Believe her is common cry these days. I was profoundly affected when I first saw this talk by Ashley Judd. She too has been made out to be a bad person, so I am sure that is why I relate to her. Do I agree with everything she says or how she has gone about expressing it? Absolutely not, but that does not mean what she says here is not important to listen to. I admire her courage and faith to stand her ground. She has given me strength to do the same. I may never meet her, but I am grateful for this talk.
I have endured unwanted advances my entire professional career. Most recently I have been groped by a man in a position of power that felt it completely acceptable behavior in a church sanctuary. It was a behavior that was tolerated for years because nobody stood up and said NO for fear of retribution. I am sorry but no woman should ever be made afraid to say no.
I have endured quiet whispers by men undermining me as a result of my refusal of their advances. Women sabotaging me professionally because I have threatened their success by being who I am. “She is full of herself”, “who does she think she is”, “she needs to learn her place” are just some of things said about me. For years I have tried to shake it off and my self-confidence has taken a blow. No more. I know who I am and if you are afraid of that too bad because my place is right here, right now.
I don’t know how to fix it, but the place to start is with an uncomfortable conversation. What is acceptable and not acceptable behavior towards a fellow human being; man or woman. It is inconceivable that we have to still have such conversations. But then again, those that fear that they will lose their power if they let go of such belief systems.
We now have a President who has made a mockery of position and the general acceptance of his behavior towards women has made it worse for many women. I know this is unacceptable behavior and I am a voice for those that cannot speak. WE are tired of it and we want it to stop. The only way to get this behavior to change is to stand up to it. No matter how uncomfortable it makes us feel.
It is my hope that if you have found this that you too will take your power, own who you are and stop being afraid and start living your life without fear. Only then we will change the world we want to see for our children. One that is inclusive, accepting and respectful.