This is not food or nutrition based post. But it needs to be said.
For those who haven’t seen the origin or meaning behind the #metoo movement. Spurred from the Harvey Weinstein sexual Harassment scandal, Alyssa Milano started the #metoo movement, to encourage women to post the hashtag or the words on social media if you have been a victim of sexual abuse or harassment. The movement is in hopes to raise awareness as to how common it actually is. (Want to know more, check out this article here)
Those words have flooded on my facebook and instagram feeds over the last day. Including my own profiles. It makes me angry to see so many people that have been in situations where they feel objectified, harassed, unsafe. Keep in mind as well – This isn’t just a situation that just affects women. It affects both genders and is instigated by both genders. Unfortunately women being harassed by men are more often the victims, or those are the victims more willing to come forward, or those are the ones that we hear about.
In my experience, I’ve been cornered, threatened, grabbed, spoken to inappropriately, had a drunk man stick his hand down my pants on the London Tube (which I was able to promptly stop and a hero on the train stepped in and put himself between me and this other man (everyone should be like this man)). It has happened in public; with (and by) friends; at work; in places where I should feel safe. It made me second guess decisions, made me feel unsafe when someone walked towards me on the street. While I’ve been lucky that I haven’t ever been in a situation where it has been more violent, these situations have made me realize that it can happen anywhere. And that is not okay.
I knew that these situations were common. However, I wasn’t aware that it affected nearly every woman that I know. So why didn’t we know? Speaking from my own experiences, there is a level of embarrassment, a feeling of shame, a feeling that somehow it was your fault – either that you somehow encouraged it, or didn’t stop. The other reason is victim blaming – will people believe you? Are you blowing this out of proportion? If you ever feel unsafe, or having unwelcomed physical or verbal sexual contact with someone, you are not in the wrong. You are feeling that for a reason.
So how do we stop this? I certainly don’t have the answers, but from what I already know, and what I’ve come to learn, we have a few things that we can all do to help.
First of all, stand together. Speak out, tell your story – it doesn’t have to be public, but to someone that you know and trust. Think about telling authorities (either at work, or with law enforcement) if the situation warrants it. Do not shame or judge others about their stories, their stories are real experiences, and can affect their relationships, their mental health and their well being. Do not ‘one up’ them. Their experience is real, and if you have a story, share yours too, but don’t make them feel that theirs does not matter because yours (or your friend’s) is worse.
Second of all, if you see something, speak out. Tell someone that is not okay. Step in.
Third, understand consent. If someone tells you no, respect that. They do not need to give you a reason. Step back, ask for permission. It doesn’t mean a rejection, it just means that you need to respect their decision and how they are feeling.
Be there with your friends. Stand together. Make people know that it’s not okay.
All the love my friends. I’m here to listen if you ever need an ear.