Most of you have probably heard of the recent #MeToo movement on social media.

I’m sure, for many survivors of sexual assault, it brought up some painful memories, but it gave me hope for a shift in our culture. Predators like Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Bill Cosby, Mark Halperinand countless others – filmmakers, media stars, and politicians thrive on our nation’s culture of fear and silence that allows them to continue their disgusting and illegal behavior.
Women – and men – all over the country have stories of their own. Sometimes it’s the boss or co-worker at the office, a neighbor, ateacher/professor at your school, or even your own intimate partner.While sexual assault by an intimate partner is every bit as wrong as sexual assault in any other context, it is often ignored by law enforcement, human service providers, and even victims’ friends and family.
People are realizing for the first time the extent to which it infiltrates every organization and sector of our society in which we interact on a daily basis. This problem is huge!
It is really encouraging that the tide is beginning to turn. Victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment are finally being heard and believed!  
While it is painful for many of us who have experienced sexual harassment and violence, this is a huge moment of opportunity. We are in a much better place today thanks to those women and men who have come forward – people in low-wage service industries as custodians, food workers, and domestic workers, who have long begged and advocated for changes in the conditions that leave workers vulnerable to sexual assault and harassment on the job.
It is time to seize the moment to move our political, corporate, and community leaders toward action. We need to ensure that people of all genders who have been harmed are safe and that people who have caused pain and suffering change their detestable behaviors.
It’s time to speak up– louder and louder- Sexual assault is not okay!
We need to prevent these harmful behaviors from occurring in the first place.
I don’t believe that current trainings about what is and what isn’t against the law go far enough. We must start changing the cultures in our workplaces and society as a whole to model respect for people’s boundaries, encourage bystanders to speak up, and make safety for every person a shared moral and ethical responsibility.
Let’s begin by discussing different behaviors – calling someone a “slut,” mocking someone’s appearance, grabbing butts, etc. – and whether those behaviors are “no big deal” or a “big deal,” meaning whether they violate the rules of human decency.
Actions (more than written words in a policy document) – shape the norms and behaviors of everyone else in our society. We must become better role models for our young men and women by teaching respect for others’ boundaries and personal space, and demonstrate healthy relationships.
I know I won’t be silent ever again—will you?

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