The Myopia of #BlameOneNotAll

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The website Mintified faced recent backlash after promoting their #BlameOneNotAll campaign. The misdirected campaign featured photographs of women holding signs stating that the men in their lives never hurt them.

The idea was to refute an accusation that all men were sexually violent and abusive towards women. According to the website, #BlameOneNotAll wanted to advocate that, “Not all men are rapists. Not all men abuse their significant others. Not all men actively oppress women.” But oddly, no one claimed that all men are rapists, especially not feminists (who are the likely the target audience for the hashtag campaign). So why the smokescreen?

The confusion seems to have been generated when America finally noticed that rape and sexual assault are prevalent crimes. Just within the last year, major public figures like Bill Cosby, Ray Rice, and Jerry Sandusky have faced accusations with extraordinarily convincing evidence. Violence against women isn’t just in our media consciousness — it is present in every city and town in very real ways. The numbers are shocking — nearly 1 in 3 women will be sexually assaulted, abused, or raped. But the skewed logic of the #BlameOneNotAll campaign prioritizes “lots of rapes = lots of rapists” rather than “lots of rapes = lots of victims.”

The issue at hand isn’t “not all men are rapists.” The issue at hand is that too many women are victims of sexual violence.

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Anyone even a moderate amount of awareness would realize that campaigning against sexual violence and calling all men rapists are not synonymous. #BlameOneNotAll’s patronizing hashtag is insidious — the idea of women congratulating men for not abusing them suggests not only that men need to have some degree of self-control not to rape, but that women should also be grateful for it.

Requesting gratitude and redirecting the issue at hand is damaging to the progress of anti-violence advocates. Startling new statistics name the United States as the #1 country with the most reported rapes, where a woman is raped every 20 minutes. Shocking statistics like this keep us grounded in reality.

But when did “rapist” become men’s default and “not rapist” become a noble identifier to be applauded? Not raping should be a given.

Perhaps the most myopic thing about #BlameOneNotAll is that it discredits a brave uprising against rape culture (which is meant to be about promoting equality and women’s safety) and redirects focus to protecting men’s feelings. As long as we live in a world where the reaction to a high rate of sexual assault is men refocusing the attention on themselves and women replicating the same disjointed message in an effort to ensure that men don’t feel badly, we are a far, far cry from equal. And we continue to be even further from ending sexual violence.

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Categories: Violence

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5 replies

  1. I think this is associated to the idea that which really I have only been made aware of recently – that the idea that all men are bad (rapists, mysogynists) encourages women to persevere in poor relationships because they don’t think they can get any better. Saying anything other than a sick minority of men bully or are violent towards women promotes acceptance of this behaviour, suggests it’s the norm, so maybe they haven’t gort the detail right but Blameonenotall is a crucial concept to help women realise they CAN have good relationships.

    ( deserved slam winner tonight, btw Kate)

    • I can understand where you are coming from, however, I feel your focus is slightly skewed in the wrong direction. Whilst it is of fundamental importance that victims of abusive relationships are given the support to rebuild their self-esteem, you seem to be suggesting that violence against women is perpetuated because women accept the violence; this constitutes victim blaming.

      As stated in the article, no one (or no one should) called (call) all men rapists However what is happening all over the world is that people are being raped, this has nothing to do with self-esteem or realisation of what constitutes a good relationship.

      (And thank you – rarely does my ‘political’ writing and my slam poetry cross paths but I assure you, you are welcome in both circles!)

      • The general critical paradigm against sexual violence against women does not argue nor even imply that all men are rapists or misogynists by default. It is a fallacy to suggest that because men are being called out for rape and sexual assault publicly, that the logic of those making such claims or supporting victims in argument, extends to the conclusion that all men are rapists. Thus, this #blameonenotall is a quite ludicrous miss fire. It is victims that need to be buttressed in the general debate.

  2. This is the whole point of this blog. It is not helpful for men to say “I’m not a rapist.” By identifying that rape is a huge problem is NOT saying that all men are rapists. We are saying that rape is a huge problem. Focus on that vantage point, rather than identifying as a “non-rapist.” That’s not how you are a helpful member of this movement to end sexual violence.

  3. all men are not rapist .. this is true .. i am not …

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