Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Annual Male Shame-Fest: Take Back the Night

“We are here to publicly say that we’re against the abuse of women, we won’t take it anymore, and we are taking back the night,” said Shira Brown, professor of gender women’s studies, at California State University's 8th Annual Take Back the Night March last Thursday.

Stop there for a moment so we don't overlook the obvious. Professor Brown says she is against the abuse of women.  Period. Words matter, and in the law, there is a canon of statutory and contract law construction known as expressio unius est exclusio alterius, which means the expression of one thing implies the exclusion of another. Professor Brown purposefully omitted "men" even though it is our sons, far more than our daughters, who need to "take back the night," since "[m]en are 150 percent more likely to be the victims of violent crimes than women are. . . . . Men are more likely to be victimized by a stranger (63 percent of violent victimizations) . . . ."  J. Friedman, J. Valenti, Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape at 23 (2008).

Let's get one thing straight. Rape survivors, indeed survivors of any traumatic event, are to be encouraged to overcome their ordeals in any manner appropriate.  But a male bashing circle-jerk that can't possibly prevent a single sexual assault, and that won't bring real healing to a single survivor, is not an appropriate way to seek healing, attain empowerment, or raise awareness about rape or anything else. As politically incorrect and as insensitive as it might sound, Take Back the Night is just another in a cavalcade of gender-divisive passion plays -- an otherwise useless publicity stunt like this one -- concocted to justify the existence of the paid sexual grievance industry and to "prove" that rape is rampant even though it isn't. 

Oh, but what a night it was!  There was a festival atmosphere in the air, replete with approximately 100 shirts hung on a clothesline surrounding the Plaza del Sol with phrases like “Men must change” painted on them. 

I don't know about you, but I can't think of anything that would make 43.5% of the school's student population feel more welcome than an officially sanctioned event that shames them about their gender.  A representative of the university counseling service declared that the event "adds to the mental health of our community."  That's a new one on me: mental health therapy that involves maligning an entire class of citizens. 

The school's provost and vice president for academic affairs was there to lend the school's imprimatur to the entire sordid affair, telling the crowd that Take Back the Night was about a "worthy cause."  What "worthy cause" is that? Misandry, no doubt.

Although the event was principally intended to moisten the vaginas of the man-hating crowd, some earnest young men weren't about to be excluded. Two males painted slogans on signs, “Beat off, not women,” and “I don’t hit.” You see, those two men, and the other males who marched with the women, aren't like all those "other" men -- the bad men -- including, I am sure, most of the readers of this blog (because, you know, we must be rapists, or at least rape apologists, since we dare to speak for people who've been falsely accused of rape).

Students representing that landmark of the theater The Vagina Monologues also spoke at the rally. (My guess is that this play is now performed more frequently than Hamlet. Fitting for this age.)

One of the highlights of the night was when Professor Randy Picarelli discussed the daily routines women must endure that men do not, such as getting errands done before it is dark outside, staying indoors at night and never looking down as she speed walks to her car.

Now, read that last paragraph again.  In light of the fact that innocent men, far more than women, are at risk of serious bodily injury at the hands of criminals, what Professor Picarelli describes is a gender in the grip of serious mass hysteria.

In fact, there is a legal term for Professor Picarelli's description: bullshit. A comment under the story brilliantly exposed the inanity behind the good professor's assertion, and we will end by quoting it: 

"Wow. I've known women all my life, many in fact. Not one of them has ever mentioned how unsafe they feel at night or how scared they are while walking from Point A to Point B. None of them cower at home because of fear of attack. None has ever been attacked or raped by a stranger. Only one I know was 'date-raped' in high school. On the other hand, I know some men who were robbed on the street at gunpoint. The activists love to blow things out of proportion in order to get funding or because they think it will help their causes. 

"Don't misunderstand me: Sexual assault is a problem, but people should know the truth. Here's a piece called 'The Campus Rape Myth' that gives another rarely-heard perspective:"