I Believe You!

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While it is disheartening to hear the numerous accounts of women being violated and mistreated by the movie mogul, Harvey Weinstein, I am glad that this topic is being given the spotlight it deserves.  Each narrative serves as a reminder of the struggles that still exist for women today.  But in light of the deceptions that have occurred, it is also inspiring to see the number of individuals who are being brave enough to speak out against this magnate who has abused his power and authority for way too long. 

One thing that I noticed being advocated on social media was the #MeToo campaign.  I found it interesting how each time I logged into my FB page, there was yet another person posting #MeToo.  It was similar to the unraveling of the Weinstein debacle.  Every time I picked up my phone, I learned of another celebrity who had been affected by his vile behaviors.  It seemed as each person stepped forward to tell their story, others gained the confidence to follow suit.  Amazing! 

Revealing traumatizing incidents is not easy and many victims hold off on disclosing for fear of rejection, shame, embarrassment, among other reasons.  Silence perpetuates the cycle of nondisclosure making it more difficult to discuss after a period of time has passed.  Therefore, when an individual is ready to disclose that moment can be consequential to their healing. 

One woman on FB said she was surprised that the #MeToo campaign helped her see that she was not alone in her experience with sexual assault.  The more dialogue we have with each other about this topic, the more it provides us with understanding and connection.  Feeling alone is very common and can make the abused feel isolated. 

But in speaking, there is also listening.  So, while one person is ready to speak another may be unsure or leery of hearing.  They may feel uncertain of how to verbally respond in an empathic manner. Or the information being shared might put the listener in a position of responsibility.  Now you have this knowledge, and what do you do with it? There is bravery on both ends – speaker and the responsible listener. 

In the recent events, what has occurred is a movement that promotes validity.  Validity says “I believe you.”  Those who have spoken out against Weinstein include not only the individuals directly affected by him but those who have been witness to Weinstein’s poor character.  These people have stepped up to validate the numerous accounts that have been given, allowing for those who have been hurt to begin healing. 

I think what tends to happen is that this topic of sexual abuse can seem ugly and uncomfortable.  And it is.  However, it’s way too important to avoid it.  Silence only makes it stronger, and it’s our voices that will help us take a stand against sexual abuse.  And in that process, we find that there are people who can and will say, “I believe you.” And I can declare, “#MeToo.”