Take A Stand Today

Power and control may be the base source of all conflict. When used in a positive way, power is emulated as leadership. Yet all around our community and nation we read of people seeking power in the worst way – by taking it from others. In third world countries the behavior of these actors, athletes, elected officials, and candidates for office would be considered a war crime. In America, the greatest country in the world, it’s business as usual.

We must stop turning a blind eye to this degradation of leadership. It’s shameful that we think so little of men to expect that they can’t control themselves around women. It’s shameful that we question the motives, character, and judgment of any woman who experiences a sexual assault. Take the sex out of it. It’s not a salacious scandal. This is simply an illegal power play. And it must stop.

The responsibility of ending this lands squarely on our shoulders. The vast majority of us will never commit an act of sexual violence. The vast majority of us will also stand by and continue to tolerate this vile behavior from the people we lift up as leaders. Today I challenge you to stand with me and say no more. Say that you will not accept “locker room banter” that debases our daughters, sisters, and friends. Say that you will demand accountability when elected officials and community leaders use their power to abuse others. No more blaming victims for the actions of a power hungry perpetrator.

Only when we stand together will this change.

I know that you believe this is wrong. I know that you are disappointed and disgusted by this. 

At a training this week, Charles Weathers challenged us to consider that the difference between concern and commitment is inconvenience. I’m asking you to commit to ending these issues in our community by taking action today.

What are some (inconvenient, but committed) steps you can take to make this better?

Please join me in an inconvenient way of life today. We cannot continue to lift up leaders who degrade, disrespect, and destroy the lives of the people we love.

Mary Dell Hayes

Mary Dell Hayes rejoined the staff at STSM as Development Coordinator in 2013, Director of Development in January 2015, and Executive Director in February 2016. Her job is to help the community achieve the vision of healthy survivors thriving in a community free of sexual violence and engage people to end sexual violence through philanthropy and advocacy.