My view, as well as the world's view on women is changing right before my two eyes. I feel as if I have always looked at women like I did all people, humans that need to be loved and respected. However, I've realized that it's much more than that. It's important to me that I look at women in a whole new light now.
Growing up I was raised by the toughest, kindest and most intelligent woman I've ever known, my mother, and my love for her can't be put into words. My sister, Ashley, is so unapologetically herself that I don't even know how she does it. It's kinda cool how I look UP to my little sister.
After the #MeToo movement heard around the world, my eyes were opened. EVERY girl I know has a #MeToo story they could share and it scares me. It made me think about my mother and my sister and how precious they are to me.
It made me reflect on my own actions and decisions, it made me wonder if I've ever left a girl feeling powerless. It made me think of all the stupid and sometimes derogatory things that I've said to women in the past due to my own ignorance.
As I thought about all of this, I found myself thinking "how could you all be so quiet?", "why didn't she say anything earlier?", "how could I not know that this was a SERIOUS issue?"
Well that's because I was a part of the society that created this culture. A culture in which women can't speak up without being victim shamed when they actually need to be uplifted. A culture that enables men in positions of power to abuse that power and have no consequence when doing so. A culture that praises men for what they do sexually, but places negative labels on women that do the same.
I was a part of all that, and although I may not have always been an active participant, I had no problem watching from the sidelines. Cheering the game on as the players continued on in one of America's favorite pastimes. The movement made me realize I needed to do more, I needed to let ALL WOMEN know that I was on their team, and that I would no longer be a witness to what society has encouraged me to watch for so long.
I support every single woman that has came out and made public statements against their abusers. That takes a lot of strength, and the climate has now been changed forever.
Maybe "back in the day" some of the actions that men used to partake in weren't looked at in the ways that they are now, men (and women) may have been naive to the detrimental impact that sexual assault/harassment was having on society. For that, I can give some of the men that have been accused the benefit of the doubt.
However, things have changed now and it's a new game, mess with a woman the wrong way, and she CAN and WILL ruin your life... and I'll be right behind her encouraging her to tell her story.
I see women in a new light now, I see their power and their strength shining brighter than every before, and I want them to use it to change the world.
- Sampson Deon Levingston