The word brave is an adjective meaning “ready to face and ENDURE danger or pain, showing courage” as defined by Dictionary online. When Dr. Chrstine Blasey Ford testified at the Supreme Court hearing in September 2018 for at that time nominee Brett Kavanaugh Dr. Ford demonstrated in every essence of the word being brave.

As a female never having been sexually assaulted I cannot say I know how Dr. Ford is feeling because I do not.  There have been times, too many times, where I have felt uncomfortable, creeped out, nervous, afraid in the presence of a man. My daughters wear yoga shorts underneath their dresses when they go out to bars because men (yep plural) have tried to put their hands up their dresses and touch them. A sentiment echoed by many females I have talked to about this.

Yet like so many women we keep quiet, afraid to say anything, afraid of making a scene. We are NOT the ones making a scene because someone is putting their hands in unwanted areas of our personal space. We are reacting to someone touching us who does not have permission to touch. If you are driving your car and someone in their car starts to come into your lane do you sit quietly in your car hoping the other car will not hit your car because you do not want to use your car horn to upset anyone.  Or do you LAY ON THE HORN, to get their attention so they stop coming into your lane and hitting your car. The other individual is completely, 100% responsible for how they drive their car. If the other individual hits your car regardless of what action you take they are the responsible party. Not you. Everyone has the right to be SAFE in all areas of our lives.

RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) reports that every 98 SECONDS, let me repeat 98 SECONDS, an American over age 12 years old is being raped. I have counseled a number of individuals that did not report. What we know from Dr. Ford’s testimony is she, like many others, did not report as well. This number only reflects reported cases. The chances are the numbers are much higher.

Sexually assault, harassment, rape occurs female to male, female to female, male to male, and male to female. The damage to all victims is horrific. Does this impact someone every day of their life? YES. Can people heal? YES with a lot of hard work. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center reports the percentage of victims is 91% female and nine percent (9%) male.  91% female. 91% female.  Take it in and sit with that for a moment. It’s not that there aren’t wonderful, honorable men in this world because there are. Yet there is a problem and it’s a big one. So what are we going to do about it?

Today is presenting us with an opportunity, women and men, to take action. Today is giving us, women and men, an opportunity to increase our brave, gather our spunk, tap into our courage, and make a change.

Today is the day.

Many females have been raised in environments at home, school, and work where we are NOT supposed to raise our hands, voice our objections, or question information being presented us. We are supposed to follow along and be quiet. We are not supposed to argue, fight, or object.

Let me be crystal clear about a very important part.  Females have NOT created an environment that gives any male permission to talk or touch her in an uninvited way. Not at all.

Our female voices of being treated with respect, honor, dignity, and equality need to be expressed. There is much power and strength in girl strong. We need to stand up, stand firm, even when every fiber of our being is shaking inside with fear. We need to stand up for ourselves and others too. To show our girl strong. No shame of each other as it only corrupts and crumbles. Only support and empowerment of each other as these qualities tighten, connect, and secure.

We do have the right to react towards another person that same way we would react if a car is entering our lane. To blast our horn and say stop if someone is saying or doing anything to us that makes us uncomfortable.

Men are needed too! We need you to use your voice to stop comments that are disrespectful about women.  If you are making a choice of saying or acting in a disrespectful way to a female STOP. If someone was inappropriately touching your mother, your sister, your daughter, would you be ok with it? NO!

Men if you are keeping quiet when your friends are talking or acting disrespectfully to or about females speak up and tell them to STOP, even if you are feeling uncomfortable inside about doing so. Tell your friends it’s not ok. Your words and actions every day as a man has influence and power.  How do you want to use it? Do you want to be silent or do you want to take a stand? Socrates said “the greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be”.

The brave actions of Dr. Ford presents all of us, female and male, an opportunity. To make a change so all humans, female and male, are treated with respect, honor, dignity. To create a world where all humans, female and male, can feel safe. Where all humans, female and male, can bring out the best in ourselves and the best in others. Every single, solitary one of us matters. We have an opportunity to create a healthier, safer world for ourselves and other generations to come.

I am up for the challenge. Are you?