Tag Archives: sexual harassment

Dear men worried a smile is now sexual harassment..

I’ve read so much panic from men recently who are worried about women coming forward with their experiences of sexual harassment.
“Where will it all end ”
“can we no longer put a kiss at the end of emails?”
“Can we no longer ask a woman on a date ?”
“No man is safe from these allegations ”

I’ll be generous and say yes there will always be people who make up stuff. Believe me though when I say the number of women who do this is so , so small  compared to the number of women who play down their experiences , that have never and will never speak of what they’ve been through , that have been told by their harasser or abuser that they are making an unnecessary fuss and have believed it . That have had their lives made worse by their experiences ,whose mental health has  been ruined by what they have been through.

I’ll again mention of course this happens the other way around too.

Sexual harassment towards women is there all the time , every day.
It’s been in our lives forever , it’s exhausting and relentless . Our mindsets have been trained over years to behave in the way we can best protect ourselves. We don’t walk alone in the dark. If we do we’ve our phones in one hand and our keys ready to use as self defense in the other. We know the creepy guys in work that we would ensure no other woman was left in a one on one scenario with.

Some men probably should be worried that we are daring to speak out . That we are daring to say no more. That names are being named. That we are coming together to protect women who are being silenced , that we are backing other women , that we are saying #metoo.

I’m not close to many men. The ones I am  though aren’t worried or fearful. They’re ready to stand by these women too. Men who use power and privilege to harass and intimidate women make them ashamed to be a man .

As a man , if you have never laid your hands or any other part of your body on a women without her consent (in fact call me a feminist loony I’m going to say enthusiastic consent) , if you have never made sexual comments to a woman that has made her feel uncomfortable , if you’ve never invaded a woman’s space or relentlessly persued her ignoring the word no , then there’s nothing at all to worry about and I think the good men know that.

Keeping silent about something awful that has happened to you doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened. Sometimes we keep quiet because we just can’t face digging up that memory.

Sometimes we keep quiet because we put ‘just’ before our experiences “it was JUST his hand on my leg”

Sometimes we don’t speak out because we minimise our experiences as it wasn’t as bad as what had happened to another woman.

Sometimes we’re still intimidated by the man’s power or influence and stay quiet.

So when women do speak , loudly . When we come together .When names of men who ‘aren’t like that ‘ are mentioned. Then listen , give oxygen to their words.

There are so many of us , with so many stories whether they are ever told or not. The good guys , the men who love us and respect us will stand by us as women , not just because we’re sisters or mums or aunties or wives ,but because we’re human. They’ll stand by unworried and supportive. We need as many of those as possible.

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Me too

Let me start by saying that so much has been written on this by people with way more depth of knowledge , by better ,more articulate writers but holding my thoughts on this in are starting to drive me nuts . So this is merely the 2 pence worth of a blogger with an opinion.

Everyone has seen the #metoo hashtag over social media the past couple of days. In the wake of the Weinstein allegations and Rose Macgowan’s subsequent suspension from Twitter over a tweet she sent about another actor a call for women to boycott Twitter in protest went up.

The point was raised and I agreed wholeheartedly that by reacting to women being silenced by voluntarily silencing ourselves was not quite right . That instead let’s speak out, let’s shout,lets flood Twitter with our voices telling our stories.

#metoo is women telling their stories of sexual harassment and sexual abuse in a bid to show exactly how widespread it is.

It’s also women not wanting to , some not able to talk about their experience. Not wanting to give light to their trauma but using #metoo just to stand in solidarity and say yes this has happened to me too.

I truly believe that there are very few women who have never been subject to harassment and abuse of this kind. Most of us have numerous occasions we could talk about. When I first heard about me too I immediately off the top of my head recalled half a dozen occasions. That was without even sitting down and thinking about it. Most women I know would say the same I think.

We’ve been yelled at out of cars and vans , felt shame at the “nice tits” comments and immediately yanked up our tops.

We’ve been rubbed up against on public transport , our space encroached on ,our bodies forced to make contact with an unwanted crotch.

We’ve been touched inappropriately yet felt too ashamed to cause a fuss!

We’ve been in one on one situations with creepy guys and felt so intimidated we’ve nervously laughed off inappropriate comments and behaviour, worried what the consequences of not would be.

We’ve been pushed further than we want to go sexually , pressurised , bullied to get us to do things we’re not comfortable with.

We’ve been raped.

Out in the street we should be safe walking down.

In our own bed , a place that should be full of comfort, by a man who we’re married to  who says he loves us as he abuses us.

By relatives , by friends , by co-workers.

These things , all these things have often happened repeatedly , they’ve been happening since we were teenagers.

We’ve often never spoken about them .

We feel ashamed and embarrassed.
We blame ourselves , we know others will blame us too.

We can’t articulate what’s happened or we downplay it.

So if just by saying me too that makes other women feel less alone  or shows how many of us have suffered then just those words can be strong.

I hate leaving a post on a depressing note but on this one I can’t do any other.

The thing is , I think in ten years time nothing much will have changed.

I don’t have all the answers . I wish I did.

I fear though that our daughters , our friends , our neighbours in a decades time will still be saying #metoo

 

 

 

Bringing up Georgia