March 17, 2021

69. It's Not #NotAllMen Until It's #NoMen: My Response Sarah Everard

69. It's Not #NotAllMen Until It's #NoMen: My Response Sarah Everard

As the host of a masculinity podcast, I feel it is bring more men into the conversation regarding Sarah Everard and male allyship. This is not a problem that will go away unlee we bring more men into the conversation and help them see that it's not #notallmen until it's #nomen.

In this episode you will hear:

  • An overview of the Sarah Everard case
  • Public commentary and research on this issue
  • Why this is a problem in all social groups
  • The whistleblower effect
  • Why #notallmen is bullshit but also why I need to empathize with them
  • What continued allyship looks like

Here are some resources for you to check out as well:

This will only change once we educate ourselves on the problem and ADMIT that there's a problem.

As always, shoot me a message on Instagram @theimperfectpod or email me at Luke@theimperfectpod.com if you want to continue the conversation.

Transcript

Luke: [00:00:00] Hello everybody and welcome back to another episode of the imperfect pod. This week I have decided to change it up a bit in light of the situation with Sarah Everard. I'm going to use this episode to discuss male allyship, the actions that have taken place over the last week, some of the comments as well, and, and really just share some thoughts on the situation.
[00:00:28] I shared some on my Instagram, but thought I should do one that's more formulated. One more thought out on this podcast because this does directly relate to a lot of the content conversations that I've had. And I feel like I owe it to myself and my audience and the women in my life to facilitate this conversation.
[00:00:49] And if it happens to help with just one, man, then I am good with it. I'm going to talk about the situation itself, some of the context around it, and then close off with some resources that you might find helpful if you're a man struggling with this whole conversation as well. So in terms of the actual issue itself I'm going to go over the events of the Sarah Everard case. And so on the evening of 3rd of March, 2021, Sarah Everard disappeared in South London. She went missing after leaving a friend's house on her walk home.
[00:01:23] On March 9th, Wayne Couzens, a metropolitan police officer with parliamentary and diplomatic protection unit was arrested on suspicion of Everard's kidnapping and later on suspicion of her murder. On March 10th, her remains were discovered in Woodland, near Ashford, Kent. He was charged with kidnapping and murder two days later.
[00:01:43]She's believed to have walked across the common on route to her home. She spoke to her boyfriend on her mobile phone for about 15 minutes and agreed to meet him the next day. She was last seen on doorbell and CCTV footage later that night. Her boyfriend contacted the police on 4th of March after she did not meet him. And on March 10th, police searched Woodland area near the, uh, Kent area and found human remains in a large bag. 
[00:02:10] Everard's body was identified through dental records. So that's a little bit about the scenario itself. If you're not familiar, it was all over Twitter and the universe and the blogosphere  last week. And in light of that conversation, a lot of men were very angry. A lot of women were very angry, but for very, very different reasons, it seemed. So for context, a recent survey from UN women, UK reports that among women age 18 to 24 97% said that they had been sexually harassed while 80% of women of all ages said they experienced sexual harassment in the public plus space.
[00:02:47] Now, from what I saw anywhere, it wasn't really easy to see how they defined sexual assault, but I mean, or sexual harassment, sorry. The street talk, the catcalling is sexual harassment men. I don't know what you want to define as sexual harassment, but that  shit is sexual harassment. And you know, if it can happen to someone like Sarah, And if it can be perpetuated by a police officer, the, the, the  actual assailant in this case is a police officer so even ties in how corruptive a system that is. And if the attack is seemingly random, then it can happen to any woman anywhere at any time, Everard's killing helps produce and reinforce a sense that the threat of gender violence is everywhere. And if it's a police officer who is doing this. And they're the people that are supposed to protect the victims of these cases.
[00:03:40] I mean, there's case after case, after case of these, these reports being brought to the police and the police doing nothing. And can you imagine I saw somewhere, I'm not sure how true it is, but I did see claims that this same police officer had reports against him previously, and the cops did nothing and I'm going to get more into the psychology of that in a bit. So it's just stay with me. But that is a really important issue that I want to talk about on this episode too. So there is studies as well that men are primarily responsible for violence against women and girls, all men, including those who are not perpetuating violence or abuse, have a responsibility to play a part in helping to end it.
[00:04:17] That was a quote from an article. I believe I read, I forget who it was. I'm really sorry about that. I just read it in passing and couldn't find it when I tried to return. And it's true. And I saw a lot of comments coming at these ideas that, you know, men were saying to women when women were saying that they, they are terrified of men.
[00:04:36] A lot of men were saying, you know, I'm also terrified, but we're terrified of men. We like, we are terrified of men and there's a whole Jackson Katz quote, Jackson Katz if you're listening, I don't know if you are, but I would love to have you on the show sometime as well because your Ted talk is amazing, but in his Ted talk, he says this" 
[00:04:54] "we talk about how many women were raped last year. Not about how many men raped women. We talk about how many girls in a school district were harassed last year, but not how many boys harass girls. We talk about how many teenage girls got pregnant in the state of Vermont, rather than how many men and teenage boys got girls pregnant.  So you can see how this use of passive voice has a political effect. It shifts the focus off men and boys and onto girls and women. Even the term violence against women is problematic. It has a passive construction. There is no active agent in the sentence. It's a bad thing that happens to women. But when you look at the term violence against women, nobody is doing it to them. It just happens. Men aren't even part of it." 
[00:05:33] So that's the end of the quote, but the whole idea and concept around that is that violence against women just sounds like it happens, right? If you're talking about  violence against women. The assumption is that men do it, but it takes away that agent, it takes away that subject. It takes away that assailant from the conversation. And so when we, this is why language matters and the language that we use matters when we talk about problems, it matters when we talk about how to overcome the challenges that we have, because if we talk about how many women were raped, well... how many men raped women?
[00:06:08] That's a very much more important question to ask in the conversation than it is to talk about how many women were raped. Because that number is atrocious and it should be lowered. But the problem is the men. The problem is the number of men that are walking around feeling and getting away with the rape that happens.
[00:06:28] And so a lot of this conversation about that took place over the last week really came to light for me when I read Chanel Miller's book, "Know my Name" Chanel Miller is the victim of Brock Turner. And I've had women my whole life. I have two sisters, a lot of my friends are women and I I've always been taught to walk women home if I can.
[00:06:51] So I've always offered to do that growing up. I've had calls with my friends as they've walked home because they don't feel safe at certain times, or they feel like a man might be following them. I've had these types of conversations with women. I, I hope it's because I am someone that they feel safe enough to have those conversations around.
[00:07:10] Because a lot of these guys don't, or, a lot of guys, I know don't have these conversations with women. And typically it's not because women aren't facing these problems, it's that the men in their life haven't shown that they're an ally in the situation. They haven't shown that they're mature enough or capable enough to have those conversations that it, that the women actually feel safe discussing it with their friends.
[00:07:31] Almost every woman I've talked to has had moments like this, whether it's in the club, whether it's on the streets, whether it's something where a man comes up and touches them or harasses them without asking for consent or without even the idea of the woman's safety before. And I believe I haven't done it in my heart.
[00:07:53] I don't know if that's true or not. I can speak to myself that I've seen how some of the language I've or, or actions I've done in the past have been a little bit might come across, across as creepy, but now it's like when I'm on the street, I try to cross the street or, or I try to walk by them quickly or try to say, you know, let them know that I'm there and trying to walk by.
[00:08:16] And I'm never trying to follow at a consistent distance because it typically I walk faster. And so my last thing that I want to do is scare women. So I am more,  more conscious of that in my day to day, or at least I was when I was walking around downtown every day, but I wanted to read probably a page and a half from Chanel Miller's book about this whole situation.
[00:08:38] Um, and her experiences with this type of, of street harassment, because it, it did actually fully changed the way I saw it because she brings in her boyfriend into the conversation and his reaction to it. So I'm going to read from Chanel Miller's book now. Um, so speaking from Chanel's Miller's perspective, 
[00:08:58] "I walked an average of six miles a day, taking myself to parks, movie theaters, bookstores intent on discovering my new land. No matter where I went, the same thing kept happening. At first, there was an older man who nodded and said, good morning, beautiful. And I turned to see who he was addressing until I realized it was me. Confused, I said, good morning before even deciding if I should have said anything at all, be kind to the elderly.
[00:09:20] A bald man said, Hey, pretty girl, you sure are pretty his smiles spread slowly as his face was unzipping. And I replied, thank you. These remarks peppered my walks as common as birds in the trees. Strange men asking me, how are you and me responding? Fine. How are you? The comments felt too subtle to be consequential, like a tiny Thumbtack inserted into a thick tire.
[00:09:40] I sometimes beraded myself for being too friendly for the, for the way I smiled back too quickly. When a man honked at me, I instinctively instinctively waived. My default was to mirror every greeting, but I realized, I didn't know the honking man that I hardly knew anyone in the state and wouldn't need to wave next time.
[00:09:56] No waving. No thank you. No good morning. I told myself. I began avoiding certain streets. If I was spoken to going one way, I come back a different way and find myself winding around many different blocks. I trained myself to tuck my head, avoid eye contact, feeling invisible. Instead of strolling looking up at this trees, I walked with unwavering conviction or star down or stare down at my feet.
[00:10:19] Once a man started walking next to me and said, can I walk with you? I began walking faster. Let me walk with you. As his feet kept pace with mine, I just shook my head, my hands gripping the handles of my backpack, waiting for him to fall back. Some men would be offended. I didn't respond one man saying I'm just trying to start your day right. But the compliments didn't feel like compliments. When my body language communicated I didn't want to be looked at. 
[00:10:42]And so she started to record these instances and she sent one to her boyfriend and he says, how often does this happen? Every day she said, he asked if I, if I ever needed a car, he would pay for me to rent one.
[00:10:56] She said, I enjoyed walking. It was only a way to notice  everything and take in the surroundings. Another time when it happens, and she sends the video to Lucas and he called her and he said, I need you to rent a car. I'll pay for it. I don't put it off. Go today. If they're open and she responds, okay, I'll go.
[00:11:14] Then he says, thank you. And don't send me any more videos. I can't watch them. These guys make me too angry. She responded with okay. And went back to work and sat on her bed. I felt like I had done something wrong, upsetting him by sending them. It also seemed like he said, if they're bothering you while walking, why are you still walking?
[00:11:31] Putting the onus basically on her, the victim. It didn't feel like a solution at all. They'd force me to seal myself off in a car and I didn't want to give up my sidewalks. I called Lucas back. That's not fair. I said, I just want to walk home from school. I'm not doing anything wrong. I should be able to. You can walk anywhere you want. It's not fair that you get to unsubscribe from these videos, you get to turn off the feed, you get to see it selectively. I don't have that option to decide not to live it. I'm trying to show you what it's like for me, it doesn't matter what I do. It doesn't matter why, what I wear, how I act. It's the constant harassment. I have no money for a car. And even if I did, I enjoy walking, I want to keep walking." 
[00:12:09] And so that is the excerpt of the book that I wanted to read, because it did change my entire perspective because of this problem, because it brought her boyfriend into the issue. And I can remember there's times when I've told women in my life, you know, I don't want to hear about that anymore because it angers me.
[00:12:29] And it's the same, same thing that a lot of people say about black lives matter. It's the same thing a lot of people talk about racism. It's. As a white person as a man, you can typically unsubscribe. You can say this doesn't matter to me, I'm blocking him, but those people still have those lived experiences.
[00:12:46] And that was the first time it really was framed in that context for me, I don't get to unsubscribe because those women don't get to unsubscribe. They go to go, they have to go through every day and the least we can do as male allies is to support them through it is to try to change the way that we as individuals and the, in the men, in our lives act about those situations.
[00:13:07] And this kind of comes into calling out behavior in groups and how it's not easy. You know, human psychology exists in groups because we want to fit in and we want to be noticed. We want to be accepted. We are a climatized to growing up that the whistleblower is the one who gets in trouble in almost every situation, whether it's in sports, whether it's in the family, whether it's in work, you know, exposing a senior coworker at work for harassment.
[00:13:33] Typically, if they've been there for a long time, they're good. They get protected and so do they, they say so to you, because if it doesn't come out that you're protecting them as well. It's always this duality of, of, well, if we're protecting them, we're also protecting you. Like they're the good guys when really, they just want to protect their self and their own word. And they don't want to get involved with a long process. You know, police officers expo exposing a violent officers. There's record upon record upon record of police officers who call out their own that are then either kicked out or moved or transferred from that group and then they're not seen as one of the pack. 
[00:14:10] In sports, the same thing, you know, what happens in the locker room stays in the locker room. It doesn't matter who's hurt, it doesn't matter who's available or who is part of the problem. Those problems stay in the locker room because they can control them internally. But really that just means that they want to control the narrative. 
[00:14:27] In families you know, if there's a history of an adult or an uncle or a family member sexually assaulting another one of the family members, people often do their best to protect the assailant rather than the victim themselves, which is a way to say, Oh yeah, we really want to do our best to protect the family. Like we want to protect the family name, but by doing that, they're not protecting the victim. They're protecting the assault assaulter. 
[00:14:55] And that is a huge problem that we have in almost every social class in almost every community that we operate in is this idea of group think group behavior, because again, we've been conditioned and brought up our entire lives that even though we know the right thing is to do is to call out that act, calling out that act is not something that gets rewarded in the general public in the day-to-day lives in the every day decisions that we make. It's almost never, ever rewarded to be the whistleblower.
[00:15:28] Never. And so we're told one thing, it's one of those things where we're told one thing, but the actual result is everything else. And so we then become have this idea growing up from childhood that we can't call out our friends. We can't call out our communities that we exist in, because if we do that, then we'd be seen as the enemy and we lose a hundred people and yet you're lonely and no one ever wants to be lonely.
[00:15:53] And that's what I think a lot of this happens and it happens, you know, as I said, work, police sports families. And so it's not a male trait. It is a human trait. But the pro power and the assaulters are typically men. And there are way more likely to commit violent crime as I'll get into in a bit. But a lot of this, you might be thinking now, not all men are bad, not all men are bad and it's really not about not all men. Like it really isn't that, all that concept of not all men. And there were some great responses to it. You know, it's not all men, but that doesn't matter. It's enough men. Huge. I liked that one a lot. And. I'm not sure who needs to hear this feminist don't hate men. Many feminists are men. 
[00:16:42]And Justin Baldoni had a great, great a Twitter thread about it too, that I'm currently scrolling to find. And, um, here it is "for God's sakes fellows. If, if women are feeling unsafe, Instead of getting angry or defending yourself by saying not all men claiming to be a good guy, just fucking listen. They aren't making this stuff up. I don't know any men who think twice about their safety while moving through the world who carry rape whistles and alarms on their keys, who put their keys between their fingers or who text their friend on the license plate of the Uber before getting in? Who makes sure they're correct. Key is out and ready long before they get to the house or a car who only parking well lit areas at night and hide pepper spray in their purse car gym bag and house. This list goes on for multiple threads, but the fact remains. And so instead of saying not all men, when we hear women share, we should just shut up, listen and respond with empathy and compassion while acknowledging that the issue isn't that not all men are bad guys or rapists, but that far too many women will be raped in their lifetime by men. It's not on women to fix this. It's on men." 
[00:17:45] And this is a great way of summarizing it. And there's a lot of responses from the men saying that, you know, I have been worried about my safety, but again, are you worried about your safety from other women or are you worried about your safety from other men?
[00:18:04] Oh, it's violent crime. You know, it's not, we shouldn't be worried of men. We should be worried of violent crime. Again, many of the perpetrators of violent crime are men. So it's fair enough to be afraid of, of men in my opinion. And it's a logical response. And I have an episode with Mike Cameron episode number 40, where we talk a little bit about not all men, because I actually came from this conversation of not all men thinking and I used to get really defensive about it.
[00:18:32] And I, so I have two ways of thought about this one, not all men. I empathize with the men who see that that's not an, a who are turned off by that comment, I guess. They don't feel included in the conversation that they don't feel it's about them or for them, or they don't feel involved. To that I say, you know, I understand where you're coming from, but let's look at the data here.
[00:18:57] Let's look at all the statistics. Not all men is not about saying that all men are bad. Like a lot of us have bad characteristics and bad traits within us and we are capable of bad action. But the fact is, and the fact remains that most men who commit these crimes in these violent acts are men. So it makes sense then to be weary of men and to be wanting to keep yourself safe.
[00:19:20] So those are the two ways I come about it. And that's why I'm like, you know, not all men as great as a summarization idea as it is, it does make it hard to go to those men and help them see a little bit more of the light and the conversation that they need to be part of. They need to feel a part of it. 
[00:19:39] At the same time as much as I'm empathetic to that, I still think that their ideas and their opinions are mostly bullshit. And so I try to be that middleman of empathizing with them because it's not on women to empathize with that #notallmen idea. It's up to me to get men over and speak to them neutrally, to help them see that #notallmen is not a helpful way of talking about the situation.
[00:20:03] And oftentimes men will say, This only in response to women's issues. Only when men have been called out for being aggressive for being assaulters for being violent do they feel like they have to protect themselves. But if you're secure with who you are, you shouldn't have to protect yourself. You should be willing to listen, be willing to empathize, be willing to have compassion for these moments.
[00:20:28] You know, a lot of people will say, well, we're taught to have fear. That's true. I do agree that as a society, we. Are better off than we've ever been. And we are taught to have fear, but so many of these cases go unreported that, looking at a lot of the data about, Oh, it's not as bad as we think really isn't a good part of the conversation to have it really doesn't help because according to the Bureau of justice statistics, Males experience higher victimization rates then females for all types of violent crime except rape or other sexual assault. In 2014, more than 73% of those arrested in the U S were males and men accounted for 80.4% of persons attacked for violent crime.
[00:21:14] So yeah, men have been saying I've been scared to walk a lot alone in the dark too. Yes. Because of other men, not because of women. In 2011 arrest data from the FBI "males constituted 98.9% of those rested for forcible rape, 87.9% of those arrested for robbery. 85% of those arrested for burglary 83%. For those arrested for arson 82 for vandalism, 82 for motor vehicle theft and 80% of offenses against family and children".
[00:21:46] So. I mean, the data is very much there and it's probably higher than in a lot of these cases might realistically show. And so yes, if you, as a man have been afraid to walk the streets, you're afraid of men, which is still a gendered issue. It's still because of men are too violent in a lot of situations, which comes down to a lot of things. I think the idea that we're growing up in a way that we can't cry is way too oversimplified, as I've talked about in some past episodes, but again, it is a problem that men face. So it's not all men, but most of the crimes are committed by men. So maybe we could say all crimes or most crimes are committed by men.
[00:22:26] Something that maybe is a little bit less offensive to you, but it's statistically backed up. I don't know what you want, but this is the truth for it. And so what continued allyship looks for me in, in the sense of this is. Often it was the impact of, and this is a quote from a article from Yahoo I think "often it was the impact of hearing from women in their lives, which initiated a process of awakening. In some cases, it was witnessing other men's violence or learning about the experiences of someone close to them. This moment can be an opportunity for men to become allies." So when I look at the situation, I think, okay, this is a clear problem. I've been able to so be impacted by the women in my own life, in reading of the books, in encompassing myself with more diversity and experiences in my own life. 
[00:23:14] How can I bring, how can I do myself a service to other men and bring them into the conversation? How can I help other men realize this, these problems in society, without waiting until they have a daughter? Because one of the things that often happens is that men are, for whatever reason, don't see these problems until they have a daughter, which for most people is like 25, 26, 27, maybe even mid thirties, maybe they never even have a daughter.  Why is that the agent that gets you to change? Why is having one, the thing that gets your mind to change rather than just listening to the women in your life. What is it about that moment? And I understand you, you can't really understand it until you go through it, but you still have women in your life, right?
[00:24:01] Like you still have those moments, those ideas, those stories from the people that you love that have been through moments like this. Why are you waiting until you have a daughter to be proactive or not even proactive? If you have, why aren't you being proactive so that when you have a daughter, you can set them up and, and parent in a way that you can communicate these issues or have these conversations where you're more educated on them than before? 
[00:24:27] So I think, you know, there's a lot of things that play into this and I just, I don't, I honestly don't know if anyone is still here listening 26 minutes in ish that I hope this did something for you. I hope this helps you reflect a little bit on it. I hope I said something in here that allows you to understand that the problem is much bigger than we think, and that you do need to become an ally in this situation. You do need to become an ally in this conversation. 
[00:24:59] If you're looking for more resources or episodes, where I talk about this problem more in depth. I do, I have done an episode 40, as I mentioned with Mike Cameron, episode 51 with Jake Stika. Awesome podcast about how patriarchy and how we can get men and boys to cause less harm and feel less pain. And, and that's a really important message that I think a lot of us need to hear in this time, uh, episode, I didn't write down the episode numbers, unfortunately, but episode 54, ending domestic violence with Louis Wagner, she was a rape victim and we talk a lot about how we can train young children to see and, and understand these experiences a bit more. 
[00:25:47]Episode 48, why men to think positively about feminism with Regina Hansen. So those are four episodes that I think are really positive. Episode 63 with, uh, Liz plank is also a really good one where we talk about a lot of these issues. If you're looking for episodes for me, that we talk about it also Canadian women.org. If you're in Canada, UN women.org, uh, What are we doing to end violence against women facts and figures the hotline we taught that there's a great article there that talks about domestic violence. 
[00:26:18] But overall, there are a lot of resources out there, but I think the best one is to listen to the women in your lives. To sit down, understand, speak with them about these issues about these problems and become an ally. Show yourself, call out your friends, you know, or call in your friends as Jake Stika would say. Use your power influence and privilege as a man or however you want to look at it, to get us to the point where we can say #nomen, which I think is what Mike Cameron talks about in my episode.
[00:26:51] Anyways, thank you again for listening to this episode. Bit different this week, as I mentioned conversations with myself, but, um, again, feel free to message me luke@theimperfectpod.com.
[00:27:02]Follow me on Instagram at the imperfect pod. Um, And I'll link some of the resources that I mentioned and some of the tweet, tweet threads in the description of this podcast as well. But yeah, I'll, I'll have be having another episode about this soon, cause I'll be talking to a man who experienced and faced sexual assault from another man.
[00:27:25] And I hope to tie in some of the themes of this conversation that, that we had today into that, that episode. So that's going to be coming out the end of March or beginning of April. I don't know the dates right now, but it'll be coming out in the next couple of weeks and stick around for that.
[00:27:40] So press follow, subscribe on all streaming platforms and I'll talk to you soon.