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Is the Internet a Safe Place for Women?

InternetStopIconRape, women’s rights, and men’s abuses are hot topics right now and in my own life too. A few weeks ago after an inappropriate online interaction, I started questioning if men have the ability to control their sexual responses once triggered. One night, I jumped onto an online dating site to test my luck. Soon after, a legitimate Prince Charming named Paul, contacted me. Paul was swoon-worthy in every sense of the word. Immediately upon contact, I felt a genuine spark and my heart opened just a little bit.

Our initial online conversation was flirty but respectful. I made it clear from the beginning that I was not looking for an online hookup but the start of a sincere connection. He confirmed that he was looking for the real deal too. That made me smile.

After about an hour, Paul started pushing my boundaries and slowly moved into the no-fly zone of sexual innuendo. I again impressed upon him that I was not looking for a virtual shag but an honest-to-goodness real connection. He went further and asked me if he could masturbate while thinking of me. I asked him not to because I felt that he was taking something from me that I was not willing to give.

It felt like a violation. He persisted. I retreated. He continued. His sexual desire took hold of him and he tipped over the edge. He spewed porny, degrading, explicit filth to get off at my expense. I ended the conversation quickly and felt dirty, disrespected and terribly used. I was somewhat dazed that a stranger could violate me, especially because there wasn’t any physical contact. Honestly, it felt like an online rape.

Later that night, I wrote him to get a few things off my chest. As much as I wanted to let it go, I couldn’t.  I felt abused.

I wrote:

Hi Paul,

You seem like a cool guy and on paper; you have many of the qualities that I am looking for in a friend, lover and partner. After our interaction, I think that you are a self-centered, manipulative douchebag.

I was insulted that you turned me into to a sexual toy for you to use, especially when I said that I was not looking for a hook up. It felt predatory. By doing so, you not only disrespected me, but also disrespected yourself and your sacred sexuality. You give all guys a bad name with your behaviour and made me think that you are a walking, throbbing penis, unable to control your sexual urges. That is a pretty embarrassing way to represent men.

Frankly, your behaviour and sexual aggression is more the antics of a 15 year old boy who doesn’t know better than a functioning, fully formed adult.

I ask that you respect women and yourself more. We all need more love and compassion. I felt dirty and violated by our interaction.

with light, Elana

Surprisingly, he wrote back an authentic, apologetic response. He said that he did not mean to disrespect me and that his response was vulgar and inappropriate. He said that he would exercise more respect and caution in the future. With that, he deleted his profile.

The experience left me with a lot of questions and very few answers. I wondered if Prince Charming Paul had a sex addiction or if he falsely represented himself. I wondered what motivates a man to act even when a woman says no. I also questioned what does this all mean for sexual equality and respect for women’s bodies and boundaries.

I have heard many other women confess that they too had a sexual violation online. Is the online forum an opportunity for men to express their most vulgar, indecent proclivities safely behind their computer screens? Did Paul do the right thing by apologizing and deleting his account?

When a woman says no, either online or in person, that NO must be respected. Men can temper their sexual responses regardless if the woman is hot, a tease, or seems to be giving mixed signals. Take a cold shower, think unsexy thoughts. No means no. I said no. I do see how men can use online anonymity to their sexual advantage.  It hurts and leaves scars. If you cannot give her the respect she deserves, kindly pay for the sex you crave somewhere else. That is a more equal exchange.

This post is dedicated to all the women and men who have suffered sexual abuses and to Jyoti Singh Pandey. May she rest in peace.

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2 comments on “Is the Internet a Safe Place for Women?

  1. Paul was quite obviously way out of line. That kind of behavior is inexcusable and lends doubt to how such a person treats anyone, not just women. It makes me embarrassed to be male. Why is it that some men show no knowledge or appreciation of limits and civil behavior? Really, it isn’t difficult. You treat people the way you yourself would like to be treated. Does he have some deep desire to be abused? I don’t even want to know the answer to that one.

  2. Hey Stephan,

    thanks for your comments. I was pretty blown away by the experience. I actually wanted to know more about him and his motivations (because of my work with men) to answer some of the same questions you had. He deleted his account and thus disappeared from from my internet life.

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