Men’s Questions About #MeToo, Answered

bb375a07883a5adafac4727d1d8b15b8-originaMARC Experts Respond

Image courtesy of Mihai Surdu.

The New York Times called it the #MeToo moment, but it's starting to feel a lot more like a movement. Below, we round up four important questions men have about #MeToo and provide answers from MARC's expert contributors.

Do you have a question we didn't cover? Leave it in the comments below and we'll do our best to answer.

Why should men pay attention to the #MeToo movement? 
“Men should care about the “#MeToo movement” because it’s a scream from our mothers, sisters, and wives. They’re saying that enough is enough—now is the time to make real changes.”  
“Pandora's box has been opened. I believe men are concerned on many levels. They want to better define how they interact with women. Men are also more keenly aware of what their wives and daughters have gone through. I had a #MeToo harassing experience twice in the last two weeks and my husband had more empathy for me.”  
“#MeToo may force men to reexamine their past behaviors—as well as those of other men they know—and to reach out to any women they may have mistreated and apologize.”
"Though Hollywood and Washington have made the news, we all know that sexual harassment is prevalent in corporate America. Whether subtle or overt, women are being preyed upon and it is time for men to take responsibility for standing up for women. The EEOC reports that “anywhere from 25% to 85% of women report having experienced sexual harassment in the workplace”—and 75% of all workplace harassment incidents go unreported. My message for men is that if we see sexist or harassing behavior in the workplace, we must stand up and address it in order to bring an end to the overall culture of bias that allows these behaviors to thrive."  
“Men need to pay attention to the #MeToo movement because they are an equivalent part of an inclusive world that runs on mutual respect and collective conscience.”  
Why should men believe women?
“Because why not believe them, or at least believe their perception? Wanting proof is not the point. Assume women's perceptions are real, suspend your curiosity about knowing "the facts" for a while, and instead work to understand the impact of feeling helpless, or boxed-in, or humiliated, or shamed.”
“Men should believe women off the bat until evidence proves otherwise. I, for one, hope that many more women will come out in the near future to tell their stories. To me, that would signal to men to be careful about how they treat women and to challenge men they know who engage in problematic behaviors.”
“It’s crucial to keep in mind the power dynamics of the workplace. People depend on salaries—not just for themselves, but to take care of loved ones as well. People work hard to create and advance their careers. When someone has the power to influence another person’s career, that power must always be used with respect. The abuse of that power is deeply depraved.
“Unfortunately, the financial machines inside all industries have allowed serial sexual harassers and even assaulters to remain in power for years, even decades. As long as those men in power have been seen as cash cows, colleagues have been willing to look the other way. And victims have been too afraid to report, knowing it’s likely no one will believe them and that their careers and livelihoods will be shattered.”
What's your message for men who are nervous or confused?
“You think you're nervous! Be nervous. Be confused. Be unsure of what to do, or when, but don't let your confusion or nervousness stop you from taking action to fix this. Treat harassment like a safety issue. If you see something, say something.”  
“You know yourself. Ask for mentoring to better understand. Set healthy boundaries in your relationships (here are 8 recommendations for doing just that). If you stepped over a line with a woman in the past and didn't realize it until now, think about how to make amends.”   
What should men do now?
“Realize your own lived experience as a man may not help you understand or empathize with your women colleagues. We can tell ourselves, ‘It wouldn’t have happened to me.’ That’s easy to say because these sorts of attacks or violations rarely happen to most men!”
“Don't tolerate diminishing ‘locker room’ talk even when you're solely in the company of men. Call out offensive or diminishing comments, especially if you slip up and make them yourself. Don't make addressing harassment about ‘protecting women’—make it about protecting a healthy workplace culture.”  
“For most men, you are doing great. You are role models, fathers, caring spouses. This doesn't apply to you. But you can take a stand against abuses of power and the objectification of women. You can make it safe for women to share with you what's going on without fear of dismissal.”  
“Look back and feel the gravity of this moment. #MeToo has brought forth horrifying accounts of repeated assaults, abuse, and shame. Men need to understand that living with this stigma is not easy—it is as painful as dying a slow death. Women are at risk at all times and this knowledge is passed down from generation to generation.
“Here are my recommendations for men:
  1. Personal boundaries should be respected. If a woman says ‘no,’ do not look for a hidden ‘yes.’
  2. Learn to handle rejection of any kind gracefully.
  3. Acknowledge women’s achievements.
  4. Aim for equal participation. Only if there is equal participation will we be able to tip the balance of power that forces women into silence.”
Posted by MARC Catalyst on Dec 19, 2017 11:39 AM America/New_York

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