Wishing for a Billion Dollars

I don’t know about you, but one of my highlights is looking through my “On This Day” feed and being reminded of photos posted of me, or what funnies I shared.  As a writer, I have long decided my public profile be strictly light and fun.

But every now and then I break this rule. I stumbled upon an opinion piece I had written two years ago. It is definitely worth a re-sharing especially since it was written before the #MeToo movement.

Below was posted June 11, 2016 on Facebook:

I just watched a social experiment where a guy proves how easy it is to slip roofies into women’s drinks. And I read the advice from those who were either victims or worked at bars offering advice on how women need to pay more attention.

I’m tired and disgusted that it’s always up to the women to be weary. The problem, society, is the lack of a safe environment for your women. We live in constant fear and confusion because we have to stay constantly alert and on guard, and we’re told the problem lies with us to prevent these crimes.

So we walk with keys pointing out of our fists, double and triple check our locks, walk faster if anyone is following us, drive to a police station if we think a car is trailing us, never leave our drinks alone and never accept drinks from strangers, sleep with knives or guns within arms reach, etc…

And yet despite all this, we still “didn’t do our best to prevent assault.”

The numbers are staggering when given the facts that out of all the sexual assaults happening to your women, only [28% are reported*]. Do you want to know why? Because we blame ourselves because we “should’ve known better.” The story society is teaching us is, “any good, law-abiding woman would not ever find herself in a position where they leave themselves open for assault.”

And to add insult to injury, we’re blamed, shamed, dehumanized and shown as weak instead of treated as the victims we are. If we’re lucky, there’s a call for justice. But we have a better chance of getting struck by lightning. Because there’s always something we could have done to prevent the crime.

Like read minds. Like have premonitions. Like realizing the ones closest to you can be the one who is going to betray you.

We need to stop blaming the victims. We need to create a safe environment that protects them against the shame and blame from both themselves AND society to get them on the road to recovery.

If that ever happens, I guarantee there will be be more reported incidents that will incite widespread action against these perpetrators and a united front to educate and spark new behaviors.

I might as well be asking for a billion dollars while I’m at it.

Since the #MeToo movement, there has been progress by making it more socially acceptable to talk about harassment and abuse.  This is a very huge step since most attacks and abuse thrive on silence.  While I feel we have helped open the eyes of the public to expose the extent of the threat women experience, we still have a long road ahead before the feeling of prey vs. predator fully lifts off our shoulders.

I would be remiss if I didn’t provide the follow-up piece in response to the #MeToo movement by NPR as food for thought.

*Updated to provide a more accurate and current percentage. Source= NATIONAL STATISTICS ON SEXUAL VIOLENCE

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