To The Men on the Other Side of #MeToo

As I recently watched my social media feeds fill up, with hundreds of #MeToo hashtags from women sharing their firsthand experience of sexual harassment or assault, I began to grieve.

I grieved for the sheer volume of the revelations, realizing they will still only barely scratch the surface; how many more women are too traumatized, too protective of their privacy, or simply not yet ready to make such personal declarations to an invisible assembly of relative strangers—many of them, the very kinds of men responsible for these wounds. I know how many more women are carrying these terrible stories around and do not want to tell them.

And that’s the thing: they shouldn’t have to.

No survivor of violence should be compelled to unearth their hidden scars in order to reach those responsible for them. Men, the onus should not be on women who have been harassed or assaulted, to expose themselves to further injury just to show us the scale and the depth of our own sickness. This is our responsibility. We should be the ones doing the soul excavation and the mirror-gazing, and we should be the ones now openly confessing our #MeToo’s, in these moments when the world is watching.

We should be the ones making ourselves vulnerable; the ones sharing with our circles of friends, loved ones, business associates, church friends, and social media acquaintances; how complicit we are in this vile epidemic. 

This isn’t the time for each of us to broadcast our self-created good guy resumes, to defend our personal virtue, or to imagine why these are all some other guy’s stories—because that’s largely the point here: these are probably our stories.

The wounds of the #MeToo’s are likely ones we have been responsible for inflicting, if not in personal acts of aggression:

In the times we stood silently in the company of a group of catcalling men; too cowardly to speak in a woman’s defense.
In the way we’ve voraciously consumed pornography without a second thought of the deep humanity and the beautiful stories beneath the body parts.
In the times we pressured a woman to give more of herself than she felt comfortable giving, and how we justified ourselves after we had.
In the times we laughed along with a group of men speaking words that denied the intrinsic value of women.
In the times we used the Bible to justify our misogyny.
In the times we defended predatory bragging as simply “locker room talk.”

In the times we imagined our emotional proximity to a woman entitled us to physical liberties.

Guys, while we may not believe we have committed direct acts of violence against women (however given the statistics, this is quite likely), we have each participated in a culture of misogyny and sexism that continues to victimize and traumatize, to steal safety and generate fear, to deny humanity and to cultivate disrespect. We are fully complicit in these #MeToo stories, whether we have intentionally acted, contributed unknowingly, nurtured with our silence, multiplied with our laughter, our cosigned with our credit cards.

And in these days, we should not be expecting women to further make themselves vulnerable just to wake our consciences up and to call us to places of decency and accountability that we should already be aspiring to.

We should be the ones stepping from the shadows right now.
We should be the one laying our souls bare.
We should be risking the judgment of strangers.
We should be the ones demanding renovation.

We are the other side of the #MeToo stories.
We are the writers of these awful stories.
It’s time we owned this sickness.
It’s time we stopped it. 

 

Order John’s book, ‘A Bigger Table’ here.

226 thoughts on “To The Men on the Other Side of #MeToo

    • What about church leaders ??? What about domestic abuse by pastors ? Here is a letter I posted to the FB of the Assemblies of God .. they won’t respond!! This is why abuse continues – no one demands actions – John Pavolitz thank you for your for your godly courageous words – will you help ? Readers will you help? Demand that the church be the place where VICTIMS are supported and abusers are not !

      This is what I wrote to Doug Clay the new head of the Assemblies of God. No response and tried to block

      Character matters …. thank you sir for bringing this value into your position. Let me ask you if you intend to act on this principal ? Then let me ask you a few questions . What would you do sir if you found out that the Penn- Del district had been notified that a minister under their authority had abused his wife and children? Would it be in good character for them to cover up this abuse and support the DOMESTIC ABUSER with no care for the victims? What advice would your wife give to a pastors wife that came to her seeking help , afraid for the safety and well being if herself and her children? Would she tell this VICTIM that “All men get cranky when they are not taken care of – you need to stroke his ego .” This is what the leadership at Penn Del district has done they have covered up the actions of this abuser and are breaking the laws of our land by not reporting the details of the abuse to the authorities. Need I go on ? Would you like more details ? This man was ministering and is still being supported by those under your jurisdiction, men who would go so far as to lie in a court of law to cover up their own negligence .
      Is it a sign of Character for this minister to threaten his young helpless children that he would beat them until their lips were bleeding, that they would go to hell for not wanting to see him, that he could hurt them all over their body without getting into trouble.? This man has spit into his innocent daughters face and the church leaders have spit into the face of Christ.
      The leadership at the River of God Church and the Penn Del District are guilty of disobeying the biblical principles outlined in 2 Timothy, they are guilty of breaking the laws of the state of Pennsylvania for not reporting the abuse to the authorities
      .
      Similar to the scandal in the Catholic Church the lack of transparency by the AOG leadership has blemished the voice of the victims and allowed this minster to walk away unscathed to deceive another congregation and continue his abusive actions in secret. I’m glad you wrote about character ! Will you show me yours ? Will you root out this sin and use your position to protect these children? Will you right the wrong that has been done to them and discipline those who have committed the evil abuse and perpetuated the cover up ?

    • Women and children live in fear in their own homes because of Domestic Abuse ! Women who are abused by men in power in churches are not believed , they are silenced and cannot produce proof of what has gone on in secret ! We must demand that religious institutions be reasonable to report abuse and support victims!

  1. Is this really a surprise ;
    Hollywood ,business as usual for years
    How can you show, promote, display this kind of action for years and years without the very filmmakers doing this.
    That is like committing adultry for years and its ok , the the public view changes and i start procecuting all who are doing this. Like a catch 22 effect .
    When YOU as a people take away the Ten Commandments of God and State Your own law prevails of Fairness, and mankind acceptance ,
    What do you expect.
    Get a Clue
    YOU All are accountable :
    Not just jolly wood
    We must follow the same standard and hold the ten commandments of God in front of us.
    Submit to God , Obey God, Follow God, Deny worldly passions, lust, for the sake of our children.
    Preach, Teach, Live the Bible.

    • Christopher Freeman the ten commandments are from an old covenant that is dead and gone. We live under a new covenant, a covenant of love. We are called to love everyone equally just as God loves Jesus. To honor people (hence, value them and do no harm) is intrinsically part of that love. It’s a better covenant.

    • Yes, if only we would simply bend t the will of your God because it would make your life easier, then rape won’t happen. Grow up asshat. YOU ARE THE PROBLEM.

    • The problem with your argument is that many people who believe they live a Godly life and follow (their interpretation of) the bible, are precisely many of the same people that perpetuate abuse of women, denial of equal rights, lower wages etc. And muslims believe they are the true followers of a Godly life, just as much if not more so than all the Christian/Evangelicals etc. And some, many, of their interpretations of their holy book have been interpreted to be even more oppressive of women than Christianity has, it could be argued. So your argument rings hollow when viewed from a realist perspective of how such faith gets acted out in real life.

    • Sexual harrassment and abuse have existed far longer than Hollywood movies, U.S. government institutions, or even the U.S. itself.

    • Beautifully written. The Lord will use this exposure to bring a turn around in Hollywood. God will always prevail. Just like the LV shootings people that were victims to this horrific act prompted many to re-evaluate there relationship the Lord. I am grateful for the many that will turn there lives around and repent. We all have to face the day of judgement.

    • Which Bible are you professing? The Judeo-Christian one that the West espouses is filled with violence and misogyny that justifies the Western cultural norm.

    • It isn’t Hollywood. It’s men growing up with the idea that they have a right to what they want from women, whether it be sexual or any other sort of satisfaction. It has nothing to do with our modern world, or your claim that we’ve removed the Ten Commandments, because the most conservative churches are not immune to it, by any means.
      Preaching the Bible would be fine, but there are plenty of examples of just this kind of behavior in there, too. Plenty of justification.
      It’s not about lust, although keeping that in its proper place is a good thing. It’s about power and ownership.
      Submit to God, Obey God, Follow God, yes. Starting with true humility.

    • there is nothing in the bible about rape being wrong–no commandment in the ’10’ saying it is wrong to assault a woman. the bible calculated the value of women as a lesser percentage than men’s. The bible is all about patriarchy, men dominating women, men owning women, using women, controlling women–the bible is worthless for women’s rights and personal good–for centuries. the NT has only marginally better circumstances for women, but there is not a ringing declaration that women can have equal rights to men. What little there was became nullified by paul–an definitely rejected by the early catholic church which set the standard for centuries of women used as less than 2nd class citizens.

    • No. Not the Bible, used to hold women down and back for millenia. Nor any other book that values one more than another. No to going backward to what you deem ‘safe’.

      • I can see how some might think the bible is anti woman if you read it as an instruction manual. However most of it is historical. And the parts that are in the new testament need to be put into context of the time. Once you do this you see that it is thee most pro woman literature of any of its time. Over and over it takes about the value of woman. The first to find that Jesus was resurrected where woman. (keep in mind they could not even testify) Elsewhere Paul teaches about the mutual respect that should be between men and woman. This and many other spots are extremely pro woman. YES there are passages about women keeping quite (a cultural norm) and what they should ware, also a cultural norm more then a directive. Some of these passages are speaking to specific woman that where causing disruptions in the church. (there are also things said about men that cause problems)
        Even the Old Testament has 2 books after women. Blaming the bible is like blaming a history book that teaches about the holocaust and slavery for race issues of today. Just like the history book the question is if you learn from it and how you apply it.

    • Like this hasn’t been happening forever. Hollywood did not create this inequity and trying to blame them just takes the onus off of you to look at your own religion that has treated women as “less than” for over 2000 years. You are disgusting and I am so tired of reading your drivel. If this blog had a “block” button, you would have been gone a long time ago.

    • And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.
      And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.

    • Character matters …. thank you sir for bringing this value into your position. Let me ask you if you intend to act on this principal ? Then let me ask you a few questions . What would you do sir if you found out that the Penn- Del district had been notified that a minister under their authority had abused his wife and children? Would it be in good character for them to cover up this abuse and support the DOMESTIC ABUSER with no care for the victims? What advice would your wife give to a pastors wife that came to her seeking help , afraid for the safety and well being if herself and her children? Would she tell this VICTIM that “All men get cranky when they are not taken care of – you need to stroke his ego .” This is what the leadership at Penn Del district has done they have covered up the actions of this abuser and are breaking the laws of our land by not reporting the details of the abuse to the authorities. Need I go on ? Would you like more details ? This man was ministering and is still being supported by those under your jurisdiction, men who would go so far as to lie in a court of law to cover up their own negligence .
      Is it a sign of Character for this minister to threaten his young helpless children that he would beat them until their lips were bleeding, that they would go to hell for not wanting to see him, that he could hurt them all over their body without getting into trouble.? This man has spit into his innocent daughters face and the church leaders have spit into the face of Christ.
      The leadership at the River of God Church and the Penn Del District are guilty of disobeying the biblical principles outlined in 2 Timothy, they are guilty of breaking the laws of the state of Pennsylvania for not reporting the abuse to the authorities
      .
      Similar to the scandal in the Catholic Church the lack of transparency by the AOG leadership has blemished the voice of the victims and allowed this minster to walk away unscathed to deceive another congregation and continue his abusive actions in secret. I’m glad you wrote about character ! Will you show me yours ? Will you root out this sin and use your position to protect these children? Will you right the wrong that has been done to them and discipline those who have committed the evil abuse and perpetuated the cover up ?

    • i would find your offering more powerful if you spoke for yourself rather than a WE MUST approach .. Every man is entitled to his own hearts approach to this short walk in these bodies . I dont need a Bible (the words of some other blokes 2000 + years ago) to follow my own connection to the creator . I respect your story though I dont need a bible to walk in harmony with God (even Jesus told us the Kingdom is within, so that is where I go) . Men who speak for themselves and whose actions show benevolence will influence me though preachers just embody self righteousness dogma that stinks .. All the best brother, I feel your loving intent and respect your walk .

  2. How true. We men need to go to lengths to make sure we are not the cause, directly or indirectly, of the #metoo tags. We can do this. We can teach our sons to respect women and treat them as equals. It is something we must do starting immediately!

    • Men also need to stand up to other men when misogynistic jokes are said, in the workplace when women are being harassed, etc. Teach by example as well as words

    • Hi Robin. It needs to start in kindergarten. I had never seen girls mistreated in my life until first or second grade when I ventured out onto the school playground where I saw the little boys were already disrespecting the little girls. Best I can recall, I did not participate in that because it was counter to my own family teachings at home in my neighborhood.

  3. Hi John. I posted the following on Facebook late last nigjt.
    …..
    Me, too. Not ever again.
    If all the MEN who have sexually harassed or assaulted women at some point in their lives wrote “Me, too. Not ever again.” as a status, we might start to solve the problem.
    Please copy/paste. Or Share.

    —-

    P.S. I figured that reversing the above was an important way to say what needs to be said by men.

    It takes a little thoughtfulness to admit publicly that even what you might excuse to yourself of as “just stupid stuff” you did starting as far back as Junior HS or maybe as “excused” because you were drunk WAS wrong and could have had a lasting impact on whoever you did it to.

    I’ve thought a lot about how I was bullied in HS in ways that had a lasting and profound impact my life. However, I know for a fact that the guys who hit me, knocked me down and terrorized me don’t even remember doing anything.

    I hate to think that I might have impacted someone similarly whether through bra snapping (I’m pretty sure I did that) to making rude sexually laden comments at bars (yep), to things I don’t even remember, or don’t want to remember.

    Even “nice guys” who are “feminists” and have daughters and who treat women respectfully are not immune from a culture that generally accepts men’s objectification and harassment of women.

    This really doesn’t have anything to do with being PC. Nor does it have anything to do with consensual verbal or physical sexual banter or play. It’s much more about how we tolerate people being mean and disrespectful to each other…which needs to stop.

    Guys know what the problem is…as most of us have been part of the problem in some way or another.

    If you haven’t been then my non-existent hat is off too you…. seriously….you have my respect.

    Anyway, I guess if more of us guys reflect on this stuff it’ll help us work on becoming better people, parents, friends and colleagues.

    • THANK YOU for the thoughtful, introspective, and heartfelt reply that many of us would hope to hear from those who hurt us. In fact, I am mentally processing this and feel a sense of healing because this proves that at least one man (though I know there are more) understands. May I repost your comment?

    • The problem is that there are occasionally writing #MeToo posts. They are victims of sexual abuse as well, and your proposed action would categorize them as abusers.

    • Thank you Sam for your lovely post. I have two teenage sons with whom I hope you wouldn’t mind me sharing this. I especially like your paragraph that begins: “Even “nice guys” who are “feminists””…….. Again, thank you for your insightful post.

    • Thankful to hear this man owning up. I add that to say #me too is an understatement, the sheer number of occasions, locker room talk, catcalls, bra snapping, lewd comments, groping, drunken foolishness, and worse cajoling, coersion, being stalked, targeted, threatened … per woman might be staggering to consider but worthwhile to tally. So, thank you Sam Ingersoll.

  4. As a 75 yr old woman who could write many #Metoo stories dating from the time I was 6 till I was 60, I Thank you for stating the obvious. Peace and Love,

  5. Thank you, this a good start. I would like a commitment put into action that good men will start calling out other men on their comments and behavior in meetings, in the locker room, at the bar, etc.

  6. “We should be the ones making ourselves vulnerable; the ones sharing with our circles of friends, loved ones, business associates, church friends, and social media acquaintances; how complicit we are in this vile epidemic.”

    Yes John. Perhaps they could start this coming weekend or at Monday or Thursday Night Football gatherings… with the boys. At the local Hooters or any other grill while swilling beer, eating wings, and having body parts at eye level serving those wings. Just good clean fun, right?

    Last night while watching Carrie Underwood, dressed in next to nothing, intro SNF… The cameraman took a prolonged shot at a cheerleader’s backside. Completely dismissing the fact there are female viewers that may not want to look at that.

    It’s everywhere. Sex sells. Male dominance sells. Hail to the power of the penis. From car ads to whatever. Women are exploited. And liberties and vileness and assaults surely follow. Male children are trained to push themselves on female children… Otherwise they’re sissies. Wouldn’t want that, now would we?

    I would love for any man to be a woman for a week. Get a good dose of having to live on the defense 24/7. And we’re the weaker sex… right. Or how about having to live with the shame and anger and fear of being molested, sexually assaulted or raped? Tell me… any wing-eating man out there that can bear up to that for a lifetime?

    Yep… Own that. And tell me how you feel.

    Oh gosh. I just hit the proverbial wall.

    • Great response, I can feel the seething anger, and it is probably my own. For so long, I felt like a nobody, still at age 52, I do. Why? I have put on some weight, my pretty face, that got many scary negative reactions and even scary positive ones has filled out, aged some. I cherish the comments, You are not 52, dang, you look 20 years younger. Isn’t that sad? I am not revered for returning to a very difficult school program, for overcoming addiction and for having a pretty calm, productive life. There is another side to me that is not my back side or my photogenic side, but a side that has tried to be wiped clean. The eraser marks and wrinkles are still there, It is the cleanest side I have and I want it to display the real me, the me that counts, is genuine, and loving, and compassionate, caring and intelligent. So many good character marks and some bad memories and stupid decisions. It can never go back to complete innocence. That was taken away when I was a mere toddler. Then again later, and again and again….. YEP #Me too.

  7. Thank you again John for a thought filled and thoughtful post. The line that hit me the hardest was this: “No survivor of violence should be compelled to unearth their hidden scars in order to reach those responsible for them. ”

    From personal experience as a survivor of violence (not sexual but horrible none-the-less) even unearthing our scars often stimulates more violence in the form of disbelief that such a thing could have been caused by such a nice and respected man. We all have our secrets that have caused us pain. Forcing exposure often brings more pain and leaves me questioning: How much pain should I bear before you honor the truth of the pain in me?

    Thanks over and over again for the healing your words bring.

  8. Pavlovitz makes a very important point and I appreciate him voicing it… I would add that apology from perpetrators would mean a lot. It’s not just admitting you did something that matters, it’s often useful for both parties if the wrong-doer can say, “I’m really sorry I hurt you.”

  9. When I was twelve a male family member sexually molested me for two years. At first, I would tell my parents who did not believe me and said he would never do that. Eventually, I stopped trying to tell them and endured. The depression that started when I was nine increased. The molestation stopped when he found another younger girl to torment.

    When I was married my sex life with my husband was good until it wasn’t. Evangelicalism is a form of religion that invites hypocrisy. There’s a lot of pressure to conform. My husband felt that pressure more deeply than I and in order to make me submissive, he started raping me.

    Again, I wasn’t believed. No evangelical friends believed me. My priest didn’t believe me. “He wouldn’t do that. He’s a good Christian man. He’s a nice guy,” were all things that they said.

    There was one person who believed me and that was my psychologist and he helped me leave my husband. I still thank God for him to this day. Naturally, I divorced him.

    Eventually, I went to seminary and I had healed enough from the rape to start dating again. My fellow seminarians told me they wanted to date me because of my “brains, beauty, and obvious competence.” In the three years, I dated several men for differing amounts of time, two of them long enough to begin to have some serious feelings for. Mind you, we were at an evangelical seminary so sex was not part of the dating relationship.

    In every case, regardless of how long or how short a time we had dated, each man would come to me, tell me how much he valued our time together, would always treasure it, but he had met someone down at the College and he believed that relationship had a potential he didn’t see in ours.

    Graciously, I wished them well although inside I felt as if I had once again been raped because like my husband, they wanted someone more submissive and a much younger, more naive woman was one who still believed that malarkey about a wife being a second-class citizen instead of one who was equal partners with her husband, according to what Paul wrote in the original Greek.

    Those verses about heterosexual marriage have been translated into English with an agenda which is to make sure women are property, not as people with brains, minds, souls, and spirits of our own, created as much in the image and likeness of God as any man, with our own vocations as much as any man. Paul’s intention it says in the Greek is for heterosexual women to be equal partners with their heterosexual husbands. Paul preaches egalitarianism.

    If followers of Jesus universally reclaimed Paul’s original purpose for men in and women in heterosexual marriage, if we internalize it and start living it, we would be a beacon to the world teaching men and women what a heterosexual marriage is supposed to be and maybe it would filter throughout the world and we would see rape for the deviant perversion it is.

    • Kathleen, you have dealt with your husband’s drinking problem for many years as you have stated on this blog, so you’re to be commended for the things you have endured for 3/4 of a century.

      Congratulations!

    • Thank you, Gloriamarie! I didn’t know that Paul’s original statements about marriage were so different.

      I’m so sorry that you were stuck with this kind of poisoned marriage.

      • Elene, thank you, Paul has been translated with an agenda to keep women as second-class citizens. It starts with the KJV and subsequent translations continued. It’s an eyeopener to read Paul in the original Greek.

        We tend to read the New Testament as if it is a twenty-first-century document while ignoring the culture, history, society of the original audiences of the first century CE.

  10. Thank you, John! I may not know you personally, but I love you – and bless you for owning up to whatever part you may have played in the culture that requires a Me Too campaign to be better. May all men have the courage and the integrity to do likewise.

  11. “Men, the onus should not be on women who have been harassed or assaulted, to expose themselves to further injury just to show us the scale and the depth of our own sickness. This is our responsibility. ”
    –Thank you!

  12. I was invited to have sex with my boss 15 years ago. I reported it to the EEO office, and they dealt with it by moving me to a different office (an illegal response, but they didn’t give me a choice). Then the men in my new office retaliated, and the men who were up the chain retaliated. Under attack from all sides, I eventually was fired. One of these men has since died. As far as I know, the rest of them, including my first boss, are still working, most at the same organization. Others have gotten promotions and moved on. There are no consequences for harassing women, because it would require men to hold other men accountable, and that just doesn’t happen.

    • Marie. If I had been his boss—and I have been the boss before in my time—I would have cut his penis off, fired him, and fed his penis to my dog that night. My dog will eat anything as long as it is protein.

      I do not tolerate sexual harrasment or abuse of any kind in my workplace—and I do not give a damn how many $100 million projects the sexual predator has managed. My uncle Malcolm was an excellent business manager, and he taught me something early on in life that I always bear in mind in dealing with people at work. What did he teach me? This: “At any one time, there are more than 100 fully qualified men or women out on the street that would give their eye teeth to have any job in this building.” He was right!!!

      If you are a manager and you have a male or female sexual predator in your workplace, take Uncle Malcolm’s advice and fire him on the spot. You will never regret it.

  13. Likely futile attempt at an alternate hashtag and viral posting along these lines (not my words, but those of a few Facebook friends after some consideration and discussion):

    Help yourselves, fellas:

    IT WAS ME.

    If all the men who have sexually assaulted, harassed, or coerced women into sex, allowed it to happen without doing anything about it, or ever gaslighted a woman about it, wrote ‘It was me’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.

    Men – Copy/paste and repost if you have contributed to harassment and rape culture. Don’t leave it up to the victims to address a problem they didn’t cause.

    #ITWASME

    • {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{J.G. Ungar}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}} wrote, “Help yourselves, fellas:

      IT WAS ME.

      If all the men who have sexually assaulted, harassed, or coerced women into sex, allowed it to happen without doing anything about it, or ever gaslighted a woman about it, wrote ‘It was me’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”

      Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

      I wish more men understood that men are at fault for assault, harassment, molestation or rape.

      Men who assault, harass, molest and rape are making the choice to assault, etc. They need to own it.

      No girl, woman, boy, or young man is responsible for the choices of an older person who decides to act in a criminal manner.

      Thank you.

  14. And the men who were assaulted as children? Or when they were powerless, by groups of men? What of them? The distinction between a woman or LGBTQ member who is assaulted and a male seems to me to be meaningless in this instance. It appears that you cannot claim any more any kind affiliation across any kind of line — gendered or otherwise — without being called out for insensitivity. When white people stand up for black people, straights for queers, male rape victims for female ones, I don’t see that it makes sense to reject the affiliation. It smacks of privilege.

    • Matthew Brown has invalidated the experiences of all victims of sexual violence.

      He might have chosen to utter at least one word of compassion or empathy, but he didn’t.

      • Matthew did not invalidate my experiences of being held captive by my parents, and abused, beaten, psychologically tortured and trauma bonded to some of my offenders. I’m not sure if anyone can say someone did something for or against “all” (women) survivors. One would need to know and personally ask most, if not all, female survivors currently alive on this planet.

        I agree with one thing Matthew mentioned. What of male victims and survivors? The fact that they are so often overlooked as a demographic that also experience sexual crimes against themselves. I hope this gets more attention.

        For the time being, if a man is out with a make friend and observes them saying crude, sexist, or misogynistic things about females, I hope he speaks up and tells his friend his behaviour is wrong, and to stop. Education can come from both sides, even if it’s considered unfair that one side be participating in that education.

    • Quite a few people have mentioned, since the #MeToo project started, that it often happens to males as well, and is just as inexcusable then. It’s definitely worth bringing that up.

      Just don’t lose sight of the fact that it is so much more likely to happen to females and that society has condoned that so much more.

  15. I’m not one to comment on blogs like this but knowing how difficult this must have been to write, and how much negativity you’ll likely be exposed to for writing it, I want to say thanks. Thanks for being out front.

  16. Thank you, John. I have been having this discussion with women ever since the “Summer 2016 Access Hollywood Tape Fiasco” surfaced. It’s painful and shameful for them to discuss. I fund it very healthy and helpful to have a man asking other men to own up to their part. I wonder if we could also start a # like maybe #BeyondMeToo – where we talk about the horrible experience(s) that led us to appreciate the most wonderful men in the world. My wonderful man went to numerous conferences with me and never hit on me. (We even once shared a hotel room because single rooms were too expensive!) I found out years later that his opioid addicted and troubled wife had deprived him of the human contact known as expressing love for most of their 17-year marriage. Never ever was he inappropriate with me. Fairy tales do come true. After they divorced, we married almost 21 years ago and we love our intimate time to this day. Can we give my Joe and others like him an award? Let’s ask them why they are always so respectful of women. #BeyondMeToo

  17. Love your heart, Jon. And will share this post because this was my response to others “Me Too” posts (that was AFTER I had already posted).

    Okay. There’s a campaign of Me Too sweeping social media of WOMEN sharing that they were sexually abused or assaulted in their past in an effort to shed light on how often it happens. HOW COME WOMEN ARE DOING THE HEAVY LIFTING, AGAIN? How about some MEN share that I WAS SILENT when a friend or co-worker said something disgusting about a woman and they said nothing. Huh, guys? THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN IN A VACUUM.

    So thank you, for standing up and for speaking out to men about how ALL OF US are complicit when we are silent about ANYTHING that is unjust, or cruel or abusive. We ALL need to be more courageous and to teach our sons and daughters not just what it means to be a “man” or a “woman” but what it means to be a human being.

  18. Speak for yourself. But really and truly, some of us never have, and won’t stand for “everyone does it” as any kind of excuse. No, everyone doesn’t. Dirtbags do. If that’s you, grow up, admit it, and change. But don’t expect sympathy from men who are not part of the problem and have spent a lifetime trying to shut it down.

  19. Very one sided article. Why not talk about the number of men who have also been assualted and abused? Statistics showa it’s nearly equal to that of women. We as a society need to stop this, not just men. Placing the onus on just men also victimizes and diminishes their fight. Men are perceived as weak and losers if they are victimized. Make this a two sided conversation.

    • Na wrote “Very one sided article. Why not talk about the number of men who have also been assualted and abused? Statistics showa it’s nearly equal to that of women. ”

      Considering the huge amount of attention that has been given to the sexual abuse men have experienced in recent years and the huge amount of covering up of the sexual abuse of women that has been going on, it seems to me that all you want to do is disagree with John P merely to disagree.

      As for you assertion that men are assaulted in nearly equal numbers to women, you need to prove that. Because according to RAINN, you are wrong.

      https://www.rainn.org/statistics/victims-sexual-violence

    • about 1 in 2 women are survivors of sexual violence, and about 1 in 6 men are survivors of sexual violence.. so just not true. but yeah, there is a different set of issues that male survivors face, and the problem is still men, more than 97% of all sexual violence is committed by men- this conversation needs to be about men

  20. Thank you John. This is something that few men, have the honesty to say.

    Like all bigoted and prejudicial acts. There are always three sides.

    For every woman who has a story to tell. You have the story of the man who did the act. But unspoken is the story of the ” good” men who have stood by and condoned it.

    “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”― Edmund Burke

    Of the two, the man who committed the act, is more honest. As they, by their actions are admitting what they are.

    • I didn’t do any of that stuff and never encouraged anyone to do it. I’m not going to be “honest” and confess to sins I didn’t commit. I have enough actual sins to worry about, and not JP’s guilt for the indiscretions of his youth, which he is subtly justifying and watering down as if it’s a “man thing.”

      Also, don’t forget these men had mothers. Did these women fail?

      • Joe Catholic wrote “I didn’t do any of that stuff and never encouraged anyone to do it. ”

        Actually, Joe, with just about every comment you make to this blog, you reveal that you are part of the problem.

        The values you have shared with us inform us that you want women to be second-class citizens, without control over their own bodies. That kind of thinking, that women must not be allowed to make the choices appropriate to their situation is exactly the kind of thinking that perpetuates abuse of women.

        Sadly, it is equally abusive to men, because God never intended men to control women but to be equal partners with is.

        So, yes, Joe, maybe you never raped anyone except with your words, but you have personally abused me more than once and have never taken responsibility for it. You have abused Sandi Saunders and not taken responsibility for it. You have anused Kathleen B and never taken responsibility. There have been others.

        You are part of the problem.

  21. I would like to make two comments:

    COMMENT ONE

    (1) I agree with the main post by John P. on sexual assault and how all American boys and men should be more responsible on this subject. However, with that said, the social scientist in me has a closely related question. It appears to me that the subject of sexual assault has two separate but parallel threads:

    1) The legal definition of sexual assault.
    2) The feminist/activist definition of sexual assault.

    I am not at all sure that these two definitions are the same. So, what I am wondering is this. Our culture has changed in many ways since the so-called Sexual Revolution of the middle 1960s, so here are my questions now:

    1) What was the legal definition of sexual assault in 1965?

    2) Has the legal definition of sexual assault today different from what it was in 1965—and did it change to be more extensive, stringent, and severe.

    3) What was the feminist/activist definition of sexual assault in 1965

    4) Has the feminist/activist definition of sexual assault today different from what it was in 1965—and did it change to be more extensive, stringent, and severe?

    5) Do the feminists/activists want the legal definition of sexual assault to be widened to where it even covers a guy reaching out to hold a girl’s hand while the two walk home from a movie? I am not too familiar with the recent talk and philosophizing on this subject, but I have kind of get the impression that the feminists/activists of today are attempting to erect an invisible legal “force field” (for lack of a better term) around two teenagers or college kids on a Friday night date to assure that one will never touch the other. I would also like to add that it is not always the female person that is the aggressor on a Friday night high school or college date. I have kissed a girl goodnight long ago and suddenly had her tongue plunge down my throat all the way to my toenails—something I was not expecting—but pleasant in its own way. So, if we are defining sexual assault, then first of all:

    1) WHO is defining it today?

    2) HOW is being defined today?

    3) What are the limits of the definition of sexual assault today? Where are the boundary lines set for both the male and the female on a Friday night date—so each does not cross over some invisible boundary line. I would also remind you that the average high school or college kid today does not read law books and has no earthly idea what these legal boundaries are for sexual assault and has no idea what the feminist/activist boundaries are for sexual assault.

    How about it folks? Any insights here on my questions?

    COMMENT TWO

    I just found out why the Christian fundamentalists, conservative evangelicals, and one annoying Roman Catholic who visit this “The Table” or “Stuff That Needs to Be Said” blog are so desperate to shut it down. John Pavlovitz has 11,287 blog subscribers. I looked this up on-line. Based on 2013 statistics (the latest I could find), if this blog were an on-line virtual church—and it is in some ways—it would be the 36th largest Protestant church in the United States. Soak that in for a minute. Some Christian organization keeps a list of the Top 100 Largest churches in the United States, and this blog would be No. 36 on that list—if it was counted as a church. And John probably reaches far more people than that each week with his assorted main blog posts. No wonder you fundies are so scared excrement-less of this place and the things John P. has to say to so very many people on so very many subjects.

    Keep up the good work John and keep on scaring them out of their wits. Trump is on his way out the door, sexual assault background and all. Like Red says in “Shawshank Redemption,”: It’s like geology—all it takes is pressure and time. He will never serve out his first term because the U.S. Senate Republicans, U.S. Senate Democrats, and U.S. Senate Independents are sick and tired of the “Donald Trump Show” and are finally recognizing that his presence in the White House is a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States. I think all of us would feel much safer with Pence sitting in the Oval Office—because when he does—he will band with the establishment Republicans—we will go back to gridlock again—but at least we will be safe from the crazy man.

      • 8 yrs old, teenage man in park tried to stick his penis in me while my little sister watched.

        16 years old, 17 year old man forced his penis into my mouth and chewed on my breasts while I cried and repeated the word No, at a party.

        19 yrs old, a man who sat at my table, who i had not interacted with, followed me when I left the bar and asked for a kiss goodnight outside my house. When I said No, he grabbed me by the hair and screamed in my face.

        Also 19, a man followed me outside at a party (the toilet wasn’t working in the house) and tried to kiss me. When I said No, he told me there was no one to stop him from doing whatever he wanted.

        Throughout my marriage, my husband would force anal sex as punishment when he didn’t like something I did.

        What categories would these sexual assaults fall under? Which ones were bad enough to cause a fuss over?

        • Oh, and when I was 17 I saw my mother weep in the arms of my aunt, after her girlfriends had goaded her into excepting a dinner date as a way to dip her toe back into the dating pool after a divorce. Desert was being driven down a deserted back road and being raped with his hands around her neck. Then being unceremoniously dumped outside her house after being told, I know where you live, and that you have daughters…

    • Your first question about what legally defines sexual assault bothers me. It seems you are asking “what can a man get away with before it is illegal?”
      Respect and consent are human values.
      Above all, consent is required when people want to touch each other. Most of the time, the issue is a woman says “no” and the man continues.
      Between teenagers who have agreed to go out on a date, holding hands is often a spontaneous thing. However, if one didn’t want to hold the other’s hand and pulled away, that shows that they are not consenting. Seems simple enough. If a boy isn’t sure if his touch is welcome, he asks, verbally. If the girl says no, he stops. It’s simple. If he touches her and she pulls away, thats a no. Simple. But how many Hollywood movies still depict rape and violence in their sex scenes, and 007-type “seduction” techniques of overpowering a woman until she is so overcome she submits? These depections make it seem like women want it, but you gotta work for it. We have to teach our kids about consent and respect. If you are too embarrassed to ask if you can touch someone you have some growing up to do.
      In the workplace different rules apply. If you supervise or manage a woman she is not available to you for touching, making sexual innuendo, asking her to have sex with you, or demanding that she have sex with you so she can keep her job. Thats when the legalities should concern you and you should understand your company policy well if you are afraid you will cross the line.
      Respect and consent are human values.

    • I have no desire to “shut down” this blog. I am lonely and bored and it’s a form of recreation. And what about the fellowship? I wouldn’t want to lose all the friends I’ve made here.

    • Do you think an 13 year old boy grabbing my 11 year old breast would be considered sexual assault? That happened in 1969. Do you think someone reaching between my legs and grabbing my crotch while walking up the stairs is just a “feminist” definition of sexual assault or can I count it as the “real thing?” That happened more than once during my junior high years (1970-73). Or how about walking out to my car in college with my arms full of groceries from the store and a man comes up behind me and pulls my tube top shirt down to my waist? Or how about when I was in law school and had a flat tire at night and a police officer changes it for me, then follows me to my apartment to “make sure I am safe” then grabs me from behind, starts kissing me and grinding himself against me? I had to shove him and yell NO! These are just things that have happened to me off the top of my head. Going to a bar restroom was like walking a sexual assault gauntlet. Should you walk sideways so no one grabbed your butt on the way?

      I think sexual assault is sexual assault and trying to make light of women’s experiences by trying to gaslight feminists is wrong IMO.

    • Um, no. No one is defining sexual assault as reaching for a girl’s hand. No one is defining sexual assault as a kiss after a date. Now, if you tried to kiss a girl (or guy) and they said “No, I don’t want to” and you grabbed their wrists and trapped them against the wall and continued to kiss them, that would be sexual assault.

    • It was legal to rape your wife back when women were “sacred’ as John Kelly would say. Then some ‘activist’ SJW got the law changed.

      Your ‘question’ about reaching out to hold a girl’s hand is stupid. You should socialize more with actual humans rather than the straw men/women in your head.

      • Look Edwin. I am a social scientist who looks at issues through a social science lens. I was just asking some questions the way a social scientist thinks about issues. I was not trying to justify or unjustify anything. I refrain from holding hands with other women because I am faithful to my wife of 38 years.

        I have a lot of angry huff and puff in the responses to my questions above, However, the problem is—and remains— that no one has bothered to actually put up a real and credible answer to any of the questions I have asked.

        For example, how did the law officially define “sexual assault” in 1965, and how is “sexual assault” officially defined in the law today?

  22. While I may be guilty of ignorance, and by that misunderstanding the consequences of my actions as I did whatever I did, I have to ask myself if I am guilty in the way you present… for merely being male. I have never knowingly forced anything on a woman, but in retrospect wonder if I have been abusive. If the issues were cut and dried it would be easier to define… but they aren’t.

    • C wrote, “I have never knowingly forced anything on a woman, but in retrospect wonder if I have been abusive. ”

      Thank you for having the courage to ask yourself that. I hope the answer will be “no” but if it is “yes” I hope you will show additional courage and ask forgiveness and learn other ways of relating to people.

      As I am kinda of an evangelist for a treatment modality that has turned my life around, may I mention Dialetical Behavior Therapy. It has four modules: Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation, and Distress Tolerance. It teaches skills to manage the present moment.

      Thanks to DBT, I am at present without symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder and have been for three years. I don’t have to take any anti-depressant medication even though at one point I was told I’d be on them for the rest of my life.

      I cannot begin to tell you how deeply it has enriched my walk with Jesus to see Him without the miasma of depression in between us.

  23. You came across my feed through someone else. I just want to say thank you for your posts. I’ve read many and would say you are spot on on every topic you’ve touched.

    I am not a Christian. I would consider myself a Buddhist if I had to label myself. I have seen such a demise in the Christian religion and even though I have been an atheist for most of my life it has saddened me because I do not believe that Jesus or a God would want people using their faith against others. Sadly this seems to be the trend today. I have many Christian friends that are amazing people and I love them dearly even though we may have a difference of opinion on religion. I respect their views as they do mine. I am mainly saddened by the silence I see. I’m saddened by the fundamental basics of what they believe being used against the faith of what is supposed to be a beautiful thing. . Regardless of my own beliefs I hate that things are going this direction and we need more Christians speaking out and not critically. I applaud you doing so.

    Thank you.

  24. Food for thought:

    There are 151,800,000 men in the US.

    Men commit an average of 321,500 reported rapes and sexual assaults per year.

    Since many of the men who commit assaults commit multiple rapes and assaults, that means that fewer than 321,500 men are committing rapes and assaults.

    Feel free to correct my math, but as best as I can figure, that means there are at least 151,478,500 men in the US who do not rape or assault anyone.

    So, dear fathers, brothers, husbands, friends – if you are among the 151,478,500 – you have a powerful voice! You can take a stand! It’s 500 to 1!

    Step up and tell them, “No, we will not tolerate this any longer!”

  25. Mr. Pavlovitz,
    You do a wonderful job of starting to move the spotlight from the victims to the perpetrators,. However, in my opinion, you fall just short of the finish line by not starting a male hashtag campaign. May I suggest just a few options: #idid #ashamed #neveragain #changingmyways #morerespect

  26. Already done. about nine hours ago.

    To all the women on the #metoo timeline and to all the wonderful women in my life.
    Thank you for your strength.
    Thank you for exposing this horror.
    Thank you for persisting.
    Thank you for resisting.
    What happened to you is far too common in this world.
    The bias against victims is unjust, unfair and unkind.
    Sadly, the world is none of those three things.
    What happened was without your consent.
    Without your consent, you were assaulted.
    I am sorry that it happened.
    I am sorry that it continues.
    Your self exposure takes the world a measurable distance down the path to reform. Thank you.
    I BELIEVE YOU.
    I don’t believe that I’ve ever met a woman who hasn’t been threatened, afraid, harassed or assaulted.
    Now,
    I too am guilty of having harassed or coerced and not understood “consent” honourably.
    I tell myself I have learned. I truly hope I have.
    I have been on the wrong side of the #metoo
    It is a dark side of me that I believe I have purged and fight against continually. It is a lesson about myself I did not enjoy.
    I try to be the best ally I can be.
    I regret my past and will continue to be on the side of victims of behaviour that occur.
    My best behaviours and support is all I can offer now.
    My lessons were hard learned, it would be selfish not to pass them on. Yours were too. Without causing yourself more harm than you can bear, please keep working to expose and reduce the harm.
    I will forever be sorry for the harm I caused.
    I believe you.
    I cannot change the past, but I can hope to change the future.

    • {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{Steve Payne}}}}}}}}}}}}}} wrote, “I cannot change the past, but I can hope to change the future.”

      Thank you for your courage and willingness to change.

  27. #itwasme

    with my eyes
    I undressed you as you stood
    taking
    that which you could not deny me
    an image of lust to replace the love
    I could not coax from you
    to fill my emptiness

  28. Can you yourself do as you suggest and expose your own #MeToos: times you have done things like these things on your list?

    Article reads a bit like “all men other than me need to do this”. Is it because you believe you are without any such sins (which would kinda contradict your article), or you feel it is too private and personal to reveal such, or you just want others to go first?

  29. Men, and some women, do not believe that sexual harassment and sexual assault are not rampant. I am here to tell you it does. Some men will say that wouldn’t touch a certain woman because she was not attractive to them. HARASSMENT AND ASSAULT ARE NOT ABOUT HOW WOMEN LOOK AND/OR DRESS. Men harass and assault women because they can – it’s all about power, not sex.

    When I was young back in the Dark Ages, I worked in a bank branch. One of our customers who was a police officer needed to access his safe deposit box. These were in a small room which allowed privacy. I took Joe into the room. He pushed me against the wall and proceeded to grope me. He was a big guy – about 6′ and about 200 pounds – and I am 5’2″ and weighed about 90 pounds. I couldn’t escape his grasp on me, so I guess I talked him into releasing me.

    But do you think I could report him to my boss??? Not a chance.

    The only thing we can do now is to impress upon children that women are to be respected and that women are NOT at fault for being harassed and/or assaulted.

    Sorry. Rant over. #Metoo

  30. THANK YOU! Women face the threats of sexual harassment and assault from cradle to grave. Thank you for your strong and supportive words. Men are not brainless animals acting out of pure instinct. Men think, men chose to be sexual predators. It’s about power. It’s about putting females in their place and keeping them there. It’s about men justifying their actions towards the other half of humanity. It is something that only men can change, that men can stop.

  31. Great article and sentiment. Love seeing men who instead of simply being shocked by this are looking inwards to figure out how to change. I think it is uncomfortable for men because they don’t know how to talk about the fact that they may have been the ones behind some of these “Me Too” statuses. I posted this, thinking it might give men a chance to be vulnerable without specifically saying what they’ve done. Please feel free to share it…

    Men who want to be a part of the “Me Too” conversation but don’t know how…I challenge you to ask yourself truthfully if you’ve ever harassed or abused a woman, even unintentionally or while drunk or as a “joke.” I think even the good guys out there probably have. Instead of feeling ashamed in silence, speak out. Copy and paste this into your status and encourage others to do so.

    “I have behaved inappropriately with women in the past. I commit to doing better in the future and will call out harassment and abuse whenever and wherever I see it, whether the perpetrator is a friend, family member, colleague or stranger.”

  32. Great article John. Thank you. However, I’m experiencing a bit of a dilemma after reading this. If I choose to step up, speak out and advocate for change, calling for all men ( including myself) to step up and start challenging these behaviors among other men (as I did in an earlier post on my Facebook page) does it really appear to others that I am trying to roll out a “good guy” resume? I sincerely hope not. Men seem to be eerily silent on this…. I don’t want to be. I want to advocate. Did I somehow miss the point by chiming in? If you would be so kind, I’d love to know your opinion/thoughts.

  33. Beautifully written. As you enumerated the list of “In the times…”, I could just hear “V’al kulam, Elo’ah Slichot: S’lach lanu! M’chal lanu! Kapper lanu!” at the end. Any congregation could add these to its list on Yom Kippur. (In the ones I have been to, all the possible sins of the year are recited with “We”, so as to recognize the crucial point you make that even if one of us is not directly responsible for something, we are a society and have indirect responsibility.)

  34. “It’s time we stopped it”
    I fully agree with this. Stopping abuse includes not only realizing and atoning for past failures but also, and perhaps more important, figuring out how to be part of the solution and how to carry out our good intentions. This means recognizing that the problem occurs wherever there are great imbalances of power – that is, in all areas of human society. Recent scandals have focused on politics and Hollywood, but sexual and other forms of abuse are also known to be serious problems in the military, business and academe.
    The response should start with recognizing that sexual harassment or assault is a problem of power that uses sex as a weapon to secure and express dominance. Victims do nothing to provoke abusers – abusers seize opportunities to indulge and express their power. (Although most perpetrators are men, women have been known to be abusers, too. Similarly, some boys and men have been sexually harassed and assaulted, although most of the people who can tweet using #MeToo are girls and women). The problem seems to be the attitude that an abuser is entitled to do to others anything that his power enables him to do.
    Removing power as a factor in human relationships seems impossible. Creating an environment in which powerful people see other people as equally children of God – on at least one in which abuse by the powerful is quickly recognized and punished , rather than blamed on the victim(s) – will certainly be hard but is worth trying. All people could start by examining their own behavior and committing to change it to reach that goal.

  35. I’m to blame even if I’ve never done anything wrong? Ok then, that reasoning will surely win the sympathy of a LOT of upstanding men out there! People will be lining up to help!

    Oh, and how exactly should I ”stop it”? My social circle doesnt include any rapists so I see a dilemma there.

    This entire article is a self-created good guy-resumé that tells people to not create good guy-resumés, I love it.

    I’d rather recommend more social efforts from our governments to help parents properly raise kids to respectful human beings that know how to condone themselves, but sure, you do your hashtag, it will sureley change a lot of old nasty dudes perspectives…

    • Olof wrote “I’m to blame even if I’ve never done anything wrong?”

      Have you really never done anything wrong? If you are heterosexual, have you ever undressed a woman with your eyes? Wondered what a woman might be like in bed? Touched a woman without an invitation even if was an “innocent” touch on an arm or hand? Called a woman by some endearing term with whom you are not in love?

      Have you ever thought a woman owed you sex for any reason? If you have been in a relationship with one, did you think you had a right to her body? If you live with a woman, do you think the cooking, laundry, cleaning, raising the kids, helping them with their homework is her job even as you expect her to hold down a fulltime job and contribute financially? Have you ever cleaned the toilet or ironed your own shirts?

      Do you think women must obey men and be submissive to them? Do you think there are certain professions unsuitable for women because of our gender?

      When a woman is raped, do you think her manner of dress, flirtatious manner, state of inebriation, was to blame? Have you ever thought because you know a woman is sexually active, that she owes you sex too?

      There are skads and skads of ways we women experience men as perpetuating sexism. I’ve only listed the most obvious and the tip of the iceberg. If you or any many have answered “yes” to any of the questions above, then you are to blame.

    • Statistics say that every 6th woman is a victim of rape or attempted rape. Over 30% of these women get raped by someone they know. Count the women in your friend/family circle. Count the men they know that you know. Yes you know a rapist or at least someone who has crossed boundaries they shouldn’t have. This is why this conversation is needed. – You can pretend that this problem does not pertain to you but I would invite you to ask the women around you and LISTEN to the stories they tell.

    • I get your concern. I get it that not all men are rapey. My intent for this response is not to vilify all men.

      May I invite you to consider a different view?

      This isn’t just about rape. It’s about the culture where it is normal to objectify women as sexual objects with the expectation where there is a problem if we don’t like it. It is about the sexual disrespect that an alarming number of women deal with on a regular basis. Absolutely, a lot of men are victims of sexual harassment and assault too, sometimes at the hands of women. I grieve for these men as well as I know quite a few. This needs to stop too.

      I invite you to consider:

      Would it bother you to be oogled, cat called, or had jokes made about your body by other men if you were walking down the street, minding your own business? How about having the male president of your company stare at your crotch whenever you spoke to him and then make jokes about your perceived sexual performance to others? Then be afraid to lose your job if you say something?

      I can go on about the uncomfortable questions, the jokes about being jumped and the assertion that I would like it, what colleagues want to do to me… It’s gross. My biggest relief at my current job is that this crap does not happen, but it took years to find a work environment where I feel safe…

      If this not something you do, thank you. And this still has something to do with you. You know that saying that says if you are not part of the solution, you are part if the problem? It is still relevant here.

      The best way to change the normalization of sexual disrespect is for men to see that there is a problem and for men to encourage each other to be better men. Most men don’t like being told what yo do by other women. This is a battle that women will never win on our own, no matter how much we try. We are asking, no, begging for your help.

      If you are already doing this, I am grateful and I thank you. If not, please consider whether or not men just saying “I don’t rape women” is enough to change this perverted culture. One will notice that many of the #MeToo hashtags have nothing to do with rape.

  36. I need to mention that as a young Gay man I was accosted and molested by many pushy older,powerful men who were not all Gay. They treated me like I needed to know that I would never get ahead if I didn’t have sex with them. That’s the same sickness. We MUST stop encouraging men to be pushy about sexuality. It’s wrong.Sexuality should be intimacy between consenting adults. That means two equals must come together, so I admire the stand these brave women are taking because it’s happened to “me too”.

    • Jon, I’m sorry, but that’s why you’re gay! Two men had nasty sex with you, and it confused you. Believe me, you were not born gay, you were pushed into that lifestyle. You can get free!

      • What you wrote is one of the best-known and often used “myths of homosexuality.” Being sexually attacked by someone of the same sex does not make someone be homosexual.

  37. A nice call to action, John, but where’s your personal story? Where’s your soul laid bare? I’m sure you have a story when you’ve acted in a shameful way towards a woman. Why not lead the charge by sharing your awful story?

  38. What I’m wondering, is why so few of these posts are talking about the fact that women aren’t the only victims, and men aren’t the only perpetrators. Men can just as easily be part of the victimized #MeToo group, as well… and just as ashamed and private about their experience, because of the stigma attached to men admitting they were also victimized… just a thought.

  39. MY experiences with males that have raped, fondled me goes like this.

    My brother raped me when I was seven. Since he was older, smarter, and more talented I was lead to believe buy my parents he had the right.

    My uncle fondled me at a Thanksgiving dinner when I was 11. I immediately jumped off his lap. When i reported this to my mother she defended him, “Not your uncle Ben”

    My friend and I went to the beach when I was 14. Three older boys encouraged us to go into the sand dunes out of sight of others. They tried to rape us. We fought them off.

    When I broke up with my boyfriend during my sophomore year of college he had all his buddies stalk me. Later he broke into my parents’ house while they were at work and rapped me. I soon transferred to another college and left the state.

    On my wedding day my husband’s best friend gropped me after the ceremony.

    The list is endless from catcalls while walking past construction sites at me to mens’ attempts at pick ups at bars and restaurants, to even an intern doctor believing since he took me to a fancy party he deserved sex after. In most cases the males felt they did no wrong. “boys will be boys” and “sewing” wild oats”.

    When I was going through a divorce I told my soon to be ex what happened between my brother and me. His response was, “All brothers and sisters engage in this behavior and if it really bothered you why didn’t you tell me before?”

    My point is males believe it is their privledge to use women. We women are ashamed of being abused and usually tell no one. So, yes, in part, it is our own fault by not speaking up. In my 30’s I took lots of self defense classes.

    • I am very sorry for what you went through, but it’s unfair to say that “males believe it is their privilege to use women.” I do not believe that and never did anything like that, and I know there are many other men who do not believe or behave that way. It would be better to say “SOME males…”

  40. Thank you for your insight. I have told very few about my own experiences. Some I had stored away in a locked box in the recesses of my mind. Yet when I saw a meme blaming women for not protesting the injustices of misogyny, something snapped. I posted the meme, chastising those that thought it was funny. And my story came pouring out. Then, in a serendipitous moment, I saw “Me too.” And I immediately share that post as well. I was angry and fraught with feelings of injustice. All the emotions that went with my experiences have surfaced and are settling just under my skin. I feel on edge, on the verge of tears and tirade, raw and vulnerable. I had no idea that in my moment of calling out others for their insensitivity and joining multitudes in declaring, “Me too,” that I would scratch off the scabs of old wounds. I have no regrets. Our stories need to be heard, and because you listened, you have presented a heartfelt, compassionate call for change. Thank you.

  41. This is such a well-written article. I am overwhelmed by the emotions I am experiencing and the shame I have carried for years. When I called the police in Montreal to report a who followed me home to my main floor apartment and started masturbating outside my door, the police officers came by and laughed. When I retell this story, and how frightened I was, and then how the police were inside my home and I was so scared they were going to assault me because they laughed, people don’t really care. Nothing happened. Nothing really happened. That is the chilly climate we’ve been in since the feminist movement started.

  42. Coming from a gay guy I’d say this is dramatic to put it lightly. Not all men are sexual predators, women aren’t the only ones who are affected by sexual harassment, and there is always another side to every story.
    Maybe take a long hard look at the democratic liberal elite many of you seem to worship like they are heaven sent to save us from evil. They are the ones you won’t talk about because it doesn’t fit your story line, and that’s a sick and twisted story that liberals everywhere are the writers of.
    If you feel such guilt about how you’ve sexually harassed women and watched it happen, maybe you need more help than an online written confessional — just sayin.

    • Hi Justin. Feel free to visit me at my blog. I have a new blog post up about the gay menace to Christianity. Just click on the following safe link:

      https://faith17983.wordpress.com/

      Now. I would agree that sexual assault is both a liberal and a conservative problem—mostly male—but some female abusers too. I do not think John P. framed sexual assault as a solely conservative male problem. However, we do know for certain that many Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical colleges view sexual assault by male students on female students as pretty much always being the fault of the female—no matter the true circumstances of the incident. Furthermore, while Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals talk a lot about sexual sin and how awful it is, fundie culture goes lighter on boys and men with the old saying:

      “Boys will be boys and men will be men. They just can’t help themselves because God made them to have such overwhelmingly powerful sexual urges. Therefore, we need to give the males some latitude to go wrong and go easier on them when they sin.”

      How do you deal with that? You cannot deny it because I have seen it and seen fundies talk about too many times.

  43. I think you’re going to have to face the fact that the liberal men in Hollywood are pigs and that you should strop trying to excuse them by spreading the blame around to innocent men or to Trump.

    • Joe Catholic writes “to excuse them by spreading the blame around to innocent men or to Trump.”

      Trump is innocent of abuse of women, rape, assault and molest?

      Even you, Joe Catholic, can’t be that blind to his many sins against women.

    • So is Fox News part of the Hollywood pigs?

      I think the “pigs” are the intersecting circle between left and right or city and country or tall and short or… you get the drift – circles in a Venn diagram. Inappropriate behavior needs no other descriptive words just like rape doesn’t need to be called forcible or legitimate. It is always wrong.

      Decent men will keep on being decent men. Children will keep learning how to treat each other by watching how their parents treat each other. Hopefully dirty secrets will find it easier to be brought out into the light.

      Just my thoughts

      Peace Joe

    • Trump is also a pig. The difference is that no liberal is defending Weinstein while you and most conservative ‘Christians’ defend pigs like Trump.

  44. I would love to speak to the first man who assaulted me but I was 13 and he was a stranger on a street in a small town where I felt safe. I am not able to speak to the second man who assaulted me, he’s long dead and burning in hell. He was not a stranger, he was my step-grandfather! The third man was allowed to do what he was doing and protected by the Roman Catholic Church. I doubt any of these men had ever owned up to what they did and how they affected the lives of the women they hurt. I wish there was a way they could be held accountable for what my life turned out to be. That being said, I was one of the lucky ones. I have never been actually physically raped, only mentally and emotionally by their constant gropes, probes, lewd comments and degrading treatment. They taught me that a woman’s only value is sexually. Without that women are nothing. We are things to be played with and used by the men we know and those we don’t. I cry as I write this. I cry for myself and for all the women and girls who have felt the exact same things I have. We don’t talk about this. It’s shameful to us but why is that? Why don’t the men feel the shame? Our only sin is that we were born female?

    • Being female is not a sin. I had a 13 year old girl friend at one time when I was 15. We talked on the phone a lot. Whenever she would go out shopping with her mom, she would complain to her mom and me that all the men (of all ages) were looking at her “funny.” She was puzzled at first and did not know why until her mother told her. Being born male, I have no feel for what that experience is like and how to deal with it. However, I am going to be crass and frank about this so you can know all the bad things that happened to you are not your fault:

      “Completely apart from being a person, women possess the most valuable commodity on planet Earth—and it is not your heart or your brain. In the male domain, this commodity is more highly valued than platinum, silver, gold, crude oil, stock options, beach real estate, great mansions, conquering a civilization on another planet, etc. You name it. Men kill for it. Great nations nations rise and fall because of it. I could go on—but you get the idea. I know the idea of it being a “commodity” is repulsive to most women—but in the male domain as a whole—that is the way most men on this planet see it.”

      Let me give you an example, once upon a time, I had a boss at work who was married. Some of our employees suspected that he had sexual adventures on the side—particularly with one female employee in our office. I went to lunch with him pretty often, and one day he told me a question joke:

      “What are the useless folds of flesh that surround the vagina called?

      I said: “I don’t know?”

      He said: “A woman.”

      He clearly had the commodity view that I mentioned above. So, I guess the real problem is how does our society and culture find a way to teach boys and men that certain parts of the female body ARE NOT the most valuable social/economic commodity on Earth? Is that possible?

  45. I note that when you say ” We should be the one laying our souls bare.
    We should be risking the judgment of strangers”, you mean other men should, since you’ve admitted to nothing except in that generic way.

  46. Thank you. These are the eloquent words i have been searching for to say to all the men who are defensive of this movement. All the men wo say it’s NOT them. Thank you.

  47. Damn. I only discovered your blog a short time ago with a post about Trump. I love what you have to say. This, this, this, I’m thinking. Because I have been saddened and distraught by not only the SHEER NUMBERS of “me too” from my friends, but the silence of so many men – and in some of the ones who do speak up, how they tend to make it about their feelings on it. Putting the male ego front and center once again. I absolutely appreciate you for so bluntly stating this and putting it out there. Thank you, thank you.

  48. When I shared this on Facebook, my friend commented, making a good point:
    “Great article, and yet, nowhere in the post is there a confession from the author who has no issue calling out “men” for their misdeeds but has not listed any of his own. I applaud the premise and challenge him to lead by example….”
    What is your response?

  49. I have an idea…how about every guy who’s ever said “come on, baby” when she said no, or tipped a little extra for the waitress to “just smile for me, sweetie”, or said nothing when his buddy comments on a woman’s body and what he’d like to do…to stand up now that he knows better and say #nomore.

  50. One of my guy friends posted #ihave to indicate that he’s participated in rape culture, even as a good guy. That’s your hashtag. I. Have.

  51. I once lived in a lovely place in a small town in the SF Bay area. It was on the main street for that little town which ran right into the bay in a park about 50 yards from where we lived. Across the street from our condo were the usual waterfront businesses, a marina, restaurants, gift shops, etc. It was a beautiful, sleepy setting with sailboats and bay views…
    Except on Saturday and Sunday mornings. On Friday night it would begin. The weekly farmer’s market would begin setting up about 4 pm on Friday afternoon. There were cars and trucks, and hammering, and generators, and people yelling, etc. All weekend long groups of Harley Davidson motorcycles would swoop in and park for a while, then blast away in a 2 minute crescendo of dirty thunder. There were car rallies and festivals of all sorts, with something happening nearly every weekend. One Sunday morning we awoke to a marching band rehearsing under our bedroom window at 6 am. There was to be a parade up main street that day starting at 9 am.
    Understandably, I was frustrated and irritated, and on that particular morning I jumped out of bed, threw on some clothes and went to talk to the band director. I explained that I felt that a marching brass band at 6 am under my bedroom window was an imposition. I admit I was less than polite.
    The band director’s response was something that has always stuck with me. He said that he was sorry about the intrusion, but that it was ONLY one day out of the year. And you see, that’s the problem. For him it was only one day a year. From his viewpoint, this was something to be tolerated for an hour or two and then it would be gone. From my point of view, this kind of thing was something that happened EVERY weekend, all the time, forever and ever.
    I think that those of us who are male and who have made the occasional sexist mistake when dealing with female partners, friends, colleagues, and family members take the viewpoint of the band director. “Yes, I know this bothers you, but it’s only this one time and I’m sorry, and I will never do it again.” We don’t realize that if a thousand or a million of us do this one time to women, for us it is an isolated incident, but to them it is an ongoing mass assault on their peace of mind and their humanity. Until we understand that dynamic we will continue to think that it’s not as big a problem as women seem to think it is, and that’s not right. It actually *IS* a huge problem.
    And yet, in practice, all we can do is the best we can do. It is what it is. But I think the majority of the battle is in recognizing what’s happening, and actively trying to avoid further damage, to acknowledge past mistakes, and to listen with vulnerability. So to all those women I’ve injured in the past, I’m sorry for those times when #ItWasMe. I’m trying to do better. I need your help with that, and your forgiveness.

  52. I find this sort of commentary unhelpful to the vast majority of females who have been harassed in some way or another. Targeting ALL males as predatory and complicit in anothers behviour is an insult to most males. I was assulted by an alchoholic/insecure male and would no more attribute that behaviour to ‘other’ men then associate myself with witches and warwlocks of times gone by. Targeting ALL men as being responsible for their counterparts abnoxious , salatious, predatory inclinations is a misnomer and, more importantly tarnishing all men with this deviant, misconceived behaviour is punishing MEN as a gender. Let’s celebrate the differences between the sexes and work together to be HUMAN!

    • I didn’t hear him targeting all males, but I think, like metoo, 99% of the men have at least been complicit in at least the “boys wil be boys” talk…
      I have been lucky to have relationships with GOOD men who stand up for women, but all of them have a story they are ashamed of about being a young man and staying silent when others were catcalling or some such thing.
      Plus, John’s style of writing is to list things and those that do stick, stick… The rest are not about whomever.

  53. Thank you very much for the wonderful words. I would appreciate even more if you can share some personal stories on the other side. If there’s any of course.

  54. And I need to add: you should be the ones teaching your sons to be better, to respect women, to change the future. It starts at home.

  55. Thank you, John for an excellent article, not because you’ve said things that women would like to hear but because of your touching humanity.

    I grew up in Trinidad (and Tobago) and was exposed to men exposing themselves, touching me in the street, and verbally harassing me in the street. The fact that I wore a school uniform, one of a girl’s open Convent, made me a more attractive target. As I grew up, I experienced all the things, and more, that your article describes.

    But it was the violence of my flogging at the hands of my brother that left me feeling raped, – but by a belt – all these many years later. All because I refused to wash his dishes! Thanks to him, I have PTSD and have to contain myself when I’m around him. He has never apologised for what he did to me when I was 12. I’m now 62.

    Thank you for your sensitivity, John. The world needs more men like you. Men who could teach other men. The female survivors of violence, rape, sexual assault and abuse need to be able to forgive men so that they could find the strength to love them again.

    Sending some love today to you, John

  56. I had a twenty year career with a international company, first as a sales representative, being told by customers that I would be better running a whore house! Being touched and solicited by another sales representative that was best friends with the big boss. I was told he is just a touchy feely guy..
    Then I went to an account as I was walking out the owner grabbed my shoulders rubbed his penis on my butt and told me he liked me! I steeped down the next day and became a driver. A women doing a man’s job. Over the fifteen years of driving and delivering I was touched and propositioned, the last straw was when I went to a 7-11 and the guy rubbed himself on my butt five times and I told my company, I spoke with my union but still was sent there twice a week.
    So I gave up a twenty year caeeer with five weeks vacation and a pension

  57. Thank you for this timely article, my daughter had just put # Me Too on her facebook and although so much older, sadly I too put Me too.
    At the time I was 13 and the person was staying in our home, a supposedly very Christian man? I had no idea what was happening but felt something really wrong and I slapped him full in the face and when my mom saw what I had done she slapped me back? I could not explain as I was too young to explain what I had felt.Second time I was 16 and threw my bag in his face while travelling in a vehicle going home. Said person phoned at home the next day why I had not shown up for my part time job? Again I could not explain. If only we had learn to talk much earlier, sex or anything pertaining to it was never talked about. Today I am 68 and up front about what happened, even if cautious. This article really touched me in so many ways and I have re-posted it–I found out in the process, the same happened to one of my older sisters! Wow–I need to keep praying for my grand babies and for all the girls, as well as boys out there.

  58. Couldn’t disagree more. Perhaps you identify with those behaviors and if so, perhaps you should confess and repent. But to suggest some majority of men coining heinous acts against women is neither factually correct or even imaginable what society would be like if if were so. We should do all we can to help women heal these terrible wounds, but we do neither them or us a service by pretending sexism (which isn’t limited to men) or pornography have anything to do with #me too.

  59. I agree with 90 percent of what you said. However your words and your stance would be much more believable.. if you didn’t plug your book at then end . Bad form..

  60. Didn’t like my comment?
    I agree with 90 percent of the things you said . However when you post a link t your book at the bottom of your worthy post it taints it. seems like an attention grab rather then the true.

  61. Thank you for saying this John. Thank you for even thinking this.
    This is giving me some hope of the Divine Masculine growing up and owning himself.

    And yes you are right It’s time this should stop.

  62. I hope this gets spread like a wildfire. I would really encourage guys to correct each other. I’ve had friends who will say “sorry we are just having locker room talk” and later proclaim how they want someone to love them, respect them, and be loyal. While I want to believe that’s certainly something beautiful to want, I think being respectful of the beauty of someone else is extremely beautiful. I hated having to open up about what I’ve gone through to justify why I was feeling uneasy about behavior that looked like it was well on its way to disrespect I’d seenbefore. It shouldn’t have to be a demand to be treated nicely, spoken to kindly or any of that for women. Thanks for writing this, and pass it on to all the men out there who are feeling ANYTHING to the me top posts.

  63. Let’s not forget all the trans women and other LGBT folk of all genders and no gender who have been and still are sexually harassed at work! #metoo

  64. Thanks for your bravery John. I would like to make a special mention re #metoo – its not just men its systems that support the behaviour. I work around the family court – if you man are using a legal system and a child to psychologically harass and financially and emotionally harm your ex partner you should be ashamed of yourself, as should be lawyers and judges for allowing it. It may be legal but it is highly immoral and its about time we stopped this state sanctioned violence. In NZ our domestic violence survivors are spending a minimum of $100K and ten years to protect their children.

  65. I am silently anonymous. But, I will speak up here.

    I don’t talk about it because:

    1. I am the daughter of a man who teased me about my developing body parts during puberty. Was that sexual abuse or playful parent banter to ease the discomfort of watching your little girl bud?

    2. I go to church with the parents and sister of a boy who coerced and threatened me to show him my privates. Was that just childhood curiosity?

    3. I am facebook friends with the boy in middle school who perpetually touched my butt and stuck his hands down my pants and dragged me into the boy’s room. Could I have fought back harder instead of froze in confusion and then try to make it better by becoming his girlfriend because i honestly didn’t know what to do?

    4. I am married to the man who pushed me on the bed and forced himself upon me during an argument to prove he was the man of the house. Was that marital rape even though I hated it but never told him no?

    But, I stay silent. Why?

    Because:

    1. They are all upstanding citizens with no criminal records, families, friends, jobs, lives, and better morals today.

    2. They don’t remember doing the acts, or they remember it differently.

    3. I don’t want to wear the label, so I just “forget about it.”

    4. Nothing was clear assault. It can be excused or blame shifted away. It didn’t happen like “in the movies,” and I am the only witness to something sort of gray area with the foggy memory and selective amnesia of the perpetrators.

    • This is why I asked the social scientist questions in my long post above. Many factors are at work in all this, and it is not clear to me how “sexual assault” is being defined in the legal realm vs. how it is being defined in the feminist/activist realm. If people (male and female) really care about finding ways to prevent and deal with sexual assault—someone by God better define it—or any sort of desired cultural/social change will be assured of going nowhere.

  66. As a former pastor’s wife who suffered abuse behind closed doors, I can’t thank you enough for your work. I have hope I can find faith again, and I never thought that would be possible. #Metoo is a life-changing movement. I’m now (a little) less afraid to talk about my experiences. At 12 I was molested by a half-brother. At least I was believed, but the pain remains with me today. As an adult I was coerced into sex, I cried the whole way through (I guess that is technically rape?). Part of the reason women don’t share their stories is because we don’t want to hurt innocent family members. The perpetrators have families who don’t know. Some are our own loved ones. They could be devastated. That’s partly why I’ve been “silent all these years” (thanks Tori Amos).

  67. Very nice, John — but you left out some important points.

    Sexual harassment isn’t always about physical violence or name-calling. It’s also about much more subtle, everyday sorts of things things — like interrupting a woman who is speaking on a work-related issue, or reflexively questioning what a woman says, or the fine art of “mansplaining” — condescendingly “explaining” to a woman something that she already knows darned good and well; possibly even better than you do. The college professor who will not respond to a female student’s remarks. The hardware or sporting-goods clerk who automatically assumes that the female customer doesn’t know what she’s talking about. And of course, the guys who downplay a woman’s complaints at how she is treated.

  68. On the other side of this, there are many, many great non abusive men out there , my husband and his friend being two of them. My best friend told me of her #metoo stories and how her husband helped her to move forward and heal (emotional scar tissue she called it) from those traumas . We have discussed many times of the “way to many” women and male friends over our lives who have experienced such negative, disgusting choices from others. I thank God and I thank Him again for my most blessed husband and his friend that a girl could ask for. People who see us together ask if we are on our honeymoon and we resond “yes, 24 years later” ,they look upon us and tell us we give them hope! Yes, there is hope, for healing, for love. Keep that in your heart , always, always, always!!

  69. Men: Women Spoke Up. How Will We Respond?
    By James Simpson 10-17-2017
    All across Facebook, women are using the phrase “Me too” to courageously and publicly acknowledge that they are survivors of sexual harassment and assault. It is a chilling testament to the prevalence of unwanted and uninvited sexual advances, mostly by men, toward women, nonbinary people, and some men.
    It has been overwhelming. The sheer number of women in my newsfeed who have displayed their courage, strength, and resilience by posting this message on Facebook is shocking. And that’s the point. These posts are meant to be a marker to those around them — their families, their friends, the neighbors, their coworkers, and especially other survivors, that the experience of women in our society is something that we can no longer ignore.
    Women are showing that, despite being subject to the most violent and forceful manifestations of our patriarchal society and culture, they are willing to stand up in defiance and in solidarity to ensure that we as a society no longer allow incidents of sexual harassment and violence to go unchallenged, unnoticed, and unbelieved. And almost certainly, many other women who have experienced harassment or assault have decided understandably not to speak out. “Survivors don’t owe us their stories” explained Alexis Benveniste on Twitter.
    And so we have to ask ourselves — why has it taken the brave and courageous actions of women to bring this systemic problem to light? Why has our society silenced and belittled this problem to the point that women have had to bare the painful responsibility of publicly acknowledging their traumatic lived experience, in many cases causing them to relive and remember some of the most traumatic experiences of their lives?
    As a man, I am responsible for this. At worst, I have actively engaged in this behavior, and at best I have stood passively by as I watched it happen.
    While I worked in the Senate, I was at a work function with colleagues. Among the guests that day were key stakeholders and leaders from the state for which I worked. Most were people of wealth, power, and influence — all were people on whom I relied daily, and to whom I was answerable in my work.
    Toward the end of the reception, an older man began being very forward toward one of my female colleagues. It was the sort of “locker room talk” and behavior with which we are all too familiar. In the moment, I knew it was wrong — I knew she was uncomfortable — and yet, I was silent. I allowed what I thought to be my work responsibilities to render me silent, while my colleague graciously and jokingly took the unwanted advances and unwelcome attention with a smile on her face. Later that evening, as we walked to the Metro following the reception, she broke down. She was shaken by the experience, and even more shaken by my — and others’ — lack of intervention.
    This is an experience all too familiar to those posting “Me too.” And it must stop.
    As beneficiaries of a privilege undeserved, and as the main perpetrators of the preservation of the patriarchy, the response from men must be as unequivocal and as unified as the statement being made by our friends and family.
    We must believe the stories and experiences of women and other survivors in our lives.
    We must apologize for the ways and times we ourselves have been guilty of or complicit in incidents of harassment or unwanted attention — even the seemingly harmless throw away comments, jokes, and even the well-intended compliments.
    We must challenge those behaving in inappropriate ways — men catcalling on the street, friends making inappropriate jokes— especially with friends and family members with whom we have trust, and most sadly when we ourselves are the ones at fault.
    We must offer support to those around us who are survivors of incidents of harassment or violence.
    And finally, we must commit ourselves to use this moment to create a movement that recognizes and celebrates the full humanity embodied in each living person. A movement that recognizes that everyone should be able to live their lives free of harassment or fear, and work equally for the betterment of themselves and the benefit of all those around them.
    But this won’t happen without change. It is often said that, “no problem can be solved by the same consciousness that caused it.” This means that men cannot solve this problem we created.
    This is a problem that will only be resolved when more women are invited to the table to make decisions and lead in our governments, our board rooms, our organizations, our families, and our places of worship.
    We hear you. We believe you. We are sorry. We are committed to challenge and we are committed to change. I promise to do better. Will you?
    James Simpson
    James Simpson is Senior Adviser to the President at Sojourners.
    https://sojo.net/articl…/men-women-spoke-how-will-we-respond

  70. Last night, some church members and I went to see the Christian movie, “THE HEART OF MAN”. We’re all sexually broken and otherwise. Men and women both have been groped, molested, raped, and men and women both have sexual addictions such as watching Porn, etc. May Christ may healing to our brokenness and sinfulness.

  71. Although I could barely stomach to read this because Starnes’ words reveal he is a living breathing example of “toxic masculinity” it is important because there are those deluded enough to believe him.

    The Marriage of Violence and Masculinity: Todd Starnes and the Values Voter Summit
    OCTOBER 18, 2017 BY LIBBY ANNE

    Speaking before the Values Voter Summit, Fox News radio host Todd Starnes said the following about “toxic masculinity”:
    Many of you have started hearing a phrase in the mainstream media, something called toxic masculinity. It’s not just a war on boys, it’s a war on men! And there are those in this country that want to feminize men! They want to criminalize masculinity. Well I found something interesting, over these past few months our nation has been racked by terrible natural disasters, hurricanes, there have been fires, there was that terrible situation in Las Vegas, I saw men, grown men, wading into the floodwaters, running into the bullets, to save people, and I didn’t hear people complaining about toxic masculinity then!
    On first glance, this looks like a definitional problem. I went looking around to see if I could find more specifics from Starnes—perhaps somewhere where he defines what he means by “masculinity” or explains what he believes “toxic masculinity” means. What I found was profoundly disturbing. First, though, I found that Starnes is worse than Doug Wilson in his utter lack of specifics and his belief that he is funny.
    This past May, for example, Starnes said the following in a piece on a Vox report about “toxic masculinity” in the Marine Corps:
    [W]e’re dealing with the kind of people who seem to want our Marines to prance into battle wearing high heels and camouflage rompers.

    I am all but certain the Vox report would’ve caused a meltdown in the Obama Pentagon — think mandatory group hugs, essential oils and white wine spritzers.
    You see what I mean about writing style? He thinks he’s funny—and he wears that on his sleeve.
    Starnes’ article is horrifying, not funny. He has titled it “Why Does Vox Have a Problem with Masculine Marines?” The Vox article he’s upset about? It’s about the Marine Corps’ “revenge porn” problem, a network of marines sharing sexually explicit pictures of fellow (female) marines online. No really—the article’s title is “Exposing the Marine Corps’ revenge porn hasn’t made it go away.”
    If you’re sick of reading about Starnes and want to be done now, this is a good place to bail. I’ll just leave you with one thing: Starnes was asked to speak before the Values Voter Summit. That is where he made the remarks we began with, remember. This, apparently, is the state of conservatives’ values. This is what evangelicals have come to.
    Throughly disgusted, I thought I’d give Starnes one more look, because I honestly wanted to know he he was defining these terms. I found an article of his titled ‘Toxic masculinity’? Dude, now America’s universities are turning men into women that proved only slightly more helpful. Let’s start with this:
    Universities across the fruited plain are trying to convince men to grow lady parts. And that’s a problem, America.

    Instead of a country full of manly men, our universities want a nation full of Pajama Boys.

    Get a load of the course description titled, “Unlearning Toxic Masculinity:”
    “Men will often resort to violence to resolve conflict because anger is the only emotion that they have been socialized to express. Unfortunately, the way that young men are conditioned to view sex and their need to be dominant and have power over others also contribute to instances of sexual assault and other forms of interpersonal violence on college campuses.”
    In the hit Broadway musical “My Fair Lady,” Professor Henry Higgins laments in a song, “Why can’t a woman be more like a man?” Today, Professor Higgins might be singing a different tune, “Why can’t a man be more like a woman?”
    Wait wait—that’s it? No discussion of the course description, which actually does a decent job of unpacking much of what is meant by the term “toxic masculinity”? Following that paragraph by suggesting that universities are asking men to be more like women suggests that what some term “toxic masculinity” is simply what Starnes considers masculinity.
    The remainder of Starnes’ article is not all that helpful.
    Could you imagine the Greatest Generation flitting about town after a spa and dishing about their inner-most thoughts with life coaches?
    In today’s reengineered version of manhood, guys no longer have friends – they have bromances and they settle disputes by hugging it out.
    I keep waiting for Starnes to be more specific about what he means and he keeps giving us passages like this, which suggest that he views interpersonal violence as part of masculinity but refuse to say so directly.
    Men’s magazines are now filled with articles like, “Should a Man Show Nipple?” and “What Men Know about Wearing Eyeliner.” A survey by AskMen.com found that 20 percent of men have no problem wearing makeup.

    Can you imagine John Wayne using moisturizer and a concealer stick to hide razor nicks? Would today’s version of “The Godfather” accessorize with Dolche Gabana while settling “family” business with group hugs?
    Starnes considers makeup unmanly, that much he makes clear (could he actually explain why, or is this a gut feeling kind of thing?). But here again we see his suggestion that attempts to encourage men to settle disputes without resorting to violence go against his view of masculinity (see his reference to The Godfather).
    Starnes goes on:
    A few years ago I conducted an unscientific poll to determine what the average American woman looks for in a man.
    The poll results were not all that surprising. Ladies want a man who loves God and loves his family. They also want a man who, in no particular order:
    1. Has a job;
    2. Drives a pickup truck;
    3. Uses the bathroom standing up;
    4. Eats meat;
    5. And is willing to carry them out of a burning building.
    In other words — they want the kind of man made in God’s image — not the image of some effeminate intellectual stuffed in skinny jeans sipping chai tea with his pinky finger extended.
    In case it’s not clear, when Starnes says he conducted an “unscientific poll” he means he asks a few women he knows, whether personally or professionally.
    We see how Starnes defines “masculine”—drives a pickup truck, uses the bathroom standing up, eats meat—and what Starnes views as not masculine—being intellectual, wearing skinny jeans, and drinking tea. (As for the things in Starnes’ list being representative of a man “made in God’s image,” I’d like to point out that there are no pickup trucks in the Bible.)
    Let’s pull this back around to where we started. In his remarks before the Values Voter Summit, Starnes stated the following:
    Well I found something interesting, over these past few months our nation has been racked by terrible natural disasters, hurricanes, there have been fires, there was that terrible situation in Las Vegas, I saw men, grown men, wading into the floodwaters, running into the bullets, to save people, and I didn’t hear people complaining about toxic masculinity then!
    Starnes appears to define masculinity as being gruff, muscular, and wearing lumberjack clothes; resolving disputes with violence; having a very very strong sex drives; and being willing to go out of the way to rescue others when there is danger. He believes liberals define what he means by masculine as toxic and want to eradicate it. He believes liberals want men to wear skinny jeans, read books, try on eyeliner, talk about their emotions, drink tea, and turn tail and run from danger.
    I see a desire on the Right to present men as both hyper-sexual and willing to resolve conflicts with violence and gentlemanly protectors of women. It does not work like that. You can’t take a “boys will be boys, what did you expect to happen” approach to sexual harassment and revenge porn in the Marine Corps and position men as the protectors of women. The one gets in the way of the other. You can’t have both. And all that violence isn’t healthy for men, either.
    But to Starnes’ main point, when liberals talk about “toxic masculinity” they are not talking about a willingness to run into danger to save others. Liberals tend to view that as a human trait, and as a good one. A problem does arise when one gender is expected to do the all the saving and the other is expected to do all the rescuing.
    Starnes says women want men who will carry them out of a burning building. I would want my husband to drag me out of a burning building if I were injured, yes—but I’d do the same for my husband if he were injured. If I wasn’t incapacitated I’d prefer to walk out, and honestly, in either case I’d be more worried about my two children. How many stories have we seen about women throwing themselves into danger to save their children alone? Men do not do all the rescuing.
    I would say that this is a communication problem—that Starnes is not listening—but it’s not, wholly. Starnes clearly understands that liberals view the link he draws between violence and masculinity as toxic. And he doesn’t deny this link! Instead, he promotes it. He goes so far as to suggest that it’s manly to solve interpersonal issues with violence, and that learning to solve problems in other ways is being a sissy (remember, he alleged that colleges confronting the tie between masculinity and violence were “turning men into women”).
    When we talk about toxic masculinity, this is what we mean. Make no mistake—a man who views violence as a good way to solve problems won’t stay his hand when a woman gets in his way, and a man who sees sexual bravado and forcefulness as central to his identity as a man isn’t going to stop when a woman says “no.” And this, apparently, is what passes for “values” on the Right today. This, apparently, is what a man made in God’s image looks like.
    http://www.patheos.com/…/todd-starnes-the-values-voter-summ…
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  72. O my brother in Christ. I love your writing, love your theology, love your progressive activism. Thank you doesn’t even seem like enough to say. Bless you, dear Pastor of the Resistance!

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  74. Christian men like women who stay in the respectful/submissive box. These are the women they get protective feelings about, these are the women they get mad at Hugh Hefner over. Those of us who dare to say that the modesty craziness hurts too are not included.

    Male hurt feelings are more important to them than women’s trauma.

  75. Sorry, John… I disagree with this post though I understand part of your sentiment.

    You can certainly speak for yourself but some of your grand, sweeping, Mark-Drisoll-from-3-years-ago comments about men are ridiculous.

    For example, you can’t be both “fully complicit” and “unknowing” at the same time.

    My vote here would be for some more pause for thought rather than sensationalist hashtag free-riding.

    Some things, in fact, do not need to be said; or, at least, there are other things that need to be said a lot more than this.

    This is not the answer

  76. I humbly suggest “I have” as the tag for people wishing to own that they have been on the other side of “me, too,” through action or inaction.

  77. Mr. Pavlovitz,

    You use the word ‘we’ quite liberally, apparently referring to men in general. In so doing, you attempt to speak of and for me. However, you do not speak OF me, and you certainly don’t speak FOR me.

    I want to encourage you to replace ‘we’ with ‘I,’ and see how that works for you, how that feels. Among other things, ‘we’ allows you to spread the blame, lessening your guilt. If you really want to take ownership, do so — say ‘I.’ Own your behavior, own your history. If you choose to, you may also encourage other men to do the same. Don’t do it for them; don’t do it for me.

  78. I remember trying to tell guys in high school to “knock it off”. And I was told by the various women in question to stop taking everything so seriosly, that it was just harmless play, that they can take care of themselves, that I don’t need to protect them.

    So I stopped .

    Is it my fault for listening to them?

  79. Is anybody else seeing this? So sick….. the article is great but is accompanied by an ad for men’s boxers that has a clearly female hand grabbing the crotch. No more blatant example of our deeply misogynist culture could possibly exist than for this particular ad to accompany this particular article.

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  81. Sorry to sound negative but, like a lot of people, you are lecturing others about it without actually making yourself vulnerable through any personal admissions. Virtue signalling?
    Not that I think it is necessarily a good idea to go public about it on social media. I’ve seen one guy do that but I’m not convinced it was that helpful.
    Maybe best done with a therapist…

  82. It’s time men took responsibility for the misogyny that exists to this day. The women who bravely stood up to be counted in the #me too movement, the women who support them in silence all deserve a response in kind. For every victim there is an attacker, and when half of humanity is at risk, the other half must bear its responsibility. Men everywhere are honor-bound to our sisters, our mothers and daughters, our friends and colleagues to admit our gender’s guilt by posting “#I share the responsibility”.

  83. Thank you so much for this. This is just as brilliantly put as possible. Can’t justify express in words everything I felt on reading this.

  84. Me Too: So Now What?

    By Dhanya Addanki 10-18-2017

    In the past few days, our newsfeeds have been thick with stories of sexual assault and harassment. I’m betting your social media timeline, like mine, was “me, too” after “me, too” after “me, too.” The campaign — created 10 years ago by Tarana Burke as a grassroots movement to empower and help survivors in marginalized communities, and recently re-introduced after numerous allegations of sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein came to light — encourages women to stand in solidarity by sharing stories of sexual violence in their lives.

    Burke says the campaign is for survivors to share their experiences with each other. It was never the intention to have women relive terrifying experiences to show men how harrowing our world can be — this was only a side effect that called men in, to begin to understand what existing as a woman in this world looks and feels like.

    Amid this outpouring, many men have asked, “What can we do? What can we do to dismantle these systems of sexism that have been normalized, rationalized, and spread around our world like a disease?”

    I can offer some help. But before I do, understand that each woman and each community is complex in their humanity, and needs to be heard in different ways. (And women who chose not to speak out, you have no obligation to anyone, especially on social media.)

    These recommendations are not blanket statements, but suggestions based on my own experiences as a cisgender heterosexual Indian woman. Here’s what I can tell you:

    1. Stop catcalling. Do not encourage it, watch others do it, or take it lightly.

    Catcalling is not flattering. Catcalling is a show of power, one women know all too well. At best, it reminds some women of times when they felt powerless around men — when they were young, outnumbered, or forced to do something they did not want to do. At worst, it is one of those times. For many, it reminds of us of violence, of times when seemingly harmless interactions with men on the street led to being followed, threatened, inappropriately grabbed, or much worse.

    Do you know how it feels to carry anxiety and trauma with you while walking down the street, simply for being yourself? It is not something for women to “get over.” It is something for men to understand and change.

    (Hear me when I say that making rape or sexual assault allegations against black men has led to brutal deaths because of the racist ways rape has been used to incriminate and perpetuate false stereotypes of black men. That is another article entirely, but it deserves our attention.)

    The rest of this article may be read at: https://sojo.net/articles/me-too-so-now-what

  85. “In the way we’ve voraciously consumed pornography without a second thought of the deep humanity and the beautiful stories beneath the body parts.”

    Great words here. Putting a woman’s sexuality in a box and not seeing her as a whole human diminishes her, lessens society, and is a sad replacement for a holistic relationship experience.

  86. My comment is not dismissive about women’s/girl’s stories regarding any of this. But it’s the more the fact that it’s only women that are being talked about. What about the stories of men getting rapped, harassed, assaulted etc.? Do their stories not matter as much as our female counterparts? As hard as it is for women to come forward, it’s even harder for men to come forward.

    Men are supposed to strong and whatnot. The idea that mean can’t be vulnerable is bullshit. If you look in different settings, cultures, etc., men getting rapped is commonplace. But let’s not talk about that. Let’s sweep that under the rug. Let’s instead vilify men as if they are just the perpetrators and not prone to getting rapped, harassed, assaulted, etc..

    We need to stop talking about this kind of thing as if it is one sided because it’s not.

  87. I’m seeing a recurring pattern from men who, I’ll grant, are probably great guys trying to do something brave:

    They post, “We all need to do this brave thing instead of that self-serving thing!”

    Yet in their post, they don’t do the brave thing they’re saying men should do.

    You say men should lay their souls bare, risk the judgment of strangers, own this sickness. Yet, while you did list many of the relatively subtle ways this sickness manifests, and the reader could infer that you might have done some of these things yourself, I by no means see you laying your soul bare or risking the judgment of strangers by owning specific hurtful things you have done.

    Don’t get me wrong: publicly admitting ways you’ve hurt people is one of the scariest thing anyone could do, so I don’t presume to say you should do so. But you should also acknowledge that what you’re saying men should all be doing is so scary that you don’t seem ready to do it yourself.

    Another man posted an eloquent rant on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/taj.james/posts/10154997464992606) concluding “I commit to naming names.”

    Yet he doesn’t name any! Does this mean, in his entire life, he’s never been aware of a man treating a woman inappropriately, but just in case he ever sees that happen in the future, *then* he’ll start naming names?

    The thing is, naming names is maybe the only other thing as scary as admitting your own transgressions. Naming names makes what you have witnessed into a solid accusation that the accused might choose to contest (or, worse, retaliate against violently).

    The social forces that perpetuate this sickness are powerful. Telling men to take action anyway is, sadly, a lot to ask, especially when you don’t feel safe enough to do so yourself.

  88. Your blog post deeply touched me, John. I don’t know who you are, but we ladies who have suffered much at the hands of men in our lives need to hear this. It brings tears to my eyes. I work with many who have been abused. Please, shout this from the rooftops until every woman who needs to hear this gets it. And bring the men with you…those who abuse, and those who are possums to others’ abuse. It is time for some serious conversation.

  89. I refuse to be shamed or declared guilty by group association for being born a man. I have never sexually assaulted or harassed anyone of either gender and I would not stand for it if I witnessed or heard about it. Is it possible to go through life without fitting the stereotypes that John lists? I would say that it is more than possible, but I make my choices as an individual. Just because I was born with male genitalia does not entitle me to be part of the group inclusion of “if you’re a man, you’ve done this and are GUILTY!”

    What does that say about me? I don’t know, but I’m not going to self-flagellate because John thinks I’m part of a larger problem that stood by and did nothing. I try to not to use the “you don’t know me” excuse, but I seek to be strategic in the choices that I make and either I’m blessed to have been steered away from the types of harassment that John cites or I chose wisely in selecting my friends and social environments.

    Here’s the other problem: in discussing this topic it would be very easy to cross the line and make further generalizations that “all men are rapists” and “no man can be trusted”. That is where this can easily go and because of that I also have to make strategic choices in how interact with others and so while it would be nice if Christians achieve some sort of unity with this I have my doubts. I seriously have my doubts as the church more often reflects the culture than it does the Bible. Who is to say or stop the church from taking the “men are guilty by default” mindset? Tell me who could or would stop or stand against that and I reconsider the doubts I have.

    Here’s something else to consider: I support taking a stand against and protecting those who have experience harassment, but at the same time I’ll choose my actions wisely and at a safe distance. This issue invites a much needed serious dialogue, but at the same time it risks crossing the line into the very dangerous territory of guilt by association and universal victim-hood.

  90. I am a man who was raped by a woman. It lasted years. She used her daughter, who I loved completely and respectfully. as bait and then blamed me for it, under my family’s nose. It took over six years to recover my sexuality that the evil little creep very carefully and viciously stole and I still get flashbacks. This was done as a hate-rape against men in particular. I could not communicate with the girl and was being tortured at home in front of my family. The relationship was carefully broken and the little grinning criminal got to harm into me as viciously as it could.

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  92. “Phyllis
    OCTOBER 17, 2017 AT 10:22 AM
    MY experiences with males that have raped, fondled me goes like this.

    My brother raped me when I was seven. Since he was older, smarter, and more talented I was lead to believe buy my parents he had the right.

    My uncle fondled me at a Thanksgiving dinner when I was 11. I immediately jumped off his lap. When i reported this to my mother she defended him, “Not your uncle Ben”

    My friend and I went to the beach when I was 14. Three older boys encouraged us to go into the sand dunes out of sight of others. They tried to rape us. We fought them off.

    When I broke up with my boyfriend during my sophomore year of college he had all his buddies stalk me. Later he broke into my parents’ house while they were at work and rapped me. I soon transferred to another college and left the state.

    On my wedding day my husband’s best friend gropped me after the ceremony.

    The list is endless from catcalls while walking past construction sites at me to mens’ attempts at pick ups at bars and restaurants, to even an intern doctor believing since he took me to a fancy party he deserved sex after. In most cases the males felt they did no wrong. “boys will be boys” and “sewing” wild oats”.

    When I was going through a divorce I told my soon to be ex what happened between my brother and me. His response was, “All brothers and sisters engage in this behavior and if it really bothered you why didn’t you tell me before?”

    My point is males believe it is their privledge to use women. We women are ashamed of being abused and usually tell no one. So, yes, in part, it is our own fault by not speaking up. In my 30’s I took lots of self defense classe”

    They were narcissists, Phyllis, and you were preped by your narcissistic family of origin , including an N mum, to accept narcissistic abuse. Males that sexually, physically and financially abuse are narcissists; these are their preferred modes of abuse. There are as many female narcissist abusers but their preferred mode of abuse is invisible, in the emotional and relationship realm (https://www.reddit.com/r/raisedbynarcissists/). This discourse is missing the point, because our narcissistic society doesn’t want this mirror held up to it, that abusers are narcissists. Normal, healthy men don’t rape, abuse or do any of the things in this article.

  93. Bravo. In principle I agree, with one proviso… we have a system called law, which some men uphold and others contravene or even ignore. We must make it easier for all people to confidently and comfortably aporoach law enforcement and make true allegations without social stigma, being sued or having to give inappropriate evidence of a personal nature.

  94. To anyone who believes women don’t have locker room talk, to anyone who believes women don’t talk about how hot some actor is and how they’d like to have sex with them, to anyone who believes that women are victims by men’s fantasies; you’re delusional.

  95. So, because of our gender, men (or “guys” as John refers to us) are guilty by association. Society pretty much already does that: assume a man is guilty of a sex crime against a woman or a child, until he’s proven innocent. I’ve heard stories of sexual harassment, mainly from my mother and other women in her age group. They all lived and worked at a time when such transgressions were considered irrelevant to the overall working environment. Credit must be given to the contemporary women’s rights movement for bringing this issue to the forefront decades ago and pushing corporations and government officials to realize the severity of it all.

    But I cannot and absolutely will not put myself in the same category as those men who feel women are objects for their personal gratification. I’ve experienced my own episodes of sexual harassment at the hands of women and a few men, too. Most of it was homophobic in nature, which still seems to be socially acceptable – even in the work place.

    Regardless, no one should be shocked that Harvey Weinstein behaved so disrespectfully for so many years and got away with it until now. Like the U.S. government, the entertainment industry is not exactly a paragon of virtue. Sadly we’ll always have people like Weinstein in positions of power. But I feel now, though, that their antics will no longer be dismissed with flippant attitudes and coy winks.

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  97. There is a wealth of thought provoking information here. However, we miss the fact that even though they might be in minority…there are men who have been sexually harassed. And we victimize them further by not including them in this #Metoo journey.

  98. The majority of the males commenting here don’t understand. They make it personal to themselves, claiming innocence, and being offended that they might be implicated. That is not the way to resolve a problem deeply embedded in our culture. The way to solve it is to step outside of your fears and self-concern and actually hear and feel what the other person experiences.
    Women live inside a culture of constant denigration. It goes from the slightest joking to full on rape and murder, with everything in between. The so-called “good guys” I know make remarks to their wives. They don’t even have a flicker of conscience when they say and do the things that get overlooked over and over. They haven’t been taught nor supported in self-examination. They have been taught to dismiss women and girls and everything females say and do. It’s in our language. We talk about how women experience assault and rape and harassment. We don’t talk about men assaulting, raping, and harassing, and if we try, we get the indignant reaction from “good guys” written in too many of the comments here. My heart is heavy.

  99. My comment on a male blogger’s MeToo post.

    ======

    “Phyllis
    OCTOBER 17, 2017 AT 10:22 AM
    MY experiences with males that have raped, fondled me goes like this.

    My brother raped me when I was seven. Since he was older, smarter, and more talented I was lead to believe buy my parents he had the right.

    My uncle fondled me at a Thanksgiving dinner when I was 11. I immediately jumped off his lap. When i reported this to my mother she defended him, “Not your uncle Ben”

    My friend and I went to the beach when I was 14. Three older boys encouraged us to go into the sand dunes out of sight of others. They tried to rape us. We fought them off.

    When I broke up with my boyfriend during my sophomore year of college he had all his buddies stalk me. Later he broke into my parents’ house while they were at work and rapped me. I soon transferred to another college and left the state.

    On my wedding day my husband’s best friend gropped me after the ceremony.

    The list is endless from catcalls while walking past construction sites at me to mens’ attempts at pick ups at bars and restaurants, to even an intern doctor believing since he took me to a fancy party he deserved sex after. In most cases the males felt they did no wrong. “boys will be boys” and “sewing” wild oats”.

    When I was going through a divorce I told my soon to be ex what happened between my brother and me. His response was, “All brothers and sisters engage in this behavior and if it really bothered you why didn’t you tell me before?”

    My point is males believe it is their privledge to use women. We women are ashamed of being abused and usually tell no one. So, yes, in part, it is our own fault by not speaking up. In my 30’s I took lots of self defense classe”

    They were narcissists, Phyllis, and you were preped by your narcissistic family of origin , including an N mum, to accept narcissistic abuse. Males that sexually, physically and financially abuse are narcissists; these are their preferred modes of abuse. There are as many female narcissist abusers but their preferred mode of abuse is invisible, in the emotional and relationship realm (https://www.reddit.com/r/raisedbynarcissists/). This discourse is missing the point, because our narcissistic society doesn’t want this mirror held up to it, that abusers are narcissists. Normal, healthy men don’t rape, abuse or do any of the things in this article.

    https://johnpavlovitz.com/2017/10/16/men-side-metoo/

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  102. John, I am writing a article on how men should approach this issue and you did it beautifully. Thank you for owning it for the world.

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