#MeToo: Why it’s time for men to take responsibility off women’s shoulders by Anonymous

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Every time I see this posted, I feel a twinge of guilt.

I feel guilty because I’ve been raped. I’ve not reported it, I’ve not really told anyone, I haven’t told my story. And I haven’t posted  “#MeToo”.

And I feel guilty. I do. Because I know how beneficial it is for survivors and others to hear these stories. I know that it contributes to the fight against violence against women, it raises awareness.

I know all that and yet I don’t want to share my story.

There are loads of reasons why (I still feel shame, I don’t want to be looked at as a victim, I don’t like appearing weak in others’ eyes, I’m still too emotionally raw to find the strength to defend my story if I were questioned, I don’t want to justify myself for not reporting it, I don’t want to answer questions, I simply don’t want to delve back and remember it….).

But at the end of the day: I don’t want to.

And this is where I really hope #MeToo helps change things.

Because I’m sick of feeling guilty for something someone else did.

It’s all well and good for women to tell their stories, but I want men to read them. I mean really read them. Read them and think about yourselves, and your behaviour. It’s too easy reading these horrific stories of abuse and thinking of how monstrous the men that did these things were.

The people who have sexually assaulted aren’t all “monsters”. They are just normal men. And they are everywhere. I have met them. I have befriended them.

And this is not me saying every man is a threat, a heartless attacker. I am saying: think back, remember your past selves. Have you ever been drunk and crossed a line? Have you ever been angry and done something you regret? Have you, when you were younger, taken a no as an insult and lashed out? Think about your own track record. Give pause for thought.

These stories you are reading are real. And they aren’t happening far away in a distant land where everyone is so different to you. They are happening right here, right now, to people you know. People all around you, that never say anything, that never mention it. You have probably been in or witnessed stories like these. And the only way to make this stop is for everyone to recognise and acknowledge when they are happening. And act.

The responsibility has always been on women; to speak up, to carry pepper spray, to ask for someone to walk home with them, to cover up, to post #MeToo. It makes no sense. It’s time for men to take responsibility.

I know you’ve been raised in a sexist society that tells you no means maybe. I know you have had appalling sex ed that doesn’t even mention the word consent. I know violence against women is normalised. But “I didn’t know” can no longer be an excuse. Educate yourselves. Think about your actions. Pause for thought for one fucking second and think about what the human in front of you is communicating. Realise you might be contributing to this world wide epidemic of violence against women.

And then change.

And help others to change. And take that responsibility off of women’s shoulders, where it never belonged.

Picture courtesy of one of our amazing bloggers, Lauren Carter Allan

This blog was submitted anonymously and forms part of a series of Young Women’s Movement voices on #MeToo and the surrounding issues of sexual harassment and assault. Also read: Kelly’s blog and Caitlin’s blog.

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