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. 31
    Jenni Lee

    I highly doubt it’s a near 6% of men who call us liars when we speak out. And when that happens, it sides with that supposed “6%” of bad guys (which I think is ass backwards as many men couldn’t even identify their entitlement over a woman’s body, especially once he sees that woman as his possession).

    So, I’m going to make the one thing needed the most very clear. WE NEED TO NOT BE DISMISSED. OUR COMPLAINTS ARE REAL EVEN IF YOU CAN’T UNDERSTAND THEM. HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF WOMEN AREN’T ALL LIARS. WE ARE BEING MISTREATED, HURT, AND EVEN MURDERED! Yet we can’t even get men to listen or care. That’s far more than 6% of men. So, LISTEN. Show us you hear our cries. And you believe us.

     

    Stop making excuses.

  2. 32
    Molly

    I think it helped that you were punched out in the face at twenty four .  It stopped the behavioir ..lol . Right ?   The nice guys need to punch the bad guys out ! Sounds silly and simple —-I have brothers 4 ….I have a husband and I know they are affected when another guy / father  / guy friend tells them off —punches them out !  The good guys should punch the bad guys out .   They don’t care what women say …they do whatever they want ( rapist , assaultist , and  assholes .  So punch them out !  Lime them up —or actually when you see a guy friend that talks about rape —or how he over powered a “ girl “ “ woman “ ,  punch him in the kisser / face .        Maybe their behavior will change  ….be tough back !  Beat the asshole up !     😀    I want good men to beat the bad guys up .

    1. 32.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      To be fair, getting punched out wasn’t a turning point in my life. It’s not like I had a history that got beaten out of me. I was young, drunk and unable to control my worst impulses. It was embarrassing, to be sure, but most of this #MeToo moment is about men who are NOT embarrassed by their worst behavior, men who routinely engage it in despite the fact that it is obviously wrong. How do we reach them? I think it’s greater consequences – more being outed, losing jobs, going to prison.

      1. 32.1.1
        Pistola

        Those of us who work with women know that violence against women is a continuum. It doesn’t start with the most egregious actions. It starts with cultural norms that degrade women, allow things like street harassment, and from there the continuum escalates as men try more and more stuff with both women and kids and get away with it.

        I saw this morning that the French government is going to try out a new measure that fines people on the spot for public harassment.

        A new French law will fine men on-the-spot for harassing women in public

        Personally, since measures like this have been effective for other public health issues that damage the innocent, like smoking, I don’t see any reason it wouldn’t work for this issue as well. When there are no real and immediate consequences, men do whatever they want because they know they can get away with it.

        I just spent 6 days in Saigon, a city of 8 million people, and experienced no episodes of street harassment and saw one the entire time I was there, that’s with being out every day shopping and eating and engaging in daily life. The minute I hit American soil coming back, I was harassed within my first day back here. This is a cultural problem. Policy measures do work. No one smokes publicly in Saigon because you will get fined on the spot. It makes it a much more pleasant city than other places in Asia that don’t have such policies. I see stopping public harassment as the first step in cleaning up our public spaces and sending the message that this kind of treatment of women will not be tolerated and has consequences.

  3. 33
    Brook

    Thanks for being honest about your experience and thoughts. It’s a helpful place to start conversation. I’m curious about what you personally and men in general consider to be sexual assault, especially given the statistic you posted that 94% of men are not sexual assaulters.

    I’m sure that I can’t define this for all women, but for me sexual assault is a broad spectrum of behavior, a culture that allows the gross and the subtle to continue. Perhaps if I had kept track I could confirm or deny this 94%. My gut feel is that more than 6% of men behave in ways that feel like assault to women, though there may not be any physical contact. Thinking of the ass grabs, the breast grabs, the hands on me, the interference in my personal space, the non consensual sex and the rape I’ve experienced could amount to 6% of men but I think it’s more. Then there are the wolf whistles, the cat calls, the conversations in my presence that are demeaning, the comments about my body, or other women’s bodies, the slut shaming, the offhand remarks, the “jokes” about how women can’t xyz, the silencing, the men who tell me to smile when I walk by on the street, being called a bitch for turning a guy down, getting talked over and interrupted… the list goes on. Are there any men who have not been involved in these behaviors? Maybe- I have no idea. I do know there are amazing men in my life who I feel equal too and respected by. Who I have deep and meaningful and supportive relationships with. Who I love and trust with my personal space, my touch, my ideas, my experience. Have/do these men behave in ways that add to the problem? Probably.

     

    This conversation is is super important. What is tricky here, at least for me, is that my response from a very very young age was to feel ashamed of being a girl and then woman. I trained my face and body not to respond – to not show my fear/anger/pain/weakness- to the hurtful behavior of men. It wasn’t allowed. There was no space for my experience to be relevant. My family is awesome and open and my parents taught me to be strong in many ways but societal norms are a vast influence on growing minds. Culture becomes engrained. We all make meaning and the meaning I made was that I didn’t matter. This  has affected my entire life, world view, and confidence that I am a person worthy of love and respect. I’ve spent time and money to heal myself from the trauma of being a woman in our culture, but it keeps going- if all men somehow changed all these ingrained behaviors tomorrow I still will have a lifetime of trauma to heal from.

    I understand how confusing this must be for guys. If I trained myself not to respond to the hurtful things they were doing how would they know? I’m so curious what it is like to be a man. I’ve read that the experience of being white is invisible to most white folks- white in our culture is just “normal”- being a man is also just “normal” and the experience of being one must also be invisible. The entitlement to womens acceptance of them, to womens smiles, care, emotional support, forgiveness, admiration… all in the face of intolerable behavior. It’s only a joke, it’s just one time, what’s the big deal… but the behavior of one adds to the pool of experiences and builds up toxicity in our systems.   I have tons of love for men and I know we all grew up in this shitty system and we all are hurt one way or another. I’m hoping #metoo spurs more conversations and understanding about what a huge difference even the “little” things make. You don’t have to rape someone to cause them harm. You don’t have to have physical contact to be contributing to the problem.

     

  4. 34
    Janice

    We have many cultures and traditions around the world that continue to degrade and assault females. Good men need to adopt a zero tolerance policy.  Good men need to call out abusive men and shame them when they cat call or tell derogatory dirty jokes. Abusive men have a need to exert their power over a weaker person  because they’re feeling weak in controlling their own lives.  Good men should speak out when the guy next to him  says – she was asking for it just look at the way she dressed, walked, talked, make up, etc.  Good men need to break the silence.  Stop quietly standing by.  Stop  implicting approving of bad behaviour through your silence. Stand up for respecting all persons.  Women alone can’t change society. Men make up the other half of society.  Men must break their silence too.

  5. 35
    Molly

    Well yes of course in the long run . But early on we teach boys now to share , be good , sit down , listen , behave , act nice .   It’s not like the old days , of course . I think it is fair . Guys don’t want to be confrontational …the want to be friends and get along for business etc . To make money , etc .   But if their was a consequence early on ….for starters … boys / men when they know a guy is being a cruel asshole to a girl / child / an innocent person ….it’s like a shock collar …or a painful consequence . It’s just obvious ….. One can talk and discuss and try to rationalize —but a  man / boy  has a lot of influence on his friends  and nobody said you did this behavior  for a long time —-you did it once and drunk or not —you got punched in the face .   Made you think again —never again you said . Right .  It’s a metaphor —-punch in the face — a big fine  by a police Man who is authoritarian acting — a time spent in jail , A humiliating  response from another strong male figure …..fill in the blanks . So many other consequences  one could come up with .  A Clint Eastwood response 😉

  6. 36
    Deborah Ahonen

    The roots of this issue run very deep in our society- as someone pointed out, going back to Genesis in the bible, and the authoritarian, patriarchal structure of our society. These views of women as 2nd class citizens are still very strong in many “Christian” churches and other sects of our society.

    A French woman on NPR the other day said France is full of ads all over the streets, advertising everything from cars to electronics, to food and everything else- that use semi- naked images of women, even though that has nothing to do with whatever is being sold! She pointed out that this pervasive use of young women’s bodies as objects used for commercial purposes, creates the impression that women are sexual objects to be used for whatever purpose needed. “Objects to be used” being the operative phrase. These images are so rampant in our society that we’ve become accustomed to them, but they exert a subliminal message to both sexes, that women are sexual objects to be used for whatever purpose.

    In your online profile from when you were single, Evan Marc Katz, I was struck by your statement that you wanted a woman who would “compliment other womens’ bodies.” It made me wonder if you compliment other men’s bodies? (You didn’t mention that). If not, it’s another example of how our society condones objectifying and judging women’s bodies but not men’s.

    I think it’s beneficial to look at the more subtle (yet damaging, and contributing to the issue) aspects of our society that subliminally turns women into objects.

    1. 36.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      I do compliment other men’s bodies. I am many things; a hypocrite is not one of them.

  7. 37
    Tron Swanson

    This is the first I’m really hearing about this MeToo stuff, as I’m not on Facebook or Twitter or anything like that. I did see the name mentioned on a forum that I visit, but I didn’t click on that thread.

    I don’t have much to say about it–aside from the possibility of false accusations, it isn’t very relevant to my life–but I’d like to advise against trying to intimidate adult men, or trying to punch them or what have you. For those of us in America, well…it’s a heavily-armed country, and a growing number of states have concealed carry. I’ve heard stories where Guy A confronts Guy B because of Girl C, only for Guy B to shoot Guy A. I’ve never been a gun person, myself–I can still remember being the only boy in my sixth-grade class who didn’t miss a day of school to go hunting with his father–but there are enough gun people out there that one should be careful about starting fights in public.

    I’m about as far from being a tough guy as a heterosexual male can conceivably get. I’ve been in maybe two situations where men have confronted me because of women, even though I didn’t do anything–and, let me tell you, despite being a wimp, I was not intimidated. Given that, I can only imagine how non-intimidated most other men would be. That sort of confrontation simply isn’t a good strategy.

  8. 38
    AMA

    Am going to say this as clearly and directly as possible.

    1. Your assumption that it is ONLY 6% of men that are predators is inaccurate in a patriarchal culture. Is more like 94%, otherwise 94% of women would “be married” or have healthy loving, supportive and nourishing relationships with men.

    2. Until men are willing to address, and do their social-cultural-government-economic, relationship, spiritual, mental, emotional, sexual/physical, inner and behavioral work to decolonize themselves from the framework of patriarchal constructs a realistic dialogue can not happen.

    3. So until men in positions such as yourself, are willing to “unpack” the HIS-story of patriarchy, all the way back to how this “america” was founded  …(and by the way the Original Peoples of this land warned the “founding fathers” of their errors) …how then can men understand themselves in relation to HER-story ? to Matriarchal Cultures ? to even begin to understand how a woman is Naturally made? let alone understanding that women as Life Givers should have the final say in all matters of conflict resolution…or the Great Law of Peace?

    4. In the American culture, the Rites of Passage into manhood and womanhood for the most part have been reduced to irrelevant materialistic, career oriented “graduation” parties with little if any knowledge or wisdom of what the roles and Relational response abilities are about being Human Beings. Thus we continue to experience mentally, emotionally, spiritually IMMATURE relationships, born from the educational, cultural constructs of patriarchy.

    If we can not address, how generational trauma from priest rape, incest, boarding school abuse , military rape culture,  to BOYS, which shapes their ideas about what it means to be men …how then are we going to have compassionate healing ?

    5. Women have been healing themselves for the last 5K yrs from Patriarchy. You tried to bury Us, you didn’t know we are Seeds. Without women there are no future generations, this includes men. Without the healthy Nature of Earth, there is no future generations of any life.

    The War on Women is synonymous with the War on Earth. Earth is our Mother. Women are Earth’s daughters and they embody Her wilding Nature. Men, lay down your weapons and listen…the American Patriarchal culture of violence is coming to an end.

    Women are not here for regime change. However, where we are at, is were the Best thinking that the Patriarchy has to offer has gotten us. It is now time for women to lead and the men to protect, provide and nourish Us, and Mother Earth.

    When we nourish Women, we nourish the life of Women, and Women insure the health of family, and culture with Mother Earth.  * Any women who doesn’t get this no matter what roles they may have… may need to deconstruct the patriarchal imprints that feed and participate in upholding the patriarch.

    6. So, the “silence of men” is because they are still unwilling to unpack the constructs, ideas and beliefs that shape the CULTURE of Patriarchy and Colonialism that has kept BOTH men and women from growing into mature Human Beings.

    May Love and Truth, Honesty , Humility, and Respect, Courage to Heal and Forgive, bring us the knowledge and inner-standing of Living the Wise Ways and Life Ways, to birth Culture that is relationally Response Able with the human family, Earth and All Life.

    Have a wonderful day…

  9. 39
    Asha

    I don’t think it’s just up to men to be supportive, and pro-active in stopping other men from being predators. It’s also up to institutions and companies to not just make rules and laws preventing this kind of behavior, but enforcing those rules and laws when a situation is brought to their attention.

    An example of this not being done is currently being experienced by the women in my apartment building. The second superintendent is guilty of multiple sexual assaults, physical assaults, and murder threats, against women in this building, but the management company has kept him on as second superintendent for years despite our complaints. Recently he was replaced by a very nice superintendent, and we all breathed a sigh of relief. We thought the misogynist super had been replaced because the management company had finally taken notice of our complaints. Second super was still living in this building, but didn’t have the power he once held. 3 weeks ago, the nice super was dismissed, and the misogynist super re-hired. The management company doesn’t care about the safety of it’s female tenants. The female tenants in my building a fearful again.

    If the management company had rules and laws in place to prevent this kind of thing, and enforced them, the super wouldn’t have been rehired. He would have been charged. I was sexually assaulted by the owner of the pest control company that the management company uses, in June. I complained to the police and the management company. Because I had the backing of the police, the management company has forbidden the owner of the pest control company to enter my apartment. But they still do business with him and he’s regularly in the building.

    This is a societal problem, and as such, needs to be addressed firmly and consistently, by all aspects of our society.

  10. 40
    Kit

    I’ll throw the question back to you, Evan: So how are the few% of women supposed to contend with the majority% who are tarnishing our gender by going along to get along, by enabling that 6% of male aggressors? The “Mooks & the Midriffs.”

    It’s no one’s problem in that it is a problem of the system, “the marriage of corporation and culture.” Witness Douglas Rushkoff get it right again in the 16 year old and STILL relevant. documentary, especially at 26:36, 29:40, 42:05 minutes:

     PBS Frontline 2001 The Merchants of Cool 

     

  11. 41
    Alison Ozer

    Evan,

    I have noticed this ‘silence’ too, and some men expressing ‘shock’ whom I know to have engaged in  sexual pressuring, intimidating posturing, inappropriate comments, leering,  put downs, mocking, and enabling other men to put down or harass women, or have been dismissive, walked away from, or betrayed  a woman who has expressed her hurt.  I agree some men just don’t know what to say, perhaps are reflecting, and perhaps afraid to speak out, or simply too busy.

    Many are blind to this behavior because it serves them in their friendships  or work with men  (and women) to not notice or recall incidents of this nature, or to protect themselves and their positions. This is also true of many women  and minorities who keep silent in the face of unjust treatment they witness.  If  men, like you have,  can at least admit their own complicity, or even early incidents of ‘bad behavior’ that may not be true any longer,  that would go along way to  validating and supporting women.   Even to admit how their own self-centered focus may have blinded them to these situations.

    Many of the stories women are coming forth with, including my own, are not new . They are even evident in film, tv, novels. Violence is still applauded in much of our media and not much attention is given to the simple heroic day to day habits of commitment, attention, compassion, and ways to negotiate relationships.  Many of us need to learn ways to speak out without provoking a defensive or reactive response.   Having an environment, codes, laws, and people in power who help to create safety and welcome voices – even those of complaint- goes a long way to creating safety. Hopefully this may occur in more homes, workplaces, communities, and countries. Having a president who is enabled – and does not abide by  ethics is quite damaging. When voices and people who point out  hurtful activities are dismissed and suppressed because it makes the perpetrators and those around them indignant and uncomfortable, then we are in the realm of denial, projection,  and danger.

    The commitment to notice, show concern and then act on behavior that is threatening or demeaning is important. To be understanding, empathic, and support women (and men) in taking action is important.  To do this NOW is great.

    Each woman who has posted #metoo can invite men to respond. Ask their friends and family to respond. Can share your posting and others.

    I have asked men on my social media pages to consider #Ihave and then show what they will do, to model for other guys how to own, apologize and repair.  Most still remain silent, yet perhaps they will reflect and eventually share.

    Dance communities I have been in are now addressing this with codes of conduct, commitment to creating safe spaces, and inviting those who are subject to harassment to come forth, and then organizers and teachers are taking action to warn, and then ban, or report to police if the incident reported is assault. Owners and managers of businesses, bars, hotels, universities, teachers, can do the same.

    We need to invite our young children, teens, young adults to speak out and inquire,  and  then we should speak up on their behalf. We also need to be mindful that some things reported may not be ‘true’ or may be exaggerated. Yet the feelings need to be addressed and  the situation should be investigated because most often it is true.

    It may  also be true that only a few actually perpetrate  serious assault, yet there are far far more that play along or even unwittingly allow the climate to persist that tolerates harassment. It is to these men that we appeal  to help us speak out and search out, stop the worst of it.

    Evan, in this case you too can ask Your men friends and readers to own and speak up.  Ask your men friends and readers to reflect and question the women in their lives about this and ASK what response would they would like.

    Even the willingness to take the time to look at this situation and how it impacts so many things in our world  is a step and I thank you for that.

     

     

  12. 42
    Ada

    Evan, you and lots of people all over the internet, are feeling the result of the good guy” vs “bad guy” view. Are they good guys for not sexually harassing anyone, or are they bad guys for not doing something?

    Framing it in terms of “good guys” and “bad guys” is part of the problem. People say that Bad Guys assault women, Good Guys don’t.

    It’s a problem for two reasons. 1) You can’t tell if someone has committed sexual assault by checking if they’re a “good guy” or a “bad guy”. And 2), the belief that only bad guys commit harassment and assault prevents good guys from being aware of the problem and how they can contribute positively or negatively.

    “Good guy” vs “bad guy” isn’t an effective way to differentiate between offenders vs non-offenders. A president can assault women. An axe murderer can find all forms of sexual assault repulsive. A philanthropist can grope someone without consent. A racist can call someone out for sexual harassment. A devoted father and husband can rape. It’s useless to frame the issue in terms of “bad guys do and good guys don’t.”

    On top of it being ineffective, that view is actually harmful. Take a “good guy” who is confronted with the reality that they were complicit in, or even contributed to, a society where sexual harassment is everywhere. It threatens their whole identity to even consider that they might have helped create a hostile environment. So they ignore the possibilities. They block out any signs. They get defensive. They think, “I’m a good guy. I would never do that. No one has personally told me otherwise, so everything is cool. My friends are good guys too, so they’d never do that either…”

    It doesn’t matter who is the good guy and who is the bad guy.

    What matters is that now they do know what is going on around them. What matters is what they do from here.

    Do they continue to be defensive and stay ignorant so they can feel like “good guys”? Do they debate about the specific percentages given in different research papers on rape? Do they argue over semantics and keep making the excuse “no one told me”? Do they keep waiting to be convinced that there’s a problem?

    Or, do they set up ways to stay informed and take action? Do they read about the issues, listen when they get the opportunity, be willing to look and see what’s going on around them? Do they do the leg work of making themselves aware instead of waiting for awareness to be granted to them? Do they just ask? (Shout out to the very first commentator Sylvana for being so on point)

    Evan, you deciding to ask what to do here is awesome. Giving advice is your job, and you’re good at it. Being willing to also take advice should be commended. I appreciate it.

  13. 43
    Cindy

    I didn’t have the time to read all of these posts, BUT, I do believe it starts in the home.  When a husband disrespects his wife in front of his kids, this is seen as it being OK to disrespect women by their sons, and their daughters see it as it being OK to BE disrespected.  It doesn’t happen in every instance, but it is a pattern that gets learned at a very early age.  When the father stands up for the kids (both boys and girls) and will not tolerate disrespect to their mother, this is a very strong learned pattern of respect.  That’s what men can do to help stop this!!!

     

     

  14. 44
    Cindy Perron

    I haven’t read all the conversations above so forgive me for any redundancy in this comment.  I see it as a similar socio dynamic as shown in the movie ‘Labyrinth of Lies’ where a non-Jewish German lawyer goes on a mission to expose and legally rectify the ex-Nazi code of silence (at great risk to his career).  The victims must expose what they experience, but it’s the power center (in this case, men) that must simultaneously openly denounce and ‘go after’ the 6% of sociopathic perpetrators within their ranks.  It’s a sociological imperative.  It’s a courageous mission since they can/may be blacklisted, punished, or rejected (and most likely will be) by the powerful and guilty counterparts that they ‘out’.  Hopefully this wave of public communication/outrage/exposure with give the good guys, with a capacity for compassion, the courage/momentum to exercise the power they have within the their powerful social center.

  15. 45
    Nathalie

    Hello!,

    I am very surprised astonished and mostly taken at back from reading this post. Realising even more the gap between men and women are going through or have been experiencing and still so far from creating new ways of being that are fully honoring, resepcting, cherishing each an every each others …

    I have been sexually abusedat a  very young age and then at 12 when my mom’s boyfriend came to live with us. He sexually assaulted me when I was alone one day at home and until 16 wen I left home I had to smile and be nice to him but always scared and had to hied myself and stop being feminie in order to have him stop looking at me. After that i promised myself to be doing everything on my own. It is only when I reached around 45 years old  or my son was 12 that the all things seem to come back . I that time when I was with a man I relive over and over my trauma but really it have been affecting all my choices in relationship and most men I went out with. I was almost brainwashed to please and have sex and attracted those kind of men (or that is what I thought) So after many years close to 7 years commited to heal and found out the truth about this and about man… The last 3 years putting all the energy in coaching self-love and putting my hands on everything I can find to get to the deeper truth ain order one step to be able to feel good arounf a man not being scared and second resolve the lack of trust I have with one where I can be in realtionship and they can be interest in me more then in sex. Became responsible for what I create and moving ahead in other aspects of my life and finding ways to reprogram and clear what is left uncousncious. For many years I was totally disfuncitonal in depression not knowing the heck I was feeling this sadness and shame I am now proud to be who I am and feel good enough to meet man but… there is a but… I still dOn,t feel totally respected and most will take if they have advantage push and be very upfront and come very close if they have the possibility. So I recently made it safe for them to never have a man alone with for at least as long as I can find one that truly understand , respect and know how to face this lack of trust and step and hold a safe place for me. Reading this I am totally think I am in an illusin of what a man can do for a woman now. We I mean I have been doing a lot to heal but it comes  apoint where we need to have good and trsuting experience in order to reset the bad ones.

    How to ask a man to hold this kind osf space where he can ask permision to the women to be touched and take sex as a sacred intimate aspect of life but it also may well be where we can all intereconnect?

    The last 2 men I been in contact , taking a long time selecting who I am with  still had no clue how to respect women in general to my point of view. I thought that I was again choosing the ”bad ones”… Reading this post I realise if you, a women dating coach, has no clue how to deal with this and how to holsd a place so we can feel safe to express it without thinking that we are attacking you. Then how can a regular guy who has never been into any women, self development can really be there for a woman ? How can it be possible for any man to stay strong put himself aside for a minute and walk into a woman shoes for a few second ?

    So this is just giving youa bit of the context to give my personal point of view in tempting to open a conversation and be part of this ?

    What men and ordinary men could do or shift and change is make it safer for women to be, to radiate to shine and compliment them on that and not wanting sex so they feel safe and know that this kind of man exists. Because we dimmed down way too often our confidence is also affected.Speaking out sharing our arts or who we are instead of relating to our beauty all the time another way. I would suggest that being counscious when close to women by asking the permission every time you want to kiss, touch a part of our body, double check how we are feeling safe with you, double check if any men are troubling us? Not that your going to kill him or punch him. But in a way that it restore trust in ourselves. Asking questions that brings us back in our power. Understand how to deal with women trigger point . So many have been there is way more than 12 millions that just the point of the iceberg or courageoaus enough women to say it.

    Other is to become more at ease in being vulnerable like you just did and admit not knowing what to do …

    Put a summit together for a bigger conversation to happen and make it safe to talk about this together. Use your power and connection for bringing more counsciousness and not going into blaming , guilt and shame aspects of it. SO easy for people men and women to fall into. Brene Brown had sepak about the shame this subject is for me where all the collective had generations and generations of shame and trauma that are just begining to show up ..

    I am now proud of speaking up for myself and did so many research on this I hope it can serv other women to speak up but really my wish is that men come around and hold a safe place for us to be greater and more powrfull and not take that as a treats for their own power.

    Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to speak up!

    1. 45.1
      S.

      Nathalie. Your comment really helped me and I liked many of your suggestions.

      1. 45.1.1
        Nathalie Bédard

        Curious to know how it does help you?

        How can this be the beginning of a major transformation for greater relationship?

         

        1. S.

          1.  Your first paragraph. I am realizing the gap too and your comment echoes that.  For the first time in this post I am grasping why men are silent.  Before this it was really difficult for me to understand.

          2. This suggestion: I would suggest that being counscious when close to women by asking the permission every time you want to kiss, touch a part of our body, double check how we are feeling safe with you, double check if any men are troubling us?  I think that this could help in a multitude of situations.

          3.The summit.  I really liked the idea of this.  I’m sure such gatherings exist, but there is always room for more.

          4.  You seemed proud of yourself for sharing and I got a glimpse of your healing even though I don’t know you.  That made me smile.  People are strong and can heal and again, your comment really reminded me of that.  It’s a good thing to remember.

          Hope that explains. 🙂

  16. 46
    sylvia

    Thanks for a well written and thoughtful post, Evan.  I have no doubt you are a great guy, a loyal husband and someone who loves and appreciates women as equals. That said, so are many of the men who participated in creating a #MeToo experience for a woman, by saying or doing something that resulted in that woman feeling violated.  Tarana Burke is the woman who started the #MeToo movement about 10 years ago.  She beautifully explains in one of her online videos that there is a continuum of sexual behaviors:  from verbal harassment on one end of the spectrum to murder on the other extreme. She encourages women to know that their #MeToo incident counts, regardless of what minor or major magnitude it was.  It doesn’t have to be physical or sexual assault in order to “count”.

    I believe that smart men like you who are looking to be part of the solution, tend to see themselves in the “good guy” category because you have never participated in the extreme end of the continuum that Tarana talks about  – i.e. physical assault and rape. For that matter, most of you have never participated in even the mid-range of the continuum. You can then wonder, “where are all these horrible guys” and “why don’t I know any of them?”  But, let’s use your own example, the incident you described when you were young and drunk, resulting in you being thrown out of the bar. That was a #MeToo incident.  That woman may well have posted #MeToo on her Facebook this week and is reflecting about the time a lot of years ago when a stranger in a bar wouldn’t stop harassing her sexually to the point he had to be thrown out of the bar and someone else had to step in to protect her from the guy.

    For each of the now 13 million women who posted #MeToo, there is a man, and therefore millions of men who participated in that situation. So, in answer to your question about what is a “good guy” and his friends supposed to do to positively contribute to the conversation – I would say – don’t divide yourself by the good guys and the bad guys. Talk amongst yourselves and acknoweldge that if you were to be brutally honest, each of you has participated at least once, to a women feeling sexually violated – on one end of the continuum or the other.  It may have been something verbal that seemed fairly innocuous. It may have been a drunken episode in which the details are fuzzy.  It may have been something more extreme.  Not because you are bad guys, not because you are rapists or aggressors,  but because you live in a society that has tolerated every shade of ease in men participating in sexual inappropriateness and misconduct. The conversation will change when each man acknowledges his part rather than thinking it is about the other guy: the mysterious, unknown, bad guy lurking out there.  It is you, it is your friends, it is the good guys too.  #YouToo.

  17. 47
    Marika

    Katie

    Move to countries like South Africa or Egypt for a while and see if you still find cat-calling benign.

    (No offense to these countries, but the cat-calling there is relentless, forceful and can be very scary, or certainly, IME towards foreigners).

    Don’t minimize other people’s experiences.

    1. 47.1
      Clare

      Marika,

       

      You’re absolutely right. It is scary and it is relentless.

       

      I wrote earlier up in this thread about how I feel like a prey animal, walking around town in my own country. Most women here feel the same way – we rush quickly from our cars to the doors of the buildings we enter. You avoid contact of any kind with any strange man like the plague. On a daily basis, I get whistled at, cat-called have men going out of their way to bump against me or throw themselves into my path. And that is to say nothing of the constant staring. I wrote earlier on in this thread about being cornered in a bottle store by four men who cat-called right in my face and having to yell at them to “fuck off.” I’d love to say this is a once-off, but it isn’t at all.

       

      Cat calling of the kind we see here in South Africa is not benign. We have one of the highest rape rates (if not the highest) in the world.

       

      Women who live here, like me, are so acclimatised to it that you learn to walk everywhere with your head down, not making eye contact, keeping a safe distance at all times between yourself and strange men. I have even changed my walking patterns (and right here on this blog is the first time I’m admitting this to anyone) because I’ve noticed that men will deliberately go out of their way to run into you. So I pretend to be walking in the same direction while he gets closer and at the last minute I change direction and walk on the other side of the road/path/corridoor to maintain a safe distance. I have moved away from an area I was parked or sitting in because men have started to congregate around it more times than I can remember, and it’s still something that I do regularly. It’s impossible to explain the feeling of unsafety unless you have experienced it for yourself.

       

      But yes, you’re quite right. Come to South Africa or a country like it and live here for a few months, as a reasonably attractive woman, and tell me if you still find cat calling benign.

      1. 47.1.1
        Shaukat

        @Marika & Clare

        That’s interesting. I’ve been to South Africa twice for work and noticed similar things. I was also mugged in broad daylight in Johannesburg, which makes me wonder how much of that behavior (street harassment and cat calling) can be attributed to socio-economic conditions. The official unemployment rate in post-apartheid SA is 25%, which has led to a destabilization of masculine identities I suspect. Not saying that rape can be attributed to poverty obviously, but street harassment does tend to be more prevalent or overt in countries with low economic growth and massive income inequality.

        1. Marika

          Shaukat

          It’s hard for me to say for sure, coming from a relatively safe & ‘rich’ (by world standards), country, but from what I’ve observed, experienced & learned through discussions with others, I think what you say is a big part of it.

          Other important factors:

          – Sexual repression (likely not relevant in South Africa, but certainly in countries like Egypt): if you repress people, they are more likely to take out their sexual frustration in inappropriate ways

          – Ignorance of other cultures: for instance, one of my friends told me that she thought Australian women were all ‘easy’ – she was very suprised I had no interest in casual sex!

          – Inability to put self in the shoes of others & thinking your needs matter more than others (something seen a lot even just on this blog!)

          I’m sorry to hear you were mugged. Hope you weren’t hurt.

          Sorry about your experiences too, Clare, I can’t imagine how horrible it must be to experience that on a daily basis.

        2. Clare

          Shaukat,

           

          There’s no question that income inequality, poverty and unemployment play a big part in this. These are not, for the most part, middle class men behaving this way.

           

          To be honest, I think the biggest problem with unemployment and poverty is that it’s caused large numbers of men to have nothing meaningful to do with their day, but instead to loiter in a bored and opportunistic fashion. I think once people are employed, they are not only busy and occupied, they also have a much higher sense of security and self-worth which takes away the need for a lot of the objectification of women. In my calmer, more cool-headed moments, I can see that this objectification of women is to enable a large number of women whose sense of self-worth and power is very low, to feel like men again. Clearly it is absolutely unacceptable and misplaced, to say the least. But I think it’s helpful to try and understand it.

           

          There are cultural issues at play too. Some cultures are simply more patriarchal than others. Where I live, Zulu culture is dominant (in fact, I think it is the most common culture in South Africa). Women and children are just more submissive in Zulu culture, men are much more dominant. Women are raised in Zulu culture to accept all kinds of behavior that would probably shock a lot of western women. Zulu culture is also polygamous (for the man, of course). These norms are changing, but not fast enough, and I think the poorer a person is, the more likely their culture is to be entrenched, both because they’re more likely to live in the rural area than the city and because they’re less likely to be educated.

           

          I understand the problems in South Africa here, as do most who live here, I think, which is why I think we’re actually pretty forgiving despite how it is. But that does not negate the fact that you have to be incredibly safety-conscious and vigilant here. It’s no good behaving the way you would in the safest parts of a western country and then telling someone who cautions you to be careful that they are “victim blaming.” That irks me. Victim blaming doesn’t enter into it. It’s about common sense.

        3. Clare

          * large number of men

    2. 47.2
      Katie

      “Benign” was used in error on my part. I meant it as a word to mean unpleasant, but harmless.

      And this ….

      Marika says “…cat-calling there is relentless, forceful and can be very scary, or certainly, IME towards foreigners).”

      …is clearly is not an example of harmless, so your point is moot.

      Please don’t conflate my words. I did not say all street catcalling is harmless. I said that some of it is.

      Marika says “Don’t minimize other people’s experiences.”

      I. Did. Not.

      Please read what I actually said. Thank you.

      1. 47.2.1
        Marika

        Given that you’ve had to explain your words at length to at least three people on this point, Katie, do you not take at least some responsibility for saying something that was inflammatory & not useful?

        1. Katie

          Marika says, “Katie, do you not take at least some responsibility

          You mean take responsibility like acknowledge my mistake in word choice? Something like…

          Katie says““Benign” was used in error on my part.”

          Marika says “… for saying something that was inflammatory & not useful?”

          Umm. Sorry mom?

          I did not say anything inflammatory or not useful. I spoke meaningfully. But with your attitude I’m unwilling to debate with you about it.

           

           

           

        2. Katie

          Forgive me for not pleading for your forgiveness. I assumed that seeing as how we’re both grown women that an error in word choice could be navigated quickly so as to reach the heart of the issue.

      2. 47.2.2
        Marika

        I did read what you wrote, Katie. And I disagree with it. As did several other people. You keep getting hung up on word choice, it’s not about that. It’s about a general attitude of dissing the campaign and judging people’s experiences based on what you consider harmful (vs not harmful). And if anyone disagrees with you, you call them ‘illogical’ to cut down their argument.

  18. 48
    JustAGirl

    Right Now…As parents we can teach our children to be…connected, conscious, loving, kind, caring and respectful to everyone and all life on this planet.  When we are examples of truth, live consciously and mindfully for the greater good, respecting and realizing that we are deeply connected to All…our brothers and sisters and to nature…we inspire and light the way for our children and future generations and the already unfolding evolutionary process.

    When we suspend judgement and blame…replacing it with forgiveness, kindness, compassion and realize and acknowledge that that the old ways of being…no longer serve us….We…all of us…can heal.

    Individually and Collectively…our conscious compassionate loving way of being…can shine a light and inspire others…thereby healing the victims and the perpetrators. Together we can leave behind unconscious/egoic/violent/misguided behaviours…and create a safe sustainable world where we can…All…live, love and thrive in….and enable ourselves and our children to a new way of being.

     

     

     

     

  19. 49
    Men are a liability.

    Blissfully ignorant, how convenient a cushion for all you “good men.”

    “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.”

    The stats for harassment are 1 in 3 women, what else do you NEED or WANT,to be told to understand the gravity of the situation???

    You spewed something unbelievable: “Men are causing the problem, but are men the solution to the problem?
    I don’t know.”

    Sat right back on your hands and flipped it back on women in saying: 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.

     Mindblowing but even still, you went on to be even more unsympathetic and problematic because somehow none of the men you know are like this but clearly most of the women you have in your inner AND outer circle have been harassed &/or assaulted. Something isn’t adding up.
    You cannot insist on being this way.
    When you’re a “good man” I suppose you can afford to ‘not know’ bad men. You can be safe for women to be around, yet they can’t be safe to be around the other men you’re around. The fact is, the same way you don’t have this convo with your fellow men and lack the will or even certitude that it will fare well and so don’t, is the same way we brave harm even having these conversations with you “good men.”
    Your privilege of masculinity is showing. You don’t need to know what’s going on around you as long as you’re not the one actively doing it – that’s your bar for goodness. You can see the stats, see headlines, watch the news of murders and say hmmm… I think women not talking about their assaults makes it hard to expect me and my fellow gender to FULLY grasp the scope of the problem. WHAAAAT???
    Let move around before I completely dislike you and hate myself for ever investing in you or what you offer here.

    So, now that YOU ARE IN THE LOOP, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?

    Your “not knowing” is a privilege of masculinity yet gain.
    I’m sure you’ll hold these difficult conversations with other good men, and certainly not the bad ones. If you asked TWO women who trusted you and felt safe with you, from your list up there, who some bad men were you’ve had in your space across the span of your life…they would tell you men you saw every day or insist on having at your every function for years are bad men. DID YOU SEE THEM? Of course you did. I’m sure you’d heard them, their stories and view points before.
    But, you know…you were there, but didn’t say the words. You weren’t a part of the conversation. You don’t share those thoughts or agree to them: You’re a good man.
    It’s easy to be a good man, all you have to do is not be bad. But, there are TOO MANY more bad ones and only you have the luxury of avoiding the bad men in your life.
    We, women, don’t. We’re not able to avoid engaging every bad man.
    SO it’s time for you to give up some of your luxuries. Try to be more open-hearted and not so willfully offensive.
    STOP trying to “measure” harassment,  ou don’t need to hear that one more woman who refused to tell her story. You have more than enough stats as is to be outraged.
    You need to start telling bad men to STOP.
    You need to CUT OFF your bad friends.
    If the conversation is dangerous, don’t stand on the outskirts. Walk in and CHANGE THE TALK.
    Bad men won’t go away when you close your eyes, or better yet…put the burden on women, the victims, to do the laborious work of figuring out how to stop you.
     
    It has to start with you. You’re a good man, are you not?

    1. 49.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      This is a perfect example of why this conversation is so difficult. It’s negative, it’s attacking, it’s condescending, and it offers nothing but venom for what I considered a thoughtful attempt to explain what many men were thinking about this #MeToo moment in time. I have a bottomless well of sympathy for every woman who has ever felt threatened by men, but I don’t know how you can expect men to be your allies when you talk to us in this manner. Please step outside your own experience and understand that if I have not walked a mile in your shoes, nor tried on those shoes, nor looked at those shoes, it’s really hard to know what it’s like to be you. That’s all I was saying. I know you’re passionate, and you should be, but yelling at sympathetic men for being slow to understand your cause is no way to advocate your cause.

      1. 49.1.1
        Michele

        This response is the entire problem in a nutshell. Somehow you consider yourself a good guy even though you drunkenly tried repeatedly to force yourself on a woman in a bar and had to be attacked by another, actually good, guy to stop. (He didn’t try to force himself on her; he defended her from you. See the difference? You’ve evolved a little, but not that much—you’re still not defending women who are attacked, but continue to attack them, just online.) You’ve written a piece that’s basically about throwing up your hands in surrender, because it somehow never occurred to you to simply google articles by women about how men can help…there are plenty of them out there. And now, when a woman expresses her frustration with your article, you lash out at her for her attitude, tell her how she should address you, and blame her for your inability to be an ally. Defensive much? You’re still on the attack. Consider this response a little punch in the face in “the bar of the interwebs.” Here…read this article about how white people can be allies to people of color, then replace “white people” with “men” and “people of color” with “women,” since listening to women upsets you so much. I did the googling for you since your fingers apparently become paralyzed when you try to look these things up for yourself. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-to-easily-be-a-white-ally-to-marginalized-communities_us_5829f808e4b057e23e314806

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Thank you for your thoughts, and for reinforcing my point about why most men remain silent. If you think that standing up for my original premise is tantamount to being a bad guy and attacking women who are the victims, you and I are going to have to agree to disagree. No sexual assault is okay. Full stop. The issue is that most men don’t share your experience and need to be educated. Your response: “Google it, you sexist asshole” doesn’t feel like part of a respectful or productive dialogue to me. I understand your exasperation with men. I would urge you to be patient with the millions of thoughtful men who look at the situation as I do. Not every conversation can begin with you being 100% right and everyone else who deviates from your opinion is wrong. I do hope MeToo grows and wakes up men in a way they haven’t experienced before and that even our excahnge benefits a reader who wants to hear two intelligent people who care discuss what should happen next. Thanks again for caring enough to post. I appreciate it.

        2. Tron Swanson

          Evan,

          No matter how far you go to help or please women, it still won’t be enough for them. I learned that the hard way. For all intents and purposes, they want us to apologize ourselves out of existence.

          As reasonable human beings, we obviously want to help people, especially when there’s injustice or unfairness involved. But that instinct can very easily be taken advantage of…

           

    2. 49.2
      KK

      I’m completely blown away by some of these comments. Why are some of you ladies attacking Evan? He wrote a well thought out post asking for feedback and you respond with contempt? I don’t get it!

  20. 50
    Tris

    6% of men? I think more. As a victim more than once i felt blamed by women and men

  21. 51
    Lynne Latham

    It is up to all of us, victims and possible perpetrators to take a stand , otherwise nothing will change. LOOK WHO IS PRESIDENT! Does this not say it all?  Obviously, it is accepted to rape and take advantage of women, we elected such an individual to the highest office in this country. If nothing is done, nothing will change. You would do better to condemn this action instead of asking where you should stand-just my opinion. This affects all relationships as anyone who commits such an act is highly insecure and lacking of any moral integrity, and trust is a basic foundation of relationship,

  22. 52
    Charlotte

    I really like what Evan writes. A a survivor of child sexual abuse I would like for the men who did or do it to be given a voice and tell their stories. These guys who have done it can tell us how to prevent this horrible issue. All involved are suffering when a child is abused. There are no happy people locked up in prisons. Crime needs a breeding ground, and this often starts in the family. Time to address these serious issues of talking marriage/partnership and family pretty. How many of the guys who offend are in sexually frustrating partnerships or live ‘celibate’ lives. I am not making excuses at all as I have been on the receiving end as a child. I do not want another child to be molested nor do I want another man to go down this terrible self-destructive road.  Some people say that those who sexually abuse kids only say that they have been sexually frustrated to get sympathy. Perhaps they do. But what if, what if what they say is true? The whole of what I call GTL Generational Template Living needs to be looked at in all honesty. As I said crime needs a breeding ground. If we truly want to save lives, the lives of the children and the lives of the men who do it we need new ways of dealing with this issue and include the perpetrators in the conversation.

    1. 52.1
      Karl R

      Sexual frustration doesn’t cause sexual abuse. I say that as someone who has been sexually frustrated (as have a lot of my nerdy peers).

      Despite my skepticism, it is conceivable that it could be an element of what leads to this behavior. But it can’t be the critical one. Otherwise, we’d see a lot more monstrous behavior going on. Sexual frustration is pretty common.

       

      Criminals make excuses.

      I know a guy who is serving a life sentence for murdering his parents. He has multiple excuses: he wasn’t there / it wasn’t him; it was the drugs; he was adopted. (If you suggested another excuse to him, like fetal alcohol syndrome, he’d certainly latch onto it, regardless of its accuracy.)

      There probably is value in having psychologists interview these men, just to see what can be learned. Skilled professionals may be able to sort the truth out from the mountain of excuses.

  23. 53
    Lily

    I suggest asking women you know, in private conversations, if they have ever been sexually harrassed. This will let them know you have concern and curiosity as a man — genuinely interested in the topic, as opposed to simply a ruse to hit on them. Let each explain her story and then ask what they recommend that men do about this issue.

  24. 54
    Kellee

    Evan, the last 3 men that I have dated were sexually assaulted as children. 2 were raped and one molested by people they knew. My ex husband sexually abused in the military. I was date raped at 16. Men and women both are, “me too”. Just like drunk driving, there has to be no tolerance for this behavior by everyone.

  25. 55
    Michele

    A bunch of women have written articles specifically outlining what men can do to help. It’s not that hard to google it…I’m sure you google things all the time.

    So step 1: Google what women are asking you to do to help.

    1. 55.1
      Fleurdl123

      Evan is writing a blog where part of his method to stimulate meaningful conversation is to share his own feelings, soul search and ask questions.  Why the snark about “googling”?  That’s just obnoxious and counterproductive.

  26. 56
    Katie

    Perhaps I’ve been wrong.

     

    I’ve written in these comments about the danger of using averages with the #metoo movement and how isn’t not an effective way to illustrate the problem because it seems to group things like harassment with rape, which are very different in terms of severity.

     

    But reading more, I think I may have missed the forest for the trees. This article in particular…

    Literally, Why Can’t I Say #MeToo?

    …has me rethinking some things.

     

    I’m reminded of the time a year ago. Black-out drunk. Taken home by dude that I’d denied in the past. Fucks were had. That story. I asked if we’d at least used protection…Yeah baby of course! Well did you like….take the condom and wrapper home with you…..? Anyway. I’m STILL paranoid enough to be taking regular full blood std tests even though it was a year ago.

    I’ve always shouldered at least some of the responsibility for that. I struggled with alcoholism at the time (10 months sober now though!) and black-out drunk was a recurrent problem. Personal accountability has always been important to me. It still is. I didn’t absolve him of what he chose to do, but I’ve felt like it was largely my fault that I put myself in that situation and was ashamed of my behavior.

    Anyway, the only reason I’m talking about that is because I acknowledge some blindness on my part. And perhaps that’s the bigger message of the #metoo movement.

    1. 56.1
      S.

      I’m so glad you posted this and linked to this article.  I’ll mention why in a minute, but I will admit I had typed up this long response to your original comments a few hours ago. I still have it open in another window but I won’t post it.  I really respect you and everyone here who is benefiting from this discussion. I myself am learning a lot too.  I didn’t understand the blindness but I get it now.  I’m glad I got distracted by buying Halloween costumes instead of commenting with another of my very long comments.  🙂

      Now to the article:

      I feel guilty using those words. I feel like I’m being dramatic. Or desperate to be part of a conversation for attention. I feel like I’m exaggerating. And I truly, in my heart, can’t figure out if I am. I can’t and don’t trust my own judgment with the severity of less-than-pleasant occurences that have happened in my life. It’s never been a matter of me thinking people wouldn’t “believe me.” It’s been an issue that I barely “believe” myself. And I don’t know what that says about me.

      But I do know this: my attitude, my feelings, and my self-doubt are part of the problem. I consider myself to generally be a strong, educated, feminist woman with a decent platform where my voice can be heard. Yet I have trouble identifying these things, and further excuse them when they happen to me. That’s not good. It doesn’t have to be “bad enough” for it to count. And regardless of whether I’m comfortable or you’re comfortable saying #MeToo, we all need to admit that we have a problem.

      I think every woman I know has a MeToo story.  It’s not always criminal but it’s some, as this author put it, ‘less than pleasant occurrence’.  Men have them too! One man in this commentary mentioned being groped by men and woman at a bar.  We normalize it, but it’s not really okay.  What happened to you wasn’t okay.   I understand personal responsibility.  You can take that. But he can take the responsibility for having unprotected sex with a semi-conscious woman too.

      That’s what we can do with these grey area unpleasant experiences. Both sexes owning their parts of this culture and sharing our experience when we feel ready to.  Thanks for linking to that article and being real with where you are.

      1. 56.1.1
        Katie

        xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo!

  27. 57
    Dee Taylor

    The “don’t attack men who want to help” smacks of male privilege, the same way it does when white people complain they aren’t racist.   You say men don’t/won’t talk about it so it can’t be fixed that way.   But here’s the thing- It’s not the victim’s job to tell you how to not harass them, just like it’s not the POC’s  job  to explain racism to white people.  I noticed you talked a lot about assault but not much about harassment- which is ironic because I’m betting 100% of men have sexually harassed someone at some point, whether it was a whistle or a conversation with their friends about A girl nearby, close enough of her to hear, etc.  And I can guarantee your perpetrator % is inaccurate – you Know perpetrators, they are your friends, your brother, your lawyer, your accountant, your clergyman,  your plumber-  because that is who our attacker’s are.   The stranger who rapes you in an alley is far more rare than the guy who you Thought was going to interview you for a secretarial job is.  You admitted you were a perpetrator yourself. Admitting it is the first step – but then you blamed it on alcohol.  YOU chose to drink, and you CHOSE bad behavior.  Own it and stop making excuses for it.  And stop pretending you don’t know what to do- you already Said so.  TALK to MEN about it and STOP doing it.  Step in and stop it when you witness it, instead of joining in or simply letting it go by as if you are deaf/blind.  Start Paying Attention and calling out men.  It’s NOT up to women to stop you.

    1. 57.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      “Talk to men and stop doing it.”

      I’m not doing it so there’s nothing for me to stop.

      As far as talking, this blog post IS me talking to men. Since that appears inadequate to you, please treat me like I’m stupid:

      Who should I talk to? What exactly should I say?

      Should I call my best friend from high school who has been married for twenty years and ask him if he has harassed anyone in the past?

      Should I have inserted this into the small talk with the other dads at the five year olds birthday party today? Just smoothly segue from talking about the Dodgers to predatory sexual practices?

      I agree about the value of making men more aware; what I haven’t heard is one tangible, realistic, practical suggestion on how regular guys who are not sexually assaulting anyone should police those who are.

      It seems that you just want to attack an ally because I was brave enough to stick my neck out, but you’ve assiduously ignored my claims that I don’t know a single guy who has ever told me about his ongoing predatory behavior. Yelling at me to do more doesn’t solve any problems but it does signal to other men that they should keep their heads down and mouths shut.

      1. 57.1.1
        S.

        what I haven’t heard is one tangible, realistic, practical suggestion on how regular guys who are not sexually assaulting anyone should police those who are.

        Wow. There have been lots of suggestions.  Mine aren’t really about policing predators, but I do think many tangible suggestions have been made.   I agree in part, that we can’t stop crimes we don’t know are being committed.  But we are ‘policing’ when we live by example and have these discussions.  Yes, we are.  Change is happening right here.  (Well, change is happening in me here, can’t speak for others.)  I wouldn’t underrate that because of a few negative comments.  The overwhelming response to this post has been positive and I believe, constructive.

        Yelling at me to do more doesn’t solve any problems but it does signal to other men that they should keep their heads down and mouths shut.

        This kind of baffles me.  That other men that keep their heads down and mouths shut.  I’ve seen comments on this thread I’ve vehemently disagreed with. Some I’ve addressed and some I let go.  But I have posted my own comments and risked someone ‘yelling’ at me.  I did so because it’s important. I’m honestly not usually this vocal in your blog.   It is a risk, but one I can handle because the topic is worth the risk.

        Things don’t change if we are silent.  No, it’s not pleasant when some responds negatively when you are trying to help or offer your thoughts.  But an unpleasant response to a comment is minor to me compared to what we are trying addressing here.

        Sigh.  Sometimes . . . I’ve had discussions with friends who vehemently disagreed with me so much I’ve questioned whether this person knows who I even am. It’s difficult and disappointing.  You feel you are getting nowhere. So I can imagine and have experienced that with strangers on the internet as well.  If it’s important enough I keep on with the discussion.  Someone will hear and understand.  Someone needs to hear my words, just like someone needs to hear the responses of the men who would rather keep their heads down.

        I know you will persevere, Evan.  This is what you do. 🙂  I’m writing this for the ‘regular’ guys.  More of us have to be brave if we want this to change.  Being able to comment here, risk and all, is a small start.

        And that’s tangible.

    2. 57.2
      Pistola

      I can see all the sides.

      As a woman, given that something like 93% of sexual offenders are male, I can see how women would be incredibly frustrated that any man might suggest that they are not part of the solution when men are almost the entirety if the problem. I can see how to women this might feel similar to having people throw trash all over your neighborhood and then say they don’t know how to clean it up.

      As a person of color, I see and experience the analogy between racism and sexual offense. I also know that AS a WOC, I DO actually have to help other people understand my experience if they are not WOC because there is truly no way for them to know unless I tell them in a way that’s understandable. Yes, this places an unfair burden on me. The alternative is to say “figure it out” knowing full well they probably won’t figure it out without my help. One has to opt out sometimes, but it’s also worth doing sometimes.

      I can see how as a man who tries hard not to offend and is also offended by men who behave in an ugly way, it might not be realistic or helpful to see oneself as part of “rape culture” or to even understand what that term really means. I can see how a man would be stalled in terms of how to do anything effective, because he knows better than anyone how resistant other men can be to the suggestion that that man is doing something wrong or that that man should change.

      It’s complex. I do think all sides have to be seen in order for a meaningful dialogue to happen, though.

      1. 57.2.1
        Karl R

        Pistola said:

        “I can see how as a man who tries hard not to offend and is also offended by men who behave in an ugly way, it might not be realistic or helpful to see oneself as part of ‘rape culture’ or to even understand what that term really means.”

        You seem reasonable about this, open minded, and largely able to see things from different sides. I would like you to read the following series of statements, and see if you agree with them.

         

        1. I have never committed a sexual offense.

        2. Members of my gender comprise less than half the U.S. population.

        3. Despite this, members of my gender have committed a disproportionate number of the sexual offenses.

        4. Those sexual offenses were not committed by every member of my gender, but by a much smaller percentage of them.

        5. Some people blame all members of my gender for the sexual offenses in this country.

        6. Some people acknowledge that I have not committed sexual offenses, but still hold me responsible or blame me as being complicit.

        7. Some people say I could fix this problem by telling the guilty members of my gender to stop committing sexual offenses.

        8. If someone of my gender is the victim of a sexual offense, they are less likely to receive justice.

        9. Even if I have been the victim of a sexual offense, in a broad conversation like this, I will be seen as allied with the perpetrators of sexual offenses, solely due to my gender. Particularly if I try to stand up for members of my gender who haven’t committed sexual offenses.

         

        What’s your first reaction to those statements? Do they sound one-sided? Do they sound defensive? Does it sound like I’m trying to deny my responsibility for solving the problem?

         

        Pistola,

        I would like you to read those statements one more time … but I’d like you to make two changes. Wherever it says “sexual offense”, replace it with the word “crime”. Wherever it says “gender”, replace it with the word “race”.

        How do the statements sound once they’ve been changed that way? To me, it sounds like someone is (justifiably) defending herself (and countless other decent people) against unjust statements made by a bunch of racists. And I think we can both agree that you’re not part of this country’s crime problem.

         

        If I want to reduce crime in my neighborhood, I might start a neighborhood watch program, or I might try to beef up an existing neighborhood watch program to make it more effective. But I think my efforts would be hampered if I claimed that my neighbors’ inaction was causing the crime.

         

        That’s where I think a lot of these conversations stall out. Men feel like they’re being blamed for not changing the behavior of the perpetrators (which we can’t influence, because they’re the kind of people we consciously avoid), for not stopping degrading comments (which we don’t hear, because those are the conversations we consciously avoid), and for not stopping harassment (which we don’t see, because the perpetrators avoid doing it in front of us). Women feel they’re being blamed for not speaking up about the crimes or perpetrators (because they fear retaliation).

         

        Pistola said:

        “I can see how as a man who tries hard not to offend and is also offended by men who behave in an ugly way, it might not be realistic or helpful to see oneself as part of ‘rape culture’ or to even understand what that term really means.”

        I could really use your help understanding this one.

        Are you limiting this to men?

        For example (and this one shocked me), an Oxford University study of tweets discovered that men and women were almost equally likely to use the words “slut”, “whore” and “rape” in a threatening/abusive manner. They were also almost equally likely to use those words in a trivial/casual/normalized manner.

        Assuming that both of us are equally offended by this behavior (regardless of whether men or women are trivializing or normalizing rape or shaming the victims) do you see both of us as being equally part of the rape culture? When you say that you and I are both part of it, what do you mean? Do you think we’re both equally contributing to it? Do you think we’re both equally influenced by it?

        (Just in case it’s relevant, I’m not on Twitter, so I have no ability to influence that environment.)

         

        1. Pistola

          Karl

          As someone who’s pretty involved in feminist issues (since I see a lot of women as clients, though I work with a lot of men too), I would say that, in general, I’ve never heard the term “rape culture” used to refer to anything women do. Maybe it happens, but I’ve never heard it. It’s not a term I use myself because I think it is far too loaded, general, and nonspecific to be that helpful. It creates bad feelings and obscures the specific issues that we could all be working on to create better solutions. That’s just my personal opinion.

          Although I identify as both liberal and feminist, I personally don’t buy every aspect of the current SJW culture, especially since I have a lot of straight white male clients and spend a lot of time learning about their side of things. I’ve worked with plenty of men who have suffered all kinds of abuse, both in childhood and in relationships, though so far the only types of harassment I’ve helped a guy with are slander and stalking behavior (which is just as frightening and traumatizing for men as it is for women–despite what people may think, men do NOT find stalking behavior flattering or endearing). But, of course, men who come into therapy for help just aren’t the guys that hurt women, at least not so far–they’re the good guys.

          Does that answer your question? I hope so, but if not, please help me understand what I may have left out. I’m not on Twitter either and don’t follow the flame wars and regular catastrophes that develop there.

    3. 57.3
      Clare

      This has got to be one of the most idiotic and unhelpful responses to this issue that I’ve seen so far. And I don’t say that lightly.

       

      Your first line, especially, is monumentally idiotic: “The “don’t attack men who want to help” smacks of male privilege, the same way it does when white people complain they aren’t racist.” I see, so this is one of those damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t scenarios? If you say you’re not racist, you’re hiding behind white privilege. If you say you are racist, well then you’ve condemned yourself at your own hand. So, in a similar way, men who protest that they love and respect women, and genuinely want to help, are hiding behind “male privilege,” and men who openly disrespect women are clearly misogynist. So, is it your aim to just generally condemn all white people and all men? Is that it? Because it seems as if you’ve set it up that nobody can win.

       

      It’s the biggest load of bullshit. I have news for you. Most people are reasonably nice. Moreover, most people (and that includes men and white people) really only care about themselves. They do not walk around with hatred festering in their hearts because it is energy that could be far better spent on their own concerns. The majority, and it really is the majority, of people are not racist or misogynist. They don’t like conflict, they want to get along with people. Most people really don’t care what race or gender you are, as long as you are nice. People are, for the most part, benignly self-absorbed. So, your bitter commands: DO this, DON’T do that, STOP this, TALK to this one, CHOOSE that, are not only ineffective, they are utterly bewildering to well-meaning people who genuinely don’t hold racist or misogynist thoughts.

       

      One final thought: “But here’s the thing- It’s not the victim’s job to tell you how to not harass them, just like it’s not the POC’s  job  to explain racism to white people.” These words are so mind-numbingly obtuse, I hardly know where to begin. So, let me get this straight… Someone says they’re not a racist, and when accused of being one, they ask for evidence of it, and you say “It’s not my job to explain it to you” ???!!!!?? Do you have any idea how idiotic that sounds?

       

      So when a man says, I don’t see myself as someone who sexually harasses or victimizes women, and you say he’s part of the problem, and he says “how?” You say, “I’m not telling you.”

       

      Honestly, this kind of complete absence of logic or fact based thinking is why people like you are not taken seriously. It’s like the boy from the Sixth Sense: “I see racists/misogynists everywhere! Some of them don’t even know they’re racist/misogynist!”

  28. 58
    Shelli

    If you actually believe that only 6% of men are perpetrating sexual harassment/assault, your numbers are WAAAY off. 😕 I have, personally, lost count of how many men who have crossed my path, perpetrated in one way or another. But you ARE correct in your assertion that it has created a culture of fear, distrust, and an increasingly guarded female population. And rightfully so. I wish I knew what the solution is… but if every man who loves and cares for women, would also stand up for and protect a woman he doesn’t know, when the situation arises, it could be a start.

  29. 59
    Cat5

    The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help by Jackson Katz – It is a very interesting read and provides concrete examples of what men can do to make a difference and help stop violence against women.

  30. 60
    Jeremy

    It is difficult for me to fathom these accounts of harassment and assault of women, which is why it is important that women express them.  I wrote in a prior post about one time when I kissed a woman on the cheek at the end of a date and noted that it made her uncomfortable, and I wonder what I could/should have done differently.  Reading accounts of overt harassment, assault, having sex with a blacked-out woman….these go far beyond my realm of experience, yet they happen.  They happen too often.  So yes, let us please discuss them so that men and women can get a sense of the scope of the problem.

     

    But the point of my prior post (a point that was mistaken by some of the respondents) was not to minimize the problem, but to try to give a bit of perspective on the discussion.  We should talk about what many perceive as a “rape culture,” but when doing so we should not forget that we live in a culture where men are expected (by women) to initiate – how does that female expectation contribute to this very problem?  We should talk about “yes means yes,” but we should not forget that we live in a world where women expect men to be bold (as long as the woman wants him to be) and often lose attraction when they perceive men to be supplicating – how does that contribute to this problem? We should talk about teaching men to respect “no means no” and that only “yes means yes” – and that is great…..but why do we consider it rape apology to ALSO talk about teaching women that when they mean no they must SAY no, and not say yes or continue doing what they are doing when their feelings are against it?  We can not create legislation or societal expectations that expect men to be mind-readers – it what determines whether an action is normal or criminal is the expression of the woman, then the woman must be taught to express while the man is taught to listen.  Balance.  That is what I perceive to be lacking in this discussion.

    1. 60.1
      Marika

      Jeremy,

      Again, with respect, men don’t need to be mind readers. They do need to be empathetic, which I’ll come back to in a second.

      There’s a world of difference between a man being a confident initiator and a sexual harrasser/predator. Pretty much all my (at least initial) physical interactions with men happened when they initiated it. But only a handful of times did I feel harrassed / pressured/ scared. What did these men do differently?

      Say ‘c’mon’, or ‘you’ll like it’, or my personal least favourite: ‘boundaries are for kids’ when I said no or pushed their hand away.

      Created a feeling of safety by acting just as a friend and then pouncing when I least expected it.

      Grinding up against me when I’m minding my own business on the dance floor and persisting even when I tried to move away.

      Etc etc

      As a woman, I can assure you, your body reacts when you are feeling that fear of being pushed into a bad situation. If you freeze and don’t actually say no, it’s pretty obvious when someone looks scared or intimidated or possibly, pissed off. That look can’t really be misinterpreted as desire.

      Which is where empathy comes in. If you approach a sexual situation as being only about getting your needs met, you may be knocking on the door of being a harrasser. In the example of the cheek kiss, you sensed her discomfort and left immediately. That’s okay. Funnily enough you sensed her lack of interest earlier on. Body language isn’t that hard to read.

      1. 60.1.1
        Jeremy

        Marika, first of all I agree with most of what you wrote.  The examples you used are obviously over the line – black as night without a hint of grey.  But please realize that the fact that a woman believes her body language is obvious doesn’t necessarily mean that men find it so, as per our conversation on that other thread.  Yes, in the example I brought up I thought I sensed that the woman in question was ambivalent, which is why I only gave her a tentative peck on the cheek at the end of the date and instantly regretted it.  But how many times has the reverse been true?  There have been so many times that I did NOT act because I did not sense interest, only to find out later that the women in question had wondered why I did not make a move, and thought less of me for not doing so.  In my early dating years, the most frequent complaints my dates/girlfriends had of me was that I was too tentative, and they wanted a bolder guy.

         

        Body language isn’t that hard to read?  The other day, my secretary tapped my shoulder to tell me about a problem.  Apparently, there was a man in my waiting room yelling loudly on his phone and my secretary couldn’t hear her own phone calls.  I asked her whether she said anything to the guy.  She replied that she’d given him all sorts of dirty looks, but he never let up.  I walked to the waiting room, found the guy, and said, “You need to keep it down, my secretary can’t hear herself talk.”  He quieted immediately.  My secretary later said, “He only listened to you because you’re a man.”  I replied, “Maybe, but more likely he listened to me because I actually SAID something to him.”

         

        Just because you think your body language is obvious doesn’t mean men can hear you.  There are SO many things men need to learn to make the world better for women.  But women need to learn this.

        1. Marika

          I agree that some signs and signals can be difficult to read. I disagree that terror, fear or disgust are difficult to read or interpret. If you’re doing something to a woman and she looks or acts scared or disgusted, stop.

          I see no downside to you of erring on the side of caution. It’s how you ended up with your wife instead of a woman not right for you.

          I don’t want a legal system where a man can get off of rape by claiming he ‘couldn’t read her body language ‘. Unfortunately physiologically sometimes it’s not possible to say ‘no’.

        2. Jeremy

          Marika, you wrote, “I see no side to you erring on the side of caution.”  Here’s the blind spot.  Men are responsible for being sexual initiators, sexual initiators with women who are attracted to boldness.  Remember the conversation a while back on this site where multiple women admitted to being turned off when men ask for permission?  Remember your own statement, exhorting yourself and women everywhere to stop rewarding men for their bad behavior, even though your nature is to do so?  I WISH we lived in a world where women did not reward bad male behavior – we’d see a lot less of it.  Because the biggest asshole in my high school, who teased a girl named Dana mercilessly, ended up dating her.  Because the reason PUAs teach “negging” is because it so often works.  I am not blaming women for being harassed.  If men behave like assholes, that’s on men.  But I am asking women to acknowledge that sometimes women’s behavior contributes to the problem – not so much for the brazen offenders, but for the clueless ones.  Erring on the side of caution is NOT how I met my wife.  I became successful at dating when I became LESS cautious.

           

          When I advise men to err on the side of caution, I’d like to be able to say that women like and respect that.  It would be easier if that were true.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *