You recognize that the normalization of sexualization and assault is a problem. Now, be a part of the solution. Change what’s normal.
Don't laugh at inappropriate sexualization.
Watch what you say and what you encourage by your responses to sexualized comments. Don’t laugh at inappropriate sexualization. Don’t laugh when an adult says, “hit me up in 4 years!” to the cute 14-year-old celebrity boy. Don’t laugh at jokes that make fun of sexual assault. Don’t support shows that trivialize rape. Don’t laugh when a character tries to use alcohol or drugs to get sex. Stop saying, “That’s what she said!”
Better yet – speak up when someone around you says or does these things, especially if someone else is visibly uncomfortable but unable or unwilling to speak up themselves. Be accountable, both for your own actions and as a bystander.
In a Position to do More?
Are you in a position to do more? Encourage change in your workplace. Put more women in charge. Promote more people of diverse backgrounds – cultural diversity, gender diversity (both biological and as identified), age diversity, sexual orientation diversity – you name it. We need to do a better job of representing all humans. Strengthen policies and processes for reporting abuse and responding to such disclosures. Provide support systems for complainants.
Continue to fight for equality in the workplace, on college campuses, and in your communities.
Take care of each other.
This boils down to two things – empathy and respect – for people. People like you. People different than you. For women. For men. For people that don’t identify with a binary gender, and regardless of gender identity. For gay people and straight people and transgender people and white people and brown people and black people and every other beautiful color of people. For those who have experienced harassment or assault, and those who haven’t. The one thing all of these people have in common is humanity.
Have empathy for your fellow humans. Respect your fellow humans. And speak up for those that cannot speak up for themselves. Take care of each other. Change what’s normal.