Sexual Assault Is Not A ‘Women’s Issue’

Men of quality respect women's equality sign
Unsplash / Samantha Sophia

Let me explain.

The obvious. The exposure of Weinstein, Cosby, Trump and others in the last few years. They represent the very tip of a very deep iceberg. Their behaviors exist in offices, car dealerships, schools, churches, yoga studios, fitness gyms, photo shoots, casting rooms — pretty much anywhere there are women.

Blaming and pointing fingers may make people accountable and bring awareness, but it does not solve the problem. News never solves anything. It just creates a lot of noise and fear. Because it’s easy to just watch from behind a screen and agree but not do anything.

When a woman decides to gain forty pounds to purposely make herself unattractive so men won’t bother her, it’s a problem.

When women have to consider if what they wear will determine if they will be touch, groped, or harassed, it’s a problem.

When one out of six women will be raped or attempted to be raped in their lifetime, it’s a problem.

Of women aged from teens to 50s, and I would say ninety percent fall under #metoo.

And I’ve seen the result of how those events have shaped their beliefs about themselves, the world, and, of course, men, and how those beliefs ripple into all areas of their lives, including love and relationships.

Sexual harassment and assault is a form of bullying.

It’s a power thing. And when you bully someone, you are taking something away from them. Their voice. Their freedom. Their safety. Their self esteem. Their power.

When these type of things happen at a young age, it lays tracks, wires people in a way where later in life they find themselves sleeping with the enemy because it feels familiar, because they lost their sense of worth. You become attracted to what hurt you. You want their approval and validation. You mistake aggression for desire and impulsiveness for sexy. Now you’re in a toxic relationship that will set you up for shitty experiences and distort your visions of love and healthy relationships.

When this happens, yes, one gets angry, but she also internalizes it. She will tie the event to her worth. She will feel embarrassed. She will feel shame and guilt. She will become afraid. Now instead of being in love, she will walk this life holding up a shield.

This is the poison that has been injected into veins without consent.

The trauma is now a virus and it has eaten her self worth and set her into a fight or flight state; no matter how extreme or subtle, she is now wired to be at a lower frequency. She is grayed out. This will impact her relationships, especially the one with herself. She will have more trouble expressing herself, drawing boundaries, building herself a safe container. She will have trouble with trust, low self esteem, body issues, eating disorders, depression, and so on.

Men, it’s time to draw a line.

Because this is not a women’s issue. This is a people problem because it impacts relationships. It impacts our daughters. It impacts you and your relationships and you quality of life. So the person you’re with or interested in investing in, the mother of your children, your soulmate, your best friend, most likely has or will have a #metoo  story. Those events will spread into the relationship she has with you in a thousand different ways, some subtle, some obvious.

So, what are we supposed to do? I mean, not all men can help it if other men are bullies, sexually inappropriate, and abuse their power. Right?

This is not about other men. This is about you and your contribution to this world. Being the first domino. Believing in something. It’s about your own definitions about yourself, building your own self-respect and self-esteem through action. Not just watching the unfolding from behind the yellow tape. It’s time to be a real fucking man.

The #metoo thing is going to fade, but the problem will still be there. Nothing changes if nothing changes. So now’s the time to stand.

What does that look like?

Each man needs to define that for himself. For me, everything starts with looking inward. Taking ownership. Men should have blurred boundaries. You might have stared a little too long. You have been in relationships where you didn’t make her feel safe. You have put pressure on someone to be sexual. You have been controlling. You have judged women for their bodies.

Am I judging who someone is based on what happened? Am I judging someone on their history, sexual or otherwise?

When you judge someone based on their past, you are empowering the abuser and taking power away from who is in front of you. You are contributing to the problem, not help solving it. You are feeding the pattern.

It doesn’t matter if you’re dating someone, in a relationship, in a ten-year marriage, or engaging with a co-worker, friend, a friend of a friend, or a stranger. One must try to make a woman feel safe. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

More From Thought Catalog