The 'Me too' hashtag isn’t just about creepy dudes in bathrobes, you know.
This isn’t about Hollywood ass-grabbing or sexual harassment in the workplace. This is about male violence.
It’s about the fact that getting famous is one of the only ways a woman can get rich in this culture, and sucking some producer’s d*ck is more often than not considered par for the course.
It’s also about being disbelieved by enablers, being shunned as a whistleblower, and risking (and enduring) physical assault, blacklisting, and defamation when you say no.
It’s also about facing daily risks, insults, dangers, and harassments, and getting so f*cking tired of fighting all the time that you can see why some women just give in.
Yes, I know men get abused too. Once in a lifetime, maybe a handful of times, in extreme situations. And they get abused by men, mostly. Just like us.
Yes, women can be abusive, we know this. Part of the reason we know this is because when a woman is accused of being abusive, the first time, people believe the victim. Right away. (And don’t forget about #reactiveabuse, in which a woman who has been gaslighted, manipulated, and hurt one too many times finally snaps and abuses back. This accounts for the lion’s share of women who have been charged with abuse.)
So why do men need to have multiple victims come forward before anybody says a damn thing? Why can a man abuse several women in a small town and still have friends, a job, a place to live and women to sleep with? Sure, once in a while a guy gets arrested for rape or extreme violence. But statistically, it’s rare.
Does an abusive man lose his home, his family, his career, his community?
Because these are the things that women often have to give up in order to get away from abuse. More often than not, the woman/victim loses everything and the man/abuser keeps it all and moves on to his next victim, who is either oblivious or hoodwinked into thinking she’ll change him.
Women endure abuse their entire lives, some of us from the time we were very small children.
But this isn’t about women.
This is about male violence.
This is about patriarchal control.
And until we get clear on that, it is not going to change.
This is thousands years’ of men taking whatever they wanted from women.
Don’t forget that, for 500 years in Europe (and still in many many countries) a woman saying “no” was punishable by death, legally. Show me one example of a man being legally executed for saying no to sex, and I’ll consider changing my position.
And this is why I refuse to post this #metoo thing. Not because I haven’t been harassed and abused but because y’all already know that likely every woman you have ever met has dealt with this crap.
It shouldn’t take some hashtag to remind you.
It shouldn’t fall to the victims, again, to have to keep speaking out. I’m not saying anybody should stop speaking out, just that I wish more people would start listening, because we are f*cking exhausted.
I don’t write this to shame or condemn the women who chose to post #metoo. I stand with you. I am one of you, in so many ways.
I write this to ask: why are we still demanding that women out themselves as survivors, again and again and again, rather than demanding that men out themselves as abusers?
Violence against women is a daily reality, all over the world, and kills more people than terrorism.
Men, it’s not our job to keep reminding you. Remind each other, and stop abusing. It’s as simple as that. Until men speak out against men who abuse, this will never stop. How about y’all post “I ignored it and I won’t anymore” instead?
Because #hearyou doesn’t cut it. Just hearing us doesn’t cut it. Taking action, speaking out, and showing zero tolerance for abuse is the only way through. Silence enables. Be the change.
Heather Jo Flores is the author and founder of “Food Not Lawns,” and recently launched her Decolonize Yourself Creative Immersion program, in which she uses art, permaculture, movement, and creative writing to help people overcome trauma, unleash creative potential, and explore new ways to fight patriarchy. www.decolonizeyourself.com
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