I've been thinking a lot lately about the #MeToo campaign.
I don't know how many times in my own life that that simple little hash tag has applied to me, for major life events, for every day instances of harassment and down to subtle inferences that my existence as a female is of less importance than that of my male counterparts. It is rife let me tell you. It is dealt with on so many levels by so many women and girls every single day, within families, in education, in the workplace, in social settings and in religious institutions and belief systems.
I don't bring this up today because of the current public backlash of vile behaviour being called out, or because of long overdue awareness being brought to attention.
No. I speak today because I feel it is not enough to simply say "ME TOO".
I walked across a street yesterday with my daughter. We were walking to the car. We were minding our own f@*king business, not even paying attention to anyone around us, AND WE WERE VERBALLY SEXUALLY HARASSED, we were yelled at in the street by a total stranger.
It is not enough to put my hand up, and my daughters hand up and say "me too". It is not enough to stand up and be part of an ever growing tribe of women who have abuse as a common bond. Not when this shit happens over and over and is treated as normal. That behaviour that we were subjected to is not OUR responsibility. It is the responsibility of that man who assumed that he has the right to perpetrate misogyny at will.
So to that man who chose to invade us yesterday I point at YOU and say #YOUTOO.
YOU TOO are the same the Weinsteins, the Trumps, the industries that commodify and sexualize women and girls, the rapists, the abusers, the bullies the establishments who accept and turn a blind eye, the supporters of patriarchal privilege. It’s all varying intensities of the same pervading stench.
For far too long the attention has been on the impact of the experiences of women, and the cause of that impact has remained out of focus and unexamined. There needs to be a mechanism to promote accountability in order to bring about change.
So I'm choosing to turn and point at YOU, to place focus on YOU, and say what you do is not acceptable and I'm holding you to account. This is not about shaming or revenge, far from it. It is about raising consciousness and awareness of unrecognized and embedded beliefs and behaviours so we can begin to move forward as equal beings with respect and honour.
I invite you to examine your beliefs, scrutinize your actions, question entitlement, challenge hierarchy and denounce patriarchy.
I want to be able to trust men, and I especially want that for my daughter. I want for my son to grow into manhood and be able to interact with women without the burden of suspicion or mistrust. I believe these are essential elements of a quality of life that everyone has a fundamental right to.
I say #TimeForChange
Time to call out #YouToo on those who choose to remain part of the problem and time to align in love, trust and acceptance with everyone else until there is no other option for anyone.