Giving out your phone number and online dating
And yet, conversations like this remain the third rail of the internet. Despite my best efforts to offer an open, honest, male response to sexual assault statistics, I got my ass handed to me. How can a man who is an ally strike the right tone much less make positive change? Other than that, maybe offer support, and try to be non-judgmental toward the victims.
If a man proffers his thoughts on sexual assault without impeccable sensitivity and understanding he risks being called a victim blamer, rape apologist, or misogynist. How can we wrestle with the problem and talk about these issues without rancor, ad hominem attacks, or slippery slope arguments? My belief is that, for reasons previously explained, women — not men – are the best advocates for creating awareness about sexual harassment. I’m only pointing out that #Me Too is infinitely more powerful than, well, me. Fear of having to be grilled by the police, go through the court system, and remind herself of the assault. I don’t think so, but these days, the lines are blurry for even the most liberal men. But anything else (and sometimes even that) could be misinterpreted.
I scrolled through my News Feed and read through the names. The bad guys — the ones who think it’s okay to routinely force themselves upon women — are sociopaths who are impervious to this type of discussion. What men don’t realize is that sexual assault DOES directly impact them. I can be more sympathetic, understanding and vigilant. This isn’t an easy conversation, but if you want men to actively fight sexual harassment, try not to attack the ones who are openly wrestling with our role in the problem.
So if we’re being honest, what can an average guy — your accountant, your handyman, your brother – do to stop sexual assault? You can’t “make” men talk to each other about this, any more than Starbucks made us conduct coffee-house conversations with its “Race Together” hashtag.“As a teacher with some experience of college men, I’d say that a large problem with focusing social change efforts on men is that the men most likely to be assholes to women are precisely the ones most likely to resist being enlightened.”Sadly, she’s right. Is it any surprise that the 94% of men who don’t commit sexual assault also don’t spend much time thinking about sexual assault? I can’t change my past, but I can change my perspective.
Not only will he feel like an outcast even among his own gender, he is aware that he will face confrontation (not necessarily just physical, but in general) with his own gender.
I see nothing wrong with a man letting out a quick whistle, and telling a woman that she is one beautiful woman – as long as that’s where it ends. Same when men make quick remarks about how hot a woman is to each other. And it also depends on how quickly it is dismissed, and how far it goes.
If all those men, however, would tell him that was a little over the top and rather uncalled-for, he was just knocked down a few notches by his own peers. Oftentimes, men who commit those crimes are not necessarily the most physically powerful.
When it comes to cat-calls and remarks in general, it is often not the fact that they were done at all, but the way things were said.
If other men, however, shun his behavior as well, the intimidation factor to the perpetrator becomes much greater.
At the very least, it takes away the feeling that other men are “on his side”, or support his behavior (silence can often be misinterpreted as support).
Is it better to speak up even if you have nothing meaningful to say?