Today was a big day! It was National Coming Out Day. It was the International Day of the Girl Child. It was also the day more and more women came out of the woodwork to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault.
I also realized that today is Wednesday, the day I pray for the girls/young women in my family. Every Wednesday, I pray for my nieces and great nieces and all the girls that are closely connected to my family. I pray they come to know themselves well, that they understand their power and the gifts God has blessed them with. And I pray they be safe and protected, that no harm come to them. I pray they stand up for themselves and not allow anyone to take advantage of them or look down upon them.
But I am not going to lie, I am shocked and dismayed when I am confronted with the world they are growing up in. The horrifying accusations of assault by men like Harvey Weinstein still shake me. Then I think about Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes, executives at Uber, venture capitalists, men running the tech world, the military, young men on college campuses, and our own President, for goodness sake! I remember how the country was rocked by the whole Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill drama back in the late 1980’s and I ask myself on this day celebrating the girl child, have we made any progress? I wonder are things getting worse? What kind of society are girl children being raised in, when men are still using their power to degrade, control and assault women of every background?
Then I am reminded, that stories of sexual harassment and assault of women have been hidden or told in hushed tones forever. These stories are not new. Patriarchy and sexism are not new. But what is new is the courage, the opportunity and the power that women are calling on to tell these stories OUT LOUD. What is new is more women coming together to stand up and say “enough is enough.” What is new is some men, not enough of course, aligning with women to condemn these actions. What is new is maybe, just maybe, more people being willing to listen , hear and more importantly, believe what women are saying. What is new is these men being judged and held accountable for their actions in the court, by more employers and in the public arena.
We still have so far to go to understand the root causes of our culture that continues to allow the mistreatment and disrespect for girls and women. But, at least, we appear as a society to be more willing to call it out. Maybe this is a sign of progress? So, on this Wednesday and every Wednesday I continue to pray. I pray you will join me in lifting up the hopes for girls all over this world to know their worth and to be able to reach for their goals without being victimized. They need us to use our voices to support, protect and encourage them as they grow into the powerful and talented women they are intended to become.