O what sadness, o what joy
TIME Magazine has announced its Person of the Year for 2017. http://time.com/time-person-of-the-year-2017-silence-breakers/
I'm so glad some other contenders did not get the title this year, because this is too significant for our time. This year it is a thing of sadness, it is a thing of joy.
It is a thing of sadness because the reason this "Person" is being honoured and recognised is for the unfortunate, unjust yet undeniable truth that is sexual harassment, abuse and assault perpetuated especially against women. We know it happens everywhere, as much as we wish it didn't happen.
On the other hand it is a thing of joy because the "Person", the "Silence Breakers", the voices that started a movement of speaking up against this injustice have somehow and finally found their voice, and it is being heard. #MeToo movement seems to be turning the tide against the culture of "must keep silent", "don't rock the boat" and "It's the status quo". Dear Lord we hope the tide is indeed turning, never to be reversed again.
The coveted cover features Ashley Judd - actress, former Uber employee Susan Fowler - former Uber employee, "Isabel Pascual" - agricultural worker, Adama Iwu - corporate lobbyist, Taylor Swift - singer. Finally, almost missed but brilliantly presented is the arm of the anonymous hospital worker, representing the millions who can't speak out. That arm to me also represents the many who have spoken up either under the banner of the #MeToo movement or in their communities, to family, friends or colleagues. Incredible bravery shown by these featured women and others (including the men) mentioned or featured in the supporting article. So very very proud of you all.
Tarana Burke - #MeToo
The #MeToo movement is like a match which has spread like wildfire, especially after the Harvey Weinstein issue a few months ago. Alyssa Milano - actress, helped to give it wings, but the strike of the match came from Tarana Burke - activist and founder of Just Be Inc about a decade ago. I did not know that. Her story and the reasons behind her starting the movement are well worth the read. There are many articles, below is just one. Google it.
The issues are centuries old, but in the uncomfortable comfort of silence, and societal conditioning not to give a voice to it, it is great when bravery, fear, the sense of "enough is enough" combine and stand strong long enough for "I am going to do something about this" to emerge. Tarana's face is not on the cover, but she is featured in the article, and I am so glad that her brave act years ago, is being acknowledged, and has spread to what it is now. This adds weight to the strongly held belief that there is so much power in women combining their voices, supporting each other and standing with each other.
Let's keep the movement going
It is sad that it took a decade, and in fact it's been much longer, more like decades for the momentum to reach this height. We have to keep it going, and we can't let the fire be put out. Kudos to everybody who has bravely and truthfully shared their story or stood up and said #Metoo, this has also happened to me.
Unfortunately we live in a society and a world where victims, (women especially) are made to feel ashamed. Women are made to feel like they are the cause of the blame for the terrible acts committed against them, conditioned to not be the trouble makers by speaking out, and instead advised to ignore, swallow or hold in their fury, hurt or pain because that's just the way things are. Getting this amplified voice and focus is a victory.
Kudos to women and movements like Female IN founded by Lola Omolola which are helping to remove the shame, and giving a voice to females in marginalised societies like Nigeria, and across Africa. Females are hurting the world over, and feeling safe and free to voice their hurt, pain, challenges, hopes, dreams without fear of judgement is one very big and important step to continued victory.
I am sure there are many more groups emerging, both small and big, and for all I would say, please keep talking, keep fighting, keep being brave. It can be so hard, but we've got to try to set a better atmosphere and environment for our daughters, than what we started with, so that they in turn can do the same for their own daughters.
What are your thoughts, about the choice this year, this movement and what you think will or should happen next?