This idea may sound like an impossibility, but we create the world we live in so when we as a collective society decide we want this, it will happen. It may take a generation to turn things around, but we first need to make the decision to begin the process and commit to do what it takes. Following are the areas I believe we need to focus on: Family, Gender Identity and Equality, Sexuality, Religion and Media.
It starts in the family. If you have been a victim or perpetrator of this behavior, seek counseling and healing to stop this generational curse from continuing down to the next generation. If a child comes to you reporting abuse or harassment, listen and believe them. Get them into counseling so they can heal rather than carry this around with them into adulthood.
As parents we need to raise our sons and daughters to respect each other, to have empathy for each other, to understand how their choices affect each other, that when someone tells you no, it means NO. Don’t try to force people to change their mind, ignore what they told you or force yourself on them.
Gender Identity and Equality
Parents, instill in your children that their worth and value comes from who they are: wonderful, creative, loving human beings created in the image of God, rather than from their gender or what they do. Parents do not put your children in competitive situations where they need to prove their worth with siblings or other children or need to do something to earn a parent’s love and approval. Teach them to respect and value both genders equally.
God is a balance of both feminine and masculine energies and so are each of us as his creation. We have been taught to see ourselves as separate and fear our differences. However, it is time for us to accept both the masculine and feminine energy within us and learn how to appropriately express rather than suppress them.
We each bring our own unique abilities and personality and when we respect and affirm each other, there is no reason to feel superior or to harm anyone else. A man’s identity needs to change where it is not based in being superior to a woman.
Being put in powerful position does not mean you get to do whatever you want at the expense of other people. It means you have greater responsibility to be a positive role model and work together as a team, respecting everyone regardless of where they are on the hierarchy of power, gender or social status.
We were all created by God to be sexual beings, but few people are taught what healthy sexuality looks and feels like. It was created to be an expression of love and unity between two people. It was never meant to be used to dominate, harm or manipulate someone, to get attention, or to use someone for your own personal gratification.
Sexuality is meant to be expressed, not repressed. People no longer get married in their teens and early twenties and expecting them to wait for any sexual expression until they get married after 30 is unrealistic and unhealthy. Sexual energy when repressed leaks out through inappropriate sexual behaviors such as harassment and abuse. This does not give you permission to sexually do whatever you want to whomever, whenever. Any sexual encounter should be a consensual act of love between two adults.
The religious beliefs many of us were raised in concerning sexuality and gender roles are outdated and need to change. However, people fear making changes because they fear God will punish them if they do. Many of these beliefs were written in a culture thousands of years ago that was very different from the one we live in today. Let’s agree together to see the following truths established in religion:
- Men and women are of equal value
- Men and women are both capable of leadership positions
- Women were not created to submit to men or come under their control
- Woman and men have equal access to God
- Sexuality is something to be celebrated, not shamed or repressed
- Men are fully capable of controlling their sexual desires if they choose to
- Religious leaders who sexually harass or abuse others need to be held accountable and receive healing.
Quit watching, reading or buying media that promotes sexual harassment and abuse, pornography or gender inequality. Whether it is TV, internet, books or movies, you can vote with your money and your time. When fewer people promote this, they will be forced to create media that is more positive in how it portrays humanity.
Societal change begins slowly and then gains momentum. Be patient. If we each agree to do at least some of the things in this blog, it can turn our society around for the better. Individuals create families who create communities who make up a society. Don’t underestimate the power of one individual to turn things around. It took one brave woman coming forth and talking to start the momentum we see now to create a society where men and women can work and live together from a place of love rather than fear. Let the change begin with you.