I propose ‘Mensurance’ – insurance policies to cover the shitty behaviour of men where socio-political structures fail to provide adequate protection and/or recourse to people who have to bear the brunt of their behaviour.
Hear me out.
Last week in Sri Lanka, I had my ass pinched on a public train in daylight and - again - there was no recourse for his behaviour. I squawked, no-one moved, and he left the train to continue his day. Meanwhile, I get a full mental re-run of the previous times I have been groped, grabbed, and choked and the associated physical symptoms of stress.
I am tired of footing the social, physical, emotional, and financial bill for this behaviour which has always been from a man. It seems to me that consumers have more rights than humans (more on that to come in another post) and any solution needs to reflect this.
These guys never get held to account and are part of the wider trend of this type of ‘Invisible Men’; men who behave in really shitty ways and melt into the background. They leave the problems, the solutions, the labour, and the impact of their actions for other people to carry, often for years.
Invisible Men sit behind systems, families, relationships, and businesses and are emotionally unavailable and/or unwilling to invest in platonic, romantic, or business relationships and carry on though life without any recourse for their actions.
One Invisible Man I encountered, slipped off a condom where I had expressly consented to protected sex only during our three-month relationship. On entry, I realised immediately there was no condom and he was ejected from the apartment as shock burned through me and into a long running fury.
Not only did I have to explain to him what was wrong with his actions, I had to swallow the response from him. It was an ‘apology’ for being a ‘naughty boy’; if that sounds like he was trying to make himself invisible. He was.
There’s a name for slipping off a condom without consent, it’s called ‘stealthing’ and discussions about it were all over Reddit. Huffington Post called it a ‘sex trend’. It’s not illegal although Australia had one case where someone was prosecuted.
When it happened to me, there wasn’t a single social or legal system to hold him accountable. Invisible Men minimise their actions, minimise their impact, and disappear [as he could and did] to leave the problems, the solutions, the labour, and the impact for other people to carry.
I did, I do, and I will.
I hold tight to the knowledge that consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy. I felt blessed only to get an STD and that I never felt like a victim because the law didn’t consider it rape.
To be honest, it doesn't even matter to me whether it was rape or not. What matters to me is how Invisible Men sit comfortably in systems, families, relationships, and businesses, treat people horribly, and melt into the background as they continue to succeed. Here's an interview he got with CNN thanks to my contacts whilst we were dating.
Not for a minute do I expect Invisible Men to proactive. Nor do I believe that the law necessarily provides solutions. It seems to me that consumers have more rights than humans.
I've been manhandled (pun intended) more times than my house has been robbed, my health has been shaken, or my car has been damaged and it's on this basis that I’d like to see an insurance policy to mitigate the impact of the shitty behaviour of men.
If I applied the same risk metrics to the probability of harm from men as the market does to driving, owning a home, and travelling abroad, Mensurance seems like an obvious bloody solution.
In the spirit of fairness, it’s true that in the UK the government steps in sometimes to solve the problems left by Invisible Men.
When men leave, who financially supports a single mum?
When men are violent, who funds refuges for women affected by domestic abuse?
When consent to pregnancy in sex is overridden, who funds abortions?
Who deals with the mental health impacts of emotional absence and psychological abuse?
Where the government can’t or won't address the problem in part or full, charities step in although funding for charities is notoriously stretched. Imagine paying £2, £20, or £200 a month for an insurance policy designed to support your specific circumstances based on the inherent risks that come from engaging with men.
I want to see the creation of an economy of scale that safeguards all women at a scale that is accessible to everyone. With the profits, we can invest in economies of scale to work to mitigate the risk of the shitty behaviour of men on a structural level.
How? By investing in tech and solutions so that everyone can afford to regulate their own fertility for the physical, emotional, and financial cost of a condom; everyone can afford not to marry or to leave a relationship safely; everyone can afford to bring up children alone and keep their jobs; everyone can choose not to have children without stigma; and everyone can make decisions free from violence or the threat of poverty.
For me, it's hard to believe that navigating a well written insurance policy is any more difficult than the laws and charities that exist.
My dad said he knew when he had three girls they would be more expensive but couldn’t answer why. It's because we all know the inherent risks of living with and around men, and who foots the bill. Why do I know loads of people that have been affected by the shitty behaviour of men but no perpetrators?
My suggestion? Let the Invisible Men stay invisible, and we can work around them and create our own solutions based on their current behaviour. Developing an insurance policy based on researching the risks and likelihood of violence from men would provide protection and respond to risk in an innovative way. Sanctions are important, but safer systems are central to longevity, sustainability, and society.
If you think I hate men, I’d say #NotAllMen. There is a long and vast list of men I love.
I love the man who had a proper conversation with his nephew who was disciplined at school for hugging and made sure his nephew continued hugging the family.
I love the man who does the emotional labour for his family and who became a role model for his brother until their Father’s sentence is finished.
I love the man who put his own grief on hold after the unexpected death of a friend and sister in a few months to support his family.
I love the man who called out the absent fathers of his and his new wife in his groom’s speech in a sincere and serious manner, without taking away any of the love of a wedding day.
These are the men who understand and practice consent, respect, peace, and equity. They are willing to invest and evolve their platonic, romantic, or business relationships. They identify the problems, look for the solutions, do the labour, see the impact and reduce the burden for other people to carry. These are the men I will love.
For the rest of you, I want fully comprehensive cover.