Breaking the Silence
Confession: I’ve been seeing all the posts where women are saying
I haven’t put one up.
Not because I haven’t been sexually harassed- the earliest instance I can remember happened when I was eleven- it’s just that I am too angry to talk about it right now.
I see all the posts, the women breaking silence, some, perhaps for the first time. I am proud of them, and I’m happy for them- there is liberation in speaking up, speaking out, in finding solidarity with your sisters. And I know that for every woman who has used this opportunity to do so, there may be ten more who are unable to. To those women, I say, I hear your silence. You do not owe us your story. You are not alone.
But how will we know, they ask, turning tragic eyes on us, if you don’t tell us? Perhaps you’re right. We should tell you. We should break the silence, in our homes, in our whatsapp groups, in our reading clubs, in our regular Friday nights out.
How is it, I ask, that you, a grown man who presumably has loving, intimate relationships with women in your life: your mother, your sister, your best friend, your aunt, your wife, your daughter- your closest relationships, in fact- didn’t know.
Ignorance is not innocence, my sweetpeas.
And since we’re in the age of copy-paste-tweet, here’s a suggested, non-exhaustive list of things you can talk about. I’ve even included the hashtag for convenience.
- I have laughed at a rape joke. #metoo
- I have used rape as a metaphor for a sporting contest. As in, “Man, Arsenal really raped Manchester last night, huh. SOLID.” #metoo
- When a female friend of mine told me she was catcalled on the road, my first question was “What were you wearing?” #metoo
- I have catcalled/whistled at/passed a lewd comment about/ a random woman walking by. #metoo
- WTF, I would never do that. But when I see other men doing this, I look the other way, because it’s not my problem. #metoo
- I have stared at my female colleague’s boobs for longer than a minute. What, she wore that dress, and she expected me not to look? #metoo
- When my sister came home crying at night because some jerks on a bike were harassing her, I said, like any reasonable man would, “I told you it wasn’t safe out there after seven”. #metoo
- When my female colleague got a promotion, one of my male colleagues said, “we all know how she got that job” and I laughed with the rest of the guys at the water cooler. I mean, I didn’t really think that, but I didn’t tell him to shut up either. Also, she’s really kind of a flirt ok, he had a point. #metoo
- I have a secret mental list where I grade my female colleagues and friends on a sexiness scale of Amit Shah to Gal Gadot. #metoo
- It’s not a secret list, I might have shared it with my boys. With helpful pictures. Social media is so much fun! #metoo
- WTF, of course I would never do that. I just pretend to find it funny. Because if I said something they’d say I’m a party pooper. Or y’know….(whispering) gay. #metoo
- When my female friend at work told me about another male friend/colleague who was making her uncomfortable, I didn’t tell her to report it to the right authorities so his ass could be kicked out, instead I said, “I’ll talk to him. He’s just an idiot. I’ll make sure he doesn’t target you again.” #metoo
- Doing that made me feel good, real good. Because I had been a good friend to both people. #metoo
- I forward every sexist joke I ever receive on my all boys whatsapp group to everyone on my contact list, even the women. Speaking of which, women really need to learn to take a joke, na? Lighten up, chill pill, be like #metoo
- Joss Whedon or [Insert Favourite Male Celebrity here] has never done anything wrong in his life. #metoo
- I just can’t believe he would do something like that. Are you sure he meant it that way? #metoo
- When a married male friend said he couldn’t come to that super cool and exciting cricket match with the guys because get this, he had household chores, I was like, shaadi kyon kiya? Bai ne chutti le li kya? Some men are so henpecked no, they get married and lose their balls. #metoo
- When the girl I asked out said she’d rather just be friends with me, but went out with that other dude, my best friend said, “she’s a slut anyway”, and I said, yeah, fuck that bitch, friend zoning me like that. #metoo
- Ok, but no, seriously, what is it with women and how they just can’t take a joke? #metoo
- Oh, so, what, you’re a feminist now? #metoo
I just think there are both sides to everything. Mind you, I’m only playing devil’s advocate here.. #metooSo, what say, my darling ones, my babes in the wood, my eternally innocent?
Ready to start a trend?
This article was first published on Facebook and has been shared here with author’s permission.
Bookworm, Feminist, Software Consultant.