Dear man on the internet keen on defending his fellow bro,
Because as a country, we sit petrified thinking about what it must have taken for a mob of men to actually molest women for “fun” on New Year’s Eve in Bangalore, there is a more pertinent issue that we must address – #NotAllMen.
We get it. You are angry to get lumped with those type of men. It only makes sense that when we start having to discuss the safety of women, you have to sit up indignant and tell us – “Sorry yaar, but you are going too far talking about how unsafe you feel in this city. Not all men, ok? Not all men”
And we, the ‘politically correct feminists’ heard you raging on Twitter. We heard you complain about it during lunch hour at work. We could sense your indignation through Facebook as you mounted an impassioned defence. We get it. We were wrong to think that more important problem was the rape culture that had enabled and emboldened that mob to sexually harass and terrorise women. No. The problem is that we dared to prioritise our safety over your ego and we were really selfish and unfair. Our collective bad.
You are right. You are not culpable. You are one of the good guys and it’s not your problem that no woman in this country feels safe. And yes, we know that since you personally wouldn’t rape anybody, you are right to dress down those mean feminazis who only want to talk about how thousands of women are raped in this country every single day! Really. How dare they? Those narcissistic b***** are as bad those Nazis in the 1940s who orchestrated the genocide of an entire race.
And you are right.
Not all men are molesters and abusers (not that we ever said that they were).
And you are right.
Not all men rape women (again, not a single person has ever made that claim).
You are right.
And you win.
Bask in the glory of your victory oh righteous one! You have earned it.
So, now that we have established that you are very decidedly right (yay for you!) and are one of the “nice guys”, we suppose it is only fair you are held to your own standards.
Hence, the next time you see a girl harassed anywhere in your proximity we suppose it will be fair for us to assume that you shall intervene and help her. We know that you will accompany her to the police station, so she can lodge a complaint and you will you stand as her witness when the police try to track down her attacker. Because as a nice guy that you claim to be, this is the least you can do, right?
And the next time one of your bros decides to make a lewd comment about women (we know you will never do such a thing), we know you will call them out publicly and explain to them that every woman deserves to be respected for her agency.
And the next time one of your old college classmates decides to post one of those ridiculous sexist memes in your WhatsApp group, you will most definitely stand up against such atrocious behaviour that contributes to the oppressive rape culture, seeps and thrives through our very existence.
This one is really simple. Next time one of your football buddies cracks a joke about how their team raped another team, we know that not only will you stop them but you will also call out on their bullshit for comparing a sporting event to a horrific and monstrous crime.
This is the least you could do as a “good guy”, right?
Can we tell you a secret? We women are exhausted from being afraid all the time. We live in fear every waking second. When we leave our homes, we double-check to see if we are carrying our pepper-sprays even though we know that more often than not it is useless. When we walk down an empty street, we constantly look over our shoulders to see if a man is following us because we are scared he might rape us. When a man sits next to us in a bus or a train, our bodies automatically tense up because we have been groped and felt up by strange men since before we even hit puberty.
We are fucking terrified for our lives.
So, we concede because we officially have no bandwidth to argue with you and take care of ourselves. We are tired of verbalising that when we say all women live in fear of being attacked, we don’t mean all men are going to attack us, we mean that we are scared of running into the one man who just might. We have run out of words to explain that when we say that we scan every party, every club, every public space for a potential threat, we don’t think every guy in vicinity is a threat but that just one guy might. And that one guy could be the difference between whether we live or whether we die.
So, even though we never contested it, we will say #NotAllMen as long as you promise to stop hijacking conversations about our safety and making it into discussions about your butthurt ego. We will say #NotAllMen, if you promise to never guilt us or shame us for prioritising our lives.
So, there. We said it.
Now bugger off.
Also read: FII’s campaign Let’s Claim #NotAllMen