Tomorrow is 24th of April, a day that would mean literally nothing to me, good or bad, until I started reading about the stupid viral movement that allegedly 6 awful men started in USA: #InternationalRapeDay in which they encourage men to rape women as it is legal on that day.
If you haven’t heard about this yet, I am afraid that you read it right. I haven’t seen the original video, nobody can trace it apparently, but there are over 57 million views talking about the topic on Tik Tok alone. Somebody has started this. Hoax or not, someone has made this a thing. Best case scenario they thought it was funny and didn’t understand the possible repercussions, worst case scenario they wanted to see what happened adding drama to an already dramatic reality. We are living in a world in which the best-case scenario is already fucked up.
Obviously there is no such a thing as International Rape Day in which is legal to do so, (although with 5 perpetrators going to jail from every 1000 cases, you could claim that every day is rape day!) but as Katie Russell, from Rape Crisis England & Wales, told The Sun Online: "Regardless of its origins, or whether or not it was intended as a ‘joke’ at any point, the very concept of such a day is abhorrent and has caused many people, particularly women and girls, a great deal of understandable fear. The ‘trend’ will no doubt have also been extremely distressing for many, not least of all victims and survivors of rape and all forms of sexual violence and abuse who might have had vivid memories and flashbacks to past experiences triggered by this."
While still upset about this and making my millionth mental note about my responsibility in making sure that Eric’s masculinity doesn’t look like this, I read the story of a girl that had put her number up in different groups asking for plasm donors. An ill woman seeking for help. And guess what? She got her phone full of dick pics, questions about her civil status and requests of nudes. Not one, or two. Several!
Could you imagine a scenario in which a group of women started something that horrendous? Could you imagine one woman sending an unrequested nude pic to an ill person asking for a plasm donor, let alone plenty of them! Isn’t this enough to realise that we have a problem?
We are justifying and allowing a side of this masculinity that is purely and simply sick.
Recently Chris and I are getting into quite intense debates before going to bed (note: there is nothing less useful for tired parents than engaging in heated feminist debates just before midnight. This is definitely not a recommendation for you to do the same). Basically every time we watch TV together, I get angry about the tricks of the producers to make us sympathise with men, to justify them, to cheer for them. The way they touch our emotional buttons and give us the “victim narrative” or the “he is really suffering” call for empathy. This is not ok, it’s not ok because we learn to do the same in real life, automatically, always finding an excuse, always with our empathy mood ready to justify them.
I genuinely find myself shouting at the screen “Girl, that is not your problem, you are not his therapist, get the hell out of there and find someone less toxic” or “I don’t care if he is suffering, report him to HR” which I get is not ideal TV company. But this is not a blog excusing how my anger and impotence about the world is affecting Chris’ capacity to watch TV like a normal human being! This is a cry of despair about a world that makes me want to scream with rage, at the TV if nothing better.
I know that rage is not the most effective tool to get people on board, I know that I swore that my website was always going to aim for a conciliatory tone, and to tap into facts and realities and don’t let some of my feelings to get the best of me and the movement. But fuck it, we live in a world in which someone has started a joke about International Rape Day and it has become viral!
Maybe this shitty 24th of April joke is the wakeup call some people need. Of course, not all men are part of it, but dick pics, rape jokes, and women genuinely scared, should make all men as angry as me. I want to hear them shout about it.
Not all men feel a responsibility to hold their peers accountable and start making changes, and that is bad. Sadly, pretty much every man, even my lovely feminist husband, starts from a default ‘let’s compromise’ position every time a new feminist issue that we haven’t dealt with yet is raised. To be fair to Chris, he listens and usually gets my points, and he was nearly sick when I told him about International Rape Day, as he should. But is that enough? What are those men doing with all the conviction after our talks? Do they feel responsible to pass that conviction to the others? To the ones that just won’t listen to us…
Sometimes I just wish that all men helped carry the load of some of our rage. I wish they could spend more energy educating their “all men” WhatsApp groups, rather than finding that angle in which, maybe this time, we went a little too far, or in the case of Chris expecting some silence while watching TV.
I am not compromising. Sometimes I am tired and I don’t want to spend 40 minutes getting my school friend to see things the way I see them, showing him graphs, studies, data, talking about my experiences and most women's experiences just for him feeling that he is the one meeting me half way. Asking me to meet you half way is asking me to deny my own reality, at least a bit, enough so it doesn't bother you.
Sometimes I don’t want to engage in hours of talk with the men in my life that I love about how “this time maybe I read too much into the scene” or “I think there is another way to see it”. I saw it in that other way for far too long, most people see it that way, the neutral way, the “that is just normal” way, the “no need to overreact” way. So not today, today I just want to let the anger out.
PS: A less pissed off Virginia will resume her free services talking with men in her life about feminism with patience and hope, but I am afraid that will be from the 25th of April, tomorrow I just refuse to do so.