This is something that I’ve started asking every naysayer to do — to talk to their mothers and grandmothers about their stories with rape, abuse, groping, harassment and fear. They pretty much all have them and if men start to realize this, perhaps they will begin to understand what a pervasive and truly horrendous thing has been going on all this time — better than the past perhaps, but still not good.
Many men (and women) assume that because they’ve not heard these stories before that they don’t exist, but the fact of the matter is until recently it hasn’t been a topic for “polite” conversation. It’s not enough to say, “Have you ever been raped?” Many women haven’t, but nearly all of them have experienced some kind of sexualized violence in their lives.
It’s truly awful to read that predatory sexual behavior was so normalized that being raped was really just one more instance in a long list of things that she’d had to endure. My mom has told me some of her stories too, and although they weren’t as hair-raising as this, they were pretty bad. Perhaps I need to write those up as well.