The #MeToo campaign has stirred the pot this week for lots of women.
On a walk a few days ago, I came across an old van at the end of our road where it meets the much busier highway. I found myself immediately slowing down, all my senses on high alert. “Was there someone in the van? If so, who? And why was he parked there?” I also checked to see if there were cars coming and how far away the nearest house was.
When I arrived home from my walk, I decided to ask my husband some questions. “Do you ever feel anxious when unknown cars slow down when you are out walking alone?” was my first question.
His answer, “No.”
And that is the problem. I’m imagining that most women would answer quite differently. Women have become hyper-sensitized to even ordinary events like cars driving slowly or someone following too closely on the sidewalk at night. And for good reason. We live our lives this way because sexual harassment and sexual assault happen regularly – they are real dangers and never far from our awareness.
The poet Nayyirah Waheed writes:
all of the women
I think that speaks the truth for many. However, what we’re seeing this week is the conversation being opened up in profound ways. There is a new belief being born: a belief that talking about our experiences and standing together will make a difference.
I’m imagining what life would look like without the belief that men can be dangerous and we need to be on our guard. I imagine we would all feel a freedom and spaciousness that could change the world.
And that is exactly why the talks we’re having this week are so so important.