although Able2know doesn't have the filters of much of social media... something I appreciate).

I do not accept the comparison to "all lives matter" (and as a White man, you will see me, even on Able2know") rejecting "all lives matter". The difference, to me, is a personal one.

I am a real survivor. The pain I experienced is real, it is not pretend. I do not take away from the pain felt by other survivors (of any gender)... but I do want to be included in the discussion. When it comes to being a survivor of sexual assult, gender of the victim or of the perpetrator shouldn't matter. But it does matter in how society interprets the story or reacts to us as survivors.

Male survivors experience pain, the same as female survivors. There are some challenges that males face because society doesn't accept. Often we are told that we should "like it". If our perp is a woman, we are told that we were week. It took me years to accept that what happened to me wasn't my fault.

The hurt (intended or not) is that we are excluded. And it isn't just the current Facebook tag, it has been in society in general. And it isn't just me who is saying this.

I would never take away from the pain felt by female survivors. That is not my intent. But there is a complex range of emotions for me (and many of us) when these things come up. On Facebook male survivors are actually being attacked simply for using the tag. And then there is the feeling that I have that the issue is being used politically... I don't know how to have a discussion in a respectful way about it. But this is my feeling and I have expressed it. So there it is

I don't feel like I am stealing anything from female survivors when I ask for my story to be included.

Many of us would like our stories to be included.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2017 11:26 am
@maxdancona,
I get this desire for the story to be included and even cede that it is clearly very closely related, unlike my deliberately unrelated examples. I'm also not opposed to attempts to include it that are reasonable. What I find unreasonable is portraying the organic conversation about a specific subject as being by its very nature exclusionary. That is if you were saying "let's also talk about male victims" I'd have no qualm, it is when you go so far as to portray people's failure to do so as being a deliberate and hostile exclusion, and attacking the participants of the conversation as being biased against your conversation.

I feel similarly about the demands I have seen for men to "speak up" on this issue (though despite my feelings I did try to speak up) of women's abuse. Issues are important but that doesn't give us the right to ask others to speak of it on demand. We can't constantly talk about all things and the tactic of resenting when particular organic conversations come up to insist the conversation must be about something else is misguided.

After all I'm seeing people demand others talk about something now, right now, that they themselves were not talking about last week. If it was fine for them to be talking about their kids and pets last week why does the gravity of this issue suddenly give anyone a right to demand what people talk about now.

I get why you feel that way, I just think you are going about this the wrong way and if you want to raise awareness to this issue the larger issue of abuse of women does not have to be attacked to do so. It can be brought up without the unhelpful (and inaccurate) accusation that the participants of the organic conversation don't care about your problem or want you to "like" your abuse. You can just recognize the dynamics of an organic conversation happening and even ask to be included without it becoming the villain in your own pain and making it a conflict that will self-perpetuate (the more forcefully you shoehorn the conversation in the more forcefully this will be objected to etc).
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2017 11:44 am
@Robert Gentel,
There are a few different issues here.

First of all, I am on a forum that is open to the public. Expressing my story, and my feelings around it (no matter how "accurate" they are) seems appropatiate... particularly in response to a campaign called "#MeToo". I don't think that what I say on this thread is out of place or insulting (at least it wasn't intended that way). I do have hurt feelings... whether they are valid or not.

I kind of agree with you about the demands to "speak up" on an issue. Although I do feel a responsibility to speak for racial minorities in society in general, and women in my highly male-dominated field. I suppose this is complicated.

I don't know what you mean by "organic conversation". If one person says "women are being sexually assaulted by men". And someone else says "hey, there are male survivors too who want to be included in the discussion and female perps". And then the first person says "shut the **** up". At what point does this cease to be an organic conversation?

This is a complicated set of issues and emotions surrounding a painful subject. I don't know how to resolve it all. I do appreciate the ability to express my thoughts and feelings in a public forum this way and to receive thoughtful responses.






Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2017 11:52 am
@maxdancona,
Well "expressing your feeling" certainly sounds like an reasonable thing to do but, let's be real, there is a wide range of options for doing so, some appropriate some not so.

Without getting into litigation of a bunch of posts I don't want to read I can say that in a few I have read you seem to conflate failure to organically include the subject with an active desire to exclude it (i.e. so and so's posts did not mention abuse of men, so failure to include it is called actively "excluding" it when it could just be the natural flow of conversations that can't possibly cover all bases).

I don't really care to convince you whether that was or was not the case in any specific posts but I think there is wide room to share feelings without making the extant conversation the enemy and within this room there are better and worse ways to raise awareness to an issue.

But to some extent trying to piggy back on a discussion is inherently going to be problematic, because just as you think that the abuse of men is not talked about enough you have interlocutors who believe that the abuse of women is not talked about enough and that an insistence on men being talked about each time the topic of abuse of women organically comes up (i.e. an event occurred that sparked an organic discussion) is seen with similar feelings that you are having. Just as you believe that society does not care enough about abuse of men plenty of people believe that society does not care enough about abuse of women. Both camps are probably right, but that doesn't make competition between the subjects make any more sense.
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2017 12:00 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
Without getting into litigation of a bunch of posts I don't want to read I can say that in a few I have read you seem to conflate failure to organically include the subject with an active desire to exclude it.


Apophasis aside...

Yes, I feel that there is at times an active desire to exclude any discussion that doesn't fit the popular script for sexual assault. Most of the time the public discourse ignores anything outside of a single narrative, it is like we don't exist or that our stories aren't important. You are correct that I am making a judgement here, and maybe I shouldn't.

But it doesn't change how I feel about it.


Sturgis
 
  5  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2017 12:02 pm
I discussed my demons with a therapist for some 4 years. There are many here I would trust with the information, there are unfortunately several slimy sorts who would use it later on in their juvenile attacks.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2017 12:17 pm
@maxdancona,
My point isn't specifically that you shouldn't make a judgement but just that you should also see that the extant conversation is about something many people don't think gets enough attention too and they have the same feelings as you do about their issue not being cared about enough by society.

Without wanting to minimize your feelings my point is that there are exact counterparts to it in tension in these situations and I personally think a better approach is to allow each to have their own moments to some degree and to try to raise awareness to the issue separately from a direct competition with an existing conversation.

That is, the week before the Harvey story erupted was just as fine a time to discuss abuse of men and you weren't scolding people for ignoring it then (and were probably "ignoring" it, i.e. not happening to talk about it, too). and it doesn't have to directly compete with another conversation when it comes up and has its moment.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2017 03:03 pm
@Robert Gentel,
It shouldn't have to be one or the other. But it is. Unfortunately in our messy world things get tied up with different needs, and different viewpoints. Our society today is fractured. The unfortunate nastiness you have seen in other threads is replicated in other forums and in the public.

My question is when? When will there be room for a discussion about those of us whose stories don't fit the popular narrative? The "MeToo" discussion is important, but it isn't new... it continues a discussion that has been going on for decades. There is never a similar discussion about people who don't fit society's template of what sexual assault looks like.

Sometimes this is important. Stories of adult female teachers raping adolescent boys are treated as jokes (this infuriates me). Stories about abuse where men are assaulted by other men are novelties, and stories were men are sexually assaulted by women are pretty much ignored. And there are people who for political reasons are quite hostile to us; not everyone but some are.

There are groups that act responsibly. I have said several times that I respect and appreciate the work of RAINN. They have addressed the needs of both male and female victims and have largely avoided getting wrapped up in political battles. But many groups don't.

I don't see why we can't be included in the discussion. Because if we are not, experience shows that we won't be included in any discussion.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2017 03:29 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
My question is when?


You may not like it but I've at least given my answer: I generally let conversations have their turn, because piggybacking doesn't tend to work and only hurts the chance of anyone having a meaningful conversation. It doesn't suddenly draw important attention to your issue, it just pisses people off, ruins other important conversations and makes them resent the very cause you are championing by not letting their cause have its moment in the spotlight without it having to also include your cause. This does not generate positive social attention to your cause, it just comes across as ham-handed activism that will be resented.

So pretty much anywhere other than someone else's important conversation that they too are emotional about was already my answer. We may just fundamentally not agree on that.

Quote:
I don't see why we can't be included in the discussion. Because if we are not, experience shows that we won't be included in any discussion.


That's demonstrably untrue. You will never see this talked about as much as a problem an order of magnitude larger, and will always have that as a gripe to hold over society but the notion that abuse of men just can't possibly be discussed unless it is shoehorned into each and every discussion of abuse of women is absurd.
Glennn
 
  3  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2017 05:17 pm
Anyway, Jim/Clyde eventually got busted for all of the breaking and enterings we did. The son-in-law of . . . Bonnie was helping to sell the cigarettes we stole from a local IGA store. He unwittingly sold some of them to a relative of the owner of the store, and was later picked up by the cops. In exchange for leniency, the son-in-law told them everything he knew. When Jim found out that there was an APB (all points bulletin) put out for him, he told me that he was going to turn himself in and confess to all of the B&Es we had done, and that if the cops come to me, to tell them everything. I was a minor and was told that nothing would happen to me if I turned state's evidence against him.

A social worker arrived at the new trailer house where I was back with my family. My parents and I followed the cop car to the state police post in town, and there I was put in front of some kind of movie camera and questioned about everything. I told them about every job we pulled, filling them in on all the details. After each job I told them about, they would ask what I got out of it. I told them that I got all the cigarettes I could smoke and all the lunch meat I could eat. They saw me as just a kid who had been corrupted by an ex-con after my family had suffered a tragic house fire. And that was it. I went home and resumed my life.

In court Jim told the judge that he had turned his life over to the Lord and had willingly confessed to like thirty B&Es, all of which he had written down on a sheet of paper and given to the cops as some kind of good will gesture. Nevertheless, the judge gave him four to ten years in prison and told him that the next time would be for life.

His ex-wife and daughter who had been at the church in Springfield Illinois had come back to Michigan to live with Jim's brother and wife who were also really big on Jesus. My mom decided that she didn't like me very much because I told her that I was going to tell someone about my dad's drinking; specifically his death threats against my brother and I. So she made life hard on me and I ended up leaving home and going to Jim's brother's house, and once again involved with a group of extreme religious folks.

In Springfield, I developed a crush on Jim's ex-wife who was thirty-two. Even in a baggy dress that covered her from head to toe, she was my idea of the perfect female. We lived in close quarters in Springfield and got along well. And now she was back in Michigan, and we were once again living in the same house.

One night in the basement, she came down and sat with me. She confided that she had been faking being a Christian and was even smoking cigarettes on the sly. I was stunned. And then she scooted closer to me on the couch and gave me a hug, which turned into a kiss on the lips. I didn't fight it. It's what I wanted. Soon she had her hand down my pants, and then . . .

Unlike the incident with the gay guy in Detroit, I was not traumatized by this experience--probably because I had such a yearning for her in the first place. But eventually (about four months) she pushed me away, and the group decided that it would be best if I left. I had nowhere to go, and so that's where I went. But that's another story.

Thank you for your audience. I have not thought about this since it happened forty-five years ago. Don't know if it was worth writing or reliving, or even if it's on topic. But sometimes--as has been my experience on internet forums--any thread can be the right thread.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2017 05:23 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Do you really think this "#MeToo" hashtag thing is a meaningful conversation?

A meaningful conversation is not a bunch of people who already think alike sharing how their viewpoints and feelings are correct. That is what is happening. America is sorting itself into little silos where people talk only to people with whom they agree. Americans celebrate any narrative that fits with their worldview and reject any narrative that doesn't.

I don't think that is a good thing nor is it a meaningful dialog nor is it helpful for our fractured public discourse. And this current "meaningful conversation" is just playing out along the same lines.

I don't have an answer for public conversations, I feel it is better when the discussion is inclusive and more diverse stories are heard. You will tell me that I can't force anyone to listen to my story and you will be correct. I don't have an answer; all I have is a wish that the world were a better place.

In private conversations I can tell my story, and I do. I can talk to people with different experiences; women, men, old, young and I can share my experiences with them. It is rare that people in person feel that by me sharing my story takes away from them in any way... and generally people in person are good.

I feel this public conversation is exclusive... it follows a simple narrow narrative that plays well on Facebook in a large demographic. I don't like this, but that is just my feeling. I know that that is just the way things are. You keep talking about "my cause".... I am under no illusions that I have any chance of advancing "my cause" here or anywhere else.

But I can tell my story. And. I can express my feelings. I guess that means something to me.
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2017 06:11 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
Do you really think this "#MeToo" hashtag thing is a meaningful conversation?


In the context of social media memes I think it is profoundly so. The sheer scope of the problem is something that is important to acknowledge and this was a brilliant way (simple format to make the point allowing for it to be made without necesssarily going into depth on painful matters) that the people who are still not aware of that can see that virtually every woman they know have been a victim of the problem.

Quote:
A meaningful conversation is not a bunch of people who already think alike sharing how their viewpoints and feelings are correct.


This interpretation of the conversation exists entirely within your own reality though. It's not at all what the conversation is about. It is addressed at people who believe that sexual assault is not incredibly common and that is an important conversation to have, even if it doesn't happen to be the one you want to have.

Quote:
That is what is happening.


No, it is not. I don't actually think I could come up with a more cartoonish distortion of the conversation and its aims than that.

Quote:
But I can tell my story. And. I can express my feelings. I guess that means something to me.


Yes you can. What beggars belief is why you feel that you can only do so when someone else is in the middle of expressing theirs. It's like if you lost a parent, that's legitimately painful, but if you wait till you are at someone else's parent's funeral to start bawling and demanding attention for your pain, telling them they are insensitive for not mentioning YOUR parents at the funeral etc this is legitimately going to be seen as anti-social behavior. The day before and the day after are perfectly good times for you to have your turn, hell you can even have the same day if you go and have your own funeral, but to insist that in the middle of someone else’s expression of pain that everyone stop and listen to yours is always going to go down like a lead zeppelin and that is what you are doing. You are not just telling your story, you are berating others for not having included it in their stories.
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2017 06:24 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I really don't understand the metaphor here. Whose parents are having a funeral?


Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2017 06:26 pm
@maxdancona,
It is a comparison to different conversations having their moment. Anyway, this is clearly not going to get anywhere so I can live with failing to convince you.
 

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