What #MeToo Responses Are Missing
The #metoo movement (started by black activist Tarana Burke) has powerfully amplified sexual assault survivors' stories & put pressure on institutions to no longer harbor known assailants. However, the resources available to men who want to find their place in this new world still aren’t cutting it.
Eradicating sexual violence goes beyond simply training men to not assault people and creating better reporting systems within organizations (though those are important steps).
Let’s break this down: Dehumanization is a mirrored process. The way we treat others is a direct reflection of how we see ourselves. Quantum physics, all spiritual traditions, and our own gut intuition tell us this.
Men do not rape just because they think less of others. They rape because they think less of themselves. They hurt others because they feel incomplete, because they have been conditioned to seek security & comfort externally, rather than nurturing it within themselves.
Men may have power (so much power!), but they also have a fractured sense of humanity. Our solutions must address this directly.
New Solutions to an Old Problem
As a gay transgender man, I intimately understand how patriarchy dehumanizes all of us: women, men, and everyone in between.
To end our epidemic of sexual violence, men need support in cultivating a new and complete sense of self. One that is not simply about removing harmful behaviors, but also about expanding our vision of what men can offer this world. To achieve this, men need help addressing the root of their own wounds, so that they can actually honor and repair others’ wounds as well.
And, finally, to create a world where gender violence is a thing of the past, we need to listen more closely to transgender people about their experiences. With trans people's guidance, we all have the opportunity to reflect on our own gender histories and to distinguish what was trained into us versus what is authentically ours. We are all invited to embrace the truth that everyone is better off without the gender binary.
As transgender activist Les Feinberg wrote: “My right to be me is tied with a thousand threads to your right to be you.” None of us are free until all of us are free. When we deepen our own positive self-regard and integrity, we're able to completely honor others' full humanity as well. This is the work that men (and white people, and straight people, and cisgender people) are called to do today. Repairing the ways in which we've all been asked to abandon parts of ourselves can be intense and painful work, but relief is on the other side. We have nothing to lose but that which holds us back from greater ease and deeper connection.