Yesterday I wrote that the one way to gain any good out of the rolling clown car that has been the Herman Cain candidacy would be if we use this opportunity to get more honest about how frequently girls and women face harassment and/or assault.
The truth is that I don’t think most men have any idea how prevalent it is. How often our muscles tense, the kinds of calculus we must do before walking down that street or past that co-worker, the sheer reality of our very gender being used against us as a weapon. A tool of control. A platform from which to declare victory or dominance.
So I just tweeted the following:
Dear men: Please turn to a woman who loves & trusts you today & ask one question: “Have you ever been harassed?” Then just sit & listen.
But I think it would really powerful to have something to share, something like the post I did back when I asked my fellow white Americans to sit and listen to black folks’ responses to watching the President of the United States being forced by a racist huckster to show his papers.
If you have a story to tell about harassment or assault, I’m asking you to do so here (men, too). This will not be a space in which your sincerity or the truth of your story will be doubted (and should we garner any such replies, they will be ruthlessly slapped down by me), and of course, it’s the internet — you may be an anonymous as you like.
But please – let’s talk. Let’s tell the truth. Only in telling the truth will we be able to change the reality.
UPDATE: It occurs to me to provide this information as well – For an online hotline for assault/abuse survivors, click here; telephone hotline here: 1-800-656-4673.
ANOTHER UPDATE: I’ve also started a thread for men’s stories – for that, click here. I believe that the differences in our experiences make separate threads a good idea — a better way to honor and respect the differences in our realities — but our stories share many elements, and we are wise to not just talk among ourselves, but also to listen to each other.