by Molly Jo Realy @MollyJoRealy
I’ve been thinking about this for a while, now. And I’ve been wanting to write this, but not wanting to ruffle feathers.
The Rolling Stones tell us we can’t always get what we want, and they must be right. So, with a big gulp and a steady voice, I’m going to be uncharacteristically vocal about a hot button news topic.
Now, I know I’m not a superstar. I don’t have celebrity status and my opinion is just that- my opinion. I don’t expect CNN or Newsweek to call me up for an interview and suddenly realize what I say is life altering. It’s not.
But it is worth saying.
At least, I think so.
Here it is:
There’s a difference between harassment and assault
and we need to treat them differently.
You know how it is. Most of the time, you lump things together and they all begin to look alike. Even when they’re not. Chili takes on a brown-red hue even when there’s white beans and corn in the mix. A field of flowers still looks mostly green. And a proud peacock strutting his feathers for attention looks just like the one next door.
The news is full of horrific events and attitudes. Full of “those men” doing terrible things to women and substories of people who knew but didn’t do anything. People who opted more for their bottom line than integrity.
And I think we’re doing a disservice to our young men and women by paying so much attention to them without much clarification.
Let me state, as loud and as clear as I possibly can:
IT IS NEVER OKAY FOR SOMEONE TO INAPPROPRIATELY TALK TO, TOUCH, OR HURT SOMEONE ELSE.
But how do we even know what “inappropriate” means any more? The media is full- full– of blatant sex. Gunfire. Anger management issues. Disrespect. We watch movies and TV all the time where assaults (verbal, emotional, physical, and spiritual) are the norm. And yes. There are men- good men– who have a label against them because some under-aged girl presented herself as an adult. Healthy, self-respecting, “old-fashioned” people are ridiculed for holding their ground.
We teach others all the time that casual sex is okay, and that sometimes “these things happen”. That time holds no consequence. But we’re wrong.
We live in a “Do as I say, not as I do” society.
Stories about about assault, abuse, and relationship violence and the fictional tales almost always have someone coming to the rescue. But it doesn’t always happen that way. Sometimes, we need to find our own way out. #metoo
We live in a world where it’s common to hear the F-bomb in public, where people smoke dope and give no regard to others. And no respect to themselves. Adults call children names I don’t even want to think. “But it’s okay,” they say. “It’s just a joke.” Folks, there’s a difference between joking and being inappropriate.
Is it just a joke when a man touches a woman against her will? Is it just a joke when we diminish the respect we should give others? Is it just a joke when we no longer seek out strong leading role models but instead lump them all together with a head-shaking sigh? Is it a joke when we forget there are still some really good guys and girls out there?
When we don’t respect ourselves as a society, how can we be surprised when our society is collapsing?
Are we telling our girls to misinterpret any tenderness a man may show? Does opening doors for a woman mean he’s going to attack her? If I let my neighbor say hello, does that invite him to call me vicious names? Are we so afraid of being assaulted that we can’t see when someone is just being nice? Because there’s a difference, and we need to learn it. We need to keep our guard up and let the walls crumble at the same time.
Thanks, society. *insert any sarcastic remark here*
Is it a joke when we forget to emulate what Good Character is, to the next generation?
Or are we generations too late? Has the damage already been done to our moral fabric without hope of mending? Did we lose it when we stopped filtering the songs we listen to or the movies we watch? Did we lose it when we started making excuses for ourselves under the guise of asking forgiveness? Because there’s a difference! We can’t be so complacent or afraid of our failings, that we can’t stand up against them!
STAND, PEOPLE! STOP DROWNING!
I fear we’re drowning in a society that glorifies bringing down someone else. I fear that the sexual assault news may be, for a very few, a bandwagon to jump on; and this discourages me greatly because I want women to stand up for themselves and be supported without having to worry that the woman next to them is just in it for the headlines or a cash settlement. I fear we’re encouraging our young women to accept assault and harassment as a way of life, and our young men to accept they will get blamed no matter what they do.
Mostly I want there to stop being a difference between men and women outside of marriage and family. Friendships, workforce, society. It shouldn’t matter if you’re male or female. It should only matter if you’re competent and respectful.
There’s a difference between a youthful mistake and a pattern of behavior. I’m grateful for those who are standing up to say the behavior is no longer welcome. I’m saddened so many had to endure before anyone took notice.
Kudos to Taylor Swift for standing up against a former radio show host. She wasn’t in it for any reason other than to stand up for other women, to embolden them to do the same. She was awarded a single dollar in damages.
I’m also afraid, as a society, the “us” versus “them” is coming to a head where women are no longer able to or allowed to respect men.
The older I get, the more aware I become that it is, indeed, a man’s world. But as the song goes, he wouldn’t be nothing without his woman.
We need to work together. We need to raise our children and ask them, strengthen them, embolden them to take this yoke upon them and straighten things out. We need to apologize to future generations for not being what we need to be for them. For us.
We need to find our way back to being the united people we’re supposed to be.
Don’t let a few bad men overshadow the good ones.
I swear there are good people still out there.
We just need to look for them differently.
And maybe ruffle a few feathers while doing so.
TWEET THIS: There’s a Difference. @MollyJoRealy #metoo
And Frankly, My Dear . . . : That’s all she wrote!