Friends, sometimes we have to get our courage up.
It’s so easy to let life beat the courage out of us.
It’s hard to be brave in the face of personal and professional persecution.
Seeing women bravely come forward over the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault allegations has been both heartbreaking and encouraging, but not shocking. And not because we’ve already been woken up to the horrors of sexual assault by the allegations lobbied at Bill Cosby and Dr. Luke, the producer who Kesha reported as being sexually abusive to her. But because if you ask most women in this world if they’ve ever been sexually assaulted or harassed you’re going to hear yes. Hollywood’s behind-the-scenes cover-up of sexual indecencies is just a microcosm of what the rest of our country looks like.
Ask a woman any of these questions. Go ahead and ask, if you’re not sure.
Has a man ever exposed himself to you?
Has a man every touched you in a sexual way that wasn’t invited?
Has a man ever made you feel fearful or uncomfortable by his overtly sexual conduct towards you?
These outlandish behaviors are more common place than we know.
If you’re like me, you’ve already thought about all the things you want to tell your baby girls. How the wrong kind of man can take advantage of you. How you can put yourself in situations that aren’t safe with people who you think are safe. How some men who seem like your friend aren’t really your friends behind closed doors. How important it is to always have your guard up and how alcohol can muddy the waters. And so much more.
But, it’s not enough.
We have to talk to our boys. They need to hear it from our mouths. How it’s never okay to expose yourself to a woman as means to let her know you’re interested. How your penis should never be used as a weapon. How the physical strength you were given over women in your DNA by your creator was meant to protect not to abuse women. How any social power you accumulate in life is meant for the same reason. So, when a woman is being assaulted or harassed by another man, it’s your job to stand with her and not help sweep it under the rug.
Like most systematic, cultural problems, it won’t change overnight. But, every time a woman says “me too” and a man says “not on my watch” that problem finds a solution. Every time other women and men come alongside of the victim and not the perpetrator, the problem finds a solution. Every day that we raise a new generation of boys and girls to uphold the value and sanctity of another’s life and don’t allow these types of crimes to go unpunished, the problem finds a solution.