I don’t find exposing cowards to be the mark of being brave. It’s something everyone should do. It’s the bare minimum. The least we can do.
Why aren’t we? That’s not courage. It’s being a decent human being.
Now, those who have endured being the victims or targets of idiots who can’t control themselves? All of us who have still chosen to love, to live, to stand up and try again?
In that sense, we are brave.
You know what I’m talking about.
In spite of the catastrophes of life, we keep trying to reach beyond the prison bars that are doing their best to encircle us with shame and fear and we keep finding the most amazing people. The ones who make it worthwhile to continue to fight for our sanity, our voice, and our place at the table.
See, what we have forgotten about bullies is that they function under the law of the loudest voice. Whoever screams the loudest is assumed to be the majority. Their voices are so loud in our souls we often forget it is a legitimate quiet majority who carries the weight of forward and positive momentum.
So, I’m not brave. I have just had it. I have had enough of covering for men and women I cannot respect. People who have no concept of honor who are the biggest cowards in the world. I am refusing to let the cacophony of violation drown out the sweetness of kindness found in the men and women I love and adore. Those are the ones who have seen me broken, fearful, cynical, and discouraged and have shown me a better way.
If I asked for a show of hands of women and men who have been the object of unwanted affection or attention, I think you’d be surprised. Well, maybe not.
You know that already. Even if you won’t admit it out loud.
Fun fact… Both men and women are sexual creatures and they desire to be intimate with other men and women. Being sexual isn’t a crime. However, acting like a creep and imposing your need on someone who isn’t interested or remotely available?
Second fun fact… Flirty folks are fun. They make us laugh and giggl a bit. Folks who don’t take no for an answer and push past your stated boundaries are not fun. Punch them in the nuts. Figurative or otherwise.
That is wrong. Truly wrong.
Just so we’re clear.
Does it blow your mind that there are still people today who have to be told this? People who still don’t know or who refuse to believe it?
Look me in the pixels and tell me you don’t know who that guy is, or who that predatory female is in your circle? Yes, women do this too.
You say no? You say you have no idea?
He’s the one who talks to all the girls just a little too long. The more naïve or unaware she is, well, all the better. He’s that one dude who makes sure he’s always surrounded by as many sycophants as he can create. She’s the one flaunting her wares a little too close, a little too friendly, to the other men in the group. She’s whining about how she’s unloved, unfulfilled, unnoticed by her husband, the poor fool.
Hugs a little too much. A bit too familiar. Always looking for that private conversation. Share a secret. Just between us…
Little by little, these epically selfish human beings put out feelers to see who bites. Who can they manipulate? You aren’t special, not really, just another easy meal to feed their ego. It’s all about their satisfaction, not yours. They operate under an insatiable need to feed off affirmation and to establish control over people, circumstances.
You KNOW THESE PEOPLE… Either you know them now or you’ve met them before.
It’s not mean or unchristian or unkind or judgmental to recognize them. It’s using the brain you have and refusing to be blinded by the Just Be Nice police.
Stop being so dang nice you end up in the youth room backed up against the door, as the one person you swore you’d never be alone with, stands way too close and talks way too loud.
I’m not brave for writing about this.
I’m angry that the sexual assault of children in the church isn’t even questioned anymore as a possibility.
I’m angry that predators live among us freely with little or no accountability.
I’m angry that young men and women are given examples of lecherous men and women as an ideal.
I’m angry that the examples of genuine, supportive, boots on the ground friendships between men and women, adults and young people are the rarity and often viewed, unsurprisingly, through the lens of disbelief and cynicism.
I’m angry that men and women are shamefully walking through churches with one goal: Get to the seat without encountering Him. Or Her.
While our cultures have embraced a self-imposed ideal of personal gratification at any cost we have lost the ability to speak up and defend the weak, defy the strength of a manipulative predator, and expose the schemers for the frauds they are.
I’m not brave for speaking up. I’ve been a coward for a long time. Silently allowing the unrestricted impulses of the few to attempt to dictate the way I see the world isn’t courage. It’s settling. It’s letting them continue to win.
At someone else’s expense. My life in trade for another.
So, friend… I know there are more than a few out there. I’ve gotten your emails. I’ve read your pain and I’m standing up for you too.
Speak up. Be angry. Challenge. Speak their names in the place you have to speak. The only one served by our silence is the one who will continue to find more targets.
And get pissed.
If we don’t become familiar with righteous anger we will settle for endless shame.