#metoo Needs to be a Male Movement

Before you click away from this article, hear us out.

By now we should all be very familiar with what the #metoo movement stands for. From the numerous allegations against people like Harvey Weinstein to the movement being named Time’s Person of the Year in 2017, it seems like every day a new allegation surfaces. And it’s not just in Hollywood. Anyone in a position of power, from police officers to politicians like former Senator Al Franken, have come under fire. And for good reason. Since the beginning of humankind, there has been sexual harassment and violence, mainly against women at the hands of men in power. It has always existed, but it has taken thousands of years and social technology for it to be shared and given the spotlight it deserves.

Now this is not to say that men cannot be victims as well. Brendan Fraser and Tyler Perry are just a few names that come to mind when thinking of males who have disclosed that they were victims of sexual abuse. And especially when it comes to young boys, one in six will be sexually abused before the age of 18 by other men and women.

Any look at the statistics, however, will show that these numbers pale in comparison to what women face. 91 percent of victims are female and one in five women will be raped in their lifetime. These statistics are not an effort to diminish what men experience and are not to say that females are not sometimes perpetrators, but they exemplify why the #metoo movement needs a male voice.

If done properly, protests can be an effective tool for inciting change, but they only work if people take them to heart. This could not be truer for the #metoo movement. Shining a spotlight on an issue and eradicating it are two very different things. For real change to occur in the realm of sexual harassment and assault, it is men who need to be empathetic and take a stand against something that may not affect their daily lives. As a male, here are three steps to take:

Hold Each Other Accountable

This is probably the most important step because many people look to their peers for moral justification. Not critiquing poor behavior enables it. One of the best examples of this is catcalling or street harassment which often occurs in a group. Not only is this awkward and disrespectful but it can be very threatening depending on the situation.

Mind Your Tone

It’s no big revelation that men and women speak differently to one another. So, what may seem like an innocuous joke in your circle of friends may be offensive or threatening to others, male or female. Don’t be tone deaf and argue with clichés like “society today is becoming offended too easily” or “I have a mother and sister, I know how to act.” As a male, you may never know what it feels like to be sexually intimidated, so take a step back and realize that your barometer for what qualifies as appropriate might not always be the most accurate.

Stay Away from Generalizations

Just as the idea that all males are pigs is harmful, so too is the assumption that most allegations of sexual misconduct are false. Yes, false allegations do happen. And yes, some women take advantage of the situation. But these represent a very small pool of exceptions.

Our legal system is set up so that defendants are innocent until proven guilty. While the presumption of innocence is an important aspect of our criminal justice system, this means many perpetrators are given the benefit of the doubt. Regarding sexual harassment or assault, this boils down to the idea that men are unfairly blamed until proven otherwise and women are liars until proven truthful. This is a very dangerous and slippery slope that does not foster trust between both genders.

If we truly want victims to share their story and put an end to this type of behavior, we need to start taking their word seriously. To that end, if you have been a victim of sexual assault or harassment as a male or female, please share your story here and know that you are not alone.

The first step to fixing a problem is identification, but after that, you need follow through. We’re looking at you, men.

 

68 comments

Sue L
Sue L13 days ago

Actually, I think it is a just plain human problem.

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Paulo R
Paulo Reeson2 months ago

ty

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Latoya B
Latoya Brookins3 months ago

I was so side eyeing that headline.

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Past Member
Past Member 3 months ago

noted

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Cindy S
Cindy Smith3 months ago

thanks

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Danii P
Past Member 3 months ago

Thank you

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Danii P
Past Member 3 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Danii P
Past Member 3 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Joemar K
Joemar Karvelis4 months ago

Thanks

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Leo Custer
Leo Custer4 months ago

Thank you for posting!

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