If you have been online for the last few months you will most likely have seen the “me too” hashtag being used by women and men who are coming forward sharing their stories of sexual assault and harassment. We are living in an exciting era where people are finding the voice and confidence to stand against sexual assault and mistreatment of any kind.
The truth will set you and others free
You see most people never come forward with their stories, because they feel so ashamed of it, even though it was not their fault at all to begin with. They sit with their shame and pain, and let it eat away at them in secret. It can cause them to have a low self-esteem, to feel like they are to blame, or maybe that they are deserving of such poor treatment. When in actual fact everyone deserves to feel respected, valued and worthy. Yet, there are some who blur the lines, and still treat others poorly.
When I first started seeing the #metoo tag appear on social media, many well renowned female celebrities shared their sexual assault stories publicly – as a means of empowering and encouraging others to make an active stand against this behaviour by bringing it to the light. In turn this inspired many others from all backgrounds to come forward with their stories.
The truth hurts sometimes
Whilst this may have empowered and encouraged many by liberating them from the shame of what happened to them, others felt uncomfortable with the overwhelming truth of it all. Some still chose to turn a blind eye to it, whilst others responded with “well, maybe they encouraged poor treatment in the first place.”
Again: no one deserves sexual assault or abuse. That is something that as a collective human race we need to stand up for and fight for.
Me too = All of us
Maybe you have been a victim to sexual assault or abuse, or maybe you know of others who have, or maybe just maybe you find it all hard to relate too, and feel helpless. Instead of shying away, lets own this and all actively stand against this unjust behavior. We can do this by:
Staying informed – Being informed and educated in matters, is empowering, as knowledge is power. Knowledge can help motivate you when it comes to seeking out ways to make an active change! Stay informed!
Standing up for others – Standing up for others especially those who feel as if they do not have a voice, or have the confidence to do so – should be our norm. As a human race we need to choose to emphasize with others, as opposed to ignoring and turning a blind eye to it.
Encourage both men, women and children to stand up against injustice – Whilst many women and men have been sharing their “me too” stories online, many men have come forward to stand with those who have been assaulted, by saying it’s not okay – we need to change this! I love that! Because it means we are all owning this, by standing together united against this inhumane problem.
Empower children to have the tools, knowledge and voice – Teach your kids from the start what “is and isn’t” appropriate behavior. Encourage them to feel confident when it comes to speaking about what makes them feel uncomfortable when it comes to their personal space. Let them grow up knowing how valuable they truly are. Encourage them to stand up for others, to look out for friends who are being bullied. Let them know from an early age, that they must speak up when something has been done to them, and that you are there for them no matter what the situation.
Seek God – Many, many years ago before I met my husband, I was in an emotionally, verbally abusive, and moving onto physically abusive relationship. There were things that were said and done to me, that left me feeling so embarrassed and ashamed, and it wasn’t something that I provoked or encouraged. Yet, it felt that way, wrongfully so.
To move past this unhealthy relationship, and to seek healing and restoration took time (lots of time), counseling, and finding myself in God. Every crippling lie that I believed, had to kneel and bend underneath Gods ultimate word and truth. It took years until I felt completely mentally and emotionally healed from that abusive relationship.
But every daunting step towards victory, was worth the discomfort!
God walked with me every single step of the way, and he still does. I have come to full understand my worth and value, so much so that my heart breaks when I read #metoo articles about how so many others feel so ashamed after experiencing sexual assault and abuse.
My biggest prayer is that those who have been mistreated will find healing, and their identity and sense of self-worth in God and in what God says and believes about them.