No! Men, Don’t Just Shut Up!

“What defines the success of a movement? Is it how loudly its message resounds? Or is it how much tangible change it makes in the lives of those it was formed to protect? … Awareness is hollow if not followed by measurable action that makes a difference.”  – Mira Sorvino


  • Extending the statute of limitations on filing sexual harassment claims from one to three years (comparable with other civil claims).
  • Expanding the scope of sexual harassment protections in professional relationships, including redefining who can be liable for harassment beyond one’s direct employer (vital in today’s growing gig economy).
  • Ending the impunity afforded abusers by the “one free grope” rule (shockingly, still followed).
  • Mandating sexual harassment training in all businesses with more than five employees (instead of the current threshold of 50) and applying it to all workers (not just supervisors). The training would include “bystander intervention” techniques, potentially mobilizing whole workforces as reciprocally protective communities.
  • Outlawing unscrupulous legal tactics employers use to keep victims from speaking and to shield harassers

Five critical bills concerning workplace harassment — AB 1870, SB 224, SB 1343, SB 1300 and AB 3080 that sit on the California governor’s desk.  He has until Sept. 30 to act on them.

Men don’t buy into the latest public insanity of oversimplifying and latching on to governance by meme.  No don’t “Just Shut Up”.  Speak up loudly about your support for these types of changes.  Ask women close to you or those who are willing to enter constructive conversations to share their experiences and offer specific things we all can do to turn this cultural ship around, to put it on its ear.

… I credit Jim Wagner for bringing an article* to my attention that contained these salient points.  Jim, a man who incidentally was told to just shut up, but he didn’t because he can’t and shouldn’t. Drop it folks, listening isn’t a passive exercise wherein people in pain howling at the moon only to have the same sun rise each day. It’s an active exercise wherein the very preconceptions and prejudices that created a dysfunctional community are brought into the light, challenged, and changed for the benefit of the entire community.  Silence is retribution, a form of jail bestowed on a whole class of people who didn’t invent the norms, but sure are a big part of pushing and pulling to move us all to be far more compassionate and respectful of everyone in the community.  Parity takes courage to hear the things we don’t understand or agree with and then work together to actually achieve a measurable balanced outcome.


*If the governor signs five sexual harassment bills, California will lead in protecting women