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Male Entitlement to Women’s Bodies: The Ugly Truth

by | Betrayal Trauma

This episode is Part 2 of Anne’s interview with Rachel Moran.
Part 1: “Consent” Is Harming Us: What You Need to Know
Part 2: Male Entitlement to Women’s Bodies: The Ugly Truth (this episode)

“A Muslim woman from Romania, she’d only been living in Ireland for three weeks at the time that she was killed. A Middle Eastern man who had only been here a couple of months killed her. He killed her because she was a Muslim woman in the western world, sleeping with the infidels. This is what his whole thinking was. They arrested him the next day up in Belfast. He was arguing that they would have to grant him bail because they couldn’t possibly pander to his religious convictions if they detained him in prison.

He didn’t turn up there for a sexual encounter. He killed her in one minute, 57 seconds. That’s how long it took him to arrive at her apartment, walk in, murder her, and leave under two minutes. It exemplifies the level and the nature of the brutality that we’re dealing with.”

– Rachel Moran

Male entitlement to women’s bodies is a driving force behind domestic abuse, sexual violence, and homicide.

Rachel Moran is back on The BTR.ORG Podcast, taking a deep dive into the subject of male entitlement. Tune into the podcast and read the full transcript below for more.

Why Do Men Feel Entitled to Women & Girls?

“First of all, society breeds into it into men when they’re boys. It doesn’t just appear.”

Rachel Moran

Rachel and Anne work through the origins of male entitlement. It’s important to understand that male entitlement isn’t biological – there is hope. Just as boys learn to feel ownership over women’s bodies, they can learn to be respectful, caring, and observant of autonomy.

BTR.ORG Is Here For You

Your body is yours – but that’s hard to understand when you’ve experienced sexual coercion, gaslighting, and intimate partner violence. Please seek safety and support. Consider attending a BTR.ORG Group Session today.

Full Transcript:

Anne (00:01):
Welcome to BTR.ORG. This is Anne.

Today we have Rachel Moran back on today’s episode. She’s an Irish journalist and she’s also the International Director of Policy and Advocacy at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. If you did not listen last week, start there and then join us here. You’ll hear her entire bio. On the episode from last week, we were talking about the problems with consent as the genexplained and described in the general population and how that is in so many ways endangering victims of abuse. So we’ll start there.

Rachel (02:05):
Back again to that term consent. People will simply look at it and say, oh, but you consented. So what’s the harm? Or, oh, but she consented. So she has nobody to blame but herself. And that’s another really dangerous aspect of the term consent, the way that we use it to excuse, you know, so society uses it in all sorts of, of harmful ways, and that’s one of them.

Marriage does NOT equal “consent”

Anne (02:32):
Women who are in an abusive marriage, their husband is abusive. He could say that she consented to marriage.

Rachel (02:42):
Yeah. And also she didn’t leave.

Anne (02:45):
She’s what, by default, consenting to let him psychologically and emotionally abuse her? No. She did think that she was in a relationship with a man who cared about her. She did not realize she’s in a transaction ship with a man who was interested in using and exploiting her. So you would say mutuality. So how would you use the term mutuality?

“Of course you can say ‘the sex was mutual’ as readily as you can say, ‘the sex was consensual'”

Rachel (03:08):
Well, that would very much depend on the context. It’s not a word that you can switch out directly for consent in most instances, although you can sometimes, of course you can say, well, the sex was mutual as readily as you can say, well, the sex was consensual. But they have those subtle but very important distinctions between them. Here are a few of them now if you like, because it might be interesting for your listeners to think about how they can use this.

What differentiates consent from mutuality?

Anne (03:38):
I agree with you. This, this consent word has really messed people up. ‘Cause they think, well, I did consent. ’cause I said, yes. Not thinking, but I didn’t really want to do it, or I didn’t feel comfortable. So I’m thinking if a way to use the word mutuality really did mean that you were actively desiring it. Maybe something like the husband and wife were talking and they felt really close to each other. Both of them were really interested in physical touch because they were both feeling safe. And she was safe because he was honest and trustworthy and actually cared about her. And so the sex was based on mutuality. I mean, is that the kind of thing that you would say?

Rather than saying the husband and wife went on a date, and then of course she consented to have sex. Part of me is hearing from you kind of that it would take a little bit longer when we talk about it to actually describe mutuality, because it’s more than just someone saying yes. It involves so much more that there’s no way to just say. And so then she mutuality <laugh>, right where you can say, and then she consented.

“We can and should introduce mutuality deliberately into our conversations”

Rachel (04:57):
Well, you can say just as briefly, the sex was mutual. It doesn’t have to be a big long-winded. Ah, we don’t have to make it more complicated than it needs to be. But I do think that we’re gonna have to really push for this. Like we’re gonna have to actively put this into conversations and also explain why. Yeah, because people are gonna keep on circling back to the whole consent thing.

I mean, it’s not the boulder up hill scenario that it might seem like, like 50 years ago, nobody was talking about sexual consent. Some idiot of a feminist came along and thought that was a good idea, and it took off. Same thing happened with the term sex work, which is just appalling. But I do think we can, and we should introduce mutuality deliberately into our conversations. And it doesn’t have to be that hard.

Male Sexual Entitlement

Anne (05:53):
So when we’re talking about male entitlement and this sense that men feel entitled to use women’s bodies, and this entitlement is fueling prostitution, which is increasing sex trafficking, it’s fueling sex trafficking and prostitution because so many victims of sex trafficking and prostitution are filmed. And then that documented filming of their abuse is called by the general public pornography. But we know it’s just documentation of sexual abuse in a very real way.

Rachel (06:26):
We’re all harmed because society itself is harmed. Clearly, the individual who’s on the receiving end that harm is the person who’s harmed first and foremost. But we’re all harmed by this. Any mother who’s ever brought a little boy into this world has seen the progression of that child and the difference in his innocence pre and post puberty.

The difference between a little boy who’s eight or nine and the same child that 13 or 14 when the, the social phenomenon of masculization kicks in and he’s at the receiving end of a strange sort of bullying from his peers that forces his personality into hiding. And that’s all part of this. Back to the, the conversation about male sexual entitlement. First of all, that’s bred into men when they’re boys. It doesn’t just appear. And there’s something really strange that I’ve noticed about it too, is that it’s not enough for these young men.

The Entitlement of Incels

(07:48):
I mean, you have a whole movement of them now, I’m sure you know, they call themselves incels – involuntary celibates. For anybody who hasn’t heard, any one of those young men could go and pay to assault a woman. And it is assault in a brothel, but it’s not enough for them that women’s physical selves are available to them because they are to every man in America and everywhere else. That’s not enough for them. I’ve noticed this. It’s really strange.

The incel mentality is dangerous

They also want to be wanted; they demand to be wanted. They feel very hard done by, to the point where some of them are even willing to murder because they’re not wanted. I think that that takes entitlement to a very strange place. And we seem to be witnessing something that is larger than anything that I, I think we’ve ever seen throughout history.

Anne (08:50):
Wait, wait, wait. I just sit around playing video games all day, and all I eat is like a monster energy drink <laugh>. And you are not interested in talking to me <laugh>. Like, not only should you want to have sex with me, which I’m entitled to, but you should also want to be with me and maybe clean up my mess and maybe help me out. And why in the world would you not think I’m awesome? Kind of an idea.

“It exemplifies the level and the nature of the brutality we’re dealing with”

(10:18):
A Muslim woman from Romania, she’d only been living in Ireland for three weeks at the time that she was killed. She was killed by a Middle Eastern man who had only been here a couple of months. You’d have to be a flat fool or living under a rock or something. Not to realize that this was one of those very ugly male and female examples of violence from Islamic extremists that are referred sometimes to as honor killings. He killed her because she was a Muslim woman in a brittle in the western world, sleeping with the infidels. This is what his whole thinking was. He was arrested the next day up in Belfast. He’d skipped across the border.

He was arguing that he would have to have, be granted bail because he couldn’t possibly have his religious convictions pandered to if he was detained in prison. So here’s this guy talking about, you know, his, his fate in Allah to be respected after he’s just butchered this poor woman. He, he didn’t turn up there for a sexual encounter. He killed her in one minute, 57 seconds. That’s how long it took him to arrive at her apartment, walk in, murder her, and leave under two minutes. It exemplifies the level and the nature of the brutality that we’re dealing with.

Men Who Hate Women by Laura Bates

Anne (11:45):
It’s reminding me of a book I recently read, and it’s on our website. This one is called Men Who Hate Women from Incel to Pick Up Artists. The Truth about Extreme Misogyny and How It Affects us All, it’s by Laura Bates. It is excellent. It’s talking about this type of extreme misogyny that leads to physical violence. She’s talking about murders like the one that you just described, but also domestic abuse, not just physical, although it definitely includes that, but also all the emotional and psychological abuse that women endure from men who believe that they’re entitled to women’s bodies, but also their labor. They really genuinely feel like, you owe me this because you’re just a woman and I’m a man as victims of this type of abuse.

(12:41):
The only thing that we can do is get to safety. Start making our way to emotional safety, psychological safety. Make sure that the people that we are around are safe, actual caring people rather than people who want to exploit us and or see us as sort of a good or service that they can exchange with. What are your thoughts about how to change this mentality knowing that women who listen to this podcast have no ability, right. To change the, the mentality of the abusers out there, but do you have any thoughts about it from your experience as to how abusers could maybe see things a different way so that they would stop viewing women as sexual objects or people to be exploited?

“As long as we have prostitution on this earth, we will always have violence against women”

Rachel (13:34):
Well, I think first of all, that every woman ought to join the women’s movement. It’s absolutely untrue that we don’t have it within our gift to affect change. You know, everybody has their, their voice to raise and their, their presence to bring every last one of us are really valid and, and relevant in that respect.

Because if every woman  was to bring her own voice in her own way, whatever that is, to the women’s movement, we would have a, a very, very, very big movement <laugh>, you know, most of the women on earth would be involved in that movement. Yeah. Another thing, this is really obscure for most women and for understandable reasons, but I truly believe that as long as we have prostitution on this earth, we will always have violence against women.

Human Shields?

Anne (14:30):
Absolutely agree with you. Yes. Yes.

Rachel (14:33):
Some people think that you can contain violence against women by directing it towards one group of women, and that those women can or should, for the greater good of most women, be served up as some kind of human shield. I have heard women make remarks along those lines that would so, so clearly believe that some segment of us should be used to absorb men’s violence.

Anne (15:02):
Really? You’ve heard that?

Rachel (15:04):
Oh, absolutely.

Anne (15:05):
That’s crazy.

“No woman anywhere, no matter how disadvantaged, no matter how marginalized, deserves abuse.”

Rachel (15:06):
You see, here’s where those women are really very silly in their thinking, is that as long as we have a segment of women who are seen to be the human shields of sexual violence, what you’re doing there is condoning violence accepting that since it needs a direction to go in, it has a right to exist in the force plate. When we talk about eradicating violence against women, we’re starting from the wrong perspective. We’re thinking about a well-healed middle class housewife, for example, and don’t misunderstand me, please, I’m not suggesting that anyone deserves violence any more or less than anybody else.

What I’m saying is that when we think about violence against women, we think about young women in nightclubs. We think about victims of domestic violence. We think about women who experience abuse, stalking, harrasment, et cetera. But we put all of our focus on what you might call civilian women, and we don’t think about the women who are at the absolute outer rim of the margins of society. And I truly believe that that’s where we need to start.

We need to start at that outer room because if we start our work on this issue with the mentality that no woman anywhere, no matter how disadvantaged, no matter how marginalized deserves that kind of abuse, no woman. Well then that will sweep across society as an understand, and I believe far, far quicker.

The Crux of the Problem

Anne (18:15):
I’m absolutely shocked that anyone would ever think that any group of women should be used as a human shield. But it also kind of gives the idea that they must be because men deserve it. Heaven forbid men not have a way to abuse women because that’s going to happen whether we like it or not. I’m trying to like speak as they might speak, we are forced to have to sacrifice someone rather than thinking, men do not have to exploit women. That’s not a male characteristic. They could not exploit women. They could treat women with respect. It sort of gives men an out, because they’re not viewing men as capable, caring human beings, that somehow their nature is to exploit. And so we have to sacrifice some women so that men don’t, I don’t know what, turn into cannibals or something. Do you know what I mean? That just sounds crazy.

Male Sexual Desire is NOT an “Unstoppable Force”

Rachel (19:16):
I do know what you mean. And I think the crux of the problem is that a lot of people, including women, have come to buy the propaganda of male sexual desire as an unstoppable force. What men do constantly around their own sexual desires is that they mistake them for needs. That to me speaks to a state of sexual toddlerhood. Yeah. In toddlerhood, at some point, when a child gets to around the age of three and a half or so, at that stage, you really need to clarify upon the psyche of the child, the difference between a want and a need. You want the ice cream, you don’t need it.

There is a difference. It’s a sorry state we’re in in the world when we have so many grown men who really ought to know better, not understanding the basic distinction between a want and a need. And that’s something that we’re really gonna have to clarify before we get any sense out of such people. But there are women, and it’s important to say this, who play that game and play along with it and cause great harm.

In doing so, that’s been clearly exemplified to me by the women who take their sons to brittles and convinced themselves that there’s a real and genuine need to take a, a young man or a teenage boy to a brittle. Those women make me exceptionally angry.

When mothers-in-law enable and support their son’s abusive behavior

Anne (20:45):
In our community. I would say that a, not a majority, but I’ve heard many, many, many women who their mother-in-laws would fit this category, or their mother-in-law is like, my son has these intense sexual needs, and it is your job to give it to him. If you don’t give it to him, he has to get it somewhere. So of course he’s gonna view pornography, so it’s your fault that he views pornography, or it’s your fault that he abuses and exploits prostitutes. It’s your fault because he has these sexual needs and you are not meeting them. So many mother-in-laws feel this way – and it’s traumatizing to their daughters-in-law!

Rachel (21:29):
It sounds like the mother-in-law from hell.

Anne (21:32):

Yeah, I know.

“It’s not a marriage”

Rachel (21:33):
Yeah. Not every woman can, or rather not every woman thinks she can really speak up for herself in these circumstances. If I had any advice to anybody listening who was struggling with, with a situation like that, I suppose I would say, really, you need to stand your ground, except in that kind of nonsense from somebody will destroy absolutely every relationship in your life. Most importantly, your relationship with your own self. There comes a point in our lives where we have to put the relationship with ourselves front and center, and if that means the collapse of a marriage, so be it. You know? ’cause If a marriage is under that kind of pressure to begin with, it’s a pretty good indication that it’s best off collapsed.

Anne (22:22):
Well, that, and I’m like going back to our consent discussion. In my opinion, it’s not a marriage, it’s a transactionship where they’re exploiting you. That’s a totally different thing than what marriage should be, which is a partnership. It is not that. And so you’re not collapsing a marriage. You are getting to safety from a very unsafe situation.

Rachel (22:48):
Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah.

Anne (22:51):
Rachel, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today. Your insights are invaluable and I really, really appreciate your thoughts.

Rachel (23:01):
You’re very welcome.

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