Tudie Rose and Molly A. Kerr were discussing the #MeToo hashtag campaign around the heritage dining room table – a place where at least 5 generations have counseled together. We were debating the pros and cons, and wondering if it would actually do any good. Together, we’d like to share our thoughts – since we’re from two different generations and not in total agreement.
As background, an explanation from Wikipedia as of 11/14/17 21:30 PDT:
“Me Too” (or “#MeToo”, with local alternatives in other languages) spread virally as a two-word hashtag used on social media in October 2017 to denounce sexual assault and harassment, in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein. The phrase, long used in this sense by social activist Tarana Burke, was popularized by actress Alyssa Milano, who encouraged women to tweet it to publicize experiences to demonstrate the widespread nature of misogynistic behavior.
Since then, millions of people have used the hashtag to come forward with their experiences, including many celebrities. [footnotes removed]
From Molly A. Kerr (Late child of Generation X)
The goal of this hashtag campaign is to start a conversation to get people thinking, to possibly, change the world we live in. I briefly shared on my personal Facebook feed:
“Me too. I have been sexually harassed/ assaulted. For all the wonderful, loving men out there who care about the women in their life: I hope this campaign gives you the courage to stand up for all women.”
In many ways, I was relieved to open the discussion. Glad that we can finally acknowledge verbally the elephant in the room, so to speak. I dated a guy in college who asked me if I had ever been sexually harassed or assaulted because it seemed every girl he dated had been.
[Pause – let’s think about this for a moment. Has EVERY woman been subjected to this kind of behavior?] It is crazy to me that we continue to fight for equal pay, our seat at the table, or our place in the boardroom – and yet we haven’t accomplished the first goal – to be treated as more than cattle.
My experiences, thankfully, have not been as traumatic as my fellow sisters in this world. However, I still felt the obligation to later share in my Facebook feed a short description of the challenges I have faced. I want to enable those who are truly suffering to seek help if they need it, and know that they aren’t alone.
As I hear some of these stories, I am overcome with gratitude for the life I’ve been given. For parents and teachers and friends who defended me and protected me as much as they could. I hope that people are honest in their confessions and stories, and don’t accuse good men for their own personal gain – because that only diminishes justice for actual victims. And I pray that through sharing our stories and speaking out in the moment that things go wrong, my children and their cousins will never experience these things.
But how will it change things? Are we preaching to the choir? Will our Human Resource directors get better training? Will we teach our children differently? Now that we’ve shared our stories, so what? Let’s not make this a normal female conversation where we vent, then walk away. What is our action?
From Tudie Rose (Middle of the Baby Boomer Generation):
Are we just venting? Is the #MeToo campaign a call to action, or are we opening our lives up to scrutiny and victimization? Is it fair that after we’ve been victimized over and over again that we now have to expose those private, embarrassing, and often traumatic moments to the world through social media? Once it is out there, it can never be taken back. What will the long-term backlash be?
When a woman is looking for a job, will prospective employers read those #MeToo posts and wonder whether she can work with men on the job? Will they make judgments as to the validity or lack of validity of those claims?
Will human resource people and legal departments assess the #MeToo posts in light of possible future liability in sexual harassment claims? In summary, will this very public campaign come back to bite us?
I don’t know the answers to the questions posed above. Unlike my daughter, Molly, I did not post about my own experiences on social media. Do not assume that I do not have stories to tell—as they do exist. I might have even written a blog post about one particular experience in my past—although I may have just thought about it. I didn’t do the research to verify.
One thing I know for sure. If and when I decide to share anything of a private nature, it will be because I feel prompted by the Spirit to do so; not because I get caught up in a social media campaign and feel peer pressure from others.
Having said that, we all must begin taking responsibility for our actions; male and female. Sexual harassment is a horrible thing—and it happens from both genders. As with everything else evil in the world, those who do these things have no shame.
We are living in a generation totally devoid of integrity and honor. Until we begin to teach our children honor, integrity, the sacred nature of our bodies, and The Family: A Proclamation to the World, we will not turn the corner and get a handle on the unspeakable behavior alive in the world today.
From both of us:
Are we starting a movement or are we victimizing ourselves all over again? And what do we plan to do about it?
Molly A. Kerr
Molly is on a life long quest to figure herself out. Born to be and educated as an aerospace engineer she is also blessed to be a wife and a mom of two in the present, previously served as a full-time missionary, is consistently called to teach the youth in her ward, is eagerly though slowly doing home improvement as money and time allow, all while gradually learning how to be herself and find peace and balance somewhere in between. Despite her attempts to make “the right” decisions in her life, she has learned to deal with some unexpected challenges over the last two decades. Total tornadoes, really. What she has discovered is that her career has taught her a lot about the Gospel and being a better mother, and the Gospel, when applied to challenges at the office, has made her a better professional. She has also learned that it is okay to be herself, and God still loves (and forgives) her for it.