Me Too: What it Failed to Do
- October 25, 2017
- Esther Followwill-Johnson
How many times have you seen that status over the last week? Scrolling down has become a tragic repetition of horrifying accounts of sexual harassment or abuse and assault. While it is nauseating and infuriating, this banding together is also an encouragement to see. Why is that?
-Because it raises awareness. The number of people sexually harassed or assaulted is staggering, and in a matter of days social media barraged us with the evidence of that.
-Because it brings UNITY out of shame and horror. When you know you aren’t the only one, you get stronger. When you hear others speak out, you remember you have a voice. We collectively feel empowered because OTHERS have stood up too, with us. A community in the gap between oppressor and the oppressed.
-Because it exposes truth. Not just women have been abused and harassed, men have too and many bravely shared their stories.
“Me too” helped identify the men who have dared to be different. Those spoke out against evil, or who promise to teach their sons how to respect women. These are the men who have walked women to their cars, or driven them home. Men who speak up, defending women in locker rooms, or who haven’t laughed along at lewd jokes. Even the few steadfast souls who choose to turn OFF the show or movie that blatantly objectifies women…
This is going to get uncomfortable.
The difficult thing is… this isn’t just an issue with physical in-person attacks or verbal abuses. It’s not JUST a reflection of misogyny in culture, it is an epidemic that starts long before any action takes place. It starts with what someone puts in their mind.
Yes, I am talking about porn. Of course. But more subtly, I am referring to the way many of us watch shows and movies we all find hilarious, without realizing we just gulped down a big spoonful of female objectification or sexism.
Music that gives women sexually explicit commands, or implies their subservience to men, promotes “rape culture.” Whether we choose to recognize it or not. TV shows and movies that objectify the female body without considering the mind, heart and soul that reside therein, PERPETUATE the problem. Because it demeans women (or men) back to state of being an object.
Yes, I have experienced my share of sexual harassment. I have been stalked by a group of men in London; I’ve had disgusting things said to me in the workplace. I’ve been cat-called, and verbally abused. I have also watched my husband experience sexual harassment right in front of me.
Girls walking behind him on the beach taking pictures of him and giggling or shouting “do some pushups” or “what are you doing tonight?” Homosexual men who have literally pushed past me to aggressively come onto my husband. Seriously. Thank God we’ve been preserved from sexual assault, but every instance of harassment is one that should never occur.
There are those out there, who choose to resist the things that feed this sickness, even thought culture has normalized many of the behaviors. These people refuse to objectify others, refuse to demean them, but rather strive to honor them.
But it’s not just about respecting people, it’s about taking personal responsibility for what gets humans there in the first place. What WE put in our minds will have a direct impact on our actions. How we treat people to their faces, should be the same way we treat image-bearers of God behind closed doors.
“Me too” helped people realize the need for change in our culture, but that begins with each one of us, and what we put in our minds. How many of our children could one day write “me too” because we weren’t willing to oppose messages of disgusting behavior in media? To our great detriment, every time we allow something like that to play on our screens, we are giving the sickness permission to continue and thrive in our culture. Daily, someone pays for it.