My daughter Asha asked me, "Daddy what is #MeToo about?" I told her that #MeToo is a movement to draw awareness towards sexual assault, sexual harassment and rape of people- specifically but not limited to women. I told her that men and women get raped everyday. I told her that men and women assault others everyday. I told her that #MeToo is primarily an effort to draw attention to the ugly #RapeCulture that is driving music, movies, and society. I told Asha, that the #MeToo movement is not just a pretty hashtag but a request started by an African-American woman (who started the movement) as a direct statement to oust rape culture and the supporting apologists that contribute to rape and assault. I told her that 1 out of 4 of her friends will most likely be raped or assaulted in their lifetime. I told her that there is often a sense of shame for rape victims to come forward because of people do not believe them and treat them as suspects and not victims before doing due research or investigation. I told her people will slut shame, grab, molest, unwanted caress, and forcibly violate bodies because they dress a certain way. I told her that men specifically have a duty to protect all women and all beings on this earth. I told her that action of protection is different from a man being controlling. I told her love is not sexist or gender assumptions. I told her that we have to teach men and people NOT TO RAPE; instead of promoting, misogynistic theorems on how woman and people SHOULD not be raped.
I told her that I pray for her each day and night that she is not 1 of the 4. I told her this is why I taught you how to throw a jab, a straight, and a groin kick. I told her this is why I taught you how to escape rope. I told Asha, this is why I bought her mace and will buy her a gun when she is legal to carry. I told her that I wish I didn't have, too. I told her that I don't want her to ever have to post #MeToo. I told her to question why so many young ladies of all ages can see the all Victims but never any of the Offenders posting messages!
I told her #MeToo should make men want to post that they understand. More men should post in support but that a lot of men have embraced unapologetically a culture of indulging in this American misogynistic, euro-centric patriarchy of a society that would rather excuse the actions of rapist as: young males under hormones, or accidents, or too close to call. Some men would rather have it excused as funny jokes and memes, or as statements by rappers for how women should get signed- i.e. Rick Ross (Rape culture-type statements that we endorse by buying his music.) But where are my brothers? I know that it is a fine line. We don't want to detract from the movement by posting #MeToo as well. I have seen a few women angry at those that do. The triggers are strong and the overwhelming silence of our men is disheartening and only enforces that our women are not protected but hunted.
I sincerely don't want women or female gender identifying to feel as if I am taking light the movement by posting #MeToo. Even though, I know a few men that were raped well outside of prison walls in communities that we call ours. I once had a student call me. When I visited him at his home after the call there were police cars and officers supporting him as they carried his body in. He sat silently on the edge of his front porch. He told me of how three grown men beat, robbed, then raped him finally sodomized him with a broom handle. I asked him why he called me first instead of his family? He said they were going to ask him to pray for healing. He said that I would know how to press charges, go to police, speak out, and take action. He said that he will pray later but he needed to "Do" now. So I know that #MeToo is about men, also.
I also know that #BeardGameMatters illustrates how a double standard does exist where women can make crude, sexually aggressive statements, and promote similar culture. I have also have seen in clubs where women grab handfuls of mens private or how Kevin Gates assaulted a woman after she grabbed his genitalia. This example of Kevin Gates is inflammatory- I know...because a man should not kick a woman but it is a high profile case that illustrates clearly that men are sexually assaulted and harassed as well.
We laugh it off. We joke at the unwanted grabs. We poke fun at each others hurt. We allow others to violate safe spaces and out others. We throw around jokes of ugly words identifying things or actions as: gay, bitch, nigger, or rape. Take it. Take whatever, however and be grateful. Well, how? How do we stand so grateful of a society that promotes rape culture and rewards rapists. I ask my men who stand by our ladies to love them, protect them, offer an ear and listen to their truths and stories without judgement so you can see how to help repair the damage. I challenge each man that reads this to use the hashtag #RealMenAsk. Or create your own to show that we are listening and more than listening that we are willing to join in the fight against rape culture.
This blog is for my daughter. If ever- Then I will believe and fight for you because a Real Man should Ask: What have you been through? How can I love you? How can I be love to you? Can I be with you? They should understand your answers and listen and stop if there is ever a "No." So Asha, this blog is for you...thank-you for questioning your father and helping me be accountable to this community. Gentleman- #RealMenAsk what are you willing to do to protect our community? Ask or will you stay silent and assume?