After Kavanaugh: what I need from the men I love.

What one woman needs from the men in her life following last week’s hearings.

Your Fat Friend
Oct 2, 2018 · 7 min read
Image via YouTube/CSPAN
Via Twitter.

Start talking about sexual violence as a men’s issue.

Too often, because women, nonbinary people and survivors of all genders come forward with our experiences of sexual violence, it is miscategorized as a “women’s issue.” Certainly, sexual violence disproportionately impacts women and nonbinary people. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 5 women have been raped in their lifetime — to say nothing of other forms of sexual assault. 1 in 4 have been attacked by a boyfriend, partner or husband. Half of all trans and nonbinary people in the US have been sexually assaulted.

Own up to your complicity.

You may see yourself as a good guy; you may be one. But that doesn’t mean you haven’t been complicit, in big or small ways, in a culture of masculine violence. A lot of men think of themselves as “nice guys,” even while acting as aggressors or remaining complicit in rape culture. This may be difficult, but it is essential to recognize that your beliefs about yourself may not square with the experiences of the women and nonbinary people in your life.

Ask for feedback.

Follow John Oliver’s example in his interview with Anita Hill. Ask the women, nonbinary people and survivors in your life what you could have done differently, how you could have better supported them. Ask your girlfriend, your exes, your coworkers, your friends. Ask them when you are prepared to take in their feedback without reprisal, without making them take on the emotional labor of comforting you for your own wrongdoing or incomplete actions. Do not ask them to absolve you. Ask them, hear their answers, make a plan, and do better.

Intervene in harassment, abuse and assault.

Speak up when you see a man disrespecting someone of another gender in big or small ways. Challenge him not just in his most aggressive moments, but in his casual misogyny, too. Tell him to stop feeling people up without their consent, sure, but also call him on interrupting women and nonbinary people.

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Your Fat Friend

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Your Fat Friend writes about the social realities of living as a very fat person.