I’m really thankful for the #metoo movement!! I’m thankful that my daughter, at the age of 25, will hopefully finish her career without being sexually harassed or worse at work or other places. Oh, I know she has had issues with men, but nothing like the stories some of these girls/women are coming forward telling.
So I guess that leads me to my big question of the movement– what constitutes a #metoo moment in a woman’s life?
I was talking to a close friend about it the other day. We started telling our own #metoo type stories. Let me be perfectly clear— I have never been raped, molested, pressured sexually in any way. But I have had things said to me by men that were unwanted, recurrent, and made me very uncomfortable. I’m not trying to compare myself with girls/ women who have truly been taken advantage of, but after my conversation with my friend, where she shared with me her own stories, it really gave me pause!! I just started wondering how many of my friends have their own stories to tell? Everyday women who aren’t in the media, movies or are famous—sadly I know there are many. Many women have had to deal with unwanted sexual advances– even if it was as simple as verbal abuse or innuendo as was my experience. All of these experiences are important even if, like me, they seem insignificant in the grand scope of all that has come out.
My stories are a band director, a college professor, and a man with whom I worked. Nothing more than comments and vague actions that made me feel extremely uncomfortable, but none the less, these men thought they had the right to say inappropriate things to me- things that made me feel very uncomfortable and want to get away from them. They didn’t!!
I have lived such a protected life, that I really didn’t understand my experience with my middle school band director until I was a teacher and we had to go through sexual harassment training at my school. I remember thinking to my 23-year-old self- “He shouldn’t have said those things to me. He shouldn’t have acted that way around me. It was wrong!!” It makes me wonder how many other girls he made feel so uncomfortable with his words- or worse.
I guess my conversation with my friend just made me realize all the more how much women have to put up with in life. But, hopefully not anymore!
I have lived a very blessed life. The older I get the more I realize it and the more thankful I am for it. I have a father who is the most wonderful Christian man. I married a man who until the day he died, treated me with respect. I am married to a man who loves and respects me and cares about me as an equal in our relationship. I’ve had uncles and other men in my life who were just always good to me. I can’t imagine the hurt, shame, guilt and repulsion that a young woman feels when she has been taken advantage of by a man who is supposed to love and protect her. I can’t imagine that young woman who is trying to get ahead in her career and has to endure the sexual advances made by men at work– fearing that if she doesn’t give in, she could miss out on opportunities. What a horrible position to be in!!!
My hope and prayer for this movement that is sweeping the nation is that no woman ever again has to deal with a man treating her as an object instead of an individual; I hope that no girl has to endure the pain of abuse by a trusted man in her life be it doctor, boss, father, stepfather, uncle or another family member; I hope no young woman has to think to herself, “Well, if I do what he’s asking, maybe I’ll get the job.” AND feel as if they don’t have a voice to tell their story. I pray that from here on out, all women no matter what their age or station in life have the courage to say NO and that the “NO” makes a difference. I’m not naive enough to think that abuse of women ( and men) is going to stop. It has been going on since biblical times, and I know that it will continue. What I do hope is that the culture will change enough that when a girl/ woman speaks up to tell her story, she will be HEARD!!! She will have the courage to say NO, and if that NO isn’t enough, she has the courage to tell what has happened to her, and others will take it seriously and do something!
My fear is that there are very few women out there who have not had some experience with unwanted sexual advances by men. I’d love to hear your stories. I’d love to give a platform to anyone who would want the cathartic release of telling your story- All Stories are important to tell. No story is too insignificant!!
And, I’d be curious to know your thoughts… should verbal sexual advances even be considered as part of the #metoo movement?
If you want to tell me your story, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Only if you want your story told, will I publish it on my blog. I’m just really curious to hear the untold stories of everyday women.