I went to a talk at a university business school about female rape and abuse. My South African mentor was one of the panelists. It was great that business would talk about these issues. I know the dean of the business school on a professional basis and spoke to him before. He knows about our organization South African Male Survivors Of Sexual Abuse
and what we do. As the topic was focused on women and girls, I did not want to hijack it, I went to support the issue and to network afterwards.
After all the questions, the professor said, I know Rees is in the audience and I'm sure he would like to make a final statement. How about that. putting me on the spot, I make comments about how real men don't rape and a call for men to respect the mothers of our counties future - the children. In closing I mentioned that men must not be forgotten that 1 in 4 woman are abused but 1 in 6 men are also abused, I also told them that 90% of rapes women are victims but the balance are males. All the woman clapped and said yea yea, working with them and not trying to move the focus away from them helps.
What happened afterwards, was again one of those events that makes you move forward more confidently. There was a cocktail party and one of the males got drunk, those of you who know me I have very little tolerance for drunks, due to my own past. He walked up to me with his girlfriend (a top executive) and said sarcastically "you made me cry that men are also abused and raped" . In my remarks I never said I was a survivor. He also made a comment that one of the speakers (my mentor) said that men have to redefine their roles in a modern world ie. real men cry and show emotions, real men nurture their children etc. I would normally have moved away (flight rather than fight) this time I reacted differently, in a very assertive way I put my hand firmly on his shoulder, looked at him and his girlfriend and said "ask her who would be a real man, a man who cried on her shoulder and opened his soul to her or a man who did not cry and medicated himself with JD (Jack Daniels), that is so unlike me, insulting and threatening. He apologized and I walked away. Wow I never thought I would do that, stand up for myself to a guy younger and bigger than me. Right or wrong it was empowering.