Main Blog Feed

ulzi survivors support

7 Ways to Support Survivors

The significance of support in the aftermath of a sexual assault is often overlooked in media, and in public awareness in general.

 

Plus, there’s a thing about human behavior: when circumstances fall outside of our control, we struggle. On top of feeling powerless, we get frustrated with ourselves—all of this when your loved one is dealing with an intense trauma. So, you dismiss your struggles as “not real” in comparison.

But, I would hope most people can agree that survivors of sexual assault need some support, and that some of us don’t necessarily know how to support people in this situation. So the Ulzi community has helped us put together some simple steps to make sure that you, whether you’re a natural empath or not, can show your support to the people in your life going through the healing process.


The Impact

RAINN’s current statistics reveal that survivors of sexual assault have difficulty managing interpersonal relationships after assaults. It could be a partner, a friend, a boss, a family member, anyone. This means more conflict and arguments, drifting apart, or even losing levels of trust. This kind of strain pushes a person into isolation—which can make matters worse.  

This is why external support is really important—it can be the factor that stops isolation coping mechanisms in their tracks.

 

But Here’s How You Can Help

Here are some basic tips: 

  1. Never blame a survivor of sexual assault for what happened to them.
  2. Make sure to practice engaged listening. A good rule of thumb is to remind yourself to listen to understand, not listen to respond.
  3. Make it clear that you are there to help, and will be there for them when they need you—being an open communicator is key.
  4. Be aware that people may not always want help—or need it. It’s okay to back off, people need their space.
  5. Trying is better than not trying—even if it doesn’t go well, it is better than seeming to abandon someone in their time of need.
  6. Encourage them to look into finding professional support; unseen pain can manifest so differently depending on the person.
  7. Just be there; sometimes a physical representation of support makes all the difference.

For more tips and in-depth discussion, visit RAINN’s page on helping survivors.

I try to remember that support is something that we, as humans, need. No one person has gotten where they are without help. Most good things requires time and patience, especially being there for someone you care about.

ulzi survivors support

Ulzi Community Safety Cost

Why do we have Premium?

Often our business model, providing an app with most of its functionality for free while charging a subscription for more premium versions, seems counterintuitive at first. So, given how we value transparency and interdependence on one another, we thought we’d explain directly.

Unlike many apps, we do our best to minimize any in-app advertising, and so we rely heavily on the revenue that comes in from our premium subscribers. This puts us in a tight spot though, because we can’t with good conscience hold back features that are integral to keeping a user safe simply because they can’t afford the premium version.

So, here’s what we decided: the app will come in two different trims. Free and Premium.

The free version of the app gives you access to the Red and Yellow Alerts, community responders, automatic emergency services dialing, and 10 free safe routes, and all the auto-recording features. We’ve endeavored to provide the necessary functions of the app a user will need to keep themselves safe, because we believe personal safety is not a commodity.

The premium version of the app includes those features which help users keep others safe. Features like Loved One Tracking and offline maps help to ensure that you’ll always be able to find your friends and loved ones when they’re in trouble. Unfortunately, we can’t offer these features, along with the exact GPS location sharing to emergency services, for free – there’s simply too much cost attached to them. So for Ulzi to stay afloat as a safety company (running servers, keeping app functions fast and effective, building out our community), not everything can operate freely.

We must also charge for features like: unlimited Loved One Tracking, map customization, and Ulzi Geozones. While we wish we could provide all our features to everyone for free, we simply aren’t able to deliver many features without generating revenue, and we’re happy to answer more questions you might have.

However, we want to remind all our users that the revenue we generate is used to create a safer community for everyone, everywhere. Whether we spend that money on further development of app features, to build new infrastructures that allow us to provide more features to free users, or to further grow the Ulzi community.

We’ll let you in on a secret. The revenue from premium subscriptions doesn’t just keep the lights on here at Ulzi. It helps to fund the development of new and improved features, as well as the continued growth of the Ulzi community. For every 1 Premium subscription, that makes it possible dollar-for-dollar for us to provide the free version to 50 people who otherwise would not have access. As the community grows, the free version of the app also becomes more effective, as it increases the number of responders in your area.

Members of the Ulzi organization are also working on projects that help to improve violence-prevention efforts and sexual assault awareness through our other project: Ulzi Stories. For more information on what Ulzi team members are doing to help make their communities safer, like partnering with local nonprofits, follow us on social media and email us with questions so we can add them to our FAQ!

Thank you for your interest in learning more about Ulzi.

Madison Ulzi Community

 

Nikki Petkopoulos Ulzi survivor

You Call the Shots: How A Survivor is Redefining Success as a College Student

I’m a sexual assault survivor. Wanna know why I’m telling you? My grades reflect that. I’m not that success story about a young woman who overcame it all and got a 4.0 GPA. My GPA is fine, but it’s not what I wanted — it’s not what I was capable of achieving. But I’m doing okay; in fact, I’m doing well.

I’ve seen it time and time again: students with extenuating circumstances letting their past tragedies define their future. Unfortunately, our educational system is not always forgiving when “life happens.” You try to take the time off; you try to incorporate “self-care” into your busy schedule. But then there are the agonizing days — days where you can’t get out of bed and would rather lose participation points than face another panic attack. I understand.

By the time application deadlines roll around — whether they’re for grad school, a job, etc. — you feel like you don’t stand a chance. Who can you ask for recommendations, who can really vouch for you? How do you explain away your GPA or that period of unemployment?

The answer is this: you can. And you must. When I was staring at my B average grades, knowing full well that the work I produced deserved A’s, I knew that I had to make up for this supposed deficit. I was slowly pulling out of my extracurricular activities because I felt that I still needed time to heal. What did I have to offer? How was I going to get out of this pit?

Help Yourself First

Nikki Petkopoulos Ulzi survivorI started advocating for myself. In the last two years, I’ve grown more in ways that I never would have otherwise. If anything, I accelerated my growth because of my experiences. I have grit, I have perseverance, I have empathy, I have resilience. Small problems don’t affect me anymore because I’ve been building myself up. Yes, I’m not perfect; there are days when I need to take a step back. But I’m strong.

At the start of every school term I make sure to explain to my professors the situation I got myself out of, just like I’m telling you. Sometimes I go into the grisly details if they’re accepting. I do this so I’m not at a disadvantage from the beginning. We work out how I can best succeed based on my strengths and weaknesses.

Through trial and error I’ve learned what kind of tool I am for companies, organizations, teams, etc. I thought to myself, “How can I make my story employable? How can I use it to my advantage?” For the longest time I felt that my future was robbed from me. That’s not the case at all. I was given the opportunity to illustrate my uniqueness. My story is different because it is mine. And I made it my mission to learn how to sell it instead of wallowing in it.

You might be thinking that your problems don’t compare to mine. They don’t. Whether it’s the loss of a family member, mental illness, financial troubles, they are yours alone. Companies want to see who you are at your best, but they also want to see who you are at your worst. Who are you really when (pardon my French) shit hits the fan? They want to see how you’re an asset when a company faces a problem.

Companies want to see who you are at your best, but they also want to see who you are at your worst.

It’s impossible to go through life without earning some scars. Some of the best people I know have experienced some sort of tragedy, but they turned it into an inspirational story. I encourage you to look at your resume, transcript, application — whatever it is, and find what makes you different. If your life was a movie, where is the rise and fall? The climax? The call to action? Reflect on your shortcomings, then overcome.

I have gotten more job offers this year than at any time in my life, which surprised me because I thought I was losing steam. But the more I networked and reached out, the more I told my story, the more I resonated with people who wanted me on their team.

No matter where you are in life, you can overcome. The first step is taking that initiative. I’d be lying to you if I said it was easy. I’d also be lying if I said it’s not worth it.


If you’re interested in sharing your story or getting involved with Ulzi or Ulzi Stories, you can email hannah.joslin@ulzi.com.

News Today Sucks

News Today Sucks.

News today sucks.

And while thoughts like “Why am I reading about Kim Kardashian’s latest scandal instead of the slave trade in Libya??” are perfectly fair questions to ask yourself and the media, I want to hone in on something more specific here: media coverage of the anti-sexual assault movement, and content warnings.

This movement, which has had its ups and downs (like most movements in history) is rumbling, and this time it’s bigger than ever. Survivors of sexual assault are choosing to share their stories, perpetrators are being held accountable (for the most part). The media is having a heyday in covering the topic that everyone’s buzzing about, and the conversation surrounding sexual assault is shedding a much-needed light on the rampant issue that it is.

Stigma breaks more and more by the day.

But, as a survivor myself, and also someone who suffers from anxiety and depression, I know it can be really horrible to not be able to go on social media or news sites without seeing something about sexual assault—reminding me of my own, reminding me of the times I have or haven’t talked about it, or just reminding me in general how many people have had to go through the same thing (anxiety, flashbacks, sadness, and more). Not to mention the comments section, which is never a place that tends to restore faith in humanity.

Is a lot of the coverage great? Yes.

Do survivors’ and allies’ voices deserve to be heard, their cases and allegations put in the spotlight if they want to? Of course.

Is this conversation essential to spreading awareness and finding solutions to the issue at its societal core? Yes, yes, yes.

But for me, and for many survivors out there, all of that can be bad for your mental health and well-being.

So here are some tips for staying sane, healthy, calm, and relatively stress-free with all these sexual assault-related stories buzzing around.

1. Give some extra attention to warnings.

  • If a news outlet (or other outlets, like Ulzi) covering the topic is aware of the seriousness of the issue and care about the well-being of their readers, they will have a content warning of some kind before the whole of the content is visible.
  • If it’s not just an article or post, but something like a newsletter sign-up or blog category, check the main blog page or any parenthetical statements in those newsletter sign-up boxes. This means they are providing the content warning at the start (the sign-up), but not in subsequent communications (not in every newsletter or post).
  • There will also be warnings in TV shows and movies. Always easy to find? No. In fact, it may only be a “Some viewers may find the following material disturbing.” Or “Explicit content.” But they’re there (kind of the bare minimum, huh?). You may also even be able to find a review of the episode or film online that will warn more specifically about certain scenes without revealing spoilers.
  • If you are blindsided by triggering content, it is your right to get up and leave, turn the TV off, or whatever you need to do to get yourself out of a harmful situation.

I know it sucks to have to be on the lookout for content warnings, especially when they’re not easy to find. But this is a great way for you to know what kind of content you’re getting into.

2. You do not (I repeat: do NOT) owe anyone your story.

  • The #MeToo movement, and inspiring movements like it, are powerful. They spread awareness and start important conversations. But that DOES NOT mean you owe anyone your story.
  • You do not need to share your story to make your experience valid. And people who tell you otherwise don’t know what they’re talking about.
  • Your feelings are valid simply because you are feeling them. You matter. If you don’t want to say #MeToo, that doesn’t mean you aren’t part of the movement. It doesn’t mean you’re not important in this initiative to end sexual assault.

3. Remember that no two stories are alike.

  • If you watch or hear about things like:
    • that episode of 13 Reasons Why where Hannah is assaulted,
    • or that episode of Riverdale where Cheryl’s friends heroically stop her assault,
  • remember that no two stories are alike, and shows like this often don’t include the full story.
  • These types of storylines often skip over the healing process, which doesn’t mean that you should feel rushed or pressured with your own healing process.
  • These storylines also often show only stereotypical situations, which can actually increase stigma and victim blaming tendencies in society. Remind yourself that you know your own experience despite what people might say.
    • If you think people in your life might be undermining your experience, inhibiting your healing process, or making you feel confused or guilty about your experience, you may be dealing with gaslighting. You can learn more about that here, including ways to combat it, safely.

4. Restrict unnecessarily triggering sources.

  • When a news outlet or social media platform often glorifies or sensationalizes issues, they’re likely to do that with most of their content, if not all of it. That’s because clickbait is, well, exactly that, clickable. Those headlines with, “And you’ll never guess what happens next…” are not going to provide a fair and just representation of the story.
  • Clean up your feed, “unlike” some places that write in a sensationalized manner, and tell Facebook to “hide” those kinds of things if they still manage to pop up in your feed (when a friend shares it, for example).
  • There are plenty of news and lifestyle sources that put more care into what their readers are seeing.

So, yeah, news today can really suck.

Scrolling through Facebook can turn into a traumatic experience in itself with little to no warning. But there are ways to combat this, and these tips can help you practice mental well-being as the movement against sexual assault continues.

At Ulzi, we care about you, your stories, your support, your well-being, and your safety above all else. We can stand together not only against sexual assault, but in support of each other as an understanding and healing community.

Have you joined us yet?

If you haven’t, you can click here to change that.

If you enjoyed this article, here is an exclusive and inspiring story about several fraternities and sororities that have pledged to stand against sexual assault.

Ulzi gaslighting ulzi app freedom community campus safety family locator gps phone tracker emergency alert system

Gaslighting: A Second Trauma

It’s a fearful thing, to question your reality. To feel like no one understands your experience. To go through gaslighting.

Unfortunately, it happens a lot more than we think, and not enough people are aware of the act or its consequences.

Consciously or not, those unsupportive of a survivor or those uneducated about consent often gaslight survivors, undermining their experience and further adding to the trauma of a sexual assault.

What is gaslighting?

Simply defined, gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse “in which information is twisted or spun, selectively omitted to favor the abuser, or false information is presented with the intent of making victims doubt their own memory, perception, and sanity.”

The term originally came from the 1938 play Gas Light (known as Angel Street in the United States). In the play, a husband targets his wife by making small changes to their environment, and then discredits and manipulates her into believing she is mistaken or delusional when she notices them.

This manipulation is extremely dangerous, especially to survivors of a trauma like sexual assault, who often rely on the trust and support of their network during the healing process. Experiencing gaslighting may cause survivors to feel even more alone, isolated, and unsupported – even by those closest to them.

While a long-term community effort to educate and spread awareness about gaslighting is needed to prevent the act entirely, you can mitigate and address the issue by identifying instances and warning signs, better supporting the survivors of abuse in your life.

Phrases to be wary of

  1. “That never happened.”

This is the most straightforward gaslighting technique: bluntly telling a survivor their experience didn’t happen. This can be common with survivors of sexual assault, who are often told they are just overreacting or that their experience didn’t “actually count” as rape or assault due to their environment, alcohol, or their relationship with their attacker.

These comments can hurt the most when coming from loved ones. A survivor can begin to question their own memory and the validity of their emotions when those closest to them discredit their pain.

This, in turn, feeds the stigma surrounding sexual assault, silences the survivor, and drastically inhibits the healing process.

  1. “You’re just being crazy.”

Sexual assault is a deeply traumatic experience. And like many traumatic experiences, it can come with a variety of emotional responses. While survivors can process in many ways (grappling with fear, panic, anger, and more) there is no “wrong” way to feel. All of these feelings are understandable responses – and survivors don’t owe society any specific reaction. Unfortunately, some people use these normal emotions against the survivor themselves.

Survivors can report, survivors can stay home, survivors can feel all kinds of emotions (or lack thereof) and still have just as valid of an experience.

When non-stereotypical responses are quickly equated to either “acting crazy” or “being fake,” and when the survivor isn’t taken seriously, this can often feel like a second trauma piled on top of the first.

  1. “How could you say that about _____? They’re so nice!”

The blame for sexual assault falls on the attacker, not the survivor. All the same, some might (again, consciously or not) try to look at the story in the attacker’s favor – perhaps because they personally have a good relationship with the attacker, or it doesn’t add up with what they thought they knew about that person.

A frequent example of this can be found in the media whenever a high-profile assault occurs. Multiple headlines memorably referred to Brock Turner as a “successful Stanford swimmer,” even though this had no bearing in the story of him raping an unconscious woman.

Switching the narrative in this way makes the attacker sound like a victim. And when the attacker is painted sympathetically, the survivor of the crime gathers that their pain and experience is not valid in the school or justice system.

Just as with the wife in Gas Light, that twisting of reality can make a person feel even further wronged, confused, helpless, and alone.

How to end gaslighting

  1. Identify it.

The first step in fighting gaslighting is learning to recognize the signs. This is often the hardest, yet most important, step in fighting gaslighting.

Do certain people in your life instantly question your judgement, memory, or the validity of your experiences? Do they say you’re being “too sensitive,” dismiss your emotions, or make you feel guilty about bringing it up? If so, you might be experiencing gaslighting.

A few more common phrases are:

  • “You’re making a big deal out of nothing.”
  • “You don’t even know what real abuse is.”
  • “You ruin my night when you talk about this.”
  1. Believe in yourself.

The key act in gaslighting is manipulating the survivor to believe they can’t trust their own memories and emotions. By causing them to doubt themselves, they will stay quiet with their issues and think they’re the ones responsible for their own suffering.

In the end, this only isolates the survivor more, making them unable to reach out to others when they need it most, because they’re so conflicted with themselves.

Once you start recognizing the signs of gaslighting, make a list of these situations. It can be easier to believe your own reality when you see a literal pattern of manipulation and word twisting.

Be gentle and positive. Be compassionate towards yourself and know that the emotions you feel are valid because you are feeling them and your experience is real, and it matters. Remind yourself that your memories are true and your experiences are important.

  1. Take a stand.

If you are emotionally ready, call out people who are unfairly discrediting you. Let them know that they’re not treating you with respect and not giving your assault the seriousness it deserves.

If this is too stressful or taxing, it is also perfectly acceptable to stick with more understanding loved ones until you feel more steady, or seek support with an organization or counselor. There are resources and support groups for survivors in all stages of healing. Remember, you don’t have to fight gaslighting on your own. Personal well-being should always come first.


Many people have experienced gaslighting without realizing it has a name. By being able to identify it, survivors can protect themselves and allies can push back against abusers. Remember to start by believing survivors who confide in you and to support them in any way you can. With a greater awareness and a forward-moving community, unknowing gaslighters might learn the impact of their words and how to speak in a more educated, empathetic way, and all survivors of assault can get the support, understanding, and healing they deserve.

Sexual Assault car mirror 2017 ulzi app freedom community campus safety family locator gps phone tracker emergency alert system

2017 in the Rearview Mirror

I like to think of my life as constant forward motion, treating it like a journey – a road trip would be my ideal metaphor. Cruising down an endless Route 66, sitting in the driver’s seat of my 1970s station wagon, I peer up in my rearview mirror on occasion. But this year, I’m hesitant to look back. If you’re anything like me, looking back to 2017 is daunting.

It was a crazy year, to say the least, and one that will define the trajectory of our lives for years to come – to say the most. 

For those of us involved in organizations seeking to end sexual violence, this last year feels equal parts exciting and exhausting. After all, so far, the news sucks. Peeking in the door mirror on my right I see Women’s Marches and #MeToo movements, and I’m hopeful now. My spirit lifted, I look into the left door mirror now – and I see how horribly pervasive sexual assault and harassment really is. But looking at the past year in such small snippets doesn’t do me any good. I overcome my fear and glance up into the rearview mirror, and this is what I see: 

The Year Began…

January beckoned 2017 into existence with an inauguration that would stoke a political divide in the discussion about sexual assault. Regardless of your feelings about politics and the current presidential administration, sexual assault should stand out as a moral blemish on our lives.  

In response, women from around the country flooded into Washington D.C. for the Women’s March on January 21st and 22ndFive hundred thousand strong, people of all genders marched in protest of continued inaction against an unfair societal standard for women and other gender minorities. The march wasn’t contained to D.C. either, and organized marches and protests around the globe grew to over 2.5 million participants. The stage was set for unprecedented social change.  

But, while conversations flared and political posturing from individual states continued to heat the melting pot of American diversity to a boiling point, nothing seemed to change. The gaze of media diverted from sexual assault and feminist movements to other policy changes. I felt like I must look outside of my own nation to find examples of progressive gender movement.  

A Sleepy Summer

Through a lens concerned with preventing sexual assault, I thought the summer was sleepy. At its conclusion in September, a new slough of changes began to materialize. Title Ⅸ guidance was changed, allowing more leeway in the way that universities could handle accusations of sexual misconduct, harassment, and assault. On top of that, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy was threatened, making it less clear whether survivors under DACA would be taken seriously or protected from deportation if they chose to come forward.

From the position of a prevention advocate, I feared that it would leave more perpetrators free to continue to hurt people. As a human being, I feared thousands would continue to have their voices stripped away. 

But Then Something Changed  

The New York Times published a story detailing decades of accusations of sexual assault against Hollywood production giant Harvey Weinstein. In the coming media storm, Weinstein’s own company fired him and social and traditional media shamed him for his actions. It became clear to the country that an unchecked culture of misogyny and sexual abuse existed within the entertainment business. 

Just two weekends later, a hashtag began to circulate: #MeToo. The hashtag was part of a larger organizational campaign begun by Tarana Burke. Her organization, Me Too, began their fight against sexual assault in 2006. The Sunday of that weekend, actor Alyssa Milano tweeted using #MeToo.

By the end of that night, my own Facebook feed was populated with women’s – and some men’s – statements and stories of their own experiences at the hands of abusers.  

An avalanche of sexual misconduct and assault accusations ensued for the next three months (and they’re still coming) implicating not just producers and directors, but actorscomedians, and politicians. There were men on that list that I looked up to, and this forced a great reconciliation for me – as I’m sure it did for many of you. I chose to believe the survivors, regardless of who they say hurt them.  

By December, the movement became so large and pervasive that Time declared its person of the year “The Silence Breakers.” The women (and men) who spoke out against their abusers were given an unprecedented platform to recount their experiences. Encouraged by these Silence Breakers, more survivors continue to come forward in the new year.

The Road Ahead

Sitting in the drivers’ seats of our lives, we can only look into that rearview mirror for so long. Eventually we have to look forward again, keeping our eyes on the road ahead of us. But there are important lessons to be gleaned from the events of this last year, and even more from those events which didn’t happen.

I would be remiss not to mention the missing intersectionality in many of the cases the media has been headlining.   

Throughout the course of the emergence of the silence breakers, there has been a gross omission of effort to recognize and acknowledge sexual abuse of many other groups. Many of these, like migrant workers, are still experiencing abhorrent behavior at the hands of power structures not unlike those exposed in Hollywood. So, I hope that this is just the beginning of a much larger conversation about not just the highly visible arenas of entertainment and politics.  

It’s January 2018 now, but as all mirrors will remind you, “Objects are closer than they appear.” As you hit the turn signal and take Exit 2018, I would ask you to make sure that you crank the radio up. Listen to what 2017 is telling you, and learn just one thing: the discussion on sexual assault is just beginning.

Ulzi loaded terms gone viral

Gone Viral: What Ulzi Thinks of ‘Loaded Terms’

In the world of blogging, vlogging, editorial, web, and copywriting, buzzwords are everything. They define the success of an article or blog post. But they can also turn a reader off.  

There are certain words and phrases that people just can’t stand, for one reason or another – and no matter how well-intentioned a piece might be, when that word comes out, the reader turns off or tabs out. Tension words, let’s call them.

In discussions surrounding sexual assault, these words or phrases are often branded with political leanings or radical connotations: victim, rape culture, toxic masculinity, to name a few. 

So Why Use Them?

In many cases, writers will try to find ways around words like this. But when discussing issues like sexual assault, we often don’t have that luxury. Using specific language is one way we make sure to accurately transfer sensitive and controversial information – we simply can’t afford the uncertainty in meaning that often comes with euphemisms and metaphors.

Because of this, we have decided to tackle the misinformation surrounding these words head on. In this miniature series, “Gone Viral,” the editorial team will choose a word which we think is both unavoidable and problematic, and try to demystify it.

Up First:

Toxic masculinity.

This term has been thrown around on social media and blogs for several years now, drawing polarized responses from political writers. The debate, in my opinion, is fueled by one part semantics and two parts miscommunication.

Let’s get the “two parts” out of the way: toxic masculinity is not masculinity. They’re two different terms. Masculinity isn’t inherently good or bad, it’s simply a categorization. A way to help organize traits and behaviors. It also has a solid definition: “qualities or attributes typically regarded as characteristics of men.” If we have an argument about masculinity, we can go look it up in the dictionary and come to an agreement fairly easily.  

This isn’t really the case for toxic masculinity though. Unlike terms like rape culture, the toxic masculinity isn’t borrowed from sociology or any official feminist theory. Its colloquial birth was too recent for it to have solidified amongst social scientists. The term, when properly used, describes acts that reinforce harmful, hyper masculine behaviors.

Close, But Not Quite…

There’s some additional confusion because of the way that toxic masculinity resembles a sociological term, hegemonic masculinity. Hegemonic masculinity is behavior which reinforces and perpetuates the dominance of men over society – specifically over women. This is where things get muddled. 

Many times, toxic masculinity is used in place of hegemonic masculinity. It’s done so incorrectly causing men to react as though their personal identities are being attacked. But toxic masculinity is directly harmful to men, since its purpose is to make sure men express only stereotypically masculine traits. 

If someone who identifies as male doesn’t measure up, toxic masculinity is used by other men to peer pressure them into getting back on the bandwagon. It stops men from defining their own selves.  

Ironic, right? 

Know It When You See It

For instance, stoicism – the absence of outward emotion or feeling in the face of pain, physical or emotional – is a typically masculine trait which is not inherently bad. The typical response, though, when a young man doesn’t display this trait is an example of toxic masculinity – “Man up,” or “Real men don’t cry.” The term itself really isn’t self-descriptive, and that’s a problem. When used in context and not well explained, it is very easily mistaken for an attack on masculinity itself.  

Allowing terms like toxic masculinity to go on being misused, or not to clearly define the way that our editorial team uses them, would be irresponsible. By defining them we can more precisely craft language to suit our thoughts and beliefs, while avoiding offending potential readers in the process.  

Be on the lookout for more installments of the “Gone Viral” series in the near future.