[I know, I know, I know, I know. So many sexual assault back posts. I’m sorry. I’m still chugging through ’em. As per usual, you can choose to read or not :-)]
One of the successful gaslighting tactics sexual assault guy used on me was to always tell me what a “good guy” he was.
If I said he made me uncomfortable or did something hurtful or disrespectful, a big thing he would argue is that is was *impossible* that he was disrespectful to women.
After all, he’s so chivalrous and gentlemanly! He’ll “make breakfast even for one-night stands!” Because he “respects women” so much. (Though I would argue that while holding doors and making food can be nice, that’s not really the barometer by how you know if someone respects women.)
He *is* good in many ways to his friends. He will pick people up front the airport and help people move (and he would make sure that I hear about it, so I can constantly be witnessing what a “good guy” he is).
But guess what? Rapists make breakfast too.
Rapists aren’t one-dimensional characters who twirl their curly mustaches in an alley and then rape somone at gunpoint and then literally disappear into the air until they’re raping again.
Rapists live among us in this world. They go to their jobs. They say hello to people at water coolers and coffee machines. Some have wives. Some have daughters. They all had moms bring them into this world.
Some of them go to fancy events. Some of them give money to charities (maybe even a lot of money!). Rapists are people. And sometimes in many ways they are “good people” (I guess – it’s kind of hard to label people with such a broad brush. But like, a neighbor or or co-worker would say “he’s such a great person!” …Or at least they do a lot of “good” things.)
Do I think there is any correlation at all to whether rapists make breakfast?
No, I don’t. I think there is literally no correlation.
I certainly don’t think if somebody makes breakfast that it’s some sign they’re a rapist. That’s crazy.
And by that same token, if someone does a traditionally polite thing like offer breakfast, I don’t at all think that means, “oh shoot, man! He’s a polite dude. He’s most definitely not a rapist!”
And I’m not saying we should be scared of every person we see, like “dang! We don’t have to just focus on the “shady” people?! Now I have to worry about the “polite guys”? This isn’t meant to be a scary post, or to say humans are bad in general, or that everyone’s a rapist. Obviously in no way do I think anything close to that.
This is just a reminder that we need to challenge our internal biases. I was *there* – I was *there* as he completely ignored me, and even *I* was like, “oh him? No, no, no. He would never do that.” [minimize, minimize. minimize, explain away everything for him, give a million excuses]
Even when he basically told me that’s what he meant to do – that he “knew I didn’t want to, but I needed to” – that he was helping me, I still was like “well, he can’t really mean that.”
And it’s like, if I – the victim – can’t stop giving him the benefit of the doubt, how are any of us going to hold people accountable?
We have such deep internal biases. But just because someone is white or well-educated or polite or well-off, doesn’t mean they’re a “good” person, or at least an innocent person just because some weird internal biases say they might be.
I’m not 100% sure (I’m really not even like 70% sure) how we fix these misconceptions as a society.
All I know is I can tell you from first hand experience, rapists are capable of making breakfast.