A complete individual

With Wimbledon on, there’s been a lot of talk in Oz about Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic, especially relative to the new darling of Australian tennis – and world number one – Ash Barty.

Like, everyone, I think Ash Barty is a breath of fresh air. She’s unpretentious and decent and upfront. She just gets the job done and with very little angst. In some ways, she’s an old fashioned Australian sporting type, and maybe even a throwback to previous eras in tennis when it was nowhere near as hyped as it is now, and the egos were much more reasonable. Now she’s hit number one she appears to have established a rich form line which may well carry her to the Wimbledon title, and beyond. The test will come against Serena Williams – just about her polar opposite – but I think she’s clever enough to win that.

Like just about everyone I deplore Bernard Tomic. I think he’s a disgraceful human being. Clearly, he has issues that lead him to behave as he does, but he has to be accountable for his actions. I can find no redeeming features. He’s lazy, arrogant, disrespectful and, worst of all doesn’t have a crack. He’s derisive of others and petulant to boot.

Last week he made the news by losing in the first round and being stripped of his prize money for basically tanking it. I think this penalty is the cumulative result of many tournaments and matches where his effort is cursory at best. I think it’s fair enough, but then if someone shot him out of a cannon, I’d think that was fair enough also. As you can probably tell, he’s held in general contempt. (I admit to some pity for him – he’s obviously playing up and there are reasons for it – but in the end, it’s up to him to be better).

Then there’s Kyrgios. The jury is much more mixed when it comes to him. There’s plenty who despise him. They see him as graceless and rude. They find his antics offensive. He’s also a wasted talent.

Then others think he’s great. For a start, he has in abundance that thing that Tomic lacks altogether – charisma and personal charm. He’s entertaining, even fun, and on top of that, a complete individual. He runs his own race and has no time for the conventional courtesies. He’s candid and straight-forward and, even if he is a wasted talent, completely free of pretension.

As you can tell probably from my commentary, I fall more so into the second camp. I find it a great pity that a man of such extreme talent – potentially the best in the world – so fritters it away. But then I acknowledge his point that it’s his life and his choice. He’s upfront with his shortcomings, that he hasn’t the concentration or dedication to achieve much more than what he does now – which amounts, generally, to several highly entertaining cameos and the occasional disappointing walkover.

He gets away with a lot because he is so utterly charming (though not everyone sees that). And because he is great to watch when on song. And because he’s so honest and transparent. Underneath I think he’s a genuinely nice guy who isn’t made for the circuit, and he’s definitely someone I’d like to share a beer with (my measuring stick). He has none of the contemptuous and cynical ill-grace of Tomic, and his sheer individuality is refreshing.

As an Aussie I wish he was winning one grand slam after another, but would he be as interesting an individual if he did? Ultimately it’s his right to deploy his talent as he chooses. We assume goals and a career on his behalf. That’s how we see things and have become conditioned to expect. He’s rejected that. I think he’s a pure soul, and while occasionally I may shake my head at his antics, I can’t help but like him. And I respect his right to choose his own road. He’s an individual, and for that, he should be applauded.


Subjective truths

I read something yesterday which is self-evidently true, and yet is something we overlook – as we do so much that is otherwise clearly right.

Basically, the statement was that once you have the power to control understanding, then truth is whatever suits your cause. It makes of truth something malleable. If I have all the facts but only release a portion of them, then it’s that portion that becomes the truth. I shape the truth to my purposes, and as there is nothing to contradict, it becomes an accepted reality.

I guess this is the essence of much propaganda over the years, but it’s sharper now because there are fewer today who stand in opposition to today, and many more too indifferent to ever question.

This is why we need an independent media and a populace capable of critical thought, willing to ask questions. Without them, we live in the fraudulent reality of so many totalitarian states, and the Orwellian dystopia becomes real.

We’re not there yet, but even now in the so-called free world, liberty is being redefined as something narrower. Opposing views are being sidelined, abetted by a compliant, self-serving media. Opponents are ridiculed and shamed. Newspeak abounds, and you only need to log into Twitter to be confronted by groupthink – though at least there it’s democratic.

This is why Trump became president. This is how Brexit defied the odds. It’s why the coalition was re-elected here – fake facts are asserted as truth while real facts are said to be false. This is why Assange is being persecuted, and others like him, because he threatens the power of the establishment by revealing their lies.

I used to think the pendulum would swing back. I was more optimistic then. A part of me is bitter these days. I’ve lost faith with much of what is termed the common man. Like many, I used to think he was a fundamentally decent and reasonable person, but I have my doubts now. We have become more selfish and insular, less curious and compassionate. We don’t quest as much, or risk. We are dulled by lifestyle and easy gratification that yet has made us envious of others.

This is the cycle that concerns me. I don’t know how we change it unless with the shock that comes from having gone too far. Inside, most people remain decent, but we’re more easily bought off now, more willingly gullible, more ready to believe the worst.

Not so smug now

Given what’s happened this week – raids on the ABC HQ in Sydney by the AFP, another raid on a News Ltd editor in Canberra – it’s apt that I wrote about Julian Assange just last week because this is all of a piece. What we have are governments – the establishment – seeking to control the narrative. They claim, as they always do, that it’s in the national interest, but really it’s about censorship. It’s about seeking, or preserving political and personal advantage, about protecting shoddy dealings and hiding away corruption and incompetence. Above all, it’s about intimidation, which is what these raids were all about. The message is loud and clear: if you’re a whistle-blower we’re going to get you, and if you’re a journalist then you’re in their targets too. It’s a national disgrace.

I can’t express how angry this makes me feel. Why am I so angry? Well, I’m upset, naturally, at the hit to our democracy and threat to free speech. I’m very afraid of where this is leading, and where it may lead. Mostly I’m furious because over the last ten years or so many of our civil liberties have been steadily eroded by governments justifying it with weasel words about terrorism and threats to national security. Here and there voices have been raised in objection, but too few, and quickly drowned out. I’ve been one of those voices, protective of my civil liberties and fearful that what starts as a few seemingly minor restrictions to our rights become a movement, and combined lead us to a state of intimidation. That’s the lesson of history, not paranoia, but our politic and our media had declined to such a state that no serious opposition was ever raised. Now we have raids on our national broadcaster by our federal police. The media as a collective are screaming blue murder now, but excepting a few instances, and a few journalists, the irony is that the laws they now suffer from went unexamined when they had the chance. And that’s why I’m bloody angry. I just hope it’s not too late.

I have become powerfully cynical these days. That’s what becomes of disappointed idealism. The election broke my heart. My better self seeks to forgive, but I can’t help but despise the selfish and the dumb who voted in this government. I don’t know what would happen if I cornered one of those dozy cunts, but it wouldn’t be pretty. Soon enough they’ll recognise the error of their ways as the economy tanks, as they find they’re not entitled to franking credits, and as Morrison, Dutton and his cronies continue on in their corrupt, undemocratic and self-serving ways – but what good is that? Remorse won’t cut it. Their sloppy indifference has condemned us all, and for that, I can’t forgive them.

For me, this is somewhat existential. I’ve always been a proud Australian. Generally, I like Australians, as most of the world does, but I’ve come to question what we really have to be proud of? This is a big blow to my belief systems, but probably a necessary corrective. How I resolve that going forward, I don’t know, but I’m sure I will.

In the meantime, it’s this lax scrutiny which has led us to a place where our democracy is in danger. We’re not alone in this. As we see with Assange, whistle-blowers and those who seek to expose the truth are at threat all over the world. This must be resisted. Once, it was the totalitarian states guilty of this, and we would sneer at them from our smug democracies. Now our democracies are adopting the tricks of the police states we despised. Sadly – and I never thought I’d say this – Australia has now become one of the leading offenders. It’ll get worse unless we do something about it now.

Help us be better

Last week Gillette released an ad internationally which addressed the controversial – but topical – subject of men’s behaviour, with the tagline ‘The Best Men Can Be’. It’s a well-crafted ad and takes on discrimination and bullying, male violence and sexual harassment. I guess it’s easy to be cynical about a huge international corporation putting out an ad like this when ‘me too’ have made such messages on trend, but given the message I think that’s a bit precious. Many have chosen to be cynical, and many more offended.

It’s hard to understand how you can be so epically offended at an ad that portrays the best of men, and urges us to consider our behaviour – but then we are in the age of outrage.

While that still simmers in the background, an awful crime last week captured the imagination of Australians. An Israeli student, returning by tram after a night out at a comedy festival, was set upon near her home, raped and left for dead.

This, sadly, is not an uncommon crime, which is one reason it led to such an outcry, while the Gillette ad played out in the background. Here was yet another instance of male violence upon a woman. As with all of Melbourne I was deeply affected, disgusted by what had happened yet again. My instincts ran to the Old Testament. It seemed apt to me that her rapist and murder would be well punished by having a meat cleaver taken to his genitals. He has now been arrested.

In an earlier time this would have played out conventionally in the media. In the age of social media, in the wake of #metoo and increasing militancy of women this has gone to a whole new level. Women are speaking out, sometimes quite violently, decrying the unending cycle of male violence and voicing the oppressive fear they feel so often, and have kept silent about for so long. Fair enough, they demand an end to this.

Not all men take well to this. The #notallmen hashtag sprung up in the wake of these crimes, but the men using this as a defence miss the point – as I have previously commented on. We are all responsible even if we would never stoop to such heinous behaviour. Other men – the type of men who complain about the Gillette ad – claim to be oppressed, and make ridiculous representations regarding ‘men’s rights’. They have a twisted and entitled view of what those rights are, which is indicative of the problem we face.

I like to think I’m a tolerant and fair-minded man. That’s how I was brought up to be, as were many more of my generation. It might sound a bit flaky, but I approach people as a human being first, then as an individual. I have my bias, of course, and probably have some unconscious prejudice, but officially I give everyone the same fair go. As a heterosexual I look at women differently to how I see men. As a westerner I’m open-minded, but naturally I’m more comfortable in the culture I was brought up in (which is one reason I travel, to take myself out of that comfort zone and experience the culture of others). I don’t really care about one’s religion, and the colour of one’s skin seems irrelevant to me. Clichéd as it is, it’s what inside that matters.

When I look to engage in these discussions that’s my starting point, overlaid with conscious rationality – I want to be fair and objective, though my opinion is clear. My view is that we must talk about these things and so I don’t shy from these discussions, even if it can be a bit rugged at times.

Mostly I engage on Twitter and, as I seem on the side of the angels, my commentary is tolerated. Mostly. That changed a little last week.

There’s a very passionate woman I interact with on Twitter occasionally. She’s articulate and intelligent and unafraid to say her piece. I find little to disagree with, though I’m more temperate in my expression. Last week I replied to a discussion she was part of regarding an article which had been published saying that men had to ‘take sides’ in this struggle over male violence.

By instinct I was uncomfortable with that. For a start I think it’s unhelpful terminology. It’s the expression of extremists – if you’re not with us, you’re against us. It’s the language of the times, the binary extremes that won’t accept anything in between. I hate that about this era because nothing is as simple as that. And I pointed that out, we needed a more sophisticated approach to this. To be honest, something in me resented the demand to step to one side of the line or the other. I’m here already.

To cut a long story short she didn’t entirely agree and ultimately said it was time for men ‘to put up or shut up’. I opted out of the conversation at that point. I wasn’t offended, but realised that nothing I could say would make a difference at this point – and that’s the problem.

It’s probably too soon to have a measured discussion about this, but ultimately if this epidemic is to be defeated then abusing men and marginalising them won’t do it.

I think education and upbringing is key to a lot of this, but that’s a slow burn. I think many men are learning by observing the #metoo movement and having women open up to them about their fears. I think the government can do more in terms of education and promoting better behaviours too. I think change will come, much as it has in the general perception of the LGBTIQ community over the last twenty years. By and large homosexuality and its variants are no big deal now, when once there was a distinct stigma.

If this is to be resolved then men must be allowed a voice because we’re the group perpetrating this. Many of us now are advocating and stepping in when necessary to drive better behaviours, but it takes more than that. We need to own it, and while more of us are every day there’s a segment are being driven further to the extreme by the commentary surrounding this. As I commented to her the other day, those of us receptive are already listening, but those of us who need to hear won’t listen. There has to be another way.

My experience is that you have to work with recalcitrants to find a way forward. You need to give them a way out acceptable to them. Abusing them has the opposite effect. It closes their minds and makes them stubbornly indifferent. It incites these men to further misbehaviour. This is just human nature – work with it, not against it.

I guess the other thing I find generally discomforting about all this are the double-standards we turn a blind eye to. I understand that. Sympathetic to their pain and understanding their victimisation we allow for the language that expresses it. We have to move beyond that though. If you replaced the word man/men in a lot of the statements made with black or jew or muslim then there would be an outcry.

I understand why, but, like it or not, we’re all in this together. If men are to change we need the help of women, not their disdain.

Random perspectives

There’s been a bunch of things happen in the last ten days which have exercised my mind but which I haven’t commented on. More often than not I’ll never comment because I won’t get around to it, but today I reckon I’ll set my thoughts down to the lot of them and be done with it.

One of the big issues last week was the Mark Knight cartoon referencing the Serena Williams eruption at the US Open. As soon as I saw it I thought, uh oh. Very clearly it features a racist caricature of Williams, and anyone who doesn’t recognise it is either terribly ignorant or deeply racist. I can’t see any ambiguity in it, though Knight himself reckons it was drawn without racist intent.

There’s a couple of problems with that. To start with, Knight has history. Not long ago he depicted black gang members in very broad and offensive terms also. On that occasion, he drew the figures in scurrilous detail, while perpetuating a false stereotype of black youth gangs over-running Melbourne – which, as anyone sensible living here will tell you, is utter nonsense. He has drawn similar cartoons in the past, and though cartoonists are permitted some artistic licence – much of what they do, after all, is exaggerated and made a caricature – there must be sensitive to culture and history, which is where the second problem emerges.

I remember about ten years ago there was a huge outcry when a local TV program had a talent show in which some contestants got up in blackface. It took me a long time to get my head around that. Unlike North America, blackface has not the same resonant and racist overtones, and the contestants themselves likely did it as a bit of fun, rather than looking to perpetuate a stereotype. That was my view then, but it has evolved since as I, and we, have become better informed. It’s safe to say we’re much better educated on these matters now, which is why I knew it was racist the moment I saw the cartoon. Knight pleads innocence in this matter (and has since doubled down), but that no longer washes in this day and age, though I believe there are still many uneducated who are effectively ignorantly racist.

It wasn’t a particularly clever cartoon in any case. He’s a fine draughtsman, but he has none of the wit or insight of a Rowe or Pope or even a Wilcox.

There was a great outcry also over Steve Bannon being interviewed for 4 Corners. 4 Corners is a venerable ABC program. I’ll watch it most weeks, and it’s record of breaking news and catalysing change is unequalled in Australian television.

On this occasion, it was the left that felt by giving a voice to Bannon the ABC was condoning his views.

My instinct on this is almost the opposite. I recognise there are limits, people unworthy of airtime, or who are so dreadful that any exposure is poisonous. We don’t need to see them on TV. But otherwise, in the spirit of free speech and equal opportunity, as well as in the hope of being educated, my strong belief is that we shouldn’t be shutting down the voices we don’t agree with. That amounts to censorship.

I’m of the left myself, though I’d call myself a moderate liberal. I don’t believe in the extremes on either side, where it tends to get rabid, and I’m a great advocate for the democratic principles our society is founded on. That means allowing for a broad range of voices to be heard. Speaking for myself, I like to understand. I’ll often read opinions I disagree with or find offensive, but it’s useful for me to understand what their arguments are and how they think.

In the case of Bannon, I think that applies very neatly. He was the guiding philosophy behind the current American president, and his broad manifesto has many advocates around the world, including in Australia. I think that makes him a relevant opinion, even if toxic. So, on the one hand, I believe he was a worthy subject for the program, but unfortunately, that required a more rigorous interview than what occurred. Bannon, a savvy player, manipulated the interview to his advantage. I’m a great admirer of Sarah Ferguson, but in this instance, she didn’t hold Bannon to account.

The ABC, being the national broadcaster, has a responsibility to present a range of views and opinions. They get unfairly criticised by the right for being partisan to the left. Here they present a right-wing view and get pilloried by the left. Somewhere in this democratic principles are lost, which is one of my great fears these days.

As I’ve noted before, we live in a binary age when everything is either black or white, right or wrong, left or right. Our public discourse has become unsophisticated and hostile. There’s little nuance and often no acceptance of contrary views. This is true of both sides. It’s dispiriting observing the battles between the rival views, and though I’m inclined to a left perspective I find myself dismayed still reading intractable and inflammatory views in support of that.

Let me make this clear. I’m not going to tell anyone how they should lead their life. As a general rule, I’m not going to abuse someone who disagrees with me, exceptions possibly being rabid bigots and fascists. If possible I’ll sit and listen and then unpick contrary arguments – I’d rather debate than pronounce. I believe in individuality and fear that if we get our way we might end up with a society of drones. I believe in difference, which is where creativity springs from. And, regardless of my personal ideology, I’ll attempt to approach every issue with a rational mindset. Finally, I don’t believe anything is one thing or another – we live in a world of degrees, imperfect and flawed but amazingly diverse. Any other notion is nonsense.

Pathetic men

Volatile times these days, not the least in terms of the relationship between men and women. There’s still a lot in flux, but there’s a sense that it must inevitably result in something – something being a resolution perhaps, an understanding, or perhaps something to the contrary. I think that’s true across large parts of the world with the #metoo movement, and certainly true in Australia also.

It’s a disruptive time. The combination of recent news and awful events have cracked the old and settled ways. Women, who have been subject to harassment and mistreatment for so long, are speaking up and speaking out. Many men are confused by this. Some are hostile. Others, like me, become enlightened. As always when the first tremors of what may be a seismic shift are felt there’s a sense of turmoil. For me, and others like me, it’s a positive, though there’s a long way to go. For others they take it as a threat to their very identity.

#metoo set things off, but in Oz in the last few weeks there have been two events which have illustrated the scale of the issue.

The death of Eurydice Dixon caught the imagination of the public, as occasionally such events will. It paralleled the reaction to the murder of Jill Meagher some years ago, but, I think, with one significant difference. There was a huge outcry when Jill Meagher was stalked and murdered. The public was rightly outraged. There was talk about how it was a part of a pattern of male abuse, but as usually these things do it died away. It became a horrific crime. It certainly wasn’t an isolated event, but there wasn’t the momentum at that time to make it a rallying point.

The murder of Eurydice Dixon was horrific. It caused an outcry and created outrage. It was another instance of a male perpetrating violence upon a woman, but now the time was ripe for it to catalyse into a movement. In the years between these two terrible murders so many of us have become woke. The outrages of #metoo opened the eyes of so many to the perils women face on a daily basis. I count myself enlightened and thoughtful, yet I had no idea of the scale or depth of the issue. One reason for that is that so many victims, disillusioned with an indifferent society, accepted it as their unsavoury lot. Now they too have been activated: no more.

The murder of Eurydice Dixon then became a cause celebre, typical of what women have had to suffer but the tipping point at which the reasonable said this cannot go on: change must come. It forced us to consider what it said of us as a society, then forced some of us to consider what it said of us as men. That was confronting for everyone – as it should be – and I’m hopeful will lead onto changed behaviours. For some though, it was a bridge too far.

This leads us to the second event. In parliament last week an independent senator known for his extreme views basically called a female senator a slut, and accused her of misandry.

I reckon a few months ago no-one had much idea what misandry was – basically the other side of misogyny. Nowadays it’s become a popular rallying call for men disaffected by recent developments. I think it’s pathetic.

There’s good reason that misandry was such an obscure term: it’s a rare phenomenon. It exists I know, and to be fair there has been some pretty rugged commentary in recent months, but like every movement there are extremes. The ratbag fringe aren’t worth worrying about, and the undeniable truth is that misogyny is a thousand times more common than misandry, and much more dangerous.

The problem is that the status quo that so many men have benefitted from since forever is being threatened by women wanting to assert their rights. It’s a fault of our culture and education that for so many men their sense of identity is so tenuous that it must be asserted in masculine terms. Those terms are archaic and often toxic. For generations it meant that men could feel cosy in their false manhood and women knew their place. With the tide turning – women raising their voice and liberal society joining them – these very same men are feeling disempowered because that tenuous sense of identity is under threat. (That’s the problem when you root your identity in concepts rather than self). They hit out in response, they abuse, they elect to act out their corrupted notion of manhood, and look to put women back in their place – calling them sluts and accusing them of abuse. As I said, pathetic.

Of course it’s deeply unintelligent, as has much of the male reaction to recent events.

When women attacked men after the murder of Eurydice Dixon it was not individual men who were being abused but the state of manhood. I was not offended. I thought it a fair cop. If I am a member of a state that is notorious for being violent and abusive then why should I be surprised if I’m treated with suspicion? It’s a sorry situation, but hardly shocking. Sure, I’ve never done any of that and don’t think I could, but it’s not about me. Ultimately it’s about the women who have had to exist with that state, wary and often afraid and uncertain and sometimes harassed, victimised, and worse. I’m glad it’s come to the point that women are speaking up, and as a man it’s now up to us to change.

For me a lot of it comes down to education and how we raise our sons. There is some arrant nonsense about masculinity and manhood. To hang your sense of self upon such a warped concept can only lead to trouble. We need to raise our sons, as well as daughters, to be good people. Many of those attributes we know: kindness, generosity, compassion, courage, honesty, gentleness, and so on. The rest must come from within, and for me that means our sense of self must come from within ourselves, and not be derived by external concepts.

I don’t know if that will be easy to achieve, but I sense a change and I don’t think we can go back now. Too many people are woke now, too many people activated, too many conscious that change must come. The actions of old dinosaurs claiming misandry will only hasten that along because it causes outrage and is seen for what it is – nonsense. All we need is for some of our institutions to catch up.

All this I am across and fervently hope for. At the same time it asks questions of notions I have believed in without consideration. It’s a curious thing, but I’ll take that up in another post.

It’s not about me

Last night about 10,000 people gathered in a silent vigil at Princes Park. They were there because last week Eurydice Dixon was raped and murdered there in the small hours of the night. Last week hers was a name few knew; today hers is a name renowned across the country, with vigils in Sydney and Canberra simultaneously.

The death of Eurydice has outraged and caught the imagination as sometimes shocking events like this do. She was a young comedian walking home after a gig. By all accounts she was a lovely, quirky individual. She was set upon in the dark in the middle of a vacant oval where she was raped, no doubt crying out for help and mercy, unheard, and died there, alone, the victim of a male persecutor.

It’s a terrible story and no wonder it has resonated, but it has echoed much louder than that because what happened to her happens to other women too with a terrible regularity, here, across the country and throughout the world, and for as long as anyone can remember. The vigil last night was for Eurydice, and it was also for every one of those victims. Enough is enough.

It has sparked much comment and commentary, with good reason. Much of it addresses the reality that the perpetrators of these acts are always men. For all it’s controversial. For women they’re sick of walking the streets feeling threatened and unsafe. For many men they refuse to be lumped in with the evil predators guilty of these heinous acts, or be associated with the toxic masculinity that so often leads to it. And for some of us we must sorrowfully accept that even if we might not be guilty ourselves we are a part of a male culture that makes it possible.

Little of this is terribly new, what’s new perhaps is the defiant rejection that this can be allowed to go on. This is why people gather, to show solidarity and to demand action.

Once upon a time I think I was probably one of those men who would refuse to be tarred with the same brush. I would never do that, could never do it, why should I then be reviled as someone who might? I’m still someone incapable of such things, but I understand how little that means to a woman who has endured sexism and harassment daily, who lives with the threat of even worse. They don’t know me; I am one of the group that oppress and threaten them. Like racism, like so many isms, this can only ever be truly judged from the perspective of the oppressed and disadvantaged.

It’s a very sad state of affairs but, as I said, not terribly new. I recalled the other day a time about 25 years ago when I would often walk the streets long after dark. I had a lot going on inside and to simply walk in the dark by myself was a way to get my thoughts in order and soothe my busy mind. Occasionally I would come across someone else on the streets, and sometimes they were women.

I had an instinctive understanding of the situation – late at night, no-one else about, and a big, brooding bloke stalking the streets. For a woman it was potentially a dangerous combination, and though I didn’t like it I would cross the road or go another way to avoid her and ease her mind. I felt shabby doing it, and almost angry. It was like an admission of guilt I didn’t deserve – yet I did it anyway, knowing it was the right thing to do.

This is where we are today. I tweeted a reply to something the other day and it has been shared and commented on since. I wrote as a male, admitting that as such I represented a potential threat. I’m not that man I said, but – and this is the critical aspect many men overlook – it isn’t about me. Or any individual man. It’s about what we have come to represent as a collective and, more particularly, it’s about the fear that we have come to engender in so many women.

It seems petty to get my knickers in a twist about what some are saying about men. Some of it is pretty general, even offensive, but I get the gist of it. For too long we have got away with it and been allowed to get away with it. The perpetrators might get locked up, but the conditions that allow for such perpetrators to emerge go unchecked, and so it goes on. It is a cultural issue that all of us must take responsibility for, but particularly men. As long as we continue to deny and defend, as long as we condone by our silence and inaction, the responsibility for those very few who commit these crimes will be borne by all of us.

Why, as a woman, would you think any different? We must be respectful of the legitimate fear held by women. Those who gathered overnight are right: enough is enough, we must do something. As a man I think the best I can do is accept and admit to this, to call out those who transgress, and be a role model for all.