In light of the recent events that have spurred what is now a gut-wrenching trending post, I find myself in utter disbelief of what's happening.
At record pace on all social media platforms, I'm seeing friends, colleagues, acquaintances and complete strangers flood the networks with #metoo. This response by women to raise their hands as victims of sexual harassment and abuse is just disheartening on so many levels.
I am quick to say that it takes me quite a bit to get riled up about a topic. However, there are certain topics that are instant igniters. Disrespect and abuse, specifically women, children, minorities and animals, simply enrages me. The idea that someone has convinced themselves of some sort of unchallengeable superiority that should result in submission instantly reddens my face and sends my pulse through the roof.
How dare you? How dare you think that your fragile ego, your incompetence of humanity and your inability to respect the minds, hearts and bodies of others, is tolerable? How dare you think that your behavior should be excused, swept up, shrugged off and apologized for without consequence?
It is in those moments of behavior that you try to rationalize anything, but nothing is acceptable. No condition, situation, outfit, conversation, level of intoxication or power play gives you any right whatsoever to invite yourself to help yourself. That your need to feel important is more valid than the years of pain, torment and self-depreciation that these victims feel.
I applaud the women who have been brave enough to stand up and say "me too." To face the fear of admission that has no doubt haunted them. To come forward, in staggering numbers, and say "this happened to me too." I wish I could look you each in the eye and tell you how proud I am of you. I wish for each one of you the strength and bravery to know that this has been exposed for what it truly is:
A monumental problem.
But no problem is solved without action. No trend is overturned without decision.
So, as a man and as a father of boys, I promise to you all that I will stand up for respect. I will raise my sons to be respectful and to hold their integrity higher than anything. To understand that each and every person has a heart and that it should be treated as a treasure beyond measurable value. I will not be satisfied with myself as a father until I know that my boys understand that.
More importantly, as a man, I will be a voice and an intervention. I will speak up when conversations turn problematic, an intervention when behavior becomes so as well. I will challenge those that demean or ridicule your value as that level of disrespect is where it starts.
I'm not, by any means, trying to take away from anyone's strength or ability to take care of themselves. However, I firmly believe that if a culture such as this, is to be changed, we all need to do our part emphatically.
Finally, to the perpetrators of this cowardly, despicable, sociological behavior....
And let it echo 100 times for every "Me too" that gets posted or discussed.
Do better....today and forever.
Thank you to Alyssa Milano for starting this conversation. Let it be the beginning of the end of harassment and abuse.
It is never ok.