Yes: Like millions of other Americans, I have been watching The Today Show for as long as I can remember. I can picture my mom cooking our microwaved eggs in little brown glass bowls, a small white television hanging from the corner underneath the kitchen cabinets, my dad eating his grapefruit and Wheaties, when I was probably 6 years old. We are all connecting to this in our own ways.
In thinking about it today, one thing that troubles me is how there is a palpable tendency to not want to believe this specific allegation, because of who he is. To say, even just this once, “Yeah, but she was probably asking for it, flirting with him, something.” Or “Not someone so beloved by so many. This just can’t be true.” Or even “She’s just jumping on the bandwagon. Some people just want to take others down.”
Just in case you hadn’t noticed, this time in gender relations right now is a sea change.
This is not a time to create some hashtag like #menmattertoo or #innocentuntilprovenguilty.
This is a time for men everywhere — the men in your personal life, your work life, your friends, your family — to listen with compassion while the women they love, are friends with, are married to, are related to, speak up and sound off about how this affects us all. Because even if you are someone who has never harassed or has never been harassed, what is happening across the country should affect you.
Get angry, men, women, boys and girls.
Be defensive about how this suddenly constant stream of revelations and the surrounding conversations affect you, regardless of your gender or ethnicity.
Make sure that your voice is heard — and yes, we can still do this in a kind and thoughtful manner, even if that feels unnecessary — because as part of our shared humanity, we all understand how hard it is to not feel heard.
Indifference is often more difficult to deal with than dissent or disagreement.
Yes let’s pay attention as the details emerge — in every single case. But now is not the time, nor is there ever a time, to cast doubt on the victim. THAT is what makes women afraid to speak. THAT is why so many of these cases don’t come to light for such a long time after the incident or incidents occur. That unspoken oppression of a woman’s right to express her truth is what needs to stop now, today, any time you’re presented with the opportunity to listen rather than cast aside.
Matt Lauer has been known to so many of us as a friendly, familiar face. If the allegations are true — he should have done better. We all should. Listen. And then, do better.
Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.