With all of the current outrage, openness, and solidarity among women about the need to speak up and be heard, I was quite struck by blogger friend Esther’s own account of what she experienced in her essay on her Book of Esther blog, “The Conspiracy of Silence #MeToo“.
And her essay inspired me to also say out loud, #MeToo. My remarks on Esther’s blog appear below:
Hi Esther, Thanks so much for sharing your awful experiences with us. That had to have been tough. Big Hugs! Grati
For me–and yes, “me, too”, unfortunately–even the label of “sexual harrassment” hasn’t been around for that long, let alone the concept, maybe 10 to 15 years. And that is a problem when trying to make colleagues (often male) understand why it is wrong.
Nor have the more recent business policies “to try” to address the need to create a less hostile work environment–or even just a walking around in the world less hostile environment–have not been able to make many improvements.
Over the years/decades, I have spoken up and spoken out against harrassment, bullying, etc., as a private person–and I have been retaliated against. But I never backed down, nor let them think that their behavior was acceptable–however much I privately cringed with each instance, and the renewed shock that it happened again. And when other women needed or need protection, I have given it–often literally standing up to the harrasser for that other woman who is still in shock that this type of behavior goes on, with misogyny as one of its root causes.
Because make no mistake, harrassment isn’t about sex, or beauty, or a boys will be boys mentality–it’s about power and attempting to diminish the dignity of another person, often women. And that is simply not acceptable.
So when people in charge (above our “paygrade”) continue to make excuses for their harrassing colleagues–which only enables the harrassers to continue their harrassing behaviors–the situation for women doesn’t remove or even alleviate the harrassment.
However, I am surrounded by many more men–including my wonderful hubby–who are the good guys. Which give me hope. And this new grass roots initiative by women public figures–and the rest of us chiming in– is a good start to raising the awareness and the need for change in our society.
And I’m heartened to read about women and girls standing up for each other–and the call for “good” men and boys to stand up for women and girls–against harrassment and assault, etc. Because if not now, when?
P.S. Sorry for my long comment, but I had to get it off my chest.
And Esther’s remarks were prompted by an essay by Guylty: Me Too, [And I am neither an actor nor pretty].
Esther’s and Guylty’s and my stories are just the tip of the iceberg. And we have not shared all of it yet–at least in my case. Yet we are strong and resilient women, as are you.
So I hope that by my standing with these and other women and sharing a bit of my story, that will help bring the issue of harrassment even more into the open to be discussed and dealt with. If not for my benefit, for the benefit of women who come after me in the workplace and beyond.
Hugs & Love! Grati
P.S. And on a related note of solidarity, if I could “take a knee” and be assured that I would be able to literally get back up again–given my arthritis and herniated discs–I would. I am also inspired by Colin Kaepernick’s respectful protests.