message last week
was about Harvey Weinstein. It was also about the thousands of young people in Maine who have been stepping up to challenge sexism in their schools and the wisdom they could share with Mr. Weinstein and so many others. Today, my message is a call for all men, including myself, to do more. To do much more.
Men. #MeToo is a wake-up call we can't ignore
Over the past week, women everywhere have used the hashtag #MeToo to talk openly about their horrific experiences with sexual harassment and assault. The stories they shared are personal and tragic. They expose the devastating effects that men can have, and are having, on others. Taken individually, these experiences are deeply affecting and disturbing. Together, they serve as an indictment of the toxic status quo which allows and encourages men to lend a blind eye to these heinous acts.
Men, this is yet another chance for us to listen. Women from all walks of life have stepped out of their private pain, shown incredible courage and vulnerability, and asked to be heard. Loudly. We need to listen. Not look away, but listen. Not get defensive, but listen. And to know that for every story told, there are countless other untold stories. Thanks to the bravery of these women, the issue of sexism has never been more visible, and it is now our responsibility to hear what is being said. It's our opportunity to consider the role we have played, no matter how large or how small, in allowing this to be.
Men. It's our turn.
Women are doing their work. Young people are doing theirs. Now it's our turn. It's time for us to learn about becoming male allies who work with women to confront the issue head on. We need to live this issue everyday, alongside them. They do. We should too.
What now - an invitation for all men to join in this work
1. Listen to the women of #MeToo. Believe their stories. Work to empathize, as best we can, with their experiences. To begin to understand what it's like for so many to live with this abuse and harassment every day.
2. Open our eyes. Begin to notice the disrespect, harassment, abuse, and violence that has somehow become so normalized in our society. Look in the mirror, and ask ourselves how we've contributed. Whether we've been disrespectful or hurtful ourselves. Or, whether we sat back quietly while others treated women in these ways. Whether we've dismissed comments as just language while not knowing, or not wanting to know, that disrespectful language sets the stage to accept disrespectful behaviors. And ask the women in our lives what is most helpful and what we can do better.
3. Acknowledge that this isn't about Harvey Weinstein or the "Harvey Weinsteins" all around us. It's about all of us. It's about the opportunity to match the incredible courage women have displayed with an equal amount of courage, strength, and self-reflection by us. Recognize the responsibility we have to challenge ourselves and the people around us to take this issue seriously every day.
4. Learn what it means to be an ally from our friends at End Rape on Campus.
5. Get involved with Maine Boys to Men's Reducing Sexism and Violence Program (RSVP):
- Register (here) to attend one of our community screenings of The Mask You Live In. This film explores elements of our culture that lead to these disrespectful and abusive behaviors. Maine Boys to Men will host a community conversation immediate following each film screening.
- Register here for our full-day Intensive workshop for adults on Friday, December 1st.
- Make a donation today to directly support the programs of Maine boys to Men which help young people navigate societal pressures that lead to sexist, harmful, and violent behaviors.