It’s disgusting that it took a Holywood “great” to “get caught out” (after how many years?) to make Women feel empowered to stand up against sexual abuse. Just disgusting.
But as I look at it, I’m not surprised. I’m not surprised by the number of my female friends who have come out and said #metoo. To be honest, I’m surprised there aren’t more of them coming out and saying something.
The statistic is staggering. 1 in 3 women experience sexual abuse. But I can’t help but feel that this is “extreme” sexual abuse. Not the random “butt grab” as a women walks along the street. Not the casual “unwanted touch” that gets brushed off as a random thing. Not the persistent “suitor” who wants to be “more than just friends”. Not the passing comment in the workplace or theatre.
As I think on it, I can’t help but feel that perhaps I’ve been guilty of it in unexpected ways. Our culture has long said that men can behave in a certain way, or do certain things – and that this is OK. I’ve seen more than one female friend say that they were uncomfortable, or felt hurt or scarred by the behaviour, but that they didn’t say anything.
And a surprising number who said they did say something, but then no one cared.
And then I thought about my own experience.
I’ve seen it happen. I’ve seen it happen in medical institutions. I’ve seen it happen in schools. I’ve even seen it happen in churches.
I’ve seen men say that women need to accept the abuse as a compliment. I’ve remained silent as I’ve witnessed men make terrible comments. I have “minimised” the effect of what’s been said and talked it down. I have stood by and watched it happen.
I’ve been to industry events where the sexual value of female account managers has been openly discussed. In front of them. And I haven’t said anything. In recent years I’ve felt the pressure to be more “part of the boys club.” Telco and IT is still a boys club. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a conversation like what I’ve described as an active participant of such a discussion – but I’ve stopped being horrified.
This has to change.
I need to change.