Many have been seeing the hashtag #MeToo all over social media the last week or so. This hashtag movement is to bring awareness to everyone of the magnitude of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Hundreds, if not thousands, of women (and men) have placed the words #MeToo as their status, declaring that they have experienced sexual harassment and/or sexual assault. The enormity of the amount of individuals who are showing that they have been effected is astounding. And I am not writing this out of ignorance or naivete. I, too, am part of this. I also have been effected.
While I believe that this viral movement is overall a good thing, I do have some concerns. My first concern is that this will become something in which to man-bash, or to hate on men in general. That is NOT what we would want, desire, or hope for. There needs to be unity among women and men in order for this to become a movement for good. Absolutely, men need to know that the things they do or say toward women can be harmfully impactful. But we, as women, need to also be supportive and respectful in order to help men understand this.
My second concern is that this will eventually fade away and be swept back under the rug. I do not think that would be welcome after so much of this has come to the light. A conversation needs to be had, for sure. It needs to be a constructive conversation, one that will help men love women and help women respect men.
I also believe something is missing. People are posting #MeToo as their status, but then it is left at that. It should not be left at that. I think that is something damaging to those who have been hurt and something that ends up being ignored by those who do the hurting. That is because there is no call to action, no answer of what to do.
Really, these are only a few of my concerns. I do not, however, want to leave it at that. I do not want to leave emptiness in the movement’s wake. So, the real question becomes what do we do about #MeToo?
I have a few ideas about what we can do. I have also read some great responses to the movement as well. One of the best I found on Covenant Eyes.com. It was a blog post by one of their guest writers, Jen Ferguson, titled “5 Things You Can Do About #MeToo.” I did share it on my FaceBook page if you are interested in reading this article. If I can, I will put a link to it at the end of this post, too.
I have also seen people attempting to get an answer to the movement started. One such was asking men to post as their status #IWill. This represents their pledge to stand up and say something when they witness harassment, help those who have been assaulted, make it a priority that #MeToo would end. I feel this is a great idea that maybe just hasn’t gained traction yet.
Here are some of my own thoughts:
Parents, Parent Your Children
What I mean by this is fathers, raise your sons well. Mothers, raise your daughters well. Boys truly learn how to be men from the father figures in their lives. If fathers teach their sons the right way to treat women, this would go a long way toward healing and decreasing #MeToo. The same can be said for mothers raising daughters. If mothers teach their daughters how to treat men, and to respect themselves, a lot would be done. While this is not one hundred percent, nor is it infallible, I do believe it could do so much. If you are a single parent raising a child or children of the opposite sex, find them a good role model in their lives, a father figure or a mother figure. To clarify, I’m not stating that all parents don’t do a good job raising their children. I do not believe that, I just believe that if we focus on how we are raising our kids, we could change societal behavior.
Pornography Must End
I definitely believe this is a huge problem in our society today. Pornography only teaches that sexual violence, objectification, instant sexual gratification, and other such concepts are completely acceptable. Not only does this reinforce destructive behavior, it also reinforces harassment and assault of women as normal and fine. There is so much evidence to show the alternative. Look at how many people are standing up and saying #MeToo! Listen to the women who are involved in the industry, how they are forced into it through coercion, addiction, and feelings of helplessness. Not only are they harassed and assaulted on screen, but off screen, too.
Pornography leads to addiction, which is in and of itself so destructive. It also is detrimental to marriages, relationships, mental and physical health. None of this is healthy, none of this normal. This is something I could definitely go on and on about. The short of it, pornography perpetuates harassment and assault, especially of women.
Listen, Have Compassion, Take It Seriously
If you have a woman come to you and declare she has been sexually harassed or sexually assaulted, listen to her! DO NOT SHAME HER! Do not make her think this was all her fault. Sexual harassment and sexual assault are never the fault of the victim, EVER. She did not ask for it, want it, have obligations to accept it, or any such rubbish as that. If a woman comes to you, she needs you to listen to her story. She needs you to have compassion for her, not sympathy. By telling you what happened to her, she is opening herself up vulnerably to you. And you need to take her seriously. There is nothing “small” or “minor” when it comes to harassment and assault. This may be her way of asking you to help her find help. If she comes to you with these things, she needs you.
So many women have opened up during this movement to tell how they thought no one would listen to them, no one would believe them, or that it was not as major as someone else’s experience. These are lies that these women hear in their heads. I believe we as a society have augmented this. We need to give them somewhere to go, someone to listen to them.
More women have come forward stating how nothing was done for them. This is a HUGE disservice to them. Regardless of what happened to the woman, she should be taken seriously and have something done about it. We need to take action for the sake of the woman.
Overall, the #MeToo social media movement is definitely a step in the right direction. It is an opening for dialogue and a chance for those within it to tell their stories, some for the first time ever.
This really is just my attempt to make sense of it, of my own experiences, and to state there needs to be a call to action. I am no expert or anything, but something needs to be done. Our world is a fallen one. God does not want this, I believe. He does not want #MeToo to continue, nor did He “allow” these things to happen to women (or men). He can, however, use it for good. And I believe that #MeToo is the start of that.