Women’s Safety – It Belongs to All of Us

I believe in talking about ideas that matter and can help people lead better lives. It’s hard for me to think of anything that fits that description more than the issues this video deals with.

I’ve done my best, but I know it won’t be perfect. It’s not meant to be. I just want to begin the conversation in our community. I look forward to learning more from all of you as I go . . .

Let’s Continue the Conversation.
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Hey everyone. I wanted to set some context for the video that you’re about to watch, the purpose of which is to open up a conversation about male violence towards women and the kinds of everyday issues that women face when it comes to male behavior. This video was shot initially as a response to something that has been transpiring in the UK. Earlier this month, a woman, Sarah Everard, was abducted and murdered in London, and it began a nationwide conversation around the challenges and the issues that women face when it comes to men. So as you watch this video, you will no doubt sense the tone of it is really a reaction to that debate that was going on and even conversations that I’d—before I shoot a video like this, I have many conversations—I’d talked with women that are very close to me, the women in my company, to really understand what was going on for people during this.

So understand as you watch this video, it was shot in the heat of that moment. And that’s why we sat on it for a couple of weeks. We shot this a couple of weeks ago and Jameson and I sat with it because we didn’t want it to be reactionary. And we certainly didn’t want it to be a form of a virtue signaling or point scoring simply because something was fashionable to talk about in that moment. But having sat with it, we believe just as deeply, if not more so, that these issues are historic, and they’re timeless, and they need to be talked about whether the news cycle brings our attention to it or not. So I hope this sparks conversation for us all. This isn’t designed to be any kind of a final say. I’ve not been perfectly pitched in this video, I’m sure. I’m sure I’ve been clumsy or heavy handed in parts of it, but I hope that it does begin a conversation, which is the intention of it.

With that said, here’s the video. I look forward to reading your thoughts.

 

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So much to say in this video. I’ll get into it, because I don’t know where to start it. The murder of Sarah Everard has been this morbid, disgraceful, disturbing event that has sparked a widespread conversation about male violence towards women—and an even bigger conversation, outside of that, are not just direct male violence towards women, but the ways that men continue to make women feel, through their behaviors and the things that they do.

What we’ve seen over the last week is a big conversation start and then a roadblock that gets put in place when a hashtag like #NotAllMen starts to be put at the end of men’s posts because they’re desperate immediately to assert that they’re not part of the problem, that it’s not them who are responsible. And of course it’s extremely easy at that point to say we’re not responsible for someone who is a murderer or a rapist. To put us in the same category as them is a disgrace. And that becomes fuel for that argument #NotAllMen.

This is obviously seen immediately as a slap in the face by women who see it as just another moment when men, instead of listening and understanding what it is to be in that situation, what it is to have lived a life of constant acquiescences, constant maneuvering around the habits, the tendencies, the actions of men, constant living at a level of alert and hyper-vigilance for anything that could happen, even if it doesn’t happen . . . That instead of men listening to this, they’ve made it about them. They have halted the conversation before it’s even had a chance to begin because they’ve been too busy making sure that they’re not at fault to hear how half of the population is actually feeling.

Sometimes I think of these macro conversations as a representation, on a macro level, of what happens in a relationship between a couple—that it’s like person comes along and says that, “Something has really upset me today.” And the other half of the couple starts by saying, “Well, it wasn’t me.” And this person’s thinking, “Did you hear what I just said? I’m saying there’s something that’s deeply affecting me and always has perhaps. And your first response to that is, ‘It wasn’t me'”.

I, in this situation, try to do what I do in all of these kinds of situations, which is before I talk about it, I try to have as many conversations as I can with people who are actually affected by it, because true empathy is, in my opinion, the root to change. Empathy, unfortunately, is a word that gets stripped of its meaning, stripped of its potency, but if we can return to what is an extraordinarily powerful word in its origin and say, “How do we get to a place of greater empathy?”

And I can tell you, I’ve spent 14 years working with women in my career. And, still, this week having conversations with women that are targeted around this very specific area has bred more empathy in me, because I’m reacquainted with the futility that women face in dealing with these things. And by the way, let me just make this very clear: This is a video that’s for everyone, but I’m addressing my brothers, my fellow men here in this video. This is not a video where, ladies, I’m asking you to do a single thing, but perhaps share this with more men in your life. And I will also say, this is not a video where, for the men watching, I’m not coming to you on a pedestal in any way, I’m not coming to you righteously. I’m coming to you as a companion on this journey, because this is not a time for a certain group of men to stand up and be all righteous and use it to virtue signal about how great they are in comparison to other men. That’s theater.

What I want is a genuine dialogue, a genuine conversation, where we can explore what it really is like for our sisters out there, for our mothers out there, for our daughters out there, for our female friends and colleagues who are dealing with this every day. And how futile . . . This is the word that keeps coming up in one way or another, is just the sheer maddening nature of this, the “What do I do? I’ve spent my whole life dealing with things that I rarely even bring up to the men in my life, they’re so every day.” The banality of it—that’s the crazy part is the banality that the women who speak to me have as a tone in talking about being followed, in talking about having people shout things across the street, “Hey, gorgeous,” or being groped on a train, on a crowded train, or having their drink spiked, or being spoken to aggressively, being yelled at by men. And when they stand up for themselves only finding that it fuels the flames of this. And now all of a sudden they’ve got someone who’s not just shouting at them, but making genuine threats.

You hear all of these problems and they will readily admit there’s all these problems, but I don’t have any idea how to solve it. Because how do you solve it? How do you solve that feeling of walking past a guy and he gives you a look or he does something or he says something and you’re on hyper alert and you tense up and your adrenaline spikes because you have no idea which way this could go. And is it someone with good intentions or is it someone with the worst intentions? And if it is someone with the worst intentions, what’s my escape plan? How do I get out of this? Just having to think that way and knowing that if you stand up for yourself, it could only make the situation worse and may even be likely to make the situation worse.

That leaves women in the most extraordinary bind. It’s not just walking home at 2:00 a.m. “Oh, you shouldn’t walk home at 2:00 a.m.” No, walking home at any time of day and finding yourself on a street with the wrong person with no one around—or with everybody around and no one doing anything. With, “Whoa, you shouldn’t walk the street. You should get a car home from work.” Well, maybe I don’t have the money. And if I do have the money, what service do I use, where I’m likely to be getting in a car with a man I don’t know, hoping that he has good intentions? So where is the escape from that fear?

And men, if we want to understand this, we need only imagine a scenario where we walk out onto the street and someone comes up to us and says, “Can I ask you a question?” Now, I want you to imagine that same scenario, but the person who comes up to you and says, “Can I ask you a question?”, has a gun in their belt. Now I ask you, honestly, men, does that produce a different mood for you? If someone approaches you asking, “Can I ask you a question?” One of them has a gun in their pocket. Now, the gun’s not pointed at you, so it’s not like that threatening to shoot, but you know they have a gun. Does it change the mood? Does it change the spirit of the conversation a little bit knowing they have a gun. Knowing that in this situation there is something on their person, there is something they have that makes them a much great a danger to you than you can be to them in this moment. That’s the experience of women every single day.

Now, I truly believe most men have good intentions. I believe this. And that’s why so many men speak up and say, “Not all men.” Because they’re frustrated at the things that are being thrown around about men and the accusations being made about men and their attitudes towards women or how they make women feel, when many men associate with having done right by women in their lives. Which doesn’t mean they’ve always got that right, by the way. And that’s another thing we have to talk about is sometimes we think we’re getting it right and we’re still getting it wrong. But I know that there’ll be a lot of men out there that feel they’ve done it right or they’ve done a pretty good job and they’re being associated with the worst types of men.

But what we have to understand as men is that your good intentions don’t take away the gun that women see in your belt when you come over. And we may never actually be a threat in practice, but it doesn’t mean that a woman can tell the difference in that moment. There’s still the possibility of someone going into hyper alert because the danger is there, because it’s a possibility.

And so I look at this whole thing and I say, everything that we do on this channel, in my work over 14 years has not been just about outlining a problem, but what practical thing can be done? Insight meets practicality. That’s been my whole brand over time.

Us, as men, can do three things that can actually make a difference. And I’m not talking here to the guy who is on the end of the spectrum, where he is going out of his way to be a pig to women, to harm women ,and has the worst intentions. This video isn’t changing that man. This is for everybody else.

The first thing we can do is look at ourselves and ask, “In my everyday life, am I doing things that would make someone else feel uncomfortable?” I’ve had moments where I’m walking down the street and I’m coming home from the gym in a hoodie and my hood is up. And I see someone coming from the other—man or woman—I see someone on the same side of the street as me and we’re the only two people on the street, and as I get closer, or before I get too close, I’ll pull my hood down. Now, I know I’m not going to do anything bad to this person, but they don’t. And taking my hood down in that moment is just my way of saying “I come in peace. There’s nothing you need to worry about.” We can all find ways of making other people feel more comfortable.

Look, we as men, we’re in a difficult situation these days. We are. We want to meet someone. We have dating apps for that, but we’re also being told that, “Oh God, I wish a guy would just say something to me in real life.” Or “I wish I’d just meet someone in a real setting and not on an app. I’m sick of these apps.” Women will say that, but then men are left with the predicament, “I need to approach a woman in real life. Apparently that would be the sexy thing to do. But at the same time, I’m trying my best not to come across as a predator, as a sleaze, as someone who’s going to, at the very least make her feel awkward and at most make her feel threatened.” The navigation of that has become, it feels borderline impossible. I get that.

But what we can do do is say to ourselves, “Okay, I know that in my life I would like to talk to women. I would like to approach someone now and again that I think is attractive.” But our first priority has to be someone else feeling comfortable, feeling safe. That has to be priority number one.

Firstly, just because somebody attractive walks into a room, we are not entitled to their time or their energy. Now, we can open a door to a conversation and see if that person walks through that door. When you want to approach someone, how much are you paying attention to the context of the situation, to what might make them feel at ease or comfortable? Could you ask a question about something that’s going on in the room or make a conversation that just feels like good conversation? Or, even if you want to give someone a compliment, what compliment would put them at ease and not make them feel immediately sexualized? How can I give someone their space? Furthermore, how can I let this person know that I exist whilst allowing them to continue in whatever they’re doing anyway and not making it so that if they don’t want to continue the conversation, they’re the one that has to leave, that they’re the one that has to create space again?

Women will all relate to having been approached, whether they’re going for coffee or they’re just in a shop or they’re on the street or they’re sitting on a bench, and feeling like in order to now get away, they’re the one who has to leave. But they were the one who was there. Because men aren’t giving them space, because men are approaching and making it uncomfortable if it doesn’t go their way.

We don’t have to master being a smooth operator when it comes to approaching women, but we do need to get competent at making people feel comfortable even when we want to take a small risk. We have to be aware of ourselves. And it goes beyond having good intentions. It’s focusing on how our behavior plays out in practice and how it actually affects somebody.

The second thing we can do is to be an ally in the room. When we see women feeling uncomfortable because of something that’s going on, when we see that something that’s happening could either be genuinely threatening or just making them feel uneasy, that we show we’re an ally in the room wherever we can without that becoming . . .this is the tricky part, because that could easily turn into something that seems weird or seems like we have an agenda in going over there. But I believe if you’re coming from a place of sincerity and genuine care and authenticity, that we will be able to convey that. So if we see something that could be making someone uncomfortable, just checking in with someone and saying, “Are you okay? I can see there’s a situation here that might make you feel a little uneasy or might be a little strange. I’m over here if you need me.” Or, “If there’s anything I can do, please let me know.”

This doesn’t mean the movie version of going up to the men who are creating the issue and standing up to them and being the guy who stands up to the bully. We know, as men, that we’re no strangers to male violence as men. It’s different, but we’re no stranger to male violence. We’re no stranger to male intimidation or how quickly things can escalate between men and how dangerous that can be for a man. So this isn’t me saying that your job is to go and approach every bully in the room and shut him down. That could be dangerous for you. But you can ignore that person and still go and stand with the person that you’re worried may be being affected and show that you’re there. One thing that seems evident to me is that there would be a lot of women that would feel less mad towards men in general if they felt they were their allies.

The third thing us men can do is listen. And listening means seeking to understand without rushing to being defensive. And I’m not minimizing how difficult this is, because in any argument, let’s remove the dynamics of this particular issue from the situation, any of us, men or women, struggle when we’re criticized. We all have a tendency to immediately rush to defend ourselves. And that’s our ego talking. But men, we have to recognize that our ego is our enemy in this conversation. And that what has to come forward is a genuine, pure, loving, compassionate desire to help women, to make them feel safe, to help them feel like they have allies, that they’re not alone, whether it’s on the street or in this conversation.

I’m not someone who easily buys into different self-development philosophies that can get a little bit out there for me. If you followed me for a while, then you know that I’m a practical, logical, rational humanist, and that I don’t tend to speak in flowery language. But what I do believe is that every human being on this earth is just layers of conditioning and habit and biology and genetics built on top of just a core consciousness, a core essence, and that . . . You know, in the movie Soul, the new Pixar movie, there are all the little blue beings that have not yet been sent down to earth to occupy a body. And at that stage, they are just this essence, this being that hasn’t taken any fleshy form yet. And then they go down to earth and they inhabit a body. Well, I truly think of life like that, that we are all just consciousness, an essence. And every single one of us woke up on this earth one day, having not chosen the body that we woke up in. We didn’t choose our genes. We didn’t choose our biology. We didn’t choose the part of the world we were born in. We didn’t choose the color we were born in. All of that we just woke up into. The only difference is that 50% of those beings woke up in a body that have begun with a whole set of challenges that the rest of us don’t have to face. Not caring about the experience of women is a version of not caring about ourselves, because there’s a version of life where we woke up in that body, through no choice of our own, but had to deal with those challenges. And think what we would want, the support that we would want, if that were true.

We have to be there for each other. And there is no perfect solution to any of this, but fuck would it make women feel safer and more acknowledged and less alone if we actually spoke up as allies. If we actually did what we can to make the world feel like a safer place, whilst acknowledging the reality that there will always be malevolent forces in the world, there will always be men who have the worst possible intentions, but that women can afford to worry a little less when we’re in the room.

I love you guys, and I will see you in the next video.

47 Responses to Women’s Safety – It Belongs to All of Us

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  1. Iskander says:

    Matthew, men are reacting with #NotAllMen not because their message is “It wasn’t me” or wish to escape the discussion of the problem. This reaction has a solid reason behind it – men are abused and threatened. Every day. Constantly. Often by women. Men do not feel safe anymore because there is a dangerous agenda that uses tragedies (like that happened with Sara) to limit male human beings in their rights. Your video and discussion have best intentions underneath, however it will be used by certain parties to conduct another message which is ‘Men have no right to be men’. Bad persons are among both sexes. And for the crimes and awful wrongdoings of such people that are minority society punishes majority of men. Nobody mentions, though, thousands of men get killed, raped, abused or simply offended on a regular basis. Women have a strong support from feminist groups and progressive public speakers while men are portrayed as inborn monsters. It’s a tunnel vision again: you see female victims, ignoring male ones.

  2. Helen says:

    I recently read a really excellent book which touches on many of these issues (and more) – ‘Invisible Women’ by Caroline Criado Perez. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to delve into not only the everyday fears which we experience as women, but the way in which science, medicine, even town-planning or car design, leave women worse off, in more danger, or unaccounted for (e.g. lighting bus stops in less well-frequented urban areas meant that women felt much safer taking buses – but committees of all-male planners never even thought of installing them).

    Fantastic video; thank you for sharing.

  3. Larsen says:

    90% of attack are comited by muslims, and they are only maybe 10% of the poppulation. Listen to Tonny Robinson.

  4. Daniela Zaharov says:

    You just made me cry. Thank you!

  5. Jules says:

    Thank you for this video, it gives me hope that there are men who are actually listening and showing empathy by bringing up solutions to the issue rather than being defensive and playing the victim. If more men can actually reason this way, women will feel less threatened and a little more safe. Thank you

  6. Cammy says:

    Thank you for making this video. It is a conversation that needs to be started. So many men do not understand the psychological toll that pervades our lives. The sincerity and authenticity that you demonstrated gives me hope that our world can become a better place.

  7. Vanessa says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for starting this conversation. I often myself preach about needing the good men, the men who say ‘but I’m not one of “those” men’ to step up and be an ally to women.
    The trust for a lot of women has been broken and we need other men to help us repair that or it hurts us all.
    The fact that most women I know have a deeply disturbing story about an interaction they’ve had with a man that impacted them very negatively tells me this needs more attention.
    We really do need men and society to step up to help us feel at least a little bit more safe when being out in the world.
    You said it well when you spoke about women just wanting an understanding of what it’s like to often be fearful.
    I do feel that this matter is now in the hands of men, and I hope that they will put ego aside and listen to this and take it in. Thanks again Matthew.

  8. Carol says:

    It really hurts me the most as a woman to what happened..Most men are kind and loving, but as for the man who Taken the life of the lovely Woman he shall be punished.. The world is less safe for woman to walk freely and express themselves in oucommunity.. #protectwomen

  9. Jenn says:

    Thank you! This was respectfully done with tact and grace. Tears stream down my cheeks, as I felt all of the feelings to my core when describing all the sceneries mentioned the fear that we face daily just walking down the road, getting in a lift/Uber, a man in the elevator I’m about to get in, walking on a trail with my kids and and countless more, while just doing life. Always on high alert of every situation, that consistent fear is overwhelming and exhausting. Most all situations, I feel bad that I put off a defensive fearful energy, but maybe it can be understandable with this message. I’m hopful this message is heard with an open mind and sincere authentic Empathy…

  10. Eleanor says:

    This post is excellent for two reasons. First of all, it expresses my emotional experience as a woman at such a level of clarity that I myself am not always capable of in my communication with the people around me, in particular with men. Secondly, it explains things in such a calm and logical manner that I suppose any man who reads this would be able to understand our experience as women better. Thank you very much, Matthew, for expressing your empathy for women while making our experience comprehensible to men.

  11. Meg says:

    Thank you for this. I wish I had the words to share how much this means to me. I hope this reaches the men with open hearts to hear your words.

    But it makes me fucking mad at some of the men in my family because they don’t have those open hearts to hear.

    Thank you and your team for putting this out there and being open and reflective.

  12. Laurenne says:

    Thank you so much for speaking out on this topic, Matt. I just love how you spoke with such depth, heart, conviction, and purpose. We women so desperately need to feel the world is a place of good men whom we can trust and feel safe with. It’s time for a revolution where all men are taught how to be great men, which includes fiercely honoring, valuing and protecting the women in their lives. This is an opportunity for men to become the warriors and heroes that they truly are, when they cultivate empathy and embrace being of service, and realize how much we women need them, instead of being defensive. I am so impressed by the power in your message. Thank you for being one of these great men, Matt.

  13. Anna says:

    Thank you. Yes, Matthew you are so so right with the gun analogy.

    /I do ask man for help when something`s too heavy, or with something mechanical. But it`s half of it. The other half is that men are a threat/
    And it is so everyday, co common, so obvious that I don`t even talk to anyone about it.

    So the first thing for guys would be please try to understand. Really understand.

    If on a rather empty train there`s one person in my compartment – and it`s a man it`s kinda scary. If it`s a woman I think – ok, she won`t hurt me, and if anything happens she might help.

    If I`m in the street and hear someone`s steps behind me,even if it`s middle of the day but there are not many people around, I turn around. If it`s a man I slow down and relax only when he passes me by and goes further. If I see it`s a woman I think, ok, it`s safe.
    Glance behind, sigh of relief.

    It`s our everyday. It`s our normal.

    We are not a commodity or a thing to grab.
    Not with your hands or with your words.

    We`re worlds. Beatiful wordls to appreciate and cooperate with.

  14. Almu says:

    Wow. Many thanks Matt, so well said!!

    I have seen all my life men taking over the “important decisions” and saying things about women, including my own family. I became scared of showing myself and scared of men, creating this “hard shell” of “I am self-sufficient”. It took me so long to realize some men are just so loving and caring, and breaking my shell.

    It is so frustrating seeing people, including my own family, upset when these events happen and feminist ideas arise, defending women’s right to be in peace without threats. Some men take it so personal, defending men-hood as a counter-attack and not listening to what we women are saying, just aas Matthew says.

    I have countless anecdotes about men touching my bum in the street/metro/disco, saying dirty things in the streets or at work, inappropriate comments about my body, the fact that I am a woman, that I am sexually attractive or not attractive at all (whatever!). Also, I see even colleagues at work in ocassions speaking in a bad tone to me, and I am sure this would not have been if I was not a young-not from this country-woman. Some colleagues just ignore these comments but at the same time I see that the feeling sticks in you. On the other hand I appreciate that being more insecure attracts these type of comments, but then what was first, chicken or egg? I am so thankful as noticing now about these colleagues who try to help me in the meetings when people ignore what I am saying, and they create a trusty environment.

    Thanks again Matt.

  15. Heidi Greenfield says:

    Thank you Matthew.
    Until recently I hadn’t considered how much on guard I was as a younger woman, when out and about. “Oh dam I’ve got to run the gauntlet of passing a building site, cross the road to avoid a crowd outside a pub. It’s just what a woman has to do as second nature. Less so now I’m in my 50s I’ll admit, but it’s always there. We also have to “accept” the nasty words used to describe us if we don’t given men the acknowledgment/attention they want (bitch, ho, slag etc language perpetuated in the “entertainment “ industry) As a young woman I turned a guy down when asked to dance – nothing to do with him I just wanted a rest – why is my “no thank you for asking” then seen a a challenge or an insult to his masculinity? Beggars belief!
    I have a beautiful daughter of 20, I am in almost constant fear for her safety – I worry so much when I don’t hear from her

    I agree with the comment below – call out your mates when they start using disparaging language when no women/girls are present.
    Thank you again for a well thought out video.

  16. Magda says:

    Matthew, Thank you for this video. Hashtag empathy. Truly felt understood. I wonder… could you make a video like this for men about sexualizing womens bodies? I hear from men that it’s their nature, their biology, that women create a reaction in them by – wearing clothes that show off their bodies (mind you, that can mean gym sweatshirt and sportsbra where the nipples just happened to show undear the clothes, not necessarily a sexy miniskirt), acting sexy, etc. That this reaction they have cannot be helped and women should be more careful not to trigger that reaction. That wearing slightly more modest clothes is better and can keep women safer, because it won’t trigger the men. I wonder, where do you think is the line? And is it true that men can’t control themselves? I hear this „animalistic” argument that it’s just the way men are. I’m not sure how true it is for men, but from the perspective of a woman I know it feels limiting to not be able to just be yourself. And of course we do care about attracting men. So we do want to be seen as sexy. Just not to be harassed. I wonder, is that something bad? Is it being a tease? Where is the line in this? Would love to hear your thoughts on this in a video. From a place of empathy for women, but also understanding and explaining what it’s like for men?

  17. Kate H says:

    Thank you for making this video.

    I don’t really know where to begin with all this… That a tragedy like this has happened again makes me feel so defeated.

    Matthew, you hit the nail on the head when you used the word banality. This lack of respect for women and their bodies is so pervasive, so engrained… I honestly, at this moment, feel like all hope is gone.

    25 years ago I was groped by a boy younger than me when I was walking home from school with 2 of my friends. He and his friend ran away laughing. I was 14. That was the start of it for me.

    Over the years I have lost count of the number of guys who have grabbed my butt, pinched my butt and slapped my butt when I’m on a night out.
    On one particular occasion I had 3 lads standing behind me at a band night. One (or maybe all) of them kept pinching my bum. It really bloody hurt and I asked them to stop it, repeatedly. They just laughed and blamed each other. In the end it only stopped when I got so angry I threatened to hit all of them if they didn’t stop. My butt was absolutely covered in purple-black marks from the pinching when I woke up the next day.

    And this, I feel, is the root of the problem. From a young age lads pick up the idea that they are entitled to touch us. That our boundaries don’t exist. And we are told that it is our fault. “Oh you walked home in the dark, you were asking for it.” Or the clothes we chose to wear. Or insert any other ridiculous reason to let men off the hook here.

    Respect of boundaries needs to start young. With sons and nephews and grandsons. It needs to spread to your friends and colleagues. It needs men to check in with themselves and make sure they are being the best they can be. And if you see wrong behaviour happening, don’t laugh, don’t turn a blind-eye, don’t walk away.

    We all need to stand together.

    Looking back on things I can clearly see why I developed into a tom-boy with an attitude. It felt safer to pretend to be tough and avoid wearing make-up or pretty/sexy outfits which attract attention. And then you get told that you won’t attract a guy if you aren’t feminine and soft. But I digress.

    Thank you for making this video Matthew and for keeping the conversation going. This needs to be a long-term thing.

  18. Cat says:

    Several years ago a survey was conducted, at a university, including men of all ages and nationalities. The survey was not anonymous the first time, but the same survey was given shortly after and the survey was anonymous. Men were asked if they thought it was wrong to rape a woman and then they were asked if they would rape a woman if they were sure they would not be caught. When it was anonymous a very high number said they would consider raping a woman if they were sure they would get away with it. When they had to answer publically they said they would never consider it. AT this same time, our study group read stats about the incidence of rape in New York City. The shocking part was not the number of women who would be rape victims but rather the number who would be raped more than once in their life time.
    I worked with a man who constantly said that women should be respected and protected. It was a working relationship and I had no attraction to him. One day he trapped me in a room and started kissing me. I told him to leave me alone. He grabbed me by the hair and when I said leave me alone you’re hurting me he said you deserve it. He then said he knew I wanted sex with him and he was going to prove it to me. He backed off when I told him if he didn’t stop this would be rape and I would report it as such. I still had to physically fight to get free of him. In talking to friends, I have been assured this is common. A male friend of mine, that I trust, is teaching me self-defence moves.
    I stopped dating because this behaviour is all too common. I find that when I am in close proximity to a woman who is being bothered, harrased etc. it is the women in the area who come to her aid. I feel much safer when other women are around.
    I was in a relationship with one of the few really good guys so I know there are some good guys out there, but like many of my friends, I am no longer willing to put the effort or time into sifting through the guys that LOOK like they are good guys.

  19. Gemma says:

    Thank you for this video but to be honest I feel you missed an important part about how men can be allies: by standing up for women when there are no women there.

    Yes, coming to check we’re okay (whether you’re attracted or not!) is one way of demonstrating alliance BUT calling out the behaviours you see and the words you hear when there are no women around…? THAT’S alliance. Standing up for us when we’re not there to thank you or congratulate you – that’s alliance. Seeing it and hearing it in other men and not just turning a blind eye to it – that’s alliance.

    And THAT’S what is going to help move this forwards with more speed and more integrity because if a man stands up for women – stands against shitty behaviour and shitty words – when we’re not even there, then he really means it.

    Men need to live this too. In their everyday interactions with the males in their lives. This conversation needs to be held in all male spaces so that men can raise each other and raise their sons to not put up with this any longer either.

    Men need to not be afraid to talk about this issue with each other. It takes true strength to be the one to do that – we know it’s hard to go against the flow of toxic masculinity – but if the men in our lives can do that for us, then we know they genuinely have our backs. We know they truly are our allies x

  20. Becca says:

    When I was younger I noticed that many single women over the age of 50 had made decisions NOT to seek the company of men any longer. The “why?” puzzled me . . . Now that I’m in my early sixties, I’ve gained some understanding. After years and years of navigating the subtle and not so subtle dynamics of male dominance and aggression, perhaps women discover it’s easier, more peaceful, and safer, to go solo.

  21. Renee Caines says:

    It’s man nature to protect and nuture women. I am not sure when or why that changed as a whole. It’s never been great but it feels like it’s getting worse. We have so much knowledge and freedom in the Western world,, why are men acting so cagey? why is male violence to women ( & children) still occurring? I heard something today that was a big clue, I don’t know who said it, but it was a long the lines of how the news instantly exonerates men in the headlines by saying “Woman attacked in park” when it should say ” A man attacked a women in park”
    Women are constantly in the headlines as victims. What does that teach – that women are victims- it’s normal for a women to be a victim. Men read and aren’t alarmed anymore. Women read it and it generates more fear. Men need to be held accountable in all communications of violence against other men, women & children l.

  22. Ninna says:

    Hi Matt! Your video really touched me.

    I think the starting point of the conversion of violence towards women is for men to realize that they will never truly be able to understand or imagine what it’s like to be a woman and face these issues. The reason is that biologically men will never be in the same position of disadvantage as women, and therefore how would they understand that feeling of helplessness. For example where a man would be scared of being grabbed without his consent by another person, and him not being able to do anything about it because he is physically weaker. Now imagine having gone through a situation like that, and then going through life having that knowledge of helplessness. It will obviously make you afraid of any potential similar situation permanently.

    This movement is simply women being fed up of going through life feeling helpless, being mansplained, being victimized.. regarding an issue that men could not possibly understand or imagine.

    My point is, I think the start to meaningful change is for men to stop trying to understand, or reason it, or defend themselves because they are not doing these things to women, but to simply resolve to be a part of the solution. Like you said, just be an ally, listen, and help when you see someone in trouble. It’s that simple.

  23. Luisa says:

    Thank you for this video. I appreciate the contribution to this ongoing discussion of the safety of women. I have experienced numerous occasions of feeling unsafe around men in various relationship dynamics.

    One of the more recent incidents took place a couple years ago at work. I was a receptionist at a doctor’s office and one morning while I was booting up the computer a man appeared at the window outside and exposed his torso to me. He just stood there with his shirt lifted and his belly hanging out. It was bizarre and uncomfortable, I didn’t know what to think. I decided to ignore it and chalk it up to some random guy doing something dumb even though I was creeped out by his behaviour. But then it happened again a couple days later. This time I called out to my boss, who was also male, the perpetrator must have realized and he took off. When I explained to my boss what happened, he actually chuckled. I told my boss “If he comes back I’m going to call the police”. My bosses response was “No, don’t call the police. I don’t want them involved because then the neighbours will see. Just come and get me instead.” Well, the following week the man came back and I called the police. I didn’t feel safe with this stranger revealing himself to me and I didn’t feel safe, supported or confident that my boss would do anything about it except chuckle and be concerned about what the neighbours would think. So I chose to have my own back and stand up for myself. Eventually the man stopped coming around, thankfully. And I eventually left that job.

    This is just one example of many and it’s one of the more minor experiences I’ve had. We need to make the world a safer place for us all and one of the ways we can start is by having these conversations. Thank you Matthew for opening up the dialogue even further and providing helpful tips for men so they can be more aware of the effect their behaviour has on women.

    My heartfelt prayers are with Sarah and all her loved ones.

  24. Perisa Azhir says:

    Thank you Matthew! This is so true and unfortunately something I just experienced. I recently joined Match to get back out in the dating scene. Well I met a guy and we were talking on the phone making plans for a possible date. They guy wanted to meet at 3 and I told him I couldn’t got that early and told him 7:30 would be better. His immediate response was “oh u want to go later so u can have other dates before me” it really took me by surprise and everything in my brains said “red flag red flag” he tried to say after that he was referring to some movie but I didn’t find his comment funny. Then I decided to cancel the date. I just simply told him I wasn’t interested in going on a date anymore and didn’t respond to his messages after. Well the same night I got friends and family contacting me that they found new Facebook profile of me. The guy made 4 different fake profiles of me then contacted me on Instagram threatening me. It was such a crazy experience and scary. I don’t understand it at all. It also makes me not want to date anymore especially online. I feel as if all women are always on there guard especially when trying to date. Guys need to understand why we always have our guard up.

  25. Anna says:

    Matthew (and team), thank you for making this video. Your understanding, compassion, and sincerity are touching. I think that you have done a wonderful job in the way that you have chosen to address this issue with men and I truly appreciate your thoughtfulness towards both sexes in this. This is why I follow your videos and programs, because you share things that are meaningful and life changing for others. Thank you for what you do.

  26. Joan says:

    Thank you for this. It begins with what is taught as small children. I work with the public & many men yell at me, threaten me as their children look on. Learning that behavior. Recently I found myself close to being stuck in a snowstorm. A man stopped to help. My thought was 50/50, that I’d either be murdered or helped. Men have no idea the fear, the dangers women face. This conversation needs to Grow & Change the world. Blessings to you Matthew.

  27. Wendy says:

    Being a woman, I can say that the conversation must be stop violence. Against people. Against animals. The worst bosses I have ever had? Women. The worst neighbors I have ever had? Women. Worst friends? Women. Worst coworkers? Women. Worst parent? A mother. And not all women get abused. Isn’t it sexist to think that women are just all victims? Mr. Hussey, your tips and information is too notch and it is obvious that your really care. It is good that you made this video. I also think you get carried away easily with what’s in the news. You only see part of the problem. Try reading The Myth of Male Power. It’s an eye opener. All the best.

  28. Bel says:

    Great job. Amazing job. I found myself at bar once and what seemed like a nice enough guy asked me out because I was being friendly. I said appreciate the complement but I am actually in a relationship. And later started talking to his friend and the guy who asked me out grabbed my boob. I looked at his friend as if to say “are you OK with this” He did nothing!!! Forgot being the complete stranger in the room. That guy you know, who you don’t like his behaviour towards women but his not your friend. Maybe when you see that stand up and say something. I managed to get out of the situation. And this was many years ago. I look back and I am far more disappointed in the guy who didn’t help me than the guy who did it. Because there were no consequences for what he did and mostly will do it to someone else

  29. Carrie says:

    Thank you so much for advocating men to do something to make women feel comfortable and safe!

  30. Kat says:

    Is it not the responsibility of every human to look out for every other human … aka you know your buddy or friend is a jerk toward women then speak up say something anything to him about it or heck tell the woman he’s with listen he can be a jerk so if he is being a jerk or out of control don’t excuse it , leave get away from him …

    As a women who’s been stalked harassed etc you really feel trapped you feel like you have to play that middle road don’t get him mad don’t say anything to upset him hes in a mood …
    Yes I’ve had self defense training on hand to hand combat because of just that . Only to have the instructor decide it was perfectly ok to harass and belittle me . I felt like really even here you’re not safe from small minded men with an agenda.
    Thank you for the video at least you get it .. you understand. .. thank you matthew. .

  31. Claudia says:

    Thank you for this video Matt.
    Admittedly, I myself have not deeply thought about this topic. Maybe it’s a part of me that doesn’t want to revisit a time where I was abused by a man.
    Upon reflection, the biggest problem I’ve encountered is men not understanding that ‘NO means NO’.
    A woman saying no and a guy not listening and continue to be forward and aggressive is one of the scariest things to experience.
    It then leads to a point where a woman feels it’s normal for a guy to not listen, we tell ourselves ‘that’s just how guys are’. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I said ‘no’ to a guy for sex yet he continued on.

    Let’s keep this conversation open.

  32. Melanie says:

    This brought me to tears. Beautifully said. I really appreciate you.

  33. Catherine says:

    Thank you for the video. I work in a male dominated occupation and my male superiors have tried to “put me in my place” many times, being demeaning, abusive, not to mention being felt up, treated inappropriately, etc.

    It amazes me when some of my male acquaintances think women actually have it easier. Not their fault, it just amazes me. I guess since they don’t treat women that way, they aren’t aware?

  34. Emily says:

    I think the key thing that I engage with the most is that as woman, I feel I’m not heard by men when I say “no”. They see it as a challenge, rather than me trying to tell them that what they are saying or doing is not okay. I was manipulated/coerced into a sexual situation that I really didn’t want to be in. A guy in a position of power asked something of me. I told him I wasn’t comfortable with it and I didn’t want to. He continued to push it and find other ways to bring it into conversation until I eventually cracked. I technically consented, but it was not something that I genuinely wanted to do.
    Men need to realise that they are intimidating and that women need to feel heard. Women need to know that when they say no, or object to a situation or conversation, they will be heard and it will end. Rather than the very sad reality that most men continue to pursue the outcome that they want, because they think it’s just “part of the chase”.

  35. Cara Spindler says:

    Thank you for such a weighty video. Yes. Women have to deal with a certain level of situational awareness and be on guard with men in certain surroundings their entire life. Sometimes it becomes life altering.
    I escaped an abuse marriage of 26 years and have been single now for 8 years with bad experiences from meeting men on dating apps. This year alone I have had to deal with 2 stalkers, (one who just saw me on Facebook and he which warranted reporting to the police.)
    As a woman this has given me a hyper sense of safety and a heightened anxiety level on such a constant basis that it has now been become part of who I am. In fact I don’t even think about it except when you point it out because it is the new normal for me. And that is terrible. It has affected me to the point where I have just delved into my work and stopped dating men- instead deciding to stay single.
    Matthew- how do you come back from that and trust dating in this world? “How to get the good guy” should be your next video.
    My prayers go out to Sarah and her family

  36. Nancy says:

    Thank you Matthew. This matters a lot.

  37. Jillian Van Liew says:

    Well said, Matt. Thank you for your support in a very tricky yet relevant situation. I wish more men saw things the way you did & were comfortable enough to be the man in the room with the woman who might be in that situation the makes her uncomfortable and is willing to see, say or even act in the way that might diffuse the situation or at least make her feel a little less defensive/uncomfortable. WE DESPERATELY NEED MORE MEN WHO CAN EFFECTIVELY STAND UP FOR WOMEN. Thank you for putting this video out, it means a lot.

  38. Anna says:

    I was waiting for you to address this issue in a video. Thank you so much for doing it!

  39. Kate says:

    Thank you Matthew, that was really outstanding.

    A few more practical things, anybody can do to make life easier for anybody else but especially for the (perceived) saftey of us women:

    1. Stop recreating the myth that a woman “can’t be alone in the streets/at night”, statistically – and sadly enough, many to most assaults on women – depending on the actual type of crime and slightly also depending on the place you live – happen through people they know: (ex-)partners, aquaintances, neighbours etc.

    2. Encourage anyone from an early age to have boundaries (and use the word “no” to state them!) and respect boundaries. Particularly the second is important, and men, it can liberate you as well, think you can ask or tell any women anything, because you make sure she knows you will accept “No!” as an answer!

    3. Open up about your own experiences as a victim, especially if you are man or identify as man. I have joined many self-defence classes and most women went there because they were afraid for their safety, but many men I met there had been actual victims of crimes, mainly physical violence. I think men could understand much better how many women feel, if they admitted their own vulnerabulity and allowed others to see it.

  40. alina m. says:

    For a time I thought that I’m the only one that is hyper alert walking on a smaller street or speaking with strangers. It’s a feeling that you described very well and rarely goes away.

    Fortunately I never been physically abused but I have been cornered by strangers on so many occasions that I no longer know their number. And yes, many times it was day time, occasionally with people around, in spaces where I would feel safe in other circumstances. It’s hard and it’s even harder that by now it has become something normal.

  41. Stephanie Jonah says:

    It saddens me that this happened, and it also saddens me that it happens all the time in Canada to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls yet nobody bothers to start that conversation that the police don’t investigate or bother because these women are just as part of this conversation as Sarah. Many families has no closure , no arrests are made for the disappearance or murders women because systemic racist is a huge problem.

  42. Naureen says:

    The gun analogy was spot on. I actually was holding my breath while listening to that part because of how well it resonated!

  43. Naureen says:

    This video made me cry. It was also a breath of fresh air knowing that it didn’t include what other things women have to do to keep themselves safe – the ‘to-dos’ are for men for once. I also really liked the acknowledgement of men’s experience of male-violence as men and the proposed solution: making women feel safer instead of standing up the bully. I would certainly feel safer with (and less annoyed at men) when empathetic men who listen and make you feel safe show up! Such a healthy dose of positive masculinity !

  44. Lynn says:

    Thank you. Thank you for addressing this and beginning the conversation. Thank you for acknowledging the levels of behavior (not just the worst) and starting to socialize men to start to think about their lives in the context of making decisions with others in mind and not just themselves.

    I would love to hear you expand this very element further as the conversation continues. In my experience (and I’ve befriended hundreds of men in multiple states across the U.S.), most men refuse to alter their behavior because they like living streamlined. Where most women live clunky, encumbered lives, many men want to put even more responsibilities on women (get a car to go home, don’t wear that outfit, don’t walk home late, stop asking for trouble, etc), so that they as men don’t have to have any encumberments at all. Their solution is to saddle the already whipped, trained, saddled horse, while they run free like stallions in the wild.

    They elect to remain ignorant that 1. They are part of perpetuating the problem by relying on women to “keep out of their way,” as they make countless decisions that impact, not only themselves, but the women as well, while electing to believe that they are the only ones that matter in their decision making, and 2. that it is women’s responsibility to have and to hold responsibility for all people’s choices, not just the women’s own choices, so that society can continue to move forward with some level of cohesion.

    It’s an impossible situation for women. But, even more frustrating is HOW MUCH MEN MISS OUT ON by choice of ignorance. There could be so much more in shared experience, richer life and broader knowledge and wealth of wisdom, if they chose to acknowledge that they live and love in a world where their actions and choices affect everyone in their lives and beyond and that that comes with responsibility of thought and a continued developing of competence. What a beautiful, multi-dimensional, rich and colorful life they could have and what beauty in the world would begin to shine forth!!

  45. Becky says:

    Thank you … as a woman who has been abused, has been raped, has been sexually assaulted in the street walking home. This was such a well spoken acknowledgement of how it feels. I have got past a lot of it but I still feel that high alert walking down the street. Simply because I know what can happen. Men do need to put their egos aside, they do need to listen. Don’t walk so close to a female on their own, cross the street if you find yourself walking behind a female especially at night. It’s the small things that count. Thank you again for starting this conversation. Not one of us wants to feel like this and this, this is a perfect example of what needs to be said let’s hope it is heard.

  46. Natalie says:

    Yes. Thank you for starting the conversation. We as women have to always be on some form of awareness and I would help immensely if we had this conversation with everyone.

  47. Heather says:

    You have a wonderful gift for distilling the important points out of difficult topics.
    Thank you for sharing that gift.

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