#MeToo – Stop asking women & girls to fix the problem! Men, #MeToo is on us
In the wake of recent revelations of sexual harassment in Hollywood, the #MeToo hashtag has been trending on social media. The aim is to raise awareness about how widespread the epidemic of sexual harassment and assault are.
Sexual violence is a truly global problem. But it’s also about deeply personal stories of suffering; many women are left traumatized, wounded, ashamed, hurt, and angry, and feeling vulnerable, unsafe, ignored, exploited, and silenced. Some spend their lives trying to come to terms with the abuse they have suffered. Many feel deeply betrayed by the complicity of the men and structures that supported their abuse.
Using the hashtag #MeToo, thousands of women and girls (and some men) have posted heartbreaking accounts of the sexual harassment and assault they’ve experienced. They come from every age group, every ethnicity, every religion, every profession, every socio-economic group, and every walk of life.
These (mostly) women and girls have shown amazing courage as they’ve shared stories of what they’ve suffered—some have been assaulted many times, by many men, at various stages of their lives.
Stop asking women and girls to fix the problem of sexual harrassment and violence. Start confronting the structures of masculinity, power, and complicity that enable sexual violence. Men, refuse to be complicit!
Sexual violence and harrassment is widespread. Worse; it’s an epidemic. Finally, many women are refusing to be silent. But let’s stop asking women and girls to fix the problem! Men must take responsibility for addressing the causes of the problem, which are so deeply embedded in our ideas of masculinity, sexuality, gender, and power. Tim Keel recently posted this insight, which is spot on: “I don’t know of anything more dangerous or damaging than the cult of masculinity—whether in the broader culture or the church.”
The cult of masculinity is deeply connected with rape culture, power structures, and cultures of complicity.
Men, it’s time we refused to be complicit!
#MeToo is on us.
In my own country, Australia, the rates of sexual harassment and violence are shameful and horrific. 1 in 5 Australian women have experienced sexual violence. 1 in 6 Australian women have experienced physical or sexual violence from a current or former partner. 1 in 4 Australian women have experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner. 1 in 3 Australian women have experienced physical violence.
In the United States, the rates aren’t any better. Nearly 1 in 5 (18.3%) women report experiencing rape (or attempted rape) at some time in their lives. 1 in 20 women report sexual violence other than rape; including sexual coercion and harassment. More than 1 in 4 women in Washington DC, have experienced some form of sexual harassment on public transportation.
The World Health Organization estimates that 35% of women worldwide have experienced some form of sexual violence. The WHO says that approximately 120 million girls worldwide (more than 1 in 10) have experienced forced sexual intercourse or other forced sexual acts at some point in their lives.
I applaud the courage and strength that so many of my female friends have shown, as they’ve shared their #MeToo stories of sexual harassment and violence. I’m thankful for their bravery.
Sometimes the abuser was a stranger. But, usually, it was a man they knew and even trusted.
It’s time we stopped asking women and girls to fix this problem!
Men, it’s time we took responsibility for this epidemic, and for the rape-cultures and complicity-cultures that enable sexual harassment and assault to continue.Men, it's time we confronted our complicity in sexual violence, and said NO MORE! #MeToo Click To Tweet
Sexual violence is so prevalent because men are far too often complicit. When we stay quiet about sexual harassment; we are complicit. When we ignore everyday sexism and sexual jokes; we are complicit. When we allow other men to treat women and girls with disrespect and disregard; we are complicit. When we protect structures of power that keep women silent and that keep them outside of decision-making and leadership roles; we are complicit. When we allow “boy’s clubs” to thrive, while excluding women and their voices and contributions and stories; we are complicit. When we know males around us are putting sexual pressure on girls and women but we say nothing; we are complicit. When we see men using their power and position to coerce women into sexual and other intimacies and situations against their will, and yet we choose to do nothing; we are complicit. When we normalize violence, and accept or suggest that women and girls must learn to tolerate and live with the behavior of men and boys; we are complicit. When we blame the victims, and exonerate the perpetrators; we are complicit.
When we support structures, institutions, relationships, and worldviews in which men hold all the power, and women and girls are forced to be subject to their desires; we are complicit.
I’ll say it again. Men, it’s time we refused to be complicit. #MeToo is on us. Stop asking women and girls to fix the problem of sexual violence and harassment!
We need men and boys to reject toxic forms of masculinity, and ideas about manhood, and to embrace a new way: the way of humility, love, integrity, mutuality, honour, transparency, and respect. Those of us who follow Jesus Christ call this discipleship.
I’m thankful for the courage of so many women. I hear your stories and your cry for true and lasting change. I challenge men to acknowledge their complicity, and to respond with repentance and humility—to take genuine steps toward change.
Men, we must choose to be held accountable. We must choose to hold each other accountable. We must choose, together, to treat women with dignity, care, honour, and respect—and to hold each other accountable for doing so. We must choose to confront other men who aren’t treating women with such honour, and to challenge the structures, systems, ideas, values, and gendered-roles that enable sexual violence. We must refuse to protect the structures of power (and the toxic visions of sexuality and gender) that enable women and girls to suffer violence.
Stop asking women and girls to fix the problem!
Men, it’s time to refuse to be complicit, and to choose to pursue genuine lasting change, together.
Graham Hill (PhD) is the Provost of Morling College in Sydney, Australia, and the Founding Director of The GlobalChurch Project – www.theglobalchurchproject.com. He’s the author of “GlobalChurch: Reshaping Our Conversations, Renewing Our Mission, Revitalizing Our Churches” (IVP, 2016), and “Salt, Light, and a City, Second Edition: Ecclesiology for the Global Missional Community: Volume 1, Western Voices (Cascade, 2017).”
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