Don't Forget to Celebrate the Men Who Support Women
Thanks to social media, I’m sick of politics. The memes, the shocking soundbites, the comments (there are some MEAN people out there!) and the need to voice an opinion yet never listen to each other. But most of all, social media has become the place where I can't get away from the politicians who devalue women. I’m sick of it.
As a mother, I really worry about the future of my kids if the people on the internet are a symbol of humanity. As a woman, I’m sad that the shock-politics of the US and Canada have overshadowed how many incredible people have stepped forward to shine light on issues that affect us directly.
I was chatting with a man last week, and he was actually shocked at how many women have experienced sexual assault. I guess this is the upside to the #MeToo movement. To be clear, recent studies report that 1 out of every 4 women in North America will experience some sort of sexual assault.
Let me repeat that.
1 out of every 4 women in North America will be sexually assaulted.
Personally, I got to my forties before it happened to me at work, by a patient. I have countless friends and relatives who can share stories of their own in passing conversation because that’s how real it is in the life of a woman. In fact, it's happening so often that even women of all ages seem to be becoming desensitized by it.
Case in Point:
My fifteen year-old daughter’s friend was at school last week and she had a v-neck t-shirt on. Another student (a girl) grabbed her shirt and exposed her bra in front of the entire class. Stunned, the friend screamed and swore at the girl and that’s when her (female) teacher suggested that she should re-consider her choice of clothing so these things may not happen in the future.
The good news is that the friend went to her (male) principal and he is helping her deal with it.
This morning, I was on Facebook and I saw a post about a 13 year-old girl who was running on a well-used trail in town and she was followed by a guy on a bike. After some quick thinking she lost the guy, which I thought was pretty amazing! What really stuck out to me were the comments from women.
It's become a sad world in so many ways. Glad she was so observant and quick thinking!
Did the bike have a basket? I’ve felt followed a number of times by a man on a bike with a basket. I often run with my dog there so will keep an eye out as well.
Always stay in pairs on the trails, you just never know, trans Canada trail is pretty much in my back yard, I get nervous out there by myself, see some shady characters...stay safe & very smart move young lady!
All from very concerned women who have obviously experienced the feeling of being unsafe while running or walking in public. Their comments are well-meaning and sympathetic, but no woman really sounds surprised. This made me sad because I also was not surprised to hear a girl felt scared by a man on the trail. But then this man comes out of nowhere and comments:
I live/work right beside the crossing of the trail so I'll keep an eye out.
Anyone who feels they are in danger can safely stop for a breather by the blue house. If they need assistance, follow the sound of machines.”:
My heart just melted for this guy! His comment literally lifted my hope for my daughter's future in this community...A man, helping women feel safer while using the trails that are provided for our entire community. If there’s one thing the #MeToo movement has done for women, it’s shown us that there are men like this on our side. And men like that guy I was talking to last week who was actually educating himself and talking about it. And men like the high school principal who’s first reaction was not to victim-shame. And men like my husband who admits that he’s NEVER felt uncomfortable walking anywhere, night or day.
I hate to throw the F-word around. But in my opinion these men are the feminists we need in our community. The guys who make politicians and internet trolls who promote deplorable treatment of women look even worse. The quiet guys who aren’t advertising their opinions all over social media but are having conversations, doing some research and providing solutions to help women.
If you are a woman with a man in your life like this, take a moment to celebrate him. Tell him that conversations are the start of change. Afterall, these are the guys who respect women enough to take notice and they’re going to help us turn this ship around. If we work hard together, we can make this better for our sons and daughters too.
Joanne Ilaqua - CEO of MamaSoup
Hey there, I’m Joanne.
I’ve spent about 20 years serving women as a nurse, doula and Lamaze educator. I have 4 kids and I know firsthand how lonely and isolating motherhood can be, so I created MamaSoup. I'm mostly known for my love of red wine, spontaneously singing and my confidence in being my true self on social media. When I’m not busy building women up, you can catch me taking Instagram stories of my bulldog Ruby, watching The Handmaid’s Tale, playing MUber (Mom Uber) to my kids or vacationing in my favourite town: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
I love serving the world by providing a space for moms to connect and support each other. In my opinion, moms are the backbone of communities because they are (literally) raising the future!
As the founder and CEO of MamaSoup, I’ve been featured on CHEX TV Morning Show, KawarthaNOW, Economic Development- The City of Kawartha Lakes and MyKawartha.
Still with me? Join me over at MamaSoup to keep the conversation going!