There is a movement among the Facebook community: “Me Too.”
“If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote "Me too" as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.
Please copy/paste (if you are comfortable)”
I participated. I have been sexually harassed more than once in personal and professional environments. I didn’t ask for it. I didn’t wear a sign that said, “Please Sexually Harass Me.” I have stood up for myself and challenged the behavior only to be called a bitch and other derogatory names. I have reported it to HR professionals only to be asked what I did to provoke it or to be told that he thought “y’all were just friends.”
In 8th grade, after months of being objectified and disrespected, I stood up for myself and challenged a guy to say what he was whispering about me. When he laughed it off, I said, "What, you don't have the balls now to say it?" He reported me to the Principal's office and I was suspended for 3 days for sexual harassment.
I have also had others step in and protect me and report the wrong doing on my behalf. During my first year as an Executive Director, I had my butt grabbed my a drunk member during a networking reception. One person saw it and immediately grabbed the perpetrator and forced him to apologize. He was later fired from his job. I saw this person three years later and got a heart felt apology.
The last straw for me at my last job was when a female Board member flashed a picture of male genitalia in my face at a Board dinner. When I recoiled in disgust and moved my seat, she changed the story and pointed the finger of me as the source of the image. My boss at the time laughed it off and said it was no big deal. Let me be clear: This is not okay. This is not normal. This is not something that I accept.
I have had other women and men trust me with their own stories. There are too many of us. Something needs to be done.
No one deserves to have their personal space violated. No one deserves to feel less than. No one deserves to touch you or say anything that makes you uncomfortable.
To victim-shame and question the behavior, appearance or any other trivial characteristic that would direct blame outside of the predator, is disgusting. To everyone out there pointing fingers, this could be you or a family member, friend, colleague or anyone passing you on the street.
I’ve seen too many “Me Too” posts. I am angry and sad and frustrated that we allow this behavior to continue and chalk it up as “locker room antics.” It’s more than that it’s abuse.
It is a systematic way to strip power away from people and make them feel less than.
I have news for all of you still behaving like Neanderthals… it didn’t work and we’re getting strong. See we have this amazing thing called resilience and our power is growing. We’re protecting one another and holding our heads high and ultimately your insecurities and vulnerabilities will be exposed. You have one of two options:
Option 1: Continue on and be exposed.
Option 2: Admit you were wrong and ask for forgiveness.
Hint: I strongly recommend option 2. I’ll actually take you on as a pro bono coaching client. See there’s far more strength in someone who admits there were wrong and wants to change. That’s growth. We all have it in us, but first we must admit we need to change in order to grow.