Author: Mark Dent
I am writing a lot of letters lately. This is my fourth, being around 13 pages in length. It’s exhausting but I can’t sleep unless I feel I have at least tried to open the eyes of yet another person steeped in wrongheaded views of men, women, society and history.
This one will be mailed to Mason Black, the hero who made the speech which preceded the boys being told to stand and apologise for rape. His speech contained the words, “Don’t be boys, be human.”
I am writing in response to the speech you made recently on the subject of sexual assault.
Your speech has brought you great acclaim and international recognition. You have been hailed as a hero and an example of how all men and boys should think and speak on the issue of gender relationships.
Your words have been read or heard by thousands of young men and women.
You are, undoubtedly, enjoying the accolades and tributes which have come your way. It’s only natural for anyone who is suddenly thrust into the public eye and held up as a model citizen and example of how all boys should think, speak and behave, to feel a glow of warm well- being.
I think your immediate response to what I have written on the following pages will be to reject my comments out of hand. That too, is only natural for a young man raised in a world where men and boys have been demeaned, demonized and denigrated by our most powerful institutions for nigh on five decades.
My only hope is, that as you grow, experience more of life, and begin to see that humanity is complex and no one gender is more moral, compassionate and decent than the other, that my words may resonate and cause you to reflect on the damage I believe you have done (albeit unintentionally) to thousands of young boys and men with your ill-chosen and thoughtless words.
Let’s begin with your belief in the evil notion of collective guilt.
If the principal of Brisbane Boy’s College had called an assembly and given a speech in which he held all of the boys who followed the Islamic faith responsible for the countless acts of terror carried out by Muslim extremists, I have no doubt as to what your immediate response would have been.
You would have called such a statement an outrageous act of bigotry and you would have been right to do so.
If an item was stolen from your teacher’s desk, and rather than search for the culprit, your teacher decided to cane every boy in the room for contributing to a climate where theft was seen as an acceptable form of behaviour, you would be disgusted and I’ve no doubt would voice your disapproval of such an unjust approach to a criminal action committed by an individual.
Yet when it comes to a crime committed by a tiny (yes tiny) minority of boys, you have no qualms about holding every boy accountable, regardless of the fact that almost none of them have ever sexually assaulted another person.
How do you justify supporting such an outrageous, illogical and unjust belief? To hold any group or demographic responsible for the actions of a minority who happen to share their immutable characteristics is simply evil.
You used the term ‘rape culture” a number of times in your speech. Again, Mason, upon what evidence do you dare to suggest we live in a culture which supports or condones rape? It is a demonstrable lie.
Men have been hanged, electrocuted, shot, burned and beaten to death for centuries for the crime of rape. Western society has never done anything other than revile any man or boy who rapes a woman or evenly sexually abuses someone.
From the classical antiquity of Greece and Rome into the Colonial period, rape along with arson, treason and murder was a capital offense. “Those committing rape were subject to a wide range of capital punishments that were seemingly brutal, frequently bloody, and at times spectacular.” In the 12th century, kinsmen of the victim were given the option of executing the punishment themselves. “In England in the early fourteenth century, a victim of rape might be expected to gouge out the eyes and/or sever the offender’s testicles herself.”
Men have lost their lives on a mere accusation of rape. This has happened on hundreds of occasions and is still happening now. During the time of Jim Crow, hundreds of black men were lynched by mobs on the word of white women. Many of these men were entirely innocent.
The lyrics of this Billie Holiday song say it all.
Southern trees bear a strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swingin’ in the Southern breeze
Strange fruit hangin’ from the poplar trees
Pastoral scene of the gallant South
The bulgin’ eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolias sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burnin’ flesh
Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather
For the wind to suck
For the sun to rot
For the tree to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop
How dare you use the term ‘rape culture” when our society has done all in its power to protect women and punish those who harm them.
Name an institution or any person in power who has ever condoned or supported rape. Men have their lives and careers destroyed for simply speaking inappropriately to a woman yet you say we live in a “rape culture.” That is a truly disgraceful allegation without foundation or any basis in truth.
When I heard these words, I felt physically ill.
‘Don’t be boys, be human.”
You are literally dehumanizing boys with that quite sick statement. As a recently retired teacher, I find it appalling to think you were permitted to read those words out loud.
You are clearly inferring that when boys behave in the natural way boys do, they are less than human. How could you write that, reflect upon it, and still believe those words were okay to speak out loud to the boys who sat before you?
I cried when I heard your speech. I cried for my beautiful grandson, my son and all of the wonderful boys and young men I know and have taught who are constantly subjected to this endless demonization.
We have government funded advertisements depicting boys and only boys as likely to bully and torment their sisters or girls in their school when we all know how malicious and vicious some girls can be.
We have men being openly disparaged and blamed whenever one individual male commits a crime, yet this notion of collective guilt is never applied to women and girls.
More children have been murdered by their mothers in the past decade than by the men in their lives but you would never know this fact would you, Mason? The worst mass murder of children in a family violence incident was carried out by a woman a couple of years ago. She hacked eight children to death. Since them mothers have drowned, stabbed or beaten many more children. Most recently a mother stabbed her three kids to death. I will provide some articles with all of this information linked in case you think I am inventing these stories.
Not once, did any media outlet or police representative lay the blame for these horrendous crimes at the feet of all women. Yet time and again, men and boys are blamed for something they have not done.
Hundreds of female teachers have been found guilty of raping and sexually abusing the boys in their care. Female prison guards have also been found to rape and abuse the boys in juvenile detention centres at a higher rate than male guards. These facts don’t see the light of day because they destroy the narrative
A new federal study spotted by Pro Publica flips the usual expectations in regard to the sexual abuse of vulnerable youth by authority figures. In this case, it’s female guards at juvenile detention facilities preying on young males who have been locked up. The new study by the Justice Department shows the problem is more widespread than you might think—it estimates that 8% of male teens in custody have been abused by female staff, a figure that has held steady for three years.
“When you have an extreme power differential and absolute unchecked power, bad things start happening,” says the leader of the nonprofit Just Detention International. “When you combine this with a culture where sex abuse by females on males isn’t taken seriously, then you have the perfect set-up for women with all this power to get away with it.”
The Justice Department first discovered the startling form of abuse in 2010, when it surveyed more than 9,000 youngsters living in juvenile halls and group homes. More than 10 percent of the respondents said they’d been sexually abused by staff and 92 percent said their abuser was female.
In the last three years, the numbers haven’t changed much.
The Justice Department released its second reportlast month, and this time researchers surveyed more than 8,700 juveniles housed in 326 facilities across the country. In all, the facilities house more than 18,000 juveniles, representing about one quarter of the nation’s total number of youngsters living in detention centers.
Drawing on their sample, Justice Department researchers estimate that 1,390 juveniles in the facilities they examined have experienced sex abuse at the hands of the staff supervising them, a rate of nearly 8 percent. Twenty percent who said they were victimized by staff said it happened on more than 10 occasions. Nine out of 10 victims were males abused by female staff.
Nearly two-thirds of the abused youngsters said that the officials lured them into sexual relationships by giving them special treatment, treating them like a favorite, giving gifts and pictures.
Twenty-one percent said staff gave them drugs or alcohol in exchange for sex.
Stannow said that the rate of abuse perpetrated by female guards on male victims is the result of a “dangerous combination” of cultural and institutional problems, not the least of which is the fact that women forcing males into sex does not comport with society’s conventional definition of rape.
Let me repeat a line which leapt out at me:
“When you combine this with a culture in which sex abuse by females on males isn’t taken seriously, then you have the perfect set up for women with all this power to get away with it.”
You, Mason, are one of the people who promotes the myth that all abuse comes from males and is perpetrated upon females.
By doing this, you are condemning countless boys and young men to silent suffering as nobody would take seriously the notion they are being sexually abused by a woman. You are imprisoning male victims of sex abuse just as the family violence industry deliberately ignores male victims of family violence.
It is shameful.
My best friend was sexually abused by his mother. He hid this painful secret from me for years, conceding that it was simply too shameful to discuss given the veneration of mothers in our society as nurturing, loving, perfect beings as opposed to dads who are regularly portrayed as wife beaters and child abusers.
He felt there must be something terribly wrong with him for his mother to do such (what he believed) was a rare and repulsive act.
Your attitude creates this suffocating climate for boys and men who are victims of female abuse. It is far more common than our media and governments would ever dare to suggest.
When female teachers rape their male students the reaction from most (including other men and boys, is to laugh and say “half their luck.”)
A recent American study on non-consensual sex found the following.
We assessed 12-month prevalence and incidence data on sexual victimization in 5 federal surveys that the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted independently in 2010 through 2012. We used these data to examine the prevailing assumption that men rarely experience sexual victimization. We concluded that federal surveys detect a high prevalence of sexual victimization among men-in many circumstances similar to the prevalence found among women. We identified factors that perpetuate misperceptions about men’s sexual victimization: reliance on traditional gender stereotypes, outdated and inconsistent definitions, and methodological sampling biases that exclude inmates. We recommend changes that move beyond regressive gender assumptions, which can harm both women and men.
IN 2011 the CDC reported results from the NISVS Sexual violence survey one of the most comprehensive surveys of sexual victimization in the USA to date.
The survey found that men and women had a similar prevalence of non consensual sex in the previous 12 months 1.270 million women and 1.267 million men. This remarkable finding challenges stereotypical assumptions about the gender of victims of sexual violence.
The CDC publications and the media coverage which followed instead chose to highlight female sexual vicitmisation, reinforcing public perceptions that sexual vicitmisation is primarily a women’s issue.
How interesting to discover that the media chose to ignore the shocking data on the abuse of boys because it didn’t fit their narrative.
Another interesting aspect of this phenomenon of blaming all men or boys for the misdeeds of an individual who shares their gender is the fact that the same idea is never applied when men do good deeds which of course, men do with incredible regularity.
A couple of years ago, a woman was raped and murdered in a Melbourne Park. There were candlelight vigils. They only have those when a woman or child dies at the hands of a man-never when children are hacked to death by their mum or a man is burned alive by his female partner as happened three times in Australia last year.
Why is that, Mason?
The media went on their usual frenzied rampage, culminating with Lisa Wilkinson (host of The Project) demanding that all fathers teach their sons not to rape and all men talk with their friends about the fact that rape is not acceptable. She looked down the camera lens and told the men of Australia they need to be taught not to rape. The male hosts beside her bowed their heads in shame as though they were responsible for the young woman’s death.
Mason, can you imagine the reaction if a male host, let’s say, Andrew Bolt, looked down the camera lens when yet another mother hacked her kids to death and demanded all mums teach their daughters not to kill their own children?
It’s impossible to imagine because it would never happen. Yet hateful, rage filled women (and men) routinely do this to men and they are warmly congratulated for reinforcing the notion of collective guilt, toxic masculinity and demonizing males, yet again.
During this time a group of schoolchildren were trapped in caves in Thailand. Hundreds of men and only men worked around the clock to save them. One man died while trying. Not one media outlet stepped back and recognized that it was males doing all of the risk taking, nurturing of the kids once they found them or even the genius of these men in planning the rescue.
Terms like rescuers, workers, paramedics were used but the word men was in scant use.
Hundreds of men do a good deed saving multiple lives and there is no thank you to men as a collective for all of the life- saving, life risking and dangerous tasks they undertake on a daily basis.
One man commits a crime-all man are responsible. Hundreds of men do a good deed- men are not in any way thanked or recognized for the goodness carried out by so many of the male gender.
Countless male sporting teams and organizations raise millions in funding for women specific diseases every year. No female groups reciprocate this generosity. Has it ever crossed your mind to praise the boys and men of this country who do so much to protect and improve the health of the girls and women in our nation?
I checked out the survey on sexual assault and harassment which apparently horrified you. I was horrified for a different reason.
All of the claims are simply anonymous allegations. None of them have been substantiated. As the surveys I cited earlier show, boys are just as likely to have unwanted, non-consensual sex and touching but no-one gives a stuff about that fact. Many of the girls claimed to have been heavily inebriated. That is on them. Nobody forced alcohol down their throats. I’ll guarantee many of the boys were equally inebriated. Why is it the responsibility of the boys to somehow be in control of their faculties and make the right decision?
Many young men have sex with women when they are drunk. They are taken advantage of in the same way as some girls are. Is this rape?
The double standards are disgusting.
“If you have ever objectified a woman based on her looks, talked about females in a misogynistic way or taken advantage without consent, you are part of the problem.”
So, you are suggesting that women and girls don’t objectify men and boys based on their looks? Girls and women don’t talk about men and boys in a misandric way and females have never taken advantage without consent?
Have you ever watched Gogglebox? An innocuous show where we watch people watching weekly television shows. The women on this program do nothing but comment on men’s appearance and the size of their genitals. Last week they watched an episode featuring black, male strippers. Here are some of the comments.
“Show me some cock!”
“Oh, that would choke me”
“Look at it swing!”
The men on the show never speak in such sexualized, demeaning ways about women. There has never been any complaint about this regular and vulgar objectification of men and their bodies. The double standards are stark and previous episodes have featured the women making derogatory comments about Donald Trump’s penis when an entire segment of CNN was devoted to an interview with a woman who had slept with Trump and described his penis in lurid detail. I’ll repeat that. A national news show discussed and derided the President of America’s penis and no-one had one word of criticism.
No-one called it body shaming or an example of our society’s hatred of men.
Yet young men like you would scream from the hilltops that women in politics have to endure misogyny. What a farce. No female politician would ever have the appearance of her breasts or genitals discussed on a mainstream news network or any other form of news. But when it’s a man, it’s hilarious and just what he deserves.
Have you never heard of female groupies who stalk and harass male singers and celebrities and try to grope them or get them in bed? What about hens’ nights where the women behave in a far more violent and sexually abusive manner than men would ever do when a female is stripping?
Girls send sex texts as frequently as boys a recent study revealed yet boys and only boys are condemned for their propensity for sending dick pics to their girlfriends. Girls send “tit pics” to their boyfriends just as frequently but we blame the boys for that too because they apparently pressured the girls into sending them. Girls never request a dick pic. How bigoted can we be? Girls are never held to account for their actions, yet boys are constantly blamed for things they never did.
You write as if women and girls are in some way morally superior to men and boys. This is utter nonsense. Human beings of both genders have their strengths and weaknesses. The ridiculous mantra, “Believe All Women” is one of the most inane examples of this sick, twisted kind of thinking.
Who would believe an entire demographic simply because they shared certain immutable characteristics? You’d laugh if we started a hashtag, “Believe all Italians” or “Believe all redheads”. Why is “Believe all women” any less insane? Yet countless men and women wore shirts bearing this mantra and posted it on their Facebook page with pride. They chanted it outside courts in their thousands with no sense of embarrassment or shame even though they all know females who lie and cheat.
This is a result of decades of man hating and sanctifying females.
Women lie. Men lie too. So, we have courts and we demand evidence. Anecdotes and anonymous testimonies don’t cut it, Mason.
Perhaps one day you will understand how important the rule of law is-innocent until proven guilty. I hope for your sake you don’t ever suffer a false accusation in our man hating climate.
When Sharon Osbourne hosted The Talk, a nationally viewed talk show, she celebrated the genital mutilation of a young man whose angry wife hacked off his penis while he slept and shredded it in a waste disposal outlet.
Listen to the women howling, cackling and cheering about the vicious mutilation of a man’s genitals.
The many female hosts laughed hysterically as did the all-female audience and it was called “fabulous and wonderful”. The show and Osbourne faced no pushback, no consequences, no loss of sponsorship, after all, she was only mocking a young man whose life had been destroyed. Yet men who dare to say something as mild as, “women aren’t as strong as men” face vicious backlash and often lose their job.
You are a part of the reason for this horrible climate of male hatred, Mason.
Our society already prioritizes woman and girls over men and boys and you act as if females are treated like second class citizens.
Look at the cold facts.
It is males killing themselves at nearly four times the rate of females.
It is males who make up 95% of all workplace deaths.
It is males who make up nearly 80% of those sleeping rough on our streets.
It is males who have no reproductive rights.
It is males failing in our schools and whose numbers when it comes to enrolling in universities have been plummeting for years.
It is males who receive 63% longer jail terms for committing the same crime as a woman.
It is males who still die years earlier yet our government spends four times as much on women’s health and men continue to fund raise for women’s health-not their own.
Male victims of family violence receive zero support and funding whereas billions of dollars are spent on the safety and protection of women. Men make up one third of family violence victims as recognized by the ABS yet they are invisible. Mothers are more likely to kill their children yet every family violence campaign uses this mantra:
We must protect our women and their children from violence.
Australia says no to violence against women.
Violence against men doesn’t bother us! That’s obvious.
Mason, if these statistics showed women were overwhelmingly the gender disadvantaged and suffering in the range of issues I listed, you would be standing at your podium quoting them as evidence of the lack of value and respect our society has for women. But once again, it is men who are overwhelmingly the most damaged and affected gender, so we hear nothing about these stark facts.
Lies about gender wage gaps and glass ceilings receive wall to wall coverage while literal issues of life and death concerning men get zero coverage.
Who holds the power? Who is the truly respected and privileged gender?
Mason, I will leave you with a comment which was written by a boy after seeing your speech and hearing about the school which ordered all of the boys to stand and apologise for something they had never done. Read his words. Excuse the punctuation and spelling errors. The raw words are just as he wrote them.
This reminds me alot of the white ribbon ceremonys in school. When I was in Yr 12 the female teachers asked all the boys to pledge to never be violent towards a female. now I was at the time experiencing a domestic violent relationship with my mother and my sister which I was sleeping in the local botanic gardens to get away from. so I said I didn’t want to participate because I felt that it should be non violence against all not a single gender. I was belittled by the female staff and made out to be a terrible individual because I didn’t want to take part and that what happened to me didn’t matter. I was still forced to go to the White ribbon day event. When I arrived I walked up to the women handing out flyers for those seeking help and asked them if there was anything they could give to me. She was surprised and said that there wouldn’t be any hotline to help me for Another 5 weeks. I was in hospital due to having my wrist smashed with a sledge hammer 3 weeks before an organisation could have been able to be contacted and provide assistance. To this day I’ve always thought about how there’s very little help for men being abused by men or women, which I’ve never really understood. I understood and surported the importance of a victim having the ability to get assistance from an organisation. I always understood the importance of teaching the younger generations the signs and prevention measures to keep others safe. What I’ve never understood is how gender effects the way you receive or wheather you even deserve to be given said assistance (apologies half of this is more emotional than logical so my opinion is probably not the best one to take into consideration but I’d like to ask if you contacted domestic violence or sexual assault helplines. How many turn you away if you’re a man. Because 5 years ago every single hotline in Australia did
There are hundreds of Ryan Flack’s in Australia. Men and boys who are ignored, belittled, laughed at or silenced when they try to speak of their abuse at the hands of women. I know some men personally who have been in abusive relationships, gone to the police and been sent on their way and told to “man up”.
What do boys and men do in this situation? If they lay a finger on their abuser in retaliation, it is they who will be arrested and jailed. If they tell others the usual response is laughter or derision because they are being abused by a woman or girl. There are no safe houses, no financial assistance or hotlines for males who are being abused to contact. Nothing.
You have helped create this world, Mason.
Exactly. When married I was slapped in my face on a number of occasions when my wife was drunk. Back in the 90s in Australia when I was severely depressed there was zero help for men but so much for women. In desperation, I once rang a menopause clinic to seek advice but they just laughed into the phone. Nowadays more men die of prostate cancer than women die of breast cancer (as my dear mother did), yet we only hear about assisting with the latter. Men are constantly abused and treated like second class citizens, especially by the Family Court.
Enjoy your fame and all the plaudits sent your way by the gender bigots who believe your dehumanizing words, “Don’t be boys, be human” were inspirational.
I want you to reflect upon my words in your quieter moments, Mason.
You have taken the course of Stalin, Mao and Hitler in demonizing an entire demographic and denouncing masculinity as something less than human.
Martin Luther King dreamed of the day we would judge people by the contents of their heart rather than their immutable characteristics. Perhaps you could listen to his famous speech and reconsider the path you have chosen to follow. It’s never too late to be educated and make amends, Mason.
There is so much more I could write but this is already more like a book and less like a letter.
Good luck in all you do, Mason. I hope you have a happy, successful life.
I also hope you come to understand just how misguided and damaging your speech was, (however well intended) and you stop judging people by anything other than their personal words and actions.
Original Story on AVFM
These stories are from AVoiceForMen.com.