As we continue the conversation about sex abuse and harassment, it is our natural inclination to want to place the blame on someone.
“The Harvey Weinstein’s of the world are bad.” “Larry Nassar is a monster.” “Any man who can treat a woman with such little respect is no man at all.”
Oh my God, yes, these men must face the consequences of their actions, no doubt.
But, once a movement comes along like #metoo, a general blame begins to happen. We begin to see how society has created a space where women are not to be treated as equal. We see how it has become generally acceptable for men to treat women like objects and disregard their needs. Women have adapted to this society by silencing our voice and treating ourselves the same way. Being made aware of this we will tolerate it no longer. This leads to all men being scrutinized and potentially regarded as ‘the enemy’.
Movements create change, and I thank God for the brave women bringing awareness to this inequality.
We must be careful, though. This can also lead to so much blame. Blaming the society, blaming those in power, and possibly even holding some silent blame toward our neighbors and friends. Maybe even our spouses.
Blame only leads to one thing. Shame. Shame doesn’t want to be acknowledged or seen. It wants to hide in the shadows and play a magic trick of ‘you can’t see me’. And, it wants to redirect your attention by showing you who else to accuse for your pain. Men may become ashamed of the ways in which they were raised and question their own integrity which leads to more blame of society. Women may become ashamed that they allowed anyone to treat them as inferior which leads to more blame of those who treated them this way.
It is our time now more than anything to bring shame to light. To acknowledge as women when we are blaming others blindly without acknowledging the humanity of who they are. For men to acknowledge that they can and will do better now that they know better.
We owe it to the next generations. Look at the face in this picture. This is my son. (With my other son behind him.) Look at his sweet innocence. The Harvey’s and Larry’s of this world once lived in this sweet innocence too. We must not forget that.
Together with my husband (whom I have placed so much blame on that at times I forgot the truth of who he was) we will teach these boys to listen to and respect women. To listen to their own hearts. To follow what they know to be true and in integrity with themselves regardless of what society wants them to believe. We will have hard conversations with them about the current state of the country right now, how it got to be this way, and what we can do to make the change.
Hopefully in the next 10 years, men and women together can bring enough shame to light that my boys will be encouraged to treat everyone they encounter as equal. But, if not, my husband and I will know that we have done what we could to change the course of history and create a new society.
A new society where we truly see one another’s hearts, not gender, not race, not religion, not stories about who the other might be, but their hearts which reflect their oneness with us.
How to create change:
- Feel your pain.
- Acknowledge your shame.
- Speak your truth.
Together we can do hard things.