Why #NotAllMen Absolves Us of Nothing

As men, millions of us need to understand the difference between individual fault and collective responsibility

— As men, millions of us need to understand the difference between individual fault and collective responsibility.

When we call out sexual assault against women as a problem men need to solve, some men use #NotAllMen as a way to avoid responsibility for those violent acts, these men are saying “I don’t commit assault.”

Would that ending assault against women was that simple. The challenge here is that we are also hiding behind #NotAllMen as a way to avoid taking responsibility for our collective silence when some men do locker room talk, cat calling, tell sexist jokes, and commit worse acts. Yes, millions of us don’t actively commit abusive acts against women. But our collective #NotAllMen defensiveness rings strident and off-key given our collective unwillingness to challenge men in our immediate circles who are subtly or openly abusive towards women and non-binary people. Such silence creates a culture in which sexual abusers can easily operate and hide.

Here’s the bottom line. If all men stood up to end violence against women, most of it would be gone tomorrow. This simple fact means we are failing in our collective responsibility, and all the #NotAllMen in the world will not absolve us of this.

Men in comments are going to say, “I’m not responsible for what other men do!” I’m sorry to break the news, but yes. Yes we are. If this was a village and you did nothing about a predatory man, your village would fail.

#NotAllMen allows us an excuse to hide, allowing millions of “good men” to go on remaining silent while women suffer. Instead, we can show boys and men love and respect while also holding ourselves COLLECTIVELY responsible for violence against women, non-binary people, and other men.

Thanks to @KevinLeathem for raising the important distinction between fault and responsibility in his article titled It Wasn’t Me.

Yes, I have a book. Several, in fact. The Little #MeToo Book for Men talks about all this in greater depth. Links to our podcasts, books, YouTube and more: http://linktr.ee/RemakingManhood



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Mark Greene

Mark Greene

Working toward a culture of healthy masculinity. Links to our books, podcasts, Youtube and more: http://linktr.ee/RemakingManhood.