If women are brave enough to post #metoo, I must have the courage to call myself out.
I am the problem
I am the rape culture.
I am the patriarchy.
I have breathed the invisible, foul air since birth until I no longer tasted the pollution.
I have enabled.
I have looked away.
I have put the onus on women to protect themselves with “self defense classes” and “pepper spray” instead of focusing on the rapists.
I have gaslighted.
I have crossed lines and rationalized it as romance.
I have whined about the “friend zone,” as if being nice to a woman entitled me to their affection.
I have physically beaten other men over women, as if they were a prize for the victor.
I have thought things that no man should, but every man does.
Worst of all, I have ignored female friends’ requests not to hang out with an assaulter, for fear that he would try again.
I have done all of these things, and though I was ignorant of the magnitude of what I was doing in many cases, that does not excuse me.
Change begins with awareness. Women should not have to talk about their assault to get people to understand how pervasive the rape culture is. If I am to help change, I must start with the things that I have done. I cannot erase them. I call on other men to have the courage to do the same.