Op-Ed: Men Can Stop Rape

Did you know that? Is that a dumb question? Men. Can. Stop. Rape. I know plenty of men who know that. I know plenty of public servants who know that and care deeply about preventing violence against women.

On Tuesday night, San Jose City Councilman Lan Diep tweeted: “City Council ended at a decent hour tonight! I still have 5 hours left to hit the bars pre-Valentine’s Day, but I’m gonna go to the gym instead. Finding dates as a public figure is tricky. Finding dates as a public figure in the Me Too era? Fugget about it! #DesperationDay.”

This tweet is tone deaf at best and just sad at its worst. Let me tell you why. It indicates that Councilman Diep cannot find a date because he is a public figure. It implies that he is going to be a target of false allegations or that he’s innocently going to go to a bar and strike up a conversation and end up on the 11pm news hour looking nefarious. But that is a construct that requires people to live comfortably within their own privilege and dismisses the loss of great talent by women in the workforce.

Here’s something Councilman Diep and all public servants can learn: men and women share equal parts in combating harassment.

In the past year, women have stepped it up tenfold by speaking their truths and blowing the whistle. Men—especially elected officials—should do the same. In fact, I bet women would welcome the help.

Author Jaclyn Friedman nails it in her latest Huffpost piece: “You wouldn’t know it from the media coverage, but a some of us have been doing this work long before #MeToo as well … transforming the sexual culture can prevent sexual assault and make sex better for everyone (except those who enjoy using it to do harm). ... The only people for whom #MeToo is making the world less sexy are abusive men and their enablers. For the rest of us, it opens up a world of erotic possibility free of fear, shame, pain and trauma. If you think we’re ruining the fun with our insistence on consent and respect, it’s time to ask yourself whose ‘fun’ you’re really defending.”

I would like to offer this councilman some counsel on the tone deaf manner of his tweet.

(1) It shouldn’t be hard to date in the #MeToo era unless you’re a predator.

(2) Being an elected official is a privilege, not a right.

(3) This is a unifying moment for men and women. It will take men speaking up with their friends, their family members, within their workplace to really change the norms that keep the culture of harassment—in person, online, in the workplace—pervasive.

Men can stop violence and here is an example where public servants are stepping up. The San Jose Police Department recently announced that it’s poised to roll out a series of public service announcements about domestic violence. The setting in each of the five PSAs are familiar ones, such as a gym, where advocates say comments and jokes among men about domestic violence often occur. The scenarios in the ads, however, contain unexpected endings, with one man saying, “Anybody think that’s funny? Not funny.”

I am grateful for those at the San Jose Police Department for educating the public and providing amazing community outreach—these ads are only one component of that effort. That is public service.

In closing, just because a deluge of women are speaking up doesn’t mean that all men do the abusing, but it also doesn’t mean that those who do not abuse are off the hook. Councilman Diep proudly made national news on identifying with with Captain America and “making government fun again.” However, even Marvel understands how power works, via Peter Parker: with great power comes great responsibility.

It is only then that you will understand that, no, you are not accused of predatory behavior because you’re a “public figure.” We said enough. It’s time for you to step up.

Opinions are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside.

Angelica Ramos serves as the Communications Director of the National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC) California and president of the local chapter, NWPC Silicon Valley. She lives in San Jose with her husband, Peter, and dog, Josie. All are feminists.

13 Comments

  1. This is the same man that told a group of multicultural organizers, in his office, “see, this is why you people never get anywhere–you don’t know how to organize.” After a POC of color burst into tears, he was still unwavering in his comments.

    Also the same man who essentially told flood victims, on Fat Tuesday, “hey, nobody died, get over it!” and then donned Mardi Gras beads. This was seven days after the flood started.

    Take that figurine off the dais, your 15 minutes are over, you’re just an embarrASSment.

  2. It’s time for men to join us in calling out these incidents. Until then, my perception, and the perception of many, many women is other men are ok with this that it’s no big deal. And we will believe in your complicity until you show us otherwise.

    I get many of you (men) are hesitant because you know you’ve joked, made similar comments or have laughed at other (men’s) jokes. Get. Over. It. We will accept your growth and contrition.

    Start now. Use your voices. If nothing else “not cool, bro” somebody. If you think it’s hard, or you feel awkward, ask any woman. We will be glad to give you words that, frankly, don’t endanger your lives like they do ours.

    • Men should call out a witch hunt environment where you can lose your job and entire career just on an accusation? You are right we should and he did, good on ya Councilman Lan Diep!

  3. That “public service” announcement is as slanted and simpleminded as is the political puppet currently serving as the department’s chief of police. To wit:

    – The idiot in the gym (a not surprising role choice for the only white male in the video) advises his bench-pressing buddy to “tune-up” his wife, a suggestion far too inappropriate and intrusive for any unimpaired man to make to another. Contrary to the delusions of feminists and their emasculated enablers, wife-beaters are already looked down upon by other men (and, for that matter, almost always by themselves). That said, substitute the words “tune-up” with “poison” in the slogan and the conversation becomes unquestionably believable — if depicted as occurring between two women.

    – The assertion that “only men can end men’s violence against women” is not only contradicted by common sense and human history, it is contradicted by nature. With the exception of psychopaths, males utilize violence against women to express dominance, effect control, or in response to provocation. Men obsessed with dominance and control do not freely select to be that way, thus they are not capable of freely selecting to change. For them change must come by way of the consequences they suffer for their actions; repercussions serious enough to force them to find a way to suppress their dangerous impulses. The two most common sources of these repercussions are women and the criminal justice system. Given that women in our culture are sufficiently liberated to reject a dominating suitor, or divorce an unacceptably controlling husband, women are their own first line of defense against male violence (the criminal justice system has proven itself a poor second). As for those men provoked into violence, women can avoid those too easily provoked by rejecting them (either during courtship or after marriage), and avoid provoking the generally non-volatile others by employing a little maturity and self-control. If this sounds as if I’m assigning considerable responsibility to women for their own safety it is because I am.

    – When it comes to providing personal safety, no police department — not even one with a snappy slogan — can compete with a woman’s own decision making. A woman armed with sensible mate-selection standards, held firm despite any impulsive desire to take a chance on a rascal or rescue a loser, is a woman who is least likely to end up in the emergency room or inside a chalk outline. What’s unfortunate is that the mate-selection standards females once passed down the generations has been replaced by the standards du jour promoted by Hollywood scumbags.

    – What men privately joke about should never be the business of government. The hunger for amusement, the yearning to laugh, the desire to shock: these essential elements of male wellbeing are far too precious to ever surrender to the nanny state. By making locker room humor synonymous with the endorsement of spousal abuse, what the totalitarians are really attempting to do is stake a public claim on personal privacy and eliminate the last bastion of freedom. Don’t let them do it. Let the parameters of acceptability — what’s funny, what’s valued, what’s desired — be set by you and your group, lest you end up living your life in solitary confinement, your private thoughts walled in by politically correct prohibitions. It’s the least you can do given the Founder’s great sacrifices in setting speech free.

    • “What men privately joke about should never be the business of government.”

      I don’t see this at all. I don’t like pig men – they embarrass me… I’ve seen a few checking out women (not just looking at them, but STARING) and wonder what’s going on in their minds. But letting them know I don’t want to hear it is all that will do – I’ve done it and they shut up, but that doesn’t change anything inside them.

      I agree with all else you say, and wonder why some women seem destined to be hook up with abusers. One of the worst was the woman who was just shot at Denny’s by a guy (killed himself after killing her) who’d spent time in jail for telling her he was going to kill her. Of course the restraining order did nothing except amp up the guy – her only defense was getting a gun, and I’m guessing if she’d killed the guy at Denny’s SHE’D be in trouble for doing it outside of her own home. I have no answer, especially when they want to make room in jails by letting repeating DV scum out until they finally kill someone.

  4. Let’s not lose perspective here and forget that this is a humble brag about going to the gym. Yes, it also reveals CM Diep’s discomfort with female empowerment, but look at what his *intention* was: to remind people that he is a Councilmember looking for a girlfriend.

    I’m not exactly sure what it’s like for a thirty-something bachelor serving as a CM, but I would honestly think the mini-celebrity would make it easier for him to get a date.

    I’ve interacted with CM Diep a number of times, and getting to know the guy is a disappointment. He’s better than his predecessor, but that’s like the lowest bar you can set. Diep has a tendency to be very arrogant, I think that trait comes across a bit in the anecdote Bulworth shares (although I’m sure CM Diep has a very different perspective on how that meeting went). That’s a major part of what compels him towards political office, a desire for external validation of his self-narrative of personal greatness. I’ve met a lot of people in politics like that, but it cuts more deeply with Diep in part because of his childhood upbringing and the absence of his father growing up. Diep seeks attention by pulling stunts like bringing out his Captain America shield, playing movie clips during council meetings, and writing racy memos because he is deeply insecure. That’s also why he tweets all the time.

    On a side note, it’s interesting to consider the similarity between Lan Diep and one of his idols, Barack Obama, in that they both grew up without fathers. It’s quite possible that Obama’s absence of a father similarly motivated his political pursuits, but I believe that Obama had more tools in his ’emotional toolbox’ that made him better equipped to confront and channel his inner feelings in a positive direction.

    This is not to say that CM Diep isn’t an intelligent person. He is arrogant in part because he is very intelligent, just probably not as intelligent as he thinks he is. But Diep’s high opinion of himself is also a defense mechanism against a deeply held, possibly subconscious or partially-subconscious personal insecurity. He has so high of an opinion of himself that he is closed off to outside criticism and a healthy level of reflective self-evaluation. He lacks emotional intelligence.

    CM Diep is still single because his lack of emotional intelligence and deeply-held but poorly-handled insecurity cripples him with women. I once met a girl who went to Silver Creek High School with CM Diep, believe it or not, and she said that Diep used to stare at her in class. I remember seeing some set of photos from some event Diep and CM Peralez attended together – I think it was a basketball game – each with a date (In Peralez’ case, it may have been his fiance, I’m not up to date on his personal life). And in one of the photos of the four, all of them were watching the game, except for Diep, who was just staring at Peralez’ date.

    My advice to CM Diep is that he focus on self-growth and use this kerfuffle as his first opportunity to do so. He should take a moment to evaluate why 99% of the reaction to his tweet has been negative. This article spells it out pretty well. After that, he should tweet an apology.

  5. NBC reported yesterday that SJPD calls often exceed 20 minute hold times. The public would be better served by hiring more dispatchers instead of paying for ‘feel good’, but ultimately feckless PSAs. If SJPD actually wanted to reduce violence, then Chief Garcia would issue concealed carry permits Defensive Gun Uses stop crime. At least 100,000 / year, but some studies claim closer to 2 million per researcher Dr. John Lott.

    This op-ed is a hot mess. It plays into the gender stereotype of women as illogical, emotional, & whining. “Men Can Stop Rape” by conflating #MeToo with rape prevention? By condemning Diep’s tweet? By electing more women to office? By using an op-ed link to promote the $600 “Healthy Masculinity” class in Washington DC?

  6. Councilman Diep was only reacting to what should become known as the “Not Me Too” movement. Men who are falsely accused of harassment or sexual misconduct seldom, if ever, receive any due process and are presumed guilty and not allowed to defend themselves against such accusations. The mere accusation, even if proven false later, is enough to ruin a man’s reputation and career. If the accusation, even unproven, is serious enough, no employer would likely retain, and no employer would likely risk hiring, such potential controversy and the victim of the unproven accusation, who never had a chance to defend himself, could easily, and some have, become a pariah.

    Despite evidence proving extensive false rape accusations, feminists persuaded the courts and the public that women had no motivation to lie about harassment or rape. Lack of due process regarding accusations of harassment, and rape shield laws, then support the rape of the falsely accused.

    When women complained they were being sexually harassed, the government, the courts and private industry radically expanded its protection of women by expanding its prosecution of men.

    The over-protection of women and the under-protection of men will lead to discrimination against hiring women. What male executive or manager in his right mind would ever have a discussion in his office, alone, with a female employee or manager, or go on a business trip, or to a conference with one, no matter the accommodations, or even engage one in conversation socially knowing that one innocent comment could lead to an accusation that could ruin him. There will be a company attorney present at every hiring interview, taking notes and probably recording everything as a preemptive measure against accusations of inappropriateness or discrimination. A legal brief may need to be prepared and held in reserve to combat potential accusations of sexism by any company who deliberately hires only “better qualified” (based on unwritten, non-rebuttable , yet court defensible, criteria) male candidates.

    Don’t believe me? I have attended “harassment training” twice in the last year. I have received no training in the past 2 years in relation to my primary work function. A few weeks back, I noticed that a female friend and co-worker had obviously gone through great effort to curl her hair. Remembering my “training”, I commented, “Good Morning (Ms. Name, needlessly, though deliberately, formal), your outward presentation seems to have been modified and appears to exceed the aesthetic standards in a way which I find, and that would likely be considered by a representative cross section of those of my demographic, to be quite pleasant, and please forgive me for noticing.”. She laughed, back-hand tapped me on the arm (Oh NO! Potentially non-consensual, body contact!!!) and told me , smiling, “You’re an idiot, if you like what I did with my hair, can’t you just say so instead of being a moron?” (Oh No! Potential insensitivity to the mentally challenged!)

    Bottom line: I was called into the office later (someone else, not her, apparently complained), told to knock it off, and when I asked what I had done, I was told “You know what you did, now knock it off”… Hey, what’d I do?

  7. Typical politician,typical political problem. He opened his mouth,inserted both feet & now he’s Knee Diep in me too,too ! Before seeking female companionship in a bar,one should visit a few several times to get the lay of the Lan !! Don’t even consider having sex without a binding contract that attests to the voluntary participation of any/all of the participants involved & the sex acts that have consented to perform. Have it witnessed & notarized because some people have greatly differing recollections of who did what to whom & may even try years later to imply that they were coerced,assaulted or worse. This is why & I can’t stress this enough,you must make a video recording of each & every one of your sexual encounters for your own protection. The failure of any party to sign a release agreeing to being taped while exploring the depths of their sexual depravity & granting you the sole distribution rights (both domestic & foreign) is certainly a deal breaker. If she refuses to agree in writing to your generous written terms,consider such legal remedies as bending her over a barrister & suing the crap out of her instead !
    Note: Levity aside,any man or woman who sexually assaults another human being should be vigorously prosecuted & if convicted should be incarcerated for as long as the law will allow. Any man or woman who sexually assaults an animal should be forced to do it again & again on TV every night for a week after the local 11:00 News. A sure viewer’s must-see & a bona fide ratings bonanza (people watch people cook & play cards) & sponsored of course by Nestle-Purina PetCare. If you really must abuse someone,try abusing yourself. That’s right,join tens of millions of other sexually adventurous Americans,start masturbating today & tell a friend. Remember kids,you may not be able to attract a willing partner,but you can always draw a sizable crowd !

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