I have been waiting for the right moment to share my feelings about a certain subject, and in the light of the news coming from America, felt the time had come for me to speak up.
For those of you are not following the story, some big shot American film producer and former film studio executive, Harvey Weinstein, has engaged in sexual misconduct and assault over many years, abusing his position of power over women whose careers to some extent depended upon his good will.[i] Apparently during this time, only one person had the courage to confront Harvey on the subject, namely Brad Pitt, who – even before he was established in Hollywood – threatened Harvey with a “Missouri Whooping” if he didn’t stop harassing his girlfriend at the time, Gwyneth Paltrow.[ii] My respect to Brad for his courage, though apparently it didn’t prevent more abuses. Watercolor by Tawee Kesa-Ngam
It has to stop.
Why can’t a woman enjoy her mind and body, and shine her light, or express her power, intellect, sexuality, or sensuality openly without a man interpreting it as an invitation or right to be physically intimate with her, or attempt to be?
For all the women who have been forced to dim your light in order not to be noticed, in order to protect yourself from men you fear would take your expressions as an invitation to penetrate your space, both literally and metaphorically, please let your light shine and know there are many men on your side.
I am one of them. For the record, I would like to use this opportunity to apologise to any women whose boundaries I have disrespected in any way, or made uncomfortable in any way with my behaviour. I am truly sorry. I didn’t understand.
Now I do.
“I was a kid,” Gwyneth said, “I was signed up. I was petrified.”[iii]
I know that feeling.
See, it has happened to me. I am friendly, full of joy and zest and energy, engaging with man or woman, black or white, rich or poor, and I like to communicate with my hands and eyes. I think it’s beautiful. It’s me. I am open. I am illuminated. I am tactile, and don’t always think about it. And, yes, though I’m a man, there have been a few times where my ease and openness, my light, my touch, has been misinterpreted and my space violated by women.
I felt “confused,” “powerless,” and “I was shaking.”[iv]
To all women out there, you are not alone. I understand in my own very limited way how it might feel, and so please know you have a genuine voice in me, and many of my friends. We see you, we believe you and we are here for you. Let us know when you need us, and please teach us how to be better people.