In light of the recent allegations of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual abuse, many women are despairing over what they can do to address this issue. But 26-year-old Brooklyn resident Lisa Stein has a plan: Post yet another Facebook status in hopes that men will finally learn to be real human beings.
“Every time something like this comes up, I’m overtaken by memories of my personal trauma,” Stein explains. “So I’m going to do what I can: Post an emotional Facebook status and hope that men decided to start having basic human reactions, like empathy and caring.”
A survey of men reveals that most are aware of the sexual harassment and abuse that women, trans, and non-binary people experience on a day-to-day basis. The question is what will make men actually give a fuck.
“I know maybe four men who have treated me with absolute respect,” Stein says. “But about 80 men have liked the status. Maybe that means they’ll start acting like humans with a modicum of compassion.”
Many of Stein’s friends have also written their own statuses sharing stories of harassment and sexual assault.
“It’s been really triggering reading so many familiar stories of assault and harassment,” say friend Megan Lim. “We’re performing incredible emotional labor in detailing these experiences, and I guess from here maybe men will just make one fucking effort to perform the most basic requirements of humans living in society? Here’s hoping!”
One of Stein’s male friends, David Lawless, was deeply impacted by her status.
“I saw it and I was like, wow,” Lawless says. “I definitely knew that this happened, but seeing how many women was pretty mindboggling. I hope someone does something about this!”
Another friend, Pete Geiger, felt called to action.
“My entire feed was flooded with posts of women detailing their experiences, which really made me feel like I was a part of something.” Geiger says. “I felt so energized I finally asked out the coworker I’ve been into for a couple months.”
Stein recognizes that ultimately it will be up to the men to stop harassing, raping, speaking over, disbelieving, ignoring, punishing, underpaying, and oppressing women.
“But if not this one, maybe the next Facebook status will inspire men to have a goddamn soul about this and do something—anything—to stop themselves and their friends from hurting women,” Stein says. “All I can really do is hope!”