These days, with the battles that feminism needs to fight being more subtly present in our society, a lot of people deny the need for its existence. If they do concede that it has a place, they counter it with arguments that dismiss or undermine the experiences of individuals. Especially the experiences of women. One particular argument that always catches my eye is so commonly found in the comments of articles of sexual abuse, that it can almost be an argument for the need for feminism itself. The argument goes as follows:
“It happens to men too.”
This is true. It honestly is, and I do not intend to downplay the sexualized violence that men experience. However, it is more than apparent from the numbers, that women are overwhelmingly more likely to be the target of violence. 80-90% of victims are in fact female.
Today I don’t want to look at the victims of sexualized violence though. We have done that more than enough and obviously, this argument won’t seem to die. The problem is that by pointing out that sexualized violence happens to men too, one is generally implying that women can be abusive too. Which is true. Sometimes. What I find interesting and far more important than the statistics of the victims, is the fact that most cases of sexual abuse, whether it be directed at women or men, are perpetrated by men. Even when it is happening to men, other men are often the cause. In fact, 90 to 98% of these crimes are committed by men.
So, why is it that this argument is used by humanists to say that we just need to be nicer to each other to improve the human condition? The problem is not that all people are violent. Women are not contributing equally to this violence. Not even close. Humanism is not the right approach. This is a gender issue, and I see a place for feminism in it.