I want to talk about something serious for a minute.
First, I want to thank a man I admire. Dan Wells, author of “I Am Not a Serial Killer” and many other wonderful books, recently tackled this issue head-on in a blog post which you can read here on his site, fearfulsymmetry.net.
Dan, if you happen to read this, you are an incredible human being. Thank you for being you.
Now, back to what I want to say.
Sexual harassment, in all its forms, is a VERY serious issue and should always be taken seriously. I have mad respect for anyone, man, woman, both, or neither, who has the courage to come forward about it. I too take the stance that an accusation of this nature should always be believed and addressed.
Many industries are currently being inundated with reports of this sort of behavior on a wide scale. As a human being, this saddens me greatly. I don’t understand what has changed recently to empower victims to come forward, but I applaud them. Every. Single. One.
And before you go thinking that some of them could just be making stuff up, I want you to think again.
Okay, sure, false accusations do happen. I don’t understand why they happen, I don’t get what anyone would think they have to gain from such behavior. But I accept that it does happen.
With that being said, however, just because someone doesn’t believe they’ve been a harrasser, doesn’t make that true. You never know how your words or actions will affect another. I’m sure we would all like to think that if we’re making someone feel uncomfortable they would say something so we could stop. Unfortunately, if someone feels that uncomfortable, they are unlikely to confront us about it directly.
That’s the thing about fear. If we are behaving in such a way that we are inducing fear in others, then that same fear is going to prevent them from contronting us about it.
In most cases.
For myself, I’m taking this as an opportunity to re-examine my own behaviors and make changes to ensure that I’m not ever “that guy.” I don’t ever want to be the one making someone feel uncomfortable. I definitely don’t want to be the guy making someone feel unsafe or as though I’m expecting some kind of recompense for doing the things I do.
That’s not me. I hope it’s not you.
Finally, I would like to challenge anyone and everyone who may be reading this to not only be better in their own lives, but to encourage others to be better as well.
For me, “If you see something, say something,” is not an empty phrase. And it doesn’t always mean police involvement. If you can see that someone is making another person feel uncomfortable, please, for the love of whatever you choose to believe in, do something about it.
Now, I’m not saying to do anything physical. That is rarely (if ever) an appropriate response. Especially because, in my experience, 99 times out of 100, that person doing it doesn’t even realize what they’re doing. They are just being themselves and have no idea they’re having such a negative effect on someone.
So say something to them. Bring it to their attention. Be the force for positive change in someone’s life. We could all use a little bit more of that.
Also see Janci Patterson’s post about it here. She’s much more comprehensive (and specific) about it than I could ever be.
Thank you for reading.
Please feel free to share this with anyone who might appreciate it or need to hear it.