Responding to the #MeToo Movement and Accusations of Sexual Assault
Since the rise of the #metoo movement, I’ve heard a lot of men say that they don’t know how to act around women now. They feel like anything they do could be taken the wrong way, and they fear suffering a fate similar to that of the many “upright” male figures who have fallen this year: Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Matt Laur, Louis CK.
In an effort to help, I put together a list of tips for men on how to behave properly in order to avoid being accused of sexual assault. Follow my straightforward, simple advice and I can guarantee that you’ll be seen as nothing less than a gentleman.
photo by Nathan Cowley
Tips for men: How to Avoid Being Accused of Sexual Assault
- Sit upright, with your legs together (or crossed). The sitting position referred to as “manspreading” invades women’s space and exposes your genital area to them. This could be misconstrued as an act of indecency or aggression.
- Try to have at least a small smile on your face while talking to a woman. Especially if the subject matter is heated or intense. A furrowed brow or pursed lips (Refer to Brett Kavanaugh hearing for example) could communicate anger on the brink of becoming a threat. Soften the skin on your forehead and simply smile.
- Speak with a gentle and encouraging tone. Sometimes an upward lilt at the end of a sentence is appropriate. Yes, it signals a question (even when you aren’t asking one), but it keeps you from sounding forceful. You don’t want to make a woman feel like you might force her to do something.
- Apologize before correcting a woman. Actually, just apologize before you say much of anything to a woman. Especially in a workspace. You don’t want to come off as being pushy…you know…like you might be into pushing women around. A good example: “Excuse me. I’m sorry, but you see here where you said 1 + 1 is four? I think there might be a possibility you miscalculated? I’m not sure, but I think my calculator is saying the sum is two. I mean, it could totally be wrong…but I just wanted to let you know.” Note: see points 2 and 3 additionally.
- Dress appropriately. Leave your shirt on in the gym, on the beach—wherever you are. Even if you are painfully hot and sweaty. When you take your clothes off and run around half naked, we don’t know if you are just hot or coming to sexually assault us. Dress like a gentleman. Oh, and don’t wear super tight clothes that reveal your ripples and bulges. It’s almost the same as exposing yourself to us.
- Don’t drink to excess or while around women. Or not at all. Just don’t drink at all. Even if you like beer. Really like beer. Really, really, really like beer. It’s likely that if you drink around members of the opposite sex, your actions will communicate that you are just asking to be accused of sexual assault.
While following these tips may feel overwhelming at first, practice makes perfect! Before you know it, integrating them into your daily life will feel like old hat and you will rest easy knowing that you will not be accused of sexual assault. Bonus: if you are accused of sexual assault, you are less likely to be told you were asking for it.