The #BelieveHer movement is the wrong position to take, said Robert Samery, the chair of the Canadian Association For Equality (CAFE), at the Men’s and Women’s Summit on Masculinity 2018 at a Toronto hotel on Sunday.
CAFE, an organization with a sole focus on boys and men, as stated by Samery, was an exhibitor at and co-hosted the event with the organization Men and Masculinity. Six speakers addressed the audience of about 100 people, and including Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh who discussed “the need for International Men’s day”, and Dr. Warren Farrell who spoke about “the myth of male privilege”, and the “real reasons behind the pay gap”, as well as male empowerment in education, business and familial roles. Some of the speakers took the opportunity to address “dangerous” movements such as #MeToo and #BelieveHer.
“It’s an unfortunate position to take. It’s been proven to be the wrong position to take,” said Samery. “Women, because they’re human, tend to lie. Often lie, sometimes lie, occasionally lie, but they do lie. And in any particular case, you don’t know whether it’s a lying person in front of you or not.”
“It’s important that we not develop a culture that says some version of ‘women good, men bad’ as we were doing with the #BelieveWomen movement, where it’s assumed that if women say something they should be believed but if men say something we don’t even want to hear it,” said Farrell, the keynote speaker at the summit.
Some of the attendees voiced their support of CAFE and Samery’s viewpoint. Jeffrey Banks, a member of Motomo Nation, an exhibitor at the summit, stressed the importance of proper investigation above anyone’s personal story.
However, Beth Ostrander, a pleasure coach and speaker at the summit was quick to denounce those ideologies. “I think it’s a brilliant movement. I don’t know someone else’s story, I have to believe them. In their experience, they were violated. So let me understand that violation, or we’ll never find out the reason behind it.”
According to the summit’s program, the Men’s and Women’s Summit on Masculinity 2018 was intended to “offer a deeper look at how we perceive gender roles, stereotypes, and beliefs in society through presentations from experts so that you can question, discover, and come to your own conclusions.”
The summit is in its third year and is gaining support from across the globe. Using web-streaming services, audiences in America and in Europe were able to tune in live and ask questions of the speakers.
Dr. Vibe, the Master of Ceremonies at the summit, wants to see the summit grow in the future. “I want you all to close your eyes, and envision where you’ll be next year. Hopefully, you’re envisioning yourself right here, but with one more person.”
This story was written in November 2018 as an assignment for the Ryerson School of Journalism.
This story was also used on an episode of FemRadio.