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So You’ve Sexually Harassed Or Abused Someone: What Now?

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The last several weeks have been, we can hope, only the beginning of a long awaited reckoning in the United States. Every day another man, or two or three, is publicly named as an abuser, a harasser, a rapist, a predator. In many instances, an element of justice has been swift as they are shamed and condemned by public opinion, followed by professional retribution. We have seen some of the most powerful men in a variety of industries fired, forced to step down from their position, lose contracts and lucrative deals, their movie premiers canceled as their entire creative histories are wiped from digital memory.

At this stage, there is no way to know what the long-term results of this wave of attention and accountability might be, and whether we are setting the stage for a future free from rape culture and men’s violences. To make this moment lasting, the reckoning cannot only play out in public among celebrities and high-profile powerful men. The reckoning must come home; it must be personal. And does not need to wait for a call-out. It is up to each of us, particularly those of us who identify as men, who (intentionally or not) wield the privileges of patriarchy and of masculinity, who have been encouraged and enabled to take up space, to take priority, to take the time, bodies, emotional energy, and sexuality of women and younger or less powerful men, as rightfully ours, to reckon with our words, expectations, actions, and behaviors. We have to hold ourselves accountable, to apologize without expectation of forgiveness, to recognize the hurt and harm we have caused, and vow to do and be better and to require the same of our peers.

The linked blog post from Ijeoma Oluo at The Establishment blog offers an honest and direct list of actions for men who have been accused, fear being called out, or are reflecting on their life and actions and considering their role in perpetuating rape culture. The reckoning is not easy, but neither is the trauma of living with men’s violences. We all have a role to play in what has only begun.

– Brett Goldberg

Read the post via The Establishment.

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