#MeToo - A Man's Response
I’ve been wanting to write for a while; I just didn’t know what on. This month, as the #MeToo movement began to trend all across social media, I knew I wanted to share a male perspective
As a man, I felt quite a few emotions about this topic. I was shocked to see how quickly my Facebook timeline filled with the #MeToo hashtag. I was saddened to see how many people I knew who were affected by sexual harassment or assault, and I didn’t even know. I was angry that we, as men, would allow this to happen. I was convicted by the thought that I share responsibility in this, either by actively participating in my fallen life before Christ or by passively remaining quiet when I saw others do this.
In the Beginning…
Yet this is nothing new. It’s sad, but men have been failing women since the beginning of time. We read in Genesis that, when God created man, He put Adam in charge of the rest of creation, including his wife Eve — not in a controlling way, but in a sacrificial way. The exact word utilized is the Aramaic word shamar. Its original meaning is to protect, to preserve, even to be willing to die to selflessly protect that which we are called to protect.
However, the Fall takes a tragic turn for men and their calling. We read in Genesis 3 that the serpent begins to talk to Eve. The serpent, the devil himself, has invaded God’s good creation, and Adam is nowhere to be found. In the most pivotal moment, man recklessly abandoned his post, leaving his beloved wife — perfectly created for him — in the crosshairs of a being who would seek to do them the biggest harm. Adam cares only for his own safety and allows the Fall to fall upon the rest of humanity.
Jesus Christ – Our Model
The story in Genesis was tragic but incomplete. Because we are created in the image of God, He still had a perfect plan for us. He sent His only Son to die for us and to open a path for us to spend eternity with Him.
Time and time again, Jesus demonstrates in the Scriptures the way man is called to protect his sisters and mothers. One prime example is when Jesus saved the woman caught in adultery. Instead of looking at her, judging her for her actions, He sees her for who she truly is: a beloved daughter of the Father, filled with immense, unmeasurable beauty. He steps in front of those who accuse her and does not allow a single person to lay a hand (or a stone) on her.
This is the One whom we are called to imitate today. Ultimately, the past is in the past, and we can’t change the immense harm that has already been caused to so many women by men’s actions (and inactions). We can, however, restore the dignity of women and prevent it from being violated again by rising up and living out Christ’s example.
We must protect the value and dignity of women in the face of those who would seek to do them harm. Instead of refusing to see this as a legitimate problem, we should first admit our fault. Then we should take real steps to stand up for our sisters, mothers, wives, daughters and every woman we come into contact with who is threatened by this issue.
Men among Men
And we too must uphold our own dignity and the dignity of our brothers, sons, fathers and all men by standing up when we hear disparaging comments toward women or recognize when someone seeks to do actions that harm women or themselves.
We must take a zero-tolerance stance on this. Instead, through the friendships we have with other men, we must hold one another accountable and help nurture in and with one another an authentic and selfless love for womankind — and ultimately for all of humanity — not because of some attraction or romantic interest, but because we as men are called to lay down our lives for women.
We also do not shame them for anything that lies in their past, but instead, we must share through our words and actions that they are beautiful, perfectly created in the image and likeness of a perfect God, and attest to the reality that they are very precious to Him.
While we may not be perfect because of sin, we can still choose to stand up and rise to the occasion, upholding the role for which we were created from the beginning of time.
So will you, men?
Will you continue to allow the women around you to be hurt and attacked, or will you choose to rise and protect, honor and selflessly love those for whom we were created?
Octavio Edgington is a First-Year Missionary and a Catholic
convert serving at California State University-Fullerton. Born and raised in
Phoenix, Arizona, Octavio spent his undergrad at Vanderbilt University in
Nashville, Tennessee. He is now a die-hard SEC football fan! When he isn’t
spending time with students or reading the writings of the Saints, you can
catch him enjoying a nice pint of craft beer, watching ESPN, and hiking in the
Southern California foothills. His patron saint is Saint Augustine and he will
never turn down a taco. Go Dores!
A version of this blog post was originally published here.