The #MeToo Campaign

As readers of mine probably know by now, there has been a #MeToo campaign which has put a spotlight on how big of a problem sexual violence, particularly sexual violence against women, really is.

As such, there are a few things that I feel led to say about the organizers, participants, survivors who decided to not participate, male and nonbinary survivors of sexual violence, and men.

To the organizers of this #MeToo campaign, most especially activist Tarana Burke (who created the original movement about a decade ago) and actor Alyssa Milano (who helped make the hashtag viral this past weekend)—thank you. Your goal was to make others (particularly men like me) aware of how much this nation and world has a serious problem with sexual aggression and violence. I think you all succeeded. Hopefully this awareness can turn into ending rape culture. But all of you, as the organizers, took a big step in this much-needed journey. As a result, “thank you” frankly feels like an inadequate thing to say.

To participants in the #MeToo campaign—thank you. Everybody involved in this of was extremely brave and vulnerable. Every one of you made others more aware of how enormous this problem is and all of you did that at the risk of everything from potential backlash to potential flashbacks. Once again, thank you.

To survivors who didn’t participate—your story is no less valid because you didn’t participate. To the contrary, maybe some of you didn’t participate at least in part because your story/stories is/are so fresh and raw. I hope that others who hear your story in the future (if you do ever decide to share your story) will not make your stories any less valid because you emotionally were not able to participate in the “me too” campaign.

To male and nonbinary survivors—your story is no less valid, either. Just because you don’t fit into the most common story of sexual violence (a man committing violence against a woman) doesn’t mean that your story is somehow less true, or that you are any less of a survivor than anyone else.

To fellow men—we need to hold ourselves and each other accountable. We need to realize how our own actions and the actions of those around us contribute to rape culture. Whether it be not always listening to others (an area I realized I was weak at) or making so-called “rape jokes” (which aren’t funny, by the way), whether it be the way many of us have been conditioned to be controlling or the way some of us may turn a blind eye to the aforementioned “rape jokes,” we need to improve. So let’s start thinking about how we can get ourselves and others completely away from rape culture and the toxic masculinity which contributes to rape culture.

Finally, to people who got to this point in my post—thank you for at least taking this issue seriously enough to get to this point. I just hope that we can also take this issue seriously enough to start actually addressing it.

Author’s note: This post topic was decided on the day before it was published, and written the night before it was published, so I apologize in advance for any errors which may exist.

15 Replies to “The #MeToo Campaign”

  1. Thank you for this post. I just wrote my own #MeToo story here on WordPress. It was incredibly difficult and incredibly important to do. I’m crying healing tears after reading your post. I so needed to read these words. I am a nonbinary survivor–I identify as gender-fluid and prefer to use om/oms/oms–and I appreciate you remembering that rape, sadly, is not only a cisgender female experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rosemerry,

      First of all, I am so incredibly sorry that you went through this. I know that sorry doesn’t take away the pain, but I think it’s something that must be said.

      I am so incredibly glad that this post helped you in some way. And honestly, reading your reply nearly brought me to tears! But happy tears, because I’m so incredibly happy that this post seemed to help you heal in some way.

      I also agree that this isn’t exclusively a cisgender female experience. It is absolutely excruciating how common this experience is with cisgender females, but at the same time I can’t forget that there are gender nonconforming people like you, and some men as well (though not nearly as many sexual assaults against men as against women). I especially can’t forget because a number of men and gender nonconforming people friends of mine came out with #MeToo by the time I published this post on Tuesday.

      Finally, I really respect your courage, honesty, and bravery with this reply. There has never been a time where I was or wanted to be this vulnerable in any form of media. You have done that, and in the process reminded people that sexual assault is a problem which can affect many nonbinary people.

      Best,
      Brendan

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Brendan,
    Good points. You wrote, “To fellow men—we need to hold ourselves and each other accountable. We need to realize how our own actions and the actions of those around us contribute to rape culture.”

    I’m accountable. My friends are accountable. I’ve never considered rape nor have I supported it in any way. Although I can’t know what my friends have considered, no friend of mine would engage in rape. I certainly don’t agree there is a “rape culture” in America.

    Some women (and men) are raped. This is tragic. Most cases I know involve alcohol. Personally, I do not drink. I believe people on alcohol do stupid things. I believe women are overly flirtatious and men are overly aggressive sexually. Alcohol leads to inappropriate behavior by both parties. I’m continually amazed by stories of women who admit they don’t know a man well, yet drink to excess around a stranger and end up alone with him. Accountability starts right there. As we say in Hawai’i, “if you don’t know, don’t go!”

    For over ten years, I’ve served as a union / employee advocate. I stuck my neck out to help my coworkers (costing me my job), while providing cover so women (primarily) felt protected to speak up. Thus, I do not respect the #MeToo movement.

    There are predators in this world. The only way to end this behavior is to confront the abuser. Remaining silent forces the victim to suffer and allows the predator to hurt others. I’ve been fired many times. To me, no job is worth keeping if I must allow a predator to continue.

    The ONLY way we can hold EACH other accountable is to speak out. Remember the brave die but once; the coward dies a death of 10,000 slashes.

    Like

    1. Hello Scott!

      Thanks for your detailed comment. I hope to, in response, deliver a detailed reply.

      I totally agree that we need to hold ourselves and each other accountable. We would let ourselves, and others, down if we did anything less.

      I agree that we must speak out. We must confront those who are abusers. We must not stay silent when staring at abuse.

      As for “rape culture,” I’ll have to respectfully disagree with you on that one. A country where half of women have experienced sexual violence, where 20% of males experienced sexual violence, and where 20% of women are victims are attempted or committed rape is a country with a rape culture problem.

      Finally, could you explain more about why you don’t respect the #MeToo movement? I’m just a little bit puzzled about your position on the movement because it supports many of the very things you want (people speaking out, people holding each other accountable, and confronting abusers). Maybe I’ll understand better once you explain though.

      Like

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