The End of "Not All Men"

By now, you’ve likely heard about the infamous 97 percent statistic. If you don’t know what I mean, you’re in the right place; I am here to elaborate and enlighten. 

When almost 100 percent of a surveyed group of women aged 18 through 21 have experienced sexual harassment, the issue lies within the abusers, the men. Disappointingly, men of ignorance and toxicity give the weak excuse that “not all men” abuse or harass; however, with this new chilling statistic, their excuse becomes exponentially more invalid. According to a survey of over 1,000 women that was commissioned by UN Women UK in January, 97 percent of those women who are 18 to 24 years old have experienced sexual harassment behaviors. Also, of those women, 70 percent across all ages have experienced those behaviors in public. 

Since its release last month, the magnitude of the data discovered within this study has sent a shock wave through social media and the community of an entire gender. Under the spotlight of the saddening news, a trend emerged; young women began speaking up about their traumatic harassment experiences. Some even directly called out men’s inability to take responsibility for their violating behaviors or to stand in alliance with the victims of those behaviors. Not all men? Let’s change this shameful response to “too many men,” or “not enough men are taking responsibility.” In this patriarchal world, no woman is immune to sexual objectification and gratification. When we are perceived as merely sexual objects who only exist to serve the needs of men, we are treated as such. That is where the problem lies, with those who perceive and treat us as such, men; not all of them, but way too many.

men holding up a banner for women's equality Photo by Samantha Sophia on Unsplash

Still don’t believe men are the problem? Let’s dive in!

With FBI data on arrests in 2012, I present men and their dominance over crime. The following data represents the percentage of men arrested for a specific crime:

  • 88.7 percent of murder
  • 99.1 percent of forcible rape
  • 87 percent of robbery
  • 77.1 percent of aggravated assault
  • 80.1 percent of violent crime
  • 91.7 percent of weapon carrying and possessing
  • 92.2 percent of sex offenses other than forcible rape and prostitution

Of all the crimes and arrests presented in this table, men hold an insurmountable majority over women in all of them except prostitution. Although this data is nine years old, it reflects a pattern of statistics that are still observed in the most recent crime and arrest studies. Men are the perpetrators; their unchecked privilege is the problem. Why do you think a lot of men get so offended when presented with such damning data? They get defensive because they are guilty. A man feels personally attacked by these disturbing facts because he knows he’s part of the problem. If you choose to belittle or invalidate someone’s experience, you’re part of the problem. If you’re a victim blamer, you’re part of the problem. 

Sexual harassment is a vast umbrella of unlawful offenses for which men are close to 100 percent responsible. Yes, catcalling is sexual harassment. Sending unsolicited nudes is sexual harassment. Groping and kissing someone without consent is sexual harassment. Every 73 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. One in six American women are rape victims. 90 percent of rape victims are female. Women are afraid of men for a reason! Ignorant people often use the fact that men are also victims of sexual assault and harassment as a counterargument thinking they’ve done something clever. About three percent of American men have experienced rape, and 10 percent of rape victims are male. But who do you think is doing the assaulting and the raping? Men! Men give this argument in defense of their gender’s actions but end up only proving themselves wrong.

As this 97 percent study has illuminated a bitter reality of women, many are speaking up for themselves and calling out those who need to do better. This 97 percent became a social media trend for activism and accountability. With still so many boys and men say, “not all men,” girls and women are setting out to prove how wrong they are. One TikTok video I came across said, “Share this if a boy has ever begged you for nudes.” It has 1.2 million shares and 2.7 million likes. In another video, a user said, “We know it’s not all men, we know it’s not all sharks either, but you’re still going to swim to shore if you know there’s one in the water.” Another video demonstrated how women are unsafe practically everywhere they go. A woman can get raped when she walks home, takes the bus, takes a taxi, takes an Uber, takes the train, asks a policeman to escort her home and even when she chooses to stay home. Sarah Everard did everything she possibly could’ve done to get home safe, and she is still got abducted and murdered. Another TikTok user made a video saying, “If we have any chance at reducing the rates of sexual violence, men need to learn how to handle rejection.” We live in a world where a simple “no” to a man can be a woman’s death sentence. When a hetero man is in a room full of women, he’s in heaven. When a woman is in a room full of men, she is terrified.

Fight Sexism Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels

I guarantee almost every woman you know has had a sexual harassment or assault experience. If that alone doesn’t enrage you, you’re part of the problem. This is a men’s issue that women have to suffer the consequences of. Women do not deserve to live in constant, debilitating fear just so men can get some sexual gratification. All men should be held accountable. A woman's bodily autonomy must be respected and protected, or else 97 percent will undoubtedly reach 100.

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