Things have been weird in the few days since the Blasey-Ford/Kavanaugh hearings of last Thursday, and not 'good weird'. I can't recall a time when television pundits scoured Urban Dictionary to suss out the arcana of toxic teenage bro culture. Listening to music radio, DJs are remarking about what a tough week it's been. Several of the women I work with approached me to tell me about how they have been having a rough week. There is a psychic/emotional pall over the country, and it's not just my perception- calls to crisis hotlines have doubled since Thursday. Decades of PTSD are being brought into the open, wounds that have never been healed are made manifest.
This week doesn't promise to be any better- there is a creeping feeling of inevitability about the ascension of a probable serial sex offender and a definite ugly drunk with memory issues (PDF) and perjurer to a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.
This is a week when men need to shut up and listen to the accounts of the women (and men, let's not forget) who have been victims of sexual abuse and harassment. I don't describe myself as a feminist, precisely because I believe that that status must be conferred, not claimed, and too many a 'joke woke bloke' tries to don the mantle while remaining a cad. This is a week when trying to be kind is the most important task facing decent men:
We owe it to women, we owe it to society, we owe it to ourselves.