Show me a man who has never pushed when someone said no
Who has never covered up violence
Who has never sheltered an abuser
Who has never been so afraid to face the truth that he turned his back

 

Show me a man who has never made of someone soft, an inanimate thing
by ignoring voice
or choice
or humanity

 

Who has never seen a body as an object to own
Who has never seen a mind as a barrier to break

 

Show me a man who has never let his friend take the drunk girl home
Who has never lied about his past relationships,
his partner, the last time he was tested
Who has never covered for a friend caught in these lies

 

Show me a man who doesn’t brag about sex with partners who wouldn’t say the same

 

Show me a man who doesn’t see Asian or Latinx or Black or Middle Eastern
and think of our mouths as spices to taste
Our bodies are not a trip down the ethnic aisle at the grocery store
You cannot sample us

 

Show me a man who notices when someone needs a ride home
or needs someone to interrupt unwanted advances, or an alibi, or a safe place
but doesn’t get angry when a survivor did not accept these things
Who doesn’t blame a survivor for someone else’s actions

 

Show me a man who doesn’t ask “Why didn’t she leave?”
but instead, “Why didn’t he love?”

 

Show me a man who doesn’t take it personally
when a woman puts up her guard around him
Show me a man who doesn’t make excuses when his advances are unwanted
Who doesn’t say
“I was just trying to be polite. Don’t flatter yourself,” when rejected
Who doesn’t say
“You’re ugly anyway,” when catcalls solicit scowls

 

Show me a man who understands Captain Save-A-Hoe
deserves a dishonorable discharge

 

Who respects sex work with as much ferocity as he abhors sex trafficking
Show me a man who knows the difference

 

Show me a man who has never forged the past into battle axe
out of anger at someone he’s supposed to love

 

Show me a man, gay or straight,
who doesn’t think his opinion of a woman’s body is needed

 

Show me a man who has never responded with interrogation
when gifted the opportunity to listen

 

Show me a man who has never stayed neutral
When neutral means staying silent instead of saying “I believe you”
When neutral means not admitting fault
When neutral means you get to
bump to the same music
read the same books
pay the same artists
watch the same movies
laugh at the same jokes
tailgate the same playoffs
attend the same classes
vote for the same politicians
and never change your mind

 

This is not a call-out                               this is a call-in

 

Survivors are not just sisters, mothers, daughters, sons, girlfriends, boyfriends, cousins
Survivors are human beings
Abusers are brothers, fathers, sons, daughters, boyfriends, girlfriends, cousins

 

When you say “boys will be boys,” how are you defining “boy”?
To condone “boys will be boys” is to condemn men
Boys are 30% more likely to flunk or drop out than girls
1 in 20 boys experience abusive sexual experiences before age 18
but are even less likely than girls to report it

 

We teach men that carelessness is confidence
but a carefree man is liberated by a clear conscience
80% of violent crime arrests are men
80% of people arrested for offenses against families and children are men
90% of convicted murderers are men
while 86% of homicide victims age 10-24 years old are boys

 

How can you let a man poison himself with toxicity?
How can you let someone squeeze into a definition so narrow it’s suffocating?

 

Love without accountability                               doesn’t add up

 

How can you love someone while denying his capacity for love?
Do you not believe men capable of being better
than everything mentioned in these lines?
Who really hates men?

 

When you say “I’m one of the nice guys,” who are you comparing yourself too?
Who have you allowed to burn so that their smoke would screen your intentions?

 

Love men by believing they are capable of so much more
than our shelter allows them to be

 

Show me a man who has chosen to grow instead of growl
and I will show you a feminist, an ally
someone with a backbone, a real man

 

What does it take to teach a community
to hold him accountable?
to hold him when he’s too afraid to admit he’s afraid?

 

Real men transcend the confines of violence
Release the pressure of repression before it
explodes

 

To atone is to be at one with those you have harmed
at one with your inner being
at one with your community

 

What does it take to teach a community
to hold a man from every side?

 


 

Ona Wang Headshot

Ona Wang is a writer, artist, educator, and restorative justice practitioner. Their work explores the intersection between social identities, building solidarity between movements, and personal narratives. They are committed to addressing complex and community trauma through restorative justice and creative arts. Ona serves as Director of Community Engagement and Organizing for Surviving the Mic, a collaborative spoken word organization dedicated to creating empowering creative spaces for survivors of trauma.

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