He said

Being the editor-in-chief of a publication about to publish a major #MeToo story, I was almost excited. Not that I was excited about such a controversial topic, but I knew we were about to drop a bombshell of an article, something that could make people rethink things.

The only issue with that was the only people that need to rethink anything are the boys, the male youth; my friends and peers.

Unfortunately, sexual misconduct is nothing new. Men have been abusing and taking advantage of women for as long as time has stood.

Except now, society is finally fed up with it. People finally started realizing that this is not okay, that we must speak out against this disgusting norm that is sexual abuse.

Still, everyone is still scared to talk. Being a teenage boy, my friends dance around the topic. They’ll avoid bringing up anything related to #MeToo or sexual misconduct.

We’re scared as are the women in society. But for us, we’re scared that we’ll mess up. Being a teenager in the middle of such a powerful movement is intimidating. We constantly worry that we’ll cross a line or make a girl feel uncomfortable.

We should be scared. We should fear crossing that line because yes, it is dangerous territory. But not all males are like that.

I sit in front of my peers and I hear them, the bolder ones still making jokes still crossing that line. I see the girls giving them looks then turning to the other girls to see who heard what that one boy said.

So while #MeToo has began to make a difference, we haven’t fully felt it’s impact. There’s the fear of crossing that line, but there are also boys who openly go over that boundary whether they know it or not.

How would these boys feel if they knew the damage they cause? What would they think, say or do if they knew that sending that one picture was sexual harassment and that it is punishable by jail time?

I am scared. Anything I do or say to a girl makes me second guess myself…Was that too far? Is she okay?

If only everyone felt that way. Instead, the males of society respond by calling female victims liars who are looking to get attention in any way possible. But if we continuously degrade victims, accusing them time after time of blatantly lying, we are degrading a movement.

Every time we talk bad on someone who has come forth, we are destroying the power that #MeToo has built up, the power we need to generate the conversations we are scared to have.

Men need to think about their actions. Long-gone are the days when we could act freely and disgustingly without repercussions.

We have to break this cycle somewhere.

I should not be second-guessing if every little action was acceptable because respect should be engraved in me as a male.

I should not have to sit in class and hear guys who haven’t realized what they’re saying yet because these men should know better.

The only way to educate about these societal boundaries is through conversation.

My friends and I should talk about the movement. We should acknowledge that it is all too easy to go too far. We should know that line.

Not every male is a rapist out to get women. We aren’t all willing to go out and be sexual assaulters. But either way, we all play a role in this movement.

Men should stop putting on this false facade of strength and dignity. True strength and dignity is owning up to one’s mistakes and treating not just women but everyone with respect.

Together, all of us must recognize the power of #MeToo. We must not degrade this power but rather build it up. This is the movement we’ve been waiting for. It’s the movement we need, an open platform for men and women to speak on these sensitive, delicate subjects.

It all starts with conversation so speak up.