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#metoo - What can Men do to help?

The #metoo campaign gives the impression that women go through life suffering constant sexual advances and harassment. I obviously have no experience of this (nb: I have experienced similar, but not as a woman) but what I can confidently assert is that many men go through life suffering constant physical violence, or threats of violence.

My life was plagued by violence - and from the experience of friends I feel I am not unique in this regard. I experienced violence at home, going to scouts (where my collar bone was broken and I was also 'dacked'), at high school, at parties (where I have been 'coward punched' in the back of the head) walking out of a pub, where I was attacked by the bouncers employed there (but subsequently saved by intervening under-cover police). And these are just the acts of actual violence, the threats of violence were even more common eg: walking to primary school, going to do my paper round, waiting for the bus at high school, often in pubs where I have been threatened etc. This does not include the threat of being conscripted to go and execute violence on other young men in other countries, a possibility which caused me much consternation when I was around 18 years old.

Anyway as I say, I am not alone. I have seen friends attacked, strangers attacked, etc. None of which has ever been reported to police. I have seen an uncle return from war, a war which he had no choice but to participate in. I was also deprived of one grandfather due to the after effects of war. In all these ways violence influences and affects us.

Now men are the most common victims of violence - and as I suggest above, I suspect the actual violence is way under reported. So why is there is no #metoo for violence? And what good would come from it? I think looking at the issue of violence highlights some related issues in regard to women's #metoo campaign.

Let's say men start a #metoo campaign for violence. It simply confirms what everyone already knows - that violence is a problem in our society. Lets say we start calling for men to stop this violence - what can change? Men are both the most common victims of violence and the most common perpetrators. Are they to start a campaign complaining that they are oppressed by themselves? Is it that the patriarchal system - which men apparently collectively control - has failed them? Is it that they are systematically oppressed, and have been for centuries?

Now even if we accept any of these statements as true - what can men do about it? It is not as though you can reason with the perpetrators; violence, and sexually related crimes are by definition, crimes of passion, they emminate not from the head, but some perversion of the heart. The best we can do is have laws against both sets of crimes that attempt to prevent them (and we do), but probably mostly laws simply remove the perpetrators from society for a while, before they are released unreformed.

Take for example the recent incident of an attack on a man in a pub, who was brutally bashed - there is no rationality here, even the laws have no deterrent effect, and it seems no amount of education and campaigning against violence is going to prevent such people from doing what they do, if their evil inclinations suddenly take hold of them.

So what can be done? It is not as though any of these problems are new, they appear in films and also literature going back centuries (eg: the factory supervisor in Les Miserables tries to sexually exploit women workers). These are not just modern issues, but timeless human issues. The problem I suspect is much deeper and needs much more work than an awareness campaign like #metoo - not to say that awareness does not have its place. Perhaps it comes down to how we are raising children as parents and a community; perhaps - in part - it comes from the institutions we put them through (i.e schools, clubs, etc) and the influences they are exposed to (eg: online pornography etc). Whatever the causes, it appears that many people are coming into adulthood damaged in some way. If we are serious about addressing our social problems, I personally feel that this is where we need to look and that the problem is far too deep and complex to be solved with a hashtag campaign and victim's stories, rather it seems a solution will require much work by both women and men, working together as a united and caring community.

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