Written Oct 20, 2017
When confronted with (“#MeToo”) hundreds of friends who share that they have been, and continue to be, sexually harassed/violated/assaulted how do I respond and continue to be with my community?
I listen with all my senses. It’s pretty amazing to not even have to say anything at first and just listen.
I give time and space before responding, except to maybe acknowledge that I’ve heard them.
In that time I see how I feel. Maybe discomfort arises, perhaps rage, confusion, fear, sadness. A whole smattering of emotions may come up for many reasons. I try to get to know where those feelings are coming from.
Listen again to see if there are requests being asked of me (specifically) or people like me (broadly).
See where and how I can support in the ways that I’ve been asked.
I reflect on my actions and see how I contribute(d) to the issue.
I remember that these people who are sharing this are being deeply vulnerable and courageous. I remember that these people–my friends, family, community members–are more than what they are sharing. Soooo much more!
I believe them.
I understand that not everyone is able to share publicly and I support them just the same.
I listen some more and act, and listen for feedback, and listen, and ask, and listen.
I work to end sexual violence on all levels of society.
Offerings: A poem and a workshop
I want to share a poem that I wrote for a young woman who I worked with. When reading all of your posts, I’m reminded of how, like her, your skills, your friendships, your creativity, and who you are is so much more than I can ever know and so much more than anyone can ever take away. (Loving memories for the people who have been physically taken from our homes and communities).
I also want to offer workshops on consent, boundaries, celebrating “no”, respect, and power. These will be by donation (cover my costs for travel and some oranges). I encourage my friends, especially men friends, to get together for a casual dinner and a workshop. Call me up. Feel free to pass this along to a teacher friend or invite me to your workplace. It’s great for all ages (maybe 10+).
Have you ever heard the night sky cry? In awe of the brilliance of a thousand fireflies making waves of colours that engulfs the breath of all spectators. A mesmerizing dancer of light circling in dizzying rounds demonstrates the power only matched by the great aurora borealis. You are magnificent. Like fireworks that pierce the sky with deafening beauty, you captivate us, you connect us all with the sky as we sigh in amazement. Have you ever heard the night sky cry? In gratitude for the wise young woman who has the courage to be the unbreakable mirror. We see ourselves in you; in your stories that are deeper than the oceans; in your heart that is stronger than the mountains; and in your eyes, which, just like the sparkling stars, have witnessed more than could ever be spoken. You are powerful. Your truths are like needles—they are lessons becoming tattooed to our skin, reminding us that we are strong in our vulnerability. Have you ever heard the night sky cry? In rumbling sobs of inspiration as we bear witness to a care giver. As clouds build a nest of pillows and blankets, the tears and lightning-laughter burst forth because we know that we are safer with you. You are gentle. Holding space like a fluffy chicken for loved ones to nuzzle and cuddle or bouncing friends’ heads on your belly like furry otter pups. Oh my heart! Thank you, thank you, thank you. Have you ever heard the night sky cry? If we listen closely, I believe we’ll be able to hear it tonight as the sky celebrates you for all you are. -Paul Wartman, 2017
Thanks to the people in my life who have been sharing their stories. Power to you and all the people who have been harmed. I’m sorry you’ve been harmed and will continue to work alongside you to stop it from happening. 📷