At the time of my writing This Week’s Thoughts, another powerful man has been accused and accepted some responsibility for sexual harassment and assault—Matt Lauer (the now former “Today Show” anchor.) This morning a statement was issued by Lauer, which read in part, “As I am writing this I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC. Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed.”
This latest incident adds to the growing list of men in the public eye—whether politicians, actors, journalists, comedians—accused of sexual harassment and assault. Some have been fired or their shows have been cancelled, immediate consequences have been felt. Others still occupy places of power.
These incidents don’t just occur in Hollywood, D.C., or New York. These stories are all too common. The truth is that most women have our own stories about sexual harassment and assault. These aren’t incidents that happen in isolation in halls of power somewhere in the distance. These incidents happen everywhere all the time. This is a societal issue that we are not immune to contemplating even in our small town of Colchester, CT.
Perhaps all these incidents coming to light will finally lead to a sea-change. A paradigm shift. A moment of transformation for our culture. Perhaps we’re finally talking about sexual harassment and assault in a way that shows its pervasiveness. Perhaps we’re realizing that we must shift our culture. Instead of just teaching our girls how to not get assaulted, we must teach our boys to not assault. Instead of victim shaming, we must listen to the stories. It takes a great deal of courage (and yes sometimes years due to trauma and fear) to share these painful stories. May we listen. May we have the hard and necessary conversations about this important topic.
As we begin Advent on Sunday, contemplating the theme of hope—the potential transformation of our culture is giving me hope today. Where are you finding hope?
(This Week’s Thought 11.30.17)