When we victim shame and blame.

When we ignore.

When we fail to defend.

When we wait for the victims to relive the worst human experience.

When we minimize the scope of evil.

When we fail to act.

When the perpetrators and passives co-opt the narrative.

When we tell women to dress modestly because men are visual creatures.

Why do victims of sexual assault, abuse, and rape need to start a hashtag to alert us to the deep seated structural evils the pervade our culture?

Why do we as bystanders wait for the abused and broken to relive the experience, as if it is on the victims to be their own advocates?

Why did this take so long?

Why are we okay with a political, social, religious structure that protects the perpetrator at the expense of the victim?

Why is the burden of proof on the victim by default?

This isn’t about women’s rights.

This isn’t about women’s equality.

This isn’t about protesting.

This isn’t about revenge.

This is about human decency. This is about valuing life. This is about personhood.

We failed. And we will continue to fail as long as societal structures keep victims oppressed and silent. As long as bystanders stay passive. As long as we do nothing.

The mere fact that women had to summon the courage to speak out, to say something, to be their own advocates strikes at the very core of man’s guilt. Not only did we abuse, assault, and hurt human beings. We silenced them, we stayed on the sidelines.

We weren’t a voice for the voiceless.

And in our lack of voice for the voiceless we became a voice for the evil doers and joined them in evil.

And we will continue to join them in evil, as evil doers ourselves.

I’m so sorry. On every level. For your pain. For the unfettered evil done to you over your lifetime. For my acceptance of this reality. For my passivity. For dehumanizing you. For failing you in every possible way.

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