To the Men and Women Who Are Bashing the People Speaking Out About Sexual Misconduct:
There are so many reasons why people don’t speak up right away. Did you know that a lot of us who have said something right away get ignored and ridiculed? Do you know what that does to us when we are told our feelings and personal boundary lines don’t matter? Do you know as a culture we have been trained not to rock the boat? Did you know that some women just think it’s part of being a woman? How sick is that? A woman doesn’t feel that her body and personal boundaries should be respected. Some of us have given in to the way society thinks we should use what some call our assets, but guess what—The amount of internal and emotional damage that does is beyond what some may ever imagine.
The shame and guilt that comes with not being true to ourselves is a factor in falling into addictions, depression, anxiety, and when it is a really bad situation PTSD. Some people have no idea that it’s not just war trauma that causes it. Part of reconciling all these things is to take our power back. That means we won’t sit on the sidelines and be okay when we see this happening around us or to us. This may take years or decades. These empowered women and men who came forward paved the way for other women and men saying enough is enough. We won’t keep letting this happen.
For those of you bashing them on social media, I want you to think about your friend list. I promise you your statements attacked at least a few of the women on that list. Some of them might be ready to stand up against it happening to them and you could be a voice that makes them feel shame and fear to not speak out. You could be causing someone you love to not speak out and live with a deep level of sickness that you have no idea about. Do you really want to be that person?
Some women/men like the attention and the power they feel during sexually fueled power/dominance encounters. That is their prerogative, but that doesn’t mean those of us who aren’t should have to put up with what we don’t feel comfortable with in our interactions. We should feel confident to say something when our boundaries have been crossed without feeling like we are going to be ridiculed or our careers are in jeopardy.
As a woman who has experienced everything from sexual harassment to rape, please stop shaming these women and men for coming forward. Maybe put yourself in the position of someone like me who has PTSD flashbacks. This means being pulled in too tight for a hug, a man grabbing me from behind, the smell of alcohol on a man’s breath, or sometimes even an inappropriate comment can make me go through an entire process to get myself out of feeling like I’m crawling out of my own skin. I’m right back in that powerless position of being completely violated. Is that funny to you? Do you want to bash me for having a visceral reaction?
Think of these women/men as your daughters and/or sons, would you want your daughter/son to accept this type of behavior? Would you want your daughter to feel like just because she’s a woman she should put up with being grabbed, taunted, and sexually manipulated? I hope your answer is no.
We are at an important place in time letting women and men know that these behaviors aren’t acceptable. This will encourage us to be able to cut off a situation as it happening without fearing the repercussions. It will help businesses be more conscious of the problem and do something about it. No person should feel unsafe in his or her personal or professional environment.
I like to see the best in humanity, that’s why I have so much respect for the men coming forward and genuinely apologizing for their actions. Some men have no idea how their actions are affecting women because they have been taught over and over that these behaviors are acceptable. Those are the men who will change and genuinely feel remorse. They may even turn into our biggest advocates. The others are predators; they will deny and/or rationalize their choices until the end. We also can’t ignore the attention getters, those who lie for the publicity. We know they are going to come out and they are predators too. They give the true empowered voices a bad name. They are not the majority of people coming forward. Don’t let the few be a reason not to listen to the many. They are our teachers, and how we react shows the people around us who we are.
Change is the best apology. I see what is happening now as a wake up call to be better and do better. I will stand up for myself when it happens to me. I can’t force anyone else to change their thoughts, beliefs, or actions. I can change how I contribute or accept them in my life.
All of these women and men coming forward helped me find my voice. For that, I thank them. I will no longer tolerate or accept this behavior in my personal and/or my professional life. I will stand up for those who are brave enough to come forward and I will pray for those who are still trying to find their way. I pray for the women who have gone through this to find forgiveness toward themselves, their assailants, and the people who didn’t stand with them. Not for the people who hurt them, but for themselves, so that the experience can be transformed into positive actions to help themselves and others. I’m grateful to all the women who have helped these women and men take their power back.
I’m not trying to leave out any humans who have dealt with this either, no matter how they identify themselves. When we use our voices to stand for our fellow humans deserving respect, love, compassion, and empathy— humanity wins. When we stand up, our voices show the world that violating others is unacceptable! When we stand up, we are taking a step to end the violence. Our voice and our actions shows the world who we are.
With Love, Gratitude, and Many Prayers,
A Better Me
Rachael Wolff © 2020, 2017
16 Days Until the Release of Letters from A Better Me!
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