Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Me too

Over the weekend, Alyssa Milano started a movement on social media. It spread like wildfire.

It was sobering to see how many of my friends joined. I mean, I know the statistics. One in five women is a victim of sexual harassment or sexual assault. But it's a different thing to see faces instead of just numbers. It used to seem like a really high number. After seeing my social media feeds, I feel like it might be a bit low. There aren't many women I know who haven't been subjected to damaging words, abuse, or actions. 

Sexual assault is pretty straightforward.

Sexual harassment is a little harder to define. Sometimes, I think we mislabel it as something else.

It's sad. And maddening.

After I put up my "me too" post, my fiance asked if I would tell him my experience. I had more than one. Mine are all stories of harassment. As I told him, I found myself trying to justify or minimize what had happened. "I shouldn't have been there alone," or "I'm sure he didn't mean it like that," or "Guys talk like that sometimes." Probably because that's how people responded when I told them about an event that made me uncomfortable. And that's exactly why so many women have experienced it. Society has normalized this behavior from men to the point where we think it's no big deal.

But it is a big deal.

No one deserves to be made to feel uncomfortable or unsafe. No matter what they're wearing, what they're doing, how much they've had to drink, etc. There's no excuse for being disrespected. Period.

I don't have all the answers for fixing this, but I do believe we need to start making change.

One key is teaching young women how to respect themselves and command respect from others. And they should be taught how to react when they aren't respected.

And when they reach out for help in one of these situations, we need to listen instead of judging, brushing it aside, or telling her to "just deal with it."

I also believe we need to teach young men about respect. They're being fed a lot of messages about what it means to be a man and not all of them are healthy. I urge you to check out the documentary "The Mask You Live In." It provides a snapshot of what I believe to be a huge source of a lot of our problems as a society.

What do you think we can do about this issue?

1 comment:

  1. Almost every story I have ends with me making an excuse for why it happened (or in the case of the man who sat next to me on the bus and began running his hand through my hair, even though the bus driver wanted to throw him off, the vibes I got from the rest of the passengers made me feel sorry about it and I didn’t let him, I just asked him to move the man away from me. Maybe “met too” getting so much attention will make women feel less self conscious about calling out these actions in real time?


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