“Ughhhhhhhhhhh.” This is me last week, talking with a friend about the state of our country. “What we need is a revolution,”
“There’s one happening right now!” he said.
He’s right. I was going to write about blowdryers. But there is a revolution happening and I want to talk about it, so blowdryers will just have to wait.
This period we’re in is simultaneously beautiful and horrifying. For a potentially brief moment, victims have a voice and sexual predators are being brought to light. It’s a momentous, revolutionary time. But…
Yeah. Don’t get comfortable just yet. There’s a few things I really want us to think about.
Now before we get into it, I want to be really clear that this is such an enormous, weighty, painful, evil, frightening, topic. I am sick to my stomach daily and I can only imagine how deeply triggering this must be for so many victims. I don’t want to be just another internet troll spewing my useless opinions out into the vast internet and then feeling like I made the world a better place. I want a world free of sexual assault and I know it will take more than a blog post. It will take…I don’t even know.
But I do believe that the way we think can influence the choices that we make. So all I am sharing today are some opinions on how we can reshape our thoughts. Please take my opinions with a grain of salt. As we say in Al-Anon, take what you like and leave the rest. I honor your thoughts and feelings just as they are.
1. Watch your language
Cultural training is a pretty amazing thing. Just like I learned about some of the sneaky ways we as a culture use our words and actions to treat women like marriage legitimizes them, I recently noticed a sneaky way we as a culture use language to minimize sex crimes.
If you read the news, all of these crimes are being reported as “sexual harassment,” “sexual misconduct” and “inappropriate behavior.”
I’ve never thought about those words until I really thought about them and then all of the sudden, I was like:
Yeah, so let’s think about this.
Is there any other crime you can think of that is treated that way? When your wallet is stolen, is it referred to as property harassment? If someone punches you in the face, is it called physical misconduct? If you’re hit by a car, is the driver responsible for inappropriate driving?
So why are we using these words to describe a heinous, violating, disgusting crime?
I have been so guilty of using those softer words because that’s all I hear. But no more, thank you very much. Now I will call it what it is.
2. Expect more
In case you missed it, Louis CK is one of the latest criminals to be caught. I paid attention more closely two reasons:
One – Goddamit, I loved him. Best Friend: Partner In Crime and I even took a road trip once to go see him.
And two – he owned it right away. It was pretty interesting to see people’s reactions to his apology. I heard a lot of kudos for being honest and wholeheartedly apologizing.
I get it. It’s pretty refreshing to have someone straight up and immediately say “These stories are true.”
But I’m sorry, it’s not enough. Apologizing after you got caught is just not enough. Just like we need to stop saying a sexual crime is harassment, we need to stop patting these predators on the back when they only come forward after it’s too late.
The real revolution starts when these criminals come forward on their own because they understand how much damage they’ve done.
3. We have to talk about rehabilitation
I love that we’re finally angry at sexual predators. It’s HUGE.
But at some point soon, we all need to start talking what’s next, because we can’t sustain anger for forever. If we don’t continue the process, we’ll burn out and move on. And if we move on, then we lose all the good that’s happening right now.
It’s such a heavy concept. But it’s one that we suck at. We love to banish people so we don’t have to deal with them. We cut them out of our social media, we send them to prison, we boycott their work, we strip them of their rights. All necessary things, at times. But not every time, for all time.
Sometimes, we have to put in more work.
I believe people need the opportunity to truly make amends and rehabilitate themselves. Without this piece, in my opinion, no one can truly heal or grow.
Am I saying that Louis CK and all these other monsters should ever be allowed to be public figures again? Absolutely never. I think all of them should spend the rest of their days washing dishes and being grateful that they’ve been given a second chance. But I think rehabilitation needs to be part of the conversation that we’re all having. For these predators, but also for all the people that have done us wrong, even that annoying Aunt that you unfriended last year after the election.
Thanks for making it through this with me, adulters. I know this was a heavy one. But those things in particular have been weighing heavily on me recently and I felt like I needed to say them. What are your thoughts? What can we do to make sure this revolution isn’t just a passing phase? How can we learn and grow and make tomorrow a better, safer place?
Now get back out there and keep fighting the good fight, you adult!