if men are protecting us, what from, if not other men?

From:    Donna.

======= (from learning evaluation for class)
In looking back on the last decade, specifically looking at my own
sexuality, I've often seen my early promiscuity as a product of loneliness,
of needing something to remind me of my personhood.  No doubt that such a
picture is in part accurate, because there were many times when a hug was
all that was desired, but when hugs came with a price -- a price that
didn't seem too steep at the time.  But it is also true that my rape
occurred very early in my sexually-active days, and I'm starting to wonder
if perhaps the rape contributed more to my promiscuity than I'd ever
considered before.  (Well, if it contributed at all, it contributed more
than considered before, because there were many years in which I somehow
managed to not consider my rape at all.)  Indeed, I can pick out times that
I've never felt comfortable with.... on the one hand, I have the memories
that I didn't want to have sex with this man or that, but on the other
hand, I must acknowledge that I did consent at the time.  Many of those
memories are accompanied by memories of extreme insistence on the part of
the men; could it be that, on some subconscious level, I feared that my
consent might not be required, that without my consent I might be harmed by
something much worse than penetration, and so I consented out of this fear?

Now, Claudia, I've read a bit of the feminist literature that discusses the
irony of chivalry.... if men are protecting us, what is it they're
protecting us from, if not other men?  Every time I read of that supposed
irony, I rejected it.  But now that I'm finally, after all these years,
beginning to confront my ordeal, I'm starting to wonder if there isn't a
speck of truth to what the literature says.

And for a personal irony: it is this one subject alone that sometimes
causes me to wish I'd never met my lover.  I've expressed here before how I
made the decision to NEVER AGAIN live to remember such a trauma -- and how
I once had to put that personal vow to the test.  (Obviously, I won that
test; *his* ability to sire children is now reduced by ~50%, but I'm still
alive and I'm not remembering another rape encounter.)  But with my lover
in the picture, fighting to the death with an attacker now means something
different than it used to; now, it means risking leaving him for the rest
of his life.  In a way, it reduces my options, should I ever be jumped at

I'm so glad to have this chance to actually TALK TO SOMEONE who knows --
even if our experiences were different in detail.  We've danced around this
subject several times since I joined this echo, but this time we're really
"getting down".  Thank you, and to Elise, and Susan, and the others, for
being here for me.

> me.  The women on the other hand, were more likely to take responsibility
> for their actions, to see where what had happened to them had caused them
> to behave in certain ways - ie the guilt came from the shame felt from an
> earlier experience.  Only a couple expressed anger at the perpetrator or
> anyone else, unless it was themselves.

Ya know, this is surprisingly similar to one of the possible
interpretations of the words used in Genesis: she acknowledged she had been
duped by the serpant, while he blamed her for giving him the apple!  (There
are a couple other ways of viewing that same passage, with the same words,
but that's for a different discussion.  )