People walk. People talk. If they would just have the courage to do them at the same time. No, this is not a decades late Gerald Ford gum chewing joke, it’s a social calamity in my not so humble opinion. One that I wish more people would take a deep breath, exhale, and act with the courage of their convictions. Few do. Maybe they forget to exhale and stay full of hot air.
No, I’m not just snarking about society in a late night rant. Something that occurred today hurt my heart. It scared me for our society. It is both easy and challenging to rectify. Here’s the story.
I was in West Hollywood today, standing in the checkout line at the grocery store. These two men in line behind me we talking, at a volume usually described with a more far reaching scope than merely talking. The one gent seemed to have had a rough Valentine’s Day weekend. Did his Honey not act so sweet and turn up her possibly surgery enhanced nose at his best gift efforts? No. He was ranting about a street closing for an event. An event that he referred to as ‘a bunch of whiney bitches wanting attention’. Sound like a fashion show? Nothing so shallow I can assure you. As he described the time and place my gut instincts proved right. He was referring to the V-Day event by 1 Billion Rising (www.onebillionrising.org). In a semi cracked nutshell it is all about the truth of violence against women…. Around the world in its various forms and levels of intensity and obscurity.
to him rant some more, and while I wished I had used the often faulty self
checkout aisle, I realized I was there, hearing this for a reason. His bravado,
his inconvenience in traffic that irritated him SO…..what caused it? I could
guess its root cause but I digress. The point is, energy is just that ….energy
and WE choose how we direct it. If he had so much aggression – aka passion – to
burn…. then maybe if he could get his foot out of his mouth long enough, he
could ‘use his powers for good’.
Suppressing my urge to grab one of the apples I was buying and stick it in his mouth luau style, just as I was finished paying I turned to him and said – ‘I couldn’t help but overhear about your weekend upset. Let me ask you something – what would you do if you heard someone had hit your mother? Your daughter? Your sister? Your wife? Even just threatened them?’
‘Well I’d kick their ass. No one gets to hurt someone I care about’ he boasted proudly.
“Good!” I said. “But let me suggest an even BETTER technique… a way to use your big male protective and frankly aggressive nature… use it to protect them BEFORE it happens. SAVE them the trauma by using your attributes BEFORE something would happen to prevent it instead of after when they are affected for life, and all you can do is seek vengence. Understand the statistics of how maybe – probably – even one of them or if not then someone else you know – HAS been subjected to violence in one form or degree or another. Understand that the more you discuss the facts, the more you learn how to support them, how to defend them, how to make it SPOKEN ABOUT and FULLY KNOWINGLY unacceptable…and then you are being the big tough guy you so desperately seem to want to be.”
By now a few people were listening, and I almost stopped… I almost let self consciousness silence me too… the annoyed by his loudness induced adrenaline rush wearing off and with it my own bravado to speak up. Then I thought of my two daughters, their friends, my friends… and I had to go on.
said, “I know it’s uncomfortable to discuss and it SHOULD be. We should never
be OK with the concept of violence against anyone. And I understand that it is
even more uncomfortable for men to voluntarily get involved in as a discussion
and a change. I get that… get that AND I
just read the most amazing blog written by a man – a courageous man in my
opinion… here let me show you….” And I pulled out my phone to show him the
The blog I
am referring to was written by Writer/Director/Producer/Actor Eoin Macken…
known to some of you from the BBC show Merlin, and soon to grace our screen on
NBC’s upcoming med drama ‘Night Shift’, among numerous movies he has starred
in, written, directed etc. I am putting the link here because a mere quote would
never do it justice. (http://eoincmacken.blogspot.com/2014/02/one-billion-rising-and-something-that.html
He wasn’t supporting a cause because it looked good for his actor image; he wasn’t writing prolifically to show he went beyond fiction into social awareness…. It is raw and beautiful… and clearly from his heart – from his ethics and concerns – what matters to him in truth.
I had bookmarked this blog on my phone to be able to share it with a friend of mine who is an admin for another anti-violence against women and children group in a local SoCal area. I’m glad I did.
As I handed this man my phone, I pointed out that the blog author was a man who expressed the challenges from a male perspective, and also the importance of exactly that – male presence in this work against this segment of violence. He started to read it and then said ‘one minute’ and typed the website into HIS phone and bookmarked it for later. The cashier – also a man – asked me if he could do the same.
I guess it was a good thing his loudness earlier had made others flee our line so none of this held up other shoppers. Everything indeed for a reason.
He said ‘hey thanks, that’s all interesting’…. Still gruff but… a tad more contemplative, or so I hope.
As I walked away I heard his friend say ‘lame chick, she probably has a nasty boyfriend or something, all (and here he raised his voice to what I am guessing was his version of a female pitch) ‘oh help me, I’m a victim’. ‘Shut up Dave’ said the original loud formerly insensitive boar….”You should read it too”.
I smiled to myself. That weirdness and my uncharacteristic speaking up was worth it.
*** Eoin – if you ever end up reading this…. THANK YOU. You have made so many people turn and look at themselves and at this issue. Sure they may follow your blog, or your twitter because of your amazing smile, super charisma, and extraordinary screen presence (for lack of another socially acceptable way to put that)…but they find…substance…amid the great humor and anecdotes… they find the wisdom, the heart… and it makes them…it makes US... all more comfortable with finding our own heart and wisdom, and courage. Thank you!***
As I said I have two daughters… that makes 3 women in this home… with 1 of every 4 women (as per accurate statistics) being subjected to some level and form of violence, abuse, or other threat… I just simply do not like those odds. I also have a son, and know how I have raised him to be! We ALL – men and women alike – have important women in our lives. And no matter what gender, what age, the individual is… this goes beyond what happens to these victims, it is also about who WE are… what WE allow to continue.
“All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men (and women) to remain silent”…. Eoin spoke up eloquently and movingly in his blog…. I got uncharacteristically confrontational at Ralph’s Supermarket… BILLIONS around the world stood… and danced… and became aware.. and made aware. Now it’s your turn. What are YOU going to do???
PLEASE read Eoin’s blog, and pass it along to men and women alike… but dare I say especially to men… let them hear from a MAN (y’know the type with courage, conviction, and ethics stronger than his own comfort level) how to BE the strong protective warriors they truly seek to be…. And not waste it on being a loud blowhard at the market. Also included in Eoin’s blog are several helpful links… check them all out… and I will share them below here as well.
just the women… Thank You.
Here are the links Eoin shared on his blog (copied and pasted for accuracy including his descriptions of them) - but you should be reading these THERE... I told you to read his blog too!
Here is the One Billion Rising website
And here is an article from the Huffington Post with Eve Ensler
There is also an organisation for Men to get involved directly, if they want to avoid Eve and take a more masculine approach
In : Society
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