Tipping the Iceberg: Positionality and Male Privilege in Addressing Sexual Violence Against Women

GERALD WALTON, JACOB BEAUDROW

Abstract


In November 2013, the authors collaborated on a presentation called Tackling Rape
Culture Requires a Team Effort. The central aim was to locate the problem where
it should be located: on men, or more specifically, on the heteronormative, hypermasculine
cultures of men that can breed rape culture attitudes and behaviours. In
the few days prior to the presentation, the authors came to a critical point of divergence.
One felt that it would be an oversight to not mention how some women contribute
to and support rape culture, while the other felt that doing so would be seen
as lecturing women and, thus, reinscribing patriarchy and sexism. Through their
email exchange, they came to understand that their disagreement arose from positionality,
specifically concerning sexuality identity. Their article addresses how positionality
and privilege are key to tackling, and even talking about, rape culture on
campuses. They explore the complications that they worked through as they planned
for the presentation, and suggest strategies by which men who work against violence
against women can address identity and positionality to enhance their activism
on post-secondary campuses and in society.

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