How can men support #metoo victims?

We've seen women posting on social media about sexual abuse and harassment through #metoo. And now many wonder how they can show their support to victims.

We've seen women posting on social media about sexual abuse and harassment through #metoo.

It initially came in response to the assault allegations against film executive Harvey Weinstein, but now has grown to be so much bigger.

And those who haven’t been victims -- many who are men -- wonder how they can help. How can they support the women and victims in their life?

"First and foremost is believing someone if they come forward to say that they've been harassed or assaulted, that is the most important action anyone can take,” said Coni Huntsman Stogner, vice president of Prevention and Community Service at SAFE.

According to Stogner, the #metoo movement is helpful to start conversation and to let survivors know they're not alone, including male victims.

"I know that I am seeing a lot of male survivors or harassment and sexual assault also posting on Facebook to say 'me too,' and I think it's important we recognize this does happen to men and women," Stogner said.

She said it’s also highlighted the spectrum of sexual aggression, from harassment to assault.

But, if you haven’t been a victim of harassment or assault, she doesn’t recommend a post using the hashtag #metoo, even if you’re just trying to support.

"I personally don't think it would be appropriate to post 'me too' if you haven't experienced that, cause that's sort of the spirit of it to say that, 'Me too, I have experienced this personally,'” Stogner said.

Some posters are now using new hastags like #himthough or #itwasme, as a way to shift the conversation.

"I know that some men are choosing to post that they have participated in the behavior in the past, and they are seeing this is an opportunity to reflect on this behavior in a hope to behave differently and act differently in the future,” Stogner said. "Sometimes this is viewed as a women's issue and it's absolutely not, it's all of our issue. I think it's so important that we shift the conversation about what someone did or didn't do to get raped, to why someone's raping in the first place. Why someone was harassed to why someone was harassing in the first place?"

Stogner also said men can help by stepping up to stop any harassment you may see around you.

"One thing that male allies can do is really be courageous bystanders, and step up when they see someone being harassed, or pressured, or bullied," Stogner said.

Ted Rutherford from the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault said it's important for men to hold each other accountable.

He also said it’s important for men to recognize a problem, and to not be defensive.

But Stogner said if people don’t want to post at all, that’s okay, too.

"I think it's wonderful that so many survivors are coming forward, but I think it’s really important that we respect that some survivors may choose not to post, and that we need to honor that, and let the survivor deal with the trauma in their own way,” Stogner said.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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