#MeToo – Our Friends (And My Mother) Talk about Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Harassment

By Nicholas Tanek

My mother and father taught me to respect people. They would tell me, “Treat people how you would like to be treated.” When I was young, I’m sure I made the improper or obnoxious joke every once in a while. I’ve grown up and I’ve changed. Being friends with women and listening to women changed me.

Throughout the years of hanging out with female friends, I have learned that many males can be considered a predator. There are women who live in a constant state of terror due to misogyny and sexism. I went to college in the 1990s during a heightened state of campus date-rape awareness. The last thing I wanted to do was make a person feel unsafe. At the same time, sexual misconduct can come from women too. I’ve personally experienced it. These days, the #MeToo movement has sparked a full-on revolution on how people look at sexuality, sexual misconduct, and sexual harassment.

From Wikipedia:

“Me Too” (or #MeToo, with local alternatives in other languages) spread virally as a two-word hashtag used on social media in October 2017 to denounce sexual assault and harassment, in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against film producer and executive Harvey Weinstein. The phrase, long used in this sense by social activist Tarana Burke, was popularized by actress Alyssa Milano, who encouraged women to tweet it to publicize experiences to demonstrate the widespread nature of misogynistic behavior. Since then, millions of people have used the hashtag to come forward with their experiences, including many celebrities.

So, I asked some of my friends (and my own mother) about sexual misconduct. Here are their answers….

Sassywitch666

Sassywitch666 is a wife in a D/s (Dominant/submissive) relationship with her husband. Although they have been married twenty years, they only got into kink several years ago.

Describe a time you were in (or witnessed) a situation of sexual misconduct or harassment. What did you do?

There have been two different situations where I was a victim of sexual assault and harassment. The first was when I was around 15 years old. An adult I knew, and who I thought I could trust, would rub against me. He would make suggestive comments and ultimately put his hand between my legs and tried to rub on me. I was really upset, and I threatened him. Ultimately, I kept it to myself. He was a person in a position of power and I felt no one would believe me over him.

The second instance was when I was in high school. A popular athlete kept grabbing me and making sexually suggestive comments. He even put his hand up my skirt and grabbed the back of my leg. He did it in front of other people, both teachers and students. I got mad and went to the school counselor and told him more than once. The counselor said he’d “talk” to the guy. Nothing changed. So, the third time, I went to the office and I told the counselor I was taking matters into my own hands next time. I had already told my dad who responded, “If the f*cker does it again, kick his ass. I’ll take care of anything the school threatens you with.”  So, I did just that. I hit the guy in the face with a hardcover textbook as hard as I could. I walked down to the office and told them that any minute the so-called popular guy would be there and he’d need the school nurse. Then, I said, “Call my dad.” I was told to go back to class and nothing more was ever said to me. The guy never tried touching me again. I don’t know what was done, but I’m guessing the school didn’t want to deal with repercussions since other kids had made comments to this guy and to teachers about how the guy had it coming.

What is your opinion of the #MeToo movement in today’s culture?

I think the #MeToo movement can and has been empowering for many women, but I think it needs some work. Women aren’t the only ones who suffer from sexual harassment or assault. People have this false belief that only women can be victims of sexual assault/harassment and it’s just not true. Until we as a society realize that men can and have been victims too, nothing will truly change for any of us. Just because it’s not as widely spoken of or understood, it doesn’t make it any less real or possible.

What can/should be done to help stop sexual misconduct?

Slut-shaming needs to end. It’s sad how some religions (and even some non-religious people) teach girls to be virginal and non-sexual while they’re young. Then, the moment that we get married, we’re expected to turn into sexual human beings who want to please and meet our partner’s needs without our own needs mattering. We’re human and we have needs. A legal document doesn’t have any effect on that. Also, stop saying it’s okay for guys to have needs and blaming girls for the actions of these guys. Men can control themselves. Saying men cannot control themselves because they saw a pretty girl dressed a certain way is bull crap. It’s making excuses for something there’s no excuse for. If girls can control themselves, then so can guys. We have just as many hormones and just as many needs. Therefore, we are equally responsible for our actions. Suggesting otherwise teaches boys that they can do whatever they want without consequences. It also teaches girls to feel shame about their needs. It teaches that we deserve being attacked if we do things others may view as less than virginal/moral in the eyes of others.

I’d also suggest tougher sentencing on those who commit crimes and for those who make false allegations as well, for they make it difficult on those of us who have been victims.

MushMush

 MushMush is a wonderful young woman who likes to explore her kinky sexuality. One thing led to another and impact play became part of her repertoire. She likes giving and receiving pain. She also has been essential in the creation of the Your Kinky Friends website.

Describe a time you were in (or witnessed) a situation of sexual misconduct or harassment. What did you do?

I was sexually assaulted by my best friend’s older brother when I was 13. Because of the relationship, I never reported anything or told anyone who could help.

What is your opinion of the #MeToo movement in today’s culture?

I feel pretty good about the #MeToo movement, but it is tricky. It allowed me to feel safe admitting that it did happen to me. I took some comfort knowing that I wasn’t alone as I saw so many women in my life posting it too. However, I know for many, they did not use the #MeToo hashtag for so many reasons. Some don’t want to out themselves as having been assaulted, or have felt triggered by all the buzz surrounding the movement. It’s complicated, but I feel thankful that we have begun a dialogue about sexual assault and we’re starting to pick away at the stigma around it.

What can/should be done to help stop sexual misconduct?

I am passionate about sex education. It is a means to stop sexual misconduct. By teaching children about appropriate and inappropriate sexuality with age-appropriate lessons, hopefully they grow up with a better understanding of when something feels off. Teaching the next generation explicitly not to sexually assault and what to do if they are sexually assaulted will help. As for the grown-ups, we should keep talking about it. The less stigma there is, the more people will keep talking about it and feel more comfortable speaking out if something does happen.

 

 Nicholas Tanek’s Mother

Yes… My mother joined the conversation! My mom is an educator and an activist. These days, she is retired and complains to me about how I should call her more and stop by more often. While she has lived a pretty vanilla life and does not want to know anything about my kinky lifestyle, she is very conscious about political issues, especially when they deal with women’s rights. She hates when I use profanity and constantly corrects my grammar. She always tells me, “Language is your marker.” She asked to remain anonymous. She will probably never read this article because it’s on a website that deals with kink.

Describe a time you were in (or witnessed) a situation of sexual misconduct or harassment. What did you do?

I am pleased to express my opinions and experiences about the issue of sexual harassment, sexual intimidation or sexual misconduct. As a first-hand observer, I can honestly write that I have not been the object of those three types of behavior in my life, but have listened to other women talk about the ways in which their superiors or co-workers had made inappropriate remarks to them about their bodies or appearances. In some cases, they would try to touch them in a “creepy” way. Sadly, the women did very little but laugh at them or smack their hands, at that moment. Nothing was ever reported to another authority. I am a senior citizen who grew up in the times of cocktails, flirting, and parties. I recall no instance in which the one person in power took advantage of the other. I guess I lived a boring life, but in retrospect, am glad of that description. Looking back, perhaps there might have been more serious incidents taking place, but I did not recognize them as intimidation, harassment, or misconduct.

What is your opinion of the #MeToo movement in today’s culture?

I applaud it! Where is an emoji to insert that would show that??? Our social culture today has crude, tasteless, classless role models that young people admire. So many women have been made to feel chattel of men by the entertainment media and the industry that controls the so-called “new normal.” Extremism in fashion and political philosophy is prized with no sense of human dignity. Women who are hurt by a superior or peer must come forward to announce and denounce it – but at their own peril! Men control their lives and settlements of money prevent the women from further discussions. From reporting, I have learned that top-notch journalists can be prevented from working in the industry because they settled a legal suit and can discuss it no more. So how can they be change agents? The woman speaks at her own peril. Sad, but true.

 

What can/should be done to stop sexual misconduct?

Ah, good question but hard to answer. No mandate really works. Stop the bully! Sure, that will never happen. Love one another! Never. Our social culture is based on self-interest and forging ahead to have money and power. Power is the goal and prized. So, little can be done to alter that frame of mind in an individual. A person’s thoughts, feelings, and personality are shaped at the “home” level. Children live what they learn (an old adage). They are taught to hate and bully others by the examples of behavior they see. I still have hope in our American culture and younger generation, but feel sad that they will have a hardened and tarnished view of lives in front of them. In conclusion? Speak up, women! But do so knowing the possible repercussions.

And now for my answers…

 

Nicholas Tanek

Describe a time you were in (or witnessed) a situation of sexual misconduct or harassment. What did you do?

I come from a time when “Take Back the Night” started and there was a lot of education about campus rape. Because of my upbringing and the heightened awareness of rape culture, I was always aware of the importance of consent.

One night when I was in college, I was making out with this girl, Mary. During this time, campus rape seemed like it was at an all-time high. Thinking I was being respectful, I told her, “If I get a little too frisky, just tell me to stop and I will stop. No worries. No problem. I want you to be comfortable.”  Well, she interpreted it that I was warning her that I was someone who could not control himself. It was weird for a couple of days, but it all worked out.

When thinking about sexual harassment, I remember when I worked in a corporate office and I had a female boss who was about 10 years older than me. I was in my twenties. She would call me names like “sugar lips” and “sweet butt.” Sometimes, she would slap my ass when I left her office. She constantly asked me about the ladies I was seeing. They weren’t just questions about how the dates went. She always asked me if I slept with the women and how the women were in bed. She wanted intimate details and would get mad if I didn’t tell her. When I changed the topic, she would “joke” around and say, “You know I can fire you or any of your friends at any time I want, right?” Now, I love it when people show interest in me. I love attention, but this was uncomfortable. I brushed it off, but I knew it was inappropriate work behavior.

What is your opinion of the #MeToo movement in today’s culture?

I love it. I think that people should call other people out on their behavior. When people say or do something that is sexist, homophobic, or racist, I call them out on it.

I’m kinky and very sexually open, but I do not do anything that could be considered sexual misconduct. Consent is essential in the kink community. Still, my female friends call me out all the time if I say or do something dumb or inappropriate. My editor is the first to call me out and you know what? I’m a better person for it! She will probably say something about this paragraph.

Men are now scared about their past horrible behavior and they should be. Hopefully, the #MeToo movement can help both men and women be introspective. Will some of the accusers be liars? Probably. That’s why more accusers need to come forth about the real incidents. Bill Cosby? Harvey Weinstein? Kevin Spacey? Louis CK? The amount of people coming forth to report these powerful people adds legitimacy to the claims of all the accusers.

There is also a sadness to this movement. It’s sad that this needs to be a movement. Also, some of the people I looked up to and whose work I loved are being called out by multiple people. I truly enjoyed the work of Louis CK and Charlie Rose. It breaks my heart to see their work again and know that there was this sexual predatory darkness in their lives. At the same time, when I think of the #MeToo movement, I think that awareness can educate us.

What can/should be done to help stop sexual misconduct?

Call them out, right in front of the person and everybody else, when it happens. Get proof. If there is not a witness to corroborate the incident, take your phone out and record. Take pictures. Take video. If you have serious issues with the situation afterwards, get some counseling. There is no shame in therapy. Therapy has saved lives. Sexual misconduct and harassment will never go away but through education and good parenting, we can at least help make the world a better place.

Looking back at sexuality in my life, I do not think I have done anything wrong except talk about sex too much, in a general sense. There have been various times where all I wanted was to inspire conversation, not to have sex with the person I was having a conversation with. Sometimes, sex makes people feel uncomfortable. I respect that. As a human being, I must respect other human beings. Not everyone is “out” as a kinky person like I am. That is something I have to work on. People know me as the Your Kinky Friends guy. I can write my books, do my podcasts and blogs, but when it comes to casual conversation, I have learned to not make a dildo joke at a business breakfast when sitting with government officials.

Basically, men and women must look inside themselves and listen to the victims of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. Then, we can create a culture where it is cool that everything is consensual and equal. It won’t happen, but as a human race, we can at least set the bar higher and strive for that. We will never be perfect, but we can try to be as decent, respectful, and kind as we possibly can.

 

What have we learned from all of this?

YOURKINKYFRIENDS.com supports the #MeToo movement. These days, there is a shift happening. The fact that both men and women are speaking out is a good thing. It’s spreading awareness. More importantly, it’s making people take responsibility for their actions and showing people that there are consequences. It has ended some careers. Although sexual harassment and inappropriate sexual behavior goes between both sexes, this whole #MeToo movement is educating both men and women and making them think about their past behavior. It’s also making people face their issues. Hopefully, it will make them try to be better people.

Together, we can make this society better. Sexism and sexual misconduct goes both ways. It’s time to do something. Your daughter, your wife, your brother, your boyfriend, your husband, your sister, your friend may be the victim of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment.  Listen to them. The people who are behind the #MeToo movement should not be labeled as “angry feminists.” They are us. Every human being has a right to NOT be violated or used for sexual purposes.

What I am saying is that we should simply be respectful of people. The problem is that we are not listening to the victims. Of course, there are some people who claim to be victims and are lying. We still should at least listen to find out the truth.

So, let’s talk about it. Let’s DISAGREE about things and open a conversation. Let’s not judge someone else’s opinion. Let’s listen to each other. Let’s make up our own minds. It breaks my heart that many of our friends are victims of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct. It’s not only a female/male issue. It’s about being a decent human being.  Let’s be aware. Let’s take care. Let’s all try to be better.

 

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