I've been having an inner debate with myself for quite some time now, and I find I must join the voices of those who are speaking out against sexual harassment and sexual violence. It's not that I haven't been speaking out before, but not in a public way on my blog.
My blog is titled "Thoughts on Hope" and to be honest, I've not felt very hopeful at all these past weeks with all the accusations that have come to light. It's not the first time men in power have been accused of sexual harassment, but it seems that now there is a sense of power or being-heard-ness in women and men who have been violated. I am glad they are speaking out. I applaud them and their courage - it is not an easy thing to tell loved ones, strangers, the courts, about humiliating personal experiences. All who have had this experience, I know I am not the only one who stands with you and supports you. Your voices are not the place I feel hopeless.
I feel hopeless about the continuing stories - the daily reports of yet another man who has acted with inappropriateness, from his power, in a way that humiliates, embarrasses, and truly harms another human being. I am sickened at the news that the RNC is putting financial support behind Roy Moore - not just a sexual predator but a sexual predator of CHILD. That "evangelicals" put their support behind such a person is discouraging and unconscionable.
This situation of sexual danger and predation must stop. We must hold accountable those who engage in such acts. We must teach our children not just about avoiding this behavior, but about respect and integrity and that every other person is a human like we are and deserves the privacy of their body.
And I'm going to say something here that might not be popular. I'm ok with that. We need to stop sexualizing everything and everyone. The day news broke on a sexual predator, People magazine came out with their "Sexiest Man Alive" issue. Victoria's Secret runway on TV. Women acquiescing to the culture by wearing barely anything, but angry if a comment is made about their bodies. (Please don't even consider telling me I'm blaming the victim . . . that's not what I'm saying.) I cheered when Wonder Woman showed us strong women -- then wondered why Wonder Woman in another movie was fighting with women in bikinis? Really? Really?
Enough. Those women and men who have been sexually harassed, violated, and assaulted need us to stand up to a culture that doesn't get it. Our children need us to stand up to a culture that doesn't get it. Be very clear here, sexual assault creates a traumatic situation - those who have experienced this know just how difficult it is now to live with what has happened to them. The body violation leaves a mind and soul violation that takes time and work and help to recover from. This isn't something just to shake our heads at -- this is something we need to take seriously and join forces to change.
If you, or someone you know, has been the victim of a predator, please get help. Please know mental health professionals are ready to help you in this most painful of times. If you don't know where to find a mental health professional, or where to find specific help related to sexual assault, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline - 24 hours a day, every day - at 800.656.4673.
If there is little hope in our world, then let's commit to being hope for another.