Saying 'not all men' means you're part of the problem

Saying 'not all men' means you're part of the problem

Men need to step up and stop detracting from a very important conversation.
26 Jul, 2021

How many acts of violence and how many murdered women will it take for us to admit we have a problem? After a harrowing week following the murder of Noor Mukadam, on Monday morning we saw that 'not all men' was trending on Twitter — and that did not go down well with us.

Women are dying, they are literally being slaughtered, and a section of our society does not want to call out men because "not everyone is evil". Complicity is as evil as the crime itself because complicity exonerates the criminal, it lets their behaviour continue unabated and tells the victim that no one is on their side. Ignoring someone's behaviour because they are your friend or brother or whatever makes you as bad as them.

When the conversation is about one gender and how it is rampantly subjected to violence and you decide to throw in the 'not all men' detractor, you are complicit in letting the abusers and harassers and murderers continue their horrendous acts without any accountability.

There are too many tweets and opinions online regarding 'not all men' to tackle but we've addressed some of the most common 'justifications'. Here goes.

"Oh, but it happens everywhere, not just Pakistan."

Yes, but we live in Pakistan and Noor was murdered in Pakistan, as were Saima, Quratulain and hundreds of thousands of other women whose names we don't even know. When a crime happens in Pakistan, our outrage will be a thousand times more than if it happens elsewhere because we live here. That victim was one of us.

When it happens in our own backyard, it does and should pinch us more.

But why did she go to his house/get in his car/meet him/put herself in that situation?

Counter question: why did he kill her? Victim blaming is not going to solve this problem.

When you say you are not victim blaming by asking these questions, please know you are because your outrage is directed towards how the victim put themselves 'in harm's way' as opposed to the act of violence.

What about your father/brother/son/husband/cousin/best friend?

When attention is called to men being the main perpetrators behind gender-based violence, it's not a personal attack on your father, brother, son, husband etc or you.

But, do keep in mind that the rapists, killers and harassers of the world are all someone's brother/son/father/husband. They were not spawned in a lab, ready to be inflicted upon society like a plague. They are among us every day and they don't have a sign tattooed on their foreheads saying that they are rapists or killers.

Not every man is a rapist

No, not every man is a rapist, but in a society where harassment is brushed under the rug, how many men have done things to make women uncomfortable? How many men in positions of power — and men do occupy majority of positions of power in Pakistan — have used their influence to improve the conditions for women? Or have they, in fact, used that power to continue abuse or let others continue?

Making women uncomfortable is a form of harassment too and unless we wake up and realise that, we'll continue to live in a society where these things persist and are hushed up until someone dies.

These situations rarely begin with murder. There is a lead up but those aggressions are so common that women brush them off as 'normal', something 'everything goes through'. They are NOT normal. Abuse is NOT normal. Gas-lighting is NOT normal. The sooner we realise how toxic these behaviours are, the sooner we can start calling them out and stop accepting them as normal.

So no, not all men are rapist but all men should denounce these acts and have conversations which will give them a deeper understanding of the issues women face.

Not all men

Does reading about toxic behaviour that sounds eerily familiar make you feel uncomfortable? Does your heart beat a little faster thinking about the time you sent some explicit messages to an unsuspecting woman or you didn't take no for an answer? Does reading of women's experiences of harassment make you feel angry not because women had to experience this but because that harassment sounds uncomfortably familiar?

A late night text to a female colleague, a slight brush against a woman in a grocery store, staring at a woman walking on the road in jeans, zooming in on a lower neckline in a picture on Instagram, being persistent and flirting with a woman who has already said no and thinking it's 'romantic', laughing at a crude joke at the expense of a woman, looking at a violent threat online and not reporting it — or being silent when you see these problematic patterns in the society. Introspect instead of saying not all men.

Yes all men

If you truly believe that not all men are complicit, then prove it. Stop getting upset when you see posts on Twitter saying 'yes all men' and prove that not all men are complicit. Be an ally, not an adversary. When you come across a woman who you don't agree with, don't throw out expletives to try and put her down.

In the wake of a series of acts of violence against women, stories are being shared online of other aggressors, ones who haven't escalated to the level of murder yet. Listen to these stories, even if it makes you uncomfortable and understand what makes a monster. No one is born like this, they're created every time you let an act of aggression or harassment go.

When you post and say 'not all men' you are minimising the pain of women. You are missing the point and detracting from the conversation. If you truly believe you are not one of those men then great, pat yourself on the back, give yourself a thumbs up and stay quiet. Listen to what women are saying. Stop making this about yourself and listen, because women in Pakistan have a lot to say and it's time someone finally listens.

So yes, all men, not because all men are harassers but because all men are complicit. You aren't doing enough to help and you need to recognise it. Call out your friends when they objectify women, understand that no woman is asking for it, stop toxic behaviours. Social media is currently glorifying behaviour such as not staring at women or not harassing them, but that is simply the bare minimum. All men need to step up so that the ones who perpetrate acts of violence against women can be brought to justice.

There's another far more relevant phrase being circulated on social media right now that we all need to hear and use — educate your sons.

Every rapist is someone's son. Every murderer is someone's son. Every harasser is someone's son. Teach them now so they don't become the problem later.


Fastrack Jul 26, 2021 04:33pm
Utterly mindless hate against 50% of all human beings.
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Fastrack Jul 26, 2021 04:36pm
Want restrictions on men only? What was her poor parent's fault? Trusting their 27 years old, dependent daughter?
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Fastrack Jul 26, 2021 04:38pm
Gruesome act. But please don't lie to your parents to be illicitly with a man with many, huge red flags.
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Danish Jul 26, 2021 04:45pm
I think we as a society need to change the way we communicate our messages to ensure they are registered. It's usually 1% of our society with extreme left-wing views trying to change the way 99% of our society thinks. In a society, where men aren't willing to give basic rights to women, the left side talks about men wearing skirts to break gender stereotypes. The writers may get recognition from a few like-minded individuals but society as a whole will not take them seriously. Use a balanced approach, come in the middle, understand your society and then try to change the way they think slowly and gradually.
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M. Saeed Jul 26, 2021 04:57pm
It is correct that, complicity is as evil as the crime itself because complicity exonerates the criminal. But, again it is a fact that, all men are not the villains. Otherwise, we would not have a society of humans. Imagine the time changed, from the before human civilisation, when women were captured by force and kept in chains like animals, by savage men.
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AJ Jul 26, 2021 05:14pm
This anti-men rhetoric won't help anyone. If such behavior is to be curbed, then strict public punishments should be meted out to offenders. Otherwise, these savages will gain more confidence that they can do whatever they can with impunity and without facing any consequences.
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sidC Jul 26, 2021 05:30pm
If parents will take blood money and pardon the criminal, than who is the part of the problem?
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Ahmed Jul 26, 2021 06:22pm
Men rape women. They are responsible for it. But I won't let anyone put me down in the same wave. I have never done so and don't plan too.
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Zaheer Jul 26, 2021 06:39pm
I understand the anguish, pain and suffering (i try to). But isnt it similiar to westerners saying all muslims are terrorist! Blame the culprit! Punish them in harshest ways! Infact many women (particularly in laws) abuse women too! I still dont what is the right way, may be you are correct! But, if you are not, your anger is channeled in wrong way
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Talib Jul 26, 2021 07:33pm
I do not know why the poor justice system and lawlessness are not stressed as it should be. Because these are the prime factors of such cruel incidents. Education agr darindun ko insan bna skti tu Zahir Jaffer jaise log (jo na sirf educated hy, wealthy hy balkeh so called therapist be hy) na pida hote. These cruel animals are only motivated by their wealth and highly influential status. If you call it gender discrimination or whatever, it means you are confused and propagating confusions among others. Please spread awareness in people against injustice and lawlessness where might is right rules the country.
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Hamed Jul 26, 2021 09:19pm
Violence against anybody is a criminal act. Police must act accordingly.
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Omair Jul 26, 2021 11:19pm
@Ahmed if you have done nothing wrong and don't intend to, then what's there to worry about? Why is there a need to say that out loud? Let's accept the fact that it's men who are mostly victimizing women and not the other way around.
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Khanm Jul 26, 2021 11:55pm
@Hamed You are asking the wrong people for u think the police stations are safe for ordinary poor women ...unless you come on a land cruiser..
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Art Jul 27, 2021 12:18am
All men are almost the same full stop!
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Khalid iqbal Jul 27, 2021 07:37am
@Fastrack You are wrong , hundreds of men will give their lives to protect their woman .
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Ahmed Jul 27, 2021 08:43am
For the discussion, accepting the 'yes all men' statement from the ladies, what would they say if the victim's family were to agree to an out of court settlement (as is being mentioned in the media)?
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Anonymouseee Jul 27, 2021 11:13am
Western mentality digging deep in Pakistani roots with these brain washed females. It’s common sense to take precautions to NOT put oneself in harm’s way. Also,‘one more thing…….NOT ALL MEN.
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Qamar Ahmed Jul 27, 2021 01:12pm
A thoughtless feature. Why don't you blame women. Why men only. There are more rapes and murder in other societies but no one blame men only. Lata Haya (a famous poetess) in her poem regarding the brutal murder of a girl in a bus in Delhi said why don't women wear a decent attire and why you mingle with men. When there is petrol no one can stop a match-box to start a fire
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Readdr Jul 27, 2021 05:48pm
An extremely faulty argument especially when you end up blaming men and decide unilaterally that MY brother father or husband is the same.. Majority if tbe culprits are men and victem are women but you have you not heard of burden of proof or innocent until proven guilty? Speak on behalf of the victems., punish the criminals but don't condemn an entire gender.. And stop publishing articles with faulty logic...if you want to be a reputable news outlet
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El Cid Jul 28, 2021 08:00am
Your presention is devoid of facts. Far far more males are killed, murdered, slaughtered than females. Look it up!
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