This is a guest post brought to you by Bryce.
Guys, lets have a talk.
Fellas, we have to be better when it comes to being an ally to women when it comes to sexual assault.
I hear you already;
“It’s not me.”
“Here goes some more man-bashing.”
“Capeing for these women wont get you any”
“But they can do it to us too.”
I get all of that. And this is not about me getting any. I hear what you guys are saying, but it isn’t about that right now. For far too long, women have been subjected to all sorts of embarrassment, street harassment, inappropriate jokes, unnecessary and unasked for fondling, and the list goes on.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that they’re sick of it and are coming together to say “enough!” All these Hollywood and political sexual misconduct accusations are just the volcano blowing on an issue that has been building pressure for millennia. As men, we are taught a sense of entitlement when it comes to women, whether it was taught by male figures in the family, media, your boys in the neighborhood, we were nurtured into that mindset.
Personally, at a young age, I always felt embarrassed when my friends cat called (peepsin’ is what we Virgin Islanders did), or chased down some woman that wasn’t interested. But I did nothing, just let it happen because of a social stigma of questioning my sexuality if I didn’t partake or tried to stop it. I was complicit and I hold some shame in that. For various reasons, women don’t report an assault and when they do it may be after years when they feel they may be protected.
We as men must realize that the onus is on all of us to provide women with the support and protection they need when something happens to them and to call other men out if we see them acting out of pocket. Also, we have to allow women to be themselves when it comes to embracing their sexuality. If a woman likes to have sexual converation or likes to dress a certain way, let them live. It isn’t an invitation to hit on them or treat them any differently because they have bucked the societal norms and are outspoken when it comes to their sexuality.
We all have wives, girlfriends, mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts, or cousins that we would protect by any means if we see someone disrespect them. Even if we didn’t we should still protect and stand up for women being mistreated whether we know them or not.
Unlearning an ingrained thought process is hard but it is necessary for building a better and equal world.