By Toby Soto
So by now we’ve all read the articles about the Harvey Weinstein sexual assaults and seen countless of women share their stories of being sexually assaulted with the #metoo posts on social media. As a guy, my heart breaks to read the stories of women who have been sexually harassed and assaulted, and some of the women who have posted about it on social media are people that I know. And I am left with one thought as I continue to read about it.
As a guy, what can I do about it?
I’ve grown up in a household of boys, I have three younger brothers, so I never really had a day to day interaction with girls and their problems. And because of that I think I am naturally blind to some of the things girls face when they are out in public and how guys talk about them when they’re not around. I have just a couple thoughts on how us guys can help change the culture that allowed men like Harvey Weinstein prey on women.
1. Go out of our way to let them know that we care about them and that they are safe around us.
Some of what I’m about to say might sound silly, but it works. Some of the ways we can make them feel safe are walking them to their cars, front doors, dorm rooms, etc. A female friend of mine told me that while all that sounds cliché, it really stands out to a girl and she knows that she is safe around a guy who does those things.
2. Stopping “locker room talk” about them when they’re not around.
Over the past couple years, I’ve made an effort to keep the guys from using certain language when they talk about girls. Sometimes it isn’t even that bad, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be said. A simple phrase like, “Let’s not talk that way” can go a long way, and start good conversations about how we should treat women. If more guys defended girls while they’re not around, we hopefully stop the culture of viewing women as objects. Make guys feel uncomfortable with the way they think of them.
Growing up with three brothers, I was raised to treat women differently than I would guys; I was taught that I should treat with respect, honor, dignity, and that I need to protect them. That’s not a knock that a women can’t protect herself, but there are circumstances where a guy needs to step in and not only protect her but prevent those situations from ever happening.