Original Post Date – October 20, 2017 – in reaction to the birth of the #metoo movement and a number of my family and friends posting theirs stories of how men assaulted, belittled or raped them.
For those of my friends and family and associates that have posted “Me Too” as your status or update, I am so sorry for the harm done to you. I will do what I can to educate other men and if my learned and inherent sexism has ever resulted in actions of mine that made you uncomfortable, I am truly sorry. Educate me. I can learn to be a better man in support of you as a woman
For the MANY of my men friends who have posted in this topic or commented, I both thank you and caution you. This is not a strength of mine, but I have found that a better response in this situation is less man-splaining (man explaining) and more ACTIVE listening. Here is a great resource as well – http://www.mencanstoprape.org/
Men Can Stop Rape: I met these folks in 1992 when a friend and I invited them to speak at Catholic University as undergrads. It was one of the first times in my life that a black man and a white gay man spoke to me in a way that challenged everything I assumed and everything I had learned or inherited. It was a gateway to my own coming out and a gateway to the life-long journey to learn by listening. Especially to the experience of the “other.” These others – a Black man with a Doctorate (the first one I had ever met in my life) and a gay man who had moved beyond coming out to a space of doing something for others from his position as “another other” – changed my gestalt.
I am saying something because of the debate I have seen around whether or not there is a merger of sexual assault (severe) with unwanted sexual advances (less severe, but horrid). I would suggest to my men friends that while there is a difference, there is no need to parse these when a woman posts “Me Too.” It is their experience to define, our job to listen and learn. They have been hurt by men. Our job is to train other men, learn and speak up when boundaries are crossed. There is (generally speaking) no need to stack hurt in a hierarchy of pain. Injuries to women by men in any form hurt us all, so I would prefer we work towards solutions women desire. We only get their by the women in our worlds guiding us. So to my women friends, I say it again- help me learn from errors I made yesterday and errors I make today and with your help and some humility, I’ll make fewer errors moving forward.
Humbly yours #unclerandy