Me Too: The Next Step, Part 1

Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, Harvey Weinstein. In less than a years time, the Me Too campaign has changed the way we not only look at sexual harassment but arguably on a deeper level how men interact with women.

In part one of our three part series, “Me Too – The Next Step”, Julian Sadur explains just how prevalent the issue is.

The cat-call by definition is a loud, sexually suggestive call or comment directed at someone publicly.  It’s something that’s been tolerated for years. That’s why, sadly, it’s something most women can relate too.

“I would probably say yes, that most females have had at least one incident of catcalling, ” said Dee Copeland, a therapist with the Life Crisis Center.

“I would probably say yes, that most females have had at least one incident of cat calling,” said Laurie Pearce, a mother of two.

“They’ll be like, ‘Eh, sweetheart’ or something like that. Or they’d say like, ‘Girl you cute, over there’. Or like, ‘You in the red shirt’,” said Jamie Van Wick, a college student.

From talking to women, we’ve learned no place is safe from harassment like this. Offices, churches, schools. But one place on the frequent offender list, gas stations.

“I work at a gas station, Royal Farms, and a lot of the times when men roll in they’ll say whatever they want to say out their mouth because they think it’s alright,” said Kiarra Davis, a college student.

It’s also prevalent at places like bars, or out at parties.

“I’ll be dancing with my friends and like a guy will come up and I’ll shove him off and like he just comes back. I shove them off, he comes back, shove them off he come back.They just don’t stop,” said Jessica Davis, a college student.

Now of course this behavior is wrong. But if we know that, why does it still happen and why do some females put up with it?

“I think part of it is that certain behaviors have been normalized as is this is what guys do. This is the macho thing to do. This a cool thing to do. And that for females what should be okay for you, it’s a compliment. You should be okay with it, ” said Copeland.

“We become numb and desensitized to it so certain things. We just kind of, ‘Oh yea he did that, that always happens.’ Well we have to begin to start taking a second look and going just because we’ve been conditioned this way or things have been normalized it doesn’t mean we need to keep perpetuating that same normal,” said Copeland.

Well maybe there’s no better time than now to stop perpetuating that “same normal”.

And Oprah Winfrey made that sentiment clear in her speech at the 2018 Golden Globes, “A new day is on the horizon. And when that new day finally dawns it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men fighting hard to make sure they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say ‘Me too’ again.”

So how do we get to that new horizon? Psychologists say part of it is starting a dialogue.

“The conversation needs to be out in the open and what ‘Me too’ is doing for us is bringing that conversation out into the open,” said Dr. Kathy. Seifert, a psychologist.

“A piece of this is teaching well, what is respect, what is communication,” said Copeland.

Opening up about accountability and things as simple as how we interact with one another could lead the next generation to success.

“I think that women have to make a stand. And some men have to take responsibility for their actions as well. They can’t just think that that’s okay and keep doing it,” said Kayla Schaffer, a college student.

“Women are looked at as a conquest, something to be conquered, something to be conquered or achieved. I think that’s where again, those conversations need to shift,” said Copeland.

Tuesday night, in part two, we’ll begin to talk more about those conversations and show where they’re already happening in some places. In fact, we’ll even take you to a place where the next generation of young men are learning something, that will hopefully ensure no female they ever encounter will have to say “Me too” about them.

Categories: Local News, Maryland