You don't have to have raped someone or assaulted them to be trash. All it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing, says the writer. Photo: Louis Neethling

I want to talk about #AmINext, #EnoughIsEnough, and #MenAreTrash.

The thing I want to say is that through all of this, we as men need to take responsibility and be accountable for our actions – not only our own, but the actions of all the men all around us all of the time.

The simple fact of the matter is: #MenAreTrash. You get these men who say: "Yes, but not ALL men are trash" before listing all the amazing things they do for the women in their lives, but let me explain how I see it.

Not all mosquitoes bite, but you don't check the gender of a mosquito before killing it as it threatens your peaceful night's sleep; not all sharks attack humans, but as soon as the flag goes up on the beach, you get out of the water; not all lions kill humans, but you don't go jogging through the Kruger Park. 

Someone once posted about the fact that not all snakes are venomous, but that doesn't prevent you from being wary of them. Men pose the number one threat to the lives of women. They are scared to walk around late at night. They are scared to take an Uber. They are scared to go to bathrooms alone. Men, we can't even comprehend that level of threat. No other living thing on earth rapes and kills more women than men.

Imagine how frightening it must be for a woman to go on a date. To meet that Tinder guy. What it must feel like for us to slide into their DMs. Can you imagine? No, you can't, because you're a man and you've never had to worry about that. That's the privilege we enjoy.

Now, what can we do about it? Well, it starts with the acknowledgement of our failing as men. It starts with personal accountability, and to this end, I would like to explain why I believe in #MenAreTrash...

Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

I have laughed at and forwarded sexist and misogynistic jokes.
This makes me trash.
I have cheated on women and I have lied to them.
This makes me trash.
I have slid into DMs, and entertained having my DMs slid into.
This makes me trash. 
I have been guilty of unwanted physical contact (touching a woman without her consent).
This makes me trash.
I have flirted with women who did not want to be flirted with. 
This makes me trash. 
I have seen other men disrespecting women and done nothing. 
This makes me trash.
I have called women names and spoken ill of them among friends.
This makes me trash.
I have bragged about "conquests".
This makes me trash.
I have engaged in "boy's club" behaviour.
This makes me trash.

You see, you don't have to have raped someone or assaulted them to be trash. You don't need to have taken advantage of someone for you to be trash. All it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.

Do something.

I take care of my family. 
Still trash.
I raise my son to respect women.
Still trash.
I teach my girls to be independent and strong. 
Still trash.

As long as there are men out there who pose a threat to the sanctity and lives of women, every one of us will be trash.

#MenAreTrash and #SoAmI

* Lance Witten is executive producer at Volt Digital.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.

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