Rape, Blame, and Taking Responsibility (A Parody of HugoBoy)

You might be wondering who “HugoBoy” is. “HugoBoy” is the adopted moniker of Hugo Schwyzer, an avowed male feminist who maintains a blog on the Internet. Recently, Hugo shared a personal story about his marital history. He contrasted his self-imputed fortitude with the supposed bitterness of Men’s Rights Activists. By way of introduction to his personal story, he repeated a quote from male feminist Michael Flood:

“The men in men’s rights groups are typically in their forties and fifties, often divorced or separated, and nearly always heterosexual. In both general men’s rights groups and fathers’ rights groups, participants often are very angry, bitter and hurting (with good reason, they would say), and they often have gone through deeply painful marriage breakups and custody battles.”

Hugo then added:

“From what I can tell, his assessment of the MRA demographic is fairly accurate, though it seems that some of the most vitriolic of MRAs are much younger. (Or perhaps their anger merely seems adolescent. They also seem — though I have no proof of this –to be overwhelmingly white.)”

From my perspective that statement is about enlightening as opining that all feminists are either “ugly, fat woman who can’t get laid” or “sissy men who don’t eat red meat.” One can claim they also seem to be “overwhelmingly white.” But seriously, my thanks goes out to Hugo for showing how utterly presumptuous he and his colleagues are regarding a wide and diverse aggregate of men he’s never met in his life.

Anyway, Hugo tries to use the three divorces he went through to illustrate that men should learn to move beyond their bitterness. Yes, three divorces. Considering the number, I am perhaps in agreement with Hugo that he may have been a contributing factor to his failed marriages. If he wishes to assume a modicum of responsibilty for all that has befallen him, that is acceptable. What is not acceptable is the unfair generalization he consequently seeks to make about Men’s Right Activists who have suffered through divorces.

So here is my parody of Hugo’s discourse:


Hi, my name is Suzy Sunshine. I’ve been raped three times. They took place at different times in my life; the first was by my father, the second by an acquaintance at college, and the third by my ex-husband. Now I will say this because I think it’s important: none of the treatment I received made me angry at men!

Rape is many things: painful, overwhelming, frightening. It’s like nothing else I’ve ever gone through, and going through it more than once does not, I assure you, make it any easier. Praise Jesus, I never had children (at least not the two-legged variety) by my rapists. Surely, unwanted kids would have added a whole new dimension of heartache. But the fact that the instances of rape were brief and childless does not mean that they were not immensely traumatizing. And it doesn’t mean that I walked through those assaults without anger.

But there’s a world of difference between being angry at an individual and being angry at an entire sex, or the entire culture! It’s perfectly normal to be angry after being raped, though it’s vitally important to process through that anger as quickly as possible. Without getting into details, my last rape was incredibly expensive to me financially, especially in terms of lost work time, stays at the hospital, and counseling costs. For a very brief period, I was furious about the money — and the health — I had lost. Then I figured that even a six-figure sum was a small price to pay for what the harrowing experience of rape taught me about myself.

Rape can be “good” when the individuals involved take their own separate responsibility for the unfortunate encounter. All of my rapists had their “part” in the crime, but it isn’t my job (and it isn’t spiritually healthy) for me to brood on their guilt. My job, as a woman and as a Christian, was to focus only on where I fell short (and trust me, I fell very short of the mark of an “aware woman.”). I could have stood up to my father; I could have not worn provocative clothing to that fraternity party in college; and I could have been less critical of my ex-husband. Anyway, I plunged back into therapy after my last rape. I prayed and did a great deal of spiritual work. I did my best, and am still trying to do my best, to face up to my own “baggage” and “filth” and get rid of it. The pain was tremendous — but the work was incredibly freeing, and as a consequence, I’m in a spiritual and emotional position to trust men again.

I don’t think rape is a good thing, in general. But I do think that for some people, it can be a catalyst for positive personal transformation. My three experiences forced me to confront things about myself I might never have otherwise confronted. Sometimes only a rapist can point out to you the extent of your own brokenness. All three of my rapists, especially the last, did a fine job of calling my attention to my own lack of circumspection about how women provoke men. For that, I’m so grateful! I don’t talk to any of my rapists, and that’s surely for the best. But wherever they are, I wish them health and happiness and joy — and I thank them for what I learned from them. The agony of our encounters made me stronger, wiser, and a heck of a lot more compassionate.

I am convinced that my latest boyfriend and I will make our marriage last. I am more in love with him than I have ever been with any man. More importantly, thanks to God’s grace and the work I have had to do to clear up my personal wreckage, I humbly believe I have the tools to be an extraordinarily devoted wife.

When faced with the trauma of rape, one has a choice. One can get bogged down in blame and bitterness, or one can honestly face up to one’s own myriad mistakes and shortcomings. One can point fingers, or one can take responsibility. Too often, on the subject of men and rape, I see the feminists trapped in that blame and bitterness. Too infrequently, I see self-criticism and a willingness to transform. When I became convinced that it was I who was the architect of my own adversity, and not my rapists, I took the first key step towards healing and growing up.

If that sounds condescending, I’m sorry. But three experiences of rape have earned me the right to speak on this subject.


Now, I can imagine the responses some may have to this parody:

1. “That’s sick! How can you compare the brutal act of rape to a divorce!”

Why not? How is the destruction of your family and financial life a piece of cake compared to rape? The psychological trauma of divorce is no laughing matter. People commit suicide over messy divorces, Sherlock.

2. “You are making light of women who have been raped.”

No, I am making light of a man’s attempt to make light of the pain of other men.

3. “Divorces are sometimes justifiable! Rape is never justifiable!”

I think it’s more apropos to say that some forms of sexual initiation are never justifiable and some divorces are never justifiable. I think that unjustifiable divorce proceedings are a form of cruelty that is roughly on par with marital rape.

4. “Hugo deserves to speak out on this! He’s had three divorces!”

With all due respect for Hugo and his experiences, I am of the opinion that he has some issues much like the woman in my parody has. Letting go of bitterness is quite honorable. Unjustifiably accepting all the blame on behalf of one’s sex is not. Hugo wants other men to follow his lead in self-flagellation, but the fact is none of Hugo’s failed marriages involved children. For other men, their situation is often different. I don’t want to make light of Hugo’s divorces, but his experiences, comparatively speaking, rank with a man breaking up with his girlfriend.

One final point: I find it interesting that Hugo would imply that men need to do something on the level of just “sucking it up and being a man.” He wants them to be self-critical and eschew any notion of seeing themselves as victims. In this manner, Hugo affirms a traditional notion of masculinity: Men are primarily responsible, if not solely responsible, for resolving any personal problems they may have with women. Someone in another age might the express the sentiment thusly: “If you can’t take care of your business with the little lady at home, what else can you not take care of?” But from other writings by Hugo, you would think he would abandon such an outdated notion of masculinity. You would think Hugo would acknowledge that a man can be victimized by a woman, especially when the government and culture prevents a man’s ability to defend himself. I want to give Hugo credit in light of his own personal hardships, but he, like other feminists, dwells in a Carrollesque land of illogic and hypocrisy. Regrettably, that is the only salient observation to be carried away from Hugo’s narrative.

4 Responses to “Rape, Blame, and Taking Responsibility (A Parody of HugoBoy)”

  1. 1 NYMOM
    April 6, 2005 at 8:17 am

    I just want to say for the record that many mens’ rights advocates have NO CHLLDREN…so are you saying they have no right to be angry if they have no children?

    Since one of the BIGGEST ASSES out there is Angry Harry…and he’s mad as hell and not going to take it any more “he claims”…and saids women are emotional terrorists and all this other crap about us and guess what he doesn’t even have any kids…

    So if having kids is the criteria you use for being a mad MRA then about half of you are automatically disqualified…

  2. April 8, 2005 at 9:07 am

    Great Blog. Keep on going your own way brother; don’t let the harridans shout you down.

  3. April 13, 2005 at 12:53 pm

    I’ll second that Bravo Jessy!! Good Job from our Fellow Antistatist!

    So-called “NYMOM” (Trish-the-Tyrannt)…..
    [****** expletive deleted by Administrator]

  4. April 23, 2005 at 12:58 am

    I like the article, but I have to say this singling out of Hugo by a great many MRA’s is getting old. Sure, he’s a self important idiot, but he’s hardly unique. Hell, there’s one of him for every ten skanks, at least.

    The host of this Blog knows me and knows that I in NO WAY support the cockamamie Bulls*** that Hugo spews on a regular basis, so don’t even go there. Just don’t narrow your focus so much. The gentleman who runs the blog and I disagree severely on religion, but not anti statism nor feminism. We’d do better to target people much higher in the food chain than a pinhead with delusions of victimhood.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: