Another One?

However one wants to define the current state of the “women’s movement,” it is safe to say that women will not stop talking. The topic of sexual harassment from men such as Matt Lauer, Mario Batali, Charlie Rose, Larry Nassar, and the list continues on and on….. There will always be another one.

From a previous post, I addressed what seems to be an “epidemic” of men being accused of such behaviors. I wanted to address it in a manner in which I could focus on raising our boys or changing the culture. However, there has not been a week in my private practice in which this topic does not arise. Last week, a young adult female expressed her annoyance with her father’s response at “yet another allegation” with an eye roll. This week, I had a few men share their feelings and their own experiences in the work force, whether it be them witnessing inappropriate behavior, not recognizing that their own behavior was perceived negatively (especially back a few eras where such nasty talk was considered a norm and not exactly crude), and being falsely accused. Listening to all my clients, I must be honest in saying that I have not really read up or watched the latest news of all those coming to the table with their disclosures. I have tried to stay focused because here are two facts – I, myself have dealt with being sexually violated and second, there are good men out there.

There is a process in dealing with this – with both the men and the women. Every summer, I have a former client who comes back to see me because they were assaulted in college and they proceed to tell me how their colleges handle such situations. It has become a rising acknowledgment and to some people’s view, an “epidemic” that needs to change. Yet, students attend Freshman Orientation with the disclosure that sexual harassment occurs often and the correct protocol to take when such an event occurs. They are then told how and who to go to in order to press charges. This direction in the #metoo #timesup movement does not necessarily promote change. Rather, it stimulates the culture by installing fear in our young women (and men) about the statistics of how many college Freshman are raped. Let’s proactively change the culture. Why are the college campuses and work forces not offering free martial arts/defense classes? And if you really want to throw out statistics, then let’s address it appropriately because those who have been assaulted or are doing the assaulting are more than 50% of the time inebriated. So, why not have strict consequences for drinking under age or no alcohol on campus living? Why isn’t every college offering free cabs for those who are inebriated so that young women/men do not feel stuck in a physical space if they are feeling unsafe? When our children are young, we look at programs like cotillion so that they learn manners. Why are we not offering classes or programs for men to learn about women? I personally get rubbed the wrong way when a man is guiding another man about women. How the heck do they know considering the last time I checked, men don’t hear, process, feel, or perceive things or moments the way women do. I did not learn about men from my mother. I learned about men from my father. Why? Because he is a man. He can provide me insight about another man that I would not even think about. Here is an example: I have a male colleague who would see couples and the wives would share their discomfort in seeing him because they would feel that it was mostly about giving the men more “power” in the relationship to be “men” and that they should, as a wifely duty, have sex with their husbands. I, on the other hand, took a different approach – I educated, guided, and role played with my male clients as to how to better navigate through a woman’s mind and show a sense of appreciation and acknowledgment for the woman. Not the sexual being in front of them, but rather a complete woman. Surprise, surprise! It was inevitable that a man would come back in to my office sharing that they had sex! They realized that when they can respect a woman, that a woman can be safely vulnerable, appreciate them, and also, to let their guards down and feel safe and comfortable to be sexual with their partner.

Women – I have noticed that there are two type of women I observe – those who seem to have the courage to speak up and those that are apprehensive due to fear and possible repercussions. My challenge to you is to process what you would do differently when you think back upon the time that a male offended, harassed, assaulted, or violated you. Then, practice with good men you can trust (maybe your father or brother) so that they can give you feedback as to what will work and why.

Men, you do NOT have to violate a woman! Your power does not come from being a person who enforces physical strength or mental control over someone because you feel entitled to take something that is not offered or given to you. Real men of power are those who give. Give respect, kindness, and genuine love. Here is my challenge to men – everyday for 30 days, you will give a woman a compliment, but not a compliment on her physicality. You will start a habit of not looking at women based on their appearance, but rather focus on what women bring to this world that is positive.

With time, we will eventually change the culture of our society.

Charise

Charise Casiano

About Charise Casiano

Charise obtained her BA degree at California State University, Stanislaus and immediately pursued her MS degree at Mount Saint Mary’s College. During her college years, Charise left for one year to do missionary work. She traveled the United States troubleshooting with teenagers.