Be careful when generating a new Hashtag.
It came to my attention a week or two back, that the hashtag #TakeAwayHisPlatform was the new #metoo. Here is my take on it. Do not get me wrong, I support the ones that come forward with such strong stories, and the fact the abusers/harassers are highlighted for the horrific things they are doing. I do, however, find it disconcerting that such a sexist hashtag makes the rounds. So, I want to share a story of my own. Those that know me, know that I am a strong equality fighter, and thus, this post was inevitable.
First off. My only problem with this, is the words that the hashtag (#TakeAwayHisPlatform) consists of. Not the actual use of it, but rather to serve as a reminder that MEN can be abused or harassed too. I find it a damn shame men are too proud to ask for help, or call out their abusers or harassers. The stereotyping of men has caused many, MANY suicides throughout the years. And as such, hashtags like #TakeAwayHISPlatform (emphasis on the HIS part) to me, appear very sexist. It implies that men are the only abusers or harassers, and could be used wrongly against any man. Words are powerful, so be extremely careful when using them. Especially when using hashtags, which is meant to make it much easier to find content in regards to specific things on social media. They are meant as keywords where people can contribute with stories. Thus, the use of words becomes much more important than just regular posts or tweets. I fear that hasthags like this, may be used wrongly.
So, in order to remind the people that may have forgotten that MEN can be victims too, I will share a story (in which I have managed to get past, so I am not looking for any sympathy).
A few years back, I was together with a girl. 2 years+ relationship. At first, we hit it off very well, were kind to each other, loving to each other. At this point, it is worth pointing out that I am a very emotional man. I care, which is why I got into this mess. About a year into the relationship, I felt we were going good. Still having a good time, still lots of love. Or, so I though. Closing in on the 2nd year of the relationship, however, things started to change. I did not realize at that point, but she had been manipulating my conscience for a while. If she wanted me to do something, or change something, she would make me think it was my fault, or generally that it was my fault that she was not happy. Always. Gullible as I was, I followed suit and did what she asked without question.
This is when she started hitting me. She was a fan of kickboxing, and had practiced it in the past. She said she missed it, and as such, I became her LIVING boxing bag. Everytime I told her to stop, she said: If you want to spend your life with me, you have to get used to it. Silly as I was I did not connect the two, nor did I do anything about it, thinking it was a phaze that would pass. It was not. She kept doing it. And I always thought it was my fault when she did. Of course, I now know it never was my fault.
I kept it going, trying to save this relationship for six months. I tried saving this dying relationship, and at the same time feeling like she was cheating on me. I later found proof that supported these suspicions. At some point, I finally woke up, and realized what was happening to me. After months of suspicions, depressions, and overall feeling like utter crap, I ended the relationship (I admit I did it in the worst way possible, but this was my first real relationship, so I had no clue what I was doing and was generally scared of her (vowed to never ever do it that way again, and I never have)), still feeling like it was my fault the relationship failed. It took me months to get over it, feeling shit every day, and even needing to go to a psychologist to try and sort myself out.
Despite the psychologist helping, I do not think he alone would have gotten me out of it. The fact I got some real friends before ending it, and having their support, combined with the efforts of my family, was the best thing I could have at that point.
I still remember the bruises, and depressions I had during that relationship. Despite it being bad, I learned valuable life lessons thanks to it.
So, I hope this story of mine actually helps reminding people that, yes, men can be victims too. Just remember, that the reason men do not come clean with such stories, is normally because of the stereotypes that we have to be strong, rocks, even.
Again, this post is not meant as an attack on anyone, but as a reminder to think before creating hashtags. Words hold tremendous power, and if we want to live in an equal world, we need to recognize this.