Today’s post is a different type of “Tales From the Other Side” post than usual, because it’s written from the perspective of a sexual assault survivor about his experiences as a sexual assault survivor. This series usually focuses on those who “live, love, and work with the mentally ill.” But I publishing this post under the series because it comes from a male sexual assault survivor who says #metoo is for women.
I wrote my own post last year about how #metoo is for men and not for men, and if you read the comments, it garnered some controversy. Today’s post is considerably shorter than the guest posts I typically publish (1000 word minimum for anyone interested) but I accepted it as is because it provides an important and thorough perspective that honestly doesn’t need those extra words. I watched Chris on his journey to this conclusion–he put a lot of thought into crafting these words. I hope you’ll put as much thought into reading them.
I’m especially excited to post this today of all days because it is my daughter’s fourth birthday. It’s also the day when my slumlord gave us notice of a rental raise despite several unresolved housing code violations in our building, and when I confronted the managed of my building to assert my rights he got in my face, yelled at me to “stop bitching,” then pointed over a five foot balcony–that I highly doubt meet safety code, and told me to “get the fuck out of here;” mind you, within centimeters of my body. My apartment building manager. And the police did nothing. If the little girls of this world are going to grow up into women who feel safe in their bodies and homes, then we need more men like Chris Dantes to step up, recognize the problem, and speak out–so that men like David Neyhart (building owner), Chester (manager who intimidated me), and all the Weinsteins of the world learn that it is they, not us, who need to shut up and get the fuck out of here. Happy birthday Anabelle. Mama is loud for you honey, no matter what man hates it, and she’s not going to stop. I love you.
Chris Dantes is a full-time writer who has tutored high school and college students for eleven years. His work focuses on social issues, including sexual abuse and mental health awareness through essays, research articles, and fiction. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English – Creative Writing from the University of South Florida.Dantes and his wife co-founded Bum Dogs Media in 2018, which focuses on spreading sexual abuse and mental health awareness through writing, instructional videos, podcasts, and speaking appearances. You can follow him on Twitter @realchrisdantes and on Facebook. Also, you can support him by subscribing to his Patreon account at patreon.com/fearnoscar
#MeToo Is For Women
The greatest event of 2017 was the #MeToo movement. Finally, actresses received deserved attention after years of unchecked sexual assault in Hollywood by powerful men who thought themselves untouchable. Karma hit them straight in the heart. Women from different backgrounds joined the movement and felt comfortable discussing their own past sexual assaults, finally holding men accountable for the actions that damaged their lives.
Men also began to feel comfortable recounting the sexual abuse they endured, whether it was harassment, assault, or rape. Terry Crews stated on Twitter, “This whole thing with Harvey Weinstein is giving me PTSD. Why? Because this kind of thing happened to ME.” Anthony Rapp told the world that Kevin Spacey sexually assaulted him when he was fourteen years old. The #MeToo movement even inspired me–a man who guards his privacy–to share my sexual abuse past with the world.
Relief was the primary emotion I felt once I shared that I was raped five times, sexually harassed and assaulted, and stalked by two different women. I was no longer hiding from the shame. Instead, I embraced it, which provided me the opportunity to move forward. My story inspired other men to share their experiences and even spawned a website.
At first, women who tried to keep men like me out of the #MeToo movement insulted my ego. However, my thought process was naive and ill-informed. I kept seeing men on social media cry, “What about men? Men are sexually abused too. Feminists just want to keep men out! They hate men!” I attempted to reason with these men, but soon realized their hatred of women was the cause of their criticism, not the need to be heard and understood. I was ignorant to the “manosphere”, men’s rights movements, and men’s rights activists, all which purport to fight for men but in essence just want to subjugate and demean women. Their attempts to budge into the #MeToo conversation without regard to the wider issue made me feel disgusted and sick.
Men have dominated women for centuries. Even after feminists proclaimed, “The personal is political” in the 1960’s, a rallying cry for the women’s liberation movement, women continued to be subjugated through stereotypes, in academic venues, by wage discrepancy, career stereotyping, and toxic masculinity that causes women to be viewed as sex objects without regard for their personal autonomy. Progress is slow. That is why the #MeToo movement is so important, and also why men need to keep ourselves out of the equation.
Yes, men are sexually abused just like women. Yes, men are also discriminated against in modern society, yes, men struggle against stereotypes. Misandry is everywhere, as is misogyny. But men have no right to the #MeToo movement. We must find our own voice, our own hashtag, our own movement so we can give women the autonomy they rightly deserve.
It’s the right thing to do.