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What Role Men Can Play in #MeToo

#MeToo I’ve shared my story: how I was sexually molested in the 4th grade. While sexual abuse or harassment isn’t gender specific, more women and girls are affected. #MeToo is on us. What can we do to stop a culture that’s allowed someone like Harvey Weinstein to so freely and destructively operate?

#MeToo

#MeToo has dominated my social media timeline over the last few days. I was horrified. I wondered, How would I feel if I saw my daughter wrote this? Wait! These are daughters!! The heart of a father would break with each and every story.

The culture of silence regarding any form of sexual abuse is not ok, and I hope #MeToo empowers more people to step forward to stop this insidious cultural disease.

I thought I was the only one.

I remember the first time I publicly shared my story. It was my junior year of college. I was ashamed. I didn’t want to reveal a piece of my life that could possibly reveal that I was strange or abnormal. Like all of us, I just wanted to feel like I was not so different from everyone else. Would I be ostracized?

After I shared my story, though, I found out I wasn’t alone. So many people privately met with me to tell me the same thing happened to them. It didn’t happen all at once. Someone waited over 15 years after that moment to share their story for the very first time.

I found a new depth and a community in friends. My hope is that women and girls will discover they are a part of a community and sisterhood that will fight for each other. They will no longer feel a sense of shame, but a sense of empowerment.

What role can men play in #MeToo?

Listen

Be quick to listen instead of responding. Give someone space to share their story. You might learn what it feels like to walk in someone else’s shoes.

Take ownership

I’ve seen many guys write and deny they’ve been inappropriate with women. That’s not helping right now. Have you ever watched pornography? Have you ever looked a woman up and down? Have you allowed other guys to share inappropriate locker room talk in your presence? If you have done any of these, you are a part of this culture that’s allowed men like Harvey Weinstein to thrive.

Help create a culture of honor and respect

I wrote a book called Black Tie that I dedicated to my daughter. It’s kind of my manifesto of how a man can find his identity and how women should be treated. Before everyone was shocked by Harvey Weinstein’s history I wrote because of this culture, “women are vulnerable to evil and that evil often comes through men.”

I believe the hope and the cure for this cultural disease can start in the hearts of men. How can each of us change the environment of a party, an office, or a home?

Can we commit to raising our sons to respect and honor women? Can we raise our daughters to completely understand their value and worth?

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