So, the last few weeks have been filled with news from Hollywood about Harvey Weinstein and the numerous women coming forward with a voice. I've had a lot of thoughts go through my head about it all... "What a disgusting man," "What brave women," "Are men really supporting him?"
Today, Twitter has been alive with the hashtag #metoo, started by Alyssa Milano and retweeted and answered hundred of thousands of times. So, I've been thinking about it and whether it would be something I would possibly retweet, and it brought up another thought. "Why do I have to even think about whether it's applicable?"
What does the #metoo include? I personally have two close friends who have been raped (that I know of). One by a boyfriend, one by a stranger. My beautiful friends are strong and amazingly courageous. They both have survived and shared their stories. I cannot even imagine the trauma and heartache that goes with that kind of experience.
However, just because I have not been attacked, does that exclude me from #metoo? What about every time I've had my bum grabbed in a club, or I've had men whistle at me when I walk past or try to grab me. What about any time I've been told to change because of where we were going and that I shouldn't show too much skin...
Everyday women are harassed, touched, put in danger for being ourselves. Why does society allow us to be groped, harassed and touched and the response is "what were you wearing?" Does it matter?
Does it matter if I've been drinking? Does it matter if it's hot and I'm wearing shorts and a tank top that exposes my shoulders? Does it matter that the bus or train is crowded and we are squashed close together? The answer to all these questions is a strong NO! There is never an excuse for touching or harassing a woman because she is a woman. There is never an excuse for making a woman feel uncomfortable in her own skin, to feel unsafe walking down the road, for being a woman.
Schooling systems are constantly having issues with dress code and deciding what is appropriate for girls to wear to school. They are not allowed wearing shorts, not allowed wearing tops that show their shoulders, nothing too tight, too low, too revealing. While I agree that schools are not a fashion show (I went to an all girls high school with a school uniform that still had rules), but what are we teaching our girls when we are taught not to dress like that instead of teaching the boys at school to respect women and not make them feel uncomfortable.
As a woman, we should be entitled to be comfortable in what we wear and how we present ourselves rather than being told to be careful that we are not a distraction to men.
So women, stand strong. Show the world that it is never acceptable to have to think twice about what you wear out. It is not acceptable that we should feel uncomfortable walking down the road. It is not acceptable, to be grabbed and groped in a crowd because of who you are and what you have been given by genetics.
I stand with those women and with the slogan #metoo and I hope this starts a dialogue towards change and attitudes towards women. There is an African saying that says "Wathint' Abafazi, Wathint' Imbokodo" and translates to, "you strike a woman, you strike a rock." So ladies, stand strong. The movement had unlodged a boulder, those against it will be crushed.