Opinion: Men need to take a bigger role in fighting sexual assault

Drew Taylor

Over the past few weeks, we’ve heard about the rampant sexual harassment and abuse in the entertainment industry. From people like film producer Harvey Weinstein to comedian Louis CK or actor Kevin Spacey, the industry is rocked by allegations of all sorts of terrible behavior.

It feels especially worse when such powerful people are doing these things.

Obviously, exposing these people for their appalling behavior is great news. People who do such heinous acts should not be in any sort of position of power, whether it’s in entertainment, politics or business.

 However, I have consistently seen a problem that disappoints me.

There is a stunning lack of male allies in the entertainment industry speaking out against those who harass and abuse others. I’m not talking about those who speak out “as a father” or “as a brother,” but someone who speaks out against the abuse simply because they know it is wrong.

It is especially disappointing because of how many seem to have known about these things for so long and decided to look the other way.

I am aware that the industry is designed to look the other way. If an actor brings money to a movie studio, usually they will be fine with the actor’s terrible behavior.

But that does not mean that they are not at fault. Others who are complacent with the behavior are just encouraging it and standing aside as more people become victims. Anybody who laughed off such acts or knew about them and brushed them off without a second thought deserve some blame.

I don’t think this is exclusive to Hollywood or the entertainment industry, either. Men should call out harassment and abuse in all aspects of life. Whether that is in a workplace setting or just a group of friends, it should not be allowed. It just normalizes terrible behavior that makes women uncomfortable and, in many cases, scared.

I know that there are many people who will hear this and will try to claim that “harassment and abuse” are not exclusive to men. There will also be many who will point out that men are also victims of sexual harassment. Both these things are completely true.

However, it would also be false to claim that men are not predominantly the cause of the issue. It should not seem like a personal slight towards men to admit that. The right thing to do is recognize the problem and fight it. If you want to prove that not all men are like this, don’t just say it, show it.

I hope that more powerful people are exposed for their despicable behavior instead of continuing with the “old boys club” mentality.

Men, it starts with us. Let’s be allies against abuse and harassment instead of shaking it off and ignoring it. 

Drew Taylor is a columnist. Contact him at [email protected].