One core value of this movement is that the exploitation or injury of any person because of the power, status or social standing of another person is wrong. In every instance it is wrong.
So as you might expect the recent post about the issue of misogyny in this movement has gotten a lot of response and feedback. Many people have told me that it is a problem, has been a problem for a long time and in fact has been an open secret that no one wants to or feels safe talking about. Some people have talked about behavior close to criminal. Others have talked about exploitation, manipulation, prejudice and different standards of treatment based on their gender. Some people have named names and some of those people have been named by more than one person. Some people have said it is a problem but it is a problem everywhere and not much will happen until issues in the wider society are dealt with. What seems apparent to me is that it is a problem, from the perspective of many women I have talked to a major problem and that in least some circumstances a blind eye has been turned and people hurt.
The original post happened because someone that I have reason to believe is credible told me she had been hurt, been threatened and that she felt like her personal safety was at risk. She asked me to keep her identity confidential which I have done and will continue to do. Her story and things I have heard from others have left me with the conclusion the subject needed to be broached. Nothing I say should be taken so an attack or accusation towards any specific person. I do not have specific first hand knowledge of anything. I have stories, compelling stories but that is all. I know what I believe to be true. My assumption, at least my hope, is that most of the people reading this post will have no direct experience with the issues I talk about, but again I do not know. I am not trying to make trouble. By any measure I know we have that already. Anyway I think we are better served by trying to be what we claim to be and trying to hide or to minimize the exploitation or injury of anyway is a violation of who we claim to be and what we claim to be about.
I have a personal bias I need to be open about.
I have a friend who survived 16 years in a state mental institution in Ohio. She was raped multiple times. Nothing was ever done. She was never believed. Simply she was hurt because someone could and nothing she did, said or wanted had any effect on it.
More than one person in my life has been hurt because of their gender, their disability, their social group or status.
Too many people can make the same statement.
Part of my hope, my fight is to see a culture, a society in which the injury of one person by another is neither expected or simply the way things are. It is a value I think everybody reading this post shares.
My statement is really simple. If we are to ask, if we are to demand, that the larger system do no harm to the people in it we must expect the same of the way we treat each others. Do no harm. Many of the people in this movement have long experience of trauma and injury. And they should be able to expect no more harm will be done.
For me I will try to do a better job holding people accountable for the injury they do to others. For those hurt I will try to do a better job being supportive of those that have been hurt.
If you identify yourself as a member of this movement you have a right to expect you will be safe. And you have a right to expect all of us to support you in that right.