#METOO – (If you are not going to read the entire blog; don’t waste my time with a comment.) It is vital; the world must come to grip how widespread actual sexual assault, harassment and rape is, in our culture. It is prevalent in every section – nothing is sacred, not churches, temples or mosques – not our schools, not our workplace, in some cases, not even our homes. There is no denying the statistics. There is no denying the importance of facing this dark secret in order for women to contribute to the best of their abilities, without worry about being cornered by a co-worker or worse, an individual with the power to promote and to fire.
We all know or have known a “grabby” individual, whether at work, school or in social settings. I remember “grabby” teachers back in high school. A high profile case of a principal, a man with authority over elementary school children, sent to prison for molestation. The appalling thing about his arrest and ultimate conviction, is that his behaviour was well known was he was just a teacher, back in 1987. Parents talked about him and his inappropriate behaviours, reports had been made, yet nothing was done.
I have spent a lifetime dealing with unwanted sexual advances and more than one actual assault. This was before the current “victim” mindset had taken hold in my gender. I always saw the incidents as reflections of who I was dealing with, not how I was dressed or how I behaved. It was something my mother had taught me from a young age; it was on the man, not on me. My mother was a front runner as a woman in a man’s domain; she was the supervisor of an office of engineers, back in the 50’s. She dealt with sexism, with harassment and never let it reflect on her. She was a beautiful woman, inside and out. In the 50’s, she had the type of figure that is still in vogue – she was fit, she had a wasp waist and was a natural beauty. She was also drop dead intelligent. We often talked about the hurdles she faced back then, we talked about the men, the obstacles to getting ahead in a man’s world. Never, not once, did she fall into the victim trap. She knew that the harassment was a complete reflection of the individual with whom she was dealing. If it meant, in order to be safe, to not go into a supply room alone, to not enter an office and have the door closed – she simply wouldn’t do it. It was a no-brainer to her. Was this fair? Please, stupid comment…of course not but life isn’t fair.
I remember seeing a meme, “Teach your sons not to rape” – seriously? As if parents teach rape is a-okay. It is a stupid meme. It is a pointless meme and in this case, stereotypes young men. It is not acceptable.
This is all about personal responsibility. This is about not only protecting ourselves – men & women but above all else, our children. Society is now in danger of trivializing the issue. A grope is not sexual assault. It is inappropriate and unacceptable, but it isn’t sexual assault. We all must take responsibility for ourselves, protect ourselves and stand up for ourselves.
Unlike 20 years ago; most HR departments are well equipped to deal with these issues and yes, it does come down to he said/she said or she said/he said but the guidelines, the regulations are there. Best believe that after a report, while the perpetrator may not be fired, the company and that employee will be on guard. Are people fired after reporting an incident? Of course but again, there are options. It is time consuming and upsetting but that’s life. It ain’t easy. The more of us who stand up and report incidents, the easier the road will be. Does anyone think that the early days of the drive for equality was easy? In the case of minorities? People died for equality. In the drive for women’s rights, women went to jail, were beaten and raped in order to further their fight.
It pains me to see the whining from all sides, instead of affirmative action. The Weinstein affair is a prime example. Let’s be brutally honest – this guy was a well known pervert. What he did was criminal. He should have been arrested years ago but no-one saw fit to call him out. Not until now…decades later. One woman stood up and then the sea of his other “victims” suddenly surface.
Personal responsibility. When did this become irrelevant? This is a really controversial and uncomfortable topic. When is it up to us to protect ourselves?
We are told to teach our sons, our brothers, our male friends that is not okay to treat women as sexual objects. Absolutely. No question or sentient argument about that but by the same token, what about our daughters? Our sisters and female friends. If one does not want to be treated as a set of tits, legs and ass? Then it follows that we should not be portraying ourselves as such. The internet is overflowing with duck faces, photoshopped images, sexually suggestive selfies – asses in tight jeans, asses in thongs and in some cases, bare asses. This is not okay. This is a wrong that needs to be addressed, in addition to the millions of cases of assault, harassment and rape.
As a woman, I find these images disgusting and completely contrary to everything that we fought to achieve years ago.
Is it wrong to blame a victim? Another stupid question. Of course. No one deserves to be assaulted. The problem here, if possible, transcends assaults – the problem is within the very fabric of our society. No, women are not sexual objects. Women are not toys with which to be played HOWEVER, it is up to us to ensure that this image is not perpetrated through the various forms of entertainment, of media, the internet and personal behaviour. We have a responsibility to our daughters, to teach them that when one walks like a duck, behaves like a duck, it is only logical to assume that a duck is in front of us.
When an incident happens; it is important to dissect it. Look at all the angles and rather than blame, point out what could have been done to avoid it. Deal, learn and move on. This is not a terminal illness; we can all move past it with the right tools. We can all learn how to avoid these situations and not be a predator’s next prey.
Whether we like it or not, sociopaths and psychopaths are out there. Someone who takes advantage of a drunken or somehow vulnerable individual is a sociopath, a predator and in the worst case scenario, a psychopath. You aren’t going to teach them to behave. It is a disorder. There are no drugs, no amount of therapy is going to teach these people empathy or responsibility. They are expert at disguising themselves as empathic, just all around nice folks – there is no mark that appears to warn us that we are dealing with a sociopath or psychopath. There are no neon signs on their foreheads that tell us that we are dealing with a predator. No amount of good parenting would prevent this kind of disorder. Their brains are wired differently; we don’t know why. If we did, they wouldn’t be out there, would they? But they are out there, and we need to ensure that we are all armed with the weapons we need to ensure we are not their next “mark”.
This means we need to teach our kids not to get stumble drunk; there are enough videos of the outrageous and disgusting behaviour of drunk teens and young adults online, to help provide visual aids for any parent. Some are totally inappropriate, in a normal sense, to allow young people to view but as inappropriate as they may be, they are necessary to illustrate the danger of intoxication, whether drugs or alcohol, truly is. The infamous school breaks and the out-of-control behaviour seen – parents gave their permission. PARENTS, in many cases, paid the way. It is okay to say “No” to our kids. Placing them in situations that they are simply not mature enough to handle is bad parenting. Not holding offspring accountable for bad decisions simply re-enforces the concept that personal responsibility is relative and something “grown ups” do.
Handing out cell phones to kids and not monitoring content is irresponsible parenting. The parent is NOT teaching responsibility if there are not checks and balances. Putting computers in the rooms of kids and not using filters/net nanny software is irresponsible parenting. Allowing kids to wear inappropriate clothing, whether boys or girls, out in public, is irresponsible parenting. It isn’t gender bias, it is common sense – it is the duck argument.
Our problem is an ingrained vein of hypocrisy within our society and the women’s rights movement. If we want equality, if we want to be seen as more than tits/ass and legs, if we want to be secure in our workplaces, our schools and our social worlds, then we need to take a stand, we need to accept personal responsibility. This isn’t victim shaming, it is common sense which seems to be bereft in our social systems. We need to teach our kids that regardless of who it is – NO ONE has the authority to threaten, intimidate or encroach on their bodies. We need to hold our institutions accountable when it happens. No one is going to do this for us. Forget Big Brother Justice or Authority, that flies in the face of the whole equality concept. We need to, all of us, stand up and call situations out. We need to call out inappropriate behaviour, whether by a potential predator or by the images we are told we must attain to be “perfect”. We need to call out hypocrisy wherever we see it and that includes being told that we are victim shaming when someone has absolved themselves of personal responsibility.
We are all in this fight – men and women. The only way we manage to keep ourselves safe is by looking long and hard at what has been created by the perversion of the equal rights movement by neo-feminists and neo-equalists. It isn’t enough to hashtag. The time to confront our mistakes in now before another Weinstein or Wadsworth claims another victim.
I have no doubt that the enablers will hate this blog and I don’t care. It is time to face what we have wrought through apathy and the need for “blaming” someone else for our mistakes. It is time to own the #METOO and understand why this is happening.