Zerlina Maxwell Offers 5 Ways We Can Teach Men Not to Rape
Just in case you missed it, Zerlina Maxwell went on FOX News this weekend and brilliantly put rape culture on blast. While appearing as a guest on Hannity, the prolific writer and social media commentator said that when it comes to preventing rape, we must look beyond the reactionary impulse to just give women more guns. Instead, we need to teach men not to rape.
“I think that the entire conversation is wrong. I don’t want anybody to be telling women anything. I don’t want men to be telling me what to wear and how to act, not to drink. And I don’t, honestly, want you to tell me that I needed a gun in order to prevent my rape. In my case, don’t tell me if I’d only had a gun, I wouldn’t have been raped. Don’t put it on me to prevent the rape.”
Maxwell’s comments got lots of attention and caused a ripple effect on weekend social media. Implicit in them was that the problem isn’t just individual behaviors, but a culture of patriarchy. This morning, she followed them up with a piece at EBONY.com on five ways we can teach men not to rape. “Rape culture is a pervasive part of our society because of social conditioning,” Maxwell wrote. “Yet we struggle to find ways to avoid patterns of victim blaming and many of us would rather advise women on the precautions they should take to avoid being raped as opposed to starting at the root of the problem: teaching men and boys not to be rapists in the first place.”
Here’s a snippet of the five points that Maxwell makes. To read the entire list, march on over to EBONY.
1. Teach young men about legal consent: Legal consent is number one for a reason. Without it, sexual contact with someone is rape whether you intended to rape or not. A woman who is drunk, unconscious, sleeping cannot give legal consent. And it’s not about a woman simply saying “no,” it’s really about making certain she’s saying yes.
2. Teach young men to see women’s humanity, instead of seeing them as sexual objects there for male pleasure: There is a reason why women are shamed into silence and teenage boys in Steubenville, Ohio are caught on camera laughing about gang raping an unconscious girl at a party. The dehumanization of women spans all areas of American life.
3. Teach young men how to express healthy masculinity: The question that’s being asked about what women can do to prevent violence against them is the wrong question. It’s not what can a woman say or do that can prevent being attacked. We need to turn that paradigm
4. Teach young men to believe women who come forward and not to blame the victim: The vast majority of women do not report their rapes to the police and many more only tell one or two people in confidence.
5. Teach young men about bystander intervention: Both Men Stopping Violence and Men Can Stop Rape have bystander intervention workshops for men of all ages. “It’s about community accountability,” says Pandit, “We require men to talk to other men in their lives and tell them about these programs. It is important that we have community networks that hold men accountable.”
When you belong to yourself again
is not a tidy grave
It is a ready loyal knight kneeling before your royal heart
Call in your royal heart
Tell it bravery cannot be measured by a lack of fear
It takes guts to tremble
It takes so much tremble to love
I can’t live here
In my body, I mean
I can’t live in my body all the time it feels too much
So if I ever feel far away know I am not gone
I am just underneath my grief
Adjusting the dial on my radio face so I can take this life with all of its love and all of its loss
Just to be clear
I don’t want to get out
without a broken heart.
I intend to leave this life
there’s gonna have to be
a thousand separate heavens
for all of my separate parts
And none of those parts are going to be wearing the romance from the overpriced vintage rack
That is to say I am not going to get a single speed bike if I can’t make it up the hill
I know exactly how many gears I’m going to need to love you well
And none of them look hip at the hot coffee shop
They all have God saying “good job you’re finally not full of bullshit”
You finally met someone who’s going to flatten your knee caps into skipping stones
When I was two I arranged the letters in my alphabet soup
to spell out the date of my death,
because I’d already discovered it
at such a young age.
When I was younger, death trailed me like a wedding dress
and flowers never bloomed from my steps.
At night, I peel open alphabet soup cans
and cut my fingers on the lids,
sometimes finding the answers to questions
I didn’t want to ask.
But sometimes those answers
are the only things that keep me
holding on to this rope, here beneath the stars,
the silver branches twisting and turning over my head.
When I was eight, I told everyone that the cat did it,
when really she just licked the sorrow from my wrists instead.
Last month, my cat died
and I know a boy who has kept
his dead dog’s collar around his arm for two years
because he is too afraid to let go.
Maybe I’ve forgotten when I will die
but that doesn’t make holding on any easier.
collab with the ever talented writingsforwinter.
In June when you moved to New York, I Skyped you
every day from my bed at the crack of dawn, bleary-eyed
and still waking up, just so I could catch you before
you went to sleep. Sometimes our cat, Patrick,
stuck his head in the frame and meowed at your image,
licking the screen just like I moved my tongue
across your thighs all those months ago,
and I could almost smell the ramen boiling on your stove,
your daily staple food since you never liked grocery shopping.
Scientists are still not sure whether dark energy exists,
or what role it plays in the universe,
but whenever you and I went stargazing at midnight
there was nothing surer than the way those constellations
danced across the sky like lovers, joining hands,
and how we laid on the grass beneath them,
or sometimes made love on a picnik blanket
until one by one, every star burned out.
But now I find myself leaving you voicemails
a little less frequently, and usually now when I Skype
it’s to talk with my sister or brother,
and sometimes I wonder what the inside
of your apartment looks like now, since it’s been so long
since I last saw it, or whether you have some other girl
who knows you as well as I used to.
Be a trans* ally & help fight transphobia & cissexism
1. Use the term ‘cisgender’ when referring to non-trans* individuals, rather than transphobic words like “normal,” which imply that trans* individuals are abnormal, weird, ill, or broken.
2. Do not use transphobic slurs, such as “tra-ny” or “shemale.” These words are intended to insult and harm trans* individuals.
3. Always use the name any individual gives you. Do not ask someone what their “real” name is. (Their desired name is their real name.)
4. Always use the desired pronouns of an individual. If you are unsure which pronoun to use, politely and privately ask the individual what their preferred pronouns are.
5. Do not claim someone’s gender identity as false, nonexistent, immoral, or a result of an illness or trauma.
6. Do not ask questions regarding someone’s anatomy, or question if they have transitioned or will be transitioning in the future.
7. Do not ask to see the photographs of a person before they transitioned. Likewise, do not ask invasive, personal questions of a person regarding their life before they transitioned.
8. Never out a trans* individual to others. Likewise, do not ask others if “so-and-so is transgender.”
9. Do not assume an individual’s sexual orientation due to their trans* identity.
AoT beat me to this!