Thank you, male allies & survey results

Two weeks ago I asked male allies to anonymously let me know their thoughts on how best to educate men about street harassment, engage them in activism, and empower them to do something if they see harassment occurring. This was for a book I am writing on street harassment. The last four chapters of my book focus on multi-layered efforts to end it. Educating men and empowering bystanders are just two of many tactics, but they are very important ones.

Thank you to the 85 allies who took it (and to everyone who passed along the survey to male allies). I already have incorporated several people’s quotes in the sections on bystanders and educating men and the multiple choice responses were useful in helping me decide what to include as realistic initiatives.

I think the survey responses will be useful to others working on this issue, so here they are.

4 Responses to Thank you, male allies & survey results

  1. Stephen A says:


    Thank you for doing this survey. I appreciate it. I’m wondering, though, where you got your participants? Many of them don’t seem like true allies. They are saying victim blaming and counter-intuitive things. For example, in the response to question 2:

    “have the man become sexually assaulted by another man”

    Do I even need to address this? A completely inane response.

    “The only sure fire way (in my opinion) to reach men is to have them associate their loved ones with this type of behavior.
    It is also important to not create a “witch hunt” attitude that seemingly targets all males.
    No one likes to be guilty by gender.”

    Like it or not, WE ARE guilty by gender. As a man, it sucks to be viewed as a potential rapist. But, I am. We need to put ourselves out there as ANTI-SEXIST. That’s the point of being an ally.

    Additionally, most of the answers suggest hearing women’s stories as being a motivator to getting men to stand up against street harassment. Personally, the women in my life were utterly important in raising my feminist consciousness. But, it is NOT women’s job to make sure we have our shit together. That’s what being an ally is about – holding other men accountable, because due to our own male privilege we have a natural connection with half of the human population. Moreover, this belief about women forces them into a traditional ‘nurturing’/’caregiving’ role – which is BS.

    What’s with the anti-feminist comments, too? Like this one, in response to question 3:

    “3 20+ yr old black guys harassing 4 14 yr old white girls. Intervened and informed them to quit. They didn’y, put one in hospital. Went home and had ice cream.”

    Clearly a joke.

    “I think it is important for a victim, regardless of the crime, to make clear to bystanders if they want anyone to intervene.”

    So the onus is on women/victims of violence to prevent it…? Seems victim blaming.

    Clearly, there is a lot more educating that needs to go on in the pro-feminist male community.

  2. @Stephen,
    Thanks for your comments. It is refreshing to see your frustration with the comments you pointed out.

    To answer your question, I started off targeting male allies and asking other women who work on street harassment issues to send it to their male allies, but I since I posted a link to the survey on twitter, FB and my blog, any man could have taken it. I’m looking at the results with that in mind. The open-ended responses from men who seem to truly be allies is what are most useful to me. The others I guess are useful too in letting me know what kinds of mindset activists are up against when trying to educate some men.

    I personally know so few men who are aware of male privilege or who care about any women’s issues that it influenced the kinds of choices I gave, too. I mean I expected that having to put it in terms of women they know would be the best way to make them understand this issue even if I wish that weren’t so. I also want to say I didn’t want to put in that prison analogy question, but my male partner said I should because he said that’s how a lot of guys think and he was right based on the responses.

    But yeah, the amount of education needed is overwhelming.

  3. Stephen A says:

    Thanks for the clarification. Again, thank you for your work and I really appreciate your blog!

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