Senator Tim Kaine: 'Men need to step up' and combat sexism

Tim Kaine wants “America to be better” when it comes to sexual harassment and assault. 

The democratic senator from Virginia published a guest post in Esquire on Nov. 2 in response to the rampant sexism he says he’s witnessed in the past year. From watching the misogynistic way people spoke about Hillary Clinton during his time as her running mate in 2016 to the recent allegations of sexual harassment, assault and rape against Harvey Weinstein ― Kaine thinks men need to do more to fight sexism. 

“Men need to step up and accept our central role in combating the sexism and harassment that stand in the way of true women’s equality,” Kaine wrote.

RELATED: Senator Tim Kaine through his career

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Senator Tim Kaine through his career
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) react during a campaign rally at Ernst Community Cultural Center in Annandale, Virginia, U.S., July 14, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
DATE:10/06/2001 SLUG:ME/KAINE CREDIT:TRACY A WOODWARD/TWP Candidate for VA Lt Gov. Tim Kaine at Herndon, VA., Homecoming Parade. Along parade route through the town of Herndon; Kaine (center of photo-blue shirt and jacket) shakes hands with Herndon High School student- Nick Palatiello (cq) 18 yrs old. The kids are on one of the Herndon High School floats. Original Filename: MEKAINE2.jpg ORG XMIT: M0110071405302067 (Photo by Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post/Getty Images)
SLUG: ME/RICHMOND The second day of the Virginia general assembly. Pictured, Lt. Governor Tim Kaine holds a press conference in the statehouse to introduce his legislative staffers and answer questions from the press. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post/Getty Images)
SLUG: ME/INAUG DATE: 01/14/2006 CREDIT: Bill O'Leary Governor Tim Kaine is inaugurated at the colonial statehouse in Williamsburg, VA. Pictured, the Governor elect gives a thumbs up signal to the crowd during a long ovation upon his arrival. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post/Getty Images)
Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine laughs at a remark by President George W. Bush about his wife's needle work while visiting the Jamestown Settlement in Jamestown, Virginia, Sunday, May 13, 2007. (Photo by Dave Bowman/Newport News Daily Press/MCT via Getty Images)
CHESTER, VA - AUGUST 21: Presumptive Democratic Presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) (R) discusses economy with people as Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (L) looks on during a campaign stop at John Tyler Community College August 21, 2008 in Chester, Virginia. The media have been reported that Obama will announce who is his running mate in Springfield, Illinois on Saturday. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
DENVER - AUGUST 28: Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine walks off stage on day four of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) at Invesco Field at Mile High August 28, 2008 in Denver, Colorado. U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) is the first African-American to be officially nominated as a candidate for U.S. president by a major party. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 08: Virginia Governor Tim Kaine and President elect Barack Obama speak at a news conference at the Democratic National Committee headquarters to announce Kaine as the new chair of the DNC on January 8, 2009. (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call/Getty Images)
RICHMOND, VA - NOVEMBER 04: Virginia Gov. and Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine answers questions during a press conference at the State Capitol complex November 4, 2009 in Richmond, Virginia. Kaine discussed the results of yesterday's election results during the press conference. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 30: DNC Chairman Tim Kaine (L) participates in a conference call with Rev. Regena Thomas, Director of Faith and Constituency Outreach in the Chairman's office on September 30, 2010. This was a 5:00 pm Conference call with the National Baptist Convention Leadership. (Photo by Tracy A Woodward/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA, JULY 13: Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine plays to the crowd during a campaign stop with President Barack Obama at Green Run High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia, on Friday, July 13, 2012. (Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
MCLEAN, VA - SEPTEMBER 20: Tim Kaine in encircled by media in the media room of the Capitol One Conference Center following his U.S. Senatorial debate against George Allen on Thursday, September 20, 2012, in McLean, VA. The former Virginia governor Kaine is in a heated run against Allen, another former Virginia governor, for the US Senate seat being vacated by Senator Jim Webb. In addition to being a former Virginia governor, Kaine, a Democrat , is a former mayor of Richmond and a Virginia Lt. governor. Kaine's wife, Holton, has been active in the campaign, making appearances around the state on her husband's behalf. (Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
FAIRFAX, VA - SEPTEMBER 25: U.S. Senate Democratic candidate and former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine answers reporters' questions during a news conference at the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Station 40 September 25, 2012 in Fairfax, Virginia. The International Association of Fire Fighters union announced its endorsement of Kaine in his race against another former Virginia governor and former U.S. Senator George Allen (R-VA). (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - November 6 : Former Governor of Virginia, Tim Kanie makes his acceptance speech after winning the Virginia Senate seat from Former Governor George Allen at Kaine's election night party at the Richmond Marriott on November 6, 2012. (Photo By Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19: (L-R) Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, Anne Holton, and Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) attend the Inaugural Youth Ball hosted by OurTime.org at Donald W. Reynolds Center on January 19, 2013 in Washington, United States. (Photo by Michael Kovac/FilmMagic)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 31: Junior Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) looks up to think for a moment during a staff meeting in his office on Capitol Hill Wednesday, July 31, 2013. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
US Senator Tim Kaine,D-Virginia, listens to witnesses June 5, 2014 during hearings held by the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee On Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The committee is hearing testimony on 'Development in Ukraine.' AFP PHOTO / Karen BEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 9: Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., speaks with a reporter as he arrives for the Senate Democrats' policy lunch in the Capitol on Tuesday, June 9, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r) Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) appears in pre taped interview on 'Meet the Press' in Washington, D.C., Friday June 24, 2016. (Photo by: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
US Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and US Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia, wave during a campaign rally at Ernst Community Cultural Center in Annandale, Virginia, on July 14, 2016. / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
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He added that he witnessed firsthand the misogynistic merchandise sold at Donald Trump rallies and the onslaught of sexist remarks Clinton received during the 2016 presidential election. 

“In 2016, I was proud to be Hillary Clinton’s running mate. After a lifetime of strong women being key to my success in work and politics, I hoped my own service might normalize the role of strong men supporting strong women leaders,” Kaine wrote. “But the attitudes toward Hillary that we saw on the trail ―- the ‘lock her up’ chants, the ‘Killary’ and ‘Shrillary’ memes, the proliferation of bogus conspiracy theories and vulgar attacks ― showed how far away American men are from respecting women and accepting our own role in combating sexism.” 

Kaine wrote that he’s committing himself to do more every day to combat sexism, including calling out sexual harassment and pledging to speak out against “locker room talk” (the phrase Trump used to brush off his comments about grabbing women “by the pussy.”)

RELATED: Social reactions to young Tim Kaine 

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Social reactions to young Tim Kaine
Tim Kaine is mostly boring but holy smokes was he stupid hot when he was younger https://t.co/1xHBIKTYRj
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Is it me or does a young @timkaine look a lot like #HenryCavil? #ClintonKaine https://t.co/SqBdvoo5yx
I feel like the DNC just needs to hand out a beefcake calendar of old Tim Kaine photos https://t.co/MQdT8Btnq8
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Gonna need multiple old photos of Tim Kaine before determining if he was hot or not. Not getting catfished by a vp.
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“I will forcefully condemn sexual assault and harassment, wherever it occurs. I will not turn a blind eye to sexism and will call it out as unacceptable whenever I see it,” Kaine wrote. “I pledge to hold the men around me accountable and not dismiss lurid descriptions or grotesque conduct as ‘locker room talk’ or ‘boys being boys.’ It’s not enough for us to write that we condemn these despicable behaviors. We should use the advantages, opportunities, and, all too often, passes that are given to us by virtue of being men to fight back and speak out against sexism and abuse.”

Men in positions of power need to advocate for women in all environments, Kaine added. 

“We need to listen to women, hire women, promote women, and work for women (who, by the way, will make us better at our own jobs),” he wrote. “We must permanently end the culture where a woman who speaks out faces doubt or retribution and where a woman who seeks power is defamed. I pledge my vocal support to women everywhere who fear ― and indeed, know ― that coming forward or speaking out will have negative consequences.”

Head over to Esquire to read Kaine’s full essay. 

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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