The 5th is for Flowers
It takes courage.
It takes courage to risk everything to speak up about sexual harassment.
Don’t believe me?
Just think about how long the 46 women who are accusing Bill Cosby stayed silent. It is a powerful message to now see them banded together in the New York Magazine’s cover this week.
I don’t know Lalita Amos, but her Twitter post raises a sobering point: “Why, though, did it take all those women before we believed the first one?”
I completely agree. Women (and men!) have had the legal right to be treated with respect since the 1964 Civil Rights Act. More than 5 decades later, we should have figured out how to make this a reality.
Just one woman needing to step forward about her sexual harassment is too many and just one woman speaking out should be enough to put an end to the behavior (note, I did not say the offender’s career).
Then again, let’s take it one step further. Just one act of sexual harassment is too many and the first report should be enough to end the behavior (note again, that I am focused on ending the behavior, not the offender’s career).
If it takes numbers to convince people that this type of offensive behavior is happening, how can we help women who are victims of sexual harassment or sexual assault come together to support one another?
This has major implications.
- The sooner women can come together, the sooner we realize the offense is not our fault.
- The sooner we externalize the issue, the sooner we find courage to speak out.
- The sooner we speak out, the sooner we can fix the behavior, together, and for all involved – from a point of love and healing, not hate or revenge.
- Sooner is better – If the interpersonal interventions don’t work, there is a VERY short statute of limitations for filing on these offenses.
However, it is REALLY challenging for women who have been victimized to find each other. First, you have to have courage to admit this happened. It sounds easy, but it is in reality very difficult to do. Then, if you can overcome that, you have to trust that the person you open up to is someone who can be an ally. Then once you find each other, you have to figure out what resources are out there to help you cope with your own hurt and then to deal with the process of changing the behavior. Then you have to take into account the cost of accessing those resources.
But really, the first step is to find allies. So, here is my idea…
On the 5th day of every month, if you know yourself to be a victim of sexual harassment, buy yourself a flower or a bouquet of flowers and put them on your desk. Wear a new flower dress. Put a flower in your hair.
Then as others know that the 5th is for flowers, perhaps there is an opportunity for you to find support, comfort.
On my journey to find justice and peace, it has been very surprising to me how many people have shared their story once I shared mine. The community has been both comforting and empowering.
The road to finding peace again will be different for all of us, but at least we won’t be alone.
Take Courage. Bloom.
It doesn’t just happen to women… Read one man’s story…
Not sure which flowers to get? Perhaps this can help…
Act from a point of love and healing, rather than revenge or hate? Do you agree?