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Trading places: If men were treated this way, would the rules have changed by now?

Opinion

Frustration with the treatment of women across all walks of life has reached boiling point in recent weeks. But would things have played out differently if the gender roles were reversed, asks Rebecca Levingston

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Let’s play opposites… and see how it feels.

I’ve used real stories and quotes, but swapped the genders – men for women, genitalia for genitalia.

Rape is still rape. Murder is still murder.

But see how you feel reading the news when the genders are reversed.

A former male Liberal minister has called out “secret women’s business” in federal Parliament.

He said he recalled a group of women who called themselves the “big swinging c..ts”.

They actively blocked the leadership aspirations of men.

“It was a very gendered thing obviously when you call yourself that, and you’re all women in the group,” he said.

The allegations of sexual harassment were not limited to one side of politics.

In a closed social media group made up of more than 1,300 male current and former Australian Labor party staffers, men have detailed their experiences of working with some of the women in the party, furiously declaring they will no longer be silent.

The stories range from women name-calling and abusing men to inappropriate comments, pressuring men for sex, and plying men with alcohol to the point that consent could not be ascertained.

Australia’s sex discrimination commissioner will lead a review into parliamentary workplace culture.

Meanwhile, thousands of stories from young males experiencing sexual assault have been collated in a response to growing frustration about appalling female behaviour.

More than 4000 graphic allegations of sexual assault have been sent to a male former student in the 10 days since he launched an online petition calling for better consent education at school.

The testimonies published so far have described in detail young men’s experiences of their female peers from school forcing them to perform oral or anal sex, or raping them while they were asleep or unconscious.

“Everyone is realising this could be a massive tipping point in our society,” he said.

“We need a complete flip in what is normal.”

And this:

As Australia rallies for a reckoning on gendered violence, thousands of men have taken to the streets this week to protest violence against men. Grandfathers who’ve been calling for change for decades are marching with their sons and grandsons. Nationwide anger and demand for action has not been seen since the 2017 Men’s March in America.

The backlash in the US, was prompted by a tape of a female Presidential nominee that revealed the candidate bragging about using her fame to try and “f*ck” men and groping them without waiting for their consent.

“I did try and f*ck him. He was married,” she said.

“I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing him. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.

“Grab ’em by the c..k. You can do anything.”

After the tape emerged, the female candidate dismissed the conversation as “powder room banter”.

She won the election and became the President of the United States, the leader of the free world.

Does it feel different to read the news with genders reversed?

If one man a week was being murdered by a woman in Australia, would the response be different?

If one in three Australian men had experienced sexual violence perpetrated by a woman, would the response be different?

If ten men a day were hospitalised for assault injuries perpetrated by a spouse, would the response be different?

The stories, statistics, quotes in this column are all accurate.

They all happened.

To women.

But what if it was men who bore the brunt of gendered violence?

What would change? And when?

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