With the #MeToo movement making more progress every day, Nassar’s sentencing hitting the front page for several days and Weinstein scandal undergoing still further investigation, the subject of sexual assault and harassment has been on the forefront of everyone’s minds. Discussions about how to diminish rape culture has been a controversial and important topic all over the country.
The Carrier has run several editorials concerning these topics because it is something everyone needs to be made aware of.
However, as the topic gains momentum, it’s important to take a moment to realize that lifting one half of the population up is not necessarily putting the other down.
This is the responsibility of those of us vying for change. We should discuss sexual harassment cases and rape culture in our society without blaming the general population of men for the actions of a few. Speaking out for the victims of sexual assault and making them feel supported enough to share their stories without fear of retribution is not an attempt to put anybody else down. That’s where people often misconceive the purpose of this kind of discussion.
It is also men’s responsibility to build up instead of tear down. Social media trends like “#notallmen” have developed out of the ashes of these scandals. Yes, not all men are to blame for the disgusting actions of those in power, or those taking advantage of others. But, despite knowing that, men feel the need to defend themselves by vocalizing their denial of the assumption over social media.
Women know that not all men are rapists. Women are aware of the fact that the majority of the malepopulation was actually raised with morals and respect for others.
However, even if this is a known fact, what is unknown is what kind of man that woman is sitting across from on a date or talking to at a poorly-lit gas station. Men shouldn’t feel like they’re being generalized as rapistsbecause of the actions of others. They should realize though that not knowing who you may be talking to, walking past or working for is a frightening thing when we live in the society we live in today.
Just because not all men are to blame doesn’t mean that all men shouldn’t speak up. One way to continue to lift up women who have been violated is to help call their victimizers out.
Men who take advantage of others hide behind the false identity of what masculinity is. By being held accountable by men who actually respect others and are just decent people, men like Weinstein and Nassar are exposed and stripped of their efforts to make excuses for their actions.
Fortunately, the issue of sexual assault and harassment has become a topic that has spread like wildfire, and progress is slowly but surely being made. To the men though that feel like this discussion blames them or puts the entire male population under fire for the actions of a few, that’s not the aim of the conversation at all.
This discussion exists to continue to create a society where women one day won’t have to live in such fear. Until then, don’t sit back and feel as though you’re being blamed. Instead, realize what is actually going on and use your voice to join the conversation and condemn those who commit these crimes.