#Metoo project: Make the effort to inform and educate yourself

The following text was written within the framework of the project “Hommage aux fxmmes #metoo”. The idea behind this project is to offer a new voice to the #metoo movement, particularly directed towards denunciations by women of sexual assault or misconduct, although women are not the only victims of violence. sexual. The authors who will take part in the project will share with you their thoughts, opinions, observations as well as their support, love and wishes for the future for the cause of sexual violence. 

– Laurianne André, bachelor in sexology

I would like to begin this text by paying tribute to the women who have had a positive influence in my life and who continue to do so. I have been fortunate to grow up surrounded by strong and determined women. Their support and the example they set for me have certainly helped shape my journey. My grandmother has a strong personality that helped her take her place at a time when it wasn’t necessarily the norm for women yet. My mother, after having her fourth child, completely changed careers to pursue a dream and start her business. My big sister has always been a role model for me with her energy and her desire to succeed in everything she does. I see a beautiful mix of these qualities in my younger sister as she approaches adulthood and she fills me with pride. I am also fortunate to have several amazing women among my best friends. I see you all working hard to reach your full potential, and I can’t help but wish the world will give you every chance.

Okay, now, the less beautiful.

This summer, I got a whistle for the first time in my life. Obviously, you will understand that this was not addressed to me: I was walking with two friends and men who were driving by there lowered their windows to whistle at them and to give them nice compliments. It shocked me for several reasons.

First, the snapshot of the situation. ”  Yark… there are still guys doing that.”  Then, the reaction of my friends. “  Banal. We’re used to it.  Not that I lived in a fairy world where social problems don’t exist, but at the same time, as a straight white male, kinda yes. Nice way to remind me of my privilege.

I wish I had done something more than just watching these men walk away in disgust. This helplessness stuck in my head for several days. And I could only imagine how women feel who go through this regularly.

The #metoo movement, for me, is hope.

In recent years, I have realized the toxicity of male culture. For example, as an athlete, I have heard and participated in many “locker room discussions”. We were young, we didn’t know, we didn’t understand, but that’s no excuse. In 2020, it brought me to a deeper introspection. I haven’t always been perfect and neither am I today, but I hope I am better than before and I hope I can be better tomorrow. I hope other men have done this introspection as well.

I now understand better the difficulties that women face in everyday life, of which I was unaware in the not so distant past.

I think back to the stories my mother used to tell me, where she received derogatory comments and repeated advances about her workplace. “Ahhh, it’s construction guys…” we said to each other. Today, I think about all the other times that has happened and she hasn’t said anything.

I see times when male colleagues have devalued female colleagues and me who does not achieve anything, blinded by my ignorance. Thank you to you who trusted me enough to tell me about it because today, these moments no longer escape me.

I see my sister who has to fight at every Zoom conference to get her colleague to listen to her ideas or not step on her toes in front of their boss or their clients. That’s when he lets her talk …

I don’t think we should put everything in the basket of sexism, misogyny or toxic masculinity. On the other hand, with all the examples that we have seen in the media in recent years, in addition to what is happening in front of our eyes, to rule out the possibility that this is part of the equation is to put your head in the sand. If you are not aware of this today, it is because you did not make the effort to inform yourself and to educate yourself.

I hope more men have understood that they will never understand, but also that they have to put more effort into trying to understand . Realizing that our comfort zone is a privilege is a good first step. The next step is to take action and take concrete steps to help change our immediate environment. This is how, little by little, we will manage to build a world where our mothers, our sisters and our friends will have the same opportunities as us.

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