As #MeToo emphasizes just how pervasive sexual assault and harassment actually is, it’s up to men to respond responsibly. Here is a perfect example.
Social media has become a place for women to share shockingly all-to-common experiences of sexual assault/harassment from across the world. The move is a stinging eye-opener about just how widespread the problem.
The global outcry began after a call to action by actress Alyssa Milano, in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Thousands of women acknowledged, on social media, that they too were victims. Their rallying cry? Two simple words — “Me too”.
Along with the two words, women have also shared their personal stories, as a way to make others feel less alone.
Amid this world-wide outpouring from women, the question does arise – what about the men? Of course, there is the usual set of misogynist and sexist remarks, but the vast majority have either shared their support or chosen to not react – leaving the space to women.
But is this the only two reactions a man can make? Actually no. There is a third reaction. One which involves direct acknowledgement of the role almost all men have in perpetuating a world where such things are possible.
And just in case men are not sure what exactly that means, here is the perfect example, posted by Gautam Mahajan, a Mumbai-based writer. Have a read of his Facebook post below.
Here is the text of the post below:I don’t usually get carried away by social media trends, but this time it’s different.
Me too – I laughed and participated in sexist jokes and misogynistic humour, thinking it was just what ‘men’ do.
Me too – I was part of a toxic culture where a woman was considered a conquest, an object created for physical gratification.
Me too – I threw the word ‘rape’ around casually, without understanding the gravity of what it meant, of what it represented.
Me too – I thought that men were in some way superior to women.
Me too – I represented everything I despise about masculinity today.
But it was the strong, intelligent, brilliant women I met who showed me how wrong I was – family, friends, flatmates, colleagues and partners. They made me realise how difficult life can be for a woman in this fucked up, patriarchal world that has no basis or logic for considering men better. They showed me the meaning of true strength, of what it takes to survive, even thrive, despite society trying to keep them down at every possible opportunity. And long before the sexual harassment they were subject to came to light, I knew that men have to do better, that women deserve much, much better.
I may not have the power to change this mindset, but I promise that I will not encourage it. That I will not be part of a conversation or social circle that considers women to be second-class citizens. It’s the least I can do. And I know that I’m not alone.
This seems like the perfect response to an increasingly important issue. Do let us know your thoughts below.