I have.. Solidarity with #MeToo

I Have – in solidarity with #MeToo

IF I said I have never treated women inappropriately, ignored sexual harassment and/or inappropriate behaviour in workplaces and society more broadly, or taken part in their objectification, I’d be lying.

Any honest man would have to say the same thing.

Unfortunately the society I grew up in raised me to believe that objectifying women was normal, and that cat-calling, butt-slapping and other forms of sexual harassment were acceptable behaviour.

They are not.

It’s really brave, inspiring, and horrifying, all of these women sharing their #MeToo stories about men’s behaviour. So in an act of solidarity, after speaking with friends, I am going to share some #IHave stories.

I hope this honesty is taken in the vein it is intended, as a condemnation of this pattern of behaviour, not a normalisation or acceptance of it:

I have…

I have groped women in social situations inappropriately and without invite.

I have ‘spanked’ female colleagues without invite.

I have taken part in lude and sexually inappropriate conversations about female friends, colleagues and comrades.

I have secretly and not-so-secretly ogled countless women.

I have chosen my train seat based on the best view of an attractive woman.

I have stolen possibly unwelcome brushes-of-the-hand from female service people I found attractive.

I have ‘wolf-whistled’ at women out of the car window.

I have muttered “woah she’s hot” with other men as a woman walked by.

I have ‘read’ porno-mags in the construction site lunch-room.

I have shared and downloaded leaked celebrity nudes, etc.

I have given sleazy winks.

I have ignored totally inappropriate conversation about female colleagues by male colleagues in the workplace, to ‘save myself the hassle’ and sometimes to ‘keep’ my job.

I have ignored and not reported inappropriate sexual advances toward women in the workplace.

I have ignored men taking advantage of positions of power both in the workplace and in other social environments to sleaze on to women (esp younger women).

I have witnessed WAY TOO MANY men try force their way into a woman’s night.

I have witnessed WAY TOO MANY men try take advantage of vulnerable women.

I have witnessed WAY TOO MANY men try take advantage of intoxicated women.

But the thing I am most ashamed of is: I have led girls on (when I was a teen), just for the intimacy and personal pleasure.

One particular girl I actually loved, but was too immature to recognise it at the time – until it was too late – and we were both left broken hearted.

I have also been going out of my way to stand up against sexually inappropriate behaviour and misogyny more generally over recent years. Here is a few of my more positive #IHave stories:

I have stood up to friends, family members, colleagues and strangers about their inappropriate behaviour toward women.

I have put myself in danger defending a high-school-girl who was being called a “slut” by a fully grown, 40-something year old man on a train.

I have repeatedly shut down inappropriate conversations about friends, colleagues and comrades.

I have stopped being friends with FAR TOO MANY men as a result of their awful behaviour and attitudes toward women.

I have given women honest warnings about specific men who were previously friends, colleagues or comrades.

I have excluded men from being involved with things I organise, because of their inappropriate behaviour and attitudes toward women.

I’d like to say that by most measures, I think I’m a much better human being now than I have been in the past. But I’ve still got a ways to go.

I continue to look for and catch myself following problematic patterns of behaviour. I’m not going to lie. But I’m working on making real change – and not just to my own behaviours but to those of anyone who happens to be around me.

Thanks for reading.

11 thoughts on “I Have – in solidarity with #MeToo”

  1. This is so boss! And such a relief to read in the sea of torment. This gives me hope for all the young men you are teaching by way of being, and therefore, the young women too. Thank you for writing this. It means a lot to me and no doubt countless women.

  2. Thank you for your humility, for setting a good example for other men, and for lifting your voice up for change. Seeing this post has brought tears of hope to my eyes. Thank you.

  3. Thank you for your honesty, Luke. Your behaviour as a young man was disgusting and unacceptable, and had you continued that way, you would have continued to be part of the problem as a serial sexual offender. However, you changed. You developed insight into your own behaviour and stopped. You went further and began to call out the behaviour you saw around you. And now you’ve taken a courageous step in in actually writing and sharing this post. If you had only posted your current behaviour, it wouldn’t have the integrity this does; it would have a sheen of hypocrisy visible only to you and to anyone who knew you well enough to have experienced or seen this past behaviour. I hope that where possible you’ve made specific personal apologies. In an ideal world, our young men would grow to adulthood with the values you now hold. In the real world, i hope more men of all ages make the journey you have. And yes, your post will attract anger, and you will feel the shame. Accept it, absorb it and deeply anchor the changes you have made to turn your life around. I hope others have the same courage.

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