Two men talking openly about sexual harassment and where we stand vis-à-vis offenders; this is a conversation I had with a male friend less than 24 hours ago.
In 2018, in this era, I believe men should talk about sexual harassment among themselves. The news always approaches the topic from the same angle: “This person was charged with sexual assault” and “That person was charged with sexual assault”. It never educates. Some men are just oblivious about what they’re doing. The conversation should go beyond what’s in the news.
What’s beyond? That’s obvious: actions.
Personally, when I see something wrong online, I point it out. My latest move was to leave a comment “That’s sexist”. That’s all I do online though. Inevitably, when someone online gets called out about sexism (or anything else), you receive comments that you’re a troll or you need to relax because it’s a “joke” or people just report your account. I don’t respond to that. I have no interest in arguing online, so I see this action of calling out akin to planting a seed with the hope that the person will think about it and/or one day, the person will get a wake up call and remember that comment I posted.
In real life, the action I would like to activate is to punch every offender in the face, including family and friends. In fact, I would go harder on family and friends.
Obviously, I don’t encourage anybody to punch anybody. The furthest I’ve gone, physically, was to shove someone against the wall because he kept harassing a girl who kept having to say no. In retrospect, I should have started with words: “Hey, stop it. She said no, a million times. What you’re doing is sexual harassment.”
Words… That’s the action we should all take. Start with calling out sexual harassment and all the bullcrap you witness. I see this action as picking up a piece of trash in a park and putting it in the garbage bin that happens to be just next to it.
I was going to end with that paragraph, but I want to mention the fear of taking action because of consequences. With regard to this topic, I have two fears.
I do have a lot of fear when I stand up to people who can basically knock me out with one punch. It’s terrifying, but sexual harassment is an issue that is way bigger than me, so I tell myself not to let fear stop me from doing the right thing.
The other fear I have is misstepping and facing consequences of doing the right thing. In my head, this is worse than getting beat up. Sometimes, helping can make a situation worse and I fear that. I can’t see any obvious way to go around this fear, except by paying attention, being aware of the matter and listening, especially when you’re told you’re wrong.
Issues that are bigger than any one of us, like sexual harassment, can get very confusing, so listening is key, even to conflicting information.
“This is confusing. Is it sexist to hit you? Is it more sexist to not hit you? I mean the line is real blurry.” ~Deadpool
I am scared as fuck to post this and I am way out of my comfort zone, but like I said, this is way bigger than me.
Nothing that matters is easy.
What I hope anybody takes away from this post: take action and do something about it.