I believe you, Dr. Ford.
I believe my friends on my Facebook feed who have broken their silence, relived their trauma and shared their pain.
I believe you and every other woman who comes forward that says #metoo.
Because in Alaska, a man named Justin Schneider was given no prison sentence for kidnapping, strangling and sexually assaulting an indigenous woman.
Because in California, a man named Brock Turner only spent three months in jail for raping an unconscious woman.
Because in Massachusetts, a man named David Becker sexually assaulted two girls at a party while they were unconscious and received probation.
Because in Colorado, a man named Austin Wilkerson raped a woman and got probation.
Because in Illinois, a man named John Enochs raped two women, but got probation for “battery”.
Because Harvey Weinstein got away with over three decades of sexual abuse.
Because Donald Trump, despite his saying on record “Grab ‘em by the pussy” and being accused of sexual assault by numerous women, was elected president of the United States.
For too long the price of toxic masculinity, with its power and privilege and violence, has been paid for with the blood of women, girls, boys, queer siblings, and siblings of color. And as the Arc of history bends towards justice, its shadow is finally beginning to fall on the powerful white man. The man who would rape. The man who would molest. The man who would enslave. The man who would abuse. The man who would murder.
It is up to me, as the brown father of a boy who will grow up to be a white man, to make a difference for his sake and for the sake of the other human beings in his life. It is my responsibility to teach him the morals and ethics of consent and respect. He will learn from me how to recognize his own privilege and to check his own bias. He will look to me as a model; how to be angry, how to be mindful, how to be just, how to love, how to forgive, how to listen. I must commit to the hard work of helping my son be a better man than I will ever be.
Because toxic masculinity demands a human sacrifice. And there are no angels that will wrest the stone knife from my hand. It’s up to me to stop the cycle; to tear down the altar, to deny the beast its blood. My son is not your Isaac. Men, we have a choice.
There are voices in the shadow of the Arc, and they are getting louder. I hear you. I believe you.
****CORRECTION**** Originally, I wrote: “Because in Iowa, a man named Nicholas Fifield raped a woman with mental illness and received no jail time.” In an article dated March 9, 2017, charges were dismissed against Nicholas Fifield. Nicholas Fifield’s father reached out to me to list this correction to my blog post. I take full responsibility, and apologize, for not adequately investigating Nicholas Fifield’s case further and for disseminating dated and imperfect information. I am committed to doing better. Please see Mr. Fifield’s medium page for more information.
For me, this only shows how important the issue of active, repeated consent and respect is; and how it impacts not only survivors, but the families and communities of all involved. In our United States “justice system” some people are falsely accused (a majority of them people of color). And we also live in a world where my son has more of a chance of being raped than he does of being falsely accused of rape.