I have been thinking a lot lately about the events transpiring in the media and around the world. I needed to understand it before I talked about it but the more I studied it, the more I became scared for my children.
As the parent of a strong, independent young woman, I want her voice to be heard. God forbid something happens to her but if it did - I want her to be able to rise up and speak her truth. And I want her to be believed. And not be afraid.
As the parent of a strong, independent young man, I want his voice to be heard as well. God forbid someone accuse him of doing something so foul - that he did not do - I want him to be able to rise up and speak his truth. And be believed. And not be afraid.
We cannot live in a society where a person’s gender determines his or her believability. My heart aches thinking that my daughter would experience a traumatic event and not be believed. And my heart aches thinking my son could be falsely accused but not receive a fair trial simply because of his gender.
We must tread lightly on this subject and try to set emotion aside in the search for the truth. Men and women alike deserve to have their truths be told and we cannot become a society where people are guilty until proven innocent. Facts never lie but facts often get lost in the shuffle of emotion.
Now- before you accuse me of not having empathy for victims of sexual assault, let me assure you that I understand exactly how they feel because I am a victim as well. A victim at the age of 13. By a family member. And my parents did nothing about it.
I understand what it feels like to be the victim. I understand what it feels like when no one wants to hear your voice. And I understand what it feels like to be a mom who now wants nothing more than to protect her children.
Instead of hating each other, let’s become a society where our validation comes from understanding each other’s beliefs. Let’s continuously seek the truth until we find the answers. Think to yourself: what if this was my daughter or sister? What if this was my son or brother?
Parents - raise your children to be strong and independent. Teach them respect. Male and female. There should be no gender bias on respect. Teach them to ask questions. Thomas Paine once wrote “question everything, even the existence of God”. Find your truth.
I am not saying if you are a victim of assault, that you must remain silent. Quite the contrary. If the battle is yours, then fight it and never give up hope. There are so many brave women stepping forward now who must be commended for their strength and perseverance. Their stories deserve to be heard and we are listening.
I am only cautioning you not to turn this into a witchhunt. Yes. I get it. There are horrible people in this world who do horrible things and for that - they deserve to be punished. But we cannot conclude that every person is bad because of the actions of a few.
Maybe the fault lies in us as parents. Are we teaching our young men how to be gentlemen? How to have respect for women? How to have respect for themselves?
I don't want my daughter to live in a world where she is scared to leave her home for fear of being harassed by someone. And I certainly don't want my son to live in a world where he cannot even pay a woman a compliment without fear of repercussions.
Let’s create a world where both our daughters and our sons will feel safe. And loved. And believed.
“The greatest of these is love”. Stop the hate.