The motto of Guyland is “Bros Before Hos.” One remains steadfastly loyal to your guy friends, your bros, and one never even considers siding with women, the hos, against a brother. It is the guys to whom your primary allegiance must always be offered, and for many that may even extend to abetting a crime. Anything less is a betrayal of Guyland.
No one is immune to the culture of silence. Every single kid is culpable. If you still don’t think this has anything to do with you, ask yourself what you would have done. If you think this has nothing to do with your son, ask him what he would do if he heard about such a thing. Then ask him when was the last time he actually did hear about such a thing.
The culture of silence is the culture of complicity. The bystanders may think that they withdraw their support—by turning away, leaving the scene, or just standing stoically by—but their silence reinforces the behaviors anyway. It’s as strong an unwritten code as the police department’s famed “blue wall of silence,” or the Mafia’s infamous rule of “omerta,” or the secret rituals of the Masons. Breaking the silence is treason, worse, perhaps, than the activities themselves.
The relationship between perpetrators and bystanders is crucial in Guyland. Peer loyalty shields the perpetrators, and helps us explain the question of numbers. Despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of guys do not sexually assault their teammates, gang rape college women at fraternity parties, or indulge in acts of unspeakable cruelty, they also do nothing to stop it.
Most bystanders are relatively decent guys. But they are anything but “innocent.” The bystander comforts himself with the illusion “this isn’t about me. I’ve never bullied anyone.” This is similar to the reaction of white people when confronted with discussions of racism or sexism on campus. “It’s not about me! My family didn’t own slaves.” Or “I never raped anyone. These discussions about sexual violence are not about me.”
It is about them. The perpetrators could not do what they do without the amoral avoidance and silence of the bystanders. In a way, the violence is done for them—and so it is most definitely about them.”
Michael Kimmel, Guyland
the idea that the bystanders are “relatively decent guys” though? no
Speaking out against rape/sexual assault is the only way to eradicate rape culture.