Film Crit Hulk Smash: HULK SMASHES THE PUNY PARADIGMS OF FILM CRITICISM WITH HULK-SIZED SEMIOTICAL ESSAYS ON STORYTELLING, CINEMATIC PRINCIPLES, AND MEDIA THEORY! HULK EVEN MAKE PRACTICAL HOW-TO GUIDES! See More...

WE NEED TO CHANGE HOW WE TALK ABOUT RAPE

Hulk addresses the rape conversation. 

WE NEED TO CHANGE HOW WE TALK ABOUT RAPE

A DESPERATE PLEA IN 12 PARTS.

1. OVERTURE

"The only difference between tips and blaming is timing."

-BEN KJOLHAUG

* * *

2. SO HERE WE ARE

YOU'RE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE THIS, BUT THERE WAS RECENTLY A PROVOCATIVE SLATE ARTICLE THAT OFFERED UP A COMPLETELY POISONOUS OPINION IN THE GUISE OF ALTERNATIVE THINKING... SHOCKER!

WE HERE AT BADASS MADE THE DECISION NOT TO LINK TO SAID ARTICLE BECAUSE IT WAS SUCH AN OBVIOUS CASE OF RAGE-INDUCING HIT-BAITING THAT WE JUST CAN'T LINK TO IT IN GOOD CONSCIENCE. WHICH ISN'T TO IMPLY THE AUTHOR OF THE ARTICLE WASN'T BEING GENUINE IN HER STANCE, IT'S JUST THAT IT WAS OBVIOUSLY PUBLISHED WITH THE COLD, MECHANICAL INTENTION OF RILING PEOPLE UP. AND WHILE WE'RE ON THE SUBJECT, HULK FINDS THIS CHOICE TO PUBLISH TO BE EXEMPLARY OF HULK'S PROBLEMS WITH SLATE IN GENERAL. THEIR WHOLE NEVER-ENDING QUEST TO ESSENTIALLY BE "DEVIL'S ADVOCATE: THE MAGAZINE!" ALWAYS SEEMS TO UNDERMINE THE POTENTIAL VALUE OF ALL THE BREADTH OF INTELLIGENCE THE PUBLICATION HAS AT THEIR DISPOSAL. AFTER ALL, SIMPLY BEING A DEVIL'S ADVOCATE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE A VOICE, NOR PHILOSOPHY, NOR A SINGULAR POINT OF VIEW. IT IS ACTUALLY JUST A TACTIC YOU USE TO ROUND OUT AND FACT CHECK OTHER (MUCH MORE ACCURATE) APPROACHES TO THINGS. HULK'S SAYS IT ALL THE TIME, BUT THE PROBLEM WITH PLAYING DEVIL'S ADVOCATE IS THAT YOU'RE ACTUALLY ADVOCATING THE DEVIL.

BUT THERE'S A BIGGER PROBLEM HERE. WHILE THIS HIT-BAITING INCLINATION MAY BE ENOUGH TO DISMISS THE ARTICLE ITSELF, IT IS NOT ENOUGH TO DISMISS THE HORRENDOUS ARGUMENT THE ARTICLE PUTS FORTH, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT IS A MISLEADING IDEA THAT HAS FIRM ROOTS WITHIN OUR CULTURE. YOU SEE, THE ADVICE WITHIN THE ARTICLE FLIES DIRECTLY IN THE FACE OF THE GROWING (AND HARD-FOUGHT) CONSENSUS ON HOW BEST TO TALK ABOUT AND HELP RAPE DYNAMICS AND INSTEAD JUST HEARKENS BACK TO SOME GOOD OLD-FASHIONED CONVENTIONAL WISDOM ON THE MATTER. WORSE, IT'S SUPPORTED WITH ALL THESE SEEMINGLY VALID STATISTICS THAT ACTUALLY HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE LARGER POINT. WHAT WAS THIS HORRENDOUS ARGUMENT, EXACTLY?

WELL, THE AUTHOR ARGUED THAT SINCE THE MAJORITY OF COLLEGIATE SEXUAL ASSAULT HAPPENS IN CASES WHERE PEOPLE ARE DRINKING HEAVILY, THAT MEANS WOMEN SHOULD JUST STOP DRINKING SO MUCH AND THUS PUTTING THEMSELVES IN THESE OBVIOUSLY BAD SITUATIONS. NOW... HULK KNOWS THAT SOME OF YOU HAVE HAD TO DEAL WITH THIS TOPIC A THOUSANDS TIMES, SO THIS COMMENT IS MORE DIRECTED TO THOSE WHO THINK THAT THIS SOLUTION SOUNDS REASONABLE, OR IN THE VERY LEAST, INNOCUOUS. THE TRUTH IS  THAT THINKING IS JUST SO SOUL-CRUSHINGLY WRONG ON A MORAL AND (AS HULK WILL HOPEFULLY PROVE TO YOU) A PRACTICAL LEVEL TOO. AND BECAUSE OF THAT, HULK JUST HAS TO TALK ABOUT THIS ISSUE ONCE AND FOR ALL.

SO HERE WE ARE.

3. UNCONVENTIONAL WISDOM

IN LIFE, THERE IS OFTEN A BASIC MISUNDERSTANDING OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE PERCEIVED VALUE OF INDIVIDUAL ADVICE AND THE ACTUAL VALUE OF THAT ADVICE IN THE NATIONAL CONVERSATION.

DOES THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THOSE TWO THINGS MAKE SENSE? NO? OKAY.

SAY HULK GAVE YOU ADVICE FOR WHAT TO DO IN A VERY SPECIFIC SITUATION THAT MIGHT REQUIRE A BIT OF CAUTION. WELL, ALSO UNDERSTAND THAT THE SAME BIT OF ADVICE MIGHT NOT BE GOOD PRACTICAL ADVICE FOR HOW WE SHOULD DEAL WITH THAT PROBLEM AS A SOCIETY. TO USE AN EXAMPLE FROM ANOTHER POPULAR TOPIC OF PUBLIC DIALOGUE, LET'S SAY HULK TOLD YOU "HEY, YOU MIGHT NOT WANT TO GO INTO THAT DANGEROUS PART OF TOWN. IT'S POSSIBLY UNSAFE!" NOW. THAT MIGHT BE REASONABLE ADVICE FOR YOUR IMMEDIATE WELL-BEING, RIGHT? BUT IF YOU TAKE THAT LOGIC ONE STEP FURTHER AND HULK SAID "THE PROBLEM WITH CRIME IN THIS NATION IS THAT WHITE PEOPLE ARE GOING INTO DANGEROUS PARTS OF TOWN!" WELL, UHHHHH, THAT WOULD NOT ONLY COME ACROSS AS REALLY PROBLEMATIC, BUT IT WOULDN'T REALLY BE A SOLUTION EITHER, RIGHT? FOR STARTERS, IT DOESN'T ACTUALLY ADDRESS ANYTHING ABOUT THE INDIVIDUAL INTERACTION AND JUST PROMOTES AVOIDANCE. AND IT CERTAINLY DOESN'T FIX ANYTHING. IN FACT, IT ACTUALLY SERVES TO PERVERT THE NATIONAL DIALOGUE ON THIS ISSUE ALONG RACIAL AND CLASS LINES. IT INSTANTLY TURNS "THE OTHER" INTO THE BAD GUY. HECK, IT'S NOT EVEN A BAND-AID SOLUTION, IT'S ACTUALLY A DEEPLY AMORAL BID FOR SEGREGATION... SEE HOW QUICKLY THAT ESCALATES? SEE HOW REASONABLE ADVICE FOR AN INDIVIDUAL BECOMES PERVERTED WHEN YOU LOOK AT IT IN A LARGER CONTEXT?

NOW. HULK KNOWS SOME PEOPLE WILL TRY TO TEAR THAT SAME LOGIC APART AND SAY "Yeah, what are we supposed to do? Just tell people to go into those bad neighborhoods and not care even if their lives are potentially in danger!?!" WELL, NO. THAT'S NOT REALLY THE POINT HERE (EVEN THOUGH HULK DID GO INTO "BAD" AREAS OF HULK'S CITY ALL THE TIME AND ONLY HAD ONE TINY INCIDENT EVER AND THUS THE "DON'T GO THERE!" IS OFTEN A MISLEADING IDEA BASED ON FEAR, BUT THIS IS ITS OWN TOPIC THAT HULK DOESN'T WANT TO GET INTO RIGHT NOW). HULK'S POINT IS THAT AVOIDANCE IS NOT AN ACTUAL "SOLUTION." WHO IS GOING WHERE AND WHEN IS NOT THE ACTUAL ISSUE. AND THUS, IF WE ACTUALLY WANT TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEM WE SHOULD BE FOCUSING ON "WHAT IS CAUSING THE NEIGHBORHOOD TO BE SO BAD AND HOW CAN WE FIX IT?" AND IF WE'RE NOT AIMING FOR THAT, THEN WE'RE NOT ACTUALLY TALKING ABOUT SOLVING ANYTHING. WE'RE SIMPLY TAKING AN INDIVIDUAL SOLUTION AND FALSELY APPLYING IT TO A NATIONAL PROBLEM.

AND THE PROBLEM IS THAT WE DO THIS THING ALL THE FUCKING TIME. AS HUMAN BEINGS WE GUIDE SO MUCH OF WHAT WE THINK IS RIGHT AND WRONG BASED ON OUR OWN IMMEDIACY, WHETHER IT COMES FROM OUR PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS OR PROTECTIVE ATTITUDES. WE THINK THAT THE CAUTIONARY AND REASONABLE SOUNDING ADVICE FOR INDIVIDUALS SHOULD JUST NATURALLY TRANSLATE TO BEING SOUND ADVICE FOR THE LARGER OVERALL POPULATION, AND IT SOOOOOOOOOO DOESN'T. HULK WILL EVEN CITE THE RATHER POPULAR SCIENTIFIC PRINCIPLE TO ALL OF THIS, "Correlation does not mean cause." JUST BECAUSE YOU AREN'T IN THE BAD NEIGHBORHOOD DOES NOT MEAN THE VIOLENCE ISN'T HAPPENING TO SOMEONE ELSE. AND THAT ESPECIALLY DOESN'T MEAN THAT SOMEONE ELSE IS MORE DESERVING OF IT. SO JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN AVOID A SITUATION DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE SOLVED IT. IN FACT, WHEN IT COMES A LOT OF MAJOR SOCIETAL PROBLEMS, AVOIDANCE OFTEN MAKES IT WORSE.

SO THINK ABOUT THAT SLATE ARTICLE AGAIN. YEAH, THE AUTHOR WAS JUST TALKING ABOUT EXERCISING CAUTION AND AVOIDING SITUATIONS OF HIGH RISK. HULK UNDERSTANDS THAT. HULK UNDERSTANDS THAT WE JUST WANT TO PROTECT OUR LOVED ONES. WE LOVE THEM SO MUCH THAT OF COURSE WE ARE GOING TO BE PROTECTIVE. HECK, MOST PARENTS LOVE THEIR KIDS SO FRICKIN MUCH THAT THEY WANT TO SEND THEM OFF TO SCHOOL COVERED IN BUBBLE WRAP... BUT WE DON'T DO THAT. WE KNOW IT WOULD BE RIDICULOUS AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, IT WOULDN'T ACTUALLY HELP IN THE WAYS THAT MATTER. IT WOULDN'T ACTUALLY SOLVE ANYTHING. IT WOULD EVEN JUST MAKE THINGS WORSE FOR THE KID. WE OBVIOUSLY KNOW THIS, BUT WE CAN'T HELP IT. WHEN IT COMES TO THREATS OF BASIC SAFETY TO OUR LOVED ONES, OUR DESIRE TO PROTECT CAN BECOME OUTRIGHT IRRATIONAL. AND FOR ALL THE WAYS PHYSICAL BUBBLE WRAP IS OBVIOUSLY WRONG, WE STILL DO SO MANY INVISIBLE THINGS THAT ARE LIKE BUBBLE WRAP THAT REALLY CAN CAUSE PSYCHOLOGICAL DAMAGE TO OUR KIDS (AND EVEN PROVOKE THEM), ALL IN THE NAME OF PROTECTING THEM. OUR INSTINCTS ACTUALLY GET IN THE WAY.

AND WHEN IT COMES TO THE SUBJECT OF RAPE?

WHICH IS SO CHOCK-FULL OF NOT ONLY OUR CONCERN FOR SAFETY, BUT ALL THE BI-POLAR PSYCHO-SEXUAL ELEMENTS OF WHAT OUR CULTURE WANTS FROM WOMEN, THAT OUR BRAINS JUST GO FUCKING NUTS. SERIOUSLY, YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE WHAT PEOPLE'S BRAINS HAVE THE ABILITY TO DO WHEN IT COMES TO THE RAPE CONVERSATION. WE GO SO FAR PAST FIGURATIVE BUBBLEWRAP AND GET RIGHT INTO THE CRAZY-ZONE.

MAYBE YOU THINK HULK IS BEING A BIT DRAMATIC ABOUT ALL THIS, BUT IT IS A MASSIVE, MASSIVE PROBLEM. OUR DESIRE TO PROTECT PEOPLE FROM RAPE AND OUR HABIT OF FAVORING INDIVIDUAL CONVENTIONAL WISDOM ON THE SUBJECT COMPOUNDS TOGETHER TO HAVE A DISASTROUS EFFECT ON BOTH THE INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIETY.

WE ARE SIMPLY DOING EVERYTHING WRONG.

4. THEY COME ALONE

BACK IN COLLEGE, HULK VOLUNTEERED IN A RAPE CRISIS CENTER.

AND WHEN YOU DO THAT JOB IN A CITY ENVIRONMENT IT MEANS THAT THIS IS NOT A PLACE WHERE THE THEORY OF HELPING VICTIMS IS PRACTICED, THIS IS A PLACE WHERE YOU FACE THE REALITY. AND IT IS NOT JUST A FEW EVENTS A YEAR...

THIS IS A PLACE WHERE IT IS AN EVERYDAY THING.

SOMETIMES HULK WILL MENTION THIS REALITY AND SOMEHOW PEOPLE STILL REACT WITH CURIOSITY AND MITIGATION. THEY SAY: "Well, it can't be an everyday thing," AS IF THAT IS A PATENTLY INSANE SUGGESTION. SO LET'S GET MATHEMATICAL: IN MASSACHUSETTS THERE IS AN AVERAGE OF 4,418 SEXUAL ASSAULTS A YEAR. THAT WORKS OUT TO A RAPE EVERY TWO HOURS. AND WHEN YOU ARE IN THE STATE'S MAJOR METROPOLITAN AREA, THEN YOU'RE IN WHAT IS KNOWN AS A "HIGH-INCIDENT ZONE." AND WHEN YOU ARE IN BOSTON, WHICH IS ABSOLUTELY PACKED TO THE BRIM WITH COLLEGE CAMPUSES, THEN THOSE INCIDENT RATES SKYROCKET PER CAPITA IN COMPARISON TO OTHER RESIDENTIAL ZONES. YES, HULK HATES TO BREAK IT TO YOU BUT THE VAST MAJORITY OF OCCURRENCES OF SEXUAL ASSAULT ARE NOT RANDOM ATTACKS ON THE STREET FROM MYSTERIOUS BOOGEYMEN, BUT IN ENVIRONMENTS OF HIGH CROSS-GENDER INTERACTION AND FAMILIARITY, LIKE COLLEGES. SO NOW THAT "EVERYDAY" STATEMENT MIGHT MAKE A LITTLE MORE SENSE, RIGHT? THOSE FIGURES AT LEAST SEEM FEASIBLE NOW, RIGHT? BUT HERE'S THE REAL KICKER: THOSE FIGURES ARE JUST FOR THE SEXUAL ASSAULTS THAT ARE ACTUALLY REPORTED... AND SINCE A LOT OF THOSE WHO COME IN CHOOSE NOT TO REPORT...  IT ENDS UP BEING MUCH, MUCH MORE THAN AN EVERYDAY THING.

HONESTLY, STRANGE THINGS HAPPEN TO YOUR PSYCHE WHEN YOU WORK IN THAT KIND OF ENVIRONMENT. YOU START OFF AND YOU HAVE THIS IDEA IN YOUR HEAD ABOUT WHAT RAPE IS AND HOW IT WORKS. AND THEN IT IS MADE REAL. WHEN THIS FIRST HAPPENS, IT IS DEEPLY AFFECTING. IT BURROWS INTO YOUR BRAIN AND YOU CAN'T FORGET. AND THEN IT HAPPENS AGAIN. AND AGAIN. AND AGAIN. AND THEN THE WHOLE THING IS JUST SUDDENLY, MIND-BOGGLINGLY REGULAR. THAT DOESN'T MEAN YOU BECOME NUMB TO IT. THAT WOULD SEEM IMPOSSIBLE (THOUGHT IT DOES HAPPEN). NO, IT JUST MEANS YOU GET TO SEE THE EVENT MANIFEST IN WAYS WHERE ALL THE OVERLAP BECOMES CLEAR. IN THAT REGULARITY, YOU GET TO SEE THE EVENT FOR WHAT IT ACTUALLY IS AND NOT SIMPLY THE THING YOU FEAR IT IS. YOU SEE ALL THE PROBLEMS. ALL THE CONFLICTS. IN REGULARITY, THE BEATING HEART EMERGES AND SUDDENLY BECOMES CLEAR. AND DAMMIT IF THERE ISN'T A LOT HULK COULD SAY ABOUT THE TOPIC.

WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE OBSTACLES OF BUREAUCRACY? ... FINE.

THE DIFFICULTY OF LEGAL EFFORTS TO ULTIMATELY PROSECUTE? ... SURE.

THE UNHELPFUL COLLEGES WHO STONEWALL INVESTIGATIONS? ... YOU BETCHA.

AND WHEN THESE RIDICULOUS INJUSTICES STARES YOU STRAIGHT IN THE FACE IT WILL MAKE YOU WANT TO TEAR YOUR HAIR OUT AND SCREAM FROM THE ROOFTOPS. BUT HULK DOESN'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT THESE ISSUES RIGHT NOW... WHAT IS FAR MORE IMPORTANT IS UNDERSTANDING THE THOUGHT PROCESS AND EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE OF THE WOMEN WHO ACTUALLY HAVE TO GO THROUGH IT.

FOR STARTERS, THEY COME ALONE.

NOT LITERALLY ALONE, PER SE, AS OFTEN THEY HAVE BEEN DRIVEN TO THE CENTER BY A CONCERNED FRIEND. USUALLY FEMALE. USUALLY A ROOMMATE. EVERY ONCE AND A WHILE THERE'S A BOYFRIEND. AND THE THING IS THE PERSON WHO COMES IS RARELY AT THEIR FRIEND'S SIDE WHEN IT'S TIME TO ACTUALLY TELL THE STORY OF WHAT HAPPENED. IT'S AS IF THE VICTIM THINKS THE STORY HAS TO BE TOLD ALONE. AND AT THIS POINT, THE STORY HAS USUALLY NOT BEEN EXPLAINED TO A POLICE OFFICER FIRST. NO, THE POLICE WOULD MAKE IT TOO REAL. THIS IS JUST A FIRST STEP, THEY THINK. THE CHOICE TO FINALLY UTTER A WORD AND LET OUT THEIR VOICE. THERE NEEDS TO BE TRUST IN THIS MOMENT. THE CENTER ALWAYS PREFERRED USING ANOTHER FEMALE, OFTEN AN OLDER PERSON, HOPEFULLY SOMEONE WHO JUST HAS ONE OF THOSE ACCEPTING LOOKS ABOUT THEM (THEY ARE A STRANGER, AFTER ALL). AND THE STORIES ARE ALWAYS QUIET. THERE ARE ALWAYS LONG BREAKS. AND EVEN IF A YOUNG GIRL MAY HAVE BEEN STOIC THE ENTIRE TIME, EVEN IF THEY MAY STILL BE IN SHOCK, THERE IS ALWAYS A MOMENT WHERE THEY START CRYING. TALKING JUST MAKES THINGS TOO REAL. THEY DIDN'T KNOW HOW UNREADY THEY WERE. BUT OF COURSE THEY ALSO KNEW. AFTER ALL, THEY THOUGHT THEY HAD TO BE ALONE.

WHEN THEY TELL THE STORY, THEY'RE ALMOST ALWAYS CONFUSED. SOMETIMES THEY'VE BEEN DRINKING. SOMETIMES THEY'VE BEEN DRUGGED. SOMETIMES THEY WERE JUST SLEEPING. SOMETIMES THEY WERE JUST WALKING SOMEWHERE. BUT IT ALMOST ALWAYS SEEMS TO BE SOMEONE THEY KNEW... OR AT LEAST THOUGHT THEY KNEW. IN THOSE CASES THEY FEEL BETRAYED. BUT THAT BETRAYAL IS RARELY SOME PALPABLE ANGER YET. NO, IT'S QUIETER THAN THAT. IT'S SOMEONE WHO DOESN'T UNDERSTAND HOW SO-AND-SO COULD DO THAT YET - AND PLEASE DO NOT THINK THIS CONFUSION IS OVER THE LEGITIMACY OF THE ACT ITSELF. IT'S CONFUSION ABOUT THE PERSON. IT'S CONFUSION ABOUT THE WHY. IT'S A BRAIN TRYING TO RECONCILE A WORLD WHERE DOWN IS NOW UP AND UP IS NOW DOWN. BECAUSE INEXPERIENCED PEOPLE LISTENING WILL SOMETIMES MISTAKE THIS CONFUSION FOR AMBIVALENCE OR INCONSISTENCY. THEY WILL MISTAKE IT FOR SOME ABSTRACT "GRAY AREA" DUE TO THE STORY'S LACK OF ASSURED DETAIL AND THUS LET DOUBT CREEP IN TO THE EARS OF THE PERSON HEARING IT. THIS A GRIEVOUS MISTAKE. BECAUSE THE STORY ITSELF ALWAYS HAS A CLEAR BREAK. A MOMENT WHERE THE LINE IS CROSSED. FORGET HOW THEY GOT THERE, THE STORY ALWAYS HAS A MOMENT THE VIOLATION BECOMES ALL TOO CLEAR. AND IT'S A MOMENT WHICH HAS SENT THIS PERSON INTO A TAILSPIN THAT RESULTS WITH THEIR BEING IN FRONT OF YOU IN THE HERE AND NOW. THESE PEOPLE DO NOT END UP IN FRONT OF YOU BY ACCIDENT. THEY KNOW WHY THEY ARE THERE. AND THE PROBLEM IS NOW THEY HAVE TO UPEND EVERYTHING THEY THINK THEY KNOW IN ORDER TO EXPLAIN WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM. THEY ARE SIMPLY CONFUSED ABOUT HOW TO DO THAT. IT'S NOT BECAUSE THEY ARE WRONG.

BUT FAR WORSE THAN THE CONFUSION IS THE SHAME. THIS MIGHT BE THE MOST PROFOUND OF THE FEELINGS. AFTER ALL, PEOPLE DON'T LIKE WITNESSES TO THEIR HUMILIATION. AND THAT'S WHAT THEY THINK THIS IS: HUMILIATION. HULK WOULD WAGER THAT'S WHY THEY REALLY COME ALONE. WHY THEY CAN ONLY IMAGINE A STRANGER HEARING IT. BUT EVEN WITH THIS STRANGER, THEY STILL WORRY THAT THEY ARE BEING JUDGED. EVEN AT A RAPE CRISIS CENTER, THE ONE PLACE SOMEONE WILL NEVER, EVER, EVER IN A MILLION YEARS JUDGE THEM, THEY STILL FEEL LIKE THEY DID SOMETHING WRONG. THAT THEY DIDN'T EXERCISE CAUTION. THAT THEY MADE STUPID DECISIONS. AND HULK GETS THAT SOMETIMES THESE "SOMETHINGS" COULD BE LABELED AS BAD DECISIONS (MORE ON THIS FALSEHOOD LATER), BUT MORE OFTEN THESE  "SOMETHINGS" ARE SO INCREDIBLY MINOR AND INNOCUOUS AS TO BREAK YOUR FUCKING HEART. SERIOUSLY. TO THINK THAT THIS POOR PERSON IN FRONT OF YOU THINKS SOMETHING COMPLETELY TRIVIAL MATTERS AT A TIME LIKE THIS, IT'S JUST... UGH. THEY JUST CAN'T SEE THE THING AROUND THEM. THEY CAN'T FEEL THE GROUND UNDER THEIR FEET.

HULK THINKS ABOUT IT ALL THE TIME TO THIS VERY DAY. THE STORIES. THEY STAY WITH YOU. BUT YOU KNOW WHAT WAS ONE PHRASE THAT HULK KEPT HEARING FROM THESE YOUNG WOMEN AGAIN AND AGAIN? THE ONE PHRASE THAT JUST KEPT POPPING UP?

"My dad is going to kill me."

IT'S PROBABLY THE SADDEST THING YOU CAN THINK OF. IMAGINE SOMEONE SAYING IT AT A TIME LIKE THAT. AND IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME. AND IT'S NOT ALWAYS THE SAME WORDS YOU HEAR BUT THE EXACT SENTIMENT. AND IT PAINTS THE UGLIEST PICTURE IN THE WORLD. IT IS THE THINKING THAT THEY DID SOMETHING WRONG ACTUALIZED INTO HORRIFYING DETAIL. IT IS THE THOUGHT THAT IN ALL THIS, IN COMPARISON TO THE ACT ITSELF, OR EVEN HAVING TO RELIVE IT ALL IN A STATEMENT TO A POLICE OFFICER LATER, THE MOST FEARFUL THOUGHT GOING THROUGH THEIR MIND IS THAT THEY HAVE TO TELL THEIR FATHERS. THAT SOMEHOW THEY HAVE DISAPPOINTED THEM. THAT THEY DID SOMETHING WRONG. THAT THEY HAD THE GUMPTION TO BE SEXUALLY ASSAULTED. EVEN IN THE MOST RANDOM OF ATTACKS, YOU CAN SEE THIS FAULT AND FEAR MANIFEST IN THEM. IT IS THE FEELING THAT THEY ARE NOW "LESS-THAN" IN THEIR FATHER'S EYES. THAT THEY ARE NO LONGER THEIR FATHER'S DAUGHTERS. AND FOR THEM? THIS IS THE MOST TRAUMATIC THING OF ALL OF IT. ONE GIRL LOOKED US IN THE EYES AND SAID SHE WOULD HAVE RATHER HAVE DIED THAN TELL HER FATHER... AND ALL THESE YEARS LATER, HULK KEEPS HEARING THOSE SAME WORDS...

"My dad is going to kill me."

AND NO, THE DADS DON'T EVER "KILL THEM." NOT LITERALLY AND NOT FIGURATIVELY. NOT ONE FATHER HULK'S EVER SEEN HAS BEEN THAT PARTICULAR BRAND OF BAD, EVEN IF THEY EXIST SOMEWHERE OUT THERE... NO, THESE DADS ARE SIMPLY BROKEN WHEN THEY HAVE TO COME IN. THEY ARE AN INCALCULABLE KIND OF SAD. DEEPLY SHAKEN. PARALYZED. AND EVEN IF THEY ARE ANGRY, THEY'RE MUCH ANGRIER AT THE WORLD. BUT YOU KNOW WHAT STINKS? IN ALL THAT TIME, ONLY A HANDFUL HAVE EVER COME OFF WHOLLY LOVING AND COMMUNICATIVE IN THOSE MOMENTS. MOST OF THEM COULD NEVER DO THAT. TO THEM, WHAT HAS HAPPENED IS THE WORST THING THAT COULD EVER HAPPEN. THEIR DAUGHTER IS RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM, NEEDING SOMEONE TO REACH OUT; THEY CAN SEE IT, BUT THEY DON'T KNOW HOW. AND THEN YOU REALIZE THE DAUGHTER WAS RIGHT IN SOME SMALL WAY... THE FATHER CARES, BUT NOW THEY FEEL LIKE THEY CAN'T SEE HER THE SAME. THEIR CHILD IS BROKEN. SURE, IT'S JUST THE IMAGE OF THEIR CHILD THAT'S BROKEN, BUT IT'S AS GOOD AS THE SAME. THERE'S STILL A YOUNG WOMAN WHO NEEDS SUPPORT IN FRONT OF THEM. THEY NEED LOVE. THEY NEED HELP WITH THE KIND OF TRAUMA THAT ACTUALLY MATTERS. BUT RARELY DOES THIS EVER SEEM TO HAPPEN. AT LEAST NOT RIGHT THEN... AND THE DISCONNECT OF THAT MOMENT IS STAGGERING.

THAT'S WHEN IT STARTS BECOMING CLEAR. WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHAT THE DAUGHTERS SAY AND WHAT THE FATHERS DO IN THIS SITUATION, IT SHOULD TELL YOU EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW. THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG HERE. THERE'S SOMETHING THAT HAS BEEN BUILT UP IN BOTH OF THEM AND IT HAS LED THEM TO THIS KIND OF PERSPECTIVE. IT RESULTS IN EVERYTHING. THE SHAME. THE FEAR. THE VERBIAGE. THE EMOTIONAL DISCONNECT. THE WAY THEY BOTH SEE EVERYTHING. IT'S ALL SO VERY WRONG.

SO HULK SIMPLY HAS TO ASK: WHY DO THESE GIRLS FEEL LIKE THAT?

IS IT A SYMPTOM OF THE ACT OF RAPE ITSELF, OR HOW WE THINK AND FEEL ABOUT THE ACT?

WHY DO THE DAUGHTERS THINK THEIR DADS WILL KILL THEM?

ESPECIALLY WHEN THEIR DADS' REAL REACTIONS ARE EVENTUALLY SO MUTED?

WHY THE CONFUSION?

WHY THE SHAME?

WHY DO THEY THINK THEY DID SOMETHING WRONG?

AND WHY DO ALL OF THEM ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS THINK IT IS THEIR FAULT?

THE ANSWER PERHAPS LIES IN SOMETHING A BIT MORE OPAQUE. IN THE BRIEF FEW MONTHS THAT HULK TRAINED IN THAT SAME CITY AS AN E.M.T., HULK GOT TO SEE WHAT THE WORST OF CRIME AND TRAUMA CAN REALLY DO. ANYONE WOULD IN THAT SITUATION. HULK CANNOT EVEN DESCRIBE IT. IT'S JUST THE MOST GRIZZLY PARTS OF LIFE SHOVED IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE CONSTANTLY. AND YOU'RE ALWAYS THERE FOR THE IMMEDIATE AFTERMATH. AND IN THOSE MOMENTS YOU GET TO SEE HOW PEOPLE REACT TO THE WORST POSSIBLE MOMENTS IN THEIR LIVES OR THE LIVES OF THOSE THEY LOVE. DEATH. INJURY. ACCIDENTS. MURDER. YOU GET TO SEE HOW IT HITS THEM. AND WHEN IT DOES, PEOPLE SCREAM OUT. THEY PLEA WITH GOD. THEY GET EXISTENTIAL. THEY BREAK APART AT THEIR VERY SEAMS. THE DEPTH OF THE TRAUMA ALWAYS SEEMS TO GET PROJECTED OUTWARD. AND NO MATTER WHAT THEY DO, THEY UNDERSTAND ONE SIMPLE THING:

THEY KNOW IT'S NOT THEIR FAULT.

SO WHY DOES THIS REACTION NOT APPLY TO THE TRAUMA OF RAPE?

WHY DO PEOPLE BECOME QUIET AND PARALYZED? WHY DOES IT GO INWARD? WHY DO THEY NOT EVEN SEEM TO UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY ARE EXPERIENCING?

IT IS BECAUSE WE DON'T THINK ABOUT RAPE THE SAME WE WAY DO OTHER TRAUMAS. AND THAT'S BECAUSE OF ALL OF THE COMPLETELY WRONG-HEADED CONCEPTS OF SEXISM AND GENDER EXPECTATIONS IN OUR SOCIETY. AND BECAUSE OF THESE WRONG-HEADED VIEWS,  WE OBSCURE THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE TRAUMA. AND RIGHT NOW WE ARE RAISING GIRLS TO THINK RAPE IS THEIR FAULT. HULK'S SORRY, BUT WE CAN'T BEAT AROUND THE BUSH ANY LONGER BEFORE COMING TO THESE CONCLUSIONS. IT REALLY IS THAT SIMPLE AND HULK IS GOING TO TRY TO PROVE IT TO YOU... WELL, THE MECHANISMS AREN'T THAT SIMPLE, BUT THE WAY WE THINK AS A SOCIETY IS ABSOLUTELY THE ROOT CAUSE OF ALL THIS CRAP. THE EXPERIENCE OF RAPE IS ALREADY SO HARD, BUT THE REAL PROBLEM IS THAT WE ARE MAKING EVERYTHING ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE SO MUCH HARDER THAN IT NEEDS TO BE.

HOW? WELL, REMEMBER WHEN HULK TALKED ABOUT THE STORIES FROM THE ONES THAT MADE THE "BAD DECISIONS"? WELL, LET'S PUT IT THIS WAY. HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF ONE OF THESE "DECISIONS" THAT WAS SO BAD THAT IT WAS ACTUALLY DESERVING OF RAPE? OF COURSE NOT. AND SHOULDN'T THAT BE THE FUCKING POINT HERE? OF COURSE IT IS. AND THAT'S WHY WE NEED TO GET PAST THE INDIVIDUAL ADVICE AND CONVENTIONAL WISDOM THAT DOMINATES THE CONVERSATION AND MAKE A DIRECT LINE FOR THE REAL SOCIETAL SOLUTIONS. BECAUSE WHETHER IT IS US, OUR DAUGHTERS, OUR LOVED ONES, OR EVEN A THEORETICAL OTHER, THE WAY WE THINK AND TALK ABOUT RAPE IS JUST SO COMPLETELY WRONG.

AND IT NEEDS TO CHANGE.

5. IMAGINE

CHANGE, AS IT ALWAYS DOES, STARTS WITH AN ATTEMPT TO SHIFT PERSPECTIVE AND MINDSET. SO IF WE COULD DO A CRUDE, EXPLOITATIVE, AND PROBABLY VERY OFFENSIVE EXERCISE FOR A MOMENT, HULK WOULD SINCERELY APPRECIATE IT. ACTUALLY, THIS MAY TAKE MORE THAN A MOMENT. BUT IS THAT COOL? COOL.

AND WHAT THIS CRUDE EXPERIMENT ENTAILS IS THAT HULK WILL NOW ASK YOU TO GO INSIDE THE MIND OF A GIRL WHO HAS JUST BEEN RAPED.

FOR SOME OF YOU READING, THIS HAS ALREADY HAPPENED, AND THUS YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO DUCK OUT / SKIM THE NEXT FEW PARAGRAPHS /ENTIRE SECTION. THERE IS NOTHING WORSE THAN COMPOUNDING A TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCE SO HULK DOES NOT WISH TO DO SO.

FOR OTHERS OF YOU, THIS HAS NOT HAPPENED.

AND IF YOU ARE MALE, DO NOT IMAGINE A GIRLFRIEND. DO NOT IMAGINE YOUR DAUGHTER. DO NOT IMAGINE YOUR MOTHER, YOUR FRIEND, OR ANYONE ELSE YOU KNOW.

IMAGINE YOU.

ONLY IT IS YOU JUST AS YOU ARE. YOU LOVE ALL THE SAME THINGS. YOU DO THE SAME JOB. YOU HAVE THE SAME HOBBIES. YOU HAVE ALL THE SAME EXACT EXPERIENCES. YOU ARE YOU. AND THE ONLY DIFFERENCE IN THIS LIFE IS THAT YOU HAPPEN TO HAVE BEEN BORN WITH GIRL PARTS (AND THAT'S HOW YOU IDENTIFY).

AND YES, HULK WOULD ASK YOU TO DO THE GRIZZLY THING OF IMAGINING YOUR OWN RAPE.

IT'S ABOUT REMOVING YOURSELF FROM THE CONTEXT OF HOW YOUR BODY EXPERIENCES SEXUAL GRATIFICATION AND INTO THE RELATIVE THOUGHT PROCESS OF OTHERS. SO HULK NEEDS YOU TO SIMPLY TRY TO IMAGINE THE SENSE OF VIOLATION. TO TRY TO IMAGINE THE DIFFICULTY OF THE EXPERIENCE ITSELF. TRY TO IMAGINE TRYING TO FIGHT BACK, BUT SIMPLY BEING OVERPOWERED. OR TRY TO IMAGINE AN EXPERIENCE THAT YOU WERE ENJOYING SUDDENLY SWITCHING ON A DIME TO BECOME AN EXPERIENCE THAT WAS UTTERLY PAINFUL AND TRAUMATIC TO YOU. IMAGINE THE THOUGHTS THAT HAVE TO GO THROUGH YOUR MIND WHEN IT TURNS. IMAGINE WHAT TO THINK ABOUT AS IT GOES ON. IMAGINE EVERYTHING...

SIGH... HULK KNOWS MOST OF YOU ARE DOING YOUR DAMNEDEST AT THIS, BUT THE PROBLEM IS THAT A LOT OF GUYS JUST CAN'T PICTURE BEING ANYTHING OTHER THAN WHAT THEY ARE. EVERYTHING THAT HULK JUST DESCRIBED IS AN ABSTRACT TO THEM. HULK'S TRIED EXPLAINING IT LIKE THIS ALL BEFORE... AND IT DOESN'T WORK. SO WE HAVE TO GO TO A DEEPER PSYCHOLOGICAL LEVEL HERE AND USE AN EXAMPLE THAT MAKES THE DYNAMIC OF RAPE ALL THE MORE CLEAR TO HOW MALE BRAINS ARE ORIENTATED:

IMAGINE YOU ARE AN ADULT MALE WHO IS THE VICTIM OF MALE-ON-MALE RAPE.

IMAGINE YOUR REGULAR LIFE. AT THIS TIME YOU ARE IN COLLEGE. IMAGINE THAT ONE NIGHT ARE JUST GOING TO BED, BUT YOUR FRIENDS WENT OUT PARTYING AND SUDDENLY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT YOU WAKE UP TO A BIGGER MAN RAPING YOU. OR IMAGINE DRINKING WITH YOUR BUDDY AND ALL OF SUDDEN HE TURNS AND GETS ALL HANDSY. YOU THOUGHT YOUR RELATIONSHIP WASN'T LIKE THAT. YOU TELL HIM TO STOP AND HE DOESN'T. YOU FIGHT BACK, BUT IT STILL CULMINATES IN HIS RAPING YOU. IMAGINE GETTING FALL-DOWN DRUNK WITH YOUR FRIENDS AND ALL OF SUDDEN ONE OF THEM DECIDES THIS IS A GOOD TIME TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOU. REALLY. IMAGINE THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENS. IMAGINE PARTYING WITH ALL YOUR GUY FRIENDS, BUT IT TURNS OUT YOUR DRINK WAS LACED WITH SOMETHING AND YOU GET DRUGGED AND END UP EXPERIENCING BOTH THE RAPE AND THE AFTERMATH OF BARELY UNDERSTANDING WHAT HAPPENED. IMAGINE IT ACTUALLY BEING THE KIND OF SITUATION WHERE YOU ARE PASSED AROUND BY A BUNCH OF THOSE GUYS, WHO HIGH-FIVED EACH OTHER IN PICTURES. IMAGINE THAT THIS KIND OF RAPE HAPPENS. IMAGINE THAT SINCE ALL THESE GUYS ARE BIGGER AND STRONGER THAT YOU CAN'T FIGHT BACK. IMAGINE THAT SOMETIMES IT DIDN'T EVEN HAVE TO DO WITH THESE CLOSE SITUATIONS OF PEOPLE YOU KNOW. IMAGINE THAT YOU'RE JUST WALKING HOME ON THE STREET ONE NIGHT AND SOMEONE APPEARS FROM NOWHERE AND RAPES YOU. IMAGINE THAT IN ANY OF THESE SITUATIONS YOU CAN GET V.D. AND HAVE TO LIVE WITH IT FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. IMAGINE THAT EVEN THOUGH YOU ARE A GUY, SOMEHOW YOU COULD MAGICALLY GET PREGNANT BECAUSE OF THIS PARTICULAR KIND OF RAPE (AND THAT THERE WILL BE PEOPLE WHO WILL TELL YOU WHAT TO DO AS A RESULT). IMAGINE THAT YOU COULD GET A.I.D.S. IMAGINE THAT THIS ABSOLUTELY HAPPENS. IMAGINE HAVING TO THINK ABOUT THAT AT NIGHT WHILE WALKING AROUND. IMAGINE THAT IT WAS JUST POSSIBLE FROM EVERYONE YOU INTERACTED WITH ON A DAILY BASIS. CAB DRIVERS. DELIVERY PEOPLE. ANYONE. IMAGINE ALL OF THIS WAS REAL AND THAT IT ACTUALLY HAPPENS.

NOW IMAGINE THE AMOUNT OF THIS RAPE QUALIFIED AS AN EPIDEMIC.

SERIOUSLY. IMAGINE THAT GUYS WERE RAPING YOU AND OTHER MEN AT THE SAME RATES AS IN MASSACHUSETTS, 4,418 SEXUAL ASSAULTS A YEAR. IMAGINE THAT IT WAS HAPPENING IN YOUR CITY EVERY TWO HOURS. IMAGINE THAT IT WAS FUCKING HAPPENING ALL THE TIME, EVERYWHERE.

IMAGINE HOW THIS WOULD CHANGE THE WAY YOU LIVED YOUR LIFE.

SERIOUSLY, IMAGINE EVERY WAY IN WHICH YOU WOULD HAVE TO LOOK AT LIFE AND BEHAVIOR DIFFERENTLY. IMAGINE HOW YOU WOULD HAVE TO THINK ABOUT EVERY SINGLE GUY THAT YOU KNEW.

AND THEN IMAGINE IT STILL HAPPENED TO YOU.

IMAGINE THAT YOU WERE RAPED BY SOMEONE YOU THOUGHT WAS YOUR FRIEND, AND WHEN YOU GO TO THE COPS THEY TAKE YOUR STATEMENT YET ARE COMPLETELY DISINTERESTED IN YOUR TRAUMA. IMAGINE IF THEY SAID THINGS LIKE "Yeah, okay and suddenly your buddy just started raping you out of nowhere? Are you sure there wasn't any confusion? Are you sure it wasn't consensual?" IMAGINE NOT HAVING ANYTHING TO PROVE IT OTHER THAN YOUR WORD. IMAGINE THAT THE MAIN JOB OF THE OFFICER (AND MOST DEFINITELY THE EVENTUAL LAWYER) WAS TO PURPOSEFULLY TRIP YOU UP ON YOUR SIDE OF THE STORY. IMAGINE IF THEIR JOB WAS TO DISPROVE YOUR TRAUMA. IMAGINE TRYING TO PRESS CHARGES AND IT BEING DROPPED FOR LACK OF PHYSICAL EVIDENCE EVEN THOUGH YOU ABSOLUTELY KNOW WHAT HAPPENED BECAUSE YOU EXPERIENCED IT. IMAGINE THAT THIS KIND OF RAPE HAPPENED MOSTLY ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES, THE VERY PLACE WHERE YOU WANTED TO GROW UP AND DISCOVER YOURSELF IN A FREEING ENVIRONMENT.

AND THEN IMAGINE THAT THESE SAME COLLEGES HAD A NOT-SO-SECRET POLICY OF TRYING TO KEEP IT ALL UNDER WRAPS FOR FEAR THAT THE HIGH RATES OF MALE-ON-MALE RAPES WOULD DISCOURAGE PEOPLE FROM ATTENDING OR FOR FEAR OF SOURING THE REPUTATION OF THE INSTITUTION. IMAGINE THAT THESE COLLEGES WERE CUTTHROAT ABOUT THIS. IMAGINE DOING WHAT EVERYONE ELSE GETS TO DO, GOING OUT TO DRINK ON CAMPUS, BUT ONLY YOU ARE THE ONE WHO GETS TARGETED AND DRUGGED AND RAPED. AND THEN IN THE AFTERMATH, IT IS OFTEN YOU WHO ARE BANNED FROM CAMPUS FOR UNDERAGE DRINKING, WHILE THE GUYS WHO MALICIOUSLY RAPED YOU GET A SLAP ON THE WRIST. IMAGINE THAT THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENS.

HERE'S THE KICKER: NOW IMAGINE THAT WHEN YOU TRY TO SPEAK OUT AGAINST ALL THIS RIDICULOUS BULLSHIT THAT EXISTS IN THIS MALE-ON-MALE RAPE-CENTRIC WORLD, THAT EVERYONE JUST LUMPS YOU IN WITH SOME LACKING-IN-HUMOR MOVEMENT. IMAGINE EVERYONE TELLING YOU THAT YOU ARE WRONG FOR FEELING THIS WAY ABOUT THE WORLD. IMAGINE PEOPLE TELLING YOU THAT YOU'RE JUST A SEXLESS PRUDE. IMAGINE THAT DESPITE ALL THE EVIDENCE OF ALL THE HORRIBLE STUFF GOING ON, DESPITE YOUR TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCE, THAT YOU COULD NEVER, EVER BE "RIGHT" IN THEIR EYES. BECAUSE AS IT TURNS OUT, ALL THESE PEOPLE ARE ALSO THE ONES IN POWER. IMAGINE THAT THEY JUST SOMEHOW NATURALLY GOT ALL THE BEST JOBS AND POSITIONS OF POWER. IMAGINE IF THEY MADE UP THE HIGHEST PERCENTAGE OF COPS, LAWYERS, GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS, CEOS, AND JUST ABOUT EVERY OTHER POSITION OF PROMINENCE AND THEY HAD THE POSITIONS OF POWER TO ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT... AND IMAGINE THEY JUST SORT OF SHRUGGED AND SAID 'Well, that's awful, really, but here are some tips on how to avoid this thing we're doing absolutely nothing about!"

IMAGINE HOW TERRIBLE THAT MUST FEEL.

IMAGINE WHAT YOU WOULD HAVE TO DO TO ACTUALLY HEED THESE TIPS. IMAGINE A LIFE LIKE THAT. IMAGINE THAT YOU WERE TOLD YOU SHOULDN'T DRINK TOO MUCH BECAUSE YOU MIGHT GET IN A SITUATION WHERE ANOTHER, BIGGER GUY MIGHT RAPE YOU. IMAGINE THAT YOU ARE TOLD THAT YOU SHOULDN'T GO OUT TOO LATE. OR THAT YOU SHOULDN'T WALK ALONE. AND IMAGINE IF ALL THESE BIG GUYS WHO MIGHT RAPE YOU WERE ALLOWED TO DRINK ALL THEY WANTED AND NOBODY TRIED TO AUGMENT THEIR BEHAVIOR. IMAGINE THEY COULD GO HOME AT ANY TIME OF NIGHT AND NOT BE BLAMED FOR ANYTHING. IMAGINE THEY COULD WALK THE STREETS OR RIDE IN CABS WITHOUT FEAR.

IMAGINE YOU GOT DRUNK BEFORE YOU WERE RAPED. DO YOU THINK THAT WOULD EXCUSE IT? IMAGINE ALL THE TIMES YOU WERE TOLD TO BE CAREFUL AND THE WAY THIS ADVICE WOULD RING IN YOUR EARS AFTER IT HAPPENED. IMAGINE HOW YOU WOULD THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU DID WRONG. HOW YOU WISHED YOU JUST MADE ANOTHER CHOICE LIKE YOUR PARENTS TOLD YOU. IMAGINE HOW ONE SMALL MISTAKE WOULD JUST HAUNT YOU. IMAGINE IF YOU FELT LIKE YOU DID EVERYTHING RIGHT AND IT STILL HAPPENED. 

IMAGINE THAT YOU HAD SOMETHING YOU WANTED TO WEAR TO A PARTY, A NEW TANK TOP THAT SHOWS OFF THAT YOU'VE BEEN WORKING OUT. AND YOU'RE PROUD OF THIS. YOU'RE JUST A SEXUAL PERSON TOO. IMAGINE YOU ARE JUST WEARING SOMETHING BECAUSE IT MADE YOU FEEL GOOD AND YET AT THE PARTY THAT NIGHT A GUY SUDDENLY RAPES YOU. IMAGINE A SOCIETY THAT ARGUES THAT BECAUSE YOU WORE THAT OUTFIT, YOU BROUGHT IT UPON YOURSELF. IMAGINE THEM THINKING THAT WAS AN ARGUMENT THAT YOU WANTED IT.

IMAGINE HAVING TO BE AFRAID OF THIS ALL OF THE TIME. IMAGINE HOW MUCH DISTRUST THAT WOULD BUILD UP IN YOU. IMAGINE HOW THAT FEELING OF DISTRUST IS BOTH EARNED AND YET TOTALLY NOT WHAT YOU WANT OR NEED TO LIVE A NORMAL LIFE.

IMAGINE HOW MUCH YOUR MIND WOULD HAVE TO SUBVERT ALL THIS TO JUST GET THROUGH THE FUCKING DAY. IMAGINE JUST HOW MUCH EASIER IT WOULD BE TO IGNORE IT, TO CONCENTRATE ON HOMEWORK, OR HANG OUT WITH YOUR FRIENDS. IMAGINE HOW MUCH YOU WOULD WANT TO FIND SALVATION IN YOURSELF. IMAGINE HOW EASY IT WOULD BE TO JUST GIVE INTO ALL THE WAYS THAT SOCIETY TELLS YOU IT IS NOT A BIG DEAL. IMAGINE HOW MUCH EASIER IT WOULD BE TO BE NAIVE ABOUT IT. IMAGINE HOW MUCH YOU WOULD HAVE TO GAIN IF YOU FED INTO THAT POWER STRUCTURE. IMAGINE THAT YOU WOULD BE REWARDED FOR IGNORING IT. IMAGINE THAT IT MIGHT BE THE ONLY WAY TO STAY SANE IN A WORLD WHERE ALL THIS EXISTS.

IMAGINE HOW THAT MIGHT BE THE MOST UNFAIR THING OF ALL.

AND WHEN YOU'RE DONE IMAGINING ALL OF THAT, THEN YOU CAN'T HELP BUT IMAGINE THE IMPOSSIBLE RAGE YOU WOULD FEEL AT HAVING TO LIVE IN THIS WORLD. YOU CAN'T HELP BUT IMAGINE ALL THE WAYS YOU WOULD NEED TO SCREAM TO THE HEAVENS TO GET THINGS TO CHANGE. FOR YOU SIMPLY CAN'T BELIEF THERE IS A WORLD OUT THERE WHERE RAPE LIKE THIS EXISTS.

YOU JUST IMAGINED WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE A WOMAN.

6. ADDENDUMS TO IMAGINE

HULK HAS TO APOLOGIZE FOR A FEW THINGS.

THAT LITTLE "IMAGINING" SESSION WAS VERY LONG, BUT IT'S HONESTLY THE ONLY WAY TO CONVEY THE SCOPE OF WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT HERE. AND MORE THAN THAT, HULK HOPES IT WAS CLEAR FROM WHAT YOU JUST READ THAT THE GAY PANIC ON DISPLAY WASN'T GENUINE IN THE SLIGHTEST. IT WAS ONLY MEANT TO PLAY TO THE GAY PANIC OF OTHERS AND INSTINCTIVELY TAP INTO HOW THEIR BRAINS DEAL WITH THE REALITY OF VIOLATION. TRUST THAT HULK WOULD LIKE TO AVOID THAT KIND OF HORRIBLE, CRAPPY THINKING AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, BUT IT'S JUST THAT HULK'S TRIED OTHER MODELS OF EXPLANATION BEFORE AND... WELL... SADLY THEY JUST DON'T WORK AS WELL WITH THE PEOPLE WHO NEED THE MESSAGE THE MOST. BECAUSE IF WE ARE GOING TO TRY TO DESCRIBE RAPE CULTURE TO SOMEONE THAT DOESN'T EVEN THINK RAPE CULTURE EXISTS, WELL, THEN YOU NEED TO PUT IT IN A CONTEXT THAT WILL ACTUALLY SCARE THEM. AND SOMETIMES THAT INVOLVES NOT ONLY BEING CRASS AND INHUMANE, BUT USING THE DATED SPECTER OF BOOGIEMAN MALE-ON-MALE RAPE... IT'S COMPLETELY FUCKED UP THAT HULK HAS TO DO THAT.

BUT WHAT'S EVEN MORE FUCKED UP IS THAT IT IS A COMPLETELY VALID METAPHOR FOR THE EXISTING CLIMATE OF RAPE IN THIS COUNTRY.

BUT LET'S GO EVEN FURTHER WITH THE METAPHOR HERE AND EXAMINE WHY THIS DYNAMIC GETS AT THE COMPLEXITY OF HETERO-MALE SEXUALITY. FOR ALL THE WAYS THAT THE METAPHOR HULK DESCRIBED ABOVE IS "IMPOSSIBLE" IN OUR CULTURE, LET US PLEASE ALSO CONSIDER THAT:

1. THIS KIND OF MALE-ON-MALE RAPE HAPPENS ALL THE TIME IN PRISON (WELL, DEPENDING ON THE FACILITY) AND SOCIETY DOESN'T GIVE A FUCK CAUSE THEY'RE ALL "BAD PEOPLE."

2. AND ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE SPECTRUM, WHEN THOSE SAME MALE-ON-MALE RAPISTS ARE PEDOPHILES, THEN SOCIETY HAPPILY STARTS WITCH HUNTS.

THERE IS AN OBVIOUS, CAVERNOUS GULF BETWEEN HOW WE REACT TO THESE TWO THINGS AND IT SPEAKS VOLUMES ABOUT OUR PSYCHOLOGY AND WHAT WE THINK RAPE ACTUALLY IS ABOUT:

RAPE IS NOT CHARACTERIZED BY THE NATURE OF THE VIOLATION OF THE ACT ITSELF, BUT WHAT WE THINK OF THE SEXUALITY OF THE PERSON WHO IS VICTIMIZED.

REALLY.

AND TO PROVE IT, CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING ARGUMENT: WHEN PEDOPHILES TARGET YOUNG KIDS THINK OF THE TACTICS AND METHODOLOGY THEY USE. WHAT IS IT THEY TRY TO DO? THEY SEEK TO GAIN THE CHILD'S TRUST. THEY SEEK TO BEFRIEND. THEN THEY ISOLATE. THEY CONFUSE. THEN SOMETIMES THEY INCAPACITATE. SOMETIMES THEY JUST USE PLAIN OLD ALCOHOL, WHICH HAS A DRAMATIC EFFECT ON THE CHILD'S BODY (READ: SMALLER PERSON) SO THAT THEY WILL BE LESS RESPONSIVE TO AGGRESSIVE. BUT THING THAT IS THE SAME? THEY ALWAYS SEEK TO CONTROL THE SITUATION THROUGH MISREPRESENTATION OF SELF AND INTENTIONS AND THEN THEY BETRAY. THEN EXERT FORCE TO GET WHAT THEY WANT FROM THE UNSUSPECTING CHILD. SOMETIMES IT'S NOT QUITE SO PREMEDITATED. SOMETIMES THEY SEEK TO JUST "GET CLOSE" OFF THEIR SEXUAL IMPULSE AND THEN IT JUST OVERTAKES THEM. BUT THEY ALWAYS INSTINCTIVELY SEEM TO KNOW HOW TO DO THIS. THEY KNOW TO PREY ON CONFUSION AND FEAR. AND BECAUSE OF THIS, WE RIGHTFULLY CONSIDER ALL OF THE BEHAVIOR OF THESE PEDOPHILES TO BE PREDATORY.

BUT JUST WHAT IN THE HELL MAKES IT IT DIFFERENT FROM WHAT RAPISTS DO TO WOMEN?

... [THIS IS THE SOUND OF HULK WAITING]

WHEN IT COMES TO THE RAPE OF WOMEN IN THIS COUNTRY, WE CONSIDER NO SUCH THING. WE LOOK AT THE ONES WHO GO OUT AND DO NORMAL COLLEGE-AGE STUFF LIKE PARTY AND GET DRUNK AND THEN WE JUST SAY BOYS WERE BEING BOYS, OR IN THE VERY LEAST THEY JUST "TOOK ADVANTAGE." WHAT?! REALLY?! THIS IS DIFFERENT SOMEHOW?!? ARE THEY NOT SEEKING TO GET GIRLS IN SITUATIONS WHERE THEY CAN EXERT CONTROL? IS THEIR PREDATORY BEHAVIOR ANY LESS PREDATORY? AND IF NOT WHY DO WE ARGUE THAT THE WOMEN PUT THEMSELVES IN HARM'S WAY, BUT NOT THE CHILDREN? DO WE ACTUALLY THINK THERE IS A DIFFERENCE WHEN, IN BOTH CASES, ONE GROUP CAN PHYSICALLY OVERPOWER ANOTHER? IS IT BECAUSE THE VICTIMS ARE ALL "ADULTS" AND THUS THIS CALCULATED / HEATED ACTION OF RAPE IS SOMEHOW DIFFERENT AS A CRIME? SERIOUSLY, HOW ARE THE ACTIONS OF RAPE OR DATE RAPE ANY LESS PREDATORY THAN PEDOPHILIA IN TERMS OF THE EXECUTION OF THE ACT ITSELF?

IT ISN'T. IT IS ONLY THE VICTIM WHO IS DIFFERENT. CHILDREN ARE TRUE INNOCENTS. PRISONERS ARE GUILTY PARTIES DESERVING OF ANY BARBARIC INHUMANITY.

AND WOMEN? WELL, IT ALWAYS SEEMS TO DEPEND ON HOW THE MAN FEELS ABOUT THAT PARTICULAR WOMAN, DOESN'T IT? IF THE VICTIM IS OUR DARLING DAUGHTERS WE REACT TO THEIR RAPE AS IF THEY WERE A YOUNG CHILD BEING RAPED BY PEDOPHILES AND IT JUST SHATTERS THEM COMPLETELY. BUT HEY, IF THEY'RE SOME RANDOM CHICK WHO WAS BEING "TOO LIBERAL" WITH HER BODY? WHO HAD A LITTLE TOO MUCH TO DRINK? WELL THEN MEN SEEM TO CARE MUCH, MUCH LESS. THEN MEN SEEM FAR MORE WILLING TO DEFEND AND IDENTIFY WITH THE GUY JUST TRYING TO GET LAID IN THE SITUATION. AND IT'S SO DESPERATELY UNFAIR.

BECAUSE IF A GIRL GOES TO A PARTY AND GETS DRUNK  AND SOMEONE MURDERS HER WE DON'T SAY "HEY, YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE GOTTEN DRUNK!" OF COURSE WE FUCKING DON'T. SO WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE DYNAMIC OF ALL THIS FOR WHAT IT REALLY IS, THE REALITY BECOMES HORRIFYING:

WE'VE MADE IT SO RAPE ISN'T ACTUALLY ABOUT RAPE.

IT'S ABOUT THE SEXUALITY OF THE PERSON BEING RAPED.

7. LUCKY

IN HULK'S ESSENTIAL READING LIST HULK TALKED ABOUT ONE OF THE MOST FORMATIVE BOOKS HULK EVER READ. IT'S A MEMOIR CALLED LUCKY BY A WRITER NAMED ALICE SEBOLD (OF THE LOVELY BONES FAME). THE REASON THIS BOOK IS SO IMPORTANT TO HULK IS THAT THERE IS NOTHING THAT SO PERFECTLY AND ORGANICALLY ARTICULATES THE PROBLEMS OF HOW OUR SOCIETY THINKS ABOUT RAPE.

THERE IS OF COURSE THE WAY WE THINK ABOUT RAPE ITSELF, AND SEBOLD PRESENTS HER PERSONAL STORY PLAINLY AND WITH NO EMOTIONAL ADDITIVES. AND NO, SHE WAS NOT DRUNK AT A PARTY, NO THERE WAS NO "GRAY AREA" OF INTERPRETATION. IT WAS A RANDOM ASSAULT ON THE STREET OF A GIRL WHO DARED TO WALK ALONE ON A COLLEGE CAMPUS. THE DETAILS OF THE RAPE ITSELF QUALIFY AS HORRIFIC. SHE DOES NOT MINCE HER WORDS ON THE SUBJECT. THE EXPERIENCE WAS AS VIOLENT AS THEY COME, TRAUMATIC TO THE BONE.  AND SHE DETAILS EVERY LITTLE BIT OF THE EVENT ALL RIGHT UP FRONT, FROM THE PROCESS ITSELF, TO THE HOSPITALIZATION, TO THE RECOVERY. AND IT'S ALL PRESENTED WITH UNBLINKING REALITY... ONE WOULD IMAGINE THIS WOULD BE THE WORST OF IT... BUT THE RAPE ITSELF IS NOT THE PROBLEM SHE FACED.

THE PROBLEM WAS THE WAY SOCIETY REACTED TO IT.

IT WAS THE WAY PEOPLE LOOKED AT HER AFTER REALIZING "IT" WAS HOW SHE LOST HER VIRGINITY. IT WAS THE WAY THE PEOPLE SHE LIKED NOW COULDN'T LOOK HER IN THE EYE BECAUSE OF "IT." IT WAS THE WAY HER FATHER SEEMED TO BE COMPLETELY DESTROYED BY "IT" AND EVEN IF HE WAS A LOVING AND GENTLE PERSON, HE COULD NEVER REALLY LOOK AT HER THE SAME WAY. IT WAS THE WAY HE COULDN'T UNDERSTAND WHY SHE STOPPED TRYING TO FIGHT "IT" OFF, EVEN AT THE POINT OF LITERAL EXHAUSTION AND WHEN MURDER WAS THE ALTERNATIVE. IT WAS THE WAY "IT" EVENTUALLY TORE A HOLE BETWEEN HER AND HER BEST FRIEND IN THE MOST TRAUMATIC OF WAYS. IT WAS THE WAY "IT" DIVIDED PEOPLE AND FRIENDS ACROSS RACIAL LINES, AS HER ASSAILANT WAS BLACK. IT WAS THE WAY THE POLICE PROCEDURE WAS FILLED WITH AS MUCH PAIN AND DISCOMFORT AS "IT" ITSELF. IT WAS THE WAY HER APPOINTED PSYCHOLOGIST ACTUALLY FUCKING SAID THAT BECAUSE THE RAPE TOOK HER VIRGINITY SHE SHOULDN'T BE "all hung up" ON SEX ANYMORE. IT WAS THE WAY THE LEGAL SYSTEM TRIED TO MAKE "IT" HER FAULT ALL IN THE NAME OF GIVING THE RAPIST A FAIR TRIAL. YEAH, THIS IS A STANDARD PART OF DUE PROCESS OF COURSE, BUT SOMETHING WE DON'T OFTEN CONSIDER ENOUGH IN HOW IT HAS TO PUT VICTIMS THROUGH EVEN MORE OF THIS SHIT ONCE AGAIN. MAYBE WE DON'T THINK ABOUT IT BECAUSE YOU CAN'T TESTIFY IN YOUR OWN MURDER TRIAL. AND AGAIN, REMEMBER WHAT HULK SAID ABOUT HUMILIATION AND NOT LIKING TO HAVE WITNESSES. SO IMAGINE IT HERE.

ULTIMATELY, IT WASN'T ABOUT "IT." IT WAS THE WAY THAT SOCIETY EVENTUALLY DAMAGED HER, FORCING HER TO TURN INWARD AND MAKE DESTRUCTIVE DECISIONS JUST TO COPE WITH THEIR REACTIONS. IT DIDN'T MATTER THAT SHE WAS THE MOST HEADSTRONG, RESILIENT PERSON THROUGHOUT ALL OF IT. IT DIDN'T MATTER HOW MUCH SHE FOUGHT FOR HERSELF AND THE RIGHT TO A NORMAL LIFE. EVERYONE'S REACTIONS, WHETHER LOVING, CONCERNED, INDIFFERENT, OR VENOMOUS, ALL FORCED HER INTO HAVING TO ACCOUNT FOR THE RAPE AT ALL TIMES. THERE WAS NO GETTING AWAY FROM IT. THERE WAS NO BEING NORMAL. THERE WAS ONLY RELIVING THE EVENT BECAUSE OTHERS COULDN'T GET PAST IT EVEN IF SHE COULD. THERE WAS ONLY THE CONSTANT CONSEQUENCES. THE PITY. THE SHAME. THE LACK OF EMPATHY. WHEN THE POLICE TOOK HER IN THAT NIGHT THEY TOLD HER SHE WAS "LUCKY" BECAUSE SOMEONE HAD BEEN MURDERED IN THAT VERY SAME SPOT. FOR ALL THE INSENSITIVITY OF THE COMMENT, THEY MEANT IT OF COURSE TO MEAN THAT SHE SHOULD BE THANKFUL SHE WAS ALIVE.

BUT WHAT IS THE VALUE OF A LIFE WHERE YOU ARE NOT REALLY ALLOWED TO LIVE?

THAT'S THE WHOLE PROBLEM WITH RAPE. THE EVENT ITSELF IS NEVER WHAT DESTROYS YOU. IT'S THE WAY THAT SOCIETY DOESN'T UNDERSTAND THE EVENT. IT IS THE WAY THAT LACK OF UNDERSTANDING, WHETHER WELL-INTENTIONED OR NOT, DAMAGES A VICTIM'S LIFE IRREPARABLY. IT IS THE WAY THE EVENT TAKES HOLD IN OUR CULTURE AND EXPRESSES ITSELF IN VARIOUS EXTREMES. LOOK AT THE EVENTS IN STEUBENVILLE. LOOK AT THE EVENTS IN MARYVILLE. RAPE IS REALLY ABOUT THE WAY IT MANIFESTS IN SOCIETY AND THEY WAY THAT FORCES HARMFUL MANIFESTATIONS INSIDE YOU. YOU CAN BE AS STRONG AS ALICE SEBOLD AND IT WON'T MATTER. AND IT IS THIS EXACT DYNAMIC WE CITE WHEN WE TALK ABOUT THE PROBLEM WITH RAPE BEING WITH THE "RAPE CULTURE" AROUND IT.

PEOPLE OFTEN HEAR THE TERM "RAPE CULTURE" AND THINK ALL THE WRONG THINGS. THEY THINK IT IMPLIES THAT FEMINISTS ARE ARGUING THAT WE'RE ALL JUST SOME SORT OF HORRIBLE BOOGIEMAN, NOTHING BUT A BUNCH OF PIGS GOING AROUND GIVING RAPISTS HIGH-FIVES AND CONDONING THEIR BEHAVIOR. OF COURSE THAT'S NOT WHAT IT MEANS (EVEN THOUGH THERE ARE YOUNG DUMBASSES WHO ACTUALLY DO THAT). NO, IT'S SAFE TO SAY THAT THE VAST MAJORITY OF PEOPLE ON THIS PLANET OBVIOUSLY THINK THAT RAPE IS A BAD THING AND THAT WE SHOULD DO OUR BEST TO STOP IT. THE PROBLEM IS THEY DON'T SEE HOW THEIR VERY REGULAR AND ACCEPTING BEHAVIORS CAN SOMETIMES ENABLE THE REALITY OF RAPE WITHOUT REALIZING IT.

THEY JUST DON'T SEE HOW THEY CONTRIBUTE TO THE WORLD THAT MAKES IT SO.

8. A RIGGED GAME

FROM HERE ON IN WE ARE GOING TO BE GETTING INTO THE MEAT OF THE ISSUE AND ALL THE THINGS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO THE REALITY WE SEE BEFORE US.

SO LET'S START WITH A GIVEN FOR OUR SOCIETY:

FROM THE VERY BEGINNING OF THEIR LIVES, GUYS ARE ASSAULTED WITH THE IDEA THAT SEX MUST BE ATTAINED.

ADMITTEDLY, THIS IS DUE IN SMALL PART TO A NATURAL BIOLOGICAL FUNCTION, BEST EXEMPLIFIED BY THE FACT THAT MIDDLE SCHOOL BOYS HAVE A NON-STOP BONER FOR ABOUT THREE STRAIGHT YEARS. BUT WHAT HULK IS TALKING ABOUT HERE GOES FAR BEYOND MERE PHYSICAL IMPULSE. BUT WE REALLY DO SEEM TO CATER TO THIS PARTICULAR SEXUAL IMPULSE MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE IN OUR INSTINCTIVE NATURE. JUST LOOK AROUND YOU. WE LOAD SEX INTO VIRTUALLY EVERYTHING WE CONSUME: ADS. TV. MOVIES. SPORTS. PRACTICAL DISCUSSION. BEER COMMERCIALS. AND GOOD GOD DO WE LOAD IT INTO THE INTERNET. SEX IS THE INVISIBLE CURRENCY OF OUR CULTURE. AND BECAUSE OF THIS LOADED ENVIRONMENT, YOUNG BOYS GROW UP THINKING THAT SEX ABSOLUTELY HAS TO BE ATTAINED. IT GOES BEYOND MERE NECESSITY, GUYS GROW UP THINKING THAT IF SEX IS NOT ATTAINED THEN IT BRINGS GREAT SHAME DOWN UPON YOU. A GUY'S PROLONGED VIRGINITY IS TREATED AS A MATTER OF NATIONAL EMERGENCY (THINK HOW MANY COMING OF AGE COMEDIES CENTER AROUND LOSING YOUR VIRGINITY IN... LESS THAN MATURE TERMS). AND THUS IT ALL BECOMES THE #1 IMPERATIVE IN THEIR LIVES. YOU ARE TOLD TO HAVE SEX, HAVE SEX, HAVE SEX, HAVE SEX. THAT'S ALL YOU THINK AND HEAR. AND BECAUSE OF THIS SOCIETAL INSISTENCE, ALL THOSE NATURAL PHYSICAL IMPULSES IN YOUR BODY ARE MORPHED INTO SOMETHING FAR MORE TROUBLING.

TO BE VERY CLEAR: THE PROBLEM HERE IS NOT PEOPLE WANTING TO HAVE SEX (OR EVEN HAVING LOTS OF SEX) . NOT IN THE SLIGHTEST. PEOPLE ARE SEXUAL BEINGS AND THEY HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO BE. HECK, WE SHOULD REJOICE IN THE FACT THAT WE GET TO PARTICIPATE IN SOMETHING SO NEAT (THINK OF THE LOUIS C.K. BIT ON HOW LIFE CAN NEVER BE ALL THAT BAD WITH ALL THE AWESOME STUFF WE GET TO DO: "You get to fuck!"). ESPECIALLY WHEN IT IS GREAT SEX WITH PEOPLE WHO CARE ABOUT EACH OTHER OR SIMPLY TWO PEOPLE WHO WANT THE SAME EXACT THING FROM EACH OTHER. SO NO, THE PROBLEM IS NOT SEX ITSELF. THE REAL PROBLEM IS WHEN WE BREED A SOCIETY THAT MAKES SEX CONDITIONAL AND REQUIRED. THAT SAYS THIS ENJOYABLE PART OF LIFE MUST BE THERE FOR YOUR UTMOST HAPPINESS. THAT IT PROVES HOW GOOD YOU ARE AT BEING A GUY. THAT IT BRINGS SHAME IF IT IS NOT ATTAINED. THAT MAKES IT FAR LESS ABOUT THE JOY OF CONSENSUAL SHARING IN AN AWESOME ACT AND INSTEAD MAKES US ONLY CARE THAT IT HAPPENS IN THE FIRST PLACE. THAT TAKES OUR MINDSET FAR AWAY FROM THE NOTION OF SEX AS AN ELECTIVE CHOICE. THIS MINDSET WORSHIPS HAVING AS MUCH SEX AS POSSIBLE. IT REWARDS YOU FOR DOING SO. IT MAKES THOSE REWARDS TIE DIRECTLY INTO YOUR SELF-ESTEEM AND STATUS. IT PERPETUATES THE FALSEHOOD THAT SEX BECOMES BORING WITH A PERSON AFTER A COUPLE DATES BECAUSE IT HAS ALREADY BEEN ATTAINED FROM THAT PERSON. IT MYTHOLOGIZES THE VERY REAL TRUTH THAT YOU CAN HAVE THE BEST SEX OF YOUR LIFE 10 YEARS INTO A RELATIONSHIP. IT MAKES IT ALL ABOUT THE OUTWARD SURFACE OF SEX, INSTEAD OF THE PERSONAL INCLINATION THAT COMES FROM WITHIN YOU. IT MAKES YOU OBSESSED WITH ATTAINING SEX, REGARDLESS OF CONTEXT... AND WHAT KIND OF SOCIETY DOES ALL OF THAT CREATE?

A PRETTY SHITTY ONE.

OR AT LEAST A SOCIETY WHERE MEN WILL SHIFT EVERYTHING THAT IS COMING FROM BIOLOGICAL IMPULSES INTO SOMETHING GROSS THAT UPHOLDS THE ESTEEM AND POWER STRUCTURES AROUND THEM.

TO WIT: HULK HAS THIS COMPLETELY MADE-UP THING CALLED "THE 50% THEORY."

IT'S MOSTLY BASED ON OBSERVATION AND IT JUST THEORIZES A VERY SIMPLE IDEA: HULK BELIEVES BECAUSE SEX IS VALUED IN THIS VERY SPECIFIC CULTURAL WAY, THAT 50% OF GUYS GROW UP AND DON'T ACTUALLY LIKE WOMEN. NOW, THEY MAY BE ATTRACTED TO WOMEN. THEY MAY EVEN FALL IN LOVE WITH A WOMAN. BUT THEY DO NOT "LIKE" WOMEN. THEY FIND THEIR INTERESTS TO BE DIFFERENT AND TRIVIAL. THEY FIND THEIR HABITS TO BE SILLY. THEY THINK THE BEHAVIOR OF WOMEN IS CRAZY. THEY BASICALLY EMBRACE THE NOTION THAT WOMEN ARE SIMPLY "THE OTHER" IN LIFE AND THUS THEIR ONLY OPTION AS A MAN IS TO EITHER COEXIST (AS OIL AND WATER DO) OR TO TAKE AS MUCH ADVANTAGE OF THEIR DIFFERENCES AS THEY CAN. THIS MAY SEEM LIKE AN EXTREME VIEWPOINT, BUT IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT: CO-EXISTENCE IS LITERALLY THE BASIS OF EVERY SINGLE POPULIST SITCOM ON TELEVISION. THINK OF ALL THOSE SAD-SACK DADS JUST TRYING TO SURVIVE THE DAILY LIFE OF BEING AROUND WOMEN AND MAKING INAPPROPRIATE JOKES WITH THEIR EVEN FATTER BROTHER / NEIGHBOR. AND FOR THE TAKING ADVANTAGE ROUTE? IT'S THE BASIS OF ALL THE "PICKUP ARTIST" BULLSHIT YOU SEE BEING FLOATED AROUND, WHICH HONESTLY ADOPTS ALL THE SAME THE PSYCHOLOGICAL TACTICS OF SEXUAL PREDATORS, MINUS THE DRUGS AND FORCE. BUT THERE IS NO HUMANITY THERE. THE PICK-UP ARTISTS ARE "ATTAINERS" WHOLLY EXEMPLIFIED.

SO YES, THESE VIEWPOINTS ARE ACTUALLY HOW MOST OF POPULAR SOCIETY THINKS OF GENDER AND SEX. TO USE A POPULAR IDIOM, THEY'RE ALL BROS BEFORE HOS. AND HECK, MOST OF THIS STUFF GOES BACK TO IBSEN, OR EVEN ANCIENT ROME, SO IT'S NOT ANYTHING NEW. AND YOU CAN DEBATE THE VALIDITY OF THIS 50% ESTIMATION ALL YOU WANT, AS HULK CAN'T EXACTLY PROVE ANYTHING WITHOUT TESTING IT. IT'S JUST WHAT HULK THINKS FROM THE EXPERIENCE OF AN ENTIRE LIFETIME. AND IN THE VERY LEAST, WE CAN AT LEAST AGREE THAT THESE MODES OF THINKING DO EXIST IN SOME POPULAR FORM.

IT STILL RAISES A QUESTION: WHO DO THESE GUYS ACTUALLY LIKE AND RESPECT?

THE ANSWER IS, OF COURSE, OTHER GUYS. THEY CRAVE THE APPROVAL OF THEIR FELLOW MALES. THE ALPHAS WANT THE ADULATION. THE BETAS WANT THE THUMBS UP FROM (OR TO SIMPLY BE AROUND) THOSE ALPHAS. NONE OF THESE PEOPLE SEEM TO SLEEP WITH A LOT OF GIRLS OUT OF A PERSONAL DRIVE OR EVEN FOR PERSONAL SATISFACTION. THEY DO IT TO GET APPROVAL. THEY DO IT FOR THE STATUS. THEY DO IT BECAUSE THEY WANT OTHER GUYS TO THINK THEY ARE THE BEST. FOR INSTANCE, HULK KNEW SOME GUYS IN COLLEGE WHO CREATED A "SEX FRAT" (WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY MAINTAINING REAL FRATS WERE FOR CHEAP LOSERS WHO HAD TO BUY FRIENDS) WHERE THEY GOT POINTS FOR SLEEPING WITH THE MOST AND / OR HOTTEST CHICKS. BUT EVERYTHING WAS ABOUT THE APPROVAL AND LOVE OF THEIR GUY FRIENDS. AND IF YOU THINK THIS BRAND OF THINKING IS LIMITED TO COLLEGIATE IDIOCY, LOOK KNOW FURTHER THAN THE CULTURAL RALLYING POINT OF A SHOW LIKE ENTOURAGE, WHICH SEEMED TO EXEMPLIFY THE 50% THEORY LIKE NO OTHER. AS THE SHOW CAME TO A CLOSE DOUG ELLIN TRIED TO SUM UP THE ENTIRE POINT AND SAID, TO PARAPHRASE: "[As guys grow up and life changes, that's all men really want in life: to hang out with their guy friends and still have fun.]" NOT TO BE A JERK, BUT ISN'T THAT KIND OF SAD? THE IDEA THAT ALL THESE GREAT EVENTS CAN HAPPEN IN YOUR LIFE AND YET ALL YOU'RE TRYING TO DO IS CAPTURE THE ADULATION OF A GROUP OF DUDES WHO FORMED THEIR LOVE BOND OF APPROVAL (COMPLETE WITH RITUAL MOCKING) ABOUT TWENTY YEARS AGO? BUT IT'S WEIRDLY TRUE FOR MANY MEN. THAT'S WHO THEY LOVE. WE OFFICIALLY LIVE IN A CULTURE WHERE GUYS WORSHIP THE APPROVAL OF OTHER MALES ABOVE ALL ELSE.

AND THUS IT'S NO ACCIDENT THAT THIS DIRECTLY SPILLS OVER INTO WHY A GROUP OF GUYS WILL GO SO FAR WITH THEIR QUEST FOR APPROVAL AS TO ACTUALLY DRUG AND RAPE WOMEN. YES, THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE TWO IS NOT A LEAP. IT'S EVERYTHING. IT'S WHY THEY WILL GET SO CAUGHT UP IN THE MOMENT OF "ATTAINING SEX" THAT THEY'LL PUSH THROUGH SOMEONE WHO ACTUALLY TELLS THEM NO. SOMETIMES IT DOESN'T EVEN HAVE TO BE INSIDIOUS. JUST DESPERATE. "What? They are saying no??? They can't! That's not part of the plan! I'm so close!" IT'S NOT LOSING A BONER. IT'S BECAUSE THEY ARE MAD BECAUSE THEY CANNOT ATTAIN IT. IT'S THE SAME REASON THEY WILL TRY TO GET A GIRL FALL-DOWN-DRUNK SO THEY CAN HAVE "CONSENSUAL" SEX WITH HER. FORGET THE HEART OF EMPATHY, HULK GENUINELY BELIEVES THAT THESE PEOPLE DON'T UNDERSTAND THEY ARE ENGAGING IN REAL-DEAL CRIMINALITY. THEY THINK BECAUSE THEY AREN'T SKETCHY GUYS ON THE STREET AND THAT THEY KNOW THESE PEOPLE, THEY SOMEHOW AREN'T DOING THE SAME EXACT THING AS "REAL" RAPISTS. NO, THEY'RE JUST TRYING TO GET LAID. AND THEY THINK IT'S THEIR ONLY OPTION. IT'S NECESSARY IN THEIR BRAINS.

AND THUS THEY MISS THE SIMPLE FACT THAT ALL CRIMINALITY IS ESSENTIALLY THE SAME: PEOPLE DO DRASTIC THINGS OUT OF WHAT THEY PERCEIVE TO NEED. SO IF WE CREATE A CULTURE THAT WORSHIPS SEX, THAT REWARDS SEX, THAT WILL OVERLOOK IF THAT SEX WASN'T SUPER CONSENSUAL AND MORE JUST "RELENTED TO," AND THAT WILL EVEN REWARD WOMEN FOR PLAYING INTO THIS KIND OF CULTURE,  THEN THEY WILL DO WHATEVER IS NECESSARY TO UPHOLD THESE VALUES BECAUSE THEY THINK IT IS WHAT LIFE DEMANDS OF THEM.

THIS IS CRAZY FUCKED UP.

HOW CAN THEY NOT SEE THE HUMANITY OF THE WOMEN THEY PREY ON? THE ONES THEY WANT TO ATTAIN SEX FROM?

QUITE EASILY, TO BE HONEST. BECAUSE OF ALL THE PRESSURE ON YOUNG BOYS TO HAVE SEX, THEY THEN SEE WOMEN AS THE GATEKEEPERS OF THEIR BURGEONING SEXUALITY (I.E. THE "YES" OR "NO" TO THEIR ATTAINING SEX). AND THE RESENTMENT CAN BUILD SO DAMN EASILY FROM THAT. WHEN YOU TURN WOMEN INTO THE GATEKEEPERS OF YOUR STATUS, THEY BECOME THE OTHER. THE OPPONENT. THE ONES WHO PREVENT YOU FROM ACHIEVING SEX. THE ONES WHO HOLD YOU DOWN. THE ONES YOU COME TO RESENT FOR BEING "IN CHARGE," WHEN REALLY YOU WANT TO BE ONE WHO IS "IN CHARGE" OF YOUR SEXUALITY. WHEN THAT'S THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN THE SYSTEM AS YOU PERCEIVE IT, THEN OF COURSE YOU WILL NOT FEEL BAD EXHIBITING PREDATORY BEHAVIOR WITH THEM. THEY'RE THE OPPONENT.

AND IF YOU LOSE AGAINST YOUR OPPONENT, THEN THIS RESENTMENT CAN BUILD UP IN A GUY OVER TIME. THIS RESENTMENT CAN COLOR EVERYTHING. AND THEN THIS RESENTMENT BECOMES A DYNAMIC FOR YOU. YOU START TO SEE WOMEN AS THE ONES IN POWER. AS THE ONES HAVING THE ADVANTAGE. YOU CAN SEE YOURSELF AS HOPELESSLY AT THEIR MERCY. THIS RESENTMENT CAN EVEN CREATE A RALLYING PHILOSOPHY, LIKE THE SEX FRAT HULK MENTIONED, OR IT CAN GO FULLY POLITICAL IN BECOMING AN "M.R.A." OR "MEN'S RIGHTS ACTIVIST." NOW, THERE ARE MANY WHO DON'T SEE THE BIG DEAL ABOUT THIS, PEOPLE WHO THINK MEN SHOULD GET THE SAME CHANCE TO FIGHT FOR RIGHTS AS WOMEN. BUT HULK WILL NOT MINCE WORDS HERE: MRAS LIVE IN SOME BIZARRO WORLD WHERE THEY THINK THEIR VIEW OF "INEQUALITY" IS A PRESSING SOCIETAL CONCERN. AND THUS THEY BELIEVE WE SHOULD UNITE UNDER THE (RELATIVELY FEW) ISSUES IN WHICH MEN ARE AT A DISADVANTAGE AND THEN FIGHT FOR "GENDER EQUALITY," WHICH ALL JUST CAUSES HULK TO LOSE HULK'S DAMN MIND. IT'S LIKE, YES, CHILD PROTECTION LAWS ARE NOT SKEWED IN MEN'S FAVOR. YOU KNOW WHY THAT IS? IT'S TO PROTECT KIDS FROM THE LITANY OF ABUSIVE DEADBEAT DADS THAT EXIST PRETTY MUCH FREAKING EVERYWHERE. THAT'S WHY THE LAW WAS CREATED IN THE FIRST PLACE. YES, HULK KNOWS IT'S YOUR LIFE AND YOUR KIDS MATTER SO DAMN MUCH, OF COURSE THEY DO. BUT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD UNDERSTAND WHY THIS LAW IS IN PLACE AND WHY YOU NEED TO ACCEPT IT. AND NO, THIS IS NOT TO BE INSENSITIVE TO THE FEW CASES WHERE THE LAW'S FEMALE-SKEWING NATURE ENDED IN TRAGEDY, IT'S TO REMIND YOU THAT THE LAW IS THERE TO PREVENT THOUSANDS MORE TRAGEDIES A YEAR.  AND TO REVERT IT ALL BACK TO MEN'S RIGHTS?? HULK IS SORRY, BUT IF YOUR SOLUTION TO THE MOST MASSIVE INEQUALITY IN THE WORLD (THAT WOULD BE GENDER) IS TO TARGET THE ONLY 3 LAWS THAT ARE UNFAVORABLE TO MEN (AND FOR GOOD REASON), THEN YOU ARE GOING DOWN A TRULY DARK PATH OF THINKING. AND HULK HIGHLY URGES YOU TO RETHINK YOUR ENTIRE PERSPECTIVE IMMEDIATELY AND ADDRESS WHATEVER THE FUCK IS REALLY GOING ON BECAUSE THAT IS CRAZY FUCKED UP.

IT'S ALL CRAZY FUCKED UP.

THE MALE VIEW OF SEXUALITY IS JUST SO FAR AWAY FROM UNDERSTANDING WHAT IT REALLY IS. AND YOU KNOW WHERE THIS ALL BECOMES REALLY PROBLEMATIC?

THE FACT THAT WOMEN ARE TAUGHT TO PLAY INTO IT.

REALLY. GIRLS ARE NOT IGNORANT OF HOW MUCH MEN VALUE SEX. THEY UNDERSTAND IT INTRINSICALLY. FROM THE BEGINNING OF THEIR LIVES, THEY ARE TAUGHT NOT TO VALUE SEX FOR THEMSELVES, BUT TO VALUE HOW MUCH MEN VALUE IT. THEY ARE ASSAULTED WITH JUST AS MANY OUTSIDE IMAGES AND MESSAGES TELLING THEM BOYS LIKE SEX AND DESPERATELY WANT TO ATTAIN IT FROM THEM. AND THEY ARE ALSO TAUGHT THAT WE ABSOLUTELY REWARD SEX. AND SO WE ALSO REWARD BEING ATTRACTIVE. AND THIS IS SIMPLY "HOW IT IS." WE TELL THEM THAT THEIR WAY INTO THIS CRAZY GUY-CENTRIC POWER STRUCTURE IS TO OPERATE AS THAT GATEKEEPER OF SEXUAL ATTAINMENT AND DO SO IN THE WAY THAT IS MOST PLEASING TO US. WE SHOUT "Give all your sex to me! And not anyone else! Do that and you will be rewarded!" AND EVEN WHATEVER POWER OR REWARD THAT CHOICE SEEMS TO OFFER IS ALWAYS SO DAMN SHORT-LIVED. IT'S JUST SEEN AS A NECESSITY.

SO GUYS OUT THERE FEELING THE PRESSURE TO HAVE SEX? KNOW THIS: THE PRESSURE ON YOUNG GIRLS IS 100 TIMES MORE INTENSE THAN IT IS ON YOU.

THE PRESSURE IS IN EVERY SINGLE GLANCE FROM A MAN, EVERY SINGLE PICK-UP LINE, EVERY CAT-CALL, EVERY ADVERTISEMENT, EVERY RIDICULOUS CLOTHING SIZE, EVERY LESSON, AND EVERY MOVIE PLOT (BE THE GIRL THAT THE GUY GETS AT THE END!). AND DON'T TELL HULK THAT YOU ARE LIKEWISE COMBATED WITH IMAGES OF RIPPED DUDES THAT MAKE YOU FEEL THE SAME WAY. BECAUSE THOSE IMAGES AREN'T WHAT WOMEN WANT. THOSE IMAGES ARE DESIGNED TO MAKE GUYS FEEL, OR WANT TO FEEL, POWERFUL. AND THERE'S A HUGE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO, NAMELY THAT IT'S ALWAYS ABOUT YOU. SO IF YOU DON'T LIKE THE PRESSURE ON YOU TO HAVE SEX, THEN YOU SHOULD BE EMPATHIZE WITH WOMEN, NOT RESENT THEM FOR BEING THE OTHER. NOT RESENT THEM FOR BEING THE ONES "IN CONTROL."

AND GUESS WHAT? THEY'RE NOT ACTUALLY IN CONTROL.

BECAUSE AT THE SAME EXACT TIME THAT GIRLS ARE TAUGHT ABOUT THE WAY THAT MEN VALUE SEX AND THE PRESSURE IS PLACED ON THEM TO DELIVER, THERE IS A ZEALOUS FIGHT TO SEND THEM IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION. PARENTS (MOSTLY FATHERS) RECOGNIZE THIS SOCIETAL CONDITION THAT PEOPLE WILL WANT TO ATTAIN SEX FROM THEIR DAUGHTER AND FIGHT LIKE HELL TO STOP IT. BUT THIS ANGER DOES NOT GO OUT INTO THE ETHER OF SOCIETY. INSTEAD OF DIRECTING THAT FEAR OUTWARD, WE MOSTLY PUT THE RESPONSIBILITY PURELY ON THEIR SHOULDERS OF OUR YOUNG GIRLS BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT WE THINK WE CAN CONTROL. WE TELL THEM TO SAVE THEMSELVES FOR MARRIAGE. WE TEACH THEM TO TRY AND STAY PURE. AND WE CHASTISE THEM FOR EVEN THE SLIGHTEST EXHIBITION OF SEXUAL BEHAVIOR. AND WHEN WE DO THAT? WE LASH OUT IN THE OPPOSITE WAY WITH POTENTIAL AGGRESSORS AND SEE TEENAGE BOYS (WHO DID NOTHING DIFFERENT THAN WE DID) AS THE DISGUSTING, POACHING ENEMY. IT'S ALL JUST AN EXTREME ISN'T IT? IT'S ALL THE DESIRE TO PROTECT THE PURITY OF YOUR DAUGHTER.

YOUR QUESTION AT THIS POINT SHOULD BE OBVIOUS: DOESN'T THIS MALE DESIRE FOR SEX AND THE YEARNING TO KEEP OUR DAUGHTERS PURE CREATE A SUPER-OBVIOUS CONFLICT? ISN'T THAT A CATCH-22 WHERE WE WANT TWO THINGS FROM "GIRLS" AT THE EXACT SAME TIME? DOESN'T THIS JUST CREATE A NON-FUNCTIONAL CULTURE WHERE MEN ARE SHAMED IF THEY DON'T HAVE SEX AND YET GIRLS ARE SHAMED IF THEY DO?

THE ANSWER IS: YES.

THIS IS WHAT WE CALL "A MIXED MESSAGE" AND IT IS ONE OF THE MOST PROBLEMATIC THINGS A SOCIETY CAN DO. WE SAY, "WE'RE MEN. WE WANT THIS FROM YOU. WE WANT THIS FROM YOU. WE WANT THIS FROM YOU." AND AS FATHERS OR FIGURES OF DECENCY WE TELL THE WOMEN IN OUR LIVES "DON'T GIVE INTO BOYS DON'T GIVE INTO BOYS. DON'T GIVE INTO BOYS. BE A SWEET LITTLE GIRL FOREVER!" AND MOST OF THE TIME MEN ONLY DO THIS CRAP SUBCONSCIOUSLY BECAUSE WE CAN'T GET OVER OUR OWN BULLSHIT. AND THE PROBLEM IS THAT IT HAS THE INADVERTENT EFFECT OF MAKING LIFE IMPOSSIBLE FOR WOMEN.

IT'S A FUCKING RIGGED GAME.

HULK SWEARS TO YOU THAT MIXED MESSAGES ARE DANGEROUS, DANGEROUS THINGS. THEY CREATE A SET OF CONDITIONS THAT PREVENT THE TARGETED GROUP OF PEOPLE FROM BECOMING FULLY-REALIZED. SERIOUSLY, IF YOU ARE GIVEN MIXED MESSAGES THAN YOU CAN NEVER WIN BECAUSE SOMETHING YOU DO WILL ALWAYS BE WRONG. ISN'T THAT OBVIOUS? AND WHEN YOU ARE OPERATING IN THAT KIND OF SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT IT ALWAYS FOSTERS EXTREME BEHAVIORS. YOU CAN BE SO AFRAID OF SLIDING TO ONE SIDE OR THE OTHER OF THE MIXED MESSAGE THAT IT BREEDS A KIND OF COMPETITION AND UNFAIR SOCIAL ORDERING. PEOPLE CAN BE THROWN TO ONE SIDE OR THE OTHER AT A MOMENT'S NOTICE WITH LITTLE REASONING. IT CREATES DISTRUST IN THE SELF AND DISTRUST IN OTHERS. IT TURNS ENEMIES INTO FRIENDS. AND YOU CAN NEVER WIN THE BATTLE.

TO GIVE YOU A VERY REAL, NON-GENDERED EXAMPLE, IMAGINE GROWING UP IN AN URBAN ENVIRONMENT AND BEING TOLD THAT YOU HAVE TO DO WELL IN IMPOVERISHED SCHOOLS BUT THEY ALL HAVE CRUMBLING INFRASTRUCTURES. OR IMAGINE THAT YOU HAVE TO UPHOLD THE SANCTITY OF THE CHURCH IN A WORLD WITH TEMPTATION AND HIGH-STAKES CONSEQUENCES ARE EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK. AND YET, AT THE EXACT SAME TIME, SOCIETY ALSO PRESENTS YOU WITH HIGHLY SEDUCTIVE ESCAPES THROUGH THE GLORIFIED AVENUES OF SPORTS, GANGS, AND / OR DRUG USE. AND THESE AVENUES ARE ALL SO FRAUGHT WITH TROUBLE, WHETHER IT IS NAVIGATING A BROKEN EDUCATION SYSTEM, LETTING THE CHURCH ACTUALLY GET YOU OUT OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD, ACTUALLY SUCCEEDING IN SPORTS, SURVIVING DRUG USE AT ALL, OR EVEN SURVIVING GANG ACTIVITY (EVEN LESS LIKELY), THAT NONE OF THESE ANSWERS ARE EVER REALLY "ANSWERS." THEY ARE A SET OF OPTIONS, ALL WITH NO REAL LIKELIHOOD OF SUCCESS. AND DO YOU REALLY WONDER WHY URBAN ENVIRONMENTS ARE IN SUCH TROUBLE? WHY ALL THE PSYCHOLOGY BECOMES SO EXTREME AND CONFLICTED? IT'S COLLECTIVE MIXED MESSAGING AND IT CREATES A LIFE THAT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO TRANSCEND.

AND GOING BACK TO GENDER, MIXED MESSAGING BREEDS INHERENT DIVISIVENESS. IT FORCES YOU TO PICK A SIDE: "SHE'S A PRUDE!" "SHE'S A SLUT!" WHEN THE TRUTH IS WOMEN HAVE THE TOTAL RIGHT TO JUST FUCKING SPLIT THE DIFFERENCE AND BE NORMAL SEXUAL BEINGS. AND KEEP IN MIND THAT DOESN'T MEAN THEY GET TO ENGAGE IN "MEDIUM BEHAVIOR." THAT MEANS HAVING THE COMPLETE FUCKING RIGHT TO BE ONE OR THE OTHER, AT ANY TIME, WITHOUT THAT AUTOMATICALLY MEANING THEY ARE ONE OR THE OTHER. THEY SHOULD NOT FEEL PRESSURED TO HAVE SEX IF THEY WANT. THEY SHOULD NOT BE CHASTISED FOR HAVING SEX IF THEY SO CHOOSE AND IT'S SOMETHING THEY WANT. IT IS THE RIGHT TO BE A COMPLETE PERSON WITH ALL DIFFERENT FACETS OF YOURSELF, THE SAME AS ANY GUY WOULD.

AND THE WORST PART IS THAT BY GIVING INTO THE DIVISIVENESS OF MIXED MESSAGING, IT JUST FEEDS THE AGE-OLD MADONNA AND WHORE COMPLEX, WHICH IS NOTHING MORE THAN A DICHOTOMY SUITED FOR MEN'S ARCHAIC, COMPARTMENTALIZED SEXUAL THINKING. BUT THE MADONNA AND THE WHORE DICHOTOMY IS FAR MORE THAN A SEXUAL INCLINATION, IT'S THE ULTIMATE MIXED MESSAGE. IT IS THE PERFECT WAY TO KEEP WOMEN LIMITED. THEY'RE SIMPLY NOT ALLOWED TO BE BOTH. THEY'RE NOT ALLOWED TO BE FULLY REALIZED PEOPLE. AND THIS MATTERS. EVERY WOMAN HAS THE CAPACITY TO BE BOTH (IT'S NOT AN ACCIDENT THAT BOTH MAGDALENE AND THE VIRGIN WERE BOTH NAMED MARY). IF WE ALLOWED WOMEN TO BE BOTH THEN WE WOULDN'T HAVE THIS RIDICULOUS PRESSURE ON THE "GATEKEEPER" MENTALITY. THEN WE WOULD BE TAKING A STEP TO NORMALIZE THE ISSUE. AND PERHAPS THE BIGGEST IRONY OF ALL THIS IS THAT THE SECOND MEN GET OVER THEIR MADONNA / WHORE THINKING IS THE SECOND THEY BECOME WAY HAPPIER IN THEIR RELATIONSHIPS.

THIS MAY ALL SOUND LIKE GRANDIOSE GENDER TALK, BUT IT'S ALL SO PAINFULLY REAL. POWER STRUCTURES EXIST, FOLKS. WE BOTH WILLINGLY OR INADVERTENTLY ENCOURAGE SYSTEMS THAT PROPAGATE THE THINKING MODELS OF THOSE WHO ARE IN POWER. AND THE MADONNA AND THE WHORE COMPLEX IS 100% WHAT A MALE-DOMINATED SOCIETY WANTS OF WOMEN. AND THE THING ABOUT A POWER STRUCTURE IS THAT IT TEACHES ALL PEOPLE TO VALUE THIS STRUCTURE IN ORDER TO GET AHEAD. IT IS EVEN WHAT SOCIETY TEACHES WOMEN TO TEACH TO OTHER WOMEN. WE FEED TEAM-THINKING. WE SAY "BE A MADONNA! YOU WILL BE REWARDED WITH MARRIAGE AND GET TO BE JUDGMENTAL OF ALL THOSE WHORES!" OR WE SAY "BE A WHORE! YOU WILL BE REWARDED WITH OUR MOST RAVENOUS SEXUAL DESIRE! AND YOU WILL GET TO BE JUDGMENTAL OVER ALL THOSE SILLY MADONNA PRUDES! YOU'RE THE ONE WE REALLY CARE ABOUT!" AND IN THE END IT JUST CREATES A CLOSED SYSTEM.

BUT LIKE ALL CLOSED SYSTEMS, THE PAINS AND STRESS OF SUCH IMPOSSIBILITY EXPAND AND BREAK OUTWARD. PEOPLE START TO SEE WHAT IS HAPPENING, OR AT LEAST FEEL IT. BEHAVIOR AND DEFENSIVENESS BECOME EXTREME. THE BEHAVIORS ARE THEN PROPAGATED. PARANOIA BUILDS ON ALL SIDES. WOMEN ARE TAUGHT TO FEAR MEN. MEN ARE TAUGHT TO RESENT WOMEN. BLAME FLIES IN EVERY DIRECTION. AND WHEN THE COMPLETE LACK OF UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT IS REALLY HAPPENING HERE HITS FEVER PITCH, THE GENUINE CONTEMPT EXPLODES BETWEEN GENDERS.

WHAT DOES THAT WORLD LOOK LIKE? IT LOOKS OUR OWN. THE FOLLOWING WAS ADVERTISED AS BEING SHOCKING, BUT HULK ARGUES IT IS NOT SHOCKING AT ALL. THIS IS SIMPLY HOW THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE THINK. AND THIS IS WHAT PEOPLE HAVE BEEN SAYING ALL ALONG.

OUR THOUGHT PROCESS IS FUCKED UP.

LIKE CRIMINALITY, WE LIKE TO THINK OF SEXISM AS OBVIOUSLY ERRANT BEHAVIOR. AS PEOPLE MAKING CLEAR CHOICES TO DO WRONG. TO DELIGHT IN THE WRONG. BUT SO OFTEN IT IS PEOPLE JUST MAKING VERY CLEAR CHOICES WHERE THEY THINK THEY ARE RIGHT.

SO MANY RELIGIOUS GROUPS LOOK AT THE HEAVY SEX-DRENCHED SECULAR CULTURE AND PULL AWAY IN FEAR. THEY TELL YOUNG PEOPLE THAT THEY HAVE AN ALTERNATIVE TO ALL THOSE SEXUAL PRESSURES OUT THERE, BUT HERE'S A SIMPLE TIP, FOLKS: THEY DON'T. FOR THEIR SOLUTION IS SIMPLY TO STYMY YOUR NATURAL SEXUAL INCLINATION AND THROW OUT THE BABY WITH THE BATHWATER. THEY TEACH YOU THAT NORMAL SEXUAL IMPULSES ARE BAD. AND THUS IN THE END THEY ARE NO DIFFERENT THAN THE FATHERS WHO CHASTISE THEIR DAUGHTERS FOR HAVING A HINT OF SEXUAL IDENTITY. THEY ARE SIMPLY ADVOCATING THE MADONNA IN THE MOST STRIDENT TERMS. SO MANY RELIGIONS TRY TO BURY SEXUALITY AND END UP CREATING THE BIGGEST GENDER ISSUES IMAGINABLE. LOOK AT THE "SHOCKING" LINKS ABOVE AND SEE HOW MANY ARE CONNECTED TO RELIGION. THEY'RE THE BIGGEST ACCIDENTAL ADVOCATES OF THE MADONNA AND THE WHORE COMPLEX IN THE WORLD (AGAIN, THE TWO MAIN FEMALE CHARACTERS IN THE BIBLE). FUNDAMENTALISM CAN'T HELP BUT BREED THE BINARY. AND BOY OH BOY DOES THE BINARY BREED THE PROBLEMATIC THINKING ABOUT RAPE.

DO YOU THINK IT'S AN ACCIDENT THAT IN EXTREME FUNDAMENTALIST ISLAMIC CULTURES THEY WILL ACTUALLY GO SO FAR AS TO PUNISH THE GIRL WHO GETS RAPED? THERE'S JUST AN ENDLESS LIST OF HORRIFIC INCIDENTS THAT HULK DOESN'T FEEL MUCH LIKE SHARING. AND TRUE, WE MAY NOT BE DOING THINGS THAT ARE THAT EXTREME, BUT LOOK AT STEUBENVILLE AND MARYVILLE AND YOU REALIZE THAT WE'RE NOT ALL THAT FAR OFF. HULK IS TELLING YOU, THE THOUGHT PROCESS THAT LEADS TO THOSE HORRIFIC ACTIONS IS THE EXACT SAME. RAPE EXPLODES OUR BINARY, REDUCTIVE, MIXED MESSAGE THINKING OF WOMEN. IT MAKES US FUCKING NUTS. AND THUS WE HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO DEAL WITH IT AS A CULTURE. AND SADLY, WE LEAVE OUR LAWS TO A PATCHWORK OF WHITE HAIRED GOONS WHO ADVOCATE ONLY THE MADONNA IN PUBLIC (WHILE HAVING SCANDAL AFTER SCANDAL WITH "THE WHORE"). FUCK, THEY BARELY UNDERSTAND HEALTHY HETEROSEXUALITY, LET ALONE SEXUAL ASSAULT, AS LET US NOT FORGET THE BRILLIANT MEN WHO THINK WOMEN'S BODIES CAN SHUT IMPREGNATING-RAPE DOWN.

IT'S EVERYWHERE IN OUR CULTURE. WE HAVE ADS LIKE THIS:

WE HAVE BLOG POSTS LIKE THIS GET RAPIDLY SHARED AND APPLAUDED.

(THE LOGIC IN THIS ONE IS BORDERLINE AMAZING. IF ONLY WOMEN WOULD BE LESS SHALLOW AND NOT GET PLASTIC SURGERY SO THAT WHEN MEN SELECT THEM BASED ON PHYSICAL APPEARANCE IT WON'T BE LYING! *JAW FALLS ON GROUND*)

WE EVEN HAVE OUR MOST FAMOUS FEMALE ROLE MODELS LIKE SERENA WILLIAMS SAYING THINGS ABOUT THE STEUBENVILLE RAPE VICTIM LIKE: "I'm not blaming the girl, but if you're a 16-year-old and you're drunk like that, your parents should teach you -- don't take drinks from other people. She's 16, why was she that drunk where she doesn't remember? It could have been much worse. She's lucky. [SHE] shouldn't have put herself in that position." AND IT'S JUST MORE OF THE TIRED BULLSHIT OF: "I'm not blaming, but I'm going to say something that is totally blaming!"

AND YET, EVERY TIME HULK GETS IN A CONVERSATION WITH SOMEONE ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT OUR CULTURE HAS HEALTHY VIEWS OF SEXUALITY, EVERYONE THINKS THEY HAVE A GOOD LOCK ON THE ISSUE AND DENIES. THEY THINK THEIR COMMON SENSE AND THE DECENT WAY THEY HAVE LIVED THEIR LIVES (READ: INDIVIDUAL SOLUTIONS) COVERS ALL THE PROBLEMS QUITE ADEQUATELY. AS A NATION, THEY WE THINK WE TREAT RAPE QUITE RESPONSIBLY.

WELL, DID YOU KNOW THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION HAS RECOGNIZED THE QUALITIES THAT ARE THE HIGHEST CONTRIBUTING FACTORS TO COUNTRIES WITH THE HIGHEST RAPE RATES?

AHEM:

* beliefs in family honor and sexual purity
* ideologies of male sexual entitlement
* weak legal sanctions for sexual violence

ARE WE SERIOUSLY GOOD AT THESE? COMPARED TO SOME UNDERDEVELOPED COUNTRIES, SURE, BUT WITH EVERYTHING HULK HAS TALKED ABOUT IN THIS PART OF THE ESSAY? CAN WE REALLY DENY WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE? REALLY. WHAT DO WE DO AS A CULTURE TO COMBAT THE IDEAS AND PARADIGMS LISTED ABOVE? AND IF COMBATING THESE LOWERS THE INSTANCES OF RAPE THEN WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR? WHAT ARE WE DOING TO FIGHT RAPE?

IF THIS IS AN EPIDEMIC THEN WHAT ARE WE DOING IN THE WAY OF CAMPAIGNING AND CULTURAL AWARENESS TO TEACH PEOPLE "DON'T RAPE"?

NOTHING.

INSTEAD, WE TEACH "DON'T GET RAPED" AND CALL IT A DAY.

9. FEAR

QUESTION: IF RAPE IS SUCH AN OBVIOUS PROBLEM THEN WHY DO WE CONSISTENTLY SIDE-STEP THE ISSUE IN CONVERSATION?

THINK ABOUT IT FOR A SECOND. THINK ABOUT EVERY SINGLE ARGUMENT YOU SEE IN REAL LIFE OR ON FACEBOOK OR TWITTER OR SOME SHIT. THINK ABOUT ALL THE POPULAR CONVERSATIONS HAPPENING AROUND US IN REGARDS TO THIS ISSUE. ISN'T IT WEIRD HOW THEY ALWAYS, ALWAYS SEEM TO GET DERAILED? SOMETIMES IT GETS STONEWALLED BY SOMEONE WHO DISAGREES FERVENTLY AND DEFENSIVELY. SOMETIMES IT'S SOMEONE WHO DIVERTS THE ARGUMENT TO ANOTHER SEEMINGLY IRRELEVANT PART OF THE SITUATION. BUT MORE OFTEN THAN NOT, THE CONVERSATION JUST GET BROUGHT TO THIS WEIRD PLACE OF MITIGATION. A PLACE WHERE SOMEONE DISCUSSING IT IS TRYING TO FIND THE GRAY AREA OF THE SITUATION NO MATTER WHAT. IT SEEMS TO BE A NATURAL INCLINATION WITH THIS CONVERSATION. TO BE FAIR, HULK SEES THIS IN KIND OF ARGUMENTATION POP UP IN A LOT OF PLACES. IT'S THE EARLIER "DEVIL'S ADVOCATE" THINKING, MADE DEVASTATINGLY REAL. BUT HULK WANTS YOU TO THINK ABOUT THE EFFECT OF THIS MITIGATION. BY DOING NOTHING BUT POKING HOLES IN THE THING THAT YOU SUPPOSEDLY AGREE WITH, ARE YOU REALLY EVEN HELPING IT? YOU MAY THINK YOU ARE, BUT ARE YOU ACTUALLY HELPING CHANGE PEOPLE'S MINDS ON THE ISSUE? ARE YOU HELPING FIX THE OBVIOUS PROBLEM AT HAND? OR YOU JUST ALLOWING OTHERS TO KEEP THINKING IT'S NOT AS MUCH OF A PROBLEM?

SO THAT'S HULK'S MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION FOR YOU: IF PEOPLE ACTUALLY WANT TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT RAPE, THEN WHY DOES THIS MITIGATION ALWAYS SEEM TO HAPPEN WITH THE POPULAR CONVERSATION?

AFTER ALL, HULK JUST PAINSTAKINGLY TRIED TO COMMUNICATE THE REALITY OF THESE PROBLEMS FOR THE LAST, UH, GOD KNOWS HOW MANY WORDS, SO WHY, IN EVERY SINGLE FEED AND MODE OF COMMUNICATION THAT HULK SEES DO PEOPLE START MAKING AN ARGUMENT THAT BRINGS IT BACK TO THE "GRAY AREA" THAT MITIGATES THE ISSUE?

WHY DO WE CONSTANTLY ARGUE THINGS LIKE "THAT'S JUST HOW LIFE IS AND WE'RE DOING WHAT WE CAN"? WHY DO EVEN THE MOST LIBERAL OF GUYS ALWAYS SEEM TO ERR ON THE SIDE OF CAUTION AND TAKE CARE TO MENTION THE HE SAID / SHE SAID PROBLEMS OF RAPE ACCUSATION? REALLY? THAT'S THE MAIN WORRY IN ALL THIS? IS IT JUST SOME FEAR THAT ONE DAY YOU'LL BE FALSELY ACCUSED OF RAPE AND SO YOU WANT TO BE SURE YOU'RE PROTECTED? IS IT THE SPIRIT OF BROTHERHOOD?

SERIOUSLY, WHAT IS ACTUALLY SO "GRAY" ABOUT THE SUBJECT OF RAPE, ANYWAY? SOMEONE SAYS NO AND THEN SOMEONE CLEARLY PUSHES PAST IT. THAT'S RAPE. REALLY, WHAT IS SO NUANCED ABOUT THAT? EVERY CASE HULK DEALT WITH IN THE CRISIS CENTER ALWAYS HAD CLARITY WHEN IT CAME TO THE MOMENT. SO WHY DO WE THINK ANYTHING THAT IS SO OBVIOUSLY WRONG HAS TO BE NUANCED? AND WHY DO WE ALWAYS SEEM TO DEMAND THAT NUANCE BE ACCOUNTED FOR? ESPECIALLY WHEN WE DON'T ACCOUNT FOR SUCH NUANCE IN SO MANY OTHER KINDS OF TRAUMAS? (SEE THE E.M.T. EXPERIENCE ABOVE.) HULK GETS THAT PEOPLE AREN'T TRYING TO BE INSIDIOUS HERE, BUT EVERY TIME HULK STARTS TALKING ABOUT THE REALITY OF THINGS LIKE "RAPE CULTURE" AND THE COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY WE SHOULD FEEL TOWARDS TRYING TO FIX IT, SUDDENLY PEOPLE'S DESIRE FOR "NUANCE" POPS UP OUT OF NOWHERE. WHY DOES HULK JUST KEEP GETTING ALL THESE MITIGATING RESPONSES? WHY DO WE CONSTANTLY SIDESTEP THE ISSUE? WHY DO WE IGNORE THE FACT WE AREN'T UPHOLDING THE "DON'T RAPE" MINDSET?

WHY AREN'T WE LEADING A DAMN CRUSADE AGAINST THIS BULLSHIT?

WHY IS THE FIGHT ALWAYS LIMITED TO THE SAME SUBSET OF WOMEN AND A HANDFUL OF GUYS WITH VARIOUS LEVELS OF UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT'S HAPPENING HERE?  WHY DO SO MANY OTHER GUYS IN THE "50%" JUST ACCUSE THOSE HANDFUL OF GUYS OF FEIGNING INTEREST IN FEMINIST CAUSES JUST TO GET INTO SOMEONE'S PANTS? WHY ARE WE, AS A CULTURE, NOT GETTING PAST THIS?

HULK WOULD LIKE TO SUGGEST THAT THE SOURCE OF THE MITIGATION ON THIS ISSUE COMES FROM A NOT SO GREAT PLACE: IT IS THE SIMPLE DESIRE TO NOT FACE A TRUTH ABOUT "OURSELVES." WITH RAPE, WE ARE SPEAKING OF THE SEXUAL HORROR OF A WORLD. AND IT IS VERY MUCH A REALITY, NOT A HORROR. AND EVEN IF WE MAY NOT HAVE BEEN A PART OF IT, THERE IS A PART OF US THAT IS DESPERATE TO HIDE FROM THAT REALITY. THAT IS DESPERATE NOT TO SHARE IN THAT CULPABILITY. THERE'S A PASSAGE FROM DAVID SIMON'S INCREDIBLE REVIEW OF 12 YEARS A SLAVE, WHERE HE TALKS ABOUT THE SOBERING NATURE OF THE FILM'S TREATMENT OF SLAVERY, A.K.A. AMERICA'S GREATEST SHAME AND HE PUTS IT LIKE THIS:

"For ordinary Americans willing to confront our history without equivocation and vague allusion, this film will prove a humanizing and liberating journey.  This much truth can grow an honest soul. And for those still desperate to mitigate our national reality at every possible cost, this film will be an affront.  It is not intelligently assailable by anyone, though the racial divide and resentment that still occupies our national character a century and a half after abolition will prompt certain creatures to pull at threads, hoping against hope.  Mostly, those who want to pretend to another American history will just avoid the film or the discussion that ensues."

NEVER WAS IT SAID WITH SUCH CLARITY. AND NOW THE SAME MUST BE SAID IN OUR FIGHT WITH GENDER ISSUES AND RAPE. WE MUST CONFRONT THE FACT THAT THIS IS AN EXISTING PART OF OUR SOCIETY AND IT IS NOT JUST A PROBLEM FOR THOSE WHO FACE IT, BUT IT IS PROBLEM FOR ALL OF US.

WE HAVE TO STOP MITIGATING THE ISSUE.

THERE IS A TERM THAT GETS TOSSED AROUND IN ALL THE SIDE-STEPPING AND THAT TERM IS "RAPE APOLOGY." YES, HERE WE HAVE ANOTHER TERM THAT MAKES PEOPLE THINK THAT THEY ARE BEING ACCUSED OF GOING AROUND APOLOGIZING FOR LITERAL RAPES AND NO, THAT'S NOT WHAT IT MEANS. RAPE APOLOGY IS JUST ABOUT PEOPLE GO AROUND SAYING THE SEEMINGLY HARMLESS THINGS THAT ALLOW FOR A SET OF CONDITIONS THAT MAKE RAPE CULTURE ALL THE MORE POSSIBLE.

AND TO MAKE THE MORAL PRECEDENCE FOR THIS SITUATION ALL THE MORE CLEAR, CONSIDER THE IDIOM  All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." SO EVERY TIME THE TOPIC IS BROUGHT UP, THE MITIGATING ARGUMENTS JUST END UP NEUTRALIZING THE OUTRAGE AND DERAIL THE ISSUE. IT INHERENTLY BRINGS THE CONVERSATION AWAY FROM THE POINTED ISSUE IT IS TRYING TO ADDRESS AND HURTS THE EFFECTIVENESS AND POINT OF THE CONVERSATION ITSELF. IT NEUTERS THE PURPOSE. AGAIN, PEOPLE DON'T MEAN ILL WILL BY IT. OFTEN THE INCLINATION COMES FROM THEIR BELIEF THAT ALL RATIONAL THOUGHT RELIES ON THE THE TRUTH BEING SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE, BUT AS HULK HAS HOPEFULLY ILLUSTRATED, THIS PARTICULAR TOPIC DOES NOT HAVE AN ANSWER IN THE FUCKING MIDDLE. IT'S AS SKEWED AS SKEWED CAN BE. YOU CAN EVEN PICK YOUR HORRENDOUS COMPARISON, BECAUSE THEY'RE ALL APT. HULK WILL EVEN GO FULL-GODWIN'S LAW ON YOU. LOOK AT ALL THE LANGUAGE AND LOGIC OF MITIGATION OF AMERICA DEALING WITH THE THIRD REICH PRIOR TO OUR ENTRY IN WORLD WAR II. IT WAS ANOTHER NATIONAL SHAME. THE MITIGATION OF AN OBVIOUS EVIL IS SOMETHING THAT CANNOT STAND. BUT UNLIKE WAR, THERE IS NO GREAT PERSONAL COST HERE. ALL WE WANT PEOPLE TO DO IS DROP THIS JUVENILE BELIEF THAT ALL THINGS MUST BE MITIGATED TO A WISHY-WASHY RELATIVISM AND SHOW THE COURAGE TO GO AFTER THIS ISSUE IN A REAL WAY FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OUR EXISTENCE. AND YES, WE USE THESE LOADED TERMS LIKE "RAPE APOLOGY" AND "RAPE CULTURE," BUT YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THESE ARE NOT ABOUT WHAT YOU YOURSELF ARE DOING, IT'S ABOUT THE EFFECT.

LET'S GET REAL AND USE THE EXAMPLE THAT INSTIGATED THIS ARTICLE IN THE FIRST PLACE AND TALK ABOUT THAT SLATE PIECE. WE HAD A WOMAN ARGUING THAT ALL COLLEGE WOMEN NEEDED TO DO TO LOWER THEIR RISK OF RAPE WAS DRINK WAY LESS ALCOHOL AND STOP COMPETING AT PARTYING WITH MEN. LOGICAL OPINION IN AND OF ITSELF? SURE. BUT LET'S LOOK AT IT AGAIN IN THE CONTEXT OF EVERYTHING WE'VE COVERED SO FAR.

1) IT'S A SOLUTION THAT DOESN'T ADDRESS THE PROBLEM ITSELF.

2) THAT SUPPOSEDLY AIDS THE INDIVIDUAL BUT DOESN'T HELP THE OVERALL SOCIETAL DYNAMICS.

3) THAT PUTS ALL THE RESPONSIBILITY ON THE SHOULDERS OF THE WOULD-BE VICTIMS.

4) THAT DIRECTLY LIMITS THE RIGHTS TO CERTAIN BEHAVIOR OF ONE SIDE OF THE GENDER.

5) THAT NOT ONLY DOES THAT, BUT PUTS THOSE LIMITS ON THE SIDE OF THE GENDER THAT'S THE VICTIM.

6) THAT COMPLETELY INCREASES THE TROUBLING GENDER DYNAMIC OF THE MADONNA AND THE WHORE, BY CREATING ANOTHER IMPOSSIBLE DICHOTOMY OF WOMEN TO LIVE UP TO (YOU GOTTA DRINK! YOU CAN NEVER DRINK!).

7) THAT JUST ENDS UP COMPLETELY APOLOGIZING AND PLACATING A RAPE CULTURE BY NOT EVER DIRECTLY CHALLENGING IT.

AND 8) TO TOP IT ALL OFF, IT SEVERELY HURTS THE MINDSET OF THE GIRL WHO BECOMES A VICTIM DESPITE ALL THIS AND ESSENTIALLY TELLS HER IT WAS HER FAULT FOR DRINKING TOO MUCH BECAUSE, PSYCHOLOGICALLY SPEAKING, "THE ONLY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TIPS AND BLAMING IS TIMING."

SERIOUSLY, IN THE END WHAT IS RIGHT ABOUT THIS "REASONABLE" SOLUTION?

NOTHING.

SO IS IT REALLY A COINCIDENCE THAT THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO SEEM TO SPOUT THIS DEFENSE COME FROM THE PLACE OF PRIVILEGE ON THE ISSUE? BECAUSE IT'S ALL THE SAME SHIT. IT'S INHERENTLY LIMITING ONE GENDER. GUYS CAN GET FALL DOWN DRUNK AT A PARTY WITHOUT FEAR OF RAPE. AND THUS IT'S SOMETHING YOU WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND. JUST DRINK LESS? THAT'S THE SOLUTION? WHAT IF WOMEN LIKE DRINKING? WHY MUST THE SOLUTION FUNDAMENTALLY FALL TO CREATING ANOTHER INEQUALITY, INSTEAD OF DOING SOMETHING ABOUT THE INEQUALITY OF THE SITUATION BEHIND IT? DOESN'T THAT SAY SOMETHING ABOUT OUR UNWILLINGNESS TO POINT THE FINGER IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION?

HERE'S A TIP: IF YOUR THOUGHT PROCESS FALLS ALONG THE LINES OF WHAT ONE LOCAL BOSTON COLLEGE PRESIDENT SAID, AND TO QUOTE: "If women don't want to get raped they shouldn't take The T." (THE T IS THE LOCAL SUBWAY), THEN YOU ARE IN TROUBLE. IT'S LIKE: "YUP! THAT'S THE SOLUTION GIRLS. YOU'RE GOING TO COLLEGE, BUT YOU'RE NOT ALLOWED TO TAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION TO YOUR CLASSES! IF YOU DO AND GET RAPED, HEY, WE WARNED YOU!" THIS IS SOMETHING THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED. AND IT WASN'T IN THE 1960S. IT WAS RECENTLY. AND EVERYONE IN POWER JUST SHRUGGED AT THE OLD, HARMLESS FART. A.K.A. THE OLD HARMLESS FART RUNNING THE INSTITUTION RESPONSIBLE FOR A LOT OF THOSE MASSACHUSETTS STATISTICS THAT HULK MENTIONED BEFORE.

WHEN YOU CAN SEE THE SEAMS OF IT, IT'S JUST THE FUCKING WORST. THE PRIVILEGE. THE VICTIM-BLAMING. ALL OF IT. AND PEOPLE ACT LIKE THEY'RE JUST GIVING HELPFUL ADVICE. LIKE THEY ARE JUST POINTING OUT SMART THINKING IN REALISTIC SITUATIONS. BUT WHY DO THE SOLUTIONS ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS HAVE TO BE ABOUT WHAT WOMEN CAN'T DO? ESPECIALLY WHEN THE EVENT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING THEY DID? THERE'S THIS LUDICROUS MYTH THAT BY SAYING "HEY, WOMEN DESERVE THE RIGHT TO GET DRUNK TOO WITHOUT GETTING RAPED!" THAT WE'RE ADVOCATING THIS LOOSEY-GOOSEY "DO WHATEVER YOU WANT WITH NO CONSEQUENCES!" MENTALITY. NOPE. IT'S JUST ABOUT DIRECTING THE BLAME WHERE IT'S ACTUALLY DUE. AND THUS, THIS IS ABOUT DIRECTING THE CONVERSATION WHERE IT BELONGS.

SO HULK IS GOING TO ATTACK THIS HEAD ON. NO MORE VICTIM-BLAMING, BECAUSE WHAT STARTS WITH "WOMEN SHOULDN'T DRINK SO MUCH IF THEY DON'T WANT TO GET RAPED" LEADS RIGHT TO BULLSHIT LIKE THIS.  WE HAVE TO STOMP THIS OUT. WE HAVE TO GET RID OF THE THINKING OF "JUST BE CAUTIOUS!" WHICH SO OFTEN IGNORES THE FACT THAT 75% OF SEXUAL ASSAULT IS WHEN THE VICTIM KNOWS THE ATTACKER AND THE EVENT IS PREDATORY BY DESIGN. AND WHAT DOES "BE CAUTIOUS!" EVEN MEAN? DON'T DRINK? DON'T DO ANYTHING? MISTRUST EVERYONE? DON'T DO WHAT OTHERS CAN DO? WHAT IS AND IS NOT EXERCISING CAUTION, ANYWAY? WHEN YOU ASK ALL THESE QUESTIONS BACK TO BACK, THE UNITING FACTOR BECOMES OBVIOUS:

ALL THESE "SOLUTIONS" TEACH FEAR.

AND IF THERE'S ANY IMPORTANT TRUTH IN THIS LIFE, IT'S THAT YOU CAN'T TEACH FEAR. YES, WE NEED IT TO SURVIVE SOMETIMES, THE FAMOUS FIGHT OR FLIGHT INSTINCT. BUT AGAIN THAT'S INDIVIDUAL CONFRONTATION. AS SOCIETY? SUPPRESSING FEAR IS CRITICAL TO OUR FUNCTION. IT MIGHT EVEN BE THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL BASIS FOR OUR SUCCESS. ROOSEVELT ONCE SAID "There is nothing to fear but fear itself" AND WHAT ONCE SEEMED LIKE A SIMPLE SCHOOLYARD PLATITUDE IS SOMETHING THAT RINGS MORE AND MORE TRUE WITH EVERY PASSING DAY. WE CANNOT OPERATE FROM A PLACE OF FEAR. SURE, FEAR CAN KEEP YOU ALIVE IN A GIVEN, PASSING CONFLICT. BUT FEAR IS NOT A PERSPECTIVE. FEAR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY. FEAR IS LASHING OUT. FEAR IS SCAPEGOATING. FEAR IS NOT ADDRESSING THE PROBLEM. FEAR IS THE INABILITY TO RECOGNIZE THAT THE PROBLEM MIGHT COME FROM WITHIN. FEAR IS MAKING IT ALL ABOUT "THE OTHER."

WE PRETEND LOGIC MATTERS IN ALL THIS. THE THING IS THAT MOST OF OUR BELIEFS ARE ROOTED IN, OR AT LEAST ANCHORED BY, EMOTIONAL TRUTHS. BELIEF IN GOD. THE WILLINGNESS TO HELP OUR OTHER MAN. LOGIC OFTEN AUGMENTS THEM, BUT ONLY SO MUCH. OUR EMOTIONAL TRUTHS ARE THE CORE OF OUR INCLINATIONS. AND IF YOUR EMOTIONAL TRUTH IS FEAR? THEN YOU ARE GOING TO REVERT TO SOME PRETTY POISONOUS BELIEFS AND SOLUTIONS. HECK, MOST OF THE ABHORRENT POLITICAL STANCES ARE ROOTED IN FEAR. ANTI-MUSLIM SENTIMENT. ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS. UTTER DISTRUST IN THE NEED OF GOVERNMENT. IT'S ALL ROOTED IN FEAR. AND YES, THIS IS ESPECIALLY TRUE WITH RAPE. FEAR OF OUR DAUGHTERS BEING RAPED. FEAR OF OUR LOVED ONES BEING RAPED. AND THEN COMPARATIVELY WITH THE FEAR THAT WE WOULD BE ACCUSED OF SUCH A CRIME. THAT OUR LUST WOULD BE SOMEHOW MISTAKEN FOR FORCE. THE FEAR THAT WE'D GET LUMPED IN WITH "REAL RAPISTS." OR THE FEAR THAT WE'D BE CALLED SEXIST FOR OUR VIEWS. EVERY PROBLEMATIC PART OF THE PSYCHE COMES FROM FEAR.

SO INSTEAD OF FEAR, YOU HAVE TO TEACH COURAGE.

COURAGE. THAT WORD MEANS SO MUCH. COURAGE IS DOING THE RIGHT THING. COURAGE IS STANDING UP AND EMPATHIZING AND FIGHTING AGAINST UNFAIR REALITIES. WE MUST TEACH COURAGE, NOT CAUTION. WE HAVE TO TEACH GIRLS TO SPEAK OUT. TO NOT FEAR SOCIETY AND HOW OTHERS MAY REACT TO THEIR VICTIMIZATION. YOU HAVE TO TEACH THAT IT IS NEVER HER FAULT, THAT THE STRENGTH OF SELF MUST ALWAYS BE PRESERVED. YOU HAVE TO TEACH COURAGE.

YOU HAVE TO TEACH WHAT DAISY COLEMAN HAD THE COURAGE TO SAY.

10. SYSTEMS

PSYCHOLOGY IS THE ART OF ADOPTIVE THINKING.

WE ALL HAVE BEHAVIORS. WE ALL HAVE IMPULSES. WE ALL HAVE WANTS. AND THROUGH THE STUDY OF PSYCHOLOGY WE COME TO UNDERSTAND WHERE THESE THINGS COME FROM WITHIN US. WE COME TO UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY GIVE US AND WHY. AND ONCE WE UNDERSTAND THESE BEHAVIORS, WE THEN GAIN THE ABILITY TO TRY AND IMPROVE ON THEM. WE TRY TO PUSH DOWN THE ANIMALISTIC SIDE OF OURSELVES IN ORDER TO EMBRACE THE BETTER PARTS OF OUR NATURE. WE LEARN TO ADOPT NEW THINKING. AND THE MOST REMARKABLE PART OF THE HUMAN PSYCHE IS THAT THIS NEW THINKING CAN ACTUALLY GO ON TO BECOME A PART OF OUR NEW URGES AND UNDERSTANDING TOO. THAT'S THE THING PEOPLE MISS IN ALL THIS. THEY THINK OUR ANIMALISTIC SIDE IS SOMETHING WE JUST "KEEP AT BAY." THAT'S NOT TRUE AT ALL. WE CAN ACTUALLY TEACH THE URGE TO DO GOOD. THE URGE TO HELP. AND AS MUCH AS WE TEND TO FOCUS ON THE BAD SIDE OF HUMAN NATURE, WE'VE ACTUALLY GOTTEN PRETTY GOOD AT IT. THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE GO ABOUT THEIR DAY TRYING TO BE DECENT PEOPLE. THEY DON'T MURDER. THEY DON'T HURT ANYONE. THEY DON'T COMMIT RAPE. AND WHILE OUR MODERN CIVILIZED SOCIETY MAY HAVE A LOT IN COMMON WITH ANCIENT ROME, WE'VE ACTUALLY MADE GREAT STRIDES IN OUR COLLECTIVE SENSE OF EMPATHY. AS TIME PROGRESSES, WE'VE LEARNED MORE AND MORE THAT THE IF WE DON'T DO THINGS TO HURT OUR FELLOW MAN, THE MORE CHANCE WE HAVE OF SURVIVAL OURSELVES (TO QUOTE A DECENT DUDE: "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.") SO WE'VE LEARNED TO MOVE PAST THE BARBARIC PART OF OUR OLD NATURE. TRUE, SOME DO NOT MOVE PAST IT. SOME STILL ERUPT WITH THE ANIMALISTIC URGE. BUT WE HAVE BEEN ON A STEADY PATH TOWARD PROGRESS THE WHOLE TIME.

WE ACCOMPLISHED THIS BY BOTH INSTITUTIONALIZING AND UPHOLDING THE VALUE OF MORALITY. THERE'S THIS GREAT SPEECH IN THE OPENING OF THE FIFTH INSTALLMENT OF THE DECALOGUE, WHERE THE YOUNG LAWYER ARGUES THAT LAW ISN'T THERE TO REFLECT WHAT SOCIETY IS, BUT INSTEAD IS THERE TO MAKE SOCIETY IMPROVE WHAT IT IS. TO HELP IT MOVE PAST ITS CURRENT LIMITATIONS. HULK FINDS THAT IDEA TO BE QUITE RESONANT. WE SHOULD NEVER BE SATISFIED WITH MAN AT HIS MOST ANIMALISTIC, AMORAL NATURE. WE MUST NOT BE SATISFIED TO SIMPLY REFLECT "WHAT IT IS." WE MUST REACT TO WHAT IT IS. WE MUST STRIVE TO BE BETTER THAN WHAT IT IS. AND WHEN IT COMES TO OUR MODELS OF THOUGHT, WHEN IT COMES TO THE REFLECTION OF OUR CURRENT SOCIETY'S VIEW OF RAPE, WE HAVE TO MOVE PAST OUR THINKING OF "WHAT IT IS."

OUR SYSTEM IS THE THING THAT NEEDS TO BE CHANGED.

TO DO THAT, WE NEED A NEW SET OF SOCIETAL EXPECTATIONS. WITHOUT THEM, OUR SYSTEM WILL FAIL AND CAVE TO THE BASEST PARTS OF OUR HUMAN NATURE (WHICH YOU CAN READ ABOUT AGAIN IN THE RIGGED GAME AND FEAR SECTIONS). WE NEED CULTURAL ADOPTIVE THINKING. AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHY HULK TALKED FOR SO LONG AT THE BEGINNING ABOUT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOCIETAL SOLUTIONS AND INDIVIDUAL SOLUTIONS:

BECAUSE ALL THE SENSIBLE RULES OF RATIONAL THOUGHT CAN'T POSSIBLY BE USED IN A SYSTEM WITH IRRATIONAL AND UNBALANCED REALITIES.

AS HUMAN BEINGS WE MISS THIS ALL THE TIME. WE FOCUS ON THE FAIRNESS OF THE MOMENTARY INTERACTION ITSELF AND ALWAYS MISS THE FAIRNESS OF THE SYSTEM BEHIND IT. TO GIVE A VERY BROAD, SILLY HYPOTHETICAL EXAMPLE IMAGINE IF YOU WERE HOLDING TRYOUTS FOR SOME TALENT COMPETITION AND YOU SAID "ANYONE CAN APPLY, IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOUR NAME IS!" BUT LET'S ALSO IMAGINE THAT OUTSIDE YOUR STADIUM THERE, THE COMPETITION HAS THIS GIANT MONSTER THAT ALSO HAPPENS TO GO AROUND ROARING AND SCARING AWAY EVERYONE WHOSE NAME IS WILLIAM, CHRISTOPHER, OR EMMA. AND LET'S SAY NO ONE DID ANYTHING ABOUT THIS MONSTER AND JUST LET IT ROAM AROUND. THAT WOULD SEVERELY AFFECT THE FAIRNESS OF WHICH PEOPLE COULD ENTER THE COMPETITION, RIGHT? THERE WOULD BE ZERO KIDS IN THE COMPETITION NAMED WILLIAM, CHRISTOPHER, OR EMMA FOR ONE. AND YEAH, SOMETHING SHOULD PROBABLY BE DONE ABOUT THAT MONSTER EATING ALL THOSE KIDS, BUT WHEN THE COMPETITION IS CONFRONTED ON WHY THE THEY DON'T HAVE ANY KIDS WITH THOSE NAMES, THE WOULD SAY "NOPE, LOOK AT THE RULES! THEY'RE COMPLETELY FAIR! WE TOTALLY LET EVERYONE APPLY, IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT THEIR NAME IS!" IT'S LOOKING AT THE INTERACTION, RULES, AND LETTER OF THE LAW AND COMPLETELY IGNORING THE SYSTEM (AND SPIRIT) BEHIND IT.

THIS MAY SOUND RIDICULOUS, BUT IT IS ALSO COMPLETELY ANALOGOUS TO REAL LIFE.

SO WHEN HULK SEES ALL THESE PEOPLE GOING AROUND WORRYING ABOUT FAIRNESS TO THEM IN THE RAPE CONVERSATION ITSELF, HULK STARTS TO BITE HULK'S NAILS. ALL THESE PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO APPLY RATIONAL THOUGHT, BUT YOU HAVE TO FIX THE SYSTEM FIRST SO THAT THE RATIONAL THOUGHT CAN ACTUALLY APPLY. BECAUSE IT JUST SO HAPPENS THAT ONE OF THE GREAT LITTLE WRINKLES OF THE UNIVERSE IS THAT IF YOU FIX THE INHERENT UNBALANCE OF ANY SYSTEM (LIKE GETTING RID OF THE MONSTER WHO SCARES AWAY THE KIDS), IT ACTUALLY GOES A LONG WAY TOWARDS FIXING THE PROBLEM ITSELF.

FOR A GOOD REAL-LIFE EXAMPLE, LET'S TURN TO THE EQUALLY-MISUNDERSTOOD SUBJECT OF AFFIRMATIVE ACTION. SOME PEOPLE ARGUE THAT AFFIRMATIVE ACTION IS BAD AND PROBLEMATIC BY IT'S VERY NATURE. THEIR ARGUMENT IS THAT THE RULE ITSELF, BY EVERY STANDARD BY WHICH WE JUDGE FAIRNESS, IS COMPLETELY UNFAIR. AND ON THE SURFACE OF IT ALL, WITH COMMON SENSE OF THE INDIVIDUAL INTERACTION, THAT EVALUATION TOTALLY MAKES SENSE. IT IS UNFAIR. BUT THE SYSTEM BEHIND THAT "FAIRNESS" IS COMPLETELY FUCKED. THINK ABOUT WHAT WAS HAPPENING. MINORITIES WEREN'T MAGICALLY GETTING THOSE SAME OPPORTUNITIES. THEY WEREN'T MAGICALLY IN CONTENTION FOR THOSE JOBS.  AND PEOPLE WEREN'T MAGICALLY "NOT HIRING" THEM. AND SO, TO COMBAT THESE HORRIFIC RESULTS THAT WERE NOTHING MORE THAN REMNANTS OF CENTURIES OLD RACISM, WE HAD TO CHANGE TO RULES AND MAKE THINGS "UNFAIR" IN THE SMALLER, INDIVIDUAL SENSE SO THAT WE COULD HELP FIX THE SYSTEM AND ADDRESS THE LARGER PROBLEM UNDERNEATH IT. PEOPLE ACT LIKE AFFIRMATIVE ACTION IS THIS HORRIFICALLY UNFAIR PRACTICE THAT DOOMS US ALL (AGAIN, FEAR), BUT REALLY IT'S JUST ABOUT BEING SURE THAT GOOD JOBS GO TO DESERVING CANDIDATES BASED ON THE A SIMPLE BREAKDOWN OF DEMOGRAPHICS. THAT'S IT.

AND THE EFFECT OF AFFIRMATIVE ACTION IS EXTRAORDINARY BECAUSE IT IS COMPLETELY SYSTEMIC. TO USE A POPULAR PHRASE, IT'S A "TIPPING POINT" CREATOR. GOOD JOBS LEAD TO GOOD HOMES IN GOOD SCHOOL DISTRICTS (PEOPLE TAKE THIS TO AUTOMATICALLY MEAN "WHITE" NEIGHBORHOODS, SORRY FOLKS BUT THERE'S SOCIAL STRATIFICATION WITHIN MINORITY COMMUNITIES TOO). GOOD SCHOOLS LEAD TO BETTER COLLEGES AND MORE OPPORTUNITIES AND THE WHOLE SYSTEM GETS BETTER WITH EVERY PASSING YEAR. THE ABSOLUTE POSITIVE EFFECTS OF AFFIRMATIVE ACTION ARE GENERATIONAL AND THEY ABSOLUTELY WORK. SERIOUSLY. DESPITE THE TROUBLES OF THE AMERICAN CITY AND THE WIDE VISIBILITY OF RACIST NONSENSE IN THE INTERNET AGE, DO YOU REALIZE WE ARE ACTUALLY RAISING OUR LEAST RACIST, LEAST HOMOPHOBIC GENERATION EVER? WE AREN'T QUITE THERE YET, BUT THIS IS ALL SO IMPORTANT. AND IF WE LET THE RULES OF "FAIRNESS" BE DICTATED BY THE INHERENT FAIRNESS OF THE RULES THEMSELVES, THEN WE WOULD ACTUALLY BE PRETTY FUCKED. FROM THE EARLIEST POINTS OF ORGANIZING OUR SOCIETIES, WE REALIZED WE WOULD HAVE TO EMBRACE CERTAIN "UNFAIR" THINGS (PAYING FOR SCHOOLS, HIRING PEACEKEEPERS, OR PAYING TAXES, MOSTLY) IN ORDER TO ENSURE THAT WE ALL HAD THE RIGHT KINDS OF OPPORTUNITIES AND CHANCES IN LIFE. YES, WE ALWAYS TRY TO RESPECT THE FAIRNESS OF RULES THEMSELVES, EVERY SUCCESSFUL MODERN SOCIETY HAS LEARNED TO ADOPT SYSTEMIC SOLUTIONS TO MAKE OUR SOCIETIES BETTER AND TRIED TO STRIKE A HAPPY BALANCE WITH FREE WILL. SUCH IS THE NATURE OF DEMOCRACY.

AND SEXISM NEEDS TO BE COMBATED IN THE SAME EXACT WAY.

THERE ARE VERY PRACTICAL SYSTEMIC THINGS WE CAN DO. WE HAVE TO RECOGNIZE THE FACT THAT EVEN THOUGH A HE SAID / SHE SAID DYNAMIC OF SEXUAL ASSAULT MAY SEEM "UNFAIR" TO YOU, WE ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO TAKE RAPE TESTIMONY SERIOUSLY BECAUSE SO OFTEN THERE IS NO OTHER MODE OF EVIDENCE OR RECOURSE. TO DISMISS IT, WOULD OFTEN SERVE TO DISMISS THE LEGITIMACY OF RAPE ITSELF. AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, AS HULK HAS HOPEFULLY PROVED TO YOU SO FAR THE SYSTEM OF ETHICS BEHIND RAPE IS SO DESPERATELY UNFAIR THAT WE HAVE TO TRY AND FIX IT. WE HAVE TO AUGMENT OUR COLLEGIATE SYSTEMS TO STOP STONEWALLING INVESTIGATIONS AND KEEPING CASES HUSH HUSH. WE NEED TO CREATE SYSTEMS THAT MORE READILY RECOGNIZE THE ENVIRONMENTS WHERE SEXUAL ASSAULT THRIVES (AND NOT TELL WOMEN THE WAY TO SOLVE IT IS BY NOT DRINKING AND AVOIDING THEM). AND WHILE WORKPLACES ARE GETTING MUCH BETTER AT SEXUAL HARASSMENT, THE REASON IT FEELS SO STAID IS BECAUSE MOST WORKPLACES ARE REALLY ONLY DOING IT TO COVER THEIR ASS. THEY'RE NOT ADDRESSING CULTURAL STUFF THAT'S CAUSING IT. SO REALLY, THE ISSUE BEHIND ALL THESE THINGS IS THAT WE NEED A NEW MODE OF ADOPTIVE THINKING.

THE QUESTION IS, "WHERE DO WE START?"

LET'S TAKE THE ADVICE OF SOMEONE WHO CAN MOST DEFINITELY HELP US. DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE ONE THING WAS THAT ALICE SEBOLD WANTED US TO TAKE AWAY FROM HER EXPERIENCE? NO, SHE DIDN'T WANT US TO LEARN THAT HER RAPE WAS SOME HORRIBLE, UNSPEAKABLE THING AND THAT WE HAVE TO BE AMAZED SHE SURVIVED. SHE WANTED SOMETHING FAR SIMPLER...

"I want the word 'rape' to be used easily in conversation. My desire would be that somehow my writing would take a little bit of the taboo or the weirdness of using that word away. No one work is going to accomplish the years of work that need to be done, but it can help."

WHAT SHE IS ACTUALLY PROPOSING IS A SYSTEMIC SOLUTION. SHE WANTS US TO ADAPT OUR THINKING AND GET AWAY FROM THE EXTREME, ANIMALISTIC DEFENSIVENESS THAT WE NORMALLY ASSOCIATE WITH THE ACT AND INSTEAD...

SHE WANTS US TO NORMALIZE THE IDEA OF RAPE.

THAT WORD NORMALIZE FREAKS PEOPLE OUT BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT SURE WHAT IT MEANS. BUT TO HULK, IT MEANS "REFLECTING WHAT IT IS. NO MORE. NO LESS."

TO WIT: DO YOU THINK IT'S AN ACCIDENT THAT THE ONLY HIGH-PROFILE DISCUSSION OF RAPE GOING ON THIS COUNTRY IS WHETHER IT IS OKAY TO MAKE RAPE JOKES? SERIOUSLY, THINK ABOUT THE SPECIFICITY OF THAT CONCERN.

NOW HONESTLY, HULK COULDN'T CARE LESS ABOUT RAPE JOKES IN-AND-OF-THEMSELVES (AS HULK TRULY BELIEVES THAT ANYTHING CAN BE JOKED ABOUT). THE PROBLEM ISN'T THE LETTER OF THE LAW OR THE SUBJECT MATTER. THE PROBLEM IS EVERYTHING WE'VE BEEN SAYING. THE PROBLEM IS THAT PEOPLE ARE OUT OF THEIR FUCKING MINDS WHEN IT COMES TO HOW THEY THINK ABOUT RAPE. AND THAT IS WHY THE DIALOGUE IS FUCKED: THE PROBLEM IS SYSTEMIC. THE PROBLEM IS THAT WE LIVE IN A RAPE CULTURE WHERE THERE ARE "FAIR RULES" OF FREE SPEECH THAT AREN'T EXACTLY SO FAIR. DON'T GET HULK WRONG FOR A SECOND. HULK'S NOT GOING TO SIT HERE AND GET IN SOME ARGUMENT OVER FREE SPEECH OR WHAT KINDS OF HUMOR ARE AND ARE NOT OKAY. AGAIN, SAY WHATEVER YOU FUCKING WANT (AND REMEMBER FREEDOM OF SPEECH IS NOT FREEDOM FROM RESPONSE). IT IS THE KIND OF THING THAT'S NOT GOING TO BE FIXED UNTIL WE GET CULTURE'S HEAD ON STRAIGHT WITH THIS STUFF (IT'S NOT AN ACCIDENT THAT A LOT OF COMICS' SUPER-RACIST HUMOR WENT OUT THE WINDOW THE MOMENT POPULAR CULTURE GOT OUR HEADS ON STRAIGHT ABOUT THAT TOO).

BUT RIGHT NOW WE'VE SEPARATED THE RAPE JOKE ARGUMENT UNDER LINES OF CULTURAL MISUNDERSTANDING.  WE HAVE A BUNCH OF MOSTLY WHITE DUDE COMEDIANS DEFENDING THE RIGHT TO MAKE RAPE JOKES, LIKE THEY WERE DEMANDING THE RIGHT TO CREATE A FREE PRESS IN A DICTATORSHIP. AND ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE, THERE ARE A GROUP OF WOMEN WHO DON'T ACTUALLY CARE ABOUT THE FUCKING JOKES THEMSELVES, WHO DON'T WANT TO BE FUDDY DUDDIES AND LIKE LAUGHING AS MUCH AS ANYONE, WHO ARE JUST TRYING TO FUCKING TALK ABOUT HOW THESE JOKES ARE REFLECTIVE OF LARGER PROBLEMATIC SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT. AND YET? THEY CONVERSATION EVERYONE JUST LUMPS THEM IN WITH FREE-SPEECH HATE MONGERS. IT'S COMPLETELY INANE. BUT THERE'S ALWAYS A SILVER LINING. A FUNNY THING HAPPENED WHERE SOME REALLY THOUGHTFUL AND HIGH PROFILE COMEDIANS GOT TO SEE THE KINDS OF PEOPLE WHO CAME TO THEIR AID IN THE NATIONAL DIALOGUE. AND SUDDENLY THEY WERE GETTING LUMPED IN WITH ALL THOSE HARDCORE MISOGYNISTS WHO THREATENED THOSE SAME "OVER-SENSITIVE" FEMINISTS WITH, YOU GUESSED IT, RAPE. SOME OF THEM EVEN GOT TO SORT OF SEE THE EFFECT THEY WERE HAVING. AND SUDDENLY, THE COMEDIANS KIND OF REALIZED WHAT THE THE FUCK THEY WERE DOING. SUDDENLY, THEY REALIZED THE KIND OF BINARY THEY WERE FOSTERING THROUGH THEIR BEING OVER-DEFENSIVE ABOUT THE PERCEIVED CRITICISM. YEAH, THEY DIDN'T MEAN ANY ILL WILL. BUT THEY WERE JUST ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF PERMISSIVE ATTITUDES CREATING A RAPE CULTURE.

THEY WERE JUST ANOTHER DUDE MAKING JOKES THAT WOULD MAKE A RAPIST FEEL MORE COMFORTABLE THAN A RAPE VICTIM.

AND THAT'S THE ONE MEASUREMENT THAT ALWAYS STANDS OUT TO HULK. YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND AND ACCEPT WHAT YOU'RE ACTUALLY DOING. COMEDY ALWAYS HAS A VICTIM, BUT WHY IN THIS SPECIFIC CASE IS THE VICTIM OF THIS PARTICULAR SET OF JOKES ALWAYS THE PEOPLE WHO WERE ACTUAL VICTIMS? AND HECK IF YOU UNDERSTAND IT ALL AND STILL WANT TO MAKE A RAPE JOKE? YEAH, OF COURSE YOU'RE ALLOWED. BUT HULK HAS TO ASK: WHAT ARE YOU ACCOMPLISHING? JUST TAPPING INTO A TABOO? HOPEFULLY HULK'S SHOWN IT'S NOT ALL THAT TABOO. IN FACT, IT'S JUST HOW A LOT OF OUR CULTURE ACTUALLY THINKS ABOUT SEX. AND OF COURSE THERE'S MANY WHO ARGUE THAT THE INTENT OF A RAPE JOKE IN COMEDY IS JUST TO "NORMALIZE" IT (JUST LIKE HULK ARGUES SHOULD HAPPEN), BUT THE VAST MAJORITY OF RAPE JOKES HULK SEES GOING ON AREN'T NORMALIZING SHIT. THEY JUST TRIVIALIZE IT. IT'S THE SAME LINE-UP OF GUYS MAKING THE PROBLEM SEEM UNIMPORTANT AND WORTH LAUGHING AT, NOT LAUGHING WITH. THINK ABOUT THE DIFFERENCE. IT'S NOT LIKE THESE GUYS ARE GOING TO THE RAPE CRISIS CENTER AND USING HUMOR TO HELP SOMEONE OVERCOME THEIR TRAUMA. BUT IMAGINE IF A COMEDIAN GOES UP AND DOES A STAND-UP SET ABOUT HER OWN RAPE? IMAGINE THE POWER OF THAT BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE SOMETHING ACTUALLY TAKING POWER AWAY FROM "THE RAPE JOKE." THAT'S PERSONALIZING. THAT'S TELLING A STORY. THAT'S MAKING IT LESS TABOO. THAT'S NORMALIZING.

AND THUS THE RAPE JOKE ARGUMENT ACTUALLY HIGHLIGHTS WHAT THIS ENTIRE DISCUSSION OF RAPE SHOULD BE CENTERED AROUND: WE HAVE A HYPER-DEFENSIVE CULTURE THAT IS EITHER TRIVIALIZING OR TABOO-IZING THE VERY THING IT SHOULD BE TRYING NORMALIZE AND PERSONALIZE.

PUT IT LIKE THAT AND IT ALL JUST HITS YOU SQUARE IN THE FACE: WE HAVE TO GET BETTER AT THIS. WE HAVE HAVE TO CHANGE HOW HE THINK ABOUT RAPE.

AND, LIKE EVERYTHING, IT STARTS WITH SELF.

11. THE DEAD WRONG KID

WE'RE GETTING CLOSE TO THE END HERE, BUT PLEASE EXCUSE ONE MORE PERSONAL STORY.

EARLIER ON, HULK GAVE YOU THE IMPRESSION OF A FORWARD-THINKING YOUNG HULK WHO VOLUNTEERED IN A RAPE CRISIS CENTER AND WHO WAS SURELY THE BEACON OF MODEL BEHAVIOR ON THIS ISSUE. BUT, OF COURSE, IT WASN'T ALWAYS LIKE THAT. BACK WHEN HULK WAS A FRESHMEN IN HIGH SCHOOL HULK HAD TO TAKE THIS GENERIC HEALTH / LIFESTYLE CHOICE CLASS AND THEY SHOWED SOME NEWS PROGRAM V.H.S. THINGY ON THE TOPIC OF RAPE. THE VIDEO WAS INTENTIONALLY LOOKING AT THE SUPPOSED GRAY AREA OF A VERY SPECIFIC, REAL-LIFE RAPE CASE TO HELP PEOPLE UNDERSTAND "THE NUANCE" OF IT ALL. IN THE STORY, A GUY AND A GIRL HAD A DRUNKEN HOOKUP. HE SAID IT WAS TOTALLY CONSENSUAL. SHE SAID SHE WAS FALL DOWN DRUNK AND DIDN'T REMEMBER ANY OF IT. THE PIECE COVERED THEIR VERSION OF THE STORY, THEN WENT INTO THE REACTIONS FROM BOTH SIDES OF CAMPUS SUPPORTERS WHO WERE... QUITE VOCAL (BECAUSE RAPE MAKES US NUTS) HULK EVEN REMEMBERS THIS ONE GENTLEMEN ARGUING "THESE PEOPLE [ACCUSED RAPISTS] DON'T HAVE ANY RIGHTS!" AND THE THING TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT WHAT HULK DID NEXT, IS THAT FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES, HULK WAS YOUR STANDARD PROGRESSIVE KID IN HULK'S HIGH SCHOOL AND YET, HULK WAS INCENSED OVER THE NEWS SEGMENT. HULK AND A FELLOW STUDENT (ALSO PROGRESSIVE) STARTED YELLING ABOUT: "YOU DON'T BECOME SOMEONE'S RESPONSIBILITY WHEN YOU GET DRUNK!", "IT WAS CLEARLY CONSENSUAL!", "THERE WAS NO WAY SHE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON!", "HIS WORD MATTERS TOO!" AND A HOST OF OTHER THINGS THAT WERE PROBABLY WORSE.

AND OF COURSE, HULK WAS DEAD FUCKING WRONG.

HULK IS AGHAST TO THINK ABOUT THAT MOMENT NOW. HULK LOOKS BACK AND SEES A KID WHO DIDN'T RECOGNIZE THAT OF COURSE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF BEHAVIOR IS A COLLECTIVE THING. THAT OF COURSE YOUR FRIENDS SHOULD LOOK OUT OF FOR YOU. THAT OF COURSE IT WAS NOT CONSENSUAL IF SHE COULD BARELY STAND. THAT OF COURSE THE BETTER PARTS OF OUR NATURE NEED TO KICK IN DURING THOSE EXACT MOMENTS. PERHAPS IT'S SOMETHING THAT BECAME COMPLETELY CLEAR LATER JUST A LITTLE LATER ON IN REAL LIFE, IN THOSE PAINFULLY HUMAN MOMENTS WHEN A GIRL WHO IS CLEARLY TOO DRUNK COMES UP TO YOU AT A PARTY. AND GUESS WHAT? THE CHOICE IN THAT MOMENT IS OBVIOUS: YOU DON'T TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT. WHY WOULD YOU EVER? THERE'S NOTHING ABOUT THAT MOMENT THAT FEELS CONSENSUAL. THE PERSON IS OUT OF CONTROL. TO DO ANYTHING MORE THAN HELP THEM WOULD BE PREDATORY. IT'S THE SIMPLEST, MOST OBVIOUS THING IN THE UNIVERSE. HULK GOT IT. EVEN ALL OF HULK'S FRIENDS GOT IT TOO.  YOU DON'T TAKE ADVANTAGE OF PEOPLE. THERE'S NOTHING GRAY ABOUT IT. JUST LIKE YOU DON'T CLUB PEOPLE OVER THE HEAD AND STEAL THEIR GROCERIES. BUT BACK IN HIGH SCHOOL? HULK WAS IN SUCH A RUSH TO LAY BLAME ON SOMEONE ELSE, FOR THE BLAME NEVER FELL TO THE PEOPLE DOING THE PREDATORY BEHAVIOR.

AND THE THING TO REALIZE IS THAT THIS SITUATION HAPPENS ALL THE TIME IN THOSE COLLEGE PARTIES. AND EVERY TIME THERE'S A CHOICE A GROUP OF GUYS MAKES AS A UNIT. THEY LOOK OUT FOR PEOPLE AND HELP PEOPLE WHO GET TOO DRUNK AND AREN'T IN POWER TO MAKE THEIR OWN DECISIONS OR PREVENT SKEEVY GUYS DOING STUFF. OR THEY EMBRACE THEIR PREDATORY NATURES. WITH GUYS THEY'LL DRAW PENISES ALL OVER YOU (BECAUSE LITERAL), BUT WITH WOMEN? THEY CHOOSE TO ATTAIN SEX. AND IF SOMETHING HORRIBLE HAPPENS BECAUSE OF IT? OUR SOCIETY DOES ALL IT CAN TO MITIGATE THE DAMAGE. SURE, WE MAY PUNISH CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS FOR CLEAREST CASES OF WRONG-DOING, BUT WE NEVER, EVER, EVER PUNISH THE CULTURE. WE NEVER LOOK TO ADDRESS THE PREDATORY BEHAVIOR. AND WE DON'T BECAUSE WE NEVER SEE THE PROBLEM WITH THE THINKING THAT GOT THEM THERE.

THAT'S WHY IT STARTS WITH SELF.

HULK USED TO BE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE WHO THINKS RAPISTS WERE SO HORRIFIC THAT THEY SHOULD BE KILLED. HULK USED TO DEEPLY FEAR FOR THE RAPE OF HULK'S GIRLFRIENDS. HULK USED TO PRIVATELY WONDER IF HULK WOULD STILL BE SEXUALLY ATTRACTED TO THEM IF "SOMETHING HORRIBLE" HAPPENED TO THEM. AND EVEN AFTER MUCH GROWING, HULK STILL SPENT YEARS WRITING POSTS ON THE PROBLEMS OF 4TH WAVE "GOTCHA" FEMINISM AND GETTING INTO ARGUMENTS WITH "ALLY" FEMINISTS WHO "CLEARLY" DIDN'T SEE THE PROBLEMS WITH THEIR BEHAVIOR AND WHY THEY WEREN'T LEADING THE MOVEMENT CORRECTION. HULK BASICALLY DID A WHOLE BUNCH OF MITIGATING BULLSHIT. AND AT ALL THESE STAGES, HULK NEVER GOT THAT IT WAS HULK THAT WAS THE PROBLEM.

HULK'S SORRY. HULK WISHES HULK COULD TAKE ALL OF IT BACK.

WHEN TALKING ABOUT RAPE, SEXISM, AND GENDER YOU HAVE TO ERASE YOUR SENSE OF SELF. THAT'S THE THING. YOU HAVE TO REALIZE YOU DON'T ACTUALLY MATTER ALL THAT MUCH. AT LEAST NOT IN THE WAY YOU THINK YOU DO. YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT YOU ARE THE PRIVILEGED. THAT YOU ARE THE ONE IN POWER. AND BECAUSE OF THAT YOU CAN PARTICIPATE, BUT YOU DON'T GET TO DICTATE TERMS ON "WHAT IS" AND "WHAT ISN'T." AND THIS GOES FOR ANY "ISM" CONVERSATION YOU ARE HAVING WITH THE OFFENDED PARTY. ANYTIME SOMEONE'S OFFENDED, HULK DOESN'T TRY TO MITIGATE ANYMORE. HULK JUST LISTENS. HULK JUST LEARNS. AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT ANY BLAME IN THE CONVERSATION IS ALWAYS ABOUT THE SYSTEM AND THUS YOU DON'T HAVE ANYTHING TO BE DEFENSIVE ABOUT (UNLESS YOU'RE BEING DEFENSIVE). YOU HAVE TO LEARN TO ASK QUESTIONS THAT AREN'T JUST TRYING TO POKE HOLES IN EVERYTHING. YOU HAVE TO LEARN TO BE REFLECTIVE. YOU HAVE TO BE WILLING TO CONFRONT THINGS IN YOURSELF, OTHERWISE IT DOESN'T ACTUALLY CHANGE.

THERE ISN'T ONE THING IN THIS ESSAY THAT WASN'T SOMETHING HULK HAD TO BE LEARN. EVERY BIT OF IT WAS SOMETHING DISCOVERED, INSTILLED, OR INTELLECTUALLY BEATEN INTO HULK.

SOMETIMES IT WAS INTELLECTUAL. SOMETIMES IT WAS CONVERSATIONAL. SOMETIMES IT WAS WITH THE HORROR OF REAL-LIFE EXPERIENCE. BUT IT ALL STARTS WITH HAVING THE ABILITY TO DROP YOUR GUARD AND REALIZE THE RAPE CONVERSATION IS NOT ABOUT YOU, OR EVEN WHAT YOU'VE DONE OR SAID IN THE PAST, IT'S ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN BE RESPONSIBLE FOR GOING FORWARD. IT'S AN OPPORTUNITY. AND BETTER YET, DROPPING YOUR GUARD AND ACTUALLY TALKING WITH AND NOT AT THE PEOPLE YOU ARE SPEAKING TO IS THE FIRST STEP TOWARD REALIZING IT, FOR COMMUNICATION IS THE HEART OF EMPATHY.

AND IN THIS DISCUSSION. IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU...

IT'S ABOUT THOSE WHO CAME ALONE.

THAT'S SOMETHING THAT WAS MADE ALL THE MORE CLEAR TO HULK RECENTLY. HULK WAS TALKING ABOUT ALL OF THIS SEXISM STUFF WITH A FRIEND WHO JUST FOUND HULK'S HARDLINE STANCE ON THE RAPE CONVERSATION A LITTLE... TOO HARDLINE. THEY MEANT NO ILL WILL OF COURSE, THEY JUST ARGUED THAT THERE JUST HAD TO BE A LITTLE MORE FORGIVING GRAY AREA TO ALL THESE GENDER DYNAMICS. AND IN HIS FRUSTRATION WITH HULK'S UNRELENTING STANCE, THIS PERSON YELLED OUT: "BUT YOUR SOLUTIONS ONLY HELP THE VICTIMS!"

... OF COURSE, WHAT HE YELLED STRUCK HIM IMMEDIATELY...

WHO THE FUCK ELSE SHOULD WE BE CARING ABOUT?

12. TWO LETTERS

LETTER #1

TO THE PERSON WHO DOESN'T THINK ANY OF THIS IS A BIG DEAL:

HI.

AFTER A BIG GIANT ESSAY LIKE THAT, HULK'S HOPEFULLY CONVINCED YOU THAT THERE'S SOME SORT OF PROBLEM HERE. BUT MAYBE IT'S NOT REALLY TAKING. MAYBE THIS SEEMS LIKE THE OVERBLOWN NONSENSE OF SOME HULK WHO IS MAKING TOO BIG A DEAL OF IT ALL.

OKAY... FINE... SO NOW HULK WANTS TO TALK TO YOU WITH BOTH HONESTY AND UNDERSTANDING.

PLEASE KNOW THAT HULK IS NOT TRYING TO ATTACK YOU IN THE SLIGHTEST. HULK WOULD NEVER DO THAT. IT'S JUST THAT WE HAVE TO BE CLEAR WITH EACH OTHER. YOU MAY HAVE FOUND YOURSELF IN A LOT OF CONVERSATIONS WITH PEOPLE ABOUT THIS SUBJECT BEFORE. MAYBE JUST WITH YOUR FRIENDS WHO AGREE WITH YOU. OR MAYBE WITH THE OFFENDED PARTIES DIRECTLY. AND YOU HAVE MAYBE FOUND THOSE COMMUNICATIONS TO BE TROUBLESOME. PEOPLE MAY HAVE GOTTEN HEATED WITH YOU. SOME PEOPLE MAY HAVE EVEN CALLED YOU SEXIST.

THIS WAS LIKELY TROUBLING TO YOU.

YOU'VE NEVER SEEN YOURSELF AS A SEXIST PERSON. YOU MAY NOT EVEN HAVE AN OUNCE OF ILL WILL IN YOUR BODY. AND SO TO BE ATTACKED LIKE THAT? TO BE CALLED SEXIST? IT WAS LIKELY DIFFICULT FOR YOU. HULK UNDERSTANDS THAT. HULK UNDERSTANDS IT IS HARD TO BE CALLED SOMETHING BAD WHEN YOU HAVE A NOBLE INTENTION IN YOUR HEART. BUT THERE IS SOMETHING ALSO YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND IN RETURN: JUST BECAUSE YOU MAY NOT SEE YOURSELF AS A SEXIST OR MISOGYNIST PERSON, DOES NOT MEAN YOU COULDN'T BE SHOWING A SEXIST AND MISOGYNIST VIEWPOINT.

IT'S HARD TO SEE THAT SOMETIMES. WE SEE THE WORLD, OUR FRIENDS, OUR INTERACTIONS, AS WE MEAN TO SEE THEM. AND AS SOMEONE FAR SMARTER THAN HULK ONCE OBSERVED: "There is no experience you have had that you are not the absolute center of. The world as you experience it is there in front of YOU or behind YOU, to the left or right of YOU, on YOUR TV or YOUR monitor. And so on. Other people's thoughts and feelings have to be communicated to you somehow, but your own are so immediate, urgent, real." WHICH JUST MEANS IT'S HARD TO EXPERIENCE LIFE OUTSIDE YOUR OWN PERSPECTIVE, UNLESS SOMEONE IS COMMUNICATING IT TO YOU IN A WAY THAT IS UNDERSTANDABLE (THAT'S WHAT THIS ESSAY IS ALL ABOUT BY THE WAY). SO YES, GROWING UP AS A MALE IS TO EXPERIENCE LIFE AS A MALE. WE INESCAPABLY EXPERIENCE GENDER FROM OUR OWN SIDE. AND THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT. BUT AS A MALE IT IS FAR TOO EASY TO SEE THE WAY GENDER AFFECTS ONLY YOU. AND SINCE YOU'RE A HUMAN, YOU'VE PROBABLY HAD YOUR HEART BROKEN. YOU'VE PROBABLY BEEN UNLOVED. YOU'VE PROBABLY BEEN HUMILIATED OR AFRAID OR FELT LIKE YOU WERE ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN. THIS IS PART OF THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE. YOUR HURT IS REAL. AND NO MATTER WHO WE ARE GETTING THROUGH LIFE IS INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT... BUT THIS IS TRUE OF ALL PEOPLE. IT IS NOT SOMETHING WE CAN ATTRIBUTE TO "THE CRIMES" OF GENDER. WE HAVE TO DO BETTER BY ALL OF US.

AND AS MEN, IT STARTS WITH GETTING OUTSIDE OF OUR PERSPECTIVE.

JUST LIKE THAT HIGH-SCHOOL VERSION OF HULK DID, YOU HAVE TO BREAK OUT OF YOURSELF AND EVERYTHING YOU THINK YOU "KNOW" ABOUT GENDER. YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT GENDER BEYOND YOUR EXPERIENCE. YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT THE SYSTEM AT LARGE. YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO RECOGNIZE YOUR VERY REAL ADVANTAGES. BECAUSE WHETHER YOU KNOW IT OR NOT, THERE SO MANY WAYS YOU ARE NOT DEFINED BY YOUR GENDER OR "BEING MALE." AND FOR MOST OTHERS IN LIFE? THEY ARE NOT SO LUCKY...

MINDY KALING RECENTLY TALK ABOUT THE BASIC PROBLEMS SHE FACES ON A SYSTEMIC LEVEL AND SHE PUT IT BEAUTIFULLY: "More than half the questions I am asked are about the politics of the way I look. What it feels like to be not skinny/dark-skinned/a minority/not conventionally pretty/female/etc. It's not very interesting to me, but I know it's interesting to people reading an interview. Sometimes I get jealous of white male showrunners when 90 percent of their questions are about characters, story structure, creative inspiration, or, hell, even the business of getting a show on the air. Because as a result the interview of me reads like I'm interested only in talking about my outward appearance and the politics of being a minority and how I fit into Hollywood, blah blah blah. I want to shout, 'Those were the only questions they asked!'"

SO AS MEN, WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND WE HAVE A ROLE IN FIXING THAT SYSTEM TOO. AS MEN, PARTICULARLY WHITE MEN, WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT WE DON'T LOOK AT MOST OF OUR LIVES AS BEING "MEN." WE SEE IT AS "DEFAULT." WE GET TO TALK ABOUT THE STUFF WE'RE INTERESTED FREE FROM THE PRISM OF OUR GENDER AND IDENTITY. AND THE INHERENT PROBLEM IS THAT SO MANY OTHERS DO NOT. MINDY KALING DOES NOT. ANY WOMAN OR MINORITY IS ALWAYS VIEWED (AND JUDGED) THROUGH THE PRISM OF THEIR GENDER OR RACE. WHICH JUST MEANS THAT WHETHER WE SEE IT OR NOT, BEING MALE, BEING A WHITE MALE, IN THIS WORLD MEANS HAVING AN INCREDIBLE ADVANTAGE. FORGET IDENTITY ALONE, MOST MEN TRANSLATE THAT ADVANTAGE TO THE FAR MORE TANGIBLE REALMS OF WEALTH, ESTEEM, OPPORTUNITIES, AND MOST ESPECIALLY POWER.

AND AS ALL THOSE (SUPPOSEDLY) SILLY LITTLE SUPERHERO STORIES LIKE TO SAY, "WITH GREAT POWER COMES GREAT RESPONSIBILITY." AND THAT MEANS WE CAN'T TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE SYSTEM. THAT MEANS WE CAN'T FIGHT TOOTH AND NAIL FOR THE "RIGHTS" THAT ONLY BEHOOVE US. WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT SO MUCH WE DO AS MEN IS COMING FROM A PLACE OF POWER AND INADVERTENTLY BEING USED TO KEEP THAT POWER STRUCTURE IN PLACE. WE HAVE TO REALIZE EVERYTHING IN LIFE IS NOT REALLY ABOUT THE ACT ITSELF AND SO MUCH MORE ABOUT THE POWER DYNAMIC BEHIND IT.AND SO WHEN WE LOOK AT OUR DYNAMIC WE CAN'T DO THINGS THAT MAKE IT HARDER FOR WOMEN TO MAKE GENDER ISSUES RESONATE. WE HAVE TO STOP MITIGATING EVERYTHING IN THE MARCH TOWARD PROGRESS.

AND LIKELY, YOU DON'T MEAN ANY ILL WILL.

LIKELY, YOU'RE JUST A PERSON TRYING TO DO GOOD. A PERSON TRYING TO GET THROUGH EACH DAY BY HAVING FUN AND FINDING REFUGE FROM THE DAILY GRIND. A PERSON WHO WANTS TO LOVE AND BE LOVED. AND WHILE TRYING TO DO THIS, SOMETIMES YOU'LL REFLECT ON THE WORLD AS YOU SEE IT AND ALL OF SUDDEN ALL THESE PEOPLE ARE YELLING AT YOU BECAUSE YOUR WAY OF SEEING THE WORLD WAS OFFENSIVE TO THEM. AND ALL YOU TRIED TO DO WAS TALK ABOUT HOW YOU SAW SOMETHING A CERTAIN WAY. HULK GETS IT. IT'S TOUGH. BUT IT'S PART OF BEING A SOCIETY. AND WHEN PEOPLE YELL AT YOU THE INSTINCT IS TO SIMULTANEOUSLY LASH OUT AND REVERT INWARDS. BUT YOU CAN'T DO EITHER.

IT MAY MAKE YOU FEEL BAD, BUT SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO LISTEN,

THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A TIME WHEN HULK HAS REGRETTING LISTENING. THERE'S NEVER BEEN A TIME WHERE HULK WASN'T BETTER FOR HAVING BEEN WRONG.

COMMUNICATING THE TRUTH ABOUT SEXISM AND RAPE IS SO HARD BECAUSE WE LIVE IN A WORLD THAT'S NOT WIRED TO RECOGNIZE IT. A WORLD THAT REWARDS MEN FOR NOT SEEING IT. AND EVEN REWARDS WOMEN FOR NOT SEEING IT TOO. SO IF WE WANT TO FIX THIS ISSUE, WE KNOW WE HAVE TO SEE IT. WE HAVE TO KEEP THE CYCLE OF EDUCATION GOING. WE HAVE TO KEEP BEING WILLING TO RECOGNIZE THE FAULT IN OURSELVES.

AND IN THAT SPIRIT, HULK UNDERSTANDS AND ACCEPTS THAT EVEN THIS WELL-MEANING ESSAY COULD BE FILLED WITH ALL SORTS OF PROBLEMATIC STATEMENTS. AND IF SO, THAT'S OKAY. HULK WANTS TO KNOW WHAT HULK POSSIBLY DID WRONG.  HULK WANTS TO GROW AND FIX IT. HULK UNDERSTANDS THAT HULK HAS TO BE IN A POSITION NOT TO SPEAK, BUT TO ABSORB. AND HULK KNOWS THAT THE EDUCATION MUST GO ON.

IT MUST NEVER STOP.

THUS, THIS LETTER TO YOU IS NOT TO LAY BLAME. THIS LETTER IS NOT TO SAY THAT YOU ARE BAD. THIS LETTER ACKNOWLEDGES THAT YOU ARE SIMPLY A PERSON. A PERSON WHO CONTAINS BOTH GREAT AND NOT-SO-GREAT QUALITIES, JUST LIKE WE ALL DO. BUT YOU ALSO GET A CHANCE, HERE AND NOW, TO THINK ABOUT WHAT PERSON YOU WANT TO BE. DO YOU WANT TO BE AN ALLY, SOMEONE WHO CAN HELP MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE? NOT JUST FOR WOMEN, BUT PERHAPS FOR YOU MOST OF ALL? TO COME TO A PLACE WHERE YOU ARE HAPPY AND HEALTHY WITH SOCIETY? THEN PLEASE REALIZE THE WAY WE THINK ABOUT GENDER AND TALK ABOUT RAPE IS COMPLETELY INTERTWINED TO THE HERE AND NOW. PLEASE THINK OF THIS ESSAY, THIS DESPERATE PLEA IN 12 PARTS, AS MERELY A CHANCE TO HELP PEOPLE. THIS ISN'T BLAME. THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY.

IT IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO BREAK OUT OF THE LIMITED WAY WE HAVE EXPERIENCED OUR OWN LIVES AND BROADEN OUR PERSPECTIVE.

IT IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO RECOGNIZE THAT WOMEN ARE NOT THE OTHER.

IT IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO STAND UP TO ALL THE JERKS WHO WANT TO WORK FROM A PLACE OF BEING PREDATORY INSTEAD OF BEING HUMANE.

IT IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO CHANGE THE WAY WE TALK ABOUT RAPE.

AND IN ORDER TO DO IT FOR REAL...

... WE NEED YOUR HELP.

YOUR FRIEND,

HULK

***

LETTER #2

TO THE VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT (AND ALL THOSE WHO WILL BE IN THE FUTURE):

IF THIS HAS EVER HAPPENED TO YOU. IF IT EVER HAPPENS TO YOU... YOU WILL HAVE TO GO THROUGH SOMETHING THAT SO LITTLE OF CULTURE ACTUALLY UNDERSTANDS. AND HULK KNOWS THAT IS A SCARY THING. HAVING YOUR PAIN AND LIFE BE MISUNDERSTOOD IS FAR MORE TRAUMATIC THAN ANYTHING THE MOMENT OF TRAUMA ITSELF CAN THROW AT YOU. BECAUSE OF THIS, YOU WILL HAVE TO TACKLE SO MUCH IN THE DAYS AHEAD.

AND IN ORDER TO COME OUT THE OTHER SIDE IN ONE PIECE, YOU WILL HAVE TO BE FEARLESS.

YOU WILL HAVE TO FACE YOUR CLOSEST FRIENDS AND TELL THEM WHAT HAPPENED.

YOU WILL HAVE TO GET BY AS SOME FRIENDS SIDE WITH THE AGGRESSOR.

YOU WILL HAVE TO TELL YOUR STORY TO COMPLETE STRANGERS.

YOU WILL HAVE TO TELL IT AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN AND ANY TRIPPING UP OF THE DETAILS IN THIS STORY MAY ALLOW YOUR AGGRESSOR TO GET AWAY FREE.

YOU WILL HAVE TO READ COLUMNS LIKE THIS AND RELIVE A GOOD DEAL OF IT. FOR THAT HULK TRULY APOLOGIES. THIS IS THE PROBLEM IN TALKING ABOUT RAPE. YOU HAVE TO RELIVE IT. YOU WILL ALWAYS HAVE TO RELIVE IT.

YOU WILL HAVE TO SUFFER THE SLINGS AND ARROWS OF OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE.

YOU WILL HAVE TO LISTEN TO THOSE WHO CONGRATULATE THE AGGRESSOR.

YOU WILL HAVE TO LISTEN TO ALL THOSE WHO WILL TREAT WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU LIKE IT WAS A CRUSHING BLOW TO YOUR ENTIRE LIFE AND LIVELIHOOD, LIKE SOMETHING THAT HAS DAMAGED YOU BEYOND REPAIR.

YOU WILL HAVE TO LISTEN TO PEOPLE TELL YOU THAT WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU COULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED WITH SOME GOOD OLD FASHIONED COMMON SENSE.

YOU MAY HAVE TO LISTEN TO NEIGHBORS, FAMILY, FRIENDS, OR EVEN NEWS CHANNELS TALK ABOUT WHAT YOU DID WRONG.

AND WITH ALL THESE "YOU WILL HAVE TOS," THE ONE THING YOU REALLY NEED TO KNOW IS THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU. NOR IS THERE SOMETHING WRONG WHAT YOU DID. TO IMPLY OTHERWISE IS TO IMPLY THAT ANY ACTION, ANY MISTAKE, ANY TRUST IN OTHERS IS THEREFORE DESERVING OF RAPE. AND OF COURSE THAT IS NOT TRUE. SO NO, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH WHAT YOU DID.

NOTHING.

DO NOT LET ANYONE TELL YOU OTHERWISE. DO NOT LET ANYONE TELL YOU THAT THIS EVENT HAS TO CHANGE YOU. DON'T LET IT CONVINCE YOU THAT YOU ARE IN ANY WAY DIFFERENT. NO LESS FUNNY. NO LESS KIND. NO LESS CHARMING. NO LESS STRONG. NO LESS INTELLIGENT. NO LESS CLUMSY. NO LESS FORGETFUL. NO LESS SILLY. NO LESS WHATEVER.

YOU ARE NO LESS YOURSELF.

BUT YOU LIVE IN A WORLD THAT DOES NOT UNDERSTAND YOUR EXPERIENCE. AND IN ALMOST EVERY SINGLE WAY THAT THEY WILL TRY TO TALK ABOUT IT, OR IN EVERY WAY THAT THEY WILL TRY TO PREVENT IT, THE RESULTS WILL STILL BE DEEPLY PROBLEMATIC FOR YOU.

THIS SUCKS.

HULK AND OTHERS ARE TRYING TO DO EVERYTHING THEY CAN TO FIX THE SYSTEM, BUT FOR NOW, IT WILL JUST HAVE TO BE SOMETHING YOU HAVE TO DEAL WITH CONSTANTLY... THE WORLD JUST ISN'T THERE YET. AND FOR THAT, HULK SINCERELY APOLOGIZES.

BUT THE ONE THING TO HOLD ONTO IS THAT FOR EVERYONE OUT THERE WHO IS MAKING THINGS HARDER, PLEASE TRY TO FIND THE PEOPLE OUT THERE WHO UNDERSTAND. THE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO HELP YOU. THOSE WHO SEE THAT YOU DID NOTHING WRONG. THAT YOU HAVE NOTHING TO FEEL ASHAMED OVER. THOSE WHO WILL NOT MITIGATE THE AGGRESSION OF WHAT WAS DONE TO YOU. PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT THERE ARE PEOPLE OUT THERE WHO REALLY DO UNDERSTAND THAT "THE ONLY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TIPS AND BLAMING IS TIMING." THESE PEOPLE WILL DO ANYTHING FOR YOU.

AND THESE PEOPLE WANT TO REMIND YOU THAT YOU ARE SO VERY, VERY LOVED.

<3 HULK

Categories: Film Crit Hulk Smash Tags:
Film Crit Hulk's photo About the Author: FILM CRIT HULK WAS CREATED IN A CHAOTIC LAB EXPERIMENT INVOLVING GAMMA RADIATION, TELEPODS, AND THE GHOST OF PAULINE KAEL. NOW HULK HAVE DEEP AND ABIDING LOVE CINEMA.
t