"Not all men"
TW: This article discusses sexual assault
Open letter to fellow men and those who say “Not All Men”
Ever since the tragic disappearance and murder of Sarah Everard, there has been a massive discussion about women's safety and the constant fear of sexual assault due to the behaviour of men.
The expression “Not All Men” has been used as rebuttal by many men to dissociate themselves and show that they are not a part of the problem.
It's extremely disappointing that this expression has become so common lately, particularly at a time when we need to band together and create change.
If we genuinely cared about the problem, we would stop diverting attention away from it in order to shield our egos.
We wouldn’t have the need to tell the world that "not all men" are dangerous if we were real allies to women.
Instead, we need to show our solidarity by calling out our friends/acquaintances and any men making sexist remarks or acting inappropriately towards women.
As men, we have a privilege that we can use to speak up and call out acts of disrespect or harassment disguised as something else (or not), and make a difference, but far too many of us are simply using our voices to say “Not all men are like that. Not me.”
Instead, recognize that women are speaking from personal experience. They aren't making up stories to victimize themselves or trying to portray all men as vicious creatures who don't care about or respect women.
They're trying to tell you, "This actually happened to me, my friend, her friend, my sister, and my mom." Saying "‘not all men" is making yourself part of the problem
They know it is not all men.
However, when over 100 women have died at the hands of men in the United Kingdom in the last year, and 97 percent of women have experienced a type оf sexual harassment, we must realize the gravity of the situation and recognize that we must call out our friends even for the “little things” or when it is a "joke."
If the posts currently circulating the internet which advise men about how to change their behavior to fix the narrative and make women feel safer make you feel upset and feel attacked, imagine being told from the age of five that you shouldn't wait in the car park alone to be picked up because you might be snatched.
Imagine constantly being told not to walk home alone and to stay in touch with your friends until you reach home safely. Being taught to carry your keys between your fingers and yell "fire" if a man grabs you because no one will come if you yell "rape." To be told to wear a longer skirt and a larger top to cover your body, as if the problem is the girls and women getting themselves attacked, and not the men and boys attacking them, despite the fact that thousands of women have followed those rules and still ended up dead, missing, or sexually assaulted.
Sarah Everard, like many other women before her, followed the rules imposed on women by society; rules which refuse to address the issue. She wore bright colors from head to toe, kept in touch with her boyfriend, and wasn’t walking alone too late, but she still didn't make it home.
Rather than shouting "not all men" into the void, concentrate your energy on changing the narrative. Let's educate our fathers and brothers, call out our friends, and listen to the people living in fear as to how we can help.
Let’s not forget that the behaviour of women is not the behaviour that needs to change.