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Many Southwestern PA Men Support #MeToo Movement, But Struggle To Initiate Discussions About It

Ted S. Warren
A marcher carries a sign with the popular Twitter hashtag #MeToo used by people speaking out against sexual harassment as she takes part in a Women's March in Seattle, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018.

Over 80 percent of men in Southwestern Pennsylvania who responded to a poll, agree that women should be believed when breaking their silence on harassment or abuse.

That's according to a new survey from Southwestern Pennsylvania Says NO MORE and the Fisa Foundation. In a 10-county area, 671 men were surveyed online about their opinions and involvement in the #MeToo Movement, which rose to prominence last year.

Kristy Trautmann, executive director of the Fisa Foundation, said though men responded positively to the movement, they struggle to initiate conversations about it.

The survey found that nine out of 10 men believe that male involvement is crucial to preventing gender-based violence, but the results showed that over 60 percent of men still haven’t discussed the movement with friends or family.

“Given the unceasing news coverage over the last year about sexual harassment and Me Too, we were a little surprised that most men report they haven’t actually been talking about it,” Trautmann said. We’re seeing a gap between men saying this issue is really important and actually talking about or taking action in their own lives.”

Men were overwhelmingly supportive of schools, elected officials, and businesses taking action. Upward of 80 percent of men agreed these groups should be more committed to preventing violence and harassment.

The also survey found that 1 in 4 men have taken time to reflect on their behavior in the last year, and 18 percent reported adjusting the way they act around women.

Trautmann suggests men take steps to talk to other men and women about prevention and ending violence.

“Making small changes in your own life can have a big ripple effect for making women and girls safer in a broader way,” she said. “Some of the next steps are for men we’re advocating in the report is to have more intentional conversations on sexual harassment and sexual assault.”