A Locker Room Talk

Ok guys, bring it in.

What is going on out there? We’ve been terrible so far. I don’t know if you can hear what they’re saying, but it is not good. And I for one am sick of it.

Harvey. Donald. Bill. And Bill. Also Roger. And another Bill. Woody. Roman. Roy. Chris and Travis and Justin. Those are just the all-star creeps!

Then we’ve got all the back-ups. Chad. Eric. Randy. The guy at the bar last night. Your buddy from college. The weird dude who seems to be at every party. I mean the list just keeps going.

And what are we doing about it? Nothing. Most of us are doing nothing. And that’s the problem. We are sitting on the sidelines, warming the bench like passive bystanders, meanwhile giving our silent endorsement of sexism, misogyny, harassment and assault. We are sustaining the rape culture. Now I get that a lot of us do this as a means of self-preservation. We don’t condemn our buddy’s harassment of a woman on the street, because we’re scared he’ll call us a “pussy” if we do. And we join in when the guys brag about their sexual conquests, or discuss women as nothing more than a collection of parts, because we’re afraid they’ll call us a “fag” if we don’t.

But enough already. I thought men were supposed to be brave. Supposed to be tough. It’s time to step up. Who’s with me?

YEAH! Ok, here’s the game plan.

Let’s start by acknowledging the role we all have played in creating this culture of hostility and harm. I’m know I’m not the only one, but I have laughed at jokes that used women as the punchline. I have probably even told a few. In college, I generally turned a blind eye when senior guys gave sophomore girls loads of alcohol in the hopes of “hooking up” with them later. And, I once tried to make a woman feel guilty for rejecting my advances. I am ashamed of my behavior and regret those decisions, because I now recognize the harm that they cause. But, I don’t do that anymore.

So let’s commit to changing our behavior and making different decisions. When a woman says “no”, we’re going stop – the first time. No more convincing, coercing, begging, or badgering. It’s not a negotiation, she has the right not to like you. You got that Tony? And if Tony fumble this one, RJ and Desmond, I want to see you coming in fast with a double-team to remind him that harassing women is not cool. Got it? Same goes for the endless onslaught of lewd jokes and lascivious comments, alright? I want to see us really stepping up the pressure on these, knocking them down, intercepting, deflecting all of them. Let’s make it so hard for these things to land, that we force them to abandon the passing game.

Last thing, if a woman breaks through the line and discloses an assault, believe her. Even if she says it was one of our friends. Don’t tell her she was wrong. Don’t tell her he’s a really great guy and she just misunderstood. Don’t ask her what she’d been wearing, or how much she’d been drinking, or what she’d said to lead him on. Ask what she would like to do, and if she would like for you to help. She’s got the ball, so let her run with it. If she wants you to block for her, put your shoulders into it. But if all she needs is for you to listen, then take that helmet off and listen.

We can still win this, guys! Let’s do it together. “End RAPE” on three, ready? One, two, three…

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