#MeToo and Other Unacceptable Milestones

Unless you have been living under a rock {or maybe just without internet access}, you have more than likely seen this social media status…

This hashtag has taken social media by storm as million of, mostly women {we will come back to that in a minute}, have used the hashtag to either recount their very personal and very vulnerable stories of sexual harassment, or to just simply indicate that they too have been a victim of sexual harassment. 

The #MeToo movement was started as a response to the Harvey Weinstein allegations, but has quickly become so much more than just “a response” to one man’s disgusting abuse of power. It has become the hashtag of unity among women. A simple phrase that surpasses ethnicity, socioeconomic status, career path, age, race, religion, language, and certainly the power of an abuser, to say one thing ::

WE {WOMEN} ALL HAVE A #METOO STORY.

I challenge you to find even one woman {that if they felt the security to be honest} would not have a reason to use #MeToo. Here’s how I know this is true – I have spent 14 years in full-time pastoral ministry and guess what… #MeToo. That’s right, I am a pastor and in theory should be immune from sexual harassment, and yet even I have encountered sexual harassment. Now, I am one of the fortunate ones that has never been sexually assaulted, but sexual harassment is not just physical.

It is obscene comments solely rooted in the fact that you are a woman. 

It is found in first looks, and second looks, and third looks. 

It is being told that you don’t wear enough makeup or you wear too much makeup. 

It is being passed over for a job because you are a woman or you aren’t the “right” kind of woman. 

It is direct or not so direct comments on your wardrobe.

It is advice given by a supervisor to use your looks “to close the deal.”

It is found in the bullying and “slut shaming” across many high school and college campuses.

It is in the voices of men sticking up for or giving a “slap on the wrist” to the offenders despite the thousands of stories shared by women all around them. 

So as I stopped and reflected over all that the term “sexual harassment” really encompasses, I began to realize that this is not a conversation that I hope to never have to have with my daughters; rather, sexual harassment is more like a milestone. 

A milestone is defined as, “an action or event marking a significant change or stage in development.” And, wow, the first time a girl or woman experiences sexual harassment it does just that. 

To be clear, this is obviously not a happy milestone, not one to be celebrated, but rather a destructive milestone, that seems to be an unavoidable female experience. So, then do we just throw up our hands? Call society for what it is – broken and bleak? And then just accept our fate as women? 

Of course not. We fight. We fight because we are women and because we are moms. Hands down, the most powerful, influential force on this planet. 

Giving up is not in our DNA; it is not who we are. We are world changers. We are fighters. So, let’s join together and start fighting to change this world through the power of our influence. 

In other words, if you are reading this blog, then you are more than likely a mom. This means there is at least one human being {possibly even a small army of human beings} that have you as the most influential person in their life. That is not just my opinion, that is fact.

So, if you are a #boymom, then that means you fight sexual harassment by continually modeling and teaching your son how to view, treat, and speak to women in a manner that only reflects the utmost respect. You make your son take you out on dates, and from the time he is little bitty you teach him how to treat a woman. Teach him that every girl he ever interacts with is someone’s daughter, someone’s sister, and someone to be honored not objectified. You teach him that women are beautiful, but not just because of what is on the outside – rather because of what is on the inside. You teach him that REAL MEN don’t need to make a woman feel small in order to feel powerful. 

If you are a #girlmom, then talk to your daughter about her sexuality from a very young age. Teach her about her body, and what is appropriate and inappropriate, and that anyone worth even a second of her time will also love and respect her body in ways that will never make her feel uncomfortable. Teach her that the best things she has to offer this world cannot be seen outwardly, rather can only be discovered over time and that real, honorable men will make the investment – however long it takes. And, lastly teach her to SPEAK UP! Let her know that if something is to ever happen, that shame and guilt will quickly try to take over like a cancer, but that she is worth more than ever allowing any man to control her self-worth or any other woman’s self-worth for that matter.

There are so many terrible milestones that exist in our society right now – 

The first time a minority is called a racial slur. 

The first time someone in the LGBTQ community is threatened with violence. 

The first time someone is discriminated against because of their religious beliefs. 

and…

The first time a woman is sexually harassed. 

But, here’s the thing… As moms, we have something no one else in our society has to fight these injustices. We have influence. We have the chance to raise the future. We have the ability to not only win the battle, but the war. We have our kids. So, it’s the time to rise up, my mommy friend, it’s time to fight. 

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