Its Never Okay

I’ve wanted to write about the #MeToo campaign for some time now. But for the sake of not stepping on anyone’s feet, I decided to let the dust settle on the interwebs. Now that its been about two weeks, here we go:

For those who aren’t familiar, female survivors of sexual assault and harassment have been urged to use the Hashtag MeToo to inform the world that this problem is bigger than we think. Although the hashtag was coined by a female activist in 2006, Tarana Burke, it really caught the wind when actress Alyssa Milano tweeted it out.

I was shocked at the mount of #MeToo’s I was seeing on my social media platforms. A rough estimate of my network places it at about 70 percent of all of my female friends and followers. But was even more shocking was the response. The more researched I did, the more disgusted I became with society.

I want to make this as clear as possible, WE HAVE A PROBLEM! I am afraid to say it, but in my humblest of opinion, this issue is bigger than any race or religious issue out there. The only constant in societies around the world since evolution, is how men have treated women.

I do not proclaim to be an expert or hold the secret answer to how to effectively change society and society’s views on women. But I have some suggestions:

1) Change starts with us – Gentlemen, we need to do better. We need to be better. It going to be an uphill climb, but the only way to overcome is with that first step. Sexual assault and harassment is NEVER OK. I do not care how much you have had to drink or who you were with or whatever bullshit excuses you can come up with. Harassment and assault is not justifiable. Women are never asking for nor do they ever deserve it.

2)  Forget about what you see in the movies or read in books. Very rarely does Hollywood get it right.

3) In order to effectively  change, we need to redefine what it means to be a man. Do not give into gender stereotypes. DO NOT teach your children about gender stereotypes. Should you be fortunate to have a young daughter, do not teach her that if a man a boy picks on her, he likes her. Should you be fortunate to have a young boy, teach him about respect.

4) This may be the biggest one of all, call it out when you see it. Tell whoever it is who that is doing it, that it is unacceptable. This will be the toughest one of all. You may lose some friends and you might even make some enemies, but the world will be a better place for it

By no means will this put an end to sexual assault and harassment but it is a start and it is my pledge to all women.

To the women who took the time to share #MeToo. I thank you for your bravery, I thank you for your honesty and I believe you.

In Unity,

Sean Vanderklis

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