"You don't make up for your sins in a church. You do it in the streets. You do it at home. The rest is bullshit and you know it." Harvey Keitel as Charlie, Mean Streets
To the men who are riding the crest of the wave of sexual misconduct claims, this one goes out to you.
The pedophiles. The pederasts. The predators.
You can't apologize your way into forgiveness. Actions speak louder than words, gentlemen. Keeping your hands to yourself is great, but how willing are you to call out other men when you hearing them sharing "locker room talk?" How willing are you to step forward if you see a guy putting something in a woman's drink? If you see some guy grabbing at a woman and ignoring her when she tells him to stop?
And how likely are you to just look away and then walk away?
Years ago, I was living with someone who said all the right things about equality and feminism. He said that fathers should be equal participants in their child's lives. He said there was no such thing as "women's work" and everyone should help out around the house. He said rapists should be castrated and sent to live on a deserted island.
But the night we were lying in bed reading and realized the sudden, loud sounds above us were of our neighbor being beaten by her husband, he refused to even put his book down. He wouldn't go upstairs and knock on the door. He didn't even want me to call the police. Of course, I did anyway, but he was pissed at me for "getting involved in something that was none of our business."
He's beating her, I said.
It will be over soon, he said.
In a political discussion at a dinner table, he would have been the first to hold forth on how domestic violence is everyone's problem. He would have said that men need to take responsibility and be the solution. He would have said that no woman deserves to be used as some idiot's punching bag.
He had all the right words, but he didn't take any action to back it up. And yes, I thought lesser of him for it.
You don't have to be a rapist to be part of the problem. You don't have to be a child molester to be a coward. And you don't have to be the guy complimenting a woman's cleavage to be the guy creating the hostile work environment.
You just have to be the guy who's too much of a chickenshit to rock the boat.