I recently asked a male relative of mine if he would send his nephews to a rape defense class. This was part of a larger discussion on rape culture, misogyny, and the general state of affairs in our society that have been brought into sharp focus due to the recent events in California. My relative replied to my question by stating that he would hope his nephews “would respect women.”
Now ignoring the fact that he dodged my very direct question almost completely, what he said was still somewhat interesting to me. In the next few days, I saw similar comments from other men I knew along the same lines. More often than not, I see them offered up as part of a thinly veiled “Not All Men” defense. “I was raised to respect women,” the argument goes, “so clearly I am not part of this ‘rape culture’ you speak of.”
This defense is not only irrelevant and distracting, it’s also inherently flawed…and it proves exactly what it is trying to deny.