Hello SINful friends. It’s been awhile. Things have happened. Okay, that’s being unnecessarily understated; a whole lot of shit has gone down. We survived the first year with a potentially unhinged, confirmed liar “in charge” of the country. We saw a huge backlash against men who are in positions of power and who sexually abuse and harass other people. We saw the #MeToo movement resurrected ten years after it began, and with it came an unveiling of far more predators that we knew (although many suspected) in the public at large.
Knowledge without action, however, is much like potential energy; until something changes, it’s just … waiting. Yes, men like Matt Lauer and Kevin Spacey and Danny Masterson lost their jobs, but less publicly known men are still out there in power harassing and abusing men and women in industries outside the media. Men who are Shift Managers at grocery stores, or retail outlets, or restaurants, or your local gym. Men who are principles at schools, or faculty at University. Men who are ballet instructors, or composers, or sports heath professionals, or doctors. With all these less publicly prominent men committing these crimes, something must be done. Action must be taken. The voices of victims must be heard, and empowered. The time is long past due. Enter the new movement and service, “Time’s Up”.
Time’s Up was started in direct response to and as a continuation of the #meToo movement. The nationally syndicated NPR program “All Things Considered” interviewed one of the prominent lawyers involved with Time’s Up for a spot that aired Tuesday, 2 January. Tina Tchen is a well respected and praised lawyer with experience before the Supreme Court, who also served as Chief of Staff to Michelle Obama during the Obama Administration. She is long-known for being an advocate and champion of equal rights for women, for the oppressed, and for the overlooked. With assistance from Ms. Chen and others, Time’s Up is being supported by the National Women’s Law Center for all legal matters related to those who are abused, those who report abuse, those who face retaliation for reporting their abusers, and more.
I do not identify as a woman, but that not should be a prerequisite component for lending support to Time’s Up and helping to spread the word. No human being deserves to be sexually harassed or abused. Every person is worthy of basic dignity and respect. Yes, being a member of the LGBTQUIA+ community affects my perception, in that I understand what it feels like to be dismissed, but I also acknowledge that I have the privilege of being a white male with a wife and family that allows me to “Pass” as a straight man. With this position comes the fact that people will listen when I speak, so I must use my voice to amplify those who are often hushed.
How do we know they’re hushed? Pulling from the Time’s Up site (on which the sources are referenced), consider these statistics:
* 1 in 3 women ages 18 to 34 have been sexually harassed at work.71% of those women said they did not report it.
* Nearly half of working women in the U.S. say they have experienced harassment in the workplace.
* Sexual harassment is pervasive across industries, but especially in low-wage service jobs. For example, more than 25% of sexual harassment charges filed with the EEOC in the last decade came from industries with service-sector workers.
*Research has shown that women in male-dominated occupations,especially those in male-dominated work contexts, are sexually harassed more than women in balanced or in female-dominated ones.
* Nearly 50% of men think women are well-represented in leadership in companies where only one in ten senior leaders is a woman.
* White non-Hispanic women are paid 81 cents on the dollar compared to white non-Hispanic men. Asian women are only paid 88 cents on the dollar. Black and Hispanic women are only paid 65 cents and 59 cents on the white male dollar, respectively.
These are all symptoms of a society that has, for centuries, devalued women while empowering men. This cannot be allowed to continue. The prevalence of abuse and harassment must end. The toxic hyper-masculinity culture that encourages men to “be strong” and to “man up” and to “take charge” and to “go get ’em” has led to an untenable social construct in which men are not allowed to be full and complete, emotionally healthy human beings. Men suffer from this. Women (and men who are not stereotypical “Manly Men”) suffer from this as victims of bullying, harassment, and abuse. With compassion, with education, with stern resolve, and with indefatigable commitment we can correct this injustice together, but the victims will need help. The victims have help.
Stay SINful, friends.