Have you been on social media lately? If you have, then the hashtag #NotAllMen must have crossed your feed a few times. Given the rise of sexual harassment and assault that women face on the daily and increase of sexual crimes, many men wanted to voice their solidarity with women by saying "not all men are like that".
I appreciate that, truly I do, but with all due respect, this statement and hashtag is not the response us women are looking for. In fact, it's doing more harm than good at this point and here's why...
1. Not all men are like that
Uhh, isn't that how it's supposed to be in the first place? Aren't humans supposed to act like humans and not predators? Saying not men are like that is invalidating the request for firm actions and accountability from the perpetrators because others aren't as bad.
2. The conversation shift
When the movement is focused on the 'few good men', the conversation shifts from the problem and victims to someone else entirely. It shifts to the ones who are supposed to acknowledge the problem and help in standing up with everyone hurt and affected. It almost feels like a counterattack of: "but you can't complain of men's behavior because not all men are like this."
3. You're still part of the problem
To the men who are saying #NotAllMen, okay, I believe you... but what are you actually doing to those who are? When you see a woman being harassed by someone, you who is a self proclaimed good guy, what do you do? Because in my experience, and in almost all the cases of sexual assault or harassment, other men around her don't do anything to stop it. They just watch on the sidelines without interfering, except for very rare cases.
4. How do we know the difference?
Every woman gets harassed at least once a week. Every teenage girl gets harassed at least once a month. Every female kid (younger than 11 y/o) gets harassed too. Can you blame us for automatically thinking that every guy on the street will throw sexual innuendo at us just because? How do we know if you are one of the #NotAllMen bunch when I'm randomly walking in the street? Truth is, we don't, because there is nothing that you do that tells me you're not just another guy looking at me as a prey and not a human being.
Dear Men, we know not all men are like that, not all men will see a girl passing by and not think of her as a piece of meat. But there are many more who aren't and these are the problem. Not resisting them, not blaming them, not acknowledging them as a society alongside women and instead watching from afar and saying "it's not me" is not enough. It's even drowning out our voices and letting the ones to blame get away with everything. So, either we fight this together or just watch without doing anything. At least then things won't be drowned out by the passiveness of the #NotAllMen tag.
Sincerely, a regular woman.
Main Image Credit: Instagram @charkellyphotography