By Geisha Bar

Awakening to a flurry of Facebook statuses of #metoo, I was initially confused. Was this one of those annoying games where lame women copy/paste some godawful “sisterly” message to each other’s inboxes, encouraging them to post a status of some cryptic shit (about where they like to leave their purse), in order to confuse the menfolk?

It would seem this was not the case this time, and my initial mild annoyance rapidly gave way to a sobering sadness as I subsequently found a status that explained all the #metoo-ing. I’m not exaggerating when I say that of about 200 female friends on Facebook, I must have seen a good 50 #metoo posts that morning; not including the many many friends I have hidden due to their persistent meme-ing and/or baby photos, and not including the fact that Facebook severely limits what you even see in your newsfeed from people.

Underneath these statuses, many were sharing their experiences, which ranged from aggressive catcalling on the daily, to sprinting while screaming loudly to avoid a sinister pursuer who only desisted when another male arrived in the area, to those poor souls who were sadly unable to outrun their attackers. I was floored.

By virtue of simply existing as a female, I of course know what it’s like to be yelled at out of car windows, to be consistently spoken over by mediocre men in the workplace, to be given unsolicited advice by men on my appearance (“lose weight and you’d be at least a 6”) and, of course, to have to try and (unsuccessfully) shut down unwanted touching inside a club. A friend who worked as a glassy once regaled me with a time that, while on shift, he saw a guy continually trying to touch and grind up on a woman, who asked him repeatedly to leave her alone. My friend was horrified that the guy wouldn’t back down, and immediately intervened. This, he said, was by no means an isolated event, and it made him sick to witness.

Guys, if you want to be an ally to all the females out there, for the love of gin and tonic, FUCKING. INTERVENE. The loud and clear message from all these #metoo testimonies is that for all the harassment received, it means that there are MANY PEOPLE DOING THE HARRASSMENT. And it’s not just seedy dirty old men who visit glory holes; it’s actually a vast number of everyday men. It’s your mate. It’s the guy you work with. It’s your older brother. It’s your footy idol. It could even be you, reading this right now.

If you see or hear something, SAY SOMETHING. Shutting down misogynistic and sexist talk when it happens in an all-male sphere is the superpower you possess – so have the guts to do so. Let your bros know that it’s not fucking cool to intimidate, harass, assault, and torment women. Please have the courage to stand up to other men and help us shut down the grossness of it all.

How would you feel if it was #youtoo?

Love, Akika xoxoxoxoxo