In the last month, allegations of sexual harassment and abuse have come out against Hollywood heavy hitters. Powerful men like Harvey Weinstein, Matthew Wiener(creator of Mad Men) Brett Ratner(over 300 women have come out against him), Kevin Spacey (House of Cards) and Louie CK.
And through this, a lot of women were able to come out with their own stories of sexual harassment under the hash tag that trended widely, #MeToo.
The stories were heartbreaking. Women have kept silent and hold in a lot of their pain because of fear of being deemed unworthy in society’s eyes. Plus there’s the whole culture of blaming the victim. We all, I’m sure, have these ‘me too’ stories.
I am so glad that the conversation has been started and I know from this we can be able to effect real change as a society.
That this culture of entitlement to and harassing women be done away with.
However I’m not naive to think it will change tomorrow.
I asked a few friends of mine to talk about this…The following is what they had to say.
I think society has placed alot of expectations on women. Expectations to be perfect, well mannered, look a certain way,…with this also comes the fear of what people will think of a person if they knew she lost her virginity (some how this has failed to apply to the men/boys as well). With this fear has come the silence on sexual harassment and rape.The fear of labels and accusations being immediately thrown at any girl/woman who claims she was raped.
“She asked for it!”,
“She is a slut”…
See, in a world were you are expected to have it all together there seems to be no room for you to be vulnerable. If these expectations cut across both sexes, the boys would know how a woman should be treated at a very young age, they would also know the value of speaking up when their “boys” trash talk girls because harassment always starts with speech.
I believe in empowering women but I also believe in empowering this generation of young men to learn how to speak up and protect their female peers.
I have read a shocking amount of posts, women sharing their #metoo stories and I have found myself searching deep within, introspectively going through all past interactions to see if in anyway I too have contributed.
I too am guilty….
I might not have done anything but that is my crime, not doing anything.
The are some truly bad men out there… and there also good men, but as an old quote states,
“for evil men to get away with their bad deeds it is only necessary that good men to look on and do nothing”
I need to do more, I need to step up; we need to do more, to step up….
They say all men are brothers, then it’s our duty to keep out brothers in line. To call them out when they step out of line.
Well, I don’t think a hash tag will miraculously end sexual harrassment in any way. For starters how many of the offenders are on social media?
I consider myself an active user of social media but guess what, you’ve just enlightened me on the #MeToo.
Imho, social media contribution to ending sexual violence can be huge, but not through a hash tag. What people should focus on is behavioral change communication to address the gender norms that perpetuate all forms of Gender Based Violence, not only SGBV.
👆🏽that there is my take on #MeToo
The most baffling thing about sexual harassment is the fact that an awful lot of people don’t see it as wrong. Some see it as a right or something of that sort. I suggest we tackle this from the roots. Teach that it’s wrong, right from our homes, our schools, our workplaces. Get people to abhor this abomination as much as they do things like theft and murder.
Sexual harassment is as real as it gets. Forget the downtown groping, that’s another one…it’s worse that in the places we think we’re “supposed” to feel safe, it’s done in the most subtle ways that leave you holding your shoulders in, with discomfort. We now have to look out for ourselves EVERYWHERE we are, and happen to go.
I’m just saying we ALL have a story.
I’m sure these things happen to men too. And i guess it’s harder for them to come out. I just want to say that regardless of what’s going on, as we keep our guards up to stand up for ourselves, we can be each other’s strength. People that have been through worse, been violated, been robbed of innocence, could use your shoulders and ears.
Listen to, love, and protect your neighbour.
I think the world is teaching boys to look at young girls and women as sexual beings that you lure into sexual acts just for the satisfaction, ignoring the emotions of these girls and women. It(the world) has paid less attention to this both physical and psychological torture of these special beings. A man with zero respect for a woman is most likely to have sons battering and abusing women. So I think we need to take it back to the family unit, where it all begins from. Some of these things are better taught at home than in schools because home teaches you behavior and builds character. Whatever image I portray to my sons, that image is what they will become.
On behalf of the sober men we say SORRY! Its regrettable and we need to make amends. We need to make it better.