I knew she had a past of some sort of sexual abuse but I truly only knew her as a friend and massage therapist. But in the wake of Harvey Weinstein’s accusers and the subsequent ‘metoo’ hashtag, Jessica decided to share her story to the world on her facebook page. (Let me be clear. There are many women that I know of various ethnic communities who have dealt with this kind of trauma but refuses to be named.) Here’s some of what Jess posted:
Molested at 10 (by a family member, no less – ain’t that some shit?)
Harassed by a school security guard at 14 (I was the 3rd student to report him – ain’t that some shit?)
Assaulted/oral sodomy at 15 (propped my head against a wall, sat on my abdomen, and pinned my arms with his knees. I still have occassional flashbacks and nightmares 20+ years later – ain’t that some shit?)
Harassed at work by a coworker at 21 (no, it’s not funny to randomly pin a woman to a wall and stick your tongue in her ear – ain’t that some shit?)
Raped at 22 (told my guy at the time – 1st boyfriend in 7 years [due to fear], who also knew about ALL the other shit I just listed, that I sensed his tension and frustration waiting for me to be ready, but that I didn’t want to be sexually active yet, and that he was going to have to wait… a week later I guess he thought he knew best, or just couldn’t handle his own shit anymore, and I lost my virginity against my will – ain’t that some shit?)
I went through 15 years of psychotherapy to be well again, and thought I’d never marry because that entails trusting a man with my safety.
A day later Jess followed up her revelation with this huffington post piece and pulled this challenge to men from within its paragraphs: “list one tangible action you will take to end rape culture.”
On her previous revelatory post I quickly pressed the like button and it didn’t take long for me to comment something like “wow. thanks for sharing.” But when I read that challenge, not only did I not comment, I didn’t press the like button.
Because how can an action that I take, end rape culture? There is so much in the term rape culture that seems so slippery to me and I could debate but I realize that this is NOT the moment for that. I understand what is being asked.
Implied in the ask for an action, presumably, is the hope for the weighted response of “I’ll speak up whenever I hear or see something sexually harassing.” That’s a great start but I can’t see that changing a culture. The only historical avenue for the deliberate alteration of a culture is a social movement.
So Jess, here’s my tangible action. And in addition to listing it, I’m creating it.
You know how long I’ve been building and re-imagining my performance psychology coaching practice, and I have come to the place where I’m ready.
After reading your story and challenge I’ve decided to create a social campaign that can merge both the end goal of your challenge and my work that fits into the mental strength building piece obviously missing within our male development culture.
I am a self-proclaimed mental strength advocate. I believe that not only are we strong enough for whatever we need to do but even if we aren’t, we are strong enough to seek the development necessary. So with that as my platforms backdrop, here’s my attempt of being part of the cultural solution Jess.
Men, if we can agree with the list below, comment “I’m strong enough” and use the hashtag #MakeUpTheNewMe one time in your social media platforms. That’s all it takes. Here’s the list:
- I’m strong enough to NOT demean women because they don’t agree with me
- I’m strong enough to STILL be a man even after being rejected by a woman
- I’m strong enough to STOP my sexual advances even though I’m horny and If not…
- I’m strong enough to SEEK help proactively for building up my Self-Control
- I’m strong enough to BE attentive in social environments where women may be belittled and…
- I’m strong enough to SPEAK up against any slight or disrespect that would endanger her social well-being or encourage her when it’s noticed
- I’m strong enough to STAND
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