The #MeToo Movement And Why It Matters

The #MeToo Movement And Why It Matters

"Sexual assault and domestic violence are difficult things to talk about. Talk about them anyway." - Mariska Hargitay
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#Metoo has become an anthem in society today as a rallying cry for victims of sexual violence as they join the ever-increasing number of women and men who are coming forward to report sexual abuse. The Me Too movement actually began over 10 years ago as a movement to empower women of color from poor communities to speak out.

This year, the movement was bolstered when People magazine honored some of these whistle blowers as they named the Silence Breakers as person of the year. Musicians, engineers, actors, and laborers have come together and found that they share an unfortunate experience. These brave individuals who came forward to report their abuse opened the door to not only open a dialogue but to create a culture of acceptance and decriminalization for victims of sexual violence.

Harvey Weinstein was well known for his sexual exploitation in Hollywood, but people just accepted that if you wanted to be successful, you had to “pay your dues.” It was a source of awkward comedic material at the 2013 Oscar’s when Seth MacFarlane joked about Weinstein’s abuse of young women in the movie industry. However now that the flood gates have been opened for disclosing abuse, it is no laughing matter.

Many well known and loved celebrities, politicians, business men, and news anchors have been exposed for their sexual misconduct. People who were abused for years kept their silence because we live in a culture that historically does not protect victims of sexual violence. In isolation, one person’s voice is easily ignored. All of them together can not be so easily silenced.

This newfound kinship among victims is empowering as we push for social change to hold sexual offenders accountable. While we aren’t seeing prosecution in the high profile cases yet, many offenders are losing their careers which is helpful to reduce their access to future victims. In the past, the victims were the ones to pay the price for not “going along with” the program. Things that once would have seemed ridiculous are no longer shocking. Matt Lauer having a button to lock women into his office, Roy Moore being banned from a mall for soliciting teenaged girls, and even Charlie Rose walking around naked on set of the PBS news show are just not shocking anymore.

These victims are finally being believed. Even the President of the United States was elected in spite of his own admissions of grabbing women inappropriately and boasting of taking advantage of women. But several brave women have still come forward to tell their stories and are calling for Congress to investigate the allegations.

#Metoo is a battle cry that will continue to pick up more followers. Time magazine’s cover purposely omits the face of one of the women to represent the face of more women who are yet to come forward. The stigma of being a victim is finally being replaced with accountability of offenders. Thank you Silence Breakers for opening the door for others.

Cover Image Credit: Long Reads

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
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What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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Women Aren't As Hard To Please As You Men Think

An open letter to all men.

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Understanding a woman isn't rocket science. Pay attention to what we say and give us a little help around the house and we will be less of a mess.

Women, especially moms, have a million different things running through their heads at any given time. It's easy for us to get flustered and out of sorts when the plans in our head don't work out the way we intended.

If you men see us running about or in a hurry don't just watch us or stand by. Ask how you can help, and then do it. Nothing drives us crazier than someone asking what we need help with and then ignoring it or deciding that it can wait. If you don't plan to follow through, don't bother asking in the first place.

Trust me, if you follow through with helping us out we will definitely be thankful. Pleasing us isn't always about gift giving or taking us places. Simple things can make us happy.

If we're having a hard day offer a foot rub or cuddles on the couch watching our favorite mushy movie. Take the time to listen to us and hear our problems, even if it about the same girl at work that we can't stand and you've heard it before. We don't expect you to be Mr. Fix It, just listen. We just want to be heard by you.

Flowers for no reason other than just because is always a nice gesture. Flowers don't always mean that you're in the doghouse or it's our birthday. We like pretty things.

If we're having a bad week and get grumpy don't get grumpy back. We have millions of hormones float ing around our body and what they make us do or say is not always our fault. Give us chocolate or ice cream and we'll chill out.

Another tip, Most women like to make a list of things that we do during the day just to keep us on task. If you can find the list then take a couple of the tasks and do them. Even if it is as simple as dropping the dog at the vet or picking up a gallon of milk on the way home.

And, say thank you! We like to know that we are appreciated.

I can't stress this enough and it's an important one. If you're one of those men that require praise for every little thing that you do, like taking out the garbage or doing the dishes, get over yourself. Women do enough and we don't expect a thank you for everything. We're adults and taking care of things in everyday life is just natural for us.

If a thank you was given for everything that's all we would ever hear.

So, just to sum up, APPRECIATE your woman, LISTEN to her. HELP her. With all the things that we do for men and our children don't take us for granted, we don't deserve that. A little appreciation goes a long way.

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