Things That Matter

It’s Time For Men To Step Up And Call Out Their Homies About Sexual Harassment And Assault

At first, I was apprehensive to write a piece about what’s going on in the Harvey Weinstein case, because this conversation is so important and we need to be listening to women. We need to all believe women.

But it is also a time to turn to your boys and speak to them, to change how we all act, treat and support ALL women. It’s also time that we stop putting the burden on women to address the issues that WE have often created. 

The women who have come out and spoken publicly against Weinstein are far from alone. Their voices are echoed by the experiences of our sisters, mothers and close friends, and, if you’re listening, women everywhere. Because, fam, it’s literally all women.

You do not need to know someone specifically, or be connected to them, to understand, empathize and protect their safety. Or to care.

If you open your ears and your hearts, there isn’t a woman that hasn’t felt the fear of walking home alone at night, or being scared to not speak out at school or work when a boss or coworker does something awful.

It’s time to stand up for victims of sexual harassment and assault. Let me say that again: It’s time to stand up for victims of sexual harassment and assault, and to end rape culture.  

As the huge majority of perpetrators of harassment and assault, it’s men who need to do the most work here, and the first step is to realize we are all part of the problem, whether or not you have engaged in harassment (you have) or assault.

As a man, if you are not speaking up, speaking out and adamantly against harassment and assault of women, you are complicit in the sexual abuse and violence against them. If you’re not calling out stuff that’s problematic and contributing to rape culture, or backing up women when they do instead of arguing against them, you’re part of the problem.

Some of you think catcalling is fine. You think grabbing at a woman every now and then is fine. You think your boy is wild for slapping a girl on the butt without permission is fine. You might even laugh about it with him, even if you disagree with his actions. Or you think it’s all no big deal.

But you’re fucking wrong.

Don’t cat call.

Don’t touch women without their permission.

Tell your boys to cut their shit.

Even if you all aren’t out there harassing, assaulting or raping women, by saying nothing you’re encouraging and supporting a culture that leads to that. Rape culture is real and it starts and ends with men.

Credit: Angela Martini/ Flickr/ @feministapparel

Don’t come at me with the “but men, too.” We saw what Terry Crews said on Twitter last week about being groped by someone at a party. Yes, this is awful, and shouldn’t have happened to him or to anyone. But Terry Crews is an ex-football player and a towering man who gets hired to play action heroes and whoop ass because he can whoop ass. Most people wouldn’t mess with him.

Even if Crews wasn’t famous, he doesn’t have to worry about being catcalled in the street or that meeting up with someone from Tinder could lead to him being assaulted. He probably doesn’t have to worry that his ability to move up in his acting career is dependent on whether or not he watches a producer bathe. That’s likely never happened to him and probably won’t, but as we’ve seen, it’s happened to a long list of women and their male counterparts did little to nothing to help them.

No one is perfect, but by and large, men are the violent members of our species.

We start the wars, we have the dick measuring contests, we have toxic masculinity issues that permeate everything we do or don’t do. And even if you consider yourself as just a regular dude, who’d never hurt a woman, there are still plenty of ways you can be promoting patriarchal systems of power.

Like if you think you’re being romantic and aren’t causing harm when you’re negging a girl to get her to be in to you, or won’t take no for answer for drink or date, or play piano in the park until your ex takes you back. When you treat a women differently because of what she’s wearing or her size, or call her names behind her back because she wasn’t feeling it or did something all your homies have done and gotten high fives for. 

Those are all forms of harassment and you need to see it in order to stop it. You need to take a long hard look at yourself and your homies and think about what you’re doing.

It’s not easy to be the voice of reason in a group of guys. Like rapper Kendrick Lamar says in his song, “The Art of Peer Pressure,” “I’ve never been violent… until I’m with the homies.”

The pressure to be this idea of macho is amplified when you’re with other men. I get it, I hear you, you’re just joking around, it’s not serious. Well, it’s time for something different. Be the guy who stands up to your friends and calls them on their shit. Don’t makes excuses for them, because those excuses uphold rape culture and violence against women.

I’m no angel, I’ve done my fair share.

For example, as a teenager I’d hang out with a group of friend’s outside of McDonald’s and we’d all catcall women. We’d make a night of it. I used to sing to girls passing by. The song “Slow Down” by Bobby Valentino was a personal favorite. Sure the girls would laugh, but what else could they do while I’m rolling 10 deep and it’s just the two of them walking by? I had no malice in my heart. All I wanted was to make a pretty girl smile and maybe get her phone number, but using that power in numbers, finding myself in a position that made it easy for me to approach and hard for them to deny, that’s a problem right there. And without correcting it, it becomes the way you do things forever.

Harassment comes in many forms, like cat calling, not taking “no for an answer, coercing a woman into sleeping with you, threatening them and uninvited touch. And these are just a few.

Credit: Radu A. D. / Flickr

Let’s not kid ourselves, it doesn’t start when you’re a teenager. The groundwork for this behavior begins much younger. It happens when you teach little boys to whistle at girls. Or when you tell them it’s okay to be mean to girls they like. All of that shit needs to change. 

This behavior should not be the norm. For that to happen, we have to be the catalysts for that change ourselves so generations coming up after us can look to us as role models. Men often learn these behaviors from their fathers and uncles, emulating their words and actions towards women. When the next generation emulates us, let’s make sure their behavior reflects respect for women. So how do we do that?

Be friends to women, without expectations. Hire women and work with women, and keep your professional relationships professional. If you’re in a position to do so, help women level up in their careers, but don’t take advantage of it. Helping women should never come at their expense. Nobody owes you sexual favors, or should be subject to your advances or harassment, ever.

There are no professional (or other) circumstances under which anyone owes you a sexual favor.

Credit: employee justice/ Flickr

Most importantly, you don’t have to be related to a woman in order to see them as human beings who deserve to feel safe and be treated as equals with respect.

Listen, we’ve all said dumb things and done dumb things, but we have to acknowledge the privilege we have in this world, and to see the issues that affect women as issues we must care about, and to ensure we do our part to stop this problem. 

We’re all guilty, but there comes a time to separate yourself from that mentality – to grow up, and say “nah.”

And if you haven’t yet, let right now be that time for you.


READ: Here’s What Lin-Manuel Miranda And Quiara Hudes Have To Say About ‘In The Heights’ Being Produced By The Weinstein Company


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HBO’s ‘Allen v. Farrow’ Documentary Sparks Potential Lawsuit

Entertainment

HBO’s ‘Allen v. Farrow’ Documentary Sparks Potential Lawsuit

Updated Feb. 24, 2021.

Dylan Farrow’s name has been tightly linked to the story she has been telling since 1992.

For three decades her account of being molested by her adoptive father, director Woody Allen, while in her mother Mia Farrow’s attic in Connecticut and molested her when she was seven years old has not wavered. She first told the story at the time of the incident to therapists, then she told police, and years later in 2014, she wrote an oped to the New York Times and again in 2017 for the Los Angeles Times. In 2018 she spoke about the incident in a televised interview with CBS and now she’s telling the same story, which many have cast doubt on in a four-part documentary from HBO titled Allen v. Farrow.

Allen v. Farrow investigates the abuse allegations and subsequent custody battle that gravely affected Farrow’s career but has only recently begun to create problems for Allen.

The new documentary series aired its first episode which examined the ways in which Allen’s behavior toward Dylan struck family, friends, and even a psychiatrist as inappropriate. The episode details how Allen took up an obsessive interest in Dylan after her adoption.

“I was always in his clutches,” Dylan remembered in the first episode. “He was always hunting me.” Dylan goes onto recall instances in which Allen would “direct” her on how to suck his thumb and what to do with her “tongue.” At one point a family friend backs up this behavior saying she’d seen Dylan doing this one time while other family members and acquaintances said they’d also witnessed Allen’s oddly sexual treatment of Dylan.

Allen has always denied the allegations brought forth by Dylan and has largely gotten away from the stain of such claims to continue his career based on the “woman scorned” trope.

Allen has proven to be the exception to the #MeToo movement in Hollywood despite many who claim to support the efforts to end sexual abuse in the industry. Prominent actresses like Scarlett Johansson, Blake Lively, Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett, and even Selena Gomez worked with Allen in the decades after he was accused of abuse. Gomez starred alongside Timothée Chalamet in Allen’s 2017 film A Rainy Day in New York, which was eventually shelved by the movie’s production company, Amazon Studios after Dylan reiterated her claims in the 2017 op-ed.

Since the 90s, Allen has maintained that Farrow, his former partner of 12 years, conducted a smear campaign against him after she discovered his affair with her 21-year-old adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn.

At the time of their tumultuous divorce, which came as a result of the affair, Allen claimed that Dylan had been coached by Farrow. In response to the documentary, Allen denied interview requests for the documentary and described it after the fact as a “hatchet job riddled with falsehoods” and a “shoddy hit piece.”

As a result, Allen v. Farrow v. Skyhorse v. HBO might be up next. 

Skyhorse Publishing, the publisher behind Allen’s latest book, “Apropos of Nothing,” has threatened to sue the makers of the new docuseries for sampling excerpts from the famous director’s audiobook. 

“Neither the producers nor HBO ever approached Skyhorse to request permission to use excerpts from the audiobook,” Tony Lyons, president of Skyhorse said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. “[W]e believe that its unauthorized use of the audiobook is clear, willful infringement under existing legal precedent . . . We will take the legal action we deem necessary to redress our and Woody Allen’s rights in his intellectual property,” the statement went on. 

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Women Are Talking About The First Time They Experienced Sexual Harassment And We Should All Be Disgusted

Fierce

Women Are Talking About The First Time They Experienced Sexual Harassment And We Should All Be Disgusted

There’s no doubt that sexual harassment can have quite an impact on a victim.

In 2014, a research study surveyed 17,335 female victims of sexual assault who said in the most serious experiences of sexual assault that they had endured many felt emotions such as “anger, annoyance, and embarrassment.” A terrible thought considering that the people who inflict these feelings often walk away from the experience without so much as a second thought.

Women on Reddit have spoken about these experiences that have affected them for decades.

Here they are below.

“I was 7 when some weird-ass guy wanted me to show him the girl’s changing room at the swimming pool. Luckily I had the common sense to go looking for my teacher. I was 11 when the ‘normal’ harassment started with guys twice to thrice my age tried to hit me up and go out with me. The very first guy I remember trying to chat me up in the bus tried to convince me to tell him I was 18, when it finally sank in that I wasn’t lying when I said I was 11, he had the graciousness to go completely white in his face and flee the bus at the next stop. I was 13 when a guy at the bus stop tried to convince me to go on a love-week-end to Paris with him. He was easily 40.” –BerriesAndMe

“Why are there so many perverted men out there??? Every single one of my friends has these crazy stories starting from like eight years old.”- kisscuddle

“13 or 14. Guy in his early 20’s comes to me, asks if I’m a virgin because he only dates virgins. Me being a shy timid person just stared at him and couldn’t form any reply. Just froze on the spot.” –Countess_Yiffy

“All these stories start when girls turn 12-14, and that is so sad.

Most of us didn’t feel “sexy” at this age. What is more, some girls don’t know what is “sexy” is. More, 12 years old girls feel shy about their bodies: their breasts start growing (to be honest, it’s painful), and the first period can be a shock. It’s a very delicate and susceptible part of a women’s life.

And these jerks think they have privilege says how attractive we are —making us feel that we are dirty and it’s our fault. Hate it.” –Jan_Levinsson

“I was 5. Was standing on jungle gym on the playground And an older boy came up to me and grabbed my spandex and underwear and stretched out my underwear and looked at my privates. I did not know how to use my voice or stand up for myself. I climbed off the jungle gym and sat under it and cried. I remember feeling so embarrassed and violated. I never told anyone. Just remembered that and will probably talk to my therapist about it.” –siennasolo

“I was 12, at a BBQ my parents were having. I was in a bathing suit because we had a pool. A friend of a friend of my dads said he’d like to leave his wife there and take me home instead. I didn’t say anything because I was so ashamed. I put clothes on and stayed in my room the rest of the party – even though an adult overheard him and he was forced to leave.” – sassylittlespoon

“I remember when I was 9 or 10 I went to the beach with a new two-piece swimsuit that I was super happy to wear because it had sparkles and made me look like a mermaid. It was one of those where the bottom part had a skirt attached so I liked to twirl to see the skirt twirl. Some dude went “Do that again, sweetheart!” and then whistles and said something about “legs for days” I remember being really embarrassed and ashamed and didn’t want to tell anyone because my parents would make it a big deal, and then it would be my fault for ruining the beach day for my brothers.

I didn’t wear the swimsuit in public ever again.” –gentlybeepingheart

“At 12, playing in the pool. A man probably in his 40s/50s kept staring at me intensely and made a comment like, “Wow, look at how hot that girl is!” My mom overheard and immediately said, “That’s my daughter and she’s fucking 12, what is wrong with you?!” I don’t remember what happened next. But I’ll never forget the way that man looked at me, and how my stomach dropped to my feet and my face burned. I felt so ashamed.” –offendingpastry

“About 12. On my period, looking and feeling like Shyte. Simply walking home from the shops. Was wearing jeans and an oversized T-shirt. This asshole and his late 20-something year old friends start hooting their car, and hanging out the windows while catcalling me. Ignore it. When they suddenly come around again and drive slowly past me and they keep saying how sexy they think I am. I had a moment where I though “ oh god this is how people end up getting kidnapped. There are four of them, and one of me. Even if I run I won’t make it very far.” I started walking faster, and eventually, I assume that they got bored, and sped off. I basically ran home. I have similar incidents but this was the one that came to mind first.” –indigoshaman

“I had one instance last year, I was out for a run, it was dark but I always ran in a safe small neighborhood. A pickup truck drives by and I hear the driver say something then all of a sudden the truck came to a halt and just sat in the street waiting for me to catch up. I saw what was going to happen so I stopped on the sidewalk a bit way back and hid in the shadow of a tree until the truck finally drove away. And they were mad cos they squealed their tires and everything. I’m glad I stopped. I was so scared of what could’ve happened, I ran so fast home and stopped running for a bit because of it.” –APainInWomensClothes

“Mine was also at 12 years old. I was walking home from school, wearing normal jeans and a t-shirt. [I hate that I feel the need to explain what I was wearing]. A truck slowed down to keep pace with me, and a man yelled, “I’d like to bend your ass over the hood of my truck!” Another man laughed from inside the truck. I didn’t quite understand what that meant, but I figured it must be a pervert thing. I got scared they might try to grab me, so I ran into some random person’s backyard, since I figured they couldn’t drive through there. I told my dad what happened, and he was furious.” –TheOtherZebra

“I was 7. I had this beautiful dress that had a full circle skirt and I spun around in it because how can you not when you’re 7 and you love your dress?

My uncle’s friend(M, 50s) was there and he told me to spin again because he could see my underwear. I remember just feeling so gross and afraid. I told my mom and she was livid. We left and I was never allowed near that man.

I also couldn’t wear that dress afterwards without thinking about how that incident made me feel. It definitely took a little bit of my innocence away.” –

seeseecinnamon

“When I was seven I was walking by some older kids (early college) at a pool. I was adjusting my swim suit straps by sticking my fingers under them and lifting them up, so you could see skin but not in my top. I remember one of the girls went really loudly “OoOoO showing off for the boys” and the boys started whistling and jeering. I was so uncomfortable and embarrassed I hid behind some pool hosing until my mom came to get me (she left me at the pool at the YMCA while she pretended to work out for two hours).” –retroverted_uterus

“That happened to me this year, I’m 25. I was on the bus on the way to church and a man sexually harassed me. He included crude comments about the pattern on my dress. It broke my heart.” –MaroneyOnAWindyDay

“My dad told me not to eat bananas like a whore when I was 11-12. I was very confused and didn’t make the association with bananas looking like dicks until many many years later.” –Idk_whats_real

“I was 9 or 10 and a neighbor kid (7 or 8M) grabbed my ass one day while I was out playing kickball with the other neighbor kids. I didn’t know what to do so I just went inside. Didn’t even finish my turn. Did what I could to avoid him until we ended up in school again. Looking back, hate how young this happened at on both our ends. About the same age, one of my dads friends made a comment about my chest and how much I looked like a boy and how he couldn’t wait to see what I looked like in a few years. Again, just avoided him after that. On a much better note, I (27F) recently have found myself managing a bar where it’s all regulars. One of them, R (M30), told another regular, D (M60), that we were going to hook up and D asks, “Yeah, but does she know that?” and got R to back off without me having to say anything to him. It’s honestly some of the alliances that really make a females life easier.” –BeanieBlitz

“Seven or eight? My sister (1 year older) and I had just gotten furry boots for Christmas and were wearing them out. Three teenagers on bikes stopped us and started going off about how sexy we were in those boots and wouldn’t let us pass. I remember being confused and scared. My sister who was blonde, always got the worst of it though. She was raped at the age of 16 and was never the same since, that led to a downward spiral and eventually her death last year.” –Scoobymaybe

“A step cousin asked to see what color panties I was wearing. I was probably 6.

I was a waitress at 15, a man I was serving said “I should be in prison for the thoughts I’ve had about you” Never forgot that one.

Edit: I have worked in restaurants since then and have enough stories to write a book. I’m 30 and I own the restaurant now. This shit does not fly with me!” –meatmama

“I was 12 and was babysitting my younger brother (11yrs younger than me) and took him to the park and someone apparently assumed he was my son and told me to keep my legs shut next time. I had to ask a friend what it meant. It mostly just made me afraid of being a teen parent, and being publicly shamed. Edited to add: wow, this is clearly a common experience for so many people- sorry to all of you who have also been victim to people’s weird obsession with teen pregnancy and who feel their only possible course of action is to slut shame children!” –Peskypikachu

“I insisted I have my own room and that I didn’t want to share a bed with my mum, so she put me in a room with her scuba diving friend that was renting the room next to us. She obviously trusted him or something to put me in there. He would make comments about how I would grow up to have a nice body – a remark that I never understood because I was 7! I ended getting molested by that son of a b*tch and I never grasped what he had done until YEARS later. Now I distance myself from older men. I grew up being wary of others.” –hafyu

“I was 8, I was helping my younger cousin on to her tricycle so I picked her up and as I was bent over from picking her up some creep on a bike whistled at me and yell “aye mami”. I was in pink shorts and a matching Winnie the Pooh shirt. My dad chased him down the street with a bat.

[edit] I just remembered this one. Another time was when I was 9 and my cousins and I were swimming in a river in between two hills. Our parents were on one hill BBQing and the other was too steep for anyone to climb up so the only way you could get to the side facing the river was by going over the hill from the other side and hope to God you wouldn’t slide down the hill and into the rocky river. Anyway my cousins and I are splashing each other and being kids. I see something out of the corner of my eye and see this big fat white guy looking at us through binoculars. So me being a kid thought him having binoculars was cool so I yell and point “HEY LOOK HE’S GOT BINOCULARS!” And once I said that took off pulling his pants up. When I was like 17 or 18 I realized he was jerking off to us playing in the water in our swimsuits.

[edit] for those that are confused as to why I put the guys race in the story, that is how my 9 year old brain chose to remember him. We lived in a mostly Latinx community so seeing this random pale white guy was not a common occurrence. The only white people I came across as a child was when we went to different cities or the teachers at school. Take it as you will.” –princesspotato92

“I was 7 years old, I was at a place called “Health World” it was an exhibit about the human body, that was really popular at the time. There was also a large group of highschoolers there with their school at the time. 6 boys, tried to gang rape me in one of the exhibit halls when they thought no one was looking. They were all 15-17. It started with them making comments about my skirt (“That’s a short skirt, Little Mama”) and one of them backed me into a wall. It was a blur from there. I remember someone saying “HOld her down, make sure she can’t fight.” and I started screaming for my mom and my cousin.

The difference of time, between my mother stepping away to get my cousin from a trash can (she threw up), and them trying this was like five minutes. They dropped me, before they could get my clothes off but I remember very vividly how horrible it was. I felt so violated and scared and dirty…

I repressed how violent this encounter actually was, until my ex-bff’s mom slut shamed me saying “You must be a little slut, after all those boys couldn’t keep their hands off you at that musuem.” (and yes they were punished but a teacher tried to actually defend them and tried to say it was my fault… Until my mom pointed to me, sitting on a chair in the corner, in my little pink skirt, my Little Mermaid T-shirt and my pink Winx Club sneakers. He still tried to keep defending it even when my mom pointed out “SHE’S SEVEN YEARS OLD. HOW IS IT TO ANY OF YOU, THAT TRYING TO GANG RAPE A SEVEN YEAR OLD SEEMS LIKE IT WAS A PERFECTLY APPROPRIATE THING? IS THIS WHAT YOUR TEACHING THEM!?”)

That was as young as it got…”- Storm137

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