As a man in my 20s, I find absurd Cathy Young’s assertion that “the overwhelming majority of men need no teaching that rape is a repugnant crime” (“Rape in the real world,” Op-ed, June 29). The flurry of catcalls that women encounter as they walk to work or school and the constant objectification of the female body should be evidence enough that our culture of harm exists apart from the most extreme acts of violation by a small set of psychologically sick offenders.
How many males have heard and truly understood stories of terror from women who have been followed blocks from the subway, waitresses who have been forced to accept harassment to make tips, and girls who have been complimented in ways that make them feel sick?
The status quo is derogatory not only to women but to men who are cued to choose power over love, stoic silence over honesty.
We should hold individual perpetrators accountable for their actions, but we cannot expect to solve a crisis of rape culture until we shift from the stigmatization of the mentally ill to the stigmatization of patriarchy and our complicity in it.
I am willing to risk anxiety to see that change come about.