Dear John, Let me just explain the Patriarchy to you

Because you still don’t seem to get it

Susie Kahlich
7 min readJan 23, 2022


Photo by Dmitry Ratushny on Unsplash

Last week I wrote an article about violence against women. This is also sometimes referred to as “gender-based violence,” meaning: people who feel entitled to enact violence on others purely because of their target’s gender. The point of the article was to illustrate that the skills and knowledge to defend ourselves as women is often withheld from us, thanks to Patriarchal structures.

Before I go any further, John, let’s remember that gender-based violence isn’t only based on the way someone looks. It’s used to reinforce gender stereotypes and roles.

You commented on this article, John, and said that men are subject to higher rates of stranger-based violence than women. You said that, if anything, men should be more afraid than women.

Firstly, let me just say, John: I don’t think there is anyone of any gender who does not carry a healthy fear of a gruesome death by the hands of a violent sociopath.

It seems pretty equal to me.

The point I was trying to make, John, is that boys and men are made aware of the violence of the world from a very young age (and in some ways made to even celebrate or emulate the violence of the world), through toys, TV shows, movies, books and the prevalent definitions of “what it means to be a man”.

Part of that definition socializes boys and men to protect and defend themselves and the people and things they love. Boys and men are given access to the tools, and often simply given the tools— whether they use them or not — to learn how to use their bodies in defensive ways in the face of violence.

Women and girls are not.

Women and girls are told that we are too small, too weak, too soft, to effectively defend ourselves from violence. We are also told that the threat of violence presents itself in the forms of rape and murder, while at the same time being told that these types of violence are rare. We are told that, as long as we stay in our lane, stay in our gendered roles, we will be safe from violence, or at least from the more…



Susie Kahlich

CEO of SINGE | Founder of Pretty Deadly Self Defense @ | Former producer of art podcast Artipoeus: art you can hear @