Sunday, May 25, 2014


As a response to the mass shooting at UC Santa Barbara yesterday, there has been a new Twitter hashtag/meme going around – #YesAllWomen. People (women, in particular) are sharing their thoughts about sexual harassment and why all women should be concerned about it.

I spent a while last night reading a bunch of the tweets and was appalled at how many women have been sexually harassed and assaulted and how their lives are still being impacted. (It’s amazing what you can say in 140 characters!)

As much as I can support this campaign, though, I don’t really “get” it personally. I think I’ve led a really charmed life. I’ve never been sexually abused. I’ve only been sexually harassed on my orthopedics rotation in medical school and I think that was kind of required. Sure, lots of patients were sexually inappropriate with me, but they weren’t in a position of power, so their comments were easy to let go. I spent ten years working as a family physician, but I was in a group that was not hierarchical and in which I was an equal with the other male and female partners. Even the larger medical group was very egalitarian. There were a number of women in the upper management levels and I never felt like any of us were treated differently than the men.

So, I’m the oddball, it seems. (Not that I’m complaining!) Because it’s not just the women on Twitter that have been sexually harassed and abused. I know many women of my own acquaintance to whom this has happened. I know that violence against women, on many levels, is real. I know that I’ve had to teach my daughter things that I’ve not had to teach my son – don’t leave your drink unattended at a party, keep your wits about you, be careful about walking on campus after dark. And PWM and I have been careful to teach our son to go against the grain and treat women well.

We desperately need a change in our culture and it’s important to work for it now. But, ultimately need to be like Jesus. Jesus loved women. He talked to women and taught women in a culture that was completely dismissive of women. Jesus sees women as more than equal with men. Jesus sees us as brothers and sisters in Him, not just filling a role in our family or in society. He sees us as HIS family members. It’s only when our culture gets this message that we’ll truly understand equality.

What do you think?

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