The Truth About Sexual Harassment and Why We Don't Tolerate It
Truth: Sexualized conversations in sacred communal pools rob others of their birthright to social, emotional, and physical safety.
This theft is called sexual harassment, and we need to talk about it.
For the first time last week, a conversation of this nature was brought to our attention.
The sexual harassment was with words, not actions. It was experienced mid-day. Others were present. Nobody was physically harmed. The language was not aggressive; on the contrary, it was meant to be fun and casual.
And yet, it happened. It must be named. It was sexual harassment.
Its pain was quick and lasting. Rippling not just for victims, but for all involved.
A man who is learning that the way he was taught to talk to, and about women has no place in society. That the jokes, invitations, comments, and even compliments about the bodies of strangers are gross, hurtful, uncomfortable, and entirely unwelcome.
He's becoming aware that a swimsuit is not an invitation to talk about a body.
That dirty jokes have no place in public settings. That sexual questions explode personal safety.
He's learning he sexually harassed two women in broad daylight.
He, sadly, is everywhere. He is in bars, restaurants, pools, gyms, and homes. He may even be you.
He lacks a great deal of awareness. He often has no idea who he is. When he is. Why he is. Yet his ignorance has consequences.
What else did we learn? That victims should trust their gut when harassment bubbles up. That others should listen in and step up. They tried to divert the discussion. They offered cues when comments fell flat. They found us when they needed help.
Powerfully, one victim spoke her truth and drew very clear boundaries.
Candidly, it's not a victim's job to hold the hand of a perpetrator and guide them to awareness. Yet in this instance, a bold woman did just that.
If you are in a social setting and witness this, silence isn't enough. IT'S YOUR JOB to shut this down.
If you cross a line and it's brought to your attention. Lean in, IT’S YOUR JOB to clean this up.
If you hold space for others in public settings, as we do, IT’S OUR JOB to intervene and create boundaries.
People, THIS IS OUR WORK.