Monday, October 13, 2014

To All of My Guy Friends: Dare to Share?

Lately I have been ranging from frustrated to outright angry over things I am witnessing in our world.  It seems that the more efforts that are made on behalf of raising awareness for rape and sexual assault, the more I feel the enormity of the problem we are facing.  The things that need to change, the things that lead to rape/sexual assault (and thus, our rape culture) are considered "status quo" by our society and just continue to be perpetuated.  More and more women are speaking out, but every woman on the planet could scream for change and NO CHANGE WOULD HAPPEN.  It is not just a women's issue, this is everyone's issue.  Not only are there also male survivors, but for change to take hold it takes men standing up and speaking out on our behalf.  When guy friends of mine learned of things that I have been through (assault, rape, domestic violence), their immediate response was to offer to beat up the offender.  While as a survivor I have no compassion for sexual offenders, that is not what I (or any other survivor) needs.  What we need is for that indignant outrage to be channeled in a less destructive and far more productive reaction.  We need men to break their silence and show their support.  As much as I appreciate my friends' desire to "take care of the problem," what I need is to see them take their rage as motivation and speak out with me.  The article from 30 Men Show Us Who's Really Responsible for Preventing Sexual Assault brought tears to my eyes, and it was just strangers attaching their name to the messages supporting survivors and speaking out against victim blaming.  I know so many great men who support the message, but in many cases it's silent support.  Whether it's working with an organization (like one below) or just clicking "Share" for an article or blogpost (etc) on Facebook, this silence needs to be broken.  Men need to tell their friends when someone is talking about taking advantage of a woman, to let their friends know when they are doing something wrong.  There is no "easy" way to address this issue; it's an uncomfortable topic and there's no way around that.  But the more men speak out, the closer we get to changing the current state of our society.  

So in response to all of my guy friends out there who have asked me what they can do to support myself and other survivors, I say this: Break your silence and take a stand with me.

And to all of my friends out there who have supported me over the years, I say thank you.

Men Can Stop Rape
A Call To Men