It had to be us

Stop and think about it for minute: Every woman I know has said “me, too” in the last few days. In fact, it appears that every woman on FB has said, “me, too.”

That’s a lot of awful treatment of millions of women. And it was not all done by Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Donald Trump, and three or four other guys.

Most of us men have to be responsible for some part of it. Who else is there?

Some of us may have only engaged in or tolerated the repulsive, slut-shaming that was common place when I was in college. Some of us may have asked for sex in ways that were unfair or pressured. (My book on sexuality got its start my junior year in college when I recognized that the sexual revolution gave men seeking unattached sex a new way to badger women into having sex that they really didn’t want.) Some of us may have talked to or leered at or touched women inappropriately. And some others of us may have run out the door after sex. Some of us may have kept harassing women long after it was clear they were not interested or used our power or position or force in pursuing sex with women. (And as I learned from a variety of sources including the interviews I did for my book, a lot of us were very selfish in how we had sex with women even when it was wanted.)

Whatever degree of inappropriate or wrongful behavior we are talking about, it is men alive in America today who mistreated women by doing these things. Or by condoning it or laughing about it or leaving our female friends unprotected when it happened.

Whatever we did, and whether we did it out of ignorance, awkwardness, fear, misjudgment, or malice, I know it’s painful to look back and think about it. But we have to do so and admit it and learn from it.

Because we did it.

It couldn’t have been anyone else.

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