The Decade of Respecting Women

I have lost count of the number of times I have logged on to social media and seen a woman explaining a nerve-wracking encounter with a man. It may be about trying to avoid harassment in a parking lot or hearing degrading comments about the day’s outfit. The point is-- all are equally frustrating. So why is it that have we not done anything to limit, or maybe even prevent, situations like this? 

The biggest issue with these types of social media posts is that men feel women are attacking their gender as a whole, or that all men are predatory and intimidating. I see furious comments claiming that the world still holds “good men”. While that is phenomenal news, those are not the men that are being targeted in these posts. 

The men we worry about are the ones that harass us in our direct messages, even when repeatedly being asked to stop. We worry about the guy at the party who dances a little too close after being averted throughout the night. We worry about the men that freely walk away from consequences of inexcusable actions, who feel no remorse for the women they may have traumatized. 

Rather than defending the “poor guy” whose reputation would be rightfully soiled, consider taking a stand with the women who fight to be treated with civility. One does not need to have a daughter or a sister to recognize an individual being treated insufficiently. Your concern for the wellbeing of another human being should not end at your bloodline. 

If you see a woman in a distressful situation, attempt to alleviate it. Perhaps you search for her friends or you decide to directly intervene. If the scene is more serious, you may find it beneficial to call an outside resource for help. The worst-case scenario could be a misreading of the situation and an apology for interfering. At best, you could have prevented a grave incident that may have reshaped how a woman sees both herself and her surroundings. 

Whatever you do, do not just watch. To stand there idly and silently while watching the situation unfold is to accept the awful way women are treated. Do not fall prey to the status quo that forces women to tolerate disrespect while suppressing their voices. In this decade, we will back women that rebel against this outdated institution, and we will shout for the respect that they so rightfully deserve. 



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