Why Men Aren’t Speaking Up About the #MeToo Movement

I scrolled through my NewsFeed and read through the names.

It was overwhelming. Shocking. Soul-crushing.

The old co-worker who is an animal and human rights activist.

The founder of a teen literacy program.

The woman who works at a prominent tech company.

The CEO of a Silicon Valley start-up.

The former model who runs a high-end lifestyle brand.

The girl I went to summer camp with in the early ‘90s.

The woman who is dating my brother-in-law.

The entertainment lawyer who danced with me at a friend’s wedding.

Louisette Geiss, one of the women who accused Harvey Weinstein.

Hundreds of women. My friends. And I didn’t know what to say.

I wanted to express my support.

I didn’t want to say anything tone-deaf.

I wanted to join the outrage.

I didn’t want to come off as phony and insincere.

I wanted to be on the right side of history.

I was paralyzed by fear of getting it wrong.

I wanted to say something about being a happily married man, a father of a daughter, a dating coach for women.

I learned that none of those things mattered because this is a human problem that shouldn’t be impacted by my relationships with women.

So I kept reading, but I said nothing. And it forced me to think:

Are my female Facebook friends taking my silence as a lack of sympathy?

Are my female Facebook friends taking my silence as a lack of sympathy?

Is it better to speak up even if you have nothing meaningful to say?

Do we actually need another voice in the cacophony condemning Weinstein, or are the millions of women who are telling their #MeToo stories good enough?

Then I thought: is my silence part of the problem?

Is it anything like the silence of the enablers at Miramax, or the Hollywood community who turned a blind eye because “hey, what are you gonna do?”

I flash back to a rape awareness lecture during college orientation.

I remember my neighbor, an overly earnest guy, raising his hand in his overly earnest way, and asking the facilitator, “What can I, as a man, do to prevent rape?”

Twenty-five years later, I remember my snarky response: “Don’t rape anyone.”

In retrospect, it doesn’t sound good, but I meant it.

Thanks to #MeToo, I know way too many women who have been sexually assaulted.

I’ve never met one guy who has admitted to sexual assault.

So if we’re being honest, what can an average guy – your accountant, your handyman, your brother – do to stop sexual assault?

It’s not a rhetorical question. It’s a sincere and confused one.

It may sound nice to think we’re going to get Derek to engage in a conversation with Brayden about the denigrating nature of catcalling, but it’s simply unrealistic.

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.

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.

Author Laura Kipnis acknowledged the same in her book “Unwanted Advances.” “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.

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.

The good guys – the ones who would never commit sexual assault – can only throw up their hands, wondering how to avoid getting lumped in with the bad guys.

It’s a societal conundrum.

Men are causing the problem, but are men the solution to the problem?

I don’t know.

The fact is: most of us tend not to think about issues until they directly impact us: Health care. Climate change. Immigration. Tax reform. Education.

All seem distant until YOUR health care is cut or YOUR house is under water.

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?

What men don’t realize is that sexual assault DOES directly impact them.

Sexual assault creates a culture of fear, distrust, and wariness that millions of clueless men cannot grasp until watershed moments like this.

Sexual assault creates a culture of fear, distrust, and wariness that millions of clueless men cannot grasp until watershed moments like this.

Which is why I think #MeToo is vitally important.

It shines light on the horrors faced by women which most men cannot fathom.

It creates a swell of awareness that this behavior is more rampant than we knew.

It makes people perpetrating these crimes profoundly uncomfortable at being outed.

And yet, conversations like this remain the third rail of the internet.

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.

I know. I’ve done it before. Despite my best efforts to offer an open, honest, male response to sexual assault statistics, I got my ass handed to me.

I know. This isn’t about me. But it is about men.

We’re half of society, and we all have to live together on this planet.

So how are the 94% supposed to contend with the 6% who are tarnishing our gender?

How can a man who is an ally strike the right tone much less make positive change?

How can we wrestle with the problem and talk about these issues without rancor, ad hominem attacks, or slippery slope arguments?

I guess that’s why I’m writing this post.

My belief is that, for reasons previously explained, women – not men – are the best advocates for creating awareness about sexual harassment.

I’m not letting men off the hook.

I’m only pointing out that #MeToo is infinitely more powerful than, well, me.

I’m aware why women don’t want to talk and prefer men to take up the mantle.

Fear of not being believed. Fear of not wanting to relive the trauma. Fear of having to be grilled by the police, go through the court system, and remind herself of the assault.

But if women don’t talk about their sexual assaults – for their own valid reasons – it’s hard to expect men to fully understand the scope of the problem.

But if women don’t talk about their sexual assaults – for their own valid reasons – it’s hard to expect men to fully understand the scope of the problem.

Yet even that innocuous sentiment brought some blowback from a reader.

“Placing the burden on victims and survivors to give and share their horrific traumas and mentally relive them so that other people can take and receive that knowledge, which the victims already know from personal experience is likely to be questioned, doubted, diminished, disregarded, or reacted to with defensiveness, is another ‘taking away something’ from them.”

Honestly, I don’t know what to do with that.

Does this mean I’m unsympathetic? Does that mean I’m one of “those guys”?

I don’t think so, but these days, the lines are blurry for even the most liberal men.

If you don’t speak out, you’re part of the problem.

If you speak out and accidentally offend, you’re part of the problem.

Which leaves pretty much every sympathetic man in a bit of a bind.

Most men agree women should speak out.

Most men agree there should be consequences for perpetrators of sexual harassment.

Most men will never fully understand what it’s like to be objectified at a young age or repeatedly threatened by men of greater strength or power.

If anything, it’s too painful to look at head-on, so we look away. Or minimize it. Or sweep it under the rug.

Or struggle to square the staggering statistics with our own limited experience.

I look at the situation closer. I try to take stock of how I am complicit.

I wonder if I have anything in common with Weinstein, Ailes, and Trump.

I think of every woman I’ve ever hit on.

I think of every sexual encounter I’ve ever had.

I wonder if I was ever “that guy.” The guy who came on too strong. The guy who couldn’t take no for an answer.

I realize I was.

I remember hitting on a woman at a bar in New York City after 8 vodka tonics. She told me to stop. I was too drunk to take a hint. Her guy friend accosted me. I took a swing and missed. He hit me in the face three times before I was thrown out of the bar. I was 24.

Would I have acted that way if I was sober? No chance.

Have I acted that way in the past 20 years? No chance.

But that doesn’t absolve me.

Culture doesn’t absolve me.

“Boys will be boys” doesn’t absolve me.

I’m a man.

I may not be responsible for other men, but I am responsible for my own actions and inactions.

I can’t change my past, but I can change my perspective.

I can be more sympathetic, understanding and vigilant.

Maybe, just maybe, I can help change the future.

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. Rest assured we are equally horrified but don’t know how to express our support and create positive change.

12 MILLION women have already said #MeToo. Please share your thoughts on how men can best participate in the #MeToo movement.

Join our conversation (448 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.

Comments:

  1. 1
    Sylvana

    The best thing men can express in this movement is a show of no tolerance for inappropriate sexual behavior. Too often, too much is being ignored and dismissed as “oh, he’s just being a man” (by both women and men). Other than that, maybe offer support, and try to be non-judgmental toward the victims. But anything else (and sometimes even that) could be misinterpreted.

    I agree that there’s not much men could do to stop those who assault others sexually when it comes to talking about it.  Just like you can’t stop the mass shooter, murderer, etc. Sociopaths will not respond.

    But men can definitely make a huge difference by showing less tolerance toward inappropriate behavior. Not all sexual assault is actual rape. Groping, rubbing your junk up on people, bullying and harassment (as in continuing to bother someone even after they have clearly expressed no interest) can all fall under that category. Oftentimes, people get away with this behavior not only because women do not report it, but also because men can turn a “blind eye” and ignore it. The less other men ignore the issue, the less comfortable it will be for those people to behave that way (commit the crime).

    Particularly younger men need to be taught that this is not “cool” behavior, quite the opposite. Men can play a huge role here in teaching their sons. We also need our sons to interfere. How many rapes and gang rapes have happened because some young men were afraid to stop it, or losing their place in the group because they interfered? If more young men grow up with the firm believe of zero tolerance, they might not be so hesitant to interfere.

    I’m sorry ladies, I know you think you can handle everything on your own, but sometimes it is better for the same sex to apply more pressure. A woman can raise all the fuss she wants, and still be considered weaker or the victim by the perpetrator. (If he wouldn’t have considered her in a “weaker” position, he wouldn’t have tried to begin with).

    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). If men openly declare no tolerance, then he will know he also loses the respect and support of his own gender if he behaves a certain way (commits the crime). Not to mention the physical threat. Men will always pose a greater physical threat to other men than women do.

    Once a perpetrator has to worry not only about his victim, but about other men as well, he is likely to think twice (at least in the case of harassment). 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.

    Think about it – if any man who contemplates so much as harassment (from a man in a high position in an office to the dude at the bar) will fully know he will be confronted by a group of other men if anyone gets wind of his behavior, do you not think it would make a difference? He obviously lacks respect (and fear) of women, so even a group of women confronting him might not get very far.

    And if a man realizes that his behavior is not “normal” to other men, he might think twice to begin with. Every time other men agree with him, or even ignore his behavior, he gains more “power”. For example, if a man in a boardroom makes some nasty, condescending sexual remarks about one of his female employees, and all the other man in the room laugh or agree, or even just ignore it, he feels more powerful. 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.  He has just lost respect (and “cool” status). It diminishes his power.

    If nothing else, the physical threat alone might deter a lot of that behavior. 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. Something can come across either as derogatory or as a compliment. 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. It’ll likely bring a smile to her face. Same when men make quick remarks about how hot a woman is to each other. In a sense, they’re simply expressing admiration. Truthfully, women talk the same about men. It doesn’t become a problem until it is expressed in a demeaning, controlling, threatening, or purposely disrespectful way. And it also depends on how quickly it is dismissed, and how far it goes.

    A quick she’s (you’re) hot, I want to do her (you), then moving on can hardly be considered harassment. But if it goes further than that (come here, do this to me, I want to do that to you/her, etc.), or is repeated, it becomes an issue.

    Who I truly feel bad for in this whole “me too” campaign are the people who are so often forgotten – the men. Male victims of sexual assault and harassment (whether by other men or women). Both women and men need to remember that the male victims of sexual assault often have an even harder time coping. The support system on that front is almost non-existent. A man complaining about a woman harassing him basically gets laughed out of the room (even if she actually touched him in appropriate ways, even continuously). A man who was victim of any sexual harassment or even assault by another man still faces being shamed by other men.

    In that sense, there is a lot both sexes can still do to further slow inappropriate advances.

    As for men – be aware yourself, and teach your sons to be aware. And express and teach zero tolerance, even interference. That alone will go a long way towards slowing a lot of harassment, and even some assaults. And do not forget about victims of your own gender.

    1. 1.1
      Laura

      This.  This is everything.  I have been trying for DAYS… this is the perfect answer.

       

      If you needed it stated a bit more bluntly:

      DON’T shut up.  Call him out.  Call him out every single time.  Loudly.  Especially in front of other men.

    2. 1.2
      Michelle

      Thank you so much for the time and effort you have put into your post. It’s fantastic and very helpful to any male readers of this blog that are seeking answers to the questions that Evan posed.

    3. 1.3
      Nikkirose

      I agree with most of your opinion, except for the whistling and saying “I want to do you” being OK. That is objectifying women, which is never acceptable. I think saying “You are pretty” is enough, no need to express attraction in a rude way.

      1. 1.3.1
        Sylvana

        I agree with you there. The “you’re pretty or beautiful” should be enough. I tend to be a little more tolerant than others, I admit.

        Point is, if it makes you uncomfortable, it should immediately seize.

      2. 1.3.2
        Deborah Ahonen

        I completely agree. It’s crossing the line to have some guy whistle at you and tell you he’d like to “do you.” Ugh! Disgusting and disrespectful. It’s very similar to a catcall! He can keep his fantasies to himself, thank you very much.

    4. 1.4
      Robin Leigh

      Bingo! This is the perfect outline of the situation and how to address it Sylvana.

      Men are driven by respect and are always looking for feedback on their behavior.  If they sense that the will be shunned and ridiculed for inappropriate actions, they will change their behavior.  We aren’t talking about an immediate shift across the board, this kind of radical improvement in societal thinking takes time, but the HW scandal can be a jumping off point.

      Asking the right question is SO vital to bring about change and EMK,  you have.  Men must pressure other men to change their behaviors toward women rather than giving a nod of approval or ignoring it when they cross the line. There is a big difference between being a man with urges and needs and sharing those in a manly way and overlooking abusive behavior.

      Tell one another when someone has gone too far, and if it continues, take more action as a group.  It’s highly incumbent for the men of our modern tribe to manage and decide how to deal with this.  Men are naturally our protectors and defenders so please protect and defend us!  Sometimes the old ways are the best ways.  As women, we can only do so much as evidenced by the #MeToo movement.

      Normalizing the abuse of women goes directly to the heart of the objectification of women (and men now too).

      Men are our most powerful facilitators to help us change it.

       

       

       

    5. 1.5
      Womenraiseobnoxiousmen

      Women are the ones who raise men. So actively participating in raising them to be sensible and not allowing them to be uncivil because they are boys might help. Also can we please stop pretending that all women are there for each other in these situations. Many women actually participated by bringing the women up to these rooms all the while knowing what was up. Women are human like men and we hate to admit it aloud. We can sell out our own and play bad tactics for our own advancement, and it is done often. We as eductors tell our young girls not to wear spaghetti straps and shorts teaching boys and girls to be ashamed of their bodies instead of telling young boys to treat women with respect. We tell girls not to be assertive but to do as they’re told. But boys? Fight for what you want. Guess that applies to women’s bodies too.

      Women seem to be more of a problem by shushing women who speak up because the status quo is to easy for their career or they can’t appreciate a woman sticking up for themselves. Women allowing bad behavior of boys while suppressing freedom of body and thought teaches young girls that they can’t stand up for themselves or have boundaries in life. Parents and professionals who work with youth  should stop assuaging bad behavior by boys and men period.

      The lie of endless comraderie of woman really is just that, a lie.

  2. 2
    S.

    How can a man who is an ally strike the right tone much less make positive change?

    Asking this question is a start.  It’s hard for me to know.  As a woman I don’t know what goes on in locker rooms or when I’m not there.  But there is a culture.  Maybe find other men like yourself and get some support.  They are out there.  I would like to think that the predators are in the minority.  But I don’t know that for sure.  And Weinstein proves you can be a one man with power and hold the majority powerless.  Interesting that they fired Billy Bush for laughing but elected Donald Trump president even after hearing the comment he made that Billy laughed about.  But Billy should have been fired.  It’s not okay to laugh at another man’s story about groping women.

    I’m also very aware of Terry Crews coming forward about being groped. This was in public. In front of his wife.  Before this he had said nothing.  Nothing.  Why? The groper had the power.  This is about power.  Who has it and who doesn’t.

    You love being a father and I know your son would never be like this.  But he will have to navigate among men who are.  You will be a great guide for that.  That right there might be your most important work. Raising a good man. Don’t underrrate that.

    I heard a man from my building today, not my office, use the word, ‘retard’ among his co-workers before entering the building from lunch.  I hadn’t heard that in a long, long time and it’s offensive to me. I remember a woman commenting on someone who used the term on her blog, right away and firmly, that that word isn’t to be used in her space.

    That’s what I do in my real life non-online space.  There are certain words people know never to use around me and if they don’t know, I tell them.  It’s such a seemingly small thing.  But we are all watching.  I can only control me and my space.  And I can choose to leave a space too.

    You are really good at protecting this blog space from people who are negative about finding a mate.  I am certain you could be equally protective of your real life space. I actually don’t think it’s just about supporting women, but supporting men who are great men.  You know me.  I formerly loved the so-called beta men and still have a soft spot for them. 🙂  But they get a rough deal as men.  There are some great men out there doing the best they can.  Let’s listen and support them. 

    And be vulnerable yourself like you are in this post.  That you don’t know what to say or do but you want to try.  I respect that sort of humility.  And I think it goes a long way.

  3. 3
    Gala

    Just don’t look the other way when you see harassment. Surprising amount of this happens out in the open and people turn the blind eye on it because they don’t want to ruffle feathers or speak against a person in a position of authority etc. Years ago, when I was a junior member on an all-male team, I was repeatedly harassed at work by a guy 20 years my senior. Nothing would deter him. It stopped when one of the other guys on the team told him to f#^^k off. Perps only do it when they think they can do it with impunity. Take that feeling of safety away from them, and they stop. So, we need more guys like that guy from my work who stood up for me. Be like that guy, don’t be like the guy who just walks by and minds his own business.

    1. 3.1
      Emily, the original

      Gala,

      So, we need more guys like that guy from my work who stood up for me.

      I agree.

      I think there is a very small percentage of men who are committing sexual assault but a larger percentage who are harassing women, particularly in the work place. Some don’t know they are doing it; some know and don’t care how uncomfortable they are making women. They don’t even have to say anything sometimes. Just the leering is creepy enough.

  4. 4
    Pistola

    I want to respond to this because I actually wrote a letter to you, Evan, a while back detailing my experiences of dealing with racism in dating. Racism is similar to sexual assault in that it creates constant fear and wariness in the person who experiences it. And I felt that although you tried, your answer to me was rather flippant: Don’t hate the racist guys, just find the good ones even though you live in a very white and racist Southern city. You even mentioned in another post an article about dating in my town which, when I pulled it up, actually had the headline “XXX city has multi racial dating woes.”

    So. I don’t think you were trying to be flippant, but that was very much the same answer as “Don’t rape women” that you gave to that guy earlier in your life. It’s not like a human knows up front who is racist, or who’s potentially an assaulter or harasser. Both types of people can seem quite “nice” at first. And both are crimes against human value that are often committed away from the help and oversight of others.

    What I didn’t tell you before was that I’m actually a multicultural therapist who specializes in treating PTSD. I see multiple cases of sexual assault and harassment every week and almost every day. Most of them women. Most women have gone through this and only in a very few cases was the man someone she didn’t know. Men who assault and harass are not ‘other guys.’ They are guys you know. They don’t regard what they do as a problem. I realize that this is an uncomfortable truth. And it is the truth.

    What I want as a woman: I want men to STOP OTHER MEN when they see harassment or hear men talking about women as objects or in a degrading way. Period. We are human beings. We are people. We are not objects. We don’t want to be catcalled or joked about or hear “I’d hit that” or any of that stuff. We don’t want to be stalked on dating sites. We don’t want to have to buy guns so we can sleep at night.

    We want guys like you to understand that the assaulters and harassers cannot be a bunch of strangers that you don’t know. You know them. You just don’t know you do. This awareness is key.

    Thanks for listening.

    1. 4.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      And thanks for sharing, Pistola.

      It seems like an endless loop though, doesn’t it?

      You tell me I know sexual assaulters and that I should stop them. I swear to you I have no knowledge of friends who have committed sexual assault in the past or present. So I hear you, loud and clear, but I maintain that women need to speak their truth (like you are with #MeToo and make these guys suffer the consequences of their behavior.

      It is far more realistic and potent than hoping I can ably police my friends (virtually all of whom seem to be happily married with children, like me, none of whom would share their awful private behavior with me if it took place). In other words, I would STOP OTHER MEN, if I had any capacity to; I’m just not sure I have the power you think I have.

      1. 4.1.1
        S.

        I’ll reply to this.  It’s difficult to gather my thoughts but I’ll try.  I said in my comment I don’t know if the majority of men are harassers and assaulters or if a few men commit these acts upon scores of women. I know 1 in 3 women will survive some sort of sexual assault or misconduct against them.  Who are committing these crimes?

        I don’t know. Just like you don’t know. I don’t think that putting it on the people who have survived these events to come forward will help us now.  It can be retraumatizing to tell the story unless the person has done a lot of work on themselves. Lena Headey, America Ferrera, no one said anything.  And not Terry Crews.  Nothing.  But I don’t put it on them to tell us who did what.  Not twenty-year old Lena Headey crying in her car or nine-year-old America or grown 24olb Terry Crews who would like to still work in Hollywood.  It’s not on them to police this, either.  They survived.  Sometimes that has to be enough.  I’m glad they came forward but I understand why they didn’t earlier.

        I think the small things we can see. Catcalls.  Pejorative terms for women. Maybe not men you know!  Just being kind.  Courteous.  Talking about this with men.  I don’t think it’s on you to stop something you never see.  But! You can see unkindness or sheer obliviousness.  I think living by example works better than policing.  Even denouncing public figures we may never know sends a message too.

        I know you are about changing what you can, namely you.  But just be open to suggestions.   What Harvey did was known.  Maybe not the full-extent but it wasn’t a secret.  I’m not sure he could have been policed, but it would have meant a lot to the survivors if others had tried.

        1. Tyrone

          @S

          “I don’t think that putting it on the people who have survived these events to come forward will help us now.  It can be retraumatizing to tell the story unless the person has done a lot of work on themselves. Lena Headey, America Ferrera, no one said anything.  And not Terry Crews.  Nothing.  But I don’t put it on them to tell us who did what.  Not twenty-year old Lena Headey crying in her car or nine-year-old America or grown 24olb Terry Crews who would like to still work in Hollywood.  It’s not on them to police this, either.  They survived.  Sometimes that has to be enough.  I’m glad they came forward but I understand why they didn’t earlier.”

          I can also understand why they didn’t come forward. But how was it not on them to report something that happened to them? If I reported something that happened to you and you don’t acknowledge/admit it happened, very little is going to get done about it. The true assaulters and harassers thrive on that silence.

        2. S.

          To Tyrone,

          I can also understand why they didn’t come forward. But how was it not on them to report something that happened to them? If I reported something that happened to you and you don’t acknowledge/admit it happened, very little is going to get done about it. The true assaulters and harassers thrive on that silence.

          It’s about trauma.  Not everyone can come forward. Not everyone is emotionally ready. Terry Crews truly believes that if he had beat up the person who groped him, he would be the one in jail for it.  I can’t say he’s wrong. There are consequences for reporting. I wish there weren’t. But they are.  Emotional, financial, so many.  I try not to blame people for making the best decision for them, especially when I haven’t been in that situation.

          True assaulters do thrive on that silence. I agree with you wholeheartedly about that. For me, it’s not about pressuring those survivors to come forward, but to help recreate a culture where they feel safe to. At first, it’s about being heard.  It’s hard to come forward if you feel people will blame you for not coming forward soon enough or for what you did.  We just have to listen and hear without judgment.  I’m not saying your are judging, btw. Just expressing my wish and an idea about what would better support people so they can come forward.

        3. Russell

          @S.

          I understand that it is about trauma.  And yet, if you are too traumatized to come forward, nothing is going to get done.  That is how any fair and equitable justice system works.  You CANNOT have a justice system where somebody can make an accusation, either on their own behalf, or on behalf of others, and that accusation not be challenged.  Our ancestors fled from justice systems that were not just, and for good reason.  They created a justice system where we are all innocent until proven guilty.

          I myself have witnessed two occasions where I overheard plotting to falsely accuse a man.  Both times I stepped forward and let them know that I was not going to allow them to do that.  Once, it was my best friend and his girl.  He was too jealous and could not deal with the fact that this guy had slept with his girlfriend, during the week that he and her had broken up.

          I once had the chance to talk to a woman who was a self described activist on behalf of women who are victimized.  I asked her what she wanted…what was she pushing for.  She said she just wanted to bring awareness.  Awareness?  Excuse me, but I don’t believe there is anyone who is not aware.  You would have to be living under a rock not to know that, not only are women victimized, but that there are victims everywhere.  I myself was a victim.  Yet…and this is important…I choose not to be a victim.  This frees me to live my life.

          You see, being a victim is not unlike having a truck come out of nowhere, and run you over.  You are not to blame for it, though there are things you can do, such as look both ways before crossing the street.  And so when you get hit by the truck, you have a choice.  You can allow that to affect your life in a very bad way, or you can choose to simply acknowledge that there are trucks out there that may run you over, but that you will not let that affect your ability to live a full an happy life.  Sure, you will be more aware, and more cautious when approaching the road, but you don’t let yourself feel like a victim.

          This is not much different.  Not really.  You got run over by a truck.  Do you allow it to affect your life in a significant way…for the rest of your life?  Not if you want to be happy.

          OK, so what if you want to do more than just being awareness?  Sure, there are things that you can do that are positive.  You can comfort victims, for instance.  But what then?  Do you take the active stance that you are going to prevent anyone from every getting run over by a truck again?  OK, how?  Well, some want to take the route of looking at all truck drivers as being guilty until proven innocent.  Is that fair?  Most truck drivers are innocent.  Unless you believe that there is this club among truck drivers, were the innocent provide cover for the guilty.

          Well, let’s take a look at the Harvey Weinstein case.  Clearly there was a good ole boys network that protected him, right?  But wait, it wasn’t a good ole boys network.  Both genders were complicit here.  People, not men…people made the choice, the selfish choice to provide him cover.  And not only that, buy aid and abet him in his crimes.  Every actress who knew the truth, and yet stood up there at an awards ceremony, and sang his praises, helped him.  Helped elevate him to even more power.  Helped implant into future victims’ minds that this man had the power to make you or break you in Hollywood.

          And yet, what about these women…and the men, who are victims of the many Harvey-like producers, and directors, who prey upon the young people who seek fame?  Well sorry, but they too are complicit in their own victimization.  In fact, I hesitate to call them victims.   Hypothetical situation…if the Devil asks me if I will trade my family for fame and fortune, and I agree to that bargain, no matter how much I would rather not pay that price…if I DO agree to the price, am I really a victim?  I would argue that, NO, I am not.  I chose to pay a high price for that fame and fortune.

          This does not include the children who were preyed upon.  That is another matter entirely.  Children are not held to the same standard as adults, and for a very good reason.

          And what about men who are falsely accused?  Some may CHOOSE to believe that this does not happen very often.  The truth is, it does happen, and a lot, and you have no way of knowing how often.

          But, I know women who believe that it is OK to punish some innocent men if it means preventing more women from being victimized.  Really?  This is the route some of you wish to take?  You want to elevate the rights of one citizen, over the rights of another, because you believe in a hierarchy of victim status.  Women before me.  OK, be careful what you wish for, or endorse.

          Yes, you see, women actually commit more domestic violence than men.  Most of it being directed at children.  But you are right…the hierarchy must be adhered to.  In this case, children before women.  All women are guilty until proven innocent.  We shall put women to the same standards as some women want men put to.

          If any accusation is made, the woman is guilty until proven innocent.  The child is the victim, and their word is sacred.  You may not scrutinize their statements, and you may not question them.  They cannot be compelled to testify, or if they are, they cannot be subjected to cross examination.  They are the victim, and this will be too traumatizing to them.

          Now also, women hold the power over children, and children may thus be too afraid to come forward, so we do not need the child to be the accuser.  Yes…your neighbor, or any person for that matter, can make that accusation.  Once that accusation has been made, you are guilty until proven innocent.  But, you will have little ability to defend yourself, because the children cannot be questioned.

          Hey, maybe your child was really mad at you, and one of their friends convinced you to accuse you.  Or, they got caught doing something really wrong, and panicked, and out of fear, chose to accuse you, to get themselves out of trouble.  They assumed that because it wasn’t true, you would be OK.  Probably didn’t even think it through, that far.  But now the situation is escalating out of their control…always out of their control from the moment they lied.  Matters not.  You are guilty until proven innocent.

          Your neighbors will avoid you like the plague.  Even some of your family and friends will assume you are, or might be guilty, and because of the social stigma, will not stick their necks out to stick up for you.  They simply avoid you.

          You might lose your job.  Even if you don’t, coworkers will likely not want anything to do with you.  Only your closest family and friends will stand by you, but some of them may even question your innocence.   Even if all charges are dropped, or if you prove your innocence in court, there are many people who will always treat you differently.  Many children will bot be allowed to play with your kids, at least not on your property.

          Some neighbors, coworkers, etc…when you try to engage them, will still not want to deal with you.  It isn’t that they judge you guilty, it’s that the social stigma is so great, they really just don’t want to deal with you.  They just wish you would go away.  Even as they try to be polite with you, you can sense the tension.  You can see it in their face.  They want an out.  They want to find a graceful way to say goodbye to you, and move on…away from you.

          This doesn’t just affect you…it affects your children, and your spouse, and your friends, and your family.  Yes, this is the daily life of a man accused of doing something sexual to a child, or unwilling woman.  You are tainted for life.  Your best chance at a good life is to move away.  But technology makes that hard to do, and so, no matter where you go, you will always wonder who has found out about the accusation.  Somebody finding out could be quite dangerous to you, as these people are not connected to you, at all, and thus even more likely to believe you are guilty.  And again, this affects your children, and wife.

          But yet some of you believe that it should be OK to deny a man a proper chance to defend himself.  Sorry, but I cannot stand behind that.  I have a son and a daughter, and so what you would ask me to do is decide that my daughter is deserving of my protection, but my son is not.  In truth, you are asking me to love my daughter, and care about her life, but not afford my son the same.

          Literally, the truth is, as is the case with Evan, I do not know a single man who victimizes women.  If I did, I would not support him, or cover for him.  Even if it were my boss.  Even if it cost me my job.  My boss goes to jail, I am out of a job.  But that is better than knowing I covered for a predator.

          Sorry my rambling got so long.

        4. DMM

          In my experience, survivors of harassment have very little power in these situations. I was harassed by a very powerful man at the top of the organization where I worked. He was harassing other women as well, I was afraid of him to say anything, but I had reached the point where I felt sick every morning when I was heading in to work. I finally went to Human Resources and reported the behaviour. HR could see that I’d been traumatized by the situation and immediately set up counselling for me.

          A month later I was fired. That was three years ago. He’s still there. Some of the women who were also being harassed quit and some are still there and putting up with his behaviour because they need the job and don’t feel like they have another option.

  5. 5
    Michelle

    I have experienced sexual harassment multiple times, and also an abusive ex-boyfriend who sexually assaulted me. Over the years I’ve gotten a lot tougher and I set clear boundaries for myself. I can see a guy who’s a creep coming from a mile away and I don’t tolerate any abuses.

    In terms of what men can do to support the #MeToo movement, I think being sympathetic to women is the most important thing. If someone is opening up about their experiences with sexual harassment or assault, be willing to listen and believe her. Be a good friend. That will go a long way in helping people heal.

    Another thing is to not be a man who commits these heinous acts. But that goes without saying. And if you see something, you should say something. Be vigilant about these things and help women who are too afraid to stand up for themselves.

    Other than that, I think women are the most effective spokespeople for this issue. Men who haven’t experienced sexual harassment and assault don’t need to write lengthy opinions about something they don’t really relate to. Oftentimes they just sound like they don’t get the point, or worse, like they are rape apologists. At least to my ears.

     

     

     

     

     

    1. 5.1
      Russell

      “I can see a guy who’s a creep coming from a mile away”

      I suspect not.  Some people are better at hiding who they are, than others.  Some you might not suspect, who are creeps, and others you may suspect of being a creep, who are not.  It has also, already been proven that how attractive a man is, or is not, 100% affects whether women as a whole, will view him as creepy, or not.  The better looking a man is, the less likely he is to be viewed as being creepy.  His lingering looks are welcomed more often, were as, an unattractive man’s lingering looks will not be welcomed, and thus viewed as creepy.  Is that fair?  No.  Some of those very attractive men, have hearts as black as can be, while some of those unattractive men, have hearts of pure gold.  There might be a case for the theory that this is more often the case, as an unattractive man would have to develop more empathy to be accepted, where as beautiful men have the good life handed to them on a silver platter.  And many women know this to be true, thus many wanting to take the bad boy and change him into a good guy.  Who do you think gets more girls…college football players, or the nerds in the video game club?  Who do you think commits more sexual assault?  The football players, or the nerds in the video game club?  I think we both know the answers to those questions.

      “and I don’t tolerate any abuses.”

      Good.  And yet many women do.  Why were so many women in Hollywood silent?  Because they didn’t feel the had the power to do anything?  Well, if that is what you believe, then you have to afford the men the same pass.  They too, I am sure, feared the consequences of speaking up.  But let’s be honest.  They were COMPLICIT by remaining silent, and did so because they liked the life they were afforded by the victimizer, and other power players in Hollywood.  What they feared most, was losing their lifestyle.  I am not willing to give them a pass.  Those coming forward now, are not courageous.  The courageous ones, were those who came forward when it was not safe to do so, such as the women who agreed to wear the wire, and go meet Harvey in his hotel room.  If this would have been you, in the same circumstances, then I applaud you.  I believe that you would have been one to come forward when it happened, not years later, when it is safe to do so.

       

       

      “I think being sympathetic to women is the most important thing.”

      I do not disagree with this.  Having both sympathy, and empathy for people, is a good thing.

       

      “If someone is opening up about their experiences with sexual harassment or assault, be willing to listen and believe her.”

      But of course.  We should believe her no matter what.  She is the victim, and so we must believe her, no matter what.  Just as when an accusation is made against you, we should believe the alleged victim, no matter what.  If an accusation is made against you, for abusing your children, in any way, we should believe that this is true, without question.  And in fact, you hold undue influence over your child, so we can’t trust their word, if they say it didn’t happen.  Maybe it was your neighbor, or ex-husband who is making the accusation.  Hey, he’s the father and just wants to protect his children.  He too is traumatized, and a victim, so we should question him without fail.  You madam, are guilty until proven innocent.  And don’t think for a second that we are going to trust anything you have to say.  We have the statistics to prove it…women commit a tremendous amount of abuse against children.  I dare say it’s an epidemic.  And so what if you really are innocent.  Better that we be aggressive in protecting children.  If you have to sit in prison…innocent…that’s acceptable collateral damage, so long as we can reduce the amount of abuse happening to children.   I’m sure that in the majority of cases, the women will be guilty, so I can sleep at night, and feel good about myself.  The good outweighs the bad.

      “Men who haven’t experienced sexual harassment and assault don’t need to write lengthy opinions about something they don’t really relate to. “

      Were you sexually abused as a 5 year old child, by a woman?  If not, I don’t want to hear a word out of you.  You cannot relate to my experience.

      “Oftentimes they just sound like they don’t get the point”

      Maybe not, but then, maybe they have a perspective that you don’t get, or worse, don’t get because you choose not to listen.

      “or worse, like they are rape apologists. At least to my ears.”

      Or maybe your ears are biased?  I was victimized as a child, and yet I choose not to identify as a victim.  I choose to recognize that this is a complicated world.  I chose to forgive my abusers.  They were older teenagers, that I feel certain, were being abused by their father.  How can I look at them with nothing but contempt?  I am certain that they were abused, especially as I look back with adult eyes, on what I saw.  They did live right next door, after all.

      Now, as an adult, if I could go back in time, and walked in on them as they were being abused, would I have empathy for them, or contempt?  They were, after all, the ones who made a 5 year old boy, do things a 5 year old boy should never have to do.  Things that affected him for many years.  Affected him until he chose not to let them.  And yes, it very much was a choice…a conscious choice.

      At what point can I stop looking at them as victims, and see them as abusers, deserving of nothing but contempt?  What set me free was the decision to stop asking that question, and instead, simply choose to forgive, and move on.  Completely let go of that pain, and move on.

      Now, being a man, I have also experienced a false accusation.  While in the military, a young girl panicked…one that had actually been flirting with me.  Her and I were alone, talking.  As I was leaving, her boss…a big scary Chief Petty Officer passed me, and started hollering for her.  You see, to talk with me, something she wanted to do, and in fact initiated…she was shirking her duties.  Something, as it turns out, she had done a few times recently, to talk to me.  This was the first time her boss came looking for her, and saw me walking out of the room, in the process.  I heard him lay into her, as I left.  I remembered thinking that I was going to have to be more careful about talking with her during working hours, so she wouldn’t get in trouble.

      I went to a movie with a few friends, and when I got back to my room, there was a note for me.  It said not to report back to work…we worked in the same building.  And, it said to stay away from her.  And finally, told me to report to Navy Legal the following morning.  Yeah!  My life was now in tatters.

      For months, my life was hell.  But in the end, the truth came out.  But it did take time.  First, everyone jumped on her side.  Everyone.   But then, the interviews began.  Everyone was interviewed.  Me…her…my friends and coworkers…her friends and coworkers.

      As it turns out…while she received the support…not everyone believed her.  Some questioned her.  I found out later, from the investigator, that the most avid supporters of my story, were her friends.  Her friends knew that she had a crush on me.  Her friends knew that she had put them up to feeling out my interest.  Her friends had witnessed her flirting.  Now…of course…we will be reminded that this does not mean I could not have sexually assaulted her, against her will.  As if there is such a thing as sexual assault that is not against her will.

       

      Yet her friends chose to at a minimum, question her story.  I found out from the investigator that she broke down and admitted to her friends that it didn’t happen.  Why?  Because, her friends questioned her story.  She admitted the truth.  She asked them how she got out of this mess she created.  She did not want to see me in trouble, but she feared what would happen to her.  She admitted that her boss was so mad, and she was so afraid, that when he accused her of being UA from her post so that she could play kissy face with that guy who just left, she panicked, and little by little, ended up accusing me of sexual assault.  It was me who made her go in that room, not her asking me to talk to her in private.  It was me who would not let her leave.  I was, after all, a big man, and higher ranked than her.  And to seal the deal, I forced myself on her, and only left when I heard somebody coming.  The truth was, nothing happened except talking, and I was already to the door when I first heard her boss calling her name.

      But you are right…we should never ever question the woman’s story.  Ever.

       

      1. 5.1.1
        Emily, the original

         It has also, already been proven that how attractive a man is, or is not, 100% affects whether women as a whole, will view him as creepy, or not.  The better looking a man is, the less likely he is to be viewed as being creepy.

        It’s the same for men. If you were being oogled and gawked at, wouldn’t you prefer it was by a good-looking woman?

        You’ll notice, at least with Roger Ailes, Harvey Weinstein and Bill O’Reilly as examples, the chronic harassers are unattractive men.

        1. Russell

          You left out Bill Clinton.  Women found him attractive.

          Here is a list of celebrities involved in sexual misconduct.

          Michael Jackson – accused of pedophilia
          Brad Pitt – Charged with indecent exposure
          Sean Penn – accused of tying up Madonna and only letting her go after she agreed to certain sexual favors
          Kobe Bryant – accused of rape
          Al Gore – accused of sexual harassment
          Tupac Shakur – convicted of 1st degree sexual abuse
          Nelly – arrested for 2nd degree rape
          Roman Polanski – statutory rape, child molestation
          Ben Roethlisberger – sexual assault
          David Copperfield – sexual assault

          Violence
          Christian Slater – convicted of assaulting his girlfriend
          O.J. Simpson – no explanation needed
          Johnny Depp – domestic abuse
          Charlie Sheen – arrested on domestic violence charges
          Mel Gibson – pleaded no contest in a battery charge
          Nicolas Cage – arrested for domestic battery
          Mickey Rourke – arrested for domestic violence
          Chad Ochocinco – arrested for domestic abuse
          Yanni – charged with domestic violence
          Josh Brolin – arrested for domestic violence
          Terrence Howard – arrested for domestic abuse
          Scott Weiland – arrested for domestic violence
          Billy Dee Williams – arrested for domestic battery

          And this is not even close to all of them.

          Telling, that you could only think of three, who all just happened to be old, unattractive men.  Though, I am not sure they were considered unattractive when they were younger.

          But yeah, you should just fear unattractive guys.

        2. Emily, the original

          Wow. That’s a LOT of research. Feel better now?

          I shouldn’t have used Ailes, Weinstein and O’Reilly. They are doing far more than oogling. Lording power over women who work from them or could be employed by them. And Weinstein has been accused of assault, which puts him into an even worse category of creeper.

          But if it’s just oogling, then, yes, I would prefer it was a hot guy doing it.

        3. Russell

          And that is how the world turns.  Average looking girls want to be appreciated for their many great qualities.  They want men to look past their weaknesses.  They want men to see that while they may not be a perfect 10, they are worth loving.

          Average looking guy looks at them, and their reaction is, “Go away creeper.”

          I suspect this hypocrisy is as old as time.  And to be sure, it works both ways.  Average guys prefer the hot girls, not the average ones.

        4. Emily, the original

          Russell,
          Average looking guy looks at them, and their reaction is, “Go away creeper.”
          I wrote “ogling,” which means to stare at in a lecherous way. Not “looking.” I don’t think most women are going to be upset if a man is looking at them or subtly cruising them, no matter what the man looks like.
          I was being sarcastic in the earlier posts. Women don’t want to be leered at. It makes them uncomfortable, but it does often seem that the men who leer are not attractive.

      2. 5.1.2
        Michelle

        Russell:

        I’m not sure what in my post prompted you to respond in the way you did. I agree that rape accusations need to be vetted by the police and other people in authority. There always needs to be an investigation. I was simple referring to what men can do for the women in their lives who come to them with these stories.

        I don’t have anything to say about the rest of your post. I’m sorry you were abused and I do have sympathy for you as well.

        1. Russell

          I agree that if it is a woman with whom you have any type of relationship, such as a wife, girlfriend, mother, sister, daughter, cousin, close friend, etc., you should always give them the benefit of the doubt.  Until the evidence clearly shows they are lying, you should always have their back.  If it turns out they were lying, you should still have their back, in that you show them that you still love them and care about them.
          I would also afford the same to a man in my life…brother, cousin, close friend, etc…   They will know that I have their back.  If they have been accused, they will know that I believe them, until the evidence shows that they are lying.  If they are lying, the legal process will come into play, but after that, I will help them get the help they need.  Obviously, in this case, what the person is being accused of also plays a part.  There are lines that, if crossed, definitely change things, irreparably.  Like there would be a huge difference between a 22 year old friend who got caught up with a 16 year old, and a man of any age who abused a very young child.  Even the laws recognize that there is a difference there.
          I responded, because you did not indicate that you were talking about women in your life.  It came across as if you were saying that if any woman makes an accusation, she should be believed.

          The one thing I really disagree with in this whole horrible situation, is the fact that women who are caught making false accusations, are not prosecuted for doing so.  I understand that those in the legal system have been convinced that this would be bad because it might cause some women to not come forward, but I think this is wrong to do.  It would be different if a false accusation did not irreparably damage a man’s life, but it does, so there should be consequences for false accusations.

  6. 6
    Pistola

    You have the power to speak out about, and address, behavior that you do see happening in front of you, which it does all around you. 96% of women experience some type of harassment in public spaces. What we know is that other men almost never step in to help us.

    We also know that when we speak to our male friends about situations that have made us uncomfortable, even well meaning men often take the first line of trying to tell us that we “misunderstood” or “he’s a good guy, just clueless.” Or something of that nature. Men are not as clueless that they’re making women uncomfortable as many men seem to think. A man doesn’t have to be a full on rapist or groper to make a woman extremely uncomfortable.

    I think it’s about paying attention to what’s really going on around all of us and noticing and being willing to help women instead of just standing by hoping she can solve it all herself.

    Here’s just one article on what men can do. https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnbaldoni/2017/10/12/how-men-can-make-sexual-harassment-unacceptable/#bb9af496523b

  7. 7
    Pistola

    And here is one article about a teenage boy who stopped a man following a girl. A 17 year old kid. He paid attention. http://boston.cbslocal.com/2016/11/15/teen-protects-girl-target-pervert-stranger-south-bay-plaza/

  8. 8
    Pistola

    Last one so I don’t hog your thread.

    Here is a recent, large study on men harassing women in four different countries that goes into the reasons why. Better educated men were MORE likely to harass women. And all of the countries in the study still had a lower rate of public harassment of women than the US. (it’s 65% according to a cited article within this piece.)

    Quote: In almost every country the survey touched, better-educated men were more likely to say they’ve harassed women than their less-educated counterparts. This was an unexpected result for Promundo researchers, NPR reports, because men with more education usually have more progressive views about women and their place in society. One researcher proposed to NPR that these men might have high expectations for their own achievements but see themselves as failures because of high unemployment and an inability to keep their families safe from political unrest. They might harass women “to put them in their place” because “the world owes them,” the researcher suggested.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2017/06/19/men_say_they_sexually_harass_women_because_it_s_fun_in_new_survey_from_promundo.html

  9. 9
    Karl R

    It is soul-crushing.

    I’m not on Facebook, but I’ve heard too many stories over the years. Far too many stories.

    I watched my first serious girlfriend have a PTSD episode, because she saw a man who looked like her rapist.

    About 10 years ago, a coworker called me at work, the morning after she was raped, asking me to explain to our boss why she couldn’t come to work. She didn’t call the police. She didn’t want her father to find out, because she feared he would murder the rapist and go to prison.

    Another girlfriend was repeatedly molested as a child … by her father. When I knew her, she was going through a tough time (financially and emotionally) … which left her dependent on her father for financial support.

    A male friend, who recently passed away, was molested as a child by his parish priest. He’s the only man I’ve known who has been particularly open about being sexually assaulted.

    I suspect that one of my family members was raped by a boyfriend, when she was 21. She’s never spoken of it, and she shut down the conversation when I asked what happened, but there were enough clues at the time to make me believe that a sexual assault had happened.

    My wife told me this morning that she’d posted her own #MeToo. I don’t think she shared her story online, though.

     

    Much of the horrific stuff, and almost all of the small stuff, flies well under the radar. I’ve been groped by men and women in bars. I’ve had a female boss crudely suggest that I was physically attracted to her. Compared to the stuff that most women go through, my experiences were truly inconsequential.

    I find women’s stories (and men’s stories) highly believable.

    But having been up close and personal to some of the bad behavior, I have to say, the perpetrators weren’t shining a spotlight on their assaults and harassment. Even in public, the misdeeds were often quick, quiet, in the dark, and when people were looking the other way.

     

    In addition, I also share Evan’s frustrations.

    I’m sure I’ve met a number of guilty men. But I can only point to one. His nickname is Lizard, and he’s frequented country western bars around the city for years. He asks women to dance, gropes them on the dance floor, and relies on their unwillingness to make a scene to get away with it.

    The regulars, men and women, know who he is. We try to steer new women away from him. But there are always new faces (generally the much younger women) for him to prey on.

    It wouldn’t get much to get him permanently banned from any (or every) bar in the city. It would just take two or three women complaining to the manager and bouncer. A few complaints, and Lizard would never be allowed in the bar again.

    I’ve had multiple altercations with Lizard (some verbal, some physical) after he’s groped friends of mine. My wife and I stopped going to one bar for a couple years. She was afraid I’d get thrown in jail for beating Lizard up. She was also afraid that I’d get shot … by Lizard, after I’d beaten him up.

     

    After years of groping women on a weekly basis, a few women spoke up, and he got banned from the bar. Two or three women, making some noise, accomplished far more than I did in the dozens of times I got in Lizard’s face (or the time I racked him in the nads).

    And that was just what I’d predicted.

    Help us out. Make noise. We want to back you up on this.

     

    1. 9.1
      Nissa

      If it helps, I can give a perspective on why some women don’t say anything. I was abused for almost a decade by a family member. When my mom walked in on the abuse, she questioned me and the truth came out. Thank God, she believed me. Mostly because it happened to her first, 20 years before mine did…by the same person. Who she kept in her life…and the life of her children….even after the above event. Who she told me would not be prosecuted because “it would be too hard on me”. I was ten. I was strong enough to fight my abuser….but not strong enough to fight my mom. She needed this man in her life, his love and acceptance, more than she needed to protect me.

      I trusted my mom to know best and to protect me. She didn’t. I saw this man for years afterward…at every family event…at my home. He went on to abuse others, to my eternal shame, because I didn’t stand up and insist on calling the police. I thought my mom knew best. But those who are living in the same paradigm aren’t always objective enough to help. This teaches us that even the people who think the abuse is wrong, who we need for support, may not stand for us against those who are perceived to be in power.

    2. 9.2
      Nissa

      Oh, and if you are wondering…I asked my father years later why he did nothing when this happened. He said that he never realized that was going on. “But”, I insisted, “when you DID find out, why did you never yell at him…or hit him…or tell my mom she couldn’t have him at family events…or insist on his being prosecuted?’ His reply: “I thought your mom took care of that”. He apparently thought that at 10 years old, I should have said something about needing more from my parents.  So just because some women don’t “speak out” doesn’t mean they never told anyone or asked for help. It just means they probably didn’t get it.

      1. 9.2.1
        Sylvana

        Very sorry to hear that, Nissa. And another very valid point. A lot of people do speak out, but do not get any support. This is especially true in cases of assault or abuse within the family.

        I won’t even mention what I think of your father’s reaction. It wouldn’t be pretty.

        Your mother is still hard to understand, but I’m sure there are underlying psychological issues unresolved due to her own experience being abused/assaulted. Possibly even fear of the consequences if she stood up to him. I realize that doesn’t make it any easier for you, though.

         

         

  10. 10
    Rampiance

    I disagree with Evan‘s statement, “Most men will never fully understand what it’s like to be objectified at a young age or repeatedly threatened by men of greater strength or power.”

    My facebook feed showed many men posting, “Me too”, and it’s so sad to see, and it just as believable as the posts from women.

    I’ve heard many “Me too” stories from my male friends (before “Me too” was a thing).

    I posted “Me too” also.   My event happened with a male “friend”, someone I trusted a lot.   When it finally came time to deal with the aftermath, I went to my MALE FRIENDS to ask them, “Was his behavior out of line?   Was I too sensitive?   Too compliant?   What the hell happened?”

    All the male friends I asked said the guy was a real jerk, a bottomfeeder, and no, I didn’t do anything wrong except put too much trust in the wrong guy.   My male friends helped me through a very rough time and helped put my world back on its axis.   I went to them because they were of the same universe as the perp, and they told me that he (the perp) did not belong in their world, since he lacked the honor and integrity they considered to be part of responsible manhood.

    The greatest villain in the perpetration of abuse is unconsciousness.   Everyone, EVERY human being, has a lot to learn about sexuality and social intercourse.   That’s where you come in, Evan.   You are doing significant work raising consciousness about sexuality and social intercourse, work where you excel and reach millions.   Carry on, man: you are operating your optimal course.

    1. 10.1
      Sylvana

      I very much agree with this. There are so many male victims of sexual harassment and assault as well (from both women and men). And they are often forgotten, or at least not taken as seriously.

      We definitely need to take steps to offer more support for them, also.

  11. 11
    AdaGrace

    You hear a male friend make a joke involving rape?  Don’t laugh, look at him and tell him it was inappropriate.  He thinks it’s ok to say such things since everyone’s either laughing or silent  —  speaking up may seem like a small thing, but it’s like water slowly changing the course of a great river.

    Even if there are no women present. *Especially* if there are no women present.  You don’t even know if one of the other men there was assaulted and fears being shamed if he admits it.

    Afraid of looking like less of a man in front of your friends?  Real heroism isn’t always about obvious and dramatic acts of sacrifice, it’s more often about steady efforts, little drops of bravery that won’t earn you a medal, rarely even a nod of approval in the moment.

    Character isn’t about doing the right thing only when someone’s there to give you a pat on the back.  We don’t know who you are when we’re not watching, though — we can only hope.

  12. 12
    Stacy

    I love this thread and Evan, I wish there were more men like you, period.

    1. 12.1
      David Raby

      Stacey, There are lots of great Men out their but Guys who are Great take the view that better to treat women as people and a person and never anything more.  I keep getting great looking Women interested in dating me but I treat then as a person nothing more so I am safe from any issues then the Women gets angry because I show no interest and dont ask them out and I walk away.  Guys who are great dont want this risk!  Then go to Marc for help!

  13. 13
    Tina

    I feel the 94% should post #ihearyou. Sounds too simple but it’s a step. Plus it out that lil bit of space between the 94% & 6%.

  14. 14
    Christine

    I doubt it’s only 6%. Only 6% yet every woman says me too? Sexual assault is very underreported so I’m sure the number is much, much higher than official stats make it seem.

    1. 14.1
      Karl R

      Christine said:

      “I doubt it’s only 6%. Only 6% yet every woman says me too?”

       

      I doubt it’s 6%, but I have a different reason. I looked at the studies behind the numbers. They interviewed 1,882 men (primarily college students), and 120 of the men (about 6%) admitted to committing rape or attempted rape.

      I strongly suspect that there were additional men who committed rapes didn’t admit to them.

      The studies didn’t count other forms of sexual assault, nor did they count sexual harassment.

      And if we’re carting out additional problems with the studies, the initial data was collected in the 1980s and 1990s. (I’m not sure how that data would compare to more recent data.)

       

      The study isn’t completely useless. It definitely shows that the majority of rapists will rape repeatedly. A small percentage of men can victimize every woman. Similarly, Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby have been accused by 50+ women (apiece). I’m sure far more of their victims remained silent.

      1. 14.1.1
        S.

        It definitely shows that the majority of rapists will rape repeatedly. A small percentage of men can victimize every woman.

        This is at once horrifying and reassuring.  Reassuring because it supports what Evan says about 94% of men not being rapists or even thinking about it.  But it means that a few men will attack and attack again.  A few men will use that power.

        Evan states that these men are sociopaths and impervious to discussion.  Something has to be done about these people since they are harming so many and aren’t going to stop.  I’m not sure what to do.  One thing I am thinking is that specific measures have to be taken on college campuses and in schools.  Not just because of this study but also if a young woman or girl feels safe enough to speak out and is believed, that could stop that young man from decades of harming others.

        I still don’t think we need to pressure women into speaking out, just create safe spaces where they feel like they can come forward on their own. Schools can be safe or can make things worse because people so want to fit in and connect with their peers there.

        In the end, with Weinstein, there was no single whistleblower, no one woman coming forward to take him down.  The Times researched and broke a story with dozens of interviews. No one woman had to take on this powerful man at the height of his power.  (I’m not even going into the women who did speak up and were paid off, ignored by HR, etc.) I hear the men hear on how difficult it is not to know.  But it would have been ten times more difficult for one person to take this guy on alone.  People have to live their lives and they just push it aside and try to move on.  I went to research this comment and found yet another story by Lupita Nyong’o.  She said this very similar to what I was just typing:

        I was part of a growing community of women who were secretly dealing with harassment by Harvey Weinstein. But I also did not know that there was a world in which anybody would care about my experience with him. You see, I was entering into a community that Harvey Weinstein had been in, and even shaped, long before I got there. He was one of the first people I met in the industry, and he told me, “This is the way it is.” And wherever I looked, everyone seemed to be bracing themselves and dealing with him, unchallenged. I did not know that things could change. I did not know that anybody wanted things to change. So my survival plan was to avoid Harvey and men like him at all costs, and I did not know that I had allies in this.

        I think that’s a start too.  Letting women know they have allies.  That things change and that 94% of men want things to change and that survivors won’t be blamed for how or when they do come forward.

        Now I’m going for a hike.   As I said this is difficult, and breaks from the discussion necessary.

      2. 14.1.2
        Shell

        I suspect that 6% is too low because there are those who don’t consider what they did as rape: the husband or boyfriend who didn’t take “not tonight dear” seriously; the date rapist who thinks because she was grooving on the make-out session and then said no, that no didn’t count; the breakup that ends with one last time whether she wants it or not; the college boy who has sex with the girl barely able to speak, let alone truly consent. Society itself doesn’t always acknowledge that it’s rape, why should the perpetrators.

    2. 14.2
      CaliforniaGirl

      I don’t know even one woman who was never sexually harrassed or assaulted. For myself,  I can’t even count how many times. And all this by 6% of men population? Wow  these 6% are very productive! I’d more beleive about 96% of men,  who sometime in their lives sexually harassed or assaulted a woman.

      1. 14.2.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        I made a mistake. The article, written by feminist writer Amanda Marcotte for Slate, refers to the percentage of men who commit rape, not sexual assault. No doubt the percentage of men who commit sexual assault is higher. However, I would still submit that it’s a significant minority of men. A comparable example: There are 300 million guns in the U.S. Only 25% of the population owns guns. 3% owns HALF of America’s guns. Even if most women have been sexually assaulted, most men are not sexual assaulters. Those who think it’s okay to touch or harass a woman against her will do it repeatedly for decades, while the majority of men have no idea it’s going on.

        1. Withheld

          I agree with the authors of this article when they say:

          while women who have been raped endure the lasting effects of psychological and emotional harm, the problem of rape is not a “woman’s problem.” It is squarely a man’s problem.

          And:

          Working to mitigate the harms of rape culture is not about hating men. It is simply about taking responsibility for how we, as men, behave and act in the world.

          Ultimately, the most pervasive and destructive problem when it comes to rape culture isn’t caused by the small minority of men who rape women. It’s caused by the majority of men benefiting from rape culture and being unwilling to give up their benefits. When “good” men recognize that they are the main benefactors of the denigration of women throughout all strata of society and refuse to continue to accept those benefits, rape culture will be greatly diminished.

          This is similar to how the reason systemic racism has survived for over 500 centuries isn’t that a small minority of white people overtly act on their notions of white supremacy. Systemic racism has survived because “good” white people benefit from the system and don’t want to give up their benefits.

          Injustice thrives when the price of one groups’ advantages is for another group to be disadvantaged and when the advantaged group — the privileged group — refuses to step down off their pedestal of entitlement, i.e. unearned privilege.

          Peggy McIntosh wrote the seminal essay on white privilege after extensively studying male privilege. Her essay is required reading for anyone who honestly wants to examine how their privileged status — as a male, and/or a person who is white, able-bodied, formally educated, higher incomed, of a certain age, etc. — results from them covertly disadvantaging others.

           

           

        2. Withheld

          Evan,

          I’m interested in knowing your thoughts as well as those of commenters, especially men, on my assertion in my previous comment in this thread that the underlying cause of rape culture is that men in general — not just the small minority who rape and assault women — want to retain the benefits they gain as a result of the denigration of women that runs throughout society. I elaborate on this in my original comment and hope anyone who replies here will read it before they do.

          I’d also like to hear your thoughts and others’ about strip clubs as they relate to me saying in comment 92 (page 4) that your tacit approval of them on this blog feeds into rape culture.

          I found a good definition of rape culture here  http://www.marshall.edu/wcenter/sexual-assault/rape-culture/

          My point in these comments isn’t to make you or men in general feel badly. Rather, I hope men like you — those who society considers to be your average basically good guy, that is, most men — will begin to examine the myriad ways the male way of being in the world infringes on the human rights of women and girls.

          Unless and until men do this difficult and uncomfortable inner work and altar their perspectives and behavior, rape culture will persist as it has for millennia.

  15. 15
    Pistola

    Karl R

    A question: would the bar in question have been willing to ban Lizard if MEN made the complaint and told the bar what they had seen?

    I ask because so often, too often, most of the time, it is a woman being attacked who is then also being asked to make a call about what to do about the situation. Women are afraid of being stalked and harmed if they do so, which is why they don’t do it. Is there some reason men who know about and witness bad behavior can’t make those kinds of reports to places like bars?

    What I like about the story of the 17 year old kid is that he didn’t approach the girl who was being followed and harassed. He directly approached the man being a creep and asked for information. He didn’t put it on the girl to decide if she was OK with what was happening or what to do. HE felt uncomfortable with what he was seeing, so he took action.

    1. 15.1
      Karl R

      Pistola asked:

      “would the bar in question have been willing to ban Lizard if MEN made the complaint and told the bar what they had seen?”

      No, they weren’t.

       

      Seriously. It’s a bar. Men and women grope each other all the time, on the dance floor and off. Most of it’s consensual (like between my wife and I).

      So I have to convince the manager and bouncer that Lizard was engaged in nonconsensual groping. I can swear that it’s nonconsensual, because the woman told me. She’s still in the bar, but she’s unwilling to repeat the story to the manager and bouncer.

       

      It. Didn’t. Work.

       

      In contrast, on a different night, I complained about Lizard’s behavior to another guy. Not somebody I knew, or had even spoken to before, but someone who I’d seen around before.

      The stranger’s response: “I’ve got a gun in my truck, if you want to shoot him.”

      It was literally easier for me to enlist a stranger’s help and murder Lizard, than it was for me to get him thrown out of a bar.

      1. 15.1.1
        Sylvana

        Ok. Just saw that you did talk to someone in charge.

        Badly run bar, obviously. They should be way more concerned about losing their female customers (and with them, their male customers), not to mention the law being called on them.

        Still, one would think they’d at least have their eye on him from then on. If he does it again, he should be gone.

        If not, you might have no choice but to call the police. Or, if nothing else, find a few more like-minded men, and intimidate Lizard. Give him a warning that doesn’t end up getting you tossed out, or thrown in jail.

        Gosh – I miss the days when bar fights didn’t land anyone in jail.

    2. 15.2
      Chance

      Hi Pistola,

       

      “I ask because so often, too often, most of the time, it is a woman being attacked who is then also being asked to make a call about what to do about the situation. Women are afraid of being stalked and harmed if they do so, which is why they don’t do it. Is there some reason men who know about and witness bad behavior can’t make those kinds of reports to places like bars?”

       

      I disagree with the idea that men should be responsible for speaking up for women in situations where a man is groping, cat-calling, etc. if the woman is not speaking up for herself.  I believe that women in these situations need to speak up for themselves, and it is the responsibility of any witnesses to corroborate her story.  Anyone who calls out this behavior has to face the potential for retaliation – not just the women who experienced it.  In fact, one can argue that men are more likely to experience retaliation because men are much more likely to become violent towards other men than they are towards women.  I believe that expecting men to fight these battles for women transfers an unfair amount of responsibility and risk upon men, and perpetuates the benevolently sexist “woman-as-child” mindset.

      1. 15.2.1
        Pistola

        I think it’s much more nuanced than that. A woman is much more likely to report if she knows she has backup. In the absence of that, her fear of retaliation and being harmed further or killed will often prevent her from doing so.

        Please keep in mind that I do this for a living and am therefore familiar with  many many hundreds of different stories and scenarios. I know for a fact that many of these outcomes would have been different if men had been willing to involve themselves in helping women more actively.

        1. Chance

          I don’t think that I understand what you mean by “backup”.  Are you suggesting vigilante justice?  I said that men and women should come forward to corroborate a woman’s story if she reports the incident.  I also think that male and female witnesses should be proactive in letting the woman know that they will corroborate her story.

      2. 15.2.2
        Sylvana

        Chance,

        well – I can somewhat understand your point. Particularly nowadays, when so many women scoff at protective men. I, for one, absolutely LOVE them.

        The way I see it though, it is not so much a matter of men vs. women than stronger vs. weaker.

        Meaning: Whoever is the stronger should protect the weaker. No matter what sex.

        If you can’t or aren’t willing to do it yourself, you can always find someone who is willing to do it.

        I’m strong willed and tough. That doesn’t mean I would confront a man who might get dangerous myself (unless I had to). Still, if I witnessed that or was told about it, I’d either go to someone in position of authority, or – if that fails – find a good-ole boy who is willing to fix the problem. Especially in a bar, there’s bound to be a few of them around.

        Either way – the problem will be fixed. The last thing I would do is ignore the problem, and let whoever is in a weaker position fend for themselves. If they were strong enough to do so (physically or emotionally), they would have.

         

        1. Chance

          “If they were strong enough to do so (physically or emotionally), they would have.”

           

          I respectfully disagree with the premise of this statement.  I actually don’t think the women who are the victims of sexual harassment or assault are in a more precarious situation – from a physical standpoint – than male bystanders a lot of times (See Evan’s anecdote above).  From an emotional standpoint, the idea is that women should try to conjure the emotional strength to report it…. it’s not a man’s job to do her bidding for her.

           

          This is all within reason, obviously.  If I witnessed something much more serious than just inappropriate comments or touching, I would report it and/or try to stop it.

        2. Pistola

          When a man speaks *out of his own accord* against the bad behavior of men in a way that women can see, those women will know he is an ally and have much less fear about coming forward. When men don’t speak about it one way or the other, most women assume that they can’t count on having men as allies in these situations. They are afraid of the “good old boy” network, of being called a false accuser or a slut, or being accused of provoking the incident. This is why men being visible and fearless about the issues helps women: They know who to go to. That’s what I mean by backup.

           

        3. Pistola

          Chance

          Just curious: why would you need to see “more” than inappropriate comments and touching to step in?

          Even as a woman, I’ll step in if I see a woman looking scared or uncomfortable or like she clearly doesn’t like what’s happening. The way I usually do this is by getting the man’s attention: “Excuse me,” and then make something up. Usually, this will give the woman the needed window to get away from him unless he has her backed into a corner or something. If that’s the case, I might pretend to know the woman and physically put myself between him and her and talk to her.

        4. Chance

          Pistola,

           

          “When men don’t speak about it one way or the other, most women assume that they can’t count on having men as allies in these situations.”

           

          I think this problem is solved if men and women who witness something approach the person to let him/her know they will support him/her if he/she decides to come forward.

           

          “Just curious: why would you need to see “more” than inappropriate comments and touching to step in?”

           

          This is because we all have to step in to help others in situations where they aren’t able to help themselves (extreme example is if you are actually witnessing someone being raped).  Women are able to help themselves just as easily as the bystanders in many of these situations.  It’s difficult to specify what one would do as a bystander in different situations depending on the context surrounding each instance, but I would not directly confront a man who whistled at a woman at the metro stop or a man who just isn’t getting the hint in a bar if the woman isn’t attempting to remove herself from the situation.  For one, it’s not even known in every instance whether or not the woman has that much of an issue with the behavior.  Furthermore, it’s not my responsibility to put myself in harm’s way to stick up for a stranger who isn’t willing to stick up for herself (despite being perfectly able to do so) over some behavior that is probably just inappropriate at worst.

           

          Some of these comments seem to be alluding to nothing more than the desire to see the risk of retaliation transferred from women to men.  Women don’t want to be harassed/assaulted, and they don’t want to assume the risk of reporting or confronting the behavior (who does?) so men should to it.  Uh uh.  We have your back, but you need to stand up for yourself if you are in an equal position to do so.

           

          Even worse, these comments that encourage the idea of “beating up” guys who are exhibiting this kind of behavior are depressing, to say the least, and it’s diametrically opposed to the values that support due process and equality between the sexes.  The guy who hit Evan did a very stupid thing, and he’s lucky that a.) he wasn’t dealing with a wackjob, b.) he didn’t go to jail, and c.) he didn’t get sued.  Hitting someone who is clearly so drunk that he cannot defend himself three times in the face after he swung and missed is completely unacceptable regardless if you think he deserved it.  That kind of retaliation is excessive.

        5. S.

          nothing more than the desire to see the risk of retaliation transferred from women to men.  Women don’t want to be harassed/assaulted, and they don’t want to assume the risk of reporting or confronting the behavior (who does?) so men should to it.  Uh uh.  We have your back, but you need to stand up for yourself if you are in an equal position to do so.

          I hope my comments haven’t sounded that way.  I have no thoughts of retaliation.  There is the thought of justice, but those two aren’t the same.  In some states, the state will bring a case against an accused rapist or person who commits domestic violence if there is enough evidence.  Inherent in that is the awareness of the fear and yes, fragility of the survivor, male or female.  And as you put it, that these two people are not in a equal position at all.   This is a person who has been battered over time.  Or in rape was violated sexually.  In a way, those Hollywood starlets or that woman at the bar could be battered over time as well.  Not by hands, but by a culture that blurs the lines.  It’s not that easy to bring justice for themselves.  If I see you are lying in the street hurt, I don’t expect you to crawl to your phone and call for help.  I should call. I don’t even know how you got hurt or if I’m in danger. But I think I should do something to help you.  Is harassment so difficult because there aren’t any injuries?   I’m confused why this is hard to understand except  . . . something you wrote:

          For one, it’s not even known in every instance whether or not the woman has that much of an issue with the behavior.

          I think that may be the disconnect.  Because we as a society have normalized this.  And so it becomes unclear who needs help.

          So your suggestion is that the woman let someone know she has a problem or better yet she should stick up for herself. My suggestions are two-fold.  That men have these discussions among themselves (not formally but whenever it comes up) where it’s clear that sort of harassment isn’t cool no matter what the reaction or non-reaction of the woman. And that women do not remain silent in the situation if they felt safe not to. (In public is different than walking home alone from work at night.)

          I don’t feel the comments here are passing anything solely over to men.  Yes, some women would like to feel protective.   It’s also in our culture the idea that some dad-like or brother-like person will swoop in an save you.  But beyond that culturation (which is flawed but it’s who we are in the States), no woman can ever solely pass the responsibility of her safety to men.  Nearly every woman with a story here first blamed herself. Doesn’t matter if she was one or 101.  We get the message loud and clear that maybe something we did brings this on. Or maybe something we can do can keep us safer.  Maybe if I’m quiet. Maybe if I speak out.  Maybe if I sit here or don’t go there. Maybe if it’s 3pm or maybe if it’s 10:00pm.  We want to be safe and sure that is always in our hands, except when someone forcibly takes that safety away.

          But that last is not what you’re talking about.  Back to the woman at the bar.  It’s unclear if she needs help.  You are wanting her to stand up for herself.  Is it putting yourself in harm’s way to ask her if she’s all right? Men have done that for me before.  Not even about harassment, just when I looked ill or upset.  Men and women who don’t know me will ask.  It’s nice.   If asked, then yes, I would hope she would speak up.  If our culture continues to progress, I would hope she would feel in an equal position to speak up.

          We as a society share the responsibility for what goes on here.  Women aren’t trying to pass that to men.  We wanting to share with men what we already carry and will continue to carry, whether men back us up or not.

          Even women who don’t report, women you never hear about are carrying the consequences. The fear, the shame, the silence.  I know some men want to know what to ‘do’ more than being aware.  I start with awareness.  Even in this post, if even one person is more aware than they were before Evan posted this, I consider that a start.  I’m glad for this thread and for you for posting, Chance.  It’s not often that we all get a chance to have this dialogue in such a respectful way.

      3. 15.2.3
        Addz

        I was casually watching a Tony Robbins seminar on YouTube a while back. There was a topic I was interested in. At any rate, I was somewhat surprised when Tony asked the large roomful of participants how many women had experienced physical fear in the past thirty days. Around 90% raised their hands. Then he asked the men the same question. I believe he counted three raised hands among the men. I just think this is a relevant part of the discussion because I think it’s hard for men to realize in any meaningful way (didn’t totally realize myself) how it feels to be a part of the 50% of humanity who happen to be physically weaker than the other half. Like I say, we don’t generally think about it ourselves, but I know I’ve had physical fear in the past week or so, and I’m a rather bold person in many ways.

        Compounding this is the fact that in general men have evolved to tend toward more aggression. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing, as that aggression can be used to protect us for sure………but you never know, do you?

    3. 15.3
      Sylvana

      Exactly. In this situation, I don’t see why other men (you cannot tell me they didn’t notice his inappropriate behavior) couldn’t have made a complaint. Even if they didn’t feel like stepping in.

      I’m used to being surrounded by rather protective men. A groper like that would have feared coming back to the bar after the first night.

      If nothing else, good men stepping in (or complaining) will make it easier for themselves to interact with women. Because if women keep getting groped/harassed/etc., they will start being way more cautious around EVERY man.

      1. 15.3.1
        Karl R

        Sylvana,

        Let me put you in a hypothetical situation.

        You’re in a bar with 200 people (including Lizard). 20 of them are women who have been groped by Lizard, but none of them “want to make a scene.”

        There are at least 30 more people (men and women) who have heard about Lizard’s misbehavior.

        How do you prove that Lizard has engaged in nonconsensual groping?

         

        Seriously. Help me out.

        I’m fairly certain Lizard isn’t dead. I will probably cross paths with him again. I can’t make any woman speak up and tell the manager or bouncer that his actions were nonconsensual.

        I can make a scene. Specifically, I can make a crime scene, complete with a chalk outline, in the parking lot. I even know who to borrow the gun from.

        I don’t know how to prove Lizard’s actions are nonconsensual … if none of his victims speak up.

        I’m not blaming his victims. (Blame is the least useful activity in the world.) I’m trying to find a path forward that works.

        1. Sylvana

          I love the way you think! Crime scene… thanks for the laugh! You’re mind kind of man.

          I also wonder if Lizard is aware he’s becoming a main character in our discussions here.

          But on a serious note – you cannot prove anything, unless he does it again.

          Personally, I prefer your approach (yellow tape would be involved), but there are still things you can do, short of intervening yourself.

          What you can do is make people in charge of the bar (security, bar manager, etc.) aware that you’ve witnessed a problem, or have heard about a problem with a certain person. If you know that there are plenty of people who have heard about problems with this man, you can all go to security or management to complain. With so many “witnesses” they can act even without the actual victims coming forward.

          If they do what they are supposed to do, they will keep a close eye on Lizard, or even just act due to the number of complaints/observations. They have the right to evict anyone from their premises, even ban them.

          If they do nothing, you can always call the police.

          It is no different from any other disruptive behavior. Let’s say: someone way too drunk who is bothering people. Even if the people being bothered do not come forward, you, as an observer, can always make someone in charge aware of the problem. And make sure they do something about it.

        2. Pistola

          What would I do?

          I would talk to the women who “didn’t want to make a scene” about what they think that means. I would tell them that I would unequivocally back them up since this person’s behavior is well known to people in that community. I would offer to go with them to the bar manager/owner to talk to that person about what happened in my presence.

          I would do this with every single woman he bothered and let them know they are others and that they are not alone–that if enough people say something, that’s how it will change.

        3. Pistola

          Something I saw recently that’s an example of an establishment standing against harassment: after a recent spate of anti Muslim harassment here, my local coffee shop posted a large image on the front door of a woman in a hijab that simply said in giant type: ALL ARE WELCOME HERE.

          What if bars and other places had signs that said something like, “Our bar is dedicated to being a safe and friendly place for everyone who visits. If anyone bothers you, please talk to (name) or call or text (number) to let us know what happened.”

        4. CaliforniaGirl

          I cannot understand why 20 women are afraid to speak up or are afraid to make a scene. The last guy who groped me in a bar, got my knee in his balls so fast, he didn’t realize where it came from.  The security guy who came over, couldn’t stop smiling when he heard what happened and he literally threw this guy from the bar. But I was in the military for 2 years and remember some self defense. We had a separate training only for women and it helped me tremendously throughout my life. Women should stop being silent, they should speak up, take self defense classes and be very vocal about what’s happening. When you start yelling in public at some man “Why are you touching me? I am calling police right now!”, they are so scared, it’s actually funny. They are just little scared insecured cowards, who got away with their behavior for so long that even one confrontation might help and he will be afraid to do it again.

  16. 16
    Gala

    Also, Evan, just because somebody is “happily married with kids” doesn’t make them innocent. Hat actually made me chuckle. All of these guys who harassed and assaulted women WERE happily married with kids. I guarantee you that some of the dads you have beers on weekends are guilty of same. It’s just statistically probable

    1. 16.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      You’re right. But if I don’t know about it, how exactly am I supposed to have a conversation about it? “Hey, Jim, I know we’re just talking about our six-year-old daughters but I was wondering if, when you’re not acting happily married in our backyard, do you ever, you know, pressure women into having sex with you?”

      If it sounds absurd, that’s because it is absurd. I’m not denying how awful or common the problem is; I’m wrestling with what I can do about it when I never see it or hear about it.

  17. 17
    Pistola

    Exactly, Christine. I’m pretty sure every guy I know would say “I don’t know any guys like that.” This is statistically impossible given the pervasiveness of the problem.

    For anyone interested in how serial predators and assaulters work, this book is the definitive one. It’s a horribly unpleasant read, but if you care about the issues or are a parent, it’s probably one that you should try to get through. She talks a lot about how serial predators and child abusers are adept at seeming like nice, normal pillar of the community type guys.

    https://www.amazon.com/Predators-Pedophiles-Rapists-Other-Offenders/dp/0465071732/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1508508307&sr=8-1&keywords=anna+salter+predators

    1. 17.1
      Karl R

      Pistola,

      I’m a statistics kind of guy, so I’m fairly certain that I have encountered guys like that. In general, I just don’t know who they are.

       

      But as you pointed out, many of the predators are adept at seeming normal. I had a boss who later was arrested for sexually molesting a young boy. Was he guilty of the crime? I don’t know.

      During the time I worked for the guy, I’d gone to his apartment twice with other coworkers. We played video games. He never said or did anything in my presence that suggested he was a criminal. If I’d seen something criminal (like any hint of pedophilia), I would have spoken up.

       

      There’s also another problem. Birds of a feather flock together. Trump may have excused his language as “locker room talk,” but in my experience, I stopped hearing that kind of talk in locker rooms by the time I left high school. As an adult, I avoid anyplace (locker room or otherwise) where conversations like that occur.

      I’ve never heard anyone tell a rape joke. I’m sure I’ve briefly met some people who have told them. But if someone finds those kind of jokes funny, and is inclined to telling them in my presence, I’m actively avoiding them long before they get around to telling the first joke. It’s entirely possible that the guys you know behave similarly.

      If so, it puts them in a poor position to see something … or say something.

  18. 18
    Jeremy

    When I first heard of this campaign, the feeling that first went through my mind was…discomfort.  And as much as I don’t want to raise the ire of anyone here, I wanted to articulate why I felt uncomfortable so as to better help both women and men and to try to answer Evan’s question of “why aren’t more men speaking up about this campaign.”

     

    Years ago, I went on a date with a woman who seemed ambivalent.  At the end of the date, I went in to give her a kiss to see how we both might react, and when I did it was obvious that I had made her uncomfortable.  So I said goodnight and left.  By my actions that made her uncomfortable, did I harass her?  Did I assault her?   I think that if I posed this question, most of the people here would say no, because I did not persist.  But there would be some who would say yes because it was a type of “sexual” contact, and it was unwanted in the end. So by the questionnaires that set the harassment/assault stats (1 in 3, they say), the answer would be yes.  And here’s my problem with that – the question of whether or not a behavior is criminal CAN NOT be defined by what makes one individual person uncomfortable without clear communication of that discomfort.  There is no clear, universal definition of what constitutes harassment/assault – to many, it is a spectrum beginning with anything that makes them uncomfortable.  Not to pick on S., whose opinion I respect, but using a rude word (like “retard” in her example) might be rude but is not criminal.  The definition of something criminal can not be subjective to what makes any individual person uncomfortable.

     

    Anti-rape activists achieved a lot of success with their “No means no” campaign, because it gave men clear, objective criteria as to what constitutes rape, and when they should stop.  She says no, you stop.  Period.  But they achieved far less success and far more confusion with their “Yes means yes” campaign, because they did not take into account how men and women typically communicate.  How many women actually say yes with their words?  How many women have argued (on this site!) that they don’t like it when men ask for permission?  How many women believe that if a woman continues to respond to a man sexually, that’s all the assent he needs….until he misinterprets her actions?  If a rapist is a man who has sex with a woman after she has said no, most men would be on board with an anti-rape campaign, because they could clearly and confidently state that they were not rapists and that rapists are abhorrent.  But if a rapist is a man who has had sex with a woman who did not clearly say yes, then far more men fall under the definition of rapist.  I’ve had sex with my wife after she’s had a few glasses of wine – by current definition, I’m a rapist.  So is she, BTW, because she’s done the same when I’ve had a few glasses too.  So if I join an anti-rape campaign, am I campaigning against myself?  How can I support the cause when I don’t agree with the definition, because the definition is confusing as hell and goes against non-pathological human behavior?

     

    I 100% support the right of women and men to live free of harassment, but we need an objective definition of what harassment IS.  One that takes into account the safety and security of women, but also accounts for the fact that men have the role of sexual pursuers in this society (because women, by and large, don’t want that role), and we can’t criminalize that behavior.  We need clear guidelines.

     

    So as much as I think it is helpful from a validational standpoint for women to come together in this “Me Too” campaign and share their experiences, ultimately what would be more helpful to men and women is to establish clear, universal criteria (that BOTH genders can accept) as to what constitutes harassment and what doesn’t.  And then I think you’ll see far more men involved in support.

    1. 18.1
      Karl R

      Jeremy,

      Have you ever read a sexual assault statute? Or a harassment statute? I’ve read a few (they vary, state to state), and I’ve never seen one that criminalized kissing someone, then realizing the attraction was one-sided.

       

      Moving past your straw man argument to something that actually qualifies as sexual assault. Let’s say the woman seemed ambivalent, and you started caressing her breasts. She hadn’t said no … but she hadn’t said yes either.

      Is that sexual assault? That depends on whether she’s consented. And since you voluntarily gone into a gray area, where consent was unclear, you’ve taken your chances. If it turns out that she didn’t want your hands there, you’ve committed a crime. If she wanted your hands on her breasts, then there’s no crime.

      If that makes you a little extra careful about getting “hands-on”, then the law is working as intended.

       

      You want a “No Means No” standard? Think through the consequences. Under that standard, a man can walk up to your wife, shove his hand into her shirt, fondle her breasts until she recovers from her shock and yells “No”, quickly pull his hand out, apologize for the misunderstanding, and he’s legally untouchable. He stopped as soon as she said “No.”

      He can then keep repeating that action with different women.

      I don’t want to live in that world. I particularly don’t want my wife to live in that world.

      1. 18.1.1
        Jeremy

        To be clear, Karl, it isn’t that I want a “No means no” standard.  It’s that I want clear definitions.  The example that you gave of a man shoving his hands down my wife’s shirt is a straw man because I think that almost every reasonable human being would agree that doing so would constitute assault.  That is not a remotely grey area.  But please acknowledge that there are plenty of grey areas in the realm of human interaction that span the spectrum between my kissing example and your fondling one.

         

        I am not a rape apologist, or a harassment apologist.  I want to see my wife, daughters, and women everywhere living safely and happily in this world, and will fight for their rights just as you and Evan will.  But we’ve got to be a bit cautious.  Because when we expand our definitions to include normal behavior, it turns everyone into a victim and everyone into a perpetrator.

        1. S.

           Not to pick on S., whose opinion I respect, but using a rude word (like “retard” in her example) might be rude but is not criminal.  The definition of something criminal can not be subjective to what makes any individual person uncomfortable.

          I’m glad you respect my opinion.  This topic is difficult for me as a woman because it brings up a whole host of memories and for me, not one of them is criminal.

          I know you want clear definitions but what about the things that are unclear? What about the ‘hey, baby, oh you think you’re too cute for me?” harassment some women endure frequently?  I used the word ‘retard’ because it’s a word that I can type here.  Other stronger, more offensive words I refuse to type here.  These things part of a whole culture that preys upon people who are perceived as weak.  It’s not merely rude.  Was it a criminal act to kiss someone you were unsure wanted to be kissed? No, it’s not criminal. You said goodnight and left and I respect that.  But I don’t know what I would consider that situation. I don’t know.  There aren’t always just two choices, ‘normal’ or ‘criminal’.  There are things that are grey areas.  Each situation is different and has a different degree.  Street harassment, demeaning folks of different intelligences, and unsure kissing are all very different things.  If we live in a culture where people don’t stop and do persist in these, yes, they could lead to harm.

          It’s that culture that becomes problematic.  It’s the silence about these non-criminal boundaries being crossed that is the problem.  I don’t see any harm in discussion about these uncomfortable situations.

          The grey situations need to be discussed and brought to light as well as the clearly criminal.  The grey situations are confusing, I admit.  We have no idea how that woman you kissed felt.  She may be fine, she may not.  May have to do with you, may have nothing to do with you.  But why not discuss it as the uncomfortable situation it was?  I don’t want to unintentionally criminalize certain situations, but I’m equally uncomfortable dismissing all grey area activity as ‘normal’ as well.

          My reason for saying this is that as woman sometimes you are taught culturally to dismiss things that make you feel uncomfortable when it clearly crosses a line for you.  Not criminal, but not okay with you, either.  I want people, men and women, to listen to that discomfort, not bury it.  Maybe discussion about that will help people speak up. I don’t know. It’s a large leap from discussion to criminal assault prevention, but I believe it’s a fair start.

        2. KK

          Jeremy actually made a good point, Karl. It is important that we have clear definitions.

          I’ll relay a story that a friend told me a couple of years ago when her daughter was a senior in high school. Her best friend was also a senior in high school, 18 years old, dating a 16 year old boy, a junior in high school. Supposedly, she saw some nude pictures of a girl on her boyfriend’s phone. She sent the pictures to her own phone and then, because she was angry, sent the nude pictures to all her friends, boys and girls, calling this girl a slut. This girl was 16. She found out, was humiliated, told her parents, and they pressed charges against the 18 year old girl. She was charged with possession and distribution of child pornography. She is now a registered sex offender. Don’t you think that’s a bit overkill? No doubt, she screwed up. No doubt, she intended to cause emotional distress, but I don’t believe this was the solution.

      2. 18.1.2
        Jeremy

        And BTW, there’s also a difference between what the law recognizes as harassment/assault versus public perception.  Legal definitions strive for clarity, though often fall short.  Public perceptions far more often depend on personal feelings.  You asked me whether I’ve ever read a legal sexual assault statute.  No, I haven’t, though I’m sure you’re right that none include my kissing example.  But I HAVE read the questionnaire that was used to determine some of the assault stats.  The question “have you ever experienced unwanted sexual contact” is so vague, so unclear, that it could definitely include my kissing example, depending on the interpretation.  It can’t depend on interpretation – that is my point.

         

        1. Katie

          +1 to Jeremys post.

           

          Catcalling on the street is what some women are considering sexual harassment. It may make you uncomfortable, yes, but to put that in the same category as actual rape is not logical and is harmful to people who have suffered real tragedies.

        2. Karl R

          Jeremy said:

          “I HAVE read the questionnaire that was used to determine some of the assault stats.”

          Post a link to it.

          Perhaps the questionnaire was vague, but I’m not going to agree or disagree without seeing it.

           

          But let’s cut to the chase. You’re uncomfortable about the entire #MeToo campaign, because you saw one questionnaire that had vague questions. And that one study (out of a large number of studies) might have generated questionable results.

          Really?

          That’s an exceptionally weak excuse.

          Do you object to the term “precipitation” being used in weather reports? It’s also incredibly vague. It covers everything from a few minutes of light mist or sprinkles all the way up to blizzards and devastating floods like Hurricane Harvey. Somehow, thousands of meteorologists manage to make use of the term, despite the broad range of weather events covered by it.

           

          Jeremy said:

          “The question ‘have you ever experienced unwanted sexual contact’ is so vague, so unclear, that it could definitely include my kissing example,”

          Without seeing the entire questionnaire, it’s a little hard for me to tell whether “sexual contact” was more thoroughly defined in another spot.

          And as a guy, I’ve had a woman kiss me, when I really would have preferred she not.

          But if you ask me whether I’ve experienced unwanted sexual contact, I’m going to think about the time a woman (a complete stranger, twice my age and unattractive) came up behind me, reached though my legs and groped my scrotum.

          I suspect most women can answer the question based on actions that were clearly sexual contact.

           

          About your experience with the girl…

          If you’re worried that you might get labeled as having engaged in unwanted sexual contact, because you kissed a girl who seemed ambivalent toward you during the date beforehand, and who seemed downright uncomfortable afterwards, maybe you’re focusing your criticism in the wrong direction.

          You decided to kiss her. Nobody held a gun to your head. Her ambivalence already indicated that you weren’t getting a second date, so you wouldn’t have changed your chances if you decided not to kiss her. And even if you did move in for a kiss, you could have moved a bit slower in order to take a more accurate read of her body language.

          We don’t know what her opinion is. I’m not interested in guessing. But if your behavior made her so uncomfortable that she would label it later as “unwanted sexual contact”, I’m going to unequivocally say that you went further with her than you should have.

           

          Jeremy said:

          “But we’ve got to be a bit cautious. Because when we expand our definitions to include normal behavior, it turns everyone into a victim and everyone into a perpetrator.”

          Another straw man argument. You’re taking one question from a survey (which may be poorly worded), and trying to draw some connection to actual legal statutes.

          Your actions weren’t a crime. She can’t be a victim, and you can’t be a perpetrator.

           

          However, you think “we” need to be “cautious”.

          Okay. Let’s talk about caution.

          You met a girl for a first date. Was that also the first time you’d met her in person? For the entire date, she seemed ambivalent toward you. At the end of the date you “went in to give her a kiss” in order to see how both of you would react.

          Which part of that seems cautious?

          If you want to be cautious, don’t kiss women who seem ambivalent towards you.

          If you want to say that your behavior was “normal”, because that’s a synonym for “commonplace”, I can accept that definition. But I don’t think we need to unquestioningly assume that it should be a social norm. Let’s find out how the other half of the population feels. Does swiping right and spending an hour together automatically mean that there’s a kiss, regardless of how both parties feel?

           

          Katie said:

          “Catcalling on the street is what some women are considering sexual harassment. It may make you uncomfortable, yes, but to put that in the same category as actual rape is not logical”

          You’re the first person here who has labeled it as one category.

          If you read what Alyssa Milano wrote, she said “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted….”

          Even with the way Alyssa Milano phrased it, that’s two categories. Very clearly so. Many women fit into both.

          Legally, it’s at least two categories. In California, catcalls would be Disorderly  Conduct (or Public Nuisance, or Unlawful Assembly). California also has Sexual Battery (both misdemeanor and felony, depending on other circumstances). If intercourse/penetration is involved, California also has Forcible Rape and Statutory Rape.

           

          Katie said:

          “and is harmful to people who have suffered real tragedies.”

          Really?

          I realize that I’ve only spoken to a small number of rape victims in the past few days, but their reactions to the campaign were uniformly positive.

          I also looked online, to see if I could find some backlash that was being led by rape victims. I couldn’t find that either.

          Of the people who suffered real tragedies, which ones are saying that #MeToo harms them?

        3. Marika

          Jeremy

          With respect, I think the #metoo campaign is about giving women who’ve felt victimized, powerless, confused, violated etc a chance to have a voice, some support and a feeling of solidarity. For some, it’s potentially the first time they’ve publicly acknowledged what happened to them. It’s cathartic and helpful for them. It’s not about you or quibbling about semantics.

          If it makes you or another man (or woman) who touched a woman who didn’t want to be touched, feel uncomfortable, well I think you may just have to deal with those feelings & recognize the greater good.

          It took until 2007 (or it may have been 2008) for white Australia to apologise to the Indigenous people for taking their land (stealing their children etc etc). Why so long? More than 200 years after white settlement? Because people were quibbling about legal ramifications & statutes and blah blah blah. When we finally did it, the outcome was all positive. The sky didn’t fall. And even though I personally did nothing personally to Indigenous Australia, I’m more than happy to say sorry. To bring them peace.

        4. Katie

          Karl R 

          “You’re the first person here who has labeled it as one category.

          If you read what Alyssa Milano wrote, she said “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted….”

          Even with the way Alyssa Milano phrased it, that’s two categories.”

           

          I’m not the first one. The entire campaign is a mass misgrouping of information and it’s misleading. If you meet criteria A and/or B you fall into category 1.  The entire campaign groups harassment and rape into the same category called #metoo. In my humble opinion, that is misleading. That’s like grouping someone cutting in front of you in line with their grocery cart with someone assaulting you with a deadly weapon.

           

           

        5. Katie

          For clarity – I’m not suggesting that ALL harassment is benign.

        6. Karl R

          Katie said:

          “For clarity – I’m not suggesting that ALL harassment is benign.”

          Wait … WHAT?!?

          Did you just imply that some harassment is benign?

           

          The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission describes sexual harassment this way:

          “Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.”

           

          So, the sexual harassment has to be unwelcome. It has to be sexual in nature. It also has to meet one (or more) of the following criteria:

          1. It hast to affect employment (getting hired, getting fired, promoted, demoted, raise, bonus). This effect can be explicit or implicit. or

          2. It has to interfere with the employee’s work performance. or

          3. It has to create a hostile, intimidating, or offensive work environment.

           

          If you believe some harassment is benign, then please give some examples of “benign” sexual harassment.

        7. Katie

          Karl R

          And one last thing! This response –

          “I realize that I’ve only spoken to a small number of rape victims in the past few days, but their reactions to the campaign were uniformly positive.”

           

          So you don’t think I’ve ignored your well thought out and articulate response let me say that my thinking here is still percolating and I acknowledge your point.

           

          My problem here stems I think is a problem of using averages.  An issue of the average number of people have less that two legs kinda issue.Let me try to explain my thinking. It seems to me that by combining all the gross and horrible events with the benign events we oversimplify the issue in a misleading and harmful way. It seems that with the crude grouping in the #metoo category, that things that ARE horrible are underated and events that are benign are overated. That’s what I’m thinking about when I see a lot of the #metoo stuff.

           

          I would welcome your thoughts.

           

        8. Katie

          “Did you just imply that some harassment is benign?”

           

          Yes. I did. In my opinion a guy catcalling from across the street is unwelcome, but benign. Some others would disagree with me.

           

          I haven’t read the rest of your response yet. Just had to jump on that.

           

        9. Katie

          Let me make an important correction please.

          You are using legal jargon in a issue that is sometimes about perception. To claim sexual harassment on twitter is as easy and ranting about the guy at check-out line looking at your butt.

        10. Karl R

          Katie said:

          “In my opinion a guy catcalling from across the street is unwelcome, but benign.”

          Dictionary definition of Benign:

          1. having a kindly disposition; gracious

          2. showing or expressive of gentleness or kindness

          3. favorable; propitious

          4. (regarding weather) salubrious; healthful; pleasant or beneficial

          5. (regarding medical pathology) not malignant; self-limiting

           

          Katie,

          How is a catcall benign? You agree that catcalls are unwelcome. Is this unwelcome behavior kind? Gracious? Gentle? Favorable?

           

          Katie said:

          “You are using legal jargon in a issue that is sometimes about perception.”

          And?

          What’s the difference between someone borrowing your car for a drive around town, or someone stealing your car and taking it for a joyride? I would say it’s your perception of whether they have your permission.

          The difference between someone forcibly raping me, or someone having consensual sex with me, is based entirely on my perception of whether I want to participate in the sex act.

           

          Of course it’s about perception. That’s precisely the point. It’s the perception of the person who doesn’t want to be subjected to the sex, the groping, the lewd comment … it’s that person’s perception who matters.

          Why do you have a problem with that?

           

          Katie said:

          “It seems to me that by combining all the gross and horrible events with the benign events we oversimplify the issue in a misleading and harmful way. It seems that with the crude grouping in the #metoo category, that things that ARE horrible are underated and events that are benign are overated.”

          Okay. That’s how it seems to you.

          This morning, I spoke to one of the people I know who did experience something horrible. Someone she barely knew raped her at a party. She didn’t bother to tell her own mother about the rape, because she didn’t want to hear the “I told you that was going to happen.”

          This is how #MeToo seems to this woman…

          After years of silence, speaking only to those closest to her, she feels the freedom publicly talk about what happened to her (to whatever extent she wants) without the victim blaming and shaming that would have happened at the time of the rape.

          This woman has also spent much of her career in a male-dominated work environment where sexual harassment was just part of the landscape. If she wants to talk about sexual harassment, she has the freedom to talk about that too.

          The criminal behavior is no longer being sheltered behind a wall of silence. The shame is finally being placed on the perpetrators, not their victims.

          If someone else wants to complain about other, non-criminal harassment, she thinks they should have the freedom to speak as well.

           

          But it’s the tail end of your statement that really sounds awful. It sounds to me like you’re trying to shame some of the women into silence, just because those women’s experiences don’t seem horrible enough to you.

          Perhaps this shouldn’t be your decision. Alyssa Milano believes that #MeToo should also cover “women walking down the street.”

          Why do you have a problem with this?

        11. Katie

          Excuse my use of the word benign. You’re right it does not mean what I thought it did. I associate the word with cancer and always interpreted it to mean something unpleasant, but not particularly harmful. 

          Moving on.

          Karl R you’re usually a reasonable guy. But your response from this point on is meaningless. It looks like you are just looking for someone to fuss at here and I say that because you clearly did not read or bother to respond to my actual argument which I will condense and copy/paste below. This is not so much for your benefit, Karl, but for the motive of clarity for myself when anyone else follows along who has missed that you’ve taken an opportunity to twist my words in an ugly way so that you can be all white knighty. So here’s my argument.

          Katie says “The entire campaign is a mass misgrouping of information and it’s misleading. If you meet criteria A and/or B you fall into category 1.  The entire campaign groups harassment and rape into the same category called #metoo. In my humble opinion, that is misleading. That’s like grouping someone cutting in front of you in line with their grocery cart with someone assaulting you with a deadly weapon.”

          And this one. Excuse my small word edits. Original use of the word “Benign” was used in error.

          Katie says ” My problem here stems I think is a problem of using averages.  An issue of the average number of people have less that two legs kinda issue.Let me try to explain my thinking. It seems to me that by combining all the gross and horrible events with the benign unpleansant, but harmless events we oversimplify the issue in a misleading and harmful way. It seems that with the crude grouping in the #metoo category, that things that ARE horrible are underated and events that are benign harmless are overated. That’s what I’m thinking about when I see a lot of the #metoo stuff.”

          I’m done with this discussion with you. Because I can’t discuss things with illogical people. To use a Dune analogy, if we were drowning people you would be the one to climb on my shoulders and push me under to keep yourself afloat. Your response is mostly emotional logical fallacy designed to make you look like good.

          Red herrings and anecdotes are your response…

          Karl says,

          1.     “It’s the perception of the person who doesn’t want to be subjected to the sex, the groping, the lewd comment … it’s that person’s perception who matters.”

           
           “Why do you have a problem with that?”

          “This morning, I spoke to one of the people I know who did experience something horrible. Someone she barely knew raped her at a party.”

          “The criminal behavior is no longer being sheltered behind a wall of silence. The shame is finally being placed on the perpetrators, not their victims.”

          All of this is meaningless in the context of my argument. It is not a response. And then this…

          “But it’s the tail end of your statement that really sounds awful. It sounds to me like you’re trying to shame some of the women into silence, just because those women’s experiences don’t seem horrible enough to you.”

          What. The. Hell. You mean this statement?

          Katie says,

          “To claim sexual harassment on twitter is as easy and ranting about the guy at check-out line looking at your butt.”

          It may not be politically correct enough for you, but I stand by it.

          I did not suggest women should be ashamed of their experiences.

          I did not suggest women should be silent.

          I did not suggest women are making a big deal about nothing.

          So Karl, talk to me again when you’re not just looking for someone to sacrifice for your sense of righteousness.

        12. Katie

          And one last thing. If I seemed to suggest that I think that all harrasement is harmless, that was my mistake articulating my thoughts. I am NOT suggesting that all harassment is harmless. I am suggesting that some of what some women and men perceive to be harassment, such as for example some catcalling across the street, is harmless though.

        13. Karl R

          Katie said:

          “I did not suggest women are making a big deal about nothing.”

          “I am suggesting that some of what some women and men perceive to be harassment, such as for example some catcalling across the street, is harmless though.”

          Those two statements contradict each other. But for now, I’m going to ignore the first one and address the second.

          If someone perceives a situation to be harmful, why do you assume that you are in a better place to perceive whether the situation is harmful / harmless to them?

          If you felt something was harmful to you, and a stranger claimed that it was harmless to you, would you consider their statement to be arrogant?

           

           

          Do you continue to believe that catcalls are harmless, even when there are scientific studies to the contrary?

          Researchers from the University of Kent found catcalling and other objectifying behaviors (among teenage boys) not only correlated to aggressive behaviors toward women, but also predicted them.

          Researchers from the University of Missouri-Kansas City found that sexual objectification, particularly catcalling, increased women’s psychological stress and fear of crime. This effect didn’t occur equally for all women. It was particularly pronounced for African-American women.

          Researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln determined that women who feel objectified by catcalling tend to self-monitor and self-objectify. They also become less sexually assertive, and therefore are more likely to become victims of sexual assault.

           

          Let me rephrase your earlier statement, to make it more accurate.

          “I am suggesting that some of what some women and men perceive to be harmless, such as, for example, some catcalling across the street, is harmful though, for at least some women.”

          To tie back to your initial statement, the people who have suffered, in your words, “real tragedies” (the ones whom you are also claiming to have the most concern for), they are also the ones who are most likely to find catcalling (and leering) threatening.

           

           

          Katie said:

          “you clearly did not read or bother to respond to my actual argument

          I read the those two statements. I didn’t bother to respond to them. They undermined themselves without my assistance.

          The first statement was clearly a false analogy. Sexual harassment is illegal. I’m not aware of any states or municipalities where cutting someone off with a shopping cart is illegal. (In addition, had you been willing to look at legal statutes and rely on legal jargon, you would have been aware of that. Instead, you previously criticized me for discussing some of the relevant laws.)

          The second statement was either so poorly explained as to be incomprehensible, or it was nonsensical. If I had to guess at what you meant, it sounded like you were treating the #MeToo topic like it was a scientific study, which was producing invalid results. Since it’s not a scientific study, that’s not a valid concern. It’s producing a conversation, not scientific data.

          If you meant something else, then the concept of rape, assault, and harassment being “overrated” or “underrated” simply sounds absurd, at least without additional explanation of what you intended to say. Were you discussing whether or not they’re over/under-reported? All of them are under-reported.

          And that’s far more response than either statement deserved.

           

          Katie said:

          “if we were drowning people you would be the one to climb on my shoulders and push me under to keep yourself afloat. Your response is mostly emotional logical fallacy designed to make you look like good.”

          That’s hilariously ironic. The first sentence is off-topic, emotional, an ad hominem attack, false, and grammatically incorrect. (You implied that we were trying to drown other people, rather than trying to save ourselves from drowning.)

          In the second sentence you claimed (without additional support) that my actions are almost as bad as what you just packed into one sentence.

           

        14. Katie

          Hi, Karl. I’m just going to answer the questions.

          “If someone perceives a situation to be harmful, why do you assume that you are in a better place to perceive whether the situation is harmful / harmless to them?”

          I reserve the right to my opinion, yes. Even my opinion about someone else’s perception because I have known my own perception to be wrong before.

          “If you felt something was harmful to you, and a stranger claimed that it was harmless to you, would you consider their statement to be arrogant?”

          I would not consider it arrogant, no. If I was a smoker and thought incorrectly that smoking increased my quality of life, I would be wrong in that perception.

          “Do you continue to believe that catcalls are harmless, even when there are scientific studies to the contrary?”

          I reserve the right to change my mind based on evidence. But for the moment I still think some are, yes.

          “To tie back to your initial statement, the people who have suffered, in your words, “real tragedies” (the ones whom you are also claiming to have the most concern for), they are also the ones who are most likely to find catcalling (and leering) threatening.”

          A valid point, yes.

          “The first statement was clearly a false analogy. Sexual harassment is illegal. I’m not aware of any states or municipalities where cutting someone off with a shopping cart is illegal. “

          Not a false analogy. Because the twitter #Metoo is not a legal issue. It’s women self-reporting their own perceived harassment. The legal jargon is irrelevant to peoples feelings and perceptions.

          “The second statement was either so poorly explained as to be incomprehensible, or it was nonsensical. If I had to guess at what you meant, it sounded like you were treating the #MeToo topic like it was a scientific study, which was producing invalid results. Since it’s not a scientific study, that’s not a valid concern.”

          Not treating it like a scientific study. Just treating it logically. The average of 1 and 10 is 5. Even if there’s no 5 at all. My argument was that the spectrum of severity is too broad to drawn conclusions from. And nothing you’ve said thus far has addressed that simple point.

          P.S. And I said nothing about things being over or under reported.

          “And that’s far more response than either statement deserved.”

          Ah shucks. Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule then.

          “That’s hilariously ironic. The first sentence is off-topic, emotional, an ad hominem attack, false, and grammatically incorrect. (You implied that we were trying to drown other people, rather than trying to save ourselves from drowning.)”

          Resorting to critiquing my grammar now? You do realize that some of us are typing on phones these days right?

          In all fairness though, my analogy was unclear though. Let me clarify because I think it still applies. Drowning people will often climb onto the shoulders of other people to try to stay alive. Like the guy in titanic at the end climbing on Rose’s shoulders, pushing her underwater to try to save himself. I suggested that you were like the person climbing onto another  person’s shoulders to save himself because you have continued to interpret my statements in ways that support your own dogmatically formed opinions of what my opinions must be.

          Or in this case save his sense of self-righteousness.

        15. Katie

          P.S. Also, my opinion has changed a bit and I no longer consider these issues that I’ve brought up to be as big a deal as I did previously. I no longer wish to continue this discussion, so this will be my last response on this comment side chain.

        16. Karl R

          Katie said:

          “Not treating it like a scientific study. Just treating it logically. The average of 1 and 10 is 5. Even if there’s no 5 at all. My argument was that the spectrum of severity is too broad to drawn conclusions from. And nothing you’ve said thus far has addressed that simple point.”

          You’re not treating it logically.

          Logically, you can’t draw conclusions from a trending internet topic. Just like you can’t draw conclusions about breakups from Jimmy Fallon’s #AwkwardBreakUp trending tweets. You can’t draw conclusions about cats from kitten videos. You can’t draw conclusions from internet memes. Who is trying to draw conclusions from #MeToo? You?

          Be logical. Stop trying to draw conclusions from it. It’s not intended to be a scientific study.

           

          Katie said:

          “Not a false analogy. Because the twitter #Metoo is not a legal issue. It’s women self-reporting their own perceived harassment. The legal jargon is irrelevant to peoples feelings and perceptions.”

          Still a false analogy.

          Because if I talk about being assaulted with a deadly weapon (which has happened to me), would you also claim it’s not a legal issue? It is me self-reporting my own perceived assault. The legal jargon should be equally irrelevant to my feelings and perceptions.

          Sexual harassment is a crime. Rape is a crime. Cutting off someone’s shopping cart is rude behavior. Assault with a deadly weapon is a crime. (One of these things is not like the others.)

          I can fix the analogy for you … but only if you can get congress to pass a law which makes that shopping cart thingy a misdemeanor.

           

          Katie said:

          “I would not consider it arrogant, no. If I was a smoker and thought incorrectly that smoking increased my quality of life, I would be wrong in that perception.”

          This is another false analogy, because you reversed the harmful/harmless.

          Don’t worry, this analogy is much easier to fix.

           

          First, I would claim something is harmful to me (like orange juice). You would say that I’m wrong, that your opinion overrules my perception. And I would say that you’re arrogant, for assuming you understand my health better than I do. You would it’s not arrogant, because scientific studies show that orange juice is nutritious.

          That is an accurate analogy, because it keeps the harmful/harmless in the correct order. It’s also one where I’m self-reporting my perception of harm. I believe it also conveys the overall sentiment you were trying to express. You’re saying something is harmless to the person (or people) who claim to be harmed.

           

          Instead of claiming that my perceptions regarding my own health (physical or mental) are mistaken, a non-arrogant person might ask what harm orange juice causes me. To that, my response would be, “Vomiting, hives, and anaphylactic shock.” (I’m allergic to oranges.)

          Even if wasn’t obvious from my initial self-reporting, and even though it ran contrary to your expectations, my self-perception was based on the most important pieces of information … which you lacked.

           

          You’re assuming your opinion is superior to the self-reported perceptions of those women … before you bother to gain additional information.

          Reserve judgment; gather information; come to an informed decision. If you can’t get information, you can always reserve judgment indefinitely.

           

          Katie said:

          “Drowning people will often climb onto the shoulders of other people to try to stay alive.”

          A person who can’t swim, who is afraid of drowning, will claw and climb their way on top of another person. It sounds like you’re placing a moral judgment on a purely instinctive behavior performed by someone who doesn’t know better.

          I would recommend learning about these things through lifeguard training, rather than by reading Dune or watching Titanic. There’s just no substitute for practical education.

          In our final exam, we actually had to go in deep water where the “victim” would try to “save themselves” by crawling on top of us.

           

          If you ever want to let go of your judgmental view of people, voluntarily put yourself into a position where someone is trying to kill you … not out of malice or ill intent, but because they literally, instinctively, cannot make themselves act differently.

           

          Katie said:

          “I reserve the right to my opinion, yes. Even my opinion about someone else’s perception because I have known my own perception to be wrong before.”

          Your opinion trumps their reality, because you’ve been wrong before.

          Are you familiar with the term “chutzpah“?

           

          Katie said:

          “I no longer wish to continue this discussion, so this will be my last response on this comment side chain.”

          Over the years, you are the eleventh person to have made this comment on Evan’s blog. (Only including those who were specifically addressing me … not other posters.)

          If you don’t respond to my post, you will be the first person to fulfill that commitment.

      3. 18.1.3
        Pistola

        I’m not sure where this will show up on the thread but I wanted to say something about harassment.

        Karl is correct that there is no form of harassment that is benign. I have worked with many women who moved away from cities they loved, like New York or Cairo, because the constant level of street harassment they endured on a daily basis gave them PTSD. One woman described it as “like walking through a war zone every time I left my door to go to school or work in the morning.”

        By definition, harassment is unwelcome, and it’s usually repeated over and over. Again there is NO form of harassment that is benign. Would you want any of the behaviors women find harassing happening to your 6 year old daughter, for example? If not, if the idea of that bothers you, it should bother you just as much when it happens to a grown woman.

        1. Katie

          “Benign” was used in error. Excuse the word, please. I intended it to mean unpleasant, but not particularly harmful.

          moved away from cities they loved, like New York or Cairo, because the constant level of street harassment they endured on a daily basis gave them PTSD. “

          And this is clearly not harmless, so this is irrelevant to my original point.

    2. 18.2
      Sylvana

      To me, it is not the fact that you made her uncomfortable that should be criminalized.

      It is how you react to making her uncomfortable. If she is uncomfortable, and you stop what you were doing, there is nothing wrong with that. If you persist, however, than you are crossing the line.

  19. 19
    Noquay

    Speaking as a “me too” woman who was assaulted, raped, horribly shamed by members of my own family, thanks Evan for even expressing your sentiments. Too many stand aside and just let it happen. My experience made me very, very, strong but many women are crushed. Most of us understand only a few men are trashbags, that some are so mentally sick that they don’t even understand what they’re doing is wrong. No amount of shaming, talking to them will fix that; they’re broken. What I don’t see is others, men and women, who know someone is this inappropriate, this damaged, warning or actively protecting women who are being harassed and assaulted. We need to speak out, speak truth, because bad behavior thrives in secrecy. An example; a female student (intoxicated) and all of us females at a local establishment were being repeatedly harassed by a mentally ill member of the community. After being repeatedly rebuffed by most of us, he’d settled on her. I and another physically put ourselves between the student and this dude. I spoke to the owner; he was thrown out. I and a neighbor then escorted her to my car, three blocks away in the dark, drove her home, saw her safely inside. Later that week when he showed up on campus I requested the sick dude be banned from campus and he was subsequently banned from many committees; eventually his family had him put into treatment. That’s what dealing with harassment should look like. Don’t put up with it, protect others, get the word out that this person is a problem.

    1. 19.1
      Sylvana

      good for you

  20. 20
    Tyrone

    I think we should work harder to encourage women (and male victims) to speak up more often and more promptly when these things happen to them.

    Certainly men can and should intervene if they witness such things. Many do. I have several times in my life. I have been in a few physical altercations with men that I witnessed hitting a woman. Once, a guy was hitting on a woman sitting next to me. Nothing sexual, but he was being very persistent and I could visibly tell she felt uncomfortable. I whispered to the guy that I’d seen that girl in the men’s room standing at the urinal taking a piss. He thanked me and bought me a shot then went about his business. She asked me what I’d said to make him leave, I told her and we both had a quick laugh.

    I can’t say that I am aware of anyone I associate with assaulting or harassing any women. Doesn’t mean they haven’t/aren’t. But I have no knowledge of it, nor have I ever witnessed it happen. And no one I know has told me about the time the sexually assaulted someone – which I would expect to be the case if they in fact had sexually assaulted someone.

    If something happens to you, please speak up and make as much noise as you can sooner rather than later. Feeling powerless and being powerless are not the same thing.

    1. 20.1
      Sylvana

      Thank you! You are obviously a man who already has a zero tolerance policy in place, and does not hesitate to enforce it.

      And you are making a very valid point. People do need to speak out. While someone can help and interfere if they’re aware of it, they cannot do a thing if they do not know. I understand that it can be traumatic for the victims to relive what happened. But all they would have to do is confide in one good friend. Not even with drastic details. Or simply make someone aware of them being uncomfortable if that is the case.

      I hope more victims will come to find it empowering to have support and protection, and to be fully aware that there is no reason to feel shame.

       

  21. 21
    KK

    The sad truth is that women do not have the same freedoms as men. Never have. Never will. In my own family, growing up, my older brothers were allowed to do all kinds of things that I wasn’t allowed to do. At the time, I didn’t understand it and thought it was totally unfair. With age and a bit of wisdom, I finally realized my parents were only trying to protect me.

    Unfortunately, the world is not the way it should be and if you choose to live your life based upon shoulds, you are increasing your odds of becoming a victim at some point. That being said, you can be assaulted even when you’ve done your best to be cautious. I hope no one reading this thinks I’m a victim blamer, because I am not. My point is that women should be smart. Going out alone at night or drinking too much while you’re out isn’t really a wise choice if you’re a woman. Hanging out in bars that someone named Lizard frequents is probably a bad idea too.

    1. 21.1
      Sylvana

      I understand your view. Most women are physically weaker than men, and as such more vulnerable to attack. On the other hand, some of what you say almost sounds a little bit like (I hate to say it) victim mentality.

      I see no reason why a woman shouldn’t go out alone at night. Should she walk into a dark alley in a bad neighborhood? Of course not. But neither should a man. Should she go to shady or dangerous areas? No. But neither should a man.

      Drinking to the point where you can no longer make rational decisions is also not a good idea for either sex. But as long as you can still object (even while drunk at a bar), I don’t see how the risk would be any higher (you’d probably make an even bigger scene drunk than sober, so the risk might be less).

      And why should a woman not frequent a bar that has ONE man (named Lizard) groping women?

      Granted, a bar, in general, will have a more sexual atmosphere. If you don’t feel like dealing with that, don’t go. But to say a woman shouldn’t go to one alone just because of the possible risk is taking it a little too far.

      By that logic, a woman better not drive – she might just get in an accident.

      Anyone in a weaker position than others has to be smart about their choices, of course (don’t bring a knife to a gun fight). But being smart does not have to mean restricting your life, or living in a state of worry.

      I, personally, have to say that I was never in a situation where I could honestly claim I didn’t have the same freedoms or rights as a man. Growing up, I was taught to be smart about what I do, but was treated no differently than the boys my age.

      I can’t even recall a single incident where men told me (or other women) that we weren’t included, or couldn’t do something.

      We were always welcome to hunt with them, do even the toughest ranch work, go mud-bogging, air-boating, work on cars, etc. They weren’t cutting us any slack just because we were women, but they never discriminated, or treated us any differently. If we were physically and mentally able to do so, they never had a problem with us. (there was only ever problems with those who couldn’t do it – men or women.)

      While I don’t doubt it exists, I’ve been lucky to where even in a professional setting, I’ve never encountered any limits just because someone is a woman. Most of my clients are women in very high positions of power.

      They will tell you that they had to fight to get there, but so did any man in an equal position.

      In any situation, people are less likely to mess with a person who has a dominant or fearless personality, no matter how small a package they might come in. I would go as far as to say that harassment (and some assaults) are a form of bullying. Bullies do not tend to go after those who might put consequences to their actions.

      So by worrying too much, I think you might actually increase the chances of being harassed or even attacked, since that very much puts you in a submissive state of energy.

      I fully agree that no matter what you do, you might end up being attacked. But we take risks with everything we do in life.

      To say, for example, I wouldn’t spend a night sleeping in a room with 100 men because one might take advantage of the situation is giving that one person way too much power. You’re focusing on just the bad guys, not the good ones.

      Having hobbies and interests that mostly men have, I’ve been in countless situations where I was the only woman (or we were only a few) amongst forty or more men. Including camping in the middle of the woods overnight, alcohol involved, etc. Did some try to get laid? Of course. But they always stopped when told to stop.

      Was there a chance things could have gone wrong? Certainly. But I chose to trust that most men are good. And even if something would have happened, I trusted that the good men around me would have seen to the problem as soon as they found out.

      I don’t consider that living my life based on what the world should be. I consider it living my life based on the fact that good men outnumber the bad. And being aware of the risks, but not letting them rule my life and overpower the good.

       

       

      1. 21.1.1
        Rampiance

        TOTALLY agree with your message, Sylvana.   As a woman whose worktime and playtime is spent with men in the majority (often the only woman present), I use the same approach you do, and I have been very pleased with the results.   On many occasions, men defended me against the jerks in their midst.

        1. Sylvana

          Maybe it is because we are mostly surrounded by men (and yes – often as the only woman present), Rampiance, that we have a different outlook on things. Our positive experiences with men outweigh our negative ones, by far.

          Like you, I’ve also been lucky enough to have men defend or protect me on countless occasions. To me, the good guys are the norm, the bad ones the exception.

           

           

      2. 21.1.2
        KK

        Sylvana,

        I knew at least one person would misinterpret what I stated or read something into it that wasn’t there but “victim mentality”? I’m scratching my head trying to figure out how you came up with that. My mentality is to make smart choices that would decrease your risks of becoming a victim. I also acknowledged that regardless of what you do or don’t do, you could still become a victim of rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment.

        If you’e comfortable being the only woman sleeping in a roomful of 100 men, more power to ya! IF you’re assaulted, the law is on your side. My POV is that I’d prefer to avoid taking that risk in the first place.

        You also mentioned your personality. I’m confident as well and it shows in the way I carry myself. I’m strong… for a woman. However, I’m also very aware that even a small man could easily overpower me.

        Not long ago, I needed to change out an exterior lightbulb. I could not get the old lightbulb out. I must’ve tried a good 30 minutes or so. It was just stuck. A neighbor noticed me struggling and offered to help. With one twist, he had it out. We laughed about his “man hands”. Here’s my point… This man is probably at least 15 years older than me, not very physically fit. But if he wanted to harm me, his hands alone could do serious damage. My only hope would be to outrun him. If I was forced to physically defend myself against an average size woman, I wouldn’t think twice. But I’m no match for a man. Neither are you, Sylvana.

        1. Sylvana

          KK,

          I’m always the first one to point out that even a small man is physically stronger than any woman. My physical strength has nothing to do with the fact that I choose to trust that the majority of men will not assault or  harass me (at least not in most “civilized” nations).

          I do have to say that where you live likely has a LOT to do with your decisions. In countries where the percentage of men willing to assault women is higher, a woman certainly has to make adjustments to stay safe.

          Even in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Western Europe, etc. there are certain neighborhoods/areas a woman would be wise to avoid altogether.  But the MAJORITY of men are good.

          So I guess what is smart and what is paranoid depends on the percentage of risk involved.

          From the way you sound, I assume you live (or grew up) in a country with a higher percentage of men willing to be violent or abusive toward women. If that’s the case, I can understand where you’re coming from.

          But by U.S. (western Europe, etc.) standards, you come across as too focused on what might go wrong, rather than the fact that – most of the time – it doesn’t.

          “Victim mentality” therefore would only apply to countries were women are relatively safe.

          Still …

          This man is probably at least 15 years older than me, not very physically fit. But if he wanted to harm me, his hands alone could do serious damage. My only hope would be to outrun him.

          That seems a little bit over the top to me. I would never even think that far. Yes – men are definitely physically stronger than us. And I’m fully aware that they can attack. But I’m not gonna worry about graphic details of  what they could do if they did attack, what would happen, how I would escape. I’d have to kill every man on the planet in order to feel safe.

          I don’t know where you got the idea that I think I could win a fight against a man, or physically overpower a man. I said I had a dominant and rather fearless personality. And that that tends to deter a lot of harassment and even attempted attacks. (It also makes me much more likely to take risks).

          If a predator has a choice between attacking or harassing someone who is highly aggressive (even if physically weaker), and someone who is much less aggressive, he’ll likely pick the less aggressive person (sometimes even if that person is physically stronger).

          Harassment, at least, generally tends to be about power and control. You cannot intimidate someone who refuses to be intimidated.

          That doesn’t mean that I think what you’re doing is wrong. Depending on where you live, it might be the smartest choice.

          Where I live, that overly cautious approach could make you more vulnerable to harassment or even attack. Since it makes it seem like you’re easier to intimidate.

          It is not meant as an insult or criticism. But, to me, everything you say comes across as if you actually fear men in general. Or, at least, as if you fear the damage they are capable of inflicting, rather than just having a healthy respect for it.

          Overall, in this whole “me too” campaign, I think we all need to keep different cultures in mind. What would make a woman safer in one culture might doom her in another.

          And send out good wishes to those women who still do not have a voice (or rights) at all.

    2. 21.2
      Clare

      KK,

       

      I’m with you. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that I live in South Africa, and the crime rate (which includes rape, sexual assault, murder, robbery) is many times higher here than in the first world. It is absolutely taken for granted here that there are many things you shouldn’t do – going out at night alone, walking in bad neighbourhoods, getting drunk without a friend to keep an eye on you… I could go on – and that doesn’t just go double for women. It goes triple, quadruple, ten times over.

       

      Of course I’d love to live in an environment where my gender wouldn’t matter when it came to my safety. I feel like a prey animal almost all the time when out and about in town, and there is absolutely no doubt that the fact that I’m a woman plays a big part in that. My country is unsafe, but it is statistically even more unsafe for women. I wish it were not so, but we don’t live in a perfect world.

       

      We can all muse about what “should” be, but that doesn’t change the way the world is. I guarantee you, not one South African thinks it is victim blaming when they warn their daughters to be careful. People really don’t care about that here. They care about being safe.

       

      Just another perspective. And again, I feel I need to emphasize, I wish the world were different. I hate feeling anxious and unsafe when I am out and about. A couple of weeks ago, I had four huge men barrel towards me and I had to yell “fuck off” at the top of my lungs in a crowded bottle store. Just awful. But I just feel it’s only responsible to educate our daughters to be safe and careful. Everyone, in my country anyway, feels that way too.

      1. 21.2.1
        Sylvana

        I never blame the victim. And I cannot understand those who do.

        And I thank you for pointing out that not everyone here actually lives in a country where women are relatively safe. In discussions like these, it helps if that is actually pointed out.

        In every country, it is responsible to educate your daughters to be safe and careful. But what is needed to be safe and careful can vary greatly from place to place.

        Where I live (and the countries I have lived and grown up in), KK sounds more paranoid than careful. Surrounded by a bunch of women who do not share the same concerns, she could easily be considered the easiest to intimidate by a predator.

        Where you live, my behavior and attitude could easily be considered suicidal.

        I have to admit that I did not take into consideration that not everyone here lives in one of the more “women friendly” nations.

        1. KK

          “Where I live (and the countries I have lived and grown up in), KK sounds more paranoid than careful. Surrounded by a bunch of women who do not share the same concerns, she could easily be considered the easiest to intimidate by a predator”.

          This is complete BS, Sylvana. In one breath, you say you’re not a victim blamer, and in the next breath you claim women like me are easy prey. Give me a break, lady. There is an important distinction to be made between paranoia and caution. And yes, I live in the good ol USA, one of the women friendly nations as you call it. Have you had your head in the sand?

          Do me a favor, Sylvana. Use Google to find registered sex offenders near your address and report back what you discover.

  22. 22
    McKiwi

     

     

    Yup sexually assaulted once (not raped but pretty damn scary). Many other very unpleasant experiences. I am now over 50. Before I reached this age I heard lots of complaints by women about being invisible to men. Actually it has been a relief. I no longer feel intimidated by groups of men, I no longer get that feeling of being hunted when (some) men look at you. I hated that and it is a relief to have it all in the past frankly.

    That said I do feel a bit sorry for good men. It is not a simple world. Women DO like to be pursued, wooed and treated as irresistibly sexually attractive by (the right) man. It must be hard to be manly but not overstep the mark at times.

    1. 22.1
      Sylvana

      I agree that it can be hard for good men. I think a lot of times, men aren’t even aware that what they are doing might be conceived as “threatening” to a woman. A group of guys hooting and hollering at a girl might not see it as threatening because they do not mean it that way. To her, on the other hand, it an seem awfully uncomfortable.

      I am very open sexually, with an extremely high sex drive. On top of it, I have a very dominant personality naturally. So there is very little behavior that actually makes me feel intimidated (short of the extreme). I actually enjoy the attention (the cat-calls, the comments, etc.), and the game of power. I don’t purposely tease, or push a man’s limits. But, overall, I find the type of attention that a lot of women will consider too much rather complimentary (from most men, not all. There are some that have given me the creeps).

      I’ve been groped and harassed, but it does not get to me the way it does to other women I know. (Despite being full out assaulted in my twenties). I find it annoying rather than threatening. Just the other day, a friend of mine was complaining about her ophthalmologist rubbing his equipment up on her elbow and side while her eyes were dilated. She said it was very  obvious what he was doing.

      When I asked her whether she confronted him, she answered no. She felt too weirded out, in too much of a vulnerable position (not being able to see), completely embarrassed, and she just wanted to get out of there. (I managed to talk her into reporting it).

      I would have grabbed his junk and twisted it off. All the while informing him of how pathetic he is.

      But that’s me. A much more aggressive personality. (I’ve always wished I could encounter a flasher. So far, no luck).

      On the other hand, I can completely understand why many women would feel intimidated or uneasy with certain behavior that might not bother me as much.

      And once a woman has been assaulted or been in a very uncomfortable position, she is likely to be much more guarded. But the good man who is interested in her will not be aware of that. So even behavior that he doesn’t perceive as threatening might make her feel uncomfortable.

      It can certainly be very hard for good men.

       

       

  23. 23
    Michelle

    Food for thought – I’m sure these statistics are difficult to obtain considering the very low reporting and even lower conviction rate of rape and rapists, but I wonder how many of those men were sexually abused. Perhaps as part of a holistic solution to reducing violence and sexual assault against women, major inroads need to be made into the empowerment of  men and boys who have experienced sexual abuse and rape by other men to seek therapy and to be supported by family, friends and society at large; therefore preventing a cycle of abuse.

    1. 23.1
      Sylvana

      This. Very much so. Thank you.

  24. 24
    Pistola

    There is not a strong link between being sexually abused and being abusive in the clinical research. Most sexual abuse survivors never abuse anyone.

    And people develop PTSD from harassment. It’s very damaging.

  25. 25
    Erin

    I shared my #metoo story via social media this week. I’m absolutely overwhelmed with the response. I was flooded with supportive and loving messages and comments. I’m still processing all of it.

    I was talking to my sister today, and she asked how I was feeling with sharing my #metoo post. One of the things I brought up is the lack of men who responded to my post. They hit the like button to show support (which is how I’m taking it) but they did not comment or message me. We decided that they probably didn’t know what to say or how to say it.

    Thsnk you for your thoughts, feelings and perspective on this subject and time in history. I really needed to read them.

     

  26. 26
    Vicki

    A guy I dated last year tried to hook up with me this year by messaging me on facebook. He was polite, and was able to communicate he was only interested in me sexually, but when really stung was when he told me he was still waiting to find someone “worthy” of a long term relationship. So here’s the thing: a woman’s worth is not yours to decide. My “worthiness” doesn’t come from your approval, or from your ability to categorically deny me respect based on your conscious (or subconscious) virgin-whore dichotomy. I think all men who seriously want to help and don’t know what to do should start reading and listening to women who have a lot to say about the topic. I recommend Jessica Valenti’s book “Purity Culture” as a starting point. Mary Beard is a professor of classics who has some great interviews on Youtube. Look for the one about how misogyny in ancient Rome shaped modern cyberstalking, and the one about misogyny as the underbelly of western civilization. Subscribe to Jessica Valenti’s newsletter – “This Week in Patriarchy”.  The problem with male privilege is that it comes right from the book of Genesis – men having the privilege to give things names, and naming things defines their inherent worth. It’s not enough to not be a rapist. You have to stop mansplaining to women, stop interrupting women, stop devaluing women or defining them by their relationships to spouses and children, or by a number on an arbitrary scale. We exist outside the male bubble, and our value and worth is independent of any male opinion.

    1. 26.1
      Tyrone

      @ Vicki

      The guy was definitely not tactful. But if we are being honest, who doesn’t do this? Do you date and engage in ltr’s with every single man that has hit on you ever? Or did you sometimes decide, based on factors of your choosing, that some of those men weren’t worth getting to know?

    2. 26.2
      Clare

      Vicki,

       

      I’m sorry for your experience with the Facebook guy. I’ve had that happen to me a handful of times, and it definitely sucks.

       

      But… I’d really like to ask you to reconsider your request that men do this and men do that (subscribe to this newsletter, listen to that YouTube channel, read this book, stop defining women as x, y, z). If women have inherent worth outside of men’s opinions of them, and of course they do, then they have inherent worth outside of men’s opinions of them. Period. They have inherent worth outside of anyone’s opinion of them. They have inherent worth. Period. They do not need men to go changing their opinions and filling their heads with pro-feminist viewpoints in order to have worth. Women have inherent worth. In other words, it does not matter what men, or anyone else thinks, your worth remains unchanged.

       

      You are right when you say “My “worthiness” doesn’t come from your approval, or from your ability to categorically deny me respect based on your conscious (or subconscious) virgin-whore dichotomy,” but I don’t think you need to be so angry about it. Your worth is whatever you make it, and by insisting that men change their viewpoints, you are giving power to them over how you feel about yourself.

       

      Decide what you believe your worth is, and stand on that. You do not need anyone else’s participation to do this, and no one else needs to change one iota. Your worth is your worth. And if some guy feels you are only worth a casual sexual encounter and you feel you are worth more than that, then the two of you are fundamentally at odds and must part ways. No need to convert him. Just move along to someone whose opinion of your worth aligns with your own.

       

      See, it is incredibly liberating to realize that if we truly believe that our worth is not defined by other people’s opinions of us, then they do not need to change, and we don’t need to change them. Our worth stays the same regardless of them, and we get to make empowering choices.

       

      Of course it is beneficial to try and make the world a kinder, more respectful place. But none of it will ever change your worth. It will not make you more worthwhile if every man on suddenly starts behaving like a respectful gentleman. And it won’t make you less worthwhile if every man on earth behaves like a jerk either.

      1. 26.2.1
        Sylvana

        Very well said. And I think you just nailed the problem with the current trend of feminism on the head.

    3. 26.3
      Theodora

      We all have intrinsic value as human beings and we are all free to define our worth as we like and want. But when it comes to intimate relationships, sex and affection, we all have some standards and preferences, men and women alike, and many people don’t meet those standards. It’s fine to reject someone for a relationship, sex or affection for whatever reason we choose. It doesn’t negate our intrinsic value as human beings which remains the same.

      So, while that man was not exactly tactful in his choice of words (I would have chosen “not compatible for a serious relationship” instead of “not worthy”) he was not wrong. In our private life, we can reject any person for whatever reason we see fit, no matter how arbitrary and prejuduced and unfair  – and they can do the same to us. Our body, our life, our choice.

  27. 27
    Debbie Korell

    It doesn’t start with assault.

    It starts when you are with a group of your guy friends and one of them says something inappropriate and you laugh or say nothing.

    It starts when you have young men listening to the radio with a song calling women names and you as the adult let them keep listening to it and not talk to them about it

    1. 27.1
      S.

      Thanks, Debbie.  That’s what I had tried to say about rape culture.  Harassment isn’t benign. Is it as criminal as actual assault? No. But it’s creating a culture where making women uncomfortable and feel threatened is okay.

      I’m really heartened by the comments of the men on this post.  They are really trying to understand and I appreciate that.  I’m not sure how else to re-emphasize this point.  It doesn’t matter how minor a word is, letting things like that go sets the stage.  Sets the stage for women to remain scared and silent and sets the stage for men to think it’s nothing.  Some men will use that stage to escalate.  Even if it doesn’t escalate, those circumstances aren’t creating a culture for respecting the space and feelings of women.

      I’m glad someone else understands what I mean.  I appreciate all the comments, really.  It is good to have a place to have the discussion.

  28. 28
    Vicki

    Also, if you have children, teach them about consent and their right to their own bodies. Everyday Feminism had a really good article about how parenting reinforces rape culture by denying children sovereignty over their own bodies and teaching them not to complain when someone violates their physical being. For example, when the grandparents come over and the child shys away from kissing and hugging them, do you force the child to kiss and hug them, or do you let them say no? It’s better to let them say no. Forcing them to kiss and hug an adult reinforces rape culture by teaching them that they don’t have a right to say no. Teach your boys about consent and proper boundaries. Rape culture won’t go away in our generation, but maybe future generations will enjoy a better culture.

  29. 29
    daniela

    I think it was pretty narrow minded to include the statistic “94% of men dont comitt sexual assault.” That’s a self reporting survey, do you realize that,

     

    thats part art of the problem. To think that there’s only two categories of men – predators and non predators. The truth is many men would not consider themselves predators, but still may have sexually assaulted someone.

    Harvey Weinstein still doesn’t consider himself a predator— that should be enough of a clue.

    How can you help? Ask your female friends to tell you about their sexual assault if you’re close and if they would like to talk about it, so YOU can get educated. They might even tell you the guy that assaulted them is someone you know that’s a self reported “good guy”

     

    how can you help? By realizing that this problem isn’t created by 6% of the population. Realize that the propblem is that men don’t understand how their actions are considered sexual assault. Learn what sexual assault is, teach your peers, and NEVER become the bystander that follows “bro code” and doesn’t confront another male about when he’s inadvertently assaulted a women. Even if they weren’t aware.

  30. 30
    Lisanne

    I found this post incredibly well-written and insightful. Thank you, Evan.

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