Men in Sheffield, it’s time to speak out about sexual harassment

I am a man, and I am sick of male predatory behaviour towards women

The last week has been hard-hitting. My social media has rightfully been covered with women sharing their views on sexual harassment following the death of Sarah Everard. Some have reposted statistics and shared quotes. Others have bravely opened up about their own experiences and relived personal traumas, such as these brave Sheffield students who told The Tab about their experiences.

I am incredibly fortunate to surround myself with female friendship groups, but this sadly comes with having to experience the frightening behaviour they face on a daily basis. Men slowing down in their cars to shout derogatory and misogynistic comments at women as they walk along the street and the constant need to move around the club to avoid a man after a girl has clearly said they are not interested, to name just a few.

All girls deserve better

I find myself incredibly defensive when I go out with my friendship group. I’m constantly looking over my shoulder and observing groups of men, watching as they motivate each other to walk up to groups of girls and persist in conversation.

I watch as my friend ignores the man the first time he gyrates against her on the dancefloor. I watch as my friend has to physically remove a man off her body and snap in his face on the third time he is rejected. I watch the man become incredibly abusive to the point club security have to step in and remove the man as he shouts abuse and threatens us all.

This is the common narrative of almost every girl’s night out and it never gets easier.

Why should women have to decline a man more than once if they are simply not interested? Why are so called ‘friends’ of these boys so silent when their friends are pushing themselves onto women?

Enough is enough

If your male friend is acting out of order, you need to speak up, regardless of whether it makes you look like you’re ‘spoiling the fun’.

If you are present during an unwanted greeting, if you keep quiet when the word rape is used comically, if you don’t speak up and tell your male friend that grinding on women in a club without consent is wrong, your silence is complicit with their actions.

I was enraged to see the hashtag #notallmen trending on Twitter whilst women shared their constant worries about predatory behaviour online. I am very aware and know that I will never harm a woman myself but, when it’s dark and a woman is walking alone and does not know me, my male presence is still alarming because of other men’s alternative motives.

Women are very much aware that it is ‘not all men’ that carry out this behaviour, but when harassment is normalised, repetitive, and women have to carry keys between their fists on their way home because it’s unclear whether they are safe or not, it is time to listen and see just how many men carry out these horrific ways.

Now, it is the time to find your voice and make it known that you STAND WITH women and STAND AGAINST sexual harassment. Share statistics and quotes from women on your social media. Educate yourself on what women go through almost every day. Call out your male friends when you seem this disgusting behaviour taking place.

Staying silent during these times speaks louder volumes than you can imagine.

Any female you know could have been Sarah. It’s time to speak out.

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