Growing up, I had this elementary school teacher, Mrs. I. “It’s not a tremendous percentage but I think we were at 3% in 2013 and we’re up to 5, 6 or 7% now”. When I came across a status that declared “MeToo”, I was bemused. I can handle being ridiculed or told that I am seeking attention.
‘SO if a bloke touches your bum, turn to them and say, ‘I just sh*t my trousers…’ then you elbow the b**tard as hard as you can’. I was raped and molested for years starting at the age of five. I and her sage advice.
I admit, the first day of the #MeToo phenomenon was a pretty brutal day to be on Facebook.
A friend of mine had an even scarier experience. I didn’t think there was anything I could add to this discussion that hadn’t been said, or was worth saying.
Comments on the streets, whispers in the subway and unwanted caresses are only a small part of what women and men alike suffer on a daily basis.
The problem here is gender-based violence.
Millions of women are sharing their experiences of sexual abuse as part of the #MeToo campaign – many of whom did stand up and say “NO, THIS IS NOT ON” but although that may stop that one incident from happening, it is not enough. A hashtag with two simple words “Me Too” has gone viral and transformed into a global social movement to send across a powerful message against sexual harassment.
In fact, for many, it’s a depressing but foregone conclusion: If you’re a woman who rides public transportation, you’re nearly guaranteed to experience the kinds of demeaning or threatening encounters that fit squarely within the bounds of the #MeToo conversation.
He’s done it through charm, cajoling and a legendary mean streak, giving credence to Marlon Brando’s famous observation that “most of the successful people in Hollywood are failures as human beings”.
Stories of sexual harassment and assault have dominated the cultural conversation for the past week.
Maybe I have, and wasn’t aware.
Remember, we had a big #MeToo moment just a year ago when over a dozen women came out to accused candidate Donald Trump of sexual assault and harassment.
This is why culture in technology teams such an important thing to discuss when trying to improve and embrace diversity – when a culture embraces people for who they are, they’re not scared to speak up.
Indeed, I did what most women do. The only thing I knew was that I should never, never, never have written about my assault. Some men responded, working with women to create batterer intervention programs and grappling with some uncomfortable truths about their lives, including how they benefited from then-unfamiliar terms such as “privilege” and “entitlement”. It’s genuine. I have no need or desire to become sexual partners with them.
Soon after, men began tweeting thoughts on what they could do to effect change in their everyday lives – and the response has been incredible.
But that’s the point. Why do we have these experiences with men? There is so much we can, and must, do better. But for the men who are, it needs to stop now; and it all starts with talking about it.
“Guys, while we may not believe we have committed direct acts of violence against women (however given the statistics, this is quite likely), we have each participated in a culture of misogyny and sexism that continues to victimize and traumatize, to steal safety and generate fear, to deny humanity and to cultivate disrespect”, Pavlovitz wrote. We can challenge our own beliefs that women owe us something – they don’t. We can acknowledge that even if we have been through struggles ourselves, we can still cause pain on others.
By the looks of Twitter this week, it seems we’re getting there – slowly, but surely. The bitter reality of all-pervasive sexual harassment, brushed under the carpet for too long, is now being talked about openly.
Before long a question arose: Has any woman not been sexually assaulted or harassed?
We can, should, and must amplify the voices of women. Yes, our society has taught us well-that it is for the victim to feel the shame. The male friend – a married man – who used an opportunity when I was upset to make a pass at me. Do something. Take action.
Some people say that speaking out belatedly against abuse is questionable.
Some of the female participants read about a hypothetical scenario in which harassment took place, while another group observed harassment occurring in a staged setting.
It is now time for the battle against abuse and harassment to come to an end with the aim of overthrowing the older paradigm in the debate on gender equality. We all have so much work we need to do.
I didn’t assault you, but I could have. They have had to deal with a mother who was roaming the world looking for some kind of authentic love when I should have been at home with them, watching movies cuddled on the couch.