I have discovered something more important to me than happiness: self-respect. Even on a bad day, a day when I am far from being my own biggest fan, my integrity can remain intact. That is the ultimate measure of myself, at the end of a day, and ultimately at the end of my life. It's not about what happens to me; it is always about how I respond.
Men, the challenge before us is not to just become more sensitive to how we act and speak around women. The challenge is for us to ask ourselves what the hell is wrong with us and to accept responsibility for doing whatever we need to do to be better. I am not talking about jumping on the first van to the next addiction treatment center; I am talking about doing whatever we need to do to become better people.
The bar for our gender has been set much too low for much too long. It is incumbent upon us to raise the bar ourselves, to hold ourselves and each other to a higher standard of what is really nothing more than being grownups.
I am not suggesting that we share guilt with assholes and sexual perpetrators in equal measure. I am only suggesting that we understand that if we do not see ourselves as part of the problem, we are unlikely to be part of the solution. Maybe the most someone is guilty of is seeing/hearing something inappropriate and not saying anything. I do absolutely believe there are things every one of us can do to make this world more respectful and safer – emotionally and physically – for our fellow human beings. And taking that on is not about blame at all, it is about responsibility.
Placing blame is sometimes very important.
Taking responsibility is always very important.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!