Yes, Me Too.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

One of the goals I had when I started blogging was to not only post about the fun stuff (weekend recaps, style, kid stuff, etc.), but to also touch on the tough stuff. It's one of the reasons I wanted to focus on the word lifestyle. Life -- real life -- isn't just Target runs and toddler tales. Sometimes things get messy and hard, and I don't want to shy away from that. I think we can talk about it all. I think we should.

With that said, I'm sure you've noticed the phrase "me too" trending on social media in response to the recent Harvey Weinstein news and, I think, current administration. If you haven't, women (primarily) are encouraged to post "me too" to demonstrate the magnitude of sexual harassment and assault. On my own news feed, I've seen several women post so far. I've also seen a few people say they'd like to see other hashtags and trending phrases from men, instead of putting the burden of publicly revealing/reliving a painful experience on women to make the point.

But, of course, the ugly truth is: almost certainly, each and every woman can say "me too."

One of the things I got fired up about after the Weinstein scandal broke were those calling out his victims, crying "Hypocrites!" "She should have reported him!" "She allowed him to harass/assault that many more people!" I thought, wait. Wait a minute. This power hungry, obviously disturbed man does this and people are calling out his victims? Color me confused.

Yes. Yes, we should talk about it. In an ideal world, we should each report every verbal or physical assault. But the truth is, a lot of life happens in the grey areas. Some victims of sexual harassment and assault are not yet women: they are girls... children. They may not understand for years or decades what has happened, or they may simply be scared. Some women don't want to -- cannot -- lose their jobs. Most of us fall into that grey area. We think, well that felt uncomfortable. I don't want that to ever happen again. But who do I tell? Will they believe me? Sexual harassment belittles us. In the moment it occurs and beyond, it whittles us down to feel like nothing more than something (not someone) for a man to look at.

So what do we do? I don't have the answer, but I think we start with tucking our pointer finger in when it comes to telling those on the receiving end of this how they should have handled it. I think it begins with hearing and believing that this is a real problem. I think it involves us raising our children to see and learn well the meaning of integrity and respect for all. I think it entails building work environments and, eventually, a society where the consequences lie in the behavior, not the reporting of the behavior. It means standing up for those who may not feel safe enough to stand up for themselves. It would be heartening -- and I believe, crucial -- if among those standing up for and beside women were men.

And no, not every man is to blame. And yes, men are sometimes also on the receiving end of sexual assault and harassment. I hear and believe each of you who says you have been through this also, whether you shout it or whisper it. 

And yes, me too. More times than I can count.


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