Have You Seen The #MeToo Campaign?
After reading in the news about the Harvey Weinstein accusations, we have all borne witness to the numbers of women from all walks of life who post their #metoo stories. Or just a post.
I agree with the idea to bring up discussion and hopefully help people repent and change to prevent more of these stories.
But, when someone asks what to do about it, the conversation is often heated. I am writing my opinion on the activities we as a society and as individuals can take to avoid multiple posts, not distract from my friends and family’s posts online and present some solutions to add to the discussion.
5 Activities We All Can Do to Prevent #metoo
Change Our Theology
I know, this is a difficult one for most people to stomach first, but I think it is significant. Either you believe that God made humankind, male and female, in the Image of God, or you don’t believe the most accurate translation of Genesis 1. Either you believe that “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus,” or you don’t believe that scripture is inerrant. Either you believe that the goal of true leadership is to be a servant (and therefore anyone who says that men are to be leaders needs to demonstrate how those men are giving up their rights, their comfort, and even their lives so that other individuals can be empowered) or you do not believe that Jesus is a true leader or that we are to follow His example.
You cannot hold to a high or fundamental view of scripture and hold to women as less than men, or as needing to be quiet. For more information on a biblical theology regarding women, see The Junia Project’s post here, or for something from a more global evangelical perspective, get the book Why Not Women? by the founder of Youth With A Mission, Loren Cunningham.
Assert Individual Boundary Setting
This is a little controversial in many circles because it feels like blaming the victim, but I strongly believe that women (and men, boys, and girls) should be trained and empowered to defend themselves. Some people think that this means that the trained defender will walk around scared of an attack, but I disagree with both of these.
Whenever I think of a smaller victim fighting a much better prepared (on the surface) predator, I am reminded of William Wallace’s motto, God Arms the Patriot. A spunky motto that described why the Scots were willing to fight a better armed, better funded, and larger military in order to be free. They believed that they were in the right and that they would prevail.
You may not think of a catcall on a street as something worth getting that vigilant over, but I remember the first time I heard someone catcall one of my friends. There were a group of us outside our private school and a car drove by with a young man shouting at one of the girls: I want your body! An older boy responded quickly with: I want your head on a platter. Real mature, all around.
Except, that response is appropriate. Why? Because it is communicating to everyone present that the young lady’s body was not available for the wanting. It happened to belong to someone, and her friends were willing to defend her and her right to her life, liberty, and property.
This follows that. If you are going to set boundaries (my body is not yours for the wanting), you have to teach them. I remember when someone goosed my sister under the arms and she turned around, socked him upside the head. This ended the bra-snapping, side goosing teasing in our school until my sister graduated. Because the boys realized she could take them on, and would.
Now, I have had people ask me about the fact that women cannot reliably win in a fight against a larger male, and I have two responses to this.
- Handguns. Seriously, the most amazing thing about modern weaponry is that it is a great equalizer. If you are a trained woman carrying a weapon, you can stop the most aggressive, prepared individual. Permanently.
- You don’t need to beat them to win. I made a close friend in high school who had 8 inches and 120 pounds on me after I tackled him to the ground when he was beating up my good friend who had been bullying him. I tried to put him in a headlock to hold him down and end the fight. The problem was he could stand up with me hanging from his neck, and he did. Then he proceeded to choke, kick, and pummel me until 6 people (half of them girls) pulled us off each other and the fight was ended. We became friends after that and he never was violent against another person in front of me again. Most (not all) of harasment situations happen in front of other people who would put a stop to it if they thought it was bad enough. A woman defending herself physically quickly alerts everyone around her to the fact that something is happening that they don’t like.
Final note on this, if someone is trained to defend themselves, they don’t pick fights. I was handing out hot chocolate on the streets one night and had a meth addict pull a knife on me, my friend, and her mom. I quickly put myself between them and the knife weilder because I knew I could disarm him and we all walked away. I realized that he was mad and scared and wanted to scare us, if we weren’t there he would not continue that moment of aggression.
When you are trained and experienced in defense, you learn to identify when something needs physical force, and you will realize that it is so rare when you are prepared as to be almost non-existent.
Train Men to Respect Others
Our society has lost some of its emphasis on respect and honor. This is causing problems. I was raised in conservative rural America, and there were things you never said to a woman. Ever. While that society is nowhere near perfect and there are many anti-women attitudes, no man would tell a woman that he wanted to f$*K her at work. We need to teach our sons, and our friends that there is an expected level of respect we offer everyone, men and women. And we also teach them that part of respect and honor is to step up when others are not being respectful or honoring of those around them.
How would you address the sexual harrasment and assault that is so prevalent in our society?