When I was going through my divorce I was also in a law practice at the time. My attorney gave me the best advice I ever heard knowing of the expected acrimony that was about to occur in court and what the reaction of either myself or my ex-wife could be within the context of the divorce. Her advise (that I carry to this day, and even said to clients I worked with thereafter) was this:
No matter what happened in the marriage, be prepared to take some “hits” in the courtroom. Be prepared to hear her say some things about you that may not be true, or some secrets you may have told her in confidence. Don’t respond in an ugly fashion, in some cases don’t respond at all, just take the hit.
Sage advice then and now.
Some of us, myself included, have been silent through the #MeToo Movement. Things aren’t the same, nor should they be. The social and cultural views of being a man have changed. It’s expanding to meet the roles that we have engendered through our own behaviors and the behaviors of those we wish to (but can’t) banish from the “man club.”
As a thinking man, you have questioned your actions, your beliefs, your loyalties, and your very purpose in life in the past few months. This rationale is because the “perception” of men and manhood is highly tarnished. Our species is branded: war monger, pedophile, stalker, sexual predator, killer, racist, beast…while you may not be any of those specific things, it’s how we are seen in many instances. The fact of just being male has branded you a threat—and if you are a black male, you are a double threat.
Black men, unfortunately, have been used to this branding throughout our residence in the United States. We are perceived by sight as violent uncontrollable beasts who kill, maim, and especially rape—the Alt-Right White Supremacists love that last one. But from the appearance of things, the true perpetrators in modern society have been white males with power, though black men believe that by default your sheer whiteness gives you power we will never have by default of birth and the Black man’s through protective colorization. This does not apply to all White males. But like in the Black Community it’s not the good that you do, but the bad that you do that society and the media focus on. Welcome to what we have felt for a long long time.
All men now—white, black, innocent, and guilty—are tarnished with the sins of others and the sins (if we think back hard enough) you certainly have committed yourself. I can think of a few instances in my own life where people said, “oh boys will be boys” as an adult male that has been around the block a few times in retrospect, I certainly see where I could have behaved much much better.
Those of us who are not fully branded in the dark depths of famously infamous sexual predators, the “Nassar, Allen, Weinstein, Trump, and Spacey Boys Club,” are at risk because we have allowed the higher demons, those who use power, privilege, and brute strength to thrive within the construct of society unfettered, unchecked. We, Men, have allowed them to propagate and flourish as long as they presented the fake trappings of wealth, influence and power.
Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely. There is no one checking the stock on the store shelves and everyone is stealing. That’s why most men have been silent. I remembered that when these stories became public I chimed in on a few matters in my most politically correct way and got literally, verbally slashed by certain women, only one woman took the time to really say what we men could do, instead of just saying how callous and stupid we all are (believe me, most of us know we can be callous and stupid) for some of us it’s in the wiring. But, that’s not all of us.
There was a time when you had a fight with another man; whoever “won” would later see his losing opponent and show some sign of respect for a fight well fought, even if you lost. These days, if you beat someone in a fight you may fear that they will come back and shoot you or those you care about because they lost. Honor, chivalry, respect, and manhood are suffering at the hands of those who seek the spoils but forget the damage that is left in their wake. We have reached the tipping point because good men are afraid. Good men are double-checking their motives and actions in ways we never have.
All of us are borne from the woman; all species owe their presence and strength to feminine energy. Yet, as men, we have not protected any of our Mothers (Mother Earth, Mother, Woman, Sister) we have absorbed all that is corrupt and destructive about power and rule, yet we have failed to rule in love, decency, truth, and fairness. It is NOT the fault of the victim, the girls, young women, women, Mothers, Grandmothers and others whom we should revere. The fault lies with us and us alone because, in many instances, our gender RULES.
We are at a tipping point, the point where we men need to understand that we have not lived up to our role, the role bestowed upon us by nature, evolution, and by God, if you choose to believe there is one. We haven’t lived up to the world we promised to create because of our strength, our purpose of mind, our intellect and we have weakened out supposed right to rule. Our crown is one of thorns.
Think about the world that we have created: It isn’t safe for women at ANY age. It’s not even safe to send your daughters to university. Women are the first casualties in war (Myanmar), they are the first casualties of domestic violence (there is a reason why the police always check the spouse or significant other first). And the innocent…children are collateral damage. Gentlemen, we built this clusterfuck. And we have allowed it to fester unchecked.
What does the decent man do? How do we police our own? How do we protect and empower the women we cherish, the daughters we raise? Do you think the sexual predator thinks for one moment that their behavior is replicated by some other fiend on the very women in their own families? (No, narcissistic sociopaths only see what’s in front of them at any given time).
We Have been silent simply because we fear other men, we fear their strength, we fear their retribution. We are just as afraid as the victims. Because within the species we have lost on honor, respect, a sense of truth and justice. No one has allowed this to happen to us, but us.
We have been silent because we need to listen in order to let the gravity of what has occurred sink in. We have been forced to listen (if you are wise) and those of us who have not kept their mouth shut have been “called out” by women they have abused. There are so many skeletons in some men’s closets you can see the bones fall out of their mouths as they speak.
Only men can fix themselves because the first path to wellness is to admit we have the illness. Go to any AA meeting and you say your name followed by “and I am an alcoholic”. It’s no different for us. “Hi, my name is Frank (the group responds, “Hi, Frank!”), and I am a man that has failed to protect women in my life.” Notice the structure of that statement, it’s all women. If we are lucky in this process, women who care for us as men will guide us through their pain. Some of it will hurt, and rightfully so but our hurt, gentlemen, is nothing like theirs, so there is no defense that we can offer, there is no solution. There is only the time to listen, observe, repent, and ensure that on your watch, it never happens again. That is your job as a man.
If a woman is lying naked in a gutter, your only cause, your duty as a man is to call for the authorities. If a woman shows up at 3 a.m. to your hotel room, unless she is giving you enthusiastic consent—and you aren’t married or in a committed relationship with another person—you do not partake of her offering. If a woman is being accosted by another man in the street and you cannot take him, you call the authorities immediately. If you are at a frat party and a woman seems out of sorts or drugged and you see other men remove her from the room, you verify her safety and if you can’t do that? Call the authorities. You will get blowback in many of these instances. You may be ostracized by men whose approval you desired, you may be fired. But every woman in your life will support you.
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