The other day, a child was raped in a train station. Desperate for help, she flagged down a car and, after getting in it, she was brutally raped again by the man who picked her up. The horrific news of this crime was met with rightful outrage and heated comments condemning the patriarchal rape culture that has been the breeding ground for these awful circumstances that will affect this girl for the rest of her life.
Amidst the outcry, however, were a great number of comments reminding people that most men are not rapists and that the anger over this event should not affect the general male population.
While this argument is based on logic — only a very small percentage of men are, in fact, rapists— that is not the point.
Rapists do indeed comprise only a small percentage of the larger population but they are more likely to be repeat offenders with multiple victims. And yet every time sexual assault enters into the national spotlight, people (primarily men) crawl out of their hiding places to comment on everything that "not all men are rapists" and "most men are actually nice guys".
So to all those that feel that the comments of a news piece about something as horrific as rape is the appropriate place to air your grievances over being lumped in with criminals and perverts, this one is for you.
Screaming "not all men" is a major cop-out to avoid dealing with a sticky situation. Rather than deciding that a situation doesn't involve you and staying in your own lane or working to change the awful situation in the first place, people who use the "not all men" logic choose to actively ignore problems by still finding a way to make sure that we know it's still all about them.
"Not all men" is a baseless claim. The fact that not all men are scumbags is common knowledge. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that there are good and bad people in every group, including any gender. You are not progressing the conversation in any way by reminding people of this obvious and irrelevant fact.
If you're not like these men, prove it. Fight with us to disassemble the social structures that continue to let things like rape and gendered violence continue to exist. Typing out nine little letters in a hashtag form isn't enough.
It never has been and it never will be.
"Not All Men" removes the blame from the social situations that have created this culture and promotes victim shaming. If the men refuse to take responsibility for these circumstances, the blame naturally falls on women.
Does every single man have to be the problem before something can be done to find a solution? 1 in 6 women is sexually assaulted. Is that in and of itself not a big enough epidemic to be worth doing something about? Does the problem only become relevant and important enough if every single man is at fault? Let's hope not.
So the next time you feel like you're being left out of a conversation that you feel entitled to be in and you feel like inserting a quick little quip defending your innocence (that no one ever questioned in the first place), re-evaluate your decision and remind yourself that this situation is so much larger than your personal involvement. And even if you know that you're not a part of the problem, unless you're contributing to finding a solution, feel free to keep your fragile babbling to yourself.