#MeToo Calls For A New Way Of Being For Men
My heart broke reading my Facebook feed. I wrestled with so many mixed feelings of anger and sadness that it kept me awake until 4am .
Whilst it can be uncomfortable, overwhelming and confusing to think about what it all means, this much is clearly reinforced in my mind.
It is not women who need to explain themselves in situations of sexual harassment and assault. It is the person responsible. It is the perpetrator who should justify themselves.
Unfortunately, the perpetrators are almost always men.
I say ‘unfortunately’ because I’m one of those men who yearns to claim the category “man” with pride, as something representing honour, respect, gentleness and compassion, as well as strength.
Unfortunately there are just so many examples of men behaving badly (and getting away with it) that claiming to belong to the group of ‘men’ becomes well… challenging.
It is not women who must learn better to protect and defend themselves from men. It is the task of men to reinvent themselves together, recreating new ways of being, new ways of relating and communicating. It is our responsibility to create healthier models of what it means to be, not the man, but a man.
In all this, there is the real temptation to lose hope – if and when we really take in the experiences of men behaving inappropriately and abusively towards our female friends, colleagues, wives, girlfriends, mothers and daughters. But there is one word in all of this we must all acknowledge and be inspired by.
The courage that sits with women, who despite experiencing exploitation, can still open their hearts to men and let their sexuality be seen and celebrated.
The courage that sits in men who choose the more riskier and vulnerable path of exploring their inner worth enough to meet women as equals, rather than exerting power over others. Let’s acknowledge men who courageously explore their own sexual energy with presence, owning it without projection.
In dark times of uncomfortable statistics and instantaneous global social-media polls, there is still much to be grateful for.
To all the positive male role models I’ve had in my life I thank you. Whilst they have been few and far between, and humanly imperfect, I am nonetheless grateful. Your commitment to your own difficult inner-work and the nurturing others, gives me hope that we can evolve to be better men – gaining better ways to be, and better ways for men and women to authentically, and respectfully #MeetToo.