The following statement remains true regardless of when you read this: A powerful man has been accused of sexually harassing a woman. At the time of this writing, “that man” is Louis C.K. It has also come to include Harvey Weinstein, Roy Price, John Besh, George H.W. Bush, Brett Ratner, Bill Cosby, Terry Richardson, Roger Ailes and Bob Weinstein.

Next month “that man” may be a basement troll who leaked stolen nude photos of a famous actress, a politician who sent unsolicited dick pics to an intern or a CEO who groped his female colleagues. Next year, it may be a male radio DJ goading a woman about her sex life on the air or a cable news talking head blaming a woman for wearing too revealing of clothes and thus, “asking for it.” It may even be, once again, our president.

The Weinstein controversy is making this country face a reality that until now has been ignored: sexual harassment is rarely about sex. It’s about the manipulation of power. Like many women, I enjoy sex, and I enjoy consensual sexual dominance. I like my hair pulled and I like it rough. But sexual dominance has never been defined by a partner’s power, wealth or strength. It’s defined by consent, because true dominant men aren’t predators. They’re protectors.

Unfortunately, men are taught early on that asking for permission is a sign of weakness. Young men are conditioned to believe that only weaklings and the meek request permission. In the 22-year-old Clue, a film based on a children’s board game, Professor Plum (Christopher Lloyd) touches Miss Scarlet’s (Lesley Ann Warren) butt without permission and she’s expected to laugh it off. In an episode of New Girl, which was created by a woman, a female character says, “There’s nothing less sexy than a dude asking if he can kiss you.” In a scene from Pixar’s Ratatouille, the hero—a gangly, young, inexperienced chef—forces a kiss on a girl; at first, she pulls out pepper spray, but then realizes she’s into it and gives in. This is the system at work.

In his Netflix special 3 Mics, comedian Neal Brennan, who has worked on Chappelle’s Show, Inside Amy Schumer and The Daily Show With Trevor Noah, attempts to speak for the male race when he quips, “Women, here’s the thing you gotta understand. It’s not even really our fault. It’s testosterone, it’s a creepy hormone. It’s like having a prison inmate living inside you.” In other words, boys will be boys. Locker room talk. Brennan’s assertion that this behavior is biological and not learned is his attempt to explain why it’s so shockingly common. Under his argument, engaging in locker room talk is an intrinsic quality of men.

There should be no reason for a woman to feel threatened by her own healthy sexual expression.

There’s a displacement here of responsibility, and that’s the problem. In the weeks following the New York Times report, troves of famous men have come out to insist that men like Weinstein and the like are rare. But if it all ties back to testosterone and chromosomes, then they would not be rare. Every man would be a sex-hungry harasser. Therein lies the reveal: men rarely want to admit that sexual misconduct is rooted in a need to assert power. Instead, those accused prefer to blame it on everything from testosterone to addiction (note: “sex addiction” is not a real addiction) to alcohol to low-cut blouses to mixed signals.

So what do we do?

As more and more women have come out as victims of sexual harassment, the vast amount of conflicting and toxic pressure we face everyday about our appearances and self-worth has come to light. In short, woman will be blamed no matter what they do. Last month, Mayim Bialik of The Big Bang Thing wrote an op-ed in the New York Times explaining how embracing her “conservative” and “non-traditional” appearance protected her from the sexual advances of predators. Meanwhile, Jennifer Lawrence relayed an incident in which she was required to pose nude alongside five other women in an audition. The system’s message continues: Wear revealing clothing and you’re a slut. Refuse to take off your clothes and risk unemployment. Dress conservatively and you’re sexless.

But these ultimata trace back to power, not physical appearance, libido or sexual interest. These choices are not imposed upon women who are simply sex-positive; they are imposed upon all women by men who grow up believing that “boys will be boys” means “boys can control women.” That train of thought is why men have asserted themselves for hundreds of years; over time, overpowering women simply begins to look like a biological truth that the species cannot unlearn.

But it’s time to start unlearning, because power dynamics are changing. Men, you need to start listening. Listen to your female friends. Call out your male friends when they cross the line. Check your privilege. You can have a casual, friendly interaction with a female stranger—exchange a smile or respond to a hello—without worrying that she will take it as a sexual invitation. Nor should you.

We need to stop pretending to be shocked when a man doesn’t see the line between consent and misconduct. We have to start teaching kids about consent from the start. If you’re caught up on why women don’t report things right away, you can start by believing and supporting them from the start. I know this may sound like yet another angsty feminist rant against men—but it’s not. This is a call for society at larger to listen and support us. Female sexuality should be celebrated; so long as consent is granted, there should be no reason for a woman to forgo her preferences and feel threatened by her own healthy sexual expression. Women shouldn’t feel like their sexuality will be used against them. Want to help? Be our protectors, not our predators.