5 crucial ways men can help end sexual assault

If you’ve paid any attention to social media in the past 24 hours, you’ve seen #MeToo, the viral hashtag that women have used to acknowledge, even in two simple words, that they’ve experienced sexual harassment and assault.

The number of people who’ve shared or discussed a #MeToo post is staggering. That so many women have experienced sexual violence should come as no surprise.

Last year, after Donald Trump’s “pussy grabbing” tape became public, the author Kelly Oxford wrote about sexual assault using the hashtag #NotOkay. Harrowing stories of harassment, assault, and rape poured forth.

A month after that watershed moment — when it felt like American culture was on the brink of truly confronting its epidemic of sexual violence — voters elected Trump president. The allegations against him seemed ultimately irrelevant to millions of men and women.

While the catharsis and visibility of #MeToo is vital, what happened after #NotOkay is a disturbing reminder that women can tell their personal stories for the rest of time, but they alone cannot fundamentally transform a culture that condones and excuses behavior like sexual assault. That duty can and should fall to men.

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