My thoughts on the ‘me too’ Facebook campaign
Something interesting is happening with the ‘metoo’ Facebook campaign.
The rage of the silenced majority is rising in the hope that the cry of ‘no more’ will facilitate much needed change in our numb acceptance of a rather sick status quo around sexual abuse and misuse of power.
It comes as no surprise to anyone when the story of widespread sexual abuse by powerful elite in the entertainment industry is highlighted by recent events. In response to which, women have started to post ‘me too’ as part of their Facebook statues. A sign of solidarity with those brave enough to break the silence created by shame and to hope to bring more awareness to this distortion in all parts of society that places inequality at it’s root.
There are several issues here, the first and obvious one is the glaring necessity for an arguable pointless Facebook statement trend ‘here today, forgotten tomorrow’ to expose the widespread sickness of our society’s attitude towards each other as people of equality and uniqueness.
It is a sad truth that one can fundamentally state that all women have experienced sexual harassment of some sort, mostly from men.
In fact, the level of this distortion is such that it has become so ‘normal’ that we don’t even recognize it anymore as happening or as abusive. It has become a ‘normal fact of life’ as if similar to having to deal with the presence and effects of mosquitoes if one found oneself living in a swamp.
In my classes and workshops, where this topic arises as part of the course, it is fundamentally important to recognise the association we have with the ‘normality’ our society conditions us with around this state of being.
We learn that the distortion is normal and to be expected, perhaps even caused by us personally.
Conditioning like this is deeply disempowering and wounding, confusing the instinctual responses, and creating the ‘freeze’ reaction which resides in the physical/emotional body and often manifests in our sexual and heart energy.
Furthermore, this systematic distortion has the ability to undermine our capacity to listen to and respond from our authentic ‘yes and no’ which is the guiding principle for all really free and consensual sexual and physical interaction between people.
Creating deeper states of mistrust, hate, rage and victimhood, as well as increasingly stronger forms of abuse which occasionally shock us out of the numbness caused by the ‘normal’ of the distortion, this state of affairs also numbs our deep feeling empathic compassion that also marks our human nature.
It is not so much a question of ‘me too’ and a surprise at the prevalent distortion of sexual energy and behavior in our culture and lives, as a recognition of where this occurs in all it’s forms on a daily basis.
From the percentage of people who have had to endure sustained, repeated rape and sexual abuse in all it’s forms (physical, emotional and mental), to ‘one off’ date rape, through to the unfortunate universal experiences of being grabbed, touched, groped, spoken to inappropriately, exposed to uninvited sexual images or behavior that is ‘taking’ in it’s nature, to feeling unsafe in all or some social/’normal’ situations (walking down the street doesn’t have to be daunting only at night now in many cities), to being shamed , ridiculed, undermined and devalued on the grounds of your gender and sexual life-force energy.
And yes, all these are gradients of abuse and lack of safety and wellbeing. And yes, all of them are important to be addressed.
Finally, this conditioning so normal in our society and lives creates the minefield of mind loops that starts to interpret people, rightly or wrongly, from the them-and-us point of view. This creates more wrongful ‘otherness’ and contributes to the separateness that is the underlying cause of the distortion to begin with.
This brings me onto the second point I would like to highlight here.
And this is that men, and people identifying as women or non-gender identified are also abused and harassed, also mainly (though not solely) by men and somehow we are not so comfortable with this part of the story. Why is this? Why the need to hold on to the position that only we women, ‘only me and not them’ are hurt by this system, or indeed, the widespread ‘my wounding is worse then yours’ dynamic that is highlighted by the metoo# backlash. Are men allowed in our circle of truth speaking as equals?
Instead of the welcoming inclusion of all aspects of the sickness caused by the distortion of our conditioning expressing, instead of also having a willingness to look at where we in fact may be colluding or contributing to the abusive behavior, we create a condition in which greater separation between people into the camps of ‘them and us’/ ‘victim-perpetrator’ is manifesting.
Facebook and conversations in women circles are, in reaction to the ‘me too#’ campaign, full of outcries against men who post that they too belong to the ‘me too’ group as this somehow is said to ‘water down’ the importance of the message and the highlighting of the problem. But it just isn’t as simple as that.
There are rallying cries to the ‘brothers’ to step up and intervene, educate the ‘other men’ and examine all the ways in which they themselves still contribute to and collude with the discrimination against women caused by the distortion.
And indeed, this would be a great step towards change, as there really are no excuses, no justifications, no way to ok or somehow blame the abused.
The problem is that it is only part of the solution and it slightly leaves women in the victim place, those who have been done to, which is, however counter intuitive, so much more comfortable then having to face the perpetrator part within us all.
For what this serious distortion of the ‘natural’ into what we consider the ‘normal’ creates, is the shifts into both the gross as well as the subtle forms in which the distortion expresses in us all.
Education and standing up against the gross forms as they happen: yes!
And this needs to come from women as well as men, from a place that stands with the abused or harassed, not against the perpetrator, from a place that is done without more ‘other making’.
If we are asking the men to educate, challenge and question the behavior of their fellow men, then where are the women, the mothers, daughters, sisters and lovers to do the same?
How we model for and educate our sons (and daughters), fathers, brothers, friends and lovers is a vital part of the change we wish to see, and we can not just leave it up to a part of the society to sort this out.
The subtle disempowerment we contribute to by asking ‘the men to sort out their problem’ missteps the place where we need to own full responsibility for where we contribute, perpetuate and collude with the status-quo of the distortion. I belief that together we can shift the gross forms of the distortion and contribute to real and lasting change into healthy and respectful consensual sexual behaviour amongst us all. It is time for the rising of the Healthy Village dynamic in us all.
I would like to invite us all to take the wake up call around the subtle forms of the distortion into the awareness of all the ways in which we create separation into them-and-us without respect and empathy, generosity and compassion. Could we be ready to take a look at the thought forms that allow us as women to speak derogatively of men, of the masculine and male sexuality and that fails to look at the ways in which we ourselves hurt, undermine, ridicule, belittle, emasculate, use and on occasion even abuse men?
Not as a distraction from the importance to the ‘me too’ campaign which is highlighting the widespread nature of the gross forms of distortion that are considered so ‘normal’ for most women, but because, if we really want to change the outer reality, we need to tackle the inner perpetuation of the distortion first.
It is time to step down from the higher moral ground that victimhood allows women to include all who suffer from this distortion, and ultimately this needs to include the men who perpetrate the gross acts of the distortion as well.
As women we need to be willing and courageous to look at the survival mechanisms we all employ to ‘hang in there’ (or better our positions) in the sick society we are a part of. It is time to seek the friendship of men and be the true partners we are asking them to be. By opening to and embracing the part of our self that is the abuser in which ever form, we can begin to make peace between inner abused and abuser and facilitate that manifestation in the outer world.
The time of making ‘other’, so that we can feel more empowered in our own identity from which we create ways of manifesting change that focus on ‘against’ rather then ‘with’ modus operandi, is a part of the distortion and needs to end if we truly choose to manifest the new ‘norm’ we are so desperate to see.
It starts with us, with me, owning the expression of the wounding of the distortion both as abused or harassed and as abuser and harasser. “ME TOO” in that sense is a way forward into the creation of the healing ways of love I choose to be a part of.