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Calling for a #NotMe Movement

I generally refrain from commenting on social media and news outlet posts.  Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t have opinions, just ask my husband.  I simply choose not to engage in the public debate, which all too often turns ugly and counterproductive.

However, as a female, daughter, sister, wife of 33 years, mother of two sons, and aunt to 14 nieces and nephews, I cannot stand by and fail to react to the statement made on September 20, 2018 by Gina Sosa during an interview with Randi Kaye on CNN.  Ms. Sosa, sitting alongside four other women, all supporting Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court after his testimony following the sexual assault allegations by Christine Blasey Ford, made the following statement: “We’re talking about a 15-year-old girl, which I respect.  I’m a woman, I respect. But we’re talking about a 17-year-old boy, in high school, testosterone running high. Tell me what boy hasn’t done this in high school? Please, I would like to know.”

Regardless of political affiliation or position on Kavanaugh’s confirmation, this is disturbing.  It is a statement that was casually made as if it were absolute fact. In actuality, it is merely Ms. Sosa’s personal opinion.  While that, in and of itself, is worrisome, what is more worrisome is the lack of public outcry or reaction. I have been waiting nearly a month now, to hear from someone, anyone, who is as irate as I am at the notion that all 17-year-old males are perpetrators of sexual assault.  This unfortunate declaration normalizes behavior that is not merely unacceptable, but, in fact, criminal.

What does this suggest to 17-year-old boys?  It suggests they are incapable of exercising self control due to the presence of testosterone in their bodies.  Not only does such a suggestion invite dangerous repercussions, it is utter nonsense. And what does this suggest to 15-year-old girls?  If they are around 17-year-old boys, they should just expect this to happen? I don’t think so!

With all we know about the devastating consequences of sexual assault, this kind of attitude must not prevail.  Surely, we have not become so immune to the depiction of violence and sexual assault in the media that we are willing to accept it as expected behavior from our sons.  No thank you! Not me!

Where are the males bold enough to stand up and proclaim, “Not me!  I did not at the age of 17 or any other age commit sexual assault”? Where are the men willing to challenge their peers and declare the sexual objectification of females was not, is not, and never will be okay?  Where are the men who are confident enough to say, “I don’t need a woman to be less of a person so I can feel more like a man?” If we truly want to prevent future generations from belonging to the #MeToo Movement, then we must include the voices of those who can proudly say, “Not me!”  The grounds for starting a movement seem clear. Gentlemen, consider yourselves challenged.

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