This is for the men.
It’s 2017, and women still have to remind us of the meaning of the words “no” and “consent.”
On Friday night, women, members of the LGBTQ community, and supporters went on a march to Take Back The Night, against gender-based violence.
They chanted phrases like, “Two, four, six, eight, no more date rape!” and “However we dress, wherever we go, yes means yes and no means no!”
According to Statistics Canada, on any given night, 3,491 women and their 2,724 children sleep in a shelter because it isn’t safe at home. On that same night, 300 women and children are turned away from a shelter because there is no space. Canadians who identify as homosexual are six times more likely to be sexually assaulted than those who identify as heterosexual. Every six days, a woman in Canada is killed by her partner.
Here’s another number: 98. That’s the percentage of perpetrators who are male in police-reported sexual assaults.
As a population, men, we have not only missed the ball, but we have jumped on it and destroyed it.
Women are the experts on women, so let’s listen.
This thirst for power and control is nothing but destructive. We should be controlling things, not people.
A child wants what he wants and he wants it now. A child grabs his toys and doesn’t share. People are not toys and you are not a child.
Since we’re acting like children, let me address my fellow men as children.
Don’t push. Don’t hit. Don’t call her names. Don’t take her car keys. Don’t track her communications. Don’t intimidate her with your yelling. Don’t isolate her from family and friends.
Don’t cat-call. Don’t grope her. If she’s drunk, get her home safely. Don’t touch her without permission. If she can’t give you permission, you don’t have it.
Don’t tell her what she can or cannot wear.
Who do we think we are?
If you can’t follow these instructions, or can’t control yourself, get help. Women, children, the LGBTQ community — anybody who is different from you — must not bear the brunt of the inconsistencies in your character, the shortfalls in your personal history, and the privileges society has handed you.
If you are going to be forceful, be a force for good. Stop making excuses and man the hell up. Call out your friends and tell them the same.
I grew up in a place where white bosses daily oppressed their black workers and those workers would then often go home and express their rage in the only place they could. Just boys throwing tantrums, except women and children become the collateral damage of those tantrums. I was one of those children.
There was a sign held up on Friday night that read: “If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention.”
Men, get outraged, and direct that rage at creating a society where those that are vulnerable are not afraid.
This is for the men.