The Me, Too Movement is sweeping Facebook, bringing the realization of sexual harassment to the surface.
- According to a survey done by Cosmopolitan, 1 in 3 women have been sexually harassed at work while 1 in 6 have been victims of sexual assault. These numbers are terrifying for a mom of 3 girls, and should move everyone in this country to make changes that protect our daughters.
Women do not have the same freedoms as men (PERIOD)
- Men, do you fear being sexually assaulted when you walk through a parking lot alone?
- Do you rethink the message an outfit sends a dozen times before leaving the house?
- Has anyone made you feel like your abilities are solely based on your sex appeal?
- Has a fun night out turned into terror because you didn’t watch your drink carefully?
- Have you ever been verbally threatened on the street and then feared for your safety?
- Have you repeatedly been treated like a sexual object, rather than a human being?
As a girl, my parents taught me:
- How to dress so I didn’t invite “the wrong kind of attention”
- Not to drink too much because, “date rape is a thing”
- Never to walk alone, or leave a friend behind
- How to “brush off” unwanted attention from boys
These lessons send the wrong messages because when something does happen, (and they have happened to me, as they have to the majority of women) we blame ourselves for not protecting ourselves enough. We shouldn’t have worn that. We shouldn’t go out for drinks. We shouldn’t have been walking by ourselves. We should have said something. Because of these lessons, we bare the brunt of HIS actions, out of fear we are at fault, fear nobody will believe us and somewhere along the way, we accept that it doesn’t matter.
So, how do we stop sexual harassment?
We have to change the way we teach our sons and our daughters about the opposite sex.
We have to stop replaying the sexist phrases, shut off the music that promotes violence toward women, and silence the voices that promote discrimination.
It’s no secret men and women are biologically different, but that doesn’t mean we both shouldn’t be granted equal freedoms and mutual respect.
We all need to show our girls that they are not responsible for the actions of her assailant. If a man rapes her, assaults her, or harasses her, it has nothing to do with the fact that she was walking by herself, or that she got dressed up to go out with her friends. It is HIS fault, and she can do something about it by speaking up. Never make excuses for a boy or man, who makes your daughter feel unsafe. She deserves to have control over her body at all times. Foster a relationship of trust so that she can come to you if something happens. Then, don’t make excuses, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!
We need to show our sons that respecting a woman makes him stronger, not weaker. Moms and dads have the responsibility to show their boys that women are just as STONG as they are beautiful and just as SMART as they are sexy. When women are appreciated for the qualities that make them HUMAN; their MIND, their ABILITIES, and their IMPORTANCE in this world, the relationship between men and women will be stronger, and most importantly, more equal.
It’s a long process and unfortunately to some, sexual discrimination is so embedded in their psyche that they may never look at it as a problem. This is not “just the way it is,” it can change if we take action. When our daughters can walk down the street, alone, at dusk without fear of being raped, we can stop talking about this. Until then, get used to the conversation.