We watched powerful women walk this year’s Annual Golden Globe Awards adorned head to toe in black; an elegant display of support for the #MeToo movement founded by Tyrana Burke nearly ten years ago. I watched in shock as my husband scrolled through the Golden Globe pictures – red carpet photo albums aren’t normally his thing. But his favorite Stranger Things cast was among the dressed-in-black Hollywood stars, so it was click bait.
What surprised me the most was his continued gravitation to the topic and discussion. I must admit, even as a woman, I was less interested than he. A week later as I push my own #metoo experience and thoughts around the subject to the side and resurface to join the rest of the world in the conversation, controversy over the topic abounds: from the public letter signed by more than 100 French women, including actress Catherine Deneuve, denouncing support of the movement to Liam Neeson calling the movement a ‘witch hunt’, and then pendulum swinging to Time Magazine announcing the “Silence Breakers”, those who have spoekn out against thier accusors, as Time’s Person of the Year, tensions boil and jeopardizes the focus of the conversation altogether.
#MeToo Controversy Leads to Change
Whichever side of the controversy we are currently situated, there are notably three things we must remember – of all controversy; in life, at the workplace disagreements and coups, in the general public movements.
Controversy pulls back the blinders from our eyes, the shutters from our dark castles and shines a light into a reality and truth that is more dangerous when laid dormant.
Ten years ago I was waking up early to join day workshops at Ridgeview Behavioral Hospital in Atlanta Ga. I met many women in the woman’s center, some of whom were admitted for overnight treatment and others who took the day workshops for longer than I. We shared very similar situations. Loss of control over ourselves and our futures. Many displayed this loss in the form of risky behavior, some displayed this through eating disorders and some in deep-set emotions that would rage through their systems like a Tsunami until they were no longer functional. We were all in our twenties and we all kept a secret. #MeToo.
However many young women I met at Ridgeview, it still did not settle with me that those who have been abused or assaulted could ever lead a normal life. The secret we hold is damaging. Always seeping into our lives at the most inopportune times. A piece of ourselves stolen from someone else who felt they had the right to do with someone else’s life and body what they wished. I met women who had far larger significant and traumatic events happen to them than I. And I walked away from my experience thinking, mine was not as bad, shut up and sit down.
This controversial topic of #metoo, pulls back the heavy curtain on so many stories. Some pale in comparison, but traumatic or even unwanted experiences cannot be quantified nor compared to other experiences. What an experience means to one person will vary to the next. I can’t speak for the thousands of women who have spoken out. I can not validate the magnitude or impact of these moments on their life. None of us can. We are biologically different and can never truly understand, even given similar circumstances.
What I do know is the following:
a. Sharing this secret, knowing that one is not alone in their pain gives freedom, safety, and power to the victim. I can’t explain why, perhaps because we are all connected and when something that is so taboo happens to a person, they feel as though they should be shunned by society. Set apart, cut off. Controversy lends ears to these secrets and frees that hiding in their dark castles, allows them to feel human and engaged again.
b. Regardless of any one person’s perception of the issue, the very real reality of deep-seated issues like this, is they are more dangerous when laid dormant. When abusers are not held accountable they are free to continue believing that they have authority to damage another person. When laid dormant, the victims internalize the issue and scientifically perpetuate the issue, either by a destruction of their own lives or becoming the abuser in another’s life. It is a generational issue that continues until it’s brought to light.
Nothing in this world is ever black and white. Even the largest injustices have to have checks and balances.
After going through a few pages of a google search on #MeToo, it is clear we are divided on the issue. For very logical reasons, some worry that this has the potential to become a Salem Witch Trial. Even as a #MeToo club member, if you can call it club – more like a prison, my hesitation from the very moment I was sitting up in my bed trying to avoid the conversation with my husband as he flipped through the black elegant dresses of the Golden Globes, was driven by the fear that there will be people out there that take advantage of this and miss the focus entirely.
Large controversy creates a power divide and each side gains power in the struggle.
We have to throw some caution to the situation. Power and controversy on their own are not inherently evil or bad, but they do promote intense emotions and fears, heated debates and large movements. It is those that choose to wield that power and use it for one’s personal agenda are the perpetrators of bad and evil. There will be those types of people on both sides of this battlefield.
People will be unfairly accused and victims will go unfairly damned to continue hiding in their dark castles and prison. Many businesses will pop up in this movement for profit, some misguided, some genuine; training, seminars, workbooks, etc. And those that have been abusers may not always be convicted to change, they may get more powerful.
Deeper still, movements like these need to be in the light. Conversation and debate allow the general public to think through these issues on a social level and begin in their very small worlds to do something about it. Regardless of perceived magnitude, the public has spoken … they do not desire this any longer, for their mothers and daughters, and it’s okay for controversy to abound. When it does, larger conversations are held. To protect all involved, rather than a mass hysteria and mass accusations, checks and balances need to be in place.
True change will happen locally, internally, thoughtfully over time.
Controversy Leads to Change in a multitude of facets of our lives
I love controversy. Not fighting, not arguing, but debate. Such controversy held on such a large scale seeps into everything we do. This movement has begun to change the way that industry and companies respond to employees, culture and even marketing strategies. We hear, see and in return will do things differently as these changes occur. We will take items from work back to home.
We will approach our daughters differently who will grow to approach society and work culture differently. Each small change creating a butterfly effect.The world is changing, as it does every decade. It is the inevitable that has existed only to aid in our evolution and survival. Without change, we are stagnant and rot. Imagine what world we would be living in if we continued to live and exist as we did in the first 100 years of our history. What would that mean for you specifically?