abuse · sexual assault

#MeToo is Not About You

Read the campaign. #Metoo is not about domestic violence, child abuse, bullying, or violence against men. #Metoo is a campaign that is meant to raise awareness about sexual assault and harassment against women. It is in place to show just how many individual women have been subjected to inappropriate behavior at the hands of men, in a world that cheers on male dominance and power.

That is not to say that all men are bad, that men do not experience violence, or that women are not sexually assaulted or raped by intimate partners. They are not, men do, and dating/intimate partner violence happens every day.

My frustration is that people have, once again, jumped on a bandwagon and some are missing the point entirely. Slow it down and think before you post. Really, everything is not about you.

I’ve seen two, no make that three (oh, forget it, I’ve seen even more that that) things on social media that just go to show how we are missing the mark as a society.

First, a post that was meant well. The comment included that we should not forget that most sexual assault is done by someone we know (friend, date, etc.). The post went on to imply that we, as a society, are not addressing that or teaching our young men how to act. But, guess what? We are! Some of us are shouting it from the rooftops. Intimate partner and dating violence includes sexual abuse! It is one of many means used to control a victim in an abusive relationship. Intimate partner violence is not just a man beating a woman; it is verbal, emotional, sexual, and financial, and is perpetrated by women, those in every culture, and in the LGBT community. But I find it personally infuriating that it is being mixed into the #metoo campaign, even if it is coming out of a good place.

Why? Because they are not the same thing. And although they have a lot of overlap and similarities, clumping them together is not really rightfully educating anyone on either situation. There are a number of organizations out there working to educate our young men and women on dating violence, abuse, and healthy relationships. If this is an issue near and dear to you, these organization would love your support. We (I say this because I run one of these organizations) cannot do it along. We need volunteers, funding, and people to come to events, share, and learn. So, get out there and put your words to good use.

Second, I see men jumping in and posting #metoo stories as well. I really do not have a problem addressing the issue of men being assaulted. We should be addressing it. We should be addressing it every day. Women, you cannot just pinch a guys butt, throw yourself at him, or say things to him that you would take offense to if the tables were turned. But sadly, it happens all the time, just as men are abused by their intimate partner at rates almost on par with women.

However, this campaign was created to draw attention to a societal flaw that has been in place since the beginning of time. Women are often seen as a piece of meat and treated as such. We teach through example, media, music, and even ads that men have the right to be condescending and controlling. Do we really need a woman pushed back with a boot on her throat to see something? This is not a new issue, by any means, but women have become fed up and have decided to use social media as a tool to shed light on this issue. Good for them!

I would love to see men take a similar stance and stand in solidarity with one another. It would be phenomenal to see men sharing their stories, letting people know that they have been abused or mistreated, reporting intimate partner violence to authorities, and showing the world that unkindness and abuse, in any direction is not ok. But that is not what this is about.

With that said, I’ve seen two things happen (as I’m sure you all have) when men share the hashtag #metoo. First, I’ve seen it posted as a joke, reiterating the condescending behavior that women are speaking out against.

They seem to be saying, “Hey, look at me…we are abused too. Women are just as bad….hahahahaha….clap, clap, clap.” Some even saying, outright, that they are joking or laughing about it and making snide remarks about the campaign.

Seriously? What is wrong with you? You are the problem. Of course, not all men act this way. Actually, most of the men I have in my life are considerate, caring, kind hearted, and loving. They support the work I do and women’s causes as if the cause is their own. But I’ve chosen to eliminate a solid chunk of egocentric men from my life over time. So, to those of you who feel this behavior is appropriate; take a good long look in the mirror and ask yourself why you would have that reaction to something as simple as women sharing their story and raising awareness.

What does that say about our culture?

However, sadly, I’ve also seen so-called “feminists” and “advocates” attack men who have sincerely shared. Calling them out as trolls and liars, accusing them of being insensitive and making light of a serious situation. What kind of role model are we being in the fight for equality and mutual respect if we cannot show kindness to our fellow man (no pun intended)? How can you expect to be treated with respect when you do not show respect in return? How can you expect anyone to take your cause to heart if you are unwilling to accept that others hurt too? If men are chastised for sharing, why should they share? Perhaps this isn’t the campaign (as if it really matters that much), but to attack because someone isn’t playing by your rules is the epitome to playing the power card. It’s, in one word, bullying.

What you are saying is, “This cause belongs to me and you can’t have a part in it. I shall call you names and humiliate you for sharing your secrets and for coming out with something that society has shamed you for since you were a child. I am better than you….”

Which brings me to my final point. We can all have a cause. We can all share our story in the hopes that others will learn from our experiences, our mistakes, others’ mistakes, and so on. We can be the change our society so desperately needs right now. We need more of this.

But, please, do it from a place sincerity and not of ignorance. Before you post, or jump on the bandwagon, ask yourself “Does this apply to me? Are my words kind? Am I showing love, sympathy, or empathy?”

If you are not, perhaps you should reconsider what you are about to say. These campaigns and social media hashtag events bring out the best and the worst in people. They shed light on causes that need to be talked about, but they are also a grim reminder of how far we have to left to go.

If you don’t know that #metoo is not about domestic violence, violence against men, or who has the “better cause,” it’s time to get out there, educate yourself, and become a tool that can be used to better our society instead of further confusing and dividing it.

Let’s be better.

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