Not On Our Watch

What comes to mind when you hear a woman speak out about being a victim of sexual harassment or rape? Do you ask yourself…What was she doing there? Why did she wear that? Is she just looking for money or attention? These are just a few of the things that come to mind for many when a woman admits to being a victim.  From that point forward, every moment of her life is open to the scrutiny of the public.  Should our opinion of her be any different if she was a Sunday school teacher or a prostitute?  Are her past relations even relevant in determining if she was in fact attacked or not? Seems more like we want to know these things so we can justify why she “deserved” what happened to her.  Presidential hopefully, Herman Cain, has come under fire by four different women so far, claiming that he assaulted them.  Sharon Bialek, the fourth woman to come forward, gave a public statement and described in detail her version of what happened to her at the hands of Mr Cain.  On yesterday, Mr Cain gave his statement denying, not only acting inappropriately but also even knowing Ms. Bialek at all. After listening to his side of the story I realized that he reminds me of another man of questionable character, Clarence Thomas. Something in his tone, his dismissive and condescending way of basically stating that she was not even worth his recollection of her name was a slap in the face to all women.  Maybe from a businessman prospective he is a cool and calculated opponent. However, from a human perspective…he lacks that air of compassion which makes him appear more of a predator than anything.  When a woman has been victimized, one of her greatest fears is to be the one on trial as if she committed the crime. The fact that her past is laid on the table for the world to see is shameful and punishment all in itself.  Men in power positions have gotten away with improper behavior for years because who is going to believe a secretary over a CEO? Well sisters know that you are not alone…and as we grow strong and unite for what’s right we will send an indisputable message “Not On Our Watch!” 

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4 comments on “Not On Our Watch

  1. I watched Ms. Bialek give her statement, and to be honest, I judged her from the word “go.” I looked at her newly-curled extensions, her eagerness to read her written statement on camera, and her ‘Dr. Jekyll – Mr. Hyde’ switch from strong activist to victim when she began reading her recollection of the assault. Now don’t get me wrong – I’m no expert. However, I cannot observe a woman who suffered a traumatic event at the hands of a powerful man go from one extreme to the other without questioning whether or not she is worthy to be heard. Why dredge all of this up now? The facts state that she was given a settlement when it happened, so unless she was looking out for the interest of the American public by preventing a skeeze like Cain from being voted into office (which I doubt), I don’t see the logic in her coming forward. I think it must be said that I am not a Cain supporter. I would like for him to win the Republican nomination just to see President Barack Obama spank that a$$, but other than that, Cain and his past are both non-muthafu$&in’ factors. And that’s real – Obama AllTheWay!

  2. That’s an interesting response Daniel and I must say one that I think many of the public agrees with. What I think is most important is when you said you don’t see the logic in her coming forward now. I think if more people were educated in effects of trauma and the range of activities that can cause trauma (it’s different for everyone and can range from a short scare, to a helpless/hopeless feeling, to an outright fear for one’s life) we wouldn’t be so quick to judge anyone who makes a claim such as this. A good definition of trauma (or rather it’s effects) is the absence of logic. Trauma reconfigures the brain and unless dealt with and talked out it remains intact forever. It rears its head when the body is confronted with triggers and the victim finds no relief except through vocalizing what is happening or retelling their story. So it actually does make sense that all of this new attention on Cain would be a trigger and one that would cause her to find some support and relief by telling the story. It also makes sense that she would think that at least an admission and apology on his part would help her to feel better or at least to not feel like she’s crazy which is another common symptom of trauma. So in looking at it that way, her story appears to be true. On the other hand you could create a different story in your mind in which to judge her. You could think that she’s lying just to slander him. The point of my post is this, we don’t know what did or didn’t happen. What we do know is that each and every time we discount the story of anyone who claims to have suffered sexual assault or sexual harassment; past, current, and future victims are watching and listening closely and our negative reaction to every public story further isolates those victims and also makes what many perpetrators tell their victims come true…….no one will believe you. I think it’s time for us to err on the side of the victims rather than on the side of the perpetrators. What’s wrong with saying she could be telling the truth instead of instantly saying HE is telling the truth? That one simple change in though, action and speech provides support NOT for Bialek but for the millions of survivors that need to find relief and are afraid to do so.

  3. Society as a whole needs to change the things we find acceptable because this is definetly unacceptable #notonourwatch 🙂

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