We are all aware of the maelstrom and fury unleashed in recent times in the news by the advent of the #MeToo movement. As most of us are also aware how power corrupts and that women are primarily the target of sexual harassment and exploitation when it occurs it is disconcerting to learn how prevalent this problem really is.
Are You A Victim Of Sexual Harassment? Or, Have You Victimized Someone?
The subject of interest presented in the media has focused primarily on the effects this problem has on those who have been or can be at risk of being victimized. It has heightened our awareness about how and why sexual coercion and abuse is destructive in the workplace, to human relations in general, and to the mental health of the victims in particular. These have been predominantly women. But what about the effects on those who as a result of the attention given to this issue question whether they themselves are victimizers or have done so in the past.
Homosexuality - Not A Mental Disorder
Less than 50 years ago homosexuality was classified as a mental disorder. Today though we still have a ways to go with respect to our attitudes toward diversity this fact of recent history almost seems unthinkable. This is because the standards by which human behavior is judged with respect to both abuse and sexuality have changed significantly in that same time period. What parent could spank their child in today’s world without being cognizant of this?
The #MeToo movement has men thinking. But they are not talking. They are questioning whether they themselves are or have been victimizers in the past. #MeToo has raised the standard by which each encounter should be judged especially in the minds of men. We watch how men treat women on MadMen and we wince. It can remind us how our conduct as judged is culturally contingent; how easily what we take for granted as acceptable isn’t necessarily so.
It's Time For Men To Reflect, Together
This is a good opportunity for men to start the discussion amongst themselves. For some these discussions may bring a sense of relief to realize there are others who have the same concerns and questions. While for some the benefits might be in the realization that their behavior might not be judged as harshly as they feared, for others learning the potential harm that can come from behavior they hadn’t given sufficient thought or consideration to before acting offers an opportunity for building greater empathy and showing greater respect to others involved.
Psychotherapy - A Confidential Option For Men
In my private practice I meet many men, some of whom have broached these concerns. Psychotherapy can offer an opportunity to explore these concerns within a private and confidential relationship and a venue that may promote greater transparency and openness to discuss these matters among friends, associates, and more public forums for the purpose of enlightening ourselves and those we care about.
Posted by Robert Hamm, Ph.D.
Robert Hamm Ph.D