In the wake of the #metoo movement, there are several high profile men that have been called out on sexual abuse and even rape. Atrocities that they have committed for several years and people have known about it, or at least had very strong suspicions about what’s been going on. Why haven’t they been exposed earlier? How could they get away with it for such a long time?
These are men that are held in high esteem. They are considered successful in their line of work. This leads to people choosing to turn a blind eye to any wrongdoing performed by these men. The few women that did dare to say anything were quickly silenced by others. No one can, even in their wildest dreams, imagine that such a nice fellow can do such things. And if he did, the woman must have done something to provoke it. She must have asked for it somehow.
These situations are complicated. We don’t want to jump to the wrong conclusions. We don’t want to put the blame on the wrong person.
But is it really that complicated?
We caution our daughters constantly as they grow up:
“Don’t go through the park on your way home after dark!”
“You cannot wear that blouse, you’re showing too much cleavage!”
“Don’t drink too much, the boys will take advantage of you!”
Don’t do this, don’t do that. Beware of boys that are trying to take advantage of you. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way.
It starts at an early age, with comments such as “boys will be boys” when they chase the girls around the school yard. We expect boys to be more outgoing and noisy than girls. We have a higher tolerance for boys that are acting out compared to girls. The boys still take up more space in the classroom than the girls.
And then it just goes on from there. Women are constantly on their guard. Looking over their shoulder. Never quite relaxed. The constant reassessing when you’re out on a run, is the man running behind you out to get you or is he simply also in need of exercise?
We need to teach our sons the meaning of no. We need to teach them compassion, empathy, and how to truly listen to other people. We need to teach them how to make their own judgments and decisions and not be swayed by other people.
We need to show them the way by speaking up when we see wrongdoings. We cannot stay silent.
It’s happening now. Women who have had enough. Women who finally speak up about things that have been done to them.
Men who are finally realizing that they cannot get away with it any longer. They are quickly trying to cover their tracks and seek support from their fellow men. Don’t give it to them. They deserve to be exposed. They deserve everything that is coming to them.
Men that are applauding this movement, but at the same time are a bit shocked about the extent of it. They had no idea that so many women have been assaulted, degraded and abused.
No means no. It’s as simple as that. Even if the actual word is not spoken, it’s still no. Men who commit these acts against women must have thought at some point that maybe she’s not in on it. That should have been their cue to back off and stop what they were doing. But they kept going anyway.
Not anymore. Enough is enough. Open your eyes. This is for our daughters and generations of women to come.