Freire’s Steps 4 & 5

Step 4: Figure out How to Meet Them Where They Are

How do we react when we feel victimized and not heard?

  • We shut down;
  • We lash out.

How do we help victims who come into our offices?

  • We listen to them and hear their pain (even if the reality is different than their perceptions);
  • We understand their frustrations.

How do we react when we feel victimized and not heard? We shut down. That is what men have been doing for years—they shut down because, in the raped world, they feel like victims who have not been heard. Now, what do people do when they feel frustrated and powerless, and oppressed? One natural human response to these feelings is to lash out at those feelings’ “perceived creator.” 

Young men often perceive women as the creator of the powerlessness and confusion that surrounds rape, and so to blame them is an accessible and acceptable response.  And suddenly, they proclaim that all this “rape talk is just man-bashing and man-hating.” How do we help victims who come into our offices? To fix things, we have to hear them. Meet them where they are (they feel victimized), hear that, and then you can move on to some real education.

For Freire, it is not enough to have an education.

Step 5. Allow education to motivate the audience to action. 

We must have transformation. We must use education to motivate new and different actions. Why do girls say “yes” all along, and then at the last minute, they say, “NO!” That’s not fair! Is the response of Men! It is the right of anyone to say no to anything that may do to them against their will. You have NO right ever to force yourself onto anyone. How many people have heard of this happening before?—leading a guy? Do you agree that it’s not fair? So it is not fair at all to be led on by a “cock tease,” but what happens if you go ahead and do what you want to do?—So what’s another option?—LEAVE.

However, the next day, you can tell her that it was horrible to do to someone, leading you to believe sex would happen, and then she withheld it. That you deserve better communication and better treatment, and that you would never date her again. AND tell her the next guy may not be so lovely. Another question is, Why don’t boys tell girls that there is a point at which a guy just CAN’T stop! Girls Defense sounds like, what kind of weak-willed guy are you? Are you so physically incapable of controlling your urges? That would make you less than a dog that can’t train to wait for a treat. Is it true that there is a point at which a guy can’t stop? Man—that must hurt! Is this where the term “blue balls” comes in? Do you think they turn blue? No

—just an intense pink! So girls can imagine a scene where stopping is very hard and excruciatingly painful. But would you keep going if grandma walked in? What happens if your mom or your dad walks? Would you say wait a second until I finish this?

Benefits of this Strategy:

  • It is disarming and removes prejudices: they are used to being accused and talked down to and shutting down
  • It allows for venting: It’s a huge relief to have a whole room see the post questions—you know from the beginning that you are being heard and that you have all these guys supporting you
  • It dismantles fears, and the sense of victimization men feel so that they can start to hear more about the problem and solutions that work
  • It allows for real education and changed behaviors

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