A perspective in the wake of #Metoo movement.
First of all, kudos to all the women, or I should say, all the people, who have come out open and are speaking up. Not being able to take a stand is morally suffocating to self. But I feel, it would be better if they speak about how they felt from the moment on they chose to come out and speak about what happened to them, rather than who should be punished. Now that they have gathered the courage to speak up, this is the moment of their success in overcoming what they could not do earlier.
The lessons for those who are not ready to speak up yet, could be:
Speak up for yourself when it is time. It is a different thing that you speak and not get enough support, than you keep mum. Because when you keep mum, three things happen that go against you: a) nobody knows about it. b) nobody knows what was your intention for not speaking up. c) whether you were victim or was it a mutually consensual agreement. By speaking up, you at least take a clear stand.
If you can’t muster the courage, then that’s what you need to work on. When you are able to do so, take care of the events that follow after that, rather than complaining about the events from three decades back. Women who are thriving in this society, have been doing it from ever since. They are not known as strong or powerful women for nothing. They have the courage to not put up with any nonsense and speak up for themselves. They choose what they want to ignore and what they will not tolerate. You choose how you want to be treated and you choose how you want to uphold the values that you carry. Whether you compromise or not, whether you speak about it or not, you choose. You should be the first person to respect yourself.
Move on. While gathering the courage, strength and support that you need to take your stand in similar situations, you learn and grow for your own good. And not only that, the person who you are blaming now of what they did decades back, probably might have completely forgotten about it or they might be a completely changed person now. Its like you are asking for punishing a grandparent of what they did in their teenage, now when they have the legacy of two generations behind, a lifetime of achievements that they might have and have chosen to live the rest of their life in peace. Sure what they did wrong was wrong. I am not undermining the intensity of pain, hurt, embarrassment that their wrongdoing brought, but that was then. People do move on, people realize their mistakes, take responsibility for it and people do transform. By referring to what happened decades back in the past, which does not exist anymore, you not only are choosing to not move on, but also pulling that person back with you in the same space and keeping that memory alive.
There are couple of situations in which people can be seen as being victimized. The situations that arise beyond your control, like a natural calamity and/or the situations where someone takes advantage of a vulnerable, innocent, naive person. In these situations, the people who are affected, are victims of natural mishap which is beyond their control or victims of the situation where they are not even aware of how they are being taken advantage of or are not able to stop what happens to them. And then there are situations where people involved in it have to make their choices as responsible adults. Whether they choose or are forced to choose, out of the choices available to them, they at least have an understanding of what they are losing, achieving or hoping to achieve out of it and based on that, they make their choice. The choice that they make may not be a favorable choice, but they make that choice to suit their needs at that time. When you make a choice, you stand by your choices that you make and accept the consequences that follow. And when I say you make a choice, remember, keeping mum is also a choice. Not taking your stand, and not speaking up and allowing the other person to take advantage of you for whatever reason you may have, is also a choice. You have the choice to accept it or not.
When we condemn, or feel someone is taking advantage of us, we are operating from the victim’s space. We are not taking responsibility of how we let people treat us, but blaming them for causing us the harm. It’s like saying , “you hurt me” instead of “I am hurt”. You probably had a choice to leave or stay or a choice when staying was the only option. If we just shift our space from feeling like a victim, to the one who has the power to make the choice, this understanding changes the whole equation. We would be operating from the space of strength and courage, rather than a victim’s. All I am saying is, you take responsibility for the situation you are in by choice or by no choice, and also the consequences that follow, because that means keeping your power with you.
Lastly, let’s not generalize or make it sound like a movement that is speaking for one gender only. The goodness, the badness, and the ugliness exists across all the genders. Not to mention, there might be some people alleging others, just to settle scores with them when things stopped going as per their expectations.
To conclude, by all means, speak when you are ready, but do so from the space of empowerment rather than from the space of feeling like a victim. Also, rather than living your whole life just preparing yourself for speaking up one fine day for what happened million years back, take your stand and speak up in time.
Originally published at medium.com