While this is inspired by current events, it is not a statement about that specific news. It’s more than that. It’s something that has always gone on, and will continue to go on, until we teach the younger generations that it is not okay.
To my nieces and daughter…
Someday a man will try something inappropriate. It may be an inappropriate touch or brush against you, a grab, a forced kiss, an inappropriate comment or proposition…by a teacher, coworker, boss, friend, friend of a friend, family friend, acquaintance, stranger, a married man – or even someone you have a crush on. When you refuse or protest, it may be played off as a joke, denied, ignored…or you may be blamed or insulted.
You may wonder if you imagined it or if you brought it on; you may have laughed along with the “joke” or thrown an insult back; or just may have put your head down and walked away ashamed. You may wonder if it’s something you wore, or said, or did. It’s NOT.
No matter which of the above applies, it’ll give you a gross feeling. It may feel like guilt, it may feel like repulsion, it may feel like embarrassment, it should feel like anger. But you’ll never forget it – I promise.
And when it happens again with someone else or the same person even…shove him, get angry, tell him off, vent to someone, report it if it was criminal. Don’t excuse it. Don’t worry about the repercussions. You can find another job if it was at work, another “friend”, another crush. You’ll feel stronger the next time it happens and be ready to deal with it.
It’s not a problem with you. It’s a problem with him. Don’t feel ashamed – you didn’t do it and you didn’t cause it. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
To my nephews and son…
Don’t touch a woman without permission, and don’t touch a inappropriate woman with permission – a subordinate at work, a woman in another relationship, a much younger woman, a woman who is drunk or on drugs. Don’t proposition a woman in an inappropriate way. Don’t talk about a woman in an inappropriate way to your friends, whether you are telling fact or fiction. Once your words come out, you can’t put them back.
If you had mixed signals and made a move and were wrong…stop immediately, apologize, be embarrassed, and be more careful the next time. If you were given permission before, but were told to stop, or you saw her pull back when you touched her, or she looks intimidated or unsure…stop immediately, apologize, be embarrassed, and be more careful the next time.
Good men don’t need to do that. They don’t need the power, they don’t need the ego boost, they don’t want to humiliate someone – especially a woman. That’s not being an “American Man”, its being a coward and a pig. If you wouldn’t want your mother, your sister or a future daughter treated that way, don’t do it to another woman – they are a sister, a daughter, a mother.
No one has a right to treat someone like this, and no one should feel like they have to accept it.