Just yesterday, I was stopped by a man as I was getting into my car at the post office after having retrieved our family's mail. He was a little scruffy around the edges, an older man, driving a pick-up truck that made me believe he was possibly a farmer. He said, “Excuse me, are you listening to Kavanagh's statement? It's live right now on NPR.” I said that I hadn't been listening and thanked him for the reminder.
As I started to get into my car, he paused and said, “Just trying to be a good guy here; I want to say that I truly hope you have never had to face the trauma of sexual assault in your life. It's just wrong.” I thanked him kindly and he waved as he walked away toward the PO entrance.
I don't know how many women he had said that to already through out the morning, or how many more women he would approach as the day went on, or how many he will support as the weeks, the months, and the years go by, but I just want to say thank you, because what he did was truly heroic. How could he know that I would actually believe his intentions were pure? I could have dissed him, thinking it was just an opportunity to hit on me, but nevertheless, he persisted. And I believed him. Just as I believe women who come forward to talk about their traumas.
When I first set foot into high school, my father, a state judge by profession, sat me down and said, “Diana, it doesn't matter what you wear, it doesn't matter whether you consent to having sex at first and then change your mind, it doesn't matter if you are sitting on the edge of the bed naked and then say, ‘no.’ No matter what, if you are ever coerced into having sex with anyone for any reason, it is wrong and against the law. You have the right to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ at any time.”
And, because of my dad's insight and respectful mindset, I was able to stare potential sexual improprieties directly in the face on more than one occasion in my young adult life. It is by the grace of my father's words, and my ability to believe them, which allows me to say to this day that I have never had to ‘face the trauma of sexual abuse,’ as my farmer friend put it yesterday.
I reach out today with a plea, in a blog on my website which is usually focused on my children's books and professional services. My writing, multicultural by nature, is dedicated to preserving the balance of rights for all humans, and so too are my services as a meditation instructor and conflict resolution specialist. As such, it seems appropriate for me to post this plea here. It's vitally important, and I ask you to share this post with everyone you know, so that the good men in our society may read it and find a way to pass my dad's wisdom on to their daughters and sons, their spouses and partners, their sisters and cousins, their mothers and grandmothers, for the benefit of all.
This message is crucial, for it helps us to change an archaic mindset that benefits no one. And it is just a mindset, one that says it's okay for men to overpower women. We can change that mindset, but we must do so in an empowering way. And, we as strong and balanced women must celebrate the awesome, respectful, and wonderful men in our lives, in our society.
So, here is my plea: I implore you, as great men in our society, to speak out against sexual abuses and help us change the current mindset, and I implore you, as great women in our society, to acknowledge great men, their caring intentions, and their good mindsets.
I'm happy to kick it off right now: I am so profoundly grateful to my father for having such a positive mindset, and the smarts and courage to voice it to me as a teen. It was a huge life-gift he gave me, and because of him, I am fortunate enough to have found my way to a great, respectful and amazing life-partner, Nick.
Thank you, Dad, you are truly a great man. ❤️
**NOTE: This was a post I originally placed on Facebook the day of the hearing on Kavanaugh’s defense of Dr. Ford’s sexual assault testimony. To see comments on that Facebook post, go to my Facebook page.