Today was the March 4 Justice. Across Australia, thousands marched in support of women – demanding action from our government against sexual assault and standing in solidarity with those who have experienced it personally.
But where were the men?
Yes, there were men standing as allies with women at these marches. To those that made the effort to show up in support, we thank you. But this is the thing – we need allies if we are going to demand change. Even though we hold the majority when it comes to population, we live in a society that is heavily weighted against us. The only way we will affect real, lasting change is if we stop making this a women’s issue.
Because this is NOT a women’s issue. This is a men’s issue. It is men who are raping women. Men who are murdering their children and their wives. Men who are harassing women in the workplace. Men who perpetuate rape culture with how they speak and behave. We are the survivors, but men are the perpetrators.
The reason #NotAllMen is so damaging is because actually, it IS all men. It may not be your husband, but on average, one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner. It may not be your male colleague, but four out of every five harassers in the workplace are men. It may not be your boyfriend, but 69.7% of female sexual assault is perpetrated by someone known to the victim.
So yeah, it is actually all men.
Instead of arguing for their voices to be heard, for their name to remain untarnished, we need men to step up and be our allies. We want them at our rallies. We want them sharing our stories on social media. We want them to speak out when friends slut shame, cat call, make sexist jokes.
We want our male Prime Minister showing up at a rally that is protesting a culture of sexism. We want men in positions of power to throw the weight of their voices behind our causes.
And we want men to accept that while they themselves may never rape, assault, harass or murder a woman – there are plenty of other men like them, ones who appear to be honest, upstanding citizens, who do. Every goddamn day. Women aren’t just in danger of predators hiding around street corners at night, we’re in danger of predators who are “good” men. “Legends” amongst mates. “Heroes” in their footy teams. Men who send shock waves through their close circles when they murder their spouses or are revealed as rapists, because STILL no one can believe that this is a systemic MEN’s issue and these predators live among us, not in dark alleyways.
When men make this a women’s issue they just further ingrain the sexism we’re fighting against in the first place. So we ask you to stand up, stand beside us, and own this fight as your own.