Many of you are probably aware of the #metoo Twitter campaign. The sexual escapades of Harvey Weinstein have brought to light the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault - particularly against women - a problem that has been in the shadows for a very long tome. Women are now coming forward and talking about their experiences - many of which have been unreported or held in secret because of society’s unwillingness to deal with the problem or because it is easier to blame the victim than to stop the perpetrators. This speaking out is good - for only when we speak the truth does a problem start to be addressed in a meaningful way.
I don’t have a twitter account and have not wanted to read all the stories- they make me too sad - but what I have read hurts my heart. The first was posted by my own daughter on her Facebook page.
Starting in elementary school and as recently as this past weekend. So normalized and inundated in our cultural expectations for life . . . . that we often don't even mention it in the retelling of our days.
It is good that women are speaking out. It is good when women say enough is enough but this will not end the harassment and assaults without the willingness of men to speak to one another and say “we must find a better way to interact with the women in our lives.”
The second post I share is written by a man willing to do just that. Richard Bruxvoort-Colligan wrote these words on his Facebook page. Richard is a Christian singer/songwriter. We have used some of his Psalm settings as for times of quiet meditation during our worship services.
- in response to the brave women posting #metoo and those with good reasons for not sharing their stories.
This is particularly for dads.
Our now teen son and I have had versions of The Talk several times over the years.
I think the first was when he was 6. We saw in a museum an old black and white photo of a crew of firefighters. He noticed there were no women firefighters and asked why. We wondered together if maybe women were doing other important work or didn't want to. But that maybe women were not invited or allowed to be on the crew. I told him part of our country's history is women not being treated fairly. Not as important as men.
Over the years, there have been videos, tv shows, games and movies we've watched together where I've done my best to call out hostility, hate, sexual predation and disrespectful attitudes toward women.
Sometimes I haven't. I've chickened out, felt overwhelmed, been lazy, haven't had words or even understood where to begin to talk about the insidious indoctrination of privilege men have been trained into.
Two years ago, the trending topic of sexual consent helped me initiate another level of conversation. I choose the "Do You Want Tea?" one to talk with him about sex and how some men don't care how a woman feels or what she wants.
I told him how awesome sex is with a loving partner. That it is a powerful, life-changing bond. I told him nonconsensual sex is not only criminal but can wreck every dimension of a person's life with harm.
This past year, a new level. I had our son and I listen together to a very helpful podcast about sexual assault and harassment culture.
I felt sad, angry and deeply convicted to convey to him that with a minuscule percentage of exception, we are from birth indoctrinated into a system of understanding women as not as important as men, not as human as men, present primarily for men.
I was not told this as a kid.
And how could I have known about this immersive culture as a kid, as a teen, as a young adult, unless people-- both men and women-- had talked with me about the symptoms of our sick culture? So that I could watch for these signs myself and identify what I desire to resist.
If it's helpful, that podcast is The Liturgists and the ep is called Women.
Dads, talk with your sons. It's a tough topic. It's ridiculous to have to talk about.
It's outrageous that we live immersed in a pervasive culture stinking of porn, rape, and subtly-phrased hatred and fear of women.
It's hard to believe that these horrifying symptoms have to be named and called out.
But it's your job, dads. Talk with your sons.
I haven't always got it right and I'm ashamed of the ways I've been part of the problem either obliviously or actively.
Dads, the stakes are nothing less than life and death.
There is no try. Do.
Just start somewhere.
There is hope!
Grace and Peace, Pastor Marty