Matt McGorry is calling on good men to step up in the wake of the sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein.
The 31-year-old actor published an essay on Medium on Monday detailing the different ways toxic masculinity and rape culture allow for predators like Weinstein to stay hidden for so long. Weinstein has been accused by over 40 women of sexual harassment, sexual abuse and/or rape.
“As men, we constantly receive explicit and implicit messages from our culture about what it means to be a man. We must be dominant; our value is measured by our ability to have power over others ― especially women,” McGorry wrote. ”... By consciously or unconsciously believing that sexual conquests are evidence of our ‘manliness’ and heterosexuality, we reinforce the ignorant notion that women exist on this earth for our pleasure... and we undoubtedly feel cheated when they resist being perceived and treated as such.”
The “Orange Is The New Black” and “How To Get Away With Murder” actor has been an outspoken social justice advocate since he first hit stardom in 2013. He regularly calls out sexism and racism in Hollywood.
McGorry wrote that when he was younger he would always hear people throw out sexual violence statistics such as 1 in 5 women will be raped in their lifetimes. The actor, however, had a hard time believing that that could be true because he didn’t know any women who had been raped.
“I did not realize that women who have been subjected to these acts of violence would often not discuss these experiences with anyone, and especially not with a man,” he added.
As men who want to perceive ourselves as 'good,' we have a responsibility to challenge our preconceived notions surrounding violence against women, to educate ourselves, and to take a proactive, strong, and visible stance. Matt McGorry
The reality, McGorry wrote, is that men ― even those who believe they are “good” ― have been socialized to be “unsafe listeners” for women.
“Questions and comments that consciously or unconsciously place blame on the survivor can amplify the emotional trauma of the violence, and can, in some cases, magnify the trauma of the rape exponentially,” he wrote. “With the stakes so high, why should women entrust men with these highly personal accounts, stories that ― in most cases ― are connected to tremendous shame, self-blame, and trauma?”
McGorry added that men need to take responsibility for the role they play in rape culture, and that the best way to do that is to educate themselves.
“As men who want to perceive ourselves as ‘good,’ we have a responsibility to challenge our preconceived notions surrounding violence against women, to educate ourselves, and to take a proactive, strong, and visible stance,” he wrote. “Most importantly, we need to have these conversations with other men. We need to not only speak out against abuse, but also to demonstrate how our culture perpetuates and normalizes this violence through sexist jokes, ‘locker room talk,’ slut shaming, and talking about women in dehumanizing ways.”
Head over to Medium to read McGorry’s full essay.