Relating to my last post: one of the most wonderful things to have come out of our discussions about women’s safety in the music industry has been men stepping up, wondering what they can do to help.
In some cases, men have also asked me what the perpetrators in our situations are doing or saying, so that they can make sure they’re not accidentally coming off the wrong way to women they talk with. To those comments I say 95% of this is common sense… Just be a good human being, and you will be OK. Err on the side of asking permission, and observing boundaries. A non-answer should be considered a “no.”
Back to how men can help… Being an ally is different than being a friend – IMHO. A friend is someone you can talk about things with, who will be there to give you a shoulder to cry on, etc. An ally cooperates in making change. Why not be both?
Men, here are some of the things that have been discussed, when it comes to being an ally to women experiencing harassment/stalking/other serious safety concerns with men, as it has pertained to locally in music:
- If you see another man doing, writing (posting) or saying something inappropriate, don’t ignore it. Document it. Report it. Warn others. Confront it, if you are comfortable doing so. Men are more likely to listen to other men than to women.
- If you see a woman struggling at any level, help her out. Offer to stick around late at a show, so that there are more than two or three people left in the venue alone. Offer to walk with her to her car, make sure she gets in and out of a building alright. Help her call an Uber if she’s disoriented for any reason. Now, the trick is… Do these things in ways that will be strictly helpful and not add more potential creepiness to a situation.
- Be a good example for other men out there. Know your boundaries, whether they be online or physical or verbal. Read between the lines, understand body language… Sense any uncomfortability. Don’t push.
- Ask what we could use help with… Don’t assume you know what it is.
Other things I’m missing? Is there something I may have misspoken about, here? It is always possible.
Bottom line: THANK YOU to those men who do care enough to support us in our efforts. We women can do a lot – but with male allies, even more is possible.