I'm the hero of my story

The exploitation of women continues. This week we’re outraged by Harvey Weinstein, and so many men like him, who degrade and demean women by raping, abusing, and harassing them. They steal what is not theirs. They have zero concern for the women they traumatize. This must stop.

I was making copies after work one day, when my boss put his arm around my shoulder and then began rubbing my back. Immediately, my gut alerted me to danger, outrage, and the immediate necessity to get away from him. Adrenaline pumped through my veins. There was no air to breathe. He tried to normalize his intention with his audacious comment about how sexy I was. I said I had a meeting with his boss and couldn’t be late. I turned to go. He said you’ve got copying to finish. Can’t be late, I responded, grabbed my bag, and escaped.

We can no longer wait for these kinds of men to control or monitor themselves. Edmund Burke said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” It’s time for change and that change must come from the personal power, courage, and bravery we inspire in ourselves and our daughters. Men and boys aren’t off the hook. More about the responsibly and respect required of you next week.

I implore you to infuse steel and bravery in your daughter, inspire strength and courage, and celebrate your daughter’s worth and value separate from her sexuality. Make her aware and teach her how to stay out of harm’s way. You and I know that rape, abuse and harassment are never the fault of the victim. Misogynistic men are the perpetuators of this evil.

I urge you to invest in your daughter by teaching her prevention skills that will reduce the chances of her becoming a victim. Here are some suggestions.

  • Don’t go out alone. Don’t get drunk or high. Choose your clothes wisely. It’s not that you don’t have the right to the above, it’s that some men see you as an opportunity. Avoid possible harm.
  • Enroll in a self-defense course and carry mace. Practice using both. Be ready to respond in a second.
  • Never trust a stranger. Ever. Never get in a car or elevator with strangers.
  • Call 911 if you are in danger or perceive it. Put 911 on speed dial. Make sure the locator on your phone is on.
  • Pay attention to your gut: it’s never wrong. If it feels creepy, it is. Get away.
  • Tell your friends and family where you are going and when you’ll be home. Set a check-in time. Ask for help if you need it. Establish a code word.
  • Practice saying NO. Be empowered. Be assertive. Consent is granted only if you say yes. No one would consciously agree to be raped or abused. The line is not blurry.
  • Empower inner strength. You are the boss of you and your body.

Hoping that nothing bad happens to your daughter is not a plan. Be pro-active! Arm your daughter with information, strategies, and awareness to increase her safety and not be a victim.