Melinda Tankard Reist founded Collective Shout ten years ago, a grassroots campaigns movement for a world free of sexploitation in all its forms. She's an author, speaker, media commentator, blogger and advocate for women and girls. She's best known for her work addressing sexualization, objectification, harms of pornography, sexual exploitation, trafficking, and violence against women.

 

 

 

Melinda Tankard Reist Website: https://melindatankardreist.com/

Collective Shout Website: https://www.collectiveshout.org/

Collective Shout Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/collectiveshout

Collective Shout Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/collective.shout/

 

 

 

(Transcript is a guide only and may not be 100% correct.)

 

Emily Olsen

Wherever there are shadows, there are people ready to kick at the darkness until it bleeds daylight. This is Bleeding Daylight with your host Rodney Olsen.

 

Rodney Olsen 

I need to warn you that today’s episode of Bleeding Daylight may be confronting at times, but it focusses on issues that affect us all. They’re also issues that give each one of us opportunity to shine light into some very dark places and to make our world more compassionate with greater respect and equality for all.

 

My guest founded Collective Shout ten years ago, a grassroots campaigns movement for a world free of sexploitation in all its forms. This is an episode that should be heard by many, especially parents. I encourage you to share it widely so that we can all take action to draw closer to the kind of world we long to see.

 

Constant abuse and even death threats have become common occurrences for Melinda Tankard Reist. Those reactions only serve to highlight the seriousness of the topics that she raises in our society. She's an author, speaker, media commentator, blogger and advocate for women and girls. She's best known for her work addressing sexualization, objectification, harms of pornography, sexual exploitation, trafficking, and violence against women. I'm so pleased to have her joining me on bleeding daylight. Melinda, thank you so much for your time.

 

Melinda Tankard Reist 

Thanks for having me. Thanks for your interest.

 

Rodney Olsen 

I'm interested in knowing where your passion for standing against this kind of exploitation actually began.

 

Melinda Tankard Reist 

Look, it probably began in my hometown growing up in a country town in Victoria and I started to see the mistreatment of women in my community. I became a journalist from the age of 16 and began to document some of that mistreatment. One of the first pieces I ever wrote was about the opening of a women's refuge in my town for victims of violence. I also noticed that mistreatment of Indigenous women and migrant women. I was then awarded a scholarship to study journalism in the US and that I ended up traveling globally and witnessed for myself the second class status of women around the world, returned to Australia and continue to document issues affecting women and girls, that I wrote my book Getting Real: Challenging the sexualisation of girls, and that's really where this work took off. And I was asked look where's the grassroots movement against everything you've described, and that's how Collective Shout came about 10 years ago.

 

Rodney Olsen 

It's interesting that there are a number of issues that you're looking at there, that are just obvious that these are harming but I think a lot of what you call to the surface are those things that just go past us without us recognising what's going on. What are some of the themes that you think that most people don't understand are harmful to women?

 

Melinda Tankard Reist 

I'm really glad you've asked me this, Rodney, because I've always believed that I was meant to document issues that were going under the radar. I've written six books now. And I felt led I suppose to expose things that were harmful in the hope that we might wake up and do something about those things. So the epidemic of violence against women globally, if you look at female genital mutilation, bride burning, dowry deaths, if you look at trafficking in the bodies of women and girls into the global sex industry, if you will. With the fact that girls globally are more often denied education and and kept in a very controlled and submissive environment, the way that pornography is shaping and molding attitudes and behaviors, that teaches boys that they have a sense of entitlement to the bodies of women and girls and teaches girls that they exist primarily for male sexual gratification and pleasure. And that's my main focus at present is exposing how we are warping the sexuality of an entire generation, how we are contributing to violence and brutality and sexual cruelty,. callousness, in what we are presenting as normal sex, and this is stuff starting earlier and earlier. So yeah, I've just felt that I'm supposed to bring these issues to the light in the hope that we can build an uprising, a global rebellion, if you like, against these harmful cultural scripts and harmful dictates which are causing so much documented damage.

 

Rodney Olsen 

You mentioned the the use of pornography and you campaigned very strongly against it. So how do you respond to those who would perhaps say, Well, if you don't like it, don't use it?

 

Melinda Tankard Reist 

That's like saying if you don't like pollution don't breathe it. You know, the fact is that we live in porn culture. We're trying to raise healthy, happy, resilient children in a pornified landscape that's floor to ceiling. It's everywhere. It's just a ridiculous nonsensical, stupid argument, to say, you know, close your eyes and don't don't look, because the research is solid, on the way that pornography contributes to violence against women, the way that it contributes to rape myth that girls actually want to be raped that no actually means yes. The way that it contributes to sexual harassment. Girls tell me in every school I go to about being groped at school about being asked for naked selfies about being asked for sexual acts in the school playground, being bullied to behave in to take up pornified roles and behaviors. So look, I just have no time for that argument. The fact is that the world is being indoctrinated by a porn, it's a propaganda. It's hate speech, cultural norms are being taught through pornography and that affects all of us.

 

Rodney Olsen 

You mentioned about some of that starting at school. How young are we talking for those young girls that are being approached in this way?

 

Melinda Tankard Reist 

I'm now taking my message into primary schools, which I didn't envision when I first started out and that's the tragedy of it. Even children now, but hey, In inappropriate ways, they're acting out sexually, what they have seen in pornography or sometimes searching for it, sometimes innocently, putting in a search term looking for their favorite cartoon character. All roads lead to porn and it's not a matter of if my child will see porn, it's a matter of when. I would say most commonly year seven year eights. Now girls tell me that they're being approached, they're being sexually harassed, they're being groped, they're being touched. They're having photos taken down their blouses up their skirts, and the real tragedy is they think this is normal. They think they should just have to put up with it. And I have girls say to me, we didn't know we were allowed to say no. They get given a hard time for standing up for themselves, but then the whole culture tells them that being degraded is sexy. That you should behave in these ways if you want to be seen as free and sexually liberated and it's not just through overt porn sites, it's throughout the culture everywhere and music, fashion games, advertising marketing, in a shopping center with floor to ceiling quantified portrayals of, of women presenting this very harmful normative stereotype about women and what women and girls are good for.

 

Rodney Olsen 

Any of us who have seen on Facebook, Collective Shout, that movement that you're talking about that you founded, would have seen some very disturbing images of girls younger and younger being presented in a sexualized way. And the thing I think that disturbs me the most is oftentimes, these are through things like Instagram accounts that are run by these girls' mothers. How can they not understand the harm that they're causing?

 

Melinda Tankard Reist 

Yes, we have a global campaign at against Instagram under the hashtag wake up Instagram. We've been calling out Instagram for facilitating predators. We have exposed hundreds of predators operating on Instagram contacting the underage girls, asking them to chat privately, posting sexual fantasies publicly about these girls, capturing their images and sending those images to designated websites for these men and their their friends. And tragically Instagrams become a predators paradise. Sometimes the girls appear to be operating their own accounts, sometimes it appears to be a parent, but sometimes it's clear these girls are being trafficked to being a being sold on online. And we've said to Instagram You know, this is just not good enough. You claim to care about children and child safety. But look at what we've exposed and my team is very small, you know? We've captured imagery of men live masturbating to schoolgirls in their school uniforms, visible school uniforms, we can identify the school. And the girl will invite anyone to chat with them, video chats, but they don't know who's behind the handle of those who attend the chat until she sees what they're doing. And it's, it's just so common. We don't think that any parent should have their child on Instagram to be honest. It's just too too dangerous. Most of the grooming now is happening online. Children have been groomed by predators in places that a lot of parents think are safe for their child and they're just not.

 

Rodney Olsen 

We hear from time to time people who are up in arms about various online platforms such as tik tok and others, but then you have that mainstream one Instagram and I guess that would be showing to a lot of people thinking well, I thought that that was a safe place and and they would think that certain online platforms are safe and yet it doesn't seem that any of them are

 

Melinda Tankard Reist 

now That's right. I'm in tic tocs full of full of porn now as well and girls imitating what they're seeing in in porn inspired music videos, for example, parents have to be across what's going on online. However, having said that, it's too much for us. You know, it takes a village to raise a child, we can't monitor our child 24 hours a day, even if they're not being exposed to these harmful messages at home, what happens when they're on the school bus? What happens when they're at school camp, what happens when they're in the school yard or visiting a friend, on a weekend parents tell us this is how their child was often exposed in the first instance. And that's why we need our governments and our regulatory bodies and the heads of these things. big tech corporations to actually take child sexual exploitation seriously. One good outcome is that we are now in conversation with some of these global corporations, Instagram and Facebook where we're meeting with now. They're aware of our concerns, they know they need to do something to address them. We're also now in conversation with Alibaba after exposing the sale of child sexual abuse dolls, replica children, replica infants, lifelike babies and toddlers being sold through one of the biggest global shopping apps and online platforms in the world. And now they've come to us after we got those dolls down off their platform and asked for our input as to how they can do better. So there are some good things happening. I have to remind myself of that most days but you know, it's going to take a lot more before our children are safe online,

 

Rodney Olsen 

There is that online threat but another disturbing thing is you can just walk through a shopping center and you're seeing images there on shop fronts or on advertising billboards, within shopping centers that I guess 10 years ago probably would have been the sorts of things that would have appeared in pornography magazines.

 

Melinda Tankard Reist 

Yeah, what we've seen now is just the pornification of culture, that wall to wall hyper sexualized images and messages which contribute to the second class status of women. The biggest study on the objectification of women in the world and meta analysis of all of the existing global research found that objectified portrayals of women contribute to a diminished view of women's competence, morality and humanity. That's how serious this issue is and yet we have the CEO's of our property groups, the shopping centres like Westfield, who are essentially landlords to the tenants Honey Birdette in this case the sex shop, which features floor to ceiling depictions of semi naked women, sexually suggestive poses. Honey Birdette is a repeat corporate offender. They continually act in breach of the Australian Association of National Advertisers code of ethics. However, there are no penalties for non compliance. There are no fines, there's no powers to enforce the rulings of ad standards. So the CEOs actually have the gall to call themselves Male Champions of Change. Now Male Champions of Change is an initiative to get a CEOs, male CEOs, to sign up to say we will do all in our power to stamp out sexism in our communities in our shopping centers and yet, they do nothing to rein in the unethical harmful behavior of their very own tenants. So, you know, we just don't buy it. We know parents that are boycotting the shopping centers, they don't want to go there, they don't want their kids exposed to these images. And that's an ongoing campaign that collective shot is running.

 

Rodney Olsen 

It sounds like these so called leaders of change, are actually just jumping on a bandwagon that they expect will get them some brownie points and yet people can see right through it,

 

Melinda Tankard Reist 

We call it pinkwashing. You know, you look like you care, but what are you actually doing? And that's why we're that's why we're exposing the double standards.

 

Rodney Olsen 

And this seems to be the case in a number of instances where businesses that have a number of arms will try and look caring, they'll try and look like they're trying to bring about healthy change with one brand and yet, with another brand, they're selling exactly what they're supposedly against.

 

Melinda Tankard Reist 

Exactly. And that's why we have a very big emphasis that present on corporate social responsibility on your values and your mission statements. If you claim to care about the community, if you claim to care about women and girls and children, then you know you can't have it both ways. Often we do, what we do is just quote their own vision and value statements back to them. and point out that they're not actually living this out. We've done the same in a campaign to ethical super funds. We have contacted 23, I think at last count ethical super investment funds, who invest in these property groups and yet claim to have, you know, very high standards around investment. You won't invest in tobacco, gambling, alcohol, those sorts of things and yet even some of the faith based super funds are still investing in shopping centers, which are hosting sexism. So we're calling out that double standard is.

 

Rodney Olsen 

Well, one of the words that I hear so often, when any of these sorts of issues are raised is empowerment. We hear of businesses who profit from what you call sexual objectification say that they are empowering women. So what's your response to those voices?

 

Melinda Tankard Reist 

Well, it's just, it's just not true. That's just not true. And anyone following our work will see how how we have documented that that's not true. For example, we put in a major submission to the Australian Human Rights Commission's inquiry into sexual harassment. It's a relatively recent inquiry, you can find that submission and many others on our website, and we documented all of the links between sexualization and objectification of women and girls, right through to sexist attitudes, the formation of sexist attitudes contributing to sexual behaviors, inappropriate behavior, contributing to violence against women. We draw those links, we join the dots If you like and say that you can't just address, you know, say, the glass ceiling without addressing the way harmful corporate behaviors contribute to demonstrable harms to women and girls. So yeah, forget about you your language, let's look at what you're actually doing.

 

Rodney Olsen 

And yet many young women seem to have bought that lie of empowerment. And so anything that they do that is sexualized, they still keep under that banner of empowerment, not realizing that it's actually disempowerment.

 

Melinda Tankard Reist 

That girls have been lied to from the moment they're born. and empowerment, liberation freedom has been presented to them, really, by the sex industry or sex industry messaging, telling them that empowerment means, you know, adopting pornified roles and behaviors. Flashing your breasts in public providing sexual acts to boys being able to pole dance. This is not true empowerment. And again our work over a decade has been to try to help young women to to see through to see through that and to value themselves to something other than being able to attract the male gaze and being able to attract sexual attention. What about your gifts, your abilities, your talents, your art, your poetry, your desire to make a difference in the world, about you know, those kind of character traits that we so need in the world today, you know, basic empathy. You know, we're driving the empathy out of young people, particularly boys, and we've been working hard to help girls see that they are more than just porn fantasy props, that they that they deserve more that they are allowed to stand up for themselves and demand better and not conform to this these toxic cultural messages which, again, the research says is harmful to them. It's not just my opinion, it's what the research demonstrates. So fortunately, we have more young women now joining our movement. I get girls in school saying, you know, just so grateful to hear a different message, a countercultural messenger, a critique and dissection of the culture they live in. often they'll say, Oh, we thought there was something wrong with us individually, for not wanting to do all of these things. But then they realized that actually, no, this is all education and training provided by a sexed up world, which is harmful to them. And that's our only hope. I think we can help young people to resist upon culture to rise up against it and to demand something better for themselves, their friends, their little brothers, their little sisters and their future children.

 

Rodney Olsen 

And these young women who hear this message it must lift an enormous burden off their shoulders to know that they don't have to acting this way,

 

Melinda Tankard Reist 

Because it's the most probably the most rewarding aspect of my work is to see that realization to see the lights go on and for them to say, Oh, we don't actually have to put up with this, well, you know, we can say, No, we can just not conform to this pressure, this terrible pressure that they are under. And so, you know, even only if only a small number of girls decide to live differently, and not to conform and say they have the right to say no. And again, if more boys decide to change, to resist toxic masculinity, to choose to be men of integrity and empathy, that's going to gonna make a massive difference. You know, it has to be the boys have to change as well.

 

Rodney Olsen 

You're touching on the boys and their responsibility as well and just in the same way that our young women have swallowed that lie that society has sold them, so have the young men and yet they don't realize it either. They somehow feel that this is what being a man is about and yet they've been sold a lie too.

 

Melinda Tankard Reist 

Boys have been sold a lie and the research shows that, for example, if they're learning about sexuality through porn, it's corrosive to connection. It's disconnects them emotionally, it's dumps their sexuality. It molds them in a hollow and callous understanding of sexuality. their attitudes become more cruel and more degrading. They believe that they're dominant and that girls should be submissive and this is an absolute tragedy. They won't know what true love and connection and intimacy and sensuality look like they may not ever experience it unless they make a radical change. And I interview boys on this subject and they say things like a porn contributed to me or made me undress every girl I met you know, in my mind. I saw every girl as a sex object, that they lost their ability to just be friends with girls. They were fantasizing about them. They also said that they started to respond to computers rather than to actual human beings. So they get turned on just by seeing this inanimate object of the computer, knowing what they could discover, you know, on the screen. And so real women and girls just can't can't compete with that, and why should they have to? But fortunately, there's a growing movement of men and boys around the world who are resisting porn, and who wants something better for themselves and for the women in their lives?

 

Rodney Olsen 

 I would imagine that there's some parents listening, who are now very alarmed at what they're hearing and thinking, What do I do? How do I actually speak to my young people to my young girl or to my young boy about these sorts of things you've already highlighted. They can't escape. online because if it's not at home, and they'll see it somewhere else. So how do we go about preparing our young people for the reality of the world ahead?

 

Melinda Tankard Reist 

Well, we have to act personally and we have to act politically. Personally obviously setting standards in the home. not tolerating porn in the home, not tolerating violent, videos, violent, violent music, looking for teachable moments, you're out you're here and inappropriate ad on the radio or you see pornified portrayals of women in the shopping centers use it as a discussion point. Obviously, modeling what respect based relationships look like in the home, not tolerating put downs or so called jokes about bodies, how the system might be looking at the moment or yet put down to about how she might look. There's some of the things obviously having the computer in a public place in the home, not allowing kids on screens behind closed doors, having rules around devices, many parents feel that they've lost control with the devices. Some parents tell me that, you know, they all hand in their phones at a certain time every night so the family can do other things. Kids can, you know, radical idea, read a book, and just have that non screen time in the evenings. But then, you know, we have to take it further. It's too much for parents on their own. So, of course, I'm going to say sign up to Collective Shout and get involved. Get involved in cultural change and social transformation call on our governments to do better. And we elect them to represent us we elect them to defend the most vulnerable surely that has to be our children. So we've been running campaigns for example, to get an age verification system, so that kids just can't enter torture porn right? porn, sadism porn, with you know, just one click because there's no proof of age required. So you're acting personally acting politically having those difficult conversations. If we're not talking to our kids about these things someone else will be and they may not share our values for our, our children. So even though we don't want to, we'd rather not have to, we have to start having these conversations when the children are young. I have resources on this you can find on my website, How to Talk to Your Kids About Porn is a very popular book that I have available. And another book is called Good Pictures, Bad Pictures which you read with your child and a young age to help them know that this is not appropriate and what to do if they see an image because it's inevitable they will see something. So we don't want them to feel ashamed. If they feel ashamed they won't tell us what they've seen. So we prepare them in advance for what they might come across and how to deal with that. I saw a really good tip just a couple of days ago and save the kid system another kid or have a look at this at school, then the child pauses and says, you know, well, I don't want to or, you know, don't just put that in my face just a really practical way, so that the child can just sort of catch their breath and not get exposed to something, because this is what's happening. And we need all the help we can get to prepare our children to strengthen them, and to protect them from the harms of pornography.

 

Rodney Olsen 

We're talking mainly at the moment about children or young people. Once people get to a certain age, of course, there would be some who would say all bets are off. They would say that sex is something natural, and it should be expressed, how ever an individual might decide what are your thoughts on that?

 

Melinda Tankard Reist 

Of course sex is natural. No one's disagreeing with that but there's expressions of sexuality that's healthy and has expressions that that aren't and that's what we're seeing. We're seeing porn sex, we're seeing aggressive acts expected from primarily from women and girls. Girls, telling me men expect, boys expect to treat them violently, including some of the signature signature acts that we see in porn, like choking and gagging and other things I won't describe more cruelty more degrading and so yes, there's nothing wrong with sexuality but porn isn't teaching healthy sexuality and if women and girls are being harmed, that's not an expression of healthy sexuality, it's quite the opposite.

 

Rodney Olsen 

What about sex work and prostitution? What should we think about those sorts of issues?

 

Melinda Tankard Reist 

I wrote a book on this issue called Prostitution Narrative Stories of Survival in the Sex Trade and that was about woman first person accounts of women who have exited the sex industry and told the truth about it. So of course, were opposed to the profiting the sale of the bodies of women and girls in this global industrial complex trading in the bodies of women or girls, you know, you don't have trafficking without the sex industry, you don't have trafficking without without brothels because the demand is so, so high. It's an absolute tragedy. It's modern day slavery. And of course, we don't support that either. And we have the evidence that testimonials of women who were there who were in it, and now speak to the truth about what they were expected to do. And the brutality, the cruelty, the degradation, the suffering, the long term, post traumatic stress, and trauma, which is all well documented now.

 

Rodney Olsen 

I mentioned in the opening that you've received a number of threats and harassment over time. Where does the bulk of this harassment come from? Who are the people that are targeting you in this way?

 

Melinda Tankard Reist 

Mostly men, and from people who have a vested interest in the way things are why Would they react unless they felt we were a threat over the weekend, we had around 1000 comments, most of them abusive. And this had come about as a result of a campaign we ran to get a hate page down off Instagram called Girls Getting Hurt and in this page, they feature images of women and girls being hurt, being injured. And it's all meant to be hilarious. So we actually got this page off Instagram and the ringleaders behind that page then initiated a cyber attack on us and across all of our platforms, and on posts that were directly related to our campaign to get this page off, and that's how that's how they operate. I mean, the main ringleader behind it as pictures of himself with his wife and children in it his profile. So you know, you have to wonder what life's like for them. But you know, I've long held the view that as Paul Keating used to say, the dogs may bark, but the caravan rolls on and you just keep rolling on you just you've got the dogs, you can get the tires, but you just keep on moving. And, you know, I don't spend a I don't look up my now to put my name into a search engine. I don't look at comments on articles I've, I've written, you know, in the public domain, I just can't expend my emotional energy, which is they want that, you know, they want to think that they've got to you. So we've made a bit of fun of it. We've shared some of the comments over the last 24 hours and there's there's some that are pretty, pretty funny. They're not meant to be funny. Anyone having a look at my Facebook will see why we're why we're saying that. So look, we, we debrief all the time, me and my team, we take time out when we need to, we do what we need to, to survive it. And just to press on, you know, there's a goal and we've got our eyes on it, and we just keep pressing on. They've been trying to destroy us for a decade now. And it hasn't been successful. I'm not saying it's easy. I'm not trying to make light of, of those attacks, because often they're very personal. They're often threatening. They're often disgusting, but we just, we just keep going.

 

Rodney Olsen 

And that's the thing I want to find out from you. You're totally immersed in a world where you're seeing some of the darker side of humanity, you're, you're plunging into depths that most of us will only scratch the surface of, how do you keep your head above water? How do you actually start to see the light in the world beyond all this darkness that you're encountering?

 

Melinda Tankard Reist 

Look, I've had to become very intentional about that because you do pay a price for staring into the abyss every day. Staring into the abyss, darkness and exposing it all the time and it does affect you. So I, I hike. I just disappear into the bush with a backpack sometimes on my own sometimes with friends. You know, I spent as much time in nature as I can. The sun's out today that always helps. I tried to start the day with some kind of you know, just contemplations, spiritual reading just to sort of set my brain so that I'm not straight into the porn, although it's that, you know, pretty quickly. I'm usually on I'm usually on Twitter pretty quickly, but I try to start with something else. I debrief with my friends. We actually have a lot of fun, which people might find hard to believe, but we do have a lot of laughs I get to work with very funny, very funny, smart, intelligent, passionate women. And I get the pleasure I get the pure privilege of speaking to thousands of young people a year and seeing seeing lives changed without without me And I get the privilege of seeing major victories, like last year was one of the biggest years we've ever had one victory after another, just in the last two months, we've had seven, seven wins in a row. And there's an adrenaline rush to that, you know, it's enjoyable, it's rewarding when you get those victories. So those things all help to, to balance out to make up for the harmful side of it. At the end of the year, I take a long break, I turn my phone off. I try not to do any work related reading. I've had I've been forced to take a long period of time off at the end of the year to be able to renew and get back into it in the new year.

 

Rodney Olsen 

I'm wondering what action, and you've touched on this a number of times and various aspects of it, but what action can the average person take against this multimillion dollar industry of exploitation? What can we do?

 

Melinda Tankard Reist 

Well know the facts know the truth. Don't buy into it. Don't buy the sexualised clothing, don't buy the violent music products don't allow that harmful industry to suck the life out of your children, protect them do all you can to protect them from porn have have every filtering device on. One that's recommended to me is his Family Zone, which seems to be pretty comprehensive. But as I said, we have to add broader than that and sign join Collective Shout, we make it easy for you to complain. We show you what the problem is, and we give you the steps to address it and do not think that one voice doesn't make a difference. We have seen campaigns won when one person has spoken out. Some of our quickest wins have been in two or three hours. One of the most common things people say to us is you helped me to be brave. In the past, I thought it was just me. I thought I was on my own. I thought there was something wrong with me. Now I've realized that I'm backed by thousands of people. And I can go out and say something I can take up my rightful place in the public square and speak, you know, we live here too. And we can't afford to sacrifice, especially our children to the global sex industry. We can't just stand back and allow that to happen. So it's time to get some power back and Collective Shout will give that give that to you. And you can be part of this what's becoming a global movement now against sexual exploitation in all its forms. Get on board collectiveshout.org, sign up and join our Facebook pages. We're on Twitter, we're on Instagram we're on LinkedIn and rather than sort of curse the darkness get involved in bringing about social transformation with us.

 

Rodney Olsen 

I'll certainly put links in the show notes at bleedingdaylight.net for Collective Shout so that people can get there, also to your website so people can grab hold of some of the books that you're talking about. I do find it interesting that a lot of the people that we see reacting and talking on your Facebook page are, of course, women do men sometimes feel that they don't have the right to speak into an issue that is seen as a women's issue like this. How do we empower men who want to stop this as well? How do we empower them to actually make a difference?

 

Melinda Tankard Reist 

Well, I don't know why it should be seen as a women's issue. It's a community issue. Because we need men to speak out. We need men to call out the bad behavior. We need men to stop being bystanders and not saying anything. We need men to stop joking along and laughing and underplaying what's really happening calling out sexually inappropriate behavior, sexist jokes, comments about women's bodies, calling it out. Something I find frustrating is when men ask me what are you doing for men or what are you doing for men? You know, I'm I'm really running this outfit with three women. That's it. And you know, we're running global campaigns, it's time for men to step up to recognize that they have to do something. Unfortunately, we have many good men in our movement. speaking out on this, I have young men working with me in schools now, Daniel. There's no excuse for, for not getting involved. Please get involved. We need everyone.

 

Rodney Olsen 

Do you think that's part of the problem that men don't see this as as their issue that they see it as a women's issue when actually it's going to provide them with with better relationships with the women that they love?

 

Melinda Tankard Reist 

Well, I'm just having trouble understanding why it would be just seen as a as a women's issue. This is a whole of society issue. Their children are being deformed and twisted into harmful ideas about bodies, relationships and sexuality. If they don't speak about this, their boys will be the sexual abusers of the future because men need to be involved, they need to demonstrate what healthy masculinity looks like. So the boys have some kind of role model. I mean men need to ask themselves this question. Why are boys now in the biggest cohort of sexual abusers, teenage boys now, why why is that? Why have we reneged on our responsibility to form boys in healthy ways? That question has to be asked by anyone who cares about our young people and where society is going. Why is this now so common that boys are featuring in our sexual assault statistics? Why's that? Now I'm going to say a big factor is the conditioning that porn has given them and the lack of guidance, the lack of inputting alternative ways to be men. I've written on this as well, when there was criticism of the Gillette ad The best a man can get. And I took a different different view, I believe the ad was encouraging men to act higher. Even though of course, you know, of course, it's to try and sell stuff, but I thought the overall message was quite quite good. You know, I just think this, this is an outstanding, unanswered question of our times. So please, men, please get on board. So some of the some of us women are getting a little bit, a little bit weary. And there's lots of ways to get involved. You may not want to be sort of a loud mouth activist, and you don't have to there's so many other ways to be involved. We need volunteers, we need help with website with, with design with fundraising, you know, if you've got money, you know, help us please. We run it running out of money. We're tax deductible. Now. You can donate, you know, and a lot of the action can happen behind the scenes. You don't all have to be upfront. There's lots of ways to help us and back us behind the scenes.

 

Rodney Olsen 

Melinda, I absolutely love your passion and there's so much in there that each of us can actually act on and that's what I love about it too. This is not talking some theory, but there are real issues that we can make a real difference in. So I want to thank you for your time today and thank you for leading away that we all get to follow. Thanks.

 

Melinda Tankard Reist 

Thanks so much, Rodney. Appreciate it.

 

Emily Olsen

Thank you for listening to Bleeding Daylight. Please help us to shine more light into the darkness by sharing this episode with others. For further details and more episodes, please visit BleedingDaylight.net

 

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