Women have been speaking out against past experiences with sexual harassment — empowering others to come forward, and rousing both genders to work toward a complete and total end to this vile display of power and control. This is, truly, an exciting time in America!
Still, I’m concerned at the rage directed toward all men, and the proliferation of the notion that sexual harassment is only one way (male to female). While it’s true that statistically more victims are female, there are plenty of men who have been abused by women in power — by female supervisors at work, and even by family friends and total strangers. Same gender incidents also frequently occur.
Working Together Toward a Common Goal
I have never (and would never even dream of!) intentionally disrespected anyone, regardless of gender, race, etc. But in the current environment, I feel as though I’m being judged based solely on the fact that I am a male. I’m not looking for any kind of sympathy, or even complaining. I’m simply stating a fact.
Without diminishing the impact of this important movement, I think it’s integral that we approach the issue from an inclusive standpoint, so as not to alienate any gender or group. We must work together to create and implement zero-tolerance policies, so that not one more person will be abused, feel the shame of being violated, or otherwise be forced to suffer in silence. We must encourage immediate reporting of inappropriate behavior, rather than waiting decades to speak up.
Time for Change
“What disturbs me is that it took this long when it was such an open secret.” says lauded comedienne Carol Burnett. She also expressed concern that attorneys and others seem to be encouraging victims to make a public spectacle of past abuse.
Sexual harassment is not a passing news story. It’s not a one-time topic, and then we move on to the next. Instead, we must all take responsibility to ensure every person is treated with respect and dignity every day, and that when one of our sisters or brothers is violated, we all come together in solidarity and support.
by France Kahyline
Residential Life Magazine