There are a lot of good men out there.
- My father, the retired elementary school teacher and feminist.
- My boyfriend, the protective son of a single mother.
- My former bosses and colleagues, who mentored and shaped me as a professional.
With the current political climate involving Kavanaugh and #MeToo, some men are concerned that coercive or vindictive women will weaponize this rightful movement to falsely accuse them of rape or sexual assault. Out of spite, or revenge, or anger.
I believe it.
I’ve been bullied by other women–groups of girls growing up, and later in the workplace. I once even had to file a harassment grievance against a female coworker. And guys, I’M A GIRL.
Yes, women can be vindictive, and I have no doubt some would be willing to wield today’s social power to “get back” at a perceived wrong (Rejected? Looked over for a promotion?). But does that mean we should continue blaming victims?
Here’s the problem.
For far too long, women have been doubted when they came forward. Law enforcement asking if they were drinking (what about the GUYS who were drinking? They get a pass?).
Society asking if their clothes were too revealing. Or if they were walking alone. Or if they put themselves in a dangerous situation.
ALWAYS THE WOMAN’S FAULT.
This culture, in turn, has created a society where women are frequently scared to come forward. When they do, doubt is often cast over their testimony. We then ask, “Is He innocent? Or is She a victim?”
By regularly blaming the victim or doubting her story, we’ve created a societal culture of hearsay. As long as this culture exists, women will fear being attacked, and men will fear false accusations.
The solution: change the culture (and men need to lead the way).
My message to all men who are genuinely fearful of false accusations is this: rather than complaining about it, begin leading the change in our society.
Start believing women. Start standing up for them. Start giving women the benefit of the doubt when they confess a dark, long-held secret to you. And then, advocate for them.
Women are screaming in America right now because we’ve been silenced for way too long. We’ve been scared for way too long. We’re fed up. The men in power who refused to listen to us will not start now.
But maybe, just maybe, they will listen to you–another man.
None of us want to live in a country reminiscent of the Salem Witch Trials, where accusations are brought against another without evidence, and innocent people die without proof of their crime.
But we cannot live in a Crucible-free world when the guilty are regularly protected by the powerful. Only after our culture changes, and women feel safe coming forward early on (when their testimony can make a difference in criminal court), can we begin to charge the guilty, and protect the innocent.
So men, we are watching. We are waiting. We want you to join us, so ALL of us can feel safe in our homes, in our lives, and in our society.
* Thanks for stopping by. My name is Shari Lopatin, and I tell stories that matter. After beginning my career as an award-winning journalist, I recently published my debut novel, The Apollo Illusion. If you liked what you read, consider signing up for my Readers Club email list!