UBC – Day 19
Men Behaving Badly
As a result of the Harvey Weinstein issue, and the way other men have treated women, there has been much discussion among us, both in the media and face to face.
Women have been, and still are in some places, been treated rather badly. They were like “second class citizens”. I could write pages and pages of stories about the way I have been treated in the workplace. And in the home.
In the past, men were considered “head of the household” and the marriage vows were that women “would love, honour and obey” their husbands. Some women, usually if they had a lot of money, were able to take control, but most had to put up and shut up. That’s in the home, but the work place is a different issue.
I started nursing when I was around 19 years of age. I left home and went to a country town, 400 kms from my family. There, I learned for the first time, how many nurses were treated. The local lads saw us as ‘sex tools’ no doubt, and there are many stories from those days. But it wasn’t just the local lads. It was older men too.
I went to church regularly, but one Sunday, after the service ended, we came out to find heavy rain. With others, I stood in the doorway pondering my walk back to the nurses home. It wasn’t far, but I would be drenched. Would I wait for the rain to stop? One of the elders of the church offered to drive me back, and I gladly accepted his offer of a drive in his car. But a short way along, he turned off into another street and told me he was taking me home to his place, as his wife was away. I was terrified. I yelled at him to turn back and take me to the nurses home. Luckily he did so. It was a shattering experience and I was too scared to return to the church.
Men Behaving Badly
Over the years, I have been sexually abused by my bosses and other men. I won’t go into detail, but I know it is a common experience for women. The current discussion is rather uncomfortable for many men, as they know that their behaviour has often been unacceptable.
What are the new rules?
One man recently expressed concern. How will a woman know I am interested in her if I can’t touch her boobs or pinch her bum? Seriously? Can’t you just speak nicely to the woman – pleasantly ask her out, or say something nice?
Let’s hope the “outing” of these powerful men can ensure that the discussion continues and that in the end, women are no longer on the receiving end of this terrible behaviour. Sadly, I think there is a long way to go.
Women need to set the new rules so that we can feel safer.