A Letter To The Men In My Life
Dear Men I love,
Men in my family, my male coworkers, men I respect in our community, our industry and my male friends. It’s been the RARE encounter with one of you that left me feeling like any of you “get it.” I’m betting most of you don’t even want to “get it,” based on our conversations about the #MeToo Movement.
The overwhelming feelings you have shared with me has been:
1. When is this going to be over already? (heavy sigh)
2. What the hell have I DONE in the past 20 years? Is someone coming for me? Is it even “fair” to be dredging up things from so long ago?
3. This witch hunt is going to allow “any woman to ruin any man.” The court of public opinion is going to believe the woman no matter what…and that is just. not. fair.
4. My favorite- “Surely nothing like this has ever happened to YOU?” (when I launch into the stream of stories all women have, you all roll your eyes because “I haven’t been raped.”
My harassment in the work place, humilition, fear, and groping have been easily brushed aside.
So,why haven’t I told you these things sooner? Because you wouldn’t have wanted to hear about it then, just as you are not interested in hearing about it now.
Are women waking up to each day’s news cycle with relish? Hell Yes!
We’ve waited a very, very time to have a voice. I you can’t stand beside us and admit the system is broken, and work with us to fix it, just leave me alone. If you are content to to stand passively on the sidelines and claim your innocence is enough for you to contribute, then please just keep all your comments to yourself.
Leave me alone. Retreat to the safety of your silence by not offering me any of your insights on this national sickness.
I don’t have time to help you feel better about your own possible missteps.
You are afraid that everything you do or say will now be grounds for a complaint to HR. The Mike Pence rule is going to hurt women bla bla bla.
Stop trying to get me to feel sympathy for the world YOU now have to navigate. So full of potential false sexual harassment claims and harmless jokes gone awry. Yes, your world has changed, but stop asking me to feel sorry for you.
Many of us have just accepted that things will never change and we have to get on with our day that the fact the #MeToo movement is still going strong is a cause for celebration. We get up and celebrate with each new head that rolls because for hundreds of years, it was the accuser who lost her job!
I’m 51. I have not been raped, but I’ve been close. Many times. I ran away, jumped out of a car and started carrying weapons to feel safe. I was stalked. I slept with a gun in my bed while my husband was out of the country and the harassing phone calls kept coming. I studying martial arts for 4 years because I couldn’t stand living in fear. But when I tell you, the men in my life, the men I love most, some of the terrible things I’ve buried, you are not sympathetic. You look bored when I need and want you to be outraged.
When I’ve shared my stories with you, you almost universally tilt the subject back to YOU and how this atmosphere is making YOU feel.
When I had a bad situation with a coworker, the CEO asked me what I was “wearing that made that man act like that.” This is almost cliche, but he wasn’t joking. The blame had to somehow be on me. We had known this man for years, and he was a respected member of our industry and community. Why would he act like that to me if I hadn’t provoked it? Seriously? In 2015, people still rushed to that conclusion.
Thank god it is 2017 and women are being heard. We deserve this time and you should be ashamed of yourselves for not listening in the past.
Are you really, as you lead yourself to believe, the good guys when you haven’t done anything to stand up for us all these years?
You are not standing up now either, are you? You are cowering and hoping this conversation moves on.
You could be the good guys, but you need to help us change things. Just because you didn’t hurt anyone, doesn’t make you innocent. You have been complicit in many crimes and you all know it. We know it. If all you can do is listen. Then be a good listener and stop asking me to make you feel better about the world as we now know it.
Have you felt let down by the men in your life about this topic? Let me hear your story. We can’t all get revenge on our harassers, but we can support each other. Being heard is powerful. Sgordon@gordonmarketing.com