i go outside

and sit on the top step in front of my apartment

and look around…

taking in the sights

listening to the noise

a family preparing for a celebration across the street

the sound of a car backfiring, further down the road

a laugh, an ambulance siren, a child’s excited scream, the sound of two cats fighting, the music starting up

and all seems normal

this all feels right and good

i pause and take it all in…

 

[time passes]

 

i move indoors

and sit in front of my laptop computer

and look around…

taking in the tweets

listening amidst the noise

and somehow stumble upon a hashtag

that might appear like any other hashtag

but somehow does not

 

a community trying desperately to rise above the silence and find and use their voices to start sharing their stories #YesAllWomen

a community responding with defensiveness, parody and even outright aggression #YesAllMen

a community for the most part meaning well but demonstrating a complete missing of the point #YesAllPeople

 

“Because I get more hate and looks for wearing shorts than men get from each other for sexual assault.” #YesAllWomen

“Handyman came to house to fix a door. 50% of my brain was on escape plan if he tried to attack me.” #YesAllWomen

“When a man says no in this culture, it’s the end of a discussion. When a woman says no, it’s the beginning of a negotiation.” #YesAllWomen

“Because when star high school athletes rape a teenage girl, the headline is about their ruined careers and not her messed up life.” #YesAllWomen

“Because what men fear most about going to prison is what women fear most about walking down the sidewalk.” #YesAllWomen

 

as i read and i read and try to make sense of it all

the list just seems to go on and on and on

this all seems like it is their normal

and there is nothing good and right about this

i pause and try to take it all in

 

[days pass]

 

here i am once more

i sit in a state of deep thought and confusion and sadness

and look inside…

taking in the search

listening for a sound

a sound of hope

a whisper of change

the hint of possibility

sign of a better thing to come

but still the melody plays on…

 

for all the nights I’ve walked home with my keys poking out of my knuckles #YesAllWomen

for the meaningless goodbye call of ‘Text me when you arrive there #YesAllWomen

for the fear she has when she is the only other person in the elevator even though he is in uniform #YesAllWomen

for the need she feels to quicken her pace when she realises the person walking behind her is a man #YesAllWomen

 

For every single female friend and relative of mine who has been abused or threatened in any way #YesAllWomen

For every lewd suggestionand comment my wife had to listen to on the way to work any time she walked by herself #YesAllWomen

For the time my wife had to beg two guys sitting in their car to get out and help her when he was harrassing her on the street #YesAllWomen

For every cringeworthy male and female response i have been unfortunate to read this last week by those who don’t ‘get’ it #YesAllWomen

 

[more time]

 

once more, here i am

i am a man

i feel the legacy of a system i have in part inherited

i sense the responsibility i have to shape, fashion and change what i witness around me

but also the importance of me not leading the struggle or revolution

for that requires a woman’s voice

that cries out for women’s voices

but perhaps i can in part show support

in part do my best to draw attention to the importance of this conversation

in part try my best to call for some measure of quiet among the frenzy of messed up misunderstanding and oppositional blabber

i can model and speak up and challenge and inspire and refuse to be drawn in and help and walk away from and intervene

and i can write and point and show and tell and hope and pray and teach and sing

and i can be. and be well.

 

and until, collectively, we can figure out what do to

how to move forward

how to see this change in action

until such a time…

 

together we can hold hands and walk tall and cheer each other on

looking forward together

towards a new normal

one that feels right and good

 

for all.

 

but until that time, #YesAllWomen

 

[by brett Fish anderson, @brettfisha]

[To read my original post explaining why this is so important for men to be paying attention to, click here]

 

 

 

 

 

 

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