In a climate where people are more empowered to speak up against male harassers than ever, even more men are refusing to stay silent in the face of injustice. So when 34-year-old Ben Jacobs witnessed his friend sexually harassing a woman, he bravely raised to voice and said “heheh.”
What an inspiration!
The incident took place in line for pizza, when Jacobs’ friend Luke mimed having sex with the woman standing in front of him. While others might have ignored his offensive and inappropriate actions in an act of complicity, Jacobs spoke out by saying “heheh.”
“I didn’t want to ignore it, but at the same time, I knew that Luke was goofing around,” Jacobs explained. “I knew what he was doing wasn’t cool, so I gave a laugh that showed him that I knew it was a joke, but I wasn’t totally into it. I’m sure Luke knew what I meant.”
This isn’t the first time that Jacobs has nervously giggled in the face of injustice. When his coworker made an “ironically” racist joke in a room full of white people, he boldly said, “Whaaaaat haha,” and he still texts “lol” every time his college roommate describes something as “kinda gay.”
“You can always count on Ben,” reports Luke. “He’s really chill.”
With his “heheh,” Jacobs joins a long list of men who have used their encouraging chortles to address the harassment in their midst: male comics who heard allegations against Louis CK, Harvey Weinstein’s colleagues who saw him shuttle young women away, and politicians who heard about Roy Moore and his teenage dates.
“Wait, are you saying that what Luke did is harassment?” asked Jacobs, when asked to defend his response. “Geez. I guess I’m glad I said something.”
No matter the actions of his friends, Jacobs is unequivocal in his belief that sexual harassment is a problem that should be stopped. “Sexual harassment definitely exists, absolutely” he says. “And I think it’s bad.”
If he ever sees sexual harassment happening somewhere, Jacobs is confident that he will do everything in his hypothetical power to hypothetically stop it.