Why as a woman I feel disappointed by the #metoo movement.

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TRIGGER WARNING FOR THOSE DEALING WITH SEXUAL ABUSE:

I had been in support of the #Metoo movement from the beginning – I thought this would change everything. I had memories of bosses making moves on me and if I didn’t respond I would be ostracized the next day. I have memories of being grabbed in public places even when fully clothed. Most importantly, I was best friends with two girls who had been raped. I felt like there was an epidemic, that I was one of the lucky ones who narrowly escaped some tricky situations that could have ended in rape. I am not being overdramatic. I have had the same concerns for my daughter who is of the age I became aware of the rapes of my friends, but felt “a little safer” in the location we live in. I felt that there hadn’t been enough done for victims that I knew or enough to even protect me in previous jobs. #METOO was supposed to change that.

Then the Brett Kavanaugh hearing happened. Now, I’m not going to go into sides – but the words “EVERY WOMAN MUST BE BELIEVED” was the slogan. I suddenly became sick. Other memories of guilt came to mind.

I was at a summer camp where our dorm of 10 year old girls were split into two cabins. Kate* (*name has been changed for protection) from the other cabin told us right before sundown that she had overheard a Wendy* (*name changed for protection) scream out “Daddy no, don’t touch me” in the middle of the night. The scary part? This girl who supposedly yelled this out had her father working at the camp WITH US. I have never seen anything spread like wildfire among a young group of girls. Suddenly rumors and accusations of pedaephilia became very well known within 45 minutes of the first whisper. Girls became hysterical, crying about how scared they were. I believed it 100%, why would anyone make this up? Girls in the dorm started questioning Wendy about her relationship about her father, a memory that still makes me sick. She denied everything and stood in shock as she witnessed the girls talking about her father in this way.
Wendy could have been me, because my father, was not only working at the camp too, but he was the camp director. My father called me into his office. In the other room was Wendy’s Father. My dad had rightfully detained him (as he had to protect possible victims) while my dad privately questioned me about what I had heard. I was scared to tell my father, I had never heard of pedaephilia at the time, nor did I understand that a father could do that to their daughter. After assuring me that I could tell him anything, I explained the situation to my dad.
I was upset that this was something I personally had to deal with – all I had heard was a rumor – a disgusting one, and I was not involved with witnessing anything. As officials had to get involved and people were questioned, there was no foul play found, and even the man accused forgave the girl who made up the rumor. I did not realize all of this had gone on, until I was in a group of girls with Kate hours later and she was laughing about being questioned. Surprised I asked “Wait, that wasn’t true?” She found that question the funniest question in the world and laughed a lot while I stood watching her in shock, and finally she answered “No, of course it wasn’t.  I persisted “But, why would you make that up? I believe you!” She just shrugged her shoulders and said “I’m bored, it was fun to stir you all up”. I remember just staring at her and watching her keep talking to the other girls like nothing happened. My heart was heavy thinking “what if she had done that to me or my father?” I knew this had affected Wendy – she never spoke to us girls again or came to a summer camp. I ran into her and her father a couple of times over the years after that and even though her dad would smile and say hello and EVEN THOUGH I knew what Kate had said was false – I couldn’t look at Wendy’s father in the eye. I was scared to go near him, even knowing the truth, and I felt horrible for Wendy – as she didn’t even want to be friends with many girls after that.
A few years later, Wendy’s father died from cancer. We were 14-years-old and I remember thinking how hard it must be to lose a parent at my age. I never saw Wendy again but I knew I couldn’t ever give her condolences after what she and her father had been put through. That memory haunted me for years and as I had not seen Wendy in so long I had put that memory behind me – until the slogan “EVERY WOMAN MUST BE BELIEVED” appeared recently.

The thing is people lie. MEN AND WOMEN, BOYS AND GIRLS. ALL PEOPLE LIE. And it’s more common than you think. Look up the national registry of exonerated convictions – just for RAPE. Proved false by DNA.

The reason as a woman that I cannot stand by “EVERY WOMAN MUST BE BELIEVED” is because I have a father, a husband, a son, wonderful brothers and nephews. They deserve to be believed too if a woman ever thinks it’s okay to accuse them for any reason other than the truth.
THIS IS WHERE THE #METOO MOVEMENT HAS LOST ME. They have lost their momentum and all the progress that they were making to help REAL VICTIMS. They have done the opposite of helping female victims by using that slogan, and that hurts for all those that were hoping for some sort of change.

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Looking for Respect…

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I have a high tolerance for media insanity.  However my tolerance is running thin. It now seems that name-calling back in the election of 2016 has become mild compared to this past week. We were appalled with “nasty women” and “deplorables” and now these words have little to no effect. One strategy used is to take away the power/pain of words is by normalizing them. So the media figures and voters alike decided they would not be offended by those names but now embrace them. Little did we realize that this name-calling would just be the beginning…

Remember when Hollywood and TV audiences alike were so offended by Ricky Gervais’s humor starting in 2010 (some of us are still offended;-)) But he did tweeted a reasonable question today:

“When did it become more fashionable to undermine and discredit someone who disagrees with you than to offer a reasoned and winning counter argument?”

 We have lost respect for an intellectual, thought-out, researched argument and now we accept the winner as the person who shocks you the most with their insults. Whoever has the better insult with the most supporters wins.

I hate getting political. I specifically created this blog to create positive and uplifting content and to get away from the world which seems politically focused and not human being focused. My ideas were to bring people together on all different sides to remember what decency and respect was.

I hate that we are so willing to look down upon those that think differently than us. We should take that time to listen. One of the worst sayings is “Respect is earned, not given”. NO! You should treat EVERYONE with respect, from the president to the homeless person.

One of my favorite examples of this was when my dad used to run summer camps. There were campers who had made some bad decisions at camp. Their punishment? Instead of spending time with the campers they had to walk around with him for the day. Chatting with him while he was checking on all the activities and running the camp. He would talk to them with RESPECT. 

Since then I have had several men (who are grown-up campers), who have come to me and asked me if I was indeed the daughter of the man who ran these camps. I would confirm – they would break down and tell me how horrible their family life had been and how they were on the wrong path but they would never forget the “day of punishment” they had to spend with my dad. They tell me how my dad changed their lives because he had treated them with respect (something they had never experienced before) and as a result they realized they were worth something. They realized they could do better. As a result they made better choices in their lives. 

Respect changes opinions and makes the world a better place. No one has ever changed their mind through being called names.

People these days are not surprised by name-calling, but what throws them is treating them with respect – even if they have caused offence.  Name calling is a way of dehumanizing others – it’s the beginning of war. A good example of this is Frida Gashumba’s account of genocide in Rwanda. Name calling in the media and political realm causes a theatrical environment:

In leading up to the first World War:

“The theatrical quality of the political world had become so patent that the theater could appear as the realm of reality.” – Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

Giving others respect does not mean you have to trust, like, or even become friends with those you give respect to.  Respect gives basic human decency and acknowledges the rights of others. Acknowledging other’s rights – is one way we prevent the beginnings of war.

Get Hanna Arendt’s book The Origins of Totalitarianism  here

Get Frida Gashumba’s book on the Rwandan genocide called Frida: Chosen to Die, Destined to Live here