More than 500,000 women tweeted #metoo about unwanted sexual advances they suffered in the hands of men who do not respect the word NO. Their stories are stark, simple, and often disturbing.
And kudos to Sydney-based TV screenwriter, journalist and newspaper columnist Benjamin Law for starting the hashtag #HowIWillChange, calling men to think about their interactions with women.
You can follow Benjamin Law on Twitter here:
Law also suggested several ways men can be allies to women, including donating to local women’s shelters and supporting UN Women’s work around the world; acknowledging that friends and family can be perpetrators of sexual assault; and taking action to prevent sexual assault, rather than simply questioning it.
Now, think about the opposite scenario. As a man, Law could have gotten defensive and offensive about the mass media attack on men, and he could well have risen in defence of men (“Men suffer too”, “Not all men are rapists”, “Don’t jump on the bandwagon”, “Get a life”, etc etc etc) but in his infinite wisdom, this Australian had chosen a different way, namely to build bridges rather than create more divide in an already divided world.
This is in the same spirit as my thousands of posts here: communicate for a better world. Write (or share) on social media to unite, not divide. Use words responsibly.
Communication to bring about positive change is such an important topic yet it is not taught in schools and we grow up illiterate in this very important subject. Instead, we take to social media to vent away our inner rage (often for a totally unrelated cause), to create allegiances by dividing people into “Us” and “Them” camp game that we played as children, from our desperate need to be accepted, to building our social credentials by tying our wagon to a popular cause.
I always urge my teenage daughter, ‘Think about the TRUE reasons behind your words and more importantly, what are you trying to achieve????.”
Recently, at a football match, G’s team were pitted against a team which blatantly flouted the rules. The team fielded a few boys in what was meant to be a girls’ match, and they played dirty. I could tell she was itching to march over to the referee and call time on the match: she was captain and her girls were being pummelled.
At half time, I saw some intense discussions going on between her and her coach, but she returned to the pitch for second half with a stony expression. She and her band of girls played on valiantly, and after the match, they lined up and shook hands with the other team as if nothing was amiss.
And then they walked over to the coach of the other team and …. battle-weary, they had bowed to him respectfully, as per his culture. In that gesture, rather than slinging angry words, the girls have shown him their grace, their beauty and their sportswomanship, in the hope that he will say these words in his heart #IWillChange.