In the wake of the social media movement #MeToo, where women openly discussed their experiences with sexual harassment and assault, some men have piggybacked off this trend to out themselves as abusers, apparently for the special sex offender cookies we give to those brave enough to talk about their crimes.
John Miller, business coach, yoga instructor, and rapist, made a public Facebook post bravely outing himself not as a sexual abuser, but a man laden with guilt and shame at at the thought that he could be associated with the term.
Starting off, one could assume that he was merely trying to score some male ally brownie points.
“I think most men are seeing these “me too” posts and thinking, “Not me! I never abused a woman.” Not so fast bro, take another moment before you give yourself a pass.”
Miller overcomes this shortsightedness to admit his own shortcomings, stating the following:
“I have crossed women’s boundaries on many occasions in my life…I have pressured women into having sex with me through emotional manipulation many times. I have had sex with women who were too drunk. Even with consistent partners, I know there were times she didn’t want to have sex, but went with it anyway just to please me.”
Unfortunately, Miller’s myopia stops any real criticism and reflection upon his abuse and violence. Instead of facing reality, Miller continues to make his pain as a rapist eclipse the experience of all the women he abused.
“So here’s the main point. If an experience is traumatic for the woman, it is also traumatic for the man. But men have a really hard time looking at this. Abuser is the last thing we ever want to be labeled as.” -John Miller
Indeed, the slow realisation of any wrongdoing is deeply painful to the rapist.
“This is incredibly damaging to us, because if we have traumatized a women in any way though a sexual experience, we are holding onto massive amounts of shame and guilt.”
So, how then does a rapist – pardon me, a man that “crosses women’s boundaries” – absolve himself of any and all guilt?
He tells the women around him that he’s a rapist, of course! That, I’m sure, was an empowering and safe conversation for all.
“I began to tell my story to the women in my life. And sure enough, the guilt began to release. They understood I had acted out of ignorance. Through this process, I was able to forgive myself.”
However, it wasn’t enough for Miller to talk about his shame and hurt about raping women, but now he’s stepped up to take the complex, diverse, (and now it seems, woefully inclusive) discussion of sexual assault to an even higher zenith.
“So this is where I want to take the conversation. We must seek to understand, not to be understood. Through understanding we find forgiveness. Through forgiveness, we find peace.”
I find it absolutely incredible that Miller wrote this diatribe in the true belief that his take as a rapist was in anyway valuable or productive. In one fell swoop, he exposed himself, absolved himself of his guilt, and wrapped up his abuse into a pretty package on forgiving (and hopefully for Miller, forgetting). This is emblematic of what #MeToo intended to combat – the disgusting trend of how men can openly abuse women and just go back to their normal lives, while we are left to pick up the pieces.
The remarkable ignorance of men like Miller that by admitting their crimes, they have done enough, shows how far we have to come.