Dear (some) men...

Dear Men,

Our bodies don’t belong to you. Don’t ever, ever place your hands on us without our permission.

Our facial expressions don’t belong to you. Don’t tell us to smile.

Our emotions don’t belong to you. Don’t tell us to calm down when we’re pissed off. We have a lot to be angry about. See above.

Let us do our jobs. Let us do our work as actresses and journalists and waitresses and flight attendants and nurses and doctors and bartenders where in many cases you are our co-workers and our customers.

Do not for a moment think that because we are being paid to serve you that you have the right to touch us or speak to us in inappropriate ways. Do not for a moment think that because we are being paid to serve you as part of our jobs that this means we are sexually interested in you. If we are, we’ll let you know. But that’s almost never.

We’re being polite and attentive because we’re paid to, not because we find you sexually attractive.

If we are the victim of sexual assault or indecent assault or sexual harassment, let us and only us be the ones to decide how we deal with it. Do not use our shitty experiences to sell your newspapers or score political points against your professional rivals.

Challenge your mates on their behaviour. If you’re with another man who does any of the things above, tell him he’s a dickhead. Make him feel ashamed because he should be. The risk to you in calling him out is less than the risk to us. We could lose our jobs. We could lose our lives.

There is a seething rage that women are feeling right now. We’ve had enough.

We’ve had enough of SOME men – not all men –  upending our bodies and our lives with their hands and their words and thinking they can get away with it because they always have. Because there has never been consequences for their groping and their harassment while we are just trying to live our lives and do our jobs. We’ve had enough of our shitty experiences at the hands of shitty men being used by other shitty men to further their own interests.

And you know what happens when people get angry as a group? Social change. This is #metoo. So keep your hands and sleazy comments to yourself. Call out other men. And support women in being able to walk down the street, do our jobs and get on with our daily lives just like you do, without the constant threat of sexual objectification – or sexual assault.

For more from Mia Freedman, subscribe to her newsletter.