How men who are victims can speak out
There are ways for men to speak about sexual harassment without being mocked by other men.
While women are afraid of being shamed and judged if they open up about sexual abuse or harassment, men are afraid of being ridiculed by their peers.
Nothing hurts more for a man to be made fun of by his friends because he is too ‘soft’ or a ‘crybaby’. They would rather suffer in silence than speak to someone about what they are going through.
This attitude has stopped many men from speaking up about sexual harassment or molestation from peers, superiors, lovers and even spouses. The hurt, pain and confusion are bottled up inside till it becomes toxic.
"The ways society denies men who’ve been assaulted the space to heal, or even the right to be seen and acknowledged, are numerous — and often directly tied to the way our society defines masculinity" wrote Alex Blank Millard for The Establishment.
"Not only does the experience of sexual violence diminish one’s manhood, but due to the deeply ingrained societal ideals of toxic masculinity, the way one is permitted to talk about it is so limited that even just naming the experience is often deemed weak" she further wrote.
"As men, we should talk about our experiences, be it with sexual assault, gender stereotypes, domestic violence, or any other issues we face. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, I’ve spent a lot of my career writing about them" wrote Skylar Baker-Jordan for Independent UK in October 2017.
Baker-Jordan as a gay man highlighted why it is necessary for men to speak about their experiences. While this is ideal, it might still be a long time before men come out in public and talk about these issues but there are ways for them to express themselves without the fear of them looking weak or soft.
Men who are going through sexual harassment or have experienced it can talk to a very close friend. This should not be a random friend that you met a viewing centre. It should be a close friend who has known you for quite a while and will listen to you without judgement or reservations.
Talking to a close friend eases the tension a bit and helps you unburden some of that mental load that you have been carrying out for a while.
Apart from speaking to a close male friend, you can also talk to a female friend. Women are more sympathetic to these things and the average woman has faced more sexual harassment than a man.
Another option is to speak to a professional. Guidance counsellors and psychiatrist are professionally equipped to handle what you are going through. They don’t come free but it is better to pay and get good mental health than to suffer in silence.
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