Privilege Checklist for Men: #Metoo and Personal Safety (Blog Post)October 17, 2018
It’s not unusual for me to be on the receiving end of sarcastic comments in response to something I wrote.
It comes with the territory.
In fact, I’ve grown to relish the barbs, and on occasion will use them as teachable moments. Here’s the latest one from “Cynical Cedric,” followed by a teachable moment checklist.
“Hey Howard. We’ve noticed that you’ve been strangely silent on the sexual assault stuff that’s been in the news lately. I think that many women are paranoid and worry too much about something that probably won’t happen to them. This stuff is largely overblown.”
Well, here’s my response to “Cynical Cedric” and other men: read through the following list and check all that apply (women are encouraged to do the same):
_____I take extra care in how I dress to avoid unwanted attention.
_____I check the backseat of my car before climbing in.
_____I never put my drink down and come back to it later.
_____I always watch when my drink is being poured.
_____I have an unlisted phone number.
_____I have a male voice on my answering machine.
_____I avoid using public parking garages when alone.
_____I avoid getting on an elevator with a group of men.
_____I vary my route to work and home.
_____I park in well-lighted spaces and scan the area around me before getting out of my car.
_____I don’t use public rest stops during interstate driving.
_____I don’t use headphones while jogging.
_____I avoid renting first-floor apartments.
_____I go out in groups whenever possible.
_____I always meet first dates in public places.
_____I make sure I always have cab fare.
_____I try to have enough gasoline to avoid having to stop for fuel.
_____When I need gasoline, I always find stations that are well-lighted and busy.
_____I always keep doors locked while driving, especially when I stop at stoplights.
_____I make sure my family knows my itinerary.
_____I make sure that the garage door is closed all the way before driving off.
All done? Ask yourself:
- Do any of the above apply to you?
- How do you think the women in your life would respond?
- How would you feel if you were going to discuss this list with a woman close to you?
- What do you think this list has to do with the #MeToo movement?
Women: what else is missing from the list—other proven precautions that you’d strongly advise?
And thanks, “Cynical Cedric.” I—no, strike that—we owe you one!
Terry Howard is an award-winning writer, trainer, and storyteller, and is a contributing writer with the Chattanooga News Chronicle, The American Diversity Report, The Atlanta Business Journal and Catalyst.