Should we embrace men being harassed as an issue? Can we without minimizing the trouble women are facing?

Continuing the discussion from Should make it clear that the platform is not for dating?:

This is certainly true and harassment is never a marginal issue, for whoever has to face it.

At the same time, men being harassed is by far not the central issue with hospitality exchange. It’s maybe even irrelevant in the sense that good policies for the safety of women will benefit everyone anyways. And it’s still mostly about men being the harassers.

But above all - and we’ve already seen this repeatedly happen on the forum - whenever it is raised as an issue within the conversation on safety, it soon gets misused to belittle the challenges women are facing.

So we’ll face this dynamic often, on the forum and on the platform. How can we best address it?


Ultimately, the tools being implemented should support people of any sex or gender identity avoid harassment from other people of any sex or gender identity.

That being said, the problem does not exist for all people—to the same extent

The amount of harassment that non-male people suffer is significantly higher (and to a higher percentage of that group) than the amount male people suffer.

Yes of course males will still face harassment and other forms of abuse. I’ve heard stories from friends. But most times a male tells a story about being harassed, they drum it up as the most dramatic, worst thing in the world, because they are not used to it. And any non-male person who tells similar stories, says it with an eye-roll and not much more, because it is so incredibly normalized for them. (And I’m just talking minor harassment, such as sexual propositions but no physical force).

The fact that non-males have had to learn to shrug it off is the indication that it is 99999999999% more of an issue for them than for (especially cis) males.

Now what my question is, is do we need to include males in the messaging? From my understanding, hospex is male-dominated and a lot of women have been turned off from hospex because of the culture. We are specifically trying to make it safe for women, and message it that way, because men largely, by comparison, already feel safe, just by virtue of not experiencing the same harassment to the same extent.

The TOOLS should help EVERYBODY
But the MESSAGING needs to help make the groups disillusioned from hospex feel like they can TRUST our platform and the culture we are cultivating.


I think Trenton said it perfectly. I think whatever message you put up doesn’t need to be written as gendered, because people should respect everyone no matter what their gender and the rules should ofcourse be applied to everyone.

To say this problem exists for everyone… mm, not really, the problem does not exist for men the same as it does for women. For example, the experiences described by the guy in the other thread were by no means acceptable, but I do not think I know many females, including myself who has not gone through what he described (and much worse) many times throughout their lives, not just once as an isolated incident. In fact, I don’t think I would even think to report/call an emergency guy for what he described as I highly doubt I would be taken seriously, and probably be told it is just what people do if you sleep in the same bed as them :woman_shrugging:t2: (Actually almost every female I have ever met on couchsurfing has had this happen to them at some point with a host, even when not sleeping in the same bed).

To now bring the focus on men, or to imply the problem is equal, is completely minimising the problem of women, and i believe is unnecessary as they are not experiencing something unique, but rather a (much) smaller extent of what women are. Also like Trenton mentioned, men generally do not have the problem of worrying about this stuff in their day to day lives and when travelling. It is hurtful in the long run to talk about it like it’s an equal problem because then it will be addressed from the perspective of men (as they will assume the problem is the same for women), and women’s problems will continue to go unaddressed.

It should be acknowledged that it can happen to anyone and does happen to men and their experiences should absolutely not be ignored, but to redirect the discussion from women is akin to the black lives matter movement and people saying No! All lives matter! White people are killed by police too! … Saying black lives matter doesn’t mean we are suddenly fine with white people being killed by police etc.

If people have a problem with this discussion having a general focus on women I think they need to be called out by moderators. Or say all this at the start of the thread and flag people for refusing to cooperate now they’ve been pre-educated (cos lets be real, it does come from sexism). I think you can bring up male experiences without trying to make out that the problem is overall the same/try and redirect the discussion about women, which is not what was happening in the other thread.


Amen! Completely agree with this point. I think our messaging really needs to make it clear that we are focused on improving the experience of groups who have been slighted enough already by the way things work, not just in hospex, but since the dawn of time :sweat_smile:


I find the original post to be very relevant to my experiences on CS. People downplaying the harassment faced by men are lucky to not have experienced in their personal life.

I have been a CS member for a long time (not anymore ofc), but only started using it the first time this year. My first guest was a woman who conned me out of money by asking me to “lend her money” for dinner and then shopping. She never returned the money, and afterwards when I wrote about the incident on her review, she wrote me off as a sex offender on my personal profile.

Another case I’d like to highlight is how much easier it is for women to find hosts than men. I have so many female friends who have told me about their CS stays in mind-blowing apartments in many cities they visited. Yet when I was travelling to Switzerland, Belgium and the French Alps - I had a (very) hard time finding any suitable host that didn’t say “females only” on their rules. How is that not passive harassment?

I think collectively, especially as a kind of “better” CS platform, we need to be conscious about the harassment faced by men as well as we are about that faced by women.


On another note, I think we should think about making the platform more accessible to anyone who doesn’t identify with binary sexes or are transgender. I think a badge on profile to indicate “accepting trans (for the lack of a better word) community” could make the platform massively more accessible for trans surfers.

Sounds like an awful experience, I’m sorry to hear that. Hopefully the new reference system will go some way to stop people from acting inapropriately. Critically, we need protections against revenge references.

So the thing is that this isn’t on a similar scale to the harassment faced by women, which is really widespread. We’ve tried to summarise some of the issues here. I think the focus should be on the more critical issues of sexual harassment and general safety. If we address this, I suspect we’d see less of the issue you’ve been seeing because we wouldn’t get those predatory hosts, but you can see why the male perspective is not the motivation for tackling that.

Down the line I think it’s important that we set up some working groups from people from marginalised communities to get more ideas like this on how to make the platform more accessible.


I openend a new topic, in case there’s already some ideas: Should we have dedicated features for LGBT+ people?

“Passive harassment”? Reeeeeally? We are talking about people being intimidated, stalked, objectified, touched and kissed and commented on without consent, raped, and you want to put a line saying “I prefer to host woman” in the same level? You need to come to reality. What you are saying is nonsense, and I´m tired of guys minimizing what woman have to go through every day because once they got hit by someone. Well: any decent looking girl gets that every day. So stop trying to be the center of the universe and the center of every discussion. Sometimes you are not. Maybe you get a 5% of the problem. Non males get the other 95%. Stop minimizing the problem. Grow up, guys, not everything revolves around you.

I apologyze for the tone, but I´m tired of this BS.


I think we need to know what exactly we are doing to help women before we can address these questions.

As it stands, everyone has a different idea of what it looks like in their minds, and some are appropriate to help men too and some aren’t.

For example, of we imagine one way to make it better for women is detecting flirty messages before they are sent and displaying a warning (just an example, not saying we should do this or it’s even possible!) it’s simple for it to help men too - just enable it for everyone. I’m sure no one would think it should only be enabled for men sending to women.

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I’d like to wrap up this discussion, because the aim with this topic really is to come to a conclusion how to go forward in practical terms. And I believe @Trenton and @Eileen have already addressed all important aspects of this question in the first two posts and to an agreement between volunteers.

So I suggest we generally/more visibly/repeatedly state explicitly that our focus on safety is about women’s safety. So everone gets that picture clearly. Just as @Eileen wrote:

At the same time, I suggest we establish some dedicated topics, so we can relate other experiences to them, before assuming they only intend to distract from this general focus. Gay men’s experiences for one should certainly be heard independently in order to build an inclusive platform.

I’d take these two aspects away as the central ones. Or did I miss or missread something?


We could actually add a notice to topics. Like above… Is that a good idea?


Oh yes!!! I didn’t know about that feature!! Let’s do it :slight_smile: just note that it is spelled “truly”.

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