These days the dollar doesn’t go very far. But Taylor Swift just increased its value exponentially. What this young super star did for women will hopefully be seen as the beginning of the end of women having to silently bear the indignities often committed against them. I’m sure you’ve heard about her case involving a male DJ who thought it would be acceptable for him to “cop a feel” of this young woman’s bottom. After all, what are women for?
Ms. Swift’s reaction to this assault is in stark contrast to those women who allege they were assaulted by a once revered Bill Cosby. Approximately 50 women felt so intimidated and fearful that they kept silent, some for almost 50 years. If you’re a woman, you more than likely have experienced some form of sexual assault. Whether, physically or verbally, you have most likely been accosted by some man who thought it would be funny or fun to grope you. How did you feel when that happened? What did you do? Who did you tell?
Depending on your age and your upbringing, your answers to those questions may range anywhere from I ran and hid and told no one to I kicked him in the b***s and let him know his advances weren’t welcome. Hopefully, it was closer to the latter.
When Taylor Swift filed a lawsuit and asked for one dollar as compensation, she sent a message to the world that women are no longer willing to keep their mouths shut. It is never acceptable for a man to grope a woman.
If you have been or are in a situation where unwanted advances are making you feel uncomfortable, here are a few tips on how to handle it:
1. Speak up. You are never required to keep your mouth shut. If you fear losing your job or having your career affected in a negative way, there are laws in place that are meant to keep that from happening. You will have to let people know what happened. And, if it comes to that, you will have to testify in court. But you have a right to stand up for yourself.
2. Never allow the abuser to make you feel guilty. You did not ask for it. You are not there to be a play toy and you do not have to deal with his advances. Whether in a work situation or in any other aspect of your life, you deserve respect. Stand your ground and firmly say no.
3. Often a man will tell you he had “no choice.” You made him act that way. No, he chose to act that way. And he can choose to be more respectful. You can choose to demand respect. That’s not an easy thing when you’ve never done it before. But you can learn to value yourself enough to firmly refuse his advances.
4. What if it’s your husband who is the abuser? Aren’t you required to put up with it? Doesn’t he have a right to expect you to be there for him? Again, no. It’s your body and you get to decide who touches it.
5. Most importantly, if you find yourself in a situation where a man is making you feel uncomfortable either by his language or his actions, and you don’t feel strong enough to handle it on your own, please seek help. Whether that means calling the police or getting in touch with a support network or therapist, get support. If it’s severe enough, get away from him. If he doesn’t treat you with respect, he isn’t someone you need in your life. For any reason.
This is a new era. Women have been fighting for years to be recognized as worthwhile citizens deserving of respect and of being treated with dignity. Fortunately, Taylor Swift, a “thoughtful, committed citizen,” has paved the way and sent a loud and clear message that we’re not willing to take it anymore.
Julie Holly, CEG, is a Life Vision & Empowerment Coach. For information, email julie@innerradiancecoaching or call 804-246-1509.
Julie is offering a free workbook for Tidewater Women readers to help you clarify your goals in life. Download it here: innerradiancecoaching.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Create-Your-Ideal-Life-A-Practical-Guide.pdf