By Amanda Lee (France)
It is a soul sheering experience to consider how to go about grouping the polluting effects of male entitlement on my life, as a woman. Especially since there is zero gain for me to take a polarized stance on the matter and vilify my brothers. Because no matter what YOU have or haven’t done, YOU are in fact MY BROTHERS – you are MY family. I did not always feel this way or have the willingness to forgive and accept you as you are, but I have done the work to get to the point where I am. I have had to heal or perish under the juggernaut of patriarchy. I am privileged to have that choice. There are so many sisters who do not have the gift of choice, and who are killed, maimed, stoned, and physically tortured to death in the name of the soul putrefying disease of male entitlement.
I am grateful for this opportunity to have time together. There are a few things I would like to share with you related to what it is like to live in a world that feels as if it is tailored for your happiness and your success, but not mine. I have never had the impression that society was catering to my gender and do not know what it is like. I do know what it is like to feel as if my body and sex were a commodity, and that should I desire to be acceptable to a man that I would have to undergo a rigorous peeling of the flesh, of my rights, and sense of identity.
I am tired of being afraid of you. It’s exhausting to live in a state of tension, because of a base belief that men do not have the ability to control their sexual urges to conquer women physically, verbally, emotionally and spiritually. I know you have the capacity to be loving, compassionate, honorable and respectful. I would like to know what disconnects you from behaving in a way that acknowledges the humanity and dignity of women?
Perhaps education is the key? To that end I am willing to highlight areas in which I have been deeply affected from the base negation of what I personally feel are my basic rights as a woman to cohabitate safely with you on planet earth.
INCEST, PEDOPHILIA AND RAPE
You may have a sexual inclination and attraction to women, children or family members. I believe in your capacity to reach out and ask for support and help when you feel that you can not control yourself around us. By acting out and sexually assaulting us when we have not consented to being with you, you prevent future chances of developing safe and supportive intimacy with women and a loving and appropriate relationship with children and family members. When you develop a support community with other men where you openly talk about moments where you are not able to control your sexual urges and how to change your behavior: #AllMenCan have a powerful role in preventing rape, pedophilia and incest from occurring. You would become a hero! You can literally save so many women’s lives. Do you know how attractive heroes are to other men and women?
PORNOGRAPHY AND THE SEX TRADE
The first film I remember seeing when I was a child was pornographic; my biological father forced me to watch it with him. #YesAllWomen have been manipulated and coerced into believing that we have to acquiesce to pornography and prostitution being an acceptable part of our personal lives. It’s not. It never has been. The exploitation, objectification and abuse women and children suffer due to the pornography industry, human trafficking and sex trade is deeply sickening. If you need to hunt and devour meat then sate your appetite gastronomically. Women and children are not slaves or cattle to be quartered, weighed, graded and sold on the chopping block of the male libido. If you want to have a vibrant sexually intimate connection with another person, try honoring that person first. Discover together what consensual adventures you can have while mutually delving into each other’s sexual passions. Listen to one another. Be patient, kind, and attentive. It is through trust and respect that the freedom to explore the vast bounds of sexual togetherness are possible.
I have been afraid to travel alone and walk in some cities at night because I have been accosted numerous times by men. I am not a frightened person lacking courage. I have been deployed on numerous humanitarian missions in active war zones in Africa and Asia. However, I am afraid of being around men who cannot control their compulsions to leer at me, yell suggestive comments, touch or expose themselves in public, or touch me without my consent. I do not want to be a prisoner on this planet. I want to live freely and move freely, like male explorers and travelers do. What are ways you can develop a more respectful demeanor towards women when they are unaccompanied? When you see other men behaving in aggressive, disrespectful, unsafe or violent ways towards women – How can you be an ally and intercede to create an environment of safety for your sisters, daughters, mothers?
I invite you to open a dialogue with your brothers about how you can help them to become allies with women. Become a Hero. Thank you for taking the time to listen. I pray you have come to understand a small facet of how patriarchy and male entitlement affect the lives of women.
QUESTIONS FOR MALE ALLIES:
1. What do you need to organize a male peer support community?
2. How can I help you to feel safe and comfortable having these types of courageous conversations with other men?
3. What areas of discussion and action do you think are most important to address first?
4. How do you think it is best to encourage men to respect and honor the rights of women?
5. Where is the best place to organize a male peer support meeting?
6. How can you support other men when they are in danger of acting out against the rights of women and children?
Please share your answers to these questions with the community in the comments section below.
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[This post originally appeared on Terminally Forgetful]