There's a lot of hatred for men among the women in this country right now. If you're looking for me to tell you it's unjustified, you won't find it. Nearly every woman I know has suffered some sort of abuse, most of us more than once. Myself included. I'm not talking about being teased or passed over for a job. I'm talking about assault. I'm talking about being sexually molested as a child—I was twelve—and/or being brutalized like when my first husband tried to strangle me.

If they're angry as the men who have power over everyone in this nation dismiss those experiences as irrelevant, as unimportant, as expected behavior, it's hardly a surprise. Many of these same women are re-traumatized and more than a few are furious. Furious that they have no reasonable recourse, furious that events that have left painful scars if not crippled the rest of their lives are waved away as negligible. Negligible. Horrified and enraged that our young daughters and impressionable young men have been told by people who decide our laws, who tax us, who put our judges in place, who decide policy that our daughters can be preyed upon by their peers and others with impunity, that it doesn't matter how they have been damaged, that it's just an acceptable part of life.

Their rage—our rage—is justified. But, and I think this can be lost in the maelstrom, I do not hate men. Not because I don't think this is an important even a crucial issue. Not because I'm not appalled that we are facing putting someone on the highest court on the land who so obviously despises and dismisses the humanity of women. I think both of those things.

But because, while almost all women have apparently faced this, despite what those same crusty insensitive GOP men on Capitol Hill have told you, there are many men who would never do anything like that. Maybe they'd mansplain. Maybe they'd pass you over for a promotion without really thinking about it too hard. Maybe they'd say little or nothing while buddies talk about less than savory sexual conquests. But, this isn't something they would do.

I have two abusers in my past, but I've interacted with dozens, no hundreds of men. Some I've worked with or been friends with closely for decades. Two men mistreated me, brutalized me; dozens have supported, understood, encouraged, protected me. Starting with my father who told me I could be anything I wanted to be and introduced me to literature on rapists so I'd be informed and could protect myself (though that was after I'd been molested, something I never told him). Teachers. Friends. Employers. Love interests. Colleagues. Good decent men who stood with me and helped shield me when my first husband was a real and present danger to myself and even my young daughter at the time. Friends I have now that post the same disgust with what's happening as my female friends.

I know many of these men get it. No one needs to tell them they're not painted with the same brush—though most understand it if some of it slops on them. They know that the people currently in power in Washington have targeted women (not just women, of course, but we're certainly a key target) and that much of what we—and many of them—have fought for for the past fifty years is at stake and endangered.

But there are other men who think our rage is a threat to them even though they've never done anything wrong. They're fearful and defensive. This is the wrong time for that, fellows. Your rage is aimed at the wrong place. Take a moment. Take a breath. Think rather than feel.

The people you should be raging at aren't women, the women around you that you know and love who have been brutalized by men. It should be with the men that brutalized them. That rage should be for the rapists and molesters that have stained and tarnished the lives of the women you care about. That fury should be aimed at the men who, even now, are smearing the reputations of good men everywhere by saying "all men do this" and "boys will be boys" and "men can't help themselves." Men are and can be better than that. And men who are better than that, you need to be at the forefront screaming at this bullshit. You need to be yelling at the top of your lungs.

Because the ones they are insulting are you. The reputations they are destroying are yours.The women afraid to meet you except in public? These monsters are behind it. Your wife who cowers if you raise your voice for any reason? These people are the ones that terrorized her and implicated you when they did so.

This war isn't about men vs. women. This is monsters vs. humanity.

Can't sit this one out silently, folks. Time to stand for humanity

Stephanie E Barr

Stephanie E Barr

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