After Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault and rape accusations came to light, the women of Twitter — and some men — stood in solidarity and shared their own stories of abuse with the #MeToo hashtag. And men are now responding with #HowIWillChange.
This is good news, because while the response to the #MeToo hashtag was met with overwhelming support, many also argued that the burden to create change shouldn’t fall on the victims. AKA, where were the men — the perpetrators of abuse — in all of this?
One woman, Dr. Kate Slater, an assistant professor at Rowan University, tweeted, “You know what #metoo hashtag I’d like to see? one where men take responsibility for how they’ve contributed to this culture.”
And respond they did. On Monday, writer Benjamin Law decided it wasn’t enough for survivors to have to share experiences in order to effect change. “Guys, it’s our turn,” he tweeted. “After yesterday’s endless #MeToo stories of women being abused, assaulted and harassed, today we say #HowIWillChange.”
Law followed up his initial tweet by listing a few ways he thinks men can contribute to dismantling rape culture. His recommendations included donating to women’s shelters, reporting known sexual assailants, and acknowledging the role they play — perpetrator or not.
Soon other men started tweeting their own #HowIWillChange messages.
With more men stepping up and speaking out against sexual harassment, it takes some of the burden off victims when it comes to spreading awareness.
It’s a small step, but it’s one in the right direction. Men have been absent for far too long when it comes to discussions of the acts they themselves most often commit, and we are so glad to see them not only taking part — but taking accountability — in this dialogue.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, you can seek help by calling the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673).