The # MeToo movement started as a hashtag campaign on social media, which resulted in an increased awareness of sexual harassment and abuse that takes place in institutions, at work and in society in general. In addition to women, this movement against discrimination, abuse, sexual harassment and all forms of violence against women and girls can not succeed without men playing an important role in the solution.
As a man, it may seem like you can not do much to make change easier.
However, in order to put an end to this prevailing evil, we also need to stand up for the cause and play an active role. For all the men out there, here is some advice on how you can help the # MeToo movement:
Listen to the women around you
One of the first steps to help the # MeToo movement is to really listen to women around you. When you come across a person who shares his / her story about abuse or sexual harassment, listen to their account with compassion. Listen how they talk about how sexual harassment and abuse affect their emotional, mental and psychological abilities. This means that you have to be empathetic and understand the different types of experiences women experience. Only if you are willing to hear and believe these stories can you attune to what the movement is trying to achieve.
Discover why women feel unsafe, anxious and uncomfortable
Another important thing is to stop distance from the experience of women and girls. This means you have to see and understand how worried, careful and vigilant women should be every day. Whether it is walking or standing alone at the bus stop, sometimes women are unsafe.
Because you have probably never been in place, it is likely that you do not know (and you may not be able to fully relate) to what women fear and experience every day. However, by reading the stories from #MeToo that women share, you can try to understand those aspects. In this way you are able to change your behavior and play your role in improving this society and environment for women and girls.
Avoid being judgmental or defensive
If a man gets run over by a car and yells at the driver in pain, do you go to him and say "NOT ALL DIRECTORS" instead of helping him?
If you as a man just roll your eyes when you hear a report of sexual harassment, you are also part of the problem. Do not say things like: "Are you sure it meant bullying?" Or "Not all men are like that" when they come to share their experiences and fears. Someone who has been bothered knows the difference.
And although not all men are that way, you can not deny that there is widespread abuse and sexual harassment and that many women and girls are victims of it every day. Only if you are not judgmental can you understand and address the problem.
Avoid laughing for sexist jokes or comments
A friend who shares a sexist joke on social media or a colleague who makes a twisted comment about the sexual attraction of one of your female colleagues, also has a lot of problems. When you write such remarks and jokes, thinking it's just a joke, the predators in the group see it as consent, which ultimately plays a role in normalizing offensive talk and abuse.
Speak if you hear offensive comments about women
When you hear someone from your male friends or colleagues that makes irreverent or offensive comments about women, you must open your mouth. Even if there are no women, your friends or colleagues ought to hear from you that such behavior is unacceptable. It is high time that men hold other men accountable for whatever evil they say and do.
It can only be as simple as saying & # 39; that is not cool & # 39 ;, but you must send them the message that their comments were inappropriate. You do not necessarily have to be in attack mode. Just telling them how their behavior harms women or why you do not find their comments funny will get the job done.
Speak about when you witness intimidation
If we really want to create a lasting change, then it is important that we begin to challenge the prevailing views and beliefs that are irreverent and humiliating women and girls. Whether in public places, at work, in the streets or on social media, where you also witness everyday sexism, gender discrimination and lack of respect for women and girls, you have to put your vote against it. If you choose to remain silent now, it is highly unlikely that things will change quickly.
Speak your support on every platform.
Although it is a difficult subject to talk and talk about, it is high time that we take every opportunity to do so. It will not be easier if we keep avoiding it. Enter the conversation with a few fixed points and talk about it in an authentic way.
You can play an important role in educating your social environment about how we can stop devaluing women and ultimately prevent various forms of violence and discrimination from remaining and harming us all.
Share content that can help raise the awareness of this problem
Boost and share positive and constructive articles, books, speeches and messages on this subject, so that more and more people are informed about this subject.
Every educated man must use the # MeToo movement to learn. Especially to spread knowledge. To be inclusive and to be aware. I promise to try.
- Vir Das (@thevirdas) October 17, 2017
Re-examine your own behavior
In order for this movement to be successful, it is also very important that you re-examine your own behavior and learn better. If you're part of a group that talks about women in a tasteless way, or comments about their physical appearance, or if you've shared sexist jokes for fun in the past, it's time to turn the script around.
Assess your attitude towards women and adjust the way you talk to, behave with women you meet, treat them and treat them.
Men: if #MeToo you do not feverishly search through your memory and think, "Did I know?", Are you either inexperienced or the problem.
- Andrew McHale (@CSSDuke) October 16, 2017
Avoid minimizing violence and accusing victims
It is also really important that you do not belittle stories about intimidation and guilty victims. When a friend or colleague reports or discloses an experience or attempted sexual harassment, believe them and try to do something about it. Do not reject it or react slightly by saying:
"Oh yes, he is exactly like that"
"He can not do such a thing"
"Boys will be boys"
NO! Normally not bullying by saying such things! Nothing can justify this gruesome act.
Male / possible offender = Innocent until found guilty (even after that.)
Female / possible victim = Instant LIAR (until the man is found guilty and afterwards.) #MeeshaShafi #AliZafar #MeToo
- NZehra (@NZehra_) April 19, 2018
So, these were some ways and small adjustments in your daily life that will allow you to help the # MeToo movement and bring a real, meaningful and lasting change. Anything else that makes you feel that men can help the #MeToo movement? Let us know in the comments below.
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Cover image via cbc.ca