…possible trigger warning…
The issues of sexual violence, domestic abuse, and the overall disrespectful culture we have created for women is no new issue.
In a short timespan we have discovered Cosby, engaged the Harvey Weinstein Hollywood scandal, found out Kevin Spacy, and even lost Louis C.K. Momentum has swung and each morning we wake up to more news of men behaving badly and abusing every aspect of their power.
The narrative of our current climate has the 45th President of the United States openly excusing sexual assault and advocating for the abuse of power. In fact, before elected stated,
“You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful – I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”
The brave women who have spoken out against these egregious actions have gripped our attention. These outcries have sparked the movement that became #metoo, a campaign worthy in its platform to give rise to the voices of those sexually abused, harassed, and mistreated. As the #metoo campaign has grown in strength I have been humbled by the amount of women (and men) who have spoken out and broken their silence.
Although issues of sexual assault and violence against women has clogged our news, filled our feeds, and gained worldwide attention, this issue is not a new one. More importantly, at this point in time, we have a chance to dramatically change the narrative. No longer do we need to burden women to over practice risk reduction techniques.
We are learning that the far majority of violent crimes are perpetrated by men, leaving #toomany women abused, used, and objectified. In academia, we refer to this phenomenon as gendered violence supported by rape culture. Simply put, men in our culture have great power and have created systems around themselves that feed their pockets, unzips their pants, and ensures their freedoms.
Not to point the middle finger at men. We must remember that most men are quite incredible, not evil. Men are also vulnerable and victimized and deserve the attention, support, and resources of any other sexual assault survivor.
This is a story in transition. A story where we finally realize that violence against women, children, and other men, is a men’s issue. We have the power to re-author our script from he-man, to human.
As we move back from the issue of 'big news' and get past our fascination with celebrity, we can acknowledge that these issues live everywhere. Violence exists at high rates in our homes, our neighborhoods, at our schools, our work spaces, and places of worship. Violence against women exists systematically all around us and it is time we start to notice.
As we look back at history this will be a time that defines us. Did we do as good as we could? Were you on the side of wokeness or have you been asleep? Which side of history are you on?
I will play this question on repeat as much as I have to. I will repetitiously remind my brain that I can positively impact others around me through my choices and behaviors.
When I share space with others #icandobetter
When neglect attention to my privileges #icandobetter
When I am called out for something I did wrong, I can listen, take accountability and #icandobetter
When someone I know is abusing their power, makes sexist comments or jokes, or sexually objectifies others #icandobetter
When someone I know breaks the silence of their suffering, I can believe, listen, and support them and #icandobetter
When I think about all the eyes on me, from my children to my colleagues, as I model the behaviors I hope to grow in myself and those around me. #icandobetter
#icandobetter and I know you can too.