Long-time news news correspondent Matt Lauer was fired from NBC today for allegations of sexual harassment. Film producer and former film executive Harvey Weinstein recently took numerous L’s with over 83 allegations being pitted against his impeccable Hollywood rep. The United States of America’s own Donald J. Trump was even accused of sexual misconduct during the epic political showdown of 2016. Oh, and Representative John Conyers, Jr. (Democrat – Michigan) has even joined the club of infamous names with allegations of verbally and sexually harassing women.
With such powerful men at the helm of this devastating trend, the only question that plagues my mind is: how can I help educate women regarding this matter?
Let’s face it – today, we live in a misogynistic society that is infested with a large percentage of males who feel entitled. Men who feel as if they have the answer to every question life has to offer. When the combination of power and status are introduced into the equation, a recipe for disaster is presented. Although all men do not feel this way, there are the select few that believe their actions are warranted by helping women “to get ahead” in their careers. A touch here, a grab there and rub during every other sentence is enough to make any woman nauseous but (when your back is against the wall) and you feel that your entire being is at its most vulnerable, it’s easy to understand how any sane woman could freeze up and run to the hills without telling a soul. In addition to being deemed as “wanting it” or portraying herself in a certain sexual light, silence seems to be the best formula.
According to stats from the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence, “one in four women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime” and “one in six women will experience attempted rape in their lifetime”. By definition, sexual assault is a general term that included sexual harassment, unwanted sexual contact, child sexual abuse, incest and rape. Sexual contact becomes assault when a person is unable to or does not consent to an activity.
I truly believe that the majority of “blindness” surrounding sexual harassment falls into the category of not knowing how to handle the delicate situation. Due to the fact that this is not a subject that’s drilled into our heads in school, when we’re thrust out into the real world and it happens – it’s more of a shocker than anything. Both women and men can suffer from sexual harassment but, the aspect that will ultimately define your experience is whether you sit in silence or stand up against the accuser. Countless women and men decide not to disclose their experiences for the sake of being embarrassed or for fear of what the outcome may be; however, in that single moment, always remember, the perpetrator stole a piece of you that you will never be able to get back.
It’s refreshing seeing so many women tackling the stigmas of society and coming forward with their own stories of sexual harassment. Although their experiences may have happened in the past, courageous women such as Rose McGowan, Kate Beckinsale, Angelina Jolie, Lupita Nyong’o and Ashley Judd have taken back their power and redefined what it really means to “let your voice be heard”. In a society where women continue to be belittled and dumb down on major scales, we must always remember that we are more than just the physical. We are dreamers, we are lovers, we are leaders, we are visionaries… we are fearless.
If you’ve been a victim of sexual harassment, sexual assault or rape, please report the act to the local police, human resources or even a person you can confide in. On the other hand, if you feel comfortable telling the perp “no” – voice why you do not like the actions being carried out and why they are making you uncomfortable. If all else fails, remove yourself from the situation completely. You deserve so much better.
**Photo Credit: Financial News London